Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 657 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12).
watch, which Mrs. Dawson said she thought a suitable present for one who had made a good use of her time; a small telescope next appeared; and lastly, Paley’s “Natural Theology,” neatly bound.  Charlotte was then desired to take possession of the contents of the other table, which were considerably more numerous.  The first prize she drew out was a very beautiful French fan; but upon opening it, it stretched out in an oblong shape, for want of the pin to confine the sticks at bottom.  Then followed a new parasol; but when unfurled there was no catch to confine it, so that it would not remain spread.  A penknife handle without a blade, and the blade without the handle, next presented themselves to her astonished gaze.  In great confusion she then unrolled a paper which discovered a telescope apparently like her sister’s; but on applying it to her eye, she found it did not contain a single lens—­so that it was no better than a roll of pasteboard.  She was, however, greatly encouraged to discover that the last remaining article was a watch; for, as she heard it tick, she felt no doubt that this at least was complete; but upon examination she discovered that there was no hour hand, the minute hand alone pursuing its lonely and useless track.

Charlotte, whose conscience had very soon explained to her the moral of all this, now turned from the tantalizing table in confusion, and burst into an agony of tears.  Caroline wept also; and Mrs. Dawson, after an interval of silence, thus addressed her daughters: 

“It is quite needless for me to explain my reasons for making you such presents, Charlotte.  I assure you your papa and I have had a very painful employment the past hour in spoiling them all for you.  If I had found on your table in the schoolroom any one thing that had been properly finished, you would have received one complete present to answer it; but this you know was not the case.  I should be very glad if this disappointment should teach you what I have hitherto vainly endeavored to impress upon you—­that as all those things, pretty or useful as they are in themselves, are rendered totally useless for want of completeness, so exertion without perseverance is no better than busy idleness.  That employment does not deserve the name of industry which requires the stimulus of novelty to keep it going.  Those who will only work so long as they are amused will do no more good in the world, either to themselves or others, than those who refuse to work at all.  If I had required you to pass the six weeks of my absence in bed or in counting your fingers, you would, I suppose, have thought it a sad waste of time; and yet I appeal to you whether (with the exception of an hour or two of needlework) the whole mass of articles on your table could produce anything more useful.  And thus, my dears, may life be squandered away, in a succession of busy nothings.

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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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