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For courage

HERE was great excitement in I promise with other mice to combine.”
Mouseland dominions,

(Rapturous cheering from every mouse ;
Old mice and young mice all giving Shouts of " I promise !” throughout the house.)
opinions ;

Then Professor Mouse continued, “No doubt Mice running wildly, 'mongst plaster The foe we've the greatest fear about and bricks ;

Is the cat” (sensation)--"the tortoiseshell cat, Mice nibbling biscuits ; mice playing The tabby, the black, and the sandy cat, their tricks ;

The white, and the grey, and the piebald cat, Whisking o'er shelves, to help themselves

The Manx, the Persian, the stable cat, To cheese and bacon, and what might be

The cat and her kittens-in fact, the cat Stored away in the cook’s pantry.

In whatever garb or place she is seen, Excited they were, for everywhere

Has ever our deadliest enemy been. Were notices pasted, to say that, if fair,

She has filled our minds with unreasoning fear, At eight Mr. Whisker would take the chair, And made us feel exceedingly queer And Professor Mouse would give an address, Whenever we knew that a cat was near. On “ Courage and how to gain fearlessness.” 'Twill be different now if you won't be supine, The place he would grace was a cheesemonger's But will take due heed to this thought of mine, shop,

And will make up your minds to combine, combine. Where, after the lecture, they all might stop, And if a bold front you combined put on, And eat as much cheese, at their ease, as they The cat would turn tail and would soon be gone." please,

(Uproarious cheering, and stamping, and squeaking.), For supper, without any payment of fees.

And then the Professor said, “That his oration So at night, by the light of the dips left and right, He hoped would prove good for the mighty mouse That blazed and famed and dazzled one quite,

nation. The mice assembled in all their might,

_” Here sudden he made a half And presented quite an imposing sight.

pause, And when the Professor, in tie of white,

For lo! a dim shadow of whiskers and clawsAnd spectacles perched upon his nose,

A cat's head slow rising. “For courage

-”, but Appeared, the squeaks and cries that uprose

here Might have daunted their foes ;

His heart palpitated, he felt rather queer : They were ready for blows, so one might suppose ; Whilst the audience knew that a crisis was near ! When the speaker said, “Friends, as each one To fight they weren't ready, their spirit grew colder, knows,

To fight must be left to the mice who were bolder. I am here to-night to bid you take heart,

The only way now for their safety was flight, And mousefully act a valiant part..

And away they all scampered to left and to right, What I have to enforce is, don't be afraid :

The Professor among them ! , If he should be Of sear a mouse should never be made ;

caught He has teeth and whiskers, and tail and claws.” How e'er could the mouse of the future be taught ? (Here rose a thunder of loud applause),

Most needful it was the Professor should live, He has ears that hear the slightest sound,

Or how could he lectures on courage still give ? He has legs that can swiftly run and bound, And he muttered, his features assuming a pallor, He has plenty of sense, he is brave as can be.” “ Discretion's an excellent portion of valour.” (Loud cheers.) “ Then, my friends, you'll confide in The cat made a spring, but she found that the me,

house And the wise advice that to all ye mice

Was entirely deserted by every mouse, I give, you must follow at any price ;

And there she might sit and might muse at her ease, 'Tis very simple, this thought of mine,

And if she should wish it might sup upon cheese. 'Tis only combine, combine, combine ;

She was very much vexed, for she thought at a Numbers countless are on your side,

meeting Call them together from far and wide.

Of mice she'd have had some most excellent You are no cowards, that well I know.”

eating, (Answering cries of “No, no, no”);

Whilst the mice in their holes, the Professor in bed, “Let every mouse say · Courage is mine,

“Good is courage, but safety is better !” all said.



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EARS have gone by, but the And I'm glad she ate it, I be,” he laughed-a

scene of that wild, romping wild, reckless laugh, at which I wondered.
March morning still returns to But now Jack was trying to rescue her, grasping
my mind's eye. The turbulent a branch of an overhanging tree, and bending out
river, aglow with sunshine, roll- and out over the river, reaching down to her with a
ing on in its glory of strength; twig, if so be she would cling to it, or he could draw
the bridge spanning it ; trees her in towards the bank, and so clutch her up. The

and hedgerows bursting into little thing was just clinging to the friendly twig, and early leaf; the far-stretching mea- we were drawing a deep breath of satisfaction, dows, where buttercups danced in a when, to our childish horror, Jack's hold gave way, sheen of yellow splendour-yes, it all the treacherous branch failed him, and down, down comes back to me : a fair, bright, he went with a great splash into the water. We laughing picture of the past. And girls shrieked in our terror, and not without reason, this is how it all came about.

with the waters roaring and clamouring, as they We were down by the river, I, my rushed on their swift course towards the flood. brother Jack, my sisters, Alice, Annie, hatches, but a short distance below.

and little Bess. A gipsy's cart—as “He'd better have let her drown," cried the gipsy we called the vehicle of any rovers-stood under lad, watching to see what the next act in the little the shelter of the elms, 'at a short distance drama would be. from the stream. It was nothing unusual ; Jack could not swim, but he beat about him these itinerant folk often halted there in the bravely, the sunlit waters laughing all the while, as retired spot, but a stone's throw from the direct if it were sport-only sport. Poor little black pussy! road to Chistleton. We scarcely heeded the poor, poor Jack! they both went hurrying on togipsy's cart, or the lean horse tethered hard gether. by, and feeding greedily; for little Bess's eyes “He'll be through the flood-hatches in a minute," had espied some dark object in the water, and we cried the stranger lad, who watched with us. all went hurrying on to the bridge to see what it Ha! he held her up. at last, a dripping mite, was. Here stood a swarthy-faced lad, of about and would fain have tossed her on to the friendly Jack's age, gazing moodily into the water, where bank ere the current bore him on; but no, she that tiny something was tossed here and there, and only fell into the river again—they went drifting on carried on by the swift current. Down some way

towards the seething waterfall at the hatches. below were the flood-hatches, where a flour-mill “Nay, little missies, I'll not let him get drowned.” was in full swing; we could hear the rush and roar Now the stranger boy ran down along the bank, and of the water sweeping through them in their mad dashed in to the rescue. haste, as we stood on the bridge.

Jack's hand clutched the poor waif again, but, “Oh ! it's a dear little black kitten,” cried Bess, alas ! the waters were too much for him, too much as we all peered down; and so it was: a panting, for his boyish rescuer—no, not rescuer; they both struggling mite, fighting, as only young things will went drifting on, the kitten held up a moment, and fight, for life. Nay, her poor, little, pleading eyes now going under as Jack went twirling on. Now were upturned to us, and her small red mouth another actor came upon the scene, a tall rough opened with piteous cries of entreaty.

man ; and he dashed in below, near, dangerously Ay, little Nan's kitten, missie,” said the swarthy- near, the swirl above the hatches. faced lad, a gloomy scowl on his brow.

“You two simpletons ! why didn't you let her " Is this some of your dirty work?” asked Jack. be?” he roared, as we came within earshot, and

“No, it isn't ; and if it were it would be no we could see that his face was a dark, evil one, business of yours.

Let her drown," was the as he struck out towards the drowning lads with return. The lad still scowled, but I saw his lips his giant strength. Jack he grasped by the quiver.

shoulder, the other by the hair of his head. I “I'll not let her drown,” cried impulsive Jack ; know not how he did it, but he soon landed with and away he scudded along the river's bank. them, muttering dark, evil words the while,

“ 'Tis all along of uncle ; she ate his sausage, and and tossing them from him, away among the he tossed her in there," the strange lad informed us. dancing buttercups--Jack's hand still holding the




black kitten. The tall man stalked away sullenly “Little Nan bade me ask. Little Nan's my towards the gipsy cart, leaving us girls to do what cripple sister, and lies days and days in the cart, we could for the two he had rescued.

Of course

and frets, and fumes, and has nobody to love her we wept for very childish joy, mingled with fright,

now, 'cept me." stroking Jack, patting the kitten, and eyeing our "And this was her kitten?” I questioned, my stranger friend half shyly, half curiously. He soon heart yearning over this unknown Nan. rose, however, with a merry laugh.

“Yes; but you keep her, she told me to say. “Ha! that was a wetting, and no mistake," said And will ye come to-morrow, and let her see her he, turning to Jack, who still lay upon the ground. kitten's new mistress ?“Can ye walk, young sir ?"

Go to the gipsy cart to see this unknown Nan! “ Yes,” returned Jack, rather languidly.

The story-book feeling thrilled over me, and I "Then ye'd better go home, and get rigged out promised to go. in dry clothes.”

“ That's well,” quoth the lad, and went away all * And you ?" questioned my brother, looking at down the moonlit walk. the lad's ragged, dripping garments.

I kept my visit a secret from everybody, and “Ha, ha! I shall get dry as 1 got wet- I'm went alone. I may have been wrong to go thus used to it, young sir. But will ye keep the alone, but truly my heart throbbed and thrilled kitien?”

with I know not what of right feeling and pity, “Yes, we shall keep her," I answered, in my sitting in the cart on the floor, by the side of the eagerness.

sick girl's rag of a bed. She told me of her pain, "Then Nan'll be glad.” He turned away. I her weakness, her weariness, her age-just mine ; thought I saw tears in his eyes, but I was not sure. and Jem's—that was her brother-was just Jack's, We called after him to stop, but he never even ten years. She kissed my hand for promising to looked back.

be good to her kitten, and shed a torrent of tears at Then we all went homeward, feeling very like the thought of never seeing her again. children stepped out of a story book. Our home lay “No; uncle'll kill her," she sobbed when I half a mile away on the banks of this same stream, offered to bring her back; "he said he would. the old Moat House, where only a grandmother and And now I'll have no one to love me but Jem-no, one old servant lived with us. Well, arrived there, no one.” It wrung my heart to hear her sob so. grandmamma and Mary took Jack away to bed, “ You have Jesus to love you," said I, and in while we attended to our newly-found treasure by my girlish pity I told her of that good friend of the kitchen fire, where, wrapped in flannel and children, grown-up people, and all. laid to rest in a hamper, she soon fell into a sound She lay silent a little time after I stopped sleep. Jack's nurses also left him in a peaceful speaking; the sweet afternoon sunshine stole into slumber. The house was strangely quiet all that the cart and played over her wan face. I hoped long, long afternoon, till after sundown, when Jack she understood what I had told her, but I did was allowed to sit by the dining-room fire, wrapped not know. I left her with tears in my eyes, amid in a blanket, and we brought in Smut-as we had a golden halo of sunset light, and hard by the already named her- to keep him company, still cart I met her dark, surly uncle. snug and warm in her hamper bed. I had just “ You are the little lady as lives along with given her a saucer of milk, and was laughing with two old women yonder, aren't ye?” he asked in his the rest at her queer little invalid way of sitting up harsh tone, halting in front of me. in her bed and looking around her, when Sarah, a No; they have men folk there too,” spoke Jem's handmaid of Mary's, came with the message that a voice from behind the cart; but I, in my truthfulness, ragged boy was in the porch, asking to see one of answeredthe young ladies.

“ No, we haven't ; we live alone with grand"That's me,” I said, with the importance of my mamma and Mary,” although the lad nodded and eight years, and tripped away, knowing I should winked at me, standing out of sight of his uncle see our stranger friend of the morning.

behind the cart. I felt half afraid, and was glad to “How's the young master?” he asked, standing get away from them both. in the moonlit porch.

And that night I heard a sound of confusion “Better, thank you,” said I. “How are you?" and cackling at the back of the house, where the

" Ha, ha! that's good ; I'm all right. Are ye fowls roosted, and upon which my window looked. going to keep the kitten ?”

Curious girl that I was, I opened the old diamondOh, yes! we shall keep her," I answered, paned casement, and peered out. There in the feeling half shy, half amused at the gipsy boy. moonlight was Nan's brother-I was sure it was he,


Anon, when summer was at its prime, the gipsy and no other cart was in its old place again, and Jem, the thief,

-– hurrying stole to our door early one forenoon with the stealthily along request

Mehmet under the sha- “May I see the young lady?” I heard him, and dow of the wall ; stepped out. I knew his voice. ile bu then followed “Miss Mabel, Nan's dead, and we're burying whispering her this morning; and she bade me say, if I ever voices, a scud- see you again, that she thought, and thought, and

ding away, sobs talked to Jesus, till He took her to live with Him, and cries, as for 'cause she was so lonely.” The lad wiped his tears mercy, in the dis. away with his smutty hand as he told me this in a

ance; after that boy's shamefaced way. But
all was quiet, save “Nan dead, and going to be buried ?” Tears

for the river singing rushed to my own eyes.
its song in the night under “Yes. Will ye see the last of her? Come and
the watchful stars. On see us put her in her grave," craved Jem, and he
the morrow my beautiful looked at me so pleadingly. nad
black pet hen was missing, “Yes; I will come,” I told him, and ran and
and the gipsy cart nowhere put on my hat and cloak. I told my sisters, and
to be seen. Then this Jem, they accompanied me. We all crowded round the
Nan's brother, who had grave, and wept our childish tears over poor Nan,
tried to save my brother, whom Jesus had taken home from the old cart

and whose sister I “because she was so lonely."
had visited, was a The sun shone then, but in the afternoon came
thief — could steal a down-pouring of rain-drenching rain, which
from those who had plashed against the window, and made the sullen
been friendly with mill-river murmur and roar. Somehow, I chose
him ! I was bitterly to be alone, and stole away from the general

disappointed in chatter going on in the dining-room, to sit in
him-in Nan, the drawing-room with little Smut. I could but
if she knew. think of poor Nan, and the message which she

we kept

IC Staples

little Smut as Hark! what was that? Smut heard it, and

" JACK WAS TRYING TO RESCUE a sort of re. | pricked up her ears. A something tapping against HER" (P. 170).

minder of the the window-a shadowy figure standing like a blot ignorant children who had crossed our path on outside. that bleak March day, and so the summer bloomed “Miss Mabel,” it said in a whisper ; and someitself away, winter passed, and spring smiled again. ! how, I heard the softly-spoken words amid all


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