"A clerk, at 650 Washington street." 

This was an advertisement that appeared in one of the morning papers of a large city. 

Many a young fellow who had been seeking employment for weeks, felt his hopes rise as he read it. 

Fred Barker heard it at the breakfast table the day after it appeared. His sister Louise said: "O Fred!  I forgot to tell you what I saw in yesterday's paper—that Mitchell & Tyler want a clerk. 

That will be the place above all others for you; it's a splendid store. Of course you can get the place if you're not too late. You can take a letter from Uncle Horace; his influence and your appearance will settle the matter. I heard Mr. Mitchell was real fussy about his clerks, but I'm sure he can find nothing to object to in my handsome, well-dressed brother," and the elder sister looked admiringly at Fred's face, smooth locks, and well fitting suit. 

"Perhaps I'll call around there after awhile," Fred said carelessly. 

"Please hurry and go now, won't you?" his sister said; "I'm afraid somebody has snatched up the place before this time." 

Fred finished his breakfast in a leisurely way, put a few extra touches to his already careful toilet, lighted a cigar, and sauntered forth. 

"Better throw away your cigar before you go in. Mr. Mitchell may object to that," said Louise, who stood in the front door as he passed out. 

"He'll have to take me just as I am," Fred said with a lofty air; "all gentlemen smoke. I do not propose to be a slave to any man." 

He called at his uncle's office on his way and procured a letter of recommendation. Thus equipped, he felt confident of success. 

Just behind him there walked with a brisk step a boy of fifteen, a year or two younger than himself. This was David Gregg. He, too, had seen the advertisement, and was on his way that very minute to 650 Washington street. He was the eldest of a family of children whose father had died at the beginning of the winter. David had risen very early that morning, made the fire, and while his mother was preparing breakfast, put himself in the neatest possible order to go to Mitchell & Tyler's. 

When he appeared at the breakfast table looking so bright and neat, his mother thought he was a son to be proud of, the handsomest boy in the whole city; yet his face was actually homely as far as beauty of features was concerned; his clothes were coarse, and he had no fancy necktie, no flashing pin, or gold cuff buttons, like the elegant young gentleman who now walked before him. 

What was the reason that among the large number of boys who filed in and out of Mitchell & Tyler's private office, no one of them had yet been selected to fill the vacant clerkship? Mr. Mitchell, the senior partner of the firm, had asked some plain, straight-forward questions of them,—"Where do you spend your evenings? Do you play cards, go to the theater?" etc.; for Mr. Mitchell had declared to his partner, "If there is a boy in the world who has good habits and right principles, I'm going to hunt him up if it takes all winter." So it turned out that many of the boys could not give satisfactory answers to the searching questions, and others, when Mr. Mitchell sounded their knowledge of figures, were not ready reckoners. 

They came and went one whole day, and as soon as the door was opened the next morning, candidates came flocking in like birds. 

And now it was Fred Barker's turn. He stood before Mr. Mitchell, his hat on his head, his cigar removed from his mouth, it is true, but the smoke thereof curling upward into the merchant's face. 

He presented his letter of introduction. Mr. Mitchell read it, then asked a few questions. Meanwhile his practical eye was taking it all in—the cigar, the imitation diamond, the large seal ring, the flashing neck-tie. He knew in a twinkling where Fred Barker usually spent his evenings, and that it would take more money to indulge his tastes than he could honestly earn. 

To Fred's astonishment he presently heard, "I do not think, young man, that you are just the one we have in mind for this place." Then, before he knew it, he was bowed out.

The next boy who was admitted did not advance with such an over-confident air. He held his hat in his hand, and spoke in a modest, respectful manner. 

"Have you any recommendation?" 

"No, sir, I have none," David answered, a little dejectedly.  "We have not been long in the city." 

"Well, you need none, if I can trust my eyes," Mr. Mitchell remarked to himself. The bright frank face and manly air of the boy impressed him most favorably; he was still more pleased when he drew him into conversation and learned what books he was fond of, and how he was going on with his studies of evenings, although he had been obliged to leave the high school to earn his living. 

Mr. Mitchell had very sharp eyes; he took note of the well brushed garments, the shining boots, the snowy collar and cuffs, the delicately clean finger-nails—even by such small things as these is character read—and above all, the look of sincerity and honesty shining from the blue eyes. 

"Well, David," Mr. Mitchell said, as he got up and walked back and forth, "what if I were to tell you that you can have the situation providing you will work a part of every Sabbath?" 

It was a most cruel test. The boy hesitated—just a moment—then he said, while his color rose and his voice choked, "I should say, sir, that I cannot accept it." 

"Not even when your mother needs money so badly?" 

"No, sir; my mother would not use money so earned. She has always taught me to obey God and trust him, come what will." 

"That has the true ring,—pure gold," said Mr. Mitchell, bringing his hand down on David's shoulder. "My dear boy, I want you, and I do not want you to do any work for me on the Sabbath. 

I will pay you ten dollars more a month than the last clerk received, because I am glad to find one boy out of a hundred who remembers his mother's teachings, and fears to disobey his Lord."