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together, he liked, best of all, to build clay engines. They found the clay in the bogs, and of the hemlock which grew about they made their steam pipes. I dare say some persons who passed that way might have sighed that these boys were “wasting their time' playing in the mud ; not remembering that children in their 'foolish play,' by their little failures and successes in experimenting, sometimes educate themselves better than could be done in any other way, at least at
10. Then it was a blessed thing that the child's work lay out of doors, and not in a stifling close factory or shop. Thus his limbs got strong, and his checks brown and sunburnt, and his eyes bright as a young eagle's. Every day now added to his growth, and of course to his employment: though scarcely big enough to stride, he led the horses when ploughing; and when he was able to hoe turnips and do such farm work, he was very much delighted at his increased wages of fourpence a day. Thus, as the weeks and months passed by, George found himself becoming more and more useful to his parents, and more and more satisfied with himself. He was a good son, and showed every sign of becoming in due time a good THE INVENTOR OF THE
1. WHEN George Stephenson was thirteen years old he made a sun-dial' for his father's cottage. You may be sure his father was very proud of that. His little head had been busy when he lay on the grass watching the cows. By-and-by George got eightpence a day, and at last was taken as an assistant to his father in feeding the engine fire. George was such a little fellow, that he was very much afraid he should be thought too young for the work, and when the overseer of the colliery went the rounds to see if everything was right, George used to hide himself, for fear he would think him too small a boy to earn his
wages. 2. Some lads as fond as he was of birds'-nesting and such amusements would not have been in such a hurry to make themselves useful; but George's parents worked hard, and he loved them; he knew that white hairs were creeping among those brown locks of his mother's, and that his good merry father would not always be able to tend the engine fire; and so, little as he was, he was anxious to shoulder his share of the burden that was pressing so heavily on his parents. Besides, ever since he had modelled that little clay engine in the bog, he had determined
Sun-dial, an instrument which shows the time of day by means of a shadow cast by the sun.
to be an engineer, and the first step to this was to be an assistant fireman. Imagine, then, his delight when, at fourteen years of age, he got the post at the wages of a shilling a day!
3. George's home was one small room, crowded with three low posted beds. This one room was, of course, parlour, kitchen, and sleeping-room all in one. The cottage was furnished by the Duke whoemployed these people, he being also their landlord.
4. Now I have no doubt that this Duke had a liveried servant behind his chair at home, and a table loaded with dainties, and silver and cut glass, and more wines in his castle than he knew how to use; and horses, and hounds, and carriages, and pictures, and statues, and conservatories, and hothouses, and yet was not one-half so happy as the Stephensons in that little cottage with one room. Many a rich man has sighed for the days when he used to run barefoot, and many a jewelled lady for the day when the brook was her looking-glass. Things are more equal in this life, after all, than grumblers are apt to imagine.
5. Well, to go back to George : all the time he was feeding that fire he had his eyes open, watching everything about the engine ; nothing escaped his notice. I have no doubt his father watched him with honest pride shining out of his eyes. It must have been very pleasant for the two to work together, and help each other; for George was growing strong and big, and was every day wishing he was stronger.
? Conservatories, glass houses for preserving flowers.
6. When he was seventeen he was made a 'flagman.' That was a station as watchman, above his father, as the flagman holds higher rank than the fireman, and receives higher wages. No doubt good old Robert was as delighted as George could be at this promotion. We can imagine, too, how his mother and sisters, as they worked busily to keep the little one-roomed cottage tidy and comfortable, sang cheerfully as they worked, when they thought of their good strong brother.
7. It is a flagman's duty, when the engine is out of order, to call on the chief engineer to set it right. George had rarely need to do this. The engine was a perfect pet with him. He understood every part of it ; he took it to pieces and cleaned it himself, and learned so well how it worked, and what it needed, that nobody could instruct him in anything about it.
8. Everything that George undertook, however small the matter might be, he determined to understand perfectly, and to do well and thoroughly. When George said he knew he could do a thing, all his friends knew it was no idle boast. So you will not be astonished when I tell you that he went on studying and improving till he became a famous man ; so famous that he received calls from abroad, asking his advice, as a 'constructing engineer,' about building bridges and railways and all such things. He probably never thought of that when he was building bridges of mud with his playfellows.
9. Children are not always 'wasting their time