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AllFRONTISPIECE. Chap. I.fl*|
OR,LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN."BOSTON:PUBLISHED BY HENRY HOYT,I --- -1 i-Ll .: :**' **' : "' " '** .' :' " t " 1, ., *..;,' : -, ; ;l::(g i, ,'', .., ..; ',; ; fB ,S .O ; ;:: ::*' :;l*/:' : lii ''"ji P.': l';. D^ YiiN -,.:N i !f*;l. |Sll;:?^ ":^.'^ @|;c ^ 3<3al:aJ*j**:.': 1i:"* |a
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1870, byHENRY HOYT,Ii, the Office of the Librarian of Congress. at Washitnton.
CONTENTS.CHAPTER 1.Leaving Port. Captain Tom Wood and the mate. View ofOldbury from the mouth of the river..................... 5CHAPTER II.Joseph Grant's Family. The two maiden aunts. Imprisonedon "'spicion." Emily Mills, Grandfather Fletcher, and theOld Parsonage. Blind Willie..............................42CHAPTER III.NedintheBank. TomWoodatSea. JohninCollege. Jonn'sVacation .................................................... 82CHAPTER IV.John's Vacation. Burningof the old meeting-house. A beau-tiful day in Oldbury......................................11CHAPTER V.A north-east storm. John accused of theft. Trial and impris-onment............ ......................................160
4 CONTENTS.CHAPTER VI.Deportment of John on his trial. Stella Drummond's Letter toTom. Tom's return from sea......... .......................215CHAPTER VI.Scene in prison. Warden Hart. A mother's love............240CHAPTER VIII.John's Prayer on the ocean. Remorse and death of Ned......282CHAPTER IX.Captain Tom's misfortune. Return of John from sea. Wel-come home. Stella Drummond's decision. Blind Willie'sdeath. The peace of a good conscience................... 306CHAPTER X.Conclusion.................................................. 17!g -. .V^ j
"CAPTAIN JOHN";OR,LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN.--sa~isa--CHAPTER I.Leaving port.- Captain Tom Wood and the Mate.--View ofOldbury from the mouth of the river.HE brig Maud Muller was lyingat the wharf, ready for her longvoyage to Calcutta. The cargo wasall on board, but the decks pre-sented the confused appearance which isalways incident to the departure of a ves-sel. She never wears the appearance of ahouse in order till she is out of green waterand fairly at sea.
6 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,The Maud Muller had been launched fromCurrier's ship-yard only a few weeks beforethe morning of which I now write. Theworld in which she was to live and movewas as unknown to her as is that of the"human soul, when she is sent forth to sail*j unknown seas, to wrestle with storms, ortest her soundness under the more tryingordeal of sunny skies. It is the tropicalheat that proves the seasoning of the ship'stimber; that makes yawning seams or un-sightly cracks; and it is in sluggish watersand sunny calms that the barnacles and seaworms gather on her coppered sides. Thisbrig was a beautiful model, trim and staunchfrom mainmast to keel. Captain Tom Woodwas proud of her as he trod the deck onthat fine June morning.We that live by-the sea are so accustomedtoipersonify vessels, to think and speak ofthem as living, sentient beings, that we for-4- f1
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 7get sometimes that it is only timber, cordageand sail-cloth, iron, glass, and copper, that,in the hands of skilful workmen, have beenwrought into this thing of beauty.There seemed to be a mutual understand-ing between Captain Tom and his brig. Hewas as proud of her as a bridegroom of hisbride when they go from the altar, hand inhaid, to share the better or the worse oflife.The crew had been on board from. earlymorning, and were busy stowing away thecargo, whilea crowd waited on the wharf tosee the departure of the vessel; and a num-ber of sailboats with slackened sails hoverednear, ready to accompany her a little wayout of port.There was the "Lottie C-," a "nicely-painted boat," with a retired sea captain inthe stern, who never saw a fine vessel lelveport but he bade her "God speed I" and
8 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,watched her progress till she had made the-open sea. There was the "Sea Bird," abonny boat, owned and sailed by the youngminister, who loved the water with an apos-tolic love strong as that of John or Peterwhen they lived upon Gennesaret. The"Gypsy" followed. She was a queer littleboat, with square sails, and odd in shape.She made as good time, though with lessgrace than the others. She reminded oneof a rough Shetland pony good for a trot,but would not enter the lists with the Har-vard or Oxford yachts for the prize of swift-nes's or as a model of beauty."The day was fine. A soft west wind,a blue sky alove, with only a few fleecyclouds, -the fairy craft that sail the upperseas,-were to be seen in the horizon. Itwas a pleasant scene, on the Merrimac thatday; the boat4 were filled with young peo-ple of both sexes in gala costume. Up theIn
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 9river a few miles was the home of the poetwhose beautiful creation had suggested thebrig's name. Along the banks the land wasin bloom, and the beauty and greenness ofspring rested on the landscape around thequiet, old town of Oldbury.Captain Tom was a hale, vigorous man,not yet thirty years of age. He was scarcelymedium height, was squarely built, erect,with a broad chest, and a head that wasset firm and strong on- a somewhat shortneck. This head was well shaped, afcovered with thick, curly, dark hair. Theforehead was broad rather than high, the facesomewhat square, but with a. full, roundedchin. The mouth expressed great firmness.The sailor who understood that mouth knewvery well that when the captain laid downthe law he would enforce it. The eyes werelarge, dark, and brilliant; they were eyesthat flashed sometimes with anger, but filled
10 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,with tears at a mother's parting blessing.The captain gave orders to loose the an-chor, and the brig, with her new, whitesails to the breeze, sailed gracefully out ofport, with the gay sailboats, like the trainof white-clad bridesmaids at a bridal, flut-tered at her side. Captain Tom stood upondeck, with his eyes fixed upon a certain pointon shore. One person only noticed the fix-edness of his gaze, and he as if he saw not.To explain this point of interest we must: ive a brief description of the town as seenfiom the water. The land rises graduallyfrom the river for half a mile, and iscrowned by a ridge, on which is one ofthe most beautiful streets to be found inthe wofld. In it one may walk five milesand be shaded By venerable elms, that muchof the way twine their boughs with lovingfellowship. On the upper side of the ridgeare houses built many years ago, in the old..
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 11English style, and well built, with solid tim-ber and ample space -"Those noble homes our fathers reared,Ere primal forests scarce were cleared;When beams and rafters measured long,And hearts were brave and arms were strong;Their firm foundations stoutly stood,Through winter storms and spring-tide flood."One of these houses is noticeable for anobservatory of modern construction, fromwhich can be seen the harbor, the islandsat the mouth of the river, and the broadocean beyond. It was to this point thecaptain's eyes were directed; and whenthe observatory itself became a mere speckin the distance, he took out his glass andcaught once more the flutter of a whitedress and the outline of a female form.This vanished at last, and then the cap-tain's eyes lingered long and lovingly on thereceding town. .One by one the spires ofthe churches became invisible, the last io
12 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,disappear being the Old Town church, as itis also the first to greet the incoming vessel.Then Pipe Stace Hill, and the long, sandyisland that stretches like a treacherous ser-pent its yellow folds across the channel ofthe river, and sometimes swallowing the un-wary vessel who ventures too near the coastin a storm. The captain seemed riveted tothe spot, till nothing was left for him to gazeupon save the sky above and the sea beneathhim.Then, as if just roused from a dream, heturned to his mate, who had been busy ondeck. This was the man who had watchedthe captain as if not seeing him."John! John Grant !" said Captain Tom,laying his hand familiarly upon the shoulderof the mate; " that is a beautiful old town -that home of ours. I could fight for her,die for her if need be. I love the verystones of her streets. Two years-two'A'P:
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 13long years will pass before we see her again;but I have taken a look that will last me along time. I can shut my eyes and seeevery street and hill, almost every house andtree, even the faces of those who go aboutthe streets. I feel as if the whole place weredaguerreotyped on my braill.""Ay, ay, sir " said the mate, as he moveda little aside from the captain."Jack, reef that sail !""There is a stiff breeze springing up,captain."'"John Grant! " said the captain, "whatis the matter with you? Are you frozenover? Is it John Grant or somebodyelse ?""John Grant, at your service, sir," saidthe mate, slightly touching his hat, giving asignificant look at a knot of sailors who wereTbusy at a short distance from them."Yes, yes !- I understand. 'Disciplineik,-
14 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,must be preserved.' Wait till supper time,"when I shall have a few words to say."With this sentence, the captain shook offthe reverie in which he had been indulging,contrary to his usual habits on shipboard."I should not have said anything about theold home to John," he muttered to himself,as he walked to the forward deck. "Justlike one of my blunders! He is in theright, too, about respect to me; understandshimself well. If that fellow is a stop,Tom Wood; don't you even think the word !"The mate, John Grant, was at this timeabout twenty-one years of age, measuring nomore inches in height than the captain, but,being more slender and closely knit, lookedtaller. His features were not regular, andthere was nothing in his first appearance thatwould particularly interest a stranger. Hismanner was grave and quiet, and he had a"pair of clear, gray eyes, which, when heil..w --ir
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 15spoke, looked directly at the person ad-dressed, and gave to those who talked withhim an impression of great truthfulness.His movements were slow, but direct, andhis manner decided, as of one who had anobject in view, and knew the most diret ..road to it.This firmness of character was useful tohim on that day; for when the crew of theMaud Muller found who was to be theirsecond officer, they gathered themselves to-\ -gether and made significant gestures. Fora few moments there was danger of rebel-lion. If Captain Tom had seen this move-ment, there would have been such an explo-sion of his wrath as would have clearedthe atmosphere like a sharp thunder-storm.Fortunately he did not know it; and JohnGrant was left to settle the matter in hisown way, which he did by calling the leader,Jack Buntin, to his side. "Jack," he said"41 *6.,~i
16 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,"I am second officer of this vessel, and Imean to do my duty, and shall see to it thatevery sailor does the same or suffers theconsequences. A man who can submit tostern discipline knows how to enforce it.""Jack Buntin quailed beneath the gaze ofthose clear gray eyes, that seemed to lookinto his heart and read ivhat had been passingthere that day. Then the slow, decided wayof speaking, as if each word were weighed,so unlike the quick, impulsive captain, who-\ was roused to passion by the least derelictionof duty, made Jack feel that, without thec ptain's passion, the mate had ten times hisfirmness.Jack was born and raised in Oldbury, inthe same street with John Grant. His fatherwas a poor, miserable drunkard, who hadlong since gone down to a dishonored grave.Many a time, when a little boy, had JohnGrant brought food and clothing to the
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 17wretched family; and, more than once, thepoor mother and children had found refugein Grant's house from the cruelty of thefather. All this Jack remembered; but thathad happened since which made him say,"Tables are turned now! Jack Buntin canhold his head higher than old, rich Grant'sson!"He was not inclined to say it again afterthis interview, but walked back to the fore-castle, and said to the sailors, -"Look here, boys! 'tisn't no use. Bestgive in awhile, leastways, while we are onshipboard. There's a devil in the mate'seye (Jack's word for power), and it will besafest to walk straight till this cruise is over.Once on shore again, we'll teach John Granta lesson. Mum is the word, boys, till then,or ye'll catch it!"Jack's word was law; and the sailors wentabout their work, each with an extra quid of2
18 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,tobacco in his mouth, muttering curses deepbut not loud.John Grant was busy until the supper hour.It was evident that 'he knew his duty, andcould handle the brig -a fact which aston-ished Jack Buntin, and increased his respectfor the mate. The crew looked at the grave,staid man, whose eyes penetrated every partof the vessel, and whose words were fewbut well chosen, with looks in which surpriseand awe were blended. When he came onboard, not a man among them but was readyto revolt at his authority; and it was onlythrough fear of the captain that there wasnot a revolt. But at night they all respondedheartily to Jack Buntin's remark : -" There'sreal grit in him, anyhow; but he needn'tdrop his words as if they were doubloons.Guess, though, he hasn't said much, of late.""Acts as if he had been to meetin' a gooddeal lafely," said another, at which they all'*1 <
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. ,19laughed, while Jim Myers said, "Guess ashow he haint been to dancin' school latelyeither." Meantime the subject of their re-marks had gone to the captain's cabin. Thelatter was writing in his dressing gown andslippers. Supper was on the table." Halloo, John I hope you are ready forrest and food now. I thought best to letyou work through alone, and not interfere.But very little has escaped my eyes since wecrossed the bar. I have seen every turn ofJack Buntin's eye, and I knew what thosefellows were ready for when you cameaboard. I had hard work to keep mytemper down, and could have thrown amarlins pike at Jack with a good will; butI know you, old fellow, and I was sure you'would show your mettle, and have everymother's son of them under your thumb be-fore night. They know their master now,do they not?"*B
20 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,"I think so, Tom; at least, I mean theyshall before I have done with them.As he spoke his face was pale, and therewere weary lines upon it, while the mus-cles of the mouth relaxed like one who hadceased from a great struggle; and the voicehad lost the clear, ringing tone which hadmade such an impression upon the crew,The captain noticed it, and, flinging hispen down, rose from his seat with a gest-ure which was understood by the mate, forthe next instant, the weary head of theyounger man rested upon the broad chestof the captain, and tears fell from thoseclear, gray eyes that were not used toweeping."Tom, Tom, do you know what you areto me? Your love is the richest boon of mylife. God bless you, Tom. I mean to domy duty till death, as a man should, trust-inin that God which my mother taught me4
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 21to love; but, Tom, your friendship makeslife bright and duty a pleasure.""John, old fellow, do you know I feellike a miserable, craven fellow beside you?,j have long since put your name in thecatalogue of those about whom my motherused to read,-'of whom the world wasnot worthy.' I am no Christian, as youwell know, and have lost faith in that over-ruling Providence that the ministers preachabout. Don't look so solemn, John; it isthe fact; I do not believe in it at all. IfGod governs the world, why does he let thegood suffer and the wicked prosper in theirwickedness? Is that the way I would doif I were governor ?""Wiell, really," said John, "much as Ilove you, Tom, I would hardly trust youto govern the world.""Laugh on, John; I will preach a sermonif it will bring that old boy-look back to
22 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,your face. But I see crooked places enoughthat need straightening; and if I could seethrough all space and into the hearts of men,wouldn't I mete out justice with a stronghand? But you must be tired and hungry;supper will cool while we are talking; comeon, this coffee will brighten you."The mate needed the food, for he hadhardly thought of eating since morning.No one but God knew what John Granthad suffered that day, or how many timeshe had said to himself, " Courage,' JohnGrant! do your duty; be brave; let noman despise you, but stand erect under theburden which God has given you to bear."Strength had been given him that day towin respect from the crew; and, as for the"Whittier," he felt that with their aid hecould manage her as easily as if every boltand spar were the work of his own hands.At the same time, he would have laid down*-g
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 23his life to save the meanest sailor on boardfrom death or suffering. Those rough, un-taught men little knew the stuff of which hewC made. They began to have some glim-mering consciousness that they had not un-derstood him. By and by they will appre-hend that there are heights and depths inhis character tterly beyond their power tomeasure.It was midnight. The moon was risingfrom her ocean bed, beautiful as Venus whenshe first parted the wave. The sea was tran-quil, with just a light breeze that carried thevessel onward, while she was far enough nowfrom the coast to need less watchfulness thanwhen first leaving Oldbury. The tired sail-ors were asleep, save the watch and the manat the wheel.The captain had finished his supper,smoked his cigar, chatted awhile with themate, written a few lines in his journal, and,
24 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,after a walk on deck, where the sight ofthe well-ordered brig led him to say, " JohnGrant, she is a beauty; I am proud of her,"he turned into his berth and fell- asleep assoon as his head touched the pillow.Not so with the mate. He had written fora short time, and then read that beautifulpsalm:-"In thee, 0 Lord, do I put mytrust; let me never be put to confusion."Deliver me in thy righteousness, andcause me to escape; incline thine ear untome, and save me."Be thou my strong habitation, whereuntoI may continually resort for thouart my rock and my fortress."As he read, there came into his heart apeace which gave rest to his wearied body,and swept from his face the trace of care.He went up on deck, and looked up to the" ocean spread on high," and down upon thatbeneath his feet, through which the vesselI F
LOSS IS SOMETIMES. GAIN. .25moved, parting the yielding waters with her"prow, which answered to her touch by therippling music on the keel. John Grantthrew his arms upward and forward, and trodthe deck like one who feels the joy of free-dom and the glory of sea and sky. Theman at the wheel saw him, and muttered tohimself, "Likes it, does he? No wonder!"The watch saw him, and turned noiselesslyaway; for there was something in the atti-tude and expression of the face, as the moon-light fell upon it, that made him think, as heafterwards said, of "a picter in his mother'sbig Bible, of Moses on a mountain." It wasnearly morning when John Grant sought hisbed; and yet, when he met the captain atbreakfast, he looked as fresh as if he hadslept as many hours as usual."Well, John," said the captain, " I dreamedof Oldbury last night, and I saw, in mydream, every church and house and tree.**4- ^
26 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,Do you remember the old elm near thegreen? I could sketch any limb of it andalso the tree in State street to which GeneralWashington fastened his horse."" "And can you sketch a certain cupola,from which fluttered something white, like aflag of truce, as we sailed out of port?""Ay, John! I thought you were so ab-sorbed in the beauty of Jack Bunitin's facethat you did not heed the white lady. Yes;Stella was there -the star of my destiny!One voyage more, John, and then comes mymarriage. Two years seems a long while tofriends at home who wait our coming; butwe who love the sea never seem to be wait-"ing, like landsmen. Why is it, I wonder?Every ship's length we. make seems to bearme onward to happiness and a home."John Grant smiled as he looked at thecaptain's face, on which neither time nortrouble had traced one furrow -a face that/*
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 27was the index of a happy temper, and toldthe truth; for, though he "carried anger as"the flint carries fire," his disposition wassweet and sound to the core. He had beena favorite among the schoolboys at Oldbury.He was a leader in all their sports, and wasvery shrewd in getting them out of mischief,as well as fond of leading them into it. Thesecret of this was, his fearlessness in tellingthe truth. He never skulked away, or threwthe blame upon others. The boys always,strove to see which side could get him in agame of ball, and chose him for a leader inall their fishing and nutting excursions; butwhen it came to rivalry in studies, poor Tomfell behind. They preferred his sister Clarawhen choosing sides in spelling; for Tomwas invariably as generous with the lettersof the alphabet as he was of his coppers andcandy, as one specimen will show. Theword "negro " had been misspelled one day,; <-. i
28 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,and was finally tossed over to Tom, uponwhom the class depended to save their creditfor the day. Tom, then a short, sturdy littlefellow, the epitome of an alderman, stoodvery erect, and gave the boys to understandthat he was fully up to the occasion, anddelighted with the chance of winning a vic- -tory for them. The boys, seeing the wordwas so easy, were glad that it came to him."Well, Tom," said the teacher, as the littlefellow stood out from the line, in his eager-ness, with one hand up. It was not oftenthat he could spell a hard word; but he wasconfident of his ability now. "Well, Tom;one trial more to-day, and you shall have thechance."Tom's manner was very triumphant, andhis voice like a boatswain's, as he began-" n-e, ne-g-e-r, ger-e-r, er-r-o, ro-negererro !" and Tom stood back, proud ofhis exploit.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 29The shout of laughter from the boys, andthe curious smile about the teacher's mouth,puzzled Tom for a moment; but when hesaw the hands up, and heard the boys -"One more trial, please, sir "-the factslowly dawned upon him that he had not wonthe victory. Poor Tom He felt sorry, notfor himself, but that his side should losethrough his ignorance. But when there wasboating on the river, it was Tom's strongarms that could manage the oar, and Tom'sknowledge of islets and shoals that madethem feel safe,, and Tom's chowders thatwere better than any other boy could make.Tom was not a model boy. He was oftenin trouble. It was such hard work to study,and such easy work to help the little boysmake their. whistles, and fashion and rigthe mimic vessels that went to sea on FrogPond; and it was so delightful to play puz-zle on the slate with one of the girls, that
30 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,Tom was often kept after school to make upfor his neglect of lessons. He always tookhis punishment in a matter-of-fact way, withno resentment at all, and would study likea good fellow, to atone for his idleness; but,alas he would be just as idle the next day,or rather just as busy, for he was neverquiet. The teacher came, at last, to punishhim less. "I don't know what to do with|:heboy," he said; "there seems to be nomalice in him, only an unaccountable forget-fulness of self," which, after all, was a badthing for a scholar and needed correction.But Tom had a violent temper, though theteacher, having good command of his own,saw little of Tom's in the schoolroom. Theboys knew it well however, as the followingincident will show.There were, on the girls' side of thehouse,, two children from the extremes ofOldbury society. Stella Drummond was a1.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 31beautiful little Hebe, to whom fortune hadgiven her choicest gifts; -she was all dimplesand sunshine. Her father, 'Squire Drum-mond, as he was called- by courtesy, hadretired early in life from a successful busi-ness career, and lived in one of those beau-tiful homes on the ridge. He was belovedby all who knew him; a quiet sort of man/who never interfered with the affairs of hisneighbors, but was public-spirited and g4<nerous. His wife was a quiet, refined littlewoman, sympathizing in all her husband'stastes, especially her love of flowers.Their garden was a delightful place ofresort. Trees and shrubs seemed glad tofind homes there; and fruits were almosttropical in their growth and beauty, so care-fully tended as they were in hot-houses andconservatory." Stella was their only child, the fairest ofall the flowers of the garden. One winter's*::
S3 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,day, when the snov was compact and hard,and coasting the amusement of the boys,Stella Drummond asked her cousin, NedFord, if he would lend her his sled. Now,Ned was a coarse, ungainly fellow, a pettytyrant in his way among the scholars, and,like all tyrants of large or small growth,very selfish. But he never denied his CousinStella any favor; partly, perhaps, becausehe was dependent upon her father for sup-port, and, to do the fellow justice, he lovedhis cousin as much as his coarse nature per-mitted him to love anything outside of self.Stella was running for the sled when shesaw Betsey Brown limping down hill."Come, Betsey," she said, "I am goingto slide down hill on Cousin Ned's coaster.Don't you want to come with me? "The girl stopped, looked pleased, butadded, -"I haven't any sled, Stella."
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 33"You may take Ned's, and I will get TomWoods'. Tom don't fly into a fury, like theother boys, when the girls run off with hissled.""I guess he wont if you have it, Stella,"said Betsey."Why, Betsey! he never gets mad withthe girls.""But he has an awful temper when theboys vex him.""Never you mind about that, BetseyBrown; jump on. Can you steer?""Yes, I guess so," said Betsey, wrappingher old cloak about her, and gathering her-self together on Ned's sled- a large, redsled with "Tiger" painted on its side.Betsey was a little, thin, sallow girl, oneof the town's poor, whose only home wasthe workhouse. She wore a queer old dingyplaid cloak, and an antiquated stuffed hoodmade of faded red bombaset, one of those8
34 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,head-gears that deform the prettiest face,and which made the thin, sallow visage ofBetsey look like that of a wizened oldwoman. The shoes were large, ungainlythings, made by cobbler Dunn; for, as hecould only do poor work, the town employedhim to shoe their poor. The child had al-most died from a troublesome humor whichhad, after a long struggle, made a compro-mise, and allowed the poor victim to in-herited disease, to limp slowly to the grave,instead of sending her there with the swifttread of fever. Nature is not often so nig-gardly of her favors as she had been to poorBetsey, for her intellect shared the inheri-tance of poverty.She could not get beyond the threes in themultiplication table; and, as for grammar,the brain utterly refused to bear the weightof nine parts of speech, with syntax andprosody on the top. But Betsey could slide
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 35down hill, and steer a sled when there wereno obstructions ; and the two girls had madeone descent, and dragged their sleds up hill,ready for another, before they were noticedby the other scholars. Betsey had seatedherself again, and Stella had tucked the thin,worn cloak around her, and lent the girl oneof her own little white mittens with scarlettassels, when the boys came running towardthem.Stella was a pretty picture as she stoodthere on the snow, in her bright plaid dressand jaunty cap, with a bird of paradise, inits golden plumage, peeping over the brimto look into her bright eyes. Her feet wereclad in thick-soled, neatly fitting Polishboots, with scarlet tassels. There was arich glow on her round cheeks as she stoodthere ready to mount her sled, with her redlips puckered up, ready to say, "One to
6 CAPTAIN JOHN ; OR,make ready, two to prepare, three to slidedown hill, straight down there "These two children were, as I have said,at the two extremes of Oldbury society; butwhat cared they for all the distinctions ofsociety, as long as they could coast down hillon the boys' sleds that sunny winter's day?Stella had just seated herself, when NedFord came along, and, seeing Betsey Brownon his sled, gave her a kick with his heavyboot, which sent her some distance from thesled, against the trunk of a large tree, say-ing, as he did so, -"I'll teach you to take my sled, youpauper, you!"Tom Wood had seen the whole proceeding,but not in time to prevent it. His largeeyes flashed; the color mounted to the rootsof his hair. He rushed upon Ned with asuddenness and fury that laid him prostrate,and then pommelled him with his sturdy fists.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 37Ned was the elder and stronger of the two,and managed to struggle to his feet, readyfor revenge, when he was blinded by a hugesnowball, sent by Stella straight between hiseyes. The boys now came running to thespot, shouting, "Hurrah for Tom Wood!""Give it to him, Tom!" "Lick him well,Tom !" And, while they shouted, a showerof snowballs, aimed at Ned, prevented himfrom seeing his antagonist, but did not pre-vent the latter from obeying the boys, to"lick him well," saying, as he did so,-"I'm teaching ye manners, you rascal !"Meanwhile, Betsey, who had little strengthof body to endure pain, or mental power tosustain her in trouble, was crying at the footof the tree. Tom brought his sled to thetree, and put her on it; then drove somestakes in the four corners, for the tremblinggirl to cling to, and drew her home, followedby two or three of the boys. Stella watched
38 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,them till they had turned the corner of Eed-eral Street, and then, with one little mitten-less hand, ran homeward.There was much surprise among the schol-ars, and some pleasure too, -for Ned wasno favorite,-at this outburst of passionfrom Tom; and they came to school the nextday, prepared to make a hero of him.Betsey Brown went to sleep that nightonly to dream of Tom; and in the morning,she dived to the bottom of her little trunk,and brought out a tiny pill-box, in which wasa silver ten-cent piece- her only treasure -to carry to Tom. But Tom was so muchlike his former self, and so utterly uncon-scious of having done anything heroic at all,that the scholars were in doubt how to honorhim. As for Betsey, poor child, she waitedin vain for one look or word from him. Hehad, apparently, forgotten her existence;and all day long she kept it in her pocket,
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 39every now and then grasping it with herhand, but not daring to offer it to Tom. Atlast, when they were going out of school,the boys having gone first, she found Tomwaiting outside with his sled. She venturedthen to take out the pill-box, and say, -"Tom, please take it.""What is it?" said he. "Pills, Betsey?I don't like 'em."She opened it, and showed him the ten-cent piece."And what for do I want that?" Tomdidn't like grammar any better than Betsey." Don't you know, Tom last night? ""Oh, nonsense! Run along, child! I hadmy pay out of Ned."At this moment Stella came out, like acanary springing from its cage. " Will youride home on my sled?" Tom asked; andBetsey limped away to the workhouse. Poorchild It was divine compassion that could
40 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,appreciate the devotion which brought thealabaster box to anoint the feet, and so muchmore divine than human, in that it wouldaccept the gift.Tom was not destined to be the hero ofthe school, after all; for, to be this, a boymust maintain a good standing in his class;and Tom would make blunders, in spite ofall his good intentions to avoid them. Thatvery day, in his reading class, he read asfollows: [The lesson was a chapter on Polit-ical Economy.] "The instruction for savagesin our commonwealth wJl be of great benefitto day laborers and mechanics.""Stop, Tom!" said the teacher. "Goback and read that over." Meanwhile thewhole class were nudging each other, andlaughing."Spell the first words, Tom," added theteacher.Tom obeyed, and read slowly, without
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 41being conscious either of the laughter of theclass or the ludicrousness of his mistake:"The institutions for savings in this com-monwealth," etc.Tom could sail boats and coast with thebravest; but when studying arithmetic, herubbed his head till his hair stood up as if agalvanic battery was at work upon it. When-ever he got beyond his depth, however, therewas one boy who always stood ready to helphim out. This was John Grant two yearsyounger than Tom, but his chosen friend;and as he is prominent in our story, we willdescribe him in the following chapter.
CHAPTER II.'Squire Grant and his home, the "Robbin's Nest. Mrs. Grant.-Grandfather Fletcher.-Emily Mills. -John Grant.SS honest as Joe Grant," was a"( common saying in Oldbury; andW "as regular as the sun," theyS might have added, for he neverfailed to make his appearance in the oldMerrimac Bank precisely at nine o'clock A.M.,in summer and winter, in sunshine and tem-pest, and always went to his dinner at oneprecisely, just as the sexton of the centrechurch was ringing the bell. If the townclock failed, 'Squire Grant did not. Forforty years he was never absent from his poston a regular bank day. One half of this(42)
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 43time he was cashier, and the remainder pres-ident; but the latter office did not preventhis presence at the bank daily. Next to hishome, he loved the bank. It had prosperedunder his management, though he was of theold school, cautious and sturdily opposed tolarge percentage. When younger men foundfault with his investments, and wished tomake money faster, he shook his head, andsaid, "Money is only worth about so muchin the long run, sir, and I am managing thisinstitution for the long run."He was a quiet, grave man, slender, alittle above the medium height, very neat inhis person, and somewhat precise in hismanner. His home was about a half milefrom the bank. He always walked, nevervarying to the other side of the street, orgoing across corners, as he might easily havedone. The old tall clock in the hall of hishouse hept time with his chronometer watch.
44 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,They were introduced to each other when theformer was about fifty years of age, andthe latter fresh from the importers' hands.The clock, in all the dignity of antique,carved mahogany, wearing the moon uponits brow, and counting the days of the monthwhile it ticked, with a grave accent, theseconds of time, looked down upon the tinytoy which the master held in his hand notwith contempt-he had lived too long todespise little things but with a quiet won-der how so small a body could comprehendthe great business of reckoning time. Tenyears' acquaintance made them good friends,and the old sexagenarian wore a placid lookwhen the master took out his watch, on hisway through the hall each morning, to com-pare the two time-pieces. " Really !" theold clock seemed to say, " the little fellow isgetting to be as regular as myself. See whatit is to set a good example 1" Master, clock
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 45and watch moved on harmoniously together,the pulse of each beating in unison, andgiving law to the dwellers in the "Robin'sNest," by which name Mr. Grant's home wascalled.This nest was a stone cottage, built in theEnglish style, in a beautiful and retired spoton the Ridge, about half a mile, as we havesaid, from the centre of the town. Therewere three acres of land about the house,which was laid out in orchard, lawn andgarden. It was one of those quiet littlehomes that look like islands of peace to theeye of a weary traveller; and at the time ofmy story, or, rather, of the incidents in thischapter, these words might well apply to it;for there were fewer happier families thanassembled round 'Squire Grant's fireside.Mrs. Grant was a gentle, home-lovingwoman, who lived for her husband and chil-dren. She was seen regularly at church,
46 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR, /but otherwise was seldom away from home.There were three children. Edward, or, ashe was generally called, Ned, the eldest son,was the pride of his father's heart; though,like most New England fathers, Mr. Grantwas very much afraid his son would find outhow much he loved him. Ned was a hand-some boy, tall, well-formed, with an abun-dance of brown curls above a white, highforehead, deep blue eyes, and a pleasantaddress. He was a favorite in society, andhis mother looked forward in her heart to abrilliant career for Ned. He fitted for col-lege, but, to the great disappointment of thewhole family, refused to enter, preferring aposition in his father's bank. The father wastoo much pleased in having his son with himto make serious objection, and the motherconsoled herself with the pleasure of hispresence at home. "Do not force his incli-nation," added dear old Grandfather Fletcher.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 47"Let him enter the bank. But I am disap-pointed, nevertheless; I had hoped to haveseen him a clergyman before I was calledaway. We must educate John.""John will never look as'well in the pul-pit, or make as fine an orator, as Ned," saidthe mother. "John is a good boy, but he isa homely little fellow.""He has a right good Scotch face," saidthe old gentleman, "and is a boy after myown heart, -a real Grant, I acknowledge;not as handsome as the Fletchers, who, asa family, were remarkable for beauty [Inever received my full share]. But yourAunt Janet was the reigning belle of Con-cord in her day, and my brothers were talland comely men."Grandfather Fletcher sighed while hespoke, as if some sad chord of memorywas suddenly struck; then dropping thesubject, asked if Mary was ready to walk
48 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,home with him. He always preferred Maryfor his companion, quiet, shy Mary, whogrew like a fair wood flower between thattall cedar, Ned, and the sturdy young oak,John.Grandfather Fletcher lived"tu an old-fash-ioned farmhouse by the sea, among the peo-ple whom he had served faithfully for fortyyears. He was no longer their pastor, onaccount of the infirmities of age; but heretained his old home, and had chosen hisgrave in the churchyard beside the wife ofhis youth. He lived with his books; hislibrary was the home of his heart, and thebest books of many languages were gatheredhere. He walked every day to see his daugh-ter, often stopping at what he called his half-way house, Aunt Esther Mills' house. Thiswas a pretty little wooden house a short walkfrom the Robins' Nest, the home of twomaiden ladies, daughters of an intimate
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 49friend and classmate of Mr. Fletcher. Ev-erybody in Oldbury knew and loved AuntEsther Mills and her sister, Aunt Sabre.Their home was brightened by a younggirl, a niece who was given to Aunt Estherby the mother when on her death-bed.Emily Mills was a few years younger thanMary Grant, but she was her most intimatefriend. They were both pupils of Grand-father Fletcher, who had made them goodLatin scholars, given them a tolerable knowl-edge of English history and of their owncountry, read often with them the old Eng-lish poets (I am sorry to add he did notappreciate the modern virtues of poetry),and taught the girls that one of the accom-plishments of an educated woman was tospeak and write her own tongue correctly,-an accomplishment which he said was veryrare in these days of literary women. Thesombre library with its rare old folios, its4
50 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,Greek and Latin books, its piles of theolog-ical lore, with its one- case of modern litera-ture, was very familiar to the girls. Theywere always welcomed with old school po-liteness, and treated as kindly as if theyhad been two doves that had alighted to resta while. The two girls, in a sudden fit ofintellectual ambition, asked the old gentle-man one day if he would read Milton throughwith them."Yes, children; but I will not begin un-less you will read it in my way, and notgive up the task till you understand thepoem."The promise was given, but many timesbefore completing the work were the girlssorry that they had begun it;. for he keptthem studying upon one page till everyword and phrase was analyzed, and, as Em-ily Mills expressed it, "moulded, worked,and set to rise, baked, and eaten," till
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 51"Paradise Lost" became.a part of ourselves.For three months we lived and slept anddreamed only of the wars of angels andthat grim old hero, Satan. This was grand-father's method of teaching. There must beno half-way work, no reading of worthlessbooks, and no skimming over good ones.The good old man had infinite patience withdulness and plodding ignorance, but nonefor hypocrisy and shams.His wife died in middle age, and it neverentered the good man's head that any otherperson could supply her place. " She waitsfor me inside the golden gate," he often saidto his daughter, Mrs. Grant. A housekeeperwho had lived with them for many yearsmanaged the household and provided forhis wants. Of his four children, one onlyremained to him. A grandson, WillieFletcher, the child of his own eldest boy,lived with him; he was an orphan and blind.
52 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,"When about five years old he barely livedthrough the scarlet fever; a severe coldtaken during convalescence terminated atlast in the terrible affliction the loss of hiseyesight.He was at the time of which we writeabout fifteen years of age. His delicatehealth would not permit his mingling inthe sports of the boys aside from his in-firmity; and he had been so long the com-panion of his grandfather that he cared littlefor other society. He had learned to readthe books for the blind, and enjoyed hislibrary, which in this case was parvum inmultum; but his greatest enjoyment wasmusic. He never wearied of it; and as thistaste developed itself, the old gentleman laidaside among other precious relics the ancientpiano which had come to the parsonage withhis young bride, and purchased an organ,plain in case, but of rare power and sweet-
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 53ness. Willie would improvise music varyingas his own moods. When happy, strains ofglad music would ring out from the old par-lor that would make glad the hearts thatheard; and when he was sad or perplexed,the strains were pensive as the melody ofJudea's harps by the rivers of Babylon.He was very fastidious in the choice ofhis friends. The handsome Ned was nofavorite. Probably the reserve of the lat-ter prevented Willie from a thorough ac-quaintance with him; but his face expressedgreat pleasure whenever he heard John'sshort and somewhat heavy tread at thegarden gate. It was John that taught himchequers, making the black and white ofdifferent shapes, and teaching him the moveswith great skill. He sat by John's side inSunday school, and often ventured into thewoods with him, his quick ear catching thefaintest bird music or the rustle of a squirrel
54 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,before John sighted them. He loved to sitin the sunshine with John, whittling or work-ing near him.John spent a great deal of his time at theold parsonage, enjoying the apple gatheringin autumn, the sowing and planting in thespring, and the nut gathering in November.He never forgot that Willie was sensitiveand delicate as a girl, and was gentle andkind in all his ways with him. Mary andEmily were always happy to have him pres-ent at their recitations. He had one placein the library which was called Willie's cor-ner, where he sat when they read Milton, hispale, beautiful face lighting up at some ofthe passages, or damp with tears at others.He always spoke of Mary to John as "thelily," and of Emily as "the rose.""But why?" said John; "you can seeneither of them.""Ay! I remember, Johnnie, that they put
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 55"white lilies on my mother's coffin; I couldsee them; and I remember, too, that Iplucked a fresh-blown rose for her the daybefore she died. I was only three years oldthen, but I know just how the rose and lilylook. Now, I think Mary must be fair andgentle; you see her voice is keyed low,while Emily's voice is like-why Johnnie-like Jenny Lind's bird song, and I havealways thought that was like a rose.""What does Stella look like ?" said John."Ay, Willie, don't you know? Grand-father calls her an 'Oriole' golden robin,you know; but I always call her 'Violin.'Don't laugh, Willie; but I feel, when she isnear me, as I did when Schaffe came hereand brought such sweet music out of theviolin. Oh, Johnnic! it is nice when shecomes to walk in the garden with me. ThenI think of those lines of Tennyson -' Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,To the flowers, and be their sun.'"
56 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,There were only two places where Williecared to linger away from home at hisUncle Grant's and Aunt Esther Mills'. Thekind heart of Aunt Esther was overflowingwith love to all who suffered. Whereverthere was sickness or crime, Aunt Estherwas found, ready to comfort or redeem.The court-house and the jail-the latterwith stone walls, its grated windows andhigh fence studded with iron pikes-werein sight of her house. The accused in thedock and the condemned in the cells werethe objects of her care and compassion. Asshe grew older, her charity grew broader,and her brain more active in devising good."She is like a golden russet," said Grand-father Fletcher; "good enough in autumn,but better as the winter lengthens."Aunt Esther never talked about religion,and would be puzzled for a reply if youasked her to relate her experience or tell the
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 57state of her mind. She did not know muchabout herself. She kept a "diary," to besure, but there was not a word in it aboutthe exalted state of her feelings on Sunday,or the spiritual depression of Monday; butthere were records like the following:-"Went to-day to see Martha Gibbs, who wasaccused of stealing from her employer. Ithink Martha is innocent; but Mrs. Wood-bridge is so sure that no one else could knowwhere she always keeps her diamond breast-pin, and that Martha is the thief, that I amtroubled to know what to do about it." Jack Hyde is breaking his mother's heartby his bad conduct. Must see Jack to-mor-row, and get him a place to work. He is anactive boy, and if he gets interested inlearning a trade, he will not mingle so muchwith bad company."Aunt Esther kept this journal because, asshe said, her memory failed with her body
58 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,as she grew older, and "it was so bad toforget one needy creature to whom I mighthave done good."No one was so bad that she did not findsome alleviating circumstances, peculiar tothat case; and when, after all her forbear-ance, they sinned again and again, she wouldsay, "Well, our heavenly Father bears withthem; why should I forsake them? Histender mercies are over all his works, andhe is kind to the evil and the unthankful."The dear soul was sadly deceived sometimes,and little Emily often made herself merryover Aunt Esther's proteges, who abused herkindness.Johnnie Grant was a favorite with AuntEsther, because, as Emily said, he neverrefused to carry bundles to the sick, andlistened patiently to her annals of the poor.One pleasant morning in autumn, he camein as the family were at breakfast Aunt
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 5Esther pouring coffee from an old-fashionedsilver urn, an heir-loom in the family. Itwas a delicate repast of toast and omelet.There was a basket of fruit and a vase offlowers upon the table (Aunt Sabre said thather food tasted better if she looked at flowerswhile she ate). Aunt Esther poured someboiled milk into Emily's cup of coffee."Why, auntie dear! where is the cream?I thought our 'Alderney' gave a great dealof milk.""And so she does, child. There neverwas a cow that did her duty better; butdon't you know that the widow March hassix little children, and the mother is sick?Poor things! they are so puny, and havesuch a hungry look, that I thought a bowlof bread and milk every morning, for awhile,would do them so much good -only for aweek or two, dear, till the mother gets
60 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,better; then you shall have your creamagain.""The boiled milk is very nice, auntie. Iam not certain but I like it better thancream. Yes, I am sure that I do, when Ithink of those children, each with a bowlof bread and milk to eat.""You can have cream from the Robin'sNest, Emily," said John."I wish you would bring it, Johnnie, andso fulfil the scripture that the 'liberal soulshall be made fat.' Why, Johnnie, AuntEsther is always 'lending to the Lord,' butnever expects any interest. Last week JohnRix pawned his coat for rum -the very coatwhich auntie gave him only two days before,to keep the rheumatism out of his poor oldbones this winter.""Why, Emma dear," said Aunt Esther,"you forget to add how sorry he was after-
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 61wards, and promised never to drink ardentspirits again if I would redeem it for him.""And you redeemed it, and he promised?I hope he will stick to his promise," saidAunt Sabre."I am sure he will," said Aunt Esther,"he was so penitent.""Aunt Esther " said Johnnie, "they havejust carried a little boy to jail.""A little boy to jail!" exclaimed AuntEsther, dropping fork and toast at once."Yes, auntie; a pretty little boy, too.Sheriff Akerman has just locked him into hisroom. He is only ten years old.""The poor little thing What has hedone?""The story as I heard it is this : He livesin Bedford, and was at work with an unclein a Mr. Low's garden. 1r. Low had beenbusy there himself, and left his coat hangingin the grape arbor. When he left the gar-
62 CAPTAIN JOHN; on,den to go to the house he forgot to put onhis coat, and it remained hanging in thearbor an hour or more." When he returned for it the man and boywere gone to their dinner, and the porte-monnaie in which there were a hundred dol-lars was missing. A woman who lived inthe next house said that she saw the boythrow something over the fence when hewent home to dinner.. The boy was ar-rested and is in our jail.""Did they find the pocket-book?" saidAunt Esther."No; it has never been found.""Didn't they suspect the man at all?""I guess not, auntie. But there is theschoolbell; I must go.""Do just stop at the workhouse and askAuntie Cook and Betsey Brown to come hereto dinner. We have a couple of chickens tocook for dinner, and as our family is small
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 63I would like to have some one share it withus; and you know they don't have manyhlxuries in that place.""I like roast chicken and new apple pietoo," said John, in the assumed tone of abeggar asking charity."You cannot expect an invitation fromauntie," said Emma, "unless you are poorand needy. She never threads her needleswith camels.""What is that you are saying, Emma?You know John is always welcome here;and, come to think of it, Auntie Cook isso lame and old, why cannot you come withher at twelve o'clock and help her across thestreets ?"John made a little grimace, intended onlyfor Emily's eyes. These danced merrily asshe said,-"Auntie means that you shall earn yourdinner. I will be watching for you at noon,
64 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,with lame Betsey on one side and poor blindAuntie Cook on the other.""Eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.Begin the world in that way, Johnnie, andyou will mount like an eagle and run andnot be weary," said Aunt Sabre."I must run now, whether I am weary ornot," said John, as he sped like an arrowfrom the bow in the direction of school.Aunt Esther washed the silver and chinaafter breakfast; it had always been her workfrom childhood; the same silver and thesame genuine old china that her mother'shands had guarded with tender care. AuntSabre went into the kitchen to preside overthe trussing of the chickens. Emily's offersof assistance were refused with, "No, darl-ing; go to your music; God has given youthat gift and you must cultivate it. Everytalent is to be improved. But come to me
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 65in two hours; I must go out for a shorttime."Emily knew very well that there was someerrand of mercy to be done. As she ex-pected, she found her aunt dressed to goout."To tell the truth, Emma, I cannot eatmy dinner till I have seen that poor boy inthe jail. Those stone walls with their ironspikes have been reproaching me all themorning, and something in my heart hasbeen saying, 'I was in prison and ye vis-ited me not.' A little boy of ten in jail!It must not be !""I suppose some children are awfullywicked, auntie," said Emily."You mustn't suppose any such thing,child. Childhood is susceptible to goodS influences, I am sure; easily led into sin,but drawn from evil by silken cords. It isa terrible wrong to abuse a child. If this5-
66 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,boy is innocent, the very act of putting himin that place may make a bad man of him.I can do no less than go and see him."" The very sight of your face will do himgood; auntie," said Emily, as she kissed heraunt. "There, speed away on your angelerrands, and I will set the table. I supposeI needn't get out the double-twilled damasknapkins or the Sevre's finger bowls thatUncle Nat gave you.""You are making fun of my ways, younaughty child. Set the table nicely, andgather fresh flowers, and mind do not forgetthe pears. Do you ever think, my darling,what glorious things are prepared for thoseof us whom God will bring into his king-dom? We shall drink of the wine from thecelestial vineyards, and eat of the fruits thatgrow by the river of life. Do you think Icould walk those golden streets and sit downin the garden of spices there if I had not
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 67shared'my earthly blessings with the needyin this world ?"With these words on her lips the strawbonnet with its lavender silk trimming, andthe soft, antique cashmere shawl disappearedfrom the house. The keeper knew AuntEsther well; he had often opened the irondoors that she might visit some poor childof sin. He was a kind, just man, with alittle less confidence than Aunt Esther inthe goodness of human nature, and a littleless hope of reforming all the wicked." This is a hard case, I think, myself,ma'am. The little fellow is bright as abutton, and does not seem at all hardened.I carried a picture-book to him this morn-ing, when I gave him his breakfast.""Do you think he is guilty, Mr. Aker-man?""Cannot tell, ma'am. The older I growthe more I am puzzled in judging criminals;
68 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,the most guilty often wear the look of inno-cence."The boy's room was clean, and containeda cot bed, a little stand with a Bible uponit, and a stool upon which the boy sat read-ing his picture-book. He was a pretty child,with large, blue eyes, and an intelligent facethat won Aunt Esther's sympathy at once."I am sorry to see you here, my littlefellow," she said."I am only here on 'spicion, ma'am; onlyon 'spicion. I didn't take the money."Aunt Esther was sure of this when shelooked at him. She wondered how magis-trates could commit innocent people. Shewas not fond of the law, and, like mostwomen, felt a repugnance to its forms.The boy's jacket was ragged, his shoes outat the toes, and the little ribbon cravat roundhis neck worn and soiled. He repeated hisstory, which corresponded with what John
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 69had already related, but ended by saying,"I'm only here on 'spicion, ma'am; onlyon 'spicion. I didn't take the money,ma'am."Dinner was on the table when Aunt Estherreturned home, and Emily was listening pa-tiently to Auntie Cook's oft-repeated storyof her husband who was lost at sea, and herson who was drowned in the river. Johnwas showing Betsey the garden to her in-finite delight, for she was familiar only withthe cabbage beds and onions of the poor-house garden.Aunt Esther's manner was flurried, andshe was almost absent-minded; for she gaveAuntie Cook a cup of black tea on one sideof her plate and a cup of green tea on theother. She piled the chicken and vegetablesupon Betsey's plate till the poor child, whofelt that gratitude required the consumptionof all favors thus bestowed, was made very
70 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,uncomfortable, but could not deny herselfthe pie that followed, with its flaky crust andrich, juicy interior.No sooner was the repast finished and Bet-sey Brown despatched to school (she movedlike an alderman after a civic dinner), andAuntie Cook seated in an easy-chair in thekitchen with Aunt Sabre, who was primeminister in that domain, than Aunt Estherdonned bonnet and shawl and was away onanother errand. As she went out Emilysaid, -"Do come home soon, Aunt Esther.Auntie Cook's trials and experiences aregetting too heavy for me to bear. I treatedher this morning as if she were a princessin disguise.""Which she is, darling. The sorrows ofthis life have purified the dear soul, andsome day she will walk the golden city,wearing the crown of life."
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 71"Oh, auntie, can't we get to heaven butthrough sorrow and poverty?""Is the servant greater than his master?"said Aunt Esther, as she turned to kiss thecheek of the young girl. "My darling, Idare not pray that you may be saved allsorrow in this world, for this is not God'sway of dealing with us; but I do pray thathe will give you strength to bear it, and bepurer for the discipline of it. I am goingnow to see what I can do for that poor childin the jail. Only think, Emma, if it wereone of our boys "S"Not a supposable case, auntie.""But the child is not guilty. 'Only on'spicion, ma'am! only on 'spicion !'-thatkeeps running in my head. Is my shawl onstraight? Tie my bonnet-strings in a nicebow. There is no rip in my gloves, Ibelieve. Never wear gloves with rips inthem, child."
72 CAPTAIN JOHN ; OR,There was about this dear old maiden ladya chasteness and taste in dress that indicatedthe true woman. A neat shoe, well-fittedgloves, and a lavender-colored ribbon wereessential to her comfort. She thought ofthem, however, only while dressing; thenher thoughts returned to the needy objectsof her ministry. Her walk, that day, ledher along the crest of the Ridge, throughthe elm-shaded avenue, down to the lowerland, and eastward toward the river's mouth.She was bound to Grandfather Fletcher'shouse. The old gentleman saw her asshe entered the garden gate, and, withold-time gallantry, came out to welcome her.He brought her into the library, seated herin his own easy-chair, and gave her anantique fan with eastern spices dight, thensat down to hear what she might say. Hertime was precious; for every moment which
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 73that boy spent in jail, she felt as a reproachto a Christian community.The good pastor listened with interest toher story, making allowance, as was hiscustom; for Aunt Esther's charity covereda multitude of sins " sometimes," as Emilysaid, "when it would be better to uncoverthem."Aunt Esther's plan was to find a home forthe boy, and thus persuade the prosecutor tostop the prosecution. She succeeded infinding the home with a worthy farmer wholived near the parsonage, and then rodesome miles to see the prosecuting attorney.She did not reach home again till nine o'clockin the evening, but very happy, for she wasalmost sure of the boy's release on themorrow.She received a message from Mr. Akermanthe next day, that the boy was at her service.$- ..-
74 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR," Now, John, you and Emily must go withme," she said.The young people did not see the neces-sity; but, as an expedition together, even tothe county jail, was not repugnant to them,they prepared to invade the stony ramparts,under convoy of Aunt Esther.The heavy air, the semi-darkness, and theloneliness of the place oppressed John, andhe shuddered involuntarily."What is the matter, John?" said Emily."Nothing; only I shuddered as it is saidwe do when some one is walking over ourgrave."" Nonsense !" said Aunt Esther. " That'sa foolish superstition."The narrow, high room, from which noview of the outer world could be obtained,the bare walls, and the forlorn look of thechild, who had left his breakfast untouched,
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 75and whose cheeks were wet with tears, madethe visitors glad that they had come to openthe prison doors to him. When told by Mr.Akerman that he was free to go with thelady, he jumped up, wiped his eyes, andcaught his cap, which hung upon a peg."Can I go, and never come back?""Yes; if you take care never to do any-thing which will bring you here.""I haint done nothing now, sir. I amonly in on 'spicion, sir."A jacket of John's, a new ribbon neck-tie,a clean collar and new shoes gave quite anair of respectability to the child. He madehimself very useful to Aunt Sabre in thekitchen, brought water and coal, swept thegarden path, split the kindlings, and washandy in such domestic duties."' Now, Charlie," said Aunt Esther, as shebrought him into the parlor, where hung afew fine pictures and choice engravings,L
76 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,"look at these pictures, and tell me whichyou like best."The boy went from one to the other,slowly and critically, then stopped beforean exquisite line-engraving of one of Ra-phael's Madonnas. Aunt Esther was de-lighted. She had feared he would prefer"Bonaparte Crossing the Alps "- a picturenot to her taste. She then sent him into thegarden for a basket of pears. He broughtthem. She gave him some to eat, andadded, -" Charlie, you can sit in the summer-house;but when you hear the bell ring, you cancome in and eat your dinner. After that, Iwill go with you to Farmer Little's house,where I hope you will stay, and prove to usall that you are a good boy.""Yes, ma'am," said Charlie, as he tookbook and pears, and proceeded to the sum-mer-house.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 77"The dear little fellow!" said AuntEsther. "I can take some comfort nowthat he is among birds and flowers insteadof being shut up in that gloomy jail.Emma, bring me the socks I had begunto knit for John; I can finish them forCharlie.""The soft, fine, white socks will hardly befit for farm work, auntie.""Why, child!" said Aunt Esther, re-proachfully, "don't you suppose he will goto church and Sunday-school? It is a greatmistake to give nothing to the poor but wornor coarse clothes. We must cultivate thelove of the beautiful by giving them flowersand books and something pretty to wearsometimes.""Yes, auntie," said Emma, while a smileplayed about her beautiful lips."You are smiling at your old auntie'snotions, child; but you will see things dif-
78 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,ferently one of these days. Who knowswhat that boy may become? Think of allthe great men who have risen from obscurity-of Watt, Franklin, the missionary Mor-rison, and"-"Yes, auntie; they are all mentioned inthat little book, 'Shining Examples.'""There! I am glad you have mentionedit. That will be the very book to put intothis child's bundle. Run and get it for me."In about an hour, Aunt Sabre came intothe parlor. "Esther, don't you think thatboy can be trusted to go over to Robin'sNest? I need more eggs for my pudding,and John told me that they had more thanthey could use.""Of course he can, Sabre. I'll ring thebell. What time is it?""It must be after eleven; for I heard thewhistle of the Boston train five minutesago."
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 79The bell was rung, but no Charlie ap-peared; again and again, but no response."He must have fallen asleep. I don'twonder; for he could not have slept muchin that jail.""Just run and see what the child is doing,"said Aunt Sabre. "I must have thoseEmily returned with the "Swiss FamilyRobinson," open at the fifteenth page, but noCharlie; nor could she find him, though shehad searched the whole garden, looked upinto every apple-tree and in every grape-arbor."Perhaps he is in the wood-shed, cuttingsome kindlings," said Aunt Esther; "I willgo myself;" a shade of trepidation in hervoice.But the bird had flown; nor, from thattime to this, has little Charlie been seen orheard of in Oldbury.
80 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,"That railroad whistle was too much forhim," said Emily. "It generally has agreater charm for boys than Madonnas."But such experiences did not harden AuntEsther's heart. Her loving nature forgaveeasily; and when driven to bay by thearguments of those who believe charityshould only be given to the worthy poor,she would answer, "Well, well, publicansand sinners shared our Lord's love and ten-der care; perhaps he will not find fault withme if I make some mistakes of judgment inmy old age. I like to make people happy,even if they have not the virtue of Ruth orthe goodness of Saint John.""You dear, blessed auntie," Emily wouldsay. "You are not old, for your heart isyounger than mine, and no one shall findfault with you for trying to heal Mr. Aker-man's patients. I hope you will find onegrateful for your kindness. What should
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 81I have done if you had not taken me inwhen I was a forlorn orphan? I sometimesfeel that I am an ungrateful child."" Ungrateful, child! Why, you are thesunshine of my life. You were but threemonths old when I took you from yourmother's arms. I carried you through themeasles and whooping-cough and scarletfever. Didn't you repay my love by liv-ing through them all, and growing up astrong, healthy girl? Ungrateful! Don'tever use that word in connection with your-self. Your love repays all my care."6
CHAPTER III.Ned in the Bank.-Tom Wood at Sea.-John in College.-John's Vacation."A"^ FTER Edward Grant decided"to go into his father's bank, a fam-Sily consultation was held, Grand-father Fletcher in the chair, andJohn was nominated to college. He was tomake a thorough preparation at the Highschool, and recite once a week to Grand-father Fletcher in Greek and Latin. " Bet-ter be over-fitted than barely pass, John,"he said." Well, Tom, the matter is decided; I amto be a minister, I suppose," said John tohis friend, Tom Wood. "Grandfather willthink it is in answer to his prayers."82
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 83"But what do you say to it, John?" askedTom."If I cannot go to sea, Tom, I have noobjection to college. Mother says that itwould just break her heart if I should goto sea."The boys were seated in Currier's ship-yard watching the progress of a vessel stillin the stocks. They had been familiar withthe sea from infancy, and understood all theparts of a vessel from keel to mainmast.Tom was born to the sea. There was nomore doubt of his destiny than of that ofthe beautifully-modelled hull that lay underthe workmen's hands, preparing for her bap-tismal day. Tom's father, grandfather, andgreat-grandfather had been sailors. Theytook to the water by instinct; "were am-phibious animals," old Captain Wood said."I wish we could go to sea together,John; but if either of us is to be a learned
84 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,man it must be yourself. To tell the truthI do not like school, and should have beentempted to play truant more than I havedone if you had not helped me through oldGreenleaf's arithmetic. I would almost assoon be shut up in jail with wood and ajack-knife.""On the supposition that you were in onlyon 'spicion, like Aunt Esther's Charlie," saidJohn, laughing."I was thinking only of the confinement,John. If I were in as a punishment forcrime, I don't know-but I think I shoulddie; by my own hand perhaps. I am notgood, John; no, not at all; my temper isawful and I need you with me. I tell youit does me good to beat Ned Ford when hetries to bully the little fellows or vex thegirls."" God gives us strength to defend theweak, Tom. I do not know as you were
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 85much in the wrong there; at any rate, thewhole school liked you the better for it.""Father says that I must learn to controlmy temper before I get to be a sea-captain,"replied Tom; "but my grandfather says thatI will learn that fast enough if I begin as acommon sailor, which I mean to do. I meanto work my own way up in the world.""Halloo, boys!" said the master of theship-yard, who saw them as they sat talkingon a pile of boards. "You will be at thelaunching next week, I suppose.""Of course, sir. Got a name yet?""Yes; I fixed upon one yesterday. I wasdown here at work when there came one ortwo forlorn looking little girls picking upchips; we have poor children here afterthem every day. One of the girls wasDick Burk's child, and looked as such adrunkard's child generally does raggedand dirty. She had filled her basket and
86 CAPTAIN JOHN ; OR,was staggering along under its weight, whena little rascally boy came along and, frommere wanton mischief, gave the basket akick and sent the chips scattering in alldirections, and broke one of the handles ofthe basket. One of my workmen came tome for orders just then, and I thought nomore of the affair till about half an hourafterwards, when my attention was attractedby a bright object running across the yard.It was Stella Drummond trying to comfortthe poor girl who had lost her chips.'Never mind,' she said to the child, whowas crying as if her heart would break; 'Iwill help you fill your basket.' 'Dad willwhip me 'cause I broke the handle,' mut-tered the girl. 'I can mend it,' said Stella.She begged a piece of rope from the shop,made a new handle from it, filled the basketwith chips, and lifting one side of it helpedthe girl to carry it home. This done, she
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 87came skipping back to see the new brig,bright as a bird on a summer morning.Then I thought of a name for my vessel.'Stella' it shall be; but keep it a secret,boys, till the launch.""Hurrah!" cried the two boys, throwingtheir hats up. "Good luck to the Star ofOldbury."There were a few months more of schoolfor the boys; then Tom went to sea andJohn to college. Their ways parted forlife, as they supposed to meet occasionallyin their native town, and to remember, asmen will in old age, the friendships of theirboyhood. Our task will be to relate thesingular incidents which brought them to-gether again, uniting their destiny on thesea they both loved so well.John worked hard at college for one year.He was not a brilliant scholar; but sturdy,
88 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,persevering, slow to acquire, but retainingthe knowledge thus gained.The long-looked for vacation came at last.As he took out his best coat for the journey,he laughed to see how his hands run throughthe sleeves, leaving the latter half way tohis elbows, while an uncomfortable feelingof tightness about the shoulders annoyedhim." Halloo, Halford See how my coat hasshrunk," he said to his chum."And how fast your pants have run uphill," added Halford."Ha, ha!" laughed Johnnie; "my feetlook like the twin rocks in low tide."He looked at himself in the glass."Don't I cut a comical figure?" he said.His face was round as the full moon, whilehis hair, cut rather too short by the barber,made his phiz still more chubby, and thetight coat drew his shoulders forward.
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 89"Never mind; perhaps I'll get a new coatwhen I go home.""Perhaps! No doubt," said his chum."I know from experience that a fellow whogoes home with a record like yours, and aletter from the president in his pocket, willget pretty much all he wants from hismother. These mothers do all they canto spoil us, Jack."John did not answer for a moment. Thewords carried him back to the face of hismother, and he recalled certain words in herlast letter: "I have counted the weeks andthe days, and now I am counting the hoursbefore I shall see you coming in at the door.Every little while I fancy I hear your whis-tle and the short, quick step which I knowso well. I know which of my boys is com-ing by the step and the way the gate is shut.Ned is slower and more precise, walks moregracefully than my short Jack, and is always,
90 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,as railroad men say, 'on time'; but whenyou were a little fellow, you used to comerunning in almost breathless, saying, Oh,mother! please excuse me; I couldn't gethome before, I had so much to do.' Youwere always hurried. Is it so now? I longto hear that step, and I promise not to scoldyou if you do come with dirty boots.""I know she will be glad to see me,"thought John; "and dear old grandpa willput on his spectacles and read the president'sletter, and then say, 'I thank God, John,that you have been kept from temptation,and have made such a good beginning.'And Willie will look so happy, and movehis hands slowly over my stubby hair anldround face, -those hands of his, delicate asa lady's, and with fingers that seem to haveeyes in them; and then he will smile andsay, 'You are looking well, Johnnie.'""Strange how much my Cousin Willie can
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 91learn by the sense of touch, Halford," hesaid aloud. "I really believe I could keepa secret from my father, sharp and penetrat-ing as his eyes are, sooner than I could keepthem from Willie. He detects every shadeof variance in the voice, and learns from thatwhether you are sad or happy. Only think,Halford, not one of my friends in Oldburyhave died, not one has been seriously illduring the year I have been in college.""There are misfortunes worse than death,"said Halford, sadly."I beg your pardon," said John, with aface full of sympathy.Halford's elder brother who had studied aprofession, and bade fair to become distin-guished in it, had been attacked with soften-ing of the brain, and was a maniac in aninsane asylum."Yes, Halford," said John, "I think thatmisfortune sadder than death. I am ashamed
92 CAPTAIN JOHN; OR,of myself for saying that Tom Wood's ab-sence at sea was a great trial to me. He"will be gone more than a year longer.""I wish I was with him," said Halford."I used to wish so when I first came tocollege," said John; "but I am contentednow to go through college.""Will you leave all your books here,John?""Yes, as we have the same rooms again.I never thought, Hal, to become so attachedto them; they are quite like home, thanksto our mothers for curtains and pictures,shoe bags, brackets, and paper-holders, say-ing nothing of lounge and easy-chair. Onsecond thought I will take my Latin andGreek books home, for grandfather will in-sist upon examining me, and I shall objectdecidedly to his using the fossiliferous booksin his library."There were few happier boys than John
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 93Grant when he jumped into the carriagewhich was to convey himself and his has-tily-packed trunk to Oldbury. To be sure,his trousers were short, and his round, plumpbody looked like a dumpling that had swelledto goodly proportions in its bag which a lit-tle cooking had made too tight for it. Hishappy face was a passport to favor every-where, and it grew rounder and brighter asthe train neared home." Guess your folks wont be glad to seeyou at all," said Mr. Brown, a farmer wholived about three miles from Oldbury, andwho took the train at Glencoe."Of course not," said John. "Have youseen any of them lately ? ""Miss Esther was down to our place daybefore yesterday arter some cream and new-laid eggs for Miss Simms, who is most gonewith consumption. 'Mazin' good woman thatMiss Mills, but she wouldn't do for county
94 CAPTAIN JOHI; OR,magistrate; she's too tender hearted to pun-ish rogues. How you have grown, Johnnie;the folks will hardly know you. Easy workgoing to college, ain't it? Now, if you hadbeen out haying this summer, you'd have lostflesh, I reckon, instead of looking plump asa partridge. Your brother Ned has grownt'other way shot up tall and slim as apine. He was out our way yesterday, col-lectin' for the bank. He's 'mazin' smart;beats his father all holler at business; reck-ons interest as fast as a squirrel can run, andnever makes a mistake to the fraction of acent. He'll be a rich man one of these days,as sure as my name is Obed Brown.""Yes, I guess so," said John, recallingjust then the fact that Ned was the onlyone of the family that had not sent himsome gift in his absence. Grandfather hadonce enclosed five dollars in a letter; hismother seldom wrote without sending a
LOSS IS SOMETIMES GAIN. 95bill; May had shared her pocket money,and Willie had sent a long-hoarded goldpiece. It was owing to this generosity thatJohn had been able to buy presents for manyof his friends; that there now lay in histrunk some pretty bracelets for Emma, aportfolio for his sister, a beautiful engrav-ing of " Faith" for his mother, and a curiouspuzzle of bits of ivory which he knew Wil-lie would enjoy putting together in variousforms. As he rode onward, every minutedecreasing the distance between himself andhome, he recalled the faces of those whowould give him a welcome. Now "ourfolks," with John, included not only hisown family, but grandfather, Willie, andthe housekeeper, at the parsonage, AuntsEsther, Sabre, and Emily, and Tom andStella. Oldbury would hardly seem likehome without Tom.John's father met him at the station.