rip lightly over all that part of our hero's history which is shaded with blemishes.
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
One of the worst things I ever heard of in the history of Mike, according to the best of my recollection, was the way he served Billy Birch's dog. You must know something about this Billy Birch. Burt was his real name. But it was changed into Birch by his neighbors, for a reason which I will give you by and bye.
Mr. Burt was a pretty good sort of a man, in his own estimation, but not greatly or generally beloved by his neighbors. He was a church-going man, and had a knack, somehow or other, of getting along decently with the forms--the outside garments, so to speak--of religion. It was really astonishing how glibly he would talk about religion. But as to the practical part of it, he did not succeed as well. That was up-hill work for the old man.
He found it exceedingly difficult to keep himself "unspotted from the
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