Several weeks ago, the boys voted not to take their money from the bank till November, that they might then have the means of purchasing warm clothes for the winter. I had quite a curiosity to look into the bank, to see how much the boys had saved. In some of the divisions there were only a few pennies, while in others there were several dollars.
I never looked upon any bank with so much pleasure, as I did upon this simple one of the news-boys. It was teaching them a lesson of economy and forethought, which I trust they will never forget. When they enjoy their comfortable coats and warm pantaloons in the cold weather of winter, they cannot avoid remembering, that it was by taking care of the pennies, that they were enabled so nicely to clothe themselves. The news-boys have never been taught the true value of money. They have not hesitated to gamble it away, or to spend it for segars and tobacco, and other unnecessary and hurtful things. They have been exceedingly improvident and have had no idea of laying up any thing for the future.
One evening, as the boys were gathered in their sitting-room, one of them was leaning on the bank. He held up a quarter of a dollar between his thumb and finger, and, looking at his companions, said, “You know Simpson, the pawnbroker?” “Yes.” “He is a friend in need, but here is a friend indeed!” and the bright silver dropped, jingling, into his bank.
Those news-boys all of them possess more than ordinary intelligence and energy of character. “Every one of them,” as a gentleman said, “is worth saving.” They are sure to make men, and to exert an influence in the world.
After my return from my visit to their rooms, I told some children about the necessities of these news-boys, and how much they need better clothing. A little girl, whom I know, has determined to make a shirt for one of them. I am sure it will be acceptable; for, frequently, when they first go to the lodging-house, they are so filthy that something must be given them to make them decent. Perhaps other children may like to do something to benefit those needy ones, who have no father nor mother to take care of them and provide for their wants.
When the bank was opened, the first of November it was found to contain seventy-nine dollars and eleven cents! This sum of money had been saved in seven weeks, by twenty-four boys. They were quite astonished at their own success. They learned the lesson by personal experience, that if they took care of the pennies, the shillings would take care of themselves. Some of them had saved enough to buy a new suit of clothes, others enough for pantaloons, and others for a cap or shoes. They were advised not to spend their money hastily; but a few were too impatient to wait, and the same evening they received it they went out to make their purchases. Others laid by their money till morning.