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A Good Name-by T.S.Arthur-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:A Good Name

Written by: T.S.Arthur

Category:Fiction, Classics, Short Novel, Shrot stories


Page 1:

Two boys, named Jacob Peters and Ralph Gilpin were passing along Chestnut Street one evening about ten years ago, when one of them, stopped, and said,–

“Come, Ralph, let us have some oysters. I’ve got a quarter.” They were in front of an oyster-cellar.

“No,” replied Ralph, firmly. “I’m not going down there.”

“I didn’t mean that we should get anything to drink,” replied the other.

“No matter: they sell liquor, and I don’t wish to be seen in such a place.”

“That’s silly,” said Jacob Peters, speaking with some warmth. “It can’t hurt you to be seen there. They sell oysters, and all we should go there for would be to buy oysters. Come along. Don’t be foolish!” And Jacob grasped the arm of Ralph, and tried to draw him towards the refectory. But Ralph stood immovable.

“What harm can it do?” asked Jacob.

“It might do at great deal of harm.”

“In what way?”

“By hurting my good name.”

“I don’t understand you.”

“I might be seen going in or coming out by some one who know me, and who might take it for granted that my visit, was for liquor.”

“Well, suppose he did? He would be wrong in his inference; and what need you care? A clear conscience, I have heard my uncle say, is better than any man’s opinion, good or bad.”

“I prefer the clear conscience and the good opinion together, if I can secure both at the same time,” said Ralph.

“O, you’re too afraid of other people’s opinions,” replied Jacob, in a sneering manner. “As for me, I’ll try to do right and be right, and not bother myself about what people may think. Come, are you going to join me in a plate of oysters?”


“Very well. Good by. I’m sorry you’re afraid to do right for fear somebody may think you’re going to do wrong,” and Jacob Peters descended to the oyster-cellar, while Ralph Gilpin passed on his way homeward. As Jacob entered the saloon he met a man who looked at him narrowly, and as Jacob thought, with surprise. He had seen this man before, but did not know his name.

A few weeks afterwards, the two boys, who were neighbor, sat together planning a row-boat excursion on the Schuylkill.

“We’ll have Harry Elder, and Dick Jones, and Tom Forsyth,” said Jacob.

“No, not Tom Forsyth,” objected Ralph.

“Why not? He’s a splendid rower.”

“I don’t wish to be seen in his company,” said Ralph. “He doesn’t bear a good character.”

“O, well; that’s nothing to us.”

“I think it is a great deal to us. We are judged by the company we keep.”

“Let people judge; who cares?” replied Jacob; “not I.”

“Well, I do, then,” answered Ralph.

“I hate to see a boy so ‘fraid of a shadow as you are.”

“A tainted name is no shadow; but a real evil to be afraid of.”

“I don’t see how our taking Tom Forsyth along is going to taint your name, or mine either.”

“He’s a bad boy,” Ralph firmly objected. “He uses profane language. You and I have both seen him foolish from drink. And we know that he was sent home from a good place, under circumstances that threw suspicion on his honesty. This being so, I am not going to be seen in his company. I think too much of my good name.”

“But, Ralph,” urged Jacob, in a persuasive manner, “he’s such a splendid rower. Don’t be foolish about it; nobody’ll see us. And we shall have such a grand time. I’ll make him promise not to use a wicked word all day.”

“It’s no use to talk, Jacob. I’m not going in company with Tom Forsyth if I never go boating.”

“You’re a fool!” exclaimed Jacob, losing his temper.

Ralph’s face burned with anger, but he kept back the sharp words that sprung to his lips, and after a few moments said, with forced composure,–

“There’s no use in you’re getting mad about it, Jacob. If you prefer Tom to me, very well. I haven’t set my heart on going.”

“I’ve spoken to Tom already” said Jacob, cooling off a little. “And he’s promised to go; so there’s no getting away from it. I’m sorry you’re so over nice.”

The rowing party came off, but Ralph was not of the number. As the boys were getting into the boat at Fairmount, Jacob noticed two or three men standing on the wharf; and on lifting his eyes to the face of one of them, he recognized the same individual who had looked at him so intently as he entered the oyster saloon. The man’s eyes rested upon him for a few moments, and then turned to the boy, Tom Forsyth. Young Peters might have been mistaken, but he thought he saw on the man’s face a look of surprise and disapprobation. Somehow or other he did not feel very comfortable in mind as the boat pushed off from shore. Who was this man? and why had he looked at him twice so intently, and with something of disapproval in his face?

Jacob Peters was fifteen years old. He had left school a few weeks before, and his father was desirous of getting him into a large whole-sale house, on Market Street. A friend was acquainted with a member of the firm, and through his kind offices he hoped to make the arrangement. Some conversation had already taken place between the friend and merchant, who said they wished another lad in the store, but were very particular as to the character of their boys. The friend assured him that Jacob was a lad of excellent character; and depending on this assurance, a preliminary engagement had been made, Jacob was to go into the store just one week from the day on which he went on the boating excursion. Both his own surprise and that of his father may be imagined when a note came, saying that the firm in Market Street had changed its views in regard to a lad, and would not require the services of Jacob Peters.

The father sent back a polite note, expressing regret at the change of view, and asking that his son should still be borne in mind, as he would prefer that situation for him to any other in the city. Jacob was the bearer of this note. When he entered the store, the first person he met was the man who looked at him so closely in the oyster saloon and on the wharf at Fairmount. Jacob handed him the note, which he opened and read, and then gave him cold bow.

A glimpse of the truth passed through Jacob’s mind. He had been misjudged, and here was the unhappy result. His good name had suffered, and yet he had done nothing actually wrong. But boys, like men, are judged by the company they keep and the places in which they are seen.

“I’m going into a store next week,” said Ralph Gilpin, to his friend Jacob, about a week afterwards.

“Where?” asked Jacob.

“On Market Street.”

“In what store?”

“In A. & L.’s,” replied Ralph.

“O, no!” ejaculated Jacob, his face flushing, “not there!”

“Yes,” replied Ralph. “I’m going to A. & L.’s. Father got me the place. Don’t you think I’m lucky? They’re very particular about the boys they taking that store. Father says he considers their choice of me quite a compliment. I’m sure I feel proud enough about it.”

“Well, I think they acted very meanly,” said Jacob, showing sonic anger. “They promised father that I should have the place.”

“Are you sure about that?” asked the young friend.

“Certainly I am. I was to go there this week. But they sent father a note, saying they had changed their minds about a boy.”

“Perhaps,” suggested Ralph, “it you were seen going into a drinking saloons or in company with Tom Forsyth. You remember what I said to you about preserving a good name.”

Filed in: Classics, Fiction

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