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A Leaf From A Life

A Leaf From A Life image
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The simple fncts recorded in tliis story, oocurrod in a city many miles lïom here. It would bo impossible for soh a case to happen in Chicago, We aro the personificaiion of Charity. We have no uncaredr for poor amongus. Wa are angels and this is Paradise ! Therefore, I wieh it distinctly un-Jerstood that I write of a " pitiful case " (as the papers cali it) which camo under my notico iu a distunt city, years ago. As a rule, phyicians are the most charitablo oí men. ïhoy inay not give forunes awuy ; but their time, which is moncy, is freely given to the suffe ring, n more cases than one might suppose, without money and without price." It was upon a free.zing cold night that a p.unk pjiysjcian, stepped into the warin, 'cll-lighted office of a merchant-prince. 'he doctor was poor and needy ; his coat vas worn and threadbare, and furnished jut lítelo protection against the cold of li e season, because he labo-red among the joo.r, and gave 'bis tim.e to tiloso wh.ow(jrj n a blo to pay for it. The mtrcha.nt was a wealthy, pious, cminentiy respeetablo" nember of soiety. Ho was the mainstay of tho huroh. ia promotor of eharitable schomes, and subseribcr to all.charities - which wero jacked by inftueace.jor oonferred distinct;ion upon the givcr. The world at largo ïonored his name ; but ihe men in his iujiIüv SF,ene vont ío smiie my.sterieusly when kis charites were mentioned in their hearing, and oneofthem was heard to remark that he "Soevér knoweJ a man so woii namod." Now, .to say, this model mrm's name was Cantter. So, into Mr. Cantter'a office tho young physician walked, with somotrepidatiou ; but, being one of the world at large, not til tllat be ivould bo he&rd, ior bn was i n a begging oxpedition. Not for hiwself - he wonld rather have diod than bfig, but for a poor boy who iny dj'ing in a tcnement-houso in Dead Man's Eow ; lay dyirig of starvation. It was too late to save his lifo; that the doctor know, but he hqpei to rake suffieient money to make the boy comfortable for the remainder of tho life left him. As he oponed the door of the counting-room, he saw Mr. Cantter standing bei'ore the clowiiii;gjate-üre, .declaimiiig nobly u.pon tho beauties of truo charity, to his book-keeper, who, being hard pushed to live upon the pittance paid h:m by his omployer, was not as enthusiastfc as his employer would havo had him. " and has not charity, and it prefiteth himnutlii-::-g;" said Mr. Cantter, in a' loud tone oí' vcice, as the door opened, and ho thought flashed ihrough his mind that perhaps it was the pastor of . his.elluKh. 3iie doctor entered, and suddenly the flood oí' .eloquonoe which Mr, Cantter was pouring out iipon the u-nrosisting clerk was hushed, forhe knew the1 doctor, and knew also that he wasabout to ask for anoncy, and his hands camo from behind his back, went into his pockets, and remained there. The doctor, by way of beginning-, romarked upou the severity of the weather. Yes," said Mr. Cantter, "iGod lielp the jpoor ' " The bookkeepcF, "bending ovor tho ledger, smiled to himself, but said nothing. Tho doctor hardly liked the expression ujjon the merchant's face, and the oily unetian with whioh these words rolled from his mouth, but resolutely dashed at his subject. He depicted the sufferings of the dwellers in J)ead Man's lïow ; the tumbledo.wnhouses, admitting the wind and snow at every corner ; the famine which reigned in them ; andthen excitud by the tro u bles he had witnessed, he appealed to ,the nierchaut to helu those who worcunable to help themselves. Warmth usually begets warmth, and it is therefore, more singular, but uot less truc, that, as the doctor warrfed, Mr. Cantter cooled and, when he bad fiuished speaking, that gentleman said : "I can do nothing for yon. I ama subscriber to tha Magdaleu's Home, the iEsculapius Hospital, the Seamen's Eefuge. the Noith l'ulu Misoioive, the " "Put this is - " " Tract Sooicties," continued Mr. Cantter, calmly ignoring the doctor, "and I can i elther spire the time nur money to aid a vagabond who may ba decuiving you." " Thore can bo no deception in starvation." " Well, maybenot ; but I might be placing a premium on dishonesty, and I hope to aid worthy objects." " AH worthy, no doubt ; but this is a case of such utter wretchedness. A boy, a littlo morsel of a child, dying.for want of food," pleaded the doctor. " I dare say," said Mr. Cantter ; " but charity, to be effeotive, must be vell direoted. You must come to our church next Sunday. We havo the iinest preacher in the city, and, as his aermon is upon charity, you will, no doubt, bo ablo to proiit by his suggestions." " But iibout the boy ? :' said the doctor, fearful that the conveisation would wander aw.iy from tho subjnct which interested him more than tho sermou wliich was in prospect. " I can't squander moncy on such objects," said tho merchant, again suddenly dropping from warmth to cold. " I can give yon a letter to the Director of the Poor Children's Home, anti. at the next meeting of the Boar't - " " D - 11 the board ! " said the doctor, now thoroughly indignant. " l'rofanity ! And in my presence ! " exclaimed tho niercbant. "You shock inc, sir." "Shock j'ou ! " said the doctor. "Shock you I How havo you shocked me with your lying talk of charity V Is it charity io go to il fine uhurch,: - to listen to a sonsatioiial preitohcr? Js it charity to go to a luxurióus home, to eut a gréftí dinnor, and talk over the sermón V Is it charity to sit on v velvct sofa before a blazing firc ; to look through Freiich plate glas windows at the bouseless, hungry poor, as they hurry by, and say, ' God help the poor 't ' Suauiü upon a-aeli charity - " " Sir 1 " said Mr. C.antter. Tho bookkeeper siniled eneouragingly upon the speaker. "ï-hame upon such. clmrity, I say," continurii he, borne on by thoilood of indignation. " A true, noble charity is the best thing npon earth ; but a hypocritio:il cbarily should bu a Weight saflioient to dama any soul." And, slauzuing tho door to, the doctor strode avvay. " I ara truly sliockod at tluit yonng man's rockless uso of strong terras," said Mr. Canttcr ; " but," lio addod, ronoctively, "let us hopo that he wiü see tho error of hia ways and repent before it is too late, I hope, Mr Strong, that you will take warning from him, and be more regjilar in your attendance at church. Byi the way, to-morrow is Sunday, and ypa must come to our church and hear Mr. Highfalutin on 'Charity.'" Ihe doctor diaheartarléd at his rebuff, and thoroughly indignantat thehypocrisy of which he had been a vitness, paused irresolutely on tho corner, and, as In; stood there he heard a qnick step behind lim ; then a hand hurriedly thrust a small roll of monéy in hia ; and turning 10 was just in time to si e tho form of Mr. iantter's bookkeeper disappearing in tho rloom. The sum was small, but it was uüicient for thu pui pose, and, with a ighter heart. tho doctor went his way to )iad Mun's llow. A narrow, íilthy passage-way bctween Lwo houses leads froru thí fino thoroughfare into a narrow, íilthy court, anri at the end of the court stands Dead ilan's Eow, immcdi'.tely in the rear of a fine church - Mr. Canttcr's church. Why this name isccnferredupon these tumbledoun old rookeriee.. I ara not ablo to .state. Sum'co to say, tliat they were so called, and at th.e first glanco, ono was apt to aoknowlcdge its suitablenoss. As tho doctor passed down the wretched-looking court, ho stopped one moment to shake his fist at the church looming up so gran di y beforo hita ; then opened tho door of ona of tho most wretched looking houses in tho block. Up four pairs ot' creaking, swaying stairs he went and thon, haying arrived at the garret, stooned to avoid theslophig roof, and eniered a sq.nalid, comfortless room. There was 110 furniture ot'any'kind to be seen, andnofire. ïho wind blow in at the windows and the door, and snow had driitod jn at the samo places, and lay in little piles on the floor. A woman .clothed in rags, siítirjg by a striw pallet in ono corner of the room, arose as iie enterod and lookod at hnu mquiringly. " Yès," he said " af tor aotne trouble," "Th ank the Lord tbr that!" sho ausworedj fervently. "The poor. boy can die in pcace, at any rate." . " J. ordored tho thiugs sent nf. Is lic asloep ? " "Unconseions like," answered the woman. " His brain wandors a little at .times." A littlo morsel of a boj1 lay upon tho bed, - the unmistakablo mark ot lamine in his fuc.e. Tho doctor bent over him, and looki;:; into his face a moment, said to thu wa man, standing silont at his sido : "His pain is over. ïle will probably live uiitil morning, but ho will neyec again be conseious." The long night passod, tho dny dawned and the boy still lived. The morning wore on, and church time carne. Carriages r&ttled up to the door of the church, and discharged their loads of silks, satins, and broadcloths. ïho bowing ushers opened the doors of the crimsoned-lined,, and tho congregation slowly assemblcd. " What do you know of charity ? " thought the doctcr. ' Here, not .more than twenty feet frora the pulpit of your church, poverty i;eigns supremo ; yot not one of you all ever took the troublü to look -here for a field of usefulness. Yoa give a littlo from yuur abundance, and and jilumo yonrselves on your charitabb hearts ; and, from that poor woman I13 fhe bpd, you might learn mucli. She cheerfully givcs what she .can - her tim'c -in behalf of a boj' she novar saw before and - " ïhe organist of tho chnrch commenced the voluntary, and an exclamation from tho woman brought the doctor to the bed. Tho littlo sufferer moved uneasily ; then a smile came upon his wan face, a far-away look .into his eyes. "I hcar musió," he murmored, Was it tlie songs of tho angels, or the strains of the grand organ that ho heard? Vho can teil.-? ■" He is going fast," whispered the doctor. The woman was silently weoping, and covered her face with her hands. And the .first .notes ot' "iCome, ye disconsolatQ," came to thom from the chnrch. Again tho far-away look camo into the boy's eycs, the smile upon his lips ; his thin, white hand stirred upon tho bed, and, while the last strains still lingered upon the air, ho turncd hia face to the wall, and so - died And, as tho man in threadbare coat, and the woraan in rags, knelt by his side and prayefl silently, in the church the preacher clothed in.broadcloth, arose and out his text.: "Charity covereth a multitude of sins." Silks and satins rustlcd as their wcarers seated thomselves to listen, and the sermón went on. Tho sermón went on, glowing lauguage, depicttnl tlij want and wrotchedness of the poor ; and the vast congregation listened in rapt attu'ition. Upon tho speaker, too, tho subject took a hold, and by degrees, his gestures became moro natural and less studied, his phrases more earnost and less glittering. So tha sermón went "on, and nt last, aftor a thrilling appcal, the preacher raised his jewelled hands, cast up his eyes and cried, as though in agony : "God holp the pooi !" and the vnst erngregation bowed, and softly muimered : "God help the poor ! " And then - woll, thon tho service was ended, and tho prencher and congregation wout homo to their dinners, and left Charity - entirely in tho hands of tho


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Michigan Argus