Imatges de pàgina

bursting through the wainscot into her chamber. She flew to the staircase; and in her confusion, instead of going up-stairs to call her children, who slept together in the nursery overhead, and who might have all escaped by the top of the house, she ran down, and with much danger made way through the fire into the street. When she had got there, the thought of her poor children rushed into her mind, but it was too late. The stairs had caught fire, so that nobody could get near them, and they were burned in their beds.

E.—What a sad thing!

Mrs. F.Sad indeed! Now I will tell you of a different conduct.

A lady was awakened by the crackling of fire, and saw it shining under her chamber door. Her husband would immediately have opened the door, but she prevented him, since the smoke and flame would then have burst in upon them. The children, with a maid, slept in a room opening out of theirs. She went and


awakened them; and tying together the sheets and blankets, she sent down the maid from the window first, and then let down the children one by one to her. Last of all she descended herself. A few minutes after, the floor fell in, and all the house was in flames.

E.—What a happy escape !

Mrs. F.—Yes, and all owing to her presence of mind. Had she allowed herself to get excited, in a few minutes all escape would have been impossible. Now, some are naturally more easily excited than others, but

presence of mind is a habit which can be formed in all, by taking the same pains which we find to be necessary in forming any other good and useful habit.

Altered from Evenings at Home.


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