Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

24. The king he laughed, and swore by St Jone, "I did not think it could be gone so soon. Now from the third question thou must not shrink, But tell me here truly what I do think.'

25. • Yea, that I shall do and make your Grace merry ; You think I'm the abbot of Canterbury ; But I'm his poor shepherd, as plain you may see, That am come to beg pardon for him and for me.'

26. The king be laughed, and swore by the mass, "I'll make thee lord abbot this day in his place !' 'Nay, nay, my liege, be not in such speed, For alack, I can neither write nor read!'

27. * Four nobles a week, then, I will give thee, For this merry jest thou hast shewn unto me; And tell the old abbot, when thou com’st home, Thou hast brought him a pardon from good King John.'

THE PAROQUET.

[Spell and write]
education, completed, accurately, pronounces, marvellous,

simpleton.

Hindu Merchant. My pretty Polly, now your education is completed, I must make a good profit out of you.

Polly. There's not the least doubt of that.

Hindu. Very good; I want some money, and as you are worth your weight in gold, I shall soon find some one to buy you.

Polly. There's not the least doubt of that.

Nabob. What do I hear ? Is it your parrot that pronounces this sentence so accurately?

Polly. There's not the least doubt of that.

Nabob. I am charmed with so marvellous a creature. What will you sell your parrot for?

Hindu. Are you worth a hundred dollars, Polly?
Polly. There's not the least doubt of that.

Nabob. Here is a hundred dollars then, and I'll carry the bird away with me. What a capital bargain! This learned parrot is worth at least three hundred dollars.

On the following day:

Nabob. My friends, here is the marvellous bird which I bought yesterday for a hundred dollars. Hear it speak. Good-day, Polly-pretty little Polly! I see, Miss Polly is in a bad temper this morning, and will not talk. Polly! speak, pretty Poll What a simpleton I was to give one hundred dollars for this stupid parrot !

Polly. There's not the least doubt of that.

[Write from dictation] The nabob thought himself a simpleton for having given a hundred dollars for the parrot; though it had completed its education, and could pronounce a few words accurately, it was not so marvellous a creature as he imagined.

A LESSON IN POLITENESS.

[Spell and write] frequently, similar, respectfully, compliments, admission, heartily.

A friend of Dean Swift's one day sent him a turbot as a present by a servant lad, who had frequently been on similar errands, but had never received anything from the dean for his trouble. Having gained admission, he opened the study door, and putting down the fish on the floor, cried out rudely : 'Master has sent you a turbot.'

Young man,' said the dean, rising from his easy-chair, is that the way you deliver a message? Let me teach you better manners. Sit down in my chair; we will change places, and I will shew you how to behave in future.',

The boy sat down, and the dean going to the door, came up to the table respectfully, and making a low bow, said: "Sir, my master presents his kind compliments, hopes you are well, and requests your acceptance of a small present.'

'Does he,' replied the boy ; 'return him my best thanks, and there's half-a-crown for yourself.'

The dean, thus caught in his own trap, laughed heartily, and gave the boy a crown for his ready wit.

[Write from dictation] The boy had frequently been on similar errands, and had not behaved so respectfully as he ought when he obtained admission.

THE MOUNTEBANK AND THE COUNTRYMAN.

[Spell and write] patrician, theatrical, entertainment, extravagant, prepossessed,

emulation, apparatus, imitated. A certain wealthy patrician, intending to treat the Roman people to some theatrical entertainment, publicly offered a reward to any one who would produce a novel spectacle. Incited by emulation, artists arrived from all parts to contest the prize, among whom a wellknown witty mountebank gave out that he had a new kind of entertainment that had never yet been produced on any stage. This report being spread abroad, brought the whole city together. The theatre could hardly contain the number of spectators. And when the artist appeared alone upon the stage, without any apparatus, or any assistants, curiosity and suspense kept the spectators in profound silence. On a sudden, he thrust his hand down into his bosom, and mimicked the squeaking of a young pig so naturally, that the audience insisted upon it that he had one under his cloak, and ordered him to be searched, which being done, and nothing appearing, they loaded him with the most extravagant applause.

A countryman among the audience observed what passed : 'Oh !' says he, 'I can do better than this ;' and immediately gave out that he would perform the next day. Accordingly, on the morrow, a yet greater crowd was collected. Prepossessed, however, in favour of the mountebank, they came rather to laugh at the countryman than to pass a fair judgment on him. They both came out upon the stage. The mountebank grunts away first, and calls forth the greatest clapping and applause. Then the countryman, pretending that he concealed a little pig under his garments (and he had, in fact, really got one), pinched its ear till he made it squeak. The people cried out that the mountebank had imitated the pig much more naturally, and hooted the countryman off the stage; but he, to convict them to their face, produced the real pig from his bosom. And now, gentlemen, you may see,' said he, what a pretty sort of judges you

6

are !'

[The above difficult lesson will form an excellent one

in dictation.]

THE ASS AND HIS MASTERS.

An ass, that belonged to a gardener, and had little to eat and much to do, besought Jupiter to free him from the gardener's service and give him another master. Jupiter, angry at his discontent, made him over to a potter. He had now heavier burdens than before, and again appealed to Jupiter to relieve him, who accordingly contrived that he should be sold to a tanner. The ass, having now fallen into worse hands than ever, and daily observing how his master was employed, exclaimed, with a groan :

Alas, wretch that I am ! it had been better for me to have remained content with my former masters, for now I see that my present owner not only works me harder while living, but will not even spare my hide when I am dead !'

[Write the above fable from dictation.*]

* The story which follows is very easy reading, and in this way the pupil has time to write these fables from dictation, without retarding his progress in reading.

« ПредишнаНапред »