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POOR AND PROUD
THE FORTUNES OF KATY REDBURN
A STORY FOR YOUNG FOLKS
BY OLIVER OPTIC
ALICE MARIE ADAMS,
IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
BY HER FATHER.
Poor and Proud.
Bobby Bright and Harry West, whose histories were contained in
the last two volumes of the "Library for Young Folks," were both
smart boys. The author, very grateful for the genial welcome
extended to these young gentlemen, begs leave to introduce to his
juvenile friends a smart girl,--Miss Katy Redburn,-- whose
fortunes, he hopes, will prove sufficiently interesting to secure
If any of my adult readers are disposed to accuse me of being a
little extravagant, I fear I shall have to let the case go by
default; but I shall plead, in extenuation, that I have tried to
be reasonable, even where a few grains of the romantic element
were introduced; for Baron Munchausen and Sindbad the Sailor were
standard works on my shelf in boyhood, and I may possibly have
imbibed some of their peculiar spirit. But I feel a lively
satisfaction in the reflection that, whatever exaggerations the
critic may decide I have perpetrated in this volume, I have made
the success of Katy Redburn depend upon her good principles, her
politeness, her determined perseverance, and her overcoming that
foolish pride which is a snare to the feet. In these respects she
is a worthy exemplar for the young.
Pride and poverty do not seem to agree with each other; but there
is a pride which is not irreconcilable with the humblest station.
This pride of character finds an illustration in the life of my
Thanking my young friends again for the pleasant reception given
to my former books I submit this volume in the hope that Katy
Redburn will prove to be a worthy and agreeable companion for
their leisure hours. WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
DORCHESTER, Sept. 29, 1858.
CONTENTS. ---- CHAPTER.
I. Katy Redburn and Others Are Introduced
II. The History of the Silver Watch
III. Katy and Master Simon Sneed Visit the Pawnbroker's Shop
IV. Katy Matures a Magnificent Scheme
V. Katy Visits Mrs. Gordon, and Gets Rid of Dr. Flynch
VI. Katy Prepares a Stock of Merchandise
VII. Katy Makes a Large Sale
VIII. Katy Sells Out, and Visits the Mayor
IX. Katy talks with the Mayor, and Recovers the Watch
X. Katy, in Distress, finds a Champion
XI. Katy Meets with Extraordinary Success
XII. Katy Pays Her Debts, and Tommy Goes to Sea
XIII. Katy Employs an Assistant
XIV. Master Simon Sneed Makes a Mistake
XV. Katy Gets a Letter from Liverpool
XVI. Ann Grippen Plays Tricks upon Travelers
XVII. The Sun Sets, and the Night Comes On
XVIII. Katy Struggles Bravely through a Series of Trials
XIX. Katy Resorts to a Loan
XX. Mrs. Gordon Feels Faint, and Katy Enters a New Sphere
XXI. Katy Goes to Church, and Has a Birthday Party
POOR AND PROUD; OR, THE FORTUNES OF KATY REDBURN.
KATY REDBURN AND OTHERS ARE INTRODUCED.
"Give me a flounder, Johnny?" said a little girl of eleven,
dressed in coarse and ragged garments, as she stooped down and
looked into the basket of the dirty young fisherman, who sat with
his legs hanging over the edge of the pier.
"I'll bet I won't," replied Johnny, gruffly, as he drew the
basket out of the reach of the supplicant. "You needn't come
round here tryin' to hook my fish."
"You hooked 'em," said another juvenile angler who sat on the
capsill of the pier by Johnny's side.
"Who says I hooked 'em?" blustered Johnny, whose little dirty
paws involuntarily assumed the form of a pair of fists,
scientifically disposed and ready to be the instruments of the
owner's vengeance upon the traducer of his character.
"I say so," added Tommy Howard, who did not seem to be at all
alarmed at the warlike attitude of his fellow-angler.
"Say it again, and I'll smash your head," continued Johnny,
jumping up from his seat.
"Didn't you hear me? Once is enough."
Tommy coolly hauled up a large flounder at that moment, and threw
the fish into his basket. It was rather refreshing to see how
regardless he was of that pair of menacing fists.
"Jest you say that once more, and see what I'll do," persisted
"I won't do it."
"You dasn't say it again."
"Perhaps I dasn't; at any rate, I shan't."
"Do you mean to say I hooked them fish?" exclaimed Johnny,
desperately, for it seemed as though he must do something to
vindicate his injured honor.
"That's just what I did say."
But Tommy was so confoundedly cool that his fellow-angler had
some doubts about the expediency of "pitching into him." Probably
a vision of defeat flashed through his excited brain and
discretion seemed the better part of valor. Yet he was not
disposed to abandon his position, and advanced a pace or two
toward his provoking companion; a movement which, to an
unpracticed eye, would indicate a purpose to do something.
"Don't fight, Tommy," said the little ragged girl.
"I don't mean to fight, Katy,"--Johnny, at these words, assumed
an artistic attitude, ready to strike the first blow,--"only if
Johnny hits me, I shall knock him into the middle of next week."
Johnny did not strike. He was a prudent young man.
"Don't fight, Johnny," repeated the girl, turning to the excited
aspirant for the honors of the ring.
"Do you suppose I'll let him tell me I hooked them fish?"
"He didn't mean anything."
"Yes, I did," interposed Tommy. "He caught 'em on a hook; so of
course he hooked em. I hooked mine too."
"Is that what you meant?" asked Johnny, a broad grin
overspreading his dirty face, and his fists suddenly expanding
into dirty paws again.
"That's just what I meant; and your skull is as thick as a
two-inch plank, or you would have seen what I meant."
"I see now."
Johnny was not disposed to resent this last insinuation about the
solidity of his cranium. He was evidently too glad to get out of
the scrape without a broken head or a bloody nose. Johnny was a
bully, and he had a bully's reputation to maintain; but he never
fought when the odds were against him; and he had a congressman's
skill in backing out before the water got too hot. On the whole,
he rather enjoyed the pun; and he had the condescension to laugh
heartily, though somewhat unnaturally, at the jest.
"Will you give me a flounder, Tommy?" said the little ragged
girl, as she glanced into his well-filled basket.
"What do you want of him, Katy?" asked Tommy turning round and
gazing up into her sad, pale face.
Katy hesitated; her bosom heaved, and her lips compressed, as
though she feared to answer the question.
"To eat," she replied, at last, in a husky tone.
"What's the matter, Katy?"
The face of the child seemed to wear a load of care and anxiety,
and as the young fisherman gazed a tear started from her eye, and
slid down her cheek. Tommy's heart melted as he saw this
exhibition of sorrow. He wondered what could ail her.
"My mother is sick," replied Katy, dashing away the tell-tale
"I know that; but what do you want of flounders?"
"We have nothing to eat now," said Katy, bursting into tears.
"Mother has not been able to do any work for more than three
months: and we haven't got any money now. It's all gone. I
haven't had any breakfast to-day."
"Take 'em all, Katy!" exclaimed Tommy, jumping up from his seat
on the capsill of the pier. "How will you carry them? Here, I
will string 'em for you."
Tommy was all energy now, and thrust his hands down into the
depths of his pockets in search of a piece of twine. Those
repositories of small stores did not contain a string, however;
but mixed up with a piece of cord, a slate pencil, an iron hinge,
two marbles, a brass ring, and six inches of stovepipe chain,
were two cents, which the owner thereof carefully picked out of
the heap of miscellaneous articles and thrust them into the hand
"Here, take them; and as you go by the grocery at the corner of
the court, buy a two-cent roll," whispered he. "Got a bit o'
string, Johnny?" he added aloud, as Katy began to protest against
taking the money.
"Hain't got none; but I'll give you a piece of my fish line, if
you want," replied the bully, who was now unusually obliging.
"There's a piece of spunyarn, that's just the thing I want;" and
Tommy ran half way up the pier to the bridge, picked up the line,
and commenced stringing the flounders on it.
"I don't want them all, Tommy; only give me two or three. I never
shall forget you, Tommy," said Katy, her eyes suffused with tears
"I'm sorry things go so bad with you, Katy, and I wish I could do
something more for you."
"I don't want anything more. Don't put any more on the string.
There's six. We can't eat any more."
"Well, then, I'll bring you some more to-morrow," replied Tommy,
as he handed her the string of fish. "Stop a minute; here's a
first-rate tom-cod; let me put him on;" and he took the string
and added the fish to his gift.
"I never shall forget you, Tommy; I shall only borrow the two
cents; I will pay you again some time," said she, in a low tone,
so that Johnny could not hear her.
"Never mind 'em, Katy. Don't go hungry again for a minute. Come
to me, and I'll help you to something or other."
"Thank you, Tommy;" and with a lighter heart than she had brought
with her, she hastened up the pier, no doubt anticipating a rich
feast from the string of fish.
The pier of the new South Boston bridge was then, as now, a
favorite resort for juvenile fishermen. Flounders, tom-cod, and
eels, to say nothing of an occasional sculpin, which boys still
persist in calling "crahpies," or "crahooners," used to furnish
abundant sport to a motley group of youngsters wherein the sons
of merchants mingled democratically with the dirty, ragged
children of the "Ten-footers" in the vicinity. The pier was
neutral ground, and Frederic Augustus made a friend of Michael or
Dennis, and probably neither was much damaged by this free
companionship; for Michael or Dennis often proves to be more of a
gentleman in his rags and dirty face than Frederic Augustus in
his broadcloth and white linen.
Katy walked as fast as her little feet would carry her, till she
came to a court leading out of Essex Street. The bells were
ringing for one o'clock as she entered the grocery at the corner
and purchased the two-cent roll which Tommy Howard's bounty
enabled her to add to her feast. Elated with the success of her
mission, she quickened her pace up the court to a run, rushed
into the house and up-stairs to her mother's room with as much
enthusiasm as though she had found a bag of gold, instead of
having obtained a very simple dinner.
"O, mother, I've got a lot of flounders and some bread for you!"
exclaimed she, as she bolted into the room.
"Then you have money," said a cold voice in the chamber; and Katy
perceived, standing near the bed on which her mother lay, a man
who was no stranger to her.
It was Dr. Flynch; but let not my young reader make a mistake. He
was no good Samaritan, who had come to pour oil and wine into the
wounds of the poor sick woman; not even a physician, who had come
to give medicine for a fee, to restore her to health and
strength. It is true he was called a doctor, and he had been a
doctor, but he did not practice the healing art now. If he had
failed to make a physician, it was not because his heart was so
tender that he could not bear to look upon pain and suffering. He
was the agent of Mrs. Gordon, a widow lady, who owned the house
in which Katy's mother lived. He collected her rents, and
transacted all her business; and as far as dollars and cents were
concerned, he had certainly been a faithful servant. Dr. Flynch
was a prudent and discreet man, and did not hurt the feelings of
the good lady who employed him by telling her about the
difficulties he encountered in the discharge of his duty, or by
describing the harsh and even cruel means to which he was
sometimes obliged to resort, in order to obtain the rent of poor
"Mrs. Redburn," said Dr. Flynch, when he had heard the
exclamation of Katy, "you have told me a falsehood. You said you
had no money, not a cent. Where did you get that roll, child?"
"At the store at the corner of the court," replied Katy, abashed
by the cold dignity of the agent.
"Precisely so, Mrs. Redburn; but you do not buy bread without
money. You have attempted to deceive me. I have pitied you up to
the present time, and indulged you in the non-payment of your
rent for over a week I can do so no longer, for you have told me
"No, sir, I have not," pleaded the sick woman.
"Your child buys bread."
"I did not give her the money."
"Where did you get the money to buy that roll with?" demanded Dr.
Flynch, turning sharply to Katy.
"Tommy Howard gave it to me."
"Who is Tommy Howard?"
"He lives on the other side of the court."
"Very probable that a dirty, ragged boy gave her the money! This
is another false-hood, Mrs. Redburn. I lament that a person in
your situation should have no higher views of Christian morality
than to lie yourself, and teach your child to lie, which is much
The poor woman burst into tears, and protested that she had told
the truth, and nothing but the truth; declaring that Katy was a
good girl, that she had eaten nothing that day, and would not
tell a lie. Dr. Flynch was a man of method, and when a tenant did
not pay the rent, it was his purpose to get rid of that tenant in
the quietest way possible. In the present case there was a
difficulty, and public opinion would not justify him in turning a
sick woman out of the house; but if she lied, had money
concealed, and would not pay her rent, it would alter the matter.
As he wished to believe this was the case, he had no difficulty
in convincing himself, and thus quieting his poor apology for a
Besides being a man of method, Dr. Flynch was a man of upright
walk and conversation; at least, he passed for such with those
who did not know anything about him. If Mrs. Gordon should happen
to hear that he had turned out the sick woman, he could then
inform her how feelingly he had pointed out to her the wickedness
of her conduct, which he thought would sound exceedingly well.
"Mrs. Redburn," he continued, "I will give you till this time
to-morrow to get out of the house; if you are not gone then, I
shall be under the painful necessity of removing your goods into
the street. Good morning;" and Dr. Flynch turned upon his heel,
and walked out of the room.
"My poor child! what will become of us?" sobbed the sick woman,
as she grasped Katy's hand, and pressed it to her bosom with
"Don't cry, mother; something can be done. I will go and see Mrs.
Gordon, and beg her to let you stay here."
"You must not do that; Dr. Flynch told me, if I troubled her
about the house, I should not stay in it another minute, even if
I paid the rent."
"He is a bad man, mother; and I don't believe Mrs. Gordon knows
what he does here."
"There is one thing more we can do, Katy," continued Mrs.
Redburn, wiping away her tears, and taking from under her pillow
a heavy silver watch. "This was your father's; but we must sell
it now. It is all we have left."
"I should hate to have that sold, mother."
"We must sell it, or pawn it."
"We will pawn it then."
"How shall we do it? I have not strength to rise, and they will
cheat you if you offer it."
"I will tell you what I can do, mother; I will get Simon Sneed to
go with me to the pawnbroker's shop. He is very kind to me, and I
know he will. He comes home to dinner at two o-clock."
This plan was agreed to, and Katy then went to work to clean and
cook the flounders.
THE HISTORY OF THE SILVER WATCH.
Katy Redburn was only eleven years old, and not a very
accomplished cook; but as the children learn faster in the homes
of the poor than in the dwellings of the rich, she had a very
tolerable idea of the management of a frying-pan. The operation
of cleaning the flounders was the greatest trial, for the skin of
the fish has to be removed. She cut her fingers with the knife,
and scratched and pricked her hands with the sharp bones; but she
was resolute, and finally accomplished the task to her entire
satisfaction. An occasional direction from her mother enabled her
to cook the fish properly, and dinner was ready. There were still
a few small stores left in the closet, and Katy made a cup of tea
for her mother, and with it placed the delicate little flounder
by the side of the bed. The invalid had no appetite, but to
please Katy she ate a portion of the fish and bread though it was
very hard work for her to do so. The little girl, gladdened by
this unwonted sight, made a hearty meal, without a thought of the
trials and sorrows which the future might have in store for them.
When she had put away the dishes, and placed everything in order,
she washed herself, combed her hair, sewed up a great rent in her
dress, and otherwise attempted to make herself as tidy as
possible for the mission she was about to undertake.
"It is not time for you to go yet, Katy; and before the watch is
carried off, I want to tell you something about your father, that
you may learn to prize it as I do."
Katy seated herself on the side of the bed, for she was very
anxious to hear more about her father than she already knew. She
had often asked her mother about him, but she had generally
evaded her questions, and did not seem willing to tell her all
she knew. She thought there was some secret connected with his
history, and with a child's curiosity she was eager to have the
mystery unfolded. But it was no great secret, after all only a
painful history, which her sensitive mother did not like to
rehearse. Mrs. Redburn handed the watch to Katy, and asked her to
look upon the back of it.
"Yes, mother, I have often seen those words on there--`All for
the Best.' What do they mean?" said Katy.
"This watch was given to your father by my father," replied Mrs.
Redburn, with a deep sigh, for the words seemed to recall happy
memories of the past.
"Who was your father?" asked the attentive little girl.
"His name was Matthew Guthrie. He was a merchant in Liverpool,
England, where I was born."
"A merchant, mother? Then he was a rich man, and lived in a great
house, and had plenty of servants."
"He was rich, and lived in good style. One day there came a young
man in great distress to his counting-room. He was a clerk, and
had been sent by his employer in Manchester to pay a large sum of
money to my father. After leaving the train, he had entered an
ale-house, where he had been robbed of the remittance. He had
been imprudent, but instead of running away, he went directly to
my father, and informed him of his misfortune. The young man felt
that he was ruined, but he said he was determined not to leave
Liverpool till he had found the money. He was sure he knew the
man who had robbed him, and my father procured the services of
several policemen to assist him in his search. All that day and
all that night, attended by policemen, he visited the resorts of
vice and crime, and his perseverance was rewarded with success.
He found the man, and the money was recovered. My father was so
well pleased with the energy of the young man, that he gave him a
situation in his counting room. That young man was John Redburn,
your father. My father gave him a much larger salary than he had
been receiving before, so that his misfortune in losing the money
proved to be a piece of good fortune to him, for it procured him
a much better situation. The new clerk performed his duties very
faithfully, and at the end of a year my father presented him this
watch, with the motto, `All for the Best,' in allusion to the
manner in which he had obtained his situation."
"But how came you here, mother, if your father was rich, and
lived in a fine house? You are very poor now;" asked Katy, who
feared that the mystery was yet to come.
Mrs. Redburn burst into tears, and covered her face with her
hands, as the pleasant memories of her former happy home rushed
through her mind.
"Don't cry, mother; I won't ask you any more questions," said
Katy, grieved to find she had reminded her mother of some
"It was all my own fault, Katy. I am here poor and wretched,
because I disobeyed my father; because I did what he desired me
not to do. I will tell you all about it, Katy. I became
acquainted with the new clerk, John Redburn, and the result of
our acquaintance was, that we were married in about a year. We
ran away from home; for my father, however much he liked John as
a clerk, was not willing that he should be my husband. He forbade
John's coming to our house, and forbade my seeing him. I
disobeyed him. We were married, and John was discharged. My
father refused to see me again."
"That was cruel," interposed Katy
"My father was right, and I have always regretted that I
disobeyed him. We came to America, and your father procured a
situation in New York, where you were born, about a year after we
arrived. For three years we got along very well. I wish I could
stop here, Katy, for the rest of the story is very sad."
"Don't tell me any more, mother, it makes you feel so bad, I
would rather not hear it. I know now why you value the watch so
much, and I hope we shall be able to get it back again."
"I fear not. But you must hear the rest of this sad story."
Mrs. Redburn continued the narrative, though tears blinded her
eyes, and sobs chocked her utterance, as she told of the struggle
she had had with poverty and want. Her husband had done very well
in New York; and, gay and light-hearted in the midst of his
prosperity, his habits had been gradually growing worse and
worse, till he lost his situation, and became a common sot. The
poor wife had then been compelled to toil for her own support and
that of her child; and having been brought up in luxury and ease,
it was a dreadful task to her.
John obtained another situation, but soon lost it. He was a
good-hearted man when he had not been drinking, and keenly felt
the disgrace and misery he was heaping upon himself and his
unhappy wife. Once he had the resolution to abandon the cup,
fully determined to redeem his lost character, and make his
family happy again. The better to accomplish this, he removed to
Boston, where he obtained a good situation, and for more than a
year he adhered to his resolution. Mrs. Redburn was happy again
and tremblingly hoped that the clouds of darkness had forever
The evil time came again, and John Redburn sank down lower than
ever before. His wife lost all hope of him, and struggled, with
the courage of a hero and the fortitude of a martyr, against the
adverse tide that set against her. She was fortunate in obtaining
plenty of sewing, and was able to support herself and child very
well; but her husband, now lost to all sense of decency,
contrived to obtain, from time to time, a portion of her hard
earnings. She could never have believed that John Redburn would
come to this; for, as a clerk in her father's counting room, he
had been all that was good and noble; but there he was a
miserable sot, lost to himself, to his family, and the world.
One morning in winter he was brought home to her dead. He had
died in the watch-house of delirium tremens. He was buried, and
peace, if not hope, settled on the brow of the broken-hearted
Year after year Mrs. Redburn struggled on, often with feeble
hands and fainting heart, to earn a subsistence for herself and
Katy. She had been bred in opulence, and her wants were not so
few and simple as the wants of those who have never enjoyed the
luxury of a soft couch and a well-supplied table. She had never
learned that calculating economy which provides a great deal with
very small means.
Hence it was much harder for her to support herself and child,
than it would have been for one who had been brought up in a
She had done very well, however, until, a few months before our
story opens, she had been taken sick, and was no longer able to
work. Her disease was an affection of the spine, which was at
times very painful, and confined her to the bed.
"But where is your father now?" asked Katy, when her mother had
finished the narrative.
"I do not know; if he is alive, he probably lives in Liverpool."
"Why don't you write a letter to him?"
"I have done so several times, but have never received any reply.
I wrote shortly after your father died, giving an account of my
situation. I am sure my father never could have got my letter, or
he would have answered me. I know he would not let me suffer here
in woe and want, if he were aware of my condition."
"Why don't you write again?"
"It is useless."
"Let me write, mother. I will call him dear grandfather, and I am
sure he will send you some money then: perhaps he will send for
us to go to Liverpool, and live in his great house, and have
servants to wait upon us."
"Alas, my child, I have given up all hope of ever seeing him
again in this world. In my letters I confessed my fault, and
begged his forgiveness. He cannot be alive, or I am sure my last
letters would have melted his heart."
"Haven't you any brothers and sisters, mother?"
"I had one sister; and I have written several letters to her, but
with no better success. They may be all dead. I fear they are."
"And your mother?"
"She died when I was young. I know Jane would have answered my
letters if she had received them."
"She was your sister?"
"Yes; she must be dead; and I suppose my father's property must
be in the hands of strangers, covering their floors with soft
carpets, and their tables with nice food, while I lie here in
misery, and my poor child actually suffers from hunger;" and the
afflicted mother clasped her daughter in her arms, and wept as
though her heart would burst.
"Don't cry, mother. I was not very hungry. We have had enough to
eat till to-day. I am going to take care of you now, you have
taken care of me so long," replied Katy, as she wiped away the
tears that flowed down her mother's wan cheek.
"What can you do, poor child?"
"I can do a great many things; I am sure I can earn money enough
to support us both."
"It is hard to think how much I have suffered, and how much of
woe there may be in the future for me," sobbed Mrs. Redburn.
"Don't cry, mother. You know what it says on the watch--`All for
the Best.' Who knows but that all your sorrows are for the best?"
"I hope they are; I will try to think they are. But it is time
for you to go. Pawn the watch for as much as you can; and I trust
that some fortunate event will enable us to redeem it."
Katy took the watch, smoothed down her hair again, put on her
worn-out bonnet, and left the house.
KATY AND MASTER SIMON SNEED VISIT THE PAWNBROKER'S SHOP.
The court in which Katy lived had once been the abode of many
very respectable families, to use a popular word, for respectable
does not always mean worthy of respect on account of one's
virtues, but worthy of respect on account of one's lands, houses,
and money. In the former sense it was still occupied by very
respectable families, though none of them possessed much of the
"goods that perish in the using" Mrs. Redburn, the seamstress,
was very respectable; Mrs. Colvin, the washer-woman, was very
respectable, so were Mrs. Howard, the tailoress, Mr. Brown, the
lumper, and Mr. Sneed, the mason.
Katy's mother lived in a small house, with three other families.
She occupied two rooms, for which she paid four dollars a month,
the amount of rent now due and unpaid. Dr. Flynch took a great
deal of pleasure in telling Mrs. Redburn how his humanity and his
regard for the welfare of the poor had induced him to fix the
rent at so cheap a rate; but he always finished by assuring her
that this sum must be promptly paid, and that no excuses could
ever have any weight.
The next house to Mrs. Redburn was tenanted by Mr. Sneed, the
mason. I don't know whether I ought to say that Mr. Sneed had a
son, or that Master Simon Sneed had a father, being at a loss to
determine which was the more important personage of the two; but
I am not going to say anything against either of them, for the
father was a very honest mason and the son was a very nice young
Katy knocked at the door of this house, and inquired for Master
Simon Sneed. She was informed that he had not yet finished his
dinner; and she decided to wait in the court till he made his
appearance. Seating herself on the door stone, she permitted her
mind to wander back to the narrative her mother had related to
her. She glanced at her coarse clothes, and could hardly believe
that her grandfather was a rich merchant, and lived in a fine
house. How nice it would be if she could only find the old
gentleman! He could not be cross to her; he would give her all
the money she could spend, and make a great lady of her.
"Pooh! what a fool I am to think of such a thing!" exclaimed she
impatiently, as she rose from the door stone. "I am a beggar, and
what right have I to think of being a fine lady, while my poor
sick mother has nothing to eat and drink? It is very hard to be
so poor, but I suppose it is all for the best."
"Do you want me, Katy?" said a voice from the door, which Katy
recognized as that of Master Simon Sneed.
"I want to see you very much," replied Katy.
"Wait a moment, and I will join you."
And in a moment Master Simon Sneed did join her; but he is so
much of a curiosity, and so much of a character, that I must stop
to tell my young readers all about him.
Master Simon Sneed was about fifteen years old, and tall enough
to have been two years older. He was very slim, and held his head
very straight. In 1843, the period of which I write, it was the
fashion for gentlemen to wear straps upon their pantaloons; and
accordingly Master Simon Sneed wore straps on his pantaloons,
though, it is true, the boys in the street used to laugh and hoot
at him for doing so; but they were very ill-mannered boys, and
could not appreciate the dignity of him they insulted.
Master Sneed's garments were not of the finest materials, but
though he was a juvenile dandy, it was evident that it required a
great deal of personal labor to make him such.
Clearly those straps were sewed on by himself, and clearly those
cowhide shoes had been thus elaborately polished by no other
hands than his own. In a word, the appearance of his clothes,
coarse as was their texture, and unfashionable as was their cut,
indicated the most scrupulous care. It was plain that he had a
fondness for dress, which his circumstances did not permit him to
indulge to any very great extent.
Master Simon Sneed was a great man in his own estimation; and, as
he had read a great many exciting novels, and had a good command
of language, he talked and acted like a great man. He could hold
his own in conversation with older and wiser persons than
himself. He could astonish almost any person of moderate
pretensions by the largeness of his ideas; and, of late years,
his father had not pretended to hold an argument with him, for
Simon always overwhelmed him by the force and elegance of his
rhetoric. He spoke familiarly of great men and great events.
His business relations--for Master Sneed was a business man--were
not very complicated. According to his own reckoning, he was the
chief person in the employ of Messrs. Sands & Co., wholesale and
retail dry good Washington Street; one who had rendered immense
service to the firm, and one without whom the firm could not
possibly get along a single day; in short, a sort of Atlas, on
whose broad shoulders the vast world of the Messrs. Sands & Co.'s
affairs rested. But according to the reckoning of the firm, and
the general understanding of people, Master Simon was a boy in
the store, whose duty it was to make fires, sweep out, and carry
bundles, and, in consideration of the fact that he boarded
himself to receive two dollars and a half a week for his
services. There was a vast difference between Master Simon
Sneed's estimate of Masters Simon Sneed, and the Messrs. Sands &
Co.'s idea of Master Simon Sneed.
But I beg my young friends not to let anything I have written
create a prejudice against him, for he was really a very
kind-hearted young man, and under certain circumstances would
have gone a great way to oblige a friend. He had always been
exceedingly well disposed towards Katy; perhaps it was because
the simple-hearted little girl used to be so much astonished when
he told her about his mercantile relations with the firm of Sands
& Co.; and how he managed all their business for them after the
store was closed at night, and before the front door was unlocked
in the morning; how he went to the bank after immense sums of
money; and how the firm would have to give up business if he
should die, or be obliged to leave them. Katy believed that
Master Simon was a great man, and she wondered how his long, slim
arms could accomplish so much labor, and how his small head could
hold such a heap of magnificent ideas. But Master Simon,
notwithstanding his elevated position in the firm, was
condescending to her; he had more than once done her a favor and
had always expressed a lively interest in her welfare. Therefore
she did not scruple to apply to him in the present emergency.
"Well, Katy, in what manner can I serve you?" inquired Simon, as
he elevated his head, and stood picking his teeth before her.
"I want you to do something for me very much indeed."
"State your business, Katy."
"Dr. Flynch has been to our house to-day, and wants the rent;
mother hasn't any money ----"
"And you wish me to lend you the amount?" continued Simon, when
Katy hesitated to reveal the family trouble. "It is really
unfortunate, Katy; it is after bank hours now, and I don't see
that I can accommodate you."
"O, I don't want to borrow the money."
"Ah, you don't."
"I have got a watch here, which belonged to my father; and I want
to pawn it for the money to pay the rent."
"Well, it is rather out of our line of business to lend money on
"I don't want you to lend it. I want you to take it to the
pawnbroker's. Mother says I am so young and so small that they
might cheat me; and I thought perhaps, may be, you'd be so kind
as to go with me."
"Go with you!" exclaimed Master Simon, as he eyed her coarse,
"I thought you would," replied Katy, with a look of
"Well, Katy, I shall be very glad to assist you in this matter,
Master Simon paused, and glanced again at the unfashionable dress
of the suppliant. He was, as he said, willing to aid her; but the
idea of the principal personage of the house of Sands & Co.
walking through the streets of the great city with such an
ill-dressed young lady was absurd, and not to be tolerated.
Master Sneed reflected. It is undoubtedly true that "where there
is a will there is a way."
"Where do you wish to go?" demanded he.
"I don't know."
"Do you know where Brattle Street is?"
"I don't, but I can find it."
"Very well; important business in another street requires my
personal attention for a moment, but I will join you in Brattle
Street in a quarter of an hour, and attend you to a
Master Sneed gave her directions so that she could find the
street, and at the end of the court, as she turned one way, he
turned the other.
Katy was first at the appointed place of meeting, where Simon
soon joined her; and directing her to follow him, he led the way
into another street, and entered a shop.
"This young person wishes to raise some money on a watch," said
Simon, as he directed the attention of the astonished broker to
Katy, who was scarcely tall enough to be seen over the high
"Let me see it."
Katy handed up the watch, which the money lender opened and
carefully examined. His practised eye soon discovered that the
works of the watch were of the best quality.
"Where did you get this?" asked the broker.
"My mother gave it to me;" and Katy told without reserve the
pitiful story of want and destitution which compelled Mrs.
Redburn to part with the cherished memento of the past.
"I will give you three dollars for the watch," added the broker.
"Come, come, sir," interposed Master Simon, with a smile; "that
is a little too bad. A gentleman of your judgment and discretion
has already assured himself that the article is worth at least
The broker drew a long breath after this speech, and seemed very
much impressed by the style of the remark. But Katy declared she
did not want to sell the watch, only to pawn it.
"Your story is not a very plausible one," said the broker, "and
there is some risk in taking it."
"I give you my personal assurance, on honor that her story is all
true," added Simon.
The broker burst out into a loud laugh. He could not stand
Simon's fine speeches, and would not take the watch at any rate;
so they departed to find another place, and entered a shop close
"Where did you get this?" asked the broker sourly, and Katy
repeated her story, and Simon vouched for its truth.
"It is all a lie," exclaimed the broker, "I will put the watch
into my safe and hand it over to the police."
"This is a most extraordinary proceeding," protested Master
"Get out of the shop, both of you, or I will hand you over to the
police! You stole the watch, and have the audacity to bring it
into the shop of an honest man. I don't buy stolen goods."
Katy began to cry, as the last hope of redemption from the fangs
of Dr. Flynch fled. Even Master Simon Sneed was alarmed at the
idea of being handed over to the police; but his sense of dignity
compelled him to enter his earnest protest, against the
proceeding of the broker, and even to threaten him with the
terrors of the law. The money-lender repeated his menace, and
even went to the door, for the apparent purpose of putting it
"Come, Katy, let us go; but I assure you I will represent this
outrage to my friend the mayor, in such a manner that entire
justice shall be done you," whispered Simon. "I cannot remain any
longer away from my business, or I would recover the watch at
"O, dear! my poor mother!" sobbed Katy.
"Don't cry, my child; leave it all to me, and run home as fast as
you can. You shall have the watch again, for I will call in the
whole police force of Boston to your aid;" and Master Simon ran
away to attend to the affairs of Sands & Co., which Katy
innocently concluded must be suffering by this time from his
Poor Katy! with a heavy heart she wandered home to tell her
mother of this new misfortune.
KATY MATURES A MAGNIFICENT SCHEME.
"I suppose it is all for the best, mother," said Katy, when she
had told her sad story of disappointment. "I can't get those
words out of my head, since you have told me about my father. I
feel just as though everything would come out right, it does go
very bad just now."
"I am glad you feel so, Katy," added Mrs. Redburn. "It will make
you much better contented with your lot. I have suffered so much
that I cannot help repining a little, though I feel that my
destiny and yours is in the hands of the wise Father, who
bringeth good out of evil."
Katy had not yet reached that spirit of meek submission to the
will of Heaven which looks upward in the hour of trial, not
doubting that the all-wise God knows best what is for the good of
his children. If she believed that misfortunes were all for the
best, it was only an impulse derived from the story of her
father; a kind of philosophy which was very convenient for the
evil day, because it permitted the sufferer to lie down and take
things easily. It was not a filial trust in the wisdom and mercy
of the heavenly Father that sustained her as the clouds grew
thicker and blacker around her; it was only a cold indifference,
a feeling of the head rather than the heart.
But Mrs. Redburn had been reading the New Testament during Katy's
absence, and a better and purer spirit pervaded her soul than
when the weight of the blow first struck so heavily upon her. She
was well educated, and capable of reasoning in a just manner over
her misfortunes; and those words on the watch seemed to convey a
new meaning to her, as she considered them in the light of
Christian revelation. They were not the basis of a cold
philosophy; they assured her of the paternal care of God. The
thought strengthened and revived her, and when Katy appeared to
announce a new trial, she received the intelligence with
calmness, and felt more ready than ever before to leave her
destiny in the hands of Heaven. For an hour she conversed with
Katy on this subject, and succeeded in giving her some new views
in relation to the meaning of the words she had so often repeated
The poor girl felt as she had never felt before. Upon her
devolved the responsibility of providing for her mother. She had
no other friend, and that day seemed to open a new era in her
existence. She felt strong for the work before her, and resolved
to lose not a single day in putting her resolution into
operation. The teachings of her mother, breathing a spirit of
piety and resignation, were grateful to her heart, and added new
strength to her arm.
There was still food enough in the house for Katy's supper, for
her mother could not eat, though she drank a cup of tea. The
morning sun would shine upon them again, bringing another day of
want and wretchedness, but the poor girl banished her fears,
trusting for the morrow to Him who feedeth the hungry raven, and
tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb.
She laid her head upon her pillow that night, not to sleep for
many a weary hour, but to think of the future; not of its sorrows
and treasured ills, but of the golden opportunities it would
afford her to do something for her sick mother. At one o'clock
the next day Dr. Flynch would come for the rent again and her
mother could not pay him. She felt assured he was cold and cruel
enough to execute his wicked threat to turn them out of the
house, though her mother had not been off her bed for many weeks.
What could be done? They could not pay the rent; that was
impossible; and she regarded it as just as impossible to melt the
heart of Dr. Flynch. But long before she went to sleep she had
decided what to do.
Worn out with fatigue and anxiety, she did not wake till a late
hour; and her mother, who had kept a weary vigil all night, was
glad to see her sleep so well, and did not arouse her. She was
refreshed by her deep slumbers, and got up feeling like a new
creature. She had scarcely made a fire and put on the tea-kettle,
before a knock at the door startled her. Who could wish to see
them in their poverty and want?--who but some evil person, coming
to heap some new grief upon them? She scarcely had the courage to
open the door, but when she did so, she saw the smiling face of
"Good morning, Katy," said he, as he handed her a little basket
he had brought. "Mother sent this over, and wants to know how
Mrs. Redburn does to-day."
"She is about the same. What is in this basket, Tommy?"
"O, you know;" and he turned to run away.
"Stop a minute, Tommy," called Katy. "I want to speak to you."
"Well, what is it?"
"You haven't told anybody about it--have you?"
"What I told you yesterday," replied Katy, hanging her head with
"What do you mean?"
"That we had nothing to eat," and Katy blushed as though it was a
crime to be hungry and have nothing to eat.
"Not a soul--catch me! that is, I hain't told nobody but mother."
"I am sorry you did, even her. My mother is very proud, if she is
poor; but she wasn't always so poor as she is now, for she is the
daughter of a rich merchant."
"You don't say so."
"Yes, I do, Tommy; so please don't say a word about it to anybody
but your mother, and ask her not to mention it."
"Not a word, Katy, mother won't say a word either."
"And sometime I'll tell you all about it. Thank you for what's in
the basket, Tommy."
Without waiting for anything more, the noble, generous boy leaped
down the stairs and passed out at the front door.
"What have you got there, Katy?" asked Mrs. Redburn, as she
entered the room with the basket in her hand.
"Something Mrs. Howard sent us," she replied, as she opened the
basket, and took out a plate of butter and half a dozen hot
biscuit, which she carried to the bedside for her mother's
"What have you done, my child?" exclaimed the poor woman, a flush
gathering on her pale cheek. "Have you told the neighbors that we
have nothing to eat?"
"I couldn't help telling Tommy when I asked for the flounders
yesterday; he told his mother, but no one else knows it."
"I had rather starve than beg, Katy; but I cannot compel you to
"I will not beg."
"Then let us send those cakes back."
"No, mother; we must not be so proud as that. I think that God
sent us this food through Mrs. Howard, and it would be wicked to
reject His bounty."
"Do as you please, Katy."
"Some time we shall be able to pay her; and that will make it all
Mrs. Redburn could not taste the biscuit, but Katy ate heartily.
Her pride was not inflated by the remembrance of brighter days.
All she had was inherited from her mother.
After breakfast she put on her bonnet and left the house,
assuring her mother she should be back by twelve o'clock. She
would not tell her where she was going, but evaded her questions,
and got away as soon as she could.
As she passed down Washington Street, she stopped before the
store of Sands & Co., for she wanted to see Master Simon Sneed.
She did not like to enter the store; so she waited on the
sidewalk for half an hour, hoping he would come out. As he did
not appear, her impatience would not permit her to lose any more
time, and she timidly opened the door, and inquired of the first
salesman she saw if Mister Sneed was in.
"Mister Sneed!" laughed the clerk. "Here, Simon, is one of your
friends. Wait upon her."
Simon, with a flushed cheek, came to the door. He was horrified
at the insinuation of the salesman and wished Katy had been on
the other side of the ocean before she had come there to
scandalize him by claiming his acquaintance.
"What do you want now?" he demanded, rather rudely. "Is it not
enough that I am willing to help you, without your coming here to
bring me into contempt with my associates?"
"I didn't think there was any harm in it. I waited outside for
half an hour, and you didn't come out."
"I can't leave the affairs of this firm to attend to every
little----" and Master Simon's naturally good heart prevented him
from uttering the unkind words that had been on his tongue. "I
suppose you come to know about the watch. I haven't had time to
call upon the mayor yet, but I will do so at dinner time."
"I only wanted to ask you if you know where Mrs. Gordon lives,"
replied Katy, very sad at the thought of the mischief she had
"She lives in Temple Street, over back of the State House. What
do you want of her?"
"I want to see her. Do you suppose you can get that watch back?"
"I'm certain I can. When my friend the mayor hears my story, you
may depend upon it he will get the watch, or upset all the
pawn-brokers' shops in the city."
"Are you acquainted with the mayor?" asked Katy, timidly, for,
since the adventure of the previous day, she had entertained some
slight doubts in regard to the transcendent abilities of Master
"Certainly I am. It was only last week that I had a long and
extremely interesting conversation with his honor on the sidewalk
here before the store."
Katy was satisfied, though Simon did not offer to introduce her
to his distinguished friend. How could she help being satisfied
in the face of such astounding evidence? And Simon's declaration
was true, for whatever faults he had, he never made up a story
out of whole cloth. It was undeniably true that he had conversed
with the mayor for ten full minutes, at the time and place
represented. Simon had been sent out to hold his honor's horse,
while a lady with him did some shopping; but his honor preferred
to hold his own horse, and amused himself for the time in
listening to the big talk of the nice young man.
After receiving more explicit directions in regard to the
residence of Mrs. Gordon, Katy took her leave of Simon. Next door
to Sands & Co.'s was the store of a celebrated confectioner. In
the window, with sundry sugar temples, cob houses of braided
candy and stacks of cake, was a great heap of molasses candy; and
as Katy paused for an instant to gaze at the profusion of sweet
things, a great thought struck through her brain.
"Mother used to make molasses candy for me, and I know just how
it is done," said she to herself. "What is the reason I can't
make candy and sell it?"
She walked on towards School Street, up which she had been
directed to turn, full of this idea. She would become a little
candy merchant. She felt sure she could find purchasers enough,
if her merchandise only looked clean and good. It was a great
deal better than begging, and she thought her mother would
consent to her making and selling the candy. What a glorious
idea! If she could only make money enough to support her mother
and herself, how happy she should be!
Full of enthusiasm at the idea of accomplishing such a vast
project, she scarcely heeded the crowds of people that thronged
the street and rudely jostled her. If she saw them at all, it was
only to regard them as so many purchasers of molasses candy. With
her brain almost reeling with the immensity and magnificence of
her scheme, she reached Temple Street. After a little search, she
found the number of Mrs. Gordon's residence on a splendid house,
whose grandness quite abashed her. But her courage revived as she
thought of the purpose that had brought her there, and she boldly
rang the bell. The door was opened by a servant man in a white
jacket, of whom she inquired if Mrs. Gordon was at home.
"Mrs. Gordon is at home, but we don't trouble her at the call of
a beggar," replied the well-fed servant as he glanced at the
homely apparel of Katy.
"I am not a beggar," she replied, with spirit, her cheek
reddening with indignation at the charge.
"You can't see her; so go about your business."
"Who is it Michael?" said a gentle voice within.
"Only a beggar, Miss Grace; she wants to see Mrs. Gordon,"
replied the man; and then a beautiful young lady came to look at
"I am not a beggar, ma'am; indeed I am not. I want to see Mrs.
Gordon very much. Please to let me speak to her."
The sweet, pleading tones of the child produced their impression
on the beautiful lady, and she bade her come in. Katy entered,
and Michael told her to stand in the entry while Miss Grace went
up-stairs to call Mrs. Gordon.
KATY VISITS MRS. GORDON, AND GETS RID OF DR. FLYNCH.
Katy gazed with wonder and admiration at the rich furniture of
the house, and thought that perhaps her grandfather lived in as
good style as Mrs. Gordon, and that she might some day go to
Liverpool and be an inmate of just such a palace. The door of the
sitting-room was open, and she had an opportunity to look at all
the fine things it contained. She had never seen anything so
luxurious before, and I must say that she regretted the poverty
of her lot, which deprived her mother and herself of them.
All round the room hung pictures in costly frames. Some of them
were portraits; and one which hung over the mantelpiece directly
before her, soon attracted her attention, and made her forget the
soft divans, the beautiful carpet, and the rich draperies of the
windows. It was the portrait of a lady, and her expression was
very like that of her mother--so like that she could almost
believe the picture had been painted for her mother. Yet that
could not be, for the lady was young, and plump, and rosy, and
wore rich laces, and a costly dress. She seemed to look down upon
her from the golden frame with a smile of satisfaction. There was
something roguish in her eye, as though she was on the point of
bursting into a laugh at some mischief she had perpetrated. O,
no! that could not be her mother; she had never seen her look
like that. But there was something that seemed very much like
her; and the more she looked at it, the more the picture
fascinated her. She tried to look at something else, but the lady
appeared to have fixed her gaze upon her, and, whichever way she
turned, those laughing eyes followed her, and brought back her
attention to the canvas again.
In vain she attempted to fasten her mind upon some of the other
portraits. There was an elderly gentleman, with a full red face;
but the jealous lady would not let her look at him. She turned
round and looked out the windows at the side of the door; but the
spell of the lady was upon her, and she could not resist the
charm. The more she studied the portrait, the more convinced she
became that it looked like her mother, though there was something
about it which was as unlike her as anything could be. "What
makes you keep looking at me?" said Katy to herself, or rather to
the lady on the canvas. "You needn't watch me so closely; I shall
not steal anything."
The lady, however, insisted on watching her, and kept her roguish
glance fixed upon her with a steadiness that began to make her
feel nervous and uneasy; and she was greatly relieved when she
heard footsteps on the stairs.
"Mrs. Gordon will be down in a moment," said Miss Grace, in kind
tones. "Won't you come into this room and sit down?"
Katy thanked her, and Grace led her to a small chair directly
under the mischievous-looking lady in the frame; and she felt a
kind of satisfaction in being placed out of her sight. But it
seemed, even then, as she cast a furtive glance upward, that
those roguish eyes were trying to peer over the picture frame,
and get a look at her.
"Well, little girl, what do you wish with me?" said Mrs. Gordon,
a benevolent looking lady, apparently of more than forty years of
age, who now entered the room.
The expression of her countenance was very pleasant, and though
there were a few wrinkles on her brow and she wore a lace cap,
Katy came to the conclusion that the portrait had been taken for
her. She wondered if such a dignified lady could ever have been
so roguish as the picture indicated.
"Please, ma'am," stammered she, rising from her chair, "I come to
see you about the house we live in."
"What is your name, child?"
"Katy Redburn, ma'am."
"In what house do you live in?"
"In one of yours in Colvin Court. Mother is a poor woman, and has
been sick so much this summer that she can't pay the rent."
"I am very sorry for you, my child, but I refer you to my agent,
Dr. Flynch. I do not like to meddle with these things, as I have
given him the whole care of my houses. You will find him a very
good man, and one who will be willing to consider your case. He
will extend to you all the lenity your case requires."
"We have told Dr. Flynch all about it, ma'am and he says if the
rent is not paid by one o'clock to-day, he shall turn us out of
"Indeed!" exclaimed Mrs. Gordon; and Grace actually jumped out of
her chair with astonishment and indignation.
"Yes, ma'am; that's just what he said," added Katy, satisfied
with the impression she had produced.
"Is your mother ill now?" asked Mrs. Gordon.
"Yes ma'am; she has not been off her bed for twelve weeks."
"What does Dr. Flynch say, my child?"
"He says my mother deceived him; that she told him a falsehood;
and that she had money, when she didn't have a cent."
"It is too bad, mother!" exclaimed Grace.
"Hush, Grace; probably Dr. Flynch knows best, for he certainly
would not turn a poor sick woman out of doors because she did not
pay the rent. There may be, as he says, some deception about it,
which he can penetrate and we cannot."
"There is no deception about it, ma'am," pleaded Katy, much
disturbed by this sudden damper upon her hopes. "She has not got
a single cent. She wouldn't tell a lie, and I wouldn't either."
There was something in the eloquence and earnestness of the child
that deeply impressed the mind of the lady, and she could hardly
resist the conclusion that her agent had, in this instance, made
a mistake. But she had great confidence in Dr. Flynch, and she
was very unwilling to believe that he could be so harsh and cruel
as the little girl represented. She had heard of the tricks of
the vicious poor, and while she was disposed to be very tender of
a needy tenant, she must be just to her agent.
"It is now half-past ten," continued Mrs. Gordon.
"You shall remain here, my child, and I will send Michael down to
Colvin Court to inquire into the situation of your mother. He
must be impartial for he knows nothing about the case."
"Thank you, ma'am," said Katy, with a promptness which assured
Grace, if not her mother, that the little girl was honest.
Mrs. Gordon rang the bell, and when Michael answered the summons,
she attended him to the street door, where she instructed him to
call upon Mrs. Redburn, and also to inquire of the grocer at the
corner, and of her neighbors, what sort of a person she was. The
lady returned to the sitting-room when he had gone, and asked
Katy a great many questions about herself and her mother, and
thus nearly an hour was consumed, at the end of which time
Michael returned. Katy had answered all the lady's questions
fairly, though without betraying her family history, which her
mother had cautioned her to keep to herself, that she was
prepared to receive a favorable report from her man.
"Well, Michael, did you find the woman at home?" asked Mrs.
Gordon, as the man presented himself.
"Indeed, I deed, marm."
"What was she doing?"
"She was fast in bed, and told me she hadn't been out of it for
twelve weeks come Saturday."
"What does the grocer say?"
"He says she is a very good woman, but poor and proud. She always
paid him every cent she owed him, and he'd trust her for half he
has in his shop."
"That will do, Michael; you may go;" and the man retired with a
Katy's face wore a smile of triumph, as Michael was dismissed.
Her mother's truthfulness had been vindicated, and it was the
proudest moment she had known for many a day.
"How long has your mother lived in my house?" asked Mrs. Gordon.
"About three years, ma'am; and she always paid her rent till this
month," replied Katy.
"If she had not, Dr. Flynch would have turned her into the
street," added Grace; and it was evident the beautiful young lady
had no special regard for that worthy gentleman.
"We have tried hard enough to pay the rent this month," continued
Katy; and she proceeded to tell the story of the silver watch,
that had belonged to her father.
"This is dreadful, mother; let us do something about it," said
Grace. "What a wretch the broker must have been!"
"We will endeavor to get the watch back for her," replied Mrs.
Gordon, as she seated herself at a table and wrote a few lines on
a piece of paper. "Here, my child, is a receipt for your month's
rent. When Dr. Flynch comes for the money, you show him this, and
he will be satisfied;" and she handed her the receipt.
Katy took it, and thanked the good lady, assuring her that her
mother would certainly pay the money as soon as she got well.
"My mother is poor and proud, just as the grocer said, and she
don't ask any one to give her anything. I am going to earn some
money myself, and I hope I shall be able to pay the next month's
rent," added Katy, as she moved towards the door.
"But the watch, mother?" interposed Grace.
"If the little girl will come here this afternoon or to-morrow
morning, we will take her to the mayor who will have the case
"I will come any time, ma'am."
"The mayor is my friend, and I will call at his house with you
this afternoon at three o'clock."
Katy could not but think the mayor had a great many friends, for
there was Master Simon Sneed, and Mrs. Gordon, and she knew not
how many more. She thanked the lady very warmly for her kindness,
and promising to come at the time stated, she took her leave.
She was followed to the door by Grace, who detained her there.
"Katy, I am sure you are a very good little girl, and here is a
dollar for you. It will buy something good for your mother."
"I thank you very much, Miss Gordon. I am poor, but proud, like
my mother," replied she, as a flush of shame mantled her cheek.
"What a foolish little girl!" laughed Grace. "Take it; you will
oblige me very much by taking it."
"No, ma'am, I can't; my mother wouldn't own me if I should take
money as a gift."
"But you must take it, Katy; I shall be angry if you don't."
The little girl looked up into her pretty eyes beaming with pity
and love; and she could hardly resist the temptation to oblige
her by accepting the gift; but since she had heard the story of
her mother's life, she understood why she was so much prouder
than other poor people; and as she thought of her grandfather in
his fine house in the great city of Liverpool, she felt a little
of the same spirit--she too was poor and proud. Besides, as Grace
jingled the two half dollars together, there was a harmony in the
sound that suggested a great heap of good things for her mother.
And there was another powerful consideration that weighed with
great force upon her mind. One of those half dollars would be a
sufficient capital upon which to commence her candy speculation.
It would buy ever so much molasses of the very best quality. As
she thought of this, she was disposed, at least, to compromise
with Miss Grace.
"I cannot accept the money as a gift, but you may lend it to me,
if you please," said Katy, after she had reflected a moment.
"Just as you like," laughed Grace; "but I shall not feel bad if
you never pay me."
"I shall certainly pay it again," persisted the embryo candy
merchant. "I would not take it if I thought I could not."
"Very well; but you must know I think you are a very singular
"I am poor and proud; that's all."
Katy took the loan, and with her fancy fired with brilliant
expectations in regard to the candy operation, ran home to her
mother as fast as her feet would carry her. Mrs. Redburn was much
displeased with her at first for what she had done. Her pride
revolted at the thought of begging a favor; but Katy explained
the matter so well that she was satisfied, though nothing was
said about the loan she had obtained.
Punctually at the appointed hour came Dr. Flynch for the rent.
"Have you got the money?" he demanded in his usual bland tones,
though Katy thought she could see a wicked purpose in his little
"No, sir; but----"
"That's all I desire to know, Mrs. Redburn," interrupted the
agent. "You must leave the house."
"But, sir, I have something that will do as well as the money,"
added the sick woman.
"Have you, indeed?" sneered Dr. Flynch "I think not."
"Will you read that, sir?" said Katy, handing him Mrs. Gordon's
The agent took the paper, and as he read, the wonted serenity of
his brow was displaced by a dark scowl. His threats had been
disregarded, and he had been reported to his employer.
"So you have been fawning and cringing upon Mrs. Gordon," growled
he. "Probably you have told her more lies than you dared tell
"I told her nothing but the truth, and she sent her man down here
to find out all about us, said Katy, smartly.
"Very well; this paper will only delay the matter for a few days;
when I have exposed you to her, she will acquiesce in my views;"
and Dr. Flynch threw down the receipt and left the house.
"We are well rid of him, at any rate," said Katy.
"Now I will get you some dinner, for I must be at Mrs. Gordon's
at three o'clock; and I want to tell you about my plan too,
The active little girl made a cup of tea for her mother, and the
dinner was soon dispatched.
KATY PREPARES A STOCK OF MERCHANDISE.
Katy had not time then to tell her mother about the candy
speculation she had in view, and she was obliged to wait till her
return from Temple Street. Promptly at the hour, she presented
herself at Mrs. Gordon's, and they went to the house of the
mayor; but that distinguished gentleman was not at home, and the
lady promised to go again with her the next day.
As she walked home, she thought of what she should say to her
mother in favor of the candy project, for she felt sure her
mother's pride would throw many obstacles in her path. The best
argument she could think of was, that the business would be an
honest calling and though she was too proud to beg, she was not
too proud to work, or to take a very humble position among the
people around her. She did not look upon the act of selling candy
to the passers-by in the streets as degrading in itself, and
therein she differed very widely from her mother, who had been
brought up in ease and affluence. Before she got home she had
made up her mind what she should say, and how she should defend
her plan from the assaults of pride.
"Now, mother, you shall hear my plan," she continued, after she
had announced the ill success of her visit to the mayor's house.
"I am going into business, and I expect to make a great deal of
"Are you, indeed?" replied Mrs. Redburn, smiling at the
enthusiasm of her daughter.
"I am; and you must not be angry with me, or object very much to
"Well, what is your plan?"
"I am going to sell candy," said Katy, pausing to notice the
effect of this startling declaration. "You know what nice
molasses candy you used to make for me. Mrs. Sneed and Mrs.
Colvin said a great many times that it was a good deal better
than they could buy at the shops."
"But, child, I am not able to make candy now. I cannot get off my
"I will make it; you shall lay there and tell me how. I am sure I
can make it."
"It is very hard work to pull it."
"I won't mind that."
"Suppose you can make it, how will you sell it?" asked Mrs.
Redburn, casting an anxious glance at the enthusiastic little
"O, I shall take a box, and offer it to the folks that pass along
"Are you crazy, Katy?" exclaimed the mother, raising her head on
the bed. "Do you think I could permit you to do such a thing?"
"Why not, mother?"
"What a life for a child to lead! Do you think I could let you
wander about the streets exposed to the insults and rude jests of
the vicious and thoughtless? You do not understand what you
"I think I do, mother. I don't see any harm in selling candy to
those who are willing to buy."
"Perhaps there is no harm in the mere act of selling candy; but
what a life for you to lead! It makes me shudder to think of it."
"It is your pride, mother."
"I am thankful I have: some pride left, Katy."
"But mother, we can't be poor and proud. We haven't got any money
to proud with."
"I am proud, I know; I wish I could banish it," replied Mrs.
Redburn, with a deep sigh.
"Let me try the plan, mother, and if I can't get along with it, I
will give it up."
"It will subject you to a great many trials and temptations."
"I can manage them, mother."
"Can you submit to the insults of evil-minded persons?"
"Yes, mother; no decent person would insult me and I don't care
for others. I can pity them, and run away from them. I am not
afraid of anything. Do let me try."
Mrs. Redburn saw that Katy was too earnest to be thwarted; that,
impelled by a noble purpose, she had set her heart upon making
the attempt, and she did not like to disappoint her. It is true,
she keenly felt the degradation of such a life, and even feared
that Katy might be led astray while pursuing such an occupation;
but she gave a reluctant consent, trusting that one or two
experiments would disgust her with the business.
Katy clapped her hands with joy as her mother's scruples gave
way, and she found herself at liberty to carry her plan into
execution. It seemed to her as though she had crossed the
threshold of fortune and had actually entered the great temple.
She had an opportunity to accomplish a great work, and her
enthusiasm would not permit her to doubt in regard to her final
"I must begin now, mother, and make all the candy this afternoon,
so that I can commence selling it early to-morrow morning. I will
go to the grocery now and get the molasses."
"Poor child; you have nothing to get it with. We have no money;
you did not think of that."
"Yes, I did, and I have the money to buy the molasses. I borrowed
it," replied Katy, evincing some confusion.
"You borrowed it? Pray who would lend you money?"
"Miss Grace Gordon."
"Did you borrow it, Katy?" asked Mrs. Redburn, casting a
reproachful glance at her.
"Yes, mother, I did. I would not accept money now, after what you
have said to me. Miss Grace wanted to give it to me; but I told
her I could not take it. She laughed at me, and I said I was poor
and proud. She would make me take it, and said so much, that, at
last, I told her if she would lend it to me, I would take it."
"It was the same as a gift," said Mrs. Redburn, blushing with
shame at the thought of accepting alms.
"No, it wasn't; she may think it was, but I mean to pay her, and
I shall pay her; I know I shall."
"If you can," sighed the proud mother.
"I shall be able to pay her soon, for I mean to sell lots of
"You may be disappointed."
"No: I am sure I shall sell a good deal; I mean to make people
buy. I shall talk up smart to them just as the shopkeepers do; I
am going to tell them what candy it is, and that their little
sons and daughters will like it very much."
"You are beside yourself, Katy. It pains me to hear you talk so.
It is sad to think a child of mine should relish such an
employment as that in which you are going to engage."
"Do you remember the book my Sunday-school teacher gave me last
New Year's day, mother? It was all about false pride; I want you
to read it, mother. We can't afford to be so proud."
"Go and get your molasses. Katy," replied Mrs. Redburn, who could
not but acknowledge the truth of her daughter's remarks.
She had read the book alluded to, and was not willing to confront
the arguments it had put in the mouth of her child. She was
conscious that her pride, which made a humble occupation
repulsive to her, was a false pride. If it could have been
carried on in private, it would not have seemed so galling. For
years she had been a recluse from society, mingling only with her
humble neighbors, and with them no more than her circumstances
required. She had labored in solitude, and shunned observation as
much as possible, by carrying her work back and forth in the
evening. Years of hard toil had not familiarized her with the
circumstances of her lot. She tried to be humble and submissive,
but the memory of her early days could not be driven away.
Katy returned in a few minutes with the jug of molasses. She
bustled round and made up a good fire, got the kettle on, and
everything in readiness for the work. Her mother gave her
directions how to proceed; but Katy could impart to her none of
her own enthusiasm.
When the molasses had been cooked enough, she was ready to
commence the pulling, which was the most difficult part in the
manufacture of her merchandise. Then she found that her trials
had indeed commenced. At first the sticky mass, in spite of the
butter and the flour with which she had plentifully daubed her
hands, was as obstinate as a mule. It would not work one way or
another; now it melted down, and stuck to her fingers, and then
it became as solid as a rock. She fretted some at these crosses,
and as her spirits sank, her mother's rose, for she thought
Katy's resolution would not hold out long enough for her to
complete the experiment. But she underrated the energy of the
devoted girl, who, in the face of every discouragement, stuck to
the candy with as much zeal as the candy stuck to her.
As is almost always the case with those who persevere to the end,
Katy soon won a partial triumph, which gladdened her heart, and
gave her courage to continue her trying labors. She had worked a
portion of the mass into candy--clear, light-colored, inviting
candy. Columbus felt no prouder of his achievement when he had
crossed the Atlantic, or, Napoleon when he had crossed the Alps.
She danced for joy as she gazed upon the clear, straight sticks
of candy, as they were arranged in the pan. It was a great
conquest for her; but at what a sacrifice it had been won! Her
little hands, unused to such hard work, were blistered in a dozen
places, and smarted as though they had been scalded with boiling
water. She showed them to her mother, who begged her not to do
any more; but she had too much enthusiasm to be deterred by the
smart of her wounds, and resolutely resumed her labor.
She had scarcely commenced upon the second mass before she was
interrupted by the entrance of Mrs. Howard, her friend Tommy's
"Why, what are you doing, child?" asked the good woman. "I
thought you were all sick, and here you are making candy, as
merry as on a feast day."
"I am making it to sell, Mrs. Howard," replied Katy, proudly.
"Bless me! but you're a queer child! Do you think folks will buy
it of you?"
"I know they will;" and Katy detailed her plan to the interested
neighbor, declaring she was sure she could support her mother and
herself by making and selling candy. "But it is very hard work,"
she added; "see how I've blistered my hands."
"Poor child! it's enough to kill you!" exclaimed Mrs. Howard, as
she glanced at the great blisters on Katy's hands.
"I have been trying to make her give up the idea, but she has
more courage than I ever gave her credit for," remarked Mrs.
"It's a shame for you to hurt your hands in this manner; but I
dare say that they will soon get hard, like mine, with the
labor," replied Mrs. Howard, as she threw off her hood and rolled
up her sleeves. "Here, child, let me help you."
"You are very kind, ma'am; and I hope I shall be able to do
something for you some time."
"Never you mind that; you are a nice girl, and it does my heart
good to see you trying to help your mother," added the kind
woman, as she detached a large mass of candy, and commenced
pulling it with a vigor that astonished the weak-handed little
girl. "You're a jewel and a blessing, and you're worth a dozen of
the fine ladies that are too proud to lift a finger to keep their
bodies from starving. Ah, it's a dreadful misfortune to be
"To be poor and proud," said Mrs. Redburn.
"You are right, ma'am; and I am glad to see you have none of it
here; for some of your neighbors used to say you were too proud
to speak to them."
Mrs. Redburn made no reply, and permitted her kind neighbor,
whose tongue scarcely ceased to swing for a moment, to continue
her remarks without opposition. She and Katy worked with all
their might till the candy was ready for market, and when the
poor invalid poured out her thanks, she ran off and left them.
The exultation with which Katy regarded her plentiful stock of
merchandise almost caused her to forget her smarting hands; and
when she could no longer keep her eyes open, she went to sleep to
dream of great operations in molasses candy on change next day.
KATY MAKES A LARGE SALE.
Katy rose the next morning bright and early, and her heart was
full of hope. She felt that she had a great work to perform, and
she was going forth to do it, resolved that no obstacle should
turn her back. Her mother had told her that she would be laughed
at, and made fun of; that thoughtless people would look down upon
her with contempt, and that wicked ones would insult her. She
was, therefore, prepared for all these trials, but she had braced
herself up to meet them with courage and fortitude.
Her mother was sick, and they were actually in a suffering
condition. What right had she to be proud in her poverty? She
felt able to support her mother, and she could find no excuse, if
she wished to do so, for not supporting her. It was her duty,
therefore, to sell candy if she could get money by it; and thus
consideration strengthened her heart.
Katy had been to the public school and to the Sunday school until
her mother was taken sick; and though she was only eleven years
old, she had a very good idea of her moral and religious duties.
"Honor thy father and thy mother," the commandment says; and she
could think of no better way to obey the divine precept than to
support her mother when there was no one else upon whom she could
rely. Little by little their earthly possessions had passed away.
Mrs. Redburn had never learned how to save money; and when the
day of adversity came, her funds were soon exhausted. She had no
friends to whom she dared reveal her poverty, and when want came
to the door, she was too proud to beg. Hoping for better days,
she had sold most of her best dresses, and those of Katy. The
small sums raised by these sacrifices were soon used up; and when
the daughter could no longer make a decent appearance, she was
required to show herself much more than ever before. Katy did not
repine at this, though her mother did, for their pride, as my
young friends have discovered, was of very different kinds.
Katy did wish she had a little better dress, and a little better
bonnet for her first attempt in the mercantile calling; but there
was no help for it. She had mended her clothes as well as she
could, and as they were clean, she was pretty well satisfied with
her personal appearance. Besides, people would not be half so apt
to buy her candy if she were well dressed, as if she were rather
plainly clothed. In short, it was all for the best.
After breakfast she prepared herself for the duties of the day.
Her heart beat violently with anxiety and expectation, and while
she was placing the candy on the tray, which she had previously
covered with white paper. to render her wares the more inviting,
her mother gave her a long lecture on the trials and difficulties
in her path, and the proper way to encounter them.
"Now, my dear child," said Mrs. Redburn, in conclusion "if any
evil person insults you, do not resent it, but run away as fast
as you can."
"Shan't I say anything, mother?"
"Not a word."
"But if some naughty boy or girl, no bigger than I am myself,
should be saucy to me, I think I can give them as good as they
"Don't do it, Katy."
"They have no business to insult me."
"That is very true; but when you use bad or violent language to
them, you go down to their level."
"But if they begin it?"
"No matter, Katy; if they are unkind and wicked, it is no reason
that you should be unkind and wicked. If you leave them without
resenting their insults, the chances are that they will be
ashamed of themselves before you get out of sight. You need not
be low and vile because others are."
"I guess you are right, mother."
"You know what the Bible says: `If thine enemy hunger, feed him;
if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head.' "
"I won't say a word, mother, whatever they say to me. I'll be as
meek as Moses."
"I hope you will not be gone long," added Mrs. Redburn.
"I have thirty sticks of candy here. I don't think it will take
me long to sell the whole of them. I shall be back by dinner time
whether I sell them or not for you know I must go to Mrs. Gordon
again to-day. Now, good-by, mother, and don't you worry about me,
for I will do everything just as though you were looking at me."
Katy closed the door behind her, and did not see the great tears
that slid down her mother's pale cheek as she departed. It was
well she did not, for it would have made her heart very sad to
know all the sorrow and anxiety that distressed her mother as she
saw her going out into the crowded streets of a great city, to
expose herself to a thousand temptations. She wept long and
bitterly in the solitude of her chamber, and perhaps her wounded
pride caused many of her tears to flow. But better thoughts came
at last, and she took up the Bible which lay on the bed, and read
a few passages. Then she prayed to God that he would be with Katy
in the midst of the crowd, and guide her safely through the
perils and temptations that would assail her. She tried to banish
her foolish pride, when she considered her circumstances, she
could almost believe it was a wicked pride; but when she
endeavored to be reconciled to her lot, the thought of her
father's fine house, and the servants that used to wait upon her,
came up, and the struggle in her heart was very severe. In spite
of all she had said to Katy about the disgrace of selling candy
in the streets, she could not but be thankful that the poor girl
had none of her foolish pride. She read in the New Testament
about the lowly life which Jesus and the apostles led, and then
asked herself what right she had to be proud. And thus she
struggled through the long hours she remained alone--trying to be
humble, trying to be good and true. Those who labor and struggle
as hard as she did are always the better for it, even though they
do not achieve a perfect triumph over the passions that torment
Katy blushed when she met the keeper of the grocery at the corner
of the court, for in spite of all her fine talk about false
pride, she had not entirely banished it from her heart. Some
queer ideas came into her head as she thought what she was doing.
What would her grandfather, the rich Liverpool merchant, say,
should he meet her then? Of course he would not know her; he
would be ashamed of her. But she did not permit such reflections
as these to influence her; and as soon as she was conscious of
the nature of her thoughts she banished them.
"I'm going to support my mother, and I have no right to be proud.
If I meet my grandfather, I should like to sell him twenty sticks
"Hallo, Katy! What are you going to do?" said a voice behind,
which she recognized as that of her friend Tommy Howard.
"I'm going to sell this candy," replied Katy.
"You're a spunky one; mother told me all about it. I should like
two sticks," said Tommy, as he offered her the money.
"Take two, Tommy, and as many more as you like."
"Two is all I want;" and he placed the two cents on the tray.
"No, Tommy, I won't take your money," replied Katy, with a blush,
for she felt ashamed to take his money.
"That's no way to trade," laughed Tommy. "You won't make much, it
you do so. Keep the money and I will keep the candy."
"I can't keep it, Tommy."
"You must; if you don't take the money, I won't take the candy."
"I owe you two cents, Tommy. I will pay you now."
"No, you don't!"
"Please to take them; I shall feel very bad, if you don't."