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besides kites, and games of skill, not to mention the interesting subjects of recreative science, home pets, and the workshop, in which little folk very properly are beginning to take a keen delight. Then, in addition to all these means of recreation, there is an immense number of indoor amusements for wet or wintry weather-not only round games for the parlour, but pleasant card games, conjuring, and that highly diverting species of fireside fun, which deals with acrostics, anagrams, rebuses, and many other interesting puzzles like those which have so often appeared in these pages. Grown-up men have sometimes asked the question whether the people of to-day are any better off than the ancients; but I think you will agree with me that, so far as games are concerned, you would not wish to exchange places with little Greeks or Romans.
It is rather curious that while many British sports are now to be found in nearly everyd country of the worldfor they play cricket and lawn tennis in the tro-; b
pical climate of India
as well as in the more boun
pastimes of other lands biol
Another exercise must be noted which has developed as wonderfully as lawn tennis-namely, bicycling. Of course it is a pastime suited only for older boys and men, but so popular has it become that large towns are mainly supported by the making of the machines; while tricycles have been invented so that young ladies may likewise enjoy this pleasant recreation, though it cannot be said that they have availed themselves of it as yet to
any great extent. The bicycle may be met with quite commonly on the Continent, in the United States, the colonies, and, in short, in all parts of the globe where the roads are suited to this mode of travelling. Young men often spend their holi days in "spinning" over the country, from town to town,
and find themselves greatly refreshed by using a conveyance which enables them to be independent of railways anl steamboats, and puts health into their bodies, while it keeps money in their pockets.
Games that used to be almost exclusively English are now played in Scotland-football for example, in which the North Britons have proved themselves formidable competitors. In like manner golf, a pastime that was certainly popular in Scotland in the time of the hapless many parts of England, where lads may be seen "putting" or "driving " with as keen a zest as ever young Scotsmen played on St. Andrews Links or other notable golfing ground.
United States, and la crosse, which is a purely | Mary, is finding favour in
But it is not my purpose to go through the long catalogue of sports and pastimes for boys or girls, or to explain how any of them may be played. These matters will be found discussed in plain and practical language in the useful volume already mentioned. What I am desirous of enforcing is that, in the first place, judicious indulgence in games and exercises is to be recommended for two reasons, that it restores the flagging spirits and
S far as outward appearances went, Will did not look like a person capable of buying anything. His dirty elbows squarely planted on the ledge of the big bird-fancier's window, his bare feet elevated on the bushy end of his broom, oblivious to all idea of prosecuting his profession, he was intently watching the antics of a pretty canary in a wooden cage in the far corner.
Presently the proprietor of it and all the other wonders inside sauntered to the doorway, and glanced up and down the street in quest of the evening paper boy. Will was a far-seeing lad, and seized the opportunity to place himself on speaking terms with the great man.
"I'll bring him here for you, sir; he's just round the corner."
Wherever round the corner might mean, the news-boy was promptly unearthed and brought to the fore, and Will was rewarded with the halfpenny change. He lingered a minute, after he received it, looking wistfully at the canary.
"Is he very dear, sir?" he asked, pointing to him with his grimy thumb.
The man glanced in the direction and laughed. "Seven and sixpence, with the cage," he said, unfolding his paper and beginning to read.
It might as well have been seven pounds; but Will lingered on.
"I don't suppose I shall ever have seven and sixpence," he remarked; "but if I did, and he wasn't sold, would you let me buy him?"
The shopkeeper looked down at the dirty, ragged figure sceptically. "Anybody may buy him that's got the money," he said; "but I hope to find a customer for him before you're ready."
And then he went back into his shop, and Will took up his broom and went back to his neglected crossing.
Fortune knocks at every man's door once, they say; and in the course of the next three months Will certainly considered that she had knocked at his very loudly indeed. She had transformed him into a comparatively prosperous shoeblack, and he fully appreciated his rise in the social scale.
Sweeping a crossing may be a thoroughly useful occupation, still it has the reputation of being only one remove from begging; and Will regarded his successor in that line with an air of compassionate superiority that the other must have found a little trying to put up with sometimes.
It had come about quite naturally. The master of a ragged school, which he occasionally attended
There was one tall, thin man, with an absent expression, who stopped three times every week regularly-Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. His garments were faded and decidedly old-fashioned, and he invariably carried a small black volume, and studied it thoughtfully while the polishing process was going on. He was the last customer on those particular days, and when he disappeared Will folded up his stock-in-trade and started for home, and he always contrived that the way thither should lead past the bird-fancier's window, for he was faithful still in his admiration for the canary. The moneyed customer had not appeared as yet, and a bright hope was beginning to dawn in Will's mind that some day he might represent that privileged person himself.
He had one shilling and threepence-halfpenny, safely hoarded up in a piece of newspaper, towards the seven shillings and sixpence. It would be a work of time certainly; but he was willing to wait cheerfully if only no one else bought it in the interval.
This night it was still safe, and, better still, the assistant was standing at the door untwisting some tangled wire. He was not nearly such an aweinspiring personage as his master, and Will entered into conversation with him on the spot.
"You've got the canary there yet," he began. The young man looked round carelessly. "Yes, and likely to be there; people want parrots and cockatoos mostly now, ill-tempered things that they are; one nearly took my finger off this morning." Will glanced sympathetically at the almost invisible wound.
"Let me bend that wire," he offered in a tone of profound commiseration; "you may hurt it worse."
The youth vouchsafed to accept his assistance "You can come in and look at the birds for a minute, if you like," he said, graciously, when the wire was conquered, and neatly rolled up; "only don't make a noise about it."
"It's very tame,” he remarked; "but it's not as pretty as some of the others."
Pretty!" ejaculated Will, "I think he's just lovely. Don't let anybody buy him if you can help it. Is he as dear still as he was?"
Will slipped in very quietly, and walked straight up to his favourite's cage. The pretty creature! it put its head on one side, and looked up at him with bright soft eyes, as if it knew him for a friend. Will put in his finger and stroked the bird's feathers tenderly; he would have unravelled wire by the hour for such a minute as this. The assistant stood by, looking on listlessly and quite unconcerned.
"Seven and six," returned the other, looking at a mysterious hieroglyphic on the cage; "but you might get the sixpence taken off perhaps. You'd better go now."
So Will reluctantly quitted the place. Nevertheless, he had opened an acquaintance with his future possession; he and his bird were not strangers now by any means. He stopped under the first lamp-post, and added twopence to his little
"I'll soon have a quarter of it," he said to himself, as he restored it to its hiding-place, and went whistling down the street.
But from almost the quarter to the half was a long step; it took a good many steps to reach that stage. Every night he always went round to look at his bird, and by the sigh of relief, when he caught sight of it, he realised how great had been his anxiety through the dangerous daylight hours, when possible customers were abroad. He would stand at the door, if the coast were clear, and chirrup to the bird till he almost persuaded himself that there was a sound of recognition in the note it sent back to him.
Three shillings and sevenpence! Oh! if only time would fly a little quicker, and bring that pleasant hour when, instead of watching on the threshold, he might walk boldly in, and bear away his treasure!
Standing at his corner one evening, he was pondering over the matter, when the tall, thin, absentminded gentleman presented himself for the usual brushing. It was too dark this time to continue his studies, so he thoughtfully watched the play of the brushes instead. When the process was completed, he put the money in payment into Will's palm, settled his book under his arm, and went away with a gentle "Good-night."
Will looked after him an instant, then some curious "feel" in the coin struck him, and he bent down hastily beside his little lamp. It was half-acrown! Will caught up his breath with one great gasp, and he turned the money over and over; but there was no mistake about it. The thought of his little store came to him with a sudden joyful rush. Three shillings and sevenpence and half-a-crown made six shillings and a penny; why in another fortnight he might have his canary-it almost felt as if he had it already; it seemed so close now.
In the quietness of the night, however, came a creeping doubt. Was the money really his? Ought
he not to tell the gentleman about it? Will tossed and turned, and tried to put that view of the case out of his mind.
"If he did ask, he wasn't obliged to tell him," he argued; "men ought to be more careful. He didn't go about making mistakes of that kind, and it would be a lesson for the gentleman."
But somehow Will got up the next morning with a sense of weight and wrong that he had never felt before, in all his misfortunes. It was a soaking wet day, and customers were few and far between ; still he scarcely heeded that fact; and leaning against the great pillar, his hands deep in his pockets, the rain pattered down upon him unnoticed and unfelt. And in this position he continued even when the evening came, and the candle by the side of his box had been lighted by him.
"If he asks me about it I'll give it to him," he decided at last, "but if he doesn't, I won't." And having come to that decision, he waited with feverish impatience for Saturday.
Saturday came in due course, and just at the edge of dusk came the tall, thin gentleman, and put his foot on the block. Will held his breath as he brushed, and the slow minutes dragged past without a word about the half-crown. Presently the suspense ended, the gentleman laid down his penny -it was a penny this time-and went on his way.
Will watched him down the street with a long sigh; but it was not one of relief and safety altogether. He had been trained up with little care, but he had kept a strong sense of honesty always; and deep in the lad's heart, under all the reasoning and sophistry, lay a conviction that he was no longer acting fairly and honestly. It was the first real struggle of his life, and Monday ended it.
over, and the matter out of his power; and after a long silent look he went quietly home.
Tuesday and Wednesday went by rather hopelessly; Wednesday evening brought the unthinking cause of all his perplexity, and, to Will's utter amazement, the oracle began to talk.
"Did you not say it was Thursday that I gave you that half-a-crown?" he commenced.
"Yes, sir," answered Will, not seeing the drift of the question, and walking straight into the snare laid for his unconscious feet.
"Then why did you not tell me about it on Saturday? I saw you that day."
No response. Will was feeling that his sins were indeed coming home to him. "Why was it?" repeated his inquisitor.
Because-because I wanted-I wanted to keep
"And it made me feel mean and miserable," burst out Will, "so I told you.”
"And what would you have done with it if you had not told me?"
"Done? I should have had my bird by now. You don't know anything about him, but he's different from all the other birds. I'd been saving up for him for months. Wouldn't you like to see him?" he added, hastily, with a sudden inspiration that the sight would account for his conduct better than any words; "it isn't a minute's walk."
And so it came to pass that five minutes later saw Will and the tall, thin gentleman earnestly gazing into the bird-fancier's window.
"Don't you think we should see it better from the inside?" he suggested presently, passing in through the door. Will followed, mute with astonishment, straight up to the canary's corner, and there the owner of the shop bore down upon them.
"We stepped inside to look at your bird," explained the stranger. "Seven shillings and sixpence I understand is the price of it."
"Yes, sir, seven-and-six; and all I can say is that he's worth a great deal more, only there's not much demand for them just now."
The sixpence was not to be taken off, evidently. The gentleman drew out a small leather bag. Will was standing close by, and shyly slipped his little parcel of savings into his hand, and then three bright half-crowns were laid down on the counter, and the little wooden cage and its tenant put into Will's arms.
They went back, a silent little procession, down the street. Will tried once or twice to say some. thing of his gratitude, but there was a curious choked sensation in his throat, and the words