Imagens das páginas

of one of the laborers employed by the royal gardener; and she had come to help her father weed the flower beds. It chanced that, like many of the poor people in Prussia, she had received a good education. She was somewhat alarmed when she found herself in the King's presence, but took courage when the King told her that he only wanted her to read for him, as his eyes were weak.

7. Now, Ernestine (for this was the name of the little girl) was fond of reading aloud, and often many of the neighbors would assemble at her father's house to hear her; those who could not read themselves would come to her, also, with their letters from distant friends or children, and she thus formed the habit of reading various sorts of handwriting promptly and well.

8. The King gave her the petition, and she rapidly glanced through the opening lines to get some idea of what it was about. As she read, her eyes began to glisten, and her breast to heave. "What is the matter?" asked the King; "don't you know how to read?" "Oh, yes! sire," she replied, addressing him with the title usually applied to him: "I will now read it, if you please."

9. The two pages were about to leave the room. "Remain," said the King. The little girl began to read the petition. It was from a poor widow, whose only son had been drafted to serve in the army, although his health was delicate and his pursuits had been such as to unfit him for military life. His father had been killed in battle, and the son had a strong desire to become a portrait painter.

10. The writer told her story in a simple, concise manner, that carried to the heart a belief of its truth; and Ernestine read it with so much feeling, and with an articulation so just, in tones so pure and distinct, that when she had finished, the King, into whose eyes the tears had started, exclaimed, "Oh! now I understand what it is all about; but I might never have known, certainly I never should have felt, its meaning had I trusted to these young gentlemen, whom I now dismiss from my service for one year, advising them to occupy their time in learning to read."

11. "As for you, my young lady," continued the King, "I know you will ask no better reward for your trouble than the pleasure of carrying to this poor widow my order for her son's immediate discharge. Let me see whether you can write as well as you can read. Take this pen, and write as I dictate." He then dictated an order, which Ernestine wrote, and he signed. Calling one of his guards, he bade him go with the girl and see that the order was obeyed.

12. How much happiness was Ernestine the means of bestowing through her good elocution, united to the happy circumstance that brought it to the knowledge of the King! First, there were her poor neighbors, to whom she could give instruction and entertainment. Then, there was the poor widow who sent the petition, and who not only regained her son, but received through Ernestine an order for him to paint the King's likeness; so that the poor boy soon rose to great distinction, and had more orders than he could attend to. Words could not express his gratitude, and that of his mother, to the little girl.

13. And Ernestine had, moreover, the satisfaction of aiding her father to rise in the world, so that he became the King's chief gardener. The King did not forget her, but had her well educated at his own expense. As for the two pages, she was indirectly the means of doing them good, also; for, ashamed of their bad reading, they commenced studying in earnest, till they overcame the faults that had offended the King. Both finally rose to distinction, one as a lawyer, and the other as a statesman; and they owed their advancement in life chiefly to their good elocution.

Definitions. — 1. Petition, a formal request. 3. Articulate, to utter the elementary sounds. Modulate, to vary or inflect. Monotony, lack of variety. 4. Affected, unnatural and silly. 9. DrAft'ed, selected by lot. 10. Concise', brief and full of'meaning. 11. Dis-charge', release. Dle'tate, to utter so that another may write down. 12. Dis-tlne'tion, honorable and notable position. Express', to make known the feelings of.

Notes.—Frederick II. of Prussia (b. 1712, d. 1788), or Frederick the Great, as he was called, was one of the greatest of German rulers. He was distinguished for his military exploits, for nis wise and just government, and for his literary attainments. He wrote many able works in the French language. Many pleasant anecdotes are told of this king, of which the one given in the lesson is a fair sample.


1. There is a story I have heard—
A poet learned it of a bird,
And kept its music every word—

2. A story of a dim ravine,

O'er which the towering tree tops lean,
With one blue rift of sky between;

3. And there, two thousand years ago,
A little flower as white as snow
Swayed in the silence to and fro.

4. Day after day, with longing eye,
The floweret watched the narrow sky,
And fleecy clouds that floated by.

5. And through the darkness, night by night,
One gleaming star would climb the height,
And cheer the lonely floweret's sight

6. Thus, watching the blue heavens afar,
And the rising of its favorite star,

A slow change came—but not to mar;

7. For softly o'er its petals white
There crept a blueness, like the light
Of skies upon a summer night;

8. And in its chalice, I am told,

The bonny bell was formed to hold
A tiny star that gleamed like gold.

9. Now, little people, sweet and true,
I find a lesson here for you

Writ in the floweret's bell of blue:

10. The patient child whose watchful eye
Strives after all things pure and high,
Shall take their image by and by.

Definitions. — 2. Rift, a narrow opening, a cleft. 3. Swayed, swung. 5. Height (pro. hite), an elevated place. 7. Pet'alg, the colored leaves of a flower. 8. Ch&l'ice, a cup or bowl. BSn'ny, beautiful.


Timothy S. Arthur (b. 1809, d. 1885) was born near Newburgh, N.Y., but passed most of his life at Baltimore and Philadelphia. His opportunities for good schooling were quite limited, and he may be considered a self-educated man. He was the author of more than a hundred volumes, principally novels of a domestic and moral tone, and of many shorter tales— magazine articles, etc. "Ten Nights in a Barroom," and "Three Years in a Mantrap," are among his best known works.

1. When and where it matters not now to relate — but once upon a time, as I was passing through a thinly peopled district of country, night came down upon me almost unawares. Being on foot, I could not hope to gain the village toward which my steps were directed, until a

late hour; and I therefore preferred seeking shelter and a night's lodging at the first humble dwelling that presented itself.

2. Dusky twilight was giving place to deeper shadows, when I found myself in the vicinity of a dwelling, from the small uncurtained windows of which the light shone with a pleasant promise of good cheer and comfort. The house stood within an inclosure, and a short distance from the road along which I was moving with wearied feet.

3. Turning aside, and passing through the ill-hung gate, I approached the dwelling. Slowly the gate swung on its wooden hinges, and the rattle of its latch, in closing, did not disturb the air until I had nearly reached the porch in front of the house, in which a slender girl, who had noticed my entrance, stood awaiting my arrival.

4. A deep, quick bark answered, almost like an echo, the sound of the shutting gate, and, sudden as an apparition, the form of an immense dog loomed in the doorway. At the instant when he was about to spring, a light hand was laid upon his shaggy neck, and a low word spoken.

5. "Go in, Tiger," said the girl, not in a voice of authority, yet in her gentle tones was the consciousness that she would be obeyed; and, as she spoke, she lightly bore upon the animal with her hand, and he turned away and disappeared within the dwelling.

6. "Who's that?" A rough voice asked the question; and now a heavy-looking man took the dog's place in the door.

7. "How far is it to G ?" I asked, not deeming it

best to say, in the beginning, that I sought a resting place for the night.

8. "To G !" growled the man, but not so harshly

as at first. "It's good six miles from here."

9. "A long distance; and I 'm a stranger and on foot," said I. "If you can make room for me until morning, I will be very thankful."

« AnteriorContinuar »