Obrazy na stronie

quicken while it encourages.

Your success in obtaining the contract, no doubt, while it sustained your hope of ultimate success, at the same time stimulated

your exertions at every succeeding stage of the business, to deserve and to acquire the success at which you aimed.”

“ Yes; we have often said to each other, “We must pay particular attention to such or such a matter; after succeeding so far, it would be doubly grievous to sustain disappointment through any neglect or fault of our own.' Oh, the scrutinizing care with which we felt it necessary to watch every line of the contract, to see that it was so drawn up as to leave no room for dispute at a future period; that every thing might be upright, clear, and explicit ; that we should ourselves fully understand our obligations and our claims; and that the whole might be perfectly intelligible to others, in case of the death of the original contractors ! Then the care and caution necessary to be observed in the selection of timber. O sir, think of the tremendous consequences that might ensue if one unsound plank were employed in the vessel! Then the engaging a sufficient number of competent and faithful workmen, and securing an adequate supply of materials to keep them constantly employed ; and the forecast and management, and often almost insurmountable difficulty, necessarily attendant on young beginners, in timely providing for the heavy outlay required in an undertaking of this magnitude; and the constant enforcement of method and despatch necessary to secure the completion of the work within the time specified ; all these have been sources of constant anxiety, and could only be counterbalanced by the exercise of humble,

persevering hope of success; hope sustained by the consciousness that our own best endeavours were not wanting.

“We have had many anxieties, too, arising from causes beyond our own control and management -the hazard of life or limb to the workmen employed. How sadly would our success be embittered if we had to connect with it the lamentations of bereaved families, or the loss of health and activity to some faithful, laborious workmen ! This we have mercifully been spared, and we consider it a cause for peculiar gratitude to the Preserver of men, that no one has sustained serious injury in the progress of the work. But one of our principal men was laid aside by serious illness. This occasioned considerable delay, as many hands were guided by his head, which, during his absence, were comparatively useless. Had our fears about him been fully realized, it would have been impossible for us to have duly fulfilled the contract. The failure of a country bank, from which we were to receive our instalments, threw us into great perplexity and embarrassment, which, though but temporary, were distressing and alarming: and then the illness of my brother, and the apprehension that one or other of us might be cut off, and leave the survivor encumbered with a great unfinished undertaking, which such a circumstance might render ruinous instead of advantageous to both our families-oh these have been anxieties indeed, and I can only wonder that from day to day we have been sustained under them! We have still the launch before us —when hundreds, perhaps thousands, will be assembled to witness the success or the failure of our enterprise. Oh, it is indeed

an appalling prospect. Our vessel has been constructed with the nicest care, and the greatest mathematical precision ; but we cannot be sure that we have succeeded until we see her float steadily and majestically on the wave. Our work is performed on the dry land; but it must be proved on the ocean : and what if it should be a failure! Then, too, with all our care in preparing for the launch, it is possible that the slipping of one block or wedge may cause the vessel to jerk irregularly in its descent, or, as we technically call it, to lurch, and occasion serious injury to itself, or, what would be far worse, endanger the men employed in managing it.”

Well, cheer up, my good friend, and still let hope sustain the head of exertion, till perseverance crowns it. I assure you we all feel deeply interested in the trials and anxieties you have detailed, and which are now approaching so near to their termination ; and relying on the same gracious Providence which you have all along humbly recognized, whose blessing has hitherto rested on the work of your hands, and is usually seen to rest on humble confidence combined with proper diligence and care, we cheerfully anticipate for you a prosperous issue of the affair.” The assiduous brothers took their departure

uncle's very early on the Monday morning, much recruited even by that short interval of repose and recreation. During the period that intervened between that and the time appointed for the launch, Frank and myself daily visited the wharf, and passed several hours in watching the completion of the interesting vessel, participating in no small degree in the anxious excitement with

from my

which its builders looked forward to the important day. When that day arrived, my uncle, and all his inmates, were among the earliest of the spectators. He stood for some time, arm in arm, with the Messrs. Fowler, watching the workmen engaged in removing everything that could obstruct or endanger the vessel. On leaving them, to conduct my mother and sisters to the seats allotted for them, my uncle shook hands with each of the brothers, and said, “Once more, hope to the end; hope humbly, but hope always.”

The day was serene, and not intensely hot : the company numerous, and respectable. The Messrs. Fowler were highly respected in the neighbourhood, as their father before them had been for many years : and as this was the first very formidable undertaking completed by the young men since the business had been entirely in their hands, a lively interest was excited.

At the appointed moment, the signal was given, the last block was removed, the moorings were unloosed, and the vessel glided swiftly yet steadily to its destined element, and rode majestically on the bosom of the waves. For the last few minutes, a breathless silence had pervaded the large assembly ; but now a shout of glad congratulation and applause simultaneously burst from every lip, and was prolonged for several minutes. The brothers silently grasped each other's hand, and looked upwards, doubtless with a heartfelt aspiration of gratitude to Him whom they were accustomed to acknowledge in all their ways, and at whose hand they received the success which so richly rewarded their enterprising and persevering toils.


“ Uncle," said Frank, as we rode home, “I am heartily glad that the hopes of our friends have been so fully realized. I shall often think of their three years of anxiety and labour, and the accomplishment of their hopes on this happy day; and Í shall endeavour to adopt as my own, your delightful motto, Hope humbly, but hope always.'»

Do so, Frank; and be sure you take both limbs of the sentiment, if you would avoid disappointment. Hope would not so generally be called a 'gay deceiver,' if people would but hope humbly."

We united in requesting my uncle to tell us what was included in hoping humbly. He paused a moment, and then replied, “I think, at least, it will be found to include,

“1. Hope lawfully. Let the object of hope be that which is in itself good and lawful, else the very hope may be productive of very great mischief, as well as issue in disappointment. The ambitious and the covetous man, stimulated by the hope of aggrandizement and wealth, tramples on the claims of justice and humanity ; and success, if it come at all, comes not as a blessing, but a curse. The same hope, well directed, stimulates the patient industry and perseverance of the husbandman in tilling the ground; the labours of the philanthropist, in promoting the happiness of his fellowcreatures; and the researches of the man of science in the regions of knowledge and experiment, for the enlargement of his own mind, or for devising schemes of useful ingenuity to aid the labours of the mechanic, to promote the conveniences and comforts of life, and to advance the lawful interests of commerce. Success here is truly satisfactory.

« PoprzedniaDalej »