Page images
PDF
EPUB

could perceive it. I learnt how to sew from my mother, pretending I did so in play, for I would not tell her why I wanted to learn. Now, whenever a seam opened a little in my clothes, or a little place was rubbed through, it was mended directly. That made me more attentive; from this time forth I could not bear to see any dirty spots on clothes which had no holes in them. I was much more steady, more careful, and was pleased with myself, and thought the old gentleman in the snow-white wig was not so far wrong in what he said. With two stitches at the right time one can save a coat, with a handful of lime a house; with a glass of water one can put out what might be a conflagration; out of halfpennies grow halfcrowns; out of little seeds trees, no one knows how large.

Albert did not take the matter to heart as I did. It was his own loss. We were both recommended to a shopkeeper. He wanted a boy who was accustomed to write and keep accounts. The shopkeeper tried us, and gave me the preference. My old clothes were whole and clean. Albert looked untidy even in his Sunday clothes. The master told me afterwards, that he looked at me, and said to himself, “ He knows how to take care of his own clothes ; he will know how to take care of my ledgers."

When I heard that, I thought again of the old gentleman and the hole in the sleeve. I observed I had in other things-in my learning, in my conduct, in my inclinations—still many other

holes in my sleeve. Two stitches at the right time mend all things without trouble and without skill. People must only not let the hole get too big, or else the coat will have to go to the tailor; the doctor will be wanted for the health; and for holes in morality, the punishment of justice. There is nothing which is trifling and unimportant either in good things or bad. Whoever thinks there is, knows nothing of himself, or of life.

My master himself had a terrible hole in his sleeve—that is to say, he was disputatious, quarrelsome, despotic, capricious ; this often brought me into trouble. I vindicated myself, then he was angry with me.

Ah! thought I, I might have that hole in my sleeve, and then I should be quarrelsome, and cross, and unbearable as my master is. From that time I always let him have his own way ; I was satisfied with doing my duty, and kept the peace on my side.

When I had learnt my business, I got a better situation. Accustomed to be content with the few necessaries of life, I saved a good deal. Accustomed to forgive no hole in my own sleeve, and to turn away my eyes from those in the sleeves of others, all the world was satisfied with me, as I was with all the world. Thus I had constant friends, steady support, confidence, and employment. God gave His blessing; and thus I became happy in thinking and doing what is right.

My income grew. To what use should I put it? I did not need the twentieth part of it. Should I parade it before the eyes of other people ? That

would be folly. Was I in my old age to exhibit another hole in my sleeve? No; I resolved to help others, as God by others had helped me. That was what I did. The greatest good which riches bring with them is to render one independent of the caprices of others, and to give one a large sphere of usefulness.

Now, Conrad, go to school, learn something correctly; think of the man with the snow-white wig; take great care to avoid the first little hole in your sleeve, and whenever you find one, repair it at once.

From the German of Zschokke.

93.-THE ORIGIN OF ARMORIAL

BEARINGS.

con-se-quence
be-rald-ry
war-ri-ors

mis-de-mean-our
em-blem-at-ic-al
arm-o-ri-al

ten-à-ci-ous en-grave-d hel-met

In the time of King William the Lion (crowned December 24th, 1165), warriors and men of consequence began to assume what are called armorial bearings, which you may very often see cut upon seals, engraved on silver plate, and painted upon gentlemen's carriages. Now, it is as well to know the meaning of this ancient custom.

In the time of which I am speaking, the warriors went into battle clad in complete armour, which covered them from top to toe. On their head they wore iron caps, called helmets, with visors which came down and protected the face; 80

that nothing could be seen of the countenance, except the eyes peeping through bars of iron. You have seen such helmets in grandpapa's entrance-hall. But as it was necessary that a king, lord, or knight, should be known to his followers in battle, they adopted two ways of distinguishing themselves.

The one was by a crest, that is, a figure of some kind or other, as a lion, a wolf, a hand holding a sword, or some such decoration, which they wore on the top of the helmet, as we talk of a cock's comb being the crest of that bird. But besides this mark of distinction, these warriors were accustomed to paint emblematical figures, sometimes of a very whimsical kind, upon the shields.

These emblems became general ; and at length no one was permitted to bear any such armoriai device, excepting he either had right to carry it by inheritance, or that such right had been conferred upon him by some sovereign prince. To assume the crest or armorial emblems of another man was a high offence, and often mortally resented; and to adopt armorial bearings for yourself was punished as a misdemeanour by a peculiar court, composed of men called heralds, who gave their name to the science called heraldry. As men disused the wearing of armour, the original purpose of heraldry fell into neglect; but still persons of ancient descent remained tenacious of the armorial distinctions of their ancestors, and as I told you before, they are now painted on carriages, or placed above the principal door of country-houses, or frequently engraved on seals. But there is much less attention paid to heraldry now than there was formerly, although the College of Heralds still exists.

Now, William, king of Scotland, having chosen for his armorial bearing a red lion, rampant (that is, standing on its hind legs, as if it were going to climb), he acquired the name of William the Lion. And this rampant lion still constitutes the arms of Scotland.

Tales of a Grandfather.

94.-SIGNS OF WET WEATHER.

clam-or-ous
croak

lo-qua-cious
sprink-ling

wat-er-y
lave

Wet weather seldom hurts the most unwise,
So plain the signs, such prophets are the skies-
The wary crane foresees it first, and sails
Above the storm, and leaves the lowly vales ;
The cow looks up, and from afar can find
The change of heaven, and snuffs it in the wind;
The swallow skims the river's watery face ;
The frogs renew the croaks of their loquacious

race.

Besides, the several sorts of water-fowls,
That swim the seas, or haunt the standing pools ;
The swans that sail along the silver flood,
And dive with stretching necks to search their

food,

« PreviousContinue »