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the noise and confusion, men ran in front, spread their arms and waved their hats, but when the horse came close upon them and showed no signs of stopping, they thought better of it, and got out of the way. Every one expected to see the gig destroyed. It grazed the cart by the butcher's door, it just missed the lamp post; there! it swung through the hole where the paving was being mended, and almost went over. And still, on dashed the horse ; poor thing! it was only the more alarmed by the noise of itself and its pursuers, and down the long street, all on the gentle slope of the hill, it went faster and faster. But every one thought of the bridge at the bottom, where the corner turns so sharp to the left ; it must come against the stone parapet and hurt itself, and smash the gig. Every one ran on, and on, to see the catastrophe.
A little boy of about seven years old was dragging a small waggon of the rudest make, in which sat a child. He hastened to wheel his vehicle out of the way, and pushed it up an entry: then shouting to his little charge, “Dunnot cry, Polly, I'll soon come back;" he ran out again to the street, to see what was the matter. On came horse and gig, and the bridge was nearly reached, when Jack sprang off the pavement, with a wild leap reached the horse's head, stuck to it, while his rags fluttered in the air, and as every body expected to see him kicked down, managed to keep out of reach of the plunging heels, and to check the horse's mad speed. He could not have held on long, but when once the pace abated, others ran in, and when the owner came up, he found horse and gig both uninjured.
“ Where is the boy that stopped him !" was a general question, when it was satisfactorily ascertained no damage was done. Jack was discovered, slowly drawing his waggon down the street, having with difficulty pacified Polly, who did not at all approve of being deserted. "There's the boy!" "Hollo, youngster! “ This is him, sir!” cried several voices, and Jack, half-unwilling, was brought face to face with the old gentleman, who now sat in his gig again, with a careful hold of the reins, while the ostler from a neighbouring public house stood by the horse's head, but wisely abstained from touching him.
* So you stopped my horse, my lad ?"
"Well, I must give you something for doing it so cleverly. What is your name?”
Aye, I live with mother and sister Polly," and he looked anxiously to the cart on the pavement, from which a little pale face was looking as anxiously at him.
Well, here's a half-a-crown for you." And the owner of the gig tossed the coin to the boy, and feeling he had rewarded him munificently, loosened his reins and drove on with a self-satisfied air ; while all the crowd smiled on Jack, with the gratification an English crowd always feels, at seeing a well-merited reward bestowed on a small boy.
Jack hastened back to his waggon, and grasping the balf-crown fast in one hand, seized the handle in the other, and wheeled it round to return up the street.
« Oh, Jack," remonstrated little Polly, “not go back, me want go fields."
“ But Polly! Jack has got this to show mother; Jack wants to tell mother.” It was all in vain, still the child whimpered and said
“ Take Polly to fields, pick pretty posies."
Now Polly was Jack's one pet. Though five years old, she had the appearance of an infant of eighteen months. Owing to a fall which had injured her spine, she bad lingered for years between life and death, her growth had been stopped, and some people said she would be an idiot. But now she had learnt to talk, and though she spoke like a much younger child than she was, she sometimes showed that her mental powers were in some respects well developed. Polly could walk a little, and her great pleasure was for Jack to draw her out into the fields, where she could crawl about on the grass, gather daisies, and bask in the sunshine. And Jack was never tired of doing what would please" poor Polly." So conquering his own wishes,
he turned again his face ccuntryward, and looking every minute at his money to see it was safe, slowly pursued his way
Jack was the son of a clever mechanic, who had killed himself with drinking. His wife, at first a neat industrious woman, with good clothes and a comfortable house, sunk, through all the gradual degradations of a drunkard's wife, to a state of complete wretchedness. "Happily, however, she never followed the bad example of her husband ; and when he died, soon after Polly's birth, she felt obliged to do something for her children ; her old industrious habits were not wholly gone, she got employment as a charwoman, and soon regained some of the old hopeful, self-dependent feeling, which had been lost in the drunkard's home. Unfortunately, her occupation took her away from her children ; hence Polly's accident, inflicting on her a life-long mischief; hence, too, the neglected state in which Jack had grown up, living in the streets, learning little good, and much evil, and with no bright spot in his character, except a natural fearlessness and a deep love for his helpless sister.
And so they went on, the little pale girl watching eagerly for the well-remembered field with a primrose bank in it, and the dirty ragged boy grasping his halfcrown, and deep in meditation as to what he should do with it.
(To be continued.)
THE BEAUTIES OF WINTER.
DECEMBER and January are called dull and cold months; but to the lover of nature, who haunts lane, field, and wood, no month is dull. Nature is asleep, refreshing herself for the beauty of spring, the glory of summer, and the riches of autumn. She is not dead; for there are plants to which winter is a spring time.
The beautiful mosses of the acrocarpi section throw
1. Usnea barbata, with stem and rudimentary leaves. 2, 3. Cladonia Pyxidata, with leaves disappearing. 4. Ramalina Calicaris, with stem nearly lost. 5. Sticta herbacea, with stem lost, and leaves spreading. 6. Parmelia pallescens, stemand leaves consolidated. 7. Opegrapha scripta, showing the fructification like eastern writing.