LAY down your book and get ready for school, Matty." 

"Yes, mamma, in a minute." 

"My child, your 'in a minute' is the secret of all your school troubles and disgraces." 

At this, Matty languidly pulled herself up from the large rocking-chair in which she was lounging and reading the last pages of a story-book, and began to hunt up her geography, and tie her shoes, and peep into a neglected spelling-lesson, and hurry her mother to prepare her lunch, while the long hand of the clock pointed to fifteen minutes before nine. Harry was calling "Come, Matty!" at the front door, and her seatmate waving a beckoning hand to her as she hurried by the house.

Just as Matty shut the gate, her Uncle Harry came along, his face ruddy with exercise in the frosty air.

Seizing Matty's hand, and taking her dinner-pail and books, he cried out, 

"Stop thief! Stop thief!" and before she could have time to collect her thoughts, he was running with her so fast that her little feet seemed hardly to touch the ground. The loitering children seeing Uncle Harry's speed, and hearing his cry of "Stop thief!" 

joined in the pursuit, hardly daring to look over their shoulders for fear of being seized by a pursuing highway man. They reached the schoolhouse just as the clock had commenced striking nine; and for the first time in two weeks Matty sat in her seat at the opening exercises, instead of standing in the vestibule among the tardy ones. 

Uncle Harry remained sitting in the visitors' seat until after the opening exercises; then rose and left in haste, as he said, for fear the thief who had been chasing his niece and the other loitering children would waylay and rob him of what he valued most.

Before leaving, he said a few words to the eager-eyed little ones, with his watch in his hand for fear he should overstay his time.

"He is a terrible enemy, dear children, who has been after us today. 

If he gets hold of you, he will keep you unhappy, and what some people call 'unlucky,' all your days. What is worse than all, he will try to steal your opportunity to make your peace with God.

"Dear children, fear him more than you do rattlesnakes when you go berrying on Round Hill, or mad dogs, or ugly bulls; for, after all, they can only destroy your body. This thief, after he has destroyed character, home and business, will prevent your entering Heaven, just as he tried to keep you from coming into this school-room in time for prayers." The children looked at each other and at Uncle Harry with a gaze of great curiosity and surprise. But Uncle Harry soon relieved their suspense. As he borrowed the teacher's chalk to write the name of the thief on the blackboard, the boys and girls could hardly be kept in order by the frowns and signs of their teacher.

"Now children, see the name of the thief who is always at your heels! 

Look out for him. Don't give him a chance to look at you."

As Uncle Harry took his leave, the children saw printed in large letters, 

"PROCRASTINATION is the Thief of Time." 

American Messenger.