Other Spellers 213
Jack's father agreed, and during the five weeks Jack stayed, " Peter was so altered, he hardly appeared to be the same boy." Among other things Jack cured his companion of timidity. It is told that —
One day as they were in a pasture together, Peter was scared almost to death, at the sight of a rattle snake. He ran and screamed, as if the terrible creature was going to swallow him alive; but Jack like a hero, without being at all afraid, got a good stick and killed the snake. u These animals," said Jack, "are like tattling, mischief making people: they are very poison ; but dangerous only when they creep in secret, and bite before they are seen."
Jack talked much and very sensible with Peter, and Major Wilson was so much pleased with the change in his son, that he said Jack Halyard was worth five times his weight in gold, and he made him a present of a likely colt. u My good little friend," said the major to Jack, and he almost shed tears while he said it, " the great happiness of parents is in seeing their children do well. If Peter should ever make an honorable man, it will be in part owing to what you have done for him. Take this colt. I hope, my dear fellow, you may live to ride him to congress."
Jack led him home and felt as rich as King Cre-sus. The colt was all over as black as a mink ; but the hired man was a queer fellow, and he named this black colt Snow-ball.
The best people in this world are not perfect; and Jack, though so excellent a boy, committed some great errors. The first disgraceful thing he did, was when he was about five years old. He got to a bottle of rum, very slily, and tasted a little; at first it made his mouth smart, and his nose tingle. He soon got over this, and thought it would be a pretty notion to take another dram : but he found that this was very poor business. Several children have killed themselves by drinking ardent spirits in this way. Jack