By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Words for the Wise
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 "Words for the Wise" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.







THE title of this book--"WORDS FOR THE WISE"--is too comprehensive to
need explanation. May the lessons it teaches be "sufficient" as
warnings, incentives and examples, to hundreds and thousands who read





"THERE is one honest man in the world, I am happy to say," remarked a
rich merchant, named Petron, to a friend who happened to call in upon

"Is there, indeed! I am glad to find you have made a discovery of the
fact. Who is the individual entitled to the honourable distinction?"

"You know Moale, the tailor?"

"Yes. Poor fellow! he's been under the weather for a long time."

"I know. But he's an honest man for all that."

"I never doubted his being honest, Mr. Petron."

"I have reason to know that he is. But I once thought differently. When
he was broken up in business some years ago, he owed me a little bill,
which I tried to get out of him as hard as any one ever did try for his
own. But I dunned and dunned him until weary, and then, giving him up
as a bad case, passed the trifle that he owed me to account of profit
and loss. He has crossed my path a few times since; but, as I didn't
feel toward him as I could wish to feel toward all men, I treated him
with marked coldness. I am sorry for having done so, for it now appears
that I judged him too severely. This morning he called in of his own
free will, and paid me down the old account. He didn't say any thing
about interest, nor did I, though I am entitled to, and ought to have
received it. But, as long as he came forward of his own accord and
settled his bill, after I had given up all hope of ever receiving it, I
thought I might afford to be a little generous and not say any thing
about the interest; and so I gave him a receipt in full. Didn't I do

"In what respect?" asked the friend.

"In forgiving him the interest, which I might have claimed as well as
not, and which he would, no doubt, have paid down, or brought me at
some future time."

"Oh, yes. You were right to forgive the interest," returned the friend,
but in a tone and with a manner that struck the merchant as rather
singular. "No man should ever take interest on money due from an
unfortunate debtor."

"Indeed! Why not?" Mr. Petron looked surprised. "Is not money always
worth its interest?"

"So it is said. But the poor debtor has no money upon which to make an
interest. He begins the world again with nothing but his ability to
work; and, if saddled with an old debt--principal and interest--his
case is hopeless. Suppose he owes ten thousand dollars, and, after
struggling hard for three or four years, gets into a position that will
enable him to pay off a thousand dollars a year. There is some chance
for him to get out of debt in ten years. But suppose interest has been
accumulating at the rate of some six hundred dollars a year. His debt,
instead of being ten thousand, will have increased to over twelve
thousand dollars by the time he is in a condition to begin to pay off
any thing; and then, instead of being able to reduce the amount a
thousand dollars a year, he will have to let six hundred go for the
annual interest on the original debt. Four years would have to elapse
before, under this system, he would get his debt down to where it was
when he was broken up in business. Thus, at the end of eight years'
hard struggling, he would not, really, have advanced a step out of his
difficulties. A debt of ten thousand dollars would still be hanging
over him. And if, persevering to the end, he should go on paying the
interest regularly and reducing the principal, some twenty-five years
of his life would be spent in getting free from debt, when little over
half that time would have been required, if his creditors had, acting
from the commonest dictates of humanity, voluntarily released the

"That is a new view of the case, I must confess--at least new to me,"
said Mr. Petron.

"It is the humane view of the case. But, looking to interest alone, it
is the best view for every creditor to take. Many a man who, with a
little effort, might have cancelled, in time, the principal of a debt
unfortunately standing against him, becomes disheartened at seeing it
daily growing larger through the accumulation of interest, and gives up
in despair. The desire to be free from debt spurs many a man into
effort. But make the difficulties in his way so large as to appear
insurmountable, and he will fold his hands in helpless inactivity.
Thousands of dollars are lost every year in consequence of creditors
grasping after too much, and breaking down the hope and energy of the

"Perhaps you are right," said Mr. Petron;--"that view of the case never
presented itself to my mind. I don't suppose, however, the interest on
fifty dollars would have broken down Moale."

"There is no telling. It is the last pound, you know, that breaks the
camel's back. Five years have passed since his day of misfortune.
Fifteen dollars for interest are therefore due. I have my doubts if he
could have paid you sixty-five dollars now. Indeed, I am sure he could
not. And the thought of that as a new debt, for which he had received
no benefit whatever, would, it is more than probable, have produced a
discouraged state of mind, and made him resolve not to pay you any
thing at all."

"But that wouldn't have been honest," said the merchant.

"Perhaps not, strictly speaking. To be dishonest is from a set purpose
to defraud; to take from another what belongs to him; or to withhold
from another, when ability exists to pay, what is justly his due. You
would hardly have placed Moale in either of these positions, if, from
the pressure of the circumstances surrounding him as a poor man and in
debt, he had failed to be as active, industrious, and prudent as he
would otherwise have been. We are all apt to require too much of the
poor debtor, and to have too little sympathy with him. Let the hope of
improving your own condition--which is the mainspring of all your
business operations--be taken away, and instead, let there be only the
desire to pay off old debts through great labour and self-denial, that
must continue for years, and imagine how differently you would think
and feel from what you do now. Nay, more; let the debt be owed to those
who are worth their thousands and tens of a thousands, and who are in
the enjoyment of every luxury and comfort they could desire, while you
go on paying them what you owe, by over-exertion and the denial to
yourself and family of all those little luxuries and recreations which
both so much need, and then say how deeply dyed would be that
dishonesty which would cause you, in a moment of darker and deeper
discouragement than usual, to throw the crushing weight from your
shoulders, and resolve to bear it no longer? You must leave a man some
hope in life if you would keep him active and industrious in his

Mr. Petron said nothing in reply to this; but he looked sober. His
friend soon after left.

The merchant, as the reader may infer from his own acknowledgment, was
one of those men whose tendency to regard only their own interests has
become so confirmed a habit, that they can see nothing beyond the
narrow circle of self. Upon debtors he had never looked with a particle
of sympathy; and had, in all cases, exacted his own as rigidly as if
his debtor had not been a creature of human wants and feelings. What
had just been said, however, awakened a new thought in his mind; and,
as he reflected upon the subject, he saw that there was some reason in
what had been said, and felt half ashamed of his allusion to the
interest of the tailor's fifty-dollar debt.

Not long after, a person came into his store, and from some cause
mentioned the name of Moale.

"He's an honest man--that I am ready to say of him," remarked Mr.

"Honest, but very poor," was replied.

"He's doing well now, I believe," said the merchant.

"He's managing to keep soul and body together, and hardly that."

"He's paying off his old debts."

"I know he is; but I blame him for injuring his health and wronging his
family, in order to pay a few hundred dollars to men a thousand times
better off in the world than he is. He brought me twenty dollars on an
old debt yesterday, but I wouldn't touch it. His misfortunes had long
ago cancelled the obligation in my eyes. God forbid! that with enough
to spare, I should take the bread out of the mouths of a poor man's

"Is he so very poor?" asked Mr. Petron, surprised and rebuked at what
he heard.

"He has a family of six children to feed, clothe, and educate; and he
has it to do by his unassisted labour. Since he was broken up in
business some years ago, he has had great difficulties to contend with,
and only by pinching himself and family, and depriving both of nearly
every comfort, has he been able to reduce the old claims that have been
standing against him. But he has shortened his own life ten years
thereby, and has deprived his children of the benefits of education,
except in an extremely limited degree--wrongs that are irreparable. I
honour his stern integrity of character, but think that he has carried
his ideas of honesty too far. God gave him these children, and they
have claims upon him for earthly comforts and blessings to the extent
of his ability to provide. His misfortunes he could not prevent, and
they were sent as much for the chastisement of those who lost by him as
they were for his own. If, subsequently, his greatest exertion was not
sufficient to provide more than ordinary comforts for the family still
dependent upon him, his first duty was to see that they did not want.
If he could not pay his old debts without injury to his health or wrong
to his family, he was under no obligation to pay them; for it is clear,
that no claims upon us are so imperative as to require us to wrong
others in order to satisfy them."

Here was another new doctrine for the ears of the merchant--doctrine
strange, as well as new. He did not feel quite so comfortable as before
about the recovered debt of fifty dollars. The money still lay upon his
desk. He had not yet entered it upon his cash-book, and he felt now
less inclined to do so than ever. The claims of humanity, in the
abstract, pressed themselves upon him for consideration, and he saw
that they were not to be lightly thrust aside.

In order to pay the fifty dollars, which had been long due to the
merchant, Mr. Moale had, as alleged, denied himself and family at every
point, and overworked himself to a degree seriously injurious to his
health; but his heart felt lighter after the sense of obligation was

There was little at home, however, to make him feel cheerful. His wife,
not feeling able to hire a domestic, was worn down with the care and
labour of her large family; the children were, as a necessary
consequence, neglected both in minds and bodies. Alas! there was no
sunshine in the poor man's dwelling.

"Well, Alice," said Mr. Moale, as his wife came and stood by the board
upon which he sat at work, holding her babe in her arms, "I have paid
off another debt, thank heaven?"


"Petron's. He believed me a rogue and treated me as such. I hope he
thinks differently now."

"I wish all men were as honest in their intentions as you are."

"So do I, Alice. The world would be a much better one than it is, I am

"And yet, William," said his wife, "I sometimes think we do wrong to
sacrifice so much to get out of debt. Our children"--

"Alice," spoke up the tailor, quickly, "I would almost sell my body
into slavery to get free from debt. When I think of what I still owe, I
feel as if I would suffocate."

"I know how badly you feel about it, William; but your heart is honest,
and should not that reflection bear you up?"

"What is an honest heart without an honest hand, Alice?" replied the
tailor, bending still to his work.

"The honest heart is the main thing, William; God looks at that. Man
judges only of the action, but God sees the heart and its purposes."

"But what is the purpose without the act?"

"It is all that is required, where no ability to act is given. William,
God does not demand of any one impossibilities."

"Though man often does," said the tailor, bitterly.

There was a pause, broken, at length, by the wife, who said--"And have
you really determined to put John and Henry out to trades? They are so

"I know they are, Alice; too young to leave home. But"--

The tailor's voice became unsteady; he broke off in the middle of the

"Necessity requires it to be done," he said, recovering himself; "and
it is of no avail to give way to unmanly weakness. But for this old
debt, we might have been comfortable enough, and able to keep our
children around us until they were of a more fitting age to go from
under their parents' roof. Oh, what a curse is debt!"

"There is more yet to pay?"

"Yes, several hundreds of dollars; but if I fail as I have for a year
past, I will break down before I get through."

"Let us think of our family, William; they have the first claim upon
us. Those to whom money is owed are better off than we are; they stand
in no need of it."

"But is it not justly due, Alice?" inquired the tailor, in a rebuking

"No more justly due than is food, and raiment, and a _home_ to our
children," replied the tailor's wife, with more than her usual decision
of tone. "God has given us these children, and he will require an
account of the souls committed to our charge. Is not a human soul of
more importance than dollars? A few years, and it will be out of our
power to do our children good; they will grow up, and bear for ever the
marks of neglect and wrong."

"Alice! Alice! for heaven's sake, do not talk in this way!" exclaimed
the tailor, much disturbed.

"William," said the wife, "I am a mother, and a mother's heart can feel
right; nature tells me that it is wrong for us to thrust out our
children before they are old enough to go into the world. Let us keep
them home longer."

"We cannot, and pay off this debt."

"Then let the debt go unpaid for the present. Those to whom it is owed
can receive no harm from waiting; but our children will"--

Just then a man brought in a letter, and, handing it to the tailor,
withdrew. On breaking the seal, Mr. Moale found that it contained fifty
dollars, and read as follows:--

"SIR--Upon reflection, I feel that I ought not to receive from you the
money that was due to me when you became unfortunate some years ago. I
understand that you have a large family, that your health is not very
good, and that you are depriving the one of comforts, and injuring the
other, in endeavouring to pay off your old debts. To cancel these
obligations would be all right--nay, your duty--if you could do so
without neglecting higher and plainer duties. But you cannot do this,
and I cannot receive the money you paid me this morning. Take it back,
and let it be expended in making your family more comfortable. I have
enough, and more than enough for all my wants, and I will not deprive
you of a sum that must be important, while to me it is of little
consequence either as gained or lost.


The letter dropped from the tailor's hand; he was overcome with
emotion. His wife, when she understood its purport, burst into tears.

The merchant's sleep was sweeter that night than it had been for some
time, and so was the sleep of the poor debtor.

The next day Mr. Moale called to see Mr. Petron, to whom, at the
instance of the latter, he gave a full detail of his actual
circumstances. The merchant was touched by his story, and prompted by
true benevolence to aid him in his struggles. He saw most of the
tailor's old creditors, and induced those who had not been paid in full
to voluntarily relinquish their claims, and some of those who had
received money since the poor man's misfortunes, to restore it as
belonging of right to his family. There was not one of these creditors
who did not feel happier by their act of generosity; and no one can
doubt that both the tailor and his family were also happier. John and
Henry were not compelled to leave their home until they were older and
better prepared to endure the privations that usually attend the boy's
first entrance into the world; and help for the mother in her arduous
duties could now be afforded.

No one doubts that the creditor, whose money is not paid to him, has
rights. But too few think of the rights of the poor debtor, who sinks
into obscurity, and often privations, while his heart is oppressed with
a sense of obligations utterly beyond his power to cancel.


TWO things are required to make a Christian--piety and charity. The
first has relation to worship, and in the last all social duties are
involved. Of the great importance of charity in the Christian
character, some idea may be gained by the pointed question asked by an
apostle--"If you love not your brother whom you have seen, how can you
love God whom you have not seen?" There is no mistaking the meaning of
this. It says, in the plainest language--"Piety without charity is
nothing;" and yet how many thousands and hundreds of thousands around
us expect to get to heaven by Sunday religion alone! Through the week
they reach out their hands for money on the right and on the left, so
eager for its attainment, that little or no regard is paid to the
interests of others; and on Sunday, with a pious face, they attend
church and enter into the most holy acts of worship, fondly imagining
that they can be saved by mere acts of piety, while no regard for their
fellow-man is in their hearts.

Such a man was Brian Rowley. His religion was of so pure a stamp that
it would not bear the world's rough contact, and, therefore, it was
never brought into the world. He left the world to take care of itself
when the Sabbath morning broke; and when the Sabbath morning closed, he
went back into the world to look after his own interests. Every Sunday
he progressed a certain way towards heaven, and then stood still for a
week, in order that he might take proper care of the dollars and cents.

Business men who had transactions with Mr. Rowley generally kept their
eyes open. If they did not do it at the first operation, they rarely
omitted it afterwards, and for sufficient reason; he was sharp at
making a bargain, and never felt satisfied unless he obtained some
advantage. Men engaged in mercantile pursuits were looked upon, as a
general thing, as ungodly in their lives, and therefore, in a certain
sense, "out-siders." To make good bargains out of these was only to
fight them with their own weapons; and he was certainly good at such
work. In dealing with his brethren of the same faith he was rather more
guarded, and affected a contempt for carnal things that he did not feel.

We said that the religion of Mr. Rowley did not go beyond the pious
duties of the Sabbath. This must be amended. His piety flowed into
certain benevolent operations of the day; he contributed to the support
of Indian and Foreign Missions, and was one of the managers on a Tract
Board. In the affairs of the Ceylonese and South-Sea Islanders he took
a warm interest, and could talk eloquently about the heathen.

Not far from Mr. Brian Rowley's place of business was the store of a
man named Lane, whose character had been cast originally in a different
mould. He was not a church-going man, because, as he said, he didn't
want to be "thought a hypocrite." In this he displayed a weakness. At
one time he owned a pew in the same church to which Rowley was
attached, and attended church regularly, although he did not attach
himself to the church, nor receive its ordinances. His pew was near
that of Mr. Rowley, and he had a good opportunity for observing the
peculiar manner in which the latter performed his devotions.
Unfortunately for his good opinion of the pious Sunday worshipper, they
were brought into rather close contact during the week in matters of
business, when Mr. Lane had opportunities of contrasting his piety and
charity. The want of agreement in these two pre-requisites of a genuine
Christian disgusted Lane, and caused him so much annoyance on Sunday
that he finally determined to give up his pew and remain at home. A
disposition to carp at professors of religion was manifested from this
time; the whole were judged by Rowley as a sample.

One dull day a man named Gregory, a sort of busybody in the
neighbourhood, came into the store of Mr. Lane and said to him--"What
do you think of our friend Rowley? Is he a good Christian?"

"He's a pretty fair Sunday Christian," replied Lane.

"What is that?" asked the man.

"A hypocrite, to use plain language."

"That's pretty hard talk," said Gregory.

"Do you think so?"

"Yes. When you call a man a hypocrite, you make him out, in my opinion,
about as bad as he can well be."

"Call him a Sunday Christian, then."

"A Sunday Christian?"

"Yes; that is, a man who puts his religion on every Sabbath, as he does
his Sunday coat; and lays it away again carefully on Monday morning, so
that it will receive no injury in every-day contact with the world."

"I believe with you that Rowley doesn't bring much of his religion into
his business."

"No, nor as much common honesty as would save him from perdition."

"He doesn't expect to be saved by keeping the moral law."

"There'll be a poor chance for him, in my opinion, if he's judged
finally by that code."

"You don't seem to have a very high opinion of our friend Rowley?"

"I own that. I used to go to church; but his pious face was ever before
me, and his psalm-singing ever in my ears. Was it possible to look at
him and not think of his grasping, selfish, overreaching conduct in all
his business transactions through the week? No, it was not possible for
me. And so, in disgust, I gave up my pew, and haven't been to church

The next man whom Gregory met he made the repository of what Lane had
said about Rowley. This person happened to be a member of the church,
and felt scandalized by the remarks. After a little reflection he
concluded to inform Mr. Rowley of the free manner in which Mr. Lane had
spoken of him.

"Called me a hypocrite!" exclaimed the indignant Mr. Rowley, as soon as
he was advised of the free manner in which Mr. Lane had talked about

"So I understand. Gregory was my informant."

Mr. Gregory was called upon, and confirmed the statement. Rowley was
highly indignant, and while the heat of his anger was upon him, called
at the store of Mr. Lane, in company with two members of his church,
who were not at all familiar with his business character, and,
therefore, held him in pretty high estimation as a man of piety and

The moment Mr. Lane saw these three men enter his place of business, he
had a suspicion of their errand.

"Can I have some private conversation with you?" asked Mr. Rowley, with
a countenance as solemn as the grave.

"Certainly," replied Mr. Lane, not the least discomposed. "Walk back
into my counting-room. We shall be entirely alone there. Do you wish
your friends present?"

"I do," was gravely replied; "I brought them for that purpose."

"Walk back, gentlemen," said Lane, as he turned to lead the way.

The four men retired to the little office of the merchant in the back
part of the store. After they were seated, Lane said:

"Well, Mr. Rowley, I am ready to hear what you have to say."

Mr. Rowley cleared his throat two or three times, and then said, in a
voice that indicated a good deal of inward disturbance:

"I understand that you have been making rather free use of my name of

"Indeed! in what way?" Lane was perfectly self-possessed.

"I am told that you went so far as to call me a hypocrite." The voice
of Rowley trembled.

"I said you were a Sunday Christian," replied Lane.

"What do you mean by that?" was peremptorily demanded.

"A man whose religion is a Sunday affair altogether. One who expects to
get to heaven by pious observances and church-goings on the Sabbath,
without being over-particular as to the morality of his conduct through
the week."

"Morality! do you pretend to say that I am an immoral man?" said
Rowley, with much heat.

"Don't get into a passion!" returned Lane, coolly. "That will not help
us at all in this grave matter."

Rowley quivered in every nerve; but the presence of his two brethren
admonished him that a Christian temper was very necessary to be
maintained on the occasion.

"Do you charge me with want of morality?" he said, with less visible

"I do,--that is, according to my code of morality."

"Upon what do you base your code?" asked one of the witnesses of this
rather strange interview.

"On the Bible," replied Lane.

"Indeed!" was answered, with some surprise; "on what part of it?"

"On every part. But more particularly that passage in the New Testament
where the whole of the law and the prophets is condensed in a single
passage, enjoining love to our neighbour as well as God."

Rowley and his friends looked surprised at this remark.

"Explain yourself," said the former, with a knit brow.

"That is easily done. The precept here given, and it comes from the
highest authority, expressly declares, as I understand it, religion to
consist in acting justly toward all men, as well as in pious acts
towards God. If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can
he love God whom he hath not seen?"

"Does our brother Rowley deny that?" asked the men present.

"If a man's life is any index to his faith, I would say that he does,"
replied Mr. Lane.

A deep crimson overspread the face of Mr. Rowley.

"I didn't expect insult when I came here," said he in a trembling voice.

"Nor have I offered any," replied Mr. Lane.

"You have thought proper to ask me a number of very pointed questions,
and I have merely answered them according to my views of truth."

"You make a very sweeping declaration," said one of the friends of
Rowley. "Suppose you give some proof of your assertion?"

"That I can readily do if it is desired."

"I desire it, then," said Rowley.

"Do you remember the five bales of cotton you sold to Peterson?"
inquired Mr. Lane.

Rowley replied that he did, but evinced some uneasiness of manner at
the question.

"They were damaged," said Lane.

"I sold them as I bought them," returned Rowley.

"Did you buy them as damaged?"

"No, I bought the cotton as a good article."

"And sold it as good?"

Mr. Rowley seemed a little confused.

"I sold the cotton at twelve cents a pound," was the reply. "Nothing
was said about the quality."

"Twelve cents is the price of a prime article. If you had been asked by
Peterson if the cotton were in good condition, would you have answered

"Do you think I would tell a lie?" asked Mr. Rowley, indignantly.

"Our acts are the most perfect expressions of our intentions," replied
Mr. Lane. "You were deceived in your purchase of the cotton; the
article proved so near valueless, as not to be really worth three cents
a pound. You discovered this, as I have the best reasons for knowing,
almost as soon as it came into your possession; and yet you offered it
to Peterson, who, not suspecting for a moment that any thing was wrong,
bought it at the regular market-rate as good. You saved yourself; but
Peterson, though not a professor of religion, was too honest to put his
bad bargain off upon another. Now, if that act, on your part, was
loving your neighbour as yourself, I must own to a very perverted
understanding of the sacred precept. I, though no church member, would
have put my head into the fire rather than do such an act."

Mr. Rowley, much confused by so direct a charge, attempted to explain
the matter away, alleging that he did not think that the article was so
badly damaged--that he sold as he bought--that it wasn't right that he
should bear all the loss, with much more to the same purpose; to all of
which Lane opposed but little. He had presented the case already strong
enough for all to see how far it comported with Christian morality. But
he had more to say:--

"Beyond this, which I bring forward as a specimen of the character of
your dealings with your fellow-men, I could adduce almost innumerable
examples of your indirect and covert modes of obtaining the advantage
in ordinary transactions. You may not be aware of the fact, Mr. Rowley,
but your reputation among business men is that of a dealer so close to
your own side of the bargain as to trench upon the rights of others.
You invariably keep the half cent in giving change, while you have been
repeatedly known to refuse a ten cent piece and two cents for an
elevenpence. In fact, you are known as a man who invariably seeks to
get the best of every transaction. If this is Christian charity--if
this is a just regard for the rights of your neighbours--if this is in
agreement with the spirit of the Bible, then I have been labouring
under a mental delusion. Man of the world as I am--heathen as you have
seemed to regard me, I am proud to say that I govern my actions from a
higher principle. You now understand, gentlemen," addressing the
friends of Rowley, "why I have called this man a Sunday Christian. It
is plain that he expects to get to heaven by a simple Sunday service of
his Maker, while all the week he pursues gain so eagerly as to thrust
other people aside, and even make his way, so to speak, over their
prostrate bodies. I have no more to say."

Rowley was so much confounded by this unexpected charge, that he was
silent. His own conscience wrote an affirmation of the truth in his
countenance. The men who had come with him arose, and, bowing with far
more respect than when they entered, withdrew, and Rowley went with

There was a change in the pious merchant after this. He conducted his
business with less apparent eagerness to get the best of every bargain
than had been his custom in former times; but whether influenced by
more genuine Christian principles, or by an awakened love of
reputation, it is not for us to say.

It is not by a man's religious profession that the world judges of his
character, but by the quality of his transactions in business
intercourse with his fellow-men. If he be truly religious, it will be
seen here in the justice and judgment of all his business transactions.
If a man be not faithful to his brother, he cannot be faithful to


"HE'LL never succeed!" was the remark of Mr. Hueston, on reference
being made to a young man named Eldridge, who had recently commenced

"Why not?" was asked.

"He's begun wrong."

"In what way?"

"His connection is bad."

"With Dalton?"

"Yes. Dalton is either a knave or a fool. The former, I believe; but in
either case the result will be the same to his partner. Before two
years, unless a miracle takes place, you will see Eldridge, at least,
coming out at the little end of the horn. I could have told him this at
first, but it was none of my business. I never meddle with things that
don't concern me."

"You know Dalton, then?"

"I think I do."

"Has he been in business before?"

"Yes, half a dozen times; and somehow or other, he has always managed
to get out of it, with cash in hand, long enough before it broke down
to escape all odium and responsibility."

"I'm sorry for Eldridge. He's a clever young man, and honest into the

"Yes; and he has energy of character and some business talents. But he
is too confiding. And here is just the weakness that will prove his
ruin. He will put too much faith in his plausible associate."

"Some one should warn him of his danger. Were I intimate enough to
venture on the freedom, I would certainly do so."

"I don't meddle myself with other people's affairs. One never gets any
thanks for the trouble he takes on this score. At least, that is my
experience. And, moreover, it's about as much as I can do to take good
care of my own concerns. This is every man's business."

"I wish you had given the young man a word of caution before he was
involved with Dalton."

"I did think of doing so; but then I reflected that it was his
look-out, and not mine. Each man has to cut his eye-teeth for himself,
you know."

"True; but when we see a stumbling-block in the way of a blind man, or
one whose eyes are turned in another direction, we ought at least to
utter a warning word. It seems to me that we owe that much good-will to
our fellows."

"Perhaps we do. And I don't know that it would have been any harm if I
had done as you suggest. However, it is too late now."

"I think not. A hint of the truth would put him on his guard."

"I don't know."

"Oh, yes, it would."

"I am not certain. Dalton is a most plausible man; and I am pretty sure
that, in the mind of a person like Eldridge, he can inspire the fullest
confidence. To suggest any thing wrong, now, would not put him on his
guard, and might lead the suggester into trouble."

Much more was said on both sides, but no good result flowed from the
conversation. Mr. Hueston did not hesitate to declare that he knew how
it would all be in the end; but at the same time said that it was none
of his business, and that "every man must look out for himself."

The character of Dalton was by no means harshly judged by Mr. Hueston.
He was, at heart, a knave; yet a most cunning and specious one.
Eldridge, on the contrary, was the very soul of integrity; and, being
thoroughly honest in all his intentions, it was hard for him to believe
that any man who spoke fair to him, and professed to be governed by
right principles, could be a scoundrel. With a few thousand dollars,
his share of his father's estate, he had come to Boston for the purpose
of commencing some kind of business. With creditable prudence, he
entered the store of a merchant and remained there for a year, in order
to obtain a practical familiarity with trade. During this period he
fell in with Dalton, who was in a small commission way that barely
yielded him enough to meet his expenses. Dalton was not long in
discovering that Eldridge had some cash, and that his ultimate
intention was to engage in business for himself. From that time he
evinced towards the young man a very friendly spirit, and soon found a
good reason for changing his boarding-place, and making his home under
the same roof with Eldridge. To win upon the young man's confidence was
no hard matter. Before six months, Dalton was looked upon as a
generous-minded friend, who had his interest deeply at heart. All his
views in regard to business were freely communicated; and he rested
upon the suggestions of Dalton with the confidence of one who believed
that he had met a friend, not only fully competent to advise aright,
but thoroughly unselfish in all his feelings.

Dalton possessed a large amount of business information, and was,
therefore, the very man for Eldridge; particularly as he was
communicative. In conversation, the latter obtained a great deal of
information on subjects especially interesting to one who looked
forward to engaging in some branch of trade for himself. One evening
the two men sat conversing about business, as usual, when Eldridge said:

"It is time I was making some move for myself; but, for my life, I
can't come to any decision as to what I shall do."

"It is better for a young man, if he can do so, to connect himself with
some established house," replied Dalton to this. "It takes time to make
a new business, and not unfrequently a very long time."

"I am aware of that; but I see no opportunity for an arrangement of the

"How much capital can you furnish?"

"Ten thousand dollars."

"That's very good, and ought to enable you to make an arrangement
somewhere. I don't know but I might be willing to give you an interest
in my business. This, however, would require some reflection. I am
turning out a very handsome surplus every year, without at all crowding

"A commission business?"

"Yes. I am agent for three or four manufactories, and effect some
pretty large sales during the year. If I were able to make liberal cash
advances, I could more than quadruple my business."

"And, of course, your profits also?"

"Yes, that follows as a natural result."

"Would ten thousand dollars be at all adequate for such a purpose?"

"It would help very much. Ten thousand dollars in cash is, you know, a
basis of credit to nearly four times that sum."

"Yes, I am aware of that."

"Is your capital readily available?" inquired Dalton.

"Yes, since I have been in the city I have invested every thing in
government securities, as safe property, and readily convertible into

"Very judicious."

Dalton mused for some time.

"Yes," he at length said, as if he had been thinking seriously of the
effect of ten thousand dollars in his business. "The capital you have
would put a new face on every thing. That's certain. Suppose you think
the matter over, and I will do the same."

"I will, certainly. And I may say now, that there will hardly be any
hinderance on my part to the arrangement, if you should see it to be
advantageous all around."

Of course Mr. Dalton professed, after taking a decent time for
pretended reflection, to see great advantage to all parties in a
business connection, which in due time was formed. But few of those who
knew Eldridge were apprized of what he intended doing, and those who
did know, and were aware at the same time of Mr. Dalton's character,
like Mr. Hueston, concluded to mind their own business.

And so, unwarned of the risk he was encountering, an honest and
confiding young man was permitted to form a copartnership with a
villain, who had already been the means of involving three or four
unsuspecting individuals in hopeless embarrassment.

Confident that he had entered the road to fortune, Eldridge commenced
his new career. The capital he had supplied gave, as Dalton had
predicted, new life to the business, for the offer of liberal cash
advances brought heavier consignments, and opened the way for more
extensive operations. The general management of affairs was left,
according to previous understanding, in the hands of the senior
partner, as most competent for that department; while Eldridge gave his
mind to the practical details of the business, which, by the end of a
year, had grown far beyond his anticipations.

Accepting large consignments of goods, upon which advances had to be
made, required the raising of a great deal of money; and this Dalton
managed to accomplish without calling away the attention of his partner
from what he was engaged in doing. Thus matters went on for about three
years, when Dalton began to complain of failing health, and to hint
that he would be compelled to retire from active business. Eldridge
said that he must not think of this; but the senior partner did think
of it very seriously. From that time his health appeared to break
rapidly; and in a few months he formally announced his intention to
withdraw. Finding both remonstrance and persuasion of no avail, the
basis of a dissolution of the copartnership was agreed upon, in which
the value of the business itself, that would now be entirely in the
hands of Eldridge, was rated high as an offset to a pretty large sum
which Dalton claimed as his share in the concern. Without due
reflection, there being a balance of five thousand dollars to the
credit of the firm in bank, which, by the way, was provided for special
effect at the time by the cunning senior, Eldridge consented that, for
his share of the business, Dalton should be permitted to take bills
receivable amounting to six thousand dollars; a check for two thousand,
and his notes for ten thousand dollars besides, payable in three to
eighteen months. After all this was settled, a dissolution of the
copartnership was publicly announced, and Eldridge, with some
misgivings at heart, undertook the entire management of the business
himself. It was but a very little while before he found himself
embarrassed in making his payments. The withdrawal of two thousand
dollars in cash, and six thousand in paper convertible into cash,
created a serious disability. In fact, an earnest and thorough
investigation of the whole business showed it to be so crippled that
little less than a miracle would enable him to conduct it to a safe
issue. Nevertheless, still unsuspicious to the real truth, he resolved
to struggle manfully for a triumph over the difficulties that lay
before him, and overcome them, if there was any virtue in energy and

The first point at which the business suffered was in the loss of
consignments. Inability to make the required advances turned from the
warehouse of Eldridge large lots of goods almost weekly, the profits on
the sales of which would have been a handsome addition to his income.
At the end of three months, the first note of a thousand dollars held
by Dalton fell due, and was paid. This was so much more taken from his
capital. Another month brought a payment of a like amount, and at the
end of six months a thousand dollars more were paid. Thus Dalton had
been able to get eleven thousand dollars out of the concern, although
three years before he was not really worth a dollar; and there were
still due him seven thousand dollars.

By this time, the eyes of Eldridge were beginning to open to the truth.
Suspicion being once finally awakened, he entered upon a careful
examination of the business from the time of forming the copartnership.
This occupied him for some weeks before he was able to bring out a
clear and comprehensive exhibit of affairs. Then he saw that he had
been the victim of a specious and cunning scoundrel, and that, so far
from being worth a dollar, he had obligations falling due for over ten
thousand dollars more than he had the means to pay.

A sad and disheartening result! And what added to the pain of Eldridge
was the fact, that he should have been so weak and short-sighted as to
permit himself to be thus duped and cheated.

"I knew how it would be," said Mr. Hueston, coolly, when he was told
that Eldridge was in difficulties. "Nothing else was to have been

"Why so?" inquired the person to whom the remark was made.

"Everybody knows Dalton to be a sharper. Eldridge is not his first

"I did not know it."

"I did, then, and prophesied just this result."


"Yes, certainly I did. I knew exactly how it must turn out. And here's
the end, as I predicted."

This was said with great self-complacency.

Soon after the conversation, a young man, named Williams, who had only
a year before married the daughter of Mr. Hueston, came into his store
with a look of trouble on his countenance. His business was that of an
exchange-broker, and in conducting it he was using the credit of his
father-in-law quite liberally.

"What's the matter?" inquired Mr. Hueston, seeing, by the expression of
the young man's face, that something was wrong.

"Have you heard any thing about Eldridge?" inquired Williams, in an
anxious voice.

"Yes, I understand that he is about making a failure of it; and, if so,
it will be a bad one. But what has that to do with your affairs?"

"If he fails, I am ruined," replied the young man, becoming greatly

"You?" It was now Mr. Hueston's turn to exhibit a disturbed aspect.

"I hold seven thousand dollars of his paper."

"Seven thousand dollars!"


"How in the name of wonder did it come into your possession?"

"I took it from Dalton at a tempting discount."

"From Dalton! Then his name is on the paper?"

"No, I hold it without recourse."

"What folly! How could you have done such a thing?"

"I believed Eldridge to be perfectly good. Dalton said that he was in
the way of making a fortune."

"Why, then, was he anxious to part with his paper without recourse?"

"It was, he alleged, on account of ill-health. He wished to close up
all his business and make an investment of what little he possessed
previous to going south, in the hope that a change of air would brace
up his shattered constitution."

"It was all a lie--the scoundrel! His health is as good as mine. A
greater villain than he is does not walk the earth. I wonder how you
could have been so duped."

"How do you think Eldridge's affairs will turn out?" asked the young

"Worse than nothing, I suppose. I understand that he paid Dalton some
eighteen thousand dollars for his half of the business. There was but
ten thousand dollars capital at first; and, from the way things were
conducted, instead of its increasing, it must have diminished yearly."

Here was an entirely new aspect in the case. Mr. Hueston's
self-complacency was gone; he knew how it would be with Eldridge from
the first, but he didn't know how it was going to be with himself. He
didn't for a moment dream that when the fabric of the young man's
fortune came falling around him, that any thing belonging to him would
be buried under the ruins.

"Too bad! too bad!" he ejaculated, as, under a sense of the utter
desperation of the case, he struck his hands together, and then threw
them above his head. But it did no good to fret and scold, and blame
his son-in-law; the error had been committed, and it was now too late
to retrace a step. Six or seven thousand dollars would inevitably be
lost; and, as Williams had no capital, originally, of his own, the
money would have to come out of his pocket. The ruin of which the young
man talked was more in his imagination than anywhere else, as Mr.
Hueston was able enough to sustain him in his difficulty.

In the winding up of the affairs of Eldridge, who stopped payment on
the day Williams announced to his father-in-law the fact that he held
his notes, every thing turned out as badly as Mr. Hueston had
predicted. The unhappy young man was almost beside himself with
trouble, mortification, and disappointment. Not only had he lost every
thing he possessed in the world; he was deeply involved in debt
besides, and his good name was gone. A marriage contract, into which he
had entered, was broken off in consequence; the father of the lady
demanding of him a release of the engagement in a way so insulting,
that the young man flung insult back into his teeth, and never after
went near his house.

For months after the disastrous termination of his business, Eldridge
lingered about the city in a miserable state of mind. Some friends
obtained for him a situation as clerk, but he did not keep the place
very long; it seemed almost impossible for him to fix his attention
upon any thing. This neglect of the interests of his employer was so
apparent, that he was dismissed from his place at the end of a few
months. This increased the morbid despondency under which he was
labouring, and led to an almost total abandonment of himself. In less
than a year, he was travelling swiftly along the road to utter ruin.

One day, it was just twelve months from the time of Eldridge's failure,
Mr. Hueston stood conversing with a gentleman, when the unhappy young
man went reeling by, so much intoxicated that he with difficulty kept
his feet.

"Poor fellow!" said the gentleman, in a tone of pity. "He was badly
dealt by."

"There is no doubt of that," returned Mr. Hueston. "Dalton managed his
cards with his usual skill. But I knew how it would be from the first.
I knew that Dalton was a knave at heart, and would overreach him."

"You did?" was rejoined, with a look and tone of surprise.

"Oh, yes. I predicted, from the beginning, the very result that has
come out."

"You warned the young man, of course?" inquired the gentleman.


"What! Saw him in the hands of a sharper, and gave him no warning?"

"I never meddle in other people's affairs. I find as much as I can do
to take proper care of my own."

"And yet, if common report is true, had you taken a little care of this
young man, you would have saved six or seven thousand dollars for

"That's my look-out," said Mr. Hueston.

"You knew how it would be," resumed the gentleman, in a severe,
rebuking voice, "and yet kept silence, permitting an honest, confiding
young man to fall into the clutches of a scoundrel. Mr. Hueston,
society holds you responsible for the ruin of one of its members,
equally responsible with the knave who was the agent of the ruin. A
word would have saved the young man; but, in your indifference and
disregard of others' good, you would not speak that word. When next you
see the miserable wreck of a human being that but just now went
staggering past, remember the work of your own hands is before you."

And saying this, the man turned abruptly away, leaving Mr. Hueston so
much astonished and bewildered by the unexpected charge, as scarcely to
comprehend where he was. Recovering himself in a moment or two, he
walked slowly along, his eyes upon the ground, with what feelings the
reader may imagine.

A few days afterwards, his son-in-law, at his instance, went in search
of Eldridge for the purpose of offering him assistance, and making an
effort to reclaim him. But, alas! he was too late; death had finished
the work of ruin.



JACOB JONES was clerk in a commission store at a salary of five hundred
dollars a year. He was just twenty-two, and had been receiving his
salary for two years. Jacob had no one to care for but himself; but,
somehow or other, it happened that he did not lay up any money, but,
instead, usually had from fifty to one hundred dollars standing against
him on the books of his tailors.

"How much money have you laid by, Jacob?" said, one day, the merchant
who employed him. This question came upon Jacob rather suddenly; and
coming from the source that it did was not an agreeable one--for the
merchant was a very careful and economical man.

"I haven't laid by any thing yet," replied Jacob, with a slight air of

"You haven't!" said the merchant, in surprise. "Why, what have you done
with your money?"

"I've spent it, somehow or other."

"It must have been somehow or other. I should think, or somehow else,"
returned the employer, half seriously, and half playfully. "But really,
Jacob, you are a very thoughtless young man to waste your money."

"I don't think I _waste_ my money," said Jacob.

"What, then, have you done with it?" asked the merchant.

"It costs me the whole amount of my salary to live."

The merchant shook his head.

"Then you live extravagantly for a young man of your age and condition.
How much do you pay for boarding?"

"Four dollars a week."

"Too much by from fifty cents to a dollar. But even paying that sum,
four more dollars per week ought to meet fully all your other expenses,
and leave you what would amount to nearly one hundred dollars per annum
to lay by. I saved nearly two hundred dollars a year on a salary no
larger than you receive."

"I should like very much to know how you did it. I can't save a cent;
in fact, I hardly ever have ten dollars in my pocket."

"Where does your money go, Jacob? In what way do you spend a hundred
dollars a year more than is necessary?"

"It is spent, I know; and that is pretty much all I can tell about it,"
replied Jacob.

"You can certainly tell by your private account-book."

"I don't keep any private account, sir."

"You don't?" in surprise.

"No, sir. What's the use? My salary is five hundred dollars a year, and
wouldn't be any more nor less if I kept an account of every half cent
of it."


The merchant said no more. His mind was made up about his clerk. The
fact that he spent five hundred dollars a year, and kept no private
account, was enough for him.

"He'll never be any good to himself nor anybody else. Spend his whole
salary--humph! Keep no private account--humph!"

This was the opinion held of Jacob Jones by his employer from that day.
The reason why he had inquired as to how much money he had saved was
this. He had a nephew, a poor young man, who, like Jacob, was a clerk,
and showed a good deal of ability for business. His salary was rather
more than what Jacob received, and, like Jacob, he spent it all; but
not on himself. He supported, mainly, his mother and a younger brother
and sister. A good chance for a small, but safe beginning, was seen by
the uncle, which would require only about a thousand dollars as an
investment. In his opinion it would be just the thing for Jacob and the
nephew. Supposing that Jacob had four or five hundred dollars laid by,
it was his intention, if he approved of the thing, to furnish his
nephew with a like sum, in order to join him and to enter into
business. But the acknowledgment of Jacob that he had not saved a
dollar, and that he kept no private account, settled the matter in the
merchant's mind, as far as he was concerned.

About a month afterward, Jacob met his employer's nephew, who said,

"I am going into business."

"You are?"


"What are you going to do?"

"Open a commission store."

"Ah! Can you get any good consignments?"

"I am to have the agency for a new mill, which has just commenced
operations, besides consignments of goods from several small concerns
at the East."

"You will have to make advances."

"To no great extent. My uncle has secured the agency of the new mill
here without any advance being required, and eight hundred or a
thousand dollars will be as much as I shall need to secure as many
goods as I can sell from the other establishments of which I speak."

"But where will the eight hundred or a thousand dollars come from?"

"My uncle has placed a thousand dollars at my disposal. Indeed, the
whole thing is the result of his recommendation."

"Your uncle! You are a lucky dog. I wish I had a rich uncle. But there
is no such good fortune for me."

This was the conclusion of Jacob Jones, who made himself quite unhappy
for some weeks, brooding over the matter. He never once dreamed of the
real cause of his not having had an equal share in his young friend's
good fortune. He had not the most distant idea that his employer felt
nearly as much regard for him as for his nephew, and would have
promoted his interests as quickly, if he had felt justified in doing so.

"It's my luck, I suppose," was the final conclusion of his mind; "and
it's no use to cry about it. Anyhow, it isn't every man with a rich
uncle, and a thousand dollars advanced, who succeeds in business, nor
every man who starts without capital that is unsuccessful. I understand
as much about business as the old man's nephew, any day; and can get
consignments as well as he can."

Three or four months after this, Jacob notified the merchant that he
was going to start for himself, and asked his interest as far as he
could give it, without interfering with his own business. His employer
did not speak very encouragingly about the matter, which offended Jacob.

"He's afraid I'll injure his nephew," said he to himself. "But he
needn't be uneasy--the world is wide enough for us all, the old hunks!"

Jacob borrowed a couple of hundred dollars, took a store at five
hundred dollars a year rent, and employed a clerk and porter. He then
sent his circulars to a number of manufactories at the East, announcing
the fact of his having opened a new commission house, and soliciting
consignments. His next move was, to leave his boarding-house, where he
had been paying four dollars a week, and take lodgings at a hotel at
seven dollars a week.

Notwithstanding Jacob went regularly to the post-office twice every
day, few letters came to hand, and but few of them contained bills of
lading and invoices. The result of the first year's business was an
income from commission on sales of seven hundred dollars. Against this
were the items of one thousand dollars for personal expenses, five
hundred dollars for store-rent, seven hundred dollars for clerk and
porter, and for petty and contingent expenses two hundred dollars;
leaving the uncomfortable deficit of seventeen hundred dollars, which
stood against him in the form of bills payable for sales effected, and
small notes of accommodation borrowed from his friends.

The result of the first year's business of his old employer's nephew
was very different. The gross profits were three thousand dollars, and
the expenses as follows: personal expense, seven hundred dollars--just
what the young man's salary had previously been, and out of which he
supported his mother and her family--store rent, three hundred dollars;
porter, two hundred and fifty; petty expenses, one hundred dollars--in
all thirteen hundred and fifty dollars, leaving a net profit of sixteen
hundred and fifty dollars. It will be seen that he did not go to the
expense of a clerk during the first year. He preferred working a little
harder, and keeping his own books, by which an important saving was

At the end of the second year, notwithstanding Jacob Jones's business
more than doubled itself, he was compelled to wind up, and found
himself twenty-five hundred dollars worse than nothing. Several of his
unpaid bills to eastern houses were placed in suit, and as he lived in
a state where imprisonment for debt still existed, he was compelled to
go through the forms required by the insolvent laws, to keep clear of
durance vile.

At the very period when he was driven under by adverse gales, his young
friend, who had gone into business about the same time, found himself
under the necessity of employing a clerk. He offered Jones a salary of
four hundred dollars, the most he believed himself yet justified in
paying. This was accepted, and Jacob found himself once more standing
upon _terra firma_, although the portion upon which his feet rested was
very small; still it was _terra firma_--and that was something.

The real causes of his ill success never for a moment occurred to the
mind of Jacob. He considered himself an "unlucky dog."

"Every thing that some people touch turns into money," he would
sometimes say. "But I was not born under a lucky star."

Instead of rigidly bringing down his expenses, as he ought to have
done, to four hundred dollars, if he had to live in a garret and cook
his own food, Jacob went back to his old boarding-house, and paid four
dollars a week. All his other expenses required at least eight dollars
more to meet them. He was perfectly aware that he was living beyond his
income--the exact excess he did not stop to ascertain--but he expected
an increase of salary before long, as a matter of course, either in his
present situation or in a new one. But no increase took place for two
years, and then he was between three and four hundred dollars in debt
to tailors, boot-makers, his landlady, and to sundry friends, to whom
he applied for small sums of money in cases of emergency.

One day, about this time, two men were conversing together quite
earnestly, as they walked leisurely along one of the principal streets
of the city where Jacob resided. One was past the prime of life, and
the other about twenty-two. They were father and son, and the subject
of conversation related to the wish of the latter to enter into
business. The father did not think the young man was possessed of
sufficient knowledge of business or experience, and was, therefore,
desirous of associating some one with him who could make up these
deficiencies. If he could find just the person that pleased him, he was
ready to advance capital and credit to an amount somewhere within the
neighbourhood of twenty thousand dollars. For some months he had been
thinking of Jacob, who was a first-rate salesman, had a good address,
and was believed by him to possess business habits eminently conducive
to success. The fact that he had once failed was something of a
drawback in his mind, but he had asked Jacob the reason of his
ill-success, which was so plausibly explained, that he considered the
young man as simply unfortunate in not having capital, and nothing else.

"I think Mr. Jones just the right man for you," said the father, as
they walked along.

"I don't know of any one with whom I had rather form a business
connection. He is a man of good address, business habits, and, as far
as I know, good principles."

"Suppose you mention the subject to him this afternoon."

This was agreed to. The two men then entered the shop of a fashionable
tailor, for the purpose of ordering some clothes. While there, a man
having the appearance of a collector came in, and drew the tailor
aside. The conversation was brief but earnest, and concluded by the
tailor's saying, so loud that he could be heard by all who were
standing near,

"It's no use to waste your time with him any longer. Just hand over the
account to Simpson, and let him take care of it."

The collector turned away, and the tailor came back to his customers.

"It is too bad," said he, "the way some of these young fellows do serve
us. I have now several thousand dollars on my books against clerks who
receive salaries large enough to support them handsomely, and I can't
collect a dollar of it. There is Jacob Jones, whose account I have just
ordered to be placed in the hands of a lawyer, he owes me nearly two
hundred dollars, and I can't get a cent out of him. I call him little
better than a scamp."

The father and son exchanged glances of significance, but said nothing.
The fate of Jacob Jones was sealed.

"If that is the case," said the father, as they stepped into the
street, "the less we have to do with him the better."

To this the son assented. Another more prudent young man was selected,
whose fortune was made.

When Jacob received Lawyer Simpson's note, threatening a suit if the
tailor's bill was not paid, he was greatly disturbed.

"Am I not the most unfortunate man in the world?" said he to himself,
by way of consolation. "After having paid him so much money, to be
served like this. It is too bad. But this is the way of the world. Let
a poor devil once get a little under the weather, every one must have a
kick at him."

In this dilemma poor Jacob had to call upon the tailor, and beg him for
further time. This was humiliating, especially as the tailor was
considerably out of humour, and disposed to be hard with him. A threat
to apply for the benefit of the insolvent law again, if a suit was
pressed to an issue, finally induced the tailor to waive legal
proceedings for the present, and Jacob had the immediate terrors of the
law taken from before his eyes.

This event set Jacob to thinking and calculating, which he had never
before deemed necessary in his private affairs. The result did not make
him feel any happier. To his astonishment, he ascertained that he owed
more than the whole of his next year's salary would pay, while that was
not in itself sufficient to meet his current expenses.

For some weeks after this discovery of the real state of his affairs,
Jacob was very unhappy. He applied for an increase of salary, and
obtained one hundred dollars per annum. This was something, which was
about all that could be said. If he could live on four hundred dollars
a year, which he had never yet been able to do, the addition to his
salary would not pay his tailor's bill within two years; and what was
he to do with boot-maker, landlady, and others?

It happened about this time that a clerk in the bank where his old
employer was director died. His salary was one thousand dollars. For
the vacant place Jacob made immediate application, and was so fortunate
as to secure it.

Under other circumstances, Jacob would have refused a salary of fifteen
hundred dollars in a bank against five hundred in a counting-room, and
for the reason that a bank-clerk has little or no hope beyond his
salary all his life, while a counting-house clerk, if he have any
aptness for trade, stands a fair chance of getting into business sooner
or later, and making his fortune as a merchant. But a debt of four
hundred dollars hanging over his head was an argument in favour of a
clerkship in the bank, at a salary of a thousand dollars a year, not to
be resisted.

"I'll keep it until I get even with the world again," he consoled
himself by saying, "and then I'll go back into a counting-room. I've an
ambition above being a bank-clerk all my life."

Painful experience had made Jacob a little wiser.

For the first time in his life he commenced keeping an account of his
personal expenses. This acted as a salutary check upon his bad habit of
spending money for every little thing that happened to strike his
fancy, and enabled him to clear off his whole debt within the first
year. Unwisely, however, he had, during this time, promised to pay some
old debts, from which the law had released him. The persons holding
these claims, finding him in the receipt of a higher salary, made an
appeal to his honour, which, like an honest but imprudent man, he
responded to by a promise of payment as soon as it was in his power.
But little time elapsed after these promises were made before he found
himself in the hands of constables and magistrates, and was only saved
from imprisonment by getting friends to go his bail for six and nine
months. In order to secure them, he had to give an order in advance for
his salary. To get these burdens off his shoulders, it took twelve
months longer, and then he was nearly thirty years of age.

"Thirty years old!" said he to himself on his thirtieth birth-day. "Can
it be possible? Long before this I ought to have been doing a
flourishing business, and here I am, nothing but a bank-clerk, with the
prospect of never rising a step higher as long as I live. I don't know
how it is that some people get along so well in the world. I'm sure I
am as industrious, and can do business as well as any man; but here I
am still at the point from which I started twenty years ago. I can't
understand it. I'm afraid there's more in luck than I'm willing to

From this time Jacob set himself to work to obtain a situation in some
store or counting-room, and finally, after looking about for nearly a
year, was fortunate enough to obtain a good place, as bookkeeper and
salesman, with a wholesale grocer and commission merchant. Seven
hundred dollars was to be his salary. His friends called him a fool for
giving up an easy place at one thousand dollars a year, for a hard one
at seven hundred. But the act was a much wiser one than many others of
his life.

Instead of saving money during the third year of his receipt of one
thousand dollars, he spent the whole of his salary, without paying off
a single old debt. His private account-keeping had continued through a
year and a half. After that it was abandoned. Had it been continued, it
might have saved him three or four hundred dollars, which were now all
gone, and nothing to show for them. Poor Jacob! Experience did not make
him much wiser.

Two years passed, and at least half a dozen young men, here and there
around our friend Jacob, went into business, either as partners in some
old houses or under the auspices of relatives or interested friends.
But there appeared no opening for him.

He did not know, that, many times during that period, he had been the
subject of conversation between parties, one or both of which were
looking out for a man, of thorough business qualifications, against
which capital would be placed; nor the fact, that either his first
failure, his improvidence, or something else personal to himself, had
caused him to be set aside for some other one not near so capable.

He was lamenting his ill-luck one day, when a young man with whom he
was very well acquainted, and who was clerk in a neighbouring store,
called in and said he wanted to have some talk with him about a matter
of interest to both.

"First of all, Mr. Jones," said the young man, after they were alone,
"how much capital could you raise by a strong effort?"

"I am sure I don't know," replied Jacob, not in a very cheerful tone.
"I never was lucky in having friends ready to assist me."

"Well! perhaps there will be no need of that. You have had a good
salary for four or five years; how much have you saved? Enough,
probably, to answer every purpose--that is, if you are willing to join
me in taking advantage of one of the best openings for business that
has offered for a long time. I have a thousand dollars in the Savings
Bank. You have as much, or more, I presume?"

"I am sorry to say I have not," was poor Jacob's reply, in a desponding
voice. "I was unfortunate in business some years ago, and my old debts
have drained away from me every dollar I could earn."

"Indeed! that is unfortunate. I was in hopes you could furnish a
thousand dollars."

"I might borrow it, perhaps, if the chance is a very good one."

"Well, if you could do that, it would be as well, I suppose," returned
the young man. "But you must see about it immediately. If you cannot
join me at once, I must find one who will, for the chance is too good
to be lost."

Jacob got a full statement of the business proposed, its nature and
prospects, and then laid the matter before the three merchants with
whom he had at different times lived in the capacity of clerk, and
begged them to advance him the required capital. The subject was taken
up by them and seriously considered. They all liked Jacob, and felt
willing to promote his interests, but had little or no confidence in
his ultimate success, on account of his want of economy in personal
matters. It was very justly remarked by one of them, that this want of
economy, and judicious use of money in personal matters, would go with
him in business, and mar all his prospects. Still, as they had great
confidence in the other man, they agreed to advance, jointly, the sum

In the mean time, the young man who had made the proposition to Jacob,
when he learned that he had once failed in business, was still in debt,
and liable to have claims pushed against him, (this he inferred from
Jacob's having stretched the truth, by saying that his old debts
drained away from him every dollar, when the fact was he was freed from
them by the provisions of the insolvent law of the State,) came to the
conclusion that a business connection with him was a thing to be
avoided rather than sought after. He accordingly turned his thoughts in
another quarter, and when Jones called to inform him that he had raised
the capital needed, he was coolly told that it was too late, he having
an hour before closed a partnership arrangement with another person,
under the belief that Jones could not advance the money required.

This was a bitter disappointment, and soured the mind of Jacob against
his fellow man, and against the fates also, which he alleged were all
combined against him. His own share in the matter was a thing undreamed
of. He believed himself far better qualified for business than the one
who had been preferred before him, and he had the thousand dollars to
advance. It must be his luck that was against him, nothing else; he
could come to no other conclusion. Other people could get along in the
world, but he couldn't. That was the great mystery of his life.

For two years Jacob had been waiting to get married. He had not wished
to take this step before entering into business, and having a fair
prospect before him. But years were creeping on him apace, and the fair
object of his affections seemed weary of delay.

"It's no use to wait any longer," said he, after this dashing of his
cup to the earth. "Luck is against me. I shall never be any thing but a
poor devil of a clerk. If Clara is willing to share my humble lot, we
might as well be married first as last."

Clara was not unwilling, and Jacob Jones entered into the estate
connubial, and took upon him the cares of a family, with a salary of
seven hundred dollars a year, to sustain the new order of things.
Instead of taking cheap boarding, or renting a couple of rooms, and
commencing housekeeping in a small way, Jacob saw but one course before
him, and that was to rent a genteel house, go in debt for genteel
furniture, and keep two servants. Two years were the longest that he
could bear up under this state of things, when he was sold out by the
sheriff, and forced "to go through the mill again," as taking the
benefit of the insolvent law was facetiously called in the State where
he resided.

"Poor fellow! he has a hard time of it. I wonder why it is that he gets
along so badly. He is an industrious man and regular in his habits. It
is strange. But some men seem born to ill-luck."

So said some of his pitying friends. Others understood the matter

Ten years have passed, and Jacob is still a clerk, but not in a store.
Hopeless of getting into business, he applied for a vacancy that
occurred in an insurance company, and received the appointment, which
he still holds at a salary of twelve hundred dollars a year. After
being sold out three times by the sheriff, and having the deep
mortification of seeing her husband brought down to the humiliating
necessity of applying as often for the benefit of the insolvent law,
Mrs. Jones took affairs, by consent of her husband, into her own hands,
and managed them with such prudence and economy, that, notwithstanding
they have five children, the expenses, all told, are not over eight
hundred dollars a year, and half of the surplus, four hundred dollars,
is appropriated to the liquidation of debts contracted since their
marriage, and the other half deposited in the Savings Bank, as a fund
for the education of their children in the higher branches, when they
reach a more advanced age.

To this day it is a matter of wonder to Jacob Jones why he could never
get along in the world like some people; and he has come to the settled
conviction that it is his "luck."



IT happened sometime within the last ten or fifteen years, that, in my
way through this troublesome world, I became captivated with the idea
of starting a newspaper. That I had some talent for scribbling, I was
vain enough to believe, and my estimate of the ability I possessed was
sufficiently high to induce me to think that I could give a peculiar
interest to the columns of a weekly paper, were such a publication
entirely under my control.

I talked about the matter to a number of my literary and other friends,
who, much to my satisfaction, saw all in a favourable light, and
promised, if I would go on in the proposed enterprise, to use all their
interest in my favour.

"I," said one, "will guaranty you fifty subscribers among my own circle
of acquaintances."

"And I," said another, "am good for double that number."

"Put me down for a hundred more," said a third, and so the promises of
support came like music to my willing ear.

One or two old veterans of the "press gang," to whom I spoke of my
design, shrugged their shoulders, and said I had better try my hand at
almost any thing else. But I was sanguine that I could succeed, though
hundreds had failed before me. I felt that I possessed a peculiar
fitness for the work, and could give a peculiar charm to a newspaper
that would at once take it to the hearts and homes of the people.

A printer was called upon for an estimate, based upon a circulation of
three thousand copies, which was set down as a very moderate
expectation. He gave the whole cost of paper, composition, (type
setting,) and press-work, at $4000.

This fell a little below my own roughly-made estimate, and settled my
determinations. Two thousand copies, at two dollars a copy, which was
to be the subscription price, would pay all the expenses, and if the
number of subscribers rose to three thousand, of which there was not
the shadow of a doubt in my mind, I would have a clear profit of $2000
the first year. And should it go to four thousand, as was most
probable, my net income would be about $3400, for all increase would
simply be chargeable with cost of paper and press-work--or about sixty
cents on a subscriber. After the first year, of course there would be a
steady increase in the number of subscribers, which, if at the rate of
only a thousand a year, would give me in five years the handsome annual
income of $9000. I was rich in prospective! Nothing could now hold me
back. I ordered the printer to get ready his cases, and the paper-maker
to provide, by a certain time, the paper.

As the terms were to be in advance, or rather the whole year payable at
the expiration of the first quarter, I promised to begin paying cash
for all contracts at the end of the first quarter. Up to this period of
my life, I had gone on the strict principle of owing no man any thing,
and I was known in the community where I lived to be a strictly honest
and honourable man. Never having strained my credit, it was tight and
strong, and I had but to ask the three months' favour to get it without
a sign of reluctance.

Next I issued my prospectus for the "Literary Gazette and Weekly Reflex
of Art, Literature, and Science, a Newspaper devoted to, &c. &c.," and
scattered copies among my friends, expecting each to do his duty for me
like a man. They were also posted in every book-store, hotel, and
public place in the city. Said city, be it known, rejoiced in a
population of a hundred thousand souls, of which number I saw no reason
for doubting my ability to reach, with my interesting paper, at least
three or four thousand, in the end. That was felt to be a very moderate
calculation indeed. Then, when I turned my eyes over our vast country,
with its millions and millions of intelligent, enlightened, reading and
prosperous people, I felt that even to admit a doubt of success was a
weakness for which I ought to be ashamed. And I wondered why, with such
a harvest to reap, twenty such enterprises to one were not started.

While in this sanguine state, an individual who had been for thirty
years a publisher and editor, prompted, as he said, by a sincere
interest in my welfare, called to see me in order to give me the
benefit of his experience. He asked me to state my views of the
enterprise upon which I was about entering, which I did in glowing

"Very well, Mr. Jones," said he, after I was done, "you base your
calculations on three thousand subscribers?"

"I do," was my answer.

"From which number you expect to receive six thousand dollars."

"Certainly; the price of the paper is to be two dollars."

"I doubt, my young friend, very much, whether you will receive four
thousand dollars from three thousand subscribers, if you should have
that number. Nay, if you get three thousand during the year, you may be
very thankful."

"Preposterous!" said I.

"No; not by any means. I have been over this ground before you, and
know pretty much what kind of harvest it yields."

"But," said I, "it is not my intention to throw the paper into every
man's house, whether he wants it or not. I will only take good

"You would call Mr. B----, over the way, a good subscriber, I presume?"

"Oh yes!" I replied, "I would very much like to have a few thousand
like him."

"And Mr. Y----, his next-door neighbour?"

"Yes--he is good, of course."

"That is, able to pay."

"And willing."

"I happen to know, my young friend, that neither of those men will pay
a subscription to any thing if they can help it."

"Not to a work to which they have regularly subscribed?"


"That is as much as to say that they are dishonest men."

"You can say that or any thing else you please; I only give you the
information for your own government. You will find a good many like
them. Somehow or other, people seem to have a great aversion to paying
newspaper bills. I don't know how it is, but such is the fact. And if
you will take the advice of one who knows a good deal more about the
business than you do, you will go to wood-sawing in preference to
starting a newspaper. You _may_ succeed, but in ten chances, there are
nine on the side of failure."

I shrugged my shoulders and looked incredulous.

"Oh, very well!" said he, "go on and try for yourself. Bought wit is
the best, if you don't pay too dear for it. You are young yet, and a
little experience of this kind may do you no harm in the long run."

"I'm willing to take the risk, for I think I have counted the cost
pretty accurately. As for a failure, I don't mean to know the word.
There is a wide field of enterprise before me, and I intend to occupy
it fully."

The old gentleman shrugged his shoulders in return, but volunteered no
more of his good advice.

A week before the first number of the "Gazette and Reflex" was ready, I
called in my prospectuses, in order to have the thousand or fifteen
hundred names they contained regularly entered in the
subscription-books with which I had provided myself. I had rented an
office and employed a clerk. These were two items of expense that had
not occurred to me when making my first calculation. It was rather a
damper on the ardency of my hopes, to find, that instead of the large
number of subscribers I had fondly expected to receive, the aggregate
from all quarters was but two hundred!

One very active friend, who had guarantied me fifty himself, had but
three names to his list; and another, who said I might set him down for
a hundred, had not been able to do any thing, and, moreover, declined
taking the paper himself, on the plea that he already took more
magazines and newspapers than he could read or afford to pay for.
Others gave as a reason for the little they had done, the want of a
specimen number, and encouraged me with the assurance, that as soon as
the paper appeared, there would be a perfect rush of subscribers.

In due time, the first number appeared, and a very attractive sheet it
was--in my eyes. I took the first copy that came from the press, and,
sitting down in my office, looked it over with a feeling of paternal
pride, never before or since experienced. A more beautiful object, or
rather one that it gave me more delight to view, had never been
presented to my vision. If doubt had come in to disturb me, it all
vanished now. To see the "Gazette and Reflex" would be enough. The two
hundred "good names" on my list were felt to be ample for a start. Each
copy circulated among those would bring from one to a dozen new
subscribers. I regretted exceedingly that the type of the first form of
the paper had been distributed. Had this not been the case, I would
have ordered an additional thousand to be added to the three thousand
with which I commenced my enterprise.

Saturday was the regular publication day of the paper, but I issued it
on the preceding Wednesday. That is, served it to my two hundred
subscribers and had it distributed to the daily press. With what
eagerness did I look over the papers on Thursday morning, to see the
glowing notices of my beautiful "Gazette and Reflex." I opened the
first one that came to hand, glanced down column after column, but not
a word about me or mine was there! A keener sense of disappointment I
have never experienced. I took up another, and the first words that met
my eyes were:

"We have received the first number of a new weekly paper started in
this city, entitled the 'Literary Gazette and Weekly Reflex.' It is
neat, and appears to be conducted with ability. It will, no doubt,
receive a good share of patronage."

I threw aside the paper with an angry exclamation, and forthwith set
the editor down as a jealous churl. In one or two other newspapers I
found more extended and better notices; but they all fell so far short
of the real merits of my bantling, that I was sadly vexed and
disheartened. To have my advent announced so coldly and ungraciously,
hurt me exceedingly. Still, I expected the mere announcement to bring a
crowd of subscribers to my office; but, alas! only three presented
themselves during the day. Generously enough, they paid down for the
paper in advance, thus giving me six dollars, the first income from my
new enterprise and the earnest of thousands that were soon to begin
pouring in like a never-failing stream.

My friends called one after another, to congratulate me on the
beautiful appearance of my paper, and to predict, for my encouragement,
its widely extended popularity. I believed all they said, and more. But
for all this, by the time the second number made its appearance, my
list had only increased one hundred. Still, on reflection, this
appeared very good, for at the rate of a hundred a week, I would have
five thousand in a year.

"Why don't you employ canvassers?" inquired one. "There are hundreds in
the city who will take the paper if it is only presented to them."

Acting on this hint, I advertised for men to solicit subscribers. Five
of those who applied were chosen and distributed through five different
sections of the city. I agreed to pay fifty cents for every good
subscriber obtained. This was, of course, a pretty heavy drawback upon
my expected income, but then it was admitted on all hands that a
subscriber was worth fifty cents, as after he was once obtained he
would doubtless remain a subscriber for years.

At the close of the first day my men brought in an average of ten
subscribers each. The agreement was, that I was to pay them twenty-five
cents on the name of a new subscriber being handed in, and the
remaining twenty-five cents when the subscription due at the expiration
of the first three months was collected. So I had twelve dollars and a
half cash, to pay down. But then my list was increased to the extent of
fifty names. The average of new subscribers from my agents continued
for a couple of weeks, and then fell off sensibly. By the end of two
months, my canvassers left the field, some of them sick of the
business, and others tempted by more promising inducements.

Many of the country papers noticed my "Gazette and Reflex" in the most
flattering manner, and not a few of them copied my prospectus. This had
the effect to bring me in a few hundred subscribers by mail, with the
cash, in a large number of cases in advance. About one-third, however,
promised to remit early.

At the end of three months, according to promise, I was to pay my
printer and paper maker. Up to that time my cash receipts had been
three hundred dollars, but every cent was gone. My clerk had to be paid
seven dollars a week regularly, and a mail and errand boy, three
dollars. Advertising had cost me twenty-five dollars; account and
subscription books as much more; and I had paid over fifty dollars to
my agents for getting subscribers. Besides, there had been a dozen
little et ceteras of expense, not before taken into calculation.
Moreover, out of this three hundred dollars of income I had my own
personal expenses to pay.

In the thirteenth number of my paper, I gave notice that the three
months having expired, all subscriptions were due for the year
according to the terms, and called upon subscribers "to step to the
captain's office and settle." There were of unpaid subscribers now upon
my books the number of five hundred and forty, and my debt to printer
and paper maker was exactly nine hundred and eighty dollars, I having
kept on printing three thousand copies, under the belief that the list
must go up to that.

Day after day went by after this notice appeared, yet not a single man
answered to the invitation. I began to feel serious. Subscribers
continued to come in, though slowly, and people all spoke highly of the
paper and said it must succeed. But its success, so far, was not over
flattering. Finding that people would not take the plain hint I had
given, I went over the books and made out all the bills. One thousand
and eighty dollars was the aggregate amount due. These bills, except
those for the country, I placed in the hands of a collector, and told
him to get me in the money as quickly as possible. Those for the
country, about one hundred in number, I enclosed in the paper. On the
faith of this proceeding, I promised the paper maker and printer each
two hundred dollars in a couple of weeks.

Four days elapsed without my collector making his appearance, greatly
to my surprise. On the fifth day I met him in the street.

"Well, how are you coming on?" said I.

"Oh, slowly," he replied.

"I expected to see you a day or two ago."

"I had nothing of consequence to return. But I will be in on Saturday."

I felt a kind of choking in my throat as I turned away. On Saturday the
collector called--he opened his memorandum-book, and I my cash-book,
preparatory to making entries of money returned.

"Mr. A----," said the collector, "says he never pays in advance for any

"But the terms of the paper are in advance after the first three

"I know."

"Did you call his attention to this?"

"Oh, yes! but he said he didn't care for your terms. He'd been swindled
once or twice by paying in advance, but never intended to give anybody
the opportunity to do the same thing again."

Mr. A---- was a man whom I had known for years. I cannot tell how hurt
and indignant I was at such language. He took my paper, knowing the
terms upon which it was published, and when I sent my bill, refused to
comply with the terms, and insulted me into the bargain. I turned to
his name on the subscription-book, and striking it off, said--

"He can't have the paper."

"Credit Mr. B---- with six months and discontinue," said the collector,
as he passed to the next name on his list. Mr. B---- was a man whom I
knew very well by reputation. I had looked upon him as one of my best
subscribers. He was a merchant in easy circumstances.

"Why does he wish it stopped?" I asked.

"He says he merely took the paper by way of encouraging the enterprise,
and never supposed he would be called upon to pay for it. He told Mr.
J----, who asked him to subscribe, that he had more papers now than he
wanted, and Mr. J---- said, No matter. He would have it sent to him by
way of adding another respectable name to the list."

"Very well," said I, as I entered the name of Mr. B---- in the
cash-book, "pass on."

This went fairly ahead of any thing I had ever dreamed of. I was too
much surprised even to make a remark on the subject.

"Mr. C---- was as mad as a March hare when I presented his bill."

"Indeed! Why?"

"He paid your agent when he subscribed!"

"Did you see his receipt?"

"Yes. The agent took a hat and paid him the difference."

"The scoundrel! And charged me a quarter in addition, for returning the

"These canvassers are a slippery set."

"That's swindling!"

"The fellow won't quarrel with you about the terms, seeing that he
enjoys the hat."

"Too bad! Too bad! Well, go on."

"Mr. D---- paid two dollars, but wants you to stop at the end of the
year. He merely took a copy at the start by way of encouraging the
enterprise. Thinks highly of the paper, but can't afford to take it
longer than a year."

"Very well."

"Mr. E---- has paid."


"Mr. F---- says he never subscribed, and does not want it. He says, if
you will send to his house, you can get all the numbers. He told the
carrier not to leave it from the first."

"I paid an agent for his name."

"He says he told the agent that he didn't want the paper. That he took
more now than he could read."

"Swindled again!"

"Mr. G---- says he never saw the paper in his life."

"It's sent regularly."

"Some mistake in the carrier. Mr. H---- paid, and wishes the paper

"Very well."

"Mr. I---- says he can't afford to take it. His name was put down
without his consent."

I had received this name through one of my kind friends.

"Mr. J---- paid a dollar, and wants it stopped."


"Mr. K---- paid; also, Mr. L---- and Mr. M----."


"Mr. N---- says the paper is not left for him; but for a young man who
has gone West. Thinks you had better stop it."

I erased the name.

Mr. O---- paid the agent."

"He never returned the money."

Mr. P---- and Mr. Q----, ditto."

"Never saw a copper of their money. Paid a quarter apiece, cash, for
each of these subscribers."

"Mr. R---- says the paper is not worth reading. That he wouldn't pay a
shilling a year for it. I advise you to stop it. He never pays for any
thing if he can help it. Mr. S---- paid. Mr. T---- paid up to this
date, and wishes it stopped. Never ordered it. Mr. U---- paid. I called
upon a great many more, but they put me off with one excuse or other. I
never had a much worse lot of bills."

A basin of cold water on a sentimental serenader could not have
produced a greater revulsion of feeling than did this unlooked-for
return of my collector. Nineteen dollars and fifty cents, instead of
about two hundred dollars, were all he had been able to gather up;
there was no promise of success in the future on any different scale. I
received the money, less ten per cent. for collecting, and was left
alone to my own reflections. Not of the most pleasant kind, the reader
may well imagine. For an hour I brooded over the strangely embarrassing
position in which I found myself, and then, after thinking until my
head was hot and my feet and hands cold, I determined to reduce,
immediately, the edition of my paper from three thousand to one
thousand, and thus save an item of thirty dollars a week in paper and
press-work. To send off my clerk, also, to whom I was paying seven
dollars weekly, and with the aid of a boy, attend to the office, and do
the writing and mailing myself. I then went over the subscription-book,
and counted up the names. The number was just seven hundred and twenty.
I had but a little while before replied to a question on the subject,
that I had about twelve hundred on my list. And I did vaguely imagine
that I had that number. I knew better now.

To describe minutely the trials, sufferings, and disappointments of the
whole year, would take too much time and space. The subsequent returns
of my collector were about on a par with the first. Finding it
impossible to pay the printer and paper maker, as promised, out of the
advance subscriptions falling due at the end of three months, I
borrowed from some of my friends about four hundred dollars, and paid
it over, stating, when I did so, that I must have a new contract, based
upon a six months' credit.

I found no great difficulty in obtaining this from the paper maker, to
whom I spoke in confident terms of my certain ultimate success. The
printer required half cash, which I agreed to pay.

This arrangement I fondly hoped would give me time to make my
collections, and, besides paying off the debt already accumulated,
enable me to acquire a surplus to meet the notes given, from time to
time, for paper and printing.

At the end of a year, my list, through various exertions and
sacrifices, had arisen to twelve hundred. On this I had collected eight
hundred dollars, and I calculated that there were about sixteen hundred
dollars due me, which, I thought, if all collected in, would about
square me up with the world. This I thought. But, when I came to go
over my bill-book and ledger, I found, to my utter dismay, that I owed
three thousand five hundred dollars! This must be a mistake, I said,
and went over my books again. The result was as at first. I owed the
money, and no mistake. But how it was, I could not for some time
comprehend. But a series of memorandums from my cash-book, and an
examination of printers' and paper makers' bills, at length made all
clear. I had used, on my own personal account, four hundred dollars
during the year. Office rent was two hundred and fifty. My carriers had
cost over a hundred dollars. My boy one hundred and fifty, and ninety
had been paid to the clerk during the first three months. Sundry little
items of expense during the year made an aggregate of over a hundred.
Paper and printing for the first three months had been nearly a
thousand dollars, and for the last three quarters about twenty-two
hundred dollars.

To go on with this odds against me, I had sense enough to see was
perfect folly. But, how could I stop? I was not worth a dollar in the
world; and the thought of wronging those who had trusted me in full
reliance upon my integrity, produced a feeling of suffocation. Besides,
I had worked for a year as few men work. From sunrise until twelve,
one, and two o'clock, I was engaged in the business or editorial duties
appertaining to my enterprise, and to abandon all after such a struggle
was disheartening.

After much deliberation, I concluded that the best thing I could do was
to sell out my list of subscribers to another and more successful
establishment in the city, and, for this purpose, waited upon the
publisher. He heard me, and after I had finished, asked my terms. I
told him fifteen hundred dollars for the list. He smiled, and said he
wouldn't give me five hundred for the whole concern, debts and all. I
got up, put on my hat, and left him with indignant silence.

To go on was the worst horn for me to grasp in the dilemma in which I
found myself. To stop, would be to do so with some three or four
hundred persons paid in advance, for portions of a year. I was dunned,
daily, by my printer, for money, and in order to meet the notes which
had already fallen due, I had been compelled to borrow temporarily from
my friends. Unable to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion, in
despair, I summoned creditors and friends around me, and laid before
them a full statement of my condition. There were some long faces at
that meeting; but no one felt as I did. I shall never forget the
suffering and mortification of that day, were I to live a thousand

The unanimous determination of the meeting was that I must stop,
collect in the money due, and divide it pro rata among my creditors. I
did so; announcing, at the same time, the heavy embarrassment under
which I had been brought, and earnestly soliciting those who owed the
paper, to settle their accounts immediately. To the few who had paid
the fraction of a year in advance, I stated how much I had lost, and
appealed to their magnanimity for a remission of the obligation I
remained under to furnish the paper for the time yet due to them. It
was but the matter of a few cents, or a dollar at most to them, I said,
but it was hundreds of dollars to me.

Well, and what was the sequel to all this? Why, to sum up what remains
to be told, in a few words; only two hundred dollars out of the sixteen
hundred were collected, and from those who had paid small trifles in
advance, I received dozens of letters, couched in the most offensive
terms. Some charged me with being a swindler, and said, if I didn't
immediately send the money overpaid, or some other paper in the place
of mine, they would publish me to the world. Others said they would be
in the city at a certain time and require me to refund; while many,
residing on the spot, took out their money's worth, by telling me to my
face what they thought of my conduct. One man issued a warrant against
me for thirty-five cents, the sum overpaid by him.

So much for my experience in starting a newspaper. A year and a half
before, I had a clerkship which brought me in seven hundred dollars a
year; was easy in mind, respected by all my friends, looked upon as an
honest man by every one who knew me, and out of debt. I started a
newspaper in a moment of blind infatuation, and now I owed above three
thousand dollars, my good name was gone, and I was dispirited, out of
employment, afraid to walk the street lest I should encounter some one
I owed, and as wretched as a man could well be. I soon after left the
city, and sought employment hundreds of miles away. So much for my
experience in starting a newspaper.


"Do not go out to-night, Amanda. The pavements are damp, and the air is
loaded with vapour."

"Indeed, ma, I must go."

"Amanda, there is no necessity for your attending this party; and very
urgent reasons why you should stay at home. Your cough is still
troublesome, and a little exposure might give it permanency. You know
that from your father you inherit a predisposition to disease of the

"You only say that to alarm me."

"Not so, my child; I know your constitution, and know how fatally the
exposure of a night like this may affect you."

"But I'll wrap up warmly, and put on my India rubbers."

"A necessary precaution, if you will go out, Amanda. But I wish I could
persuade you to be guided by me. You know that the Bible says, the way
of transgressors is hard."

"I don't know how you will apply that to me, ma. I am transgressing no
law of divine appointment."

"Be not sure of that, Amanda."

"I do not understand you, ma."

"I will try and make my meaning clear. In our creation, as organized
beings, we were so constituted as to bear a certain relation to every
thing around us, and our bodily health was made dependent upon this
relation. Here then, we have a law of health, which may be called a
divine law--for there is nothing good that does not flow from the
Divine Creator. If we violate this law, we become transgressors, and
shall certainly prove the way we have chosen, in so doing, to be a hard

"Oh, is that all?" said the daughter, looking up with a smile, and
breathing more freely. "I'll risk the consequences of breaking the law
you have announced."


"Don't be so serious, ma. I will wrap up close and have my feet well
protected. There is not the least danger of my taking cold."

"Well, you must do as you please. Still I cannot approve of your going,
for I see that there is danger. But you are fully of age, and I will
not seek to control you."

So strong was Amanda's desire to attend a large but select party, that
she went, in company with a young man who called for her,
notwithstanding the atmosphere was so humid and dense with fog, that
breathing became oppressive.

The rooms were crowded, and the air in them so warm as to cause the
perspiration to start from the fair brows of the merry dancers, among
whom none was more fair or more lively than Amanda Beaufort. At eleven,
after having passed an evening of much pleasure, she started for home
with her companion. She was so well wrapped up, that she did not feel
the cold, and her feet were protected from the damp pavement by the
impervious India rubber.

"I'm safe home, ma, after all!" she exclaimed with her merry ringing
laugh, as she bounded into the chamber where her ever-watchful and
interested mother sat awaiting her daughter's return.

"I am glad to see you back, Amanda," said Mrs. Beaufort kindly, "and
hope that no ill consequences will follow what I must still call a very
imprudent act."

"Oh I'm just as well as ever, and have not taken the least cold. How
could I, wrapped up so warm?"

Still, on the next morning, unaccountable as it was to Amanda, she was
quite hoarse, and was much troubled by a cough occasioned by a slight
but constant tickling in her throat. Accompanying these symptoms was a
pale anxious face and a general feeling of lassitude.

"I feared all this, Amanda," said her mother, with manifest concern.

"It's only a slight cold, ma. And, anyhow, I don't believe it was
occasioned by going out last night, I was wrapped up so warm. I must
have got the bed-clothes off of me in the night."

"What to one is a slight cold, my daughter, is a very serious affair to
another; and you are one of those who can never take a slight cold
without shocking the whole system. Your pale face and your evident
debility this morning show how much even this slight cold, as you call
it, has affected you. That you have this cold is to me no subject of
wonder. You were well wrapped up, it is true, and your feet protected.
Still, your face was exposed, and every particle of air you inhaled was
teeming with moisture. From dancing in a warm room, the pores of your
skin were all opened, and the striking of moist chilly air upon your
face could hardly fail of producing some degree of cold. The most
susceptible parts of your body are your throat and lungs, and to these
any shock which is received by the system is directly conveyed. You
cannot take cold in your hand or foot or face, or any other part of
your body, without your breast sympathizing;--that you are hoarse, and
have a slight cough, then, is to me in no way surprising."

Amanda tried to make light of this, but every hour she felt worse and
worse. Her hoarseness, instead of diminishing, increased, and her cough
grew more and more troublesome. Finally, she was compelled to go to
bed, and have the physician called in.--"Is there any danger?" asked
Mrs. Beaufort, with an anxious and troubled countenance, as the
physician, after prescribing among other things a stimulating
application to the throat externally, was about leaving the house.

"Is your daughter subject to these fits of hoarseness, ma'am?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, whenever she takes cold."

"And does that frequent irritating cough always attend the recurrence
of hoarseness?"


"Then, madam, it is but right that you should know, that such results,
following a slight cold, indicate a very great tendency to pulmonary or
bronchial affections. The predisposition existing, very great care
should be taken to prevent all exciting causes. With care, your
daughter may retain her health until she passes over the most critical
portion in the life of every one with such a constitution as hers--that
is, from twenty years of age until thirty or thirty-five. Without great
care and prudence during that time, her constitution may be shattered
so as to set all remedial efforts at defiance."

"But, doctor, how is she now?" was Mrs. Beaufort's anxious inquiry.

"Not dangerous, madam, but still in a condition requiring care and
skill to prevent unfavourable consequences."

"Then do your best for her, doctor."

"You can rely on me for that, Mrs. Beaufort. Good morning."

With a heavy heart the mother returned to the sick chamber of her
daughter, and sat down by the bedside, thoughtfully, for a few moments,
while she held Amanda's hand, that was hot with fever. Then
recollecting herself, she left the room to prepare the stimulating
application which had been ordered.

It is remarkable how the whole system will sympathize with one diseased
part. The cold which Amanda had taken concentrated its active effects
upon her respiratory organs; but it was felt also in every member,
prostrating the whole body, and giving a sensation of general
suffering. Her head ached violently, and a burning fever diffused
itself over the entire surface of her body.

How sadly was she proving the truth of her mother's warning, when she
said to her, in the language of divine authority, "The way of
transgressors is hard."

She had violated a law of health, and in that violation, as in the
violation of every physical or moral law, the penalty of transgression
followed too surely.

It was a week before Amanda was able to go about again, and then her
pale cheeks, and debilitated frame indicated but too plainly the sad
consequences of a single imprudent act.

A few weeks after she had become restored apparently to her usual
health, as Amanda was dressing one morning to go out, her mother said--

"Your clothes are a great deal too tight, Amanda."

"Oh no, I am not tight at all, ma. Julia Mason laces as tight again.
She gets her sister to draw her lacings for her, and she has to pull
with all her strength."

"That is wrong in Julia Mason, and yet half the pressure that she can
bear would seriously injure you."

"How can that be, ma? I am as healthy as she is."

"I will tell you, Amanda. She has a full round chest, giving free play
to the lungs; while your chest is narrow and flat. Without any
compression, the action of your lungs is not so free and healthy as
hers would be, laced as tightly as you say she laces. But when to your
natural conformation you add artificial pressure, the action of your
lungs becomes not only enfeebled, but the unhealthy action induced
tends to develop that peculiar form of disease, the predisposition to
which you inherit."

"That is only an idea of yours, ma. I am sure I have quite a full
bust," said Amanda, glancing down at her chest, and embracing it with
her hands.

"There you are mistaken. I have noticed this defect, with much anxiety,
ever since you were a child; and having had my attention called to it,
have frequently made comparisons, and have found that you are
remarkably narrow and flat, and what is more, have a tendency to stoop,
which still lessens the size of the cavity in which the lungs play."

"Well, ma, my clothes are not tight. Just see here."

Mrs. Beaufort tried her clothes, and found them to be much tighter than
in her judgment was good for health.

"You are still unwilling, Amanda, to be governed by your mother, where
her wishes come in opposition to your pride or inclinations. I know
that you are compressing your chest too much, but you are not willing
to yield to my judgment. And yet I prescribe no arbitrary rules, but
endeavor to guide you by a rational consideration of true principles.
These you will not see; and the consequences that must follow their
violation will be the transgressor's reward."

"Indeed, indeed, ma, you are too serious. You are frightened at a
shadow. No one of my friends enjoys better general health than I do."

"And so might the graceful maple say of the sturdy oak in the first
years of their existence. But long after the first had been humbled
beneath the hand of decay, the other would stand with its roots more
firmly imbedded in the earth, and its limbs battling the storms as
vigorously as ever."

Amanda made no reply to this, for she was suddenly struck with its
force. Still she only pretended to loosen her stays to satisfy her
mother, while the lacings remained as tense as ever.

It is unnecessary to trace, step by step, the folly of Amanda Beaufort
through a series of years--years that caused her mother much and
painful anxiety--up to her twenty-sixth summer, when, as a wife and
mother, she was suffering the penalty of her indiscretion, proving too
clearly the truth, that the way of transgressors is hard. In spite of
all her mother's warnings and remonstrances, she had continued to
expose herself to the night air in damp weather--to attend balls thinly
clad, and remain at them to a very late hour, and to lace herself so
tightly as to seriously retard the healthy action of the vital organs.
At the age of twenty-three she married. A year after, the birth of a
child gave her whole system, which had indicated long before its
feebleness, a powerful shock, from which the reaction was slow and
unsteady. The colour never came back to her cheek, nor the elasticity
to her frame. She had so long subjected herself to the pressure of an
artificial external support, that she could not leave off her stays
without experiencing such a sinking, sickening sensation, as she called
it, that she was compelled to continue, however reluctantly, the
compression and support of tightly-laced corsets. And from frequently
taking cold, through imprudence, the susceptibility had become so
great, that the slightest dampness of the feet or the exposure to a
light draught of air was sure to bring on a cough of hoarseness. Her
nervous system, too, was sadly shattered. Indeed, every indication
presented, foreshadowed a rapid and premature decline--consequent,
solely, upon her thoughtless imprudence in earlier years.

"Shall I never feel any better, ma?" asked Amanda, one day, as a faint
sickness came over her, compelling her to resign her dear little babe
into the arms of its nurse, looking up at the same time so earnestly
and appealingly into her mother's face, that Mrs. Beaufort's heart was
touched with unwonted sorrow and tenderness.

"I hope so, Amanda," was replied, but in a tone that, though meant to
encourage, conveyed little hope to the bosom of her child.

"Every time little Anna nurses, I feel so sick and faint, that,
sometimes, it seems that I must give up. And yet the thought of letting
the dear little angel draw her food from another bosom than mine, makes
me fainter and sicker still. Can nothing be done to help me, ma?"

"We must see the doctor and consult with him. Perhaps he can do
something," Mrs. Beaufort replied, in an abstracted tone.

That day the family physician was called in, and a long consultation
held. The result was, a decision that Amanda must get a nurse for her
child, and then try the effect upon her system of a change of air and
the use of medicinal waters. In a word, she must put away her child and
go to the Springs.

"Indeed, doctor, I cannot give up little Anna," said the invalid
mother, while the tears started to her eyes. "I will be very careful of
myself, and teach her to take a little food early, so as to relieve me
as much as possible. It seems as if it would kill me, were I forced to
resign to a stranger a mother's dearest privilege and holiest duty."

"I can but honour your devotion to your child, Amanda," the old family
physician said, with a tenderness unusual to one whose daily
intercourse was with suffering in its varied forms. "Still, I am
satisfied, that for every month you nurse that babe, a year is taken
from your life."

There was in the tone and manner of the doctor a solemn emphasis, that
instantly aroused the young husband's liveliest fears, and sent a chill
to the heart of Mrs. Beaufort.

For a moment or two, Amanda's thoughts were turned inward, and then
looking up with a smile of strange meaning, while her eyes grew
brighter, and something like a glow kindled upon her thin, pale cheek,
she said, drawing her babe at the same time closer to her bosom--

"I will risk all, doctor. I cannot forego a mother's duty."

"A mother's duty, my dear young friend," the physician replied, with
increased tenderness, for his heart was touched, "is to prolong, by
every possible means, her own life, for the sake of her offspring.
There are duties which none but a mother can perform. Reserve yourself
for these, Amanda, and let others do for your babe all that can be done
as well as you can perform it. Take my advice. Leave little Anna at
home with your mother and a careful nurse; and then, with your husband
and some female friend, upon whose judicious care you can rely, go to
the Springs and spend a few weeks."

The advice of the physician was taken, and the young mother, with
clinging, though lacerated affections, resigned to the care of a hired
nurse the babe over which her heart yearned with unutterable tenderness.

Three weeks were spent at one of the Virginia springs, but little
apparent benefit was the result. The young mother grieved for the loss
of her babe so deeply and constantly, often giving way to tears, that
the renovating effects of changed air and medicinal waters were
counteracted, and she returned home, drooping in body and depressed in
spirits. Her infant seemed but half restored to her, as she clasped it
to a bosom in which the current of its young life had been dried up.
Sad, sad indeed was her realization of the immutable truth, that the
way of transgressors is hard!

Two years more of a painful and anxious existence were eked out, and
Amanda again became a mother.

From this additional shock she partially recovered; but it soon became
evident to all, that her shattered and enfeebled constitution was
rapidly giving way. Her last babe was but four months old, when the
pale messenger passed by, and gave his fearful summons.

It was toward the close of one of those calm days in September, when
nature seems pausing to note the first few traces of decay which autumn
has thrown upon garden, field, and forest, that Mrs. Beaufort, and the
husband of her daughter, with a few friends, were gathered in the
chamber of their beloved one, to see her die. How sad, how very sad is
the death-bed of the young, sinking beneath premature decay! In the
passing away of one who has met the storms of life, and battled with
them through vigorous maturity, and sinks at last in the course of
nature, there is little to pain the feelings. But when the young and
beautiful die, with all their tenderest and earliest ties clinging to
them--an event so unlooked for, so out of the true order of nature--we
can only turn away and weep. We can extract from such an affliction but
few thoughts of comfort. All is dreary, and blank, and desolate.

"Bring me my children," the dying mother said, rousing up from a state
of partial slumber, with an earnest emphasis, that brought both her
mother and her husband to her bedside.

"What did you want, dear Amanda?" asked the husband, laying his hand
gently upon her white forehead, that was damp with the dews of coming

"My dear babes," she replied in a changed tone, rising up with an
effort. "My Anna and Mary. Who will be a mother to them, when I am laid
at rest? Oh, that I could take them with me!"

Tears came to the relief of her overwrought feelings, and leaning her
head upon the breast of her husband, she wept and sobbed aloud. The
infant was brought in by her mother, and laid in her arms, when she had
a little recovered herself.

"Oh, my baby! my sweet baby!" she said, with tender animation. "My
sweet, sweet baby! I cannot give you up!" And she clasped it to her
breast with an energy of affection, while the large drops rolled over
her pale cheek. "And Anna, dear little girl! where is my Anna?" she

Anna, a beautiful child, a few months past her second birth-day, was
brought in and lifted upon the bed.

"Don't cry, ma," said the little thing, seeing the tears upon her
mother's cheeks, "don't cry; I'll always be good."

"Heaven bless you and keep you, my child!" the mother sobbed, eagerly
kissing the sweet lips that were turned up to hers; and then clasped
the child to her bosom in a strong embrace.

The children were, after a time, removed, but the thoughts of the dying
mother were still upon them; and with these thoughts were
self-reproach, that made her pillow one of thorns.

"I now see and feel," said she, looking up into the face of her mother,
after having lain with closed eyes for about ten minutes, "that all my
sufferings, and this early death, which will soon be upon me, would
have been avoided, if I had only permitted myself to be guided by you.
I do not wonder now that my constitution gave way. How could it have
been otherwise, and I so strangely regardless of all the laws of
health? But, my dear mother, the past is beyond recall; and now I leave
to you the dear little ones from whom I must soon part for ever. I feel
calmer than I have felt for some time. The bitterness of the last agony
seems over. But I do not see you, nor you, dear husband! Give me your
hands. Here, let my head rest on your bosom. It is sweet to lie
thus--Anna--dear child! Mary--sweet, sweet babe!"--

The lips of the young wife and mother moved feebly, and inarticulate
whispers fell faintly from her tongue for some moments, and then she
sank to sleep--and it was a sleep from which none wake in the body.

Thus, at the age of twenty-six, abused and exhausted nature gave up the
struggle; and the mother, who had violated the laws of health, sank to
the earth just at the moment when her tenderest and holiest duties
called loudest for performance.

Who, in this brief and imperfect sketch, does not recognise familiar
features? Amanda Beaufort is but one of a class which has far too many
representatives. These are in every town and village, in every street
and neighbourhood. Why do we see so many pale-faced mothers? Why are
our young and lovely females so soon broken down under their maternal
duties? The answer, in far too many cases, may be found in their early
and persevering transgression of the most palpable physiological laws.
The violation of these is ever followed, sooner or later, in a greater
or less degree, by painful consequences. Sometimes life is spared to
the young mother, and she is allowed to linger on through years of
suffering that the heart aches to think of. Often death terminates
early her pains, and her babes are left a legacy to the cold charities
of an unfeeling world. How sad, how painful the picture! Alas! that it
is a true one.


EVERY man has some little defect of character, some easily-besetting
sin that is always overtaking him, unless he be ever on the alert. My
friend, Paul Burgess, was a man of considerable force of mind; whatever
he undertook was carried through with much energy of purpose. But his
leading defect was a tendency to inertia in small matters. It required
an adequate motive to put the machinery of his mind in operation. Some
men never let a day pass without carefully seeing after every thing,
little or great, that ought to be done. They cannot rest until the
day's work is fully completed. But it was very different with Paul. If
the principal business transactions of the day were rightly performed,
he was satisfied to let things of less consideration lie over until
another time. From this cause it occurred that every few weeks there
was an accumulation of things necessary to be done, so great that their
aggregate calls upon his attention roused him to action, and then every
thing was reduced to order with an energy, promptness, and internal
satisfaction that made him wonder at himself for ever having neglected
these minor interests so long. On these occasions, a firm resolution
was always made never again to let a day come to its close without
every thing being done that the day called for. It usually happened
that the first hour did not pass after the forming of this resolution
without seeing its violation--so strong was the power of habit growing
out of an original defect in the mind.

Every consequence in life is the natural result of some cause, and upon
the character of the cause always depends the nature of the
consequence. An orderly cause never produces a disorderly consequence,
and the converse of this is equally true. Every defect of character
that we have, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant it may
be, if suffered to flow down into our actions, produces an evil result.
The man who puts off the doing of a thing until to-morrow that ought to
be done to-day, injures his own interest or the interest of others.
This may not always clearly show itself, but the fact is nevertheless
true. Sometimes the consequences of even the smallest neglect are felt
most deeply.

My friend Paul had a very familiar saying when reminded by any one of
something that ought to have been previously done. "I was just going to
do it," or "I am just going to do it," dropped from his tongue
half-a-dozen times in a day.

"I wish you would have my bill ready by three o'clock," said a customer
to him, dropping in one morning.

"Very well, it shall be made out," replied Paul.

The customer turned and walked hurriedly away. He evidently had a good
deal of business to do, and but a small time to do it in.

Precisely at three, the man called, and found the merchant reading the
afternoon paper.

"Is my bill made out?" he asked.

"I am just going to do it," answered Paul, handing the paper towards
his customer. "Look over the news for a few moments while I draw it
off; it won't take me long."

"I am sorry," replied the customer, "for I cannot wait. I have three or
four more accounts to settle, and the boat leaves in an hour. Send me
the bill by mail, and I will remit you the amount. Good-by"--offering
his hand--"I hope to see you again in the fall."

Paul took the extended hand of his customer, and shook it warmly. In
the next moment he was standing alone, his ledger open before him, and
his eye resting upon an account, the payment of which was of some
importance to him just at that time. Disappointed and dissatisfied with
himself, he closed the ledger heavily and left the desk, instead of
making out the account and mailing it. On the next day, the want of
just the amount of money he would have received from his customer kept
him on the street two hours. It was three weeks before he made out the
account and sent it on. A month elapsed, but no remittance came. He
dropped his customer a line, and received for answer that when last in
the city he had bought more goods than he intended, and consequently
paid away all his cash; business had not yet begun to stir, and thus
far what little he had sold had been for credit, but that he hoped soon
to make him a remittance. The next news Paul had of his customer was
that he had failed.

It was said of him that when a young man he became quite enamoured of a
reigning belle, who to great beauty added many far more essential
prerequisites in a good wife, not the least of which in the eye of Paul
was a handsome fortune left her by a distant relative. To this young
lady he paid very marked attentions for some time, but he did not stand
alone in the number of her admirers. Several others were as much
interested in gaining her favourable regard as he was.

One day a friend said to him--"Paul, have you heard the news?"

"What is it?"

"Sefton has offered himself to Miss P----."

"It a'n't possible! Why, I was just going to do it myself! Has she
accepted him?"

"So it is said."

"I don't believe it."

"I don't know how you will ascertain, certainly, unless you ask the
lady herself," replied the friend.

"I will find out within an hour, if I have to do what you suggest.
Sefton offered himself! I declare, I didn't dream that any particular
intimacy existed between them. My own mind has been made up these two
or three months--in fact, long before Sefton knew her; but I have kept
procrastinating the offer of marriage I determined to make, week after
week, like a fool as I am, until I have allowed another to step in and
carry off the prize, if what you say be true. But I can't believe it. I
am sure Miss P---- wouldn't accept any man on so short an acquaintance."

"Sefton is a bold fellow, and prompt in all his movements," returned
the friend. "I rather think you will find the report true. I know that
he has been paying her the closest attentions."

"I won't believe a word of it until I have undoubted evidence of the
fact. It can't be!" said Paul, pacing the floor in considerable
perturbation of mind.

But it was all so, as he very soon ascertained, to his deep regret and
mortification at allowing another to carry off the prize he had thought
his own. When next under the influence of the tender passion, my friend
took good care to do in good time just what he was going to do.

Paul was perfectly aware of his defect, and often made the very best
resolutions against it, but it generally happened that they were broken
as soon as made. It was so easy to put off until the next hour, or
until to-morrow, a little thing that might just as well be done now.
Generally, the thing to be done was so trifling in itself, that the
effort to do it appeared altogether disproportionate at the time. It
was like exerting the strength of a giant to lift a pebble.

Sometimes the letters and papers would accumulate upon his desk for a
week or ten days, simply because the effort to put away each letter as
it was read and answered, and each paper as it was used, seemed so
great when compared with the trifling matter to be accomplished, as to
appear a waste of effort, notwithstanding time enough would be spent in
reading the newspapers, conversation, or sitting idly about, to do all
this three or four times over. When confusion reached its climax, then
he would go to work most vigorously, and in a few hours reduce all to
order. But usually some important paper was lost or mislaid, and could
not be found at the time when most needed. It generally happened that
this great effort was not made until he had been going to do it for
three or four days, and not then until the call for some account or
other commercial paper, which was nowhere to be found, made a thorough
examination of what had been accumulating for some time in his drawers
and on his desk necessary. He was not always fortunate in discovering
the object of his search.

Notwithstanding this minor defect in Paul's character, his great
shrewdness and thorough knowledge of business made him a successful
merchant. In matters of primary interest, he was far-seeing, active,
and prompt, and as these involved the main chance, his worldly affairs
were prosperous. Whatever losses he encountered were generally to be
traced to his neglect of little matters in the present, to his habit of
"going to do," but never doing at the right time.

Not only in his business, but in his domestic affairs, and in every
thing that required his attention, did this disposition to put off the
doing of little things show itself. The consequences of his neglect
were always disturbing him in one way or another. So long as he alone
suffered, no one had a right to complain; but it is not to be supposed
that such a fault as he was chargeable with could exist and not affect

One day while Paul was at his desk, a young lady, dressed in deep
mourning, came into his store and asked to see him. The clerk handed
her back to where his principal was sitting, who bowed low to the
stranger and offered her a chair. The young lady drew aside her veil as
she seated herself, and showed a young and beautiful face that was
overcast with a shade of sadness. Although Paul never remembered having
seen the young lady before, he could not help remarking that there was
something very familiar in her countenance.

"My name is Miss Ellison," said the stranger, in a low, tremulous
voice. "I believe you know my mother, sir."

"Oh, very well," quickly returned Paul. "You are not Lucy Ellison,

"Yes, sir, my name is Lucy," returned the young lady.

"Can it be possible? Why, it seems but yesterday that you were a little
girl. How rapidly time flies! How is your mother, Miss Ellison? She is
one of my old friends."

"She is well, I thank you, sir," Lucy replied, casting her eyes timidly
to the floor.

There was a pause. While Paul was turning over in his mind what next to
say, and slightly wondering what could be the cause of this visit, the
young lady said, "Mr. Burgess, my mother desired me to call upon you to
ask your interest in procuring me the situation of French teacher in
Mr. C----'s school. Since my father's death, our means of living have
become so much reduced that it is necessary for me to do something to
prevent absolute want from overtaking us."

Lucy's voice trembled very much, and once or twice a choking sensation
in her throat prevented the utterance of a word; but she strove
resolutely with herself, and was able to finish what she wished to say
more calmly.

"I am perfectly ready," she continued, "to do any thing that lies in my
power. The French language I have studied thoroughly, and having
enjoyed the friendship and been on terms of intimacy with two or three
French ladies of education, I believe I can speak the language with
great accuracy. Mother says she knows you to be on intimate terms with
Mr. C----, and that a word from you will secure me the situation."

"Mr. C---- is, then, in want of a French teacher?"

"Oh, yes," replied Lucy; "we learned the fact yesterday. The salary is
five hundred dollars, which will give us a comfortable support if I can
obtain the situation."

"Of which there can be no doubt, Miss Ellison," returned Paul, "if your
qualifications are such as to meet the approval of Mr. C----, which I
presume they are. I will certainly call upon him and secure you the
place, if possible. Tell your mother that if in this or in any other
way I can serve either you or her, I will do it with sincere pleasure.
Please take to her my kind regards."

Lucy warmly expressed her thanks. On rising to depart, she said, "When
shall I call in, Mr. Burgess, to hear the result of your interview with
Mr. C----?"

"You needn't give yourself the trouble of calling at all, Miss
Ellison," replied Mr. Burgess. "The moment I have seen the person of
whom we were speaking, I will either call upon your mother or send her
a note."

"You are very kind," dropped almost involuntarily from Lucy's lips, as,
with a graceful inclination of her body, she drew her veil over her
face, and, turning from the merchant, walked quickly away.

When Paul went home at dinner-time, he said to his wife, "I am sure you
couldn't guess who I had for a visitor this morning."

"Then of course it would be useless for me to try," replied the wife,
smiling. "Who was it?"

"You know the Ellisons?"


"Mr. Ellison, you remember, died about a year ago."


"At the time of his death it was rumoured that his estate was involved,
but never having had any business transactions with him, I had no
occasion to investigate the matter, and did not really know what had
been the result of its settlement. This morning I was greatly surprised
to receive a visit from Lucy Ellison, who had grown up into a beautiful
young woman."

"Indeed!" ejaculated the wife. "And what did she want?"

"She came at her mother's request to solicit my influence with Mr.
C----, who is in want of a French teacher. She said that their
circumstances were very much changed since her father's death and that
it had become necessary for her to do something as a means of
supporting the family. The salary given by Mr. C---- to his French
teacher is five hundred dollars. I really pitied the young thing from
my heart. Think of our Mary, in two or three years from this, when, if
ever, a cloudless sky should bend over her, going to some old friend of
her father's, and almost tearfully soliciting him to beg for her, of
another, the privilege of toiling for bread. It made my heart ache."

"She must be very young," remarked Mrs. Burgess.

"Not over eighteen or nineteen."

"Poor thing! What a sad, sad change she must feel it to be! But did you
call upon Mr. C----?"

A slight shade passed over the countenance of Paul.

"Not yet," he replied.

"Oh, you ought to have gone at once."

"I know. I was going as soon as Lucy left, but I thought I would attend
to a little business down town first, and go to Mr. C----'s immediately
on my return. When I came back, I thought I would look over the
newspaper a little; I wanted to see what had been said in Congress on
the tariff question, which is now the all-absorbing topic. I became so
much interested in the remarks of one of the members, that I forgot all
about Lucy Ellison until I was called off by a customer, who occupied
me until dinner-time. But I will certainly attend to it this afternoon."

"Do, by all means. There should not be a moment's delay, for Mr. C----
may supply himself with a teacher."

"Very true. If that were to happen through my neglect, I should never
forgive myself."

"Hadn't you better call as you go to the store? It will be just in your

"So it will. Yes, I will call and put the matter in train at once,"
replied the husband.

With this good intention in his mind, Paul left his dwelling after
dinner. He had only gone a couple of squares, however, before it
occurred to him that as Mr. C---- had only one session of his school,
which let out at two or half-past two, he didn't know which, he of
course did not dine before three o'clock, and as it was then just a
quarter past three, it would not do to call upon him then; so he kept
on to his store, fixing in his mind four o'clock as the hour at which
he would call. Four o'clock found Paul deeply buried in a long series
of calculations that were not completed for some time afterwards. On
leaving his desk, he sat leisurely down in an arm-chair for the purpose
of thinking about business. He had not thought long, before the image
of Lucy Ellison came up before his mind. He drew out his watch.

"Nearly half-past four, I declare! I'm afraid Mr. C---- is out now; but
as it is so late, I will defer calling until I go home; it is just in
my way. If I see him, I can drop in upon Mrs. Ellison after tea."

On his way home, Paul fell in with a friend whose conversation was very
agreeable. He did not forget Lucy, but he thought a visit to Mr. C----
would accomplish just as much after supper as before. So the call was
deferred without a twinge of conscience.

The first words of Mrs. Burgess, on her husband's entrance, were,
"Well, dear, what did Mr. C---- say?"

"I haven't been able to see him yet, but I am going round after
supper," Paul replied, quickly.

"Indeed! I am sorry. Did you call?"

"No; it occurred to me that C---- dined at three o'clock, so I put it
off until four."

"And didn't go then?"

"No; I was going to"--

"Yes, that is just like you, Paul!" spoke up his wife with some spirit,
for she felt really provoked with her husband; "you are always _going
to do_!"

"There, there," returned Paul, "don't say a word more. A few hours, one
way or the other, can make no great difference. I will go round after
tea and have the matter settled. I shall be much more likely to find
C---- in a state to talk about the matter than I would through the day."

As soon as tea was over, urged on by his wife, Paul put on his hat and
started for the residence of Mr. C----. Unfortunately, that gentleman
had gone out, and Paul turned away from his door much disappointed.

"I will call the first thing in the morning," he consoled himself by
saying. "I will be sure to find him in then."

I am sorry to say that Paul was just going to do what he had promised
Lucy he would do immediately, at least half-a-dozen times on the next
day, but still failed in accomplishing his intended visit to Mr. C----.
Mrs. Burgess scolded vigorously every time he came home, and he joined
her in condemning himself, but still the thing had not been done when
Paul laid his head that night rather uneasily upon his pillow.

When Lucy returned and related to her mother how kindly Mr. Burgess had
received her, promising to call upon Mr. C---- and secure the
situation, if possible, the widow's heart felt warm with a grateful
emotion. Light broke in upon her mind, that had been for a long time
under a cloud.

"He was always a kind-hearted man," she said, "and ever ready to do a
good deed. If he should be so fortunate as to obtain this place for
you, we shall do very well; if not, heaven only knows what is to become
of us."

"Do not give way to desponding thoughts, mother," returned Lucy; "all
will yet be well. The vacancy has just occurred, and mine, I feel sure,
will be the first application. Mr. Burgess's interest with Mr. C----,
if he can be satisfied of my qualifications, must secure me the place."

"We ought to hear from him to-day," said Mrs. Ellison.

"Yes, I should think so. Mr. Burgess, of course, understands the
necessity that always exists in a case of this kind for immediate

"Oh, yes, he'll do it all right. I feel perfectly willing to trust the
matter in his hands."

As the reader has very naturally inferred, the circumstances of Mrs.
Ellison were of rather a pressing nature. Her family consisted of three
children, of whom Lucy was the eldest. Up to the time of her husband's
death, she had been surrounded with every comfort she could desire; but
Mr. Ellison's estate proving bankrupt, his family were left with but a
small, and that a very uncertain income. Upon this, by the practice of
great economy, they had managed to live. The final settlement of the
estate took away this resource, and the widow found herself with only a
small sum of money in hand, and all income cut off. This had occurred
about a month before the period of Lucy's introduction to the reader.
During this time, their gradually diminishing store, and the anxiety
they felt in regard to the future, destroyed all the remains of former
pride or regard for appearances, and made both Lucy and her mother
willing to do any thing that would yield them an income, provided it
were honourable. Nothing offered until nearly all their money was
exhausted, and the minds of the mother and eldest daughter were in a
state of great uncertainty and distress. Just at this darkest hour,
intelligence of the vacancy in Mr. C----'s school reached their ears.

Such being their circumstances, it may well be supposed that Lucy and
her mother felt deeply anxious to hear from Mr. Burgess, and counted
not only the hours as they passed, but the minutes that made up the
hours. Neither of them remarked on the fact that the day had nearly
come to its close without any communication having been received,
although both had expected to have heard much earlier from Mr. Burgess.
As the twilight began to fall, its gloom making their hearts feel
sadder, Mrs. Ellison said, "Don't you think we ought to have heard from
Mr. Burgess by this time, Lucy?"

"I hoped to have received some intelligence before this," replied the
daughter. "But perhaps we are impatient; it takes time to do every

"Yes; but it wouldn't take Mr. Burgess long to call upon Mr. C----. He
might have done it in half an hour from the time you saw him."

"If he could have left his business to do so; but you know men in
business cannot always command their time."

"I know; but still"--

"He has no doubt called," continued Lucy, interrupting her mother, for
she could not bear to hear even an implied censure passed upon Mr.
Burgess; "but he may not have obtained an interview with Mr. C----, or
he may be waiting for a definite answer. I think during the evening we
shall certainly hear from him."

But notwithstanding Lucy and her mother lingered up until past eleven
o'clock, the so-anxiously looked for communication was not received.

All the next day they passed in a state of nervous solicitude and
anxious expectation, but night found them still ignorant as to what Mr.
Burgess had done.

On the next day, unable to bear the suspense any longer, Lucy went to
the store of Mr. Burgess about ten o'clock.

"Have you called upon Mr. C---- yet?" she asked, before he had time to
more than bid her a good-morning.

"I was going to do it this moment," replied Mr. Burgess, looking
confused, yet trying to assume a bland and cordial manner.

In spite of her efforts to appear indifferent, the countenance of Lucy
fell and assumed a look of painful disappointment.

"You shall hear from me in an hour," said Mr. Burgess, feeling strongly
condemned for his neglect. "I have had a great many things on my mind
for these two days past, and have been much occupied with business. I
regret exceedingly the delay, but you may rely upon my attending to it
at once. As I said, I was just going out for the very purpose when you
called. Excuse me to your mother, and tell her that she will certainly
hear from me within the next hour. Tell her that I have already made
one or two efforts to see Mr. C----, but without succeeding in my
object. He happened not to be at home when I called."

Lucy stammered out a reply, bade Mr. Burgess good-morning, and returned
home with a heavy heart. She had little doubt but that the vacancy was
already supplied. Scarcely half an hour elapsed, when a note was left.
It was briefly as follows:--

"Mr. Burgess's compliments to Mrs. Ellison. Is very sorry to say that
the vacancy in Mr. C----'s seminary has already been filled. If in any
thing else Mr. B. can be of any service, Mrs. E. will please feel at
perfect liberty in calling upon him. He exceedingly regrets that his
application to Mr. C---- was not more successful."

The note dropped from the hands of Mrs. Ellison, and she groaned
audibly. Lucy snatched it up, and took in its contents at a single
glance. She made no remark, but clasped her hands together and drew
them tightly across her breast, while her eyes glanced involuntarily

About an hour afterwards, a lady who felt a good deal of interest in
Mrs. Ellison, and who knew of the application that was to be made
through Mr. Burgess to Mr. C----, called in to express her sincere
regret at Lucy's having failed to secure the situation, a knowledge of
which had just reached her ears.

"Nothing but the neglect of Mr. Burgess to call upon Mr. C---- at once,
as he promised to do, has prevented Lucy from getting the place!" she
said, with the warmth of a just indignation. "A person who was present
when Mr. B. called this morning, told me, that after he left Mr. C----
remarked to her that he was perfectly aware of Lucy's high
qualifications for teaching French, and would have been glad of her
services had he known her wish to engage as an instructor, but that it
was now too late, as he had on the day before employed a competent
person to fill the situation."

Lucy covered her face with her hands on hearing this, and gave way to a
passionate burst of tears.

When Mr. Burgess came home at dinner-time, his wife said, immediately
on his entrance, "Have you secured that place for Lucy Ellison, my
dear? I hope you haven't neglected it again."

"I called upon Mr. C---- this morning," replied the husband, "but found
the vacancy already filled."

"Oh, I am so sorry!" said Mrs. Burgess, speaking in a tone of deep
regret. "When was it filled?"

"I didn't inquire. Mr. C---- said that Lucy would have suited him
exactly, but that her application came too late."

"Poor thing! She will be terribly disappointed," said the wife.

"No doubt she will be disappointed, but I don't know why it should be
so very terrible to her. She had no right to be positively certain of
obtaining the situation."

"Have you heard any particulars of her mother's situation?" inquired
Mrs. Burgess.

"Nothing very particular. Have you?"

"Yes. Mrs. Lemmon called to see me this morning; she is an intimate
friend of Mrs. Ellison. She told me that the small income which Mrs.
Ellison has enjoyed since her husband's death has, at the final
settlement of his estate, been cut off, the estate proving to be
utterly insolvent. A month has elapsed since she has been deprived of
all means of living beyond the small sum of money that happened to be
in her hands, an amount not over thirty or forty dollars. Since that
time Lucy has been anxiously looking about for some kind of employment
that would yield enough for the support of the family, to obtain which
she was willing to devote every energy of body and mind. The vacancy in
Mr. C----'s school is the first opening of any kind that has yet
presented itself. For this she was fully competent, and the salary
would have supported the family quite comfortably. It is too bad that
she should not have obtained it. I am almost sure, if you had gone at
once to see about it, that you might have obtained it for her."

"Well, I was going to see about it at once, but something or other
prevented me. If I really thought it was my fault, I should feel very

That afternoon accident made him fully acquainted with the fact that
he, and he alone, was to blame in the matter, and then he felt bad

"That dreadful habit of procrastination," he murmured to himself, "is
always getting me into trouble. If I alone were made to suffer, it
would be no matter; but when it involves other people as it now does,
it becomes a crime. In the present case I must make reparation in some
way; but I must think how this is to be done."

When any matter serious enough to call for the undivided attention of
Mr. Burgess presented itself, that thing was generally done, and well
done. He had great energy of character, and mental resources beyond
what were ordinarily possessed. It was only when he felt the want of an
adequate purpose that neglect became apparent.

On the morning after the day upon which Lucy and her mother had been so
bitterly disappointed, the former, while looking over the newspaper,
called the attention of the latter to an advertisement of a young lady
who was desirous of obtaining a situation as a French teacher in some
private family or seminary. The advertiser represented herself as being
thoroughly versed in the principles of the language, and able to speak
it as well as a native of Paris. The highest testimonials as to
character, education, social standing, &c. would be given.

"I think I had better do the same," Lucy said.

"It won't be of any use," replied the mother, in a tone of despondency.

"We don't know that, mother," said Lucy. "We must use the best means
that offer themselves for the accomplishment of what we desire."

"There is already one advertisement for a situation such as you
desire--some disappointed applicant for the place at Mr. C----'s, no
doubt. It is hardly to be supposed that two more French teachers are
wanted in the city."

"Let us try, mother," returned Lucy to this.

"If you feel disposed to do it, child, I have no objection," said Mrs.
Ellison; "but I shall count nothing on it."

"It is the only method that now presents itself, and I think it will be
right at least to make the trial. It can do no harm."

The more Lucy thought about an advertisement, the more hopeful did she
feel about the result. During the day she prepared one and sent it down
to a newspaper office. Her messenger had not been long gone before the
servant came up to the room where she sat with her mother, and said
that a gentleman was in the parlour and wished to see them. He had sent
up his card.

"Mr. Burgess!" ejaculated Lucy, on taking the card from the servant's

"I do not wish to see him," said Mrs. Ellison, as soon as the servant
had withdrawn. "You will have to go down alone, Lucy."

Lucy descended to the parlour with reluctant steps, for she had little
desire to see the man whose thoughtlessness and neglect had so cruelly
wronged them. The moment she entered the parlour, Mr. Burgess stepped
forward to meet her with a cheerful expression of countenance.

"Yesterday," he began immediately, "I had discouraging news for you,
but I am happy to bring you a better story to-day. I have obtained a
situation for you as a French teacher, in a new seminary which has just
been opened, at a salary of six hundred dollars a year. If you will go
with me immediately, I will introduce you to the principal, and settle
all matters preliminary to your entering upon the duties of your

"I will be with you in a few minutes," was all that Lucy could say in
reply, turning quickly away from Mr. Burgess and gliding from the room.
Her heart was too full for her to trust herself to say more. In a
moment after she was sobbing upon her mother's bosom. It was some
minutes before she could command her feelings enough to tell the good
news she had just heard. When she did find utterance, and briefly
communicated the intelligence she had heard, her mother's tears of joy
were mingled with her own.

Lucy accompanied Mr. Burgess to the residence of the principal of the
new seminary, and there entered into a contract for one year to teach
the French language, at a salary of six hundred dollars, her duties to
commence at once, and her salary to be drawn weekly if she desired it.
She did not attempt an expression of the gratitude that oppressed her
bosom. Words would have been inadequate to convey her real feelings.
But this was not needed. Mr. Burgess saw how deeply grateful she was,
and wished for no utterance of what she felt.

That night both Mr. Burgess, as well as those he had benefited, had
sweeter dreams than visited their pillows on the night preceding. The
latter never knew how much they stood his debtor. He put in the
advertisement which Lucy had read, and she was the person it described.
Five hundred dollars was all the principal of the seminary paid; the
other hundred was placed in his hands by Mr. Burgess, that the salary
might be six hundred.


"CENT to cent, shilling to shilling, and dollar to dollar, slowly and
steadily, like the progress of a mole in the earth! That may suit some,
but it will never do for Sidney Lawrence. There is a quicker road to
fortune than that, and I am the man to walk in it. 'Enterprise' is the
word. Yes, enterprise, enterprise, enterprise! Nothing venture, nothing
gain, is my motto."

"Slow and sure is the safer motto, my young friend, and if you will
take my advice, you will be content to creep before you walk, and to
walk before you run. The cent to cent and dollar to dollar system is
the only sure one."

This was the language of an old merchant, who had made his fortune by
the system he recommended, and was addressed to a young man just
entering business with a capital of ten thousand dollars, the joint
property of himself and an only sister.

Sidney Lawrence had been raised in a large mercantile establishment,
that was doing an immense business and making heavy profits. But all
its operations were based upon adequate capital and enlarged
experience. When he commenced for himself, he could not brook the idea
of keeping near the shore, like a little boat, and following its safer
windings; he felt like launching out boldly into the ocean and reaching
the desired haven by the quickest course. He wished to accumulate money
rapidly, and believed that, on the capital he possessed, five or six
thousand dollars a year might as easily be made as one thousand, if a
man only had sufficient enterprise to push business vigorously. The
careful, plodding course pursued by some, and strongly recommended to
him, he despised. It was beneath a man of true business capacity.

"As I said before, nothing venture, nothing gain," replied Lawrence to
the old merchant's good advice. "I am not content to eke out a thousand
or two dollars every year, and, at the age of fifty or sixty, retire
from business on a paltry twenty or thirty thousand dollars. I must get
rich fast, or not at all."

"Remember the words of Solomon, my young friend," returned the
merchant. "'_He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent._'
Among all the sayings of the wise man, there is not one truer than
that. I have been in business for thirty years, and have seen the rise
and fall of a good many 'enterprising' men, who were in a hurry to get
rich. Their history is an instructive lesson to all who will read it.
Some got rich, or at least appeared to get rich, in a very short space
of time. They grew up like mushrooms in a night. But they were gone as
quickly. I can point you to at least twenty elegant mansions, built by
such men in their heyday of prosperity, that soon passed into other
hands. And I can name to you half a dozen and more, who, when reverses
came, were subjected to trials for alleged fraudulent practices,
resorted to in extremity as a means of sustaining their tottering
credit and escaping the ruin that threatened to engulf them. One of
these, in particular, was a young man whom I raised, and who had always
acted with the most scrupulous honesty while in my store. But he was
ardent, ambitious, and anxious to get rich. His father started him in
business with ten thousand dollars capital. In a little while, he was
trading high, and pushing his business to the utmost of its capacity.
At the end of a couple of years, his father had to advance him ten
thousand dollars more to keep him from failing. During the next five
years, he expanded with wonderful rapidity, built himself a splendid
house, and took his place at the court end of the town, as one of our
wealthy citizens. It was said of him that he had made a hundred
thousand dollars. But the downfall came at last, as come I knew it
must. He toppled over and fell down headlong. Then it was discovered
that he had been making fictitious notes, purporting to be the bills
payable of country merchants, which his own credit had carried through
a number of the banks, as well as made pass freely to money-brokers. He
had to stand a long and painful trial for forgery, and came within an
ace of being sent to the State's prison. As soon as the trial closed,
he left the city, and I have never heard of him since."

"But you don't mean to insinuate," said Lawrence, rather sternly, "that
I would be guilty of forgery in any extremity?"

"Sidney Lawrence!" replied the merchant, speaking in a firm, serious
voice, "I am a plain-spoken man, and always tell my real mind when I
feel it my duty to do so, whether I give offence or not. That Solomon
spoke truly, when he said, '_He that maketh haste to be rich shall not
be innocent,_' I fully believe, because I am satisfied, from what I
have seen and know of business, that whoever follows it with an eager
desire to make money rapidly, will be subjected to daily temptations,
and it will be almost impossible for him not to seek advantages over
his neighbour in trade, and trample under foot the interests of others
to gain his own. If this is done in little matters unscrupulously, it
will in the end be done in great matters. What is the real difference,
I should like to know, between taking advantage of a man in bargaining,
and getting his money by passing upon him a forged note? The principle
is undoubtedly the same, only one is a legal offence and the other is
not. And therefore, I hold that he who takes an undue advantage of his
fellow man in trade, will not in the end hesitate about committing a
greater wrong, if he have a fair chance of escape from penalty. In my
young days, the motto of most business men, who were not very nice
about the interests of others, was, '_Every man for himself and the
Lord for us all._' But the motto has become slightly changed in these
times. It now reads, '_Every man for himself, and the d----l take the
hindmost!_' I hear this too often unblushingly avowed, but see it much
oftener acted out, all around me. My young friend, if you wish to keep
a clear conscience, adopt neither of these mottoes, but regard, in
every transaction, the good of others as well as your own good. And let
me most seriously and earnestly warn you against making haste to be
rich. The least evil that can overtake you, in such an effort, will be
the almost certain wreck of all your worldly hopes, some five or ten
years hence, and your fall, so low, that to rise again will be almost

This well-meant, but plainly uttered advice, more than half offended
Lawrence. He replied, coldly, that he thought he knew what he was
about, and would try, at least, to "steer clear of the penitentiary."

With shrewdness, tact, untiring industry, and a spirit that knew no
discouragement, the young man pressed forward in business. The warning
of the merchant, if it did not repress his desire to get rich in haste,
caused him to look more closely than he would otherwise have done into
every transaction he was about to make. This saved him from many
serious losses.

The want of more capital soon began to be felt. He saw good operations
every day, that might be made if he had capital enough to enter into

"A man deserves no credit for getting rich, if he have capital enough
to work with," was a favourite remark. "There is plenty of business to
be done, and ways of making money in abundance, if the means are only
at hand."

One week, if he had only been in the possession of means, he would have
purchased a cotton-factory; the next week become possessor of a ship,
and entered into the East India trade; and, the next week after that,
purchased an interest in a lead-mine on the Upper Mississippi.

Money, money, more money, was ever his cry, for he saw golden
opportunities constantly passing unimproved. A neighbour, to whom he
was expressing his desire for the use of larger capital, said to him,
one day--

"I'll tell you how you can get more money!"

"How?" was the eager question.

"Get into the direction of some bank, push through the notes of a
business friend, in whom you have confidence, who will do the same for
you in another bank of which he is one of the managers. There are
wheels within wheels in those moneyed institutions, from which the few
and not the many reap the most benefit. Connect yourself with as many
as you can of them, and make the most of the opportunities such
connections will afford. You know Balmier?"


"And what a rushing business he does?"


"He dragged heavily enough, and was always flying about for money,
until he took a hint and got elected into the Citizens and Traders'
Bank. Since then he has been as easy as an old shoe, and has done five
times as much business as before."

"Is it possible?"

"Oh, yes! You are not fully up to the tricks of trade yet, I see,
shrewd as you are."

"I know well enough how to use money, but I have not yet learned how to
get it."

"That will all come in good time. We are just now getting up a petition
for the charter of a new bank in which I am to be a director, and I can
easily manage to get you in if you will subscribe pretty liberally to
the stock. It is to be called the People's Bank."

"But I have no money to invest in stock. That would be taking away
instead of adding to my capital in trade, which is light enough in all

"There will be no trouble about that. Only an instalment of twenty
cents in the dollar will be necessary to set the institution going. And
not more than ten cents in the dollar will be called in at a time.
After two or three instalments have been paid, you can draw out
two-thirds of the amount on stock notes."

"Indeed! That's the way it's done?"

"Yes. You ought to take about a hundred shares, which will make it easy
for us to have you put into the Board of Directors."

"I'll do it," was the prompt response to this.

"And take my word for it, you will not be many months a bank director,
if you improve the opportunities that will be thrown in your way,
without having a good deal more money at your command than at present."

The charter for the People's Bank was obtained, and when an election
was held, Lawrence went in as a director. He had not held that position
many months, before, by favouring certain paper that was presented from
certain quarters, he got paper favoured that came from certain other
quarters; and in this was individually benefited by getting the use of
about fifteen thousand dollars additional capital, which came to him
really but not apparently from the bank in which he held a hundred
shares of stock. For the sake of appearances, he did not borrow back
his instalments on stock notes. It was a little matter, and would have
looked as if he were pressed for money.

From this time Sidney Lawrence became a financier, and plunged deep
into all the mysteries of money-raising. His business operations became
daily more and more extended, and he never appeared to be much pressed
for money. At the end of a couple of years, he held the office of
director in two banking institutions, and was president of an insurance
company that issued post-notes on which three per cent. was charged.
These notes, as the institution was in good credit, could readily be
passed through almost any bank in the city. They were loaned pretty
freely on individual credit, and also freely on real estate and other
collateral security.

It is hard to serve two masters. The mind of man is so constituted, and
the influences bearing upon it are so peculiar in their orderly
arrangements, that the more it is concentered upon one object and
pursuit, the more perfection and certainty attend its action. But if it
be divided between two objects and pursuits, and especially if both of
these require much thought, its action will be imperfect to a certain
degree in both, or one will suffer while the other absorbs the most

Thus it happened with Lawrence. While ardently engaged in financiering,
his business received less attention. Instead of using to the best
possible advantage the money already obtained in his financiering
operations, he strove eagerly after more. In fact, too reckless an
investment, in many instances, of borrowed capital, from which no
return could be obtained perhaps for years, made his wants still as
great as before, and kept in constant activity all the resources of his
mind in order to meet his accommodations and steadily to increase them.

Ten years from the time when Sidney Lawrence started in business have
passed. He is living in handsome style and keeps his carriage. Five or
six years previously, he was married to a beautiful and lovely-minded
woman, connected with some of the best families of the city. He has
three children.

"Are you not well, dear?" asked his wife, one day about this period.
They were sitting at the dinner-table, and Mr. Lawrence was hardly
tasting his food.

"I haven't much appetite," he replied indifferently.

"You eat scarcely any thing; hardly enough to keep you alive. I am
afraid you give yourself too much up to business."

Mr. Lawrence did not reply. He had evidently not heard more than half
of his wife's last remark. In a little while he left the table, saying,
as he rose, that he had some business requiring his immediate
attention. Mrs. Lawrence glanced toward the door that closed after her
husband with a troubled look, and sighed.

From his dwelling Mr. Lawrence hurried to his store, and spent an hour
there in examining his account books, and in making calculations. At
five o'clock he met the directors of the insurance company, of which he
was still president, at an extra meeting. All had grave faces. There
was a statement of the affairs of the company upon the table around
which they were gathered. It showed that in the next two weeks
post-notes, amounting in all to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars,
would fall due; while not over fifty thousand dollars in bills
receivable, maturing within that time, were on hand, and the available
cash resources of the company were not over five thousand dollars. The
time was, when by an extra effort the sum needed could have been easily
raised. But extra efforts had been put forth so often of late, that the
company had exhausted nearly all its resources.

"I do not understand," remarked one of the directors, looking up from
the statement he had been carefully examining, "how there can be a
hundred and fifty thousand dollars of post-notes due so soon, and only
fifty thousand dollars in bills receivable maturing in the same time.
If I am not mistaken, the post-notes were never issued except against
bills having a few days shorter time to run. How is this, Mr. Lawrence?"

"All that is plain enough," the president replied promptly. "A large
portion of these bills have been at various times discounted for us in
the People's Bank, and in other banks, when we have needed money."

"But why should we be in such need of money?" inquired the director
earnestly. He had been half asleep in his place for over a year, and
was just beginning to get his eyes open. "I believe we have had no
serious losses of late. There have been but few fires that have touched

"But there have been a good many failures in the last six months, most
of which have affected us, and some to quite a heavy amount," returned
the president. "Our post-note business has proved most unfortunate."

"So I should think if it has lost us a hundred thousand dollars, as
appears from this statement."

"It is useless to look at that now," said Mr. Lawrence. "The great
business to be attended to is the raising of means to meet this trying
emergency. How is it to be done?"

There was a deep silence and looks of concern.

"Can it be raised at all? Is there any hope of saving the institution?"
asked one of the board, at length.

"In my opinion, none in the world," was replied by another. "I have
thought of little else but the affairs of the company since yesterday,
and I am satisfied that all hope is gone. There are thirty thousand
dollars to be provided to-morrow. Our balance is but five thousand,
even if all the bills maturing to-day have been paid."

"Which they have, I presume, as no protests have come in," remarked the

"But what is the sum of five thousand dollars set off against thirty
thousand? It is as nothing."

"Surely, gentlemen are not prepared to give up in this way," said the
president, earnestly. "A failure will be a most disastrous thing, and
we shall all be deeply sufferers in the community if it takes place. We
must make efforts and sacrifices to carry it through. Here are twelve
of us; can we not, on our individual credit, raise the sum required? I,
for one, will issue my notes to-morrow for twenty thousand dollars. If
the other directors will come forward in the same spirit, we may
exchange the bills among each other, and by endorsing them mutually,
get them through the various banks where we have friends or influence,
and thus save the institution. Gentlemen, are you prepared to meet me
in this thing?"

Two or three responded affirmatively. Some positively declined; and
others wanted time to think of it.

"If we pause to think, all is ruined," said Mr. Lawrence, excited. "We
must act at once, and promptly."

But each member of the board remained firm to the first expression.
Nothing could be forced, and reflection only tended to confirm those
who opposed the president's views in their opposition to the plan
suggested. The meeting closed, after two hours' perplexing
deliberation, without determining upon any course of action. At ten
o'clock on the next day the directors were to meet again.

Mr. Lawrence walked the floor for half of that night, and lay awake for
the other half. To sleep was impossible. Thus far, in the many
difficulties he had encountered, a way of escape from them had opened
either on the right hand or on the left, but now no way of escape
presented itself. A hundred plans were suggested to his mind, canvassed
and then put aside. He saw but one measure of relief, if it could be
carried out; but that he had proposed already, and it was not approved.

The unhappy state in which she saw her husband deeply distressed Mrs.
Lawrence. Earnestly did she beg of him to tell her all that troubled
him, and let her bear a part of the burden that was upon him. At first
he evaded her questions; but, to her oft-repeated and tenderly urged
petition to be a sharer in his pains as well as his pleasures, he
mentioned the desperate state of affairs in the company of which he was

"But, my dear husband," she replied to this, "you cannot be held
responsible for the losses the institution has sustained."

"True, Florence; but the odium, the censure, the distress that must
follow its failure,--I cannot bear to think of these. My credit, too,
will suffer, for I shall lose all I have invested in the stock, and
this fact, when known, will impair confidence."

"All this is painful and deeply to be regretted, Sidney," said the
wife, speaking in as firm a voice as she could assume. "But as it is a
calamity that cannot now be avoided, and is not the result of any wrong
act of yours, let a clear conscience sustain you in this severe trial.
Let the public censure, let odium be attached to your name--so long as
your conscience is clear and your integrity unsullied, these cannot
really hurt you."

But this appeal had little or no effect. The mind of the unhappy man
could not take hold of it, nor feel its force. It was repeated again
and again, and with as little effect. Finally he begged to be left to
his own reflections. In tears his wife complied with his request. That
night she slept as little as her miserable husband.

On the next day the ---- Insurance Company was dishonoured, and "went
into liquidation." On the day following Sidney Lawrence suspended
payment. Trustees were appointed to take charge of the effects of the
company, who immediately commenced a rigid examination into its
affairs. Lawrence made an assignment at the same time for the benefit
of his creditors.

One evening, about a week after his failure, Mr. Lawrence came home
paler and more disturbed than ever. There was something wild in the
expression of his countenance.

"Florence," said he, as soon as he was alone with her, "I must leave
for Cincinnati in the morning."

"Why?" eagerly asked the wife, her face instantly blanching.

"Business requires me to go. I have seen your father, and have made
arrangements with him for you to go to his house, with the children,
while I am away. This property, as I have before told you, has to be
sold, and the sale will probably take place while I am gone."

"How soon will you return?"

"I cannot tell exactly; but I will come back as quickly as possible."

There was something in the manner of her husband, as he made this
announcement, that startled and alarmed Mrs. Lawrence. She tried to ask
many questions, but her voice failed her. Leaning her head down upon
her husband's breast, she sobbed and wept for a long time. Lawrence was
much affected, and kissed the wet cheek of his wife with unwonted

On the next morning, early, the unhappy man parted with his family. His
wife clung to him with an instinctive dread of the separation. Tears
were in his eyes, as he took his children one after another in his arms
and kissed them tenderly.

"God bless you all, and grant that we may meet again right early, and
under brighter skies!" he said, as he clasped his wife to his bosom in
a long embrace, and then tore himself away.

On the third day after Mr. Lawrence left, one of the city newspapers
contained the following paragraph:

"THE ---- INSURANCE COMPANY.--We understand that in the investigation
of the affairs of this concern, it has been discovered that Mr.
Lawrence, the president, proves to be a defaulter in the sum of nearly
a hundred thousand dollars. The public are aware that post-notes were
issued by the company to a large amount, and loaned to individuals on
good collateral security. These bore only the signature of the
president. It now appears that Mr. Lawrence used this paper without the
knowledge of the directors. He signed what he wanted for his own use,
and when these came due, signed others and negotiated them, managing
through the principal clerk in the institution, who it seems was an
accomplice, to keep the whole matter a secret. This was continued until
he had used the credit of the concern up to a hundred thousand dollars,
when it sank under the load. Preparations were made, immediately on the
discovery of this, to have him arrested and tried for swindling, but he
got wind of it and has left the city. We presume, however, that he will
be apprehended and brought back. His own private affairs are said to be
in a most deplorable condition. It is thought that not over twenty
cents in the dollar will be realized at the final settlement."

Here we drop a veil over the history of the man who made haste to be
rich, and was not innocent. His poor wife waited vainly for him to
return, and his children asked often for their father, and wondered why
he stayed so long away. Years passed before they again met, and then it
was in sorrow and deep humiliation.


I HOPE there is no coolness between you and Maria," said Mrs. Appleton
to her young friend, Louisa Graham, one evening at a social party. "I
have not seen you together once to-night; and just now she passed
without speaking, or even looking at you."

"Oh, as to that," replied Louisa, tossing her head with an air of
contempt and affected indifference, "she's got into a pet about
something; dear knows what, for I don't."

"I am really sorry to hear you say so," remarked Mrs. Appleton. "Maria
is a warm-hearted girl, and a sincere friend. Why do you not go to her,
and inquire the cause of this change in her manner?"

"Me! No, indeed. I never humour any one who gets into a pet and goes
pouting about in that manner."

"But is it right for you to act so? A word of inquiry or explanation
might restore all in a moment."

"Right or wrong, I never did and never will humour the whims of such
kind of people. No, no. Let her pout it out! That's the way to cure
such people."

"I don't think so, Louisa. She is unhappy from some real or imaginary
cause. That cause it is no doubt in your power to remove."

"But she has no right to imagine causes of offence; and I don't choose
to have people act as she is now acting towards me from mere imaginary
causes. No; let her pout it out, I say. It will teach her a good

Louisa spoke with indignant warmth.

"Were you never mistaken?" asked Mrs. Appleton, in a grave tone.

"Of course, I've been mistaken many a time."

"Very well. Have you never been mistaken in reference to another's
action towards you?"

"I presume so."

"And have not such mistakes sometimes given you pain?"

"I cannot recall any instances just at this moment, but I have no doubt
they have."

"Very well. Just imagine yourself in Maria's position; would you not
think it kind in any one to step forward and disabuse you of an error
that was stealing away your peace of mind?"

"Yes; but, Mrs. Appleton, I don't know anything about the cause of
Maria's strange conduct. She may see that in my character or
disposition to which she is altogether uncongenial, and may have made
up her mind not to keep my company any longer. Or she may feel herself,
all at once, above me. And I'm not the one, I can tell you, to cringe
to any living mortal. I am as good as she is, or any one else!"

"Gently, gently, Louisa! Don't fall into the very fault you condemn in
Maria; that of imagining a sentiment to be entertained by another which
she does not hold, and then growing indignant over the idea and at the
person supposed to hold it."

"I can't see clearly the force of what you say, Mrs. Appleton; and
therefore I must come back to what I remarked a little while ago: She
must pout it out."

"You are wrong, Louisa," her friend replied, "and I cannot let you rest
in that wrong, if it is in my power to correct it. Perhaps, by relating
a circumstance that occurred with myself a few years ago, I may be able
to make an impression on your mind. I had, and still have, an esteemed
friend, amiable and sincere, but extremely sensitive. She is too apt to
make mistakes about other people's estimation of her, which, I often
told her, is a decided fault of character. That she has only to be
self-conscious of integrity, and then she will be truly estimated.
Well, this friend would sometimes imagine that _I_ treated her coolly,
or indifferently, or thrust at her feelings, when I felt towards her
all the while a very warm affection. The consequence would be, that she
would assume a cold or offended exterior. But I never said to myself,
'Let her pout it out.' I knew that she was mistaken, and that she was
really suffering under her mistake; and I would always go to her, and
kindly inquire the cause of her changed manner. The result was, of
course, an immediate restoration of good feeling, often accompanied by
a confession of regret at having injured me by imagining that I
entertained unkind sentiments when I did not. On one occasion I noticed
a kind of reserve in her manner; but thinking there might be some
circumstances known only to herself, that gave her trouble, I did not
seem to observe it. On the next morning I was exceedingly pained and
surprised to receive a note from her, in something like the following

"The fact is, Mrs. Appleton, I cannot and will not bear any longer your
manner towards me. You seem to think that I have no feelings. And
besides, you assume an air of superiority and patronage that is
exceedingly annoying. Last night your manner was insufferable. As I
have just said, I cannot and will not bear such an assumption on your
part. And now let me say, that I wish, hereafter, to be considered by
you as a stranger. As such I shall treat you. Do not attempt to answer
this, do not attempt to see me, for I wish for no humiliating

"Now what would you have done in such a case, Louisa?"

"I would have taken her at her word, of course," was the prompt reply;
"did not you?"

"Oh, no; that would not have been right."

"I must confess, Mrs. Appleton, that your ideas of right, and mine, are
very different. This lady told you expressly that she did not wish to
hold any further intercourse with you."

"Exactly. But, then, she would not have said so, had she not been
deceived by an erroneous idea. Knowing this, it became my duty to
endeavour to remove the false impression."

"I must confess, Mrs. Appleton, that I cannot see it in the same light.
I don't believe that we are called upon to humour the whims of every
one. It does such people, as you speak of, good to be let alone, and
have their pout out. If you notice them, it makes them ten times as

"A broad assertion like that you have just made needs proof, Louisa. I,
for one, do not believe that it is true. If an individual, under a
false impression, be let alone to 'pout it out,' the mere pouting, as
you call it, does not bring a conviction that the cause of unpleasant
feeling is altogether imaginary. The ebullition will subside in time,
and the subject of it may seem to forget the cause; but to do so, is
next to impossible where the false impression is not removed. Now let
me tell you how _I_ did in reference to the friend I have just

"Well. How did you do?"

"After the acute pain of mind which was caused by her note had
subsided, I began to examine, as far as I could recollect them, all my
words and actions towards her on the previous evening. In one or two
things, I thought I could perceive that which to one of her sensitive
disposition might appear in a wrong light. I remembered, too, that in
her domestic relations there were some circumstances of a painful
character, and I knew that these weighed heavily upon her mind, often
depressing her spirits very much. One of these circumstances, though
perfectly beyond her control, was extremely humiliating to a
high-minded and somewhat proud-spirited woman. All these things I
turned over in my mind, and instead of suffering myself to feel
incensed against her for the unkind note she had written to me, I
endeavoured to find excuses for her, and to palliate her fault all that
I could. What troubled me most, was the almost insurmountable barrier
that she had thrown between us. 'Do not attempt to answer this; do not
attempt to see me;' were strong positions; and my pride rose up, and
forbade me to break through them. But pride could not stand before the
awakening of better feelings. 'I must see her. I will see her!' I said.

"This resolution taken, I determined that I would not call upon her
until towards evening, thus giving her time for reflection. The hour at
length came in which I had made up my mind to perform a most painful
duty, and I dressed myself for the trying visit. When I pulled the
bell, on pausing at her door, I was externally calm, but internally

"'Tell Mrs. ---- that a friend wishes to speak to her,' said I to the
servant who showed me into the parlour. I did not feel at liberty to
ask her not to mention my name; but I emphasized the word 'friend,' in
hopes that she would understand my meaning. But she either did not or
would not, for in a few minutes she returned and said, in a confused
and hesitating voice,

"'Mrs.--says that she does not wish to see you.'"

"And you left the house on the instant?" Louisa said, in an indignant

"No, I did not," was Mrs. Appleton's calm reply.

"Not after such an insult! Pardon me--but I should call it a breach of
politeness for any one to remain in the house of another under such

"But, Louisa, you must remember that there are exceptions to every
general rule; and also, that the same act may be good or bad, according
to the end which the actor has in view. If I had proposed to myself any
mere sinister and selfish end in remaining in the house of my friend
after such an unkind and to me, at the time, cruel repulse, I should
have acted wrong; but my end was to benefit my friend--to disabuse her
of a most painful mistake, which I could only do by meeting her, and
letting her ears take in the tones of my voice, that she might thus
judge of my sincerity."

Louisa did not reply, and Mrs. Appleton continued,--

"'Tell Mrs. ----,' said I to the servant, 'that I am very anxious to
see her, and that she must not refuse me an interview.' In a few
minutes she returned with the positive refusal of Mrs. ---- to see me.
There was one thing that I did not want to do--one thing that I
hesitated to do, and that was to force myself upon my estranged friend
by intruding upon her, even in her own chamber, where she had retired
to be secure from my importunity. But I looked to the end I had in
view. 'Is not the end a good one?' I said, as I mused over the
unpleasant position in which I found myself. 'Will not even Mrs. ----
thank me for the act after she shall have perceived her error?' Thus I
argued with myself, and finally made up my mind that I would compel an
interview by entering my friend's chamber, even though she had twice
refused to see me.

"As I resolved to do, so I acted. Once fully convinced that the act was
right, I compelled myself to do it, without once hesitating or looking
back. My low knock at her chamber-door was unanswered. I paused but a
few moments before opening it. There stood my friend, with a pale yet
firm countenance, and as I advanced she looked me steadily in the face
with a cold, repulsive expression.

"'Mrs. ----,' said I, extending my hand and forcing a smile, while the
tears came to my eyes, and my voice trembled--'if I had been guilty of
the feelings with which you have charged me, I would not have thus
sought you, in spite of all your repulses. Let me now declare to you,
in the earnestness of a sincere heart, that I am innocent of all you
allege against me. I have always regarded you as one of my choicest
friends. I have always endeavoured to prefer you before myself, instead
of setting myself above you. You have, therefore, accused me
wrongfully, but I do most heartily forgive you. Will you not then
forgive me for an imaginary fault?'

"For a few moments after I commenced speaking, she continued to look at
me with the same cold, repulsive stare, not deigning to touch the hand
that I still extended. But she saw that I was sincere; she felt that I
was sincere, and this melted her down. As I ceased speaking, she
started forward with a quick, convulsed movement, and throwing her arms
around me, hid her face in my bosom and wept aloud. It was some time
before the tumult of her feelings subsided.

"'Can you indeed forgive me?' she at length said; 'my strange, blind,
wayward folly?'

"'Let us be friends as we were, Mrs. ----,' I replied, 'and let this
hour be forgotten, or only remembered as a seal to our friendship.'

"From that day, Louisa, there has been no jarring string in our
friendly intercourse. Mrs. ---- really felt aggrieved; she thought that
she perceived in my conduct all that she had alleged, and it wounded
her to the quick. But the earnest sincerity with which I sought her out
and persisted in seeing her, convinced her that she had altogether
misunderstood the import of my manner, which, under the peculiar state
of her feelings, put on a false appearance."

"Well, Mrs. Appleton," Louisa said with a deep inspiration, as that
lady ceased speaking, "I cannot say that I think you did wrong: indeed,
I feel that you were right; but I cannot act from such unselfish
motives; it is not in me."

"But you can compel yourself to do right, Louisa, even where there is
no genuine good impulse prompting to correct actions. It is by our thus
compelling ourselves, and struggling against the activity of a wrong
motive, that a right one is formed. If I had consulted only my
feelings, and had suffered only offended self-love to speak, I should
never have persevered in seeing my friend; to this day there would have
been a gulf between us."

"Still, it seems to me that we ought not, as a general thing, to humour
persons in these idle whims; it only confirms them in habits of mind
that make them sources of perpetual annoyance to their friends. Indeed,
as far as I am concerned, I desire to be freed from acquaintances of
this description; I do not wish my peace ever and anon interfered with
in such an unpleasant way."

"We should not," Mrs. Appleton replied, "consider only ourselves in
these, or indeed in any matters pertaining to social intercourse, but
should endeavour sometimes to look away from what is most pleasant and
gratifying to ourselves, and study to make others happy. You know that
the appearance which true politeness puts on is that of preferring
others to ourselves. We offer them the best seats, or the most eligible
positions; or present them with the choicest viands at the table. We
introduce subjects of conversation that we think will interest others
more than ourselves, and deny ourselves in various ways, that others
may be obliged and gratified. Now, the question is, are these mere idle
and unmeaning forms? Or is it right that we should feel as we act? If
they are unmeaning forms, then are the courtesies of social intercourse
a series of acts most grossly hypocritical. If not so, then it is right
that we should prefer others to ourselves; and it is right for us, when
we find that a friend is under a painful mistake--even if to approach
her may cause some sacrifice of our feelings--for us to go to that
friend and disabuse her mind of error. Do you not think so, Louisa?"

"I certainly cannot gainsay your position, Mrs. Appleton; but still I
feel altogether disinclined to make any overtures to Maria."

"Why so, Louisa?"

"Because I can imagine no cause for her present strange conduct, and
therefore see no way of approaching"--

The individual about whom they had been conversing passed near them at
this moment, and caused Mrs. Appleton and Louisa to remember that they
were prolonging their conversation to too great an extent for a social

"We will talk about this again," Mrs. Appleton said, rising and passing
to the side of Maria.

"You do not seem cheerful to-night, Maria; or am I mistaken in my
observation of your face?" Mrs. Appleton said in a pleasant tone.

"I was not aware that there was any thing in my manner that indicated
the condition of mind to which you allude," the young lady replied,
with a smile.

"There seemed to me such an indication, but perhaps it was only an

"Perhaps so," said Maria, with something of abstraction in her manner.
A silence, embarrassing in some degree to both parties, followed, which
was broken by an allusion of Mrs. Appleton's to Louisa Graham.

To this, Maria made no answer.

"Louisa is a girl of kind feelings," remarked Mrs. Appleton.

"She is so esteemed," Maria replied, somewhat coldly.

"Do you not think so, Maria?"

"Why should I think otherwise?"

"I am sure I cannot tell; but I thought there was something in your
manner that seemed to indicate a different sentiment."

To this the young lady made no reply, and Mrs. Appleton did not feel at
liberty to press the subject, more particularly as she wished to induce
Louisa, if she could possibly do so, to sacrifice her feelings and go
to Maria with an inquiry as to the cause of her changed manner. She now
observed closely the manner of Maria, and saw that she studiously
avoided coming into contact with Louisa. Thus the evening passed away,
and the two young ladies retired without having once spoken to each

Unlike too many of us under similar circumstances, Mrs. Appleton did
not say within herself, "This is none of my business. If they have
fallen out, let them make it up again." Or, "If she chooses to get the
'pouts' for nothing, let her pout it out." But she thought seriously
about devising some plan to bring about explanations and a good
understanding again between two who had no just cause for not regarding
each other as friends. It would have been an easy matter to have gone
to Maria and to have asked the cause of her changed manner towards
Louisa, and thus have brought about a reconciliation; but she was
desirous to correct a fault in both, and therefore resolved, if
possible, to induce the latter to go to the former. With this object in
view, she called upon Louisa early on the next morning.

"I was sorry to see," she said, after a brief conversation on general
topics, "that there was no movement on the part of either yourself or
Maria to bring about a mutual good understanding."

"I am sure, Mrs. Appleton, that I haven't any thing to do in the
matter," was Louisa's answer. "I have done nothing wilfully to wound or
offend Maria, and therefore have no apologies to make. If she sees in
my character any thing so exceedingly offensive as to cause her thus to
recede from me, I am sure that I do not wish her to have any kind of
intercourse with me."

"That is altogether out of the question, Louisa. Maria has seen nothing
real in you at which to be offended; it is an imaginary something that
has blinded her mind."

"In that case, Mrs. Appleton, I must say, as I said at first--Let her
pout it out. I have no patience with any one who acts so foolishly."

"You must pardon my importunity, Louisa," her persevering friend
replied. "I am conscious that the position you have taken is a wrong
one, and I cannot but hope that I shall be able to make you see it."

"I don't know, Mrs. Appleton; none are so blind, it is said, as they
who will not see," Louisa replied, with a meaning smile.

"So you are conscious of an unwillingness to see the truth if opposed
to your present feelings," said Mrs. Appleton, smiling in return; "I
have some hope of you now."

"You think so?"

"Oh, yes; the better principles of your mind are becoming more active,
and I now feel certain that you will think of Maria as unhappy from
some erroneous idea which it is in your power to remove."

"But her unkind and ungenerous conduct towards me"--

"Don't think of that, Louisa; think only if it be not in your power
again to restore peace to her mind; again to cause her eyes to brighten
and her lips to smile when you meet her. It is in your power--I know
that it is. Do not, then, let me beg of you, abuse that power, and
suffer one heart to be oppressed when a word from you can remove the
burden that weighs it down."

To this appeal Laura remained silent for a few moments, and then
looking up, said, "What would you have me do, Mrs. Appleton?"

"Nothing but what you see to be clearly right. Do not act simply from
my persuasion. I urge you as I do, that you may perceive it to be a
duty to go to Maria and try to disabuse her of an error that is
producing unhappiness."

"Then how do you think I ought to act?"

"It seems to me that you should go to Maria, and ask her, with that
sincerity and frankness that she could not mistake, the cause of her
changed manner; and that you should, at the same time, say that you
were altogether unconscious of having said or done any thing to wound
or offend her."

"I will do it, Mrs. Appleton," said Louisa, after musing for a few

"But does it seem to you right that you should do so?"

"It does when I lose sight of myself, and think of Maria as standing to
another in the same light that she really stands to me."

"I am glad that you have thus separated your own feelings from the
matter; that is the true way to view every subject that has regard to
our actions towards others. Go, then, to your estranged friend on this
mission of peace, and I know that the result will be pleasant to both
of you."

"I am fully convinced that it is right for me to do so; and more, I am
fully resolved to do what I see to be right."

About an hour after the closing of this interview, Louisa called at the
house of her friend. It was some minutes after she had sent up her name
before Maria descended to the parlour to meet her. As she came in she
smiled a faint welcome, extending at the same time her hand in a cold
formal manner. Louisa was chilled at this, for her feelings were quick;
but she suppressed every weakness with an effort, and said, as she
still held the offered hand within her own--

"There must be something wrong, Maria, or _you_ would never treat me so
coldly. As I am altogether unconscious of having said or done any thing
to wound your feelings, or injure you in any way, I have felt
constrained to come and see you, and ask if in any thing I have
unconsciously done you an injury."

There was a pause of some moments, during which Maria was evidently
endeavouring to quiet her thoughts and feelings, so as to give a
coherent and rational response to what had been said; but this she was
unable to do.

"I am a weak and foolish girl, Louisa," she at length said, as the
moisture suffused her eyes; "and now I am conscious that I have wronged
you. Let us forget the past, and again be friends as we were."

"I am still your friend, Maria, and still wish to remain your friend;
but in order that, hereafter, there may be no further breach of this
friendship, would it not be well for you to tell me, frankly, in what
manner I have wounded your feelings?"

"Perhaps so; but still I would rather not tell the cause; it involves a
subject upon which I do not wish to speak. Be satisfied, then, Louisa,
that I am fully convinced that you did not mean to wound me. Let this
(kissing her tenderly) assure you that my old feelings have all
returned. But do not press me upon a point that I shrink from even
thinking about."

There was something so serious, almost solemn in the manner of the
young lady, that Louisa felt that it would be wrong to urge her upon
the subject. But their reconciliation was complete.

So much interest did Mrs. Appleton feel in the matter, that she called
in, during the afternoon of the same day, to see Louisa.

"Well, it's all made up," was almost the first word uttered as Mrs.
Appleton came in.

"I am truly glad to hear it," replied that lady.

"And I am glad to be able to say so; but there is one thing that I do
not like: I could not prevail upon her to tell me the cause of her
coldness towards me."

"I am sorry for that, because, not knowing what has given offence, you
are all the time liable again to trespass on feelings that you desire
not to wound."

"So I feel about it; but the subject seemed so painful to her that I
did not press it."

"When did you first notice a change in her manner?"

"About a week ago, when we were spending an evening at Mrs. Trueman's."

"Cannot you remember something which you then said that might have
wounded her?"

"No, I believe not. I have tried several times to recall what I then
said, but I can think of nothing but a light jest which I passed upon
her about her certainly coming of a crazy family."

"Surely you did not say that, Louisa!"

"Yes, I did. And I am sure that I thought no harm of it. We were
conversing gayly, and she was uttering some of her peculiar, and often
strange sentiments, when I made the thoughtless and innocent remark I
have alluded to. No one replied, and there was a momentary silence that
seemed to me strange. From that time her manner changed. But I have
never believed that my playful remark was the cause. I think her a girl
of too much good sense for that."

"Have you never heard that her father was for many years in the
hospital, and at last died there a raving maniac?" asked Mrs. Appleton
with a serious countenance.

"Never," was the positive answer.

"It is true that such was his miserable end, Louisa."

"Then it is all explained. Oh, how deeply I must have wounded her!"

"Deeply, no doubt. But it cannot be helped. The wound, I trust, is now
nearly healed." Then, after a pause, Mrs. Appleton resumed:

"Let this lesson never be forgotten, my young friend. Suppose you had
followed your own impulses, and let Maria 'pout it out,' as you said;
how much would both she and yourself have suffered--she, under the
feeling that you had wantonly insulted and wounded her; and you, in
estranged friendship, and under the imputation, unknown to yourself, of
having most grossly violated the very first principles of humanity. Let
the lesson, then, sink deeply into your heart. Never again permit any
one to grow cold towards you suddenly, without inquiring the cause. It
is due to yourself and your friends."

"I shall never forget the lesson, Mrs. Appleton," was Louisa's emphatic


MY friend Peyton was what is called a "fine, generous fellow." He
valued money only as a means of obtaining what he desired, and was
always ready to spend it with an acquaintance for mutual gratification.
Of course, he was a general favourite. Every one spoke well of him, and
few hesitated to give his ears the benefit of their good opinion. I was
first introduced to him when he was in the neighbourhood of twenty-two
years of age. Peyton was then a clerk in the receipt of six hundred
dollars a year. He grasped my hand with an air of frankness and
sincerity, that at once installed him in my good opinion. A little
pleasure excursion was upon the tapis, and he insisted upon my joining
it. I readily consented. There were five of us, and the expense to
each, if borne mutually, would have been something like one dollar.
Peyton managed every thing, even to paying the bills; and when I
offered to repay him my proportion, he said--

"No, no!"--pushing back my hand--"nonsense!"

"Yes; but I must insist upon meeting my share of the expense."

"Not a word more. The bill's settled, and you needn't trouble your head
about it," was his reply; and he seemed half offended when I still
urged upon him to take my portion of the cost.

"What a fine, generous fellow Peyton is!" said one of the party to me,
as we met on the next day.

"Did he also refuse to let you share in the expense of our excursion?"
I asked.

"After what he said to you, I was afraid of offending him by proposing
to do so."

"He certainly is generous--but, I think, to a fault, if I saw a fair
specimen of his generosity yesterday."

"We should be just, as well as generous."

"I never heard that he was not just."

"Nor I. But I think he was not just to himself. And I believe it will
be found to appear in the end, that, if we are not just to ourselves,
we will, somewhere in life, prove unjust to others. I think that his
salary is not over twelve dollars a week. If he bore the whole expense
of our pleasure excursion, it cost him within a fraction of half his
earnings for a week. Had we all shared alike, it would not have been a
serious matter to either of us."

"Oh! as to that, it is no very serious matter to him. He will never
think of it."

"But, if he does so very frequently, he may feel it sooner or later," I

"I'm sure I don't know any thing about that," was returned. "He is a
generous fellow, and I cannot but like him. Indeed, every one likes

A few evenings afterwards I met Peyton again.

"Come, let us have some oysters," said he.

I did not object. We went to an oyster-house, and ate and drank as much
as our appetites craved. He paid the bill!

Same days afterwards, I fell in with him again, and, in order to
retaliate a little, invited him to go and get some refreshments with
me. He consented. When I put my hand in my pocket to pay for them, his
hand went into his. But I was too quick for him. He seemed uneasy about
it. He could feel pleased while giving, but it evidently worried him to
be the recipient.

From that time, for some years, I was intimate with the young man. I
found that he set no true value upon money. He spent it freely with
every one; and every one spoke well of him. "What a generous,
whole-souled fellow he is!" or, "What a noble heart he has!" were the
expressions constantly made in regard to him. While "Mean fellow!"
"Miserly dog!" and other such epithets, were unsparingly used in
speaking of a quiet, thoughtful young man, named Merwin, who was clerk
with him in the same store. Merwin appeared to set an undue value upon
money. He rarely indulged himself in any way, and it was with
difficulty that he could ever be induced to join in any pleasures that
involved expense. But I always observed that when he did so, he was
exact about paying his proportion.

About two years after my acquaintance with Peyton began, an incident
let me deeper into the character and quality of his generosity. I
called one day at the house of a poor widow woman who washed for me, to
ask her to do up some clothes, extra to the usual weekly washing. I
thought she looked as if she were in trouble about something, and said
so to her.

"It's very hard, at best," she replied, "for a poor woman, with three
or four children to provide for, to get along--especially if, like me,
she has to depend upon washing and ironing for a living. But when so
many neglect to pay her regularly"--

"Neglect to pay their washerwoman!" I said, in a tone of surprise,
interrupting her.

"Oh, yes. Many do that!"


"Dashing young men, who spend their money freely, are too apt to
neglect these little matters, as they call them."

"And do young men, for whom you work, really neglect to pay you?"

"Some do. There are at least fifteen dollars now owed to me, and I
don't know which way to turn to get my last month's rent for my
landlord, who has been after me three times this week already. Mr.
Peyton owes me ten dollars, and I can't"--

"Mr. Peyton? It can't be possible!"

"Yes, it is, though. He used to be one of the most punctual young men I
washed for. But, of late, he never has any money."

"He's a very generous-hearted young man."

"Yes, I know he is," she replied. "But something is wrong with him. He
looks worried whenever I ask him for money; and sometimes speaks as if
half angry with me for troubling him. There's Mr. Merwin--I wish all
were like him. I have never yet taken home his clothes, that I didn't
find the money waiting for me, exact to a cent. He counts every piece
when he lays out his washing for me, and knows exactly what it will
come to: and then, if he happens to be out, the change is always left
with the chambermaid. It's a pleasure to do any thing for him."

"He isn't liked generally as well as Mr. Peyton is," said I.

"Isn't he? It's strange!" the poor woman returned, innocently.

On the very next day, I saw Peyton riding out with an acquaintance in a

"Who paid for your ride, yesterday?" I said to the latter, with whom I
was quite familiar, when next we met.

"Oh, Peyton, of course. He always pays, you know. He's a fine, generous
fellow. I wish there were more like him."

"That you might ride out for nothing a little oftener, hey?"

My friend coloured slightly.

"No, not that," said he. "But you know there is so much selfishness in
the world; we hardly ever meet a man who is willing to make the
slightest sacrifice for the good of others."

"True. And I suppose it is this very selfishness that makes us so
warmly admire a man like Mr. Peyton, who is willing to gratify us at
his own charge. It's a pleasant thing to ride out and see the country,
but we are apt to think twice about the costs before we act once. But
if some friend will only stand the expense, how generous and
whole-souled we think him! It is the same in every thing else. We like
the enjoyments, but can't afford the expense; and he is a generous,
fine-hearted fellow, who will squander his money in order to gratify
us. Isn't that it, my friend?" said I, slapping him on the shoulder.

He looked half convinced, and a little sheepish, to use an expressive

On the evening succeeding this day, Peyton sat alone in his room, his
head leaning upon his hand, and his brow contracted. There was a tap at
his door. "Come in." A poorly-clad, middle-aged woman entered. It was
his washerwoman.

The lines on the young man's brow became deeper.

"Can't you let me have some money, Mr. Peyton? My landlord is pressing
hard for his rent, and I cannot pay him until you pay me."

"Really, Mrs. Lee, it is impossible just now; I am entirely out of
money. But my salary will be due in three weeks, and then I will pay
you up the whole. You must make your landlord wait until that time. I
am very sorry to put you to this trouble. But it will never happen

The young man really did feel sorry, and expressed it in his face as
well as in the tone of his voice.

"Can't you let me have one or two dollars, Mr. Peyton? I am entirely
out of money."

"It is impossible--I haven't a shilling left. But try and wait three
weeks, and then it will all come to you in a lump, and do you a great
deal more good than if you had it a dollar at a time."

Mrs. Lee retired slowly, and with a disappointed air. The young man
sighed heavily as she closed the door after her. He had been too
generous, and now he could not be just. The buggy in which he had
driven out with his friend on that day had cost him his last two
dollars--a sum which would have lightened the heart of his poor

"The fact is, my salary is too small," said he, rising and walking
about his room uneasily. "It is not enough to support me. If the
account were fully made up, tailor's bill, bootmaker's bill, and all, I
dare say I should find myself at least three hundred dollars in debt."

Merwin received the same salary that he did, and was just three hundred
dollars ahead. He dressed as well, owed no man a dollar, and was far
happier. It is true, he was not called a "fine, generous fellow," by
persons who took good care of their own money, while they were very
willing to enjoy the good things of life at a friend's expense. But he
did not mind this. The want of such a reputation did not disturb his
mind very seriously.

After Mrs. Lee had been gone half an hour, Peyton's door was flung
suddenly open. A young man, bounding in, with extended hand came
bustling up to him.

"Ah, Peyton, my fine fellow! How are you? how are you?" And he shook
Peyton's hand quite vigorously.

"Hearty!--and how are you, Freeman?"

"Oh, gay as a lark. I have come to ask a favour of you."

"Name it."

"I want fifty dollars."

Peyton shrugged his shoulders.

"I must have it, my boy! I never yet knew you to desert a friend, and I
don't believe you will do so now."

"Suppose I haven't fifty dollars?"

"You can borrow it for me. I only want it for a few days. You shall
have it back on next Monday. Try for me--there's a generous fellow!"

"There's a generous fellow," was irresistible. It came home to Peyton
in the right place. He forgot poor Mrs. Lee, his unpaid tailor's bill,
and sundry other troublesome accounts.

"If I can get an advance of fifty dollars on my salary to-morrow, you
shall have it."

"Thank you! thank you! I knew I shouldn't have to ask twice when I
called upon Henry Peyton. It always does me good to grasp the hand of
such a man as you are."

On the next day, an advance of fifty dollars was asked and obtained.
This sum was loaned as promised. In two weeks, the individual who
borrowed it was in New Orleans, from whence he had the best of reasons
for not wishing to return to the north. Of course, the generous Henry
Peyton lost his money.

An increase of salary to a thousand dollars only made him less careful
of his money. Before, he lived as freely as if his income had been
one-third above what it was; now, he increased his expenses in a like
ratio. It was a pleasure to him to spend his money--not for himself
alone, but among his friends.

It is no cause of wonder, that in being so generous to some, he was
forced to be unjust to others. He was still behindhand with his poor
old washer-woman--owed for boarding, clothes, hats, boots, and a dozen
other matters--and was, in consequence, a good deal harassed with duns.
Still, he was called by some of his old cronies, "a fine, generous
fellow." A few were rather colder in their expressions. He had borrowed
money from them, and did not offer to return it; and he was such a
generous-minded young man, that they felt a delicacy about calling his
attention to it.

"Can you raise a couple of thousand dollars?" was asked of him by a
friend, when he was twenty-seven years old. "If you can, I know a
first-rate chance to get into business."

"Indeed! What is the nature of it?"

The friend told him all he knew, and he was satisfied that a better
offering might never present itself. But two thousand dollars were

"Can't you borrow it?" suggested the friend.

"I will try."

"Try your best. You will never again have such an opportunity."

Peyton did try, but in vain. Those who could lend it to him considered
him "too good-hearted a fellow" to trust with money; and he was forced
to see that tide, which if he could have taken it at the flood, would
have led him on to fortune, slowly and steadily recede.

To Merwin the same offer was made. He had fifteen hundred dollars laid
by, and easily procured the balance. No one was afraid to trust him
with money.

"What a fool I have been!" was the mental exclamation of Peyton, when
he learned that his fellow-clerk had been able, with his own earnings,
on a salary no larger than his own, to save enough to embrace the
golden opportunity which he was forced to pass by. "They call Merwin
_mean_ and _selfish_--and I am called a _generous fellow_. That means,
he has acted like a wise man, and I like a fool, I suppose. I know him
better than they do. He is neither mean nor selfish, but careful and
prudent, as I ought to have been. His mother is poor, and so is mine.
Ah, me!" and the thought of his mother caused him to clasp both hands
against his forehead. "I believe two dollars of his salary have been
sent weekly to his poor mother. But I have never helped mine a single
cent. There is the mean man, and here is the generous one. Fool! fool!
wretch! He has fifteen hundred dollars ahead, after having sent his
mother one hundred dollars a year for five or six years, and I am over
five hundred dollars in debt. A fine, generous fellow, truly!"

The mind of Peyton was, as it should be, disturbed to its very centre.
His eyes were fairly opened, and he saw just where he stood, and what
he was worth as a generous man.

"They have flattered my weakness," said he, bitterly, "to eat and drink
and ride at my expense. It was easy to say, 'how free-hearted he is,'
so that I could hear them. A cheap way of enjoying the good things of
life, verily! But the end has come to all this. I am just twenty-seven
years old to-day; in five years more I shall be thirty-two. My salary
is one thousand dollars. I pay one hundred and fifty dollars a year for
boarding; one hundred and fifty more shall clothe me and furnish all my
spending-money, which shall be precious little. One year from to-day,
if I live, I will owe no man a dollar. My kind old mother, whom I have
so long neglected, shall hear from me at once--ten dollars every month
I dedicate to her. Come what will, nothing shall touch that. After I am
clear of debt, I will save all above my necessary expenses, until I get
one or two thousand dollars ahead, which shall be in five years. Then I
will look out for a golden opportunity, such as Mervin has found. This
agreement with myself I solemnly enter into in the sight of heaven, and
nothing shall tempt me to violate it."

"Are you going to ride out this afternoon, Peyton?" inquired a young
friend, breaking in upon him at this moment.

"Yes, if you'll hire the buggy," was promptly returned.

"I can't afford that."

"Nor I either. How much is your salary?"

"Only a thousand."

"Just what mine is. If you can't, I am sure I cannot."

"Of course, you ought to be the best judge. I knew you rode out almost
every afternoon, and liked company."

"Yes, I have done so; but that's past. I have been a 'fine, generous
fellow,' long enough to get in debt and mar my prospects for life,
perhaps; but I am going to assume a new character. No doubt the very
ones who have had so many rides, oyster suppers, and theatre tickets at
my expense, will all at once discover that I am as mean and selfish as
Mervin; but it's no great odds. I only wish I had been as truly noble
and generous in the right quarters as he has been."

"You are in a strange humour to-day."

"I am in a changed humour. That it is so very strange, I do not
see--unless for me to think wisely is strange, and perhaps it is."

"Well, all I have to say is, that I, for one, do not blame you, even if
I do lose a fine ride into the country now and then," was the frank

Peyton went to work in the matter of reform in right good earnest, but
he found it hard work; old habits and inclinations were very strong.
Still he had some strength of mind, and he brought this into as
vigorous exercise as it was possible for him to do, mainly with
success, but sometimes with gentle lapses into self-indulgence.

His mother lived in a neighbouring town, and was in humble
circumstances. She supported herself by keeping a shop for the sale of
various little articles. The old lady sat behind her counter, one
afternoon, sewing, and thinking of her only son.

"Ah, me!" she sighed, letting her hands fall wearily in her lap, "I
thought Henry would have done something for himself long before this;
but he is a wild, free-hearted boy, and I suppose spends every thing as
he goes along, just as his father did. I'm afraid he will never do any
thing for himself. It is a long time since he wrote home. Ah, me!"

And the mother lifted her work again, and strained her dimmed eyes over

"Here's a letter for you at last, Mother Peyton," said the well-known
voice of the postman, breaking in upon her just at this moment. "That
boy of yours don't write home as often as he used to."

"A letter from Henry! Oh, that is pleasant! Dear boy! he doesn't forget
his mother."

"No, one would think not," muttered the postman, as he walked away,
"considering how often he writes to her."

With trembling hands, Mrs. Peyton broke the seal; a bank-bill crumpled
in her fingers as she opened the letter. A portion of its contents was:

"DEAR MOTHER--I have had some very serious thoughts of late about my
way of living. You know I never liked to be considered mean; this led
me to be, what seemed to everybody, very generous. Everybody was
pleased to eat, and drink, and ride at my expense; but no one seemed
inclined to let me do the same at his expense. I have been getting a
good salary for six or seven years, and, for a part of that time, as
much as a thousand dollars. I am ashamed to say that I have not a
farthing laid by; nay, what is worse, I owe a good many little bills.
But, dear mother, I think I have come fairly to my senses. I have come
to a resolution not to spend a dollar foolishly; thus far I have been
able to keep my promise to myself, and, by the help of heaven, I mean
to keep it to the end. My first thought, on seeing my folly, was of my
shameful disregard to my mother's condition. In this letter are ten
dollars. Every month you will receive from me a like sum--more, if you
need it. As soon as I can lay by a couple of thousand dollars, I will
look around for some means of entering into business, and, as soon
after as possible, make provision for you, that your last days may be
spent in ease and comfort."

"God bless the dear boy!" exclaimed Mrs. Peyton, dropping the letter,
while the tears gushed from her eyes. The happy mother wept long for
joy. With her trembling hand she wrote a reply, and urged him, by the
tenderest and most sacred considerations, to keep to his good

At the end of a year Peyton examined his affairs, and found himself
freed from debt; but there were nearly one hundred dollars for which he
could not account. He puzzled over it for one or two evenings, and made
out over fifty dollars spent foolishly.

"No doubt the rest of it will have to be passed to that account," said
he, at last, half angry with himself. "I'll have to watch closer than
this. At the end of the next year, I'll not be in doubt about where a
hundred dollars have gone."

It was but rarely, now, that you would hear the name of Peyton
mentioned. Before, everybody said he was a "fine, generous fellow;"
everybody praised him. Now he seemed to be forgotten, or esteemed of no
consideration. He felt this; but he had started to accomplish a certain
end, and he had sufficient strength of mind not to be driven from his

"Have you seen Peyton of late?" I asked, some two years after this
change in his habits. I spoke to one of his old intimate associates.

"No, not for a month of Sundays," was his lightly-spoken reply. "What a
remarkable change has passed over him! Once, he used to be a fine,
generous fellow--his heart was in his hand; but now he is as penurious
as a miser, and even more selfish: he will neither give nor take. If
you happen to be walking with him, and, after waiting as long as
decency will permit to be asked to step in somewhere for refreshments,
you propose something, he meets you with--'No, I thank you, I am not
dry,' or hungry, as the case may be. It's downright savage, it is!"

"This is a specimen of the way in which the world estimates men," said
I to myself, after separating from the individual who complained thus
of Peyton. "The world is wonderfully impartial in its judgment of men's

At the end of five years from the time Peyton reformed his loose
habits, he had saved up and placed out at interest the sum of two
thousand dollars; and this, after having sent to his mother, regularly,
ten dollars every month during the whole period. The fact that he had
saved so much was not suspected by any. It was supposed that he had
laid up some money, but no one thought he had over four or five hundred

"I wish you had about three thousand dollars," said Merwin to him, one
day. Merwin's business had turned out well. In five years, he had
cleared over twenty thousand dollars.

"Why?" asked Peyton.

"I know a first-rate chance for you."

"Indeed. Where?"

"There is a very good business that has been fairly established, and is
now languishing for want of a little capital. The man who has made it
will take a partner if he can bring in three thousand dollars, which
would make the whole concern easy, perfectly safe, and sure of success."

"It's more than I have," returned Peyton, in a voice that was slightly

"So I supposed," Merwin said.

"Although such needn't have been the case, if I had acted as wisely as
you through life."

"It's never too late to mend our ways, you know."

"True. But a year mis-spent, is a whole year lost. No matter how hard
we strive, we can never make it up. To the day of our death, there will
be one year deficient in the sum of life's account."

"A just remark, no doubt. How much would every man save, if he would
take good care not only of his years, but of his weeks and days! The
sum of life is made up of small aggregations."

"And so the sum of a man's fortune. A dollar mis-spent is a dollar
lost, and never can be regained. You say that it will require three
thousand dollars to admit a partner into the business of which you just

"Yes. Nothing less will do."

"I have but two thousand."

"Have you so much, Peyton?" said Merwin, with a brightening face.

"I have."

"Right glad am I to hear it. I only wish that I could furnish you with
a thousand more. But it is out of my power entirely. Our business
requires the use of every dollar we have; and it would not be just to
my partner to draw out so large a sum for the purpose of assisting a
friend in whom he can feel no interest."

"No, of course not. I neither ask nor expect it. I will wait a little
longer. Something else will offer."

"But nothing so really advantageous as this. Let me see. I think I
might get you five hundred dollars, if you could borrow as much more."

"That I cannot do. I never asked a favour of any one in my life."

"Though you have dispensed thousands."

"Foolishly perhaps. But no matter. I will wait."

A week afterward, Peyton, who dismissed all thought of embracing the
proposed offer of going in business, paid a visit to his mother. He had
not seen her for a year. She was still cheerful, active, and retained
her usual good health.

"I think it time you gave up this shop, mother," said he to her. "You
are too old now to be working so closely. I've got something saved up
for a rainy day, in case any thing should go wrong with me for a time.
You will give up this shop, won't you?"

"No, Henry; not yet. I am still able to help myself, and so long as I
am able, I wish to do it. If you have saved any thing, you had better
keep it until an opportunity for going into business offers."

"Such a chance has just presented itself. But I hadn't capital enough."

"How much have you saved?"

"Two thousand dollars."

"So much? How much is required?"

"Three thousand dollars."

"And you have but two?"

"That is all--though a friend did offer to get me five hundred more.
But twenty-five hundred is not sufficient. There must be three

Mrs. Peyton made no reply. She sat a few minutes, and then arose and
went up-stairs. In about ten minutes she came down, and approaching her
son, with a warm glow of pleasure upon her face, placed a small roll in
his hands, saying as she did so--

"There is all you need, my son. The money you sent me so regularly for
the last five years, I have kept untouched for some such moment as
this. I did not feel that I needed it. Take it back, and start fairly
in the world. In a few more years I may need rest, as life draws nearer
to a close. Then I trust you will be in circumstances so good that I
needn't feel myself a burden to you."

"A burden? Dear mother! Do not speak of ever being a burden to me,"
said the young man, embracing his parent with tearful emotion.
"No--no," and he pushed back her hand; "I cannot take that money. It is
yours. I will not risk in business the little treasure you have saved
up so carefully. I may not succeed. No--no!" and he still pushed back
his mother's hand--"it is of no use--I cannot--I _will_ not take it!"

The roll of money fell to the floor.

"It is yours, Henry, not mine," urged the mother. "I did not stand in
need of it."

"Your son owed you much more than that. He was wrong that he did not
double the amount to you, in order to make up for former years of
neglect. No--no--I tell you, mother, I cannot take your money. Nothing
would tempt me to do it. I will wait a little longer. Other
opportunities will soon offer."

It was in vain that Mrs. Peyton urged her son, until her distress of
mind became so great that he was almost forced to receive the money she
pushed upon him--although, in doing so, it was with the intention of
leaving it behind him when he returned to the city. But the deep
satisfaction evinced by his mother, on his consenting to take it, was
of a kind that he did not feel it would be right for him to do violence
to. When he did return to the city, he could not find it in his heart
to leave the money, just six hundred dollars, on the table in the
little room where he slept, as he had at first resolved to do. He took
it with him; but with the intention of investing it for her in some
safe security.

When he again met Merwin, he was urged so strongly to make an effort to
raise the capital requisite to become a partner in the business that
had been named to him, that after some severe struggles with himself,
he at last consented to use the money he had brought home with him. His
friend loaned him four hundred dollars to make up the required sum.

The business succeeded beyond his expectations. In a few years he was
able to marry, and live in a very comfortable style. He would hear none
of the objections urged by his mother against living with him, but shut
up her shop in spite of her remonstrances, and brought her to the city.
No one who saw her during the remaining ten years of her life would
have called her unhappy.

I know Peyton still. He is not now, by general reputation, "a fine,
generous fellow." But he is a good citizen, a good husband, and a good
father; and was a good son while his mother lived with him. He has won
the means of really benefiting others, and few are more willing than he
is to do it, when it can be done in the right way. He is "generous"
still--but wisely so.


MR. EVERTON was the editor and publisher of the ---- Journal, and, like
too many occupying his position, was not on the best terms in the world
with certain of his contemporaries of the same city. One morning, on
opening the paper from a rival office, he found an article therein,
which appeared as a communication, that pointed to him so directly as
to leave no room for mistake as to the allusions that were made.

Of course, Mr. Everton was considerably disturbed by the occurrence,
and thoughts of retaliation arose in his mind. The style was not that
of the editor, and so, though he felt incensed at that personage for
admitting the article, he went beyond him, and cast about in his mind
for some clue that would enable him to identify the writer. In this he
did not long find himself at a loss. He had a man in his employment who
possessed all the ability necessary to write the article, and upon
whom, for certain reasons, he soon fixed the origin of the attack.

"Have you seen that article in the Gazette?" asked an acquaintance, who
came into Everton's office while he sat with the paper referred to
still in his hand.

"I have," replied Everton, compressing his lips.

"Well, what do you think of it?"

"It'll do no harm, of course; but that doesn't touch the malice of the


"Nor make him any the less base at heart."

"Do you know the author?"

"I believe so."

"Who is he?"

"My impression is, that Ayres wrote it."



"Why, he is indebted to you for his bread!"

"I know he is, and that makes his act one of deeper baseness."

"What could have induced him to be guilty of such a thing?"

"That's just what I've been trying to study out, and I believe I
understand it all fully. Some six months ago, he asked me to sign a
recommendation for his appointment to a vacant clerkship in one of our
banks. I told him that I would do so with pleasure, only that my nephew
was an applicant, and I had already given him my name. He didn't appear
to like this, which I thought very unreasonable, to say the least of

"Why, the man must be insane! How could he expect you to sign the
application of two men for the same place? Especially, how could he
expect you to give him a preference over your own nephew?"

"Some men are strangely unreasonable."

"We don't live long in this world ere becoming cognisant of that fact."

"And for this he has held a grudge against you, and now takes occasion
to revenge himself."

"So it would seem. I know of nothing else that he can have against me.
I have uniformly treated him with kindness and consideration."

"There must be something radically base in his character."

"I'm afraid there is."

"I wouldn't have such a man in my employment."

Everton shrugged his shoulders and elevated his eyebrows, but said

"A man who attempts thus to injure you in your business by false
representations, will not hesitate to wrong you in other ways," said
the acquaintance.

"A very natural inference," replied Everton. "I'm sorry to have to
think so badly of Ayres; but, as you say, a man who would, in so base a
manner, attack another, would not hesitate to do him an injury if a
good opportunity offered."

"And it's well for you to think of that."

"True. However, I do not see that he has much chance to do me an
ill-turn where he is. So far, I must do him the justice to say that he
is faithful in the discharge of all his duties."

"He knows that his situation depends upon this."

"Of course. His own interest prompts him to do right here; but when an
opportunity to stab me in the dark offers, he embraces it. He did not,
probably, imagine that I would see the hand that held the dagger."


"But I am not so blind as he imagined. Well, such work must not be
permitted to go unpunished."

"It ought not to be. When a man indulges his ill-nature towards one
individual with entire impunity, he soon gains courage for extended
attacks, and others become sharers in the result of his vindictiveness.
It is a duty that a man owes the community to let all who maliciously
wrong him feel the consequences due to their acts."

"No doubt you are right; and, if I keep my present mind, I shall let my
particular friend Mr. Ayres feel that it is not always safe to stab
even in the dark."

The more Mr. Everton thought over the matter, the more fully satisfied
was he that Ayres had made the attack upon him. This person was engaged
as reporter and assistant editor of his newspaper, at a salary of ten
dollars a week. He had a family, consisting of a wife and four
children, the expense of whose maintenance rather exceeded than came
within his income, and small accumulations of debt were a natural

Everton had felt some interest in this man, who possessed considerable
ability as a writer; he saw that he had a heavy weight upon him, and
often noticed that he looked anxious and dejected. On the very day
previous to the appearance of the article above referred to, he had
been thinking of him with more than usual interest, and had actually
meditated an increase of salary as a compensation for more extended
services. But that was out of the question now. The wanton and
injurious attack which had just appeared shut up all his bowels of
compassion, and so far from meditating the conferring of a benefit upon
Ayres, he rather inclined to a dismissal of the young man from his
establishment. The longer he dwelt upon it, the more inclined was he to
pursue this course, and, finally, he made up his mind to take some one
else in his place. One day, after some struggles with himself, he said,
"Mr. Ayres, if you can suit yourself in a place, I wish you would do so
in the course of the next week or two."

The young man looked surprised, and the blood instantly suffused his

"Have I not given you satisfaction?" inquired Ayres.

"Yes--yes--I have no fault to find with you," replied Mr. Everton, with
some embarrassment in his air. "But I wish to bring in another person
who has some claims on me."

In this, Mr. Everton rather exceeded the truth. His equivocation was
not manly, and Ayres was deceived by it into the inference of a reason
for his dismissal foreign to the true one.

"Oh, very well," he replied, coldly. "If you wish another to take my
place, I will give it up immediately."

Mr. Everton bowed with a formal air, and the young man, who felt hurt
at his manner, and partly stunned by the unexpected announcement that
he must give up his situation, retired at once.

On the next day, the Gazette contained another article, in which there
was even a plainer reference to Mr. Everton than before, and it
exhibited a bitterness of spirit that was vindictive. He was no longer
in doubt as to the origin of these attacks, if he had been previously.
In various parts of this last article, he could detect the particular
style of Ayres.

"I see that fellow is at work on you again," said the person with whom
he had before conversed on the subject.

"Yes; but, like the viper, I think he is by this time aware that he is
biting on a file."

"Ah! Have you dismissed him from your service?"

"Yes, sir."

"You have served him right. No man who attempted to injure me should
eat my bread. What did he say?"

"Nothing. What could he say? When I told him to find himself another
place as quickly as possible, his guilt wrote itself in his

"Has he obtained a situation?"

"I don't know; and, what is more, don't care."

"I hope he has, for the sake of his family. It's a pity that they
should suffer for his evil deeds."

"I didn't think of them, or I might not have dismissed him; but it is
done now, and there the matter rests."

And there Mr. Everton let it rest, so far as Ayres was concerned. The
individual obtained in his place had been, for some years, connected
with the press as news collector and paragraph writer. His name was
Tompkins. He was not a general favourite, and had never been very
highly regarded by Mr. Everton; but he must have some one to fill the
place made vacant by the removal of Ayres, and Tompkins was the most
available person to be had. There was a difference in the Journal after
Tompkins took the place of assistant editor, and a very perceptible
difference; it was not for the better.

About three months after Mr. Everton had dismissed Ayres from his
establishment, a gentleman said to him,

"I am told that the young man who formerly assisted in your paper is in
very destitute circumstances."


"Yes. That is his name."

"I am sorry to hear it. I wish him no ill; though he tried to do me all
the harm he could."

"I am sorry to hear that. I always had a good opinion of him; and come,
now, to see if I can't interest you in his favour."

Everton shook his head.

"I don't wish to have any thing to do with him."

"It pains me to hear you speak so. What has he done to cause you to
feel so unkindly towards him?"

"He attacked me in another newspaper, wantonly, at the very time he was
employed in my office."


"Yes, and in a way to do me a serious injury."

"That is bad. Where did the attack appear?"

"In the Gazette."

"Did you trace it to him?"

"Yes; or, rather, it bore internal evidence that enabled me to fix it
upon him unequivocally."

"Did you charge it upon him?"

"No. I wished to have no quarrel with him, although he evidently tried
to get up one with me. I settled the matter by notifying him to leave
my employment."

"You are certain that he wrote the article?"

"Oh, yes; positive."

And yet the very pertinence of the question threw a doubt into the mind
of Mr. Everton.

The gentleman with whom he was conversing on retiring went to the
office of the Gazette, with the editor of which he was well acquainted.

"Do you remember," said he, "an attack on Mr. Everton, which, some time
ago, appeared in your paper?"

The editor reflected a few moments, and then replied:

"A few months since, two or three articles were published in the
Gazette that did refer to Everton in not a very kind manner."

"Do you know the author?"


"Have you any reasons for wishing to conceal his name?"

"None at all. They were written by a young man who was then in my
office, named Tompkins."

"You are certain of this?"

"I am certain that he brought them to me in his own manuscript."

"Everton suspected a man named Ayres to be the author."

"His assistant editor at the time?"

"Yes; and what is more, discharged him from his employment on the
strength of this suspicion."

"What injustice! Ayres is as innocent as you are."

"I am glad to hear it. The consequences to the poor man have been very
sad. He has had no regular employment since, and his family are now
suffering for even the common necessaries of life."

"That is very bad. Why didn't he deny the charge when it was made
against him?"

"He was never accused. Everton took it for granted that he was guilty,
and acted from this erroneous conclusion."

"What a commentary upon hasty judgments! Has he no employment now?"


"Then I will give him a situation. I know him to be competent for the
place I wish filled; and I believe he will be faithful."

Here the interview ceased, and the gentleman who had taken the pains to
sift out the truth returned to Everton's office.

"Well," said he, on entering, "I believe I have got to the bottom of
this matter."

"What matter?" asked Everton, looking slightly surprised.

"The matter of Ayres's supposed attack upon you."

"Why do you say supposed?"

"Because it was only supposed. Ayres didn't write the article of which
you complain."

"How do you know?"

"I've seen the editor of the Gazette."

"Did he say that Ayres was not the author?"

"He did."

"Who wrote it then?"

"A man named Tompkins, who was at the time employed in his office."

Everton sprang from his chair as if he had been stung.

"Tompkins!" he exclaimed.

"So he says."

"Can it be possible! And I have the viper in my employment."

"You have?"

"Yes; he has filled the place of Ayres nearly ever since the latter was
dismissed from my office."

"Then you have punished the innocent and rewarded the guilty."

"So much for taking a thing for granted," said Everton, as he moved,
restlessly, about the floor of his office.

So soon as the editor of the ---- Journal was alone, he sent for
Tompkins, who was in another part of the building. As the young man
entered his office, he said to him, in a sharp, abrupt manner,--

"Do you remember certain articles against me that appeared in the
Gazette a few months ago?"

The young man, whose face became instantly red as scarlet, stammered
out that he did remember them.

"And you wrote them?"

"Ye--ye--yes; bu--but I have regretted it since, very much."

"You can put on your hat and leave my employment as quickly as you
please," said Mr. Everton, angrily. He had little control of himself,
and generally acted from the spur of the occasion.

Tompkins, thus severely punished for going out of the way to attack a
man against whom he entertained a private grudge, beat a hasty retreat,
and left Mr. Everton in no very comfortable frame of mind.

On being so unceremoniously dismissed from employment, Mr. Ayres, who
was by nature morbidly sensitive, shrank into himself, and experienced
a most painful feeling of helplessness. He was not of a cheerful,
confident, hopeful disposition. He could not face the world, and battle
for his place in it, like many other men. A little thing discouraged
him. To be thrust out of his place so unceremoniously--to be turned off
for another, stung him deeply. But the worst of all was, the supply of
bread for his family was cut off, and no other resource was before him.

From that time, for three months, his earnings never went above the
weekly average of five dollars; and he hardly knew on one day where he
was to obtain employment for the next. His wife, though in poor health,
was obliged to dispense with all assistance, and perform, with her own
hands, the entire work of the family. This wore her down daily, and
Ayres saw her face growing thinner, and her step becoming more feeble,
without the power to lighten her burdens.

Thus it went on from week to week. Sometimes, the unhappy man would
grow desperate, and, under this feeling, force himself to make
applications--to him humiliating--for employment at a fair
compensation. But he was always unsuccessful.

Sickness at last smote the frame of his wife. She had borne up as long
as strength remained, but the weight was too heavy, and she sank under

Sickness and utter destitution came together. Ayres had not been able
to get any thing at all to do for several days, and money and food were
both exhausted. A neighbour, hearing of this, had sent in a basket of
provisions. But Ayres could not touch it. His sensitive pride of
independence was not wholly extinguished. The children ate, and he
blessed the hand of the giver for their sakes; yet, even while he did
so, a feeling of weakness and humiliation brought tears to his eyes.
His spirits were broken, and he folded his arms in impotent despair.
While sitting wrapt in the gloomiest feelings, there came a knock at
his door. One of the children opened it, and a lad came in with a note
in his hand. On breaking the seal, he found it to be from the publisher
of the Gazette, who offered him a permanent situation at twelve dollars
a week. So overcome was he by such unexpected good fortune, that he
with difficulty controlled his feelings before the messenger. Handing
the note to his wife, who was lying on the bed, he turned to a table
and wrote a hasty answer, accepting the place, and stating that he
would be down in the course of an hour. As the boy departed, he looked
towards his wife. She had turned her face to the wall, and was weeping

"It was very dark, Jane," said Ayres, as he took her hand, bending over
her at the same time and kissing her forehead, "very dark; but the
light is breaking."

Scarcely had the boy departed, when a heavy rap at the door disturbed
the inmates of that humble dwelling.

"Mr. Everton!" exclaimed Ayres in surprise, as he opened the door.

"I want you to come back to my office," said the visitor, speaking in a
slightly agitated voice. "I never ought to have parted with you. But to
make some amends, your wages shall be twelve dollars a week. And here,"
handing out some money as he spoke, "is your pay for a month in

"I thank you for the offer, Mr. Everton," replied the young man, "but
the publisher of the Gazette has already tendered me a situation, and I
have accepted it."

The countenance of Mr. Everton fell.

"When did this occur?" he inquired.

"His messenger has been gone only a moment."

Mr. Everton stood for a few seconds irresolute, while his eyes took in
the images of distress and destitution apparent on every hand. His
feelings no one need envy. If his thoughts had been uttered at the
time, his words would have been, "This is the work of my hands!" He
still held out the money, but Ayres did not touch it.

"What does he offer you?" he at length asked.

"Twelve dollars a week," was replied.

"I will make it fifteen."

"I thank you," said Ayres, in answer to this, "but my word is passed,
and I cannot recall it."

"Then take this as a loan, and repay me when you can."

Saying this, Everton tossed a small roll of bank bills upon the floor,
at the feet of the young man, adding as he did so--"And if you are ever
in want of a situation, come to me."

He then hurriedly retired, with what feelings the reader may imagine.

The reason for this suddenly awakened interest on the part of Mr.
Everton, Ayres did not know until he entered the service of his new
employer. He had the magnanimity to forgive him, notwithstanding all he
had suffered; and he is now back again in his service on a more liberal
salary than he ever before enjoyed.

Mr. Everton is now exceedingly careful how he takes any thing for


LLOYD TOMLINSON was a Virginia gentleman of the old school, and held
high notions on the kindred subjects of social rank and family
distinctions. His ancestors were connected with English families of
some renown, and had figured in history as Cavaliers, during the
troublesome times of Charles I. Portraits of the most noted of these
were hung upon the walls in Mr. Tomlinson's fine old mansion, and it
was with pride that he often referred to them and related the story of
each. But such stories were generally wound up by an expression of
regret for the sad deteriorations that were going on in this country.

"A man like that," he would sometimes say, pointing to the picture of a
stern old Cavalier, "is rarely, if ever, met with, and in a little
while there will be no living representative of such--at least not in
America, where all social distinctions are rapidly disappearing. In
fact, we have scarcely any thing left, even now, but the shadow of a
true aristocracy, and that is only to be found in Virginia. At the
North, mere wealth makes a man a gentleman; and this new invention of
these degenerate times is fast being adopted even here in the 'Old
Dominion.' But it won't do--unless a man is born and bred a gentleman,
he never can become one."

It was no use to argue with the rigid old Virginian about the
aristocracy of virtue, or the aristocracy of mind; he scouted at the
idea, and reiterated, with added emphasis, that only he who was born of
gentle blood could be a gentleman.

The family of Mr. Tomlinson, which had consisted of his wife, two sons,
and two daughters, was, at the time our story opens, composed of only
two members, himself and his youngest child, Edith, now in her
nineteenth year. Death had taken all but one.

Edith, though born and bred a lady, her father observed, with pain, did
not set a high value upon the distinction, and at last actually refused
to receive the addresses of a young man who came of pure old English
blood, and was a thorough gentleman in the eyes of Mr. Tomlinson,
because she liked neither his principles, habits, nor general
character, while she looked with favour upon the advances of a young
attorney, named Denton, whose father, a small farmer in Essex county,
had nothing higher than honesty and manly independence of which to

The young gentleman of pure blood was named Allison. He was the last
representative of an old family, and had come into possession, on
attaining his majority, of a large landed estate immediately adjoining
that owned by Mr. Tomlinson. The refusal of Edith to receive his
addresses aroused in him an unhappy spirit, which he cherished until it
inspired him with thoughts of retaliation. The means were in his hands.
There existed an old, but not legally adjusted question, about the
title to a thousand acres of land lying between the estates of Mr.
Tomlinson and Mr. Allison, which had, more than fifty years before,
been settled by the principal parties thereto on the basis of a fair
division, without the delay, vexation, expense, and bitterness of a
prolonged lawsuit. By this division, the father of Mr. Tomlinson
retained possession of five hundred acres, and the grandfather of Mr.
Allison of the other five hundred. The former had greatly improved the
portion into the full possession of which he had come, as it was by far
the most beautiful and fertile part of his estate. His old residence
was torn down, and a splendid mansion erected on a commanding eminence
within the limits of this old disputed land, at a cost of nearly eighty
thousand dollars, and the whole of the five hundred acres gradually
brought into a high state of cultivation. To meet the heavy outlay for
all this, other and less desirable portions of the estate were sold,
until, finally, only about three hundred acres of the original
Tomlinson property remained.

Mr. Lloyd Tomlinson, as he advanced in years, and felt the paralyzing
effects of the severe afflictions he had suffered, lost much of the
energy he had possessed in his younger days. There was a gradual
diminution in the number of hogsheads of tobacco and bushels of corn
and wheat that went into Richmond from his plantation annually; and
there was also a steady decrease in the slave population with which he
was immediately surrounded. From a hundred and fifty, his slaves had
decreased, until he only owned thirty, and with them did little more
than make his yearly expenses. Field after field had been abandoned,
and left to a fertile undergrowth of pines or scrubby oaks, until there
were few signs of cultivation, except within the limits of two or three
hundred acres of the rich lands contiguous to his dwelling.

Henry Denton, the young attorney to whom allusion has been made, had
become deeply enamoured with Edith Tomlinson, who was often met by him
in her unaristocratic intercourse with several excellent and highly
intelligent families in the neighbourhood. To see her, was for him to
love her; but the pride of her father was too well known by him to
leave much room for hope that the issue of his passion would be
successful, even if so fortunate as to win the heart of the maiden. He
was inspired with courage, however, by the evident favour with which
she regarded him, and even tempted to address her in language that no
woman's ear could mistake--the language of love. Edith listened with a
heart full of hope and fear. She had great respect for the character of
Denton, which she saw was based upon virtuous principles; and this
respect easily changed into love that was true and fervent; but she
knew too well her father's deeply-rooted prejudices in favour of rank
and family, to hope that the current of her love would run smooth. This
proved to be no idle fear. When Henry Denton ventured to approach Mr.
Tomlinson on the subject of his love for Edith, the old gentleman
received him with great discourtesy.

"Who are you, sir?" he asked, drawing himself proudly up.

"I hardly think you need ask that question," the young man replied. "I
am not an entire stranger to you, nor unknown in your neighbourhood."

"But who are you, sir? That is what I ask to know. Who is your father?"

"An honest man, sir." The young man spoke with firmness and dignity.

"Humph! there are plenty of them about. I could marry my daughter to an
honest man any day I liked. Old Cato, my coachman, is an honest man;
but that is no reason why I should let his son Sam marry Edith. No, my
young friend, you cannot connect yourself with my family; be content
with the daughter of some honest man like your father."

But the lover was not to be driven off by even such a rude repulse. He
tried to argue his case, but Mr. Tomlinson cut the matter short by
starting from his seat in great discomposure of mind, and pointing with
a trembling hand to a grim picture on the wall, while he thus addressed
the young man:--

"That, sir, is the portrait of Sir Edgar Tomlinson, who, by interposing
his body between the spear of a Roundhead and his royal master, saved
his life at the imminent risk of his own, for which gallant deed he was
knighted, and afterwards presented, by royal hands, with a noble bride.
When you have done as great a deed, young man, you will be worthy to
claim the hand of my daughter--not before!"

Saying this, the excited father turned away and strode from the room,
leaving Denton in dismay at the quick and hopeless termination of his

On the next day, the young attorney, who was known to possess fine
talents, acuteness, and extensive legal knowledge, was waited upon by
Mr. Allison.

"I wish your services, Mr. Denton," said he, "in a suit of great
importance that I am about commencing. Here is your retaining
fee,"--and he laid upon the table of the lawyer a check for two hundred
dollars. "If you gain me my cause, your entire fee will be five
thousand dollars."

Allison then went on to state, that Mr. Tomlinson's claim to the five
hundred acres next adjoining his (Allison's) plantation, and upon which
his mansion stood, was a very doubtful one. That it, in fact, belonged
to the Allison estate, and he was going to have the question of
rightful ownership fully tested. He furnished the young attorney with
documents, data, and every thing required for commencing the suit.
Denton asked a week for an examination of the whole matter. At the end
of this time, Allison again waited on him.

"Well, sir, what do you think of my case?" he said.

"I think it a doubtful one," was replied. "Still, it is possible you
might gain it, as there are one or two strong points in your favour."

"I have not the least doubt of it. At any rate, I am going to give the
matter a fair trial. Five hundred acres of such land are worth an
effort to gain."

"But you must not forget that, as you will open the question of
ownership on the whole tract of one thousand acres, you run the risk of
losing the half of which you are now in possession."

"I'm willing to run the risk of losing five hundred acres of
uncultivated land in the effort to acquire possession of as large a
quantity in a high state of improvement," returned the uncompromising
gentleman 'born and bred.' "So you will forthwith make a beginning in
the matter."

The young attorney was grave and silent for some time. Then opening a
drawer, he took out the check which had been given to him as a
retaining fee, and handing it to Allison, said--"I believe, sir, I must
decline this case."

"Why so?" quickly asked the young man, a deep flush passing over his

"I do it from principle," was replied. "I find, on examining the whole
matter, that your grandfather and the father of Mr. Tomlinson, while in
possession of their respective estates, in view of the difficulty there
was in settling the precise title of the tract of land, agreed to an
equal division of it, which was done in honour and good faith, and I do
not think their heirs, on either side, have any right to disturb the
arrangement then made."

"I did not ask you to judge the case, but to present it for judgment,"
said Allison, greatly offended. "You may, perhaps, be sorry for this."

Another member of the bar, less scrupulous about the principles
involved in a case, readily undertook the matter; and as the fee, if he
proved successful, was to be a large one, opened it immediately.

When Mr. Tomlinson received notice of the fact that this long-settled
dispute was again to be revived, he was thrown into a fever of alarm
and indignation. The best counsel that could be employed was obtained,
and his right to the whole thousand acres vigorously maintained. After
a year of delays, occasioned by demurrers, allegations, and all sorts
of legal hinderances, made and provided for the vexation of clients,
the question came fairly before the court, where it was most ably
argued on both sides for some days. When the decision at length came,
it was adverse to Mr. Tomlinson.

An appeal was entered, and preparations made for a more vigorous
contest in a higher court. Here the matter remained for over a year,
when the decision of the first tribunal was confirmed.

Two years of litigation had made sad work with old Mr. Tomlinson; he
looked at least ten years older. The same signs of decay appeared in
every thing around him; his fields remained uncultivated, the fences
were broken down, and cattle strayed where once were acres of grain or
other rich products. Slaves and stock had been sold to meet the heavy
expenses to which this suit had subjected him, and every thing seemed
fast tending towards ruin. Once or twice during the period, Denton
again approached him on the subject of Edith, but the proud old
aristocrat threw him off even more impatiently than at first.

Edith, too, had changed during this time of trouble; she was rarely
seen abroad, and received but few visitors at home. No one saw her
smile, unless when her father was present; and then her manner was
cheerful, though subdued. It was clear that she was struggling against
her own feelings, in the effort to sustain his. Her father had extorted
from her a promise never to marry without his consent; this settled the
matter for the time between her and Denton, although both remained
faithful to each other; they had not met for over a year.

Meantime the cause was carried up still higher, where it remained for
two years longer, and then another adverse decision was made. Mr.
Tomlinson was in despair; what with court charges, counsel fees, and
loss from the diminished productions of his farm, he had sunk in the
last four years over fifteen thousand dollars, a portion of which had
been raised by mortgage on that part of his estate to which he had an
undisputed title, almost equal to the full value of the land.

To the Supreme Court the matter came at last, but the old man had but
little hope. In three courts, after a long and patient hearing, the
decision had been against him; if it should again be adverse, he would
be totally ruined. As it was, so greatly had his means become reduced,
that it was with difficulty he could raise sufficient money to pay off
the heavy expenses of the last court. The fees of his two attorneys
were yet unsettled, and he feared, greatly, that he should not be able
to induce more than one of them to attend at the Supreme Court. On the
other side, money was expended freely, and the most energetic counsel
that money could command enlisted. The fact was, the principal reason
why Mr. Tomlinson had failed in each of the three trials that had
already taken place lay in the superior tact, activity, and ability of
the adverse counsel.

The anxiously looked-for period at length came, and Mr. Tomlinson made
preparations for leaving home to meet the final issue, after nearly
five years of most cruel litigation.

"Dear father!" said Edith, as they were about to separate. She spoke
with forced calmness, while a faint smile of encouragement played about
her lips; her voice was low and tender. "Dear father, do not let this
matter press too heavily upon you; I have a hope that all will come out
right. I do not know why, but I feel as if this dreadful blow will not
be permitted to fall. Be calm, be brave, dear father! even the worst
can be borne."

The maiden's voice began to quiver, even while she uttered hopeful
words. Mr. Tomlinson, whose own heart was full, bent down and kissed
her hurriedly. When she looked up, he was gone. How fast the tears
flowed, as she stood alone on the spot where they had just parted!

A few hours after the father had left, a gentleman called and asked to
see Edith. On entering the room where he had been shown by the servant,
she found a young man whose countenance she had never seen before. He
made known his business after a few embarrassing preliminaries, which
proved to be an overture of peace from Allison, if she would accept the
offer of marriage he had made her five years previously. After hearing
the young man patiently through, Edith replied, in a firm voice--"Tell
Mr. Allison that there is no evil in this world or the next that I
would consider greater than a marriage with him."

He attempted to urge some considerations upon her, but she raised her
hand, and said, in a tone of decision, "You have my answer, sir; take
it to your principal."

The young man bowed, and withdrew in silence. He felt awed beneath the
steady eye, calm face, and resolute voice of the maiden, crushed almost
to the earth as she was.

When Mr. Tomlinson arrived at the capital, he found neither of his
counsel there, although the case was expected to be reached on the
succeeding day. On the next morning he received a note from one of
them, which stated that illness would prevent his attending. The other
attorney was prepared to go on with the case, but he was by far the
weakest of the two.

On the opposite side there was the strongest possible array, both as to
number and talents. Mr. Tomlinson felt that his case was hopeless. On
the first day the prosecution argued their case with great ability. On
the second day, the claims of Mr. Tomlinson were presented, with even
less point and tact than before; it was clear that the advocate either
considered the case a bad one, or had lost all interest in it. The
other side followed with increased confidence, and, it was plain, made
a strong impression upon the court. A feeble rejoinder was given to
this, but it produced little or no effect.

Just at this crisis, an individual, not before particularly noticed by
Mr. Tomlinson, arose and addressed the court. His opening remarks
showed him to be familiar with the whole subject, and his tone and
manner exhibited a marked degree of confidence. It was soon apparent
which side of the case he had taken; if by nothing else, by the frown
that settled upon the brow of Allison. He was a young man, tall and
well made, with a strong, clear voice, and a fine command of language.
The position in which he stood concealed so much of his face from Mr.
Tomlinson, that the latter could not make out whether it was one with
which he was familiar or not. The voice he had heard before.

The volunteer advocate, after having occupied the court for an hour,
during which time he had shown a most minute and accurate knowledge of
the matter in dispute, gave the whole question a new aspect. During the
second hour that his argument was continued, in which precedent after
precedent, not before introduced, were brought forward, bearing a
direct application to the case under review, the court exhibited the
most marked attention. When he concluded, all present saw hope for the
old Virginian.

This new and unexpected champion in the cause aroused the counsel of
Allison to another and more determined effort; but he tore their
arguments into ribands, and set off their authorities with an
overwhelming array of decisions directly in the teeth of those they
introduced bearing upon their side of the question. It was wonderful to
observe his perfect familiarity with the whole matter in dispute, the
law bearing upon it, and the decisions of courts in this country and
England, that could in any way throw light upon it, far outstripping
the learned advocates on both sides, who had been at work upon the case
for five years.

During the time this brilliant champion was fighting his battle for him
in the last defensible position he could ever obtain, Mr. Tomlinson
remained as if fixed to the spot where he was sitting, yet with his
mind entirely active. He saw, he felt that there was hope for him; that
this heaven-sent advocate, whoever he was, would save him from ruin. At
last the case closed, and the court announced that its decision would
be given in the morning.

"Who is he?" Mr. Tomlinson heard some one ask of his persecutor, as the
young man closed his last and most brilliant effort.

With an imprecation uttered between his teeth, he replied, "One that
refused to take my side, although I offered him a fee of five thousand
dollars if successful."

"What is his name?"


"Pity you couldn't have secured him."

Mr. Tomlinson heard no more. He turned his eyes upon the young man he
had three times rudely repulsed, but he could not see his face; he was
bending over and arranging some papers. The announcement of the court,
in regard to the time when a decision was to be made, drew his
attention from him. When he again sought the young attorney, he was

Nearly a week of most distressing suspense was suffered by Edith. Every
day she heard from her father, but all was doubt and despondency, until
there came a letter announcing the sudden appearance of a volunteer
advocate, who had changed the whole aspect of affairs, and created the
most lively hopes of success. Who he was, the letter did not say.

During the morning that succeeded the one on which this letter was
received, Edith wandered about the house like a restless spirit. The
decision had been made on the day previous, and in a few hours her
father would be home. What intelligence would he bring? Whenever she
asked herself that question, her heart trembled. Twenty times had she
been to the highest windows in the house to look far away where the
road wound down a distant hill, to see if the carriage were coming,
although she knew two hours must elapse before her father could
possibly arrive.

At last the long and anxiously looked-for object came in sight, winding
along the road far in the distance. Soon it passed from view, and she
waited breathlessly, until it should appear at a nearer point. Again it
met her eyes, and again disappeared. At last it reached the long avenue
of poplars that lined the carriage-way leading up to the house; the
horses were coming at a rapid speed. Edith could not breathe in the
rooms--the atmosphere was oppressive. She went into the porch, and,
leaning against or rather clinging to one of the pillars, stood almost
gasping for breath. The suspense she suffered was awful; but certainty
soon came. The carriage whirled rapidly into its position before the
door, and Mr. Tomlinson sprang from it as agile as a boy. He had merely
time to say--

"All is safe!" when Edith sank into his arms, unable longer to stand.

"And here is our noble champion," he added, as another stood by his

Edith opened her eyes, that she had closed in the excess of joy; the
face of her lover was near her. She looked up at him for a moment, and
then closed them again; but now the tears came stealing through her
shut lids.

The young lawyer had gained two suits in one. Three months afterwards
Edith was his bride, and the dowry was the five hundred acres of land
from the estate of Allison, awarded to her father by the Supreme Court.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Words for the Wise" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.