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“ Yes, sir.”
“ Well then, tell me the truth. Did not you tell Mary to say her mother had sent her ?" “No, sir, I never said no such thing in all my life.”
Ann, I don't want to know what you have said in all your life, but what you said yesterday evening to Mary Stone."
It is very remarkable, but I have frequently observed that people who are telling an untruth are always more willing to say they never did a thing in all their lives than to say simply that they did not do it at the time mentioned. I suppose they set the truth, that they never did it except that once, against the lie, in their own minds, and fancy it will make the lie only half a one.
I proceeded : “ Yesterday evening you said to Mary, ' Say your mother sent you, and then we shall not be grumbled at,' did not
“No, I didn't; I never knew she was going to say it till I heard her say it to you. And when we came out, I said, “Oh, Mary, however could you say what you said ? you know your mother never sent you.' Never mind,' she said, 'none of our'n weren't there; they'll never know.'."
The cool determination with which this was said was so shocking --for I was convinced it was false—that I determined to ask her no more questions. I merely remarked, “ You have told me so many lies, Ann, which
have yourself confessed were lies, that I cannot believe a word you say. Every thing that Mary has told me I have found to be true, when I asked those who had seen what she describes, so that in this case I shall believe her rather than you. She says you told her to say it." “ Then she says false; I never said no such thing in my
life." “ Hush, Ann!” I said, “ you had better say no more: you are only adding to your sin : now go.”
She went out, as she had come in, pale and self-possessed. But I noticed she trembled and turned whiter every time she answered falsely.
I was told afterwards that she went home immediately, burst into tears, which were rather tears of anger than sorrow, and told her mother that Mary Stone and her mother wanted to make her out a liar to Mr. Herbert.
A NURSERY TALE. It was a miserable cold night in February; the damp wind whistled and blew in pitiless gusts against the rattling panes of cottage windows, and wailing with a dismal moan through the cracks and crannies, forced labourers' families within to draw nearer and nearer upon their knees to the scanty fire, if so they might get a little more warmth into their shivering upper limbs before retiring to rest. The smallest ones were already snug asleep upstairs, with knees bent closely up to their chins, between the dingy sheets and blankets : the bigger ones were boping soon to follow. Here and there only candle-lights glimmered through the falling mist along the dirty streets of the village; and these fewer and further between every five or ten minutes.
It was getting rather late. There was one little girl still not gone to bed—abroad and moving. What could she be doing up at that time of night? She was very young, very weak, and very very small; so small indeed, that (if my mother, from whom I heard the story when an infant, told the truth) she lived in an old broken porridge-pot. She had no home besides; no father, no mother, no brothers and sisters, no kind friends to look after and be always with her to make up for the want of these ; no one to care for her but a good old aunt who lived elsewhere, whom she half loved and was half afraid of; loved, because she often gave her food and playthings and spoke kind words; afraid of, because she sometimes scolded her and told her of her faults.
The child's name was Prit. She was a silly little thing and very fond of crying. When the wind blew and the rain beat that night through the chinks of her broken porridge-pot, she shrunk down into a corner, clasped her hands over her knee, and leant her head upon them, and wept noisily, as though her heart would burst her bosom. Suddenly she jumped up, rushed out, and wandered up and down among the cottages, sobbing all the while she went, and ever and anon wiping away the salt tears from her pale soiled cheeks and lips with the corner of her slender petticoat,
What to do next or where to look for help, she could not think. Perhaps she had better return home. It was no good at least to wander any longer in the cold dark night. In wandering she had lost her way, and now, worn out and sleepy, she could not find her road back to the old broken porridge-pot. O how glad she would be if she had never left it, to seek a better shelter from the storm!
In turning the corner of a gloomy lane, she saw, by the watery moonbeam, coming towards her from the other side, a bent feeble aged form, like a crippled female limping with a crutch. Who can it be ? She knew it at once to be her good old aunt. Now her aunt (at least my mother told me so) was a fairy; but that she did not know. So she began crying more bitterly as
her fairy-aunt drew near ; for this is most-times the way
with children when they meet with pity.
“How now, little Prit, what is the matter now?" halfchidingly, half-soothingly, asked her fairy-aunt.
“0, I am so very cold and wet,” said the child, “and halfstarved and sad; and I cannot find my old broken porridge-pot, and if I could I should still be very sad, and hungry, and wet, and cold. I am very badly off indeed.”
“Well, well,” said her fairy-aunt, “there is no need of crying; dry up your tears and come along with me; I will show you the
So she took her by the hand, and gently led her a little way through an alley, and then down a lane, and then pointed to another over the way, which, she said, would bring her straight to the main street, where, if she would be a good little girl, she should find something better than an old broken porridge-pot to live in.
So little Prit courtseyed and smiled through her tears; then, glad with hope, set off running at full speed, and soon reached home. How her heart beat quickly with happiness and surprise, nay, she clapped her hands and jumped with joy and almost screamed in her delight, to see the old broken porridgepot which she had left so sadly an hour and a half before, now changed into a handsome little mansion-house, spruce and neat, of bright red brick, with smart green shutters, and the pointed mortar running in long white streaks along the front, and looking very clean. She entered at the door and found hall, parlour, drawing-room, bed-chamber, kitchen, cellar, larder, all handsomely and comfortably furnished : she found well-dressed meats, warm garments, soft beds, cheerful fires blazing in the grates, and servants to wait upon her. Everything was very very nice. What more could she long for ?
She lived here happily for two or three days; scarcely She began then to grow moping and wilful as before. She once more went out and wandered through the street and bye-lanes of the village, weeping and wringing her hands. And again she met her good old aunt the fairy.
“What, weeping again, little Prit, weeping again ?" she asked, “this is not to be a good little girl. What now is the matter with you, silly little Prit?”
“ I have a nice little house,” she answered, with a face partly scarlet with shame, partly sullen, “I have food, and clothing, and servants,—and friends come to see me and bring me sweet and pretty things; but I have no little coach to drive out in, when I go to visit them, and return their calls : and this makes me very sad.”
“Naughty, almost wicked little Prit,” said the good fairyaunt, a little angrily; “What good can come of pouting lips, and crying for such things as these ? Come, dry up your tears, and go home at once; only be a better little child, and I will see what I can do for you.'
So little Prit hastened home joyfully, and found the very things she wished for. There were a stable with four stalls, and a coach-house, suddenly built up. There was a handsome Lord Mayor's coach, and four sleek pie-bald horses, with long flowing manes and tails, in gilt shiny harness, prancing before the door : there were a coachman and groom, and two footmen, before and bebind, with cocked-hats, silk stockings, silver-tipped wands, and gold-laced livery, all very very nice.
When little Prit went out for a drive the next sunny day, was she quite settled and in peace at heart? Alas ! far from it. There was one thing even yet she wanted to make her happiness, she thought, complete. She longed for a little Lord Mayor to sit beside her in the little Lord Mayor's coach. She presently began to mope and fret again as wantonly as ever. Again she met her fairy-aunt, and again the same reasoning passed between them; again her good kind fairy-aunt listened to her whim. She found, when she reached home, a handsome little Lord Mayor waiting to receive and comfort her, with a gold-hilted sword by his side, and a jewelled star upon his breast, and a princely velvet cap and feather; again everything was very very nice.
The next day she went out driving with her little Lord Mayor by her side. The people flocked about the gilt and painted coach, and looked in at the chrystal-like windows, and filled the air with shouts at the sight of so much glory. Among the rest came the good kind fairy-aunt, to see the happiness of her making, and receive the thanks of little Prit. She limped along the path like any cripple among the crowd, in danger every moment of having her crutch kicked away from under her arm by the hurrying feet of those who pushed by roughly to get the best gazing-place in front. She made towards the carriage, and bowed to little Prit.
“How now ? who, pray, is that dirty odd-looking old creature nodding to you in the crowd ?” asked the little Lord Mayor ; “see, she seems to know you, little Prit; hark! she calls you by your name.”
“ Little Prit, little Prit, I am glad to see you,” said her fairyaunt; “I am very glad to see you happier, darling child; I am glad to see your little Lord Mayor; and your coach and four horses too, how gay and beautiful! you have got to be quite grand, little Prit. This is better, is it not ? much better than starving, cold and hungry, in that old broken porridge-pot. Don't
you know your poor old aunt? Won't you speak to her a word ?”
“Who can it be?" said the little Lord Mayor, staring widely, and frowning; and he looked now red, now pale ; “the nasty, dirty, beggarly old thing!"
Did little Prit bear to hear her kind good fairy-aunt called these miserable names ? Alas!
many more besides. “I know nothing of her,” cried the wicked little child; “I never saw her in my life before; she is no friend of mine. John, John,” (calling to the coachman,) “ drive over that ugly-faced crooked-limbed old witch, if she gets not quickly out of the road.”
Then the fairy raised aloft her crutch, and struck so hard a blow upon the wheel, that the coach came suddenly to a stop, and fell tottering over on the ground.
“You naughty, wicked, ungrateful little Prit,” said the good fairy-aunt, speaking loudly; "these, then, are all the thanks you give me for my former kindness. It is enough; I must try.another plan. Get you home again, you naughty, wicked, ungrateful little thing, and live once more, starved and naked, in your
old broken porridge-pot.” As she spoke, she touched the coach and horses with her crutch; they at once vanished away,-Lord Mayor, coachman, footmen, fairy-aunt, and all; and little Prit stood barefoot, pale and shivering, upon the cold pavement-stones, half-clad in filthy tattered rags, soaked through and through to the skin with February rains; and while the idle boys of the village street laughed at and hooted after her, she slunk away shame-stricken to her only but most miserable home.
The Cabinet. Opportunity is the golden spot of on, and the spirit wanders, the clock time. Then work while it is called strikes false, the hand points not to to-day.” “Now is the accepted time, the right hour, because something is now is the day of salvation.” Sin. in disorder, and the striking is no. ners know not the value of those thing but noise.-JEREMY TAYLOR. precious never-returning hours which
CHRISTIAN DUTIES.—The aggre. they quaff, and revel, and trifle away:
gate amount of Christian duties may remember the recovery of one hour
be reduced to these three thingsis not to be purchased with all the
faith, obedience, and patience; the Persian treasures, or the mines of
vital principle which animates them both the Indies.-DR. South,
all is submission. Faith is a submisMental prayer, when our spirits sion to the oracles of God; obedience wander, is like a watch standing still, is a submission to the commanding because the spring is down ; wind it will of God; patience is a submission up again, and it goes on regularly; to the chastisements of God.-DR, but in vocal prayer, if the words run South.