Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

of mind of Frank saved the life of his brother a second time. Now, suppose he had been too frightened to think or act in a proper manner, as you were today, his brother would, in all probability, have been drawn in under the gate, and been killed on the wheel.”

Edward shuddered at the thought.

“ That brave lad," continued Mr. Jones, " was your uncle Frank; and the brother whose life he saved is now your father.

You, father! you!" exclaimed Edward in surprise.

“Yes, my son, I fell into the spring, and your uncle saved me from drowning by his promptness to act; and I fell into the mill-race, and was rescued through his courage and presence of mind.”

Edward's thoughts went back to the mill-pond, and he saw, in imagination, Henry Lee struggling in the hole in the ice, and saw how easy it would have

B

been for him to have gone to his assistance, and rescued him from his perilous situation, instead of running away, frightened out of his wits, screaming for others afar off to do what was needed to be done at the moment. He felt, painfully too, that his playfellow would have been drowned, had not George Williams, with true bravery, gone instantly to his aid. It was a moment of self-reproach and mortification.

Many years ago," continued Edward's father, “I remember reading a story of a boy's presence of mind and courage that I shall never forget. The lad of whom I speak was walking along the road with his mother and a little sister, when all at once was heard the startling cry of 'Mad dog!' On looking in the direction from which this alarming cry came, a dog was seen running toward them, pursued by a crowd of men and boys. A high fence on each side of the road made

[ocr errors]

escape impossible. So frightened did the mother become, that she was fixed to the spot, and her daughter clung to her, screaming in terror. But the boy stepped boldly before his mother and sister, and, as the dog approached, began hurriedly wrapping around his hand and arm a silk handkerchief which he had drawn from his pocket. In a shorter period of time than it has taken me to relate to you the fact, the dog was down upon them. The brave boy, however, did not shrink back an inch.

As he stood in front of his mother and sister, the mad animal, on coming up, made a spring at him, when the boy, with wonderful coolness, thrust the hand around which he had wound his handkerchief boldly into his mouth, and grasped his tongue. While he kept hold of the dog's tongue, the animal could not bite him; and the handkerchief had

protected his hand from being scratched by his teeth, as he thrust it into his open

mouth. Ere the dog could recover himself and struggle loose from the boy, the men in pursuit were upon him with clubs and stones, and in a few minutes he was lying dead almost at the feet of the heroic boy, who, while he had saved the lives, perhaps of his mother and sister, remained himself unharmed.

“ Few boys, not one perhaps in a hundred,” continued Mr. Jones, “would have had his presence of mind and courage, under similar circumstances; and I doubt very much if one man in ten could be found to show so brave a spirit. Yet how much better and safer was it for the boy to act as he did-safer for himself, and safer for those he loved. The fact is, my son, but little of danger presents itself as we pass through life, which may not be escaped if we look it boldly in the face, and see what it is like. Unless we understand exactly what the danger is, and in what manner it is approaching, how shall we escape it?"

The stories of bravery and self-possession which Mr. Jones related, made a very marked impression upon the mind of Edward. He saw, by contrast, his own conduct in a most unfavourable light, and he shuddered when he thought of what the consequence to Henry Lee would have been, had not his companion possessed a cooler and more courageous spirit than himself.

It was not more than a week after the occurrence at the mill-pond, that Edward started out with a little brother, not above four years

whom he was drawing on a little sledge, for the purpose of riding down a hill on the smooth snow, a short distance from the house. On the way to this hill, Edward had to pass through a field belonging to a neighbour. When nearly across, he heard the noise of some animal, and looking around, saw

of age,

« ForrigeFortsæt »