Page images
[blocks in formation]

"I cannot burn incense upon your altars," replied Alban, "for your gods are no gods. The God serve is the Maker of all things; he is God alone. I am his, for he created me; I am his evermore, for he sent his Son to die to redeem me; and shall I refuse to die for him who died for me? Think not, my friends, that life is not dear to me; think not that a Christian does not love life. I love this beautiful world more than ever since I became a Christian, because it is the workmanship of my heavenly Father; but I know that when I leave it, He will conduct me to one yet fairer."

[blocks in formation]

Soon after a cathedral was built on the spot consecrated by the death of Britain's first martyr, and the name of Verulamium changed to St. Alban's in honour of the B.



MUCH has been said and written upon diet, eating and drinking, but I do not recollect ever noticing a remark in any writer upon breathing, or the manner of breathing. Multitudes, and especially ladies in easy circumstances, contract a vicious and destructive mode of breathing They suppress their breathing and contract the habit of short quick breathing, not carrying the breath half way down the chest, and scarcely expanding the lower portions of the chest at all. Lacing the bottom of the chest also greatly increases this evil, and confirms a bad habit of breathing. Children that move about a great deal in the open air, and in no way laced, breathe deep and full in the bottom of the chest, and every part of it. So also with most out-door labourers, and persons who take a great deal of exercise in the open air, because the lungs give us the power of action, and the more exercise we take, especially out of doors, the larger the lungs become, and the less liable to disease. In all occupations that require standing, keep the person straight. If at table, let it be high, raised up nearly to the armpits, so as not to require you to stoop; you will find the employment much easier-not one half so fatiguing; whilst the form of the chest and symmetry of the figure will remain perfect You have noticed that a vast many tall ladies stoop, while a great many short ones are straight. This arises, I think, from the table at which they sit or work, or occupy themselves, or study, being of a medium height-for a short one. This should be carefully corrected and regarded, so that each lady may occupy herself at the table to suit her, and thus prevent the possibility or necessity of stooping. It will be as well not to remain too long in a sitting position, but to rise occasionally, and thus relieve the body from its bending position. The arms could be moved about from time to time.



THERE are some infants who seem destined for heaven from their birth. Over these the mother may smile, and weep, and watch the fragile beauty of cheek and brow

in vain.

Old and learned doctors may stand beside their little couches, and count the quick-beating pulse; they cannot stay the steady footsteps of death- -they cannot wave him back, that angel-warden of heaven. Something is written in the blue eyes, the gentle smile, that mortals may never interpret; for them the tiny headstones stand in niches, fresh from the graver's hands. For them the little marble urns are already sculptured, and sweet spots in burial-grounds lie waiting. Hug it ever so closely to the fond bosom, the favoured immortal is ever in the hands of the angels, and they will claim it.


I have known a few such children. remember, as I write, a sweet sister, who came when the bird pipes his first May song. For fifteen bright months she was spared to earth, but all who saw her gave ominous shakes of the head, and some said, even with tears, "She will die."

Of all infant singers, none heard I ever sing like her. From morning till night from her twelfth month, her sweet, clear voice rang through the house. And she was neither taught this, nor paraded for her gift; but a friend coming in would be sure to hear "Old Hundred" from the singing lips of a babe, who might be clinging to the chairs in her first happy essay to walk. "China," and many of the ancient melodies, were as household words to that little creature; and every day at twilight, till nearly the day she died, she would sing herself to sleep, lisping those old words,

"Life is the time to serve the Lord."

Precious angel! her life was holy service. How happy she has been these long years up there singing!

I had another little sister, who died at the same age. I remember a still, beautiful night, when I sat watching that sweet face, the pale hands, the labouring chest; her mother, wearied out, had fallen into a light slumber.

Suddenly, in that dying hour, the oid tune of "Sweet Home" rang out, clear, sweet, distinct. How can I describe the feeling that thrilled through all my veins, when looking at the little lips, pale and trembling, I saw them moving to the cadence of that cherished melody? There laid a babe, scarcely more than a year old, disease upon her, her temples whitening in death, singing a triumphal strain with a failing breath. No language can tell how indescribably beautiful, yet how awful was the scene. She sang it through to the last note, and her fragile form sank backward. In the morning they were laying, lightly and tenderly, on her limbs the burial shroud.

I heard lately a little story, which for pathos could not be excelled. A beautiful infant had been taught to say (and it could say little else), "God will take care of baby." It was seized with sickness, and at a time when both parents were hardly convalescent from a dangerous illness. Every day it grew worse, and at last was given up-to die. Almost agonized, the mother prayed to be carried into the room of her darling, to give it one last embrace. Both parents succeeded in gaining the apartment, but just as it was thought the babe had breathed its last. The mother wept aloud; and once more the little creature opened its eyes, looked lovingly up in her face, smiled, and moved its little lips. They bent closer down"God will take care of baby." Sweet, consoling words! they had hardly ceased, when the angel-spirit was in heaven!


THE TRUE STRUGGLE.-Oh ye gifted ones, follow your calling, for, however various your talents may be, ye can have but one calling capable of leading ye to. eminence and renown. Follow resolutely the one straight path before you; it is that of your good angel. Let neither obstacles nor temptation induce you to leave it. Bound along, if you can; if not, on hands and knees follow it; perish in it, if needful. But ye need not fear that. No one ever yet died in the true path of his calling before he had attained the pinnacle. Turn into other paths, and, for a momentary advantage or gratification, ye have sold your inheritance, your immortality. Ye will never be heard of after death.

ORIGINS AND INVENTIONS. STOVES. Stoves with pipes or flues, were invented according to Mr. White, in 1680, by one Delaslme, and were wholly unknown to the Greeks, Romans, and all other nations of antiquity, whose stoves were but open pans, in which fires were made mostly of charcoal and charred wood. Stoves were first made of bricks, somewhat similar to an oven; sometimes they were also made of earthen, and were not often, if at all, made of iron, until near the commencement of the present century.

RHYMING CALENDAR. We have all frequently repeated the lines,"Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November," &c.

without inquiring into their origin. They are of great antiquity, and first appear in Harrison's 66 Description of Britaine," prefixed to the first edition of Holinshead's "Chronicles," printed in 1577. "Junius, Aprilis, Septemq, Novemq, tricenos, Una plus reliqui, Februq octo vicenos, At si bisextus fuerit superadditur unus." thus translated:

[ocr errors]

"Thirty days hath November,

April June, and September,

Twentie and eyght hath February alone,
And all the rest thirty and one,
But in the leape year must adde one."


SAWING-MILLS.-When the first mill was erected for sawing lumber by mechanical power is not known; it is certain, however, that saw-mills were not in use among the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, or any of the ancient nations. The first saw-mill, of which we have any record, was erected on the Island of Maderia in 1420; and the first one in Norway, in 1530. Sawmills were not introduced into England until the seventeenth century, and for a long time occasioned alarm, commotion, and excitement among the sawyers, for fear they might be thrown out of employment. The first one was erected in London in 1633, but it was demolished soon afterwards, for fear it might be the means of depriving the poor of employment, and the means of subsistence.

PLEDGING HEALTHS. - The origin of the very common expression, to pledge one drinking, is curious: it is thus related by a very celebrated antiquarian of the fifteenth century:-"When the Danes bore sway in this land, if a native did drink,

they would sometimes stab him with a dagger or a knife; hereupon people would not drink in company unless some one present would be their pledge or surety, that they should receive no hurt whilst they were in their draught; hence that usual phrase, I'll pledge you, or be a pledge for you." Others affirm the true sense of the word was, that if the party drank to, were not disposed to drink himself, he would put another for a pledge to do it for him, else the party who began would take it ill.

THE MARINER'S COMPASS.-Prior to the invention of the Mariner's Compass, it was impossible to navigate the ocean with safety, or even at all, except along its coasts; and hence navigation and transportation by water was pretty much confined to the Mediterranean, Black, and Red Seas, and the coasts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This invention is claimed by the Neapolitans to have been made by one of their citizens about the year 1302; while the Venetians state that they introduced it from China about the year 1260. This valuable invention extended, and changed the character of navigation, led to the discovery of the New World, by Columbus in 1492; and stimulated man, by opening to his view, the broadest field of commercial enterprise which he had ever witnessed.

PLOUGHS. The ploughs in use among the Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, were of various shapes and rude form, some of them having a little iron share, and a piece of wood very ill-constructed, intended as a mould-board to turn over the ground; but the majority of ploughs had nothing of the kind. In more modern times, some ploughs were made with wheels, and the mould-board was improved in shape, and became better adapted to use; but the plough was still a large, ill-shapen, rough wooden instrument, until after the invention of iron mould-boards, and iron landsides fitted to shares, constituting all that part of a plough which runs in the ground. The first iron plough was made of wrought iron in Scotland, towards the close of the last century. Cast-iron ploughs were invented soon afterwards, and were introduced into general use in Great Britain.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ELEGY ON A REDBREAST, which the Author found dead, having its wings stretched out on a heap of snow, in a severe storm.


Puir Robin! now thy breath is fled,
An' left thee cauld amang the snaw!
Although thy little wings are spraed,

Frae me thou canna flee awa'.

Nae mair thy notes will charm the ear, Frae yellow Autumn's leafless spray, Nor thou, sweet bird, wilt ever hear The warbler's sang at dawn o' day. Aft hae I heard thee cheerfu' sing

The live-lang day on yonder tower; Aft seen thee at ny window hing

For shelter frae the angry shower. When wintry storms are ill to dree,

Thou'lt seek my lowly roof nae mair, Wi' crimson breast an' sparklin' ee.

Amang the lave the crumbs to share. For thou, sweet Robin, sleeps as soun', Upon a wreath o' frozen snaw, As in a nest o' thissle-down,

Fu' cozie in some auld gray wa'.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



The consciousness of wrong, in wills not evil,
Brings charity.
Give credit to thy mortal brother's heart
For all the good that in thine own hath part.
Who gives, constrain'd, but his own fear reviles;
Not thank'd, but scorn'd, nor are they gifts, but
spoils !
Great minds, like Heaven, are pleased in doing
Though the ungrateful subjects of their favours
Are barren in return.
What though to poverty's imploring voice
I give my earthly goods; though to the pile
I yield my body, if Thy genuine love
Inspire not, this alike is void and vain.

Send thy good before thee, man,
The whilst thou may, to Heaven:
For better is one alms before,
Than bin after seven.

OLD ENGLISH RHYME. Cheap gifts best fit poor givers. We are told Of the lone mite, and cup of water cold, That, in their way, approved the offerer's zeal. True love shows costliest where the means are

[blocks in formation]

Were we as rich in charity of deed
As gold-what rock would bloom not with the

We give our alms and cry, "What can we more?"
One hour of time were worth a load of ore;
Give to the ignorant our own wisdom!-give
Sorrow our comfort!-lend to those who live
In crime, the counsels of our virtue!-share
With souls our souls, and Satan shall despair!
Alas! what converts one man, who would take
The cross and staff, and house with Guilt, could
With a look of sad content,
Her mite within the treasure-heap she cast;
Then, timidly as bashful twilight, stole
From out the temple. But her lowly gift
Was witness'd by an eye whose mercy views
In motive, all that consecrates a deed
To goodness, so he bless'd the widow's mite.
Not soon provoked, she easily forgives;
And much she suffers, as she much believes.
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives,
She builds our quiet as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens each heart a little heaven.


« PreviousContinue »