Eddie's Luncheon-Basket.

FORTY boys were congregated upon the

play-ground in front of Mr. Watson's large

select school in Pineyville, waiting for the

ringing of the school-bell. They were of

ages ranging from seven to fifteen, and they

all bore signs of wealth in their carefully

selected clothing, handsome satchels, and

other outward tokens, which mark the children

of rich parents as distinctly in the schoolboy

as in the grown man.

While they waited, a boy of twelve or thirteen

years of age, with a noble face and an air

of quiet refinement, but dressed shabbily,

walked hastily past the group, and entered

the school-house. No voice greeted him as he

passed, but when he was fairly inside the

building, a storm of ill-natured comments


"There goes Mr. Watson's beggar," said


"His toes are well enough to be out of his

boots!" cried another.

"Did you ever see such a coat?" cried a


"I'll tell you what it is, boys!" cried

Charlie Kitely, a tall, handsome boy, apparently

the oldest of the group, "Mr. Watson

has no business to expect us to associate

with beggars."

"No!" cried Will Mason. "We are all

gentlemen's sons here."

"Edward Hunter is not a beggar," cried

a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy, who spoke then

for the first time. "Did he ever beg of any

of you?"

"His mother takes in sewing for a living,"

said Charlie.

"Honest work is not beggary."

"Harry Mills," said Charlie, severely,

"His mother is not a lady."

"She is. His father was a gentleman of

wealth, but he failed and died. My mother

says Mrs. Hunter is a lady, and I guess she


His voice softened as he said: "I know

how to feel for a boy without a father, money

or no money."

"He ought to go to work, "persisted Charlie.

"He probably will when he finishes the

year of study Mr. Watson is giving him."

"In the mean time," said Charlie, "he is

a disgrace to the school, with his shabby

out-at the-elbows coat and patched trowsers.

It makes me hot all over to see such a walking

scarecrow going in and out of the school

I attend. Come, boys; join me in the conspiracy,

and we will turn him out."

The other boys looked rather startled at

this bold proposition, but finally one voice


"But Mr. Watson thinks everything of

Eddie. He will never allow him to be turned

out of the school."

"Oh! Mr. Watson won't know it. We

drove a boy out of the last school I attended.

We did not let him have a moment's peace

tore his compositions, soiled his books, stole

his luncheon-basket every day, and filled it

with dirt and stones."

"What a shame!" cried Harry Mills, indignantly.

"You can easily drive a boy out of school

if you all conspire against him," continued


"I should think so," was Harry's answer.

"What is one boy against forty? See here,

boys, is there a better boy among us than

Eddie Hunter?"

"No," was the reluctant but unanimous


"Is he not respectful, obedient, orderly,

an example to most of us? Who can say

here, that Eddie ever harmed him?"

Silence was the only answer.

"Has he not helped many of us in difficult


Silence again.

"I will start a conspiracy. Next Wednesday,

we will steal Eddie's luncheon-basket,

as Charlie suggests, and "

"The bell! The bell!" cried forty voices,

and forty pairs of feet rushed across the playground

and into the school-house.

Wednesday morning found Eddie Hunter

starting for school with a face so sober it

was almost sad. It seemed as if he must

give up the year of study so kindly offered

by Mr. Watson, for want of clothing. Toil

as hard as she would, his widowed mother

had all she could do to pay the rent and feed

her four children, three of whom were little

ones, and Eddie the only one who could

have worked for her. She was as anxious

as himself for the opportunity for education

to be improved, but she understood well how

hard it was for the sensitive boy to take his

ragged clothes among the well-dressed sons

of the wealthy men of the village.

The school was an expensive and popular

one, many of the scholars coming from the

cities to board at Pineyville for the sake of

attending it, and Mr. Watson was willing to

give Eddie all its advantages free of cost, if

he could spare the time to profit by them.

But the boy thought sadly, if he could not

get clothes, he must put aside his books and

go to work.

Mrs. Hunter watched her boy with tearful

eyes as he went down the road. She felt

the probable loss of the year of study as

keenly as Eddie, for she was proud of her

noble boy's talents and industry. All day

she tried to devise some plan by which the

necessary suit of clothes could be procured,

but in vain. Four o'clock came, and Eddie

would soon be home; his mother looked

from the window for the slow step and downcast

eyes of the morning.

Was that Eddie coming? Could that radiant

face be the same one she saw so

clouded in the, morning? She had not long

to wait for an explanation; Eddie bounded

into the house, and was by her side in a moment.

"Mother," he cried, "I have such splendid

news. You know I have always thought

the boys at school disliked me, and were

ashamed of my shabby clothes. To-day

they stole my luncheon-basket, and I did

not find it till after school was over. It was

so heavy I thought it was full of dirt and

stones, and opened it to throw them out.

See what I found in it."

As he spoke he opened the basket and

took out the contents.

"Here is a scarf, a pair of new boots, a

new cap, and forty little packages of money

one from each boy. I don't know which

boy gave each one, but the sums range from

ten cents to a dollar, and one, only one, has

a five-dollar bill in it. See: twenty-one dollars

and seventy-five cents!"

"Boys," said Harry Mills, on Monday

morning, as they all watched a neatly dressed,

gentlemanly-looking boy coming down the

road to school, "whose conspiracy was the

best, Charlie's or mine?"

"Yours. Three cheers for Edward Hunter

and his luncheon-basket!"

 The Methodist.

A WISE REPLY. "Would you like to be a

judge?" said a gentleman one day to a little

boy. The child, after thinking a minute, replied,

"I think I should like better still to

teach children about Jesus' dying to save

them. That would make them love and obey

him; and, if they loved and obeyed him they

would not need a judge."