Page images
[blocks in formation]

Then came a deep silence. The poor them—and get a supply of food for the many woman sat with the fingers of both hands mouths she had to feed. moving together uneasily, and Mrs. Lander Mrs. Lander received her with that becoming looked away out of the window and appeared dignity of manner and gravity which certain to be intent upon something in the street. persons always assume when money has to be

" Are these made to please you ?" Mrs. paid out. She, as it behooved her to do, Walton ventured to ask.

thoroughly examined every seam, line of “ They'll do,” was the brief answer; and stitching, and hem upon each of the three shirts, then came back the same dead silence, and and then, after slowly laying the garments the same interest on the part of the lady in upon a table, sighed and looked still graver. something passing in the street.

Poor Mrs. Walton felt oppressed; she hardly Mrs. Walton wanted the money she had knew why. earned for making the shirts, and Mrs. Lander “Does the work please you ?" she ventured knew it. But Mrs. Lander never liked to pay to ask. out money, if she could help it; and as doing “I don't think these are as well made as the so always went against the grain, it was her others," said Mrs. Lander. custom to put off such unpleasant work as long " I thought they were better made,” returned as possible. She liked to encourage the very the woman. poor, because she knew they generally worked “Oh, no. The stitching on the bosoms, col. cheaper than people who were in easier circum- lars and wristbands isn't nearly so well done.” stances; but the drawback in their case was, Mrs. Walton knew better than this; but she that they always wanted money the moment did not feel in any humor to contend for the their work was done.

truth. Mrs. Lander took up the shirts again, Badly as she stood in need of the money she and made another examination. had earned, poor Mrs. Walton felt reluctant to “What is the price of them ?" she asked. ask for it until the whole number of shirts she “ Seventy-five cents." had engaged to make were done ; and so, after “ Apiece ?" sitting for a little while longer, she got up and “Yes, ma'am.” went away. It happened that she had ex “Seventy-five cents a piece !" pended her last sixpence on that very morning, “ I never got less than that, and some for and nothing was due to her from any one but whom I sew always pay me a dollar." Mrs. Lander. Two days at least would "Seventy-five cents! It's an imposition. I elapse before she would have any other work know plenty of poor women who would have ready to take home, and what to do in the been glad of these shirts to make at half the meantime she did not know. With her the re price-yes, or at a third of the price either. ward of every day's labor was needed when the Seventy-five cents, indeed! Oh, no-I will labor was done; but now she was unpaid for never pay a price like that. I can go to any full four days work, and her debtor was a lady professed shirt-maker in the city, and get them much interested in the welfare of the poor, who made for seventy-five cents or a dollar." always gave out her plain sewing to those who "I know you can, ma'am," said Mrs. Walwere in need of encouragement.

ton, stung into self-possession by this unexBy placing in pawn some few articles of pected language. “But why should I receive dress, and paying a heavy interest upon the less if my work is as well done ?” little sum of money advanced thereon, the poor “ A pretty question, indeed!" retorted Mrs. widow was able to keep hunger from her door Lander, thrown off her guard.“ A pretty until she could finish some work she had in question for you to ask of me! Oh, yes ! hand for a lady inore considerate than Mrs. You can get such prices if you can, but I never Lander. Then she applied herself with re pay them to people like you. When I pay newed industry to the three shirts yet to make, seventy-five cents apiece for shirts, I go to regwhich she finished at the time she promised to ular shirt-makers. But this is what we generhave them done. With the money to be re ally get for trying to encourage the poor. Mrs. ceived for these, she was to pay one dollar and Brandon said that you were in needy circuma half to get her clothes from the pawnbroker's stances, and that it would be a charity to give shop, buy her little boy a pair of shoes—hel you work. But this is the way it generally had been from school a week for want of turns out.”

[blocks in formation]

“What are you willing to pay ?" asked the ity of mind, nor lost the feeling of indignation poor woman, choking down her feelings. which the attempt to impose upon her by the

* I have had shirts as well made as these for poor widow had occasioned, when she was forty cents many and many a time. There is favored with a visit from Mrs. Brandon, who a poor woman down in Southwark who sews said familiarly, and with a smile, as she entered beautifully, who would have caught at the job. “Ah, how do you do, Mrs. Lander ? I have just She works for the shops, and does not get over corrected a mistake you made a little while ago. twenty-five cents for fine shirts. But, as Mrs. “Indeed! what is that ?" asked Mrs. Lander, Brandon said you were suffering for work, I looking a little surprised. thought I would throw something in your way. “You only gave poor Mrs. Walton fifty cents Forty cents is an abundance; but I had made apiece for the half dozen shirts she made for up my mind, under the circumstances, to make you, when the lowest price is seventy-five cents. it fifty, and that is all I will give. So here is I always pay a dollar for Mr. Brandon's. The your money-three dollars."

difference is a very important one to her-no And Mrs. Lander took out her purse and less than a dollar and a half. I found her in counted out six half dollars upon the table. much trouble about it, and her little boy crying Only for a few moments did the poor woman with disappointment at not getting a pair of hesitate. Bread she must have for her children; shoes his mother had promised him as soon as and if her clothes were not taken out of pawn she got the money for the shirts. He has been on that day—she had pledged them only for a from school for want of shoes for more than a week—they would be lost. Slowly did she week. So I took out my purse and gave Mrs. take up the money, while words of stinging Walton the dollar and a half to make up the rebuke were on her tongue. But she forced sum she had earned, and told her I would see herself to keep silence; and even departed, you about it. I acted right, did I not? Of bearing the wrong that had been laid upon her, course, it was a mistake on your part ?" without uttering a word.

Mrs. Lander was never more completely out“ Did you get my shoes as you promised, generalled in her life. The lady who had cormother ?” eagerly inquired her little boy, as she rected her error was one in whose good opinion came in, on returning from the house of Mrs. she had every reason for desiring to stand Lander.

high. She could grind the face of the poor “ No, dear," replied the heart-full mother, in without pity or shame, but for the world she a subdued voice. " I didn't get as much money would not be thought mean by Mrs. Brandon. as I expected."

“I am very much obliged to you indeed,” “When will you buy them, mother ?" asked she said, with a bland smile. " It was altothe child, as tears filled his eyes. "I can't go gether a mistake on my part, and I blame the to school this way." And he looked down at woman exceedingly for not having mentioned it his bare feet.

at the time. Heaven knows, I am the last per“I know you can't. Harry; and I will try son in the world who would grind the faces of and get them for you in a few days."

the poor! Yes, the very last person. Here is The child said no more, but shrunk away the money you paid for me, and I must repeat my with his little heart so full of disappointment thanks for your prompt correction of the error. that he could not keep the tears from gushing But I cannot help feeling vexed at the woman.” over his face. The mother's heart was quite “We must make many allowances for the as full. Little Harry sat down in a corner to poor, Mrs. Lander. They often bear a great weep in silence over his grief, and Mrs. Walton deal of wrong without a word of complaint. took her sewing into her hands ; but the tears Some people take advantage of their need, and, so blinded her eyes that she could not see because they are poor, make them work for the where to direct the needle. Before she had re- | merest pittance in the world. I know some covered herself, there was a knock at the door, persons, and they well off in the world, who alwhich was opened immediately afterwards by a ways employ the poorest class of people, and lady who came into the room where the poor this under the pretence of favoring them, but, widow sat with her little family around her. in reality, that they may get their work done

More than an hour had passed since the un- at a rate cheaper than it can be made by people pleasant interview with the plain sewer, and who expect to derive from their labor a comMrs. Lander had not yet recovered her equanim- fortable support."




Mrs. Lander was stung to the quick by these, sideration still more unequivocally, Mrs. Lander words ; but she dared not show the least sign did not feel very comfortable, nor was her good of feeling.

opinion of herself quite so firm as it had been “ Surely no one professing to be a Christian earlier in the day. But she took good care, in can do so," she said.

the future, not to give any more work to Mrs. “Yes, people professing to be Christians do Walton, and was exceedingly particular afterthese things,” was replied; "but of course wards in employing poor people to know their professions need a better practice to prove whether they sewed for Mre. Brandon. There them of any worth.”

are a good many people in the world who enWhen her visitor retired, after having ex courage the poor on Mrs. Lander's principle. pressed her opinion on the subject under con



“How oft we seem
Like those that dream, and know the while they dream."

In the dim silence of the twilight hour,

While busy Memory cops her buried lore,
There comes a voice sometimes, with magic power,

Yet gentle tone, oft heard in days of yore;
And at its bidding, earth's wild visions seem
To pass away, like a remembered dream.

And often in the flush of hope and joy,

While the heart-pulse is bounding glad and free,
And life's full cup seems bliss without alloy,

That strange, sad voice, will whisper silently,
“ Earth's gayest hours of mirth will pass away-

Arouse thee, Dreamer! seek a purer day.”

In the home gatherings round the household hearth,

Where fond hearts meeting blend in deathless love,
In hours of hope, of sadness, or of mirth,

That spirit-voice seems whispering from above,
“Awake, vain Dreamer ! heed the warning well-
Earth's hopes are fleeting-break their fatal spell."

A moment's sadness, then a half resolve,

And that strange voice sleeps with the buried past ;
While my proud heart its joys and hopes revolve,

As if it felt a dream might always last.
Oh! for the power to be what we would seem,
That we might break earth's spell no more to dream.



TIME itself is a great revolutionist, and body did as she was doing, because it was sometimes a reformer. Its continual dropping fashionable, she allowed him to drain the sugar wears away rocks offlint and undermines saturated with brandy. And as he did it he thrones. Time perseveres in its work of dis smacked his lips with the keen relish of a toper. solution and re-organization, when other The apathy, which then held all minds on the powers grow weary with hopeless effort. Time evil of intemperance, was truly astonishing. A has been the witness to scenes of anguish, mother's sensitive heart would sometimes penewhen goodness and genius have been immo trate the delusions of fashion and custom, and lated on the altar of passion. Time also has see “hungry ruin” in prospect for her son. witnessed moral resurrections, when goodness Sometimes she would articulate her fears lest and genius have risen from the tomb in which Charles would become too fond of strong drink, they seemed buried forever. Time brings us but the husband hushed her by saying, “ Fudge, hope now, when we contrast it with time that wife, don't be alarmed, for this is nothing was. Let us see.

strange or unprecedented! In fact I believe I “Come, mother, do give me the sugar in the had as great a relish for such things at his age bottom of that glass; it is so good,” said a | as Charley has now, and you see I have done bright-looking boy, as he looked wistfully up well enough!" into her face, while with one hand he clung to The wife would have spoken had she dared, her gown.

as she looked into the face of her husband, “Why, Charles,” said his mother, “ you will bloated and blossomed as it was. She would become a real toddy-drinker if you keep on at have used to the father his own prospective this rate. Your mouth waters now like an old

ruin as an argument why his son should avoid rummy's! Here, I will give you a lump from the same path of death. But such intimations the bowl, and throw this stuff away.”

only roused his anger, that she should hint that She was about to suit the action to the word, he was a drunkard, although not unfrequently when the little fellow cried out impatiently he had, at some great dinner, been “kicked

“I don't want a lump from the bowl, because under the table.” The wife suppressed her s it does not taste good like that in the glass !" thoughts, and time unravelled the web of des

A shade of anguish flitted across the mother's tiny. In three years that husband died-avoidcountenance, as she saw such precocity in a

ing fashionable nomenclature-a drunkard. babit she knew to be ruinous, and over which

Such a catastrophe roused the mother from already she had wept many tears. As she con her stupor, and with what success we shall see trasted the man of her heart's choice, marked presently. with the distinct tracery of vicious indulgence,

It was on a cold blustering day, just as with the noble and beautiful man he once was,

Charles was starting for school, that he came she could truly have said,

up to his mother:

“ Mother, I am afraid I shall take cold; come, " The thocts o' by-gane years

please fix me a little nice hot toddy to keep me Still fling their shadows ower my path,

warm !"
And blind my een wi' tears ;

It was said with a sort of shame-faced bold-
They blind my een wi' saut, saut tears,
And sair and sick I pine,

ness, as though he was not altogether sure of As memory idly summons up

doing right. But the mother detected the The blithe blinks o' lang syne."

cravings of appetite, and felt that the demon

must now be exorcised or keep possession forAnd yet because her child cried, and every- | ever, as she replied:

[blocks in formation]

“ No, Charles, you must not have any more, young. And yet that very period is the Scylla such drink. You must never touch it again and Charybdis of an educated man's life. Thirty or you will become such a drunkard as the years ago the dangers of that period were expoor man who died over the way. Do not you treme. Home has just been left behind; and remember how he shrieked and howled whilst now, for the first time, the youth becomes in a dying of delirium tremens ? No, Charles, you measure his own master. He is a social being, must give it up forever, or you may become as and in circumstances calculated to elicit all his great a drunkard as —

sociality. Hence the hours of mirth and conShe would have said “ your father," but of his viviality, in which at length are found not ruin thoughts trooped up frightfully, and her merely the blandishments of an hour, but the tongue refused to pronounce the harsh compari beginnings of inveterate habit, the cause of son. She burst into a flood of tears. The boy future tears, and, in too many cases, of premaseemed intuitively to catch what was passing in ture death. The history of American colleges her mind, and instantly sprung to her arms, af amply proves the assertion. fectionately kissing her cheek, as he said, “I

For two years Charles had avoided danger, won't drink any more, mother.” She pressed

and by diligence had secured the approbation him to her heart, and prayed silently.

of his fellows and instructors. The fall vacaFrom that day he seemed to be a different

tion had passed, and he was now a junior, when child. No inducement could make him taste a

he met a college mate whose social disposition drop of any intoxicating liquor, and with untir

and fine talents he had learned to admire. ing diligence he pursued his studies. His

“How are you, Charles ?” mind, rarely developed, comprehended and prac

“ How are you, William ?” were the mutual tised the idea that he must be the architect of

greetings with which they met, and then they his own fortune. His brilliant talents, the

recounted the pleasures they had enjoyed at more shining in one so young, made bim a

home. companion whose society was courted by all. Nature had fitted him to be the admired centre

“Charles, come to my room this evening of every circle in which he might move.

after nine o'clock. The tutor will be snoozing At the age of fourteen, Charles was entered

by that time, and we shall have a nice time a member of college. Common consent

talking over vacation, and what we have seen. soon assigned him the first place in the class,

Come over, won't you ?” and his brilliant qualities as a companion ren

Thus pressed, the unsuspecting Charles condered him a universal favorite. Would, I had

sented, and was there at the appointed hour. almost said, nature had moulded him into a He was surprised to find quite a company of ruggeder shape, with mental, moral, and physi mates, and those of a class whose company cal ugliness to repel vicious associates, instead hitherto he had avoided. He felt uneasy, and of attracting them to himself by so many ad wished himself away, but had not courage to mirable and fascinating qualities. Intemper gratify his own wishes. They soon surrounded ance is a social vice, and not a few of its most him, and their flattering attentions, and the upregretted victims are those whose companiona roar of laughter excited by some of his sayings, ble ways give zest to vice, and pave the high soon reconciled him to his situation. Anecway to ruin. How many victims has intem dote, that wine of sociality, freely circulated, perance made, through the social principle, in and in this, none could equal the widow's son. some circumstance perverted into the most From his tenacious memory he feasted his dangerous lure that ever caught the unwary. auditors with some choice stories, which pro

And what a meaning these words have when duced great merriment. applied to youth in college. The choicest! It was not long before William introduced minds there are congregated. Life is still

the champagne. Charles started and thought young, and sociality there sparkles like ruddy

of his mother. He would have left, but the wine. Who has not an exhilarating recollec

fear of ridicule was too strong for him. He } tion of the hearty laugh, and the brilliant re

feared a laugh more than a bad action, and joinder of the college circle, when “Greek has

proved, in his own experience, a drunkard's met Greek,” in the witty warfare? It is the very heyday of glee, and even frosty age is

"— laugh a poor exchange melted as it recurs to those scenes when it was

For Deity offended.”

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »