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anything this blessed day. As for me, never mind me; I must leave you to guess how it has fared with me.
But not one morsel of food could I beg or buy for those children that lie on that bed before you; and I am sure, James, it is better for us all we should die, and to my soul I wish we were dead.” “Dead!" said James, starting up as if a flash of lightning had darted upon
“dead, Sally! You, and Mary, and the two young ones, dead ? Lookye, my lass, you see what I am now-like a brute. I have wasted your substance--the curse of God is upon me I am drawing near to the pit of destruction--but there's an end; I feel there's an end. Give me that glass, wife.” She gave it him with astonishment and fear. He turned it topsy-turvy; and, striking the table with great violence, and flinging himself on his knees, made a most solemn and affecting vow to God of repentance and sobriety. From that moment to the day of his death he drank no fermented liquor, but confined himself entirely to tea and water. I never saw so sudden and astonishing a change. His looks became healthy, his cottage neat, his children were clad, his wife was happy; and twenty times the poor man and his wife, with tears in their eyes, have told me the story, and blessed the evening of the 14th of March, the day of James's restoration, and have shown me the glass he held in his hand when he made the vow of sobriety. It is all nonsense about not being able to work without ale, and gin, and cider, and fermented liquors. Do lions and cart-horses drink ale ?
It is mere habit. If you have good nourishing food, you can do very well without ale. Nobody works harder than the Yorkshire people, and for years together there are many Yorkshire laborers who never taste ale. I have no objection, you will observe, to a moderate use of ale, or any other liquor you can afford to purchase. My objection is, that you cannot afford it; that every penny you spend at the ale-house comes out of the stomachs of the poor children, and strips off the clothes of the wife.
CONCEIT. 1.-CONCEIT FOUNDED ON IGNORANCE. I CONFESS that when I come in contact with a conceited persona shopman or shopwoman, for example“I feel a strong desire to get out of their way. They may show me what I want, and that at the price I wish to give, but the air of indifference which they assume as to whether I buy the article or not, very much modifies the pleasure of my purchase.
Probably they think it grand to appear indifferent; they would have me understand, as it were, that they are not in need of the paltry profit they have on this or that article; that fortunately they are in flourishing circumstances; that, in short, their balance at the bank is, judging from my appearance, higher than mine. All this, which an impatient movement of the hand or a toss of the head conveys to me, I am delighted to learn.
From the bottom of my heart, sir or miss, I congratulate you that you are in such easy circumstances as would enable you "to buy me up” three times over, if you had a mind to. But be so condescending as to observe that I do not wish to sell myself, any more than I wish to buy you. What I came into your shop for was, to buy this article. Good! You wish to sell it, of
Good! You are seller; I am buyer—that is the extent of our relation towards each other.
But I have said that this indifference on the part of tradespeople is assumed. How do I know? I know it by the simple fact that they wish to sell. Otherwise, sir or miss, why stand there with the article in your hand? Why not go and take a walk in the park, this fine day! Ah! you must attend to the shop! Precisely. In other words, you must attend to me; you must be my servant as long as I choose to buy.
Do you now comprehend your position towards me? I hope you feel duly humbled. I sincerely hope you are not humiliated. I, too, am a servant; we are all servants to each other.
II.-CONCEIT THE MAINSPRING OF INCIVILITY. Let us pursue this important subject a little further, for civility is at the bottom of a right understanding of it; and
civility, as everyone knows, is oil to the wheels of social life. It is true that some persons do not require to be taught civility; for they have been formed by nature with kindly hearts, and they do the right thing in the right way, just as surely and as easily as you take to your feet when you want to walk, instead of your hands. Such persons are not often to be met with; but, strange to say, I have seen more of them among little girls and boys than among grown-up people. I tell you this as secret, and hope it will not make you conceited.
Well, as to that haughty shopman who tossed his head at me, and on whom I revenged myself by showing him it was quite unnecessary behaviour,-as to that man or woman, I
say, suppose that he or she declined being called our “servant.” “It is true you are a customer," they might say, “but that is nothing to us! We are merely apprentices, or assistants, hired to stand here and sell goods for so much wages. Your purchases are not to our advantage ; our employers pocket all the profit. We can, therefore, afford to do as we like.”
Not so fast, Mr. Scornful; you cannot afford to be uncivil to one of your master's customers ; for, if you are, he will turn you out into the street, where you may starve. And, to put you to the test, permit me to ask you, why you are not equally mighty before his face as behind his back? This proves that you are quite aware of the fact that the amount of your wages depends, to a considerable extent, on the value of the service you render for them. And the cash he finds in the till on his return will, on the average, be a fair reflex of your industry and civility in his absence.
III.CONCEIT IS COSTLY.
Really, conceited persons ought to have been born with independent fortunes. How, with all their uncivil behaviour, they manage to get on in life is a puzzle to me. Easily enough,” you may say, "for of course you will buy this or that article, if you want it. Supposing it is something you cannot do withouta loaf of bread, for example—you must have it, however uncivil the tradesman may be.”
Certainly I must have it, be I am ravenous for my breakfast. But is it essential that I should buy it from Mr. Crusty?
Oh dear no! for there is Mr. Jollyboy's shop just round the corner, where the young woman who hands over the loaf never fails to add a pleasant smile into the bargain. So Mr. Crusty loses his customer, and some of these mornings his neighbours will
say he has forgotten to take his shutters down. Aye, "forgotten” indeed! Is he a blighted victim to circumstance, or a bankrupt from incivility ? Sure I am, that when he starts afresh, he will have to season his commodities with a certain ingredient that costs nothing, and is nevertheless priceless.
WHAT A DITCH CAN DO. It was a hot, sultry evening, without a breath of wind; and nearly all the workmen, when work was over and supper done, loitered about smoking their pipes in the open air. John Hooper, one of the group, stood leaning on the barn door, watching his little Jack and Nelly at play with their kittens, and his wife, who sat on the step with baby in her arms, stroking puss, and teaching baby not to be frightened at her.
“Here comes Master Frank, with his brown dog,” said Hooper. Frank was the farmer's son, and a general favorite.
“When is my sister to have the kitten ?” asked Frank.
“This very evening, if you please, sir,” she answered. “Pray walk in and choose which
like." “This is Whitefoot, sir, running after the ball,” said Jack; “and those are Minnie and Jetty: and Vevvy—that means Velvet, sir-is playing by herself out there; which will you have ? "
Frank stepped across the threshold, but his dog ran in before him, and was instantly attacked by the cat, furious in defence of her four children. A scene of confusion followed. In vain did Frank call “ Wolf! lie down, sir!” The cat growled, spat, and scratched; Wolf barked and flew at her; the kittens scampered off in every direction; Jack and Nelly rushed about to protect them; and the baby screamed louder than all.
Peace was restored at last, but not till puss and her kittens had vanished from the field of battle; not a tail or a whisker was to be seen, and Wolf had slunk behind his master, looking very much ashamed. Jack and Nelly, assisted by Frank, now began to search for their pets, and soon found three of the kittens--one behind the press, another on a shelf among the teacups, a third under some straw in the barn.
Puss herself was not to be seen, but that was no matter : she was most likely up a tree or on the roof. The fourth kitten, however, was not to be found, and they looked everywhere in vain.
At last Nelly's voice was heard from the end of the garden, calling, “Here's Whitefoot in the ditch! Come, father!”
They ran to the place and found Nelly, who had clambered down the steep side of the ditch, peeping into the black stream that lay almost stagnant at the bottom.
“Oh, I'm so sick, father,” she cried. “It smells so bad, and Whitefoot will not come.”
Hooper stooped down, stretched out his hand towards the kitten, and when he brought it out it was quite dead. Nelly began to cry bitterly at the sight.
* Why, Hooper, you are as pale as death!” exclaimed Frank. “ What's the matter?”
" I don't know myself," he replied, wiping his forehead and staggering against a tree. “Such a whiff went down my throat, out of the ditch I think it was. Well,” added he, after a pause, “I never heard of such a thing as a kitten being drowned in half a minute. It has hardly more than wetted its paws, too, for it lay on a heap of dry bones and cabbage stalks in there."
“ It strikes me very forcibly," said an old man who had joined them, and stood by leaning on nis stick" it strikes me very forcibly that the kitten was not drowned at all, but poisoned by the smell.”
“ Poisoned by the smell !” said Hooper, rather doubtingly; “ what harm can a smell do? It's not pleasant, certainly, but it cannot kill a cat, that I am very sure of.”
“ I don't know that," said the old man. “ Where I was at work near London, some years ago, there were several narrow lanes and places where they never could keep a cat alive; and so sure as ever a cat died, so sure some of the people of the house were taken with fever. At last they left off trying to keep cats, because they brought bad luck, as the folks said."