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Title: Up the ladder;

or, striving and thriving

Author: Madeline Leslie

Illustrator: John N. Hyde

Release date: February 28, 2023 [eBook #70168]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Young & Bartlett, 1863

Credits: an anonymous Project Gutenberg volunteer.


Transcriber's note: Unusual and inconsistent spelling is as printed.





























"The hand of the diligent maketh rich."


"The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor."










Entered, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1863,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.














Loving Mother,










"Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work."




"If any will not work, neither shall he eat."




"He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man."




"The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty."




"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep."




"But if any provide not for his own, especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."




"Work with your hands, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."




"The Lord blesseth the habitation of the just."




"In all thy ways acknowledge him; and he will direct thy paths."




"It is joy to the just to do judgment; but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity."




"Be sure your sin will find you out."




"The hand of the diligent maketh rich."




"The expectation of the wicked shall perish."




"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."




"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found."




"Seest thou a man diligent in business; he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."










"Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work."


ON the steps leading into the back court of one of the largest hotels in the city of — might be seen, early on a June morning, a lad apparently about ten years of age. He was a rosy, good-humored boy, and was at this moment whistling a lively tune in a subdued tone, while his hands were busily employed in shelling peas.


Before him, on the stone pavement, stood a bushel-basket of peas in the pod. From this basket he transferred them to a pan in his lap, and from thence, when shelled, to a larger one which stood within the door. He had just commenced his task, but seemed not at all discouraged by it. He went on merrily, whistling "Dan Tucker," occasionally glancing up toward a platform which was used for drying clothes. This had a light railing around it; and presently he was rewarded by the glimpse of a bright face, surrounded with golden curls, peeping shyly at him. His smile was followed by a silvery laugh from behind the railing; and soon the little face beamed on him again.


"Good morning, little boy!"


He smiled and nodded. The whistling had ceased. He thought her voice, sweeter than music. His eyes feasted upon her happy countenance; but his hands plied faithfully their task.


"Ar'n't you sorry you has got so many peas to shell?"


"No, I'm glad," was the low response.


"Don't you like to have me talk to you?"


"Oh yes!"


There was a heartiness in the tone which gave great emphasis to the words. The child, after shaking her curls and laughing gaily, asked, "Why don't you talk to me, then?"


Harrison, for that was the boy's name, paused. He did not know exactly how to put his thoughts into words; but presently he said, "I am a poor boy, and perhaps your mother wouldn't like it."


"I'll ask her, then;" and away tripped the miss, through the long hall, up stairs to her mother's room. "O mamma! there's a boy down stairs; I know him very well, because I've seen him every day. He always looks so pleasant, and whistles such pretty tunes, and I want to talk to him; but he is afraid you wouldn't like it."


"Did he say so?" inquired the lady, laughing at the idea.


"Yes, mamma."


"What is he doing?"


"Shelling peas. His face is very clean, mamma; and I do want to talk to him so much," urged the pleading voice.


"That is really a great recommendation; and as he is so modest, I don't think there can be any harm in your talking with him."


"Mamma is willing!" exclaimed the child, returning to the railing. "So now will you please tell me why you like to shell so many peas?"


"Because I can earn money by doing it. I like to do any kind of work."


A thoughtful expression passed over her bright face; she seemed disappointed at the answers. At length she asked, "What makes you like money so well? I don't."


"I don't like money," replied the boy; "but if I did not earn any I should not have bread for my breakfast and supper. I am poor, you know; but mother says I am a great deal happier for working. The Bible says, 'He that will not work, neither shall he eat.'"


"I never work," answered the child, in a sad tone.


"Oh! it don't mean such little girls as you! But I dare say you do work some. Don't you help your mother make the beds and dust the chairs? I had a little sister once, and she could do that."


"No," said Ella, shaking her head in a sorrowful manner. "Bridget is the chamber-girl. I wish I could work; but I only play with my dolls all day, except when I go to ride with mamma."


The boy looked somewhat surprised at this entire exemption from care; but he said, soothingly, "I dare say you will work when you are older. Mother says the command in the Bible is for all: 'Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work.'"


Ella stood looking gravely upon the lad as he sat steadily at his employment, and then said, "Will you please tell me about your sister? What was her name?"


"Isabella. Oh, she was a dear little girl! She had eyes just like the blue sky, and such a pretty mouth, always full of, smiles. Now she's gone home to God."


"Oh dear!" exclaimed Ella, "that's too bad. How could you let her go away?"


For a moment the boy ceased his employment, raised his tear-dimmed eyes to the clear sky, then brushed away the glistening drops, and resumed his work. Presently, in a subdued voice, he replied, "God gave her to us, and he had a right to take her again, you know. Mother cried dreadfully; but she said, 'God knows what is best.' I miss her every night," said the boy, choking back his tears, "I loved her so dearly."


"Shall you go away when you've finished the peas?" asked Ella, anxious to turn from so painful a subject.


"Oh no! I shall do the beans next. See, I'm almost done."


"Why! won't you be tired?"


"No indeed. I have a great mind to tell you my secret."


The child filled the air with her musical laugh. "I do like to hear secrets," she said.


"Well, I'm trying to work real hard, because I want to buy mother a straw bonnet, and some pretty ribbon to put on it. It will be so nice to wear to church, you know." At this moment a voice in the hall called, "Ella! Ella!" and the child tripped away.


It seemed to Harrison as if the sun had gone behind a cloud when her laughing face disappeared from the railing; but he entered with renewed zeal into his work, saying to himself, "I wish mother could see her; she's a dear little thing!"






"If any will not work, neither shall he eat."


IT was nearly two o'clock before Harrison went home. First he had to prepare the string-beans; then one of the boarders called him to do an errand, for which he paid him a dime, after which the cook gave him a number of chores to do; so that altogether he had made quite a profitable morning of it. Beside this, he had eaten a hearty dinner, as indeed he did almost every day, before he left the hotel, and, with the consent of the proprietor, carried home a basket of broken pieces for his mother.


Harrison was an obliging little fellow. Always civil in his conduct, prompt and faithful in whatever he was required to do, he had rendered himself a favorite with all. Much of this he owed to his mother, who was untiring in her instructions to her boy. She was very fond of giving Scripture authority for her advice, and of enforcing her commands by the word of God. In this way, though only a lad of ten years, Harrison was far better acquainted with the teachings of the Bible than many who were twice his age.


On the morning in question he was unusually happy: first, because he had two dimes to add to his secret fund for the new bonnet; and next, because he had enjoyed a pleasant talk with the little girl.


Mrs. Danforth was setting the table for dinner when he entered, and received him with a warm smile of welcome.


"See how much I have earned!" said the boy, giving her a hearty kiss, and then pouring into her open palm several small pieces of silver.


"You know, my dear," she replied, with a smile, "who it is that said, 'The hand of the diligent maketh rich;'" then taking his basket, she added, "but you have brought quite a feast. I hope you have not dined."


"Oh yes, I have! But I expect there are pretty nice things in there. I heard one of the cooks talking about it. A gentleman came in and ordered a dinner at one o'clock: pigeons, fricasseed chicken, and lots of other dishes. Waiter told the cook he just tasted them, and then sent them away. He had no appetite, he said. I told cook if he'd get up in the morning and work, as I did, he'd have appetite enough. She laughed and said, 'Well, they're paid for, and you may put them in your basket.'"


"I hope Mr. Clarkson knows how much she gives us," suggested the woman, stopping in her work of taking the rich food from the basket.


"I wouldn't take it without," replied the boy, drawing himself proudly up to his full height. Only last week he told her not to encourage the street beggars, but to give to those she knew were worthy, and who tried to help themselves. "Once in a while, too, he meets me with my basket, and he looks in and says, 'That's all right, boy.'"


Just at this moment the door opened, and Mr. Danforth entered. He was quite a gentlemanly-looking man, of about thirty-five years. A close observer might have noticed a shade of anxiety passing over the wife's countenance; but after a second glance she seemed happily disappointed, and her spirits rose accordingly.


"You are just in time," she said; "dinner is all ready."


"And I'm ready for it," was the hearty reply. "I've been walking all the morning, and I expect at last I've found just about the right thing for me to do. Ho! those birds look as if they would relish finely!"


Harrison then repeated the story of the dyspeptic gentleman, at which his father laughed and said, "It's an ill wind that blows no one good. Now I'm perfectly willing he should order dinners and pay for them; we'll find good appetites for them, wont we, Bub?"


"I suppose," remarked Mrs. Danforth, "that he is one of those who will not work, and therefore, though he has an abundance, cannot eat."


"Waiter said he looked awful sickly," added Harrison.


"I expect I've engaged myself in a first-rate situation," resumed Mr. Danforth, laying down the bones of a chicken he had been sucking.


"What is it?" eagerly inquired his wife.


"Why, it's a kind of an overseer-general in an oyster saloon."


"I had rather you would shovel coal," exclaimed Mrs. Danforth, in a tone of great disappointment.


"What in the name of nature can you have to say against an oyster-saloon? It would bring me into company and constant intercourse with some of the first gentlemen of the city."


"That is just what I feared. I am afraid of the temptation for you, my dear husband."


"What, after I've pledged myself to you to let alone all kinds of intoxicating drinks?" The man colored and looked somewhat annoyed; and his wife, noticing that Harrison was listening eagerly, added suddenly, "When you are rested, my dear, I wish you would carry home this vest to the tailor's and bring me some more work."


"I'm rested now, mother, so I'll be off;" and taking the bundle he ran down the stairs, whistling merrily at his favorite tune.


When he was gone Mrs. Danforth kindly remonstrated with her husband, urging the inexpediency of placing himself in the way of temptation, when work could surely be obtained elsewhere. He argued that here he could be treated as a gentleman, that he could have better wages, and altogether it was a fine opportunity. At any rate he had gone too far to recede.


His wife sighed heavily, but ceased to urge him further.


"The man was very much taken with my appearance," resumed Mr. Danforth, feeling that he had gained his point. "I'm to know whether he accepts my terms before night. So keep up good courage. I shall be able to support you like a lady yet—who knows?" and he turned to leave the house.


"I'm quite contented in the lot Providence has assigned me," remarked the woman, gazing into her husband's handsome but irresolute countenance. "Ah!" said she, when he had disappeared, "'beauty is vain.' I fear his good looks and his gentlemanly appearance will be the cause of his ruin."


At night Mr. Danforth came home in grand spirits, and announced that he had been engaged at a good salary, and was to commence his labors in the morning. His wife bravely repressed a sigh, tried to smile, and to feel hopeful. Presently Harrison came home in a pleasant state of excitement. He was just about to narrate his afternoon's success to his mother, when he noticed that his father was present, and, with a prudence which had been dearly bought by past experience, waited until he should find her alone.


"I think," remarked Mr. Danforth in a self complacent tone, as they sat around the neatly arranged board, "that when I am fairly established in my new situation I shall take you there, Harrison, as waiter. You would do the work charmingly, and be quite an ornament to the place."


"Oh, no!" exclaimed the mother earnestly, "I can never give my consent."


"I had much rather go to school," responded the boy; "I have so little time now to learn."


"If God prospers us, I mean to have you go next fall and winter," said his mother. "Now that you," turning to her husband, "are to have such great wages, you will be able to get him a good suit of clothes."


"I don't calculate on being able to do much in that way at present," replied the father in some confusion. "It'll cost me a good deal for my own dress; and then, it's better for the boy to depend on himself. He might learn to be idle you know, and that's against your principles, wife. Besides, Bub, you can read and write now, and keep accounts nigh about as well as I can."


"You're not going out again, I hope," said Mrs. Danforth, anxiously, as he arose and took his hat.


"I told Mr. Lamson I'd be down there, and kinder get used to things to be ready for tomorrow, that's all. I'll be back again in an hour or so."


"There's wood to cut," she urged, "and it will be very lonely without you."


"Harrison will cut some till I come."


"I'll clear away the tea things, mother, and then read to you," cried the boy, in a cheerful tone, as he saw how difficult it was for her to keep from shedding tears. "And I haven't told you yet what a fine chance I had this afternoon. A gentleman at the tailor's shop asked me to go 'way up town for him to carry a note. He paid me well, too; but the best of it was, that the lady to whom I carried it gave me a book and an omnibus ticket, so I rode all the way back. But I forgot to tell you that the tailor would have some work ready this evening: perhaps I had better run and get it now."






"He that loveth pleasure, shall be a poor man."


"MAMMA," asked Ella Haven, after breakfast the next morning, "will you please let me work. I want to help Bridget make the beds, or do something."


"Nonsense, child! play with your baby-house, and make the beds in that if you please." Turning to her husband, she asked, with a laugh, "What idea do you suppose the child has now?"


"Do please let me, mamma! The boy down stairs told me his sister worked, and that the Bible says we all must work. So I do want to."


"That is good preaching," remarked Mr. Haven. "Who is the boy, Ella?"


The child told all she knew of her young friend, and that he would not talk to her until she had obtained her mother's permission. "I've seen him about here, and sent him errands more than once," said the gentleman. "He is a sturdy little fellow, and will make something yet."


In the mean time, Harrison was at his place in the back-court, evidently anticipating with much pleasure another visit from his young friend. Nor was he disappointed. Just as he had comfortably arranged his baskets, a happy laugh announced her approach.


"How do you do this morning?" she asked, with the familiarity of an old acquaintance. Then, without waiting for an answer, she continued, "have you bought the bonnet yet?"


"Oh, no! I haven't half money enough! though I earned a great deal yesterday. I want to get a real nice one; but I don't know how much it will cost."


Ella ran to her mother's room out of breath with excitement. "How much does a bonnet cost, mamma; a straw one, with a pretty ribbon on it? Harrison is going to buy one for his mother, and we don't know how much it costs."


"We, indeed," repeated the lady with an arch glance at her husband, who was just leaving the room, "a bonnet costs anywhere from two to twenty dollars."


The child tripped back again to carry the important information.


Harrison laughed merrily at the idea of his mother in a twenty-dollar bonnet. "When I think I have enough," he said, "I shall go into a store and ask the price of such an one as I want."


"Do you work every day?" inquired Ella. "Every day but the Sabbath. I go to church then, and to Sabbath school. Perhaps I shall go to day-school next winter. If I do, I mean to study real hard."


"Who will buy your bread then?"


"Father and mother; and I shall work too when I'm out of school. I had six houses last winter where I shovelled the snow from the steps and sidewalks. I earned a new pair of shoes and a coat. Mother says, after all, the habit of diligence is worth more to me than what I earn."


"I wish I could work," exclaimed the child; "but there is nothing for me to do. Sometimes I get papa's slippers for him. I mean to do it every day. Oh! I forgot to tell you my brother is coming home to-day! He's been away at boarding school. When you come to-morrow I'll take him down here to see you. I'm so glad he's coming home. His name is Alfred,—for papa."


Harrison did not feel the same interest in the brother as he had in the sister. Though about his own age Alfred looked much older, and, though handsome, yet had an unpleasant expression upon his countenance. To please Ella he went down to be introduced to Harrison, anticipating, as he told his mother, some capital fun.


"This is my brother," said Ella, holding his hand fondly. "I told him you wanted to see him."


Alfred drew up his form; but Harrison only glanced at him with a smile.


"He can whistle beautifully," rejoined Ella, glancing in her brother's face. "I've heard him a good many times."


"He shells peas well, I see," said Alfred; "I suppose he has a great deal of practice."


Harrison colored; not at the charge, but at the sneering tone of the youth. He wondered how such a boy could be related to Ella.


"When I get a place, I'll hire you to shell peas for me," continued Alfred, in a patronizing manner. "I shall hire a great many servants."


"I don't expect to shell peas all my life," replied Harrison, proudly.


"Ha! what do you expect to do?"


"I can't tell yet."


"Perhaps you think you shall be rich, and ride in a coach."


"It may be so. I learned a verse from the Bible last night; it was this: 'Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.'"


Alfred had sense enough to know that the lad had the best of the argument. He therefore turned on his heel and walked away, followed closely by his sister, though not until she had given Harrison a parting nod and smile.


Poor fellow! he had not been at home many days before the rich pastry and confections with which his parents pampered his appetite, laid him on a bed of sickness. During his confinement he was so fretful and hard to please that his patient little sister at length became weary of staying at his bed-side, and was glad to escape to the open, shady balcony, where she could have a glimpse of the cheerful countenance of her new friend.


With a child's quickness of discernment, however, she soon discovered that he was not as happy as when she first knew him. He no longer whistled when busy at his work, and his face at times wore a look of anxious care. Ella tried her utmost to persuade him to confide his griefs to her, but in vain; he smiled sadly, but shook his head.


It was indeed true that sorrow and anxiety had entered the abode of Mr. Danforth. Since his employment in the saloon he was often out a great part of the night; sometimes not returning home for days together. When he did so, his whole character seemed so much changed for the worse that his poor wife could take no comfort in his society. It was quite evident that he had entirely forgotten his pledge of abstinence from intoxicating drinks. His pallid countenance and sunken eyes would have betrayed him to his watchful wife, even if his unsteady gait and offensive breath had not done so.


For the sake of her son Mrs. Danforth wore in his presence a cheerful face, though it often concealed an aching heart, sore with its secret griefs.


"I wish we lived in the country, mother," exclaimed Harrison one evening.


"Why! my dear, those were just my thoughts at that moment; but perhaps sorrow would follow us even there."


"We might have a little farm. Wouldn't that be nice? I don't think there are any oyster saloons in the country, mother."


"Perhaps not, dear; but those who are disposed to run into temptation, will find danger lurking everywhere."


It was now some weeks since Harrison had begun to save money for the new bonnet. The next afternoon following this conversation he was sent upon an errand, and unexpectedly received three shillings for the promptness and fidelity with which he performed it. This, added to his stock on hand, would make just four dollars. He determined to appropriate the whole of it, and instantly hurried home to ask his mother to accompany him to a milliner's. On his way he saw a pretty straw bonnet, ready trimmed, hanging in a show-case, and could not resist the temptation of asking the price. What was his delight to find it less than the sum he had earned. So great were his excitement and joy that he burst into his mother's room, startling her not a little by his abrupt entrance.


"Come!" he exclaimed, "come quick, mother! I want to show you something. Oh, I'm so happy! Please put on your bonnet, and come with me to the next street."


"What is it, dear?" she asked, in some surprise, "I had rather know before I go out."


"Well, then, please wait a minute and I'll tell you." He ran into his small room, put his hand under the ticking, and drew out a small purse. Happiness swelled his young heart almost to bursting. This was his first gift. It was to his dearest earthly friend, purchased with his own earnings. Suddenly his heart almost ceases to beat. He misses the familiar sound of the silver pieces, so fondly treasured, so often counted. He holds the purse up to the light; he presses his fingers convulsively upon it. Yes, he realizes that his hard earned money is gone,—all gone,—and with one loud cry throws himself across his narrow bed.


Mrs. Danforth ran quickly to his aid, but he could not speak; his disappointment was too great. At length he began:


"It's too bad! It's too mean to steal money from a little boy like me, and from an own son too. He shall give it back! It's mine, and I'll have it again," were his expressions, uttered in a loud angry tone, so different from his usual tender voice that his mother started from him in amazement.


A passionate burst of tears at length relieved the poor boy, and, sitting at his mother's feet, he unfolded to her the secret so carefully cherished, and the bitter disappointment which had overwhelmed him.


Mrs. Danforth's tears fell thick and fast; not at the loss of the bonnet, not even at the grief of the boy, sad as it was, but at the downfall of all her hopes. She pressed her hands upon her heart and sobbed aloud, "O God! that I should have lived to see this day! Give me strength to bear thy chastening rod."






"The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty."


WHEN Harrison awoke the next morning it was with the remembrance of some great sorrow, like that after his little sister's death. He pressed his hands to his forehead, and presently the events of the previous evening rushed into his mind. It was not merely the loss, but the manner of the loss, which so distressed the poor child. The thought that his father, who, since entering the oyster-saloon, had never paid one farthing toward the support of his family, should be guilty of such insufferable meanness as to steal the earnings of his little son, was what crushed his young heart. For the first time since he had been old enough to work, his mother found it difficult to start him forth to his daily toil. He appeared wholly discouraged; and not until she appealed to him by his love for her and his sympathy in her afflictions, could she excite him to any ambition, or even hope for the future. Poor woman! It was indeed a great self-sacrifice for her to send him away from home. She actually yearned for his society and sympathy now that her heart-strings seemed one by one breaking, as her hopes for her husband died away within her breast. But she knew by past experience that he would be far happier to be engaged in his regular employment than if he sat down to brood over his griefs.


When he reached the hotel, a carriage was just driving away, and Harrison had only time to catch a glimpse of the beautiful face of Ella and the pale one of her brother before they turned the corner of the street and disappeared from view. Tears of disappointment filled the swollen eyes of the poor boy, though a moment before he had hoped that he should not see Ella that morning. How could he account to her for his altered appearance. He could never expose the shame of his father.


Through the day Mrs. Danforth waited and watched for the coming of her husband. She hoped he would return during the absence of Harrison. But she waited and watched in vain. Many times during the morning her heart beat fast, and then almost ceased to beat, as she fancied she recognized his footstep upon the stairs; but when it passed she was obliged to lay down her work, so faint and languid was she from the intense excitement. At noon Harrison had only time to run home and tell her that he had been sent of an errand up town, and should not return until night.


How she passed the long hours until sundown she never could tell; but at length she experienced such a dreadful pressure upon her spirits that she could endure it no longer. She hastily prepared for a walk, and bent her steps toward the fatal spot which had proved the grave of all her hopes for her husband's reformation. Arrived at the scene, she cast wistful glances through the long windows, but could not see him. It was a place where women were not often found, and she shuddered as she turned the handle of the door and stood within the room. A coarse-looking man stopped suddenly in his passage across the floor with a waiter of oysters, and she asked, in a hesitating manner; "Is Mr. Danforth here?"


"Danforth? No; he has not been here today. Mr. Lamson has scolded well, and threatened to give him walking orders; so if you see him you'd better send him along quick step."


"O! my poor misguided husband!" groaned Mrs. Danforth, as she feebly turned from the door. "Why will you wander from the only friend you have on earth! Why will you throw away the love of the one heart that clings to you in the midst of sorrow and disgrace!"


When Harrison ran hastily home after his long walk, he found the key turned in the door and his mother absent. This was so unusual a circumstance that he wondered much what could have called her out at such an hour. The busy scenes of the day had served to divert his mind from himself, and the natural buoyancy of youth had already turned the channel of his thoughts, so that hope once more whispered of bright visions in the future. But now, as he wandered listlessly about the rooms, looking so dismal at this hour without her whose smile had always seemed to give light and warmth to the place, he wondered that he could call any event sorrowful while she was left to him.


At last he heard a weary footstep ascending the stairs, and darted across the room to welcome his mother. The deepening twilight prevented him from seeing the expression of woe upon her features; but he knew she was tired, and exclaimed, cheerfully, "I'll put on the tea, mother! that always rests you." The table was already spread, and the mother and son seated themselves.


"I do wonder where father is?" cried Harrison, for the first time since his loss mentioning his father's name. "I guess he's ashamed to come home."


"Hush, dear! don't speak so! I'm afraid something has happened to him. I went to the saloon, but he has not been there all day." The poor woman covered her face, and the sobs that would not be longer suppressed burst forth.


Harrison's sympathy was excited at once. "I wish I knew where to go and inquire for him, mother," he said; "but he has often been gone longer than this. Perhaps he will be home before we go to bed."


Mrs. Danforth listened to his cheering words, and tried to hope that they would prove true; but the long weary weeks of anxiety since her husband had been in the oyster-saloon had worn upon her frame, and she was conscious of being really unfit for exertion. Then her head ached terribly, so that she was easily persuaded to go to bed, where the remainder of the evening Was passed in listening to her son as he read passage after passage from her favorite Psalms.


The next morning Harrison awoke early, and, having dressed himself in haste, ran softly down the stairs, before the other inmates of the house were astir, and sped quickly away to the street where his father worked. But to his disappointment, when he arrived at the saloon, the door was barred, and, after knocking several times, was just on the point of leaving, when a colored man drew back the bolt.


From this person, who was cleaning the rooms, the boy learned that his father had of late been so unsteady in his attendance upon his business that his employer had threatened to turn him away. This was all the information that he could gain, and with it he ran home to comfort his mother.


She had risen, and was wondering where he had gone.


"Good news, mother!" he called out, "I have been to father's place. He is not there yet, but the man told me he had often been absent before. Now, when he did not come home, we always thought he was there; so I guess he'll come back again just as he has always done."


"Thank you, my son; I really hope it may be so; and now if you will cut a few sticks of kindling we will have some breakfast."


Harrison cut the wood, kindled the fire, and swept the room, and then said, "If you can get along now, mother, I'll go to the hotel. I promised cook I'd be there right early. They have orders for a grand dinner to-day. She'll be sure to give me some breakfast, and I'll be home as soon as I can."


Fortunately for Harrison, his habits of neatness and industry rendered him of great service to his employers. He went from one thing to another as he was bid, and, amidst all the confusion and scolding of the kitchen, was always civil and obliging, ready to give a helping hand to any one who needed his assistance. Mr. Clarkson visited the kitchen to give orders about the extra work, saying that he would hire in more help if it was necessary. Cook told him she had rather have Harrison than half a dozen strangers, for he would do just what she told him. The gentleman patted him on the head, called him a smart boy, and then, taking out his porte-monaie, presented him with a silver half-dollar.


There was so much to be done that the lad feared he should miss seeing his little friend but at last one of the waiters asked him to scour a tray of knives, and he gladly took refuge with his brick and board out of the heated kitchen into the cool, shady court.


"Why, Harrison! how do you do? I have looked for you this long time," soon called out the familiar voice. "I went into the country yesterday, and we're all going out there for the summer. I wish you could go too."


"I wish I could," said the boy seriously.


"Have you bought the bonnet yet?"


"No; I never can buy one. My money was all stolen away. I had four dollars, enough to buy a real beauty: but it's all gone now."


Harrison's lips quivered, and the tears gushed to his eyes.


"Oh, that is too bad! I'm very sorry; don't cry." Ella, whose own eye-lashes were heavy with unshed tears, ran quickly to impart to her mother the sorrowful tale.


She was absent more than fifteen minutes, and the lad had nearly completed his task when she reappeared, jumping up and down for very gladness.


"Harrison!" she called out, "when you've done your work you must be sure and come to our room, number five in the long hall. Mother has something to give you. Oh, won't you be glad! Don't you forget, now."


The boy did not think it very likely he should forget; but, faithful to his employers, he gathered up his well-scoured knives and re-entered the kitchen, saying as he did so, "I'm so busy to-day, I don't know when I shall be ready to go home."


The dinner was a triumph. Every body said so. Mr. Clarkson and all concerned were in high spirits, and Harrison came in for his full share of praise. It was half-past five when he took his well-filled basket from the cook, and setting it in a safe place, washed his face and hands till they shone then, having smoothed his hair out in the court with his pocket-comb, he ascended the stairs in search of number five.


Mr. Haven had come in, and was seated in a large lounging-chair giving his wife an account of a sad scene he had just witnessed. A man had been found in the dock, having apparently been in the water two or three days. Some papers in his pockets informed the police who he was, and in coming from the wharf he had passed them, bearing the body to a wagon to convey it home.


"Had he a family?" inquired Mrs. Haven, with deep feeling.


"I did not learn," was the reply.


In the mean time Bridget had answered Harrison's low knock, and he had advanced halfway across the room before his presence was noticed, so absorbed were they in the sad tale.


"O mamma! here is Harrison!" called out Ella.


"Don't scream so, Ella!" exclaimed Alfred in a fretful tone. "Your voice goes right through my head."


"Come here, my boy," said Mr. Haven, kindly. "Ella says you're in trouble."


The lad blushed, but answered modestly, "I lost all my money, sir. I suppose she told you what I was saving it for."


"Yes, and it was a very worthy object. Have you any suspicion of the thief?"


Poor boy, his head fell upon his breast and his lips trembled as he replied softly, "Yes, sir, but I had rather not tell who it was."


"I dare say he stole it himself," cried Alfred, spitefully.


"Leave the room, Alfred," said his father, sternly.




"O brother!" remonstrated Ella, "how wicked to talk so."


Harrison held up his head, and gave one lightning glance of indignation into the face of the ill-natured boy. There was truth, honesty, and wounded feeling in the expressive countenance; and both Mr. and Mrs. Haven grew every moment more interested in the young lad.


"You have a good mother, I know," added the gentleman, in whose mind arose a suspicion of the truth. "Ella has told us about her, and so Mrs. Haven has prepared a present for her."


The little girl brought carefully on her outstretched hand, from the next room, a neat bonnet, tastefully trimmed.


"Thank you, oh, thank you, ma'am!" exclaimed the boy, with a look of unmistakable gratitude. "How pleased mother will be. Shall I take it now, ma'am?"


"Yes! Are you going directly home? Bring me the box, Ella."


After again expressing his pleasure in a low voice to the child, Harrison took the bandbox, and, passing through the kitchen, obtained his basket, and ran all the way home.






"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep."


IT was nothing unusual for Harrison to see a company of men standing idly at the door of the block in which his father hired three rooms; but as he ran joyfully up the steps he thought their manner strangely subdued, as they stood solemnly aside to let him pass. On the first floor a woman who had always been kind to him suddenly came out of her apartment and pulled him in.


"Poor child!" said she, "trouble has come to your mother. I couldn't bear to let you go by and not speak a word to comfort your dear heart."


"What is it? where is mother?" he asked, wildly rushing up the stairs.


Oh, what a sad sight presented itself to his view! Stretched on the cherry table, at which he had so often eaten, lay the insensible body of his father, bloated and disfigured so as scarcely to be recognized, except by those who loved him so well.


With one dreadful shriek of agony Harrison sprang past the lifeless form, and sank down at his mother's feet.


Who shall dare to describe the anguish of that torn and bleeding heart? She sat there alone with her dead, her form rigid, her eyes strained and fixed upon that poor remnant of humanity. She caught her breath at long intervals, and with great effort; while her hands were still clutching the papers which had been the means of informing the authorities of the name and residence of the deceased.


The entrance of her son slightly roused her. She turned her eyes upon him with, oh! so sorrowful a glance, and taking his head between her hands as he sat on the floor before her, moaned piteously. "O God! forgive me that I scarce know how to pray for myself, when prayer for him can no longer avail. Be present with me in this dreadful hour. Support me, Lord, or I shall sink under my heavy load of grief." She then burst out, "Oh that I could have seen him once more! Oh that I could have entreated him to prepare to meet his God!"


Here her sobs convulsed her whole body and Harrison becoming frightened at the violence of her grief, started to his feet, crying, "Mother, dear mother, don't cry so!" Just then the door opened, and the clergyman of whose church she was a member entered.


The good man afterwards described the hour which followed as one of the most trying of his life. But I must not linger upon this afflicting scene. By the liberality of the church to which she belonged, all the arrangements were made for a decent funeral of the deceased; and the poor widow buried her dead out of her sight, forever.


The same charitable hands also provided a suit of plain mourning for Mrs. Danforth and for her son, and promised to be responsible for her rent until she could decide upon her future course of life and make arrangements for their support.


As it was now some time since her husband had aided in the support of the family, Mrs. Danforth thought it no risk to retain the rooms she at present hired, and, with the aid of her son, to endeavor to meet her expenses by vest-making.


The affliction with which she had been visited had brought her into connection with some of the church, hitherto unknown, and their ready sympathy was a cordial to her sorrowing heart.


Harrison returned to his work at the hotel, but found that Mr. Haven had gone, with his family, to the country.


Month after month glided away, until it was nearly time for the fall term of the city schools to commence. Our little hero intended to present himself among the earliest pupils. He longed for the time when he should again be busy with his books and slate. During the summer Mrs. Danforth found it difficult to obtain work, so many persons were out of the city, and at length consented to the wishes of one of her new friends that she should go into a family as nurse. Her only objection to this was that it would deprive her son of a home, which she considered of the first importance to him at his tender age. But, as she was able to obtain permission for him to pass his evenings in the family of one of the neighbors in whom she had confidence, the difficulty was relieved. He had, for some time, been considered a regular boarder at the hotel, where, since his father's death, he had been more than ever a favorite.


At this period Mrs. Danforth had been in three families, had given entire satisfaction, and now her services were eagerly sought.


She still retained one room in the tenement she formerly occupied, and had returned to it only the previous day, when Harrison came home in the middle of the afternoon to inform her that Mr. Haven had returned from the country, and that Ella was dangerously ill. The poor boy was very much excited by the sad news, and had prevailed upon one of the chamber-girls to go and recommend his mother as nurse, hearing they had difficulty in obtaining one. Harrison was accordingly summoned to the chamber, and on being questioned gave references to the places where she had nursed, and now he expected they would come for her.


Mrs. Danforth told him she had no immediate engagement, but thought it doubtful whether she should be summoned. Indeed, she hoped not. She dreaded exceedingly the publicity of a hotel.


When Mr. Haven called, however, she could not resist his pleading for her to go and take care of his darling child, nor the silent entreaty of Harrison's glistening eyes; and in another hour she was an inmate of the large public house.


Poor little Ella had been seriously ill only three days, but her flesh was all wasted away, and her large, earnest eyes were so protruded that they formed the prominent features of her face. Her fever ran very high, and rendered her delirious when she first awoke. At other times she was conscious of all that occurred around her.


Mrs. Haven took advantage of a moment when she was free from pain, and introduced the new nurse, knowing it would give the child so much pleasure.


Ella smiled a faint, wan smile, and presently whispered, "Is your boy sorry I'm sick?"


"Yes, indeed," answered nurse. "He could not rest until I came to take care of you."


"He came to the door, my darling," added the lady, "and begged us to send for his mother."


The child smiled again, and seemed satisfied, and soon sunk into a quiet sleep.


Two days more and there seemed scarcely a hope that the dear little girl could recover. Her parents, worn out with their previous watching and with the corroding care which filled their breasts grew more and more desponding every time the physician called. Nurse alone maintained her belief that the disease had abated, and that only nourishment and tender care were needed, to restore her to health. She pointed out the favorable symptoms to the physician, who allowed her to try the effect of a spoonful of chicken tea. She went to the kitchen, being unwilling to trust any one but herself to make it. The experiment was attended with perfect success; and the grateful parents could not sufficiently express their thanks. From this time the emaciated form began to resume some faint resemblance to its former self. In three weeks from Mrs. Danforth's entrance to the sick-chamber, the doctor said they had no more need of him; adding, as he gave his hand, at parting, to the faithful nurse, "Under God, the child owes her life to your watchful care. If there were more nurses like you, fewer doctors would be required."


"It is pleasant to cooperate with a true man," was her smiling reply.


After this, whenever Dr.— was asked to recommend a nurse, he had but one reply: "Get Mrs. Danforth, if you can."


All this time poor Harrison had embraced every opportunity to steal softly up stairs and wait at the door of number five until some one came out from whom he could learn about the patient. Now he often caught a glimpse of his mother as she passed through the kitchen, and one day she told him if he would come up to the door of the sick-room, she would invite him in to see his young favorite.


Ella was seated in a large chair, pillows being placed around her to keep her upright, when he entered. His mother had told him she was very much better, almost well; but when he saw her pale, thin face, resting upon her little hand, in which every vein was clearly visible, he stood motionless with surprise and disappointment.


The little girl gazed earnestly in his face, and then, after waiting a moment for him to speak, Ella said, "Why, Harrison I thought you'd be glad to see me; but you seem real sorry."


"I didn't know you'd been so very sick," faltered the boy. "I'm afraid you never will be well enough to go out on the shed."


Ella laughed right merrily. It was a happy sound for her mother to hear. She had not laughed audibly before since she was ill.


"I'm going to school next week," rejoined Harrison.


"Alfred has gone to school again," she said.


"Has he? Well, I must bid you goodbye."


"Will you come again?"


"If mother thinks it won't hurt you; and I'll bring you a little mite of a top, that you can spin in your fingers right in your chair."






"But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."


DURING the sickness and convalescence of their child, Mr. and Mrs. Haven became so much interested in the nurse, that they determined if she would accept the situation of housekeeper in their family, to take a house for the winter, as they had long wished to do. They knew that she was exceedingly unwilling to be separated from Harrison; and, as they intended to offer him a home, they were sure this would be a great inducement for her to consent.


This arrangement was happily accomplished, and Mrs. Danforth was delighted to acknowledge that she owed so comfortable a home to the industry and good conduct of her son.


Harrison went regularly to school; but when at home he was always ready to do anything in the family, and rendered himself so important a part of the household, that Mr. Haven often declared he did not know how they could do without him.


Alfred, as I have already mentioned, was at boarding-school about twenty miles from the city.


His teachers had more than once notified his father, that unless he would comply with the rules of the house and of the school, he must be dismissed. Mr. Haven had plead with them to allow him to remain, as he knew the discipline would be of great service to the boy. He also used all the influence he possessed with the wayward lad, threatening unless he would yield to authority to deprive him of his allowance and other indulgences.


Alfred promised to amend; but before the first half of the term had expired, he was expelled, one of the ushers being sent with him, in disgrace to his father.


If Harrison had not cherished so great a dislike to the character of this boy, Mrs. Danforth would have felt that she must remove him from the house, so debasing did she consider Alfred's influence. Indeed, his impudence and contempt of authority was so trying to his parents that they could hardly endure the annoyance of his presence. Too late they learned that unlimited indulgence, without parental restraint, so far from making a child happy, only produces misery for himself, and for all those connected with him.


Finding Harrison so much of a favorite with his parents and sister, Alfred took every opportunity of insulting the boy, sneering at him for being obliged to labor when out of school, often boasting that he had never done an hour's work in his life.


On one of these occasions Mr. Haven was an unseen witness of the treatment to which Harrison was subjected. The boy was blacking a pair of boots, and whistling merrily at his work.


"Blackey, take that!" cried Alfred, giving him a kick. "You ought to have a sign out, 'Shoes and whistling done here to order.' I suppose you expect father to set you up in business that way; buy you a stand and half a dozen bottles of 'Day & Martin.'"


At first, Harrison seemed inclined to return the kick by a blow upon the face of Alfred with the boot which was stretched on his arm; but, checking himself, went on whistling louder than before. Alfred grew irritated; and, calling his companion by some of the vilest names he could string together, he started forward to strike him, when his uplifted arm was seized firmly by his father.


"Filthy boy!" he exclaimed, in great anger, "for once you shall feel the power of the rod." He then commanded Harrison to go for his horsewhip; and, notwithstanding the violent struggles of his child, administered a sound chastisement. Then, after consulting with his wife, he set out at once in search of a gentleman who had recommended a situation for his son.


Back of the dining-hall was a small apartment which Mrs. Haven called the housekeeper's room. In this apartment the mother and son could be as retired as in their own home. There, after the duties of the day were ended, Harrison sat with his books and slate, busy with his school lessons, or receiving instruction from his mother. Occasionally a timid knock announced the coming of Ella, who liked nothing better than to sit by the side of her old nurse and listen to her words of advice to her boy.


Mrs. Danforth seldom spoke of her husband, and seemed generally cheerful and happy; but, one evening when Harrison went to her room, he found her weeping bitterly. She had been allowing herself the luxury of looking over some letters received from her husband just before their marriage, and this had brought the trials of her wedded, life most forcibly to mind.


"My dear boy," said she, trying to compose herself, "I have long been considering whether you were old enough to profit by the story of your father's life. While you remember so vividly the scenes connected with his last days, I would impress upon you the cause of all his—" she hesitated— "of all, I mean, that is painful for us to think of. Your father, as perhaps you know, was an only child. His mother loved him so fondly that she could not bear the thought of his enduring any hardship. His father was an industrious man, and wished his son to be taught to work. He used to set him a daily task before he went to his own toil; but the boy would cry that it was too hard for him; that he could not handle the axe, it was so heavy; that the hoeing made his back ache; and so his too indulgent mother performed the work for him, in addition to her own hard labor. Many and many a time did she split and pile the wood her husband supposed had been done by his son, while he passed the hours in idleness or in play. As he grew up, and this could no longer be concealed from his father, he complained of want of strength to do hard work, and begged to be placed in a store in the village. Here he prided himself upon being dressed better than any boy in town; and his frank, handsome face and funny jokes caused him to be liked by all. In this business he might have succeeded, for he was acknowledged to be a good salesman; but soon he grew tired of the confinement; it was too much like labor. He grew more and more inattentive to his business, until he failed to give satisfaction to his employer, and was dismissed from the place. From this time, for the next four years, he was constantly changing from one employment to another, never continuing but a short period at any one thing, but always finding some reason in the heaviness of the work sufficient to satisfy his weak-minded mother. His father remonstrated again and again; but finally said he had done with the boy, and would never advise him more, let him do what he would. I suppose nothing would have satisfied her but to have him entirely exempt from care, and ride about in a coach. She often told him he looked too much like a gentleman to labor with his hands."


"At length his father died, and the property was divided between the mother and son. We had been attached to each other about a year, I thinking of nothing but the easy good nature and the handsome appearance of my lover; but my parents had always opposed our being engaged. They said, again and again, that a man who had never learned to work, who had no habits of steady, daily toil, could not expect the blessing of heaven; that he lived in constant violation of one of God's first commands to man, 'By the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread'; that the Bible was full of denunciations against the slothful and the sluggard. Oh! how many times my good father repeated to me the words of Solomon, 'The slothful shall be under tribute': 'The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat': 'But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel': 'This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat': 'Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger': 'He that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster.'"


"I well remember one evening when I had sat with tears in my eyes because my father had treated my lover coolly, that my mother tried to prevail on him to consent to my wishes. Father took down the Bible, and picked out a great many texts similar to those I have repeated, and gave them to me to commit to memory. The next day he met me walking sadly behind the house, and asked me, 'Dare you, Julia, unite yourself with one who lives in constant violation of God's command, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work."'?"


"I, of course, made many excuses for my absent friend, and said that I knew he wanted to find some steady employment; that he disliked to be out of work as much as any one, but circumstances had not favored him. He gazed in my flushed face earnestly for a minute, and then said, 'O, my child! I'm afraid you're bringing sorrow and affliction upon yourself! God's word never has failed, and it never will!'"


The poor widow covered her face and wept. "Oh, how many, many times those prophetic words have come back to me!"


"Father was a miller, and in a prosperous business. Every one of the children had been brought up to labor at some regular employment. About this time he wanted to build an addition to his mill. I noticed that he went, for several days, to the widow Danforth's; but he said nothing to me of his business there. One day he brought home your father in the wagon, and told me that Henry was to put in a certain sum, and become a kind of partner in the business; that he had given his consent, if Henry would work regularly ten hours every day for six months, we might be married.


"I was, as you may suppose, very happy, and very sanguine that my lover would do all that my father wished. On account of being near his work he was to board at our house; so that I had opportunity to encourage him when his energies began to flag. Father said nothing, but I noticed that he watched Henry closely; and I was delighted when I found that the cordial, amiable temper of the young partner began to have its effect.


"When I look back I can see that, but for this strict watching, and perhaps my influence, he would have sold out his share in the mill long before the time expired. But as it was, the season named arrived, and we were married. My father did well by me, and offered to give Henry a larger share of the profits at the end of the year. But, alas! before that time my dear father died, and died too, knowing that all his prophecies for his daughter would be fulfilled. Henry had returned to his old habits of idleness; and even I, sanguine as I had been, began to have fearful misgivings about the future.


"We moved to another town near by, and then to the city, where my poor Henry seemed always to be in search of work; but, when he found it, could never conquer his distaste for regular employment; and so at last he came to fulfil the prophecy of Solomon, 'By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands, the house droppeth through.'"


"You will see now, my dear son, why I have been so earnest to have you establish in early life a habit of industry, and to cultivate a taste for daily, honest labor. No matter what employment you have, if it is honorable employment. Remember your little verse,—"


"'For Satan finds some mischief still, For idle hands to do.'"


"Remember, my son, any work is safe upon which you can ask the blessing of your Heavenly Father."






"Work with your own hands, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."


TWO years swiftly glided away. Harrison I had now grown to be a stout lad of twelve summers. In his looks he bore a strong resemblance to his father, except that there was an expression of firmness and decision which Mr. Danforth lacked. As Alfred was taller than he, the clothes that he had out-grown were given to Harrison; and thus he was kept well dressed, with little expense to his mother.


The friendship between Harrison and his young friend Ella grew stronger every year. It was he who told her all the difficult words in her reading lesson; and he, too, who again and again explained the simple examples in arithmetic, to suit the youthful comprehension of his young companion. When it was cold or muddy he always found it convenient to go through three squares, in the opposite direction from his school-house, for the purpose of carrying her satchel of books.


Nor was Ella at all behind him in her favors. She kept him well supplied with pen-wipers and invisible pin-cushions; and, at New Years, presented him with a pair of slippers, which, if they were not her own workmanship, were certainly her own selection, and a showy pair they were too. At another time she gave him a game of pictured cards, in which all kinds of trades were represented. Mrs. Haven often remarked that they formed a picture of themselves, as they sat at the little round table, with the cards spread out before them, Ella in the fore-ground, kneeling in her chair to bring herself on a level with her companion, every once in a while leaning back, shaking her golden ringlets from her bright face, while she indulged in a merry laugh at some arch expression of the other; Harrison, with his deep blue eyes shaded by jet-black lashes, his clear, rosy complexion and his frank, good-humored smile, dressed in his neatly fitting clothes, and his neat, shining collar turned down from his well-shaped neck, formed no unpleasant back-ground.


All this time Alfred had not once been home, though his father had been several times to visit him. Sometimes he hoped there was an improvement in the boy; and then, again, the teacher's report was very discouraging. At any rate, it was not thought best to expose him to the temptations of a city, even for ever so short a period.


At the end of two years came a sad change. Mr. Haven suddenly failed in his business, owing to the villainy of one of his partners. This so affected his spirits that he fell an easy victim to a prevailing epidemic, and died, leaving his poor wife in a state bordering on insanity, from the suddenness of the double shock.


Alfred came home to his father's funeral; but finding the restraints of poverty too irksome, ran away and enlisted on board a ship for a long voyage.


It was now that Mrs. Danforth had an opportunity to relieve her grateful heart by kindness and care of her mistress. She tended her through a long and dangerous illness, soothing her agitated nerves by the precious promises of the Bible. Upon her recovery, she it was who arranged the small cottage to which the widow had decided to remove; who prepared the elegant furniture for sale; who bent her own shoulders to bear the burden which would have fallen too heavily upon the new-made widow. Nor was it until every arrangement had been satisfactorily completed that she would leave one who confessed, with tears, that she owed her more than her life; and this was the blessed hope of once more meeting her husband, in that world where there is no sorrow nor parting.


During the two years that she had passed under the roof of Mr. Haven, her own and her son's expenses had been so slight that almost the entire sum she had earned had been placed in safe keeping for future use. She felt that she could well afford three months for the gratuitous care of her friend; but now she must look around for employment, and she hoped to obtain something so profitable as to enable her to keep her son at school until his fifteenth year. He was already such a proficient at accounts, that his late master had advised her to place him in a store.


When it was known that Mrs. Danforth was willing to engage herself once more as a nurse, she had abundant opportunities to do so. She hired a pleasant room in the house of a friend, who consented to board her son for the service he could render out of school hours.


The life of his father had made a deep and lasting impression upon the mind of the boy. He could distinctly trace all the want of success to his dislike of regular employment, and made many resolutions to avoid idleness as a sure precursor of vice. He devoted himself with new vigor to his books, that he might thus repay his mother for her self-sacrificing exertions. He well knew that it would be far more congenial to her feelings to hire a small tenement and live with him in the most economical manner, rather than to be constantly subjected to going among strangers; and that she would have done this had it not been for her desire to have him spend more time in the prosecution of his studies. Mrs. Danforth had in early life received an excellent education, and therefore valued learning as the open door to success.


The family in which Harrison was for a time to reside, consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Cowles, one daughter, and two sons. They were members of the same church as Mrs. Danforth, and their children, though brought up in the city and surrounded by all the temptations to vice which proved so fatal to many of their companions, still retained the purity and freshness commonly considered the characteristics of rural life. It had been the great desire of Mr. and Mrs. Cowles to render their home so attractive that their children would prefer it, after the labors of the day had ended, to a stroll through the brilliantly-lighted streets, or a lounge in some popular saloon.


"Young people must be taken once to the theatre, to bowling alleys, to gambling saloons," say some, "in order that they may see the extravagance, folly, and vice to which such places of amusement lead." But not so thought these simple-minded Christians. They were willing to believe that God could judge better for them than they could do for themselves. They read from the inspired word, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it; pass not by it; turn from it, and pass away;" and from such commands they never departed.


The daughter, Mary Jane, was a bright, active girl, the delight of her father's eyes. Occasionally she formed a slight acquaintance with a young mechanic or clerk, who invited her to accompany him to the theatre or some other place of fashionable resort. When she sought the consent of her parents, they had but one reply: "If you, my dear, can convince us that it does not come under the list of those recreations which are forbidden in the Bible, or if we can be sure that it will be a benefit to you in any way, we will consent; otherwise you must be content to let us judge what is for your good."


Mr. Cowles had for many years been the head porter in one of the most extensive mercantile houses in the city. When he and his wife first left their country home in search of fortune, they were content with two small rooms in the third story of a respectable house. They were very poor; and, as they never went beyond their means, never bought an article for which they could not pay at the time, they were often really straitened. But the habits of regular, industrious effort brought its reward. Mr. Cowles sought employment on the wharves. He was ready to turn his hand to any honest labor. He did not shrink from hard work. He never grumbled that he was obliged to be up early in the morning or to work late at night. When he obtained a job he took pains to do it well, to the satisfaction of his employer; and his honest way of saying, "I hope I've done it to your mind, sir," met with a ready response from those who seldom bestowed praise.


One job well performed brought another; and honest John Cowles had not worked on the wharf three months before he was preferred beyond hundreds of others who had lounged about there years before he was ever heard of.


After a while he was regularly employed to assist in unloading vessels, shovelling coal, or carrying freight. He was very strong; and the constant exercise of his strength rendered him still more so. Then he was strictly honest, in the Bible sense of the word,—in his business transactions preferring his neighbor's interests to his own—so that among those who employed him he received the title of "honest Cowles." This name always brought a flush of pleasure to his countenance;-and he often said, "I would not exchange it for the title of an emperor!"


In the mean time his wife struggled hard at her own work. She might have obtained steady employment at a laundry; but this would take her away from home from morning till night. The wages were better than she could expect elsewhere; but, after anxious consultation with her husband, she concluded it was her duty as well as her privilege to keep the hearth-stone warm against his return from the arduous labors of the day. So she kept their small house neat and tidy, had his meals ready for him at the moment, and always received him with a smile of welcome. Next she was advised to obtain sewing from the slop-shops; but, after one week's trial, her husband would not allow her to continue this employment.


Finally she was fortunate enough to obtain Washing for several families, which she could do at home; and as her husband always found time to bring water for her, and her clothes were hung upon the top of the house, she found this very easy employment.


In the midst of the hardship of an uncommonly cold winter, Mary Jane was born; and honest Cowles worked with renewed zeal. It was with such pride he looked upon the tiny form, or ventured to take it in his strong, rough hands, that his wife always laughed, and said he handled it as he would a delicate piece of china. But however awkward he might be in his embraces, they were the outflowings of as warm and true a heart as ever beat.


After two years they moved into a small house by themselves. "Rather smart for us," said honest Cowles; "but I guess I can meet the rent when it comes due." Here they welcomed and reared their two boys, until Mr. Cowles found himself nearly able to pay for a house of his own. Some worthy gentlemen had invested their capital in putting up a block of neat, comfortable tenements, suitable for mechanics. They were encouraged to take the houses when they could pay a part, and let the remainder lie upon mortgage, only paying the interest of the money invested, which would be far less than the ordinary rent. They would thus be enabled gradually to pay for the whole house. Mr. Cowles went over the buildings, examined them carefully, selected the corner tenement as the one he should want—even made bold to ask his employer to step into it, and give him the benefit of his advice.


"How much can you pay down?" inquired the gentleman.


"A trifle more than half," was the reply.


"You mean, then, for once," said his employer, "to depart from your usual rule, and buy a house before you can pay for it."


Mr. Cowles looked troubled. This had been his only drawback. "I feared," said he, "that the corner house, being considerably the best one of the lot, would be taken up. Besides, there's a little plat of green to be seen from the windows, and my wife would think a deal of that."


"Then take it, by all means," urged the gentleman, turning away to speak with a customer.


But honest Cowles did not take it, though the next morning his employer offered to lend him the money to purchase the remainder. "No," said he, "I don't like to begin to break over a good rule. I'll run the risk of getting as good a one when I can pay for it."






"The Lord . . . . blesseth the habitation of the just."


THOUGH we have made rather a long digression, yet we think, the reader will be interested to know more of the family in which our hero was to reside.


As his children grew up Mr. Cowles endeavored to instill into their minds the principles which had governed his own life.


One evening, Warren, the oldest boy, was trying to write a composition. He had finished his caption, and was leaning his head on his hand, puzzling his brain as to how he should begin. His father came and looked over his shoulder, and read, "Honesty is the best policy."


"Honesty is the only policy, for the matter of that," he exclaimed. "If you had seen as many persons as I have, try to work by some other, and try cheating or lying as the best policy, you'd be convinced they had no policy at all. Men don't want to be fooled more than once. When they see you have overreached them, they are shy of you ever afterwards. Or, if you are skilful at the business, and they don't find you out for a little, why then it's so much the worse for you; for you're just clapped into jail, and there's the end of your story."


"But, after all," continued the old man, "policy is neither here nor there. Policy isn't the rule we're required to go by. We've a higher rule than that. We've the plain commands of God, right up and down. You can't leap over them nor crawl under them. There they are, and there they'll stand, strong as the everlasting hills."


Mr. Cowles, in his earnestness, had arisen, and was walking back and forth across the room.


"I wish you wouldn't say it so fast, father," called the boy; "I can't write half of it."


The mother smiled; but the father turned to his son and asked, "What are you doing, Warren?"


"Writing a composition, sir."


"And what shall you do with it when it is done?"


"Write my name at the bottom, sir, and give it to the master."


"Write mine, you mean, my boy. Don't you see that if you write down what I say, it will be my composition, not yours; and the master wont thank you for the job of correcting mine, I reckon. No, Warren, that's downright cheating, though I don't suppose you thought it."


"Come, boy!" said he, as the child began to cry, "there's no harm done yet. You're welcome to all my ideas, only put 'em into your own words. Isn't that it, wife?"


In this way, and under such discipline, Mary Jane, Warren, and John grew up to be an honor to their parents, and a blessing to all connected with them.


These worthy persons first formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Danforth at the time of her sore affliction. Mr. Cowles was one of the committee of the church to attend to similar cases of distress, and his kind consideration for her at that season had won her entire confidence and gratitude. They were, therefore, the first persons to whom she applied for advice, after leaving the house of Mrs. Haven, and it was with great willingness that they consented to her proposal to take Harrison into their family.


John Cowles was nearly Harrison's age, but not as fax advanced in his studies. This the latter much regretted, as he had just commenced Algebra, and found it taxed his intellectual powers to the utmost. Several times he was on the point of asking to be excused from this lesson, but the thought that his mother would be disappointed checked him. He knew if he were to ask her consent to this course, and tell her, "I can't understand it, mother," she would say, as she had often said before, "I know you don't, my dear. If you did, it would be unnecessary for you to attend school. That is the very object you go to school for, to learn to understand it."


Sometimes, however, Harrison puzzled a long time over the sum, because he did not understand the principle involved. Then Warren would come to his assistance, and explain the rule by which the result could be gained.


One special advantage which the boy derived from being in this family, was the privilege of attending, with his young friends, a course of public lectures on scientific subjects. While Mr. Cowles was exceedingly strict about many things, which he considered of hurtful, or even of doubtful tendency, he spared no expense within his means to afford them gratification in what he thought would be of permanent benefit. He even allowed them many innocent amusements.


Since he had been able, he had, every year, hired a substantial carriage and taken his entire family for a visit to his aged mother in the country. These were occasions of jubilee to the reunited household. Mr. Cowles often said he went back to the city strengthened for any duty after feeling his mother's trembling hand resting on his head, while she pronounced her fervent blessing.


It was Harrison's duty in this well-ordered family to cut kindlings, carry coal, go to market, sweep the steps and side-walk, or perform any of those multitudinous duties always necessary in a family of six. These services had formerly been rendered by John, who now assisted his father at the store.


In order to have time for a morning review of his lesson, our hero arose early, so as to get through as much of his work as possible before breakfast. Then he was by no means unmindful of his personal appearance; and he liked to rub the door-plate, sweep and scrub the steps before he should be likely to be recognized by any of his acquaintance who might chance to pass. Then he could dress for school, and go to market habited like a gentleman.


When Mrs. Danforth first noticed this trait in her son, she was much distressed by it. She knew that he must be aware that he was uncommonly attractive in his appearance, but she did not wish him to attach any importance to the fact. She feared that he might be led on by it, as his father had been, to consider honest labor beneath him. Yes, as she reflected more upon the subject, she could see that of late Harrison had appeared less humble, more proud and self-reliant. She prayed earnestly that God would protect her boy from sin, that he might see the folly of attaching importance to mere outward appearance, and that his heart might be kept pure and humble like that of a child.


Perhaps the peculiar circumstances of her own lot made her over sensitive on this point, certainly it is a duty to be neat and tasteful in dress, if we do not devote too much time and thought to it.


Her Heavenly Father answered her prayer, though in a manner that she dreamed not of.


About a fortnight later she returned home in a close carriage, about a week before the time for which she had engaged was expired. The good physician, whose acquaintance she first made in Ella's sick room, soon followed, and peremptorily ordered her to take her bed saying it was as true of nurses as of doctors that they made the worst patients in the world.


When Harrison returned from school he found his mother in a high fever, and was greatly alarmed to perceive that she did not appear to recognize him. Mrs. Cowles, who had a moment before left the room, found him standing by the bed side, large tears rolling down his cheeks. She endeavored to soothe him; but the poor boy could not shake off the fear that his beloved mother was to be removed from him by death.


Fortunate, indeed, was Mrs. Danforth, to be placed in the midst of such kind friends. Everything was done for her comfort as tenderly and cheerfully as if she had been a mother or a sister. Then, Harrison seemed suddenly gifted with the skill and experience in nursing for which his mother had been so distinguished. He could scarcely be persuaded to go from the room, and never left her to sleep. He lay upon a couch at her side, and at her slightest call was on his feet, wide awake, ready to administer to her comfort.


Ladies whom she had nursed constantly sent baskets of provisions,—dainty little dishes to tempt her appetite,—while others came in person to inquire for her, and to sit for a few hours by her bed side.


The Saturday following her sickness was the first on which Harrison had failed to visit Mrs. Haven and Ella in their suburban home. Occasionally he stayed over night, and walked to church with them in the morning, but generally only made a call of a few hours. On the occasion in question, Ella watched at the window from two until five, and then had a hearty cry when her mother convinced her it was too late for him to come. The next morning, in church, her eyes were constantly wandering to the humble slip in the gallery where Mrs. Danforth hired seats for herself and her son. After the service was through she whispered to her mother that she was sure Harrison was sick, and begged that they might go through the street where he lived and inquire for him.


They did so. And while Ella unwillingly accompanied Mary Jane to church in the afternoon, Mrs. Haven remained to assist Mrs. Cowles in the care of her very sick friend.


At the end of three weeks Mrs. Danforth sent her son to several ladies to inform them that she regretted being unable to meet her engagements with them. At the same time she confessed to her kind physician her doubts whether she should ever again be well enough to bear so much fatigue and loss of sleep as were necessary in the faithful discharge of the duties of a monthly nurse. She acknowledged that often, after being up through the night, she experienced such a dizziness and languor that it was with difficulty she could rouse herself; that the constant care which she felt for her patients, and her sympathy with their sufferings, deprived her of her appetite, so that at times she really loathed her food.


One mild day near the close of winter, more than a month from the commencement of her illness, Dr.— called for her in his carriage; and, having surrounded her with shawls and robes, drove away to the cottage of Mrs. Haven, where his patient had promised to pass a few days. This was the closing week of Harrison's term, and his teacher had expressed a strong desire for him to be present. So he was not to accompany his mother, though he much wished to do so; for he knew that in this time she meant to decide somewhat upon her future course.


For the last fortnight he had taken his books to his mother's room and improved every spare moment in the review of studies upon which he knew his class to be engaged, so that he was not so much behind them as he had feared; and, as during the last week he gave his undivided attention to his lessons, he was able to retain the high stand he had heretofore maintained in his class.


As he stood forth to receive the medal awarded him, he little thought that his schooldays were ended, that he should be numbered among that happy band no more.


When he joined his mother on Wednesday evening, he found that her ride, though so short, had proved too much for her strength, and that she had not yet recovered from it. The evening was passed in discussing plans for the future, and at length it was decided that Mrs. Danforth should retain her room at Mr. Cowles's, together with a small one in the rear, which they had kindly agreed to give her, and that Harrison should endeavor to find a place in a store. Mrs. Haven really urged the widow to remain with her until her health rendered her able to work at her old employment, and Ella added her earnest entreaties; but she was firm. If it was absolutely necessary, she said, she would not resist their kindness; but she still had a small sum left untouched; and while it was in her power she preferred to be independent.


"I am old enough now," said Harrison, in a resolute tone, "to support you, mother. I wish you would give up the thought of making vests, except for me; I shall begin to wear them soon."


"Oh don't!" cried Ella, gazing at him with admiring eyes; "I'm afraid you'll look just like a man!"


They all laughed, and Harrison assured her he was almost a man.


"I'm so sorry!" exclaimed the little girl, mournfully.


"Why?" inquired her mother.


"Because—because—" she hesitated, "because he has always been a boy ever since I've known him; and I'm afraid when he's a man he won't come running in at the gate, and laugh, and say, 'How do you do, Ella?' and dig round my flowers, and say, 'Have you nothing for me to do, Mrs. Haven?' I'm afraid he'll just come in and hold out his finger so, for me to shake, and then sit down and read the newspapers all the time he is here, as cousin Grason does."


"I promise you, I won't do that," answered Harrison proudly. "I shall do exactly the same as I do now, except perhaps that I shall walk instead of run. You know now I have so little time I want to improve it to the utmost; so I don't loiter much on the way when I'm coming out here."


Still Ella shook back her curls, and could not be persuaded to say that she was not sorry.


"But," said her mother, "when Harrison is a man you will be a young lady."


"And perhaps," suggested Mrs. Danforth, "you will not care to see him then as you do now. He is just about to enter upon his great struggle with life. He will have to work hard. Perhaps if you should meet him some day with a carter's frock on, you would turn your head in the other direction, and not like to have it known that you were acquainted with him."


Harrison's face was crimson; but the little girl only laughed. "You know very well I shouldn't do that!"


"How do I know?" he asked, seriously.


"Because you looked real funny when you were sitting in the back-porch with your apron tied close around your neck, and that little straw hat on; but I liked you just as well as I do now."


"You have argued the case fairly and won!" exclaimed her mother laughing. "I had no idea she remembered that," she added, turning to Mrs. Danforth. "It was more than three years ago. Why, she was not five years old."


The little girl remained silent and thoughtful for a few minutes, and then asked, "When I'm grown to be a woman, Harrison, if I'm poor,—I mean very, very poor,—should you be ashamed to speak to me?" She looked earnestly in his face, anxiously awaiting his reply.


"Why, Ella! you ought to know that I should like you all the same, or rather better; though I should be sorry to have you very, very poor, as you call it."


"What kind of business should you prefer?" inquired Mrs. Haven; "I suppose you have some fancy about it."


"I had rather be a merchant," responded the boy, "if I could be a good one, as your husband was."


"If he were living," exclaimed the lady, with deep feeling, "he would be able to advise you, and probably could readily procure you a place. I will do all in my power to assist you; but you know there are difficulties attending good situations. For instance, in such a house as my husband's, many a gentleman would be willing to pay a handsome sum annually for the sake of having his sons learn the business thoroughly."


"I know it!" cried Harrison. "Mr. Cowles says if Mr. Lothrop, where he has worked so long, would take Warren into his store he would be glad to have him work three years without pay. It would be the making of him."


"But you have to support your mother," suggested Mrs. Haven, playfully.


"Yes, ma'am; and for that reason I shall not apply for such a place. I shall try to get in where they will give me a regular salary from the very beginning. I am willing to work early and late; and it don't cost us much for our food, does it, mother?"


Mrs. Danforth sighed, though presently she spoke, in a cheerful tone,— "If I have my health, my son, I have no doubt we shall be very comfortable."






"In all thy ways acknowledge Him; and He shall direct thy paths."


MRS. HAVEN'S entreaties prevailed so far that her humble friend remained at the cottage a week longer, while Harrison ran all over the city, answering advertisements and looking about for a place. Every morning he arose sanguine of success; and every evening he reached the cottage, to report his entire failure.


Poor fellow! his faith almost failed. At the week's end he was quite discouraged, because there seemed nothing further for him to do.


"Never despair!" said his mother. "If you cannot do one thing you can do another."


"I suppose there are places enough," responded the boy; "but I wouldn't go to them."


"Why not?" inquired his mother.


"I wouldn't go into a bar-room, nor into a restaurant for any salary," replied the boy.


"I hope not," said his mother, anxiously; "but cheer up; we may hear of something to-morrow."


"So I've said to myself every day for a week!" responded the poor boy.


"Never mind!" cried Ella, soothingly, "mamma says I shall be rich some time; and I'll get a nice house, and we'll all live together in it; and you shant have such a weary time, running round after places, and keeping me watching at the windows to tell your mother whether you have found one or not."


"I suppose you don't know Ella can tell as soon as she sees you whether you have been successful," suggested Mrs. Haven, playfully.


"Didn't I tell right every time?" urged the child.


"But how?" inquired the youth.


"Why, you walked along, and when you came near the gate you stopped, as if you did not like to come in. Then, when I ran to the door, you said, 'How do you do, Ella?' and did not look at me, but walked along and hung up your cap, and did not smile. I knew that if you had found a place, you would come jumping along, and, as likely as not, spring right over the gate; then you would catch hold of my hand, and say, 'O, Ella! I've some good news for you; where's mother? and you'd run and put your arms round her neck, and kiss her ever so many times."


In spite of his despondence, Harrison had a hearty laugh, in which Mrs. Haven and his mother joined.


"She watches you closely, you see," said the lady.


"If I were to be here one night more, I'd act so you couldn't tell," said the boy.


"Oh, do stay! please do," urged the child; "will you, Mrs. Danforth, dear nurse, just to please me?"


"And to please me," rejoined the lady. The good nurse consented; indeed, how could she resist such fond entreaties.


So Harrison went forth the next morning for another day's toil. Would it be fruitless toil?


This was the important question which agitated poor Ella's breast; and by four o'clock, she stationed herself at the front window, from which she could see some distance up the street. Her mother advised her to take a book, or some work, or the time would seem very long. She took a story-book in hand; but her eyes were continually wandering from her page to the window.


Half-past five arrived; the latest hour at which he had ever been away. Ella was sure now that he had not been successful. "If he had found a place," she said, "he would have hurried home to tell us so." At length she saw him walking toward the house. He seemed inclined to hurry; but Ella thought that was because he feared he should detain them from tea. He glanced up at the window, held down his head as he passed through the gate, turned deliberately about and latched it, then advanced toward the house. Ella met him at the door, and looked earnestly in his face. There was a curious expression which puzzled her. He held out his hand without raising his eyes. She could restrain herself no longer. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Harrison!" and she walked slowly before him into the room where her mother and his were awaiting them.


"He hasn't found a place, mamma," she began, in a mournful tone.


"Does he say so?" inquired Mrs. Danforth, gazing earnestly at him.


"No, indeed," exclaimed the boy, throwing off his disguise: "You're mistaken for once, Miss Ella. I've found a place, a first-rate one, I think. Any how, it's in a large grain store on. Central wharf, with vessels coming up to it and unloading all the time. I'm to have thirteen dollars the first month; and after that, if I do well, they are going to increase my wages. I mean to do well; and perhaps some time, I shall get into the firm."


The boy's handsome face flushed with pride as he already, in imagination, saw himself seated at one of the high desks, calling clerks, giving orders, filling out cheeks, as he had seen his new employers do on that very day.


"What do you say, Ella?" he asked, as she stood silently by his side.


"I'm very glad." The answer was in rather a doubtful tone.


"Only you didn't think I could deceive you so. I would not have done it except in joke; and you know I gave you fair warning last night."


Ella smiled faintly, but made no reply.


"Come to the window," exclaimed the boy. "Now play I'm just coming home."


He seized his hat and ran down the walk. Presently she saw him leaping along as if he were almost beside himself with joy. He did not forget to jump over the gate, and the little girl laughed most heartily as she ran to open the door.


"O, Ella! my dear Ella!" he cried out. "Do come with me to mother, I've something splendid to tell; oh such good news! oh dear, dear!" and he ran along through the hall into the dining-room.


"Is that right?" he inquired, as soon as his laughing would allow him to speak.


"Yes, exactly right," was the delighted reply.


"Well, I suppose that is just the way I should have done, if you had not put me up to playing a joke upon you."


"Come! come!" said Mrs. Haven, "Mrs. Danforth and I have waited quite long enough for our tea."


"O Harrison!—what a very funny boy you are!" exclaimed Ella as she seated herself opposite him at the table.


In the evening Mrs. Danforth requested her son to give an account of his day's adventures.


"I went first," he began "to our room at Mrs. Cowles's. He had just come home to prepare to go to some committee meeting. I told him I was almost discouraged trying to get a place. He called me into his dressing room and made me give him an account of what I had done while he was shaving. Then he said, 'I must go right away now, to be in time for my business, but come in at noon, and if you have not found any place before that time, perhaps I can put you in a way to succeed. Don't be too sanguine though,' he said, as I suppose he saw how relieved I was. 'Do the very best you can for yourself, for maybe my plan will end in smoke.'"


"So after running in for a moment to tell Mrs. Cowles and Mary Jane we were coming back to-morrow, I again started forth to seek my fortune. Before I had gone far, I met Mr. Clarkson. He was very glad to see me, and almost the first question he asked, was, 'And how is our little friend Ella Haven? I suppose you see her occasionally.' 'I saw her this morning,' I answered. 'She speaks of you very often.'"


"I'm glad you told him that," cried Ella, clapping her hands.


Harrison smiled and went on. "I told him I was trying to look up a place in a store, and had been trying for more than a week."


"'Let me think,' he said, 'let me think if I can't do something for you'—scowling in his old way, you know, Ella."


"Oh, yes!"


"'Rather an unlucky time to be out of a place, my boy. The fact is, there's a terrible crisis ahead. Many of our wisest politicians predict a great crash in the commercial world. Our merchants have traded largely, more than their capital would warrant; there is too much show and too little reality; and things will have to come down to a more solid basis. Are you set upon the business of trade? Why not be a mechanic or an engineer, or something of that sort? Well,' said he, as I shook my head, 'perhaps you'll talk differently in the course of a year. I'll look around though, and see what I can do for you. If Mr. Haven were alive, he would get you a situation, perhaps giving you a chance in his own store.'"


One part of the conversation with Mr. Clarkson the boy omitted, as it related to Alfred the wayward son.


"After I left him," he continued, "I determined to begin at one end of ——— Street, and go into every store in it. Sometimes my heart beat so I thought I never could get across the long buildings into the office in the rear where the owner generally sits. Sometimes they would say, 'More boys now than we can employ.' Others would merely stop writing a moment, as I asked, Do you need a boy in your store, sir? and shake their heads and others still, would ask, 'Who are you references?' I thought they might have remembered a little how they felt when they were boys.


"At last, just before dinner, I found one gentleman who seemed very kind. He asked my name and age, whether I had been brought up in the city. He seemed quite pleased when I told him I had been in Alfred T. Haven's family for two years. 'I knew him well,' he said, 'a noble man.' Then he asked if I had studied book-keeping, and how far I had advanced in arithmetic. I pulled out my medal which was suspended around my neck, and told him it was my prize for success in mathematics. He went and talked for a few moments with another man, and then came back again. 'I'm really sorry, my boy,' he said, 'but my partner has engaged a lad this very day.' I could have cried I was so disappointed, and liked the looks of the gentleman so much. I was just going out when he said, 'It may be we shall have another vacancy. If we do, where shall I address you?'


"'At Mr. John Cowles's, sir; mother and I live in his house.' He smiled again. 'But it is necessary for me,' I said, 'to get a place at once. I must support my mother, sir.' He seemed to hate to let me go, but gave me his hand and said, 'God bless you, my boy. I wish I had seen you a few hours earlier, I should like to help a boy who supports his mother.'"


"I went out of his counting-room quickly for fear he would see the tears in my eyes, and walked straight to Mr. Cowles. I couldn't bear the thought of going into another store."


"What was the name of the gentleman?" asked Mrs. Haven, who had been listening with great interest.


"The firm was Lombard & Lamb, on ——— Street. I don't know which of the partners it was."


"Did he wear glasses?" inquired the lady. "No, ma'ma; the other one did. He was a little bald, and his whiskers were quite gray. The other one was younger."


"That was Mr. Lombard then. I wish he had taken you. He is very rich, and was a principal owner in the block in which Mr. Cowles lives. I think Mr. Cowles purchased of him."


"They had company to dinner; and I didn't say anything about him there," said Harrison, "I was so anxious to hear his plan, as he called it. He took his hat after dinner, and said, 'I'll go with you as far as M— Street.' He left me standing on the sidewalk ever so long, I thought it was an hour, and then led the way down to Central wharf. 'Is Mr. Grant in?' he asked."


"'Not back from dinner,' answered one of the clerks in a grum voice."


"'How soon will he return?' asked Mr. Cowles."


"'In fifteen minutes.' 'We'll wait then,' he said, turning to me."


"Pretty soon Mr. Grant came; and Mr. Cowles talked with him some time, and kept pointing to me. I could only hear one sentence, and that was from our good friend, mother: He loves work, sir, and has been brought up to it.'"


"The gentleman then came up to me and said, 'If you'll wait awhile I'll talk with you.' So I walked around the store, up and down stairs, and stood at the great windows where they take in goods from the vessels, until he sent a clerk for me; and you know the rest."


That night, after Harrison was in bed, his mother came in to bid him good-night. "I hope, my son," she said, "that you have not retired to rest without thanking your Father in heaven for his blessing upon your endeavors to-day."


The lad colored under his mother's anxious gaze. "I said my prayers, of course, mother," was his hesitating reply. "Perhaps. I didn't remember to thank Him as I ought."


"God loves a greatful heart," was her only remark.






"It is joy to the just to do judgment; but destruction shall be to the worker of iniquity."


THE events related in the last chapter occurred on Thursday. Harrison was to take his place in Mr. Grant's store on Monday. The next day, then, his mother must be carried home, and all the arrangements made for her comfort during his absence. As the youngest boy, he must be the first at the store in the morning to sweep and dust; then return for his breakfast, and be back again to his work. In the morning, therefore, he could do nothing to lighten her cares. But the store closed early, and what delightful evenings they would have together!


Those were the boy's reflections as he lay awake long after the other inmates of the cottage had sunk into quiet slumber. "Mother says I ought to be thankful and I am; but not in the way she means, I suppose. I wish I were as good as she is. Nothing ever happens to her but she sees the hand of God in it, just as plain as I can see that bureau in the moonlight. If it's any thing she has asked for, He has answered her prayer, she says. If it's any affliction, He is administering the rod in love, for her good. Then how much comfort she does take in praying! Now last night she seemed to forget everything but that she was talking with God. I confess I was so tired I lost a part of it, my thoughts wandered so, but when she arose, how her face did shine! She seemed so full of trust, when she kissed me good-night and whispered, 'All will come out right, my son.'"


Monday morning arrived, and Harrison went to his new employment full of hope, sanguine of success, because he had made up his mind to do his very best. One of the clerks explained the duties that would be required of him. First, he would be expected to take the great key at a very early hour from the house of Mr. Grant, and carry it to the porter at the store. Then, when within the store, he was to sweep and dust, return home for his breakfast, and be back in time to take the letters from the morning mail, after which he would be called upon to go errands here and there, and if found trustworthy, to deliver and collect bills.


When he returned home at night, Mr. Cowles was almost as eager as his mother to hear his report of the day.


"I am very well satisfied with my place," said the boy, "and am exceedingly obliged to you, sir, for helping me to get it. We are doing an immense business. I can't begin to tell you the amount of grain we have received into the store to-day. The hook and chain are fastened around the draw, and up go several bushels, straight to the third or fourth story window, where a man, stands ready to pull them in, and others to mark them and pile them away."


"Then perhaps in an hour comes a tremendous great order to be filled, and down come bags again through the trap-door into the lower room, from which the men take them into the trucks backed up to the sidewalk."


At the end of two months Mrs. Danforth began to notice that her son, instead of being cheerful and happy, came home with languid steps, complained of being weary, and was not at all inclined to talk of his business. The night he brought home his first month's wages, he laid the money down with a petulant air, very unlike himself, and when his mother glanced inquiringly in his face, exclaimed to her great astonishment, "I wish that were the last cent I ever were to receive from the firm of Grant & Company."


"Why, Harrison! what has happened?" she inquired in surprise.


"Because I believe they'll fail," said the boy, recovering himself. "I don't think they do business on the right principle."


The good woman begged him to explain. This he was unwilling to do; and then she told him if he did his own duty faithfully, he was not responsible for the actions of his employers.


Two, three months passed; and Harrison grew more and more silent—almost moody. Not even good neighbor Cowles could induce him to say a word about his business. He worked early and late, often not coming home for his supper until eight or nine o'clock, so that his mother had but little opportunity to question him. On the Sabbath, however, she noticed a marked change in his conduct. He often sat with his eyes fixed vacantly on some object; and when suddenly addressed, would start as if awaking out of his sleep. Once when she pressed him as to the subject of his thoughts he answered, vaguely, "I'm trying to make out the character of the head clerk." He had long ago given up identifying himself with the business, and saying "our firm," "our business," "our clerks." On another occasion she overheard him say to himself, "I'll keep my eyes opened, and make it out yet."


All this time he had visited Mrs. Haven's cottage but once. Ella had been in several times to inquire for him, and felt quite indignant at his having forsaken them, until Mrs. Danforth explained to her, with a sigh, that his business allowed him no time for recreation, scarcely for necessary rest. And when Ella asked, "Does he like being a merchant? does he look just as he did? does he whistle now?" the good woman was obliged to confess that he seemed rather overworked, and consequently not so merry as formerly. Ah! she little knew the struggle that was going on in the mind of her boy; that when at a late hour he retired to bed he could not sleep, that a heavy weight of care lay upon his heart! But I will not anticipate.


It was now July. Many of the more wealthy citizens were leaving for the sea-side, or for their country-seats; but though the heat was extremely oppressive, Harrison's energies did not flag. On the contrary he had seemed for a short time more active and busy than ever. For two days he had carried his breakfast and dinner with him, so that he was absent from home from half-past five in the morning till past eight at night. When his mother remonstrated, he assured her that he had extra labors to perform in the absence of one of the accountants. Mr. Grant finding he could do the work, had imposed it upon him in addition to his own.


One morning, however, he returned to breakfast, and, having asked to see Mr. Cowles, walked up to him with the inquiry, "What is the name of the gentleman who is in company with Mr. Grant?"


"I don't know," replied the other, gazing with considerable surprise upon the flushed, earnest countenance of the youth.


"Can you help me find out, sir."


"I suppose so, if it is any object for you to know."


"It is of the utmost consequence, sir. When will you do it?"




"Thank you, sir. I'll call at dinner time," and the excited boy went from the house forgetting that he had not eaten his breakfast.


He returned, however, at dinner-time, and having dispatched his meal in haste went to Mr. Cowles sitting-room and knocked at the door. The family were eating in the basement; but our good friend, hearing Harrison's voice, kept the table; and, entering the room, gave him the information he sought. "I asked my employer," he began, "who said he supposed it was Kilby."


"That's just what I thought," exclaimed the boy, with a great sigh of relief.


Mr. Cowles stared. "Mr. Loving," he added, "was curious to find out my object in inquiring; but I told him I only sought information for a friend."


"'Hold,' said he, 'I'll inquire of Clement, next door. He's booked up in all those matters.' In about five minutes he returned and said it was Kilby, a rich man from the West somewhere."


"Yes, it's L. F. Kilby," repeated the boy, turning to go. "Well, I've found out so much."


"What's in the wind, my lad?" asked the good man.


"You'll know soon," was the reply.


All that afternoon Harrison worked as if for his life. Since the sickness of the accountant, his competency to fill the vacancy had been discovered, and his employer, who had noticed his redoubled exertion, supposed that he was trying to obtain the place, for the sake of the higher wages. He smiled as he advanced, and looking over the shoulder of the lad, saw him neatly and accurately copy the accounts from the day-book into the journal, little imagining that, as soon as his back was turned, another set of accounts, totally unlike these, were drawn from beneath the book and copied with a rapid hand.


At length the boy's arduous, self-imposed task was completed. He had worked at it early and late, mostly when the store was empty, while Mr. Grant and the greater part of the men had gone to their meals, and now he considered that enough had been accomplished to serve his purpose. At noon, before he left the store, he sought the head clerk, from whom he generally received orders, and said, "I should like to be absent this afternoon, sir."


"Well, you do look rather used up," replied the man, glancing at his pallid countenance. "Hope you ain't going to be sick; can't spare you."


"I've had to work very hard for a mouth, doing double duty," replied Harrison, fixing his clear, keen eye upon the other. "Can I have leave of absence?"


"Oh yes! I think upon the whole you need a little rest," was the reply, and the boy waited for nothing further.


Mrs. Danforth noticed that he ate very sparingly, and soon retired to his room, where he dressed himself in his Sunday suit.


"Where are you going, my dear?" she asked, in surprise.


"To Mr. Clarkson's first," was his reply. "I have leave of absence for the afternoon."


"It is very warm," she urged. "Why can't you wait awhile?"


He hesitated a moment, as if about to say something, and then went out as if he had not heard her remark. But presently he came back, and said, "Mother, I have something very painful to do this afternoon, and I want you to pray for me, that I may be directed to do what is right. I can't tell you now, but I shall before long, and then I hope I shall be happy again."


"O, my son! what can it be! I hope you have not been left to do wrong. O, Harrison! tell me, whatever it is! I had rather know it at once. I can't endure the suspense."


"I will tell you to-night, mother. Please pray for me till then." And he went out leaving her crushed almost to the dust with sorrow, fearing that her darling boy, her only earthly hope and dependence, had been left to commit some great crime. Yes, she saw it all; she realized now that his plea of urgent business at the store was but an excuse to be away from home, where the stings of conscience were doubly hard to endure. She retired to her own closet, and, falling on her knees, cried out in agony, "O, my God! forgive him, whatever he has done; lead him to repent humbly, and to begin this very day a new life!"


Then she tried to recall his exact words, "Pray, for me that I may be directed to do what is right." He was about then to confess his guilt, and that was why he hoped for happiness afterwards. But why go to Mr. Clarkson. Alas! all was dark and drear, and shrouded in mystery. Sometimes she thought she would follow her son to Mr. Clarkson's, and force from him the dreadful truth. She passed the time in alternate prayers and groans and tears.


If Harrison had not been so much absorbed, he would have relieved his mother so far as his own conduct was concerned, if he thought the time had not arrived to tell her the whole truth. But, conscious of his own innocence, he did not realize her anxiety for him.


He went first to Eagle Hotel, and requested to see Mr. Clarkson. The gentleman learning that he had something for his private ear, led him along the hall to a small parlor in a retired part of the building.


"Here is my sanctum," he said, playfully, "and I am quite curious to know why you have brought me into it."


"Mr. Clarkson," said the boy, pale with contending emotions, "You have always been kind to me. I need advice, and I know no one so able to give it as you. May I tell you my story?"


"Certainly," responded the gentleman, growing every moment more and more surprised.


"Well, sir," exclaimed the boy, nervously handling a small roll he held in his hand. "I will make it as short as I can."






"Be sure your sins will find you out."


"FOR six months," began Harrison, "I have been in the store of Grant & Co., on Central Wharf."


Mr. Clarkson started, stood for a moment irresolute, and then sat down again.


"I was engaged to do the work of a boy, and was to have thirteen dollars a month, with a promise of increase of wages if I did well. You know I am not afraid of work; and I tried to do my very best. It was just such a store as I had longed to be in, and at first I was delighted with my situation."


Harrison sighed heavily and then went on. "As errand-boy I was around in all parts of the store, and one day I overheard Mr. Grant swearing terribly at the head clerk. They were alone in the office. I suppose he did not realize that any one could hear him. I was dreadfully frightened, and stood still. The clerk, whose name is Ransom, answered him back in the same angry tone, 'I'll expose you then.'"


"'And criminate yourself,' said Mr. Grant."


"'Kilby will forgive that, for exposing your villainy,' retorted the clerk."


"I crawled softly away and went up stairs. What could they have meant? At first, I could only imagine that the life of some one was in danger; but, after lying awake almost all night over it, I determined to be on my guard and watch the actions of my employer."


"A part of my duty was to clear the office of rubbish, which had accumulated through the day. Newspapers and old letters were generally crumpled and thrown under the table, to show they were of no further use. These I gathered in a basket and carried away to the place assigned them. One day I wanted a piece of paper, and, having noticed that often there was a half-sheet thrown under the table, I went and selected one which had only a few words written on it. It was the beginning of a letter addressed to L. F. Kilby, Esq. Then, in the first line, a word was misspelled, and the whole was thrown aside. The next piece I took was this letter, which had been copied but not filed. Hardly knowing what I was doing, I began to read, but was just going to throw it aside when my curiosity was roused by these words: 'Trade still dreadfully dull. Haven't sold a hundred bushels for a week. Mr. Ransom has concluded to take the front store, as I wrote in my last, for storage. He has some scheme, a wild one I fear. I waited for your answer till the last moment, hoping you would veto the bargain; but, as' —This too," added Harrison, "for some reason was left incomplete. I put it in my pocket."


"During the week of which he spoke we had been sending off immense quantities of wheat, corn, and other grains. I began to understand the game. All this time I was very much excited, and lost my appetite. I didn't know what it was my duty to do. I suppose I felt worse in consequence of knowing that Mr. Haven's partner had ruined him, and caused his death. I used to see Mr. Grant open his office door and beckon Mr. Ransom in. Sometimes I used to loiter up near the partition, so as to hear what they were saying.


"One day I heard Mr. Grant say, 'I'm afraid he's got wind of it. He'll pounce right upon us some day.'"


"'We must prepare for him,' said the clerk, in an indifferent tone."


"'How is it possible to do it?' asked the other."


"'Why, by a false set of books,' suggested Mr. Ransom."


"I had access to all the books, as well as to the safe, for the key I always left with the store-key at Mr. Grant's house. After this I noticed that Mr. Ransom was very much engaged in writing and the accountant was required to copy from this day-book into another which he calls the journal."


"One day he did not make his appearance; and the clerk, after sending to his boardinghouse, and finding that he was ill, asked me if I could post the accounts for the day. I answered that I could, if he would explain to me his method. This he did in a few minutes; and, as the book-keeper has not returned, I have done his work ever since, in addition to my own."


"Perhaps you do not comprehend that the books I was required to keep were the false ones I had heard spoken of."


Mr. Clarkson arose suddenly, and going to the door, said, "Excuse me one moment," and left the room.


"I'm afraid I'm keeping you too long, sir," said Harrison, anxiously, as the gentleman returned; "but I am almost through now."


"Oh no!" responded the gentleman, "I'm entirely at your service. I'm quite curious to know what the gentlemen intend to gain by these books while they still retain the genuine ones."


"That is just it, sir. One day, Mr. Grant and the clerk were in the office, supposing all the men had gone to dinner, and got to disputing very angrily on that subject. Mr. Grant wanted to destroy them, but the other wouldn't consent to it. They called each other all kinds of hard names; but at length agreed that the books should be boxed up and sent to a place of security."


"I suppose, then," suggested Mr. Clarkson, "that Mr. Ransom wished to hold these as a proof of the villainy of the other, in case he turned against him."


"Yes, sir; and also to prove his own part of the profits, in case they are not found out."


"Oh yes! Well, go on."


"I have nothing more to tell, sir; only that I have seized every opportunity to copy a few pages from the real books,—enough to compare with the books which will be presented Mr. Kilby, if he should inquire for them."


"Are you willing to take your oath that these are correct?" asked Mr. Clarkson, advancing and taking the sheets from the boy's hand.


"I am willing, sir," answered the boy, seriously, "to take my oath that they are correct in dates and figures, and in every particular and respect, as far as I was capable of making them so."


"Well, then, come with me to a magistrate."


"What will it be necessary for me to do, sir?"


"Simply to state in brief what you have said to me, and take your oath upon it."


"If you think best, I will go; my only object has been that justice should be done to Mr. Kilby."


"I wish poor Haven had had such a clerk," sighed the gentleman. "Remain here a moment, and I will accompany you."


Harrison, when left alone, began to feel a reaction from the excitement. He leaned his head on the table; and, when Mr. Clarkson returned, after an absence of about fifteen minutes, he found him faint and languid. A good cup of coffee, however, soon revived him, and they set out for the office of the attorney.


When they arrived, two gentlemen were seated there; and Mr. Clarkson, having shaken hands with them, stated his business, and requested Harrison to repeat the substance of what he had said to him.


The lad began, and the cross-questioning of the lawyers, as he thought them, brought out the rest.


When he produced his roll containing the sheets copied from the books, one of the gentlemen caught his hand, and exclaimed, "Noble boy! you have helped me to unmask the villains, and you shall be well rewarded."


Harrison stared at him in astonishment.


"This is Mr. Kilby," said Mr. Clarkson; "so you can imagine that he has listened to your story with some interest."


The secret partner then inquired if Harrison would return to the store that afternoon.


"No, sir," replied the boy, drawing himself up to his full height; "I shall never go there again. I should have left at the end of a month, but for the hope of being able to prove something against them, as I was sure they were meditating some crime."


"Which you have well done," said the lawyer; "and I advise you not to leave your work incomplete."


"Go, as usual, to your business in the morning," added Mr. Kilby; "and when the safe is open, keep the key in your own possession. It may be that the old books have not yet been removed; or, if they have been, try to ascertain to what place. They will be so taken by surprise to see me, they may betray themselves. If so, it will be unnecessary to have you appear connected with the affair."


Poor Harrison was really very unwilling to show himself at the store, after what he had done. It seemed to him like deception. Mr. Ransom, and indeed, Mr. Grant, had always been kind to him. On his own account he bore them no ill-will and nothing but his desire to save one whom they were trying to ruin, would have induced him to conduct as he had done. Then the reaction, from his excitement and hard labor at the store, was coming on. He felt as if he would like to lie down and sleep for a week.


The gentlemen, however, overruled all his objections; and Mr. Kilby promised him rest after to-morrow. The arrangements for the morning were then agreed upon, and Harrison left them to hasten home.


Notwithstanding his head was aching severely, his heart was so much lightened of its heavy load that he sprung up the stairs, and entered the room with a smile of pleased anticipation. He knew his mother would be gratified at the course he had pursued.


She was sitting in a low chair at the table, upon which lay the open Bible. Little imagining that she was strengthening her heart to bear some great sorrow, he advanced and put his arms around her neck as in days long gone by. "O, mother!" he exclaimed, kissing her cheek, "I feel like myself once more. Such a burden as I have carried for six long, weary months. I would not surely bear it again for—for anything—short of duty, of course, I mean."


Mrs. Danforth burst into tears. "O, my son!" she sobbed out, "tell me that you have never departed from the instructions of this holy book; I care for nothing else."


"I cannot say that," he replied, in a subdued tone; "for you have taught me that we do depart from God's commands every hour; but I can relieve you at once with regard to the present case. It does not at all concern myself, except as I have been the means of exposing the villainy of two rogues."


"You, Harrison! You are young for such business."


"Yes, mother, and therefore unsuspected; but please give me some supper, and I will tell you the whole story. Here, let me wipe your eyes, and see you smile once more. I am sorry I did not tell you all from the beginning. Mr. Cowles must hear it too. I wonder whether he suspected what I was about?"


It had been agreed by Mr. Kilby and the lawyer that Harrison's first business at the store should be to ascertain whether the old books had been removed. Upon opening the safe, he found that they were taken out, and the new ones arranged neatly in their places. He was much disturbed at this, and walked to the front of the store, reflecting what he should do. Among a pile of bags of grain his eyes rested for a moment upon a square box, nailed up and directed to William Ransom, Calender street. His heart beat wildly as his eye measured the size to compare it with the books. Ho was almost sure it contained them.


The truckman would be here soon with his team. How should he contrive to detain it? Seizing a favorable moment, when the porter was employed at another part of the store, he attempted to lift the box, but found it required the exertion of all his strength to convey it ever so short a distance. He relinquished at once the idea of carrying it up stairs; but merely opened a door near by, leading into a closet used for rubbish, pushed it in and threw a basketful of papers over it.


It was unnecessary now to retain in his possession the key of the safe; and therefore he proceeded in his usual business, after writing on a scrap of paper, "All safe; search closet,—right hand of office,—for square box;" or some word to signify his success, he had been directed to give Mr. Kilby or the police who would accompany him, on their entrance to the store. All his anxiety now was lest some inquiry should be made for the books by Mr. Ransom before Mr. Kilby should appear; but he comforted himself that even in that case he could direct them to Mr. Ransom's room in Calender street.


Presently the truckman came in to take the grain which had been left on the floor over night. He looked around a moment for the box, and then said to Harrison, who was the only one in sight, "Mr. Ransom told me to carry a box to Calender street. He said he'd leave it here, marked and directed; won't you tell him I didn't find it, and I'll take it next time."


"If he wants to send it then, I suppose he'll have it ready," replied the youth, gravely.


Scarcely ten minutes after the load of grain had left the store, Mr. Ransom made his appearance, and Harrison noticed his quick glance in the direction from which the box had been taken. He desired now to ward off any attention to himself; for he trembled with apprehension of some violence on the part of the guilty men. He bent over his writing, that his palid face might not attract notice, though his brain absolutely refused to do its usual work of posting accounts. Every moment he grew more excited. He felt oppressed for breath, and walked to the door for air.


Fortunately for him, Mr. Grant and his clerk were shut close in their office, concerting measures to insure themselves against exposure, if, as they feared, the secret partner should present himself or send an agent to investigate the state of the firm. How little they thought that a net had been woven around them which, in a few moments, would enclose them in its folds.


Just as Harrison reached the door, he saw Mr. Kilby and two policemen, standing in close counsel just at the corner of the street.


Advancing quickly toward them, he put the paper into their hands, turned back, and was, apparently, writing at his desk, when they entered.


Mr. Kilby presently appeared at the door, alone, and advancing toward the office, inquired, in a loud, cheerful voice, of the young clerk, "Good morning! is Mr. Grant in?"


"He is, sir!" replied Harrison, in an almost inarticulate voice, and then proceeded to call the gentleman from his office. But that familiar voice had penetrated the closed door; and, hastily casting a glance around to the safe to see that all was in order, Mr. Grant, with a certain wildness of the eye, but a braggadocio air, walked forward to meet his partner.




I do not intend to describe the scene which followed. The officers entered, and served a writ upon Mr. Grant and his clerk; and, as it was a criminal prosecution, for fraud, on behalf of the government, no bail was allowed, and the villains were carried to prison to await their trial. Upon examination, all the bags of grain in the fourth story were marked with the letter R, so that in case an agent should appear, it would seem that this room had been hired for storage by Mr. Ransom; otherwise it would have been difficult to account for such a large stock in trade; while the false books were intended to show the unparelled dullness of the times. The real books were readily found, and showed that an immense and profitable business had been carried on. Before night the clerks were paid and dismissed, and the business of the great house of Grant & Co. was brought to a summary close.






"The hand of the diligent maketh rich."


IN the course of the morning following the events narrated in the last chapter, Mr. Clarkson accompanied Mr. Kilby to the residence of Mrs. Danforth. But Harrison had already gone to improve his first holiday by a visit to Mrs. Haven's cottage. The gentleman, after a moment's consultation, determined to follow him there, and invited Mrs. Danforth to be of the party.


The young clerk, who was engaged at the moment in a game of checkers with Ella, seemed at first somewhat embarrassed at the thought that they had taken so much pains to see him, but the frank cordiality of the gentleman soon put the whole party at their ease. Mr. Kilby called his young friend one side, and endeavored to draw from him his plan for the future. But Harrison had formed none, and confessed at length that he needed rest before he could enter upon any business. The constant anxiety of mind of the last six months and the additional duties of book-keeper, besides his self-imposed task for a few weeks, had over-tasked his system, and brought on a constant headache.


The gentleman proposed at once to take him to a physician; but the youth did not consider it necessary. The open air, and entire freedom from anxiety, would no doubt restore him in time.


"Take a little trip into the country," suggested the secret partner, at the same time taking from his pocket-book a roll of bills. "You noticed, perhaps," he added, with a pleasant twinkle of his eye, "that I did not pay you nor dismiss you from my employ. I shall probably need you in settling up this unpleasant business; but as I cannot do anything until the trial comes on, it is but fair that your wages should be continued. I think you mentioned that you were hired as an errand boy, at thirteen dollars a month, with, a promise of increase of wages if you did well. Did you ever have an increase?"


"I never asked for any," answered the lad with a rosy blush.


"Well, you were entitled after the first month to twenty dollars. Why! you could hardly pay your board upon that; and Clarkson tells me you supported your mother too. Then the salary of a clerk competent to keep the accounts, ought to be at the least six hundred dollars a year; and you acted in that capacity for three months. Well, there is your pay. You needn't trouble yourself to count it over," as the youth, hardly, knowing what he was about, began to fumble among the bills. "Come, put it away. It isn't civil to be settling accounts in the presence of ladies."


"But really, sir," exclaimed Harrison, "I never expected one cent beyond the sum for which I was engaged; and setting aside the dreadful feeling that injustice would be committed, unless I contrived some way to prevent it, I learned enough of business in the store to satisfy me fully for my extra labor."


"All very fair and honest, my young friend, on your part, but very rascally and mean on mine if you don't allow me to pay my just dues. I have as yet done nothing more, but there is a great debt on my part which remains uncancelled. As you have been the means of saving me from the loss of my entire fortune, you may at least allow me the privilege of being grateful. But," added the gentleman, pitying the embarrassment of the youth, "we will talk of that some other time."


They then joined the circle where Mr. Clarkson, with Ella standing close at his side, her earnest eyes fixed upon his face, was giving the ladies an account of Harrison's confidential visit to himself.


"When he mentioned Mr. Kilby's name," he resumed, "I started to leave the room in search of the gentleman, who had arrived that very day, and who, I thought, must be somewhere about the house; but I feared that his presence might be a constraint upon the lad. When he had advanced still further in his story, I left the room to request the gentleman not to leave the hotel. After Harrison had expressed his willingness to go before a magistrate, I sent the secret partner on before, that he might be present during the interview, only saying to him that some wonderful revelations were to be made concerning the firm of Grant & Company."


"I had already entertained some suspicions that all was not right," added Mr. Kilby, "and had come on from the West with the intention of examining the books for myself. Probably had it not been for my young friend here, I should have taken the new set of books as presumptive proof that all was right. It has been a good lesson to me; and for the future I shall keep my business in my own hands."


The gentlemen then rose to take their leave; but before they went, Mr. Kilby had obtained Mrs. Danforth's consent for her son to accompany him to Saratoga early in the following week.


Mrs. Haven and Ella begged Mrs. Danforth to remain at the cottage while he was absent, the little girl pleading that it was so long since she had seen her old nurse that she wished to renew the acquaintance.


Mrs. Danforth smiled as she saw Ella whispering earnestly to Harrison that he must go back at once and bring his mother's work so that she would be contented to stay. It would be necessary also for him to make some purchases before his anticipated tour; and so, with Mrs. Haven's consent, Ella walked with him to the city to obtain the clothes which his mother needed, and make other arrangements for leaving home. He confessed to his young friend that he did not like to carry so much money about with him, and that he meant to get Mr. Cowles to deposit the most of it in a bank at once. They then proceeded to the store of a merchant tailor, where Ella gravely gave her opinion as to the fit of coats, and also as to the comparative beauty of different patterns of cravats,—the young clerk being delighted to see that, with additional experience and advance in age, her taste had improved, so that no longer as formerly did she choose the most showy colors. Plain black cravats were his preference; but, to gratify Ella, he took also one with a fine check of green and black, which she rapturously pronounced "a real beauty."


The purchases being most satisfactorily completed, the young people returned to the cottage,—rather warm and weary to be sure, but full of enthusiasm in regard to their walk.


Here, too, a pleasant surprise awaited them; for it appeared to give Ella equal pleasure as her young friend. In their absence a small parcel had arrived directed to Mr., not Master, Harrison Danforth, Vine Cottage.


"Guess before you open it," shouted the excited girl. "Let us all guess what it is."


"I, for one," commenced the lad, ceasing from his effort to untie the strings, "cannot form the least idea. I presume it is from Mr. Kilby; and he has already so loaded me with favors that I don't like to accept any more."


Mrs. Danforth, to please Ella, guessed that the parcel contained a purse to keep his money in.


Mrs. Haven confessed that she could easily fancy the contents, but would prefer not to state her opinion.


Ella then took the small, neatly tied bundle, turned it over carefully in her hands, looked very mysterious, and then said, earnestly, "I guess it's a napkin-ring. It's just about the size that my box was,—I mean the one that father's present of a napkin-ring came in."


Great was her surprise, therefore, when, having unloosed the white wrapping paper, Harrison disclosed a small green case containing a valuable watch. There it lay on its pure white satin bed, totally unsuspicious of the enthusiasm it was destined to call forth.


The young clerk gave a scream of joy, exclaiming, "Just what I have always longed for!" Ella jumped up and down and clapped her hands. Mrs. Haven smiled complacently: it was what she had fancied; while the happy mother gazed in unaffected surprise.


On the back of the watch, in the small circlet forming the centre, were the initials, L. F. K. to H. D.


The beautiful trinket was then passed around the group, and commented upon according to the different views of each. Mrs. Haven, in her turn, opened to the mechanism, to explain to him the parts and their action. It was a lever, and had thirteen jewels.


Ella then expressed a desire to see how Harrison would look wearing a watch. She had entirely forgotten her fatigue in the joy of the present occasion. He passed the ribbon around his neck, saying, with a laugh, "What should I have done, if I had not begun to wear vests?"


"Such a tall man as you," exclaimed Ella, "would look too funny in jackets. There, it becomes you very well," she added, as she stood in front of him, with her eyes fastened upon the black ribbon.


The number of times the new watch was consulted within the next hour it would be impossible to tell. At the end of that time the happy owner announced, in a tone of triumph, that it had not varied from the clock upon the mantel a quarter of a second.


At the close of the evening Mrs. Danforth took her son's arm and led him into her own room. Her heart was full to overflowing; and she longed to unburden herself to the gracious Being who had been so much better to her than her fears. While the young people had sat together in the moonlight, engaged in an animated conversation, she had been communing with her own heart, and reviewing the path by which she had been led. Now, she thought, if I could only see my dear son dedicating all his powers to the service of his Maker, I could die content. Surely, while his heart is subdued with happiness, I must urge this upon him.


"I am glad to see you alone, mother," he said, as he seated himself by her side. "Even the presence of these dear friends does not compensate me for the loss of your ever-ready sympathy."


"My dear boy!" said she, almost starting at the resemblance to his father, as he turned toward her with a glance of affection, "when I look back upon the last six months, it seems like a troubled dream."


"This has been a happy awakening, though, mother, hasn't it? Oh, I can't tell you how much I have suffered!"


"You have not suffered alone," responded the mother, softly. "My heart has yearned over you, as I saw you going forth day after day to your duties, with a cloud settling upon your brow. I could find no relief except upon my knees."


"O, mother!" cried Harrison, with a burst of feeling, "if your prayers could save me, I know I should be sure of heaven. Lately," he added, sinking his voice to a deeper tone, "I have begun in earnest to pray for myself. I have often asked myself, What have I in my own heart to keep me from being such a villain as Mr. Grant? O, mother! I wish that I were really good. I want to feel, as you do, that God is my friend."


Mrs. Danforth could not answer for her tears. At length, by a great effort calming herself, she said, "He is ready, my son. The Saviour waits to be gracious. Open your heart to the influences of the Spirit. Give up trying to win heaven by your own merits; trust in the pardoning love of Christ, and you will have peace."


"I have tried to do this, mother. I tried only yesterday. In the midst of all my trouble, I felt that I needed an Almighty arm to rest upon. I went into my room to dress; and I kneeled for a moment by my bed to ask God to forgive my sins for the sake of his Son, and to take me for his own child. But he seemed to be so exalted that I could not realize that he would attend to my humble prayer. Then I begged you to pray for me. Will you pray now, mother?"


She did pray, pouring out her whole heart in supplications for the soul of her son. She was importunate, and besought the mercy-seat as if she would not be denied the blessing.


When they arose, Harrison left the room without speaking.


The next morning, the anxious, waiting mother observed that when Ella ran to him, in her playful way, though he answered her kindly, yet his mind seemed engaged in thought. He listened with deep attention as Mrs. Haven read, according to her custom, from the Scriptures, and soon after took his hat and left the house. But two hours later, when Ella was just leaving for school, she saw him coming out of his room.


"How provoking!" she cried, "that you have been there all this time, when I wanted you so much. But come now, please, and walk to school with me."


He hesitated a moment, and said, "I was just going to find mother"; but she ran and passed him his hat from the rack, and he followed her out, She looked earnestly in his face, thinking his manner was somewhat peculiar, and then asked, "Don't you feel well this morning? you look pale."


"Ella," said he, and his voice was full of feeling, "supposing you had had a very kind friend, who had given you a pleasant home, and done everything to make you happy; and more than all, supposing he had told you that if you would only return the affection he felt for you, he would give you great riches and every blessing that you could desire, would it not be very wicked and ungrateful for you to refuse?"


"Yes, indeed, it would," was the hearty reply.


"Well, Ella, this is just what I have done all my life; and last night, while you and all the others in the house were sleeping, I arose from my bed, and resolved that I would do so no longer; that I would begin at once to love this dear, this best of friends; and, I want you to begin to love him too. Cannot you think who he is, Ella?"


"Jesus Christ," repeated the child, softly.


"I hope you will never go on as I have done," he said, "receiving favors from God, and yet refusing to give him all that he asked in return—the heart. Will you try to love the Saviour now, my dear?"


"Yes, I will," was the tearful reply.


No words of mine can describe the holy joy which filled that mother's heart when her beloved son unfolded to her the deep convictions of his mind, and the peace and love which now filled his soul.


"God has heard and answered me!" she exclaimed, clasping her hands upon her breast.


Mrs. Haven truly rejoiced with her friend at this new token of divine faithfulness.


The next day, when Harrison was going, by appointment, to call upon Mr. Kilby, in reference to their projected tour, Mrs. Danforth asked, "Would it not be better to decline the invitation? I fear it would dissipate your mind at this time." Harrison approached her and whispered, "God will be there, mother; I have given myself to him, and he will protect me from all harm."






"The expectation of the wicked shall perish."


IT is painful to turn from so pleasing a picture to one widely different. We must now go back, in imagination, two years, to the time when Alfred Haven turned from his mother's door and fled to a vessel which was lying in the harbor, where he shipped for a long voyage, under the name of Amos Harding. He found it necessary to adopt one with the same initials as his own, because so many of his clothes were marked A. H. These he had packed in a large carpet-bag and bundle, which, as he always disliked work, he easily persuaded a boy whom he found in the streets to carry to the wharf for a few pence. Though in his thirteenth year, he was so large and of so stout a frame that he might easily be mistaken for a boy much older. He determined to take advantage of this circumstance, and demand higher wages. For one of his age, he was already hardened in sin. Idleness and sloth had done their work; and all that had been lovely about the boy had long ago disappeared. With an unblushing countenance, and without the least scruple of conscience, he told his false tale,—that he was from the country, that he had always wanted to go to sea, but that the old folks objected. At last, when they found he was set upon going, they gave their consent to his making a trial of it for one voyage, hoping he would then settle down contentedly upon a farm.


"Have you been used to hard work?" asked the captain, looking with some suspicion at his soft, white hands.




Alfred laughed heartily, as he replied, "Haven't I though! What with being up in the morning foddering cattle, milking cows, then out in the field ploughing and harrowing, I've had a terrible hard time of it!"


The captain took one of Alfred's hand in his own. It was as white and soft as an infant's, and gave the lie direct to all he had been saying.


"Those hands have always been my misfortune," cried the boy, the slightest tinge of color being perceptible, as he saw the gentleman mistrusted him. "You see they're naturally small, and the old woman was kind of proud of 'em, and do what I would, she'd always make me wear gloves or mittens. The old man scolded and stormed about it, and said my hands were no better than his; and so that's why—"


"Well, you wont be compelled to wear gloves, now," said the captain, interrupting him; "the boatswain will soon cure you, my lad;" and there was a sly twinkle in his eye, which showed he was willing the youth should be thus cured.


Before he had been one day on the water, poor Amos, as he was called, became dreadfully sea-sick, and began to regret most heartily the hasty step he had taken. He lay down on the deck, feeling too utterly helpless to get into his berth. He thought he was going to die; and his disobedience to his parents, his unkindness to his only sister, his unruly conduct at school, his bad example to his schoolmates, came up in dreadful array before him, like so many witnesses, to send him to everlasting ruin. In his distress he cried aloud; but there was no one to soothe his pain, or even to sympathize with his grief;—no kind mother to hold his aching head, or administer medicine to relieve the deadly sickness which so awfully oppressed him;—no one to bind up his swollen, bleeding hands. The rough tars who saw him lying, pale and weeping, upon the deck, only laughed at his misery, or gave him a kick to arouse him, while they offered to give him a junk of salt pork.


The only one who showed him any kindness was the black cook, who brought him warm water in a small tin pot, and told him if he would drink it he would soon be relieved.


In three days he was as well as ever, in bodily health; but in morals he had sadly deteriorated, bad as he was before. He was now forced to work, and work hard. He was obliged to stand his watch like the older sailors; to go aloft, to reef and furl the sails, to slush or grease the masts, sweep and clear up decks, coil up rigging, pass the balls of spun-yarn, or otherwise assist the older sea-men.


Then when it was fair weather, and no particular work going forward, he was required to learn to draw and make knots in the spunyarn or ropes, to set the top-gallant sail, to reef or reduce a sail, to reeve the gear, or pass the end of a rope through a block or hole in the vessel, and to learn the names and uses of the ropes.


In addition to all this, if any man wanted help in his job, or there was any duty to be done aloft or about decks which did not require the strength or skill of a seaman, he was expected to start promptly, and do it without waiting to be called upon.


Poor Alfred! He looked back upon his school-life, which, except as an opportunity for some wicked sport, he had heretofore considered as in the highest degree irksome, as a life of bliss compared with what he now endured. "What a fool I was!" he repeated to himself many times in a day. But now there was no escape for him.


Then the contrast between the luxurious fare of his home and the vile rations, as he called them, of his mariner's life was, so disgusting to him that for a long time he could scarcely bring himself to eat at all. There his richly-cooked food was served in elegant china, cut glass, and splendid service of plate, while here his ration of salt beef, bean porridge and ship-bread, cooked for him at the galley, must be eaten from a small wooden tub called a kid, his tea or coffee from a tin pot. There were no tables, knives or forks in the forecastle, unless the latter were furnished by the sailor himself; and, as Alfred knew nothing of this necessity, he was obliged to get along as best he could.


The strict discipline on board ship he found almost intolerable. At sea, the time is marked by bells. At noon, eight strokes are made upon the bell, and from that time it is struck every half-hour, beginning at half-past twelve, which is one bell. One o'clock is two bells, half-past one three bells, and so on until four o'clock, which will be eight bells, when what is called the watch is out, a term used for dividing the time, and also for a division of a crew.


As soon as eight bells are struck, the officer of the watch on duty gives orders to call the watch below, who, if it is the night, are probably asleep. There is no opportunity for the boy to turn himself in bed and get a comfortable nap. As soon as he hears the sound, "Eight bells!" or the hour, "Do you hear, sleepers?" or something of that kind, he must turn out at once, in order that the other watch may go below.


While at school, Alfred had always been notorious for disorderly conduct during study hours. With entire disregard of the rules, he would whisper, whistle, pinch his companions, or do anything to draw their attention from their books.


On board ship no conversation was allowed while the men were performing their work,—certainly not in the presence of an officer. Occasionally, when two men were by themselves on deck, he had observed that a little low talk had not been noticed, unless it took their attention from their business.


On one occasion, when he and one of his messmates, that is, one who ate with him, were aloft, he began, to joke and laugh, for which he was immediately reprimanded; and, as he had never learned to be silent when reproved, he replied, in an insolent tone, "The other men talk, and why can't I?" For this disrespect of authority, he was condemned to forfeit half his next ration.


In working ship, when the men were at their stations, the same silence and decorum were enforced. But when the sailors were together on the forecastle, at night, and no work was going forward, considerable noise was allowed.


Smoking, singing, laughing, telling yarns, which means repeating long stories, made that part of the vessel quite lively. It was during these hours that Alfred had rapidly advanced in sin. He always put himself in the way of those who were noted for their profane and lewd conversation. Here he became skilled in every kind of impurity; so that his obscene talk was a wonder even to his wicked companions. But every week he grew more unhappy. There was not an hour in the day that he did not curse the captain, the crew, his own hard lot, and sometimes even his Maker. His hands were frightfully torn and blistered by the rigging; but whenever he complained, he only brought upon himself a hearty laugh, and the ever-recurring joke of the gloves. This had no other effect upon him than to curse himself for a fool, in not being able to invent a more plausible story. No thought of the sin of lying entered his mind. No sorrow at having violated the commands of God; nothing but regret that he had not told a more cunningly-devised tale.


The Dolphin, in which he sailed, was bound for Calcutta, and was to touch at some small islands for fresh provisions and water. Long before they reached this port, he had resolved to run away. He learned from the sailors that banannas and bread-fruit grew wild upon the islands, and that the natives passed their lives in idleness and ease. He pleased himself with the fancy that this was exactly the place for him.


Though the youngest on board ship, Alfred prided himself in being able to swear as roundly, or talk in as vulgar a strain, as the most degraded of his companions. They delighted to lead him on in sin, but secretly despised him for his easy adaptation to their vile habits. Whether he expressed too much interest in the fact that the vessel was to touch at the island, or whether the captain had seen enough of the lad to convince him that no confidence could be placed in his fidelity, certain it is, that both the first and second mates had orders to watch him closely while in port; and if he showed a design to leave the ship, to lock him up in the hold of the vessel.


Totally unsuspicious of this, Alfred asked leave to accompany some of the men along the shore in search of eggs. He was refused. His eyes flashed fire; and he muttered a dreadful oath, as he turned away.


"Give me leave to take him in hand!" exclaimed Mr. Bond, the second mate; "I'll soon break him of swearing at his officers."


"You're welcome to the dirty job," replied the first mate; "I don't relish such business."


So Alfred was delivered over to the tender mercies of a man whose dignity as an inferior in command had often been offended by the lad's insolence and disrespect, though, warned by his messmates, the boy had been careful to keep within certain limits, to escape his well-merited punishment.


The captain was on board another vessel, which was being loaded with palm oil and provisions, where he was to dine; and the first mate, with some of the crew, were just starting for an expedition to the island. The coast was, therefore, clear; and Mr. Bond ordered Harding, as he called him, to appear on deck.


The lad at first refused to obey. He was burning with rage and indignation that he was not allowed the same liberty as his messmates. He also began to fear that the vessel would sail again before he should have an opportunity to escape. While cherishing such feelings, he could not brook the idea of appearing on deck to answer to any charge which might be made against him.


"You'll not find me carrying such a message as that for you," said the sailor; "and, though I owe you no favors, yet I advise you to start at once, if you don't want to be shut up in the hold."


Alfred started at this; for his present life of labor and restraint had become intolerable to him; and, if confined while in port, there was an end of his chance to escape from it.


"How dare you have the impudence to swear at your officers?" began the mate, in an angry tone.


Alfred glanced at him from under his half-closed eyelids, and sullenly remained silent.


"Dogged, are you!" shouted the other, springing forward, and giving the sailor a cuff across his face.


At this insult, Alfred bounded forward like a tiger, and endeavored to catch Mr. Bond by the throat; but the other was more than a match for him; and, before the wicked fellow had come to his senses, his arms were confined, he was dragged along to the hatch-way, and pushed down into the hold of the vessel. Here he was left to reflect upon the consequences of his conduct, the mate meanwhile nursing his wrath to keep it warm until the arrival of the captain.


The whole affair was then related to him in an exaggerated form, the personal attack upon his life having aggravated the rage of his officer to the last degree.


The captain, who had from the first taken a dislike to the boy, gave orders to have him remain in confinement until the ship sailed, and to be kept on water-gruel.


Through the remainder of the voyage, Alfred showed that he considered himself a much abused and injured lad. He was so surly and ill-natured that he was disliked by the crew; and, though his tedious confinement had led him to beware of offending the officers, yet his manners showed that it was only fear which restrained him from offering them every species of insult.


He went regularly to work, and formed a plan by which he might deceive the captain and mates with regard to his intention of returning with them. He took advantage of various opportunities to ask the mate how long the Dolphin would remain in Calcutta before she would return to America,—whether she would sail directly for home, or go by the way of England. And one day, after having tried, by strict attention to his duties, to propitiate favor, he inquired of the captain whether he might not ship on the return voyage as a sailor, confessing that he was heartily sick of a seafaring life, and wanted to earn enough to buy decent clothes and return home.


The captain encouraged him to learn all that he could from the helmsman, and notice particularly the seamen in their work of mending the rigging, with the hope of promotion if he did well.


But all this time the wicked boy did not for a moment intend to return with the Dolphin, or even to go another voyage in any vessel. He fancied if he could but once be on shore, he should be able to find some employment far more congenial to his tastes; or rather that, in some unexplained way, he should be able to live without working at all. These questions were only to serve as a blind, to ward off any suspicion that he wished to desert, which he resolved to do the first opportunity.


Ascertaining from some of the crew the length of time which the ship usually remained in port, he calculated his chances of success to be greater if he remained in her until near her time of sailing. He listened with apparent indifference, but with real interest, to the sailors as they recounted their various plans for the disposal of their time, plans, many of them too revolting to mention.


At length the cheerful sound, "Land ahead! land, ho!" was heard; and both officers and crew began to prepare for the end of their voyage. Though there was often a tedious delay, on account of the dangerous sand-banks, in proceeding up the river to Calcutta, in the present case they were so fortunate as to make a quick passage.






"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble."


THE City of Calcutta is situated on the Hoogly river, which is a branch of the Ganges, navigable to ships of the largest size. The Dolphin was a merchant ship, and was laden with ice and provisions, which the captain wished to exchange for leather, saltpetre, and other heavy commodities. The crew were required to remain and assist in unloading the vessel; but, after this had been accomplished, they were allowed to wander about the city, provided they returned to the vessel at the expiration of forty-eight hours.


Alfred was not slow to avail himself of this privilege. He visited the part of the city occupied by the English, and was delighted to see the elegant houses, many of them like palaces. These, he found, were not built in rows, or blocks, as in cities at home, but stood apart, at some distance from each other, on account of the intense heat. They were built with high, airy apartments and flat roofs, and surrounded with verandahs.


From this part of the city he went to what is called the Black town, occupied by the natives. This presented a striking contrast with the former. The houses, which are formed of mud, bamboo, or straw mats, stand upon narrow and crooked streets, interspersed with small gardens and tanks of water.


Here, I am sorry to say, he was led by his companions into all species of low dissipation. In this way, day after day was passed, until the captain announced the time of sailing. His conduct had been such since his arrival in port that no suspicion was entertained of his wish to desert. Now was his chance to do so, if ever. The next time he went out he put on a double suit of clothes, and carfully securing the small sum of money which remained from his wages, he took his final leave of the vessel. On several occasions he had purposely separated himself, for a short time, from his companions, that they might not suspect him of wishing to do so eventually. But now, as soon as an opportunity occurred, he ran away and secreted himself, trembling with fear, until he thought the vessel must have sailed. Here in a strange laud, unable to comprehend a word of the language, he suffered so much that he almost wished he had returned home with the ship. But when he came forth from his concealment, and ventured to ask if the vessel was still in port, he was too late. The Dolphin had sailed. Now he returned to the haunts of vice which had attracted him when he first came to the city, where, in pandering to his wicked passions, he soon spent every copper he had in the world, and when night came on he found himself homeless and penniless. Many times in the course of the next week did the words of Harrison, so long forgotten, come to his mind, "the wages of sin is death." Many times he thought he should starve, and probably would have done so had it not been for the kindness of sailors whom he accidentally met.


One day when he was so extremely reduced by want that he could scarcely stand, he tried to crawl along toward the port of Calcutta, and endeavor to find a vessel ready to sail for America. "I may as well die in one place as another," he said to himself, "and I shall certainly die if I remain here."


At length, when he had nearly reached the shipping, he was accosted in his native tongue by a youth near his own age.


"You look ill, my poor follow; what is the matter?"


"I am dying of hunger," replied Alfred, feebly.


"Come with me, then; I think we can soon cure him. Don't you think so?" turning to his companion. "Here, let me help you;" and placing a strong arm around the emaciated, boy, he led him on to the side of a vessel lying at the harbor. After requesting him to wait a minute, he darted away, and soon returned with a fine fresh cocoa nut, which he gave the famishing youth. He seemed to the poor forsaken boy like an angel of mercy. He had often in his distress fallen asleep to dream that tempting fruit, such as he now held in his hand, was placed within his reach, but he had not strength to take it. Now he feared he should awake and find this also but a dream.


Feeling greatly revived by this seasonable supply of food, he readily consented to accompany his new friend to the captain of the vessel, and endeavor to obtain a berth in the barque, which was named Josephine.


Though he had been so long on board ship; yet here everything seemed new and strange. The youth, who was called Frank, approached the captain with the ease, vivacity, and confidence of a child; while in return the gentleman appeared to feel for him the affection of a father. Leaving Alfred standing near the forecastle, Frank went on to tell his tale, and interest the officer in the distressed youth.


"Bring him here," said the gentleman, with a smile; "I'm afraid your warm heart has led you away, as usual, on some wild-goose chase."


Frank obeyed, and summoned Alfred aft.


Sad to relate, the wicked boy commenced this new acquaintance by a false tale. He said that he had been sick ever since he was in port, so sick that he could not reach the vessel; that the captain sent one of the crew the day before they sailed, to say that they were ready for sea, and that as he was so unwell he had better remain on shore for another ship. Since that time, which he alleged was some months previous to this, he had not been able to work enough to obtain food sufficient to restore him to health, though his fever had long ago left him.


The marks of vice were too visible in the countenance of Alfred for Captain Monroe to mistake his real character; but he saw no reason to doubt the story of the lad, and, after ascertaining from him that he knew something of the business of a sailor, he promoted him from the duties of a boy to those of an ordinary seaman.


This is one who, from want of sufficient age or strength or experience, or all of these, is not competent to perform all the duties of an able seaman, and therefore receives less wages. He is expected to be well acquainted with all the rigging of a ship, to be able to steer under ordinary circumstances, to furl a top-gallant sail, or a royal, which is a light sail next above it. It is commonly expected that he should be able to make spun-yarn, formed by twisting two or three rope yarns together, and sennet, a braid plaited together of ropes or spun-yarn; that he should understand the art of splicing ropes, forming the rigging, and making a great variety of knots commonly termed sailors' knots.


Alfred, as we have seen, had never tried to fit himself for the performance of these duties, though his former captain had recommended him to do so if he wished to be promoted. Indeed, he had determined never to go another voyage, so that he had not been at sea many hours before the mate reported him entirely unfit for a seaman, and, therefore, degraded him to the rank of what is termed a green hand.

* * * * * * *

Here we will leave him, while we give a brief account of the youth named Frank, who first introduced him on board the Josephine; and who, notwithstanding Alfred's disgrace, took every opportunity to prove to him that he was his real friend.


Frank, or Francis Greyson, was the son of a gentleman residing near the large city which was the birthplace of Alfred. He was rather a sickly boy, and caused his parents great anxiety lest he should never live to reach maturity. His mother had a brother who was a seaman, a noble, Christian man, an ornament to the profession he had chosen. When on shore this gentleman made his home with his sister. It was not strange, therefore, that, hearing his uncle's lively descriptions of the sea, and having constantly before his view—hung as it was between the front windows of his mother's parlor—a picture of the Sea-shell, the vessel which his uncle commanded, that he should conceive a desire to accompany him on a voyage.


To this Mrs. Greyson at first absolutely refused her consent, but finally yielded to her brother's solicitations, and the advice of their family physician that a voyage round the world would do more for the strong physical development of the boy than a whole case of medicine.


I have not space to describe any of the incidents of the voyage, except one which occurred near its close. It is enough for our present purpose to say that Frank shipped as cabin-boy, without pay, and therefore was not subjected to the hard work required of Alfred. By his prompt and cheerful obedience to orders, and his readiness to lend a hand to any one in need of his services, he rendered himself a favorite with all on board. From the captain in his office to the boy-of-all-work, each one was pleased with the opportunity to do Frank a kind turn.


Every morning and evening when the weather would admit, all hands, except those absolutely necessary for steering the ship, were called together to hear the beautiful service of the Episcopal Church; and often during the day the noble boy might be seen relieving the tedious watch of the sailor by reading to him the word of God.


On the Sea-shell, an oath or impure word was punished as severely as any other breach of the rules of the ship, and the captain had more than once appealed to the sailors, by their affection for the beautiful boy, who was the pride of the whole crew, to help him keep his promise to his sister. This was, that Frank, by the blessing of God, should be returned to her as pure in heart and life as he left her. There was not an honest tar on board but would have felt the blush of shame burn his rough cheek to have Frank hear from his lips a word that could defile his ear.


The voyage had been a successful one, and already the seamen began to feel the breezes of home fan their cheeks, when on a dark and tempestuous night, the awful cry of "Ship ahoy! right upon us!" sounded loud and fearful through the roaring of the tempest. The shock came so suddenly that before the officers could give any orders the bowsprit passed over the bulwarks, tearing through shrouds and rigging. The vessel had parted, and the ship's company were either clinging to the broken pieces of their vessel or thrown into the water. Fortunately for them aid was soon at hand. The ship Josephine, which had been the cause of this dreadful disaster, threw over buoys, her coops and ropes, and let down boats, to rescue the poor drowning sailors; but as they were so near home, they, of course, preferred being taken on board other boats, which carried them to vessels lying in the harbor, from which they safely reached the shore.


The noise and tumult in both vessels was beyond description. In the midst of all the horror and confusion caused by this dreadful accident, nothing distressed the captain more than the loss of his nephew. Uniformly calm and self-possessed, he seemed now almost beside himself with fear and grief as one company after another reached the ship, and no one could give the least information with regard to Frank. He tried to realize the truth of what his mates and others told him so hopefully, that probably Frank had been picked up by some other vessel, but there was a heart-sinking fear which predominated above all other emotions, and that was, that his lovely boy lay at the bottom of the sea.


How should he ever dare to convey to the mother such sorrowful tidings? How could he meet her anxious inquiries, "Oh, where is my son?"


He reached the shore, no longer hailed with delight as his native soil. He forgot that in one moment the savings of his lifetime had been engulphed by the treacherous waves. Ho forgot everything in his wild searchings for his boy; and at last was forced to carry bitter, bitter sorrow and anguish to the hearts waiting with buoyant expectation for the coming of their loved ones.


In the mean time Frank was not dead. When he felt the terrible crash which rent the vessel asunder, with one bound he sprang from the parted ship on board the Josephine, which caused the fatal catastrophe.


It was not until the sun was several hours high that Captain Monroe, who commanded the vessel bound to Calcutta, discovered a boy leaning over the side of the ship, weeping bitterly.


He approached him quickly, inquiring, "What is the matter, my lad; and how did you come on board the Josephine?"


Frank narrated his wonderful escape from the parted vessel, and was then led on to give an account of himself and the bitter disappointment he had experienced in being obliged to go to sea again without visiting his parents.


"They will think I am dead!" exclaimed the boy, in a passion of grief; "and my uncle, if he is alive, will blame himself that he persuaded mother to let me go with him."


"What is your uncle's name?" asked the sympathizing captain.


"His name is James Taylor. The commander of the vessel."


"Ah! why, he is one of my dearest friends!"


"Do you think he was drowned?"


"Oh no! he was picked up and carried on shore."


Frank began to cry again.


"It is a misfortune, certainly," said the good mans his eyes becoming dewy with sympathizing tears; "but we will try to make it as easy for you as we can. In the first place, you must write a letter to your parents, which I will enclose in one to my owners, that it may be delivered with due caution, and have them ready for the first vessel we meet. I am sorry to say, though, it is an uncommon circumstance to speak vessels in the latitude to which we are going; and therefore you must not be disappointed if we do not have an opportunity to send home until near the end of our voyage." This proved to be the case; but in the mean time Frank, with the natural buoyancy of youth, had recovered his spirits, and had rendered himself almost as much beloved on board the Josephine as during his former voyage. With the captain his influence was almost unbounded. He regarded the sad catastrophe which had brought him in close proximity to such a youth as one of the greatest blessings of his life. He had been blessed with a pious mother, and he had a praying wife; but the influence of worldly cares had gradually dissipated whatever seriousness he might once have had, though he still entertained a great respect for religion.


The first thing that particularly interested him in Frank was observing the soothing effect which prayer had upon him. During the early part of the voyage, the boy would often give way to bursts of irrepressible sorrow that he could not have seen his parents and sister before going again on so long a voyage. In vain his friend tried to soothe him by promises of presents they would purchase in Calcutta for the absent ones; his tears would flow like a river. At length he would go into his little cabin, next to the captain's, and pour out his griefs before his sympathizing Saviour. In a few minutes he would return, with a calm, serious air, certainly, but with his sorrow quite subdued.


On one occasion, Captain Monroe, curious to know the secret of such an influence, followed the boy and listened at the door of his room.


It was a touching picture: the child upon his knees, wrestling with his heavenly Father for more submission to his holy will, for the cheerful acquiescence in his lot, which should prove him to be following the example of him who drank, without murmuring, the cup of sorrow to the dregs; for grace to live so humbly that all who saw him might be won to his Saviour; for the dear ones who were mourning his loss at home. The officer also appeared, wiping the fast-flowing tears, at the half-open door.


Frank was not slow to notice the change in the captain's deportment; and his sorrow for himself decreased as he began to plead with God for a blessing upon his friend.


Nor was it long before the answer came. One day Captain Monroe called Frank into his cabin and said, "I have found out why you were subjected to so bitter a disappointment. God sent you to me, as a means of leading me to a knowledge of my Saviour's love."


"I was sure," answered the boy, in his simple, trusting manner, "that God did it for the best; and that was why I tried so hard to say, 'Thy will be done.'"






"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."


AS they gradually approached their native land, Frank asked, "Do you think father and mother will be at the wharf to meet me?"


The Captain was silent. He was not at all certain that they had received the letters sent by a vessel five days out from Calcutta. He knew the moment they reached the shore, in case his friends were not there to receive him, the ardent boy would wish to fly to their embrace. He determined, if this were so, to accompany the lad at once, as it would involve but a few hours absence from his ship, which he could consign to the care of his mate.


It happened as he had feared. Amidst the crowd assembled at the wharf, Frank searched in vain for one familiar face. Sympathizing in his disappointment, Captain Monroe at once ordered a carriage to convey him to Mr. Greyson's residence, which, as I have stated, was only a few miles from the city. On the way, he endeavored to impress upon the mind of the excited youth that his parents might not have heard of his rescue; and therefore that extreme caution was necessary in imparting such joyful tidings.


Frank could not realize the danger, but acquiesced in the suggestion of his friend.


It was just at dusk when the carriage drove slowly into the yard. His heart bounded with joy. He could scarcely contain himself. He must scream or do something to relieve his over-burdened feelings. Meantime Captain Monroe had alighted, rung the bell, and was presently admitted within the door.


Frank cautiously put aside the curtain and peeped out, saying to himself, "They wouldn't shut the door so quickly if they knew who was here!"


The family had just assembled for tea, and Captain Monroe, knowing that Frank could not be trusted to remain long in the carriage, proceeded, in rather a blunt manner, to inquire for his friend Captain Taylor.


"He has gone to sea again," replied Mrs. Greyson, in a sad tone.


The gentleman noticed at a glance that the lady was dressed in deep mourning; and he inquired, rather abruptly, "Have you heard nothing from your son who sailed with him?"


Every particle of color vanished from the lady's face, and Mr. Greyson, who approached quickly to her side, answered,


"Alas! Nothing."


"Can you bear good news, my friends?" Before either of them could reply, the door softly opened, and Frank, who thought he had been left alone for an hour, burst into the room and rushed into his mother's arms.


It was as the gentleman had feared. Such an excess of joy overpowered her senses; and she would have fallen to the floor but for the aid of her husband and son. It was not long, however, that she lay unconscious. She opened her eyes to the happy conviction that "He whom we mourned as dead is alive again; he that was lost is found."



No such emotions of pleasure existed in the breast of Alfred at the idea of returning to his native land and visiting his mother, whom he had left in her hour of bitterest woe. His vices had effectually weaned him from kindred and home. When he went on shore, he bent his steps to that house which Solomon has described as the house of death.


Two days later Captain Monroe met him staggering along the streets in company with two drunken fellows, with a pipe in his mouth, and a terrible oath upon his lip.


The good man remonstrated kindly with him upon his wicked course, which he assured him would lead to swift destruction.


Alfred hung down his head, but made no reply.


"Are you going to sea again?" asked the gentleman.


"Not if I know it."


"What then shall you do?"


"Oh, I can find employment enough on shore."


"Would you like to go into the country and work on a farm?"


"No; work don't suit my constitution," replied the boy, with an ugly leer at his companions.


"I would be your friend, young man," continued the captain, "but you will not allow me. But let me warn you that idleness leads to vice, and that if you do not seek honest employment you will sink deeper and deeper in sin."


He turned away sick at heart, saying to himself, "I will not tell Frank that I saw him, he would grieve so over the poor God-forsaken fellow."


But this precaution proved useless. A few weeks after this, Mr. Greyson and his son were walking on the wharves, when they saw just before them a police officer arrest a company of drunken men for fighting in the streets. Frank gazed at them with great compassion, when suddenly he recognized Alfred. With a start of surprise he left his father, ran and seized the hand of the poor degraded fellow.


"O, Amos!" he cried, the only name by which he had known him; "don't go with those wicked men; come with me, father will find you something to do."


"He has been arrested for engaging in a drunken brawl," said the police officer, "and must come with me to prison."


"To prison! O Amos!" exclaimed Frank with horror.


"You see you can do nothing for him now," suggested Mr. Greyson, "and you are detaining the officer from his duty."


Frank then ascertained to what place he would be conveyed, and having obtained a promise from his father to accompany him there, turned sorrowfully away.


The next day they visited the prison, and found Alfred sullen, and not disposed to converse. Mr. Greyson endeavored to draw from him an account of his former life. He appealed to him by his love for his mother to turn from his evil ways, and become an industrious, useful man.


But there was no answering sign. No tear dimmed his bloodshot eyes at the recollection of her who had given him birth. There seemed to be nothing to appeal to. The moral principle had all gone; and Frank, who had sat silently gazing at his companion, arose when his father ceased speaking, and turned away, hopeless of softening so hard a heart.



Nearly a year later, Mrs. Haven and her daughter were one evening seated in their pleasant parlor. The lady was sewing, while Ella read aloud, when they were suddenly startled by seeing a man's face pressed close up to the window.


The child screamed, but Mrs. Haven, with quiet presence of mind, bid her run and lock the doors, and call Hannah, a stout maid servant, from the kitchen.


It had always been Hannah's boast that she feared nothing; and now she delighted in this opportunity to show her courage.


Feeling protected by her presence, Mrs. Haven threw up the window, and asked the man what he wanted.


He made no reply, but stood with his insolent eyes fixed upon her face.


At first she only noticed a frightfully bloated countenance, long tangled hair hanging from underneath an old soiled cap, and rude, insolent eyes staring at her and Ella in a dreadfully familiar and disgusting manner. But suddenly she grew pale and staggered back-against Hannah, with a shriek of agony crying out, "O, my God! can this be my son?"


At these words, Ella, who had regarded the man with horror, burst into a loud cry.


"Open the door, Hannah," sobbed Mrs. Haven, making a dreadful effort to recover herself. "It is my son! my only son!"


But Hannah, who had always supposed Ella to be the only child, absolutely refused. "It's imposing upon, ma'am, he is. Sure and the likes of ye could never have so awful a cratur to call ye kin, let alone saying he's your son." Mrs. Haven arose from the couch upon which she had helplessly sunk, and walking feebly to the door, drew the bolt, and admitted her wayward boy. Ella covered her face with her hands and sobbed aloud.


"Pretty welcome for a fellow who has been gone two years, I'm thinking," muttered Alfred. "Ella, do hold your tongue; what are you making such a great baby of yourself for?"


Hannah stood with an air of defiance, ready to spring at the uncouth, shabbily-dressed fellow the moment her mistress would consent. But finding that there was no appearance of relenting, and that she seemed reluctlantly indeed, to admit the relation, she exclaimed, "And sure, ma'am, I'd better be turning him out entirely, though it's many a day since I've done so dirty job. But I'm thinking it'll be a disgrace to ye all, let alone me, who allus was called a dacent girl, to have the wicked cratur in it."


Ella started up and ran from the room, and Mrs. Haven motioned Hannah to follow her.


Meanwhile the most dreadful struggle was taking place in her own mind. Her heart had yearned over her son; and since she had learned to pray, his name and Ella's had always been associated in her daily supplications. But with her whole soul she shrank from companionship with such a sin-polluted wretch as this one seemed to be. It was not that he was poorly clad; it was the unmistakable marks of dissipation and vice that made him so revolting. She looked at him again; she scanned him closely to see if there was one trait that was not wholly depraved. But, alas! she grew more sick at heart every moment.


At length, feeling that she must say something, she inquired, "How long have you been ashore, my son?"


"Just landed," he replied, glancing up from under his eyebrows. "Got anything to eat in the house?" then adding, with an oath which made her shudder, "haven't tasted a mouthful since morning."


The lady told him to follow her into the next room, where she set before him food sufficient to make a hearty meal.


He ate voraciously; and then, when he thought he was not perceived, slipped the silver fork which lay by his plate into his pocket.


His mother, who had been closely watching him, saw the action and sighed heavily. But it led her to be more cautious in future.


"Got any loose change?" he inquired, starting from his seat; "s'pose I'd better be going?"


"We are poor, you know, Alfred," was her reply, "and it is only by close economy that we are enabled to live."


"Ella's rich enough."


"She does not come into possession of her property until she is of age; but if you are really suffering, lay down the fork you have taken from the table and I will give you what it is worth. You could not sell it without risk to yourself, for it is marked."


Alfred poured out a volley of oaths, until his mother pressed her hand upon his eyes, exclaiming, "How can I endure this!"


The fork was thrown angrily upon the table; then, holding out his hand for the money, lie strode rudely from the house, slamming the door after him.


When Ella ran back into the room, she found her mother weeping convulsively in a fit of hysterics; and it was a long time before the united efforts of Hannah and herself could restore her to any degree of composure. At last the poor mother retired to rest, but no sleep visited her eyelids. She reviewed the past; and oh, how bitterly she reproached herself that she had not earlier taught her boy his duty to his Maker. She looked into the future, and could readily foresee that, having once obtained the means of gratifying his wicked passions, he would not be slow to return. Should she thus encourage him in sin? Should she permit his presence to bring a blight upon the youth of her lovely daughter? Ah, no! It could not be her duty! If he were repentant, how gladly would she take him to her arms and endeavor to lead him back to virtue. Then she was aware, judging from this one short interview, that he was wholly devoid of honesty, and that if she admitted him to the house nothing would be safe from his grasp. Before she arose the next morning she resolved that if he visited the house again she would let the cottage, and remove to some other place until he had lost sight of them.


Ella arose from her bed pale and nervous. She took her accustomed seat at the table, but she could not eat; and at length, with a gush of tears, sobbed out, "O, mamma, isn't it dreadful!"


Just at this moment a shadow crossed the window, and the poor girl, with a look of horror, sank back in her chair, trembling like a leaf, while even her mother shook visibly. But it was only the postman with letters.


"This will never do," said the lady, glancing at her daughter's cheeks, which alternately flushed and turned pale. "We will leave the cottage and hide ourselves from him. I hope we may never see him again, unless God in his infinite mercy converts his soul."


Through the day they watched with trembling anxiety; but he whom they much dreaded to see did not return. They would have been relieved could they have known that he had passed the time in close confinement, his board and expenses being paid by the State.


At the close of the third day, however, Hannah, who had been sent by her mistress on an errand, was returning home, when she was suddenly caught by a man who had come softly up behind her, and before she could release herself he had beat her unmercifully upon the head. Her screams at length brought a gentleman from his house who caught the drunken brute, and detained him until assistance could be procured to take him to a station-house. The next morning Hannah was summoned to appear in court, and state his offense. She was delighted to go, for though she said not a word of her suspicions, yet she was sure she had recognized the voice of the loathsome fellow who had tried to impose himself upon her mistress as a son.


Having narrated the circumstances to the judge in her own quaint manner, which had caused a smile to run all round the court-room, his honor was beginning to state the sum which the criminal was fined, when she suddenly interrupted him. "Sure, yer honor, it's not money I want from the rascal."


"And how should you like him to be punished," asked the gentleman, much amused at her earnestness.


"Och, yer honor, if ye'd have the goodness to bid some one to howld the man, and let me whip him forenenst the court, I'd pay him his dues, I'm thinking. I would have done it at wonct hadn't he come upon me so unknowst and treacherous like."


A burst of laughter followed this unusual plea.


The prisoner was fined the cost of court, and was bound over to keep the peace for six months. Failing to produce the sum, he was put in prison for a certain term, his honor gravely remarking that it was, indeed, sad to witness the moral degradation of one so young, and that, as his countenance had become quite too familiar in court, he was recommended to commence at once a thorough reformation.


Hannah returned to the cottage undecided whether to inform her mistress that, in the prisoner she had recognized the villain who had given Miss Ella such a fright. She gave an animated account of the trial, and the mode of punishment recommended by herself, at which the lady laughed heartily; but when the honest girl, growing warm by the interest she excited proceeded to say, "and who, ma'am, do you think the villian was, but the likes of him who intruded hisself by appearing befere yees like a ghost at the window, and not ringing the door-bell, like a dacent man." The lady clasped her hands, and suddenly left the room.


Presently. Hannah, with a flash of joy illuminating her whole face, followed. She knocked softly at the mistress's room. There was no reply. She gently opened the door, and found the distressed mother upon her knees.


At so unusual an interruption, the lady turned her woe-stricken face toward the door.


"I've good news for ye, ma'am," exclaimed Hannah; "and so I made bowld to intrude. The prisoner's name is Amos Harding, and not Haven, at all. So don't be bothering your dear heart about the vile scoundrel."


It was indeed a relief to know that the name of Haven would not be associated with such villainy; but still the widowed mother's heart was heavy. Before the close of the day, she found a sympathizing friend and adviser in Mr. Cowles, who readily accompanied her to the prisoner, to make one more appeal to him to abandon his evil ways.


This effort, like the preceding ones of Mr. Greyson and Captain Monroe, proved wholly unavailing. Indeed, he seemed determined to render himself as loathsome to his mother as possible. She plead with him by the memory of his father, by the compassionate love of the Saviour, who (vile as he was) would pardon and sanctify him. But he laughed her to scorn. As soon as she found that her prayers and entreaties were useless, she arose at once to leave him, when he poured out such a strain of profanity and lewdness that she was ready to sink to the floor.


Before the close of another week, the pleasant cottage, which had sheltered her in her widowhood, was let for a year; and she, with Ella and the faithful Hannah, had gone to live in the country.






"Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."


BEFORE we close, we will sketch briefly some of the leading events in the life of our hero, and then take a final glance at the principal characters of our story.


Harrison continued in the employ of Mr. Kilby until the business of the firm of Grant & Co. was finally settled, and proved himself not only so faithful, but so well adapted to mercantile life, that, young as he was, the gentleman offered to take him into his store at the West, and give him a share of the profits, if he would consent to leave his native State.


But the youth could not for a moment entertain the question of leaving his mother in her feeble health, and he hesitated about assuming such a trust as would there devolve upon him until he had thoroughly learned the principles of the trade.


"If you will not accept my proposition," said his kind friend, with a smile, "I must do the next best thing for you, and find you a good place here."


He made many inquiries among his business friends, but found some objection to every situation that offered until he happened to meet an acquaintance at a public dinner, when the following conversation took place:


"Do you know of a good opening for a young man every way unexceptionable in character and habits?"


"We have a vacancy in our store; but I am anxious to find a youth to whom I promised to apply in case such an event should occur. Unfortunately I have lost his address."


"I can recommend my young friend highly," urged Mr. Kilby; and he related briefly the connection Harrison maintained to him.


"A fine fellow, I have no doubt," was the warm reply; "but I took a fancy to this lad, and I really want to find him. He had an open, ingenuous countenance, and eyes that did not quail when you looked him square in the face. He told me he supported his mother, too; and I like boys that do that. So, much as I should like to oblige you, I'll make a thorough search for my friend before I give him up."


"At any rate, you wont object to my calling with him?"


"Certainly not," was the laughing retort; "but don't encourage him about the vacancy."


The next morning, Harrison, in company with Mr. Kilby, walked to the wharf, and entered the store of Lombard & Lamb, the gentleman motioning the youth to walk forward to the counting-room, where he saw Mr. Lombard writing at the desk, while he stopped a moment to speak to the other partner.


Harrison instantly recognized the gentleman who had been so kind to him at the time he was looking for a place. He stood near the counting-room door, hesitating whether to enter, when the old gentleman looked up.


"Ah!" he said, holding out his hand, in the most cordial manner, "I'm glad to see you again. Walk in here; I want to talk with you!"


At this moment Mr. Kilby came forward, when Mr. Lombard said, quickly, much to the youth's surprise, "This is the one I mentioned. If he is not engaged, your protegé will have no chance."


The gentleman smiled as he said, "Your description was so good that I suspected we were talking of the same individual. Before you engage him, however, I shall wish to be consulted, as he is under my care."


The preliminaries being most happily arranged, Harrison entered the store of Lombard & Lamb, as salesman, this firm being in the same general business as that of Grant & Company. Here he maintained the same character for industry and honesty as when connected with the other firm, and rose step by step in the confidence and esteem of his employers, until he joined the firm as junior partner. A few years later, Mr. Lombard, now at an advanced age, declared his intention of retiring from active business. He did so; but not until he had testified by his conduct, his high appreciation of the energetic habits and the high business qualifications of his young partner, by giving him an equal share in the profits of the firm.


In all his prosperity, Mrs. Danforth shared, and was often cheered by her son's assurance that to her faithful instructions, under God, he owed all his success.


"You early taught me to work, mother," he would say, with a smile of filial affection, "and it is right you should reap the reward of my industry."


Mrs. Haven continued to reside in the country for many years, occupying herself in completing her daughter's education, for which employment she was well fitted. At length, having entirely lost all knowledge of Alfred, she ventured to yield to Ella's desire, and moved back to her pleasant cottage, which had been thoroughly repaired for her use.


And now, my young reader, if, as I hope, you have followed the fortunes of my humble hero with interest, let me invite you to visit with me that fine mansion reared upon the spot where once stood Mrs. Haven's cottage. It is Christmas eve; and, as we approach, we see that the house is brilliantly illuminated. It is evident that company is expected. In a spacious parlor on the right of the hall stands a fine, noble-looking man, in whom it would be difficult to recognize our young favorite, Harrison Danforth. Yet, when he turns to the lady on his left, with a smile, we see that his mouth has lost none of its sweetness, though the predominent expression is firmness. In his whole character and bearing, he exemplifies the text which so animated him in his youth, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."


The lady just referred to, is of that beautiful fairness of complexion which is usually found only in children. As she stands there by her life's chosen companion, with her soft hair partly shading her fair forehead, her lips parted in a smile, she looks too young to have taken upon herself the cares of a matron. Then, again, have you never before seen that bright, laughing face, with the deepening color coming and going like a cloud in a summer sky? Yes, it is Ella Haven, fulfilling more than the promise of her childhood, for she has received humbly the chastening rod of her Heavenly Father, and has come forth from the furnace refined like silver. For nearly three years the mortal remains of her mother have been reposing in the quiet church yard; but her soul, through faith in Christ, rested safely in the bosom of her God.


Near the happy pair, in a quiet corner, sits Mrs. Danforth, with a look of calm happiness upon her features. She is now receiving a rich reward, in the usefulness and happiness of her son, for all her labors, instructions, and prayers in his behalf, and every day realizes in her own experience the truth of the precious promise, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."


Presently the expected company begin to arrive. Carriage after carriage drives to the door, is disburdened of its living freight, and rolls away to make room for still others. Truly, this is a goodly gathering.


And now the guests have all advanced to their host and hostess, exchanged cordially with them the compliments of the evening, and scattered themselves around the room to discuss the topics of the day. But they have scarcely formed themselves into groups before a little urchin of three summers is led into the room by his nurse, from whom he escapes the moment he espies his parents among the crowd.


"Papa, come! Mamma, see! pretty angels here for Harry," and taking his father's hand, attempted to pull him from the room. Mr. Danforth laughingly yielded to the little fellow, though this was not exactly the programme for the evening; and, after a moment's consultation with his wife, in a raised voice, requested any of the company who liked to do so, to proceed to the next room.


Most of those present quickly followed. Upon the doors being opened, a large Christmas-tree was seen standing in the further corner of the apartment, the branches hung with small, colored candles, interspersed with a great variety of children's toys. Suspended above the tree was the angel referred to by Harry. Its arms were folded lovingly across its breast; but its wings were spread, as if on this auspicious eve it hovered over the scene.


But the prettiest tableaux of all was the twenty little boys and girls, under six years of age, who, in their holiday attire, stood with raised eyes and clasped hands, apparently entranced by the heavenly vision. There was a sudden hush among the company to gaze at them.


Presently the angel's wings began to flutter, as if she wished to take her flight. But no; she descended and rested on the topmost branch of the tree, when, wonderful to relate, another angel appeared, and began to distribute the Christmas gifts. With outstretched pinions she seemed scarcely to touch the earth, as she beckoned to one and another of the awe-struck group, and placed some beautiful trinket within their hands. Not a word was spoken while the scene lasted, and the silence was becoming almost embarrassing to the principal actor, when Harry, who had stood watching the angel with his large, earnest eyes, suddenly cried out, "Oh, it's my mamma! I see her curls tucked under the cap," clapping his tiny hands, in his joy.


Seeing herself discovered, Ella lifted her light crown, and her hair falling to its natural position, the children gave a sigh of relief, and the company burst into a merry laugh.


The little ones then were invited to a number of pleasant games, in which Master Johnny Cowles Marland, a little youngster claimed by our old friend Mary Jane, quite distinguished himself. They were playing button, button, who has the button? when he arose at once, and proudly declared himself to be the favored possessor. Neither, when the game was explained to him, could he be made to understand that it was right for him to guess, "Harry or Nelly have the button," while he held it between his own fingers. "No, no!" he cried; "I has got the button, and danpa dives me oranges when I tell the truth."


There was quite a shout at this, and one of the gentlemen remarked to Alderman Cowles, "He is a chip of the old block, I see."


After the games, the ladies and gentlemen walked to the supper-room to see the children partake of refreshments, when the little ones were consigned to the care of their nurses, and sent home to their pillows, to dream of the angels, while the older company returned to the parlors to seek further entertainment.


From these innocent amusements we must carry the reader to far graver scenes.


During the evening in question, the mind of Mr. Danforth more than once reverted to a cold, damp dungeon, not a dozen miles from his house, where, awaiting his trial for murder, lay a prisoner,—the brother of his beloved wife. He tried to throw it off and mingle gaily in the scene; but there would ever and anon come up to his remembrance thoughts of other days, when Alfred, the haughty, proud, and idle boy delighted to domineer over him, the poor but diligent youth. How strikingly in contrast was the meeting of that very day. God had rewarded the honest exertions of the poor youth, and he was rich and esteemed among men; while the idle, slothful boy had become a contemner of God, and had been cast away among the very lowest dregs of society.


The Monday following Christmas, Mrs. Danforth, wholly unconscious that her only brother was that day to be brought to trial for his life, proposed to her husband to improve the first sleighing by a ride. "Only think!" she exclaimed, with something of the enthusiasm of her girlhood, "How funny it will be for Harry! You know he can't remember riding in a sleigh."


"I should enjoy it extremely," said her husband, in a serious tone; "but I shall be very much engaged to-day, in fact all the week; but that need not prevent you and Harry from enjoying this fine winter weather. Robert can be spared from the store, and if you say so, I'll send him out."


"But what have you to do?" she asked, playfully. "Some public business, T dare say. I'm almost sorry that people like you so very well, for I don't see you half as much as I want to."


"Thank you, my dear. The knowledge of your affection will strengthen me in the performance of one of the most painful duties I have ever discharged. I am to-day to sit in judgment upon one of my fellow-creatures who is on trial for his life. I tremble lest I should judge him wrongfully."


"Dreadful!" cried the lady. "Who is he, and what is his crime?"


"He professes to be a Spaniard, from Cuba," responded the gentleman; "but I confess that I have my doubts upon that point. He pretends, too, that he cannot understand a word of English; but when I was conversing with the gentleman who accompanied me to the prison, the man listened as if he comprehended as well as any of us. The crime for which he was arrested is murder upon the sea. It seems that there was a very bad set among the crew; and they formed a conspiracy, headed by this man, to kill the captain, two mates and the cabin-boy, and then seize the vessel."


"Oh shocking!" exclaimed Ella. "But did they succeed?"


"Only in part. They murdered one of the mates and the poor boy, who could not be persuaded to join them. The captain by some means found them out in time to save his own life. Sandoval, as he calls himself, was put in irons, and the others closely watched until they reached the port from which they were all sent here for trial."


"Who went with you, Harrison?"


"A gentleman by the name of Captain Greyson,—a fine man, whom I like extremely. I shall want you to become acquainted with him. He seems quite sure that he once returned from Calcutta in a ship with the prisoner, and that he is not a Spaniard, as he pretends. He also is to be one of the jury men."


"Well, whoever he is," sighed the lady, "I'm sure I pity him with all my heart. I wonder whether he has any friends. When I hear of a very bad man, I always think what mamma and I suffered about poor Alfred. Husband," she added, after a moment's pause, "you needn't send Robert out; I don't think I could enjoy riding when I thought of you in the jury-box."


"Nonsense, dear!" he exclaimed, patting her head fondly. "It will be a comfort to me to know that you are enjoying yourself. I would not have told you, but I was afraid you might be anxious, as I may be detained overnight."


"What for?" she inquired, in alarm.


"In a case of capital crime, my dear, the jury are never allowed to converse with any one from the time they are impanelled, or sworn into their office, until the case is decided."


"Oh, I hope you'll be able to vote for him to be released," she urged, gazing earnestly in his face.


"I hope so, indeed, Ella!" he said, turning away, faint and sick at heart.


"Oh, what would she say!" he exclaimed when by himself, "if she knew the prisoner was her own brother. I cannot tell her. No; I must bear this dreadful burden of grief alone. Situated as she is, it might kill her."


On his way to the court-room he met Captain Greyson, whom we formerly knew and loved as Frank. "How strange," said he, "that the prisoner holds out so. Sometimes I am almost tempted to think I am mistaken in supposing that I once knew him."


"God grant that it may be so," replied Mr. Danforth, in a thrilling tone; and then recovering himself, added, "it seems to me tenfold worse to be the means of convicting a countryman."


"Perhaps," rejoined the officer, "if he should be found guilty, he may be more softened in view of his punishment."


After two days the criminal was remanded to his cell, condemned to be executed for wilful murder. Indeed, so overwhelming had been the testimony of his guilt, and that too of the most aggravated character, that the jury were unanimous in their opinion. How much one of them suffered during the thirty-six hours that he was retained, I must leave it to my readers to imagine. He returned to his mansion pallid, care-worn, and depressed, almost dreading to see Ella, for fear that she should read the dreadful truth in his sad countenance.


The family had been to tea when he arrived, and the poor wife was just deploring her hard fate to Mrs. Danforth when he appeared.


It seemed to him that he had never received so warm a welcome. His mother brought his slippers and dressing-gown, while Ella bustled about and passed him a cup of tea with her own hands, which was presently followed by a more substantial meal.


After he had partaken it, he was sitting with his head concealed by Harry's curls, trying to evade the inquiries of his wife, when the door was opened, and the servant announced Captain Greyson.


"I tried to overtake you as we came out of court," said the gentleman, frankly, "for I intended to impose myself upon your hospitality, but you were too quick for me. I don't wonder at it," he added, gayly casting his eye around the happy group.


"I will order some supper for you at once," said Mrs. Danforth, rising.


"Certainly you don't mean to impose upon me the duty of eating two suppers, after such a tedious time in court," he added, with a laugh. "No, I need nothing, thank you. I stopped at a restaurant before I came out of the city."


The conversation at length turned upon the poor criminal. Mrs. Danforth being very anxious to hear the particulars, the officer kindly complied with her request; Mr. Danforth, taking Harry in his arms and walking the room, all the while endeavoring to attract the notice of the other without being seen by his wife.


After describing his really loathsome appearance, his long, shaggy beard, his uncombed hair, and his look of defiance as he listened to his sentence, the gentleman, finding his hearers were greatly interested, went on to give an account of his first acquaintance with the culprit.


"It was in Calcutta," he began; "I am quite sure of the fact, though he persists in saying that he is a Spaniard. At that time he called himself—"


"Captain Greyson!" cried out Mr. Danforth, in a quick, sharp voice, "do come and tell me whether this is a good picture of St. Peter's church, at Rome; you have been there often, I suppose."


The gentleman complied, though evidently wondering not a little at the abruptness of the host.


"In mercy to us all," whispered Mr. Danforth, turning very pale, "say nothing more; I will explain at some future time;" then added aloud in a forced voice, "It is said to be very fine. I have long wanted to ask some one who would be frank enough to give me his real opinion."


"Excuse me, Ella," he said, as he returned to his seat, and hiding his face in the neck of the boy, "but really I find myself so nervous and excitable to-night, in consequence of my long confinement, that I may be guilty of some breach of etiquette."


The lady glanced anxiously at her husband, and for the first time noticing his haggard appearance, became really concerned for fear he would be ill.


"No," said he, "when I have bid Harry good-night, I will throw myself into the large chair at your side, and get Captain Greyson to favor us with a description of some of the wonderful sights he has witnessed."


And so by the kind and considerate care of her husband, Ella was saved the knowledge of the dreadful end to which her brother's crimes had brought him. Here we must leave them, trusting that we have accomplished the object of our simple story by verifying God's faithfulness to his promises, both as regards the industrious and the idle.