upon my health. I followed his advice, and, with
the small sum of money which I had been able to lay
by, added to what I received from the sale of my few
articles of household furniture, I left the city.
When I left Boston I had no particular place in view
as to where I might find a home. I had decided
upon opening a school in some country village if I
could meet with encouragement in the undertaking.
About fifty miles distant from this city I was taken
ill, and for several weeks was unable to proceed on
my way. When I was sufficiently recovered to
allow of my again travelling I found it to be imperatively
necessary that I should seek some place where I could
earn a support for myself and child, as the small sum
of money with which I left Boston was now nearly gone.
The kind gentleman, in whose house I remained during
my illness, informed me that he was well acquainted
in the village of Walden, and he thought it a place
where I would be likely to succeed in establishing
a select school for young children, as he informed
me there were many wealthy people residing here, who
would patronize a school of this kind. With this
intention I came to this village, and when I purchased
my ticket for Walden I had but one dollar remaining
in my purse, which, with the clothing and other articles
contained in my trunk is all I possess in the world.
But this matters little to me now, for I feel that
my days on earth are numbered. I am unable to
reward you for your exceeding kindness to myself and
child; but I pray Heaven to reward and bless you,
both temporally and spiritually. It is hard for
me to leave my dear child, but I now feel resigned
to the will of Heaven, knowing that whatever He wills
is for the best.”
And so the little orphan boy found a home and friends
to love and cherish him.
Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey felt a tender love for the lovely
and engaging orphan. Mrs. Humphrey, in particular,
seemed almost to idolize him.
She had many years before lost, by death, a little
boy, when of about the same age which little Ernest
was when thus strangely cast upon her bounty; and
this circumstance may have attached her more strongly
to the child.
Mr. Humphrey was equally fond of the boy, but his
disposition was less demonstrative than was that of
his wife he was, therefore not so much inclined to
indulge, the child in a manner which would prove injurious
to him as he grew older.
Although the child had a very affectionate disposition
he yet possessed a will that liked not to yield to
that of another. Young as the child was, his
mother had discovered this trait in his character and
had, previously to her death, spoken of the matter
to Mrs. Humphrey, and besought her—as she
valued her own happiness and that of the child—to
exact strict obedience from him when he should be left
solely to her care.
“Even,” said she, “should it require
severe measures to break that will, it must be done.
Remember it is for the best good of the child.”