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had brought along in one of the baskets. During this frugal repast
they were entertained with the song of a Yellow Throat, one of the
very sweetest of all the wild birds of the forest. He loves the
thickest shades of the wood; and although the children were perfectly
charmed with his music, he was so shy, that they could not get a
single look at him.

After dinner, the children strolling further into the wood, came
suddenly upon a party of their school fellows, who were in the woods
for a day's sport. They were sitting under a tree, telling stories to
each other.

[Illustration: THE STORY TELLING PARTY.]

Frank and Fanny were received by this lively party with loud shouts of
welcome. They sat down and listened to one or two stories after which
Fanny was invited by one of the little girls, to go and see a fine
swing, which the party had put upon one of the trees of the
forest. The two girls enjoyed themselves in swinging here for half an
hour, while Frank remained with the party who were so much engrossed
with the stories as not to miss the two little girls who were enjoying
the swing.

[Illustration: THE SWING.]

When Fanny returned from the swinging expedition, the children took
leave of their friends, and returned alone to the business of filling
their bags and baskets with nuts. This they accomplished before
sunset, and joyfully set forward for home. Leaving the skirts of this
forest, they saw a little boy reclining under a tree with a dog by his
side. The boy was leaning his head rather dejectedly on his hand, and
seemed rather tired. On the children inquiring how he came there, he
replied, that he had been spending the whole day with his dog, vainly
endeavoring to catch a woodchuck, which he had seen running into the
woods, in the morning. Frank kindly condoled with him on his
disappointment; but, at the same time, advised him to seek some more
profitable employment in future.

[Illustration: THE WOODCHUCK HUNTER.]

After they had left the boy, Frank and Fanny talked together very
sagely on the importance of making a proper use of time, and the folly
of spending it in the hunting of wild animals, like the woodchuck,
which are very hard to catch.

Just before reaching the village, they met a party of boys playing at
soldiers. They had their drum, and fife, colors, and wooden guns, and
tin swords, and flourished away in all the "pride, pomp, and
circumstance" of military display.

[Illustration: PLAYING AT SOLDIERS.]

This sight afforded Frank another theme for remark. His conversations
with Farmer Baldwin had inspired him with disgust for this kind of
amusement. He hated war, and was not pleased with any thing which
reminded him of it. Besides the nonsense of this soldier-playing, he
said there was an objection to it, as inspiring a taste for real
soldier life, and for amusing one's self with gun powder; and he told
Fanny a story of a boy, who, in firing off a little brass cannon,
which split in pieces, received one of the pieces in his neck, which
cut off a large artery, and caused his death in a few minutes.

[Illustration: DANGEROUS SPORT.]

Before Frank had finished his comments on this sad affair, they
reached home; and so ended the nutting expedition, which, Frank
thought, was not quite so profitable as helping Farmer Baldwin to
gather his apples.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII.

MARY DAY.


Mary Day's father was rich. He lived in an elegant house, kept a
carriage and fine horses, and Mary had beautiful dresses, and a great
variety of play-things.

Now I suppose you think that all these things made Mary very happy.
But it was not so. Mary was a discontented little girl. She was never
satisfied with any thing that she had, but was always wishing for
something new. Even the flock of beautiful tame rabbits, which her
father had given, afforded her but little pleasure, because she was of
a discontented disposition.

[Illustration: MARY DAY'S RABBITS.]

Now, it so happened, that Mary had been with Fanny several times to
the little 'chick-a-dee's' grave, and she told her mother, that she
wished she had a bird's grave of her own, like Fanny Lee's. Her mother
told her that Fanny would much rather have a live bird, like Mary's
Canary. But Mary persisted in saying, that a bird's grave was a great
deal nicer than a bird, which had to be waited on so much as her
Canary did, although it was Mary's mother who took care of her linnet.

[Illustration: MARY DAY'S CANARY.]

But Mary's love was soon put to the test, for her Canary sickened and
died; and then she found that she missed its cheerful chirrup, and the
little spot where it was buried, was no source of pleasure to her, for
it but served to remind her of her foolish wish.

It was about this time that their minister, Mr. Herbert, returned from
a visit to New York, and he brought with him, for Fanny Lee, a
beautiful bird, called a linnet.

Mr. Herbert had heard her when she spoke aloud in church, and said,
"poor, dear, little birdie;" and he had inquired of Miss Norton about
her, and she had told him what a good little girl she was, and how
much the death of the bird had grieved her.

[Illustration: FANNY'S LINNET.]

He carried the bird in a cage to Fanny, and she was so delighted, she
could scarcely speak.

Mr. Herbert told her, that she need not fear that the bird would be
unhappy, for it had been born in a cage, and had never been accustomed
to any other kind of life. Then he told her where to put the seed, and
the water, and the sugar, and how to clean the cage; and Fanny
listened attentively, and thanked him so earnestly, while her dark,
blue eyes sparkled with delight, that Mr. Herbert felt more than
repaid for the trouble he had taken in getting the bird.

The next morning Mary Day stopped, in her way to school. When she saw
the cage hanging amid the vines, and heard the clear, sweet notes of
the linnet, her heart was stirred with envy. She was a very selfish
little girl, or it would have pleased her to see Fanny so happy with
her bird; but she looked very cross and sour, as she said,

"So you have got a bird, just because mine is dead."

"Oh, no," answered Fanny, "I never thought of having a bird; but dear,
good Mr. Herbert, brought it to me yesterday. I am so sorry that
yours is dead."

"You needn't be sorry for me," said the petulant Mary, "I've got
plenty of things that you haven't got, and I'd be ashamed to wear such
mean clothes as you do."

Poor Fanny looked down at her clean calico dress, and she saw that it
was faded and patched. A bright rose color flitted over her cheeks,
and when she looked up, tears stood in her eyes. Mary did not say any
more; but she watched Fanny all the forenoon, and saw that she had
made her feel very unhappy. When they went out to play, she went up to
Fanny, and said,

"I will give you one of my fine dresses for your little linnet, and
then you needn't wear that old patched calico any more."

"No, no," answered Fanny, "I would not sell my bird for all the
dresses in the world."

This made the selfish, naughty Mary more angry than ever; and she went
around whispering to all the girls to look at the patches in Fanny
Lee's dress. Some of them laughed with Mary, and poor Fanny felt very
much hurt and grieved.

After school, that noon, Frank found her crying alone in her room, and
for the first time in her life, she refused to tell him what was the
matter.

In the afternoon, after school was out, Fanny did not stay, as she
sometimes did, to play on the green with the children; but she took
her book, and turned down into the meadow path alone. Frank felt very
sad when he saw that his sister avoided him; but he followed her into
the woods, and found her sitting in her favorite spot.

It was autumn, and the weather was cooler. Fanny had spread her shawl
down upon a log, and she was now sitting upon it, with her open book
in her lap; but her eyes were bent upon the ground, thoughtfully. A
merry little wren was flitting around and above her, but her cheerful
notes were now unheeded.

[Illustration: THE WREN.]

Frank sat down beside her, and putting one arm about her neck, he
clasped her hand tenderly. Resting his head upon his other hand, he
looked into her face, and said,

[Illustration: FRANK CONSOLING FANNY.]

"Why won't my dear sister tell me what has made her feel so badly."
She did not want to converse, but when Frank told her that he should
be very unhappy if he did not know the cause, she told him all about
it. Frank felt very sorry for his sister, and at first bad feelings
rose in his heart; but he had learned how to conquer them; so he
talked to her, and told her how much happier they were than Mary Day,
and how disagreeable she made herself, with her selfishness and her
vanity; and then he told her that he had read in a book somewhere,
that it was better to live in a mud hovel, with a kind heart, and a
cheerful temper like hers, than to live in a palace without it.

When they went home, Fanny was as happy as ever again, for she found
that her heart was very much lightened by sharing her troubles with
her brother.

The next day when they went to school, Mary Day was not there, and
during the forenoon, Miss Norton received a note from Mary's mother,
saying, that she had been thrown from a carriage, and one of her limbs
broken. Fanny felt so sorry for her, that she forgot all the unkind
things which she had said the day before, and as soon as school was
out, she hurried home, and taking down her cage, she started for
Mr. Herbert's, without saying any thing to her grand-parents, or to
Frank. She was almost breathless when she reached the parsonage.
Mr. Herbert was gathering some grapes in the garden, and as soon
as Fanny saw him, she said,

"Please, Mr. Herbert, let me give my linnet to Mary Day, her Canary is
dead, and she has broken her leg, and she wants this very badly, and I
can spare it, for I can go in the woods and hear the birds sing, while
poor Mary has to lie in bed, and if I should get very home sick often,
dear Linny, I can go and listen at her windows, and hear him sing."

Little Fanny chatted so fast, that Mr. Herbert could not help
smiling, although he was very sorry to hear of poor Mary's
misfortune. He told her that she might give it to Mary to keep while
she was sick, if she thought it would cheer her any; but he said, that
he should wish Fanny to have it again, after Mary should recover; for
he felt more confidence in her, that she would take good care of the
little bird. Then he put his hat on, and went to Mr. Day's house, and
told them how she had wished to give the bird to Mary, but that he had
only consented to her lending it. They all thought that she was a very
good girl; and Mary told Fanny that she might take home any of her
play things. But Fanny did not wish for them, and Mary thought it
very strange that she should be willing to give her the bird, when she
was so fond of it. It was great company to Mary, during her
confinement to the house, and when she was able to go to school again,
the bird was returned to Fanny willingly, for Mary had learned to love
her very much, and she often felt sorry that she should ever have hurt
the feelings of so good a girl.

Mr. Herbert always spoke of Frank and Fanny with a great deal of love,
for he thought them the most affectionate and dutiful children that he
had ever known.

He foretold that they would become useful and respectable when they
should grow up; and in this respect he was perfectly right. Frank owns
a very large farm, purchased with the wages of his own industry; and
Fanny is the happy, busy, and industrious little wife of worthy Farmer
Baldwin's only son.

Good children are always beloved, for they make every one happy around
them, and they are happy themselves.

I hope those who read this little tale, will try to be kind and
forgiving, like Frank and Fanny Lee. A kind, friendly disposition, and
a willingness to forgive rather than resent injuries, is one which
cannot fail to make us happy and beloved by our friends in this world;
and without it we can not be happy in the world which is to come.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: FRANK and FANNY.]









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Online LibraryMrs. Clara MoretonFrank and Fanny → online text (page 3 of 3)