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hook; and with the sweetest smile that can be conceived, plunged below the surface of the pond, but not before she had exclaimed, Dear youth, since you are unwilling to injure the unfortunate, no man shall be able to injure you !
Richard was rather pleased with his adventure, though he had failed in the object for which he had left home, and he returned thither with a quiet conscience and a good appetite for breakfast. The result of his experiment he intended to communicate to Harry, but he found that Harry's father, who was a man in easy pecuniary circumstances, had sent his son that morning to a boarding-school kept by Mr. Halsey, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey; as he was determined to give his son a good literary education. Mr. Halsey was one of the most thorough disciplinarians that our country ever possessed, but was exceedingly kind; and he took every new scholar into an orchard full of choice fruit, of which the boy was permitted to eat his fill
. Our young gentleman began accordingly, to eat with a good relish ; and recollecting what the Naiad had threatened, he laughed and wondered whether Mr. Halsey was not benefitting him. His mirth invigorated his appetite, and he ate and laughed again; and kept eating and laughing, swallowing cherry stones with the cherries in his eagerness to eat fast and much, till the cherries began to lose their good flavor. He however, kept eating in consideration of their former flavor, till they began to taste bitter, and he could endure them no longer. Descending from the tree, he walked slowly toward the school, but he soon felt an ugly pain, with some nausea; and eventually became so much disordered with the quantity he had eaten of cherries and cherry stones, that he discovered, to his disappointment and sorrow, that Mr. Halsey had not benefitted him by the indulgence he had granted. After several days and nights of severe pain,
he recovered sufficiently to commence his studies, but he found them difficult and tedious. Why English people should trouble themselves to learn Latin and Greek, seemed an enigma that ought to be solved before a young man should be required to study them; and in his endeavors to solve this perplexing question, he employed much of the time that ought to have been devoted to acquiring his lessons. Fortunately however, he enjoyed a room-mate, by the name of Broughton, who kindly undertook, in consideration of a large share of Harry's pocket money, to make his translations, cypher all his sums in arithmetic, and enable him to appear like a thriving scholar, without any of the privations that must attend the acquisition of learning. He now laughed again, when he thought of the Naiad, and he wondered whether Broughton was not benefitting him in saving him from the irksomeness of study.
Four years were passed in the above manner, and Harry had become old enough to enter college; but behold! when he presented himself at Yale, he was found on examination to be so deficient in the required preparatory studies, that he was rejected. His father was as much grieved as surprised, and he would fain have induced his son to return to school and obtain the required proficiency; but the young man thought this would expose him to ridicule, and he could be neither threatened nor coaxed into the measure. His father seeing him thus resolved, at
length said, ' My son, I have given you the best opportunities that money can procure for acquiring a literary education ; but since you refuse to be thus benefitted, I must abandon the hope of seeing you become a professional man, and you must take your chance in some less intellectual employment.
The son felt a secret mortification at the result, but as he should thereby escape the confinement of a college, he was more pleased than sorry; and concluded that he would become a merchant. This would be less sedentary than the law, for the profession of which his father had designed him; and it would enable him to acquire a fortune in a less time; a consideration of no little importance to a gentleman who is not fond of labor. He resolved, however, to become rich, and perhaps as rich as Girard, though he did not approve entirely of the Girard College. Some more personal gratifications would, he thought, be an improved disposition of his fortune; and the gratifications might be so regulated as not essentially to impair the residuary estate.
These preliminaries being thus settled, his father procured him a situation in a large importing house on Long-Wharf, in Boston; the owner of which assured the father, that if the son merited patronage, he should be promoted by every means in the merchant's power,
every care should be taken to give the young man a thorough mercantile education. Harry was a handsome youth, with no obvious defect but a superabundance of whiskers; for by some natural connexion, whiskers seem to exuberate in proportion to the barrenness of the intellect. The merchant was, however, no philosopher, and never speculated deeply on abtruse connexions, and therefore, placed the young man in the counting-room to copy invoices and letters, carry money to the bank, bring packages from the post-office; and to perform the various other small duties that pertain to the minor department of a great commercial establishment. Unfortunately these duties were not suited to the taste of the young gentleman, being far too unimportant; and he performed them in a way which evinced his opinion of their unimportance. In copying a letter he would omit some words and misspell others; and write the whole in so crooked, unintelligible and blotted a manner, that his employer, disgusted with his carelessness, dismissed him from the counting-house, after telling him that he had sincerely desired to benefit him, but he found he could not.
The information not only surprised the young man but offended him, for he felt confident that he could have performed well the higher duties of a merchant, though he had failed in performing the small duties. • This time at least, thought he, 'I am more sinned against than sinning;' and without waiting to announce the misadventure to his father, he packed up his clothes and went home, as a man who had been unjustly persecuted. The father, however, took a less partial view of the matter, and even ventured to hint that only those who prove themselves faithful in a few things, are ever made lord over many things.' But as expostulation could not reïnstate the young man, the father as a last resort, purchased a farm for him, and bade him try to gain a living by agriculture. This expedient harmonized well with the son's taste, for he was fond VOL. XXXVI.
of riding, hunting and fishing; and he thought farming would abundantly coïncide with these amusements. He accordingly took with him into the country plenty of gunpowder, shot and fishing-tackle; not however, neglecting due quantities of seeds for the cultivation of his land. * Business first and then pleasure,' said the father, and so thought the son, who resolved that the present attempt to benefit him, should not be thwarted by mismanagement. He was sedulous in ascertaining the latest improvements that had been made in agricultural implements, and in supplying himself abundantly with the most approved patterns ; but in his haste to commence his new business, he could not waste time in learning the art of cultivation; the simplicity of the processes rendering any previous study unnecessary. Still the simplicity of the art, and the excellence of the farming utensils, proved to be not quite sufficient to supply the absence of experience; and he sowed wheat where he ought to have sown oats, planted corn when he ought to have planted potatoes, and was engaged in fishing and fowling when he ought to have been hoeing and harvesting. None of his crops yielded well, and what grew was injured by bad husbandry; till at the end of three years he was heavily in debt, and the value of his farm was insufficient to discharge his liabilities.
His father also, was no longer able to assist him. Repeated disappointments in the hopes which he had formed of his son, had preyed upon his spirits, and impaired his health. He was old and had become feeble; while large pecuniary engagements into which a friend bad betrayed him, nearly exhausted his property. In this condition of body, mind and estate, he ascertained the result of the farming project of his son, who had returned home to obtain some assistance. He felt that death was busy with him, and calling his son to a last interview, he said (with the bluntness that usually characterizes a death-bed interview :) • My son, I am no longer able to minister to your extravagance, and no longer willing to keep blind to your folly. Your miscarriages have not proceeded from the malediction of any Naiad, as you vainly insist; but from your own mismanagement. You have never tried to benefit yourself. You have always relied on me and other people for benefits ; but be assured that the man who will not benefit himself, no person can benefit.'
While Harry was thus realizing the Naiad's prediction, Richard to whom the opposite prediction had been uttered, had also been sent to Mr. Halsey's school; for though his father was poor, he copied the conduct of his rich neighbor in the education of his son. The schoolmaster had discontinued the practice of taking new comers into the orchard, for he had found that they rarely possessed discretion enough to restrain their appetites within the bounds of health. The boys of the school were, however, not willing that a new scholar should escape the usual initiatory surfeit, which from its frequent recurrence, they had brought themselves to witness as a good practical joke. They accordingly invited Richard to accompany them into the orchard on the first forenoon of his arrival at Elizabethtown; and taking him to one of the most fruitful trees, they told him that the custom of the school permitted him to eat as many cherries as he could swallow. He liked cherries well, and ate as many as he thought wholesome; and then descended from the tree gratified and refreshed.
The boys began to laugh when they saw him descend, and expected that he had of course made himself sick; but when the dinner-bell rang, he was able to take his seat and relish the boiled beef and potatoes, as well as any of his companions. They watched him with no little surprise, and began to dislike him, since he had falsified their expectations; and they unanimously resolved that no body should assist him in learning his lessons, nor should any one prompt him at recitations. He accordingly was compelled to depend entirely on his own industry, and to acquire all his lessons thoroughly; especially as all his class-mates contrived to station him at recitations where the most difficult sentences would fall to his share. His patient application turned their malice so much to his advantage, that when the period arrived for his removal to college, he was thoroughly prepared to enter, and to derive from his collegiate course all the benefits it is adapted to render.
He found at college some young men who had been his school fellows. Recollecting their old grudge against him, they one day while eating some strawberries, thought they would practice on him a capital joke. They filled a bowl with the finest strawberries they could procure, and strewed over them a quantity of tartar-emetic in some finely powdered loaf sugar; and watching the opportunity of his absence, placed them on a table in his room. He was surprised on his return to find the bowl of strawberries; but supposing a servant had mistaken his room for that of some other student, he carefully placed the strawberries on a shelf till they should be inquired after, without indulging his appetite so far as to eat one; because as he acted from a principle of propriety, he was not disposed to violate the principle for one strawberry, after he had determined he would not violate it for the whole bowl full.
The young men who practised on him this unworthy trick were delighted in the anticipation of his sickness. They were very merry, and as they had provided themselves with wine and cigars, they drank and smoked till they became so boisterous that a tutor overheard them; and going to the door, he found it locked. He demanded admittance which they refused with taunts and groans, till he became so incensed at the indignity offered to him, that he forced open the door. The rioters immediately fell upon him and beat him, having first extinguished the candles to prevent a recognition of their persons; but he knew several by their voices, and they were on the next morning called before the faculty. They refused to disclose their associates, and were all expelled except one who relented, and narrated the whole adventure, including the trick with the strawberries. The President was much alarmed when he ascertained the quantity of tartar-emetic that had been thrown over the strawberries, and went immediately to ascertain in person the consequences. He entered the room with trepidation, and was surprised to find that no evil had ensued; and he was particularly pleased when he ascertained that the virtue of the young man had protected him from danger.
From the above period, the President interested himself daily in
the scholarship of Richard, and frequently related in society, the escape which the young man had experienced from a danger that seemed almost inevitable. A New-Haven lawyer heard the anecdote, and as he had once delivered a lecture before a lyceum of the city, on the preservative influence of virtue, the conduct of Richard seemed to islustrate the theory, and produced in the lawyer a strong desire to benefit the illustrator. He accordingly when the young man graduated, received him into his office as a law student, and attended with much interest to his legal studies.
This gentleman, Thomas Burlingston, will be well remembered at New-Haven, as a lawyer of distinguished celebrity throughout Connecticut, at the period in question. He possessed only one child, a young lady of much beauty, good humor and intellectual cultivation, with whom the young student could not fail from being interested, as frequent opportunities brought them together in social intercourse. But he was poor, and her father was rich and aristocratic ; and beside she was known to be engaged to a gentleman of suitable wealth in the city of Hartford ; all which caused the young student to restrain his feelings, rather avoiding than wooing the young lady; and always addressing her with great respect and reserve.
In this period of his clerkship, one of the young men who had been expelled from college, resolved to make one more effort to injure him ; and to effectually revenge his own expulsion. He accordingly wrote an anonymous letter to Mr. Burlingston, alleging that his daughter was in danger from the arts of the clerk, who was assiduously endeavoring to gain her affections. Mr. Burlingston was naturally indignant at the alleged treachery of a young man whom he was endeavoring to benefit; but that he might not condemn him unheard, he called him into his private office, and presented to him the letter. The young man read it with emotion, and with the frankness of innocence acknowledged the warm esteem that he felt for the young lady; but he repelled the imputation that he had in the slightest manner permitted his feelings to appear in his conduct or conversation; on the contrary, he had seduously avoided all unnecessary communications with her, even to the danger of being deemed by her rude or unaccommodating.
The ingenuousness of this explanation and confession so enhanced the clerk in the estimation of the father, who never felt wholly satisfied with the moral character of the gentleman who was engaged to his daughter, that shortly after this private eclaircissement, the engagement was for adequate reasons, rescinded; and in the course of another year the daughter and the clerk became man and wife, with the approbation of Mr. Burlingston, and to the great satisfaction of the young couple. On the day which witnessed the celebration of the marriage, the young husband obtained a license to practice law as an attorney, and he was immediately taken into partnership by his father-in-law. His subsequent career was more than ordinarily
prosperous. His diligence in business, his faithfulness to the interests of his clients, and his acknowledged general probity soon gained him property enough to maintain his wife respectably; and eventually to surround them with ease and elegance. At this period of his life, he was accustomed to