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THE STORY-TELLER.

How Charlie Ran Away. “I declare, it’s too mean for anything, mamma,” said Charlie, angrily, his forehead knit in a thousand cross little wrinkles. “If I can’t do like other boys, I’ll run away altogether.” His mother looked sorrowful, for Charlie was her only boy, and his naughtiness sent a sharp pain through her heart. Ho was only nine years old, but of late had become so headstrong and wilful that he was almost beyond her control, and bis threat of running away had been oft repeated. That night she went to sleep and a sudden idea came into her mind. It was a very curious plan by which she hoped to cure Charlie of-his wilful ways.

The next afternoon her boy came rushing in after school, dashed his books down, and was rushing off again, when his mother called him back.

“ Where are you going Charlie ?”

“ Only out for a row on the pond, with Jack, mother ; I’ll be back by tea time.” “ But it’s beginning to rain, and your throat is still si >re, my son. Suppose you ask Jack to come in and take tea with you instead. I’m afraid to have you go while it is so damp.” Charlie’s face flushed angrily. He threw his cap down and muttered—

“ No. I won’t have him come at all ! It’s a shame I’m so tied down. I’ve a mind to run away ; I have so.” His mother did not speak for a minute ; then she said quietly but very firmly—- “ You cannot go out again to-night, my son. ”

Charlie went to his play very sulkily. At tea he did not say a word, and after tea he studied his lessons gloomily, without the usual bright questions and talks with his mother. He lose to go to bed, but his mother called him back.

“ Charlie,” she said gravely, taking his hand in hers, “You have talked a good deal lately about running away, and now I think that as you don’t seem very happy at home perhaps you had better go. So I’ve told Charlotte to have an early breakfast, so that you can start at seven, and 1 11 tie up some clothes in a bundle for you. You can take your father’s knotted cane, and Charlotte will give you some biscuits to put in your pocket. I’ll call you at half-past six. ” Charlie could hardly believe his ears. Was his mother in earnest ? That wasn’t the way boys ran away. He felt very tight and queer in the throat, but he was too proud to cry, so he only muttered in a shaky'voice—“Very well; I’ll be up in time," and went to bed. She called him back to put his school books in the bookcase, as he wouldn’t need them any more. This was almost too much, but the child obeyed without a word, and then went slowly upstairs. That night his mother lay awake many hours, full of anxious fears as to the result of her experiment. Charlie felt very sober about the prospect for the next day ; but it was too late now to retreat, and he determined not to give in. Nevertheless, he was sound asleep when his mother came to give the forgotten good night kiss. She saw the mark of tears on his face, and her heart grew a little lighter. Charlie was up early in the morning, long before his mother called him. It was a cloudy, chilly day, and the warm breakfast would have tasted very good if he had thought about it: but he never could tell what he ate that day. When it was over, his mother said in a very commonplace way—

“ Now, my son, you had better be starting. Your best clothes are tied up in this bundle, and I have put some of Charlotte’s biscuits in with them. Goodbye, and be a good boy wherever you go.” They were on the front steps. His mother kissed him very affectionately, exactly as if he was going on a long journey, watching him go down the steps, and then went in and closed the door, and Charlie was left to go his way alone. He walked very slowly down the street to the corner, stopped there, and looked up and down. It was early, and nobody seemed in sight. A great feeling of loneliness and longing for his dear, lost home came over Charlie, and he would have given worlds to be back again in the warm, cozy sitting-room, looking over his lessons before school. He turned the corner and walked a square, then turned once more and went slowly along, his head down, and a feeling of entire forlornness, getting worse all the time. What was his mother doing now 1 Washing up the glass no doubt. He hoped they would not forget to feed Billy, the little Scotch terrier. Ah ! he would probably never see Billy again. Just then Charlie came plump against a fat black woman carrying a pitcher of milk. He looked up, and exclaimed, “Why, Charlotte !” “ Why Master Charles,” said Charlotte, who stepped out of the back door just when our boy left the front steps, and had never lost sight of him for a single moment. “Oh Charlotte,” repeated Charlie, bursting into tears and seizing her hands, regal-mess of the milk pitcher, which fortunately was empty, “do you think mamma will ever take me back again V “ Just try, honey. I’d go and ask her right away,” said good old Charlotte, her own eyes rather &uip£y. Charlie’s mother was sitting by her work-table when she felt two arms around her neck, a face wet with tears against her own, and a voice choked with sobs said—- “ Oh, mother, if you’ll forgive me and take me back I’ll never want to run away again—never. ” She held her Vxsy close to her happy, thankful heart, and kissed him many times. Her experiment had succeeded, and that was the last that was ever heard of Charlie running away.

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THE STORY-TELLER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 11, 21 October 1879

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