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'Twas an odd thing, now, for a lark to do-
I hope you won't think my story's untrue-
But this is the thing that I saw and I heard :
That lark flew right down like a sociable bird
As soon as they called him, and perched on a tree,
And winked with his eye at the children and me,
And laughed out as much as a bird ever can,
As he cried, “Ha! ha! Little woman and man!

The children were drawing with caution and care,
Their sweet baby-sister, to give her the air,
In a dainty straw wagon with wheels of bright red,
And a top of white muslin which shaded her head.
She was only one year and a few months old ;
Her eyes were bright blue, and her hair was like gold;
She laughed all the time from morning till night,
Till Eddie and Jane were quite wild with delight.
Such a wonderful plaything never was known !
Like a real live dolly, and all for their own!
Two happier children could nowhere be found,
No, not if you traveled the whole world around.
They had drawn her this morning where daisies grew-
White daisies, all shining and dripping with dew,
Long wreaths of the daisies, and chains, they had made;
In the baby's lap these wreaths they had laid,
And were laughing to watch her fat little hands
Uatwisting and twisting the stems and the strands.

“You'll be quite surprised and astonished, maybe,
To hear that I do not think much of your baby.
Why, out in the field here I've got in my nest,
All cuddled up snug 'neath my wife's warm breast,
Four little babies-two sisters, two brothers-
And all with bright eyes, as bright as their mother's ;
Your baby's at least ten times older than they,
But they are all ready to Ay to-day.

'They'll take care of themselves in another week,
Before your poor baby can walk, or can speak.
It has often surprised me to see what poor things

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All babies are that are born without wings ;
And but one at a time! Dear me my wife
Would be quite ashamed of so idle a life!"
And the lark looked as scornful as a lark knows how,
As he swung up and down on a slender bough.
A cat had been eyeing him there for a while,
And sprang at him now from top of a stile.
But she missed her aim—he was quite too high ;
And oh, how he laughed as he soared in the sky!
Then the cat scrambled up, disappointed and cross ;
She looked all about her, and felt at a loss
What next she should do. So she took up the thread
Of the lark's discourse, and ill-naturedly said:
“Yes, indeed, little master and miss, I declare,
It's enough to make any mother-cat stare,
To see what a time you do make, to be sure,
Over one small creature, so helpless and poor
As your babies are ! Why, I've six of my own :
When they were two weeks old they could run alone ;
They're never afraid of dogs or of rats-
In a few weeks more they'll be full-grown cats ;
"" Their fur is as fine and as soft as silk-
Two gray, and three black, and one white as

milk.
A fair fight for a mouse in my family
Is as pretty a sight as you'll ever see.
It is all very well to brag of your baby-
One of these years it will be something, maybe !"
And without even looking at the baby's face,
The cat walked away at a sleepy pace.

Moo, Moo!” said a cow, coming up. “Moo, Moo!
Young people, you're making a great to-do
About your baby. And the lark and the cat,
They're nothing but braggers—I wouldn't give that,"
(And the cow snapped her tail as you'd snap your

thumb) “For all the babies, and kittens, and birds, that come In the course of a year! It does make me laugh To look at them all, by the side of a calf !

* Why, my little Brindle as soon as 'twas born
Stood up on its legs, and sniffed at the corn;
Before it had been in the world an hour
It began to gambol, and canter, and scour
All over the fields. See its great shining eyes,
And its comely red hair that so glossy lies
And thick! he has never felt cold in his life ;
But the wind cuts your baby's skin like a knife.

'Poor shivering things! I have pitied them oft,
All muffled and smothered in Aannel soft.
Ha! ha! I am sure the stupidest gaby
Can see that a call's ahead of a baby!”
And the cow called her calf, and tossed up her head
Like a person quite sure of all she has said.
Then Jane looked at Eddie and Eddie at Jane ;
Said Eddie, “ How mean! I declare, they're too vain
To live-preposterous things! They don't know
What they're talking about ! I'd like them to show
A bird, or a kitten, or a learned calf,
That can kiss like our baby, or smile, or laugh."
“Yes, indeed, so should I !" said Jane in a rage ;
“The poor little thing! She's advanced for her age,
For the minister said so the other day-
She's worth a hundred kittens or calves to play.
“And as for young birds—they're pitiful things !
I saw a whole nest once, all mouths and bare wings,
And they looked as if they'd been picked by the cook
To broil for breakfast. I'm sure that they shook
With cold if their mother got off for a minute-
I'm glad we have flannel, and wrap babies in it !”
So the children went grumbling one to the other,
And when they reached home, they told their mother.

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The dear baby, asleep, in its crib she laid,
And laughed as she kissed the children, and said :
“Do you think I believe that the sun can shine
On a boy or a girl half so sweet as mine?
The lark and the cat, and the cow were all right-
Each baby seems best in its own mother's sight.”

- Helen Hunt Jackson.

An Unfinished Prayer.

TOW I lay me”-say it, darling ;

“Lay me," lisped the tiny lips Of my daughter, kneeling, bending O'er her folded finger tips.

' Down to sleep—to sleep," she murmured,

And the curly head dropped low, “I pray thee Lord," I gently added,

“ You can say it all, I know."

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N the quiet nursery chambers,

See the forms of little children Kneeling, white-robed, for their rest : All in quiet nursery chambers,

While the dusky shadows creep, Hear the voices of the children

"Now I lay me down to sleep." On the meadow and the mountain

Calmly shine the winter stars, But across the glistening lowlands

Slant the moonlight's silver bars In the silence and the darkness,

Darkness growing still more deep, Listen to the little children

Praying God their souls to keep. "If we die"-so pray the children,

And the mother's head drops low; (One from out her fold is sleeping

Deep beneath the winter's snow;) "Take our souls : " and past the casement

Flits a gleam of crystal light, Like the trailing of his garments,

Walking evermore in white.

Little souls that stand expectant

Listening at the gates of life,
Hearing, far away, the murmur

Of the tumult and the strife ;
We who fight beneath those banners,

Meeting ranks of foemen there,
Find a deeper, broader meaning

In your simple vesper prayer. When your hands shall grasp this standard,

Which to-day you watch from far,
When your deeds shall shape the conflict

In this universal war :
Pray to Him, the God of Battles,

Whose strong eye can never sleep,
In the warring of temptation

Firm and true your souls to keep. When the combat ends, and slowly

Clears the smoke from out the skies,
Then far down the purple distance

All the noise of battle dies.
When the last night's solemn shadows

Settle down on you and me,
May the love that never faileth

Take our souls eternally.

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UR Fannie Angelina

Didn't want to go to bed, Her reasons would you know? then

Let me tell you what she said At eight o'clock precisely,

At the close of yesterday, Her mamma in the trundle bed

Had tucked her snug away. “It isn't time to go to bed,

The clock goes round too quick; It hurts my back to lie in bed,

And almost makes me sick:
I want to show my Uncle George

My pretty birthday ring;
And sing him, Jesus loves me,

For he likes to hear me sing;
My dolly, 'Haddynewya,'

Her yellow dress is thin, And she's sitting on the horse-block,

I forgot to bring her in;

I want to go and get her,

She'll catch a cold and die;
I want to get my nankachick,

I guess I've got to cry.
I said I'd wait till papa comes,

I wonder what he'll think;
There's something hurts me in my throat,

I want to get a drink.
I guess I'd rather get it in

My little silver cup-
What makes me have to go to bed

When you are staying up?".
So Fannie Angelina

Was determined not to do it. Yet she drifted off to Nod land,

Poor child, before she knew it. The queen who reigns in Nod land

Shut her willful eyes so tight, They quite forgot to open

Till the sun was shining bright.

Babies and Their Rights.

A , let

nursery never to disturb the infant when it is happy and quiet. Older children, too, two, three and four years of age, who are amusing themselves in a peaceful, contented way, ought not to be wantonly interfered with. I have often seen a little creature lying in its crib cooing, laughing, crooning to itself in the sweetest baby fashion, without a care in the world to vex its composure, when in would come mamma or nurse, seize it, cover it with endearments, and effectually break up its tranquility. Then, the next time, when these thoughtless people wanted it to be quiet, they were surprised that it refused to be so. It is habit and training which make little children restless and fretful, rather than natural disposition, in a multitude of cases, A healthy babe, coolly and loosely dressed, judiciously fed, and frequently bathed, will be good and comfortable if it have not too much attention. But when it is liable, a dozen times a day to be caught wildly up, bounced and jumped about, smothered with kisses, poked by facetious fingers, and petted till it is thoroughly out of sorts, what can be expected of it? How would fathers and mothers endure the martyrdom to which they allow the babies to be subjected ?

Another right which every baby has, is to its own mother's care and supervision. The mother may not be strong enough to hold her child and carry it about, to go with it on its outings, and to personally attend to all its wants. Very often it is really better for both mother and child that the strong arms of an able-bodied woman should bear it through its months of helplessness. Still, no matter how apparently worthy of trust a nurse or servant may be, unless she has been tried and proved by long and faithful service and friendship, a babe is too precious to be given unreservedly to her care. The mother herself, or an elder sister or auntie, should hover protectingly near the tiny creature, whose lifelong happiness may depend on the way its babyhood is passed. Who has not seen in the city parks the beautifully dressed infants, darlings evidently of homes of wealth and refinement, left to bear the beams of the sun and stings of gnats and flies, while the nurses gossiped together, oblivious of the flight of time? Mothers are often quick to resent stories of the neglect or cruelty of their employes, and cannot be made to believe that their own children are sufferers. And the children are too young to speak.

The lover of little ones can almost always see the subtle difference which exists between the babies whom mothers care for, and the babies who are left to hirelings. The former have a sweeter, shyer, gladder look than the latter. Perhaps the babies who are born, so to speak, with silver spoons in their mouths, are better off than those who came to the heritage of a gold spoon. The gold spooners have lovely cradles and vassinets. They wear Valenciennes lace and embroidery, and fashion dictates the cut of their bibs, and the length of their flowing robes. They are waited upon by bonnes in picturesque aprons and caps, and the doctor is sent for whenever they have the colic. The little silver-spooners, on the other hand, are arrayed in simple slips, which the mother made herself in dear, delicious hours, the sweetest in their mystic joy which happy womanhood knows. They lie on the sofa, or on two chairs with a pillow placed carefully to hold them, while she sings at her work, spreads the snowy linen on the grass, moulds the bread, and shells the peas. The mother's hands

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