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WHAT SHALL WE BUILD? our children were playing on the sea-shore. They had gathered bright pebbles and beautiful shells, and written their names in the pure, white sand; but at last, tired of their sport, they were about going home, when one of them, as they came to a pile of stones, cried out: "Oh! let us build a fort; and we will call that ship away out there, an enemy's vessel, and make believe we are firing great cannon balls into her!"... more...

GOOD IN ALL. THERE IS GOOD IN ALL. Yes! we all believe it: not a man in the depth of his vanity but will yield assent. But do you not all, in practice, daily, hourly deny it? A beggar passes you in the street: dirty, ragged, importunate. "Ah! he has a bad look," and your pocket is safe. He starves—and he steals. "I thought he was bad." You educate him in the State Prison. He does not improve even in this excellent school. "He is," says the... more...

THE POOR DEBTOR. "THERE is one honest man in the world, I am happy to say," remarked a rich merchant, named Petron, to a friend who happened to call in upon him. "Is there, indeed! I am glad to find you have made a discovery of the fact. Who is the individual entitled to the honourable distinction?" "You know Moale, the tailor?" "Yes. Poor fellow! he's been under the weather for a long time." "I know. But he's an honest man for all that."... more...

"What troubles you, William?" said Mrs. Aiken, speaking in a tone of kind concern to her husband, who sat silent and moody, with his eyes now fixed upon the floor, and now following the forms of his plainly-clad children as they sported, full of health and spirits, about the room. It was evening, and Mr. Aiken, a man who earned his bread by the sweat of his brow, had, a little while before, returned from his daily labour. No answer was made to... more...

THE LAST PENNY. THOMAS CLAIRE, a son of St. Crispin, was a clever sort of a man; though not very well off in the world. He was industrious, but, as his abilities were small, his reward was proportioned thereto. His skill went but little beyond half-soles, heel-taps, and patches. Those who, willing to encourage Thomas, ventured to order from him a new pair of boots or shoes, never repeated the order. That would have been carrying their good... more...


CHAPTER I. THE rain had poured in torrents all day, and now, for the third time since morning, I came home, wet, uncomfortable and weary. I half dreaded to look at the slate, lest some urgent call should stare me in the face. "It must indeed be a case of life and death, that takes me out again to-night," said I, as my good wife met me in the entry, and with light hands, made active by love, assisted in the removal of my great coat and... more...

PREFACE. HOME! How at the word, a crowd of pleasant thoughts awaken. What sun-bright images are pictured to the imagination. Yet, there is no home without its shadows as well as sunshine. Love makes the home-lights and selfishness the shadows. Ah! how dark the shadow at times—how faint and fleeting the sunshine. How often selfishness towers up to a giant height, barring out from our dwellings every golden ray. There are few of us, who do... more...

CHAPTER I. "THERE is a book of record in your mind, Edwin," said an old man to his young friend, "a book of record, in which every act of your life is noted down. Each morning a blank page is turned, on which the day's history is written in lines that cannot be effaced. This book of record is your memory; and, according to what it bears, will your future life be happy or miserable. An act done, is done forever; for, the time in which it is done,... more...

INTRODUCTION In preparing this, his latest volume, the author found himself embarrassed from the beginning, because of the large amount of material which came into his hands, and the consequent difficulty of selection and condensation. There is not a chapter which might not have been extended to twice its present length, nor a fact stated, or argument used, which might not have been supplemented by many equally pertinent and conclusive. The... more...

SHADOWS FROM A CLOUDED BROW. A LITTLE thing clouded the brow of Mrs. Abercrombie—a very little thing. But if she had known how wide the shadows were often diffused, and how darkly they fell, at times, on some hearts, she would have striven more earnestly, we may believe, to keep the sky of her spirit undimmed. It will not be uninstructive to note the incidents, in a single day, of Mrs. Abercrombie's life—to mark the early cloud upon... more...