Page images
PDF
EPUB

GENEROSITY. A GENTLEMAN, being at Marseilles, bired a boat with the in tention of sailing for pleasure. He entered into conversation with the two young men who owned the boat, and learned that they were not watermen by trade, but silversmiths; and that when they could be spared from their usual business, they employed themselves in that way to increase their earnings. The gentleman expressed his surprise at their conduct, imputing it to an avaricious disposition. Oh, sir,” said the young men, “if you knew our reasons, you would ascribe it to a better motive. Our father, anxious to assist his family, scraped together all he was worth, and purchased a vessel for the purpose of trading to the coast of Barbary; but was unfortunately taken by a pirate, carried to Tripoli, and sold for a slave. He writes word that he has luckily fallen into the hands of a master who treats him with great humanity; but that the sum which is demanded for his ransom is so exorbitant, that it will be impossible for him ever to raise it. He adds, that we must therefore relinquish all hope of ever seeing him, and be contented; that he has as many comforts as his situation will admit of. With the hopes of restoring to his family a beloved father, we are striving, by every honest means in our power, to collect the sum necessary for his ransom, and we are not ashamed to employ ourselves in this occupation of watermen.”

The gentleman was struck with this account, and on his departure made them a handsome present. Some months afterwards, the young men being at work in their shop, were greatly surprised at the sudden arrival of their father, who threw himself into their arms. At the same time he expressed his fears they had taken some unjust method to raise the money for his ransom, for it was too great a sum for them to have gained by their ordinary occupation. They professed their ignorance of the whole affair, and could only suspect they owed their father's release to that stranger to whose generosity they had been before so much obliged.

After Montesquieu's death, an account of this affair was found among bis papers, stating the sum remitted to Tripoli for the old man's ransom. It is a pleasure to hear of such an act of benevolence performed even by a person totally unknown to us; but the pleasure is infinitely increased, when it proves the union of virtue and talents in an author so renowned as Montesquieu.

THE MAN IN THE FUSTIAN JACKET. I AM now in a cheerful mood, and will therefore relate to you my uncle's account of the man in the fustian jacket, as near as I can remember, in his own words

It is an excellent thing for man to be diligent in what he undertakes. If business is to answer, it must be attended to. If a plan is to succeed, it must be followed up with spirit.

You shall have an instance of this. I will tell you of the man in the fustian jacket.

Soon after I came to live in this house, as I was painting the palisades of my little garden to the front, a man in a fustian jacket stopped at the gate. “You have a pretty little garden here, sir," said he, “and it looks all the better for the fresh paint on the railings. I live just round the corner, and if you should ever want colors of any kind, I should be very happy to supply you. I have ivory black, drop black, blue black, and lamp black; very good browns, purples, Spanish, and Vandyke; and though I say it, nobody has better blues, ochres, and umbers. Those who deal with me say I am famous for my gamboge, king's yellow, and chrome yellow; and as for vermilion, both English and Chinese, white lead and flake white, Brunswick green, emerald green, and mineral green, there is none better than mine to be had.” No sooner had I told him that no color of

any

kind was wanted by me, than he thanked nie civilly, again spoke of my pretty garden, and went on. “I wish," thought I, rather hastily," that he would keep his gamboge, king's yellow, and his vermilion to himself; what do I want with his colors ?

The very next morning, as I stood in my little garden, again came the man in the fustian jacket, carrying a large jar.

“ How nice and fresh the shower last night has made your garden, sir,” said he. “I am taking a jar of my neat’s-foot oil to one of your buy his

neighbours. If anything in the oil way should at any time be wanted, linseed or boiled, common train, seal, sperm, or Florence, in flasks, I shall be happy to serve you; I live only just round the corner.”

“What does the man mean?” said I to myself, when he had gone; “pestering me with his linseed and boiled oil. I want none of it. I am not to be compelled against my will, I suppose, to greasy

oils. Why cannot the man keep quiet ? ” “Rather warm, sir," said the man in the fustian jacket, as he paused for a moment, on passing by in the middle of the same day. “Rather warm, sir; not exactly the day for hot joints, but better suited for cold meat and pickles. I am running with a pot of pickles to that house with the green blinds yonder. If you are fond of pickles, sir, my capers and cucumbers would just suit you ; but I have all sorts, olives, both French and Spanish, onions, gherkins, walnuts, French beans, cabbage, capsicums, and cauliflower. I live rather bandy for you, sir-only three doors round the corner.”

“Yes,” thought I, “you live handy enough to torment me. One would think it would be quite time enough to tell me all about your capers and your cucumbers, your capsicums and your cauliflowers, when I ask you; but that will be some time hence, I promise you. I begin to be sadly out of temper.”

On the evening of the same day, just as I was entering in at my garden gate, once more went by the man in the fustian jacket. Almost time to light up, sir,” said he. “I somehow forgot, when I was out with my basket this morning, to leave four pounds of moulds at one of my customer's, and so I am taking them now. If

you

should want candles of any kind, sir, you will find my store dips, fine wax, spermaceti, cocoa-nut, composite, and metallic wicks excellent. Perhaps, sir, you will give me a trial some day; for I am, as I may say, a sort of neighbour of yours, my shop being only just round the corner.”

Hardly could I keep my temper while he was talking to me; but when he was gone I gave way sadly. “He will be a daily plague to me,” said I, “and I wish that I had never come into the neighbourhood, or that he and his tallow candles were a hundred miles off.”

I was pulling up a weed or two on the following day in

[ocr errors]

my little garden, as Betty came out to the door with her broom to sweep the steps, and at the same instant I heard the voice of the man in the fustian jacket, who, as usual, was on his way to take some article or other to his customers. “ You deserve a garden, sir,” said he," for you keep it so nice and tidy. Your girl, there, knows how to handle a broom, I see. I sell brooms, sir, and brushes of all kinds,- best shoe brushes in sets, scrubbing brushes, stove, furniture, tooth, clothes, and hat brushes, as well as thrum mops, and hemp and wool mats. I supply everything in the kitchen way,-housemaids' gloves, blacklead, servant's friend, bee's-wax, turpentine, scouring paper, emery, fuller's earth, whiting, pipeclay, paste in pots, hearthstones, knife bricks, mason's dust, firewood, and matches. I think I told you, sir, that I live just round the corner?'

“Yes, you did tell me,” thought I; "and I have a great mind to tell you something. Hardly can I stir out into my front garden without being annoyed with a long list of oils, pickles, candles, and kitchen articles; but one thing I am determined on, and that is, that neither oil, pickle, candle, nor kitchen article, from your shop, shall ever come into my house."

From that time not a single day passed without my seeing, and hearing too, the man in the fustian jacket. He seemed not only always ready to catch me in my garden, but always ready to take advantage of any little circumstance that occurred. At one time, coming up as Betty brought in a fish, he thought it a very fine one, and told me that he kept the best sauces, and indeed sauces of all kinds, -anchovy, Burgess' essence, catchup, mushroom, walnut, Indian soy, and currie powder; as well as all kinds of spices, nutmegs, cinnamon, pimento, cloves, ginger, mace, peppers, both black, cayenne, Chili, long, and white. At another time, when I had hung up my canary in the front, there he stood by the gate calling it a pretty creature, and telling me that he sold bird seeds of every sort, and bird's sand. On a third occasion he overtook me just as I stepped across to the post-office with a letter: “We are both on the same errand, sir,” said he, "for I have a letter to put in the office myself. It was directed by my son. See, sir, what a beautiful hand he writes ;” and then he failed not to tell me that he sold writingpaper, good ink, sealing-wax and wafers, and excellent black

corner.

lead pencils, not forgetting to remind me, as before, that his sliop was no distance from my house, being only just round the

In short, morning, noon, and night, when at home in my garden, or walking abroad, I never seemed secure from having the man in the fustian jacket at my elbow. Again and again he enumerated the articles he sold, and again he informed me that he lived just round the corner,

Man is a changeable creature, and, in many respects, it is well that he is so; for if all his angry feelings and unjust opinions were to remain ever the same, he would be more unlovely than he now is. In my anger, I thought unjustly of the man in the fustian jacket; but, in a little time, my anger passed away, for he turned out to be an honest, industrious, kind-hearted, and benevolent man.

True it is that he pursued his business with more ardor than tradesmen usually do; but then he was attentive, punctual, and as upright in executing his orders as he was active in obtaining them. His perseverance prevailed: I tried himmade inquiries about him—liked him; and at last so heartily respected him, that, from that time to this, all the colors, oil, pickles, candles, kitchen articles, sauces, spices, bird seed, writingpaper, ink, sealing-wax, wafers, and black-lead pencils, that I have required, have been bought of him, nor have I ever once regretted the circumstance of his shop being only three doors round the corner,

Old Humphrey's Half-hours.

THE RAPIDS. I REMEMBER riding from Buffalo to the Niagara Falls, and I said to a gentleman, “ What river is that, sir ?” “That,” he said, "is Niagara river." “Well, it is a beautiful stream,” said I; “bright, and fair, and glassy. How far off are the rapids ?"

Only a mile or two," was the reply. “Is it possible that only a mile from us we shall find the water in the turmoil which it must show when near the Falls ?” “You will find it so, sir." And so I found it; and that first sight of the Niagara I shall never forget.

Now, launch your bark on that Niagara river : it is bright, smooth, beautiful, and glassy. There is a ripple at the bow; the

« PreviousContinue »