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Only Once

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" Stop a minute, James ; we re making up a skating party to go dowu the river to night. We shall builcl a fire ou the island, aud Lave a grand time. Come, go with uh." . " No, George, I cau't. Father says I must skate oü the canal. It isn't so wide, nor quite so good skating, 1 know, but it is safe." " Nousense ! Tlie ice is at least two inehes thiuk, any wliure, oven in the thinnest places." "I can't go." " Well, theu, come to the canal. You can ekate out to the fork wero it joius the river, aud see us all ? Will you do that ? " " Yes." " All riglit. Be tbere at seveo." Jumes was ready with his skates at ike time appointed, and about to leave the house. " Where now, James?" asked his father " I'ra going to skate awhile on the canal, father." " Well, it's a bright evening, but don't stay late, and don't go on the river." Just then James' üttle sister Marión, who was ready to go to bed, shouted a(ter hiiu, " Stop, Jamie, give me a kiss," and holding up her rosebud mouth, in a plump face, from which the laughing eyes were ehirlng, she received his good night kiss, and he went out. As he passed the windovv, he saw, through the halfdrawn curtaine, little Marión kneeling by their mother, at prayer ; the father had laid his paper down, and sat reverently listeuing, while the child's petitiou went up to heaven. It was a beautiful picture. Poor Jamie ! With what different feel inga he would havo looked upon it, hac he then known what was to happen with in the tiext two houre. He crossed the field before the house and was soon on the canal, and gliding swiftly toward the river, ñora which the sound of merry voicea already reachec his ear. And as he wheeled splendidly just at the entrauce of the canal, the boys saw him, and came bearing down upon him like a fleet of swift ships before the wind. " Hurrah ! Jamie," cried a dozen of them, as they joined company in the canal. There they amused them 8elves awhile, racing, leapiüg, skating backward, and cuttihg all sorts of fanci ful figures on the ice, until George gave the word, " Now for the island;" anc with loud bhouts they shot out together upon the river - all but James, " I mus leave you now," he said. " O James, don't," cried several a once. " Now see here, James, said Goorge, "what's the use of being so set ? Go down with us this time." " Father said, ' doa't go on the river.' " " Well, as to that, you've been on the river two or three times. Look at your marks ; " and James now êaw that in the exeitemeut of their sport; he had repeatedly rushed out of the canal, quite acroas the channel of the river. He wanted to go with the boys. He didu't really think there was much danger, and the discorery that he had already unwittingly broken his father's oommand, did not help him in this hour of weakness and temptation. The boys all clamored for him to join thei. James slowly glided out of the caual - stood still a moment - and the tempter prevailed. " Well, I'll go dowu this once, mind you, only once,1'1 and he durted like au arrow to the front, for he was the bost skater in the company, and was soon far in advanco of the rest. AlasJ None of the boys knew of the murderous " breathing-hole " which had opened that day in the ice in the channel, and now lay right in James' path, waiting to receive him ; and the first tico tkey had of lts existenco was a cry of terror frorn hira as he pluoged in. - All was confusión among the boys. But George, more Belf-possessed tban the others, hurried to the shoro, and ehouting cheerily, " Hold on, Jauiiei I'll help you out," brokc off the litub of a tree as large and long as be could hand Ie, brought it on, and tried, by careful creeping towards James, to put it within bis reach. But the current was strong; tho water bitterly cold, aud James, who had been urging Lis frieuds to inakc liaste, aow began to loso his strongth, and to beooiue bcnumbed, and betore tLe limb came within Lis grasp, he said faintly, " O George, I can't hold on auy longcr - ask father - to forgive - " and weut dowu with the tide. Au hour later, tlie men at tbo inill below, vvho had brokcn the ice abovo tho barred out-let of the dam, and werë watehing and wuiting in oxpectntion of their mournful work, lifted James' body out of the water, aud teaderly carried it to his homo. Boys, I have seldom told you a very sad story, but I am hoping tiow to impress, upon your ynung henrts tho losson of obedience to párente so deeply that it shall never be forgotten. If you are ever tempted to disregard a kind father's command, or his advicc - eyon though it bo " only oace " - while you pray for .strength to remist temptatiou, remember James.' It is truo that disobodionce to pareu ts is not always, nor indeed ofteu, tollowed so speedily by such ead consequenees, but we know that tho smile of tíod will rust only upon those ehildren who obey their paronts "ia the Lord." - Child at Home.


Old News
Michigan Argus