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For his mother is as poor as a mouse ;
Doing errands in the town,
2. The boys along the street
Often call him Hungry Pete, Because his face is so pale;
And ask, by way of jest,
If his ragged coat and vest
3. But little Peter Grey
Never any shape nor way
He is finer than his clothes,
goes There is some one the fact to discern.
4. You might think a sneer, mayhap,
Just a feather in your cap, If you saw him being pushed to the wall;
But, my proudly-foolish friend,
You might find out in the end You had sneered at your betters, after all !
5. He is climbing up his way
On life's ladder day by day;
On the lower rounds, will wake,
If I do not much mistake,
1. Let me tell you a story about a little boy in Holland, which I read in a book a good many years ago. Perhaps you have seen it before; but no matter; you will like to read it over again, I am sure.
2. This little boy was on his way home one night, from a village, to which he had been sent by his father on an errand, when he noticed the water trickling through a narrow opening in the dyke, a large bank which had been built up to keep out the sea.
3. He stopped, and thought of what would happen if the hole were not closed. He knew; for he had often heard his father tell of the sad disasters which had come from small beginnings, how in a few hours, the opening would become bigger and let in the mighty mass of water pressing on the dyke, until, the whole defense being washed away, the rolling, dashing, angry sea would sweep on to the next village, destroying life and property, and everything in its way.
4. Should he run home and alarm the villagers, it would be dark before they could arrive; and the hole, even then, might be so large as to defy all attempts to close it. What could he do to prevent such a terrible ruin ?he only a little boy !
5. I will tell you what he did. He sat down on the bank of the canal, stopped the opening with his hand, and patiently awaited the passing of a villager. But no one came.
6. Hour after hour rolled slowly by, yet there sat the heroic boy, in cold and darkness shivering, wet, and tired, but stoutly pressing his hand against the water that tried to pass the dangerous breach.
7. All night he stayed at his post. At last morning broke, when a clergyman, walking up the canal, heard a groan, and looked around to see where it came from.
8. Why are you there, my child ?” he asked, seeing the boy, and surprised at his strange position.
“I am keeping back the water, sir, and
saving the village from being drowned," answered the child, with lips so benumbed with cold that he could hardly speak.
9. Then the astonished minister relieved the boy and sent him to alarm the villagers, who came out and mended the dyke, thus removing the danger which threatened hundreds of lives and vast amounts of property.
10. Heroic boy! What a noble spirit of self-devotedness he had shown! And what was it that sustained him through that lonesome night? Why, when his teeth chattered, his limbs trembled, and his heart was wrung with anxiety, did he not fly to his home? What thought bound him to his seat?
11. Was it not the responsibility of his position ? Did he not resolve to brave all the fatigue, the danger, the cold, the darkness, rather than permit the ruin that would come if he deserted his post? His mind pictured the quiet homes and beautiful farms of the people all desolated by floods of water, and he said to himself, “I will stay here and die at my post if need be.”
1. Follow that footpath, and it will lead you across yonder meadow, over the rough bit of open, furzy common, and beyond that into the wood. It is full of tall ferns, with their finely-cut leaves and their feathery circles; but we will not stop to look at these to-day. A little way within the wood is a still, dark, gloomy-looking pond.
2. The white crowfoot is sprinkled over it in the spring, and it seems a trifle more cheerful then. But it is July now; the full summer foliage over it shuts out the sunlight; there are flags and water plants growing round it, but there are no flowers; it is a dull, dreamy spot, with nothing of active life about it as far as you can see; everthing seems asleep, and you feel greatly inclined to sit down and go to sleep too.