One Drop At A Time.

HAVE you ever watched an icicle as it

formed? You noticed how it froze one drop

at a time, until it was a foot long, or more.

If the water was clear, the icicle remained

clear, and sparkled brightly in the sun; but

if the water was but slightly muddy, the icicle

looked foul, and its beauty spoiled. Just

so our characters are forming; one little

thought or feeling at a time adds its influence.

If each thought be pure and right, the soul

will be lovely and sparkle with happiness;

but if impure and wrong, there will be final

deformity and wretchedness.

The Stolen Melons.


CHARLIE RAYMOND was the only child of

a poor widow. Mrs. Raymond was obliged

to work early and late to procure the clothes

which enabled Charlie to attend the district

school, as well as the food, wholesome, but

coarse, which helped to make him one of

the healthiest and merriest boys in the village.

Charlie was blessed with a good mother:

and, although she took in washing and did

odd jobs for her more favored neighbors

and paid her daily visits to the little grocery

on the corner in a faded calico dress, she

carried a heart as honest and pure as any

lady in the land. Mrs. Raymond was one

of the most humble creatures in the world

too; and yet when her son came bounding

home from school, his cheeks rosy with

health, and his bright eyes beaming with

intelligence, no matter how tired and worn

out she felt, she forgot it all in an outburst

of prideful emotions for her darling. She

would look forward to the time when Charlie

would be the comfort of her old age,

and many were the airy castles she built for

his future.

One afternoon, Charlie entered the little

room where his mother was engaged in assorting

clothes for the next day's wash. His

manner was less frank than usual, and a

faint color swept over his broad forehead as

he said :

"Mother, Ned Jones and "Will Garnet,

and all the other boys, are going out for a

little fun tonight, and they want me to go

along. May I go?"

"Ned and Will are wild boys, my son,

and no fit companions for any well-behaved

lad. But where are they going tonight?

There will be no moon. Why not go this


Charlie colored more deeply, and fidgeted

uneasily in his chair.

"They are only going out as far as the

toll-gate. We'll be certain to be back by

nine o'clock, if not sooner;" and Charlie

picked up a stick and commenced whittling


"I'm afraid, Charlie, there is mischief

brewing. Ned Jones and Will Garnet do

not go out on such a night as this for nothing.

Why are they going to the toll-gate?"

Charlie hung his head, but made no reply,

while Mrs. Raymond continued, with feeling:

"You, my boy, are my all. Your integrity

and honor are worth more to me than

anything else in the world, and it is my duty

to watch over you, to guard you against the

influence of evil companions; therefore I

must refuse to allow you to accompany those

boys tonight."

Charlie was old enough to have an idea

that it would be unmanly to cry, so he kept

back his tears; but his handsome face wore

doleful expression of anger and resentment

as he went out by himself and sat

down in the shadow of the well-curb, instead

of doing little errands for his mother,

as was his wont. Charlie had quite set his

heart on going with his schoolmates, and he

felt his disappointment sorely.

"Mother's good enough, I suppose," he said

to himself; "but she's awful queer. What

will Ned and Will say, I wonder? Some

Somehow I never can have any fun, like other

boys. Won't it be jolly though, when I'm

twenty-one, and can go where I please?"

The next day, Mrs. Raymond received a

visit from the gate-keeper, who informed her

that her son, with others, had entered his

garden on the previous night, and after picking

as many melons as they could carry

away, had completely destroyed the remainder,

together with the vines. Mrs. Raymond

listened to the recital with blanched

cheeks and trembling limbs. She could

hardly believe that her son was a thief, and

yet Charlie's manner that morning had been

such as to convince her that the man spoke

truly. The gate-keeper demanded payment

for the damage done, and threatened exposure

if not amply remunerated. The poor

woman wrung her hands in anguish. She

had barely money enough to buy her next

meal, and could give him only promises,

which were received ungraciously enough.

The parents of the other boys were in easy

circumstances, and the next day only Charlie

Raymond's name was mentioned in connection

with the raid made on the gate-keeper's

garden. Piously educated, as he had

been, he keenly felt the reproach heaped

upon him; and ere a week had passed away,

he had left his native village and was gone,

no one knew where.---

Within the narrow limits of a felon's den,

a tall man was pacing to and fro. He was

young in years, but the guilt of many crimes

was shrouding his heart in perpetual shadows.

His hands were dyed with the blood

of a fellow-creature, and for this last and

darkest crime, his own life was to be given

up. That day his twenty-first birthday,

the day he had in childhood looked forward

to with such eager longing he had received

his sentence of death, and now he was waiting,

in anguish and remorse indescribable, a

visit from one to whom he owed his life,

and yet to whom he had rendered only

cause for tears and deepest sorrow.

The prison door opened and a tottering

form, over whose bent shoulders fell locks

whitened for the grave, but not with years,

entered the cell. This was her first meeting

with her son (for the unhappy prisoner was

no other than Charlie Raymond) since he

left her roof, hoping to flee" from the shame

of his first transgression, but for which: he

said it himself, with mournful emphasis and

with his dying breath he might have ended

his days honored and happy, instead of

meeting the fate of a convicted felon.

Boys, bear in mind that a man does not

become an incendiary, or a burglar, or a

murderer, all at once, but that he goes step

by step from a lesser to a greater sin; and

remember, too, when tempted to commit some

trifling misdemeanor, it may lead the way

or you as the theft of the melons did for

Charlie Raymond to the gallows.


WE should count time by heart-throbs,

He most lives who thinks most feels the  

noblest acts the best.

GOD never made his work for man to mend.

RELIGION is not an art, a matter of dexterity

and skill, but a new nature.