Imágenes de página

the switch to his mother. Poor Trusty! he looked up as the switch was lifted over his head; but he could not speak to tell the truth. Just as the blow was falling upon him, Frank's voice was heard at the window. “Stop, stop! dear mother, stop!” cried he as loud as ever he could call; “Trusty did not do it-I and Robert did it; but do not beat Robert.” “ Let us in, let us in,” cried another voice, which Robert knew to be his father's voice; for his father always whipped him when he told a lie. His mother went to the door and unlocked it. “What's all this?cried his father as he came in ; so his mother told him all that had happened. “Where is the switch with which you were going to beat Trusty ?said their father. Then Robert, who saw by his father's looks that he was going to beat him, fell upon his knees and cried for mercy, saying, “Forgive me this time, and I will never tell a lie again.” But his father caught hold of him by the arm:1 “I will whip you now,” said he, “and then I hope you will not.” So Robert was whipped till he cried so loud with the pain that the whole neighbourhood could hear him. “ There,” said his father, when he had done ; “now go without supper; you are to have no milk to-night, and you have been whipped. See how liars are served." Then turning to Frank : “ Come here and shake hands with me, Frank : you will have no milk for supper, but that does not signify; you have told the truth, and have not been whipped, and everybody is pleased with you. And now I will tell you what I will do for you I will give you the little dog Trusty to be your own dog ; you have saved him a beating, and I'll answer for it you 'll be a good master to him.”



i Caught hold of him by the arm, Le prit par le bras.



THE BROKEN FLOWER-POT. My father was seated on the lawn before the house, his straw hat over his eyes (it was summer), and his book on his lap. Suddenly a beautiful Delft' blue-and-white flower-pot, which had been set on the window-sill of an upper story fell to the ground with a crash, and the fragments spluttered up round my father's legs.2 Sublime in his studies, as Archimedes in the siege, he continued to read. Inpavidum ferient ruina!

“Dear, dear !"4 cried my mother, who was at work in the porch ; “my poor flower-pot, that I prized so much! who could have done this? Primmins, Primmins!”

Mrs Primmins popped her head out of the fatal window, nodded to the summons,5 and came down in a trice, pale and breathless.

“Oh!” said my mother mournfully, “I would rather have lost 6 all the plants in the greenhouse in the great blight last May—I would rather the best teasel were broken ! The poor geranium I reared myself, and the dear, dear flower-pot which Mr Caxton bought for me my last birthday ! that naughty child must have done this !”

Mrs Primmins was dreadfully afraid of my father, why, I know not, except that very talkative social7 persons are usually afraid of very silent shy ones. She cast a hasty glance at her master, who was beginning to evince signs of attention, and cried promptly, “No, ma’am, it was not the dear boy-it was I !”

i Delft, En faïence de Delft.—2 Spluttered up round my father's legs, s'éparpillerent aux pieds de mon père.—3 Sublime in his studies, Transporté dans une autre sphère par ses études. _A Dear, dear! Miséricorde !_5 Nodded to the summons. Répondit à cet appel.-6 I would rather have lost, J'aurais préféré perdre.—7 Social, Communicatif.

“ You? How could you be so careless ? and you knew how I prized them both.2 Oh! Primmins !”

Primmins began to sob.

“ Don't tell fibs, 3 nursey," said a small shrill voice; and Master Sisty (coming out of the house as bold as brass 4) continued rapidly, “don't scold Primmins, mamma; it was I who pushed out the flower-pot.”

“Hush !” said nurse, more frightened than ever, and looking aghast towards my father, who had very deliberately taken off his hat," and was regarding the scene with serious eyes wideawake.6

“Hush! And if he did break it, ma’am, it was quite an accident ; he was standing so, and he never meant it.8 Did you, Master Sisty? Speak! (this in a whispero) or pa will be so angry.”

“Well,” said my mother, “ I suppose it was an accident; take care in future, my child. You are sorry, I see, to have grieved me. There's a kiss ; don't fret.”

“No, mamma, you must not kiss me; I don't deserve it. I pushed out the flower-pot on purpose.”

“Ha! and why ?” said my father, walking up.10 Mrs Primmins trembled like a leaf.

“For fun !” said I, hanging my head—“just to see how you'd look, 11 papa ; and that's the truth of it. Now beat me, do beat


My father threw his book fifty yards off, stooped down, and caught me to his breast. “Boy,” he said, “ you have done wrong;

i Of very silent shy ones, Des gens silencieux et réservés.—2 And you knew how I prized them both, Et vous saviez combien j'y tenais._3 Don't tell fibs, Ne dis donc pas de menteries, (childish and familiar expression instead of mensonges.)_4 AS bold as brass, Hardi comme un page. —5 Who had very deliberately taken off his hat, Qui s'était décidé à retirer son chapeau.—6 Wide-awake, Tout grands ouverts.He was standing so, Il était là tout à côté.--8 dnd he never meant it, Ft il ne l'a pas fait exprès.-9 This in a whisper, Ajouta-t-elle tout bas.—10 Walking up, En s'approchant.–11 To see how you'd look, Pour voir quelle figure vous feriez.

you shall repair it by remembering all your life that your father blessed God for giving him a son who spoke truth in spite of fear. Oh ! Mrs Primmins, the next fable of this kind you try tol teach him, and we part for ever.”

Not long after that event, Mr Squills, who often made me little presents, gave me one far exceeding in value those usually bestowed on children-it was a beautiful large domino-box in cut ivory, painted and gilt. This domino-box was my delight. I was never weary of playing at dominoes with Mrs Primmins, and I slept with the box under my pillow.

“ Ah !” said my father one day when he found me ranging the ivory parallelograms in the parlour—“ah! you like that better than all your playthings, eh ?”

“Ah! yes, papa.”

“ You would be very sorry if your mamma was to throw that box out of the window and break it for fun.” I looked beseechingly at my father, and made no answer.

“But perhaps you would be very glad,” he resumed, “if suddenly one of those good fairies you read of 4 could change the domino-box into a beautiful geranium in a beautiful blue-andwhite flower-pot, and that you could have the pleasure of putting it on your mamma's window-sill.”

“ Indeed I would !” said I, half crying: 5

“My dear boy, I believe you; but good wishes don't mend bad actions-good actions mend bad actions."

So saying, he shut the door and went out. I cannot tell you how puzzled I was to make out what my father meant by his aphorism.6 But I know that I played at dominoes no more that day. The next morning my father found me seated by myself? under a tree in the garden; he paused and looked at me with his grave bright eyes very steadily.

“My boy,” said he, “ I am going to walk to - , a town about

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

i The next fable of this kind you try to, À la première histoire pareille que vous essaierez d. See also § 40.—2 Not long after, Peu de temps après.--3 Beseechingly, D'un air suppliant.-—4 You read of, Dont vous lisez les histoires.5 Half crying, Les larmes aux yeux. –6 Aphorism, Aphorisme, (phrase sentencieuse )7 See $ 55, 1.

two miles off; will syou come? And, by the by,1 fetch your domino-box ; I should like to show it to a person there.”2 I ran in for the box,3 and not a little proud of walking with my father on the high road, we set out.

“ Papa," said I by the way,4 « there are no fairies now.” • What then, my child ?” 5

“Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into 6 a geranium and a blue-and-white flower-pot ?”

“My dear," said my father, leaning his hand on my shoulder, “everybody who is in earnest to be good 7 carries two fairies about with him—one here," and he touched my forehead; “and one here," and he touched my heart.

“I don't understand, papa.”
“I can wait till you do,8 Pisistratus !"

My father stopped at a nursery gardener's, and, after looking over the flowers, paused before a large double geranium. “Ah, this is finer than that which your mamma was so fond of. What is the cost, sir?”

“Only 7s. 6d.," said the gardener.

My father buttoned up his pocket. “I can't afford it to-day," said he gently, and we walked out.

On entering the town, we stopped again at a china warehouse. “ Have you a flower-pot like that I bought some months ago ? Ah, here is one marked 3s. 6d. Yes, that is the price. Well, when your mamma's birthday comes again, we must buy her another. That is some months to wait. And we can wait, Master Sisty. For truth that blooms all the year round is better than a poor geranium ; and a word that is never broken is better than a piece of Delft.”

My head, which had dropped before, rose again ; but the rush of joy at my heart almost stifled me.10

1 By the by, Par la même occasion.—2 To a person there, À quelqu'un de cet endroit. -3 I ran in for the box, Je courus à la maison chercher la boîte.-4 By the way, Chemin faisant.-—5 What then, my child ? Pourquoi cette question, mon enfant ?–5 Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into, C'est que comment alors ma boîte de dominos peut-elle se changer en.—7 Everybody who is in earnest to be good, Celui qui veut sérieusement devenir bon.-8 See $ 39.-9 See $ 40.10 The rush of joy at my heart almost stifted me, La joie qui vint affluer à mon cæur, faillit m'étouffer.

« AnteriorContinuar »