Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories
OR GOOD NATURE IS NOTHING WITHOUT GOOD CONDUCT
"In festive play this maxim prize—
Be always merry—always WISE!"
"Do you know what hour it is when you see a clock?" said Mr. Random to his little son Richard.
"Yes, father," said Richard; "for I can count it all round. When both hands are at the top of the
clock, then I know it is time to leave school."
"Then go and see what time it is," said his father.
Away ran Richard, and brought back word in a moment that it was exactly six o'clock.
In a few minutes after came in a friend with a young lady, the former of whom asked Mr.
Random why he was not ready to go with them to the concert that evening, as he had promised.
Mr. Random replied that it was but six o'clock, which, however, he was soon convinced was a
mistake of Richard's, who, on being asked what he saw when he looked on the clock, replied, "I
saw the two hands together close to the six, and that made me say it was six, for I always call it
twelve when they are right opposite."
"Remember, my dear," said his father, "that the long hand never tells the hour, except on the
stroke of twelve. You ought to know that the minute hand overtakes its fellow somewhat later
every hour, till at noon and midnight they again start exactly even; and when a bigger boy I shall
expect you to tell me how much difference is increased every time they come into conjunction.
You now see, Dicky, that through such a mistake I must make my friends wait; pray, therefore,
mind better another time."
In a few minutes after his father bid him go into the dining-room, and bring down a bottle of
wine, which stood in the [pg 351] hither corner of the cellaret, that he might help the gentleman, and
lady to a glass.
"Yes, father," said little Dick, and up he went. On the stairs he met puss, and stopped to play
with her, during which he forgot what had been told him. Having gotten a bottle, downstairs he
came, and, pouring out a couple of glasses, he returned with it. But, when on the landing-place,
he naughtily drew out the cork to have a taste himself. It was not only very vulgar to drink out of
the neck of a bottle, but wrong to make free slily with that which he was merely entrusted to
serve out. However, it rushed so fast into his mouth, and was so hot, that he was afraid of being
strangled. It happened that he had bitten his cheek that morning, and the liquor bathing the sore
place made it smart so that he put down the bottle on the floor, when, in stamping about, it rolled
downstairs and made a fine clatter. His father ran out on hearing the noise, but was stopped in the
way by seeing the young lady almost gasping for breath, and it was some minutes before she
could say that he had given her brandy instead of wine.