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"Do you want us to be poor, mother?" asked Archie, wondering.
"No, dear, and you never need be, while you can use your hands;
but I am afraid of this thirst for wealth, and the temptations it
brings. O, my boys! I tremble for the time when I must let you go,
because I think it would break my heart to have you fail as so
many fail. It would be far easier to see you dead if it could be said
of you as of Sumner 'No man dared offer him a bribe.' "
Mrs. Jessie was so earnest in her motherly anxiety that her voice
faltered over the last words, and she hugged the yellow heads
closer in her arms, as if she feared to let them leave that safe
harbour for the great sea where so many little boats go down. The
younger lads nestled closer to her, and Archie said, in his quiet,
"I cannot promise to be an Agassiz or a Sumner, mother; but I do
promise to be an honest man, please God."
"Then I'm satisfied!" and holding fast the hand he gave her, she
sealed his promise with a kiss that had all a mother's hope and
faith in it.
"I don't see how they ever can be bad, she is so fond and proud of
them," whispered Rose, quite touched by the little scene.
"You must help her make them what they should be. You have
begun already, and when I see those rings where they are, my girl
is prettier in my sight than if the biggest diamonds that ever
twinkled shone in her ears," answered Dr. Alec, looking at her
with approving eyes.
"I'm so glad you think I can do anything, for I perfectly ache to be
useful; everyone is so good to me, especially Aunt Jessie."
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