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Lavish expenditure of money is no mark of a gentleman. Give to every one what is justly due, and be capable of true generosity. You must, in fact, be just, before you can be generous. How seldom is generosity perfect and pure! How often do men give, because it throws a certain inferiority on those who receive, and a superiority on themselves.
Your fellow-travellers, Joseph, were not imposed upon by your false generosity to the pedler. They probably thought you a very foolish boy, throwing away your parents' money. You were far from coming off triumphantly, as you imagined, by dashing off your five dollars. You cannot "buy golden opinions of all sorts of men,” with money. The worldly may seek the rich and the prodigal for their own interest, and to answer their own selfish ends; respect for the man himself is a very different thing from the tribute paid to his wealth. Besides, you are not wealthy, and pretending to be so was not only folly, but sin.
Do you not suppose, my dear Joseph, that the son who stayed at home and labored faithfully with his father was more of a gentleman than the Prodigal Son? Was the Prodigal a gentleman, when spending his substance in “ riotous liv. ing,” any more than when he sat down among the swine, and would have eaten with them of the husks ? A miserable way, indeed, did he take to be a gentleman, and yet it is not a very uncommon one. Many hard-working fathers and mothers have gentleman sons, idle and extravagant, very like the Prodigal. No doubt he thought he was much more generous and noble-spirited than his brother. I can even conceive of his thinking himself, in rags and dirt, a reduced gentleman.
Remember, then, my son, prodigality is no mark of a gentleman.
I have already written so long a letter that I can only add my fervent wishes for your success at school. Be obedient and studious.
How much of my comfort during the remainder of my pilgrimage depends upon you, Joseph.
“ When I am feeble, old and gray,
And you must wipe my tears away.” How sweetly you once lisped out those simple lines, so familiar to every child, -and I fondly believed that your heart would ever be true to your
And how did Joe feel on the reception of his mother's letter? He glanced his eye hastily over it, took out the money, and exclaimed, “ Only two dollars —how mean!” then threw the letter into his trunk, and tried to stifle the reproaches of conscience. Alas! too well did he succeed.
SEVERAL weeks passed, and no answer was returned to his mother. Fanny went every day to the post-office, and returned home disappointed. Susan said it was just like him not to write, but she would bring a letter; so she immediately wrote the following epistle:
A pretty fellow are you, Joe, not to answer dear mother's kind letter! Here we haunt the post-office, week after week, till I am absolutely ashamed. Poor Fanny says nothing, but tries to comfort us. You know it was her money that you received, and you have not even thanked her.
My pet, Snowball, is growing so cat-like that I have discarded her, and taken to petting your poor old Hero, who really grieves at your ab
His faithfulness to his master is really touching.
I do not think that you behave well, but yet you are my brother, and in spite of all your naughtiness I love you. I have not much news to tell you.
We have almost finished Old Rollin, only twenty pages more to read. Mother has already begun to knit your winter stockings, and seems to think of you every minute.
It is a great effort for me to write, for you know I am not very literary, and you will, I am sure, acknowledge this from your sister,
Like many other mothers, Mrs. Brandon was willing to make every personal sacrifice for her son, hoping that he might become a good and useful man
Fearing that her means would not be sufficient to carry him through college, she dismissed her only domestic, and with the aid of her daughters performed all the household labor. She did not, in consequence, neglect their intellectual culture. Neither did she lose her lady-like appearance, or allow her daughters to be neglectful of theirs. Every person, capable of judging, would have said that Mrs. Brandon