"WESTWARD THE STAR OF EMPIRE TAKES ITS WAY"
[Editor's note: Mark Twain scholars have often misdated this item as being published in 1863. It appeared May 15, 1864 on page 6 of the Golden Era. The editors of the Mark Twain Papers now believe Clemens may have read the sketch, and it may have influenced his own similar sketches, but its attribution to him remains highly questionable. The story is extremely difficult to find in other sources and is included in this collection in order to facility further consideration and research.]
There was a good little boy, and his name was Johnny. He was a poor boy, but once he saw a dollar lying in his mother's workbox, and he picked it up and put it in his pocket, as he was afraid she might lose it or waste in buying something to eat, and went and set himself up in the boot-blacking business. He was a very hard-working boy, and went on the good principle of never stealing anything he could not carry off. He saved his money, as good little boys ought to do, and when he was sent to the Penitentiary for taking a coat, he had a great deal of money laid away safe. All little boys imitate the example of Johnny, so that when they come out of the Penitentiary they can have something to go on.
There was another good little boy named Timothy. He had been told that a penny saved was two pennies earned, and he always remembered it, and saved all his pennies. Once a vagabond old woman asked him to give her a penny, just because she happened to be poor and starving; but little Timothy had been taught better, and he said, in a winning way:
"No you don't old gal! A penny saved is two pennies earned, and it is better to make two coppers out of one than to throw away one."
Timothy is now a very successful Government contractor, and has chartered to his country a great many vessels, belonging to other people, which could not be used for any other purpose. If he can keep out of prison, he is sure of making a large fortune very soon.
There was another little boy, named Harry who lived in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a large city, and the streets are very slippery, because there is so much live lard running over them. Harry always had a great and good idea of doing well in the world, and becoming rich, and consequently respectable. So, when he was sixteen years old, he borrowed a dollar, and commenced business at a Fair ground, with a jug of whisky and a tin cup. When this was sold out, he bought some more, and so went on increasing his stock and his money, until he was able to buy a corner grocery. He is now a very rich man, and owns several large distilleries, which are manufacturing a great quantity of baldface whisky, and bringing happiness and comfort, and wealth to a great many poor families that are fond of whisky. When the man who had loaned him the dollars asked him to pay it back, because the man was poor, Harry very properly told him to do as he had done, to borrow a dollar of some other man, and commence business like Harry had; but as for paying him the dollar, he should do no such thing, as he made it a rule to save all he got. The man thanked Harry for this valuable advice, and is now one of the most promising inmates of the Ohio Penitentiary.
There was a little girl, named Sarah Ann, who was a poor girl when she commenced business, and had nothing except what she could cabbage from the woman for whom she worked. But she was very industrious and saved all she got, and she now owns a large millinery establishment, where she employs a great many girls, and she has made a fortune by the vast deal of work she has got out of them. She is very good to the girls, for she remembers that she herself was once poor; so she lets them work sixteen hours a day, and sometimes gives them something to eat. When they die, she buries them cheaply, but decently.
There was an honest German lad, named Henrich, who came to this country very poor, and worked in a brewery for five dollars a month and find himself. Think of the lowly situation of the lad, especially if he had tumbled into a beer-vat! But Henrich studied hard, and soon invented a way of making beer very cheap, without using much hops or malt, which was a great blessing to the country, as a little cheap poison saved a great deal of valuable property. He now owns a brewery of his own, and has a splendid lager beer saloon, with a number of pretty waiter girls, who are very fascinating, and who bring him in a great deal of money. He also thinks of starting a grave-yard of his own.
There was a little boy named Peter, who had been told that if he would take care of the pence, the pounds would take care of themselves. So, when he hired out to a Dutch grocer, he took care of the pence, which he found in the drawer, and let the pounds of sugar and coffee take care of themselves, while he got more pence by pitching coppers with the boys in the street. Before he was found out, he had saved enough money to start a grocery of his own, and is now a prominent member of that wealthy and honorable body, the Corn exchange. He boasts that he has never been in the State prison but twice. As some people think it respectable to keep out of Cherry Hill, this is a great deal to say.
There was a little boy, named Thomas, who had a brother, named Jeremiah, and the delightful beverage, called Tom and Jerry, was named after them by their grateful fellow-citizens -- respectable. Thomas saved up his pennies, and bought oranges. When he had eaten the oranges, he was wont to scatter the peel before the door of surgeons, and the good surgeons kindly allowed him a commission for the people who slipped on the peel, and broke their arms or legs. He saved the money which the worthy surgeons paid him, and became rich, and attained the age of thirty-five years before he was hung.
There was a little boy, named Samuel, who had been told that virtue was its own reward. He supported himself and his aged mother by picking up little things that other people had no use for. Once he found a gold watch. A foolish boy would have taken it to the owner, to get a reward; but Samuel knew that virtue is its own reward, and therefore rewarded himself for his virtue, by keeping the watch. The owner might not have given him more than half the value of it. Samuel is still making money, and can go to jail whenever he chooses, and have an easy time.
There was a little boy named -- but I need not tell you his name -- who commenced life as an humble Member of Congress and Brigadeer General. Of course he was entirely uneducated; but by making good use of his leisure hours, and reading Poor Richard's Almanac and the Inquirer, he has attained a remarkable celebrity as a poor but honest author, and has written these pleasing narratives for good little children.