“Stop one minute,” he called, as William was leaving the room. “Have you any friends in the city? and where do you live?”
William replied that he had no real friends but old Thomas Burton the watchman, and his wife. Mrs. Bradley, the market-woman, had been very kind to him too, but it was the old watchman who took him to church, and when he was troubled about the purse, had taken it to the right owner. The sounds of swift footsteps were now heard, and a bright-looking boy of fourteen came bustling in at the door. “Father,” he said, “grandfather wants me to take a drive with him; can I go?”
“Stay a moment first, George,” answered Mr. Stewart. “I believe you lost your purse on Christmas eve, at least I heard you lamenting something of the kind. You recovered it, and you said you wished to reward the finder; did you ever do so?”
“No, father,” replied George, “I did not. An old watchman who brought it told grandfather that a shoemaker’s boy had found it, but was then so ill that it was most likely he would never recover, and so—”
“And so, George, you never inquired whether he lived or died,” said Mr. Stewart. “That is the true spirit of the world, to care only for self. George, I believe this is the boy who found it; thank him, at least, if you do not reward him.”
“I do not want any reward for giving to another that which was his own,” said the little shoemaker; “but if Master George chooses, he can give something to little Ned Graham, who needs it very much.”
“And who is little Ned Graham?” inquired Mr. Stewart, smiling.
Our hero explained in as few words as possible; at the close of which narration Mr. Stewart, making no remark, turned once more to his easel, and George conducted the little shoemaker to the room where he was to leave the shoes. The old lady was pleased, and William, having received the money for them, ran swiftly homeward, never once dreaming of the good that was in store for him.
THE DAWN OF BETTER DAYS.
Mr. Stewart, kind and benevolent as he was, never suffered himself to be carried away by any impulse, however generous it might be. On the day which we have named as the second time of meeting with our hero, when he resumed his pallet-board and began to work on his picture, he did so with an attention which seemed to rest only on the creation before him, as if he were forgetful of all lower subjects, or that there was such a being as a shoemaker’s boy in the world.
But the beautiful images that rose from under his hand did not shut out the figure of the orphan boy as he had twice seen him,—once beside the grave of his parents, and again in his study. He was not so absorbed by the love of his art that there was no room in his mind for the reception of those higher subjects which relate to man’s ultimate destiny. He felt that every one is sent into the