The Baldwin Library
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FREDERICK WARNE & C?.
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THE BRAVE SPIRIT.
WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.,
BEDFORD STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
CAMDfN MESS, LONDON, P.W.
I.-A Wise Father .
II.-The Arithmetic Lesson
III.-The New Suit of Clothes
V.-An Important Era...
THE BRAVE SPIRIT.
A WISE FATHER.
The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way."-Prov. xxvi. 13.
|H1 HE most interesting event of our family his-
tory, during my tenth year, was the purchase
of a cow. My father had a patch of land two miles
off, large enough to pasture a cow, and he justly
thought her milk might greatly add to the comforts of
our frugal table. What a world of good things come
in the wake of a good cow I Cream for our coffee,
ROBERT DA WSON.
milk for our berries, butter for our bread, to say nothing
of occasional cheeses made by my mother in an anti-
quated cheese-press, an heirloom of her family. Next
to Cuff, the cow might have been called the pet, at
least in the esteem of Jane,.Mary, and myself.
"And who is going to drive the cow to pasture,
father?" I asked, as he put her into the yard on the
first evening after her arrival.
"You, my son;" and his answer imparted to me a,
new sense of responsibility: and for some time this
duty was discharged with great alacrity. The weather
was fine, "our cow" vwas still a novelty, and above all,
my friend, Charley Frazier, had his cow to drive a
mile in the same direction. .One difference in our
cow-driving duties soon became manifest, and it was
not long before it sorely afflicted me. Charley only
drove nis cow in pleasant weather, while I had to drive
mine in all weathers, just as it happened, rain or shine.
Now Charley was a stout boy, and nearly two years
older than myself, and I did not see any reason why
he should not drive his cow when I could mine. No:
A WISE FATHER.
that was not exactly the aspect in which I viewed it.
I began not to see any reason" why I should drive
mine when Charley could not drive his.
"Mother says I shall not go in the rain. My father
hires a boy for rainy.weather. I am not going in rainy
weather. Not I. I do not like it."
So said Charley, as he lounged idly over the railing.
"Well, I have to go," said I, pitying myself.
"I would not. It is too bad to be obliged to go,
carrying a great heavy umbrella all the way. Mother
says it is enough to walk so far, without having to go
in the rain."
So Charley talked; and so much did it begin to
appear like a hard case, that I wondered why I had
not thought of it sooner, and grumbled more. The
more I thought of-it, the more it troubled me, until,
by-and-bye, it looked like a very great hardship.
"I wonder if father thinks I am tougher than any-
body else? Charley Frazier is older than I am;" and
I had a new fit of brooding over the matter, quite
natural to me.
A cold rain came pattering upon the windows one
morning in October.
"It rains, and I will not go to the pasture for any-
body,-not I!" and down I sank upon the bed,
thrusting my head under the warm clothes.
"Robert4 presently called my father, at the foot of
the stairs. It was his usual summons before going out
"I am not awake yet, sir," said I to myself, getting
farther down, and resolving to sleep again. Who does
not know that sleep, vigorously wooed, is never won ?
I was wide awake.
After a time I heard my father's steps returning from
"Father-has done his part, ought I not to do mine?"
was a suggestion that tried to find its way fairly into
my heart, but I answered it with No : 't is too bad to
go two miles in the rain such a morning as this !"
Robert, my son, get upj the cow is ready to go to
pasture." No answer. "Robert'!" a little louder.
" Robert !" louder yet. No response.
A WISE FATHER.
Presently his step was on the stair. It was a slow
and feeble step, for he was an invalid. I began to
breathe heavily; he entered the chamber, and took me
by the arm. "Come, my son, jump up; you have
over-slept yourself; this is unbusiness-like; there is
work to do; jump up I" All this he said with a cheer-
ful, inspiring tone.
"Oh! it rains, father !" I began to say, but he was
gone. There was no help; I was left to dress and
come downstairs; but my disposition to rebel brought
an ugly pout upon my lips.
"Come," said my mother, when I at last appeared;
"come, Robert, put on your coat and thick shoes, and
take the old umbrella, and see how fast you can trot."
"Nobody can trot fast in all this rain," said I, pet-
tishly; and muttering lower, "I guess Charley's mother
would not let him go out'such a morning; ke could
stay at home, when he wanted to. This ugly old um-
brella, and these heavy old shoes i" And so nothing
suited me; I lagged and fretted, when, lo my father
entered the kichen door. I supposed he was gone.
"Are you ill this morning,. Robert?" he inquired of
"No, father;.I am not ill, but it rains. Charley
Frazier does not go to pasture except in pleasant wea-
ther, and none of the other boys go my way." My
tone was deprecating. Somehow or other I expected
he would pity me and begin to say, "Well, wait a
while;"' or "You need not go to-day, poor boy;" or
"The rain is too bad; I will get somebody else to go."
Similar remarks to these I had often heard- addressed
to Charley Frazier by his parents, when, having pity:
fully represented his case, he was relieved from some
disagreeable duty. "I wish I was as well off," I said
to myself a hundred times, when I beheld Charley at
liberty, while I was tugging hard at work. But it took
long years to develop results.
What I expected-I might better have said, what I
wished-my father to say, he did not say. No unwise
Sor indiscreet condolence came from his lips.
"My son, you must meet the shower just as you
must meet all obstacles. It will be only afew drops at
A WISE FATHER.
a time. Can you not do that, Robert? Make up your
mind, now, and act like a man."
His tone was both courageous and encouraging, and
his fine eyes were fixed earnestly upon me. "' Only a
few drops at a time I inwardly repeated it once,
and the great, huge, leviathan shower seemed actually
to dwindle down in an instant to only a few drops at
"Yes, father," I answered briskly, in spite of myself.
The shoes were no longer heavy, nor the umbrella
ugly. Off I walked bravely. Only afew drops at a
time," I said aloud to the pelting' rain half a dozen
times, and my walk seemed comparatively a short one.
Passing by Charley's house on my way home, he cried
out, I have but just got up, aid you have been away
up to pasture, in the rain. Oh, I w6uld not do that!"
Only a few drops at a time, Charley. Make up
your mind to it, and you will find it is nothing," said I
-marching by with the agreeable consciousness of
something gained, which I would not have exchanged
with any boy. I now know that it was the experience of
of the great art of grappling with difficulties, rather
than avoiding them. It is not right to grumble about
them and magnify them-no; but to meet them with a
brave heart. Then every moment would be laden only
with its own burden. I have since learned from the
volume of Divine truth, that this is also a great princi-
ple of religion:-That we know not what shall be on
the morrow, but sufficient unto the day is the evil
"Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the beauteous land.
"And the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."-Eccles. ix. 1o.
HO does not know the natural reluctance of
childhood to make steady effort? Indeed, is
it not the reluctance of the human heart at all ages ?
Children in deed, and children in character, are often
ready enough to act from impulse or circumstances,
and make great achievements; but it is the habit of
steady, self-relying, yet humble effort, which accom-
plishes all that is truly good and useful. We are to
do with our might whatsoever our hands find to do.
This habit cannot be begun too early, and it can only
besuccessfully cultivated in a child, by making him
feel that there is power enough in parental authority
to compd obedience. He must understand that from
"you must," there is no appeal.
I was at the head of my arithmetic class. What
boy that has attained this honour, under the old sys-
tem of'teaching, forgets how great the honour, how
exquisite the satisfaction! What a length and breadth
of proportion one feels I well remember how I
seemed to fill up the whole school-room with my little.
self. By something that some boys .would call a lucky
hit, Charley was next to me. Every month, ten or
twelve "test questions," as they were called, were
given to the class, comprising and combining the prin-
ciples and rules which we had just been studying.
The committee of examination, on such occasions,.
usually visited the school, a;4 each scholar felt desirous
of painkig 4a reditable appegranpe. OQ this occasion
I raped hom ,with my slate and pencil; and, with
great alarity, finished spliting and bringig in my
wypocl before upper, that I might deyote the whole
eypning to the lessQp., How parfully di 4 I wash and
dry the old slate, and cut and poiit my pencil! I
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
well remember how we all sat by the small deal table
of those long-gone days: my mother, with her darn-
ing; my sisters braiding palm-leaf hats, wherewith to
add their mite to our family means; while I was work-
ing at my arithmetic with all the diligence I was mas-
ter of. With the first, second, and third sums there
was no difficulty; nor was there with the fourth, fifth,
and sixth. They were done, and I could explain them.
At the seventh I made a full stop; the eighth and
ninth looked quite as hard. The tenth I could see
how to do. "Oh, I cannot stop all this evening on
the seventh!" said I, impatiently. "Father must tell
me." And I began to play with my sister's palms
"But do you not remember," said Jane, "that father
never tells you to do test examples? ie always says
he is ready enough to explain all about the rules as you
go along, but you must learn how to uY them. Do you
not remember he said so, Robert?"
"Oh, it is so hard, I cannot find it out, I know I
cannot! Besides, Jane, you know I am the head of my
class. Father will help me out of this, I know," said
I, with a nod and a wink.
"Why, Robert, he never does help you in test sums.
He says you can and you must do them yourself."
"And you know father never alters his mind," added
"But I am up at the head now, Mary; father would
rather help me than let me go down, I guess; right in
the face and eyes of the committee, too; would he not,
"Would he not be likely to think, if you cannot
maintain your place by yourself, that you are not worthy
of it?" asked my mother, looking up from her work.
This reasoning was so exactly like father's, that I turned
towards the slate, read the sum to myself and then read
it aloud, and put the figures on the slate; but all the
while I was inwardly declaring I 'could not do it. Of
what use is effort, unless one believes that effort can
accomplish something ?
The sum remained as intricate as ever. In fact, I
would not make the exertion even of trying fairly and
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
bravely. It began to grow late, and father did not come
home. Jane and Mary kissed mother, and went away
to bed; I nestled close beside her.
"Mother, I wish, when you were a girl, you had
studied this arithmetic, so that you could tell me," I
said, looking up into her face, and wondering that she,
who knew so much, should not know how to work-out
"I am very sorry my dear boy prefers being told to
studying it out himself," she answered, gravely.
"Mother, I cannot!" declared I, knocking my heavy
cow-hide shoes against the legs of her chair.
"Cannot is a lazy drone," said she.
"And what is can, mother? I merrily said.
"A smart, brisk, persevering creature, that stands on
his own legs, and does not need to use other people's."
Alas how many bright prospects and fair hopes
has that same lazy drone overcast and blasted How
many have met some flattering temptation, and when
reason and conscience have cried out, "Resist! Flee!"
they have drawled out a languid "I cannot!" and given
themselves up to the influence of the wicked one! How
many have been urged and almost persuaded to chose
the strait and narrow path. that leads to life eternal,
who at the first sight of a cross to be borne, or a darling
sin to be forsaken, cr a bad habit to be broken, have
shrunk back with that irresolute and cowardly "Ican-
"I like can best; I will try to be can;" and my slate
and pencil began to be in motion again.
Hark The fr6nt door opened, and my father's step
was heard in the entry.
"What, my son, up still!" he exclaimed on entering:
"I hope the lesson is well learned. I suppose it must
be by this time."
"I am waiting for you to help me, father;" and I
would have given much not to have been obliged to
say it. He put on his slippers and sat down by the
"Well, Robert," said he, kindly, "what are your
difficulties? Let us hear them."
Then he looked at the sum and heard all I had to
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
say-"that I wanted him to help me, because I was at
the head,.and he would not wish to have'me go down;
and how hard the lesson was; and that I had tried and
tried, and could not do it."
Again he looked at the sum, then at my slate, and
then at me. With what anxiety did I watch his face:
"So hard!" I muttered, every now and then, in any-
thing but a manly tone. Then he gave the slate back
to me, and said slowly,
"No, my son; I cannot help you. This is a work
you can do, if you fairly try. Besides, you must sup-
port your present position in the class by your own
exertions, or you are not worthy of it."
"Oh, father !" I exclaimed bitterly.
"It is late now, my dear," he said, patting my head.
"Go to bed now, and rise early. Make up your mind
to do that sum, and then do it. I want to see you sus-
tain yourself honourably."
SAs I trudged off with my little lamp I felt angry and
disappointed, yet I could not say "Father never helps
me!" for I could remember evening after evening which
he had devoted to my studies. Sleep soon came, and
I forgot the seventh sum and every other vexation until
the cock crowed the next morning. Do you suppose
I awoke refreshed and grateful, and longing to begin
study? Oh, no Although I enjoyed a sleep so sweet,
and awoke in the bright, early dawn, as soon as I
thought of rify arithmetic I began to kick the clothes
and toss about in bed, and to declare I did not feel
like looking at my slate at all. The sum was so hard,
I was sure I could not do it;" and "It was just like
father not to help me."
Ungrateful boy! I forgot my prayers and all good
thoughts while I lay there, dreading and shrinking from
duty. The consequence was that the sun was high up
in the east before the cow was in the pasture and I
was on my way home again.
"A pretty plight I am in !" I said to myself again
and again; "but I know what I'11 do. I mean to make
it just as late as I can, before I get home from pasture,
and then there will not be a minute to studybefore
.school begins, and then-and then "-and I chuckled
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
at the thought-"father will have to give me an excuse,
and so I shall get off."
To carry out my resolution, I began to climb fences,
and gather flowers, and knock apples off the trees with
stones. I fully succeeded in wiling away the time, and
did not get home until within half an hour of school-
But ah !I did not like showing myself to my parents,
nor did I feel as keen an appetite for breakfast as usual.
I feared they would penetrate my design, and I was a
coward. -My bowl of nice bread and milk, set aside for
me, was hastily swallowed. Then I followed my father
into the wood-house.
"Father," (I began with some exertion), "father,
will you please to give me an excuse? I have just got
home from. pasture, and have had no time to get my
He stopped his work and looked at me. My eyes
fell, and were fixed on a chip at my foot.
"Do you honestly think you deserve one, Robert?"
he asked, seriously.
"I.have not got my lesson, and cannot get it;" my
eyes being still fixed on the chip.
"And that is your conclusion, after a fair, resolute
trial; is it, my son ?"
Yes, father," I would have said, but the effort died
in my throat. He still rested from his work, his eyes
fixed ori.mine, and mine fixed on the chip.
"No, father," I faintly articulated; for I well knew
there was no such thing as deceiving him in such a
S"I am very glad to see you dealing honestly with
yourself, Robert. We can understand each other in no
other way. People sometimes make miserable shifts to
get along easy, but it is in vain. I cannot honestly
give you an excuse, because I think your lesson can be
learned, and I do not think you have taken that time to
study this morning which you ought to have taken, and
which you might easily have done, had you really tried.
Make up your mind to do anything, and-you can do it."
Knowing it was in vain to argue the case, I escaped
from the wood-house.
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
"I hate the school, and my arithmetic, and every-
thing!" cried I, aloud, when fairly beyond the hearing
of my father. And what poor, lazy, inefficient youth.
does not indulge in the same foolish feelings? It is not
he who has conquered difficulties, but he who has been
cbhquered by them, that is unhappy, discontented, and
I went into the kitchen for my books, where my
pitiful and -complaining look and tone wrought, upon
the sympathies of my sister Mary.
"Oh, mother poor Robert will get down, he will,
I know; and the school committee will be there, too.
Oh, mother! do ask father to write an excuse; do,
I was touched by this kindness; my little blue
spotted handkerchief was at my face.
"Mother, do !" added Jane.
"You are in trouble, Robert, I know," said my
mother, feelingly; "but try and meet it like a man."
-Then I wiped my face, and sorrowfully left them.
On my way to school I met one and another of the
boys, and sympathy enough did I find. Joe Hill's
mother had given him an excuse, and in consequence
he had been on the playground full an hour and a half.
Sam Jones had an excuse. Bill Farley declared flatly
he knew he could not do the lesson, and would not even
try. Charley Frazier, where is he? Soon we espied
Charley bounding over the green, approaching the
school-house upon the run.
"Your arithmetic lesson, Charley-how is it? You
look as if you had done it, but I do not believe you
have," cried Farley.
"Yes: I've done it. Why, it's, easy enough, I'm
sure," declared Charley, with a most satisfied air.
Easy enough !" scornfully repeated' Bill Farley; "I
don't know where the easy. is, for my part."
"I knew the committee were coming in, and I did
not mean to let.the master mortify me before them, so
I got an excuse; now I am ready for play !" cried Sam
Jones, flourishing his bat.
"I'11 join you. Come, who's for'a game of bat and
ball? shouted Charley.
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
"Charley Frazier thinks the lesson easy enough, and
I could not do it!" The idea fastened itself on me.
In truth, I had entertained no very high opinion of
Charley's abilities, but now they rose much in my esti-
"Now, Charley, do tell me how you did the seventh,"
said I, taking him by the arm just as he was going to
join the game of balL He pulled his arm away vio-
"Oh you know what I did for you yesterday,
Charley. Come, now," I besought him; "come, and
I will lend you my new knife just when you want it-
my best knife."
He unwillingly suffered himself to be dragged into
the school-room, and even to our seats, where we sat
down together. He took up his slate, found out, and
began to-explain the sixth.
"The seventh-the seventh, Charley. I know well
enough about the sixth," I cried, impatiently.
"Well, the seventh," added Charley, good-naturedly;
"there, Robert, you may copy it yourself; here it is."
26 ROBERT DA WSON.
"But just tell me all the hows and whys," I said,
enviously reading over his figures.
S"I do not believe I can explain it, Robert," said
Charley, looking much puzzled.
"But it 's-just nothing at all, unless we can explain
"That is just what I cannot do," whispered Charley,
"for father did all the hard ones for me, and I copied
them off; and then, when he tried to explain them to
me, I was so sleepy I did not know one-word he said.
Was he not kind to do them ? For another said it was
too bad I should get down in my class, just because I
could not do them. Now, do not you tell, will you,
Why, we do not go down for anything else, except
for not doing them," said I, bluntly. My respect for
Charley's abilities declined as rapidly as it had before
While I was picking up my pencil, which had just
dropped at my feet, ,Charley vanished. from my side,
and I heard his halloa on the green..
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON. 27
"Pooh !" I inwardly exclaimed; "people do make
miserable shifts to get along easy, as father says. 1
will try, and then, if I do it, I shall know how to ex-
plain it. I will make up my mind to meet this hard
old seventh like a man, and I will master him."
And now I began to work in earnest. I read -over
the example, and meant to understand it. I began to.
cipher, and meant to work it out.
"Father says I can, and I must; now let me see,"
I said, with an honest desire to do all that I could. Oh,
what priceless value there is in an honest desire to do
what we can! It would save multitfides from present
uselessness and from eternal suffering;
"Bob Bob! come out here; come! we have a
plan on foot!" cried Sam Jones, opening the school-
room door, and beckoning me thither.
I looked up and shook my head.
"Come !" shouted Charley, peeping over his shoul-
der. "We cannot do without you. Come, Robert!
never mind about your seventh."
"No. Business before.pleasure," I answered, keep-
28 ROBERT DAWSON.
ing my pencil moving and my eye fixed upon the
column of figures.
"Business !" they shouted merrily; "business! I
guess he is Mr. Robert Dawson, with -his great big
ledger." And they took off their hats to bow with a
mock gravity. Then aivay they ran to the playground.
. By-and-bye the school-bell rang. The master ap-
peared, and the boys began to crowd in at the door.
Soon all became quiet. Books were laid aside. A
chapter was read in the Bible, and the master offered
up the morning prayer. I was attentive to this service,
and yet I was surprised to find how slight an interrup-
tion all this proved to be; and now I see that it was
Just because my mind was fixed, and easily returned to
its task. The resolute do not suffer from the slight in-
terruptions which disturb others. Thirty-five minutes
after school began beheld me labouring on the me-
morable seventh, and it was done! yes, done'! and I
could explain every step of the process. How grate-
ful to my mind was the pleasure of achievement! As
I stood in the class that day, I knew I had earned my
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
position. I had bought it with the price of effort, and
I valued it accordingly. Ah! my father understood
how fine a thing it is to make. us rely properly upon
Poor Charley had hard work to maintain his ground.
He blushed, and stammered, and made some droll
blunders, until at length he was obliged to confess that
he knew nothing about his sum, and thus lost his stand-
ing in the class.
"I thought young Hill and Jones belonged to this
class," said Squire Hall, one of the committee; at the
same time looking around to, see where they were.
"Their parents wish them. to be excused from the
recitation," answered the master.
"They are not where they ought to be, then. We
want to see every boy at his post in his class," said the
squire, who kept his eye upon the standing and cha-
racter of every boy in the school.
The squire's good opinion was worth having,'for it
was generally formed upon true grounds, and his esti-
mate of character was almost invariably correct. Jones
30 ROBERT DAWSON.
and Hill hung down their heads when his eye searched
"Some of the boys have done themselves great
credit," remarked the squire, when the class was dis-
missed. "They seem to understand what they are
about; it is not parrot-talk."
He certainly looked very much gratified, and sq-did
those of us who had earned the commendation.
"I will not study arithmetic-I declare I will not "
exclaimed Charley, in a pet, as we went out of school
Charley, if you would only do your examples your-
self, you would like it. There is nothing like helping
one's self, depend -upon it," said I, feeling strong,
manly, and self-relying, from the morning's victory
over myself. How different was our training 1
"Work is sweet, for GOD has blest
Honest work with quiet rest-
Rest below, and rest above,
In the mansions of His love,
When the work of life is done,
When the battle' s fought and.won.
THE ARITHMETIC LESSON.
" Work ye, then, while yet 'tis day,
Work, ye Christians, while ye may,
Work for all that's great and good,
Working for your daily food,
Working whilst the golden hours,
Health, and strength, and youth are yours."
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
"He that gathereth in summer is a wise son."-Prov. x. 5.
LTHOUGH our family always contrived to
make a decent and even respectable appear-
ance, we were poor. In his best days my father had
been a sea-captain, in which business he gained enough
to buy a small farm in the country, the object of his
fondest desires. Not long after his removal to our
new abode his health began to fail, and he was unable
to engage, to any great extent, in out-door occupa-
tions. A small sum invested in.some city stocks was
lost, and" his three eldest boys died in childhood. So
that the -earliest remembrance of my parents is asso-
ciated in my mind with traces of sorrow. I was a
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
child of their mourning days, and yet to me what
happy days they were.! I soon felt the necessity of
doing what little I could to add to the family stock.
Schoolboy as I was, sometimes by cutting wood, or
going to mill, or planting, or harvesting for our neigh-
bours, I picked up a little money low and then, or
perhaps I earned a bushel of corn or half a bushel of
One morning, as I lay in bed, with my best jacket
and trousers hanging up on a peg upon the wall before
me, it struck me how very shabby and threadbare
they looked. I well knew the sleeves of my jacket had
long since refused to approach my wrists, and that the
bottoms of my trousers had dropped all acquaintance
with my ankles. And now that winter was drawing
near, I needed a new warm suit.
"Mother would get me one if she could, and so
would father; but I am sure they could not, for father
wants a new outside coat as much as I do, and he
does not get it. It must be because he has no money
to buy one. I wish I was rich; but then it is of no
34 ROBERT DAWSON.
use to wish. I wish the fairy days would come back
again, and a good fairy would come and touch with
her wand my old clothes, so that in an instant they
would be new-all new and handsome. Then I would
give her Jane's bonnet to touch, and all mother's old
shoes, and her old red shawl. -Then it might be as
handsome as father says it was when he brought it
home from sea. Yes; and I would give her the old
bellows, too; then I would not have such a fuss
making the fire, mornings. I would give her a good
assortment of things, if she would come."
"Pooh! there are no such things as fairies; and
father says," What is the use of brooding over what
cannot be?' Yes; what is the use?"
"Well, I cannot have a fairy, good or bad, I am
sure; but why cannot I have a new suit? That is hot
impossible. Then, if I ask mother, she will say, 'Yes,
'Robert; I know you want a new suit;' and then she
will look sorry because she cannot get them. Now, I
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
wonder if I could not earn a whole suit? I earn!
Yes; I could-I know I could. Now I will make up
my mind to it, as father says, and then I will do it,-I
will earn a new suit. Earn the money, and then take
it to mother, and ask her to buy the cloth. Won't her
Oh, well do I remember how delightfully the thought
struck me! In very joy I seized my small pillow,
threw it up in the air, and caught it. Then jumping
out of bed, I hopped round the room, playing curious
antics all by myself while engaged in the more serious
occupation of dressing. How to earn the desired sum.
began to engage my attention. "Yes, how ? That is
the question." I mused on "how." "I cannot braid
palm-leaf-that is Mary's and Jane's work. Mr. Jones's
harvesting is about over. I do not know of anybody
that wants wood cut. If I could go into the woods
and dig up and sell sassafras roots, now, that would
be something; but they do not buy them here. Jem
Crout says they sell them to druggists, and I ain sure
we have no such people here."
I took down my clothes from the peg and held them
up before me.
"They are shorter than ever. They grow shorter
every week, it seems to me." A very natural result,
by the way. "I '11 have a new pair; I'11 earn them
too. 'Where there is a will there is a way.' That is
often said, and I believe it."
Such were the beginnings of the new purpose which
I resolved to accomplish.
On the way to school that morning, Sam Jones
"I say, Bob, did you know Charles French is very
ill of fever? He is, and he had the doctor in last
"I am very sorry for it. Poor Charles had a head-
ache the very last time I saw him, when I boughtsome
tea there for mother. But who has Mr. French got to
attend the shop ?" I added quickly.
Sam did not know; and what was Sam's surprise to
behold me posting off in an opposite direction from
school, without saying one word more! For nearly a
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
mile did I continue my trot, until quite out of breath.
There was but one shop in that part of the village
where we resided, and it was kept by Mr. French, at
And a various stock he had, truly; for who could
enumerate the contents of his shelves ? Brooms,
brushes, crockery, tea, coffee, pipes, candy, scythes,
rakes, indeed every article that the neighbourhood for
ten miles round could want. My speed declined as I
approached the shop, and I began to consider what
I was about to do. Two waggons were at the door,
and as I looked into the shop, my eye caught several
people at the counters.
"Who is waiting upon them, I wonder ?"
I stole in and sat down upon a tub near the door.
No one but Mr. French himself was behind the coun-
ter, and he looked very sad. He had his hands full
of work, supplying one and then another.
"I wonder if Mr. French has got anybody yet?"
I said to myself. "I wonder if he will have me ? Will
he think I know enough to help him ?"
As the customers became supplied they went out,
even to the last. My heart beat quickly.
"Well, my boy, ivhat do you want ?" said Mr. French.
I arose from the tub, and taking off my hat, ap-
proached where he stood. I trembled and feared to
"Why, this is Robert Dawson I" said he. Ah I
did not know you with your cap over your face so.
How is your father ?"
"I heard Charles was ill, sir," at last I summoned
resolution to say, "and so I thought you might be
wanting help in the shop. I came to see if you would
not take me in till he gets well again." I dared not
lift my eyes from the weights on the counter, and a
suffocating sensation arose in my throat.
"If you had offered yourself half an hour before,
I do not know but I should have taken you, for
you seem to be a smart little fellow. But I have sent
for my nephew, Charles Emery, at Orange, to come
and stay with me till Charles gets better. You go to
school, do you not, Robert?"
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
."Yes, sir; but I thought if I could hire myself out
a little while, it would not so much matter; I can write
and cypher in the evenings with father."
And as I ventured to look up into Mr. French's
thin, kind face, as he stood leaning against the shelves,
with his thumb caught in the arm-hole of his waistcoat,
how sorry did I feel that I had not come half an hour
sooner. "I came as soon as I heard of it," thought
I; and indeed there was nothing to regret.
"Is Charles very ill, sir?" I asked.
"Well, I am afraid so, I am afraid so," answered
Mr. French, sorrowfully. '"There comes the doctor's
Sgig, now;" and at that moment the horse stopped at
one of the posts before the door.
S"I should like to have employed you, Robert, though
I suppose it -would have been new business to you;
By this he met the doctor, and they went round
together to the door which opened into his house,
adjoininig the shop.
"Well," I sighed, as-I walked away, "tending shop
ROBERT DA WSON.
is not the only business. Poor Charles! I am sorry
he is ill. I remember now that he said, when he
weighed out the tea, that he had such a headache he
could hardly see how to do it."
I did not reach the school-house till a quarter of an
hour after school had begun. The master took no
notice of my lateness, however. Sam Jones asked me
if I was taken with a running fit, when I left him in
such a hurry. And this was the end of my first attempt
to get a new suit.
Two or three days afterwards, as I was- digging pota-
toes in our garden, I heard a neighbour, Mr. Giles, say
to his wife,
"'I cannot go to the mill to-day or to-morrow. or
next day, that is certain."
"Well, but we must have some meal, Mr. Giles,"
said Mrs. Giles.
"I suppose so, and I must try and get somebody to
go, I think; but everybody is so busy just now."
"I'11 go," thought I, throwing down my spade. "I
am just the one to go !" And pushing through a little
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 41
opening at the bottom of the garden, I soon found
myself with Mr. Giles in his wood-yard.
"There is Robert Dawson-send him," cried Mrs.
Giles, espying me as I issued forth from behind the
wood-pile. She could not have made a more grateful
suggestion to my ear.
"Robert," said Mr. Giles, turning round, "can you
go to the mill for me this morning?"
"Yes, sir; as soon as I have finished my stint of
digging. potatoes," answered I, with cheerful alacrity.
"I should like to go."
"You can take the horse and waggon, and I '1! put
in the corn--"
"A good grist of it, too, Mr. Giles: so it will last;
and then I shan't be plagued again very soon," added
Mrs. Giles, setting down her pail on the door-step.
"How long before you will get done your job ?"
said my employer.
"In about three-quarters of an hour."
"I '11 have the horses harnessed, and be here ready
for you; and I will put in six bushels of corn-three
42 ROBERT DAWSON.
bags full. The miller will take his toll,-and you may
have yours. You can have yours ground there, and
bring home the meal for your folk or not, just as you
have a mind." So said Mr. Giles, as he threw the
meal-bags into the bottom of the waggon.
"How much corn will be due to me, do you think,
"A peck, I suppose. Will you have it ground with
the rest, and then take it home, or will you take it out
in corn before you start for the mill?"
"I think I will take it all," I answered, for I had not
had time to think just how I should dispose of my
corn, in order to turn it into ready money.
That is right: bring home the meal to your mo-
ther;" and with that I vanished through the hole in the
garden fence, and returned to my digging.
And now fancy me on the way to the mill. I was
fairly in business, and not losing my studies either; for
I should have said that the master had been called
home by a sudden death in his father's family, and we
were enjoying a few days' vacation.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 43
"Now, how shall I sell my corn?" was the next
question that occupied my mind. "Shall I ask Mr.
French to buy it, or shall I sell it to the miller? The
miller once before has taken my corn. Perhaps he will
now." And to offer it to him was the final conclusion.
Arriving at the mill, a snug establishment in a hollow,
where a deep and narrow stream ran over a sort of
natural fall, three waggons were before me, and the mill
was at work merrily. The old miller was no favourite
with the customers of the mill, and I heartily wished I
might not have to transact any business with him. "He
was a hard man for a bargain." So said the people
round; while the miller's son was a general favourite.
I.stopped my horse, and, tying him, went in to find the
men. Greatly relieved was I to behold the son, Tom
by name, standing by the hopper. Now, although Tom
must have numbered twenty-five years-of his life, he
was still known to all the country simply as Tom; and
a better fellow could not have been found.
"Tom," said I, "will you grind my corn-six bushels?"
"Try to," answered Tom. "Who is it for?"
"It's Mr. Giles's corn, and, Tom, he is going to pay
me a peck for bringing it. Now, I want to sell it; do
you not want to buy it?"
"Father thinks we have got a good deal on hand
now," answered Tom, stirring round the corn in the
hopper with his hand. How much will you take for
"I do not know what corn is worth now."
"How much are you going to sell ?" asked a man
who was walking in and out.
"A peck," answered I.
"No great sale," remarked the man.
"He only wants enough to get a pipe and tobacco."
Tom meant to be droll.
"No, Tom; I am going to earn a new suit of clothes,
and the money for my corn is going towards it. I hope
I shall get enough before the cold weather'sets in."
How much have you now ?" asked. Tom.
"Nothing yet. I am in hopes I shall take my first
earnings to-day; so I offered to do this job for Mr.
Giles," said I.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOThES.
"Why, you are quite a little business fellow," ex-
claimed the man, appearing from behind a post. If
you do not take the corn, Tom, I will."
"Oh! I'll take it," said Tom; "I would take all
Robert's corn, whether I took anybody's else or not."
And his good-natured mouth widened into a pleasant
By-and-bye the corn was duly measured out: a part
to the miller for grinding, a part to me for carrying,
which was added to the miller's heap, and the rest was
poured into the hopper. Then I went away to look
about the pleasant precincts of the mill. There was the
water dashing over the craggy rocks, here the white
foam, there the whirling eddy; and further on, the dark
glassy surface. I threw dry leaves into the stream and
watched their motion till'they were swallowed up in the
miniature vortex. I leaped from rock to rock, and
bathed my bare feet in the little pools warmed by the
clear sunshine. Then I wound my way up a narrow
path among the pines on the hill-side, and sat down on
the smooth underbrush to eat my bread and cheese.
"What I meant to be when I was a man" was a
subject that frequently occupied my fancies. Now, I
thought, how pleasant it would be to be a miller, and live
by the side of a little river; but, after all, father says it
would not so much matter what one's business is, if one
does what one has to do,. and does it right. Even if I
should live to be a man, my ideas about such things may
change very much. I am sure this world is not to be my
home. I am to live for ever in another and very different
world, and perhaps I am nearer to it than I.suppose.
God is my Creator. He has given me a mind and heart,
and has placed.me here to love and obey Him. I am to
learn His will from the Bible. He there tells me what
He would have me to do, and He there promises to
give me all the grace and strength I need to do it. He
tells me of a Saviour, who died that 'I might live, and
that for His sake He will freely give me all things,
These were my graver thoughts, and the quiet loneli-
ness of the place naturally led to them. The conclusion
of the whole matter was that I would try to do my duty
day by day; and thinking that my corn must, by this
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
time, be nearly-or quite ground, I hastened back to the
mill. That evening I reached home, the happy pos-
sessor of tenpence.
"What are you going to do with it, Robert?" asked
"Keep it for the present, sir."
"Well, when you spend it, spend it usefully," said
he. "Remember that a little spent wisely is better
than a thousand misused."
I at once put my little fortune into a small tin trunk
which was carefully kept in the upper drawer of my
mother's bureau. The money already earned was but
a small part of that which was necessary for my purpose;
.and I began to look about for something else to do.
Some of the boys (myself among the number) were
stretched out, at noon, during the interval of school, on
the sunny side of the school-house. This noted building
was situated at one end of the long plain through which
ran the village street. It was truly the street, for the
village had but one. On this, at long intervals from
each other, stood the principal houses, among which
ROBERT DA WSO.,
the school-house and the meeting-house were, of course,
regarded as the most prominent.
"There goes Squire Hall's winter wood," remarked
Charley Frazier. -"He has got a neat yoke of oxen
there:-not another like them in our village is
A discussion of this question, about Squire Hall's
oxen, followed. Some of the boys supported the claims
of a pair that Major Brooks owned, but they made a
feeble stand against the acknowledged merits of Squire
"I wish I could help to pile that wood," thought I.
"Squire Hall has got one man less than he used to
have. I wonder if he would not employ me ? One
can never know till one tries, father says; so I '11 try."
When school closed in the afternoon, I determined
to go over to the squire's; and so I joined the boys
whose homes were below his house. The great gate of
his -wood-yard was open, and several of us went in.
Everything about the premises was in perfect order.
We looked about, and in a short time my companions
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
departed. The wood-pile attracted my attention-or
rather, the wood to be piled. "I must find work here,"
was the uppermost thought in my mind. Mr. Merry,
Squire Hall's chief workman, just then came along from
"Mr. Merry," said I, "do you not think Squire Hall
will let me help pile his wood ?"
"You How much could you pile, I wonder?" he
asked, in a surly tone.
"Try me, and see."
I do not want any boys about me: they are more
plague than profit," growled Mr. Merry, as he turned
his back upon me.
But I was resolved not to be discouraged.
"I can just ask the squire himself," thought I.
"There'can be no harm in asking; and father says we
must not let little obstacles frighten us." So, putting
my hands in my coat pockets, I walked out of the
As I passed the front of the house, I looked up at
every window, wondering whether the squire was ini,
and whether, after .all, it would be best to ask him.
Perhaps it will be of no use, if I should. !' Try," father
always says when he would urge my courage on. I sat"
down upon the stone wall on the other side of his house,
revolving the subject in my mind. The chills of an
October sunset began to creep over me.
"If I have a new, warm suit, I must try for it. Sup-
pose I go in and ask Squire Hall, and then the matter
is settled." -And I slowly approached the front gate.
"Perhaps Mr. Merry will not let me help him;" and
at that moment I espied the squire turning a lane and
coming towards his house. "Here is a good chance.
I will run and ask him Now !". What a magic there
is in that little word now / "Nobody is near !
So I hastened to meet him. As I drew near I
pulled off my cap and made a respectful bow. He
"Will you please let me help pile your wood, sir :
said I, blushing to the very eyebrows.
"What is your name? I see you often." And he
looked searchingly at me.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
"Robert Dawson, sir."
"Hem! ah, yes; Robert-Robert Dawson. I know *
you, Well, you want to pile my wood, do you?"
"Can you pile wood as well as you can cipher,
Robert?" he asked. "I remember-you at the school.
Does Mr. Merry want you? He's the man to ask."
"No, sir," answered I, with great simplicity; "he
does not want me."
"You are after employment, then, Robert; and you
do not go to school now, I suppose?" He spoke
"Yes, sir, I go to school. But I wanted to get
something to do out of school-hours," said I, poking.
the dirt about with my bare toes.
"You cannot do much in these short days," he said.
"I can TRY "
"Yes, TRY; that is right. And if Mr. Merry wanted
you, I should like to employ you very well. But Mr.
Merry manages these things pretty much in his own
way." And he began to move on.
He must have seen my disappointment, for he added,
"We will see, Robert we will see But Mr. Merry
- has got to be consulted in all these things." And he
left me with a hurried step.
I stood still a few moments, in busy thought. Then
crossing the street, I raced home over the dry leaves
and short turf on the other side of the road. At night
I bethought myself what new applications I could
make. On the afternoon of the third day my mother
sent me on an errand to the corner.
"Hallo, there !" some one shouted. "HIallo, boy !"
It came from Squire Hall's yard. "Come over here."
I looked up, and there was Mr. Merry beckoning
You're the boy that wants some work, are you?"
said he, as I scampered over to him.
"Well, if you will pile as fast as I can cut and split,
you may come. But you will have to work, I tell you.
All this wood must be housed within a week. So you
can come as soon as you like."
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES, 53
Then I went upon my errand with great glee.
" Work to do! work to do !" was all I could say.
The early morning and the late evening found me
striving to keep up with Mr. Merry's saw and axe.
The boys vainly tempted me to the playground, and I
was at home only to perform my accustomed duties.
A grand nutting party, long talked of among the
boys, was at length appointed to take place this week.
The boys in our district were all going to join another
district, and visit the great nutting region about ten
miles off. The plan was to go in waggons and spend
the day, carrying our dinners to eat among the trees.
We were to take a tea-kettle and other cooking uten-
sils, and live in true .camp style. Heavy frosts had
already cracked the bark of the nuts, and a warm dty
in the early part of November promised to give us the
finest weather for our excursion. How much had I
thought of it! Boys in the country have so few ex-
citements of the kind, that a nutting party possesses
uncommon interest. I believe I dreamed about it for
nearly a week together: and it was now come! the
day had been actually appointed! and I, what was I
to do ? go or not go? Charley Frazier, and Sam
Jones, and all the boys whom I saw, talked of my
going as a thing of course. I was to go in Sam
Jones's waggon. The evening before I made a few
preparations. My bread and cheese and pies were
laid aside, ready to be rolled up; and I borrowed a
large basket of neighbour Giles, for my-nuts.
"Then you will go, won't you?" said Jane. "I would."
"I shall not be sure till to-morrow morning," said I,
between fear and hope. "I can tell better when I
see Mr. Merry again."
"Do go!" added Mary. "Do go, Robert!"
My parents offered ro advice in the case.
I had piled up all the cut wood that evening. My
work had been done clean. Meaning-to reach the
wood-pile the next morning before Mr. Merry, I could
ask him to let me go with great safety, because it
would appear that there was nothing then to do, and
I could promise to work the faster on the next day.
No man was harder to deal with than Mr. Merry.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
At early sunrise. I was up and dressed, brimful of
delightful anticipations from the day's excursion. It
was a wonderfully fine day in the Indian summer,-
days that are like a smile on the stern and grave face
of November. I did not for a moment doubt that
within two.hours we'should be.on our winding way to
the nutting forest.
"I will be sure to go over to see Mr. Merry first;"
and away were my steps bent towards the squire's.
"But he will not be there: I shall have to wait."
As I approached the gate, I heard the sound, sav-
saw-saw "Who is up so early?" I opened the
gate and went in, and who should be there but Mr.
Merry himself, and another man, with wood enough
sawn and split to employ me for two hours at least !
"What shall I do?" thought I. "What shall I
"Work enough! work enough!" cried Mr. Merry.
"It is time for lazy boys to be at their work. Come !
take hold, or you will lose the bargain !"
There was a sly and wicked expression in his tone
and manner, which he usually wore when he had out-
witted or overreached any of the boys with whom he
had anything to do. The truth is, Mr. Merry did not
With a heavy heart indeed did I begin my work.
"I have a great mind to run off, and have nothing
more to do with such a man. He knew I wanted to
go nutting." Such were my first thoughts. "I will
give up the nutting rather than give up the job; for if
I go now, Mr. Merry will never let me come back
again." These were my second thoughts.
By-and-bye the gate opened, and in rushed Charley
Frazier, Sam Jones, and some others into the yard.
"Where are you ?" shouted Charley;. "I have been
hunting everywhere after you! Your father said he
guessed you were here. Come! make ready! We
are off directly!"
"Come, Robert! we ought not to lose the time!"
echoed Sam. "A jolly day we shall have of it. Come!
"What a noise !" snarled Mr. Merry.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
"I cannot go," said I, at last, "for I have taken this
job, and I must do it."
"Oh Mr. Merry will let you off just one day, will
you not, Mr. Merry?" said Charley. "Just to have
Robert go with us, nutting."
"Go if he likes! I can get somebody else, easy
Saw-saw--saw-and so he sawed up and down as
if he heard nothing.
"Come! go, Robert I Why, you must!" cried Charley.
"Come out here!" said I, drawing them outside the
gate, just to get away from the presence of Mr. Merry.
A noisy discussion followed.
*'No, Charley; I am not going. I have taken the
job, and I mean to go straight through it. Father says
'We must not back out for small things.'" Such was
my settled yet painful conclusion.
"It is too bad !-Pile wood all day!" cried one.
"That great pile !"
"Only stick by stick," said I, courageously. "If we
make up our minds-to it, we can then do it."
Well do I remember how hard it was to act out those
A great deal was said, but my purpose was fixed.
They went away, and I turned to re-enter the gate. I
gave one peep at the departing boys before I shut the
gate. "Oh! what good times they will have!" I sighed,
in spite of myself; and in spite of myself I felt tlat
something would turn up-that I should go, after all.
.I did not believe that it could be that I should not go
-I, who had helped so much to plan all about it!
When I went back to my work, I was sure that Mr.
Merry would say something about the affair. Not a
word did he speak. It was only saw-saw-saw.
Time was passing, and if I were going, should I not
be pushing my preparations? I expected some of the
boys back; and perhaps, should they come again, Mr.
Merry might tell me to go. If Squire Hall would only
happen to be out in the yard, and the boys here, too !
then I was sure Squire Hall would bid me go, and let
me complete the job when I could.
My ears were open to every sound! I worked with
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 59
a quick, excited movement, as if I were on the eve of
a rescue. My heart beat violently. The nutting-fields
never seemed so charming-the excursion never ap-
peared so interesting, now that I was just about to lose
it-now that my going depended upon what -some
wofild call mere good luck.
Alas! Mr. Merry never condescended to utter a
syllable Squire Hall. did not make his appearance at
the door; nor did the boys return !
By-and-bye the sound of waggon-wheels, with merry
shouts, broke upon the still morning air. One-two
-three-four waggons went by I counted them all!
I heard the cracking of their whips, and the voices of
their drivers-five-six! I mounted the wood-pile and
beheld,them. There they went! gallop! trot! speed
away! fiill of animation and joyful anticipation! and I
-I was actually left behind !
Nothing happened to relieve me from my duties.
Tears of bitter disappointment rushed to my eyes and
blinded the sight of the distant waggons. I jumped.
down and made the best of my way into the great barn,
60 ROBERT DAWSOlv:
which was near, to hide my uncontrollable emotion
from the eye of my master. I remember how I ascended
a ladder to the hay-mow, and gathering myself up in a
corner where I could fling myself on the sweet hay, I
"It is too bad! too bad!" was my bitter exclamation.
"Mr. Merry might have said, 'Go, Robert, and do y6ur
work after you get home.' He ought to have said so."
Then I wiped my eyes, and bitter thoughts began to
pervade my mind. "It's of no use now!" I said, aloud
and mournfully. "It's of no use at all! They're gone,
and I told them to go without me! But I did not expect
it,-that's a fact. I thought surely something would
turn up. But I remember father says we must not hang
our good fortune on 'turn-ups,' as he says a great many
people do, for they will certainly fail us. Yes, I know
that. He says, 'Have an object in view, and keep to
it until you accomplish it,-WORK IT OUT.' Yes; and
I have an object in view,-I want a new suit of clothes,
and I have taken a job on purpose to get them; now
let me WORK IT OUT I wonder how far they have got?
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 61
Oh! 'tis such a pleasant day to go into the woods--*.
Reflections of this nature came and went like lights
and shadows across my spirit as I lay on the hay-mow.
"It's of no use," I exclaimed again, springing upon
my feet. I must make up my mind, and do it."
Again I wiped away every trace of feeling, and began
to descend the ladder, struggling (and it was indeed a
struggle) to feel calm and manly.
"Almost any boy's father can get him a jacket, but
mine cannot. So there is some reason why I should
work and they play;" and I came out into the sunshine,
and approached the wood-pile. "Come now, then, go
Sat it," said I; "it is only stick by stick, and a new suit -
to pay for it." So did I put my reluctant hands to their
Herein do I exercise (or exert) myself, said the great
Apostle Paul, to have always a conscience void of
offence towards God and man. To obtain this peace
of conscience we must not only do our duty with a
cheerful and steadfast heart, but we must repair to the
ROBERT DA WTSON.
Fountain which has been opened for the washing away
of all sin and uncleanness. This is the atoning blood
of our Lord Jesus Christ. We may be crossed, and
disappointed, and mortified in a thousand-ways in our
passage through the world, but if our sins have been
forgiven and our souls'renewed, our rejoicing will be
the testimony of a good conscience, that in simplicity
and godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, but by the
grace of God, we have our conversation in the world.
Cheerful calmness gradually stole over me, .and I
soon began to work with an alacrity which surprised
even myself: nor yet was it surprising, as I have since
learned. I was in the way of duty. The bitterness of
the struggle was in the disappointment. That must soon
pass away.before the light of an approving heart. Ah!
it is a violated conscience which carries the sharp, and
bitter sting. All things else are but shadows flitting
across the sunshine of our path. They go, and leave
us serene as the summer evening.
A long, long time did I pursue my work, without any
interruption, until I found I gained rapidly on Mr.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.'
Merry; and by ten o'clock I was quite out of business.
How many wheelbarrows full I carried to the inner
wood-house and piled up I knew not, but I had plenty
of work for three hours. I had just brought back the
barrow, and there was not enough to fill it. Mr. Merry
stopped his saw and looked up.
You may be off and- rest ye," said he, in a plea-
santer tone than was usual for him.
They were the first words he had spoken, and most
promptly were they obeyed. In a few moments I was
in my mother's kitchen.
"Is that you, Robert?" said my mother, in surprise.
"Why, Robert!" exclaimed Jane and Mary at once.
"Have you not gone ?"
"We saw your bread, and cheese, and pie in the
closet, and we did not'know what it all meant; but we
missed your bag. Why, Robert, tell us how it is that
you did not go !"
I stated the case. Jane and Mary had many com-
ments to make. In turn they blamed Mr. Merry, the
boys, and myself. Jane cried,
"Mr. Merry might have told you to go-the brute !.'
"And the boys might have called again, I think, in
their waggons! and then Mr. Merry could not have
helped himself," said Mary.
"At any rate' I would have gone, work or no work!"
"Robert decided the matter himself, and acted ac-
cordingly. I do not see that any one is to be blamed,"
said my mother, taking off her spectacles and wiping
the glasses with the corner of her apron.
Meanwhile I was eating a piece of pie with great
Relish and in silence. This being done, I went back
to work. Another man, with his saw, was in the yard,
and the business went forward rapidly.
At dinner my sisters again discussed my day's occu-
"Do you think, father, Robert might have gone just
as well as not?" asked Jane.
"I think, my dear, that Robert acted like a boy who.
has business that he means to do. He had an object
in view, and he resolved to accomplish it."
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 65
And I knew, by my father's tone and manner, that
he was satisfied with my conduct. But he did not
know anything about my struggles on the hay-mow.
Abput the middle of a cold Saturday afternoon, a
few-days afterwards, the ten lots of Squire Hall's wood
were sawn, split, and neatly piled up in the wood-
house, ready for winter use. An agreeable sight it was
to look upon. After laying the last stick, I got down
and stood surveying every part of it with deep interest.
There was a degree of satisfaction in thinking how it
had arisen by my own industry. I thought how long
the work seemed to be when I laid the first stick; but,
even stick by stick, how fast the work went on! and
now it was completed. And that even with Mr. Merry's
approval, too; for he came in, with his saw, just then.
"You have done your part well, boy," said he;. and
they were remarkable words for Mr. Merry to use, for
he seldom chose to be pleased with anything a boy
did or could do. He filed his saw and busied himself
about something, while I lingered in sight, hoping to
hear something of my pay.
"My pay! my pay! I wonder if he remembers it!"
At length, when his saw hung upon its accustomed
peg, he said,
"Well, I suppose you expect some wages, Robert."
Then he went about some other work. I knew it
would not do to hasten him, so I busied myself in
picking up some nails that had fallen from an over-
turned box. Half an hour passed. Mr. Merry finished
a second small job, and then sat down on a wood-
block. He then very deliberately took out his wallet,
and turned over carefully some bank-notes-my heart
beat quickly. "A bank-note Surely he cannot mean
to give me a bank-note i" thought I. It was more
money than I was accustomed to see, much less to
handle. I sat down upon a log, looking intently at him.
"Bob, I like you. You are not like other boys.
You know what you are about; and that is more than
some men do. I will give-you a shilling a lot-here!
take ten shillings and be off!"
"Thank you, sir!" said I, eagerly. "Thank you l"
THE NEW .UIT OF CLOTHES.
And off I ran with my precious earnings.
"Ten shillings! ten shillings!"-so tumultuous were
my feelings. "But I will,-I will know whether I have
got my new suit or not, before I go a step farther."
And I skipped over the stone wall like a squirrel, and
sat down by the other side, to calculate the amount of
I remember it as if it were but yesterday.
"A new suit! a new suit Mother said it would
cost nearly ten shillings, and that I have got. Yes;
and I have earned it myself, too !"
And then, after turning something like a somersault
over the stone wall, I went home with a new notion of
myself. In the evening I meant to open the subject
of a new suit.
At an early hour on Saturday evening all work was
put aside. Our parents felt that holy time was at hand,
and the evening was usually passed with our catechism
or Bible, or in quiet and serious conversation.
"Mother!" I whispered, when she had washed up
the tea-things and sat down near me, "Mother, I must.
have a new suit of clothes by the Sunday after next:
mine are so cold !"
"I know they are cold," she answered, in rather a
"Will you buy me a suit, mother?" I asked,-laugh-
ing at the comers of my mouth.
"I would if I could, Robert," said she.
But you can, mother !" said I.
She gravely shook her head. "We want a great
many things for the winter, Robert."
"Well, mother, will you buy me a suit if I give you
You give mother the money !" cried Jane, who
had drawn up towards us. I wonder where you could
get so much? Robert grows very fast; does he not,
mother ?" said she, with a significant smile.
"He will soon be able to earn it, I hope," said my
mother, looking kindly upon me.
My hand had been in my pocket for some time,
grasping the money, carefully wrapped up in a piece of
paper; and now I drew it forth. Unfolding it slowly,
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
I placed.it on my mother's knee, saying triumphantly,
"There, mother! there is the money to get my
clothes. I earned it with my own hands. Yes; there
is the bill, and there is the shining silver!"
"Oh !" exclaimed Jane.
"Oh!" echoed Mary, peeping over Jane's shoulder.
My father looked up from the book he was reading.
"Here is the money Robert has been earning for a
new suit!" said my mother, handing it to him with
Ah! that was a glad hour to me.
"I am glad to see you accomplishing something, my
son; working out wise and useful purposes, and then
executing them with your own hands. And when you
begin, resolve never to give up, if it is good and right
to succeed. Put your hand to the plough, and look not
back. If you make up your mind to do anything, do
it. Oftentimes it is only through much suffering that
we can achieve a noble work; and the very conflict
and trial give us new strength and new courage for the
In short, emphatic sayings like these did my father
imprint great truths upon us by the earnestness and
force with which he uttered them. Their value and
wisdom we gradually experienced as we obeyed them.
Was I not then tasting some of the satisfaction of
achievement? And did I not feel an increasing strength
for the new duties that might be before me?
In due time the cloth was bought and made up.
And with what hearty interest did I watch every stitch
which my mother took before me, and how many times
did I go and examine the quality of the cloth with
quite a business-like air!
That blue satinet jacket and trousers-how pleasant
is their memory to me The finest broadcloths of my
later days can never possess the charm which invested
them. It was the first successful prosecution, by my-
self, of my father's principles, so carefully taught-to
work out, unshrinkingly, my own-good purLoses. Then
I laid the foundation of a habit to which I owe all my
success-I PERSEVERED. Then I first began to feel
the value of steady, manly, self-relying toil.
THE NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES. 71
The jacket I kept in my trunk many years after I
had ceased to wear it. And when I was far away from
the spot where it figured in its original comeliness-
faded, threadbare, mended, and darned as it was-this
old jacket was a precious relic of my boyhood, and
often seemed to inspire my flagging energies, and excite
me to the successful prosecution of greater and better
"Our bodies are with earthly food,
LORD, by Thy bounty fed;
Oh, give; and may our hearts receive
Thy ever-living Bread !"
"A wise son heareth his father's instruction."-Prov. xiii. i.
FEW more years passed away, and I was
reaching the most important period of my
life-the choice of a calling. My father could do nothing
for me. Of rich relations we could not boast. Upon
myself, then, with the blessing of God, must I alone
depend. After long deliberation, and several different
unsuccessful applications, a situation in a printing office,
in a town some fifty miles off, was obtained. Printing
was my choice, without, indeed, ever having seen the
inside of a printing office.
The time was drawing near, and it was my first
departure from home. What mingled emotions of hope
and fear and expectation filled my bosom! Often have
I kept awake during the night, wondering how it would
all seem in my future residence; planning how I should
get there, and who would meet me, and what kind of
a man my new master would be. The October frosts
became more frequent. The leaves already began to
cover the ground, and my preparations must be hurried
forward, for I had engaged to be there by the 5th of
With what interest do I look back upon that last
month at home, where, every evening, our little family
assembled round the kitchen fire, happy in each other's
love, and busy for the one who was soon to leave it!
At one corner'sat my father in his great arm-chair, his
pipe on the oven-shelf beside him, and Cuff sleeping at
his feet. Stoves had not then come into general use;
but we beheld the dancing flame and the bright coals
in the capacious fireplace. And there, too, were the
crane and hooks, and the tea-kettle ever hanging on its
own long hook, and the old iron tongs, too, with which
my father diverted himself in laying and relaying the
brands, when anything occurred to discompose his
This autumn found my father increasingly feeble:
his cough grew'harder, and the hectic flickered brightly
upon his cheek. His voice was low and hollow, and
yet there was so much of cheerfulness in all his inter-
course with us, that no one but the family realized how
fast he was travelling towards the grave.
The 5th of November, as I said, was the appointed
time of my departure. One day, as Jane was studying
the almanac, she all at once exclaimed,
"Oh, Robert! I have discovered something-a piece
of good news for you-oh!" And she gave several
mysterious nods, quite peculiar to her.
"*What is it?" we all asked.
It is only for Robert." And she took me by the
hand and led me into the bed-room, closing the door.
Oh, Robert! it is only three weeks from Thanks-
giving that you go. Now you must not go until after
Thanksgiving. Why, everybody stays till after Thanks
giving. I am in earnest. You---
LEA VING HOME.
I must stay until after Thanksgiving, I am sure I
must," I replied; "I know Mr. Simpson will not want
me before. It would not be Thanksgiving away from
home,-no, indeed it would not! But father," I added,
after a pause, father-what will he say to it, Jane ?"
"Why, in the evening, when we are all sitting to-
gether, you ask him, and we will all join in."
Such was the plan of my sisters,-for Mary was soon
let into the secret revealed by the almanac.
"I know we can bring it about," said the sanguine
Jane; and no less sure was I.
That day, on going towards the corner, who should
clap me on the shoulders and give me a boisterous
welcome, but Charley Frazier. Charley and I lived no
longer side by side. His father had removed into his
new house, situated in a different part of the village.
I was very glad to see Charley. Six months before that
he had left town, to become a clerk in a shop at C--.
"But, Charley, what are you at home for?" I in-
"Oh! I came home to spend Thanksgiving, but I
do not know that I shall go back again,-the work is
so hard there !"
"I thought a clerk's work was easy."
"No: I do not call it easy to be on your feet from
morning till night. Besides, Mr. Jones says, if I take
so many vacations, he does not think I shall do for
him; just as if one could work all the time !"
"But people must stick to their business, Charley,"
said I. That is what my father always says."
"What! all the time, and have no fun? Mother says
it is too bad to tie up boys so. I came off so long before
Thanksgiving, I suppose he will have to get somebody
to help him. For my part, I am glad to get rid of work;
and I do not care a snap whether I go back.again or
I looked at Charley, in his new suit of blue broad-
cloth, with a bright and animated smile upon his face,
and with a freedom and joyousness of manner that
could not fail to strike any, one. I think a faint
emotion of envy, at least of regret, sprung up within
me, at the contrast of our situations. Charley was rich,
LEA VING HOME. 77
and could do as he pleased. I was poor, and must
stoutly work for my living.
"And you will not go until after Thanksgiving, will
you, Robert? Well, then, I am for having some capital
fun-some first-rate times,-will we not ?"
And he threw his arm roufid my shoulder as he used
to do when we were younger.
"My time is fixed to go on the 5th of November;
but since Thanksgiving Day is so near, Jane and Mary
say I ought to stay, and I think so too."
"What does your father say ?"
"I have not said anything to him yet," I replied,-
with many misgivings as to the result of such av appli-
"Oh! well, you shall not go. Why, it will. be too
*bad I Of course your father will let you stay. It cannot
make much difference-indeed, it cannot make any
difference that I see. Only two weeks! Ask your father
this very .evening,-I would."
We parted, and I resolved to do as Charley had
ROBERT DAWSON. .
Evening came, and we were sitting, as usual, around
the kitchen fireplace.
-" Mother, only think-it is but two weeks before
Thanksgiving, that I am to go."
So I opened the matter with some palpitation of heart,
feeling that something very agreeable was at stake.
,*I thought of it when Mr. Simpson's letter was read,"
answered my mother.
"Thought of it and said nothing !-that is unfavour-
able," I said to myself. So it seemed, and I had not
courage to go on.
"Yes, mother; I am sure he ought- not to go until
after Thanksgiving." There is no need of ft. Robert
could not learn much in two weeks." So Jane took up
"Boys are always at home on Thanksgiving," added
Mary. "Poor Robert! how lonely he would be, think.
ing of us all day, away from home !"
"Charley Frazier has come home. I saw him to-day,"
My father continued to smoke his pipe, and my
LEA VING HOME.
mother to ply her needle. Not a word was spoken by
"Mother, don't you think it would be pleasanter to
have Robert here?" asked Jane.
"A great deal pleasanter," said my mother, feelingly.
"Then he ought to stay, I think. It is only a fort.-
night It will pass away very soon," said Mary.
"And perhaps we may nev-r be all together again,"
As I looked at my father, I felt that there was little
reason to expect a long continuance of the family circle
unbroken. Oh that I might stay!
At that moment we heard footsteps at the door, and
Charley entered. A hearty shaking of hands followed,
for he was a great favourite at our house.
"I want you to let Robert stay until after Thanks-
giving, sir," he said, turning his fine, fair face towards
my father. "It is too bad if he should go before
Besides, a fortnight cannot make much difference."
"Difference in what, Charles?" asked my father,
.pleasantly surveying him.
so ROBERT DAWSON.
"Why, sir, in what he can learn, or anything 'he
can do for Mr. Simpson," he answered.
"It would certainly make a great difference in his
promptness and punctuality to his engagement," con-
tinued my father; "and as to his use-perhaps that
will be likely to depend upon what kind of a boy
Robert means to be. Mr. Simpson wrote expressly
to have him come by the fifth, and it is to be pre-
sumed he knows his business wants better than we
can know them." He paused, and there was a general
silence, interrupted only by the snapping of the fire.
"It would certainly be agreeable for Robert to stay
with us," resumed my father, "very agreeable; but it
is an important question, how far we should let our
feelings, of pleasure interfere in matters of duty. We
have had some difficulty in getting Robert a situation,
and by this delay he might lose it. Jane says it is just
as well for him to stay. I do not know how we can
undertake to decide that point exactly. In my own
experience I never saw that it was 'just as well' to
give up a duty for the sake of securing a pleasure;
LEA VING HOME.
and I believe it is never 'just as well.' If we do it
once, we may do it twice; and who can tell how many
times afterwards? Robert is now commencing busi-
ness. He will find, in the business world, a great
many difficult and disagreeable circumstances. Now
the true way to get rid of them is not to turn about
and run away, but to face them; to fight through them;
to meet them with a true manly heart. What you have
got to do, do; and do it without shrinking or com-
plaining. That is the only true way, Charley-the
only true way, Robert. Remember it, boys. It is so
'in the business world. It is just so in the Christian
life. The Christian life is called a fight, a warfare, a
race. Does the brave soldier shrink, and turn back,
and flee, when difficulties are to be encountered or
dangers are to be met? Does he fight the good fight
of faith who shuns trials, and seeks his own ease and
pleasure, rather than do and suffer the will of God
with meekness and patience? And in the common
business of life do we find that man successful and
prosperous who cries out at the sight of obstacles and
ROBERT DA WSON.
crosses, 'It is too bad! It is really too bad!' No,
boys; such is the language of drones and sluggards.
We must wake up to the true business of life,-to,
serve God and our generation day by day, and humbly
hope for a blessed rest through Jesus Christ our Lord
beyond the grave. Robert must go at the appointed
time, and go with a firm, self-relying heart."
Charley looked into the fire and listened. To him
this was, indeed, a new lesson. The question was
decided, and the pleasures of a "Thanksgiving at
home must be given up.
The 5th of November came apace. The morning
was grey and cold. I pulled the bed-clothes over my
head, and should have enjoyed one more nap. But,
no; I must up and do my work; and Up! up!" I
cried to myself. But the flesh is very weak. I arose,
dressed, and went to the wood-shed to get some kind-
ling-wood. There lay the old axe-so long and faith-
fully used. "The last time," did I exclaim, with pain,
swinging it high in the air. Then the green sledge,
hanging upon its summer peg, caught my eye.. I took-
it down and examined the iron on the runners-" all
right,"-and then I dashed away the unbidden tear,
crying inwardly, I must behave like a man." I flew
into the kitchen with my kindling-wood. When the
flames grew bright, my mother came down, and we
had pleasant words together.
I sat down in the chimney corner, to make the
holes and put some leather strings into my new cow-
hide shoes. Every now arid then did I follow my
mother with a loving look, as she ground the coffee,
or set the table, or baked the cakes for breakfast.
Breakfast was a sad season, though my father spoke
cheerfully. The family altar was surrounded. My
father's voice trembled and broke as he prayed for.me.
Tears flowed freely and hearts were full of sympathy
alid strong emotion.
I Was to depart on foot-a bundle in my hand, con-
taining a change of clothes and a Bible, and half a
crown in my pocket. A baggage waggon, belonging
to a neighboring town, was to take my trunk a week
later. Some dough-nuts and cheese my kind mother
84 ROBERT bAWSON.
put up and slipped into my pocket, "to eat by the
way, Bobby," said she, smiling through her tears.
Here, Robert," said my father; "here is a walking-
stick to help you on,-a stout one too."
I had noticed how carefully he had smoothed and
fashioned it a few days before.
Jane looked out at 'the window sorrowfully. Cuff
was whining in .the cellar, where he was fastened, to
prevent his accompanying me on my pilgrimage.
How long after I was ready did I make believe I
was not ready! This little thing, and that, was still
to be seen to, until I could find no excuse to do more.
I stood up by the fire and buttoned up my coat. Ah !
the last good bye! I will not describe it. I ran from
the door down the road, without looking back, echoing
my father's words, "A stout heart, Robert! a stout
heart !" Oh! the long, weary miles of that first day
At the close of the second day I reached B .
"Where is Mr. John Simpson's?" I asked of a boy
about my own age.
LEA VING HOME.
He pointed me far down the street, to a small
yellow house, with a book-shop -and printing office at
the other side of it. The sight of my future home
hastened me forward, in spite of the cold, the dust,
and the weariness which penetrated every part of me.
Arriving at the gate, I knocked at a side door, and
was soon ushered into a large kitchen, where sat two
apprentices. I was glad it was dark, so that I could
escape their staring scrutiny. But a tallow candle
blazed in our faces from the mantelpiece, fully reveal-
ing me to my companions.
"Are you the new hand?" at length asked the
"I have come to work in Mr. Simpson's office."
A loud bell then rang.
S"Supper! supper L" shouted the two apprentices,
My new master now entered.
"Robert, is this you? I am glad to see that you
are as good as your word. We are full of work, and
want all the little help a new hand can give us."
ROBERT DA WSON.
And I followed him into a long, narrow dining-
"I see it was best for me to come. He is hurried,"
I said to myself. This, indeed, gave me satisfaction.
But I felt little appetite, and stupidly did I answer the
few questions they put to me. My heart was almost
as heavy as my eyelids.
After supper, Mr. Simpson and his men hastened
back to the office. I escaped into the yard, in order
to avoid the conversation of the family. 'Wearily did
I sit down upon the side of a trough near the well,
with nothing like a definite impression upon my mind,
until my left hand was carelessly thrust into my pocket,
and out came a small quarter of the last dough-nut,
"Oh, home home home !" I sighed piteously, as
the old kitchen fire, with its beloved circle, came up
vividly before me in the darkness of that evening.
"There is Charley Frazier at his home. I wish I was
Charley; I do, indeed! What an easy lot is his-
and mine, how hard!" So I soliloquised over the
last crumb of my last dough-nut.
LEA VING HOME. 87
"A stout heart, Robert!" I seemed to hear my father
say; and all his wise and encouraging words came up
to my remembrance with a reawakening power. "Let
me put my hand to the plough, and look not back. I
will make up my mind to do what is before me cheer-
And I rose up from the side of the trough with a
compressed lip and a courageous heart.- I hope I offered
a sincere prayer to the Giver of all good, that He would
give me grace and strength to do His will.
"0 happy house! whose little ones are given
Early to Thee, in faith and prayer,-
To Thee, their Friend, who from the heights of heaven
Guard'st them with more than mother's care.
O happy house where little voices
Their glad hosannas love to raise,
And childhood's lisping tongue rejoices
To bring new songs of love and praise.
"O happy house! and happy servitude!
Where all alike one Master own;
Where daily duty, in Thy strength pursued,
Is never hard nor toilsome known;
Where each one serves Thee, meek and lowly,
Whatever Thine appointment be,
Till common tasks seem great and holy,
When they are done as unto Thee."
AN IMPORTANT ERA.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."-Prov i.o.
HERE were trials, obstacles, and much em-
barrassment to contend with in the new
scenes which opened upon me at Mr. Simpson's house
and office. New influences, new companions, and new
ideas came fast around me. I tried to go straight on
my way, doing diligently and with, all my might what-
soever my hands found to do. My father had always
taught me not to be afraid of work, nor to grumble, nor
complain, nor compare myself with others more advan-
tageously situated, but to look at my own duties, and
to do them cheerfully and faithfully. And I had, after-
wards, abundant reason to rejoice that I followed his
AN IMPORTANT ERA.
The moral atmosphere of my new home was alto-
gether unlike the one I had left. My parents were
strictly religious. They always acted upon conscien-
tious Christian principles in all their walk and conver-
sation. Although it was not then a very common thing
to address children upon the subject of personal piety,
yet the light of their example was constantly before us,
and we children could not remain ignorant of our duty
or our responsibility to God our Saviour.
Mr. Simpson was an honest and an industrious man,
but the fear of God was not in his heart nor before his
eyes. In pleasant weather he attended public worship
with his family; but a rainy Sabbath was a choice day
to examine his accounts and study his ledger. Three
apprentices lived with him, and we were all permitted
to pass the Sabbath as we pleased, provided we inter-
fered with none of the proprieties of the house. How
different was all this from my own home, where the
Sabbath was a day remembered and kept holy, and yet
never irksome to me, for my parents always secured for
us a pleasing variety in its duties I
ROBERT DA WSON.
James, Thomas, and myself (the three apprentices)
occupied the same chamber; and how did we pass the
Sabbath? James usually dressed and went out, after
breakfast, seeking companions of his own age, with
whom he walked, talked, or rode. To him it was a day
of recreation and amusement. Thomas preferred his
bed. A large part of the day was given to sleep; the
remainder was passed in some church or in the kitchen,
where he made merry with the dog, kittens, and chil-
dren. And as for me, I found my way into the gallery
of a church, where principles were inculcated akin to
my father's, and for several Sabbaths I was a constant
attendant there. The daily influences which were around
me began, at length, to operate unfavourably upon my
conduct. In pleasant weather I read my Bible hastily,
if at all, and preferred a walk on Sabbath afternoon, to
"being pent up in church," as my associates described
the exercises of worship. My scruples about reading
religious books, or none, upon the Lord's day, became
weaker. .I at last read even The Forty Thieves"
during the interval of worship, without any serious
AN IMPORTANT ERA.
compunction of conscience. I could laugh at low jokes,
and even crack them myself. Although I was seldom
alone, yet was I often lonely.
"Home! home! home!" was the burden of my secret
sigh. "What is Jane, or Mary, or father, or mother
doing? was my frequent inquiry, while busiest at my
work; and I longed for the tranquil pursuits of my
In the last letter I received from home, Jane asked,
"Can you print yet, Robert?" Now, I was desirous of
showing her some specimen of my new employment,
although, as yet, I had scarcely begun to learn its first
"I will print Jane a letter," was the happy thought;
but "when and how shall I do it ? "
After breakfast, one Sabbath morning, I went into
the office to lookabout and find some type that would
not be wanted for some days at least.
"I.will work until the bell rings, and then to
church." Such was the decision; but so interested
did I become in setting the type, that the bell made
little impression upon my ear, and less on my mind. I
I did not heed it, and worked on in something like a
very bungling manner, I am quite sure. But the little
metallic letters arranged themselves, with my help,
into syllables, words, and lines; and I pleased myself.
in thinking how pleased Jane would be.
'There is no more harm in doing this than in
writing a letter. What is the difference ? And I am
sure everybody here writes letters on Sunday." In this
way I answered the question that would continually
force itself upon me,-"Are you doing right, Robert ?"
"I have no time any other day, and it will please
them at home so much to see my own printing. And,
besides, I shall go to church when the bell rings."
Unfortunately I began this, my first work, from type
that lay in disorder; and of course it sadly puzzled
me to find the letters, and greatly prolonged my labour.
On I worked, nor was I aroused until the house-bell
called me to dinner. I started !
"What day is it?" I asked, almost bewildered.
"Sunday It is Sunday I" and a great fear stole over
AN IMPORTANT ERA.
me, as I looked at my work,.and again said, "It is
I looked out at the window. It was a clear, warm,
sunny day in February, when the snow melted on the
tops of the houses, and came down from the eaves
like a shower of rain. "How pleasant to go to church!"
In no very peaceful state of mind did I leave the
office to go to dinner. I felt afraid-not certainly of
my master, for I but copied his example; not of Tom
nor of James; but of myself: of the sense of wrong-
doing which began to oppress my heart.
"I will go to church; yes, I will!" firmly did I
Mr. Simpson had been at church, and talked about
the sermon. James and Thomas had been there too.
"Where have you been?" asked Thomas, who sat
next me at table.
"Been about here, all alone," answered I, in a surly
tone, to forbid further inquiry.
"Robert, you had better go to church," said Mr.
94 ROBERT DA VSON.
I hung down my head and said nothing.
Some time before the second bell rang in the after-
noon, I sallied forth towards the church. It was, as I
said, a beautiful winter's day, but not beautiful to me,
for my heart was ill at ease.
The sound of sleigh-bells was behind me, swiftly
coming up the street.
"Hallo !" shouted a voice.
"Come, Bob! come, now, get in!" It was Tom;
and the sleigh was beside my very footsteps.
"Where are you going?" said I.
Oh only a little way; come, jump in with us."
His companion was a lad for whom little respect
was felt by the more sober part of his acquaintances.
No, no: I cannot go !" I said; "I must show
myself inside some church to-day,-it is so pleasant."
"So pleasant for riding, Bob Come, we have no
time for it in the week-days. Come, we shall not be
They urged, and I willingly heard them. Suddenly,
even to myself, I jumped in beside them. Crack went
AN IMPORTANT ERA. 95
the whip, and away we sped like lightning. The bells,
the bracing air, the winter beauties of the scene, dazzled
and excited me; and, to drown reflection, I strove to
become the merriest of the three. Tom drove; and
he drove, scarcely knowing whither. On,-on,-on
we went, until the spires of a town, ten miles distant,
were in sight.
"We must have supper here," exclaimed Tom.
"Oh, no I do let us go back 1" said I. "We shall
be so late,-teh miles to return !" and I wished myself
anywhere but there. The sun was declining, and the
chills of evening came rapidly on.
"A supper 1" with a profane oath, exclaimed our
companion. Tom drew up to a tavern door.
"I say, let us go back.. Mr. Simpson will expect tis
back to supper." And alas I there was no money in
my pocket to buy one elsewhere.
My companions rushed into the house, and planted
themselves at the bar. "Gin?" cried Tom.
"No: brandy and water --I take brandy!" voci-
ferated the other.
Several men were in the bar-room. I looked around,
and they were tavern loungers, with bloated cheeks,
red noses, and threadbare garments. The fumes of
strong drink filled the room, and the fireplace was
covered with tobacco. Oaths mingled with every
sentence that caught my ear. Tom and Curtis were
drinking and rejoicing over their cups.
"Is this the evening of the Sabbath day?" I asked
myself, with deep emotion.
Come, Bob; come, my dear fellow; take a drink I"
cried Curtis, beckoning me to come towards the bar:
"it will warm you up !"
What they both urged I can now scarcely remember.
I only know that I refused to drink. They sat down by
the fire, smoked cigars, and drank again. Their swag-
gering, boisterous manner disgusted me, and for the
first time I was heartily ashamed of my companions.
"Where do you go to church?" sneeringly asked
an old man of Curtis Hare.
"Oh I do my own preaching," answered Curtis.
"I am. satisfied,-that is enough."