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On Birth-days-William's Birth-day-Birth-days in Germany-Birthdays in France and Italy-The Expected Guests-The Walk before Breakfast to meet the London Coach-Mr. Singleton's Arrival-Maria England's Congratulatory Verses-Epicurus's Birth-festival-Great Men who have Died on their Birth-day-Personal Veneration for Birth-days-Lucy England's Birth-day Story.

"IT is William's birth-day! Wake up, Mary!" said Lucy Warden, springing up in bed, and rousing her sister; "Make haste, get up, and dress yourself quickly; for, you know, Papa bid us be up early, that we might all go together, and sing at William's door, and bid him good




morrow, and many happy returns. I wonder whether George is awake; I hope William isn't, as that would spoil know."

all, you

"Girls, girls! are you up?" whispered their brother George's voice, a few minutes afterwards, at their room door.


"Yes, yes! in one moment," answered the breathless Lucy; "just let me brush Mary's hair. There, now it's smooth. Here we are, George," said she, opening the door; "Have you seen Papa? Is he up? Is William awake ?"

"Papa has been up long ago; but I slipped out of our room so quietly, that William is still sleeping, and humming too, like a top. Hush! step softly, and don't talk, for fear."


Oh, Lucy! my penknife; where's my penknife ?" said little Mary, suddenly; "I forget where I put it last night; I meant to have it quite safely, to give William the first thing; and now—”

"Hush! it's all safe, Mary, dear-come along; the presents are to come afterwards; come, let's go to Papa."

They all tripped gently along the passage, passed William's door on tip-toe, reached their father's dressingroom, and found him and their mother waiting for them with smiling faces, ready to join in their children's frolic.

The party were quickly assembled round William's door, and then, at a signal from Mr. Warden, they all burst forth with, “Hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings," changing the last line to-"My William, sweet, arise." A shout of applause, clapping of hands, and merry laughter, concluded the performance of the serenade, and in they all rushed with kisses and congratulations, and " Good mornings," and 'Many happy returns, William."


He was shortly after summoned to the summer-house,


where his mother and sisters had been busily employed, while he was dressing, in arranging the several presents prepared for him by each member of the family. Little Mary's anxiety about her penknife for William, was set completely at rest when she beheld it in a conspicuous situation on the table, next to a purse which Lucy had knitted for him; and her eyes sparkled with joy as she watched her brother's pleased looks when he came in and saw the array of delightful gifts.

"It is almost like what you told us about the German birth-days, Mamma," said Lucy.

"Only there's no tree," said George.

"No; the tree, there, makes a principal part of the display," replied his mother. "It is placed in the centre of the table, and is a large branch of fir, decorated with apples and walnuts, covered with gold-leaf, and ornamented bonbons, all tied on with knots of divers-coloured ribbon. A white cloth is spread beneath, on which lie the presents, and a large cake, of an oblong form, on which are placed a number of wax candles."

"Candles, Mamma! What, in the day-time ?" asked Lucy.

"Yes; they agree in number with the years of the person whose birth-day is being celebrated, and there is a sort of superstitious ceremony connected with them. The hero, or heroine of the day, is to attempt to blow out the centre candle, and the number of unsuccessful puffs given before it is extinguished, are supposed to indicate the number of years that will transpire before they are married."

"What kind of cake is it, Mamma ?" said little Mary; "Are there plums in it?"

"O, yes; plums, and almonds, and candied lemon and orange-peel; but it is not particularly rich in itself, being,

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