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WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY CROOME.
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & 00.
in the Clerkâ€™s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of
STEREOTYPED BY 1. JOHNSON & OO.
THE POOR WOODCUTTER..........000 ccssscerescccceses socessece
AN EVENING AT HOME.........cccssssseessosssscctscneesecsceece
THE TEMPERANCE MEETING IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S
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TLL SEB ABOUT IT........ssssresosscsecssrsesccensenterce assesses
A GOOD INVESTMENT os cccscsescecresceeseensnseeessceeeee
THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT, AND THE MAN..........
THE MERCHANT'S DREAM.,....cccccsssescccsessnseessacseesesces
WHILE several volumes in this series of books
for the young are addressed to childrenas child-
ren, others, like this one, are addressed to them
as our future men and women, toward which estate
they are rapidly advancing, and in which they will
need for their guidance all things good and true
that can be stored up in their memories. Most
of the actors are men and women,â€”and the trials
and temptations to which they are subjected, such
as are experienced in maturer years. The object
is to fix in the young mind, by familiar illustra-
tions, true principles and just views of life and
its varied responsibilities.
THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
S Mr. Edgar was leaving the break-
- fast room, one cold morning in Febru-
ary, his wife called after him, and saidâ€”
â€œQur wood is gone; we must have more
â€œNot all gone!â€ returned Mr. Edgar, in
a tone of surprise.
â€œYes. Sally says there are only three
or four sticks in the cellar.â€
â€œT thought we had enough to last all
winter,â€ said Mr. Edgar.
â€œThe cold has been unusually severe,
you must remember,â€ was replied.
â€œT know. But it is now only the begin-
ning of February. A cord of good hickory
10 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
wood ought to have lasted all winter. Per-
kins says he doesnâ€™t burn but one cord in
his air-tight stove from November to April.â€
â€œT donâ€™t know how it is,â€ said Mrs. Ed-
gar, a little fretfully; â€œTm sure the nursery
is never too warm.â€™
â€œIt's wasted by the servants in kindling
fires in the range and heater, I suppose,â€
remarked Mr. Edgar, as he closed the door
after him, and went away.
Mr. Edgar happened to feel just at this
time, particularly poor. His income was
not large, yet ample, if dispensedawith pro-
per care, for the comfortable support of his
family. A rather freer use of money than
was prudent, all things considered, had
drained his purse so low as to bring on, as
just said, a feeling of poverty;-and the
thought of having to pay out four or five
dollars for wood, when he had believed that
there was fuel enough in the cellar to last
until spring opened, was, in consequence,
most unpleasant. It seemed little better
than throwing so much money away. No
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 11
syeh feeling was experienced a week before,
when he paid three dollars for concert
tickets, nor when, a few days previously,
he expended ten dollars in porcelain orna-
ments for the pier-table and mantel.
But it was in liberality of this kind that
the poor feeling had its origin. Mr. Ed-
gar found that money had been going too
freely, and that the purse-strings must be
held with a tighter hand. Too suddenly
upon this resolution came-the announce-
ment that more wood was needed. â€”
â€œTl get only a quarter of a cord,â€ said
Mr. Edgar, as he walked along toward
his office; â€œthat, surely, ought to carry
us through the cold weather.â€
But on reflection, seeing that it was only
the first week in February, and that fire
would have to be-kept up in-the stove for
nearly three months, Mr. Edgar rather
doubted the ability of a quarter of a cord
of wood to afford the amount of warmth
required. This conclusion of his mind was
evidenced by a sigh. Instead of going di-
12 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
rect to the wharf and making the purchase,
Mr. Edgar went to his office, where he gave
up his thoughts to business until about
half-past two o'clock. He then stepped
down to the wharf, to purchase the wood
previously to going home to dinner. He
had settled the question as to the quantity
that must be bought. Nothing less than
half a cord would be sufficient.
The day was very cold; colder than he
â€˜had supposed; for in his comfortable office
but few evidences of the degree of tempera-
ture without was apparent. As he drew
near the wood-wharves on the Delaware,
. the sharp wind came rushing by, causing
him to shiver beneath his double-wadded
â€œAny wood, sir?â€ inquired a carter,
tipping his hat to Mr. Edgar, as that gen-
tleman reached the wharves.
â€œYes,â€ was replied indifferently.
â€œMay I haul it, sir?â€
â€œâ€˜T donâ€™t care.â€
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 18
â€œDo you wish it sawed?â€ eagerly asked
â€œOh yes.â€ So that much was settled.
Into the little six-by-eight office of the
corder, Mr. Edgar thrust himself. It was
filled with men, poorly clad, and bearing
about them many signs of extreme poverty.
Most of them were there waiting for some
job to turn up by which they could earn a
trifle. The extreme cold had driven them
into the office.
Mr. Edgar looked at these poor men,
but he did not feel any pity forthem. Not
that he was indifferent to human want or
suffering; but his mind was intent on
knowing the price of wood, and he was
somewhat worried at being compelled to
expend money when he felt so very poor.
â€œWhat is hickory?â€ inquired Mr. Ed-
gar, as he crowded up to the corderâ€™s desk.
â€œSix dollars,â€ was the answer.
â€œDo you want it sawed, sir?â€ inquired
@ man in a quick voice. .
â€œT have a sawyer,â€ replied Mr Edgar.
14 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
â€œ Shall I haul it for you?â€ asked another.
- â€œToo late, Jack,â€ answered a man with
a whip under his arm, smiling as he spoke;
â€œTm ahead of you in that job.â€
â€œWhat is oak?â€ inquired Mr. Edgar,
who thought the hickory too high in price.
â€œFive and a quarter.â€
â€œThe difference is too small. I must
have the hickory,â€ was replied.
â€œâ€œHow much do you want?â€ asked the
â€œOnly half a cord.â€
â€œDo you wish it split?â€ inquired a man
who looked as if he was acquainted with
few of the comforts of life, and was not
over-supplied with things necessary.
â€œNo,â€ replied the buyer, an expression
of impatience escaping him.
â€œWalk out and look at the wood,â€ said
the corder; â€˜ you'll find none better on the
â€œ The price is high.â€
â€œ Not for this season. Last year, hickory
brought seven dollars.â€
THE POOR WOODCUTTER.. 15
Mr. Edgar felt that six dollars was very
high. Five and a half he had fixed asa
maximum rate in his mind.
â€œWell, I suppose I must take it,â€ fell
from his lips in company with asigh. And
he moved down toward the great piles of
wood on the wharf, to look at the article
he was purchasing. The carter and saw-
â€˜yer were by his side. After selecting the
wood, he inquired of the former as to the
price of hauling.
â€œ Three â€™ levies,â€ replied the carter.
â€œToo much. I have never paid over
half-a-dollar a cord.â€
â€œItâ€™s the regular price for half a cord of
hickory,â€ returned the carter.
â€œâ€˜ What are you going to charge me for
sawing ?â€ asked Mr. Edgar, turning towards
a poor Irishman, who stood by with his
saw on his arm.
â€œâ€˜ How many cuts will there be ?â€
â€œTwo. I want it sawed intothree pieces.â€
â€œThat will be just a cord ?â€
16 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
â€œ Seventy-five cents.â€
â€œThree quarters is the price of sawing
â€˜â€œâ€˜T'm sure I never paid over half-a-dollar,
or sixty-two cents, at most.â€
â€œYou may have got pine or oak sawed
for that, but not hickory,â€ said the sawyer.
â€œTs three quarters the regular price ?â€
inquired Mr. Edgar of the carter.
â€œYes, sir,â€ answered the man of the
_ whip, â€œthey always get that. And Iâ€™m
sure, sir, that if you were to run a saw
through a cord of hard, seasoned hickory,
you wouldn't think yourself too well paid
even at seventy-five cents.â€
This was a form of argument that car-
ried with it a convincing force. Mr. Ed-
gar disputed the charge no further. While
he yet stood musing over the great price
his half-cord was going to cost him, the
man who had asked if he did not wish it
split, and who had followed him along the
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 17
wharf, said, as he touched his hat re-
â€œTd like to split it for you, sir.â€
â€˜ Mr. Edgar remembered, by this time,
that he had no one at home who could split
the wood after it was sawed. So he in-
quired as to the cost, remarking, at the
same time, that, as it was for an air-tight
stove, not more than half of it would need
to be cleft, and that only into two pieces
â€œTl do it for half-a-dollar,â€ said the
â€œ Half-adollar!â€ returned Mr. Edgar, in
surprise; â€œwhy you ask more than the
cost of hauling. Oh no! I shall give no
such price as thatâ€”Tll split the wood my-
self, first. If you choose to do it for a
quarter, you may. Not one half of it will
have to be touched with an axe.â€
The man shook his head, and said that
he couldnâ€™t walk overâ€™a mile and split half
a cord of wood for twenty-five cents, even
if he was very poor.
18 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
â€œYou're doing nothing,â€ remarked Mr.
â€œThough I may get a job before night
worth a dollar, instead of a quarter.â€
Mr. Edgar felt, as he looked at the man,
whose clothes were poor, and above whose
thin face masses of gray hair were visible,
that it was hardly generous to beat him
down so low for a job of work that it would
take him at least a couple of hours, if not
more, to perform, so he saidâ€”
â€œThe wood is merely to be thrown into
+e vault beneath the pavement. If you
will pile it after it is in, Pll give you half
â€œVery well,â€ replied the man, Â«I will
Mr. Edgar next obtained his bill from
the corder, and paying it, started home to
It was nearly four o'clock when the wood
arrived. Half an hour afterward, Mr.
Edgar sat down in his parlour with one of
his children on his lap, and glanced out of
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 19
the window. The wood-sawyer, a hearty-
looking Irishman, was working away with
an energy that brought the perspiration to
his face, although the thermometer was
within five degrees of zero; but the other
man, who was splitting the wood and
throwing it into the cellar, was slower in
his movements, and appeared to be suffer-
ing from the severity of the weather. As
Mr. Edgar sat at the window of his warm
and comfortable parlour, and looked out at
this poor man, who swung his axe slowly,
he noticed his countenance more particu-
larly than he had done before. It was
marked with many furrows, worn into it
by toil or suffering, and had something
subdued and sad, as if affliction and disap-
pointment had been his attendants at some
part of his journey through life. As Mr.
Edgar looked at him, marking the slow
progress he made in his hard work, and
then thought of the many comforts he en-
joyed, a feeling of pity came into his heart.
â€œPoor man! You have to work hard
20 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
for so small a pittance,â€ he said to himself,
as he sighed and moved from the window.
He made an effort, in doing this, to turn
his thoughts. from the man; but this was
not so easily accomplished. In thinking
of him, he could not help contrasting his
own labour and its reward, with the labour
and reward of the woodcutter.
â€œTt will take him at least two hours to
get through with this work,â€ said he men-
tally; â€œand what will the hard labour yield?
Fifty cents! And, in all probability, he
has a wife and children at home. Ah me!
the condition of the poor is hard enough.â€
With these thoughts came an inclination
to pay the man more for his work than he
had agreed to give him. This, however,
was met, instantly, by an opposing argu-
ment that arose in his mind almost spon-
â€œA halfdollar for two hoursâ€™ work,â€
said he, â€œis very good for a labouring-man.
Why, that would be two dollars-and-a-half
for a dayâ€™s work of ten hours.â€
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 21
To meet this came the thought that split-
ting and piling wood was not steady work;
and that, in all probability, the halfcord
upon which the man was now engaged, was
his only job for the day. This view of the
case was not so pleasant.
A recollection of some business at his
office which required attention on that af-
ternoon, caused these thoughts to retire.
â€˜When the man is done piling away the
wood in the cellar, pay him half-a-dollar,â€
said Mr. Edgar to his wife, as he was leav-
Â¢ing the house to proceed to his office.
It was after six oâ€™clock when Mr. Edgar
returned home. The wind rushed and
â€˜moaned along the streets, and the cold,
which had increased by several degrees
since midday, penetrated his warm gar-
ments, and caused him to shiver as the
chilly air seemed to pass through them as
if they were but gossamer. On arriving at
home, Mr. Edgar was rather surprised to
find the man he had employed still cutting
22 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
wood in front of his house, although it â€˜was
getting quite dark.
â€œ Aâ€™nâ€™t you done yet?â€ said he, as he
stood at his door.
â€œVery nearly,â€ replied the man. â€œTI
have only a few sticks more to split, and
it won't take me a great while to pile it up
in the cellar.â€
Mr. Edgar went in and joined his family,
who were gathered in the parlours await-
ing his return. His children were all well
clad, healthy, and happy, and both he and
his family were in the enjoyment of every
comfort. As he sat down among them, he
could not help thinking of the man at work
before his door, nor was he able to repress
a faint sigh, as he thought of what would
be the condition of his beloved ones were
he able to earn only the pittance he had
grudged to the poor labourer.
But these thoughts gradually retired, and
the man was not again remembered until
they were all assembled in the dining-room
to partake of the evening meal. Then, the
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 28
room being in the basement, Mr. Edgar
could hear him piling the wood below. It
was full three hours since the work was
commenced, and yet it was not completed.
He was in a warm, bright room, clad in his
dressing-gown; and with his family around
him, while the poor woodcutter was in the
cold cellar, alone, toiling by the light of a
dim lamp, with his thoughts turning, per-
haps, upon his little ones who awaited his
coming that they might divide the loaf he
would bring them.
As he thought thus, Mr. Edgar felt how
small was the price that awaited the com-
pletion of the poor manâ€™s task.
â€œT will pay him more,â€ said he, in his
own mind. But the moment this was con-
cluded, he remembered that, to do so, would
increase the price of his half-cord of wood.
The poor feeling came back, and he saidâ€”
â€œT canâ€™t afford this. If I were to over-
pay every one after this fashion, I would
find myself badly off by the end of the year.
The carter and wood-sawyer are just as
24 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
much entitled to a higher rate of payment
asthisman. They have the fixing of their
own price, and if they are satisfied, J am
sure I ought to be.â€
But, for all this, humanity kept urging
the claims of the woodcutter in the cellar.
Sometimes Mr. Edgar would determine to
act generously, and hand him seventy-five
cents on the completion of his work. But
that would make his half-cord of wood cost
nearly five dollars.
â€œIf I were to increase all my expenses
at this rate,â€ he argued with himself, â€œTI
would be in debt several hundred dollars
at the end of the year.â€
And then he would fall back to his ori-
ginal state, and content himself with the
reflection that fifty cents was enough for
â€œA smart man could have done it in
half the time it has taken him.â€
This thought laid the matter to rest; but
the rest was only temporary. Thought is
the form of the affection; and sympathy
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. | 25
for the poor woodcutter clothed itself,
spontaneously, in generous thoughts.
At length the work was done. Mr. Ed-
gar heard the manâ€™s slow, heavy tread, as
he ascended the cellar-stairs. Now came
the struggle between humanity and the
poor feeling from which he had suffered all
day. More than a dozen times, before the
servant came in and said that the wood-
cutter had. finished his work, did he alter
his mind. Now he had seventy-five cents
in his fingers, and now fifty. .
â€œ Half-a-dollar is enoughâ€”it is all he
asked,â€ he would say, as he commenced
drawing his hand from his pocket with only
the single coin in his fingers. â€˜But he is
poor, and has worked very hard. A quar-
ter of a dollar is a little matter to you, but
much to him,â€ would cause the hand to
dive down again into the pocket, and take
up an additional twenty-five cent piece.
But from the other side would come a
word, and then only the halfdollar re-
26 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
â€œThe man is done,â€ said a domestic,
opening the door of the dining-room, while
this debate was still going on.
The time for the decision had arrived ;
yet the question was not settled. Regard
for anotherâ€™s good had not been able to
gain the victory over selfishness. There
was still an active struggle. But the ne-
cessity for an instant determination caused
a slight confusion in the mind of Mr. Ed-
gar, and in this state the halfdollar was
handed to the domestic, who took the mo-
ney and retired. He heard her close the
door after herâ€”heard her speak to the man
in the entry, and heard the man walk away ;
while a painful conviction that he had not
done right in the case before him impressed
itself upon his mind. Now that it was too
late to recall the act, he deeply regretted
what he had done, or rather what he had
neglected to do, and felt that in saving the
fourth of a dollar, he had gained only a
â€œTo think,â€ he murmured to himself,
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 27
â€œthat I could have-let the saving of such
a paltry sum restrain me from the perform-
ance of an act of humanity. I spend dol-
lars in the gratification of my senses, and
part freely with the money in doing so;
but when the question of compensation to
a poor labouring-man comes up, I chaffer for
the value of a few pennies, and beat down
to a minimum price, instead of taking a
pleasure in paying liberally. Ah me! what
strange inconsistency !â€
Leaving Mr. Edgar to his not very plea-
sant reflections, we will follow the wood-
cutter. His name was Harlan. He had
been better off than nowâ€”-owning at one
time a small farm near the city, from which
he derived a comfortable support for his
family. In an evil hour he was induced
to sell this farm and remove to Philadelphia,
for the purpose of keeping a store. The
result was as might have been expected.
Knowing nothing of business, he was not
able to conduct it successfully. By the
end of three years, he found himself unable
28 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
to go on any longer. Losses from trust
ing out his goods, and from unwise pur-
chases, added to the greatly increased ex-
pense of his family from residing in a city,
consumed all that he had, and he was forced
to close his store, sell off his stock, and set-
tle up the business. If, after this, he had
been even with the world, it would not
have been so bad. But debt was added to
the burden of his troubles.
The question, â€œ What next to do?â€ was
now more easily asked than answered.
Mr. Harlan had no trade at which he could
work, and was comparatively a stranger in
the city. His chances for getting employ-
ment were, therefore, small; and as winter
was closing in, he might well begin to feel
deeply troubled, especially as his family
consisted of his wife and three children.
In order to meet some of the most urgent
of his creditors, who were not satisfied when
they saw the man broken up in business,
and every barrel, box, and package of his
goods sold off, and the proceeds distributed,
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 29
but still clamoured for their pay and threat-
ened all manner of consequences if the mo-
ney did not come, he sold the best of his
â€˜furnitureâ€”thus depriving his family of
many comforts, and reducing himself to a
still lower position.
â€œWhat shall I do?â€
Ah! how often and anxiously was that
question asked, and how silent was all
around after its utterance. Bread must be
had for his little ones, and no man was
more willing to work for it than he; but
who would give him work? By aneighbour
who had dealt in his store, and with whom
he conferred on the subject, he was advised.
to try and get a place as labourer in one of
the stores on the wharves. Acting on this
suggestion, he visited the store of every
merchant from South to Vine streets, and
asked for work ; but without success. The
fall business was over, and many were dis-
pensing with regular aid instead of employ-
â€œâ€˜T must do something,â€ said the unhap-
80 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
py man, in this crisis of his affairs. â€œT
will saw woodâ€”do any thing for my chil-
dren. How does Gardiner manage to get
bread?â€ he asked of the neighbour before
mentioned. He spoke of a poor man
living not far off.
â€œBy picking up odd jobs along the
wharves,â€ replied the man. â€œHe splits
and piles up wood, carries bundles, and
does little turns of one kind and another
for people who may happen to need his
On this hint Harlan acted. He went
on the next day to the wharf, with an axe
under his arm, and came home at night as
poor as he had gone out in the morning.
Several opportunities had offered for ob-
~ taining work, but more eager seekers for
employment thrust him aside and secured
even the jobs for which he had half bar-
gained. On the day following, he was
more successful, and earned a dollar.
From that time he went to the wharves
regularly in search of work. Sometimes
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 81
he did not earn half-a-dollar during the
whole day; at other times he did better.
But the avarage of his gains was not over
four dollars a week. This sum he found
altogether insufficient for the wants of his
family. Many privations were the conse-
quence. Sickness came at last to add to
the distress of the unhappy man. For two
weeks he was confined to the houseâ€”most
of the time to his bedâ€”and had it not been
for the kindness and charity of some neigh-
bours, his family would have suffered for
As soon as he could get out again, and
before he had so far recovered his strength
as to be really able to go to work, he was
on the wharf, seeking employment. He
earned but a trifle on the first and second
days, and on the third day his only job was
that obtained from Mr. Edgar. The split-
ting and piling of half a cord of seasoned
hickory wood was work beyond his strength.
It took him full three hours to perform it,
and when he received his wages and turn-
82 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
ed his steps homeward, his head was ach-
ing violently ; he felt feverish, and almost
staggered as he walked.
Mr. Edgar, as has been seen, was far
from feeling happy. He could not get the
thought of the poor labouring-man out of
his mind, try as he would, nor help feeling
that, even though he had paid him the
price agreed upon for his work, he had not
dealt by him fairly. So occupied was his
mind with this idea, that he was not able
to sleep for nearly two hours after retiring
for the night. With the morning came
back the same thoughts. He felt troubled
and ashamed. On going to his office, he
found himself still haunted by the manâ€™s
â€˜Image. Finally he determined to go to
the wharves, search him out, and pay him .
half-a-dollar more, in hopes thus to ease
his conscience, or lay the troubled spirit
that was haunting him. Acting up to this
resolution, Mr. Edgar went down to the
Delaware, and walked along the wood-
wharves for ten or fifteen minutes, in hopes
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 83
of seeing the man. But his search was not
successful. As he was about going away,
he met the sawyer who had been at his
house on the day before, and remembered
â€œHave you seen any thing of the man
who split my wood for me yesterday ?â€ he
asked of the sawyer.
â€˜â€œâ€˜He hasn't been on the wharf to-day,â€
â€˜â€œÂ¢ Where does he live ?â€
â€œIn Federal street, near Seventh.â€
â€œDo you know his name ?â€
â€œYes, sir. His name is Harlan.â€
â€œTs he very poor ?â€
â€œYes, sir; and heâ€™s been sick. He
wasnâ€™t able to undertake such a job as he
had yesterday, and Iâ€™m afraid it has put
â€œ Has he a family ?â€
â€œOh yes. He has a wife and children.â€
Mr. Edgar stood musing for some mo-
ments. Then he asked particularly as to
84 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
the manâ€™s residence, and on being told, went
In a small room, in the third story of a
house in the lower part of the city, sat a
man in adeeply desponding attitude. Three
children were near him, the oldest not over
seven years of age; and a woman stood by
the fire of a few coals that scarcely took the
chill from the air of the small apartment,
washing. The woman worked on in si-
lence, and the man sat with his eyes
gloomily cast upon the floor.
â€œIndeed, Jane,â€ said the man, â€˜I must
go out and earn something today. All
that I received yesterday is gone; and
when our dinner is eaten, there will not
be a mouthful of food left.â€
The man, as he walked across the room,
staggered, and had to lean against the wall
to support himself. He was very pale, and
his eyes were drooping and dim.
The wife left her washing instantly, and
going to her husbandâ€™s side, took hold of
his arm and drew him towards the bed
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 35
that was in the room, saying, as she did
â€œYou must lie down, Henry. Indeed
you must; for you are sick. Donâ€™t think
of going out. You are not able to work,
and the attempt will do you harm. Iam
sure you could not walk a square.â€
While she yet spoke, she had drawn him
to the bed, upon which he sank down,
â€œâ€˜ Heaven help us!â€
Just then came a knock at the door.
On being opened, a man stepped in and
â€œDoes Mr. Harlan live here ?â€
At this inquiry, the sick man started up,
and recognised in the visiter the person
for whom he had done the job of work on
the day previous, that had proved too
much for his strength. Hope instantly
came into his despairing heart, and he
â€œOQ sirâ€”save my children !â€
All night the man had lain in a raging
86 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
fever, and his pulses yet beat quickly and
irregularly. He had little more strength
than a child. The excitement caused by
this sudden and unexpected appearance,
was too much for him, and he fell back, on
making this almost wildly uttered appeal,
so exhausted that he panted like a fright-
ened child who had shrunk trembling upon
its motherâ€™s bosom.
Mr. Edgar, for he was the visiter, felt
deeply moved by what he saw and heard.
Sitting down by the bedside, and speaking
a word of encouragement to the poor man
in order to quiet his mind, he proceeded to
make inquiries of the wife as to their cir-
cumstances and the causes which had led
to their present destitution. The narra-
tive affected him much.
â€œNo, no,â€ said he, after the wife had
finished her relation, which ended with a
reference to her husbandâ€™s wish to go out
and look for work on that day, â€œhe must
remain in bed, and I will send him a phy-
siclan. Here is more than he could earn ;â€
THE POOR WOODCUTTER. 87
and he handed the woman a couple of dol-
Jars. â€˜Get necessary food for yourself
and children. To-morrow I will either
see you myself, or send to know if Mr.
Harlan is better. In the mean time, donâ€™t
. let your minds be troubled. Better em-
ployment can be had for you, I am very
â€œIf we were only back in the country
again !â€ sighed the woman.
â€œOh yes,â€ said Mr. Harlan; â€œif we
were only on some little place in the coun-
try! It was a sad day for us when we
turned our thoughts towards the city.â€
â€œ The way may open for you to get back,â€
returned Mr. Edgar; â€œat least, hope for
the best. You have evidently reached the
lowest point in the descending circle of for-
tune, and -it is but fair to think that the
movement will now be upward.â€
When Mr. Edgar retired, it was with a
deeper feeling of sympathy for the poor
than he had ever known; and his cheek
burned as he called to mind the many in-
38 THE POOR WOODCUTTER.
stances in which he had paid them their
small wages with a grudging spirit, and
meanly beaten them down in their prices
for work, when these prices were already
so low as to be scarcely sufficient for the
commonest necessaries of life. He thought
of the many times he had chaffered for a
sixpence or a shilling with a porter or poor
labourer, and after gaining a trifling ad-
vantage at the expense of justice, thrown
double the amount away in some foolish
expenditure. All this was humiliating,
but salutary. It was a lesson in life not
soon to be forgotten. In Mr. Harlanâ€™s case
he took an active interest. He saw that
his family were properly cared for until he
was able to go to work again, and then ob-
tained for him the place of overseer on the
farm of an acquaintance who wanted a com-
petent farmer. When spring opened, Har-
lan went back to the country with a hope-
ful spirit, and Mr. Edgar went on his way
through life more thoughtful than he had
been, and far more considerate of the poor.
AN EVENING AT HOME.
AN EVENING AT HOME.
â€œ Ne going to the ball?â€ said Mrs. Lind-
ley, with a look and tone of surprise.
â€œ What has Some over the girl ?â€
â€œTI do t know, but she says she is not
* Doesnâ€™t her dress fit ?â€
â€˜What is the matter, then ?â€
â€œIndeed, ma, I cannot tell. You had
better go up and see her. It is the strangest
notion in the world. Why, you couldn't
hire me to stay at home.â€
Mrs. Lindley went up-stairs, and, enter-
ing her daughterâ€™s room, found her sitting
on the side of the bed, with a beautiful
ball-dress in her hand.
' 42 AN EVENING AT HOME.
â€œTt isnâ€™t possible, Helen, that you are
not going to this ball ?â€ said she.
Helen looked up with a half-serious, half-
smiling expression on her face:
â€œTve been trying, for the last half-
hour,â€ she replied, -â€œâ€˜to decide whether I
ought to go, or stay at home. I think,
perhaps, I ought to remain at home.â€
â€œBut what earthly reason can you
have for doing so? Donâ€™t you like your
â€œOh yes! very much. I think it beau-
â€œ Doesnâ€™t it fit you?â€
â€œ As well as any dress I ever had.â€
â€œ Are you not well?â€
â€œThen why not go to the ball?â€ It will
be the largest and most fashionable of the
season. You know that your father and
myself are both going. We shall want to
see you there, of course. Your father will
require some very good reason for your ab-
AN EVENING AT HOME. 48
Helen looked perplexed at her mother's
â€œDo you think father will be displeased
if I remain at home?â€ she asked.
â€˜â€œâ€˜T think he will, unless you can satisfy
him that your reason for doing so is a very
good one. Nor shall I feel that you are
doing right. I wish all my children to act
under the government of a sound judg-
ment. Impulse, or reasons not to be spoken
of freely to their parents, should in no case
influence their actions.â€
Helen sat thoughtful for more than a
minute, and then said, her eyes growing
dim as she spokeâ€”
â€œT wish to stay at home for Edwardâ€™s
â€œAnd why for his, my dear ?â€
â€œ He doesnâ€™t go to the ball, you know.â€
â€œ Because he is too young, and too back-
ward. You couldnâ€™t hire him to go there.
But, that is no reason why you should re-
main at home. You would never partake of
any social amusement were this always to
44 AN EVENING AT HOME.
influence you. Let him spend the evening
in reading. He must not expect his sisters
to deny themselves all recreation in which â€”
he cannot or will not participate.â€
â€œHe does not. I know he would not
hear to such a thing as my staying at home
on his account.â€
â€œThen why stay ?â€
â€œ Because I feel that I ought to do so.
This is the way I have felt all day, when-
ever I have thought of going. If I were
to go, I know that I would not have a:
moment's enjoyment. He need not know
why I remain at home. To tell him that
I did not wish to go will satisfy his mind.â€
â€œT shall not urge the matter, Helen,â€
Mrs. Lindley said, after a silence of some
moments. â€œYou are old enough to judge
in a matter of this kind for yourself. But
I must say, I think you rather foolish.
You will not find Edward â€˜disposed to sa-
crifice so much for you.â€
â€œOf that I do not think, mother. Of
that I ought not to think.â€
AN EVENING AT HOME. 45
â€œPerhaps not. Well, you may do as
like. But I donâ€™t know what your father
Mrs. Lindley then left the room.
Edward Lindley was at the critical age
of eighteen ; that period when many young
men, especially those who have been blest
with sisters, would have highly enjoyed a
ball. But Edward was shy, timid, and
bashful in company, and could hardly ever
be induced to go out to parties with his sis-
ters. Still, he was intelligent for his years,
and companionable. His many good quali-
ties endeared him to his family, and drew
forth from his sisters toward him a very
Among his male friends were several
about his own age, members of families
with whom his own was on friendly terms.
With these he associated frequently, and
with two or three others, quite intimately.
For a month or two Helen noticed that
one or another of these young friends
called every now and then for Edward,
46 AN EVENING AT HOME.
in the evening, and that he went out with
them and stayed until bedtime. But unless
his sisters were from home, he never went
of his own accord. The fact of his being
out with these young men had, from the
first, troubled Helen; though the reason
of her feeling troubled she could not tell.
Edward had good principles, and she could
not bring herself to entertain fears of any
clearly defined evil. Still a sensation of
uneasiness was always produced when he
was from home in the evening.
Her knowing that Edward would go out
after they had all left, was the reason why
Helen did not wish to attend the ball.
The first thought of this had produced an
unpleasant sensation in her mind, which
increased the longer she debated the ques-
tion of going away or remaining at home.
Finally, she decided that she would not go.
This decision took place after the inter-
view with her mother, which was only
half an hour from the time of starting.
Edward knew nothing of the intention
AN EVENING AT HOME. 4T
of his sister. He was in his own room,
dressing to go out, and supposed, when he
heard the carriage drive from the door,
that Helen had gone with the other mem-
bers of the family. On descending to the
â€™ parlour, he was surprised to find her sitting
by the centre table, with a book in her
â€œHelen! Is this you! I thought you had
gone to the ball. Are you not well?â€ he
said quickly and with surprise, coming up
to her side.
Looking into her brotherâ€™s face with a
smile of sisterly regard, Helen replied, â€œI
have concluded to stay at home this even-
ing. Iam going to keep you company.â€
â€œAre you, indeed! Right glad am Iof
it! though I am sorry you have deprived
yourself of the pleasure of this ball, which,
T believe, is to be a very brilliant one. I
was just going out, because it is so dull at
home when you are all away.â€
â€œTam not particularly desirous of going
to the ball. So little so, that the thought
48 AN EVENING AT HOME.
of your being left here all alone had suffi-
cient influence over me to keep me away.â€
â€œIndeed! Well, I must say you are
kind,â€ Edward returned, with feeling. The
self-sacrificing act of his sister had touched
Both Helen and her brother played well.
She upon the harp and piano, and he upon
the flute and violin. Both were fond of
music, and practised and played frequently
together. Part of the evening was spent in
this way, much to the satisfaction of each.
Then an hour passed in reading and econ-
versation, after which music was again re-
sorted to. Thus lapsed the time pleasantly
until the hour for retiring came, when they
separated, both with an internal feeling of
pleasure more delightful than they had ex-
perienced for a long time. It was nearly
three o'clock before Mr. and Mrs. Lindley,
and the daughter who had accompanied
them to the ball, came home. Hours be-
fore, the senses of both Edward and Helen
had been locked in forgetfulness.
AN EVENING AT HOME. 49
Time passedon. Edward'Lindley grew up
and became a man of sound principlesâ€”a
blessing to his family and society. He saw
his sisters well married; and himself, final-
ly, led to the altar a lovely maiden. She
made him a truly happy husband. On the
night of his wedding, as he sat beside
Helen, he paused for some time, in the
midst of a pleasant conversation, thought-
fully. At last he saidâ€”
â€œDo you remember, sister, the night you
stayed home from the ball to keep me com-
â€œThat was many years ago. Yes, I re-
member it very well, now you have. re-
called it to my mind.â€
â€œT have often since thought, Helen,â€ he
said, with a serious air, â€œthat by the simple
act of thus remaining at home for my sake,
you were the means of saving me from de-
â€œâ€˜ How so?â€ asked the sister.
â€œTwas just then beginning to form an
intimate association with young men of
50 AN EVENING AT HOME.
my own age, nearly all of whom have since
turned out badly. I did not care a great
deal about their company; still, I liked so-
ciety, and used to be with them frequently
â€”especially when you and Mary went out
in the evening. On the night of the ball
to which you were going, these young men
had a supper, and I was to have been with
them. I did not wish particularly to jom
them, but preferred doing so to remaining at
home alone. To find you, as I did, so un-
expectedly, in the parlour, was an agree-
able surprise indeed. I stayed at home with
a new pleasure, which was heightened by
the thought that it was your love for me
that had made you deny yourself for my
gratification. We read together on that
evening, we played together, we talked of
many things. In your mind I had never
before seen so much to inspire my own
with high and pure thoughts. remembered
the conversation of the young men with
whom I had been associating, and in which
T had taken pleasure, with something like
AN EVENING AT HOME. 51
disgust. It was low, sensual, and too much
of it vile and demoralizing. Never, from
that hour, did I join them. Their way,
even in the early stage of lifeâ€™s journey,
I saw to be downward, and downward it
has ever since been tending. How often
since have I thought of that point in time,
so full-fraught with good and evil influences!
Those few hours spent with you seemed to
take scales from my eyes. I saw with a
new vision. I thought and felt differently.
Had you gone to the ball, and I to meet
those young men, no one can tell what
might have been the consequences. Sen-
sual indulgences, carried to excess, amid
songs and sentiments calculated to awaken
evil instead of good feelings, might have
stamped upon my young and delicate mind
a bias to low affections that never would
have been eradicated. That was the great
starting-point in lifeâ€”the period when I
was coming into a state of rationality and
freedom. The good prevailed over the evil,
and by the agency of my sister, as an angel
52 AN EVENING AT HOME.
sent by the Author of all benefits to save
Like Helen Lindley, let every elder sis-
ter be thoughtful of her brothers at that
critical period in life, when the boy is
about passing up to the stage of manhood,
and she may save them from many a snare
set for their unwary feet by the evil one.
In closing this little sketch, we can say no-
thing better than has already been said by
an accomplished American authoress, Mrs.
â€œSo many temptations,â€ she remarks,
â€œbeset young men, of which young women
know nothing, that it is of the utmost
importance that your brothersâ€™ evenings
should be happily past at home, that
their friends should be your friends, that
their engagements should be the same as
yours, and that various innocent amuse-
ments should be provided for them in the
family circle. Music is an accomplishment
chiefly valuable as a home enjoyment, as
rallying round the piano the various mem-
AN EVENING AT HOME. 58
bers of a family, and harmonizing their
hearts as well as voices, particularly in de-
votional strains. I khow no more agree-
able and interesting spectacle, than that of
brothers and sisters playing and singing
together those elevated compositions in
music and poetry which gratify the taste
and purify the heart, while their fond pa-
rents sit delighted by. Ihave seen and
heard an elder sister thus leading the fa-
mily choir, who was the soul of harmony
to the whole household, and whose life was
a perfect example of those virtues which I
am here endeavouring to inculcate. Let
no one say, in reading this chapter, that
too much love is here required of sisters,
that no one can be expected to lead such a
self-sacrificing life: for the sainted one to
whom I refer was all I would ask my sis-
ter to be, and a happier person never lived.
To do good and to make others happy was
her rule of life, and in this she found the
art of making herselfâ€™ so.
â€˜Sisters should always be willing to
54 AN EVENING AT HOME.
walk, ride, visit with their brothers; and
esteem it a privilege to be their companions.
It is worth while to learn innocent games
for the sake of furnishing brothers with
amusements and making home the most
agreeable place to them.
â€œT have been told by some, who have
passed unharmed through the temptations
of youth, that they owed their escape from
many dangers to the intimate companion-
ship of affectionate and pure-minded sis-
ters. They have been saved from a ha-
zardous meeting with idle company by
some home engagement, of which their
sisters were the charm; they have refrained
from mixing with the impure, because
they would not bring home thoughts and
feelings which they could not share with
those trusting, loving friends; they have
put aside the wine-cup and abstained from
stronger potations, because they would not
profane with their fumes the holy kiss with
which they were accustomed to bid their
â€œWHY ANNA! WHAT IS THE MATTER?â€
y 4 i
THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM.
r[HOMAS LE ROY was a mechanic, who
by industry and economy had saved
enough to buy himself a neat little cottage,
with ground for a garden and pasturage
for a cow. Early in the mornings, be-
fore he went to his work, he gave an
hour or two, during the spring and sum
mer months, to improving and beautify-
ing this little homestead. All his fences
were in perfect order; the shrubbery
nicely trimmed, and the vines trained
in the neatest manner. Every one said
that the grounds around his cottage were
better kept than any in the neighbourhood.
58 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
When remarks of this kind came to the
ears of Le Roy, which was frequently the
case, he felt highly gratified, and was sti-
mulated to increased efforts.
But the mechanic, with all his industry
and thrift, had one fault, and that a very
bad one, for it was a fault that increased
by indulgence. He would take his glass
occasionally; and would visit, at least two
or three times a week, the village tavern,
to meet a few acquaintances and talk over
the news. This habit troubled his wife,
who had, in her own family, seen and felt
the evil effects of intemperance, and shrank
with an instinctive fear from even the sha-
dow of the monster. Once or twice she
had hinted at the character of her feelings,
but the effect. produced on the mind of her
husband was surprise and displeasure. He
felt in no danger, and was hurt that his
wife could even dream of such a thing as
his falling into habits of intemperance.
At first, Le Royâ€™s visits to the tavern
were rarely oftener than once a week, and
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM. 59
then he never drank more than a single
glass. He went more for the pleasant com-
pany he found there. But, in process of
time, two evenings in the week saw the
mechanic at the tavern; and it generally
took two glasses of an evening to satisfy
his increasing desire for liquor. Three
evenings and three glasses were the next
progressive steps; and so on, until he felt
no longer contented at home a single even-
ing in the week.
The tavern-keeper, whose name was
Stephen Miller, had commenced his liquor-
selling business some ten years before, and
- was then about the poorest man in the vil-
lage. He was poor, because he was too
lazy to work steadily at his trade, which
was that of a house-carpenter. At first he
opened, in a miserable little shanty of a
place, with a few jugs of liquor, and some
bad groceries to tempt people to his shop.
He didnâ€™t seem to do a great deal, but
somehow or ether, at the end of a year, he
was able to buy the furniture of one of the
60 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
taverns in the village, which was sold at
the death of the owner, and assume the
responsibility of a public-house for the
entertainment of travellers. People won-
. dered. They could not understand it.
How a man who never seemed to have
more than fifty dollarsâ€™ worth of things
in his shop could save up three or four
hundred dollars in a yearâ€”the amount of
cash paid down by Millerâ€”passed their
simple comprehension. None but he knew
how many glasses and pints were sold in a
day, nor how much profit was made on
Two years after this the tavern-stand was
sold. Miller was the purchaser, and paid
down a thousand dollars of the purchase-
money! It was a mystery to every one
how a man who had been before so thrift- -
less should now be getting along so fast.
A couple of years more and Miller bought
a farm in the neighbourhood, which one of
his best customers, who had fallen into in-
temperate habits, had neglected, and who,
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM. 61
in the end, found himself obliged to sell out.
Some people began to open their eyes after
this. It was plain enough that Jones had
lost his property through drunkenness;
though all did not see so plainly that, in
becoming its owner, Miller had not rendered
back to the community in which he lived
any equivalent use. Not long after this,
the house and acre-lot of another good cus-
tomer went into the hands of the sheriff,
and Miller was the purchaser.
â€œWhat was Steve Miller looking about
here for, this afternoon?â€ asked Mrs. Le Roy
of her husband, one evening when he came
home to supper?
â€œTm sure I donâ€™t know,â€ replied the me-
chanic. â€œLooking about here ?â€
â€œYes, he came along with another man,
and stood and looked at the house, and
talked for some time; and then they both
went round, and looked over the fence into
the garden. I was ashamed to have them
do so, for every thing is so neglected to
what it used to be.â€
62 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
Le Roy made some indifferent answer,
merely to satisfy his wife, who seemed
worried by the incident. But the fact men-
tioned produced an unpleasant impression
on his mind.
â€œT wonder what business he has spying
about my place?â€ said he to himself. â€œT
donâ€™t owe him any thing.â€
The satisfaction with which he uttered
the last part of the sentence was rather
diminished by the recollection that his bill
at; the store had been suffered to run up
until it amounted to over sixty dollars, and
that he owed the shoemaker nearly twenty
more. Debts like these had never before
been permitted to accumulate.
After supper he was led by his inclina-
tions, as usual, to the bar-room of Miller,
which was always well filled with pleasant
companions. His wife saw him depart with
troubled feelings. She was, alas! too well
aware that he had entered the downward
road, and that his steps were on the way
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM. 68
Just off from the bar-room of Miller's
tavern was a little parlour, and Le Roy,
not feeling very social on that particular
evening, took his glass of liquor and news-
paper and sat apart from the rest of the
company, at a table close to the door of
this parlour, which stood ajar. He became
directly aware that the landlord was in
the next room, conversing with some one
in an undertone, and as he heard his own
name mentioned, he felt excused for listen-
ing attentively to all that was said.
â€œ Things donâ€™t look as tidy around him
as they used to,â€ remarked the person who
was talking with Miller.
â€œNot by any means. I was told that
this was the case, and walked over to-day
to see for myself. Evidently he is running
down fast. I asked Phillips about him a
little while ago, and he told me that his
bill at the store was sixty dollars. In
- former times he never owed a cent.â€
â€œHe'll go to the dogs before long.â€
â€œT presume so. Well, I shall keep my
64 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
eye on that little place of his. I always
had a fancy for it, and would like to get it
at a bargain when it goes off, as it will
have to before a great while.â€
â€œYou buy a good deal of property ?â€
â€œWhat did you pay for Shriverâ€™s place?â€
â€œâ€˜ Nine hundred dollars.â€
â€œNo; Shriver refused, once, to my cer-
tain knowledge, sixteen hundred for it.â€
â€œ He let it run down shamefully.â€
â€œOh yes,â€ replied the tavern-keeper.
â€œHe became a mere sot, and neglected
every thing. I wouldn't trust him, now, for
a three-cent glass of whisky. His place
was sold, of course, and I bought it at a
bargain. I wouldnâ€™t take, this hour, an ad-
vance of four hundred dollars on the pur-
chase. Itâ€™s always best to buy property
that has been suffered by a drunken fellow
to run down for a few years. It gets to
look a great deal worse than it really is,
and you're sure to buy a bargain.â€
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM. 65
â€œNo doubt, you'll have Le Royâ€™s place,
in the end, under this system.â€
â€œTo a moral certainty. In about two
years he will have to sell; and see if I am
not the man who buys. I want that place
for my daughter Jane. As soon as I get it,
I will pull down the little kitchen, and build
a dining-room twenty feet square where
it stands. Half of the garden I will put in
a green lawn, and make an orchard of the
pasture-ground. You'll hardly know the
place in a year after â€™'m the owner.â€
Le Roy waited to hear no more. Rising
up quickly, he left the bar-room without
speaking to any one, and started on his Â©
â€œHave my place!â€ he muttered to him-
self as he hurried along, clenching his fist
and setting his teeth firmly as he spoke.
â€œHave my place! We will see!â€
On reaching his home and entering sud-
denly, Le Roy found his wife sitting by her
little work-table with her face bent down
and buried in her hands. She looked
66 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
up quickly, at the sound of his footsteps,
and he saw that tears were on her cheeks.
â€œWhy, Anna! what's the matter?â€ he
â€œOh, nothing,â€ she replied evasively,
trying to force a smile.
Le Roy looked at her for some moments,
earnestly, and as he did so, the truth flashed
over his mind. She, too, saw as clearly as
the tavern-keeper, that he was on the road
â€œ Anna,â€â€”Le Roy spoke seriously, yet
with earnestness, and in a tone of affection
and confidence,â€”â€˜ Anna, I have found out
why Steve Miller was spying about here
â€œHe wants this place for his daughter
Mrs. Le Roy looked bewildered.
â€œHe thinks that, in about two years, I
will run it down, so that he will be able to
get it for about half its value. He was
looking to see how much progress I had
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM, 67
made in the road to ruin, and thinks the
prospect for his getting the place in about
two years very fair. He will tear down
the kitchen, and build a handsome dining-
room in its place, and so improve the
ground that it will hardly be known as
the same spot ina year. But, Anna, he'll
find himself mistaken! Ive got my eyes
open. Not while I am living shall Steve
Miller own this property !â€
Tears of thankfulness gushed. from the
eyes of Mrs. Le Roy, as she saidâ€”
â€œOh, what a mountain you have taken
from my heart!â€
On the next day, Le Roy related to every
acquaintance he met the conversation he
had heard while in Millerâ€™s bar-room;
and these told the story to others. So
that, before evening, it was all over the
â€œLet's go there in a crowd to-night,â€
suggested one, â€œ and organize a temperance
society in the bar-room.â€
The suggestion struck the fancy of all
68 THE TEMPERANCE MEETING
who heard it. That night the bar-room of
the tavern-keeper was filled to overflowing.
Miller was at first delighted, though a little
surprised that no one called for liquor, and
at the air of business that sat upon every
â€œYT move that Le Roy take the chair,â€
The mechanic was handed to the post
of honour, when he related minutely the
occurrences and conversation of the day
previous; and then said that the object of
the meeting was to organize a temperance
society, and thus prevent the tavern-keeper
from getting all their property. â€œI can
assure the gentleman,â€ he said in closing,
â€œthat his daughter Jane will never live
-in my place while I have breath in my
â€œâ€˜ My hand to that!â€ was echoed around
the room by a dozen voices.
The society was regularly formed, the
pledge signed by every individual present,
and a vote of thanks to the landlord passed
IN STEVE MILLERâ€™S BAR-ROOM. 69
for the use of his bar-room. Five minutes
afterward he occupied it alone.
Stephen Millerâ€™s affairs were never after-
ward as prosperous as they had been;
but fewer estates run down in the village,
and fewer families are reduced to beggary.
And so it would be in hundreds of towns
and villages, if the inhabitants would act
as Le Roy and his friends did in this case.
PLL SEE ABOUT IT.
MÂ® EASY sat alone in his counting-
room, one afternoon, in a most comfort-
able frame, both as regards mind and body.
A profitable speculation in the morning had
brought the former into a state of great
complacency, and a good dinner had done
all that was required for the repose
of the latter. He was in that delicious,
half-asleep, half-awake condition, which, oc-
curring after dinner, is so very pleasant.
The newspaper, whose pages at first pos-
sessed a charm for his eyes, had fallen,
with the hand that held it, upon his knee.
His head was gently reclined backwards
against the top of a high leather-cushioned
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 71
chair; while his eyes, half-opened, saw all
things around him but imperfectly. Just
at this time the door was quietly opened,
and a lad of some fifteen or sixteen years,
with a pale, thin face, high forehead, and
large dark eyes, entered. He approached
the merchant with a hesitating step, : and
soon stood directly before him.
Mr. Easy felt disturbed at this int:
for so he felt it. He knew the lac
the son of a poor widow, who had once
seen better circumstances than those that
now surrounded her. Her hus: ~ had,
while living, been his intimate â€ nd
he had promised him, at his dying hour, to
be the protector and adviser of his wife and
children. He had meant to do all he pro-
mised; but, not being very fond of trouble,
except where stimulated to activity by the
hope of gaining some good for himself, he
had not been as thoughtful in regard to
Mrs. Mayberry as he ought to have been.
She was a modest, shrinking, sensitive wo-
man, and had, notwithstanding her need of
72 I'LL SEE ABOUT IT.
a friend and adviser, never called upon Mr.
Easy, nor even sent a request for him to act
for her in any thing, except once. Her hus-
band had left her poor. She knew little
of the world. She had three quite young
children, and one, the oldest, about sixteen.
Had Mr. Easy been true to his pledge, he
might have thrown many a ray upon her
dark path, and lightened her burdened
heart of many a doubt and fear. But he
had permitted more than a year to pass
since the death of her husband, without
having once called upon her. This neglect
had not been intentional. His will was
good, but never active at the present mo-
ment. â€˜ To-morrow,â€ or â€œnext week,â€ or
â€œvery soon,â€ he would call upon Mrs. May-
berry; but to-morrow, or next week, or
very soon, had never yet come.
As for the widow, soon after her hus-
bandâ€™s death, she found that poverty was
to be added to affliction. A few hundred
dollars made up the sum of all that she
received after the settlement of his busi-
V'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 78
ness, which had never been in a very pros-
perous condition. On this, under the ex-
ercise of extreme frugality, she had been
enabled to live for nearly a year. Then
her scanty store made it but too apparent
that individual exertion was required in
order to procure the means of support for
her little family. Ignorant of the way in
which this was to be done, and having no
one to advise her, nearly two months more
passed before she could determine what to
do. By that time she had but a few dol-
lars left, and was in a state of great mental
distress and uncertainty. She then applied
for work at some of the shops, and obtained
common sewing, but at prices that could
not yield her any thing hke a support.
Hiram, her oldest son, had been kept at
school up to this period. But now she had
to withdraw him. It was impossible any
longer to pay his tuition fees. He was an
intelligent ladâ€”active in mind,.and pure
in his moral principles; but, like his mo-
ther, sensitive, and inclined to avoid obser-
74 VLL SEE ABOUT IT.
vation. Like her, too, he had a proud in-
dependence of feeling, that made him shrink
from asking or accepting a favour, or putting
himself under an obligation to any one.
He first became aware of his motherâ€™s true
condition, when she took him from school,
and explained the reason for so doing. At
once his mind rose into the determination to
do something to aid his mother. He felt
a glowing confidence, arising from the con-
sciousness of strength within. He felt that
he had both the will and the power to act,
and to act efficiently.
â€œDonâ€™t be disheartened, mother,â€ said
he, with animation. â€œI can and will do
something. I can help you. You have
worked for me a great many years. Now
I will work for you.â€
Where there is a will there is a way.
But it is often the case, that the will lacks
the kind of intelligence that enables it to
find the right way at once. So it proved
in the case of Hiram Mayberry. He had
a strong enough will, but did not know how
Yâ€™LL SEE ABOUT IT. 75
to bring it into activity. Good, without
its appropriate truth, is impotent. Of this
the poor lad soon became conscious. To
the question of his motherâ€”
â€œWhat can you do, child?â€ an answer
came not so readily.
â€œOh, I can do a great many things,â€ was
easily said; but, even as he said this, a
sense of inability followed.
The will impels, and then the under-
standing seeks for the means of effecting
the purposes of the will. In the case of
young Hiram, thought followed desire.
He pondered for many days over the
means by which he was to aid his mother.
But, the more he thought, the more con-
scious did he become that, in the world,
he was but a weak boy. That however
strong might be his purpose, his means of
action were limited. His mother could aid
him but little. She had but one sugges-
tion to make, and that was, that he should
endeavour to get a situation in some store
or counting-room. This he attempted to
76 YVLL SEE ABOUT IT.
do. Following her direction, he called
upon Mr. Easy, who promised to see about
looking him up a situation. It happened,
the day after, that a neighbour spoke to
him about a lad for his storeâ€”(Mr. Easy
had already forgotten his promise)â€”Hiram
was recommended, and the man called to
see his mother.
â€œHow much salary can you afford to
give him?â€ asked Mrs. Mayberry, after
learning all about the situation, and feeling
satisfied that her son ought to accept of it.
â€œSalary, ma'am?â€ returned the store-
keeper, in a tone of surprise. â€˜â€œ We never
give a boy any salary for the first year.
The knowledge that is acquired of business
is always considered a full compensation.
After the first year, if he likes us, and we
like him, we may give him seventy-five
or a hundred dollars.â€
Poor Mrs. Mayberryâ€™s countenance fell
â€œT wouldnâ€™t think of his going out now,
if it were not in the hope of his earning
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. iT
something,â€ said she, in a disappointed
â€œHow much did you expect him to
earn?â€ was asked by the storekeeper.
â€œTY didnâ€™t know exactly what to expect.
But I supposed that he might earn four or
five dollars a week.â€
â€œFive dollars a week is all we pay our
porter, an able-bodied, industrious man,â€
was returned. â€œIf you wish your son to
become acquainted with mercantile busi-
ness, you must not expect him to earn
much for three or four years. At a trade,
you may receive for him barely a sufficien-
cy to board and clothe him, but nothing
This declaration so dampened the feel-
ings of the mother, that she could not re-
ply for some moments. At length she
â€œTf you will take my boy, with the un-
derstanding, that, in case I am not able to
support him, or hear of a situation where
a salary can be obtained, you will let him
738 YVLL SEE ABOUT IT.
leave your employment without hard feel-
ings, he shall go into your store at once.â€
To this the man consented, and Hiram
Mayberry went with him according to
agreement. A few weeks passed, and the
lad, liking both the business and his em-
ployer, his mother felt exceedingly anxious
for him to remain. But she sadly feared
that this could not be. Her little store
was just about exhausted, and the most
she had yet been able to earn by working
for the shops, was a dollar and a half a
week. This was not more than sufficient
_ to buy the plainest food for her little flock.
It would not pay rent, nor get clothing.
To meet the former, recourse was had to
the sale of her husbandâ€™s small, select li-
brary. Careful mending kept the younger
children tolerably decent, and by altering
for him the clothes left by his father, she
was able to keep Hiram in a suitable con-
dition to appear at the store of his em-
Thus matters went on for several months,
LL SEE ABOUT IT. 79
Mrs. Mayberry working late and early.
The natural result was, a gradual failure
of strength. In the morning, when she
awoke, she would feel so languid and heavy,
that to rise required a strong effort; and
even after she was up, and attempted to re-
sume her labours, her trembling frame almost
refused to obey the dictates of her will. At
length nature gave way. One morning she
was so sick that she could not rise. Her
head throbbed with a dizzy, blinding pain
â€”her whole body ached, and her skin burn-
ed with fever. Hiram got something for
the children to eat, and then taking the
youngest, a little girl about two years old,
into the house of a neighbour, who had
showed them some good-will, asked her if
she would take care of his sister until he
returned home at dinner-time. This the
neighbour readily consented to doâ€”promis-
ing, also, to call in frequently to see his
At dinner-time Hiram found his mother
quite ill. She was no better at night. For
80 I'LL SEE ABOUT IT.
three days the fever raged violently. Then,
under the careful treatment of their old
family physician, it was subdued. After
that she gradually recovered, but very
slowly. The physician said she must not
attempt again to work as she had done.
This injunction was scarcely necessary.
She had not the strength to do so.
â€œâ€œT donâ€™t see what you will do, Mrs.
Mayberry,â€ a neighbour, who had often
aided her by kind advice, said, in reply to
the widowâ€™s statement of her unhappy con-
dition. â€˜ You cannot maintain these chil-
dren, certainly. And I donâ€™t see how, in
your present feeble state, you are going to
maintain yourself. There is but one thing
that I can advise, and that advice I give
with reluctance. It is to endeavour to get
two of your children into some orphan asy-
lum. The youngest you may be able to
keep with you. The oldest can support
himself at something or other.â€
The pale cheek of Mrs. Mayberry grew
paler at this proposition. She half sobbed,
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 81
caught her breath, and looked her adviser
with a strange, bewildered stare in the face.
â€œOh no! I cannot do that. I cannot
be separated from my dear little children.
Who will care for them like a mother?â€
â€œ Tt is hard, I know, Mrs. Mayberry. But
necessity is a stern ruler. You cannot keep
them with youâ€”that is certain. You have
not the strength to provide them with even
the coarsest food. In an asylum, with a
kind matron, they will be better off than
under any other circumstances.â€
But Mrs. Mayberry shook her head.
â€œ Noâ€”noâ€”no,â€ she repliedâ€”â€œI cannot
think of such a thing. I cannot be sepa-
rated from them. I shall soon be able to
work againâ€”better able than before.â€
The neighbour, who felt deeply for her,
did not urge the matter. When Hiram re-
turned at dinner-time, his face had in it a
more animated expression than usual.
â€œâ€˜ Mother,â€ said he, as soon as he came
in, â€œI heard to-day that a boy was wanted
at the Gazette-office, who could write a
82 I'LL SEE ABOUT Iv.
good hand. The wages are to be four dol-
lars a week.â€
â€œYou did!â€ Mrs. Mayberry said quickly,
her weak frame trembling, although she
struggled hard to be composed.
â€œYes. And Mr. Easy is well acquainted
with the publisher, and could get me the
place, I am sure.â€
â€˜Then go and see him at once, Hiram.
If you can secure it, all will be well; if not,
your little brothers and sisters will have to
be separated, perhaps sent into an orphan
Mrs. Mayberry covered her face with her
hands and sobbed bitterly for some mo-
Hiram ate his frugal meal quickly, and
returned to the store, where he had to re-
main until his employer went home and
dined. On his return, he asked liberty to
be absent for half an hour, which was
granted. He then went to the counting-
house of Mr. Hasy, and disturbed him as
has been seen. Approaching with a timid
VLL SEE ABOUT IT. 88
step and a flushed brow, he said in a con-
fused and hurried mannerâ€”
â€œâ€˜ Mr. EHasy, there is a lad wanted at the
â€œWell?â€ returned Mr. Easy in no very
â€œMother thought you would be kind
enough to speak to Mr. G. for me.â€
â€œâ€˜ Haven't you a place in a store?â€
â€œYes, sir. But I donâ€™t get any wages.
And at the Gazette-office they will pay four
dollars a week.â€
â€œBut the knowledge of business to be
gained where you are will be worth a great
deal more than four dollars a week.â€
â€œ T know that, sir. But mother is not
able to board and clothe me. I must earn
â€œOh ay, thatâ€™s it. Very well, Ill see
about it for you.â€
â€œWhen shall I call, sir?â€ asked Hiram.
â€œWhen? Oh, almost any time. Say to-
morrow or next day.â€
The lad departed, and Mr. Easyâ€™s head
84 YLL SEE ABOUT IT.
fell back upon the chair, the impression
which had been made upon his mind pass-
ing away almost as quickly as writing upon
With anxious, trembling hearts did Mrs.
Mayberry and her son wait for the after-
noon of the succeeding day. On the suc-
cess of Mr. Easyâ€™s application rested all
their hopes. Neither she nor Hiram ate
over a few mouthfuls at dinner-time. The
latter hurried away, and returned to the
store, there to wait with trembling eager-
ness until his employer should come from
dinner, and he again be free to go and see
To Mrs. Mayberry the afternoon passed
slowly. She had forgotten to tell her son
to return home immediately, if the applica-
tion should be successful. He did not come
back, and she had, consequently, to remain
in a state of anxious suspense until dark.
He came in at the usual hour. His de-
jected countenarice told of disappoint-
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 85
â€œDid you see Mr. Easy?â€ asked Mrs.
Mayberry in a low, troubled voice.
â€œYes. But he hadnâ€™t been to the Ga-
zette-office. He said he had been very
busy. But that he would see about iÂ¢ soon.â€
Nothing more was said. The mother
and son, after sitting silently and pensive
during the evening, retired early to bed.
On the next day, urged on by his anxious
desire to get the situation of which he had
heard, Hiram again called at the counting-
room of Mr. Easy, his heart trembling with
hope and fear. There were two or three
men present. Mr. Easy cast upon him rather
an impatient look as he entered. His ap-
pearance had evidently annoyed the mer-
chant. Had Hiram consulted his feelings, he
would have retired at once. But there was
too much at stake. Gliding to a corner of
the room, he stood with his hat in his
hand, and a look of anxiety upon his face,
until Mr. Easy was disengaged. At length
the gentlemen with whom he was occupied
went away, and Mr. Easy turned toward
86 I'LL SEE ABOUT IT.
the boy. Hiram looked up earnestly in
â€œT have really been so much occupied,
my lad,â€ said the merchant in a kind of
apologetic tone, â€œas to have entirely for-
gotten my promise to you. But I will see
about it. Come in again to-morrow.â€
Hiram made no answer, but turned with
a sigh toward the door. The keen disap-
pointment expressed in the boyâ€™s face,
and the touching quietness of his manner,
reached the feelings of Mr. Easy. He was
not a hard-hearted man, but selfishly indif-
rent to others. He could feel deeply enough
if he would permit himself to do so.
â€œStop a minute,â€ said he. And then
stood in a musing attitude for a moment
or two. â€œAs you seem so anxious about
this matter,â€ he added, â€œif you will wait
here a little while, I will step down and
see Mr. G: at once.â€
The boyâ€™s face brightened instantly. Mr.
Easy saw the effect of what he said, and it
made the task he was about entering upon
LL SEE ABOUT IT. 87
reluctantly a lighter one. Hiram waited
for nearly a quarter of an hour, so eager to
know the result that he could not compose
himself to sit down. The sound of Mr.
Easyâ€™s step at the door, at. length made his
heart bound. The merchant entered. Hi-
ram looked into his face. One glance was
sufficient to dash every dearly cherished
hope to the ground.
â€œYam sorry,â€ said Mr. Easy, â€œbut the
place was filled this morning. I was a
little too la
The boy was unable to control his feel-
ings. The disappointment was too great.
Tears gushed from his eyes as he turned
away and left the counting-room without
â€œTm afraid I've done wrong,â€ said Mr.
Easy to himself, as he stood in a musing
attitude, by his desk, about five minutes
after Hiram had left. If I had seen about
the situation when he first called upon me,
I might have secured it for him. But itâ€™s
too late now.â€
88 I'LL SEE ABOUT IT.
After saying this, the merchant placed
his thumbs in the armholes of his waist-
coat, and commenced walking the floor of
his counting-room, backwards and forwards.
He could not get out of his mind the image
of the boy as he turned from him in tears,
nor drive away thoughts of the friendâ€™s
widow whom he had neglected. This state
of mind continued all the afternoon. Its na-
tural effect was to cause him to cast about
in his mind for some way of getting em-
ployment for Hiram that would yield imme-
diate returns. But nothing presented itself.
â€œTI wonder if I couldnâ€™t make room for
him here?â€ he at length said. â€˜ He looks
like a bright boy. I know Mr. is high-
ly pleased with him. He spoke of getting
four dollars a week. Thatâ€™s a good deal to
give to a mere lad. But, I suppose I might
make him worth that to me. And now I
begin to think seriously about the matter,
I believe I cannot keep a clear conscience
and any longer remain indifferent to the
welfare of my old friendâ€™s widow and chil-
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 89
dren. I must look after them a little more
closely than I have heretofore done.â€
This resolution relieved the mind of Mr.
Easy a good deal.
When Hiram left the counting-room of
the merchant, his spirits were crushed to
the very earth. He found his way back,
how he hardly knew, to his place of busi-
ness, and mechanically performed the tasks
allotted him until evening. Then he re-
turned home, reluctant to meet his mother,
and yet anxious to relieve her state of sus-
pense, even if in doing so he should dash
a last hope from her heart. When he
came in, Mrs. Mayberry lifted her eyes to his
inquiringly; but dropped them instantlyâ€”
she needed no words to tell her that he
had suffered a bitter disappointment.
â€œYou did not get the place?â€ sheâ€™ at
length said, with forced composure.
â€œâ€œNoâ€”it was taken this morning. Mr.
Easy promised to see about it. But he
didnâ€™t do so. When he went this after-
noon, it was too late.â€
90 VLL SEE ABOUT IT.
Hiram said this with a trembling voice
and lips that quivered.
â€œThy will be done!â€ murmured the
widow, lifting her eyes upward. â€œIf these
tender ones are to be taken from their mo-
therâ€™s fold, oh! do thou temper for them
the piercing blast, and be their shelter
amid the raging tempests.â€
A tap at the door brought back the
thoughts of Mrs. Mayberry. A brief struggle
with her feelings enabled her to overcome
them in time to receive a visitor with com-
posure. It was the merchant.
â€œ< Mr. Easy !â€ she said in surprise.
â€˜* Mrs. Mayberry, how do youdo?â€ There
was some restraint and embarrassment in
his manner. He was conscious of having
neglected the widow of his friend, before
he came. The humble condition in which
he found her quickened that consciousness
into a sting.
â€œTm sorry, madam,â€ he said, after he had
become seated and made a few inquiries,
â€œthat I did not get the place for your son.
I'LL SEE ABOUT IT. 91
In fact, Iam to blame in the matter. But
I have been thinking since that he would
suit me exactly, and, if you have no objec-
tions, I will take him and pay him a salary
of two hundred dollars for the first year.â€
Mrs. Mayberry tried to reply, but her
feelings were too much excited by this
sudden and unlooked-for proposal to allow
her to speak for some moments. Even
then her assent was made with tears
glistening on her cheeks. Arrangements
were quickly made for the transfer of Hi-
ram from the store where he had been en-
gaged, to the counting-room of Mr. Easy.
The salary he received was just enough to
enable Mrs. Mayberry, with what she her-
self earned, to keep her little ones together,
until Hiram, who proved a valuable assist-
ant in Mr. Easyâ€™s business, could command
a larger salary, and render her more im-
A GOOD INVESTMENT.
HATâ€™S a smart little fellow of yours,â€
said a gentleman named Winslow to
a labouring-man, who was called in, occa-
sionally, to do work about his store. â€œ Does
he go to school ?â€
â€œâ€˜ Not now, sir,â€ replied the poor man.
â€œWhy not, Davis? He looks like a
â€œ Heâ€™s got good parts, sir,â€ returned the
father, â€œ butâ€?â€”â€”
â€œ But what?â€ asked the gentleman, see-
ing that the man hesitated.
â€œTimes are rather hard now, sir, and I.
have a large family. Itâ€™s about as much
as I can do to keep hunger and cold away.
, ty +
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 93
Ned reads very well, writes a tolerable fair
hand, considering all things, and can figure
a little. And thatâ€™s about all I can do for
him. The other children are coming for-
ward, and I reckon he will have to go to a
trade middling soon.â€
â€œHow old is Ned?â€ inquired Mr. Wins-
â€œ Heâ€™s turned of eleven.â€
â€œYou won't put him to a trade before
heâ€™s thirteen or fourteen ?â€
â€œâ€˜Canâ€™t keep him at home idling all that
time, Mr. Winslow. It would be his ruin-
ation. Itâ€™s young to go out from home, I
know, to rough it and tough it among
strangersâ€â€”there was a slight unsteadiness
in the poor manâ€™s voiceâ€”â€œ but itâ€™s better
than doing nothing.â€
â€œâ€˜ Ned ought to go to school a year or two
longer, Davis,â€ said Mr. Winslow, with some
interest in his manner. â€œ And as you are
not able to pay the quarter-bills, I guess I
will have todo it. What say you? If I
pay for Nedâ€™s schooling, can you keep
96 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
him. at home some two or three years
â€œT didnâ€™t expect that of you, Mr. Wins-
low,â€ said the poor man, and his voice now
trembled. He uncovered his head as he
spoke, almost reverently. â€œYou anâ€™t
bound to pay for schooling my boy. Ah,
â€œ But you havâ€™nâ€™t answered my question,
Davis. What say you?â€
â€œOh sir, if you are really in earnest ?â€
â€œT am in earnest. Ned ought to go to
school. If you can keep him home a few
years longer, I will pay for his education
during the time. Nedâ€â€”Mr. Winslow
spoke to the boyâ€”â€˜â€˜ what say you? Would
you like to go to school again ?â€
â€œYes, indeed, sir,â€ quickly answered the
boy, while his bright young face was lit up
with a gleam of intelligence.
â€œThen you shall go, my fine fellow.
Thereâ€™s the right kind of stuff in you, or
I'm mistaken. We'll give you a trial, at
â€˜any raâ€™ 2 :
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 97
Mr. Winslow was as good as his word.
Ned was immediately entered at an excellent
school. The boy, young as he was, appre-
ciated the kind act of his benefactor, and
resolved to profit by it to the full extent.
â€˜â€œâ€˜T made an investment of ten dollars to-
day,â€ said Mr. Winslow, half-jestingly, to a
mercantile friend, some three months after
the occurrence just related took place, â€œ and
hereâ€™s the certificate.â€
He held up a small slip of paper as he
â€œTen dollars! A large operation! In
what fund ?â€
â€œA charity fund.â€
â€œOh!â€ And the friend shrugged his
shoulders. â€œDonâ€™t do much in that way
myself. No great faith in the security.
What dividend do you expect to receive ?â€
â€œDonâ€™t know. Rather think it will be
â€œâ€˜ Better take some more of the stock, if
you think it so good. There is plenty in
market to be bought at less than par.â€
98 _A GOOD INVESTMENT.
Mr. Winslow smiled, and said that in all
probability he would invest a few more
small sums in the same way, and see how
it would turn out.
The little piece of paper which he plea-
santly called a certificate of stock, was the
first quarter-bill he had paid for Nedâ€™s
schooling. For four years these bills were
regularly paid; and then Ned, who had
well improved the opportunities so gene-
rously afforded him, was taken, on the re-
commendation of Mr. Winslow, into a large
importing house. He was at the time in his
sixteenth year. Before the lad could en-
ter upon this employment, however, Mr.
Winslow had to make another investment
in his charity fund. Nedâ€™s father was too
poor to give him an outfit of clothing such
as was required in the new position to
which he was to be elevated; knowing this,
the generous merchant came forward again
and furnished the needful supply.
As no wages were received by Ned for
the first two years, Mr. Winslow continued
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 99
to buy his clothing, while his father still
gave him his board. On reaching the age
of eighteen, Nedâ€™s employers, who were
much pleased with his industry, intelli-
gence, and attention to business, put him
on a salary of three hundred dollars. This
made him at once independent. He could
pay his own boarding and find his own
clothes, and proud did he feel on the day
when advanced to so desirable. a position.
â€œâ€˜ How comes on your investment?â€ asked
Mr. Winslow's mercantile friend about this
time. He spoke jestingly.
â€œTt promises very well,â€ was the smil-
â€œTt is rising in the market, then ?â€
â€œ Any dividends yet ?â€
â€œOh, certainly. Large dividends.â€
â€œAh! You surprise me. What kind
of dividends ?â€
â€œ More than a hundred per cent.â€
â€œIndeed! Not in money ?â€
â€œQh no. But in something better than
100 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
money. The satisfaction that flows from
an act of benevolence wisely done.â€
â€˜Oh, thatâ€™s all.â€ The friend spoke with
â€œDonâ€™t you call that something?â€ asked
â€œItâ€™s entirely too unsubstantial for me,â€
replied the other. â€œTI go in for returns of
a more tangible character. Those you
speak of wonâ€™t pay my notes.â€
Mr. Winslow smiled, and bade his friend
â€œHe knows nothing,â€ said he to himself,
as he mused on the subject, â€œof the plea-
sure of doing good; and the loss is all on
his side. If we have the ability to secure
investments of this kind, they are among
the best we can make; and all are able to
put at least some money in the fund of
good works, let it be ever so small an
amount. Have I suffered the abridgment
of a single comfort by what I have done?
No. Have I gained in pleasant thoughts
and feelings by the act? Largely. It has
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 101
been a source of perennial enjoyment. I
would not have believed that, at so small
a cost, I could have secured so much plea-
sure. And how great the good that may
flow from what I have done! Instead of
a mere day-labourer, whose work in the
world goes not beyond the handling of
boxes, bales, and barrels, or the manufac-
ture of some article in common use, Ed-
ward Davis, advanced by education, takes
a position of more extended usefulness, and
by his higher ability and more intelligent
action in society, will be able, if he rightly
use the power in his hands, to advance the
worldâ€™s onward movement in a most im-
Thus thought Mr. Winslow, and his heart
grew warm within him. Time proved that
he had not erred in affording the lad an
opportunity for obtaining a good education.
His quick mind acquired, in the position
in which he was placed, accurate ideas of
business, and industry and force of charac-
ter made these ideas thoroughly practical.
102 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
Every year his. employers advanced his
salary, and, on attaining his majority, it
was further advanced to the sum of one
thousand dollars per annum. With every
increase the young man had devoted a
larger and larger proportion of his income
to improving the condition of his fatherâ€™s
family, and when it was raised to the sum
last mentioned, he took a neat, comfortable
new house, much larger than the family
had before lived in, and paid the whole
rent himself. Moreover, through his ac-
quaintance and influence, he was able to
get a place for his father at lighter em-
ployment than he had heretofore been
engaged in, and at a higher rate of compen-
â€œâ€˜ Any more dividends on your charity
investment?â€ said Mr. Winslowâ€™s friend,
about this time. He spoke with the old
manner, and from the old feelings.
â€œYes. Got a dividend today. The
largest yet received,â€ replied the merchant,
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 108
â€œDid you? Hope it does you a great
deal of good.â€
â€œT realize your wish, my friend. It is
doing me a great deal of good,â€ returned
â€œNo cash, I presume ?â€
â€œSomething far better. Let me explain.â€
â€œDo so, if you please.â€
â€œYou know the particulars of this in-
vestment?â€ said Mr. Winslow.
His friend shook his head, and re-
â€œNo. The fact is, I never felt interest
enough in the matter to inquire about par-
â€œOh, well, then, I must give you a
â€œYou know old .Davis, who has been
working about our store for the last ten
or fifteen years ?â€
â€œMy investment was in the education
of his son.â€ :
â€œ Indeed !â€
104 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
â€œ His father took him from school when
he was only eleven years old, because heâ€™
could not afford to send him any longer,
and was about putting the little fellow out
to learn a trade. Something interested me
in the child, who was a bright lad, and act-
ing from a good impulse that came over
me at the moment, I proposed to his father
to send him to school for three or four years,
if he would board and clothe him during
the time. To this he readily agreed. So
I paid for Nedâ€™s schooling until he was in
his sixteenth year, and then got him into
Webb & Waldronâ€™s store, where he has been
â€œWebb & Waldronâ€™s!â€ said the friend,
evincing some surprise. â€œI know all their
clerks very well, for we do a great deal of
business with them. Which is the son of
old Mr. Davis?â€
â€œ The one they call Edward.â€
â€œ Not that tall, fine-looking young man
â€”their leading salesman ?â€
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 105
. â€œTs it possible! Why, he is worth any
two clerks in the store.â€
â€œâ€œT know he is.â€
â€œFor his age, there is not a better sales-
man in the city.â€
â€œ So I believe,â€ said Mr. Winslow; â€œnor,â€
he added, â€œa better man.â€
â€œT know little of his personal character;
but, unless his face deceives me, it cannot
but be good. â€
â€œTt is good. Let me say a word about
him. The moment his salary increased
beyond what was absolutely required to
pay his board and find such clothing as
his position made it necessary for him to
wear, he devoted the entire surplus to
rendering his fatherâ€™s family more comfort-
â€œ Highly praiseworthy,â€ said the friend.
â€œJ had received, already, many divi-
dends on my investment,â€ continued Mr.
Winslow; â€œbut when that fact came to
my knowledge, my dividend exceeded all
the other dividends put together.â€
106 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
The mercantile friend was silent. If
ever in his life he had envied the reward
of a good deed, it was at that moment.
â€œTo-day,â€ went on Mr. Winslow, â€œI
have received a still larger dividend. I
was passing along Buttonwood street, when
I met old Mr. Davis coming out of a house,
the rent of which, from its appearance, was
not less than two hundred and twenty-five
dollars. â€˜ You donâ€™t live here, of course ?â€
said I, for I knew the old manâ€™s income to
be smallâ€”not over six or seven dollars a
week. â€˜Qh, yes, I do, he made answer,
with a smile. I turned and looked at the
house again. â€˜ How comes this?â€™ I asked.
â€˜You must be getting better off in the
world. â€˜So Iam, was his reply. â€˜ Has
anybody left you a little fortune? I in-
quired. â€˜No, but you have helped me to
one, said he. â€˜I donâ€™t understand you,
Mr. Davis, I made answer. â€˜Edward
rents the house for us,â€™ said the old man.
â€˜Do you understand now ?
â€œT understood him perfectly. It was
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 107
then that I received the largest dividend
on my investment which had yet come into
my hands. If they go on increasing at
this rate, I shall soon be rich.â€
â€œRather unsubstantial kind of riches,â€
was remarked by the friend.
â€œThat which elevates and delights the
mind can hardly be called unsubstantial,â€
replied Mr. Winslow. â€œGold will not al-
ways do this.â€
The friend sighed involuntarily. The
remarks of Mr. Winslow caused thoughts
to flit over his mind that were far from
A year or two more went by, and then
an addition was made to the firm of Webb
& Waldron. Edward Davis received the
offer of an interest in the business, which
he unhesitatingly accepted. From that
day he was in the road to fortune. Three
years afterward one of the partners died,
when his interest was increased.
Twenty-five years from the time Mr.
Winslow, acting from a benevolent impulse,
108 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
proposed to send young Davis to school,
One day, about this period, Mr. Winslow,
who had met with a number of reverses in
business, was sitting in his counting-room,
with a troubled look on his face, when the
mercantile friend before-mentioned came in.
His countenance was pale and disturbed.
â€œ We are ruined! ruined!â€ said he, with
Mr. Winslow started to his feet.
â€œ Speak !â€ he exclaimed. â€˜â€œ What new
disaster is about to sweep over me ?â€
â€œThe house of Toledo & Co., in Rio, has
Mr. Winslow struck his hands together,
and sank down into the chair from which
he had arisen.
â€œThen it is all over,â€™ he murmured.
â€œAll over !â€
â€œTt is all over with me,â€ said the other.
â€œA longer struggle would be fruitless.
But for this, I might have weathered the
storm. Twenty thousand dollars of drafts
4 GOOD INVESTMENT. 109
drawn against my last shipment are back
protested, and will be presented to-morrow.
I cannot lift them. So ends this matter.
So closes a business-life of nearly forty
years, in commercial dishonour and personal
â€œ Are you certain that they have failed?â€
asked Mr. Winslow, with something like
hope in his tone of voice.
â€œTt is too true,â€ was answered. â€˜â€œ The
Celeste arrived this morning, and her letter-
bag was delivered at the post-office half an
hour ago. Have you received nothing by
â€œJT was not aware of her arrival. But
I will send immediately for my letters.â€
Too true was the information communi-
cated by the friend. The large commis-
sion-house of Toledo & Co. had failed, and
protested drafts had been returned to a
very heavy amount. Mr. Winslow was
among the sufferers, and to an extent that
was equivalent to ruin; because it threw
back upon him the necessity of lifting over
110 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
fifteen thousand dollars of protested paper,
when his line of payments was already fully
up to his utmost ability.
For nearly five years, every thing had
seemed to go against Mr. Winslow. At
the beginning of that period, a son, whom
he had set up in business, failed, involving
him in a heavy loss. Then, one disaster
after another followed, until he found him-
self in imminent danger of failure. From this
time he turned his mind to the considera-
tion of his affairs with more earnestness
than ever, and made every transaction with
a degree of prudence and foresight that
seemed to guarantee success in whatever
he attempted. A deficient supply of flour
caused him to venture a large shipment to
Rio. The sale was at a handsomely remu-
nerative profit, but the failure of his con-
signees, before the payment of. his drafts
for the proceeds, entirely prostrated him.
So hopeless did the merchant consider
his case, that he did not even make an effort
to get temporary aid in his extremity.
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 111
When the friend of Mr. Winslow came
with the information that the house of
Toledo & Co. had failed, the latter was
searching about in his mind for the means
of lifting about five thousand dollarsâ€™ worth
of paper, which fell due on that day. He
had two thousand dollars in bank; the
balance of the sum would have to be raised
by borrowing. He had partly fixed upon
the resources from which this was to come,
when the news of his ill-fortune arrived.
Yes, itwas ruin. Mr. Winslow saw this
in a moment, and his hands fell powerless
by his side. He made no further effort to
lift his notes, but, after his mind had a
little recovered from its first shock, he left
his store and retired to his home, to seek
in its quiet the calmness and fortitude of
which he stood so greatly in need. In this
home were his wife and two daughters, who
all their lives had enjoyed the many exter-
nal comforts and elegancies that wealth can
procure. The heart of the father ached as
his eyes rested upon his children, and he
112 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
thought of the sad reverses that awaited
On entering his dwelling, Mr. Winslow
sought the partner of his life, and commu-
nicated to her without reserve the painful
intelligence of his approaching failure.
â€œTs it indeed so hopeless?â€ she asked,
tears filling her eyes.
â€œT am utterly prostrate!â€ was the reply,
in a voice that was full of anguish. And
in the bitterness of the moment, the un-
fortunate merchant wrung his hands.
To Mrs. Winslow, the shock, so unex-
pected, was very severe; and it was some
time before her mind, after her husbandâ€™s
announcement, acquired any degree of calm-
About half an hour after Mr. Winslowâ€™s
return home, and while both his own heart
and that of his wife were quivering with
pain, a servant came and said that a
gentleman had called and wished to see
â€œWho is it?â€ asked the merchant.
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 118
â€œT did not understand his name,â€ replied
Mr. Winslow forced as much external
composure as was possible, and then de-
scended to the parlour.
â€œMr. Davis,â€ he said on entering.
â€œMr. Winslow,â€ returned the visitor,
taking the merchantâ€™s hand and grasping
As the two men sat down together, the
one addressed as Mr. Davis, saidâ€”
â€œâ€˜T was sorry to learn, a little while ago,
that you will lose by this failure in Rio.â€
â€œHeavily. It has ruined me!â€ replied
â€œNot so bad as that I hope!â€ said Mr.
â€œYes. It has removed the last prop that
I leaned on, Mr. Davis. The very last one,
and now the worst must come to the worst.
It is impossible for me to take up fifteen
thousand dollarsâ€™ worth of returned drafts.â€
â€œFifteen thousand is the amount?â€
114 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
Mr. Davis smiled encouragingly.
â€œTf that is all,â€ said he, â€œthere is no
difficulty in the way. I can easily get you
Mr. Winslow started, and a warm flush
went over his face.
â€œWhy didnâ€™t you come to me,â€ asked
Mr. Davis, â€œthe moment you found your-
self in such a difficulty? Surely!â€ and his
voice slightly trembled, â€œsurely you did
not think it possible for me to forget the
past! Do not I owe you every thing ?â€”and
would I not be one of the basest of men, if
I forgot my obligation? If your need were
twice fifteen thousand, and it required the
division of my last dollar with you, not a
hair of your head should be injured. I did
not believe it was possible for you to get
into an extremity like this, until I heard
it whispered a little while ago.â€
So unexpected a turn in his affairs com-
pletely unmanned Mr. Winslow. He cover-
ed his face and wept for some time, with
the uncontrollable passion of a child.
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 115
â€œAh! sir,â€ he said at last, in a broken
voice, â€œI did not expect this, Mr. Davis.â€
â€œYou had a right to expect it,â€ replied
the young man. â€œWere I to do less than
sustain you in any extremity not too great
for my ability, I would be unworthy the
name of a man. And-now, Mr. Winslow,
let your heart be at rest. You need not
fall under this blow. Your drafts will pro-
bably come back to you to-morrow Â®â€
â€œYes. To-morrow at the latest.â€
â€œVery well. I will see that you are
provided with the means to lift them. In
the mean time, if you are in want of any
sums toward your payments of to-day, just
let me know.â€
â€œT can probably get through to-day by
my own efforts,â€ said Mr. Winslow.
â€œProbably? How much do you want?â€
asked Mr. Davis.
â€œIn the neighbourhood of three thousand
â€œT will send you arouid a check for that
sum immediately,â€ promptly returned the
116 A GOOD INVESTMENT.
young man, rising as he spoke and drawing
forth his watch.
â€œTt is nearly two o'clock now,â€ he added,
â€œso I will bid you good day. In fifteen
minutes you will find a check at your store.â€
And with this Davis retired.
All this, which passed in a brief space
of time, seemed like a dream to Mr. Wins-
low. He could hardly realize its truth.
But it was a reality, and he comprehended
it more fully, when, on reaching his store,
he found there the promised check for three
On the next day the protested drafts
came in; but, thanks to the grateful kind-
ness of Mr. Davis, now a merchant, with the
command of large money facilities, he was
able to take them up. The friend before
introduced was less fortunate. There was
no one to step forward and save him from
ruin, and he sank under the sudden pres-
sure that came upon him.
A few days after his failure he met Mr. Â©
A GOOD INVESTMENT. 117
â€œHow is this?â€ said he. â€˜ How did you
weather the storm that drove me under?
I thought your condition as hopeless as
â€œSo did J,â€ answered Mr. Winslow.
â€œBut I had forgotten a small investment
made years ago. I have spoken of it to
The other looked slightly puzzled.
â€œâ€˜ Have you forgotten that investment in
the charity-fund, which you thought money
thrown away ?â€ .
â€œOh!â€ Light broke in upon his mind.
â€œYou educated Davis. I remember now!â€
â€œAnd Davis, hearing of my extremity,
stepped forward and saved me. That was
the best investment I ever made !â€
The friend dropped his eyes to the pave-
ment, stood for a moment or two without
speaking, sighed, and then moved on. How
many opportunities for making similar in-
vestments had he not neglected !
â€œ (EAUTIFULâ€â€ exclaimed Mary Mar-
vel, with a toss of the head and a
slight curl of her cherry lips. â€˜â€œ There
isnâ€™t a good feature in her face.â€
â€œAnd yet, I think her beautiful,â€ was
the calm reply of Mrs. Hartley.
â€œWhy, aunt! Where are your eyes?â€
â€œ Just.where they have always been, my
* â€œ Agnes is a good girl,â€ said Mary, speak-
ing in a less confident manner. Every one
knows this; but, as to being handsome, that
is altogether another thing.â€
â€œIs there not a beauty in goodness,
Mary?â€ asked Mrs. Hartley, in her low,
quiet way, as she looked, with her calm,
DRESSING FOR THE PARTY.
(3) Page 124.
penetrating eyes, into the young girlâ€™s
â€œOh yes, of course there is, aunt. But,
beauty of goodness is one thing, and beau-
ty of face another.â€
â€œThe former generally makes itself vi-
sible in the latter. In a pure, unselfish, lov-
ing heart lives the very spirit of beauty.â€
â€œOh yes, aunt. All that we know. But,
let the spirit be ever so beautiful, it cannot
re-mould the homely countenance ; the ill-
formed mouth, the ugly nose, the wedge-
shaped chin must remain to offend the eye
of taste.â€ Â»
â€œ Do you think Miss Williams very home-
ly?â€ asked Mrs. Hartley.
â€œâ€˜ She is deformed, aunt.â€
â€œShe has no personal beauty whatever.â€
â€œDo you think of this when you are
with her ?â€
â€œNo. But when I first saw her, she so
offended my eyes that I could hardly re-
main in the room where she was.â€
â€œYou do not see her deformity now.â€
â€œT never think of it.â€
â€œThe spirit of beauty in her heart has
thrown a veil over her person.â€
â€œTt may be so, aunt. One thing is cer-
tain, I love her.â€
â€œMore than you do Ellen Lawson?â€
â€œT canâ€™t bear Ellen Lawson!â€ The whole
manner of the young girl expressed re-
â€œ And yet Ellen, by common consent, is
acknowledged to be beautiful.â€
â€œShe is pretty enough; but I donâ€™t like
her. Proud, vain, ill-tempered. Oh: dear!
these spoil every thing.â€
â€œIn other words, the deformity of her
spirit throws a veil over the beauty of her
â€œ Explain it as you will, aunt. Enough
that Ellen Lawson is no favourite of mine.
Ever as I gaze into her brilliant eyes, a
something looks out of them that causes me
to shrink from her.â€
The conversation between Mary Marvel
and her aunt was interrupted, at this point,
by the entrance of a visitor.
Mary was passing through her twentieth
summer. She was handsome; and she
knew it. No wonder, then, that she was
vain of her good looks. And being vain,
no wonder that, in attiring her person, she
thought less of maidenly good taste than
of that effect which quickly attracts the
She had beautiful hair, that curled natu-
rally, and so, when dressed for company, a
perfect shower of glossy ringlets played
ostentatiously about her freely exposed
snowy neck and shoulders, causing the eyes
of many to rest upon and follow her, whose
eyes a modest maiden might wish to be
turned away. In fact, Maryâ€™s attire, which
was generally a little in excess, so set off
her showy person, that it was scarcely pos-
sible for her to be in company without be-
coming the observed of all observers, and
drawing around her a group of gay young
men, ever ready to offer flattering atten-
tions and deal in flattering words where
such things are taken in the place of truth
Such, with a groundwork of good sense,
good principles, and purity of character,
was Mary Marvel.
Some few days after the conversation with
which this sketch opens occurred, Mary
was engaged in dressing for an evening
party, when her aunt came into her room.
â€œ How do I look, aunt?â€ inquired Mary,
who had nearly completed her toilet.
Mrs. Hartley shook her head and looked
â€˜â€œ*' What is the matter, aunt? Am I over-
dressed, as you say, again ?â€
â€œâ€œT would rather say, under-dressed,â€ re-
plied the aunt. â€œBut you certainly are
not going in this style?â€
â€œâ€œ How do you mean?â€ And Mary threw
_a glance of satisfaction into her mirror.
â€œYou intend wearing your lace-cape ?â€
â€œOh dear, no !â€
Maryâ€™s neck and shoulders were too
beautiful to be hidden even under a film
â€œâ€˜ Nor under-sleeves ?â€
â€œWhy, aunt! How you do talk!â€
â€œâ€˜ Where are your combs ?â€
Mary tossed her head until every free
ringlet danced in the brilliant light, and
fluttered around her spotless neck and
â€œ Ah, child!â€ sighed Mrs. Hartley ; â€œthis
is all an error, depend upon it. Attire
like yours never won for any maiden that
respect for which the heart has reason to
â€œOh, aunt! Why will you talk so? Do
you really think I am so weak as to dress
with the mere end of attracting attention?
You pay me a poor compliment !â€
â€œThen why do you dress in a manner
so unbecoming ?â€
â€œT think it very becoming!â€ And Mary
threw her eyes again upon the mirror.
â€œTime, I trust, will correct your error,â€
said Mrs. Hartley, speaking partly to her-
self; for experience had taught her how
futile it was to attempt to influence her
niece in a matter like this.
And so, in her â€œ undress,â€ as Mrs. Hart-
ley made free to call her scanty garments,
Mary went to spend the evening in a
fashionable company, her head filled with
the vain notion that she would, on that
occasion, at least, carry off the palm of
beauty. And something more than simple
vanity was stirring in her heart. There
was to be a guest at the party in whose
eyes she especially desired to appear lovely
â€”and that was a young man named Per-
cival, whom she had met a few times, and
who was just such a one as a maiden might
well wish to draw to her side. At a recent
meeting, Percival had shown Mary more
than ordinary attentions. In fact, the
beauty of her person and graces of her
mind had made upon his feelings more
than a passing impression.
On entering the rooms, where a large
portion of the company were already as-
sembled, Mary produced, as she had ex-
pected and desired, some little sensation,
and was soon surrounded by a circle of gay
young men. Among these, however, she met
not Percival. It was, perhaps, half an
hour subsequent to her arrival, that Maryâ€™s
eyes rested on the form of him she had
been looking for ever since her entrance.
He was standing, alone, in a distant part
of the room, and was evidently regarding
her with fixed attention. She blushed, and
her heart beat quicker as she discovered this.
Almost instantly a group of young persons
came between her and Percival, and she
did not see him again for some twenty mi-
nutes. Then he was sitting by the side of
Agnes Gray, the young lady to whom her
aunt referred as being beautiful, and whom
she regarded with very different ideas.
Agnes wore a plainly made sprigged muslin
dress, that fitted close to the neck; her
beautiful hair was neatly but not showily
arranged, and had a single ornament, which
was not conspicuous.
For the first time, an impression of beauty
in Agnes affected the mind of Miss Marvel.
She had been listening to something said
by Mr. Percival, and was just in the act of
replying, when Maryâ€™s eyes rested upon
her; and then the inward beauty of her
pure spirit so filled every feature of her
face that she looked the very impersonation
of loveliness. A sigh heaved the bosom of
Mary Marvel, and, from that moment, her
proud self-satisfaction vanished.
An hour passed, and yet Percival did
not seek her in the crowd, though, during
that time, he had danced not only with
Agnes Gray, but with one or two others.
It was toward the close of the evening,
and Mary, dispirited and weary, was sitting
near one of the doors that opened from the
drawing-room, when she heard her name
mentioned in an undertone by a person
standing in the hall. She listened involun-
tarily. The remark wasâ€”
â€œâ€œT hardly know whether to pronounce
Miss Marvel beautiful or not.â€
The person answering this remark was
Percival; and his. words wereâ€”
â€œT once thought her beautiful. But that
was before Imet one more truly beauti-
â€œAh! Who has carried off the palm
in your eyes?â€
â€œYou have seen Agnes Gray?â€
â€œOh yes. But she is not so handsome
as Miss Marvel.â€
â€œ She has not such regular features ; but
the more beautiful spirit within shines
forth so radiantly as to throw around her
person the very atmosphere of beauty. So
artless, so pure, so innocent! To me, she is
the realization of my best dreams of maiden
â€œMiss Marvel,â€ remarked the other,
** spoils every thing by her vanity and love
of display. She dresses in shocking bad
â€œ Shocking to me !â€ said Percival. â€œ Real-
ly, her arms, neck, and bosom, to-night,
are so much exposed that I cannot go near
her. I would almost blush to look into her
face; and yet, I respect and esteem her
highly. Pity, that personal vanity should
spoil one who has so many good qualities
â€”so much to win our love and admira-
The young men moved away, and Mary
heard no more. Enough, however, had
reached her ears to overwhelm her with
pain and mortification. She soon after re-
tired from the company. The rest of the
night was spent in weeping.
The lesson was severe, but salutary.
When Percival next met Mary Marvel, her
dress and manners were much more to his
taste; but she had changed too late to win
him to her side, for his heart now wor-
shipped at another shrine.
THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
AND THE MAN.
IR GUY DE MONTFORT was as brave
a knight as ever laid lance in rest or
swung his glittering battle-axe. He pos-
sessed many noble and generous qualities,
but they were obscured, alas! by the strange
thirst for human blood that marked the
age in which he livedâ€”an age when â€œ Love
your friends and hate your enemiesâ€ had
taken the place of â€œ But I say unto you,
love your enemies; bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you
and persecute you.â€ nt in
132 THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
Ten knights as brave as Sir Guy, and
possessing as many noble and generous
qualities, had fallen beneath his superior
strength and skill in arms; and for this, the
bright eyes of beauty looked admiringly
upon himâ€”fair lips smiled when he ap-
peared, and minstrels sang of his prowess,
in ladyâ€™s bower and festive hall. -
Ata great tournament given in honour
of the marriage of the kingâ€™s daughter, Sir
Guy sent forth his challenge to single and
deadly combat; but, for two days, no one
accepted this challenge, although it was
three times proclaimed by the herald. On
the third day, a young and strange knight
rode, with vizor down, into the lists, and
accepted the challenge. His slender form,
his carriage, and all that appertained to
him, showed him to be no match for Guy
de Montfortâ€”and so it proved. They met
â€”and Sir Guyâ€™s lance, at the first tilt, pe-
netrated the corslet of the brave young
knight and entered his heart. As he rolled
upon the ground, his casque flew off, and
AND THE MAN. 188
a shower of sunny curls fell over his fair
young face and neck.
Soon the strange news went thrilling
from heart to heart, that the youthful
knight who had kissed the dust beneath the
sharp steel of De Montfort, was a maiden!
and none other than the beautiful, high-
spirited Agnes St. Bertrand, whose father
Sir Guy had killed, but a few months be-
fore, in a combat to which he had chal-
By order of the king the tournament
was suspended, and rampant knights and
ladies gay went back to their homes, in
soberer mood than when they came forth.
Alone in his castle, with the grim faces
of his ancestors looking down upon him
from the wall, Sir Guy paced to and fro
with hurried steps. The Angel of Mercy
was nearer to him than she had been for
years, and her whispers were distinctly
heard. Glory and fame were forgotten by
the knightâ€”for self was forgotten. The
questionâ€”a strange question for himâ€”
134 THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
â€œWhat good ?â€ arose in his mind. He had
killed St. Bertrandâ€”but why? To add an-
other leaf to his laurels as a brave knight.
But was this leaf worth its costâ€”the
broken heart of the fairest and loveliest
maiden in the land? nay, moreâ€”the life-
drops from that broken heart?
For the first time the flush of triumph
was chilled by a remembrance of what the
triumph had cost him. Then came a shud-
der, as he thought of the lovely widow who
drooped in Arto Castleâ€”of the wild pang
that snapped the heart-strings of De Cres-
syâ€™s bride, when she saw the battle-axe go
crashing into her husbandâ€™s brainâ€”of the
beautiful betrothed of Sir Gilbert de Ma-
rion, now a shrieking maniacâ€”of Agnes
St. Bertrand !
As these sad images came up before the
knight, his pace grew more rapid, and his
brows, upon which large beads of sweat
were standing, were clasped between his
hands with a gesture of agony.
â€˜â€œâ€˜ And what for all this?â€ he murmured.
AND THE MAN. 185
â€œWhat for all this? Am I braver or better
for such bloody work ?â€
Through the long night he paced the
hall: of his castle; but with daydawn he
rode forth alone. The sun arose and set;
the seasons came and went; years passed ;
but the knight returned not.
Far from the busy scenes of life dwelt
pious recluse, who, in prayer, fasting, and
various forms of penance, sought to find
repose for his troubled conscience. His
food was pulse, and his drink the pure
water that went sparkling in the sunlight
past his hermit-cell in the wilderness.
Now and then a traveller who had lost his
way, or an eager hunter in pursuit of game,
met this lonely man in his deep seclusion.
To such he spoke-eloquently of the vani-
ties of life and of the wisdom of those who,
renouncing these vanities, devote them-
1386 THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
selves to God; and they left him, believing
the hermit to be a wise and happy man.
But they erred. Neither prayer nor pe-
nance filled the aching void that was in
his bosom. If he were happy, it was a
happiness for which none need have felt
an envious wish; if he were wise, his wis-
dom partook more of the selfishness of this
world than of the holy benevolence of the
The days came and went; the seasons
changed; years passed; and still the her-
mitâ€™s prayers went up at morning, and the
setting sun looked upon his kneeling form.
His body was bent, though not with age;
his long hair whitened, but not with the
snows of many winters. Yet all availed
not. The solitary one found not in prayer
and penance that peace which passeth all
One night he dreamed in his cell that
the Angel of Mercy came to him, and said:
â€œTt is in vainâ€”all in vain! Art thou
not a man, to whom power has been given
AND THE MAN. 187
to do good to thy fellow-man? Is the bird
on the tree, the beast in his lair, the worm
that crawls upon the earth, thy fellow?
Not by prayer, not by meditation, not by
penance, is man purified; not for these are
his iniquities washed out. â€˜Well done,
good and faithful servant.â€™ These are the
divine words thou hast not yet learned.
Thou callest thyself Godâ€™s servant; but
where is thy work? I see it not. Where
are the hungry thou hast fed ?â€”the naked
thou hast clothed ?â€”the sick and the pri-
soner who have been visited by thee?
They are not here in the wilderness!â€
' The angel departed, and the hermit
awoke. It was midnight. From the bend-
ing heavens beamed down myriads of
beautiful stars. The dark and solemn
woods were still as death, and there was
no sound on the air save the clear music
of the singing rill, as it went on happily
with its work, even in the darkness.
â€œWhere is my work?â€ murmured the
hermit, as he stood with his hot brow un-
138 THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
covered in the cool air. â€œThe stars are
moving in their courses; the trees are
spreading forth their branches and rising to
heaven; and the stream flows on to the
ocean; but I, superior to all theseâ€”lI,
gifted with a will, an understanding, and
active energiesâ€”am doing no work! â€˜ Well
done, good and faithful servant. Those
blessed words cannot be said of me.â€
â€˜Morning came, and the hermit. saw the
bee at its labour, the bird building its nest,
and the worm spinning its silken thread.
â€œAnd is there no work for me, the
noblest of all created things?â€ said he.
The hermit knelt in prayer, but found
no utterance. Where was his work? He
had none to bring but evil work. He had
harmed his fellow menâ€”but where was
the good he had done? Prayers and peni-
tential deeds wiped away no tear from
the eye of sorrowâ€”fed not the hungryâ€”
' clothed not the naked.
â€œDe Montfort !â€”it is vain! there must
be charity as well as piety !â€
AND THE MAN. 189
Thus murmured the hermit, as he arose
from his prostrate attitude.
When night came, the hermitâ€™s cell, far
away in the deep, untrodden forest, was
A fearful plague raged in a great city.
In the narrow streets where the poor were
crowded together, the hot breath of the
pestilence withered up hundreds in a day.
Those not striken down, fled, and left the
suffering and the dying to their fate. Ter-
ror extinguished all human sympathies.
In the midst of these dreadful scenes, a
man clad in plain garmentsâ€”a strangerâ€”
approached the plague-stricken city. The
flying inhabitants warned him of the peril
he was about encountering, but he heeded
them not. He entered within the walls,
and took his way with a firm step to. the
most infected regions.
140 THE KNIGHT, THE HERMIT,
In the first house that he entered he
found a young maiden alone and almost in
the agonies of death; and her feeble cry
was for something to slake her burning
thirst. He placed to her lips a cool
draught, of which she drank eagerly ; then
he sat down to watch by her side. Ina
little while the hot fever began to abate, and
the sufferer slept. Then he lifted her in his
arms and bore her beyond the city walls,
where the air was purer and where were
those appointed to receive and minister to
the sick who were brought forth.
Again he went into the deadly atmo-
sphere and among the sick and the dying;
and soon he returned once more with a
sleeping infant that he had removed from
the infolding arms of its dead mother.
There was a calm and holy smile upon the
stranger's lips as he looked into the sweet
face of the innocent child ere he resigned
it to others; and those who saw that smile
said in their heartsâ€”â€œ Verily, he hath his
AND THE MAN. 141
For weeks the plague hovered, with its
black wings, over that devoted cityâ€”and
during the whole time, this stranger to all
the inhabitants passed from house to house,
supporting a dying head here, giving drink
to such as were almost mad with thirst
there, and bearing forth in his arms those
for whom there was any hope of life. But
when â€œthe pestilence that walketh in
darkness and wasteth at noondayâ€ had left
the city, he was no where to be found.
_For years the castle of De Montfort was
without a lord. Its knightly owner had
departed, though to what far country no
one knew. At last he returnedâ€”not on
mailed charger, with corslet, casque, and
spear-â€”a boastful knight, with hands crim-
soned by his brotherâ€™s blood,â€”nor as a
pious devotee from his cloister; but, as a
man, from the city where he had done good
deeds amid the dying and the dead. He
came to take possesion of his stately castle
142 THE KNIGHTâ€”THE HERMITâ€”THE MAN.
and his broad lands once moreâ€”not as a
knight, but as a manâ€”not to glory once
more in his proud elevation, but to use the
gifts with which God had endowed hin,
in making wiser, better, and happier his
He had work to do, and he was faithful
in its performance. He was no longer a
knight-errant, seeking for adventure wher-
ever brute courage promised to give him
renown ; he was no longer an idle hermit,
shrinking from his work in the great har-
vest-fields of life; but he was a man, doing
valiantly, among his fellow-men, truly noble
deedsâ€”not deeds of blood, but deeds: of
moral daring, in an age when the real uses
of life were despised by the titled few.
There was the bold Knight, the pious
Hermit, and the Man; but the Man was
best and greatest of all.
THE MERCHANTâ€™S DREAM.
A LGERON was amerchant. All through
a long summer day he had been en-
gaged among boxes, bales, and packages;
or poring over accounts current; or musing
over new adventures. When night came
he retired to his quiet chamber and re-
freshed his wearied mind with music and
books. Poetry, and the harmony of sweet
sounds, elevated his sentiments, and caused
him to think, as he had often before thought,
of the emptiness and vanity of mere earth-
â€œIn what,â€ said he, â€œâ€˜am I wasting my
time? Is there any thing in the dull round
of mercantile life to satisfy an immortal
spirit? What true congeniality is there
144 THE MERCHANTâ€™S DREAM.
between the highly gifted soul and bales
of cotton or pieces of silk? Between the
human mind and the dull, insensible ob-
jects of trade? Nothing! Nothing! How
sadly do we waste our lives in the mere
pursuit of gold! And after the glittering
earth is gained, are we any happier? I
think not. The lover of truthâ€”the wise,
contemplative hermit in his cell is more a
man than Algeron !â€
Thus mused the merchant, and thus he
gave utterance to his thoughtsâ€”sighing as
he closed each sentence. The book that
he loved was put asideâ€”the instrument
from which his skilful hand drew eloquent
music lay hushed upon a table. He was
unhappy. He had remained thus for some
time, when the door of his room opened,
and a beautiful being entered and stood be-
fore him. Her countenance was calm and
elevated, yet full of sweet benevolence.
For a moment she looked at the unhappy
merchant, then extending her hand, she
THE MERCHANT'S DREAM. 145
â€œ Algeron, I have heard your complaints.
Come with me, and look around with a
As she spoke, she laid her finger upon
the eyes of the young man. Arising, he
found himself in the open air, walking by
the side of his strange conductor, along a
path that led to a small cottage. Into this
they entered. It was a very humble abode
â€”but peace and contentment were dwellers
in the breasts of its simple-minded occupants
â€”an aged female and a little girl. Both
were engaged with reels of a curious and
somewhat complicated construction; and
both sang cheerily at their work. A basin
of cocoons on the floor by each of the
reels, told Algeron the true nature of their
employment. A small basket of fine and
smoothly reeled spools were upon a table.
While the merchant still looked on, a man
entered, and after bargaining for the reeled
silk, paid down the price, and carried it
the cottage came in. He asked for his rent,
146 THE MERCHANTâ€™S DREAM.
and it was given to him. Then he retired.
Shortly after, a dealer in provisions stopped
at the humble dwelling, and liberally sup-
plied the wants of its occupants. He re-
ceived his pay, and drove off, singing gay-
ly, while the old woman and the child
looked contented and happy.
â€œCome,â€ said his conductor, and Algeron
left the cottage. The scene had changed.
He was no longer in the open country, but
surrounded by small houses. It was a
village. Along the streets of this they
walked for some time, until they came to a
store, which they entered. Standing be-
side the counter was the same man who
had bought the cottagersâ€™ silk. He had
many parcels, which he had collected from
many cottages; and now he was passing
them over to the storekeeper, who was as
ready to buy as he was to sell. .
â€œ Another link in the great chain,â€ re-
marked the mysterious companion signifi-
cantly. â€œSee how they depend the one
upon the other. Can the hermit in his
THE MERCHANT'S DREAM. 147
cell, idly musing about truths that will not
abideâ€”for truth is active; is in fact the
power by which good is done to our fellows,
and will not remain with any one who does
not use itâ€”thus serve his fellows? Is his
life more excellent, more honourable, more
in accordance with the high endowments of
the soul, than the life of him who engages
in those employments by which all are
' Algeron felt that new light was breaking
in upon him. But, as yet, he saw dimly.
â€œLook up,â€ continued his companion,
â€œand see yet another link.â€
The merchant raised his eyes. â€˜ The
scene had again changed. The village had
become a large town, with ranges of tall
buildings, in which busy hands threw the
shuttle, weaving into beautiful fabrics of
various patterns the humble fibres ga-
thered from hundreds of cottages, farm-
houses, and cocooneries, in all the region
roundabout. Through these he wandered
with his guide. Here was one tending a
148 THE MERCHANT'S DREAM.
loom, there another folding, arranging, or
packing into cases the products thereof;
and at the head of all was the manufac-
â€œTs his a useless life ?â€ asked the guide.
â€œTs he wasting the high endowments of an
immortal mind in thus devoting himself to
the office of gathering in the raw material
and reproducing it again as an article of
comfort and luxury? But see! Another
has presented himself. It is the merchant.
He has come to receive from this man the
products of his looms, and send them over
the world, that all may receive and enjoy
them. Are his energies wasted? No, Al-
geron! If the merchant were not to en-
gage in trade, the manufacturer could not
get his goods to market, and would no
longer afford the means of subsistence that
he now does to hundreds and thousands
who produce the raw material. Without
him, millions who receive the blessings fur-
nished by nature and art in places remote
from their city or country, would be de-
THE MERCHANT'S DREAM. 149
prived of many comforts, of many delights.
The agriculturalist, the manufacturer, the
merchant, the artisanâ€”all who are en-
gaged in the various callings that minister
to the wants, the comforts, and the luxu-
ries of life, are honourably employed. So-
ciety, in all its parts, is held together by
mutual interests. A chain of dependencies
binds the whole world together. Sever a
single link, and you affect the whole.
Look below you. As a merchant, your po-
sition is intermediate between the producer
and the consumer. See how many hun-
dreds are blessed with the reception of na-
tureâ€™s rich benefits through your means.
Could this take place, if you sought only
after abstract truth, in idle, dreamy mus-
ings? Cease, then, to chafe yourself by
fallacious reasonings. Rather learn to feel
delight in the consciousness that you are
the means of diffusing around you many
blessings. Think not of the gold you are
to gain, as the end of your activity; for so
far as you do this, you will lose the true
150 THE MERCHANT'S DREAM.
benefits that may be derived from pursuing
with diligence your calling in lifeâ€”that for
which by education you are best qualified
â€”and into which your inclination leads
â€œT see it all now, clear as a sunbeam,â€
Algeron said, with a sudden enthusiasm,
as light broke strongly into his mind. The
sound of his own voice startled him with
its strangeness. For a moment he seemed
the centre of a whirling sphere. Then all
grew calm, and he found himself sitting
alone in his chamber.
â€œCan all this have been but a dream?â€
he murmured, thoughtfully. Noâ€”noâ€”it
is more than a dream. I have not been
taught by a mere phantom of the imagina-
tion, but by Truth herselfâ€”beautiful Truth.
Her lovely countenance I shall never for-
get, and her words shall rest in my heart
like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Henceforth I look upon life with a purified
vision. Nothing is mean, nothing is un-
worthy of pursuit that ministers to the
THE MERCHANT'S DREAM. 151
good of society. On this rock I rest my
feet. Here I stand upon solid ground.â€
From that time, Algeron pursued his
business as a merchant with renewed acti-
vity. The thought that he was minister-
ing, in his sphere, to the good of all around
him, was a happy thought. It cheered him
on in every adventure, and brought to his
mind, in the hour of retirement, a sweet
peace, such as he had never before known.
Fully did he prove that the consciousness
of doing good to others brings with it the
purest delight. oo
STEREOIYPED BY L. JOHNSON & 00.