Other Spellers 205
a ferpent under a hedge, almoft dead with cold. He took it up and warmed it in his breaft; but it was fcarcely come to life when it ftung its benefactor, and the too charitable peafant died of the wound. This is aftonifhing faid the ferpent: How partial are your hiftorians ! Ours relate this hiftory in a different manner. Your charitable peafant believed the ferpent dead : Its fkin was beautifully variegated with different colours; he took it up and was haftening home in order to flay it.
Now tell me whether the ferpent was ungrateful ?
Hold your tongue, replied the boy. Where is the ingrate who cannot find fome excufe.to juftify himfelf?
Well anfwered, interrupted the boy's father, who had lif-tened to the dialogue. Neverthelefs, my fon, if ever thou fhouldeft hear of an inftance of ingratitude bafer than ordinary, forget not to examine every circumftance to the bottom, and be extremely backward in fixing fo foul a ftain on any man's character.
Comly's A New Spelling-book, Philadelphia, 1806, has on nearly every page a few short paragraphs of reading in addition to the columns of words. The first of this reading starts off lugubriously with — "All of us, my son, are to die," and the tone of the reading lessons right through the book is very serious. If there is a pause for a bit of natural history about " The Wren," " The Camel," or some other creature, it is only momentary, and the text promptly reverts to its pedantic and melancholy moralizing, often with a touch of theology added. Here is one of the longer lessons : —
Joseph Harris, a child of eleven years old, during his last illness, gave the following advice to his sister, Dost