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had preserved them from death, or, which is worse, from shame; for may not distress sometimes force people to do actions at which their hearts would recoil, had they the bare means of existence ?"
“ Indeed, papa,” said Mary, was you represent it, it would be a pleasure, for you cannot think how happy I should be to see little girls that I had fed and clothed; I should be so proud of them, show, them to every body, and make them so smart !
“ There again you would err," interrupted Mr. Richardson; “it is not making them smart, it is making them decent, clean, comfortable, and warm, that is necessary.
To make them what you call smart, would be in weak minds inspirnig thoughts that might prove injurious ; for they ought to be taught to be useful members to society, which finery can never make them. - You also say you should be proud of them. Pride, my love, would destroy the whole merit of your work; and to tell your good deeds must argue a very weak mind; nay, do you not recollect the immediate words of our Blessed Saviour ? - Take heed that you do not your alms before men to be seen of them : otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven."
THE STORY OF THE LITTLE MUSICIANS.
The dinner was scarcely concluded when the sound of a flageolet, accompanied by an infantile voice singing The Children in the Wood, attracted both Charles and Mary's attention; and, jumping up, they ran to the window to see the performers.
“What decent-looking children!” exclaimed Charles : “look at them, my dear Sir; I do not think they are much older than Mary and I.”
They are indeed young,” replied Mr. Richardson, “and their parents, if they have any, very blamable to suffer them to lead so vagabond a life, as they are both of an age to be rendered serviceable in some way or other.
“Poor things,” replied Mary, "perhaps
they are orphans; I have half-a-crown in my pocket, may I not send it down to them?"
“ If they are friendless,” replied Mr. Richardson, “half-a-crown will be but of little service to them; or if they lead this life from a love of idleness, it is wrong to encourage it; but as you both appear interested, «suppose we send for them in, and question them.”
The children expressed their thanks, and Mr. Richardson ringing the bell, desired the waiter to send up the itinerant musicians.
The waiter presently returned, introducing them ; but the girl shrank back, while the boy, holding her hand, modestly advanced, saying, in a country dialect and low voice, “Don't be afraid, Patty, tho' they be gentry, they look main goodnatured."
“ You play on the flageolet and sing,” said Mr. Richardson; “ give us a specimen of what you can perform.”
The children hesitated for a moment, but Mr. Richardson repeating his request with a smile, the boy made a bow, and obeyed; first saying, “We ben't used to come before such gentry as your honour, and Patty's shame-faced, but I hope you will excuse it.”
He then began to play on his rustic flageolet, which his sister accompanied with her voice.
“ Very well,” said Mr. Richardson ; “pray young man, what age are you, and where did you learn to play ?”
“I am thirteen," returned the boy, bowing, “and sister's ten, an' please you. I learned to play from my father, who, when his work was done, used to play a few tunes to my mother, who sat spinning and singing to him, as sister now does to me."
“ And where do your parents live?"
The girl turned aside, and holding a corner of a little checked apron to her eyes, remained silent.
They are both dead and buried, half