The Lesson (1910) 17min · Short, Drama · 19 December 1910
The Rev. Mr. Hollister, nearing the last milestone of life's journey, has but one ardent wish, end that is to see his son James wearing the cloth that he must now lay aside on account of his old age. The boy has had the advantage of an example in religions principles, but he has needed the guiding solicitude of a mother, she having long since died, so that James and his sister Ruth are raised by their father, the old minister. The old father loses no opportunity to point out the better way for James, hoping that he will follow in his footsteps. Ruth is also solicitous, she feeling that James is guilty at times of disobedience, in which conjecture she is right. James instead of hearkening to his father's plea, though he ostensibly pretends to, spends most of his time in the corner saloons, becoming more addicted to drink, until through moral frailty the habit is formed to an irrepressible degree. The old minister's condition takes a sudden turn for the worse and upon the arrival of the doctor Ruth is informed that her father has but a few moments to live. The old man calls for his boy, but he at this hour is in a saloon intoxicated, rejecting the persuasions of even his companions to go home, for they are cognizant of the good man's weakness. Ruth knows too well where her brother is at this moment and can imagine his condition, but she conquers pride and goes out to search for him. Entering the saloon, she finds him in an almost helpless condition. The saloon-keeper, appreciating her embarrassment, begs her to leave, he intending to send the boy home. James misconstrues his actions and strikes him in resentment of a fancied insult, felling him. In the fall, he strikes his head on the foot rail and when the police arrive they find the brawl has resulted fatally for the saloon-keeper. In the excitement Ruth has gotten James out and to home, where he arrives only a few minutes before the messenger of death. The police learn who delivered the fatal blow and go to get him. Ruth hears them entering and intercepts their entrance into the sick room, begging them to hold off that her father may be kept in ignorance and his last moments peaceful. This they consent to do and when the old minister breathes his last the boy is taken away to pay the penalty of his indifference to the greatest of God's commands. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
Director(s): D.W. Griffith Cast: W. Chrystie Miller, Joseph Graybill, Stephanie Longfellow
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