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ACTS OF FRIENDSHIP CONTINUED.
ON the very next day to that on which Mr. Franklin had spoken to his children about acts of friendship, the new waiter at the Green Dragon, who had professed a great friendship for the ostler, picked the pocket of the latter, while he was asleep, of his watch, and ran off with it, taking with him also five shillings that he had borrowed of him. Directly after the young people heard of this, they had to meet their father, that they might proceed in learning to act. Their minds were, however, so full of what they had heard of the waiter at the Green Dragon, that for some time no other subject would suit them.
"This is another proof," said Mr. Franklin, "that one ought to be very cautious in choosing a friend. The ostler will have to smart for his mistaken friendship, for it will, most likely, be a long time before he will be able to
buy another watch. It reminds me of the well-known remark
"He that would wear a watch, two things should do,
Thomas. My friend, William Lamb, would never serve me in that Peter. And Robert Martin would not serve
Mr. Franklin. I trust not; but this affair of the waiter is a very sad one, and most likely he has acted in this dishonest way some time, for it is by little and little that the heart is led on to evil. You remember, Peter, the lines,
"It is a sin
To steal a pin !"
P. Oh yes, very well, papa.
Mr. F. It is by attending to trifles that we keep from evil. The Chinese have a saying "Do not, because some virtues are small, neglect them; and do not, because some vices are thought little, commit them." You have heard, children, the common saying, "Honesty is the best policy." A striking instance of this was recorded in a London newspaper a short time since. An auctioneer, sometime ago, committed a forgery, and having got possession of the money, between one hundred and two hundred pounds, made his escape to America. While he was there, it came to his knowledge that he was heir to a great property then under dispute in Ireland. This was a great temptation, so, after pondering the matter over
in his mind, he determined to run all risks and return home. On his arrival he took the necessary steps to secure the property, which amounted to fifty thousand pounds. He made good his claim; but was directly arrested for the forgery he had committed, and sentenced to seven years' transportation, his fifty thousand pounds became forfeited to the
Edward. What, did he lose his property as well as his liberty?
Mr. F. Every penny of it; but the judge who tried him, expressed an opinion that, if the crown were applied to, it was not unlikely that the money would be given up to the children of the convict.
T. Come, I am glad to hear that, however. It would be hard for the poor children to suffer, for they could not keep their father from committing forgery.
Mr. F. No doubt the waiter at the Green Dragon will soon have reason to repent of his dishonesty. I have lately read of another instance, setting forth the same lesson, that "Honesty is the best policy," and that "crime is sure to meet with punishment." In some cases crime goes a long time without punishment, but in this case it met with its deserts at once. "A cheesemonger living at Walworth near London, kept his horse and cart standing at the door of a house at which he had called, without any person to mind it;
at the time, there was in the cart a bag containing forty pounds in silver and ten pounds in copper, tied up in five shilling papers. A fellow, who had observed the owner of the cart entering the house, got into the cart and drove off, proceeding at a rapid rate along the street; when, in his haste to get clear off, he drove the wheel of the cart against a post, by which, from the violence of the concussion, he was thrown out of the cart, and falling on his head was rendered insensible, and a policeman came up; the thief (who, at the time, was supposed to be the owner of the horse and the cart) was removed to the hospital, and the horse and cart to the green yard. Shortly afterwards, the cheesemonger found that his horse and cart had been stolen, with the money in it. After a search it was found, to his great satisfaction, in the green yard, with the whole of the money safe in it."
M. What is the green yard?
Mr. F. It is a place in London where vehicles are taken, when found without owners; or when the owner has incurred a penalty, and will not pay it. Taking a cart to the green yard is just the same as putting it in the pound.
M. I understand you now.
Mr. F. The waiter at the Green Dragon has not met with so sudden a punishment as either the dishonest auctioneer or the thief, but his sin will be sure to find him out. It
will be some time before the ostler trusts another friend with a watch of his and five shillings.
E. Indeed I should think so.
Mr. F. A true friend will stick the closer to you in adversity; but a false one will then forsake you. This morning I met with these lines,
"I lost my spirits and my health,
But kept my friends, so did not wince;
And never heard of friendship since."
E. That is almost as severe as the verses you gave us last time, about the card house on the sugar loaf."
Mr. F. True; but as when wheat is winnowed, it is only the chaff that flies away, so when friends are tried, they are only the false ones that fail. I told you to choose for your friend one who fears God, and truly loves the Redeemer; and I would now say, Do not choose a friend from a station much above your own.
E. Why not, papa? If he is richer than I am, and higher in life, is he the worse for it?
Mr. F. Certainly not, though it may be the worse for you; for he may think it a condescension to come down to your level.
E. Oh no! If he be a true friend, he will try to raise me up to his station.
Mr. F. Which may prove in the end a great deal worse than the other. Have you forgotten how the friendship of the eagle and the tortoise ended. The eagle took the tor