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poked in without thought or order. What a fuss there A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE.
will be by-and-by when something is wanted in a great BY THE REV. CHARLES COURTENAY.
hurry. “A thought in time saves nine.”
There's that creaking lock. It only wants a drop of W little Tommy's coat there is
oil. “A drop in time saves nine.” ever so small a hole. It is
Now, in making thus free with our proverb, I not only so small that it's really not
feel no compunctions of conscience, but positive apworth fussing about. There's
proval. So much so, indeed, that I am seriously inthe needle to find, first of all.
tending to offend still more by making freer with it Then there's the bother of
than ever. threading it. Then Tommy
“A stitch in time saves nine," does it? But why has to be caught and made to
“nine ” of all numbers in the world ? Why not eight, stand still; and then there's
or five, or nineteen? Why, because “nine ” is supthe snipping of the cotton.
posed to rhyme with “time," to be sure. No; it is not worth it—that
Now when truth is concerned, I am not going to let little hole.
rhyme interfere with me; and I don't hesitate to say, Tommy goes out nutting ; climbs tall trees; forces
that although a stitch in time may sometimes save nine his way through briars and brambles, and comes home
exactly, it saves, as a rule, many more. It would be with an ugly three-cornered rent, the rent piece flapping much nearer the mark to say, a stitch in time saves as he moved.
nineteen, or ninety-nine, and even nine hundred and Dear me! if it isn't exactly in the same place. Oh ninety-nine.” And I am inclined to believe that in you naughty boy! What a pity I didn't put the stitch
not a few cases you may go on adding as many “nines.” in time !
as you please, and yet be on the side of strict truth. Now it was really too bad of Tommy's mother. She That one solitary little nine of the proverb decidedly ought to have known better. If there was one lesson needs others to keep it company. she ought to have learnt by this time, it was just this I am afraid if I amend the proverb much more, there very one, that “a stitch in time saves nine.”
will not be much of it left. Never mind. Here Wly, it was only a day or two ago that, after all the
goes. rest had gone to bed, she had been obliged to stay up A stitch in time not only saves all these nines, but to mend a hole, big enough to put your head through, it also saves temper. in her own dress. The little hole had been neglected, Now I hold that the more fiercely a man can get because it was a little one, and, of course, was found
into a temper with himself when he has been doing out by some angular bit of furniture, and considerably
wrong, the better for him. But, unfortunately, temper enlarged. Why won't people learn that “a stitch in
doesn't stay at home, but walks abroad. Too often it time saves nine!”
extends to other people, and strikes out right and left Now I have long held that there are other things where it has no business to be. besides stitches that ought to be taken in time. That, Look at Tommy's father driving in the nails in that in fact, “stitches” have no right to take up the whole broken fence. How he does bammer away, to be sure! room, and ought sometimes to give place to other
Each little nail seems for the moment to have become a words.
His thoughts are very angry ones, Does not " a nail in time save nine” too?
depend upon it. How flushed his face is! How tight Why ever didn't Tommy's father nail up that fence
his lips are! How pettishly he is throwing his tools in his back garden? If one nail was all it wanted, about, as though they had been to blame, and had had what a deal of bother it would have saved ! Nobody something to do with the hungry pig and the spoilt likes to have liis tenderest choicest vegetables, espe- prize vegetables. Steady, I say, steady! There, if cially his prize ones that were coming on so nicely, you haven't gone and knocked that nail sideways. gobbled up by a neighbour's hungry pig. Besides, Now you will have to take it out again, and it won't who doesn't know that when one plank gets displaced
come out very easily, either, hy the look of it. It's no others speedily follow! If you could have seen the good getting angry over it, man; you will only lose your owner, hot and tired, hammering away, consuming time and nails by such furious blows as that. Gently! I don't know how many nails and how much time, I Gently ! And there, if you haven't sent little Tommy think you would have felt strongly tempted to whisper | howling to his mother by that sharp temper of yours. in his ear, “Friend ! a nail in time saves nine.” What if he did knock over your paper of nails? It Why should we stop at nails, either ?
was only his kind little heart which prompted him to There's that little bit of paper on the wall that has do it. “A nail in time” would have saved all this. somehow got unfastened. One little brush, with ever It was the same, too, with Tommy's mother when so little paste, will cure that speedily: “A brush in mending his rent coat. Cotton and needles and time saves nine."
scissors, all seemed to have entered into a conspiracy There's that untidy drawer. How mixed-up the against her. The cotton would snap; the needle would things have got! No wonder, when everything is lose itself; and the scissors wouldn't cut properly. And
why? Because in Tommy's mother's mind there was you. He says : “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in
QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN.
the Tower of London, there is a one either in excellence or lasting power. I think
small church, called St. Peter ad people aretapt to forget this. The one stitch, depend
Vincula, in which lie buried the reupon it, is worth far more than the rest. Why? Be
mains of a former Queen of England, cause what is done in this way is often done in a temper,
the second wife of King Henry viii. and what is done in a temper is done in a hurry, and
Her melancholy history is a striking what is done in a hurry is therefore done badly, and comment on the inspired text that “Favour is deceitwill probably, before long, give way, and have to be ful, and beauty is vain." done over again. That is why! And even if the Anne Boleyn, when a child, was appointed maid of nine stitches were as carefully made as the one, a honour to Henry's sister—then just married to mended part is never so strong, and never lasts so long, Louis XII. of France. She was taken to reside at the as an untorn place. A multitude of nails will never French court, where, as she grew up, she attracted make a fence as strong as it was before. A patch is a attention by her loveliness of person.
When twenty constant source of weakness.
she returned from France, and became one And this brings me to the saddest thought of all ; of the maids of honour to Queen Catherine. She was that if you don't take your stitch in time, the chances not only more beautiful and graceful, but more witty, are you will never, by any number of stitches, be able gay, and clever than any other young lady of the to make up for it. There are times when a neglect is English court. utterly beyond remedy. You have lost your chance The
maid of honour soon attracted the notice for ever.
of the king, who became deeply enamoured with her. When poor little Willie Tripp fell into the winter Flattered by his attentions, she exerted all her arts still stream that ran hard by his father's house, and was further to please him. After six years of delay, the drowned, Willie's father was well-nigh broken-hearted. monarch succeeded in divorcing his lawful and muchHe was his only boy. He loved him with the strength enduring wife Catherine, and married Anne Boleyn. of his soul. What would he have been willing to give Shortly afterwards a public and magnificent coronation to have called him back again to life ? To have put raised her to the summit of her ambition : she was an words into those cold silent lips ; to have put meaning English queen. Her accomplishments and her loveliinto those glassy, stony eyes; to have restored the ness, her pride and ambition, had won for her this colour to those pale cheeks, he would gladly have high promotion ; while Catherine, her predecessor, was rendered himself a beggar. And when he went forth languishing in obscurity. Surely the maxim was conto mend the broken bridge, for the sake of other little tradicted, that “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is Willies who might pass over it, although he made it so vain !". But the end was yet to come. strong that none need ever fear again to cross it, what Two or three short years of triumph and prosperity availed it for his dead Willie ? It was too late for his passed away, and then another change took place in the darling's safety. All the hammering, and the sawing, king's affections. He began to loathe what he had and the planing would not undo the deadly mischief. A once admired ; and a new and younger rival drew away stitch'in time in this case would have saved nine; but Henry's heart from Queen Anne, whose ruin was now not nine thousand would remedy the neglected one. fast approaching.
And, to give another instance, when big Bill Trotter, Plausible grievances against the unhappy lady were who had lived such a loose life, met with an accident, readily found. Her fondness for admiration during and was carried home to die, it was too late for him to her short career of prosperity had betrayed her into undo the mischief. They picked him up in an un- imprudences; and she had many enemies, who were conscious state, and he never rallied from it. In the ready to turn upon her when they saw that she had days of his strength he might have thought about his
lost her husband's love. She was committed to the soul, and have taken Jesus for his Saviour. He Tower of London as a traitress. would then have been ready for death whenever and in See her now, as she passes under the gloomy archwhatever shape it came. But he did not. And when way of the Traitor's Gate, no longer a happy queen, but death really came to him, he not only was not ready, but lower sunk in wretchedness than the meanest of her could not get ready. He had his chance, and neglecting former servants. Hear her wild and bitter cry, as, fallthat, had never another.
ing on her knees before her gaoler, when told of the And, dear reader, you have your time now. Jesus, crime for which she was to be imprisoned: “O Lord, who died on the cross for your sins, is waiting to save help me, as I am guiltless of that whereof I am charged!”
And soon came the end. It was on the 2nd of May, Green within the Tower, and laid her head upon the 1536, that Queen Anne Boleyn was sent to the Tower, block to receive the fatal stroke of the executioner—a a disgraced wife, a dethroned queen. Seventeen days mournful example of the truth of the Scripture, that afterwards she was led to the place of execution on the “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain."