ONE bright Fourth of July morning, I was driving to town. As I came to the top of the hill just above the bridge, on the outskirts of the place, a little boy from a cottage on the north side of the road, fired a small cannon. He was so near the road, the cannon made so loud a noise, and the whole thing came so unexpectedly, that my little bay pony took fright and shied, with a spring, to the other side of the road. He not only nearly over-turned the carriage, but was with great difficulty reigned in, and prevented from running away.

"You should not fire your cannon so near the road," said I to the boy, after the pony had become somewhat quiet; "you frightened my horse badly, and nearly made him run away."

"I didn't mean to," said the boy; "but it got a-going before I saw the horse, and then I couldn't stop it." I said no more, but drove on, thinking of the boy's answer, as I have often thought of it since, though all this happened years ago.

What I have thought is this. I wish I could make every boy think of it, and feel it. It would do him ever so much good, especially if he would try to apply it to all his actions. That little boy's cannon was just like his habits—just like everybody's habits. Habits, like the cannon, are not easy to stop when they once get started. They are pretty sure to keep going until, if they are bad habits, they do mischief in spite of all we can do to stop them. If you get in a habit of telling wrong stories, you cannot so easily stop it. If you get a habit of meddling dishonestly with what don't belong to you, it is apt to go on until it does some terrible mischief. If you get into the habit of being idle, and wasting your time and opportunities, be sure it will not stop and change to a good habit just when you see how bad it is, and wish to get out of it. Look out, then, for the beginning of a bad habit. Remember habits are things, that, like the cannon, you cannot easily stop when once you set them a going.