This sympathy with each other is one of the most beautiful traits of their character, and shows a nature that may be nobly developed. They cannot but learn much that is good in the hours spent in their reading-room, as they listen to the instruction of those interested in their welfare. Many of them have already found good situations, and give promise of becoming useful men. They appreciate kindness and civility. “Mr. —— spoke to me in the street, when he was walking with another gentleman and he shook hands with me too,” said one of them triumphantly, as if he had risen in the scale of being, and was more worthy of respect, in consequence of the respect with which he had been treated. Few can estimate the power of sympathy.
“Speak gently, kindly,
to the poor;
Let no harsh term be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word.”
“I have never forgotten your words of kindness, when I was poor and almost discouraged,” wrote one lady to another, and no more will any child of want forget the utterance of a warm, generous heart.
I should have told you, that besides the money the boys put in the bank, they earn enough to pay for their lodging, six cents a night, and to purchase their food, and, sometimes, various articles of clothing. They are obliged to be very active, and to be up early in the morning. They may be found in all parts of the city, crying their papers with loud, piercing voices, and running at full speed from street to street, stopping only to sell papers to any who may buy.
It would be well if they had some occupation which would expose them less to bad company and unsteady habits; but a news-boy can be honest, virtuous, and temperate, as well as any other boy,—if he will take the right way to be.
At one time, when Mrs. Dudley was spending a few days in the city, she went with a friend to call upon a poor woman whom she heard was in great need. This woman had sent a daughter, about eight years old, to school for one day, and then found that she could not spare her; she felt obliged to keep her at home to take care of the baby.
Mrs. Carter—for by this name I shall call her—occupied a house back from the street. The ladies ascended the steps leading to the first floor, and inquired if she lived there. “She is in the basement,” was the answer. They descended into the area. It was neatly swept, and in perfect order. “It must be a genteel woman who lives here,” remarked Mrs. Benton. They knocked. A voice bade them come in. They opened the door and entered. Mrs. Carter was sewing by a table. By her side stood Georgianna, her oldest child, plainly and neatly dressed. At the other end of the table was a little girl about four years old, whose name I forget, and in the rocking-chair before the stove was a dark-haired babe, quietly sleeping.