How the Boy Without A Reference Found One - Selected
John was fifteen, and anxious to get a desirable place in the office of a
well-known lawyer, who had advertised for a boy. John doubted his success
in obtaining this position, because, being a stranger in the city, he had
no reference to present.
"I am afraid I will stand a poor chance," he thought, despondently;
"however, I will try to appear as well as I can, and that may help me a
So he was careful to have his dress and person neat, and when he took his
turn to be interviewed, went in with his hat in his hand and a smile on his
The keen-eyed lawyer glanced him over from head to foot. "Good face," he
thought, "and pleasant ways." Then he noted the neat suit,?but other boys
had appeared in new clothes,?saw the well-brushed hair, and clean skin.
Very well; but there had been others quite as cleanly. Another glance,
however, showed the finger-nails free from soil. "Ah, that looks like
thoroughness," thought the lawyer.
Then he asked a few direct, rapid questions, which John answered as
directly. "Prompt," was his mental comment; "can speak up when necessary."
"Let's see your writing," he added aloud.
John took a pen and wrote his name.
"Very well; easy to read, and no flourishes. Now, what references have
The dreadful question at last! John's face fell. He pad begun to feel some
hope of success, but this dashed it again.
"I haven't any," he said, slowly. "I am almost a stranger in the city."
"Cannot take a boy without references," was the brusque rejoinder.
As he spoke, a sudden thought sent a flush to John's cheek. "I haven't any
reference," he said, with hesitation; "but here is a letter from mother I
just received. I wish you would read it."
The lawyer took it. It was a short letter:?
"MY DEAR JOHN: I want to remind you that wherever you find work, you must
consider that work your own. Do not go into it, as some boys do, with the
feeling that you will do as little as you can and get something better
soon, but make up your mind that you will do as much as possible, and make
yourself so necessary to your employer that he will never let you go. You
have been a good son to me, and I can truly say that I have never known you
to shirk. Be as good in business, and I am sure God will bless your
"H'm!" said the lawyer, reading it over the second time. "That's pretty
good advice, John, excellent advice. I rather think I will try you, even
without the references."
John has been with him six years, and last spring was admitted to the bar.
"Do you intend taking that young man into partnership?" asked a friend
"Yes, I do. I could not get along without John; he is my right-hand man!"
exclaimed the lawyer, heartily.
And John always says the best reference he ever had was his mother's good
advice and honest praise.