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a regular workman, and told Tom one day that he should raise his wages to a shilling a-week. Overjoyed, the boy hastened home to his mother, who got drunk that very same evening, and thrashed him unmercifully, under the impression that he had poisoned her spirits.

Tom's progress was rapid; and being now almost always from home, he avoided very much of the cruel treatment he once suffered. Besides this, the old woman was shrewd enough to see that if his strength were increased and appearance improved, he would earn more, and, perhaps, in time keep her altogether. So Tom got better fed and better clothed. His puny limbs grew stronger, his cheeks plumper, and his hungry eyes less hollow.

He was now about thirteen. He had been five or six weeks only with the painter, and was already earning more than most children of his age. His master had given him a carpenter's pencil, and some rough paper, and with these the child employed every spare hour in copying trees, animals, &c. And now came a great event in the child's life. Kneeling one day at a rough stand he had made to support his drawing, he was sketching an old picturesque ruin of a tree which had been shattered by lightning, and so attentively was every thought fixed on his work that he had

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failed to observe the approach of a lady who was bending over him watching his pencil. Happening to look up, the boy caught sight of her, and, snatching away the half-finished drawing, sprang to his feet, blushing deeply.

"Don't be ashamed, my boy," said she, kindly, "let me look at it again."

Tom hesitated.

"Give it me," she continued, holding out her hand persuasively.

Tom gave it her.

The lady looked at the drawing, and then at Tom. "Is that the only pencil you have?" she asked.

"Yes, Ma'am," said Tom.

"But how can you manage with that clumsy thing?"

"Oh, it does very nicely, indeed, I assure you, Ma'am!" answered the boy, quickly. Tom had a sort of affection for his pencil. It had given him much pleasure, and he did not like to hear it spoken lightly of.

"Can you paint?" she asked.

"I never painted anything but gates and rails, and such like, Ma'am," he answered.

"But wouldn't you like to paint trees and animals?"

"Oh yes, Ma'am, so much," said Tom, eagerly. "Did you never try?" she asked.

"No, Ma'am," said Tom, "I never had any paint or brushes of my own, and I couldn't use my master's, you know."

"Good boy; no, certainly not," said the lady. "Come to my house with me, and I will set you up in trade with all you want."

Tom's heart leapt lightly as he followed her footsteps, and in half an hour found himself owner of what he would have given his left hand to possess.

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Now," said the lady, after Tom had satisfied his hunger with a good meal in the kitchen," when you have painted that old tree which I saw you sketching, bring me the picture and let me see it." "Yes, Ma'am, I will," said Tom. His heart was full of thankfulness.

"Now go," said the lady," and good-by."

Tom started off, and set to work immediately; but, in his ignorance of water-colours, made many failures, and shed many tears over his miserable daubs. However, he tried again and again, flattering his pride with the belief that the lady would not have given him the paints if she thought he could not do it. Sleeping or waking, the old withered tree was always before him, and so well

did he know every branch and every rent in its shattered trunk, that he could sketch it from memory almost as well as if it were actually before him.

Tom had told the adventure to his mother; and the old woman, greedily thinking that money might be made out of it, not only permitted, but, if needful, would have forced him to labour incessantly at his new occupation. These were happy days for Tom. He was very seldom at home, and the beatings he got had become fewer in proportion. Besides this, his diligence had so far softened his master's surly heart, that Tom got a good meal, once at least, every day. No longer pinched up by hunger, Tom's tiny limbs began to grow and his shrunken skin to fill out; and the weazen child very soon changed into a short, but well-made and handsome boy. From always having lived alone, Tom had contracted habits of solitude and reflection, and he now avoided other boys just as much as they formerly shunned him. His mother's cottage looked out on to a green where the village children used to play cricket and other games, and so Tom, when he went to his work, always left by the back door, and walked round across the fields to the painter's shop. Though as ignorant of book knowledge as the youngest child in the village, something told him he was superior to them all.

It was not conceit, for Tom did not know the talents he possessed; but grieved at his ignorance, and envied the other children their acquirements. It was a sort of quiet, steady, honest conviction which came of itself. Tom could now have had companionship enough, had he wished it; but he did not seek friends, not because he was too proud to mingle with their sports, but because his heart found no pleasure in their company.

Many copies of the old tree were made before Tom completed one which he could venture to show his patroness. Several weeks had passed since she had given him the painting materials, and so changed was now his appearance for the better that she hardly knew him.

"Why, my little man," said she, smiling, as Tom presented himself with the picture carefully wrapped up in an old newspaper, " how stout you've grown, how well you look! Why did you not come before?"

"Please Ma'am, I couldn't finish the tree sooner, Ma'am,” said Tom, blushing, "I would if I could, Ma'am."

"Well now, let me see it," she said.

Tom slowly unfolded his treasure and put it into her hands. The lady looked at it attentively without speaking. Tom was disconcerted.

He was

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