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"Ah! what angel is that I see ?" said Titania, opening her eyes and the juice of the little purple flower beginning to take effect, are you as wise as you are beautiful ?"
"Why, mistress," said the foolish clown, "if I have wit enough to find the way out of this wood, I have enough to serve my turn." "Out of the wood do not desire to go," said the enamoured queen. "I am a spirit of no common rate. I love you. Go with me, and I will give you fairies to attend upon you.
She then called four of her fairies; their names were, Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed.
"Attend," said the queen, upon this sweet gentleman; hop in his walks; and gambol in his sight; feed him with grapes and apricots, and steal for him the honey-bags from the bees. Come sit with me," said she to the clown, "and let me play with your amiable hairy cheeks, my beautiful ass! and kiss your fair large ears, my gentle joy!" "Where is Pease-blossom?" said the ass-headed clown, not much regarding the fairy queen's courtship, but very proud of his new attendants.
"Where is Cobweb ?"
"Here, sir," said little Pease-blossom. ་་ Scratch my head," said the clown. "Here, sir," said Cobweb. "Good Mr. Cobweb," said the foolish clown, "kill me the red humble bee on the top of that thistle yonder; and, good Mr. Cobweb, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, Mr. Cobweb, and take care the honey bag breaks not; I should be sorry to have you overflown with a honey-bag. Where is Mus
"Here, sir," said Mustard-seed; "what is your will ?"
Nothing," said the clown, " good Mr. Mustard-seed, but to help Mr. Pease-blossom to scratch; I must go to a barber's, Mr. Mustard-seed, for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face."
"My sweet love," said the queen, "what will you have to eat? I have a venturous fairy shall seek the squirrel's hoard and fetch you some new nuts."
Oberon having thus obtained the little boy he had so long wished for to be his page, took pity on the disgraceful situation into which by his merry contrivance he had brought his Titania, and threw some of the juice of the other flower into her eyes; and the fairy queen immediately recovered her senses, and wondered at her late dotage, saying how she now loathed the sight of the strange monster. Oberon likewise took the ass's head from off the clown, and left him to finish his nap, with his own fool's head upon his shoulders. Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly reconciled, he related to her the history of the lovers, and their midnight quarrels; and she agreed to go with him and see the end of their adventures.
The fairy king and queen found the lovers and their fair ladies, at no great distance from each other, sleeping on a grass plot; for Puck, to make amends for his former mistake, had contrived with the utmost diligence to bring them all to the same spot unknown to each other; and he had carefully removed the charm from off the eyes of Lysander with the antidote the fairy king gave to him.
Hermia first awoke, and finding her lost Lysander asleep so near her, was looking at him and wondering at his strange inconstancy. Lysander presently opening his eyes, and seeing his dear Hermia recovered his reason which the fairy charm had before clouded, and with his reason, his love for Hermia; and they began to talk over the adventures of the night, doubting if these things had really happened, or if they had both been dreaming the same bewildering dream. Helena and Demetrius were by this time awake; and asweet sleep having quieted Helena's disturbed and angry spirits, she listened with delight to the professions of love which Demetrius still made to her, and which, to her surprise as well as pleasure, she began to per
ceive were sincere.
These fair night-wandering ladies, now no longer rivals, became once more true friends; all the unkind words which had passed were forgiven, and they calmly consulted together what was best to be done in their present situation. It was soon agreed that, as Demetrius had given up his pretensions to Hermia, he should endeavour to prevail upon her father to revoke the cruel sentence of death which had been passed against her. Demetrius was preparing to return to Athens for this friendly purpose, when they were surprised with the
sight of Egeus, Hermia's father, who came to the wood in pursuit of his runaway daughter.
When Egeus understood that Demetrius would not now marry his daughter, he no longer opposed her marriage with Lysander, but gave his consent that they should be wedded on the fourth day from that time, being the same day on which Hermia had been condemned to lose her life; and on that same day Helena joyfully agreed to marry her beloved and now faithful Demetrius.
The fairy king and queen, who where invisible spectators of this reconciliation, and now saw the happy ending of the lover's history brought about through the good offices of Oberon, received so much pleasure, that these kind spirits resolved to celebrate the approaching nuptials with sports and revels throughout their fairy kingdom.
And now, if any are offended with this story of fairies and their pranks, as judging it incredible and strange, they have only to think that they have been asleep and dreaming, and that all these adventures were visions which they saw in their sleep; and I hope none of my readers will be so unreasonable as to be offended with a pretty harmless Midsummer Night's Dream.
THE LARK AND THE ROOK.
In yon dewy meadow;-good night Sir Rook."
But not to sleep on the cold damp ground:
Is the topmost bough of yon tall pine-tree.
And I made more noise in the world than you!
I looked and wondered;-good night, poor thing!"
THERE is no one in the whole world who knows so many stories as Old Robin, the Dustman. Oh! his are such nice stories.
In the evening, when children are sitting quietly round the table, or on their little stools, he takes off his shoes, comes softly up stairs, opens the door very gently, and, all on a sudden, throws dust into the children's eyes. He then creeps behind thein, and breathes lightly, very lightly, upon their necks; then their heads become so heavy! but it does them no harm, for the Dustman means it kindly; he only wants the children to be quiet, and they are most quiet when they are in bed. They must be quiet in order that he may tell them his stories.
When the children are asleep the Dustman sits down upon the bed. He is gaily dressed in a silk coat, but of what colour it is impossible to say, for it seems now green, now red, now blue, according to the light. Under each arm he holds an umbrella. The one which he holds over good children has pictures painted on it. It makes them have the most delightful dreams all night long. And the other, which has no pictures on it, he holds over naughty children, so that they sleep heavily, and awake in the morning without having dreamed at all.
Now let us hear what stories the Dustman told to a little boy of the name of Edward, to whom he came every evening for a whole week through. There are seven stories altogether, for the week has seven days.
MONDAY. "Listen to me," said Old Robin, as soon as he had got Edward into bed. "Now I will decorate your room;" and all at once, as he was speaking, the flowers in the flower-pots grew up into large trees, whose long branches reached to the ceiling, and all along the walls, so that the room looked like a beautiful arbour. Every branch was full of flowers, and every flower was more beautiful even than
the rose, and had such a pleasant smell. Moreover, could you have tasted them you would have found them sweeter than currant jam. And fruit, which shone like gold, hung from the trees, beside dumplings full of currants. Never was the like seen before. But, at the same time, a loud lamentation was heard in the table drawer where Edward's school books were kept.
"What is the matter ?" said the Dustman, going up to the table, and opening the drawer. There lay the slate, on which the figures were crowding and squeezing together, because a wrong figure had got into the sum, so that it was near falling to pieces; the pencil hopped and skipped about like a little dog; he wanted to help the sum, but he could not. And a little farther off lay Edward's copy-book it was complaining and moaning also; it was quite unpleasant to hear it. At the beginning of every line on each page there stood a large letter with a little letter by its side: this was the copy; and after them stood other letters, intended to look like the copy. Edward had written these; but they seemed to have fallen over the lines upon which they ought to have stood.
"Look, this is the way you must hold yourselves," said the copy; "look, slanting-just so, and turning round with a twist." "Oh! we would do so willingly," said Edward's letters; "but we cannot; we are so badly made! "Then you shall have some of the children's powders," said the
Oh, no!" cried they, and stood so straight that it was a pleasure to look at them.
"Well, I cannot tell you any more stories now," said the Dustman; "I must drill these letters-right, left-right, left!" So he drilled the letters till they looked as straight and perfect as only the letters in a copy can be. However, after the Dustman had gone away, and when Edward looked at them the next morning, they were as crooked and badly formed as before.
NORMAN SHIP OF THE TENTH CENTURY.
On the night of the 13th of October, 1066, William announced to the Normans that the morrow would be the day of battle. The priests and ecclesiastics, who had followed the invading army in great numbers, attracted like the soldiery by the hopes of booty, assembled for the purpose of praying and chanting the services of the church, while the men at arms made ready their weapons. This necessary duty being performed, they employed the remainder of their time in confessing their sins, and receiving the holy sacrament.
In the opposite army the night was passed in a very different manner; there, all was noise and revelry, the Saxons amusing themselves, while seated over their watch fires, singing their old national songs, and emptying the horns of beer and wine which circulated freely among them.
At the break of day, in the Norman camp, the Bishop of Bayeux, a son of Duke William's mother, armed with a coat of mail beneath his sacred vesture, celebrated mass, and gave his blessing to the troops; then, mounting a handsome white charger, and bearing a baton in his hand, he drew up the cavalry. The army of attack formed three divisions; the first comprised the men at arms from Boulogne and Ponthieu, with the greater part of the mercenaries; the second consisted of the Breton, Maine, and Poitevin auxiliaries; while the third, formed of the flower of the Norman chivalry, was commanded by William in person.
At the head and on the flank of each battalion marched several companies of foot soldiers, lightly armed, wearing quilted cassocks, some bearing long bows of wood, and others steel cross-bows. The duke rode a Spanish horse, which a rich Norman had brought with
him from a pilgrimage to St. Jago, in Gallicia, and wore suspended
for, if we conquer, we shall all be rich. What I gain shall be your
The army soon found themselves in sight of the Saxon camp, on panied it, retired to a rising ground close by, whence they could view the north-west of Hastings. The priests and monks who accomnamed Taillefer, spurring his horse to the very front of the lines, the combat and offer up their prayers for their friends. A Norman throughout all Gaul. As he sang he played with his sword, which began to sing the song of "Roland and Charlemagne," popular right hand; while the Normans joined in the chorus of his song, he threw up with all his force into the air, and then caught in his and cried, "God help us! God help us!"
against the enemy; but the greater portion of their blows fell At length the archers and cross-bow men directed their arrows against the high walls which surrounded the Saxon encampment. The foot soldiery, armed with lances, and the cavalry advanced to the very entrance of the redoubts, and endeavoured to force them. The Anglo-Saxons, who were all on foot around their standard, which they had planted in the earth, and who formed one solid and compact mass behind their palisades, received their assailants with heavy blows of their battle-axes, which broke their lances and cut through their armour. The Normans, wearied with an attack from which they derived no success, and unable to penetrate the redoubts, or pull up the stakes of which they were formed, returned towards the division which William himself commanded.
The duke then directed the archers to make a fresh attack; ordering them, at the same time, no longer to shoot straight forward, but so to direct their arrows into the air that they might fall within the enemy's ramparts. By this manœuvre they succeeded in wounding many of the English, mostly in the face: Harold himself had one of his eyes put out by an arrow, yet this did not compel him to either withdraw from the command or retire from the battle.
The attack of the men at arms, on horse and on foot, now commenced amidst cries of "Our Lady! God help us! God help us!" But the Normans were repulsed from one of the portals, and driven back to a morass covered with grass and brushwood, when, their horses falling with them, they floundered confusedly one over the other, and perished in great numbers. This was a moment of great alarm in the army of the invaders. A report spread through the ranks that the duke had been slain; and this served as a signal for a general flight. William immediately thrust himself in front of the fugitives, arresting their further progress, threatening them and beating them back with his spear, while he uncovered his head to yet live, and, by God's help, hope to gain the day." assure them of his identity. "Here I am," he said, "behold me : 1
their endeavours to force the gates, or make a breach for their en. The knights, upon this, returned to attack the fortifications; but trance, utterly failed; at length, the duke bethought him of a stratagem which should draw the English from their strongholds, and induce them to break their ranks. He ordered a thousand of of this pretended flight deprived the Saxons of their coolness, and his cavalry to advance, and then make a sudden retreat. The sight they hastened to the pursuit with their battleaxes around their necks. On arriving at a certain point, a body of men, who had been placed there for the purpose, joined the fugitives, who suddenly turned round in all the disorder of victory, were assailed on every side by spears upon their pursuers; the English, thus unexpectedly attacked when and swords, from which they could not defend themselves having both hands engaged in wielding their huge axes.
the cavalry and foot soldiers gained an entrance, and the combat When their ranks were thus broken their redoubts were forced; was carried on in the fiercest manner, hand to hand and foot to foot.
brothers were left dead at the foot of their standard, which was William had his horse killed under him. Harold and his two the invader. The remnant of the English army, left without a chief thrown down, and supplanted by the one which Rome had sent to and without a banner, continued to struggle against the victors till day had so long closed in that the two parties could only be recognised by their language.
COME, children, gather round the hearth,
I promised you a tale to-night: Of sorrow shall it be or mirth ?
Of Baron bold or Lady bright? Boys, stir the log. Or shall it be
Of dauntless Knight with lance in rest? Or one where gentle Charity
Crept nestling to a miser's breast?
Come, little Apple-cheeks, choose you : What shall it be-what shall I tell ?"A fairy tale that's true-all true-"
Good, Blue-eyes, you have chosen well : So shall it be. Dear wife, your seam
Lay down, and listen with the rest. Put out the lamp; the ruddy gleam Of fire-light for a tale is best.
THE MAID AND THE HAWTHORN TREE.
Ir was a maid of my country,
And she came by a hawthorn tree,
Of every man for to be seen,
I marvel that you grow so green.
THE spring is coming, coming, coming,
The bee in the valley is humming, humming,
The buds are swelling on every tree;
The snow is melting on the hill;
Adder tongues beside the rill,
For the Queen of Spring is here.
'N a hole which Time had made in a wall, covered with ivy, a pair of Redbreasts built their nest. No place could have been better chosen for the purpose; it was sheltered from the rain, screened from the wind, and in an orchard belonging to a gentleman who had strictly charged his domestics not to destroy the labours of those little songsters, who chose his ground as an asylum.
In this happy retreat, which no idle schoolboy dared to enter, the hen Redbreast laid four eggs, and then took her seat upon them, resolving that nothing should tempt her to leave the nest for any length of time till she had hatched her infant brood. Her tender mate every morning took her place while she picked up a hasty breakfast, and often, before he tasted any food himself, cheered her with a song.
At length the day arrived when the happy mother heard the chirping of her little ones; with inexpressible tenderness she spread her maternal wings to cover them, threw out the egg-shells in which they before lay confined, then pressed them to her bosom, and presented them to her mate, who viewed them with rapture, and seated himself by her side, that he might share her pleasure.
"We may promise ourselves much delight in rearing our little family," said he, "but it will occasion us a great deal of trouble; I would willingly bear the whole myself, but it will be impossible for me, with my utmost labour and industry, to supply all our nestlings with what is sufficient for their daily support; it will, therefore, be necessary for you to leave the nest sometimes, to seek provisions for them."
She declared her readiness to do so; and said that there would be no necessity for her to be long absent, as she had discovered a place near the orchard where food was scattered on purpose for such birds as would take the pains of seeking it; and that she had been informed by a chaffinch that there was no kind of danger in picking it up.
"This is a lucky discovery, indeed, for us," replied the mate, "for this great increase of family renders it prudent to make use of every means for supplying our neeessities; I myself must take a wider circuit, for some insects that are proper for our nestlings cannot be found in all places: however, I will bear you company whenever it is in my power."
The little ones now began to be hungry, and opened their gaping mouths for food; upon which their kind father instantly flew forth to find it for them, and in turns supplied them all, as well as his beloved mate. This was a hard day's work; and when evening came on he was glad to take repose; and bending his head under his wing, he soon fell asleep. His mate followed his example (the four little ones had before fallen into a gentle siumber) and perfect quietness for some hours reigned in the nest.
The next morning they were awakened at the dawn of day, by the song of a Skylark, which had a nest near the orchard; and, as the young Redbreasts were impatient for food their father cheerfully prepared himself to renew his toil, requesting his mate to accompany him to the place she had mentioned.
"That I will do," replicd she, "but it is too early yet; I must, therefore, beg that you will go by yourself and procure a breakfast for us, as I am fearful of leaving the nestlings before the air is warmer, lest they should be chilled."
To this he readily consented, and fed all his little darlings, to whom, for the sake of distinction, I shall give the names of Robin,
From Mrs. Trimmer's "Fabulous Histories."
Dicky, Flapsy, and Pecksy. When this kind office was performed, he perched on a tree, and while he rested, entertained his family with his melody, till his mate, springing from the nest, called him to accompany her; on which he instantly took wing, and followed her to a courtyard belonging to a family mansion.
No sooner did the happy pair appear before the parlour window, than it was hastily thrown up by Miss Harriet Benson, a little girl about eleven years of age, the daughter of the gentleman and lady to whom the house belonged.
Miss Harriet, with great delight, called her brother to see two Robin Redbreasts: and she was soon joined by Master Frederick, a fine chubby rosy-cheeked boy, about six years of age, who, as soon as he had taken a peep at the feathered strangers, ran to his mamma and entreated her to give him something to feed them with.
"I must have a great piece of bread this morning," said he, "for there are all the Sparrows and Chaffinches that come every day, and two Robin Redbreasts besides."
"Here is a piece for you, Frederick," replied Mrs. Benson, cutting a loaf that was on the table; "but if your daily pensioners continue to increase, as they have done lately, we must provide some other food for them, as it is not right to cut pieces from a loaf on purpose for birds, because there are many children who want bread, to who, we should give the preference. Would you deprive a poor little hungry boy of his breakfast, to give it to birds ?"
"No," said Frederick, "I would sooner give my own breakfast to a poor boy than he should go without: but where shall I get food enough for my birds? I will beg the cook to save the crumbs in the bread-pan, and desire John to preserve all he makes when he cuts the loaf for dinner, and those which are scattered on the tablecloth." "A very good plan," said Mrs. Benson, "and I have no doubt it will answer your purpose, if you can prevail on the servants to indulge you. I cannot bear to see the least fragment of food wasted which may contribute to the support of life in any creature."
Miss Harriet, being quite impatient to exercise her benevolence, requested her brother to remember that the poor birds, for whom he had been a successful provider, would soon fly away if he did not make haste to feed them; on which he ran to the window with his treasure in his hand.
When Miss Harriet first appeared, the winged supplicants approached with eager expectation of the daily handful, which their kind benefactors made it a custom to distribute, and were surprised at the delay of her charity. They hopped around the window they chirped-they twittered, and employed all their little arts to gain attention; and were on the point of departing, when Master Frederick, breaking a bit from the piece he held in his hand, attempted to scatter it among them, calling out at the same time, "Dicky Dicky!"
On hearing the well-known sound, the little flock immediately drew near. Master Frederick begged that his sister would let him feed all the birds himself, but finding that he could not fling the crumbs far enough for the Redbreasts, who, being strangers, kept at a distance, he resigned the task, and Miss Harriet, with dexterous hand, threw some of them to the very spot where the affectionate pair stood waiting for her notice, and with grateful hearts picked up the portion assigned them; and in the meanwhile the other birds, being satisfied, flew away, and they were left alone. Master Frederick exclaimed with rapture, that the two Robin Redbreasts were feeding! and Miss Harriet meditated a design of taming them by kindness.
Let us now see what became of our Redbreasts after they left their young benefactors.
The hen bird, as I informed you, repaired immediately to the nest; her heart fluttered with apprehension as she entered it, and she eagerly called out, "Are you all safe, my little dears ?" All safe, my good mother," replied Pecksy, "but a little hungry and very cold." "Well," said she, "your last complaint I can soon remove; but in respect to the satisfying of your hunger, that must be your father's task. However, he will soon be here, I make no doubt. Then spreading her wings over them all, she soon gave warmth to them, and they were again comfortable.
In a very short time her mate returned; for he only stayed at Mr. Benson's to finish his song, and sip some clear water, which his new friends always kept where they fed the birds. He brought in his mouth a worm, which was given to Robin: and was going to fetch one for Dicky, but his mate said, "My young ones are now hatched, and you can keep them warm as well as myself: take my place, therefore, and the next excursion shall be mine."
"I consent," answered he, "because I think a little flying now and then will do you good; but, to save you trouble, I can direct you to a spot where you may be certain of finding worms for this morning's supply." He then described the place; and on her quitting the nest he entered it, and gathered his young ones under his wings. "Come, my dears," said he, "let us see what kind of a nurse I can make; but an awkward one, I fear; even every mother bird is not a good nurse, but you are very fortunate in yours, for she is a most tender one, and I hope you will be dutiful for her kind "Iness." They all promised him they would. "Well, then, said he, "I will sing you a song. He did so, and it was a very merry one, and delighted the nestlings extremely; so that, though they were not quite comfortable under his wings, they did not regard it, nor think the time of their mother's absence long. She had not succeeded in the place she first went to, as a boy was picking up worms to angle with, of whom she was afraid, and therefore flew farther but, as soon as she had obtained what she went for she returned with all possible speed, and though she had repeated invitations from several gay birds which she met to join their sportive parties, she kept a steady course, preferring the pleasure of feeding little Dicky to all the diversions of the fields and groves. As soon as the hen bird came near the nest, her mate started up to make room for her, and take his turn of providing for his family. "Once more adieu !" said he, and was out of sight in an instant.
"Be sure, my dear brother," said she, "not to forget to ask the cook and John for the crumbs, and do not let the least morsel of anything you have to eat fall to the ground. I will be careful in respect to mine, and we will collect all that papa and mamma crumble; and, if we cannot by these means get enough, I will spend some of my money in grain for them." "Oh," said Frederick, would give all the money I have in the world to buy food for my dear, dear birds."
"Hold, my love," said Mrs. Benson; "though I commend your humanity, I must remind you again that there are poor people as well as poor birdɛ."
"Well," mamina, replied Frederick, "I will only buy a little grain, then." As he spake the last words, the Redbreasts, having finished their meal, the mother bird expressed her impatience to return to the nest; and having obtained her mate's consent, she repaired with all possible speed to her humble habitation, whilst he tuned his melodious throat, and delighted their young benefactors with his song; he then spread his wings, and took his flight to an adjoining garden, where he had a great chance of finding worms for his family.
shut the window; and, taking Frederick in her lap, and desiring Miss Harriet to sit down by her, thus addressed them:
"I am delighted, my dear children, with your humane behaviour towards animals, and wish by all means to encourage it; but let me recommend to you, not to suffer your tender feelings towards animals to gain upon you to such a degree as to make you unhappy, or forgetful of those who have a higher claim on your attention-I mean poor people. Always keep in mind the distresses which they endure; and on no account waste any kind of food, nor give to inferior creatures that what is designed for mankind.
Miss Harriet promised to follow her mamma's instructions; but Frederick's attention was entirely engaged by watching a butterfly, which had just left the chrysalis, and was fluttering in the window, longing to try its wings in the air and sunshine: this Frederick was very desirous to catch, but his mamma would not permit him to attempt it, because (she told him) he could not well lay hold of its wings without doing it an injury, and it would be much happier at liberty.
Master Benson expressed great concern that the Robins were gone; but was comforted by his sister, who reminded him that, in all probability, his new favourites, having met with so kind a reception, would return on the morrow. Mrs. Benson then bid them
"Should you like, Frederick," said she, "when you are going out to play, to have any body lay hold of you violently, scratch you all over, then offer you something to eat which is very disagreeable, and perhaps poisonous, and shut you up in a little dark room? And yet this is the fate to which many a harmless insect is condemned by thoughtless children." As soon as Frederick understood that he could not catch the butterfly without hurting it, he gave up the desire, and assured his mamma he did not want to keep it, but only to carry it out of doors."
"Well," replied she, "that end may be answered by opening the window," which at her desire was done by Miss Harriet: the happy insect was glad to fly away, and Frederick had soon the pleasure of seeing it alight upon a rose.
Breakfast being ended, Mrs. Benson reminded the young lady and gentleman that it was almost time for their lessons to begin; but desired their maid to take them into the garden before they applied to their tasks. During his walk Master Frederick amused himself with watching the butterfly, as it flew from flower to flower, which gave him more pleasure than he could possibly have received from catching and confining the little tender creature.
"My dear nestlings,' said the mother, "how do you do?" "Very well, thank you," replied all at once, "and we have been exceedingly merry," said Robin, "for my father has sung us a sweet song." "I think," said Dicky, "I should like to learn it.” “ Well,"
replied the mother, "he will teach it you, I dare say; here he comes -ask him." "I am ashamed," said Dicky. "Then your are a silly bird; never be ashamed but when you commit a fault; asking your father to teach you to sing is not one, and good parents delight to teach their young ones everything that is proper and useful. Whatever so good a father sets you an example of, you may safely desire to imitate." Then, addressing herself to her mate, who for an instant stopped at the entrance of the nest, that he might not interrupt her instructions, "Am I not right," said she, "in what I have just told them ?" 66 Perfectly so," replied he, "I shall have pleasure in teaching them all that is in my power; but we must talk of that another time. Who is to feed poor Pecksy?" "Oh, I, I," answered the mother, and was gone in an instant. "And so you want to learn to sing, Dicky ?" said the father. "Well, then, pray listen very attentively; you may learn the notes, though you will not be able to sing till your voice is stronger."
Robin now remarked that the song was very pretty indeed, and expressed his desire to learn it also. " By all means," said his father, "I shall sing it very often, so you may learn it if you please." "For my part," said Flapsy, "I do not think I could have patience to learn it, it will take so much time." "Nothing, my dear Flapsy," answered the father, "can be acquired without patience, and I am sorry to find yours beginning to fail you already; but I hope, if you have no taste for music, that you will give the greater application to things that may be of more importance to you." "Well, said Pecksy, "I would apply to music with all my heart but I do not believe it possible for me to learn it." "Perhaps not," replied her father, "but I do not doubt you will apply to whatever your mother requires of you; and she is an excellent judge, both of your talents and of what is suitable to your station in life. She is no songstress herself, and yet she is very clever, I assure you: here she comes." Then rising to make room for her, "Take your seat, my love," said he, "and I will perch upon the ivy." The hen again covered her brood, whilst her mate amused her with his singing and conversation till the evening, excepting that each parent bird flew out in turn to get food for their young ones.
In this manner several days passed with little variation; the nestlings were very thriving, and daily gained strength and knowledge through the care of their indulgent parents, who every day visited their friends Master and Miss Benson. Frederick had been successful with the cook and footman, from whom he obtained enough for his dear birds as he called them, without robbing the poor; and he was still able to produce a penny whenever his papa or mamma pointed out to him a proper object of charity.
[END OF THE FIRST CHAPTER.]
OR, THE FAIRY AND THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER.
THERE was a certain gentleman who had one of the best wives ever known-so gentle, kind, and amiable that everybody loved her; but, unfortunately, she died, leaving a little girl, the image of herself, and just as good and amiable. The gentleman, feeling very lonely after his wife's death, married again, in the hope of recovering his lost happiness. But he made a sad mistake; for his second wife, although she appeared very amiable before he married her, turned out the proudest and haughtiest woman ever seen. She had two daughters, just like herself, and they all hated the first wife's little girl, because she was prettier and more amiable than themselves. They scolded her from morning till night, and made her do the work of a servant-scrubbing the stairs, sweeping the rooms, and washing the plates and dishes; and they took all her nice clothes away from her, and made her wear coarse homespun, and sleep on a straw bed in a cock-loft, while her step-sisters were
dressed in silks and satins, slept in the best rooms, on feather beds, and did nothing from morning till night but run after pleasure, or admire themselves in the mirror.
The poor little girl was never allowed up stairs, even after her hard day's work was done, but had to make herself as comfortable as she could in the kitchen. She led a very dull life, and her only amusement was to sit in the chimney corner of an evening reading a nice story-book, while her sisters were gone to a ball or some other amusement, for they gave her no peace when they were at home. Her name was Olympia, but the elder sister called her Cindertail; the other sister was more polite, and called her Cinderella, and she looked a thousand times handsomer in her homespun and plain hair than her sisters did with all their finery and ringlets.
The poor little girl complained to her father of the manner in which her step-mother and her daughters treated her, but he could do nothing for her-he was treated almost as badly himself.
It happened that the king's son, thinking of taking a wife, gave a grand ball, to which all the fashionable ladies of the country were invited, and, of course, the two sisters were included in the general invitation. They were delighted beyond measure, for they made sure they would captivate the young prince. So they sent for the court milliner, and ordered her to make the most fashionable headdresses; and they selected the showiest gowns they could find to wear upon the occasion. To mortify poor Cinderella they made her starch and iron their ruffles, laces, and linen, and all their talk from morning till night was about what they should wear and how they would look in this or in that.
"I," said the eldest, "shall wear my crimson velvet robe trimmed with Honiton lace, they will take me for a duchess."
"And I," said the youngest, "shall wear my best skirt, and my gold-spangled bodice, and my diamond necklace, and I shall certainly look like a marchioness."
But as they could not decide what they would look best in, they called up Cinderella to ask her opinion; and, as her taste was extremely good, she gave them some very valuable advice, and even offered to dress their hair for them, to which they were only too glad to consent.
While she was heating the curling tongs they said to her,
"Cinderella, why don't you go to the ball ?"
Ah," said Cinderella, "it pleases you to jeer at me. I'm not fit to go to such grand places, among those stylish people." Certainly not, indeed," they replied, “you are quite right; they would laugh to see a cinder-wench like you at a ball. Ha, ha, ha!" Now, if Cinderella had been at all spiteful, she would have contrived to have burnt their heads with the hot tongs, as if by accident, but she was so amiable that she never thought of such a thing, but dressed their hair beautifully. Then she had to lace their stays; and, as they would never be satisfied that their waists were small enough, more than a dozen laces were broken in lacing them in, till at last they had no room to breathe, and then they fainted away.
For two days before the ball they scarcely ate anything, they were so busy admiring themselves in the mirror. At last they set off in high glee. Cinderella looked after them until the tears came into her eyes, and almost blinded her. When she opened them again she was surprised to see her god-mother standing beside her. "Well, Cinderella, my dear," she said, "what's the matter ?" "I want to go-to the ball," she sobbed out.
Well, my pet, dont cry, and spoil your pretty face. You shall go, you have been a very good girl. Let us go indoors, and get ready. But first go into the garden and bring me the largest pumpkin you can find."
Cinderella did as she was bid, and cut a pumpkin almost as big as herself; and, as it was too heavy for her to carry, she rolled it along like a hoop, and took it to her god-mother, wondering all the while what a pumpkin had to do with her going to the ball.
"Ah," said her god-mother, who was a fairy, when she saw the pumpkin, “that is a beauty; big enough for the Lord Mayor's coach." She took a knife and scooped out all the seeds that were inside; then she touched it with her wand, and it was immediately turned into a beautiful coach, painted and gilt all over.
Cinderella was greatly astonished-she had never seen anything so grand before in all her life.
Cinderella, go and fetch me the mouse-trap," said her god-mother; "I am sure there are some mice in it."
And sure enough there were six beautiful white mice in it, all alive.
"Let them out, one at a time," said her god-mother. So Cinderella lifted the trap-door carefully, and out popped a mouse. As soon as it came out it was touched with the wand, and immediately transformed into a fine cream-coloured horse, and so were all the other mice. And there they stood, six pretty horses, prancing and nodding their heads, and looking as fine and as proud as those that draw the queen's state coach.
"We must have a coachman. What shall we do for a coachman ?