« PreviousContinue »
persons are usually afraid of very silent shy ones. She cast a hasty glance at her master, who was beginning to evince signs of attention, and cried promptly, “ No, ma'am, it was not the dear boy-it was I !”
“ You! How could you be so careless ? and you knew how I prized them both. O Primmins ! ”
Primmins began to sob.
“Don't tell fibs, nursey,” said a small shrill voice; and Master Sisty (coming out of the house as bold as brass 4) continued rapidly,
“ don't scold Primmins, mamma; it was I who pushed out the flower-pot.”
“ Hush !” said nurse, more frightened than ever, and looking aghast towards my father, who had very deliberately taken off his hat, and was regarding the scene with serious eyes wide-awake.
“Hush! And if he did break it, ma'am, it was quite an accident; he was standing so," and he never meant it, did you, Master Sisty ? Speak" (this in a whispero),
will be so angry.” Well,” said my mother, “ I suppose it was an accident; take care in future, my child. You are sorry, I
see, to have grieved me. There's a kiss ; don't fret."
No, mamma, you must not kiss me; I don't deserve it. I pushed out the flower-pot on purpose.”
Of very silent shy ones, De ceux qui sont fort silencieux et réservés.—? And you knew how I prized them both, Et vous saviez combien j'y tenais.—3 Don't tell fibs, Ne dis donc pas de menteries (childish and familiar expression instead of mensonges).-—4 A8 bold as brass, Hardi comme un page.—5 Who had very deliberately taken off his hat, Qui s'était décidé à retirer son chapeau.—6 Wide-awake, Tout grands ouverts.—7 He was standing so, Il était là tout à côté.
_ And he never meant it, Et il ne l'a pas fait exprès. This in a whisper, Ajouta-t-elle tout bas.
“Ha! and why?" said my father, walking up.' Mrs. Primmins trembled like a leaf.
“ For fun !” said I, hanging my head—“just to see how you'd look,” papa ; and that's the truth of it. Now beat me, do beat me."
My father threw his book fifty yards off, stooped down, and caught me to his breast. · Boy,” he said,
you have done wrong; you shall repair it by remenbering all your life that your father blessed God for giving him son who spoke truth in spite of fear. Oh! Mrs. Primmins, the next fable of this kind you try to 4 teach him, and we part for ever.”.
Not long afters that event, Mr. Squills, who often made me little presents, gave me one far exceeding in value those usually bestowed on children—it was beautiful large domino-box in cut ivory, painted and gilt. This domino-box was my delight. I was never weary of playing at dominoes with Mrs. Primmins, and I slept with the box under my pillow.
“Ah!” said my father one day when he found me ranging the ivory parallelograms in the parlour, “ ah! you like that better than all your playthings, eh?”
“Ah! yes, papa.”
“ You would be very sorry if your mamma was to throw that box out of the window and break it for fun." I looked beseechingly6 at my father, and made no
1 Walking up, En s'approchant.--2 To see how you'd look, Pour voir quelle figure vous feriez.—3 Fifty yards off, Loin de lui.* The next fable of this kind you try to, A la première histoire pareille que vous essaierez de.—5 Not long after, Peu de temps après.Beseechingly, D'un air suppliant.
“But perhaps you would be very glad," he resumed, “if suddenly one of those good fairies you read of could change the domiuo-box into a beautiful geranium in a beautiful blue-and-white flower-pot, and that you could have the pleasure of putting it on your mamma's windowsill."
“ Indeed I would !” said I, half crying.”
“My dear boy, I believe you ; but good wishes don't mend bad actions—good actions mend bad actions."
So saying, he shut the door and went out. I cannot tell you how puzzled I was to make out what
father meant by his aphorism. But I know that I played at dominoes no more that day. The next morning my father found me seated by myself 4 under a tree in the garden ; he paused and looked at me with his grave bright eyes very steadily.
“My boy," said he, “I am going to walk to town about two miles off; will you come? And, bythe-bye, fetch your domino-box; I should like to show it to a person there. I ran in for the box, and not a little proud of walking with my father on the high road, we set out.
“ Papa,” said I by the way, 8 " there are no fairies now."
“ What then, my child ? ”
You read of, Dont tu lis les histoires.—2 Half crying, Les larmes aux yeux.—3 Aphorism, Aphorisme (phrase sentencieuse). - 4 See § 54, 1.–6 By-the-bye, Par la même occasion.—6 To a person there, A quelqu'un de cet endroit.— I ran in for the box, Je courus à la maison chercher la boîte.—8 By the way, Chemin faisant.–9 What then, my child ? Pourquoi cette question, mon enfant ?
Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into a geranium and a blue-and-white flower-pot ?"
My dear,” said my father, leaning his hand on my shoulder, “everybody who is in earnest to be good? carries two fairies about with him—one here," and he touched my forehead, “and one here,” and he touched
" I don't understand, papa.
My father stopped at a nursery-gardener's, and, after looking over the flowers, paused before a large double geranium. • Ah, this is finer than that which your mamma was so fond of. What is the cost, sir ?"
“Only 78. 6d.," said the gardener.
My father buttoned up his pocket. “I can't afford it to-day,” said he gently, and we walked out.
On entering the town, we stopped again at a china warehouse. Have you a flower-pot like that I bought some months ago ? Ah, here is one marked 3s. 6d. Yes, that is the price. Well, when* your mamma's birthday comes again, we must buy her another. That is some months to wait. And we can wait, Master Sisty. For truth that blooms all the year round is better than a poor geranium, and a word that is never broken is better than a piece of Delft.”
My head, which had dropped before, rose again ; but the rush of joy at my heart almost stifled me."
Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into, C'est que comment alors ma boîte à dominos peut-elle se changer en.
Everybody who is in earnest to be good, Celui qui veut sérieusement devenir bon,—3 See § 41.-4 See § 40.—5 The rush of joy at my heart almost stifted me, La joie qui vint affuer à mon coeur faillit m'étouffer
“I have called to pay your little bill,” said my father, entering the shop of one of those fancy stationers ? common in country towns, and who sell all kinds of pretty toys and nick-nacks.3
“ And by the way,”4 he added, as the smiling shopman looked over his books for the entry,” “I think my little boy here 6 can show you a much handsomer specimen of French workmanship than that workbox which you enticed Mrs. Caxton into rafiling for last winter. Show
dear.” I produced my treasure, and the shopman was liberal in his commendations. “It is always well, my boy, to know what a thing is worth, in case one wishes to part with it. If my young gentleman gets tired of his play. thing, what will you give him for it?"
Why, sir,” said the shopman, “I fear we could not afford to give more than eighteen shillings for it, unless the young gentleman took some of those pretty things in exchange.”.
"Eighteen shillings !” said my father; “ you would give that. Well, my boy, whenever you do grow tired of your box, you have my leave to sell it."
My father paid his bill, and went out. I lingered behind a few moments, and joined him at the end of the street.
1 See § 37.-? Fancy stationers, Marchands d'articles de fantaisie. —3 All kinds of pretty toys and nick-nacks, Toutes sortes de jouets et de jolis riens.—4 And by the way, A propos.-5 Looked over his books for the entry, Cherchait le compte dans ses livres.—6 My little boy here, Mon petit garçon que voici.—7 That work-box which you enticed Mrs. Caxton into raffling for last winter, Cette boîte à ouvrage qui fut mise en loterie l’hiver dernier et dont vous avez engagé Madame Caxton à prendre quelques billets.—8 Was liberal in his commendations, N'épargna pas ses éloges.