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folly that I cried with vexation, and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
"This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.
"As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
"When I saw one too ambitious of court favour, sacrificing his time in attendance on levées, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.
"When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own. affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, He pays, indeed, said I, too much for his whistle.
"If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, said I, you pay too much for your whistle.
"When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.
"If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in a prison, Alas! say I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle
"When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl, married to an ill-natured brute of a husband, What a pity, say I, that she should pay so much for a whistle.
"In short, I conceive that a great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.
"Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, when I consider that, with all this wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, —for example, the apples of King John, which happily are not to be bought; for, if they were put to sale by auction, I might very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find that I had once more given too much for the whistle."
Thus Benjamin made good use of one of the foolish acts of his boyhood, which tells well both for his head and heart. Many boys are far less wise, and do the same foolish thing over and over again. They never learn wisdom from the past.
When a boy equivocates, or deceives, to conceal some act of disobedience from his parents or teachers, and thereby lays the foundation of habitual untruthfulness, he pays too dear for the whistle; and he will learn the truth of it when he becomes older, and cannot command the confidence of his friends and neighbours, but is branded by them as an unreliable, dishonest man.
In like manner the boy who thinks it is manly to smoke and drink beer, will find that he has a very expensive whistle, when he becomes " a hale fellow well met " among a miserable class of young men, and is discarded by the virtuous and good.
So, in general, the young person who is fascinated by mere pleasure, and supposes that wealth and honour are real apples of gold to the possessor, thinking less of a good character than he does of show and glitter, will find that he has been blowing a costly whistle when it is too late to recall his mistake.
INCLE BENJAMIN was so deeply interested in his namesake that he wrote many letters about him. Nearly every ship that sailed for Boston brought a letter from him to the Franklin family, and almost every letter contained a piece of poetry from his pen. One of his letters about that time contained the following acrostic on Benjamin's name :
"Be to thy parents an obedient son;
Each day let duty constantly be done;
"Fraud and all falsehood in thy dealings flee;
Adore the Maker of thy inward part;
Now's the accepted time; give Him thine heart ;
The sentiment is better than the poetry, and it shows that the hero of our tale had a treasure in the uncle after
whom he was named. Doubtless"Uncle Benjamin's interest was largely increased by the loss of his own children. He had quite a number of sons and daughters, and one after another of them sickened and died, until only one son remained, and he removed to Boston. It was for these reasons, probably, that "Uncle Benjamin " went to America in 1715.
Among his letters was one to his brother Josiah, our Benjamin's father, when the latter was seven years old, from which we extract the following:
"A father with so large a family as yours ought to give one son, at least, to the service of the Church. That is your tithe. From what you write about Benjamin I should say that he is the son you ought to consecrate specially to the work of the ministry. He must possess talents of a high order, and his love of learning must develop them rapidly. If he has made himself a good reader and speller, as you say, without teachers, there is no telling what he will do with them. By all means, if possible, I should devote him to the Church. It will be a heavy tax upon you, of course, with so large a family on your hands, but your reward will come when you are old and greyheaded. Would that I were in circumstances to assist you in educating him."
"He does not know how much thought and planning we have given to this subject," remarked Mr. Franklin to his wife, when he read this part of the letter. "I would do anything possible to educate Benjamin for the Church, and I think he would make the most of any opportunities we can give him.”
"There is no doubt of that," responded Mrs. Franklin. "Few parents ever had more encouragement to educate a son for the ministry than we have to educate him."
"Doctor Willard said as much as that to me," added Mr. Franklin, "and I think it is true. I do not despair of
giving Benjamin an education yet, though I scarcely see how it ever can be done."
"That is the way I feel about it," responded Mrs. Franklin. "Perhaps God will provide a way; somehow I trust in Providence, and wait, hoping for the best."
"It is well to trust in Providence, if it is not done blindly," remarked Mr. Franklin. "Providence sometimes does wonders for people who trust. It is quite certain that He who parted the waters of the Red Sea for the children of Israel to pass, and fed them with manna from the skies, can provide a way for our Benjamin to be educated. But it looks to me as if some of his bread would have to drop down from heaven."
"Well, if it drops that is enough," replied Mrs. Franklin. "I shall be satisfied. If God does anything for him He will do it in His own time and way, and I shall be content with that. To see him in the service of the Church is the most I want."
"Uncle Benjamin's" letter did not introduce a new subject of conversation into the Franklin family; it was already an old theme that had been much canvassed. Outside of the family there was an interest in Benjamin's education. He was the kind of a boy to put through Harvard College. This was the opinion of neighbours who knew him. Nothing but poverty hindered the adoption and execution of that plan.
"Uncle Benjamin's " letter did this, however it hastened a favourable decision, though Benjamin was eight years old when his parents decided that he might enter upon a course of education.
They had said very little to their son about it, because they would not awaken his expectations to disappoint them. And finally the decision was reached with several ifs added.
"I don't know how I shall come out," added Mr. Franklin; "he may begin to study. It won't hurt him to