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THERE are a great many boys who stand at the Boston market, with baskets in their hands, to carry home meat for gentlemen who come to buy. Many of them are dirty and ragged. Some of them are bad boys, who spend much of their time in wicked play, and use wicked language. They sometimes steal and lie; and they are so noisy as to be very troublesome to the people in the market.

"I spoke first, not want them;

One day Mr. Jones came to buy some beef; and a crowd of these boys ran up to him, crying out, "Shall I carry it for you, sir?" "Do let me take it, sir." sir." Mr. Jones told them that he did and then said to the market-man, that he would send for the meat presently. He was just turning away, when a little boy said to him, "Please let me carry it home for you, sir." He spoke so modestly and softly, that Mr. Jones stopped to look at him. He was not, like most of the other boys, ragged and dirty; but his clothes were all whole, and his face and hands were clean. He had no hat on, and no shoes; so that he seemed to be very poor, though he was so very neat.

Mr. Jones was pleased to see this, for he thought that he must be a good boy, and that his mother must be a good woman. He asked the market-man if he knew him.

"No, sir," he answered, "I never saw him before in my life."

"I never was here before," said the boy.

"And how came you here now?" said Mr. Jones.

"My mother sent me here. She is sick, and cannot work, and has no money to buy any food; and so she sent me here to try to earn some. And if I cannot get any, my mother will not get well, and I shall not have any thing to eat."

Mr. Jones put the meat into his basket, and told him to carry it to Washington Place, on Fort Hill. The boy did not know the way; and Mr. Jones said that, as he was going home, he might follow him.

When they got to the house, and the boy had carried his load round to the kitchen, Mr. Jones called him into the parlor, and asked him his name. He said that his name was Robert Fowle.

"Where do you live?" asked Mr. Jones.

"In White-Bread Alley, close by Mr. Parkman's meetinghouse," said Robert.

"What is your father's business?

"I have no father," said Robert; "he died two years ago." "And what does your mother do?"

"She takes in washing and sewing, and does any thing she can. But she is sick now, and can do nothing. So I am obliged to stay away from school to help her, or else we should all starve."

"How many of you are there?" asked Mr. Jones.

"There are five besides me, and they are all girls, and I am the eldest, and I am but twelve."

“And have you no relations, nor friends, to help you?"

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No, sir," said Robert; "all our relations live a great way off, and we have not been long enough in Boston to know many folks here. So mother has to do all when she's well, and now she's sick, there's nobody but I."

Mr. Jones pitied the poor woman, and resolved to help

her. He gave Robert some money, and promised to employ him every day, if he behaved well. He determined also to find something more for him to do.

Robert hastened home to his mother. She was sitting by the fire, mending a child's gown, and looking very pale and sick. The children were standing round her, cold and hungry, and little Anne was crying because she had nothing

to eat.

Robert was very glad that he had some money to buy bread, and as soon as he opened the door, he held it up in his hand, and said, "See, mother, only see what a good gentleman it was; see how much he gave me. Don't cry, Anne, for now we shall have enough. And he said it was because you was sick, and he knew you was a good mother, because I looked and spoke so nice. And he said we must all take care and be good children."

Mrs. Fowle told Robert not to talk now, but to run and buy some bread. Little children, who always have enough to eat, do not know how glad these little hungry creatures were to see the loaf that he brought home.

While they were busily and heartily eating, Robert told them all that he had done that morning, and that Mr. Jones had promised to give him something more to do.

He then went to school in the afternoon, for he loved his books, and his mother would not suffer him to neglect them. The poorest boys in Boston can attend the public schools, and Mrs. Fowle knew that children cannot be happy nor good, if they do not learn to read and write.

The next morning Robert washed himself, and washed and fed the smaller children, and took his basket to go out. "Good-by, mother; good-by, children." "Do you

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Robert, stop one minute," said his mother.
any of the boys in the market?"


"No, mother, not one," said Robert.

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Well, my dear son," said she, "I hope you will not play with them, nor have any more to do with them than is absolutely necessary. For I hear that some of them are bad boys, and do not speak the truth, and say wicked words."

"Yes, mother," said Robert, "and they fight. I saw them. And they swear terribly. And they were very saucy to some gentlemen."

"I hope you will not learn to do so, Robert. You had better starve than learn to be wicked. It would break my heart to have you a bad boy. Be very careful, then, Robert; and if they try to draw you away, do not go with them. Remember what I say, and remember your dear father. Remember what the Bible says, too."

Robert promised that he would be careful, and ran off to the market. Mr. Jones did as he had said, and Robert found enough to do to keep him busy, day after day, and to buy many comfortable things for his mother. He carried all his money to her, and would not spend any of it for apples and cakes, like other boys. He behaved so well, that many gentlemen always wanted Robert Fowle to carry home their marketing; and one gave him a hat, and another a pair of shoes, and so made him more comfortable and happy.

When the boys found that Robert had more errands at the market than any of them, some of them were very angry. They said that he was a new boy, and had no business there, and that he had come to get away their money. He would not pitch cents with them, nor play at any game


which they could get away his money; and so they called him mean and stingy. He would not keep company with them, nor hear bad stories; and they called him proud.

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