"I have no doubt of it, my dear boy," said the old lady kindly. "You can do a great deal, too. You can help your mother by looking out for your brothers and sisters, as well as supplying your father's place on the farm."
"I am glad you think I can make myself useful," said Frank, feeling relieved. "Mrs. Mason has just been telling me that I am not fit for the charge, and that discouraged me a little."
"It's a great responsibility, no doubt, to come on one so young," said the old lady, "but it's of God's appointment. He will strengthen your hands, if you will only ask Him. If you humbly seek His guidance and assistance, you need not fear to fail."
"Yes," said Frank soberly, "that's what I mean to do."
"Then you will feel that you are in the path of duty. You'll be serving your country just as much as if you went yourself."
"That's just the way I feel, Mrs. Chester," exclaimed Frank eagerly. "I want to do something for my country."
"You remind me of my oldest brother," said the old lady thoughtfully. "He was left pretty much as you are. It was about the middle of the Revolutionary war, and the army needed recruits. My father hesitated, for he had a small family depending on him for support. I was only two years old at the time, and there were three of us. Finally my brother James, who was just about your age, told my father that he would do all he could to support the family, and father concluded to go. We didn't have a farm, for father was a carpenter. My brother worked for neighboring farmers, receiving his pay in corn and vegetables, and picked up what odd jobs he could. Then mother was able to do something; so we managed after a fashion. There were times when we were brought pretty close to the wall, but God carried us through. And by and by father came safely home, and I don't think he ever regretted having left us. After awhile the good news of peace came, and he felt that he had been abundantly repaid for all the sacrifices he had made in the good cause."
Frank listened to this narrative with great interest. It yielded him no little encouragement to know that another boy, placed in similar circumstances, had succeeded, and he just felt that he would have very much less to contend against than the brother of whom Mrs. Chester spoke