Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

desired to know what I would have done upon such an occasion in my own country. I told his majesty, that in Europe we had no monkeys, except such as were brought for curiosity from other places, and they were so small that I could deal with a dozen of them, if they ventured to attack me. And as for that monstrous animal with whom I was so lately engaged (it was indeed as large as an elephant), if my fears had suffered me to think so far as to make use of my sword |(looking fiercely, and clapping my hand upon the hilt as I spoke) when he poked his paw into my chamber, perhaps I should have given him such a wound as would have made him glad to withdraw it with more haste than he put it in. This I said in a firm tone, like a person who was jealous lest his courage should be called in question. However, my speech produced nothing else but a loud peal of laughter, which all the respect due to his majesty from those about him could not make them contain.

This made me reflect how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavour to do himself honour among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him. And yet I have very frequently seen the moral of my own behaviour in England, where a little contemptible varlet, without the least title to birth person, wit, or common sense, shall presume to look with importance, and put himself upon a footing with the greatest persons in the kingdom.

I used to attend the king's levee once or twice a week, and had often seen him under the barber's hand, which, indeed, was at first very terrible to behold ; for the razor was almost twice as long as an ordinary scythe. His majesty, according to the custom of the country, was only shaved twice a week. I once prevailed on the barber to give me some of the suds or lather, out of which I picked forty or fifty of the strongest stumps of hair. I then took a piece of fine wood, and cut it like the back of a comb, making several holes in it at equal distances with as small a needle as I could get from Glumdalditch. I fixed in the stumps so artfully, scraping, and sloping them with my knife towards the points, that I made a very tolerable comb; which was a seasonable supply, my own being so much broken in the teeth that it was almost useless ; neither did I know any artistin that country so nice and exact as would undertake to make me another.

a

Simon Lee, the Old Huntsmat,

N the sweet shire of Cardigan,

Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
An old man dwells a little man-

"Tis said he once was tall. Full five-and-thirty years he lived

A running huntsman merry ;
And still the centre of his cheek

Is red as a ripe cherry.
No man like him the horn could sound,

And hill and valley rang with glee
When echo bandied, round and round,

The halloo of Simon Lee.
In those proud days, he little cared

For husbandry or tillage ;
To blither tasks did Simon rouse

The sleepers of the village.
He all the country could outrun,

Could leave both man and horse behind;
And often, ere the chase was done,

He reeled, and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world

At which his heart rejoices ;
For when the chiming hounds are out,

He dearly loves their voices !
But, oh, the heavy change ! bereft

Of health, strength, friends, and kindred, see ! Old Simon to the world is left

In liveried poverty.
His master's dead, and no one now

Dwells in the Hall of Ivor ;
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;

He is the sole survivor.
And he is lean and he is sick ;

His body, dwindled and awry,
Rests upon ankles swollen and thiek;

His legs are thin and dry. One

prop he has, and only one : His wife, an aged woman, Lives with him, near the waterfall,

Upon the village common.

Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,

Not twenty paces from the door,
A scrap of land they have, but they

Are poorest of the poor.
This scrap of land he from the heath

Enclosed when he was stronger ;
But what to them avails the land

Which he can till no longer?
Oft, working by her husband's side,

Ruth does what Simon cannot do ;
For she, with scanty cause for pride,

Is stouter of the two. And though you, with your utmost skill,

From labour could not wean them, 'Tis little, very little—all

That they can do between them.
Few months of life has he in store,

As he to you will tell,
For still the more he works, the more

Do his weak ankles swell.
My gentle reader, I perceive

How patiently you've waited, And now I fear that you expect

Some tale will be related.

O reader ! had you in your mind

Such stores as silent thought can bring, O gentle reader ! you would

find
A tale in everything.
What more I have to say is short,

And you must kindly take it :
It is no tale ; but, should you think,

Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see

This old man doing all he could
To unearth the root of an old tree,

A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock tottered in his hand ;

So vain was his endeavour,
That at the root of the old tree

He might have worked for ever. “ You're over-tasked, good Simon Lee,

Give me your tool,” to him I said ; And at the work right gladly he

Received my proffered aid.

66

I struck, and with a single blow

The tangled root I severed,
At which the poor old man so long

And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought,

And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought

They never would have done.
I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds

With coldness still returning ;
Alas! the gratitude of men
Hath oftener left me mourning.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

The Xind and the Sun: a fable.

DISPUTE once arose between the north wind and the sun as to which had the greatest power, and they agreed to try their strength on a traveller, which should be able to get his cloak off first. The north wind began, and blew a very cold blast, accompanied with a sharp driving shower ; but this,

and whatever else he could do, instead of making the man let go his cloak, forced him to keep it round his body as tightly as possible. Next came the sun, who, looking out from a thick watery cloud, drove away this cold vapour from the sky, and darted his warm, sultry beams upon the head of the poor weather-beaten traveller. The man, growing faint with the heat, and unable to endure it any longer, soon threw off his heavy cloak, and then the sun gained an easy victory.

IMPATIENCE of contradiction is both weak and wicked. Instead of facilitating decision, it perpetuates contention. It darkens the evidences, and obstructs the efficacy of truth itself. It originates in a radical defect of judgment, and too often terminates in a most incorrigible intolerance of temper.—Dr. Parr.

Young Scholars' Compositions.

A PAPER CHASE. THERE is, among our many school sports, one to which every schoolboy looks forward with delight, namely, a paper chase. I will try to give you a short account of one in which I took a part as a hound. The day was fine and not too warm, and we waited with impatience till lessons would be over, and it would be time to start. So, after having had something to eat, and when we had filled the bags with torn-up paper for the hares to scatter as scent, we rushed to the schoolroom door to be let out after them as they had started. When the five or six minutes of suspense given as a start to the hares was over, the door was opened, and out we ran, shouting and crying Tally-ho! as if we were hounds and hunters in reality. Soon we saw the long trail of paper stretching across the field, which told us that that was the way the hares had gone. After the first few miles were over any one watching us would, I am sure, have observed how gradually we were diminishing, for nearly all those who had been so vigorous to run at the beginning, dropped off, or lagged behind, showing how true the fable of the hare and the tortoise is, and that they who start at first steadily will not be the last in the end. Of course we cared little where we went, over hedges and ditches, through plantations, fields, wading through rivers—the latter being the much greater hindrance to us for the hares had run for a little way down and scattered the paper in the river that we might have some trouble to find it. We arrived home without catching the hares, the foremost of us only reaching that desired spot an hour after them. When all had got home (for some nearly lost themselves) we had a good supper, and went to bed very tired, so that very few, I doubt, even dreamt about the

A. F. MITCHELL, aged 13. This was written, without any help, by the above, at Little Massingham Rectory, Rougham, Norfolk, June 10, 1873.

a

paper chase.

A DAY AT GRIMSBY AND CLEETHORPES. When I was nine years old, I and my father and many scholars of the surrounding schools went a day's trip to Grimsby, a seaport on the east of Lincolnshire, near the mouth of the Humber. It was a bright, clear morning when we started, the sun shone brightly, and everything seemed pleasant. The train was due at the station at half-past four, but it did not arrive till half-past five. It stayed for a short time, and then started, loaded with a great many passengers. On going the train stopped at two stations, Newark and Lincoln, and then went forward to Grimsby. We reached our destination about nine o'clock, after being three hours and a-half on the way. After we had got out of the train we went through the town, in companies. We had brought provisions with us, so that we had not to go in anywhere for our meals. At the end of the town was the Dockyard, where ships were coming in and

a

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »