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clerk. But what was come to the clerk ? He was either so deep in conversation, or so set up because he was invited to dine at the parsonage, or else it was the forgetfulness of old age; whatever it might be, however, he went walking on, the congregation went each their several ways, and the old clerk forgot to lock the church door.
“Kikiki ! ” laughed a magpie that hopped upon the churchyard wall under the willow-trees, seeking twigs for her nest. “Kikiki ! kikiki !” But there seemed to be something queer in that laugh of hers, and while she was hopping up and down, wagging her tail, and turning her head from one side to another, she seemed as if she was spying after something particular. And so she was. She was spying after the clergyman and the clerk, and for the last glimpse of the congregation as they went along, some one way and some another.
“Kikiki !” and away flew the magpie through the open door into the church, and in two seconds came back again with the silver cup in her beak. There fell a few drops of holy wine out of the cup, and wherever they touched the earth, up sprang little roses and forget-me-nots.
“These will betray me," said the magpie; and so she flew all round the church till the last drop was out of the cup, and the church was encircled with a garland of little flowers. After that she took her way to the leafy willow-tree, and hid the
cup where the boughs were thickest. “Dear willow-tree,” said the magpie, “I know that you are very discreet, therefore you must deny that you know anything about the cup if they come and ask you; and you can swear that you don't if it is necessary: and if you will, I'll fly up to heaven and fetch some sunshine-gold, and gild
the upper side of your leaves, and some moonlight-silver, and silver the underside, so that you will be the handsomest tree in the wood."
These were words to be listened to. It was in vain that the other willow-tree said, “Don't do it, dear; don't do it!" The cup was hidden where the boughs were the thickest, and the magpie hopped to the church roof.
The next day the old clerk remembered his neglect, and, frightened almost out of his wits, ran to the church, and there was a dreadful discovery for him and the clergyman. Away both of them went, as fast as they could go, all through the parish, and everywhere they asked—had anybody seen the silver cup from the altar?
But no; everybody denied that they knew anything about it; the horses and the cows galloped over the fields; the sheep shook their heads as if they had tears in their eyes; the goats skipped here and there; the raven swore a great oath, because he knew that nobody believed him; the trees waved their branches; echo laughed in the caverns of the hills; in short, all nature denied any knowledge of the cup.
Quite in despair, the clergyman and the clerk at length came back to the church, and asked the willow-tree. There was a great strife in the heart of the willow-tree, which was felt even down to its root. Should it speak the truth or not?
The magpie sat on the church roof on one leg, with her head under her wing, every now and then casting up a sidelong glance.
“Can't you give an answer ?” said the clergyman, impatiently.
“Why don't you answer his reverence?” said the clerk.
“Kikiki !" laughed the magpie on the church roof.
As soon as the willow-tree heard the magpie, he lifted up all his branches, and his twigs, and declared that—declared he did not know anything at all about the cup.
And what do you think happened then?
I'll tell you; he could not bring his false branches and twigs down again! They remain erect to this day.
And no sooner were they lifted up in that act of protestation, than the cup was revealed; and the clergyman and the clerk, overjoyed, seized it, and carried it back to the church, the door of which, you may
be sure, was locked ever after. When the other willow, however, saw what had happened to his friend, he bowed his head sorrowing to the earth, and thus he has stood weeping ever since.
The Great Nugget of the Great Globr.
OLD continues to pour in from the diggings, to the
tune of a million a month; and if this goes on for any great length of time, we shall have sovereigns as big as muffins, and London streets may really be paved with gold, as they were reported to be in the
days of Whittington and his Cat. We have often heard about the “Golden Legend,” (a pretty book,) and we have the “Golden Number" in the Calender, and poor old PETER PARLEY has bought "Golden Opinions” from all sorts of people. But these things are nothing to the Golden days" of our time, when large lumps of gold are found, weighing half a ton. I do not know what to say, or what to think, about it. The other day I went to the “Great Globe" Exhibition, and my excellent friend, the proprietor, pointed out to me in the most lucid manner, the distribution of gold throughout the world, and told me a great deal of its history, from the earliest times. In early days, gold was found in small grains, in the beds of rivers, or alluvial sands. The Phænicians seem to have been the earliest nations who set themselves to the working of metals on a great scale, and, in Spain, obtained supplies of gold and other metals, by the process of mining. The best known ancient gold mines, were those of Spain and Nubia; those of Mount Pangæus, in Thrace; of the Alps, from the streams of the river Po; of Astyra, near Abydos ; of the river Pactolus, and Mount Timolus, near Sardis, in Asia Minor. In mines, a new source was opened by Columbus, who obtained access to new regions of gold and silver; and the immense quantities of these metals, poured in from America, affected not merely all the commercial transactions of Europe, but were felt by the farmer in distant states, and the shepherd on the hill-side, from the increased money value of their products. Since that time, in addition to the goldworkings of Russia and Virginia, the discoveries in Australia and California have opened a wide field for enterprise, and set the nations of the north in movement.
Gold is almost always found in a pure state, and is generally met with in grains, thin leaves, knobs, nuggets, or large lumps sometimes nearly half a ton in weight. Often it is mixed up throughout the rock, or it may be in veins or lodes, spreading about like the twigs of a tree-here thickly—there scantily. In some parts, the gold is to be met with in a bed of rock; in others, mixed up with the gravel; almost always at the upper parts of great rivers, rather than the lower. Gold is found in the Goomty at the foot of the IIimalays; but it is not therefore to be looked for in the Hooghly, a thousand miles below. Gold exists in the South Australian formation, near the mouth of the Murray, and in those of New South Wales, at the head waters of the Darling.
But to leave these districts a little, and go back to the gold