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What Five Dollars Paid
by [?]

Mr. Herriot was sitting in his office, one day, when a lad entered, and handed him a small slip of paper. It was a bill for five dollars, due to his shoemaker, a poor man who lived in the next square.

“Tell Mr. Grant that I will settle this soon. It isn’t just convenient to-day.”

The boy retired.

Now, Mr. Herriot had a five-dollar bill in his pocket; but, he felt as if he couldn’t part with it. He didn’t like to be entirely out of money. So, acting from this impulse, he had sent the boy away. Very still sat Mr. Herriot for the next five minutes; yet his thoughts were busy. He was not altogether satisfied with himself. The shoemaker was a poor man, and needed his money as soon as earned–he was not unadvised of this fact.

“I wish I had sent him the five dollars,” said Mr. Herriot, at length, half-audibly. “He wants it worse than I do.”

He mused still further.

“The fact is,” he at length exclaimed, starting up, “it is Grant’s money, and not mine; and what is more, he shall have it.”

So saying, Herriot took up his hat and left his office.

“Did you get the money, Charles,” said Grant, as his boy entered the shop. There was a good deal of earnestness in the shoemaker’s tones.

“No, sir,” replied the lad.

“Didn’t get the money!”

“No, sir.”

“Wasn’t Mr. Herriot in?”

“Yes, sir; but he said it wasn’t convenient to-day.”

“Oh, dear! I’m sorry!” came from the shoemaker, in a depressed voice.

A woman was sitting in Grant’s shop when the boy came in; she had now risen, and was leaning on the counter; a look of disappointment was in her face.

“It can’t be helped, Mrs. Lee,” said Grant. “I was sure of getting the money from him. He never disappointed me before. Call in to-morrow, and I will try and have it for you.”

The woman looked troubled as well as disappointed. Slowly she turned away and left the shop. A few minutes after her departure, Herriot came in, and, after some words of apology, paid the bill.

“Run and get this note changed into silver for me,” said the shoemaker to his boy, the moment his customer had departed.

“Now,” said he, so soon as the silver was placed in his hands, “take two dollars to Mrs. Lee, and three to Mr. Weaver across the street. Tell Mr. Weaver that I am obliged to him for having loaned me the money this morning, and sorry that I hadn’t as much in the house when he sent for it an hour ago.”

“I wish I had it, Mrs. Elder. But, I assure you that I have not,” said Mr. Weaver, the tailor. “I paid out the last dollar just before you came in. But call in to-morrow, and you shall have the money to a certainty.”

“But what I am to do to-day? I haven’t a cent to bless myself with; and I owe so much at the grocer’s, where I deal, that he won’t trust me for any thing more.”

The tailor looked troubled, and the woman lingered. Just at this moment the shoemaker’s boy entered.

“Here are the three dollars Mr. Grant borrowed of you this morning,” said the lad. “He says he’s sorry he hadn’t the money when you sent for it awhile ago.”

How the faces of the tailor and his needlewoman brightened instantly, as if a gleam of sunshine had penetrated the room.

“Here is just the money I owe you,” said the former, in a cheerful voice, and he handed the woman the three dollars he had received. A moment after and he was alone, but with the glad face of the poor woman, whose need he had been able to supply, distinct before him.

Of the three dollars received by the needlewoman two went to the grocer, on account of her debt to him, half a dollar was paid to an old and needy coloured woman who had earned it by scrubbing, and who was waiting for Mrs. Weaver’s return from the tailor’s to get her due, and thus be able to provide an evening’s and a morning’s meal for herself and children. The other half-dollar was paid to the baker when he called towards evening to leave the accustomed loaf. Thus the poor needlewoman had been able to discharge four debts, and, at the same time re-establish her credit with the grocer and baker, from whom came the largest portion of the food consumed in her little family.