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"Yes, sir,” replied Charles Murphy, "but we cannot distinguish piece from piece, because it is so mouldy. Simon Sly is quite welcome to it.”
"If he is welcome to it, he shall not have it, Charles," rejoined Mr. White, "but he shall have his deserts."
Charles Murphy here reminded me, in an under tone, of the rod, and expressed his conviction that he should prove the most sagacious; but neither Charles nor myself proved right in our conjectures as to the punishment of Simon Sly. Our preceptor, indeed, gave him a severe lecture on the sin he had committed, pointing out its enormity, and assuring him that no thief can inherit the kingdom of God. He added: "Perhaps it is my duty to consign you over to the hands of justice; but this my feelings will not let me do; and as I cannot keep a thief in my house, I will at once expel you from my school.” He did so with more than usual severity and ignominy. To mark his abhorrence of the crime, he sent him home in a cart, desiring the driver to tell his parents from him that he was a thief, and therefore unworthy of his care.
As Simon Sly departed, I inquired of my companions whether our master was not a wise
"He is," replied Charles Murphy; "he ought to have been a judge. But I wish it was night!"
I believe every one wished as did Charles Murphy; and when night came, we all slept so soundly, that none had the opportunity of wishing for the morning.
PERHAPS of all the vices to which boys are prone, the vice of lying is one of the most prevalent, as well as the most wicked. A noted character of this kind once mingled with us in our play-ground, whom I shall name Job Willet.
Job Willet came among us when I had been about two years under the care of our kind preceptor. He was a fine-looking boy, and had every appearance of the gentleman about him; but he was addicted to a vice that sank him below the level of the brute creation-that vice was lying.
Job Willet had not been among us many hours before his character was discovered. He had been boasting of the ample fortune he was heir to, and the almost boundless possessions which his father possessed, when Arthur Sampson drew Charles Murphy and myself aside, as being the two most important personages in the play-ground, and thus addressed us:
"what our new
"You heard," said Arthur, schoolfellow said just now."
We both nodded assent.
"Then," continued Arthur, "do not believe a word he has said. He little thinks that I live near his home, and that I know all about him. His father certainly has a very large farm, and perhaps two, but every inch of ground he possesses is rented; and as for his being heir, he is no more heir than I am, for he has half a dozen brothers and sisters older than himself."
As soon as Arthur had ceased, the quickwitted Charles Murphy, turning to me, observed: -"Philosopher, here is some game for us; Job Willet will afford us some sport."
"Do not say us, Charles!" I replied, gravely; "but rather yourself. I fear Job Willet will afford you some amusement, but as for myself I would rather be excused. I cannot sport with sin!"
"How grave you are, Philosopher!" rejoined Charles; "surely there can be no harm in having a bit of fun with such a character! A little banter may do him good."
I was upon the point of assuring Charles that there would be great harm in treating a liar with
any other feeling than that of contempt, when Job Willet joined our little circle.
"I have been telling the other boys," said Job, as he approached us, "what I had forgotten to tell you, that my father has another estate in the next parish beside the one I mentioned, where we reside."
"Think again,” replied Charles, sarcastically; "perhaps he may have another in the next parish, which has escaped your memory."
"I think he has some land there," rejoined the boaster; but, to tell you the truth, he has so much that I cannot describe the whole."
"And that is the truth, is it?" asked Charles. "It is, and nothing but the truth," answered Job Willet.
"He must be a rich man, then," said Charles; a very rich man indeed! Philosopher, do not you wish that your father was as rich?"
"I do not, Charles," I replied; "for Mr. White has often observed, that riches have not the power to impart happiness to the possessor; and Solomon has said that they ofttimes make to themselves wings, and fly away."
"Do you hear that, Master Willet?" asked Charles, triumphantly. "You little thought that we had a philosopher here, I dare say. You see he is one who can despise all your riches, great though they may be; for my part, however, I do wish my father was as rich as yours, for then I would coax him to send a fine large cake down every two or three days, that I might divide it among my companions."
never thought of that," replied Job
Willet; "it is an excellent idea. I will write by this evening's post, requesting my father to do the same."
"Oh, thank you! thank you!" rejoined Charles, as his sides shook again with laughter; "if you do, and gain your point, all the boys will love you. Your renown will be even greater than that of our much-loved philosopher."
"Do not fail to remind me of it, then," said Job Willet, "when we go into the school-room, or perhaps I may forget it."
"Oh! trust me! trust me!" replied Charles Murphy, still laughing heartily; "I will be sure to remind you of it, Master Willet, and if you have not any paper, I shall be happy to lend you some for the occasion."
"I do not want your paper," resumed Job Willet, as his face reddened up with a glow of pride, "and I am half offended at your offer; but I will still keep my word if you remind me of it, for I never break my promises."
"Thank you, Master Willet," replied Charles, significantly. "I am glad to find you so honourable-I am sure the philosopher, and every one of us, will love you, if our expectations are realized; for you must know that while you appear to have been born with a golden spoon in your mouth, the richest among us only had a silver one, and I fear there are some who were obliged to be content with a wooden one."
Had Job Willet been possessed of an acute mind, he must have seen that Charles was only bantering him, but taking no note of it, he turned away and joined another group in the distance,