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His anxiety for him was great. He did not wish to compel him to make candles against an increasing desire to escape from the hardship. He had great sympathy for him, too, in his disappointment at leaving school. And it was a hard lot for such a lover of school and study to give them up for ever at ten years of age. No more school after that! Small opportunity, indeed, in comparison with those enjoyed by nearly every boy at the present day! Now they are just beginning to learn at this early age. From ten they can look forward to six, eight, or ten years in school and college.
Mr. Franklin saw from month to month that his son more and more disliked his business, though little was said by either of them. "Actions speak louder than words," as Mr. Franklin saw to his regret; for it was as clear as noonday that Benjamin would never be contented in the candlefactory. He did his best, however, to make the boy's situation attractive; allowed him frequent opportunities for play, and praised his habit of reading in the evening and at all other times possible. Still, a tallow-candle did not attract him. It shed light, but it was not the sort of light that Benjamin wanted to radiate. One day, nearly two years after he engaged in the candle-business, he said to. his father :
“I wish I could do something else; I can never like this work."
"What else would you like to do?" inquired his father. "I would like to go to sea," was the prompt and straight reply; and it startled Mr. Franklin. It was just what he feared all along. He was afraid that compulsion to make him a tallow-chandler might cause him to run away, and go to sea, as his eldest son, Josiah, did. Emphatically his father said :
"Go to sea, Benjamin! Never, never, with my consent. Never say another word about it, and never think about it, for that is out of the question. I shall never give my
consent, and I know your mother never will. It was too much for me when your brother broke away from us, and went to sea. I cannot pass through another such trial. So you must not persist in your wish, if you would not send me down to the grave."
Josiah, the eldest son, named after his father, became dissatisfied with his home when Benjamin was an infant, ran away, and shipped as a sailor. The parents knew not where he had gone. Month after month they waited, in deep sorrow, for tidings from their wayward boy, but no tidings came. Years rolled on, and still the wanderer was away somewhere--they knew not where. Morning, noon, and night the memory of him lay heavy upon their hearts, turning their cup of earthly joy to bitterness, and furrowing their faces with anxiety and grief. He might be dead. He might be alive and in want in a strange land. The uncertainty and suspense hanging over his fate magnified their sorrow. The outlook was unpleasant; there was no comfort in it. They appealed to God. Before Him they pleaded for their prodigal son-for his safety, his return, his salvation.
Not long after Benjamin had expressed his longing for the sea, when almost the last hope of seeing the lost son again had vanished, Josiah returned, and startled his parents by his sudden and unexpected presence. They could. scarcely believe their eyes. Twelve years, and hard service before the mast, had wrought a great change in his appearance. He was a youth when he ran away,-he was a man now, toughened by exposure, dark as an Indian, stalwart and rough; but still the eldest son and brother, Josiah Franklin, junior. They were glad to see him. They rejoiced more over this one returning prodigal than they did over the sixteen that went not astray. "The father said: Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry: for
this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry."
It was the first time in twelve years that family had been merry." Past sorrows were forgotten in the joy of their meeting. On that day a new life began around that hearthstone. Father and mother began to live again. As if they had never shed a tear or felt a pang, they looked into the future with cheerful hope and expectation.
To return to Benjamin. His father's quick and sharp reply left no room for doubt. It he went to sea it must be against his father's will. He turned to his mother, but was repulsed with equal decision.
Want to go to sea! You
Is it not enough that You might have known
"You surprise me, Benjamin. must not harbour such a thought. we have lost one son in that way? that I should never give my consent. I should almost as lief bury you. How can you want to leave your good home, and all your friends, to live in a ship, exposed to storms and death all the time?"
"It is not because I do not love my home and friends; but I have a desire to sail on a voyage to some other country. I like the water, and nothing would suit me better than to be a cabin-boy."
"You surprise and pain me, Benjamin. I never dreamed `of such a thing. If you do not like work in the candlefactory, then choose some other occupation, but never think of going to sea."
"I would choose any other occupation under the sun than candle-making," replied Benjamin. "I have tried to like it for two years, but dislike it more and more. If I could have my own way, I would not go to the factory another day."
Perhaps the opposition of his parents would have prevented his going to sea, but the return of Josiah, with no words of praise for the calling, must have exerted a decided influence in leading him to abandon the idea altogether.
"Uncle Benjamin," of course, could not tolerate the idea of his nephew becoming a sailor. With his poor opinion of the candle-trade, he would have him pursue the business all his life rather than become a sailor.
"Do anything rather than follow the seas," he said. "If you want to throw yourself away, body and soul, go before the mast. But if you want to be somebody, and do something that will make you respectable and honoured among men, never ship for a voyage, long or short. A boy of one talent can be a cabin-boy, but a boy of ten talents ought to be above that business, and find his place on a higher plane of life."
CHOOSING A TRADE AND STEALING SPORT.
R. AND MRS. FRANKLIN canvassed the subject thoroughly, and wisely decided that Benjamin might engage in some other pursuit.
"To be successful a man must love his calling," remarked Mr. Franklin," and Benjamin hates his. He appears to go to each day's work with a dread, and as long as he feels so he will not accomplish anything."
"You have come to a wise decision, I think," responded "Uncle Benjamin." "Ordinarily a boy should chose his own occupation. He may be instructed and assisted by his parents, but if he makes his own selection he is likely to choose what he has tact and taste for. Certainly, I would not compel a son to follow a business that he hates as Benjamin does candle-making."
"That is true on the whole, but circumstances alter cases," remarked Mr. Franklin. "I believe I shall take him around to examine different trades in town, and he can see for himself and choose what he likes best."
"He has seemed to be interested in my son's business," added "Uncle Benjamin."
His son Samuel was a cutler, and he had established the cutlery business in Boston, in which he was quite successful.
"Well, he can look into that; I have no objections to it; it is a good business. I will let him examine others, however, and take his choice. I want he should settle the matter of occupation now for life. I don't want to go