TICK! Tick! Went the old eight-day clock.

Polly Marsh and her little brother Tom were playing happily, and hardly noticed it. But the clock did not mind that; for it knew that there was some one in the house who would hear in a moment if it is ticking right or not, and who would be in soon to wind it up. It was Thursday, and as surely as that day came, Dame Marsh would take the key from a little hook, and wind up the old clock.

But besides being Thursday, it was New Year's day, and Polly was teaching Tom how to spin a new top, which had just been given him. 

Dame Marsh was busy getting dinner ready, and was saying softly, as she glanced at the happy children, "I wish he would come. He said he would try to begin the New Year with us. I wish he would come."

So deep in thought was she, that it was a quarter to two before she remembered the clock.

Tom just then flung down his top and cord in a temper.

"I can't do it!" he said. "Sha'n't try."

"Hush, hush, Tom, dear!" said grannie, as she took down the clock key. "You shouldn't say can't, or you will never learn to do anything; and you shouldn't say sha'n't, or nobody will teach you.

You are only a wee boy yet, and have hardly begun to try to do anything; so you must not give up so soon."

Tom hid his blushing face in his grandmother's apron, 'for he knew it was naughty to kick his top, and speak in such a cross way to his sister.

"Come and see me wind up the dear old clock," said Dame Marsh.  She was a wise and loving woman, and tried to train the two motherless children for heaven.

In a moment Tom's face was all smiles, as he watched the heavy weights drawn up, while the big pendulum swung gravely from side to side as if it never meant to stop.

"Why do I wind up those weights, Polly?"

"It wouldn't go if you did not," said Polly, gravely. "Grandfather told me all about that on Christmas-day."

"That's just it, dear; and so every week since it was bought, the weights have been wound up, and the clock has gone on doing its work. But if I should forget to wind it up, it would stop ticking, and be of no use to any one. I think men and women, and boys and girls, are very much like clocks, only we want winding up oftener.

When we say our prayers, and ask God to help us, we are being wound up to keep on doing the work he has given us to do."

But I haven't any real work; no more has Tom, yet," said Polly.

"Yes, dear, you have. Your work now is to be obedient and gentle, and to learn your lessons well. Then, besides ticking and striking, which we may call the clock's hard work, it has a face, which shows us the right time. So all little children, as well as grown people, can show by their faces whether they are doing God's work. When you look cross and pout, as some one did just now, you are like a clock which is pointing to the wrong time; but when you are bright and smiling, you are telling the sight time, and are like a little sign-post pointing to heaven."




Child's Companion.