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The Father’s Dream
by [?]

WHEN Mr. William Bancroft, after much reflection, determined upon matrimony, he was receiving, as a clerk, the moderate salary of four hundred dollars, and there was no immediate prospect of any increase. He had already waited over three years, in the hope that one or two hundred dollars per annum would be added to his light income. But, as this much-desired improvement in his condition did not take place, and both he and his lady-love grew impatient of delay, it was settled between them, that, by using strict economy in their expenses, they could get along very well on four hundred dollars a year.

“If there should be no increase of family,” was the mental exception that forced itself upon Mr. Bancroft, but this he hardly felt at liberty to suggest; and as it was the only reason he could urge against the step that was so favorably spoken of by his bride to be, he could do no less than resolve, with a kind of pleasant desperation, to take it and let the worst come, if it must come. Single blessedness had become intolerable. Three years of patient waiting had made even patience, itself, no longer a virtue.

So the marriage took place. Two comfortable rooms in a very comfortable house, occupied by a very agreeable family, with the use of the kitchen, were rented for eighty dollars a year, and, in this modest style, housekeeping was commenced. Mrs. Bancroft did all her own work, with the exception of the washing. This was not a very serious labor–indeed, it was more a pleasure than a toil, for she was working for the comfort of one she loved.

“Would I not rather do this than live as I have lived for the past three years?” she would sometimes say to herself, from the very satisfaction of mind she felt. “Yes, a hundred times!”

A year passed away without any additional income. No! we forget there has been an income, and a very important one; it consists in the dearest little babe that ever a mother held tenderly to her loving breast, or ever a father bent over and looked upon with pride. Before the appearance of this little stranger, and while his coming was anxiously looked for, there was a due portion of anxiety felt by Mr. Bancroft, as to how the additional expense that must come, would be met. He did not see his way clear. After the babe was born, and he saw and felt what a treasure he had obtained, he was perfectly satisfied to make the best of what he had, and try to lop off some little self-indulgences, for the sake of meeting the new demands that were to be made upon his purse.

At first, as Mrs. Bancroft had now to have some assistance, and they had but two rooms, a parlor and chamber adjoining, it was thought best to look out for a small house; the objection to this was the additional rent to be paid. After debating the matter, and looking at it on all sides, for some time, they were relieved from their difficulty by the offer of the family from which they rented, to let their girl sleep in one of the garret-rooms, where their own domestic slept. This met the case exactly. The only increased expense for the present, on account of the babe, was a dollar a week to a stout girl of fourteen, and the cost of her boarding, no very serious matter, and more than met from little curtailments that were easily made. So the babe was stowed snugly into the little family, without any necessity for an enlargement of its border. It fit in so nicely that it seemed as if the place it occupied had just been made for it.

And now Mr. Bancroft felt the home-attraction increasing. His steps were more briskly taken when he left his desk and turned his back, in the quiet eventide, upon ledgers and account books.