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ever bold it may appear, he did not despair of carrying out, with patience and industry. Many were the difficulties which he foresaw; but he felt within him that spirit which spurs men on to great enterprises, and makes them “ trample on impossibilities."
He recollected, in the first place, that he had seen Lazy Lawrence, the matmaker, whilst he lounged upon the gate, twist a bit of heath into different shapes; and he thought that if he could find some way of plaiting heath firmly together, it would make a very pretty, green, soft mat, which would do very well for one to wipe one's shoes on. About a mile from his mother's house, on the common which Jem rode over when he went to farmer Truck's for the giant strawberries, he remembered to have seen a great quantity of this heath; and as it was now only six o'clock in the evening, he knew that he should have time to feed Lightfoot, groom him, go to the common, return, and make one trial of his skill before he went to bed.
Lightfoot carried him swiftly to the common, and there Jem gathered as much of the heath as he thought he should want. But what toil, what time, what pains did it cost him, before he could make anything like a mat! Twenty times he was ready to throw aside the heath, and give up his
project, from impatience of repeated failures. But he still persevered. Nothing truly great can be accomplished without toil and time.
Two hours he worked before he went to bed. All his leisure the next day he spent at his mat; which in all made five hours of fruitless attempts. The sixth, however, repaid him for the labors of the other five; he conquered his grand difficulty of fastening the heath firmly together, and at length completely finished a mat which far surpassed his most hopeful expectations. He was extremely happy, sung, danced round his handiwork, whistled, looked at it again and again, and could hardly leave off admiring it when it was time to go to bed. He laid it by his bed-side, that he might see it the moment he awoke in the morning.
HOW LIGHTFOOT IS SAVED AFTER ALL.
And now came the grand pleasure of carrying the mat to his mistress. The lady was surprised when she heard who made it. After having admired it, she told him not to waste his time in weeding gardens. “You can employ yourself much better,” said she, “and shall have the reward of your ingenuity* as well as of your industry. Make as many more such mats as you can, and I will take care and dispose off them for you.” “Thank ye ma'am," said Jem, making his best bow, for he saw by the lady's looks that she meant to do him a favor, though he repeated to himself, Dispose of them ;' what does that mean ?”
The next day he set to work to make more mats, and soon learned to make them so well and quickly, that he was surprised at his own success. In every one he made, he found less difficulty, so that instead of making two, he could soon make four, in a day. In a fortnight he made eighteen. It was Saturday night when he finished, and he carried, at three journeys, his eighteen mats to his mistress's house; piled them all up in the hall, and laid his cap on it. He stood proudly beside the pile, waiting for the lady's appearance.
Presently a folding-door at one end of the hall opened, and he saw his mistress, with a great many gentlemen and ladies, rising from several tables.
“Oh! there is my little boy with his mats,” cried the lady; and, followed by all the rest of the company, she
* Ingenuity, cleverness, skill in a mechanical contrivance,
came into the hall. Jem modestly retired whilst they looked at his mats; but in a minute or two his mistress beckoned him; and when he came into the middle of the circle he saw that his pile of mats had disappeared.
"Well,” said the lady, smiling, “what do you see that makes you look so surprised ?" “That all my mats are gone,” said Jem.
Well," said the lady, “ take up your сар, and
go home then, for you see that it is getting late, and
you know Lightfoot will wonder what has become of you.” Jem turned round to take up his cap, which he had left on the floor. But how his countenance changed ! the
cap was heavy with shillings. Every one who had taken a mat had put in two shillings; so that for the eighteen mats he had got thirty-six shillings. “Thirty-six shillings !" said the lady; " five and sevenpence
you told me you had earned already - how much does that make ? We must add one other sixpence to make out your two guineas.” guineas ! ” cried he, “Oh Lightfoot ! - oh mother!”
Jem ran home to cary his earnings to his mother; and the poor widow was overwhelmed with wonder and delight. Then flying to the stable : "Lightfoot, you're not to be sold to-morrow ! old fellow,” said he, patting him caressingly.
16 Two DOROTHY AND HER PET PUPPY.
IN Battersea, on the banks of the Thames, near London, there dwelt, about three hundred years ago, a blind widow, named Alice Collie, and her grandchild Dorothy. They had seen better days; for the father of little Dorothy had been gardener to good Queen Catharine, the first wife of Henry VIII. But when Henry married Anna Boleyn, the servants of the former were all paid off. This was a heavy blow to the family; but still greater misfortunes awaited them. The brother of Dorothy, a very industrious youth, was killed by the falling of an old wall, and his death so afflicted his father and mother that they did not long survive him.
Poor little Dorothy, yet a child, was thus left alone, with her blind and infirm grandmother, and without any means of support. Not knowing what to do, she procured some flowers and a little fruit, and went daily through the streets of London to sell them. In these rambles she was accompanied by a beautiful dog, named Constant, which had been given her, when quite a puppy, by the good Queen Catharine. For some time this affectionate little girl gained enough to buy food for her grandmother and herself; but at length winter came on, the old woman fell sick, and they were brought to the greatest distress.
Dorothy could have borne her own miseries; but when she saw the sufferings of old Alice she could no longer support it, and looking at her with tears in her eyes, she exclaimed, “Dearest grandmother, it shall be done! I will sell my dear Constant;
I was offered a gold-piece for him some time ago by a servant of the Duchess of Suffolk.” “And can you,” said Alice, “part with your pet, the gift of the good Queen Catharine ?” “Oh, it will almost
break my heart," cried Dorothy, “but can I see you want bread ?"
This good little creature then set off, accompanied by Constant, to go to the Duchess of Suffolk's; but she soon after returned, crying and sobbing, as if her heart would break. She had met a thief by the way, who had seized her dog, saying it belonged to him; and he threatened to put her in prison if she dared to follow him. This was a severe trial for poor Dorothy; she saw no resource but that of begging; and she determined to submit to anything, in order to procure some relief for her poor blind and aged grandmother. She therefore went from door to door, telling her artless tale.
her relief; but the greater number turned a deaf ear to her prayer, or reproached her for not working to gain a livelihood.
It was now the depth of winter, and one day, when the poor little creature had been begging from morning till evening without receiving a single penny, her strength failed her, and she sank fainting on the ground; whence she would probably never have risen again, but for a singular circumstance.
She was suddenly awakened by a dog leaping upon it was her dear Constant, who was licking her benumbed face and hands, and caressing her in the most affectionate
The surprise and joy recalled her to life, and taking the faithful animal in her arms, she said : “I shall be able to reach home now I have found you, my sweet pet."
“ Your dog !” exclaimed a tall footman,“ T'll let you know that he belongs to Lady More, wife of the Lord Chancellor," snatching him at the same time from her arms. "Indeed, indeed, sir, it is my dog; it was given to me, when quite a puppy, by the good Queen Catharine, who was very kind