In taking a retrospective view of the past, and contrasting it with the happy present, I feel that the consoling words which, in a dream, my mother uttered to me, years ago, have been more than verified,—“Fear not, my beloved daughter; only continue in the path of duty, and all will yet be well.”
Some years since circumstances caused me to spend the summer months in a farming district, a few miles from the village of E., and it was there I met with Terry Dolan. He had a short time previous come over from Ireland, and was engaged as a sort of chore boy by Mr. L., in whose family I resided during my stay in the neighborhood. This Terry was the oddest being with whom I ever chanced to meet. Would that I could describe him!—but most of us, I believe, occasionally meet with people, whom we find to be indescribable, and Terry was one of those. He called himself sixteen years of age; but, excepting that he was low of stature, you would about as soon have taken him for sixty as sixteen. His countenance looked anything but youthful, and there was altogether a sort of queer, ancient look about him which caused him to appear very remarkable. When he first came to reside with Mr. L. the boys in the neighborhood nicknamed him “The Little Old Man,” but they soon learned by experience that their wisest plan was to place a safe distance between Terry and themselves before applying that name to him, for the implied taunt regarding his peculiar appearance enraged him beyond measure. Whenever he entered the room, specially if he ventured a remark—and no matter how serious you might have been a moment before—the laugh would come, do your best to repress it. When I first became an inmate with the family, I was too often inclined to laugh at the oddities of Terry—and I believe a much graver person than I was at that time would have done the same—but after a time, when I learned something of his past life, I regarded him with a feeling of pity, although to avoid laughing at him, at times, were next to impossible.