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a night. If he is left to her, and she follows my orders till to-morrow, I believe that, please God, all is safe.
Mrs. Jones. Oh, father, you will never let my precious child be took from me, when he's only just come out of the water! I am his mother; nobody can do for a child like its own mother.
Mr. Jones. Hush, my dear; we must be ruled by the doctor, or, if he dies, how we shall reflect on ourselves. Depend on it, he knows. If you think well, sir, I'll step to Willings.
Dr. Williams. Do, I'll stay till you bring back a nurse. Stop, though! your poor wife has had no dinner, and, nursing her baby and all, she's quite upset. Here's a shilling; get a little bit of bacon and a couple of eggs, and get her to make you some tea by the time you come back. I will try whether your boy can't swallow a spoonful or two.
Mrs. Jones. Wouldn't a drop of gin be more reviving, sir?
Dr. Williams. I fear it would choke him at once; pray don't think of it.
Dr. Williams. Well, my boy, how are you? all right again?
Ben. Yes, sir, thank you. I don't feel any the worse.
Dr. Williams. If not the worse, I hope you are the better, and that you have learnt what comes of disobedience.
Mother. Beg pardon, sir, for speaking a word, but Ben, poor boy, didn't go against his father's word; he couldn't find him.
Dr. Williams. But didn't you tell him that he was not to go without his father's leave? Speak the truth, Ben; wasn't that it?
Mother. Oh, sir, he wouldn't have gone if his father told him not; but you see, so unlucky, he was at Willings's, so I didn't so much blame the poor child. You see, sir, I've only just got him back from a watery grave, and it goes against a mother's heart to speak sharp to him.
Dr. Williams. I hope, Ben, you see where the truth lies, and that you will be a better and a wiser boy all your life, having been so near death. I am certain that you felt how wrong you had been when the ice gave way. Now it was not the ice giving way that made it so wrong, it was the disobedience itself. Don't forget it, Ben.
Ben. No, sir, I won't.
Tim Larkins. Oh, Will, my father's dog has had some puppies, and father says I may have the fun of drowning them. Come along, and we'll have a lark.
Will Jones. How are you going to do it ? I don't think I ever saw puppies drowned.
Tim Larkins. Oh, it's great fun. I throw them in, and they try to get to land, and I stone them to make them go back, and they don't know which they like —to be stoned or drowned.
Will Jones. Well, I don't know. Isn't it rather cruel?
Tim Larkins. You are just like a girl; girls are always so spooney about beasts. I don't see why we mayn't do as we like with them; besides father says they must be drowned, he won't keep them.
Will Jones. All right; they must; but one needn't torment them first.
Tim Larkins. Oh, it's such jolly good fun to see them struggling so. But if you want to polish them off, you may hold them down with a pitchfork, only you don't see them fight for their lives. But there's Ben going along, he'll lend us a hand.
Ben. What game's up now? What are you going to do with those puppies?
Tim. Drown them. Come along and help to see them bobbing up and down like corks, and the mother looking on and howling. Oh, how they do howl!
Ben. Well, Tim, you know I was as good as drowned last week, and nothing can make me lend a hand to put any living thing under water. It's dreadful.
Tim. Nonsense, beasts ain't like us; nobody but girls mind about them.
Ben. Then I'm a girl, I suppose, for I tell you I couldn't do it; I should dream of those puppies, and fancy I was drowning with them.
Tim. What would you have? Are we to be overrun with vermin, because everybody is too softhearted to kill them?
Ben. Oh no, they must be killed; but is there any need to be so long over it?
Tim. But we should lose our fun.
Ben. Would it be fun to you to be drowned off and on for half an hour?
Tim. But these are puppies, not boys.
Ben. And don't they feel as we do?
Tim. I suppose not. I don't know. What does it matter? Come along, or it will be school-time.
Ben. I do think farmer Willings is coming.
Farmer Willings. What are all you lads after now?
Tim. Only drowning some puppies, sir; father told me to.
Willings. And did he tell you to do it in that cruel way? Why, Tim, if you were my boy, I'd just hold your head under water, till you had a good taste of what drowning was like.
Tim. But these are only puppies.
Willings. And don't they feel pain? Who told you they didn't?
Tim I didn't know; one always goes on as if they didn't.
Willings. Tim, when you were a little fellow in petticoats, I saw you one day tearing flies' legs and wings off. Your mother said you were but a child and knew no better. I said if you were mine I would just pull your ear till you did know better. And I have one more thing to say: you expect next harvest that I should let you work with your father about my farm; you needn't expect it, for a cruel boy shall never come near my beasts.
Tim. Oh, sir, I didn't think you'd mind; I'd never hurt anything.of yours. Hope, sir, you'll give me the trial!
Willings. Not I, Tim ; not if I know it. I wouldn't trust a beast of mine to your care, not if you'd pay me to do it. A boy who takes pleasure in tormenting anything alive, if it were but a fly or a worm, shall have no footing on my premises.
ROBIN REDBREAST'S SECRET
I'm little Robin Redbreast, sir,
My nest is in the tree.
We made it very soft and nice
My pretty mate and I;
We sang most merrily.
The green leaves shade our lovely home
So many birds live in the tree
'The light breeze gently rocks our nest
I have a secret I would like
The little girls to know;
They rob the poor birds so.