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used to drink anything but water, it made them quite tipsy for a little while; so that when they got back into the lane, first one tumbled down, and then another; and their faces became flushed, and their heads began to ache, so that they were forced to sit down for a time under a tree, on the side of the lane, and there they were when John came to find them; for John, who was in the stable when they ran out of the garden, was much frightened when he returned to the house, and could not find them there.
“Ah, you naughty children," said he, when he found them, “you have almost frightened me out of my life! Where have you been ?”
'“ We have been in the lane," said Lucy, blushing.
This was not all the truth; but one fault always leads to another.
So John brought them home, and locked them up in their play-room, whilst he got their dinner ready. When the children found themselves shut
in their play-room, and could not get out, they sat themselves down, and began to think how naughty they had been. They were silent for a few minutes; at last Lucy spoke :
“Oh, Henry ! oh, Emily ! how naughty we have been! And yet I thought I would be so good when papa and mamma went out; so very good! What shall we say when papa and mamma come home?"
Then all the children began to cry. At length Henry said,
“I'll tell you what we will do, Lucy; we will be good all the evening ; we will not do one naughty thing."
“So we will, Henry,” said Emily. " When John lets us out, how good we will be ! and then we can tell the truth, that we were naughty in the morning, but we were good all the evening."
John made some nice apple dumplings for the
children ; and when they were ready, and he had put some butter and sugar upon them (for John was a good-natured man), he fetched the children down; and after they had each ate as much apple dumpling as he thought proper, he told them they might play in the barn, bidding them not to stir out of it till supper-time.
Henry and Lucy and Emily were delighted with this permission ; and, as Lucy ran along to the barn with her brother and sister, she said, « Now let us be very good. We are not to do anything naughty all this evening."
“We will be very good, indeed,” answered Emily,
“ Better than we ever were in all our lives," added Henry
So they all went into the barn: and when John fastened them in, he said to himself, “ Sure they will be safe now, till I have looked to the pigs, and milked the cow; for there is nothing in the barn but straw and hay, and they cannot hurt themselves with that, sure. But John was mistaken. As soon as he was gone, Henry spied a swing, which Mr. Fairchild had made in the barn for the children, but which he never allowed them to use when he was not with them, because swings are very dangerous things, unless there are very careful persons to use them. The seat of the swing was tied up to the side of the barn, above the children's reach, as Mr. Fairchild thought.
“Oh! Lucy," said Henry, “there is the swing. There can be no harm in our swinging a little. If papa was here, I am sure he would let us swing. If you and Emily will help to lift me up, I will untie it and let it down ; and then we will swing so nicely."
So Emily and Lucy lifted Henry up: and he untied the swing, and let it down into its right place ; but as he was getting down, his coat caught upon a bit of wood on the side of the barn, and was much
torn. However, the children did not trouble themselves very much about this accident: they got one by one into the swing, and amused themselves for some time without any mischance. First Emily got into the swing; then Henry, then Lucy; and then Emily would get in again. Now, Lucy,” she said, swing me high, and I will shut my eyes : you
can't think how pleasant it is to swing with one's eyes
shut. Swing me higher ! swing me higher !"
So she went on calling to Lucy, and Lucy trying to swing her higher and higher: till at last the swing turned, and down came Emily on the floor! There happened providentially to be some straw on the floor, or she would have been killed. As it was, however, she was sadly hurt: she lay for some minutes without speaking, and her mouth and nose poured out blood.
Henry and Lucy thought she was dead; and, oh! how frightened they were ! They screamed so violently, that John came running to see what was the matter : and, poor man! he was sadly frightened when he saw Emily lying on the floor covered with blood. He lifted her up, and brought her into the house ; saw she was not dead, but he did not know how much she might be hurt. When he had washed her face from the blood, and given ber a little water to drink, she recovered a little : but her nose and one eye, and her lip, were terribly swelled, and two of her teeth were out.
It was well they were her first teeth, and that she had others to come, or else she would have been without her front teeth all her life.
When Emily was a little recovered, John placed her in a little chair by the kitchen fire ; and he took his blue pocket-handkerchief, and tied Lucy and Henry to the kitchen table, saying, “You unlucky rogues ; you have given me trouble enough to-daythat
you have. I will not let you go out of my sight again, till master and mistress come home. Thank God
you have not killed your sister! Who would have thought of your loosing the swing ?”
shall we say
In this manner Henry, and Lucy, and Emily, remained till it was nearly dark ; and then they heard the sound of the horse's feet coming up to the kitchen door, for Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were come. John hastened to untie the children, who trembled from head to foot. “Oh! John, John! what shall we do? What
?” said Lucy. “ The truth, the truth, and all the truth,” said John; “ it is the best thing you can do now.”
When Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild came in, they thought their children would have run to meet them; but they were so conscious of their naughtiness, that they all crept behind John, and Emily hid her face.
Emily, Lucy, Henry !” said Mrs. Fairchild, “ you keep back : what is the matter ?”'
“Oh! mamma, mammal papa, papa!" said Lucy, coming forward and falling on her knees before them;
we have been very wicked children to-day; we are not fit to come near you.”
“What have you done, Lucy?” said Mrs. Fairchild. Tell the whole truth, and pray to God to forgive you, for his dear Son's sake. These are the only things which children can do, when they have been naughty, to make their peace with God and their parents.
Then Lucy told her papa and mamma everything which she and her brother and sister had done : she did not hide anything from them. You may be sure that Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were very much shocked. When they heard all that Lucy had to tell them, and saw Emily's face, they looked very grave indeed.
“I am glad that you have told the truth, my children," said Mr. Fairchild : “but the sins that
you have committed are very dreadful ones. You have disobeyed your parents; and, in consequence of your
disobedience, Emily might have lost her life, if God had not been very merciful to you. And now go all of you to your beds; and there think upon your sins, and entreat your Heavenly Father to pardon you, for that blessed Saviour's sake who bore your sins upon
the cross." The children did as their
bade them, and went silently up to their beds, where they cried sadly, thinking upon their wickedness. The next morning they all three came into their mamma's room, and begged her to kiss them and forgive them.
“Oh! mamma, mamma!” said Lucy, been very wicked; but we have prayed to God, and we hope that he has forgiven us, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Therefore we hope that you will par
“I have committed many sins myself,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “ and hope to be forgiven through my dear Saviour: therefore I cannot refuse to pardon you, my child.
But indeed you made me and your papa very unhappy last night.'
Then the children looked at their mamma's eyes, and they were full of tears: and they felt more and more sorry to think how greatly they had grieved their kind mother : and when their mamma kissed them, and put her arms round their necks, they cried more than ever.
“Oh, mamma!” said Lucy, “I cannot think how I could behave so ill as I did yesterday; for I had resolved in my own mind to be very good – indeed I had. And when I did wrong, I knew it was wrong all the time, and hated myself for doing it; and still I did it."
“And do you wonder, my dear child,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “what it was that made you behave so ill ? It was sin, my dear ; the sin of your heart; the sin which is ever present with us, and which, when we would do well, is always preventing us. People talk