Caroline Bell.

Before honour is humility : a story for the young online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryCaroline BellBefore honour is humility : a story for the young → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook













JHARLEY WALL was an only child,
and lived with his father and mother
in a small and rather shabby-looking
house, in the suburbs of the large
town of Hedley. His parents, though
poor now, were once very well off, but, through
a bank failure, Mr. Wall lost almost the whole
of his property, and suddenly became a com-
paratively poor man. Young as Charley was,
he could remember the time when he went out
driving with his mother every day in a hand-
some pony-phaeton, and in the evenings played
games of hide-and-seek with his little brother
(now dead) in a beautifully-furnished drawing-


room. But these were things of the past, and
looked back upon by Charley now only as a
pleasant dream ; still he could not help some-
times recalling those happy days to mind, and
often lay awake for hours at night comparing his
life now with what it was then, and wondering
if his father would ever again live in such a large
handsome house, and have plenty of servants.

It grieved Charley, too, to see his mother
obliged to do so much hard work ; for Mrs.
Wall could not afford to keep even one servant
now, and was only occasionally able to get the
assistance of a charwoman. But Mrs. Wall
never complained or grumbled at the change in
her circumstances ; and although Charley knew
well she had never been accustomed to such
rough work and poor living, still she always
looked cheerful and happy, and never alluded
to their former independence.

The sudden loss of all his wealth was a
great trial to Mr. Wall, and affected his health
seriously for some time ; but he knew his
troubles were sent by a wise and loving Hand,


and had all been ordered for the best. He
therefore submitted patiently and meekly to
his chastisement ; and so far from cherishing a
discontented or rebellious spirit, he settled
down happily with his wife and child in his
new and humble home.

As is often the case when fortune reverses,
all those who had been friends and acquaint-
ances of Mr. Wall in his days of prosperity,
forsook and neglected him now in his days of
adversity. But he found much more faithful,
although humbler, friends in the families he
now lived among; and through the kindness of
one he succeeded in getting employment in ar
merchant's office in the town. Mr. Wall was
not troubled by any feelings of false pride in
accepting a situation so much beneath what he
had once occupied himself, and which he had
never expected to be obliged to fill. He
banished all such foolish and useless ideas from
his mind, and accepted gratefully the means
offered him of earning his bread.

Shortly after Mr. Wall entered on his new


employment, he sent his little son to a day-
school in the town ; and there Charley, who
was an active, intelligent boy, soon made rapid
progress in his studies, and, as he grew older,
evinced such a decided talent for drawing, that
the master mentioned the matter to Mr. Wall,
telling him that if he could afford to get his
little son well taught, he was sure he would
one day become a great artist. But this Mr.
Wall could not do, much as he would have
wished it ; for already he found it difficult
enough to pay for Charley's attendance at the
day-school, and to do so was forced to econo-
mize in many other respects. However, after a
time, he chanced to make acquaintance with an
eminent artist living in Hedley, who, on hear-
ing of the little boy's great taste for drawing
and painting, and learning his parents' history,
offered to give him lessons with his other
pupils three times a week, without any charge!
Charley's delight knew no bounds when he
heard of this kind offer ; and, accordingly, he
started for Mr. Weldon's house next morning


in the best of spirits. Although but thirteen
years of age, he was a manly, independent boy ;
and soon after entering Mr. Weldon's studio
he felt quite at home, and sat down very
happily and contentedly to his work.

At the same desk with Charley sat another
boy, called Harry Noblett. He looked about
fifteen or sixteen years old ; but Charley was
surprised to see how much more backward he
was than any of the other pupils. He seemed,
however, quite satisfied with his progress,
although Charley more than once that morning
heard Mr. Weldon reprove him for his inatten-
tion and carelessness. But Harry only laughed,
and whispered to Charley, when his master's
back was turned, that it was " all humbug
working so hard at anything," and that he
wasn't going " to make a slave of himself."

" I say, young Wall," he cried, as Charley
was going away after class, " wait a bit, and
I'll walk part of the way with you. I'll be
ready in a second."

Charley turned back and waited until Harry


had collected his pencils and paper and joined
him, and then the two boys started on their
walk. On the way they passed by the office
in which Mr. Wall was employed; and Charley,
knowing his father would like to hear how he
had got on at his drawing-lesson, asked Harry
to wait while he called at the house.

" Who do you know in that dingy hole ? "
asked Harry, when his companion came out of
the office. " That's a merchant's office, isn't

" Yes ; that's where my father is employed,"
replied Charley innocently.

" Your father ! " exclaimed Harry, shrinking
aside. " Why, I was sure you were a gentle-
man's son."

" And so I am," said Charley. " Father is
a real gentleman, only he is not so well off now
as he once was."

Harry smiled contemptuously ; and, after a
short silence, said he wondered how he could
afford to get Charley taught by the best draw-
ing-master in Hedley if he was so poor.


Charley explained that he would not have to
pay anything; and his companion seemed more
surprised than ever.

" Well," said he, " all that I can say is,
that I don't know how you can do such a
mean thing as to take Mr. Weldon's lessons
without ever paying anything. Bah ! I don't
know how you could do it ! "

Charley's face crimsoned ; and he was not
at all sorry when, in a few moments after-
wards, his friend wished him good-bye, and
turned off in another direction.

" I suppose he's ashamed to be seen walking
with me," muttered Charley indignantly, as he
pursued his walk alone, and dashed away the
burning tears that had risen to his eyes. " But
I won't mind him. Father would not allow
me to take lessons from Mr. Weldon if it
were mean or wrong, and he has often told me
I need never feel ashamed if I was doing what
was right."

That evening Mr. Wall was detained at the
office later than usual ; and as Charley sat


waiting tea for him with his mother, he told her
of what Harry Noblett had said, and of his own
determination not to mind such foolish words.

" That's right, my boy," said Mrs. Wall. " I
know you have more sense than to allow such
silly thoughts to trouble you. It is no disgrace
to be poor. God gives riches to some, and
poverty to others, and we will accept gratefully
and humbly what he has been pleased to
appoint for us. Wealth makes no difference in
his eyes. High or low, we can serve him in
any station of life ; and if he sees fit to with-
hold riches from us in this world, we must
submit patiently and humbly to his will. You
know the Bible says, ' God resisteth the proud.,
but giveth grace unto the humble ; ' aod it
would be very wrong of us, through any foolish
feeling of pride, to refuse Mr. Weldon's kind-
ness to you. God has sent you, through him,
the means of earning your living honestly here-
after ; and I am very glad you see that, so fai
from being any disgrace, it would be a sin to
neglect such an opportunity."


Charley felt greatly comforted by his
mother's words, and resolved in future to take
no notice of Harry Noble tt's taunts, but to
persevere diligently at his studies. Mr. Weldon
was a kind-hearted old gentleman ; and seeing
how grateful Charley was for his services, and
how hard-working and diligent he always was,
he often kept him on for an hour or more after
the other boys left. In this way Charley
soon made . rapid progress ; and although he
suffered much sometimes from the sneers and
haughtiness of the other pupils, still he was a
sensible, good boy, and bore their scoffing words
very patiently.

Before Charley was fifteen years old, he had
outstripped many of Mr. Weldon's other pupils,
and astonished even the master himself by his
talent and perseverance. Meanwhile, Harry
Noblett learned nothing. He was decidedly
clever, and would have got on very well, if he
had not been too proud to take either advice
or correction ; but that he would not con-
descend to do, and consequently his father's


money, and Mr. Weldon's time and trouble,
were completely thrown away on him.

Foolish Harry forgot that " before honour is
humility," and that he could never hope to
succeed while he considered it an indignity to
be corrected or to take trouble about anything.

So matters went on until Charley Wall had
been three years at Mr. Weldon's. At the end
of that time he succeeded in finishing a draw-
ing so well, that Mr. Weldon, who was always
much interested in the boy's success, and knew
what a help and encouragement it would be if
he could earn something by his drawings, sug-
gested his trying to sell the one he had now
finished. He mentioned the name of a rich
lady living in the town who was very fond of
pictures, and advised Charley to take his draw-
ing to her house next morning, with a letter of
introduction from him.

Charley was delighted with the plan ; and
thanking his kind master over and over again
for his kindness, he took his leave, promising
to call early next day for the picture and note.


He determined not to tell his father or
mother of Mr. Weldon's plan just yet, and
amused himself during his walk home by
trying to imagine their delight and surprise on
hearing he had already sold one of his pictures.
Excitement kept poor Charley from sleep that
night, and he was up with the sun next morn-
ing. Mr. Weldon told him that twelve o'clock
would be the best time to go to Mrs. Gordon's;
and accordingly at that hour Charley set out
for her house, carrying his picture under his

On the way he met Harry Noblett, who
inquired where he was taking his picture.
For a second Charley hesitated to reply, but
the next moment answered truthfully that he
was going to try to sell it.

" To sell it ! " repeated Harry scornfully.
" Well, if / were obliged to do such a thing, I'm
sure I'd get some one to take it, and not hawk
it about with me, like a pedlar. I wouldn't
lower myself so for any money."

But Charley did not feel he was degrading


himself in the least by what he was about to
do ; so wishing Harry good-bye, he hurried
away, and soon reached Mrs. Gordon's house.
He was shown into a beautifully - furnished
drawing-room, where Mrs. Gordon and her
daughter sat at work ; and going towards the
former lady, he presented Mr. Weldon's note.
Mrs. Gordon seemed greatly pleased with his
recommendation of Charley, and asked to see
his picture. Poor Charley's fingers trembled
as he unfolded the paper wrapped round it,
and held it up for inspection ; but he was soon
reassured by Mrs. Gordon's praises and admira-
tion. She immediately promised to buy it ;
and was so struck by the lad's gentle, winning
manner, that she not only paid him a sum far
exceeding what Charley expected for his
picture, but undertook to get purchasers for
any he might wish to sell in future!

From that day Charley's fortune was made.
He had a bright future in prospect now ; and
when, a few days afterwards, Mrs. Gordon
made herself acquainted with his parents'


history, and promised to be a kind friend to
them also, Charley's cup of happiness was filled
to the brim.

" Before honour is humility ; " and that was
the whole secret of Charley Wall's success in
life. For does not the Word of God tell us
that " Whosoever exalteth himself shall be
abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be
exalted"? (Luke xiv. 11.)


Online LibraryCaroline BellBefore honour is humility : a story for the young → online text (page 1 of 1)