صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ceeded in turning a good stream of water into the ditch, which began instantly to produce a wonderful change for the better. And they were enabled to finish their undertaking in excellent style, for the farmer gave them wood to cover in the ditch ; and then they laid sods over the whole, by way of a finish.

Meanwhile, however, Hooper lay at death's door, with “the fever.” But, however it may have been, certain it was that he began to mend from the day this work was done.

Charm of Interesting Stories.


Or course you all know what is meant by paying ready money for a thing. When you buy a loaf at the baker's, or a pound of sugar at the grocer's, you have money to pay for it. That is also called cash-payment, as cash is another

word for money.

But some people sometimes don't pay at the time they make purchases, but delay payment till they get money. That is a very bad plan, I think; for the expected money may not be so easily got. However, the baker, or grocer, or butcher, or draper, believes that it will be forthcoming by and by; so he trusts, or gives the things on trust or credit. This makes it very easy for you at the time, but it is not very safe ; and it is more dangerous for you to take credit than for the tradesman to give it.

But, probably, you know already about that way of taking credit. I can tell

which I daresay you have not thought of, but which you have practised in one way or another, for all that. Did you never take credit on

you another



[ocr errors]

your stomach.



yourself ?

" How can that be?” I hear you say ; tainly I could not receive ready money from myself, how, then, could I take credit on myself ?”

Not so fast, Master Doubter. When you last ate an unripe apple, had you not a headache, and, perhaps, a colic too? Well, the momentary pleasure of swallowing the apple was overweighed by the credit or trust you had in

Now, Mr. Stomach is a most obliging banker; but, reasonably enough, he is chary of granting accommodations* without a chance of compensation. And should the risk be great, he demands speedy repayment with high interest.† He has a hundred ways, too, of finding out the worth and characters of his customers. Himself a prudent and long-headed man, the most knowing can neither outwit nor overreach him; and he who is foolhardy enough to resist his lawful claims by force, falls in the contest,-slowly, perhaps, but surely. After all, then, you can, if you will, take credit on yourself.

Again, when you last wore tight shoes, perhaps the pain was not felt so much as when you took them off some time afterwards. The time during which pain was suspended was then the period of credit: payment for the abuse your foot suffered was merely put off.

At last it came, however, with a heavy interest in the shape of corns and bunions.

Often in passing little cottages, or through narrow streets, I have seen filth of every description lying about, or collected in what is called a cesspool.”

The people living there put up with the disagreeable smells and nauseous sights, because they cannot trouble themselves to

[ocr errors]


* Accommodations, loans.

f Interest, premium given for the use of money; e.g. 5l. for the loan of 1001. for a year, or 5 per cent. per annum. [The money lent is called the principal.]

carry the filth elsewhere. “It is of no consequence,” they say,

6 it does no harm." No! It does not bark or snap at them, or prick them, or make them feel any particular pain, just yet. It does not make their legs, arms, or heads pay ready money. But wait a little, perhaps all three will smart for it in due time.

Look at those masses of offal and putrid matter! The smell is occasioned by floating particles of it entering your nostrils and mouth. These rapidly spread, and thicken the air, more than a shower of fine flour would do : it is no longer fresh healthy air. Every moment the floating particles increase like an invisible smoke. Every breath draws some of that poisonous matter into your bodies, and taints your blood. Gradually you feel weak and sickly; "and a band of pain across your brow.” Your motions are sluggish, and you are as pale as whitewash. Why, if you remained here any length of time, you would even become reckless, discontented, vicious, and poor; and all through the “harmless dirt." Wonderful dirt !

Presently you hear of one being stricken down by " the fever;" and then another and another. They were not required to pay ready money. “No! Why should they, indeed! So long as they could have credit." Pay ere long, however, they must.

It is the same with the foul air of a room; the same with the glutton, who must suffer for his surfeit; and the drunkard for his debauch. In short, I could show you a thousand ways how you can, and perhaps do, take credit on yourselves by violating, through ignorance or vice, the laws of God.


[ocr errors]


THE Czar Ivan, who reigned over Russia about the middle of the sixteenth century, often went out disguised, in order to satisfy his own mind as to the condition of his subjects.

One day, in a solitary walk near Moscow, he entered a small village, and pretending to be overcome by fatigue, implored relief from several of the inhabitants. His dress was ragged, his appearance mean; but what ought to have excited the compassion of the villagers, and ensured a kind reception, produced a refusal.

Full of indignation at such inhuman treatment, he was just going to leave the place, when he noticed another dwelling to which he had not yet applied for assistance. It was the poorest cottage in the village. The Emperor hastened to this, and knocked at the door.

A peasant opened it, and asked him what he wanted. “I

am almost dying with fatigue and hunger," answered the Czar ; "can you give me a night's lodging ?” " Alas!" said the

peasant, you will have but poor fare; you have come at an unlucky time-for


wife is unwell ; but come in, come in, you will at least be sheltered from the cold, and what we have


shall be welcome to." The peasant then led the Czar into a little room full of children; in a cradle were two infants sleeping soundly. A girl three

years old was sleeping on a rug near the cradle. Stay here," said the peasant to the Emperor, “ I will go and get something for your supper." He went out and soon returned with some black bread, eggs, and honey. “ You see all I can give you,” said the peasant; “partake of it with

children. I must

wife." The good peasant then went to his wife, and shortly returned, bringing with him a baby, who was to be chris


[ocr errors]

and nurse my

[ocr errors]

tened on the morrow. The Emperor took the infant in his arms, saying, “I know, from the appearance of this child, that he will þe fortunate.” The peasant smiled at the prophecy; and at that instant the two eldest girls came to kiss baby before going to bed, and their grandmother came also to take him back. The little ones followed her; and the host, laying himself down upon his bed of straw, invited the stranger to do the same. In a moment the peasant was in a sound and peaceful sleep.

The peasant awoke at break of day, and his guest, on taking leave of him, said, “I must return to Moscow, my friend; I am acquainted there with a very benevolent man, to whom I shall take care to mention your kind treatment of me. I can prevail upon him to stand godfather to your child. Promise me, therefore, that you will wait for me, that I may be present at the christening ; I will be back in three hours at the latest.” The peasant did not think much of this mighty promise; but, in the good nature of his heart, he consented to the stranger's request.

The Czar went away; the three hours were soon gone, and nobody appeared. The peasant, therefore, as well as his family, were preparing to carry the child to church ; but, as he was about to leave his cottage, he heard on a sudden the trampling of horses and the rattling of many carriages. He knew the imperial guards, and instantly called his family to come and see the Emperor go by. They all ran out in a hurry, and stood before their door.

The horses, men, and carriages soon formed a halfcircle, and the state carriage of the Czar stopped opposite the peasant's door. The carriage door was opened, the Czar alighted; and advancing to his host, thus addressed him: “I promised you a godfather; I have come to fulfil my promise; give me your child, and follow me to the church.” The peasant stood like a statue,

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »