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noise, came running from the kitchen. On all hands much sympathy was showed, and on the part of Mary a great deal of anxiety. It appeared, however, that Mr. Franklin was altogether unhurt; for the moment he stood upright, he said in a cheerful tone, as if intended at once to dismiss their fears, “Great cry and little wool. I have made almost as much noise as if half the house had fallen, but no bones are broken. My poor old crutch has had the worst of it; but now let us inquire into the cause of all this commotion.”
Here Mr. Franklin, leaning with his right hand on the shoulder of his daughter Mary, and with his left arm on the unbroken crutch, proceeded to examine the hall floor. “My crutch was tripped up in a moment,” said he; “and as I fell upon it while one end of it pressed against the wall, no wonder that it broke short in two. The hat stand being overturned added to the clatter; but it strikes me, that I must have set the end of
crutch on something slippery.'
This appeared to be the case; for a mark, rather wet, appeared on one of the flag stones, and against the wall, where it had been flirted by the broken crutch, lay a piece of orange peel. Though Mr. Franklin had spoken cheerfully to let his children know that he was not hurt, he was not a whit the less impressed with thankfulness that he had escaped without accident; and the sight of the orange
peel made him look very grave. afraid that one of his children had thoughtlessly thrown the orange peel on the floor; and he could not altogether help thinking that his housemaid had been a little remiss in not removing it. After a few questions, however, it appeared that neither the one nor the other could justly be blamed in the matter. The servant of a neighbour had called at the door, and entered the hall with a child in her arms, eating part of an orange, and there could be no doubt that the child had, unperceived, dropped the piece of peel on the floor. In a short time order was restored, and Mr. Franklin seated himself once more among his children to assist them in learning to act.
66 Whenever we think of acts of kindness," said he, “we should always call to mind the continued kindness of our heavenly Father. Some part of his kindness is visible to his creatures, but the greater part is unknown to them. What if, in the little accident that has just taken place, I had fractured a limb ? How much pain should I have endured, and how much anxiety would you have felt on my account! but here I am mercifully preserved; the loving-kindnesses of the Lord are more in number than the hairs of our head.
Edward and his brothers looked at their father with affection; but Mary leaped up, and flinging her arms round his neck, burst
into tears. Mr. Franklin, then, to give a little cheerfulness to the meeting, asked his children whether, in the event of their finding out where the magpie lived that had flown away with his glove, he had not better send his compliments to him, and request him to accept the fellow to it. This in a moment restored the accustomed liveliness of the young people; and then it was that he told them of an anecdote which he had lately met with, that had afforded him much pleasure. “At the present moment," said he, “I cannot call to mind a single instance of kindness, though indeed it might be called affection and heroism, that equals the instance I am about to relate. It was told to Mrs. Hannah More, and when she related it to a certain noble lord, it so affected him, that he wept like a child. One day, a captain left his own ship to dine on board another vessel that lay near. While on board this ship, a storm arose, which in a short time made a complete wreck of his own ship, to which it was impossible for him to return. He had left on board two little boys, one four, and the other five years old, under the care of a poor old black servant. The people struggled to get out of the ship into a large boat; and the poor black took his master's two children, tied them in a bag, and putting in a little pot of sweetmeats for them, slung them across his shoulder, and put them into the boat. By this time the
boat was quite full; the black was stepping into it himself, but was told there was no room for him; that either he, or the children, must perish, for the weight of both would sink the boat. The negro did not hesitate a moment. - Very well,' said he; 'give my duty to my master, and tell him I beg pardon for all my faults;' and then plunged into the ocean, never to rise again till the sea shall give up her dead.”
Mary. Well, that was a kind act indeed. I never heard of a kinder act in
life. Edward. Who shall say, after this, that a black man has not as much kindness in his heart as a white man?
Mr. Franklin. Very true, Edward.
“Fleecy locks and dark complexion
Cannot forfeit nature's claim;
Dwells in white and black the same.
In our last meeting but one, I pointed out to you how you might, in a variety of ways, perform acts of kindness; and my object in relating the anecdote you have just heard, has been to set an example before you of a striking kind, that your standard might be a high one. Shall a poor negro be ready to sacrifice his life for the children of his master; and shall you not be disposed to practise self-denial, in acting kindly to all in your power? This must never be; kindness is
“ It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
“Be kindly affectioned one to another," is the language of Holy Scripture. Practice, then, “kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and long-suffering" one towards another, and you will be planting that in each other's hearts which will spring up, and bud, and blossom, and bring forth fruit all your days. In dealing with yourselves, be faithful, not sparing your faults, of whatever kind they may be; in dealing with others,
“Be to their faults a little blind;
Oh what a sweet passage is that in the word of God, addressed to his people, respecting kindness : “ For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee,” Isa. liv. 10.