Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

NEW CODE.

PROGRESSIVE READER.

FOURTH STANDARD.

THE WIDOW AND HER SON.

THE parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rural occupations and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves creditably and comfortably, and led a happy and blameless life. They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age. Oh, sir!” said the good woman, “ he was such a comely lad, so sweettempered, so kind to every one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did one's heart good to see him of a Sunday, dressed out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to church—for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm than on her goodman's; and, poor soul, she might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round.'

Unfortunately the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service of one of the small craft that plied on a neigh

bouring river. He had not been long in this employ, when he was entrapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea.

His parents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sank into his grave. The widow, left alone in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish. Still there was a kind feeling towards her throughout the village, and a certain respect, as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage, in which she had passed so many happy

a

[graphic]

days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the scanty production of her little garden, which the neighbours would now and then cultivate for her. It was but a few days before the time, at which these circumstances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the cottage-door, which faced the garden, suddenly opened.

A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking

eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in seaman's clothes, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her and hastened towards her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he sank on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The poor woman gazed upon

him with a vacant and wandering eye. “Oh, my dear, dear mother! don't you know your son? your poor boy George?" It was indeed the wreck of her once noble son, who, shattered by wounds, by sickness, and foreign imprisonment, had at length dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood.

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended. Still he was alive! he was come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was exhausted in him; and if anything had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet, on which his mother had passed many a restless night, and he never rose from it again.—Washington Irving's Sketch-book.

THE GIRAFFE.

THE Giraffe chews the cud, as every animal does that possesses, at the same time, horns and cloven feet. It grazes also in the same way; but not often, because the country which it inhabits has little pasturage. Its ordinary food is the leaf of a sort of mimosa. This tree being only found in the country of the Na-ma-quas may probably afford a reason why the Giraffe is there fixed, and why he is not seen in those regions of South Africa where the tree does not grow.

Doubtless the most beautiful part of his body is the head. The mouth is small; the eyes are bright and full. Between the eyes, and above the nose, is a swelling, very prominent and well defined. This is not a fleshy hump, but an enlargement of the bony

[graphic]

substance. It seems to be similar to the two little humps, with which the top of his head is armed, and which, being about the size of a hen's egg, spring, on each side, at the commencement of the mane. His tongue is rough, and terminates in a point. The two jaws have six grinding teeth on each side; but the lower jaw has, beyond these, eight cutting teeth, while the upper jaw has none.

The hoofs, which are cleft and have no nails, resemble those of the ox. Those of the fore feet are larger than those of the hind. The leg is very slender, but the knees have a lump, because the animal kneels when he lies down. There is also a larger lump on the breast which would lead one to conclude, that he generally rests on that part.

The motions of the head and neck of the Giraffe are extremely graceful and curious, possessing the usefulness

« VorigeDoorgaan »