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ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
HISTORY OF JOHN THE FOOTMAN. ABRAHAM HARDY was sitting in his cottage one evening, when a neighbour stepped in to have a little talk with him.
Neighbour. I wish you joy of your son's good luck, in getting such a fine place.
Abraham. Thank you kindly: it may be joy or sorrow.
Neigh. Why I don't see much sorrow in it: few young boys get such a place at first starting.
Abr. It all depends upon his own, behaviour; or, I should say, on the grace of God, which only can keep him safe.
Neigh. To be sure ; but then he is a good lad, and you have had him well taught what is right.
Abr. True; but now comes the practice. Neigh. That's very right what you say, and practice is the hardest part; but I think John will do well.
Abr. I pray God he may.
Here ended the conversation. You see, by what he said, Abraham hoped the best, and feared the worst: he knew that his son was well disposed, a religious, tractable boy ; so he hoped he might do well; but then he knew how many temptations he would have to go wrong, and how hard it is to keep right; so he feared the worst.
John had gone that morning to Mr. Brown's service, where there was plenty of work, and only one
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man kept: besides this, Mr. Brown was a gentleman who did not neglect his servants, but had family prayers for them, and did his best to keep them in the right way.
John liked his place very much, and gave satisfaction, because he never wanted to be told any thing twice, which is what people like in a servant. John was not very clever or sharp, but he had a good understanding ; and he never forgot what his father said to him. “John,” he said, " be sure you are not told any thing twice over.”
After living six months in service, John had become a pretty good servant; he wore a very neat livery, looked very tidy, knew how things ought to be done, and had lost his shyness. Then you may suppose that John knew very well that he was improved; and, when he went home to his father's, one Sunday afternoon, he looked as if he knew it. His father said to him, “ You are a fine fellow, John!" John did not know what his father meant by saying this, but he coloured very much, and answered, “ Why did you say so, father?” “ Because you think it, John." Now John hung down his head; for, though he had thought himself a fine fellow in his heart, he scarcely knew, before, how much he thought it, and all at once, now, he seemed to know that he was not a fine fellow; that there were a great many servants much better than himself; that he knew but little, after all; and, what was worse, that he was growing proud, and, worse than all, his father had found it out. The tear came in his eye, but he resolved to be more humble in future.
John had not many acquaintances; but a lad of his own age, who brought milk from the farm every day, became a friend of his for a time. John's father had often said, “ John, try a friend before you make him one;" and therefore John did not, all at once, make sure that George was all he seemed. Once they were standing together at the gate, when they heard music: George said, that lie knew what it was; a man with a very diverting monkey; and away they ran in hopes of seeing it: but when they reached the place where they expected to find it, they were told that it was just gone into the public house. George was going on, but John turned back, much disappointed. " Why are you going away?" asked George. “ Because," answered John, “ have made a resolution never to go into a public house, unless my master sends me there on business.”
“Never mind, just for once," said George.
“ No,” said John, “ my father told me to beware of the first time.”
" But I don't want you to drink; can just standing and looking on do any harm ?" " I do not mean to try.”
So John went home, and George went to see the monkey in the public house.
It was not the first time he had been there, nor was it the last. He got into the habit of standing and looking on, till he became used to all the wickedness he saw there, and it ended in his drinking like the rest. But John went on in his own way, dreading nothing so much as the first time he should go to such a place. His master was very well pleased with him, and he lived a year and a half most happily. So far all was well: he kept in the straight path, and was in favour with God and man; but then he had few trials: the temptations were to come, and we shall see how he conducted himself.
Mr. Brown, John's master, told him one day, that he did not mean to keep him any longer, as he was going to travel ; but said, that he would do his best to look out for another place, and would give him a good character.
It was an unexpected sorrow to John when he found that he must leave his comfortable service; but there was no help for it; and he thought himself well off when he heard of another.
This place, which Mr. Brown was so kind as to get for John, was a very grand one, where five men were