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Of the rats you have frightened, the mice you have
slain, And if you've been able from theft to refrainNever entered the larder, nor licked up
cream, Which I hope you're aware very greedy would seem; But in seeking for mice should endeavor to show 'Tis a duty that you to society owe. By your conduct, I wish that your friends should
acknowledge You have picked up your learning at school or at
college. But, alas ! what is strength, a mere flash in the pan, And cats have but fallen, as falleth a man.
But time’s creeping on, and my eyes 'gin to fail,
hair is grown gray,
THE BEREAVED SISTER.
N the spring of 1824, I contracted an acquaintance
of the cities of the south, with a gentleman who had removed from England to this country with two small children, the one a boy of ten years, the other a girl of nine years of age. These children were the most lovely beings I ever saw.
Their extreme beauty, their deep and artless affection, and their frequent bursts of childish and innocent mirth, made them as dear to me as if I had been the companion of their infancy.
They were happy in themselves, happy in each other, and in the whole world of life and nature around them. I had known the family but a few months, when my friend was compelled to make a sudden and unexpected voyage to South America. His feelings were embittered by the thoughts of leaving his motherless children behind him; and as I was
on the point of embarking for Liverpool, I promised to take them to their friends and relations.
My departure was delayed two weeks. During that period, I lived under the same roof with the little ones that had been consigned to my charge. For a few days they were pensive, and made frequent inquiries for their absent father; but their sorrows were easily assuaged, and regret for his absence changed into pleasant anticipation of his return. The ordinary sorrows of childhood are but dews upon the eagle's plumage, which vanish at the moment the proud bird springs upwards into the air to woo the beautiful flashes of the morning.
The day of our departure at last arrived, and we set sail on a quiet afternoon of summer. It was a scene of beauty, and my heart fluttered as wildly and joyously as the wing of a young bird in spring time. It seemed as if “man's control had stopped with the shore” that was retreating behind us, and left the world of waters to give back the blue of the upper skies as purely and peacefully as at the first holy Sabbath of creation.
The distant hills bent their pale blue tops to the
waters, and as the great sun, like the image of his Creator, sunk down in the west, successive shadows of gold, and crimson, and purple came floating over the waves, like barks from a fairy land. My young companions gazed on those scenes steadily and silently, and when the last tints of the dim shore were melting into shadow, they took each other's hand, and a few natural tears gushed forth as an adieu to the land they had loved.
Soon after sunset, I persuaded my little friends to let me lead them to the cabin, and then returned to look out upon the ocean. In about half an hour, as I was standing musingly apart, I felt my hand gently pressed, and on turning around, saw that the girl had stolen alone to my side. In a few moments, the evening star began to twinkle from the edging of a violet cloud. At first, it gleamed faintly and at intervals, but anon it came brightly out, and shone like a holy thing upon the brow of the evening.
The girl at my side gazed upon it, and hailed it with a tone which told that a thought of rapture was at her heart. She inquired with simplicity and eagerness, whether, in the fair land to which we were
going, that same bright star would be visible; and seemed to regard it as another friend, that was to be with her in her long and lonely journey.
The first week of our voyage was unattended by any important incident. The sea was, at times, wild and stormy, but again it would sink to repose, and spread itself out in beauty to the verge of the horizon. On the eighth day the boy arose pale and dejected, and complained of indisposition. On the following morning he was confined by a fever to his bed, and much doubt was expressed as to his fate by the physician of the vessel.
I can never forget the look of agony, the look of utter woe, that appeared upon the face of the little girl, when the conviction of her brother's danger came slowly home upon her thoughts. She wept not; she complained not; but hour after hour she sat by the bed of the young sufferer—an image of grief and beautiful affection. The boy became daily more feeble and emaciated. He could not return the long and burning caresses of his sister; and at last a faint heaving of his breast, and the eloquence of his half closed eye, and a flush at intervals, upon his wasted