“How much does your mother owe the man?” asked Mr. Everett.
“Oh, it’s a great deal, sir. I’m afraid she’ll never be able to pay it; and I don’t know what we’ll do.”
“Fourteen dollars, sir,” answered the lad.
“Is that all?” And Mr. Everett thrust his hand into his pocket. “Here are twenty dollars. Run home to your mother, and give them to her with my compliments.”
The boy grasped the money eagerly, and, as he did so, in an irrepressible burst of gratitude, kissed the hand from which he received it. He did not speak, for strong emotion choked all utterance; but Mr. Everett saw his heart in his large, wet eyes, and it was overflowing with thankfulness.
“Stay a moment,” said the broker, as John Levering was about passing through the door. “Perhaps I had better write a note to your mother.”
“I wish you would, sir,” answered the boy, as he came slowly back.
A brief note was written, in which Mr. Everett not only offered present aid, but promised, for the sake of old recollections that now were crowding fast upon his mind, to be the widow’s future friend.
For half an hour after the lad departed, the broker sat musing, with his eyes upon the floor. His thoughts were clear, and his feelings tranquil. He had made, on that day, the sum of two thousand dollars by a single transaction, but the thought of this large accession to his worldly goods did not give him a tithe of the pleasure he derived from the bestowal of twenty dollars. He thought, too, of the three hundred dollars he had lost by a misplaced confidence; yet, even as the shadow cast from that event began to fall upon his heart, the bright face of John Levering was conjured up by fancy, and all was sunny again.
Mr. Everett went home to his family on that evening, a cheerful-minded man. Why? Not because he was richer by nearly two thousand dollars. That circumstance would have possessed no power to lift him above the shadowed, fretful state which he loss of three hundred dollars had produced. Why? He had bestowed of his abundance, and thus made suffering hearts glad; and the consciousness of this pervaded his bosom with a warming sense of delight.
Thus it is, that true benevolence carries with it, ever a double blessing. Thus it is, that in giving, more is often gained than in eager accumulation or selfish withholding.