A DARK-EYED boy, with a pale, sad face, stood leaning against the railing of a ship, looking at the foaming waves, which were dashing against the sides of the vessel. The ship had left port only a few days before, and this was the first time that Allan, the cabin-boy, had ever been on the sea. He seemed to avoid being with the other sailors, who were rough, wicked men, and swore and drank liquor. Though he was quick to do whatever was asked of him, yet he spent his spare time in gazing over the waters toward the land, which they had left behind. The sailors often tried to get him to taste of their liquor, and would laugh and sneer at him and sometimes cruelly torment him because he refused to do so. 

Finally, they agreed among themselves to make Allan drink some liquor; and finding him one day alone near the stern of the ship, one held him, while another tried to pour the rum down his throat. The others laughed loudly to see the fun. 

"Laugh on!" cried Allen, with a firm voice, 

"but I will never taste a drop of it. You ought to be' ashamed to drink it yourselves; and much more to try to force it down a boy!" And just as the sailor was about to pour it into his throat, quick as a flash, Allen snatched the bottle and flung it overboard. The captain and the mate, hearing the noise, came that way, much to the joy of Allan, who supposed they would put a stop to the sailors' abuse. But the captain was himself a rough, drinking man, and when he heard the cause of the trouble, he said he would " soon make the lad take his medicine." When he learned that the boy had thrown the liquor overboard, he cried angrily, "Hoist that fellow aloft into the maintop sail! I'll teach him better than to waste my property!" 

Two sailors came forward to carry out the captain's order, but Allan quietly waved them back, and said, in a low, respectful tone, "I'll go myself, captain; and I hope you will pardon me, far I meant no offense." His hand trembled a little as he took hold of the rigging, for he was not used to climbing the ropes of a ship. As the captain saw how slowly and carefully he climbed, he cried, "Faster, faster, there!" and faster Allen tried to go, but his foot slipped, and clinging by one hand, he hung dangling over the water. A coarse laugh from the captain, a jeer from the sailors; but Allan again caught his foot-hold, and in a few minutes more was in the watch-basket. 

"Now, stay there, you young scamp, and get some of the spirit frozen out of you," muttered the captain as he withdrew to his cabin. 

The mate was a kind-hearted man, and begged the captain not to leave the boy there all night,-else he would be chilled to death. The captain refused to let him come down, but said he would go on deck and see how he was doing. 

"If I allow you to come down, will you drink what is in this glass?" shouted the captain; and he held up a sparkling glass of his favorite wine. 

"No, sir; I cannot do it!" cried the brave boy. 

"There, that settles it," said the captain, "he's got to stay there all night; he'll be toned down by morning." 

After dark, the mate, unbeknown to the captain, managed to carry the poor boy a blanket and some food and hot drink. By early dawn the captain came on deck; and when to his call of  "Ho, my lad!" there was no reply, he began to be alarmed, and ordered the boy taken down. A glass of warm wine and biscuit was standing beside the captain, and as Allan's limp form was carried in before him, his voice softened a little as he said, "Here, my lad, drink that, and I'll trouble you no more; but you will have to do this just to show how I bend stiff necks on board my ship." 

The boy was weak and cold, but he straightened himself up, and said, "Captain Harden, two weeks ago, I promised solemnly by my mother's open grave that I would never taste the terrible drink, which had ruined our once happy home, and sent my dear mother to an early grave. The next day I stretched my hand through prison bars to bid my poor father good-bye. With tears in his eyes, he said, Pray for me Allan; and remember my boy, never, never to taste of strong drink.'

 Do with me what you will, captain; let me freeze to death in the main-mast, throw me into the sea below, do anything, but do not for my dead mother's sake make me drink that poison:" 

The boy sank back, and burst into a fit of tears. 

The captain stepped forward, and laying his hand, which trembled a little, upon the lad's head, said to the sailors, "For our mothers' sakes, let us respect Allan Bancroft's pledge; and never," he added, "let me catch one of you ill-treating him." 

Without another word the captain strode hastily away to his cabin. 

Children, how many of you are brave enough to resist temptation, even at the cost of your life? 

E. B. G.