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inhabitants of the tree with fragments of plantains and other fruits, (for the Hindoos enumerate the Hoonoomun monkey among their numerous divinities.) On one occasion, an extraordinary excitement manifested itself among the Hoonoomun corps. A general whooping, chattering, and screeching simultaneously burst forth from the tree, which had become the seat of the utmost confusion. On our approaching the spot, the scene was utterly indescribable: the whole of the branches of the tree were agitated by the manual exercise of the black-faced fraternity, as if they laboured under the convulsing influence of a north-wester: but upon casting our eyes upon a bough half way up the tree, we perceived a huge cobra capello snake lying at full length, which had ascended thither, with a view, no doubt, of satiating his appetite with a squirrel or two, with which animals the tree was furnished. The alarmed colonists could not effect their escape by a transit; and to descend one inch nearer their scaly foe than where they then were, would have been worse than undergoing the chance of breaking their necks, by leaping down upon the ground from their elevated situation. At length, one of the troop made a tremendous spring, which example was followed successively by the whole of the body, and the runagates scampered away into a jungle on the opposite side of the road. The snake we
succeeded in destroying, but the horror which the sooty-countenanced community felt at the serpent's encroaching upon their dormitory, was so impressive, that they were never again seen near the tree, although many a weary pilgrim afterwards found a grateful shelter under its umbrageous branches."
T. That is a very good story.
P. So it is.
Mr. F. I am glad that you think So, because you may be the more likely to turn it to a good account, and to learn from it how to act prudently. Sin, of every kind, is a serpent, and a deadly one, too; whenever then you see it, act prudently. Approach it not on any account whatever; but turn from it and pass away. Had any one of the monkeys ventured to touch the cobra capello, most likely it would have been the death of him ; and, if you venture within the influence of sin, it may be your destruction for ever.
When sin appears, prepare to fly,
Swift as an eagle cleaves the sky.
ACTS OF USEFULNESS.
EDWARD, Thomas, and little Peter had made a rush from the back hall door leading to the lawn, and Mary was hastening down stairs to join them, when Mr. Franklin, having reached the doorway, playfully put one of his crutches across the passage, and demanded toll from his daughter, before he would let her pass. Mary instantly flung her arms round the neck of her father, and gave him a kiss with right good will, well knowing what kind of payment was required.
In a short time, the whole party were in their proper places, and the business of the meeting began, as usual, on the part of Mr. Franklin; while his children, as eager as ever to catch his remarks, fixed their animated eyes on their indulgent parent.
"Every one," said Mr. Franklin, "who has at all learned to think and to feel correctly, must be anxious to learn to act usefully; and though young people can hardly be expected to be useful on a large scale, yet may they in almost every situation render service, in some degree, to those around them."
Edward. But I should like to be very useful indeed.
"And so should I," was repeated by Mary, Thomas, and little Peter in succession.
Mr. Franklin. No doubt of it; and I am glad to hear you so express yourselves: but remember, that one useful act really performed, however small it may be, outweighs a dozen useful desires and intentions, however large. You must never, therefore, refrain from doing an act of usefulness on account of its being a small one. If you saw a pig rooting up the potatoes in a cottager's garden, or the gate of a turnipfield carelessly left open, or met a little child wandering abroad, not knowing its way home; you would do well to give the cottager intelligence about the pig, to shut and fasten the gate of the turnip field, and to take the strayed little child by the hand, leading him home: these acts of kindness would be small, but they would be very useful, preventing much mischief and anxiety.
E. Yes, yes! I hope we shall all act in this way. Mr. F. It is said, that a kind-hearted man once made himself useful, by lending small sums of money to people of good character who stood in need of them; on the condition that, when they could afford it, they should lend the same sums to others on the same terms: thus, perhaps, these small sums might go on doing good from one generation to another.
E. If ever I become rich, I should like to do the very same thing.
Thomas. And so should I.
Mr. F. I heard, too, of another man, who made himself very useful at a very little expense. He knew that ten or a dozen cottages near him were in a dirty, neglected state, and that they sadly wanted whitewashing; but the tenants were poor, and the landlord would go to no expense. The cottagers excused themselves, saying that they had no whitewash brush. This being the case, he went among them, saying that a few lumps of lime would cost them but little, that the work would soon be done, and that he would provide them a whitewash brush. Thus encouraged, the cottagers soon set to work with the new brush provided for them, and, in a day or two after, their dark and dingy walls were as white as a curd.
E. Famous! famous!
Mr. F. Nor was this all; for, when once the work of cleanliness began, it was carried on. The good women in the cottages were ashamed, when the walls were so clean, to have their furniture and the floor dirty, so that, by the mere lending of a whitewash brush, the dozen cottages underwent a thorough cleansing from the top to the bottom. Mary. Well! I shall never forget the whitewash brush.
E. Ay! We could buy one among us; then where are the dirty cottages?
but Mr. F. Very true! I hope not very near