And now, before I dismiss the School, I want to ask each boy and girl on these benches, who gave a half dime for Josiah’s education, if the brightest silver dollar ever coined would buy of either of them that half dime? Would you sell for a dollar your share in his education and happiness, in the joy, hope and expectations which your gifts have brought to life in that poor nailer’s cottage? There are some beautiful verses in the Bible which I hope you will write in your copy-books, and remember all your days. “He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, and he will repay.” And have you not been paid fifty times over for what you gave Josiah? “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” said One who gave the greatest gift that God could give to mail. Have you not found it so in regard to your gifts to Josiah? You see how happy you have made him; how blessed it has been to him to receive your presents. But how blessed and happy you must be to make him all this joy and gladness! Ask little Phebe Alcott there, if she has not got her pay ten times over for going without milk so many days that he might have some warm clothes for winter. Ask little Sarah Brown if she has not been repaid well for carrying around her subscription paper for him so many frosty mornings in Worcester. And now, good-night. It has been a long, long time since I met you in the School-room. Many new faces have been added to our circle. Some that I used to see here are gone. But still, the benches are full, and I hope no boy or girl will vacate their seat for the next year.
BY J.B. SYME.
* * * * *
It was our fortune to be born in the country—far away, at the foot of one of the blue hills of Scotland—in a quaint old fashioned little house—in a quiet little village that seemed shrunken and grey, and grim, and decrepid with age. The drooping ashes, the solemn oaks, and the shady plane-trees, spread their long arms tenderly over the straw-thatched roofs of this lowly hamlet, as if to defend it from the burning sun and reckless storms; and the Ayrshire rose and ivy crept up and clung to its damp and crumbling walls. In the broken parts of the gables, and in the crevices of the ruined chimneys, the dew-fed wall-flower grew in poverty and beauty, and shook the incense from its waving flowers into the bosom of summer. The bearded moss clustered like a thousand little brown pin-cushions upon the old thatch, and older stones; and sometimes the polyanthus and primrose, planted beside it by some child who loved to look at flowers, would close their eyes and lay their dewy checks upon the moss’s breast at evening.