At noon, the air is still, mild, and soft. You see blue smoke off by the distant wood and hills. The brook is almost dry. The water runs over the pebbles with a soft, low murmur. The goldenrod is on the hill, the aster by the brook, and the sunflower in the garden.
The twitter of the birds is still heard. The sheep graze upon the brown hillside. The merry whistle of the plowboy comes up from the field, and the cow lows in the distant pasture.
As the sun sinks in the October haze, the low, south wind creeps over the dry tree-tops, and the leaves fall in showers upon the ground. The sun sinks lower, and lower, and is gone; but his bright beams still linger in the west. Then the evening star is seen shining with a soft, mellow light, and the moon rises slowly in the still and hazy air.
November comes. The flowers are all dead. The grass is pale and white. The wind has blown the dry leaves into heaps. The timid rabbit treads softly on the dry leaves. The crow calls from the high tree-top. The sound of dropping nuts is heard in the wood. Children go out morning and evening to gather nuts for the winter. The busy little squirrels will be sure to get their share.
One day, a rich man, flushed with pride
Sitting with guests at table, all quite merry,
Conceived it would be vastly fine
To crack a joke upon his secretary.
“Young man,” said he, “by
what art, craft, or trade
Did your good father earn his livelihood?”
“He was a saddler, sir,” the young man said;
“And in his line was always reckoned good.”
“A saddler, eh? and had you stuffed
Instead of teaching you like him to sew?
And pray, sir, why did not your father make
A saddler, too, of you?”
At this each flatterer, as in duty bound,
The joke applauded, and the laugh went round.
At length the secretary, bowing low,
Said (craving pardon if too free he made),
“Sir, by your leave I fain would know
Your father’s trade.”
“My father’s trade?
Why, sir, but that’s too bad!
My father’s trade? Why, blockhead, art thou mad?
My, father, sir, was never brought so low:
He was a gentleman, I’d have you know.”
“Indeed! excuse the liberty I take;
But if your story’s true,
How happened it your father did not make
A gentleman of you?”
G. P. Morris.
I tell you earnestly, you must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable, nay, letter by letter. You might read all the books in the British Museum, if you could live long enough, and remain an utterly illiterate, uneducated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letter,—that is to say, with real accuracy,—you are forevermore, in some measure, an educated person.