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them—and get a supply of food for the many woman sat with the fingers of both hands mouths she had to feed. moving together uneasily, and Mrs. Lander Mrs. Lander received her with that becoming looked away out of the window and appeared dignity of manner and gravity which certain to be intent upon something in the street. persons always assume when money has to be
“ Are these made to please you ?” Mrs. paid out. She, as it behooved her to do, Walton ventured to ask.
thoroughly examined every seam, line of • They'll do,” was the brief answer; and stitching, and hem upon each of the three shirts, then came back the same dead silence, and and then, aster slowly laying the garments the same interest on the part of the lady in upon a table, sighed and looked still graver. something passing in the street.
Poor Mrs. Walton felt oppressed; she hardly Mrs. Walton wanted the money she had knew why. earned for making the shirts, and Mrs. Lander “Does the work please you ?" she ventured knew it. But Mrs. Lander never liked to pay to ask. out money, if she could help it; and as doing “I don't think these are as well made as the so always went against the grain, it was her others," said Mrs. Lander. custom to put off such unpleasant work as long I thought they were better made," returned as possible. She liked to encourage the very the woman. poor, because she knew they generally worked Oh, no. The stitching on the bosoms, col. cheaper than people who were in easier circum- ' lars and wristbands isn't nearly so well done." stances; but the drawback in their case was, Mrs. Walton knew better than this; but she that they always wanted money the moment did not feel in any humor to contend for the their work was done.
truth. Mrs. Lander took up the shirts again, Badly as she stood in need of the money she and made another examination. had earned, poor Mrs. Walton felt reluctant to What is the price of them ?" she asked. ask for it until the whole number of shirts she Seventy-five cents.” had engaged to make were done; and so, after
Apiece ?” sitting for a little while longer, she got up and “Yes, ma'am.” went away. It happened that she had ex- "Seventy-five cents a piece !" pended her last sixpence on that very morning, “I never got less than that, and some for and nothing was due to her from any one but whom I sew always pay me a dollar.” Mrs. Lander. Two days at least would Seventy-five cents! It's an imposition. I elapse before she would have any other work know plenty of poor women who would have ready to take home, and what to do in the been glad of these shirts to make at half the meantime she did not know. With her the re- price-yes, or at a third of the price either. ward of every day's labor was needed when the Seventy-five cents, indeed! Oh, no—I will labor was done; but now she was unpaid for never pay a price like that. I can go to any full four days' work, and her debtor was a lady prosessed shirt-maker in the city, and get them much interested in the welfare of the poor, who made for seventy-five cents or a dollar.” always gave out her plain sewing to those who “I know you can, ma’am," said Mrs. Walwere in need of encouragement.
ton, stung into self-possession by this unexBy placing in pawn some few articles of pected language. “But why should I receive dress, and paying a heavy interest upon the less if my work is as well done ?" little sum of money advanced thereon, the poor “A pretty question, indeed!" retorted Mrs. widow was able to keep hunger from her door Lander, thrown off her guard. until she could finish some work she had in question for you to ask of me! Oh, yes ! hand for a lady inore considerate than Mrs. You can get such prices if you can, but I never Lander. Then she applied herself with re- pay them to people like you. When I pay newed industry to the three shirts yet to make, seventy-five cents a piece for shirts, I go to regwhich she finished at the time she promised to ular shirt-makers. But this is what we generhave them done. With the money to be re- ally get for trying to encourage the poor. Mrs. ceived for these, she was to pay one dollar and Brandon said that you were in needy circuma half to get her clothes from the pawnbroker's stances, and that it would be a charity to give shop, buy her little boy a pair of shoes—he you work. But this is the way it generally had been from school a week for want of turns out."
“ A pretty
“What are you willing to pay ?" asked the poor woman, choking down her feelings.
“I have had shirts as well made as these for forty cents many and many a time. There is a poor woman down in So wark who sews beautifully, who would have caught at the job. She works for the shops, and does not get over twenty-five cents for fine shirts. But, as Mrs. Brandon said you were suffering for work, I thought I would throw something in your way. Forty cents is an abundance; but I had made up my mind, under the circumstances, to make it fifty, and that is all I will give. So here is your money-three dollars."
And Mrs. Lander took out her purse and counted out six half dollars upon the table. Only for a few moments did the poor woman hesitate. Bread she must have for her children; and if her clothes were not taken out of pawn on that day-she had pledged them only for a week--they would be lost. Slowly did she take up the money, while words of stinging rebuke were on her tongue. But she forced herself to keep silence; and even departed, bearing the wrong that had been laid upon her, without uttering a word.
“ Did you get my shoes as you promised, mother ?" eagerly inquired her little boy, as she came in, on returning from the house of Mrs. Lander,
No, dear,” replied the heart-full mother, in a subdued voice. “ I didn't get as much money as I expected."
“When will you buy them, mother ?" asked the child, as tears filled his eyes. “I can't go to school this way.” And he looked down at his bare feet.
“I know you can't, Harry; and I will try and get them for you in a few days."
The child said no more, but shrunk away with his little heart so full of disappointment that he could not keep the tears from gushing over bis face. The mother's heart was quite as full. Little Harry sat down in a corner to weep in silence over his grief, and Mrs. Walton took her sewing into her hands ; but the tears so blinded her eyes that she could not see where to direct the needle. Before she had recovered herself, there was a knock at the door, which was opened immediately afterwards by a lady who came into the room where the poor widow sat with her little family around her.
More than an hour had passed since the unpleasant interview with the plain sewer, and Mrs. Lander had not yet recovered her equanim
ity of mind, nor lost the feeling of indignation which the attempt to impose upon her by the poor widow had occasioned, when she was favored with a visit from Mrs. Brandon, who said familiarly, and with a smile, as she entered
" Ah, how do you do, Mrs. Lander ? I have just corrected a mistake you made a little while ago.
“ Indeed! what is that ?" asked Mrs. Lander, looking a little surprised.
“ You only gave poor Mrs. Walton fifty cents apiece for the half dozen shirts she made for you, when the lowest price is seventy-five cents. I always pay a dollar for Mr. Brandon's. The difference is a very important one to her-no less than a dollar and a half. I found her in much trouble about it, and her little boy crying with disappointment at not getting a pair of shoes his mother had promised him as soon as she got the money for the shirts. He has been from school for want of shoes for more than a week. So I took out my purse and gave Mirs. Walton the dollar and a half to make up the sum she had earned, and told her I would see you about it. I acted right, did I not? Of course, it was a mistake on your part ?”
Mrs. Lander was never more completely outgeneralled in her life. The lady who had corrected her error was one in whose good opinion she had every reason for desiring to stand high. She could grind the face of the poor without pity or shame, but for the world she would not be thought mean by Mrs. Brandon.
“ I am very much obliged to you indeed,” she said, with a bland smile. “ It was altogether a mistake on my part, and I blame the woman exceedingly for not having mentioned it at the time. Ileaven knows, I am the last person in the world who would grind the faces of the poor! Yes, the very
person. Here is the money you paid for me, and I must repeat my thanks for your prompt correction of the error. But I cannot help feeling vexed at the woman.”
“ We must make many allowances for the poor, Mrs. Lander. They often bea
a great deal of wrong without a word of complaint. Some people take advantage of their need, and, because they are poor, make them work for the merest pittance in the world. I know some persons, and they well off in the world, who always employ the poorest class of people, and this under the pretence of favoring them, but, in reality, that they may get their work done at a rate cheaper than it can be made by people who expect to derive from their labor a comfortable support.”
THIRTY YEARS AGO.
BY JOHN SMITH."
body did ,
, she allowed him to drain the sugar
Time itself is a great revolutionist, and sometimes a reformer. Its continual dropping wears away rocks offlint and undermines thrones. Time perseveres in its work of dissolution and re-organization, when other powers grow weary with hopeless effort. Time has been the witness to scenes of anguish, when goodness and genius have been immolated on the altar of passion. Time also has witnessed moral resurrections, when goodness and genius have risen from the tomb in which they seemed buried forever. Time brings us hope now, when we contrast it with time that
Let us see. “Come, mother, do give me the sugar in the bottom of that glass; it is so good," said a bright-looking boy, as he looked wistfully up into her face, while with one hand he clung to
Why, Charles,” said his mother," you will become a real toddy-drinker if you keep on at this rate. Your mouth waters now like an old rummy's! Here, I will give you a lump from the bowl, and throw this stuff away.”
She was about to suit the action to the word, when the little fellow cried out impatiently
“I don't want a lump from the bowl, because it does not taste good like that in the glass !"
A shade of anguish fitted across the mother's countenance, as she saw such precocity in a habit she knew to be ruinous, and over which already she had wept many tears. As she contrasted the man of her heart's choice, marked with the distinct tracery of vicious indulgence, with the notle and beautiful man he once was, she could truly have said,
saturated with brandy. And as he did it he smacked his lips with the keer relish of a toper.
The apathy, which then held all minds on the evil of intemperance, was truly astonishing. A mother's sensitive heart would sometimes penetrate the delusions of fashion and custom, and see “hungry ruin” in prospect for her son. Sometimes she would articulate her fears lest Charles would become too fond of strong drink, but the husband hushed her by saying, “ Fudge, wife, don't be alarmed, for this is nothing strange or unprecedented! In fact I believe I had as great a relish for such things at his age as Charley has now, and you see I have done well enough!"
The wife would have spoken had she dared, as she looked into the face of her husband, bloated and blossomed as it was. She would have used to the father his own prospective ruin as an argument why his son should avoid the same path of death. But such intimations only roused his anger, that she should hint that he was a drunkard, although not unfrequently he had, at some great dinner, been “ kicked under the table.” The wife suppressed her thoughts, and time unravelled the web of destiny. In three years that husband died-avoiding fashionable nomenclature-a drunkard.
Such a catastrophe roused the mother from her stupor, and with what success we shall see presently.
It was on a cold blustering day, just as Charles was starting for school, that he came up to his mother:
“ Mother, I am afraid I shall take cold; come, please fix me a litile nice hot toddy to keep me warm !"
It was said with a sort of shame-faced bold. ness, as though he was not altogether sure of doing right. But the mother detected the cravings of appetite, and felt that the demon must now be exorcised or keep possession forever, as she replied:
“The thocts o' by-gane years
Still fling their shadows ower my path,
And yet because her child cried, and every
“No, Charles, you must not have any more such drink. You must never touch it again or you will become such a drunkard as the poor man who died over the way. Do not you remember how he shrieked and howled whilst dying of delirium tremens ? No, Charles, you must give it up forever, or you may become as great a drunkard as
-." She would have said "your father," but of his ruin thoughts trooped up frightfully, and her tongue refused to pronounce the harsh compari
She burst into a flood of tears. The boy seemed intuitively to catch what was passing in her mind, and instantly sprung to her arms, affectionately kissing her cheek, as he said, “ I won't drink any more, mother.” She pressed him to her heart, and prayed silently.
From that day he seemed to be a different child. No inducement could make him taste a drop of any intoxicating liquor, and with untiring diligence he pursued his studies. His mind, rarely developed, comprehended and practised the idea that he must be the architect of his own fortune. His brilliant talents, the more shining in one so young, made bim a companion whose society was courted by all. Nature had fitted him to be the admired centre of every circle in which he might move.
At the age of fourteen, Charles was entered a member of college. Common consent soon assigned him the first place in the class, and his brilliant qualities as a companion rendered him a universal favorite. Would, I had almost said, nature had moulded him into a ruggeder shape, with mental, moral, and physical ugliness to repel vicious associates, instead of attracting them to himself by so many admirable and fascinating qualities. Intemperance is a social vice, and not a few of its most regretted victims are those whose companionable ways give zest to vice, and pave the highway to ruin. How many victims has intemperance made, through the social principle, in some circumstance perverted into the most dangerous lure that ever caught the unwary.
And what a meaning these words have when applied to youth in college. The choicest minds there are congregated. Life is still young, and sociality there sparkles like ruddy wine. Who has not an exhilarating recollection of the hearty laugh, and the brilliant rejoinder of the college circle, when “Greek has met Greek,” in the witty warfare? It is the very heyday of glee, and even frosty age is melted as it recurs to those scenes when it was
young. And yet that
very period is the Scylla and Charybdis of an educated man's life. Thirty years ago the dangers of that period were extreme. Home has just been left behind; and now, for the first time, the youth becomes in a measure his own master. He is a social being, and in circumstances calculated to elicit all his sociality. Hence the hours of mirth and conviviality, in which at length are found not merely the blandishments of an hour, but the beginnings of inveterate habit, the cause of future tears, and, in too many cases, of premature death. The history of American colleges amply proves the assertion.
For two years Charles had avoided danger, and by diligence had secured the approbation of his fellows and instructors. The fall vacation had passed, and he was now a junior, when he met a college mate whose social disposition and fine talents he had learned to admire.
“ How are you, Charles ?"
“ How are you, William ?” were the mutual greetings with which they met, and then they recounted the pleasures they had enjoyed at home.
“ Charles, come to my room this evening after nine o'clock. The tutor will be snoozing by that time, and we shall have a nice time talking over vacation, and what we have seen. Come over, won't you ?”
Thus pressed, the unsuspecting Charles consented, and was there at the appointed hour. He was surprised to find quite a company of mates, and those of a class whose company hitherto he had avoided. He felt uneasy, and wished himself away, but had not courage to gratify his own wishes. They soon surrounded him, and their flattering attentions, and the uproar of laughter excited by some of his sayings, soon reconciled him to his situation. Anecdote, that wine of sociality, freely circulated, and in this, none could equal the widow's son. From his tenacious memory he feasted his auditors with some choice stories, which produced great merriment.
It was not long before William introduced the champagne. Charles started and thought of his mother. He would have left, but the fear of ridicule was too strong for him. He feared a laugh more than a bad action, and proved, in his own experience, a drunkard's
laugh a poor exchange For Deity offended."