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“In faith 'tis an excellent bonfire,” quoth he,
“ And the country round is obliged to me
For ridding it, in these times forlorn,
Of rats that only consume the corn.”
So then to his palace returned he,
And he sat down to supper merrily ;
And he slept that night like an innocent man,
But the Bishop he nevermore slept again.
In the morning, as he entered the hall,
Where his picture hung against the wall,
A sweat like death all over him came,
For the rats had eaten it out of the frame.

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As he looked, there came a man from the farm, He had a countenance white with alarm,

My lord, when I opened your barns this morn I found the rats had eaten your corn.” Another came running presently, And he was pale as pale could be, “Fly, my lord Bishop, fly !” quoth he; “ Ten thousand rats are coming this wayThe Lord forgive you for yesterday !” “ I'll go to my tower on the Rhine," quoth he, 66 'Tis the safest place in Germany ; The walls are high, and the shores are steep, And the stream is strong, and the water deep.”

Bishop Hatto fearfully hastened away,
And he crossed the Rhine without delay,
And reached his tower, and barred with care
All the windows, doors, and loopholes there.
He laid him down, and closed his eyes,
But soon a wild scream made him rise ;
He started, and saw two eyes of flame
On the pillow, from whence the screaming came.
He listened, and looked-it was only the cat ;
But the Bishop, he grew more fearful for that,
For she sat screaming, mad with fear,
At the army of rats that was drawing near ;-
For they have swum o'er the river so deep,
And they have climbed the shores so steep,
And up to the tower their way is bent,
To do the work for which they were sent.

They are not to be counted by dozen or score ;
By thousands they come, and by myriads and more;
Such numbers had never been heard of before,
Such a judgment had never been witnessed of yore.
Down on his knees the Bishop fell,
And faster and faster his beads did he tell,
As louder and louder, drawing near,
The gnawing of their teeth he could hear.
And in at the windows, and in at the door,
And through the walls helter-skelter they pour,
And down from the ceiling, and up from the floor,
From the right and the left, from behind and before,
From within and without, from above and below,
And all at once to the Bishop they go.
They have whetted their teeth against the stones,
And now they pick the Bishop's bones ;
They gnawed the flesh from every limb,
For they were sent to do judgment on him.

R. SOUTHEY.

The Silk Dress,

[graphic]

ITTLE AMY had worn nothing but a plain frock till she was eight years old. Neat shoes, made of red leather, set off her small feet, and her black hair floated in large curls upon her shoulders.

She had been one day in the company of some other little girls who, though not older than herself,

were dressed like great ladies ; and the richness of their clothes awakened in her heart the first vain notions she had ever had.

“ Dear mamma," said she, on her return, “I have seen this afternoon the three Miss Flowerdales. The eldest of them must be younger than myself. O dear ! mamma, how sweetly they were dressed. Their parents must certainly have great pleasure in seeing them look so fine. I dare say they are not so rich as you, so give me, if you please, a fine silk dress, with such embroidered shoes as they had on, and let my hair be dressed by Mr. Frizzle, who, they tell me, is extremely clever in dressing ladies' hair.”

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Her mamma replied that she was welcome to these fine things, if they would add to her happiness, but that she was afraid they would rather cause her trouble and mortification.

Why will they cause me trouble ?” said little Amy.

Because, my dear,” said her mother, "you will be constantly afraid of soiling, tearing, and rumpling what you wear. A dress so elegant as that of the Miss Flowerdales will

equire the greatest attention and care, or else it will lose its beauty. If it gets one stain, its loveliness will be lost for ever, as one cannot put it into the washtub to recover its brightness ; and, however rich you may suppose me, I am certainly not rich enough to let you have a new silk dress whenever you want one.'

“Oh! if that be all, mamma,” said Amy, “do not make yourself uneasy. I will be very careful of it.”

“Well, then, you shall have such a dress,” said her mamma ; “but, remember, I have told you what uneasiness your vanity may cause you."

Not convinced of the wisdom of this counsel, Amy did not lose a moment in destroying all the pleasure and enjoyment of her infancy. Her hair, which had till then hung down at liberty, was now to be confined in paper, and squeezed close between a burning hot pair of curling-tongs.

Two days after Amy had a handsome silk dress brought home, with fine pink trimmings, and a pair of elegant shoes to match them. The taste that appeared in her clothes, their vivid colours, and elegant workmanship, charmed her very much ; but when she had put them on, it was evident that her limbs were under great constraint. Her motions had no longer their accustomed ease and freedom, and her childish countenance, amidst so great a quantity of flowers, silk, and ribbons, lost entirely every trace of that simplicity which is the beauty of early years.

She was, notwithstanding, quite enchanted with the delightful change. Her eyes with mighty satisfaction wandered over her little person, and were never taken off, except when she looked round about her to find out some looking-glass in the room,

that might represent before her in full length the idol which she worshipped.

She had prevailed on her mamma to send out cards of invitation to her little friends, that when they came to visit her she might enjoy a feast in viewing their surprise and admiration. When they had all met together, she walked to and fro before them like a peacock; and from her behaviour anyone would have imagined that she supposed herself an empress, and considered those about her as her subjects. But alas ! the triumph was of very short duration, as we shall see in the events that followed.

The children were permitted to go out in the fields, near that part of the town where she lived. Amy, therefore, led the way, and they reached, in ten or fifteen minutes, a delightful part of the country.

A beautiful meadow, first of all, attracted their attention. It was everywhere full of the most beautiful flowers; and butterflies, with wings of lovely colours, flitted about in every part of it. The little girls amused themselves in making nosegays of the flowers, and in chasing the butterflies ; but they did not hurt them when they caught them.

Amy, whose pride had at first disdained these simple amusements, at length desired to join in them ; but the ground, they told her, might be damp, in which case she would stain her shoes and damage her dress ; for they had now discovered that her intention in thus bringing them together was only to vex them with the sight of her fine clothes, and they resolved to mortify her in their turn.

She was thus obliged to be solitary, and sit still, while she observed the sprightly cheerfulness of her companions, who sported round about her. The delight of looking at her new dress began to wear away, and she longed to join in the sports of her little guests.

At the corner of the meadow there was a little grove, in which were to be heard the songs of numbers of birds. This grove the children entered, and enjoyed the coolness of the shade. Poor Amy would have followed them, but she was told that the bushes would tear all her finery to pieces. She watched her friends playing at “puss in the corner,” and chasing each other through the trees. The more she heard them shout with joy in their amusement, the more, as was to be expected, she became peevish and ill-humoured.

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But the youngest of her visitors had some sort of compassion on her. She had found out a corner of the field where there was a quantity of fine wild strawberries, and she beckoned Amy to come and gather some. Amy hastened to the spot, but in a short time her companions heard her utter a cry for assistance. They ran to the hedge, and found Amy fastened by the gauze upon her hat to a thorn in the hedge, from which she was unable to free herself. They made haste to loose the pins that held her hat on; but, to add to her affliction, her hair, which had been curled with so much labour, was likewise entangled with the thorn, and it cost almost a whole lock before she could be set at liberty. Thus, all at once her charming head-dress was pulled to pieces.

Her playmates, instead of pitying her, could hardly keep from laughing at her misfortunes. They knew she had invited them to admire her finery, and they thought her troubles were a proper punishment for her folly. After having smoothed her down a little they ran off in search of fresh amusement, towards a hill which they saw at some distance from them.

Amy could not, however, without very great difficulty, reach this hill. Her tight shoes, which had been made to show off her little feet, prevented her running at all fast; nor was this all, for her stays were laced so tight, as she could not easily fetch her breath. She would have been glad to go home and change her dress, in order to be more at ease; but she knew her little friends would not consent, on her account, to shorten their amusements.

They had got by this time to the top of the hill, and were enjoying the fine view which presented itself to them on every side. They saw on one side green meadows; on the other, fields yellow with the harvest, and in the midst a rivulet running its winding course through the country. So beautiful a prospect charmed them. They even danced about with joy, while Amy, out of breath at the bottom of the hill, was full of sadness.

She now saw that her fine clothes, instead of making her more happy, had rendered her completely miserable. She was thinking upon this subject, when suddenly she heard her friends running down the hill, crying out as they passed her, “Run, Amy, run, there is a dreadful storm approaching ; if you do not make haste your silk dress will be wet through !”

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