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Sir Bevis supported the widow's cause,
And upheld the orphan's claim;
For little he sought for fame.
Bleeding upon the plain,
And brought him to life again,
Those warlike times they have passed away
Knights wear the Red Cross no more ; But contrasts exist in modern day
Great as in days of yore.
E'en in the child we see
Though but of a low degree;
NOT ALWAYS PLAY.
DHE country!—the green, beautiful country! What child
whose home is in a city does not enjoy a ramble over the
meadows gilded with buttercups or silvered with daisies, and M y delight to plunge deeper and deeper into some wood where the beams of the sun can hardly pierce through the thick over-arching boughs to shine on the bossy trunks of the trees, or the wild-flowers that blossom under their shade!
Certainly little Amy looked as happy as a bird on that breezy May morning when her aunt had driven her and her cousins Sylvia and Annie some miles from their home in the hot smoky city of Bristol to the pleasant scenes of Shadywell. The lady left the three girls to enjoy a ramble in the fields and the woods, while she herself went to pass an hour with a friend.
“Oh, I wish that it always were May !—I wish that I always could play!” cried Amy, as she displayed to her cousins some lovely wildflowers which she had gathered under a hedge.
“That is rhyme, but not reason,” said Sylvia, the eldest and most staid of the party, who had been left by her mother in charge of the two younger girls. “ If it were always May, we should have blossoms but no fruit, green shoots but no corn ; and if it were always play, we should have—"
“Oh, we should have no lessons, no grammar and spelling, and we should get on capitally without them,” laughed Amy, as she emptied her hands and her frock of the flowers which she carried, that Annie might add them to the garland which she was making. “What fun it would be to have nothing to do but pick flowers! I'm off for morethere are thousands of violets and wild anemones and hyacinths there in the wood!”
“Do not go far, Amy,” said Sylvia; “ I expect mamma back in ten minutes; she said that she could not stop long, else we should be late for dinner.”
“Never mind dinner !” cried Amy, and she bounded gaily towards the place where she had seen wild-flowers in abundance under the trees. She soon reached the spot; and after scrambling up a little bank (and leaving a bit of her dress on a bramble), she made her way through the wood, merrily humming to herself, “I wish that it always were MayI wish that I always could play!”
As Amy was stooping down to fill again her little frock with flowers, white, purple, and blue, she heard a slight rustle among the bushes, and then a young rabbit darted across the path near her—so near that Amy could almost have touched it, had it not so quickly disappeared from her view.
Amy uttered an exclamation of pleasure and surprise at sight of the creature. She had seen rabbits hung up in poulterers' shops, and cooked rabbit served up for dinner; but a live rabbit, a free rabbit, not hung up by its little legs, but running upon them, Amy never before
had seen. Away to right and left flew the flowers which Amy had gathered, as she rushed with eager speed in the direction which the rabbit had taken.
“Oh, if I could only catch it, if I could find its little hole (for aunt says that rabbits burrow in holes in the earth), what fun, what famous fun it would be !” thought the child as she ran. It was not very likely - that a girl should overtake a rabbit, but Amy never stopped to consider what might be her chance of success in the chase. She had set her heart on catching a live rabbit with long ears, and carrying it in triumph to Bristol. “ I'll not give it to the poulterer,” thought she; “ it shall never be cooked and put into a dish ; but my bunny shall lie in dolly's cradle, and I'll feed it with bread and milk, and it shall be my pet rabbit as long as it Yves.”
For some time Amy hunted in the thicket in the direction which the rabbit had taken—now softly creeping along a path green with moss, now searching a grassy knoll in which she thought that a rabbit hole might be found. Hither and thither the little girl wandered, exploring and peeping. Amy did not succeed in finding the rabbit, .but she succeeded in losing herself. She stopped at last, tired and breathless, and wondered whether the meadow in which she had left her cousins lay to the right or the left of the shady spot where she stood; for the trees grew so thickly together that they shut out all distant view.
“ Where was I when I saw the rabbit, and dropped all my pretty wild-flowers?” said Amy to herself. “I think that I was under an oak tree-yes, I am sure that I was under an oak tree—and yonder it is; I know it by its rugged trunk and by the boughs that stretch out so