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II. The Reward of Virtue Henry van Dyke

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"But, Pat," said I, "it is an expensive business, this raising of children. You should think twice about it."

"Pardon, m'sieu'," answered Patrick; "I think a hundred times and always the same way. It costs little more for three, or four, or five, in the house than for two. The only thing is the money for the journey to the city, the choice, the arrangement with the nuns. For that one must save. And so I have thrown away the pipe. I smoke no more. The money of the tobacco is for Quebec and for the little found child. I have already eighteen piastres and twenty sous in the old box of cigars on the chimney-piece at the house. This year will bring more. The winter after the next, if we have the good chance, we go to the city, the goodwife and me, and we come home with the little boy--or maybe the little girl. Does m'sieu' approve?"

"You are a man of virtue, Pat," said I; "and since you will not take your share of the tobacco on this trip, it shall go to the other men; but you shall have the money instead, to put into your box on the mantel-piece."

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After supper that evening I watched him with some curiosity to see what he would do without his pipe. He seemed restless and uneasy. The other men sat around the fire, smoking; but Patrick was down at the landing, fussing over one of the canoes, which had been somewhat roughly handled on the road coming in. Then he began to tighten the tent-ropes, and hauled at them so vigorously that he loosened two of the stakes. Then he whittled the blade of his paddle for a while, and cut it an inch too short. Then he went into the men's tent, and in a few minutes the sound of snoring told that he had sought refuge in sleep at eight o'clock, without telling a single caribou story, or making any plans for the next day's sport.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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