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1. SOMETHING CURIOUS HAPPENED.
1. A boy about ten years old was pushing a cart heavily loaded with pieces of board and lath taken from some demolished structure,-an every-day sight in most of our cities. Tired and exhausted, he halted under a shade tree. His feet were bruised and sore, his clothes were in rags, and his face was pinched and looked years older than it should..
2. What must be the thoughts of such a child as he looks out upon the world,—the fine houses, the rich dresses, the rolling carriages, the happy faces of those who have never known what it is to be poor!
3. Do such thoughts harden the heart and make it wicked, or do they bring a feeling of loneliness and wretchedness,—a wonder if the rich man's heaven is not so far from the poor man's heaven that he will never catch sight of the pinched faces there?
4. The boy lay down on the grass, and in five minutes was sound asleep. His bare feet just
touched the curbstone, and the old hat fell from his head and rolled to the walk. In the shadow of the tree his face told a story that every passer-by could read. It told of scanty food, of nights when the body shivered with cold, of a home without sunshine, of a young life confronted by mocking shadows.
5. Then something curious happened. A laboring man—a queer old man with a wood-saw on his arm-crossed the street to rest for a moment in the shade of the same tree. He glanced at the boy and turned away, but his look was drawn to him again, and at once he saw the picture and read the story. He, too, was poor. He, too, knew what it was to shiver and hunger.
6. He tip-toed along until he could bend over the boy, and then he took from his pocket a piece of bread and meat—the dinner he was to eat if he found work—and laid it down beside the lad. After this he walked carefully away, looking back every moment, but hastening out of sight as if he wanted to escape thanks.
7. Men, women, and children had seen it all, and what a lever it was! The human heart is ever kind and generous, but sometimes there is need of a key to open it.
8. A man walked down from his steps and left a half-dollar beside the poor man's bread. A
woman walked over and left a good hat in place of the old one. A child came with a pair of shoes, and a boy brought a coat and vest. Pedestrians halted and whispered, and dropped dimes and quarters beside the first silver piece.
9. Something curious had happened. The charity of a poor old man had unlocked the hearts of a score of people. The boy suddenly awoke, and sprang up as if it were a crime to sleep there. He saw the bread, the clothes, the money, and the group of people waiting around. He knew that he had slept, and realized that all these things had come to him as he dreamed.
10. Then what did he do? Why, he sat down and covered his face with his hands, and sobbed like a grieved child. They had read him a sermon more eloquent than all the sermons of the churches. They had set his heart to swelling and jumping until it choked him. Poor, ragged, and wretched, and feeling that he was no more to the world than a stick or a stone, he had awakened to find that the world had regarded him as a human being worthy of aid and entitled to pity.
1. Demolished, structure, loneliness, wretchedness, confronted, pedestrians, occurred, realized, entitled, exhausted, eloquent.
2. Something curious happened. What was it? In what way was it “curious”? What caused it? Was this the
touch of nature” that “ makes the whole world kin”? Describe the street, and the boy's home as you imagine it. What was the key that unlocked so many hearts ?
Explain these expressions : “ pinched faces ”—"sound asleep" —“his face told a story”—“confronted by mocking shadows ”“his look was drawn again "_" he saw the picture"-" he tiptoed along”—“what a lever it was ”—“there is need of a key
to open it.”
NOTE.-Great care should be taken to understand the various meanings a word may have-its meaning as used in the lesson, its synonyms, and to some extent the way in which many of its meanings have grown out of its primary use: e.g., notice the different meanings curious may have.-1. Anxious to be correct. 2. Careful. 3. Artfully made. 4. Eager to learn. 5. Prying. 6. Singular or strange. 7. Not common (rare). 8. Nice. Besides these meanings, usage has given the word many lesser shades of meaning which the connection (context) will show. The common meanings are strange and inquisitive.
II. THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
1. I have read in some old marvelous tale,
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
With the wan moon overhead,
of the dead.
The spectral camp was seen,
The river flowed between.