Yes, it was a memorable evening. Dr. Tilton and Will Somers kept their word faithfully, and society recognized the fact and liberally patronized the doctor’s store, afterward.
“Got a new ’pothecary in our town,” said Simes Badger. “At any rate, he’s good as new, and new things draw. A ‘pothecary can do amazin’ sight of harm if he aint jest the right sort of man in his business.”
Society, outside the store, recognized the new life that Dr. Tilton and Will had begun. They were received cordially by their old friends. The club gathered about Will, treating him after the fashion of the old enthusiastic friendship.
“He’s singin’ once more and a playin’,” Aunt Stanshy said to a neighbor, “jest as nice as can be. It does me good to see him.”
And Tim Tyler—where was he?
His sister Ann did hope he would be reached, but she folded her old shawl about her shoulders and went away from the meeting, saying sorrowfully to herself, “Tim didn’t come.”
No, he was not at the meeting. He did not show any interest in the movement.
“But—but we can’t give him up,” some of his praying friends whispered.
And when our prayers refuse to let the angel of blessing go, was that angel ever known to forsake us?
Poor Charlie! His life did not seem to him to be altogether agreeable.
Being fat and good-natured, the boys were rather disposed to pick on him. Then a standing vexation at school was his arithmetic. In addition to these things, he had a special trouble one day to grieve him. His class was reading a selection called the “Miller.” The teacher, Mr. Armstrong, permitted the members of the class to remain in their desks and there read. Charlie abused this privilege by clapping his head below his desk, and while the boys in another part of the room were reading, he was doing his best to pack away a corn-ball.
“Time enough,” he had concluded, “before it is my time to read, to have something good to pay for my old arithmetic.”
His mouth was full of corn-ball and preparing itself to take in more, when his teacher, watching the long detention of Charlie’s head in such a humble posture, and suspicious of the real reason, stole softly up behind Charlie and, looking over his shoulder, was puzzled to decide whether the corn-ball was going into Charlie or he into the corn-ball. He quietly stole back to his desk and there abruptly shouted, “Macomber, you may read about the ‘Miller’ at once.”
The shot struck. Charlie bounded up in great confusion, his month full of corn-ball!
“Hold, Macomber!” said the master, in a very sarcastic way. “It must be evident to you that a man cannot successfully read about the grinding of corn, and yet be grinding corn in his mouth at the same time.” Then he broke out into a roar, “Stand out in the floor! You may do any further grinding there. Stop after school, also!”