LINCOLNTON, N. C, FRIDAY, MAR. 3, 1893.
Has located at Lincolnton and of
fers his services as physician to tl e
citizens of Lincolnton and snrround
Will be found at night at the Lin
March 27, 1S91 ly
IMII IHMHIIIimnlli. I tiiiii,,
ATTORNEY AT LAW,
LINCOLNTON, N. C.
Jan, 0, 191.
Dr. V. A. PRESSLEY,
s : 1 1 1 icon DENTIST.
KOOK HILL. . C.
Will si.- l'd the Vill E K BEGINNING
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Matt. Lambert's Little
BY SOUTIIWOETH SHELLEY.
"And a little cbild shall lead them."
It was past the ides of April, and
day was closing in. It had been
spring in the morning, automn ak,
noon, and was winter now, thii
bleak November day. The wind,
which swept through Maiden Lane
in tempestuous gusts, was filled
with tossing and gyrating snow
flaKes, that could be bat dimly
seen through the dingy windows o'
the couuting rom of Snaggs &
Co., publishers and book-binders.
Snaggs & Co- was a solid firm
from 'way back. No one had ever
been found who was able to say
when they had had a beginning, but
it was positively known that they
had occuP the same quarters
when Maiden Lane was no thorough
fare, or indeed little more than a
cow-path. Years aud years before
the inquisitive little street took it
jinto its bead to ruu straight through
Trinity Church-yard, and was
promptly and ignorniniously sat
down upon and kiiled by that pow
erful and fabulously wealthy cor
poration. Indeed, the firm had alwajs been
shrouded in such mystery aud un
certainty, and th proprietors had
surrounded themselves with such
impenetrable atmosphere of seclm
sion, that the belief had gone forth
that Snaggs was no less a personage
than the Wardering Jew, or some
other equally mysterious individual,
and "Co.'' a certain gentleman but
rarely mentioned in polite society
and seen there never at all.
But there was one mau who could
have told the world differently, had
he been so disposed. To him "Co.,"
whom he knew to be dead and bur
ied, was as impersonal as to the rest
of the world, while Snaggs, whom
he knew to be very much alive, was
so important a factor in his own
life, as well as the lives of those
most nearly connected to bim, that
it was a matter of daily concern not
to arouse the cboler of the irascible
old man, or fall into any of the many
traps set for him.
In a corner of the countingroom,
farthest from the fire, a narrow cell
was partitioned off ; so narrow that
it was unpleasantly suggestive of a
crypt, and without any great stretch
of fancy one could readily under
stand the manner in which the pas
sive occupant was to be shoved into
the contracted and comfortless
quarters. When, however, you
went op the two steps leading
through the door of the cell, you
were disposed to Finite at what yon
saw ; for, instead of a corpse, there
j whs a living man standing before a
battered desk, which, in tarn, stood
before a window, looking out on
! And this was the man, Matthias
Lambert by name, to whom Snaggs
was personal in the highest degree;
for it was a role of the bouse, and
always had been, time out of mind,
that no employed inside its walls
should marry, on pain ol instant
dismissal. Yet this thing Matt.
Lambert had done, and though for
reasons known to himself, Snaggs
had retained his book-keeper, he
set him up as a target, at which all
his whistling, poisoned arrows were
aimed, till many, many were the
times that poor Matt, would have
accepted starvation rather than
live in such an atmosphere of vitu
peration aud sulphurous fumes.
Only there were the wife and
Matt. Lambert tbonht of these
as he chased up and down six col
umns of figures for an error of
twenty-five cents in the balance,
without tiding it ; thought of tbem
I with an affection bordering on pain,
i as be muttered :
"Nine and eight are seventeen,
and five are twenty-two, aud three
are twtntyfive, and eeveu are thir
ty three what tbe deuce! Nine
and eight are seventfen, and five
are twenty-two, and three are
tymityflve, and seven are thirty
thirty poor baby, poor little'kitten,
it' too bad, too bad 1"
He ceased for a moment to search
for the delinquent quarter of a hun
dred cents so insignificant in it
self, so potent to kick np a row with
Snag- & Co. to look out of the
wmdow at tbe whirling snow.
When he lifted his head you saw
at once that he was one of those
old young men one meets so often
Yet, looking closer at the face,
with its open and ingenuous ex
pression, to which much was added
by a pair ol exceptionally fine hazel
eyes, yoa would have been willing
to wager that the appearance of age
was not tbe result of dissipation,
fast living, or ''burning the candle
at both ends," but rather that too
much tbickiDg, added to prematuiejmy wife aud my little daughter, and
care, bad worn the two vertical lines
between tbe brows and sprinkled
the hair about the temples with
He was certaiuly not over thirty,
but as you looked at bim from be
hind, bent over his books and pas
per?, or caught a glimpse of ihe
profile as he directed his gaze to the
storm outside, you would have ad
ded another decade to his years.
Though Snaggs & Co. meant daily
bread, and fuel, artd clothing, and
doctor bills, with sparse luxuries
and an occasional and grudgingly
granted holiday to Matt. Lambert,
be seemed to have forgotten their
existence, as he stared out of the
grimy windows, against which the
snow-flakes teat, muttering under
his breath :
"Poor little kitten, poor little kit
The words were inaudible even
inside his cell-like apartment, and
so couid not possibly have been
heard above the uoiseof the rattling
windows, across the twenty feet of
space that seperated Matt. Lambert
aud the genial Snaggs.
Yet tbe sinister knowledge that
his book-keeper and factotum was
not diligently investigating the
whereabouts ot the mysteriously
missing penco was conveyed by
some occult power to the brain of
Snaggs. whose voice rising above
tbe storm in jarring staccota, flung
these words across space and parti
"If you'll just attend to tbe busi
ness of balancing that account Lam
berf, I'll be develish glad to take it.''
The book-keeper's left hand
clinched and the vertical lines in
his forehead deepened, but he said
nothing, and his eyes dropped to
tbe six columns of figures which
the pen in his right hand began to
"Do you hear in there V snapped
Silence followed til! the scratch
ing pen bad made six memoran
dums on a scrap of paper and the
footing of the columns bad been
alteren one silgle cent- Then he
took some loose change from his
pecket, counted out twenty-four
cents in his hand, replaced the rest?
and with the words, ''I am coming,"
went down the two steps from bis
vault and crossed over to his im
ployer. "I found an error of bnt one cent,
sir, but I have balanced the ac
count,'' he said, and laid a paper
and the twenty-lour cents on the
greeu baize desk.
Snaggs seperated the pieces with
his bony finger, counting them over
with a glance; then he swept them
with his right hand into the left and
coolly dropped them into his trouss
4So much,'' he said, with a snarl,
"for carlessness. There is a mistake
"No, sir, there is no mistake. 1
have taken hours to look up that
twenty-five cents. I found one of
tbem on tbe last page. The err-r
does not lie with me, anyhow it is
rectified and the account balanced,
is not that sufficient ?
For a wonder Snasrgs made no
reply, and the book-keeper waited
respectfully, until io a lull of the
wind there came tbe sound of a
clock up Maiden Lne, striking tbe
quarters, followed by the hour.
"If you please, Mr. Snacgs," be
gan tbe man with evident hesita
tion, "I would very much like to
At the very first word the old
man had looked up at Matt. Lam
bert with suspicion in his coaUblack
eyes, but when he got so far in
whatever request he was about to
make, Snaggs burst forth irascibly :
''No, sir-can't think of it; can't
overstep the rules of the house for
any of its employees. There never
has ben and never ivil! be but one
pay day in this coucern.''
"Bat I am not asking to be paid.
What I wish to ask for, is a day
off, a holiday !"
"Tbe dace ! I take no holidays ;
if I did, thing9 would go to the dev-.
il. What do yoa want with a holi-
"It is the anniversary of the mar
riage as well as tbe birth ot both
we have thought of celebrating the
triple event in a qniet way-"
"Bosh!"' snorted ofiags, while
his eyes seemed to give off sparks
back of his spectacles. "All nosh
this thing of celebrating wedding
and birthday anniversaries. Bet
ter if there were no weddings, con
sequently there'd be no birthdays to
keep. You'd a dal better be put
ting the wherewithal to buy bread
io your pocket, instead of spending
so much in fol!y.r
"People think differently upon
these points, sir. Moreover, I can
make the time up by a week's over
hours; and tosmorrow is Saturday."
He stood quietly '.vaiting, ye1
with a look of anxiety in the hand
some hazel eyes that was Dot lost
upon his employer, who kept stab
bing the besmeared cork inkstand
with ii rusty pen, while every fea
ture of bis wrinkled face eeemed to
harden and set, and he inwardly
gloated over his power to add to or
take from the pleasures of this
man's life. He was loath to yield ; j
some devil of the" past shouting
into one ear :
"Refuse ! Wring his heart ! Keep
him at his desk! Remember the
While iuto the other ear a flute
like voice whispered : "Forget ;
forgive ; give, and it shall be given
Suddenly he lifted his hand to a
level with his shoulder, took aim,
and sent the missile flying at the
nkstand. As the rusty nib buried
itself in the cork, and tbe holder
swayed back and lorth for an in
stant, he turned his glowing eyes
upon Matt. Lambert's face and said
"Curse it ! Tako the day, get out
of it what you can ; but see that I
lose nothing by the folly ot your
wedding and birthday anniversa
ries.'' "You shall not, sir,'' answered
Matt. Lambert, moving back quick
ly to his crypt, from which he pres
ently emerged with bis bat and
overcoat on, and locking the door,
put the key in his pocket and went
out with a "Good evening, Mr.
Snaggs," which that gentleman did
not see fit to notice.
In the rear of the building a steam
whittle blew shrilly ; following that,
came the sob and throb of stopping
machinery, then the sonnd of slam
ming doors, and the tramp of many
feet down the stairs and halls ; then
Then Snaggs might have been
seen to cross tbe counting-room,
' lock the door, come back again to
his deek and drop iuto his chair in
an inert and powerless wy,
"So it's tbe anniversary ot your
wedding day, and the birthday ot
your wife and child, is il, Matt.
Lambert?" be said, as if speaking
to his book-keeper. "It's he six
feenth of November, and the anni
versary of more than your family
happiness, if I remember rightly'
he continued bitterly
"You wouldn't think it, Matt.
Lambert, but it's tbe anniversary of
my wedding day also, and of my
wife's death, and my daughter's
birthday, as well as tbe anniversa
ry that marks the day she chose to
break her father's heart and change
bim into a bitter and crynical old
manby running away with that
poor devil of a lover of hers, simply
to escape marrying my rich part
ner. "Ob. it's a multiplicity of ann'
versarie, is this the sixteenth day
of November. Curse it ! '
He tore off his spectacles and
flung them on the desk with a vio
lence that shattered one lens ; but
he took no heed, running his bony
finders through his bushy grey
locks and literally tearing them out
by the roots, in the extremity ot
hi misery. He got up and walke l
the floor, racing like a lion ; a mag-
nifieent specimen of a man, in whom
all the gifts and forces of mental
and physical life bad been lavishly
cist ; a man ot strong passions aud
fierce, indomitable will, still un
tamed : with extreme capacities fr
happiness and suffering, despite his
He paced back and forth, lashing
himself to fury bv the bitterness of
reminiscence and introspection, ro
vealing the nature of his thoughts
by more than one emphatic "Curse
it,'' till the tide of passion having
reached the flood began to subside,
and gave place to calmer, tenderer
thoughts and actions.
"Ah, Catherine, my girl, behold
your work,'' he said, suddenly stop-
p ng, aud stretching out his arms,
as to some visible creature, "see the
transformation your disobedience
and ingratitude have wrought in the
father you might have bound with
one silken tress of your hair to your
will. Why not have trusted me,
child ? I wonJd not have been im
implacable ; but to deceive me till
the last; to steal a.vay to the arms
of who knows what low-born lover;
to betray my love ; to impeach my
honor; to transform a loving, hap
py father into a Diogenes; to keep
"ilence all these years.'
He stood with arms extended and
gleamiug eyes, looking into space ;
then lowering his voice, as if she to
whom his words were addressed
stood face to face with him. con
"Bat I have been to blame, Cath
erine, I have been implacab:e, in
that I have never sought to find
Then, with sudden resolutioa,
emphasized by that vehemence
which characterized every act of
the man, he said :
"It is not too late yetj.Joel Snaggs,
to undo the work ot vear. Ah,
Matt. Lambert, if it were only you
my child had chosed ; poor but
proud, upright and ingenuous, the
pill would not be so bitter. After
all, what does existence amount to
without my child ? Well, let to
morrow come, with its aftermath of
anniversaries ; keep yours, Matt.
Lambert, and I'll keep mine, and
start anew from thence."
And Matt, Lambert trudged
through the driving storm, bis
great, tender heart sorrowfo! for
his little child, because this nnlooks
ed for change of weather would
prevent the carrying out of their
plans for tbe celebration of the triple
anniversary. Aa he turned into
the street near his own home, a tiny
creature in a Mother Hubbard water-proof,
with the hood drawn over
the shining head, and little feet
shed with over-shoes, came skim
ming toward him like a swallow.
The mau's pace was quickened,
and his face transfigured as she
came on, and long before she reach
ed him bis arms were ready and
caught her up even before she
Just to see tbe love in his eyes, as
tbe little creature put her arms
about his neck and nestled her vel
vet cheek against his own, wa
worth going a dav's journey; pis'
to hear her pretty prattle as she
told bew she and mamma bad re
planned to keep the day, ws worth
a pilgrimage to Mecci ; but to have
had a single one of the score of
kisses her rosebud mouth pressed
upon his with sweet abandonment
of love, would have been in Suite
compensation for any privation anrl
an inceutive to overcome all ob
stacles in the way of her happiness.
And so thouebt Matt. Lambert
as he bore his baby, his kitten, his
little Catherine up the steps to his
own modest abode.
So Matt. Lambert's trio of anni
versaries were kept, to little Cath
erine's delight, at the Museum cf
Natural Hiefory, with a tidy little
dinner at the Park restaurant, and
the after ecstasy of driving alone a
spirited team of bronze-horned
goats up and down the mail ; the
whole lovely dry ending with au
evening at the theatre, from whence
little Kittle went home in such a
bewilderment of bliss that all night
long fairies and wood nymphs danc
ed over the counterpane, and a
comicl little Puck turned summer-
s.iults and poed on tbe foot-bc;ird
of her oof, WUile Joel Snaggs,
not so far away aiter all, had kept
his anniversaries in lonliness and
self-reproach for the last time.
One person there was whose
thoughts never left the austere old
man throughout that day of quiet
happkiess, and that persoa was
Matthias Lambert's wife. He had
told her as gently as he could with
what reluuctance Snaggs bad grant,
ed the holiday, softening tbe bitter
words and giving the man lull ben
efit of tbe sublime piiy and charity
of his own great natnre. But when
she had laid her hands in bis, and
looking into his pitiful htzel eyes
with her brimming blue ones, had
asked iu a whisper :
"Has the time come, Matt V he
had been compelled to answer, with
a sorrowful shake of tbe bead:
"Not yet, my darling.''
So winter passed, with the No
vember day standing cut like a
shrine, a little apart from the du3fy
highway, at which they had stopped
to rest and make au offering of
flowers, sind June had come in with
her wealth ot funshine aud roses.
Matt. Lambert In his cell iu the
counting.room had made up tbe day
with over hoars, serving bis em.
ployer with houest ninglenesss of
purpose, obsorned iu not only the
strict performance of appointed du
ties, but anticipating the wants of
Snaggs, whose manner had faltered,
and whese words had lost that Da
mascus edge that had characterized
tbem prior to that day of days;
while the men at the head of each
department, who alone came inti
contact with the proprietor, felt
that some great change, some soft
ening influence, was at work on
Snaggs & Co
Matt, noticed, too, with wonder?
that where it had been an excection
to see tho chair before the old raan'd
desk vacant, be found it often so
now when he came down tbfc steps
from his vault to ask for instruc
tion, or give information upon
upon some important piece of busi
nes. Whenever the day was especial,
ly bright this was almost sure to
be the case ; aud what was strang
est of all, Joel Snaggs was irratabla
if detained about his own affairs
frequently leaving the counting
loom, where h had almost buried
himself for years, with such cau
tious silence that often Matt, came
out of bis cell with a handful of pa
pers and was half across the inter
vening space before be noticed that
Snagg's desk was in disorder and
his awivel-chair empty.
The book-keeper's practical mind
was puzzled to find a solution for
this astonishing change ; for the
money market was easy, credit good
and never m all the years of his
connection with the firm of Snaggs
& Co. had business beeu prosper,
ous or the outlook so fair. It could
be none of these things, therefore,
that took tSnags awy, or account
ed for these unseemly absences dur
,ug business hours.
But if Matt. Lambert eou'd have
followed his employer be w.nld
have lieen still moie a-toninbed in
seeing that he always went in tbe
same directiou, always turning at
length into the same quiet street,
and always stopped io speak to a
fairy creature with shining chestnu
hair and heavenly eyes blue, who
slipped her tiny hand confidingly
in his and walked a little way up
the street, chattering gaily, while
Snaggs, the most heartier, soulless
and bitter ot cynics turned as she
left, him to run back and stood
watching the iittle creature with
gleaming eyes till she reached her
own dr-or in Raffjy.
More atoniahed still would Matt
have been cou'd he have seen the
man's face viben she asked him one
j.tay with pretty naivete:
'Are yon anybodv's grandpa?'
and then, withont waiting for an
answ-r, the sweet little voice drop
ping into sorrowful accents :
"Bessie Dunn has such a nice
grandpa. I wish I had a real Brand
"A real grandpa, little one?
What is a real'grandpa ?'
"Oh, one you can see and love,
and take walks with in the park."
"And haven't you a grandpa,
dear f asked Snaggs, regarding the
lovely upturned face with hungry
"Yes, sir; but not a real one.''
"What kind cf a grandpa hare
yen, then, my pretty one?'
"I don't know, he is way off," she
said, with a sorrowful shake of her
"But will he not come home some
time ?' asked Snaggs.
"Mamma says maybe he will, but
I guess not, 'caose I'm five years
old and he nevr cme to see me
yeV answered the child.
"Will you tell me your name,
dear ?'' asked Matt. Lambert's em
ployer as they reached the corner
and stopped as usual.
"Oh yes ! It is Catherine Snaggs
Lambert," auswered the unconscious
babe, patting tbe bony haDd that
held bor little dimpled one.
"Catherine Snaggs Lambert I"
gasped Joel Snaggs, while all his
features wor ked convulsively.
Then he suddeuly bent and lifted
the cnild in his arms aud with all
his starved soul looking through hia
humid eyes into the celestial blue
cues, and asked hoarsely.
"Will you let me be your really
grandpa, dear ?"
"Oh yes, oh yes," she cried, de
lightedly laying a dimpled hand on
ither wnn iled cheek.
"Then kiss me, Catherine, and
run back to mamma," he said.
And Matt. Lamdert's little K'tten
had pressed her rosebad mouth
against old Snaggs' grey mustache,
aud, slipping from bis arms, gone
skimming like a swallow up tbe
street, whilst he stood still and
watched her ; and such a swell ot
memories came rolling in upon hia
eoul that no power on earth could
have drawn his feet again that day
toward the counting-room of
Snaggs .& Co. in Maiden Lane. But
sweetest and best aud strangest
thing of all tbe beantiful finale to
all tbe wonderful denouement of
which Matt. Lambert's anniversa
ries had been the cause ; J tbe hour
when Snaggs bad entered, locked
the door and crossiug the counting
roo.r. with bounding steps, eDtered
his book-keaper's cell aud laying
his hand upon his arm, said with a
stimulation of ferocity:
"Matt. Lambert, I have found
you out !"
And when the man had turned,
white and trembling, to look at bis
employer, bow Snaggs' eves had
betrayed him after all, and the two
men had grasped each other's band
and sbanken them until tbey ach
ed ; the staanga tenderness in old
Suaggs' voice as he told how he
cime upon little Catherine one day
when he was wandering aimlessly
to eaee the aching of his heart;
how something in the little creat
ure's face brought back such nvtd
memories of his r-nly child, that he
had been drawn again and again to
lock upon the babe, till all her
sweet confiding little ways had
broken the crut of bitterness in
which his soul had beeo encased for
years, and when God bad seen that
h was rip for revelation, the child
had h-aid, "Mv name is Catherine
"Matt. Lambert,r old Snaggs bad
said with ebokiog voice, taking off
his spectacles to polish them, "put
t:n your hat Dd take me to fee my
child," And the book-deeper bad
slammed bin ledgers into the safe
snatched bis hat like a school-bov
from its hook, locked the door of his
vault, and gone out arm in arm
with Suaggs, which being seen by
one of the foremen, had to staggered
the man that be was found leaning
against the door incaple ot speech
tdl revived by a timely dose of Bour
bon straight and strong.
And when they came at length
to Matt. Lambert's happy homet
and the door was opened by a tidy
ntte maid, and little Catherine,
catching sight ot Snaggs, went
skimming down the bal', -rviog:
"Oa, marrma, LereV my rea
Concluded on last paqeJ)