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possible; and, after some objections from his aunt, who had begun to find George very useful, it was agreed that the boy should set off whenever he pleased. But what would become of his rabbit ?
At a short distance from his uncle's cottage stood an old-fashioned farm-house in the middle of a very fine garden. It belonged to a magistrate in the next seaport town, called Mr. Stanley, and every summer his two little daughters with their governess used to spend some weeks there. On the first evening after their arrival the children had noticed George's rabbit, and had come almost every day since to feed it with fresh leaves from their garden. They often longed to have this pretty rabbit for their own, but did not like asking George to sell his little pet. At last, one day their father came to see them, and he was spoken to on this important affair. There was a hutch in the garden, just fit for keeping it, which must have been used by somebody for the same purpose.
Mr. Stanley thought there could be no harm in asking if George wished to sell the little favourite, but by no means to urge him against his will; and before leaving he threw his purse on the table, and told the children to take a half-crown to pay for it. Minnie and Effie chose a very bright one, and Mr. Stanley went away loaded with kisses and thanks.
Early next morning the little girls went with their governess to look for George, and found him looking very sad indeed. They at once offered to buy the rabbit, and George declared he would be glad to give it to them, as he wanted to go away to sea, and was much troubled about his dear little white pet. But
no, Minnie and Effie should buy it; and if George would bring it up to their garden, and put it into the house they had ready for it, they would give him a beautiful bright half-crown. A heavy load was lifted from George's heart in thinking what plenty and comfort his favourite would enjoy during his absence; and though tears ran down his cheeks as he turned away after leaving it in its new home, they were tears of gratitude as well as of regret. And when he was going, Effie slipped the bright half-crown into his hand.
That very evening George said good-bye to his uncle and aunt, and at the early dawn set off on foot to the next port, but not before he had asked a blessing on his journey, and hidden his little old Bible inside his jacket, down safe in a pocket with the bright half
For a long time George wandered up and down the quays, asking almost every one he met if he wanted a cabin-boy. Some laughed, and some gave him rough answers; but at last, a kind-looking sailor told him that his skipper did want such a hand, and desired him to come on board the "Maryanne " schooner at two o'clock to see the master. But before two o'clock George was where he never had expected to be-a prisoner in a prison.
Having grown weary and faint from his long walk, he went into a baker's shop, bought a loaf of bread, began to eat some himself, and gave the rest to a famished-looking girl who sold oranges at the door, while he waited for the change of his half-crown. Suddenly the baker seized him roughly by the collar,
and asked how he dared to pass bad money on him. George was struck dumb. Bad money! impossible : that beautiful half-crown the little lady had given him. The baker declared that it could not be the first time he had played the same trick, of which he should now be cured; and George's truthful statement of facts had no effect in convincing him of his innocence.
"Well, my lad, you shall see what your money has bought for you," said the baker, putting him into the charge of a policeman who had been called. A few minutes more, and the poor boy found himself alone in a cell of the prison, waiting to be brought before the magistrates for trial next day. He sat down and cried. Was not everything against him? An orphan without friends, money, or a character, what would become of him? He had tried to do right, and punishment, instead of reward, had met him at every step. The afternoon passed away in these bitter thoughts, and, as evening closed in, dark despair settled down on his mind.
Suddenly one ray of light stole through the grated window of his cell, and woke up a little text of God's own word which had lain asleep in the boy's heart. It was this: "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness." All night long George comforted himself with these words, and now that Hope had come to keep him company, the prison room did not seem so lonely.
Next morning he was taken to court, and stood before the magistrates. The baker was there, showed the half-crown, and told his story, when George was
permitted to relate his own. With much earnest simplicity he stated the truth about the sale of the rabbit, and getting the money from the little ladies at Stanley Grange. One of the gentlemen on the bench started, looked angry, then sorry, passed his hand across his brow, examined his purse, and then spoke: "I know all about it; my children have been the cause of this poor boy's trouble. Two days ago a bad half-crown came into my possession, which I put into a corner of my purse to examine at leisure, hoping to find some clue to the forgers of this base coin. On a late visit to the country my little daughters asked me for some money to buy a rabbit, and, as I allowed them to take two-and-sixpence from my purse, doubtless the false brightness of this bad money led them to choose it."
At these words George was at once set at liberty. But Mr. Stanley did still more. Pleased with the conduct of the boy, he gave him a situation as apprentice on board one of his own ships; and step by step George has risen, until now he commands one of the largest vessels sailing from those quays where he once wandered a friendless orphan.
THE SNOWY OWL.
THE snowy owl lives in the land of snows, and its plumage is well suited to its cold and sleety home. Long hair-like feathers and thick down nearly cover its sharp beak and feet. The plumage is pure white, except here and there a small touch of brown,
Along the cold shores of Greenland, and other northern parts, the snowy owl is seen sweeping along in search of its prey, which consists chiefly of hares,
grouse, mice, and fish. For these it is on the constant search, and with such quickness does it dart along, that when a bird has been shot it will seize the