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that the old people may slider about for your his fore-paws: Richard gave him a piece of amusement."
the crumb. Richard felt a choking sensation at his "Look at that, now," said Matty; "ye' just throat, and as usual he flushed, but tried not give the poor innocent baste the crumb, beto look angry.
cause ye' don't like it ye'rself." “There !" she exclaimed, “ don't give me Richard presented him with a bit of the any impudence : quick lads are always impu- | crisp brown crust. dent. I thought how it would be when you “See, now, if that brat of a boy ain't trying were so mighty neat."
already to break every tooth in the crature's During this unsavoury dialogue, and in head, with his crusts.” direct opposition to her declared intention, she Richard finished without offering Peter anwas cutting a remarkably thick piece of bread other morsel. and butter ; and having done so, she pushed it “Well!" ejaculated his tormentor; “if ever to the boy, saying, “ There, go to your work I saw such a selfish boy of yer age, and that's now, and don't say you are starved by Matthew | speaking volumes, as master says; not to give Whitelock's housekeeper."
the brute the last crumb, for good luck; but Richard was a peace-loving lad: he saw some has no nature in 'em ; and the poor baste the storm gathering in Matty's face, and bobbing at you, as if you had never scrooged notwithstanding his boasted breakfast (he had him into a pancake. There, go along, do; and slipped back one of the pieces of bread his harkee! if you run the window-bars through mother had given him) he could, from any the glass, you'll have to pay for every pane other hands have eaten the bread with great you break; and mind the trap that's over the goût; but the hands that fed him from infancy cellar: but sure you war here before, when I were delicately clean and white, and—it might was sick. Ah! I dare say you'll go off in conbe the darkness and murkiness of a January sumption, just as the last boy did: it's all morning, but everything, and above all things along the smell of the old books, and the ile of Matty, looked fearfully dirty--a favourite pro the papers, to say nothing of the gas. I verb of his mother's took possession of his wonder how master and I live through it; but mind
it won't be for long, I'm certain of that; I'm a “Cleanliness is next to godliness."
poor fading-away crature."
As Richard ran up the dark stairs, he could But he loved peace, and he thanked “Mat not avoid turning to look at the “ fading-away thew Whitelock's housekeeper;" simply re creature.” The cheerful blaze of the fire threw peating, that he had breakfasted. Matty her figure into strong light, and her shadow was a resolute woman; she had made up on the wall grew up into the ceiling. She reher mind he should eat what she had pre called all Richard had ever heard of “ogres" pared; and, consequently, laying her massive --50 gaunt, and strong, and terrible ---trehands upon his shoulders, she forced him mendous people who trouble the world for suddenly down upon a chair, from which he as ever, and never die. suddenly sprang up as from an air cushion, Richard entered the shop with the feeling of but not before a most unearthly howl in a governor going to take the command of a timated that he had pressed too heavily new province. Could it be absolutely real, upon “ Peter,” a rough, grey terrier, who, that he was the appointed messenger to go in in these days, when tangled, ragged dogs, and out, backwards and forwards, amongst are the fashion, would have been called a such a multitude of books! To him, the store "beauty."
seemed more than ever immense. Surely Mr. “And that's your thanks, Peter, my darlin', Whitelock must have added hundreds to his for not biting him, to have him scrunch down hundreds since he stood upon that threshold to upon you, as if you war a cat,” she exclaimed; help the poor dying boy. He recalled the then, turning suddenly upon poor Richard, feeling of awe with which he regarded that she commanded him to eat at once, and be dingy interior; he thought Mr. Whitelock done with it, and not stand there aggravating must be the happiest man in the world, not her, and murdering her dog
only to live amongst so many books, but to be At first Richard eat with a feeling of dis their absolute owner; he wondered how he gust; but the bread was good, and he was could bear to sell them : he resolved to hungry. Peter seated himself before the lad, count them; and thrilled from head to foot rising every second moment on his haunches, | at the new-born pleasure--even in anticipation and making little twitching movements with --that perhaps he might be permitted to read them. There was a delight! to read his pace insensibly slackened, and his master every one of the books that filled these (a long, lean man, whose benevolent counteshelves! But then came the thought that, nance was somewhat hardened by a firm set however delicious it would be to get all that mouth) met him at the door. knowledge into his head, it would do his “You have loitered." mother no real good, unless he could put the 1 “I just looked into the book, sir; and I am knowledge so acquired in practice : yes, put it | afraid I did not come as fast as I intended." in practice, to make money and means suffi "I sent you to carry books, not to read them; cient to keep his mother—his loving, tender, and this sort of books would not do you any gentle mother-who seemed threatened with good, but rather harm." a terrible affliction ; to keep her from want “ Please, sir, I thought I had time enough." from cold-from every apprehension of dis “Remember what Poor Richard says, that tress. Richard never stood idly to muse: no, what we call time enough always proves little he thought. His thoughts were active_strong, enough. Besides, I have a right to your too, for a boy of his years; and they came time ; it is all you have to give in exchange abundantly while he occupied himself with for my money, and it is as dishonest to his duties; fine, healthy, earnest thoughts squander the one as it would be to squander they were sanctified by an unexpressed, yet the other." fervent, prayer to the Almighty, to bless his “I will never look in a book again, sir, mother and his own exertions for her happiness. without your leave.” ence the dormant powers and sympathies of ink, wafers, books, nor blotting-paper--no, nature and of art!
There is something most holy and beautiful It was perhaps strange that, though the in the attachment between mother and son: bookseller had seen as much of what is called it is not always so tender or so enduring as the - the world”-that is, of his own particular love between mother and daughter; but when “world,” with now and then a peep into its circumstances arise to call forth the affections higher and lower regions as most men, and of a large-hearted, lonely boy towards his been-as kind-natured men invariably are mother, there can be no feeling more intense or frequently deceived, yet he never doubted the more devoted.
integrity of his little messenger's promise, Again Richard's habits of order increased believing he would keep it to the letter; and his usefulness fourfold. He arranged all things he turned away without a single additional in the neatest way, resolving to ask leave to word of reproof or displeasure; but Richard dust the shelves, after the shop was shut; and heard sundry murmurings and grumblings on determined to keep the windows clean; his the stairs—ascending and descending—which mother's window was the cleanest in the court, convinced him that Matty would not be as why should not his master's be clean also ? easily pacified as her master. The bookseller
He was finishing his morning's work by told him he might go down and have his mending an old stumpy pen—the last of three dinner. belonging to a leaden inkstand—when his “Your room would be more plasing than mastered entered.
your company," said Matty. Without a word “ So, you can mend pens?”
he was returning whence he came. “ Yes, sir, I think I can : would you be so “Where are you going?” she inquired, vegood as to try this one ?”
hemently. He good-naturedly did so, and, as it suited “You did not wish me to stay." him, he was really pleased ; and then told “But yer master did; he's never contint Richard where to find some things, and where but when he fills up this bit of a kitchen with to keep others, until it was time to carry out tagrag and bobtail; but, no matter--there, certain library books, and make sundry calls, to eat your dinner." inquire after those that had not been returned. “Am I always to dine here?” he said, in a
Richard thought it no harm to peep into the hesitating voice. books as he went along. The first novel he “Just like the rest of them! Yer going to opened was all about great lords and ladies, find fault with the blessed food ---I knew ye' and what they did and said, and how they would—I said so to-day. Says I, . He was too looked and walked, and spent their time; and fond of giving his bread to the dogs, to care Richard, when he had read half a page, came for his dinner.'” to the conclusion that those grand folk must The woman's contradictions perplexed the be different in every respect from any human boy so much that he could not speak. Moreover, beings he had ever seen. He had resolved to he felt a sort of self-reproach for eating all be very quick in his messages; but as he read, that meat, when his mother wanted; this
"I'm quite done, thank you,” he said, after murmuring a grace he truly felt.
" Come back: what's to come of what ye' choose to lave on yer plate? Do you mean that I don't give Peter enough? He wouldn't think it worth his while to ask for all you'd eat in a month. Why ye've left the best cut of the silver side !-the daintiness of some boys! I'll go bail ye 've eat yer own weight of pudding or hard-bake while yo' were out; but as master said, Give him his dinner,' I've no notion of yer not eating it; so, put it up in paper, and let me see the last of ye’ this blessed day."
Richard thanked her so warmly, that she knew, with instinctive feeling, there was some one at home he loved better than himself. Her heart softened - or, rather, her mood changed. But while she paused, Richard thought, and held the piece of meat on the paper she had given him without folding it up.
“I'd rather not take it, thank you," said the boy, gently. “I'd much rather not take it.”
"Poor and proud-poor and proud," muttered Matty; “but ye shall take it. I'm not to be contradicted by the likes of you."
"I will not take it,” he said, firmly; “ Master ordered me my dinner, but did not say I was to take away anything; and as it is his-not yours-So, thank you all —”.
He dared not finish the sentence: Matty struck down the knuckles of both hands violently on the table, and advanced her stronglymarked face close to his : it was illumined by fierce anger, and her small, piercing, black eyes flashed fire. “Do ye' mean to tell me, ye' waspeen, that I'm a thief? "
“No-no--no, indeed,” said Richard, backing out as fast as he could. Still the flaming face and flashing eyes followed him; but something arrested his progress-he could retreat no farther : it was the bookseller, who inquired what was the matter. Matty multiplied and exaggerated: the little “nagur" had as good as called her a thief. After many fruitless exertions to obtain silence, the master at last succeeded in hearing the truth from Richard. “She gave me a beautiful dinner-a fine dinner, sir-too goodtoo much and I could not eat it all ; so she desired me to take up what I left, and carry it home. It was so kind of her; but I thought you would not approve of my taking it. It
was no longer my dinner, when I had eaten all I could: it did not appear to me quite hers to give.”
“ To doubt my right!" commenced Matty; but Mr. Whitelock commanded her to listen, in a tone she was little accustomed to.
“The lad is right, Matty, it is the proper sense of justice and honesty. I am glad to see it, Matty, it is not common. You may take what you leave in future, my boy; Matty was right, and you were right. No words, Matty." And the master—who was really, like many peace-lovers, fearful of noise, and consequently gave way more frequently than he ought to do, merely to avoid it-seeing that he had, in this instance, the advantage, and being well pleased with himself, resolved to make a dignified exit, and withdrew, thinking-—" An evidence of truth, and an evidence of honesty-both in one day--both in one day; very pleasing, very remarkable.”
Matty, however, had been offended, and she determined to show it. She paced up and down the kitchen, talking loudly to herself. “ I'm not the sort to squander my master's property on comers or goers: I know what's enough for a boy's dinner ; and, whether he eats it or not, there it is, and I have nothing to do with it after ; for Peter scorns scraps. Therebe off with ye’rself-there's nothing keeping ye that I know of now, ye got yer answer. Setting up for honesty, indeed! as if there was no one ever honest before ye.”
The boy's eyes filled with tears. “I do not know," he said, “why every one should be so kind to me."
“ You young villain !” exclaimed Matty, with a flourish of a brobdignag poker, which seemed forged by the Cyclops. “Get out of my kitchen this moment! What do ye' mean by saying I'm kind- kind enagh! A mighty fine thing ye' are to take away my character ! Botheration! is that what I'm come to!”
Richard flew up the stairs, concluded his evening's shop-work to his master's satisfaction, again went out to distribute and gather books, and religiously kept his promise ; never paused before a print-shop, nor under a tempting lamp-post, to read a sentence; thought it would not become him to be proud, so nodded to Ned Brady, at his old corner! Ned hopped after him, first on one leg, then on the other, and after a brilliant somerset stood right in his path. “Come and watch for a job,” he exclaimed.
“I don't want it, thank you ; I've a place."
“ A place! Britons never should be slaves ! I like odd jobs, and freedom! Lend us a bob."
" I have not got it."
for certain; and the sooner she was one the " Well, then, a brownie.”
pleasanter it would be for herself, only that, “ I have not even that,” replied Richard. being a lone woman, she thought while people
Ned eyed him closely. “To think of your had the holy breath of life in their bodies turning out like that," he said ; and he then they might as well be alive—that was all.” walked round and round him. “We did not Richard had numbered more than fourteen think we had such a fine gentleman for a years when he entered Mr. Whitelock's serfriend, when we said he'd got the lucky vice. He managed to keep on speaking terms penny."
with Matty, for when she would not talk to “ We were never friends," observed Richard, | him she talked at him. He frequently recoldly.
mained half an hour after all was shut up to “Don't be too up," was the reply, “ and cut read to her; and once when Mr. Whitelock a poor cove because his toggery is not as fine called to her to iequire who was below, she as your'n. Rather small, though, ain't they? answered, in a tone of fierce indignation, that Would just fit me!” He made two or three it was only “the state of Europe, the French mocking bows round Richard, and vanished, at another revulsion, and Spain on the top of playing the cart-wheel-turning over and over the Pyramids." -along the street.
Richard's life passed very happily: he was “He carried many a heavy load for me, gaining knowledge, he was assisting his bethough, when I was in my former hard place, loved mother, he was inhaling the atmosphere and it's a pity he is such a bad boy in some of all others he most enjoyed. He had perthings,” thought Richard, as he trudged on. mission to take home any book at night, proHe left the books, offering to do anything else vided he brought it in the morning; at first he could, at his master's, and felt all the anti he greedily devoured all that came in his cipations of “home” more delightfully than way, but the reading stock of a third-class ever, when he saw the candle-light glimmer library was not likely to feed a mind eager ing through the chinks of his mother's shutter. for actual knowledge, and largely compreThe tiny room seemed to him a paradise. The hensive. Poetry he imbibed fervently; but widow had finished her embroidery, and was whenever he could get biography or scientific netting, so her eyes did not look as strained books, he dispensed with the luxury of sleep, and weary as usual. There was something and came with pale cheeks and haggard eyes simmering and smelling very savoury on the | to his employment in the morning. “Sandfire; but Richard put back his hand to pull ford and Merton," with its bright lessons of out his piece of beef. It was gone!
practical independence, was his favourite reRichard had no doubt that his quandam laxation, and frequently, as he told his mother, "friend” had picked his pocket, more in fun than “ he took a plunge" into Franklin's life as a malice; and he was confirmed in the idea by refreshment. Then he wrote copies upon stray seeing a boy's shadow on the wall of the oppo slips of paper; worked sums and problems on site house - Ned, doubtless, waiting to see a rough piece of common slate; read what he how he bore his disappointment. His first most admired to his mother, though he was impulse was to run out and thrash the thief; often grieved that her enthusiasm did not bnt the memory of their nodding companion kcep pace with his, and that she had little ship, and of the loads the unfortunate lad had relish for anything that “had not HOPE in it.” carried for him twice or thrice-running off Then she would insist on his going to rest, with what Richard had staggered under-har when he was all eagerness to finish a book monized by the perfume of the pot au feu, or unravel a mystery -- not the transparent taught him forbearance, and the evening mystery of a novel, but the mystery of some passed, as the widow said, “ full of hope.” mighty worker in the business of life; some Many such succeeded. Richard well satisfied giant amongst men, who achieved greatness his master, although he was a reserved, pecu- though born in obscurity; some artist, whose liar man, not much known, and less liked ; he fame towered towards the heavens, like the frequented no public places, and kept little tree produced by the grain of mustard-seed; society, spending his evenings in making up some Lancaster, or Washington, or Howard, his accounts, arranging his books, and read or Watt, or humble, benevolent Wilderspin, ing. Matty had often told her confidential revolutionizing sloth into activity, touching friend, the milk-woman, that “one might as the eyes of multitudes with a magic wand, so well live in the house with a corpse," adding that they cried out as one man, Behold, we her belief “ that all would be corpses one day, I see -electrifying nations, calling into exist
nor the writer of a book-to be trampled Often his eyes refused to slumber or sleep, under your feet." when, in obedience to the gentle request, “I did not see him," she said meekly, which love turned into a command, he lay “ Can't you use your eyes ?” down, beneath the shadow of his mother's The unconscious roughness out like a razor. blessing; and his brain would throb, and his “I did," she replied, turning her large, heart beat; and when she slept, he would sorrowful, and dimmed eyeballs towards creep from his humble pallet and read by the Matty—“I did; I used them night and day light of the one lamp which illumined the until it was the will of God to take away their court, and was (so he thought) fortunately light." placed opposite their window. Not that the “God look down upon you !” exclaimed the boy understood all he read, but he imbibed woman, tenderly. “Sure it isn't going blind its influence, and, clasping his large brow you are-a young woman like you to go within his palms, he would weigh and consider, blind!" and feel, within that narrow room, where “I wanted to see Mr. Whitelock,” she said, poverty still lingered—(though then, with their without heeding Matty's observation. “I simple and few wants, rather as a shadow wanted to speak a few words to him.” than a substance,) and his heart throbbing as Matty loved a gossip. She never suspected he thought, “ What shall I do to be great ?". the fair, frail, trembling woman, “going even, it might have been, when the chastened blind," to be Richard's mother. He never and subdued spirit of his young but almost mentioned his mother's blindness; he could sightless mother murmured in her half broken not speak of it; he hoped it would never be sleep, " What shall I do to be saved ?” And worse than it was. She could still read, and then, as the spring advanced, and night do plain work; and so Matty heard not of it. and morning blended sweetly together, he She had nothing particular to do that evening, hastened to his work joyfully-for he loved and the sight of a stranger did her good, bethe labour that gave him food and knowledge cause she expected a gossip.
-Matty would say his "food went into an ill “Master can't always be interrupted," she skin-never did credit to man or mortial;" replied, “particularly by them he doesn't while his silent master, absorbed in his occu know; but if you will tell me your name and pations, and pretty much abstracted from the business, I'll see what can be done for you.” every-day goings on of his establishment "I am Richard's mother."
-having, as he said of himself, an honest “Think of that now! We do our best with curse of a housekeeper and a jewel of a boy him, poor boy but he's an unruly member.” was nevertheless sometimes startled by the “Richard !" exclaimed the poor woman, in singular questions Richard asked, meekly and a tone of dismay. modestly seeking for information, from him “Aye, indeed ; that is, he's not so jist at whom his enthusiastic nature believed one of the prisent time, but he'll become so, like all the mild lights of literature.
the rest of them boys, one of these days." What will youths who are pampered or “God forbid !" ejaculated the widow. wooed into learning say of the circulating boy “ Amin!” said Matty; “ but he'll be sure to of a circulating library, performing the menial come to it at last.” offices of his station, yet working his mind “Come to what !” enquired the alarmed ardently and steadily onward?
mother. One evening, after he had gone out with his " To all sorts and kinds of contrariness," books, his mother entered the shop, timidly replied Matty, rapidly; “ boys can't help it, and with hesitating step, which those who you see; it's their nature; they're not patient, struggle against blindness unconsciously as bidable, gentle creatures like us--not they! sume. Matty was there, removing some Mischief, and all kinds of murther, and uppapers; Peter, the most silent of all dogs, lay | setting, and latch-keys, and fidgets, and police upon the mat, and Mrs. Dolland stumbled courts, and going out at nights, and staying over him; Peter only gave vent to a stifled out all day (though that's a good riddance), remonstrance, but that was enough to set and boxing, and apple stealing, falling in Matty into a passion.
love, and kicking up shindies.” “ Couldn't you see the dog!" she exclaimed. “I beg your pardon, but I do not under"If you war a customer tin times over you stand you," interrupted Mrs. Dolland, with had no call to the baste; he's neither pens, more determination than she had exercised