A LITTLE more than a hundred years ago, a strange spectacle was presented in the marketplace of the small town of Uttoxeter, England. A venerable man—a man whose ability and learning were the glory and pride of the English nation, and whose fame was worldwide—was seen standing an hour, with his gray head uncovered, while the rain poured down upon him. 

Those of my young friends who have read the life of the famous Dr. Samuel Johnson will perhaps recollect this circumstance, and understand its meaning; but for the sake of those who do not, let me say that Dr. Johnson was the son of a poor book-seller. This father labored very hard to provide for his family. On market days he was accustomed to carry a package of books from his home in Litchfield, to Uttoxeter, and to sell them from a stall in the marketplace. One day he was sick, but knowing he could ill afford to lose the profit he had hoped to make, he requested his son Samuel to go and sell the books in his place. Samuel, like many another silly boy, thought himself too much a gentleman to do the work his father had been willingly doing in order to keep him in school, and he refused to obey. 

Fifty years afterward, when he had become a distinguished author, the compiler of the English Dictionary, and the greatest scholar in England, he remembered this act of disobedience and unkindness to his affectionate and hard-working father, with so much shame and sorrow that he determined to give a public proof of his penitence, that might be a lesson to the young wherever his name should be known. He accordingly went to the marketplace on a market day, and on the very spot where the bookstall had been, he stood with head uncovered, in the pouring rain. "This," he says, "was an act of contrition for disobedience to a kind father." 

We hope the time may never come to any of us.