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It was a little green plot on one side of the forest, where was spread on the grass, under a branching oak, a little pallet, half covered with a kind of tent ; a basket or two, with some packs, lay on the ground. A few paces off he observed a little swarthyfeatured girl, about eight years of age, on her knees praying, while her little black eyes ran down with tears. Distress of any kind was always relieved by this good king, for he had a heart which melted at human woe. “What! my child,” he inquired, “is the cause of your weeping? What is it you are praying for?" The little creature at first started, then rose from her knees, and pointing to the tent, said, “O, sir, my dying mother!” “What!" said his majesty, dismounting and fastening his horse to the branches of an oak,—“What ! my child : tell me all about it.” The little creature now led the king to the tent.
There lay, partly covered, a middle-aged female gipsy, in the last stages of a decline, and in the last moments of life. She turned her dying eyes upon the royal visitor, and then looked up to heaven. . Not a word did she utter-the organs of speech had ceased their office, the silver cord was loosened, the wheel broken at the cistern. The little girl again wept aloud, then, stooping, wiped the dying sweat from her mother's face.
The king, much affected, asked the little girl her name and family, and how long her mother had been ill. Just at that moment another gipsy girl, much older, came out of breath to the spot. She had been to the town, and had brought some medicine for her dying mother. Seeing a stranger, she modestly curtsied, kneeled down by her side, kissed her pallid lips, and burst into tears.
dear child,” said the king, “can be done for you?” “O sir,” she replied, “ my mother wanted a religious person to teach her and pray with her before she died. I ran all the way before it was light to Windsor, and asked for a minister, but I could get no one to come with me to pray with my dear mother.” The dying woman seemed sensible of what her daughter was saying, and her countenance was much agitated. The air was again rent with the cries of the distressed children.
The king, full of kindness, instantly endeavoured to comfort them. “ God has sent me,” he said, “ to instruct and comfort your mother.". He then sat himself down on a pack by the side
of the pallet, and taking the hand of the dying gipsy in his, spoke to her of her sins, and her need of a Saviour, and how Christ was willing to save all who truly turned to Him. While the king was doing this, the poor creature seemed to gather consolation and hope ; her eyes sparkled with brightness, and her countenance became animated. She looked up and smiled ; but it was her last smile, the glimmering of expiring nature. As the expression of peace, however, remained strong on her countenance, it was not till some little time had elapsed that they perceived the struggling spirit had taken its flight to another world.
It was at this moment that some of his majesty's attendants, who had missed him at the chase, and who had been riding through the forest in search of him, rode up and found the king comforting the afflicted gipsies. It was an affecting sight, worthy of everlasting record in the annals of kings.
His Majesty now rose, and putting some gold in the hands of the afflicted girls, promised them his protection, and bade them look to heaven for guidance. He then wiped the tears from his eyes, and mounted his horse. His attendants stood by in silent admiration. One of them was going to speak, when his majesty, turning to the gipsies, and pointing to the breathless corpse, said with strong emotion, “Who thinkest thou was neighbour unto these?”
Reader_“Go thou and do likewise."
The Town and Country Mouse: « fable.
N honest, plain, sensible country mouse is said to
have entertained at his hole one day a fine mouse of the town. Having formerly been playfellows together, they were old acquaintances, which served as an apology for the visit. However, as master of the house, he thought himself obliged to do the
honours of it in every respect, and to make as great a stranger of his guest as he possibly could. In order to do this, he set before him some delicate grey peas and bacon, a dish In good
of fine oatmeal, some parings of new cheese, and, to crown all, the remainder of a charming mellow apple for dessert. manners, he forbore to eat any himself, lest the stranger should not have enough ; but, that he might seem to bear the other company, sat and nibbled a piece of wheaten straw very busily.
At last the town mouse said : “Old friend, give me leave to be a little free with you. How can you bear to live in this dirty melancholy hole here, with nothing but woods, and meadows, and mountains, and rivulets about you? Do you not prefer the conversation of the world to the chirping of birds, and the splendour of a court to the rude aspect of a desert ? Come, take my word for it, you will find it a change for the better. Don't waste your time in thinking about it, but let us go away this moment. We do not live for ever, and therefore we should try and be as happy as we can in the short time we have. Make sure of to-day, and spend it as agreeably as you can; you know not what may happen to-morrow.”
These, and such like arguments, prevailed, and the country mouse made up his mind to leave for town that very night. So they both set out on their journey together, proposing to sneak in after the close of the evening. They did so, and about midnight made their entry into a certain great house, where there had been a grand entertainment the day before. The country mouse was now placed in the midst of a rich Persian carpet, and the town mouse acted as master of their feast. He set before him the choicest morsels he could find in the house, which the little mouse from the country enjoyed very much, and continually thanked his friend for having brought him into such a comfortable home.
Suddenly, however, a noise of somebody opening the door made them start from their seats, and scamper in confusion about the dining-room. The country mouse was ready to die with fear at the barking of a large mastiff, who opened his huge throat, and made the whole house echo with his cries. At last, recovering himself, “Well,” says he, “ if this be your town life, much good may it do you ; give me my poor quiet hole again, with my homely but comfortable grey peas.”
Gulliver in Brovdiugnæg.
HE greatest danger I ever underwent in that kingdom
was from a monkey, who belonged to one of the clerks of the kitchen. Glumdalclitch had locked me up in her closet, while she went somewhere upon a visit. The weather being very warm, the closet window was left open, as well as the window and
door of my bigger box ; in which I usually lived because of its large size. As I sat quietly thinking at my table I heard something bounce in at the closet window, and skip about from one side to the other; whereat, although I was much alarmed, yet I ventured to look out, still keeping my seat.
I then saw this frolicsome monkey frisking and leaping up and down, till at last he came to my box, which he seemed to view with great pleasure and curiosity, peeping in at the door, and every window. I retreated to the farther corner of my room or box; but the monkey looking in at every side, put me into such a fright that I wanted presence of mind to conceal myself under the bed, as I might easily have done. After some time spent in peeping, grinning, and chattering, he at last espied me; and reaching one of his paws in at the door, as a cat does when she plays with a mouse, although I often shifted my place to avoid him, he at length seized the lappet of my coat (which, being made of that country silk, was very thick and strong), and dragged me out.
He took me up in his right fore-foot, and held me as a nurse does a child ; and when I offered to struggle, he squeezed me so hard, that I thought it more prudent to submit. · While he held me with one hand, with the other he stroked my face very gently with his paw. In the midst of these diversions he was interrupted by a noise at the closet door, as if somebody were opening it ; whereupon he suddenly leaped up at the window at which he had come in, and thence upon the leads and gutters, walking upon three legs, and holding me in the fourth, till he clambered up a roof that was next to ours.
I heard Glumdalclitch give a shriek at the moment he was carrying me out. The poor girl was almost distracted. That quarter of the palace was all in an uproar. The servants ran for ladders. The monkey was seen by hundreds in the court, sitting upon the ridge of the building, holding me like a baby in one of his fore-paws, and feeding me with the other, by cramming into my mouth some victuals, and patting me when I would not eat. At this comical sight, many of the rabble below could not forbear laughing ; neither do I think they justly ought to be blamed, for, without question, the sight was ridiculous enough to everybody but myself. Some of the people threw up stones, hoping to drive the monkey down; but this was strictly for
; bidden, or very probably my brains had been dashed out.
The ladders were now applied, and mounted by several men ; which the monkey observing, and finding himself almost encompassed, not being able to run fast enough on his three legs, let me drop on the ridge tile, and made his escape. Here I sat for some time, five hundred yards from the ground, expecting every moment to be blown down by the wind, or to fall by my own giddiness, and come tumbling over and over from the ridge to the eaves ; but an honest lad, one of my nurse's footmen, climbed up, and putting me into his breeches-pocket, brought me down safe.
I was almost choked with the filthy stuff the monkey had crammed down my throat ; but my dear little nurse picked it out of my mouth with a small needle, and then I fell a vomiting, which gave me great relief. Yet I was so weak, and bruised in the sides with the squeezes given me by this odious animal, that I was forced to keep my bed for a fortnight. The king, queen, and all the court sent every day to inquire after my health, and her majesty made me several visits during my sickness. The monkey was killed, and an order made that no such animal be kept about the palace.
When I attended the king after my recovery, to return him thanks for his favours, he was pleased to rally me a good deal on this adventure. He asked me what my thoughts and speculations were while I lay in the monkey's paw ; how I liked the victuals he gave me, and his manner of feeding; and whether the fresh air on the roof had sharpened my appetite. He