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and because I want every boy who reads this to feel encouraged to try what he too can do, instead of folding his hands and saying, 'Oh, what's the use? I was born poor, and I shall die poor; I'm ignorant, and I shall die ignorant. Who cares what becomes of me?' I tell you I care, for one; and if nobody cared, you ought to care yourself. It is very certain, if you do not care yourself, that nobody can do much for you.
5. Well, George Stephenson was the son of a poor collier in England. He was the second son of six children, for whom their father and mother worked hard to find bread and butter. Little George lived like other working people's children : played about the doors, went birds'-nesting now and then, or on errands into the village. When he grew bigger, he carried his father's dinner to him when at work, or helped to nurse his brothers and sisters at home; for in a poor man's house, you know, every little hand and foot must do something in the way of helping. As to school, none of his friends thought of such a thing; it was as much as they could do to keep a roof over their heads, and get something to eat and drink.
6. Dewley Burn was the name of the place where the one-roomed cottage stood in which George was born, and near which his father was employed to tend the engine fire near the coal-pit. Robert Stephenson, George's father, was a kind-hearted, pleasant man, You may know that, because all the young people on an evening used to go and sit round his
engine fire while he told stories to them; sometimes about Sinbad the Sailor, sometimes about Robinson Crusoe, and often something which he himself made up' to please them. Of course 'Bob's engine fire' was a great place. You can almost see the picture: the bright fire blazing, the rows of bright eyes glistening in the light, some black, some blue, some grey; curly locks and straight locks, slender lads and fat lads; some with chins on their palms, and elbows on their knees, some flat upon their backs or sides upon the ground; and all believing every word of 'Bob's stories.'
7. Now you are not to think, because George's father worked as a collier, that he had no love for beautiful things. On the contrary, whenever he got a chance he used to take nice long breezy walks with his little son. And when George had grown up to be a man, and long after his father's white head was under the sod, George used to speak often of his lifting him up to look into a blackbird's nest, and of the delight and wonder with which he gazed at the little peeping creatures for the first time. I dare say your father and mother can tell you some such little thing which they remember about their childhood's home, which stands out in their memory now, from the rust of years, like a lovely picture, sunny and glowing and untouched by time.
8. Near Dewley Burn lived a widow named Grace Ainslie, who kept a number of cows that used to nibble the grass along the woods. A boy
was needed to watch them, and keep them from being run over by the coal waggons, or straying into the neighbouring fields. To this boy's duty was added that of barring the gates at night, after the coal waggons had passed through.
[GEORGE STEPHENSON MINDING COWS.]
9. George applied for this place, and, to his great joy, he got it, at twopence a day. It was easy work to loll about on the fresh green grass, and watch the lazy cows as they nibbled or stretched themselves under the trees, chewing and winking hour after hour. George had plenty of time to look for birds' nests, and make whistles out of sticks and straws, and build little mills in the water streams. But if you watched the boy, you would have seen that, when he and his friend Tom got
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 that age.
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 cheeks 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
1 Sun-dial, an instrument which shows the time of day by means of a shadow cast by the sun.