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heard of them; knew not even what a real beggar was. He stopped suddenly before Elsie, and asked her the cause of those tears. She could make him no reply ; her little heart was too full.
“Has anybody hurt you ?" asked the feeling little fellow, The girl shook her head negatively. “ Have you lost your way ?” he persisted. “No," answered the child, quite audibly. " What is the matter, then ?" asked he.
“Mother is poor and sick, and I am cold and hungry. We have nothing to eat. Our room is quite cold, and there is no wood for us. Oh, you do not know all, you cannot know all !"
“But I will,” replied the manly boy. “Where do you live ?"
“Will you go with me?” asked Elsie, her face brightening.
“ Yes; let me go with you," said he ; "show me the way!"
Through street, lane, and alley, she guided him.-They reached the door of their hovel. The cold draughts of the wind whistled in at the cracks and crevices, and the key-hole before them, as if inviting them to go in.
They entered. A sick woman feebly raised her head from her pillow, and gave her child a sweet smile. “Elsie, have you come ?" she faintly said.
· Yes, mother," answered the child, “and I have brought this boy with me. I do not know who he is, but he said he wanted to come and see where we lived. Did I do wrong to bring him mother?'
“No, no, my child," said the mother, “if he knows how to pity you, from his little heart ; but he cannot pity me yet; he is not old enough.
The bright-faced, sunny-hearted boy gazed in astonishment upon the mother and child. The scene was new to him. He wondered if this was what they called poverty. His eyes looked sadly upon the wasting mother, but they glittered with wonder when turned towards Elsie. Suddenly they filled with tears. The want, the woe, the barrenness, the desolation, were all too much for him. He shuddered at the cold, uncovered floor. He gazed mournfully into the empty fireplace. His eyes wandered wonderingly over the naked walls, looking so uninviting and cheerless. Putting his hand into his pocket, he grasped the coin that his mother had that very morn given him, and drew it forth. “ You may have that !” said he, holding it out to the child.
“O, you are too good! You are too generous, I fear!” broke in the mother, as if she ought not to take it from him.
“Mother will give me another if I want it," said he; “it will do you a great deal of good, and I know I don't need it. Take it, take it ! you shall take it !” and he was instantly gone.
It was a gold coin, of the value of five dollars !
Mother and child wept together. Then they talked of the good boy whose heart had opened for them on that new year's day. Then they let their fancies run, and grow wild, and revel as they chose. They looked at the glistening piece. There was bread, and fuel, and clothing, and every other comfort to be had. They continued to gaze upon the coin. Now they saw within its rim pictures of delight and joy; visions of long rooms, all wreathed and decorated with evergreens and flowers ; visions of smiling faces, and happy children; sights of merry sleigh-rides, and the glistening of bright runners over the smooth-worn snow. They listened ; they heard the mingled sounds of merry voices, and the chiming musical bells; the accents of innocent tongues, and the laugh of gladsome hearts. Ah! what a philosopher's stone was that coin! How it turned everything, first into gold, and then into happiness! How it grouped around them kind and cheerful friends, and filled their ears with kind voices ! How it garlanded all the hours of that day with evergreens and full-blown roses ! How it spread them a laden table, and crowded it with merry guests ! and those guests, too, all satisfied, all happy! O, what bright rays shone forth from that same trifling coin of gold ! Could it have been as bright in the child's or the man's dark pocket? No; else it had before then burned its very way through, and lent its radiance to others. Could it have shone with such visions in the rich man's hands ? No; else his avarice
would have vanished at once, and his heart have overflowed with generosity. No, no; it was only to such as the widow and her child that it wore such a shine, and emitted such brilliant rays, and revealed such sweet and welcome visions. Only for such as they !
That night returned this angel boy to the bleak room, then filled with happiness and lighted with joy; but he was not alone; his own mother was with him. Blessed boy! he has passed the whole of a new year's day in making others happy. And how much happier was he himself! How his little heart warmed and glowed to see the child uncover the basket he had brought with him, and take out, one by one, the gifts that were stowed there! And how overjoyed was he to see his mother offer the sick woman work, and a new home, and to see the sick woman grow suddenly strong, and almost well, under the influence of their kind offers ! He wondered if their happiness could possibly be as deep as his own; if their new year was as bright to them as was his to him. He knew not how any one could be happier than he was at that moment.
Years have rolled away into the silent past. That little girl-Elsie Gray—is a lady. Not a lady only in name, but one in very deed, in heart, in conduct. She dwells in a sweet suburban cottage, and her husband is devoted only to her. That husband is no other than the generous little boy who, on the new year's festival, accosted her so tenderly in the street, and went home with her. Her poor mother sleeps quietly in the little church-yard ; yet she lived to know that God had provided for her child. She died resigned and happy.
SELECT SENTENCES. AGESILAUS, king of the Lacedemonians, said, “I would rather be master of myself, than of the greatest cities of my enemies ; " and, “I would rather preserve my own liberty, than usurp the liberty of another man.” When some flattered him with divine honour, he asked them If they could not make gods too ? and if they could, Why did they not begin with themselves ? He would not suffer his picture to be taken, saying, “Men's fairest portrait is their own actions." When one asked him the way to true happiness, he replied, “ To do nothing that should make a man fear to die."
ALCAMENES, king of Lacedemon, when one wondered that he refused the presents of the Messenians, answered, “I make conscience to keep the laws that forbid them." When a miser accused him of reserve in his discourse, he said, “I had rather be covetous of my words than of money." Being asked the way to get and to preserve honour, he answered, “ To despise wealth.”
Agis, another king of Lacedemon, said, “Good actions never need repentance.” Liverpool.
J. J. B.
CHILD DESTROYED BY A VULTURE. I've been among the mighty Alps, and wandered through their
vales, And heard the honest mountaineers relate their dismal tales, As round the cottage blazing hearth, when their daily work
was o'er, They spake of those who disappeared, and ne'er were heard of
more. And there I from a shepherd heard a narrative of fear, A tale to rend a mortal heart, which mothers might not hear ; The tears were standing in his eyes, his voice was tremulous, But wiping all those tears away, he told his story thus :
“ One cloudless Sabbath summer morn, the sun was rising
high, When, from my children on the green, I heard a fearful cry, As if some awful deed were done, a shriek of grief and pain ; A cry, I humbly trust in God, I ne'er may hear again !
"I hurried out to learn the cause, but overwhelmed with fright, The children never ceased to shriek, and from my frensied
sight I missed the youngest of my babes, the darling of my care, But something caught my searching eyes, slow sailing through
Oh, what an awful spectacle, to meet a father's eye, His infant made a Vulture's prey, with terror to descry; And know, with agonising breast, and with a maniac rave, That earthly power could not avail that innocent to save ! “My infant stretched his little hands imploringly to me, And struggled with the ravenous bird, all vainly to get free ; At intervals I heard his cry, a shriek, and stifled scream! Until, upon the azure sky, a less'ning spot they seem'd. “The Vulture flapped his sail-like wings, though heavily he
A mote upon the sun's broad face he seemed unto my view ;
All search was vain, and years had passed, that child was
ne'er forgot, When once a daring hunter climbed unto a lofty spot, From whence, upon a rugged crag the chamois never reached, He saw an infant's fleshless bones the elements had bleached !
“ ( clambered up that rugged cliff; I could not stay away, I knew they were my infant's bones thus hastening to decay; A tattered garment yet remained, though torn to many a
shred ; The crimson cap he wore that morn was still upon his head !" “ That dreary spot is pointed out to travellers passing by, Who often stand, and musing gaze, nor go without a sigh. And as I journeyed the next morn along my sunny way, The precipice was shown to me, whereon the infant lay.