Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions and discrepancies have been retained.
THE BOOK OF ONE SYLLABLE.
ILLUSTRATED WITH COLOURED ENGRAVINGS.
LONDON: GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE. NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET.
DALZIEL BROTHERS, CAMDEN PRESS, LONDON.
TO THE FRIENDS OF MY YOUTH.
Fast and far is the stream of time flown on, yet there are thoughts of dear friends and of by-gone things that will not yield to its course. Some friends have long been lost, but there are those who still sail the stream, to whom these scenes from the past will bring back "thoughts of days that are gone." They will bring back thoughts of her whose sails were once set with theirs, and who feels that not one kind word that was then said, not one kind deed that was then done, can the stream wash from her mind, till she, too, shall be lost in the dark gulf to which that stream must lead.
Four of these tales have no hook to the past. These are told by a young boy and girl, who have been taught to write thoughts as soon as they could hold their pens.
Though in words of one syllable, "The Book of One Syllable" is not meant for a child when first he learns to read; it is meant for him when he knows such words at sight. The tales are told in these small words, that a child need not have to stop to spell, but that he may be led on and on till he comes to the end.
May he feel when he does come to the end, that to read has not been a task.
LIST OF WHAT IS IN THE BOOK.
THE WRECK OF A FEAST 1
THE AIR 23
SAIB, THE BLACK BOY 28
THE EARTH 65
A FALL FROM THE CLIFFS 68
THE MOON 77
THE MAN IN THE MOON 80
FRANK HART 87
THE LOST ONES 105
THE SUN 117
THE DOLL'S HEAD 120
PLAY NOT WITH FIRE 143
ONE FAULT LEADS TO A WORSE ONE 153
WHAT A PRICE FOR A BOX! 160
THE BOOK OF ONE SYLLABLE.
THE WRECK OF A FEAST.
What a sad sight it is to see a young child who does not know how to keep a check on the wish that tempts him to do wrong. The first rule that they who love a child should teach him, is the rule of self. It is the want of this self-rule that is the cause of so much that is bad in the world. It is this that makes girls and boys think more of what they want to do, than of what they ought to do; and each time they give way to it, they find it more hard not to yield the next time; and thus they go on till they are grown-up folks. They who would not like to grow up in this bad way must take great care while they are young not to think so much of self.
The sense of taste is the sense that a child likes best to use. It would be strange to see a child who did not like cake, or tart, or fruit, or most sweet things. But a child should know when it is right to eat, and when it is right not to eat: he should know that he ought not to touch nice things that are not meant for him.
The tale we have to tell is of a young girl who had not this sense of right so strong as it ought to have been. She knew what it was right to do, and she knew what it was wrong to do, but yet the sense of right was not at all times quite strong. The name of this girl was Ruth Grey.
Now there was a room in Mr. Grey's house known by the name of the green-house room, and here were put a few choice plants that could not bear the cold air. In this room too there was a large stand, on which were set out all the sweet things when Mrs. Grey had friends to dine or take tea with her. Here they were all put, to be brought out at the right time. The door of this room was kept shut, and made fast with a lock and key. Ruth had seen some of these nice things put on the stand, but she had not seen all, and she had a great wish to see them. She thought, if the door should not be shut, she would just peep in. She went twice to the door, but she found it fast. When she went a third time she found the key left in, and as she thought she could turn the key, she did, and went in.
Now it was wrong in Ruth to want to go near this room, as she knew quite well that Mrs. Grey did not wish her to go in. Once when she was near the door she thought she heard some one, and then she ran off as fast as she could. This she would not have done if she had not felt sure it was wrong to go in that room.
But now she was in! and what did she see there? Why, she saw the stand quite full of all sorts of nice sweet things. There were sponge cakes, and plum cakes, and queen cakes; there were two turn-outs, and whips and creams of all sorts; and there was a cake hid in red jam, with small thin white things put all up and down it, which stuck out. What could this be? She was sure it was jam, and yet she was sure jam was too soft to stand up in that way: she would just touch it. She did touch it, and she felt there was some hard thing in it: that could not be jam! It was strange! She would just like to know what it was: she must taste a small bit of the top—that could not spoil it, and she did so much want to know. She did taste—it was jam, spread on a sponge cake.
"A sponge cake! well, this is odd," thought Ruth. "I will just taste a bit: the jam will hide where I take it from."
She then tore a bit from the cake: it was more than she meant to take; but it was done, and she could not help it now. In vain did she try to hide the place—she could not do it; for if she took jam from this place, the cake was left bare on that. And the shape of the cake was not the same as it had been. She thought she would try to make that side of the cake on which the jam still was, like the side on which it was not; so off she took a piece from that side too. The cake was now in such a state that she could not hope to hide what she had done; and she was in such a state that she did not seem to care at all.
She next took up a spoon, and took a large piece from one of the turn-outs. She then went to the plum cake, and to the grapes, and to all the fruit. In short, she went from dish to dish, till there was not one in which she had not put her spoon.
Then she stood still—she stood to see the wreck she had made. Long she did not stand: a rush of thought gave wings to her feet, and she fled to hide in some place where she could not, she thought, be found. She fled to a tool-house in the yard; but she had not been half an hour there when she heard the voice of Mrs. Grey; she heard her step, too, come near and more near, till at length it came close to the door of the tool-house.
"Ruth, my dear," said Mrs. Grey, "why did you come out here? But I am glad to have found you, for I want you to come with me and take a plant to the green-house room."
"Oh, no, no! not in there—do not go in there!" cried Ruth, with a face quite pale.
Mrs. Grey could not think what Ruth meant, so she set off at once to the green-house room, and told Ruth that she must come too. But when Mrs. Grey had got to the door, no Ruth was to be seen. She then went in the room, and what she saw there told her more than words could tell.
"Ruth!" said she, "can you have done this?"
It was grief to think that a child of hers could have done this; but, much as she felt hurt, it was not for the loss of these things. Mrs. Grey sat down, and for a long time she did not move; at length she got up with the air of one who had made up her mind what it would be best for her to do.
And Ruth—where was she? What did she think, what did she feel, what did she do all the time Mrs. Grey was in the green-house room?
What she felt was a kind of grief, such as she had not felt till that time: it was a sense of deep shame. So much did she dread to see Mrs. Grey, that she hid her face in her hands, as though Mrs. Grey were near her. Then all at once she thought that Mrs. Grey would come back to speak to her.
At this thought she sprang up, ran to her own room, shut the door, and fell down on the bed. Here she lay for a long time, with her face hid in the bed-clothes: her tears fell fast, and her sobs were loud. In this sad state she lay for a long time, till at last she went to sleep.
How long she had slept she could not tell, but when she rose up in the bed it was quite dark. At first she could not think how she came to be there, but all at once the green-house scene came back to her mind. Once more she fell down on the bed to hide her face, though no one was there to see it.
Soon there came a stream of light through a chink in the door: it grew more strong, till at length it came in the room in a full blaze. Ruth gave a quick glance, and saw that it was not Mrs. Grey, but Mrs. Grey's maid.
"Miss Ruth," said the maid, "I am sent to bid you go down stairs: the first course is come out of the room, and Mrs. Grey bids me tell you to go down to see the sweet things. You are to go at once."
Poor Ruth! what did she feel then? She took hold of the maid's hand, and said,
"Oh, do not, do not let me go! pray do not let me go!"
"You must go, and go at once too, Miss Ruth," said the maid, as she drew her near the door. "You must come, miss. And see, here is James sent to take you down."
There was no help for it: down stairs she went, and soon she found that she was in the room. There she stood! full of shame and deep grief! And there was spread out each dish of sweets, just as she had left it—each dish spread out with as much care as if it had been right. The eyes of all were on Ruth—in vain did she try to shrink from their gaze.
There was a pause; then Mrs. Grey said, "Ruth, come here, and stand where all my friends can see you."
She came with slow step, her head bent down, and her eyes cast on the ground.
"I grieve to tell you, my friends," said Mrs. Grey, "that it is Ruth—that it is this child whom I love so much—that it is she who has made all this wreck."
There was a pause once more; and there stood Ruth! All had their eyes on her. At length Mrs. Grey said,
"Now leave the room, Ruth."
Ruth did not stay, she was too glad to be gone at once.
The next day, nor the next, did Mrs. Grey speak of the past, and all things went on as they were wont to do. But on the third day, when the first course was gone, a dish that had been in the green-house room was put near her. It was just in the same state in which Ruth had left it. Ruth could not bear the sight of it, so she got up and ran out of the room.
"Poor Ruth!" said Mr. Grey to his wife, "she feels this so much! and to a child like her, who can feel, I think that your plan seems the best way to cure her."
It was the best way. Ruth felt all this much more than she would have felt the stroke of a whip: she felt it in her mind.
For a long time, for months and for years, she could not bear to see a jam cake or a turn-out, nor one of the things like those that had been in the green-house room. When she did see them, she felt a sting of mind that gave her a great deal of pain. Ruth had one young friend who knew what she had done; and this friend had so much love for Ruth, so much real grief for what she knew Ruth felt, that when young friends came to play with her, she took care to beg that there should not be jam cake.
What is air? Look up and look round; there is air, though it is not to be seen. It fills all things. The glass jug which seems to be quite void is still full of air.
It is the air we feel when the wind blows. We do not see the wind, but it can blow with such force as to throw down trees. When the wind blows it makes ships sail on the seas to all parts of the world, and brings them back home. It turns mills, to grind corn; and in some parts they use the force of wind to do all kinds of work. The wind is but the air, and it does all these things, though it is not to be seen.
But the air does more than this. If it were not for the air we could not live. It is the air we breathe; and if the breath were stopt, we all know that we should die. How it is that the air does this would take a long time to tell, and you must learn a great deal more of such things than you have yet done, to know why air keeps up life. But so it is. The air is the breath.
It is the breath, too, that makes us warm and keeps us so; for if it were not for the air we breathe, we should be as cold as stones.
The air it is that makes fire burn. The fire in the grate would soon go out if it were not for the air. The flame in a lamp burns dim when it has not so much air as it wants; and when the air is shut from the flame it goes out.
Trees and plants could not live if they had not air. The birds fly by means of the air, which helps to keep them up, while their wings flap up and down. If there were no air, they could not rise from the ground at all, nor could they live if they did not breathe.
It is the air which makes sound. We could not hear men talk, nor bells ring, if the air did not bring the sound to our ears.
Of such great use is the air, though we can not see it, that no one thing could move, or be heard, or live, if it were not with us and round us.
SAIB, THE BLACK BOY.
In a far-off part of the world there is a place where the boys and girls have not the white fair skins that boys and girls have here, but whose skins are quite black, and whose hair is short and thick, like black wool. Some of these poor things know not what it is to have a home, they know not what it is to have kind friends, they know not what it is to do as they would like to do: they must do all that he who has bought them bids them do.
Yes, he who has bought them! for these poor boys and girls can be bought and sold. They are put on board ships that sail far from the homes of their hearts; they are torn from all they like best in the world, from all they have had to love. Far, far off from these scenes do they sail, and with swoln hearts, and tears too big to fall, they feel that they must work or die. Some would think it a joy to die, for death would put an end to what they feel. They think, too, that when they die they will go back to the home round which their thoughts cling.
Saib was one of these poor boys—he was born in that far-off place. As long as he was there, each day was to him a day of joy. Saib had a dear friend, who was near him at all times, and who took part in all his sports, and had a tear for all his pains.
Boa was the name of this friend, and she would sit in the same deep shade with him, and they would climb the same tall tree, and eat the same fruits. They would row in the same boat, and go fast down the dark deep stream. There were, too, those who were glad to see their joy, and who would watch them as they went on and on, till they were far out of sight. They knew no fear—they had no cause for fear, but in the shape of a white man.
It was in one of these sails down the stream that they drew their boat to the shore at a place that was quite strange to them. They got out of it, and went on till they had gone far in a strange wild spot. On and on they went, till the step of Boa was not so firm as it had been; it was less firm each time she put her foot to the ground.
"I can walk no more," she said at last; and quite faint and worn out, she lay down on the ground. Poor Saib! he all at once thought of their lorn state, and of how far they were from their home and from help. There was no sound to be heard, and not a breath of air: all was a still dead calm.
The strength of Saib, too, was gone—he could hold out no more; and he, too, sank on the ground. There they both lay, quite worn out with so much toil; and they fell to sleep. How long they had lain thus they could not know, for when the next day's sun was far on his course, where were they then?
All was strange to them—like the queer things dreams are made of. So they shut their eyes once more, and thought they dreamt about the white men.
But it was no dream: they did see the white men! Yes, it was the white men who had put those cords round their hands and feet. There they lay, like logs of wood thrown on a plank, a man at each end of the plank, and these men took poor Saib and Boa.
For a long time the minds of poor Saib and Boa were in such a state that they could not think, nor could they call to mind how they came to be where they were. Thus did they go for miles, till at last they came near the sea coast, and Saib saw a ship out at sea, with her sails spread. Close to the shore was a small boat, near which there were two or three black men, who, as Saib and the rest came in sight, rose up in haste, and the sound of a gun was heard. Saib did not know if this sound came from the ship or the boat, but as soon as it was heard there was a great rush of men to the sea shore.
Where these men came from it would have been hard to guess, for they rose up all at once, as if they had sprung out of the earth. Long had they lain in wait to try if they could keep that ship from the shore, for that ship was a slave ship, and the white men meant to take on board all the blacks they could seize. That it was a slave ship had been found out by scouts set to watch this part of the coast.
Great was the joy of Saib when he saw the chance of help—when he thought that he should once more be free! The fight was a fight of blood, and some on each side were left dead on the shore.
The ship came near to the shore, and soon a boat was put out in which there were more white men. Few of the poor blacks were left, and those that were took to flight when they saw that all hope was gone.
Saib was one of those who could not take to flight. His cords had been cut off at the first of the fight, but such was his state of mind, so much did he feel from hope and fear, that he could not move, nor make use of his limbs.
And, oh! what a sight for him to see! There was Boa, his friend—the poor girl for whom he had more love than he had for all else on the earth—there she was on the ground at his feet. She would not look at him more; he would hear her voice no more: Boa lay there, dead!
From this time he had no sense of what was said or done; he had no care, no thought, for what might be done to him. So there he stood mute and still, like a thing cut in stone.
Some time he had stood thus when there was seen far off a dense cloud like dust.
"They come! they come!" said the white men. "More blacks are on us! To the ship! to the ship!"
Saib knew not what was said or done, and if he had heard, there would have been no help for him. He was thrown in the boat with two or three more blacks, and then from the boat he was flung on board the ship, and the ship set sail.
Fast did she cut through the sea, and soon was far out of sight of land. It was well for Saib that he could not feel. Four or five days ran their course, and still was Saib in this state.
The first words he heard when he came to his senses were—"He is not dead, I tell you."
"I tell you he is," a voice said: "it is of no use to keep him, so here he goes—(Saib felt a hand)—and let the sea take the rest of him."
Poor Saib had but so much strength left that he could just raise his arm.
"There, there!" said the first voice, "I told you he was not dead, and now you see."
"Well, let him be, then, but he shall pay us well for this; he shall bring us a good price."
Saib could hear no more; but the first man, who was a kind one, went to get some warm drink to put in Saib's mouth. He put more and still more, till at length Saib could move and raise his head.
"Boa! Boa!" were the first words he spoke; and he put his hands to his eyes, and did not speak for a long time. He then gave one loud, deep sob, and his tears fell fast.
Those tears took a weight from his mind, a weight he felt he could not have borne long. For some time did these tears fall, and as they fell the view of things that had been was more clear to his mind.
Saib felt that all joy for him in this world was gone: he felt there was no one for him to love now; and great was his grief when he thought of those who would not know what had been the fate of poor Boa and of him. He thought of these things, and his heart was sad. In this state of mind he was for two or three days, and the ship was still on the wide sea.
Saib knew well what would be his fate: he knew that he would be sold for a slave; and he did all he could to try to bear this thought; nay, lorn and sad as he was, he could find a source of thanks in the fact that the pang he would have felt to have seen Boa a slave was not to be his.
Yes, this was a source of deep thanks; and as the ship cut through the blue waves, Saib would sit for hours with his eyes on some far-off star, and that star would shed a ray of light on his soul.
He would think it shone so bright, to tell him that it was Boa's world now. He felt sure that all things there must be pure and bright, and that Boa might there have more joy than she had had on earth.
"And I shall go there too," he thought, "and so I will not care much for what I have to bear in this world." Poor Saib!
The ship had not been long at shore, when Saib, and the rest of the blacks, were all put in a large slave cart that took them to the place where they were to be sold.
There stood Saib, his eyes bent down: now and then he would raise them up as a white man came near; but these did not want to buy him. At last there came one, a man with a hard cross face: he stood close to him, and Saib felt his stern eyes fix on him. This man spoke to the one who had to sell the slaves, and poor Saib was sold! He was soon put on board a ship that was to set sail to that part of the world where white men may keep slaves; here, in our land, such things are not done.
Saib felt it a hard task to do such things as he was told to do, for he had to work all day long, and had no will of his own. If he were not so quick as Mr. Stone thought he ought to be, he would whip him; and so much would he whip him, that Saib, though he did all he could to try to help it, could not help the scream or groan that would break forth.
There were those on board this ship who had kind hearts, and who could not bear to see a boy feel such pain as Saib was made to feel. There was a Mr. and Mrs. Bright who had felt much grief to see how hard was the lot of Saib.
Saib soon found out that they felt for him; and he would look at Mrs. Bright and think how kind she must be; and he would wish Mr. Bright had bought him, for he thought it would not be so hard a thing to be a slave, if he had to serve those who were kind.
Once, when Mrs. Bright was on deck, and Mr. Stone was not there, Saib came near to her; he could not speak such words as Mrs. Bright spoke, but he could make signs, and the signs that he made were such as told her more than words could have told. All she said was, "Poor boy!" but Saib saw a tear in her eye, and that tear shot a gleam of joy on his soul, for he knew it was for him.
One day Saib was no where to be found. In vain did Mr. Stone call to him—the name of Saib! Saib! Saib! was heard in all parts of the ship, but no Saib came.
In each place that could be thought of was Saib sought for, but in no place could he be found. At length all thought that he had sought a grave in the deep sea, and that no one would see him more. His fate had been a sad one, and all felt that it had been so.
All on board thought a great deal of Saib. All that day did they think of him, and the next day, and the next, and the next. But there was no one who thought of poor Saib so much as Mrs. Bright did; she thought of him so much that she saw him in her dreams, and she would start up in her bed and call Saib! Saib! and this would seem so real that she could not think it had been a dream.
One night when she had had this same dream, and had seen Saib, as she thought, at the foot of her bed, she rose up with a start, but still he was there! This was most strange. "Saib! Saib!" she said, "you are there, and it is no dream."
But Saib was gone! and there was no trace of him to be seen. Yet so sure did Mrs. Bright feel that she had seen him, and that he was not dead, that she could have no peace of mind. She thought of him the whole of that day, and at night she made up her mind that she would not go to sleep, but would lie quite still, as though she were gone to sleep.
When she had been in bed two or three hours, she heard a slight noise in her room, yet she did not move. All was soon still, and then once more she heard a noise. The sound was like that of a piece of wood on the slide, but so soft it was that it could not have been heard by ears less quick than the ears of Mrs. Bright were just at that time. Once more she was still, and then she heard the soft step of a foot. The watch-light was dim, and yet such ray as there was, fell on the form of Saib! Yes! it was he, there he stood; Mrs. Bright saw, and she could not doubt that it was he!
She lay quite still, nor could she have made the least sign of life had she had the wish to do so. Her eyes were not shut, so she could see all that was done. Saib at first stood quite still, as if to be sure that he was safe; and then he went with step soft and slow to a tub of dry ship cakes, that Mrs. Bright kept in her room. She saw him take four or five of these in his hand, and then he stole back to the place from whence he had come.
All this she saw, but she could not have made known to Saib that she saw it. Yet when he was gone out of her sight she gave one loud scream. Mr. Bright, who slept in the berth next to hers, was up and on the floor just in time to see Saib.
When Saib saw that he was seen, and that he was known, he fell on his knees, and, oh, how much was told in that one look of his!
"My poor boy!" said Mr. Bright, "what you must have gone through, to have made you make choice of such a life as this." As he spoke he saw the hole in the side of the room through which Saib had come.
He found that it was a place made to keep things in that were out of use, and it was so small that there was not room for Saib to lie down in. Mrs. Bright did not know that there was such a place, and when it was shut, the door was so like the rest of the side of the room, that no one could have told there was a door there.
Saib had known of it, for he had seen a man put cords and ropes there, at a time when the berths in that room were not in use. The place was not quite dark—there were small holes on the deck of that part of the ship, which let in light and air.
When Saib found that the looks of Mr. and Mrs. Bright were kind, hope took the place of fear, and, by signs and such words as he could speak, he made known his wish that they would let him stay where he had been, till the ship came to shore.
Mr. and Mrs. Bright felt so much grief for the state the poor boy was in, that they each had a strong wish to save him from all chance of more pain, and they knew that the best way to do this would be to buy him from Mr. Stone.
They made this wish known to Saib, and who could have seen the gleam of joy shed on the face of Saib, when he knew what Mr. and Mrs. Bright meant to do—who could have seen it, and not have felt joy too?
Mr. Stone, as has been said, was a hard man, and Mr. Bright had to fear that he might be in such a rage at what Saib had done, that he would not sell him.
Yet, though Mr. Stone was a hard man, he was a man who had so great a wish to be a rich man, that he could not say no, when there was gain in his way; and though he was at first in a great rage, the sum Mr. Bright said he would give for Saib was so large a one, that Mr. Stone did not say no.
What was the joy of poor Saib when told he should be free!—what was the joy of poor Saib when he found how much thought and care Mr. and Mrs. Bright had for him!
They took Saib with them to their own home, and had him taught all things that could be of use to him in the new state in which he now was.
Saib is now more than twelve years old; he has learnt to read, to write, to speak the truth, to try to be calm when rude boys tease him, and to feel grief when he has done wrong. To love his kind friends he has not to learn—his heart bids him do that.
He feels all that Mrs. Bright has done for him—he hopes he may not grieve her or Mr. Bright, but that he may be to them as a good son.—Then they will not part with him; then they will be paid back for all that they have done.
The thought of such a great and good deed must make them glad in this world, and bring them joy in the next.
The world we live on is a large round ball, made of all kinds of rocks and of earths; and on a great part of it there are seas and lakes. The earth turns round each day, and goes round the sun once each year. In the day, that part of the world where we live points to the sun, and when the earth turns from the sun, it is night.
When the earth goes round the sun, the heat at one part of the year comes from the sun more straight to that part where we live, and makes the days hot and long, and the nights short, as in June; and when the light and heat do not come to us so straight, there are cold and frost and long nights.
In some parts of the world it is much more cold than where we live. There are parts, too, where the sun is more hot at all times of the year than we feel it. It is the heat of the sun that makes the winds. His heat on the sea makes the clouds.
The clouds rise in the air and fly to the land, where they fall in rain, and make plants and trees grow, and the brooks and springs flow.
The sea is salt, but the heat does not take up the salt in the fogs and clouds; so that the rain is quite pure, and makes springs for us to drink from.
A FALL FROM THE CLIFFS.
George Crisp was a good boy; he was kind to those he knew, and could not bear to have a thing that they had not.
He was glad when he could give things, and he gave a great deal to the poor that came to the house, so that his stock of cash was at a low ebb.
Though George might have set his mind on some toy, he felt glad to think that the pence which would have bought it had been of more use to some one else.
But though he was so good in this way, yet he had one fault which spoilt the whole. This fault was, that he would not do as he was bid; for he thought he knew as well as those who told him, and his Aunt, who taught him, did all she could to break him of the fault, but in vain.
George's house was on the sea coast, and George went to dig in the sands, to get shells, and to fish, and to sail boats in the pools which were left at low tide; and when it was high tide he went with his Aunt on the cliffs.
Now his Aunt had told him he must not go near the edge of the cliffs, for they were steep and high. His Aunt took hold of his hand when she went with him to the cliffs; for once he went so near the edge that he must have gone down, and would have been much hurt, had not his Aunt just caught him in time to save him.
One day, when they were on the cliffs, George's Aunt had left hold of his hand to get a wild rose from a bush. She had got it, and had gone back to take hold of George's hand, but no George was to be seen!
She then ran home, as she thought he might have gone back, but when she came near the town she saw two men with a dead boy in their arms. She ran in haste to look at him, and what was her grief to find that he was George!
The men took him home, and his Aunt, though in such a state that she knew not what she did, went home too.
When Mrs. Crisp saw him she sent at once for Mr. Pill.
Mr. Pill said that he was not quite dead, that he might, with great care, be brought to life, but that he would be ill for a long time. George was brought to the fire and wrapt up in warm things; air was blown down his mouth, and he was put in a warm bed. At last he came to life, but he was so ill that he knew no one, and could not speak.
The men told George's Aunt that they were in their boat, and had just gone out to fish, when they saw George fall down from the cliff. They got their boat to the place as soon as they could, and brought him home. George's Aunt now knew that he had gone to the edge of the cliff, when she had told him not to do so.
While George lay in bed, he thought what a bad boy he had been, and of what his Aunt had told him. And he thought, too, that if he should get well he would try to do what his Aunt told him to do.
George was a month ill. As soon as he was well he told his Aunt he would be a good boy, and try to do as she bid him—for he now knew that what she told him to do was right.
Since that time George has done what he has been told to do, in all things; for he has thought of the fall he had down the cliff.
He was such a good boy, that all were fond of him, and what is more, he has grown up a good man.
Then let this tale warn those boys and girls who read it. May they do as they are bid, and may they not, as George once did, think that they know more than those who are more old than they are.
What is the bright moon, that shines so in the sky?
It is a world like ours, but not so large; and boys and girls may live there, and go to school and play, as they do on this earth. To boys or girls who live in the moon this earth of ours shines like a large moon, and must give a great deal more light to them than their moon does to us. They could see to read and write by the light of the earth quite well.
The moon gives light from the sun, and does not shine with its own light; and so the earth would give back the sun's light to the men in the moon.
There are land and sea, and hills and dales, in the moon; and the marks we see on it, like a face, are the lights and shades of the land, the hills, and the sea. There are hills too which are on fire, and they can be seen through a large spy-glass. Some men have thought they could make a spy-glass so large as would let them see the boys and girls in the moon, but they have not yet done it.
What a strange sight would it be if we could see them all at work!
THE MAN IN THE MOON.
Once on a time there was a man who had his home in the moon. He was a queer man, with a large round face that was kept so clear and bright that it shone, and on a clear night could be seen far, far off—on the earth.
This man in the moon did like to look on the earth, and though it was so far off, he oft thought he should like to come and live here.
The earth to him did look so large and bright that he thought it must be a fine world to live in, where he could have more room to walk up and down, and not be kept in so small a place as the moon.
It made him sad when he could not look on this world, but for three weeks in each month he was made to turn his face, or to shade it from the world, so that he could not catch a straight view of it at those times.
And then he could not be seen by those men and boys on the earth, to whom he was so great a friend. His large round face was so bright that they, too, did not like him to leave them; but they knew he would come back in less than a month.
When he first came he was seen near to the sun, where it had just set, and he gave a side look at the earth. The next night he would be more from the sun, and swell out his face a bit; it would then look like a hoop that had been cut in two. His face would grow more fat each night, till one eye could be seen, then two, and then his whole round face.
Now this man would fret, and try to get on to the earth. Day by day, hour by hour, he would try, and try, and try to come more near.
He did move quite fast, and thought he got some miles on his way, but for all that he was still as far off. He went in a round, like a horse in a ring, and there kept, and still keeps as far off as he was, and will keep there for years to come.
Now you could tell him that it is far from wise for a man with a fat round face like his, to grieve and want to come to a world that he does not know to be a more nice place than the one he lives in.
You could tell him that there is much grief and pain to be borne here—that few men who live here have such a round fat face as his, and that if he came he would have to work hard, and that care, and work, and pain might soon make him look thin, and lose his round bright face that shines so.
Yes, man in the moon, stay where you are. Do not long to have what you can not get, but rest there, and do what you have to do in peace and joy.
Be sure, man in the moon, you will find peace and joy if you do all the good you can in that world of yours, and that if you pine and grieve to come here, you will do no good at all, and make your life sad.
Boys and girls should do the same. They should not want to reach the man in the moon, but try to make the best of what they have. They may be sure that to be good and do as they are bid, will give them more joy than the most bright things they could find in the moon.
There is in this world one grief of a kind so sad that there are some who have not heard of it—there are still more who have not felt it.
This is the grief of a young child when he feels that he who ought to be his best friend—he who ought to love him more than all else love him—he who ought to soothe all his pains, and be glad at all his joys,—that he has no thought, no care, no love for him; and what is far worse than this, who chills the pure first thoughts of a young child's mind, and turns such thoughts to pain.
Let all those who have not heard of grief so great as this, joy and be glad; but let them, while they dwell with thanks on their own lot, think and feel for the lot of poor Frank Hart.
Mr. Hart was a man who did not know the rule of self. He had not been taught this rule when he was young, and when he grew up to be a man, self had full rule over him.
His young ones, for he had more than Frank, felt this fault hard to bear. So great was their fear of Mr. Hart, that when he was in the room they did not dare to speak, or to laugh, or to move. Had they a book in hand, they did not dare to turn the leaves, for fear that they might be heard; nor could they leave the room, for their shoes might creak, or the door might make a noise.
Thus would these poor things sit, till (sound of joy!) the well known, and at times the long sought for sound, the push of Mr. Hart's chair, told them he would soon be gone. Then the door would shut; and no shut of door could bring more ease and joy than the shut of that.
He was gone! and these young ones, freed from such chains as few so young have felt, would rise up from their chairs and jump, in proof that they were free; and though they might not speak a word, each knew what was felt by all.
Frank was not so old by two years as the one next to him in age: he was but eight years old, and he did not dare to tell how great was his fear of Mr. Hart.
Frank thought that to feel as he felt must be wrong, and yet he could not help it. He thought this when he saw all boys else so glad to see the friend who was to them all that Mr. Hart ought to have been to Frank.
Frank, when he saw the rush of joy, when he heard the loud laugh of glee with which these boys were wont to greet this friend of theirs, has felt sad.
The bell that calls a child, though from its room of play to the room down stairs, that bell which is a sound so full of joy, brought no joy to poor Frank. It was a sound that he could not bear to hear, for to him it rang a knell of pain. And who can blame Frank for this? who can when they know the scene to which such a bell would call him?
"Come in, Frank," said Mr. Hart one day to him, "come in: here is an egg for you."
Frank could not think that such a thing could be for him, yet he saw the egg, and his face told how glad he was.
"Thank you," said Frank, as in great haste he took hold of the spoon.
He broke the shell with much care, and took it off bit by bit. He had just put his spoon so as to take up some of the nice white, when he found that quite as hard as he had found the shell. This was odd! but still he broke through that, when his spoon fell through it—it was but an egg-shell full of air!
What was poor Frank's look of woe! He gave one quick glance at Mr. Hart: such a glance it was! It said as plain as glance could say, "How can you do this to me?"
Yet the glance did not stop the loud laugh which burst forth; nor did that laugh cease till Frank had left the room, and then it rung in his ears for a long time.
Such a child as Frank was feels a thing like this much more than he feels pain that he is made to feel when he has done wrong. Such a child as Frank was knows when he has done wrong, and when he is made to feel pain for it, he thinks it is pain he ought to feel, to make him a good boy.
A child like Frank soon finds out if he is made to feel pain for his own good, or if he is made to feel it from some cross thought that may pass through the mind of some one who may not care for his good at all.
Thus Frank, who was a boy who thought a great deal, as young as he was, knew well when it was right he should be made to feel pain, and when it was done for no fault of his own.
Poor Frank! he has thought this last was the case when he has been told by Mr. Hart to snuff the light on his desk, and he has put it out.
Poor Frank! he has now and then made all dark; for when he has put out this desk light, there has been no light but the fire light to guide Mr. Hart's hand to Frank's ear. And, oh! that poor ear, how it did smart, and how loud the noise of the box did sound!
At these times Frank said not a word, nor did he shrink from the blow; but Frank thought, and his mind grew more and more full of thought.
But what most hurt Frank was, that things were done and said to him just to make him say what was queer, and then this queer thing would be told by Mr. Hart to his friends, and they would laugh at Frank.
Now Frank did not like this at all; and one night, when he had still on his mind some thing that he had said, which Mr. Hart had told, Mr. Hart all at once said to him, "Frank, wish a wish."
"I can't wish," said Frank.
"But you must wish, and you shall," said Mr. Hart.
Still Frank spoke not.
"What would you most wish to have?" said Mr. Hart.
"I don't know," said Frank.
"But you shall know—I'll make you know—you shall not go to bed till you do know, so speak at once."
Still Frank said not a word.
"Speak, Frank," once more said Mr. Hart: "speak, Frank, and say what you would the most wish to have, if you could have what you wish."
"I don't know," once more said Frank.
"You don't know! but I say you shall know—you must know—I'll make you know, I tell you. Go! you shall be shut up in that dark room! Go! there you shall stay, if it be all night; go!"
Frank said not a word, but did not move.
"Do you hear me?" said Mr. Hart.
Still Frank did not move.
Mr. Hart at length took him by the hand, and led him to the dark room.
This room was next to the one where they were. Mr. Hart took Frank by force, put him in, and shut the door.
And now there was poor Frank all in the dark.
The first sounds that came forth were "Oh! oh! oh!" and then a burst of tears. Soon all was still, and then there were more sobs and tears.
"Wish a wish, I tell you," once more said Mr. Hart. "Wish a wish, or you shall stay where you are all night."
"Stay! stay! stay!" said Frank. "Don't go, don't go!"
And now such a noise did he make at the door with his feet and hands that his voice could not well be heard; but through it all the scream of "Don't go, don't go!" went on.
"Good night," said Mr. Hart, when the noise was for a short time still, "good night, we all go, and we leave you there."
"Stay! oh, stay!" said Frank, in tones of woe.
"Wish a wish," said Mr. Hart, "or we are all gone."
"Oh!" said Frank, "I do wish I were in bed."
There was a loud laugh.
"You have now told your wish," said Mr. Hart, "and you may go to bed."
Frank did not stay to be told twice.
THE LOST ONES.
Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd had two boys and one girl; their names were Paul, Charles, and Grace. They were good on the whole, but they had one fault.
Mrs. Lloyd had told them that she should not like them to go to a fair which was to be held on the tenth of June. It was now near that time, and they had a strong wish to go.
The tenth of June came, and the fair this year was most grand.
When they came to the front door, they saw such crowds of men, girls, and boys, that their wish to go was more strong than it had been.
Soon Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd went out, and left Paul, Charles, and Grace in the room. When they had been gone some time, Paul said to Grace, "Shall we take a walk?"
Grace said, "Yes, I should like to go; what do you think if we were to take a peep at the fair?"
"Oh," said Charles, "I should like that the best of all things. I will go and put on my hat."
So they went to put on their things, and out they set. Soon they came near the fair. Guess how great their joy! But how much more great would it have been if they had not felt that they had done wrong!
They saw grand shows, and stalls full of nice things. They had each of them brought half a crown; but the half-crowns were soon spent, and they would have been glad of more.
The day was far gone when they thought of home, and they were in a great fright to find that they were so far from home, and in a new road which they had not been in till then.
They were sad, and they knew, too, that they had brought this on them selves; for if they had not gone to the fair, when Mrs. Lloyd had told them not to go, this would not have been.
These thoughts were in their minds, when a Strange One, whose trade it was to tell fates, came near them, and said that if they had lost their way, she would take them home.
They told her they had been at the fair, and that they could not find their way home.
"Oh," said she, "I knew that,—you could not cheat me." She then took Grace by the hand, Paul and Charles went on first. She led them on a great way: they did not dare to speak a word, for they were in a great fright. At last she came to a place where there was a large fire, with a pot on the top of it.
"Look here," said she to a man who was there, "I have brought these young folks, who do not know their way home."
"Oh!" said the man, "let 'em sleep here."
They slept that night on a mat.
The next day the Strange One put them on some rags, and took off their own nice clothes.
When they saw what clothes they had got on, they did not like them, but they did not dare to speak.
Soon this Strange One told them to go with her, and she led them on a great way. How they did scream and cry out! "This is not the way home; I want to go home: I will go home." This Strange One could bear it no more, and she told them that she would tie up their mouths, but they did not seem to mind.
At last she did tie their mouths; and she led them on, and on, and did not stop till she came to a wild heath.
There were a few tall trees, and here and there, there were wild roots and grass. She took some string, and bound them to trees, and left them.
No more has been known of the Strange One, nor of the man, from that day to this.
Now when Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd came home and found no Paul, nor Charles, nor Grace, they were in great grief. They then thought what would be the best to be done. At last Mrs. Lloyd went to ask her friend, Mrs. Wood, who told her that she had seen them at the fair.
Mrs. Lloyd, when she heard this, had more hope, and she thought that they might soon come home. But no! the clock struck one, two, and three, and still they did not come!
When this Strange One went, Paul, and Charles, and Grace were left on the wild heath. Think what a fright they must have been in—no one near them: and no one knew where they were but this Strange One who had left them there.
At last Paul broke his string, and then he cut the strings of Charles and Grace. He took hold of their hands and led them up and down.
This heath was large and wild. Just as it was dark, great was their joy when they saw a house. It was a farm house; they went in the barn and slept all night on some straw. When day light came they got up, and went on till they came to a town.
They had not gone down the first street, when they saw their own milk-man. They ran to him at once: "Take us home," said they, "do take us home."
The milk-man did take them home.
When Mrs. Lloyd saw them—when she knew that they were safe, she could not speak a word, but her look told a great deal—they felt that look, and they all said, "We have done wrong, but we will try not to do wrong more."
The sun is a large world of much more size and weight than the earth and all the stars that move round it. It is by its great weight that it draws them all to it, and if they did not move fast and far in a course that takes them from the sun, all those stars that move round it with our world would be drawn to it in a short time. No one knows of what the sun is made, nor how it is that it gives so much heat and light; but most wise men think that it is a world like our own, where men can live, and not be burnt more than we are burnt by the heat of the earth. What makes the light and heat is a thing that seems strange to all. Some think that the clouds round it give out the light; that the black spots which are seen on the sun are large holes in the clouds round it, through which the sun is seen, and that the black spots are parts of the real sun. The sun shines and gives out heat to all the stars, which could not move in their orbs if the sun did not draw them to it; for they would else fly off through space.
THE DOLL'S HEAD.
Jane Thorpe was eight years old; so good had she been that Mrs. Thorpe told her she would take her to a toy shop, where she might choose the toy she would like best.
The toy shop was three or four miles from Mrs. Thorpe's house, so she rang the bell, and sent to tell the groom to bring round the coach.
The coach came round to the door, and great was the joy of Jane.
Yet, though Jane was so glad, she would have been more glad if Charles might have gone too. But Charles could not go; he had not been a good boy, and Mrs. Thorpe said he must stay at home.
Jane gave one look at him as she left the room to put on her things, and as she got in the coach, a tear fell down her cheek.
But on went the coach, and soon Jane thought but of the toy shop, and of what toy she would like best to have. Round and round went the wheels, and soon they were put down at the door of the toy shop.
How hard it was to choose! Yet no choice could fail to please. But choose what she would, some things must be left that she would like to have!
There was a large coach, and each horse would put on and take off. There was a man to drive, who sat on the box, and who had a long whip in his hand; and, more than all, the doors of the coach would turn back, and they would shut! There was a hay cart, and in it were three men with smock frocks; and there were some dolls in gay clothes—a great deal too smart to make hay, but they were so nice and so neat! and then all their things would take off and on, and they had large round hats on their heads.
Near this cart Jane stood a long time. At length she said, "I will choose this." But just when she said it she saw a doll—a large doll, with blue eyes and light hair. Jane thought the doll's eyes were sweet and soft, and she said, "No, no; I will not have the cart, I will have that sweet doll: do, do let me have that."
The doll, which was made of wood, was a nice strong doll, and Jane saw it put up for her to take home. She took hold of it with great care, in fear to spoil the clean white frock it had got on.
When Jane was at home, she ran up stairs to show it to Charles and to her Aunt: and her Aunt gave her some silk to make a cloak for it. Jane did her best to try to make it well, nor did it take her a long time to do this, as her Aunt cut out the parts and put them for her in the right way.
Jane then ran for her hat, and, in great joy, took her doll, and went in the lime walk.
There was a seat in this walk; and here Jane would oft spend two or three hours in the cool shade of the trees.
On this seat she sat down now, and, when she had been some time, she thought she would fix her doll on a branch of a tree. She did so; and she thought she must run and ask her Aunt just to come and look at it. The doll was left, and off she went, full of glee and song.
Where her Aunt was gone Jane did not know; she was not in the rooms down stairs, nor was she in her own room up stairs; so Jane went in all parts of the house. "Aunt! Aunt!" she said, but no Aunt could she find. This took up a great deal of time, and at length she went back to the lime walk.
Poor Jane! what a sight for you to see was there!—"My doll! my doll! O my doll!" were the first words she said, and then she sank down on the seat near the tree. And where was this doll of poor Jane's? There it was—not the doll such as she had left it, but the doll with its head cut off!
The head was hung by a string to a branch of the tree, and the rest of the doll was on the ground.
"O my doll, my dear, dear doll! who can have done so bad a thing as this? my doll! my doll!"
Just at this time her Aunt came near the lime walk. She heard the sobs of Jane, and ran fast to see what was the cause. All she said when she saw the doll was, "My dear Jane," and she gave her such a kiss as an Aunt who loves her Niece can give. And then they went back to the house.
And who had done this bad thing? That must now be told.
There was a boy whose name was John Snap; he did not live far from Broom Hill, the house of Mr. Thorpe.
John Snap was not a good boy: he was so far from it that there was no one who had a child that did not try to keep him out of the way of John Snap. Mr. Thorpe had told Charles that he would not let him play with a boy he thought so ill of.
John Snap would take birds' nests, a thing which no boy with a kind heart could do; and he would tease dogs and cats, and do things that he knew would hurt them. Now it is quite sure that no good boy could do this; for he must know that all things that have life can feel pain as much as he feels it.
All things that have life can feel pain in all parts of their frame; but there is one kind of pain which dogs, and cats, and such things as they, do not feel as man feels it—and that is pain of mind. Such pain as this is hurts much more than some pains that are felt to be hard to bear in the frame of man.
It was just such pain as this that Jane felt when she saw the head of her doll cut off. It was such pain as this that John Snap likes to give.
Though John Snap was so bad, yet he could do and say things which made boys like to be with him. There was now and then a great deal of fun in what he said, and he could make boys laugh. All boys like to laugh, and few could fail to laugh at what John Snap said.
Thus, in time, they might have been led to like him, and then they would not have thought some of the things he did so bad as they were. It was the fear of this which made Mr. Thorpe tell Charles he did not wish him to play with John Snap.
Mr. Thorpe told Charles that when John Snap spoke to him he must say what he had to say to him in a kind way, but that he must leave him as soon as he could.
Now it was not right of Charles Thorpe to go to John Snap's house, nor ought he to have gone out with him to play at trap and ball, for he knew that it was wrong to do so. This was the cause why he could not go with Jane to the toy shop. He was kept at home for a week, and told not to go past the sunk fence.
John Snap had not seen him for six days, so he thought he would go and call at Broom Hill. When he got there, he did not go to the house, but took a walk down the lime walk. This was just at the time when Jane was gone; and when he came to the seat near the tree he saw the doll. What he did may now be told.
Yes! it was John Snap who had done this deed. At noon, as soon as it was done, he went close to a tree, so that he could not be seen. He did this that he might see what Jane would do when she came back, and hear what she would say.
He heard and saw all; but when he found how great was Jane's grief, he kept quite close to the tree, and did not dare to move till she was gone. He then went home as fast as he could, and great was his hope that no one would know that it was he who had cut off the poor doll's head.
Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe, and Jane's Aunt too, thought that this was like some of John Snap's tricks, but they did not wish to say so to Jane or to Charles. Jane's Aunt had a plan which she thought would be the means to find out if he had done this or not.
One day Charles was sent to ask John Snap to dine at Broom Hill.
John was glad to go; but he felt he should not like to see Jane, for she might talk of her doll; and if she should talk of it, he thought that he might say or do that which might tell what he had done. Yet John Snap went to dine at Broom Hill.
Now there was one thing of which John Snap was most fond, and this thing was fruit tart. The fruit tarts at Broom Hill were so sweet, and the crust was so light!
The day on which John Snap went to dine at Broom Hill the fruit tart was put near where he sat. How nice and large it was! and how good it smelt too! He thought the time was long till the time came for the tart to be cut.
"It will soon be cut now," thought he. But this dish came, and that dish went, yet still the fruit tart was not cut. He said, "No thank you," to all, for he thought but of the tart.
At length all the things were gone but the tart. "That won't go, I hope," thought John; and great was his joy when he heard Mr. Thorpe say in a loud clear tone, "John Snap, will you please to cut that tart?"
John, in great haste to do what he was told, took up the spoon—but the crust would not break: there was some hard thing, and the spoon would not go through the crust. One, twice, three times did he try. "Put a knife round the edge of the dish and clear off the crust," said Mr. Thorpe; "we must come to the fruit."
John Snap did so. He put a knife round the edge of the dish, and all the crust came off at once. And what was there in that dish?
A dolls head!
Jane gave a loud scream, and John Snap made a rush to the door.
He was out of the room, but he heard Jane say, "It was he who did it! it was he who did it! My poor doll!"
The tone of Jane's voice, as she said this, made John go back. He could not bear to hear her. "Jane! Jane!" he said, "that doll's head will be the means to make me a good boy. I feel I could be good. I feel some thing that tells me so. I grieve for what I have done—I feel grief of such a kind as I have not felt till now."
Jane saw his face. When she saw his face, it told her so much that she said, "I will think of this no more."
PLAY NOT WITH FIRE.
Mr. and Mrs. Green had two girls, and their names were Kate and Anne. Kate was ten and Anne was eight years old.
It made Mrs. Green quite sad to think that she could not cure them of one bad fault; this fault was that they would play with fire.
All she said was of no use, for they would do it. Though she bought them books, and dolls, and all things that were nice, to play with, still fire was the thing they would play with. They would get a long piece of straw and set it on fire, and say it was a torch; and they went with these straws up and down stairs, and said they were in mines.
When Mrs. Green saw them do so she would scold them, and put them on chairs, or send them to bed, and did all she could to break them of it, but still they did not mind, and in a short time they would do the same.
Once one of the straws dropt and set their work on fire; and it might have done much harm, had not the maid just then come in to put on some coals. She threw the rug on the blaze, and put it out.
One day Mr. and Mrs. Green went out for a walk, and, as they could not take Kate and Anne with them, they were left in the house. When Mrs. Green left the house, she told them to mind not to touch the fire, and that, if they were good and did not touch it, she would bring them a nice toy.
Kate and Anne were glad at the time, but as soon as she was gone, they went down to the dog's house, which was full of straw, and each got some nice long straws. Then they went up stairs to pull down the blinds, to make it, as they said, seem more like a real mine. They then put long straws in the fire to light, and went with them up and down the room.
Kate bent some straws, and made them go round and round, and said they were squibs; Anne did the same; and they did this for more than half an hour.
They found that to do this did not burn them, as Mrs. Green had told them it would do, and they did not know why she did not like them to do it. This made them more bold, and they did it still more.
And at last Anne's frock caught fire,—and how it did blaze up!
She ran up and down the room, and did not know what to do, she was in so much fear. Kate went to her to try to put out the blaze; then she, too, caught fire, and not one of them had the sense to roll on the rug.
Their cries brought up the maid, who wrapt them in the rug, which soon put out the fire; but when she took them out, what was her grief to see how they were burnt! Kate was not so much burnt as Anne, but still she was so sore that she could not stand; and so loud were their screams, that the maid thought that they would scream till they were dead. Great was their pain, and the maid put them in bed.
As soon as they were in bed Mr. and Mrs. Green came home from their walk. They were most sad when they saw the state in which Kate and Anne were; and still more sad were they to think that they had been at the fire, when Mrs. Green had told them not to go there.
She had brought Kate a book, and Anne a nice wax doll, as she thought to have found them good when she came home.
Both Kate and Anne felt a great deal of pain, and they were ill for a long time.
When they were well, poor Anne's face was not at all what it had been—it was full of large scars and deep marks, that would not come out; and when she went to look in the glass, she gave a loud scream. How much did she wish she had not gone to the fire when she had been told not to so!
Poor Kate! the black mark on her hand gave her a great deal of pain, and when it was well she could not bear to look at it, for it brought to her mind what she had done.
They could not bear to see a large blaze, or to go near the fire, nor to warm their hands when they were cold.
Once when Mr. Green let off some squibs, they could not bear to see them, for it brought to their minds the time when they had been so much burnt.
ONE FAULT LEADS TO A WORSE ONE.
John Gay was eight years old. He was not a good boy, for he now and then told what was not true, and that is not right, for all boys and girls should speak the truth.
One day when his Aunt was in the room, John came in, and he saw her with a plum cake in her hand. She told him when she left the room, that he must not touch. He said, "No, Aunt; I will not touch it."
When his Aunt had been some time gone, John thought, "Well, if I were to take a bit of cake, my Aunt would not miss it from such a large cake as this is: yet it seems to me not to be quite right to take it."
But this boy (sad to say!) did take a piece, and he found it so good that he thought he would take a piece more. He did take some more; and he took piece by piece, and piece by piece, till he had made the cake quite small.
When he had done this, he knew that he had done wrong, and he felt sad. He went in his own room. He knew that the time must come when his Aunt would find it out.
He was sure that his Aunt would scold him if she knew; but he thought if he told her he had not done it she would think that he told the truth.
With these thoughts in his mind, he heard a knock at the door. He knew that it was his Aunt, so he made haste to come down stairs. He did not go in the room where the plum cake was, but he went in the next room. He took up a book, but he could not read, for his thoughts were too full of what he had done.
Soon his Aunt came in with the plum cake in her hand. "John," said she, "look at this cake: when I went out it was quite large, and now look at it!"
John said, "I do not know of it: how should I?"
She then rang; the bell: "Ann," said she as the maid came in the room, "do you know what has made the cake in this state? Call the cook, and ask her."
The cook said the same as Ann had said, that "she did not know of it."
When they were gone, his Aunt said to John, "It can be no one but you who have done this. I left you in the room with this cake, and told you not to touch it, and now, when I am come back, I find it in this state."
John could not speak a word, for he felt that he had done wrong. His Aunt saw this, and told him to go to bed.
When he was in bed he thought what a bad boy he had been, and how wrong it was for him to have told his Aunt what was not true. He thought that when he got up he would go and tell his Aunt how wrong he had been, and that he would do so no more.
John did as he thought he would do. His Aunt told him that if he was a good boy for a month, no more should be said of it.
He was a good boy for a month; but for a long time past the month, when John saw plum cake, a flush of shame came on his face.
WHAT A PRICE FOR A BOX!
Rose Wood was in want of six pence. She had seen a box that she had a great wish to buy; and she thought that if she had but six pence, which was the price of that box, she should not have a want for a long time.
Rose would stand close to the shop, near a pane of glass through which she could see this box, and each time she saw it the more strong was her wish to have it for her own.
So much did Rose think of it that it might be said she had not a wish but what was shut up in that box.
"What shall I do for six pence?" said Rose one day; "that box will cost but six pence, and if I had six pence it would be my own."
"Why," said Mark Wood, "if you will sell your self to me, I will give you six pence."
"Sell my self! yes, that I will," said Rose. "Give me six pence, and I will sell my self at once."
"But," said Mark, "do you know that when I have bought you, you will be my child, and that you must do all that I bid you do?"
"Oh! I will do all: I don't care what you bid me do, if I may but have the six pence to buy that box."
The six pence were hers, and the box was bought; but, poor Rose! you had to pay a great price for it.
With what joy she ran home box in hand!
"Look at it, look at it, Mark! This box is mine now; do just look at it. Do just look at this glass at the top: I can see my face in it, and I can see some of the things that are in the room. In the box I mean to keep small sweet cakes; and, Mark, I am sure I shall give you some, for you have been so kind to let me have the six pence. Oh, Mark, I do thank you so much."
"Stop, Rose, stop!" said Mark, "and do not thank me for the six pence till you know what I mean you to do for it. The first thing I shall tell you to do is, 'Put down the box.'"
"Put down the box!" said Rose: "not yet:—why must I put down the box?"
"Why! I tell you to do so; you are my child now, and must do what I bid you."
"But I may play with the box? I must and will play with my nice new box; that you will let me do."
"No, Rose," said Mark, "I can let you play with it no more. You must come with me; I mean to send you out to find some cress, and then you must go and try to sell it. Come, I shall put you on this hat of old Bet's, and you must wear this old shawl, and you must tuck up your frock, and go out to find the cress."
"Oh dear! oh dear!" said Rose; "you do not mean that I should do this?"
"But I do mean it, and you must go at once."
Mark put on the hat and the shawl for her. She was quite still, and said not a word. Mark then took hold of her hand and led her to a field near the house, and told her she must not come back till she had got as much nice cress as would sell for two pence. He then shut the gate of the field, and left poor Rose by her self.
At first she did not move, so strange did it seem to her that she should be left thus.
Soon she sat down on a bank. When she had been there some time she got up.
"How queer this is!" said she; "but it is all fun:" yet the laugh with which she said this was soon a cry.
Rose was a girl not soon cast down; all that she had to do or to bear, she did her best to do and to bear it well. She took a walk up and down the field, and at last she thought, "Well, I might as well try and see if I can find some cress;" and then she ran up and down till she had got a great way from the house.
No cress could she find, so she thought she would turn back and go home. But just when she had thought this, she saw on a pond, at the foot of the long slope on which she stood, some bright green weed, that she thought was cress. Off she set down the slope as fast as she could run, and she ran so fast that she could not stop till she came to the end. When she did stop she could not move.
Rose was deep in the pond—it came up as far as her throat! There she stuck quite fast, and there she might have stuck for hours, had not her cries been heard by Mark, who, though not seen, had not lost sight of her since the time she had left the house.
Mark, who was now in great fear, ran as fast as feet could run to the place where the head of Rose was to be seen on the pond, like a float on the top of green weeds. When Mark came to the slope, he went down it with care, lest the fate of Rose should be his.
The screams of Rose were loud: "I shall sink! I shall sink deep, deep down! Oh, help me! help me!" She then saw Mark: "Mark! Mark!" she said; "fast! fast! pray, pray come fast." Mark was now at the edge of the pond. "Raise up your arms," said he; "raise up your arms, and take fast hold of my hand."
The mud and slime were so thick that poor Rose found it hard to raise up her arms. Yet she did so, and caught hold of Mark's hand with such force that he, too, would have been in the pond had he not made a quick step back.
When Rose had got a firm grasp, Mark, with all the strength he had, did what he could to drag her out. At length she was out: she stood at the edge of the pond, her clothes thick with mud and slime; and such a weight she was, that she could not move fast.
Poor Mark stood by her side, his face quite pale with the fright he had had. They went up the slope as well as they could. When they were near home, just at the gate which led out of the last field, they were met by Mr. Wood. What must Mr. Wood have thought to see Rose in that strange state, and with such a queer hat on her head?
"Rose," he said, and the tone of his voice was a cross tone; "Rose, how is this? where can you have been, and how is it that I see you thus?"
"O Sir," said Mark, "do not scold Rose, do not scold Rose; it is all my fault, and all the blame must be mine." Mark then told Mr. Wood how Rose had sold her self to him for six pence, and what he had made her do when he had bought her.
"Go in the house, Rose," said Mr. Wood; "go to bed at once; what I have to say to you must not be said now."
Rose did not dare to hold up her head as she went through the hall. She felt much shame when the maid came to take off her clothes and to wash her. Rose saw the maid laugh, and that she did think was hard to bear, but she did not say a word.
Now Mr. Wood was a man who had a great deal of good sense, and when his boy or girl had done what was wrong, it was his wish that the cure should be wrought by their own sense of right and wrong. He thought that the shame they felt from the sense of wrong would be the best cure they could have. He did all he could to make them feel in what they had done wrong, and when he was sure they felt this he was sure they would do so no more.
Now Mark was wrong to have let Rose have the six pence; and what made it the more wrong was that he knew Mrs. Wood had once told Rose she did not wish her to buy the box she had so great a wish to buy, for she thought the glass at the top would soon break, and that Rose might be cut by it. Mr. Wood did not say much to Mark, for he saw that he felt a great deal. But he told Mark it was his wish that the pond scene should be felt by Rose, and that it should be made the means to cure her of her worst fault.
This fault was, that when Rose had a strong wish to have a thing she thought she should like to have, she would not hear no.
The more no was said, the more did she wish to have the thing to which it was said. This had just been the case with the box. Mrs. Wood had said no two, three, and four times, and each time that the no was said, the wish for yes had been more strong.
The next day, when Rose came down stairs, she did not raise up her eyes. Mr. Wood told her that as she had sold her self to Mark, he should leave her to his charge for three days, and in that time she must do all that Mark told her, and that she would have to do much she would not like.
"Oh, Sir," said Rose, "buy me back! do buy me back!"
"Not yet," said Mr. Wood, "but if you do all that Mark bids you do for three days, and if you do your best to try to put a check on the fault which has been the cause of all this, why, then I will buy you back."
The first day Rose did try as much as she could; but it was all she could do not to cry when Mark told her to do things: "You tell me, Mark!—why should I do what you tell me?" and then she would think of the cause of that why, and she would hang down her head and blush.
The last of the three days was come, and on this day Rose felt light of heart. Once she went to the place where the box had been put; she took it up and said, "This box is mine—I shall not lose this." She took off the lid, and just then she heard some one at the door. In great haste to put back the box, her foot slipt, and down she fell. In the fall the glass lid broke, and a piece of the glass stuck in her lip. The blood came in streams. Her cries were loud, and Mrs. Wood, who heard them, ran in great fear to know the cause.
It was a sad deep gash, and poor Rose was faint with pain and fright.
So deep was the wound, that for ten days Rose could not put food in her mouth; what food she took came through the spout of a tea-pot. Rose could not speak nor laugh: she had a great deal of pain to bear, and she did all she could to bear it well.
Mark would sit near her, and watch her, and read to her; and he would look so sad at times! When he was sad, Rose would do what she could to make her pain seem less than it was; but Rose's mouth could not prove the kind smile that was in her heart.
It was a long time ere Rose was quite well. Years are now flown in the stream of time since the day when Rose cut her lip.
The mark left by the cut is on her lip still. There it will be as long as she lives; and when she has a wish for that which she knows she ought not to have, that mark tells her to TAKE CARE.
CAMDEN PRESS, LONDON.