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Title: Who Are Happiest? and Other Stories
Author: Arthur, T. S. (Timothy Shay), 1809-1885
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Who Are Happiest? and Other Stories" ***

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STORIES***


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      Images of the original pages are available through the Florida
      Board of Education, Division of Colleges and Universities,
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Transcriber's Note:

      Italicized text is enclosed by underscores (_italic_).

      In "Means of Enjoyment" the word "vail" was replaced with "veil"
      in the sentence "It seemed as if a veil had suddenly been drawn
      from before his eyes."



[Illustration: Title Page.]

WHO ARE HAPPIEST?

AND

OTHER STORIES.

by

T. S. ARTHUR.

With Illustrations from Original Designs by Croome.



Philadelphia:
Lippincott, Grambo & Co.
1852.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
Lippincott, Grambo & Co.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania.

Stereotyped by L. Johnson & Co.
Philadelphia.



CONTENTS.

                                          PAGE

WHO ARE HAPPIEST?                           9

DICK LAWSON, AND THE YOUNG MOCKING-BIRD.   21

THE MEANS OF ENJOYMENT.                    60

MAN'S JUDGMENT.                            72

WHAT FIVE DOLLARS PAID.                    89

LOOK AT T'OTHER SIDE.                      97

THIN SHOES.                               115

THE UNRULY MEMBER.                        131

THE RICH AND THE POOR.                    149



INTRODUCTION.


In this volume, the stories are not illustrative of childish
experiences. Most of the actors are men and women,--and the trials and
temptations to which they are subjected, such as are experienced in
mature life. Their object is to fix in the young mind, by familiar
illustrations, principles of action for the future. While several of the
volumes in this series will be addressed to children as children,
others, like this one, will be addressed to them as our future men and
women, toward which estate they are rapidly progressing, and in which
they will need for their guidance all things good and true that can be
stored up in their memories.



WHO ARE HAPPIEST?


"What troubles you, William?" said Mrs. Aiken, speaking in a tone of
kind concern to her husband, who sat silent and moody, with his eyes now
fixed upon the floor, and now following the forms of his plainly-clad
children as they sported, full of health and spirits, about the room.

It was evening, and Mr. Aiken, a man who earned his bread by the sweat
of his brow, had, a little while before, returned from his daily labour.

No answer was made to the wife's question. A few minutes went by, and
then she spoke again:

"Is any thing wrong with you, William?"

"Nothing more than usual," was replied. "There's always something wrong.
The fact is, I'm out of heart."

"William!"

Mrs. Aiken came and stood beside her husband, and laid her hand gently
upon his shoulder.

The evil spirit of envy and discontent was in the poor man's
heart,--this his wife understood right well. She had often before seen
him in this frame of mind.

"I'm as good as Freeman; am I not?"

"Yes, and a great deal better, I hope," replied Mrs. Aiken.

"And yet he is rolling in wealth, while I, though compelled to toil
early and late, can scarcely keep soul and body together."

"Hush, William! Don't talk so. It does you no good. We have a
comfortable home, with food and raiment,--let us therewith be contented
and thankful."

"Thankful for this mean hut! Thankful for hard labour, poor fare, and
coarse clothing!"

"None are so happy as those who labour; none enjoy better health than
they who have only the plainest food. Do you ever go hungry to bed,
William?"

"No, of course not."

"Do you or your children shiver in the cold of winter for lack of warm
clothing?"

"No; but"----

"William! Do not look past your real comforts in envy of the blessings
God has given to others. Depend upon it, we receive all of this world's
goods the kind Father above sees best for us to have. With more, we
might not be so happy as we are."

"I'll take all that risk," said Mr. Aiken. "Give me plenty of money, and
I'll find a way to largely increase the bounds of enjoyment."

"The largest amount of happiness, I believe, is ever to be found in that
condition wherein God had placed us."

"Then every poor man should willingly remain poor!"

"I did not say that, William: I think every man should seek earnestly to
improve his worldly affairs--yet, be contented with his lot at all
times; for, only in contentment is there happiness, and this is a
blessing the poor may share equally with the rich. Indeed, I believe the
poor have this blessing in larger store. You, for instance, are a
happier man than Mr. Freeman."

"I'm not so sure of that."

"I am, then. Look at his face. Doesn't that tell the story? Would you
exchange with him in every respect?"

"No, not in _every_ respect. I would like to have his money."

"Ah, William! William!" Mrs. Aiken shook her head. "You are giving place
in your heart for the entrance of bad spirits. Try to enjoy, fully, what
you have, and you will be a far happier man than Mr. Freeman. Your sleep
is sound at night."

"I know. A man who labours as hard as I do, can't help sleeping
soundly."

"Then labour is a blessing, if for nothing else. I took home, to-day, a
couple of aprons made for Mrs. Freeman. She looked pale and troubled,
and I asked her if she were not well."

"'Not very,' she replied. 'I've lost so much rest of late, that I'm
almost worn out.'

"I did not ask why this was; but, after remaining silent for a few
moments, she said--

"'Mr. Freeman has got himself so excited about business, that he sleeps
scarcely three hours in the twenty-four. He cares neither for eating nor
drinking; and, if I did not watch him, would scarcely appear abroad in
decent apparel. Hardly a day passes that something does not go wrong.
Workmen fail in their contracts, prices fall below what he expected them
to be, and agents prove unfaithful; in fact, a hundred things occur to
interfere with his expectations, and to cloud his mind with
disappointment. We were far happier when we were poor, Mrs. Aiken.
There _was_ a time when we enjoyed this life. Bright days!--how well are
they remembered! Mr. Freeman's income was twelve dollars a week; we
lived in two rooms, and I did all our own work. I had fewer wants then
than I have ever had since, and was far happier than I ever expect to be
again on this side of the grave.'"

Just then a cry was heard in the street.

"Hark!" exclaimed Mr. Aiken.

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" The startling sound rose clear and shrill upon the
air.

Mr. Aiken sprang to the window and threw it open.

"Mr. Freeman's new building, as I live!"

Mr. Aiken dropped the window, and catching up his hat, hurriedly left
the house.

[Illustration: MR. AIKEN'S RETURN FROM THE FIRE.]

It was an hour ere he returned. Meanwhile the fire raged furiously, and
from her window, where she was safe from harm, Mrs. Aiken saw the large
new factory, which the rich man had just erected, entirely consumed by
the fierce, devouring element. All in vain was it that the intrepid
firemen wrought almost miracles of daring, in their efforts to save the
building. Story after story were successively wrapped in flames, until,
at length, over fifty thousand dollars worth of property lay a heap of
black and smouldering ruins.

Wet to the skin, and covered with cinders, was Mr. Aiken when he
returned to his humble abode, after having worked manfully, in his
unselfish efforts to rescue a portion of his neighbour's property from
destruction.

"Poor Freeman! I pity him from my very heart!" was his generous,
sympathising exclamation, as soon as he met his wife.

"He is insured, is he not?" inquired Mrs. Aiken.

"Partially. But even a full insurance would be a poor compensation for
such a loss. In less than two weeks, this new factory, with all its
perfect and beautiful machinery, would have been in operation. The
price of goods is now high, and Mr. Freeman would have cleared a
handsome sum of money on the first season's product of his mill. It is a
terrible disappointment for him. I never saw a man so much disturbed."

"Poor man! His sleep will not be so sound as yours, to-night, William."

"Indeed it will not."

"Nor, rich as he is, will he be as happy as you, to-morrow."

"If I were as rich as he is," said Mr. Aiken, "I would not fret myself
to death for this loss. I would, rather, be thankful for the wealth
still left in my possession."

Mrs. Aiken shook her head.

"No, William, the same spirit that makes you restless and discontented
now, would be with you, no matter how greatly improved might be your
external condition. Mr. Freeman was once as poor as you are. Do you
think him happier for his riches? Does he enjoy life more? Has wealth
brought a greater freedom from care? Has it made his sleep sweeter?
Far, very far from it. Riches have but increased the sources of
discontent."

"This is not a necessary consequence. If Mr. Freeman turn a blessing
into a curse, that is a defect in his particular case."

"And few, in this fallen and evil world, are free from this same defect,
William. If wealth were sought for unselfish ends, then it would make
its possessor happy. But how few so seek riches! It is here, believe me,
that the evil lies."

Mrs. Aiken spoke earnestly, and something of the truth that was in her
mind, shed its beams upon the mind of her husband.

"You remember," said she smiling, "the anecdote of the rich man of New
York, who asked a person who gave utterance to words of envy towards
himself--'Would you,' said he, 'take all the care and anxiety attendant
upon the management of my large estates and extensive business
operations, merely for your victuals and clothes?' 'No, indeed, I would
not,' was the quick answer. '_I get no more_,' said the rich man,
gravely. And it was the truth, William. They who get rich in this world,
pass up through incessant toil and anxiety; and, while they _seem_ to
enjoy all the good things of life, in reality enjoy but little. They get
only their victuals and clothes. I have worked for many rich ladies, and
I do not remember one who appeared to be happier than I am. And I am
mistaken if your experience is not very much like my own."

One evening, a few days after this time, Aiken came home from his work.
As he entered the room where his wife and children sat, the former
looked up to him with a cheerful smile of welcome, and the latter
gathered around him, filling his ears with the music of their happy
voices. The father drew an arm around one and another, and, as he sat in
their midst, his heart swelled in his bosom, and warmed with a glow of
happiness.

Soon the evening meal was served--served by the hands of his wife--the
good angel of his humble home. William Aiken, as he looked around upon
his smiling children, and their true-hearted, even-tempered, cheerful
mother, felt that he had many blessings for which he should be thankful.

"I saw something, a little while ago, that I shall not soon forget,"
said he, when alone with his wife.

"What was that, William?"

"I had occasion to call at the house of Mr. Elder, on some business, as
I came home this evening. Mr. Elder is rich, and I have often envied
him; but I shall do so no more. I found him in his sitting-room, alone,
walking the floor with a troubled look on his face. He glanced at me
with an impatient expression as I entered. I mentioned my business, when
he said abruptly and rudely--

"'I've no time to think of that now.'

"As I was turning away, a door of the room opened, and Mrs. Elder and
two children entered.

"'I wish you would send those children up to the nursery,' he exclaimed,
in a fretful half-angry voice. 'I'm in no humour to be troubled with
them now.'

"The look cast upon their father by those two innocent little children,
as their mother pushed them from the room, I shall not soon forget. I
remembered, as I left the house, that there had been a large failure in
Market street, and that Mr. Elder was said to be the loser by some ten
thousand dollars--less than a twentieth part of what he is worth. I am
happier than he is to-night, Mary."

"And happier you may ever be, William," returned his wife, "if you but
stoop to the humble flowers that spring up along your pathway, and, like
the bee, take the honey they contain. God knows what, in external
things, is best for us; and he will make either poverty or riches,
whichsoever comes, a blessing, if we are humble, patient and
contented."



DICK LAWSON AND THE YOUNG MOCKING-BIRD.


"Dick!"

"Sir."

"I want a young mocking-bird. Can't you get me one?"

"I d'no, sir."

"Don't you think you could try?"

"I d'no, sir. P'r'aps I might."

"Well, see if you can't. I'll give you half a dollar for one."

"Will you? Then I'll try."

And off Dick started for the woods, without stopping for any further
words on the subject.

The two individuals introduced are a good-natured farmer in easy
circumstances, and a bright boy, the son of a poor woman in the
neighbourhood.

As Dick Lawson was hurrying away for the woods, his mind all intent upon
finding a nest of young mocking-birds, and despoiling it, he met a
juvenile companion, named Henry Jones.

"Come, Harry," said he, in an animated voice, "I want you to go with
me."

"Where are you going?" asked the friend.

"I am going to look for a mocking-bird's nest."

"What for?"

"To get a young one. Mr. Acres said he would give me half a dollar for a
young mocking-bird."

"He did?"

"Yes, he did so!" was the animated reply.

"But don't he know that it's wrong to rob bird's nests!"

"If it had been wrong, Harry, Mr. Acres wouldn't have asked me to get
him a bird. He knows what is right and wrong, as well as anybody about
here."

"And so does Mr. Milman, our Sunday-school teacher; and he says that it
is wicked to rob bird's nests. You know he has told us that a good many
times."

"But Mr. Acres knows what is right as well as Mr. Milman, and if it had
been wrong, he'd never have asked me to get him a bird. And then, you
know, he says he will give me half a dollar for a single one."

"I wouldn't touch a bird's nest for ten dollars," rejoined Henry Jones,
warmly.

"I would then," replied Dick, from whose mind the promised reward had,
for the time, completely dispelled every tender impression received both
from his mother, who had been very careful of her child, and his teacher
at the Sunday-school. "But come," he added, "you'll go with me, anyhow."

"Not, if you are going to rob a bird's nest," firmly responded Henry.
"It is wicked to do so."

"Wicked! I don't see any thing so very wicked about it. Mr. Acres is a
good man, so everybody says, and I know he wouldn't tell me to do a
wicked thing."

"I'm sure it is wicked," persevered Henry Jones, "for isn't it taking
the poor little birds from their mother? Don't you think it would be
wicked for some great giant to come and carry your little sister away
off where you could never find her, and shut her up in a cage, and keep
her there all her life?"

"No, but birds are not little children. It's a very different thing. But
you needn't talk, Harry; for it's no use. If you'll go along, you shall
have half the money I get for the bird--if not, why, I'll go myself and
keep the whole of it."

"I wouldn't go with you for a hundred dollars," said Harry
half-indignantly, turning away.

"Then I'll go myself," was Dick Lawson's sneering reply, as he sprang
forward and hurried off to the woods.

He did not, however, feel very easy in mind, although he attempted first
to whistle gayly, and then to sing. The remonstrance of Henry Jones had
its effect in calling back previous better feelings, awakened by the
precepts of a good mother and the instructions of a judicious
Sabbath-school teacher. To oppose these, however, were the direct
sanction of Mr. Acres, towards whom he had always been taught to look
with respect, and the stimulating hope of a liberal reward. These were
powerful incentives--but they could not hush the inward voice of
disapprobation, that seemed to speak in a louder and sterner tone with
every advancing step. Still, this voice, loud as it was, could not make
him pause or hesitate. Onward he pursued his way, and soon entered the
woods and old fields he had fixed in his mind as the scene of his
operations.

An hour's diligent search ended in the discovery of a nest, in which
were two young ones, with the mother bird feeding them. This sight
softened Dick's heart for a moment, but the strong desire, instantly
awakened, to possess the prize for which he had been seeking, caused him
to drive off the old bird, who commenced fluttering about the spot,
uttering cries and showing signs of deep distress. These, although he
could not help feeling them, did not cause him to desist. In a few
moments he had one of the birds safely in his possession, with which he
bounded off in great delight.

"Well, Dick, have you got my bird?" said Mr. Acres, as Dick came puffing
and blowing into his presence.

"Yes, indeed!" returned Dick with a broad smile of pleasure, presenting
the bird he had abstracted from its warm, soft nest.

"You are a fine smart boy, Dick, and will make a man one of these days!"
said Mr. Acres, patting Dick on the head encouragingly. Then, taking the
bird, he toyed with it for a while fondly--fed it, and finally placed it
in a cage. The promised half-dollar, which was promptly paid to the
lad, made him feel rich. As he was about leaving the house of Mr. Acres,
the latter called to him:

"Look here, Dick, my fine fellow, don't you want a dog? Here's Rover,
the very chap for you."

"May I have Rover?" eagerly asked Dick, his eyes glistening with
delight.

"Yes. I've more dogs now than I want."

"He fights well!" ejaculated Dick, surveying the dog proudly. As he did
so, the animal, seeing himself noticed, walked up to Dick, and rubbed
himself against the lad familiarly.

"He'll whip any dog in the neighbourhood," said Mr. Acres.

"And you'll give him to me?"

"Oh, yes. I've got too many dogs now."

"Here, Rover! Here, Rover! Here! Here! Here!" cried Dick in an animated
tone, starting off. The dog followed quickly, and in a few moments both
were out of sight.

"A smart chap that," remarked Mr. Acres to himself, as Dick bounded
away. "He'll make something before he dies, I'll warrant."

The possession of the dog and half-dollar, especially the latter, were
strongly objected to by Dick's mother.

"How could you, my son, think of robbing a poor bird of her little young
ones?" said she seriously and reprovingly.

"But, mother, Mr. Acres wanted me to get him a bird, and of course I
could not say 'no.' What would he have thought of me?"

"You never should do wrong for any one."

"But if it had been so very wrong, Mr. Acres never would have asked me
to do it, I know," urged Dick.

Mrs. Lawson would have compelled her son to take back the money he had
received, if almost any other person in the village but Mr. Acres had
been concerned. But he was well off, and influential; and, moreover, was
her landlord; and, though she was behindhand with her rent, he never
took the trouble to ask for it. The dog, too, would have been sent back
if any one but Mr. Acres had given it to her son. As it was, she
contented herself with merely reprimanding Dick for robbing the bird's
nest, and enjoining on him not to be guilty of so cruel an act again.

About three days after this event, Dick, accompanied by Rover--now his
inseparable companion--met his young friend, Henry Jones, who had with
him his father's large house-dog, Bose.

"Whose dog is that?" asked Henry.

"He's mine," replied Dick.

"Yours!"

"Be sure he is."

"Why that is Mr. Acres's Rover."

"Not now he isn't. Mr. Acres gave him to me."

"What did he give him to you for?"

"For getting him a young mocking-bird."

"I thought he promised you half-a-dollar?"

"So he did; and what is more, gave it to me, and Rover into the
bargain."

"Well, I wouldn't have robbed a bird's nest for a dozen Rovers," said
Henry Jones, warmly.

"Wouldn't you, indeed?" returned Dick, with a sneer.

"No, I would not. It's wicked."

"Oh, you're very pious! But Rover can whip your Bose, anyhow."

"No, he can't, though," replied Henry quickly, who could not bear to
hear his father's faithful and favourite old dog's courage called in
question.

"Yes, but he can, ten times a day. There, Rover! There,
_sck!--sck!--sketch him_!" At the same time pushing Rover against Bose.

Both dogs growled low, and showed their teeth, but that was all.

"Rover's afraid to touch him!" said Henry, a good deal excited.

"No, he is not, though!" returned Dick, his face glowing with interest;
and, lifting up the forefeet of Rover, he threw him full against old
Bose, who received the onset with a deep growl and a strong impression
of his teeth on Rover.

This brought on the battle. Bose was nine or ten years old, and somewhat
worn down by age and hard service, while Rover had numbered but two
years, and was full of fire and vigor. Still the victory was not soon
decided. During the fight, each of the boys entered into the spirit of
the contest almost as much as the dogs. First one would interfere to
secure for his favourite the victory, and then the other, until, at
last, Dick struck Henry; and then they went at it likewise, and fought
nearly as long, and certainly with as much desire to injure each other,
as did the dogs themselves. The result was that both Henry and Bose had
to yield, and then the parties separated, indulging against each other
bitter and angry feelings. But with Dick there was an emotion of cruel
delight at having triumphed over his friend. As he was crossing a
field, on his way home, he met Mr. Acres.

"Why, what's the matter with you and Rover?" the farmer asked.

"Rover's had a fight," replied Dick.

"Ah! Who with?"

"Mr. Jones's Bose."

"Well, which whipped?"

"Rover, of course," replied Dick, with a smile of triumph; "and I can
make him whip any thing."

"You're a keen chap, Dick," said Mr. Acres, patting the boy on the head,
"and are going to make a man one of these days, I see plainly enough. So
Rover whipped. I knew there was prime stuff in him."

"There isn't another such a fellow in these 'ere parts," was Dick's
proud answer.

"But _you_ look a little the worse for wear, as well as Rover. Have you
been fighting, too?"

Dick held down his head for a moment, and then looking up into Mr.
Acres's face, said--

"Yes, sir," in rather a sheepish way.

"Ah! well, who have you been fighting with?"

"With Harry Jones. He didn't want to give Rover fair play; and once,
when he had Bose down, he kicked him."

"And then you kicked him for kicking your dog?"

"Yes, sir."

"That was right. Never permit a friend to be imposed upon. And after
that you had a regular fight?"

"Yes, sir."

"Which whipped?"

"I gave him a bloody nose; and shouldn't wonder if he had a black eye
into the bargain. And what is more, made him cry 'enough.'"

"That was right. Never fight but in a good cause, and then be sure to
whip your man."

"It'll take a smarter boy than Harry Jones to whip me," said Dick
proudly.

"And you think Rover can whip any thing about here?"

"Yes, indeed. And I'm going to make him do it, too."

"You'd better not try him against Markland's old Nero."

"He'll whip him in ten minutes."

"I'm not so sure of that. Nero is a great deal bigger and stronger."

"I don't care if he is. I'm learning Rover a trick that'll make him whip
a dog twice his size."

"What is that?"

Dick called Rover, and the dog came up to him wagging his tail.

"Give us your paw," said the boy, in a tone of authority.

The dog instantly lifted one of his forefeet, which Dick took in his
hand, and began to squeeze gently at first, and then, by degrees, harder
and harder, ejaculating all the while, in a quick distinct tone--"Leg
him! leg him! leg him!" until the dog, from first indicating signs of
pain, began to whine, and then to yell out as if in agony. At this, Dick
dropped the foot, and looked up into the farmer's face.

"Well, Dick, what does all that mean?" asked Mr. Acres.

"I'm learning him to catch hold of the foot," replied the boy.

"The mischief you are!"

"Yes, sir. And when he's fairly up to it, he can whip any dog, if he's
as big as an elephant."

"But can you learn him?"

"I made him catch Jones's Bose by the foot this morning, and it would
have done your heart good to have heard him yell. If he isn't lame for a
month, then I don't know any thing about it."

"There's no fear of you, I see," was Mr. Acres's encouraging reply to
this, again patting Dick on the head.

In about two weeks from that time it was pretty well known through the
neighbourhood that Dick Lawson had given out that he could make his
Rover whip Markland's Nero, a noble animal that had never been matched
by any dog around. Markland's son felt his pride in his dog touched at
this, and challenged Dick to a battle. The time was set, and the place,
a neighbouring field, chosen. Old and young seemed to take an interest
in the matter, and when the time arrived, and Dick appeared on the
ground with his dog, there were assembled, men and boys, at least one
hundred persons, and among the rest, Mr. Acres, who began to feel
somewhat drawn towards his protegé Dick.

[Illustration: CRUEL SPORT.]

The two dogs were brought forward by the two lads, whose parents knew
nothing of the affair, and by pushing them against, and throwing them
upon each other, irritated and angered them until they finally went to
work in real earnest, greatly to the delight of the lookers-on. Rover
fought bravely, but he was evidently no match for his larger and
stronger antagonist, who tore him savagely, while he seemed unable to
penetrate Nero's thick yielding skin. The shouts that arose from the
group around were all in favour of Nero, who was a general favourite--as
he was one of those large, peaceable, benevolent fellows, belieing his
name, whom all liked, while there was something of the churl and savage
about Rover, that caused him to have but few friends.

The contest had waged about ten minutes, fiercely, and Rover was
evidently getting "worsted," when Dick, who had been constantly
encouraging his dog, stooped close to his ear, and spoke something in a
low, quick, energetic tone.

Instantly Rover crouched down, and darting forward, seized the forepaw
of Nero in his mouth, and commenced gnawing it eagerly. The noble
animal, thus unexpectedly and basely assailed, found the pain to which
he was suddenly subjected so great as to take away all power of
resistance. He would not utter a cry, but sat down, and permitted the
other dog to gnaw away at his tender foot without a single sign of
suffering. As the cry of pain, the dog's "enough," was to terminate the
battle, the fine fellow was permitted thus to suffer for several
minutes, before the bystanders came forward and pulled Dick Lawson's dog
off. Nero would have died before a sound could have been extorted from
him.

As Nero had not cried "enough," Bob Markland contended afterwards that
his dog had not been whipped, to settle which difference of opinion he
and Dick had several hard battles, in which the latter, like his dog,
always came off the victor. The upshot of all these contests was, the
expulsion of Dick from the Sabbath-school, into which he carried the
bickerings engendered through the week. Another reason for his expulsion
was the frequency with which he played truant, and of his having, in
several instances, enticed other boys away from the school for the same
purpose.

Except Mr. Acres, nearly every man, woman and child in the
neighbourhood sincerely disliked, and some actually hated Dick Lawson,
for there was hardly a family some member of which had not been annoyed
by him in one form or another. But Mr. Acres liked the spirit of the
lad, as well as his thorough independence in regard to the opinion of
others.

This man, who had first thrown temptation into the lad's way, and
encouraged him to persevere in a conduct which nearly all condemned, was
not a wilfully bad man. By most people he was called a good-hearted,
benevolent person. The truth was, he was not a wise man. When young, he
had indulged in such amusements as catching young birds, fighting dogs
and cocks, and attending horse-races, and all the exciting scenes to
which he could get access. But none of these things corrupted him so far
as to make him a decidedly bad man in the community. As he grew up, he
gradually laid aside his boyish follies; saved up his money; bought
himself a small farm, and, in time, became quite a substantial man, so
far as worldly goods were concerned.

Contrasted with himself were several lads whose parents had been
exceedingly strict with them, and who had, as they grew up, shaken off
the trammels of childhood and youth, run into wild extravagances of
conduct, and some into wicked and vicious habits, from which they were
never reclaimed. Comparing his own case with theirs, his short-sighted
conclusion was that boys ought to be allowed as much freedom as
possible, and this was why he encouraged Dick, who was an exceedingly
bright lad, in the course he had been so willing to pursue. He knew
nothing at all of the different hereditary tendencies to evil that exist
in the mind. His observation had never led him to see how two persons,
raised in precisely the same manner, would turn out very
differently--the one proving a good, and the other a bad citizen. His
knowledge of human nature, therefore, never for a moment caused him to
suspect, that in encouraging a feeling of cruelty in Dick Lawson, he
might be only putting blood upon the tongue of a young lion--that there
might be in his mind hereditary tendencies to evil, which encouragement
to rob a bird's nest, or to set two dogs to fighting, by one occupying
his position and influence, might cause to become so active as to
ultimately make him a curse to society.

And such, in a year or two, Dick seemed becoming. He had in that time,
although but fourteen years of age, got almost beyond his mother's
control. His dog and himself were the terror of nearly all the dogs and
boys in the neighbourhood, for both were surly, quarrelsome, and
tyrannical. Even Mr. Acres had found it necessary to forbid him to
appear on his premises. Rover having temporarily lamed, time after time,
every one of his dogs, and Dick having twice beaten two of his black
boys, farm-hands, because of some slight offence. To be revenged on him
for this, he robbed a fine apricot-tree of all its fruit, both green
and ripe, on the very night before Mr. Acres had promised to send a
basket full, the first produced in the neighbourhood that spring, to a
friend who was very much esteemed by him.

Though he strongly suspected Dick, yet he had no proof of the fact, and
so made no attempt to have him punished.

Shortly after, the boy was apprenticed to a tanner and currier, a severe
man, chosen as his master in the hope that his rigid discipline might do
something towards reclaiming him. As the tanner had as many dogs as he
wanted, he objected to the reception into his yard of Dick's ill-natured
cur. But Dick told his mother that, unless Rover were allowed to go with
him, he would not go to the trade selected for him. He was resolute in
this, and at last Mrs. Lawson persuaded Mr. Skivers, the tanner, to take
him, dog and all.

In his new place he did not get along, except for a very short time,
without trouble. At the end of the third month, for neglect of work,
bad language, and insolence, but particularly for cruelties practised
upon a dog that had gotten the mastery over Rover, Mr. Skivers gave him
a most tremendous beating. Dick resisted, and fought with might and
main, but he was but a boy, and in the hands of a strong and determined
man. For a time this cowed Dick, but in the same ratio that his courage
fell when he thought of resisting his master single-handed, rose his
bitter hate against him. Skivers was a man who, if he had reason to
dislike any one about him, could not let his feelings remain quiescent.
He must be doing something all the while to let the victim of his
displeasure feel that he was no favourite. Towards Dick, he therefore
maintained the most offensive demeanour, and was constantly saying or
doing something to chafe the boy's feelings. This was borne as patiently
as possible, for he did not again wish to enter into a contention in
which he must inevitably get severely beaten. Skivers was not long in
perceiving that the way to punish Dick the most severely was to abuse
his dog; and he, therefore, commenced a systematic process of worrying
Rover. This Dick could illy bear. Every time his master would drive
Rover from the yard, or throw sticks or stones at him, the boy would
make a new and more bitter vow of retaliation in some form.

One day, Rover and a large dog belonging to Skivers got into a fight
about something. Dick's interest in his dog brought him at once to the
scene of action. His master, seeing this, ordered him, in a harsh, angry
tone, to clear out and mind his own business. As he did so, he took a
large club, and commenced beating Rover in a most cruel manner. Dick
could not stand this. His blood was up to fever heat in an instant.
Seizing a long, heavy pole, used for turning and adjusting hides in the
vats, he sprang towards Skivers, and giving it a rapid sweep, brought it
with tremendous force against his head, knocking him into a vat
half-full of a strong infusion of astringent bark, to the bottom of
which he instantly sank.

So incensed did the lad feel, that he made not the slightest attempt to
extricate his master from a situation in which death must have
inevitably ensued in a few minutes, but walked away to another part of
the yard. Two or three journeymen, however, who witnessed the whole
affair, were on the spot in a moment, and took out the body of Skivers.
He was completely insensible. There was the bloody mark of a large wound
on his head. A physician was immediately called, who bled him profusely.
This brought him back to consciousness. In a day or two he was out
again, and apparently as well as ever. In the mean time, both Dick and
his inseparable companion, Rover, had disappeared, and gone no one knew
whither. No effort was made to discover the place to which the boy had
fled, as every one was too much rejoiced that he had left the village,
to care about getting him back. About twelve months after, his mother
died--her gray hairs brought down to the grave in sorrow. Year after
year then passed away, and the memory of the lad was gradually effaced
from the minds of all, or retained only among the dim recollections of
the past.

Mr. Acres, who had first placed temptation in the way of Dick Lawson,
continued to prosper in all external things, and to hold his position of
influence and respectability in the neighbourhood. He, perhaps, more
than others, thought about the lad in whom he had once felt a good deal
of pride and interest, as exhibiting a fair promise for the future. But
he never felt exactly easy in mind when he did think of him. Something
whispered that, perhaps, he had been to blame in encouraging his wild
habits. But, then, how could he have dreamed, he would argue, that the
boy had in him so strong a tendency to evil as the result had proved.
He had once been just as fond as Dick had shown himself to be of
bird's-nesting, dog-fighting, &c., but then, as soon as he had sown a
few wild oats, he sobered down into a steady and thrifty farmer of
regular habits. And he of course expected to see Dick Lawson do the
same.

"And who knows but that he has?" he would sometimes say, in an effort at
self-consolation.

It was some five or six years from the time Dick left the village, that
Mr. Acres was awakened one night from sleep by a dream that some one had
opened the door of the chamber where he slept. So distinct was the
impression on his mind that some one had entered, that he lay perfectly
still, with his eyes peering into the darkness around, in order to
detect the presence of any one, should the impression on his mind really
be true. He had lain thus, with every sense acutely active, for only a
moment or two, when a sound, as of a stealthy footstep, came distinctly
upon his ear, and at the same moment, a dark body seemed to move before
his eyes, as if crossing the room towards that part of it where stood a
large secretary, in which was usually contained considerable sums of
money.

Mr. Acres was a brave man, but thus suddenly awakened from sleep to find
himself placed in such an emergency, made him tremble. He continued to
lie very still, straining his eyes upon the dark moving object intently,
until the figure of a man became perfectly distinct. The robber, for
such the intruder evidently was, had now reached the secretary, where he
stood for a few moments, quietly endeavouring to open it. Finding it
locked, he moved off, and passed around the room, feeling every chair
and table that came in his way. This Mr. Acres could now distinctly
perceive, as his eyes had become used to the feeble light reflected from
the starry sky without. At last his hands came in contact with a chair
upon which the farmer had laid his clothes on disrobing himself for bed.
These seemed to be the objects of his search, for he paused with a quick
eager movement, and commenced searching the ample pockets of a large
waistcoat. The slight jingle of the farmer's bunch of keys soon
explained the movement. Before the robber had fairly gotten back to the
secretary, Mr. Acres's courage had returned, and with it no small share
of indignation. He rose up silently, but, unfortunately, as his foot
touched the floor, it came in contact with a chair, which was thrown
over with a loud noise. Before he could reach a large cane, for which he
was making, a heavy blow from the robber laid him senseless.

When again conscious, Mr. Acres found himself still in total darkness.
On attempting to move, there was an instant, almost intolerable pain in
his head, as if from a violent blow. On lifting his hand and placing it
upon the spot where the pain seemed most severe, it came in contact
with a cold, slimy mass of what he at once knew to be blood. His first
effort to rise was accompanied by a feeling of faintness, that caused
him to stretch himself again upon the floor, where he lay for some time
endeavouring to collect his scattered senses. After he had fully
comprehended the meaning of his alarming situation, he made another and
more successful effort to rise. Sitting up in the middle of the room,
and straining his eyes into the darkness, he began to see more and more
distinctly each moment. He was soon satisfied that he was alone. It did
not take long after this to arouse the whole house. An examination
resulted in ascertaining the fact that his secretary had been robbed of
five hundred dollars in gold.

By daylight, the whole neighbourhood was aroused, and some twenty or
thirty men were in hot pursuit of the robber, who was arrested about
twenty miles away from the village and brought back. The money taken
from the secretary of Mr. Acres, was found upon his person, and fully
identified. The man proved to be quite young, seeming to have passed but
recently beyond the limit of minority. But even young as he was, there
was a look of cruel and hardened villany about him, and an expression of
settled defiance of all consequences. He gave his name as Frederick
Hildich. A brief examination resulted in his committal to await the
result of a trial for burglary at the next court.

The day of trial at length came. The action of the court was brief, as
no defence was set up, and the proof of the crime clear and to the
point. During the progress of the trial, the prisoner seemed to take
little interest in what was going on around him, but sat in the bar,
with his head down, seemingly lost in deep abstraction of mind. At the
conclusion of the proceedings, when the court asked what he had to say
why the sentence of the law should not be pronounced upon him, the
prisoner slowly arose to his feet, lifted his head, glanced calmly
around for a few moments, until his eyes rested upon Mr. Acres, whom he
regarded for some time with a fixed, penetrating, and meaning look.
Then, turning to the Bench, he said in a firm, distinct voice:

"YOUR HONOUR--Although I have nothing to urge against the execution of
the laws by which I am condemned, I would yet crave the privilege of
making a few remarks, which may, perhaps, be useful. The principal
witness against me is Mr. Acres,--and upon his testimony, mainly, so far
as positive proof goes, I am convicted of a crime, the commission of
which I have no particular reason for wishing to deny. But, if I have
wronged him, how far more deeply has he wronged me. If I have robbed him
of a few paltry dollars, he has robbed me of that which he can never
restore, either here or hereafter. In a word, your honour, I stand here,
in the presence of this court, and the people of this town, and charge
upon that man (pointing to Acres) the cause of my present condition. My
real name is Richard Lawson!"

As he said this, the prisoner's voice failed him, and he paused for a
few moments, overcome with emotion. A universal exclamation of surprise
passed through the court-room, and there was scarcely an individual
present who did not wonder why he had not discovered this fact for
himself long before. For, sure enough, it was Dick Lawson, and no one
else, who stood there humbled under the iron hand of the law. As for Mr.
Acres, he became instantly pale and agitated--and when the prisoner
again looked up and fixed his eyes upon him, his own fell to the floor,
as if he were conscience-stricken.

"To that man," resumed the individual, at the bar, pointing steadily
toward the farmer, "as I just said, am I indebted for my ruin. A wild,
but innocent boy, he first led me into conscious wrong, by tempting me
with money to rob a bird's nest. The young mocking-bird was procured for
him, but at the expense of a violated conscience; for a voice within me
spoke loudly against the act of cruelty about to be practised upon the
mother-bird and her young. But I stifled that inward monitor, and
stilled the voice that urged me to depart not from the path of
innocence. I saw that the act was a cruel one, and felt that it was a
cruel one--but to be asked to do even a wrong act by a man to whom I
looked up, as I then did to Mr. Acres, was to rob the wrong act of more
than half of its apparent evil--and so I performed the cruel deed, small
as it was, deliberately. From the moment I took the young bird in my
hand, all my scruples were gone, and after that it was one of my
greatest pleasures to rob birds' nests, and to kill the older birds with
stones. My dog Rover, who is no doubt as well remembered as myself, was
given me by Mr. Acres, and I was, moreover, encouraged by that
individual to make Rover fight, and to fight myself, whenever it came in
the way. Had he discouraged this in me; had he told me that fighting was
wrong, his precept for good would have been as powerful as his precept
for evil. He was kind to me, and had gained my entire confidence, and
could have made almost any thing of me. My cruel, tyrannizing temper,
thus encouraged, grew rapidly, until at last I took no delight in any
good. Finally expelled from the Sabbath-school, and persecuted for my
ill-behaviour and annoyance of almost every one, I became reckless, and
finally left this neighbourhood. Five or six years of evil brought me at
last into a strait. I could not gain even a common livelihood. I must
starve or beg. In this state I thought of my corrupter--of the man who
had been the cause of my wretchedness, and I resolved that he should, at
least, pay some small penalty for what he had done. In a word, I
resolved to rob him--and did so. And now I stand here to await the
sentence of the law for this crime."

The prisoner then suffered his head to fall upon his bosom, and sank
slowly into the seat from which he had arisen. A profound and oppressive
silence reigned through the court-room, broken at last by the judge, who
said--

"Richard Lawson, _alias_ Frederick Hildich, stand up, and receive the
sentence of the law."

The prisoner arose, and looked the judge steadily in the face, while a
sentence of imprisonment in the penitentiary for three years was
pronounced upon him in a voice of assumed sternness.

When the unfortunate man was removed by an officer, the crowd slowly
withdrew, conversing in low, subdued voices, and Mr. Acres turned his
step homeward, the unhappiest man of all who had stood that day in the
presence of offended justice.

And here we must leave the parties most concerned in the events of our
brief story--Richard Lawson to fill up the term of his imprisonment in
the penitentiary; and Mr. Acres to muse, in painful abstraction, over
the ruin his thoughtlessness had wrought--the ruin of an immortal
soul--the corruption of a fellow creature, born to become an angel of
heaven, but changed by his agency into a fit subject for the abodes of
evil spirits in hell.



THE MEANS OF ENJOYMENT.


One of the most successful merchants of his day was Mr. Alexander. In
trade he had amassed a large fortune, and now, in the sixtieth year of
his age, he concluded that it was time to cease getting and begin the
work of enjoying. Wealth had always been regarded by him as a means of
happiness; but, so fully had his mind been occupied in business, that,
until the present time, he had never felt himself at leisure to make a
right use of the means in his hands.

So Mr. Alexander retired from business in favour of his son and
son-in-law. And now was to come the reward of his long years of
labour. Now were to come repose, enjoyment, and the calm delights of
which he had so often dreamed. But it so happened, that the current of
thought and affection which had flowed on so long and steadily, was
little disposed to widen into a placid lake. The retired merchant must
yet have some occupation. His had been a life of purposes, and plans for
their accomplishment: and he could not change the nature of this life.
His heart was still the seat of desire, and his thought obeyed,
instinctively, the heart's affection.

So Mr. Alexander used a portion of his wealth in various ways, in order
to satisfy the ever-active desire of his heart for something beyond what
he had in possession. But, it so happened, that the moment an end was
gained--the moment the bright ideal became a fixed and present fact, its
power to delight the mind was gone.

Mr. Alexander had some taste for the arts. Many fine pictures already
hung upon his walls. Knowing this, a certain picture-broker threw
himself in his way, and, by adroit management and skilful flattery,
succeeded in turning the pent-up and struggling current of the old
gentleman's feelings and thoughts in this direction. The picture-dealer
soon found that he had opened a new and profitable mine. Mr. Alexander
had only to see a fine work of art to desire its possession; and to
desire was to have. It was not long before his house was a gallery of
pictures.

Was he any happier? Did these pictures afford him a pure and perennial
source of enjoyment? No; for, in reality, Mr. Alexander's taste for the
arts was not a passion of his mind. He did not love the beautiful for
its own sake. The delight he experienced when he looked upon a fine
painting was mainly the desire of possession; and satiety soon followed
possession.

One morning Mr. Alexander repaired alone to his library, where, on the
day before, had been placed a new painting, recently imported by his
friend the picture-dealer. It was exquisite as a work of art, and the
biddings for it had been high. But he succeeded in securing it for the
sum of two thousand dollars. Before he was certain of getting this
picture, Mr. Alexander would linger before it, and study out its
beauties with a delighted appreciation. Nothing in his collection was
deemed comparable therewith. Strangely enough, after it was hung upon
the walls of his library, he did not stand before it for as long a space
as five minutes; and then his thoughts were not upon its beauties.
During the evening that followed, the mind of Mr. Alexander was less in
repose than usual. After having completed his purchase of the picture,
he had overheard two persons, who were considered good judges of art,
speaking of its defects, which were minutely indicated. They likewise
gave it as their opinion that the painting was not worth a thousand
dollars. This was throwing cold water on his enthusiasm. It seemed as
if a veil had suddenly been drawn from before his eyes. Now, with a
clearer vision, he could see faults, where before every defect was
thrown into shadow by an all-obscuring beauty.

On the next morning, as we have said, Mr. Alexander entered his library,
to take another look at his purchase. He did not feel very happy. Many
thousands of dollars had he spent in order to secure the means of
self-gratification; but the end was not yet gained.

A glance at the new picture sufficed, and then Mr. Alexander turned from
it with an involuntary sigh. Was it to look at other pictures? No. He
crossed his hands behind him, bent his eyes upon the floor, and, for the
period of half an hour, walked slowly backwards and forwards in his
library. There was a pressure on his feelings--he knew not why; a sense
of disappointment and dissatisfaction.

No purpose was in the mind of Mr. Alexander when he turned from his
library, and, drawing on his overcoat, passed forth to the street. It
was a bleak winter morning, and the muffled passengers hurried shivering
on their way.

[Illustration: "OH! I WISH I HAD A DOLLAR."]

"Oh! I wish I had a dollar."

These words, in the voice of a child, and spoken with impressive
earnestness, fell suddenly upon the ears of Mr. Alexander, as he moved
along the pavement. Something in the tone reached the old man's
feelings, and he partly turned himself to look at the speaker. She was a
little girl, not over eleven years of age, and in company with a lad
some year or two older. Both were coarsely clad.

"What would you do with a dollar, sis?" replied the boy.

"I'd buy brother William a pair of nice gloves, and a comforter, and a
pair of rubber shoes. That's what I'd do with it. He has to go away so
early, in the cold, every morning; and he's 'most perished, I know,
sometimes. Last night his feet were soaking with wet. His shoes are not
good; and mother says she hasn't money to buy him a new pair just now.
Oh, I wish I had a dollar!"

Instinctively Mr. Alexander's hand was in his pocket, and a moment
after, a round, bright silver dollar glittered in that of the girl.

But little farther did Mr. Alexander extend his walk. As if by magic,
the hue of his feelings had changed. The pressure on his heart was gone,
and its fuller pulses sent the blood bounding and frolicking along every
expanding artery. He thought not of pictures nor possessions. All else
was obscured by the bright face of the child, as she lifted to his her
innocent eyes, brimming with grateful tears.

One dollar spent unselfishly brought more real pleasure than thousands
parted with in the pursuit of merely selfish gratification. And the
pleasure did not fade with the hour, nor the day. That one truly
benevolent act, impulsive as it had been, touched a sealed spring of
enjoyment, and the waters that gushed instantly forth continued to flow
unceasingly.

Homeward the old man returned, and again he entered his library. Choice
works of art were all around him, purchased as a means of enjoyment.
They had cost thousands,--yet did not afford him a tithe of the pleasure
he had secured by the expenditure of a single dollar. He could turn from
them with a feeling of satiety; not so from the image of the happy child
whose earnestly expressed wish he had gratified.

And not alone on the pleasure of the child did the thoughts of Mr.
Alexander linger. There came before his imagination another picture. He
saw a poorly furnished room, in which were an humble, toiling widow, and
her children. It is keen and frosty without; and her eldest boy has just
come home from his work, shivering with cold. While he is warming
himself by the fire, his little sister presents him with the comforter,
the thick gloves, and the overshoes, which his benevolence had enabled
her to buy. What surprise and pleasure beam in the lad's face! How happy
looks the sister! How full of a subdued and thankful pleasure is the
mother's countenance!

And for weeks and months did Mr. Alexander gaze, at times, upon this
picture, and always with a warmth and lightness of heart unfelt when
other images arose in his mind and obscured it.

And for a single dollar was all this obtained, while thousands and
thousands were spent in the fruitless effort to buy happiness.

Strange as it may seem, Mr. Alexander did not profit by this
lesson--grew no wiser by this experience. The love of self was too
strong for him to seek the good of others--to bless both himself and his
fellows by a wise and generous use of the ample means which Providence
had given into his hands. He still buys pictures and works of art, but
the picture in his imagination, which cost but a single dollar, is
gazed at with a far purer and higher pleasure than he receives from his
entire gallery of paintings and statues.

If Mr. Alexander will not drink from the sweet spring of true delight
that has gushed forth at his feet, and in whose clear waters the sun of
heavenly love is mirrored, we hoped that others, wiser than he, will
bend to its overflowing brim, and take of its treasures freely. Some one
has beautifully said--"We only possess what we have bestowed." Something
of the meaning of this will be understood by such of our young readers
as have perused this story thoughtfully. Benevolent actions ever bring
their own reward. Far more happiness is gained in seeking to bless
others, than ever comes from efforts to secure merely our own good. God,
who is infinitely good and wise, and from whom comes all true happiness,
is ever seeking to bless others. If we would truly enjoy life, we must
be like Him.



MAN'S JUDGMENT.


"I wouldn't give much for his chance of heaven!" was the remark of a
man, whose coarse, well-worn garments contrasted strongly with the dark,
rich broadcloth of the person to whom he referred. In the tones of the
individual who uttered this sentence was a clearly apparent satisfaction
at the thought of his rich neighbour's doubtful chance of admission into
heaven. It was on the Sabbath, and both had just passed forth from the
sacred edifice, to which each had that morning gone up for the avowed
object of worship.

"Why do you say that?" asked the friend to whom the remark was
addressed.

"You know the Scriptures," was the confident answer. "'How hardly shall
they who have riches enter the kingdom of heaven.'"

"You believe, then, that the mere fact of possessing riches will keep a
man out of heaven?"

"No; I wouldn't just like to say that. But, riches harden the heart, and
make men unfit for heaven."

"I doubt if riches harden the heart more than poverty," was replied.

"How can you say so?" was warmly objected. "Isn't the promise everywhere
to the poor? To whom was the gospel sent?"

"The rich and poor spoken of in the word of God," said the friend, "do
not, it is plain, mean simply those in the world who possess natural
riches, or who are in natural poverty. Remember, that the Bible is a
revelation of heavenly truth, for man's eternal salvation; and that its
teachings must have primary regard to what is spiritual, and refer to
man's internal state rather than to his mere worldly condition.
Remember, that the Lord, while on earth, said, _Blessed are the poor in
spirit_, (not the poor in this world's goods,) _for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven_. And we may, without violence to even the letter of
the word, conclude that when He speaks of its being hard for the rich to
enter the kingdom of heaven, that only the proud in spirit, those who
rested self-confident on the riches of their worldly and natural wisdom,
were meant. That it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of
a needle than for such rich men to enter heaven, is plain from our
Lord's words when he set a child in the midst of his disciples, and told
them that, unless they became as that little child, they could not enter
the kingdom of heaven. Not externally and naturally as that child, for
that was impossible; but poor in spirit, teachable, and innocent as a
child."

The first speaker, whose name was Maxwell, tossed his head, and slightly
curled his lip as he replied--

"I believe just what the Bible says. As for your forced meanings, I
never go to them. A plain matter-of-fact man, I understand what is
written in a plain, matter-of-fact way. The Bible says that they who
have riches shall hardly enter the kingdom of heaven. And I can see how
true the saying is. As for Clinton, of whom I spoke just now, I repeat
that I wouldn't give much for his chance. It is well that there is a
just God in heaven, and that there will come a day of retribution. The
Diveses have their good things in this life; but our turn will come
afterwards. We sha'n't be always poor. Lazarus went, a beggar, from the
rich man's door, and was received into Abraham's bosom."

"What has made you so bitter against Clinton, just now?" inquired the
friend.

"I'm not bitter against him in particular--I speak of rich men as a
class. They are all selfish, unfeeling, and oppressive. Look at the good
Clinton might do, as a steward of God's bounty, if he chose. He might
make our wilderness blossom as the rose. But settlement-day will come,
ere long, and then a sorry account of his stewardship will he have to
render."

"How do you know that the account will not be approved in heaven?" was
asked in a quiet voice.

"Approved? How do I know?" ejaculated Maxwell, impatiently. "Any man can
see that he is an unfaithful, hard-hearted, and oppressive steward."

"Has he oppressed you?"

"Yes."

"Ah! I was not aware of that. I didn't know that you had any claims upon
him as an almoner of heaven."

"My claims are those of common humanity. But you shall know all, and
judge for yourself. I am a poor man"----

"Well"----

"With a wife and four children, whom I love as tenderly as Clinton, or
any other purse-proud oppressor of the poor can possibly love his wife
and children. They are dependent for daily bread upon my daily labour.
With the sweat of my brow, I keep hunger from my door, and cold from
entering therein."

"An independent man," said the other.

"Yes, an independent man; as independent as any nabob in the land."

"Do let the nabobs alone," was smilingly answered to this. "If you are
independent, why care for them? Why permit yourself to be fretted
because others are blessed by Providence with a greater abundance of
worldly goods? There is danger, in this thing, of going beyond the
nabobs, and arraigning the wisdom of Him who setteth up whom he will,
and whose bounty feeds even the young ravens. So go on with your story.
What is the crime that Mr. Clinton has committed against you and
humanity?"

"I am a poor man, as I said."

"I know you are; a hard-working, industrious, but poor man."

"And as such, entitled to some consideration."

"Entitled to a fair return for your labour, in all cases."

"Of course I am; and to some favour, in the distribution of employment,
when I present equal capacity with those who are less needy than
myself."

"What do you mean by that?"

"A plain story makes all plain. Well: you are aware that Mr. Clinton is
about building a new dam for his mills?"

"I am."

"And that he asked for proposals?"

"Yes."

"I tried to get the contract."

"You!" There was more surprise in this ejaculation than the friend had
meant to convey.

"Certainly! Why not?" was petulantly remarked.

"Of course you had a perfect right to do so?"

"Of course I had; and of course my bid, though the lowest, was thrown
out, and the bid of Jackson, who manages to monopolize every thing in
the village, taken. He and Clinton are leagued together, and the offer
for proposals was only a sham."

"That's assuming a good deal, friend Maxwell."

"No, it isn't. It's the truth, and nothing else but the truth. He's the
jackal, and Clinton's the lion."

"You speak without reflection," said the friend, mildly.

"I'm not blind. I see how things are worked."

"You say your bid was lower than Jackson's? How do you know this? I
thought his bid was not publicly known."

"I knew it; and, in fact, knew what it was to be before I sent in my
proposals, and was, therefore, able to go below it. The truth is, I
managed, between you and I, to find out just what every man was going to
bid, and then struck a mark below them all, to make sure of the job. I
wanted a chance, and was determined to have it at all hazards."

"I hardly think your mode of procedure was fair," said the friend; "but
waiving that, could you have made any thing by the job, at your
bidding?"

"Oh, yes, I'd have made something--more, a good deal, than I can make by
day's work. The fact is, I set my heart on that job as a stepping stone
to contract work; and am bitterly disappointed at its loss. Much good
may it do both Jackson and Clinton. I shouldn't be much sorry to see the
new dam swept away by the next freshet."

"Why, Maxwell! This is not the spirit of a Christian man. Envy,
malice--these are what the Bible condemns in the plainest terms; and for
these sins, the poor have quite as much to answer for as the rich--and
perhaps more. If you go from church on the Sabbath with no better
thoughts than these, I fear you are quite as far from the Kingdom of
Heaven as you have supposed Mr. Clinton to be."

"Good day," said Maxwell, turning off abruptly from his friend, and
taking a path that led by a nearer course than the one in which they
were walking, to his home.

A few weeks later, the person with whom Maxwell thus conversed, had
occasion to transact some business with Mr. Clinton. He had rendered him
a bill for work done, and called to receive payment.

"You've made a mistake in your bill, Mr. Lee," said Clinton.

"Ah? Are you certain?"

"You can examine for yourself. I find an error of twenty dollars in the
additions."

"Then you only owe me sixty dollars?" said Lee, with a disappointment in
his tones that he could not conceal.

"Rather say that I owe you a hundred, for the mistake is in your favour.
The first column in the bill adds up fifty, instead of thirty dollars."

"Let me examine it." Lee took the bill, and added up the column three
times before he felt entirely satisfied. Then he said,

"So it does! Well, I should never have been the wiser if you had only
paid me the eighty dollars called for by the bill. You might have
retained your advantage with perfect safety."

Lee said this on the impulse of the moment. He instantly saw a change in
Mr. Clinton's countenance, as if he were slightly offended.

"Oh, no; not with safety," was gravely replied.

"I never should have found it out."

"But there is coming a day, with every man, when the secrets of his
heart will stand revealed. If not now, it would then appear that I had
wronged you out of twenty dollars."

"True! true! But all men don't think of this."

"No one is more fully aware of that than I am. It is for me, however, to
live in the present so as not to burden my future with shame and
repentance. Knowingly, Mr. Lee, I would not wrong any man out of a
single dollar. I may err, and do err, like other men; for, to err is
human."

After the expression of such sentiments, Lee felt curious to know what
Mr. Clinton thought of, and how he felt towards Maxwell. So he said,
after referring to the new mill-dam in the process of erection--

"You didn't take the lowest bid for its construction."

"I took the lowest competent bid."

"Then you do not think Maxwell competent to do the work?"

"I do not think him a man to be trusted, and, therefore, would not have
given him the contract for such a piece of work at any price. You are
aware that the giving way of that dam would almost inevitably involve a
serious loss of life and property among the poor people who live along
the course of the stream below. I must regard their safety before any
pecuniary advantage to myself; and have given Mr. Jackson, who has the
contract, positive instructions to exceed his estimates, if necessary,
in order to put the question of safety beyond a doubt. I know him to be
a man whom I can trust. But I have no confidence in Maxwell."

"A good reason why you declined giving him the job."

"I think so."

"Maxwell was greatly disappointed."

"I know he has spoken very hard against me. But that avails nothing. My
principle of action is to do right, and let others think and say what
they please. No man is my judge. Maxwell is not, probably, aware that I
know him thoroughly, and that I have thrown as much in his way as I
could safely do. He is not, of course, aware, that one of my sons
overheard him, in reference to this very mill-dam, say--'I'm bound to
have that contract whether or no. I have learned the lowest bid, and
have put in a bid still lower.' 'How did you learn this?' was asked of
him. 'No matter,' he answered, 'I have learned it.' 'You can't go lower
and build the dam safely,' was said. To which he replied--'I can build
the dam, and make a good profit. As to the safety, I'll leave that in
the hands of Providence. He'll take care of the poor people below.' Mr.
Lee! I felt an inward shudder when this was repeated to me. I could not
have believed the man so void of common honesty and common humanity. Was
I not right to withhold from him such a contract?"

"You would have been no better than Maxwell, if you had given it to
him," was answered. "And yet, this same man speaks against the rich, and
thinks their chance of heaven a poor one."

"Simply because they are rich."

"Or, it might with more truth be said, because they will not yield to
his covetous and envious spirit. He is not content with the equivalent
society renders back to him for the benefit he confers, but wants to
share what of right belongs to others."

"That spirit I have often seen him manifest," was replied. "Well, if
simple riches are a bar to man's entrance into heaven, how much more so
are discontent, envy, malice, hatred, and a selfish disregard for the
rights and well-being of others. The rich have their temptations, and so
have the poor, and neither will enter heaven, unless they overcome in
temptation, and receive a purified love of their neighbour. This at
least is my doctrine."

"Of the two, I would rather take Clinton's chance of heaven," said Lee
to himself, as he went musing away, "even if he is a rich man."



[Illustration: ANOTHER DEBT PAID.]

WHAT FIVE DOLLARS PAID.


Mr. Herriot was sitting in his office, one day, when a lad entered, and
handed him a small slip of paper. It was a bill for five dollars, due to
his shoemaker, a poor man who lived in the next square.

"Tell Mr. Grant that I will settle this soon. It isn't just convenient
to-day."

The boy retired.

Now, Mr. Herriot had a five-dollar bill in his pocket; but, he felt as
if he couldn't part with it. He didn't like to be entirely out of money.
So, acting from this impulse, he had sent the boy away. Very still sat
Mr. Herriot for the next five minutes; yet his thoughts were busy. He
was not altogether satisfied with himself. The shoemaker was a poor man,
and needed his money as soon as earned--he was not unadvised of this
fact.

"I wish I had sent him the five dollars," said Mr. Herriot, at length,
half-audibly. "He wants it worse than I do."

He mused still further.

"The fact is," he at length exclaimed, starting up, "it is Grant's
money, and not mine; and what is more, he shall have it."

So saying, Herriot took up his hat and left his office.

"Did you get the money, Charles," said Grant, as his boy entered the
shop. There was a good deal of earnestness in the shoemaker's tones.

"No, sir," replied the lad.

"Didn't get the money!"

"No, sir."

"Wasn't Mr. Herriot in?"

"Yes, sir; but he said it wasn't convenient to-day."

"Oh, dear! I'm sorry!" came from the shoemaker, in a depressed voice.

A woman was sitting in Grant's shop when the boy came in; she had now
risen, and was leaning on the counter; a look of disappointment was in
her face.

"It can't be helped, Mrs. Lee," said Grant. "I was sure of getting the
money from him. He never disappointed me before. Call in to-morrow, and
I will try and have it for you."

The woman looked troubled as well as disappointed. Slowly she turned
away and left the shop. A few minutes after her departure, Herriot came
in, and, after some words of apology, paid the bill.

"Run and get this note changed into silver for me," said the shoemaker
to his boy, the moment his customer had departed.

"Now," said he, so soon as the silver was placed in his hands, "take two
dollars to Mrs. Lee, and three to Mr. Weaver across the street. Tell Mr.
Weaver that I am obliged to him for having loaned me the money this
morning, and sorry that I hadn't as much in the house when he sent for
it an hour ago."

"I wish I had it, Mrs. Elder. But, I assure you that I have not," said
Mr. Weaver, the tailor. "I paid out the last dollar just before you came
in. But call in to-morrow, and you shall have the money to a certainty."

"But what I am to do to-day? I haven't a cent to bless myself with; and
I owe so much at the grocer's, where I deal, that he won't trust me for
any thing more."

The tailor looked troubled, and the woman lingered. Just at this moment
the shoemaker's boy entered.

"Here are the three dollars Mr. Grant borrowed of you this morning,"
said the lad. "He says he's sorry he hadn't the money when you sent for
it awhile ago."

How the faces of the tailor and his needlewoman brightened instantly, as
if a gleam of sunshine had penetrated the room.

"Here is just the money I owe you," said the former, in a cheerful
voice, and he handed the woman the three dollars he had received. A
moment after and he was alone, but with the glad face of the poor woman,
whose need he had been able to supply, distinct before him.

Of the three dollars received by the needlewoman two went to the grocer,
on account of her debt to him, half a dollar was paid to an old and
needy coloured woman who had earned it by scrubbing, and who was waiting
for Mrs. Weaver's return from the tailor's to get her due, and thus be
able to provide an evening's and a morning's meal for herself and
children. The other half-dollar was paid to the baker when he called
towards evening to leave the accustomed loaf. Thus the poor needlewoman
had been able to discharge four debts, and, at the same time
re-establish her credit with the grocer and baker, from whom came the
largest portion of the food consumed in her little family.

And now let us follow Mrs. Lee. On her arrival at home empty-handed,
from her visit to the shoemaker, who owed her two dollars for work, she
found a young girl, in whose pale face were many marks of suffering and
care, awaiting her return.

The girl's countenance brightened as she came in; but there was no
answering brightness in the countenance of Mrs. Lee, who immediately
said--

"I'm very sorry, Harriet, but Mr. Grant put me off until to-morrow. He
said he hadn't a dollar in the house."

The girl's disappointment was very great, for the smile she had forced
into life instantly faded, and was succeeded by a look of deep distress.

"Do you want the money very badly?" asked Mrs. Lee, in a low,
half-choked voice, for the sudden change in the girl's manner had
affected her.

"Oh, yes, ma'am, very badly. I left Mary wrapped up in my thick shawl,
and a blanket wound all around her feet to keep them warm; but she was
coughing dreadfully from the cold air of the room."

"Haven't you a fire?" asked Mrs. Lee, in a quick, surprised tone.

"We have no coal. It was to buy coal that I wanted the money."

Mrs. Lee struck her hands together, and an expression of pain was about
passing her lips, when the door of the room opened, and the shoemaker's
boy came in.

"Here are two dollars. Mr. Grant sent them."

"God bless Mr. Grant!" The exclamation from Mrs. Lee was involuntary.

On the part of Harriet, to whom one dollar was due, a gush of silent
tears marked the effect this timely supply of money produced. She
received her portion, and, without trusting her voice with words,
hurried away to supply the pressing want at home.

A few doors from the residence of Mrs. Lee lived a man who, some months
before, had become involved in trouble with an evil-disposed person, and
been forced to defend himself by means of the law. He had employed Mr.
Herriot to do what was requisite in the case, for which service the
charge was five dollars. The bill had been rendered a few days before,
and the man, who was poor, felt very anxious to pay it. He had the money
all made up to within a dollar. That dollar Mrs. Lee owed him, and she
had promised to give it to him during this day. For hours he had waited,
expecting her to come in; but now had nearly given her up. There was
another little bill of three dollars which had been sent in to him, and
he had just concluded to go and pay that, when Mrs. Lee called with the
balance of the money, one dollar, which she had received from the
shoemaker, Grant.

Half an hour later, and the pocket-book of Mr. Herriot was no longer
empty. His client had called and paid his bill. The five dollars had
come back to him.



LOOK AT T'OTHER SIDE.


"I don't like Mr. Monto at all," said Mr. Jones.

"Nor I," replied Mrs. Mayberry.

"Take him for better or worse," added Mr. Lee, "and I think he is the
strangest and most inconsistent man I ever saw."

"Inconsistent!" resumed Mr. Jones. "He is worse than inconsistent.
Inconsistencies may be pardoned, as constitutional defects and
peculiarities of character. But he is worse than inconsistent, as I
said."

"Yes, that he is," chimed in Mrs. Mayberry. "What do you think I heard
of him last week?"

"What?" said Mr. Jones.

"Yes, what did you hear?" asked Mrs. Lee.

"You know Mr. Barker?"

"Yes."

"There isn't a more gentlemanly man living than Mr. Barker."

"Well, what of him?"

"He was in Mr. Monto's store one day last week, and happened to say
something the little man did not like, when he fired up and insulted him
most grossly."

"Indeed!"

"Yes. Mr. Barker told me himself. He said he was never more hurt in his
life."

"He left the store, of course."

"Oh, yes. He turned on his heel and walked out, and says he will never
darken the door of Monto's store again."

"It is too bad, this habit of insulting people which Monto has. I know
several persons who are hot as fire against him."

"If there were nothing worse about him than that," said Mr. Jones, "I
would be glad. His conduct towards the young man he raised was
unpardonable."

"What was that? I never heard about it," remarked Mr. Lee.

"He had a young man whom he had raised from a lad, and who, it is said,
was always faithful to his interests. Toward the last he became wild,
having fallen into bad company. If Monto had been patient and forbearing
toward him, the young man might have been reclaimed from his error; but
his irascibility and impatience with every thing that did not go by
square and rule, caused him to deal harshly with faults that needed a
milder corrective. The young man, of course, grew worse. At last he got
himself into a difficulty, and was arrested. Bail was demanded for his
appearance to stand a trial for misconduct and breach of law. Monto was
sent for to go his bail; but he heartlessly refused, and the poor fellow
was thrown into prison, where he lay four months, and was then, after a
trial, dismissed with a reprimand from the court. Feeling himself
disgraced by confinement in a jail, he enlisted in the army as soon as
he got free, and has gone off to the Indian country in the West. Isn't
it melancholy? The ruin of that young man lies at Monto's door. His
blood is on the skirts of his garments!"

"Dreadful to think of! Isn't it?" said Mrs. Mayberry. "Just imagine my
son or your son thus cruelly dealt by! A fiend in human shape couldn't
have done more!"

"It'll come back upon him one of these days. I believe in retribution.
No man can do such things with impunity," added Mr. Lee. "Mark my words
for it--Monto will repent of this, as well as a good many other acts of
his life, before he dies."

"He's the meanest man I ever saw," said Mr. Jones. "I don't believe he
ever gave a dollar for charitable purposes in his life."

"You may possibly err, there," remarked a fourth in the company, who had
not before spoken.

"I should like to see the man, Mr. Berry, who can point to a benevolent
act of Monto's," returned Mr. Jones in a decided voice.

"Perhaps," said Mr. Berry, "if we were as willing to look at the other
side of men's characters, we should not entertain the poor opinion of
them we do. If we were to look as closely at the good as we do at the
bad, we might find, perhaps, as much to praise as we do to blame. When I
was a boy, I had a penny given to me, and was about buying a large,
seemingly fine apple, when my brother said in a warning voice, 'Look at
t'other side.' I did look, and found it rotten. When I became a man, I
remembered the lesson, and determined that I would not be deceived by
fair appearances of character, but would be careful to look at t'other
side for blemishes. I saw enough of these, even in the best, to sicken
me with mankind. A few years passed, and I was glad to change my habit
of observation. I began to look at the other and brighter side. The
result surprised and pleased me. I found more good in men than I had
supposed. Even in the worst there were some redeeming qualities."

"You will find few in Monto," said Mr. Lee.

"Do you see that man on the other side of the street?" asked Mr. Berry.

"Who? Miller?"

"Yes; that's the one I mean. I'll call him over, if you have no
objection, and ask him a question or two. I think he can say something
bearing on the subject of our present discourse."

The man was called, and he came over and entered the store of Mr. Jones,
where the conversation happened to occur.

"Good morning, Miller! How are you to-day?" said Mr. Berry.

"Good morning! You've quite a party here. All friends, I see."

"We seem to have met by one of those happy accidents that sometimes
occur. How are you getting along now, Miller? You've been through some
pretty tight places, I believe."

"Yes; and, thanks to a good Providence! I am through them with a whole
skin."

"Cause for congratulation, certainly. We meet with some hard rubs in our
journey through life."

"Indeed we do. Adverse circumstances try us severely, and try our
friends also. It has been so in my case. I thought I had a good many
friends, until trouble came; but, as you know, there were few to stand
by me when I most needed support."

"But you met with friends?"

"Yes, friends in need, who are friends indeed."

"And they were among those who had made no professions, and upon whom
you did not feel that you had any claims?"

"Exactly so. This was particularly the case in one instance. Through
losses, mistakes, and from errors on account of which I do not attempt
to excuse myself, my business became embarrassed. What little real
estate I had was thrown into market and sacrificed, but this did not
meet my necessities. In the hope of weathering the storm, I removed from
the handsome store I occupied into one at half the rent, reduced all
expenses both in my business and family, but still I was not able,
without the most untiring exertions, to meet my payments. More than half
my time I was on the street, engaged in temporary expedients to raise
money. I was harassed to death, and in daily dread of failure. In this
unhappy posture of my affairs, I tried to get some permanent assistance
from friends who were able enough to afford it, and who knew me well.
But they were all afraid to risk any thing.

"One day I had been out from nine o'clock until two, using my best
efforts to obtain sufficient money to meet my notes. I had a thousand
dollars to pay, and could only thus far raise five hundred. Everywhere
that I could think of going I went, but no one would help me through my
difficulty. Dispirited and alarmed at the perilous position of my
affairs, I returned to my store, in order to sit down and reflect for a
few minutes. I thought over all my business acquaintance, but there were
none upon whom I had not already called, that I felt free to ask for the
loan of money. Things seemed desperate. Something must be done, or I
would be ruined. Already the finger of time was past the mark of two. In
less than an hour my paper would be dishonoured, unless I could in some
way command the sum of five hundred dollars. I thought, and thought,
until I felt stupid. At last a man whom I had never liked much came up
before my mind. I had some little acquaintance with him, and knew, or
supposed, that he had money. The idea of going to him I would not at
first entertain. But things were desperate. At last I started up,
determined to see this man.

"'He can but refuse me,' I murmured to myself.

"'It is past two o'clock,' said I abruptly, as I met him standing at his
counter, 'and I am still five hundred dollars short. Can you lend me
that sum for a few days?'

"I expected him to say 'no.' What was my surprise then to hear him
reply--

"'I can, and with pleasure.'

"I could hardly believe my ears. But by the assistance of my eyes, when
he put a check for the amount I had asked for into my hands, I was fully
assured that he was in earnest. I don't know that I ever stopped to
thank him, so overjoyed was I at such unexpected and cheerfully tendered
relief. Three or four days afterward I took him the money he had loaned
me.

"'Keep it longer, if you desire to do so. I have no present use for it,'
said he.

"I hardly knew whether to take him at his word or not. But necessity is
an eloquent pleader.

"'If you can spare it as well as not, it will be an accommodation. My
payments are heavy in the next ten days,' I replied.

"'Retain the use of it and welcome,' said he kindly. After a pause, he
inquired how I was getting along, and did it with so much sincerity
that I was tempted to state frankly the position of my affairs, and did
so. He listened with a good deal of interest, and afterward asked many
questions as to the nature and profits of my business. I concealed
nothing from him in favour or against myself as a business-man.

"'You must be sustained, Mr. Miller,' said he. 'I have a few thousand
dollars uninvested, that I will keep free for six months or so. As far
as you need assistance in meeting your payments, I will afford it. Pay
no more exorbitant interests; waste no more time in running about after
money; but put all your thoughts and energies down to your business, and
twelve months from to-day will see you freed from embarrassment.'

"And he was right."

"He was certainly a noble fellow," said Mr. Jones. "Pity there were not
more like him!"

"That it is," remarked Mrs. Mayberry.

"He belongs to another grade of beings than your Montos."

"Who?" Miller spoke quickly.

"We were talking of Monto when I called you," said Mr. Berry. "Our
friends have a very poor opinion of him."

"Of Mr. Monto? Why, it is of him that I just now spoke."

"Of Monto!" ejaculated Lee.

"Certainly. He it was who so generously befriended me."

"Impossible!" ejaculated Mrs. Mayberry.

"Not at all, for it is true. I never was more mistaken in any one in my
life than in Mr. Monto. He has his faults and defects of character, as
all men have. He is irascible and impatient, and makes in consequence a
great many enemies."

"He was certainly kind to you, Mr. Miller," said Mrs. Mayberry. "But
still, I don't believe in him. Look at the way he treated that poor
young man whom he raised from a boy. That stamps his character. That
shows him to be cruel and vindictive."

"There is another side to that story, without doubt," remarked Mr.
Berry.

"That there is," said Miller; "and suppose we look at it. Monto knew
that young man much better than you or I, or any of us. He had borne
with his irregular habits and evil conduct for years, as well as a man
of his peculiar temperament could bear with them."

"A precious kind of forbearance it was, no doubt. It isn't in him to
bear with any one," broke in Mr. Jones.

"Will you censure a man for what he can't help?" asked Mr. Miller.

"I don't know that we should," was replied.

"It is clear that we ought not; for to do so would be for us to ask of
him an impossibility, and censure him for not performing it. Mr. Monto
is a man, as we all know, of exceedingly impatient temper. Keep that in
view. He takes this boy when quite young, and educates him as well as
teaches him his business. Before he is of age he abuses the confidence
reposed in him by his benefactor, neglects his business, associates with
vicious companions, and purloins his money. Still Monto bears with him,
in the hope that he will change. But he grows worse and worse; and at
length, after a long series of peculations at home, gets into a
difficulty, and is sent to jail to await the judgment of the law in his
case. I happened to be in Mr. Monto's store when he was sent for to bail
the young man out.

"'No,' he said firmly to the messenger, 'he is much better in prison
than out.'

"The man went away, and Monto, turning to me, said--

"'That, Mr. Miller, is the most painful thing I have done in my whole
life. But to have acted otherwise would have been wrong. Kind
admonition, stern reproof, angry expostulation, all have failed with
this young man, in whom I cannot help feeling a strong interest. I will
now leave him to the consequences of his own acts, and to the, I hope,
salutary results of his own reflections. If these fail to reform him,
there is no hope.' This was the spirit in which it was done. He did not
attend court when the trial came on, but he had a messenger there, who
kept him constantly advised of the proceedings. The acquittal gave him
great pleasure, and he expected the young man would return to him,
changed and penitent. He was, alas! grievously mistaken. The enlistment
hurt him exceedingly. I could perceive that his voice was unsteady when
he spoke of it. If he erred in his conduct, it was an error of judgment.
He meant to do good. But I do not believe he erred. In my opinion, the
young man is fit only for the grade he now occupies, and he is better
off where he is."

"There is good in every one," said Mr. Berry, when Miller ceased
speaking; "and we will find it, if we look at the other side."

"No truer word than that was ever spoken," returned Mr. Miller. "Yes,
there is good in every one; and more good than evil in Monto, you may
all be assured."

The censurers of Monto approved the words by a marked and half-mortified
silence.

Yes, there is good in every one; there is another side. Let us look for
this good rather than for what is evil, and we will think better of
mankind than we are now disposed to do.



[Illustration: THIN SHOES.]

THIN SHOES.


"Why, Lizzy, dear!" exclaimed Uncle Thomas, to his pretty niece, Miss
Walton, as she stepped upon the pavement from her mother's dwelling, one
morning in midwinter--"You are not going in this trim?"

"In what trim?" said Lizzy, glancing first at her gloves, then upon her
dress, and then placing her hand upon her neck and bosom to feel if all
was right there. "Is any thing wrong with my dress, uncle?"

"Just look at your feet."

"At my feet!" And Lizzy's eyes fell to the ground. "I don't see any
thing the matter with them."

"Why, child, you have nothing on your feet but paper-soled French
lasting boots."

"They have thick soles, uncle."

"Thick! If you call them thick, you will have to find a new term for
thinness. Go right back, and put on your leather boots."

"Leather boots!" Lizzy's voice and countenance showed an undisguised
amazement.

"Yes, leather boots. You certainly wouldn't think of going out on a day
like this without having your feet well protected with leather boots."

"Leather boots! Why, Uncle Thomas!"--and the musical laugh of Miss
Walton echoed on the air--"who ever heard of such a thing?"

Uncle Thomas glanced involuntarily down at his own thick, double-soled,
calfskin understandings.

"Boots like them!" exclaimed the merry girl, laughing again.

"But come along, my good uncle," she added more seriously, drawing her
arm within his, and attempting to move away. "We'll have all the
neighbourhood staring at us. You can't be in earnest, I'm sure, about my
wearing clumsy leather boots. Nancy, the Irish cook, has a pair; but
I"----

"And pray, Lizzy," returned the old gentleman, as he yielded to the
impulse given him by his niece, and moved down the street beside
her--"are you so much heartier than Nancy, so much stouter and stronger,
that you can bear exposure to damp and even wet pavements, in thin
shoes, while she will not venture out unless with feet well protected by
leather boots?"

"My shoes are not thin, uncle," persisted Lizzy. "They have thick
soles."

"Not thin! Thick soles! Look at mine."

Lizzy laughed aloud, as she glanced down at her uncle's heavy boots, at
the thought of having her delicate feet encased in leather.

"Look at mine!" repeated Uncle Thomas. "And am I so much more delicate
than you are?"

But Miss Walton replied to all this serious remonstrance of her uncle
(who was on a visit from a neighbouring town) with laughing evasion.

A week of very severe weather had filled the gutters and blocked the
crossings with ice. To this had succeeded rain, but not of long enough
continuance to free the streets from their icy encumbrance. A clear,
warm day for the season followed; and it was on this day that Miss
Walton and her uncle went out for the purpose of calling on a friend or
two, and then visiting the Art-Union Gallery.

Uncle Thomas Walton was the brother of Lizzy's father. The latter died
some few years before, of pulmonary consumption. Lizzy, both in
appearance and bodily constitution, resembled her father. She was now in
her nineteenth year, her veins full of young life, and her spirits as
buoyant as the opening spring. It was just four years since the last
visit of Uncle Thomas to the city--four years since he had looked upon
the fair face of his beautiful niece. Greatly had she changed in that
time. When last he kissed her blushing cheek, she was a half-grown
school-girl--now she burst upon him a lovely and accomplished young
woman.

But Uncle Thomas did not fail to observe in his niece certain signs,
that he understood too well as indications of a frail and susceptible
constitution. Two lovely sisters, who had grown up by his side, their
charms expanding like summer's sweetest flowers, had, all at once,
drooped, faded, withered, and died. Long years had they been at rest;
but their memory was still green in his heart. When he looked upon the
pure face of his niece, it seemed to Uncle Thomas as if a long-lost
sister were restored to him in the freshness and beauty of her young and
happy life ere the breath of the destroyer was upon her. No wonder that
he felt concern when he thought of the past. No wonder that he made
remonstrance against her exposure, in thin shoes, to cold and damp
pavements. But Lizzy had no fear. She understood not how fatal a
predisposition lurked in her bosom.

The calls were made; the Art-Union Gallery visited, and then Uncle
Thomas and his niece returned home. But the enjoyment of the former had
only been partial; for he could think of little else, and see little
else, besides Lizzy's thin shoes and the damp pavements.

The difficulty of crossing the streets, without stepping into the water,
was very great; and, in spite of every precaution, Lizzy's feet dipped
several times into little pools of ice-water, that instantly penetrated
the light materials of which her shoes were made. In consequence, she
had a slight hoarseness by the time she reached home, and Uncle Thomas
noticed that the colour on her cheeks was very much heightened.

"Now go and change your shoes and stockings, immediately," said he, as
soon as they entered the house. "Your feet must be thoroughly
saturated."

"Oh no, indeed they are not," replied Lizzy. "At the most, they are only
a little damp."

"A little damp!" said the old gentleman, seriously. "The grass waves
over many a fair young girl, who, but for damp feet, would now be a
source of joy to her friends."

"Why, uncle, how strangely you talk!" exclaimed Lizzy, becoming a little
serious in turn. Just then Mrs. Walton came in.

"Do, sister," said the old gentleman, "see that this thoughtless girl of
yours changes her wet stockings and shoes immediately. She smiles at my
concern."

"Why, Lizzy dear," interposed Mrs. Walton, "how can you be so imprudent!
Go and put on dry stockings at once."

Lizzy obeyed, and as she left the room, her uncle said--

"How can you permit that girl to go upon the street, in midwinter, with
shoes almost as thin as paper."

"Her shoes have thick soles," replied Mrs. Walton. "You certainly don't
think that I would let her wear thin shoes on a day like this."

Uncle Thomas was confounded. Thick shoes! French lasting, and soles of
the thickness of half-a-dollar!

"She ought to have leather boots, sister," said the old gentleman
earnestly. "Stout leather boots. Nothing less can be called a protection
for the feet in damp, wintry weather."

"Leather boots!"

Mrs. Walton seemed little less surprised than her daughter had been at
the same suggestion.

"It is a damp, cold day," said Uncle Thomas.

"True, but Lizzy was warmly clad. I am very particular on this point,
knowing the delicacy of her constitution. She never goes out in
winter-time without her furs."

"Furs for the neck and hands, and lasting shoes and thin cotton
stockings for the feet!"

"Thick-soled boots," said Mrs. Walton, quickly.

"There are thick-soled boots."

And the old gentleman thrust out both of his feet, well clad in heavy
calfskin.

Mrs. Walton could not keep from laughing, as the image of her daughter's
feet, thus encased, presented itself to her mind.

"Perhaps," said Uncle Thomas, just a little captiously, "Lizzy has a
stronger constitution than I have, and can bear a great deal more. For
my part, I would almost as lief take a small dose of poison as go out,
on a day like this, with nothing on my feet but thin cotton stockings
and lasting shoes."

"Boots," interposed Mrs. Walton.

"I call them boots," said the old gentleman, glancing down again at his
stout double-soled calfskins.

But it was of no avail that Uncle Thomas entered his protest against
thin shoes, when, in the estimation of city ladies, they were "thick."
And so, in due time, he saw his error and gave up the argument.

When Lizzy came down from her room, her colour was still high--much
higher than usual, and her voice, as she spoke, was a very little
veiled. But she was in fine spirits, and talked away merrily. Uncle
Thomas did not, however, fail to observe that every little while she
cleared her throat with a low _h-h-em_; and he knew that this was
occasioned by an increased secretion of mucus by the lining membrane of
the throat, consequent upon slight inflammation. The cause he attributed
to thin shoes and wet feet; and he was not far wrong. The warm boa and
muff were not sufficient safeguards for the throat when the feet were
exposed to cold and wet.

That evening, at tea-time, Mr. Walton observed that Lizzy eat scarcely
any thing, and that her face was a little pale. He also noted an
expression that indicated either mental or bodily suffering--not
severe, but enough to make itself visible.

"Are you not well?" he asked.

"Oh yes, very well," was the quick reply.

"You are fatigued, then?"

"A little."

"Go early to bed. A night's sleep will restore all."

Mr. Walton said this, rather because he hoped than believed that it
would be so.

"Oh yes. A night's rest is all I want," replied Lizzy.

But she erred in this.

"Where is Lizzy?" asked Mr. Walton, on meeting his sister-in-law at the
breakfast-table on the next morning. The face of the latter wore a sober
expression.

"Not very well, I am sorry to say," was the answer.

"What ails her?"

"She has taken a bad cold; I hardly know how--perhaps from getting her
feet wet yesterday; and is so hoarse this morning that she can scarcely
speak above a whisper."

"I feared as much," was the old gentleman's reply. "Have you sent for
your doctor?"

"Not yet."

"Then do so immediately. A constitution like her's will not bear the
shock of a bad cold, unless it is met instantly by appropriate
remedies."

In due time the family physician came. He looked serious when he saw the
condition of his patient.

"To what are you indebted for this?" he asked.

"To thin shoes," was the prompt reply of the uncle, who was present.

"I have warned you against this more than once," said the doctor, in a
tone of gentle reproof.

"Oh, no; brother is mistaken," spoke up Mrs. Walton. "She wore
thick-soled shoes. But the streets, as you know, were very wet
yesterday, and it was impossible to keep the feet dry."

"If she had worn good, stout, sensible leather boots, as she ought to
have done, the water would never have touched her feet," said Mr.
Walton.

"You had on your gums?" remarked the physician, turning to Lizzy.

"They are so clumsy and unsightly--I never like to wear them," answered
the patient, in a husky whisper, and then she coughed hoarsely.

The doctor made no reply to this, but looked more serious.

Medicine was prescribed and taken; and, for two weeks, the physician was
in daily attendance. The inflammation first attacked Lizzy's
throat--descended and lingered along the bronchial tubes, and finally
fixed itself upon her lungs. From this dangerous place it was not
dislodged, as an acute disease, until certain constitutional
predispositions had been aroused into activity. In fact, the latent
seeds of that fatal disease, known as consumption, were at this time
vivified. Dormant they might have lain for years--perhaps through
life--if all exciting causes had been shunned. Alas! the principle of
vitality was now awakened.

Slowly, very slowly, did strength return to the body of Miss Walton. Not
until the spring opened was she permitted to go forth into the open air.
Then her pale cheek, and slow, feeble steps, showed too plainly the
fearful shock her system had received.

A week or two after his remonstrance with his niece about her thin
shoes, Mr. Walton returned home. Several letters received by him during
the winter advised him of the state of Lizzy's health. In the spring her
mother wrote to him--

"Lizzy is much better. The warm weather, I trust, will completely
restore her."

But the old gentleman knew better. He had been a deeply interested party
in a case like her's before. He _knew_ that summer, with its warm and
fragrant airs, would not bring back the bloom to her cheeks. In July
came another epistle.

"The hot weather is so debilitating for Lizzy, that I am about taking
her to the sea-shore."

Uncle Thomas sighed as he read this, permitted the letter to droop from
before his eyes, and sat for some time gazing upon vacancy. Far back his
thoughts had wandered, and before the eyes of his mind was the frail,
fading form of a beloved sister, who had, years before, left her place
and her mission upon the earth, and passed up higher.

"The doctor says that I must go South with Lizzy," wrote Mrs. Walton
early in December, "and spend the winter. We leave for Charleston next
Tuesday, and may pass over to Havana."

Uncle Thomas sighed as before, and then became lost in a sad reverie. He
had been to Havana with both of his sisters. The warm South had been of
use to them. It prolonged, but did not save their lives.

And so the months passed on--the seasons came and went--but health,
alas! returned not to the veins of the lovely girl.

It was an autumn day, nearly two years after that fatal cold, taken in
consequence of wearing thin shoes, that Mr. Walton received a letter
sealed with a black seal.

"As I feared," he murmured, in a low, sad voice, gazing
half-abstractedly upon the missive. He knew too well its contents. "Dear
child! I saw this from the beginning."

And the old man's eyes became dim with moisture.

He had not erred in his conjecture. Lizzy Walton was dead.



THE UNRULY MEMBER.


"In trouble again, I find! Ah, Flora! That restless little tongue of
yours is a sad transgressor. Why will you not learn to be more careful?
Why do you not place a guard upon your lips, as well as upon your
actions?"

"So I do, aunt, when I think myself in the company of tattlers and
mischief-makers."

"I do not think Mary Lee either a tattler or a mischief-maker," replied
the aunt gravely.

"Then why did she run off to Ellen Gray, and tell her what I had said?"

"She might have done so from far different motives than those you are
inclined to attribute to her," said Mrs. Marion, the aunt of Flora Mere.
"And from my knowledge of her character, I feel very sure that her
conduct in this has been governed by a strict regard to right
principles."

"But what possible end could she have had in view in repeating to Ellen
my thoughtlessly spoken words? It could do her no good."

"There she is at the door now," Mrs. Marion replied, glancing out of the
window. "We will ask the question direct, as soon as Betty has admitted
her."

The blood mounted to Flora's cheeks as her aunt said this, and her own
eyes caught a glimpse of the young lady whose conduct she had been so
strongly condemning. The aunt and her niece sat silent until Mary Lee
entered.

Here we will take the opportunity to mention the cause of the unpleasant
state of affairs between Flora and her young friend. On the day before,
while in company with Mary Lee, and one or two other of her
acquaintances, she very thoughtlessly and not exactly in the right
spirit, repeated some remarks she had heard about Ellen Gray that
reflected upon her rather unfavourably. Mary Lee at once attempted to
vindicate her friend, but Flora maintained that the allegations were
certainly true, for she had them from an undoubted source. Mary asked
that source, but she declined mentioning it, on the ground that she did
not wish to violate the confidence reposed in her by the individual who
related the facts she had repeated.

"It would, perhaps, be better not to mention any thing of this kind,"
said Mary Lee, "unless the author be given, and full liberty, at the
same time, to make the most free inquiries as to the truth of what is
alleged."

"And get up to your ears in hot water," returned Flora, tossing her
head.

"Even that would be better than to let any one suffer from an untrue
statement."

"Ah! But suppose it should be true?"

"Let the guilt rest upon the right head--where it ought to rest. But
save the innocent from unjust allegations. That is my doctrine."

"A very good doctrine, no doubt," Flora returned; "if you can act it
out."

Here the subject was dropped. On the next morning, Mary Lee called in to
see her young friend Ellen Gray. After conversing for a short time she
said--

"I heard, yesterday, Ellen, that at Mrs. Harvey's party, you acted
towards Mr. Evelyn with much discourtesy of manner, besides actually
telling an untruth."

"I am unconscious of having done either the one or the other of these,"
Ellen replied, in a quiet tone.

"I believed you innocent," said Mary, with a brightening countenance.
"But what ground is there for the idle, ill-natured gossip that has got
on the wind?"

"Not much, if any. I declined dancing with Evelyn, as I had a perfect
right to do."

"Did you tell him you were engaged for the next cotillion?"

"No, certainly not, for I had no engagement then."

"It is said that when he asked you to dance, you excused yourself on the
plea that you were already engaged."

"Who says this?"

"Flora Mere."

"How does she know?"

"That I cannot tell. She declined giving her authority."

"Then, of course, I must believe her the author of the fabrication."

"No--that does not certainly follow. I do not believe Flora would be
guilty of such a thing. But, like too many, she is ready to believe
another capable of doing almost any thing that may happen to be alleged.
And like the same class of persons, too ready to repeat what she has
heard, no matter how injuriously it may affect the subject of the
allegation--while a false principle of honour prevents the open
declaration of the source from which the information has been derived."

"Be that as it may, I shall see Flora Mere at once, and ask her for the
authority upon which the statement rests."

"It was to give you an opportunity of doing this, that I have come and
freely told what I heard."

"Thank you, Mary. I wish all the world were as frank and as
conscientious as you are. I shall, of course, mention from whom I
derived my information."

"You are at perfect liberty to do so. I try never to say or do any thing
that requires concealment."

It was, perhaps, an hour afterward, that Flora Mere was surprised by a
visit from Ellen Gray. She had an instinctive consciousness of the cause
of this visit, which made the blood mount to her face, as she took the
hand of her friend. She was not long in doubt.

"Flora," said Ellen, a few minutes after she had entered. "Mary Lee came
in to see me this morning, and mentioned that you had made statements
about me which are not true--as that I refused to dance with Mr. Evelyn
under the plea of a prior engagement, when, in fact, no such engagement
existed."

"I think Mary Lee had very little to do!" Flora returned petulantly, the
colour deepening on her face and brow, "to tattle about what she hears
in company."

"But reflect," said Ellen, mildly, "that the charge against me was one
of falsehood--no light charge--and that Mary had every reason to believe
me incapable of uttering what was not true. And further, remember, that
you declined giving your informant, so as to place it in her power to
ascertain upon what basis the statement rested. Reverse the case.
Suppose I had heard that you had done some wrong act; and, instead of
carefully satisfying myself whether it were really so or not, were to
begin circulating the story wherever I went. Would you not deem her a
true friend, who, instead of joining in the general condemnation, were
to come to you and put into your power to vindicate your character?
Certainly you would. Just in the relation which that true friend would,
under the imagined circumstances, stand to you, now stands Mary Lee to
me. She has put into my power to arrest a report which I find is
circulating to my injury. It is true that I declined dancing with Mr.
Evelyn. But it is not true that I stated to him that I was engaged. I
was not engaged, and to have said that I was, would have been to have
told a deliberate falsehood. May I, then, ask you from what source you
derived your information?"

Flora cast her eyes upon the floor, and sat silent for some time. Her
pride struggled hard with her sense of justice. At length she said,
looking up, and breathing heavily--

"I would rather not mention my informant, Ellen. It will only make
difficulty. You will go to her, and then there will be trouble. I think
you had better let the matter rest where it is. I do not, now, believe
what I heard. The person who told me, was, no doubt, mistaken."

"But, Flora, that would not be right. You have already repeated what you
heard so publicly, that it is possible at least fifty persons now
believe me guilty of having spoken an untruth. You should have reflected
beforehand. Now it is too late to let the matter drop. My character is
at stake, and I am bound to vindicate it. This I shall have to do in
such a manner as to fully clear myself from the charge. The consequence
will be, as you may at once perceive, that upon you will rest the burden
of having originated a false charge against me. Then, if not now, you
will feel it your duty to give the name of your friend. This, you had
much better do at once. No doubt she has been led into a mistake by a
too hasty judgment of my acts, but half understood. She may have
observed Mr. Evelyn ask me to dance, and have naturally inferred that I
declined on the ground of a previous engagement. This being in her mind,
she may have too hastily concluded, when she soon afterwards saw me
accept another offer, that I had not spoken the truth at the time I
refused to dance with Evelyn. All this can easily be explained, and the
matter put to rest."

Flora hesitated for a short time, and then said--

"It was Araminta Thomas who told me."

"Thank you for this information. Will you now go with me to see
Araminta?"

"I would rather not," Flora returned.

"I think it would be better for you to do so, Flora," urged Ellen. But
she could not be persuaded.

"I must then go alone," said Ellen, rising and bidding Flora good
morning.

In a little while she was at the house of Araminta Thomas. Ellen entered
at once upon the business of her visit, by stating what she had heard.
Araminta looked confused, but denied saying that Ellen had actually
told Evelyn she was engaged for the next cotillion.

"Then what did you say?" mildly asked Ellen.

"I said," replied Araminta, "that I saw you decline Evelyn's offer for
your hand."

"But did not say that I told him I was engaged?"

"_Not positively_; I only _inferred_, as was natural, that you declined
on that ground."

"Was your communication to Flora mere inferential?"

"It was."

"But she says you told her that you heard me say I was engaged."

"In that she is mistaken. I inferred that your refusal to dance was for
the reason stated. But I did not _know_ that it was, and, therefore only
gave my own impression."

"Which Flora has taken for the truth, and so repeated."

"On my authority?"

"Yes. After having been pressed by me very closely."

"In that she was wrong. But I suppose I was as wrong in giving an
impression which might not be a true one, as she has been in giving my
impressions as actual facts, and making me responsible for them. But
will you, as matters have taken this serious and unexpected turn, give
me the exact truth. I will then, so far as in my power lies, endeavour
to correct what I have done."

"Most cheerfully. You know as well as I do, that Evelyn has not acted in
some things with that honour and integrity that becomes a gentleman?"

"I do."

"It was on this ground that I declined. He asked me if I was engaged in
the next set? I said no. He then proffered his hand, which I declined.
In a little while after, and while sitting beside you, a gentleman
wished to have me as a partner. I accepted his invitation. This is the
simple truth."

"And so it seems," said Araminta with a sober face, "that while you were
rebuking vice, and standing up with dignified, virtuous firmness in the
cause of our sex, I was misjudging you. And not only that, was so far
influenced by an improper spirit as to impart to others my wrong
impressions to your injury. Alas! poor, weak human nature! I feel
rebuked and humbled. More for what I thought than for what I said, for
out of the heart proceedeth evil thoughts. If I had not had something
wrong here, I would not have been so ready to misjudge you. But all that
I can do to repair the wrong, I am ready to do."

"All I ask is, that you correct Flora, and take some little care, that,
where she has imparted a wrong impression, the true one is given in its
place."

"That I will do with all my heart," Araminta replied. "I will see Flora
this very hour."

"Do so, and you shall have not only my thanks, but my esteem and love.
We are all liable to do wrong. But to confess and repair the wrong we
have done, as far as we can, is noble. In so doing, power is given us to
conquer in all the temptations that may assail us."

As soon as Ellen had retired, Araminta went out and called upon Flora.
She found her troubled and mortified at the turn matters had taken. She
tried to excuse herself for what she had done, and insisted, at first,
that Araminta had actually stated all she had said of Ellen Gray's
conduct. But this point she soon had to give up. Araminta was too
positive, and her own memory a little too clear on the subject. In fact,
when the whole truth came fully to the light, it was very apparent, that
if there were any falsehood in the matter, she was the most guilty.
Certain it was, that Ellen Gray was innocent, in every particular, of
the charge that had been made against her.

Mrs. Marion knew nothing of all this, until the day after Ellen Gray had
called upon Flora. Then her niece, whose troubled looks had not escaped
her notice, gave a relation of what had occurred. It was in reply to
this that the opening remarks of our story were made. When Mary Lee came
in, as the reader has seen, Flora received her coldly. Mrs. Marion, on
the contrary, welcomed her with genuine cordiality.

"I am glad to see you, Mary," she said--"and particularly at this time.
It seems there has been a misunderstanding among you young ladies, and
that Flora is not altogether pleased with the part you have taken."

"It is to see her in regard to that very matter that I am here this
morning," Mary said. "I know she blames me for having told Ellen Lee
what I did. But in that I acted conscientiously. I did to another as I
would have another do to me. I acted towards Ellen as I would act
towards Flora, were I to hear any one making statements that were
calculated to injure her. The result, I think, should satisfy Flora that
I was right in doing what I have done. Ellen, it now appears, was
entirely innocent of the charge made against her--as I knew she must be.
Araminta Thomas, to whom the report has been traced, regrets extremely,
that upon her hasty inferences, so serious a matter has grown up. She
acknowledged that she only _inferred_ that Ellen told an untruth. Flora
took this inference for a direct assertion, and thence came the charge
of falsehood against Ellen Gray. Has not, then, the result proved that
the course I took was the only right one? Does it not show that I would
have been guilty of a great wrong, if, to save the feelings of any one,
I had left an innocent person to bear the imputation of wrong?"

"It certainly does, Mary. And Flora cannot but see it in the same
light."

"And she will, surely, forgive me the pain I have occasioned her,"
resumed Mary, "seeing that I had no selfish end to gain in what I did,
but was moved only by the desire to vindicate injured innocence."

This appeal softened Flora's feelings toward Mary Lee. She saw that she
was wrong, and that Mary was right. Mary had been governed by a
high-minded regard for right. Pride soon yielded.

"Mary," said she, taking her hand, while the tears came into her eyes,
"I confess that I have been wrong, and you right. I shall not soon
forget this lesson. Forgive the unkind thought I have had of you, and
say to Ellen, from me, that I do most sincerely regret the part I have
taken in this matter."

"Will I ever learn to be guarded in my remarks!" Flora said, to her
aunt, after Mary had left them. "This is the third time I have been
called to account for speaking of others, within the last few months."

"Never, I suppose," Mrs. Marion replied, "until you learn to guard your
thoughts as well as your words. If, like Mary Lee, you were less
disposed to give credence to every disparaging report circulated about
others, you would need no guard placed over your tongue. It is from the
abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh. _A good man, out of the
good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man,
out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things._ Try and keep this
in mind. If you are more ready to believe an evil than a good report of
others, be sure that all is not right with you, and more especially, if
you feel an inward pleasure in convicting them of wrong. A truly good
mind is always grieved at improper conduct in others, and ever seeks to
palliate, rather than to judge with severity. It gives but slow credence
to evil reports. Truly regard the good of all around you, and there will
be no need of placing a bridle on your tongue."



THE RICH AND THE POOR.


A hot and sultry summer had passed away, and autumn was verging on
toward its cooler months, with their long and quiet evenings.
Occasionally a colder day than usual made a fire in the grate necessary
and drew closer together the happy family of Mr. Barton in their evening
circle. It was pleasant to all, thus to feel the warm fire again, and to
see its deep glow reflected from loving faces.

"How good the fire feels!" said James, holding up his small hands to
receive its heat, and smiling as he looked upon it.

"I think I love the winter best after all," remarked William. "It is so
pleasant to sit round the fire, and feel its warmth upon our hands and
face. Home feels more like home. Don't you think so, father?"

"The change of season is always pleasant," replied Mr. Barton. "Have you
never noticed that, my son?"

"Oh yes! I always say, when spring comes, 'I am glad that it is spring.'
And in summer-time, when fruit and flowers are so plenty, I say, 'I am
glad it is summer.' And then I am glad again when the doors and windows
can be closed, and we can all gather around the fire as we do now in
autumn. In winter, when the snow begins to fall, I feel that it is
pleasant to see the light flakes flying about gayly in the air."

"But I always think then," said Mary, the gentle, loving-hearted Mary,
"of the poor children who have no warm clothing, nor good fires, as we
have. I wish, sometimes, that it were always warm, for their sakes."

"And yet, my dear, the Lord knows what is best," remarked Mr. Barton,
looking into Mary's sympathizing face. "The Bible says He is good to
all, and kind even to the unthankful."

"I know it does; and it also says, that He pitieth us even as a father
pitieth his children. But, I can't help thinking, sometimes, that there
is a great deal of suffering in the world."

"And so there is, Mary, a great deal of dreadful suffering, the reason
for which we sometimes find it very hard to understand. But one thing we
know, and this is, that it is all from man, and not from God; and that
God permits it for some good purpose--not to punish people; for the Lord
never punishes any one merely for the sake of punishment, but suffers
evil and sin to punish for the sake of reformation. You remember what I
read to you about the Divine Providence on last Sunday evening?"

"Yes, sir."

"What did I say the Divine Providence regarded?"

"Eternal ends," replied Mary.

"Do you remember what I then told you was meant by eternal ends?"

"Whatsoever had reference to man's salvation in heaven."

"Yes, that is what I said. A great many people believe that the Lord's
Providence, which is over us all, even to the smallest things, has
reference to our worldly well-doing. I remember when a boy, hearing a
man pray, regularly, in his family, every day, and a part of his prayer
always was, that the Lord would increase his basket and his store."

"What did he mean by that?" asked James, who was listening very
attentively to his father, and trying to understand all he said.

"Why, that the Lord would make him rich."

"Did the Lord make him rich?" asked Mary.

"No, my daughter, the Lord knew that to make him rich would be the worst
thing for him, for it might be the means of destroying his soul."

"Then it is best for some to be rich and some poor?" said William.

"Undoubtedly it is, or all would be rich in this world's goods, and have
every comfort and luxury that earth could afford them. For the goodness
of the Lord would seek to bless every one in good things for the body as
well as good things for the mind, if the former blessings could be given
without injury to the latter. But where they cannot, they are always
withheld."

"But all rich people are not good people," remarked William. "I think
they are, generally, more unfeeling and selfish than poor people. I have
often heard it said so; and that there was very little chance of rich
people's going to heaven."

"I know this is said, but it is a great mistake. Poor people are, as a
general thing, just as unfeeling and selfish as rich people, and stand
no better chance of heaven. So far as poverty or riches are concerned,
there is an overruling Providence regarding each, and this, as I before
remarked, looks to the salvation of souls in heaven."

"Then it isn't because one man is better than another, that he is
permitted to get rich, or has money left to him?"

"Not by any means, William," replied the father. "No man's state can be
judged of by his external condition: for the external condition that is
good for one, may be very bad for another. Ever bear this in mind, as
you pass through life, and learn, no matter in what external condition
the Lord places you, therewith to be content."





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