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ing on your oars in this pellucid basin among small hills, you may hear the sea just beyond, but cannot perceive the outlet to it. There the two young people held their confabulation, Silvester having explained to his sister as well as he could his father's lecture. She, fretting the water with her long brown fingers, splashed it in her brother's face, and said,
Pshaw, Silvester, you a poet!" Girls laugh at the ambition of boys, and boys at the vanity of girls; and it does both good to be laughed at. Yet who would care for a boy without ambition-or a girl without vanity ?
“I mean to be a poet, Miss Silvia," said he, "and to make verse that shall last. Chaucer's is my
vein, I think. You are a pert young minx, though you presume so much on having come into the world a little earlier than I. The only difference is that I brought later news from the last world."
"O dear! what dreadful nonsense the boy
I like 'nonsense on a warm day. I like to be instructed by my younger brother."
“ You won't be serious. Girls are always giggling. I wanted you to tell me what you think of the three requisites of poetry according to Milton,—that it should be simple, sensuous, passionate.”
“I think you could do all three to perfection. You're a simpleton, you've no sense, and your verses will put everybody in a passion. There, will that do ?”
“ O yes, Miss Silvia, that will do," said Silvester, with a good-humoured laugh. “You can't be serious this morning. You are in
“I'm not !” she exclaimed, with emphasis and indignation.
“Yes, you are,—and I know the happy individual.”
Silvia nearly upset the boat in trying to punish her brother with the boathook. He retaliated in verse :
“ A little girl escaping from the nursery,
Silvia's boathook put an end to this mischievous rhyme, and Silvester caught a crab.
AN EVENT AT MOUNT ST. NICHOLAS.
“And now, all in my own countree,
ILVIA and Silvester, growing older, grew
also wiser, let us hope: any way, a lustrum passed, and many events occurred, and neither boy nor girl could read or write. They knew many things not generally known by young folk, but they did not know their a b c. All the alphabets of all the ages were utterly despised. The only alphabet they knew was the alphabet of nature. When the girl was twenty and the boy nineteen they had not troubled themselves to open a book. Books, it has been noted,
were not forbidden fruit; there was free access to an overflowing library; and once or twice the brother and sister had taken counsel together as to whether they should teach themselves to read. Their decision was against it. They were reading the book of the world, whose pages are illuminated differently every hour by the almighty printer. So, although the noble library at Silchester became every day more tempting, and although much fun was made under many circumstances of a young lady and gentleman unable to read or write, they held to their father's opinion; only Silvester got his father to show him how to form his autograph, in case of any legal document requiring signature, and so learnt nine letters of the English alphabet in the form of
It is hard to say whether Silvia or Silvester most perplexed the general folk by their ignorance of what everybody is supposed to know.