Eric, or Little by Little

Frederic William Farrar
or Little by Little, by Frederic W.

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Title: Eric, or Little by Little
Author: Frederic W. Farrar
Release Date: October 20, 2007 [EBook #23126]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Eric, or Little by Little
by Rev Canon F.W. Farrar.

The story of `Eric' was written with but one single object--the vivid
inculcation of inward purity and moral purpose, by the history of a boy
who, in spite of the inherent nobleness of his disposition, falls into all
folly and wickedness, until he has learnt to seek help from above. I am
deeply thankful to know--from testimony public and private,
anonymous and acknowledged--that this object has, by God's blessing,
been fulfilled.
The fact that new editions are still called for thirty-one years after its
publication, shows, I trust, that the story has been found to be of real
use. I have not thought it right to alter in any way the style or structure
of the narrative, but I have so far revised it as to remove a few of the
minor blemishes. I trust that the book may continue to live so long--and
so long only--as it may prove to be a source of moral benefit to those
who read it.
April 21, 1889.

Ah dear delights, that o'er my soul On memory's wing like shadows fly!
Ah flowers that Joy from Eden stole, While Innocence stood laughing
by. Coleridge.
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" cried a young boy, as he capered vigorously
about, and clapped his hands. "Father and mother will be home in a
week now, and then we shall stay here a little time, and then, and then,
I shall go to school."
The last words were enunciated with immense importance, as he
stopped his impromptu dance before the chair where his sober cousin
Fanny was patiently working at her crochet; but she did not look so
much affected by the announcement as the boy seemed to demand, so
he again exclaimed, "And then, Miss Fanny, I shall go to school."

"Well, Eric," said Fanny, raising her matter-of-fact quiet face from her
endless work, "I doubt, dear, whether you will talk of it with quite as
much joy a year hence."
"Oh ay, Fanny, that's just like you to say so; you're always talking and
prophesying; but never mind, I'm going to school, so, hurrah! hurrah!
hurrah!" and he again began his capering,--jumping over the chairs,
trying to vault the tables, singing and dancing with an exuberance of
delight, till, catching a sudden sight of his little spaniel Flo, he sprang
through the open window into the garden, and disappeared behind the
trees of the shrubbery; but Fanny still heard his clear, ringing, silvery
laughter, as he continued his games in the summer air.
She looked up from her work after he had gone, and sighed. In spite of
the sunshine and balm of the bright weather, a sense of heaviness and
foreboding oppressed her. Everything looked smiling and beautiful, and
there was an almost irresistible contagion in the mirth of her young
cousin, but still she could not help feeling sad. It was not merely that
she would have to part with Eric, "but that bright boy," thought Fanny,
"what will become of him? I have heard strange things of schools; oh,
if he should be spoilt and ruined, what misery it would be. Those baby
lips, that pure young heart, a year may work sad change in their words
and thoughts!" She sighed again, and her eyes glistened as she raised
them upwards, and breathed a silent prayer.
She loved the boy dearly, and had taught him from his earliest years. In
most things she found him an apt pupil. Truthful, ingenuous, quick, he
would acquire almost without effort any subject that interested him,
and a word was often enough to bring the impetuous blood to his
cheeks, in a flush of pride or indignation. He required the gentlest
teaching, and had received it, while his mind seemed cast in such a
mould of stainless honour, that he avoided most of the weaknesses to
which children are prone. But he was far from blameless. He was proud
to a fault; he well knew that few of his fellows had gifts like his, either
of mind or person, and his fair face often showed
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