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Obedience ought to be faithful. When any work is assigned to boys or girls, they ought to go forward as steadily and industriously when they are not watched as when they are. It is not enough to go through the forms of obedience alone. A boy who is stationed at his desk, on a summer morning, to write or to study for an hour alone, must not only, in order to obey, remain there at his post, but he must give his mind diligently to his work. A faithful boy will do so, whether he is observed or not observed. He is impelled by an inward principle of duty, and by a desire for the satisfaction and happiness which fidelity will always secure.
Such is the kind of obedience which children ought to render to their parents and teachers; and they ought to render it of their own accord and willingly, without making it necessary to exercise compulsion. But if they will not obey of their own accord, it is most undoubtedly the parent's and the teacher's duty to compel them to obey. This is a very painful duty, but it must be performed. Children are not old enough to understand the reasons for all the commands and prohibitions which their parents think necessary. In some cases where they might understand, there is not time to explain them. Then, even where the reasons can be r-nderstood, and are fully explained, children, a3 we all know perfectly well, cannot be depended upon to do what they know is best, without being required to do it. They have not sufficient firmness, constancy, and self-denial. It is not reasonable to expect it of them. It becomes necessary, by the very constitution of their minds, that there should be a power above them, to make up by its authority for their want of mental and moral energy, and self-control. Farents and teachers must therefore poso
sess authority. They cannot depend upon advice or persuasion; they must command. And children must be required to obey.—J. Abbott.
LESSON XXXVI. SALT MINES OF POLAND.
The mines of Cracow, as they are frequently called, though they are between six and eight miles from that city, are at a village named Wielitska, situated on a ridge of hills, adjoining the Carpathian mountains. The mode of descent into the mine is by means of hammocks, fastened to a great rope, by which the loads of salt are drawn up. "We were let down gently," says Mr. Coxe, "without any fear of danger, though the depth was almost five hundred feet." When the travellers stepped out of their hammocks they were not at their journey's end, for they had yet to descend a slope, in some places very broad, in others the pathway was cut in the rock, into stairs, which were rather slippery,—but being wide, and glittering with the lights which the visitors carriec", looked like a grand staircase in a palace. To some lower places the descent was by ladders. Every visitor and his guide carried a light, which occasioned a peculiarly brilliant effect. Mr. Wraxall describes one vast chamber in these salt works, in which, he says, "a thousand people might dine without inconvenience."
When fairly descended into the mine, the traveller finds an underground country. There is neither tree nor sky,—but there are roads, with horses and carriages travelling in them; with multitudes of people—men, women, and children; for it has been said, that many are born there, and pass in these caverns great part of their lives. This is voluntary on their parts; for thosa who choose to ascend, in the intervals of labour, are permitted to breathe occasionally the fresh air in the fields, and to enjoy the light of day. The horses, how. ever, once taken down, never return to daylight, but are foddered and sleep in sheds cut in the salt rock.
Many of the chambers are very large, and supported by pillars of salt, left for the purpose: some of them are thirty or forty, and some seventy or eighty feet in height, without any support except from the sides. The roads and galleries branch out in many directions. In some parts they are very intricate, so that persons-, whose light has been accidentally extinguished, have perished, not being able to find their way back. The extent of this stratum of salt is not known, but the length already excavated exceeds a mile, and the breadth nearly half as much. The depth already dug is about seven hundred feet.
It seems remarkable that all these places, though formed of salt, are very dry. There is one rivulet of water running through the mine, which is fresh at its source, but becomes saltish, by running in the channel which it has worn in the salt rock. The rock is hewn with pickaxes, as in our English mines in Cheshire.
There are other mines in the neighbourhood, which have been wrought above six hundred years; yet the labourers have not come to the end of the stratum of salt in any direction. Between four and five hundred miners are employed in these works; and the whole number of men engaged in them is about seven hundred. Each continues at his work for eight hours, and then, if he chooses, rises again to the surface. About 300,000 quintals, or sixty million pounds of salt, have been annually raised from these mines.—Isaac Taylor.
LESSON XXXVII. THE LION.
There is something so noble and imposing in the presence of tho lion, when seen walking free and undaunted on his native soil, that no description" can convey an adequate idea of his striking appearance. He is exquisitely formed by nature for the predatory habits which he is destined to pursue. Combining in comparatively small compass the qualities of power and agility, he is enabled easily to destroy almost every beast of the forest, however superior to him in weight and stature. Though under four feet in height, he has little difficulty in dashing to the ground and overcoming the lofty and apparently powerful giraffe, whose head towers above the tree3 of the forest, and whose skin is nearly an inch in thickness. The lion is the constant attendant of the vast herds of buffaloes which frequent the interminable forests of the interior: he also preys on all the larger varieties of the antelopes, and on both the varieties of the gnoo. The zebra is also a favourite object of his pursuit.
The lion is very generally diffused throughout the secluded parts of South Africa. He is, however, nowhere met with in great abundance, it being very rare to find more than three, or even two, families of lions frequenting the same district, and drinking at the same fountain. It is a common thing to come upon a fullgrown lion and lioness, associating with three or four young ones nearly full-grown; at other times, full-grown males will be found hunting together in a happy state of friendship.
The male lion is adorned with a long, rank, shaggy mane, which in some instances almost sweeps the ground The colour of these manes varies, some being very dark, and others of a golden yellow. The females are destitute of a mane, being covered with a short, thick, glossy coat of tawny hair. One of the most striking things connected with the lion is his voice, which is extremely grand and striking. It consists at times of a low, deep moaning, repeated five or six times, ending in faintly audible sighs; at other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, solemn roars, repeated five or six times in quick succession, each increasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in five or six low, muffled sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. Not unfrequently a troop may be heard roaring in concert, one assuming the lead, and two, three, or four more regularly taking their parts, like persons singing a catch.
The habits of the lion are strictly nocturnal: during the day he lies concealed beneath the shade of some low bushy tree, either in the level forest or on the mountain side. He is also partial to lofty reeds or fields of long rank grass, such as occur in low-lying valleys. From these haunts he sallies when the sun goes down, and commences his nightly prowl. One thing conspicuous about them is their eyes, which, in a dark night, glow like two balls of fire. The female is more fierce and active than the male. At no time is the lion so much to be dreaded as when his partner has small young ones. One day, when out elephant hunting, accompanied by two hundred and fifty men, I was astonished to behold a majestic lion slowly and steadily advancing towards us, with a bearing the most noble and imposing that can be conceived. Lashing his tail from side to side, and growling haughtily, his terribly expressive eye resolutely fixed upon us, he approached. A headlong flight of the