Louisa C. (Louisa Caroline) Tuthill.

I will be a gentleman : a book for boys online

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pretty pocket-piece."

Fanny blushed, hesitated, and trembled.

" What ails you, sister ?" said Susan ; " you
were willing enough to give Joseph the money ;
why are you unwilling to lend it to mother."

" Well, my dear child," said her kind mother,
"I will not take your last dollar; perhaps it is
not right to borrow it even for a benevolent pur-

" O mother ! dear mother," cried Fanny,
throwing her arms around her mother's neck,


" I have not the money to lend you, but do n't
ask me what I have done with it, for I must not
tell you."

"Perhaps Joseph could tell me," said Mrs.
Brandon, sorrowfully, for the truth flashed across
her mind.

" He could, mother, he could," sobbed Fanny.

" Just like him, just like him," exclaimed Su-

That night, when Mrs. Brandon, as usual,
prayed for the absent one, it was with a mourn-
ful, trembling voice, and many, many tears.


JOSEPH continued at school from month to
month, and when his vacations came he made
engagements to go home with some of his school-
fellows, till nearly two years had glided away, and
in all that time he had not once seen his mother
or his sisters.

During this time he had made large demands
upon his mother for money. He had got into
many disgraceful scrapes, which he was careful
should not reach his mother's ears, who continued
her kindness and her good advice. The former
he received when it came in a substantial form,
the latter he neither valued nor heeded.

Yet the kind family at home had practised
constant self-denial ; they seemed to have con-
centrated every effort into that one, to educate



It was a cool evening in autumn. The hearth
in Mrs. Brandon's little parlour was swept with the
most scrupulous neatness. A bright fire glowed
in the chimney. By it sat Fanny, at a little table
covered with worsteds and patterns, and a piece
of embroidery in her hand. She was now thirteen,
and tall of her age, a lovely blue-eyed girl, with
a modest, sweet expression, and gentle, graceful
manners. The door suddenly opened and a young
man entered. He was whistling a lively opera
air, but stopped at the sight of the lovely Fanny.
She had never before seen so fashionably-dressed
or so gay a gentleman ; startled and blushing, she
arose, and without waiting for him to inquire,
said, " My mother and sister have gone out for a
short walk ; they will soon return."

Joe, for it was he, burst into a loud laugh, and
exclaimed, " Who would thought you would not
have known me, and that I should not have known
little Tow-head ?"

" Brother, dear brother," said Fanny springing
into his arms.

Joe kissed his sweet young sister, and then, re-
leasing himself from her arms, said, " Where 's
mother and Pug ? "

" Joseph, do not call us by those old, ugly


names; mother and Susan will soon be home.
We did not expect you."

" No ; of course you did not. I did not expect
to come so soon myself. The old rum 'un must

" And who is he ? " said Fanny, surprised.

" Old Plym, alias Dr. Plympton, the master of
the school."

Mrs. Brandon and Susan now returned, and
cordially greeted the unexpected visiter. The
mother carefully scrutinized the countenance of
her only boy. Alas ! the expression was not im-
proved. It ^s more proud, bold, and bad, than
ever. Her heart sank within her, but she made
no inquiries that night. She hastened to get tea,
and called Susan to her assistance.

" I must put the tea-kettle on hi the parlour to-
night," said Mrs. Brandon, as cheerfully as pos-

" But why do you put it on yourself mother,"
said Joseph ; " where are your servants ? "

" We are our own servants, Joseph ; it is long
since we have had any other," calmly replied his

" Is it possible ? I cannot bear to see you em-
ployed in such menial offices. I shall insist that
you have at least one servant."


Mrs. Brandon sighed, but did not say how, for
her son's sake, she had thus taken up employ-
ments to which she had never before been accus-

Susan, who had not as much delicacy as her
mother and sister, said, " It is of no consequence
whether we are ladies or not, so long as you are
such an exquisite gentleman."

" Well, Pug, you are just the same as you used
to was ; your nose has even a more celestial ten-
dency than ever," said Joe, with a mocking laugh,

" Stay, my children, do not reproach each other.
It is time for our evening prayers."*

And she brought out the great family Bible.
Fanny read the evening lesson, and then they all
knelt, while the widow prayed fervently to the
widow's God and Judge.



THE next morning Mrs. Brandon received a

letter from Dr. Plympton, the Principal of

Seminary. Its contents were far from pleasing.


My dear Madam: I regret exceedingly the
circumstances that render it necessary for me to
say, that I can no longer consider your son Joseph
a member of my institution. On your account I
have borne with much provocation from him, but
it would be injustice to other parents to retain
among their sons one whose example is so cor-

Joseph, I am sorry to say, is idle, extravagant,
and viciously inclined. He has borrowed money
from every boy in the school. He has even art-


fully wheedled out of the smaller boys the six-
pences given them for spending money. I can
not say that he is absolutely dishonest, that is,
I do not know that he would actually steal, but
his meanness amounts to the same thing, he bor-
rows without expecting to pay. Debts, to a con-
siderable amount, he has contracted in the village,
which I have no doubt you will settle as soon as
possible. For my own payment I can wait your

Joseph will doubtless tell you that he has done
nothing unworthy of a gentleman, for I under-
stand that is his chief aim ; he prides himself
upon being a gentleman.

I must advise you, madam, not to send your son
to college. I understand he expected to enter
the Sophomore Class. It would be useless for
him to make the attempt

With great respect, dear Madam, yours, &c.

It would be impossible to describe the sorrow
that settled deep into the heart of that widowed
mother, the grief and mortification of those lov-
ing sisters.

Mrs. Brandon was unable to leave her room
during the day. Susan and Fanny were obliged
to attend to all the household affairs.



" Pug, it is a shame for you to work so hard,"
said Joe, picking his teeth after a late breakfast,
and throwing himself back in his chair with the
air of a prince ; " you will make your hands as
tough as leather."

" I do not work half as hard as our dear mother
does," was the reply.

" Her hands are old and tough already, it wont
vulgarize her as it will you and Fanny. Why
does she not have help ? "

" Because Mr. Joseph Brandon must be liber-
ally educated," replied Susan with some bitter-
ness. " She has toiled day and night for you, and
what is her reward ? She will be obliged to sell
this, our dear home, to pay your debts, cruel
boy that you are."

" Go it, Xantippe," said Joe, " your tongue is a
glib one ; mother need not pay the few hundreds
that I owe, I will pay them myself one of these
days. By the way Pug, how do you like this
cashmere vest ? It is the very pattern that Dick-
ens wore in this country, and he wore it because
it was a favorite with D'Orsay."

" And who is he ? "

" You never heard of the famous Count D'Or-
say, the immortal D'Orsay."


" Never. Was he one of Napoleon's gener-
als ? " asked Susan.

* "That is a good one! No, indeed! he is
commander-in-chief of the world of fashion ;
have you never heard of the D'Orsay hat, the
D'Orsay tie, and a million of other things invent-
ed by him? you really are vulgariously igno-

" Is it possible that any man can have so poor,
so mean an ambition, as to wish to be distinguish-
ed hi this way ? " asked Susan.

" It is a glorious distinction ! I had rather be a
leader hi the empire of fashion than to be auto-
crat of the Russias."

" Or to be a Howard, or a Franklin, a Wilber-
force, or a Washington. O Joseph, I had
hoped that if you were not a distinguished man
you would at least have become a respectable
one," said Susan with a sigh.

" Nonsense : there is nothing I hate like a re-
spectable man ; it is nothing but sleek, clear vul-

" I am sorry to see my only brother such a
simpleton. Do you expect to gain your living
by letting yourself out in place of a wax-figure at
a barber's or a tailor's. As far as I can see, it


is all you are fit for. How much more respect-
able you would be as a barber or a tailor."

" Me ! What, cut me down to a ninth of a man !
You are actually murderous."

" It would be an immense elevation for you,
Joe, for now you are absolutely good for nothing,
not the ninety-ninth part of a man, for,

" Worth makes the man, the want of it the fellow."

" Pug, I am shocked at your want of refine-
ment. That line and its fellow have been the
rounds of the copy-books .these forty years. It
has long been excluded from genteel society."

" In fact, I fear it has. It is not the less true
for all that."

" I do n't know what mother thinks of herself
to let two great girls grow up in entire ignorance
of every thing that is genteel and fashionable. I
must go out among these barbarians in your petty
village, and afrtonish the natives."

So saying, Joe went to the glass, admired his
gay vest, put his hat carefully upon his head, that
he might not disarrange his beautiful hair. His
cane, too, he took that ; and then he looked at him-
self again, smoothed down the brilliant cashmere,
drew on his delicate gloves, admired the set of


his coat, it was a perfect fit, and he did look
like a gentleman in his own estimation, but in his
heart of hearts he knew that he was a mean fel-

" Astonish the natives ! " said Sue, as her hope-
ful brother closed the front door. " Astonish the
natives ! yes, indeed, they will be astonished that
Joe Brandon, after all the money his poor mother
has spent upon him, has come back just such a
proud simpleton as he went away."



" WHAT are you going to do, Joseph, now you
have been compelled to give up the idea of a
college education," inquired Mrs. Brandon, after
Joseph had been home some weeks. These weeks
he had employed in driving about the country,
lounging at the tavern, smoking, wine-drinking,
and other like gentlemanly amusements, keep-
ing his mother and sisters in a state of constant
anxiety and alarm.

" I do n't know yet what profession I shall
follow," said Joe ; " give me time to think, will
you. I am sure you and the girls need not
grudge me the little I eat and drink under your

This to a mother who had been so self-sacrific-
ing ! She replied with a mournful voice,


" I have done injustice to the girls already.
We are so much reduced by your extravagance
that we shall soon be compelled to labor for our
own support."

" Well, it is no more than I shall have to do
myself," was the unfeeling reply.

Week after week passed away, and still Joe
was lounging about home, teasing his sisters and
adding to the expenses of his mother.

Susan possessed much energy of character, and
a freedom in speaking the plain truth, which Joe
did not relish at all. If there was any thing on
earth that he loved, besides his own dear self, it
was his sister Fanny. She was so gentle and
kind that she never spoke harshly or severely to
any one. Yet she did not escape from the per-
secutions of her mischievous brother. She often
wept under the inflictions that he imposed upon
her, and pleaded so earnestly to escape from him
that any one with the least generosity would have
desisted. Her health actually suffered in conse-
quence of his perpetual annoyances.

Mrs. Brandon at length insisted that Joe should
endeavour to find some employment in Boston.
With much difficulty she provided him with
money to bear his expenses to the city, and to


support him for a week or two till he could look
for some employment.

He left home with but little feeling, although
many and bitter tears were shed by his affection-
ate family. After strutting about the streets of
Boston for a couple of weeks, until his money
was spent, he wrote the following brief epistle :

DEAR MOTHER : I am going to sea. Give my
love to the girls. It will be long before you are
troubled again by your son, JOSEPH.

Not a word of the ship in which he was to em-
bark ! No mention of the place to which he was
going ! Poor Mrs. Brandon ! Susan and Fanny
did all they could to comfort her, although they
were sad enough themselves.

"I am sure he has improved, mother," said
Fanny, " he does not call us Pug and Tow any
more, and really sends his love to us. Who knows
but this is the very best thing that could happen
to him."

" I hope, indeed, that it may be," said the dis-
consolate mother.



THE good ship Sally Ann, in which Joe em-
barked, sailed from Boston, bound for Smyrna,
on the 15th of December. He went out before
the mast, a common sailor.

The day of sailing was bright and pleasant for
a winter's day, and the wind was fair. But in
twenty-four hours the wind changed and blew a
gale from the southeast.

Joe had been for the last ten hours deadly sea-
sick. He begged they would throw him over-
board, for he could not live any longer. But
when the storm arose, fear and excitement
brought him upon his legs again.

" All hands upon deck ! " was the cry. The
ship had carried full sail while she was " going
large," even her " flying kites," as the sky-sails


are called, flaunted jauntily in the fair breeze.
The sailors were ordered to take in the sails.
Much confusion ensued, for there were several
raw hands on board beside Joe Brandon. He
was sent up aloft, but so terrified was he that he
had not taken three steps upward before he came
down upon the deck, flat upon his back.

The crew at length succeeded in taking in all
the sails ; though several had been torn and the
rigging much injured. The wind continued to
blow, and the snow fell thick and fast. The ship
was driven back upon the coast. The cold was
so intense that the hands of the poor sailors
almost froze to the rigging.

Joe, after his fall, had skulked away to his
hammock, and there continued half dead with
fear, till the storm was over. It lasted thirty-six
hours. The seasickness again came on, and in
his agony, Joe, tossing from side to side, would
exclaim, " My mother, O my poor mother ! How
would she feel to see me now ! "

An old sailor came, after the storm, to the ham-
mock; and, taking hold of Joe with a rough gripe,
said, " Come, land-lubber, try to find your legs ;
there 's work enough on deck."

" I am too sick to work," said Joe, piteously.


" Can't have any shamming here ; - you have
lain there long enough while all hands were hard
at it ; come along, I say ; " and Joe, more dead
than alive, crawled upon deck.

He was a pitiful looking object. His long hair
was matted into a tangled mass, and his face, pale
as ashes, was streaked with tar. Some of his
messmates burst into a real horse-laugh on seeing
him, and pointed to his shirt a fine linen ruffled
shirt ! Joe was very sensitive to ridicule, and, as
he sank upon a coil of ropes, he said, " It was
very foolish for a gentleman, like me, to come to

" A green hand ! " exclaimed Tom Simpson.
" We '11 teach him how to behave himself like a

From this time all manner of practical jokes
were played off upon poor Joe. They greased
the deck, when it was his watch, to make him fall.
They tarred his hammock, till his hair stuck so
fast that he was obliged to saw himself loose from
it with his jack-knife. *!n short, they seemed de-
termined to show him that a ship was no place for

They had now been out a fortnight. Joe was,
at last, too ill and weak to leave his hammock.


The only sailor who showed him any compassion
was a boy, two years younger than himself, named
Frank Wood.

"Come," said Frank, "cheer up. I have
brought some nice gruel, that I coaxed the cook
to let me make for you ; I know it will do you

The voice of kindness was soothing and sweet.
Joe gladly took the gruel, and it proved very ser-
viceable. His new friend was a favorite with all
on board.

On Sunday, it was pleasant to see the young
sailor dressed in his wide trowsers, clean calico
shirt, and bright tarpaulin, with its " fathom of
black ribbon." No boy on land could have
looked more beautifully neat. This was his
third voyage. It was a perfect wonder to Joe
how Frank could be such a favorite on board ;
even the rough, weather-beaten face of the cap-
tain relaxed into a smile as Frank politely touched
his tarpaulin in passing him.

When Joe was able again to be on deck,
Frank endeavoured to aid him, in every possible
way, to acquire a knowledge of his duty as
a sailor.

One night, as they were together upon deck,



whiling away their watch by telling yarns, Joe
asked Frank how he happened to be a sailor.

" It is not much of a story," replied Frank
Wood, " but if you want to hear it, you shall
have it."

The moon shed its pure and tender light upon
the wide waters ; the ship, with a fair light breeze,
was gliding onward, and in the calmness of that
still and lovely night, Frank Wood told his simple

" My father is a physician in New York, and
I am his only son. My poor mother died some
years since, when I was twelve years old. But
I shall never forget her, nor her instructions.
She was beautiful ; and, O, so good ! I really
believe she was too good for this earth, and so
God took her to Heaven. Do you know, Joseph,"
continued Frank, lowering his voice almost to a
whisper, " that I sometimes think my mother
still watches over me. I have heard there were
such things as guardian angels, and why should
not my own mother be mine? When those
bright stars guide our path over the sea, I look
up to them and think she may be there. Look
at Lyra at this moment ; that was her favorite,
chosen star. I never look at it without thinking
of her."


There was a solemn pause of some moments,
and then Frank continued : " My father is en-
gaged in a very extensive practice, and, after my
mother's death, I was sent to school. Before
that, as I was her only child, she had educated
me at home. I cannot tell you about her death,
it is too sad; nor how miserable I was after-

" At school I was very unhappy. I had never
been accustomed to mingle with all sorts of boys,
and they seemed to me very rude and unfeeling.
Month after month I was very, very homesick ;
yet I studied hard, for my father is ambitious, and
I wished to please him. With hard study, hard
fare, and harder usage, at length I grew pale and
weakly. I did not complain to .my father, but
when I went home, at the end of two years, he
was astonished to find me looking so miserably.
He took me from school, and I remained at home
for a half year, growing worse and worse. At
length my father said I must try going to sea ; and
he placed me under the care of a good captain,
where I should not be made to work too hard,
and where I would be sure of kind treatment.

" I had tough times, that first voyage ; seasick,
homesick, and disturbed by the coarseness of my
messmates ; but I recovered my health.


" I attempted to study after my return home,
and again grew ill. I have recovered, by going
another voyage, and this is my third. You have
suffered, I think, still more than I did, Joseph, but
I hope the worst is over now. You must be very
civil to the sailors, for they have got a notion that
you are proud and dandyish; and they like to
torment you."

" Well, I always meant to be a gentleman, and
it is plaguy hard that I can be nothing but a
common sailor," said Joe.

" Why cannot you be both ?" inquired Frank.

" Both ! that would be impossible."

" Certainly not ; my dear mother always told
me that the feelings of a gentleman might often
exist where the manners were not polished. I
have found several sailors who had right noble,
honorable feelings, who, with education would
have been as perfect gentlemen as my own father

" Then your father is rich," said Joe.

" I believe he is," replied Frank, smiling.
" But that, you know, does not make him a gen-
tleman. In the sick-room of his poorest patient
he is just as polite as if he were with the most
distinguished man in the country. He gave me


some rules for politeness, that I keep to look over
now and then. They are in my chest, alongside
of the Bible that my mother gave me ; I will
read them to you some time. They were written
for a boy only eleven years old, and of course
are very plain and simple."

It was time to change the watch, and the boys
gladly went to their hammocks. Frank said, as
they parted, " You must tell me your story, Jo-
seph, the next time we have an opportunity. I
am sure I shall dream of my mother to-night."

Though weary and sleepy, Joe could not help
thinking how little he had prized his mother's
advice, and how unkind he had been to his sisters.
He dreamed oT seeing Fanny, his sweet sister
Fanny, suffering and dying, and awoke in agony.



THE first time that Joseph had an opportunity,
he told Frank Wood his story ; describing his
mother and sisters ; and when he spoke of Fanny,
it was with a tear in each eye.

" I am glad you have so good a mother, and
such sweet sisters," said Frank Wood ; " I hope I
shall one day be acquainted with them."

"I do n't care much about Sue, but Fanny
was always so kind, so very kind. I am afraid I
was so troublesome to her that she thinks that I
do not care any thing about her. I wish I could
show you one of my mother's letters ; she writes
beautiful letters, but I did not pay much attention
to them formerly. You have promised to read
me those rules which your father wrote for you.
Though I suppose rules for politeness can do us


very little good now, I should like to hear

" That you shall," said Frank ; and, going to
his chest, he brought out a little packet, from
which he took a neatly folded paper, and read the
following :


You will hear much said, my boy, about polite-
ness, the politeness of a true gentleman ; and
you will wish, I hope, to be polite., In order to
be- so, you must,

1. Be quick to discover what your place is ;

2. What is due to every person ;

3. How you can render every one their due,
most agreeably ;

4. How you can make yourself most accepta-
able in person, dress, manners, and conversation.

These plain rules I will render still more intel-
ligible. You would not think it right to place
yourself in your mother's favorite rocking-chair
every time she left it vacant ; you would not sit
in your father's seat at church ; you would not
take his place at the dinner-table, when he was
expected to be there. As you become older, and
go out among other persons, pay the same regard


to propriety. Never stand or sit in any body's
way, so that they will tread on your toes, or you
will tread on theirs. This rule, however, might
perhaps be included in the next. Yield to every
person their due. This is exactly the golden
rule ; "Do unto others what you would that
they should do unto you."

A nice and quick perception of what is really
due to others can alone render you ever ready
to manifest politeness. You can be as polite to a
boot-black as to the president of the United
States. That is, you can conduct yourself to-
wards him in such a way as to make him respect
you, and feel satisfied that you do not despise
him. In doing this you need not put on a con-
descending manner ; just render to him what is
really his due as a man.

On the other hand, is the man one of high sta-
tion, no cringing civility should be offered to
him. Render him the respect and attention that
he has a right to demand, and maintain your own

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Online LibraryLouisa C. (Louisa Caroline) TuthillI will be a gentleman : a book for boys → online text (page 2 of 7)