Paulina and her Pets
Author: Anonymous
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Paulina Evering was an intelligent girl, and as interesting as she was intelligent and pretty. She was kind-hearted, and generous almost to a fault. She was beloved by all the children in her neighborhood; for she was ever indulging them in some way. She had a beautiful grape-vine in the garden nurtured by her own hand. And when the grapes were ripe, she seldom tasted of them herself, but when any little boys or girls called to see her, she would ask the servant to go into the garden, and give them bountifully of the luscious fruit.

She was noted for her humanity to the brute creation. She looked upon everything that drew breath as the handiwork of that Being to which she owed her own existence; and though she had seen scarce twelve summers, she was old enough to feel that by the exercise of kindness to dumb beasts even, she could evince her gratitude for life, health, and other blessings she enjoyed.

Paulina went one day, to spend a few hours with her cousins; as she reached the door, they were just driving from the house a poor dog, which had once been such a favorite with them, that they fed it on the greatest delicacies, and never would let it sleep but on a nice cushion.

"What are you going to do with poor Fido?" cried Paulina. "Oh! the vile animal!" said her cousin Emily. "Look how frightful he has grown! I would not let him stay in the house for the world; I am going to give him to those boys at the door: and I do not care what they do with him, for my brother Charles has given me a little beauty. Come in, and I will show him to you."—"Stop, do stay a moment," said Paulina; "I beg you will not give Fido to those wicked boys they will torment him to death. It was but the other day, some wicked boys fastened a tin-pot to a poor dog's tail, and then let him run, with it dragging after him, frightening the poor creature almost to death. I beg of you, do not let the hard-hearted fellows have him. Give him to me, and I will take him to my little hospital, and nurse him as long as he lives." Fido had gone into the kitchen (where young ladies and dogs have certainly nothing to do), and the cook, who was very busy, preparing for a great dinner, had thrown some boiling water over his head and back, and scalded him in such a dreadful manner, that no one thought he could live through the day. Emily was so much enraged with the cook, and shed so many tears when she saw her pet suffering so much, that every one thought she had an excellent heart, and was really attached to her dog; but as soon as he was cured, and she found he had lost an eye, and had no hair on his back, she could not bear the sight of him. Fido was beaten out of the hall, obliged to look for bones, and sleep in a corner, on the stairs; and at last, if Paulina had not come in time to save him, he would have been given up to half a dozen wicked boys, who would have tormented him to death. Paulina was much displeased with her cousin from this circumstance, for her character was very different from Emily's. The little hospital she had alluded to was for her sick or lame animals. It was composed of a dog, whose paw had been broken; a cat, whose ear had been bitten off, by a great rat which it had caught, and a blind squirrel. Beside these, she had in a cage a little sparrow, whose wings had been broken by a bird of prey; and as it could not fly to the bottom of its cage for water, or food, she made a little ladder for it, so it could jump up and down when it pleased. She had besides a thrush, which had been almost frozen to death, and never recovered the use of its feet: but it did not sing the less gayly, though a cripple.

She had also a pet rabbit, which she had saved from the torments of two cruel boys, who had caught it, and whom she overheard relating what sport they would have, when they got home, by letting it loose in the stable, and then setting the dog on to worry it to death. The little creature had become so tame, that it would run to her whenever she came to the place where it was kept, and when she took it up, would nestle itself in her arms to show its gratitude for her kind treatment and tender care of it. She had, besides, several fowls and ducks, that lived very comfortably in her yard, because she took care of them herself and did not trust it to any one else.

And last, not by any means least, among her favorites, was a beautiful young deer, which her father had purchased, and brought home to her.

Paulina felt the greatest pleasure in giving these pet animals all the comforts she could, and her father and mother, to encourage her benevolent disposition, increased her pocket-money, that she might be enabled to buy corn for her fowls, and seeds for her birds. Her brothers, too, who were at college, often sent her presents.

One day when Paulina was out, her attention was called to a young woman who had brought two young lambs to market for sale. The two creatures were coupled together like hounds; and as she stood with her eyes cast down, yet looking upon them, it was impossible not to note the sorrow stamped upon her gentle features. Paulina was interested and entered into conversation with her. She learned that she was a young married woman; that her husband had gone to sea; leaving his mother, a very infirm old woman to her care. Soon after his departure, Mary left her father's more comfortable dwelling to reside in the old woman's cabin, so that she could take the better care of her. A sheep was her only fortune and she took it with her. It had two lambs, and these she hoped to be able to keep toward the formation of a mountain flock; but the season was so pinching that she brought the lambs into town for sale. Several had asked the price, but had turned away without purchasing. After relating to Paulina her story she sat down, and putting her arm around her lambs began to cry. Paulina told her to dry her tears, gave her the price of her lambs, and then told her to take them home, and let them still be the commencement of her mountain flock. The gratitude expressed by the poor creature, by both words and look at this generous act of kindness, amply repaid Paulina for the little sacrifice she had made to relieve her.

As Paulina grew larger, her humanity exercised itself toward other objects, and as her heavenly Father had given her the means of doing good, she felt pure delight in being generous, and receiving marks of gratitude wherever she went. She was loved by her neighbors, rich as well as poor, and was happy herself, because she tried to make others so.


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