The Baldwin Library
THE HOWE BOYS
ti .. --
"'I wish I was a man, Pick.'"
T. NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgk, and NewA York
THE HOWE BOYS
By ite Author of
"THE FISHERMAN'S BOY,"
T. NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburg-h, and New York
I. THE HOWE FAMILY,
II. A PARTNER IN BUSINESS, ....
II. A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST, ....
[V. THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT ....
V. THE OLD VISITOR, ....
VI. THE GROCER, .... ....
II. SNOW, .... .
II. PICK, .... .... ....
X. THE EXAMINATION, ....
X. AN OPENING, ....
XI. CASH," ... .... ....
II. DARKNESS, ........
II. A NEW CARE, .... .... .
.... .... 89
XIV. CHRISTMIAS EVE,
NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS,
LITTLE HARRIET, ....
A FRIEND, ..
WILL'S NEW HOME, ....
FAMILY SCENES, ....
CONCLUSION .... ....
.... .... 99
.. .... 108
THE HOWE BOYS.
THE HOWE FAMILY.
" T WONDER that old house has not been
I pulled down long ago !" said Mr. Alden,
as he looked at a queer little building he had
passed a hundred times before.
There it stood, a narrow, two-story house,
crowded in between its tall, stately neighbours,
and looking very much out of place in the
respectable street in which it was situated.
The moss was thick upon its roof-that was
a sign of age, truly; and who could doubt that
those windows with the small panes and that
door were made more than fifty years ago ?
It was a stirring Monday morning, and Mr.
THE HOWE FAMILY.
Alden was on his way to his place of business,
yet he was not in too much of a hurry to see
what was to be seen, and to have his own
thoughts by the way. He was looking full
at the house in question when the door was
opened, while a voice from within said,-
"Go now, like good boys, and come back
as soon as you can.
I'll go, if Will carries the basket;" said a
lad about twelve years of age, who now opened
the door and stood doubtfully on the step.
That I will," said a hearty, cheery voice,
and in another moment a smaller boy appeared,
with a great basket on his arm.
The brown jug that lay in the basket would
have looked very suspicious to a careless ob-
server, but such was. not Mr. Alden. A
slight stickiness on the sides of the jug told
him that nothing more dangerous than treacle
had kept company with it in times past.
"I say, Will, you take up all the road
with your big basket; can't you give a fellow
room ?" said the elder of the two.
Will quietly changed the basket to his
THE HOWE FAMILY.
other arm-a proceeding which was quite wel-
come to him, to judge from the working of
the freed shoulder, which seemed to rejoice to
get rid of its burden.
It was plain that Will liked to carry the
basket. He bent his little figure so as to
half sustain it with his hip, and moved cheer-
fully along, as he said, I wish I was a man,
Pick. I'd build a big house, and have a yellow
satin sofa for Amy to lie on. I wouldn't have
any bills; no, I wouldn't. I'd pay my cash
down for what I wanted, and the rest I'd lay
up in the bank. I tell you, when I'm a man
you'll see a hard-workin' fellow."
You must be an industrious boy if you
want to be an industrious man," Mr. Alden
opened his mouth to say, but he shut it sud-
denly. He would not remind the little lads
that they had an observer close at their heels.
Pick put his hands in his pockets, and
stepped on before Will, as if ashamed to be in
his. company, as they now turned into a more
crowded street, and met several ladies and
THE HOWE FAMILY.
"I say, Pick," continued Will, quite un-
conscious of the wish to drop him, "didn't
you go to bed last night ? You've got on your
Sunday suit. What will Amy say to that?"
"She may say what she will. I ain't going
out with those old patched trousers on again."
"Ain't our Amy a first-rate patcher, though?
When she took up those trousers, I didn't think
she could make a job of them; but they'd be as
good as new if they were all the same colour.
I wouldn't mind that, though; look at mine,"
and Will lifted his checked apron, and showed
the various shades of brown with which his
little grey pants were repaired with wonder-
Don't, Will; somebody'll see you," said
Pick, strutting along in his Sunday suit. A
neat little suit it once had been-good, dark
cloth, with jacket and trousers to match; but
now it was plain it had seen its best days, and
Pick would have to stop growing at once, or
wear black velvet ribbons round the bare
wrists and ankles that were becoming too
THE HOWE FAMILY.
The'boys now turned into a grocer's, and
Mr. Alden went his way, not, however, until
he had looked into Will's round face and clear
blue eyes with a pleasant smile, and given
Pick's small, self-satisfied countenance a less
Quite a contrast to Mr. Alden's parting
smile was the reception that Will met at the
grocer's. Was the man really so busy weigh-
ing out sugar and putting up biscuits that he
did not see the boy ?
Will supposed so, of course, and waited
patiently for the tide of custom to roll by, and
give him a chance. The river's ceaseless flow
was nothing to it! Why, the man did not
seem to have, time even to turn his eyes to
the spot where Will stood, leaning against
the barrel on which he had perched his
There was nothing to be done but to dash
in boldly and claim his share of attention.
Will came to this conclusion when Pick had
stood at least five minutes looking through
the glass door, and Will had spelled out all
THE HOWE FAMILY.
the names on the neatly-painted boxes in which
the articles of trade were stored.
"Please, sir," said Will, with a bow-"please,
sir, I'd like this jug filled with treacle, and a
peck of meal put in this bag."
Will put the jug and bag side by side on
the counter, but the shopkeeper seemed to
wait for him to lay down something else,
which did not appear to be forthcoming.
"The money, boy; where's the money?"
said the grocer, with a stern look. "I can't
trust your folks any more."
There was a sound of somebody shutting
the glass door very quietly. Pick had dis-
"Why can't you trust us ? said Will, with
a flushed face. We are honest; I'd say that
before all the world."
"Honest folks pay their debts," said the
grocer, turning away with a shrug.
What do we owe you ?" said Will, stand-
ing up as straight and looking as independent
as if he expected to discharge the whole debt
THE HOWE FAMILY.
"Three pounds, ten shillings !" said the
man, dwelling upon every syllable, as if to
make the amount more appalling. I can't
trust your folks any more."
Will took up his basket and silently left the
He did not feel like a man as he stepped
along the street. Tears, hot tears were run-
ning down his cheeks, and he did not care
who saw them. He knew that a bill was a
thing that Amy dreaded. He knew that she
had a little bundle of- papers over which she
often bent with an anxious look-bills he was
sure they were, unpaid bills; but that any of
them could ever have reached such an alarm-
ing amount, he had not dreamed. That any
one should think his sister Amy was not
honest, and refuse to trust her any more,
was a depth of misery his imagination had
Will was but a child, just eleven years
old, and, child-like, real tears were the first
expression of his trouble.
Not a trace of them appeared, however,
THE HOWE FAMILY.
when he pushed open the door and stepped
at once into the family sitting-room.
"Amy," he began, "I want to see you
alone." But one look around the little circle
made it plain that Pick had been the first
bearer of the evil tidings.
Sister Amy's pale face was a little paler
than usual, and it wore an anxious, troubled
air, instead of its usual calm.
A dark-eyed little girl, two years younger
than Will, was walking up and down the
small room, exclaiming with an indignant
stamp of the foot, "'Tis a shame! The
hateful man! I say it's a shame!" Pick
looked perfectly crestfallen, and was biting
his nails most industriously.
"Come, children, we must take our break-
fast now, or you will all be late for school,"
said Amy, trying to speak cheerfully. "I
meant to have something nice for you this
morning, but here is plenty of bread-enough
for us all.-Go, Harry, and get that nice cold
sausage-fat you put in the cupboard yesterday.
That will be better than butter."
THE HOWE FAMILY.
Little Harriet's face brightened, and she soon
placed the small earthen dish beside the loaf
on the table. No tea or coffee, milk or sugar
appeared at that breakfast, but the water was
cold and clear, and the children were hungry.
Slice after slice were consumed by Harriet and
Pick. Amy, too, managed to eat a great many
mouthfuls; but there was something rising
and swelling in Will's throat that seemed to
take the place of breakfast for him.
"Now, off with you to school.-Come,
Harriet, let me brush your hair," said Amy
pleasantly, as soon as the meal was over.
"I'm not going to school this morning," said
Will decidedly. Pick and Harriet looked at
him in wonder, and Amy cast upon him a
reproachful glance, as she spoke the gentle
reproof, My Willy "
"Please, sister," said Willy, and Amy's
displeasure changed to tenderness as she saw
the unwonted tears gathering in the eyes of
her merry-hearted brother.
Pick and Harriet seemed to have forgotten
all about grocers and grocers' bills. Away
18 A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
they went to the public school, as cheerful
and tidy as if there were no such things as
want and care in the world.
A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
WILL had always been fond of lending a
helping hand to his sister Amy. He could
not bear to see her going about with her
slow, limping motion, when his steps would
do as well. He knew very certainly that
her busy mornings were to be paid for
by afternoons of pain-weary afternoons on
the old couch by the wall. He had seen her
there too often, trying to sew when she could
not sit up, and' smiling as if there were a
great deal of fun in the experiment.
Will always liked to help his sister, but on
this particular morning he seemed possessed
with the spirit of activity. Boy's work or
girl's work, it was all the same to him.
Washing dishes, sweeping pavement, dusting
A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
and cleaning up generally, seemed quite in
At last all was tidy in the little home, and
Amy sat down on the old couch. She did not
press her hand to her side, or speak of the pain
in her back. Come, Willy, now tell me what
you have been thinking about," she said, and
she put out her thin hand towards her brother.
Willy took his seat close at her side; her
arm went round him; he dropped his head
on her knee, and for a moment was silent.
"Don't be troubled, Willy dear," she said;
"nothing new has happened."
"Yes, but I did not know. I did not
understand about it before. You kept it all
to yourself, Amy, and that is what has made
you look so worried over your papers."
The Lord will take care of us. He never
forsakes the orphan," said Amy quietly.
How much do we owe ? asked Will, with
a business-like air.
Amy looked earnestly at her brother for a
moment, and then said, "Give me the old
atlas from the corner cupboard."
20 A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
Amy was not going to teach a geography
lesson. She had bent over that atlas a great
deal of late, but Europe and Australia, Asia
and Africa, had been all unnoticed by her
anxious eyes. Again and again she had
studied the figures that were on the bits of
paper laid between the maps; again and again
she had added up their sum total on the back
of a letter; she did not need to go over it
now. Yet, with Will looking over her shoul-
der, she read aloud the items of each bill, and.
at last summed them up once more, Will re-
peating each addition to himself as she went on.
Five pounds in all, you see, Will. That
is not such a terrible sum," she said, trying to
smile; but tears came into her eyes.
Will had been on the verge of weeping too,
an instant before, but all such feelings vanished
in a moment.
He felt changed, as it were, suddenly into
a man-a helpful, active, tender-hearted man.
Why, it was his business to comfort his sister,
to keep up her courage, and to take care of
her. What had he to do with tears ?
A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
"Five pounds!" He named the amount
quite boldly now. Five pounds Why,
that's but a trifle, Amy. I read of a man
in the paper the other day who owed fifty
thousand pounds, and could not pay a penny
of it, and he had been a rich man too. That
was a debt worth talking about. We must
manage this. I don't doubt it can be done.
So don't you be down-hearted, Amy. It's
the boy's business to see to matters out of the
house. I'm sure I might do that, when I've
such a dear good sister to keep things straight
at home. Now, Amy, we won't talk any
more about it to-day, but I'll just keep it in
mind, and maybe by to-morrow we may begin
to see things mend."
Amy looked into the boy's young, cheerful
face, and drew him tenderly to her side. She
kissed him in silence. She knew he was but
a child ; she looked for no real aid from him,
but she could not help taking courage from
his bold, hopeful words. It was a comfort at
least to talk over with some one the anxieties
that had been weighing upon her.
22 A PARTNER IN BUSINESS.
Poor Amy! she had not been willing to
cast a shadow over Will's young life; but now
that he knew so much and felt so deeply, it
could do him no harm to know how matters
really stood. She had told him all, and yet
he did not seem crushed, but stood up beside
her looking more bright, manly, and loving
than ever before.
Very dear was her brother to her then,
very welcome was his sympathy; but she did
not forget the Friend who "sticketh closer
than a brother," and who had been her
comforter when no human friend knew her
"Will," she said earnestly, "God can bring
us safely out of all our difficulties. When I
think of that, nothing troubles me."
"Yes, Amy; I've been thinking that in my
heart, though I did not like to say it out. I
feel just as sure He'll put it right for us as if
we had the money in the bank."
Will spoke truly. He knew that God was
his Friend; he knew the precious promises to
the fatherless and the stranger; and the sud-
A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST.
den manliness that had come over him was
strengthened and stayed by the thought of the
omnipotent One on whom he had a right to
A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST.
AMY HOWE was only seventeen. She had
never known health, but she had the better
blessings of a calm, peaceful spirit, and a
loving heart. Amy had lived for others
ever since little Harriet was left a mother-
less babe, with two lisping brothers smiling
beside her cradle, when all about them were
To watch over the little ones, to keep them
neat and tidy, and to make home bright for
them, had been Amy's office. Her father had
lost heart after the death of his wife, and
never rallied. He was little at his own fire-
side, and too much where false merriment
tries to take the place of calm cheerfulness,
and evil companions tempt and lead astray.
24 A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST.
At one time he was a clerk, then an editor,
then he tried photographing, and at last made
a poor subsistence by copying law-papers.
An aged relative left him, by will, the old-
fashioned house which his children now occu-
pied. He was used to a roving life. It cost
him no effort to leave his home in the country
and move to a city, that he might once more
have a roof to call his own.
The expense of the journey had gone far
to empty his purse, when sudden sickness laid
him low. In a few short days after the old
door had first opened to him, he was carried
forth from it to his last resting-place, and his
children were left orphans. Amy comforted
the little ones, sent them to school, tasked her
own strength to make their home neat and
cheerful, and spent sparingly from the little
still left of her father's earnings. The
accounts which Mr. Howe's respectable ap-
pearance had enabled him to commence, Amy
had kept up, while through many sleepless
nights and busy days she tried to plan for the
future. Plan, we say, if that can be called
THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT. 25
planning which was anxious wishing for re-
lief, ending in a feeling of utter helplessness,
and a casting of care on Him who loves to
give the weary rest.
When Amy laid her head on her pillow
the night after her conference with Willy, she
felt as though she had lost one half of her
burden. Willy's hopefulness and her own
faith seemed to come hand in hand to com-
fort her, and she fell into a sweet sleep-such
sweet sleep as it is the right of every Chris-
tian to enjoy.
Let those who have no heavenly Friend
spend their nights in weary dwelling on care
and sorrow, but "He giveth his beloved
sleep." Those who truly put their trust in
the Lord need fear no evil.
THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT.
WILLY HOWE'S school-days were over. On
that he was determined. Not that he dis-
26 THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT.
liked study. If he had been a drone or a
dunce he could never have stood first in
his class when column after column of hard
words and harder definitions were recited from
the dictionary; he could not have drawn off-
hand a map of Europe, which the master
said he could not do better himself. No, no.
Willy wrote a clear, round hand; he could not
be puzzled in arithmetic; he was a good
speller; and, moreover, he could have found
his way in a pretty extensive tour through
the civilized world without a guide-book.
Willy loved study, and he had obtained a
plain education, which was to him a priceless
treasure. Now, he rightly concluded that he
was not called upon to pore over his books,
while on his dear, delicate sister fell all the
burden of the family.
When Willy awoke on the morning after his
day at home with Amy, his first feeling was
an unusual sense of care. This was to him
but as the noise of the far-off battle to the
soldier, which makes him seize his armour,
and make ready for the conflict.
THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT. 27
Willy had no coward heart. His memory
at once brought up to him the hard fighting
that was before him, and he hastened to seek
the strength which would be sure to bring
him off victorious.
Before Pick had opened his sleepy eyes,
Willy was up and dressed. From his Bible
he had read words that made him feel ready
for anything that was before him; on his
knees he had asked God to bless all his un-
dertakings, and help him to be to his sister
a true friend in time of need.
What wonder that Willy's face was bright
and joyous when Pick, with a yawn, asked
peevishly if it was time to get up.
"See for yourself, Pick," said Willy, throw-
ing open the shutters, and letting the sunlight
stream in. "See for yourself, Pick, and come
to your own conclusion, while I go down to
sweep the pavement."
"The top of the morning to you, Amy,"
said Will, as he peeped into the kitchen, on
the way to the street.
Amy's good-morning was less buoyant, but
28 THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT.
her smile was very sweet; and Will felt, as he
went to his work, that she was a sister worth
doing anything for.
Harriet caught a glimpse of her brother's
bright face, and bounded after him, to give
him a full share of her conversation while he
See now," said Will, going to work most
vigorously-" see if I don't get this pavement
swept off before you count a hundred."
Harriet's little tongue rattled over the
numbers as if it were crazy, and her merry
laugh soon told Will that he was not quite
such a fast sweeper as he had supposed.
Will's work was soon done, however, and
both the children were going in, when their
attention was attracted by a man coming up
the street, carrying in his hand a banner,
which he seemed anxious that everybody
should see. Will had a fancy for spelling out
signs and placards, and he waited to read
what was on the great banner.
"A menagerie, I guess," said Harriet, clap-
ing her hands. I mean to go."
THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT. 29
The banner was by this time very near
them, and Will had no thought to give to his
little sister's suppositions.
"FOUR THOUSAND POUNDS TO LEND was the
interesting announcement that flared in great
black letters from the white advertisement.
It did not take Will long to read -every
word-large print, small print, and all.
"Four thousand pounds to lend, on good
security; watches, jewellery, and gold and sil-
ver generally, taken in pawn, and faithfully
restored when money and interest are paid."
Willy had out his pencil in a moment. The
name of this mighty money-lender, and the
number of his office, were noted down with
the greatest care.
This business-like result of his observations
being through, Harriet was favoured with two
or three flying hops from the upper door-step,
and then was carried off bodily into the sitting-
room, in spite of a laughing resistance on her
After Pick and Harriet had finished their
simple breakfast, a conference took place be-
30 THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT.
tween Amy and Will. The result of this con-
ference was a secret mission on the part of
Will, which he considered as honourable and
momentous as an embassy to any of the
crowned heads of Europe.
In a most unattractive part of one of the
lower streets of the city there was a little
dark shop, above the door of which was the
very name that Will had noted down so care-
fully. To this shop Will made his way, only
stopping now and then to press his hand to
his side and to see that his coat was buttoned
Will had to look twice at his paper to be
sure that there was no mistake about the
name and the number. It did not seem to
him possible that such a grand, clear-looking
advertisement could have come from such a
dark, unattractive-looking spot; yet so it must
be. There in the window was a worn and
faced sign-" Money to lend." There could
be no mistake.
Will stepped in with rather an important
look on his face, and before speaking he
THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT. 31
proceeded to unbutton his coat, and draw forth
a plain gold watch, and to lay it on the counter.
"What is such a watch as that worth ?"
said Will, with his eyes fixed on the man
behind the counter.
The pawnbroker pushed up his spectacles,
stared first at the boy, then at the watch.
Willy did not look like a thief, and the man
knew it, yet he said suspiciously, "Did you
steal it, boy ? "
Willy's face flushed as he answered, It
was my father's watch. He wore it twenty
years. You'll find his name in the inside.
George Howe-that was my father's name."
Willy felt his throat choking up-he was
actually afraid he should cry; and what a
piece of business that would be for a boy who
expected to be the man of the family, and
stand by his sister in her troubles.
"Maybe your father ain't gone so far as
you make out. Boys has pawned the old
gentlemen's watches before for their own
reasons," said the shopkeeper with another
32 THE TRAVELLING ADVERTISEMENT.
Will was inclined to snatch up the watch
indignantly, and leave the shop. The image
of the grocer saying, "We can't trust your
folks any more," rose up before him, and he
stayed. He was silent for a moment. He had
no friend in the city to whom he could appeal.
At length he said desperately, Come home
with me if you please, and see my sister Amy.
You can't think hard of her. We want to
borrow five pounds, and you may as well know
all about us."
The man looked at the watch, far exceeding
in value the sum named, and then at the boy.
There was truth in that young face, but the
old pawnbroker had seen too much of the world
to dare to trust even such a countenance.
"I've got to go into town," he said, reaching
down a dusty old hat and a crooked walking-
stick; "so you may take me to see your
Again there was a suspicious glance at the
boy, to see how he took the acceptance of his
"If you see Amy, all will be right," said
THE OLD VISITOR.
Willy, who had a wonderful confidence in his
sister's power of pleasing.
They were a queer couple, the bent old
man and the young, bright boy; yet no one
noticed them as they passed along the crowded
streets. No one noticed them, we said, yet
they were not unobserved by the great Ruler
of events, who had brought them together for
His own wise purposes.
THE OLD VISITOR.
LITTLE as Pickard Howe liked to get up in
the morning, he was not fond of being late
at school. After lounging away the time
when he should have been making his pre-
parations, he generally went off at last in a
terrible flurry, leaving confusion and disorder
Amy had gathered up the scattered books
that Pick had thrown down in his hurried
search for his geography; she had put his
THE OLD VISITOR.
" morning shoes" into the closet, and restored
to its place the brush with which he had
given the parting touches to his curly hair.
The traces of Harriet's careless, reckless habits
were even more in number, yet Amy had
gone about patiently restoring order, without
one unpleasant expression ruffling her coun-
tenance, or one unkind thought marring the
peace at her heart.
The four rooms which the old-fashioned
house contained had been severally visited
and made neat and tidy by her skilful hands.
Weary in body, she lay down on the old
couch, but not to spend even a few short
minutes in idleness.
The bland air of summer was changing into
the real keenness of autumn, and Amy well
knew the little ones were but ill prepared for
winter. An old cloth cloak of her father she
thought would be quite an inexhaustible mine
of material for clothing the boys, and as she
lay, her busy hands were ripping away the worn
collar, while from time to time her eye measured
the ample folds of the precious garment.
THE OLD VISITOR.
She heard the outer door open. It must
be Willy returning from his mission. What
news had he to tell ? Her eager, questioning
face turned towards him, but she felt too
weary to follow her natural inclination to rise
and meet him.
She had not a moment for thought, when
Willy and his companion entered.
This is my sister Amy, Mr. Dilmer," said
the boy. There was respect and affection in
the tone; it was plain that his sister Amy was
in Willy's eyes one worth seeing.
"A lazy miss Lying down to work,"
thought the old man; but his face changed
suddenly as Amy rose, and with an evident
effort moved across the room to hand the
stranger a chair.
You want to raise money on your father's
watch," he began abruptly. "How am I to
know George Howe was your father ?"
The family Bible lay on the table. What
a treasure it had proved to Amy in her lone-
liness and anxiety! Now it was to serve a
THE OLD VISITOR.
Again Amy crossed the room, and the old
man's face softened as he noted the misfortune
that had marred her person, but traced no
mark of repining on her sweet face. Amy
threw open the Bible at the family record.
"You will read the history of our little
family there," she said quietly.
Mr. Dilmer put on his spectacles and took
the Bible on his knee. It was long since
the holy book had lain open before that old
dealer in money.
There was a truth in that simple record
that could not be doubted. Born, married,
died-so short, so full of meaning, so com-
plete was the biographical sketch of the
parents; while the birth alone of the orphan
children was registered-those children who
were now to struggle along life's pathway side
"Amy-that's you," he said, reading, then
looking full into the young girl's face.
"That is my name," said Amy quietly.
Pickard what a name Is that you ?" he
continued, turning to Willy.
THE OLD VISITOR.
I am William-below," said the boy, point-
ing out with his finger the date of his birth.
You are not big of your age," said the old
"No; but I mean to do great things," said
Will, with a smile.
"Let me see the watch," said the old man.
Willy drew out the treasure again, and
placed it in Mr. Dilmer's hands.
"Didn't your father leave you any money?"
said the old man quickly.
A little; but that is all gone, and we have
debts beside, which we want to pay with the
loan," said Willy, speaking up as the man of
"Ain't you uneasy ? What do you expect
to live on?" said the man, turning towards
Amy. You couldn't do much in the way
of hard work."
"We own the house. It was left to my
father by an old aunt. So the children will
have a home. For the rest, I am sure the
Lord will provide," said Amy simply.
The pawnbroker looked through his spec-
THE OLD VISITOR.
tackles into Amy's sweet, placid face. The
poor young stranger before him had a security
of which he knew nothing. His precious
gains might be taken from him, but Amy's
portion was sure. She had an unfailing refuge
in those few words, The Lord will provide."
Mr. Dilmer looked down. He had acci-
dentally turned the page that contained the
family record, and now the last of Malachi lay
open before him. His eyes caught the words:
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn
as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all
that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the
day that cometh shall burn them up, saith
the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them
neither root nor branch."
Like a swift arrow these words of denun-
ciation seemed to pierce the heart of the old
man; but turning from them, he cast his eyes
up the page and read: And they shall be
mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day
when I make up my jewels."
He shut the book. Had he not read of the
two portions in store for himself and the help-
THE OLD VISITOR.
less strangers before him? He would not
think of it, he would not attend to the matter
in hand. How much-how much," he said
hesitatingly-" how much do you want to
borrow on the watch ? "
Five pounds," said Will, again acting as
Mr. Dilmer took out a worn but well-filled
pocket-book. A five-pound note he laid on
Willy's eyes glistened, and he said joyously
to his sister, "I knew the Lord would take
care of us. Keep up heart, Amy."
I am very, very much obliged to you, sir,"
said Amy warmly.
"I don't do you any great favour," said the
man. "You will have to pay me half-yearly
for the use of the money, and I have the
watch for my security. You can have it back,
you know, when you return the money."
"May that be before a great while," said
Mr. Dilmer rose to go. Childless and alone
he had lived, gathering up this world's goods,
but not enjoying them. There was a charm
to him in those young trusting hearts. There
was a message of power to him from that old
Love on earth and a home in heaven seemed
better to him then than all the gold of Ophir.
The old man was gone; there was no ex-
cuse for his lingering there.
brother I am so glad," said Amy, as
she took the bank-notes in her hand. The
other arm she passed round Willy, and side
by side they knelt. That was a real thanks-
giving-not a mere saying of heartless, un-
The God of the orphan was praised for all
His mercies. The old stranger had a blessing
called down on his unworthy head.
TRuLY Amy and Will were ignorant of the
ways of the world. They had borrowed just
enough to pay their debts, but what they
were to live on afterwards they did not know.
Five pounds was the sum so fixed in their
minds that they had not thought it possible
they could borrow more.
Undisturbed by any such anxieties, Will set
off for the grocer's, feeling much like the man
he had wanted to be only the day before,
when he had carried the basket.
He had but to mention that he wished to
pay his bill, and the grocer found time to at-
tend to him in a moment. As the receipt was
signed, Will said apologetically, "We should
have been glad to pay you before, but we are
orphans, and just beginning to take care of
There was no appeal for sympathy in Will's
cheerful manner as he stated this simple fact,
yet one word in his sentence had reached the
The grocer had his own happy, rosy little
ones nursed and guarded: could he hear the
name of orphan without a pang ?
God has promised to bless the fatherless,
and one way in which He does it is by turn-
ing all hearts tenderly towards them. Those
who give to no other good cause will open
their purse for the orphan; those who never
weep for their own sins will shed a tear for
the motherless, the fatherless, the little ones
left alone in the world.
The grocer made no direct reply to Willy's
remark, but as he handed him the receipt he
said, "Let me send your folks some un-
common wheat flour that has just come in,
and some extra cheese-not to be put down in
the bill, mind you, but just for them to taste."
"Thank you, sir," said Will; "sister Amy
will be much obliged to you."
It was a satisfaction to the grocer to put up
the generous parcels which he prepared for
Willy; and as he did so, he murmured in his
heart, "I did not mean to be hard upon
"What are we to do, now all our. debts are
paid ?" said Amy, as Will returned from the
grocer's. She was really beginning to lean
upon her young brother-so natural is it
for a woman to look for some supporting
"Why, I'm going to be a-a-I don't know
exactly what line of business I shall go into,"
said Will cheerily. "But'look here! see what
Mr. Dobbs has sent us, just to try his goods
-a sort of a present, you see. He was in
such good-humour this morning."
Bread from the hand of the Lord it seemed
Give us this day our daily bread; so our
Lord teaches us to pray. Who that is so pro-
vided need be anxious about the morrow ?
AMY was not glad to see the snow falling the
next morning; there were warm garments yet
to be finished, there was more wood to be
bought, before she could rejoice at the coming
of cold weather.
Will received with a shout the news that
the snow was half a foot deep. He sprang
up with a merry twinkle in his eye. There
was no doubt in his mind as to the line of
business he should follow, for that morning
The bit of pavement before the old house
he cleared off in the most satisfactory manner,
while Pick looked on from the window, and
Harriet pelted him with snow-balls while he
"Now I am in for money-making," said
Will, shouldering his shovel and giving a
sweeping bow as he prepared to set off.
Pick threw up the window in a moment,
and exclaimed, "You are not going, Will
Howe, to clear off snow for other people "
"That I will, gladly. I'm a worker," said
Will, giving his shovel a flourish in the air as
Will did not think whether he was lower-
ing himself or not. He was full of the merry,
light-hearted spirit of boyhood, and there was
fun to him in all that he undertook. He
knew that the family purse was empty, and
yet he was not over-anxious as to his success
in this his first effort at earning his own liv-
ing. Honest industry he felt to be the duty
of the present.
It was an amusement to Will to mount the
tall flights of steps, and inquire in his most
pleasant manner whether he should clear off
the snow. He liked to get a peep into the
spacious halls. The very servants who opened
the door pleased him with their various styles
of refusing or accepting his offers.
Will was fond of exercise; he actually liked
work for its own sake. He found it no hard-
ship to throw off the light snow, and when
the bright silver was dropped into his hand
for payment, it seemed to him to be almost
rained down from some cloud with a silver
lining that was passing overhead.
The pavements were all cleared, when the
sudden thronging of the street with young
faces reminded him that the public schools
were out, and he must go home to take his
dinner with the rest.
Turning a corner, he came suddenly upon
Pick and Harriet. The little sister gave a
bound towards him, and seized his free hand.
Pick, too, seemed well pleased to meet him.
Pick had his own news to tell.
"We boys have got a new wrinkle," he began;
"we are going to have a society made up of
choice fellows-the tip-top of the school. We
are going to write pieces and speak 'em; and
some day the master says he'll let us have the
school-room for an exhibition. Won't that be
fun ? "
"No doubt it will," said the younger brother
a little soberly. Amy's sweet, pale face rose up
before him, and the momentary regret for the
step he had taken passed away. He had left
school and its pleasures; but he had done
right, there could be no doubt. "I shall
attend the exhibition, and sit on the front
seats with friends of the speakers," said Will
in his usual merry way.
"Not with your snow-shovel in your hand,
I hope," said Pick.
"Speak well of the bridge that carries you
over," said Will, taking from his pocket a
handful of small change. Three shillings-all
my own! What do you think of that, Pick ?"
Pick's eyes brightened, and he said, "Now
you ought to give a treat. You'll be real
mean if you don't."
"No, I thank you," said Will decidedly, as
he dropped his change into his pocket with a
tinkling sound; "sister Amy's my banker.
What I get goes straight to her."
"Well, you are a mean fellow," said Pick,
strutting on as if quite ashamed to be in such
Will knew well enough who was the "mean
fellow" then, and he was going to say so, but
a whisper at his heart made him still.
Will felt that the last few days had drawn
him wonderfully near to his heavenly Father.
How could he break the law of love-the chief
law of the God in whom he trusted ? Pick
might say what he pleased, Will was resolved
to deal out no harsh answers. There could be
no quarrelling, certainly, so long as all the
fault was on one side.
Pick saw determination in Will's air, and
with a careless whistle he walked on, leaving
his brother and sister to follow.
How stuck-up Pick is He ought to be
ashamed !" said little Harriet, who was apt to
be indignant on every possible occasion.
"Pick is a very smart boy," said Will. "I
shouldn't wonder if he should turn out the
best speaker in the school."
"That's just what he said himself, just be-
fore we met you," said Harriet naively.
That is what everybody would say," said
Will, laughing in spite of himself. Pick only
goes with the multitude. Ain't it queer,
Harriet, I feel as if I was really grown up
since I have left school ? "
"You haven't grown any that I see," said
Harriet, with a wondering look at her brother.
"We all grow every day of our lives; even
men and women are growing,"-said a pleasant
voice behind the children.
Will remembered Mr. Alden's face imme-
diately. He did not often get such an ap-
proving smile as that which had greeted him
in front of the grocer's door.
Will touched his cap, and said, "How's
that, sir while Harriet opened her eyes
wide, and wondered what the stranger meant
by speaking to them.
Will had carried his shovel in military
fashion, over his shoulder, but now he let it
trail behind him as he listened to Mr. Alden's
"I don't mean that men and women keep
growing in their bodies. That would be very
inconvenient, and cost us too many new suits
of clothes. What I mean is, that everybody
is always growing worse or better; and we
may get on very fast in both ways, in even a
very few days."
"I know it-I know it, sir," said Will
"Then be sure to grow in the right way,
and always be good to sister Amy." Here
Mr. Alden said a hasty good-bye, and turning
a corner, disappeared.
"How did he know anything about sister
Amy ? Isn't he a queer man ?" said Harriet
I like him though," said Will. I mean
to be a gentleman like him when I grow up-
a real kind-spoken gentleman."
WILL'S patient industry knew no flagging.
He was ready to do anything and everything
that Providence threw in his way. One
day he went on errands for the neighboring
grocer; the next, he carried carpet-bags for
ladies to the station, in an opposite direction;
and every snow-storm brought him in a sure
harvest, the seed of which seemed to him sown
directly from heaven.
Will had the pleasure of thinking that he
was the man of the family-the out-of-door
provider for indoor wants. He little knew
that there was another source of revenue for
their humble home than his uncertain earn-
ings. He had not seen Amy working at her
embroidery when the children were all away;
he did not know that she was toiling when he
was sleeping; he did not suspect how well
"the lame girl" was becoming known at a
certain fancy shop, and how many yards of
embroidered trimming she sold there from
time to time.
Amy would not sadden her young brother
by a knowledge of her weary labour. His
cheerfulness was very precious to her; he
was doing all in his power; he should not
know that for bare necessities she, too, must
strain every nerve.
Give Pick the best clothes; make Harriet
look respectable," were Will's words. I don't
mind the patches; they suit my way of life."
So Pick kept on at school-at times a bril-
liant scholar, at times too lazy to learn even
the simplest lessons. Pick hated what he
called drudgery. He had an idea that he was
to get through the world and make a great
figure without it.
The school debating society was much in
Pick's thoughts, and now and then he might
be seen at home in the evening, with a pencil
in his hand and a sheet of paper before him,
on which he put down very grand and moral
sentences on this duty or that virtue. Pick
could be good on paper as well as anybody
else, but he had not yet begun to struggle
against the selfishness that is the great sin of
every human heart.
. Pick's use of the pencil became more and
more frequent as the winter went on, and at
last he declared that his "piece" was done,
and would be spoken on the following week.
The master had concluded to unite the exer-
cises of the debating society with his usual
quarterly public examination. Pickard Howe
was to be one of the speakers.
He had been reading his piece one even-
ing to the little family circle, as a particular
favour, he said, as perhaps they would not
have a chance to hear him speak it. Will
and Amy exchanged glances, and then listened
"That's first-rate," said Will, clapping his
hands as Pick read the finishing sentence in
his most effective manner.
"You have done wonderfully well, Pick,"
said Amy quietly. A short pause followed,
in which Amy was wondering whether Pick
would ever follow out in practice the high
principles about which he could so easily write.
Her meditations were disturbed by Pick's
saying, in a fretful tone, *" You are always
patching Will's clothes, Amy. I should think
you might find time to make me a little re-
spectable for the examination."
Will's cheek flushed, but the angry words
that sprang to his lips were checked by Amy's
prompt but gentle answer.
I'll do what I can for you, Pick. I wish
I could get you a new coat."
"You might make me one out of that best
coat of father's," was Pick's reply.
"I hoped to keep that until you were
larger. It seems a pity to cut it up now,"
said Amy thoughtfully.
"Oh yes! I suppose it is to be kept for
Master Willy. It's no matter .what I wear.
I think the oldest ought to have some rights
Will jumped from the table, and ran out
into the cool night air. He dared not trust
himself in temptation one moment longer, lest
he should say something he should repent.
Harriet had no idea of any such self-govern-
ment. Her indignation burst forth at once.
"You shan't speak so to sister Amy, you
great, bad, lazy boy! I wouldn't ever do
another thing for you, if I were in her place;
no, I wouldn't."
But I would," said Amy gently. "Hush,
Harriet !-Pick, I'll try to alter the coat for
you. It is natural you should want to be in
order at such a time."
Of course it is. I wonder you didn't think
of that before," said Pick.
Amy knew there was no time to be lost.
She put the few last stitches into the patch
that she had been sewing into Will's only
jacket, and then she set to work immediately
to rip the coat in question.
When Will returned to the kitchen, the
only warm room in the house, he found Pick
reading away in a paper-covered book he had
borrowed, while Amy was bending over the
coat, with no lingering resentment in her
sweet face. Her example had its natural
effect. Will had his knife out in a moment.
"Let me help. you, Amy," he said. "Two
hands can work faster than one."
"Don't cut the edges, Will," said Amy,
pointing out to Will where he was to begin.
A pleasant, affectionate smile passed between
the brother and sister, and they seemed very
dear to each other then.
EXAMINATION-PAY had come, and Pick was no
laggard in bed that morning. Before the sun
was fairly up, he was now pacing the kitchen,
declaiming, and now stopping to adjust his
curling locks into the proper curve about his
I hope you will.pass a good examination,"
said Amy, as Pick was starting for school.
"That's a small matter, if I do well with
my piece," said Pick, as he disappeared.
Pick had not said one word to Will about
being present at the examination; bu Amy
had spoken of it, as a matter of course, from
the first. She thought the industrious boy
really deserved the relaxation and the plea-
sure the examination would afford.
"You will surprise Pick," she said cheer-
fully. He does not think of your caring to
go; so now make yourself tidy, and be off in
time to get a good seat."
Pure water, bush and comb, clean collar
and patched coat, helped to fit out Will for
the important occasion. A dear, noble-look-
ing boy he seemed to Amy, as she kissed him
good-bye, and bade him notice everything, in
order to tell her all about the examination.
Will went in at the door open for spectators,
and found his way to a front seat.
Keep your place, my lad," said a pleasant
voice to him, soon after, when he rose to make
room for some gentlemen.
Will knew the voice and the kind face, and
he felt as though a friend were near him when
Mr. Alden sat down beside him.
Pickard Howe was the first speaker. A
pretty boy anybody would have called him,
as he came forward on the platform and made
a very handsome bow.
His speech was really well written, and
equally well delivered, and there was a murmur
of approbation throughout the house as he
"Uncommonly well done," said Mr. Alden,
addressing himself to Willy, who was clapping
heartily, and looking at Pick with affectionate
pride. "Uncommonly well done; don't you
say so ?"
"He's my brother," said Will with spark-
ling eyes, raising himself on the bench at the
same time, that Pick might see him sharing
, It was plain that Pick did see him; but he
turned quickly from the brother in the worn,
patched coat, and walked off the platform in
another direction. Pick. complained of being
overcome by the effort he had made in speak-
ing, and was excused in order to go out and
breathe the fresh air.
The boys were heard to say, "Pick Howe
is sneaking the recitations;" and there was
truth in the rough remark.
With the promptness of a file of soldiers
obeying their commanding officer on parade,
class after class went through with its per-
formances. The question was scarcely asked,
when the answer was fired off by a score of
voices. There had been good drilling, beyond
Some of the visitors seemed anxious to
know whether there was any real intelligence,
any actual comprehension of the subjects
touched upon, among the pupils.
The master encouraged free questioning,
and the boys did wonderfully well, though
the visitors tried hard to puzzle them.
At length a sum was given out coming
under one of the rules that had been so glibly
recited. It was truly a difficult sum, and
none of the boys dared to come up to the
blackboard to work it out. The master looked
annoyed. At length a bright thought struck
him. "I had a boy here last term who could
have done that," he said. "There he is now.
-Come up to the blackboard, Willy Howe,
and keep up the honour of the school."
Will was taken by surprise, but he was
ready. He had naturally gone over with the
solution of the sum while the puzzled class
were looking at each other in dismay.
Will was not troubled with diffidence or
self-consciousness. He did not think of him-
self or his clothes, but stepped upon the plat-
form, and went up to the blackboard at once.
In a few moments he was ready to give forth
the answer in clear tones, and explain the pro-
cess by which it was attained.
Thank you, Will," said the master, taking
him heartily by the hand.
"Good! good! well done!" came from
many voices among the visitors.
Will's bright face was full of pleasure as,
with a slight bow, he turned to find a place
for himself among the boys on the platform.
Pick had come in a few minutes before, and
the brothers met each other face to face.
"Wasn't it good I could do it ?" said Will,
with delight in his eyes.
It is too mean of you to come here, look-
ing as you do, to make such a show of yourself
and disgracing me. Any of the boys could
have done the sum, if they had had time
given them," said Pick quickly, in a low,
bitter tone; and then he turned rapidly away
to avoid him.
Will saw a door near him, and through it
he instantly passed, with a swelling heart.
To be despised by his brother and looked on
with shame, was too much for Will's warm,
He almost ran along the street; then burst-
ing into Amny's presence, he exclaimed, It is
too hard it is too hard! and I won't bear it."
A flood of tears, half anger and half grief,
checked his utterance.
It was many minutes before Amy's tender-
ness could soothe him into sufficient calmness
for him to tell his story.
A small bright spot appeared for a moment
in Amy's cheek as she listened, but it faded
as tears moistened her eyes. "We must pray
for Pick," she said gently. The poor boy is
going far astray."
"I feel as if I could never see him again!
I can't and I won't bear it! said Will indig-
"Are we to have a home full of hatred and
quarrels? You cannot separate from your
brother. God has placed you together; won't
you try to live with him in peace?" said
"It's all his own fault; he must look out
for the consequences. I have been willing to
do anything for him, and-I did love him, but
I won't bear this."
Don't say did love him.' Remember,
'This commandment have we from him, That
he who loveth God love his brother also,'"
He won't let me love him. He don't
want to be my brother. I can't get over it,"
Then I am to have two naughty brothers
to bear with and pray for. I shall love you
both, and hope yet to have peace in our poor
home," said Amy, taking away the arm that
she had thrown round Willy, and looking
sadly at him.
No, no, Amy; that shall never be," said
Willy, putting the arm again about him. "I
will not try you by my wicked anger. I
know I am wrong. I felt so excited and un-
happy. I could forgive Pick if I did not
have to see him."
Willy dear, how do you think you have ap-
peared for the last half-hour to the pure, holy,
gentle Jesus ? This heated, swollen face does
not seem like my own dear Willy, even to me.
How must it strike the eye of our sinless
Saviour! Do you expect Christ to forgive
you again, and own you as one of His dear
"0 sister Amy! I should be very miser-
able if He did not forgive me," said Willy
"He will forgive you, darling, forgive you
freely, if you are really sorry for all this angry
tumult; but remember the conditions-if you
from your heart forgive your brother his tres-
pass," continued Amy.
"Yes, yes; I see it now. Jesus is so holy;
yet He can forgive me. And even if I think
myself a little better than Pick, yet I ought
to forgive him. I mean to try."
"We have none of us much to boast of.
We are all unprofitable servants. You will
feel that more and more, Willy, as you go
on in the Christian life, and that will make it
easier for you to forgive," said Amy.
Willy looked into his sister's sweet face.
Was her humility the secret of her gentle,
forgiving spirit ? Good as she was, could she
think so lowly of herself? What, then, had
a hasty-tempered boy like himself to boast of ?
He would try to be like her. He would strive
to forgive, as he hoped to be forgiven. "I
will try, I will, sister Amy-try to forgive
Pick," said Will. His tone was low and ten-
der, and Amy knew then that the struggle
The victory was won. Yet Will had to
seek the upper room, and plead earnestly for
strength to carry out his resolution, before he
dared to meet his brother.
Will had the warmest corner beside the
stove when he heard Pick come in. He
jumped up to leave it vacant. That was a
happy thought. That one kind action was a
great help towards true forgiveness.
Pick was out of humour and out of spirits.
He had made such intolerable failures in his
recitations that his triumph of the morning
was quite forgotten; and as for Will, he had
ceased to think of him or his patched clothes.
Pick looked so pale and miserable that
Will's resentment quite vanished, and his
frank face was so bright and kindly that
Harriet nestled close to his side, and said,
"I am glad you are not cross, Willy. We
can have a pleasant time, can't we ?"
"Yes, we can have a pleasant time, if we
do right," whispered Willy, and he felt the
truth of what he said.
Anger, envy, selfishness-they are roots of
bitterness, springs of misery. Love, patience,
cheerfulness-how they make home happy,
and how they grow in a happy home !
THE shadows of the examination-day had
floated by like summer clouds, and there was
sunshine again in Amy's home.
Pick and Harriet were away at school, and
Amy was busy with her needlework in the
Will had placed the old couch near to the
southern window, where the light would fall
on her work, and where her dear face might
beam on him when he chanced to be busy in
On this couch Amy was lying, about a
week after the examination, when there was a
knock at the street door.
Amy opened the door, and then stepped
back a little to wait for the gentleman stand-
ing there to tell his business.
The shutters in the front room were closed,
and as Amy paused, with the darkened room
as a background, the gentleman was uncon-
sciously silent for a moment, while he enjoyed
the sweet picture.
"This must be sister Amy," he said. "Can
I see you a few moments, and Master Willy
too ? You see I know something about you,
though I am a stranger to you."
Amy opened the door, and politely invited
the gentleman to walk in.
I shall have to take you into the kitchen,
sir, as it is warm there," said Amy, leading the
way, while the stranger followed.
The kitchen a place of hurry, heat, close-
ness, and non-appetizing odours, rose to the
Into no such region was he ushered. The
small room was light, cheerful, and scrupu-
lously neat. No great joints, no highly-sea-
soned stews, no fumes of fat, had tainted that
pure air. Where the fare was so simple, the
usual combination of odours could not offend.
My business is more particularly with
your brother Willy," said the gentleman, tak-
ing the offered chair. Is he at home ?"
He is at home," said Amy, half smiling, as
her eye glanced through the small window.
"I should like to see him," said Mr. Alden,
following her glance with his own.
"He is just now in a cloud of dust, and
hardly fit to see a stranger," said Amy.
Will had made a coal-sifter of his own, and
now he was rattling it most vigorously, while
the flying ashes filled the air.
"Let me see him as he is. Honest labour
is not a thing to be ashamed of," was the
Amy gave a quick knock upon the window,
and the coal-sifter was quiet in a moment.
The air cleared, and there stood Willy, with
his close-fitting cap tied down at the ears, and
his whole person covered with an old wrapper
of Amy's, that served him as a suit of armour
when he went to his daily battle with the
cinders and ashes.
It was a droll-looking figure surely. Will's
face was so boy-like, so full of character, that
it made all the more funny his girlish attire.
His first bright, listening look towards sister
Amy turned into a merry laugh as he saw
another face beside hers.
"Come in, Willy; the gentleman wants to
see you," said Amy, opening the window for
.Cap and wrapper were doffed in a trice, and
after a momentary interview with the pump,
Will made his appearance in the kitchen.
He looked none the worse for exercise and
cold water, nor for the real glow of welcome
on his face, as he recognized the stranger.
"I am glad to see you in your own home,
Master Willy, and I hope we shall know more
of each other. To make a beginning, I must
introduce myself as Charles Alden, of the firm
of Alden & Co."
"I am glad to know your name, sir. I did
not know what to call you when I thought
about you," said Will.
Then you have thought about me," said
Mr. Alden, with a smile; "and I have been
thinking about you, and asking about you too."
Will's eager eyes were fixed on the -ff in l .-
as he went on.
"The master at the public school speaks in
your praise; your neighbour, Mr. Dobbs, thi
grocer, says he can trust anything to you.
Now, an honest boy is what I have been
looking for. I want just such a one for a
vacant position in our establishment. How
would you like to be 'cash' for us ? said _It.
Will looked wildly at Mr. Alden as he
said, "I would like any honest w v.v of. iri,,
my living. I should so like to have a rt.gular
"What I shall pay you I cannot s.:. I
can tell better when I find out what you can
do. Could you begin to-morrow ?"
"Yes, sir, that I could," said Will warmly.
Amy looked doubtfully at Will's worn and
patched clothing. She could not bear to ex-
pose him to unkind remarks among stranri'ers,
in the very dress which had so mortified
Pickard. It was Will's only suit now.
"A week hence will do just as well," said
Mr. Alden, reading Amy's glance; "and I
had better pay down something in advance,
in token of our agreement, that you may
not escape from your bargain. I think sister
Amy is your banker."
Mr. Alden placed a sovereign in Amy's
hand as he spoke, while Will blushed and
said, "You heard me say that, sir, did you ?
Well, she's a bank worth trusting."
Mr. Alden had marked the exceeding sim-
plicity and the signs of scrupulous economy
in all about him, from the faded and darned
calico covering of the old couch, to the faith-
fully-mended rag-carpet under his feet.
Amy held the money abstractedly in her
hand. It seemed a monstrous sum in com-
parison with the small change with which she
had been recently familiar. Should she be
right in accepting it on an uncertainty ? How
nicely it would fit up Willy for his new
position! That was a great temptation, but
perhaps she had better not take it.
"Something might happen to prevent
Will's being at his post," she said hesi-
tatingly; "maybe I ought not td take this
"If Will fails me, you shall be my debtor,
and I won't be hard upon you," said Mr. Alden,
smiling, as he rose to take leave.
A little old-fashioned table stood near him;
on it lay a small, well-worn Bible. It was
Amy's treasure-a gift from her Sunday-
school teacher long ago; so Mr. Alden read,
as he opened the book.
I am glad to find such a comforter here,"
he said. "You know where to look for
counsel and support."
Amy's eyes brightened; now, indeed, she
could wholly trust the stranger. She looked
up to him with full confidence as she said,
"Yes, that book is my comfort. We could
not do without it-could we, Willy ? "
There was no affectation in the bright re-
sponsive glance that flashed from Willy's eyes.
The three understood each other now, and
the hearty shake of the hand with which Mr.
Alden closed his visit was warmly returned
by the orphans.
Amy rejoiced that there was a promise of
regular industry for her dear brother; but
greater was her rejoicing that his employer
was a Christian man-one who could be trusted
to watch over his priceless soul, as well as pro-
vide him with daily labour.
ALDEN & Co. Will had no difficulty in finding
his way to the establishment of that well-known
firm. Although he had been in great haste to
get there, he did not seem in equal haste to
enter. He looked twice through the shining
glass doors before he touched the knob with
When he did go in at last, there was no
appearance of diffidence, in his manner. He
had been but concluding his plan of opera-
tions, and was now ready to act. Walking
straight up to the first clerk whom he saw, he
asked politely if he could see Mr. Alden.
"Mr. Alden has not come in yet," said the
clerk, with an indifferent air.
"Then I will wait for him here," said Will,
perching on one of the high stools, and prepar-
ing to reconnoitre from this post of observation.
The scene was quite novel and interesting
to the boy. A kind of world by itself, it
seemed to him-a place of wonderful elegance
and confusing magnitude.
Branching off in all directions from the
main apartment were other rooms, where
there was the same display of costly goods,
the same murmur of busy trade.
Will had not been long at his point of ob-
servation when his attention was attracted by
an occasional rapping on the counter by the
clerks, or a loud cry of "cash! cash !"
He soon learned that this was a way of
summoning some of the lads about his own
age, whom he had before noticed going about
outside the counters.
This, then, was to be his business; like them,
he must go to the desk for change, while the
clerks were always in their places.
Will watched the little fellows with much
interest, and was busy following one of them
with his eyes as he wound his way to the desk,
when a pleasant voice sounded in his ears.
"So you are finding out what you are to
do, and making the best of your time in that
way," said Mr. Alden.
"Yes, sir," said Will, jumping down from
his seat, and making a polite bow.
Now follow me, and I will give you your
post," said Mr. Alden, leading the way to one
of the inner rooms. "You are to be 'cash'
for this part of the establishment. Move
quickly when you are called, and carry your
money carefully, and I shall have no fault to
find with you," said Mr. Alden. "Now I
must leave you. Mr. Wilcox there will
answer any questions that you find it neces-
sary to ask.-This is Willy Howe, the boy of
whom I spoke to you, Mr. Wilcox."
Mr. Wilcox gave Will a searching glance,
of which the boy was unconscious, as he was
looking at Mr. Alden, while he said earnestly,
" I will try to do my duty, sir."
That is all that can be asked of you," said
Mr. Alden, as he turned to walk away.
Will had been so well pleased with the rich
shawls, shining silks, and gay plaids which
had caught his eye in the rooms into which he
had been able to peep, that he was somewhat
disappointed to find himself where broadcloths
and flannels were ranged in dull piles along
Will soon discovered that all was not dull
in that neat room. Mr. Wilcox was evidently
of a lively turn of mind. There was a quick
sparkle in his small blue eyes, a crisp curl in
his hair, and an unnecessary friskiness in his
movements, that told of a degree of natural
sportiveness that made his narrow bounds
behind the counter a place of confinement for
"New at the business, eh, boy ?" said Mr.
Wilcox, drawing near to Will.
"I never was in such a splendid shop
before," said Will frankly.
A sudden rapping on the neighboring
counter called Will to his business, and he
immediately took charge of the strip of paper
and the bank-note that were entrusted to him.
When he returned from the desk, he found
Mr. Wilcox engaged with a customer, with
whom he seemed not a little amused.
The counter was strewn with various rolls
of red flannel, while an old man was peering
at them through his spectacles, and squeezing
handfuls of the material in his fist, to ascertain
the amount of substance.
This piece is the best for shirts," said Mr.
Wilcox, unrolling a new piece.
I never wear flannel shirts," said the old
How many yards in that piece ? continued
the customer, pointing to the smallest roll.
Somewhere about twenty. I'll tell you
in a minute." Mr. Wilcox referred to a bit
of paper fastened to the edge of the flannel,
and said, Yes, twenty yards, at two shillings
a yard; that will be forty shillings."
The old man turned away suddenly, but in
another minute he was back at the counter,
now putting his hand protectingly over his
pocket, now passing it meditatingly over the
"I'll take it. There's the money, and you
may just hand it over."
"We'll send it home for you. Where shall
I say ?" said Mr. Wilcox, taking out his pencil
and preparing to note the address.
The old man made no reply, but taking up
the roll of flannel, he started off towards the
door. As he did so, his eyes fell on Will, and
their recognition was mutual.
Mr. Dilmer! How do you do, sir ? said
Will, putting out his hand.
"Boy, I've been looking for you this week.
Come to my house to-night," said the old man
hurriedly, as he barely touched Will's hand,
and then moved on.
Through the long, busy day Will often
thought of his interview with Mr. Dilmer.
The time of the half-yearly payment of in-
terest on the borrowed money had arrived.
Had Amy something laid by for this purpose ?
Will tried not to dwell on this question, but it
would thrust itself into his mind.
"Money! why, it is poured out here like
dust. A little would not be missed." So
whispered the tempter at his heart. A bank-
note was in Will's hand; did he listen to the
tempter ? Resist the devil, and he will flee
from you !" says the holy Scripture.
Will did resist him then with indignant scorn,
and with the better second thought came the
prayer: Lord, help me to do right; lead me
not into temptation; deliver me from evil."
How much Will had to tell Amy that even-
ing at supper, when the day was fairly done !
He felt as if he had had the first peep at the
world, its vanities, and its temptations. The
meeting with Mr. Dilmer was not forgotten.
Amy's calm look, when it was mentioned,
assured Will that here he had nothing to fear.
Amy had not let her pride in her brother
lead her to foolish extravagance. The neat,
coarse suit she had bought for him had not
touched upon her private store, for sudden
necessities had not even consumed Mr. Alden's
How wonderful it is that all our needs are
supplied," said Amy, as she drew out her
small purse. "I am never anxious now. It
seems to me that the poor ought to love God
better than the rich."
"Why, Amy ?" said Will earnestly; his
day's experience had made him feel poorer
"Because God seems so very near to us,
helping us in all our difficulties, and providing,
as it were, directly for us. He seems so really
our Father, on whom we depend," said Amy
"I love to hear you say so, Amy," said
Will warmly. "I saw so many things to-day
I wanted for you, and I thought how nicely
I could suit you, and I almost wanted to be
rich. I am afraid I coveted."
Don't covet anything for my sake, Willy,"
said Amy affectionately. My dear, kind
brother is better to me than great riches.
Fine clothing would not suit my poor body.
I have that temptation removed from me.
Dear Willy, I am quite content. I love to
lean on God, and trust the future to Him."
Willy looked long and lovingly into Amy's
sweet, placid face. .Yes, there was content
there-true peace; this world could not add
to her joy.
IT was a pleasure to walk along the lighted
streets, and peep in at the bright windows,
but now he .did not suffer himself to stop,
even to linger at the print-shops, but went
straight on his course to Mr. Dilmer's. He
was out on business, and must not dilly-
dally. Mr. Dilmer was on the door-step;
could he be watching for him ?
Here you are. I was just going to shut
up. As it is, I've put out the gas in the front
shop; it was only wasting. Come in here,"
said the old pawnbroker.
The spot to which he led the way was not
tempting, and a timid boy might have hesi-
tated to enter, but Will was troubled with no
A sort of back-shed had been shut in and
plastered, and here was plainly the old man's
abode. The small, narrow bed, the single old
table, bearing its one plate and cup and saucer,
told of the home and habits of the pawnbroker.
Sit down, boy. Maybe you'd forgot your
half-year was up ? said the old man keenly.
I had, but sister Amy hadn't. She knew
the very day. She says it's right to be exact
about business matters," said Will.
"Yes, that's right, sure enough," was the
Here is the half-year's interest," said Will,
laying the sum down on the table.
The old man took hold of it eagerly, and
made a note of the payment, and at the same
time gave Will a receipt for the sum paid.
The boy rose to go, but the old man de-
tained him, saying, "Child, sit down. Are
you afraid to stay a minute with an old man,
who has nobody to speak to, when. he's aching
to talk over some things he knows of?"
"You must lead a lonely life," said Will
kindly, as he resumed his seat.
"No matter about that now!" was the
short answer. "Here's what I want to see
you about--this flannel," and the old man
pointed to a roll in the corner-" this flannel,
I say, is for the poor. I paid for it, yet I am
going to give it away. I want you to take it
to the ladies that take in poor children and
train 'em up right. Their place is only two
blocks off. That's the right thing; take 'em
young, before they get in bad ways. It's not
easy learning old dogs new tricks. Will you
do it, boy ?"
"That I will, gladly." Will was again rising
as he spoke, but with an impatient gesture
the old man motioned him to sit down, and
then went on,-
"It's for the poor, you see, but I want to
do it on the sly; they say that's the right
way. I ain't never been dishonest, exactly-
I ain't never received no goods as I knew
was stolen; but somehow I feel as if I'd better
be doin' now, to wipe my old scores out."
"" I don't quite understand you, sir," said
"A body can't live for ever. I'm almost
worn out," said the old man quickly. There
was words in that big, old book of yours that
set me to thinking' of that pretty steady.
You see I ain't one of the 'jewels ;' the oven'
is more like for me, when my time comes.
'And the day that cometh shall burn them
up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave
them neither root nor branch.' "
These last words were spoken in low, trem-
bling tones that chilled Will's young blood,
and he was silent.
"Yes, boy," Mr. Dilmer continued, after a
pause; "yes, the like of me had better be
settlin' up with Heaven. You take the flan-
nel to the ladies. They are doin' the right
thing; and maybe I'll get a share of the
"God forgives us fully, without our doing
anything; you know that, sir," said Will.
"I don't know any such thing. I don't
feel it here," said the old man, laying his
hand on his heart.
"But Jesus suffered and died for us, that
we might go free, and be happy with Him in
heaven," said Will earnestly.
"What wouldn't I give to be a boy again,
and take that in, now that I want it! It's
no use now. I've been sowin' all my life, and
the reapin' time is coming soon-it is here.
O child! thank God that you've found Him
now It's hard work gropin' after Him with
worn, old wicked hands !"
"Jesus can help you," said Will affection-
"I don't know Him. He don't know me.
I never tried to know Him when I was young.
He don't want my poor old worn-out life.
I ain't worth anything for Him, now."
"Have you got a Bible, that tells about
Jesus ? said Will earnestly.
Yes, yes; I bought one, and opened it too.
I read, The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God.' There it
was, plain as print. There's nothing for me
now but just to do what I can to make up,
and maybe get off easier for that."
Poor Will! teaching others was a new
business for him. How he longed for sister
Amy's sweet, wise, persuasive words, to com-
fort and guide the sin-sick old man !
Read about Jesus, and you'll understand
it all then. Ask Him to help you, and it will
be all right by-and-by," said Will.
Never! There's nothing right for me.
Go, boy-go on .your errand. Go, and be
thankful you are not like me-too old, too bad
to take in the best religion the Bible ever
preached. Go !"
The last word was said imperatively, and
Will hastened to obey.
"Round the corner there, No. 75," said the
pawnbroker in more softened tones, as he
handed Will the roll of flannel. Round the
corner there. There's no word to be left with
it; only an old sinner sends it, and says to
the ladies, Teach the children right when
they are young.'"
The door closed suddenly, and Will stood
in the street. He delivered the message as
it was given to him, and then walked thought-
A NEW CARE.
A NEW CARE.
SOME weeks had passed since the events related
in the last chapter. Will had become accus-
tomed to his new occupation, and was already
a favourite throughout the establishment.
Come, 'cash,'" said Mr. Alden playfully
one evening; "I am going home now, and I
want you to bear me company."
Will was delighted at the proposition. A
walk with Mr. Alden was always a source of
true enjoyment to him.
Mr. Alden had the faculty which only
belongs to lovers of the young-that of gain-
ing their confidence and putting them per-
fectly at ease.
Once in the open air, Will ceased to look
upon Mr. Alden as his employer, and chatted
along in his own bright, glad way.
They had not gone far when Mr. Alden
said, "Will, I hope you are not getting into
trouble. I saw you coming out of a pawn-
A NEW CARE.
broker's shop the other day." The remark
was accompanied by an anxious, searching
"That was only a friendly visit," said Will
"A friendly visit! How did you make
such an acquaintance ? "
Frankly, and in a few words, Will told the
story of his first meeting with Mr. Dilmer, and
then passed on to, his present sad state of
mind. "I wish you knew him, sir. You
could talk to him better than I can."
"I will know him-that is, if he will let
me," said Mr. Alden.
"Thank you! thank you!" said Will, as
warmly as if some favour had been promised
to himself. At this moment they were pass-
ing a theatre, whose wide entrance was bril-
liantly lighted and already thronged. In that
entrance Will saw something that made him
start and stop for a moment.
Two lads were just going in. He could
not be mistaken in that tall, slender figure,
that light curling hair. Yet the dress was
A NEW CARE.
not the same. Pick had no such fashionable
"What is the matter, Will ? What do you
see ?" asked Mr. Alden.
"I thought I saw a friend, but I must
have been mistaken. It could not be," said
There was no more pleasant chat for Will
that evening-the figure entering the theatre
was before him through all his walk; and
when he saw Pick's place at the tea-table
vacant, he became still more anxious and
Pick's irregularity at meals was so frequent
that Amy was not particularly troubled by
this instance of it.
The kind sister knew full well that Pick
was in temptation; if not already walking in
an evil way. The books he read at the fire-
side showed a perverted taste. The com-
pany he kept could do him no good. There
was a wild, reckless way about him that
boded evil. His -evenings were rarely passed
at home, while he roundly refused to say
where he spent his time, declaring himself to
be his own master, and not bound to account
for his doings to any woman.
Was not this a trouble that was to rob
Amy of her peaceful calm ?
Amy had a Friend who is powerful to
move the hearts of men, as well as to govern
and guide the universe. To this Friend she
prayed. On Him she cast even this her
greatest care. He could watch over and
reclaim the erring brother. It is written:
"With God all things are possible."
CHRISTMAS had come-the -second Christmas
that the Howes had spent in their queer, old-
One capacious little stocking was hung by
the kitchen fire-place. Harriet had left it
there in full faith that somehow and by some-
body it would be filled.
Put the apple in the toe, Will," said Amy;
"that will fill it out to begin with."
"Yes; but let me drop in the threepenny
piece first. It will please Harry so to find it
there," said Will, suiting the action to the word.
Amy's own dear. little Bible next went
in, her gift to Harriet, with many prayers.
Gladly would she have placed in its stead a
bright New Testament, but Amy gave of what
she had with a loving spirit.
A large-eyed rag-doll thoroughly filled the
whole leg of the stocking, and its flat face
looked out complacently on the world from
the top. Hanging beside the stocking, Will
put a little wagon of his own manufacture-
a suitable vehicle for Miss Dolly to ride out
in, being, like herself, more substantial than
beautiful, and, moreover, of domestic origin.
Amy and Will surveyed with satisfaction
the result of their labours, and then sat down
with smiling faces.
At that moment a knock was heard at the
door. Will ran to open it, and came back with
his face beaming.
It was Mr. Alden's own porter," he said.
"What can be in the box ? It is very heavy."
The box which had been handed him was
only four inches square. A more experienced
eye than Will's would have guessed at once
what it contained.
It did not take many minutes to open it.
"It is father's watch !" exclaimed Amy.
There could be no mistake; there was the
inscription, "George Howe."
Will had not stopped to read the inscription;
he was deep in a note addressed to "Master
William Howe," which lay in the bottom of
the box. The note was as follows:-
DEAR LITTLE 'CASH,'-I send you your
father's watch as a reward for your faithful in-
dustry. Mr. Dilmer has no further claim upon
it. I have seen the poor man several times
lately. With him all is gloom. Oh that at this
time he may know that Christ was born for him!
Wishing you and sister Amy a very happy
Christmas, I am your true friend,
Hear !" said Will, reading the note aloud.
"Is not that like Mr. Alden ? So generous,
so good, so kind What a long time it seems,
Amy, since I went out at that door with this
watch in my hand! Why, I feel at least five
"You are not wrinkled yet," said Amy.
"I never mean to be-that is, I don't
mean to have my face all knit up by busi-
ness cares and cross scowls. There's Mr.
Alden-he is always busy, and he has such
great concerns to attend to, but he never
seems hurried and worried. He's like you,
Amy, in that."
"Like me!" said Amy, smiling. Amy's
brow did cloud up suddenly at that very
moment, but it was but a passing shadow
driven away by the sweet sunshine.
There was a sound of singing along the
street, and then Pick came in. He looked
flushed and excited, and was going directly
upstairs when Will called out, "See here,
Pick; see Mr. Alden's note, and the watch,
and just take one look at Harriet's stocking."
Pick gave one glance at the note, and
then threw it down; a significant smile
crossed his face as he took the watch in his
hand, but at Harriet's stocking he did not
deign to look.
Without speaking a word, Pick mounted
the stairs, and the creaking of his bed was
soon heard. Pick's evening prayers had long
since been given up.
Amy and Will were silent for a moment.
Then the sister said, "You are such a comfort
to me, Will."
"Pick-" began Will impatiently.
"We must pray for Pick," said Amy ten-
derly, and she knelt down as she spoke.
Will knelt at her side, and then there went
up such prayer as angels love to hear.
There was a stealthy step on the stairs, and
the door leading to the upper rooms was
quietly closed. Pick could not hear that
prayer unmoved; he would shut out its sound,
lest he should be led to repentance and a
94 NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
HARRIET was not a child to oversleep herself on
Christmas morning. With the first grey streak
of dawn she was awake, and soon she bore off
her stocking to bed, as a mouse takes its trea-
sure to its hiding-place. Her merry shouts
put an end to all further dozing for the house-
hold at once; they must rouse up and have a
merry Christmas whether they would or not.
"I wonder what time it is," thought Will,
and in the dimness he reached out his hand to
find the watch he had placed at his bedside.
It was not there. "Why, Pick, where can
it be ?" said Will, turning to speak to his
brother. That brother, too, was gone.
Will's first impulse was to call Amy, but a
second and more unselfish thought prevailed.
He would not worry her about what might be
a mere trick of Pick's, a mere plan to annoy
Pick is late to-day," said Amy, as she
NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
took her seat at the breakfast-table. "I had
hoped to have you all together on Christmas
"It is a great deal pleasanter without
Pick," said Harriet, putting her new doll in
the vacant chair. "My Georgina won't say
anything cross to anybody."
Hush! Harriet dear," said Amy gently,
as she stepped to the stairway. Pick, Pick !
wake up, Pick! I want you all here this
morning." Amy's voice sounded pleasantly
up the stairway, but there was no reply.
"I'll give him a cold-water waking," said
Harriet, seizing a mug of water and rushing
past Amy up the stairs. She returned as
quickly, and with her eyes round with aston-
ishment, she exclaimed, "Pick is not there!
Did you know it, Willy ? "
"Pick must have risen very early," said
Willy. He was gone when I woke. I did
not say anything about it, for I thought it
was perhaps some joke of his, and he would
come in while we were at breakfast."
That was not a merry Christmas Day to
96 NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
the little Howes. A few of Pick's better
articles of clothing were found to be missing,
and this, in addition to his secret disappear-
ance, convinced both Amy and Will that he
was not merely gone for a single day.
Of the watch Will said nothing; that sorrow
he hid in his heart-he would not believe that
Pick had taken it. It might yet be found,
where he had mischievously secreted it.
It was hard for Will to show his usual
activity when he appeared the next day at
"' Cash' is out of humour at last," said Mr.
Wilcox playfully. Christmas did not agree
with him. 'Cash' is very cross," he continued.
" Wouldn't smile, no, not on any account," and
Mr. Wilcox drew his own face into an ex-
pression of mock solemnity.
I have had trouble at home," said Will,
tears rushing to his eyes.
"Cash! cash!" The call was in Willy's
ears, and he had to obey. Through the long
day he went about with a heavy heart. At
noon, no news from Pick; at evening, the
NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
same sad answer to the question that burst
from his lips as soon as he entered his home.
The next morning brought a letter addressed
to -Mr. William Howe, in Pick's well-known
hand. It began:-
"You have been wanting to be the eldest,
Will, and now you can have your way. I am
off the track. When you receive this, I shall
be on my way to England. You may be
proud to claim me some day. I am going on
the stage-a position for which my talents
fit me. Our troupe have an engagement in
London, so you see that gives me a chance
to see something of the world. When you
receive this, I shall be on the ocean.
Father's watch I have taken possession of.
It came home in good time. Being the elder
brother, I have the best right to it.
I owe some little bills about town that I
know you will be too honourable to leave un-
'paid. I have ordered them to be sent in to
you on the first of January.
I daresay you will all be glad to have me
98 NOT A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
out of the way-all but Amy. I do believe
she cares something for me.--Your brother,
Pick could not have doubted Amy's love
for him if he had seen her look of anguish
as Will read this letter aloud. She bowed
her head upon her hands in silence, and her
tears flowed fast. As it is always with true
affection, excuses for him poured into her
The poor boy has never known a mother's
care; he has inherited his father's wild, rov-
ing spirit; he is following his father's example.
Who knows what he might have been in a
different home! May God watch over him,
and deliver him from evil "
So thought Amy, and so she prayed, while
her tears fell fast.
Will walked the room, conflicting emotions
struggling in his mind. Indignation and sor-
row, love and scorn, by turns had the mastery.
Pick had never seemed so dear, yet never so
despised; the brother's warm affection was
roused by the sudden separation, yet the
manner of that separation kindled most con-
"Poor Pick!" he said at length, "poor
Pick! he has chosen a hard lot. How I pity
him!" Will's better self had triumphed.
With Amy he could now weep for the wan-
derer; with her he could pray that he might,
like the prodigal, be brought repentant to his
PICK'S debts proved by no means the trifling
affairs of which he had spoken. Will's for-
giveness was not to be a mere matter of
momentary feeling; it was to be shown in
a long course of self-denial. To pay for the
indulgences in dress that Pick had allowed
himself for his evenings abroad, Will must toil
and Amy must save and mend and plan and
think to economize, when economy seemed to
have reached its utmost verge.