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« • But what will you tell your mother ?' I asked.
“ • Besides,' said Edward, · Old Talbot will find the shoe. He 'll know it's Jane's, and he 'll be marching over to our house with it, and saying, Look here! this belongs to a little girl that has been stealing my but'nuts !!
“That plunged us both in very great distress, and I was going back to find the shoe, when Edward took something from behind him, and threw it far on before us into the woods. It was the shoe, which he had picked up, and had held in his hand all the while we were talking about it.
“Going through the woods, Jane tripped, and spilled the butternuts out of her basket; and she and I had to stop and gather them up, - for Edward would not touch them. At length, after several such adventures, we entered my uncle's orchard.
“ * Now,' said Edward, “if anybody sees you, and asks what you have got, you can say apples.'
“ « But anybody can see the but’nuts, and know they are not apples,' Jane replied.
“ “What a couple of silly fools you are !' said Edward. “You would n't know anything if it was n't for me!' And he made us cover the basket with leaves.
“ So we reached home, and hid the butternuts in the loft over the woodshed. I tried to feel that the danger was now over, and all occasion of uneasiness at an end. But I was secretly troubled. So I knew was Jane ; for her bright young face was clouded. And not even Edward's haughty and careless bearing could disguise the fact that he too felt something which spoiled his anticipated enjoyment.
“At last, evening came, and after supper Jane and I walked in the orchard. The approaching night, the deepening shadows, and the stillness all but the noise of the crickets - impressed us both.
“* O dear!' said she, with a sigh, 'what do you think, cousin ?'' “ • I wish we had n't taken Mr. Talbot's but'nuts,' I replied.
“ • Do you? So do I! I'd give anything if we had n't touched them! I am as unhappy as I can be about them. And dear little Jane heaved a big sigh. “What made us, do you know?'.
““I suppose we did n't think,' I said.
“ • But we think now,' said she. “And do you want to keep them ? I don't ; I'd give anything if they were back under the trees !'
“What if we should carry them back?' I said. “It is n't too late, is it?'
“O, no ! let's find Eddie, and see what he says.'
“But Edward only laughed at us. He did n't steal any of the butternuts, he said ; and then we remembered that he had made us pick them up and carry them home. 'I only went to please you,' he said. “It was all for fun; and now if you want the fun of taking them back, you can have it all to yourselves, for I sha' n't go with you!'”
“Was n't that mean?” exclaimed Emma Reverdy, — "to make you steal the butternuts, and then get off that way!”
“ Jane and I thought it rather hard; but we talked it over, and comforted and encouraged each other as well as we could. All the while it grew darker and darker. Two such miserable little wretches you never saw.
“I should n't think you would care so much,' said she to me; “for you will go home in a few days, and nobody will ever accuse you of stealing Mr. Talbot's but'nuts. You won't have to meet him and look him in the face, as I shall.'
“But that did not console me. I knew that, wherever I might go, the recollection of those dreadful butternuts would go with me, and make me miserable. If nobody else knew I was a thief, I should know, and that would be more punishment than I could bear
“And so, though the evening was cloudy, and the autumn wind blew drearily, and the night threatened to be wild and dark, Jane and I went up into the wood-shed, took down the bag and basket, and carried them back through the orchard to the woods. As many years as I have lived since then, my children, I have never forgotten that night. How gloomy it was! How the wind roared! The great trees rocked and swung over our heads, and awful sighs and moans filled the darkness. The leaves rustled under our feet, the twigs snapped, and now and then some giant limb creaked, like a living thing.
“Do you think God sees us ?' whispered little Jane. “The question filled my young soul with awe. 6. Yes,' said I, “ He sees us, and He is displeased at what we have done.'
“* But if we do right now, He will be pleased, won't He?' said dear little Jane, holding fast to my hand.
“We hurried on. Sometimes we stumbled in the darkness, but at last we got safely through the woods. Then there was the brook to cross. It was a black stream now, and we could not see the big stones nor the deep places. The noise it made, mixed with the roaring wind, was something terrible.
Can we ever get across with the but'nuts?' Jane said, despairingly, as we once more took off our shoes on the bank.
"• You stay here,' I said, and I will carry over the bag first, and then come back for the basket.'.
“ But she would not hear of that, — the brave, the noble little girl ! "I helped take them,' said she, “and I will help carry them back.' So we crossed the brook together, feeling the way carefully with our feet, and holding each other tightly by the hand. We climbed up the other bank, hurried on to the trees, and there emptied the bag and basket, scattering the butternuts over the ground. Then we forded the brook again, and returned home.
“We left the black stream and the dark windy woods behind us; and something more, - we left our sin behind us, too.
“I am so glad ! so glad !' dear little Jane kept saying, as she ran by my side. And indeed all the butternuts in the world would not have made us as happy as we were at that moment. Do you know why, my children ?".
“ Because you had done right,” said golden-haired Margaret Grover, showing her pretty teeth with a smile.
“ Yes! The consequences of doing right, after the mind has been troubled by a guilty action, are wonderful. The clouds break away; the spirit becomes bright and clear as the blue heavens. How strong we feel, and how thankful that wisdom and courage were given us to put away our sin ! ”
The enthusiasm with which the old man spoke made every one present feel that to do right was the most beautiful as well as the wisest thing in the world ; and more than one then silently resolved never to commit another selfish or unjust action.
“ But suppose the butternuts had been pears, and you had eaten them?" said mischievous little Cary Wilson, with a sly glance at Jason. “ Then you could n't have carried them back.”
“ No; but I should have felt, all my life long, how slight, how brief the pleasure of eating them, and how long and bitter the dissatisfaction of having taken wrongfully that which was another's; and I am sure that would have taught me never to do so foolish a thing again.
“O, my children,” added Father Brighthopes, earnestly and tenderly, “ what is most beautiful, what is happiest, in man and woman, and in boy and girl the same, is to bear a clear and noble mind, unsullied by any meanness or injustice. If you have that, you are rich and strong ; and if you have it not, no pleasure, neither wealth nor position, can compensate you for the loss." .
7. T. Trowbridge.
THE POND OF THE DOLLYS.
IN the country of the Dollys there was a lily-pond. Its banks were green, I its waters blue. Along the shores bloomed bright shrubs. Flowering trees bent over the edge, and shook off their blossoms. It was the Pond of the Dollys, and there, on large palm-leaves, we floated abroad, in the sunshine and in the shade.
One day, in early summer-time, as I was drifting about on my fine boat, a pleasant little zephyr, who had already paid me a good deal of attention, wafted me near to a blossoming tree.
Wishing to be by myself awhile, I sent him to bring me a choice perfume from the flowery fields of Persia. He was a pleasant little zephyr, but too playful, — would keep blowing in my face, when I wanted to be quiet and listen to what was going on down at the bottom.
It was the busy time of year, and the Water-Fairy was hurrying up the lily-buds and getting summer clothes ready for the water-bugs. Even the worms could not go through the season without something new. She wished them all to agree never to sting anybody. But the mosquitos made no promises.
The lily-buds had to spin and weave their own clothes. Beautiful garments of green and white and real lily-gold. And all to be made of mud. They grumbled at having nothing better to work with. But the Water-Fairy kept singing away, night and day,
“Lily-bud, lily-bud, spin your gold.” One lazy bud worked just below me, and her complainings were loud.
“Gold from mud! Who believes it? White from black! It can't be done. There 's a wind stirring. Let me alone, to rock while the waters are in motion. The breeze will soon be gone."
“ Lily-bud, lily-bud, spin your gold.” “ And why spin gold, and keep it hid beneath my mantle ? Nobody can see it, — not even the pickerel. Why should I work ? There 's a fish just come. He 's a brook fish and brings news from the mountains. It is said they have high times up there. Pretty fish, what have you seen ?” “Sights that made my blood run cold,” said the fish.
“Lily-bud, lily-bud, spin your gold," said the Water-Fairy again ; and then she went on, quite sadly, “My dear little bud, I love you, and only want you to do your best. Don't add to my troubles. One of your grown-up sisters has just had her heart eaten into, and turned black. My trials are great."
Then her tears came up in little bubbles, and floated upon the water, - 1 suppose, because they were salt.
Just then a stout little puff came along, all of a breeze, and pushed me half across the pond. Floating away, I heard the lily-bud singing forth her troubles,
“Beneath the wave it is dark and cold;
There's nothing here but mud and mould:
Still thou bidst me spin my gold.” And the Water-Fairy answered,
“Draw their best from mud and mould:
So shalt thou turn it into gold.” The winds were asleep, and for that reason I floated out all night. The stars were friendly, and kept winking at me, but I could n't quite take their meaning. The katydids were busy, doing that which they keep speaking of, later in the season. But as they wish it kept private, I shall never, never tell. Yet it is all true, every word of it. Katydid, she did, she did.
I also found out why that mournful bird that sings of summer nights wants everybody to whip poor Will. This I might speak of, as it is no secret. But everything cannot be told at once. I have not yet done with my lily-bud.
Just about sunrise the same stout puff came whistling along, on his way back, and gave me a blowing-up for staying out nights. But when I showed him it was his own fault, he calmed down somewhat, and took me to visit a
VOL. II. — NO. IX.
pleas ant young family of turtles, who had a happy home of their own, with blue flags waving over it.
He was a changeable, shifty-minded, short-winded little puff, and was a long while in bringing me back to my blossoming tree, — some days, I should think. I arrived one early morning, just about sunrise, and found my lilybud, with her head above the surface. The sunlight crept softly along the water and touched her lips. Then she quivered with joy, and struggled to throw back her green mantle, calling upon the Water-Fairy for help.
But from below there came up a mournful voice. “My dear child, I have done for you all that I can. Farewell. I shall never see you more. Alas ! alas !” And great briny tears bubbled up and floated upon the water.
The Flower-Fairy, doing up her morning work, passed that way. She blew, with her mild breath, upon the lily-bud, and her green mantle fell back. In pure white and gold she floated there, no longer a bud, but a perfect lily.
Then the Fairy gathered up the floating tears, and sprinkled them upon the bosom of the flower. “These, my child,” said she, “are the tears of affection. They will add a fragrance which shall make you everywhere beloved. You shall be welcomed always with a smile.”
I have noticed that people smile at sight of a bunch of lilies. I don't suppose they know that their smile is making what a fairy foretold come true.
When my zephyr arrived, I gave him to understand that he might take back his choice perfume to the flowery fields of Persia ; for where the Water-Lily grew, it would not be needed. He kissed the flower, but she was too full of the delight of her new life to heed him. As I was wafted away, I heard her singing forth her joy to the young lily-buds below.