« 上一頁繼續 »
terfere with either of her sisters. You may immediately have recourse to^this mode of recreation, as you have leave to play till night: but remember, that none of you stir from the corner in which I shall place you.'
10. The little girls, who were no way displeased with this proposal, hastened to their different quarters, and began to amuse themselves each in her own way. Sophia commenced a conversation with her doll, or rather told her many pretty little stories; but her doll had not the gift of speech, and consequently was no companion. She could not expect any entertainment from her sisters, as they were playing in their respective comers.
11. Lucy took her pin-cushion and needle-work; but there were none to admire them; besides, she was not allowed to speak to any one in the room.
12. Harriet was very fond of her old game of hunt the slipper; but what was she to do with the slipper by herself; she could only shove it from hand to hand. It was in vain to hope for such service from her sisters, as each was amusing herself in her assigned corner.
13. Emily, who was a very skilful, pretty house-wife, was thinking how she might give her friends an entertainment, and, of course, sent out for many things to market; but there wi.% at present, nobody near, with whom she might consult on the occasion, for her sisters were amusing themselves, in the other corners of the room.
14. Every attempt they made to find some new amusement failed, and all supposed that a compromise would be most agreeable; but, as matters were carried so far, who was first to propose it? This, each would have considered as a humiliating circumstance; they therefore kept their distance, and disdainfully continued in their solitude. The day at last closing, they returned to their mother, and begged her to think of some other amusement for them, than the ineffectual one they had tried.
15. 'I am sorry, my children,' said she, ' to see you all so discontented. I know but of one way to make you happy, with which you yourselves were formerly acquainted, but which, it seems, you have forgotten. Yet, if you wish once more to put it into practice, I can easily bring it to your recollections.' They all answered together, as though with one voice, that they heartily wished to recollect it, and stood attentive, while their mother was looking at them, in eager expectation to hear what she had to say.
16. * What you have lost, or at least forgotten,' replied their mother, ' is that mutual love and friendship which you once had for each other, and which every sister ought cheerfally to cherish. O! my dearest children, how have you contrived to forget this, and thereby make me and yourselves miserable I'
17. Having uttered these words, which were interrupted by sighs, she stopped short, while tears of tenderness stole down her cheeks. The little girls appeared much disconcerted, and struck with sorrow and confusion. Their mother held out her arms, and they all at once instantly rushed towards her. They sincerely promised that they would tenderly love each other for the future, and perfectly agree, as they formerly had done.
18. From this time no idle peevishness troubled their harmonious intercourse; and, instead of disputes and discontents among them, nothing was seen but mutual condescension, which delighted all who had the opportunity of being in their* company. May this serve as a useful lesson to my youthful readers. How easy it is for us to promote or disturb our own happiness.
Old Age made Happy.
1. Opposite to the house in which Charlotte's parents lived, was a little opening, ornamented with a grass-plot, and overshaded by a venerable tree, commanding an extensive view beibre it. On this delightful spot Charlotte used frequently to sit in her little chair, while employed in knitting stockings for her mother.
2. As she was one day thus employed, she saw a poor old man advancing very slowly towards her. His hair was as white as silver, and his back bent with age; he supported himself by a stick, and seemed to walk with great difficulty. 'Poor man,' said Charlotte, looking at him most tenderly, 'he seems to be very much in pain, and perhaps is poor, which are two dreadful evils!'
3. She also saw a number of boys, who were following close behind this poor old man. They laughed at his thread-bare coat, which had very long skirts, and short sleeves, contrary to the fashion of those days. His hat, which was quite rusty, did not escape their notice; his cheeks were hollow, and his body thin. These wicked boys no sooner saw him, than they all mocked him. A stone lay in his way, which he did not perceive, and over it he stumbled, and had like to have fallen,
This afforded them sport, and they laughed loudly; but this gave great pain to the poor old man, who uttered a deep sigh.
4. 'I once was young as you are,' said he, ' but I did not laugh at the infirmities of age as you do. The day will come, in which you will be old yourselves, and every day is bringing you forward to that period. You will then be sensible of the impropriety of your present conduct.' Having thus spoken, he endeavoured to hobble on again, and made a second stumble, when, in struggling to save himself from falling, he dropped his cane, and down he fell. On this the wicked boys renewed their laugh, and highly enjoyed his misfortune.
5. Charlotte, who had seen every thing which had passed, could not help pitying the old man's situation, and therefore putting down her knitting on the chair, ran towards him, picked up the cane and gave it him, and then taking hold of his other arm, assisted him to rise.
6. The poor old man looked at her very earnestly, and said, 'How good you are! This kindness makes me in a moment forget all the ill behaviour of those bad boys. May you ever be happy.' They then walked on together; but the boys being probably made ashamed of their conduct by the behaviour of Charlotte, followed the old man no further.
7. While the boys were turning about, one of them fell down also, and all the rest began laughing, as they had before done at the old man. He was very much displeased with them on that account, and as soon as he got up, ran after his companions, pelting them with stones. He instantly became convinced how unjust it was to laugh at the distresses of another, and formed a resolution, for the future, never to laugh at any person's pain. He followed the old man he had been laughing at, though at gome distance, wishing for an opportunity to do him some favour, by way of atonement, for what he had done.
8. The good old man, in the meantime, by the kind assistance of Charlotte, proceeded with slow but sure steps. She asked
, him to stay and rest himself a little, and told him that her house was that before him. 'Pray stay,' said she, ' and rest yourself under that large tree. My parents, indeed, are not at home, and therefore you will not be so well treated; yet it will be a little relief to you.'
9. The old man accepted Charlotte's offer. She brought him out a chair, and then fetched some bread and cheese and gome beer, which were all she could procure. He thanked her very kindly, and then entered into conversation with her.
10. '1 find, my little girl,' said he, 'you have parents. I
doubt not but you love them, and they love you. They must be very happy, and may they always continue to be so '.'
11. 'And pray, good old man,' said Charlotte,'I suppose you have children of your own.'—' I had a son,' replied he, 'who lived-in London; he. loved me tenderly, and frequently came to see me; but alas! he is now dead, and I am left disconsolate. His widow, indeed, is rich; but too proud to inquire whether I am dead or alive, and does not wish to have it known that her husband's father is a peasant.'
12. Charlotte was much affected, and could hardly believe that such cruel people existed. 'Ah! certain I am,' said she, 'that my dear mother would not behave so cruelly.' He then rose, and thanked Charlotte with a blessing; but she was determined not to leave him, till she had accompanied him a little way further.
13. As they walked on, they saw the little boy who had been following them; for he had run on some way before, and was sitting on the grass. When they looked upon him, he cast his eyes downwards, got up after they had passed, and followed them again. Charlotte observed him, but said nothing.
14. She asked the old man if he lived alone. 'No,' answered he, ' I have a cottage on the other side of that meadow, seated in the middle of a little garden, with an orchard and a small field. An old neighbour, whose cottage fell down through age, lives with me, and cultivates my ground. He is an honest man, and I am perfectly easy in his society; but the loss of my son still bears hard upon me, nor have I the happiness to see any of his children, who must by this time have forgotten me.'
15. These complaints touched the heart of Charlotte, who told him, that she and her mother would come and see him. The sensibility and kindness of this little girl served only to aggravate his grief, by bringing to his mind the loss he had sustained in his son. Tears came in his eyes, when he pulled out his handkerchief to wipe them; and instead of puting it again into his pocket, in the agitation of his mind, it slipped aside, and fell & unnoticed by him or Charlotte.
16. The little boy who .followed them, saw the handkerchief fall, ran to pick it up, and gave it to the old man, saying, ' Here, good old man, you dropped your handkerchief, and here it is.' 'Thank you kindly, my little friend,' said the old man. 'Here is a good little boy, who does not ridicule' old age, nor laugh at the afflictions which attend it. You will certainly become an honest man. Come both of you to my habitation, and I will give you some milk.
17. They had no sooner reacned the old man's cottage than he brought out some milk, and the best bread he had, which, though coarse, was good. They all sat down upon the grass, and made a comfortable repast. However, Charlotte began to be afraid her parents might come home, and be uneasy at her absence; and the little boy was sorry to go, but was sadly afraid, should he stay, of being scolded by his mother.
18. 'Your mother,' said the old man, ' must be very cross to scold you.' 'She is not always so,' replied the little boy; but though she loves me, she makes me fear her.' 'And where is your father? said he. 'Oh! I scarcely recollect him; ho. has been dead these four years.' 'Dead these four years! (interrupted the old man, fixing his eyes attentively on the little boy ;) is it possible that I have some recollection of your features ? Can it be little Francis?' 'Yes, yes, Francis is my name.
19. For a few minutes the old man stood motionless, and with an altered voice, his eyes swimming with tears, cried out, ' My dear little Francis, do you not recollect your grandfather? Embrace me! You have the very features of my son! My dearest child, you were not thinking of me! My son affectionately loved me, and his son will love me also. My old age will not be so miserable as I expected; and the evening of my life will not pass away without some joy. I shall depart in peace'. But I forgot, that by detaining you, I may expose you to your mother's anger. Go, my dear child, for I do not wish that my joy should cost you tears. Go, love your mother, and obey her commands, and always speak the truth.'
20. He then turned to Charlotte, and said, though he then did not wish her to stay, for fear of offending her parents, yet he hoped she would come again. He then dismissed them, giving them a hearty blessing, and the two children walked away hand in hand. Charlotte arrived home before her parents, who were not long after her: she then told them every thing that
^Jiad passed, which furnished an agreeable conversation for the evening.
21. The next day they all went to see the good old man, and afterwards frequently repeated their visits. Francis also came to see his grandfather, who was rejoicod to hear him speak, and to receive his affectionate caresses.
We destroy Pleasure by pursuing it too eagerly. 1. A Boy, smitten with the colours of a butterfly, pursued it from flower to flower with indefatigable pains. First he aimed