Chapter 39695153

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39695153
Full Date1897-08-14
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1155
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleLight after Darkness
article text

CHAPTER V. "A man should never be ashamed to own -he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser to-day than 'he was yesterday." --Pope. The conversation between Mr. Roberts and Mr. Smith was commenced by the latter. "You. did wrong, sir; to strike my son," he said, calmly. "It is true that be is your servant; but I am his father, and upon me rests the-duty of punish ing him. I 'must ask with all respect,that you leave him in my hands. I am willing to acknowledge that his con duct has been blameable on many occa sions, but I cannot allow you to strike him." "Blameable!" exclaimed Mr. Roberts, "Why, Smith, he is the most useless fellow alive! He should at least make an effort to do something-such a strap p;ing fellow as he is. But how does he spend his time! Idling, and smok in'. That is the truth. I am too well informed to doubt it. Every nian about the place 'wonders why 'he has been alloweu to remain here so long. Perhaps I was wrong in strik ing him, but he will get over that." "Nevertheless, sir, I must repeat my request that you do not strike him again." "I have said that I was wrong, and It is not at all probable that there will be any occasion for me to speak to him again. I have virtually discharged him. My advice to you is that you apprentice him to a tirade." "That is my intention, sir." "The conduct of your son, Smith, must not alter your position ,here. I am very sorry that Bob has not been a credit to, you, but I dare say he will improve. There must be some good in him, and who knows?-his depar ture from 'The Acacias' may be the turning point in his life." "The work here was, I know, dis tasteful to him, sir," said Mr. Smith. "He has ambition, but would never, I am bound to confess, make a farmer." "Well, let us hope for the best," said Mr. Roberts, encouragingly, for he was anxious to relieve the mind of so ex cellent a servant, "And before he goes, give him this advice from me: He cannot succeed unless he works; dreaming will bring him to beggary, and, perhaps, dishonour. My council may, therefore, be condensed into that one word, 'work.' And do not allow yourself to be over anxious concerning him. In an entirely new sphere he will probably do very well. I am of opinion that to keep him here would be unwise. I hope you will pardon me for expressing my thoughts so freely; but you have not been sufficiently strict 'with him. Moreover, he has grown discontented, and the farm hands have made him worse, for, know ing his habits as they do, they are always ready to reprove him." "Yes, sir; I feel that you are right," said Mrb. Smith, "The farm hands are prone, as most men are, to *take ad vantage of anyone who, in consequence of his own folly, falls into disgrace." "What do you mean by that?" "Well, sir, I have frequently noticed that men are willing to believe the worst of their fellows. Bob's case Is not singular. Any man who allows himself to lose his reputation has an immense task before him to win it back again, and it is rendered still more difficult by reason of .the doubts that exist of his sincerity. I fear, too, that the little help that he needs is very grudgingly given, and that it is more frequently withheld. It is easy to censure, and speak unkindly, but would it not be more noble and worthy to endeavour to strengthen the 'weak, to lift up those who have fallen?" "You are a close observer, Smith," said Mr. Roberts, "and I think' you are partly right. But you take too gloomy a view of human nature. Remember this, evil habits must produce bad. re sults. Whilst a path of rectitude al most invariably leads to contentment, at least. A man or boy has to choose between the two. If he fall, who is to blame? A reasonable being will al ways look with suspicion upon 'the man ' who has at any time proved Incapable of choosing right rather than wrong. A good name is worth striving for, be-, lieve .me. You are a living evidence of that fact. But I think it is only just that punishment should fall upon

those who deserve it; and the greater: the difficulties that face a mane in re-- gaining a positioanwhich he khasvolun-" tarily forfeited, the more earnest should he ,be in his efforts to over- come them." "All that you have said, sir, is right,. I have tried, repeatedly tried, to make my son feel that in idleness he must. be deceitful, and while deceiving his master he was dishonest. But re- member, sir, he has been for some time motherless, and I have frequently thought that my good advice would.I have taken deeper root in his young. mind if he had had the love and tender guidance of my dear wife." "Well, good night, Smithi let us hope that there. will be lbrigliter days -for' you and Bob." "Good night, sir." And they sepa-;. rated. Mr. iSmith did not seek an interview. with 'Bob on .that night. He would, he thought, allow his son time to re ilect upon the past, and make up his:. mind as to his future conduct. When the morning came, Bob's flight. was discovered, and Mr. Roberts was informed of the fact. He was amused and laughed heartily, but when he saw that the boy's father was greatly troubled, *he made an effort to sym pathise with, him. "My opinion is," he said, "That he. will return. At any rate you will hear, from him soon. Has he any money?" "Not a great deal," replied Mr. Smith.. He had saved a few pounds, but he asked me last night to let him have more, and stated that he wished to go' away. That was before you struck. him, sir." The recollection of the blow he had" given Bob caused Mr. Roberts some un easiness, for he really wished the boy' well. "What Would you advise me to do,. sir?" asked Mr. Smith, after a mo ment's silence. "He is my only child."' "It is a serious question to ask me. If I were in your position, I 'would do. nothing. Let the boy learn a lesson.. It will do him' good." "Do you think he will come back,. Sir?" "I do." "Then," said Mr. Smith, with a sigh,. "I'll take your advice, sir, and wait. and hope." "I am convinced that you 'connot do" better. Keep up your spirits, and your? boy will soon be home again." (To be Continued.)