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Charles Botham, a young relative of mine, who lived in a small town in Staffordshire, was the most perfect example of what enjoyment and advantage a boy may derive from mechanical amusements that I ever knew. He was a fine active lad, of a frank and intelligent disposition, that made him an universal favourite. quite at home in the yards and shops of ropemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, watchmakers, turners, and I know not how many trades besides. When he was a little lad of not more than four years old, he used to sit on the hearth-rug of an evening, or of a winter's day, cutting little logs of wood with his knife into wind-mills, boats, and ships. The boats and ships that he made from that time till he was grown quite a youth-some of which still remain—were acknowledged by every one to be admirable. Some were made before he had ever seen a real ship, from pictures of them; and, though not so correct as they otherwise would have been, were very surprising. When he had actually seen ships, and become familiar with all the parts of them, he constructed some which were more correct, even to the smallest piece of rope, so that the most experienced seaman could not detect a single error. One of these ships we have now in our possession-a very beautiful thing.
But ships were only one kind of his mechanical productions. Whatever he wanted for his own amusements, he made with the utmost ease. His fishing-rods were of his own making, even to the iron-ferrules ; his lines were of his own making too. Having got some silk from his mother, he ran off to the rope-yard, and soon came back with beautiful lines of his own twisting. He made his own little wheel-barrows, garden-rake, and other tools. At the joiner's, he made all kinds of little boxes for his mother and sisters; at the shoemaker's, he learned to make shoes; at the watchmaker's, he learned to make an actual clock of wood; and then, from a drawing in an encyclopædia, proceeded to construct, with the utmost accuracy, a perambulator—an instrument to measure distances.
When a very little fellow, if he got a sarcenet-roller from a draper, he would cut it into short lengths, and carve it with his knife into little wind-mills of the most perfect construction. They were not such mills as rise in a regular cone from the base, but of that kind which are built of wood, and stand upon a stout pillar and frame, on which they are turned to the wind as it may vary. They had their sails, doors, window-holes and steps, all constructed with the nicest accuracy. He used to make for the kitchen spill-boards, rolling-pins, towel-rollers, toasting-forks; and could work in wire, of which he made two beautiful bird-cages. When he was ten or twelve years of age, I first became acquainted with him;
I and then he had his own little shop over the stable, with his turning-lathe and tools of all sorts ; and he never was so happy as when he found out that he could make anything for you. A screw nutcrack, a wafer-seal, tobaccostopper, a snuff-box, a set of nine-pins, anything, he was ready to make for his different acquaintances. Going on a visit to a relative of his, who was a large farmer, he set to work and mended up rakes, forks, flails, gates, posts, rails, the paling of the garden—everything, in fact, that wanted doing. If a lock was out of order, he soon had it off, and put to rights ; in short, there was no mechanical job that he was not master of, and could not quickly accomplish, to the astonishment of the family. Had he been thrown, like Robinson Crusoe, on an uninhabited island, he would have speedily out-Crusoed Crusoe himself, and surrounded himself with protection from the elements, and domestic comforts. To such a lad as this, it is astonishing how all odds and ends of things become treasures-nothing is lost; bits of wood, scraps of leather, tin, iron, old nails, screws, &c., are hoarded up, and turn, in his hands, into things of account. This fine lad had a box full of old watch-springs, bits of chain, hooks, buttons, wires—anything and everything—which were of essential use at the right season.
SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN.
In poverty and pain,
But hers came down like rain !
her half of all I had,
I kept my courage high.
And sunshine follows rain,
You'll see me back again.'
And sailed the stormy sea,
An honest an and free.
I wrought and strove from morn to night,
And saved my little store,
And made the little more.
The sunshine followed rain,
And I went back again.
And brought her o'er the sea ;
To bless my home and me.
I bid my care depart,
With proud, yet grateful heart.
Ne'er asked for bread in vain :
The sun has followed rain.
THE PLEASURES AND ADVANTAGES OF
KEEPING A DOG.
There is, in the first place, the extremely agreeable state into which one is every now and then put by personal contact with the dog, whose kindness, leading him to å very familiar intercourse, causes your clothes to be some times embroidered in the herring-bone fashion with his hairs, and sometimes curiously marked with the impressions of his soiled paws. It is also very pleasant, if he is a water-dog, to be occasionally besprinkled with the contents of his shaggy coat, as he shakes himself convulsively by your side on coming out of his favourite element. How interesting, too, when the poor animal, in the spirit of sincere friendship, comes up unexpectedly, and thrusts a nose as cold as his heart is warm into your half-closed hand, as it hangs beside your chair ! There are some people who, at first, start under this application ; but habit soon reconciles them to it, as it proverbially will to anything. We shall suppose the dog to be well-bred for domestic existence on the more important points. This is generally considered desirable. But still enough of nature will be apt to remain about him, to remind the company from time to time, in the most agreeable manner, that a dog is, after all, still a dog.
The love that man or woman bears to dog is honourable to man or woman; but the course of this love, like that of the much-berhymed passion which man and woman bear for each other, is one which I have never found from tale or history, or any sort of experience or observation, to run smooth. Love, in all its shapes, implies sacrifices. Much must be conceded, much endured, if we would love. It is so eminently with respect to dogs. You may love your dog ; but, unhappily, and in despite of the proverb, no other person does. On the contrary, all other people wonder what you can see in the animal to regard it so tenderly; and whenever an opportunity occurs, they will not be averse from letting it feel how much they despise and loathe it. Many a secret kick and tread on toes does the
creature get from friend and servant; many a time is he defrauded of his due aliment down stairs.