The Talisman: A Tale for Boys
Pub.d by Wait, Greene & Co.
“When she first sprung up a most exhilarating shout issued from the group.”
See Page 50
TALE FOR BOYS.
WAIT, GREENE & CO.—13, COURT STREET.
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS.—to wit:
District Clerk’s Office.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty fifth day of June, A. D. 1829, in the fifty third year of the Independence of the United States of America, WAIT, GREENE & CO. of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
“The Talisman: a Tale for Boys.”
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned:” and also to an Act entitled “An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints.”
JNO. W. DAVIS,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
PRESS OF PUTNAM & HUNT.
41, Washington Street.
Frank had heard a great deal about the city, but he had never seen it, for he lived more than a hundred miles from New York, and still farther from Boston. His father and mother had made visits to both these places, several times, but it had never been convenient to them to take Frank. On their return, they always brought him many pretty presents of books or toys, and they told him about every thing they had seen there, which they thought would interest him, and he imagined the city to be the most delightful place in the world.
Frank had no brother, and only one little sister, who was a very pretty play-thing for him, but not much of a companion. There was one boy in the neighbourhood, a farmer’s son, with whom Frank played a great deal.
The school was not near them, and Frank’s mother had taught him every thing he knew. This was not more than other boys usually know at his age, but Frank thought he knew a great deal, for he had never seen a boy so well educated as himself. In the little village where he lived, none of the other boys were so fortunate as to have mothers, who could spare their time to instruct them, and the school was a poor one, so Frank thought himself very wise. When his mother perceived this, she invited his little friend, the farmer’s son, Sam Brown, to come to her house and study with Frank. Sam was a year older than Frank, a good and intelligent boy, and he gladly accepted the invitation. Frank was soon obliged to make unusual exertion to keep up with him, but the pleasure he felt in having a companion in his studies, compensated him for his trouble.
About this time, Mr. Courtland, Frank’s father, went to Boston to attend the legislature, of which he was a member. He was absent many weeks, and Frank thought he never would come home. It was winter, and although Frank and Sam were industrious in their studies, and had much amusement in coasting, skating, making snow houses and images, the time appeared very long. At last, the stage which had driven past the house day after day, stopped before the gate, and Mr. Courtland jumped out. Frank was at the bottom of the walk before the trunk was taken off by the driver, and after he had welcomed his father, ran back to be the first to tell the good news to his mother, who was in her own room on the other side of the house, and did not even hear the noise of the carriage.
When Mr. Courtland had got warm and taken tea, he opened his trunk and took out some books and a little printing press, and the model of a mill which could be taken to pieces and put together again, which he presented to Frank; and a beautiful doll dressed in the fashion, and some toys for his little daughter Ann. He also gave Frank a very pretty book, which he had bought for Sam, for he told him that he knew he would be pleased to have Sam get a present as well as himself. Frank ran directly over to the farmer’s to carry it, and received as much pleasure in giving the book to Sam, as from those he had for himself.
‘Now father,’ said Frank, (when he returned,) ‘tell me about Boston; shall I ever see it, I wonder?’
‘Yes, my dear,’ said his father; ‘I think you will see it very soon.’
‘Are you in earnest?’
‘Yes, truly. I have written to your mother about my plans; but I perceive she has not thought it best to tell you.’
‘Perhaps she don’t intend to let me go,’ said Frank.
‘I believe she is rather reluctant,’ answered Mr. Courtland; but I have persuaded her to consent to it. My plan, Frank, is to send you to school. I have thought for some time, that it would be advantageous to you to go from home, where you would be obliged to act more for yourself than you do now; and where you would learn some things which you cannot learn here.’
‘But I am sure,’ said Frank, ‘mother can teach me anything; and I know now, more than any boy in the village except Sam; who is a year older than I am.’
‘Except Sam,’ said his father, ‘the only boy who has received any good instruction! When you go to a school, my son, you will find many boys, who know more than yourself, and some that are more capable; but I hope you will not find any, more amiable or honest. I think you are a dutiful, good boy, Frank; if I did not, I should not be willing to trust you so far away from your mother and myself.’
‘Why, am I to go alone! go without mother!’ said Frank.
‘Yes:—for neither your mother nor myself wish to go to school: we must stay at home, and take care of little Ann, and the house, and the farm.’
‘I don’t believe I shall be contented there, without any of my friends; if it is Boston, or the most delightful place in the world.’
‘If you are not contented, I shall bring you home; for you could not learn to advantage, unless you were happy; and I should not willingly place you where you were not so.’
‘Then I may come home if I don’t like it.’
‘I think then, I shall be willing to go.’
‘I expect, Frank,’ said Mr. Courtland, ‘that you will feel a little strange at first, and even homesick; but you will not yield to this, but wait till you have become acquainted with your teachers, and schoolfellows; and see if your studies and amusements do not enable you to get through the day very pleasantly; and then, although you may not like it as well as home, I think you are such a sensible child, that you will content yourself to remain, if it is important to your education that you should do so. But Frank, it is not in Boston, after all, that you are to live, though very near there. I did at first think of letting you reside with your Aunt Willard, and go to some one of the excellent day schools which are kept in Boston; but I heard of a situation a few miles out of the city, which pleased me better. Mr. and Mrs. Reed, who keep it, are delightful people; I went to see them myself. They have a charming house, garden and play ground. Twenty or thirty boys live with them. They have no children of their own; but they love these children, and treat them exactly as if they were really their own. I never saw a school, which appeared to me to possess so many of the pleasures and advantages of home, as this does. Mrs. Reed is particularly lovely in her person, manners, and kind and attentive to the scholars. I expect you will love her next to your mother, before you have been there six weeks.’
‘It may be next, father;’ said Frank; ‘but I think there will be a long, long way between mother and Mrs. Reed, or Mrs. any body else. Am I to go so soon?’
‘Not immediately; your mother tells me, she wishes you to write a better hand, to spell correctly, and to get on a little more, in arithmetic first.’
‘O, I will be very industrious,’ said Frank. ‘Why did you not tell me about this plan, mother, when you urged me to study, and said you had a good reason for wishing me to get longer lessons than I had done before?’
‘Because,’ answered his mother, ‘the plan was not decided on; and I hoped my asking it would be the strongest inducement I could offer.’
‘Well, I did try, but I should have tried more, if I had known that I was going where all the boys knew so much.’
‘This is one reason why I consent to your going,’ said his mother. ‘I find you do not learn as fast, as with your talents you ought; because you have not the ambition or the sympathy, by which you would be excited, among a number of boys of your own age.’
‘Mother, why do you look so sober;’ said Frank; ‘are you sorry I am going. Father won’t send me, unless you consent.’
‘I have consented, Frank; because I think it will be for your advantage to go; but I cannot feel happy when I think of parting with you.’
‘O mother, don’t speak about parting; I shall never be able to go, if you do,—if my staying with you makes you happy, I don’t think I ought to go.’
‘If you do well and learn fast, and continue as good and innocent as you now are; this will make me happier than even keeping you at home.’
‘Well, I am sure I shall do that.’
‘Not so sure yet, my dear. You have little idea of the trials and temptations you may meet with; you know you cannot bear trials very well, Frank.’
‘But I shall learn to bear them. You told father so, last summer, when I broke my flower-pot.’
‘You will learn this better away from home,’ said Mrs. Courtland; ‘and this is another reason why I consent to your absence.’
‘I think going from home is to cure me of all my faults.’
‘It will afford you the best opportunity of curing them; but after all, this must depend on yourself.’
Although Frank’s pleasure at the prospect of seeing the city of Boston, was somewhat damped by the thought of leaving his parents, he was eager to go; and so rapid was his improvement, in consequence of this excitement, that his mother became more and more satisfied it was best for him to leave her; and her selfish desire to retain her son, who was the joy and the occupation of almost all her hours, gave way to her views for his improvement. She could not but perceive, that Frank had some of those little faults to which children brought up in private are peculiarly liable; and she trusted that her religious and moral instructions had sunk too deeply into his heart, to be overpowered by the temptations to which in his new situation, far away from her care, he might be exposed.
Before the weather and roads were sufficiently settled, to venture on so long a journey, Frank was all prepared to depart; he had been very attentive to his lessons, particularly in writing, and although he was but twelve years old, few persons of any age, wrote a better hand.
His mother provided every thing for his comfort and amusement, which affection and a thorough acquaintance with his habits could devise. He was fond of amusing himself with drawing; and could draw remarkably well for his age. His mother made him a neat port-folio, and filled it with paper; and a case for his pencils, pen-knife, &c.; and when she found he was not to set off as soon as she had expected, she employed herself in the evening in filling a book with drawings, which would answer for patterns for him. There were landscapes, animals and flowers, all very simple, but quite pretty and interesting.
She did not show it to Frank till it was finished.
‘When did you draw this, mother?’ said Frank; ‘I have not seen you drawing for a long time; you have been making my clothes every day from morning till night.’
‘I did it after you were in bed.’
How kind, thought Frank, though he did not say it; for children do not often speak when they are much moved by kindness.
‘They are beautiful,’ at last he exclaimed; ‘just such as I like.’
‘When you are in want of amusement, you can copy these,’ said his mother; ‘and then you will think of me.’
‘And so I shall, let me do what I will.’
‘I hope so,’ said his father; ‘it will be your surest talisman.’
‘Talismans are good things, father. I wish there were real ones in the world; such as I have read about, in the Arabian nights. If I had one to take away with me, you would always feel sure that I was safe.’
‘If you kept it; but you know, they may be lost.’
‘O, I should keep it; never fear that.’
‘Well, there are no such things except in fiction. God will protect you my son; and to his protection I willingly trust you; only try yourself to do right. Good night,—day after to-morrow, if the weather is fine, we are to start.’
‘So soon, father,’ said Frank, and his eyes filled with tears; but neither of his parents spoke of this, though it gave them pleasure to see it.
The next day was a busy scene at Mr. Courtland’s; every body was employed in the preparations for the journey. Frank was rejoiced to find, that his father himself intended to take him; as he had proposed his going with a friend, who expected to have occasion to visit Boston about this time. Frank was indebted to his mother for this pleasure. Mr. Courtland found that it would lessen his wife’s solicitude at parting with her son, to have his father go with him, and remain a short time, to ascertain whether he was contented; and this decided him to relinquish his first plan.
At the tea table this evening, every one was very sober; even the lively little Ann was silent. After tea, they all went to the piazza to look at the sky, which was brilliant with the setting sun.
‘This promises a fair day for our journey,’ said Mr. Courtland; ‘are you all ready, Frank?’ but Frank could not answer; and his mother turned away and went to her own chamber, for she did not wish to let Frank witness the effect of her feelings, lest his heart should fail him, when he came to bid her good bye. In a few minutes, she recovered her self-command, and returning to the parlour, told Frank she should like to call with him, on several of the neighbors, that he might take leave of them; particularly of Sam and his family. All were very sorry that Frank was to quit the village for so long a time. Sam, who, though a manly boy, was not much accustomed to self-control, wept aloud; and said he should have no one to study or to play with.
‘I will write you letters, Sam,’ said Frank, ‘and tell you about all the fine things in Boston, and the school, and what sort of boys there are there. I shall not like any of them, I am sure, as well as I do you. Will you write to me?’
‘Yes,’ said Sam with more composure.
‘Good bye,’ said Frank.
Although Frank was to rise earlier than usual, the next morning; yet his parents unconsciously suffered his bed hour to pass by. They were engaged in conversation with him; impressing on his mind the importance of resolution and self-control, and endeavouring to acquaint him with the temptations and trials to which he would be exposed, among such a number of boys; many of whom, probably, had not been as carefully educated as himself; and who might have some bad habits and propensities, which Frank, without watchfulness on his part, would be in danger of imitating. At last, Mr. Courtland looked at his watch, and was surprised to find it almost ten o’clock.
When Frank went to his own room, his mother followed him. ‘I will lock your trunk to-night, Frank, and tie up your travelling bag, and place all your things in readiness, for fear you should over-sleep yourself in the morning.’
‘No I shan’t, mother; I am not in the least sleepy, and feel as if I should not get to sleep till daylight.’
‘This excitement will cause you to be very drowsy, after you have once been asleep,’ said she.
‘I have one more thing to put in your trunk,’ added his mother; ‘which I expect you to value very much, and take the greatest care of. You know you wished for a talisman the other night; here is one, whose power to preserve you from what I regard as the greatest danger, to which you are exposed, will I think prove effectual.’
‘A real talisman! why, father told me there were no such things, except in fiction; where did you get it? will it really preserve me from harm as long as I keep it? Is there a charm in it?’
‘You can judge for yourself as soon as you look at it. It is from moral harm; from the danger of temptation, to do what you know to be wrong, that I expect it to preserve you;—this is the harm from which I have ever been most anxious to guard you,—this is the harm which I most dread, when you are removed from my care and inspection.’
The talisman was contained in a small box. Frank took it out of his mother’s hand, opened it and looked at it steadily for a moment, and then exclaimed, ‘O, it is beautiful: it will, it will, mother, preserve me.’
‘Keep it safe, my son; consult it every night, when you go to bed; it will inform you if the day has been passed with innocence and improvement; if you can regard it with pleasure, you have nothing to fear; but if otherwise, attend to its admonitions;—do not let it appeal to you in vain.’
Frank’s cheeks were wet with tears; his mother indulged herself in one long, close embrace, and uttering only ‘God bless you,’—left the room. Frank was alone. He put the box in his trunk; far down, where he thought it would be safest, and locked the trunk, which his mother in her emotion had forgotten to do, and then remained a moment motionless. He had thoughts and feelings which he had never before experienced; and formed resolutions which it seemed to him, at that time, would never be broken. He then said his prayers with fervour and satisfaction; as soon as his head was on the pillow he fell asleep; and did not, as his mother had apprehended, wake, till called to breakfast. In a few moments, he made his appearance with a serious and satisfied air; and when the stage drove up, went off with a far better grace, than his parents had anticipated.
We will not attempt to describe his mother’s desolate feelings, when her husband and son were fairly out of sight. None of my young readers can estimate a mother’s feelings, though they know that they are the kindest and truest in the world. Neither can we stop to tell about Frank’s journey, lest the story should be too long. Every thing was new and engaging to him; the weather was fine, and on the second day, they arrived just before sunset, at the door of Mrs. Willard, who was standing on the balcony with her two little girls, looking out for the coach.
Mrs. Willard’s house was more elegantly furnished than any one Frank had ever seen. He was so much pleased in looking round on the pictures, mirrors, &c. that he did not feel so badly, as he had expected. What he liked best to look at, however, was his Aunt, who was his mother’s sister, and resembled her, though she was older and as Frank thought, not nearly so handsome. Her kind manner soon placed him at ease. She told him, she supposed he would like to change his dusty clothes, and refresh himself after so long a journey; and led him to a chamber, where he found his baggage had been already carried. A servant came to ask if he wished any assistance; but Frank, who had been accustomed to wait on himself, said ‘no, I thank you, Sir;’ which made the servant smile; for he perceived that Frank did not take him for a servant:—indeed, he was better dressed than most of the people whom Frank had ever seen. A consciousness of his mistake glanced across Frank’s mind; and the thought that he should be taken for an ignorant country boy, made him blush. He unlocked his trunk, found every thing safe, even his talisman; at which he gave a look, and soon perceived that the mistake he had made with regard to the servant, was one he need not be ashamed of, he resumed his composure and was dressed and looked fresh and happy, when his Aunt called him to tea.
After tea, Mr. Courtland asked Frank if he should like to walk about a little, as he had been sitting in the coach all day. He said yes; and they went into the mall and common, which were near his Aunt’s house. Though the twilight was fast fading awa