The Blue Line street-car stopped at the corner, and an anxious-looking young woman put a small boy inside.
“Now, Robin,” she said, as she hurried out to the platform again, “don’t lose that note I gave you. Don’t take it out of your pocket at all.”
“No, Mama,” said the little man, looking wistfully after his mother as the conductor pulled the strap, the driver unscrewed his brake, and the horses, shaking their bells, trotted off with the car.
“What’s your name, bub?” asked a mischievous looking young man sitting beside him.
“Robert Cullen Demms,” he answered.
“Where are you going?”
“To my grandma’s.”
“Let me see that note in your pocket.”
The look of innocent surprise in the round face ought to have shamed the baby’s tormentor; but he only said again, “Let me see it.”
“I tan’t” said Robert Cullen Demms.
“See here, if you don’t, I’ll scare the horses, and make them run away.”
The little boy cast an apprehensive look at the belled horses, but shook his head.
“Here, I’ll give you this peach if you’ll pull that note half way out of your pocket.” The boy did not reply, but some of the older people looked angry.
“I say, chum, I’ll give you this whole bag of peaches if you will just show me the corner of your note,” said the tempter. The child turned away, as if he did not wish to hear any more; but the young man opened the bag, and held it just where he could see and smell the luscious fruit.
A look of distress came into the sweet little face. I believe Robin was afraid to trust himself; for when a man left his seat on the other side to get off the car, the little boy slid quickly down, left the temptation behind, and climbed into the vacant place.
A pair of prettily gloved hands began almost unconsciously to clap; and then everybody clapped and applauded, until it might have alarmed Robin if a young lady sitting by had not slipped her arm around him, and said, with a sweet glow on her face: “Tell your mama that we all congratulate her upon having a little man strong enough to resist temptation, and wise enough to run away from it.”
I doubt if that long, hard message ever reached Robin’s mother; but no matter—the note got to his grandmother without ever coming out of his pocket on the way.
Taken from the Youth’s Instructor, December 6, 1900.