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M. I read the other day, papa, that ingratitude was a “viper-like vice." What does it mean?
Mr. F. I suppose it meant that ingratitude was a very hateful and pernicious vice. You may remember that in the book “ Learning to Feel,” Æsop's fable of the ungrateful snake is alluded to. The snake, when half frozen to death, was taken by a kind countryman home to his fireside, when, the first thing that the venomous reptile did, as soon as he had recovered his strength, was, to sting one of the children of his benefactor.
M. Yes! I remember the fable. If ingratitude is like that snake, it is bad enough. Mr. F. Gratitude is a noble and
generous virtue; we owe it principally to Him from whom we have received all our mercies, but we owe it, also, to everyone who has performed a kindness for us. It is said in “ Learning to Feel:" “ Pray, then, earnestly for the feeling and spirit of love, sympathy, pity, and kindness, meekness, penitence, forgiveness, firmness in duty and suffering, and gratitude to your earthly friends; but pray yet more earnestly for the feeling and spirit of gratitude towards your heavenly
Father for his numberless mercies.” To this prayer should be added, also, the petition that the feeling and spirit of gratitude may be embodied by us in grateful acts. Christian people, of all others, should be grateful in thought, in word, in
feeling, and in action, to set a good example to others.
Shall they who know the way to heaven
A bad example set on earth,
To doubt their high, their heavenly birth?
“Oh rather let them do their best,
Patterns in all things great and small,
To magnify the Lord of all."
NEVER did the dawn break more gloriously than it did on the morning of that day when Mrs. Franklin returned home. Brilliant colours, of all kinds, seemed to kindle in the east; dazzling rays of golden light shot across the skies, and then
came the burning orb of day, blinding the eye that too stedfastly gazed upon it; gilding the heavens and the earth, and gladdening the spirit of the beholder. Oh “a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun," and for the heart to remember that “the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly," Psa. lxxxiv. 11.
Happy and grateful were the hearts of Mr. Franklin and his children in their morning devotions, and expectation and pleasure was in every eye, as, afterwards, they made preparation to receive Mrs. Franklin, and her accompanying young friends. The chaise was expected at two o'clock; but long before that hour, the young people were on the look out. Three or four times Mary and Thomas heard, or thought they heard, the sound of
the wheels in the distant gravelly lane; and once little Peter was almost sure that he saw the chaise-boy's head jogging up and down, on the far side of a hawthorn hedge, though Edward, provokingly, would have
it, that it was nothing more than an old crow waving her wings as she quickly fled across the upland towards the elm tree, where her nest was built.
At last, however, the chaise came in reality.
caps in the air, and Mr. Franklin and Mary stood on the lawn, their faces lighted up with pleasure.
It is said with truth, that short absences increase affection. It was a rare thing for Mrs. Franklin to absent herself from her family, and few circumstances, beside that of the ill health of her dear mother, would have kept her so long from them. Glad indeed was she to return. The chaise-boy, as he approached the house gave a loud crack with his whip; the horses sprang through the gate; the wheels ground the gravel on the walk; the stones flew right and left from the iron hoofs that scattered them; the chaise drew up to the broad steps; the door was quickly opened; out came Mrs. Franklin and her two nieces; and for the next five minutes all was bustle and joy, and kind congratulations.
That was a happy day at Mr. Franklin's; for Mrs. Franklin had left her aged mother better than she had found her, so that her spirits were unusually cheerful, and her heart more than ordinarily grateful. Edward, Thomas, Mary, and Peter had twenty things to show their cousins, and twenty others to tell them of. After dinner the presents that Mrs. Franklin had brought from Bath for the children and servants were brought forward, so that one enjoyment seemed to tread on the heels of another. At last evening came.