78 SLACK BEAUTY.
I never said he did; I know he is not a bad boy. But you see I am sore myself; that horse is the pride of my heart, to say nothing of his being such a favorite with the master and mistress; and to think that his life may be flung away in this manner is more than I can bear. But if you think I am hard on the boy, I wrill try to give him a good word to-morrow—that is, 1 mean if Beauty is better."
" Well, John, thank you. I knew you did not wish to be too hard, and I am glad you see it was only ignorance."
John's voice almost startled me as he answered, " Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? DonH you know that it is the worst thing in the ivorld, next to wickedness ? And which does the most mischief Heaven only knows. If people can say,' Oh ! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,' they think it is all right. I suppose Martha Mulwash did not mean to kill that baby when she dosed it with Dalby and soothing syrups; but she did kill it, and she was tried for manslaughter,"
"And served her right,too," said Tom. "A woman should not undertake to nurse a tender little child without knowing what is good and what is bad for it."
" Bill Starkey," continued John, " did not mean to frighten his brother into fits when he dressed up like a ghost and ran after him in the moonlight; but he did; and that bright, handsome little fellow, that might have been the pride of any mother's heart, is just no better than an idiot, and never will be, if he live to be eighty years old. You were a good deal cut up yourself, Tom, two weeks ago, when those young ladies left your hothouse door open, with a frosty east wind blowing right in ; you said it killed a good many of your plants."
"A good many 1" said Tom; "there was not one of the tender cuttings that was not nipped off. I shall have to strike all over again, and the worst of it is that I don't