Wild Dick and Good Little Robin

Number Two. WILD DICK AND GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. Fourth Edition. i5 d s t o $: PUBLISHED BY FORD & DAMRELL. 1833.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by FORD AND DAMRELL, In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

TO THE READER. A very few weeks only have gone by, since I requested you to read, Number One. It is probable that you have complied with my request; for the publishers inform me they are already at work upon the ninth edition, and have been requested, by the friends of temperance, in the state of New York, to permit them to strike off one hundred thousand copies for gratuitous distribution. I have been cheered, by the assurance of some highly intelligent and benevolent individuals, that Number One has been productive of good. I wrote it for that end, and sent it forth into the world, with a prayer to that effect. I thank the Giver of every good and perfect gift, that he has .vouchsafed his blessing upon these humble labors. I now respectfully present Number Two for your perusal. It has been objected to Number

One, that the language, in which it is written, is above the level of certain capacities ; and that farmer Johnson does not talk precisely in a farmerlike style. The same objection may, with equal propriety, be made to Number Two. But it must be remembered, that these stories are not intended for little children alone, nor by any means exclusively for uneducated persons. There are many, (f mature age, excellent capacity, and highly educated, whom we would persuade to become as little children, and profit by that instruction, which these tales are designed to supply. ' We are apt to over-graduate the change, between our present seasons and the corresponding seasons of our youth, forgetting that Thomson’s description of an English spring, by which so many of us have been fairly transported, in our childhood, over the sea, is, after all, the genuine spring, which lives in our early recollections. It appears to me, that we have been occasionally misled, in a somewhat similar manner, in the preparation of books de^ signed for certain classes of our fellow-countrymen. Under a monarchy, it is of importance to keep up the Chinese ivall of distinction between the

rich and the poor. When a simple commoner, hy his prodigious wealth, or colossal, intellectual power, distinguishes himself J he is taken over the wall, and transformed into a lord, lest he should furnish an inconvenient exception to the general rule. Knowledge and ignorance, refinement and vulgarity, under such a form of government, are placed and retained in the most striking contradistinction to each other. Societies for the diffusion of use- fhl knowledge, are’gradually demolishing the barrier. Until very lately, however, a convention of all the American children, of seven years old, would have rejected,. by au overwhelming vote, as beneath their capacity, a very large proportion of all the little volumes, prepared for the mechanics and peasantry of England. It is not easy to perceive, even in works designed for children alone, the utility of broken English ; nor of a mean and meagre phraseology in those, intended for the majority of the people. There are many sensible remarks, having a bearing on this subject, in Pope’s ironical examination of the comparative merits of the pastorals of Phillips and his own. To be sure, it would not Iw expedient to make a farmer talk like a met-

vi aphysician, nor a rough child of the ocean like an accomplished divine. I cannot believe that a hard word, occurring once, or even twice, in a little work of this kind, is likely to be productive of harm. No human crea^ ture understands the pleasure of overcoming the difficulties, which lie in his path, more thoroughly than a New England farmer; and, even if a hard word should lie across the furrow, he will not only be enabled to turn it out, with the assistance of Noah Webster’s patent plough, but he will be the better pleased with the fruit of his toil, for the labor it may cost him.

WILD DICK AND GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. ____________________ # Richard Wild and Robert Little were bom on two pleasantly situated home- steadi that bqiMided on each other. Their parents, though differing essentially in their habits 'of life, were ^ood neighbors. There were biit a few weeks’ difference between the ages of these children, and they grew up from their cradles, with the strongest attachment for each other. I have seen Robert, a hundred times, in the fine mornings and evenings of summer, sitting on a particular rock, at the bottom of bis father’s garden, with his dipper of bread and milk; not tasting a mouthful, till Richard came and sat down, with his dipper,

8 WILD DICK AND 32 at his side. They teetered together on a board, placed over the boundary wall. As they grew a little older, they snared blue jays and trapped striped squirrels in company ; and all their toys and fishing tackle were common property. I have often thought there was something in the name, which a boy acquires at school. Richard Wild, and Robert Little, who was smaller of stature, were called, by their schoolfellows, wild Dick and good little Robin. Robert Little was truly a good boy, and he was blessed with Worthy parents, who brought him up in the fear of God, and who not only taught him the principles of piety and virtue, but led him along in those pleasant paths, by their own continual example in life and practice. Richard Wild was not so fortunate. His father and mother paid less respect to the Sabbath day ; and, although, as I have said, the parents of both these children were gooo neighbors, and exchanged a variety of kind offices with each other, in the course of a long year; yet there were some subjects upon

33 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 9 which they very frequently conversed, and never agreed. The most interesting of all these topics of discussion was the temperance re-___ form. Farmer Little was a member of the society, and, in his plain, sensible way, by his own excellent example, not more than by his counsel, withm the circle of his littl&.geighbor- hood, one of its valuable advocates. Farmer Wild was opposed to it, in preaching and in practice. He was opposed to it chiefly because it was ila sectaridh thing* He preached against it on all occasions, at the mill and the smithy, the town hall and the grocery store ; but he was particularly eloquent upon training days, when the pail of punch was nearly drunk out; for he was not one of those, who preach and never practice. At that time, he was not esteemed an iptemperate man. To be sure, he was frequently in the habit of taking enough, to make liis tongue run faster than casual, and to light up, in his heart, a feeling of universal philantlu-opy; which invariably sub- ' i sided after a good night’s rest. Farmer Wild’s wife derived a great deal of comfont from a

10 WILD DICK AND 34 cheering glass. It was particularly grateful on washing days; and she soon became convinced, that it tasted quite as well, on any other day of the week. There was a time, when she was unwilling that her neighbors should become acquainted with this disposition for liquor. She was then in the habit of indulging herself in the frequent use of tea, at all hours of the day. She kept it, in constant readiness, on the ypper slielf of the pantry closet. Upon a certain day, little Dick was taken so suddenly and seriously ill, that his father went 1 ( ‘ for -Dr. Diver. The child was unable to stand, and was so drowsy and sick at his stom- j ach, that the family were fearfhl bd had been g poisoned; and the more so, as he had been a seen, in the earlier part of the day, playing ft before the apothecary’s shop. Dr. Diver had recently procured a stomach-pump; and, as J he was quite willing to try it, the experiment was immediately and successfully made, upor.. the stomach of little Dick, who was speedily h relieved of rather more than half a pint of d strong milk punch. He stoutly denied, with f

35 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 11 tears in his eyes, that he had ever tasted a drop of any such thing; but finally confessed, that he had been sucking tea, as he had often seen his mother do, from the nose of her teapot, upon the upper shelf. Farmer Wild, in spitpof his wife’s remonstrances, took down the teapot, and examined its contents, when the whole matter easily unravelled. The farmer, scolded ‘ins wife, for her habit of drinking -punch in die morning; and she scolded^ier husband, for his habit of drinking rum, at all hours of the day. The presence of Dr. Diver ‘ appeared to have little influence, in abating the violence, or softening the acrimony bf the family quarrel; and little Dick w’as quite willing to be spared, by both parents, though at the expense of a broil between themselves. As soon as Dr. Diver had carefully wiped and put up his stomach-pump, he took his leave, cautioning - ’-tde Dick to avoid taking his tea so strong for ^ie future. The doctor was not only a skiL- ul physician but a prudent man. It is fortu- ate for the peace of every village in the land,

12 WILD DICK AND 30 that doctors are generally aware, that the acquisition of extensive practice depends, in no small degree, upon their ability to hear, see, and say nothing. A village doctor is the depository of a great many contrary stories, which, lik^ the contrary winds, contained in the bag, presented by JEolus toOysses, would operate sadf' t<^his disadvantage, if he should suffer them get loosed The bosom of a physician should.rt^emble die bld lion’s den in the fable, into which many strange things were seen to enter, but from whence none ever returned. It need not be stated, that fanner Wild and his wife were getting into a bad way, and that Richard was not likely to be benefited bv the example of his parents. Pride will frequently operate whert all higher and holier motive will not.' Vicious inclinations are often restrained, in the presence of those, whom we fancy ignorant of our besetting sins. Thus it was with farmer Wild and his wife. jr* domestic explosion, produced by the ti the teapot, had completely broken $ as it were ; and, from that moment, 1

GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 13 the husband nor the wife adopted any private courses, for the gratification of their appetite for liquor. The farmer used gin, and rum was the favorite beverage of his wife. Their respective jugs were regulariycarried by little Dick, and brougl^'home filledT^rom the grogshop. Dicky always calculated on .{he sugar, at the bottom of his. fat mr’&^ass ; and his mother neyen failed to reward^ him with a taste of her owm-if he went ^Jffiaine quick with tlqe jug. RipMrdy mio kyew nothing of * the evil consequent-os of-drinking spirit, saving from this experience with ihe stomach- pump, had offered, more than once, a portion of that, which he had resellr%l from his parents, to Robert Little, who always refused it, and told Richard; that it was wrong to drink it. But Richard replied, that his father and mother drank it every day, and 'therefore it could 1 not be wrong. “ Besides,” said he, “ father and * — mother are always so good-natured and funny when they drink it; and, after a while, they get cross and scold, and when they drink it again, they fall asleep, and it’s all over.” Robert, as

14 WILD DICK AND 38 good little boys are apt to do, told his father and mother all that Richard had said to him. Mr. Little had observed for some time, that farmer Wild was neglecting his farm, and getting behind hand ; and, after talking the matter over with his own good wife, he came to the conclusion, that it was his duty to seek a fail- opportunity and itaVe 11-friendly and earnest conversation with Ins old'h^ighbor, on the fatal tenden^of h^r habits of life.\“I shall have relieved my inn»d,. Mid done my ^luty to an old friend,” shid he, “ if efforts should produce no good.”' He availed himself accordingly of the first fair occ^^n, which presented itself, oft the' following Sabbath, after meeting.—His counsel was of no avail; and he was grieved to find, by an increased violence of manner,'’ and an apparent regardlessness of public opinion, that his poor neighbor Wild was farther gone than he had supposed. His irritability of temper had sadly increased,- and Mr. Little was shocked to find, that he could not converse on the subject, without using profane and violent language. The next

39 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 15 morning he sent in a few shillings, which he owed Mr. Little, with a short message by Richard, that he believed they were now even. Robert came in, shortly after, weeping bitterly, and saying that Richard’s father had forbidden their pkyi^^r^ifefi^eaking together any more, and had threatenea''to flog Rich- ard soundly, if he dared to disobey. However painful to Robert, Mr. Little did not consider this prohibition^ so grbat art; evil. Richard Wild, though of a very affectionate temper, under the influence of his father and mother was becoming a bad boy. He was not over nine years of age, and had already acquired the name of the little tippler; and had been suspected, upon more than one occasion, of being light-fingered. Farmer Little’s wife, however, could never speak of those early days, when Richard used to bring his dipper of milk, and sit upon the rock with '^..Robert, at the bottom of the garden, without putting her apron to her eyes. Robert would often look wistfully at Richard, as he passed, and nod to him through the window; and

16 WILD DICK AND 40 Richard would return it in the same manner, after he had satisfied himself, that neither his father nor mother was observing him. Dick, with all his failings, was a generous boy. A portion of his apples and nuts was frequently seen, in the morning, under Robert’s window, where he. had placed them over night, not daring to venture over in the day time. Nevertheless, he was becoming daily an dbject of increasing dislike, through the whole village. Although there were some who pitied the poor boy, and. thought Uis parents much moie to blame, through whose example he had un- doubtcdly acquired that ruinous relish Tor ardent spirit; yet the villagers generally considered the whole family as a nuisance, and likely, before long, to come upon the town. Squire Hawk, the chairman of the selectmen, who kept the grog-shop in front of the meeting-house, concluding that farmer Wild was completely down at heel, and had no . - more money, refused to let him ha’ more liquor at his store, and proposet him, as a common drunkard. But

41 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN’. 17 Squeak, who kept the dram-shop at the corner of the road that leads to the grave yard, knew something more of poor Wild’s affairs, and observed, that it would be hard to do so, on account of his family; he knew from his own experienMg tnat a little liquor was, now and then aJielp to any man. It'was soon known owr the village, that farmer Wild had conveyedghe last remnant of Ins little ^property, a small piece of meadow land, to Deacon Suficak, io be paid fpr in groceries, at his store. Poor Wild, with the assistance of his wife and little. Dick, soon drank out the meadow land, The Deacon himself was then perfectly’satisfied, that it was a gone case. Richard Wild and Tempefance Wrild, his wife, were fonhwiih posted as common drunkards; and all persons “of sober lives and conversations f who sold rum in the village ofUippletown, were forbidden to furnish them tab ardent spirits any longer. The means Subsistence were now entirely gone, and thir removal to the workhouse was a matter bourse. It was haying time, and little B 2

18 WILD DICK AND 42 Dick was permitted to earn his victuals, by or helping the hay-makers. They soon detected pC him in getting behind the hay-cocks, and drink- a ing the rum from their jugs ; and accordingly w little Dick got a sound thrashing, and was driven out of the field ; for these hay-makers «, were sojar inclined to pronu^Lthe cause of ( temperance, that they would no^ermit any gj persons, but themsdves, to drink up, their rum. U] Poor Dick 1 he cut a wretched figure, as he went whimpering along the road, rubbing liis w red eyes upon his ragged sleeve. He spent ' that day in strolling about farmer Little’s wood- a land and orchard, in the hope of meeting Robert. But he was unsuccessful; and, sit night, he tj went, crying and sppperless, to ben, in the far- p mer’s barn. He slid down frqpAhe hay-mow, | a before daylight, and resolved to quit a place, 0 where he had neither father, nor mother, nor p friend, to whom he could look for protf 1 'on A a and support. The day was juf $ he came out of the barn : his pt of t g the cottage of farmer Little ; h thei t parcel on the door stone, and t of i k I

43 ' GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 19 on. The parcel was found there, by the first person, who came out in the morning : it was a top, which Robert had lent him a great while before. It was wrapped up in a piece of paper, on the cqjaierof which was written, w Good bye, Hollerty Before he quitted the village, Dick turned aside, for a moment, to give a last look at his father’s cottage. Lit was tin tenanted, and the person, into whose hands it had fallen, had barred up the doors and windows, so that'Dick could not get in ; but, through a broken paue, he looked into the vacant room, where he had passed so much of his short life. Me looked over the wall of the little ^ard^n, now filled with weeds. As he was turfiing away, he felt something move against his le^, and, looking down, he saw the old cat, that stilf plung to ner accustomed haunts. She purred to and fro at his feet, and looked up in his face. Poor Dick was certain she knew him, and he burst into tears. She followed him a little way up the lane, and then returned slowly to the cottage. il It was a bonny day in June,” as the poet

20 WILD DICK AND 44 says, but the darkest in the short pilgrimage of little Dick. The birds sang delightfully, as if to mock the poor fellow’s misery ; and the copious showers of the night had varnished every leaf in the wood. The sun had scarcely arisen, and the^ villagers of Tmpletown had not yet bethought themselves of'their morning drams, before little Dick had fairly cleared the boundary line; and, upon a rock, on the eminence, which overlooks-the village, he sat down to look back-upon it, to take a little rest, and to cry it out. To be sure, he had walked only four miles, but he had slept little, and eaten nothing, for many hours ; and he fairly cried himself to sleep. He had slept nearly an hour, when he was awakened by a shako of the shoulder. He awoke in no little alarm, but became more*composed, upon seeing before him a stranger, in a sailor’s dress, with a good-natured face, and a pack upon his shoulders. “A hard hammock, my lad,” said he “ if - you have been turning in here for the night.” Dick told him his whole story, and concluded by saying that he had eaten nothing, for many

45 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 21 hours. “ Now, my lad, ” said the sailor; “ you should have told me this first,” and, overhauling his pack, he pulled out plenty of bread and cheese, and hade Dick help himself, which he did, without being pressed a second time. When he-had finished^OJ^ook ye here,” said die manzof the sea. “ If you have been lying to me, you have done'it with an honest looking face ; but, if, as you say, your father and mother have got into workhouse dock, and there’s nobody to give ye a lift, what say ye to a sailor’s life, eh ? I’ve been home to see my old mother, some fifty miles back, and to leave her something to keep her along; and I’m now getting-down again, for another cruise. Now, if you like it, I’ll take ye under cohvoy. You’re no bigger than a marlin spike, to be" sure, but the best tars begin when they are boys. Well,” continued he, strapping on his pack, and taking up his hickory stick, “ what say you, my lad, yes or no ?” Dick accepted the proposal, and away .they trudged; the sailor relating, by the way. a hundred tales calculated to stir the landsman’s heart

22 WILD DICK AND 46 Let us cast back a look upon Tippletown. On the day, when the top and the farewell message were found upon fanner Little’s door stone, Robert was sent home sick from school, with a message from the schoolma’am, that he had cried the_whole mornings. Even farmer Little and his wife were deeply affected at the little incid^. Day passed i after day, and it was commonly believed that Dick had ran off. In about six months his father died of the dropsy, and his mother soon followed, of consumpX&n ; and both were buried from the workhouse, in the drunkard's grave. A year had gone by , and nothing hall been heard of Dick. In the month ofUune, a mariner stopped to rest, at the tavern in Tippletown, on his way to visitPhis relations, in another state? He inquired if a family, by the name of Wild, lived in that village, and was informed, that the parents bad died in the workhouse, and the son was supposed to have run off. He then related his adventure with little Dick, for this was the very sailor, who took him to sea. “ A smart little .fellow

£7 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. S3 lie was,” said he, “ and if he had lived, there would not have been his better, in good time, to hand, reef, and steer, aboard any ship that swims. He was but eleven, and as smart as a steel trap.” “ Pray, sir,” said the landlady, laying down her knitting, and taking off her glasses, “was Richard Wild lost at sea?” “Ay, ay, good wife,” said the mariner, dashing the tear from his eye, with a hand as big and as brown as a leg of mutton half roasted ; “lost at sea, off Cape Hatteras, in a gale that made the old ship crack again, and with tlte sky as black as -fiiidnight without moon. A sea, and a horrible sea it was, struck us on the quarter, and took the poop lad with, it, together with Bob Gleason, the serond mate. Bob, poor fellow, cried out lustily, and his shout, as he went over, was loud tlian the storm ; but the cries of little Dick sunk into the hearts of the whole crew. The old boatswain, who had a fine voice, and was the life of the ship’s company, refused to sing another song till we got into port.” “ And why, in the name of patience,” cried the old landlady, whose spec­

24 WILD DICK AND 48 taeles had fallen, in her excitement, into the spider, where she was cooking the sailor’s breakfast, “ why didn’t you stop your vessel and take ’em in ?” “ Stop the whirlwind, goody ?” replied the man of the sea, in a voice in which grief and anger were equally apparent; “ you might as well ask your landlubber of a militia captain, strutting out yonder on the com mon, to jcottol^r march a West India hurricane. Stop the'ckl ship! Why I tell ye, old woman,” raising his voice to the pitch of an angry bui|, “ I tell ye we were scudding, with a rag of a storm foresail, at the rate of thirteen knots an hour. Stop her with a vengeance ! Why the old dragon of a ship was flying through the^ea like a crazy shark. I could have jumped over after the poor boy, with a lighter heart than I can tell you the story ; but I was at the wheel, goody, and, if I had let go, for an instant, we should have broached to, and then you would never have had the story from me. I bawled out loud enough: they heard me, I’ll warrant ye; three hen-coops were torn from their lashings and thrown

49 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 25 overboard, sooner than you can say Jack Robinson.” “Well, well,” said the old woman, “ I would have left my wheel any time, to save the life of the poor child.” The sailor rose, and strapped on his pack, and took up his old stick. “ Stop, sir,” said the old woman ; “ your eggs are just done ; I meant no offence by what I said ; your breakfast will be on the table directly.” “ Not at all, goody,” said he, as he threw down a five franc piece on the table ; “ no offence, but my stomach is full enough for to-day ; your breakfast would stick in my hatches.” The ok’ salt walked out of the inn, without saying another word, and was soon out of sight ^f the villagers, who had crowded round the door. The story'soon spread over the village, and received a variety of commentaries, agreeably to the various impressions, left upon the minds of different persons, m relation to tbe subject of it. “ There is an end of the devil’s bird,” said Squire Hawk. “ It all comes of intemperance,” said Deacon Squeak, as he nad just come from pouring twenty-one gal-

26 WILD DICK AND 50 Ions of pure water into a hogshead containing forty-two gallons of New England rum. There were some, however, who viewed the matter in a different light; and who were willing, now that he was gone, to admit that Dick was not a hard-hearted boy. . Old Sukey, the cripple, said that he was a great rogue ; “but. there,” said she, showing her crutch, “the little fellow made it for me, and I’ve used no other for three years.” The news ‘cast a gloom over the family of farmer Little. Robert, who first heard the tale, was scarcely able to relate it to his Either and mother. The good man moralized very sensibly upon the subject; ran briefly over the history of poor Wild and his wife; admiltetfthat Richard was a noy of good parts, and of an nifectionate tender; and very properly ascribed his bad habns and untimely end to the example of his wretched parents. In a few years, farmer Little found it convenient to employ a boy, upon his farm, in-'^ stead of his own son, whom he had thoughts of putting under the care of Parson Jones, to be fitted for college. A neighbor had made

51 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 27 trial, for some time, of a lad, obtained at the House of Reformation; and the farmer had made up his mind to follow the example. He made application accordingly. In a short time, he received an answer, from the directors, stating, that there was a boy in the institution, by the name of Isaac Lane, who was desirous of going on a farm, and whom they were willing to bind out, and could safely recommend. Farmer Little agreed to receive him, and a day was appointed to visit the city, for the purpose of executing the indentures. Before the period arrived, he received a letter from the directors, in the following words :— Boston, May 23,18—. Dear Sir : A circumstance has occurred, of which it is proper to give you immediate notice. The lad, whom we were about to bind out to you, and who had appeared much gratified with the arrangement proposed, upon the statement of your name and residence, became exceedingly dejected and embarrassed, and finally communicated the following siort 'D one (f the directors. He says that hit real

28 WILD DICK AND 52 name Is Richard IVild ; that his parents are living, he believes, in your village; that he ran away four years ago, and was induced to go to sea by a sailor, who was particularly kind to kirn; that he was washed overboard in theGulf Stream, in a galc,of wind, and, seizing a hencoop, that was thrown after him, ivas taken up the next morning, and finally brought into this port; that, not wishing to use his real name, he adopted that of the sailor, who carried him to sea. Under this name, he was sent to the House of Reformation, for tippling and stealing. He is willing id comfy into your employ, but thinks you will not be willing to receive him. You will do as you think proper. It is but an act of justice to this lad to say, that his conduct here has been exemplary, and he appears to us to have needed nothing, but the advantages of moral influence. He is in great favor with his fellows, not'less than with the superintendent and directors. He has been two years it. the institution. Jin early answer is requested. Respectfully yours, ^c.

53 GOOD BITTLB ROBIN. 29 The astonishment, produced by the reception of this letter, in die,family, of farmer T nt- tle, can easily be conceived. The course to be pursued became a subject for serious reflection with the farmer, who seldom had occasion to repent, y his, leisure, of follies committed in haste. It scarcely need be stated, that Robert and his ^mother were strongly in favor of receiving Richard Wild, as one of the family. The next day farmer Little set forth for the city, to form an opinion for himself, after setiKg the boyand conversing with the directors. In two days he returned, with Richard Wild at his side, now no longer little Dick, but a tall stout boy,' with an agreeable but rather sober expression of face. It was an interesting sight to witness tlie affectionate meeting between Richard Wild and Robert Little. The farmer admitted to his family, that he could scarcely have believed it possible, that so great a change could have been wrought in any boy, as appeared to have been produced in Richard, during his residence at the House of Reformation ; and he expressed 3*

30 WILD DICK AND 54 himself highly gratified by the manner in which he had received the intelligence of the death of his parents. The continued exhibition of precept and example, at that excellent institution, for such a length of time, had broken the chain of evil habit 5 and given to this unfortunate and misguided boy a new departure, as the sailors say, for the voy^j of life. “ How very great,” said farmer Little, “ are the responsibilities of parents, for the influence of theiu example itipon their children! And how can jve"be sufficiently grateful to those kifid hearted men, who tread in the steps of their "blessed master; who go about, doing good Y who have built up such institutions as tliese; and who *go up and down the streets of our great cities', snatching these brands' from the burning !” “I consider the House of Reformation,” said Parson Jones, who had heard of this remarkable event, and ridden over but too late, to see Richard, who had gone to his work; “ I consider the House of Reformation,” said this good man, “ as a • great moral machine. How remarkably does

55 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 31 this child appear to have been the object of Heaven’s particular regard! He has been almost miraculously preserved upon the pathless waste of waters. He has not been permitted to perish in the midst of his wickedness ; but, under the guidance of the father of the fatherless, he has been borne in safety to the shore. All things have worked together for his good. Even the very sins, which he committed, $ave conducted him to the place of safety#^nd cefdrm^ion.” The arriyffl-Vr Richard-Wild, in the village of Tippletowri, .was ^n eVent of no. ordinary character. Many were'“ .eager to behold the child, that had been lost, and was found; and not a few, in whose minds curiosity and incredulity were blended together, were desirous of scrutinizing the little sinner, that was said to have repented. Accordingly, on Sabbath morning, all eyes were turned towards farmer Little’s pew, to catch a glimpse of little Dick; and so universally striking was the change, not only in size, but in his air of manliness and the gravity of his deportment, that he went

32 WILD DICK AND 56 by no other name, from that day, than Richard Wild. The wretched and ragged little runaway, flying barefooted from his native village, with his dirty clothes and crownless hat, had undergone, to all appearance, a complete transformation, within and without. He was now nearly fifteen years of age, and robust for his years, His ruddy complexion, well-washed face, and smooth dark hair, together with his blue jacket and trbwsers, white collar and neat black r&and, werev indicative of cleanliness and health. Aftbf Wneeting, as farmer Little and hiS wife, with their daughter Abigail, were returning home, followed by Robert and Richard, when they had turned off the main road, into the by-way, that leads to the farm, they were called after by old Sukey, the cripple, who came hobbling behind them, as fast as leg and crutch could cany her. They paused for old Sukey to come up with them. l< Now tell me,” said she, “ is it Richard Wild ? I have kept my eyes on the boy, sinner that I am, the whole morning, but he has not lifted his own to give me a chance to see

57 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 33 if it was he, by the little cast that he had, you know.” Richard shook hands with the zealous old creature, and no sooner raised his eyes upon her, than she exclaimed, “ Oh yes, it is he ; and you was not drowned, after all, was you, poor boy? You was always a good-hearted boy, Richard, and you see,” said she, holding up the old crutch, “ you see I have kept it, havn’t I ?”♦ Richard was 'pained and pleased by the various recollections, associated with the circumstance, to which the^ld woman referred; and, with another cordial shake of the hand, and a promise to come and visit her at her old cottage, he bade '•her good bye, and followed the farmer and his family, who had advanced a little way before. Richard continued to grow in favor with God and man. He gave farmer Little complete satisfaction, by his obedience, industry, and sobriety. He was permitted to cultivate a small patch of ground, on his own account; and the first money, which he obtained, by his diligence, was employed in procuring a plain gray slab, which he placed upon the spot, where

34 WILD DICH AND 5.8 the sexton assured him his parents were buried; though nothing marked the place but the crowning sod. The inscription was wonderfully simple, and intended, not as an unmerited honor to the dead, but as a simple memorandum for himself. It was comprehended in five words, with his own initials, and ran thus: “My poor Father aj$d Mother. R. W.” He was very kind to old Sukey, who was very poor, but who kept heiSelf from dependence on the town for'support, by hpr own industry, and the assistance of her daughter Margaret; who, with an old house dog, were the only tenants of the little low cottage, at the bend of the river. It is now eighteen years since Richard returned to the village. Few villages, in the same number of years, have undergone such remarkable changes as Tippletown. It is changed in name and in nature. It is now called Waterville, and not a single license is granted within its bounds, for the sale of ardent spirit. It is hard, as the proverb saith, for an old dog to learn new tricks: Squire Hawk,

59 GOOD LITTLE ROBIN,. 35 having been removed from the board of selectmen, and unable to obtain a license for the sale of rum, in that village, removed his residence to another; and, after keeping a grogshop for a" few years, died of the dropsy. We are grieved to say, that Deacon Squeak died a drunkard, and was buried from the poor house. As you enter the village, over the great county road, you see, at a short distance from the .public way, and on the westerly side of it, under the shade ©f some remarkable elms, two white houses with green blinds; they are precisely alike. One of them is the residence of the Reverend Robert Little, the present worthy minister; and the other is occupied by Richard Wild, Esquire, the chairman of the selectmen. These houses are on the very sites once occupied by the cottages in which “ Wild Dick” and “ Good Little Robin” were born. There is a beautiful summer house, tastefully covered with grape vines, lying midway between these dwellings, and which is obviously common to both. It is

36 WILD DICK AND 60 constructed over the rock at the bottom of the garden, upon which, they used to convene with their dippers of bread and milk, some thirty years ago. Old farmer Little and his wife are yet living, or were in June last, and residing happily with their children. Their son, the clergyman, married an amiable young lady from a neighboring town. Abigail is married; not, as the reader supposes, and as the whole village had arranged it, to Richard Wild, but to a respectable farmer in the upper parish. About eight years ago, 1 he British consul published the following advertisement:—“ If Richard Wild, who, in the yiai 18—, was washed overboard from the ship George, off Cape Hatter as, be living, he is requested to give notice at the office of the British consul, in this city.” Some person informed Richard of the publication. He accordingly presented himself at the consul’s office, and was shown the copy of a will, in these words “ I, Isaac Lane, now of the city of London, master mariner, having no near relation, do hereby give, devise and bequeath-all my estate

GJ good irmD nosm 37 in this world, to Richard Wild, formerly of Tippletown, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, in New England, and to his heirs forever, provided, as is barely possible, the said Richard be living, and claim this bequest within two years from my decease, otherwise to the use of Greenwich Hospital.” Here followed the testamentary formalities. The consul then requested Richard to exhibit his right arm; upon which were seen pricked in, with India ink, an anchor with the initials, I. L.—R. W. He then put into his hands a letter from a barrister in London, referring to these particulars, and stating that the property amounted to not much less than £4,000 sterling, or rather more than $ 17,000, American money. The necessary arrangements were soon made; and little runaway Dick became an object of particular interest with the males, and even with some of the females of Tippletown, as Mr. Richard Wild, with a fortune of $ 17,000, and not a debt in the world; which is more than many a merchant can say of himself, though, with one eye closed upon 4

88 WILD DICK AND 69 his debts, and the other open upon his credits,, he may look down upon the clear estate of Mr. Wild, with infinite contempt. Squire Hawk had a very pretty daughter ; and there was no man, in the village, more obsequious to Richard. Mr. MTild always treated the Squire with the respect, due to an older man, but he came no nearer. He had never crossed the fatal threshold of his shop, since his return. He considered Squire Hawk and the Deacon as the prime ministers of the ruin of his parents ; but he did- not presume, by any act of hostility to either^ to assume the high office of him, to whom vengeance belongs. Shortly after this unexpected accession of property,. Miss Hepsy Hawk astonished the parish with an expensive salmon-colored silk, and a new navarino; and she used to linger an unnecessary length of time, at the door of her father’s pew, till Mr. Wild came down the aisle ; and then she would go wriggling and fidgetting out by his side as close as she could decently get. But, after a while, finding that she could not attract his attention, she gave up the experiment’.

63 GOOD LITTLB ROBIN. 39 contenting herself with remarking to all her acquaintances, that he was dreadfully cross-eyed. 'Mr. Richard Wild managed his property with great discretion. His first act was to purchase the old homestead, on which he was born. He was particularly kind to the poor; and old Sukey Lamson, the cripple, came in for a full share of his beneficence. The villagers were very much surprised, at his kind attention; when he became overseer of the .poor, to the old Deacon, who was then in the poor house. The mystery was easily explained,—Richard. Wild was a Christian. It was rather remarkable, that the last fraction of the Deacon’s estate should have been sold by himlo Richard Wild, and that it should have been the very meadow land which, under circumstances painfully similar, had been sold by his father to the Deacon himself. There was a prodigious stir in the village when Richard was married. Sukey, the cripple, was at the wedding, leaning on her old Crutch, and with a new gown and kerchief; and nobody had a gi eater right to he there.

40 WILD DICK ANP 04 There was no little confusion and surprise, when, a few Sabbaths before, the Reverend Air. Little published the bans of marriage, between Mr. Richard Wild and Miss Margaret Lamson. ^Margaret was a pious girl; and, if it were sinful to be pretty, no girl in the parish had more to answer for than Margaret Lamson ; though she was altogether too poor to think of a navarino or a salmon-colored silk. I need not say, that Parson Little performed the marriage ceremony. When, after the service, he went up to congratulate old Sukey, “ Ay,” said she, holding up the old crutch, “he will always be a stay and a staff to me, and he always has been, and nobody knows it better than you, Robin—the Lord forgive me, but I am getting old, and can’t help looking upon ye both, as my boys.” The old woman is still living, at the age of eighty-nine. She retains her faculties surprisingly; and may be seen every morning, at the front chamber window of the Squire’s house, with her knitting in her hands. There is a common bond among all the vir­

65 SOOD LITTLE ROBIN. 41 tues: no truly good man was ever ungrateful: every year, Mr. Wild sends a fine cheese and a barrel of apples to the superintendent of the House of Reformation, not for their intrinsic value, but as a continuing mark of his grateful and affectionate respect. 4*

AND ®®©® aa^aibia iMsusk i & B E I I t f r f So’' ’ y the publishers, Ford and DaxareSl A at their Office, in Wilson's lane, near the U. S. Branch, Bank. Boston, a» 8 cents single. 62^ cents per dozen, £4i-<-' Hundred. ^30 p^thousand. Individuals or societies o piied with vny number of copies at short notice. Nu mber one is entitled “ My Mother’s Gold Ring