The Master's Likeness
by Joseph Johnson
A heartwarming story of a young boy named Robert Welby, an orphan all alone in the world with no friend to care for him. When Dr. Thorncross took him into his school, Robert was his "Christ's sake" boy, the doctor usually had one boy who he admitted free of charge at his own expense, but this time what started as an act of charity became a deep and beautiful friendship between the stern, precise headmaster and the poor, lonely boy. Robert knew who it was that had taken him in, saved him from the workhouse and opened his arms to him, and he was deeply grateful. Having recently lost his father, the boy was devoted to the doctor, and the love of his affectionate nature was poured out to this headmaster who had done so much for him.
The doctor was a Christian man, holding fast to the principals that his boys should grow and learn in godly character and the fear of the Lord as well as in education. All the boys respected him greatly, but none loved him as Robert did.
To the grief of the doctor, Robert did not excel in most of his studies, though he did his best. But he had to gift for drawing which quite amazed his teachers.
During his first drawing examination, Robert was looking around at the objects given as subjects for the drawings, not finding anything that really caught his eye, but then he looked up. There was the doctor, sitting over the class of boys with a stern face and keen eyes, but when that glance fell upon Robert, he saw it relax into a beautiful smile. He knew what he would draw. He would draw the master's face, just as he had seen it then. As the drawing master collected the papers after the boys had left, he knew immediately who would receive the prize, there was no doubt as to that. If the boys had seen "Old Chalk and Bones," as they called him, when he was shown the likeness, they would have noted that the doctor blew his nose not a little.
As time went on, Robert's affection for he doctor grew, as did the doctor's for him. The other boys may have suspected favoritism, they did not see any signs of it, except for the ready forgiveness on the doctor's part to Robert after several episodes of mischief. Robert was given a hard time about it and was called a good many names, having few real friends among the bunch. The boys were set on doing something to get him into trouble.
Robert was by no means perfect, in the beginning he was persuaded to go along with the boys on some of their plans, but there were always consequences for wrong at the doctor's school. But when the doctor told them that, to quote the book,
"…there would come days in their lives when they would have to choose between God and this world, between Christ and the devil, between love and hate, right and wrong. On the one side were heroism, valour, and glory unspeakable; on the other side cowardice, devilry and doom."
He then asked them to choose then which they would follow, as they would wish they had when they came to die. Robert heard and chose.
Then one day there was an explosion… Robert lay unconscious as the room filled with smoke and fire…
This is a great book! I really love it! It has a 'real' feel about it, which adds to the book. Young boys, and girls, would enjoy this story, and older ones too, I loved it. Great story of love, resisting temptation, the consequences of sin, God's free gift of salvation for us if we, completely unworthy, but receive it.
~ Star Dust