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THE
WORST BOYS IN TOWN

And Other Addresses



TO YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN,
BOYS AND GIRLS

BY

REV. JAMES L. HILL, D. D.




AUTHOR OF

FAVORITES OF HISTORY, THE CENTURY'S CAPSTONE,

MEMORY COMFORTING SORROW, A CROWNING

ACHIEVEMENT, THE IMMORTAL SEVEN, THE

SCHOLAR'S LARGER LIFE, ETC.



1919

THE STRATFORD COMPANY, Publishers
BOSTON



Copyright 1920

The STRATFORD CO., Publishers
Boston, Mass.



The Alpine Press, Boston, Mass., U. 3. A.



Contents



CHAPTER PAGE

I. The Worst Boys In Town ... 1

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar mock-
ing. Gen. 21: 23.

And as he was going up by the way, there
came forth little children out of the city, and
mocked him; Go up, thou bald-head; go up
thou bald-head. II Kings 2 : 23.

II. The Clean Sporting Spirit ... 14

If a man strive for masteries, yet is he
not crowned except he strive lawfully.
II Tim. 2 : 5.

III. Having A Flag and Flying It . . 21

Thou hast given a banner that it may be
displayed. Ps. 60 : 4.

IV. A Kindergarten for Colts ... 29

Go ye into the village. At your entering
ye shall find a colt. Luke 19 : 30.

V. The Morals of Money .... 38

He will prosper us : therefore Neh. 2 : 20.

VI. Team Work 47

Two are better than one because they have
a good reward for their labor. For if they
fall, one will lift up his fellow: but woe to
him that is alone when he falleth: for he
hath not another to help him up. Eccl. 4 : 9,
10.

VII. If I Were A Boy Again ... 59

He shall return to the days of his youth.
Job 33: 25.

VIII. The Stick Girls of Venice ... 67

Take my yoke. Matt. 11:29.



436193



CONTENTS



CHAPTER PAGE

IX. Speaking Well 77

And the Lord said, I know that he can
speak well. Ex. 4: 14.

X. Boy Lost 89

They found him not. Luke 2: 45.

XI. The First Who Cheered .... 97

Immediately received strength. Acts 3: 7.

XII. Fares, Please 106

So he paid the fare thereof. Jonah 1:3.

XIII. The Ever Present Boy .... 116

There is a lad here. John 6:9.

XIV. Little Touches 127

Say now, Shibboleth : and he said Sibboleth
for he could not frame to pronounce it right.
Judges 12 : 6.

XV. "Please Slow Down." .... 136

According to the pace of the children.
Gen. 33 : 14. Rev. Version.

XVI. Paul Jr 147

And when Paul's sister's son heard of
their lying in wait, he went and entered into
the castle and told Paul. Acts 23 : 16.

XVII. The Sound and Robust Have No

Monopoly 156

The Lame take the Prey. Isa. 23: 33.

XVIII. Becoming A Lady 166

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady. Isa.
47: 7.

XIX. An Inventory of What We Have . . 179

Tell me, what hast thou in the house '!
II Kings 4: 2.

XX. A Difference In Cradles ... 192

She laid him in a manger. Luke 2 : 7.

XXI. Why People Cannot .... 197

They could not because of unbelief. Heb.
3: 19.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER

XXII.



Little Coats for Little Men .

His mother made him a little coat and
brought it to him. I Sam. 2 : 19.

XXIII. Providence Opens the Gate .

A little Maid. 2 Kings 5:2.

XXIV. Ready, Waiting To Be Heroes

Hast thou seen all this great multitude?
I will deliver it into thine hand. By whom?
By the young men of the princes of the prov-
inces. Then he said, Who shall order the
battle? And he answered, Thou. I Kings
20: 13, 14.

XXV. Something About Debts and Debtors

I am debtor. Rom. 1: 14.

XXVI. Gates That Open Toward the East

And the glory of the Lord came into the
house by the way of the gate whose prospect
is toward the East. Ezekiel 43 : 4.

XXVII. "Get A Specialty." ....

The children gather wood, and the fathers
kindle the fire and the women knead their
dough Jer. 7: 18.



XXVIII. Traveling Incog



Thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread
in the window. Joshua 2 : 18.



XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.



That Alarming If .

If I had not come.



John 15:22.



Doing the Handsome Thing .

Go with him twain. Matt. 5 : 41.

Eagles Adopt Industrial Education

An eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth
over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings,
taketh them, beareth them on her wings.
Deut. 32: 11, 12.

Some of My Mottoes ....

The preacher set in order many proverbs.
Ecclesiastes 12 : 9.



PAGE
205

213
223



233
246

256

271

277

284
292

302



CONTENTS



CHAPTER

XXXIII. The Story of A Book and An Island .

The Isles shall wait for his law. Isa. 42 : 4.

I have found a book of the law. II Chron.
24: 15.

He sent his word, and healed them, and
delivered them from their destructions. Ps.
107:20.



XXXIV.



Modern Methods of Christian Nurture .

You young men, because ye are strong. I



John 2 : 14.



XXXV. Fine Words



In the church I had
words. I Cor. 14: 19.



rather speak five



PAGE

317



329



341



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN



CHAPTER I
THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar mocking. Gen. 21 : 9
And as he was going up by the way, there came forth little
children out of the city, and mocked him, and said
unto him, Go Up, thou bald-head; go up thou bald-
head. II Kings 2: 23.

These are the worst boys in town. They are reg-
ularly ordained rowdies. They are, as you see, a
turbulent, insolent, indecent, shameless set. They are
all together become abominable. They are the very
image of what we do not want the boys in our neigh-
borhood to become. They aimed at a state of fright-
fulness and with their deep depravity they are a dan-
gerous element in the community. Bushing into ways
that are broad that lead to destruction, they are swift
witnesses against themselves, for the godly man
against whom they direct their Billingsgate, has done
nothing to provoke such scurrilous treatment. The
ragged gamins mark him as a lawful victim for their
jests and ribaldry. Something in their nature antag-
onizes against the good. We find the most clubs and
stones under the best apple-trees. Like Absalom, who
raised a rebellion against his own indulgent, kingly
father, they are preparing themselves for their awful
end. As every brick of the wall of Babylon was

[1]



THE 'WORST BOYS IN TOWN

stamped with the letter N standing for Nebuchad-
nezzar so every one of these guilty, rude, unhallowed
youths is stamped with the letter T which stands for
trouble. We are not left in any doubt touching the
displeasure of Heaven at the rakish manners, the
odious, ill-bred conduct of these young scoffers as a
frightful, condign punishment fell upon forty-two of
them. There are different degrees of good boys, but
bad boys who have become Beelzebub's tools, busy
with his work, receive it seems their penalty together.

When a boy is ill the doctor will say, Let me see
your tongue. It is not the seat of the disease, but the
tongue is sensitive and for purposes of taste has a very
delicate covering, and so while the difficulty is in the
system it will be shown on the tongue. When the
doctor treats him, he does not prescribe for his tongue
but for his deeper malady, and the tongue is Boon
clean.

Something is the matter with a boy that makes
him so foulmouthed.

You are sick, sick all over.

We can tell just what kind of a boy you are by looking
at your tongue. The thermometer does not make the
temperature, it records it. A bad tongue does not oc-
casion the evil, it only reveals conditions. It is a
symptom and shows that something ought to be done
for the boy. A teacher took in hand one of the worst
boys in town, who was corrupting the school, by using
filthy words, and employing a small brush with soap
and water she washed out his mouth, and made him

[2]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

rinse it thoroughly. This did no good. His trouble
was a bad heart. As Mr. Shakespeare says " Reform
it altogether. " What is needed is a complete moral
cleansing. There is a way revealed of thoroughly ren-
ovating a boy. His impure language is like a sample
hung up in a shop window to tell you what they have
to sell inside. So a boy using wicked words has more
inside of him just like that. This son of perdition
certainly needs attention. His language is bad be-
cause he is bad. The rushes never grow without mire.
If, conspicuously, there is one who should be banished
from our land for our country's good it is the dis-
respectful young man. It is sometimes nearly im-
possible for him to learn deference to young women
simply as such. It generally takes an untamed, ill-
mannered, rude, pert street gamin a good while to
find out what ails him.

Mistakes appear in pairs. These sons of Belial,
are first profane. They are lower than the North
American Indians who, it is said, have no words for
cursing one another, or for insulting the Great Spirit.
Profanity is believed to be more common in the United
States than in any other country in the world. It is
certainly more prevalent than in England. A second
form of misbehavior usually follows.

A girl is a sacred thing.

These degenerates do not know it and hence do
not respect her for what she is. A man was smitten,
we find in the Inspired Volume, because he rather
too familiarly handled the sacred ark which contained

[3]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

the books of the law and Aaron's rod that budded.
These unrestrained, vicious miscreants, as we see in
the text, have no scruples about niching from any-
one 's good name.

How strange it is that the first boy born into the
world should have been a bad one. He could not at-
tribute it to example. He dwelt in the land of Nod,
which is the Scriptural way of saying that he was a
vagabond. The first city that ever appeared on the
round earth was builded by the worst boy ever. He
makes us think of Noah's carpenters who constructed
an ark for other folks to sail in, and yet were drowned
themselves. No peace or comfort could be found by
Cain in his city, for he had treasured up wrath against
himself and had taken great pains to be wretched.
The city was reared probably for defense, and eur-
rounded, like Jericho, with a thorny hedge that
neither men nor cattle conld break down. His mother
named him Cain, indicating her anticipation that he
would be good and great and even remarkable. Being
disappointed, so grievously, in a boy, that worried the
life out of her, she named her next son vanity, proving
that she expected no good from boys. But Abel
proved much better than she now supposed any boy
would become, as Cain had been much worse. Abel
was one of those mild lads with taking ways, while
Cain was surly, walking pitward with his eyes open,
for, as St. John says, he was of the wicked one.

There were no courts.
Adam would not know what to do with him. And

[4]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

so the Deity himself cited him for trial, when it
is probable that Cain inquired, Is my iniquity too
great for forgiveness and atonement? Is there
no fine, no suffering that can be accepted? Is
there no future for me except to hide myself like
a wild beast, instead of living like a human being?
In literature, the imprint worn, his life long, prob-
ably on his brow, it is assumed, was placed there to
distinctly identify him with the world 's first enormous
crime. This misses the whole lesson. Here we find
the heart of our theme. On account of his atrocious
character, Cain became so universally disliked, that
a mark or sign had to be mercifully set upon his fore-
head, and this on his own piteous statement of the
need of protection, to keep folks from killing him. It
is a real misfortune for the worst boys in town, sowing
their wild oats, that business men whose good opinion
it would be well for them to gain, look upon them
with aversion, and find them such a disgrace, a nui-
sance, a menace that their whole thought is one of
riddance. A boy will find himself at a great disad-
vantage if he starts out to get a position in town
where he is met with an all around suspicion and
revulsion.

Friendship is a great aid to business.
A position is sometimes created to give employment to
a worthy person that has everybody's confidence and
good wishes. In a certain sense we know a man by
his friends. Our life depends chiefly upon the
individuals with whom we live familiarly. Where

[5]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

for good reasons, people are down on a boy, and will
not tolerate him, he, having lost favor, must almost
of necessity, slide along the line of the least resistance
into the slums.

Ishmael felt that he had every man's hand against
him. There was also against him the determined face
of one woman, "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar
mocking." This is the way we feel toward you in
our tent, Aunt Sarah. He was a splendid, well-made
little animal, pulsing with life, the darling of his
doting father's heart, but an independent, unafraid,
defiant little rascal.

She caught him mocking.

He was vigorous, saucy, and very expressive with both
his hands and face. His mother disliked Sarah,
and he expressed it with signs that are more derisive
than words.

When bad feeling exists between neighbors the
fathers and mothers may attempt to conceal it, and to
be very guarded in all their utterances, but a boy
feels no such hesitation. He is out and out with it.
You wonder how the neighbors feel. Look to the chil-
dren. They will let you know. They feel no intimi-
dation. How do you know that no love is lost between
two families? The boys will show it, and emphasize
their expression of it with picturesque gestures. Boys
at play make themselves look like Indians. But that
is a frame-up by paint and feathers to give themselves
a certain appearance. But without the use of ingenuity
Nature attends to the features of the profligate, the

[6]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

intemperate, and abandoned. When one of the worst
boys in town makes faces there is one face in partic-
ular that he makes, and that is his own. The charac-
ter he makes and comes to wear will show in his face
which is like the dial plate of a clock that tells the
state and position of the machinery behind. He can
give himself a hangdog, guilty look, or he can come
to wear an honest, intelligent, unashamed appearance
that speaks for itself.

The angel said, the son of Hagar would be a
wildman. He became the father of the Arabs. The
worst boys in town are named after him,

Street Arabs.

In France they are called Bohemians. You know
what we mean when we say of a young man, He is
intelligent enough, but is inclined to be wild. The
Arabs are courteous, polite and hospitable to a pro-
verb, but their character is founded upon that of
Ishmael. He is impatient of any curb. He is like
a kite that feels that the string holds it down. He
antagonizes restraint. He breaks the string that holds
the kite. It rocks and flops and falls flat. The string,
that held it, helped it to mount to the skies, and was
exactly what it needed. The value of the horse con-
sists simply in the fact of your being able to put a
bridle on him. Soldiering is a school in which a
youngster not only gets on the harness for the work
of life, but also learns deference to someone appointed
to command. This, often, does for boys, more than
could ever have been done for them, in their home

[7]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

town. This is a new lesson to young America, whose
spirit is recognized early in life. A canvasser called
and asked if the master of the house was at home.
The child's father spoke up promptly and said, "He
is, but he is sleeping just at present." At Andover,
attendants upon the South Church used to line up
along the front walk with uncovered heads as Parson
French passed into church. There is now a reaction
from reverence, which Shakespeare calls, That angel
of the world. In the catechism we are taught to order
ourselves lowly toward all our betters.

"Betters! Betters!"
Young America has not known of any betters.

"I was born in an unlucky time/' said a lady.
"When I was young, I was obliged to respect and
obey my parents, and now I am obliged to respect
and obey my children. " Their malady is acute
Americanitis. It is as hard to get this infection out
of a boy's heart as it is to get a fox out of his hole.
You may dig and dig, but as fast as you are digging
away at one end of the burrow he is digging away at
the other. In a parlor of a hotel a child became BO
ungovernable that a guest sought to quiet him and
the boy struck an attitude and began to mock. The
mother said, "How smart." The guests said, "How
saucy." She would rather have her boy seem smart
than to be commended as good. A man feels no in-
sult if the statement is made, "You are no saint,"
while it would breed disturbance to say, "You are no
gentleman."

[8]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

Fifty-one policemen, assigned to the Chicago
juvenile court, received their instructions, from Judge
Victor P. Arnold, to "pick out the worst boy in each
neighborhood, and hold him responsible for the rest
of the bunch. " " The worst boy is usually the leader, ' '
Judge Arnold said. "The other boys admire his
courage and will follow him, so we must get him to
turn his energies to upholding the law." Judge
Arnold recognized just what we find in the text, which
for the lack of name we call

"The gang."

Calamities thus come in groups. Of all the wiles of
Satan this wears the crown. It is the working of this
spirit that gives us Sodom. The boy is spoiled, by too
much friendship. He has the defects of his qualities,
like the spots on the sun. His friendly nature, one of
the finest of his traits, is his undoing. The best thing
perverted becomes the worst. Once, when like the
worst boys in town, Bishop Haven was mocking, he
was caught with the goods. As he was playing with
a party of his comrades old "Aunty" Knight, the col-
ored washerwoman of the village went by. Catching a
glimpse of her he cried out, "Hullo, boys, guess it's
going to rain. Black cloud has just gone along."
The old woman looked at him kindly and said, "Why
Gilbert, I didn't think that of you." Nothing can
take the place of native, instinctive tact. Do not use
a sledgehammer to drive a tack. This mild reproof,
implying also a compliment to his good-nature, sunk
deeply into the boy's heart, and he at once replied,

[9]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

' ' You never shall hear it from me again. ' ' Afterwards
he called on the old woman and made due apology for
his rudeness. "That," said he, "was my conversion
from caste." "My rogue always becomes," said Sir
Walter Scott, "in spite of me, my hero. A good
authentic biography states that Judge Hoar of Massa-
chusetts, and his two brothers, the senator, and an-
other, used to be the three worst rascals in Concord. ' '
According to Bollin, the historian, Alexander the
Great, having obtained

The gold casket

in which Darius had kept his rare perfume, used that
aromatic casket for the favorite volume he was read-
ing. Into the "edition of the casket" many young,
growing scholars, as an expression of admiration and
obligation, would place Todd's Student's Manual, a
priceless book whose value yet "shall be made manifest
for the day shall declare it. ' ' When his father was fa-
tally ill, as related in a remarkable biography of
him,* the suffering, dying man said to his little
son, aged six, "Take that paper on the stand and
run down to Mr. Carter's, the apothecary, and get
the medicine prepared." It was a half a mile away.
The store was shut, it being Sunday, which meant a
further jaunt of a quarter of a mile and the boy,
being indisposed toward it, turned short about, con-
triving what statement he would give his father in
place of the medicine, and so said at once, "Mr. Carter
says he has none." His father placed his keen eye
upon the boy, whose head hung down and who went



* Page 29.

[10]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

out and cried. This was his last utterance to his
father. A little later, being ushered into his father's
room, the doctors were all about, his father placed
his hand on his head to give him the parental blessing
and said, among other last words, " Always speak the
truth. "

Boys are not angels nor professors.
Sometimes they get started wrong. Truth-telling, a
virtue taught with the alphabet, gets sadly misplaced.
The hope is, that the boy will come back, with a good
recovery. While we have known boys, according to
some plumb lines, to get out of true, yet such is the
day star to them that sit in darkness, so like a North
Star to any wanderer is a mother's memory, such is
the all-conquering power of the spirit, and such are
the angel forces of the world, that not one who was
responsible, that we have ever known was irredeem-
ably bad. Mr. Earey, who won both fortune and re-
nown by giving lessons in the art of persuading the
minds of horses, believes it possible to always per-
suade their minds to good conduct.

In our community the wickedest boy was a living
horror and was pronounced incorrigible. His spe-
cialties were the most appalling blasphemy and ex-
treme cruelty to his horses. Someone asked him where
he learned such infamous language. He said it was
not learned.

It was a gift.

In a religious awakening he found a new heart. Both
his nature and his speech were changed. He had all

[11]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

the old time force and aptness of expression, but every-
thing was different. Probably alive today and likely
to read these words, he is a popular, very forcible
preacher, of the first quality, and is assigned to the
best appointments in the Methodist Church. He bears
the impress of resolution and decision, and a holy in-
fluence is bridling the strong passions, which are the
impelling forces of life. His former turbulence is in
subjection. It is a whirlwind imprisoned, which dis-
poses him to take things by storm, for touching the
kingdom of Heaven we are taught, that the violent
take it by force. From the Boy's Brotherhood Repub-
lic in Chicago, Joe Wilkins and Manford Haskel vis-
ited ten states to find the worst boy in the whole coun-
try, the boy 100% bad. When found, he is to be in-
vited to come to Chicago, transportation paid, and live
at the Boy's Republic, whose citizens are bent upon
proving to fathers and mothers, policemen and
judges, that the difference between a bad boy and a
good boy is the way they spend their surplus energy.
In nurseries they have, with shrubs and trees, what
they call their wild stock. It is vigorous and thrifty,
having great stores of vitality. It is remarkable only
for its robust, luxurious growth. They use this wild
stock to graft upon. In trimming a rose bush we once
cut it in so close that we got below the graft. Then we
had to retire it into the shade that it might hide its
diminished head. The wild stock was back again, at
the bottom of the scale with its inferior, low lifed ex-
hibit. It is unfit for a garden until it is grafted.

[12]



THE WORST BOYS IN TOWN

1 'I have just purchased a new painting," said
a friend to Paul Morphy, the world's champion. It
is entitled

"The Chess Player."

It represents a young man on one side of the board
and Satan on the other, and according to the repre-
sentation and intention of the painter, the young man
was hopelessly checkmated. By the references to this
painting, in literature, it is assumed, he is beaten for
good and all. But no, there is ground for hope. De-
spair, however, is written on the young man's face,
while his Satanic majesty laughs in glee. Morphy
studied the picture a few moments, then called for a
chess board and when he had arranged the men as
given in the picture he remarked, "I will take the
young man 's place and set him free. Often the young
man finds himself checkmated in life's game and his
face shows distress. But as it is written There shall
come out of Sion, a Deliverer.



[13]



CHAPTER II
THE CLEAN SPORTING SPIRIT

If a man strive for masteries, yet he is not crowned except
he strive lawfully. 2 Tim. 2:5.

In the new Delaware and Hudson Station at
Cooperstown, New York hangs an oil painting with
an inscription which states that there the first base-
ball diamond was laid out. This fact was verified by
a commission of two United States Senators, and of
other high officials who investigated all the facts and
united in this decision. There Major-General Abner
Doubleday, who was then twenty, blocked out the
scheme, and with a crooked stick marked off the
grounds and placed the bases and players virtually
as they continue to this day. Taking the early trail
to Alaska, following the sun, and keeping company
with the hours, the national game reached Japan and


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Online LibraryJames Langdon HillWorst boys in town : and other addresses to young men and women, boys and girls → online text (page 1 of 21)