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My good-hearted father, instead of improvidently spending his evenings with his light-hearted friends, passed them with me in my little room. At one time we pored over Gibbon's “ Rise and Fall of Empires," at another he listened to the plaintive or merry air which I played on the violin.
Often have I lulled to sleep thy good old grandfather, who was so fond of thee, and whom thou rememberest well. I have quietly stolen down stairs, where my mother was busily plying her wheel, and, half-laughing, said, “ The Duke's all right. If he awakes, tell him I have gone to the library, and that I shall be back in a few minutes.” Then on my return I have found him seated by the kitchen fire, and no sooner did he fix his bright keen eye upon me than he said
laughter struggling with gravity in his open countenance—" You're a nice one, Davy; send me to sleep with your fiddle, then go out without me; you won't play me that trick again.”
“ Ah! Duke," I have replied ; for we were more than father and son—we were two familiar, sincere friends—" Ah! Duke, I thought of awaking you; but while you were asleep I took into consideration your arduous hand-and-foot gallop during your long day's work, and wisely concluded that repose was better for you than recreation !"
Then the Duke's retortthen the merry laugh.
Never covet riches ; never look with envy upon the wealthy -their coaches, their horses, their magnificent and dazzling apartments. For in that thatched-roof cottage, of which I speak, there played a fountain, refreshing and balmy-a fountain from which few of those whom man so envy ever drink. In that thatched-roof cottage there played a fountain ; sweet was it to the palate, refreshing to the body, and invigorating to the mind a fountain that filled the heart with joy, and changed that humble cottage into a paradise Shall I tell thee
the name of that fountain ? Well, it was the Fountain of Contentment, with its gushing streams of
INDUSTRY, HONESTY, AND TRUTH. I have dined with the rich, where the table groaned with every luxury that the gourmand could desire, and
kind of wine that the vintner could supply; and I have left the table, and smilingly said to myself, “ Is this all that man “ FIGHTS FOP, WRONGS FOR, JEOPARDISES HIS SOUL FOR P”
In how much does that dinner surpass the wholesome and pure fare of our lowly cottage ? Bah!
I have been driven in carriages; I have often seen anxiety and disappointment depicted upon the countedances of the extravagant and over-ambitious; I have asked myself—how much does this surpass our walks to the ravine, or glen, or waterfall, when on treading the greensward, we crushed the wild flowers, that, grateful as it were for human contact, filled the air with balmy fragrance; and when the rude cataract or lofty waterfall has burst upon the vision, we have raised our hands in awe and astonishment at the greatness of the works of the Almighty. I do not mean, my son,
should despise the rich, or riches. No. But do not covet them ; nor think that to gain wealth is to attain happiness. Let your desires be properly governed: in proportion to their fewness will be the extent of your wealth.
This was a happy time, my son—the past was pleasant; for I had the reflection of having advantageously spent my leisure hours ; the present was full of joy ; the future, like the opening petals of a flower was rich in colour, and bright in bloom. Hope had woven her magic fabric, through which, looming in the distance, were distinguishable the airy castles of a vivid imagination.
Two years passed away; but before the lapse of those years a cloud had gathered over our little abode. Changes are ever taking place in life; and to meet those changes or reverses with courage and fortitude, is a duty that brings with it certain reward; but if neglected, if despondency takes the place of boldness—the punishment is equally as certain.
One Saturday information was given, not only to me, but to all the men in the office, that the Paisley Independent was to be discontinued ; consequently, our employer had no further use for us.
This intelligence I received with sadness, as it felled to the ground my newly-formed plan for making a first step out of the general track in which circumstances had placed me. I well knew that there was no chance for a young journeyman to secure, without waiting for months and months, another situation in a locality within ten miles of our abode; so one day sufficed for me to make up my mind; and I decided that the great mart, London, should be the place of my destination.
In a few days afterwards a parting scene took place at the threshold of our little cottage. That parting I softened as well as I could by promises of soon returning with means to take all our little family to London; and shortly afterwards I was seated in the fore part of a sailing vessel, which yielded to the impulse of the breeze that wafted me away from my
native land. I was not the only one on board that vessel that had left the home of his fathers to earn a livelihood elsewhere. No; there were about a dozen others; all strangers to me; but with whom I was soon on the most familiar terms.
There was one young man, with calin and pensive air ; over whose face, as if it were at our merry peals of laughter, a cloud was ever and anon passing. Interested and curious, I watched an opportunity, and at last succeeded in drawing him into conversation. I was not mistaken: his sadness was heightened by our jokes, our sallies of humour at the glorious deeds which we were about to achieve in Cockney-land; our seizure of
the money-bags of the wealthy citizens ; our capture of their fairest daughters; and how our life was afterwards to pass away in harmony and love; in gilded halls, with tapestried curtains, and downy couches of embossed gold.
The reason for the young man's sadness was comprehensible. The future that we were depicting for ourselves was full of Hope, which youth can colour with rainbow hues. He had done one act which disclosed to him a future of stern reality ; stripped of the gilding of hope, or the paintings of the young imagination. He was an only son, and had a widowed mother. He had served an apprenticeship, and like ourselves and like hundreds more at that time, to do so was to be turned adrift on the world ; but, having been taught a business, he was only turned out like a well-laden vessel, with the wide world before him, in which sober handicraft is sure to find a ready market.
The young man had waited, with his poor mother, till his heart sickened at her sufferings; but, instead of doing as we did, resolve and act—not waiting till Providence picks us out of a ditch—he accepted a shilling, and was on his way to Chatham, to join a regiment that was bound for China. By accepting that shilling, he secured a livelihood—that was for himself ; but in doing so, he left his helpless parent without a stay, at the mercy of the world. By accepting that shilling he gained a livelihood ; but how much heart gratification did we secure, that he lost? The gratification of being a stay in declining life—a staff in the rugged descent that supports the tottering steps of our aged parents to their last abode.
THE O'DOCHERTIES IN LONDON — LIKE MOTHER, LIKE
DAUGHTER—THE RECLAIMED !—THE INFLUENCE OF A
T was a lovely morning, and bright was the sun shining on the dome of St. Paul's, as I stood, in astonishment, gazing upon
ponderous building of which I had heard and read
so much. After satisfying my curiosity, I
de passed on, in search of the house of Mr. Smiles, a person to whom I had a letter of introduction.
I knocked at the door, and, though early in the morning, it was answered by a female, whose tidy and clean appearance corresponded with the neat and orderly arrangement of the interior of the room into which I was ushered.
" Is Mr. Smiles at home?"
“What a pity I stood staring at St. Paul's. If I had not done so, I should have been in time. I have come from Paisley, and have brought a letter of introduction from Mr. Smiles' brother."
Mrs. Smiles looked at me. Then, with the free-heartedness of a countrywoman of the soil that has given birth to many a bright genius and many patterns of heroic virtue, with the warm-heartedness that characterises the Irish, she said :
“Sure you must be hungry. Won't you come in and have something to ate?"
“ With pleasure, ma'am,” I answered. I followed Mrs. Smiles into the only sitting-room she then