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THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM.
An old clock, that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen, without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped. Upon this the dial-plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the hands made an ineffectual effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless,—each member felt disposed to lay the blake on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry into the cause of the stop, when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice protested their innocence. But now a faint tick was heard from the pendulum, who thus spoke :
“I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage, and am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking." Upon hearing this, the old clock became so enraged that it was on the point of striking. “Lazy wire !” exclaimed the dial-plate. “As to that," replied the pendulum, “it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as everybody knows, set yourself up above me-it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness—you who have nothing to do all your life but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen! Think, I beseech you, how
you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and
wag backwards and forwards year after year as I do." “ As to that,” said the dial, “ is there not a window in your house on purpose for you to look through ?” “But what of that?" resumed the pendulum ; "although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out. Besides, I am really weary of my way of life; and, if you please, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employ• ment. This morning I happened to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course only of the next twenty-four hours—perhaps some of you above there can tell me the exact sum.” The minute-hand, being quick at figures, instantly replied, “Eighty-six thousand four hundred times.” “Exactly so," replied the pendulum. “Well, I appeal to you all if the thought of this was not enough to fatigue one ;—and when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect: so after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself -I'll stop !"
The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue; but resuming its gravity, thus replied :
“Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful, industrious person as yourself should have been overcome by this suggestion. It is true, you have done a great deal of work in your time, so have we all, and are likely to do; and though this may fatigue us to think of, the question is, will it fatigue us to do? Would you now do me the favour to give about half-a-dozen strokes, to illustrate my argument ?” The pendulum complied, and ticked six times at its usual pace. “Now," resumed the dial," was that exertion fatiguing to you?” “ Not in the least,” replied the pendulum ; "it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions." Very good," replied the dial; “but recollect, that although you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one; and that, however often you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing
in.". “That consideration staggers me, I confess," said the pendulum. “Then I hope," added the dial-plate, “we shall all immediately return to our duty, for the maids will lie in bed till noon if we stand Idling thus.”
Upon this, the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as with one consent, the wheels began to turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever; while a beam of the rising sun, that streamed through a hole in the kitchenshutter, shining full upon the dial-plate, made it brighten up as if nothing had been the matter.
When the farmer came down to breakfast, he declared upon looking at the clock, that his watch had gained half an hour in the night.
Upon this, the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed ; when, as with one consent, the wheels began to turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever ; while a beam of the rising sun, that streamed through a hole in the kitchen-shutter, shining full upon the dial-plate, made it brighten up as if nothing had been the matter.
WHAT ANIMALS ARE MADE FOR.
PRAY, Papa (said Sophia, after she had been a long time teazed with the flies that buzzed about her ears, and settled on her nose and forehead, as she sat at work), -Pray what were flies made for ?
For some good, I dare say (replied her papa).
S. But I think they do a great deal more harm than good, for I am sure they plague me sadly; and in the kitchen they are so troublesome that the maids can hardly do their work for them.
P. Flies eat up many things that would otherwise corrupt and become loathsome; and they serve for food to birds, spiders, and many other animals.
S. But we could clean away everything that was offensive without their help; and as to their serving for food, I have seen whole heaps of them lying dead in the window, without seeming to have done good to anything.
P. Well, then, suppose a fly capable of thinking, would he not be equally puzzled to find out what men are good for? This great two-legged monster, he might say, instead of helping us to live, devours more food at a meal than would serve a whole legion of flies. Then he kills us by hundreds when we come within his reach; and I see him destroy and torment all other animals too. And when he dies, he is nailed up in a box, and put a great way under ground, as if he grudged doing any more good after his death, than when alive. Now what must you answer to such a reasoning fly?
S. I would tell him he was very impertinent for talking so of his betters; for that he and all other creatures were made for the use of man, and not man for theirs.
P. But would you tell him true ? You have just been saying that you could not find out of what use flies were to us; whereas, when they suck our blood, there is no doubt that we are of use to them.
S. It is that which puzzles me.
P. There are many other animals which we call noxious, and which are so far from being useful to us, that we take all possible pains to get rid of them. More than that, there are vast tracts of the earth, where few or no men inbabit, which are yet full of beasts, birds, insects, and all living things. These certainly do not exist there for his use alone. On the contrary, they often keep man away.
S. Then what are they made for?
P. They are made to be happy. It is a manifest purpose of the Creator to give being to as much life as possible, for life is enjoyment to all creatures in health and in possession of their faculties. Man surpasses other animals in his powers of enjoyment, and he has prospects in a future state which they do not share with him. But the Creator equally desires the happiness of all his creatures, and looks down with as much benignity upon these flies that are sporting around us as upon ourselves.
S. Then we ought not to kill them if they are ever so troublesome.
P. I do not say that. We have a right to make a reason.. able use of all animals for our advantage, and also to free ourselves from such as are hurtful to us.
So far our superiority over them may fairly extend. But we should never abuse them for our mere amusement, nor take away their lives wantonly. Nay, a good-natured man will rather undergo a little inconvenience, than take away from a creature all that it possesses. An infant may destroy life, but all the kings upon earth cannot restore it. I remember