« ZurückWeiter »
but they must bear it with patience till they got home, Richard pointed to the pear-tree, and begged that his papa would let him go and get one ; for as the hedge was not very thick, he said he could easily get through, without being seen by any one.
3. Richard's father reminded him that the garden and fruit were private property, and to take any thing from thence, without permission of the owner, was nothing less than being guilty of a robbery. He allowed that there might be a possibility of getting into the garden without being seen by the owner of it; but such a wicked action could not be concealed from him, who sees every action of our lives, and who penetrates even into the very secrets of our hearts; and that is God.
4. His son shook his head, and said he was sensible of his error, and would no more think of committing what might be called a robbery. He recollected that parson Jackson had told him the same thing before, but he had then forgotten it.
5. At this instant a man started up from behind the hedge, which had before concealed him from their sight. This was an old man, the owner of the garden, who had heard every thing that had passed between Mr. Stevenson and his son.
6. “Be thankful to God, my child, said the old man, that your father prevented your getting into my garden with the view to deprive mo of that which does not belong to you. You little thought, that at the foot of each tree is placed a trap to catch thieves, which you could not have escaped, and which might have lamed you for the rest of
life. 7. I am, however, happy to find, that you so readily listened to the admonition of your father, and showed such a fear of offending God. As you have behaved in so just and sensible a manner, you shall now, without any danger or trouble, partake of the fruit of my garden. He then went to the finest pear-tree, gave it a shake, and brought down near a hat-full of fruit, which he immediately gave to Richard.
8. This civil old man could not be prevailed on to accept of any thing in return, though Mr. Stevenson pulled out his purse for that
purpose. “I am sufficiently satisfied, sir, said he, in thus obliging your son, and were I to accept of any thing, that satisfaction would be lost.”
Mr. Stevenson thanked him kindly, and having shaken hands over the hedge, they parted, Richard at the same time taking leave of the old man in a polite manner.
9. Little Richard, having finished several of the pears began to find himself at leisure to talk to.his papa. “This
. is a very good old man, said he, but would God have punished me, had I taken these pears without his leave?”
10. “He certainly would, replied Mr. Stevenson, for he never fails to reward good actions, and chastise those who commit evil. The good old man fully explained to you this matter, in telling you of the traps laid for thieves, into which you must inevitably have fallen, had you entered his garden in a clandestine manner.
11. “God directs events so as to reward good people for virtuous actions, and to punish the wicked for their crimes. In order to make this more clear to you, I will relate to you an affair which happened when I was a boy, and which I shall never forget.” Richard seemed very attentive to his father, and having said he should be very glad to hear his story, Mr. Stevenson thus proceeded.
12. “When I lived with my father, and was nearly about your age, we had two neighbours, between whose houses ours was situated, and their names were Davis and Johnson. Mr. Davis had a son named William, and Mr. Johnson one also of the name of Harry. Our gardens were at that time separated only by quickset hedges, so that it was easy to see into each other's grounds.
13. “ It was too often the practice with William, when he found himself alone in his father's garden, to take pleasure in throwing stones over the hedges, without paying the least regard to the mischief they might do. Mr. Davis had frequently caught him at this dangerous sport, and never failed to reprimand him severely for it, threatening him with severe punishment if he did not desist.
14. “This child, unhappily, either knew not or would not take the trouble to reflect that we are not to do amiss, even when we are alone, for reasons I have already mentioned to you. His father being one day gone out, and therefore thinking that nobody could see him, or bring him to punishment, he filled his pockets with stones, and then began to fling them about at random.
15. “Mr. Johnson happened to be in his garden at the same time, and his son Harry with him. This boy was much of the same disposition as William, thinking there was no crime in committing any mischief, provided he was not discovered. His father had a gun charged, which he brought into the garden in order to shoot the sparrows which made sad havoc among his cherries, and was sitting in a summer-house to watch them.
16. “At that instant, a servant came to acquaint him, that a strange gentleman desired to speak with him, and was waiting in the parlour. He therefore put down the gun in the summer-house, and strictly ordered Harry by no means to touch it; but he was no sooner gone, than his naughty son said to himself, that he could see no harm in playing a little with the gun, and therefore took it up, put it on his shoulder, and endeavoured to act the part of a soldier.
17. “ The muzzle of the gun happened to be pointed towards Mr. Davis's garden, and just as he was in the midst of his military exercises, a stone thrown by William hit him directly in one of his eyes. The fright and pain together made Harry drop the gun, which went off, and in a moment both gardens resounded with the most dismal shrieks and lamentations. Harry had received a blow in the
eye with a stone, and the whole charge had entered William's leg. The sad consequences of which were, the one lost an eye, and the other a leg.”
18. Richard could not help pitying poor William and Harry for their terrible misfortune; and Mr. Stevenson was not angry with his son for his tenderness. « It is true (said he) they were much to be pitied, and their parents still more, for having such vicious and disobedient children. Yet it is probable, if God had not early punished these boys, they would have continued their mischievous practices as often as they should find themselves alone; but by these misfortunes they learned to know, that God publicly punishes all wickedness done in secret."
19. This had the desired effect, as both ever after left off all kinds of mischief, and became prudent and sedate. Certain it is that an all-wise Creator never chastises us but with a view to add to our happiness.
20. Richard was very much struck with this story, and said he hoped he should never lose either a leg or an eye by such imprudent conduct. This interesting
conversation was interrupted by their arrival at their own house, when Richard hastened to find his brothers and sisters, to tell them the adventures of his walk, and the history of William and Harry,
The Sparrow's Nest. 1. BILLY JESSAMY, having one day espied a sparrow's nest under the eves of the house, ran directly to inform his sisters of the important discovery, and they immediately fell into a consultation concerning the manner in which they should take it. It was at last agreed, that they should wait till the young ones were fledged, that Billy should then get a ladder up against the wall, and that his sisters should hold it fast below, while he mounted after the prize.
2. As soon as they thought these poor little creatures were properly fledged, preparations were made for the execution of their intended plan. The old birds flew backwards and forwards about the nest, and expressed, as well as they were able, the sorrow and amiction they felt on being robbed of their young. Billy and his two sisters, however, paid no regard to their piteous moans; for they took the nest, with three young ones in it.
3. As they had now got the innocent prisoners in their possession, the next thing to be considered, was, what they should do with them. The younger sister being of a mild and tender-hearted disposition proposed putting them into a cage, promising to look after them herself, and to see that they wanted for nothing. She reminded her brother and sister how pretty it would be to see and hear those birds when grown up.
4. Billy, however, was of a very different opinion; for he insisted on it, that it would be better to pluck off their feathers, and then set them down in the middle of the room, as it would be very funny to see how they would hop about without feathers. The elder sister was of the same way of thinking as the younger, but Billy was determined to have the matter entirely his own way.
5. The two little ladies finding they were not likely to have things as they wished, gave up the point without much hesitation; for Billy had already begun to strip the helpless birds. As fast as he plucked them he put them
down on the floor, and it was not long before the little birds were stripped of all their tender feathers. The poor things cried Wheet! Wheet! and complained in the most piteous accents; they shook their little wings and shuddered with the cold.
6. Billy, however, who had not the least kind of feeling for their sufferings, carried his persecutions still further, pushing them with his toe, to make them go on when they stopped, and laughed most heartily whenever they staggered or tumbled down through weakness.
7. Though his two sisters at first had pleaded against this cruel kind of sport, yet seeing their brother so merry on the occasion, they forgot the former dictates of humanity, and joined in the cruel sport with him. Such, as we see in the preceding Tale, is the influence of a bad example!
8. In the midst of this cruel kind of enjoyment, at a distance they saw their tutor approaching; this put them into some furry, and each pocketed a bird. They would have avoided their tutor, but he called to them, and asked their reasons, for wishing to shun him. They approached him very slowly, with their eyes cast downwards, which convinced him something amiss was going forward.
9. On their answering that they were only playing, their tutor observed to them, that they very well knew he never denied them innocent amusement, but on the contrary was always glad to see them cheerful and happy. He took notice that each held one of their hands in their pockets, upon which he insisted on their pulling them out, and letting him see what it was they endeavoured to conceal.
10. They were obliged to comply much against their will, when each produced a poor bird that had been stripped of its feathers. The tutor was filled with pity and indignation, and gave each of them a look, that was more dreadful than any words he could have spoken. Aftei some silence, Billy attempted to justify himself by saying, that it was a droll sight to see sparrows hopping about without feathers, and he could not see any harm in it.
11. “Can you then, said the tutor to Billy, take pleasure in seeing innocent creatures suffer, and hear their cries without pity ?” Billy said he did not see how they could suffer, from having a few feathers pulled off. The