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PELTING SNOW-BALLS. THERE is one thing which boys-yes, and girls too sometimes—are very fond of doing when snow is on the ground; and that is, making balls of it, and pelting them at one another.
Now because I am an old man I am not going to find fault with everything children do. Indeed, I have no desire to do that; for I rather love to see them enjoy themselves at play either in winter or summer, if they only play fair and so as not to hurt one another.
But I think it is not fair when playing at snow-balls to make them as hard as a stone either by squeezing or by dipping them in water; for then they may hurt those at whom you throw them.
Neither do I think it fair for boys to throw snow-balls at girls or at old people. I have seen some rude lads do such things sometimes, and I have always set them down as mischievous and cowardly.
No: if you boys do play at snow-balling, play with boys of your own age and size, and that will be playing fair. And take care to be always in good humour, and dont soon get angry. If you do it will be sure to spoil your play.
One more thing I shall just say; indeed I should not be doing right if I did not: never make a snow-ball or throw one on the sabbath-day. There are six other days on which you may play, but the sabbath-day is the Lord's-day, when none of us-men, women, or children, must either work or play. Remember the sabbath-day to keep it holy.
CALM was the sea and bright was the sky,
VISIT TO MY MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE.
OUR JOURNEY THERE.
“My Mother!" what crowds of tender and pleasing thoughts
the mind at the mention of these two words. Some who read this—we hope they are few-- may not remember their mother. She might be removed before they were able to notice her; and others may only just dimly recollect some kind and gentle form that moved about the house, and seemed to anticipate all their little wants by her watchful care. But who, that through all his younger days enjoyed a mother's affection, can ever forget one who, like some kind angel sent from heaven, was ever near to provide for his comfort, and wipe away his tears in trouble ?
Such a mother I had; and never can I forget her so long as memory remains.
In truth, though more than fifty years have passed away since the days of my childhood, I have yet, fresh in my memory, the recollection of her unchanging and untiring kindness. And thankful have I often been to see the same maternal solicitude for their welfare manifested towards my own children by one whom each of them can call “My Mother."
It was to revive in my heart the remembrance of my mother, and to see for myself the place of her birth and the scenes of her childhood, that, in company with a younger brother, I again visited the spot in the summer of 1855. I say "again visited,” for I had been at the place once before when a boy of fourteen.
And here I may state in explanation, that the place where I was born and the place where my mother was born were wide apart. I remember that when I visited my mother's birthplace when a boy, it was at the time of the great French war with Buonaparte. The village was on a hill a few miles above a celebrated seaport and fortress at the mouths of the Medway and the Thames. After tea, on a lovely evening in May, my good-natured uncle, who, after his father, then occupied the Abbey Farm,” took my father and myself a walk across his fields down to the beach. And there, in the Nore, lay a fleet of some sixteen sail of the line to guard the entrances to the rivers. One thing I remember that pleased me much at the time was, that just as the sun sunk over the opposite coast of Essex the ships fired their guns as a signal of sunset. That was a grand sight for a lad, and something for him to talk about among his playfellows when he got home again.
Another thing I recollect, and that was—if I am to be set down as childish for telling these tales, so let it be; I write for children, and if I amuse them that is enough–I had brought with me a map of the world, which I had made at the “grammar school," as a specimen of my handywork, which I had the honour of seeing fixed up over the mantelpiece in the parlour of my aunt, a sister of my mother's, who also lived in the village.
Nearly fifty years have since passed away and brought many changes, and given time for death to do his work. The two uncles and aunts, and my own father and mother, have since gone the way of all the earth, and I, the boy then, am getting to be an old man now-one year beyond three
And so it has been, and so it will be to the end of the last chapter of human history!
I stop, reminded by what I have just written, and the place where I am writing it, to say that I am now from home, sitting alone in the parlour of a friend, from whose house we enjoy one of the most lovely scenes in Derbyshire. A fine pool of water beneath us, with swans sailing over its placid bosom, and waterfowl swimming and screaming and splashing on its surface or near its banks, covered beyond by a little wood of trees of variegated foliage, with gentle landscapes at each extremity. Thirty years ago I dwelt here, before I had wife or children, with the father of “mine host" and his amiable partner. And here it was that I commenced writing those numerous magazines and tracts and books which I have since been permitted, through Divine favour, to publish. Death has done his work here too. They with whom I dwelt then are no more on earth now; but they died in the Lord, and their many works of benevolent kindness follow them. But their children are treading in their steps; and it is pleasing to indulge the hope that their children too will form unbroken links in that chain which binds them to the skies.
But I was writing about “my mother," and I have mentioned her departure hence. It is now many years ago. I cannot forget that day when thinking about her; and the more so as there was something remarkable in the matter, and especially as regarded myself. I think I am not superstitious, but I confess I am a believer in what may be called supernatural intimations. I believe He who made us can, if