图书图片
PDF
ePub

THE DIRTY BOOTS.

your shoeblack."

Edward was so proud of his position as a gentleman's son, that he not only inwardly despised all who were below him in station, but showed by his words and manner the contempt with which he regarded them. One day he happened to see his father's footman cleaning shoes. “Oh, what dirty work that is !" cried he, turning up his nose; " for all the world I would not be a shoeblack." Very likely,” replied John, “and for my part I hope I shall never be

All the last week's weather had been very wet, but now it had grown clear and bright, on which account Edward received his father's permission to take a ride on horseback. Now the promise of this ride afforded him the greater pleasure, as the day before, when he was out, he was hindered by a heavy shower of rain from going very far. He had been far enough, however, to splash his boots from top to bottom with mud, and they were not now quite dry.

Filled with joy with the thought of his ride, he ran down to John, who was at breakfast in the kitchen, and in a commanding tone of voice cried out, “ John! John! I am going out on horseback ! Run and clean my boots directly! Do you hear?” John pretended that he did not hear, and went on quietly eating his breakfast. In vain Edward put himself into a passion, and called John a hundred

John contented himself with answering

names.

very calmly, “I have told you already, if you recollect, that I hoped never to become your shoeblack.”

In the meantime, seeing that he could not, with all his threatening, prevail upon John to do as he desired, Edward went in a rage to his father, and complained of his conduct. His father could not comprehend why John refused a job that belonged to his occupation, and which he had always before readily performed; so he sent to speak with him a little while, and was told of Edward's language the day before.

The course which John had taken was fully approved by Edward's father, who reproved his son for his conduct, and told him he might go and clean his boots himself, or stay at home, whichever he thought best. He forbade the other servants to assist him in the matter. “You will learn, sir,” added he, “how silly it is to look with scorn on services that contribute to our comfort, and which you should rather strive to soften than to make more harsh and degrading. Therefore, since a shoeblack's trade seems in your eyes so disgraceful, be so kind as to make it more respectable by being in future your own shoeblack.”

Such a decision turned his promised pleasure into sorrow.

He was very eager for a ride on horseback; it was such fine weather. But to clean his boots himself !—he could not stoop to such an office. On the other hand his pride would not permit him to go out with dirty boots, when everybody he met would laugh at him, He applied to every servant in the house to clean his shoes, and offered them money if they would do so; but not one could be persuaded to disobey his master's order. Thus Edward was obliged a long while to stay at home, till in the end his pride gave way, and he went and cleaned his shoes. The next day John resumed his office without being asked, and the humbled Edward, having cleaned his shoes once himself, never afterwards spoke in a scornful manner of that occupation.

POOR DOG TRAY. On the green banks of Shannon when Sheelah

was nigh, No blithe Irish lad was so happy as I; No harp like my own could so cheerily play, And wherever I went was my poor dog Tray. When at last I was forced from my Sheelah to part, She said (while the sorrow was big at her heart), Oh! remember your Sheelah when far, far away, And be kind, my dear Pat, to our poor dog Tray. Poor dog! he was faithful and kind to be sure, And he constantly loved me although I was poor; When the sour-looking folk sent me heartless away, I had always a friend in my poor dog Tray. When the road was so dark, and the night was so

cold, And Pat and his dog were grown weary and old, How snugly we slept in my old coat of grey, And he licked me for kindness-my old dog Tray.

1

Though my wallet was scant, I remembered his

case, Nor refused my last crust to his pitiful face; But he died at my feet on a cold winter's day, And I played a lament for my poor dog Tray. Where now shall I go, poor, forsaken, and blind ? Can I find one to guide me, so faithful and kind ? To my sweet native village so far, far away, I can never return with my poor dog Tray.

T. Campbell

HISTORY OF A CAT.

PART I.

Some days ago died the favourite cat of Mrs. Thomson. Her disorder was a shortness of breath, proceeding partly from old age, and partly from fat. As she felt her end approaching, she called her children around her and told them her history as follows :

“I was born at a farmhouse in a village some miles from here; and almost as soon as I came into the world, I was very near leaving it again. My mother brought five of us at a litter; and as the frugal people of the house only kept cats to be useful, we were at once doomed to be drowned, and a boy was sent to throw us into the horsepond. The boy was highly pleased with this order, and performed it with that delight which boys seem naturally to take in acts of cruelty.

“While we were struggling for life, a little girl, one of the daughters of the farmer, came running to the side of the pond, and begged very hard that she might save one of us, and bring it up for her own. After some dispute, her request was granted; and the boy reaching out his arm took hold of me, as luckily I was the nearest to him. Had he been a moment later I should have been drowned, for my strength was fast giving way. I was laid on the grass, and it was some time before I recovered. The girl then restored me to my mother, who was delighted to get again one of her little ones; and for fear of another mischance she took me in her mouth to a dark hole, where she kept me till I could see and was able to run by her side.

“As soon as I came to light again, my little mistress took possession of me, and tended me very carefully. Her fondness indeed was sometimes troublesome, as she pinched my sides with carrying me, and once or twice hurt me a good deal by letting me fall. Soon after, however, I became strong and active, and played and frisked about all day long, to the great delight of my mistress and her companions.

“At this time I had another narrow escape. A man brought into the house a strange dog, which had been taught to worry all the cats that came in his way. My mother slunk away at his entrance, but I, little fool as I was, thinking that I was able to protect myself, remained in the room, growling, and setting up my back by way of defiance. The dog instantly ran at me, and before I could get

« 上一页继续 »