in reply to his mother, I can do that, was a common one with him. Once it put him into a laughable position. He was after hens eggs in the barn, with his playmate Edwin Mapes. It was just about the time he was eight years old, perhaps a little older. Edwin found a pullets egg, rather smaller than they usually discovered.
Isnt that cunning? said Edwin, holding up the egg.
I can swaller that, was Jamess prompt answer.
You cant do it.
I can do it.
I stump you to swaller it, continued Edwin, eager to see the experiment tried.
Not much of a stump, responded James. Here it goes; and into his mouth the egg went, proving larger than he anticipated, or else his throat was smaller, for it would not down at his bidding.
No use, Jim, exclaimed Edwin, laughing outright over his failure. The egg is small, but it wont fit your throat.
Its going down yet, said James resolutely, and the second time the egg was thrust into his mouth.
Shell and all, I spose, remarked Edwin. Spose it should stick in your crop, youd be in a pretty fix.
But it wont stick in my crop, replied James; its going down. I undertook to swaller it, and Im goin to.
The egg broke in his mouth when he almost unconsciously brought his teeth together, making a very disagreeable mush of shell and meat. It was altogether too much of a good thing, and proved rather of a nauseating dose. His stomach heaved, his face scowled, and Edwin roared; still James held to the egg, and made for the house as fast as his nimble limbs could take him, Edwin following after, to learn what next. Rushing into the house, James seized a piece of bread, thrust it into his mouth, chewed it up with the dilapidated egg, and swallowed the whole together.
There! he exclaimed: Its done.
He did what he said he would, excepting only that the egg did not find its way down the throat whole; and he felt like a conqueror. Edwin swayed to and fro with laughter; and, although forty years have elapsed since that day, it is not impossible for him to get up a laugh over it still. Mrs. Garfield looked on with curious interest, not comprehending the meaning of the affair until an explanation followed. Then she only smiled, and said, Foolish boy!
It was true what she said. He was a foolish boy to undertake such a feat; foolish, just as many promising boys are foolish at times. But the spirit of the lad appeared through the foolish act. Nevertheless, the I can element of his character rather dignified the performance. The more we think of it, the more we are inclined to take back our endorsement of that word foolish, because the act was an outcome of his self-reliance. When William Carey, the renowned missionary to India, was a boy, he possessed a daring, adventurous spirit, that expressed itself in climbing trees and buildings, and in going where, and doing what, few boys would do because of the peril. One day he fell from the top of a tree, on which he perched like an owl, and broke one of his legs. He was confined to the house, and bed several weeks; but the first thing he did on his recovery was to climb that identical tree to its very top, and seat himself on the bough from which he had fallen, to show that the feat was not impossible. There is no doubt that his
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|