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THE SCAMPER ON SHAGGY.
H, I do so long to have a scamper upon Shaggy again!” 2 These were the first words on the lips of Jos Jackson,
as he awoke on a Sunday morning, the day following that
of the arrival of the Shetland pony which was a gift to him from his father.
Shaggy—so named on account of his rough mane and hide—had reached Myrtle Lodge on Saturday evening, rather tired after a long journey. But Jos had not been able to resist the pleasure of mounting him for a short canter across the common.
“ Just as far as the sign-post, papa—not a step further!” cried Jos, with his hand on the saddle. “You know that to-morrow is Sunday; and then,” added the boy, in a tone of regret, “I suppose that I must not ride Shaggy at all.”
“ Certainly not,” replied Dr. Jackson, who reverenced the Fourth Commandment, and took care that his son should at least outwardly obey it. “Well, my boy, then mount and away! But do not go further than the sign-post, for poor Shaggy has travelled a good many miles to-day.”
Jos had his father's eye upon him, and he turned his pony at exactly the right spot, and jumped off his back at the very minute after reaching the place where Dr. Jackson was standing. The father had been watching with a kindly smile the first ride of his only son, the motherless boy whom he loved with the tenderest affection. It would be difficult to say whether the parent or the child had most enjoyment from that first ride ; for while the easy pace of Shaggy was delightful to Jos, and he felt happy as a prince in the saddle, his father was almost happier in seeing the pleasure which his present gave to his boy.
Jos could hardly sleep that night, his mind was so full of his ride, and he was so impatient to have a look —just a look—at Shaggy on the common, where he had been turned out to graze.
“This would have been such a beautiful day for a ride! What a pity that it is Sunday !” said Jos to himself, as he ran up to his pony.
If Shaggy had had thought and speech, he certainly would not have said, “What a pity it is that it is Sunday!” No more would the weary horses that were happily grazing at some little distance. They had been toiling all through the week; and oh, what a blessing to them was the Sunday's rest! Jos Jackson had known nothing of really hard work. He had led almost as easy a life as the gabbling geese by the pool, or the quaint little water-wagtails. He therefore did not value Sabbath rest ; and as for Sabbath duties, I am afraid that Jos Jackson took in them no interest at all.
“Oh, I do so long to have a scamper upon Shaggy again!” had been, as we have said, the first words of Jos in the morning; and twenty times at least they recurred to his mind during the day, though he did not utter them aloud to any one. They expressed his thought when the bell rang for family prayers; when his father read the Bible