CHAPTER I.FRANKIE'S BIRTHDAY.
"Frankie," said mamma one evening, just as he was going to bed, "to-morrow you will be six years old; how should you like to have a party of your young friends?"
"I should like it very much indeed," replied the boy, his eyes sparkling with pleasure.
"You have been trying to improve lately, my dear, and have almost conquered your hasty temper. Your father and I have been so much pleased with your conduct that we wish to reward you; so if you would like to have a party, I shall invite as many of your young friends as you please."
"O, what a kind mamma!" exclaimed Frankie, clasping his arms around his mother's neck. "I mean to try to be just as good as I can."
The little boy then knelt by his low bed, and said his evening prayer. Perhaps you would like to hear it.
"O God! thou art very good. Thou hast given me a kind father and mother, and food to eat, clothes to wear, and many other favors. Wilt thou forgive all my sins, and make me a good boy, so that when I die, I can go to heaven to live with thee, for my dear Saviour's sake. Amen."
This little prayer Frankie had learned when he was four years old, and he had repeated it every night since that time. Beside this he said the pretty verse beginning"Now I lay me down to sleep,"
and then added a short prayer of his own, asking God to bless papa and mamma, Willie, Nelly, and Margie; to keep the house from being burned while they were asleep; and to make the heathen good, for Jesus Christ's sake.
When Frankie was nearly five years old, a large house in the neighborhood had been burned to the ground. He was aroused from his sleep by the loud ringing of the bells, and the cry of fire, and sat for a long time gazing from his mother's window at the bright, red flame. Ever since that time he had always prayed God to keep the house from being burned while they were asleep.
In the morning, Frankie said the Lord's prayer, and this pretty little hymn, which perhaps you will like to learn:—"Fled away are the shadows of night;The morning is smiling and clear;The sun has arisen all bright,And the birds fly aloft in the air. "The sweet robins sing on the tree,The little lambs skip on the hill,And loud hum the bees as they work,Their houses with honey to fill. "'Tis time for the children to wake:Come, little ones, open your eyes;And your thanks and your praises returnTo the Being who governs the skies. "He has guarded you, all the long night,From sickness, and danger, and pain,And brought you, in safety and peace,To a beautiful morning again. "Whatever your parents command,Be ready and willing to do;For that, my dear child, is the wayTo be happy, and prosperous too. "But if (as is sometimes the case)You should happen to do a thing wrong,Just own it, and let not a lie,In any case, come from your tongue. "For the child who is gentle and kind,And obliges as far as he can,May be sure to be loved while a boy,And respected when grown to a man."
The next morning, when Frankie went down to breakfast, Willie sprang out from behind the door, and gave him six loud kisses....