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large old rat that has been in love for many years with my young mistress, and this is why I dare not leave her side for a minute, for fear the old rat will carry her off. Therefore, I pray you to dispel your suspicions. I, by myself, am no match for this rat, but there is a famous cat, named Buchi, at the house of Mr. So-and-So, at Ajikawa. If you will borrow that cat we will soon make an end of the old rat.”
“When the father awoke from his dream, he thought it so wonderful that he told the household of it. The following day he got up very early and went off to Ajikawa, to inquire for the house which the cat had indicated, and had no difficulty in finding it.
“He called up the master of the house and told him what his own cat had said, and how he wanted to borrow the cat, Buchi, for a little while.
“'That's a very easy matter to settle,- said the other, 'pray take him at once;' and so the father went back home with the cat.
“That night he put the two cats into the granary and after a little while a frightful clatter was heard, and then all was still again. The people of the house opened the door and crowded out to see what had happened. There they beheld the two cats and the rat all locked together, and panting for breath.
“They cut the throat of the rat, which was as big as either of the cats; then they attended to the two cats, but although they gave them ginseng and other restoratives, they both grew weaker and weaker, until at last they died.
The rat was thrown into the river, but the two cats were buried with all honors in a neighboring temple.”
- Adapted from “Tales of Old Japan.” Buochi (chè). Ö sã ka”. Ănces tor (sẽs ter): one from whom a person is descended, as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. Rēstor'ā tive: something which serves to restore or bring back.
A GENTLE AND BRAVE HEART. Charles V., Emperor of Germany, was an able ruler, a brave soldier, and a loyal friend. He knew no fear when the enemy was at the gates, and he was the leader wherever the danger was greatest.
One day, when on the battlefield, an officer reported to him that a swallow was building her nest upon his tent.
“Let her build it,” he answered, “and see that no one disturbs her.”
Soon the nest was finished, the inside made soft and warm and ready for. eggs. The building of a bird's home had interested the Emperor, and each day he had watched the work. The time came for the army to march to another position. The mother-swallow was sitting on the eggs, out of which in a few days would come the little birdlings.
When the soldiers approached the Emperor's tent to remove it, Charles said: “Do not move my tent. These tender birds came to me for a home, and I shall not disturb them now when their brood will soon be with them.”
The heart of the great Emperor was as gentle and tender as it was brave and true.
FREEMAN HUNT (1804-1858) was born at Quincy, Massachusetts; died at Brooklyn, New York. He was the founder of Hunt's Merchants' Magazine.
A railroad train was rushing along at almost lightning speed. A curve was just ahead, beyond which was a station, at which two trains usually met. The conductor was late, so late that the period during which the up-train was to wait had nearly elapsed; but he hoped yet to pass the curve safely. Suddenly a locomotive dashed into sight right ahead. In an instant there was a collision. A shriek, a shock, and fifty souls were in eternity; and all because an engineer had been behind time!
A great battle was going on. Column after column had been precipitated, for eight hours, on the enemy posted on the ridge of a hill. The summer sun was sinking to the west; re-enforcements for the obstinate defenders were already in sight. It was necessary to carry the position with one final charge, or everything would be lost. A powerful corps had been summoned from across the country, and if it came in season, all would yet be right. The great conqueror, confident of its arrival, formed his reserve into an attacking column, and led them down the hill. The world knows the result. Grouchy failed to appear; the Imperial Guard was beaten back; Waterloo was lost; Napoleon died a prisoner at Saint Helena, because one of his marshals was behind time.
A leading firm in commercial circles had long struggled against bankruptcy. As it had large sums of money in California, it expected remittances by a certain day; and if they arrived, its credit, its honor, and its future prosperity would be preserved. But week after week elapsed without bringing the gold. At last came the fatal day on which the firm was to meet bills which had been maturing to enormous amounts. The steamer was telegraphed at daybreak; but it was found, on inquiry, that she brought no funds, and the house failed. The next arrival brought nearly half a million to the insolvents, but it was too late; they were ruined because their agent, in remitting the money, had been behind time.
A condemned man was led out for execution. He had taken human life, but under circumstances of the greatest provocation, and public sympathy was active in his behalf. Thousands had signed petitions for a reprieve; a favorable answer had been expected the night before, and though it had not come, even the sheriff felt that it would yet arrive. Thus the morning passed without the appearance of the messenger. The last moment was up. The prisoner took his place on the drop, the cap was drawn over his eyes, the bolt was drawn, and a lifeless body hung suspended in the air. Just at that moment a horseman came into sight, galloping down the hill, his steed covered with foam. He carried a packet in his right hand, which he waved frantically to the crowd. He was the express rider with the reprieve; but he came too late. A comparatively innocent man had died an ignominious death because a watch
had been five minutes slow, making its bearer arrive behind time.
It is continually so in life. The best laid plans, the most important affairs, the fortunes of individuals, the weal of nations, honor, happiness, life itself, are daily sacrificed because somebody is “behind time.” There are men who always fail in whatever they undertake, simply because they are “behind time.” There are others who put off reformation year by year, till death seizes them, and they perish unrepentant, because forever “behind time.”
Five minutes, in a crisis, is worth years. It is but a little period, yet it has often saved a fortune, or redeemed a people. If there is one virtue that should be cultivated more than another, it is punctuality; if there is one error that should be avoided, it is being "behind time.”