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I saw them lead a man
old maid you are getting, to be sure!' said To prison for his crime,
Edith, pettisbly. All but, indeed! You Where solitude, and punishment,
are so nervous about lights and fires, and And toil divide the time;
everything else; you seem to be haunted by And as they forced him through the gate
the fear of being burned in your bed some Unwillingly along,
A knock at the door interrupted the They told me 'twas the maddening drink That made him do the wrong.
conversation, and the elder sister was called
downstairs to receive a visitor, leaving Edithi I saw a woman weep,
to finish arranging her dress and to smooth As if her heart would break;
her hair before presenting herself. They said her husband drank too much
Now do be careful,' were Harriet's partOf what he should not take.
ing words, to which Edith replied by a I saw an unfrequented mound,
muttered Bother!' and an inward feeling Where weeds and brambles wave; that a sister twelve years older than herself They said no tear had fallea there-- might sometimes be very tiresome. It was a drunkard's grave.
Harriet and Edith Gray had neither They said these were not all
father nor mother-only each other to care The risks that drunkards run,
for; being well off they lived very happily For there was danger lest the soul together in their pleasant home, and if Be evermore undone.
Edith sometimes chafed under her sister's Water is very pure and sweet,
nervous fears and particular notions, she And beautiful to see,
loved her deeply; whilst Harriet doted on
Edith almost with a mother's fondness: and And since it cannot do us harm
indeed she had been a mother to her ever It is the drink for me. Chambers' Educational Tracts.
since the day when she had taken the little baby in her arms, and resolved in her young
heart to be to her in the place of the parent I NEVER THOUGIIT
they had lost. OF IT!
For a few moments after her sister had DITH, dear, if you would gone down, Edith Gray remained admiring be careful!' pleaded Harriet her pretty figure in the glass, and then sudGray, as she watched her denly remembering that the visitor was one bright young sister, who, she wished to see, she fluttered off, forgetting standing before a glass, all her sister's warnings, and leaving the turned first this way and candle dangerously near the muslin curtain. then that, admiring the fit Time passed, the visitor lingered, and of a new dress which had it was late in the evening before Edith
just been sent home. “You Gray ran back to her room for something will really set the house on fire some day, she had left there; but as she opened the if you move the candle so carelessly as that door the smoke which issued from it nearly -it was all but against the curtain just choked her, and with the sudden draught the now.'
flames burst out, and at a glance she saw Oh, Harriet, what a fussy, particular that the room was on fire; and the frightened
girl turning Hled downstairs and out upon the lawn in front of the house, leaving doors open, and only screaming to her sister to save herself, the house was on fire.'
With all her nervous fears, in the time of danger Harriet Gray was not bewildered or afraid ; so, creeping along through the blinding smoke, she found out the extent of the danger, and began putting together those things which there was yet time to save.
The alarm was quickly spread and assistance came, and while the fire-engines played upon the house, Harriet Gray went to and fro securing many a little treasure which had been her parents', many a thing which Edith prized — while Edith herself stood wringing her hands in the garden, useless, terrified, and lamenting over the accident and loss that she had caused.
But in spite of the efforts of the firemen the flames spread and could not be got under, and Harriet Gray was so eager to save some books and pictures which had been her mother's, and which she greatly valued, that she ventured to climb a ladder which had been reared against the one side of the house which the flames had not yet reached—but as she was doing so the fire burst out from below, the ladder slipped, and Harriet fell to the ground half suffocated, scorched, and fainting.
Then, for the first time, Edith forgot herself, as she saw her sister lying seemingly lifeless. Ob, you are not much hurt !-are you?' she cried—for in that moment she felt the extent of her misery, if anything should take Harriet from her -she felt too that to her latest day she could never know peace of mind again.
For hours the miserable girl sat by the side of the bed in a neighbour's house to which her sister had been removed-she was still alive, but whether she would rally
from the shock, or how she would be, the doctor could not tell.
As she watched there, Edith went over in her mind the events of the evening—there was no need for her to wonder how the fire began, she remembered how she had left her room, and there was no doubt but that the candle carelessly placed by the curtains had set the house on fire. Oh, dear,' sobbed Edith, ‘Harriet warned me, but I never thought of it, and now perhaps I have killed her; and our home is burnt down, and there is nothing but sorrow! I have got a lesson
but it has come too late! Oh, if Harriet were only spared to me, how I would try and be thoughtful, and not worry her by my tiresome ways!' Then Edith went back in memory to the past, the many times in her childhood when her excuse, “I never thought of it!' had been called out by her sister's gentle remonstrance--it seemed as if every fault and every trouble had sprung from this one habit of carelessness, and this was the end; but what a terrible one!-and the weeping girl flung herself on her knees by the bedside, and, with choking sobs, she entreated God to spare her sister's life.
How long she stayed there Edith did not know, but a faint voice roused her--the voice she had feared she might not hear again-yes, Harriet lived and knew her, and was aware of her grief, and begged her not to cry so bitterly.
It was long before Harriet Gray recovered health and strength, for the fall and the fright and shock had greatly injured her ; but in due time she was herself once more. But their home was gone, and that was a great sorrow; yet Harriet always says that it was worth all she suffered to see Edith so changed, so thoughtful, so unselfish, since the time when I never thought of it' nearly cost a life.
H. A. F.