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expect him to act with honesty; but, for his own sake, he might have acted
more prudently. M. It was very bold and very clever of the courageous man, to act in that way; but it was not right in him to say that he was himself a rogue—that was not the truth.
Mr. F. You are right. I did not tell you the account that you might applaud the honest man, but to show the want of prudence on the part of the rogue. There are some awkward circumstances occur at times, in which the most prudent would be at fault; I will mention one of these, which appeared in a newspaper a few weeks ago. As the captain of the night police was passing in his rounds at Derby, he heard loud shrieks, and cries of_" Thieves ! murder !”
E. Did the cries come from a house?
Mr. F. They did, though at first he hardly knew which house it was; but as he hurried on, he met two watchmen, who had also been alarmed at the cries: they soon found out the house, for many people were collected round the door.
P. I hope they broke the door down directly.
Mr. F. The chamber window of the house was thrown up, and that enabled the people in the street to hear the noise all the plainer. It was very evident that a desperate struggle was going on, so 'the people knocked at the door violently.
E. That was doing nothing. Why murder might have been committed, while they were knocking at the door, and standing waiting outside in the street.
T. Knocking at the door was losing time. The door should have been burst open at
Mr. F. Just as the police were on the point of breaking the door, a young man appeared at the opened window, sadly exhausted. He told the people that the cause of the commotion was this : his mother had been dreaming that thieves were in the house, and she kept screaming “Thieves! murder!” very loudly, in her sleep. This had awakened him; and, as he really believed the house to be beset with burglars, he hastened to the chamber where his parents slept. But, in the meantime, his father, who had been also awakened by the cries, leaped up in bed, and hearing his footsteps, and supposing him to be a robber, at once attacked him. He, thus roughly handled, had no doubt that he was grappling with a rogue, and therefore did his best to overcome him. The noise they made roused his mother out of her slumber, and awakened the rest of the family, who all crying out and screaming together, had made the riot which had attracted so much attention. The young man said that, very fortunately, he and his father had found out who they were, before they had done each other much injury; but that
had it not been so, they might have taken each other's lives.
E. Indeed they might.
M. What a dreadful thing that would have been, for a father and son to kill each other; but I cannot see that any one was in fault !
Mr. F. Nor I, my love: as I said before, this is one of those cases wherein the greatest degree of prudence would hardly have protected the father and son from their alarm, or from their mistake of supposing that they were each grappling with a robber. Perhaps, in such cases, all things considered, it is the safest course to call out, “Who is there?” for then your voice would most likely be known.
M. Yes! I think that would be the most prudent course.
Mr. F. It is a common thing for young people to amuse themselves by sending up into the air fire balloons; but this is by no means acting prudently, as you will judge by the following circumstance. Some time ago, “ information was received at the various insurance offices throughout the metropolis, of a serious fire having occurred at or near the village of Westonzayland, a few miles from Bridgewater, occasioned by a fire balloon. The circumstances under which it took place are as follows. The village was placarded in all directions, announcing the arrival of a wonderful conjuror; who would honour the inhabitants with a grand performance on
the evening in question, (Thursday,) the announcement of which would be signalized by the ascent of a monster fire balloon. Accordingly, at the time named, a great crowd assembled to witness the fête, and
the balloon was sent off, to the apparent delight of all; but, before it had attained any great elevation, the machine suddenly burst into flames, and unfortunately descended into an extensive stack-yard, situate about a mile from the village, where it set fire to a valuable rick of wheat; and, before the inhabitants could reach the premises, two adjoining stacks ignited, and blazedaway with awful violence. Although every exertion was used to stay the work of devastation, it was impossible, in consequence of the strong wind that prevailed; and, in a short time, the whole premises, consisting of barns, cow and cart-houses, besides the whole of the stock in the stack-yard, were in flames. For an hour and more, the
of the fire was terrific; and the light was distinctly seen at Bridgewater, whence an engine was despatched to the spot, but was unable to reach it until the entire property was consumed. Happily no lives were lost. In the course of the following day, the wizard was taken into custody, and underwent an examination before the magistrates.”
E. I will be bound for it that he will send up no more fire balloons.
P. Papa, please to tell us one more tale. I do so like to hear you.
Mr. F. One more tale! Well, then, I will, Peter; but remember, that I am teaching you to-night to act prudently, so that I must manage to put my tale to a good purpose. Now listen, "Most animals entertain a strong antipathy to the serpent species; but in no one instance is that antipathy more sensibly manifested than among the monkey tribe, as the following narrative may tend to show. A company, consisting of about twenty monkeys, had colonized in a lofty tamarind tree, near
a little village, a short distance from the town of Dantoon, in the East Indies. This tree was situate on the road side, on the route to the temple of Juggernaut, and was resorted to, during the sultry tide of noon, by pilgrims and others, who occasionally indulged the