« AnteriorContinuar »
wish that each of you would view yourselves in the glass every day of your lives; you my son, that you may never disgrace your beauty by an unworthy action; and you, my daughter, that you may cover the defects of your person with the charms of virtue.'
Amelia and her Canary-Bird.
1. As Amelia was one day looking out of the window, a man happened to pass by, crying, Canary-birds; come buy my canary-birds." The man had a large cage upon his head, in which the birds hopped about from perch to perch, and made little Amelia quite in love with them.
2. Will you buy a pretty bird or two, little girl?' said the man. I have no objection, (replied she,) provided my father will give me leave. If you will stop a little while, I will let you know.' So away she ran up stairs to her father, while the birdman put down his cage at the door.
3. Amelia ran into her father's chamber quite out of breath, crying, O dear father, only come here! here is a man in the street who has a large cage on his head, with a great many canary-birds in it.' Well, and what of all that? (replied he ;) why does that seem to rejoice you so much?'
4. Amelia answering, that she should be happy to buy one of them; her father reminded her, that the bird must be fed; and should it be neglected, even only for a day, it would certainly die.
5. Amelia promised that she would never eat her own breakfast till she had fed her bird; but her father reminded her that she was a giddy girl, and that he feared she had promised too much. However, there was no getting over her coaxing and wheedling, so that her father was at last obliged to consent that she should buy one.
6. He then took Amelia by the hand, and led her to the door, where the man was waiting with his birds. He chose the prettiest canary-bird in the cage; it was a male, of a fine lively yellow colour, with a little black tuft on its head.
7. Amelia was now quite cheerful and happy, and pulling out her purse, gave it to her father to pay for the bird. But what was to be done with the bird without a cage? and Amelia had not money enough to buy one. However, on her promising that she would take great care to feed the bird, her father bought her a fine cage, of which he made her a present.
8. As soon as Amelia had given her canary-bird possession of her new cage, she ran about the house, calling her mother, her
brothers and sisters, and all the servants, to come and see her pretty canary-bird, to which she gave the name of Cherry.
9. When any of her little friends came to see her, the first thing she told them was, that she had one of the prettiest canarybirds in the world. It is as yellow as gold, said she, and it has a little black crest on its head, and can sing most harmoniously. Come, you must go and see it. Its name is Cherry.'
10. Cherry was as happy as any bird need wish to be, under the care of Amelia. Her first business every morning was to feed Cherry; and whenever there was any cake on the table, Cherry was sure to come in for a share of it. There was always some bits of sugar in store for it, and its cage was constantly decorated with the most lively herbage.
11. This pretty bird was not ungrateful, but did all in its power to make Amelia sensible how much it was obliged to her. It soon learned to distinguish her, and the moment it heard her step into the room, it would flutter its wings, and keep up an incessant chirping. It is no wonder, that Cherry and Amelia became very fond of each other.
12. The little bird soon began to sing the most delightful songs. It would sometimes raise its notes to so great a height, that you would almost think it must kill itself with such willing exertions. Then, after stopping a little, he would begin again, with a tone so sweet and powerful, that it was heard in every part of the house.
13. Amelia would often sit for whole hours by its cage, listening to its melody. Sometimes, so attentively would she gaze at it, that she would insensibly let her work fall out of her hands; and after it had entertained her with its melodious notes, she would regale it with a tune on her bird organ, which it would endeavour to imitate.
14. In length of time, however, these pleasures began to grow familiar to its friend Amelia. Her father, one day, presented her with a pretty book, with which she was so much delighted, that Cherry began to lose at least one half of her
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 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 poor Cherry had not a single seed left, nor a drop of water. 'Alas poor bird,' said he, 'you have got into careless hands. Had I forseen this, I would never have bought you.'
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 particular 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 awoke 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 third day passed in 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 scene.'
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 expiredin 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 aff her playthings to have brought 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 to lift her eyes up 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 hearing, 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 pan of
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 in her arms,