The village flower-show, or, Self-denial in little things

Material Information

The village flower-show, or, Self-denial in little things and other stories
Added title page title:
Village flower show
Added title page title:
Self denial in little things
William Oliphant & Co ( Publisher )
Murray and Gibb ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
William Oliphant & Co.
Murray and Gibb
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
64 p. : ill. ; 17 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Self-denial -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1877 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1877
Children's literature ( fast )
fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
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This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
021990539 ( ALEPH )
22355613 ( OCLC )
AHF7920 ( NOTIS )


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Self:cnial in Little Ijings.


'Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things
of others.'-PHIL. II. 4.

87 77.

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ONE, .. .... .47


IN some parts of the country there are societies
which give a prize for the prettiest bouquet.
There are often separate prizes for garden flowers,
and for the finest bunch of wild-flowers.
About the time when the prizes are given,
numbers of children may be seen searching the
woods and fields for the prettiest flowers. These
prizes produce a very good effect in the places
where they are given. They induce the cottagers
to take great pains in cultivating their small
gardens; and even the children are kept from
mischief by assisting their parents in keeping
their gardens neat, and tending the flowers.

8 The Village Flower-Show; or,

In a village in which one of these horticultural
societies and flower-shows was established, there
was a garden which was remarkable beyond all
the others for its beauty and the care with which
it was cultivated. In it stood a pretty cottage
and a large airy schoolhouse, to which the vil-
lage children might be seen flocking every morn-
ing. But notwithstanding the numbers of little
boys and girls that passed through the garden,
not a flower was ever touched, not a bush de-
stroyed. The garden was so well arranged that
it was beautiful at every season. In spring, it
was bright with lilac, laburnum, and hawthorn,
snowdrops, crocuses, anemones, hepaticas, and
hyacinths. In summer, the roses covered the
walls of the house, and clustered round the roof
in every variety of colour, from the darkest
crimson to the purest white. In autumn, the
dark purple grapes were seen ripening on the
vine that was trained on the wall of the cottage,
and the garden was gay with dahlias, hollyhocks,
French marigolds, and the last blossoms of the
geraniums. Even in winter, when there are few
flowers to be seen, the garden was still bright

Sclf-Dcnial ii Little Thiigs. 9

with the white flowers of the lauristinus, the red
clusters of holly-berries, the snow-berries, the
strawberry-like fruit of the arbutus, and the un-
changing evergreens. The thick branches and
the rosy berries of the hawthorn gave shelter and
food to many little birds; God thus providing
what was necessary for their wants, according to
the Scripture words: 'Behold the fowls of the
air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father
feedeth them.' 1
The pretty garden which we have been de-
scribing belonged to Mrs. Pierce, the mistress of
the village school. She was a widow, and to her
might be justly applied the words of St. Paul:
'She that is a widow indeed, and desolate,
trusteth in God, and continueth in supplication
and prayers night and day.' 2
This good widow's pupils loved and respected
her, for she showed them the affectionate interest
of a mother, united with the firmness of a con-
scientious teacher. Her instructions had a nobler
aim than merely showing off the accomplish-
I Matt. vi. 26. 2 I Tim. v. 5.

o1 The Village Flower-Show ; or,

ments of her pupils. Her most earnest care was
to teach them Christian principles; and with
humble confidence in the promised blessing of
God, she entreated Him to bless the little ones
confided to her care, so that their hearts might
receive the truth as it is in Jesus; that they
might learn to understand it, and to love it.
The children took great pleasure in digging
and weeding the garden belonging to the school,
and they carefully watched the growth of the
flowers. Accordingly, when, at one of the flower-
shows in the village, the first prize was awarded
to Mrs. Pierce, it is scarcely possible to describe
the delight of her pupils at her success, in which
they all felt that they had a share, even the young-
est having helped to weed the borders. Mrs.
Pierce received these proofs of affection with her
usual amiability, and, the next day being a holi-
day, she invited the pupils to spend the evening
with her, and to take tea in the schoolroom.
It was in the month of May, when the mea-
dows are covered with daisies, and the woods
and hedgerows are bright with primroses and
violets. The children had learned to love flowers,

Scef-Denial in Little Things. II

and they earnestly entreated to be allowed to
adorn the schoolroom with wreaths of wild-
flowers and evergreens, so as to make it look
bright on their holiday. Mrs. Pierce consented
to their request, and they hastened to make
their arrangements.
Among the pupils there were two boys, whose
names were William and James. They were of
the same age, and were intimate friends. James
was more clever and lively, but William had
more perseverance. Both tried to excel in their
studies; but until this time James had succeeded
in keeping the first place in his class in the
school. One day he was absent, and William,
who temporarily took his place, was much
pleased with the honour of being at the head of
the class, although he felt that he had only ob-
tained it on account of the absence of his friend.
James was absent a whole week, and on the
morning of his return the boys met at the door
of the schoolroom.
'I am above you in the class to-day, James,'
said William, 'as you have been absent.'
These words were uttered by William in rather

12 The Village Flower- Show; or,

a triumphant tone ; but his feelings soon changed
when he observed that James was dressed in
deep mourning, and that he looked very sad.
'What is the matter, James ?' said he, kindly.
James burst into tears.
'Oh, William, I have lost my little brother,
Charlie-our sweet baby. We are all so sorry-I
cannot help crying for the loss, even though I be-
lieve that he has gone to be an angel in heaven.'
William felt deeply for his friend's sorrow. He
had seen dear little Charlie, and he knew how
grieved James must be to lose such a darling
brother. William understood now why James
had been absent from the class, and he felt that
it would not be just that James should lose his
place because he had had the great sorrow of
losing his little brother; therefore, when the
school met, William insisted on taking the second
place in the class.
'No, William, it would not be just,' said
James, much gratified by this proof of his
friend's affection.
William went to the teacher, and asked leave
to give up the first place to-James.

Self-Denial in Little Tiings. 13

'The first "place belongs to the boy who de-
serves it,' replied the teacher. 'You know it is
the rule of the school, that if a boy stays away
he loses his place. Your friend James has lost
it by being absent.'
William explained the cause of James' ab-
sence, and pleaded so earnestly to be allowed
to give up the place to him, that the teacher
consented. William felt the truth of the Scrip-
ture saying, that it is more blessed to give than
to receive.
His kindness made a deep impression on
James, who little expected it. James, although
of an affectionate disposition, had not yet learned
the blessing and happiness which always accom-
pany self-denial. He was inclined to help and
to be kind to those whom he loved, but he cared
little for others. He forgot that we are all the
children of the same heavenly Father, and that
we ought to try and do good to all as we have
The day when the prizes were given was about
a month after this incident we have just related.
As Mrs. Pierce had agreed to the proposal of

14 The Village Flower-Show; or,
the children to decorate the schoolroom with
flowers and wreaths for the occasion, James
asked his friend William to go with him to the
woods and meadows to gather them, saying
that he knew where the prettiest flowers were
to be found.
William gladly accepted the offer, and on the
day before they eagerly set off to discover the
hidden treasures of the woods and fields. After
the boys had gathered all they could in the
more frequented places, James remembered a
little pathway which led to a dell, where the
earliest flowers of spring were to be found.
William had already gathered as many flowers
as he could carry, so he sat down to wait for
James' return from his search.
James found all the flowers that he expected
to get, and even more; for what was his delight
when he discovered a bed of lilies of the valley
already in blossom! We must go back to our
youthful days to understand the pleasure that
James felt at this unexpected sight. He shouted
to William to come and share his newly-found

Self-Denial in Little Thizgs. 15

'The first lilies of the valley this spring!'
exclaimed William, with a look of admiration.
' How beautiful they are! What a splendid gift
for Mrs. Pierce!'
James clapped his hands with joy.
'It is capital to have found such rare flowers
for her! these early lilies will give her so much
'Oh, yes! Mrs. Pierce is so fond of flowers!
We shall make a bouquet of them alone, and
we will buy some bright-coloured ribbon with
which to tie them up.'
'It's a good idea,' said James; 'it is much
better to keep them by themselves than to mix
them with the other flowers. But ought we to
gather them now? Is it not better to leave
them to-day, and to gather a large bunch to-
morrow morning, so as to have them in all their
beauty and freshness ?'
William agreed to this, and the boys settled
that they would meet to gather the lilies very
early the next day.
Soon after sunrise the next morning the boys
went to the wood. They cut all the lilies that

16 The Village Flower-Show; or,

they could find, and they sat down to tie them
up, when their attention was attracted by a
rustling among the bushes near them. William
went to look what caused it, and he saw a little
girl of about nine years of age, looking sadly at
the spot near the brink of the stream where the
lilies had been growing in such beauty the day
At the sound of William's footsteps, the little
girl looked up; and when'she saw the large bunch
of lilies of the valley in his hand, she burst into
'What is the matter ? Why are you crying ?'
said William, putting down his flowers, and going
up to the child with a look of sympathy.
The little girl tried to restrain her tears, but
without success; and she said, sobbing,
'The lilies of the valley! the lilies of the
'Do not cry,' said William, soothingly; 'can
I do anything to help you ?'
'Oh, no,' said the child, shaking her head sor-
rowfully; you do not know why I am crying.
I come from a village about a mile and a half

.Sef-Dcnial in Little T/hngs. 17

off, and I have run all the way here this morning
to gather the first lilies of the valley, that I might
sell them in the town.'
'If you are poor, I will share my bread with
you,' said William, who had been in such haste
to start off in the morning that he had taken his
breakfast with him. Will you not like this as
well as the lilies of the valley ?'
I do not care for myself,' replied the child,
still sobbing. 'It was for my poor grandmother;
she is very ill, and cannot eat our common food.
I wanted to get a little money to buy something
nice for her, to do her good. But she does not
expect it, for I meant it to be a pleasant sur-
prise, so she will not be disappointed; and I will
try not to cry any more about it.'
William hesitated. His first impulse was to.
comfort the little girl by giving her the lilies of
the valley that were intended as a present for
Mrs. Pierce, but he remembered that he had no
right to give away these flowers without con-
sulting James, who had first discovered them.
He begged the little girl to wait for a few
minutes, and went in search of his friend,

18 ihe Village Flower-Show; or,

"who had gone off to watch the flight of a
beautiful butterfly.
'Do you know, James,' said he, 'why that
little girl is crying so bitterly ? She had found
out this sheltered place where the early lilies
grow; and she came this morning hoping to
gather some, that she might sell them and get
money to buy some good food for her poor sick
grandmother. We have cut all the flowers
that are out; there are none left for her to-
day, and she is very sorry.'
James reddened, for he guessed what William
was going to say; and although he pitied the
little girl, he was not willing to give her his
'If I had money I would give her some,' said
he; 'but you know we cannot give her these lilies
of the valley that we have gathered for Mrs.
'If we only could give her them,' said William,
'she might buy some nourishing food for her
poor grandmother.'
'But what should we do then?' asked James.
'We should have no present to give our teacher.'

SSelf-Denial in Little Tlings. 19

We should have our garlands of wild-flowers
and evergreens,' said William.
'Oh, these are scarcely worth offering,' said
James; 'all the other children will have as
pretty garlands. I wish to have something
better than theirs,-a bouquet more rare and
beautiful than any of the others.'
'Look there, James,' said William, pointing to
the poor little girl, who was going away, casting
a lingering look on the flowers she had so much
James' face flushed, but he did not move a
step. The commandment of God, 'And as ye
would that men should do to you, do ye also
to them likewise,' and the spirit of selfishness
were struggling for the mastery in his heart.
He might say with the apostle, 'Silver and gold
have I none;' but he could not add, 'Such as I
have give I thee.' He knew that Christian charity
and love may be shown in other ways than the
mere giving of money. He wished to be merci-
ful, but he was prevented by his desire to gratify
his own self-will.
While James hesitated, the little girl disap-

20 Tuhe Village Flowerz-Shozw; e;,

peared, and there was now no one even to wish
to share the flowers with him; yet he was not
satisfied. It is a mistake to fancy that persons
who act selfishly can be perfectly happy; there
is sure to be a gnawing worm in their con-
sciences, which prevents any real enjoyment.
James was dissatisfied with himself, and he
saw that William was displeased. He looked
up sorrowfully, as if repentant; when William,
as if knowing what was passing in his mind,
threw his arms round his friend's neck, and ear-
nestly entreated him to do a charitable action
to the little girl and her sick grandmother by
giving her the flowers.
'Remember,' said he, 'that we only wish to
give a prettier present than the other children,
and that will only gratify our vanity. It is true
that we wish to show our affection and gratitude
to Mrs. Pierce, but we can do this in other ways.
This poor little girl's sick grandmother is pining
for want of necessaries. Ought we to refuse to
help her as much as we can, even though it is
very little, after all, that we can do ?'
By a great effort James overcame his selfish-

Self-Denial in Little Things. 2

ness and vanity. Without saying a word, he
took the flowers from William's hand, and ran
off as fast as he could in the direction in which
the little girl had gone. He soon overtook her,
and cheerfully gave her the beautiful bunch of
lilies of the valley. She was so surprised, that
before she could find words with which to thank
the generous boy, he had gone.
James was very happy; he felt the truth of
our Saviour's words, 'It is more blessed to give
than to receive;' and the two little boys re-
joiced together that they had been able to help
a suffering fellow-creature even in so small a
'Only five minutes ago,' said James, 'when I
was holding the beautiful bunch of lilies of the
valley in my hand, I felt as if I could not enjoy
anything. Something told me that I was like
the two men in the parable, who passed on the
other side of the road and refused to help the
wounded man. Do you remember the story?'
'Oh, yes!' said William; 'and Mrs. Pierce told
us that we ought to act like the good Samaritan,
and be kind and charitable to every one,'

22 The Village Flower-Showz ; or,

Yet I should like to have something to give
to Mrs. Pierce,' said James, 'to show her that
we are grateful for all her kindness to us.'
'We can give her what she will value more
than flowers or any other gift,' replied Wil-
What is it ?' asked James.
'Do you not remember the saying of our
Lord, "If ye love me, keep my commandments"?
We can show our love and gratitude to Mrs.
Pierce by being obedient and attentive and per-
severing, and by striving to become as good as
she would like us to be.'
'Shall we tell her that we gathered the lilies
for her, and why we gave them away?' asked
James, who earnestly desired the praise that he
thought he deserved. He had yet to learn that
true charity 'seeketh not her own;' and he forgot
that our Lord has said, 'When thou doest alms,
let not thy left hand know what thy right hand
doeth, that thine alms may be in secret: and
thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall
reward thee openly.'
'I do not think that we ought to tell her,'

Self-Denial in Little Things. 23

said William. 'When we do a kind action, we
ought not to sound a trumpet before us, as the
Pharisees of old did, to call attention to our
While they were talking, the two boys were
on their way home with their flowers. They
met James' father, who kindly stopped to look
at their treasures.
'Show me what you have gathered this morn-
ing,' said he, cheerfully. But where are the lilies
of the valley you talked so much about? Has
any one discovered the sheltered place in the
wood that you thought was known only to your-
selves ? Were the lilies of the valley all cut
before you got there ?'
The boys frankly told him what had taken
place. James' father looked pleased to see that
his boy had sacrificed his own wishes for the
good of another.
'Then, boys, you have no special present for
your teacher ?' said he.
'No; but we have gathered plenty of flowers
for the schoolroom; and besides this, we mean
to try so much to please her in everything, that

24 The Village Flower-Show; or,

she will know how grateful we feel to her, even
though we cannot present her with a gift,' said
'I shall try with all my heart to please her,'
said James.
'Quite right, my boy,' said his father, bidding
them good-bye.
The two friends went home to lunch, and then
played in the garden until it was time to go to
the schoolroom.
When the clock struck three, a procession of
children was seen approaching the gate lead-
ing to the school, which was open to receive
them. The children walked two and two, each
couple carrying a wreath to be hung up in the
Mrs. Pierce took part with pleasure in all their
amusements, for she knew how important it is
that a teacher should be loved as well as feared.
She willingly assisted them in their decorations,
and after the schoolroom had been adorned with
wreaths, and the benches placed in order, she
invited the children to take their places round
the table. Every one admired the tasteful mix-

Sef-Denial in Little Things. 25

ture of flowers and evergreens; and yet one thing
seemed wanting to the effect of the whole. Mrs.
Pierce had said there was to be an unusually
beautiful bouquet for the centre of the table, but
there was only an empty vase.
The children began to whisper to each other
that the bouquet had been forgotten; but they
were all silent when Mrs. Pierce appeared, hold-
ing in her hand a fine bunch of lilies of the
valley, and accompanied by James' father.
James and William became very red when
they saw it: they thought the flowers were those
which they had gathered, and they were quite
sure of it when they saw that the lilies of the
valley were tied up with the ribbon which they
had taken with them in the morning for the
purpose. James' eyes were fixed upon his
father, with the hope of perceiving in the ex-
pression of his face whether he had anything
to do with the gift of the lilies of the valley.
But his father appeared so occupied in arrang-
ing the flowers in the vase, that James could
discover nothing.
'The first lilies of the valley we have seen

26 The Village Flower-Show; or,

this spring!' exclaimed several of the children.
' They are in flower very early. Where can Mrs.
Pierce have found them ?'
'They are tied up with rose-coloured ribbon,'
said another child, 'like the bouquets that are
given as rewards.'
Mrs. Pierce waited till the murmur of admira-
tion was over; she then said :
'I am very glad, my dear children, that you
like the lilies of the valley, for although they are
wild-flowers, they are more valuable in my eyes
than the rare flowers in our gardens. These
lilies have been gathered by your companions
William and James, and were intended as a
proof of their affection for me.'
Mrs. Pierce then related to the children the
incident that had taken place in the morning.
Then she added: 'I value the kind feelings of
William and James to myself, but I value still
more the principle of Christian love which has
led them to sacrifice their own inclinations to
assist a person in distress. That is indeed true
charity which is accompanied by self-denial, and
which is done in obedience to the command

Sclf-Denial in Little Thin'gs. 27

of our Saviour, and from a desire to please
James remembered how unwilling he had been
to do the very thing which now gave him so
much pleasure. He did not wish to take the
credit of it, and he exclaimed:
'It was William who wished to give the lilies
of the valley to the girl.'
But you had the greater share in doing it,'
said William, 'for it was you who found the
James then turned to his father, who was
standing near him, and asked him if he had
bought the lilies of the valley.
'Yes, my boy, I bought them; and the poor
little girl went away very happy, to buy some
good food for her grandmother. I gave the
lilies of the valley to your kind teacher as a gift
from William and you, because I knew that she
would value them as a mark of your gratitude
to her for all her kindness to you. We ought
to love and show gratitude to those earthly
friends who are kind to us; but let us ever re-
member that there is a Friend above all others

23 The Village Flower-Show; or,

who has the first right to our affections-that all
we do ought to be done from love to Him, and
in obedience to His commands. If we love Him
and trust in Him, this heavenly Friend will never
leave us nor forsake us; and we ought to show
the same kindness to others as He has shown to
us, so far as it is in our power, for has He not
left us an example that we should follow His
steps ? "Let us love one another, for love is of
'One there is above all others
Well deserves the name of Friend I
Iis is love beyond a brother's,
Costly, free, and knows no end.
They who once His kindness prove
Find it everlasting love.

'Which of all our friends, to save us,
Could or would have shed their blood?
But our Jesus died to have us
Reconcil'd in Him to God:
This was boundless love indeed !
Jesus is a Friend in need.

'Men, when raised to lofty stations,
Often know their friends no more;
Slight and scorn their poor relations,
Though they valued them before;
But our Saviour always owns
Those whom He redeem'd with groans,

Self-Denial in Little Things. 29

' When He liv'd on earth abas'd,
Friend of sinners was His name;
Now, above all glory rais'd,
He rejoices in the same :
Still He calls them brethren, friends,
And to all their wants attends.
*Could we bear from one another
What He daily bears from us?
Yet this glorious Friend and Brother
Loves us though we treat Him thus.
Though for good we render ill,
He accounts us brethren still.

*Oh, for grace our hearts to soften !
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
We, alas forget too often
What a Friend we have above.
But when home our souls are brought,
We will love Thee as we ought.'
Olney Hiymns.

,--0 "
*^^ -1

:' -. .-* -v\^ *" **!s. ~f '-.- .*- F



IT was Harry Bennett's birthday. He was just
eight years old, not a day more nor a day
less ; and as he stood beside his mother, he felt
that he was growing to be a big man very fast.
He wore boots, a black jacket, and trousers, and
a new vest, which his mamma had just finished
for him; while his collar was tied with a broad
black ribbon, which looked very much like a
gentleman's cravat. Upon the whole, if you
could have looked into his bright, honest face as
he stood there, you would have come to the
conclusion, that if not a very big he was at least
a very good little man, and you would have
wished he might live to see many more birthdays,
as happy and free from care as this'one.

3 HJlay Bennedz's

Harry chatted very pleasantly for a while,
then suddenly he grew so sober that his
mother noticed it, and asked him what was the
Oh, mamma,' replied he, 'I just happened to
think that in all these eight years that I have
lived I have done no real good thing.'
'Why, yes, Harry, you have always been a
dutiful and obedient child,' and the mother im-
printed a kiss upon his noble forehead.
'But you don't understand me, mamma; I
mean that I have never done anything which
would make any one really glad that there was
such a little boy in the world as Harry Ben-
'Well, and what do you propose doing now?'
asked the mother, while a pleased and amused
expression rested upon her face.
'You know the half-crown you gave me for a
Christmas present ?' said Harry.
'Well, I want to give it to some very poor
person to buy bread with. May I ?'
'Certainly, my dear,' said the mother; 'I am

Half-Crown. 33

very glad to see you manifest such a generous
Oh! you should have seen Harry when his
mamma said that. His black eyes grew blacker,
and bigger, and brighter, and he ran to the
drawer, and took out a little silk purse which his
mother had knitted for him, and with his thumb
and finger, so plump and rosy, he fished out the
new, shining half-crown, and prepared at once
to go on his benevolent errand.
'But,' said Mrs. Bennett, 'I'm afraid my little
son may be deceived, and give his money where
it is not really needed; so wait a moment, and
I will go with you.'
'Oh, no, dear mamma; please let me go
alone, please do; it will seem so much better to
give it away myself without any help. Then,
too, I am old enough, so I ought to know who
is really worthy and who is not.'
And the mother-how could she help it ?-
told him he might go; and when he bounded
from her presence, a smile was on her lips, and a
prayer in her heart, as she turned again to her

34 Harry Bcnnett's
Holding fast his precious coin, little Harry
tripped lightly up street, down street, into lanes
and byeways, while his black eye searched
eagerly in every direction for a truly worthy
object on which to bestow his bounty. He saw
plenty who looked poor enough; but somehow
it did not seem to him that they were just the
right ones to make a good use of his money, so
he kept on. After a while he met an old woman
who was lame, and seemed very poor.
'Now,' thought Harry, 'I have found the
right one;' and he was just going to give her
the money, when she chanced to knock her foot
against something, and an oath, a naughty,
wicked oath, escaped her lips.
Slipping aside, and holding his money still
tighter than before, the boy went on, feeling
very glad that he had not given it away yet;
and in a moment more he turned a corner, and
stood face to face with a great, ugly-looking, but
richly-dressed man, who had just caught a little
girl by the arm, and was shaking her roughly.
'There, take that for your impudence!' ex-
claimed he, while his face was red with passion.

Half-Crown. 35

'This is the second time within the last half-
hour that you have asked me for money, you
good-for-nothing young brat! Now get out
with you, and don't let me ever set eyes on you
"again; if you do, I will send you to prison, that
I will!'
Then, giving the poor little thing an extra
push, the gentleman passed on his way, while
she, half frightened to death, started off on a run
before Harry had recovered from his surprise
sufficiently to speak to her. But she had not
gone far before Harry was after her as fast as his
feet would well carry him; and when he got
near enough, so that he thought she could hear,
he called out in a pleasant, cheerful voice,' Wait,
girl, I want to speak to you!'
Much surprised at this salutation, the child
turned round, and put back the curly locks that
had fallen all over her tear wet face, just as
Harry, panting and out of breath, came up.
'Oh! that bad man isn't going to send me
to prison, is he? Oh dear, what shall I do?'
exclaimed the girl, while every feature was
expressive of extreme terror.

36 Harry cnncMtt's
'Don't be so frightened, poor little thing,' said
Harry, kindly; 'that wicked man shan't touch
you. I won't let him!' And straightening
himself up, so as to be as tall as possible, the
'boy man' took the little girl's hand in his
own, and walked along beside her.
'Oh, I thank you; you are so very kind!'
said the child; and her blue eyes looked up with
so much gratitude in them, that he felt very
proud and happy.
'But what made that wicked man abuse you
so?' asked Harry, after a moment's silence.
'Oh,' said the girl, 'I only asked him for a
penny to buy bread with, and the first time he
did not seem to hear me; so I asked him again,
and he caught me, and shook me as hard as he
could, and scolded me so dreadfully.'
'And why did you ask him for a penny to
buy bread with? Haven't you any bread?'
asked Harry, while the tears came into his
'No; and we haven't had since yesterday.
Oh, I am so hungry! but I wouldn't mind it so
much if it was only myself. I could get on

Half-Crown. 37

somehow or other; but my poor mother is sick,
and I wanted to get the bread for her.'
Harry's heart beat very fast, and he was just
on the point of putting his half-crown into the
little cold hand, but he thought he would learn
what he could of her history first; so he said:
'How came your mamma to be so poor, do
you know?'
'Oh, yes, I will tell you all about it. As long
ago as I can remember, we had a pleasant,
happy home; but a great change came, and then
we were very poor. Our house was sold with
all its furniture; even the dear old piano, that
mamma used to play so sweetly upon, had to go.
Then father talked about going away to a distant
land to get gold; and mother cried, and I cried
because mother did; and father kissed us, and
said, May God bless you," and went away. At
first he sent us money, and wrote us great, long,
hopeful letters; then the money and the letters
didn't come any more, and mamma grew very
sad and ill; but she kept on working hard, and
got along very well until a few weeks ago, when
she hurt her arm so badly that she couldn't

38 Harry Bcnnet's

work, and since then I have had to beg to keep
us from starving. Oh, it is hard work to beg!
to be told so many times a day, by rich and
well-dressed people, that I am a cheat and a
liar, when I am suffering so much from cold
and hunger !'
'Oh, I'm so sorry for you!' said I-arry, sym-
pathetically. 'But what has become of your
father? Don't you ever expect to see him
again ?'
'No; for when I ask mamma about him, she
cries, and says he will never come back any
more, for he is dead.'
Harry's eyes were full of tears when the little
girl said that; and he replied:
'Poor little girl, you shall have something to
buy bread with for yourself and your dear
mother!' and he laid the shining coin in the
hand of the astonished child, and was turning
away to avoid her expressions of gratitude, when
she caught him by the arm.
Oh, you must go home with me, indeed you
must,' exclaimed she, 'for you are the best
little boy I ever saw in my life ; and I want

IIalf- Crozvw. 39

mother to see you too, and thank you for your
Harry tried to excuse himself at first; but the
little girl insisted, and he finally went with her
to the miserable lodgings which her mother oc-
cupied in the basement of an old house, down
close to a shipbuilding-yard. He found every-
thing as the girl had said; and when the sick
woman laid her hand on his head, and prayed
the good Father to bless him and keep him from
the ways of sin, he was very glad that he went,
and felt paid a thousandfold for the generous
action he had performed.
'How much better,' thought he, 'to have my
half-crown feeding the hungry, than to have it
lying idly in my little purse, doing no good to
any one;' and his heart was so light and joyous,
that he could not keep a steady, sober pace,
but capered along, bounding up every now
and then with a kind of a hop, which was as
good an expression of his feelings as he could
When Harry returned to his mother, he told
her all about his adventures; and she kissed him,

40 Harry Bennett's

and said she was very glad that he had made
such a wise use of his money, and that she would
go with him on the morrow, and see what could
be done for the poor woman.
And when the morrow came, Mrs. Bennett
and Harry set out to visit the widow and her
child; but their search for her was in vain. The
room which she had occupied the day before was
vacant; and though there were other tenants
under the same roof, none of them could tell
whither she had gone, or what had become of
Harry was so sorry that he could have cried
without half trying; and Mrs. Bennett was sorry
too, for, believing the woman to be worthy, she
had designed to assist her all she could. But as
she was gone, and no trace of her could be
found, Harry and his mother were obliged to go
back without having carried their good intentions
into execution.
In less than three months after he had given
away his half-crown, Harry's own dear mother
was taken sick, and the doctor said she was so
very ill that she could never get well. Oh, you

Half-Crolwn. 41

may be sure this was a bitter blow for the poor
boy; and his grief was so great, that it seemed
for a time as though he would die too when his
mother did; and he almost wished it might be so.
But a kind and never-erring Providence knew
what was best for the child, and he lived to see
his last relative laid in the grave; then he went
forth into the world, alone, friendless, penniless,
and almost heart-broken, to seek a home among
For several days he went about the great city;
but his search was in vain, for no one wanted a
boy that was too young to pay his way; and at
length, weary and disheartened, the poor little
fellow sat down on the stone steps of a noble
mansion, and gave vent to his long pent-up
feelings in a flood of tears. He had not sat
there long before a carriage drove up; but he
was so pre-occupied with his own great grief,
that he neither saw nor heard it, and was not
conscious of the presence of any one, until a soft
hand was laid upon his arm, and a sweet voice
'Poor little boy, what makes you feel so

42 Harry Bennctt's
badly? What has happened to make you cry
Harry started up quickly, for the tones of that
voice sounded strangely familiar; but when his
eyes fell upon the beautiful and richly-dressed
child who stood before him, he turned his head
away with a bitter sigh. But the girl had seen
his face and eyes, and recognized him; and away
she bounded into the house, exclaiming joyfully:
'Oh, father! mother! come quick! Here is the
very boy that gave me the half-crown when I
was so cold and hungry and poor!'
And back she flew to Harry, who could hardly
believe that it was all real, and that he was wide
awake; and putting both arms about his neck,
she kissed him, and begged him not to cry. By
this time the father and mother came out; and
when, in answer to their kind inquiries, he told
them that his mother was dead, and he was
friendless and alone in the world, they said he
should never want for a home, and, taking him
by the hand, they led him into the house.
After the first tumult of joyful surprise was
over, and it was settled that Harry should

Half- Crow.n. 43

always live with them, and be treated in every
respect like their own son, Mr. and Mrs. Burton
went out of the room, and left the children to
enjoy a cosy little chat by themselves. And
Annie (for this was the little girl's name) took
her new-found brother by the hand, and led him
to the sofa, where she told him all about the
great change which had taken place in her
fortune since she saw him last.
'You see,' said she, 'it was the very same
night after you gave me the money that dear
father came home. He hunted a long time
before he found out where we were; and when
he did find out where we lived, and came into
the house, don't you think we didn't know him!
But you wouldn't wonder if you had seen him,
for his face was almost covered with beard and
whiskers, and his hair hung down so long over
his shoulders, that he looked more like a wild
man than anything else. He told us that he
had sent ever so many letters, with money in
them, to us, but somehow we never got them;
and when he saw how very destitute we were, he
cried, and mother cried, and I cried. Then we

44 Htarry ennett's
all laughed to think how all our troubles were
over, and then we cried again from very joy.
Well, that very evening, father went and hired
some nice rooms, and took us to them, for he
said his wife and child mustn't sleep another
night in such a miserable place. But it wasn't
much sleep we got, anyway; for my heart was
so full of happy thoughts, that my eyes wouldn't
stay shut at all; and as for father and mother,
I heard them talking in low tones till daylight
came in the morning. And soon after, father
bought this beautiful house, and furnished it as
you see; for he had made lots of money in
Australia, and came home a rich man. Oh,
we were very happy. And in talking over the
troubles we had passed through, we often spoke
of you, and wondered where you were; and
papa said many times, if he could only find you
he would pay you tenfold for your kindness.
And now we have found you, and you shall be
my own brother, and live with us always. Oh, I
am so glad! I am so glad!'
And the beautiful child put her arms round
Harry's neck, and for a time they laughed and

Hallf-Crown. 45

talked together; then the boy, with his little
heart brimful of joy and gratitude, thought of
a text his mother had taught him, and felt that
it was true. Here it is: 'Cast thy bread upon
the waters; for thou shalt find it after many

---7 jr\^r-"~-^




' O H, what a beautiful butterfly! I must
catch it,' said Julia, running after the
pretty insect, which was fluttering from flower to
flower in the garden.
But the butterfly did not wish to be caught.
Sometimes it settled for a moment, and allowed
the child to approach it; then, as soon as she
put out her hand, it flew off and left her at a
greater distance than ever, but Julia continued
to pursue it. At length, it lighted on a rose, and
appeared to wish to rest there for a little, for
it folded its beautiful wings, and seemed quite

48 The ButterfJy ; or,
'Now, pretty butterfly, you are mine,' said
Julia, carefully approaching it, and trying sud-
denly to grasp the flower. She missed the rose,
and her hand was scratched by the thorns,
whilst the butterfly flew off uninjured. The
little girl lost her temper. 'Ah, you wicked
butterfly, if I could catch you, you should suffer
for this.'
She ran on in pursuit till she saw the butter-
fly settle upon some tall grass.
'I have you now,' cried she, seizing it sud-
denly. The butterfly was caught, but Julia did
not escape; for in her haste her foot slipped,
she fell forward, and was severely stung by the
nettles which were growing among the grass,
and she screamed with pain and fright.
Her mother was writing at the open window
of the drawing-room, and, alarmed by Julia's
cries, she hastened to her assistance. Mrs.
Beaumont lifted up her little girl, and, seeing
her flushed face and scratched arms, she said to
her, 'Oh, Julia, how has this happened?'
But Julia did not care to answer, for she
knew how her mother hated cruelty, and how

Many Faults spring from One. 49

many times she had forbidden her to catch and
torment insects; she therefore said nothing, but
continued to cry bitterly.
Mrs. Beaumont took the closed hand of the
child, which still held the beautiful butterfly;
she opened the hand, and finding the poor
insect crushed, she said gravely: I know now
whose fault it is that you are hurt.'
'Surely, mamma, it was the fault of the butter-
fly to make me run so fast, and then it was the
fault of the gardener for having left those nettles
among the grass.'
If you can prove to me,' replied her mother,
'that the butterfly forced you to run after it, or
that you were obliged to run after it, or that
you were obliged to fall among the grass, I
may perhaps agree with you; but at present I
think that Julia is the only person to be blamed,
and that she has committed so many faults as
to deserve more suffering than that which is
the consequence of this accident.'
'As if a butterfly was of any consequence ?'
said Julia, in a cross tone; 'and I am so much
hurt!' Then she wept more than ever,

5o T'ie Butteirly,; or,

You are adding to your faults by your bad
temper,' remarked her mother; 'but come in, I
will bathe your face, and then we shall talk
about your morning's amusement.'
Julia threw the dead butterfly among the
grass, and followed her mother, pouting and
looking very sulky. Mrs. Beaumont bathed
her daughter's face with a lotion which soothed
the pain; and then, making her sit down on the
sofa beside her, she said : 'Now, Julia, tell me
how many faults you committed in this single
Julia was silent. Her mother desired her to
'Well, mamma, I think it was a fault to do
what you had forbidden me.'
'Yes, it was disobedience. Then you chose
the time when you knew that I was busy, and
that I was not watching you. This was deceit.
Now, count while I go on.'
Julia counted two, and looked much con-
'Cruelty is a very great fault, and anger is

.anzy Faults spring firo One. 51

'I have, then, committed four faults, mamma.'
'Many more; for not only you refused to
confess your faults, but you wished to throw the
blame upon others, which proves that you were
rebelling against the just punishment which
you had received. Then you despised the works
of God by saying that a butterfly was of no
consequence, and you were cross and angry
that my love for you did not blind me to your
'Oh, mamma,' interrupted Julia, now weep-
ing penitently, 'do not count any more. I
am frightened to think how naughty I have
been. I entreat you to forgive me for all my
'Julia,' replied her mother, 'you thought very
lightly of these faults a short time ago ; but I
am glad that you now feel that you have been
wrong. I have only shown you what you have
done in a few minutes. Examine your heart,
my child, and you will see much sin there. You
ask me to forgive you ; but that is of little conse-
quence, if the Almighty God, who sees and
knows all that we do, has not forgiven you.'

$2 The 4Bi!Ic;,; oP,

The child sighed deeply, and said to her
mother, 'What ought I to do, then ?'
'Pray to your heavenly Father to forgive
your sins for the sake of His dear Son Jesus.'
Julia knelt down and implored the pardon of
her sins in the name of her Saviour. Her
mother knelt beside her, and added a fervent
prayer that the Holy Spirit would create a new
heart within her.
I fear, mamma,' said the little girl, as she
rose from her knees, 'that you think me very
cruel; but indeed I did not wish to torment or
kill the poor butterfly, I only wanted to look
at it.'
'And could you not look at it when it had
settled upon the flowers ?'
'Yes, mamma, but it amused me to run after
'That is the very essence of cruelty, to tor-
ment an innocent creature for your amusement;
and it is very sinful to torture any of God's
creatures. He who made you able to run
made the insect to fly; the same sun shines for
both of you ; you breathe the same air; in one

.Aany Fa lts spring from One. 53

sense, we may say that birds and insects are
more especially the objects of God's care, as He
Himself feedeth them, while you, for example,
are fed and cared for by others under Him, and
not directly by God.'
'Do you think, mamma, that God cares for a
butterfly ?'
'I do not doubt it, for we are told in His
word that all creatures wait upon Him, that He
may give them their food in due season; and
the saints in glory sing His praise, saying:
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory,
and honour, and power: for Thou hast created
all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and
were created."1 Our Lord Jesus Christ says
that not a sparrow falls to the ground without
our Father." He said also: "Are not five
sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one
of them is forgotten before God ?" On many
other occasions He directed the attention of
His disciples to the care which God takes of
all the feeblest of His creatures. No cruel
person can have "the mind of Christ."' The
1 Rev. iv, II, 2 Matt. x. 29. 3 Luke xii. 6, 2 Cor, ii. 16.

54 The Butterfly; or,
love of Christ and feelings of cruelty cannot
exist in the same heart.'
'What did you mean, mamma, when you said
that I despised the works of God ?'
We have no right to look upon any of God's
creatures as of no consequence; and perhaps of
all the works of creation there are few more
interesting or wonderful than the butterfly-
none, certainly, which teach us more important
and useful lessons.'
'Why so, mamma ?'
'In the first place, because it shows God's
wonderful care for all His creatures. Thebeauty
"\and admirable structure of the butterfly, its
marvellously painted wings, its eyes like a
multiplying glass, its curiously-formed tongue,
and its strange transformations, proclaim, in
language not to be mistaken, that "The Lord
of Hosts is wonderful in counsel and excellent
in working."'
Mrs. Beaumont then told Julia to look in the
grass for the dead butterfly, and to bring it
into the house, that she might show her some
parts of it in the microscope. But as these

Many Faults springfrom One. 55

had to be prepared by putting them on pieces
of glass, Mrs. Beaumont told Julia to learn in
the meantime Mrs. Barbauld's beautiful lines
about butterflies:

'Lo the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fringed, and freckled o'er with gold;
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower,
They, idly fluttering, live their little hour;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.
What atom forms of insect life appear!
And who can follow Nature's pencil there ?
Their wings with azure, green, and purple gloss'd;
Studded with coloured eyes, with gems emboss'd;
Inlaid with pearls, and marked with various stains
Of lively crimson through their dusky veins.'

The next day Mrs. Beaumont showed Julia a
part of the wing of the butterfly in the micro-
scope. The* scales, of various forms, and
coloured, were placed closely together on the
wing. To the naked eye these look like fine
dust, but in the microscope they appear as
beautifully formed scales placed in like fine
mosaic work. In a piece of a butterfly's wing a
quarter of an inch square, seventy rows were
counted, each containing ninety scales; there

56 The Butterfly; or,
were therefore 6300 on one side of this small
portion of wing. In a square inch there must
be the amazing number of 100,736 scales.
'How wonderful! how beautiful!' exclaimed
Julia, as she looked through the microscope.
'What lovely colours '
Yet, beautiful as the butterflies are in this
country, they are still more lovely in Africa.
Lander, the traveller, thus describes them: 'One
beautiful sight was that of an incredible number
of butterflies, fluttering about like a swarm of
bees. They were variegated by the most bril-
liant tints and colourings imaginable. The
wings of some were of a shining green, edged
and sprinkled with gold; others were of sky-
blue and silver; others of purple and gold, de-
lightfully blending into each other; and the
wings of several were like dark silk velvet,
trimmed and braided with lace.'
'But you told me that there was something
curious about their eyes, mamma.'
'You have a multiplying glass, Julia; you know
that when you look through it, you see many
pictures of the same object? The eye of the

Many Faults s ring from One. 57

butterfly is what is called a compound eye-
that is, it has the appearance of a multiplying
glass. Under a microscope, these compound
eyes seem to consist of a great number of six-
sided pieces. Their number varies from 20,000
to 5o,ooo in a single eye. Every one of them
received the image of an object, so that a
butterfly may, without exaggeration, be said to
possess 40,000 eyes.'
'What a wonderful number!' said Julia; 'but
you said the tongue, too, was very curious.'
Yes; as butterflies eat only the honey placed
at the bottom of the tubes of flowers, they have
an organ fitted for its office. This tongue is a
slender, hollow tube, sometimes three inches
long; and when it is not required, it is rolled up
like; the mainspring of a watch. When the
butterfly wants to use it, it can unroll it, send- it
down to the heart of the flower, and draw up the
delicious nectar. God, who created the flowers,
has also created the butterfly with an organ fitted
to feed upon the honey produced in them.'
'What a pleasant life the butterfly has,
mamma,' said Julia. 'To flutter about from


58 The Butterfly; or,

flower to flower in the sunshine, feeding on
delicious honey, without having to work at all,
seems a happy life.'
Yes; unless they meet with children as cruel
as you have been, Julia, who would torment
them, and end their short, pleasant life in wanton
carelessness. God made them to enjoy the
sunshine and flowers, and you have deprived at
least this one of its birthright.
Oh, mamma, I am very sorry,' said Julia. I
would not have done it if I had known all that
you have told me now. I see that God cares
for the butterflies, since they are so beautifully
and wonderfully made. I will never wilfully
destroy any of His works again. But now tell
me about their wings.'
I have shown you the scales with which
the wings are covered, but these, though more
beautiful, are scarcely more wonderful than the
nervures or veins which run through the wings.
The nervures are a kind of hollow tubes, which
begin in the body of the creature, and gradually
get less as they approach the edge of the wing.
It is by means of these that the butterfly moves

Many Faults springfrom One. 59

its wings, and is supported in its flight, like a
sail by its cordage. How wonderful the care of
God for the butterfly, in'providing it with all
that can preserve its existence and ensure the
happiness of its short life! Do you not think,
Julia, that it is a sinful thing to destroy such a
beautiful work of God ?'
'Oh, yes, mamma; I know now that I have
been very wrong, and I will never do it again.'
But the life of a butterfly teaches us far
higher lessons. When I think of what a butter-
fly is, and what it has been, I feel that it is the
emblem of what is most important for us.'
'Of what is it the emblem, mamma ?'
'Of the resurrection of our bodies. You
know, my child, that when the butterfly first
comes out of the egg, it is in the form of a
worm, a crawling creature, unable to raise itself
above the ground. It resembles you and me;
our bodies are formed of the dust of the earth,
and must return to dust again. By nature we
feel ourselves little inclined, and still less able,
to rise to heavenly things. We are too much
inclined to pursue imaginary pleasures, as you

60 The Butterfly; or,

chased the poor butterfly to-day, continually
offending God by our over-anxiety for the
passing enjoyments of this life, which, in the
end, bring us only bitterness and sorrow. Like
the caterpillar, too, we feed on the fruits of the
earth, often without feeling more gratitude than
it does to Him who has so richly provided for us.'
All this is very sad, mamma. And you said
that the sight of the butterfly gave you plea-
sure. How can this be?'
'The pleasure I have in looking at the butter-
fly is caused not only by its beauty, which
shows me the wonderful hand of God in its
creation, but the changes that it undergoes
reminds us of the promise which God has given
us in His word, that the Lord Jesus Christ will
"change our vile body, that it may be fashioned
like unto His glorious body, according to the
working whereby He is able even to subdue all
things unto Himself." The wonderful change
that takes place in the butterfly is an emblem
of that which will take place in us. The crawl-
ing worm, after feeding for a certain time on
SPhil, iii, 21,

Many Paults springfrom One. 6r

the earth, prepares a chrysalis for itself, in which
it remains apparently dead.'
'What is a chrysalis, mamma ?'
'It is a case,-I might call it a coffin,-which
the caterpillar prepares for itself, and in which
it lies as if dead. The creature forms a tomb
for itself, in which it remains without sense or
motion for a considerable time. No trace of
life is apparent; but at last the tomb opens, and
a winged creature comes forth, with a nobler
form, arrayed in beauty, and fitted for a higher
state of existence. You may find the cater-
pillars of the common peacock butterfly upon
nettles, and others upon cabbages and other
vegetables. If you take them carefully and
put them in a box, with plenty of leaves to feed
upon, and keep them clean, you may watch
them preparing the chrysalis or coffin from
which they will come out to new and higher
Oh, mamma,' said Julia,' will you allow me
to do this ?'
'Yes, my dear, because this is not cruel, if
you provide the caterpillar with plenty of food

62 'The Bittefjy ; or,

You must give it the leaves of the plant on which
you find it. You will see it form for itself
the chrysalis, and after a certain time the
chrysalis will open, and the perfect creature
will come forth. But remember, Julia, that it
would then be cruel to keep this creature a
prisoner. You must set it free at once, to
enjoy its short life in the sunshine and among
the flowers.'
'Oh, yes, mamma, I should like to see it fly
When I see the flight of this beautiful crea-
ture in the air, I admire and adore the wisdom
of its Creator, and I feel inclined to say with
David," My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken
Thou me according to Thy word."' Then my
spirit longs for the regions of life and light and
joy, into which I hope one day to be admitted,
through the merits and suffering of my glorious
Redeemer, when the days of my pilgrimage on
earth are over! Thus you see that the beauti-
ful butterfly makes me think of the joys of
P Ps, cxix. 2j,

Many Faults spring from One. 63

'Oh, mamma,' said the little girl, weeping,
'how sorry I am that I killed the butterfly !'
'To hurt or to kill a creature unnecessarily
is a very sinful act, my dear child, and is very
unlike the example of Christ, which we ought
to follow. You have learned to-day, by bitter
experience, that you have in your heart the
germs of disobedience, of anger, of pride, of
cruelty, of deceit, and of indifference to the
glory of your Creator, as manifested in His
works. A little butterfly fluttering before you
has brought to light in a few minutes all these
evil feelings. Oh, my dear child, what must our
hearts appear in the eyes of Him who is per-
fectly pure and holy? Therefore let us pray to
Him to "create within us a clean heart, and
renew within us a right spirit."'

'Here, on this sunny slope,
A butterfly just born,
Doth his new wings with rapture ope
Unto the genial morn.
Why should I fear the grave,
This proof before mine eyes ?
The worm these gorgeous wings He gave
To tell me I shall rise.'--E. HORTON.




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