Energy by T. S. Arthur
"I DON'T see that I am so much better off," said Mr. Gordon, a man
who had recently given up drinking. "I lost my situation on the very
day I signed the pledge, and have had no regular employment since."
"But you would have lost your situation if you hadn't signed the
pledge, I presume," said the individual to whom he was complaining.
"Yes. I lost it because I got drunk and spoiled my job. But to hear
some temperance people talk, one who didn't know would be led to
believe that, the very moment the pledge was signed, gold could be
picked up in the streets. I must confess that I haven't found it so.
Money is scarcer with me than it ever was; and though I don't spend a
cent for myself, my family haven't a single comfort more than they had
"Though there's no disputing the fact that they would have many
less comforts if you hadn't signed the pledge?"
"No, I suppose not. But I cannot help feeling discouraged at the
way things go. If I had the same wages I received before I signed the
pledge, I could be laying up money. But, as it is, it requires the
utmost economy to keep from getting in debt."
"Still, you do manage to keep even?"
"On about half your former income?"
"A little over half. I used to get ten dollars a week. Now I
manage, by picking up odd jobs here and there, to make about six."
"Then you are better off than you were before."
"I hardly see how you can make that out."
"Your family have enough to live upon—all they had before—and you
have a healthier body, a calmer mind, and a clearer conscience. Isn't
here something gained?"
"I rather think there is," replied Gordon, smiling.
"And I rather think you are a good deal better off than you were
before. Isn't your wife happier?"
"O! yes. She's as cheerful as a lark all the day."
"And doesn't murmur because of your light wages?"
"No, indeed! not she. I believe if I didn't earn more than three
dollars a week, and kept sober, she would make it do, somehow or
other, and keep a good heart. It's wonderful how much she is
"And yet you are no better off? Ain't you better off in having a
happy wife and a pleasant home, what I am sure you hadn't before?"
"You are right in that. I certainly had neither of them before. Oh!
yes. I am much better off all around. I only felt a little
despondent, because I can't get regular employment as I used to, and
good wages; for now, if I had these, I could do so well."
"Be patient, friend Gordon; time will make all right. There are
three words that every reformed man should write on the walls of his
chamber, that he may see them every morning. They are 'Time, Faith,
Energy.' No matter how low he may have fallen; no matter how
discouraging all things around him may appear; let him have energy,
and faith in time, and all will come out well at last."
Gordon went home, feeling in better heart than when he met the
temperance friend who had spoken to him these encouraging words.
Henry Gordon, when he married, had just commenced business for
himself, and went on for several years doing very well. He laid by
enough money to purchase himself a snug little house, and was in a
good way for accumulating a comfortable property, when the habit of
dram-drinking, which he had indulged for years, became an
over-mastering passion. From that period he neglected his business,
which steadily declined. In half the time it took to accumulate the
property he possessed, all disappeared—his business was broken up,
and he compelled to work at his trade as a journeyman to support his
family. From a third to a half of the sum he earned weekly, he spent
in gratifying the debasing appetite that had almost beggared his
family and reduced him to a state of degradation little above that of
the brute. The balance was given to his sad-hearted wife, to get food
for the hungry, half-clothed children.
Nor was this all. Debts were contracted which Gordon was unable to
pay. One or two of his creditors, more exacting than the rest, seized
upon his furniture and sold it to satisfy their claims, leaving to the
distressed family only the few articles exempt by law.
Things had reached this low condition, when Gordon came home from
the shop, one day, some hours earlier than usual. Surprised at seeing
him, his wife said—
"What's the matter, Henry? Are you sick?"
"No!" he replied, sullenly, "I'm discharged."
"Discharged! For what, Henry?"
"For spoiling a job."
"How did that happen?" Mrs. Gordon spoke kindly, although she felt
anxious and distressed.
"How has all my trouble happened?" asked Gordon, with unusual
bitterness of tone. "I took a glass too much, and—and—"
"It made you spoil your job," said his wife, her voice still kind.
"Yes. Curse the day I ever saw a drop of liquor! It has been the
cause of all my misfortunes."
"Why not abandon its use at once and for ever, Henry?"
"That is not so easily done."
"Hundreds have done it, and are doing it daily, and so may you.
Only make the resolution, Henry. Only determine to break these
fetters, and you are free. Let the time past, wherein you have wrought
folly, and your family suffered more than words can express, suffice.
Only will it, and there will be a bright future for all of us."
Tears came into the eyes of Mrs. Gordon while she made this appeal,
although she strove hard to appear calm. Her husband felt a better
spirit awaking within him. There was a brief struggle between
appetite and the good resolution that was forming in his mind, and
then the latter conquered.
"I will be free!" he said, turning towards the door through which
he had a little while before entered, and hurriedly leaving the house.
The hour that passed from the time her husband went out until he
returned, was one of most anxious suspense to Mrs. Gordon. Her hand
trembled so that she could not hold her needle, and was obliged to
lay aside the sewing upon which she was engaged, and go about some
"Mary, I have signed the pledge, if that will do any good," said
Gordon, opening the door and coming in upon his wife with his pledge
in his hand. "There," and he unrolled the paper and pointed to his
name; "there is my signature, and here is the document."
He did not speak very cheerfully; but his wife's face was lit up
with a sudden brightness, followed by a gush of tears.
"Do any good!" she replied, leaning her head upon his shoulder, and
grasping one of his hands tightly in both of hers. "It will do all
"But I have no work, Mary. I was discharged to-day, and it is the
only shop in town. What are we to do?"
"Mr. Evenly will take you back, now that you have signed the
"Perhaps he will!" Gordon spoke more cheerfully. "I will go and see
Mrs. Gordon prepared her husband a strong cup of coffee, and baked
some nice hot cakes for his supper. She combed her hair, and made
herself as tidy as possible. The children, too, were much improved in
their looks by a little attention, which their mother felt encouraged
to give. There was an air of comfort about the ill-furnished dwelling
of Henry Gordon that it had not known for a long time, and he felt it.
On the next morning, after breakfast, Gordon went back to the shop
from which he had been discharged only the day previous. Evenly, the
owner of it, was a rough, unfeeling man, and had kept Gordon on,
month after month, because he could not well do without him. But, on
the very day he discharged him, a man from another town had applied
for work, and the spoiled job was made an excuse for discharging a
journeyman, whose habits of intoxication had always been offensive to
When Gordon entered the shop for the purpose of asking to be taken
back, he met Evenly near the door, who said to him, in a rough
"And what do you want, pray?"
"I want you to take me back again," replied Gordon. "I have signed
the pledge, and intend leading a sober life hereafter."
"The devil you have!"
"Yes sir. I signed it yesterday, after you discharged me."
"How long do you expect to keep it?" asked Evenly, with a sneer.
"Long enough to reach the next grogshop?"
"I have taken the pledge for life, I trust," returned the workman,
seriously. He was hurt at the contemptuous manner of his old
employer, but his dependent condition made him conceal his feelings.
"You will have no more trouble with me."
"No, I am aware of that. I will have no more trouble with you, for
I never intend to let you come ten feet inside the front door of my
"But I have reformed my bad habit, Mr. Evenly. I will give you no
more trouble with my drinking," said the poor man, alarmed at this
"It's no use for you to talk to me, Gordon," replied Evenly, in a
rough manner. "I've long wanted to get rid of you, and I have finally
succeeded. Your place is filled. So there is no more to say on that
subject. Good morning."
And the man turned on his heel and left Gordon standing half
stupified at what he had heard.
"Rum's done the business for you at last, my lark! I told you it
would come to this!" said an old fellow workman, who heard what
passed between Gordon and the employer. He spoke in a light,
Without replying, the unhappy man left the shop, feeling more
wretched than he had ever felt in his life.
"And thus I am met at my first effort to reform!" he murmured,
"Hallo, Gordon! Where are you going?" cried a voice as these words
fell from his lips.
He looked up and found himself opposite to the door of one of his
old haunts. It was the keeper of it who had called him.
"Come! Walk in and let us see your pleasant face this morning.
Where were you last night? My company all complained about your
absence. We were as dull as a funeral."
"Curse you and your company too!" ejaculated Gordon between his
teeth, and moved on, letting his eyes fall again to the pavement.
"Hey-day! What's the matter?"
But Gordon did not stop to bandy words with one of the men who had
helped to ruin him.
"It's all over with us, Mary. Evenly's got a man in my place," said
Gordon, as he entered his house and threw himself despairingly into a
chair. "But won't he give you work, too?" asked Mrs. Gordon, in a
"No! He insulted me, and said I should never come ten feet inside
of his shop."
"Did you tell him that you had signed the pledge?"
"Yes. But it was no use. He did not seem to care for me any more
than he did for a dog."
The poor man's distress was so great that he covered his face with
his hands, and sat swinging his body to and fro, and uttering
"What are we to do, Mary? There is no other shop in town," he said,
looking up, after growing a little calm. "Doesn't it seem hard, just
as I am trying to do right?"
"Don't despair, Henry. Let us trust in Providence. It is only a
dark moment; yet, dark as it is, it is brighter to me than any period
has been for years. A clear head and ready hands will not go long
unemployed. I do not despond, dear husband, neither should you. Keep
fast anchored to your pledge, and we will outride the storm."
"But we shall starve, Mary. We cannot live upon air."
"No," replied Mrs. Gordon; "but we can live upon half what you have
been earning at your trade, and quite as comfortably as we have been
living. And it will be an extreme case, I think, if you can't get
employment at five dollars a week, doing something or other. Don't
"It appears so. Certainly I ought to be able to earn five dollars a
week, if it is at sawing wood. I'll do that—I'll do any thing."
"Then we needn't be alarmed. I'll try and get some sewing at any
rate, to help out. So brighten up, Henry. All will be well. It will
take a little time to get things going right again; but time and
industry will do all for us that we could ask."
Thus encouraged, Gordon started out to see if he could find
something to do. It was a new thing for him to go in search of work;
and rather hard, he felt, to be obliged almost to beg for it. Where
to go, or to whom to apply, he did not know. After wandering about
for several hours, and making several applications at out of the way
places with no success, he turned his steps homeward, feeling utterly
cast down. In this state, he was assailed by the temptation to drown
all his trouble in the cup of confusion, and nearly drawn aside; but a
thought of his wife, and the bright hope that had sprung up in her
heart in the midst of darkness, held him back.
"It's no use to try, Mary," he said, despondingly, as he entered
his poorly-furnished abode, and found his wife busy with her needle.
"I can't get any work."
"I have been more successful than you have, Henry," Mrs. Gordon
returned, speaking cheerfully. "I went to see if Mrs. Hewitt hadn't
some sewing to give out, and she gave me a dozen shirts to make. So
don't be discouraged. You can afford to wait for work even for two or
three weeks, if it doesn't come sooner. Let us be thankful for what we
have to-day, and trust in God for to-morrow. Depend upon it, we shall
not want. Providence never forsakes the man who is trying to do
Thus Mrs. Gordon strove to keep up the spirits of her husband.
After dinner, he went out again and called to see a well-known
temperance man. After relating to him what he had done, and how
unhappily he was situated in regard to work, the man said—
"It won't do to be idle, Gordon; that's clear. An idle man is
tempted ten times to another's once. You will never be able to keep
the pledge unless you get something to do. We must assist you in this
matter. What can you do besides your trade?"
"I have little skill beyond my regular calling; but then, I have
health, strength, and willingness; and I think these might be made
useful in something."
"So do I. Now to start with, I'll tell you what I'll do. If you
will come and open my store for me every morning, make the fire and
sweep out, and come and stay an hour for me every day while I go to
dinner, I will give you three dollars a week. Two hours a day is all
your time I shall want."
"Thank you from my heart! Of course I accept your offer. So far so
good," said Gordon, brightening up.
"Very well. You may begin with to-morrow morning. No doubt you can
make an equal sum by acting as a light porter for the various stores
about. I can throw a little in your way; and I will speak to my
neighbors to do the same." There was not a happier home in the whole
town than was the home of Henry Gordon that night, poor as it was.
"I knew it would all come out right," said Mrs. Gordon. "I knew a
better day was coming. We can live quite comfortably upon five or six
dollars a week, and be happier than we have been for years."
When Gordon thought of the past, he did not wonder that tears fell
over the face of his wife, even while her lips and eyes were bright
with smiles. As the friend had supposed, Gordon was employed to do
many errands by the storekeepers in the neighborhood. Some weeks he
made five dollars and sometimes six or seven. This went on for a few
months, when he began to feel discouraged. The recollection of other
and brighter days returned frequently to his mind, and he began
ardently to desire an improved external condition, as well for his
wife and children as for himself. He wished to restore what had been
lost; but saw no immediate prospect of being able to do so. Six
dollars a week was the average of his earnings, and it took all this,
besides what little his wife earned, to make things tolerably
comfortable at home.
Gordon was in a more desponding mood than usual, when he indulged
in the complaint with which our story opens. What was said to him
changed the tone of his feelings, and inspired him with a spirit of
cheerfulness and hope.
"Time, Faith, Energy!" he said to himself, as he walked with a more
elastic step. "Yes, these must bring out all right in the end. I will
not be so weak as to despond. All is much improved as it is. We are
happier and better. Time, Faith, Energy! I will trust in these."
When Gordon opened the door of his humble abode, he found a lad
waiting to see him, who arose, and presenting a small piece of paper,
"Mr. Blake wishes to know when you can settle this?"
Mr. Blake was a grocer, to whom ten dollars had been owing for a
year. He had dunned the poor drunkard for the money until he got
tired of so profitless a business, and gave up the account for lost.
By some means, it had recently come to his ears that Gordon had
signed the pledge.
"Some chance for me yet," he said, and immediately had the bill
made out anew, and sent in; not thinking or caring whether it might
not be premature for him to do so, and have the effect to discourage
the poor man and drive him back to his old habits. What he wanted was
his money. It was his due; and he meant to have it if he could get
"Tell Mr. Blake that I will pay him as soon as possible. At present
it is out of my power," said Gordon, in answer to the demand.
The lad, in the spirit of his master, turned away with a sulky air,
and left the house.
Poor Gordon's feelings went down to zero in a moment.
"It's hopeless, Mary! I see it all as plain as day," he said. "The
moment I get upon my feet, there will be a dozen to knock me down.
While I was a drunkard, no one thought of dunning me for money; but
now that I am trying to do right, every one to whom I am indebted a
dollar will come pouncing down upon me."
"It's a just debt, Henry, you know, and we ought to pay it."
"I don't dispute that. But we can't pay it now."
"Then Blake can't get it now; so there the matter will have to
rest. A little dunning won't kill us. We have had harder trials than
that to bear. So don't get discouraged so easily."
The words "Time, Faith, Energy!" came into the mind of Gordon and
"There is sense in what you say, Mary," he replied. "I know I am
too easily discouraged. We owe Blake, that is clear; and I suppose he
is right in trying to get his money. We can't pay him now; and
therefore he can't get it now, do what he will. So we will be no
worse for his dunning, if he duns every day. But I hate so to be
asked for money."
"I'll tell you what might be done," said Mrs. Gordon.
"Well?" inquired the husband.
"Mr. Blake has a large family, and no doubt his wife gives out a
good deal of sewing. I could work it out."
Gordon thought a few moments, and then said—
"Or, better than that; perhaps Blake would let me work it out in
his store. I have a good deal of time on my hands unemployed."
"Yes, that would be better," replied Mrs. Gordon; "for I have as
much sewing as I can do, and get paid for it all."
This thought brightened the spirits of Gordon. As soon as he had
eaten his dinner he started for the store of Mr. Blake.
"I've come to talk to you about that bill of mine," said Mr.
"Well, what of it?" returned the grocer. "I wish to pay it, but
have not the present ability. I lost my situation on the very day I
signed the pledge, and have had no regular employment since. So far,
I have only been able to pick up five or six dollars a week, and it
takes all that to live upon. But I have time to spare, Mr. Blake, if
I have no money; and if I can pay you in labor, I will be glad to do
"I don't know that I could ask more than that," replied the grocer.
"If I did, I would be unreasonable. Let me see: I reckon I could find
a day's work for you about the store at least once a week, for which I
would allow you a credit of one dollar and a quarter. How would that
"It would be exactly what I would like. I can spare you a day
easily. And it is much better to work out an old debt than to be
"Very well, Gordon. Come to-morrow and work for me, and I will pass
a dollar and a quarter to your account. I like this. It shows you are
an honest man. Never fear but what you'll get along."
The approving words of the grocer encouraged Gordon very much. On
the next day he went as he had agreed and worked for Mr. Blake. When
he was about leaving the store at night, Blake called to him and
"Here, Gordon; stop a moment. I want you to put up a pound of this
white crushed sugar; and a quarter of young hyson tea."
Gordon did as he was directed. Blake took the two packages from the
counter, and handing them to Gordon, said—
"Take them to your wife with my compliments, and tell her that I
wish her joy of an honest husband."
Gordon took the unexpected favor, and without speaking, turned
hastily from the grocer and walked away.
"Behind that frowning Providence
He hid a smiling face,"
said Mrs. Gordon, with tearful eyes, when her husband presented her
the sugar and tea, and repeated what the grocer had said.
"Yes. It was a blessing sent to us in disguise," returned Gordon.
"How little do we know of the good or ill that lies in our immediate
"Do not say ill, dear husband—only seeming ill; if we think right
and do right. When God makes our future, all is good; the ill is of
our own procuring."
"Right, Mary. I see that truth as clear as if a sunbeam shone upon
"Time, Faith, Energy!" murmured Gordon to himself, as he lay awake
that night, thinking of the future. Before losing himself in sleep,
he had made up his mind to go to another creditor for a small amount,
and see if he could not make a similar arrangement with him to the one
entered into with the grocer. The man demurred a little, and then said
he would take time to think about it. When Gordon called again, he
declined the proposition, and said he had sold his goods for money,
not for work.
"But I have no money," replied Gordon.
"I'll wait awhile and see," returned the man, in a way and with a
significance that fretted the mind of Gordon.
"He'll wait until he sees me getting a little ahead, and then
pounce down upon me like a hawk upon his prey."
Over this idea the reformed man worried himself, and went home to
his wife unhappy and dispirited.
"I owe at least a hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars," he
said; "and there is no hope of inducing all of those to whom money is
due to wait until we can pay them with comfort to ourselves. I shall
be tormented to death, I see that plain enough."
"Don't you look at the dark side, Henry?" replied his wife to this.
"I think you do. You owe some eight or ten persons, and one of them
has asked you for what was due. You offered to work out the debt, and
he accepted your offer. To another who has not asked you, you go and
make the same offer, which he declines, preferring to wait for the
money. There is nothing so really discouraging in all this, I am sure.
If he prefers waiting, let him wait. No doubt it will be the same to
us in the end. As to our getting much ahead or many comforts around us
until our debts are settled off, we might as well not think of that.
We will feel better to pay what we owe as fast as we earn it; and,
more than that, it will put the temptation to distress us in nobody's
way. If one man won't let you work out your debt, why another will.
I've no doubt that two-thirds of your creditors will be glad to avail
themselves of the offer."
Thus re-assured, Gordon felt better. On the next day he tried a
third party to whom he owed fifteen dollars. This man happened to
keep a retail grocery and liquor store. That is, he had a bar at one
counter, and sold groceries at the other. Two-thirds of the debt was
for liquor. "I want to wipe off that old score of mine, if I can, Mr.
King," said Gordon, as he met the storekeeper at his own door.
"That's clever," replied Mr. King. "Walk in. What will you take?
And Mr. King stepped behind the counter and laid his hand upon a
"Nothing at all, I thank you," replied Gordon quickly.
"Why how's that? Have you sworn off?"
"Yes. I've joined the temperance society."
The storekeeper shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't expect that of
you, Gordon. I thought you were too fond of a little creature
"I ruined myself and beggared my family by drink, if that is what
you mean by creature comfort. Poor comfort it was for my wife and
children, to say nothing of my own case, which was, Heaven knows, bad
enough. But I have come to talk to you about paying off that old
score. Now that I've given up drinking, I want to try and be honest
if I can."
"That's right. I like to see a man, when he sets out to be decent,
go the whole figure. Have you got the money?"
"No. I wish I had. I have no money and not half work; but I have
time on my hands, Mr. King."
"Time? That is what some people call money. You want to pay me in
time, instead of money, I presume? Rather rich, that, Gordon! But
time don't pass current, like money, in these diggins, my friend.
There are a plenty who come here—and throw it away for nothing. I
can get more than I want."
"I have no wish to throw my time away, nor to pass it upon you for
money, Mr. King. What I want is, to render you some service—in other
words, to work for you, if you can give me something to do. I have
time on my hands unemployed, and I wish to turn it to some good
"O, yes. I understand now. Very well, Gordon; I rather think I can
meet your views. Yesterday my barkeeper was sent to prison for
getting into a scrape while drunk, and I want his place supplied
until he gets out. Come and tend bar for me a couple of weeks, and I
will give you a receipt in full of all demands."
Gordon shook his head and looked grave.
"What's the matter? Won't you do it?"
"No, sir. I can't do that."
"Because I have sworn neither to taste, touch, nor handle the
accursed thing. Neither to drink it myself, nor put it to the lips of
another. No, no, Mr. King, I can't do that. But I will sell your
groceries for you three days in the week, for four weeks. Part of my
time is already regularly engaged."
"Go off about your business!" said the store-keeper, his face red
with anger at the language of the reformed man, which he was pleased
to consider highly insulting. "I'll see to collecting that bill in a
different way from that."
By this time Gordon was learning not to be frightened and
discouraged at every thing. His wife had so often showed him its
folly, that he felt ashamed to go to her again in a desponding mood,
and therefore cheered himself up before going home.
In other quarters he found rather better success. Not all of those
he owed were of the stamp of the two to whom application had last
been made. In less than six months he had worked out nearly a hundred
dollars of what he owed, and had regular employment that brought him
in six dollars every week, besides earning, by odd jobs and light
porterage, from two to three dollars. His wife rarely let a week go
without producing her one or two dollars by needle-work. Little
comforts gradually crept in, notwithstanding all their debts were not
yet paid off. This was inevitable.
By the end of twelve months Gordon found himself clear of debt, and
in a good situation in a store at five hundred dollars a year.
"So much for 'Time, Faith, Energy,'" he said to himself, as he
walked backwards and forwards, in his comfortable little home, one
evening, thinking of the incidents of the year, and the results that
had followed. "I would not have believed it. Scarcely a twelvemonth
has passed, and here am I, a sober man and out of debt."
"Though still very far from the advanced position in the world you
held a few years ago, and to which you can never more attain," said a
desponding voice within him. "A man never has but one chance for
attaining ease and competence in this life. If he neglects that, he
need not waste his time in any useless struggles."
"Time, Faith, Energy!" spoke out another voice. "If one year has
done so much for you, what will not five, ten, or twenty years do?
Redouble your energies, have confidence in the future, and time will
make all right."
"I will have faith in time; I will have energy!" responded the man
in Gordon, speaking aloud.
From that time Gordon and his wife lived with even stricter economy
than before, in order to lay by a little money with which he
could,—at some future time, re-commence his own business, which was
profitable. There was still only a single shop in town, and that was
the one owned by his old employer, who had, in fact, built himself up
on his downfall, when he took to drinking and neglecting his business.
On less than a thousand dollars Gordon did not think of commencing
business. Less than that he knew would make the effort a doubtful one.
This amount he expected to save in about five years.
Two years of this time had elapsed, and Gordon had four hundred
dollars invested and bearing interest. He still held his situation at
five hundred dollars per annum. The only shop yet established in the
town for doing the work for which he was qualified both as a
journeyman and master workman, was that owned and still carried on by
his old employer, who had made a good deal of money; but who had, of
late, fallen into habits of dissipation and neglected his business.
One evening, while Gordon was reading at home in his comfortable
little sitting-room, with his wife beside him engaged with her
needle, and both feeling very contented, there was a rap at the door.
On opening it Gordon recognized Mr. Evenly, and politely invited him
to come in. After being seated, his old employer, who showed too
plainly the debasing signs of frequent intoxication, said—
"Gordon what are you doing now?"
The reformed man stated the nature of his occupation.
"What salary do you receive?" asked Evenly.
"Five hundred dollars a year."
"Do you like your present employment?"
"Yes, very well. It is lighter than my old business, and much
"Would you be willing to come to work for me again?" further
"I don't know that I would. My present situation is permanent, my
employer a very pleasant man, and my work easy."
"Three things that are very desirable, certainly. But I'll tell you
what I want, and what I will give you. Perhaps we can make a bargain.
There is no man in town who understands our business better than you
do. That I am free to admit. Heretofore I have been my own manager;
but I am satisfied that it will be for my interest to have a competent
foreman in my establishment. If I can find one to suit me I will give
him liberal wages. You will do exactly; and if you will take charge of
my shop, I will make your wages fifteen dollars a week. What do you
say to that?"
"I rather think," replied Gordon, "that I will accept your offer.
Five dollars a week advance in wages for a poor man is a
consideration not lightly to be passed by."
"It is not, certainly," remarked Evenly. "Then I may consider it
settled that you will take charge of my shop."
"Yes. I believe I needn't hesitate about the matter."
So the arrangement was made, and Gordon went back to the shop as
foreman, from which he had been discharged as a journeyman three
Firmly bent upon commencing the business for himself, whenever he
should feel himself able to do so, Gordon continued his frugal mode
of living for two years longer, when the amount of his savings,
interest and all added, was very nearly fifteen hundred dollars. The
time had now come for him to take the step he had contemplated for
four years. Evenly received the announcement with undisguised
astonishment. After committing to such competent hands the entire
manufacturing part of his business, he had given himself up more and
more to dissipation. Had it not been for the active and energetic
manner in which the affairs of the shop were conducted by Gordon,
every thing would have fallen into disorder. But in a fair ratio with
the neglect of his principal was he efficient as his agent.
"I can't let you go," said Evenly, when Gordon informed him of his
intention to go into business for himself. "If fifteen dollars a week
doesn't satisfy you, you shall have twenty."
"It is not the wages," replied Gordon. "I wish to go into business
for myself. From the first this has been my intention."
"But you haven't the capital."
"Yes. I have fifteen hundred dollars."
"Yes. I have saved it in four years. That will give me a fair
start. I am not afraid for the rest."'
Evenly felt well satisfied that if Gordon went into business for
himself, his own would be ruined, and therefore, finding all efforts
to dissuade him from his purpose of no avail, he offered to take him
in as a partner. But to this came an unexpected objection. Gordon was
averse to such a connection. Being pressed to state the reason why, he
"My unwillingness to enter into business with you arises from the
fact that you are, as I was four years ago, a slave to strong drink.
You are not yourself one half of the time, and hardly ever in a fit
condition to attend to business. Pardon me for saying this. But you
asked for my reason, and I have given it."
Evenly, at first, was angry. But reflection soon came, and then he
felt humiliated as he had never felt before. There was no intention
on the part of Gordon to insult him, nor to triumph over him, but
rather a feeling of sorrow; and this Evenly saw.
"And this is your only objection?" he at length said.
"I have none other," replied Gordon.
"If it did not exist you would meet my proposals?"
"Then it shall no longer exist. From this hour I will be as free
from the vice you have named as you are."
"Will you sign the pledge?"
"Yes, this very hour."
And he did so.
A year afterwards an old friend, who had joined the temperance
ranks about the time Gordon did, and who had only got along moderately
well, passed the establishment of EVENLY GORDON, and saw the latter
standing in the door.
"Are you in this concern?" he asked, in some surprise.
"And making money fast?"
"We are doing very well."
"Gordon, I don't understand this altogether. I tried to recover
myself, but soon got discouraged, and have ever since plodded along
in a poor way I live, it is true; but you are doing much better than
that. What is your secret?"
"It lies in three words," replied Gordon.
"Time, Faith, Energy!"
The man looked startled for a moment, and then walked away wiser
than when he asked the question. Whether he will profit by the answer
we cannot tell. Others may, if they will.