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Amy Harrison; or, Heavenly Seed and Heavenly Dew

William Henry Giles Kingston

  Produced by Chris Curnow, Lindy Walsh, Sam W. and theOnline Distributed Proofreading Team at






  A NEW FEELING. _Page 57._]


  I. THE WALK, 7


  III. AT HOME, 30


  V. TRY AGAIN, 41





  One fine Sunday morning two little girls, called Amy and KittyHarrison, set out from their mother's cottage to go to the Sundayschool in the neighbouring village. The little hamlet where they livedwas half a mile from the school. In fine weather it was a verypleasant walk, for the way lay by the side of a little chatteringstream, which fed the roots of many pretty wild flowers; and then,leaving the valley, the path struck across some corn-fields, whichwere now quite yellow for harvest. And even in wet weather the littlegirls seldom missed the school; for their mother was a careful woman,and they themselves loved their teacher and their lessons. Mrs.Mordaunt, the wife of the clergyman, taught them on Sunday, for bothAmy and Kitty were in the first class.

  Amy was tripping lightly along, enjoying the sunshine. Every now andthen she bent down and gathered a wild flower,--the four-leaved yellowpotentilla, or the meadow-sweet, or a spike of golden rod, or ahandful of forget-me-nots, watered by the stream, to make a littlenosegay for her teacher; for Mrs. Mordaunt loved flowers and wouldsometimes take the lesson for the day from them. And she loved betterstill the affectionate remembrances of her children.

  Kitty, meanwhile, was walking very soberly along, reading herhymn-book. Perhaps from this you may think that Kitty was the moreindustrious and thoughtful of the two; but it was not so. Amy hadrisen early that morning, and got her lessons all ready, and so shecould enjoy the pleasant walk freely; for you know, or if you do notknow I hope you will learn, that it is always those who are busiest attheir work that can be merriest in their hours of leisure. Nothinggives us such an appetite for enjoyment as hearty work. So Amy trippedon, humming a cheerful hymn, while poor Kitty kept on saying over andover again the words of her hymn, and vainly trying to stop her earsfrom hearing and her eyes from seeing all the pleasant sights andsounds around her. But the birds were so busy singing, and the fishkept springing up from the stream, and every now and then a brightbutterfly would flit across, or a little bird perch on a spray closeto her, and everything around seemed trying so mischievously to takeher attention from her book, so that they had reached the gate at theend of the wood before Kitty had learned two verses of her hymn.

  You see, these two little girls were not quite like each other,although they had the same home, and the same lessons, and the sameplays. If you sow two seeds of the same plant in the same soil, youknow they will grow up exactly like each other. The flowers will be ofthe same colour, the same smell, the same shape; the roots will suckup the same nourishment from the soil, and the little vessels of thestems and leaves will cook it into the very same sweet, or sour, orbitter juices. But with little children it is quite different. You mayoften see two children of one family, with the same friends, the sameteaching, the same means of improvement, as different in temper andcharacter from each other as if they had been brought up on oppositesides of the world. Indeed, it is as strange for children of onefamily to be alike, as for flowers to be unlike. Why is this? Amongother reasons one great one is, that God has given to children a_will_--a power of choosing good or evil. Flowers have no will; theycannot help being beautiful, and being what God meant them to be. Theearth feeds them, and the rains water them and make them grow withoutany choice or will of theirs; but with you, children, it is quiteotherwise. God has given you _wills_; and it is in your own power tochoose whether you will be good and happy children, and a blessing toall around you, and turning everything around you into a blessing,every year growing wiser and better; or whether you will yield to theevil within and around you, and turn health, and time, and Christianteaching, and all the good things God sends to feed your souls, intofood for your selfish and idle natures, and so grow every year worseand worse. You must do one of these two things,--you may do the best.Remember I do not say you can do them _for_ or _by yourselves_, butyou _can do_ them. God has said so. The flowers cannot choose or askfor food, and so God chooses for them and gives without asking. Youare higher creatures than they, and can choose and ask, and so Godwill wait for you to ask before he gives; but he is only waiting forthis, and he is always ready to hear.

  Mrs. Mordaunt had told the children something of this last Sunday, andAmy thought of it as she walked, and did ask God to bless herteacher's words to her that day.

  Now you have seen how Amy and Kitty Harrison used their power ofchoice. The sun had beamed into the room for Kitty as well as for Amythat morning. God had given them both the pleasant morning hours ofhis day to use as they liked best. Kitty had chosen to spend them indozing lazily in bed, while Amy had jumped out of bed and dressedquickly, and gone out to her favourite seat under an old cherry treeto learn her lessons.

  So the little girls reached the gate at the end of the wood. Outsidewas a road, across which lay the corn-fields leading to the church,and beside it stood a cottage where Amy and Kitty used to stop to callfor little Jane Hutton, one of their school-fellows. Jane's father wasa blacksmith; and the Huttons were richer than the Harrisons, so thatJane had gayer bonnets and smarter dresses than Kitty and Amy. Thismorning she had such beautiful new ribbons that Kitty's attention wasquite caught by them. And Jane too was not a little proud of them; hermother had given a shilling a yard for them at the next town. IfKitty had found it difficult to learn her lessons before, she nowfound it quite impossible; for in the midst of every line she couldnot help reckoning how many weeks' halfpence it would take, and howmany times she would have to open the gate for travellers who came tosee the waterfall near the cottage, before she could buy a ribbon likethat.