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4. The horses are rearing
Were hard on their track.
5. The mother clasps closer
While the children cling to her
And the father speaks low,
As the red light mounts higher:
6. The boys, terror-stricken,
Stand still, all but one;
7. Now the fire-fiend behind
But nothing is left
For his wrath to devour;
8. Then reverently under
The wide sky they kneel,
To speak what they feel;
Is blessing his boy,
While the mother and children
LXIX. DANIEL WEBSTER ON WOODCHUCKS.
HIS FIRST PLEA.
1. Ebenezer Webster, father of Daniel, was a farmer. The vegetables in his garden suffered considerably from the depredations of a woodchuck, whose hold and habitation was near the premises. Daniel, some ten or twelve years old, and his brother Ezekiel, had set a trap and at last succeeded in catching the trespasser.
2. Ezekiel proposed to kill the animal, and end at once all further trouble with him; but Daniel looked with compassion upon his meek, dumb captive, and offered to let him go. The boys could not agree, and each appealed to their father to decide the case. 3. "Well, my boys," said the old gentleman, "I will be judge, and you shall be the counsel to plead the case for and against his life and liberty."
4. Ezekiel opened the case with a strong argument, urging the mischievous nature of the criminal and the great harm he had already done; said that much time and labor had been spent in his capture, and now, if suffered to go at large, he would renew his depredations, and be cunning enough not to be caught again, and that he ought now to be put to death; that his skin was of some value, and
that, make the most of him they could, it would not repay half the damage he had already done.
5. His argument was ready, practical and to the point, and of much greater length than here given. The father looked with pride upon his son, who in his manhood became a distinguished jurist.
"Now, Daniel," said he, "it is what you have to say."
your turn; I will hear
6. It was Daniel's first case. He saw that the plea of his brother had sensibly affected his father, the judge, and his large, brilliant black eyes rested upon the soft, timid expression of the animal, and he saw that it trembled with fear in its narrow prison-house; his heart swelled with pity, and he appealed with eloquent words that the captive might go free. God, he said, had made the woodchuck; He made him to live, to enjoy the bright sunshine, the pure air, the trees, fields and woods.
7. God had not made him or any thing else in vain. The woodchuck had as much right to live as any other living thing; he was not a destructive animal like the wolf; he simply ate a few common vegetables, of which they had plenty and could well spare a part; he destroyed nothing except the little food he ate to sustain his humble life, and that little food was as sweet to him, and as necessary to his existence, as was to them the food on their mother's table.
8. God furnished them their own food; He gave them all they possessed, and would they not spare a little for a dumb creature who really had as much right to his small share of God's bounty as they themselves had to their portion? Yea, more; the animal had never violated the laws of his nature or the laws of God, as man often had, but strictly followed the simple instincts he had received from the hands of the Creator of all things. Created by
God's hands, he had a right from Him to food, to liberty, and they had no right to deprive him of either.
9. He alluded to the mute but earnest pleadings of the animal for that life, as dear to him as were their own to themselves, and to the judgment they might expect if in selfish cruelty and cold-heartedness they took the life they could not restore.
10. During the appeal the tears had started to his father's eyes, and were fast running down his sunburnt cheeks. Every feeling of his heart was stirred within him, and he felt that God had blessed him beyond the lot of common men. His pity was awakened by the eloquent words of compassion and the strong appeal for mercy, and, forgetting the judge in the man and the father, he sprang from his chair (while Daniel was in the midst of his argument, without thinking he had already won his case), and, dashing the tears from his eyes, he turned to his eldest son and exclaimed, "Zeke, Zeke, you let that woodchuck go!"
LXX. THE STINGING TREE.
1. One of the torments to which the traveler is subjected in the North Australian scrubs, is a stinging tree, which is very abundant and ranges in size from a large shrub of thirty feet in height to a small plant measuring only a few inches.
2. Its leaf is large, and peculiar from being covered with a short, silvery hair, which, when shaken, emits a fine, pungent dust, most irritating to the skin and nostrils.
3. If touched, it causes most acute pain, which is felt for months afterward a dull, gnawing pain, accompanied by a burning sensation, particularly in the shoulder and under the arm, where small lumps often arise.
4. Even when the sting has quite died away the unwary bushman is forcibly reminded of his indiscretion each time the affected part is brought into contact with
5. The fruit is of a pink-fleshy color, hanging in clusters, so inviting that a stranger is irresistibly tempted to pluck it, but seldom more than once, for, though the raspberrylike berries are harmless in themselves, some contact with the leaves is almost unavoidable.
6. The blacks are said to eat the fruit, but for this I can not vouch, though I have tasted one or two at odd times, and found them very pleasant.
7. The worst of this nettle is the tendency it exhibits to shoot up wherever a clearing has been effected. In passing through the dray tracks cut through the scrubs, great caution was necessary to avoid the young plants that cropped up even in a few weeks.
8. I have never known a case of its being fatal to human beings, but I have seen people subjected by it to great suffering, notably a scientific gentleman, who plucked off a branch and carried it some distance as a curiosity, wondering the while what caused the pain and numbness in his arms.
9. Horses I have seen die in agony from the sting, the wounded parts becoming paralyzed; but, strange to say, it does not seem to injure cattle, who dash through the scrubs full of it without receiving any damage. This curious anomaly is well known to all bushmen.
Cassell's Illustrated Travels.
It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
God makes no promises to idlers, but He gives light and strength to those who labor and trust.