Part 2 out of 3
"You must have the fresh air, Mrs. Carleton," said the doctor,
emphatically. "Fresh air, change of scene, and exercise, are
indispensable in your case. You will die if you remain shut up after
this fashion. Come, take a ride with me."
"Doctor! How absurd!" exclaimed Mrs. Carleton, almost shocked by the
suggestion. "Ride with you! What would people think?"
"A fig for people's thoughts! Get your shawl and bonnet, and take a
drive with me. What do you care for meddlesome people's thoughts?
The doctor knew his patient.
"But you're not in earnest, surely?" There was a half-amused twinkle
in the lady's eyes.
"Never more in earnest. I'm going to see a patient just out of the
city, and the drive will be a charming one. Nothing would please me
better than to have your company."
There was a vein of humor, and a spirit of "don't care" in Mrs.
Carleton, which had once made her independent, and almost hoydenish.
But fashionable associations, since her woman-life began, had toned
her down into exceeding propriety. Fashion and conventionality,
however, were losing their influence, since enfeebled health kept
her feet back from the world's gay places; and the doctor's
invitation to a ride found her sufficiently disenthralled to see in
it a pleasing novelty.
"I've half a mind to go," she said, smiling. She had not smiled
before since the doctor came in.
"I'll ring for your maid," and Dr. Farleigh's hand was on the
bell-rope before Mrs. Carleton had space to think twice, and
endanger a change of thought.
"I'm not sure that I am strong enough for the effort," said Mrs.
Carleton, and she laid her head back upon the cushions in a feeble
"Trust me for that," replied the doctor.
The maid came in.
"Bring me a shawl and my bonnet, Alice; I am going to ride out with
the doctor." Very languidly was the sentence spoken.
"I'm afraid, doctor, it will be too much for me. You don't know how
weak I am. The very thought of such an effort exhausts me."
"Not a thought of the effort," replied Dr. Farleigh. "It isn't
"What is it?"
"A thought of appearances--of what people will say."
"Now, doctor! You don't think me so weak in that direction?"
"Just so weak," was the free-spoken answer. "You fashionable people
are all afraid of each other. You haven't a spark of individuality
or true independence. No, not a spark. You are quite strong enough
to ride out in your own elegant carriage but with the doctor!--O,
dear, no! If you were certain of not meeting Mrs. McFlimsey, perhaps
the experiment might be adventured. But she is always out on fine
"Doctor, for shame! How can you say that?"
And a ghost of color crept into the face of Mrs. Carleton, while her
eyes grew brighter--almost flashed.
The maid came in with shawl and bonnet. Dr. Farleigh, as we have
intimated, understood his patient, and said just two or three words
more, in a tone half contemptuous.
"Afraid of Mrs. McFlimsey!"
"Not I; nor of forty Mrs. McFlimseys!"
It was not the ghost of color that warmed Mrs. Carleton's face now,
but the crimson of a quicker and stronger heart-beat. She actually
arose from her chair without reaching for her maid's hand and stood
firmly while the shawl was adjusted and the bonnet-strings tied.
"We shall have a charming ride," said the doctor, as he crowded in
beside his fashionable lady companion, and took up the loose reins.
He noticed that she sat up erectly, and with scarcely a sign of the
languor that but a few minutes before had so oppressed her. "Lean
back when you see Mrs. McFlimsey's carriage, and draw your veil
closely. She'll never dream that it's you."
"I'll get angry if you play on that string much longer!" exclaimed
Mrs. Carleton; "what do I care for Mrs. McFlimsey?"
How charmingly the rose tints flushed her cheeks! How the light
rippled in her dark sweet eyes, that were leaden a little while
Away from the noisy streets, out upon the smoothly-beaten road, and
amid green field and woodlands, gardens and flower-decked orchards,
the doctor bore his patient, holding her all the while in pleasant
talk. How different this from the listless, companionless drives
taken by the lady in her own carriage--a kind of easy, vibrating
machine, that quickened the sluggish blood no more than a cushioned
Closely the doctor observed his patient. He saw how erectly she
continued to sit; how the color deepened in her face, which actually
seemed rounder and fuller; how the sense of enjoyment fairly danced
in her eyes.
Returning to the city by a different road, the doctor, after driving
through streets entirely unfamiliar to his companion, drew up his
horse before a row of mean-looking dwellings, and dropping the
reins, threw open the carriage door, and stepped upon the
pavement--at the same time reaching out his hand to Mrs. Carleton.
But she drew back, saying,--
"What is the meaning of this, doctor?"
"I have a patient here, and I want you to see her."
"O, no; excuse me, doctor. I've no taste for such things," answered
"Come--I can't leave you alone in the carriage. Ned might take a
fancy to walk off with you."
Mrs. Carleton glanced at the patient old horse, whom the doctor was
slandering, with a slightly alarmed manner.
"Don't you think he'll stand, doctor?" she asked, uneasily.
"He likes to get home, like others of his tribe. Come;" and the
doctor held out his hand in a persistent way.
Mrs. Carleton looked at the poor tenements before which the doctor's
carriage had stopped with something of disgust and something of
"I can never go in there, doctor."
"I might take some disease."
"Never fear. More likely to find a panacea there."
The last sentence was in an undertone.
Mrs. Carleton left the carriage, and crossing the pavement, entered
one of the houses, and passed up with the doctor to the second
story. To his light tap at a chamber door a woman's voice said,--
The door was pushed open, and the doctor and Mrs. Carleton went in.
The room was small, and furnished in the humblest manner, but the
air was pure, and everything looked clean and tidy. In a chair, with
a pillow pressed in at her back for a support, sat a pale, emaciated
woman, whose large, bright eyes looked up eagerly, and in a kind of
hopeful surprise, at so unexpected a visitor as the lady who came in
with the doctor. On her lap a baby was sleeping, as sweet, and pure,
and beautiful a baby as ever Mrs. Carleton had looked upon. The
first impulse of her true woman's heart, had she yielded to it,
would have prompted her to take it in her arms and cover it with
The woman was too weak to rise from her chair, but she asked Mrs.
Carleton to be seated in a tone of lady-like self-possession that
did not escape the visitor's observation.
"How did you pass the night, Mrs. Leslie?" asked the doctor.
"About as usual," was answered, in a calm, patient way; and she even
smiled as she spoke.
"How about the pain through your side and shoulder?"
"It may have been a little easier."
"What of the night sweats?"
"I don't think they have diminished any."
The doctor beat his eyes to the floor, and sat in silence for some
time. The heart of Mrs. Carleton was opening towards--the baby and it
was a baby to make its way into any heart. She had forgotten her own
weakness--forgotten, in the presence of this wan and wasted mother,
with a sleeping cherub on her lap, all about her own invalid state.
"I will send you a new medicine," said the doctor, looking up; then
speaking to Mrs. Carleton, he added,--
"Will you sit here until I visit two or three patients in the
"O, certainly," and she reached out her arms for the baby, and
removed it so gently from its mother's lap that its soft slumber was
not broken. When the doctor returned he noticed that there had been
tears in Mrs. Carleton's eyes. She was still holding the baby, but
now resigned the quiet sleeper to its mother, kissing it as she did
so. He saw her look with a tender, meaning interest at the white,
patient face of the sick woman, and heard her say, as she spoke a
word or two in parting,--
"I shall not forget you."
"That's a sad case, doctor," remarked the lady, as she took her
place in the carriage.
"It is. But she is sweet and patient."
"I saw that, and it filled me with surprise. She tells me that her
husband died a year ago."
"And that she has supported herself by shirt-making."
"But that she had become too feeble for work, and is dependent on a
younger sister, who earns a few dollars, weekly, at book-folding."
"The simple story, I believe," said the doctor.
Mrs. Carleton was silent for most of the way home; but thought was
busy. She had seen a phase of life that touched her deeply.
"You are better for this ride," remarked the doctor, as he handed
her from the carriage.
"I think so," replied Mrs. Carleton.
"There has not been so fine a color on your face for months."
They had entered Mrs. Carleton's elegant residence, and were sitting
in one of her luxurious parlors.
"Shall I tell you why?" added the doctor.
Mrs. Carleton bowed.
"You have had some healthy heart-beats."
She did not answer.
"And I pray you, dear madam, let the strokes go on," continued Dr.
Farleigh. "Let your mind become interested in some good work, and
your hands obey your thoughts, and you will be a healthy woman, in
body and soul. Your disease is mental inaction."
Mrs. Carleton looked steadily at the doctor.
"You are in earnest," she said, in a calm, firm way.
"Wholly in earnest, ma'am. I found you, an hour ago, in so weak a
state that to lift your hand was an exhausting effort. You are
sitting erect now, with every muscle taughtly strung. When will your
carriage be home?"
He asked the closing question abruptly.
"To-morrow," was replied.
"Then I will not call for you, but--"
"Say on, doctor."
"Will you take my prescription?"
"Yes." There was no hesitation.
"You must give that sick woman a ride into the country. The fresh,
pure, blossom-sweet air will do her good--may, indeed, turn the
balance of health in her favor. Don't be afraid of Mrs. McFlimsey."
"For shame, doctor! But you are too late in your suggestion. I'm
quite ahead of you."
"Ah! in what respect?"
"That drive into the country is already a settled thing. Do you
know, I'm in love with that baby?"
"Othello's occupation's gone, I see!" returned the doctor, rising.
"But I may visit you occasionally as a friend, I presume, if not as
a medical adviser?"
"As my best friend, always," said Mrs. Carleton, with feeling. "You
have led me out of myself, and showed me the way to health and
happiness; and I have settled the question as to my future. It shall
not be as the past."
And it was not.
HADN'T TIME FOR TROUBLE.
MRS. CALDWELL was so unfortunate as to have a rich husband. Not that
the possession of a rich husband is to be declared a misfortune,
_per se_, but, considering the temperament of Mrs. Caldwell, the
fact was against her happiness, and therefore is to be regarded,
taking the ordinary significance, of the term, as unfortunate.
Wealth gave Mrs. Caldwell leisure for ease and luxurious
self-indulgence, and she accepted the privileges of her condition.
Some minds, when not under the spur, sink naturally into, a state of
inertia, from which, when any touch of the spur reaches them, they
spring up with signs of fretfulness. The wife and mother, no matter
what her condition, who yields to this inertia, cannot escape the
spur. Children and servant, excepting all other causes, will not
spare the pricking heel.
Mrs. Caldwell was, by nature, a kind-hearted woman, and not lacking
in good sense. But for the misfortune of having a rich husband, she
might have spent an active, useful, happy life. It was the
opportunity which abundance gave for idleness and ease that marred
everything. Order in a household, and discipline among children, do
not come spontaneously. They are the result of wise forecast, and
patient, untiring, never-relaxing effort. A mere conviction of duty
is rarely found to be sufficient incentive; there must be the
impelling force of some strong-handed necessity. In the case of Mrs.
Caldwell, this did not exist; and so she failed in the creation of
that order in her family without which permanent tranquillity is
impossible. In all lives are instructive episodes, and interesting
as instructive. Let us take one of them from the life of this lady,
whose chief misfortune was in being rich.
Mrs. Caldwell's brow was clouded. It was never, for a very long
time, free from, clouds, for it seemed as if all sources of worry
and vexation were on the increase; and, to make matters worse,
patience was assuredly on the decline. Little things, once scarcely
observed, now give sharp annoyance, there being rarely any
discrimination and whether they were of accident, neglect, or
"Phoebe!" she called, fretfully.
The voice of her daughter answered, half-indifferently, from the
"Why don't you come when I call you?" Anger now mingled with
The face of a girl in her seventeenth year, on which sat no very
amiable expression, was presented at the door.
"Is that your opera cloak lying across the chair, and partly on the
Phoebe, without answering, crossed the room, and catching up the
garment with as little carefulness as if it had been an old shawl
threw it across her arm, and was retiring, when her mother said,
"Just see how you are rumpling that cloak! What do you mean?"
"I'm not hurting the cloak, mother," answered Phoebe, coolly. Then,
with a shade of reproof, she added, "You fret yourself for nothing."
"Do you call it nothing to abuse an elegant garment like that?"
demanded Mrs. Caldwell. "To throw it upon the floor, and tumble it
about as if it were an old rag?"
"All of which, mother mine, I have not done." And the girl tossed
her head with an air of light indifference.
"Don't talk to me in that way, Phoebe! I'll not suffer it. You are
forgetting yourself." The mother spoke with a sternness of manner
that caused her daughter to remain silent. As they stood looking at
each other, Mrs. Caldwell said, in a changed voice,--
"What is that on your front tooth?"
"A speck of something, I don't know what; I noticed it only
Mrs. Caldwell. crossed the room hastily, with a disturbed manner,
and catching hold of Phoebe's arm, drew her to a window.
"Let me see!" and she looked narrowly at the tooth, "Decay, as I
live!" The last sentence was uttered in a tone of alarm. "You must
go to the dentist immediately. This is dreadful! If your teeth are
beginning to fail now, you'll not have one left in your head by the
time you're twenty-five."
"It's only a speck," said Phoebe, evincing little concern.
"A speck! I And do you know what a speck means?" demanded Mrs.
Caldwell, with no chance in the troubled expression of her face.
"What does it mean?" asked Phoebe.
"Why, it means that the quality of your teeth is not good. One speck
is only the herald of another. Next week a second tooth may show
signs of decay, and a third in the week afterwards. Dear--dear! This
is too bad! The fact is, you are destroying your health. I've talked
and talked about the way you devour candies and sweetmeats; about
the way you sit up at night, and about a hundred other
irregularities. There must be a change in all. This, Phoebe, as I've
told you dozens and dozens of times."
Mrs. Caldwell was growing more and more excited.
"Mother! mother!" replied Phoebe, "don't fret yourself for nothing.
The speck can be removed in an instant."
"But the enamel is destroyed! Don't you see that? Decay will go on."
"I don't believe that follows at all," answered Phoebe, tossing her
head, indifferently, "And even if I believed in the worst, I'd find
more comfort in laughing than crying." And she ran off to her own
Poor Mrs. Caldwell sat down to brood over this new trouble; and as
she brooded, fancy wrought for her the most unpleasing images.
She saw the beauty of Phoebe, a few years later in life, most sadly
marred by broken or discolored teeth. Looking at that, and that
alone, it magnified itself into a calamity, grew to an evil which
She was still tormenting herself about the prospect of Phoebe's loss
of teeth, when, in passing through her elegantly-furnished parlors,
her eyes fell on a pale acid stain, about the size of a shilling
piece, one of the rich figures in the carpet. The color of this
figure was maroon, and the stain, in consequence, distinct; at
least, it became very distinct to her eye as they dwelt upon it as
if held there by a kind of fascination.
Indeed, for a while, Mrs. Caldwell could see nothing else but this
spot on the carpet; no, not even though she turned her eyes in
various directions, the retina keeping that image to the exclusion
of all others.
While yet in the gall of this new bitterness, Mrs. Caldwell heard a
carriage stop in front of the house, and, glancing through the
window, saw that it was on the opposite side of the street. She knew
it to be the carriage of a lady whose rank made her favor a
desirable thing to all who were emulous of social distinction. To be
of her set was a coveted honor. For her friend and neighbor
opposite, Mrs. Caldwell did not feel the highest regard; and it
rather hurt her to see the first call made in that quarter, instead
of upon herself. It was no very agreeable thought, that this
lady-queen of fashion, so much courted and regarded, might really
think most highly of her neighbor opposite. To be second to her,
touched the quick of pride, and hurt.
Only a card was left. Then the lady reentered her carriage. What?
Driving away? Even so. Mrs. Caldwell was not even honored by a call!
This was penetrating the quick. What could it mean? Was she to be
ruled out of this lady's set? The thought was like a wounding arrow
to her soul.
Unhappy Mrs. Caldwell! Her daughter's careless habits; the warning
sign of decay among her pearly teeth; the stain on a beautiful
carpet, and, worse than all as a pain-giver, this slight from a
magnate of fashion;--were not these enough to cast a gloom over the
state of a woman who had everything towards happiness that wealth
and social station could give, but did not know how to extract from
them the blessing they had power to bestow? Slowly, and with
oppressed feelings, she left the parlors, and went up stairs. Half
an hour later, as she sat alone, engaged in the miserable work of
weaving out of the lightest material a very pall of shadows for her
soul, a servant came to the door, and announced a visitor. It was an
intimate friend, whom she could not refuse to see--a lady named Mrs.
"How are you, Mrs. Caldwell?" said the visitor, as the two ladies
"Miserable," was answered. And not even the ghost of a smile played
over the unhappy face.
"Are you sick?" asked Mrs. Bland, showing some concern.
"No, not exactly sick. But, somehow or other, I'm in a worry about
things all the while. I can't move a step in any direction without
coming against the pricks. It seems as though all things were
conspiring against me."
And then Mrs. Caldwell went, with her friend, through the whole
series of her morning troubles, ending with the sentence,--
"Now, don't you think I am beset? Why, Mrs. Bland, I'm in a
"A purgatory of your own creating, my friend," answered Mrs. Bland
with the plainness of speech warranted by the intimacy of their
friendship; "and my advice is to come out of it as quickly as
"Come out of it! That is easily said. Will you show me the way?"
"At some other time perhaps. But this morning I have something else
on hand. I've called for you to go with me on an errand of mercy."
There was no Christian response in the face of Mrs. Caldwell. She
was too deep amid the gloom of her own, wretched state to have
sympathy for others.
"Mary Brady is in trouble," said Mrs. Bland.
"What has happened?" Mrs. Caldwell was alive with interest in a
"Her husband fell through a hatchway yesterday, and came near being
"The escape was miraculous."
"Is he badly injured?"
"A leg and two ribs broken. Nothing more, I believe. But that is a
very serious thing, especially where the man's labor is his family's
"Poor Mary!" said Mrs. Caldwell, in real sympathy. "In what a
dreadful state she must be! I pity her from the bottom of my heart."
"Put on your things, and let us go and see her at once."
Now, it is never a pleasant thing for persons like Mrs. Caldwell to
look other people's troubles directly in the face. It is bad enough
to dwell among their own pains and annoyances, and they shrink from
meddling with another's griefs. But, in the present case, Mrs.
Caldwell, moved by a sense of duty and a feeling of interest in Mrs.
Brady, who had, years before, been a faithful domestic in her
mother's house, was, constrained to overcome all reluctance, and
join her friend in the proposed visit of mercy.
"Poor Mary! What a state she must be in!"
Three or four times did Mrs. Caldwell repeat this sentence, as they
walked towards that part of the town in which Mrs. Brady resided.
"It makes me sick, at heart to think of it," she added.
At last they stood at the door of a small brick house, in a narrow
street, and knocked. Mrs. Caldwell dreaded to enter, and even shrank
a little behind her friend when she heard a hand on the lock. It was
Mary who opened the door--Mary Brady, with scarcely a sign of change
in her countenance, except that it was a trifle paler.
"O! Come in!" she said, a smile of pleasure brightening over her
face. But Mrs. Caldwell could not smile in return. It seemed to her
as if it would be a mockery of the trouble which had come down upon
that humble dwelling.
"How is your husband, Mary?" she asked with a solemn face, as soon
as they had entered. "I only heard a little while ago of this
"Thank you, ma'am," replied Mrs. Brady, her countenance hardly
falling to a serious tone in its expression. "He's quite comfortable
to-day; and it's such a relief to see him out of pain. He suffered
considerably through the night, but fell asleep just at day dawn,
and slept for several hours. He awoke almost entirely free from
"There are no internal injuries, I believe," said Mrs. Bland.
"None, the doctor says. And I'm so thankful. Broken bones are bad
enough, and it is hard to see as kind and good a husband as I have
suffer,"--Mary's eyes grew wet, "but they will knit and become strong
again. When I think how much worse it might have been, I am
condemned for the slightest murmur that escapes my lips."
"What are you going to do, Mary?" asked Mrs. Caldwell. "Your husband
won't be fit for work in a month, and you have a good many mouths to
"A woman's wit and a woman's will can do a great deal," answered
Mrs. Brady, cheerfully. "You see"--pointing to a table, on which lay
a bundle--"that I have already been to the tailor's for work. I'm a
quick sewer, and not afraid but what I can earn sufficient to keep
the pot boiling until John is strong enough to go to work again.
'Where there's a will, there's a way,' Mrs. Caldwell. I've found
that true so far, and I reckon it will be true to the end. John will
have a good resting spell, poor man! And, dear knows, he's a right
to have it, for he's worked hard, and with scarcely a holiday, since
we were married."
"Well, well, Mary," said Mrs. Caldwell, in manifest surprise, "you
beat me out! I can't understand it. Here you are, under
circumstances that I should call of a most distressing and
disheartening nature, almost as cheerful as if nothing had happened.
I expected to find you overwhelmed with trouble, but, instead, you
are almost as tranquil as a June day."
"The truth is," replied Mrs. Brady, drawing, almost for shame, a
veil of sobriety over her face, "I've had no time to be troubled. If
I'd given up, and set myself down with folded hands, no doubt I
should have been miserable enough. But that isn't my way, you see.
Thinking about what I shall do, and their doing it, keep me so well
employed, that I don't get opportunity to look on the dark side of
things. And what would be the use? There's always a bright side as
well as a dark side, and I'm sure it's pleasant to be on the bright
side, if we can get there; and always try to manage it, somehow."
"Your secret is worth knowing, Mary," said Mrs. Bland.
"There's no secret about it," answered the poor woman, "unless it be
in always keeping busy. As I said just now, I've no time to be
troubled, and so trouble, after knocking a few times at my door, and
not gaining admittance, passes on to some other that stands ajar--and
there are a great many such. The fact is, trouble don't like to
crowd in among busy people, for they jostle her about, and never
give her a quiet resting place, and so she soon departs, and creeps
in among the idle ones. I can't give any better explanation, Mrs.
"Nor, may be, could the wisest philosopher that lives," returned
The two friends, after promising to furnish Mrs. Brady with an
abundance of lighter and more profitable sewing than she had
obtained at a clothier's, and saying and doing whatever else they
felt to be best under the circumstances, departed. For the distance
of a block they walked in silence. Mrs. Caldwell spoke first.
"I am rebuked," she said; "rebuked, as well as instructed. Above all
places in the world, I least expected to receive a lesson there."
"Is it not worth remembering?" asked the friend.
"I wish it were engraved in ineffaceable characters on my heart. Ah,
what a miserable self-tormentor I have been! The door of my heart
stand always ajar, as Mary said, and trouble comes gliding in that
all times, without so much as a knock to herald his coming. I must
shut and bar the door!"
"Shut it, and bar it, my friend!" answered Mrs. Bland. "And when
trouble knocks, say to her, that you are too busy with orderly and
useful things--too earnestly at work in discharging dutiful
obligations, in the larger sphere, which, by virtue of larger means,
is yours to work in--to have any leisure for her poor companionship,
and she will not tarry on your threshold. Throw to the winds such
light causes of unhappiness as were suffered to depress you this
morning, and they will be swept away like thistle down."
"Don't speak of them. My cheek burns at the remembrance," said Mrs.
They now stood at Mrs. Caldwell's door.
"You will come in?"
"No. The morning has passed, and I must return home."
"When shall I see you?" Mrs. Caldwell grasped tightly her friends'
"In a day or two."
"Come to-morrow, and help me to learn in this new book that has been
opened. I shall need a wise and a patient teacher. Come, good, true,
"Give yourself no time for trouble," said Mrs. Bland, with a tender,
encouraging smile. "Let true thoughts and useful deeds fill all your
hours. This is the first lesson. Well in the heart, and all the rest
And so, Mrs. Caldwell found it. The new life she strove to lead, was
easy just in the degree she lived in the spirit of this lesson, and
hard just in the degree of her departure.
A GOOD NAME.
TWO boys, named Jacob Peters and Ralph Gilpin were passing along
Chestnut Street one evening about ten years ago, when one of them,
stopped, and said,--
"Come, Ralph, let us have some oysters. I've got a quarter." They
were in front of an oyster-cellar.
"No," replied Ralph, firmly. "I'm not going down there."
"I didn't mean that we should get anything to drink," replied the
"No matter: they sell liquor, and I don't wish to be seen in such a
"That's silly," said Jacob Peters, speaking with some warmth. "It
can't hurt you to be seen there. They sell oysters, and all we
should go there for would be to buy oysters. Come along. Don't be
foolish!" And Jacob grasped the arm of Ralph, and tried to draw him
towards the refectory. But Ralph stood immovable.
"What harm can it do?" asked Jacob.
"It might do at great deal of harm."
"In what way?"
"By hurting my good name."
"I don't understand you."
"I might be seen going in or coming out by some one who know me, and
who might take it for granted that my visit, was for liquor."
"Well, suppose he did? He would be wrong in his inference; and what
need you care? A clear conscience, I have heard my uncle say, is
better than any man's opinion, good or bad."
"I prefer the clear conscience and the good opinion together, if I
can secure both at the same time," said Ralph.
"O, you're too afraid of other people's opinions," replied Jacob, in
a sneering manner. "As for me, I'll try to do right and be right,
and not bother myself about what people may think. Come, are you
going to join me in a plate of oysters?"
"Very well. Good by. I'm sorry you're afraid to do right for fear
somebody may think you're going to do wrong," and Jacob Peters
descended to the oyster-cellar, while Ralph Gilpin passed on his way
homeward. As Jacob entered the saloon he met a man who looked at him
narrowly, and as Jacob thought, with surprise. He had seen this man
before, but did not know his name.
A few weeks afterwards, the two boys, who were neighbor, sat
together planning a row-boat excursion on the Schuylkill.
"We'll have Harry Elder, and Dick Jones, and Tom Forsyth," said
"No, not Tom Forsyth," objected Ralph.
"Why not? He's a splendid rower."
"I don't wish to be seen in his company," said Ralph. "He doesn't
bear a good character."
"O, well; that's nothing to us."
"I think it is a great deal to us. We are judged by the company we
"Let people judge; who cares?" replied Jacob; "not I."
"Well, I do, then," answered Ralph.
"I hate to see a boy so 'fraid of a shadow as you are."
"A tainted name is no shadow; but a real evil to be afraid of."
"I don't see how our taking Tom Forsyth along is going to taint your
name, or mine either."
"He's a bad boy," Ralph firmly objected. "He uses profane language.
You and I have both seen him foolish from drink. And we know that he
was sent home from a good place, under circumstances that threw
suspicion on his honesty. This being so, I am not going to be seen
in his company. I think too much of my good name."
"But, Ralph," urged Jacob, in a persuasive manner, "he's such a
splendid rower. Don't be foolish about it; nobody'll see us. And we
shall have such a grand time. I'll make him promise not to use a
wicked word all day."
"It's no use to talk, Jacob. I'm not going in company with Tom
Forsyth if I never go boating."
"You're a fool!" exclaimed Jacob, losing his temper.
Ralph's face burned with anger, but he kept back the sharp words
that sprung to his lips, and after a few moments said, with forced
"There's no use in you're getting mad about it, Jacob. If you prefer
Tom to me, very well. I haven't set my heart on going."
"I've spoken to Tom already" said Jacob, cooling off a little. "And
he's promised to go; so there's no getting away from it. I'm sorry
you're so over nice."
The rowing party came off, but Ralph was not of the number. As the
boys were getting into the boat at Fairmount, Jacob noticed two or
three men standing on the wharf; and on lifting his eyes to the face
of one of them, he recognized the same individual who had looked at
him so intently as he entered the oyster saloon. The man's eyes
rested upon him for a few moments, and then turned to the boy, Tom
Forsyth. Young Peters might have been mistaken, but he thought he
saw on the man's face a look of surprise and disapprobation. Somehow
or other he did not feel very comfortable in mind as the boat pushed
off from shore. Who was this man? and why had he looked at him twice
so intently, and with something of disapproval in his face?
Jacob Peters was fifteen years old. He had left school a few weeks
before, and his father was desirous of getting him into a large
whole-sale house, on Market Street. A friend was acquainted with a
member of the firm, and through his kind offices he hoped to make
the arrangement. Some conversation had already taken place between
the friend and merchant, who said they wished another lad in the
store, but were very particular as to the character of their boys.
The friend assured him that Jacob was a lad of excellent character;
and depending on this assurance, a preliminary engagement had been
made, Jacob was to go into the store just one week from the day on
which he went on the boating excursion. Both his own surprise and
that of his father may be imagined when a note came, saying that the
firm in Market Street had changed its views in regard to a lad, and
would not require the services of Jacob Peters.
The father sent back a polite note, expressing regret at the change
of view, and asking that his son should still be borne in mind, as
he would prefer that situation for him to any other in the city.
Jacob was the bearer of this note. When he entered the store, the
first person he met was the man who looked at him so closely in the
oyster saloon and on the wharf at Fairmount. Jacob handed him the
note, which he opened and read, and then gave him cold bow.
A glimpse of the truth passed through Jacob's mind. He had been
misjudged, and here was the unhappy result. His good name had
suffered, and yet he had done nothing actually wrong. But boys, like
men, are judged by the company they keep and the places in which
they are seen.
"I'm going into a store next week," said Ralph Gilpin, to his friend
Jacob, about a week afterwards.
"Where?" asked Jacob.
"On Market Street."
"In what store?"
"In A. & L.'s," replied Ralph.
"O, no!" ejaculated Jacob, his face flushing, "not there!"
"Yes," replied Ralph. "I'm going to A. & L.'s. Father got me the
place. Don't you think I'm lucky? They're very particular about the
boys they taking that store. Father says he considers their choice
of me quite a compliment. I'm sure I feel proud enough about it."
"Well, I think they acted very meanly," said Jacob, showing sonic
anger. "They promised father that I should have the place."
"Are you sure about that?" asked the young friend.
"Certainly I am. I was to go there this week. But they sent father a
note, saying they had changed their minds about a boy."
"Perhaps," suggested Ralph, "it you were seen going into a drinking
saloons or in company with Tom Forsyth. You remember what I said to
you about preserving a good name."
Jacob's face colored, and his eyes fell to the ground.
"O, that's only your guess," he replied, tossing his head, and
putting on an incredulous look; but he felt in his heart that the
suggestion of Ralph was true.
It was over six months before Jacob Peters was successful in getting
a place, and then he had to go into a third-rate establishment,
where the opportunity for advancement was small, and where his
associates were not of the best character.
The years passed on; and Ralph continued as careful as in the
beginning to preserve a good name. He was not content simply with
doing right; but felt that it was a duty to himself, and to all who
might, in any way be dependent on him, to appear right also. He was,
therefore, particular in regard to the company he kept and the
places he visited. Jacob, on the, contrary, continued to let
inclination rather than prudence govern him in these matters. His
habits were probably as good as those of Ralph, and his business
capacity fully equal. But he was not regarded with the same favor,
for he was often seen in company with young men known to be of loose
morals, and would occasionally, visit billiard-saloons,
tenpin-alleys, and other places where men of disreputable character
are found. His father, who observed Jacob closely, remonstrated with
him occasionally as the boy advanced towards manhood; but Jacob put
on an independent air, and replied that he went on the principle of
being right with himself. "You can't," he would say, "keep free from
misjudgment, do what you will. Men are always more inclined to think
evil of each other than good. I do nothing that I'm ashamed of."
So he continued to go where he pleased, and to associate with whom
he pleased, not caring what people might say.
It is no very easy thing for as young man to make his way in the
world. All the avenues to success are thickly crowded with men of
talent, industry, and energy, and many favorable circumstances must
conspire to help him who gets very far in advance. Talent and
industry are wanted in, business, but the passport of a good
character must accompany them, or they cannot be made rightly
available to their possessor. it is, therefore, of the first
importance to preserved a good name, for this, if united with
ability and industry, with double your chances of success in life;
for men will put confidence in you beyond what they can in others,
who do not stand so fairly in common estimation.
In due time Ralph Gilpin and Jacob Peters entered the world as men,
but not at equal advantage. They had learned the same business, and
were both well acquainted with its details; but Ralph stood fairer
in the eyes of business men, with whom he had come in contact,
because he had been more careful about his reputation.
While Jacob was twenty-three years of age, he was getting a salary
of one thousand dollars a year; but this was too small a sum to meet
the demands that had come upon him. His father, to whom he was
tenderly attached, had lost his health and failed in business. In
consequence of this, the burden of maintaining the family fell
almost entirely on Jacob. It would not have been felt as a burden if
his income had been sufficient for their support. But it was not,
unless their comfortable style of living was changed, and all shrunk
together in a smaller house. He had sisters just advancing towards
womanhood, and for their sakes, particularly, did he regret the
stern necessity that required a change.
About this time, the death of a responsible clerk in the house of A.
& L. left a vacancy to be filled, and as Jacob was in every way
competent to take the position, which commanded a salary of eighteen
hundred dollars he made application; Ralph Gilpin, who was a
salesman in the house, said all that he could in Jacob's favor; but
the latter had not been careful to preserve a good name, and this
was against him. The place was one of trust, and the members of the
firm, after considering the matter, decided adversely. Nothing as to
fact was alleged or known. Not a word as to his conduct in life was
said against him. But he had often been seen in company with young
men who did not bear a solid reputation, and where doubt existed, it
was not considered safe to employ him. So that good opportunity was
lost--lost through his own fault.
Poor Jacob felt gloomy and disappointed for a time; talked of
"fate," "bad luck," and all that kind of nonsense, when the cause of
his ill-success was to be attributed solely to an unwise disregard
"We shall have to remove," he said to his mother in a troubled way,
after this disappointment. "If I had secured the situation at A. &
L.'s all would have been well with us. But now nothing remains but
to seek a humbler place to remain here will only involve us in debt;
and that, above all things, we must avoid. I am sorry for Jane and
Alice; but it can't be helped."
His mother tried to answer cheerfully and hopefully: but her words
did not dispel a single shadow from his mind. A few days after this,
a gentleman said to Jacob Peters,--
"I'll give you a hint of something that is coming in the way of good
fortune. A gentleman, whose name I do not feel at liberty to
mention, contemplates going into your business. He has plenty of
capital, and wishes to unite himself with a young, active, and
experienced man. Two or three have been thought of--you among the
rest; find I believe it has been finally settled that Jacob Peters
is to be the man. So let me congratulate you, my young friend, on
this good fortune."
And he grasped the hand of Jacob, and shook it warmly. From the vale
of despondency, the young man was at once elevated to the
mountain-top of hope, and felt, for a time, bewildered in prospect
of the good fortune awaited him.
Almost in that very hour the capitalist, to whom his friend
referred, was in conversation with Mr. A., of the firm of A. & L.
"I have about concluded to associate with myself in business young
Jacob Peters," said the former; "but before coming to a final
conclusion, I thought it best to ask your opinion in the matter. You
know the young man?"
"Yes," replied Mr. A., "I have known him in a business way for
several years. We have considerable dealing with the house in which
he is employed."
"What do you think of him?"
"He is a young man of decided business qualities."
"So it appear's to me. And you think favorably of him?"
"As to the business qualification I do," replied Mr. A., placing an
emphasis on the word business.
"Then you do not think favorably of him in some other respect?"
Mr. A. was silent.
"I hope," said the, other, "that you will speak out plainly. This is
a matter, to me, of the first importance. If you know of any reason
why I should not associate this young man with me in business I
trust you will speak without reserve."
Mr. A. remained silent for some moments, and then said,--
"I feel considerably embarrassed in regard to this matter. I would
on no account give a wrong impression in regard to the young man. He
may be all right; is all right, perhaps; but--"
"But what, sir?"
"I have seen him in company with young men whose characters are not
fair. And I have seen him entering into and coming out of places
where it is not always safe to go."
"Enough, sir, enough!" said the gentleman, emphatically, "The matter
is settled. It may be all right with him, as you say. I hope it is.
But he can never be a partner of mine. And now, passing from him, I
wish to ask about another young man, who has been in my mind second
to Peters. He is in your employment."
"Ralph Gilpin, you mean."
"In every way unexceptionable. I can speak of him with the utmost
confidence. He is right in all respects--right as to the business
quality, right as to character, and right as to associations. You
could not have a better man."
"The matter is settled, then," replied the gentleman. "I will take
Ralph Gilpin if neither you nor he objects."
"There will be no objection on either side, I can answer for that,"
said Mr. A., and the interview closed.
From the mountain-top of hope, away down into the dark vale of
despondency, passed Jacob Peters, when it was told him that Ralph
Gilpin was to be a partner in the new firm which he had expected to
"And so nothing is left to us," he said to himself, in bitterness of
spirit, "but go down, while others, no better than we are, move
steadily upwards. Why should Ralph Gilpin be preferred before me? He
has no higher ability nor stricter integrity. He cannot be more
faithful, more earnest, or more active than I would have been in the
new position. But I am set aside and he is taken. It is a bitter,
Three years have passed, and Ralph Gilpin is on the road to fortune,
while Jacob Peters remains a clerk. And why? The one was careful of
his good name; the other was not.
My young reader, take the lesson to heart. Guard well your good
name; and as name signifies quality, by all means guard your spirit,
so that no evil thing enter there; and your good name shall be only
the expression of your good quality.
"IF they wouldn't let him have it!" said Mrs. Leslie, weeping. "O,
if they wouldn't sell him liquor, there'd be no trouble! He's one of
the best of men when he doesn't drink. He never brings liquor into
the house; and he tries hard enough, I know, to keep sober, but he
cannot pass Jenks's tavern."
Mrs. Leslie was talking with a sympathizing neighbor, who responded,
by saying, that she wished the tavern would burn down, and that, for
her part, she didn't feel any too good to apply fire to the place
herself. Mrs. Leslie sighed, and wiped away the tears with her
"It's hard, indeed, it is," she murmured, "to see a man like Jenks
growing richer and richer every day out of the earnings of poor
working-men, whose families are in want of bread. For every sixpence
that goes over his counter some one is made poorer--to some heart is
given a throb of pain."
"It's a downright shame!" exclaimed the neighbor, immediately. "If I
had my way with the lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, I'd see that he
did something useful, if it was to break stone on the road. Were it
my husband, instead of yours, that he enticed into his bar, depend
on't he'd get himself into trouble."
While this conversation was going on, a little girl, not over ten
years of age, sat listening attentively. After a while she went
quietly from the room, and throwing her apron over head, took her
way, unobserved by her mother, down the road.
Where was little Lizzie going? There was a purpose in her mind: She
had started on a mission. "O, if they wouldn't sell him liquor!"
These earnest, tearful words of her, mother had filled her thoughts.
If Mr. Jenks wouldn't sell her father anything to drink, "there
would be no more trouble." How simple, how direct the remedy! She
would go to Mr. Jenks, and ask him not to let her father have any
more liquor, and then all would be well again. Artless, innocent
child! And this was her mission.
The tavern kept by Jenks, the laziest man in Milanville,--he was too
lazy to work, and therefore went to tavern-keeping,--stood nearly a
quarter of a mile from the poor tenement occupied by the Leslies.
Towards this point, under a hot, sultry sun, little Lizzie made her
way, her mind so filled with its purpose that she was unconscious of
heat of fatigue.
Not long before a traveller alighted at the tavern. After giving
directions to have his horses fed, he entered the bar-room, and went
to where Jenks stood, behind the counter.
"Have something to drink?" inquired the landlord.
"I'll take a glass of water, if you please."
Jenks could not hide the indifference at once felt towards the
stranger. Very deliberately he set a pitcher and a glass upon the
counter, and then turned partly away. The stranger poured out a
tumbler of water, and drank it off with an air of satisfaction.
"Good water, that of yours, landlord," said he.
"Is it?" was returned, somewhat uncourteously.
"I call it good water--don't you?"
"Never drink water by itself." As Jenks said this, he winked to one
of his good customers, who was lounging, in the bar. "In fact, it's
so long since I drank any water, that I forgot how it tastes. Don't
The man, to whom this was addressed, was not so far lost to shame as
Jenks. He blushed and looked confused, as he replied,--
"It might be better for some of us if we had not lost our relish for
"A true word spoken, my friend!" said the stranger, turning to the
man, whose swollen visage, and patched, threadbare garments, too
plainly told the story of his sad life. "'Water, pure water, bright
water;' that is my motto. It never swells the face, nor inflames the
eyes, nor mars the countenance. Its attendants are health, thrift,
and happiness. It takes not away the children's bread, nor the
toiling wife's garments. Water!--it is one of God's chiefest
blessings! Our friend, the landlord here, says he has forgotten how
it tastes; and you have lost all relish for the refreshing draught!
Ah, this is a sad confession!--one which the angels might weep to
There were two or three customers in the bar besides Leslie, to whom
this was addressed; and all of them, in spite of the landlord's
angry and sneering countenance, treated the stranger with attention
and respect. Seeing this, Jenks could not restrain himself; so,
coming from behind his bar, he advanced to his side, and, laying his
hand quite rudely on his shoulder, said, in a peremptory manner,--
"See here, my friend! If you are about making a temperance lecture,
you can adjourn to the Town Hall or the Methodist Chapel."
The stranger moved aside a pace or two, so that the hand of Jenks
might fall from his person, and then said, mildly,--
"There must be something wrong here if a man may not speak in praise
of water without giving offense."
"I said you could adjourn your lecture!" The landlord's face was now
fiery red, and he spoke with insolence and passion.
"O, well, as you are president of the meeting, I suppose we must let
you exercise an arbitrary power of adjournment," said the stranger,
good-humoredly. "I didn't think any one had so strong a dislike for
water as to consider its praise an insult."
At this moment a child stepped into the bar-room. Her little face
was flushed, and great beads of perspiration were slowly moving down
her crimson cheeks. Her step was elastic, her manner earnest, and
her large, dark eyes bright with an eager purpose. She glanced
neither to the right nor the left, but walking up to the landlord,
lifted to him her sweet young face, and said, in tones that thrilled
every heart but his,--
"Please, Mr. Jenks, don't sell papa any more liquor!"
"Off home with you, this instant!" exclaimed Jenks, the crimson of
his face deepening to a dark purple. As he spoke, he advanced
towards the child, with his hand uplifted in a threatening attitude.
"Please don't, Mr. Jenks," persisted the child, not moving from
where she stood, nor taking her eyes front the landlord's
countenance. "Mother says, if you wouldn't sell him liquor, there'd
be no trouble. He's kind and good to us all when he doesn't drink."
"Off, I say!" shouted Jenks, now maddened beyond self-control; and
his hand was about descending upon the little one, when the stranger
caught her in his arms, exclaiming, as he did so, with deep
"God bless the child! No, no, precious one!" he added; "don't fear
him. Plead for your father--plead for your home. Your petition must
prevail! He cannot say nay to one of the little ones, whose angels
do always behold the face of their Father in heaven. God bless the
child!" added the stranger, in a choking voice. "O, that the father,
for whom she has come on this touching errand, were present now! If
there were anything of manhood yet left in his nature, this would
awaken it from its palsied sleep."
"Papa! O, papa!" now cried the child, stretching forth her hands. In
the next moment she was clinging to the breast of her father, who,
with his arms clasped tightly around her, stood weeping and mingling
his tears with those now raining from the little one's eyes.
What an oppressive stillness pervaded that room! Jenks stood subdued
and bewildered, his state of mental confusion scarcely enabling him
to comprehend the full import of the scene. The stranger looked on
wonderingly, yet deeply affected. Quietly, and with moist eyes, the
two or three drinking customers who had been lounging in the bar,
went stealthily out; and the landlord, the stranger and the father
and his child, were left the only inmates of the room.
"Come, Lizzie, dear! This is no place for us," said Leslie, breaking
the deep silence. "We'll go home."
And the unhappy inebriate took his child by the hand, and led her
towards the door. But the little one held back.
"Wait, papa; wait!" she said. "He hasn't promised yet. O, I wish he
"Promise her, in Heaven's name!" said the stranger.
"Promise!" said Leslie, in a stern yet solemn voice, as he turned
and fixed his eyes upon the landlord.
"If I do promise, I'll keep it!" returned Jenks, in a threatening
tone, as he returned the gaze of Leslie.
"Then, for God's sake, _promise!_" exclaimed Leslie, in a
half-despairing voice. "_Promise, and I'm safe!_"
"Be it so! May I be cursed, if ever I sell you a drop of drinking at
this bar, while I am landlord of the 'Stag and Hounds'!" Jenks spoke
with with an angry emphasis.
"God be thanked!" murmured the poor drunkard, as he led his child
away. "God be thanked! There is hope for me yet."
Hardly had the mother of Lizzie missed her child, ere she entered,
leading her father by the hand.
"O, mother!" she exclaimed, with a joy-lit countenance, and in a
voice of exultation, "Mr. Jenks has promised."
"Promised what?" Hope sprung up in her heart, on wild and fluttering
wings, her face flushed, and then grew deadly pale. She sat panting
for a reply.
"That he would never sell me another glass of liquor," said her
A pair of thin, white hands were clasped quickly together, an ashen
face was turned upwards, tearless eyes looked their thankfulness to
"There is hope yet, Ellen," said Leslie.
"Hope, hope! And O, Edward, you have said the word!"
"Hope, through our child. Innocence has prevailed over vice and
cruelty. She came to the strong, evil, passionate man, and, in her
weakness and innocence, prevailed over him. God made her fearless
A year afterwards a stranger came again that way, and stopped at the
"Stag and Hounds." As before, Jenks was behind his well-filled bar,
and drinking customers came and went in numbers. Jenks did not
recognize him until he called for water, and drank a full tumbler of
the pure liquor with a hearty zest. Then he knew him, but feigned to
be ignorant of his identity. The stranger made no reference to the
scene he had witnessed there a twelvemonth before, but lingered in
the bar for most of the day, closely observing every one that came
to drink. Leslie was not among the number.
"What has become of the man and the little girl I saw here, at my
last visit to Milanville?" said the stranger, speaking at last to
"Gone to the devil, for all I care," was the landlord's rude answer,
as he turned off from his questioner.
"For all you care, no doubt," said the stranger to himself. "Men
often speak their real thoughts in a passion."
"Do you see that little white cottage away off there, just at the
edge of the wood? Two tall poplars stand in front."
Thus spoke to the stranger one who had heard him address the
"I do. What of it?" he answered.
"The man you asked for lives there."
"And what is more, if he keeps on as he has begun, the cottage will
be all his own in another year. Jenks, here, doesn't feel any good
blood for him, as you may well believe. A poor man's prosperity is
regarded as so much loss to him. Leslie is a good mechanic--one of
the best in Milanville. He can earn twelve dollars a week, year in
and year out. Two hundred dollars he has already paid on his
cottage; and as he is that much richer, Jenks thinks himself just so
much poorer; for all this surplus, and more too, would have gone
into his till, if Leslie had not quit drinking."
"Aha! I see! Well, did Leslie, as you call him, ever try to get a
drink here, since the landlord promised never to let him have
"Twice to my knowledge."
"And he refused him?"
"Yes. If you remember, he said, in his anger, '_May I be cursed_, if
I sell him another drop.'"
"I remember it very well."
"That saved poor Leslie. Jenks is superstitious in some things. He
wanted to get his custom again,--for it was well worth having,--and he
was actually handing him the bottle one day, when I saw it, and
reminded him of his self-imprecation. He hesitated, looked
frightened, withdrew the bottle from the counter, and then, with
curses, drove Leslie from his bar-room, threatening, at the same
time, to horsewhip him if ever he set a foot over his threshold
"Poor drunkards!" mused the stranger, as he rode past the neat
cottage of the reformed man a couple of hours afterwards. "As the
case now stands, you are only saved as by fire. All law, all
protection, is on the side of those who are engaged in enticing you
into sin, and destroying you, body and soul. In their evil work,
they have free course. But for you, unhappy wretches, after they
have robbed you of worldly goods, and even manhood itself, are
provided prisons and pauper homes! And for your children,"--a dark
shadow swept over the stranger's face, and a shudder went through
his frame. "Can it be, a Christian country in which I live, and such
things darken the very sun at noonday!" he added as he sprung his
horse into a gallop and rode swiftly onward.
ALICE AND THE PIGEON.
ONE evening in winter as Alice, a dear little girl whom everybody
loved, pushed aside the curtains of her bedroom window, she saw the
moon half hidden by great banks of clouds, and only a few stars
peeping out here and there. Below, the earth lay dark, and cold. The
trees looked like great shadows.
There was at change in her sweet face as she let fall the curtain
and turned from the window.
"Poor birds!" she said.
"They are all safe," answered her mother, smiling. "God has provided
for every bird a place of rest and shelter, and each one knows where
it is and how to find it. Not many stay here in the winter time, but
fly away to the sunny south, where the air is warm and the trees
green and fruitful."
"God is very good," said the innocent child. Then she knelt with
folded hands, and prayed that her heavenly further would bless
everybody, and let his angels take care of her while she slept. Her
mother's kiss was still warm upon her lips as she passed into the
world of pleasant dreams.
In the morning, when Alice again pushed back the curtains from her
window, what a sight of wonder and beauty met her eyes! Snow had
fallen, and everything wore a garment of dazzling whiteness. In the
clear blue sky, away in the cast, the sun was rising; and as his
beams fell upon the fields, and trees, and houses, every object
glittered as if covered all over with diamonds.
But only for a moment or two did Alice look upon this beautiful
picture, for a slight movement drew her eyes to a corner of the
window-sill, on the outside, and there sat a pigeon close against
the window-pane, with its head drawn down and almost hidden among
the feathers, and its body shivering with cold. The pigeon did not
seem to be afraid of her, though she saw its little pink eyes
looking right into her own.
"O, poor, dear bird!" she said in soft, pitying tones, raising the
window gently, so that it might not be frightened away. Then she
stepped back and waited to see if the bird would not come in. Pigeon
raised its brown head in a half scared away; turned it to this side
and to that; and after looking first at the, comfortable chamber and
then away at the snow-covered earth, quietly hopped upon the sill
inside. Next he flew upon the back of a chair, and then down upon
"Little darling," said Alice, softly. Then she dressed herself
quickly, and went down stairs for some crumbs of bread, which she
scattered on the floor. The pigeon picked them up, with scarcely a
sign of fear.
As soon as he had eaten up all the crumbs, he flew back towards the
window and resting on the sill, swelled his glossy throat and cooed
his thanks to his little friend. After which darted away, the
morning sunshine glancing from wings.
A feeling of disappointment crept into the heart of Alice as the
bird swept out of sight. "Poor little darling!" she sighed. "If he
had only known how kind I would have been, and how safe he was here,
what nice food and pure water would have been given, he wouldn't
have flown away."
When Alice told about the visit of pigeon, at breakfast time, a
pleasant surprise was felt by all at the table. And they talked of,
doves and wood-pigeons, her father telling her once or two nice
stories, with which she was delighted. After breakfast, her mother
took a volume from the library containing Willis's exquisite poem,
"The little Pigeon," and gave it to Alice to read. She soon knew it
all by heart.
A great many times during the day Alice stood at the open door, or
looked from the windows, in hope of seeing the pigeon again. On a
distant house-top, from which the snow had been melted or blown
away, or flying through the air, she would get sight of a bird now
and then; but she couldn't tell whether or not it was the white and
brown pigeon she had sheltered and fed in the morning. But just
before sundown, as she stood by the parlor window, a cry of joy fell
from her lips. There was the pigeon sitting on a fence close by, and
looking, it seemed to her, quite forlorn.
Alice threw open the window, and then ran into the kitchen for some
crumbs of bread. When she came back, pigeon was still on the fence.
Then she called to him, holding out her her hand scattering a few
crumbs on the window-sill. The bird was hungry and had sharp eyes,
and when he saw Alice he no doubt remembered the nice meal she had
given him in the morning, in a few moments he flew to the window,
but seemed half afraid. So Alice stood a little back in the room,
when he began to pick up the crumbs. Then she came nearer and
nearer, holding out her hand that was full of crumbs, and as soon as
pigeon had picked up all that was on the sill, he took the rest of
his evening meal from the dear little girl's hand. Every now and
then he would stop and look up at his kind friend, as much as to
say, "Thank you for my nice supper. You are so good!" When he had
eaten enough, he cooed a little, bobbed his pretty head, and then
lifted his wings and flew away.
He did not come back again. At first Alice, was disappointed, but
this soon wore off, and only a feeling of pleasure remained.
"I would like so much to see him and feed him," she said. "But I
know he's better off and happier at his own home, with a nice place
to sleep in and plenty to eat, than sitting on a window-sill all
night in a snow storm." And then she would say over that sweet poem,
"The City Pigeon," which her mother had given her to get by heart.
Here it is, and I hope every one of my little readers will get it by
"Stoop to my window, thou beautiful dove!
Thy daily visits have touched my love.
I watch thy coming, and list the note
That stirs so low in thy mellow throat,
And my joy is high
To catch the glance of thy gentle eye.
"Why dost thou sit on the heated eaves,
And forsake the wood with its freshened leaves?
Why dost thou haunt the sultry street,
When the paths of the forest are cool and sweet?
How canst thou bear
This noise of people--this sultry air?
"Thou alone of the feathered race
Dost look unscared on the human face;
Thou alone, with a wing to flee,
Dost love with man in his haunts to be;
And the 'gentle dove'
Has become a name for trust and love.
"A holy gift is thine, sweet bird!
Thou'rt named with childhood's earliest word!
Thou'rt linked with all that is fresh and wild
In the prisoned thoughts of the city child;
And thy glossy wings
Are its brightest image of moving things.
"It is no light chance. Thou art set apart,
Wisely by Him who has tamed thy heart,
To stir the love for the bright and fair
That else were sealed in this crowded air
I sometimes dream
Angelic rays front thy pinions stream.
"Come then, ever, when daylight leaves
The page I read, to my humble eaves,
And wash thy breast in the hollow spout,
And murmur thy low sweet music out!
I hear and see
Lessons of heaven, sweet bird, in thee!"
DRESSED FOR A PARTY.
A LADY sat reading. She was so absorbed in her book as to be nearly
motionless. Her face, in repose, was serious, almost sad; for twice
a score of years had not passed without leaving the shadow of a
cloud or the mark of a tempest. The door opened, and, as she looked
up, pleasant smile lay softly on her lips. A beautiful girl,
elegantly attired for an evening party, came in.
"All ready?" said the lady, closing her volume, and looking at the
maiden with a lively interest, that blended thoughtfulness with
"All ready," aunt Helen. "And now what do you think of me? What is
the effect?" Tone, expression, and manner, all gave plainly enough
speaker's own answer to her questions. She thought the make up
splendid--the effect striking.
"Shall I say just what I think, Alice?"
A thin veil of shadows fell over the bright young countenance.
"Love will speak tenderly. But even tenderly-spoken things, not
moving with the current of our feelings, are not pleasant to hear."
"Say on, aunt Helen. I can listen to anything from you. You think me
overdressed. I see it in your eyes."
"You have read my thought correctly, dear."
"In what particular am I overdressed? Nothing could be simpler than
a white illusion."
"Without an abundance of pink trimming, it would be simple and
becoming enough. Your dressmaker has overloaded it with ribbon; at
least, so it appears to me. But, passing that let me suggest a
thought touching those two heavy bracelets. One, on the exposed arm,
is sufficiently attractive. Two will create the impression that you
are weakly fond of ornament; and in the eyes of every one who feels
this, the effect of your dress will be marred. Men and women see
down into our states of feeling with wonderful quick intuitions, and
read us while we are yet ignorant in regard to ourselves."
Alice unclasped, with a faint sigh, one of the bracelets, and laid
it on her aunt's bureau.
"Is that better?" she asked.
"I think so."
"But the arm is so naked, aunt. It wants something, just for
"To me the effect would be improved if arms and neck were covered.
But, as it is, if you think something required to draw attention
from the bare skin, let one ornament be the most simple in your
jewel box. You have a bracelet of hair, with neat mountings. Take
Alice stood for a while pondering her aunt's suggestion. Then, with
half-forced cheerfulness of tone, she answered,--
"May be you're right, I'll take the hair bracelets instead. And now,
"The critic's task is never for me a pleasant one, Alice. Least
pleasant when it touches one I love. If you had not asked what I
thought of your appearance, I would have intruded no exceptions. I
have been much in society since I was very young, and have always
been an observer. Two classes of women, I notice, usually make up
the staple of our social assemblages: those who consult taste in
dress, and those who study effect; those who think and appreciate,
and those who court admiration. By sensible people,--and we need not
pay much regard to the opinion of others,--these two classes are well
understood, and estimated at their real value."
"It is quite plain, aunt Helen," said Alice, her color much
heightened, "that you have set me over to the side of those who
study effect and court admiration."
"I think you are in danger of going over to that side, my dear," was
gently answered, "and I love you too well not to desire something
better for my niece. Turn your thought inward and get down, if
possible, to your actual state of mind. Why have you chosen this
very effective style of dress? It is not in good taste--even you, I
think, will agree with me so far."
"Not in good taste, aunt Helen!"
"A prima donna, or a ballet--"
"How, aunt!" Alice made a quick interruption.
"You see, my child, how I am affected. Let me say it out in plain
words--your appearance, when, you came in a few minutes ago actually
"Indeed, indeed, aunt Helen, you are too severe in your tastes! We
are not Friends."
"You are not going in the character of a May queen, Alice, that you
should almost hide your beautiful hair in ribbons and flowers. A
stiff bouquet in a silver holder is simply an impediment, and does
not give a particle of true womanly grace. That necklace of pearls,
if half hidden among soft laces, would be charming; but banding the
uncovered neck and half-exposed chest, it looks bald, inharmonious,
and out of place. White, with a superfluity of pink trimming,
jewelry and flowers, I call on the outside of good taste; and if you
go as you are, you will certainly attract all eyes, but I am sure
you will not win admiration for these things from a single heart
whose regard is worth having. Don't be hurt with me, Alice. I am
speaking with all love and sincerity, and from a wider experience
and observation than it is possible for you to have reached. Don't
go as you are, if you can possibly make important changes. What time
Alice stood silent, with a clouded face. Her aunt looked at her
"There is a full half hour. You may do much in that time. But you
had best refer to your mother. Her taste and mine may not entirely
"O, as to that, mother is on your side. But she is always so plain
in her notions," said Alice, with a slight betrayal of impatience.
"A young lady will always be safest in society, Alice--always more
certain to make a good impression, if she subordinate her love of
dress and ornament as much as possible to her mother's taste. In
breaking away from this, my dear, you have gone over to an extreme
that, if persisted in, will class you with vain lovers of
admiration; with mere show girls, who, conscious of no superior
moral and mental attractions, seek to win by outward charms. Be not
of them, dear Alice, but of the higher class, whose minds are
clothed in beautiful garments whose loveliest and most precious
things are, like jewels, shut within a casket."
Alice withdrew, silent, almost hurt, though not offended, and more
than half resolved to give up the party. But certainly recollections
checked this forming resolve before it reached a state of full
"How will this do?" She pushed open the door of her aunt's room half
an hour afterwards with this sentence on her lips. Her cheeks were
glowing, and her eyes full of sparkles. So complete was the change,
that for a brief space the aunt gazed at her wonderingly. She wore a
handsome fawn-colored silk, made high in the neck, around which was
a narrow lace collar of exceeding fineness, pinned with a single
diamond. A linked band of gold, partly hidden by the lace
undersleeve, clasped one of her wrists. A small spray of pearls and
silver formed the only ornament for her hair, and nestled,
beautifully contrasted among its dark and glossy braids.
"Charming!" replied aunt Helen, in no feigned admiration. "In my
eyes you are a hundred times more attractive than you were, a little
while ago, and will prove more attractive to all whose favor is
worth the winning." And she arose and kissed her nice lovingly.
"I am not overdressed." Alice smiled.
"Better underdressed than overdressed, always, my dear, If there is
any fault, it is on the right side."
"I am glad you are pleased, aunt Helen."
"Are you not better pleased with yourself?" was asked.
"I can't just say that, aunt. I've worn this dress in company
several times, and it's very plain."
"It is very becoming, dear; and we always appear to best advantage
in that which most accords with our style of person and complexion.
To my eyes, in this more simple yet really elegant apparel, you look
charming. Before, you impressed me with a sense of vulgarity; now,
the impression, is one of refinement."
"Thank you for such flattering words, aunt Helen. I will accept the
pictures in your eyes as justly contrasted. Of one thing I am sure,
I shall feel more at ease, and less conscious of observation, than
would have been the case had I gone in my gayer attire. Good
evening. It is growing late, and I must be away."
The maiden stooped, and kissed her aunt affectionately.
"Good evening, dear, and may the hours be pleasant ones."
When Alice entered the drawing-room, where the company were
assembling her eyes were almost dazzled with the glitter of jewelry
and the splendor of colors. Most of the ladies present seemed
ambitious of display, emulous of ornament. She felt out of place, in
her grave and simple costume, and moved to a part of the room where
she would be away from observation. But her eyes were soon wandering
about, scanning forms and faces, not from simple curiosity, but with
an interest that was visible in her countenance. She looked for the
presence of one who had been, of late, much in her thoughts: of one
for whose eyes, more than for the eyes of any other, she apparelled
herself with that studied effect which received so little approval
from her aunt Helen. Alice felt sober. If she entertained doubts
touching her change of dress they were gone now. Plainly, to her
convictions, aunt Helen was wrong and she had been wrong in yielding
her own best judgement of the case.
Alice had been seated only for a little while, when she saw the
young man to whom we have just referred. He was standing at the
extreme end of the room, talking in a lively manner with a
gayly-dressed girl, who seemed particularly pleased with his
attentions. Beside her Alice would have seemed almost Quaker-like in
plainness. And Alice felt this with something like a pang. Soon they
passed across the room, approaching very near, and stood within a
few feet of her for several minutes. Then they moved away, and sit
down together not far off, still chatting in the lively manner at
first observed. Once or twice the young man appeared to look
directly at Alice, but no sign of recognition was visible on his
After the first emotions of disappointment in not being recognized
had subsided, the thoughts of Alice began to lift her out of the
state in much she bad been resting.
"If fine feathers make the fine bird," she said to herself, "let him
have the gay plumage. As for me, I ask a higher estimate. So I will
With the help of pride she rose above the weakness that was
depressing her. A lady friend joined her at the moment, and she was
soon interested in conversation.
"Excuse me for a personal reference, Alice," said this friend in a
familiar way, "and particularly for speaking of dress. But the fact
is, you shame at least one half of us girls by your perfect
subordination of everything to good taste. I never saw you so
faultlessly attired in my life."
"The merit, if there is any," replied Alice, "is not mine. I was
coming like a butterfly, but my aunt Helen, who is making us a
visit, objected so strongly that I took off my party dress and
head-dress, made for the occasion, and, in a fit of half-don't-care
desperation, got myself up after this modest fashion that you are
pleased to call in such good taste."
"Make your aunt Helen my compliments, and say to her that I wish she
were multiplied a thousands times. You will be the belle to-night,
if there are many sensible man present. Ah, there comes Mr. Benton!"
At this name the heart of Alice leaped. "He has spied you out
already. You are the attraction, of course, not me."
Mr. Benton, who had been, of late, so much in her thought, now stood
bowing before the two young ladies, thus arresting their
conversation. The last speaker was right. Alice had drawn him across
the room, as was quickly apparent, for to her alone he was soon
addressing himself. To quite the extent allowable in good breeding,
was Alice monopolized by Mr. Benton during the evening and when he
left her, with scarcely-concealed reluctance, another would take his
place, and enjoy the charm of her fine intelligence.
"Have you been introduced to Alice T----?" she heard one gentleman ask
of another, as she stood near a window opening into the
conservatory, and partly hidden by curtains.
"Yes," was the answer.
"She is a pleasant girl."
"By odds the most charming I have met to-night. And then she has had
the good taste to dress in a modest, womanly manner. How beautifully
she contrasts with a dozen I could name, all radiant with colors as
a bed of tulips."
She heard no more. But this was enough.
"You had a pleasant evening judging from your face," said aunt
Helen, when she meet her niece on the next morning.
"Yes; it was a very pleasant one--very pleasant." Her color deepened
and her eyes grew brighter.
"You were not neglected on account of you attractive style of
"Judging from the attentions I received, it must have been very
attractive. A novelty, perhaps. You understand human nature better
than I do, aunt Helen."
"Was it the plainest in the room?"
"It was plainer than that of half a dozen ladies old enough to have
The aunt smiled.
"Then it has not hurt your prospects?"
The question was in jest; but aunt Helen saw instantly into the
heart of her niece. For a moment their eyes lingered in each other;
then Alice looked down upon the floor.
"No it has not hurt my prospects." The answer was in a softer voice,
and then followed a long-drawn inspiration, succeeded by the
faintest of sighs.
A visit from Mr. Benton, on the next evening, removed all doubt from
the dress question, if any remained.
COFFEE vs. BRANDY.
"WE shall have to give them a wedding party," said Mrs. Eldridge to
Mr. Eldridge assented.
"They will be home to-morrow, and I think of sending out of
invitations for Thursday."
"As you like about that," replied Mr. Eldridge. "The trouble will be
"You have no objections?"
"O, none in the world. Fanny is a good little girl, and the least we
can do is to pay her this compliment on her marriage. I am not
altogether satisfied about her husband, however; he was rather a
wild sort of a boy a year or two ago."
"I guess he's all right now," remarked Mrs. Eldridge; "and he
strikes me as a very kind-hearted, well-meaning young man. I have
flattered myself that Fanny has done quite well as the average run
"Perhaps so," said Mr. Eldridge, a little thoughtfully.
"Will you be in the neighborhood of Snyder's?" inquired the lady.
"I think not. We are very busy just now, and I shall hardly have
time to leave the store to-day. But I can step around there
"To-morrow, or even the next day, will answer," replied Mrs.
Eldridge. "You must order the liquors. I will attend to everything
"How many are you going to invite?" inquired Mr. Eldridge.
"I have not made out a list yet, but it will not fall much short of
seventy or eighty."
"Seventy or eighty!" repeated Mr. Eldridge.
"Let me see. Three dozen of champagne; a dozen of sherry; a dozen of
port; a dozen of hock, and a gallon of brandy,--that will be enough
to put life into them I imagine."
"Or death!" Mrs. Eldridge spoke to herself, in an undertone.
Her husband, if he noticed the remark, did not reply to it, but
said, "Good morning," and left the house. A lad about sixteen years
of age sat in the room during this conversation, with a book in his
hand and his eyes on the page before him. He did not once look up or
move; and an observer would have supposed him so much interested in
his book as not to have heard the passing conversation. But he had
listened to every word. As soon as Mr. Eldridge left the room his
book fell upon his lap, and looking towards Mrs. Eldridge, he said,
in an earnest but respectful manner,--
"Don't have any liquor, mother."
Mrs s Eldridge looked neither offended nor irritated by this
remonstrance, as she replied,--
"I wish it were possible to avoid having liquor, my son; but it is
the custom of society and if we give a party it must be in the way
it is done by other people."
This did not satisfy the boy, who had been for some time associated
with the Cadets of Temperance, and he answered, but with modesty and
great respect of, manner,--"If other people do wrong, mother--what
"I am not so sure of its being wrong, Henry."
"O, but mother," spoke out the boy, quickly, "if it hurts people to
drink, it must be wrong to give them liquor. Now I've been thinking
how much better it would be to have a nice cup of coffee. I am sure
that four out of five would like it a great deal better than wine or
brandy. And nobody could possibly receive any harm. Didn't you hear
what father said about Mr. Lewis? That he had been rather wild? I am
sure I shall never forget seeing him stagger in the street once. I
suppose he has reformed. But just think, if the taste should be
revived again and at our house, and he should become intoxicated at
this wedding party! O, mother! It makes me feel dreadfully to think
about it. And dear Cousin Fanny! What sorrow it would bring to her!"
"O, dear, Henry! Don't talk in that kind of a way! You make me
shudder all over. You're getting too much carried away by this
subject of temperance"
And Mrs. Eldridge left the room to look after her domestic duties.
But she could not push from her mind certain uneasy thoughts which
her son's suggestions had awakened. During the morning an intimate
lady friend came in to whom Mrs. Eldridge spoke of the intended
"And would you believe it," she said, "that old-fashioned boy of
mine actually proposed that we should have coffee instead of wine
"And you're going to adopt the suggestion," replied the lady, her
face lighten up with a pleasant smile.
"It would suit my own views exactly; but then such an innovation
upon a common usage as that; is not to be thought of for a moment."
"And why not?" asked the lady. "Coffee is safe, while wine and
brandy are always dangerous in promiscuous companies. You can never
tell in what morbid appetite you may excite an unhealthy craving.
You may receive into your house a young man with intellect clear,
and moral purposes well-balanced, and send him home at midnight, to
his mother, stupid from intoxication! Take your son's advice, my
friend. Exclude the wine and brandy, and give a pleasant cup of
coffee to your guests instead."
"O, dear, no, I can't do that!" said Mrs. Eldridge. "It would look
as if we were too mean to furnish wines and brandy. Besides, my
husband would never consent to it."
"Let me give you a little experience of my own. It may help you to a
right decision in this case."
The lady spoke with some earnestness, and a sober cast of thought in
her countenance. "It is now about three years since I gave a large
party, at which a number of young men were present,--boys I should
rather say. Among these was the son of an old and very dear friend.
He was in his nineteenth year,--a handsome, intelligent, and most
agreeable person--full of life and pleasant humor. At supper time I
noticed him with a glass of champagne in his hand, gayly talking
with some ladies. In a little while after, my eyes happening to rest
on him, I saw him holding, a glass of port wine to his lips, which
was emptied at a single draught. Again passing near him, in order to
speak to a lady, I observed a tumbler in his hand, and knew the