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was a broad and black river, creeping fearfully along, without bridge or bark to be seen near.
“Ah,miserableme!"said the servant, turning deadly pale; “this, then, is theriver in which liars must perish?”
“Even so," said the lord; “this is the stream of which I spake; but the ford is sound and good for true men. Spur we our horses, for the night approacheth, and we have yet far to go.”
“ My life is dear to me,” said the trembling serving-man; "and thou knowest that if it were lost, my wife would be disconsolate. In sincerity, then, I declare that the fox wbich I saw in the distant country was not larger than that which fled from us in the wood this morning!”
Then laughed the lord aloud, and said, "Ho, knave! wert thou afraid of thy life? And will nothing cure thy lying? Is not falsehood, which kills the soul, worse than death, which has mastery only over the body? This river is no more than any other, nor hath it a power such as I feigned. The ford is safe, and the waters gentle as those we have already passed; but who shall pass thee over the shame of this day? In it thou needs must sink, unless penitence coine to help thee over, and cause thee to look back on the gulf of thy lies, as on a danger from which thou hast been delivered by Heaven's grace."
And as be reproved his servant, the lord rode on into the water, and both in safety reached the opposite shore.
Then vowed the serving-man that from that time forward he would duly measure his words; and glad was he so to escape.
Such is the story of the lying servant and the merry lord; by which let the reader profit.
THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM,
An old Clock, that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped. Upon this the Dial-plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the Hands made an in. effectual effort to continue their course, the Wheels remained motionless with surprise, the Weights hung speechless; each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the Dial instituted a formal inquiry into the cause of the stoppage; when Hands, Wheels, Weights, with one voice, protested their innocence. But now a faint tick was heard below the Pendulum, who thus spoke :
“I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage, and am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking.
Upon hearing this, the old Clock became so enraged that it was on the point of striking.
Lazy wire !” exclaimed the Dial-plate. “ As to that,” replied the Pendulum, “it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as everybody knows, set yourself up above me—it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness !—you have had nothing to do all your life but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen ! Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and wag backwards and forwards, year after year, as I do!”
“As to that," said the Dial, “is there not a window in your house on purpose for you to look through ?”
“But what,” resumed the Pendulum," although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out. Besides, I am really weary of my way of life; and, if you please, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. This morning I happened to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course only of the next twenty-four hours—perhaps some of you above there can give me the exact sum ?”
The Minute Hand, being quick at figures, instantly replied, “Eighty-six thousand four hundred times !”
Exactly so," replied the Pendulum. “Well, I appeal to you all, if the thought of this was not enough to fatigue one. And when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect. So, after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thought I to myself, I'll stop!”
The Dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue ; but, resuming its gravity, at last replied, “ Dear Master Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful, industrious person as yourself should have been overcome by this suggestion. It is true you have done a great deal of work in your time; so have we all, and are likely to do; and though this may fatigue us to think of, the question is, will it fatigue us to do? Would you now do me the favour to give about half-a-dozen strokes to illustrate my argument ?”
The Pendulum complied, and ticked six times at
its usual pace.
“Now," resumed the Dial," was that exertion at all fatiguing to you ?”
"Not in the least !” replied the Pendulum ; " it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions.”
Very good,” replied the Dial; “ but recollect, that though you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one; and that however often you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in.”
" That consideration staggers me, I confess," said the Pendulum.
“ Then, I hope,” added the Dial-plate, "we shall all immediately return to our duty ; for the maids will lie in bed till noon if we stand idling thus.”
Upon this the Weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as with one consent, the Wheels began to turn, the Hands began to move, the Pendulum to wag, and, to its credit, it ticked as loud as ever; while a beam of the rising sun, that streamed through a hole in the kitchen shutter, shining full upon the Dial-plate, made it brighten up as if nothing had been the matter.
When the farmer came down to breakfast, he declared, upon looking at the clock, that his watch had gained half an hour in the night.
THE BELL ROCK.
On the east coast of Scotland, as you sail along, a tall tower rises out from the waves. The steamer comes near it, and you see a smooth, strongly-built pillar : on the top is a large lantern, composed entirely of glass. It is the Bell Rock Light-house. Were it night, and did a storm, such as frequently visits these shores, toss your ship on its waves, you would be glad to see from that lantern the light cheerful
it sends through the darkness, to tell the sailor where to steer his vessel.
There is an interesting old story told regarding the rock on which this light-house stands. Why is it called the Bell Rock? I will tell you. Once there was no light-house there ; and often, often the stormy east wind drove boats and ships against these rocks, and wrecked them. Some kind monks, who lived on the shore, got a large bell, and, chaining it fast to the rock, when the waves rose the bell swung heavily in the storm, and its melancholy tones warned the seamen of the nearness of danger. A pirate, or sea robber, one day was so wicked as to steal the bell. He broke the chain, and carried it away; and the ships again had no warning of these dangerous rocks. But it so happened that the very pirate who had done this wicked action was sailing these seas on a wintry day. Night came on, and the tempest bore heavily on his ship. She had to yield to its violence, and, driven before it, she struck a rock. It was the very rock from which her captain had stolen the bell ! By the side of that rock the vessel sank, and her captain