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THE TEACHER'S OFFERING.
A NEW YEAR'S TALE.
MR. MORTON was never so happy as when he was plotting some little scheme to give a treat to his children. It was his delight to take them down into the City to see the Lord Mayor's Show; or to bring home a few fireworks to let off in the back-garden on the 5th of November; or to help them build a grotto-castle when oysters came in season. No wonder that his children loved him, and thought there was not such another papa in all the wide world. Not only did he like to take a part in their merry games of play, but he would help them with their lessons, and try to explain all the difficult parts to them. Then, when lessons were all prepared for next day's school, he would say, “Now, children, hide the lessons for to-night, and we will have a little chat together;" or, " I have brought home a nice little book, and we will read a chapter or two by way of recreation.”
Mr. Morton had three sons and two daughters; so that, when they all sat together in their snug parlour of an evening, they made
a very nice family-party. Edward and Arthur, the two elder boys, were home for the Christmas holidays, and were soon to be sent to a boarding school; Mary, the elder of the two girls, was also enjoying a holiday; but little Robert and Emma, being too young to go to school, did not know what holidays were.
They had all spent a merry Christmas—no end of games of all sorts; their play-room had been gaily decorated with holly and mistletoe, and they had pinned up laurel leaves on the wall, forming them into letters, which bade “Welcome,” at one end of the room, and “ A merry Christmas to you,” at the other. Some of their school-fellows had been spending some few days with them on a visit, and they had, as you may suppose, a merry Christmas in good earnest.
Mr. Morton had promised them that on New Year's Eve they should have one more treat. “But we have had so much merrymaking,” he said, “ that we will not ask any visitors, but have a cosy evening to ourselves. And this is how I propose we shall spend the evening. I will get home from the City as early as I can, and we will then have a round game together; quartetts, or forfeits, or something; then we will have an entertainment which I shall call • Our Panorama ;' and after that, your mamma and I will present each of you with our New Year's gift. How do you like the plan?"
“Oh! capital, papa ! capital !" they all cried, clapping their hands, and little Robert clapped his hands too, and said, “Tapital!"
“But what is the entertainment, papa ?” asked Edward; you going to bring home a magic lantern, or have you a lot of moving pictures like a real panorama ?”
Mr. Morton shook his head mysteriously, and said, “I shall not tell you anything more about it. It's a secret." You
may be sure that all the children were anxious enough for New Year's Eve to arrive. Twenty times a day, at least, they were talking together, wondering what their presents would be, and what the panorama would be like.
At last the evening arrived. A good blazing fire was made in the parlour ; quartetts and puzzles, and counters and tee-totums, were placed on the table. At six o'clock Mr. Morton came home, and after taking a hasty cup of tea, joined the happy party. Loud were the merry laughs as the quartetts were made up after a great deal of changings and sortings, and high praises of "Bravo! Polly, bravo !" when Mary was declared the winner of the game. Robert built the Tower of Babel with his toy bricks, and danced round it with great joy, till in his excitement he shook the table, and down came the Tower to the ground. Emma managed to get fifty counters out of the pool by spinning the tee-totum, and then, when that game was finished, got out her dolls, and by bending their knees so that their frocks came down even with the table, managed to make them stand about and look at the company. So passed the time, until the clock on the mantel-piece struck eight. Robert and Emma were too tired to keep their eye-lids open any longer, and so they had a slice of cake, and went to bed.
“Now, then,” said Mr. Morton, “let us push back the table, draw our chairs round the fire, and begin the entertainment of Our Panorama.'
“But how can you exhibit it, papa, if we sit round the fire ? Will it not be seen upon the wall ?” asked Mary.
“ No, it need not be,” answered Mr. Morton ; "you may shut your eyes
will see it just as well !”
“How can that be ?” Arthur was beginning to ask, and then a thought struck him. “I know what the panorama is,” he cried. “ Papa is going to tell us a New Year's story about a panorama.”
“ You are getting hotter, as they say at Hide and Seek,” answered Mr. Morton, “ but not quite right. Come, draw round your chairs, and we will begin.”
It was no sooner said than done. The two arm-chairs were placed, one on each side the fire, for Mr. and Mrs. Morton, and the others formed the semicircle.
"Now, children,” Mr. Morton began, “put on your considering caps, and listen to me.
You know what a panorama is, do you not?”
“Oh! yes, papa ; we saw one of the Crimean War, you know; and it was a lot of beautiful pictures, which moved along one after the other, and a gentleman explained to us what they were all about."
“Quite right; well, you saw that panorama with your bodily eyes,
you not ? My panorama can only be seen with the mind's eye. Now, fancy you can see pictures passing before you, and that I am the lecturer explaining them.
“ There is a little thatched cottage in Suffolk. It is New Year's Day. A mother and father are standing at the door beside some luggage. A boy comes out of the house, dressed for a journey. See those clouds of dust along the road; the coach is coming up; the shrill horn is blown by the driver. The boy jumps up on the roof