And here is an incident that shows us how faithfulness in a little thing was rewarded. This story is told by a New York merchant:
“One morning, some years ago,” says this gentleman, “I was preparing to go down town to my business, when the servant told me that a man was waiting at the front door to see me.”
“Tell him I’ll be down in a moment,” I said.
On going to the door, a man of tall stature and healthy look called me by name, and asked me for help, saying that he had a large family, and a sick wife, and no means to get food for them.
“You seem to be strong and healthy; why don’t you work?” I asked.
“Simply, sir, because I cannot get work.”
“If I give you work, what pay do you want?”
“Anything, sir, you please to give me, so that I can only get help for my suffering family.”
“I thought I would try to find out if he really meant what he said. “Very well,” I said, “I will give you a shilling an hour if you will carry a brick on your arm around this block for five hours without stopping.”
“Thank you, sir; I will do it.”
I got a brick and placed it on the man’s arm, started him on his walk, and then went down town to my business.
“I never supposed for a moment that the man would keep on all day doing what he had promised to do. I did not expect to find him there when I came back in the afternoon. But, as I came in sight of my house, I saw him walking steadily along, with the brick on his arm. The neighbors were looking at him from their windows and doors as he paced along. Some thought he was crazy, and a lot of boys were following him and making fun of him. But if any one spoke to him, his only answer was, — “Don’t stop me; it’s all right.”
“I went up to him, and taking him quietly by the arm, walked with him to my house. The poor fellow was very tired. I gave him a seat in the hall, and asked my servant to bring him something to eat. Then I gave him five shillings for what he had done. He told me that in one of his walks a lady came out of a house and asked him what he was carrying that brick for. He told her the reason, and she gave him a shilling. And when it was known why he was doing this, small sums of money were given him by different persons, so that it had been quite a profitable day to him.
“But what am I do to-morrow?” he asked.
“Why,” I said, go to some of the persons from whom you received help today and ask for work, and come tomorrow afternoon and tell me how you get on.”
“The next afternoon he came, and told me that he had found steady employment at a store in the neighborhood at four shillings a day. Before leaving he asked for the brick which had made him so successful. I gave it to him, and he took it home. Not long after he called again, and told me that he then had a better situation in a larger firm, where his salary was a hundred pounds a year.
“Three or four years after this,” said the gentleman, “I was riding in a street car, when a well-dressed man spoke to me with a smile, and asked if I knew him. Seeing me hesitate, he said, “Don’t you remember the man who carried the brick?” He then told me that he was now doing a prosperous business on his own account; that he had laid up considerable money, and was going to build a nice house for himself up town.
“And what became of the brick?” I asked.
“That brick, sir, has always occupied a place on our mantel piece. We value it as the most precious of all our possessions. It has made our fortune.”