Small Means and Great Ends
Edited by Mrs. M. H. Adams
Part 2 out of 2
But Ellen--believe me, she was transformed from a child of sunshine to
an angel and minister of light in darkness. She sat by her husband as
serene and collected as if her babe only slept; not a tear swept her
cheek, not a tremulous word fell from her lips, as she soothed her
stricken companion; her pale face wore no look of despair, and she
directed every funeral preparation with as much composure as if _her_
heart had not felt the awful wound. The world called her heartless,--but
Christ must have owned her as one of his brightest jewels, almost a
perfect disciple. When she spoke, we felt as if some mysterious power
from heaven was in our midst. We thought as much of the saint-like
fortitude and resignation of our feeble Ellen, and wept as much to
witness her calmness and spiritual strength, as for the loss of our
interesting little friend.
Our pastor called to offer gospel consolations to the sorrowing mother,
but he wept as Ellen greeted him, saying, "God hath much love for us,
Brother Ellis, for he chasteneth much. Now, my only prayer is, that
Henry may be led to perceive it and be at peace. If you have words of
comfort, go to him and still his troubled spirit."
The aged came to console her, but went back to their dwellings feeling
that she was as well instructed in the wisdom of heaven as the oldest
servant among them. The young and happy came to mingle tears of sympathy
with her, but returned to dwell upon her words as upon communications
from the spirit-land, rather than from a creature like themselves. Her
words found a way to the soul of the most thoughtless, fixing their
minds upon heaven, and revealing the unseen glories of a better home,
and the beauty of Christian faith in an earthly one.
She was a Christian mother. When she put on Christ, she was "_a new
creature_" She believed her first grief was almost a murmuring against
heaven. Surely we know she bore an equal love for all her children, but
when her last one died, she loved God and her Saviour more, believing
fully that God would not do her wrong,--that he only sought the good of
his creatures in his dispensations,--that although they seemed grievous
and inscrutable to them, he saw the end from the beginning, and
chastized whom he loved.
THE MOTHERLESS CHILD.
BY MRS. M.H. ADAMS.
To become a childless mother is indeed one of the most severe
afflictions which woman can be called to endure; yet it may be, it is
often met with noble, Christian fortitude, with Christian humility and
resignation, that soothe the acute pains of the mother's heart, and
carry her thoughts away from earth and above its sorrows; so that we
feel that she can and has found a balm, and has still left her
consolation and happiness. But when we see a little child, whose mother
God has taken, as fully realizing its bereavement, its loneliness, its
absolute misfortune, as a child can do, we feel that to be a motherless
child in this unchristian world, is indeed an affliction for which there
seldom appears a balm; though we doubt not our Father hath the balm for
this as for every other wound.
A young man sat by the corpse of his faithful wife, the mother of all
his little babes. One child was gazing silently and inquiringly at her
father, as he held his head weeping and groaning in anguish of spirit.
A tender infant of a few weeks lay asleep in the cradle at his side. The
young man's mother entered the room, and with tenderness of tone and
manner, endeavored to calm his grief; with words of gospel love and
faith to comfort him.
"Abby has been to you a kind, faithful and devoted wife, David; an
agreeable companion and constant friend. Before God she was a humble
child, and before the world a worthy disciple of Christ. You doubtless
feel all this, and more. Few can speak evil of her, and very many will
sincerely mourn her early death, and sympathize with you in this
dreadful hour. But remember, David, you have, before this, professed
trust and belief in the promises and love of God. Now is the time to
make manifest your Christian faith, your hope in God, your belief in the
gospel. Try not to be utterly disconsolate in your loneliness. God is
very near to us, although this heavy cloud of sorrow lies between him
They were interrupted by the entrance of the oldest child of the
departed one, a sensitive, intelligent boy of six or seven years. Tears
were in his eyes as he opened the door, and fell fast into the lap of
his father as he tried to speak to him.
"Father," said he, "I have been down in the sitting-room, trying to read
my little books; but I think so much of my dear dead mother, I can't
read; and the tears come into my eyes so fast, that I can't see the
pictures. I went to rock in my little chair, but I saw my mother's empty
chair, and my little heart aches very much. It will be very lonesome and
sad here, if I don't see mother anywhere. And who will take care of this
little baby brother?"
No word was spoken by those present, but their tears and sobs told
plainly that they too felt how lonely and sad that home would be without
the gentle voice and cheerful song of that "dear mother." As no one
checked him, Willie again spoke, and, as well as he could amid sobs and
tears, told the bitterness of his young spirit.
"I love you some, father, but not as I did my mother; and now my mother
is in heaven, who shall I have to take care of me and kiss me, father;
who will say a prayer to me every night? Aunt Susan's prayers are not
like mother's; and your voice doesn't sound so sweet by the side of my
bed as my mother's did. Oh dear! what did my mother die for, and leave
me a poor little motherless boy?"
His father then took him upon his knee, wiped his tears, and soothed him
to sleep with gentle caresses. No word could David utter. For a long
time he sat with his sleeping boy, beside his dead. The paleness of his
cheek, and the frequent sigh, expressed his sorrow. His mother again
tried to draw from him an expression of his Christian fidelity, fearing
that he was untrue to his God and his Master under a trial so severe.
When at length he did speak, a hardened heart might have been moved by
his broken sentences and choking words, as he made an effort to assure
his anxious parent.
"Mother, I have the utmost confidence in the mercy and goodness of
God--even now that he has taken to himself one so very dear. I feel sure
there is some great and important lesson which he would have me learn
from this sorrowful event. I have all faith that Abby is at rest, and
will still love those of us who are left on the earth to mourn. I
believe we shall meet each other in the future, that we shall recognize
and love each other, with a far more perfect and a purer love than we
have cherished here. I shall be lonely, and miss from my hours at home
the counsel, the aid, the cheerfulness, sympathy and attentive love of
one of the best of women. Her beautiful example in the service of her
Master will often be remembered with deep and sincere grief.
"All this I could bear calmly; if it were more bitter, I could bear it
and not weep. But to think of my children--as motherless babes; to hear
Willie tell his sorrow, and mourn so bitterly in his tender years for a
mother--so dear; to feel that with his susceptibility and keen
sensitiveness he realizes so fully his loss; to hear him sob on his
pillow at night, and, when alone, call himself 'little motherless
Willie;'--oh, mother! what man or Christian would not bow beneath a
burden like this?--It is the contemplation of _four motherless children_
that wounds me most. It seems to me Abby herself would not reprove me,
could those cold lips now bring me a message from her spirit in heaven."
* * * * *
With expressions like those in the chamber of the dead was every hour in
the home of David embittered, for weeks and months, by the little
mourning child. He gathered flowers and laid them before his father,
saying, "I don't suppose you care about them, father; but my mother
isn't here to take them. I pick them because they look up into my face
as if mother was somewhere near them. But they wither on my hand, and
hold down their heads, just as I want to do now my mother is dead."
Every object at home seemed to remind Willie of his mother, and keep his
bereavement uppermost in his thoughts. He did not weep as much after a
few weeks, but through all his boyhood there rested a sadness on his
countenance, that indicated a mournful recollection of that dear mother.
Through his whole life he felt that he was like a tender branch lopped
from the parent-tree; like a lamb sent out from the fold while too young
to meet the storms and travel the dangerous paths of which he often
heard from his mother. This idea seemed ever present, and served many
times to hold him back from adventurous pursuits and untried schemes. "I
don't know--but I should have known had my dear mother lived," was the
expression of his general course in life.
As long as he was a child he spoke often and tenderly of his mother. He
cherished a remembrance of her faithful admonitions and precepts, as
vivid as might have been expected from a child bereaved at the age of
eight or ten. When older, he realized more fully his loss, especially
when he met one whom he believed to be _a good mother._ He then seldom
spoke of his mother; but his visits to the grave-yard, his sadness on
the anniversary of the day of her death, his conversations about her
with his brothers and sister, the value he attached to every token of
her love to him, convinced us that he remembered her with deep
When a young man, he was several times beguiled by the tempter into
forbidden paths, and his eyes were not opened to behold the danger
until the fangs of the serpent pierced deeply into his heart. Then most
fully did he realize that he was _poor motherless William_; that he was
abroad in the world without those most effectual safeguards against sin,
a good mother's counsels and a mother's daily prayers; that while others
could express unreservedly to their mothers their hopes or fears, their
success or misfortune, their faithfulness in the hour of temptation or
weakness under its power, and be counselled, encouraged, urged or
entreated anew,--he could only go to his mother's grave and shed bitter
tears of repentance in loneliness, or withdraw himself from all around
him, and, _a poor motherless child,_ call up the dim remembrance of that
young and cheerful being who once called him her precious son, her
treasured child,--and weep the more bitterly that no answering voice or
smile, or look of encouragement or hope, met _him_ in this sinful world!
Oh ye who have hearts to feel, who profess Christian principles to guide
you, and the holy love of our Master for your example, seek out the
_motherless child_ of the poor, the ignorant, the vicious, and by the
power of Christ which is within you, according to the measure of that
power, strive to be like fond mothers to the thousands who cry "We have
no dear mother--our mother is in heaven--is dead--and we know not what
is right or what is wrong!" Help and pity them. Rescue them from that
heart-breaking loneliness and sorrow that prey incessantly on the
feelings of a sensitive, intelligent, _motherless child_.
BY MRS. E.R.B. WALDO.
Upon the peaceful breast of Faith
My troubled soul hath found repose,
Free from the sad and starless gloom
That doubting scepticism knows.
Though disappointment, care, and pain,
Have bent my heart to their decree,
One thought hath ever led me on,
It is, _that it was so to be_.
Oft would my weary spirit faint,
My heart yield almost to despair,
Did not "a still small voice" exclaim,
"There is no change, but God is there."
That mighty power which points the shaft,
And forms the spirit to endure,
Will, in its own peculiar way
And time, perform the wondrous cure.
Still may my soul, through faith, rely
Upon the promises of God;
His mercy see in every change,
And learn to bless his chastening rod.
BY MRS. C. HIGHBORN.
_Clarissa_. Pray, Mary, what are you going to do with those crumbs which
you hold in your hand?
_Mary_. I am going to feed my snow-birds with them; and I should be very
happy to have you go with me. I know you will enjoy seeing how merrily
they hop about and flutter their wings, and seem to chirp out their
thanks as they pick up the food I throw them.
_C_. Thank you for your invitation; but I beg you will excuse me; it may
be pretty sport for you, but, for my part, I can enjoy myself much
better to stay here and arrange my baby-things, for I expect some girls
to see me this afternoon. I cannot conceive what there is in those
ugly-looking snow-birds to interest you; they are not handsome, surely;
they have not a single bright feather; and, as for their songs, they
sound like the squeak of a sick chicken.
_M_. I am sorry to hear you speak so of my favorites; for, though they
are not so brilliant in their colors as many that flutter around us in
the summer, yet to me they tire dearer than any others, and far more
beautiful than those of a gaudier hue.
_C_. Well, you have a queer taste, I must confess; you remind me of the
philosopher I read of in the story-book, who thought a toad the most
beautiful of God's creatures. Come, perhaps you can show me why they are
entitled to your regard, and point out their beauties.
_M_. I will cheerfully comply with your request, for nothing gives me
more pleasure than to speak of the good qualities of my friends. Examine
them for a moment and see how exquisitely they are formed, and, though
not gaudy in their colors, yet their feathers are soft and glossy. But
these are trifles comparatively; what most endears them to me is their
_C._ That is a new idea, indeed. Constancy in snow-birds! Please explain
_M_. Well, they seem to me like those rare friends that love us best in
adversity, when the bright summer of prosperity, with its attendant
joys, has fled, and the winter of sorrow and misfortune shuts out, with
its dark clouds, the light of life, and withers, with its frosts, the
few flowers which bloom along its pathway. There are summer friends,
Clara, as well as summer birds, and they both wear brilliant colors, and
sing enchanting songs, but they depart with the sunshine; the first
leave us to battle the storms of adversity, and the others, the cold and
barren prospect of winter; these little snow-birds, however, remain, and
through all its dark hours they cheer us by their presence. They seem to
tell us that we are not entirely destitute of pleasure, but that the
darkest hours have something of beauty; and, while they serve to awaken
in our minds a remembrance of the bright days that have gone, they bid
us look forward to the end of our sorrows, and welcome the bright spring
days, which shall return to us the joys that departed.
_C._ I declare! you have preached quite a sermon, and from a funny text;
I confess there is both truth and poetry in what you say. I do not
wonder that you love the snow-birds, if they awaken such pleasant and
pretty thoughts in your mind. Henceforth I will love them myself, for
the good lesson that, through you, they have imparted. I trust you will
forgive me the rudeness of laughing at you.
_M_. Cheerfully, Clara; but learn from this never to despise any of
God's creatures; they can all teach us some important and beautiful
lesson which we should be happy to heed. And now, if you please, we will
go and feed the snow-birds.
_C_. With all my heart!
[Illustration: MOUNT CARMEL.]
Mount Carmel is a high promontory, forming the termination of a range of
hills running northwest from the plain of Esdraelon. Mount Carmel is the
southern boundary of the Bay of Acre, on Acca, as it is called by the
Turks; its height is about fifteen hundred feet, and at its foot, north,
runs the brook Kishon, and a little further north the river Belus.
Mount Carmel is celebrated in Scripture history as the place where
Elijah went up when he told his servant to look forth to the sea yet
seven times, and the seventh time he saw a little cloud coming up from
the sea "like a man's hand," when the prophet knew that the promised
rain was at hand, and girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab's chariot
even to the gates of Jezreel. (1 Kings xviii. 44-46.)
Towards the sea is a cave, where it has been supposed that Elijah
desired Ahab to bring Baal's false prophets, and where fire from heaven
descended on the altar he erected. The present appearance of Carmel is
thus described by Dr. Hogg, who visited it in 1833. "The convent on
Mount Carmel was destroyed by the Turks in the early part of the Greek
revolution. Abdallah, the Turkish pasha, who commanded the district in
which Carmel is situated, not only razed their convent to the ground,
but blew up the foundations, and carried the materials to Acre for his
own use. The convent is now being rebuilt, or probably is now completely
finished, the funds having been supplied by subscriptions solicited all
over Europe, and a great part of the East, by one of the brethren,
Giovanni Battista, who has travelled far and wide for that purpose." Dr.
Hogg gives the following account of the condition of the place at the
time of his visit.
"The whole fabric is of stone, and, when completed, will possess the
solidity of a fortress. The first story only is at present finished, and
hereafter will be solely appropriated to the accommodation of
travellers, when another, to be raised above, will be exclusively
devoted to permanent inmates. In the centre a spacious church has been
commenced, and already promises to be a fine building. The principal
altar will be placed over the cave so long held sacred as the retreat of
the prophet. This natural cavern exhibits at its farther extremity some
signs of having been enlarged by art. When the edifice above is
complete, it will be converted into a chapel; and a projecting ledge of
rock, believed to have been the sleeping-place of the prophet, will then
be the altar. The superior himself kindly conducted me to see one of the
celebrated caves which everywhere abound in the district of Mount
Carmel. Descending two thirds of the mountain by a narrow path, scooped
in the rock, we entered an enclosure of fig-trees and vines, where
several caverns, that of old belonged to the Carmelites, are now
inhabited by a Mohammedan saint and his numerous progeny. We first
entered a lofty excavation of beautiful proportions, at least fifty feet
long, with a large recess on one side,--every part chiselled with the
nicest care, and inscribed with numerous Greek initials, names, and
sentences. Here Elijah is believed to have taught his disciples, and
hence its name, 'the school of the prophets.' Some smaller adjoining
caverns, fronted with masonry, now form the residence of the saint and
his family. A deep cistern for the preservation of water has been hewn
in the rock, and the entrance is closed by a gate shaded inside by
"The memory of Elijah is equally venerated by Christians and Moslems;
and the votaries of each faith are liberally allowed access to the
several caves. At the time of our visit the general appearance of Mount
Carmel was dry and sterile; but the superior assured us that in spring
it was clothed in verdure and beauty."
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE.
BY MISS ELIZABETH DOTEN
"Daily striving, though so lonely,
Every day reward shall give,
Thou shalt find by striving only,
And in loving, thou canst live."
"On dear!" said Annie Burton, as she sat down under the old apple-tree
by the spring; "I wonder what ails me; there's been such a choking
feeling in my throat all this afternoon, and though I winked and
swallowed with all my might, the tears would come in spite of myself.
Here I've been wandering for more than three hours, up hill and down,
through brambles and brier-bushes; my hands are scratched and bloody,
and the sun has burnt me as brown as a berry. Three long precious hours
in the sunny month of August! and what does it all amount to? Why, I
have picked a basket of berries that can be eaten in half an hour; and
here is a bunch of flowers for little Katie, that she will take and
admire, and then tear to pieces; that will be the end of them. But that
isn't the worst of all; no, not by a great deal; there is a great rent
in my frock, gaping and staring at me, waiting to be mended; and nobody
knows how long 't will take me to do that. Oh dear! how I hate to work!
I don't see how it is; there's mother takes care of the children, sews,
makes bread and washes the dishes, just as willingly and cheerfully as
if she were playing on the piano or reading a pleasant book. They say
that good people are always happy; but I _never_ am. Oh, I believe I am
the worst creature that ever lived!" and she bent her head upon her lap
and burst into tears.
It was not long before she was roused by the sound of footsteps; she
raised her head, and saw an old woman coming down the road with a large
basket on her arm. She looked tired and weary, as well she might be, for
she had travelled a long distance; it was a hot, sultry afternoon, and
every footstep stirred a cloud of dust. She came towards the spring; but
before she reached it, she struck her foot against a stone and fell.
"Have you hurt you?" exclaimed Annie, as she sprung to her side.
"Not a bit, not a bit," she replied, as she shook the dust from her
apron, and replaced the things that had fallen from her basket.
"Oh, yes, you have!" said Annie; "see, the blood is streaming down your
"Oh that's nothing; only a scratch. Blessings on the good Father that
watches over me! I might have broken my arm, and that would have been a
deal worse! How fortunate I happened to fall just by the spring here!
I've been longing for a drink of cold water, and I sha'n't need it any
the less for getting such a mouthful of this hot dust."
"Heart's dearest!" she exclaimed, as she put down the iron dipper that
always hung by the spring, after having satisfied her thirst, "what is
it troubles you? Such sorrowful eyes and a tearful face belong only to
older heads and more sinful hearts; and God forbid it even to them,
unless it is wrung out of the agony of their very souls; for though his
providences are just and wise, yet nature must have its way sometimes."
"Oh," she replied, as the tears filled her eyes again, "I have been
crying to think how wicked I am."
"Well-a-day!" said the old woman, looking rather droll; "it's very
strange such a young creature as you should come down here to weep on
account of great wickedness. You don't look much like a Salem witch, or
a runaway from the house of correction."
Annie could not help laughing at such an idea; but as the smile passed
away, the troubled waters of her heart seemed to burst forth in a
flood, and she wept violently.
"Ah," said the old woman, shaking her head sorrowfully: "I ought not to
have spoken thus; I see how it is. Poor lamb! she hears the voice of the
Shepherd calling her, but she is bewildered and knows not the way to the
fold; and may the Lord Jesus look upon me, as he did upon his sinful
servant Peter when he denied him, if I fail to point out to this dear
child the path wherein he himself has taught me to tread."
She sat down beside Annie and laid her arm gently around her. "There's a
dear girl," said she, raising her head, and putting back the locks of
moist hair; "listen to me a little while, and I will tell you what will
make you happier." She took the cool waters of the spring, and bathed
her burning forehead, and washed away all traces of dust and tears. The
water had a cooling and soothing effect upon Annie's troubled brain.
"There now," said the good dame; "don't you feel better?"
"Yes," said Annie, almost cheerfully.
"Well," she continued, "God's love is just like this spring; it is full
and free to all. Now don't you suppose, if you could cleanse and purify
your heart from all traces of sin and sorrow in its blessed waters, just
as you bathe your face in this spring, that you would feel happier and
"Yes," said Annie, slowly and thoughtfully, as if a new idea was passing
through her mind.
"Well then, I will tell you how. I have felt just as you do now. When I
was a girl I was a restless, idle creature; useless to others, and a
burden to myself. Of course I was unhappy, miserable. It was in vain
that I went to school with such a discontented mind. I had a harder
lesson to learn than any that my teacher could learn me. God grant you
may not have to learn it in the same way that I did! I learned it by
experience; a sorrowful way that is to learn anything, although it is
slow and sure; you may be pretty certain that you never will forget it.
I have found out, by experience, that the only way that we can live and
be happy, is by loving and serving others, just as the blessed Jesus
did; and if you will try it you will find it so."
"Oh," said Annie, "I am a little girl. What good can I do? If I was the
Lord Jesus, I would go about doing good; then I would cast out devils,
and heal the sick, and raise the dead."
"Yes, yes; I know you are yet but a 'wee thing,' and have much to learn;
but 'the race is not always to the swift and the battle to the strong;'
it isn't the tallest men and the oldest heads that do the most good in
the world. But I'll tell you what _you can_ do, if you can't work
miracles; though there's many a devil cast out in these days of sin and
sorrow, that men know not of; those who struggle and strive with the
Evil One, and thrust him out of the doors of their heart, do not sound a
trumpet before them in the streets, for they are true followers of the
dear Lamb of God. That same old spirit of selfishness that tempted Eve
in the garden of Eden has gone through the world like a creeping, wily
serpent ever since. It has wound itself round and round our hearts, coil
upon coil, until we scarce seem to have any heart at all. It is this
that troubles you, and you must cast it out; you must forget your own
interest, and learn everybody to love you; then you can't help loving
everybody, and you will be happy. Oh, it will be hard, very hard, to do
this; you will stop, and perhaps turn back; but when it is the darkest
you must take the gentle hand that our dear brother, the Lord Jesus,
stretches out to you, and he will lead you safely to the very bosom of
"But look up, dear one, the sun has gone down behind the hill, and you
must hasten homeward. The mother bird must needs feel anxious when her
nestlings are away. But don't forget what I have told you."
"No," said Annie, raising her head, for she had been thinking
earnestly; every word that her kind friend had spoken went with a
powerful influence to her heart; "I will _try_ and _do what I can,"_
"Ay," said the old woman, "that's right! not even an angel can do more.
But stop," she added; "do you remember what day it is?"
"Yes," said Annie.
"Well then, just a year from this time, if the Lord permits, we will
meet again by this spring. Now good night, and may the blessing of the
Great Father go with you."
"Good night," said Annie, and with a cheerful heart and light footstep,
she hastened homeward.
No sooner did she come in sight of her home, than she perceived a horse
and carriage standing by the gate. She recognized it in a moment; it was
the doctor's. A cold shudder passed over her, and an indefinable fear
entered her mind. She hastened onward and entered the house.
Upon the bed lay little Katie; her eyes fixed upon the wall, seemingly
unconscious of all that passed around her, sending forth low moans, as
if in great pain. Beside her sat the doctor, counting the beatings of
her pulse, and closely observing the alterations of her countenance.
"I cannot give you much encouragement," said he. "It is a disease of
the brain. All shall be done for her that is possible, but I fear there
is not much hope."
Alas! it was even so; all was done in vain. She laid day after day, a
helpless sufferer. It was long before the vital energy was spent; but
through all this weary time, there was one constant watcher by her
Annie, with the impression of a deep truth upon her soul, felt that
_now_ was the time to act, and most faithfully did she perform her duty.
And when, at last, sweet Katie died, with a warm gush of tears she laid
one of the flowers that she had gathered from the hill-side upon her
bosom, and clasping her arms around her mother's neck, she said:
"Mother, dear sister is gone, and now I must be both Annie and Katie to
you; and if God will help me, I shall be more of a blessing to you than
I ever yet have been."
Oh, it was like a ray of sunshine to that weeping mother's heart, to
hear her once wayward child speak thus! and though it was like taking
away the life-drops from her heart to give up her cherished little one,
yet she felt there was still a great blessing remaining for her.
Time passed on. Autumn came with its ripened fruits and golden foliage;
winter laid his glittering mantle upon the streams and hill-tops, and
spring brought blossoms for little Katie's grave.
Annie, the gentle Annie, where was she?
Firm to her purpose, she had gone onward. At times the struggle was hard
indeed. Then she would go to the spring, and kneel down, and talk with
her Good Father, until the evil feelings had left her heart, and the
cheerful smile came again to her countenance.
At length summer, bright, beautiful summer, beamed over the land once
more, and as it drew to a close it brought the day on which Annie was to
meet her friend at the spring.
It was the close of the Sabbath, and the last rays of the setting sun
streamed through the branches of the trees that surrounded the spring,
and tinged its waters with a rosy light. There sat the old lady, looking
anxiously up the road.
"I wonder why she don't come," said she. "Perhaps the young thing has
forgotten me. Sure 'twould be a sorrow to me if I thought she had."
"No indeed," said a pleasant voice. A light form sprang from a clump of
bushes close by, and she felt a warm kiss upon her cheek. "No, I have
not forgotten you, but I have come to tell you how happy I am. Oh, I
have seen trouble and sorrow _enough_, since I saw you; but for all
that, I am much happier than I was then. You told me that I must learn
to love everybody, and so I did; and now it seems as if everybody and
everything loved me, even our old cat and dog. Strange, isn't it?"
"Heart's dearest!" said the old woman, as soon as she could speak,
wiping away the tears from her eyes with the corner of her apron;
"there's a philosophy in all things, even in baking bread and washing
dishes; but the true philosophy of life consists in loving and doing;
and, blessed be God! that is so plain, that the least of his children
can understand it."
THE STARVING POOR OF IRELAND.
BY REV. J.G. ADAMS.
A wail comes o'er the ocean,
Though faint, yet deep with woe!
A nation's poor are falling
Before the direst foe!
Grim Famine there hath seized them,
And over Erin's land
The multitudes are perishing
Beneath his blasting hand!
The father gives his morsel
To his imploring child,
Himself imploring mercy, too,
With voice and visage wild.
The ever-faithful mother
Her portion, too, will share
With those who lean upon her,
And plead her dying care.
Then father, mother, children,
Must listen, one and all,
To Famine's surer, sterner voice--
To Death's relentless call.
For means are all exhausted;
Bread! bread! There is no more!
And in that once glad cabin
The conflict now is o'er.
Fond, faithful hearts there perished;
Affections deep and true
As other homes and loved ones
Now know, or ever knew.
And why this visitation
So sweeping and so sore?
Why? why? Repeat the question
The wide world o'er and o'er!
In that same land is plenty,
Profusion, wealth, and power,
Enough to stay the famine-plague
This very day and hour.
Yes, while the poor are starving
By scores and hundreds even,
Riches and luxury send up
Their impious laugh to heaven!
Wrong! wrong! this destitution,
While there are means to save
A nation of strong-hearted men
From famine and the grave.
Thanks, thanks for riches! but a woe
To this our earth they bring,
So long as they shall fail to save
God's poor from suffering!
THE SABBATH SCHOOL FESTIVAL.
BY REV. HENRY BACON.
In these days of "exhibitions" and "excursions" which give such rich
pleasure to our Sabbath school children, it may be well to turn back
something over twenty years, and see what used to be "great things" to
the pupils of the Sunday schools. The only festival I ever knew while in
a Sabbath school, in my youth, was at Dr. Baldwin's church, Boston. As I
was cradled in a different faith, I ought to tell how I came to be a
scholar in a Baptist school; and I will do so, as it may give a good
hint to some teachers to be impartial.
At the school I attended a decision was made to give a silver medal to
the best scholar. A good many of us worked hard for it, especially the
boys in the round pews near the pulpit, who had reason to think that the
prize would fall to one of their number. A right good feeling prevailed
amongst them; all were willing to acquiesce in whatever should be the
decision of the superintendent or committee. When the time for decision
came, a lad, the son of a deacon, and who had left school and had not
been at school for six months, was sent for, and _to him_ the silver
medal was given! We all felt outraged, but did not dare to say much. I
begged my parents, with good reasoning, to let me go to another school,
where I had many friends; and I went to Dr. Winchell's, in Salem street,
where Mr. John Gear was superintendent.
What lessons I did get! Whole chapters were recited from the New
Testament, because so many verses brought me a reward, so many rewards a
mark, and so many marks _a book_! We had no libraries then. Well, the
annual meeting came round, and one evening the school met and marched
down to Dr. Baldwin's church. I remember the children did the singing,
and while they were singing, of course, I sung; and I have not forgotten
how crest-fallen I felt when Mr. Gear came along, and whispered to me,
"Don't sing _so loud_;" but he might just as well have said, "Don't
sing," because I knew he did not want me to sing, for I could not keep
time. But it was festival-night, and he was extremely good-natured, and
did not wish to cut short the privileges of any. A prayer was offered,
and then we sung again. A big man, in a large black silk gown, got up,
and delivered a sermon; but we did not heed it as we ought to have done,
because some _tea-chests_ were ranged along at the base of the pulpit.
It was not the _tea-chests_ that attracted our attention, but the sweets
that we knew were _in_ them.
After the sermon was over, and the scholars were ranged in order, in
single file, they marched up to the table near the chests, and each one
received _a quarter of a sheet of gingerbread!_ How rich we were! How
sweet the cake tasted! We were in perfect ecstasies at the "great piece"
given to each of us! Such rows of happy children are seldom seen, and
all because two cents worth of gingerbread was given to them all alike!
We had thought of it for weeks, and it was delightful to anticipate the
occasion. We felt paid for all the trouble we had met in learning
lessons, in getting to school on rainy days, and keeping still and
orderly when we got there. And why all this happiness from so slight a
cause? Because we all felt loving and happy; we loved our teachers and
our school; and it seemed _so odd_ to get gingerbread in the church and
from the Sabbath school superintendent.
But how is it now? A long ride or sail; swings, music, cakes, pies,
fruit, lemonade, and a vast variety of "good things," must be had, or
else the Sabbath school children do not have "a good time!" After all
this is had and enjoyed, I do not believe it is any better than our
simple quarter of a sheet of gingerbread, unless the scholars love each
other more, and their schools better, than we did. Do _you_, reader?
"Nelly! Nelly! Where can the child be? Nelly! Nelly!" But Nelly Grey was
away off in dreamland, and the cheerful tones of her mother's voice fell
all unheeded upon her ear, as did the impatient touch of her little dog
Frisk's cold nose upon her hand. She was sitting on the last step of the
vine-covered portico in front of the cottage,--the warm June sun smiling
down lovingly upon her, and the soft wind kissing the little rings of
chestnut-colored hair that clustered about her temples.
What could make the child so quiet? It must be some weighty matter that
would still _her_ joyous laugh. Why, she was the merriest little body
that ever hunted for violets. There was a laugh lodged in every dimple
of her sunny face, and her busy little tongue was all the day long
carolling some happy ditty.
"Nelly, what are you dreaming about? I've been calling you this long
time, and here you are in this warm sun, almost asleep."
"No, no! mother dear, I've only been thinking, and haven't heard you
call once. Only to think that you couldn't find me mother! how funny!"
"And what has my little girl been thinking of?" said Mrs. Grey, as she
lifted Nelly into her lap, and smoothed hack the silky curls from her
brow. Nelly laid her rosy cheek close to her mother's, and wound her
small arms about her neck, and told her simple thoughts in a low, sweet
"You know it's strawberry time, mother, don't you?"
"Well, I was thinking, if you would let me, I could pick a big basket
full, they are so thick over in our meadow; and maybe Mrs. Preston would
buy them of me, for she gives Mr. Jones a heap of money every year for
"And what does Nelly want of a heap of money?"
"Why, mother, little Frisk wants a brass collar,--don't you, Frisk?"
Frisk barked and played all sorts of antics to show his young mistress
he was very much in need of one. "Think how pretty it would be, mother,
round Frisk's glossy neck. Oh, say that I may--do, do, mother!"
Nelly's pleading proved irresistible, and her mother tied her little
sunbonnet under her chin, gave the "big basket" into her hands, and the
little girl trudged merrily off, with Frisk jumping and barking by her
side to see his young mistress so happy.
Shall I tell how the long summer afternoon wore away, dear little
reader, and how the big basket was filled to the tip-top and covered
with wild flowers and oak leaves? Shall I tell, or shall I leave you to
guess, my little bright eyes? You say, yes? Well, I will tell you about
her walk to Mrs. Preston's after the sun had gone down and the azure
blue sky had become changed to a soft, golden hue.
It was a pleasant walk under the drooping trees, and Nelly Grey,
swinging her basket carefully on her arm, tripped lightly on her way.
Oh, how her blue eyes danced with joy as she looked down upon the little
merry Frisk trotting by her side; her bright lips parted as she
murmured, "Yes, yes, Frisk shall have a nice new collar, with 'Nelly
Grey's dog, Frisk,' written upon it;" then Frisk played all sorts of
funny antics again, probably by way of thanks.
Ah! but what calls that sudden blush and smile to Nelly's face?--and she
had well nigh stumbled, too, and spilt all her strawberries. No wonder
she started, for, emerging from under the shadow of the trees, was a
handsome lad some half a head taller than Nelly. He was gazing, too,
with a witching smile into her face, waiting till it should be the
little maiden's pleasure to notice him. She nodded her pretty little
head as demurely as a city belle, laid her small hand lovingly upon
Frisk's curly coat, and walked with a slower and less bounding step than
before. But Phil Morton was not to be abashed at this; so he stepped
lightly up to Nelly, saying,
"Let me carry your basket; it is too heavy for you."
The little girl, with many injunctions to be careful and not tip it
over, delivered the basket to him; she then told him her project of
buying Frisk a collar with the money got by the selling of the
strawberries, which young Phil approved of very much, and offered to go
with her to buy it, for he knew somebody, he said, that kept them for
sale. Nelly joyfully assented to his offer, and thanked him heartily,
too, for his kindness.
"There, Phil, we are almost there. I can see the long study window; we
have only to pass the widow Mason's cottage, up the green lane, and we
shall be there."
On they walked, laughing merrily for very lightness of heart, till they
were close beside the poor widow's low cottage window. Suddenly Nelly
stopped, and the laugh was hushed upon her bright lips. "Did you hear
it, Phil?" she said softly. "Hear what, Nell?" and Phil turned his black
eyes slowly round, as if he expected to see some fairy issue from the
grove of trees near by. "Why, Lucy Mason's cough. Mother says she will
not live to see the little snow-birds come again. Poor, dear Lucy!" The
great tear-drops rolled fast over Nelly's red cheeks, and fell like rain
upon her little hand. "Oh, Phil, I'll tell you what;--I'll give these
strawberries to Lucy. She used to love them dearly."
"Poh! poh! Nelly; what a silly girl! to give them away when Mrs. Preston
will give you such a deal of money for them!"
"But, Phil, Lucy's mother is poor; she can't buy them for her, and you
can't think how well Lucy loves them."
"Well, what if she does, and what if she is poor? can't her mother pick
them over in the fields, if she wants them so bad? I wouldn't give them
"For shame, Phil Morton! To think of poor old Mrs. Mason's going over in
the fields to pick strawberries, leaving Lucy all alone, and so sick! I
shouldn't have thought it of you, Phil. No, indeed I shouldn't. Give me
the basket," said Nelly sorrowfully; "I shall give them to Lucy." Phil
silently handed the basket to her, and, without speaking, he followed
Nelly as she went round to the cottage door.
The tears ran silently down the poor widow's cheek as she led the
children to her sick child's room, for it touched her heart to see young
and thoughtless children so attentive to her poor Lucy. "And did you
come all this way, you and Phil, Nelly, to bring me these nice
strawberries?" without waiting for her to reply, she turned to a little
choice tea-rose that stood beside her, and, breaking off two half-blown
buds, she gave them to Phil and Nelly, saying as she did so, "It's all I
have to give you, darlings, for your kindness to me, but I know that you
will like them as coming from your sick friend."
The bright blood flashed over Phil's dark brow and crimsoned even his
ears. Poor Phil! The shame and remorse of those few minutes washed away
his unthinking sin, and Nelly forgave him, and tried with all her power
to make him forget it. But the kind though thoughtless boy was not
satisfied until he had sent Lucy a pretty little basket filled with rare
and beautiful flowers, gathered from his father's large garden. Then,
and not till then, did he look with pleasure upon the rose Lucy had
Some time after the above occurrence, perhaps a week, Nelly was sitting
in her low rocking-chair, under the shadow of the portico, sewing as
busily as her nimble little fingers would let her, when a shadow
darkened the sunlit walk leading to the house. Nelly saw it, and knew
well enough who it was; but there she sat, her pretty little mouth
pursed up, and her merry blue eyes almost closed, working faster than
"Oh! is it you, Phil?" she exclaimed, as Phil Morton bounded lightly
over the railing beside her, (for he disdained the sober process of
walking up the steps;) "how you frightened me!" _He_ frighten _her!_
Though he was naughty sometimes, and scared the little birds, he would
not think of frightening Nelly Grey. No, not he.
"Oh! Phil, I have something to show you," said the little girl, after a
while, and then she raised her voice and called, "Frisk! Frisk!" Frisk
was not far away from Nelly, and presently he came lazily along, shaking
his silky coat as if he did not quite relish being waked from his nap so
"But what is that shining so brightly around his neck--can it be a
collar? Well, it is, sure enough. But where _did_ you get it, Nell?"
said Phil, turning to her in amazement.
"Mrs. Preston, the minister's wife, gave it to me; how she came to know
I wanted it, I can't think."
"But I can, Nell. She heard us when we were talking, I'll bet; for you
know she came in just after we did, and she gave it to you for being so
"Oh no, Phil! I only did what anybody else would have done."
"_Anybody_? You know _I_ didn't want to Nelly," said Phil sadly.
"Oh, never mind _that_, Phil; you did afterward, you know."
"Well, but, Nell, I _know_ she gave it to you for being so good. Isn't
there something on the collar?"
"No, only Frisk's name;" and she turned to examine it with Phil.
"There, Nell! what do you call this?" and Phil triumphantly held up the
edge of the collar, on which was written, "_Nelly's reward for
"Why, Phil, I never saw it before; isn't it queer?"
"Queer, that you didn't _see_ it before? Yes; but it isn't queer that
she gave it to you No, not at all; I should have thought she would."
"Oh, Phil, how you praise me! you mustn't," said Nelly, her pink cheeks
deepening into scarlet.
She deserved praise, did not she? for she was a very good little girl.
But I will not tire you with any more about her now. So good-by, my
sweet little reader.
THE FOUR EVANGELISTS.
BY REV. H.R. NYE.
My Young Friends:
I love to hear and to tell stories nearly as well as when I was a child;
but I cannot write them for others to read. Even _small_ children are
sometimes _great_ critics. At any rate, I shall not venture at
You have all read some portions of the book we call the Bible. But do
you know who wrote the Bible? at what time it was written? or anything
of the men by whom it was composed? It was not written by any one man,
at one time, and by him sent out to all men in every part of the world;
but by various persons, in different ages, and first addressed to
particular churches or people. I will not attempt, in this article, to
furnish you with an account of all the individuals, Moses, David,
Isaiah, Paul, John, and others, who wrote portions of the sacred volume;
but I will try to give you some sketches of _the four Evangelists,_
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who wrote the four _gospels_, or Lives of
Jesus, to which their names are now attached. And,
1st, of MATTHEW, by whom the _first_ gospel was composed. He was
called, also, Levi. He was a Jew, born in the province of Galilee. We
suppose that from his youth he was familiar with the worship of the
synagogue and temple, and educated strictly in the religion of Moses. He
filled the office of a publican, was a collector of taxes from the Jews,
to which place he was appointed by the Romans, who, in his day, ruled
over Judea. While engaged in these duties, he became acquainted with the
preaching, miracles, and character of Jesus, the despised Nazarene, and
left all,--his business, friends, home,--to follow him. He journeyed
with Jesus in his ministry, and, after his Master went up to heaven, he
left his own land to preach the gospel among the Gentiles. Some people
suppose that he was a martyr, but this is not well established. Matthew
wrote his gospel either in Hebrew or Greek, (some say both,) about 1800
years since,--very soon after his Master had finished the labors of his
mission, and returned unto his Father. I said, I think, that this man
left all; made many sacrifices to become Jesus' disciple. But we do not
find this in _his_ book. With other virtues, he was an _humble_ man,
quite too modest to praise himself. Luke, in his narrative, mentions
this fact concerning Matthew. Modesty is a rare virtue; an ornament to
the aged, and very beautiful in the young. But I will tell you,
2d, of Mark, sometimes called John, and once, John Mark, in the New
Testament. Very little is known concerning this man. He was probably
born in Judea, and, it is supposed, was converted to Christianity by the
preaching of the ardent, zealous Peter. At one time, he was the
companion of Paul and Barnabas; but, when a quarrel sprang up between
these men, each went his way. Christians quarrelled then sometimes as
well, or as bad, as in our days. Chiefly, Mark travelled with Peter, as
he went forth among Jews and Gentiles, and aided him in his arduous
toils. He went, at last, to Egypt, where he planted churches, and where,
also, he died. Mark was not an apostle; neither did he attend on the
ministry of Jesus. Do you ask, how, then, could he write a correct
account of our Saviour's life? Here is one fact worth remembering. Mark
was the companion of Peter, who was an apostle, who saw the miracles and
heard the discourses of Christ. He examined the account which Mark had
written, and gave it his approval, as being correct,--true. Very few men
who write histories have vouchers like his. So, did we not regard the
Bible-writers as inspired men, we should place the utmost confidence in
the truth of Mark's gospel. He composed it about A.D. 65. We come now,
3d, to LUKE. He was a Gentile,--all people not born in Judea were called
Gentiles,--born in Antioch, the capital of Syria, where the disciples of
Jesus first were called Christians. Luke was a learned man, we are told,
having studied in the famous schools of his own land, also of Greece and
Egypt. He was a physician by profession; and physicians assure us, that,
in his gospel, he has given a more accurate account of the diseases
which Jesus cured than any other New Testament writer: that he often
uses medical terms in his description of the miracles which were
wrought. He was a good and careful thinker, not at all credulous, but
disposed to prove all things, holding fast only to the good and true. He
wrote his gospel (perhaps you know that he was the author of the book of
Acts, also) in Greece, about 35 years after the ascension of Jesus. He
was associated with Paul in his travels, went with him to Rome, and
continued there during the imprisonment of the apostle. Historians are
not agreed in regard to the time or manner of his death. Some affirm
that he suffered as a martyr; others, simply, that, in due time, he
"fell asleep," or died a natural death. We are sure that his talents,
learning, and time were given to the diffusion of the Christian faith.
4th, of JOHN, the beloved disciple, so termed because of his mild and
gentle spirit, and because he most resembled his and our Master. He was
born in Judea, near the sea, or lake, of Galilee. Zebedee, his father,
was a fisherman; and John, probably, engaged in his father's business
until he became a preacher of glad tidings. You must not, from this
fact, conclude that they were certainly poor men, for then, at least,
men of wealth were engaged in the business, and I suppose many now are.
John was the youngest apostle, and "the disciple whom Jesus loved;" you
may recollect that he leaned on the bosom of Christ at the "Last
Supper." He, only, was present, of all the apostles, when Jesus was
crucified,--and Jesus commended his mother to this disciple's care.
After the resurrection of Jesus, John preached "the gospel" in various
parts of Asia.
He wrote his gospel at Ephesus, and, by his labors, the truths of
Christianity spread everywhere among men. The story sometimes told, that
he was put into a caldron of burning oil, by a Roman emperor, and came
out unharmed, is not true. He lived to a very advanced age, and died
when not far from 100 years old. Late in life, when too feeble to
preach, he was often carried into the meetings of the disciples, at his
own request, and, stretching out his hands, as he sat in his chair, was
wont to say, "Little children, _love_ one another." And, when asked why
he so often gave this precept, he would say, "If this be obeyed, it is
the Lord's command, and it sufficeth."
Children, will you think of that precept?
Conversing with two lads once, I asked one, Who wrote the Bible, good
men, or bad men? "Good men, of course," was the response. "But how do
you know they were _good_ men?" I rejoined. And he said, "Because,"--a
very common and very foolish answer,--and was silent. "I think," said
the other lad, the younger of the two, "that good men wrote the Bible,
because _good_ men _love_ the Bible, and _wicked_ men don't."
Can you give another reason as good?
Now I have told you, briefly, of the four evangelists. They were good
men, honest-minded and sincere. Wicked men, all men, act from motives.
But _they_ could have had no motive to deceive. They lost friends, and
wealth, and honor, and ease, and gained contempt, persecution, and
suffering, by preaching the gospel. Their conduct is full evidence that
they were pure and good men. And, if they were good men, they wrote
_the truth_; and, by their labors we have a correct and faithful account
of the life of Jesus. Study these books, and by them be made wise. Above
all, remember the precept of John, "Little children, love one another."
BY MRS. NANCY T. MUNROE.
It is spring,--a backward spring, it is true, for now it is the first
week in May, and not a flower to be seen except the yellow dandelion,
not a blossom even on a cherry tree; nothing is green but the grass, and
that--yes, that is very green, especially this piece before my window;
it seems a relief to look upon it.
Poor May-day revellers! May-day this year was pleasant; that is, the sun
shone, the sky was blue, and the grass was green, in spots at least; but
the cold north wind was blowing, and one needed to be told it was the
first of May.
The sun was higher than usual on such occasions, when the children came
upon our hill;--yet they did come with wreaths and May-poles, but, ah!
the flowers were artificial. Some of the children had on sun-bonnets and
thin shawls; they should have worn hoods and cloaks, and then they might
have been comfortable. But it takes a great deal to discourage children
from going "Maying."
Our hill is a famous place for children on May-day, for it is green and
pleasant; it is glorious to run down its sides, and pleasant to sit on
its banks, which once were forts, and behind which, in less peaceful
days, lurked soldiers with weapons of war. Ah, those children were a
pleasant sight, and as I heard their glad laughter, and saw them chase
each other down those green banks, I said, Peace is better than war.
"Please, ma'am, will you tell me what time it is?" said a little girl,
coming forward from one group of children.
"Quarter of nine," was the reply.
"I didn't think it was so late; did you?" said she, turning to her
companions. They had been out perhaps two hours, and thought it was most
noon, and back they went to their sports.
Soon I heard a sound of weeping. I went to the door, where stood a group
of children around the pump; one poor shivering child, looking blue and
cold, was having her hands and face washed by another, with water cold
from the pump, the tears streaming down her cheeks, and she sobbing
"What is the matter, little girl?"
"Oh," said the one who was performing the washing operation, "she fell
from the top of the hill to the bottom, and made her nose bleed and hurt
The poor child still sobbed and shivered. We carried her in, set her
down before a hot coal fire, and tried to warm her red hands. Her little
companions came and stood beside her, and told her not to cry; but, oh!
she was so cold, and "the tops of her fingers did ache so!"
And this was going a Maying! But yet, next year, these very girls, I
doubt not, will start with just as buoyant hearts for May-day sports,
forgetful of the fall, the cold, and all inconveniences. Ah, childhood's
hopeful heart is a blessed thing!
I well remember now a May-day of by-gone years. Then we had a queen, a
tent, and a table set with numberless delicacies. We had rare sport that
day. The weather was not as cold as the day of which I have been
speaking; we had a few _real_ flowers, and some hardy girls even
appeared in white dresses. The forenoon passed pleasantly; numerous
visitors thronged to see us, and we were the happiest of all May-day
revellers. But all pleasure must have an end. Soon word came that we
must surrender the sails of our tent, for the owner had need thereof.
This caused a general _strike_, and, in the confusion which ensued, a
boy had the misfortune to sit or fall upon the queen's straw bonnet,
which had been laid aside for her flowery crown. It was literally
smashed, unfit for further use. "Ah what will mother say?" was all the
disappointed queen could say. Some few laughed at the queer, misshapen
thing, but more looked on with sad countenances, for it was the queen's
We separated, tired, and, it may be, a little out of humor; but yet, a
few days made everything bright again; we remembered the pleasure with
pleasure, and thought of the disappointments only to laugh over them.
And that bent, spoiled bonnet! When the ex-queen appeared in a fine new
one, with gay ribbons, many looked on, and almost wished that they had
been so fortunate as to have had their bonnets spoiled.
As I look back, other May-days throng upon my mind. The memories of some
of these are sad, yea, very sad! One was the birth-day of a little one
who now rests beneath the green sod. And well do I remember another
bright May morning, when I wandered out over the hill, holding the hand
of a little fair-haired child within my own. Her tiny basket was filled
with flowers the children had given her, and her bright, sunny face was
radiant with smiles. That was her first May-day walk, and much did the
little being enjoy it.
It was her last! Ere the spring breezes came again, she lay within her
little shroud. The snows of winter fell silently upon her little grave,
by the side of him who had gone before, and, ere another May-day, the
sod was green above them.
These are the memories that come over me when I look out upon the
revellers; yet just as well do I love to see them at their sports, and I
can look upon their light, graceful forms, and hear their merry
laughter; and, though my heart goes to the grave-yard and mine eyes rest
upon the spot, yet I can smile upon the gay, living creatures before me,
for I know that childhood is a glad and joyous thing, and that these
beings are the light and joy of some homes, and I pray that these homes
may be never darkened by Death's shadow crossing the threshold.
These my May-day reveries have begun lightly, and ended, as May-days
themselves have done, in sad thoughts. But sad thoughts and life's
troubles are, or ought to be, the heart's discipline. For this purpose
do they come to us, and we should go forth from them purer and better.
BY MRS. M.A. LIVERMORE.
The gentle, laughing, spring had come
With eye and cheek so bright;
The bird glanced through the clear, blue air,
On wing of golden light;
And earth, in gladness, lay and smiled,
To see the beauteous sight.
The streams went singing to the sea,
And dancing to their song;
Its carpet, had the young grass spread
The hills and vales among;
Yet not a flower its bloom had shed,
The fresh green earth along.
Not yet the violet had unsealed
Its blue and loving eye;
Nor had the primrose dared unfold,
For fear that it might die;
And on the tree-tops shook the leaves,
Which oped to kiss the sky.
But so it chanced, one gentle day,
While softly wept the rain,
And sadly sighed the mourning breeze,
The flowers to see again;
A silvery snow-flake fell to earth,
Escaped from winter's chain.
And daintily it laid itself
Where greenest grass was spread,
And where the bland and warm south-wind,
Soft-footed, loved to tread,
And here the white-robed fugitive
Made for itself a bed.
The flower-goddess smiled to see
This new-born snow that fell;
"I'll change it to a flower," said she
"By magic touch, and spell;
For 'twill be long ere blossoms ope,
That spring doth love so well."
Then with a wand of living light,
She touched the feathery snow;
And on it, radiant from her cheek,
There streamed a sunny glow.
Forth from the tiny, crystal flake,
The pearly petals came;
The stem sprang up--there waved a flower,--
The SNOW-DROP was its name!
I never liked the idea of rearing birds in cages; of confining those
little creatures, that seem to enjoy liberty most of all God's vast
family, in the little, stinted prison-house of a cage. Girls seldom
incline to keep them caged; I wish, fewer women did; but boys seem
almost to possess a different nature. Many really enjoy taking the
little helpless fledglings from the nest, hid away so slyly among the
thick boughs of the forest-tree; crowding two, three, or even four, into
one cage, oftentimes not eighteen inches square. They are even so
heartless as to laugh at the fluttering, slapping, and beating of the
poor prisoner against the wiry walls of his gloomy, unnatural home.
To be sure, I once owned a caged bird. It was a robin. A dear brother
had kept him several years, and, on leaving home for a residence in
Boston, where he could not take care of the bird, he gave him to me. It
was not at a season of the year when we could safely release him from
confinement; and, besides that, our oldest brother had taught him to
whistle parts of several tunes, and we feared, moreover, that he might
suffer even in the best season of the year, from the fact of his having
been taken when so young from other robins. Confinement, probably, does
not destroy the instinct of birds, so that they would starve if
released. After having been an inmate of our family nine years, having
suffered countless frights and manglings from the many kittens we had
kept in the time, he at last died by the claws of the family cat, when
released one fine afternoon for an airing, and to have his cage cleaned.
I never since have wished to own a caged bird. The song of a canary
bird, born and reared in a cage, never pleases me like the cheerful
warbling or merry whistle of the wild, free birds of our woodlands. The
one seems but the expression of a cheerful forgiveness of unkind
treatment, the bursting forth of a happy nature in spite of man's
cruelty; while the other seems a free outpouring of perfect happiness,
and the choicest notes of a grateful little being directed to the good
GOD of nature.
I know we often hear of happy, contented little pet birds; yet I never
saw one that did not seem to prefer the freedom of an out-of-door
excursion on the strong, free wing, to the hopping, swinging, perching,
and fluttering, within a narrow cage. The taming and petting of
sparrows, robins, yellow-birds, snow-birds, and swallows, round the
doors or windows of one's house, I admire. There is nothing inhuman in
this practice. It rather calls forth some of the better feelings of the
heart--gives pleasure to us and the birds, yet violates no law of
I here give you a little story of a pet swallow that I met with in a
little English book, which, perhaps, few of you have read. The children
named in the story were certainly kind-hearted towards their little pet,
and very indulgent. Mark well their reward! Some of you may be induced
to imitate them; at least, I hope you will not again be so selfish as to
cage a bird for his song, while, with the exercise of a little patience
and kindly attention, you can tame them so easily at your door.
THE PET SWALLOW.
One day we had been out gathering primroses, and, to put the pretty pale
flowers neatly into baskets, we had sat down under one of the windows in
the old church tower. Mary was sitting next the wall, when something
touched her shoulder, and fell on her knee. It was a young swallow,
without any feathers, that had fallen, or perhaps had been thrown, out
of the nest, by some quarrelsome brother or sister.
The poor primroses were cast away, and every little hand was ready to
seize the prize. When we found it was not killed, or even hurt, by its
fall, some called for a cage; others said, "Let us put it back in the
nest; we do not know what to give it to eat; we may be sure it will
die." And this seemed so very true that we were all obliged to agree;
but, alas! the poor swallow having built in a false window of the tower,
there was no way of getting to the nest, and so the cage was brought,
and the little bird did not die, but grew bigger and prettier every day,
until at last it could skim through the room on its pretty, soft wings,
and would dive down to us, and light upon our shoulders, or let itself
fall into our hands. How we did love that little bird! and oh, how sorry
we were one day, when it flew out at the window! We all ran down to the
lawn; we were quite sure it would never come back to us again, for it
seemed so happy to be free; and we watched it flying here and there--now
high in the air, now close down to the ground. We had called our pretty
bird Fairy, and it really seemed like a fairy now; one moment it was
quite out of sight, the next so near it almost touched us. At last, Fred
gave a long, loud whistle; when he began, it was up in the air, high,
high above our heads, but, before the sound passed away, it was
fluttering its pretty dark wings upon his face. From this time Fairy was
allowed to go free; and it would skim about before our windows all day
long, coming in from time to time to pay us visits, and to sleep at
nights in its old post on the top of one of our little beds in the
At last August came, and then our pretty Fairy skimmed through the air,
far, far beyond the reach of Fred's whistle, for it had set out, with
all the other swallows, on its long voyage across the seas.
We had never thought of this,--never thought that our faithful Fairy
would so leave us,--and it was many days before the hope of its coming
back next year could make us feel at all happy again.
But Fairy, our own dear little Fairy, _did_ come back, and it remembered
us all, as if it had been away only for a few hours, instead of nearly
eight whole months.
It was a very happy day, the day that Fairy came back, and it seemed to
feel as much joy as we did; first it flew to Mary, and then to Fred, and
then to one after the other, twittering its wings, and rubbing its
pretty black head on our hands or faces, as we see dogs and cats do
when they want to show great kindness.
It flew to the top of the little bed at night, pecked at the window when
it wished to get out in the morning, and would dart down at Fred's
whistle as readily as it had been used to do the year before. In short,
notwithstanding the long voyage it had made, Fairy seemed to have
forgotten neither its old friends nor its old ways.
When it came near the time for the swallows to fly away again, we grew
very sad at the idea of losing our pretty Fairy: some thought it would
be wise to put it into a cage, and keep it there until all the others
were gone; while some, who were wiser, said it was Fairy's nature to go
away, and that Fairy must go. But what do you think was our joy to find,
that, of its own good will, Fairy stayed with us? All the others went
away; and, whether it had grown fonder of us, or that it had not liked
the long voyage it had been led into by the example of others, I cannot
say; but for four winters it stayed always with us, taking a flight now
and then in the open air, but spending the greatest part of the day in
the school-room, till summer came, when it would again join its friends,
and always build its nest in the very window from which it had fallen
into Mary's lap.
Six years had passed since then, but what now became of it we could
never learn. For a long time we hoped it had gone again over sea and
land, to visit far countries with all the others, but whether it had or
not we never knew, for we saw our pretty Fairy no more.
The last bright page before you,
Kind reader and good friend,
Is of another Annual
The very pleasant end.
Our Book's communication
To goodly themes applied,
None of its pages would we wish
To change, expunge, or hide.
With us be Life's brief pages,
When looking back to youth,
So filled with kindly words of love,
And timely Christian truth,
That with an honest confidence
In what our deeds shall say,
With steady and firm hand we write
Our "last page," and away!
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