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A SUDDEN RESOLUTION.
“ What are you going to do, Joseph, now you have been compelled to give up the idea of a college education,” inquired Mrs. Brandon, after Joseph had been home some weeks. These weeks he had employed in driving about the country, lounging at the tavern, smoking, wine-drinking, and other like gentlemanly amusements, - keeping his mother and sisters in a state of constant anxiety and alarm.
"I do n't know yet what profession I shall follow,” said Joe; "give me time to think, will you. I am
sure you and the girls need not grudge me the little I eat and drink under your roof.”
This to a mother who had been so self-sacrificing! She replied with a mournful voice,
“I have done injustice to the girls already. We are so much reduced by your extravagance that we shall soon be compelled to labor for our own support."
Well, it is no more than I shall have to do myself," was the unfeeling reply.
Week after week passed away, and still Joe was lounging about home, teasing his sisters and adding to the expenses of his mother.
Susan possessed much energy of character, and a freedom in speaking the plain truth, which Joe did not relish at all. If there was any thing on earth that he loved, besides his own dear self, it was his sister Fanny. She was so gentle and kind that she never spoke harshly or severely to any one.
Yet she did not escape from the persecutions of her mischievous brother. She often wept under the inflictions that he imposed upon her, and pleaded so earnestly to escape from him that any one with the least generosity would have desisted. Her health actually suffered in consequence of his perpetual annoyances.
Mrs. Brandon at length insisted that Joe should endeavour to find some employment in Boston. With much difficulty she provided him with money to bear his expenses to the city, and to support him for a week or two till he could look for some employment.
He left home with but little feeling, although many and bitter tears were shed by his affectionate family. After strutting about the streets of Boston for a couple of weeks, until his money was spent, he wrote the following brief epistle :
DEAR MOTHER : - I am going to sea. love to the girls. It will be long before you are troubled again by your son,
Not a word of the ship in which he was to embark! No mention of the place to which he was going! Poor Mrs. Brandon! Susan and Fanny did all they could to comfort her, although they were sad enough themselves.
“I am sure he has improved, mother," said Fanny, “ he does not call us Pug and Tow any more, and really sends his love to us. Who knows but this is the very best thing that could happen to him.”
“ I hope, indeed, that it may be,” said the disconsolate mother.
THE GENTLEMAN SAILOR.
THE good ship Sally Ann, in which Joe embarked, sailed from Boston, bound for Smyrna, on the 15th of December. He went out before the mast, a common sailor.
The day of sailing was bright and pleasant for a winter's day, and the wind was fair. But in twenty-four hours the wind changed and blew a gale from the southeast.
Joe had been for the last ten hours deadly seasick. He begged they would throw him overboard, for he could not live any longer. But when the storm arose, fear and excitement brought him upon his legs again. “ All hands upon deck !
The ship had carried full sail while she was large," even her “flying kites," as the sky-sails
are called, flaunted jauntily in the fair breeze. The sailors were ordered to take in the sails. Much confusion ensued, for there were several raw hands on board beside Joe Brandon. He was sent up aloft, but so terrified was he that he had not taken three steps upward before he came down upon the deck, flat upon
his back. The crew at length succeeded in taking in all the sails; though several had been torn and the rigging much injured. The wind continued to blow, and the snow fell thick and fast. The ship was driven back upon the coast. The cold was so intense that the hands of the poor sailors almost froze to the rigging.
Joe, after his fall, had skulked away to his hammock, and there continued half dead with fear, till the storm was over. It lasted thirty-six hours. The seasickness again came on, and in his agony, Joe, tossing from side to side, would exclaim, “ My mother, O my poor mother! How would she feel to see me now !”
An old sailor came, after the storm, to the hammock, and, taking hold of Joe with a rough gripe, said, “Come, land-lubber, try to find your legs; there 's work enough on deck.”
6 I am too sick to work,” said Joe, piteously.