“Once,” said he, “I refused to sign. I trusted to my own self, and thought because I was young and strong I could resist temptation. I said I would not make myself a slave to a pledge, and clung to my promise till I found myself a slave to an appetite. I ask your pardon, George, for the manner in which I treated your request.”
“I grant it.”
“Then I am happy, we are happy, and the future shall redeem the past.”
The door opened, and a bright-eyed boy, bounding into the room, sprang upon his father, and, with a smile, said, “Father, I’m a Cadet of Temperance! We formed a little society this morning, ’cause Father Mathew has come to Boston. We’ve got six names, and we are to have more.”
James kissed his child, and encouraged him to go on in the cause he had so early espoused.
Messrs. Laneville & Co. engaged a new clerk,—a young man of seventeen, hopeful, promising. He had heard of the fate of his predecessors, of the narrow escape of him whose place he was being trained to fill; but, like them and him, he thought himself stronger than the tempter at his side. That firm is in the home-desolating business to-day, though James has used much endeavor to induce them to relinquish it. The young man is there to-day, open to temptations which have conquered many strong men, have destroyed many mighty. The pledge is with us to-day, open for those who have fallen, for those who yet stand,—an instrument of God, in human hands, to rescue the one and to preserve the other.
Blue-eyed child, with flaxen
’Neath my window played, one day;
And its tiny song of gladness,
Sounded like an angel’s lay.
Roses bright in beauty blossomed
Round the path the cherub trod
Yet it seemed that child was fairest,
Freshest from the hand of God.
Watched I her till hour of sunset
Told me of the coming night,
And the sun o’er rock and mountain
Shed its flood of golden light.
Yet she gambolled, though the dew-drops
Fell upon her thick and fast;
Fearing ill, I went and told her,—
Dearest child, the day hath past:
“Haste thee to thy home,—there waiting
Is thy parent, thee to bless.”
Then she hasted from the play-ground,
To her mother’s fond caress.
Stars shone forth in all their splendor,
And the moon with silver light
Rose in beauty, and presided
Queen o’er all the hosts of night.
Days had passed; I had not seen her,
Had not heard her merry laugh,
Nor those joyous tones that told me
Of the joy her spirit quaffed.
Vain I asked whence Angelina
Had departed,—none could tell;
Feared I then that sorrow gathered