Chapter 13: The Devil's Trade Mark
"Well, sir, I saw your son whipping, and kicking, and knocking
that good little pony about shamefully because he would not leap a gate
that was too high for him. The pony behaved well, sir, and showed no vice;
but at last he just threw up his heels and tipped the young gentleman
into the thorn hedge. He wanted me to help him out, but I hope you will
excuse me, sir, I did not feel inclined to do so. There's no bones broken,
sir; he'll only get a few scratches. I love horses, and it riles me
to see them badly used; it is a bad plan to aggravate an animal
till he uses his heels; the first time is not always the last."
During this time the mother began to cry, "Oh, my poor Bill,
I must go and meet him; he must be hurt."
"You had better go into the house, wife," said the farmer;
"Bill wants a lesson about this, and I must see that he gets it;
this is not the first time, nor the second, that he has ill-used that pony,
and I shall stop it. I am much obliged to you, Manly. Good-evening."
So we went on, John chuckling all the way home; then he told James about it,
who laughed and said, "Serve him right. I knew that boy at school;
he took great airs on himself because he was a farmer's son;
he used to swagger about and bully the little boys. Of course,
we elder ones would not have any of that nonsense, and let him know
that in the school and the playground farmers' sons and laborers' sons
were all alike. I well remember one day, just before afternoon school,
I found him at the large window catching flies and pulling off their wings.
He did not see me and I gave him a box on the ears that laid him sprawling
on the floor. Well, angry as I was, I was almost frightened,
he roared and bellowed in such a style. The boys rushed in
from the playground, and the master ran in from the road to see
who was being murdered. Of course I said fair and square at once
what I had done, and why; then I showed the master the flies,
some crushed and some crawling about helpless, and I showed him the wings
on the window sill. I never saw him so angry before;
but as Bill was still howling and whining, like the coward that he was,
he did not give him any more punishment of that kind,
but set him up on a stool for the rest of the afternoon,
and said that he should not go out to play for that week.
Then he talked to all the boys very seriously about cruelty, and said
how hard-hearted and cowardly it was to hurt the weak and the helpless;
but what stuck in my mind was this, he said that cruelty was the devil's
own trade-mark, and if we saw any one who took pleasure in cruelty
we might know who he belonged to, for the devil was a murderer
from the beginning, and a tormentor to the end. On the other hand,
where we saw people who loved their neighbors, and were kind
to man and beast, we might know that was God's mark."