The Last Penny and Other Stories
by T. S. Arthur
By T. S. ARTHUR.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY CROOME.
PHILADELPHIA: LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO &CO. 1852.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO &CO. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON &CO. PHILADELPHIA.
PRINTED BY C. SHERMAN.
THE LAST PENNY.
HOW TO ATTAIN
THE APRIL FOOL.
A WAY TO BE
THE LAST PENNY.
Thomas Claire, a son of St. Crispin, was a clever sort of a man;
though not very well off in the world. He was industrious, but, as his
abilities were small, his reward was proportioned thereto. His skill
went but little beyond half-soles, heel-taps, and patches. Those who,
willing to encourage Thomas, ventured to order from him a new pair of
boots or shoes, never repeated the order. That would have been carrying
their good wishes for his prosperity rather too far.
As intimated, the income of Thomas Claire was not large. Industrious
though he was, the amount earned proved so small that his frugal wife
always found it insufficient for an adequate supply of the wants of the
family, which consisted of her husband, herself, and three children. It
cannot be denied, however, that if Thomas had cared less about his pipe
and mug of ale, the supply of bread would have been more liberal. But
he had to work hard, and must have some little self-indulgence. At
least, so he very unwisely argued. This self-indulgence cost from two
to three shillings every week, a sum that would have purchased many
comforts for the needy family.
The oldest of Claire's children, a girl ten years of age, had been
sickly from her birth. She was a gentle, loving child, the favourite of
all in the house, and more especially of her father. Little Lizzy would
come up into the garret where Claire worked, and sit with him sometimes
for hours, talking in a strain that caused him to wonder; and
sometimes, when she did not feel as well as usual, lying upon the floor
and fixing upon him her large bright eyes for almost as long a period.
Lizzy was never so contented as when she was with her father; and he
never worked so cheerfully, as when she was near him.
Gradually, as month after month went by, Lizzy wasted away with some
disease, for which the doctor could find no remedy. Her cheeks became
paler and paler, her eyes larger and brighter, and such a weakness fell
upon her slender limbs that they could with difficulty sustain her
weight. She was no longer able to clamber up the steep stairs into the
garret, or loft, where her father worked; yet she was there as often as
before. Claire had made for her a little bed, raised a short space from
the floor, and here she lay, talking to him or looking at him, as of
old. He rarely went up or down the garret-stairs without having Lizzy
in his arms. Usually her head was lying upon his shoulder.
And thus the time went on, Claire, for all the love he felt for his
sick childfor all the regard he entertained for his familyindulging
his beer and tobacco as usual, and thus consuming, weekly, a portion of
their little income that would have brought to his children many a
comfort. No one but himself had any luxuries. Not even for Lizzy's weak
appetite were dainties procured. It was as much as the mother could do,
out of the weekly pittance she received, to get enough coarse food for
the table, and cover the nakedness of her family.
To supply the pipe and mug of Claire, from two to three shillings a
week were required. This sum he usually retained out of his earnings,
and gave the balance, whether large or small, to his frugal wife. No
matter what his income happened to be, the amount necessary to obtain
these articles was rigidly deducted, and as certainly expended. Without
his beer, Claire really imagined that he would not have strength
sufficient to go through with his weekly toilhow his wife managed to
get along without even her regular cup of good tea, it had never
occurred to him to askand not to have had a pipe to smoke in the
evening, or after each meal, would have been a deprivation beyond his
ability to endure. So, the two or three shillings went regularly in the
old way. When the six-pences and pennies congregated in goodly numbers
in the shoemaker's pocket, his visits to the ale-house were often
repeated, and his extra pipe smoked more frequently. But, as his
allowance for the week diminished, and it required some searching in
the capacious pockets, where they hid themselves away, to find the
straggling coins, Claire found it necessary to put some check upon his
appetite. And so it went on, week after week and month after month. The
beer was drunk, and the pipe smoked as usual, while the whole family
bent under the weight of poverty that was laid upon them.
Weaker and weaker grew little Lizzy. From the coarse food that was
daily set before her, her weak stomach turned, and she hardly took
sufficient nourishment to keep life in her attenuated frame.
Poor child! said the mother one morning, she cannot live if she
doesn't eat. But coarse bread and potatoes and buttermilk go against
her weak stomach. Ah me! If we only had a little that the rich waste.
There is a curse in poverty! replied Claire, with a bitterness
that was unusual to him, as he turned his eyes upon his child, who had
pushed away the food that had been placed before her, and was looking
at it with an expression of disappointment on her wan face. A curse in
poverty! he repeated. Why should my child die for want of nourishing
food, while the children of the rich have every luxury?
In the mind of Claire, there was usually a dead calm. He plodded on,
from day to day, eating his potatoes and buttermilk, or whatever came
before him, and working steadily through the hours allotted to labour,
his hopes or fears in life rarely exciting him to an expression of
discontent. But he loved Lizzy better than any earthly thing, and to
see her turn with loathing from her coarse food, the best he was able
to procure for her, aroused his sluggish nature into rebellion against
his lot. But he saw no remedy.
Can't we get something a little better for Lizzy? said he, as he
pushed his plate aside, his appetite for once gone before his meal was
Not unless you can earn more, replied the wife. Cut and carve,
and manage as I will, it's as much as I can do to get common food.
Claire pushed himself back from the table, and without saying a word
more, went up to his shop in the garret, and sat down to work. There
was a troubled and despondent feeling about his heart. He did not light
his pipe as usual, for he had smoked up the last of his tobacco on the
evening before. But he had a penny left, and with that, as soon as he
had finished mending a pair of boots and taken them home, he meant to
get a new supply of the fragrant weed. The boots had only half an
hour's work on them. But a few stitches had been taken by the cobbler,
when he heard the feeble voice of Lizzy calling to him from the bottom
of the stairs. That voice never came unregarded to his ears. He laid
aside his work, and went down for his patient child, and as he took her
light form in his arms, and bore her up into his little work-shop, he
felt that he pressed against his heart the dearest thing to him in
life. And with this feeling, came the bitter certainty that soon she
would pass away and be no more seen. Thomas Claire did not often
indulge in external manifestations of feeling; but now, as he held
Lizzy in his arms, he bent down his face and kissed her cheek tenderly.
A light, like a gleam of sunshine, fell suddenly upon the pale
countenance of the child, while a faint, but loving smile played about
her lips. Her father kissed her again, and then laid her upon the
little bed that was always ready for her, and once more resumed his
Claire's mind had been awakened from its usual leaden quiet. The
wants of his failing child aroused it into disturbed activity. Thought
beat, for a while, like a caged bird, against the bars of necessity,
and then fluttered back into panting imbecility.
At last the boots were done, and with his thoughts now more occupied
with the supply of tobacco he was to obtain than with any thing else,
Claire started to take them home. As he walked along he passed a
fruit-shop, and the thought of Lizzy came into his mind.
If we could afford her some of these nice things! he said to
himself. They would be food and medicine both, to the dear child.
But, he added, with a sigh, we are poor!we are poor! Such dainties
are not for the children of poverty.
He passed along, until he came to the ale-house where he intended to
get his pennyworth of tobacco. For the first time a thought of
self-denial entered his mind, as he stood by the door, with his hand in
his pocket, feeling for his solitary copper.
This would buy Lizzy an orange, he said to himself. But then,
was quickly added, I would have no tobacco to-day, nor to-morrow, for
I won't be paid for these boots before Saturday, when Barton gets his
Then came a long, hesitating pause. There was before the mind of
Claire the image of the faint and feeble child with the refreshing
orange to her lips; and there was also the image of himself encheered
for two long days by his pipe. But could he for a moment hesitate, if
he really loved that sick child? is asked. Yes, he could hesitate, and
yet love the little sufferer; for to one of his order of mind and
habits of acting and feeling, a self-indulgence like that of the pipe,
or a regular draught of beer, becomes so much like second nature, that
it is as it were a part of the very life; and to give it up, costs more
than a light effort.
The penny was between his fingers, and he took a single step toward
the ale-house door; but so vividly came back the image of little Lizzy,
that he stopped suddenly. The conflict, even though the spending of a
single penny was concerned, now became severe: love for the child plead
earnestly, and as earnestly plead the old habit that seemed as if it
would take no denial.
It was his last penny that was between the cobbler's fingers. Had
there been two pennies in his pocket, all difficulty would have
immediately vanished. Having thought of the orange, he would have
bought it with one of them, and supplied his pipe with the other. But,
as affairs now stood, he must utterly deny himself, or else deny his
For minutes the question was debated.
I will see as I come back, said Claire at last, starting on his
errand, and thus, for the time, making a sort of a compromise. As he
walked along, the argument still went on in his mind. The more his
thoughts acted in this new channel, the more light came into the
cobbler's mind, at all times rather dark and dull. Certain
discriminations, never before thought of, were made; and certain
convictions forced themselves upon him.
What is a pipe of tobacco to a healthy man, compared with an orange
to a sick child! uttered half-aloud, marked at last the final
conclusion of his mind; and as this was said, the penny which was still
in his fingers was thrust determinedly into his pocket.
As he returned home, Claire bought the orange, and in the act
experienced a new pleasure. By a kind of necessity he had worked on,
daily, for his family, upon which was expended nearly all of his
earnings; and the whole matter came so much as a thing of course, that
it was no subject of conscious thought, and produced no emotion of
delight or pain. But, the giving up of his tobacco for the sake of his
little Lizzy was an act of self-denial entirely out of the ordinary
course, and it brought with it its own sweet reward.
When Claire got back to his home, Lizzy was lying at the bottom of
the stairs, waiting for his return. He lifted her, as usual, in his
arms, and carried her up to his shop. After placing her upon the rude
couch he had prepared for her, he sat down upon his bench, and as he
looked upon the white, shrunken face of his dear child, and met the
fixed, sad gaze of her large earnest eyes, a more than usual tenderness
came over his feelings. Then, without a word, he took the orange from
his pocket, and gave it into her hand.
Instantly there came over Lizzie's face a deep flush of surprise and
pleasure. A smile trembled around her wan lips, and an unusual light
glittered in her eyes. Eagerly she placed the fruit to her mouth and
drank its refreshing juice, while every part of her body seemed
quivering with a sense of delight.
Is it good, dear? at length asked the father, who sat looking on
with a new feeling at his heart.
The child did not answer in words; but words could not have
expressed her sense of pleasure so eloquently as the smile that lit up
and made beautiful every feature of her face.
While the orange was yet at the lips of Lizzy, Mrs. Claire came up
into the shop for some purpose.
An orange! she exclaimed with surprise. Where did that come
Oh, mamma? it is so good! said the child, taking from her
lips the portion that yet remained, and looking at it with a happy
Where in the world did that come from, Thomas? asked the mother.
I bought it with my last penny, replied Claire. I thought it
would taste good to her.
But you had no tobacco.
I'll do without that until to-morrow, replied Claire.
It was kind in you to deny yourself for Lizzy's sake.
This was said in an approving voice, and added another pleasurable
emotion to those he was already feeling. The mother sat down, and, for
a few moments, enjoyed the sight of her sick child, as with unabated
eagerness she continued to extract the refreshing juice from the fruit.
When she went down-stairs, and resumed her household duties, her heart
beat more lightly in her bosom than it had beaten for a long time.
Not once through that whole day did Thomas Claire feel the want of
his pipe; for the thought of the orange kept his mind in so pleased a
state, that a mere sensual desire like that for a whiff of tobacco had
no power over him.
Thinking of the orange, of course, brought other thoughts; and
before the day closed, Claire had made a calculation of how much his
beer and tobacco money would amount to in a year. The sum astonished
him. He paid rent for the little house in which he lived, two pounds
sterling a year, which he always thought a large sum. But his beer and
tobacco cost nearly seven pounds! He went over and over the calculation
a dozen times, in doubt of the first estimate, but it always came out
the same. Then he began to go over in his mind the many comforts seven
pounds per annum would give to his family; and particularly how many
little luxuries might be procured for Lizzy, whose delicate appetite
turned from the coarse food that was daily set before her.
But to give up the beer and tobacco in toto, when it was thought of
seriously, appeared impossible. How could he live without them?
On that evening the customer whose boots he had taken home in the
morning, called in, unexpectedly, and paid for them. Claire retained a
sixpence of the money and gave the balance to his wife. With this
sixpence in his pocket he went out for a mug of beer, and some tobacco
to replenish his pipe. He stayed some timelonger than he usually took
for such an errand.
When he came back he had three oranges in his pocket; and in his
hands were two fresh bunns, and a cup of sweet new milk. No beer had
passed his lips, and his pipe was yet unsupplied. He had passed through
another long conflict with his old appetites; but love for his child
came off, as before, the conqueror.
Lizzy, who drooped about all day, lying down most of her time, never
went to sleep early. She was awake, as usual, when her father returned.
With scarcely less eagerness than she had eaten the orange in the
morning, did she now drink the nourishing milk and eat the sweet bunns,
while her father sat looking at her, his heart throbbing with
From that day the pipe and the mug were thrown aside. It cost a
prolonged struggle. But the man conquered the mere animal. And Claire
found himself no worse off in health. He could work as many hours, and
with as little fatigue; in fact, he found himself brighter in the
morning, and ready to go to his work earlier, by which he was able to
increase, at least a shilling or two, his weekly income. Added to the
comfort of his family, eight or ten pounds a year produced a great
change. But the greatest change was in little Lizzy. For a few weeks,
every penny saved from the beer and tobacco the father regularly
expended for his sick child: and it soon became apparent that it was
nourishing food, more than medicine, that Lizzy needed. She revived
wonderfully; and no long time passed before she could sit up for hours.
Her little tongue, too, became free once more, and many an hour of
labour did her voice again beguile. And the blessing of better food
came also in time to the other children, and to all.
So much to come from the right spending of a single penny, Claire
said to himself, as he sat and reflected one day. Who could have
And as it was with the poor cobbler, so it will be with all of us.
There are little matters of self-denial, which, if we had but the true
benevolence, justice, and resolution to practise, would be the
beginning of more important acts of a like nature, that, when
performed, would bless not only our families, but others, and be
returned upon us in a reward of delight incomparably beyond any thing
that selfish and sensual indulgences have it in their power to bring.
HOW TO ATTAIN TRUE GREATNESS.
My voice shall yet be heard in those halls! said a young man, whom
we will call James Abercrombie, to his friend Harvey Nelson, as the two
walked slowly, arm in arm, through the beautiful grounds of the Capitol
Your ambition rises, Nelson replied, with a smile. A seat in our
State Legislature was, at one time, your highest aim.
Yes. But as we ascend the mountain, our prospect becomes enlarged.
Why should I limit my hopes to any halfway position, when I have only
to resolve that I will reach the highest point? I feel, Harvey, that I
have within me the power to do any thing that I choose. And I am
resolved that the world shall know me as one of its great men.
[Illustration: A TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE. Page 39.]
Some, if they were to hear you speak thus, James, might smile at
what they would consider a weak and vain assumption. But I know that
you have a mind capable of accomplishing great things; that you have
only to use the means, and take an elevated position as the natural
result. Still I must say, that I do not like the spirit in which you
speak of these things.
You seem to desire an elevated station more for the glory of
filling it, than for the enlarged sphere of usefulness that it must
necessarily open to you.
I do not think, Harvey, his friend replied, that I am influenced
by the mere glory of greatness to press forward. There is something too
unsubstantial in that. Look at the advantages that must result to me if
I attain a high place.
In either case, I cannot fully approve your motive.
Then, from what motive would you have me act, Harvey? I am sure
that I know of none other sufficiently strong to urge me into activity.
Both of these have their influence; and, in combination, form the
impulse that gives life to my resolutions.
There is a much higher, and purer, and more powerful motive, James.
A motive to which I have just alluded.
What is that?
The end of being useful to our fellow-men.
You may act from that motive, if you can, Harvey, but I shall not
attempt the vain task. It is too high and pure for me.
Do not say so. We may attain high motives of action, as well as
attain, by great intellectual efforts, high positions in the world.
It is a moral law, that any peculiar tendency or quality of the
mind grows stronger by indulgence. The converse of the proposition is,
of course, true also. You feel, then, that your motives of action are
selfishthat they regard your own elevation and honour as first, and
good to your neighbour as only secondary. Now, by opposing instead of
indulging this propensity to make all things minister to self, it must
grow weaker, as a natural consequence. Is not that clear?
Why, yes, I believe it is; or at least, the inference is a logical
one, though I must confess that I do not see it as an unquestionable
That is because your natural feelings are altogether opposed to
Perhaps sofor undoubtedly they are. I cannot see any thing so
very desirable in the motive of which you speak, that I should seek to
act from it. There is something tame in the idea of striving only to do
good to others.
It really pains me to hear you say so, the friend replied in a
serious tone. But now that we are on this subject, you must pardon me
if I attempt to make you see in a rational light the truth that it is a
much nobler effort to do good to others, than to seek only our own
Well, go on.
You have, doubtless, heard the term 'God-like' used, as indicating
a high degree of excellence in some individual, who has stood
prominently before the eyes of his fellow-men?
And to your mind it is no doubt clear, that the nearer we can
approach the character of the Divine Being, the higher will be the
position that we attain?
And that the purest motives from which we can act, are an approach
toward those from which we see Him acting.
Now, so far as we can judge of His motives of action, as exhibited
in His Word and in His Works, do we see a desire manifested to promote
His own glory, or to do good to His creatures, and make them happy?
Well, I cannot say, at this moment, for I have not thought upon the
Suppose, then, we think of it now. It is certainly worth a little
serious attention. And first, let us refer to His Word, in which we
shall certainly find a transcript of his character. In that, we
perceive a constant reference to his nature as being, in one of its
principal constituents, love. Not love of himself, but love
going out in the desire to benefit His creatures. And His wisdom, which
infinitely transcends that of man, is ever active in devising means
whereby to render those creatures happy. And not only is His love ever
burning with the desire to do good to His creatures, and His wisdom
ever devising the best means for this end, but His divine love and His
divine wisdom unite in divine activity, producing all that is required
to give true happiness to all. In all parts of His Word we discover
evidences of the strongest character, which go to prove that such is
the nature and activity of the Lord. There could have been no seeking
of His own glory, when he assumed a material body, and an infirm human
principle, in which were direful hereditary evils, that he might redeem
man from the corruptions of his own fallen nature, and from the
influence and power of hell. Little glory was ascribed to him by the
wicked men who persecuted him, and condemned him, and finally put him
to death. But he sought not His own glory. In his works, how clearly
displayed is His divine benevolence! I need only direct your thoughts
to nature. I need only refer you to the fact that the Lord causes the
sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and the rain to fall alike
upon the just and the unjust. Even upon those who oppose His laws, and
despise and hate his precepts, does He pour down streams of perpetual
blessings. How unlike manselfish, vain manever seeking his own
You draw a strong picture, Harvey, the friend said.
But is it not a true one?
Very well. Now if we are seeking to be truly great, let us imitate
Him who made us and all the glorious things by which we are surrounded.
He that would be chief among you, said the Lord to his disciples, let
him be your servant. Even He washed his disciples' feet.
Yes, but Harvey, I do not profess to be governed by religious
principle. I only account myself a moral man.
But there cannot be any true morality without religion.
That is a new doctrine.
I think not. It seems to me to be as old as the Divine Word of God.
To be truly moral is to regard others as well as ourselves in all our
actions. And this we can never do apart from the potency and life of a
But what do you mean by a religious principle?
I mean a principle of pure love to the Lord, united with an
unselfish love to our neighbour, flowing out in a desire to do him
But no man can have these. It is impossible for any one to feel the
unselfish love of which you speak.
Of course it is, naturallyfor man is born into hereditary evils.
But if he truly desires to rise out of these evils into a higher and
better state, the Lord will be active in his effortsand in just so
far as he truly shuns evils as sins against him, looking to him all the
while for assistance, will he remove those evils from their central
position in his mind, and then the opposite good of those evils will
flow in to take their place, (for spiritually, as well as naturally,
there can be no vacuum,) and he will be a new man. Then, and only then,
can he begin to lead truly a moral life. Before, he may be externally
moral from mere external restraints; now, he becomes moral from an
internal principle. Do you apprehend the difference?
Yes, I believe that I do. But I must confess that I cannot see how
I am ever to act from the motives you propose. If I wait for them, I
shall stand still and do nothing.
Still, you can make the effort. Every thing must have a beginning.
Only let the germ be planted in your mind, and, like the seed that
seems so small and insignificant, it will soon exhibit signs of life,
and presently shoot up, and put forth its green leaves, and, if
fostered, give a permanent strength that will be superior to the power
of every tempest of evil principles that may rage against it.
Your reasonings and analogies are very beautiful, and no doubt
true, but I cannot feel their force, James Abercrombie said,
with something in his tone and manner so like a distaste for the whole
subject, that his friend felt unwilling to press it further upon his
The two young men here introduced had just graduated at one of our
first literary institutions, and were about selecting professions. But
in doing so, their acknowledged motives were, as may be gathered from
what has gone before, very different. The one avowed a determination to
be what he called a great man, that he might have the glory of
greatness. The other tried to cherish a higher and better motive of
action. Abercrombie was not long in deciding upon a profession. His
choice was law. And the reason of his choice was, not that he might be
useful to his fellow-men, but because in the profession of law he could
come in contact with the great mass of the people in a way to make just
such an impression upon them as he wished. In the practice of law, too,
he could bring out his powers of oratory, and cultivate a habit of
public speaking. It would, in fact, be a school in which to prepare
himself for a broader sphere of action in the legislative halls of his
country; for, at no point below a seat in the national legislature, did
his ambition rest.
You have made your choice, I presume, before this, he said to his
friend Harvey, in allusion to this subject.
Indeed, I have not, was the reply. And I never felt so much at a
loss how to make a decision in my life.
Well, I should think that you might decide very readily. I found no
Then you have settled that matter?
Oh, certainly; the law is to be my sphere of actionor rather, my
stepping-stone to a higher place.
I cannot so easily decide the matter!
Why not? If you study law, you will rise, inevitably. And in this
profession, there is a much broader field of action for a man of
talent, than there is in any other profession.
Perhaps you are right. But the difficult question with me is'Can
I be as useful in it?'
Nonsense, Harvey! Do put away these foolish notions. If you don't,
they will be the ruin of you.
I hope not. But if they do, I shall be ruined in a good cause.
I am really afraid, Harvey, Abercrombie said in a serious tone,
that you affect these ultra sentiments, or are self-deceived. It is my
opinion that no man can act from such motives as you declare to be
I did not know that I had declared myself governed by such motives.
To say that, I know, would be saying too much, for I am painfully
conscious of the existence and activity of motives very opposite. But
what I mean to say is, that I am so clearly convinced that the motives
of which I speak are the true ones, that I will not permit myself to
come wholly under the influence of such as are opposite. And that is
why I find a difficulty in choosing a profession. If I would permit
myself to think only of rising in the world, for the sake of the
world's estimation, I should not hesitate long. But I am afraid of
confirming what I feel to be evil. And therefore it is that I am
resolved to compel myself to choose from purer ends.
Then you are no longer a free agent.
Because, in that kind of compulsion, you cease to act from
Is it right, James, for us to compel ourselves to do right when we
are inclined to do wrong? Certainly there is more freedom in being able
to resist evil, than in being bound by it hand and foot, so as to be
its passive slave.
You are a strange reasoner, Harvey.
If my conclusions are not rational, controvert them.
And have to talk for ever?
No doubt you would, James, to drive me from positions that are to
me as true as that the sun shines in heaven.
Exactly; and therefore it is useless to argue with you. But, to
drop that point of the subject, to what profession do you most
Then why not choose it?
Perhaps I shall. But I wish first to define with myself my own
position. I must understand truly upon what ground I stand, or I will
not move forward one inch.
Well, you must define your own position for yourself, for I don't
see that I can help you much. And there the subject was dropped.
It was some time before the debate in Harvey's mind was decided. His
predilections were all in favour of the lawbut in thinking of it,
ambition and purely selfish views would arise in his mind, and cause
him to hesitate, for he did not wish to act from them. At last he
decided to become a law student, with the acknowledgment to himself
that he had low and selfish motives in his mind, but with the
determination to oppose them and put them away whenever they should
arise into activity. Under this settled principle of action, he entered
upon the study of the profession he had chosen.
Thus, with two opposite leading motives did the young men commence
life. Let us see the result of these motives upon their characters and
success after the lapse of ten years. Let us see which is farthest on
the road to true greatness. Both, in an ardent and untiring devotion to
the duties of their profession, had already risen to a degree of
eminence, as lawyers, rarely attained under double the number of years
of patient toil. But there was a difference in the estimation in which
both were held by those who could discriminate. And this was apparent
in the character of the cases referred to them. A doubtful case,
involving serious considerations, was almost certain to be placed in
the hands of Abercrombie, for his acuteness and tact, and determination
to succeed at all hazards, if possible, made him a very desirable
advocate under these circumstances. Indeed, he often said that he would
rather have a bad cause to plead than a good one, for there was some
honour in success where every thing was against the case. On the
contrary, in the community where Harvey had settled, but few thought of
submitting to him a case that had not equity upon its side; and in such
a case, he was never known to fail. He did not seek to bewilder the
minds of a jury or of the court by sophistry, or to confuse a witness
by paltry tricks; but his course was straightforward and manly,
evolving the truth at every step with a clearness that made it apparent
It's all your fault, said an unsuccessful client to him one day in
an angry tone.
No, sir, it was the fault of your cause. It was a bad one.
But I should have gained it, if you had mystified that stupid
witness, as you could easily enough have done.
Perhaps I might; but I did not choose to do that.
It was your duty, sir, as an advocate, to use every possible means
to gain the cause of your client.
Not dishonest means, remember. Bring me a good cause, and I will do
you justice. But when you place me in a position where success can only
be had in the violation of another's rights, I will always regard
justice first. Right and honour have the first claims upon memy
client the next.
It's the last cause you will ever have of mine, then, replied the
And most certainly the last I want, if you have no higher claims
than those you presented in the present instance.
About the same time that this incident occurred, an individual,
indicted for a large robbery, sent for Lawyer Abercrombie. That
individual came to the prisoner's cell, and held a preliminary
interview with him.
And the first thing to be done, if I take charge of your case,
said the lawyer, is for you to make a clean confession to me of every
thing. You know that the law protects you in this. It is necessary that
I may know exactly the ground upon which we stand, that I may keep the
prosecution at fault.
The prisoner, in answer to this, made promptly a full confession of
his guilt, and stated where a large portion of the property he had
taken was concealed.
And now, said he, after his confession, do you think that you can
Oh yes, easily enough, if I have sufficient inducement to devote
myself to the case.
Will five thousand dollars secure your best efforts?
Very well. The day after I am cleared, I will place that sum in
You shall be cleared, was the positive answer. And he was cleared.
Justice was subvertedproperty to a large value lostand an
accomplished villain turned loose upon the community, by the venal tact
and eloquence of a skilful lawyer.
In these two instances we have an exhibition of the characters of
the two individuals, ripening for maturity. Both possessing fine
talents, both were eminent, both successful,but the one was a curse,
and the other a blessing to society. And all this, because their ends
of life were different.
Time passed on, and Abercrombie, as the mere tool of a political
party, elected by trick and management, under circumstances humiliating
to a man of feeling and principle, became a representative in the State
legislature. But he was a representative, and this soothing opiate to
his ambition quieted every unpleasant emotion. Conscious, in the state
of political feeling, that there was little or no possible chance of
maintaining even his present elevation, much less of rising higher,
unless he became pliant in the hands of those who had elected him, he
suffered all ideas of the general good to recede from his mind, and
gave himself up wholly to furthering the schemes and interested views
of his own party. By this means, he was enabled to maintain his
position. But what a sacrifice for an honourable, high-minded man! A
few years in the State legislature, where he was an active member,
prepared him for going up higher. He was, accordingly, nominated for
Congress, and elected, but by the same means that had accomplished all
of his previous elections. And he went there under the mistaken idea
that he was becoming a great man, when it was not with any particular
reference to his fitness for becoming a representative of one section
of the country for the good of the whole that he was sent there, but as
a fit tool for the performance of selfish party ends. Thus he became
the exponent in Congress of the same principles that he had laid down
for his own government, viz. such as were thoroughly selfish and
In the course of time, it so happened that, as eminent lawyers, the
two individuals we have introduced were again thrown together as
inhabitants of the same city, and became practitioners at the same bar.
At first, Abercrombie did not fear Harvey; but he soon learned that, as
an opponent, not even he could gain over him, unless his cause were
just. For some years Abercrombie went regularly to Congress, usually
elected over the opposing candidate by a large majorityfor his party
far outnumbered the other. At length the time seemed to have arrived
for him to take another step. The senatorial term for the district in
which he lived was about to expire, and there was to be an election for
a United States senator. For this vacancy he was nominated as a
candidate by his party, and as that was the strongest party, he looked
confidently for an election. The opposing interest cast about them for
some time, and at last fixed upon Harvey, who, after mature
deliberation, accepted the nomination.
It is needless here to recapitulate the principles which governed
these two individuals; they have already been fully stated. At the time
that they became rivals for a high station, each had confirmed in
himself the views of life expressed many years before, and was acting
them out fully. One was thoroughly selfishthe other strove to regard,
in all that he did, the good of others.
A few months before the day of election, a woman dressed in deep
mourning came into the office of Mr. Harvey. She stated that she was a
widow with a large familythat her husband had been dead about a year,
and that the executor of her husband's estate, formerly his partner in
business, was about to deprive her of all the property that had been
left to her for the maintenance of her family and the education of her
children, under the plea that there were, in reality, no assets, after
the settlement of the estate.
Well, madam, what do you wish done? asked Mr. Harvey, a good deal
interested in the woman's case.
I want justice, sir, and no more. If there are really no assets,
then I want nothing. But if there is, as I am confident that there must
be a handsome property really due me, then I wish my rights maintained.
Will you undertake my case?
Certainly I will, madam; and if there is justice on your side, I
will see that justice is done.
Accordingly, suit was brought against the executor, who at once
employed Abercrombie, with the promise of a large fee, if he gained the
cause for him.
By some means, the facts of the case, or at least that such a case
was to come up, became known through the medium of the newspapers, and
also that the two rival candidates were to be opposed to each other.
Much interest was excited, and when the trial came on, the court-room
was crowded. The case occupied the attention of the court for three
days, during which time Abercrombie made some of the most brilliant
speeches that had ever fallen from his lips. He managed his case, too,
with a tact, spirit, and sagacity, unusual even for him, as keen a
lawyer as he was. To all this, Harvey opposed a steady, clear, and
rational mode of presenting the claims of the individual he
represented, so that conviction attended him at every step. It was in
vain that Abercrombie would tear into tatters the lucid arguments, full
of calm and truthful positions, that he presentedhe would gather them
all up again, and present them in new and still more convincing forms.
At every step of the trial, it was plainly evident to all, opponents
and friends, that Abercrombie cared solely for success in his cause,
and nothing for justice; and as the sympathies of nearly all were in
favour of the widow, his manner of conducting the case was exceedingly
offensive to nearly every one. On the contrary, in Harvey, all could
see a deep and conscientious regard for justice. He never took any
undue advantage of his opponent, and resorted to no tricks and feints
to blind and confuse him, but steadily presented the justice of the
side he argued, in bold and strong relief, against the evident, wicked
injustice of the defendant.
At last the trial came to a close, and the whole case was submitted
to the jury, who decided that the widow's cause was just. This
righteous decision was received by a universal burst of applause.
Abercrombie was deeply chagrined at the result, and this feeling was
apparent to allso apparent, that nearly every one, friends and
enemies, were indignant. In an electioneering handbill, which came out
in two or three days afterward, was this appeal:
Why do we send a man to the Senate-chamber of the United States? To
legislate from generous and enlarged principles, or to be a narrow,
selfish seeker of his own glory? Do we want the generous philanthropist
therethe man who loves justice for its own sakethe man of strong
natural powers, rendered stronger and clearer by honest principles?or
the narrow-minded timeserverthe man who would sacrifice any thing,
even the liberties of his country, for a selfish endthe legal
oppressor of the widow and the fatherless? Need these questions be
answered from honest, high-souled voters? No! let every man answer for
himself, when he goes to assert the rights of a freeman.
This, and similar appeals, added to the general disapprobation
already felt, completed the work. Harvey was elected to fill the vacant
seat in the Senate for the ensuing six years, by a majority of double
the votes polled for Abercrombie.
From that time, the latter took his position as a third-rate man.
Indeed, he never afterward reached even to the House of Representatives
at Washington, while Harvey still retains his place in the
Senate-chamber, one of the most esteemed and valuable members of that
No man, we would remark, in closing this sketch, can ever be a truly
great man, who is not a good man. The mere selfishness of ambition
defeats its own ends; while the generous impulse to do good to others,
gives to every man a power and an influence that must be felt and
THE FAIR COURIER.
A STORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
Fort Motte, Fort Granby, Fort Watson, the fort at Orangeburg, and
every other post in South Carolina, except Charleston and Ninety-Six,
had yielded successively to the American arms, under the command of
Greene, Sumter, Marion, and Lee; and now General Greene turned all his
energies to the reduction of Ninety-Six, giving orders at the same
time, for General Sumter to remain in the country south and west of the
Congaree, so as to cut off all communication between Lord Rawdon, who
was at Charleston awaiting reinforcements from England, and Colonel
Cruger, who was in command at Ninety-Six.
Day after day the siege of Ninety-Six went on, the Americans slowly
approaching the fort by a series of works constructed under the
superintendence of Kosciusko, and Cruger still holding out in
expectations of reinforcements from Charleston, although not a single
word of intelligence from Lord Rawdon had reached him since the
investment of the post which he held with so much bravery and
On the 3d of June, the long-expected reinforcement from England
reached Lord Rawdon, and on the 7th he started for the relief of
Colonel Cruger with a portion of three Irish regiments, and was joined
soon after by the South Carolina royalists, swelling his force to two
thousand men. But all his efforts to transmit intelligence of his
approach to the beleaguered garrison at Ninety-Six proved unavailing.
His messengers were intercepted by Sumter and Marion, who held
possession of the intermediate region.
On the 11th of June, General Greene received intelligence from
General Sumter of the approach of Rawdon. Directing Sumter to keep in
front of the enemy, he reinforced him with all his cavalry under
Lieutenant-Colonel Washington, and urged him to use every means in his
power to delay the advancing British army, until he should be able to
complete the investment of the fort at Ninety-Six, and compel it to
surrender. Then with renewed diligence he pressed the siege, hoping to
obtain a capitulation before Colonel Cruger should receive news of the
approaching succour, and thus break up, with the exception of
Charleston, the last rallying point of the enemy in South Carolina. But
the commander of the fort was ever on the alert to make good his
defences and to annoy and retard the besiegers in every possible way;
and, though ignorant of the near approach of aid, he would listen to no
overtures for a capitulation.
One evening, while affairs retained this aspect, a countryman rode
along the American lines, conversing familiarly with the officers and
soldiers on duty. No particular notice was taken of this, as, from the
beginning of the siege, the friends of our cause were permitted to
enter the camp and go wherever their curiosity happened to lead them.
The individual here mentioned moved along, seemingly much interested
with all he saw and heard, until he arrived at the great road leading
directly to the town, in which quarter were only some batteries thrown
up for the protection of the guards. Pausing here for a few moments, he
glanced cautiously around him, and then, suddenly putting spurs to his
horse, he dashed at full speed into the town. Seeing this, the guard
and sentinels opened their fire upon him, but he escaped unhurt,
holding up a letter as soon as he was out of danger. The garrison,
which had observed this movement, understood its meaning, and the gates
were instantly thrown open to receive the messenger, who proved to be
from Lord Rawdon, and brought the welcome intelligence of his near
Hoping still to reduce the fort before the arrival of Lord Rawdon,
General Greene urged on the work of investment, and by every means in
his power sought to weaken the garrison, so as to make victory certain
when all was ready for the final assault. But before he had
accomplished his task, a messenger from Sumter arrived with the
unwelcome intelligence that Rawdon had succeeded in passing him and was
pushing on rapidly for Ninety-Six. The crisis had now come. Greene must
either hazard an assault upon the fort ere his works were in complete
readiness, risk a battle with Rawdon, or retire over the Saluda, and
thus give confidence and strength to the tories and royalist army. His
first determination was to meet the relieving army under Rawdon, but
every thing depending on his not giving the enemy, at this particular
crisis of affairs in the South, a victory, and seeing that his force
was much inferior to that of the British, he resolved to make an attack
upon the fort, and, if not successful in reducing it, to retire with
his army toward North Carolina before Rawdon came up.
The 18th of June, 1781, was the day chosen for this assault. But
made, as it was, with the besiegers' works incomplete, though the men
fought with desperate courage, the fort was successfully defended, and
General Greene ordered his troops to retire, after they had suffered
the loss of one hundred and eighty-five killed and wounded.
Nothing was now left but retreat. For some twenty-six days the
besieging army had been at work before the fort, and in three days more
all their arrangements would have been completed and the post have
fallen into their hands. It was therefore deeply mortifying and
dispiriting to be forced to retire, just as success was about crowning
their efforts. But far-seeing, prudent, and looking more to future
results than present triumphs, General Greene, on the 19th, commenced
retreating toward the Saluda, which river he passed in safety, and
moved forward with all possible despatch for the Enoree. Before his
rear-guard had left the south side of this river, the van of Lord
Rawdon's army appeared in pursuit. But the British commander hesitated
to make an attack upon Greene's cavalry, which was under the command of
Lee and Colonel Washington, and was a brave, well-disciplined, and
superior troop, and so permitted them to pass the Enoree unmolested.
While Lord Rawdon paused at this point, undetermined which course to
pursue, General Greene moved on toward the Broad River, where he halted
and made his encampment.
Such was the aspect of affairs at the time our story beginsa story
of woman's self-devotion and heroism. Near the place where General
Greene had halted with his weary and disheartened troops, stood the
unpretending residence of a country farmer in moderate circumstances.
His name was Geiger. He was a true friend of the American cause, and,
but for ill health, that rendered him unable to endure the fatigues of
the camp, would have been under arms in defence of his country. The
deep interest felt in the cause of liberty by Geiger, made him ever on
the alert for information touching the progress of affairs in his
State, and the freedom with which he expressed his opinions created him
hosts of enemies among the evil-minded tories with whom he was
surrounded. Geiger had an only daughter, eighteen years of age, who was
imbued with her father's spirit.
If I were only a man! she would often say, when intelligence came
of British or tory outrages, or when news was brought of some reverse
to the American arms. If I were only a man! that I could fight for my
On the third day of General Greene's encampment near the residence
of Geiger, a neighbour dropped in.
What news? asked the farmer.
Lord Rawdon has determined to abandon the fort at Ninety-Six.
Are you certain?
Yes. General Greene received the information this morning. Rawdon
has despatched intelligence to Colonel Stuart to advance with his
regiment from Charleston to Friday's Ferry on the Congaree, where he
will join him immediately. He leaves Cruger at Ninety-Six, who is to
move, as soon as possible, with his bloody tory recruits and their
property, and take a route that will put the Edisto between him and our
forces. Moving down the southern bank of this river to Orangeburg, he
will thence make a junction with Rawdon at Friday's Ferry.
Then they will divide their force? said Geiger eagerly.
And giving Greene an advantage by which he will not be slow to
profit. Cruger will not be a day on the march before our general will
make his acquaintance.
No, replied the neighbour. If I heard aright, it is General
Greene's intention to pursue Rawdon, and strike a more decisive blow.
Why did he not encounter him at the Saluda, when the opportunity
General Sumter was not with him.
Nor is he now.
And, I fear, will not join him, as he so much desires.
For what reason? inquired Geiger.
He finds no one willing to become bearer of despatches. The country
between this and Sumter's station on the Wateree, is full of the
enemies of our causeblood-thirsty tories, elated by the defeat of our
arms at Ninety-Sixwho will to a certainty murder any man who
undertakes the journey. I would not go on the mission for my weight in
And can no man be found to risk his life for his country, even on
so perilous a service? said the farmer in a tone of surprise, not
unmingled with mortification.
None. The effort to reach Sumter would be fruitless. The bravest
man will hesitate to throw his life away.
God protects those who devote themselves to the good of their
country, said Geiger. If I could bear the fatigue of the journey, I
would not shrink from the service an instant.
You would commit an act of folly.
Noof true devotion to my country, replied the farmer warmly.
But, he added in a saddened voice, what boots it that I am willing
for the task. These feeble limbs refuse to bear me on the journey.
Emily Geiger, the daughter, heard all this with feelings of intense
interest; and as she had often said before, so she said now, in the
silence of her spirit: Oh that I were a man! But she was simply a
young and tender girl, and her patriotic heart could only throb with
noble feelings, while her hands were not able to strike a blow for her
If I were only a man! murmured the young girl again and again, as
she mused on what she had heard, long after the neighbour had departed.
In the mean time, General Greene, who had heard through messengers
from Colonel Lee of the proposed abandonment of Ninety-six, and the
division of the British and tory forces, was making preparations to
retrace his steps, and strike, if possible, a decisive blow against
Lord Rawdon. In order to make certain of victory, it was necessary to
inform Sumter of his designs, and effect a junction with him before
attacking the enemy. But, thus far, no one offered to perform the
On the morning of the day upon which the army was to commence
retracing its steps, General Greene sat in his tent lost in deep
thought. Since taking command of the southern army, he had been
struggling at every disadvantage with a powerful enemy, whose
disciplined troops were daily strengthened by citizens of the country,
lost to every feeling of true patriotism; and now, having weakened that
enemy, he felt eager to strike a blow that would destroy him. But, with
the force that he could command, it was yet a doubtful question whether
an engagement would result in victory to the American arms. If he could
effect a junction with Sumter before Lord Rawdon reached Friday's Ferry
on the Congaree, he had great hopes of success. But the great
difficulty was to get a messenger to Sumter, who was distant between
one and two hundred miles. While the general was pondering these
things, an officer entered and said
A young country girl is before the tent, and wishes to speak with
Tell her to come in, replied the general.
The officer withdrew, and in a few moments reappeared in company
with a young girl, dressed in a closely fitting habit, carrying a small
whip in her hand. She curtsied respectfully as she entered.
The general arose as the maiden stepped inside of his tent, and
returned her salutation.
General Greene? inquired the fair stranger.
The officer bowed.
I have been told, said the visitor, the colour deepening in her
face, that you are in want of a bearer of despatches to General
I am, replied the general. But I find no one courageous enough to
undertake the perilous mission.
Send me, said the maiden. And she drew her slight form upward
Send you! exclaimed the general, taken by surprise. You? Oh no,
child! I could not do that. It is a journey from which brave men hold
I am not a brave man. I am only a woman. But I will go.
Touched by such an unlooked-for incident, General Greene, after
pausing for some moments, said
Will you go on this journey alone?
Give me a fleet horse, and I will bear your message safely.
[Illustration: GENERAL GREENE AND MISS GEIGER. Page 72.]
What is your name? inquired the officer, after another thoughtful
Is your father living?
Have you his consent?
He knows nothing of my intention. But he loves his country, and,
but for ill health, would be now bearing arms against their enemies.
His heart is with the good cause, though his arm is powerless. His head
must approve the act, though his heart might fail him were I to ask his
consent. But it is not for you, general, to hesitate. Heaven has sent
you a messenger, and you dare not refuse to accept the proffered
service when so much is at stake.
Noble girl! said the general, with emotion, you shall go. And may
God speed you and protect you on your journey.
He will! murmured the intrepid girl, in a low voice.
Order a swift, but well-trained and gentle horse to be saddled
immediately, said Greene to the officer who had conducted the maiden
into his presence.
The officer retired, and Emily seated herself while the general
wrote a hasty despatch for Sumter. This, after it was completed, he
read over to her twice, in order that, if compelled to destroy it, she
might yet deliver the message verbally, and then asked her to repeat to
him its contents. She did so accurately. He then gave her minute
directions with regard to the journey, with instructions how to act in
case she was intercepted by the soldiers of Lord Rawdon, to all of
which she listened with deep attention.
And now, my good girl, said the general, with an emotion that he
could not conceal, as he handed her the despatch, I commit to your
care this important message. Every thing depends on its safe delivery.
Here is money for your expenses on the journey, and he reached her a
purse. But Emily drew back, saying
I have money in my pocket. Keep what you have. You will need it,
and more, for your country.
At this point, the officer re-entered the tent, and announced that
the horse was ready.
And so am I, said Emily, as she stepped out into the open air.
Already a whisper of what was going on in the general's quarters had
passed through the camp, and many officers and men had gathered before
his tent to see the noble-minded girl as she came forth to start upon
her dangerous journey.
There was no sign of fear about the fair young maiden, as she placed
her foot in the hand of an officer and sprang upon the saddle. Her face
was calm, her eyes slightly elevated, and her lips gently compressed
with resolution. General Greene stood near her. He extended his hand as
soon as she had firmly seated herself and grasped the reins of the
noble animal upon which she was mounted.
God speed you on your journey, and may heaven and your country
reward you, said he, as he held her hand tightly. Then, as if
impelled by a sudden emotion, he pressed the fair hand to his lips, and
turning away sought the seclusion of his tent, deeply moved by so
unexpected and touching an instance of heroism in one who was little
more than a child. As he did so, the officer, who had until now held
the horse by the bridle, released his grasp, and Emily, touching her
rein, spoke to the animal upon which she was mounted. Obeying the word
instantly he sprang away, bearing the fair young courier from the camp,
and moved rapidly in a south-westerly direction. Officers and men gazed
after her, but no wild shout of admiration went up to the skies. On
some minds pressed, painfully, thoughts of the peril that lay in the
path of the brave girl; others, rebuked by her noble self-devotion,
retired to their tents and refrained from communion with their fellows
on the subject that engrossed every thought; while others lost all
present enthusiasm in their anxiety for the success of the mission.
About five miles from the encampment of General Greene, lived one of
the most active and bitter tories in all South Carolina. His name was
Loire. He was ever on the alert for information, and had risked much in
his efforts to give intelligence to the enemy. Two of his sons were
under arms at Ninety-Six, on the British side, and he had himself
served against his country at Camden. Since the encampment of General
Greene in his neighbourhood, Loire had been daily in communication with
spies who were kept hovering in his vicinity, in order to pick up
information that might be of importance to the British.
Some four hours after Emily Geiger had started on her journey, one
of Loire's spies reached the house of his employer.
What news? asked the tory, who saw, by the man's countenance, that
he had something of importance to communicate.
The rebel Greene has found a messenger to carry his despatch to
Are you sure?
Yes; and she has been on her journey some four or five hours.
Yes. That girl of Geiger's went to the camp this morning and
volunteered for the service.
The ! But we will not stain our pages with a record of the
profane and brutal words that fell from the lips of the tory.
She has the swiftest horse in the camp, said the man, and unless
instant pursuit is given, she will soon be out of our reach.
With a bitter oath, Loire swore that she should never reach the camp
Take Vulcan, said he in a quick, energetic voice, and kill him
but what you overtake the huzzy, between this and Morgan's Range.
She has nearly five hours' start, replied the man.
But you must make two miles to her one.
Even then she will be most likely ahead of the Range ere I can
Very well. In that case you must start Bill Mink after her, with a
fresh horse. I will give you a letter, which you will place in his
hands should you fail to overtake the girl.
With these instructions, the man started in pursuit. He was mounted
on a large, strong horse, who bore his rider as lightly as if he had
been a child.
In the mean time, Emily, who had received minute information in
regard to her journey, and who was, moreover, no stranger to the way,
having been twice to Camden, struck boldly into the dense forest
through which she was to pass, and moved along a bridle track at as
swift a pace as the animal she rode could bear without too great
fatigue. The importance of the work upon which she had entered, and the
enthusiasm with which it inspired her, kept her heart above the
influence of fear. No event of moment happened to her during the first
day of her journey. In passing a small settlement known as Morgan's
Range, which she did at about four o'clock in the afternoon, she took
the precaution to sweep around it in a wide circle, as some of the most
active and evil-minded tories in the state resided in that
neighbourhood. Successful in making this circuit, she resumed the road
upon which her course lay, still urging forward her faithful animal,
which, though much fatigued by the rapidity of his journey, obeyed the
word of his rider, as if he comprehended the importance of the message
Gradually, now, the day declined, and, as the deep shadows mingled
more and more with each other, a feeling of loneliness, not before
experienced, came over the mind of Emily, and her eyes were cast about
more warily, as if she feared the approach of danger. The house at
which she had proposed to spend the night was still ten miles, if not
more, in advance, and as the shades of evening began to gather around,
the hope of reaching this resting-place was abandoned; for there being
no moon, there was danger of her losing her way in the darkness. This
conviction was so strong, that Emily turned her horse's head in the
direction of the first farmyard that came in view after the sun had
fallen below the horizon. As she rode up to the door, she was met by a
man, who, accosting her kindly, asked where she was from and how far
she was going.
I hoped to reach Elwood's to-night, replied Emily. How far away
Over ten milesand the road is bad and lonely, said the man,
whose wife had by this time joined him. You had better get down and
stay with us 'till morning.
If you will give me that privilege, returned the maiden, I shall
feel greatly obliged.
The man promptly offered his hand to assist Emily to dismount, and
while he led her tired horse away, his wife invited her to enter the
Have you come far? inquired the woman, as she untied Emily's
bonnet strings, looking very earnestly in her face as she spoke.
Emily knew not whether she were among the friends or the enemies of
the American cause, and her answer was, therefore, brief and evasive.
Your horse looked very tired. You must have ridden him a long
I rode fast, said Emily. But still, I have not been able to reach
the place for which I started this morning.
It's hardly safe for a young girl like you to take such a long
journey alone, in these troublesome times.
I'm not afraid. No one will harm me, said Emily, forcing a smile.
I'm not so certain of that, child. It's only a day or two since
Greene passed here in full retreat, and no doubt, there are many
straggling vagabonds from his army roaming around, whom it would not be
safe for one like you to meet.
As the woman said this, a chill went over the frame of the young
girl, for, in the tone of her voice and expression of her face, she
read an unfriendliness to the cause that was so dear to her heart. She
did not venture a reply.
Might I ask your name? said the woman, breaking in upon the
anxious thoughts that were beginning to pass through her mind.
Emily reflected hurriedly, before replying, and then answered,
The quick conclusion to which she came was, that, in all
probability, the woman did not know any thing about her father as
favouring the whig cause; but, even if she did, a suspicion of the
errand upon which she was going was not likely to cross either her own
mind or that of her husband.
Not John Geiger's daughter! exclaimed the woman.
Emily forced an indifferent smile and replied
I've heard of him often enough as a bitter enemy to the royalists.
Is it possible you have ridden all the way from home to-day?
Before Emily replied, the husband of the woman came in.
Would you think it, said the latter, this is John's Geiger's
daughter, of whom we have so often heard.
Indeed! Well, if she were the daughter of my bitterest enemy, she
should have food and shelter to-night. No wonder your horse is tired,
he added, addressing Emily, if you have ridden from home to-day. And,
no doubt, you are yourself hungry as well as tired; so wife, if it is
all ready, suppose we have supper.
The movement to the supper-table gave Emily time for reflection and
self-possession. No more pointed questions were asked her during the
meal; and after it was completed, she said to the woman that she felt
much fatigued, and, if she would permit her to do so, would retire for
The young girl's reflections were by no means pleasant when alone.
She thought seriously of the position in which she was placed. Her
father was known as an active whig; and she was in the house of a tory,
who might suspect her errand and prevent its consummation. After
retiring to bed, she mused for a long time as to the course to be
taken, in case efforts were made to detain her, when, overwearied
nature, claiming its due repose, locked all her senses in sleep.
Nearly two hours after Emily had gone to her chamber, and just as
the man and woman who had given her a shelter for the night, were about
retiring, the sound of a horse's feet were heard rapidly approaching
the house. On going to the door, a young man rode up and called out in
a familiar way
Hallo, Preston! Have you seen anything of a stray young girl in
Bill Mink! returned the farmer. What in the world brings you here
at this time of night?
On a fool's errand, it may be. I received a letter from Loire,
about an hour ago, stating that Geiger's daughter had volunteered to
carry important despatches to General Sumter; that she had been on the
journey some hours; and that I must overhaul her at the risk of every
It isn't possible! said the wife of the man called Preston.
It is, though; and it strikes me that she must be a confounded
It strikes me so, too, returned Preston. But I rather think your
errand will be that of a fool, if you go any farther tonight.
Have you seen any thing of the jade? asked Mink in a decided tone.
Well, perhaps I have, returned Preston, lowering his voice.
Aha! ejaculated Mink, throwing himself from his horse. So I have
got on the right track. She is here?
I did not say so.
No matter. It is all the same, and, hitching his horse to the
fence, the young man entered the house with the familiarity of an old
The sound of the horse's feet, as Mink came dashing up to the house,
awakened Emily. The room she occupied being on the ground-floor, and
the window raised to admit the cool air, she heard every word that
passed. It may well be supposed that her heart sank in her bosom. For a
long time after the new-comer entered, she heard the murmur of voices.
Then some one went out, and the horse was led away to the stable. It
was clear that the individual in search of her had concluded to pass
the night there, and secure her in the morning.
The intrepid girl now bent all her thoughts on the possibility of
making an escape. An hour she lay, with her heart almost fluttering in
her bosom, listening intently to every sound that was made by those who
were around her. At length all became still. Preston and his wife, as
well as the new-comer, had retired to rest, and the heavy slumber into
which both the men had fallen was made soon apparent by their heavy
Noiselessly leaving her bed, Emily put on her clothes in haste, and
pushed aside the curtain that had been drawn before the window. Through
the distant treetops she saw the newly-risen moon shining feebly. As
she stood, leaning out of the window, listening eagerly, and debating
the question whether she should venture forth in the silent midnight, a
large house-dog, who was on the watch while his master slept, came up,
and laying his great head upon the window-sill, looked into her face.
Emily patted him, and the dog wagged his tail, seeming much pleased
with the notice.
No longer hesitating, the girl sprang lightly from the window, and,
accompanied by the dog, moved noiselessly in the direction of the
stable. Here she was for some time at a loss to determine which of the
half-dozen horses it contained had borne her thus far on her journey;
and it was equally hard to find, in the dark, the bridle and saddle for
which she sought. But all these difficulties were at length surmounted,
and she led forth the obedient animal. Making as wide a circuit from
the house as possible, Emily succeeded in gaining the road without
awakening any one. Up to this time, the dog had kept closely by her
side; but, when she mounted the horse and moved away, he stood looking
at her until she passed out of sight, and then returned to his post at
[Illustration: ESCAPE FROM THE HOUSE OF PRESTON, THE TORY. Page 88.]
The danger she had left behind made Emily almost insensible to the
loneliness of her situation; and the joy she felt at her escape
scarcely left room for fear in her heart. Day had hardly begun to
break, when she reached the house of an old friend of her father's,
where she had intended to pass the night. To him she confided the
nature of her journey, and told of the narrow escape she had made. A
hasty meal was provided for her, and, ere the sun passed above the
horizon, mounted on a strong and fresh horse, she was sweeping away on
her journey. A letter from this friend to a staunch whig, residing
twenty miles distant, procured her another horse.
More than two-thirds of the distance she had to go was safely passed
over ere the sun went down again, and she was riding along, with some
doubt as to where she would rest for the night, when three men, dressed
in the British uniform, came suddenly in view, directly ahead of her.
To turn and go back would be of no avail. So she rode on, endeavouring
to keep a brave heart. On coming up to her, the soldiers reined up
their horses, and addressed her with rude familiarity. She made no
reply, but endeavoured to pass on, when one of them laid hold of her
bridle. Escape being hopeless, Emily answered the questions asked of
her in such a way as she deemed prudent. Not satisfied with the account
she gave of herself, they told her that Lord Rawdon was encamped about
a mile distant, and that she must go before him, as it was plain she
was a rebel, and most probably a spy.
On being brought into the presence of the British officer, Emily was
interrogated closely as to where she had come from, whither she was
going, and the nature of her errand. She would not utter a direct
falsehood, and her answers, being evasive, only created stronger
suspicions against her in the mind of Lord Rawdon.
We'll find a way to the truth! he at length exclaimed impatiently,
after trying in vain to get some satisfactory statement from the
firm-hearted girl, who did not once lose her presence of mind during
the trying interview. Take her over to my quarters at the farm-house,
and see that she don't escape you.
The officer to whom this command was given removed Emily, under a
guard, to a house near at hand, and locked her in one of the rooms. The
moment she was alone, she took from her pocket a pair of scissors, and
hurriedly ripping open a part of her dress, took therefrom a small
piece of paper, folded and sealed. This was the despatch she was
bearing to General Sumter. To crumple it in her hand and throw it from
the window was her first impulse; but her ear caught the sound of a
sentinel's tread, and that idea was abandoned. Hurriedly glancing
around in the dim twilight, she sought in vain for some mode of hiding
the despatch, which, if found upon her, betrayed every thing. That her
person would be searched, she had good reason to believe; and, in all
probability, every part of the room would be searched also. To hesitate
long would be to make discovery sure. Every moment she expected some
one to enter. While she stood irresolute, a thought glanced through her
mind, and acting upon it instantly, she tore off a part of the
despatch, and thrusting it into her mouth, chewed and swallowed it.
Another and another piece disappeared in the same way; but, ere the
whole was destroyed, the door opened, and a woman entered. Turning her
back quickly, Emily crowded all that remained of the paper in her
mouth, and covering her face tightly with her hands, held them there,
as if weeping, until the last particle of the tell-tale despatch had
disappeared. Then turning to the woman who had addressed her
repeatedly, she said in a calm voice
By what authority am I detained and shut up a prisoner in this
By the authority of Lord Rawdon, replied the woman in a severe
He might find work more befitting the position of his noble
lordship, I should think, returned Emily, with ill-concealed contempt,
than making prisoners of young girls, who, while travelling the
highway, happen to be so unfortunate as to fall in with his scouts.
You'd better keep your saucy tongue still, or it may get its owner
into a worse trouble, replied the woman promptly. You are suspected
of being the bearer of a message from the rebel General Greene, and my
business is to find the despatch, if any exist upon your person.
You must think the general poorly off for men, replied Emily.
No matter what we think, Miss Pert. You are suspected, as I said;
and, I should infer from your manner, not without good cause. Are you
willing that I should search your person for evidence to confirm our
Certainly; though I should be better pleased to see one of my sex
engaged in a more honourable employment.
Be silent, exclaimed the woman angrily, as she stamped her foot
upon the floor. She then commenced searching the young girl's person,
during which operation Emily could not resist the temptation she felt
to let a cutting word fall now and then from her ready tongue; which
was hardly prudent for one in her situation.
The search, of course, elicited nothing that could fix upon her the
suspicion of being a messenger from the rebel army.
Are you satisfied? inquired Emily, as she re-arranged her dress
after the ordeal had been passed. She spoke with the contempt she felt.
The woman made no reply; but went out in silence, taking with her the
light she had brought into the room, and leaving Emily alone and in
darkness. For nearly half an hour, the latter sat awaiting her return;
but during that period no one approached her room, nor was there any
movement about the house that she could interpret as having a reference
to herself. At last the heavy tread of a man was heard ascending the
stairs; a key was applied to the door of her room, and a soldier
appeared. Just behind him stood a female with a light in her hand.
Lord Rawdon wishes to see you, said the soldier.
Emily followed him in silence. In a large room below, seated at the
table with several officers, was Lord Rawdon. Emily was brought before
him. After asking her a variety of questions, all of which the wary
girl managed to answer so as not to violate the truth, and yet allay
suspicion, he said to herAs the night has fallen, you will not, of
course, thinking of proceeding on your journey?
Emily reflected for some time before answering. She then said
If your lordship do not object, I would like to go back a short
distance. I have friends living on the road, not far from your camp.
How far? inquired Lord Rawdon.
About six miles from here.
Very well, you shall go back; and I will send an escort for your
Emily had made up her mind to return a few miles on the way she had
come, and then, taking a wide sweep around the camp, protected from
observation by the darkness, resume her journey, and endeavour to reach
the place where she expected to find General Sumter by the middle of
the next day. She had gained fresh courage with every new difficulty
that presented itself, and now she resolved to accomplish her errand at
all hazard. What she most dreaded was the pursuit of the man Mink, from
whom she had escaped, and who, she doubted not, was now at no great
distance from the camp. To decline the escort, she felt, might renew
suspicion, while it would not prevent Lord Rawdon from sending men to
accompany her. So she thanked him for the offer, and asked to be
permitted to go without further delay. This was granted, and in an hour
afterward Emily found herself safely in the house of a friend of her
father and the good cause of the country. She had passed this house
late in the afternoon, but was so eager to go forward and gain a
certain point in her journey that night, that she did not stop.
Fortunately, her escort had left her before she met any of the family,
or the surprise expressed on her appearance might have created some new
doubts in the mind of the sergeant that accompanied the guard.
About half an hour after her arrival, and while she was urging the
necessity of departing immediately and endeavouring to pass the British
army, a member of the family came home, and stated that he had a few
moments before passed Mink on the road, riding at full speed toward
Then I must go instantly! said the courageous maiden, starting to
her feet. If I remain here, all hope of reaching General Sumter with
General Greene's message is at an end; for in less than an hour an
order will come back for my re-arrest, and I will be detained in the
British camp. Let me go, and I will trust to Heaven and my good cause
To retain the brave girl, under all the circumstances, was to incur
too great a responsibility. After a hurried consultation, it was
decided to let her proceed under cover of the darkness, but not alone.
A fresh horse was provided, and soon after the news that Mink the tory
had passed on toward the camp of Lord Rawdon was received, Emily,
accompanied by a trusty guide and protector, was galloping swiftly in a
direction opposite to that in which lay the British camp. A few miles
brought her to a road that struck off toward the point on the Wateree
which she was desirous to reach, in a more southerly direction, and
which would take her at a wide angle from the point she most wished to
avoid. Of this road she had not herself known; but her guide, being
familiar with the country, was able to conduct her by the shorter and
All night the girl and her companion rode on, at a pace as rapid as
the nature of the road and the darkness rendered safe, and at daylight
they were far away from the neighbourhood of the enemy's camp. As the
sun came up from the east, the guide of Emily, according to
instructions, after minutely describing to her the course she was to
take, left her to pursue the remainder of her journey alone. Without
stopping to refresh either herself or her tired horse, the young
heroine pressed forward, though the heat grew more and more intense
every hour, as the sun swept up toward the zenith. Faint, weary, and
almost sick with fatigue, hunger, and excitement, she was urging on the
jaded animal she rode, when, about three o'clock in the afternoon, in
emerging from a dense wood, she came suddenly on a file of soldiers
whose uniform she knew too well to leave a doubt of their being
Where will I find General Sumter? was her first, eager inquiry.
He is encamped a mile from here.
Take me to him quickly, she said. I have a message from General
The excitement by which Emily had been sustained in her long and
perilous journey now subsided, and ere she reached the presence of the
American general, she was so weak that she had to be supported on the
horse she rode. When brought into the presence of Sumter, she rallied,
and, sustained by a newly-awakening enthusiasm, delivered her verbal
message to the astonished officer, who, acting in accordance with the
intelligence received, was on the march within an hour, to reach the
point of junction with General Greene, which that commander had
indicated in his despatch.
Two weeks elapsed before Emily got safely back to her father, who
was informed an hour or two after her departure of what she had done.
Of his anxiety during her absence we need not speak; nor of the love
and pride that almost stifled him as he clasped her to his heart on her
Of the subsequent history of Emily Geiger we know little or nothing.
She was married to a South Carolina planter, some years after the
British troops were expelled from the country she loved with so heroic
an affection, and more than a quarter of a century has elapsed since
she went down in peace to the grave. Doubtless, her memory is green in
the hearts of her descendants, if any survive; and green will it be,
for ages, we trust, in the hearts of all who know what it is to feel
the emotions of genuine patriotism.
THE APRIL FOOL.
Nothing is so much enjoyed, by some men, as a practical joke; and
the greater the annoyance they can occasion, the greater their delight.
Of this class was Mr. Thomas Bunting, who resided in a village a few
miles out of New York. Bunting kept a store for the sale of almost
every article known in domestic and agricultural life, from a number
ten needle up to a hoe-handle; and from a mintstick up to a bag of
coffee. Consequently, he was pretty well acquainted with all the
town'speople, who were, likewise, pretty well acquainted with him.
As Bunting was constantly playing off his pranks upon one and
another, he only kept himself free from enemies by his good temper and
ability to soothe the parties he sometimes irritated beyond the point
The First of April was never permitted to come and go without being
well improved by the joke-loving Thomas. If a customer sent for a pint
of brandy on that day, he would be very apt to get four gills of
vinegar; or, if for a pound of sugar, half a pound of New Orleans mixed
with an equal weight of silver sand. That was a smart child who could
come into his store on the occasion, and leave it without being the
victim of some trick. So, from morning till night of the First day of
April, the face of Mr. Thomas Bunting was one broad grin. Full of
invention as to the ways and means of playing off tricks upon others,
our merry friend was wide awake to any attempt at retaliation; and it
generally happened that most of those who sought to catch him, got the
laugh turned upon themselves.
Two years ago, as the First of April approached, Bunting began to
think of the sport awaiting him, and to cast his eyes over the town to
see who was the most fitting subject for a good jest.
I must make a fool of somebody, said he to himself; a first-rate
fool. I am tired of mere child's play in this business. Who shall it
be? There's Doctor Grimes. Suppose I send him to see the young widow
Gray? He'd like to make her a visit exceedingly, I know. But the widow
knows me of old, and will be sure to suspect my agency. I guess that
won't do. Grimes is a good subject; and I've got a sort of spite
against him. I must use him, somehow. The widow Gray would be
first-rate; but I'm a little afraid to bring her in. The doctor's as
poor as Job's turkey, and would be off to visit her on the run. Let me
see? What shall I do? I've got it! I'll send him to York on a fool's
And Bunting snapped his finger and thumb in childish delight.
Doctor Grimes, to whom our joker referred, had been in the village
only about a year, and, in that time, had succeeded in making but a
small practice. Not that he was wanting in ability; but he lacked
address. In person, he was rather awkward; and, in manners, far from
prepossessing. Moreover, he was poor, and not able, in consequence, to
make a very good appearance.
We would not like to say that, in selecting Doctor Grimes as the
subject of his best joke for the First of April, Bunting acted on the
principle of a certain worthy, who said of another
Kick him; he has no friends!
But we rather incline to the opinion that some such feeling was in
the heart of the joker.
The First of April came. Doctor Grimes, after eating his breakfast,
sat down in his office to await expected morning calls for
consultation, or to request his attendance on some suffering invalid.
But no such calls were made. The doctor sighed, under the pressure of
disappointment, as he glanced at the timepiece on the mantel, the hands
of which pointed to the figure ten.
A poor prospect here, he murmured despondingly. Ah, if there were
none in the world to care for but myself, I would be content on bread
and water while making my way into the confidence of the people. But
others are suffering while I wait for practice. What hinders my
progress? I understand my profession. In not a single instance yet have
I failed to give relief, when called to the bed of sickness. Ah me! I
Just then, the letter-carrier of the village came in and handed him
two letters. The first one he opened was from a dearly loved, widowed
sister, who wrote to know if he could possibly help her in her poverty
I would not trouble you, my dear, kind brother, she wrote,
knowing as I do how poor your own prospects are, and how patiently you
are trying to wait for practice, did not want press on me and my babes
so closely. If you can spare me a littleever so littlebrother, it
will come as a blessing; for my extremity is great. Forgive me for thus
troubling you. Necessity often prompts to acts, from the thought of
which, in brighter moments, we turn with a feeling of pain.
For many minutes after reading this letter, Doctor Grimes sat with
his eyes upon the floor.
My poor Mary! he said at length, how much you have suffered; and
yet more drops of bitterness are given to your cup! Oh that it was in
my power to relieve you! But my hands are stricken down with paralysis.
What can I do? Thus far, I have gone in debt instead of clearing my
He took out his pocket-book and searched it over.
Nothingnothing, he murmured as he refolded it. Ah, what curse
is there like the curse of poverty?
He then referred to the other letter, the receipt of which he had
almost forgotten. Breaking the seal, he read, with surprise, its
contents, which were as follows:
To DOCTOR GRIMES.Dear Sir: Please call, as early as possible,
at Messrs. L&P's, No. Wall Street, New York; where
you will hear of something to your advantage.
What can this mean? exclaimed the doctor, as he hurriedly perused
the letter again. Can it be possible that a relative of my father, in
England, has died, and left us property? Yes; it must be so. Several
members of his family there are in good circumstances. Oh, if it should
be thus, how timely has relief come! For your sake, my dear sister,
more than for my own, will I be thankful! But how am I to go to New
York? I have not a dollar in my pocket, and will receive nothing for a
week or two.
The only resource was in borrowing; and to this the doctor resorted
with considerable reluctance. From a gentleman who had always shown an
interest in him, he obtained five dollars. Within an hour after the
receipt of the letter, he was on his way to the city. The more he
pondered the matter, the more likely did it seem to him that his first
conclusion was the true one. There was an uncle of his father's, a
miser, reputed to be very rich, from whom, some years before, the
family had received letters; and it seemed not at all improbable that
his death had occurred, and that he and his sister had been remembered
in the will. This idea so fully possessed his mind by the time he
arrived in the city, that he was already beginning to make, in
imagination, sundry dispositions of the property soon to come into his
Can I see one of the gentlemen belonging to the firm? asked the
doctor, on entering the store of Messrs. L&P.
Here is Mr. L, said the individual he had addressed, referring
him to a middle-aged, thoughtful-looking man, with something
prepossessing in his face.
The doctor bowed to Mr. L, and then said
My name is Dr. Grimes.
Mr. Lbowed in return, remarking, as he did so
Will you walk in?
The doctor was rather disappointed at the manner of his reception,
and experienced a slight depression of spirits as he followed the
merchant back into one of the counting-rooms attached to the store.
Will you take a chair, sir? said the merchant.
Both the gentlemen sat down. About Lthere was an air of
expectancy, which the doctor did not fail to remark.
My name is Doctor Grimes, said he, repeating his first
I am happy to see you, doctor, returned L, bowing again.
I received a letter from your house, this morning, said the
victim, for such he really was, desiring me to call, as you had some
communication to make that would be to my advantage.
There's some mistake, replied the merchant. No letter of the kind
has emanated from us.
Are you certain? asked the disappointed man, in a voice greatly
changed; and he drew forth the letter he had received.
Llooked at the communication, and shook his head.
There is no truth in this, sir. I regret to say that you have, most
probably, been made the victim of an idle and reprehensible jest.
To-day, you are aware, is the First of April.
Can it be possible! exclaimed the doctor, clasping his hands
together, while his face became pale and overcast with disappointment.
Who could have been so unkind, so cruel!
And is the disappointment very great? said the merchant, touched
with the manner of his visitor, which showed more pain than
mortification at the cheat practised upon him.
With an effort at self-command, Doctor Grimes regained, to some
extent, his lost composure, and rising, remarked, as he partly turned
Forgive this intrusion, sir. I ought to have been more on my
But an interest having been awakened in the mind of Mr. L, he
would not suffer his visitor to retire until he held some conversation
with him. In this conversation he learned, through delicately asked
questions, even more of his real condition in life than the latter
meant to communicate; and he still further learned that the mother of
Doctor Grimes had been one of his early friends.
Will you be willing to take the place of Resident Physician at the
Hospital? finally asked Mr. L.
To one like me, replied Dr. Grimes, that place would be
exceedingly desirable. But I do not suppose I could get it.
I am a stranger here.
Can you bring testimonials as to professional ability? asked Mr.
I can. Testimonials of the very highest character.
Bring them to me, doctor, at the earliest possible moment. I do
not, in the least, doubt that my influence will secure you the place. I
believe you have no family?
That may be an objection. A furnished dwelling is provided for the
physician; and, I believe, one with a family is preferred.
I have a widowed sister, who would be glad to join me; and whom I
would be glad to place in so comfortable a position.
That will do just as well, doctor. Bring over your testimonials as
soon as possible. Not so much of an April fool, after all, I begin to
think. Unless I am very greatly mistaken, you have heard
something to your advantage.
All came out to the satisfaction of both Doctor Grimes and the
kind-hearted Mr. L. In less than a month, the former was in
comfortable quarters at Hospital, and in the receipt of twelve
hundred dollars per annum. This was exclusive of rent for his sister's
familynow his ownand table expenses. Moreover, for certain duties
required of her in the hospital, his sister received three hundred
So it turned out that Dr. Grimes, so far from being made an April
fool, was benefited by the wonderfully smart trick of Mr. Bunting.
But of the particular result of his extra work, the village-jester
remained ignorant. Being on the lookout, he was tickled to death when
he saw the doctor start off post haste for New York; and he looked out
for his return, anticipating rare pleasure at seeing his face as long
as his arm. But this particular pleasure was not obtained, for he
didn't see the doctor afterward.
What's become of Dr. Grimes? he asked of one and another, after a
few days had passed, and he did not see that individual on the street
But none of whom he made inquiry happened to know any thing of the
doctor's movements. It was plain to Bunting that, he had driven the
said doctor out of the village; and this circumstance quite flattered
his vanity, and made him feel of more consequence than before. In a
little while, he told his secret to one and another, and it was pretty
generally believed that Doctor Grimes had gone away under a sense of
mortification at the storekeeper's practical joke.
Look out for next year, said one and another. If Doctor Grimes
isn't even with you then, it'll be a wonder.
It will take a brighter genius than he is to fool me, Bunting
would usually reply to these words of caution.
The First of April came round again. Thomas Bunting was wide awake.
He expected to hear from the doctor, who, he was certain, would never
forgive him. Sure enough, with the day, came a letter from New York.
You don't fool me! said Bunting, as he glanced at the postmark. He
had heard that the doctor was in, or somewhere near, the city.
Ha! ha! he laughed, as he read
If Mr. Thomas Bunting will call on Messrs. Wilde &Lyon, Pearl
Street, New York, he may hear of something to his advantage.
Ha! ha! That's capital! The doctor is a wag. Ha! ha!
Of course, Bunting was too wide awake for this trap. Catch him
trudging to New York on a fool's errand!
Does he think I haven't cut my eye-teeth? he said to himself
exultingly, as he read over the letter. Doctor Grimes don't know this
And yet, the idea that something might be lost by not heeding the
letter, came stealing in upon him, and checking in a small degree the
delight he felt at being too smart for the doctor. But this thought was
instantly pushed aside. Of course, Bunting was not so green, to use
one of his favourite words, as to go on a fool's errand to New York.
Five or six months afterward, Bunting, while in the city on
business, happened to meet Doctor Grimes.
How are you, doctor? said he, grasping the hand of the physician,
and smiling with one of the smiles peculiar to his face when he felt
that he had played off a capital joke on somebody.
I'm well, Mr. Bunting. And how are you? replied the doctor.
First-ratefirst-rate! and Bunting rubbed his hands. Then he
added, with almost irrepressible glee
You wasn't sharp enough, last April, doctor.
Why so? inquired Doctor Grimes.
You didn't succeed in getting me to the city on a fool's errand.
I don't understand you, Mr. Bunting, said the doctor seriously.
Wilde &Lyon, Pearl Streetsomething to my advantage. Ha?
The doctor looked puzzled.
You needn't play the innocent, doctor. Its no use. I sent you on a
fool's errand to New York; and it was but natural that you should seek
to pay me back in my own coin. But I was too wide awake for you
entirely. It takes a sharp man to catch me.
You're certainly too wide awake for me now, said Doctor Grimes.
Will you please be serious and explain yourself.
Last April a year, you received a letter from New York, to the
effect that if you would call at a certain place in Wall Street, you
would hear something to your advantage?
I did, replied the doctor.
I called, accordingly, and received information which has proved
greatly to my advantage.
What? Bunting looked surprised.
The gentleman upon whom I called was a leading director in
Hospital, and in search of a Resident Physician for that establishment.
I now fill that post.
Is it possible? Bunting could not conceal his surprise, in which
something like disappointment was blended. And you did not write a
similar letter to me last April? he added.
I am above such trifling, replied the doctor, in a tone that
marked his real feelings on that subject. A man who could thus
wantonly injure and insult another for mere sport, must have something
bad about him. I should not like to trust such a one.
Good morning, doctor, said Bunting. The two gentlemen bowed
formally and parted.
If the doctor did not send the letter, from whom could it have come?
This was the question that Bunting asked himself immediately. But no
satisfactory answer came. He was puzzled and uncomfortable. Moreover,
the result of the doctor's errand to New Yorkwhich had proved any
thing but a fool's errandwas something that he could not understand.
I wonder if I hadn't better call on Wilde &Lyon? said he to
himself, at length. Perhaps the letter was no trick, after all.
Bunting held a long argument, mentally, on the subject, in which all
the pros and cons were fully discussed. Finally, he decided to call at
the place referred to in his letter, and did so immediately on reaching
this decision. Still, fearing that the letter might have been a hoax,
he made some few purchases of articles for his store, and then gave his
Thomas Bunting! said the person with whom he was dealing. Do you
reside in the city?
Bunting mentioned his place of residence.
Did you never receive a letter from this house, desiring to see
I did, replied Bunting; but as it was dated on the first of
April, I took it for the jest of some merry friend.
Very far from it, I can assure you, answered the man. An old
gentleman arrived here from England about that time, who said that a
brother and sister had come to this country many years ago, and that he
was in search of them or their children. His name was Bunting. At his
request, we made several advertisements for his relatives. Some one
mentioned that a gentleman named Thomas Bunting resided in the town
where you live; and we immediately dropped him a note. But, as no
answer came, it was presumed the information was incorrect.
Where is he now? asked Bunting.
He is dead.
Yes. A letter came, some weeks after we wrote to you, from St.
Louis, which proved to be from his sister, and to that place he
immediately proceeded. Soon after arriving there, he died. He left, in
money, about ten thousand dollars, all of which passed, by a will
executed before he left this cityfor in his mind there was a
presentiment of deathto his new-found relative.
He was my uncle! said Bunting.
Then, by not attending to our letter, you are the loser of at least
one-half of the property he left.
Bunting went home in a very sober mood of mind. His aunt and himself
were not on good terms. In fact, she was a widow and poor, and he had
not treated her with the kindness she had a right to expect. There was
no likelihood, therefore, of her making him a partner in her good
Bunting was the real April Fool, after all, sharp-witted and wide
awake as he had thought himself. His chagrin and disappointment were
great; so great, that it took all the spirit out of him for a long
time; and it is not presumed that he will attempt an April Fool trick
in the present year, of even the smallest pretensions.
A WAY TO BE HAPPY.
I have fire-proof perennial enjoyments, called employments.
Always busy and always singing at your work; you are the happiest
man I know. This was said by the customer of an industrious hatter
named Parker, as he entered his shop.
[Illustration: MR. PARKER AND HIS RICH CUSTOMER. Page 126.]
I should not call the world a very happy one, were I the
happiest man it contains, replied the hatter, pausing in his work and
turning his contented-looking face toward the individual who had
addressed him. I think I should gain something by an exchange with
Why do you think so?
You have enough to live upon, and are not compelled to work early
and late, as I am.
I am not so very sure that you would be the gainer. One thing is
certain, I never sing at my work.
Your work? What work have you to do?
Oh, I'm always busy.
Nothing; and I believe it is much harder work than making hats.
I would be very willing to try my hand at that kind of work, if I
could afford it. There would be no danger of my getting tired or
complaining that I had too much to do.
You may think so; but a few weeks' experience would be enough to
drive you back to your shop, glad to find something for your hands to
do and your mind to rest upon.
If you have such a high opinion of labour, Mr. Steele, why don't
you go to work?
I have no motive for doing so.
Is not the desire for happiness a motive of sufficient power? You
think working will make any one happy.
I am not so sure that it will make any one happy, but I believe
that all who are engaged in regular employments are much more contented
than are those who have nothing to do. But no one can be regularly
employed who has not some motive for exertion. A mere desire for
happiness is not the right motive; for, notwithstanding a man, when
reasoning on the subject, may be able to see that, unless he is
employed in doing something useful to his fellows, he cannot be even
contented, yet when he follows out the impulses of his nature, if not
compelled to work, he will seek for relief from the uneasiness he feels
in almost any thing else: especially is he inclined to run into
excitements, instead of turning to the quiet and more satisfying
pursuits of ordinary life.
If I believed as you do, I would go into business at once, said
the hatter. You have the means, and might conduct any business you
chose to commence, with ease and comfort.
I have often thought of doing so; but I have lived an idle life so
long that I am afraid I should soon get tired of business.
No doubt you would, and if you will take my advice, you will let
well enough alone. Enjoy your good fortune and be thankful for it. As
for me, I hope to see the day when I can retire from business and live
easy the remainder of my life.
This was, in fact, the hatter's highest wish, and he was working
industriously with that end in view. He had already saved enough money
to buy a couple of very good houses, the rent from which was five
hundred dollars per annum. As soon as he could accumulate sufficient to
give him a clear income of two thousand dollars, his intention was to
quit business and live like a gentleman all the rest of his days. He
was in a very fair way of accomplishing all he desired in a few years,
and he did accomplish it.
Up to the time of his retiring from business, which he did at the
age of forty-three, Parker has passed through his share of trial and
affliction. One of his children did not do well, and one, his favourite
boy, had died. These events weighed down his spirit for a time, but no
very long period elapsed before he was again singing at his worknot,
it is true, quite so gayly as before, but still with an expression of
contentment. He had, likewise, his share of those minor crosses in life
which fret the spirit, but the impression they made was soon effaced.
In the final act of giving up, he felt a much greater reluctance
than he had supposed would be the case, and very unexpectedly began to
ask himself what he should do all the day, after he had no longer a
shop in which to employ himself. The feeling was but momentary,
however. It was forced back by the idea of living at his ease; of being
able to come and go just as it suited his fancy; to have no care of
business, nor any of its perplexities and anxieties. This thought was
If I were you, I would go into the country and employ myself on a
little farm, said a friend to the hatter. You will find it dull work
in town, with nothing on your hands to do.
The hatter shook his head. No, no, said he, I have no taste for
farming; it is too much trouble. I am tired of work, and want a little
rest during the remainder of my life.
Freedom from labour was the golden idea in his mind, and nothing
else could find an entrance. For a few days after he had fully and
finally got clear from all business, and was, to use his own words, a
free man, he drank of liberty almost to intoxication. Sometimes he
would sit at his window, looking out upon the hurrying crowd, and
marking with pity the care written upon each face; and sometimes he
would walk forth to breathe the free air and see every thing to be seen
that could delight the eye.
Much as the hatter gloried in this freedom and boasted of his
enjoyments, after the first day or two he began to grow weary long
before evening closed in, and then he could not sit and quietly enjoy
the newspaper, as before, for he had already gone over them two or
three times, even to the advertising pages. Sometimes, for relief, he
would walk out again, after tea, and sometimes lounge awhile on the
sofa, and then go to bed an hour earlier than he had been in the habit
of doing. In the morning he had no motive for rising with the sun; no
effort was therefore made to overcome the heaviness felt on awaking;
and he did not rise until the ringing of the breakfast-bell.
The laziness of her husband, as Mrs. Parker did not hesitate so
call it, annoyed his good wife. She did not find things any easiershe
could not retire from business. In fact, the new order of things made
her a great deal more trouble. One-half of her time, as she alleged,
Mr. Parker was under her feet and making her just double work. He had
grown vastly particular, too, about his clothes, and very often
grumbled about the way his food come on the table, what she had never
before known him to do. The hatter's good lady was not very choice of
her words, and, when she chose to speak out, generally did so with
remarkable plainness of speech. The scheme of retiring from business in
the very prime of life she never approved, but as her good man had set
his heart on it for years, she did not say much in opposition. Her
remark to a neighbour showed her passive state of mind: He has earned
his money honestly, and if he thinks he can enjoy it better in this
way, I suppose it is nobody's business.
This was just the ground she stood upon. It was a kind of neutral
ground, but she was not the woman to suffer its invasion. Just so long
as her husband came and went without complaint or interference with
her, all would be suffered to go on smoothly enough; but if he
trespassed upon her old established rights and privileges, he would
I never saw a meal cooked so badly as this, said Mr. Parker,
knitting his brow one rainy day, at the dinner-table.
He had been confined to the house since morning, and had tried in
vain to find some means of passing his time pleasantly.
The colour flew instantly to his wife's face. Perhaps, if you had a
better appetite, you would see no fault in the cooking, she said
Perhaps not, he replied. A good appetite helps bad cooking
There was nothing in this to soothe his wife's temper. She retorted
And honest employment alone will give a good appetite. I wonder how
you could expect to relish your food after lounging about doing nothing
all the morning! I'll be bound that if you had been in your shop
ironing hats or waiting on your customers since breakfast-time, there
would have been no complaint about the dinner.
Mr. Parker was taken all aback. This was speaking out plainly with
a vengeance. Since his retirement from business, his self-estimation
had arisen very high, compared with what it had previously been; he
was, of course, more easily offended. To leave the dinner-table was the
first impulse of offended dignity.
So broad a rupture as this had not occurred between the husband and
wife since the day of their marriagenot that causes equally potent
had not existed, for Mrs. Parker, when any thing excited her, was not
over-choice of her words, and had frequently said more cutting things;
but then her husband was not so easily disturbedhe had not so high an
opinion of himself.
It was still raining heavily, but rain could no longer keep the
latter at home. He went forth and walked aimlessly the streets for an
hour, thinking bitter things against his wife all the while. But this
was very unhappy work, and he was glad to seek relief from it by
calling in upon a brother craftsman, whose shop happened to be in his
way. The hatter was singing at his work as he had used to singhe
never sang at his work now.
This is a very dull day, was the natural remark of Mr. Parker,
after first salutations were over.
Why, yes, it is a little dull, replied the tradesman, speaking in
a tone that said, But it didn't occur to me before.
How is business now? asked Mr. Parker.
Very brisk; I am so busy that, rain or shine, it never seems dull
You haven't as many customers in.
No; but then I get a little ahead in my work, and that is something
gained. Rain or shine, friend Parker, it's all the same to me.
That is, certainly, a very comfortable state of mind to be in. I
find a rainy day hard to get through.
I don't think I would, if I were in your place, said the old
acquaintance. If I could do no better, I would lie down and sleep away
And remain awake half the night in return for it. No; that won't
do. To lie half-asleep and half-awake for three or four hours makes one
The hatter thought this a very strange admission. He did not believe
that, if he could afford to live without work, he would find even rainy
days hang heavy upon his hands.
Why don't you read?
I do read all the newspapersthat is, two or three that I take,
replied Parker; but there is not enough in them for a whole day.
There are plenty of books.
Books! I never read books; I can't get interested in them. They are
too long; it would take me a week to get through even a moderate-sized
book. I would rather go back to the shop again. I understand making a
hat, but as to books, I never did fancy them much.
Parker lounged for a couple of hours in the shop of his friend, and
then turned his face homeward, feeling very uncomfortable.
The dark day was sinking into darker night when he entered his
house. There was no light in the passage nor any in the parlour. As he
groped his way in, he struck against a chair that was out of place, and
hurt himself. The momentary pain caused the fretfulness he felt, on
finding all dark within, to rise into anger. He went back to the
kitchen, grumbling sadly, and there gave the cook a sound rating for
not having lit the lamps earlier. Mrs. Parker heard all, but said
nothing. The cook brought a lamp into the parlour and placed it upon
the table with an indignant air; she then flirted off up-stairs, and
complained to Mrs. Parker that she had never been treated so badly in
her life by any person, and notified her that she should leave the
moment her week was up; that, anyhow, she had nothing to do with the
lampslighting them was the chambermaid's work.
It so happened that Mrs. Parker had sent the chambermaid out, and
this the cook knew very well; but cook was in a bad humour about
something, and didn't choose to do any thing not in the original
contract. She was a good domestic, and had lived with Mrs. Parker for
some years. She had her humours, as every one has, but these had always
been borne with by her mistress. Too many fretting incidents had just
occurred, however, and Mrs. Parker's mind was not so evenly balanced as
usual. Nancy's words and manner provoked her too far, and she replied,
Very well; go in welcome.
Here was a state of affairs tending in no degree to increase the
happiness of the retired tradesman. His wife met him at the
supper-table with knit brows and tightly compressed lips. Not a word
passed during the meal.
After supper, Mr. Parker looked around him for some means of passing
the time. The newspapers were read through; it still rained heavily
without; he could not ask his wife to play a game at backgammon.
Oh dear! he sighed, reclining back upon the sofa, and there he lay
for half an hour, feeling as he had never felt in his life. At nine
o'clock he went to bed, and remained awake for half the night.
Much to his satisfaction, when he opened his eyes on the next
morning, the sun was shining into his window brightly. He would not be
confined to the house so closely for another day.
A few weeks sufficed to exhaust all of Mr. Parker's time-killing
resources. The newspapers, he complained, did not contain any thing of
interest now. Having retired on his money, and set up for something of
a gentleman, he, after a little while, gave up visiting at the shops of
his old fellow-tradesmen. He did not like to be seen on terms of
intimacy with working people! Street-walking did very well at first,
but he tired of that; it was going over and over the same ground. He
would have ridden out and seen the country, but he had never been twice
on horseback in his life, and felt rather afraid of his neck. In fact,
nothing was left to him, but to lounge about the house the greater
portion of his time, and grumble at every thing; this only made matters
worse, for Mrs. Parker would not submit to grumbling without a few
words back that cut like razors.
From a contented man, Mr. Parker became, at the end of six months, a
burden to himself. Little things that did not in the least disturb him
before, now fretted him beyond measure. He had lost the quiet, even
temper of mind that made life so pleasant.
A year after he had given up business he met Mr. Steele for the
first time since his retirement from the shop.
Well, my old friend, said that gentleman to him familiarly, how
is it with you now? I understand you have retired from business.
Oh yes; a year since.
So long? I only heard of it a few weeks ago. I have been absent
from the city. Well, do you find doing nothing any easier than
manufacturing good hats and serving the community like an honest man,
as you did for years? What is your experience worth?
I don't know that it is worth any thing, except to myself; and it
is doubtful whether it isn't too late for even me to profit by it.
How so, my friend? Isn't living on your money so pleasant a way of
getting through the world as you had supposed it to be?
I presume there cannot be a pleasanter way; but we are so
constituted that we are never happy in any position.
Perhaps not positively happy, but we may be content.
I doubt it.
You were once contented.
I beg you pardon; if I had been, I would have remained in
And been a much more contented man than you are now.
I am not sure of that.
I am, then. Why, Parker, when I met you last you had a cheerful air
about you. Whenever I came into your shop, I found you singing as
cheerfully as a bird. But now you do not even smile; your brows have
fallen half an inch lower than they were then. In fact, the whole
expression of your face has changed. I will lay a wager that you have
grown captious, fretful, and disposed to take trouble on interest.
Every thing about you declares this. A year has changed you for the
worse, and me for the better.
How you for the better, Mr. Steele!
I have gone into business.
I hope no misfortune has overtaken you?
I have lost more than half my property, but I trust this will not
prove in the end a misfortune.
Really, Mr. Steele, I am pained to hear that reverses have driven
you to the necessity of going into business.
While I am more than half inclined to say that I am glad of it. I
led for years a useless life, most of the time a burden to myself. I
was a drone in the social hive; I added nothing to the common stock; I
was of no use to any one. But now my labours not only benefit myself,
but the community at large. My mind is interested all the day; I no
longer feel listlessness; the time never hangs heavy upon my hands. I
have, as a German writer has said, 'fire-proof perennial enjoyments,
You speak warmly, Mr. Steele.
It is because I feel warmly on this subject. Long before a large
failure in the city deprived me of at least half of my fortune, I saw
clearly enough that there was but one way to find happiness in this
life, and that was to engage diligently in some useful employment, from
right ends. I shut my eyes to this conviction over and over again, and
acted in accordance with it only when necessity compelled me to do so.
I should have found much more pleasure in the pursuit of business, had
I acted from the higher motive of use to my fellows, which was
presented so clearly to my mind, than I do now, having entered its
walks from something like compulsion.
And you really think yourself happier than you were before, Mr.
I know it, friend Parker.
And you think I would be happier than I am now, if I were to open
my shop again?
I domuch happier. Don't you think the same?
I hardly know what to think. The way I live now is not very
satisfactory. I cannot find enough to keep my mind employed.
And never will, except in some useful business, depend upon it. So
take my advice, and re-open your shop before you are compelled to do
Why do you think I will be compelled to do it?
Because, it is very strongly impressed upon my mind that the laws
of Divine Providence are so arranged that every man's ability to serve
the general good is brought into activity in some way or other, no
matter how selfish he may be, nor how much he may seek to withdraw
himself from the common uses of society. Misfortunes are some of the
means by which many persons are compelled to become usefully employed.
Poverty is another means.
Then you think if I do not go into business again, I am in danger
of losing my property?
I should think you were; but I may be mistaken. Man can never
foresee what will be the operations of Providence. If you should ever
recommence business, however, it ought not to be from this fear. You
should act from a higher and better motive. You should reflect that it
is every man's duty to engage in some business or calling by which the
whole community will be benefited, and, for this reason, and this
alone, resolve that while you have the ability, you will be a working
bee, and not a drone in the hive. It is not only wrong, but a disgrace
for any man to be idle when there is so much to do.
Mr. Parker was surprised to hear his old customer talk in this way:
but surprise was not his only feelinghe was deeply impressed with the
truth of what he had said.
I believe, after all, that you are right, and I am wrong.
Certainly, there is no disguising the fact that my life has become a
real burden to me, and that business would be far preferable to a state
This admission seemed made with some reluctance. It was the first
time he had confessed, even to himself, that he had committed an error
in giving up his shop. The effect of what Mr. Steele had said was a
resolution, after debating the pros and cons for nearly a month, to
recommence business; but before this could take place, the kind of
business must be determined. Since Mr. Parker had ceased to be a hatter
and set up for a gentleman of fortune, his ideas of his own importance
had considerably increased. To come back into his old position,
therefore, could not be thought of. His wife argued for the shop, but
he would not listen to her arguments. His final determination was to
become a grocer, and a grocer he became. No doubt he thought it more
worthy of his dignity to sell rice, sugar, soap, candles, etc., than
hats. Why one should be more honourable or dignified than the other we
do not understand. Perhaps there is a difference, but we must leave
others to define itwe cannot.
A grocer Mr. Parker became instead of a hatter. Of the former
business he was entirely ignorant; of the latter he was perfect master.
But he would be a grocera merchant. He commenced in the retail line,
with the determination, after he got pretty well acquainted with the
business, to become a wholesale dealer. That idea pleased his fancy.
For two years he kept a retail grocery-store, and then sold out, glad
to get rid of it. The loss was about one-third of all he was worth. To
make things worse, there was a great depression in trade, and real
estate fell almost one-half in value. In consequence of this, Mr.
Parker's income from rents, after being forced to sacrifice a very
handsome piece of property to make up the deficit that was called for
in winding up his grocery business, did not give him sufficient to meet
his current family expenses.
There was now no alternative left. The retired hatter was glad to
open a shop once more, and look out for some of his old customers. Mr.
Steele saw his announcement, that he had resumed business at his old
stand and asked for a share of public patronage. About two weeks after
the shop was re-opened, that gentleman called in and ordered a hat. As
he came to the door and was about reaching his hand out to open it, he
heard the hatter's voice singing an old familiar air. A smile was on
the face of Mr. Steele as he entered.
All right again, he said, coming up to the counter and offering
his hand. Singing at your work, as of old! This is better than playing
the gentleman, or even keeping a grocery-store.
Oh, yes, a thousand times better, the hatter replied warmly. I am
now in my right place.
Performing your true use to the community, and happier in doing
I shall be happier, I am sure. I am happier already. My hat-blocks
and irons, and indeed, every thing around me, look like familiar
friends, and give me a smiling welcome. When health fails or age
prevents my working any longer, I will give up my shop, but not a day
sooner. I am cured of retiring from business.
* * * * *
STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON &CO. PHILADELPHIA.