“Really, now—you’re not joking me?”
“No, Charlie, I’m in earnest—I assure you I am; it is drawn with great spirit, and the boy that you have put in by the pump is exceedingly well done.”
This praise served as a great incentive to our little friend, who, day after day thenceforth, was found at the studio busily engaged with his crayons, and making rapid progress in his new art.
He had been thus occupied some weeks, and one morning was hurrying to the breakfast-table, to get through his meal, that he might be early at the studio, when he found Mrs. Bird in her accustomed seat looking very sad.
“Why, what is the matter?” he asked, on observing the unusually grave face of his friend.
“Oh, Charlie, my dear! I’ve received very distressing intelligence from Philadelphia. Your father is quite ill.”
“My father ill!” cried he, with a look of alarm.
“Yes, my dear! quite sick—so says my letter. Here are two for you.”
Charlie hastily broke the seal of one, and read as follows:—
“MY DEAR LITTLE BROTHER,—We are all in deep distress in consequence of the misfortunes brought upon us by the mob. Our home has been destroyed; and, worse than all, our poor father was caught, and so severely beaten by the rioters that for some days his life was entirely despaired of. Thank God! he is now improving, and we have every reasonable hope of his ultimate recovery. Mother, Caddy, and I, as you may well suppose, are almost prostrated by this accumulation of misfortunes, and but for the kindness of Mr. Walters, with whom we are living, I do not know what would have become of us. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Garie—[Here followed a passage that was so scored and crossed as to be illegible. After a short endeavour to decipher it, he continued:] We would like to see you very much, and mother grows every day more anxious for your return. I forgot to add, in connection with the mob, that Mr. Walters’s house was also attacked, but unsuccessfully, the rioters having met a signal repulse. Mother and Caddy send a world of love to you. So does Kinch, who comes every day to see us and is, often extremely useful. Give our united kind regards to Mrs. Bird, and thank her in our behalf for her great kindness to you.—Ever yours,
“P.S.—Do try and manage to come home soon.”
The tears trickled down Charlie’s cheek as he perused the letter, which, when he had finished reading, he handed to Mrs. Bird, and then commenced the other. This proved to be from Kinch, who had spent all the spare time at his disposal since the occurrence of the mob in preparing it.
“To MR. CHARLES ELLIS, ESQ., at MRS. BIRD’S.