Imatges de pÓgina

delighted, that Cherry began to lose at least one half of her attention.

15. As usual, it would chirp the moment it saw her, let her be at what distance she would; but Amelia began to take no notice of it, and almost a week had passed without its receiving either a bit of biscuit, or a fresh supply of chickweed. It repeated the sweetest and most harmonious notes that Amelia had taught it, but to no purpose.

16. It now appeared too clearly, that new objects began to attract Amelia's attention, and that poor Cherry was neglected.

17. One day, however, as Amelia's father accidentally cast his eyes upon the cage, he saw poor Cherry lying upon its breast, and panting as it were for life. The poor bird's feathers appeared all rough, and it seemed as if it were breathing its last.

18. He went up close to it; but it was unable even to chirp, and the poor little creature had hardly strength enough to breathe. He called to him his little Amelia, and asked her what was the matter with her bird. Amelia blushed, saying in a low voice, Why, father, I forgot the poor little bird;* and ran to fetch the seed-box.


19. Her father, in the mean time, took down the cage, and found that poor Cherry had not a single seed left, nor a drop of water. ""Alas, poor bird," said he," thou hast got into careless hands. Had I foreseen this, I would never have bought thee."

20. All the company joined in pity for the poor bird, and Amelia ran away into her chamber to ease her heart in tears. However, her father, with some difficulty, brought pretty Cherry to itself again.

21. Her father, the next day ordered Cherry to be made a present to a young gentleman in the neighbourhood, who, he said, would take much better care of it than his little thoughtless daughter; but poor Amelia could not bear the idea of parting with her bird, and most faithfully promised never to neglect it any more.

22. Her father at last gave way to her entreaties, and permitted her to keep little Cherry; but not without a severe reprimand, and a strict injunction to be more careful for the future.

23.This poor little creature," said he, "is confined in a

prison, and is therefore totally unable to provide for its own wants. Whenever you want any thing, you know how to get it; but this little bird can neither help itself, nor make its wants known to others. If ever you let it want seed or water again, look to it."

24. Amelia was sensible of her fault, and took her father by the hand; but her heart was so full, that she could not utter a syllable. Cherry and Amelia were again good friends, and for some time it wanted for nothing.

25. Not long afterwards, her father and mother were obliged to go a little way into the country, on some particu lar business; but, before they set out, they gave Amelia strict charge to take care of poor Cherry. No sooner were her parents gone, than she ran to the cage, and gave Cherry plenty of seed and water.

26. Little Amelia, now finding herself alone, and at liberty, sent for some of her companions to come and spend the day with her; the former part of which they passed in the garden, and the latter in other innocent amusements. She went to bed very much fatigued; but as soon as she awokė in the morning, she began to think of new pleasures.

27 She went abroad that day, while poor Cherry was obliged to stay at home and fast. The second and the third day passed in the same playful manner as before; but poor Cherry was not thought of. On the fourth day, her father and mother came home, and, as soon as they found that she was well, her father inquired after poor Cherry. "It is very well," said Amelia, a little confused, and then ran to fetch it some seed and water.

28. Alas! poor little Cherry was no more: it was lying upon its back, with its wings spread, and its beak open. Amelia screamed out, and wrung her hands, when all the family ran to her, and were witnesses of the melancholy


29. "Alas, poor bird," said her father, "what a melancholy end hast thou come to! If I had given thee thy liberty, before I went into the country, it would have saved thy innocent life; but now thou hast endured all the pangs of hunger and thirst, and expired in extreme agony. However, poor Cherry, thou art happy in being out of the hands of so merciless a guardian."

30. Amelia was so shocked and distressed on the occasion

that she would have given all her little treasure, and even all her playthings, to bring Cherry to life; but it was now too late. Her father had the bird stuffed, and hung up in the room, to remind Amelia of her carelessness.

31. She dared not even lift up her eyes to look at it, for whenever she did, it was sure to make her very unhappy. At last she prevailed on her father to have it removed, but not till after many earnest entreaties, and repeated acknowledgments of the fault she had committed.

32. Whenever Amelia was inattentive or giddy, the bird was hung up again in its place, and every one would say in her bearing, "Alas, poor Cherry, what a cruel death you suffered!"

33. Thus you see, my little friends, what are the sad consequences of inattention, giddiness, and too great a fondness for pleasure, which always make us forgetful of what we ought carefully to attend to.

The Little Girl and the Lamb.

1. A LITTLE girl, whose name was Matilda, one morning was sitting by the side of the road, holding on her lap a panof milk for her breakfast, into which she was breaking some pieces of bread.

2. While she was thus busily employed, a farmer was passing by with his cart, in which was a number of lambs, which he was carrying to market for sale.

3. These pretty little lambs were tied together like so many criminals, and lay confined with their heads hanging down. Their plaintive bleatings pierced the heart of Matilda, but they had no manner of effect on the hardhearted farmer.

4. As soon as he came opposite the place where little Matilda was sitting, he threw down before her a lamb, which he was carrying, saying, "There, my little girl, is a lamb that has just died. You may take it, if you will, and do what you please with it."

5. Matilda put down her milk and bread, and took up the lamb, and viewed it with looks of tenderness and compassion. "But why should I pity you?" said she to the lamb, either this day or to-morrow they would have cut your throat with a great knife; whereas, now you are lifeless, and have nothing to fear."



6. While she was thus speaking, the warmth of her arms somewhat revived the lamb, which made a slight motion, and opening its eyes a little, cried in a very low tone, as if it were calling for its mother. It would be impossible to express little Matilda's joy on this occasion.

7. She covered the lamb in her apron, in order to make it warm, and took great pains to bring the poor little thing to life. By degrees it began to stir more freely, and every motion it made, conveyed joy to her little heart.

8. This success encouraged her to proceed; she crumbled some of her bread into her pan, and taking it up in her fingers, she, with no small difficulty, forced it between its teeth, which were very firmly closed together.

9. The lamb, whose only disorder was hunger and fatigue, began to feel the effects of this nourishment. It first began to stretch out its limbs, then to shake its head, and at last to raise up its ears.

10. In a little time, it was able to stand upon its legs, and then went of itself to Matilda's breakfast-pan, who was highly delighted to see it take such pleasing liberties; for she cared not about losing her own breakfast, since it saved the life of the little lamb. In a little time it recovered its usual strength, and began to skip and play about its kind deliverer.

11. It may naturally be supposed, that Matilda was greatly pleased at this unexpected success. She took it up into her arms, and ran with it to the house, to show it to her mother. Thus the little lamb became the first object of Matilda's care, and it constantly shared with her in the little allowance of bread and milk, which she received for her meals.

12. Indeed, so fond was she of it, that she would not have exchanged it for a whole flock. Nor was the lamb insensible of the fondness of its little mistress, since it would follow her wherever she went, would come and eat out of her hand, skip and frisk around her, and would bleat most piteously, whenever Matilda was obliged to leave it at home.

13. The lamb, however, repaid the services of its little mistress in a more substantial manner, than that of merely playing about her; for, in the space of a few years, the increase from this lamb furnished Matilda, and her whole family, with food and raiment. Such, my little readers, are the rewards which Providence bestows on acts of goodness, tenderness, and humanity.

The Little Boy and his Father.

1. On one of those fine mornings which the month of June frequently affords us, a little boy was busily employed in preparing to set out with his father, on a party of pleasure, which, for several days before, had engrossed all his attention. Though in general he found it very difficult to rise early, yet this morning he got up soon, without being called; so much was his mind fixed on this intended jaunt.

2. It often happens, with young people in particular, that all on a sudden they lose the object of which they flatter themselves they are almost in possession. So it fared with this little boy; for just as they were ready to set out, the sky darkened all at once, the clouds grew thick, and a tempestuous wind bent down the trees, and raised a cloud of dust.

3. The little boy was running up and down in the garden every minute, to see how the sky looked, and then ran into the house, to examine the barometer; but neither the sky nor the barometer seemed to forebode any thing in his favour.


4. Notwithstanding all this, he gave his father the most flattering hopes, that it would still be a fair day, and that these unfavourable appearances would soon be dispersed. He doubted not that it would be a very fine day, and therefore thought that the sooner they set out the better, as it would be a pity to lose a moment of their time.

5. His father, however, did not choose to be too has'y in giving credit to his son's predictions, and thought it more advisable to wait a little. While the little boy and his father were reasoning on this matter, the clouds burst, and down came a very heavy shower of rain. The little boy was now doubly disappointed, and vented his grief in tears, refusing to listen to the voice of consolation.

6. The rain continued without intermission, till three o'clock in the afternoon, when the clouds began to disperse; the sun resumed its splendour, and all nature breathed the odours of the spring. As the weather brightened, so did the countenance of the little boy, and by degrees he recovered bis good humour.

7. His father now thought it necessary to indulge him with a little walk, and off they set. The calmness of the air, the music of the feathered songsters, the lively and enchanting verdure of the fields, and the sweet perfumes that breathed

« AnteriorContinua »