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8. “ Labor! Labor!” crieth Nature,
“ Labor!” sings the wheel of Time, And in their own mystic language
Earth and sky and ocean chime. 9. Labor, labor! ne'er be idle,
Labor, labor, while you can; 'Tis the Iron Age of Labor
Labor only makes the man!
XXXIX.-THE CONTRAST, OR MARY AND
1. Mary and Jane are neighbors and friends. They are alike in birth, fortune, education and accomplishments; but they are not alike in spirit and temper. Mary has accustomed herself to look only on the dark side. She does not seem to notice the numerous beauties and excellencies that might be seen all around her, but she looks for and dwells on the defects.
2. If you show her a truthful portrait, she will look at some part of the drapery that has been neglected, or a hand or finger left unfinished. Her garden is a beautiful one, and kept with great neatness and elegance; but if you walk into it with her, she will talk to you of nothing but blights and storms, of snails and caterpillars, and the impossibility of keeping it in a decent condition, and free from falling leaves.
3. If you sit down in one of her arbors to enjoy the prospect, she observes to you that there is too much wood, or too little water; that the day is too sunny or too gloomy; that it is very sultry or too windy, and finishes with a long talk upon the wretchedness of our climate, and expresses the opinion that it would be better to live in any other country than ours. 4. When
return with her to the house and company, in the hopes of hearing a little more cheerful conversation, she casts a gloom over all by giving you the history of her own bad health, or of some melancholy accident that has befallen one of her friends. Thus she depresses her own spirits and the spirits of all around her, and at last discovers, she knows not why, that her friends are sedate and dull.
5. Jane is quite the reverse of this. By habituating herself to look on the bright side of objects, she preserves a constant cheerfulness in herself which proves contagious, communicating to all about her. If any misfortune befalls her, she considers how much worse it might have been, and is grateful to a kind Providence in permitting her to escape a more serious disaster.
6. She rejoices in solitude, as it gives her an opportunity of studying herself; and also in society, because it permits her to communicate to others the happiness she enjoys. She opposes the virtues of every one to his failings or errors, and can always find something to cherish and commend in the very worst of her acquaintances. When she reads a book she does so with the desire to be entertained and instructed, and so she seldom fails to receive what she looks for.
7. If you walk with her, though it be in a field or in
the woods, she will discover numberless beauties and attractions on every hand. The hills and dales, the bending trees and waving grain, the foliage and flowers, the birds and insects, are all full of interest and instruction for her.
8. She enjoys every change of weather and of season, as bringing with it some pleasures and advantages. In conversation she never repeats her own grievances, or those of her neighbors; and, what is still better, she never descants of her neighbors' fanlts and imperfections.
9. If others introduce unkind and censorious remarks, she adroitly manages to change the subject of conversation. Thus Jane, like the bee, gathers sweets from every weed, while Mary extracts poison from the fairest flowers. Mary is always sour, dissatisfied and captious, while Jane is always pleasant, cheerful and charitable. Perpetual gloom accompanies Mary, while constant sunshine attends Jane. Which will you pattern after?
XL.-PETER BEGINS TO STUDY BOTANY.
1. Peter. Uncle John, what are you doing that for? 2. Uncle John. Doing what?
3. Peter. Why, picking all those weeds to pieces and putting them away in those big books?
4. U.J. I do not put away those I pick to pieces. 5. Peter. Why do you pick them to pieces?
6. U.J. Because they are plants that are new to me, and I am studying them to learn what they are like, and what their relations are.
7. Peter. Relations ! Do plants have relations? 8. U.J. Certainly.
9. Peter. That is queer! And is that the way you learn so much about plants?
10. U.J. This is one of the ways.
20. U.J. The first thing for you to do is to get some plants to study.
21. Peter. Where?
22. U. J. Any where — out in the garden, if you like.
23. [Peter ran to the garden, and was soon back again with his hands full of leaves and stems.]
24. Peter. Will these do?
25. U.J. If you wanted to study animals, and I should give you the ear of a dog, the tail of a cat, the foot of a hen, a cow's horn, and a piece of sheep skin, to begin with, do you think they would help you much?
26. Peter. No; I think a whole dog would be better.
27. U.J. Yes, much better; and a whole plant would be better than all those pieces.
28. Peter. Can you not tell me what their names are from the pieces ?
29. U.J. I could; but you are not to study names. You are to study plants. I will go with you, and show you how to get something to study.
30. Peter. What is the use of taking that weed ? Every body knows what that is.
31. U.J. But we will take it. Perhaps there is something about it that you never noticed.
32. Peter. That is catnip, Uncle John, that you are digging now; you are not going to take that too, are you?
33. U.J. Why not?
34. Peter. Because I have known catnip ever since I can remember.
35. U. J. Shut your eyes. Now tell me what kind of a stalk catnip has ?
36. Peter. Why,- it is just like — any other stalk, isn't it?
37. U.J. Like purslane?
38. Peter. No, purslane has no stalk; it just sprawls on the ground
39. U. J. Is it like a mullein stalk?
42. Peter. No, not like those stalks. It is like -I guess I do not remember exactly what it is like.
43. U. J. So you do not know catnip as well as you thought. These two will be enough to begin with. Look at them carefully, and when I have finished with my plants I will talk with you about them.
44. [Peter tired of studying by himself, and in a short time he stood by his Uncle's table, plants in hand.]
45. U.J. Well, what have you discovered ?
51. U. J. Very much like it, indeed. Let me see what else you have learned? Is the purslane stem any like the catnip stem?
52. Peter. Do you call those stems when they do not stand up?
53. U.J. Yes, those are stems.