The Baldwin Library
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STRIVE AND THRIVE.
THE BIRTHDAY GiFT
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ST NElSON A -I) ONS
SoNO T I R Hu( A N N e ) N 1 k
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STRIVE AND THRIVE;
STORIES FOR THE EXAMPLE AND ENCOURAGE-
MENT OF THE YOUNG.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND, ... ... ... 7
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH, .... ..... 24
TRY AGAIN, ... ... ... ... ... ... 43
LEARN TO SAY NO," ... ... ... .. ... 62
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL, ... .... .. .... 80
THE STUDENT AND APPRENTICE, ... ... ... ... 97
> ''i. .. ..
S ,f Jones, two boys living near together,
i' obtained their parents' consent one
Saturday to go to the mill-pond and
skate. There had been some pretty
cold weather, and as the ice had formed
rapidly, Mr. Jones and Mr. Williams sup-
posed that the surface of the mill-pond was
as hard as the floor, and that therefore their
boys would be entirely free from danger.
Away ran- the two boys, with their skates
hung round their necks, and their thoughts
intent upon the pleasure they were to have
on the mill-pond. On reaching the top of a
8 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
hill which overlooked the pond, they saw
Henry Lee, a school companion, gliding
along over the smooth surface of the ice as
swiftly as a bird on the wing. Eager to
join him, they ran shouting down the hill,
and were soon occupied in strapping on their
skates. But ere this was completed, the
two lads were alarmed by a cry of terror
from Henry; and on looking up, they saw
that he had broken through the ice, and was
struggling in the water.
At this, Edward Jones became so fright-
ened, that he threw off his skates and started
back, screaming, toward home; but George
Williams, with more presence of mind and
courage, seized a long pole that lay upon the
shore, and went as quickly as possible to the
assistance of the drowning boy. Henry had
broken into what is called an "air hole,"
where the ice is very thin; and as at every
attempt he made to extricate himself the ice
broke with the weight of his body, he was
in great danger of losing his life unless
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 9
speedy assistance came. If he remained still
and held on to the edges of the ice, he
could keep himself up; but then the water
was so cold, that in a little while he would
get benumbed, and lose all power to sustain
himself. Before, therefore, the frightened
Edward Jones could alarm his friends and
bring assistance, he would, in all probability,
have been lost under the ice.
As we have said, George Williams, who
was much more courageous than Edward,
caught up a pole, and ran as speedily as
possible to the place where Henry was
struggling in the water.
"Do not be frightened, Henry," he
called; "do not be frightened I am
coming, and will get you out."
At this Henry ceased his violent efforts
to extricate himself, and remained quiet until
George came up as near as it was prudent
to come, and laid his pole across the broken
place, so that each end of it rested upon
10 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
"Now hold on to that," said he, coolly.
You may be certain the poor lad in the
water did not wait to be asked twice to
do as he was told. With both hands he
grasped the stick. Then George lay down
at full length, and keeping one hand for
support on the pole, crept up so close to
the broken place in the ice, that he could
grasp one of Henry's hands.
"Easy-easy," said he, in a calm en-
couraging voice, as the boy in the water
caught his arm eagerly, and was in danger
of dragging him in also. This gave Henry
more confidence, and restored, in some
measure, his presence of mind. After this,
it took but a moment for George Williams
to pull Henry out, and get him beyond all
The two boys were more than half-way
home, when they met a number of men,
whom Edward Jones had alarmed by his
cries for help, running at full speed to rescue
the drowning lad. The praise they bestowed
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIIND. 11
upon George for his courageous conduct was
very pleasant to him, but not half so pleasant
as the reflection that he had saved the life of
his young playmate.
On the evening after this occurrence, Mr.
Jones, the father of Edward, took his son
into his room, and when they were alone,
said to him,-
How comes it, my boy, that you did not,
like George Williams, go immediately to
the aid of Henry Lee when you saw him
break through the ice ? "
"I was so frightened," replied the boy,
"that I did not know what I was doing."
"And this fright would have cost Henry
his life, if there had not been another boy
near to save him."
Edward looked very serious, and his eyes
were cast upon the floor.
"I am very sorry," he said; "but I could
not help it."
"Do not say that, my son," replied Mr.
Jones. "This timidity-or, I might say,
12 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
SI.. .' I
-- -- "
EDWAIlD AND HIS FATHER.
cowardice-is a weakness that all may, in a
great measure, overcome; and it is the duty
of every one to overcome it, for all should
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 13
be brave, and ready to risk even life itself to
save others. It is not often that persons
who so risk their lives receive any injury,
for God protects those who seek to protect
others. Let me tell you something that
happened when I was a boy. Two children
were playing near a spring. One of them
was only four years old, and the other was
seven. The larger boy's name was Frank.
While Frank was building a house with
sticks that he had gathered under the trees,
he heard a splash, and turning round, saw
that his little brother had plunged head
foremost into the spring, and was struggling
in the water. The spring being deep and
narrow-it was walled up at the sides-
there was no chance for the child to extri-
"When Frank saw this, he was terribly
alarmed, and his heart beat so loud that it
seemed to him that any one standing near
might have heard it. What did he do?
Run away for help ? No; he was a very
14 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
little boy, but he was thoughtful and brave,
little as he was. Instead of darting off for
home as fast as his feet would carry him, to
get some one to come and save his brother
from drowning, he seized hold of him, and
applying all his strength, succeeded in drag-
ging the already half-drowned child from the
spring. Thus, by his presence of mind and
bravery, he saved the life of his brother.
These two children lived near a mill, and
were permitted by their parents to play in
the mill or about the water, just as they
pleased. They did not think any more of
danger than we do when we send you to
school over the long bridge that crosses the
river. Well, one day they were playing by
the side of the deep wooden trough or sluice
that receives the water from the mill-race,
before it is poured upon the great wheels.
This is furnished with heavy gates at both
ends, by which the water is let on and shut
off at pleasure. In this trough the water
glides along more rapidly than in the mill-
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 15
race, and it is drawn under the gate at the
lower end with a very strong, whirling
motion, and thence passes to the water-
By the side of this deep trough, the two
children of whom I spoke were playing, when
the little one, who had before fallen into the
spring, slipped off, and went plunging down
into the water. Frank saw him fall. In an
instant the child, who was buoyed up by his
clothes, went sweeping down toward the
open gate through which the water was rush-
ing. The delay of half a minute would be
fatal. Had Frank become so much fright-
ened as to be unable to act promptly, had he
hesitated a moment what to do, his brother
would have been lost. But the brave boy
sprang at once to his rescue, and leaning
down, he caught the child by the clothes,
and held on to him eagerly. The water was
so far down, and Frank had to stoop so low,
that he had not strength to pull his brother
out; but he held on to him, and screamed
16 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
loudly for help. But the noise of the mill
was so great, that the millers could not hear
his voice. Still he held on, and cried out
for aid. Nearly five minutes passed before
any one came to his assistance; and then a
man who was going by saw him, and ran
down along the mill-race, and rescued the
drowning child. Thus it was that the cour-
age and presence of mind of Frank saved the
life of his brother a second time. Now,
suppose he had been too frightened to think
or act in a proper manner, as you were to-
day, his brother would, in all probability,
have been drawn in under the gate, and been
killed on the wheel."
Edward shuddered at the thought.
"That brave lad," continued Mr. Jones,
"was your uncle Frank; and the brother
whose life he saved is now your father."
"You, father! you!" exclaimed Edward
"Yes, my son: I fell into the spring, and
your uncle saved me from drowning by his
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 17
promptness to act; and I fell into the mill-
race, and was rescued through his courage
and presence of mind."
Edward's thoughts went back to the mill-
pond, and he saw, in imagination, Henry
Lee struggling in the hole in the ice, and
saw how easy it would have been for him to
have gone to his assistance, and rescued him
from his perilous situation, instead of run-
ning away, frightened out of his wits,
screaming for others afar off to do what was
needed to be done at the moment. He felt,
painfully too, that his playfellow would have
been drowned, had not George Williams,
with true bravery, gone instantly to his aid.
It was a moment of self-reproach and morti-
"Many years ago," continued Edward's
father, "I remember reading a story of a
boy's presence of mind and courage that I
shall never forget. The lad of whom I
speak was walking along the road with his
mother and a little sister, when all at once
18 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
was heard the startling cry of 'Mad dog !'
On looking in the direction from which this
alarming. cry came, a dog was seen running
toward them, pursued by a crowd of men
and boys. A high fence on each side of the
road made escape impossible. So frightened
did the mother become, that she was fixed
to the spot; and her daughter clung to her,
screaming in terror. But the boy stepped
boldly before his mother and sister, and, as
the dog approached, began hurriedly wrap-
ping around his hand and arm a silk hand-
kerchief which he had drawn from his
pocket. In a shorter period of time than it
has taken me to relate to you the fact,
the dog was down upon them. The brave
boy, however, did not shrink back an inch.
As he stood in front of his mother and sister,
the mad animal, on coming up, made a
spring at him, when the boy, with wonderful
coolness, thrust the hand around which he
had wound his handkerchief boldly into his
mouth, and grasped his tongue. While he
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 19
kept hold of the dog's tongue, the animal
could not bite him; and the handkerchief
had protected his hand from being-scratched
by his teeth, as he thrust it into his open
mouth. Ere the dog could recover himself
and struggle loose from the boy, the men in
pursuit were upon him with clubs and stones,
and in a few minutes he was lying dead
almost at the feet of the heroic boy, who,
while he had saved the lives, perhaps, of his
mother and sister, remained himself un-
Few boys, not one perhaps in a hundred,"
continued Mr. Jones, "would have had his
presence of mind and courage, under similar
circumstances; and I doubt very much if
one man in ten could be found to show so
brave a spirit. Yet how much better and
safer was it for the boy to act as he did-
safer for himself, and safer for those he loved.
The fact is, my son, but little of danger pre-
sents itself, as we pass through life, which
may not be escaped if we look it boldly in
20 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
the face, and see what it is like. Unless we
understand exactly what the danger is, and
in what manner it is approaching, how shall
we escape it ?"
The stories of bravery and self-possession
which Mr. Jones related, made a very
marked impression upon the mind of Edward.
He saw, by contrast, his own conduct in a
most unfavourable light, and he shuddered
when he thought of what the consequence
to Henry Lee would have been, had not his
companion possessed a cooler and more coura-
geous spirit than himself.
It was not more than a week after the.
occurrence at the mill-pond, that Edward
started out with a little brother, not above
four years of age, whom he was drawing on
a little sledge, for the purpose of riding
down a hill on the smooth snow, a short dis-
tance from the house. On the way to this
hill, Edward had to pass through a field
belonging to a neighbour. When nearly
across, he heard the noise of some animal,
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 21
and looking around, saw a mad bull approach-
ing from the other side of the field. With
the first impulse of fear, he dropped the rope
with which he was pulling the sledge on
which sat his little brother, and sprang away,
in order to reach the fence before the infuri-
ated animal came up. He had only gone a
few steps, however, before he thought of the
innocent child on the sledge, who would
surely be gored to death by the bull if left
where he was. This thought made him stop
and turn round. The bull was now running
toward them, muttering and bellowing dread-
fully. If he went back for his brother,.
escape was almost impossible. But how
could he leave the dear child to a terrible
death without making an effort to save him?
These were the hurried thoughts that rushed
through his mind. Then he remembered
the mill-pond, the boy and the mad dog, the
child in the spring and his brave brother,
and what his father had said about being
courageous. It took scarcely an instant of
22 COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND.
time for all this to be presented to the
frightened boy. By a strong effort he com-
posed himself, and then ran back to where
his brother was still upon the sledge. The
bull was now very near; but Edward,
though he had taken the child in his arms,
was able to run so fast as to reach the fence
and climb over it before the mad creature
could reach them. In less than a quarter of
a minute after he was beyond the reach of
danger, the bull came dashing up to the
fence, foaming and bellowing with rage.
"Well and bravely done, my noble boy!"
exclaimed Edward's father, who, seeing his
children's danger, had been running toward
them unperceived. Just as Edward landed,
with his brother still clasped in his arms,
safely on the right side of the fence, he came
Edward turned quickly toward his father,
who saw that his face was very pale, and
that his lips were quivering.
"It was a narrow escape, my son," said
COURAGE AND PRESENCE OF MIND. 23
Mr. Jones, "a very narrow escape.. But
Heaven is always on the side of those who
seek to save others that are in danger. If
you had hesitated a moment about acting
courageously, our dear little Willie would
now have been bleeding, it may be, upon
the horns of that mad animal. How thank-
ful I feel that you had the bravery to do as
you have done."
"And I am thankful too, father," said
the boy, sin a trembling voice. 0 if in
my cowardice I had permitted Willie to be
killed, I should never have been happy
again in all my life."
After such a trial and triumph, Edward
was able in the future to act with becoming
presence of mind in all cases of danger and
peril that happened to occur.
.., study hours, the pupils of Mr.
Wise's school heard the sound of a
Q' carriage coming toward the school-
house. A moment after, and it was before
the door; and the loud voice of a man
called for Mr. Wise. He went to the door,
heard what the man had to tell him, came
back into the room with a much sadder face
than he had left it, and said,-
"Boys, I have just now been told that a
very dear friend of mine is very ill, and
wishes to see me. Mr. Bird, the man who
is at the door, has asked me to ride back
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 25
with him; and as my friend lives five miles
from here, and I know of no other way of
going there, I would like to accept his offer.
I can dismiss you all in a short time; but I
do not like to oblige Mr. Bird to wait for
.I l /' "V'A
me until I put away my books and papers,
and lock up the school. Now, I wish to
leave three boys here to do it in my place;
and those who think they can do this in a
26 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
proper manner, and would like to do a favour
for me, may hold up their hands."
Nearly every boy in the room, large and
small, raised one hand. Mr. Wise smiled,
I am glad to see so many of you ready
to oblige me, but three will be quite enough
for the work; and I shall select from among
you those whom I regard as the most trusty."
He then named Thomas Jones, George
Evans, and James Black.
"James Black is not so old as many
others here," he said, "but I think I can
rely upon him to do what is right; and if
any harm should happen, I know he will
tell me the exact truth about it."
Mr. Wise then sent all the boys home, but
the three whom he had chosen to remain;
and after having given these last a few orders
as to where they should put the keys, &c.,
he left them, jumped into the carriage, and
was soon riding along at a swift rate to visit
his sick friend.
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 27
The boys had begun to put away the
things in nice order, when they heard a loud
halloo. They turned to find out from whom
it came, and saw four of their school-mates
at the door.
Go away, Edward West, and the rest of
you boys," said Thomas Jones.
"No, indeed!" said they; "we are not
going quite yet."
"Now, I dare say you want to know how
we came here, and what we want," said
Edward West, who seemed to be the leader
of the party; "and to save you the asking,
I'll just tell you. We hid behind the school-
house until the master was out of sight, and
then we came out to pay you a visit; and
you ought to be very glad to see us. Our
reason for doing so was to have some fun, of
course; and now you have the whole story."
"Well, we'll just tell Mr. Wise, and see
what he will have to say about it," said
Oh, we don't mean to do any harm "
28 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
said Edward. "We only want to have a
little play; and you would not tell unless we
do wrong. Would you, George ? "
"What shall we do about these boys ?"
asked George aside, speaking in an undertone
to Thomas and James.
"I am sure I cannot tell," said James;
"for I am afraid they will not go away for
"That is what I think," said Thomas; "and
we may only get into a quarrel with them,
and do no good by it. How would it do for
us to tell them they may stay, if they will
give us their word of honour not to behave
badly ? "
"Yes, that is all we can do," said George.
"Well, boys," said Thomas aloud, "I
think it would be much better for you to go
home; but if you promise to behave, we will
not object to your staying here with us,
though I am not quite sure that Mr. Wise
will like it."
Well, on the whole, I call that a polite
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 29
speech," said Edward, "and I give my hand
to the bargain."
Yes; we all agree to behave well," cried
the others; and they began to mount the
desks, and perform sundry little antics. At
first the three boys who had stayed in to
work went on doing their duty, as if their
wild school-mates were not there at all,
except now and then, when they would
pause to smile at some of their odd tricks,
or speak a few words to them. When they
became too rude and noisy, George or
Thomas called them to order, by giving
them a hint of the bargain which had been
made. Very soon they began to argue upon
some point that seemed hard to settle, from
the loud tones with which they spoke.
"What is the matter? asked James
Black, for he heard his own name used in
Why, Hiram says you cannot jump over
that stool, and I know you can," said
80 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
James looked at the stool. It was a high
one, and stood on a clear space, not far from
the desk of Mr. Wise.
Yes, I can jump over it, and at the first
trial too, as I will soon show you," he said;
and as he spoke he joined them, with a view
to proving the truth of his words.
The boys stood off to leave him room.
He gave one high leap quite over the stool;
but before his feet gained the floor on the
other side, they struck an end of the master's
desk, and upset an inkstand over some letters
and papers which were highly valued by Mr.
Wise. For a moment the boys all stood
aghast and silent, gazing on the ruin before
them. Edward West spoke first.
"Never mind, James," he said, with a
look of pity at poor James, who stood near
to him, quite pale with grief and dismay at
what he had done. "Never mind ; you did
not mean to do any harm, and it cannot be
"No," said Thomas; "the master need
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 31
not know how it was done, for none of us
will ever tell about it."
No, indeed, we will never tell," cried all
James stood as before, and made no reply:
from a deadly paleness his face had grown
quite red while they spoke; but this was all
the change which their words seemed to
make in him.
It will be quite easy to hide the truth
from the master, James," said Hiram; "and
I'll tell you how. Shut up the desk now
and lock it, and then, when he asks about it,
we will say that we saw you put all the
books and papers and other things safely
away in the desk, and lock it up. That is
all true, you know. Then he will think
that in some way the desk has got a jolt,
which upset the inkstand after it was closed."
Why, Hiram !" said James in an amazed
tone, do you think I would tell a lie ? "
"That would not be telling a lie, I am
sure," said Hiram ; "for you did put all the
82 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
things safely by in the desk; and that was
all I told you. to say. You need not tell
him how the ink was spilt. Let him guess
"Yes," said Edward; "for he will not be
likely to say, 'James Black, was it you who
upset my inkstand ?' and if he does not, I
do not see that there need be any lie told in
I do not see how I can help telling a
lie, unless I tell the whole story in full, just
as it came about," said James.
"Well, I do not see where you can find
one false word in all I told you to say," said
It is certainly a lie to pretend to tell the
whole story, and yet keep back the chief
part of it, and that, too, which is most to
the point," said James.
"Then, what do you mean to do ?" asked
Tell the whole story in full, to be sure,
and not keep back a single part of it which
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 33
the master ought to know; then say to him
that I am very sorry that I did not go on
doing my duty, as I should have done, and
that I hope he will pardon me for it," said
James in a firm, clear tone.
"What! Do you mean to tell that 'e
came back to school after we had been sent
home '?" asked one of the boys, with an angry
shake of the head.
"Not if I can help it, and yet tell the
whole truth about what I did myself," said
"That is right," said Edward West.
"James Black is not as old as we are, but
he has more real honour about him, and is
more of a man, than any of us; and I think
we ought to copy him, and come out boldly
too, and tell the truth of our part of the affair."
"I think so too," said one or two others;
and those who did not speak, in their hearts
agreed with what Edward said.
"I never heard James Black tell a lie
since I have known him," said Thomas
34 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
Jones; and I would sooner trust his plain
YES or NO than all the oaths in the world
from many other boys; for he always tells
"I never trust the word of a boy who
swears," said George Evans; "for any one
who swears will be quite ready to tell a lie
when it suits him."
Yes," said Edward West; and I always
doubt a boy who uses any words to make
what he says seem more strong. We can't
make 'YES' mean more than 'YES,' or 'NO'
more than 'No,' by adding other words to
them; and they are quite enough for me,
when they come from a boy whom I can
"That is just what I think," said James.
"I should be afraid that God would strike me
dead, as he did the wicked man and his wife
whom we read of in the Bible, who told a lie
to Peter about the price he got for the land
he had sold."
"I have often heard that story," said
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 35
Hiram; "but God does not strike people
dead now when they tell lies."
He has the power to do it," said James;
"and he is just as angry at liars now as he
was then. When I told a lie, my mother
talked to me a great deal about the sin of
lying. She said that Satan was called the
father of lies; and that, though God does not
punish them at the time they sin, he has
said, 'All liars shall have their part in the
lake which burneth with fire and brimstone;'
and he will surely keep his word."
"Yes, that is an awful fate, which we all
ought to try to avoid," said Thomas. But
see," he added, I have wiped off all the ink
I can with this piece of sponge; and as that
is all we can do to repair the harm, I think
we had better shut up the school-room and
"I am sure you are very kind," said
James, as he looked into the desk; for you
have done it much more nicely than I
86 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
Thomas locked the desk, and put away
the key where Mr. Wise had told him.
Then, when all was ready, the boys put on
their caps and overcoats, and started for
James was very sorry indeed for having
injured Mr. Wise's papers and letters, for he
knew how much he valued some of them;
and he felt real regret at having been so re-
miss in doing his duty. The words of Mr.
Wise, "I think I can rely upon James to
do what is right," were all the time in his
mind; and his heart blamed him for not
having proved worthy of the trust. "I
ought not to have minded when they called
me to try if I could jump over that stool.
I have paid very dear for doing so, and much
more than the game was worth, I am sure.
It was not the proper way to behave in
school, either: for I would not have done so
if the master had been there; and when he
is absent I should not act in a way that I
know he would not like if he could see me."
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 37
Every kind word that the master had ever
spoken to him seemed to rise up before him,
to chide his breach of trust. He sighed
deeply, as he said, "Mr. Wise has indeed
been very kind to me; and all I can do now
to repair the wrong I have done him, is fully
and freely to tell him the whole story, and
ask him to pardon me. But my Father in
heaven has been more kind to me than any
friend I have on earth could be; and, first
of all, I will humbly ask his pardon of my
Then he knelt down, and prayed that
God would pardon the wrong he had done,
and help him to be more on his guard in
the future, and to tell the whole truth to Mr.
The next day James went to school
with a heavy heart. Mr. Wise was at his
desk when he went in, and was about call-
ing the boys to order to begin the school
duties. Then, as was his custom, he read
some verses from the Bible, and offered a
38 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
short prayer. When this was done, James
waited a while for him to ask about his
desk; but he said nothing, though he looked
grave and sad. Then James left his seat,
and went up to the desk with a firm tread.
The eyes of all the boys in the room were
fixed upon him; but he did not seem to
notice it, for his own were bent toward the
ground. He hardly raised them, to look at
Mr. Wise, as he said, in a low tone,-
"It was I, sir, who upset the inkstand
over your papers ; and I am very sorry for it.
"Well, never mind," said Mr. Wise,
kindly, for he saw how sad James was; "I
dare say you did it while putting away my
things, and could not help it."
No, sir," said James; I did it in try-
ing to jump over that high stool. I know
it was wrong; and I hope you will pardon
Mr. Wise looked grave.
"It was a rude way to behave when I
trusted you so far as to leave you here alone,"
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 89
he said. But as your sorrow seems so real,
I will pardon you. I know, too, that you
do not ask this of me from a dread that I
will punish you for what has been done, but
from a sense of duty, and a feeling of regret
at having done wrong."
"You are very kind," said James, "and
I thank you for it; but oh, sir, will you
ever trust me again as you once did ?
For, indeed, I will try hard to deserve it
Mr. Wise paused, and looked in his face
for a moment, and then said,-
"Yes; I feel that I can trust you still;
for I think that you will be more on your
guard for the future. And, at any rate,"
he said, taking the hand of James in his
own, "I can rely firmly upon your word;
for you have always told me the truth-
the whole truth; and when you do wrong,
you never try to excuse it, or make it seem
James tried to thank Mr. Wise for the
40 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
kind words he had spoken, but he could not;
his heart was too full for words, and he
could only press the hand which held his
own, in token of what he felt. As he did
this, he turned away from the desk.
He had hardly taken his seat, when
Edward West rose and went up to Mr.
Wise, and after him, one by one, came each
of the four boys who had gone back into the
school-house on the day before without
leave. Not one stayed behind-not even
the one who had been so angry lest James
Black should tell of them. As head of the
party, Edward spoke for them, telling Mr.
Wise that they were to blame for the ruin
of his papers, as James would not have been
likely to leave his work if they had not come
back to school to tempt him. He said that
they knew that they had done wrong in not
going home as they were told, and that if
the master chose to punish them, they felt
that it was but right, but that they hoped to
behave better in time to come.
THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH. 41
Mr. Wise was pleased with the frank
manner of the boys, in so freely telling him
of their bad conduct; yet their doing so was
a matter of some wonder to him. Perhaps
Edward saw this, for he said,-
"At first we urged James to hide his fault
from you, sir; but when he told us, in such
a firm way, that he would not tell a lie, we
were shamed out of our own desire to conceal
"You did right, in part," said Mr. Wise;
"but I hope you will learn to tell the truth
from a pure love of truth, and to shun a lie
from a deep hatred of all that is false. Study
your Bibles, and you will find how God hates
lying; and you will also learn there the
awful fate of liars."
Then, after a few words of reproof and
caution, he sent them to their seats.
Mr. Wise felt very sorry at the loss of his
letters and papers, for they were of great
value to him; but he nearly forgot his sor
row in the joy which it gave him to find his
42 THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
pupils ready to confess their faults so freely
How plain it is that the path of duty is
the only path of peace and safety !
., :- ', i .4-"--- ...? '
"'p.-.:.VAVE you finished your lesson,
;' George?" said Mr. Prentice to a
Kc-: lad in his fourteenth year, who had
"laid aside his book, and was busily en-
gaged in making a large paper kite.
"No, father," replied George, hanging
down his head.
"Why not, my son ?"
Because it is so difficult, father. I am
sure that I shall never learn to read Latin."
And what is the reason that you cannot
learn Latin ? "
"Because-because I can't."
Can't learn, George !"
44 TRY AGAIN.
Indeed, I have tried my best," replied
the boy earnestly, the tears starting to his
eyes; "but it is no use, father. Other
boys can get their lessons without any
trouble; but I try, and try, but still I can-
not learn them."
I 'cannot,' is a word no boy should ever
utter in reference to learning. You can
learn anything you please, George, if you
But not Latin, father."
But have I not tried, and tried, father?"
"Yes; but you must try once more."
"And so I have, father."
"Well, try again, and again; never say
you cannot learn a lesson."
But then I cannot remember it after I
have learned it, my memory is so bad,"
urged the lad.
If I were to promise you a holiday on
the thirtieth of the month after the next, do
you think that you would forget it? "
TRY AGAIN. 45
No, I am pretty sure that I should not."
And why, George "
I can't exactly tell the reason; but I
know I should remember it."
S 1- ,*
GEORGE MiND iIl FATIIER.
"Well, I can tell you. The pleasure you
would take in the idea of having a holiday,
would keep the date of it fresh, in your
memory. Now, if you were to take the
same delight in learning that you do in
46 TRY AGAIN.
playing, you would find no difficulty. You
play at marbles well, I believe ? "
Oh yes, father; I beat every boy at
"And your brother tells me that your
kite flies highest; and that you are first in
"Yes, my kite always flies the best; and
I can cut every figure, from one to nine,
and form every letter in the alphabet, on
"You are very fond of skating, and
flying your kite, and playing at ball and
"Yes, father; too fond, I believe, for a
boy of my age."
"And yet you cannot learn your Latin
lesson. My dear boy, you are deceiving
yourself; you can learn as well as any one,
if you will only try."
"But have I not tried, father ?" again
"Well, try again. Come, lay aside that
TRY AGAIN. 47
kite you are making for this afternoon, and
give another effort to get your lesson ready.
Be in earnest, and you will soon learn it.
To show you that it only requires persever-
ance, I will tell you a story. One of the
dullest boys at a village school, more than
thirty years ago, came up to repeat his
lesson one morning, and, as usual, did not
know it. Go to your seat, you block-
head!' said the teacher, pettishly. 'You
will never be fit for anything but a
scavenger. I wonder what they send such
a stupid dunce here for !'
The poor dispirited boy stole off to his
seat, and bent his eyes again upon his lesson.
It is no use. I cannot learn,' he said
in a whisper to a companion who sat near
"' You must try hard,' replied the sym-
pathizing and kind-hearted boy.
"' I have tried, and it is no use. I may
just as well give it up at once.'
Try again, Henry!' whispered his
48 TRY AGAIN.
companion in an earnest and encouraging
These two little words gave him a fresh
impulse, and he bent his mind with renewed
effort to his task It was only the simple
.- *; -- -.
memorizing of a grammar lesson-not diffi-
cult by any means. The concentration of
his mind upon the task was more earnest
and fixed than usual; gradually he began
to find the sentences lingering in his
memory, and soon, to his surprise and plea-
TRY AGAIN. 49
sure, the whole lesson was mastered. With
a livelier motion and a more confident
manner than he had ever before exhibited
in going up to say a lesson, he rose from his
seat and proceeded to the teacher's desk.
What do you want now ?' asked that
'To say my lesson, sir.'
'Go off to your seat !-Did you not try
half-an-hour ago ?'
Yes ; but I can say it now, sir,' timidly
urged the boy.
"'Go on, then; and if you miss a
sentence, you shall have six bad marks.'
Henry commenced, and said off the
whole lesson rapidly, without missing a
word. The master cast on him a look of
pleasure, as he handed him back his book,
but said nothing. As the boy returned to
his seat, his step was lighter, for his heart
beat with a new impulse.
Did you say it?' whispered his kind-
50 TRY AGAIN.
Every word,' replied the boy proudly.
"' Then you see you can learn.'
"' Yes; but it is hard work.'
"'But there is nothing like trying.'
"' No; and from this hour,' replied
Henry firmly, 'I will never say I cannot.'
"From that day," continued Mr. Pren-
tice, there was no boy in the school who
learned more rapidly than Henry. It
required much thought and application;
but these he gave cheerfully, and success
crowned his efforts."
"And did he always continue thus to
learn ?" asked George, looking up into his
From that day, to the present hour, he
has been a student; and now urges his
son George to 'try again,' as he tried."
And was it indeed you, father ? asked
his son, eagerly looking up into the face of
his kind parent.
"Yes, my child; that dull boy was your
own father in his early years."
TRY AGAIN. 51
Then I will try again," said George, in
a decided tone; and flinging aside his half-
made kite, he turned and re-entered the
house, and was soon bending in earnest
attention over his Latin grammar.
"Well, what success, George ?" asked
Mr. Prentice, as the family gathered around
the well-furnished tea-table.
I 've got the lesson, father replied the
boy. I can say every word of it."
You found it pretty hard work "
Not so very hard after I had once made
up my mind that I would learn it. Indeed,
I never stopped to think, as I usually do,
about it being difficult or tiresome; but
went right on until I had mastered every
"May you never forget this lesson, my
son !" said Mr. Prentice feelingly. "You
possess now the secret of success. It lies in
your never stopping to think about a task
being difficult or tiresome; but in going on
52 TRY AGAIN.
steadily in the performance of it, with a
fixed determination to succeed. Within a
short time you have mastered a task that
you despaired of ever learning at all. And
now, George, remember, never again utter
the words, 1 can't."
The success that had rewarded his own
determined efforts, united with the impulse
that the simple reference of his father to his
own early difficulties gave to his mind, was
sufficient to make George a rapid learner
from that day. He became interested in
his studies, and therefore he succeeded in
them. When he left college, at the age of
eighteen, he bore with him the highest
honours of the institution, and the respect
of his teachers. He now entered the house
of a merchant, to prepare for a business life.
At first, his new occupation was by no means
pleasant. The change from books and
studies to busy life, and the dull details of
trade, as he called them, was for a time ex-
TRY AGAIN. 53
I shall never make a merchant, I fear,"
he said to his father one evening, when he
felt unusually wearied with his occupation.
"And why not, George asked Mr.
"I have no taste for it," replied the
"That is a poor reason. Is it not an
honest and honourable calling ? "
"And are you not convinced that it is
necessary for you to follow some occupation ?
I gave you a choice of professions; but you
preferred, you said, a mercantile life."
"Yes. And still, when I reflect on the
subject, my preference is for a mercantile
Then, George, you must compel yourself
to be interested in your new pursuit."
I have tried, father."
"Then, try again!" replied Mr. Prentice,
with peculiar emphasis, at the same time
casting a significant glance at his son.
54 TRY AGAIN.
These simple words thrilled through the
mind of George Prentice. The past rose up
before him, with its doubts, its difficulties,
and its triumphs. Springing suddenly to
his feet, he said with emphasis,-
I will try again."
And you will succeed."
Yes; I feel that I shall."
And he did succeed in obtaining a
thorough practical knowledge of business;
for he applied himself with patient and fixed
determination, and soon became interested
in his new pursuits.
At the age of twenty-five, he entered into
business for himself, with a small capital
furnished him by his father. The house in
which he had been employed was engaged
in the West India trade, and as his famil-
iarity with this line of business was more
intimate than with any other, he determined
to turn his little capital in that direction.
Accordingly, after renting a small ware-
house on one of the principal wharves, he
TRY AGAIN. 55
proceeded to freight a vessel with all the
prudence that an intimate knowledge of the
West India markets afforded him. But,
alas! misfortune sometimes comes to us
when least expected and least deserved.
Two days before his vessel arrived, the
market had been overstocked by shipments
from other countries, and a large loss, in-
stead of the anticipated profits, was the
For some days after this disheartening
news reached him, he gave way to despond-
ing thoughts. But soon he bent his mind
to a new adventure. In this he was more
successful; but as the investment had been
small, the profit was inconsiderable. His
next shipment was large, involving at least
two-thirds of his capital. The policy of
insurance safe in his fire-closet, the young
merchant deemed himself secure against
total loss. For wise purposes, God often
sees fit to frustrate our hopes, and make the
best-laid schemes of success or security fail.
56 TRY AGAIN.
Two months from the day on which the
vessel sailed, news arrived that she had been
wrecked, and the whole cargo lost. Nor
was this all. Some informality or neglect
of the captain vitiated the insurance, and
the underwriters refused to pay. A suit
was commenced against them, which occu-
pied from six to eight months before a
decision could be obtained.
Nearly a twelvemonth from the day the
unfortunate adventure was made, George
Prentice sat musing in his counting-room,
his mind busy with unpleasant and despond-
ing thoughts. He had done little or no
business since the news of his loss had
reached him, for he had but a remnant of
his capital to work upon, and no heart to
risk that. He was "holding off," as they
say, until some decision was made in the
suit pending with the underwriters. While
he thus sat in deep thought, a letter from
his agent in London, where the insurance
had been effected, was handed to him. He
TRY AGAIN. 57
"" _.-%. -
-- --- -
THE LOST SHIP.
tore it open eagerly. The first brief
sentence-" We have lost our suit "-almost
58 TRY AGAIN.
Ruined !-ruined !" he mentally ejacu-
lated, throwing the letter upon his desk as
he finished reading it. "What shall I do?"
Try again a voice seemed to whisper
in his ear.
He started and looked around.
"Try again," it repeated; and this time
he perceived that the voice was within him.
For a moment he paused, many thoughts
passing rapidly through his mind.
I will try again !" he exclaimed, rising
to his feet.
And he did try. This time he examined
the condition of the markets with the most
careful scrutiny-ascertained the amount of
shipments within the preceding four months
from all the principal continental cities; and
then, by the aid of his correspondents,
learned the expeditions that were getting
up, and the articles, and quantities of each,
composing the cargoes. Knowing the
monthly consumption of the various foreign
products at the port to which he purposed
TRY AGAIN. 59
making a shipment, he was satisfied that a
cargo of flour, if run in immediately, would
pay a handsome profit. He at once hired a
vessel, the captain of which he knew could
be depended on for strict obedience to in-
structions, and freighted her with flour.
The vessel sailed, and the young merchant
awaited with almost trembling expectation
the news of her arrival out. He had ad-
ventured his all; and the result must be
success, or the utter prostration of his hopes.
In anxious expectation he waited week
after week, until every day seemed to him
prolonged to double its number of hours.
At last a letter came from his consignee.
He almost trembled as he broke the seal.
Your flour has arrived at the very best
time," it commenced. For a few moments
he could read no further. He was com-
pelled to pause, lest the emotion he felt
should be betrayed to those around him.
Then he read the whole letter calmly
through. It stated that the supply of flour
60 TRY AGAIN.
was nearly exhausted when his cargo
arrived, which had been promptly sold at
fourteen shillings a barrel above the last
I shall clear nearly five hundred pounds
by my last shipment," he said to his father,
who entered the counting room at the
"Indeed well I am very glad to hear
you say so, George. I hope, after this, you
will be more successful."
"I hope that I shall: but I had nearly
given up in despair," the son remarked.
But you thought you would try again!"
observed the old gentleman, smiling.
Exactly so, father."
That was right, George. Never despair.
Let 'Try again' be your motto at all times,
and success will in the end attend your
His father was right. George Prentice
is now a wealthy merchant. He is some-
what advanced in years, and is accounted by
TRY AGAIN. 61
some a little eccentric. One evidence of
this eccentricity is the fact, that over the
range of desks in his counting-room is
painted, in large letters, the words,-" TRY
Drive the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head;
Strike with all your might, boys,
While the iron's red.
When you've work to do, boys,
Do it with a will;
They who reach the top, boys,
First must climb the hill.
Standing at the foot, boys,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?
Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never be down-cast;
Try, and try again, boys,-
You'll succeed at last.
&t.11ir to Sap "I1o."
" : JHERE is a word, my son, a very
little word, in the English lan-
guage, the right use of which it
is all-important that you should
learn," said Mr. Howland to his son Thomas,
who was about leaving the paternal roof for
a residence in a distant city; never again, per-
chance, to make one of the little circle that
had so long gathered in the family homestead.
"What word is that- father?" asked
"It is the little word No, my son."
"And why does so much importance at-
tach to that word, father ?"
LEARN TO SAY NO." 63
"Perhaps I can make you understand the
reason much better if I relate an incident
that occurred when I was a boy. I re-
member it as distinctly as if it had taken
place but yesterday, although thirty years
have since passed. There was a neighbour
of my father's, who was very fond of gun-
ning and fishing. On several occasions I
had accompanied him, and liked it very
much. One day my father said,-
"'William, I do not wish you to go into
the woods or on the water again with Mr.
"'Why not, father ?' I asked, for I had
become so fond of going with him, that to
be denied the pleasure was a real privation.
"'I have good reasons for not wishing
you to go, William,' my father replied, 'but
do not want to give them now. I hope
it is all-sufficient for you that your faker
desires you not to accompany Mr. Jones
"I could not understand why my father
64 LEARN TO SAY "NO."
laid upon me this prohibition; and, as I
desired much to go, I did not feel satisfied
in my obedience. On the next day, as I
was walking in the fields, I met Mr. Jones
with his fishing-rod on his shoulder and his
basket in hand.
"'Ah, William! you are the very one
that I wish to see,' said Mr. Jones, smiling.
'I am going out this morning, and want
company. We shall have a beautiful day.'
"'But my father told me yesterday,' I
replied, 'that he did not wish me to go out
"' And why not, pray ?' asked Mr. Jones.
"' I am sure that I do not know,' I said;
'but, indeed, I should like to go very much.'
"'Oh, never mind; come along,' he said.
'Your father will never know it.'
"'Yes, but I am afraid'that he will,' I
replied, thinking more of my father's dis-
pleasure than of the evil of disobedience.
"' There is no danger at all of that. We
will be home again long before dinner-time.'
LEARN TO SAY "NO." 65
"I hesitated, and he urged; and finally,
I moved the way that he was going, and
had proceeded a few hundred yards, when 1
stopped, and said,-
"' I don't like to go, Mr. Jones.'
"'Nonsense, William! There is no harm
in fishing, I am sure. I have often been
out with your father myself.'
Much as I felt inclined to go, still I hesi-
tated; for I could not fully make up my
mind to disobey my father. At length he
"'I can't wait here for you, William.
Come along, or go back. Say Yes, or No.'
"This was the decisive moment. I was
to make up my mind, and fix my determina-
tion in one way or the other. I was to say
Yes or No.
"'Come, I can't stay here all day,' Mr.
Jones remarked rather harshly, seeing that
I hesitated. At the same moment, the
image of my father rose distinctly before
my mind, and I saw his eye fixed steadily
66 LEARN TO SAY NO."
and reprovingly upon me. With one des-
perate resolution, I uttered the word 'No !'
and then turning, I ran away as fast as my
feet would carry me. I cannot tell you how
much relieved I felt when I was far beyond
the reach of temptation.
"On the next morning, when I came
down to breakfast, I was startled and sur-
prised to learn that Mr. Jones had been
drowned on the day before. Instead of re-
turning in a few hours, as he had stated to
me that he would, he remained out all the
day. A sudden storm arose; his boat was
capsized, and he drowned. I shuddered
when I heard this sad and fatal accident
related. That little word NO had, in all
probability, saved my life.
"' I will now tell you, William,' my father
said, turning to me, 'why I did not wish
you to go with Mr. Jones. Of late, he had
taken to drinking; and I had learned,
within a few days, that whenever he went
out on a fishing or gunning excursion, he
LEARN TO SAY NO." 67
took his bottle of spirits with him, and
usually returned a good deal intoxicated.
I could not trust you with such a man. I
did not think it necessary to state this to
you, for I was sure that I had only to ex-
press my wish that you would not accom-
pany him, to insure your implicit obedi-
"I felt keenly rebuked at this; and re-
solved never again to permit even the
thought of disobedience to find a place in
my mind. From that time, I have felt
the value of the word NO; and have gener-
ally, ever since, been able to use it on all
right occasions. It has saved me from many
troubles. Often and often in life have I
been urged to do things that my judgment
told me were wrong: on such occasions, I
always remembered my first temptation, and
resolutely said-' No !'
And now, my son," continued Mr. How-
land, "do you understand the importance of
the word No ?"
68 LEARN TO SAY NO."
"I think I do, father," replied Thomas.
"But is there not danger of my using it too
often, and thus becoming selfish in all my
feelings, and consequently unwilling to render
benefits to others ?"
"Certainly there is, Thomas, The legiti-
mate use of this word is to resist evil. To
refuse to do a good action is wrong."
If any one asks me, then, to do him a
favour or kindness, I should not, on any
account, say no."
"That will depend, Thomas, in what
manner you are to render him a kindness.
If you can do so without really injuring
yourself or others, then it is a duty which
you owe to all men, to be kind, and render
favours. You know, also, the \precept,
' Whatsoever ye would that men should do
unto you, do ye so to them.' "
But the difficulty, I feel, will be for me
to discriminate. When I am urged to do
something by one whom I esteem, my re-
gard for him, or my desire to render him a
LEARN TO SAY "NO." 69
aldness, will be so strong as to obscure my
A consciousness of this weakness in your
character, Thomas, should put you upon
That is very true, father. But I cannot
help fearing for myself. Still, I shall never
forget what you have said, and will try my
best to act from a conviction of right."
"Do so, my son. And ever remember
that a wrong action is always followed by
pain of mind, and too frequently by evil
consequences. If you would avoid these,
ever act from a consciousness that you are
doing right, without regard to others. If
another asks you, from a selfish desire to
benefit or gratify himself, to do that which
your judgment tells you is wrong, surely
you should have no hesitation in refusing."
The precept of his father, enforced when
they were about parting, and at a time when
his affections for that father were active and
intense, lingered in the mind of Thomas
70 LEARN TO SAY "NO."
Howland. He saw and felt its force, and
resolved to act in obedience to it, if ever
tempted to do wrong.
On leaving the paternal roof, he went to
a distant town, and entered the store of a
merchant, where were several young men
nearly of his own age-that is, between
eighteen and twenty. With one of these,
named Boyd, he soon formed an intimate
acquaintance. But, unfortunately, the moral
character of this young man was far from
being pure, or his principles from resting
upon the firm basis of truth and honour.
Associated with him at the same desk day
after day, his growing influence over Thomas
Howland soon became apparent in inducing
him to stay away from church on the Sab-
bath-day, and pass the time that had here-
tofore been spent in a place of worship in
roaming about the wharves of the city, or
in excursions into the country. This influ-
ence was slightly resisted; but Thomas felt
ashamed or reluctant to use the word "No,"
LEARN TO SAY NO." 71
on what seemed to all the young men around
him a matter of so little importance. Still,
his own heart condemned him, for he felt
that it would pain his father and mother ex-
72 LEARN TO SAY "NO."
ceedingly if they knew that he neglected to
attend church at least once on the Sabbath-
day; and he was, besides, self-convicted of
wrong in what seemed to him a violation of
the command, Remember the Sabbath-day,"
as. he had been taught to regard that
precept. But once having given way, he
felt almost powerless to resist the influence
that now bore upon him.
The next violation of what seemed to him
a right course for a young man to pursue,
was in suffering himself to be persuaded to
visit frequently the theatre; although his
father had expressly desired that he would
avoid a place where lurked, for the young
and inexperienced, so many dangers. He
was next easily persuaded to visit a favourite
eating-house, in which many hours were spent
during the evenings of each week, with Boyd
and others, in eating, drinking, and smoking.
Sometimes dominoes and back-gammon were
introduced, and at length were played for a
slight stake. To participate in this, Thomas
LEARN TO SAY "NO." 73
refused, on the plea that he did not know
enough of the games to risk anything. He
had not the moral courage to declare that
he considered it wrong to gamble.
All these departures from what he had
been taught by his father to consider a right
course, were attended by much uneasiness
and pain of mind. But he had yielded to
the tempter, and he could not now find the
power within him to resist his influence suc-
It happened, about six months after his
introduction to such an entirely new course
of life, that he was invited one evening by
his companion Boyd to call on a friend with
him. He had, on that day, received from
his father five pounds, with which to buy
himself a new suit of clothes, and a few
other necessary articles. He went, of course,
and was introduced to a very affable, gentle-
manly young man, in his room, at one of
the hotels. In a few minutes, wine and
cigars were ordered, and the three spent an
74 LEARN TO SAY "NO."
hour or so in drinking, smoking, and chit-
chat of no very elevating or refined char-
"Come, let us have a game of cards," at
last remarked Boyd's friend, during a pause
in the conversation; at the same time going
to his trunk, and producing a pack of cards.
"No objection," responded Boyd.
You will take a hand, of course ? said
the new friend, looking at Thomas How-
But Thomas said that he knew nothing
Oh, that's no matter! You can learn
in two minutes," responded the friend of
Young Howland felt reluctant; but he
could not resist the influence that was around
him, and so he consented to finger the cards
with the rest. As they gathered around the
table, a shilling was laid down by each of
the young men, who looked towards Thomas
as they did so.
LEARN TO SAY "NO." 75
"I cannot play for money," said How-
land, colouring; for he felt really ashamed
to acknowledge his scruples.
"And why not?" asked the friend of
Boyd, looking him steadily in the face.
"Because I think it wrong," stammered
out Howland, colouring still more deeply.
"Nonsense Is not your money your
own ? What harm, then, is there in your
doing with your own as you please ? urged
"But I do not know enough of the game
to risk my money."
"You don't think we would take advan-
tage of your ignorance ? said Boyd. The
stake is only to give interest to the game.
I would not give a copper for a game of
cards without a stake. Come, put down
your shilling; and we will promise to pay
you back all you lose, if you wish it, until
you acquire some skill."
But Thomas felt reluctant, and hesitated.
Nevertheless, he was debating the matter
76 LEARN TO SAY "NO."
in his mind seriously, and every moment
that reluctance was growing weaker.
"Will you play? asked Boyd in a de-
cided tone, breaking in upon his debate.
"I had rather not," replied Thomas, try-
ing to smile, so as to conciliate his false
You are afraid of your money," said
Boyd, in a half-sneering tone.
"It is not that, Boyd."
"Then what is it, pray ?"
"I am afraid that it is not right."
This was answered by a loud laugh from
his two companions, which touched Thomas
a good deal, and made him feel more
ashamed of the scruples that held him back
from entering into the temptation.
Come, down with your stake, How-
land !" said Boyd, after he had finished his
The hand of Thomas was in his pocket,
and his fingers had grasped the silver coin,
yet still he hesitated.
LEARN TO SAY NO." 77
"Will you play, or not ?" asked Boyd's
friend, with something of impatience in his
tone. "Say yes, or no."
For a moment the mind of Thomas be-
came confused; then the perception came
upon him as clear as a sunbeam, that it was
wrong to gamble. He remembered, too,
vividly, his father's parting injunction.
"No !" he said, firmly and decidedly.
Both of his companions looked disap-
pointed and angry.
"What did you bring him here for ? he
heard Boyd's companion say to him in an
undertone, while a frown darkened upon
The reply did not reach his ear; but he
felt that his company was no longer pleasant,
and rising, he bade them a formal good-
evening, and hurriedly retired. That little
word no had saved him. The scheme was,
to win from him his five pounds, and then in-
volve him in "debts of honour," as they are
falsely called, which would compel him to
78 LEARN TO SAY NO."
draw upon his father for more money, or
abstract it from his employer, a system
which had been pursued by Boyd, and
which was discovered only a week subse-
quent, when the young man was discharged
in disgrace. It then came out that he had
been for months in secret association with a
gambler, and that the two shared together
their spoils and peculations.
This incident roused Thomas Howland to
a distinct consciousness of the danger that
lurked in his path, as a young man, in a
large city. He felt, as he had not felt
while simply listening to his father's pre-
cept, the value of the word no; and re-
solved that hereafter he would utter that
little word-and that, too, decidedly-when-
ever urged to do what his judgment did not
"I will be free!" he said, pacing his
chamber backward and forward. "I will
be free hereafter No one shall persuade me
or drive me to do what I feel to be wrong."
LEARN TO SAY NO." 79
That resolution was his safeguard ever
after. When tempted-and he was tempted
frequently-his "No decided the matter at
once. There was a power in it that was
all-sufficient in resisting evil.
,- A ,
"* .'- ../- ,,"
"-.- .-.-.1 ,, --..
Litt tIC Chli '[ tL 3 c i l. i l.
h *,WALTER and Charlie Harrison
were the sons of a sea-captain,
and lived in one of the fine old
Th seaport towns of M--.
These boys were as unlike as
two brothers could well be. Walter was a
rough, plain boy, large of his age, and rather
clumsy, with a passionate, jealous temper,
which gave his friends a great deal of
trouble. But he had some noble qualities;
he was as brave as a young lion, faithful,
diligent, perfectly honest and truthful, and
sometimes very tender in his feelings.
Charlie, some two years younger than
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 81
Walter, was a delicate, beautiful, sweet-
tempered boy, who loved everybody, and, in
return, was greatly beloved. He was fair,
pale, and slight, with blue eyes and golden
curls. Walter said he looked like a girl,
and sometimes laughed at his delicacy ; but,
for all that, he was jealous of the poor
child's beauty-even of his weakness.
Captain Harrison was most of the time
at sea, and his gentle wife found it difficult
to control the impatient spirit, or correct
the even more unamiable moodiness, of her
eldest son. If she reproved him sternly, he
would often accuse her of being partial to
her youngest and handsomest son, and say
that she petted and indulged Charlie so
much, that he could not be disobedient, or
give her any trouble; he himself, he said,
would be good, if he were so treated.
Walter really thought himself slighted
and unloved, because he knew he was very
plain, and he saw his sickly brother cared
for constantly. He never seemed to think
82 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
how ridiculous it would look in his mother
to be nursing and petting a stout, healthy
boy, who was one of the strongest wrestlers,
and the best hand with the ball, in all the
Walter, with all his fine health, was often
silent and sullen, while his brother was sel-
dom prevented by his illness from being
cheerful and talkative. So it was very
natural for visitors to notice Charlie the
most, and, as they supposed he needed
amusing, to send him books and make him
presents. All this "partiality was shown
to his brother, Walter said, because he hap-
pened to have a fair face; while he did not
know how to put himself forward. Charlie
was grieved at this, and always wished to
share his gifts with his brother ; but Walter
could never be persuaded to accept any-
One time, when Charlie was about ten
years old, his mother had a visit from a
pious maiden aunt, who spent some weeks
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 83
in the family. During Miss Hannah Per-
kins' stay, she became much attached to
quiet little Charlie ; but as Walter gave
way to his temper two or three times before
her, and made sport of some of her queer
ways, she did not like him overmuch, though
she thought he might be made a good boy
of, with proper management. She wondered
how his mother could let such fits of passion
and such naughty tricks pass without severe
punishment. If he were her child, she said,
she would soon whip that bad temper out of
him. But Mrs. Harrison believed that one
blow would put more evil passion into the
heart of such a proud boy as Walter than
she could ever get out.
She never failed seriously to reprove his
faults and wrong actions; and she knew
(what she told no one) that Walter would
always come to her, after an outburst of im-
patience or bad feeling, and ask her forgive-
ness. She knew that he loved her, his
father, brother, and little sister, intensely:
84 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
so she was patient, and prayed God to soften
the heart and subdue the temper of her un-
A short time after Aunt Hannah re-
turned home, she sent the boys each a book.
Charlie's happened to be opened first. It
was a handsome illustrated copy of Robin-
son Crusoe." Walter then eagerly opened
his own, which was rather gaily bound. It
was "The Memoirs of a Sunday-school
Scholar." Walter flung it down, saying
angrily, "What did the old maid send me
this for, I wonder ? I have had enough of
such things out of the Sunday-school library.
She did not send you such a humdrum sort
of a book, Charlie. I suppose she thought
you were pious enough without."
0 brother," said Charlie, "don't talk so
hard. I am sure Aunt Hannah meant very
kindly by us both."
Walter took up his book, and began look-
ing through it; but he soon broke out
again-" Pshaw just as I thought; no-
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 85
thing but early piety,' early piety.'
Why, couldn't she have sent me some story
about wars, or pirates, or even Indians?
I am tired to death of 'early piety !'"
"You will never trouble your friends
with it, my son," said Mrs. Harrison, who
had just entered the room. Walter started
and blushed; he did not know that his
mother was so near. But he replied,
sullenly, I wish I might not trouble them
in any way any longer. It would be better
for all if I were dead and buried; for I'm
of no use in the world, and nobody loves
After having said these unkind words,
Walter took his ball-club, and went out to
the village green, where the boys were al-
ready at play. Charlie soon followed; not
to mingle in the sport, for he was not
strong enough for that, but he loved always
to watch his brother, and felt proud of his
skill and strength.
After about half an hour's play, many of
86 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
the boys set out for home, as a hard storm
seemed coming on. The clouds were roll-
ing up thick and black, the lightning
flashed, and the thunder broke overhead.
Walter Harrison, who had appeared half
angry in all his play, was now leaning
against the side of the church, within a yard
or two of the lightning-rod. The boys called
to him to come away, as he was in a danger-
ous place; but Walter would not stir.
Charlie ran up to him, and begged him to
go home; but he only said, I don't care
if the lightning does strike me. I tell you
again, I'm of no use in the world-nobody
loves me. You may run home, if you are
"I am not afraid for myself, brother,"
said Charlie, his lip quivering; but I will
go home and beg mamma to come for
Charlie had not run half across the green,
when there came a great blaze of lightning,
and a heavy crash of thunder, which seemed
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 87
to shake the very ground. The boys who
were looking toward the church said that
they saw the lightning roll down the rod
like a ball of fire, and disappear in the
earth ; and that, at the same instant, Walter
fell to the ground. They ran to him at
once, raised him up, and carried him home.
The poor boy's eyes and mouth were open,
but he seemed quite dead. The doctor was
sent for-came immediately-took Walter
from the bed, laid him on the floor, and be-
gan pouring cold water upon him by the
bucketful. Mrs. Harrison had been strangely
calm at first; but when Walter began to
show some little signs of life, the joy was
more than she could bear, and she fainted
away. She went from one fainting fit into
another; and when Walter was at last so
much restored as to ask for her, she was
lying quite insensible. Then first he knew
how deeply and dearly his mother loved him.
Little Charlie threw himself down by Walter,
in the water, which was flooding the room,
88 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
and the brothers kissed one another, and
cried for joy. It was many days before
Walter was entirely well; but when he did
get about, everybody noticed a great change
in him. He was more kind and pleasant;
far less jealous and passionate, he was
happier, and made others happier, than ever
before. He was so sure now that his mother
truly loved him; and he knew, he said, that
he could never again be jealous of his little
brother. But, alas! Walter did not know
himself. When he was fourteen, and his
brother still called "Little Charlie "-
about twelve, a wealthy uncle came from
Boston for a brief visit. As this gentleman
had no family, it was thought that Walter,
who had been named for him, would be the
heir to his fortune. For this very reason,
Walter was too proud to pay him any court;
indeed, he hardly paid him proper respect
and attention, and was generally silent and
reserved in his presence. -Mr. Rodgers did
not understand this manner ; he thought
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 89
Walter sullen and cold, and, though he could
not but see that he was an honest, intelli-
gent boy, he was not, on the whole, pleased
with him. But, like all other visitors, he
was quite charmed with little Charlie; and
he had not been long gone from the village,
before there arrived from Boston a beauti-
ful white pony, handsomely saddled and
bridled, For Master Charles Harrison."
In a letter to his sister, Mr. Rodgers said,
" Thinking that a daily ride may benefit my
little invalid nephew, I send a pony, which
is both spirited and docile. I hope that
Charlie will accept it, with the kind wishes
of' Uncle Walter.'"
Both Mrs. Harrison and Charlie were
pained that no present came for Walter,
and that he was scarcely mentioned in the
letter; while, as for Walter, he felt the old
jealous feeling boiling up from his heart,
hotter than ever, and said some hard things,
which he had better have left unsaid.
"Why, brother," said Charlie, "the pony
90 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
shall be as much yours as mine; you may
ride it every day."
No, I won't !" answered Walter,
angrily; I never will mount it, as long as
I live. I wouldn't be so mean."
But Walter had little cause to be envious
of his brother, who was quite too weak to
ride his pretty pony. A few rods only gave
him a severe pain in the side-so very deli-
cate was poor Charlie.
This spring he seemed far worse than
usual; he did not complain, but he daily
grew weak and languid, till finally he could
no longer be about the house.
One afternoon, when he came from school,
Walter found Charlie sitting up in his bed,
writing; but he hid his paper and pencil
under the pillow when he saw his brother,
and hastily wiped away some tears which
were on his cheek. That very night he
grew much worse; a fever came on, and he
was quite delirious. All night long they
watched over him, with great anxiety, and
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 91
during the next day, though he was more
quiet, and slept most of the time. When
awake, he did not speak much, or seem to
recognize any one.
Just at sunset, Walter was sitting in his
own chamber by the window, with his face
hidden in the curtains-for he was grieving
for his gentle brother, who was like to die
-when his mother entered, holding a paper
in her hand. Walter saw that she had
been weeping, as she said, "I found this
paper under little Charlie's pillow; you
may read it, if you will."
Walter opened it, saw that it was in
Charlie's handwriting, and read :-
MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
I leave to my dear mamtma my gold-clasped Bible,
my trunk, and all my clothes, except my new green cloth
roundabout, which I leave to -ousin John, because he likes
it, and it just fits him. To my papa I leave my pictures
of Jesus Christ stilling the Tempest, and the fight be-
tween the Constitution and Guerriere," my seal of
Hope and the Anchor, and the Voyages of Captain Cook."
92 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
To my sister Clara I leave my canaries, my pet squirrel,
my flowers, and all my fairy story-books. To my brother
Walter I give the rest ofmy library, my chessboard and men,
my battledores and shuttlecock, my rabbits, my dog, and
my white pony; and when I am dead, I hope he will believe
I have loved him dearly. CHARLES HARRISON.
Walter wept bitterly over this will; but
when he had grown calm, he said, May I
go to him, mother ?" "If you will promise
not to disturb him," she answered. Walter
promised, and stole softly into the chamber,
where Charlie was now alone, sleeping
quietly. He knelt down by the bed-side,
hid his face in the counterpane, and silently
prayed God to forgive all his sins, to give
him a better heart, and to make his brother
well again. Suddenly he felt a soft hand
laid on his head. He looked up, and
Charlie's mild blue eyes were smiling on
him. "Come and sit near me," he said;
and Walter then lifted a chair to the bed-side,
and read to him out of the sacred Volume.
While they were thus engaged, they
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 93
heard some unusual noise below, and then
their mother coming upstairs with some one
WALTER AT HIlS 3l OTIIERS BED-SIDE.
who stepped a little heavier. It was their
father, returned from his longest and last
94 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
sea voyage Now he promised to stay at
home with them always.
The return of Captain Harrison did more
than medicine to cure his little son, who
soon became stronger than he had ever been
One afternoon, when Charlie had been a
fortnight about the house, it was arranged
that he should take a short ride on his white
pony, soon after breakfast the next day.
When Walter came down in the morning,
his mother kissed him more tenderly than
usual, and his father, shaking hands with him
heartily, wished him many happy returns of
the day. Walter looked as though he did
not know what to make of this, and his
mother said, "Why, my son, is it possible
you have forgotten this is your birthday ?"
"Ah, yes, mamma," he answered; "I only
remembered that it was Charlie's first day
"And so," said his father, "you are to
give him a ride; pray, what are you to do ?"
LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL. 95
Oh, I'11 trot along by his side, on foot,
I believe I can outrun that pony now."
When breakfast was over, Walter helped.
his brother into the saddle, and was arrang-
ing the bridle, when Charlie called out, joy-
fully, Look there, brother !" pointing with
his riding-whip to another white pony, some-
what larger than his own, standing on the
other side of the yard. Walter ran to it,
took off a slip of paper which was pinned to
the rein, and read: Will Walter, our first-
born and beloved son, accept this birthday
gift from his parents ?"
Walter laid his face against the slender,
arching neck of his beautiful pony, and
burst into tears. But he was too happy to
weep long ; he soon ran into the house,
thanked and kissed his father and mother,
ran out again, mounted, and rode off with
They had a fine ride. They had many
fine rides together in the years that followed;
for Charlie continued to improve, till he be-
96 LITTLE CHARLIE'S WILL.
came quite strong and vigorous. As for
Walter, he always kept his robust health;
he did not grow to be handsome, but he be-
came what is far better, truly amiable and
agreeable. Even Aunt Hannah Perkins
grew to liking him at last; and Uncle Walter
Rogers, who sent him to college, has been
heard to declare that he shall leave him all
his fortune-knowing that he will not hoard
it like a miser, nor waste it like a spend-
thrift, but so use it as to do a great deal of
good, and make a great many people happy.
But I do not believe that the writing that
gives to Walter Harrison a large sum of
money, land, and houses, will ever be so
dear to him as a little scrap of paper, which
he keeps among his most valuable and
sacred things in his private desk, and on
which he has written, "LITTLE CHARLIE'S