SLu, (Dttr lkrtrrs.
"SHADES OF CHARACTER,"
AUTHOR OF CHARLIE BURTON," GEORGE AUSTIN,"
THE WIDOW'S SON," ETC. ETC.
FROM THE EDITION OF
THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
GENERAL PROT. EPISCOPAL SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION,
DANIEL DANA, JR., AGENT,
DEPOSITORY 20 JOHN STREET.
PUDNEY & RUSSELL, PRINTERS.
NORTON HARGRAVE .. ....... 5
IDLE JANE ......... . .. 61
ROBERT WILES .............. 78
THE GENEROUS BOY . . .. 97
Miss CHARLOTTE . . ... .117
SAUNTERING SAM . . . 187
BUSTLING BOB . . . .. 146
HONOUR AND HONESTY . . .. 151
No WEATHER SENT IN VAIN . .. 159
MARY KINGSTON . . ..... 167
JUDGE NO ONE'S MOTIVES .. ..... 181
THE DEAF WIDOW .. . ..... .197
LOTA . . . . 211
THE BIRTHDAY . . .. 221
"WELL, Charles," said Mr. Egerton
to his little boy, "I have listened to a
great many of your school histories; you
shall now listen to one of mine."
He unlocked a drawer as he spoke,
and, having taken out a manuscript,
again seated himself on the sofa oppo-
site the fire.
"0! it's not one you are going to
tell me," said Charles, in a disappointed
tone; '"this is so long, papa, and so
closely written, it will take me hours to
"But what if I read it to you," said
Mr. Egerton; "it will not then appear
so long, will it?"
"0, no!" returned he; "that will be
just as well as your telling it to me. I
don't care now: the story may be as
long as you please, I shall like it the
better. But stay, papa, let us have
some coals put on the fire before we be-
gin, it is so very tiresome to be inter-
rupted when you are interested in any
thing; and if you mind, this always
happens in the prettiest and best parts
of a book."
"I have not bargained for any very
pretty parts," returned Mr. Egerton;
"but such as the tale is, you shall now
The holidays were over, and the boys
of Mr. Longman's academy were again
assembled in the playground. There
was no lack of conversation, for each
had to recount his adventures, or to
enumerate the pleasures he had enjoyed,
or the spectacles he had seen; nor did
it unfrequently happen that there were
often almost as many narrators as listen-
ers. All were animated, and apparently
very happy; for the meeting with their
friends or companions had dissipated
sad thoughts of home; and, if lingering
regret lurked in the breast of some, the
feeling was carefully restrained to the
bosom that harboured it. Some were
walking in pairs, some stood in groups,
others were engaged in the games of
the season. One little boy alone sat
pensively not far from the house, as if
fearful to venture to a greater distance.
His features wore a very melancholy ex-
pression, and the large full tears coursed
each other every now and then down his
cheeks. He cast a timid and anxious look
at the boys as they passed, but quickly
withdrew his eyes if he encountered the
casual gaze of any of them. Nobody,
however, spoke to him, and he was left
unmolested to pursue his sorrowful cogi-
tations in any way he pleased.
At length a fine youth, whose striking
air and manner evidenced the rank to
which he could lay claim, and who was
walking between two others, was attract-
ed by the poor child's appearance.
Who is that little fellow ?" exclaimed
he, for he had only just arrived. His
companions were as ignorant as himself
on the point, nor had they cared to gain
any information relative to it. He was a
new-comer, that was evident, no one
knew him, that was equally clear; he
would soon get to play and be as happy
as the rest, was the unconcerned conclu-
sion. The boy saw he was the object
of observation, and his uneasiness in-
creased. He would have quitted his re-
treat if he had had the courage to do
so; as it was, he could only shrink still
more, if possible, into himself.
Mr. Douglas quitted his friends and
advanced towards him. What is your
name, my little man?" said he, in a
I-- --- --------- -
tone of voice which so struck the ear of
him to whom it was directed that it was
never afterwards forgotten.
"Norton Hargrave," replied he, timid-
ly raising his eyes to the inquirer.
"Where do you come from?" asked
"My father and mother reside at
N--m," replied he.
"And do you know any one here?"
"Nobody," answered he mournfully.
"And has not any one taken notice
of you?" said Douglas.
"No one," replied he; and the tears
again filled his eyes, overflowed their
bounds, and washed his cheeks. "I
don't like school; I want to go home
and be with sister Fanny."
Unhappily for him the reply was
overheard by several, who, seeing Doug-
las speaking to the little stranger, had
formed a group around him, and a gen-
eral laugh followed.
O the distress of that poor child!
that laugh made every nerve in his
frame quiver. Douglas turned an eye
of severe rebuke upon them.
"Come, come," said he, with an en-
couraging smile to Norton; "never mind
it, you will soon like school."
"That I never shall," sobbed he. "If
I might but go home!"
"Come on, Douglas," cried one of his
companions; "where's the use of staying
here? I have something to tell you."
"Leave me for a few moments," said
he; "I will join you almost directly."
He was obeyed. The noble heart of
the youth was touched by the boy's ap-
10 NORTON HARGRAVE.
pearance, and he spoke so kindly to
him that he not only succeeded in stay-
ing his tears, but he inspired him with
confidence. Norton looked into Doug-
las's face with such an expression of
gratitude and awakening affection, that
a compact of mutual goodwill seemed
at once to have been concluded upon
If you will go with me," said Doug-
las, extending his hand, which the other
readily clasped, "I'll find a boy who shall
notice you, and be kind to you too."
Norton instantly obeyed his motion,
and kept pace by his side as well as he
"Campbell!" cried Douglas, directing
his voice towards a party of little boys,
He had no need to call twice.
NORTON HARGRAVE. 11
"Take this boy," said he, "and mind
you use him well. His name is Norton
Hargrave; and, you understand me, he
is my friend. Now go and play with
them," said he, addressing Norton, "ant,
if at any time you want any thing,
come to me."
Before the bell rang that evening for
prayers Norton was a different boy in
feeling. Thought of home, indeed, cast
sudden and occasional shades over his
brightening features as passing clouds
fling their shadows over the sunny
meadows, and his full heart swelled
painfully at times; but he was cheerful,
and the feeling of loneliness, that bitter
and oppressive feeling, amidst numbers,
was dissipated. He sought for an op-
portunity to speak to Douglas, and, suc-
ceeding, he put his hand affectionately
12 NORTON HARGRAVE.
into his, and wished him good night.
He was holding up his mouth to kiss
him, when Douglas stooping, whisper-
ed-"The boys will laugh at you;"
then bidding him aloud, good night, he
shook hands cordially with him.
The boy who was thought worthy of
Douglas's regard was one whom nobody
might overlook. All were now dispos-
ed favourably towards Norton. Who he
was, or what he was, or from whence
he came, was nothing to them. Doug-
las called him his "little friend," and
that was sufficient: nor may it be sup-
pressed that the natural sweet temper
and amiable manners of the boy pro-
mised soon to make him a general fa-
vourite. He was now almost as happy
as the rest of his companions; and 0!
the love he had conceived for Douglas!
He would wait upon him, watch him,
anticipate his wishes, and never was he
so delighted as when he fancied he had
really performed an act of service to
him, or received his commendation.
Norton's friends lived near; he had
constant presents from home and plenty
of money. He would soon have found
companions and friends too if he had
owned no other advantage, for he was
as generous as affectionate; and it was
quickly observed, that his own share of
the good things that he distributed was
smaller than that of any of his play-
mates; but the notice of Douglas be-
spoke him consequence in the school,
secured him from the petty annoyances
that sometimes fall to the lot of the
lesser boys, and was in every respect
most valuable to him.
A month had now elapsed since his
arrival. His spirits had fully returned;
no boy, according to his age, stood more
favourably among his companions than
himself; while Douglas seemed daily to
evince increasing affection for him. None
asked him questions about home; but
whenever he had an opportunity he lov-
ed to talk about his sister Fanny, and
more than once he had promised Camp-
bell that he should go home with him
that he might show him what a dear
little girl she was, and received the aS-
surance of the latter, that he should
like above all things to do so.
One morning, about this time, Norton
received a letter from Fanny, the first
she had ever attempted to write; the
characters were so large, that few as
the words were, the sheet of paper con-
training them seemed quite full; and his
eye, little practised as it was in such
lore, scanned almost at once the whole
contents. Running up to Douglas, the
letter waving in his hand, he exclaim-
ed-" See, see, Fanny has written a
S letter to me herself: are you not pleas-
ed? As you are my friend, you may
read it;" and in all the confidence of
affection he looked into his face.
Douglas was standing among a group
of boys who surrounded a lad of the
name of Palmer; this youth had only
that morning returned to school, he hav-
ing accompanied his father to several
places on the Continent. He was then
relating, with no small degree of conse-
quence, the extent of his travels. Sur-
prised at the interruption, and vexed
that the attention of Douglas should be
16 NORTON HARGRAVE.
for a moment diverted from himself, he
turned sharply round to the speaker,
gave a look of astonishment, and then
What, are you here ?"
"Do you know him?" asked two or
three voices at the same time.
"Know him," repeated he contempt-
uously; "if you mean acquainted with
him, certainly we have no acquaintance
with any one of the party;" then low-
ering his voice to an audible whisper,
so as to make his information more
effective, he added; "his father was a
grocer at till quite lately; he has
come in for a large fortune all of a
sudden, and has given up the shop,
hasn't he, sir?" and he rudely twitched
Norton on the shoulder.
Poor Norton felt, he knew not why,
abashed and frightened. He observed
the look which was cast from one to the
other at these words, and he stood as
if convicted of some offence,
"How dare you, sir," said Palmer, in
an authoritative tone, "how dare you
call Mr. Douglas friend! Don't you
know that he is the grandson of a duke,
and you the son of a paltry second-rate
"I did'nt know it was wrong," said
Norton trembling; "you would have
done so, wouldn't you, if he had told
you to call him friend?" and utterly
unconscious of the wound he inflicted on
his interrogator by these words, for
Douglas, had always held Palmer at a
distance, he turned a timid eye towards
Douglas, as if appealing to him for the
truth of his assertion.
18 NORTON HARGRAVE.
"And I tell you so again," said
Douglas, passing at the same time his
arm round Norton's neck; you are my
friend, and shall always be such as long
as you deserve to be so by your con-
duct." Then addressing the other, he
said, I hold it one of the privileges of
rank, Palmer, to be able to defend an
inferior, and especially one who has no
means of defending himself. I would
not exchange the boast of high birth."-
and his fine eyes glowed with the spirit
that animated him-" for any advantage
that might be offered me; but I value
it chiefly on this account, that it gives
me a right to reprove insolence and in-
justice in the strong, and to stand as the
protector of the weak."
He was silent, while Norton, though
grateful to him beyond even his own
NORTON HARGRAVE. 19
comprehension, might have stood motion-
less till doomsday, not daring to move
from the spot, had not Douglas given
him a gentle push, at the same time ex-
claiming, "Now go and play with your
companions. I will read your letter
From that moment Palmer conceived
a spirit of spite and ill-will against the
poor boy. Norton's unlucky appeal as
to what he would have done under the
injunction given to himself, and Doug-
las's after-reproof, had stung him to the
quick; and the mortification he had
brought upon himself he laid to the
charge of one who was perfectly inno-
cent even of a wish to wound him.
Palmer, however, had little right to un-
dervalue him on account of his birth,
for his own family had but lately emerged
20 NORTON HARGRAVE.
frori obscurity, a circumstance which he
had utterly lost sight of; and full of the
consequence of the present position of his
father, who represented in parliament
the borough of his native city, he con-
S sidered himself as a gentleman in the
widest acceptation of the word; and
though little liked in the school, he had
always a party whom he managed to at-
tach to himself.
The information he had given respect-
ing Norton's friends was by no means
conducive to the comfort of the poor
boy. Many there were, who, in their ad-
miration of Douglas, cared little whether
he were the son of the poorest mechanic
or of a peer; but there were others
also, and those especially among the im-
mediate partisans of Palmer, who allow-
ed themselves to be influenced by the
NORTON HARGRAVE. 21
taunts of the latter; and who, though
regardless of all distinctions of high or
low birth, could join in the laugh he
directed against Norton, and repeat his
sarcasms. "Sugar and Plums" was the
name by which he usually addressed
him; and what Palmer did, of course
that also did his friends.
Norton was a very slight-made child
and small of his age; but he was active,
and by no means deficient in strength.
He could run well, jump well, was
very useful on the cricket ground, and
none was more expert than he in all
gymnastic exercises. He could climb
like a monkey, and his slim wiry frame
made all evolutions easy to him.
Adjoining the playground was a large
garden, surrounded with high walls,
clothed with the choicest fruit, a full
22 NORTON HA:
view of which was obtained from the
climbing-pole. It was now the middle
of September, and the peaches and nec-
tarines were glowing in abundance on
the trees. One evening Palmer, with
two other boys, was standing apart
from the rest, and apparently in earnest
conversation. Norton happened to be at
no great distance from them, and to his
annoyance he perceived their looks di-
rected towards him. He was moving
away as quickly as possible, when the
voice of Palmer arrested him.
"Come here!" cried he, in a tone,
however, very different from that in
which he generally spoke; it was rare
indeed that he ever spoke at all to him,
and then only to address some unpleas-
ant words to him. He would walk
where he was playing at marbles, pre-
NORTON HARGRAVE. 23
tend he did not see the ring, and break
up the party; snatch a book out of his
hand, and with a laugh fling it to a
distance; or if he chanced to meet him,
before Norton could avoid the shock,
push him rudely aside with no other
notice, whether he had hurt him or not,
than "You should have got out of the
way," or, "No playing here, Sugar and
Plums, if you please."
Norton hesitated to obey; the words
"Sugar and Plums is the very thing
for us-we can do nothing without
him," had reached his ear, and an in-
definable fear had arisen in his mind.
"Come here! I tell you," repeated
Palmer, in a tone that was not to be
Poor Norton slowly approached.
"What are you frightened at, sir?"
24 NORTON HARGRAVE.
said Palmer, seizing him by the shoul-
der; then softening his manner, he con-
tinued-"I'm not going to hurt you;
but mind what I say to you: when I
tell you to follow me and Jennings
just before we go up to bed, be sure
you do so directly-not a word-no
speaking to Douglas-if you do-" and
he held up his hand in a threatening
manner. "Now be off."
Norton was terribly alarmed; notwith-
standing the prohibition and the implied
threat he would have gone to his
"friend," if he could have managed it;
but he saw he was watched; and with
a sinking heart he observed the motion
Palmer gave him to follow him.
"Quick, quick now," said Palmer, in
a low whisper. He led him to the iron
gate of the garden. "Up in a moment.
You see that hole -creep through it,
the key has been left in the lock, get
down on the other side, if you can't
unlock the gate, take out the key and
throw it to us."
"I can't, I can't!" exclaimed little
"You shall!" cried Palmer furiously.
"Up this instant. Now for it;" and he
attempted to raise him.
Norton struggled to free himself: he
looked eagerly towards the entrance of
the schoolroom, and fancied he saw
"Douglas! Douglas 1" screamed he.
The hands of both the boys were in-
stantly on his mouth.
"If you make the slightest noise,"
said Palmer, grasping his thin arm,
which might have been taken for a
26 NORTON HARGRAVE.
reed in his hand, "or refuse any longer
to do as you are bid, I'll take you to
Mr. Longman, and tell him I caught
you getting into the garden.
"And a pretty thrashing you will
get," said Jennings; "he is certain to
"And Douglas," said Palmer taunt-
ingly, "Douglas will never speak to
you again. Now, up in a moment-
steady, steady now, but as quick as you
The feat, dangerous as it really was,
was achieved; but when he attempted
to unlock the gate, he found he had
not suffcient strength.
"Pull the key out and push it under
the gate," was the order given. It was
obeyed. In an instant the boys were
in the garden, and a rapid attack was
NORTON HARGRAVE. 27
commenced on the fruit trees nearest the
Ho I ho !" cried Palmer suddenly, see-
ing Norton about to take flight; "stay
where you are." They had now filled
their pockets, and taking the key they
again placed it in the lock inside, and
then drew the gate after them.
"They'll think it is the gardener's
fault," said Palmer, "for leaving the
gate unlocked; that will be better than
sending Sugar and Plums through the
hole again, and making him climb
"Here !" continued he, turning to
Norton, "you may have this;" and he
offered him a nectarine; "but eat it in
"No, no," replied Norton.
"But you shall," cried Palmer; and
28 NORTON HARGRAVE.
he held it forcibly to his lips: "Eat it,
Norton resisted. "Then you mean to
tell?" said the other boy.
"INot because I won't eat what you
have stolen," returned Norton.
"Will you tell of us at all?" de-
manded Palmer; he held the poor boy
in his grasp, and again his arm was
raised menacingly. At that instant the
bell sounded, it was the signal to call
over the names. They glided into the
room, answered loudly when it came to
their turn, and retired exultingly to en-
joy their booty.
Norton's eyes were heavy the next
morning, and instead of running to meet
Douglas, he approached him pensively.
His manner instantly struck the latter,
who inquired kindly into the cause;
but being assured that Norton was not
ill, he took no further notice of the cir-
cumstance. Whether the gardener was
afraid to complain of the loss of the
fruit which he must have perceived;
conscious as he was of negligence in
having left, as he believed, the gate un-
locked, and thought it better to say
nothing about it, is unknown. Certain
it was, however, that no inquiry was
made, and Palmer and his confederates
exulted in private at their success.
Not so Norton. Afraid from the first
of Palmer, he now beheld him with
terror, and never did he see him and
his friends approach the gate than he
hurried away to avoid their observa-
tion, lest they should again employ him
in a similar manner. Nor were his
fears groundless. The hole in the side
- -- -- I
30 NORTON HARGRAVE.
of the wall was indeed repaired; but
Palmer was quite sure that, with a little
contrivance, they might enable him to
scale the gate. His companions shrank
from the proposition. They had escap-
ed detection, and even suspicion before;
and they were unwilling to encounter a
fresh risk. Palmer was a boy of con-
siderable determination, and was not
easily to be diverted from any project
which he had once conceived; but, hap-
pily for Norton, accident furthered the
views of the other, and rendered his
own services unnecessary.
As Palmer was passing the garden-
gate, he perceived that it stood ajar.
He ventured to push it open a little
wider, and to peep within. Perceiving
no one, he slipped into the garden, dart-
ed towards a fine October peach-tree,
tore off some of the fruit, and, quick as
lightning, made good his retreat. This
time, however, he had not been unper-
ceived. The window in Mr. Longman's
bedroom commanded a view of the en-
trance into the garden. He happened at
the moment to be standing near it, and
from thence observed a boy enter the
garden, approach the tree, and then
hastily rejoin his companions in the
play-ground. Unfortunately, he was very
near-sighted; it was impossible for him,
therefore, to discern the features of the
offender. In height and size Douglas
and Palmer were alike, and both taller
than any boys in the school; he felt
certain it was one or other of the two.
As Palmer had finished eating the
last peach, he saw Mr. Longman walk-
ing towards him with hasty step, and
32 NORTON HARGRAVE.
either read in his features an expression
of displeasure, or conscience suggested
the idea that such was the case, and
terrible misgivings were the consequence.
The stones of the fruit he had previously
eaten had been dexterously thrown over
the fence; it was impossible for him to
do the same with the present. In great
alarm he looked round for some means
to get rid of it. Douglas stood very
near him; in an instant he contrived to
slip the stone into his pocket, and he
then, with apparent indifference, awaited,
as the safer plan, the approach of Mr.
Longman. He had so far shifted his
position, that Douglas now stood before
him, and was nearest to Mr. Long-
"Mr. Douglas," said that gentleman,
drawing him a little aside, allow me to
NORTON HARGRAVE. 38
ask you, if you have been standing here
any time ?"
Douglas looked surprised. "No," re-
plied he; "I have been here only a few
minutes. I have merely walked from
"And you passed the garden-gate?"
inquired he anxiously.
"I did, sir," answered Douglas.
"May I trouble you to show me what
you put into your pocket as I was
coming up to you ?" said he.
My handkerchief," returned Douglas;
and as he said so, he drew it out; the
peach-stone at the same instant fell to
Mr. Longman turned pale, for Doug-
las was with him, as with every one
else, a favourite. Shocked and distress-
ed at such a confirmation of his fears,
34 NORTON IARGRAVE.
he was so agitated, that Douglas could
scarcely at first understand from him
the nature of the charge. His compan-
ions, in the mean time, attracted by Mr.
Longman's manner, had gradually stole
nearer to them both, and thus became
acquainted with what he would else
have wished to conceal from them. He
was heard with astonishment. Douglas
guilty of such an act! Douglas steal
fruit! The youths looked at each other
in consternation. He himself alone was
calm, although not a ray of colour was
left either in his cheek or lip.
Appearances, sir," said he, "are cer-
tainly against me. I have nothing to
offer in defence but my simple word;
and, on the honour of a gentleman, I
assure you, I am as ignorant how that
stone came into my pocket as yourself.
He stood in the confidence of inno-
cence, every eye turned upon him.
Norton had been playing at a little
distance; but the rumour that some-
thing extraordinary was passing brought
him also and his companions to the
Mr. Longman was annoyed at the
publicity that had thus been uninten-
tionally given to the affair; but sup-
pression of it was now out of his power.
"Can any one throw a light upon this
business?" demanded he. But he de-
manded in vain; not a sound was
heard. The question was repeated.
Norton was springing forward, un-
awed by the presence of Mr. Longman,
and becoming suddenly bold in the de-
termination to serve one whom he so
dearly loved, by revealing all he knew;
36 NORTON HARGRAVE.
when he caught the eye of Palmer, and
read in it an expression that arrested
his steps in an instant. His words
died away, and, trembling from head
to foot, he remained motionless.
Quick as that glance had been, how-
ever, it had not escaped the notice of
Mr. Longman; its effect on the little
fellow was too evident to be unobserv-
ed. Many others also remarked his agi-
tation; and as they were unconscious
that Mr. Longman laid stress upon the
height of the offender, a feeling was im-
mediately conceived, improbable as it
was, that Norton was the guilty person,
and that he had, in some way or other,
added deceit and ingratitude to his of-
fence. This suspicion, the last which
Mr. Longman would knowingly have
wished to excite, was strengthened, if
NORTON HARGRAVE. 37
not confirmed, by the words that fol-
"Mr. Douglas," said he, "I entirely
acquit you of the slightest imputation
of having acted unworthily of yourself.
I am satisfied in my own mind who
has behaved thus dishonourably; and
if I delay inquiry, it is because I am
certain he who is guilty will eventually
Poor Norton was now very unhappy.
All that Palmer had before insinuated
against him, his insolent taunts, and
even the nickname he had given him,
told. His own immediate associates no
longer cared to play with him, and no
one, with the exception of Campbell
and Dotgglas, that firm, generous, and
noble-minded friend, still took his part.
He had questioned the poor boy in
38 NORTON HARGRAVE.
private as to the fact, but could gain
only this reply,-
"I say to you as you said to Mr.
Longman, I am innocent, and he believ-
ed you. 0, do believe me too, for in-
deed I tell you the truth."
I do believe you, Norton," returned
Douglas, kindly, "for I have always
found you correct in what you have told
me; but why were you so agitated?"
"Don't ask ine any more," replied
he; "trust me;" and he looked beseech-
ingly into his face, as he clung to his
And Douglas did trust him, and by
his confidence preserved him from a
feeling of degradation that might have
had a very prejudicial influence upon
him. With a judgment that would have
done honour to riper years, he so skil-
fully contrived to strengthen the weak-
ness that made the poor child shrink in
the fear of others, by proving the worth
of conscious rectitude, even under the
most unfavourable circumstances, that the
lesson was never afterwards forgotten.
At the same time, in proportion as others
became cool to him, his kindness increas-
ed; and well was it for Norton that it
did so, for had it been otherwise, his
situation would have been very painful.
Independently of the prejudice that had
been conceived against him, Palmer, in
the mean and mistaken idea that he en-
sured his own safety by fostering a spirit
of bad feeling against him, took every
opportunity of placing him in an unfa-
Mr. Longman in the mean time kept
a strict watch upon Palmer, but nothing
40 NORTON HARGRAVE.
occurred to elicit the truth. The fruit
season passed, the holidays intervened,
and Easter was again approaching.
About this time a sudden and over-
whelming change took place in the affairs
of Palmer's father; his great riches were
absorbed by a ruinous speculation; and
though his son was not removed from
Mr. Longman's care, every possible ex-
pense was curtailed in his education.
The alteration in his circumstances made
a very striking one in his manner. He
was now no longer the boasting, domi-
neering youth, lording it over every one
who would submit to him; the tyrant
of the younger boys, and the consequen-
tial director of the elder; he either kept
aloof from the rest, or meanly sought
notice from many whom he formerly de-
spised. He had never been generally
liked; he was now sinking into insig-
nificance and contempt: he had oppress-
ed and despised others; he was now
It was at this time, that in honour
of a great national event, a holiday was
graciously asked, and was, of course,
granted. It was then the ambition of
the boys to celebrate the event in the
best manner they were able. Many were
the schemes projected; but at length it
was unanimously agreed that a fete,
ending with fireworks, would be most
appropriate and most agreeable. A sub-
scription was immediately set on foot,
among themselves, for the necessary
funds. All gave liberally; for they
who had little gave all that they pos-
sessed. Palmer, who a short time be-
fore would have contributed more than
42 NORTON HARGRAVE.
any one else, if it had been only to
show his consequence, and boast of what
he had done, stole behind others when
the money was collected, the little he
had brought from home having been
Mortified almost beyond endurance, he
was yet obliged to confine his feelings
to his own bosom, and to assume the
best air of indifference he was able. The
hour arrived, all was animation and
happiness, the note of preparation was
sounded, forms and tables were brought
out into the playground, the delicacies,
which the stewards collected for the oc-
casion, were now beginning to be brought
in, and every thing was arranged in the
most liberal manner, and in the best
taste imaginable; and the more so as
Douglas was the master of the cere-
monies. Every one was in good hu-
mour. Little "Sugar and Plums," (for
that name was now confirmed to him,)
was in unusual glee. He had been
allowed to wait upon Douglas, and had
been his "right-hand man," till called
into the house to receive what comple-
ted his delight, a parcel of good things
from home, a supply of money,-a for-
tunate circumstance, for he had subscrib-
ed his last sixpence; and, 0! better than
all, a long letter from dear sister Fan-
ny. His heart bounding with joy, he
set off in search of Douglas, just to
whisper the good news to him, when
discerning him, by the white ribbon
attached to his button-hole to mark his
office, in a contrary direction to that
in which he expected to find him, he
was compelled to alter his course. By
44 NORTON HARGRAVE.
this means he suddenly came upon
Palmer, who was seated under a tree
which grew at the corner of the play-
ground, with a book in his hand, on
which his eyes alone rested, present-
ing altogether a picture of profound
Norton started, and for a moment
stood still; the report instantly occur-
red to him that Palmer, under pretence
that he did not approve of what was
going on, but, as was well known, be-
cause he had been unable to contribute
to the fete, had entirely withdrawn him-
self from the party. A thought imme-
diately struck him. Should he, dare he,
put it into execution? Before he had
answered the question he proposed to
himself, he was by the side of Palmer.
The latter looked up, and for a moment
gazed at him with surprise. At one
time Norton would have received a pe-
remptory order to "be gone;" as it was,
there was sullenness, but not the rude
and almost fierce expression in the
other's eyes that had inspired him with
so much terror. Palmer did not, how-
ever, deign to speak, but almost im-
mediately bent his face over the vol-
ume he wished to be thought to be
Norton did not offer to go. Are you
ill ?" said he softly, summoning courage
"I have got the headache," replied
How often is the headache pleaded
for all sorts of uneasy feelings, and
made to bear opprobriums that do not
attach to it!
46 NORTON HARGRAVE.
"But not so bad, I hope, as to pre-
vent you from taking your place at the
table," said Norton, not knowing how
to frame the question he wished to pro-
"I shall have nothing to do with
the f6te, nor any thing that belongs to
it," replied Palmer; and the bitterness
of mortification was stamped on every
feature. Again he pretended to read.
"Palmer," said Norton, and he trem-
bled as he spoke, I'm sure you would
like to be with us,"-he checked him-
self,-" with the great boys, I mean:
do, pray take this," and laying the new
half-sovereign he held in his hand on
the leaves of the book, he ran away.
Palmer gazed for an instant on the
money. "Come back," cried he, but
not unkindly. Norton continued his
pace. "Come back," he repeated in
his former authoritative tone.
Norton dared no longer disobey.
"Don't be angry," said he, "indeed
I did not mean to offend you."
"I am not offended," replied Palmer,
"but you must take this again," and
he put the half-sovereign into his hand.
There was something in the tone of
his voice that made Norton venture to
raise his eyes to him. What could be
the matter with him? He had never
seen him wear such a look before.
"You are not angry, then, with me?"
The proud, humbled boy could not
at first speak, but gulping his emotion,
he murmured, "No, no: leave me;"
then turning his back upon him he
walked hastily away.
48 NORTON HARGRAVE.
But Norton had made an advance
into a path which he was led irresisti-
bly to pursue. He still held the half-
sovereign in his hand as he watched
him enter the now deserted school-room.
"He won't have my money," thought
he, "but he shall have something else."
Taking his opportunity he presently
followed him; and, perceiving him sit-
ting alone, his elbow resting on a desk,
and his head supported by his hand,
he advanced .with. quick and light step,
and laying before him cake, fruit, sweet-
meats, and biscuits, ''You must have
these," cried he, and then, not waiting
for the possibility of a refusal, he dart-
ed out of the room, into the playground,
and took the seat marked for him at
The feelings of Palmer in the mean
time were as strange to himself as diffi-
cult for another to describe. He had
been much affected by Norton's conduct
respecting the money, and a sense of
his own demerit had stung him to the
quick; but this repetition of generos-
ity on the part of one whom he had
so long and so unjustly persecuted, over-
came his stubborn nature, and awoke all
that was amiable in him. He looked
at the nice things spread before him;
his proud heart gave way, and he burst
into tears. He took a piece of cake
in his hand, "Poor little fellow," sighed
he, "I dare say he has parted with
nearly all he had," and he laid it down
He sat thoughtful and sad for some
minutes longer: a new idea then struck
him. "If I entirely refuse to accept
50 NORTON IIARGRAVE.
his gift," said he mentally, "I shall
give him pain,"-and selecting a dried
apricot, he raised it to his mouth.
There is a connection in our thoughts
which it is not always easy to trace,
and of which we are only made sensi-
ble by the suddenness of the effect:
but in this instance there was no such
difficulty. Conscience at once showed
the link of the chain, and brought all
his former conduct in regard to the
theft of the fruit and the part he had
compelled Norton to take in that occur-
rence to his mind; nor did it allow him
to stifle the self-reproach that followed.
For a long time he debated within him-
self whether he should execute the de-
sign it suggested or not; but at length
his better principles prevailed. "iHe
shall not be the only one," said he,
"that shall conquer himself: he has
been generous; I will be just: but I
will not eat a morsel of these things
till we are in some degree' square."
So saying he deposited all in his
box; and knowing that Mr. Longman
would not be at liberty till the next
morning to attend to him, he remained
in the school-room alone, and avoided
for the night all possibility of inter-
changing a sentence with Norton.
Early the next morning he rapped at
the door of Mr. Longman's study; and,
on being bid to "Come in," he with-
out reserve or hesitation, but with con-
siderable feeling, repeated every partic-
ular that had occurred between Norton
and himself. Mr. Longman heard him
with no slight emotion.
"And am I to consider this as a pri-
vate communication alone?" said he,
anxious to ascertain the sincerity of
The cheek of Palmer was dyed with
the deepest crimson; but he paused
only for an instant.
"No, sir," said he, "I will not be
just by halves; let all be known, and
as publicly as you please."
"But have you reflected on the con-
sequences to yourself?" demanded Mr.
I have not closed my eyes all night,"
answered he, "and my mind is perfectly
made up on the subject. I am ready
to go with you into the school-room
whenever you please."
Mr. Longman immediately shook him
most cordially by the hand. "I am
satisfied," said he, "and I heartily re-
NORTON IIARGRAVE. 53
joice at the victory you have thus ob-
tained over yourself. I can now believe
your repentance to be sincere; and my
regret at your former misconduct is, per-
haps, more than counterbalanced by the
pleasure of your return to right feeling.
But we must now have some regard to
yourself. The robbery of the fruit in
the first instance is neither known nor
suspected; and no good can result from
its publication; society is never improved,
nor would our little world here form
an exception, by a knowledge of what
crimes may be committed, and of the
impunity which sometimes attends them.
The second offence is quite another mat-
ter; and there I leave you to act as
you think proper."
They entered the school-room together;
a few words from Mr. Longman pre-
54 NORTON HARGRAVE.
faced what was about to take place. A
profound silence reigned throughout the
school, and curiosity was wound up
to its highest pitch, when Palmer, fol-
lowing the motion of Mr. Longman, in
concise, but in forcible and feeling terms,
exonerated Norton from all blame, and
repeated the generous conduct he had
received from him the evening before.
We are all prone to admire what is
right, though not so ready, alas! to
practise or imitate virtue: one senti-
ment alone filled every breast. Poor
little Norton! such a public demonstra-
tion of approval as followed the relation
given by his former enemy might have
highly gratified most boys; but to him,
who was ever ready to shrink from ob-
servation, and to whom such commend-
ation was perfectly new, the effect was
painful and overpowering. One look,
however, from Douglas; a look beam-
ing with dignified love and unqualified
approbation, more than reassured him.
His tearful face grew bright with hap-
piness, and a thrill of joy pervaded his
frame, which he probably would never
"Then you forgive me, Norton," said
Palmer, as they were walking together
in the playground, in company with
Douglas, to whom he had related all
that concerned the first theft of the
Norton looked at one, then at the
other, smiled at Douglas, and taking
the hand of Palmer, said, "Forgive you!
you have made me happier than ever
I was in my life; it is I who must
56 NORTON HARGRAVE.
Mr. Egerton laid the manuscript on
his knee and ceased to read. Charles,
who had listened with breathless inter-
est was the first to break the silence.
"O papa," cried he, "what a pretty
story But this is not all, is it? What
became of them, do you know? How
I wish I could have seen Douglas and
that dear little Norton; how I love him
Do tell me something more of them:
and first of Palmer."
Mr Egerton seemed to be absorbed
in his own thoughts; but a repetition
of the question recalled his attention.
He soon after left Mr. Longman's,"
said he; "his situation was not alto-
gether pleasant, and at his own request
he was removed."
"And Douglas; was Norton ever able
to repay him for his kindness? They
must have continued friends, I am sure,"
They did so," replied Mr. Egerton,
"and happily for Norton he was able
to return the kindness he had received.
Douglas entered the army; he had in-
terest and rank, but not wealth; Norton
had abundance, and his purse was his
friend's. Douglas rose rapidly to the
highest rank in his profession, and died
in the very arms of victory, loved, hon-
oured, lamented by all."
As he spoke he raised his eyes to a
full-length picture of an officer suspend-
ed over the fireplace opposite to him,
and Charles, with a feeling of awe at
the unusual sight, beheld them suffused
with tears. In an instant the whole
truth flashed on his mind.
"0 papa," cried he, "I see it all
58 NORTON HARGRAVE.
now: that noble, generous Douglas was
the General, your friend; and Norton,
that dear, dear little Norton"-and he
flung his arms round Mr. Egerton's
neck-" is my own papa!"
LET no one say that a life of labour
is the hardest that can be appointed to
any individual. Provided that exertion
be crowned with moderate success, that
health and strength be granted, toil,
though incessant, and even severe, brings
with it its reward, and makes the dili-
gent man cheerful and happy. Inde-
pendent, in the best acceptation of the
word, useful to others, and trusting that
he is fulfilling the designs of Providence
in the station in which he has been
placed, such a one will be ready to
acknowledge that God did indeed tem-
per mercy with judgment, when for his
transgression he condemned our first
parent to "eat bread in the sweat of
his brow." Woe to the idle, the un-
profitable member of society! Saving
that of the liar, there is no character
so contemptible, so repugnant to our
general feelings, as the habitually lazy,
or unprofitably employed.
"I have been young, and now am
old, yet saw I never the idle respect-
ed or happy, any more than I have
seen the righteous forsaken, or the in-
Such was the observation of the ven-
erable Rector of P- a neat little vil-
lage on the confines of Wiltshire, to his
grandson, a youth who had come to
spend his holidays with him. Well
do I remember, in the town in which
I was born, a woman who from my
childhood had been known to me un-
der the reproachful appellation of Idle
Jane. Averse to almost any kind of
exertion from her infancy, she had
vegetated rather than lived through the
years of her existence. Her parents
were inoffensive, respectable persons, pos-
sessed of some property, which at their
death devolved to her as their only
child. She married a farmer in the
neighbourhood who was himself in easy
circumstances; and as he did not re-
quire much exertion from her, in con-
sequence of a sister living with him
who was of an active turn, and was
at all times very indulgent to her,
Jane took all things, as she said, softly
and smoothly,--in truth, she never put
herself out for any thing. Her children
and servants were never a trouble to
her, whatever might be their conduct.
'They were no worse than other peo-
ple's,' she averred; 'and where was the
use of fretting about what could not be
mended?' She was never accused of
quarrelling with any one, for that would
have been attended with far greater ex-
ertion than she liked; 'angry words
broke no bones, and nobody was the
worse for what other people thought or
said of them.' If the weather was un-
IDLE JANE. 7
favourable, the crops deficient, if sick-
ness prevailed, or a child was snatched
away, such things could not be helped,
every body was subject to them, and
she and her husband could not expect
to be more favoured than their neigh-
"After living several years together,
her husband died. Jane shed a few
'natural drops,' then 'wiped them soon,'
felt comfortable that she was left in
such easy circumstances, and all was
forgotten. Trustees and guardians took
care of her family and property, and
there was little left for her to do but
to go to bed and to get up, to eat
and to drink, to doze all day, and to
sleep all night.
"As years grew upon her, so did
this lethargy of soul and body. There
was once a time when she would walk
round her garden; but this practice be-
came first irregular, and then was dis-
continued. In her younger days she
had constantly attended church, though,
alas! to little purpose. She knew not
why, but she was always more drowsy
there than anywhere else; and at length
she found her slumbers at home were
less broken and more comfortable, and
she gave up going altogether.
"I remember well passing by her
house one day; the door was open, and
I felt a curiosity to take a peep within.
I was well known to her, and provided
I did not give her the trouble to reach
or gather them, I was always welcome
to fruit, or cream, or curds, as my
fancy or the season made them desira-
ble. There sat Jane fast asleep in her
accustomed easy chair, which was so
placed as to afford her a view of pas-
sengers, if she could exert energy enough
to notice them. Her hands were folded
on her lap, no expression marked her
large, round, unmeaning features, one
foot was on a stool, the other slightly
extended, exhibiting the very personifi-
cation of ease and indolence.
"At this moment her little grandson
was led in by the servant. Touching
the shoulder of her mistress to rouse
her, she begged her to mind Robert did
not get into mischief whilst she went
into the town on an errand. Jane
nodded assent. For a few moments
she answered the questions that the
child put to her; she then ceased to
speak, her look was still fixed on the
restless boy, who, after having taken a
survey of the apartment, as if selecting
an object on which he could exert his
propensity to destruction, at length push-
ed his stool towards some plants which
stood in the window. Jane appeared to
be watching him, and she certainly
comprehended what was his intent, but
she did nothing more than continue to
gaze upon him, till, as she did so, her
eyes gradually lost all expression, no
ray of understanding enlightened them,
the heavy eyelids closed, and Robert
was left unmolested to pursue his mis-
"The rich flowers of one luxuriant
geranium were soon plucked off and
scattered on the floor,-another and an-
other shared the same fate,-he then
aimed at the farthest plant from him.
In doing this, he lost his balance, and
catching at one of the pots to save him-
self he fell, and a crash followed that
awoke his grandmother. The boy shriek-
ed, but Jane did not attempt to rise,
either to assist him, or to ascertain
whether he was hurt. She rang the lit-
tle bell that was placed at her elbow
on the table, and composedly watched
Shis struggles as he lay kicking on the
floor. The servant, however, had heard
the noise, and entered hastily.
Take that child away,' said Jane,
'Why did you bring him here to trouble
me?' The girl mumbled something in
her teeth about people being so lazy;
but though it was evident from her look
that she spoke impertinently, her mis-
tress only stared at her, and, as soon as
the door was closed, composed herself
again to sleep.
"I was but a young man at the time,
and had just taken orders. I was greatly
shocked. Some years before, perhaps, I
might have enjoyed a laugh at her ex-
pense; now I could much sooner weep.
"' And that unhappy woman,' thought
I, 'has an immortal soul, a spirit which
in another world cannot be lulled into
slumber and insensibility. What pro-
vision is here, alas! made for its wel-
fare? Conscience is dead, nor can re-
collection of sin quicken thought into
penitence. 'Fast bound by Satan these
many years,' and 'made captive at his
will,' the tempter has no need to entice
or to urge his victim to active trans-
gression and enormous crimes. Secure
in the belief of his prey, he leaves her
in the fetters he has riveted upon her,
and knows that nothing short of a
merciful interposition of Providence can
snatch her from his grasp.'
"You look surprised, my dear boy:
then mark me. My professional duties
have led me into the deepest haunts of
vice,-into the gloomy prison and the
fettered cell. I have had much to con-
tend with in this period, much to dis-
courage, much to humble me, but, in
very truth, I have never found any
vice so hard to overcome, any evil pro-
pensity so difficult to reclaim, any peni-
tence so little promising, as in instances
where idleness has become, as it were, a
second nature. I say to you, as I have
frequently said to my own soul, Beware
of so silent, so fatal a weight of guilt; be-
ware how any talent is thus wrapped
up and buried in a napkin; improve
every faculty entrusted to thee now, lest
sloth work thy ruin, as surely and as cer-
tainly as the most daring iniquity. Say
not to thyself, 'Peace, peace, where there
is no peace,' but shake off the trammels
of this sin whilst thou art able; and
whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do
it quickly, and with thy whole heart.
"Three months after, I inquired for
Jane. She had died in a fit of apoplexy
in her chair, stealing out of life, as it
were, as she had lived in it, unprofita-
bly, without respect, and without the soli-
tary tribute of a tear to her memory."
He was silent for some minutes, and
then said, "Thought of Jane brings to
recollection another character quite. the
reverse of hers, but not more worthy of
imitation, whom I will introduce as 'Bust-
ling Bob,' for so he became known to me."*
See page 146 of this series.
tnaert nXies; nr, hmn fast at first.
"DON'T be so impatient, Robert?" said
Mrs. Wiles to her son, a boy of about
eleven years of age. "As soon as I
have cut you some bread your basket
will be ready."
ROBERT WILES; OR,
"That's right, mother," cried he; I
don't wish to lose a minute. 0 those
sparrows shall have enough of it to-day,
hear how they will go;" and he rattled
his clappers with such force, that his
mother loudly desired him to be quiet.
"Ah! I thought so," said Robert, ex-
ultingly; "you can't stand the noise:
nor will they. Now you have done,
haven't you?-that's bread enough."
"Robert," exclaimed his mother, "how
I wish you were not so fond of a new
job! An idle boy you- are not; but
for the good you do in the end, you
might almost as well like work no bet-
ter than many others. If you would but
recollect what I say so often to you I"
"About the fierce flame and the
steady one," returned Robert. "So I
do; you make me remember it."
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
"I wish, then, you would attend to
it," replied she.
"And be like George Franklin; don't
you, mother ?" said he; "sit day after
day, and week after week, dragging that
saw backwards and forwards with his
father; but I must not waste another
moment;" he seized the basket as he
spoke; "thank you, mother,-good-bye:
you shall hear how I am going on,"
and away he ran.
And Robert was as good as his word.
He was only a few fields from his mo-
ther's cottage, and never was there such
an incessant shouting, clapping, rattling,
kept up through the whole of the day
as by him. If the sparrows, bold as
they are reckoned, had possessed hearts
as courageous as lions, they could not
have failed to be terrified. Perched on
ROBERT WILES; OR,
the solitary tree that grew there, and
which gave him the entire command of
the field, scarcely had an ear of corn
bent under the light pressure of the tiny
foot, when such a volley was fired by
Robert, that the scared bird was in the
air again, glad only to have made good
"That noise is enough to distract any
one," observed a gentleman to a poor
woman with whom he had been con-
versing at her cottage door; "surely
there is no need for all that clamour."
"It is only Robert Wiles," said the
woman smiling; "that's always his way;
he'll be quieter to-morrow."
"And that little fellow," asked the
other, "whom I see working yonder, is
he one of the same sort?"
"No, no;" replied she, "he is the
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
stillest, most patient, and best working
boy in the parish. Come to-morrow, or
come a fortnight hence, if the job last
so long, and most likely it will-for
they are preparing stone for the new
house to be built there-you will see
him and his father, early and late, as
you see them now." She would have
added more, but at that instant Robert
gave such a loud, lengthened crack of
his clappers, that with a hasty exclam-
ation of, "What a nuisance 1" her visitor
"0 mother! I am so tired," cried
Robert, as he entered his home, and
letting the empty basket fall from his
hand, "hear how hoarse I am, I can
"And no wonder," replied she.
"They say the corn is to be cut the
ROBERT WILES; OR,
day after to-morrow," said Robert; "I
hope it will; I don't wish for any sup-
per. I had rather go to bed;" and with
a sigh amounting almost to a groan, he
threw himself into a seat.
The next morning, instead of being
up and dressed before any one else, he
was so sound asleep at six o'clock that
his mother was obliged to wake him.
He mounted his post of observation;
but though his clappers were kept in
full requisition throughout the day, he
very rarely attempted to shout. The
day after his voice had recovered from
its hoarseness; but, though he was
again sent to watch, the birds were
neither frightened out of their wits, as
he had declared they had been before,
nor were the neighbours stunned with
the incessant rattling of his clappers.
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
The corn was then cut, and Robert
was at liberty for a new occupation.
"Come, Robert," cried his father, we
want all the hands we can get, to-day;
we must clear those fields this week:
the corn is so ripe it will certainly shake
if we don't: you must go with me."
And who so happy, so busy, so ac-
tive as himself? He was here, and
there, and everywhere. Cap, jacket,
and waistcoat, were discarded; and if
the extent of his usefulness might have
been judged by the streams of perspir-
ation that bathed his face and limbs,
Robert's services were more than equiv-
alent to those of half a dozen boys
of his own age.
"Up, Bob, up!" shouted his father
at an early hour the next morning, "I
hear the teams starting. Be quick, or
10 ROBERT WILES; OR,
I must go without you, and you will
have to walk."
Poor Robert dragged himself wearily
out of bed, and was yet more asleep
than awake, as he lay extended at the
bottom of the wagon. It was now,
"Come, Bob, be alive." "Move on,
and take care of that leader." "Don't
let the gears lie there." "What are
you dreaming about?" "What's come
to you?" cried one. "I thought you
trotted too fast yesterday to keep up
that pace long," said another; and
Robelt was nettled by the laugh that
Robert's next employment was to pull
up the weeds and grass in the stable-
yard of a gentleman who had lately
become an inhabitant of the place; and
which, in consequence of the premises
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
not having been occupied for some little
time, had been suffered to grow pretty
much as they liked. Woe to the un-
lucky intruders now No mercy was
allowed them under Robert's hand: they
disappeared almost as if by magic.
"Well done, my little man," said Mr.
Greenwood, the gentleman alluded to;
"you have worked well indeed. All
this has been done this morning," con-
tinued he, turning to a friend who was
Delighted at this encouragement Rob-
ert was more energetic, if possible, than
ever. No sabre in the hand of the most
skilful dragoon was wielded more scien-
tifically than the old broken knife that
was Robert's weapon. Swift as light-
ning, forefinger and blade alternately
wrought destruction to every tuft of
12 ROBERT WILES; OR,
grass; and scarcely had he moved the
bit of matting on which he knelt to
one spot, before he had occasion to shift
its position to another. The two gentle-
men watched him, and smiled at each
other; then again commending him they
left the yard. Robert repeated, with no
small degree of pride, what had passed
to his mother; assuring her that Mr.
Greenwood had appeared so pleased with
him, that he was sure he would come
again and speak to him; "and who
knows," added he, "but he may wish
to keep me always ?"
"Take care, then, that you work as
well to-morrow as you have done to-
day," replied his mother; remember,
too large a wick soon burns out the
"I'm sure I will do all I can," said
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
Robert; "but see, I have made my
fingers quite sore."
Mrs. Wiles, however, consoled him
only by assuring him, that she made no
doubt his fingers would be well the
next day; nor did the event altogether
contradict her assertion, though they
were still very tender. Contrary to
Robert's expectation, Mr. Greenwood did
not come into the stable-yard; and ob-
serving the groom taking the horses
round to the hall door, he concluded
it would be some hours before he
should see him, if at all. He now
pursued his task more leisurely; and
whereas he had before scarcely with-
drawn his eyes from the pavement, he
now found many opportunities of taking
a survey of the premises. The gambols
of two young puppies greatly interested
14 ROBERT WILES; OR,
him; they rolled over each other so
curiously, he thought, and made such
funny antics, that it was impossible not
to be amused by them. He was kneel-
ing on his piece of matting, his fingers
twisted round a tuft of grass, and his
broken blade at some distance from him,
and laughing outright, when he saw
them standing on their hind-legs, their
fore-paws round each other's neck, and
trying to bite each other in every pos-
sible direction. At this instant, unper-
ceived by him, Mr. Greenwood approach-
ed close to him. "Well," cried he,
"how goes on the weeding?"
Robert started, coloured deeply, and,
in an instant, with relentless hand and
rapid motion began his operations.
"I don't find fault," said Mr. Green-
wood, after having looked around him,
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
"with what you have done; but if I
compare this day's work with yester-
day's, I must own the difference is not
in favour of the present. What is your
Robert informed him. "And what is
your father's occupation? Is he employ-
ed in the stable?"
"No, sir," answered Robert, "he al-
ways works on Mr. Ingle's farm."
"I do any thing I can."
"And like the last job you are set to
do the best, don't you ?" said Mr. Green-
wood smiling; that is a bad way, how-
ever; the steady, even course in every
line of life is always the best. But do
you know where David Burrows lives?"
"Yes, sir," replied Robert, "he lives
in a cottage near the town's end, close
16 ROBERT WILES; OR,
to Mr. Ingle's wheat-field, which I was
tending before it was cut."
"0," said Mr. Greenwood, in a very
lengthened tone, "it was you, was it,
that were sitting in that tree?" The
look that followed would have shown an
attentive observer that he comprehended
enough of Robert's character, not to lay
all the blame of his diminished diligence
to the playful puppies. Robert made no
boast this evening of the commendation
he had received; and next day, had he
been questioned on the same subject
when he returned home, he would have
been obliged to confess that the man
who had set him to the task had dis-
missed him with the words: "Boys
who work for me, must go on as they
begin; such grand displays at the first
are only as flashes in the pan, deceiving
TOO FAST AT FIRST. 17
others, and deceiving yourself. Take my
advice, and remember, that it is better
to be praised at the last, than won-
dered at at the first."
In the mean time, George Franklin
and his father had pursued their occu-
pation without change or variation. Un-
conscious of the notice he attracted, or
of the commendations that his conduct
drew from many persons who passed
by, George sat so regularly and mechan-
ically, as it were, at work, his eyes fixed
so constantly on the saw, that he might
have been taken rather as a figure in
a scene, than an animated being. No
sooner, however, had he leave to rest,
than none appeared more active or
fonder of play than himself; nor did
his father, who was as considerate as
industrious, ever tax his strength be-
18 ROBERT WILES; OR,
yond his power. On the contrary, he
carefully avoided the making employ-
ment a wearisome task; and teach-
ing him to regard labour in its true
light, as the safe and* honourable lot of
all, he instilled into him the only just
and laudable feeling of independence,-
the owing our livelihood to o-ur own ex-
ertions. Franklin was working by the
piece, and, according y, he fixed what he
considered as proper wages on his boy,
which were as punctually paid to him
as his own were, by his employer. The
money thus earned, together with many
stray sixpences and pennies, the reward
of various services rendered in different
quarters, was deposited in the hands of
George's uncle and godfather, who took
a lively interest in his welfare.
The annual feast of the village was
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
now approaching; and the joyful news
was communicated to George by his
uncle, that he had money enough in his
hands to buy him, he trusted, an entire
new suit of clothes. He, accordingly,
proposed accompanying his nephew to
- in order to purchase it to the
greater advantage. All was arranged
between them; a substitute for George
was alone wanting, and he was quickly
found in Robert Wiles.
On the Saturday previous to Whit-
sunday the uncle and nephew set out
on their errand, which was kept a se-
cret; and Robert, as his representative,
was seated, saw in hand with Franklin.
"Gently, gently," exclaimed Franklin;
"if you pull and jerk in this manner,
there will be no working with you-
ROBERT WILES; OR,
But this was not in Robert's nature.
Every muscle of his body was exerted;
and very soon the few clothes he had
on could not have been wetter had he
been drawn out of a river. Franklin
continued to check him. At last he ex-
claimed, "Robert, this won't do at all;
you tire me as well as yourself. Work
quietly and steadily, I tell you."
Robert did as he was bid for a time,
but he gradually increased his energy,
till Franklin grew quite vexed with him.
Before long, however, he found himself
compelled to use less exertion. He be-
gan to be extremely tired, and his arms
"You are of no use whatever to me,"
cried Franklin, his patience exhausted;
"you must give over. Here are some
halfpence for your trouble; but take this
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
lesson as of more worth from me, what-
ever you undertake, go to work heartily,
but not violently. Look to the end;
proportion your strength and energies to
your task, and be not prodigal even of
your bodily powers. It is far better to
persevere in a regular and moderate
course, and finish successfully, than to
make a start which may astonish every-
body, only to disappoint all in the end."
Robert was exceedingly mortified; he
pocketed the money in silence; and fear-
ful that his mother might ask him ques-
tions which he should not like to answer,
he delayed returning home till it was
near bed-time, when he knew she would
be occupied with his brothers and sisters.
Whitsunday came; the Sunday, of all
others, most prized, both by old and
young in the village of Newton. Robert's
22 ROBERT WILES; OR
parents were very industrious and care-
ful people; and his mother, especially,
had laboured with double diligence for
the last month, going out as charwoman
in the day, and working with her needle
late at night, after she had returned.
New shoes, new hats, frocks altered to
fit the younger girls, which the elder
had outgrown; boy's petticoats discard-
ed, and the first suit to mark manhood
were alike provided, to the credit of the
mother, and the delight of her children.
Robert was very well satisfied with the
appearance he made, and felt himself in
no degree inferior to his companions,
who, like himself, had been equipped for
the year to come.
As he was strolling with some of
these, they came directly in front of
George Franklin. "Look, look!" cried
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
one of the boys, how smart George is!
he has got on a new suit from head to
foot!"' The eyes of all were bent on
him, as he approached. His features
beamed with great pleasure as he joined
"What handsome clothes you have
got on 1" exclaimed Robert; "how very
nice you look!"
George smiled. "I am glad you like
them," said he; "but do you really
think them handsome?"
"O, very, very handsome!" was the
assurance of all, as they took a survey
of him, from the colour of the suit, to
the very size of the buttons.
"What a great deal they must have
cost!" observed one of the boys. "Do
you know how much?"
"To a penny," replied George; "and
24 ROBERT WILES; OR,
I ought, for they were bought with my
"With your own money!" cried they,
in astonishment. "You don't say so!"
"Indeed, but I do," replied George;
"But then, you know, the cloth is not
so good as some of yours. Yours,
Robert, is much finer than mine; but-"
George checked himself, lest his feeling
might be misconstrued into conceit.
"But you bought them with your
own money," said Robert, supplying the
sentence. From this moment his lively
spirits disappeared; he felt himself in-
ferior to George; and, though he was
partial to him, he was mortified, and far
from happy. In the evening George
and his father passed by. "Look, mo-
ther," murmured Robert, "look there
how I envy George those clothes"
r- -- - --~~- ~- - -
TOO FAST AT FIRST.
Why?" exclaimed she, in astonish-
ment, "your own are quite as good,
and better too."
"No, no, they are not," cried he, pas-
sionately; "he paid for them himself,
from his own earnings; and mine-"
"And yours," said his father, were
paid, for the most part, out of the earn-
ings of your mother. I understand what
you feel: but courage, Robert; self-cor-
rection is, perhaps, the sharpest of all,
but it is often the most effectual. Im-
itate George; work, for the future, stead-
ily and patiently, like him, and so lose
a character which makes no one desirous
of employing you. A year, I hope is
before you; see what you can do in it
towards conquering a defect, and try if
you cannot be as happy next Whitsun-
day, as George is this."
The year came round, the boys met;
each looked at the other with pleasure.
"Thank you, thank you, George," ex-
claimed Robert; "I've done it at last;
my clothes, like yours, are bought with
my own money, and my own earnings."
~ ____~~__ __
YES; there is much in life to cloud
the mind, and grieve the heart; much
of disappointment, much of heavy toil
and wearisomeness of spirit; but there is
also much of enjoyment, of the purest
THE GENEROUS BOY. *
satisfaction, and even of happiness, if
they be sought for in the paths which
lead to their possession. O if we would
but cherish the kindly feelings of our
nature, would carefully and fondly guard
the bond that unites in love the mem-
bers of a family;-if brothers and sisters
would continue in after years what they
generally are to each other in their com-
mencement, what pain might be spared-
what bliss insured! How might virtue
be quickened and confirmed, vice re-
pressed, and the universal good of socie-
For the twentieth time, at least, had
the two younger sisters and the eldest,
of Harry Annesley, who was expected
this evening from school, hastened from
the window of the sitting-room to the
front door, to look out for his arrival.