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acknowledge his guilt, and promise reform, I would forgive, and all would move on harmoniously.
No one manifested a disposition to move; I was perplexed more than ever. I hesitated only a moment, however, and then called Charley upon the floor. I knew he must know, and I was determined to fathom the mystery.
He came up slowly, after he had laid his books aside, looking me straight in my eye. What was there, in that look, so piercing, for I am conscious I fairly trembled? What dark shadow fell like a death pall over that youthful countenance, and marred its more than earthly beauty? I understood it not.
"Charley," said I, laying my hand upon his head, "what was the cause of your laughter?"
"I can't tell you, master," answered he, in thrilling tones. "I can't tell you."
"Why not? Do you not know?" I asked, somewhat surprised. "Yes, sir, I know, but I can't tell.”
"Can't tell? Know, and can't tell? Curious, surely! Who caused you to laugh? tell, sir, quickly!" said I tartly, giving him a slight shake.
The little fellow's bosom swelled, and his whole frame shook with emotion. He raised his eyes to mine, and a big tear dropped from each, left a glistening track down his pale cheeks, and fell to the floor. So still was the school, that those tear drops sounded like great heavy hail-stones, to my heart at least, as they struck the floor.
"Oh! sir, I cannot tell. Punish me, for 'twas I who made so much disturbance. I shouldn't have laughed so. I was the only one to blame, as I ought to have been studying, then I wouldn't have seen what was going on. Do with me what you think right, master, and I'll be a better boy after this," and other tear drops followed the first.
I was nonplussed, and for a minute remained undecided-lost in thought. I couldn't understand why Charley should refuse to inform me who was the offender, and persist in taking all the blame upon himself.
Charley," said I at last; "Charley, you should know that this will never do. If I punish you only, I do not reach the originator of the trouble, and he will go on defyingly into deeper depths of mischief, and get you and others into more difficulties. I wish to reach the root, and tear that from its fancied place of security, and thus break up the source of all this. It is for your own good, the good of your companions, and of your teacher, that I insist upon obtaining this information. Will you give it?"
He hesitated, and was evidently weighing some important matter in his mind. I watched the expressions of his countenance closely, in hopes of getting some clue in the way of solving this worse than Algebraic problem.
At first a darker shade settled upon his face, when the hot blood seemed to rush to his head, extending every vein to an alarming extent upon his face and neck, and I was about to utter an exclamation of alarm, and catch him in my arms, when the blood as suddenly receded and left his countenance bloodless. Then the shade passed away, a beautiful crimson tint overspread his faultless features, a holy light beamed from those beautiful orbs, and a look of unutterable loveliness rested upon his countenance as he spoke, "Dear teacher, again I say I cannot. I have considered well what you have said, and love you all the more for saying it. Do with me as pleases you best, and I shall love you, even in all things else, but in this I cannot, oh! I cannot!" and he bowed his head and wept.
"Then," said I sternly, though hardly able to refrain from shedding tears myself, "I must punish you for your obstinacy," and forthwith proceeded to search for my rod, but just as I had raised it I was startled by the cry, "Don't whip Charley! O, master, don't whip Charley! I made him laugh! I'm to blame! Whip me! whip me, and let Charley go!" and the next moment a boy of some twelve summers rushed in between us, and caught Charley in his arms, bore him to a seat, and returning stood in Charley's place. I was bewildered. My head began to swim around; my hand fell powerless at my side, and I mechanically dropped into the nearest seat. The next I remember was, I saw Charley and his noble preserver embracing each other, each one sobbing aloud, and every eye in the room streaming tears. The whole truth flashed through my mind instantly. The boy was Charley's enemy. He always took great delight in tormenting Charley, getting him into trouble, and abusing him wherever and whenever he had an opportunity. The cause was envy and jealousy. Charley bore all patiently, always treated him kindly, which only seemed to irritate his persecutor all the more; until at last, Charley had displayed such magnanimous and noble forbearance and love, that the obdurate heart of the boy was melted, and the two souls flowed together, in life, and I feel, eternity enduring friendship.
I said no more; wiped dry my eyes, and thereafter never had cause to reprimand either one.
Charley was my ideal of a noble soul. He knew that if he informed upon his enemy, the teacher would punish him severely, and he (Charley) could not bear to witness it, but rather endure the wrath of the teacher himself.
How oft among men, do we find hearts as bold and firm in the right, as Charley's.
NEVER think that which you do for religion, is time or money misspent.
KEEP YOUR PROMISES.
The man in the Bible, "I go, sir," and went not, has his counterpart, at the present day, in every department of life. Nothing is more common than for persons to make promises or excite expectations which are never realized. It is an easy thing to give one's word, but a harder thing to keep it. An unwillingness to disoblige, a disposition to keep on good terms with all, a desire to get rid of importunity, together with a carelessness and indifference as to what constitutes an obligation, lead many to say they will do a thousand things which are never done, and which, indeed, if they had looked into their hearts, they would have discovered they had no real intention of doing. Some amiable people seem to lack the nerve and moral courage to say "No," even when the contrary involves them in an untruth. One is asked to be present at a public meeting where important measures are to be discussed, and his counsels and co-operation are regarded as important. He is not cordially in favor of the object, or is pressed with other engagements, or prefers enjoying his evenings with his own family circle, or over his books, and in his heart has no purpose to accede to the proposition. Unwilling, however, to avow his real sentiments, or to appear disobliging, he gives his word to be present, or so frames his speech as to leave that impression on the mind of his friend. Virtually he has given his promise; but the occasion comes and passes without his ever having harbored a serious thought of cheering it with his presence. A mechanic is engaged to do a piece of work. It is important that it shall be attended to promptly; arrangements involving the convenience and comfort of the family depend upon it, and, except for the positive assurance that it should be done at the appointed time, some other person would have been engaged. But the appointed day comes and goes, and, notwithstanding repeated applications and new promises, weeks pass on before the first hammer is struck, or the first nail driven.
The result of this looseness of speech and conscience is, first, great vexation and disappointment. The party to whom such promises were made relied upon them. But the faithlessness of the other party has deranged all his plans, and subjected him to much inconvenience. He is impatient and vexed, gives way to unpleasant tempers, says many hard things, and, perhaps, commits much sin.
Then, also, confidence is destroyed in the person who made the promise. The word of the latter had been pledged, and if he has failed to keep it once, he may fail again. The victim of his deception, having discovered that he is not to be relied upon, fixes a mark upon him, and takes care not to put himself in the way of future disappointments, and advises his friends in like manner.
Hence, too, the man who makes and breaks promises is a loser in the end, so far as mere self-interest is concerned. In order to keep his business, or not to disoblige customers or friends, he pledged himself for what he knew, or might have known, would not be done. Instead of promoting his end by this deception, he has frustrated it. The loss of customers, and their adverse advice and influence, does him an hundred-fold more harm than frankly to have told the truth at the outset.
The worst result of all, however, is the injury done by the faithless promiser to his own moral principles. Whatever interpretation he may put upon his language, and however he may endeavor to excuse himself, he has uttered a falsehood. The repetition of such obliquities deadens his moral sense, so that, after long practice, he thinks nothing of giving and breaking his word. At last, he can tell an untruth every day of his life, and not even be conscious of impropriety.
The lessons to be drawn from this subject are: 1. That we should weigh well our words. Strictly interpreted, perhaps, your language may not have necessarily implied an absolute obligation; but if such an impression was made, the injury is done. And, 2. That in all transactions it is best, in every sense of the term, to be honest. If a request cannot be complied with, say so. You may fail, for the time, to please a customer or friend, but in the end you will have gained his respect and confidence.
THE WELCOME DAY.
THE psalmist sadly swept the strings,
And sighed his spirit's anxious prayer
And all our hopes have passed away,
And damped the nobler fire of youth,
And doubts encompass every truth,
LUTHER IN THE FAMILY CIRCLE.
We all know more about the public acts and virtues of distinguished men than we do of their private relations in life. Bookmakers, in elaborating biographies of eminent men, have given us a full view of their heroes in the pulpit, the senate, or the forum, but permitted us to see very little of them in the family circlealthough, as has been truly said, the finest traits of some of our best and greatest men are those known in their domestic life. However distinguished a man may be in his relations to the outer world in which he moves as the center of attraction and admiration, no life-picture of him can be complete unless it modestly lifts the vail from the inner shrine of the heart, when surrounded by the quiet endearments of home or the flitting shadows of domestic affliction.
There is not an American heart that does not warm up at the mention of a Washington and the recollection of his many noble acts of benefaction as "the Father of his Country." And yet, how many of the admirers of this great and good man know comparatively nothing of those finer traits of "Washington at Home,” Washington within himself, which can alone give us a proper conception of his perfectness as a Man, until our great American author, Washington Irving, lifted the vail from the Innermost and revealed to us the glory of Washington as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend! If Irving had never written anything else deserving fame, his latest work* would be sufficient to identify his name forever with the best and greatest patriot, hero and statesman of his native land.
Although Martin Luther, the great Reformer, is best known in his identification with the Reformation of the 16th century, sufficient details of incidents in his private life have been presented to us, through the lapse of ages, to show that "his finest traits are those known in his domestic life." The engraving in this number of The Guardian is a happy effort of the artist to bring home to us one of those family scenes in which the great reformer delighted. His passion for music, represented by the lute-his affection for his beloved and faithful "Kate," sitting a perfect picture of maternal felicity by his side-his friendship for his noble companion in reform, Melancthon, the ever welcome sharer of the quiet bliss of the family circle as well as the angry disputations of the excited theological world-his regard for good old "Aunt Lehne," so often and affectionately referred to in his letters home-the pleasure he felt in the innocent amusements of his children, for whom
• IRVING'S LIFE OF WASHINGTON. . P. Putnam & Co., New York. 1855. VOL. VI.-18