The Brothers by Unknown
One day Henry came bounding home from
school, his face beaming with joy. He was head
of his class, and he held fast in his hand a fine
silver medal, which had been awarded to him for
"Oh!" said he to himself, as he ran along,
"how happy this will make my dear Mother. I
know she will kiss me; perhaps she will kiss me
five or six times, and call me her dear, dear boy.
Oh! how I love my Mother!"
He ran up the steps of the house where he
lived as he said this, and pulled the bell very
hard, for he was in a great hurry. His Father
opened the door. "Hush! Henry," said he,
"come in very softly, your Mother is very
"My Mother! Dear Father, what is the
matter with her? May I go in to her if I will
step very softly?"
"No," said his Father, "you must not see
her now; you must be very still indeed. I see,
my dear boy, that you have been rewarded for
good conduct in school; I am glad that I have
so good a son. And now, Henry, I know you
love your Mother so much, that you will promise
me to be very still, and wait patiently until she is
able to see you." As he said this, he drew Henry
close to him, and smoothed down his long curling
hair, and kissed his cheek.
Henry threw his arms around his Father's
neck, and promised him; and then, putting away
his medal, he went softly, on tiptoe, up to his
play-room, and shutting the door, began to work
at a ship that he was rigging. He did not get
on very fast, for he could not help thinking of
his dear Mother, and wishing he could see her.
She had hemmed all the sails of the ship for
him, and he was going to name it the "Eliza,"
The next morning Susan, the old nurse,
knocked very early at the door of the room
where Henry slept. "Master Henry," said she,
"what do you think happened last night?"
"What did?" said Henry, sitting up in the
bed; "is my Mother better?"
"Yes, she is better," replied Susan, "but do
guess what has come. Something that you have
wished for very often. Something you can play
with, and take care of, and love more than you
love your dog Hector."
"Is it alive?" said Henry.
"Yes," replied Susan, "it is alive, and in
your Mother's room."
"Can it be a brother—a real live brother?"
cried Henry, jumping out of bed, and running up
"Yes, it is a brother—a real live brother!"
said Susan, laughing.
"I've got a brother! I've got a brother—a real
brother!" shouted Henry, running up and down
the room, clapping his hands, jumping over the
chairs, and making a terrible noise, for in his joy
he hardly knew what he was about.
"Oh, hush, Master Henry!" said Susan.
"What a crazy little fellow! your Mother is
still very ill. Now dress yourself quickly and
quietly, and you shall see your little brother."
Henry trembled with joy, and in his haste
he put his feet into the arms of his jacket, and
his arms into the legs of his trousers; but after a
while he managed to get them on right, and
though he washed his face and hands in a minute,
and brushed his hair with the back of the brush,
yet he did not look so bad as you might suppose.
He went very softly into his Mother's room.
It was darkened, and he could not see very well.
He went up to the side of the bed. His Mother
smiled, and said, "Come here, my son." Her
face was pale, but it had a very happy look, for
in her arms, sweetly sleeping, was the little
brother that Henry had longed for. He had a
sister, who was nearly his own age, but he had
always wished for a brother, and the brother had
come at last.
"Dear Mother, may I help you take care
of my little brother?" said Henry; "you know I
am strong enough to hold him. I would not let
him fall for the world."
"Yes, dear boy," replied his Mother; "when
he is a little older, I shall have a great deal of
comfort in trusting this dear little brother with
you. It is more necessary now than ever, my
son, that you should try always to be good, and
to set a good example before your brother. He
will be sure to do just as you do. If you are a
good boy, you will be a good man; and how
happy you will be, when you are grown up, to
think that your good example will have made
your brother a good boy, and a good man too.
Now kiss me, and go and get your breakfast."
Henry kissed his Mother, and told her of his
good conduct in school, at which she was very
glad, and then stooping down, he kissed the soft
cheek of the little sleeping baby, and went gently
out of the room.
In a few weeks his Mother got quite well, and
Charles (that was the baby's name) began to
laugh and play with his brother. Henry was
never so happy as when he was with little Charley.
He always put him to sleep at night. The
dear little fellow would clasp his little hand tight
round one of Henry's fingers, and fall to sleep in
his bed, while his brother sang to him.
One day when Charles was about four years
old, he said, "Dear brother, will you ride me on
your back?" Henry was very busy just then; he
was making a bow and arrow. He looked down,
and saw a sweet little face, and two bright blue
eyes, looking at him, and saying as plainly as
eyes could say, "Do, dear brother." So he said,
"Yes, Charley, I will, if you will help me to put
away my things." Charles ran about, and helped
Henry put his play-room in nice order, and
then climbing on his back, and holding fast to a
ribbon for a bridle, which Henry held between
his teeth, he gave him a little tap on the shoulder,
and crying, "Get up, old fellow," away they
went around the room, Henry galloping so hard,
that Charles bounced about almost as much as if
he was on a real pony.
"Let us go in the parlours, they are a great
deal larger," said Charles; "do, dear brother."
"I am afraid it would not be right," replied
Henry; "we may break something. Mother has
said that we had better never play there."
"But we will be so careful," said the little
boy; "we can play circus so nice. I
want to go
in the parlour."
Henry's Father and Mother had gone out
riding, so he could not ask leave to play in the
parlours. He was almost sure it was wrong to go
there, but he wanted to gratify his brother; so,
promising himself to be very careful, he trotted
down stairs into the parlour, with Charles on his
back. At first he went slowly round the two
rooms, but Charles began to whip his horse and
cry, "Get up, old boy, you are getting lazy.
You shall be a race-horse. Now go faster, faster;
go round the room like lightning."
So round he went, fast and faster, shaking
his head, and taking great jumps, and kicking his
legs up behind, with Charley holding on, laughing
and screaming with delight, till, alas! sad to
tell, his elbow brushed against a beautiful and
costly vase, which stood upon a little table, knocked
it off, and broke it into a hundred pieces.
Henry stopped short, and let Charles slide
down from his back. He looked at the broken
vase, and then at his brother, and Charles
looked at Henry, and then at the pieces on the
"It is all broken," said he. "It can't be
mended at all; can it, brother?"
"No, it is past mending," said Henry;
"and the first thing we must do will be to tell
"Oh, no!" said the little boy; "I am afraid
to tell her."
"We must never be afraid to tell the truth,
dear Charley. I will set you a good example.
You shall never learn to tell a lie from me."
Henry had always remembered what his Mother
had said to him, the very first time he ever saw
his little brother; and very often, when he was
tempted to be naughty, or get in a passion, the
words, "Your brother will do just as you do,"
would seem to come from his heart, and he would
conquer his passion.
In a few moments the boys heard the wheels
of the carriage. Henry went to the hall door,
and opened it. He held Charles by the hand.
He had to hold him very tight, for Charles
tried to get away. His face was pale. He
waited until his Mother got out of the carriage
and came up the steps, and, taking hold of
her hand and looking up in her face, he said,
in a firm voice, "Mother, I have broken your
"And I, too," said the little boy; "and it is
broken all to pieces."
Henry was glad to hear his little brother say
this; and oh! how happy it made him feel, to
think that the child had learned to speak the
truth from him.
Their Mother kissed them both and said,
"My darling boys, I am rejoiced that you are
not afraid to speak the truth. I would rather
lose twenty vases than have you tell a lie. But
you knew it was wrong to play in the parlours;
did you not?"
"Yes, dear Mother, it was wrong, and I
knew it was," replied Henry. "I will submit
to any punishment you think right. I ought
to have remembered that you advised us not to
"If you think you ought to be punished,"
said his Mother, "Charley shall go to bed to-night
without your singing to him. This will
make you both remember. Is that right?"
"Yes, dear Mother," said Henry; but he
looked very sorry; and little Charles made up a
long face, for he loved his brother so much, that
he could not bear to think that he must go to
sleep without holding his finger and hearing him
When bed-time came, Charley wanted to beg
his Mother to think of some other punishment for
him. He wanted his dear brother so much. He
looked at Henry, but Henry said, "Good-night,
little fellow; we deserve this. Come! one night
will soon be over. Now, let us see how well
you can behave;" and he gave him a smile, and
a kiss so full of love, that the little fellow put
his lips tight together, and marched off to bed
without a tear. It was hard to do it, but he
had this kind brother to set him a good example,
and he was determined to be as good a boy as
Not many weeks after this, poor little Charles
was taken sick. He was very sick indeed, and
every day he grew worse. The doctor did all he
could for him, and Henry stayed with him night
and day, and would hardly take any rest. He
gave him all his medicine, and sang to him very
often when he was in pain. But Charles did
not get any better, and at last the doctor said
that he could not make him well—the little boy
When Henry heard this, the tears burst from
his eyes, and he sobbed out, "Oh, my brother!
oh, my brother! I cannot part with you, my
little precious brother."
The poor little fellow had become so weak
and thin that he could scarcely lift his hands
from the bed where he lay.
The last night came. He knew that he
would not live many hours, for his dear Mother
had said so; and now she told him, that as
he had always tried to be a good boy, he would
go to Heaven, and Jesus would take him into
His bosom, and love him, and keep him, until
they came to him.
His little pale face grew bright. "Dear
Mother," said he, "will Jesus let my brother
come to me? I want my brother in Heaven.
Come here close to me," said he to Henry. His
brother leaned his face down close to the little
boy's face, and helped him clasp his arms around
his neck, and then he whispered, in a soft, weak
voice, "Do not cry, dear brother—do not cry any
more. I will pray to Jesus to let you come very
soon and sing me to sleep in Heaven."
These were the last words he spoke, for his
breath grew shorter and shorter, and soon after
his little hand dropped away from his brother's,
and he was dead.
And his Father had him buried in Highgate
It was in the summer time that he died, and
his brother Henry planted a white rose-bush at
the foot of the little grave, and a red rose-bush
at the head, and often in the pleasant summer
afternoons he would go alone to Highgate, and
sit upon little Charley's grave, and think how he
might at that moment be praying for him in
Henry is now a man. He was always a good
boy. He is now a good man; and although
many years have passed since he lost his little
brother, he goes every summer to Highgate to
visit his grave; and the tears always come into
his eyes when he speaks of him, and tells that
little Charley's last words were, that he would
pray to Jesus to let his darling brother come
soon, and sing him to sleep in Heaven.