The little merchant and other stories

Material Information

The little merchant and other stories
Blackie & Son ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London ;
Glasgow ;
Edinburgh ;
Blackie & Son
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
64 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1883 ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1883 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1883
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Glasgow
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Ireland -- Dublin
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026850480 ( ALEPH )
ALH3588 ( NOTIS )
62881304 ( OCLC )

Full Text

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T HE IE were rich people and poor people
~ in the village of Riverdale, as there are in
"i almost every other place, and our present
story begins in the humble cottage of a poor
widow. It was not a pretty red-tiled, white-
walled cottage, surrounded by blooming rose-
bushes and other sweet-smelling flowers, with
a pleasant garden in front of it; but it was a
dingy little old house, that had not been
painted for many years, and that looked as if
it was going to fall to pieces every moment.
Nothing seemed ever to have been done to it
to make it look pretty, and it appeared
scarcely fit to live in.
Nevertheless, a poor widow named White


did reside in it, and was even grateful for the
shelter which its poor walls and fittings
afforded her. Her husband, a labourer, had
been killed by an accident only a year before
our story commences, and left her with a
family of four children. To maintain this
family Mrs. White had to work very hard,
because food and clothes even of the poorest
description cannot be had without money, and
money, of course, cannot be had without work.
The name of the eldest boy was David,
and at the time our story commences he was
barely nine years of age. But he was both
big and strong enough to help his mother
very much, as any boy of that age can easily
be if he is only willing and tries; and David
was really anxious to help his mother. iHe
used to take care of the baby, gather the
firewood, fetch the water from the well, see to
the fire, and do a great many other things that
were not beyond his strength; and of course


he went to school, for his mother wanted him
to grow up a wise and good man.
Mrs. White used to earn her livelihood by
"closing" boots, that is, by sewing the seams.
of the uppers, &c., and for which work she
was employed by a large firm in the adjoining
town. David could not help seeing that she
had to work very hard for the small sum she
obtained, and he often wished that he too
could "close" boots, and so help to increase
the weekly income for the support of the
family. He tried several times to sew strips
of leather together, but he made such a poor
job of it that his mother told him one day
he was not big enough for such work.
Many times did David wish he was a great
man, so that he could take care of his mother,
and his little brother and sisters. He thought
if he was once big he could earn lots of money.
Then he would not let his mother sit up so late
at night, working until her very eyes ached.


But wishing would not make him grow
old or big any quicker, so he had to content
himself with progressing in the usual way,
and in assisting his mother in every way he
could; and certainly she had no reason to find
fault with him, for he did all he was able, and
was willing to do a great deal more. Still,
David could not help thinking what a fine
thing it would be to earn money for his
mother, and the more he thought about it the
more he wanted to do something.
Those who are willing to help themselves
are almost always sure to find some one who
is willing to help them. If we try to do well
there are plenty of friends who will do all they
can for us.
David's mother used to allow him to go to
the river to catch fish, but she always told
him when he was going to be careful and not
fall into the water. He used to remember
what she said, for he knew how sad she would


be if he should be drowned, as John Piper,
one of his playmates, had been only about a
year before.
He had a fishing-rod and line that had
belonged to his father, and with these he used
to catch perch and other fish. These were all
good to eat, and when David had secured a
good basketful he felt that he had done some-
thing to assist his mother.
One day he wanted to go fishing, to which
his mother consented. Accordingly he got
his rod, line, and basket ready, and started for
the river, feeling just as though he wanted to
do some great thing. He wanted to catch
something better than perch and such "small
fry." So he took a big stick, and when he
came to the river-side he walked till he heard
a "chug,"-which is the sound of the noise
that the bull-frog makes.
Then he stopped, and pretty soon he saw
the green head of a frog sticking out of the


water. Froggy looked at him slyly as though
he knew what he meant to do. As David
crept up to him Froggy gave another "chug,"
and darted into the water, hiding himself
under a bush that grew near the shore.
David could not find him, so he walked along
till he saw another. He was more careful
this time, and did -not alarm the frog by his
You just sit there for half a second," said
he to himself, "and I'll have you, my fine
fellow. You need not wink at me; I want
one of your hind-legs for bait, that's all."
As soon as he got near enough he raised
the big stick, and at one blow killed poor
froggy. Taking out his knife he cut off one
of its hind-legs, and put it on the hook.
There were a great many fine trout in the
river, and not a few of them were quite
large; and David had long been anxious to
secure one as a prize. He dragged the frog's


leg over the water for half an hour, hoping
that a trout would rise and lay hold of it.
At last he heard a splash, and felt a fish
pulling very hard at the line. He hoped he
should catch him, and even before he had seen
the fish he began to think what he should do
with him. But he had a little plan in his
head, and if he could only get the fish he was
almost sure of doing a great thing.
"Hold on tight, fishy," said David, as he
tugged away at the rod. The fish would not
have minded what he said if he could have
helped himself. But he was well hooked, and
could not get away. The rod bent as David
pulled, and he was afraid it would break. So
he was very careful, and after a deal of tugging
he pulled the fish out of the water and landed
him on the grass.
It was a nice trout, and David felt like a
great man then, for he had caught a big fish.
He put him in the basket, and put some grass


over him. Then he tried again for another
trout, but was unsuccessful, so he filled his
basket with perch sufficient for next day's
dinner, and prepared to return home.
While he sat on the grass putting up his
rod and line David kept thinking of some-
thing. He wanted to earn some money for
his mother, and this was what he was think-
ing about. He had now formed a plan by
which he hoped to do it. When ready he
took the basket of fish in the one hand and
the rod and line in the other, and started for
Just before he came to the house he took
the trout out of the basket and hid it in the
grass, for it was part of his plan that his
mother should know nothing about it in the
meantime. Then he carried the basket of
perch into the house, and asked his mother if
he might stay out a little longer. She said he
might, and he ran back to the place where he


had left the trout. Putting the fish into
another basket he had brought he laid some
fresh grass upon it, and walked up to the
village. He stopped before a large, fine house,
with a grove and a nice garden before it.
Somehow or other David did not feel so brave
as he did before; and he paused for a few
moments before he could venture to offer his
trout for sale. At last he pushed the gate
open and went in. As he walked up the
pathway a great dog ran at him as though it
meant to tear him in pieces. David was
rather afraid of the big dog, but still he did
not like to go away without seeing Mr. or
Mrs. Lee, who lived in the fine house.
"Be still, Watch!" said the sweet voice of a
little girl; "why do you make such a noise?"
In a moment David saw the little girl run-
ning towards him. She was not more than
eight years of age, and had such pretty curls
that David thought she must be an angel.

She went up to the big dog, and with her tiny
hand stroked him on the head and told him
again to be still.
"You are a naughty dog, Watch, to bark at
such a little boy, and if you don't hold your
noise you shall have no supper. Go, lie
"Watch wagged his bushy tail, and looking
up into the little girl's face with what might
almost be called a pleasant smile he quietly
retired to where he had come from.
"What do you want here, little boy?" said
Flora Lee, for it was the daughter of the
proprietor of the house who addressed David.
"Miss, I have caught a large trout in the
river, which I would like to sell to your father,
if he will buy it," replied David.
"Oh, do let me look at it!" said Flora anx-
David pulled the grass from the basket, and
the little girl looked at the fish, said he was


a monster, and did not see how such a little
boy as David could have caught him.
He pulled very hard, miss," answered the
boy, "but I got him out. He is a very fine
fish, and I heard a man tell my mother that
your father was very fond of this kind of
"Yes, he is," said Flora, "and I have no
doubt he will buy it from you."
"My mother is very poor, and has to work
very hard to keep us all; and I want to get
some money to help her if I can."
"You are a good boy to wish to help your
mother, and if my father does not buy the
fish, I will," said Miss Flora.
"Thank you, miss," said David, and then
Flora asked him to follow her into the great
house. David, of course, followed her at once.
He had never been in such a fine house before.
Flora led him into the house by the front
door, which was hardly the way to take a


fish-boy in by; but she was so anxious that
David should sell his trout that she did not
think of that.
"Oh, father, come quick!" she cried, as she
opened the door of the room where her father
was sitting reading.
"Why, what is the matter, Flora?" inquired
Mr. Lee.
"Nothing, father; only here is a little boy
who has a fine trout to sell, and you must buy
Must I?" asked Mr. Lee with a smile.
"But perhaps I shall not."
"But you must! This little boy wants to
earn some money to help his mother. He
tells me she is poor and has to work very
"That may be all true enough, Flora, my
dear; but how much does he want for his fish?"
said Mr. Lee.
"I don't know, father, but I will ask him;"


and Flora ran back to David and asked him
his name.
David White," he replied immediately; and
Flora returned and told her father the boy's
name, but not the price that he wanted for the
fish. However, Mr. Lee was a man of great
common-sense, and understood his daughter's
carelessness; so he came out of his room into
the passage where David was standing, and
he said:
"Well, my little man, you have a trout to
sell, have you?"
Yes, sir," answered David. "A friend of my
mother told me you liked trout, and as I
caught a very fine one in the river this morn-
ing I thought you might like to have it;" and
as he said this David produced his fish, at the
same time taking off his cap.
Mr. Lee looked at the trout, and could not
but admit that it was a very fine one. He
then asked the price, and David told him that
(146) B


he would accept whatever he pleased to give
him. Mr. Lee, however, being a gentleman,
placed a fair value upon the fish, and said:
I will give you half-a-crown for the fish, my
boy; I could get a better one in the market for
the same sum; but as you are a good boy and
are anxious to assist your mother, and also as
my little girl Flora has said I must buy your
trout, here is the money;" and Mr. Lee handed
David the half-crown.
After Flora had shown David into the
kitchen, and the young fisher had deposited
the trout with the cook, the young lady said to
him, "You must catch some more trout and
bring them here, and I am sure my father will
buy them from you;" and David replying,
"My dear young lady, I will if I can," ran off
as hard as he could towards home with his
How happy the poor boy felt! How tightly
he held the bright half-crown in his hand! He


had never had so much money of his own
making in his life before, and would not his
mother think a deal of him when he gave it to
her, and told her how he had earned it! He
felt quite like a great man. Half-a-crown!
David was quite convinced in his own mind
that no boy of his age had ever before earned
so much money in the forenoon of one day.
"See, mother, what I have got for you,"
cried David as he ran into the house, with all
the gleefulness of a boy who has achieved his
first success in life.
"Hush, David! make less noise, or you will
wake baby up; but what have you got?" said
Mrs. White.
Half-a-crown, mother," said David proudly,
as he placed the coin in his mother's hand.
"Half-a-crown, David! my dear boy, where
"did you get all that money?" said Mrs. White
with some anxiety.
"I earned it this morning, mother," said the

boy in a whisper, afraid that he might wake
his little sister Mary. "I caught a large trout
in the river this morning, and I sold it to Mr.
Lee for half-a-crown."
"David," said Mrs. White, "you have done
very well indeed, and Mr. Lee has been very
good to give you such a capital price for your
fish. Half-a-crown is a large sum for such
poor folks as we are; and I really do not
know whether to buy some article of clothing
with it for you, or to get some food for us all
in the meantime."
I sold the fish for you-I was not thinking
of myself at all. Now that I find I can
catch fish and sell them so well, I may be able
to make more money;" and his mother talked
to him about his having done his duty so well,
that when David White went to bed that
night, instead of going to sleep, as boys
generally do when they get "between the
blankets," he lay awake to think of some


other way in which he might help his mother.
If he could only earn half-a-crown every day
his mother would scarcely require to work at
all. But'in the meantime he could not think
of any way of doing so while he was awake,
and so he went to sleep and dreamed about it.
When he woke up next morning the first
thing he thought about was the half-crown he
had earned the previous day. There happened-
to be no school that day, so he went down to
the river to endeavour to catch some more
trout. He got three, but neither of them was
so large as the one he had caught the day
before. However, the anxious boy thought
he might be able to sell them in the village;
but after trying at upwards of a dozen houses
he could not find a customer. He felt almost
ashamed to carry his fish home, but his
mother observed his perplexity and told him
that he must not be discouraged. She cooked
the trout for dinner that day, and David said

they were very good, and also said that he did
not see why no one should buy them.
But after dinner was over his mother sent
him to the grocer's to get. some sugar, and
while the grocer was putting his sugar up he
overheard a gentleman say that he wondered
why the Riverdale people could not get the
city newspapers to purchase early in the
morning, before they left the village for
business; and that he was quite sure it would
be worth any person's while to devote himself
to this matter.
As David walked home he thought over
the conversation he had heard at the grocer's
shop. He had heard that a number of boys
in the city made a goodly sum of money by
selling newspapers every morning, and why
should he not do the same at Riverdale? He
would only have to get up early in the
morning so as to get into the city by the first
train, and purchase the papers, and return by


the next one; or perhaps he could arrange
with some news-vendor to send him out a
parcel every morning, and thus save both his
railway fare, and perhaps an hour or two
"I will do it," he said to himself, "or at
least I will try to do it. I will go and see
Mr. Field, the conductor of the train, and ask
him to bring me out some papers on Monday
morning;" and as David was a boy of action
he at once set out for Mr. Field's house, and
fortunately found him at home. After stating
what he had been thinking of doing he
mentioned how he thought the conductor
could oblige him. The latter listened very
carefully, and at last said:
"Well, David, do you think you could sell
the papers?"
"I mean to try, sir; my mother is very poor,
and has to work hard. I would like to help
her if I can," replied the boy.


"That's a good lad," said the man kindly;
"and if I can do anything to assist you I shall
only be too glad."
"If you would bring me the papers from
the city in the morning I think I could sell
"You shall have a chance, my boy; and I
will bring you some next Monday. How
many do you think you will want?" said Mr.
"Not many at first, sir, perhaps about two
dozen," replied David; "perhaps the gentle-
men will not care to take them from me at
"All right, David, you shall have them,"
said the conductor; "and perhaps I may be
able to say a good word for you among the
gentlemen of the village as they ride back-
wards and forwards with me during the day."
David was so glad that he scarcely knew
what to do with himself. He ran home and


told his mother what he had done, and she
was as glad as he was when she thought how
smart a son she had, and how anxious he was
to be of assistance to her.
Monday came; David was at the railway-
station when the first train arrived from the
city, and Mr. Field, having been as good as
his word, gave him th. papers. David took
them under his arm. How his heart beat
with fear lest he should not be able to sell
them! But he meant to try hard, and he
began to feel almost sure that he should sell
What have you got there, boy?" said a
gentleman as he came out of the station.
The Journal, sir," replied David, taking
one from under his arm.
"Give me one," said the gentleman, as he
handed David a penny; "and I shall want
one every morning."
"Very well, sir," said David, quite delighted.


"You may leave it at my house;" and he
pointed to his residence-a large establishment
opposite the station.
The little merchant was cheered by this
sale. It was a good start, and he felt sure
that every man in Riverdale would want a
paper. Pretty soon he came to the shop of
the grocer, and he entered it to follow up his
good-fortune. There were a number of
customers, and David at once asked them to
buy a Journal.
"Is that you, David?" said the grocer.
"Yes, sir; don't you want a paper?"
"I do, and I am very glad to get one;" and
the man handed him a penny and took a
"Thank you, sir," said David, for his mother
had told him he must be polite to all with
whom he had dealings.
So you have gone into business, have you,
David?" said the grocer, with a smile.


"Yes," answered the boy, "I am trying to
do something to help mother."
"That's a good boy. You will find plenty
of people to buy your papers, for they all
want them."
David sold five papers before he left the
shop, and with a light heart he ran across the
street to the large boot and shoe warehouse
on the other side of the road.
A great many men were at work there, and
when the little merchant told them he was
selling papers to help his mother, so many
bought copies that he had only six left when
he came out. Five of these were quickly
disposed of, and he had only one left. He
felt sure that Flora Lee's father would want
one, and he saved this one for him. He found
Flora in the garden playing with the great
dog, and he told her what he had been doing.
She felt a deep interest in David, and when
he had told his story she led him to her


father. Mr. Lee bought his last paper, and
ordered him to bring one every morning.
Oh how happy David was then! he had
"sold out" his entire stock, at a profit of nine-
pence. But he was an honest boy, and he
went at once to Mr. Field's to pay him for the
papers, and to speak for some more for the
next day. The conductor told him he thought
he had done very well, and also that he had
no doubt he could sell as many as four dozen
next day.
David ran home and told his mother all
about it; and she was as glad as he was to
hear of his success. She was pleased not only
because he had made some money, but because
he had endeavoured to do so solely to assist
Ninepence is a small sum, it is true, but the
poor widow could think of a great many little
comforts that it could procure; and if her son
could earn this sum every day it would be a

real blessing to her, for it would supply the
whole family with good warm clothing. So Mrs.
White had a right to feel proud of her son.

The next day David sold twice as many
papers as he had done the day before. He
carried home eighteen-pence as a profit which
he had earned almost before breakfast. This
was as much money as his mother earned
every day, and he felt as proud as a lord of
what he had done.
He now found himself settled in the busi-
ness; and in a few weeks his mother bought
him a suit of clothes with the money he had
earned. They had a great many nice things
at home which they had not been able to get
since the death of their father.
But the little merchant did not always have
such good fortune as on the first days. One
day when he had sold all his papers, and had
demands for more than he could supply, he


asked Mr. Field to bring him an additional
supply. Then he could not sell them, and this
caused a loss.
There were a few bad boys in Riverdale,
and David had some trouble with them. One
day when he was crossing a field with his
bundle of papers under his arm he was
stopped by Joe Birch. This Joe was a bad
boy, and did not like David because the little
merchant refused to associate with him and
his companions, or idle away his time with
"How many papers have you sold this
morning, David?" asked Joe.
"About twenty," replied David.
"Give me one, will you?"
"I can't give them away; I have to pay for
"What if you do?-can't you give me one?"
"If I have any left over I will give you
one," said David.


Then he tried to get away, but Joe tripped
him up and he fell at full length on the
ground. He did not care for the fall, but all
the money in his pocket rolled out and was
scattered about the grass.
Joe was a good deal bigger and stronger
than David, and the little merchant was afraid
of him. So he did not dare to say anything,
though he felt very bad indeed. He had a
stout heart, so he knew that crying would do
no good; and at once began to pick up his
Joe said he would help him, and began to
look in the grass with David; but he did not
give him any of the money he found; and
David, after he had looked a long while,
found only half of what he had lost. How-
ever, he did not say anything about his loss,
but ran on to leave a paper at a house on the
other side of the field.
"Hollo, David!" shouted Joe after him.


"What do you want?" asked David.
"Do you mean to say I have got any of
your money?" said Joe Birch in a peculiar
"I didn't say so," quickly answered David.
"Because if you do I'll break every bone in
your body," said the cowardly thief.
"I didn't say so."
"Yes, you did: I heard you."
David did not answer him again, but ran
with all his might to the house. When he
got to the door he could not control his feel-
ings any longer, and burst into tears.
"What is the matter, David?" asked John
Gray, the farmer's son, as the boy gave him a
"I have lost my money in the field," sobbed
"Joe Birch was with you-wasn't he?" in-
quired Mr. Gray.
"Yes; and he tripped me up, and when I

fell the money all came out of my pocket, and
I lost fivepence."
"You go back and ask Joe Birch if he has
any of your money. I know he has got some
of it."
"I am afraid to do that, sir," replied David.
"He will whip me if I do."
"You go and ask him, my boy, and I will
be there in a minute." And as John Gray in-
sisted, David at last agreed to go. When he
reached the field again Joe was leaving it; but
he called after him, and he stopped.
"Did you find any of my money, Joe?" asked
David, who spoke in a very civil manner.
"No, I did not. Do you mean to say that I
have got any of it? If you do, I'll trounce you."
"I don't say so."
"Yes, you do;" and Joe doubled up his fist
and advanced towards David; but the latter
walked away from him, and at that moment
John Gray appeared upon the spot.
(146) C


"He says I've got some of his money," said
Joe, as John joined them.
"And have you not?"
No," replied Joe stoutly.
"Turn out your pockets and let me see,"
said John.
"I don't want to do that; but I haven't got
any of his money," said Joe, and he tried to
run away; but John Gray caught him and
turned out his pockets for him. In one of
them he found four of the pennies that David
had lost. John gave them to David, and told
Joe if he touched him again he would put
him in prison for stealing.
David was very glad to get his money again,
and while John held Joe he ran off to sell the
rest of his papers. Joe was afraid of being
put in prison for what he had done, so he
did not dare to whip David for telling John
about it.
This was only one of David's trials. He

told his mother about it when he got home.
She said he must not mind it, and that he
must have nothing to do with Joe Birch after
this, for he was a very wicked boy. She told
him -he must not heed these troubles, for
everybody in the world has to meet them.
David kept on selling papers for years, and
at length had such an extensive connection to
supply that he had to employ a number of
boys to assist him to deliver them in the
morning. He was ultimately able to take
a small shop in Riverdale, and, commencing
business as a news-vendor and bookseller,
he rose to a position of great respectability
in the place. And all this came from the
desire on the part of a little boy to help his
poor widowed mother.


" IHEN I was only eight years old," said
an old gentleman, "my father and my
mother being poor, with half-a-dozen
children besides myself to take care of, I was
given to a farmer in the neighbourhood, who
offered to make a plough-boy of me, and to
retain me in his service until I became of age.
"The farmer believed in making boys work,
and understood how to avoid spoiling them
by indulgence. So I had plenty of work, and
a great lack of indulgences to enjoy. It was
consequently a great treat for me to get the
enormous sum of one or two pennies into my
possession, by any sort of good-fortune-a
circumstance of such rare occurrence that at

the age of eleven I had learned to regard
money as a blessing bestowed by Providence
only on a favoured few.
Well, I had lived with Farmer Webb three
years before I knew the colour of any coin
except copper; but by an accident I learned
the colour of gold, and I am now going to tell
you all about it.
"One Saturday night my master sent me
to the grocer's shop in the village to make
some purchases, and on returning home, just
about dusk, my attention was attracted by
a little brown package lying on the roadside.
"I picked it up to examine its contents, but
without the least suspicion of the treasure
within. Indeed it was so light, and the
wrapper of brown paper appeared so large,
that I thought some person was attempting to
make an April fool of me, although it was the
month of June. I unrolled the paper, how-
ever, but I could find nothing; and I was just

on the point of throwing it away when some-
thing dropped out of it and fell with a ringing
sound upon a stone.
"I looked at it in astonishment. It was
yellow, round, glittering-too bright and too
small for a penny. I felt it-I squeezed it in my
fingers-I spelt out the inscriptions on both
sides of it, then something whispered to me
that it was a gold coin of incalculable value,
and that if I did not wish to lose it I had
better put it into my pocket as quickly as
possible. Trembling with excitement I did
so. But it would not stay there. Every two
minutes I had to take it out and look at it.
But when I met any person I was careful to
put it out of sight. Somehow or other I felt
a guilty dread of meeting with some one who
would say it belonged to him. Provided
no one claimed it, I thought it was honestly
mine by right of discovery; and I comforted
myself with the sophistry that it was not


my business to go about the streets shout-
"'Who's lost a valuable gold coin?'
"I went home with the gold in my pocket.
I would not have had the farmer's folks know
what I had found for the world. I was sorely
troubled with the fear of losing my valuable
treasure! This was not all. It seemed to me
that my face betrayed my secret. I could not
look any person honestly in the face.
"These troubles kept me awake half the
night; and projects for securing the treasure,
by a safe investment, the other half. On the
following morning I was feverish and nervous.
When the farmer at the breakfast table said,
'William!' I started and trembled, thinking
the next words would be, Where is the piece
of gold you have found and wickedly con-
cealed, so as to withhold it from the rightful
"But he only asked:

"'I want you to go to Mr. Baldwin's this
morning, and ask him if he can come and work
for me to-day and to-morrow.'
"I felt immensely relieved! I left the
house, and got out of sight as quickly as
possible. Then once more I took the coin
from my pocket and feasted on its beauty.
Yet I was unhappy. Consciousness of wrong
troubled me, and I almost wished I had not
found the gold coin. If discovered, I asked
myself, would I not be called a thief? Was it
not as wrong to conceal what I had found as
to take the same amount from its owner's
pocket? Was he not defrauded all the same?
"But then I said to myself:
"But if I do not know who the loser is,
how can I give him his money? It is only
because I am afraid Farmer Webb will take it
away from me that I conceal it, that's all. I
would not steal gold; and if the loser should
ask me for it I would give it to him at once.

I apologized thus to myself all the way to Mr.
Baldwin's house. But after all it wouldn't do.
The gold was like a heavy stone, bound to my
heart. It was a sort of unhappy charm,
which gave an evil spirit power to torment me.
And I could not help thinking that I was not
half so well pleased with my immense riches
as I had been with a rusty copper which I
had found some weeks before. Nobody
claimed the penny, although I kept my good
fortune no secret; and I had been as happy as
a king, or as a king is commonly supposed to be!
"Mr. Baldwin was not at home, and I
returned to the farm. I saw Mr. Wardley's
horse standing at the gate, and I was terribly
frightened, for Mr. Wardley was a constable,
and I thought he had come to take me to jail.
So I hid in the garden until he went away.
By that time reason began to prevail over
cowardice, and I made my appearance in the
house. The farmer looked angrily at me.


"Now, thought I, feeling faint, he's going
to accuse me of finding and keeping the gold.
But he only scolded me for having been so
long upon my errand. I never received a
reprimand so willingly. His severe words
sounded sweet-I had expected something so
much more terrible.
"I worked all day with the gold in my
pocket. I wonder Farmer Webb did not
suspect something. I stopped so often to see if
the gold was really still in mypocket-for much
as the possession of it really troubled me, the
fear of losing it troubled me scarcely less. I
was miserable. I wished a hundred times I
had not found the gold piece. I felt that it
would be a relief to lay it down on the road-
side; again I wrapped it in the brown paper,
just as I had found it. I wondered if ill-got
wealth made every person so miserable.
At night I was sent again to Mr. Baldwin's,
and having found him at home obtained his


promise to come to our place on the following
It was dark as I returned home, and I was
afraid of robbers. I never felt so cowardly in
my life. It seemed to me that anybody could
rob me with a clear conscience, because my
treasure was not mine. I got home, and went
to bed in fear and trembling.
"Mr. Baldwin came early and breakfasted
with us. I should tell you something about
him. He was an honest but poor man, who
supported a large family by hard work.
Everybody liked him, he was so industrious
and faithful; and besides getting fair wages
for his labour, he often got presents of
flour and potatoes from those who employed
"Well, at the breakfast table, after Farmer
"Webb had asked the blessing and helped Mr.
Baldwin to a plate of pork, something was
said about 'the news.'


"'I suppose, farmer, you have heard about
my misfortune,' said Mr. Baldwin.
"' Your misfortune?' said Mr. Webb.
"'Why, what has happened to you?' asked
the farmer.
"'I thought everybody had heard of it,'
answered Baldwin. 'You see, the other night,
when Mr. Woody paid me, he gave me a gold
"I started, and felt the blood forsake my
cheeks. All eyes were fixed upon Baldwin,
however, so my trouble was not observed.
"'A sovereign,' said Baldwin. 'The first
one I ever had in my life; and it seemed to
me that if I put it into my pocket, like a
mere common coin, I should lose it. So, like
a goose, I wrapped it in a piece of paper and
stowed it in my coat pocket, where I thought
it would be safe. I never did a more foolish
thing. I must have lost the coin in taking


out my handkerchief; and the paper would
prevent it making any noise as it fell. I dis-
covered my loss when I got home and went
back to look for it; but somebody must have
picked it up.
"'Who could be so dishonest as to keep it?'
said Farmer Webb, with an angry expression
of voice.
I felt like sinking through the floor.
"'I don't know,' said the poor man, shaking
his head sadly. 'He's welcome to it, whoever
he is; and I hope his conscience won't trouble
more than the money is worth: though God
knows I require all my honest earnings.'
"This was too much for me. The allusion
to my conscience brought the gold out of my
pocket. I resolved to make a clean breast of
it and be honest, in spite of poverty and
shame. So I held the gold in my trembling
fingers, as I said:
"' Is this yours, Mr. Baldwin?'


"My voice was so faint that he did not hear
me. So I repeated my question in a more
courageous tone. All eyes were turned upon
me in astonishment; and the farmer demanded
to know where and when I had found the
"I burst into tears and confessed every
thing. I expected Mr. Webb would have
whipped me to death. But he only patted
my head and said more kindly than was his
"'Don't cry about it, William. You are an
honest boy, although you were nearly falling
into temptation. Always be honest, my son;
and if you do not grow rich, you will be happy
and have a clear conscience.'
But I cried still-for joy! I laughed too
-the farmer had so touched my heart. Of
what a load was I relieved! I felt then that
honesty was the best policy.
"As for Baldwin, he declared that I should


have half the money for finding it; but I
wished to keep clear of the troublesome stuff
for a time, and I did. I would not listen to
his offer; and I never regretted it, boy as I
"Well, I was the farmer's favourite after
this. He was very kind to me, and trusted
me in everything. I was careful not to de-
ceive him; I preserved the strictest candour
and good faith; and that has made me what I
am. When he died he left me a considerable
sum, with which I came here and bought new
lands, which are now worth a great many sov-
But this has nothing to do with my story.
That is told: and all I have to add is, I have
never regretted clearing my conscience of poor
Job Baldwin's gold sovereign."


"HATE my teachers, I hate school, I hate
the sight of my school-books!" exclaimed
Henry Chapman, a bright-eyed boy,
one day as he returned from school and threw
his satchel on the table "in a temper."
"Why, Henry," said his mother, "what has
happened to-day that you should hate every-
thing in this manner?"
"Happened! why, that ill-natured teacher
kept me after the other boys had gone, just
because I couldn't say my lesson. I wish I
was a man, and then I wouldn't have to
trouble my head about declensions, and ugly
moods and tenses, and all such tomfoolery!"
exclaimed Henry, pettishly.


"I think an ugly mood has something to
do with you just now, Henry," replied his
mother, half smiling. "I am sorry to see you
so unreasonably angry, and to hear you use
such uncourteous language; and above all to
find you so prejudiced against your books."
"But, mother, to be punished for forgetting,
as if I could help it!"
"Was it forgetfulness or ignorance, Henry?"
asked Mrs. Chapman quietly.
"I'm sure I studied hard enough," said the
boy, blushing slightly; "it was the very same
lesson I've had three times over."
Then no wonder the teacher kept you back
to learn it," answered his mother in a reproach-
ful tone.
"I hate that teacher!" continued Henry,
scarcely noticing the reprimand; "why is it
that some boys have to go to school every day.
I wish I was Tom Brown; his mother got him
a fine place in a grand shop, where he has five
(146) D


shillings a-week; only think, and I am sure,
mother, you are quite as poor as Mrs. Brown
is, and require the money quite as much.
Do let me leave school and go to work, won't
you, mother?"
"No, Henry. You little know the misery
that a want of education causes a boy. I
would rather suffer any privation; I would will-
ingly live on bread and water to secure you
such an education as will make you independ-
ent of the world when I am dead and gone. I
have wept many a time, thinking of my only
son's ingratitude towards a mother who is
striving constantly to better him and fit him
for the great battle of life which he must
certainly fight. Oh, Henry, if you would only
love school, how happy you would make
Henry looked down with a very red face,
and bit his lips for very shame.
"You see William Saunders pass here every


day," continued Mrs. Chapman; "now sit down
for a little and I will tell you something about
him; for I knew him when he was very young.
He, I presume, little thought that at the age
of thirty he should go bending beneath the
heavy saw, his cheek sallow, and his health
ruined by early idleness and dissipation. But
all this arose from his hatred of school and
his books."
"How so, mother?" said Henry, becoming
"Why, Henry, I have frequently seen him
go to school crying, and uttering all kind
of evil wishes against everything connected
with it, just as you so often do. His mother
strove for a long time time to keep him to his
studies, till at last, tired with the trouble he
so constantly caused her, instead of urging
him on with pleasant inducements, or com-
pelling him to go, she weakly surrendered to
his entreaties, and the idle boy thought that

he had obtained complete happiness. He
avoided school companions, and found more
congeniality in those whose tastes were similar
to his own-whose leisure time was occupied
in foolish or wicked amusements. At first
his pride revolted from associating with the
really low and vulgar youths who surrounded
him, but his foolish love of pleasure and fun
soon reconciled him to their society, for many
of them were not over-honest, and did not
scruple to use means unlawfully obtained to
gratify their pleasures. It was not long,
therefore, before he became reckless and a
spendthrift. However, at the age of twenty-
six he reformed partially, but his character
was almost ruined, and his mind entirely
uncultivated. A little learning now would
have been of great value to him; but he was
no hand at figures-a wretched scrawler-in
fact he was fit for no genteel employment. I
remember my sorrow-he was so fine-looking


a young man-when I saw him doing small
jobs of portering, or engaged in that most
contemptible employment, rinsing pots for a
publican. He seemed to have lost all feeling
of self-respect, and to have really no energy.
Finally he married a pretty but ignorant girl,
and now he has a large family dependent
upon his poor labour, and the mean pittance it
brings him in."
"Why, mother, did all that trouble come
upon him because he did not love school?"
asked Henry inquiringly.
Yes, and more it will soon bring, I fear,"
said Mrs. Chapman; "for he is so poorly in
health that I am sure he cannot live long."
Oh dear! I wish I did love school better,"
said Henry in a tone of remorse.
"By being diligent, Henry, you will soon
learn with ease, and gain the affection of your
teacher. Then you will not find it hard to
love school. When I die, Henry, I wish to
i_____________. ___ ___


leave you that which is better than houses or
"Oh, mother," said the boy anxiously, "do
not talk of dying: indeed I will do better"
and whenever I want to stay at home for
play I'll think of the sad career of William
Saunders; indeed I will."
That was a good resolution, and nobly did
he keep it. He is now a good and useful man;
and we hope the lesson which he heard from
his mother, and which led to his success in
after life, will not be lost upon other boys who
have contracted a hatred for school



BISHOP, who had for his arms two
S fieldfares, with the motto:


thus explained the matter to an intimate
"Fifty or sixty years ago a little boy
resided at a village near Dillengen, on the
banks of the Danube. His parents were very
poor, and almost as soon as the boy could
walk he was sent into the woods to pick up
sticks for fuel. When he grew older his
father taught him to pick the juniper-berries


and carry them to a neighboring distiller,
who used them for the manufacture of gin or
"Day by day the poor boy went to his task,
and on his way he passed the open windows
of the village school, where he saw the master
teaching a number of boys of about the same
age as himself. He looked at these boys with
feelings of envy, so earnestly did he long to
be among them. He was quite aware it
would be in vain to ask his father to send
him to school, for he knew well that he had
no money to pay for him; and he often passed
the whole day thinking, while he was gather-
ing the juniper-berries, what he could possibly
do to please the schoolmaster, in the hope of
getting some lessons.
"One day when he was walking sadly
along he saw two of the boys belonging to
the school trying to set a bird-trap, and he
asked one of them what it was for. The boy


told him that the teacher was very fond of
fieldfares, and that they were setting a trap
to catch some. This delighted the poor boy,
for he recollected that he had often seen a
great number of these birds in the juniper
wood, where they came to pick the berries,
and he had no doubt but that he could catch
"The next day he borrowed an old basket
of his mother, and when he got to the wood
he had the great delight to catch two birds.
He put them into the basket, and tying
an old handkerchief over it he took them
to the schoolmaster's house. Just as he ar-
rived at the door he saw the two little boys
who had been setting the trap, and with some
alarm he asked them if they had caught any
"They answered in the negative; and the
boy, his heart beating with joy, gained admit-
tance into the schoolmaster's presence. In a


few words he told him how he had seen the
two boys setting the trap, and how he had
caught the birds to bring them as a present
to the master.
"'A present, my good boy!' said the
teacher; 'you do not look as if you could
afford to give presents. Tell me your price,
and I will pay you for them, and thank you
"'I would rather give them to you, sir, if
you please,' said the boy.
"The schoolmaster looked at the boy who
stood before him, with bare head and feet, and
ragged trousers that reached only half-way
down his naked legs.
"'You are a very singular boy,' said he;
'but if you will not take money, you must tell
me what I can do for you; as I cannot accept
your present without doing something for it
in return. Is there anything I can do for



"'Oh yes, sir,' said the boy, trembling be-
tween fear and delight; you can do for me
what I should like better than anything
"'What is that, my little fellow,' said the
teacher smiling, and at the same time anxious
to know what the young bird-catcher really
"'Teach me to read,' cried the boy, falling
on his knees; 'oh! dear, kind sir, teach me to
"The schoolmaster complied. The boy came
to him at all leisure times, and learned so
rapidly that the teacher recommended him to
a nobleman residing in the neighbourhood.
This gentleman, who was as noble in mind as
in birth, patronized the poor boy, and sent
him to school at Ratisbon, where he profited by
his opportunities; and when he rose, as he soon
did, to wealth and honours, he adopted two
fieldfares as his coat of arms."



"What do you mean?" said the bishop's
"I mean," replied the bishop with a smile,
"that the poor boy was MYSELF!"


jiiHERE was once a king, who, to the
E honour and glory of God, erected a
r magnificent cathedral, and, by his express
order, no one was allowed to contribute to it
even a shilling, for he desired to complete it all
alone at his own expense. So it was done,
and beautiful and grand stood the cathedral
in all its pomp and splendour. Then the king
caused to be put up a great marble tablet, on
which he had caused to be carved in letters of
gold an inscription, announcing that he, the
king, had built the church, and that no one
else had contributed thereto a single shilling.
But when the tablet had remained up one day
and one night the inscription was altered in

the night, and in place of the king's name
was another, and it was the name of a poor
woman, so that now it stood written that she
had built the splendid cathedral.
This enraged the king to the highest degree,
and he immediately had her name erased and
his own inscribed again. But the next day
the poor woman's name was again found
'upon the tablet, and again the people read
that she had built the temple. For the third
time the king's name was replaced in the
inscription, and for thethird time it disappeared,
and the other took its place. Then the king
perceived that it was the finger of God which
had written, and he sent for the woman and
had her brought before him. Full of anguish
and terror, the woman stood in presence of
the king, who thus addressed her:
"Woman, a wonderful thing has occurred.
Now, before God, to save thy life, tell me the
truth. Didst thou not hear my command

that no one should contribute anything
towards the building of the cathedral? Hast
thou, notwithstanding, given something?"
Then the woman fell humbly at the king's
feet, and said:
"Mercy! my lord and king! Under thy
favour I will acknowledge all. I am a very
poor woman, and earn my bit of bread by
spinning, so that I may not die of hunger,
and having saved up a shilling, I wished, foi
the honour of God, to give it to the building
of thy temple. But, O king! I feared thy
ordinance and stern threatening, and there-
fore I bought with my shilling a bundle of
hay and strewed it before the oxen that
dragged the stone for thy church, and they
ate it. So I sought to fulfil my wish without
transgressing thy command."
When the king heard the woman's words
he was much moved, and perceived that God
had looked into her good heart, and accepted

her offering as a richer contribution than all
he had himself lavished upon the costly temple.
The monarch then bestowed rich gifts upon
the poor woman, and meekly accepted the
rebuke that God had given him.

S, \\w 3 \