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The Married Sisters
by [?]

“COME, William, a single day, out of three hundred and sixty-five, is not much,”

“True, Henry Thorne. Nor is the single drop of water, that first finds its way through the dyke, much; and yet, the first drop but makes room for a small stream to follow, and then comes a flood. No, no, Henry, I cannot go with you, to-day; and if you will be governed by a friend’s advice, you will not neglect your work for the fancied pleasures of a sporting party.”

“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, We were not made to be delving forever with tools in close rooms. The fresh air is good for us. Come, William, you will feel better for a little recreation. You look pale from confinement. Come; I cannot go without you.”

“Henry Thorne,” said his friend, William Moreland, with an air more serious than that at first assumed, “let me in turn urge you to stay.”

“It is in vain, William,” his friend said, interrupting him.

“I trust not, Henry. Surely, my early friend and companion is not deaf to reason.”

“No, not to right reason.”

“Well, listen to me. As I said at first, it is not the loss of a simple day, though even this is a serious waste of time, that I now take into consideration. It is the danger of forming a habit of idleness. It is a mistake, that a day of idle pleasure recreates the mind and body, and makes us return and necessary employments with renewed delight. My own experience is, that a day thus spent, causes us to resume our labors with reluctance, and makes irksome what before was pleasant. Is it not your own?”

“Well, I don’t know; I can’t altogether say that it is; indeed, I never thought about it.”

“Henry, the worst of all kinds of deception is self-deception. Don’t, let me, beg of you, attempt to deceive yourself in a matter so important. I am sure you have experienced this reluctance to resuming work after a day of pleasure. It is a universal experience. And now that we are on this subject, I will add, that I have observed in you an increasing desire to get away from work. You make many excuses and they seem to you to be good ones. Can you tell me how many days you have been out of the shop in the last three months?”

“No, I cannot,” was the reply, made in a tone indicating a slight degree of irritation.

“Well, I can, Henry.”

“How many is it, then?”

“Ten days.”


“It is true, for I kept the count.”

“Indeed, then, you are mistaken. I was only out a gunning three times, and a fishing twice.”

“And that makes five times. But don’t you remember the day you were made sick by fatigue?”

“Yes, true, but that is only six.”

“And the day you went up the mountain with the party?”


“And the twice you staid away because it stormed?”

“But, William, that has nothing to do with the matter. If it stormed so violently that I couldn’t come to the shop, that surely is not to be set down to the account of pleasure-taking.”

“And yet, Henry, I was here, and so were all the workmen but yourself. If there had not been in your mind a reluctance to coming to the shop, I am sure the storm would not have kept you away. I am plain with you, because I am your friend, and you know it. Now, it is this increasing reluctance on your part, that alarms me. Do not, then, add fuel to a flame, that, if thus nourished, will consume you.”

“But, William—-“

“Don’t make excuses, Henry. Think of the aggregate of ten lost days. You can earn a dollar and a half a day, easily, and do earn it whenever you work steadily. Ten days in three months is fifteen dollars. All last winter, Ellen went without a cloak, because you could not afford to buy one for her; now the money that you could have earned in the time wasted in the last three months, would have bought her a very comfortable one–and you know that it is already October, and winter will soon be again upon us. Sixty dollars a year buys a great many comforts for a poor man.”