“Thank you, my son; and I will give up the habit for your sake,” returned his father, grasping the lad’s hand with one of his, and, with the other, flinging his cigar far down the avenue.
“Oh, no, papa! don’t do it for my sake,” said Max. “Cousin Arthur told me that when a man had smoked for years, it cost him a good deal of suffering to give it up; and I couldn’t bear to see you suffer so. I’ll refrain all the same, without your stopping.”
“I don’t doubt that you would, my dear boy; and I fully appreciate the affection for me that prompts you to talk in that way,” the captain said: “but I have set a bad example quite long enough, not to my own son alone, but to other people’s; and whatever I may have to endure in breaking off from the bad habit, will be no more than I deserve for contracting it. I should be very sorry, Max, to have you feel that you have a coward for a father,—a man who would shrink from the course he felt to be right, rather than endure pain, mental or physical.”
“A coward! O papa! I could never think that of you!” cried the boy, flushing hotly; “and if ever any fellow should dare to hint such a thing in my hearing, I’d knock him down as quick as a flash.”
The corners of the captain’s lips twitched; but his tones were grave enough as he said, “I don’t want you to do any fighting on my account, Max; and if anybody slanders me, I shall try to live it down.
“There is another thing I want to talk to you about,” he went on presently, “and that is the danger of tampering with intoxicating drinks. The only safe plan is to let them entirely alone. I am thankful to be able to say that I have not set you a bad example in that direction. My good mother taught me to ’touch not, taste not, handle not;’ and I have never taken so much as a glass of wine; though there have been times, my boy, when it required some moral courage to stand out against the persuasions, and especially the ridicule, of my companions.”
Max’s eyes sparkled. “I know it must, papa,” he said; “and when I am tried in the same way, I’ll remember my father’s example, and try to act as bravely as he did.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go.”—PROV. xxii. 6.
“Papa, I want to ask you for something,” was Lulu’s eager salutation, as, in accordance with his promise, he stepped into her room, on the way to his own, to bid her good-night.
“Well, daughter,” he said, sitting down, and drawing her into his arms, “there is scarcely any thing that gives me more pleasure than gratifying any reasonable request from you. What is it you want?”
“Leave to invite Evelyn to go with us to-morrow, if you don’t think it will make too many, papa.”
“I suppose it would add greatly to your enjoyment to have her with you,” he said reflectively. “Yes, you may ask her; or I will do so, early in the morning, through the telephone, if the weather is such that we can go.”