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wide. I wish that it were nearer, for, oh, I am getting so tired! I shall not be sorry, after all, when aunt comes and takes us back with her to dinner."
Amy sauntered wearily to the oak tree, but soon found that it was not the right one, for not a single plucked wild-flower lay under its shade. The child sat down on its rough gnarled roots, and called out aloud the names of Sylvia and Annie. There was no sound to be heard in return, only the note of a thrush that was singing in a neighbouring tree.
Then Amy grew frightened as well as tired, for she was not accustomed to be long left alone. She began to think of the Babes in the Wood, and other such stories of lost little children. Again she called out, and more loudly, but still no answer came. Then—for she was but a little girl—poor Amy began to cry.
Then the weather became cloudy and threatening, and a few big drops came pattering down through the leaves of the oak. It might not be pleasant to have no better shelter than that of trees, even in the merry spring-time. Amy, tired, lonely, frightened, and hungry, soon gave up her wish that it might always be May, and that she might have nothing to do but play; she felt that there might be troubles far worse than any caused by grammar or spelling.
"Suppose that I should have to stop here all night, alone in the dark! Suppose that I should have to go without dinner and tea, and have no nice bed to sleep on, but only the grass all wet with the dew and the rain!" Fast flowed Amy's tears at the thought. The pretty verse which she had often repeated to her aunt without thinking of its meaning, now came into the little girl's mind,—
Amy had never felt what a blessing it is to have a home, and a table spread with plenty of food, and a nice dry bed to sleep in, till she was lost in the wood.
But poor Amy's trouble was not to last long. Presently, to her great joy, she heard well-known voices calling her name; and gladly and loudly the little girl answered the call. No merry songs of the birds had ever been so welcome to Amy as the shouts of those who were searching for her, that they might take her back with them to her home in a dull smoky street, and to her daily round of work and of lessons.
"Why, Amy, where have you been? We have been hunting after you this half-hour, and mamma is waiting," said Sylvia, as Amy, guided by the sound of her voice, ran up to her cousin.
Poor Amy's red eyes and weary looks told the tale of her wanderings before she recovered breath to speak. Glad indeed was she to find herself once more with her young companions, and seated in the carriage by the side of her aunt. Even Bristol, with its dusty streets and smoke-cloud hanging above them, was a welcome sight to the hungry, tired little girl.
It was often, in after-times, an amusement to Amy and her cousins to talk and laugh over her adventure in the wood; but she was never again heard by any one to express the idle wish that every month might be May, and life be nothing but playtime.
ON THE RAFT. > —«— <
ARKNESS around mc closes,
And not a sail is nigh; No human ear can hear my call, No human voice reply; The lowering sky above, around
Waves, waves spread everywhere: Dread prospect! yet my sinking soul Still struggles with despair!
Upon my rude and sea-washed raft
I float upon the wave,
The friend he cannot save;
In vain—no hope is there!
In anguish—not despair!
No, though fell thirst and hunger
No, though my chill and shuddering frame
Though fainting, helpless, desolate,
His eye beholds, His hand protects,
Farewell, my friends beloved,
Still in this dark hour dear; Ye little know the fearful night
Which closes round us here! Lord, bless them; and, if such Thy will,
Oh! spare, for Thou canst spare Him, who confiding in Thy love,
May die, but not despair! # # #
The dreary night has passed away,
The dawn is in the skies,
The shipwrecked Edwin lies;
His dog is striving there
To bid him not despair.
The dog has seen the distant sail