ALL the year Fred and Gracie, Somers were promised that if they would be good children and learn their lessons well, they should go with their mamma to the seashore when the long summer vacation came. Well, they tried so hard to be good, that the promise was kept to them, and the next week after school closed, they went with their mother and little sister Ethel to spend a few weeks in a pleasant cottage by the sea. 

And what fine times they did have! The children had never seen the ocean before, and never tired of playing on its shore, and of watching the ships and boats going to and fro over the waters. 

There was a great rock down by the sea where they would often sit when the tide was out, and there they would watch the ships, and wonder where they were going, and who were in them, and wish they too might go sailing away over the great deep. Then they would wander along the sandy beach, and gather the bright seaweeds and beautiful shells, which the waves had washed ashore. These they carefully saved to take home with them. At other times they would amuse themselves for hours by building sand houses and forts, and drawing pictures in the sand with a stick; and then when the tide came in, watch the waves creep up slowly, little by little, until all their work was washed away. But the children did not feel bad at this, for they knew when they built their houses that it would come; and so that was the part of the fun which they enjoyed most. 

There was an old fisherman who lived in a little hut down by the sea, and with him they soon became good friends. He told them many thing: about the grand old ocean, which he loved, so well; and sometimes when the sea was smooth, he would take them out a little way in his boat. He was a very kind old man, and their mother always felt safe about them when they were with him. So the summer passed, and the children grew strong and rosy; and when papa came for them, the first of September, you would not have known them for the pale little city children that came to the sea-side in July. 

Well, vacation-time has come once more;  and all over the land, in dusty cities, and in quiet country homes, the children are wondering how they shall spend it. Probably some of you will go to the seaside, or to the mountains, as so many people do; but quite likely most of you will just stay at your own homes through all the hot summer. And maybe some of you will feel very sorry and unhappy because you cannot go away, as some of your schoolmates do, and will think that because you do not go, you cannot have any good times this vacation. 

But children, let me tell you that is not true. If you are happy and cheerful, and try to be helpful to those around you, you can have a good time almost anywhere. 

Your mother will get very tired these long hot days, and if you will see how much you can help her, I think it will make her happy and you too. Do cheerfully all the little chores she asks you to do, and save her all the steps you can. Take pains to amuse your younger brothers and sisters, and some bright day perhaps you can all take your dinners and go to the woods and have a nice time. If you use your vacation in this way, it will seem all too short, and who knows but you will have a "good time" too? Then when school commences again, your mother will miss you instead of being glad to have you gone to school. 

E. B. 


SLEEP, little baby of mine, 

Night and the darkness are near, 

But Jesus looks down 

Through the shadows that frown, 

And baby has nothing to fear. 

Shut, little sleepy blue eyes; 

Dear little head, be at rest; 

Jesus, like you, 

Was a baby once, too, 

And slept on his own mother's breast.