‘Ah, papa! how melancholy that was,’ said Eugene, who had listened with the greatest attention.
‘My son,’ said Monsieur D’Ambly, ’when you grow up, you will see even worse consequences arise from that want of reflection which makes us regardless of everything that does not come under our own observation, so that when objects are too great for us to see their details, we think nothing about them.’
At that moment Eugene, in a musing mood, took up a stone, as was his custom, to throw among a flight of sparrows which had alighted near him: he paused. ‘Papa,’ said he, ’I will not throw a stone at those sparrows, for I remember how sorry I feel when any person torments my sister’s canary bird, and when I see the poor little thing trying to save itself in every corner of the cage: it seems to me as if each of those sparrows, were I to frighten them, would feel just as my sister’s bird does.’
’That is precisely, my son, what you ought to do if ever you are entrusted with the interests of a number of persons at once; and that you may be tempted to forget that the regiment you command, or the department you have to manage, is composed of men like yourself; and you should always put yourself, or those you love, in the place of each of them.’
They now reached home, and passed close by the lime-tree.
‘Ah!’ said Eugene, ‘I must take my leave of you.’
‘No,’ said Monsieur D’Ambly smiling, ’it shall remain, provided you promise to remember, every time you look at it, that each tree in a forest is entitled to as much respect as your lime, and that in an assemblage of persons, whatever may be their denomination, each person’s interest is of as much importance as your own.’
BY PERCY B. ST JOHN.