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the flower— laughed at the rapidity with which my little fingers ran along when cutting off the remaining end.
He looked kindly at my mother, as he saw a tear forcing its way to her eye. He understood her meaning, and, tapping her on the shoulder, said, Now, now, Marjory, be quiet ; I'll educate the little rascal."
A look !—but what a look was that !—and then a gush of tears. This was removing from her heart a great source of regret; for she considered she was doing wrong in profiting by my labour, when the time spent ought to have been devoted to my
education. My uncle left the house happier, and looking happier than I had ever seen him.
My mother rose, and kissing me, said “ Well, my inmost wish will be gratified ; to see you well educated, with a chance of rising in the world, has been to me a cherished hope."
Man projects! The result rests with a higher power !
A few days elapsed; my uncle fell suddenly ill, and in three months afterwards he was numbered with his fathers, and I was left without my promised protector.
On his death, my dear boy, for your benefit, I must make a few comments.
My uncle was young when he died; only 37 years of age. When he entered his 35th year he was full of life and joy ; the world to him had been a flower-garden; but a garden, however rich its soil, if other projects interfere with its culture, soon will run to seed.
My uncle shared my aunt's ambition; and, instead of resting quietly and cultivating that Eden, which was more than sufficient to satisfy all earthly wants, he plunged into speculations. The possession of one large factory only served as a fingerboard pointing to another, and a second possession pointed out two more in different directions. Steamboat speculations were then in vogue, and as in speculations at the present time, moneyed speculators suffered for the moneyless projectors.
MAN'S GRASP LIMITED.
The severe loss of one year preyed upon my uncle's mind. If he had only had the fortitude—as I trust you will have, should circumstances lead you beyond that which reason dictates—if he had had the fortitude to acknowledge the penalty from on High, on those whom aggrandisement fills with inordinate wants ; if he had laughed at the sneers of his friends, thanked God for the wholesome lesson that had not come too late ; sold his shares, at whatever loss one of his own works, or two, if required ;—then called his wife and children to him, stood erect, and, acknowledging God's goodness, said with a contented heart :“ We are just as we were three years ago, and did we not then consider ourselves happy, rich, and comfortable ? Why should we not be so now ?” Whatever I have lost in money I have gained in experience. I have found out a great secret—that man's grasp is limited; that Nature will have her laws obeyed; that to retain wealth, we can only grasp a given quantity; one exception or two she may permit; but beware! How many hundreds, aye, thousands, have fallen from not attending to her general rule!
Time rolled on cheerfully. Life was young, and life in industry is always full of joy. The sound of the scissors was still heard—songs still broke the silence of our humble abode, followed by the bustle to be in time for the warehouse to reap the harvest of our industry, and then our frugal repast !
Four years passed away, and only two incidents broke the monotony of those four years of innocence, industry, and love. One, the sudden calmness that occasionally crept over my mother's countenance when her eye chanced to light upon my beaming face. In those moments I have seen the tear steal down that cheek, wan and pallid, from long nights of labour. I have watched her, and watched the tear, and then her upward look, as if in prayer to God to grant her some request. On one occasion my heart could bear up no longer, and, bursting into tears, I threw my arms round her neck, and imploringly asked
the cause of her grief. Her answer was, “ My dear boy, it grieves me to see thee thus, thy young days passing away without receiving that education which is justly thy due ; for I have an impression that with education thou wouldst win for thyself an honourable position in society." I looked at my mother, kissed her, and bursting out laughing, exclaimed, “Is that all? Toot, toot! Can I not read? And has not Janet taught me to spell? And as for writing, that will not take me long. Now, mother, I must never see you shed tears about that again, for I am sure I will one day be a good scholar.” The other incident was a degrading proposition made by a lad that lived next door. If such should ever be made to you, my
do as thy father did. I called him a “low cur," and, in passing him afterwards, he received from me a contemptuous look.
SECOND BAPTISM—THE PETIT ENFER-HYPOCRISY-
OW truthful are the words of Holy WritEvil communication corrupteth good manners; for who can associate with the bad, without being contaminated ?
Now, my son, I come to one of the objects
of this little work, which is to show how important it is to avoid the society of the idle; for idleness engenders profligacy, and profligacy soon begets crime.
My angelic life continued up to my twelfth year—a boyhood life of love, truth, industry, and happiness!
Man is influenced by circumstances-not guided. Circumstances may guide an unsophisticated boy; but the mind once properly trained, man should make circumstances subservient to his will and purpose.
On reaching my twelfth year, my grandfather died, bequeathing my father a thatched cottage, well stocked with looms and shuttles, and that which pleased me most, a neat garden, with grass-plot and hawthorn trees.
We took possession.
My mother's first care was to find a school for me, and glad was her heart as she said to the good old Dominie,
" He is not advanced for his age. Indeed, sir, he has not had the opportunity ; but I am sure you will find him very attentive and industrious."
“ All right, ma'am," said the Dominie. " If that's the case, I'll soon sharpen him.”
My first day was attended with a circumstance common
enough in those pugilistic days. I had no sooner taken my seat at the desk, than the school bully said to a boy who was next him, “ I don't think you could lick him.”
" Couldn't I?” said the boy; and every time the schoolmaster's back was turned, the bully's pet sparred at me from the opposite side of the desk.
I looked at him, knit my brow, then went on with my lesson.
At length the hour of dismissal came. Each seized his satchel, and left. On reaching the door, I found a ring formed, and my antagonist waiting my arrival.
I looked round carelessly, and catching the soft eye of a lad who had called out “ Shame!” I unstrung my bag, and asked him if he would hold it. " I'll do so; but it is disgraceful."
The result of that fight gained me the respect of the whole school.
I went to the boy for my bag, who kindly drew me aside, saying, “He well deserves what he has got; I and my poor brother were treated in the same manner, but we were not so successful.”
All the time I remained in the school, no one ever insulted either myself or my friend.
I tell you this little incident with the view that when at school you may shun the company of the braggart and the bully—that you may choose for your companions the lively, the intellectual, and the studious, who are moderately fond of innocent sports and athletic exercises : I tell you this, too, in acknowledgment to my old friend, of the many beautiful principles which, through his instrumentality, first dawned upon my mind ; that mild, soft, Christian temper of good-will to all, which characterised his every action, and helped to soften and modify the fiery energy of my spirit ; in acknowledgment of the truths to which his mind directed my thoughts, and which first opened up to me the vast regions of intellectual light.