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9. But young Davy did not give up; he was too brave for that; and after many experiments he thought of the metal wire that took away the heat from the flame of the candle. And then he saw that if the miner's lamp had a fine network of wire around it, the flame could not get to the fire-damp in the mine. And so, after many and
, patient trials, he invented the Safety Lamp, which has saved the lives of thousands of poor miners. For the great service thus rendered he was made Sir Humphrey Davy.
LXXIII.-JOHN G. WHITTIER'S BOYHOOD
1. Some forty years ago there lived in the quiet town of East Haverhill, Massachusetts, a much respected quaker family by the name of Whittier.
2. They were hard-working, thrifty farmers, and their home was known to all the poor in that section; no one was ever turned away from their door unpitied, unclothed, or unfed.
3. Even the Indians had respected Grandfather Whittier in the stormy times of the Indian War. His house had stood near a garrison, but he would accept of no protection from the soldiers.
4. He did not believe in the use of weapons; he treated the savages kindly; they owed him no ill-will, and the benevolent old man tilled his fields in safety, and feared no harm.
5. Among Mr. Whittier's children was a boy named John,* who had a very feeling heart and a quick mind. He was a hard-working farmer lad, who knew more of the ax, the sickle and the hoe than of the playthings of childhood.
* Born 1807; is still living, January, 1876.
6. His early education consisted of a few weeks' schooling for a number of winters in the district school. A queer sort of a school it was,- kept in a private house. The school-master was a kind, good man, and he did not ply the birch very vigorously, like most of the school-masters in those old times.
7. He was more like Oliver Goldsmith, who used to govern his school by giving the children sugar-plums and telling them wonderful stories. John loved him, and spoke a kind word for him when he became a man.
8. In the library there is a beautiful poem called “Snow-Bound,” — a very good poem for good people to read. Now the boy lived in just such a home as is described in that poem, and his boyhood was passed among just such scenes as are pictured there. You may like to read it some day, so we need not try to tell what he has told so well.
9. He was a poet in boyhood. He did not know it. There are many poets who do not. He lived to love others and to be loved; he could see things in nature that others could not see,- in the woods and fields, in the blue Merrimac, in the serene sky of the spring, and in the tinges of the sunset.
10. He had but few books,- perhaps no books of poetry, for music and poetry his father classed among the “vanities” which the Bible denounced. But there was much poetry in the Bible; his “Pilgrim's Progress was almost a poem; and nature to him was like a book of poems, for there was poetry in his soul.
, 11. He used to express his feelings in rhyme, – how could the boy help it? He one day wrote one of these poems on some coarse paper and sent it privately to a paper called the “Free Press,” published in the neighboring town of Newburyport. 12. The editor of the
whose name was Garrison
-William Lloyd Garrison, you may have heard his name before -- found the poem tucked under the door of his office by the postman, and, noticing that it was writter in blue ink, was tempted to throw it into the waste basket.
13. But Mr. Garrison had a good, kind heart, and liked to give every one a chance in the world. He read the poem, saw that there was true genius in it, and so he published it.
14. Happy was the Quaker farmer boy when he saw his verses in print. He felt that God had something in store in life for him that he was called in some way to be good and useful to others.
15. He wrote other poems, and sent them to Mr. Garrison. They were full of beauties. One day Mr. Garrison asked the postman from what quarter they came.
16. “I am accustomed to deliver a package of papers to a farmer boy in East Haverhill. I guess they came from him." Mr. Garrison thought he must ride over to East Haverhill and see.
17. He found a slender, sweet-faced farmer boy work ing with his plain, practical father on the farm. The boy modestly acknowledged that he had written the poems, at which his father did not seem
over well pleased.
18. “You must send that boy to school, Friend Whittier,” said Mr. Garrison. Friend Whittier was not so sure; but the good counsel of the Newburyport editor, in the end, was decisive. The boy was sent to the academy.
19. John is an old man now; he lives at Amesbury, near the beautiful Merrimac, that he loved in youth. Almost every boy and girl in the land can repeat some of the poems he has written.
1. The south-land boasts its teeming cane,
The prairied West its heavy grain,
On rising marts and sands of gold.
Is scant of soil, of limits strait;
Her only mines are ice and stone! 3. From Autumn frost to April rain,
Too long her winter woods complain ;
4. Yet on her rocks, and on her sands,
And wintry hills, the school-house stands;
The harvest of the mind supplies. 5. The riches of the commonwealth
Are free, strong minds, and hearts of health ;
6. For well she keeps her ancient stock,
The stubborn strength of Plymouth Rock;
And clearer light, the good old cause ;7. Nor heeds the skeptic's puny hands,
While near her school the church-spire stands;
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
LXXV.—THE BAOBAB TREE.
1. The baobab tree is a native of Africa and of monstrous size. It is the most colossal vegetable monument on earth. It has round, woolly leaves, which consist of from three to seven leaflets radiating from a common center, giving them somewhat the appearance of a hand, and a magnificent white flower.
2. It is an enormous tree, holding among plants the place that the elephant holds among animals - a hoary witness of the last changes which the earth has undergone, and deluges that have buried beneath their waves the productions of early ages.
3. Several baobabs that have been measured were found to be from seventy to seventy-seven feet in circumference. From its branches hang, at times, colossal nets, three feet in length, resembling large oval baskets open at the bottom, and looking from the distance like so many signal flags.
4. It would take fifteen men, with their arms extended, to embrace the trunk of one of these great trees, which, in the countries through which the Senegal flows, are venerated as sacred monuments.
5. Enormous branches are given off from the central stem a few feet from the ground, and spread out horizontally, giving the tree a diameter of over one hundred feet. “ Each of these branches,” says Mr. Danton, would be “a monster tree elsewhere, and taken together they seem to make up a forest rather than a tree.
6. It is only at the age of eight hundred years that the baobabs attain their full size, and then cease to grow. The fruit of this tree is oblong; the color of the shell passes in ripening from green to yellow and brown. The fruit is called “monkey bread.” It contains a spongy