Friends and Neighbors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Friends and Neighbors.

“Thank you, Sir, I am sure I thank you; and mother will bless you for your kindness,” replied the boy, his countenance glowing with animation; and with a grateful “good night,” he darted off in the direction of his own home.

“There goes a grateful heart,” thought Uncle Joshua, as he gazed after the boy until he turned the corner of the street and disappeared.  “He has lost his situation merely because another can be found who will do the work for nothing for a year, in the vain hope of future recompense.  I wish Mary could have been with me this evening; I think she would have acknowledged that there are many respectable pickpockets who deserve to accompany poor Thomas to Blackwell’s Island;” and thus soliloquizing, Uncle Joshua reached the door of his boarding-house, and sought repose in his own room.


WE have more than once, in our rapidly written reflections, urged the policy and propriety of kindness, courtesy, and good-will between man and man.  It is so easy for an individual to manifest amenity of spirit, to avoid harshness, and thus to cheer and gladden the paths of all over whom he may have influence or control, that it is really surprising to find any one pursuing the very opposite course.  Strange as it may appear, there are among the children of men, hundreds who seem to take delight in making others unhappy.  They rejoice at an opportunity of being the messengers of evil tidings.  They are jealous or malignant; and in either case they exult in inflicting a wound.  The ancients, in most nations, had a peculiar dislike to croakers, prophets of evil, and the bearers of evil tidings.  It is recorded that the messenger from the banks of the Tigris, who first announced the defeat of the Roman army by the Persians, and the death of the Emperor Julian, in a Roman city of Asia Minor, was instantly buried under a heap of stones thrown upon him by an indignant populace.  And yet this messenger was innocent, and reluctantly discharged a painful duty.  But how different the spirit and the motive of volunteers in such cases—­those who exult in an opportunity of communicating bad news, and in some degree revel over the very agony which it produces.  The sensitive, the generous, the honourable, would ever be spared from such painful missions.  A case of more recent occurrence may be referred to as in point.  We allude to the murder of Mr. Roberts, a farmer of New Jersey, who was robbed and shot in his own wagon, near Camden.  It became necessary that the sad intelligence should be broken to his wife and family with as much delicacy as possible.  A neighbour was selected for the task, and at first consented.  But, on consideration, his heart failed him.  He could not, he said, communicate the details of a tragedy so appalling and he begged to be excused.  Another, formed it was thought of sterner stuff, was then fixed upon:  but he too, rough and bluff as he was in his ordinary

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Friends and Neighbors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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