AUTHOR OF “BROOKSIDE SERIES,” ETC.
“In everything give thanks.”—Paul.
HENRY A. YOUNG & CO.,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by
REV. A. R. BAKER.
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
NELLIE, ROLAND COTTON, ANNIE, AND FULLER APPLETON,
CHILDREN OF MY BELOVED NEPHEW,
The Rev. JOHN COTTON SMITH, D.D.,
THESE SMALL VOLUMES ARE AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED,
WITH THE EARNEST PRAYER
THAT THEIR LIVES MAY PROVE THEM TO BE LAMBS IN THE FOLD
OF THE GREAT AND GOOD
Shepherd of Israel.
|The Maltese Kitty,||11|
|The Sabbath School,||32|
|The Ungrateful Son,||57|
|[Pg x]CHAPTER VI.|
|The Strange Visitor,||68|
|Finding a Place,||79|
|The Grateful Dog,||90|
O Hatty! see that pretty kitty! I wonder where she came from.”
Fred Carleton walked softly toward the puss, his hand outstretched, calling, “Kitty, pretty kitty,” until he had her in his arms.
[Pg 12] His sister Hatty took her hands from the dish-water, wiped them on the roller, and came toward him.
“Why Fred!” she exclaimed, “that’s Ned Perry’s kitty. Clara says it’s a real Maltese. They’ll feel dreadfully when they know it’s lost.”
“I wish they wouldn’t mind,” said Fred, caressing the puss; “see how she loves me! I’d like to keep her so much.”
“But would you have Ned, who is a roguish boy, catch one of [Pg 13] your bantams and keep it? You’d call that stealing.”
Fred sighed. “But I didn’t go to catch her, Hatty; she came right into the door. I think that’s different.”
“Perhaps she is hungry.”
“O Hatty! may I try her with some milk?”
“Yes,” she answered, laughing at his eagerness. “Pour some into a saucer from the pitcher in the closet, and see whether she will drink it.”
[Pg 14] He was rewarded by the sight of pussy lapping up the milk.
“I do believe kitty is thanking me,” he said, laughing and clapping his hands. “See how she keeps looking up! I never saw a kitty do so before.”
Puss did, indeed, seem to be grateful. She lapped away at the milk with great eagerness, and then she would look in the face of her benefactor, and utter a soft little mew.
“Frederick,” called out Mrs. [Pg 15] Carleton from the head of the stairs, “isn’t it time for you to go to school?”
“It’s Saturday, ma; I don’t go to-day.”
“Oh, I forgot,” she said; “well, come up here a minute.”
Fred obeyed, carrying kitty in his arms.
“What a pretty puss!” his mother exclaimed; “where did you find her?”
Fred, standing very erect and firm, told all the circumstances [Pg 16] relating to his new friend, and then asked,—
“What shall I do with her?”
“Carry her to Mrs. Perry, to be sure.”
“But it’s a long walk, and it’s awful muddy, ma. Couldn’t I let her stay here, and tell Ned at Sabbath school?”
“Is that the way you would like Ned to do, if the kitty were yours? Perhaps he is looking everywhere for her now, and mourning because his pet is lost.”
[Pg 17] Frederick sat for a moment stroking the cat’s soft fur; then he started up, exclaiming, “I’ll go right off. I don’t care if it is muddy. I know Ned will be so glad.”
It was indeed quite a task for a child of only eight years to carry a half-grown cat over a muddy road for a third of a mile. But Fred anticipated, with delight, the pleasure he should give, and the thanks he would receive. Once kitty, not liking to be held so tightly, [Pg 18] escaped from his arms, and led him a chase over the wall into a marshy field; but he caught her again at last, and laughed alone by himself, imagining how Ned and Clara would run to meet him as soon as they saw what he was carrying.
Hatty had finished washing the dishes, and had swept the dining-room and kitchen, when, happening to look from the window, she saw Fred coming back.
He scraped the mud from his boots and came into the kitchen, [Pg 19] his face expressive of the greatest disgust.
“What’s the matter now?” inquired his sister, laughing at his comical expression; “didn’t you get the kitty safe home?”
“Well, weren’t they glad to find her?”
“I didn’t see anybody but Mrs. Perry, and she was just as cross as she could be. She never thanked me one mite. She only looked at my boots as if she was afraid I [Pg 20] was going to walk in, and then she said,—
“‘Well, put her down; cats are a great bother, any way.’”
“Why didn’t you tell Mrs. Perry you would take her back again? I should think she might have thanked you, anyhow.”
“I hate not to be thanked,” exclaimed Fred.
“Especially when you took pains to go so far through all this mud.”
“Next time kitty comes here, crying and trying to come in, I’ll [Pg 21] keep her myself. I’m as tired as I can be, I had to chase her so.”
Fred took off his boots, and went up stairs, where his mother sat sewing, to relate his grievances to her.
MRS. CARLETON was at work on a new suit of clothes. They were of a soft gray cloth, and made in a fashion which greatly pleased the little boy. First, there was a pair of pantaloons, or pants, as Fred called them; then a vest, he had never worn a vest before; and last, a nice jacket with [Pg 23] a pocket in the left side, just like the ones worn by the big boys. The jacket and vest were bound with black braid.
Mrs. Carleton had taken great pains with the new suit. First, she had to give more for the cloth than she could well afford; but she admired its soft, firm texture, and willingly gave up a new black silk apron which she expected to purchase: the money thus saved met the extra expense of the cloth.
Next, came the fitting of the suit. [Pg 24] There was no children’s tailor in the town; and, if there had been, Mrs. Carleton could not afford to pay him for the cutting. So she sent to her sister in the city, who kindly furnished a paper pattern, which she had used for her own son.
There was a good deal of trouble in all this; but the mother took it cheerfully, rising earlier than usual, and sitting up late, in order to finish the clothes before the examination of the school.
[Pg 25] When Fred came up the stairs she was at work on the vest. She listened with interest to all he had to say, especially when he expressed his displeasure that Mrs. Perry did not even thank him for carrying her kitty home.
Finding her too busy to talk much, he was going downstairs, when she said,—
“Wait a minute, Fred; I want to try on this vest; and then I have something to say to you.”
“Need I take off my jacket, [Pg 26] mother? I’ve tried it on so many times.”
“Yes, dear, I’ve had to alter it a little. Stand still; I can’t pin it while you are jerking your head so continually.”
“It hurts, ma. I can’t bear to try on clothes,” he said, impatiently. “I had rather wear my old ones than to have to keep changing so many times.”
While Fred was buttoning his jacket again, Mrs. Carleton asked, earnestly,—
[Pg 27] “Did you say your prayer this morning?”
“No, ma’am, I forgot it.”
“Do you often forget?”
“A good many times I do in the morning, because I hear the chickens calling for their dough.”
“But you don’t forget to eat your breakfast.”
“Oh, no, ma, of course not!”
“Nor to drink when you are thirsty, nor to warm yourself when it is cold, nor to lie down to rest when you are weary.”
[Pg 28] “Of course, ma, I do that. Everybody does.”
“But, Fred, who gives you your breakfast? Who provides a pleasant home for you; a fire and clothes to warm you; a bed for you to rest upon? Who gives you health and strength; a good appetite for your food? Who made your form erect and vigorous, instead of lame and deformed, like poor Israel Wasson? Do you ever think who has done all these things for you?”
“God made me,” said the boy; [Pg 29] “and gave me all the blessings which I enjoy. That’s the answer in my catechism.”
“My little son,” said the lady, seriously; “you were much displeased because Mrs. Perry expressed no gratitude for the small favor you did her; but you confess that many mornings you forget to thank your heavenly Father for all his kindness to you. You said,—
“‘Catch me carrying her kitty home through all the mud again.’
[Pg 30] “What if God should say, ‘I have given Frederick Carleton a good home, food to eat, clothes to wear, a house to live in, and friends to love him. I have done this for eight years; but he seldom thanks me. He jumps out of bed, runs to his breakfast, satisfies all his wants, but does not even think of me, the Giver of all his blessings. I will do nothing more for him. After this he shall be a poor, homeless wanderer, suffering from hunger and thirst, from cold and nakedness. [Pg 31] I do hate people who don’t thank me for the favors which I bestow.’”
WHILE his mother was speaking, Fred had dropped his cap to the floor, and sat looking at her, his eyes staring wide open.
“Why, ma,” he said, eagerly; “I didn’t know that God would care.”
“There is nothing, my child, that our heavenly Father loves more [Pg 33] than a grateful heart. How often did David express his gratitude to the Most High. He says, ‘It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High! to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.’ Again he says, ‘I will bless thee while I live. Seven times a day do I praise thee.’ The Bible is full of thanks to God for his continued mercies to his undeserving creatures. Moses, the great [Pg 34] lawgiver, commands, ‘When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God.’ Joel says, ‘Ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord thy God.’ Even Jesus, who as God, was the Creator of all things, when he took the seven loaves, gave God thanks for the means to satisfy the hunger of all the multitude.”
“I never thought of it before, ma. I don’t believe I shall forget again. I know, when you pray [Pg 35] with me, you always say, ‘We thank thee for food and all our blessings;’ but I never before thought that he wanted us to do it.”
“A grateful heart, Fred, thanks its benefactor, because it loves to do so; it cannot help it.
“Don’t you remember, the last time your father came home, how pleased you were with the birds he brought you? You could not stop thanking him. Over and over again you said, ‘O pa, I’m so much obliged! These are just what I [Pg 36] wanted. I’m so very glad! And I thank you so much!’”
“Yes, ma; I remember all about it.”
“Don’t you think your father was better pleased than if you had taken the cage, hung it up by the window, and said nothing about the birds?”
“O ma! of course I wouldn’t do that, when he had brought them over the ocean for me.”
“Or, suppose Hatty had taken the beautiful silk he bought for her [Pg 37] in Canton, carried it to the dressmaker’s, and then worn it without ever thanking him for his kindness; would he have been encouraged to bring her another present, do you think?”
“No, indeed, ma.”
“Shall I tell you what I was thinking when you were trying on your vest?”
Fred held down his head, his cheeks covered with blushes.
“I said to myself, ‘My son feels very indignant because Mrs. Perry [Pg 38] did not thank him for carrying home her cat. Now, if he himself had a grateful heart, he would thank me for taking so much pains with his new suit, instead of being so sulky about the trifling annoyance of trying it on. I had better make the vest anyhow since he is so ungrateful.’”
“Did you think that, ma? I’m real sorry. I wont act so again. I have thought ever so much about it; and last night, after you prayed with me, I said to myself, ‘I ought [Pg 39] to be a real good boy, ma’s so kind to sit up and work on my clothes.’”
Ned Perry was in the same class at Sabbath school, as Fred Carleton. As they were walking home together, Ned said,—
“I don’t see how our cat happened to run away. Mother said you brought her home.”
“Yes, I did! If she comes again, I sha’n’t try it through all the mud. I got awfully tired.”
“Why didn’t you keep her?”
[Pg 40] “I thought you’d be looking everywhere; and Hatty said I ought to go. I’ll give you my new top if you’ll let me keep her.”
“I’ll do it; for mother hates to have her round; she kills chickens so.”
“Kills chickens! Oh, I guess that’s what she was after at our house.”
Fred suddenly remembered that he had first seen her near the hen-coop; and he also remembered that this was Sunday, and that he ought [Pg 41] not to have been making bargains about cats.
“That was a real good story Miss Darling told us to-day,” he said, changing the subject.
“Yes, she’s a tip-top teacher! She makes us understand the lesson; and that’s what I never did before.”
“I’m going to wait here till Hatty comes up,” said Fred, stopping at the corner where his companion had to leave him, and looking earnestly up the street.
[Pg 42] “When do you want the kitty?”
“I don’t want her if she kills chickens; but I’ll talk with Hatty about it to-morrow.”
“Did Ned thank you?” asked Hatty, smiling.
“No, he don’t want the cat!”
Fred then repeated the story which his teacher had related. The subject of temperance had come up in connection with the lesson, and Miss Darling wished to impress upon the minds of her class the [Pg 43] evils of drunkenness. As you may like to hear the story, I will relate it in the next chapter.
A MAN, living in the State of Arkansas, was in the habit of spending his evenings at a tavern, where he often became so drunk that he could scarcely reach home.
One night he stayed later than usual, so that when he left the tavern, honest people had long been in [Pg 45] bed. The liquor he had taken so bewildered his senses that he knew not where he was going. At last, he staggered into an empty wagon-shed and fell on the ground.
For a long time he lay unconscious of everything about him, and would, no doubt, have frozen, as the night was very cold, had not he been cared for by others less insensible than himself.
This shed was a favorite resort for the hogs, which were out when the new-comer arrived, but soon [Pg 46] returned to their nest. In the utmost kindness, they gave the man the warmest place in the middle of the bed; some lying close by his side, and others acting the part of the quilt. Their company made him so warm that he was kept from exposure.
Toward morning he began to rouse from his drunken sleep, but felt so comfortable that he supposed himself still in the tavern with his companions.
He reached out his hand, and [Pg 47] catching hold of the stiff bristles of a hog, exclaimed,—
“Why, Mister, when did you shave last?”
“How did Daniel Jones look while Miss Darling was telling the story?” asked Hatty, much interested.
“He looked very red. I don’t believe teacher knows what a drunkard his father is.”
“Well,” said Hatty; “you and I ought to be very thankful that our father is a temperance man. How [Pg 48] should you feel to have him lying with the hogs?”
“I never thought how many things we have to be grateful for,” said Fred, gravely. “If I had a father like Dan Jones, I never could look anybody in the face.”
Mrs. Carleton, finding that her son’s mind was still dwelling on gratitude, promised to relate a story on the subject, as soon as tea was cleared away.
While Hatty was doing this, Fred took his book to learn the lesson [Pg 49] for the next Sabbath. He was nearly through when he noticed that his sister was trying to lift the table alone, and set it in its place next the wall.
“Let me help you, Hatty,” he cried, jumping to her assistance.
“Thank you, Fred,” and she kissed him.
“I like to do things for people who thank me,” he replied, eagerly.
“Why, my dear?”
“Because, ma, I know then—I know they’re pleased. I can’t [Pg 50] explain the reason, only it makes me feel better.”
“You feel that they appreciate your kindness. Isn’t that the reason?”
“Yes, ma; and then I want to do something more.”
“I remember,” said the lady, “when I was a young girl, about Hatty’s age, I went with my aunt to make a visit to a distant relative. There were quite a number of children in the family. When we sat down to the table, soon after our [Pg 51] arrival, the boys and girls began scrambling for food,—snatching everything that was within reach. I looked on in astonishment. My aunt passed me some bread. ‘I thank you,’ I said; and I repeated the words ‘thank you’ every time anything was passed to me.
“At last these rude children began to laugh.
“‘Who are you thanking so much?’ asked one. ‘We never say “thank you.” We get all we can without any such fuss.’
[Pg 52] “‘At home,’ I answered, ‘I was always taught to say “thank you” for every civility. I think it is much pleasanter to do so. Wont you try it?’
“They began at once, in mockery, to pass each other cake and cheese, laughing rudely as they repeated the words, ‘thank you.’ I was never so much disgusted, and must confess, that before we left the supper-table, I felt somewhat as Frederick did when Mrs. Perry treated his kindness so coolly.”
[Pg 53] “How long did you have to stay there, ma?”
“Two days. I was never so homesick. The mother was a hardworking woman, toiling from morning to night for her family. One evening she sat up till midnight finishing a pair of mittens for her oldest son. She told him of this the next morning; but he did not express one word of gratitude. He only said,—
“‘You might have finished them earlier if you’d been a mind to!’”
[Pg 54] “I would have snatched them right away,” exclaimed Hatty.
“His mother had never taught him to be grateful. She did not seem to expect any thanks; but when he had left the room she sighed heavily as she said,—
“‘It’s hard to please children, do what you will.’”
“Is that the story you promised us, ma?” inquired Frederick.
“No, dear; I happened to think of that visit, when you said you loved to do anything for your sister [Pg 55] because she thanks you so heartily.”
“Do you suppose it was that visit, ma, that made you so particular always to say ‘thank you’ when I bring in wood, or find eggs, or any such things?”
“I was so disgusted, Fred, with the want of gratitude to their hardworking mother, and, indeed, with the absence of common civility, I may have thought more on the subject; but I trust you will find, wherever you go, that those who [Pg 56] are most grateful to God for his mercies are most inclined to thank each other.”
HATTY is all ready now, ma.”
“It is not a very long story, my dear; but it shows God’s displeasure at ingratitude to parents.
“In Birmingham, England, there once lived a family who were poor. The father died, at last, and all the [Pg 58] younger children, leaving the widow with her two eldest sons. At this time, they had gone into business, and were able to assist her; but they forgot all she had done for them, often denying herself food that they might have enough. They forgot the days and nights she had watched by them in sickness; and, when she humbly entreated a little help, they refused her.
“She was so feeble that she could do little for her own support, and [Pg 59] was obliged with great reluctance to apply to the parish for assistance.
“For two years she received the small sum of two shillings a week from the overseers of the poor, which, with a little help from some Christian friends, was all she had to live upon.
“During this time the younger of these two sons died; not peacefully on his bed, trusting that Jesus would forgive all his sins, but in the most terrible agony both of body and [Pg 60] mind, cursing and raving because he must leave all his property, and go to a world of darkness.
“The eldest son was shrewd in his business, and in a few years became rich. He was still unmarried; but he refused again and again to assist his mother, though many persons applied to him in her behalf. He held offices of trust in the city, but still allowed his infirm mother to eke out her poor existence on the parish allowance.
“At last his ungrateful, inhuman [Pg 61] conduct rendered him so notorious that he caused her name to be struck off the parish books, and allowed her the two shillings from his own pocket; but not a penny more, even when he was possessed of thousands of pounds.
“One day some friends of the old lady were assembled, among whom was her clergyman. They expressed great indignation at the base ingratitude of the son, and proposed that a remonstrance be drawn up.
[Pg 62] “‘No,’ said the minister; ‘if that man dies possessed of the property which he is now worth, I shall be greatly deceived. God will never suffer such base ingratitude to prosper.’
“Shortly after, the mother died a happy death, and very soon the prospects of her wicked son began to change. He met with great losses; and finally he was reduced to poverty as abject as his mother’s had been. No one pitied him; but all felt his suffering was [Pg 63] richly deserved, and was a just punishment for his sin.”
“What a wicked man!” cried Frederick. “I would never do so; I would have you live with me, ma, and take care of you all your life.”
Mrs. Carleton kissed her boy and softly whispered in his ear,—
“Thank you, my darling;” and then it was time for them to get their Bibles, and read aloud in turn. Afterward Mrs. Carleton knelt, and prayed for herself and her absent husband, and for their dear children, [Pg 64] that God would make them sensible of all his blessings and would give them hearts to praise him for his great mercies.
Fred usually fell asleep almost as soon as his head touched the pillow; but this night he was very wakeful. The stories he had heard, both from his teacher and his mother, led him to think of the end of wicked men; and he resolved, as he had never done before, that, with God’s help, he would try to be a consistent Christian.
[Pg 65] Especially he thought of his father, and wondered where he was, how soon he would be home, and what kind of a present he would bring this time.
Fred’s father was a sea-captain. He had once been very successful in business; but two years before the time I have written about, his vessel was wrecked, and he barely escaped with his life.
As he could not afford to lose his time in waiting for the command of a new ship, he took the situation [Pg 66] of first mate, in which he had continued ever since. It was now a few days more than a year since he sailed, and Hatty noticed that her mother began to watch the clouds more than she had done, while she supposed him too far off the coast to be affected by storms. Still as he was not now the captain, he might not be able to leave the vessel at once, even if it had arrived in port.
Mrs. Carleton said little to her children of the subject which filled [Pg 67] her heart; but night after night, while they were soundly sleeping, she prayed that he from whom she had been separated so many weary months might be brought in safety to his home.
THE day of the examination arrived at last. The new suit was completed and hanging in the closet. The nicely starched collar, and the pretty brown bow were laid with a clean pocket-handkerchief in the drawer.
Fred had been very diligent in reviewing his lessons; but as the [Pg 69] time drew near when he would be called out to recite, his heart beat fast with excitement.
“I wish the examination was over,” he said a dozen times. “I’m almost sure I shall miss in geography. I can say my piece just as well as can be; but when I see all the people looking, I’m afraid I shall forget every word.”
The day was fine; and Mrs. Carleton and Hatty left home at an early hour so as to secure seats in the crowded hall.
[Pg 70] There was a raised stage at one end, on which the scholars stood while examined by the committee, who occupied seats on the opposite platform, the visitors filling up all the vacant space.
The exercises of examination were interesting to the parents, each feeling a natural desire that his or her child should excel; and then the teacher announced that there would be speaking from the first class.
Just at this moment Hatty’s [Pg 71] bright eyes noticed a stranger enter the door, who was at once invited to a seat of honor near the committee.
There was something about his eyes that startled her. They wandered quickly about the room as if in search of some one, and then fixed themselves gravely upon the school. The lower part of his face was completely hidden by a heavy beard.
Hatty touched her mother, calling her attention to the stranger; [Pg 72] but, with scarcely a glance at the gentleman, Mrs. Carleton gave her attention to the speaking.
At the close of the school, a member of the committee, ’Squire Long, arose and said to the teacher,—
“I am so much pleased with your boys, that I am going to indulge myself with the pleasure of giving each one of them a book to remember me by.”
He untied a parcel, and took out some prettily bound volumes, which [Pg 73] he proceeded to distribute, to the great joy of the boys.
The scholars generally looked much pleased; but not one, except Fred Carleton, expressed his gratitude. When it came his turn to go forward, his whole face was covered with a rosy flush. He bowed when the volume was put in his hands, and with a cordial “I thank you, sir,” retired to his seat.
There were several whispered comments on Fred’s conduct; all agreeing that he had done well.
[Pg 74] “That boy has a good mother,” murmured one of the committee in the ear of the bearded stranger.
The gentleman only bowed.
In the confusion of leaving the hall, Hatty lost sight of the strange visitor; but she could not forget the impression he had made upon her and continued to talk about him all the way home.
“I can’t think where I’ve seen him before. His eyes looked as familiar as possible.”
Before they started for the school [Pg 75] they had drawn down the curtains and locked the door, Mrs. Carleton taking the key in her pocket. Now, as they approached the house, they were surprised to see the curtains up, and the shed door wide open.
Hatty darted forward to see who was within, and presently, with a joyful scream, was held fast in the arms of the mysterious stranger.
“Husband!” murmured Mrs. Carleton, instantly recognizing him.
[Pg 76] “Thank God,” he said, “that I see you all once more!”
“When did you come? How changed you are! I was sure I had seen your eye somewhere,” exclaimed Hatty, full of joyful excitement.
“I was proud of you, my boy,” said Captain Carleton, again embracing him. “I was proud of you and proud of your mother, who has trained you to such good manners. I pray God you may always honor her as you did to-day.”
[Pg 77] Mrs. Carleton, having laid aside her bonnet and shawl, rose to make preparations for supper.
“Now, ma, you sit right down,” exclaimed Hatty, gently putting her back into the chair. “I can do everything. You sit and talk with pa.”
“You will find a lobster in the closet,” said the captain. “We can well afford to have a little feast, for the Adolphus, my new vessel, is completed, and will be ready for sea before I am, I fear.”
[Pg 78] “Good news! good news! Pa is captain again.”
“Yes,” added the gentleman; “the owners have been very generous. They have allowed me a sum in advance, which, with what I have made in the last voyage, will buy a share in her. I hope for a prosperous trip.”
“You have returned safely; and I could be satisfied with that,” faltered Mrs. Carleton, her eyes full of tears, though hope prevailed in her heart.
WE must now pass over several years, during which Captain Carleton was very much prospered. He had become rich, and loved to share his wealth with others.
Hatty was married to a merchant from the neighboring city; and she, who had been so dutiful a daughter [Pg 80] and so loving a sister, bid fair to be an affectionate wife.
Frederick at sixteen graduated from the High School with the first honors. For a time he had been anxious to go to sea with his father; but, as his mother was unwilling, he concluded to be a merchant.
As Mrs. Carleton still remained in her old home, she wished her son to obtain business, at least for the present, in the same town; so one morning he set out to find himself a place.
[Pg 81] All day long he went from one store to another; but nowhere was a boy wanted. He returned home at night quite disheartened, but, after a cheerful talk with his mother, resolved he wouldn’t give up.
There were a few of the largest stores into which he had not ventured. Now he said to himself,—“Nothing venture, nothing have.” So, putting on a resolute face, he started off to renew his efforts.
There was one immense flour and [Pg 82] grain store down by the wharf, owned by Long, Haynes, & Long, into which he had looked with great interest.
The vessels, loaded with grain, came up to the very door, whence the huge bags were taken by means of the tackle into the upper stories of the great storehouse.
“That is the kind of place I should like,” he said to himself, watching the men running to and fro. “Business seems lively. I wonder whether any of the partners [Pg 83] are in the counting-room? I wish somebody would introduce me; but if I must go alone, I must. It’s no use standing here dreading it.”
“I want to see ’Squire Long,” he said, addressing a man who wore a meal-bag apron.
“Go to the counting-room, then;” and the porter was gone without another word.
He was relieved to see that the gentleman was alone, and, looking as bold as possible, he asked,—
[Pg 84] “Do you want a boy, sir?”
Without answering, the ’Squire peeped over the top of his glasses, but tried in vain to make out who he was.
“I know your face, my young friend,” he said; “but I can’t call your name.”
“Frederick Carleton, sir.”
“Oh, yes; I know now! You’re the young lad who said, ‘I thank you,’ when you received the book in school.”
“I thank you again for it, sir. [Pg 85] I have read it a great many times. I have it now.”
“And you want to be a flour and grain merchant?”
“Yes, sir. I should like that best of anything.”
“Why don’t you go to sea with your father?”
“Mother wants me to stay with her. If it were not for that, my brother-in-law would take me into his store.”
“How old are you?”
“Sixteen, last April.”
[Pg 86] “Ay! ay! And what can you do, my boy?”
“Almost anything, sir. Mother brought me up to work. Ever since I was seven years old I have sawed and split wood. I like to work, sir, and that made me want to come here; there seems enough to do.”
’Squire Long took out his watch. “Let me see,” he said to himself; “I must be at the bank at ten. I shall be in the city till five. Well, Frederick, you may tell your [Pg 87] mother that I will do myself the pleasure of calling on her after tea.”
He took his pen without another word, but smiled when Fred exclaimed, warmly,—
“Thank you, sir;” and then went on with his writing.
Exactly at seven o’clock he drove to the door.
“I told my partners,” he said to the lady, “what I knew of the lad; and, though we don’t really need another hand, yet they gave up to the whims of an old man, who has [Pg 88] taken a fancy to a boy that says ‘thank you’ so earnestly. I’ve had my eye on the lad for a good many years; and he may enter the store of Long, Haynes, & Long as soon as he pleases.”
Neither Mrs. Carleton nor her son failed to express their gratitude to the kind old gentleman for acceding so cheerfully to their wishes.
“I know what I’m about,” he answered, laughing; “I believe in God’s promise to the children of those that love him, and keep his [Pg 89] commandments. I mean to make Frederick my confidential clerk; and I expect to get the best part of the bargain.”
MANY people wondered by what piece of good luck so young a boy as Fred Carleton was taken into the most prosperous store in town.
The mother and son did not fail to ascribe it to the over-ruling care of their heavenly Father.
They recognized in this event a [Pg 91] new source of gratitude; for they knew he put the kind thought into ’Squire Long’s heart.
Fred entered into his new employment with all the energy of his character, and soon convinced the other partners that he meant to do his part faithfully.
Even here his quick appreciation of kindness and the heartiness with which he said “thank you” for the least favor, won him many friends. The idea of his having gained his present situation, merely by showing [Pg 92] his gratitude, caused him to think much on the subject, both of his indebtedness to God and to his Christian parents.
One Sabbath day he and his mother passed all their time out of church in looking up instances in the Bible where gratitude for kindness was shown from man to man; as, for instance, David’s friendship to Jonathan’s family, on account of their former kindness to himself. Also his kindness to Barzillai, in allowing him to live where he [Pg 93] pleased, because the old man had provided him food when he lay hid at Mahanaim.
They read the account of Joseph in prison, and the ingratitude of the chief butler, who forgot his promise to plead for Joseph with Pharaoh.
Soon after this time, a packet of letters was received from Captain Carleton, by a schooner the Adolphus had met on her passage out. Curiously enough, Frederick’s letter contained an incident on the [Pg 94] very subject which of late had occupied so many of their thoughts.
As I have no doubt it will please my young readers, I shall copy it.
“My dear Son,—You will remember that I told you I had engaged to take out several passengers to India. There was one more than I expected. This was a noble dog, of the St. Bernard breed. He was the property of a lady who had formerly lived in India, and was returning there [Pg 95] with her three children, after a visit to her home in America. Mrs. Lenox has two sons and one daughter, a little fairy, the pet of all on board. The sons are indolent, quarrelsome fellows, who not only make themselves unhappy, but also try to annoy their mother in every way.
“Inez, the little girl, never comes on deck without being accompanied by Cæsar, the great dog. He is her companion, protector, and friend. He follows her gravely [Pg 96] up and down the deck, lying by her side when she is quiet, or giving his body as a pillow for her to lie upon. I have often seen her soundly sleeping with her curly head resting on his shaggy hair.
“Neither of the boys likes the dog. They shut him up, blind his eyes, and play all manner of tricks upon him. One day Cæsar came on deck limping badly. I examined his foot and found it deeply cut. I still suspect it was the work of Lawrence, the eldest boy. [Pg 97] Inez was almost frantic with grief. She insisted on holding the bandages while the mate bound up the wound, all the time weeping over her pet.
“Cæsar fully appreciated her affection. He looked mournfully in her face, wagging his tail, and, as soon as the dressing was completed, began to lick her hands and face in token of his gratitude.
“Every day the wound was carefully dressed, Inez standing by and caressing the dog. At the [Pg 98] end of a week the cut was almost entirely healed. The little girl could scarcely express her joy. She danced up and down the deck, or rode on Cæsar’s back, holding on to his shaggy hair.
“One morning I went on deck and saw Inez playing near the bow of the ship. Next I heard a scream, and saw Cæsar leap into the water. My heart gave one great bound, and then the loud cry, ‘Child overboard!’ made all hearts quail with fear.
[Pg 99] “There was a stiff breeze, and the vessel making near ten knots an hour. My fear was that before the boats could be lowered we should be too far off; but I was mistaken. The grateful dog plunged down when he saw his mistress sink, and rose with her clothes firmly grasped in his teeth. Then he commenced swimming after the vessel, while the sailors in the boats were making toward him as fast as possible.
“It was a moment of silent [Pg 100] rejoicing when our pretty Inez was safe on board again. Mrs. Lenox wept and strained the dripping child to her heart, after which she hugged faithful Cæsar, drenched as he was, in her arms.
“If a dog can feel happiness,—of which I have no doubt,—Cæsar did during the rest of that day. The sailors rubbed his coat dry, and fed him sumptuously. Everybody praised him; but what he enjoyed more than all else was the sight of Inez brought on deck by her [Pg 101] mother, and set down by his side. He walked round her, smelled her clothes, seeming to fear they were still damp, then licked her hands and face, wagging his tail, giving short, joyful barks, and trying, as well as he knew how, to show her his delight at having had it in his power to save her life as a return for all her care of him.”
During the weeks which followed, Fred and his sister talked much of the noble dog and his [Pg 102] grateful friend Inez. They thought Inez’ mother could not be grateful enough to the affectionate creature, and made many plans respecting the way they would show their gratitude if they were in her place.
Fred said, “I would build a beautiful dog-house with a top like one of the heathen temples, and have an account of Cæsar’s heroism printed in large letters on a signboard over the front.” But Hatty thought that Cæsar would better [Pg 103] appreciate good care, plenty of meat, and Inez’ fond caresses.
“I am glad you feel so,” remarked Mrs. Carleton. “It was a noble act in the dog, though I suppose he ran no great risk of losing his own life. Dogs, especially of the St. Bernard breed, are quite at home in the water. But, Fred, can you think of any man who not only risked his life, but freely gave it up for yours?”
Fred’s eyes dropped to the floor as he answered,—
[Pg 104] “Yes, mother, Jesus Christ.”
“What is he sometimes called?”
“Have you ever been grateful to him, my dear?”
“I think I do love him, mother, though I never can love him enough for all he has done.”
The author uses wont instead of the more usual won't; this has been retained as printed.
Minor puctuation errors have been fixed without note.
The following errors have been corrected:
Page 12—Hattie amended to Hatty (for consistency with other occurrences)—"His sister Hatty took her hands from the dish-water ..."
Page 12—its amended to it's—"Clara says it's a real Maltese."
Page 13—whethe amended to whether—"... and see whether she will drink it."
Page 23—Kent amended to Carleton—"Mrs. Carleton had taken great pains with the new suit."
Illustrations have been moved so that they are not in the middle of a paragraph.