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brethren whom she had never seen ; and, moreover, details of the terrible strife and slaughter which what could he do in the matter? The order for the followed-a strife in which the Jews were everywhere slaughter of the Jews was already sealed and sent victorious, so that they became a great power in the out, and a royal decree could never be recalled. nation.
The king wished to content his queen and We are glad to turn away, and to fix our thoughts Mordecai, his new councillor, but he did not wish only on the beautiful picture of the young queen, to be further troubled about the matter ; therefore, who, supported by the prayers of all her people, as he had done to Haman, so now to Mordecai he and full of love and self-sacrifice, dared her life for gave his ring, and bade him do what he would. The their deliverance. only plan which occurred to Mordecai was that This is the moment in Esther's life which stands wherever the decree for the slaughter of the Jews out as noble, and which gives meaning to the long had gone forth another letter should be sent, giving years spent in a tyrant's palace. For she must have them the king's leave to defend themselves, and in felt that once at least God had given her a task their turn to fall on their enemies.
to do, and that the words of Mordecai's message A cruel fashion it seems to us of righting a wrong, had been fulfilled “Who knoweth whether thou and we cannot but turn our eyes away from the art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Prize Scripture Questions.
(FOURTH QUARTERLY COMPETITION.) 13. (a) The grandfather of some young men who lacked journey to the land of Canaan. (6) A city in the direction courage in their profession. (6) A country, the inhabi- of which an instrument of war was stretched out as a tants of which were fearfully denounced by the prophets signal of its destruction. With the names of the above for their cruelty to the people of God. -With the names form the name of a mountain, said, in figurative language, of the above form the name of a man to whose care was to have dissolved. committed a treasure which proved his blessing.
20. To the name of a king, who made an excavation, 14. (a) A city in which a noted wanderer sought refuge, afterwards filled with the bodies of men treacherously but did not find it. (6) An idol, before which a believer slain, add the first part of the name of a city which in the true God prostrated himself. — With the names of traded in the one thing for which it was famous, with the above form the name of a city given out of one of the most important merchant city of its day; and so give the tribes of Israel to another tribe.
the name of a man who was slain by a great warrior in 15. (a) A place where a heathen deity obeyed a servant self-defence. of God. (6) A city which was fortified by a descendant 21. Give the name of a man who built up a great of David, and which, in the reign of a wicked king, fell family, and after whom one of the chief supports of an into the hands of enemies. -Give a name applying to important edifice was called. each.
22. Give a name applying to each of the following :16. (a) A town mentioned as allotted to one of the (a) An unjust judge, whose wickedness helped to bring Twelve Tribes, and towards which turned a band of on a great change in the affairs of his country. (6) The enemies, who had invaded Israel. (6) A town where was grandmother of a man, who bore the same name as a a tree, beneath which a heavenly visitant rested.--Give city which was the birthplace of one of the prophets, and a name borne alike by both.
to which belonged a woman of note. 17. From the name given to a well of water round 23. (a) A living thing to which the Psalmist, when in which, it is said, the owners could live in peace, take the distress, compared himself. (6) A place that in time of first part of the name of a ruler of Israel, and so give the battle caused the death of more people than were slain by name of the father of a king defeated by a king of Israel, the sword.— With the names of the above form the who, for this conquest, was blessed by an enemy of the name given, in a prophetical book, to a luminous fallen sovereign.
body. 18. To the name of an ancestor of Abraham add the 24. Give the name of a descendant of one of the sons first part of the name of an altar built in gratitude for a of Noah, who bore the same name as a place noted for great mercy; and so give the name of a grandson of a a substance which, though rich, would not, it is said in man who had been compelled to become a wanderer. the prophets, be as valuable as a man, in the time of the
19. (a) A place where the Israelities rested during their visitation of God's wrath upon a great city.
[Twelve "Prize Scripture Questions" are given each month; and a Guinea Book is awarded, at the end of every three months, to the competitor (between the ages of 14 and 16 inclusive) who sends in, during that time, the greatest number of Correct Answers, and References to the verses in the Bible containing them. (The above Questions (Nos. 13-24) are those for the second month of the present Competition.) In order that younger readers may take part in the Competition, there is a separate, or Junior Division in it for them; and in this division a Half-Guinea Book is offered to the Competitor under the age of 14 only, who sends in during that time the greatest number of Correct Answers and References to these Questions. Competitors under 14 cannot compete for the Guinea Book. Answers must be accompanied by certificates from Parents, Teachers, or other responsible persons, stating that they are the sole and unaided tvork of the Competitors; and the Answers to those published in this month's number must reach the Editor by the 7th of November (the 10th for Competitors residing abroad). The names and addresses of the Prize-winners will
be published in Little Folks at the expiration of the three months. All Answers are to be addressed to “ The Editor of Little Folks, La Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill, London, E.C.," and Answers to Scripture Questions" must be written in the left-hand top corners of the envelopes containing them. The names of the Prize-winners and the Answers to the Questions in the Third Quarterly Competition will be found on p. 326 in this Number.)
AURIE! I say, Laurie !"
Jim Potter as I was coming out of school, and we Three times, one after another, went up to Hill's farm. He's got the loveliest lot came the summons, in a cautious of young rabbits in the barn you ever saw, five of whisper. The third time a curly them, all black and white; and he says,” concluded
brown head slowly raised it. Jack, his voice sinking to a still more impressive self an inch or two upon the whisper, "he says I may have the lot for two shillittle bed opposite, with a lings; and I've got one-and-threepence towards itsleepy “ What's the matter? " there!”
“Hush ! don't make a Laurie sat up, fully roused at last. “But, Jack, noise. I want to borrow nine- will Aunt Jane let you ? Don't you remember how
pence out of your box." she sent away that yellow dog you bought once? The head fell back abruptly upon the pillow. She called him a cur, too."
“I shan't lend any more ; you borrowed a shil. Jack's face gloomed over at the recollection. ling on Thursday, Jack, and there's hardly any left." “Ah ! but she won't have the chance this time.
Jack slipped noiselessly out of his bed and across I shan't let her know anything about them. I shall to his younger brother's.
keep them up in the top attic—that corner by the “ And you might think I never meant to pay you window. Nobody ever goes up there, and I shall back, by the fuss you make about it. Besides, you creep up very softly and take lettuces and cabbage don't know what it's for yet ; just wait till you hear. leaves-oh! and bran ; that's all they need." Draw up your feet and make room.”
“Jack, would it be right?” hesitated Laurie. Laurie gathered up his knees to his chin obedi- “ You are sure to be found out." ently, and lent a willing ear, while Jack, who was “Of course it's right,” protested Jack stoutly. the hero of his small life, unfolded his latest pro- “Don't be such a baby; if it's just because you want ject.
to keep your ninepence, say so. But there's Aunt “I couldn't tell you before, for I hadn't made up Jane now." my mind,” began the hero, loftily. “I waited to For Aunt Jane, hearing the smothered voices, think it over first ; it was that made me so late opened the door and looked in briskly. home yesterday afternoon.”
“Why Jack, what are you sitting up there for? “It was what?” from Laurie.
You will get your death of cold. Get into your own “ Aren't I telling you as quick as I can ?
bed again ; it's not nearly time to get up yet."
And so Jack reluctantly had to go back again. in his lessons, where it did matter), and he said
Nevertheless, the negotiations were concluded how good it was of people to make places where that day. Tender-hearted Laurie produced the re- little creatures who had no mothers could be taken quired ninepence from his diminished fund, and care of? That's just what I'm going to do for Jack surreptitiously prepared an empty box for the these little things. What would become of them if new-comers up in the disused attic. Under the I didn't I should like to know ?” circumstances he dare not venture to hammer the This was putting the matter in a new light. orthodox lattice-work across the front, so its place Laurie looked respectfully at his philanthropic was supplied by some rusty wire netting that he brother, who was trying to insinuate a cabbage-leaf abstracted from the hen-pen. A saucer of bran into one little mouth, and doubted no more. and a lettuce were put inside, and then, the arrange- Three or four days went by-bitterly cold days ments complete, he went off to afternoon school. they were. Jack and Laurie found it a difficult
Laurie was watching eagerly for him at the matter to collect parsley and lettuce enough for the garden gate by four o'clock, but it was nearly six orphanage out of the frozen beds, but the ponds before his brother's figure loomed through the dusky and streams froze gloriously. On the Friday night twilight. “It's all right, Laurie,” he said, in an ex- their father brought home two pairs of skates, cited whisper, “ I've got them. Look, as soft as silk.” one for each of them.
Behind the big lilac-tree he opened the rush “Now, my boys," he said, “if you are ready at basket about an inch. The “look” was not prac- two o'clock to-morrow, I'll take you both to the ticable in the dim light, but there was a little park and teach you how to use them.” rustling noise inside, and a “feel” of something The doctor went away into his study, and the truly as soft as silk under their trembling fingers. boys, after a prolonged examination of their new proJack shut the basket, and they slipped quietly into perty, to their lessons. “Six fours are twenty-four," the house and up the stairs.
chanted Laurie at his end of the table ; “ six There was only one minute to instal the little fives are thirty-Oh! Jack,” in a hushed whisper, strangers in their new quarters, and bring the we have forgotten the rabbits to-night.” saucer of bran under their notice, not one to judge Jack dropped his book aghast, “ So we have ; 1'll of the effect ; and then the two conspirators stole run up now.” softly down to the dining-room.
“Jack, where are you going?” said Aunt Jane, “Are you quite well, Laurie?” asked Aunt Jane, lifting her eyes from her knitting. “ Come back to kindly, noticing how little either of the boys ate.
your lessons.” “ I expected you both to be as hungry as hunters.” It was not till they went up to bed that the
Laurie fushed scarlet ; his share of the secret boys found a chance to slip up the attic stairs. was a heavy burden upon his mind. “I don't want The little family looked less happy than they had any more, thank you ; but I'm not ill.”
the night of their arrival. Jack looked down at “ I should think not,” put in Jack. “It's just them in some perplexity. “I don't know how those lettuces he's been-been- _” There he pulled they contrive to get into such a mess; such little hinself up abruptly.
things too." “What lettuces ? ” queried Aunt Jane.
Laurie was watching one small white one closely. neither of you have been eating anything in the "Jack, I'm quite sure that one is going to be ill; do garden at this time of year; it might make you let us ask papa about it.” seriously ill. You must not go into the garden at “No we won't,” returned Jack, angrily. “There all to play if you do."
is nothing wrong with it. I'll get them some fresh “Very well, aunt.” And, to Jack's great relief, at hay to-morrow, and perhaps some bread and milk. that uncture a visitor most opportunely appeared Come down ; we shall be caught.” on the scene, and left them free to escape back to The frost was keener than ever the next day, the attic.
and long before two the boys were waiting im"Jack," said Laurie, regarding the little shivering patiently outside their father's door. Punctually to band in the corner of the box rather apprehensively, the moment he came out and joined them. “ do you think we ought to have taken them away It was a glorious afternoon's fun, and it lasted from their mother? They don't look very happy.” till the last gleam of daylight had departed, and
“ Of course we ought,” returned Jack, decidedly. then, tired and happy, they came home to tea. "It's a kind of orphanage for them ; and didn't you After tea the inevitable lessons. In the midst hear papa reading out the other night about that of them, for the first time that day, Jack rememone at-at-I forget the name of the place, but it bered his rabbits. He finished first, and went out doesn't matter (Jack always did forget names, even of the room with a silent signal to Laurie to follow.
He got a handful of hay from the horse-rack, and His father sat down on the box and waited then he looked into the larder. The milk was not patiently. Laurie was crying too. to be easily got, so he contented himself with a "Jack, my boy,” he said, breaking the silence, piece of bread broken off the loaf.
'you must never trifle with the life of a dumb, The dark, cold attic seemed darker and colder helpless creature again. Do you think you were than usual. He propped up his wax taper between doing right to deceive us all, and keep them shut two musty books, and slid back the box lid. The up here where no one could help them ?” little creatures were crouching in the corner ; they “We meant to be so good to them,” explained did not stir when he put the bread in. He touched the tearful Laurie. “It was because of Aunt them gently; all cold and still, except one trem- Jane; she said we weren't big enough to have bling pair of ears. A great fear crept into Jack's animals." heart. He ran down into his own room ; his clean “Aunt Jane was quite right," said his father, flannel shirt was lying upon the bed, ready for gravely; "this proves it.” morning-it was the only thing at hand, and he “Yes, she was right,” sobbed Jack; “it was all took it back and wrapped the little starved-creatures
my fault.” in it, while he tried to thaw them with his breath. His father laid his hand upon his bowed head.
A few minutes later, Laurie's feet came pattering “ They won't have died altogether in vain, my boy, up the stairs. “Aunt Jane has got a lovely cake, if it teaches you to be kindly and gentle to every and she says we are both to have a slice, for- dumb, helpless creature about you.” Oh ! Jack, what is the matter?”
And we'll never have another orphanage withJack lifted a despairing face. “They are all dead, out telling father first ; will we, Jack ? ” said Laurie, and I've killed them! Ask father to come up." creeping up beside his mourning chief.
The doctor came back with Laurie a minute There was a little funeral at the end of the garden later. He took in the bearings of the case at a the next morning, when Jack's ill-fated orphans glance, and, without asking any questions, bent were buried under the big pear-tree. The grass down and looked at the little victims. It was too grows green over the place now, but it will be a long, late for help, and presently the last quivering pair long time before the sight of a rabbit ceases to be of ears grew still, and Jack's head went down upon a reproachful reminder to them of that sorrowful them in an agony of grief, and he cried bitterly. little tragedy in the attic.
THE YOUNG PYROTECHNISTS.
By the Author of “ Jack and the Christmas Echoes," dir.
drizzling November morning--that Fred young Westons, as they kept about with their elder
eight-years-old twin brothers, with their their own affairs, with his usual want of sympathy little pert-nosed dog, Smiler, led a somewhat soli. with them and their childish pleasures. tary life in their grandfather's old gabled house “I know what we'll do ; we'll have some firejust outside the ancient town of Asterly, their two works all to ourselves : and you may keep your elder brothers going to and from the grammar. old rubbishy things to yourselves," returned Fred. school there. Very patriarchs were they to their And Bert criedsmall brothers, because they were nearing the So we will ! so we will !” wheeling round on venerable ages of fourteen and sixteen.
one leg, and snapping his fingers at them both. But to my story. Guy Fawkes' Day-that day “Best not, or you'll blow your heads off," of days to all wild, young spirits-was delight- observed Jack. fully near, and this year the grammar-school lads “We will,” affirmed Fred. were to have a grander display of fireworks than “ Try it on, old fellow, try it on,” said Jack, usual, all of their own manufacturing, with the aid while the mist seemed to clutch and beckon like of the masters.
friendly grey-gloved hands bent on warning them.