“Keep the spell of home
Still alive in every heart;
May its power, with mild direction,
Draw our love from self apart,
Till thy children
Feel that thou their Father art.”
“I have caught such a lot of pretty sea anemones, Eric,” said little Vernon Williams, as his brother strolled in after morning school; “I wish you would come and look at them.”
“O, I can’t come now, Verny; I am going out to play cricket with some fellows directly.”
“But it won’t take you a minute; do come.”
“What a little bore you are. Where are the things?”
“O, never mind, Eric, if you don’t want to look at them,” said Vernon, hurt at his brother’s rough manner.
“First you ask me to look, and then say ‘never mind,’” said Eric impatiently; “here, show me them.”
The little boy brought a large saucer, round which the crimson sea-flowers were waving their long tentacula in the salt water.
“Oh, ay; very pretty indeed. But I must be off to cricket.”
Vernon looked up at his brother sadly.
“You aren’t so kind to me, Eric, as you used to be.”
“What nonsense! and all because I don’t admire those nasty red-jelly things, which one may see on the shore by thousands any day. What a little goose you are, Vernon!”
Vernon made no reply, but was putting away his sea-anemones with a sigh, when in came Russell to fetch Eric to the cricket.
“Well, Verny,” he said, “have you been getting those pretty sea-anemones? come here and show me them. Ah, I declare you’ve got one of those famous white plumosa fellows among them. What a lucky little chap you are!”
Vernon was delighted.
“Mind you take care of them,” said Russell. “Where did you find them?”
“I have been down the shore getting them.”
“And have you had a pleasant morning?”
“Yes, Russell, thank you. Only it is rather dull being always by myself, and Eric never comes with me now.”
“Naughty Eric,” said Russell, playfully. “Never mind, Verny; you and I will cut him, and go by ourselves.”
Eric had stood by during the conversation, and the contrast of Russel’s unselfish kindness with his own harsh want of sympathy, struck him. He threw his arms round his brother’s neck, and said, “We will both go with you, Verny, next half holiday.”
“O, thank you, Eric,” said his brother; and the two schoolboys ran out. But when the next half holiday came, warm and bright, with the promise of a good match that afternoon, Eric repented his promise, and left Russell to amuse his little brother, while he went off, as usual, to the playground.