ABOUT the year 1775, there stood near Canterbury Cathedral, in England, a very unpretending barber-shop. The apartment was small and plainly furnished, and the proprietor a poor man, earning a livelihood by his trade. But the shop was always neat, and the master always obliging, and so both grew to be favorites, and were patronized especially by the clergy, from the archbishop down. The barber was a sensible man, and from seeing so much of people' of talent and culture, he learned to value very highly the advantages of education. He had an only son, a good boy of studious habits, and he took great delight in teaching him. But by the time the lad had turned fourteen, he had learned all his father could teach him, so far as books were concerned, and then the barber applied to his friend, the archbishop, to know what to do next.

After examining the boy, and finding he had so well improved the opportunities he had already enjoyed, the archbishop obtained admission for him to the king's -school; and a year or two afterward, still hearing good accounts of him, he resolved to "make the lad's fortune" by placing him in the cathedral choir, to fill a vacancy that had just occurred, where he would be comfortably maintained, and finally receive a salary of three hundred and fifty dollars a year. But another person had also applied for this position; and when the votes came to be counted, Charlie Abbott, the barber's son, despite the influence of his clerical friends, was found to have lost the election.

He was mortified and dispirited by this failure, but roused himself to action, determining that if he could not be what he would, he would, at least, be what he could.

So he returned to school, studied harder than ever, prepared himself for college, entered Oxford as a free student, and, amid many obstacles and discouragements, graduated with high honors, and fought his way up to fame and fortune. Though born a barber's son, he lived to become a peer of England's proud realm, and was known as Lord Tenterden, chief-justice of the King's Bench, the highest of the English courts.

When quite advanced in years, and loaded with honors, he, in company with an associate judge, attended service at Canterbury Cathedral. At the conclusion of the closing anthem, he looked wistfully up into the choir, and then, turning again to his friend, said, as he pointed upward to a gray-haired chorister: "There is the only person I ever envied, and I have lived to thank God that I was disappointed in the dearest wish of my heart, and driven out from the path in which I would fain have walked. When the old man and I were boys together, we were rival candidates for a vacancy in the choir to this cathedral. I was defeated, and for a time could scarcely be reconciled to the failure of my most cherished plans. But had I succeeded, he might now be accompanying you as chief-justice, and pointing to me as the church chorister. That early defeat was the door to victory; and that which I once regarded as my greatest misfortune, I now rejoice in as God's method of choosing for me far better than I could have chosen for myself."



Christian Weekly.