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Good-Hearted People
by [?]

THERE are two classes in the world: one acts from impulse, and the other from reason; one consults the heart, and the other the head. Persons belonging to the former class are very much liked by the majority of those who come in contact with them: while those of the latter class make many enemies in their course through life. Still, the world owes as much to the latter as to the former–perhaps a great deal more.

Mr. Archibald May belonged to the former class; he was known as a good-hearted man. He uttered the word “no” with great difficulty; and was never known to have deliberately said that to another which he knew would hurt his feelings. If any one about him acted wrong, he could not find it in his heart to wound him by calling his attention to the fact. On one occasion, a clerk was detected in purloining money; but it was all hushed up, and when Mr. May dismissed him, he gave him a certificate of good character.

“How could you do so?” asked a neighbor, to whom he mentioned the fact.

“How could I help doing it? The young man had a chance of getting a good place. It would have been cruel in me to have refused to aid him. A character was required, and I could do no less than give it. Poor, silly fellow! I am sure I wish him well. I always liked him.”

“Suppose he robs his present employer?”

“He won’t do that, I’m certain. He is too much ashamed of his conduct while in my store. It is a lesson to him. And, at any rate, I do not think a man should be hunted down for a single fault.”

“No: of course not. But, when you endorse a man’s character, you lead others to place confidence in him; a confidence that may be betrayed under very aggravated circumstances.”

“Better that many suffer, than that one innocent man should be condemned and cast off.”

“But there is no question about guilt or innocence. It was fully proved that this young man robbed you.”

“Suppose it was. No doubt the temptation was very strong. I don’t believe he will ever be guilty of such a thing again.”

“You have the best evidence in the world that he will, in the fact that he has taken your money.”

“O no, not at all. It doesn’t follow, by any means, that a fault like this will be repeated. He was terribly mortified about it. That has cured him, I am certain.”

“I wouldn’t trust to it.”

“You are too uncharitable,” replied Mr. May. “For my part, I always look upon the best side of a man’s character. There is good in every one. Some have their weaknesses–some are even led astray at times; but none are altogether bad. If a man falls, help him up, and start him once more fair in the world–who can say that he will again trip? Not I. The fact is, we are too hard with each other. If you brand your fellow with infamy for one little act of indiscretion, or, say crime, what hope is there for him.”

“You go rather too far, Mr. May,” the neighbor said, “in your condemnation of the world. No doubt there are many who are really uncharitable in their denunciations of their fellow man for a single fault. But, on the other side, I am inclined to think, that there are just as many who are equally uncharitable, in loosely passing by, out of spurious kindness, what should mark a man with just suspicion, and cause a withholding of confidence. Look at the case now before us. You feel unwilling to keep a young man about you, because he has betrayed your trust, and yet, out of kind feelings, you give him a good character, and enable him to get a situation where he may seriously wrong an unsuspecting man.”