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V. THE FAY'S MISSION
derly over the invalid, and the healthful STORIES FOR THE YOUNG.
hue of his blooming face contrasted sadly with the ashy, suffering countenance beside him.
“See, I have brought you roses, Willie
dear,” said the boy gently ; “I gathered The fairies are very like mortals in one them at the roadside this morning. You particular, they are fond of variety, and love the flowers so well, they will serve love change ; and thus it chanced that a you for companionship while I am gone." certain fay, who dwelt in the bosom of “Yes,” returned the other sadly, while the flowers, under the shade of the green tears filled his eyes, “they bring me tales wood, petitioned her queen, Titania, for of the woods and fields I never shall see permission to travel abroad. She was again; oh! it is very sad to be crippled wearied with swinging in hare-bells, and and poor; where are my bright dreams sipping honey-dew from the cups of the now?" violets ; she had painted the early crocus, Hush, brother mine!”cried the other, and spangled the fields with daisies ; had cheerfully ; you shall dream bright sailed on sparkling bubbles, and formed dreams in your quiet room, while I toil in rainbows with the spray of mimic water- | the open field, and shall weave them into falls ; had woven robes for herself from golden fancies to welcome my return ; and the threads of the sunlight, and danced in by-and-by, when you grow strong, you the moonbeams to the music of fairy shall lie under the trees and dream as of lutes ; and now, with her gauzy wings yore, and we will be happy again.” folded droopingly about her, she sought The suffering boy closed his eyes, and permission of the queen to leave these the tears fell slowly upon his cheek; the woodland haunts awhile, and seek the brother took his hand gently, and held it abode of mortals.
till the invalid sank into a soft slumber; Her prayer was granted: the queen then he stole quietly away. warning her, that should mortal eye e’er All this while the little fay had listened behold her, she could return to her native earnestly to what passed ; and now as she woods no more.
looked upon the sunken cheek of the The happy fay waited no farther words, suffering boy, and marked the languor of but gaily springing upon a winged seed his drooping head, she felt how fearful that was floating by, sailed with it until it was the doom of mortals, and grieved that dropped at its appointed place by the the invalid should be shut out from the wayside. The sprite, weary with her bright world he so much loved. long flight, crept into the bosom of a She softly whispered in his dreaming wild rose that grew in the hedge, and was ear pleasant thoughts of the woods and preparing to sip the dew from its heart, fields, and watched until a gentle smile when she felt the flower hastily torn from rose to the faded lip, ere she floated away its stem, and presently was conscious of through the open casement into the sumbeing conveyed away.
She ventured to peep out over the edge of the flower, and A new world seemed spread before the found herself in company with a cluster wondering fay as she soared away over of wild roses, which were carefully carried the gardens that were blooming around. by a ruddy-faced boy.
She scarcely recognized the anemones Quite pleased with her adventure the and roses, in their new and beautiful variefay rested content, and even indulged in a ties, while to many flowers she was an doze. When she awoke and looked about utter stranger. her once more, she found the roses where
The travelling fay enjoyed the change she nestled were on a stand in a little wonderfully, and was delighted with all room, very plain and still; and seated she saw. During the day she hid away in near the open window, propped up with the cups of the flowers, and after the sun pillows, sat a pale boy, whose dark, earn- had gone to rest came forth to trip in the est eyes rested fondly upon the flowers. moonlight and quaff the new fallen dew.
The rosy-cheeked lad was leaning ten- But the flowers did not seem to yield any
honey so as that of her native which was open in imagination before him, blossoms, and there were no sister fays and the little fay was happy, too, in the to join in her dance upon the velvet turf. new home she had found.
So the little sprite grew very lonely at All this while the healthy brother toiled last, when there was none to love her-foron in his garden. He had planted his Eden itself wouid seem a wilderness with peas just beneath the window, that the out the light of tenderness; and then her invalid might look down upon him, and thoughts reverted to the syffering boy, so they could exchange words as he worked. young and yet so sad. She spread her when the vines put forth their blossoms, gauze-like wings, and once more floated the fay took up her abode therein, she into the silent room, wliere she found him could nestle so securely in the folded leaf, sleeping lightly upon his little bed; there and carry whispered imaginings to the was an expression of pain upon his brow, sick boy, as the wind waved the slender and his face was pale and wan.
vine to and fro. Then the fay gathered the pale moon- Then when the little fay sent bright beams that fell through the lattice; and, visions to the mind of the boy, he wove circling about the sleeping boy, wove them into graceful fancies, and repeated with them the delicate tracery of dreams, them to his brother, and they lightened and flung it over his brow; and when a his toil, and made the hours pass gladly look of calm repose overspread his coun- and pleasantly to both. tenance, and a faint smile rested
And was not the little fay happy in lip, she lingered awhile upon his pillow, sweetening, by her viewless influence, the and murmured soft visions of her own lives of the two brothers? In all the woodland home. She told how the fairies amusements of her wooded home, she had dived in pearl-shells and brought up known no happiness like the luxury of golden sands to spangle the flowers; how doing good ; and she loved her modest they hid amid the clustering leaves, and dwelling in the heart of the pea-blossom, answered the songs of the birds in strains because the vine, like herself, was useful as sweet as their own; how they taught as well as beautiful. the bees to seek honey in the blossoms, The invalid boy declared the fragrance and from the brilliant insects stole golden of the pea-blossom excelled that of the fires, to deck their banquet-halls among sweetest rose; and what wonder when it the trees.
exhaled the odorous breathing of fairy The rest of the boy was sweet that night, land ? and ofttimes when the tinge of the and the fay floated away before the dawn fay's bright wings shone through the pure and hid among the vines at the window. leaves, he marvelled at its rare and exceedWhen he was seated in his favourite place ing beauty. near the lattice, she looked out from her Gradually the boy grew better, and was leafy screen upon him, and there was a at last able to walk feebly, with lame ungleam of light in his dark eyes, and a certain step about the garden ; now, how faint rose-tinge upon his cheek that the he enjoyed the flowers, and loved to sit fay loved to see. Her spells had not been beneath the trees, or beside the gurgling powerless; the fairy-like part of his being brook for hours. had responded to hers; the visible world But he felt no longer alone—the spells controlled not all his thoughts, beautiful of the fay were over his imagination and images crowded his soul, and the fay was his heart; the passing wind and the bendno longer alone.
ing grass had each a voice for him; the And now each night she came with little stream spoke to him in silver tones, moonlight and fragrance to weave her and the flowers wafted music toward him charms about him, and even in his day j upon their fragrant breath. dreams, her sweet influences were felt. Then the little fay felt that lier mission His eye beamed with new lustre, his heart was accomplished; that she had not swelled with brighter thoughts, and now journeyed in vain ; and she began to think his little room was no longer desolate, nor of returning to her early home once more. his crippled frame a prison-house. The The boy sat in the moonlight one still sick boy was happy in the new world | night, and his gaze rested fondly upon the
sweet pea-blossom, the moonbeams fell
NATURAL HISTORY. full upon it, and the colours of the fay's wing shone delicate and clear. She had dwelt in it so long that its leaves had Mr. Macgillivray, in his “ History of imbibed her exquisite tints, even as the British Birds, published by Messrs. Orr boy's soul had become imbued with her and Co., gives a pleasing account of the visions of beauty.
habits of eagles, vultures, and other disThe boy bent tenderly over the blossom, tinguished members of the feathery tribe. and the fairy trembled ; she knew that The following extract will be additionally however easily she might conceal herself interesting to our readers from the rein the garish sunlight, there was a myste-cent death of the eminent and amiable rious influence in the moonbeams that author :would reveal her to mortal gaze; and “ When watching for eagles in a when once seen, she never could return to
covered pit, I have seen it come to the her woodland home again. She dared not carrion, alight at a little distance, look hesitate ; but breathing upon the blossom, around, walk up to it with short steps, she bade it retain the hues and fragrance and commence tugging at the entrails, or of fairy-land for ever ; and then veiling tearing morsels from the flesh. In this it herself in her glistening wings, fell like is sometimes joined by the herring gull. a dew-drop from the heart of the flower - Should a raven arrive, the gulls continue and was gone.
their repast, the parties not interfering It is said the boy lived many years ; | with each other, if the object be large ; and though weak and crippled, his soul but to the eagle, whether the golden or sent forth beautiful imaginings that de- the white-tailed, they feel obliged to lighted thousands, and made himself yield, retiring to a short distance, and happy ; while, as to the little fay, none walking impatiently about, until the uncan penetrate the dream-like haze that welcome intruder departs. envelopes fairy-land to learn her destiny ; “ Chief of its tribe, and tyrant of the but she had done good, and thus carried a seas, it evinces a haughty superiority fresh lustre ever upon her wings.
which none of our aquatic species seem One thing is very certain, the sweet pea inclined to dispute. Little disposed to is still fragrant and delicately painted, associate with its inferiors, it passes its but whether it is fairy work remains for leisure hours, or periods of repose, on you to judge.
unfrequented parts of the sands, or on shoals, or islets, often on the bosom of the sea, just behind the breakers, where
it floats lightly on the waves, presenting MARRIED AND SINGLE.-I have ob
a beantiful appearance as it rises and falls served that a married man falling into mis- on the ever-varying surface. In winter it fortune is more apt to retrieve his situa- | is scarcely gregarious, more than a few tion in the world than a single one; partly individuals being seldom seen together ; because he is more stimulated to exertion but when there are shoals of fish in the by the necessities of the helpless and be- bays or creeks it mingles with the other loved beings who depend upon him for gulls, from which it is always easily dissubsistence; but chiefly because his tinguished by its superior size and very spirits are soothed and relieved by do- loud clear cry, which may be heard in mestic endearments, and his self-respect calm weather at the distance of a mile. kept alive by finding that, although all Frequently when flying it emits also a abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet loud, rather hoarse cackle, having affinity there is still a little world of love at home, in sound, although not analogous in naof which he is the monarch. Whereas a ture, to a human laugh. All the larger single man is apt to run to waste and self- gulls are in one sense laughter-loving neglect, to fancy himself lonely and aban- birds ; but if we take note of the occasions doned, and his heart to fall to ruin, like when their cachinnations are emitted, we some deserted mansion, for want of in- / discover that so far from being the expreshabitants.-Washington Irving.
sions of unusual mirth, they are employed
to express anxiety, alarm, anger, and as we draw near, one after another, the revenge. Its flight is strong, ordinarily spotted guillemots, leaving their nests, sedate, less wavering and buoyant than arrange themselves in lines along the that of smaller species, but graceful, edges of the shelves. Now then, fire! effective, and even majestic. There, run- Eight or ten of them remain. But what ning a few steps, and flapping its long an uproar! The isle has been 'frightened wings, it springs into the air, wheels to from her propriety.! Herring gulls, either side, ascends, and on outspread and
gulls, and oyster - catchers, beautifully-curved pinions, hies away to wheel and scream in alarm, confusion, and some distant place. In advancing against despair. We are now at the landing-place, a strong breeze, it sometimes proceeds which is rather slippery; but we have straight forward, then shoots away in an nimbly leaped on shore, and advance toward oblique direction; now descends in a long the grassy bank. Under these large curve so as almost to touch the water, stones, confusedly heaped together, are then mounts on high. When it wheels many nests of the spotted guillemot, about, and sweeps down the wind, its which, contrary to the assertions of many progress is extremely rapid. It walks authors, lays three eggs on the bare with ease, using short steps, runs with con- gravel or rock. In these holes, which siderable speed, and, like the other gulls, seem to have been originally made by pats the sand or mud on the edge of the water rats in the turf, are nests of the starling. with its feet. It generally rests standing Here is the first gull's nest, with its three on one foot, with its head drawn in; but eggs; another, and another; but you in a dry place it often reposes by laying must look well, otherwise many will itself down. Its food consists of small escape notice. Let us leave our guns fishes, which it picks from the water while here, and fill our hats with eggs. There! flying, of larger fishes cast on the shore, a duck has flown, and we find a nest of of crustacea, shell-fish, echini, and marine the eider, with its five eggs, wrapped in
In winter it frequents the hills gray down. The screams of the poor and moors in search of carrion, and in gulls are almost deafening; yet few of summer and autumn often preys upon the these birds come very near, and of the young of various sea-birds. I have seen fifty or sixty black-backed species which it eating the flesh of a stranded whale we see, some are hovering far aloft, some along with the raven, and carrion on the perched on distant crags, and some runhills along with that bird and the eagle. ning forward and backward on the grass, Sometimes, but not often, it searches the within gunshot. Their eggs are larger ploughed fields for worms.
* than those of the herring gull; otherwise “ Let us view the marine vulture in a you can hardly distinguish them here.
Here we are, in a small Those of the oyster - catcher, generally boat, rowed by four persons, on the smooth three, are easily known by having their bosom of the Atlantic, two miles from spots darker and more defined than those that grim promontory of Toe-head, and of the smaller gull.
The wild geese drawing near to the little island of Copay. have nibbled the grass quite bare in most It is a bright day, in the beginning of places; but their nests are never found in June; the elements have proclaimed a this island. The crew of our boat are cessation of hostilities, and we are ready running about gathering eggs; but we to wage war upon nature, having our two have had enough of them, and therefore guns in trim, and a large basket to con. we shall return for our guns, and endeatain the spoils of many nests.
Some cor- vour to procure some specimens of the morants on the headland, stretching out great gull, which even here, in presence their long necks, seem to be preparing of their nests, it is not very easy to do, for flight; a flock of gray geese has some of them even having flown far off already left the island; many gulls have to sea. taken the alarm, and are hovering over the “ It is a lovely night in June; the moon crags; a little band of oyster-catchers slowly emerges from behind the distant on the shore seem, by their cries, to be mountains ; the northern horizon is still consulting among themselves; and there, i red with the glare of the departed sun ;
the winds have sunk to rest, and no I offered no homage to the gods of heathen sound is heard save the faint murmur Rome, yet my heart adored the still more of the waves that clash over the distant engrossing idols of ambition and pleasure. reefs. Yet, hark! the terns are abroad, I might have continued in my ignorance and their shrill cries come faintly on the and guilt till this hour, had not the sight ear from the far-off sand-point, where, of the decimation of a legion of six thouno doubt, they are engaged with a shoal sand soldiers, for refusing to take the oath of launces. Listen again! The oyster- for extirpating Christianity in Gaul, catchers intermingle their clamorous and awakened me to the reality of that religion curiously modulated cries; and now, which could lead them thus calmly to enlouder than all, is clearly heard the call dure death itself. From that day I deof the black-backed gull, faintly seen in termined to devote my life to the propathe dim light. Here is one of his breed- gation of the Christian faith. I was oring-places, a turf-crowned crag, torn, as dained to the priesthood by my uncle, and it were, from the rocks, and forming an as the good old man gave me his parting inlet, inaccessible to human feet. Creep- benediction, he said to me, ' Amphibalus, I ing stealthily among the crags, we faintly know that in the ardour of your new convicperceive the birds as they sit on their tions, you would glory in suffering torments nests; but some of them have observed and death for Christ's sake; but remember
All spring on their feet, and a few that martyrdom is to be suffered, not launch into the air, uttering loud cries, sought. Go forth as the ambassador of which alarm the birds around. It is vain, Christ ; stand against the temptations of you perceive, to try to surprise them by the world ; you may give higher proof of night or by day. Wander as long as you your devotion, by patiently labouring in will in these places, what more can you the vineyard of the Lord than by enduring see? Perhaps a acute observer a violent death. I charge you to give this may."
proof; and as long as you can preserve your life without a compromise of your
faith, preserve it as a continual sacrifice BRITAIN'S PROTO-MARTYR. unto God! I obeyed him; and following
his injunctions I left Rome, and have It was at the beginning of the fourth wandered to Britain. But even here the arm century, when the persecutions under the of Dioclesian is extended to destroy ChristRoman emperors extended to Britain, ianity; orders have arrived for its suppresthat a Christian priest, pursued on account sion, and if it had not been for your timely of his religion, found refuge in the house shelter, I should now have been in the of a pagan, named Alban, who resided in power of his officers." the neighbourhood of Verulamium. The Not many days after, the retreat of Amgentle manners of the Christian, the pure phibalus was discovered. and unselfish morality which he incul- ' Amphibalus,” said Alban to him, cated, won the admiration and esteem of "you are discovered; the officers of DioAlban, and induced him to inquire more clesian will be here presently ; save yournarrowly into the faith of his guest, till, at self for the sake of those who, like myself, length, he too became a Christian. may be blessed by your ministry ; change
« You are a Roman,” said Alban one dresses with me and escape.” day to him ; were you brought up a Alban quickly arrayed himself in the Christian, or are you a convert from hair cassock of the priest, and throwing paganism ?"
his own garment over his companion, bid “I was brought up a Christian,” re- him a hasty farewell. Amphibalus had plied Amphibalus, “and yet I may call / searcely quitted the house, when the offimyself a convert too. You will scarcely | cers entered, and seizing Alban, led him understand the seeming contradiction. I before the governor of Verulamium. His was early left an orphan, and with an only disguise was soon penetrated; many of sister, educated in the Christian faith, by the poor who had experienced his bounty, a maternal uncle--the Bishop Caius. But wept when they beheld their benefactor a I was a Christian only in name. Although | prisoner.