OR, HONESTY REWARDED.
At St. Petersburgh, the birth day of any of the royal family is
observed as a time of great festivity, by all kinds of diversions.
When the vessel in which John Read shipped arrived, he was allowed to
go on shore to see the sport on that occasion. In one of the sleighs
was a lady, who at the moment of passing him lost a bracelet from her
arm, which fell on the snow. John hastened forward to pick it up, at
the same time
calling after the lady, who was beyond the sound of his
voice. He then put the bracelet into his pocket, and when he had seen
enough of the sport, went back to the ship.
John told the captain all about it, showing him the prize which he had
"Well, Jack," said the captain "you are fortunate enough--these are
all diamonds of great value--when we get to the next port I will sell
it for you." "But," said John, "It's not mine, it belongs to the lady,
and I cannot sell it." The captain replied, "O, you cannot find the
lady, and you picked it up. It is your own." But John persisted it was
not his. "Nonsense, my boy," said the captain, "it belongs to you."
John then replied "But if we have another storm in the Baltic," (see
story preceding.) "Ah, me," said the Captain, "I forgot all about
that, Jack. I will go on shore with you to-morrow and try to find the
owner." They did so; and after much trouble, found it belonged to a
nobleman's lady, and as a reward for the boy's honesty, she gave him
eighty pounds English money. John's next difficulty was what to do
with it. The captain advised him to lay it out in hides, which would
be valuable in England. He did so, and on arriving at Hull, they
brought one hundred and fifty pounds.
John had not forgotten his mother. The captain gave him leave of
absence for a time, and taking a portion of his money with him, he
started for his native village. When he arrived there, he made his way
to her house with a beating heart. Each object told him it was home,
and brought bygone days to his mind. On coming to the house he saw it
was closed. He thought she might be dead; and as he slowly opened the
gate and walked up the path and looked about, his heart was ready to
break. A neighbor seeing him, said, "Ah, John, is that you?" and
quickly told him that his mother still lived--but as she had no means
of support, she had gone to the poor-house. John went to the place,
found his mother, and soon made her comfortable in her own cottage.
The sailor boy afterwards became mate of the same vessel in which he
first left the quay at Yarmouth.