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THE ffîtaäern éûoâ i^mplaii AND GENERAL TEMPEBANCE MONIHLY. No. 3 BRISTOL, NOYEMBER i, 1871. ONE PENNY. k\tû ®ak. "IT'S ONLY A DROP !" AN IRISH TALE, BY MRS S. C. HALL. P/yT was a cold winter night, and ç J though the cottage where Ellen and (5 Michael, the two surviving children of old Ben Murphy, lived, was always neat and comfortable, still there was a cloud over the brow of both brother and sister, as they sat before the cheerful fire ; it had obviously been spread not by anger but by sorrow. The silence had continued long, though it was not bitter. At last Michael drew away from his sister's eyes the cheched apron she had applied to them, and taldng her hand affectionately within his own, said : " It isn't for my own sake, Ellen, though I shall be lonesome enough the long winter nights and the long summer days without your wise saying, and your sweet song, and your merry laugh, that I can so well remember—aye, since the time when our poor mother used to seat us on the new rick, and then, in the innocent pride of her heart, call our father to look at us, and preach to us against being conccited at the very time she was making us proud by calling us her blossoms of beauty." " God and the blessed Virgin make her bed in heaven now and for evermore, amen!" said Ellen, at the same time drawing out her beads. "Ah, Mike, she added," that was the mother, and the father too, full of grace and goodness." " True for ye, Ellen ; but t/iat's not what I'm afther now, as you well know, you blushing little rogue of the world ; and sorra a word 1*11 say against it in the end, though its lonesome 1 '11 be on my own hearth-stone, with no one to keep me company but the ould black cat, that can't see, let alone hear, the craythur!" "Now," said Ellen, wiping her eyes, and smiling her own bright smile, "lave off; ye'rejust likeall themen, purtending to one thing whin they mane another; there's a dale of desate about—all—every one of them—and so my mother often said. Now; you'd better have done, or maybe 1*11 say something that will bring, if not the colour to your brown cheek, a dale more warmth to yer warm heart than would be convanient, just by thc mention of one Mary. Mary! that a purty name Mary is, isn't it ?—it's a common name too, and yet you like it none the worse for that. Do you mind the ould rhyme ?— 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary.' Well I'm not going to say she i.s contrary. I'm sure she's anything but tJiat to you,. anyway, brother Mike. Can't you sit still, and don't be pulling the hairs out of Pusheen cat's tail ; it isn't many there's in it ; and I'd thank you not to unravel the beautiful English cotton stocking I'm knitting; lave off your tricks, or 1*11 make common talk of it, I will, and be more than even you, my fine fellow ! Indeed, poor ould Pusheen," she continued, addressing the cat with great gravity, "never heed what he says to you ; he has no notion to make you either head nor tail to the house, not he wontletyoube without a mistress togive you yer sup of milk or yer bit of sop ; he wont let you be lonesome, my poor puss ; he's glad enough to swop an Ellen for a Mary, so he is; but that's a sacrer, avourneen ; don't tell it to any one." " Enything for your happiness," replied the brother, somewhat sulkily; but your