HARRY was spending his vacation with his Uncle John, who was a chemist, and spent many hours in his laboratory.

The boy felt quite privileged, because it was seldom that boys were allowed to go into this room where the gentleman tried his experiments.

But Harry was a special favorite with his uncle, for he was his dead sister's child; and, moreover, he was not meddlesome. A boy to whom he must say repeatedly, "Do not touch this," or "Be careful of that," he could never have permitted to watch him while he worked.

One day, a gentleman brought a specimen that he believed contained gold, for Uncle John to try.

It was a great delight to the boy to watch him as he took down his crucibles, and made them ready for the furnace.

"Why do they call these funny-shaped little cups crucibles?" he asked. And his uncle answered,—

"Some say that the name came from the Latin word crucis, for the alchemist in other days marked them with the sign of the cross; while others tell us that it came from the word crucio, to torment, because all things that are put into them are put to tormenting tests.

"Do you see that crucible over there with the gentleman's ore in it?" he continued. "I shall put that into the furnace, and the fire will try it.

And, just here, I want to say, my boy, that we all have our crucibles. All of us, sometime, must be tried, by the fire of temptation; and even boys cannot escape this trial of character."

Harry thought his uncle's talk a long one, for he was more interested in the crucible that held the ore than in any crucible to which he might in the future be brought for trial.

At last, his uncle rose, and, going to the furnace, looked in. Then came another time of waiting, when the crucible was taken from the fire.

"Come here, Harry," Uncle John said. And Harry saw in the cup nothing but a yellow substance. "Pure gold," his uncle said. And the boy answered,—

"How happy the man will be!"

At last, the morning came which was to be the last of his vacation.

Uncle John, at the morning devotions, read those passages which speak of the trial of a man's works, and of the burning of the wood, hay, and stubble, and then he prayed that, as Harry went forth to meet trials, he might come out of the fire pure gold.