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gave me when I left home, but I am afraid to change it, for if I do all my money will soon be gone." This circumstance gave Mr. L. such an high opinion of Henry's carefulness of disposition, that he immediately resolved to take him into his service; and having obtained the name of the benevolent Vicar of Y, he wrote to him, and within the space of a few days, he received an answer which confirmed the truth of the statement he had received; and which at the same time bore an honourable testimony to the fidelity and industry of the adventurous youth.
Mr. Lucas was a grocer, who lived in Fand having acquired a handsome fortune by his trade, like most of the wealthy citizens, he had his countryhouse, where he spent the summer months. He generally came to business in the morning, and returned about four o'clock; and as his groom had just left him, he took Henry with him to supply his place. He had to clean the horse and gig-the knives and shoes-and look after some choice poultry; and such was the attention he paid to his work, and the kindness, and amiability of his temper and disposition, that he soon gained the esteem of the whole family. He continued with the family till they returned to town for the winter, when he accompanied them; and as he possessed talents which fitted him for a higher situation, his master took him into the shop, where he distinguished himself by his assiduity and attention to business. one was cleaner in his person, or neater in his dress; no one was more obliging in his disposition; the rusti city of his appearance soon gave way to the polish of ⚫ refined manners; his punctuality and habit of dispatch became proverbial; and though his temper was hasty and irritable, yet he kept it in a state of subjection; and uniformly displayed à union of excellence, which is but rarely found in one person.
Such is the precarious tenure on which men hold their reputation under this mysterious dispensation of Providence, that it is often endangered no less by their virtues, than their vices; and those who at one period are esteemed and admired by the wise and the good, are plunged into the depth of infamy by the malignant cruelty of the wicked. Thus it was with Henry.
two belonging to the establishment, his seniors in age, and superiors in rank, who became jealous of him; and as they could not shake the stability of his character by any just accusations, they resolved to destroy it by artifice. One of them had the care of the till-drawer, and for several succeeding evenings he complained to the head shopman of having missed some money; when it was arranged between them, that the drawer should be emptied at an earlier hour, and some marked money put into it. This was done, and at nine o'clock the money was counted, and there was no less than five shillings and sixpence missing. This report was immediately taken to Mr. Lucas, who called them all into the counting-house, and having stated the fact, he proposed that every one should consent to have his person, and his boxes searched, without being permitted to leave the room except for that purpose. This proposal gave entire satisfaction, and they drew lots to determine the exact order in which the search should be conducted. The first name drawn was the head shopman, who immediately gave up all his keys to Mr. Lucas, and underwent the strictest examination, but he was pronounced innocent-the second was the man who had the care of the till, and he was pronounced innocent-the third was Henry Holmes, who, after being searched, said, " My box, Sir, is not locked." On Mr. Lucas's return, he looked stedfastly in Henry's face, and said, “I certainly did not suspect you Henry, but I have found the money in your box, (producing it), and as you have given me such a proof of your ingratitude and perfidy, you shall leave my house to-morrow morning." Sir," said Henry, in a firm tone, I am innocent. Some one has placed the money in my box, which might be very easily done, as I scarcely ever lock it." "I have suspected you for a long time," said one of the shopmen, for no one is so likely to be guilty of fraud, as he who overacts the part of virtue."
Mr. Lucas now withdrew into the parlour, when he related the whole occurrence, and as soon as Mrs. Lucas had heard the accusation of the shopman, she said, Henry is innocent. He is the victim of another's guilt, and some plan must be adopted to detect the culprit. In my opinion the accuser is the culprit, or he is
an accomplice. Is it fair to presume that he who stole the last sum, stole the preceding sums that have been lost? how then will you account for finding only the five shillings and sixpence?" "It is impossible," said Miss Lucas, that Henry can be the thief. We never lost any thing when he was with us at the villa, and we know that he does not go out to scenes of amusement like some of the others, and therefore he is under less temptation to extravagance than they are. There is a plot to effect his ruin, which I hope will be discovered." While they were talking, the housemaid entered the parlour, and said, that she had just overheard two of the young men talking together on the subject, and she distinctly heard one say to the other, "It was well planned, and well executed, and now we shall get rid of him." She was requested to take no notice of what she had heard, but to act as though she really believed that Henry was guilty. As these two young men slept together, Mr. Lucas cautiously removed some tea chests which stood against a thin partition that separated their bed-room from an upper warehouse, and having placed himself near an aperture in one of the boards, he waited there till they retired to rest. Having, from their own conversation, received a full conviction of their guilt, he silently withdrew, and informed his wife and daughter that he was perfectly satisfied of Henry's innocence.
The next morning he rose rather earlier than usual, and before the porter had opened the shop, he summoned all into his presence, and charged these two men, first, with the crime of stealing the money, and then with the still baser crime of involving an innocent person in the guilt of their transgression. This unexpected charge-the indignant firmness with which it was brought the involuntary movement of Henry, who came forward to look his accusers in the face, confounded and abashed them; and though they each made some faint efforts to deny it, yet when Mr. Lucas repeated the conversation which he had overheard the preceding night, and threatened that if they did not immediately acknowledge their guilt, and solicit Henry's forgiveness, he would send for the police, they made a full confession, and implored mercy in the most suppli
ant manner. Henry forgave them, and interceded for them; but Mr. Lucas would not consent that such men should remain in his service, and having paid them their arrears of wages, he discharged them.
This plot which was laid to effect his ruin, led to his advancement, and he gradually rosc step after step, till he became the most responsible servant belonging to the establishment.
We often see tradesmen, when they have amassed a large fortune, affecting contempt for that rank of life in which they have moved, discovering at the same time a strong anxiety that their children, especially their daughters, should form alliances with those who move in the higher and more dignified circles. Hence they will often sacrifice a daughter at the shrine of their vanity, and give a large portion of that wealth which their own industry has accumulated, to some titled pauper, whose extravagance first reduces her to beggary, and whose unkindness breaks her heart. But Mr. Lucas was a wise man. He never rose in fecling or in expectation above the level of his profession. He had but one child, and he wished to see her happy; and when he perceived that there was a mutual regard subsisting between her and Henry, he expressed his entire approbation, and they were married. On this event taking place, Mr. Lucas retired from business, and at his decease, which happened about twelve months after Mrs. Lucas's, he left the greater part of his property to Mr. Holmes.
Mr. Holmes, who had risen by the divine blessing on the force of his own industry, from indigence to affluence, from a low degree of obscurity to considerable eminence, would often allude in conversation to his original condition, and exhibit his guinea as a proud memorial of his former poverty; thus rebuking by his example, the pride of many of our modern Croesus's, who are no less anxious to conceal from others their origin, than they are to display their vanity. He had a large family, and as he had taken considerable pains with the education of his children, and set before them an example worthy their imitation, he had the pleasure of seeing them growing up into life, esteemed and respected, bidding fair to be the ornaments of a future generation. His
two eldest sons were in partnership with him, his youngest was walking the hospitals he had one daughter married to a farmer, who resided in his native county, and three still living with him. He had long resisted the importunity of his children to take some country residence, that they might enjoy the occasional retreat from the noise, and smoke, and bustle of the city; but, when the mother urged the measure, it was adopted, as he was no less anxious to gratify her wishes, than she was to avoid the indulgence of improper ones.
After many unsuccessful efforts to obtain an eligible situation, he purchased a small cstate in the vicinity of about seven miles from London, where he erected a neat, yet commodious mansion, and having two sons who were competent to the management of his business, he retired from the more active, and laborious duties of it, to spend the evening of his days amidst those rural scenes, with which his earliest and deepest impressions were associated. Having been accustomed when a child to attend his parish church, on the Sabbath, he regularly observed the practice through life; and though for many years he had no clear регсерtions of the nature, or the design of the gospel, yet soon after the settlement of the Rev. Mr. Newton at St. Mary Woolnoth, he began to feel its enlightening and purifying influence. At first he disliked his style of preaching, and the pride of his heart rose up in high disdain against that plan of salvation which required the man of virtue to implore mercy in terms as humiliating as those which publicans and harlots employ ; but his prejudices gradually subsided as his knowledge increased, and though he could not remember any specific time when the great moral change was produced, by which he passed from death unto life, yet he uniformly spoke of it as the most important and blissful event of his history.
The renovation which the grace of God effects in the human character, often leaves the ruling passion to retain its ascendancy over the mind, while it simply gives it a new direction; and he who undergoes it, usually displays the same bold decision, or hesitating precautionthe same degree of native ardour, or lethargic supinencss