THE PEARL BOX.
CONTAINING ONE HUNDRED BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.
BY A PASTOR.
Transcribers Note: There are many, but not one hundred, stories in this volume.
In preparing this volume of stories for young readers, the writer has had in view their instruction, by presenting to them their station in a familiar and instructive story. Each story contains a moral, and teaches principles by which the youth should be governed in their private, social and public relations in life. In the perusal of these stories, we hope to accomplish our great object, of aiding young persons to pursue the peaceful and pleasant path of duty—to render them more useful in the world, and to grow wiser and happier in the path of life.
THE PEARL BOX.
* * * * *
THE DYING BOY.
A little boy, by the name of Bertie, was taken very ill, and for sometime continued to grow weaker until he died. A few hours before his death he revived up, and his first request was to be bathed in the river; but his mother persuaded him to be sponged only, as the river water would be too cold for his weak frame. After his mother had sponged him with water, he desired to be dressed; when his mother dressed him in his green coat and white collar, and seated him at the table with all his books and worldly treasures around him. As he sat there, one would have thought that he was about to commence a course of study; and yet in the marble paleness of his features, and in the listless and languid eye, there was evidence that life in the boy was like an expiring taper, flickering in the socket. He soon asked to go out in his little carriage. His grandfather, whom he very much loved, placed him in it, and carefully avoiding every stone, drew him to a spot commanding the entire landscape. The tide was up and the sun was shining on the deep blue waters, and bathing the distant mountains and the green meadows in liquid gold. The gardens and orchards around were gay in the rich crimson blossoms of the apple tree; the air was filled with the sweet fragrance of flowers, and the birds were singing beautifully, when little Bertie looked for the last time on the scenes of earth. He could not remain long, and was soon taken back to the little parlor, where he sat on the sofa, resting his elbows on the table. It was not long before the little boy died. But he was very happy. Among his last words were these, addressed to his little sister three years old: "Well, Emmie, very ill—me going to Jesus."
"Oh, mamma, Emmie loves her Saviour."
* * * * *
THE BOY AND THE GOLD ROBIN.
A bright eyed boy was sleeping upon a bank of blossoming clover. The cool breeze lifted the curls from his brow, and fanned with downy wings his quiet slumbers, while he lay under the refreshing shade of a large maple tree. The birds sang to him during his happy hours of sleep. By and by he awoke, and a beautiful gold robin sat on the spray, and sung a song of joy. The boy reached out his hands to secure the prize, but the robin spread his golden wings and soared away. He looked after it with a longing gaze, and when it disappeared from his sight, he wept aloud. At this moment, a form of light approached, and took the hands of the child and pointed upwards; and he saw the bird soaring in freedom, and the sun shining upon its burnished plumes. Then the shining one said: "Do you love that beautiful bird?" In the midst of his tears the child replied, "Oh, yes." "Then," said the angel, "shall it not wing its flight from flower to flower and be happy, rather than to dwell in a prison with thee?" Then the streams and flowering vales of Elysium, that breathe the pure air of freedom, spake: "Wouldst thou bring her back to thee, and make her a prisoner? Dry up thy tears, and let thy song be, 'Stay not here, but speed thy flight, O bright one, and snuff the mellow air of freedom.' God made the birds to be happy in their short existence, and ought we to deprive them of their own elements of happiness, and take from them the freedom which they enjoy?"
* * * * *
THE WAY TO OVERCOME EVIL.
A little girl, by the name of Sarah Dean, was taught the precepts of the Bible by her mother. One day she came to her mother very much delighted, to show her some plums that a friend had given her. The mother said to her: "Your friend was very kind, and has given you a great many." "Yes," replied Sarah. "she was, and she gave me more than these, but I have given some away." The mother asked to whom she had given them; when the child replied: "I gave them to a girl that pushes me off the path, and makes faces at me." Upon being asked why she gave them to her, she answered: "Because I thought that should make her know that I wished to be kind to her, and perhaps she will not be unkind and rude to me again." This was true. The rude girl was afterwards very good to Sarah, and felt very sorry that she had treated her unkindly. How truly did the little girl obey the command, "overcome evil with good."
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HARRIET AND HER SQUIRREL.
It was on a Sabbath eve, when at a friend's house, we were all sitting in the piazza, conversing about the efforts which were being made for the poor heathen, and the number of Testaments which were being sent to them.
"Father," said little Harriet, "do the little heathen children wish to learn to read the New Testament?"
"O yes, my child, many of them do," said the father.
"But have they all got Testaments if they did know how to read?" "No, my love; few of them have ever heard about the Testament, about God, or about Jesus Christ." "Will half a dollar buy one?" said Harriet. "O yes, my child."
"Then," said Harriet, "may I sell anything I have, if I can get the money?" Her father told her she might.
Now, every child has some favorite toy. Harriet's was a beautiful tame gray squirrel. It would eat from her hands, attend her in her rambles, and sleep on her pillow.
She called its name Jenny. It was taken sick, and the little girl nursed it with care, but it at last died in her lap.
Little Harriet wept sadly about it, and her father tried to console her, and told her not to feel so.
"Ah," said she, "you know, father, you told me that I might sell anything I had to buy a Testament for the heathen children, and I was going to sell my pretty squirrel to Mr. Smith, who said he would give me half a dollar for it; but now my Jenny is dead." The Father then put a silver dollar into Harriet's hand, and she dried her tears, rejoicing that Jenny's death would be the means of his little daughter having two or three Testaments instead of one.
* * * * *
A teacher in a Sabbath School promised to supply all the children in his class with a catechism, who had none.
One of the little girls went home from the school after the books were given out, and said:
"Mamma, if I had told a lie to-day, I would have got a catechism."
"I think that very strange, Eliza; for the Sabbath School is no place for lies, and if you could be so wicked, I know your teacher would not have rewarded you for it."
"Mother," said Eliza, "I tell nothing but the truth; and now I will explain it.
"You know I went to school this morning with the other girls. They told me on the way how their mother had bought each of them a new catechism on last market day, and they said, if I once saw how pretty their books were, I would not look at my old one any more. Our teacher asked us all, when we went in, if we had any catechisms, and those who said they had not, received one from the teacher as a present. Jane, after all she told me, by the way, denied that she had any, and Lizzy did the same. But when he asked me, I told him I had one at home; but if I had said no, I would have got a new one."
Her mother then told her that she should be rewarded for not telling a lie by giving her a new book and a new Bible.
* * * * *
A poor Arabian of the desert was one day asked, how he came to be assured that there was a God.
"In the same way," he replied, "that I am enabled to tell by a print impressed on the sand, whether it was a man or beast that passed that way."
THANKFULNESS.—Walking along Bishopgate street one morning, I saw two men standing as if amazed at something that had happened.
"Pray, gentlemen," said I, "what is the matter?" One of them informed me that a genteelly dressed man had hastily come up to him, and tapping him on the shoulder, had said:
"Sir, did you ever thank God for your reason?"
"No," said I, "not particularly."
"Well," said he, "do it now, for I have lost mine;" when he marched off with great speed.
HONESTY.—An honest boy, whose sister was sick and the family in want, found a wallet containing fifty dollars. The temptation was great to use the money; but he resolved to find the owner. He did so; when the owner, learning the circumstances of the family, gave the fifty dollars for their comfort. He took the boy to live with him. That boy is a prosperous merchant in Ohio.
THE BOY AND HIS MARBLES.—One Sunday a lady called to her little boy, who was shooting marbles on the pavement, to come into the house.
"Don't you know you shouldn't be out there, my son? Go into the back yard if you want to play marbles; it is Sunday."
"Yes, mother; but aint it Sunday in the back yard?"
* * * * *
THE BOY AND THE DEW DROPS.
A little boy who had been out early in the morning playing on the lawn before his father's house, while the dew drops lay on the grass, was soon after seen returning to the spot, and finding them all gone, he sat down to weep. His father asked him why he wept.
"Because," said he, "the beautiful dew drops are gone." His father tried to soothe him, but he continued weeping. Just then a cloud passed over, and on the cloud the beautiful rainbow had cast its arch.
"There, see, my son," said the father, "there are all your dew drops; the sun has taken them up only to set them forth in greater brightness in the sky."
"O father, dear father, why pass they away, The dew drops that sparkled at dawning of day, That glittered like stars in the light of the moon; Oh, why are the dew drops dissolving so soon? Does the sun in his wrath chase their brightness away, As if nothing that's lovely might live for a day? The moonlight is faded, the flowers still remain, But the dew drops have shrunk to their petals again."
"My child," said the father, "look up to the skies; Behold that bright rainbow, those beautiful dyes, There, there are the dew drops in glory reset, 'Mid the jewels of heaven they are glittering yet. Oh, are we not taught by each beautiful ray To mourn not earth's fair things, though passing away? For though youth of its beauty and brightness be riven, All that withers on earth blooms more sweetly in heaven. Look up," sad the father, "look up to the skies—— Hope sits on the wings of those beautiful dyes."
* * * * *
LETTICE AND MYRA. A SCENE IN LONDON.
My young readers may have heard about the poor people in London. The following story is a specimen of the hardships of many young girls, in that famous city.
"Two young women occupied one small room of about ten feet by eight. They were left orphans, and were obliged to take care of themselves. Many of the articles of furniture left them had been disposed of to supply the calls of urgent want. In the room was an old four post bedstead, with curtains almost worn out, one mattrass with two small pillows, a bolster that was almost flat, three old blankets and cotton sheets, of coarse description, three rush-bottom chairs, an old claw table, a chest of draws, with a few battered band-boxes on the top of it, a miserable bit of carpet before the fire-place, a wooden box for coals, a little tin fender, and an old poker. What there was, however, was kept clean, the floor and yellow paint was clean, and the washing tub which sat in one corner of the room.
"It was a bitter cold night, the wind blew and shook the window, when a young girl of about eighteen sat by the tallow candle, which burned in a tin candlestick, at 12 o'clock at night, finishing a piece of work with the needle which she was to return next morning. Her name was Lettice Arnold. She was naturally of a cheerful, hopeful temper, and though work and disappointment had faded the bright colors of hope, still hope buoyed up her spirits.
"Her sister Myra was delicate, and lay on the mattrass on that night, tossing about with suffering, unable to rest. At last Lettice says to her:——
"'Poor Myra, can't you get to sleep?'
"'It is so cold,' was the reply; 'and when will you have done and come to bed?'
"'One quarter of an hour more, Myra, and I shall have finished my work, and then I will throw my clothes over your feet, and I hope you will be a little warmer.'
"Myra sighed, and lifted up her head, and leaning upon her arm watched the progress of her sister as she plied the needle to her work.
"'How slowly,' said Myra, 'you do get along. It is one o'clock, and you have not finished yet.'
"'I cannot work fast, Myra, and neatly too; my hands are not so delicate and nimble as yours,' and smiling a little, she added: 'Such swelled clumsy things, I cannot get over the ground nimbly and well at the same time. You, are a fine race horse, and I a drudging pony. But I shall soon be through.'
"Myra once more uttered a sigh and cried:
"'Oh, my feet are dreadful cold.'
"'Take this bit of flannel,' said Lettice, 'and let me wrap them up.'
"'Nay, you will want it,' she replied.
"'Oh, I have only five minutes to sit up, and I can wrap this piece of carpet round mine,' said Lettice.
"And she laid down her work and went to the bed and wrapped her sister's icy feet in the flannel, and then sat down and finished her task. How glad was Lettice to creep to the mattress and to lay her aching limbs upon it. A hard bed and scanty covering in a cold night are keenly felt. She soon fell asleep, while her sister tossed and murmured on account of the cold.
"Lettice awoke and drew her over little pillow from under her head, and put it under her sister's and tried every way to make her sister comfortable, and she partly succeeded; and at last Myra, the delicate suffering creature, fell asleep, and Lettice slumbered like a child."
How thankful ought we to be for kind parents, a comfortable home, and a good fire in a cold night. I will tell you in my next story what Lettice did with her work.
* * * * *
LETTICE TAKING HOME THE WORK.
Early in the morning, before it was light, and while the twilight gleamed through the curtainless windows, Lettice was up dressing herself by the aid of the light which gleamed from the street lamp into the window. She combed her hair with modest neatness, then opened the draw with much precaution, lest she should disturb poor Myra, who still slumbered on the hard mattrass—drew out a shawl and began to fold it as if to put it on.
"Alas!" said Lettice, "this will not do—it is thread-bare, time-worn, and has given way in two places." She turned it, and unfolded it, but it would not do. It was so shabby that she was actually ashamed to be seen with it in the street. She put it aside and took the liberty of borrowing Myra's, who was now asleep. She knew Myra would be awful cold when she got up, and would need it. But she must go with the work that morning. She thought first of preparing the fire, so that Myra, when she arose, would only have to light the match; but as she went to the box for coal, she saw, with terror, how low the little store of fuel was, and she said to herself, "we must have a bushel of coal to-day—better to do without meat than fire such weather as this." But she was cheered with the reflection that she should receive a little more for her work that day than what she had from other places. It had been ordered by a benevolent lady who had been to some trouble in getting the poor woman supplied with needle work so that they should receive the full price. She had worked for private customers before, and always received more pay from them than from the shops in London, where they would beat down the poor to the last penny.
Poor Lettice went to the old band-box and took out a shabby old bonnet—she looked at it, and sighed, when she thought of the appearance she must make; for she was going to Mrs. Danvers, and her work was some very nice linen for a young lady about to be married.
Just at this moment she thought of the contrast between all the fine things that young lady was to have, and her own destitution. But her disposition was such as not to cause her to think hard of others who had plenty while she was poor. She was contented to receive her pay from the wealthy, for her daily needle work. She felt that what they had was not taken from her, and if she could gain in her little way by receiving her just earnings from the general prosperity of others, she would not complain. And as the thought of the increased pay came into her mind, which she was to receive that day, she brightened up, shook the bonnet, pulled out the ribbons, and made it look as tidy as possible, thinking to herself that after buying some fuel she might possibly buy a bit of ribbon and make it look a little more spruce, when she got her money.
Lettice now put on her bonnet, and Myra's shawl, and looking into the little three-penny glass which hung on the wall, she thought she might look quite tidy after all. The young lady for whom she made the linen lived about twenty miles from town, but she had come in about this time, and was to set off home at nine o'clock that very morning. The linen was to have been sent in the night before, but Lettice had found it impossible to finish it. This was why she was obliged to start so early in the morning. She now goes to the bed to tell Myra about the fire, and that she had borrowed her shawl, but Myra was sound asleep, so she did not disturb her, but stepped lightly over the floor and down stairs, for it was getting late, and she must be gone. Read the next story, and you will be deeply interested in the result.
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LETTICE AND CATHERINE, OR THE UNEXPECTED MEETING.
I must tell you who were Lettice and Myra. They were the daughters of a clergyman, who held the little vicarage of Castle Rising. But misfortune, which sometimes meets the wise and good, reduced the family to poor circumstances. After the parents' decease, Lettice and Myra located in London, for the purpose of doing needle work for a living.
We said in the last story, that Lettice had entered the street and was on her way with the work she had finished for the young lady. It was a cold morning, the snow blew, and the street was slippery. She could scarcely stand—her face was cold, and her hands so numbed that she could scarcely hold the parcel she carried. The snow beat upon her poor bonnet, but she comforted herself with the idea that she might be supposed to have a better bonnet at home. She cheerfully trudged along, and at last entered Grosvenor Square, where the lamps were just dying away before the splendid houses, while the wind rushed down the Park colder than ever. A few boys were about the only people yet to be seen about, and they laughed at her as she held her bonnet down with one hand, to prevent its giving way before the wind, while she carried her bundle and kept her shawl from flying up with the other.
At last she entered Green Street, and came to the house of the kind lady who had furnished her and many others with work; raised the knocker, and gave one humble knock at the door. She had never been at the house before, but she had sometimes had to go to other genteel houses where she had been met with incivility by the domestics.
But "like master, like man," is a stale old proverb, and full of truth. The servant came to the door. He was a grave old man about fifty. His countenance was full of kind meaning, and his manners so gentle, that before hearing her errand, observing how cold she looked, bade her come in and warm herself at the hall stove.
"I have come," said Lettice, "with the young lady's work—I had not time to come last night, but I hope I have not put her to any inconvenience—I started before light this morning.'
"Well, my dear, I hope not," said the servant, "but it was a pity you could not get it done last night. Mrs. Danvers likes to have people exact to the moment. However, I dare say it will be all right."
As Reynolds, the servant-man, entered the drawing-room, Lettice heard a voice, "Is it come at last?" And the young lady, who thus enquired, was Catherine Melvin, who was then making an early breakfast before a noble blazing fire.
"Has the woman brought her bill?" asked Mrs. Danvers.
"I will go and ask," said the servant. "Stay, ask her to come up. I should like to enquire how she is getting along, this cold weather."
Reynolds obeyed, and soon Lettice found herself in a warm, comfortable breakfast room.
"Good morning," said Mrs. Danvers. "I am sorry you have had such a cold walk this morning. I am sorry you could not come last night. This young lady is just leaving, and there is barely time to put up the things." Catherine (for this was the young lady's name) had her back turned to the door quietly continuing her breakfast, but when the gentle voice of Lettice replied:
"Indeed, madam, I beg your pardon, I did my very best"—Catherine started, looked up and rose hastily from her chair; Lettice, advancing a few steps, exclaimed—"Catherine."
And Catherine exclaimed: "It is—it is you!" and coming forward and taking her by the hand, she gazed with astonishment at the wan face and miserable attire of the work-woman. "You," she kept repeating. "Lettice! Lettice Arnold! Good Heavens! Where is your father? your mother? your sister?"
"Gone," said the poor girl, "all gone but poor Myra!"
"And where is she? And you, dear Lettice, how have you come to this?"
Such was the unexpected meeting of these two persons, who were once children of the same village of Castle Rising. Lettice had been working for her schoolmate, Catherine Melvin. The result was a happy one, and it was not long before, by the kindness of Catherine, that the two orphan girls were situated pleasantly in life. But as you will wish to know how all this came about, I will give you the circumstances in another story.
* * * * *
Lettice's father was a man of education, a scholar, a gentleman, and had much power in preaching. He received one hundred and ten pounds per year for his services. Her father's illness was long and painful, and the family were dependant on others for assistance.
"We at last closed his eyes," said Lettice, "in deep sorrow." He used to say to himself, "It is a rough road, but it leads to a good place."
After his funeral, the expenses exhausted all that was left of their money—only a few pounds were left when the furniture was sold, and "we were obliged," said Lettice, "to give up the dear little parsonage. It was a sweet little place. The house was covered all over with honeysuckles and jessamines; and there was the flower garden in which I used to work, and which made me so hale and strong, and aunt Montague used to say I was worth a whole bundle of fine ladies.
"It was a sad day when we parted from it. My poor mother! How she kept looking back, striving not to cry, and poor Myra was drowned in tears.
"Then we afterwards came to London. A person whom we knew in the village had a son who, was employed in one of the great linen warehouses, and he promised to try to get us needlework. So we came to London, took a small lodging, and furnished it with the remnant of our furniture. Here we worked fourteen hours a day apiece, and we could only gain between three and four shillings each. At last mother died, and then all went; she died and had a pauper's funeral."
From this room the orphan girl removed soon after their mother's deceased, and located among the poor of Marylebone street, where Mrs. Danvers accidently met with the two sisters, in one of her visits among the poor, and for whom she obtained the work which led to the unexpected meeting related in the previous story.
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JONAS AND HIS HORSE.
A horse is a noble animal, and is made for the service of man. No one who has tender feelings can bear to see the horse abused. It is wicked for any one to do so. A horse has a good memory, and he will never forget a kind master. Jonas Carter is one of those boys who likes to take care of a horse. His father gave Jonas the whole care of an excellent animal which he purchased for his own use. Every morning he would go into the stable to feed and water him. As all the horses in the neighborhood had names, Jonas gave one to his, and called him Major. Every time he went into the stable to take care of him, Major would whine and paw, as if his best friend was coming to see him. Jonas kept him very clean and nice, so that he was always ready for use at any time of day. At night he made up his bed of straw, and kept the stable warm in winter and cool in summer. Major soon found that he was in the hands of a kind master, and being well fed, and well cleansed, he would often show how proud and nice he was, by playing with Jonas in the yard. His young master would often let him loose in the yard, and when Jonas started to go in, the horse, Major, would follow him to the door, and when he turned him into the pasture, no one could so well catch him as Jonas; for every time he took him from the pasture, Jonas would give him some oats; so when he saw his master coming for him, he remembered the oats, and would come directly to him. Some horses are very difficult to bridle, but it was not so with Major. When Jonas came with the bridle, Major would hold his head down, and take in his bitts, and appear as docile as a lamb. He well knew that Jonas never drove him hard, but always used him kindly. Jonas was not a selfish boy; he was willing to let his friends ride a short distance; and in the picture, you will see him talking with one of his young friends about his horse.
Now, children, you may be sure that a dumb animal will remember his kind master; and if ever you own a horse, or drive one which belongs to another, be sure and treat him kindly. And you will find this rule to work well among yourselves. Be kind to each other, and to all whom you meet with, and it will help you along the pleasant path of life, and secure to you many friends.
* * * * *
EDWARD AND ELLEN.
Edward Ford owned a snug little cottage with a small farm situated about a mile from the village. When he was married to Ellen G——, who was said to be one of the best girls in the village, he took her to his nice little home, where he had every thing around very pleasant and comfortable. Ellen was very industrious and remarkable for her prudence and neatness. She spun and churned, and tended her poultry, and would often carry her butter and eggs herself to market, which greatly added to their comfort. She had a beautiful little girl, and they gave her the name of Lily. Things glided smoothly on until Lily was sixteen. Edward was very fond of the violin and of reading books that were not very useful, and as he was very fond of music, he spent a great deal more time in making music and playing the violin than what his wife thought profitable. Ellen loved music, and was willing to have him read profitable books, but all this while she thought he might be patching up the fences and improving the shed for the better comfort of the cattle. Still she would not complain, hoping all the time that he would see the necessity of being a little more industrious. The winter came, and all through its dreary months he was unable to work, as he was sick. And although Ellen worked hard, yet her husband required so much of her attention, that all her efforts availed not much to keep poverty out of their cottage. When the spring came, Ellen's husband was able to be about again, and she began to hope that Edward would be more industrious, and they would be able by strict economy to repair the loss occasioned by his winter's illness, which had put them so far behind-hand. Edward had become lazy or disheartened. Affairs about the house continued to grow worse; his farm was ill worked or neglected, and by the fall, his horse and oxen had to go for necessary expenses. Ellen still kept her cows, but it was now very little help she received from her husband. He had been formerly one of the most temperate of men, but now he spent his days from home; and here lay Ellen's deepest sorrow. He was often at the village tavern, wasting in senseless riot the time, health and means that God had given him for other purposes. Ellen felt sad, and in the next story you will see a painful scene in the life of
* * * * *
It was now in the latter part of December—two days more and comes the season of "Merry Christmas." Ellen thought of the dreary prospect before her. As she was thinking over her condition, and how she should manage affairs so as to make home comfortable, the door opened, and in came Edward earlier than usual, a sober man. With a grateful heart Ellen set about preparing the supper, and made all the evening as pleasant as she could for him.
The next morning earlier than usual Edward was preparing to go out. The weather was bitter cold, and the wood pile was very low. She did not like to ask Edward to split some wood the evening before, as she did not wish to vex him. Of late he had harshly refused her simple requests. She, however, ventured this morning to ask him to split a few logs, and he replied:
"Why did you not ask me when you saw me doing nothing all last evening? You must get along the best way you can until night. I have engaged to work for Squire Davis, and I shall be late unless I go at once."
"To work! Have you?" said Ellen, in a pleased and grateful tone.
"Yes; so don't detain me. I am to have a dollar and a half a day as long as I choose to work."
"How very fortunate!" said Ellen.
After he was gone, Ellen busied herself in making things comfortable for the children. It was market day, and she must carry her heavy basket to the village for the different families who depended upon her for their supply of fresh butter and eggs. A year ago she had a neat little wagon and a good horse to drive. There was something in the mind of Ellen; what it was she could not tell—a kind of sad presentiment of something—as she was preparing to go to market. I shall tell you in the next story what it was. You will see that Ellen was very kind to her husband and tried every way to make him happy.
* * * * *
THE MARKET DAY.
Mrs. Ford had three little children—Lily, Hetty, and a dear little babe. As she was now going to market, she told Lily, her oldest daughter, to take good care of the baby. Lily promised to do so. It was a very cold day. For a time the children got along very well; but soon the wood was all burned, not a stick or chip remained; as their father had gone away in the morning without splitting any, so they were obliged to do the best they could. The baby began to look as if it was cold, and Lily said:
"Come, Hetty, we will go out and see if together we cannot roll in one of those great logs."
Hetty was eleven years old. Lily put the baby in the cradle and then went out with Hetty to roll in the log. They rolled it up to the step, and got it part way into the door, but, alas! they could not get it further. There it stuck in the doorway, and the door was wide open; the wind and snow beat in from without, and the fire gradually settled away in its embers.
Something must now be done. Hetty put on her cloak and hood and set out for her mother; for she told them if anything happened to be sure and come for her. Hetty soon found her mother at the village store, and without stopping to warm herself, she said:
"O mother, come home, for little Eddy is sick, and Lily says it is the croup, and that he is dying. The fire is all out, and the room is full of snow, because the big log we tried to roll in stuck fast in the doorway."
Hetty and her mother hastened home; and as they were crossing the street there was her husband just entering the tavern. She told him about little Eddy, and he promised to go for a physician and to come home immediately; and by the time they had gone half way home, Edward, her husband, joined them.
They hurried along, and as they came near the cottage there stood two of the cows, and under the shed was the third, the old "spotted cow," which Hetty thought was in the pond when she left home. To their surprise the log was rolled away from the door, and as Mrs. Ford opened the door with a trembling hand, fearing her baby was dead, there was a young man sitting by a good fire, which he had made while Hetty was gone, with little Eddy folded in his arms. The anxious mother bent over her baby as he lay in the stranger's arms, and seeing his eyes closed, she whispered:
"Is he dead?"
"He is not, he only sleeps," replied the stranger.
This young man came into the house in time to save the baby from the cold chills of death. He was ever after a friend to the family—a means of Edward's reformation, so that with some assistance the mortgage on the farm was paid off, and the farm re-stocked. This stranger became the husband of Lily, the eldest daughter.
* * * * *
MELLY, ANNA AND SUSY.
There is nothing more pleasant than to see brothers and sisters, lovely in their lives, and in all their plays kind and obliging to each other. Mrs. Jones' three little children were always noted for their good behaviour by all the people in the village, and the school teacher said they were the prettiest behaved children she ever saw, and this was saying much in their praise, for her scholars were noted for very good behavior and promptness in their recitations.
Mrs. Jones kept her children under a good discipline, but she always gave them time and opportunities for their pleasant plays. She would not allow them to associate with vicious children, because "evil communications corrupt good manners," and she knew her children were as liable to fall into bad habits as any others. There were a few vicious boys in the village where she lived who always took delight in teasing and vexing the other children, and sometimes these boys would try some method to break up the children's play.
One afternoon, there being no school, Mrs. Jones gave her little children permission to go into the lower back-room and spend awhile in play. Away they jumped and skipped along down stairs to the play room, with merry hearts and smiling faces. They had not been there a long time before they heard a very singular noise, which they did not know what to make of. But they soon forgot it, and continued playing with the same cheerfulness; very soon again they heard the same noise, which sounded like somebody's voice. The children began to be a little frightened, and while little Susy stretches her hand out to take hold of the post, and is in the act of running away. Melly and Anna put their fingers to their lips, and listened again to know what the noise could mean. Soon the noise was repeated, and away they flew to heir mother's arms in such a tremor that she felt at the moment alarmed herself. They told their mother what had happened, and all that night the children could not sleep.
It was ascertained the next day that one of the bad boys crept along in the back part of the yard where the children were playing, and by an unnatural sound of his voice made the noise that so alarmed the three little children. Susy, who was the youngest, did not forget it for some time; and all of them were afraid to go alone into the lower room for many weeks.
This was very wrong in the bad boy; he might have injured the children at play so they would never have recovered from it. I have known young children to be so frightened as never to forget the impression all their life-time. How much better for the boy to have been like these good children, and joined with them in their pleasant pastimes. Never do any thing that will give sorrow and pain to others, but live and act towards each other while in youth, so as to enable you to review your life with pleasure, and to meet with the approbation of your Heavenly Father.
* * * * *
ARTHUR AND HIS APPLE TREE.
One summer day little William was sitting in the garden chair beside his mother, under the shade of a large cherry tree which stood on the grass plot in front of the house. He was reading in a little book. After he had been reading some time, he looked, up to his mother and said:
"Mother, will you tell me what is the meaning of 'you must return good for evil?'"
His mother replied: "I will tell you a story that will explain it.
"I knew a little boy," she said, "whose name was Arthur Scott; he lived with his grandmamma, who loved him very much, and who wished that he might grow up to be a good man. Little Arthur had a garden of his own, and in it grew an apple tree, which was then very small, but to his great joy had upon it two fine rosy-cheeked apples, the first ones it had produced. Arthur wished to taste of them very much to know if they were sweet or sour; but he was not a selfish boy, and he says to his grandmother one morning:
"I think I shall leave my apples on the tree till my birthday, then papa and mamma and sister Fanny will come and see me, and we will eat them together."
"'A very good thought," said his grandmother; "and you shall gather them yourself.'
"It seemed a long time for him to wait; but the birthday came at last, and in the morning as soon as he was dressed he ran into his garden to gather his apples; but lo! they were gone. A naughty boy who saw them hanging on the tree, had climbed over the garden wall and stolen them.
"Arthur felt very sorry about losing his apples, and he began to cry, but he soon wiped his eyes, and said to his grandmother:
"'It is hard to lose my nice apples, but it was much worse for that naughty boy to commit so great a sin as to steal them. I am sure God must be very angry with him; and I will go and kneel down and ask God to forgive him.'
"So he went and prayed for the boy who had stolen his apples. Now, William, do you not think that was returning good for evil?"
"O, yes," said William; "and I thank you, mother, for your pretty story. I now understand what my new book means." Little Arthur grew to be a man, and always bore a good name.
* * * * *
THE MOTHERLESS BIRDS.
There were two men who were neighbors to each other, living in a distant country were they had to labor hard for the support of their families. One of them was greatly troubled to know who would take care of his children if he should die. But the other man was not so troubled, and was always very cheerful, saying to his neighbor: "Never distrust Providence."
One day as the sorrowful man was laboring in the fields, sad and cast down, he saw some little birds enter a bush, go out and then return again. He went towards the bush, and saw two nests side by side, and in both nests some little birds, newly hatched and still without feathers. He saw the old birds go in a number of times, and they carried in their bills food to give their little ones.
At one time, as one of the mothers returned with her beak full, a large vulture seized her and carried her away; and the poor mother, struggling vainly under its talons, uttered piercing cries. He thought the little young birds must certainly die, as they had now no mother to take care of them. He felt so bad about them that he did not sleep any that night. The next day, on returning to the fields, he said to himself: "I will see the little ones of this poor mother; some without doubt have already perished."
He went up to the bush, and saw that the little ones in both nests were all alive and well. He was very much surprised at this, and he hid himself behind the bush to see what would happen. After a little time he heard a crying of the birds, and soon the second mother came flying into the bush with her beak full of food, and distributed it all among the little birds in both nests. He now saw that the orphan birds were as well provided for as when their own mother was living.
In the evening, he related the whole story to his neighbor, and said to him:
"I will never distress myself again about who will take care of my children, if I should die before them."
His neighbor replied: "Let us always believe, hope, love, and pursue our course in peace. If you die before me, I will take cure of your children, and if I die before you, you will be a father to mine; and if we are both taken away before our children are able to provide for themselves, there is a Father in heaven."
* * * * *
STORY ABOUT A ROBBER.
I will tell you a true story about a robber. A gentleman was once travelling through a very unfrequented road, along in a chaise, in the latter part of the day. There was no house nor a sign of a human being there. It was a very lonely road. Presently at a sudden turn in the road, directly towards his horse's head, a man came out of the woods. The gentleman was convinced by his appearance that he came for no good purpose. He immediately stopped his horse, and asked the stranger to get in and ride. The man hesitated a moment, and then stepped into the chaise. The gentleman commenced talking with him about the loneliness of the road, and observed that it would be an admirable place for a robbery if any one was so disposed. He proceeded to speak of robbery and criminals, and how he thought they should be sought out and instructed, and if possible reformed; and that we ought to try to convert and reform them; and then he began to tell him what course he should take with a man who should attempt to rob him. He told him that he should give him all his money first, and then began to talk kindly to him, and show the evil consequences of his course of life. He then said:
"Yes, I would die on the spot rather than to injure a hair on his head."
They soon came to another road, when the man, who had silently listened to all the gentleman had said, desired to get out, saying that his home lay in that direction.
The gentleman stopped his horse, and the man got out, took his adviser by the hand, saying:
"I thank you, sir, for this ride and for all you have said to me; I shall never forget any part of it. When I met you, it was my intention to rob you. I could easily have done so, but your kind act and kind words put better thoughts into my heart. I think I never shall be guilty of the crime you have saved me from committing this afternoon. I thank God for having met you; you have made me a better man."
* * * * *
One day, says a Persian poet, I saw a bunch of roses, and in the midst of them grew a tuft of grass.
"How," I cried to the grass, "does a poor plant like you dare to be found in the company of roses?"
And I ran to tear away the tuft, when the grass replied:
"Spare me! It is true, I am not a rose; but you will perceive from my perfume that I have been among the roses."
This is a very pretty fable for young people. It makes us recollect one of the proverbs of Solomon: "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed," Young people like to have companions, and it is proper that they should have them.
If we had no one to associate with, we should be unhappy. We need friends that we may confide in, and that we may tell them what we feel and what we think. But we must take care as to the choice of friends; for just as the grass in the fable imbibed the scent of the roses, so we become like those with whom we associate.
* * * * *
A very little boy by the name of "Bertie," kept a box in which he deposited his little treasures. After he died his mother took the key and opened it. It was full of all sorts of things. There were specimens of stones, and shells, and moss, and grass, and dried flowers. There were, also, curious flies, found dead; but they were not destroyed by him, as he would never sacrifice a short sunny existence for self gratification. There were a number of books and small ornamental toys which had been given him—a drawing slate with pencils, colored chalks, a small box of colors, some little plates which he had colored, in his own untaught style—a commenced copy of the hymn, "I know that my Redeemer liveth" an unfinished letter to his grandpapa, and some torn leaves which he had found with passages of scripture upon them—a copy of the "lines on the death of an only son." Also a number of sketches of missionary stations, chapels and schools, which he had cut out and colored. His mother once asked him why he cut them out, saying, that there might be some reading on the back of the pieces worth saving. "Oh no, mamma," he replied, "I looked carefully at the backs first." In the box was a purse containing three shillings.
Such were the treasures which this little lamb had left when he died; And as you will be pleased to know what was done with the box of treasures, I will tell you. "The thought struck me," says his mother, "that after he was gone, I should not know what to do with Bertie's box of treasures; I therefore asked him what I should do with them." He replied, "Oh, give half to God and half to the children, and be sure to divide them fairly." The money in the box was devoted to the purchase of the Bible—and a collecting box made in the form of a Bible; for, said he, "when my friends come and give money to the children, then hold Bertie's box for Bertie's share." This is a good example for all children. Your little treasures may serve a good purpose when you die.
* * * * *
THE CHILD AND FLOWER.
The Atheist in his garden stood, At twilight's pensive hour, His little daughter by his side, was gazing on a flower.
"Oh, pick that little blossom, Pa," The little prattler said, "It is the fairest one that blooms Within that lonely bed."
The father plucked the chosen flower, And gave it to his child; With parted lips and sparkling eye, She seized the gift and smiled.
"O Pa—who made this pretty flower, This little violet blue; Who gave it such a fragrant smell, And such a lovely hue?"
A change came o'er the father's brow, His eye grew strangely wild, New thoughts within him had been stirred By that sweet, artless child.
The truth flashed on the father's mind, The truth in all its power; "There is a God, my child," said he, "Who made that little flower."
* * * * *
Anne was the daughter of a wealthy farmer. She had a good New England school education, and was well bred and well taught at home in the virtues and manners that constitute domestic social life. Her father died a year before her marriage. He left a will dividing his property equally between his son and daughter, giving to the son the homestead with all its accumulated riches, and to the daughter the largest share of the personal property amounting to 6 or 7000 dollars. This little fortune became at Anne's marriage the property of her husband. It would seem that the property of a woman received from her father should be her's. But the laws of a barbarous age fixed it otherwise.
Anne married John Warren, who was the youngest child, daintly bred by his parents. He opened a dry good store in a small town in the vicinity of B——, where he invested Annie's property. He was a farmer, and did not think of the qualifications necessary to a successful merchant. For five or six years he went on tolerably, living genteelly and recklessly, expecting that every year's gain would make up the excess of the past. When sixteen years of their married life had passed, they were living in a single room in the crowded street of R——. Every penny of the inheritance was gone—three children had died—three survived; a girl of fifteen years, whom the mother was educating to be a teacher—a boy of twelve who was living at home, and Jessy, a pale, delicate, little struggler for life, three years old.
Mrs. W—— was much changed in these sixteen years. Her round blooming cheek was pale and sunken, her dark chestnut hair had become thin and gray, her bright eyes, over-tasked by use and watching, were faded, and her whole person shrunken. Yet she had gained a great victory. Yes, it was a precious pearl. And you will wish to know what it was. It was a gentle submission and resignation—a patience under all her afflictions. But learn a lesson. Take care to whom you give your hand in marriage.
* * * * *
THE ORPHANS' VOYAGE.
Two little orphan boys, whose parents died in a foreign land, were put on board a vessel to be taken home to their relatives and friends. On a bitter cold night, when the north-east winds sang through the shrouds of the vessel, the little boys were crouched on the deck behind a bale of goods, to sleep for the night. The eldest boy wrapt around his younger brother his little cloak, to shield him from the surf and sleet, and then drew him close to his side and said to him, "the night will not be long, and as the wind blows we shall the sooner reach our home and see the peet fire glow." So he tried to cheer his little brother, and told him to go to sleep and forget the cold night and think about the morning that would come. They both soon sank to sleep on the cold deck, huddled close to each other, and locked close in each other's arms. The steerage passengers were all down below, snugly stowed away in their warm berths, and forgot all about the cold wind and the frost. When the morning came the land appeared, and the passengers began to pace the deck, and as the vessel moved along they tried some well known spot to trace.
Only the orphans did not stir, Of all this bustling train; They reached their home this very night, They will not stir again! The winter's breath proved kind to them, And ended all their pain.
But in their deep and freezing sleep, Clasped rigid to each other, In dreams they cried, "the bright morn breaks, Home! home! is hear, my brother; The angel death has been our friend, We come! dear father, mother!"
* * * * *
A little boy went to sea with his father to learn to be a sailor. One day his father said to him, "Come, my boy, you will never be a sailor if you don't learn to climb."
The boy was very ambitious, and soon scrambled up to top of the rigging; but when he saw at what a height he was he began to be frightened, and called out, "Oh father, I shall fall, what shall I do?"
"Look up—look up, my son," said his father; "if you look down you will be giddy; but if you keep looking up to the flag at the top of the mast you will descend safely." The boy followed his father's advice, and soon came down to the deck of the vessel in safety. You may learn from this story, to look up to Jesus, as the highest example, and as the Saviour of mankind.
* * * * *
THE FLOWER THAT LOOKS UP.
"What beautiful things flowers are," said one of the party of little girls who were arranging the flowers they had gathered in the pleasant fields. "Which flower would you rather be like, Helen?"
"Just as if there would be any choice," said Laura. "I like the Rose. I should like to be the queen of flowers, or none." Laura was naturally very proud.
"For my part" observed Helen, "I should like to resemble the Rhododendron; when any one touches it, or shakes it roughly, it scatters a shower of honey dew from its roseate cups, teaching us to shower blessings upon our enemies. Oh, who does not wish to be as meek as this flower? It is very difficult, I know," said Helen; "but we are taught to possess a meek and lowly spirit."
"It is difficult, I know," said Lucy, "if we trust to our own strength. It is only when my father looks at me in his kind manner, that I have any control of myself. What a pity it is that we cannot always remember that the eye of our Heavenly Father is upon us." "I wish I could," said Helen.
"Now, Clara, we are waiting for you," said Laura. Clara smiled; and immediately chose the pale woodbine, or convolvulus, which so carelessly winds in and out among the bushes—this is an emblem of loving tenderness.
"Now what says Lucy?" exclaimed Helen.
"I think I can guess," said Clara; "either a violet, or a heart's ease. Am I right?"
"Not quite," said Lucy, "although both the flowers you have mentioned, are great favorites of mine. But I think I should like to resemble the daisy, most, because it is always looking upward."
Certainly Lucy made a wise choice. What more do we require for happiness, than to be able, let the cloud be ever so dark, to look upward with trusting faith in God.
* * * * *
MY EARLY DAYS.
My father's house was indeed a pleasant home; and father was the supreme guide of his own household. He was gentle, but he could he firm and resolute when the case demanded. Mother was the sunshine of our little garden of love; her talents and energy gave her influence; and united to a man like father, she was all that is loveable in the character of woman.
But the dear old home, where I grew from infancy to boyhood, and from boyhood to youth, I shall never forget. It was a large house on the slope of a hill, just high enough to overlook several miles of our level country, and smooth enough with its soft grassy carpet for us to roll down from the summit to the foot of the hill. At the back of the house was another hill, where we used to roll under the shade of the old elm, and where Miles and I would sit whole afternoons and fly the kite, each taking turns in bolding the string. This was a happy place for us, and especially in the spring time, when the happy looking cows grazed along the pathway which winds around the elm to the stream where Kate and I used to sail my little boat. All summer long this place was vocal with the songs of birds, which built their nests in safety among the tall trees of the grove in the rear of the farm. We had also the music of the running brook, and the pleasant hum of my father's cotton mill, which brought us in our daily bread. Haying time was always a happy season for us boys. Father's two horses, "Dick" and "Bonny" would take off the farm as large a load of hay as any in the village.
Years past on, and we were a happy band of brothers and sisters. After Kate, came the twins, Margaret and Herbert, and last of all came the youngest darling, blue eyed Dora. We had a happy childhood. Our station in the world was high enough to enable us to have all the harmless pleasures and studies that were useful and actually necessary to boys and girls of our station. Father always thought that it was better in early youth not to force the boys to too hard study, and mother loved best to see Kate and Margaret using the fingers in fabricating garments, than in playing the harp. We were free, happy, roving children on father's farm, unchained by the forms of fashionable life. We had no costly dresses to spoil, and were permitted to play in the green fields without a servant's eye, and to bathe in the clear shallow stream without fear of drowning. As I have said before, these were happy days; and when I think of them gone, I often express my regret that we did not improve them more for the cultivation of the mind and the affections. In the next story you will see that there were some passing clouds in our early summer days.
* * * * *
MARGARET AND HERBERT.
In a large family there are often diversity of character and varieties of mood and temper, which bring some clouds of sorrow. In our little Eden of innocence there were storms now and then. Miles was a little wild and head-strong from his babyhood, and Margaret, though very beautiful, was often wilful and vain. For five years the twins had grown up together the same in beauty and health One day an accident befel Herbert, and the dear child rose from his bed of sickness a pale and crippled boy. His twin sister grew up tall and blooming. The twins loved each other very much, and it was a pleasant sight to see how the deformed boy was cherished and protected by his sister Margaret. She would often leave us in the midst of our plays to go and sit by Herbert, who could not share with us in them.
We had our yearly festivals, our cowslip gatherings, our blackberry huntings, our hay makings, and all the delights so pleasant to country children. Our five birthdays were each signalized by simple presents and evening parties, in the garden or the house, as the season permitted. Herbert and Margaret's birthdays came in the sunny time of May, when there were double rejoicings to be made. They were always set up in their chairs in the bower, decorated with flowers and crowned with wreaths. I now think of Margaret smiling under her brilliant garland, while poor Herbert looked up to her with his pale sweet face. I heard him once say to her when we had all gone away to pluck flowers:
"How beautiful you are to-day, Margaret, with your rosy checks and brown hair."
"But that does not make me any better or prettier than you, because I am strong and you are not, or that my cheeks are red and your's are pale."
Miles was just carrying little Dora over the steeping stones at the brook, when Herbert cried:
"O, if I could only run and leap like Miles; but I am very helpless."
To which Margaret replied: "Never mind, brother; I will love you and take care of you all your life," and she said these words with a sister's love, as she put her arms around the neck of her helpless brother. She loved him the more, and aimed to please him by reading books to him which were his delight. This was a pleasant sight, and the brothers always admired Margaret for her attention to their helpless brother.
* * * * *
THE BIT OF GARDEN.
Young children like to have a small piece of land for a garden which they can call their own. And it is very pleasant to dig the ground, sow the seed, and watch the little green plants which peep out of the earth, and to see the beautiful buds and fresh blossoms.
Every boy and girl has a bit of garden, and we are told in the good book to take good care of it, and see that the weeds of vice do not spread over it, and to be sure and have it covered with plants of goodness. This garden is the HEART. Such things as anger, sloth, lying and cheating, are noxious weeds. But if you are active and industrious, and keep cultivating this little garden, and keep out all the bad weeds, God will help you to make a good garden, full of pleasant plants, and flowers of virtue. I have seen some gardens which look very bad, covered with briars and weeds, the grass growing in the paths, and the knotty weeds choking the few puny flowers that are drooping and dying out. Every thing seems to say—"How idle the owner of this garden is." But I have seen other gardens where there were scarcely any weeds. The walks look tidy, the flowers in blossom, the trees are laden with fruit, and every thing says, "How busy the owner is." Happy are you, dear children, if you are working earnestly in the garden of your hearts. Your garden will be clean, pleasant, and fruitful—a credit and comfort to you all your days.
* * * * *
REMEMBER THE CAKE.
I will tell you an anecdote about Mrs. Hannah More, when she was eighty years old. A widow and her little boy paid a visit to Mrs. More, at Barley Wood. When they were about to leave, Mrs. M. stooped to kiss the little boy, not as a mere compliment, as old maids usually kiss children, but she took his smiling face between her two hands, and looked upon it a moment as a mother would, then kissed it fondly more than once. "Now when you are a man, my child, will you remember me?" The little boy had just been eating some cake which she gave him, and he, instead of giving her any answer, glanced his eyes on the remnants of the cake which lay on the table. "Well," said Mrs. M., "you will remember the cake at Barley Wood, wont you?" "Yes," said the boy, "It was nice cake, and you are so kind that I will remember both." "That is right," she replied, "I like to have the young remember me for being kin—then you will remember old Mrs. Hannah More?"
"Always, ma'am, I'll try to remember you always." "What a good child" said she, after his mother was gone, "and of good stock; that child will be as true as steel. It was so much more natural that the child should remember the cake than an old woman, that I love his sincerity." She died on the 7th of Sept., 1833, aged eighty-eight. She was buried in Wrighton churchyard, beneath an old tree which is still flourishing.
* * * * *
BENNY'S FIRST DRAWING.
You have perhaps heard of Benjamin West, the celebrated artist. I will tell you about his first effort in drawing.
One of his sisters who had been married some time, came with her babe to spend a few days at her father's. When the child was asleep in the cradle, Mrs. West invited her daughter to gather flowers in the garden, and told Benjamin to take care of the little child while they were gone; and gave him a fan to flap away the flies from his little charge. After some time the child appeared to smile in its sleep, and it attracted young Benney's attention, he was so pleased with the smiling, sleeping babe, that he thought he would see what he could do at drawing a portrait of it. He was only in his seventh year; he got some paper, pens, and some red and black ink, and commenced his work, and soon drew the picture of the babe.
Hearing his mother and sister coming in from the garden, he hid his picture; but his mother seeing he was confused; asked him what he was about, and requested him to show her the paper. He obeyed, and entreated her not to be angry. Mrs. West, after looking some time, with much pleasure, said to her daughter, "I declare, he has made a likeness of little Sally," and kissed him with evident satisfaction. This gave him much encouragement, and he would often draw pictures of flowers which she held in her hand. Here the instinct of his great genius was first awakened. This circumstance occurred in the midst of a Pennsylvania forest, a hundred and four years ago. At the age of eighteen he was fairly established in the city of Philadelphia as an artist.
* * * * *
THE GREY OLD COTTAGE.
In the valley between "Longbrigg" and "Highclose," in the fertile little dale on the left; stands an old cottage, which is truly "a nest in a green place." The sun shines on the diamond paned windows all through the long afternoons of a summer's day. It is very large and roomy. Around it is a trim little garden with pleasant flower borders under the low windows. From the cottage is a bright lookout into a distant scene of much variety.
Some years ago it was more desolate, as it was so isolated from the world. Now the children's voices blend with the song of the wood birds, and they have a garden there of dandelions, daisies, and flowers. The roof and walls are now covered with stone crop and moss, and traveller's joy, which gives it a variety of color. The currant bushes are pruned, and the long rose brandies are trimmed, and present a blooming appearance. This house, with forty acres of land, some rocky and sterile, and some rich meadow and peat, formed the possessions of the Prestons in Westmoreland. For two hundred years this land had been theirs. Mr. Preston and his wife were industrious and respectable people. They had two children, Martha and John. The sister eight years older than her brother and acted a motherly part towards him. As her mother had to go to market, to see to the cows and dairy, and to look after the sheep on the fell; Martha took most of the care of little Johnny.
It is said that a very active mother does not always make a very active daughter, and that is because she does things herself, and has but little patience with the awkward and slow efforts of a learner. Mrs. Preston said that Martha was too long in going to market with the butter, and she made the bread too thick, and did not press all the water out of the butter, and she folded up the fleeces the wrong way, and therefore she did all herself. Hence Martha was left to take the whole care of Johnny, and to roam about in the woods. When she was about fifteen her mother died, so that Martha was left her mother's place in the house, which she filled beyond the expectation of all the neighbors. Her father died when Johnny was sixteen, and his last advice to his daughter was, to take care of her brother, to look after his worldly affairs, and above all to bear his soul in prayer to heaven, where he hoped to meet the household once more. The share of her father's property when he died, was eighty pounds. Here Martha spent her days, frugal, industrious and benevolent. And it is said, there will not be a. grave in Grasmere churchyard, more decked with flowers, more visited with respect, regret, and tears, and faithful trust, than that of Martha Preston when she dies. In the next story you will be interested in what happened at the Grey Cottage.
* * * * *
THE BOY FOUND IN THE SNOW.
One winter's night when the evening had shut in very early, owing to the black snow clouds that hung close around the horizon, Martha sat looking into the fire. Her old sheep dog, Fly, lay at her feet. The cows were foddered for the night, and the sheep were penned up in the yard. Fly was a faithful dog, and for some reason, this evening, he was very restless. Why he pricked up his ears, and went snuffing to the door, and pacing about the room, was more than Martha could tell.
"Lie down. Fly,—good dog—lie down," she said; but Fly would not mind her, which was an unusual thing. She was certain something was the matter, and she felt she must go up to the fell; and with the foresight common to the Dale's people, who knew what mountain storms are, she took under her cloak a small vial of gin, which was kept in case of any accident, and set out with the dog Fly. The snow fell fast, the wind blew, and the drifts lay thick. She had great confidence in Fly, that if any thing was the matter he would find it out. He ran straight up the little steep path which led through the woods. On she followed, her cloak white with snow, until she came, into the more open ground, where she lost sight of Fly and for a time stood bewildered, until he should return and guide her. The birds and beasts had gone to rest, and the stillness of the moors was awful. It was night, and dark. Suddenly she heard a child's feeble voice, and in an instant she pressed on towards the spot from which the sound came; soon she heard Fly's loud howl for aid. At last she reached the spot, and found a little boy half asleep, a kind of drowsiness which precedes death. He could not speak; he could only moan. She moistened his lips with the gin, and poured a little down his throat. She then raised him up and carried him a short distance down the hill; then she stopped to rest awhile; and then she got as far as the woods, where the winds were not so cold. Again she gave him a few drops from her vial, and now he was able to walk a few steps; then Martha, put up a fervent prayer to God for assistance, as she dragged the lost boy to her cottage. She now laid him down to the warm fire, while Fly snuffed around him in great joy. She took off his wet clothes, and wrapped him in her woollen cloak. He soon recovered and was able to tell his story.
His father had sent him up to the fells for a sheep that was missing. The dog left him, and night and snow came on, and he got lost on the fells. The family had lately come to live near Rydal, and the boy did not know all the landmarks. Martha took the best of care of the boy till the morning, when his mother came, with a grateful heart towards God for the means which had guided Martha to her lost boy.
* * * * *
THE BROTHER AND SISTER. (In three Stories.)
THE PARTING SCENE.
In one of our western cities was a poor woman, in the garret of a lonely house, who was very sick, and near dying. She had two children, a brother and sister, who knelt beside her bed to catch her dying words. "Annie, my daughter," said the mother, "soon, and your young brother will have no earthly friend but you; will you, my daughter, be to him a faithful sister?"
"Yes, mother, I will," said the daughter, as she wiped away her tears.
And then she laid her hand upon the head of her son, and said, "Be a good boy, Willy, and mind your sister; she is but three years older than yourself, but as far as her knowledge goes, she will be a guide for you; and she and you have a Father in Heaven who will never leave you. Will you promise to do as she wishes?"
Willy raised his eyes to his mother, and bowed his head in token of assent, and then burst into tears. The mother was a Christian, and putting her arm around the neck of Willy, and with the other hand clasping her daughter, she calmly said to them, "Weep not, dear children, you will find friends; God is the father of the fatherless. Keep in mind that his eye is upon you; be honest and virtuous, faithful and believing, and all things will work together for your good."
The dying mother could say no more; her breath grew short, and stretching out her arms, she cried, "My dear children, I must leave you: let me kiss you—God bless and keep——"
Her arms fell from around them, the words died away on her lips, and her weary soul departed.
After the funeral of this mother, the moon shone brightly into the desolate chamber, and revealed a beautiful scene, that of a sister's love.
Anna sat near the window, and little Willy lay his weary head in her lap. They were now without father or mother. Sleep had stolen upon the weary eyes of Willy. Anna smoothed back the dark hair, which hung over his brow, then carefully raised his slender frame in her arms and laid him upon his bed. Then seating herself beside him she thought of her mother's last request to take care of Willy.
"Yes," she exclaimed, "I must begin to-morrow. I will go out and try to get some work, for poor Willy must remain at school. Dear boy," she exclaimed, "I will never see him suffer." You will, in the next story, find
ANNA SEEKING EMPLOYMENT.
It was a wearisome day to poor Anna, as she walked from square to square, calling at the houses for employment. Some received her kindly, and patronised her themselves, and promised to interest their friends in her behalf, while others, alleging that she could not earn as much as a woman, endeavored to beat her down a few shillings in her price. But among all, Anna found means of subsistence for many months. But soon her constitution began to grow weak, and her friends thought it best for Willy to give up his school awhile, and to obtain some place as errand boy, and for Anna to pursue a more active life.
Soon Anna found herself in a new home, doing the work of a family which devolved on her. She kept a diary, and she would often go away in her own little room and scribble a few lines in her book. Here is an extract from her writings:——
"To-day I am very tired and yet but very little has been accomplished. I know I could do well enough if I was allowed to regulate my work, or if there was only order in the arrangement. There is certainly a great want of system in this family; I am never allowed to finish one piece of work before I am called off to another, and then blamed because I did not do the first in time.
"One wants me to put the dough in the pants, and before I get my hands clean, another calls me to go and get some wood; another tells me to go to the store for some thread; another cries out, Anna! Anna! and away I am sent to the third story after a book. Do they think a girl like me is never tired? Ah, me! I must seek another place. I love little children, and I think I should do for a child's nurse; I will advertise."
And she did advertise, and it was not long before she was answered by a request to call at Number 4, Elm street, at three o'clock on Wednesday. In the next story we shall find
ANNA WITH A PLEASANT HOME.
Anna, having obtained leave of her mistress, soon found herself at the door of Mrs. West. The servant girl came to the door, and Anna followed her into the sitting-room, where every thing was nicely arranged. Soon a gentle looking lady came into the room, with a babe in her arms, and asking her, in a pleasant voice, "if she was the girl who advertised? You look hardly strong enough to handle such a boy as this," said she, as she placed on her lap a plump, black-eyed little fellow of eight months old. "Let me see if you can lift him easily."
Anna gave the little fellow a hug and a kiss, and then playfully tossed him up a few times, but he was so heavy that she soon placed him on her knee, saying, "I am not used to holding children, but think I shall soon get accustomed to it." The lady agreed to have Anna come and enter upon her duties the next week.
Weeks rolled away, and Anna's face looked joyous, for peace was in her heart. She loved her mistress because she was so thoughtful and would not even let her carry the babe half so much as she wished, but would tell her to amuse him on the floor. Mrs. West would often bring her work and sit with Anna in the nursery, and talk with her about her mother and Willy. Oh, how Anna loved Mrs. West!
Willy was now learning a trade with an honest carpenter, who gave him permission to visit his sister once a week, and many happy hours did they pass together in the nursery with the little pet Charley.
As the summer months came on, Mrs. West prepared to visit her mother, who lived a few miles in the country. Anna went with her. Charley was now old enough to go into the woods and run about, while Anna gathered flowers, chased butterflies, and amused him with infant stories. Little Charley would often fall asleep to the sweet tones of Anna's voice, and then she would take him up and bear him to the house.
Three years passed away, and Charley needed no other nurse than his mother, and Anna's heart ached at the thought of leaving Mrs. West and little Charley. She had been so happy there that she dreaded to go out among strangers to look for a new place.
Mrs. West made arrangements for Anna to live with her parents, who in a short time made her their adopted child. It was a beautiful country home, and she became as a dear child to Mr. and Mrs. Warren.
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THE GLOW WORM.
On a summer's evening about half an hour after bed time, as three little brothers lay talking together they heard a gentle footstep on the stairs. It was their sister Lucy. "Are you asleep," she asked.
"No, we are not asleep," cried the boys.
"I have brought something to show you" said Lucy, and going into the darkest corner of the room, she opened her hand and the boys saw something sparkle like a diamond or a star.
"What is it," cried little Frank, jumping out of bed and running to look. Lucy held out her hand, but told him not to touch it.
"Oh, it moves! It moves!" said he "It must be something alive."
"Ah!" said John, "it is a glow worm. I saw one last summer on a bank in Sand Lee."
"Take care," said Frank, "that it does not burn the counterpane." The two elder brothers laughed; but Lucy reminded them that they would most likely have fallen into the same mistake, if they had not been taught that the glow worm's light, though it shines so brightly, does not burn. To convince Frank she told him to hold out his hand. The little boy felt afraid, but as he knew that Lucy never deceived him, he put out his hand, and soon, to his great delight, the harmless glow worm lay in his hand. Lucy promised to tell him something about the glow worm another time. Frank went back to his bed, and Lucy bid her brothers good night, promising to put the prize under a glass on the lawn.
So night after night, for weeks, the three boys saw the twinkling light of the glow worm on the dewy grass. One evening they began to quarrel about it, and none but little Frank was willing to give up his claim to it. It grieved him to hear his brothers quarrelling and saying unkind words to each other; and he also thought that the poor glow worm ought not to be kept a prisoner under the glass, instead of flying over the green turf or mossy bank. But when he tried to bring John and Robert to the same opinion, they would not hear to him. So Lucy, who was a kind sister, when she found that the pleasure she had procured for them was the occasion of their naughty conduct, sat down by the window and told them to remember that God, who made the glow worm and caused its light to shine, could see them in their chamber, and hear every sinful word. John and Robert felt the force of their sister's words, and settled their quarrel without delay, and they gave Frank permission to go early in the morning and let the imprisoned glow worm creep away.
* * * * *
EMILY'S MORNING RAMBLE.
In the suburbs of the city of B. stands the beautiful residence of Mr. James. It was a rural spot, as it was surrounded with all the beauties of nature. There were rippling streams, and winding paths through the green fields and woods, sunny hills and mossy rocks. Emily, the only daughter of Mr. J., had all these pleasant scenes to enjoy, and every thing to make her home happy. Her father owned a noble pair of grays and a very fine carriage, and she had the pleasure of riding with her father whenever she chose. But Emily did not live altogether for her own happiness; she was accustomed to go and see the people in the neighborhood of her home, and if any were poor or sick she would always try to benefit them.
Her mother had to put up many a bundle of nice things for her to take to some poor family in need. She was also fond of the works of nature, and would frequently spend an hour in walking alone in the shady rural places in her town. One day, as the beautiful spring had just unfolded its loveliness, Emily thought she would walk out and breathe the delicious air. With a heart laden with good thoughts and with a quick step she passed along the gravelled street and by the cultivated grounds and fine houses, until she reached the green turf and wooded slopes, and here paused awhile under the large old trees, and thought of the wisdom, goodness, and love of God in giving us such a beautiful earth.
On her route, where the river curved around the foot of a gentle sloping hill in the shadows of old forest trees, was made a rural cemetery; so pleasant were its quiet paths and its cool shades in summer, that the living loved to wander there. Friends came there to plant flowers upon the graves of dear ones they had lost.
Through a low ivy covered gateway of stone, Emily entered the quiet place. There were no massive railings, and lofty monuments, and no costly devices, but God had made this place very beautiful—flowers were blooming along the well trodden paths, and around the last resting places of the dead. Here and there arose a simple shaft or a light column, and the graves of the household were bordered by a green hedge or surrounded by shadowing trees.
As Emily passed through the familiar walks, she came suddenly to a grave in the remote corner of the cemetery, beside which sat a solitary mourner. A small white slab lay upon the centre of the green mound and at its head grew a rose bush in bloom, bending, till its weight of white buds and blossoms touched the long bright grass upon the grave. Emily attracted by its simply beauty, and drawing near, she stooped down and read upon the marble slab, "Dear Mina." Her young eyes filled instantly with tears, for she knew that it was the darling child of a lady who to her was a stranger. As she turned away from the spot she met a lady approaching, who passed her and kneeled down beside the grave. She thought she would speak to the lady, and with tender sympathy she asked, "Was it your child?"
The lady, who was deep in thought, looked up at the sound of Emily's earnest voice, and answered, softly, "yes; 'Dear Mina' was my only child." This interview led Emily to an acquaintance with the sorrowing mother, which caused her never to forget her morning ramble. She was a good woman, and at the decease of Emily's mother became her Christian companion and instructor.
* * * * *
I doubt whether he will find the way to heaven who desires to go there alone: all heavenly hearts are charitable: enlightened souls cannot but diffuse their rays. I will, if I can, do something for others and for heaven, not to merit by it, but to express my gratitude. Though I cannot do what I would, I will labor to do what I can.—Feltham.
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FLYING THE KITE.
Flying the kite is a pleasant amusement for boys, and when we see the kites flying high in the air, we are always reminded of a kite whose history we heard when a little child, and which we give our readers. Shortly after the close of the Revolutionary war, there was a little boy whose parents had left their home and friends in England, on account of their sympathy with the struggle of freedom for their rights in America. Their first home was in Norfolk, Va.
This little boy was very much delighted with the American eagle, and he determined to make a kite as much like his favorite bird as he could. He had a friend who was a painter and gilder, and a person of great ingenuity. Together they contrived a beautiful kite representing an eagle of gigantic size. It was painted and gilded in the most beautiful manner, and a small but very brilliant lantern was attached to it just below the breast.
They kept their secret very carefully, never suffering any one to enter the room while it was making.
On a dark, cloudy, windy night, the kite was flown. Its mechanism was so perfect that it sailed very beautifully. The lantern illuminated every part, and it made a very brilliant appearance. Crowds of people thronged the streets, wondering what the strange visitor was. Some were alarmed, and thought it was an omen of fearful events.
Great was their admiration when they discovered that the wonderful bird was the ingenious contrivance of a little boy; and they could scarcely be convinced that what looked so much like a real bird was only an ingenious combination of sticks and painted paper.
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THE HAPPY FAMILY.
There are a great many novel sights in the streets of London, for the cheap entertainment of the people. The family circle of different animals and birds is an admirable illustration of the peace which should pervade among families. The proprietor of this little menagerie calls it, "The Happy Family." The house in which they are kept is a simple constructed cage. It is a large square hen-coop, placed on a low hand-cart which a man draws about from one street to another, and gets a few pennys a day from those who stop to look at the domestic happiness of his family. Perhaps the first thing you will see, is a large cat, washing her face, with a number of large rats nestling around her, like kittens, whilst others are climbing up her back and playing with her whiskers. In another corner of the room a dove and a hawk are sitting on the head of a dog which is resting across the neck of a rabbit. The floor is covered with the oddest social circles imaginable—weazles and Guinea pigs, and peeping chickens, are putting their noses together, caressingly. The perches above are covered with birds whose natural antipathies have been subdued into mutual affection by the law of kindness. The grave owl is sitting upright, and meditating in the sun, with a keen-sighted sparrow perched between his ears trying to open the eyes of the sleepy owl with its sharp bill.
Children stop to look at this scene, and Mr. Burritt thinks they may carry away lessons which will do them good. They will think on it on their way to school, and at home too, when any thing crosses their will in family or on the play ground.
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STORY ABOUT AN INDIAN.
A poor sick man might go to the door of some rich person's house and ask relief for himself and not be able to obtain admittance; but if he brought in his hand a paper written by the son of the master of the house, whom he had met with in a distant land, and in his name asked for the relief, his request would be granted for the sake of the master's son.
Now we all need friends and every one tries to get and keep a few friends. Children will love a little dog, or a lamb, or a dove, or a bird. The little boy will talk to his top, and the little girl will talk to her doll, which shows that they want a friend; and if the top and doll could talk and love them, they would feel happier.
Some years ago there was an Indian in the State of Maine, who for his very good conduct had a large farm given him by the State. He built his little house on his land, and there lived. The white people about did not treat him so kindly as they ought. His only child was taken sick and died, and none of the whites went to comfort him, or to assist him in burying his little child. Soon after, he went to the white people, and said to them—"When white man's child die, Indian may be sorry—he help bury him—when my child die, no one speak to me—I make his grave alone. I can no live here, for I have no friend to love me."
The poor Indian gave up his farm, dug up the body of his child, and carried it with him 200 miles through the forest, to join the Canada Indians.
The Indian loved his child, and he wanted friends. So you children will need a friend to look to every day. When we are sick, in distress, or about to die, we want a friend in whom we may trust and be happy.
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Wherefore did God create passions within us, pleasures round about us, but that these, rightly tempered, are the very ingredients of virtue.—Milton.
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GATHER THE FLOWERS.
Two little girls went into the fields to gather flowers. Buttercups, violets, and many other blossoms were in abundance. One of the girls was pleased with every thing, and began to pick such flowers as came in her way. In a short time she collected a great quantity of flowers, and though some of them were not very handsome, yet they made a very beautiful bunch. The other child was more dainty and determined to get her none but those which were very beautiful. The buttercups were all of one color and did not strike her fancy—the blue violets were too common, and so the little pair wandered on through the fields till they were about to return home. By this time the dainty child, seeing that her sister had a fine collection of flowers while she had none, began to think it best to pick such as she could get. But now the flowers were scarce; not even a dandelion nor a flower was to be found. The little girl at length begged of her sister a single dandelion, and thus they returned home. The children told their story, and their mother addressed them thus "My dear children, let this event teach you a lesson. Jane has acted the wisest part. Content with such flowers as came in her way, and not aiming at what was beyond her reach, she has been successful in her pursuit. But Laura wanted something more beautiful than could be found, collected nothing from the field, and was finally obliged to beg a simple flower from her sister. So it is, children, in passing through life—gather what is good and pleasant along your path, and you will, day by day, collect enough to make you contented and happy. But if you scorn those blessings which are common, and reach after those which are more rare and difficult to be obtained, you will meet with frequent difficulties, and at last be dependant on others. So gather the flowers as you go along the pathway of life."
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Think not all is well within when all is well without; or that thy being pleased is a sign that God is pleased: but suspect every thing that is prosperous, unless it promotes piety, and charity, and humility.—Taylor.
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God hath given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends.—Taylor.
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JANE AND HER LESSONS.
It is a mark of a good scholar to be prompt and studious. Such were the habits of little Jane Sumner. She was the youngest of three sisters and from her first being able to read, she was very fond of reading; and at school her teacher became much interested in little Jane on account of her interest in study, and the promptness she manifested in reciting her lessons. Jane had a quiet little home and was allowed considerable time for study, although she hid to devote some time in assisting her mother about house.
There was a very fine garden attached to Mrs. Sumner's residence, where she took much pleasure in cultivating the flowers. In the centre of the garden was built a summer house all covered over with grape vine. The broad leaves of the vine made a refreshing shade to it, and thereby shielded the warm sun from persons under it. This little summer house Jane frequently occupied for her study. In the picture you see her with book in hand getting her lesson. She arose very early in the morning, and by this means gained much time.
Up in the morning early, By daylights earliest ray, With our books prepared to study The lessons of the day.
Little Jane, for her industry and good scholarship, obtained quite a number of "rewards of merit," which her school mates said she justly deserved. There is one of them with these lines:
For conduct good and lessons learned, Your teacher can commend; Good scholarship has richly earned This tribute from your friend.
On one day, she came running home very much pleased with her card, which her teacher gave herself and her little sister Emma, for their good conduct and attention to their studies. The card contained these lines:
See, Father! mother, see! To my sister and me, Has our teacher given a card, To show that we have studied hard. To you we think it must be pleasant, To see us both with such a present.
Every good boy and girl will be rewarded, and all such as are studious, and respectful to their teachers, will always get a reward.
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God never allowed any man to do nothing. How miserable is the condition of those men who spend their time as if it were given them, and not lent.—Bishop Hall.
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Now the golden ear wants the reaper's hand, Banish every fear, plenty fills the land. Joyful raise songs of praise, Goodness, goodness, crowns our days. Yet again swell the strain, He who feeds the birds that fly, Will our daily wants supply.
As the manna lay, on the desert ground, So from day to day, mercies flow around. As a father's love gives his children bread, So our God above grants, and we are fed.
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Think in the morning what thou hast to do this day, and at night what thou hast done; and do nothing upon which thou mayst not boldly ask God's blessing; nor nothing for which thou shalt need to ask his pardon.—Anon.
* * * * *
There is a company of girls met together, and what can they be talking about. Hark! "Now I will tell you something, if you'll promise never to tell," says Jane. "I will, certainly," replied Anne. "And will you promise never to tell a single living creature as long as you live?" The same reply is given, "I will never tell."
Now Jane tells the secret, and what is it? It turns out to be just nothing at all, and there is no good reason why every body should'nt know it. It is this—"Lizzy Smith is going to have a new bonnet, trimmed with pink ribbon and flowers inside." Anna thinks no more of her solemn promise, and the first school-mate she meets, she opens the secret, with a solemn injunction for her not to tell. By and by the secret is all out among the girls—the promises are all broken. Now, children, remember your word—keep it true, and never make a promise which you do not intend to keep, and always avoid telling foolish secrets.
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AGNES AND THE MOUSE.
One brilliant Christmas day, two little girls were walking towards a neighboring village, when they observed a little creature walking about the road. "Surely," said Mary, "it is a large mouse;" and it did not seem to be afraid, so they thought from its tameness, it must be hungry. "Poor little thing," said Agnes, "I wish I had something to give you." She took a few almonds from her pocket and went gently along towards the mouse and put it close by its side. The mouse began to nibble, and soon finished it. Agnes then put down two or three more, and left the mouse to eat its Christmas dinner. I think you would have enjoyed seeing the mouse eating the almonds. I hope you will always be kind to poor dumb animals. I have seen children who were cruel to dumb animals. This is very wrong, and such children will never be respected, nor can thy expect to be befriended.
* * * * *
THE TWO ROBINS.
A few summers ago I was sitting on a garden seat, beneath a fruit tree, where the works of nature looked very beautiful. Very soon I heard a strange noise among the highest branches of the tree over my head. The sound was very curious, and I began to look for the cause. I shook one of the lower branches within my reach, and very soon I discovered two birds engaged in fighting; and they seemed to gradually descend towards the ground. They came down lower and lower, tumbling over one another, and fighting with each other. They soon reached the lowest branch, and at last came to the ground very near me. It was with some difficulty that I parted them; and when I held one of them in each of my hands, they tried to get away, not because they were afraid of me but because they would resume the conflict. They were two young robins, and I never before thought that the robin had such a bad spirit in its breast. Lest they should get to fighting again, I let one go, and kept the other housed up for several days, so that they would not have much chance of coming together again.
Now, children, these two little robins woke in the morning very cheerful, and appeared very happy as they sat on the branch of the tree, singing their morning songs. But how soon they changed their notes. You would have been sorry to have seen the birds trying to hurt each other.
If children quarrel, or in any degree show an unkind temper, they appear very unlovely and, forget that God, who made them, and gives them many blessings, disapproves of their conduct. Never quarrel, but remember how pleasant it is for children to love each other, and to try to do each other good.
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Every hour is worth at least a good thought, a good wish, a good endeavor.—Clarendon.
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THE PLEASANT SAIL.
Down by the sea-coast is the pleasant town of Saco, Where Mr. Aimes has resided for many years. Once a year he had all his little nephews and nieces visit him. It was their holiday, and they would think and talk about the visit for a long time previous to going there. Their uncle took much pleasure in making them happy as possible while they were with him. He owned a pleasure sail boat which he always kept in good order. On this occasion he had it all clean and prepared for the young friends, as he knew they lotted much on having a sail. As his boat was small, he took part of them at a time and went out with them himself, a short distance, and sailed around the island, and returned. In the picture you see them just going out, with their uncle at the helm, while three of the nephews are on the beach enjoying the scene.