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LXXI.-WHITTLING: A YANKEE PORTRAIT.
1. The Yankee boy, before he's sent to school,
Well knows the mysteries of that magic tool,
2. Projectiles, music, and the sculptor's art,
His chestnut whistle and his shingle dart,
3. Thus by his genius and his jack-knife driven,
Ere long he'll solve you any problem given;
Make any thing, in short, for sea or shore,
4. And when the thing is made, whether it be
To move on earth, in air, or on the sea,
REV. J. PIERPONT.
LXXII.-COAL MINES AND THE SAFETY
LAMP. 1. When you are sitting by a nice bright fire on a cold winter's day, do you ever think of the men called miners, who dig the coal out of the earth? Coal is formed of decayed trees and plants that have been buried in the ground for many ages.
2. The principal coal mines are in Great Britain and North America. The opening into a mine is called a shaft, and the making of it is called “sinking a shaft.” The miners are lowered into the mines in buckets.
3. Some coal mines extend a long distance under the sea, and all mines are deep in the earth, and quite dark. The poor miners lead a hard life working under-ground all day, and sometimes they have to stoop, and even to lie down, that they may get at the coal. They have to carry a light that they may see to work.
SANTA CLARA E CILARS LI
4. Sometimes there is foul air in the mines, called fire-damp. It is a gas, and will explode if a lighted lamp is brought into it; and in this way many lives have been lost. Mining is very hard and very dangerous work,but not as dangerous now as formerly.
5. Many years ago there was a boy named Humphrey Davy,* who was very fond of study. One day he was told of a dreadful explosion in a coal mine, which caused the death of many men.
6. Young Davy made up his mind that he could and would, some day, put an end to these accidents which caused so much misery. He wanted to make a lamp that would be quite safe, even in the midst of fire-damp. He knew that he must learn a great deal before he could hope to succeed, so he at once set himself to learning the laws of heat.
7. After learning all he could from the books his kind friends lent him, he began to experiment for himself. He made use of several clever but simple tests, from which he learned much that he wished to know. After some time spent in this way he began to think of his miner's lamp.
8. He first put a piece of metal wire round a light, and found that the flame lost some of its heat; but he did not at once see how he could make use of this knowledge. But he soon ascertained that flame could not get through a thin metal pipe, and he made a lamp on this principle. But this lamp would go out and leave the miner in the dark if the fire-damp got into it, and so it was not quite perfect.
* Humphrey Davy was born Dec. 17, 1779, at Cornwall, England. He became distinguished for his chemical and philosophical researches, a work on which he published in 1800, when only twentyone years old. At twenty-two he was professor of chemistry in the Royal Institution, where his experiments, his novel ideas, and his eloquence in their advocacy, placed him at once in the front ranks of the scientists of the times. In 1820 he was president of the Royal Society. He died May 20, 1829.
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 soine 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
paper, whose name was Garrison