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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 every sin country of the worldfor they play cricket and la lawn tennis in the tro- ; 17,9 pical climate of India as line as well as in the more bus temperate colonies--them." pastimes of other lands like seldom take root in Eng. for 3! lish soil. The book dari proses already referred to desta cil scribes base ball, the “national” game of the United States, and la crosse, which is a purely Canadian game. The former is an outgrowth of * rounders,” but the latter is a distinct pastime of itself, and is said to be derived from the Indians. It is played with “ crosses,” or tennislike bats, and the object of the sides is to toss the ball from bat to bat, until it is passed through a goal. But though both games are viewed with great favour in their own countries, and have been played here by teams who have visited England for the express purpose of showing us how they are played, in order that they might be adopted here, they have failed for a good enough reason, doubtless-to strike the fancy either of boys or men.
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 inde
pendent of railways an 1 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 Mary, is finding favour in many parts of England, where lads may be seen “putting” or with as keen a zest as ever young Scotsmen played on St. Andrews Links or other notable golf. ing ground.
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
did not look like a person capable of Will lingered on.
squarely planted on the ledge of the sixpence,” he remarked ; “but if I did, and he big bird-fancier's window, his bare feet elevated wasn't sold, would you let me buy him?” on the bushy end of his broom, oblivious to all The shopkeeper looked down at the dirty, ragged idea of prosecuting his profession, he was intently figure sceptically. “Anybody may buy him that's watching the antics of a pretty canary in a wooden got the money," he said; “but I hope to find a cage in the far corner.
customer for him before you're ready." Presently the proprietor of it and all the other And then he went back into his shop, and Will wonders inside sauntered to the doorway, and took up his broom and went back to his neglected glanced up and down the street in quest of the crossing evening paper boy. Will was a far-seeing lad, Fortune knocks at every man's door once, they and seized the opportunity to place himself on say; and in the course of the next three months speaking terms with the great man.
Will certainly considered that she had knocked “I'll bring him here for you, sir ; he's just round at his very loudly indeed. She had transformed the corner.”
him into a comparatively prosperous shoeblack, Wherever round the corner might mean, the and he fully appreciated his rise in the social news-boy was promptly unearthed and brought to scale. the fore, and Will was rewarded with the half- Sweeping a crossing may be a thoroughly useful penny change. He lingered a minute, after he occupation, still it has the reputation of being only received it, looking wistfully at the canary.
one remove from begging; and Will regarded his "Is he very dear, sir ?” he asked, pointing to successor in that line with an air of compassionate him with his grimy thumb.
superiority that the other must have found a little The man glanced in the direction and laughed. trying to put up with sometimes.
“Seven and sixpence, with the cage,” he said, It had come about quite naturally. The master unfolding his paper and beginning to read. of a ragged school, which he occasionally attended
in the evenings, had recommended him to a bene- “It's very tame," he remarked ; “ but it's not as volent gentleman, and after a week or two he had pretty as some of the others.” been fitted out with boots, better clothes, and a sup- “Pretty !” ejaculated Will, “I think he's just ply of brushes. He soon had a regular connection lovely. Don't let anybody buy him if you can help of patrons, too ; some even-Will had no shadow it. Is he as dear still as he was?” of doubt-members of the aristocracy, though it “Seven and six," returned the other, looking at a must be owned that his personal experience of that mysterious hieroglyphic on the cage; “but you class was not extensive.
might get the sixpence taken off perhaps. You'd There was one tall, thin man, with an absent better go now.” expression, who stopped three times every week So Will reluctantly quitted the place. Nevertheregularly—Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. His less, he had opened an acquaintance with his garments were faded and decidedly old-fashioned, future possession; he and his bird were not and he invariably carried a small black volume, strangers now by any means. He stopped under and studied it thoughtfully while the polishing the first lamp-post, and added twopence to his little process was going on. He was the last customer on those particular days, and when he disappeared “I'll soon have a quarter of it,” he said to himWill folded up his stock-in-trade and started for self, as he restored it to its hiding-place, and went home, and he always contrived that the way thither whistling down the street. should lead past the bird-fancier's window, for he But from almost the quarter to the half was a was faithful still in his admiration for the canary. long step ; it took a good many steps to reach that The moneyed customer had not appeared as yet, stage. Every night he always went round to look and a bright hope was beginning to dawn in Will's at his bird, and by the sigh of relief, when he mind that some day he might represent that caught sight of it, he realised how great had been privileged person himself.
his anxiety through the dangerous daylight hours, He had one shilling and threepence-halfpenny, when possible customers were abroad. He would safely hoarded up in a piece of newspaper, towards stand at the door, if the coast were clear, and the seven shillings and sixpence. It would be a chirrup to the bird till he almost persuaded himwork of time certainly ; but he was willing to wait self that there was a sound of recognition in the cheerfully if only no one else bought it in the interval. note it sent back to him.
This night it was still safe, and, better still, the Three shillings and sevenpence! Oh! if only assistant was standing at the door untwisting some time would fly a little quicker, and bring that tangled wire. He was not nearly such an awe. pleasant hour when, instead of watching on the inspiring personage as his master, and will entered threshold, he might walk boldly in, and bear away into conversation with him on the spot.
his treasure ! “You've got the canary there yet,” he began. Standing at his corner one evening, he was pon
The young man looked round carelessly. “Yes, dering over the matter, when the tall, thin, absentand likely to be there ; people want parrots and minded gentleman presented himself for the usual cockatoos mostly now, ill-tempered things that brushing. It was too dark this time to conthey are ; one nearly took my finger off this morn- tinue his studies, so he thoughtfully watched the ing.” Will glanced sympathetically at the almost play of the brushes instead. When the process invisible wound.
was completed, he put the money in payment into "Let me bend that wire," he offered in a tone of Will's palm, settled his book under his arm, and profound commiseration;"you may hurt it worse." went away with a gentle “Good-night.”
The youth vouchsafed to accept his assistance Will looked after him an instant, then some "You can come in and look at the birds for a curious “feel” in the coin struck him, and he bent minute, if you like," he said, graciously, when down hastily beside his little lamp. It was half-athe wire was conquered, and neatly rolled up ; crown! Will caught up his breath with one great “only don't make a noise about it.”
gasp, and he turned the money over and over ; but Will slipped in very quietly, and walked straight there was no mistake about it. The thought of his up to his favourite's cage. The pretty creature ! it little store came to him with a sudden joyful rush. put its head on one side, and looked up at him with Three shillings and sevenpence and half-a-crown bright soft eyes, as if it knew him for a friend. Will made six shillings and a penny ; why in another put in his finger and stroked the bird's feathers fortnight he might have his canary—it almost felt tenderly ; he would have unravelled wire by the as if he had it already ; it seemed so close now. hour for such a minute as this. The assistant stood In the quietness of the night, however, came a by, looking on listlessly and quite unconcerned. creeping doubt. Was the money really his ? Ought
he not to tell the gentleman about it? Will tossed over, and the matter out of his power; and after and turned, and tried to put that view of the case a long silent look he went quietly home. out of his mind.
Tuesday and Wednesday went by rather hope“ If he did ask, he wasn't obliged to tell him," lessly ; Wednesday evening brought the unhe argued ; "men ought to be more careful. He thinking cause of all his perplexity, and, to Will's didn't go about making mistakes of that kind, and utter amazement, the oracle began to talk. it would be a les for the gentleman.”
“ Did you not say it was Thursday that I gave But somehow Will got up the next morning you that half-a-crown?” he commenced. with a sense of weight and wrong that he had never “Yes, sir,” answered Will, not seeing the drift felt before, in all his misfortunes. It was a soaking of the question, and walking straight into the snare wet day, and customers were few and far between ; laid for his unconscious feet. still he scarcely heeded that fact; and leaning against “Then why did you not tell me about it on the great pillar, his hands deep in his pockets, Saturday? I saw you that day.” the rain pattered down upon him unnoticed and No response. Will was feeling that his sins unfelt. And in this position he continued even were indeed coming home to him. when the evening came, and the candle by the side "Why was it?” repeated his inquisitor. of his box had been lighted by him.
“Because--because I wanted-I wanted to keep “If he asks me about it I'll give it to him," it." he decided at last, “but if he doesn't, I won't." “Ah ! and" And having come to that decision, he waited with “And it made me feel mean and miserable," feverish impatience for Saturday.
burst out Will, “ so I told you." Saturday came in due course, and just at the “And what would you have done with it if you edge of dusk came the tall, thin gentleman, and put had not told me?" his foot on the block. Will held his breath as he “Done? I should have had my bird by now. brushed, and the slow minutes dragged past with- You don't know anything about him, but he's out a word about the half-crown. Presently the different from all the other birds. I'd been saving suspense ended, the gentleman laid down his penny up for him for months. Wouldn't you like to see -it was a penny this time, and went on his way. him ?” he added, hastily, with a sudden inspiration
Will watched him down the street with a long that the sight would account for his conduct better sigh ; but it was not one of relief and safety alto- than any words; "it isn't a minute's walk." gether. He had been trained up with little care, And so it came to pass that five minutes later but he had kept a strong sense of honesty always; saw Will and the tall, thin gentleman earnestly and deep in the lad's heart, under all the rea- gazing into the bird-fancier's window. soning and sophistry, lay a conviction that he “Don't you think we should see it better from was no longer acting fairly and honestly. It was the inside ?” he suggested presently, passing in the first real struggle of his life, and Monday through the door. Will followed, mute with ended it.
astonishment, straight up to the canary's corner, When he had finished the gentleman's second and there the owner of the shop bore down upon boot that day, he rose up and drew the half- them. crown out of his pocket.
“We stepped inside to look at your bird," “You gave me this last Thursday, sir, instead of explained the stranger. “Seven shillings and the penny,” he said, abruptly.
sixpence I understand is the price of it.” The stranger looked startled.
lad ? “Yes, sir, seven-and-six; and all I can say is that I must have been thinking of something else. he's worth a great deal more, only there's not much Thank you; good night.”
demand for them just now.” And he hadn't even paid for his brushing! Clearly The sixpence was not to be taken off, evidently, virtue was to be its own reward. Will shouldered The gentleman drew out a small leather bag. his box in grim silence, and went away to the Will was standing close by, and shyly slipped his old familiar haunt.
little parcel of savings into his hand, and then “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick ;” and three bright half-crowns were laid down on the poor Will flattened his face against the dingy counter, and the little wooden cage and its glass and looked at his bird through a mist of tenant put into Will's arms. tears. It had been so close, so close, and now in They went back, a silent little procession, down the sudden revulsion it seemed almost impossible the street. Will tried once or twice to say some. that he should ever be able to reach up to it at all ; thing of his gratitude, but there was a curious yet, notwithstanding, he was glad the struggle was choked sensation in his throat, and the words
“ Did I,