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play-ground in front of Mr. Watson's
which mark the child of rich parents as distinctly in the school-boy as in the grown man. While they waited, a boy of twelve or thirteen years
of age, with a noble face and an air of quiet refinement, but dressed shabbily, walked hastily past the group, and entered the school-house. No voice greeted him as he passed, but when he was fairly inside the building, a storm of ill-natured comment arose.
“ There goes Mr. Watson's beggar," said one.
“ His toes are well enough to be out of his boots !” said another.
“ Did you ever see such a coat?” cried a third.
“I'll tell you what it is, boys,” cried Charley Kitely, a tall, handsome boy, apparently the oldest of the group, “ Mr. Watson has no business to expect us to associate with beggars."
" No!” cried Will Mason. “ We are all gentlemen's sons here."
“ Edward Hunter is not a beggar," cried a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy, who spoke then for the first time. “Did he ever beg of
?" “ His mother takes in sewing for a living,” said Charley, « Honest work is not beggary."
Harry Mills,” said Charley, severely, “his mother is not a lady.”
“ She is. His father was a gentleman of wealth, but he failed and died. My mother says Mrs. Hunter is a lady, and I guess she knows."
His voice softened as he said, -"I know how to feel for a boy without a father, money or no money.”
“He ought to go to work," persisted Charley.
“ He probably will when he finishes the year of study Mr. Watson is giving him."
“ In the meantime,” said Charley, “he is a disgrace to the school, with his shabby out-at-the-elbows coat and patched trowsers. It makes me hot all over to see such a walking scarecrow going in and out of the school I attend. Come, boys; join me in the conspiracy, and we will turn him out.”
The others looked rather start!ed at this bold proposition, but finally one voice exclaimed,-.
“ But Mr. Watson thinks everything of Eddy. He will never allow him to be turned out of the school."
“Oh! Mr. Watson won't know it. We drove a boy out of the last school I attended. We did not let him have a moment's peace—we tore his compositions, soiled his books, stole his luncheon-basket every day, and filled it with dirt and stones"
" What a shame!” cried Harry Mills, indignantly.
“ You can easily drive a boy out of school if you all conspire against him," continued Charley. “I should think so," was Harry's answer.
" What is one boy against forty? See here, is there a better scholar among us than Eddy Hunter ?”
No," was the reluctant but unanimous answer. “ Is he not respectful, obedient, orderly, an example to most of us? Who can say here Eddy ever harmed him?"
Silence was the only answer.
“I will start a conspiracy. Next Wednesday, we will steal Eddy's luncheon-basket as Charley suggests, and—”
“ The bell ! the bell ! ” cried forty voices, and forty pairs of feet rushed across the play-ground and into the schoolhouse.
Wednesday morning found Eddy Hunter starting for school with a face so sober that it was almost sad. It seemed as if he must give up the year of study so kindly offered by Mr. Watson, for want of clothing. Toil as hard as she would, his widowed mother had all she could do to pay the rent and feed her four children, three of whom were little ones, and Eddy the only one who could have worked for her. She was as anxious as himself for the opportunity for education to be improved, but she understood well how hard it was for the sensitive boy to take his ragged clothes among the well-dressed sons of the wealthy men of the village.
The school was an expensive and popular one, many of the scholars coming from the cities to board at Pineyville for the sake of attending it, and Mr. Watson was willing to give Eddy all its advantages free of cost, if he could spare the time to profit by them. But the boy thought sadly, if he could not get clothes, he must put aside his books and
go to work.
Mrs. Hunter watched her boy with tearful eyes as he went down the road. She felt the probable loss of the year of study as keenly as Eddy, for she was proud of her noble boy's talents and industry. All day she tried to devise some plan by which the necessary suit of clothes could be procured, but in vain. Four o'clock came, and Eddy would soon be home; his mother looked from the window for the slow step and downcast eyes of the morning.
Was that Eddy coming ? Could that radiant face be the same one she saw so clouded in the morning ? She had
not long to wait for an explanation ; Eddy bounded into the house, and was by her side in a moment.
“Mamma,” he cried, “ I have such splendid news. You know I have always thought the boys at school disliked me. To-day, they stole my luncheon-basket, and I did not find it till after school was over. It was so heavy I thought it was full of dirt and stones, and opened it to throw them out. See what I found in it."
As he spoke he opened the basket and took out the contents.
“ Here is a scarf, a pair of new boots, a new cap, and forty little packages of money–one from each boy. I don't know which boy gave each one, but the sums range from six-pence to five shillings, and one package, only one, has a sovereign in it. See : five pounds, ten shillings!”
Boys,” said Harry Mills, on Monday morning, as they all watched a neatly-dressed, gentlemanly-looking boy coming down the road to school ; "whose conspiracy was the best, Charley's or mine?”
6. Yours. Three cheers for Edward Hunter and his lun. cheon-basket!”
Not Thankful Enough.
ENTERED the train at N-one morning, to go to S--, and sat down beside a little fellow whom, from his appearance, I took for a boy of perhaps nine or ten years. There was something in his coun. tenance which immediately arrested my
attention. While an expression of conir tent, and even of peace and joy rested
on his pale face, I could see also the evi. dences of suffering ; and I noticed at the same time, as additional proof that she was subject to some infirmity, a pair of crutches standing by the carriage window.
I commenced conversation with him, and found him very intelligent, and quite willing to talk with me. Thus I learned, that instead of being only nine years old, he was fourteen; that at the age of three years he had been injured by a fall, and from that time, now eleven years ago, he had been a hopeless, suffering cripple. I felt much interested in his case, and greatly benefited by his words, they were so full of meekness and submission ; for this dear boy, cut off by his misfortune from all the sports and the out-door amusements in which boys so much delight, expressed, with beaming eyes, his happiness in the love of that Saviour who had seen fit to make his path lie through so much trial.
When I reminded him that he had no doubt been kept by his lameness from many temptations to wicked ways which he would have met in the street, “Oh yes !” he said, " I know that. And then I have a great many blessings,-a great many things to make me happy. I often feel that I am not thankful enough for them.”
As I looked down upon that · little form, checked in its growth by suffering, and into that white, patient face, and as I heard these expressions of trust in and love for Him who “ doth not afflict willingly," my heart smote me for my own ingratitude to my heavenly Father.
Some one has said of those that die young, that they are like the lambs which Alpine shepherds bear in their arms to higher, greener pastures, that the mothers of the flock may follow.