The Project Gutenberg eBook of All the World Over, by Ella Farman

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Title: All the World Over

Interesting Stories of Travel, Thrilling Adventure and Home Life

Authors: Ella Farman

Lucia Chase Bell

Frank H. Converse

Louise Stockton

Other Popular Authors

Release Date: March 4, 2022 [eBook #67560]

Language: English

Produced by: Alan, Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ALL THE WORLD OVER ***

IN THE BULL-CIRCUS, MADRID.

ALL THE WORLD OVER

INTERESTING STORIES OF TRAVEL, THRILLING
ADVENTURE AND HOME LIFE

BY

ELLA FARMAN, MRS. LUCIA CHASE BELL, FRANK H. CONVERSE, LOUISE STOCKTON,
AND OTHER POPULAR AUTHORS

ON A WILD GOOSE CHASE

FULLY ILLUSTRATED

BOSTON

D. LOTHROP COMPANY

1893.

Copyright, 1892,
by
D. Lothrop Company.

—————
All rights reserved.


CONTENTS

(Created by transcriber. Not present in original.)

All the World Over Unknown
Queen Louisa and the Children Mary Stuart Smith
The Plaything of an Empress M. S. P.
Charlie’s Week in Boston Charles E. Hurd
A Wonderful Trio Jane Howard
Two Fortune-seekers Rossiter Johnson
The Little Christmas Pies E. F.
The Strangers from the South Ella Farman
Wi’ Wee Winkers Blinkin’ J. E. Rankin, D. D.
The Childrens’ Shoes Blanche B. Baker
Ethel’s Experiment B. E. E.
Cinders Madge Elliot
Tom’s Centennial Margaret Eytinge
Little Chub and the Sky Window Mary D. Brine
Little Boy Blue C. A. Goodenow
Ghosts and Water-melons J. H. Woodbury
Funny Little Alice Mrs. Fanny Barrow
“Pretty,” and Her Violin Holme Maxwell
Dolly’s Last Night Emily Huntington Miller
Nib and Meg Ella Farman
The Little Parsnip-man E. F.
How Dorr Fought Salome
Tim’s Partner Amanda M. Douglas
Unto Babes Helen Kendrick Johnson
What Happened to the Baby Magaret Eytinge
Mrs. White’s Party Mrs. H. G. Rowe
Queer Church Rev. S. W. Duffield
The Fun-and-frolic Art School Stanley Wood
Some Quaker Boys of 1776 C. H. Woodman
What I Heard on the Street Clara F. Guernsey
Kip’s Minister Kate W. Hamilton
Jim’s Troubles Grandmere Julie
The Christmas Thorn Louise Stockton
Midget’s Baby Mary D. Brine
A Nocturnal Lunch, and Its Consequences Lily J. Chute
Lulu’s Pets Mary Standish Robinson
What Janet Did With Her Christmas Present  L. J. L.
Christmas Roast Beef A. W. Lyman
Granny Luke’s Courage M. E. W. S.
Billy’s Hound (PI) Sara E. Chester
Billy’s Hound (PII) Sara E. Chester
Pussy Willow and the South Wind A Poem
Little Sister and Her Puppets Rev. W. W. Newton
Spring Fun A Poem
The Lost Dimple Mary D. Brine
The Other Side of the Story Kate Lawrence
Jack Horner A Poem’s Meaning
Double Dinks Elizabeth Stoddard
Learning to Swim Edgar Fawcett
Sweetheart’s Surprise Mary E. C. Wyeth
The Cross-patch Mrs. Emily Shaw Farman
The Proud Bantam Clara Louise Burnham
The True Story of Simple Simon Harriette R. Shattuck
In the Tunnel of Mount Cenis Mrs. Alfred Macy
A Ride on a Centaur Hamilton W. Mabie
Lill’s Travels in Santa Claus Land Ellis Towne
Bob’s “Breaking in” Eleanor Putnam
The First Hunt J. H. Woodbury
Chinese Decoration For Easter Eggs S. K. B.
Il Santissimo Bambino Phebe F. Mᶜkeen
My Mother Put It on Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney
A Child in Florence (PI) K. R. L.
A Child in Florence (PII) K. R. L.
A Child in Florence (PIII) K. R. L.
Seeing the Pope Mrs. Alfred Macy
Fayette’s Ride Clara F. Guernsey
Fanny Clara Doty Bates
Little Mary’s Secret Mrs. L. C. Whiton
How Patty Curtis Learned to Sweep Mrs. M. L. Evans
A Bird Story M. E. B.
A New Lawn Game G. B. Bartlett
How Philip Sullivan Did an Errand Mary Densel
Winter With the Poets The Editor
Bessie’s Story Frank H. Converse
Difference of Opinion The Editor
The Grass, the Brook, and the Dandelions Margaret Eytinge
The Birds’ Harvest Mrs. J. D. Chaplin
Birds’-nest Soup Ella Rodman Church
The Story of Two Forgotten Kisses Kitty Clover

ALL THE WORLD OVER

PERHAPS one of the most vivid impressions which the tourist receives upon his entrance into any Spanish city whatsoever, is of its muscular beggars—men of enormous size, with their ruffianly swaggering strength exaggerated by the national cloak. This garment is of heavy, tufted woollens, long and fringed, almost indestructable, and is frequently worn to muffle half the face; and the broad slouch hat, usually with a couple of rough feathers stuck in its band, does not tend to soften the general brigandish effect.

These beggars are licensed by the government, which must reap a goodly revenue from the disgraceful crowd, as they are numerous, and therefore they pursue their avocation in the most open manner. They will frequently follow the traveller a half-mile, especially should they find him to be ignorant of that magic formula of dismissal which is known to all Spaniards:

Pardon, for God’s sake, Brother!

This appeal is constantly on the lip of every Spanish lady. She utters it swiftly, without so much as a glance, a dozen times of a morning on her way to church, as a dozen gaunt, dirty hands are thrust in her face as she passes; and hearing it, the most persistent fellow of them all is at once silenced, and falls back.

Coming in from their kennel-homes among the ruins and the holes in the hills outside, it is the custom to make an early morning tour of the city before they take up their stations for the day at the various church and hotel doors. Each seems to be provided with “green pudding,” in his garlic pot, and he eats as he goes along, and prays as he eats, stopping in front of the great oval patio or court gates of iron lattice, which guard the mansions of the rich.

At these patio doors he makes a prodigious racket, shaking the iron rods furiously, and all the while muttering his prayers, until some one of the family appears at a gallery window. Then instantly the mutter becomes a whine, a pitiful tale is wailed forth, and alms are dolefully implored “for the love of God.” But although such mottoes as “Poverty is no Crime” are very often painted on the walls of their fine houses, the probability is that the unmoved Señorita will murmur a swift “Pardon, for God’s sake, Brother!” and retire, to soon appear again to silence another of the fraternity with the same potent formula.

However, each of the countless horde is sure to gather in centimes sufficient for the day’s cigarettes and garlic, and, in the long run, to support life to a good old age.

THE Spaniards are a nation of dancers and singers. Every Spanish child seems born with the steps, gestures, snappings and clappings of the national fandango dance, at the ends of his fingers and toes. A guitar is the universal possession, and every owner is a fine player. The solitary horseman, the traveller by rail, takes along his guitar; and in car, or at cross-roads, he is sure of dancers at the first thrilling twang. There is always a merry youth and maiden aboard ready to make acquaintance in a dance, and anywhere the whole household will troop from the cottage, the plowman will leave his team in the furrow, and the laborer drop his hoe, for a half-hour’s joyous “footing o’t.”

One of the interesting sights of Toledo is the great city fountain on Street St. Isabel, near the cathedral. It is a good place to study donkeys and their drivers, and the lower classes of the populace. The water, deliciously sweet and cool, is brought from the mountains by the old Moorish-built water-ways, and flows by faucet. There is no public system of delivery, consequently a good business falls into the hands of private water-carriers. These supply families at a franc a month. The poorer households go to and fro with their own water-jars as need calls, carrying them on their heads. They often wear a cushioned ring, fitting the head, to render the carrying of the jar an easier matter.

A picturesque article of dress among Spanish men, is the national sash, a broad woollen some four yards in length, of gay colorings. This is wound three or four times around the waist, its fringed end tucked in to hang floating, and the inevitable broad knife thrust within its folds, which also hold the daily supply of tobacco. A common sight is the sudden stop on the street, a lighting of a fresh cigarette, a loosening of the loosened sash, a twitch of the short breeches, and then a tight, snug wind-up, when the lounger moves on again.

Another amusing sight is the picturesque beggar who seems at first glance to be hanging in effigy against the cathedral walls, so motionless will some of these fellows stand, hat slouched over the face, the brass government “license” labelling the breast, a hand extended, and, in many cases, a crest worn prominently on the ragged garments, to show that the wearer is a proud descendant of some old grandee family. To address this crested beggar by any other title than Caballero (gentleman) is a deadly insult.

AMONG the many small sights of the Plaza about Christmas time, are the sellers of zambombas, or Devil’s Fiddles. This toy, which the stranger sometime takes for a receptacle of sweet drinks to be imbibed through a hollow cane, is a favorite plaything with Spanish children. A skin is stretched over a bottomless jar; into this is fastened a stout length of sugar-cane, and lo! a zambomba. Its urchin-owner spits on his palms, rubs them smartly up and down the ridgy cane, when the skin-drum reverberates delightfully.

The fruit markets are of a primitive sort. The peasant fills his donkey-panniers with grapes, garlic, melons straw-cased and straw-handled, whatever he has ripe, and starts for town. Reaching the Plaza, in the shade of the cathedral, he spreads his cloak, rolling a rim. On this huge woollen plate he arranges his fruit, weighing it out as customers demand.

From the old Moorish casements, the traveller looks down on the most rudimentary sort of life. He sees no labor-saving machinery. Instead of huge vans loaded with compact hay bales, he beholds the donkey hay-train. The farmer binds a mountain of loose hay on each of his donkeys, lashes them together, and with a neighbor to help beat the train along, starts for market. These trains may be seen any day crooking about among the steep mountain-ways.

The student of folk-life notes the shoemakers on the Plaza at work in the open air. Formerly the sandal was universally worn, with its sole of knotted hemp, and its canvas brought up over the toe, at which point was fastened a pair of ribbons about four feet long, and these ribbons each province had its own fashion of lacing and tying. But now the conventional footgear of Paris is common, and one buys boots of the fine glossy Cordovan leather for a trifle.

The proprietors of the neighboring vineyards visit the wine shops weekly to bring full wine-skins, and take such as are emptied. These skins, often with their wool unsheared, are cured by remaining several weeks filled with wine-oil, and all seams are coated with pitch to prevent leakage. The wholesale skins hold about eight gallons, being usually those of well-grown animals. They are stoutly sewn, tied at each knee, and also at the neck, whence the wine is decanted into smaller skins by means of a tunnel.

THE beggars of Spain are a most devout class. Piety is, with them, the form under which they conduct business; a shield, and a certificate of character. They walk the streets under the protection of the patron saint of the principal church in town, and they formally demand alms of you in the name of that saint. It is Religion that solicits you—the beggar’s own personality is not at all involved; and it is thus that the proud Spanish self-respect is saved from hurt.

The tourist who has not tarried in French towns, is, at first, astonished to behold women passing to and fro upon the streets with no head covering whatever. Hats and bonnets are rarely seen upon Spanish women of the lower and middle classes. Those who are street-venders sit bareheaded all day long in their chairs on the Plaza, wholly indifferent to the great heat and blinding dazzle of the Spanish sun. About Christmas, dozens of a “stands” spring up along the Plaza. It is at that season that the gypsy girls come in with their roasters and their bags of big foreign chestnuts; and they do a thriving business, for every good Spanish child expects roast chestnuts and salt at Christmas.

Many of the mountain families about Toledo keep small flocks of sheep—flocks that, instead of dotting a green landscape with peaceful white, as in America and Northern Europe, only darken the reddish-brown soil of Spain with a restless shading of a redder and a deeper hue. These brown sheep are herded daily down on the fenceless wastes. The shepherd-boys are usually attended by shepherd-dogs so enormous in size that the traveller often mistakes them for donkeys. They are sagacious, and do most of the herding, their masters devoting themselves to the guitar, the siesta, the cigarette, and the garlic pudding.

Toledo, more than any other Spanish city, abounds with interesting bits and noble examples of the old Moorish architecture, for the reason that it has not been rebuilt at all, and that few of its ruins have been restored, or even retouched. Color alone has changed. The city now is of the soft hue of a withered pomegranate. Turn where you will, your eye is delighted by an ornate façade, a carved gateway with its small reticent entrance door, a window with balcony and cross-bars, and everywhere there is the horseshoe arch with its beautiful curve. The old Alcazar is standing, though occupied as a Spanish arsenal, and on the height opposite is the ruin of a fine Moorish castle.

ONE of the best “small businesses” in a Spanish city, is that of the domestic water-supply. Those dealers who have no donkeys, convey it to their customers in long wheelbarrows constructed with a frame to receive and hold several jars securely. Stone jars, with wood stopples attached with a cord, are used, the carrying-jars, being emptied into larger jars in the water-cellars. The peasants have a poetic appellation for the soft, constant drip of the water from the old aqueducts: The sigh of the Moor.

With the Spaniard, as with the American, the turkey is a special Christmas luxury. But the tempting rows of dressed fowls common to our markets and groceries, are never to be seen. As the holiday season draws very close at hand, the mountain men come down into the city, driving before them their cackling, gobbling, lustrous-feathered flocks, bestowing upon them, of course, the usual daily allowance of blows which is meted out to the patient family donkey. These poultry dealers congregate upon the Plaza, where they smoke, and chaff, and dicker, keeping their droves in place with the whip; and the buyer shares in the capture of his flying, screaming, flapping purchase, in company with all the children on the street, for the turkey market is usually great fun for the Spanish youngster.

In the cold season, one of the morning sights of a Spanish town is the preparation of the big charcoal braziers outside the gates of the fine dwelling-houses. The coals are laid and lighted, and then the servant blows them with a large grass fan until the ashes are white, when he may consider that all deadly fumes are dissipated, and that it is safe to carry it within to the room it is to warm.

Nearly all the peasants in the near vicinity of cities are market gardeners on a small scale. They cultivate small plots, and whenever any crop is ripe, they load their donkey-panniers and go into the cities, where they sell from house to house. These vegetable-panniers have enormous pockets, and are woven of coarse, dyed grasses, in stripes and patterns of gaudy blue and red. When filled, they often cover and broaden the donkey’s back to such an extent that the lazy owner, determined to ride, must sit on the very last section of backbone. Some of the streets in Toledo are so narrow that the brick or stone walls of the buildings have been hewn and hollowed out at donkey-height, to allow the loaded panniers to pass. The buyers make their bargains from the windows, a sample vegetable being handed up for inspection.

TRAVELLERS should deny themselves Spain during December, January and February. The heating apparatus of the American and the English house is unknown in Spanish dwellings—fireplace, stove, nor furnace. The peasant draws his cloak up to his nose and shivers and cowers, while the middle-class family lights a single brazier, and the household, gathering in one room, hovers over the charcoal smouldering away in its brass cage, and the cats sit and purr on the broad wooden rim. These braziers are expensive—constructed of brass and copper—and few families afford more than one, making winter comfort out of the question, as the floors, of marble or stone, never get well warmed.

With the coming of pleasant weather Spanish families usually forsake the blinded, draperied, balconied rooms of the gallery for the secluded and garden-like patio. This court is often fifty feet square, and in its enclosure there is generally a fountain; the floor is tiled with marble, there are stately tropic plants in tubs, and orange and palm-trees are growing. Should the sunshine become too fierce there are smoothly-running screens and awnings to roof the whole court in an instant. Some of the old Moorish patios contain quaint wells, dry at some seasons, but often affording water sufficient for housekeeping needs.

The water-jars come from the famous potteries of Seville, and, made of a rude red clay, are similar in hue to our plant pots. They are brought in high loads by oxen—and these pottery carts are often an enlivening feature of the dull country roads.

The water cellar is not a cellar at all, but a stone-paved room off the patio, delightfully cool and sloppy of a fiery July day, with the water-carriers unloading, and filling the array of dripping red jars with the day’s supply from the public fountain.

Every Spanish peasant wears a knife in his sash. These knives are usually about eighteen inches long, with a broad, sharp, murderous blade. The handles are of tortoise or ivory, often carved richly, or inlaid with figures of the Virgin, the Saviour, or the crucifix. The knife is kept open by a curious little wheel, between blade and handle, and is used indiscriminately, to slice a melon or lay bare a quarrelsome neighbor’s heart.

SEVILLE is celebrated for its oranges and its pottery. Nearly the whole Spanish supply of water-jars comes from this city; and the outlying country is agreeably dotted with orange orchards, as olive oases enliven the vicinity of Cordova. The export of the fruit is a considerable business. The most delicious orange in the world may be bought in the streets of Seville for a cent, and the ordinary rate for the ordinary fruit is four for a cent. In the Christmas season large and selected oranges are sold in the outdoor booths. They are carefully brought, and temptingly hung in nets, along with melons cased in straw, fine bunches of garlic, chestnuts, assorted lengths of sugar-cane, tambourines, zambombas, and such other sweet and noisy objects as delight the Spanish youngster.

The decorative plant of Spain is the aloe—truly decorative, with its base of long, dark, clear-cut, sword-like leaves, its tall slender trunk often rising twenty feet high, and its broad candelabras of crimson blooms.

A picturesque industry of Seville is the spinning of the green rope so much used by Spanish farmers. It is manufactured from the coarse pampas grass of the plains, and the operation is a very leisurely and social one, requiring three persons: one to feed the wheel, one to turn it, and a third to receive the twisted rope.

Plowing, in Spain, is still a very rude performance. The primitive plow of the Garden of Eden era is yet in use—a sharp crotch of a tree, crudely shod, however, with iron.

An indispensable article of peasants’ costume for both men and women, should an absence of even two hours be contemplated, is the alforja, or peasant’s bag. This, in idea, is similar to the donkey-pannier—a long, stout, woollen strip thickly tufted with bunches of red and blue wool, with a bag at either end, and is worn slung over the shoulder. The pockets of the alforja invariably contain, one a pot of garlic, or green pudding, the other a wine skin.

The mouths of some wine-skins are fitted with a bottomless wooden saucer, and are lifted to the lips for drinking; but the preferable and national style is to catch the stream with the skin held aloft and away at arm’s-length.

A CENTRAL point of interest for visitors to Seville is the Cathedral. Its tower, known as the Giralda, is one of the most celebrated examples of sacred Moorish architecture. It was erected in an early century, and was considered very ancient when the Spaniards, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, built upon it the fine Cathedral. In the interior, the Tribuna de la Puorta Mayor is much visited for its lofty and beautiful sunlight effects, and there are several precious Murillos. The ascent of the Giralda is usually made by tourists—an agreeable variety in European climbing, as there are no stairs, the whole progress being by an easy series of inclined planes of brick masonry. Queen Isabella, not long ago, made the entire ascent and return upon horseback. From the summit, one views the whole of Seville, with its dark-green rim of orange gardens, set in the great flat barrens that stretch out towards Cadiz. A comic sight usual at the foot of the tower, significant as a sign of the complete contempt in which the Catholic Spaniard holds all things Moslem and Moorish, is that of a goat belonging to one of the custodians, tethered from morning till night to a fine old Muezzin bell.

Another noted building is the Tower of Gold, on the banks of the Guadalquiver, opposite the Gypsy quarter. Tourists visit it to get the fine architectural effect of the Cathedral, also for its view of the Bull Ring. It stands on the site of the old Inquisition, where hosts of Moorish captives were tortured.

The Alcazar, always visited, is an ancient Moorish palace, and is considered, in point of elegance, second to only the Alhambra. It is now set aside by the government as the residence of the Queen-mother Isabella.

San Telmo is also much visited. It is the palace of the Duc de Montpensier, known throughout Spain as “the orange man.” He owns numerous orange orchards, and lavishes much time and money on his plantations and hothouses.

Another point of curiosity is known as the House of Pilate. It is said to be an exact reproduction of the celebrated House of Pilate in Jerusalem. It is remarkable for some exquisite tiles, and it bears many interesting inscriptions.

Seville presents an odd aspect to the stranger between the hours of three and six P. M. During this hot interval the streets and shops are deserted, everybody, even to the beggars, being under cover and asleep.

MOST of the peasant girls in the vicinity of Spanish cities contrive to keep a bit of flower-garden for their own personal purposes. She is a thriftless lass indeed, who has not at least one fragrant double red rose in tending, or some other red-flowered shrub. From Christmas on through the spring fête-days of the Church, they reap their tiny harvests. During this season every Spanish man and woman who can, wears a red flower in button-hole or over the ear, and the streets are thronged with bareheaded, black-tressed peasant and gypsy flower-venders. Flowers are a part of the daily marketing, and two or three centimos—a centimo is one fifth of a cent—suffice to buy a fresh nosegay. New Year’s is a marked fête in Seville, as then “The Old Queen” in the Alcazar rides out in state, the Alameda is thronged with carriages, and the whole populace is a-blossom with red.

A custom noticed by the tourist who lingers about cathedral doors, is one most observed, perhaps, by the poorer and more superstitious classes. Men and women dip the fingers, on entrance and departure, in holy water, and wet some one of the countless crosses which are set in the wall just above the cash-boxes—the cash-box in Spain being the inevitable accompaniment of the cross.

As in other Spanish cities, the noble Profession of Beggary considers itself under the protection of the Church, and the entrance to the cathedral is down a long vista of outstretched hands, the fortunate one at the far end, who holds aside the matting portiere for you to enter, feeling sure of a fee, however the others fare. The whole vicinity abounds with loathsome spectacles of disease and distress, those entirely helpless managing to be conveyed daily into holy precincts. It is often amusing to witness an adult beggar “giving points” to some young amateur in the art, the dignity of the national calling evidently being insisted upon.

An agreeable sight in this city of churches and beggars, is the afternoon stroll of companies of young priests and students from the convents. They are very noticeable, as part of the panorama, with their broad, silky shovel hats and black flowing gowns. Some are scholastic and intent upon their studies even in the streets, while others evidently take a most young man-of-the-world enjoyment in their cigarettes and the street-sights.

REVENUES are collected in most primitive ways by the Spanish City Fathers. As there are no important sources of public income, there are few transactions, however trifling, that do not pay tax and toll. Every man is suspected of smuggling and “false returns,” and it is a small bunch of garlic that escapes. Burly officials, often in shirt-sleeves and with club, lounge at all the entrances to the town, to levy duty upon any chance donkey-pannier or cart bringing in fruit and vegetables for sale. Frequently there are scenes of confusion, sometimes of violence. The government is determined that not a turnip, not a carrot, not a cabbage shall escape the yield of its due; and it is not to be denied that the poor farmer hopes fervently to smuggle in a wine-skin or two—a dozen of eggs, or some other article of price, among his cheaper commodities. As a rule, he fails; for, suspicious of over-much gesticulation and protestation, the official is quite likely to tumble out sacks, baskets, bundles and bales, and empty every one upon the ground, leaving the angry farmer to pick up and load again at his leisure.

Andalusia is a brown region stretching gravely between Cadiz and Granada. The effect of this landscape, all in low tones, upon natives of the green lands of America and England, is most depressing. The soil itself is red, and the grass grows so sparsely that the color of the ground crops up, giving impression of general sun-blight, broken here and there by the glimmering moonlight gray of an olive orchard, or the dark-green of an orange garden. The huts of the farmers are built of the red clay; the clothing of the population appears to be of the undyed wool of the brown sheep, while to add to the prevailing russet hue, the general occupation seems to be that of herding pigs on the plains—and the pigs are hideously brown also. It is said that they derive their color from feeding on the great brown bug, or beetle, which abounds in the soil. The traveller counts these feeding droves by the dozen, each with two lazy, smoking swineherds.

Travelling by rail over the Andalusian levels, one passes a succession of petty stations, villages of half a dozen houses each, where the only visible business appears to be in the hands of women, in the shape of one or two open-air tables, with pitchers and glasses, and a cow or goat tethered near in order to supply travellers, as the trains stop, with drinks of fresh milk.

MANY of the public buildings of Spanish cities stand as they were captured from the Moors. Sometimes, as in Cadiz, the town has received a coat of whitewash; but more frequently the only Spanish additions and improvements are a few crosses inlaid in the old cement, or a plaster Virgin niched, in rude contrast, beside some richly wrought Moorish door of horseshoe form. The town hall of Seville remains to-day as ten centuries ago.

The Spanish towns lie, for the most part, in the valley. The Moors usually chose the site for their cities with a view to the natural defences of mountain and river. The hills of course, remain, but the rivers, once full rushing tides, are now dried into stagnant shallow waters, a natural result in a country long uncultivated.

A favorite business with the young men among the mountain peasants is the breeding of poultry; not alone of fat pullets for the Christmas markets—that is a minor interest so far as enjoyment goes—but of choice young game cocks—cock-fighting being the staple, everyday national amusement, while the bullfight is to be regarded as fête and festival—“the taste of blood” is a welcome ingredient in any Spanish pleasure. All poultry is taken to market alive; the pullets, hanging head downwards, are slung in a bunch at the saddle bow, and the cocks are carried carefully in cages. Fowls are not a common article of food, as in France, but are, instead, a holiday luxury, and the costliest meat in the market.

Looking idly abroad as he crosses the Andalusian plains, the tourist on donkey-back notices the queer carts that take passengers from one station to another. These odd omnibuses are but rude carts, two-wheeled, and covered with coarse mats of pampas grass, and they are drawn by two, three, four or five donkeys harnessed tandem. On the rough, movable seats, gentlemen in broadcloth, and common folk with laced canvas shoes and peasant-bags, huddle together, all eating from the garlic-pots as they are passed, and drinking from the same wine-skin; this good fellowship of travellers is one of the unwritten laws of Spain. Meantime the sauntering boys of the roadside hop up on the cart behind with the identical vagrant joy experienced by the American urchin after a like achievement.

YOU never can be sure when a Spaniard will arrive. Due at noon, should he meet a guitar, he comes at nightfall; and as it is certain that every second Spaniard, walking or riding, will have his guitar along, it is best not to look for the return of any messenger before evening. He may have chosen to alight from his donkey and dance an hour, or he may have elected to sit still and clap and snap a dance in pantomime—either is exciting and deeply satisfactory—and a fulfilment of one of the obligations of daily life which no true Spaniard can be expected to neglect for any such simple considerations as promise given, command laid, or bargain made.

A peculiarly gloomy look is lent to the Spanish landscape by the cypress, sometimes growing in groups, sometimes towering singly in solitude. This tree, funereal in its best aspect, has a dead, dry, white trunk, and the branches begin at a height of twenty, thirty, or forty feet, and then drape themselves in a cone-like monumental mass of purplish green. These gloomy evergreens are common, and the tourist feels, even if he does not note, the absence of the lively sunny greens of American and French landscapes, with the bowery shadows that everywhere invite the wayfarer to stop and rest.

The Bergh Societies would find ample range for work in Spain, for the beating and prodding of the donkey is one of the national occupations. As a rule, poor Burro is overloaded. A whole family will frequently come down into the city on his back, and tired though he be with plodding and stumbling and holding back, the officer at the gate is sure to give him a blow and a bruise with his bludgeon of authority as he passes in; and the poor creature sometimes very justly lies down in the street and dies without warning, allowing his owners to climb homeward on foot.

Now and then one comes unexpectedly on an example of ancient enterprise put to use. There are spots in the brown waste which are green and fertile, because the old irrigating wells have been cleaned out and set in motion—a pair of wheels studded with great cups operated by means of a pair of poles, and a pair of donkeys, and a pair of drivers. The land is cut in ditches, and often the farmer can be seen hoeing his garlic and his cabbages while he stands in water ankle-deep.

GREATLY dreaded by the unmarried young Spanish woman is the Beggars’ Curse; and a goodly portion of the beggars’ revenue is ensured by this superstitious national fear. The more vicious of the fraternity keep good watch upon the wealthy young señoritas and their cavaliers when they go out for pleasure. They do not follow them, perhaps; instead they take up their stations around the doors of those restaurants—whence they never are driven—where ladies and their escorts are wont to stop for chocolate, or coffee, or aguardente, on their return from calls or the theatre, or the Bull Ring. As the pair are departing, the burly beggar approaches, half barring the way perhaps, and asks for alms. It is usually bestowed; but he begs insolently for more; and if it be not forthcoming, a bony and rosaried arm is raised, “the evil eye” is fastened upon the doomed ones, and the Beggars’ Curse—the Curse of the Unfortunate—which all Spaniards dread, is threatened; and if it be evening, it is quite probable that the group stand near some crucifix of the suffering Saviour, with the red light of the street lantern shining down upon its ghastliness, so that the feeling of pious dread is greatly heightened, and a frightened pressure on the cavalier’s arm carries the doubled alms into the outstretched hand.

The dress of Spanish people of fashion is singularly artistic and pleasing. Although Paris styles are now followed by the señoritas, they still cling to the national black satin with its lustrous foldings and flouncings, to the effective ball fringes, and to the mantilla, draping face and shoulder with its heavy black or white laces, the national red rose set just above the ear. Nor is this too remarkable under the high broad lights of the Spanish sky, though it might seen theatrical in our cold, harsh, Northern atmosphere. The dress of the Spanish gentlemen is as picturesque. The hat is usually a curious, double-brimmed silky beaver, while the cloak is most artistic in color and in drapery. This cloak, lasting a life-time, is of fine broadcloth, lined with heavy blue or crimson velvet; and it is so disposed that the folding brings this gorgeous lining in a round collar about the neck, while another broad fold is turned over upon the whole long left side of the garment. The peasant’s cloak, of the same cut, is lined with red flannel, but it is often worn as gracefully. Long trousers are becoming general, but in some districts the tight pantaloon, slashed at the knee, is still seen, with its gay garter embroidered with some fanciful motto. One just brought from Spain bears this legend: There is a girl in this town—with her love she kills me.

WHAT THEY ALL FEAR—THE BEGGAR’S CURSE.
MORE! SEÑORITA. MORE!

SOUTHERN Spain is so mountainous that herding naturally becomes the occupation of the peasantry, rather than tillage. Great flocks of goats browse and frolic among the rocky heights and along the steep ravines where it seems hardly possible for the tiny hoofs to keep foothold; and the traveller often beholds far above him dozens of these bounding creatures, leaping down the cliffs to drink at the valley streams. They are generally followed, at the same fearless pace, by a short-frocked shepherdess as sure-footed as they. Her rough, hempen-soled shoe, however, yields her excellent support, being flexible and not slippery, like boot-leather.

Along the narrow mountain highways, the traveller frequently comes upon little booths built in among the cliffy recesses, like quaint pantries hewn in the rock. Melons, and grapes, and garlic, and oranges in nets, hang against the wall, and the heavy red wine of the country is for sale by the glass, also goat’s milk.

Farming processes go on at all times of year in Spain. Subsistence is a matter comparatively independent of care and calculation. Crops may be sown at any time. The whole year round the peasant lights no fire in his earthen, bowl-like hut of one room. He cooks outside his door, in gypsy fashion. His furniture consists of some rude wool mattresses, a table, and some stools with low backs. A few bowls, plates, and knives and forks suffice to set his table. A kettle and a garlic pot comprise his cooking utensils. Frequently he and his family are to be seen at meals, leaning their elbows on the table in company, and sipping like so many cats, from the huge platter of hot garlic soup, crumbling their slices of coarse black bread, as they need. In contrast with this crude bread of the common people, are the long, fine, sweet white loaves to be had at the Seville bakeries—a bread so cake-like, so delicious, as to require no butter, even with Americans accustomed to the use of butter with every meal. The salted butter of American creameries, made to keep for months, is wholly unknown in Spain, Spanish butter being a soft mass, and always eaten unsalted. But with his strong garlic and his fine fragrant tobacco, the Spaniard hardly demands or appreciates the refinements of food, and his tobacco is of the best, coming from the Spanish plantations in Cuba, and is very cheap, as it enters the country free of duties.

Sunny Spain: Sewing and Reaping in Winter

HOUSEWORK, among the sun-basking, siesta-loving Spaniards, seems to be not the formidable, systematic matter that it is made in America. Washing, as well as cookery, is of simplest form. “Blue Monday” does not follow Sunday in Spain. A necessary garment is washed when needed; superfluous ones are allowed to accumulate until it is worth while to give a day to the task. Then, among the peasants, “the washing” is carried to a mountain torrent, and the garments are rubbed and rinsed in the swift waters, while picnic fun makes the labor agreeable, as often several families wash in company. Among townspeople, the work is done in great stone tubs in the patio, or in the water-cellar. There the goods, repeatedly wetted, are laid upon a big stone table and beaten with flat wooden paddles. The snowy array of the American clothes-line is seldom seen. The washed garments are hung upon the table edges, and held fast by stones or other weights until dried.

A frequent incident in mountain travel is the sight of some stout lazy peasant away up the heights, holding fast by his donkey’s tail to help himself along as the poor creature scrambles up the zigzag steeps. At the base and along the face of these rocks cacti grow abundantly, often presenting a beautiful cliff-side of cacti fifty feet high.

Another sight, not so agreeable, along many a Spanish roadside, is that of the ancient wooden crosses, erected on the sites where travellers have been murdered by banditti. These roads are often desolate and dreary beyond description, unfenced, seldom travelled, and set with the constantly recurring stones of the Moorish road-makers. Leading across brown, treeless wastes, with habitations far apart, both peasant and tourist would easily wander from these roads, were it not for those rude mile-stones, which are often the only guide-posts and land-marks. When a fence is required, a hedge of aloe is usually started.

Spanish children chew sugar-cane as American children munch candy. The cane is brought from Cuba and is sold everywhere; carried about by venders in big bundles of handy lengths, to capture all stray centimos.

Not so well patronized is the street dealer in soap—“old Castile” soap—for this business is recognized to be a form of beggary, and though bargains are made and money paid, the soap is seldom carried away by the purchaser.

EVERY male Spaniard is obliged to render three years of military service; but usually this is no severe hardship, and loving his ease, he leaves home cheerily enough. The government is rather embarrassed than served, in the matter of stationing this soldiery, especially since the close of the Carlist War. The conscripts are set to guard the palaces, the parks, the national buildings; they are sent to Cuba and elsewhere, whenever it is possible, in fact all opportunities and pretexts are seized to set up a soldier on duty, or rather a pair of them, as two are usually to be seen together. Leave of absence is easily obtained, and but few days of actual presence and service are required during the third year. However, the military requirements by the government never relax, as “insurrections” are indigenous to the country and climate.

As the ancient Moorish doors are still frequent, so is the old form of knock and admission. The arrival raps smartly at the small door set within the great nail-studded gate. Presently an eye, a face, appears at the little wicket window to reconnoitre, to question. Should the examination reveal nothing dangerous or disagreeable, the latch-string is pulled, and entrance is permitted.

“Burro” must needs appear in all Spanish picture and story, for he is prominent in all Spanish folk-life. He is to be seen everywhere, with his rude harness tufted with gay woollens, and big brass nails, moving over the landscape in town or country—the helpless slave and abused burden-bearer, seldom petted, even by the children of the family. There are very handsome mules in Madrid and a few elsewhere; but the donkey is the national carrier. He is small, brown, brave, and always bruised. The Spaniards’ “Get up!” is a brutal blow between the eyes. He is seldom stabled, seldom decently fed. He is tethered anywhere—under the grapevine, by the door, among the rocks, but always at his master’s convenience; and his food is in matter and manner best known to himself. His harness is heavy and uncomfortable, and his hair is clipped close on his back where he needs protection most from the burning sun. This clipping is usually done at the blacksmith’s, by a professional clipper, and is a sight of interest to the lazy populace. Under the great shears Burro’s body is often decorated with half moons, eyes, monograms, garlands—whatever the fancy of his master, or the clipper, or the bystander may direct. Poor Burro! from first to last—poor Burro!

IN Cordova, a sudden stir in the street often betokens “The Return from the Chase”—not, however, the picturesque scattering of the “meet” after an English fox-hunt, but the arrival home of some solitary mule and rider, with a pack of harriers. The huntsman has been riding across country all by himself, his cigarette, and his dogs, to ferret out some luckless colony of hares in a distant olive orchard. The rabbits are very mischievous in the young olive plantations, and the huntsman and his pack are warmly welcomed by the olive-growers. These Spanish harriers are a keen-nosed race of dogs; quite as good hunters as the English fox-hounds. Nearly every breed of dog is found in Spain, except, perhaps, the Newfoundland. In most Spanish cities the dogs are one of the early morning sights as they gather in snarling, quarrelsome packs of from fifteen to twenty, before the doors of the hotels and restaurants, to devour the daily kitchen refuse—a very disagreeable spectacle; but there seems to be no other street-cleaning machinery.

The chief streets of a Spanish town are usually thronged with fruit-sellers, especially the Plaza, where the great portion of the population seems to congregate to lounge and sleep in the sun all day long, naturally waking now and then to crave an orange, a palmete, or a pomegranate—“regular meals” appearing to be a regulation of daily life quite unknown. These fruit sellers are girls, for the most part, though sometimes there may be seen some old man who has not been able to procure a beggar’s license. Oranges are always plenty. Palmetes, a tender, bulbous growth, half vegetable, half fruit, are brought into the city in January, and are consumed largely by the peasants and beggars, who strip them into sections, chewing them for their rather insipid sweetish juices.

The Spanish peasant cooks out-of-doors, like a gypsy. Often his kettle is his only “stove furniture;” in it he stews, boils, fries and bakes. Even in January, the cold month in Spain, he makes no change in his housekeeping. The peasants’ daily bread is hardly bread at all, but rather a pudding, a batter of coarse flour, water and garlic, stirred, and boiled, and half baked in his kettle, and then pressed into a jar. This “garlic pot” he always carries about with him in his shoulder bag. In the patio apartments of some of the ancient, Moorish-built houses there are quaint arches with stone ovens, which are sometimes utilized for cookery.

A DRUNKEN Spaniard is rarely seen, although the “wine-skin” keeps constant company with the “garlic pot” in the peasant’s bag. The heavy red wine of the country is used as freely as water, being sold for four cents a wine-skin; this wine-skin holds a quart or more. Not to drink with the skin held at arms-length, is to be not Spanish, but French—their generic name for a foreigner or stranger. Fine and delicate wines are made in the neighborhood of some of the great vineyards, but they are chiefly for exportation.

There is a popular saying, that Spanish ladies dress their hair but once a week. This is on Sunday, when they meet on one another’s balconies to chat and gossip while their maids arrange their coiffures, each maid taking care that she pat, and pull, and puff until her mistress be taller than her friends, for height is a Spanish requisite for beauty and style. Certain it is that the tourist sometimes looks up and beholds this leisurely out-of-doors toilet-making. The glossy black hair is universal, a fair-haired woman becoming an occasion for persistent stares, although Murillo, in his time, seems to have found plenty of red-haired Spanish blondes to paint. Happy is the gazing traveller if he also may listen; for the music of a high-bred Spanish woman’s voice is remarkable, holding in its flow, sometimes, the tones of a guitar, and the liquid sounds of dropping water.

Spanish urchins are as noted for never combing their hair as Italian boys are for never washing their faces. The change of the yellow handkerchief dotted with big white eyes, which they knot about their heads and wear day and night, seems to be the only attention they think needful ever to bestow upon their raven locks.

That Spanish peasant is very poor and unthrifty indeed, who does not contrive to own a foot or two of land upon which to grow a choice Malaga grapevine. Owning the vines, he erects an out-of-door cellar to preserve his crop—a simple arbor, upon the slats of which he suspends his clusters for winter use. Hanging all winter in the current of wind, the bunches of pale-green grapes may be taken down as late as February, and still be found as plump and delicious and as full of flavor as when hung. It is in this simple manner that they are preserved for the holiday markets.

ONE of the most picturesque features of natural scenery which the traveller comes upon in Southern Spain, is that of the olive orchards, especially those which cluster about Cordova. As the time of harvest draws near, the coloring of these orchards is particularly pleasing. The ripening fruit varies in tint, from vivid greens to gay reds and lovely purples, while the foliage, of willow-leaf shape, restless and quivering, is of a tender, shimmering, greenish gray, and the trunks often have a solemn and aged aspect. Many of these plantations are very ancient indeed, planted perhaps by the grandsires of the present owners. They are usually a source of much profit, as the best eating olives are those grown in Spain, and though the trees come into bearing late, there are orchards which have been known to yield fruit for centuries.

Each orchard has a guard, or watchman, who tends it the year round, for the pruning, the tillage, and the watch upon the ripening fruit, demand constant care. In the harvest season the watch is by night as well as by day, for a vigorous shake of the branches will dislodge almost every berry, and a thief, with his donkeys and his panniers, might easily and almost noiselessly strip an entire orchard in a few hours. The olive guard lives in a hut of thatch or grass in summer, and in a sort of cave, or burrow, in winter.

The crop is mainly harvested by girls and women, and the scene is like a picnic all day long, for Spanish girls turn all their labors into merry-making whenever it is possible to do so. The gray orchards are lighted up with the rainbowy colors of the peasant costumes, and the air is musical with the donkey bells, while the overseer, prone on the ground with his cigarette, “loafs and invites his soul,” evidently finding great delight in the double drudgery he controls—that of the donkeys and the damsels.

In regard to the great age of olive-trees, a recent writer says: “When raised from seed it rarely bears fruit under fifty years, and when propagated in other ways it requires at least from twenty to twenty-five years. But, on the other hand, it lives for centuries. The monster olive at Beaulieu, near Nice, is supposed by Risso to be a thousand years old. Its trunk at four feet from the ground has a circumference of twenty-three feet, and it is said to have yielded, five hundred pounds of oil in a single year.”

CORDOVA, lying in the beautiful valley of the Guadalquiver, surrounded with gardens and villas, is well named the city of Age, Mellowness, and Tranquility. It abounds with antiquities, and at every turn memories are awakened of old Roman emperors, and the Arabian caliphs; the gates, the sculptures, the towers, the mullioned windows and nail-studded doors, the galleried houses and their beautiful patios fitted for idle life in the soft Andalusian weather, the mosques and the great bridges are all of those times. Even the streets are named after the old Roman and Spanish scholars and poets.

The large bridge over the Guadalquiver was originally built by the Roman Emperor, Octavius Augustus; it was afterwards remodelled by the Arabs. The gate is very fine which leads into the gypsy quarter. The Moors had three thousand baths on the banks of the river, but in their day it was a full shining tide; now it is a muddy current, hardly in need of bridging at all.

The mosques of Cordova are fine, and among them is the greatest Moslem temple in the world, with its beautiful chapels, its Court of Oranges, and its wondrous grove of marbles. This mosque, now used for Christian worship, was erected on the ruins of an old cathedral, which it is said had been built upon the site of a Roman temple. The Moslem structure was erected by the Caliph Abdurrahman, in the seventh century, and was a hundred years in building. The principal entrance is through the Court of Oranges, where beautiful palms also grow, and other tropical trees. Thence one emerges among a very forest of marble pillars, where countless magnificent naves stretch away and intersect, and the shining columns and pilasters spring upward into delicate double horseshoe arches. One marble is shown where a Christian captive, chained at its base, scratched a cross upon the stone with his nails. In some sections the ceiling is dazzling with arabesques and crystals. Within the mosque, in its very centre, rises a fine Catholic church, built in the time of Charles the Fifth. It contains many illuminated missals and rare old choir books.

The Cordovans, like the people of other Spanish cities, are indebted to the Moors for the fine aqueducts which bring the cold mountain water across the valley into the public watering places. These great reservoirs are good points for observing some phases of folk-life.

GRANADA, the beautiful city, with beautiful rivers, is named for a “grenade” or pomegranate. At the time of the Conquest, King Ferdinand on being assured how valiantly the Moors would defend their last stronghold, replied, “I will pick out the seeds of this grenade one by one.”

There is a tradition among the Moors that when the hand carved over the principal entrance of the Alhambra shall reach down and grasp the key, also carved there, they shall regain their city, the ancient home of their caliphs.

The Generalife lies across the valley from the Alhambra. It was the summer palace of the Moorish sovereigns, and is built on a mountain slope by the Darro River, and its white walls gleam out from lovely terraced gardens, and groves of laurel. The grounds abound with fountains and summer houses.

The Alhambra—the great royal castle—a town in itself—is built on a lovely tree-embowered height, its many towers rising high above the mass of foliage. From these towers one looks across the vale of the Vega to the spot where Columbus is said to have turned back, recalled by Isabella, on his way to seek English aid in his discovery of a New World. From these towers, too, can be seen the valley in the distance, where Boabdil, last of the Moorish Kings, looked back on Granada for the last time; and across the river, one gazes upon the sombre region of the gypsy quarter, a swarming town of caves in the hillside.

Two relics of Alhambra housekeeping still remain; a great oven, and a fine well. Both are utilized by the custodian of the palace. The palace itself has many beautiful patios. The finest is known as the Court of Lions, named from the sculptured figures which support the fountain in the centre. Another is known sometimes as the Court of the Lake, and sometimes as the Court of the Myrtles; and still another, entered by subterranean ways, is the Hall of Divans, the special retreat of the Favorites. There are many others, and all these patios and halls are bewilderingly beautiful with arabesques, mosaics, inscriptions and wondrous arches and columns, porticos, vistas, alcoves and temples—and everywhere elegance of effect indescribable.

AT Granada, whenever it is desired, the proprietor of the Washington Irving Hotel will engage the Gypsy King to come with his daughters and dance the national dance at the house of one of the guides. This dance is a most wild and weird performance. There is an incessant clapping of hands and clatter of castañets, a sharp stamping of heels, an agonized swaying of the body and the arms; and often the castañets and guitar are accompanied by a wild and mournful wail from the dancers. The king of the Granada gypsies is said to be the best guitar player in Spain.

The climb from the city up to the vast Gypsy Quarter, known as the suburb of the Albaycin, is an adventure of a nightmare sort. The squalor and horror of the life to be witnessed on the way up along narrow streets swarming with the weirdest and dirtiest of brown beggars, may not be painted, may not be written; yet now and then one goes under a superb Arab arch, passes a door rich with arabesques, or comes upon a group of elegant columns supporting a roof of mud and rock. The long hillside seems honeycombed with the denlike habitations of the gitanos, many of whom, among the men, are blacksmiths, while others work at pottery, turning out very handsome plates and water jars, while the women weave cloth, and do a rude kind of embroidery, all selling their wares in the streets—in fact the spinning and weaving and sewing is often carried on in the street itself.

But the little ones too (las niñas) add largely to the family income, as they dance for the visitor; the traveller and his guide being always invited to enter the caves. These gypsy children dance with much spirit, and they also sing many beautiful old ballads of Spanish prowess. The most beautiful ones among the girls are early trained to practice fortune-telling.

With their dances, their songs, their fortune-telling, their importunate, imperious begging, and their rude industries, these Granada gypsies live here from century to century, in swarms of thousands, never attempting to improve their condition, but boasting, instead, of the comfort of their dismal caves as being cool in summer and warm in winter. It is plain that they consider themselves and their Quarter “a part of the show,” and hardly second in interest to the Alhambra itself.

HARDLY is there a Spanish town of note, that does not possess its great Bull Ring; and there are scores of inferior Bull Circuses throughout Spain. There is but a slight public sentiment against the brutal sport which is the favorite Sunday recreation of the whole nation. Spanish kings and queens for many centuries have sat in the royal boxes to applaud, and many of the Spanish noblemen of the present time breed choice fighting bulls on their farms, and there is the same mad admiration of the agile, skilful espado or bull slayer, as a hundred years ago. To be a fine picador or banderillo, is to be sure of the praise and the presents of the entire populace. Men, women and children go; the amphitheatre is always crowded and always the crowd will sit breathless and happy to see six or eight bulls killed, and three times that count of horses—the rich and the nobles on the shady side under the awnings, the peasants sweltering and burning in the sun. It is the picador who rides on horseback to invite with his lance the attacks of the bull as he enters the arena; it is the capeador who springs into the arena with his cloak of maddening red or yellow, to distract the bull’s attention from the fallen horseman; it is the banderillo who taunts the wounded creature with metal-tipped arrows, the barbs of which cannot be extracted, or with his long pole leaps tauntingly over the back of the confused creature; but it is the gorgeous espado with his sword, entering the arena, at last, who draws all eyes. With his red flag he plays with the bull as a cat with the mouse, until the amphitheatre is mad for life blood; then with a swift, graceful stroke he ends all, his superb foe lies dead, and he turns from him to meet the wild shower of hats, cigars, flowers, fans, purses that beats upon him from all sides—it is a scene of unimaginable exultation, for there are glad cries and plaudits, and royalty itself throws the bull-slayer a golden purse and a pleased smile, and the beautiful Spanish señoritas lavish upon him the most bewildering attentions.

The Spanish boy is born with a thirst for this sport. Their favorite game is Toro. One lad mounts on his fellow’s back to take the part of the picador and his horse; another, with horns of sticks, represents the bull; and the rest are capeadors, banderillos, and escodas, while the audience of adult loungers look on with fierce excitement. It is in this fierce, popular street sport that the future champions of the Bull Ring are trained and developed—to be an escoda is usually the height of a Spanish boy’s ambition.

NOWHERE in Spain are you refreshed with the restful sound of water, sometimes soft, sometimes gay, as in Granada. You hear the flow of the Darro over its stones and rocks, you hear the splash of fountains, the gay hurry of mountain brooks, the soft sound of springs—everywhere flow, or gurgle, or drip. You hear it on the tree-bordered and bowered Alameda in your moonlit walks, and you hear it through the windows of your fonda, or hotel, when you wake. It is everywhere about the Alhambra heights, and the Generalife terraces. The Spaniards call this continuous water-sound, “The Sigh of the Moor.”

Most of the young Spanish women as well as the men, are accomplished guitar-players. The guitar belongs in story to the Señorita, along with her mantilla and her fan. It usually hangs on her casement, brave with ribbons and gay wool tufts and all manner of decorations, and by moonlight she will come out upon the balcony to answer her cavelier’s serenade with a song as sweet as his own. You feel the atmosphere of the Spanish night vibrating all about you, as you stroll along the moonlit street, with the low, soft, delicate twinkle of a hundred guitars, the players half-hidden in the dim patio balconies.

It is often the custom to drive the goats from door to door to be milked, and often an accustomed goat, tinkling its bells, will go along the street, stopping of its own will and knowledge at the doors of its customers, and knocking smartly with its horns should no one appear. The servant of the house comes out into the street and milks the desired quantity, while the “milkman” lounges near by with his cigarette.

Often it is as amusing to watch the dogs of the beggars by the churches as the men themselves. While the noble Caballeros, Don Miguel and Don Pedro, exhausted with the saying of prayers and the much asking of centimos, have fallen asleep in the shade, their respective dogs remain awake to glare at each other with true professional jealousy, and to growl and snap, should a chance stranger drop a coin in one hat and not in the other. The beggar is the last sight, as well as the first, which greets the traveler in Spain.


QUEEN LOUISA AND THE CHILDREN.


BY MARY STUART SMITH.


QUEEN LOUISA of Prussia was the mother of William I., Emperor of Germany, and although she has been dead over sixty years her one hundredth birthday was celebrated elaborately throughout her son’s dominions, with almost as many rejoicings as we made here over the one hundredth birthday of these United States.

When a child Louisa was very beautiful, and as she grew up did not disappoint the promise of those early days.

She was married to Frederick William, Crown Prince of Prussia, when only seventeen years of age, and brought down upon herself a sharp rebuke from the proud mistress of ceremonies for the love she showed to a little child as she was making her public entry into Berlin, preparatory to the solmnization of her marriage. It happened thus:

The streets were thronged with people who had come to catch a glimpse of the fair young bride, while every now and then select persons would step forward and present complimentary poems of welcome, or some pretty gift. A sweet little girl advanced to give the queen a bunch of flowers, and Louisa was so struck with the child’s loveliness that she stooped down and kissed her on the forehead. “Mein Gott!” exclaimed the horrified mistress of ceremonies. “What has your majesty done?” Louisa was as artless and simple as a child herself. “What?” said she, “is that wrong? Must I never do so again?”

But the prince, her husband, was no fonder of show and ceremony than herself, and asserted manfully the right of his wife and himself to act like other affectionate people, in spite of being king and queen.

QUEEN LOUISA.

This royal pair had eight children, and upon these children was lavished every care and attention. It is said that every night the king and queen went together to visit their sleeping children after they had been put into their little beds, and many a time were they surprised by a bright pair of wide-awake eyes smiling back upon them a look of love in return. Queen Louisa used to say, “The children’s world is my world,” nor were the little creatures slow to reciprocate the love she gave.

You know Christmas is observed in Germany with peculiar reverence, and is a season set apart for mirthful recreation among all classes, but more especially for the enjoyment of children. Berlin is gay with Christmas trees and a brilliant array of toys etc., for at least a week beforehand.

Like other parents the king and queen found delight in preparing pleasant surprises for their little ones. While engaged in choosing presents for them, on one occasion they entered a top-shop where a citizen’s wife was busy making purchases, but recognizing the new-comers she bowed respectfully and retired. The queen addressed her in her peculiarly winning way and sweet voice. “Stop, dear lady, what will the stall-keeper say if we drive away his customers?” She then inquired if the lady had come to buy toys for her children, and asked how many little ones she had. Hearing there was a son about the age of the Crown Prince, the queen bought some toys and gave them to the mother, saying, “Take them, dear lady, and give them to your crown prince in the name of mine.”

But I must tell you a yet prettier story, showing the queen’s fondness for making children happy.

There lived in Berlin a father and mother, who from some cause were so poor, and low-spirited besides, that when the holiday came which all children love best, they quietly resigned themselves to having nothing to give their little ones. What can be more sad than a house which no Kriss Kringle visits? Just think of it! They told their children that there was to be no Christmas tree for them this year. The little boy and his sister had been led to believe that the Christ-kind or Christ-child provides the tree and the gifts which are placed on tables round it; only ornaments, sweets and tapers are hung upon the branches. Under this disappointment the children, in the innocent simplicity of their faith, sought the aid of the good Christ-kind in their own way.

Christmas Eve came, and the poor troubled parents looked on with wonder as they beheld their children hopping and skipping about with joy, although they were to be the only children for whom no Christmas tree would be lighted, nor pretty gifts provided. Still in high spirits they watched at the window, and clapped their hands when the door-bell rang, exclaiming: “Here it comes!” The door was opened and a man-servant appeared, laden with a gay tree and several packets, each addressed to some member of the family.

“There must be some mistake!” said the mother.

“No, no!” cried the boy, “it is all right. I wrote to the good Christ-kind, and told him what we wanted, and that you could not buy anything this year.”

The parents enjoyed the evening with their children and afterwards unravelled the mystery. The postmaster, astonished by a letter evidently written by a very young scribe and addressed to the Christ-kind, had sent it to the palace with a respectful inquiry as to what should be done with a letter so strangely directed. Queen Louisa read it and, as a handmaid of the Christ-kind, she answered his little children.[1]

[1] Mrs. Hudson’s Life of Queen Louisa.

Louisa’s sympathies were ever ready to flow for the sorrows of childhood, which so many grown people will not stoop to even notice.

One day as the king and queen were entering a town, a band of young girls came forward to strew flowers and to present a nosegay. Her majesty inquired how many little girls there were. “Nineteen,” replied the artless child; “there would have been twenty of us but one was sent back home because she was too ugly.”

The kind queen feeling for the child’s mortification sent for her and requested that she might by all means be allowed to join in the festivities of the day.

Nor did Louisa slight the boys.

She was one day walking in the streets of Charlottenburg, attended by a lady-in-waiting; a number of boys were running and tumbling and playing somewhat rudely, and one of them ran up against the queen. Her lady reproved him sharply, and the little fellow looked frightened and abashed. The queen patted his rosy cheek, saying: “Boys will be a little wild; never mind, my dear boy, I am not angry.” She then asked his name and bade him give her compliments to his mother. The child knew who the lady was, and besides having the pleasant memory of her gracious speech and looks received a lesson in politeness which he never forgot.

Sometimes the royal children were allowed to have a party, and this indulgence young princes and princesses enjoy just as much as other juveniles. A queer anecdote is told of the only daughter of the famous Madame de Stael, in relation to one of these entertainments.

The little lady was about ten years of age, but had already imbibed many opinions and prejudices. At all events she had a high idea of her own importance, and was totally wanting in respect for her superiors in rank. She was apt to be very rude in her manners and in her remarks. On this occasion she took offence at something which the little Crown Prince said or did to her, and very coolly gave him a sharp box on the ear, upon which he ran crying to his mother and hid his face in the folds of her dress. As mademoiselle, when remonstrated with, showed not a particle of concern, and refused to say she was sorry, she was not invited again, and her learned mamma found that she must keep her daughter at home until she taught her better manners.[2]

[2] Sir George Jackson.

The annual fair at Paretz, the king’s beloved country home, took place during the merry harvest-time. A number of booths were then put up near the village, and besides buying and selling there was a great deal or dancing and singing going on, and all sorts of games and sports. It was then that the wheel of fortune was turned for the children’s lottery. Lots of cakes and fruit were set round in order, which were given away according to the movements of a pointer, turned by the wheel.

Queen Louisa encouraged the children to crowd around her on these occasions; she could not bear to see them afraid of her, and placed herself beside the wheel, in order to secure fair play and to watch carefully that she might make some amends for the unkindness of fortune. She had her own ample store of good things which she dispensed among the unlucky children, many of whom thought more of the sweet words and looks of the queen than of anything else she could give them. Moreover she was glad to have a chance of leading even one of her little subjects to be generous and self-denying. For, while she liked to see them all happy, she at the same time interested herself in giving pleasantly little hints as to conduct that might be of lasting benefit.

All her life Queen Louisa watched beside the wheel in a higher sense. She overlooked the whole circle of which she was the centre, anxiously seeking to hold out a helping hand to any whom she saw likely to be ruined by losses in the great lottery of real life.

Is it matter for wonder then that German children still cherish her memory, and delight to place flowers upon vase or tomb that bears her name?



THE PLAYTHING OF AN EMPRESS.


BY M. S. P.


DOUBTLESS the readers of Grammar School have heard it said that “Men and Women are only children of a larger growth.” No matter how stately the grand ladies that we often meet with may appear, you may be very sure that they sometimes envy the pleasures of children, who have no thoughts about fine houses and servants, and a hundred other cares. Even wearing a crown does not bring happiness; the dignity it entails often becomes burdensome.

Once a young prince, who had everything that he could possibly want given him,—books, jewels, playthings of inconceivable variety, horses and dogs, in fact all the nice things that you can imagine to bring him pleasure,—was observed by his attendants to be standing by the window, crying. When asked the cause of his tears he replied that he was unhappy because he could not join the boys in the street who were making mud pies!

The Indians who use the bow and arrow say that the proper way to keep the strength of their bows is to unstring them after use and let them relax. So it is with those whose minds or bodies are engaged in one long strain of work; they must be relaxed or they become useless. The late Pope of Rome was a very dignified old man, and was also surrounded by learned and great men. He rode in a gilded coach drawn by four horses, and was in public a very grand and stately person. But I read the other day that the old gentleman and some of his cardinals were once seen playing ball in his garden, for the purpose of amusing a little boy.

More than a hundred years ago the great country east of Germany, known as Russia, was ruled by the Empress Anne. It is a very cold country and the winter is very long. The capital is St. Petersburg, and through it the river Neva runs. This river freezes in winter, and the ice is frequently so solid that it will bear up an army of several thousand men with all their heavy guns and mortars, and these be discharged without so much as cracking the ice.

At the close of the year 1739, during an extremely cold winter, the empress ordered one of her architects to build an Ice Palace. The great square in front of the royal palace was chosen for its site. Blocks of the clearest ice were selected, carefully measured and even ornamented with architectural designs. They were raised with cranes and carefully placed in position, and were cemented together by the pouring of water over them. The water soon froze and made the blocks one solid wall of ice. The palace was fifty-six feet long, seventeen and one half feet wide, and twenty-one feet high. Can you imagine anything more beautiful than such a building made of transparent ice and sparkling in the sun?

It was surrounded by a balustrade, behind which were placed six ice cannon on carriages. These cannon were exactly like real metal ones, and were so hard and solid that powder could be fired in them. The charge used was a quarter of a pound of powder and a ball of oakum. At the first trial of the cannon an iron ball was used. The empress with all her court was present, and the ball was fired. It pierced a plank two inches thick at a distance of sixty feet.

Besides these six cannon in front of the palace there were two ice mortars which carried iron balls weighing eighty pounds with a charge of one quarter of a pound of powder. Then, too, there were two ice dolphins, from whose mouths a flame of burning naptha was thrown at night with most wonderful effect. Between the cannon and dolphins, in front of the palace, there was a balustrade of ice ornamented with square pillars. Along the top of the palace there was a gallery and a balustrade which was ornamented with round balls. In the centre of this stood four beautiful ice statues.

The frames of the doors and windows were painted green to imitate marble. There were two entrances to the palace, on opposite sides, leading into a square vestibule which had four windows. All the windows were made of perfectly transparent ice, and at night they were hung with linen shades on which grotesque figures were painted, and illuminated by a great number of candles.

Before entering the palace one naturally stopped to admire the pots of flowers on the balustrade, and the orange trees on whose branches birds were perching. Think of the labor and patience required to make such perfect imitations of nature in ice!

Standing in the vestibule, facing one entrance and having another behind, one could see a door on either hand. Let us imagine ourselves in the room on the left. It is a sleeping-room apparently, but if you stop to think that every article in it is made of ice you will hardly care to spend a night there; and yet it is said that two persons actually slept on the bed there for an entire night. On one side is a toilet-table. Over it hangs a mirror, on each side of which are candelabra with ice candles. Sometimes at night these candles were lit by being dipped in naptha. On the table is a watch-pocket, and a variety of vases, boxes, and ornaments of curious and beautiful design. At the other side of the room we see the bed hung with curtains, furnished with sheets and a coverlid and two pillows, on which are placed two night-caps. By the side of the bed on a foot-stool are two pairs of slippers. Opposite the bed is the fireplace which is beautifully carved and ornamented. In the grate lie sticks of wood also made of ice, which are sometimes lighted like the candles by having naptha poured over them.

The opposite room is a dining-room. In the centre stands a table on which is a clock of most wonderful workmanship. The ice used is so transparent that all the wheels and works are visible. On each side of this table two beautifully carved sofas are placed, and in the corners of the room there are statues. On one side we see a sideboard covered with a variety of ornaments. We open the doors and find inside a tea-set, glasses and plates which contain a variety of fruits and vegetables, all made of ice but painted in imitation of nature.

Let us now go through the opposite door and notice the other curious things outside the palace. At each end of the balustrade we see a pyramid with an opening in each side like the dial of a clock. These pyramids are hollow, and at night a man stands inside of them and exhibits illuminated pictures at the grand openings.

Perhaps the greatest curiosity of all is the life-like elephant at the right of the palace. On his back sits a Persian holding a battle-axe, and by his side stand two men as large as life. The elephant, too, is hollow, and is so constructed that in the daytime a stream of water is thrown from his trunk to a height of twenty-four feet, and at night a flame of burning naptha. In addition to this, the wonderful animal is so arranged that from time to time he utters the most natural cries. This is done by means of pipes into which air is forced.

On the left of the palace stands a small house, built of round blocks of ice resembling logs, interlaced one with another. This is the bath-house, without which no Russian establishment is complete. This bath-house was actually heated and used on several occasions.

When this wonderful ice-palace was completed it was thrown open to the public, and such crowds came to see it that sentinels were stationed in the house to prevent disorder.

This beautiful palace stood from the beginning of January until the end of March. Then, as the weather became warmer, it began to melt on the south side; but even after it lost its beauty and symmetry as a palace it did not become entirely useless, for the largest blocks of ice were transferred to the ice-houses of the imperial palace, and thus afforded grateful refreshment during the summer, as well as a pleasant reminder of “The Plaything of an Empress.”


CHARLIE’S WEEK IN BOSTON.


BY CHARLES E. HURD.


CHARLIE was going to Boston.

The ceaseless clatter of his little copper-toed boots over all the bare places in the house, and the pertinacious hammering he kept up upon everything capable of emitting sound, rendered it impossible for his mamma or the new baby to get any rest, and so it was that the decision came about. Aunt Mary, who had lent her presence to the household for the preceding fortnight, was to return home the following day, and with her, after infinite discussion, it was decided that he was to go for a week.

The momentous news was withheld from Charlie until the next morning, for fear of the result upon his night’s sleep, but it was injudiciously let out by Aunt Mary before breakfast, the effect being to at once plunge the young gentleman into the highest state of excitement. He had played “go to Boston” a thousand times with his little cart and wheelbarrow, but to take such a journey in reality was something he could hardly imagine possible.

“Am I going to Boston, real ’live?” he wildly inquired. “Where’s my rubber boots, and my little chair, and my cart, and I want my piece of gum mamma tooked away, and where’s my sled?”

“But, Charlie,” said Aunt Mary, persuasively, “you are not going now, and you don’t want to take all those things. There isn’t any snow in Boston, and good little boys don’t chew gum. You must have some breakfast.”

“I don’t want any breakfast. I want to go to Boston. I got to go, now you said so.”

“Yes, but you must have something to eat first. It would make you sick to ride so far without eating. And then you must have a nice bath, and put on your new suit that papa bought last week. You’ve plenty of time.”

But Charlie, generally good to mind, was thoroughly demoralized by the new turn in affairs, and had to be brought to the table by main force.

“It’s like taking a horse to water,” said Aunt Mary. “You can get him to the trough, but you can’t make him drink without he likes. Charlie, have a nice large griddle-cake?”

Griddle-cakes were Charlie’s weak point, but in a time like this he rose superior to the temptation.

“Don’t want griddle-cakes; don’t want bread; don’t want toast; don’t want anything. I want to get right down out of my little chair, and go to Boston, awful quick!”

“The child will be down sick if he goes away on an empty stomach,” said grandma from her bedroom, where she could see all that transpired at the table. “Can’t you make him eat?”

“It’s all very well to say ‘Make him eat,’ but he won’t,” said Aunt Mary. “You might just as well make a squirrel sit down and eat in a respectable manner.”

“Let him go till he gets hungry, then,” said his father. “He’ll come to it soon enough. There’s no danger of his starving.”

If Charlie had been a grown man, with whiskers, and going to some European Court as Minister Extraordinary, he couldn’t have felt the importance of his prospective journey more, or been more weighed down by the preparations for it. The train which was to carry him did not start until two o’clock, and in the six hours which intervened his little tongue was in constant motion, and his little feet tramping up and down stairs, “getting ready.”

“But you’re only going to stay for a week, you know, Charlie,” said Aunt Mary, dismayed at the heap of toys he had industriously gathered in a corner of the sitting-room for transportation, “and you’ll see so many pretty things that you won’t care for any of these.”

“I want to carry my wheelbarrow. I will be cross if I don’t carry my wheelbarrow. And my cunnin’ little cunnin’ watlin’ pot, and my high chair, and some more.”

But Aunt Mary couldn’t get them into her trunk, and the railroad man wouldn’t let Charlie take them into the cars. “Put them all away nicely, and then Charlie will have them when he comes home.”

It required a great deal of judicious argument, intermingled with promises, to gain the point, and final success was only achieved by a formal agreement, to which grandma was made a witness, by virtue of which Charlie was to become the possessor of “a speckled rocking-horse, just like Johnny Baker’s, with real hair ears, and a tight tail, that boys couldn’t pull out.” This compact having been made, Charlie submitted to the washing and dressing process with comparative good grace.

An exceedingly light dinner preceded the start, varied by excursions to the front door to see if the depot stage was coming. It came at last, and, after the leave-taking, Charlie and Aunt Mary were packed in among half a dozen others. The whip cracked, the coach gave a sudden lurch, and then dashed down the street at the heels of the horses, who seemed anxious to get to the station at the earliest possible moment. There was just time to get tickets and seats before the train started.

If Charlie was unmanageable before, he was doubly so now. At every stopping-place he made desperate efforts to get out of the car, and once or twice, in spite of Aunt Mary’s efforts, very nearly succeeded. He dropped his hat out of the window; he dirtied his face beyond redemption with dust and cinders; he put cake crumbs down the neck of an old lady who had fallen asleep on the seat just in front, and horrified the more staid portion of the passengers in the car by a series of acts highly inconsistent with the rules of good breeding, and the character of a nice boy.

Boston was reached at last, and the perils of procuring a hack and getting safely home in it were surmounted. So thankful was Aunt Mary that she could have dropped upon her knees on the sidewalk in front of the door; but she managed to control her feelings, paid the hackman his dollar, still keeping a tight grip upon Charlie, and, despite his struggles to join the distant audience of a hand-organ, managed to get him safely into the house, where he was at once delivered over to the other members of the household.

“I never, never, never will go out of the house with that child again!” she declared, half crying, and sinking into a chair without taking her bonnet off. “He’s enough to kill anyone outright. No wonder they wanted to get rid of him at home! It’ll be a mercy if he don’t drive us all crazy before the week is out. One thing is certain, they’ll have to send for him. I’ll never take him home again.”

“Why didn’t you drug him, Aunt Mary,” asked Tom, with a great show of sympathy. “I would.”

“I declare I would have done anything, if I had only known how he was going to act! You may laugh and think it’s all very funny, but I just wish you’d some of you try it yourselves. Where is he now? If he’s out of sight a single minute he’ll be in some mischief. There he goes now!”

The last declaration of Aunt Mary was preceded by a series of violent bumps, followed by a loud scream from the bottom of the basement stairs. A grand rush to the spot revealed Charlie lying at the foot, beating the air with his legs, with a vigor that at once dispelled all fears as to his serious injury. He was picked up and borne into the kitchen by the cook, where the gift of a doughnut soon dried his tears, and he was returned to the sitting-room to await the ringing of the bell for tea.

“Has he had a nap to-day?” asked grandmother.

“Nap! I should think the child would be dead for want of sleep. I don’t believe he’s winked to-day!”

“He looks like it now, anyway,” said Tom, who was holding him in his arms.

Sure enough, his eyelids were beginning to droop, and a moment after the half-eaten doughnut dropped from his loosened fingers upon the carpet.

“Carry him up to my room, Tom, and lay him upon my bed. Don’t for mercy’s sake hit his head against anything. We shan’t have any peace if he gets awake again.”

Slowly and carefully Tom staggered under his little burden up-stairs, and laid it upon the clean white coverlet of Aunt Mary’s bed.

“That will do,” said Aunt Mary, who had followed close behind. “He’s thoroughly tired out, and no wonder. You may go down now and I will take care of him, dear little fellow.”

With careful fingers she untied the laces of his little boots, and pulled them off. The stockings came next, and the hot little feet were released from confinement. The tiny jacket was then removed, the tangled hair put back, and then, with a sponge wet in cool water, the dirty, sweaty little face was softly bathed until it became quite presentable again.

“There!” she said at last, surveying him with a feeling of satisfaction, “he will sleep at least a couple of hours. By that time I shall get rested, and can manage him better. I suppose it’s because he’s so tired, and everything is new.”

With this apology for Charlie in her heart, and a half remorseful feeling for her lately displayed impatience, she descended the stairs to the dining-room, where the rest of the family were already seated at the table.

A few minutes later, and while she was deep in an account of matters and things at Charlie’s home, the cook came up-stairs in something of a fluster.

“Plaze, ma’am, there’s something on the house.”

“Something on the house?”

“Yes. McKillop’s boarders across the way are all at the windows, an’ the men is laughin’ and the women frightened.”

With one accord a sudden and informal adjournment to the parlor window was made, the result being a verification of the cook’s statement.

“What on earth can be the matter?” said grandmother.

At this moment Mrs. McKillop, after a series of incomprehensible gestures, which nobody could translate with any clearness, dispatched her girl across the street.

“There’s a child, ma’am,” she exclaimed, in breathless excitement, “a baby, walking about on the outside of your house like a fly! he’s— Howly Father!”

This sudden exclamation was caused by the descent of a flower pot, which, coming with the swiftness of a meteor, missed the head of the speaker by less than a hand’s-breadth, and crashed into a thousand pieces on the front steps.

The situation was taken in at once. With a succession of screams Aunt Mary flew up the stairs two at a time. By this a crowd was rapidly gathering.

“Bring out something to catch him in if he falls,” shouted a fat old gentleman, pushing his way to the front.

Grandmother caught a tidy from the arm of the sofa, and, snatching a volume of Tennyson from the centre-table, rushed frantically into the street, closely followed by Tom with a feather duster.

A single glance told the whole story. There sat Charlie, utterly innocent of clothing save a shirt of exceeding scantness, on the very edge of the broad projection below the third-story window, his legs dangling in space, watching with delighted interest the proceedings of the excited crowd in the street below. No one knows what might have happened, for, at that moment, while a hot discussion was being carried on among the gathered spectators, as to the propriety of sounding a fire alarm for a hook and ladder company, the arms of Aunt Mary came through the window, and closed upon him like a pair of animated pincers. There was a brief struggle, productive of a perfect shower of flower-pots, and then, amid a hurricane of shouts and cheers, the little white body and kicking legs disappeared within the room. When, two minutes later, the entire household, with a fair sprinkling of the McKillop boarders, had reached the scene, they found Charlie shut up in the wardrobe, and Aunt Mary in hysterics, with her back against the door.

“If he stays here a week we shall have to board up the windows, and keep a policeman,” said grandmother, that night, after Charlie had been guarded to sleep on the sitting-room lounge, with the door locked. “We shall have to have watchers for him, for I would no more dare to go to sleep without some one awake with him than I would trust him with a card of matches and a keg of gunpowder. And that makes me think: we musn’t leave matches where he can get them; and, father, you’ll have to go down town the first thing in the morning, and see about an insurance.”

Notwithstanding the universally expressed fears, Charlie slept like a top all night, and really behaved so well the next morning that it was deemed safe to give him an airing, and introduce him to the sights of Boston. Right after dinner he was taken in hand, and dressed and curled and frilled as he never had been before, creating serious doubts in his own mind as to whether he was really himself, or another boy of about the same size and general make.

At half-past two o’clock the party set out, Aunt Mary on one side, tightly grasping Charlie’s hand, and on the other a female friend, especially engaged for the occasion. Tom followed on behind as a sort of rear guard, ready to be called upon in case of emergency.

First the Public Garden was visited. Hardly had half the circuit of the lake been made, when Charlie, attracted by one of the gayly painted boats which was moored a few feet from the shore, broke loose and made a sudden dash to reach it, to the utter ruin of his stockings and gaiters. In vain Aunt Mary coaxed and remonstrated and threatened; in vain she attempted to hook him out with the handle of her parasol; he was just out of reach and he kept there. He was brought out by one of the gardeners at last, who seemed to look upon it as an excellent joke. Tom, who had lagged behind, was sent back after dry stockings and Charlie’s second-best shoes, which, when brought, were changed in the vestibule of the Public Library, and the line of march again taken up. The deer on the Common were fed, Punch and Judy viewed and criticized, and the thousand and one various objects in the vicinity visited. Charlie was delighted with everything, but through and above all one grand desire and determination rode rampant—the desire and determination to enter into possession of the promised, but as yet unrealized, “wocking-horse.”

Mounted upon the back of the largest and realest looking horse.

Down Winter Street to Washington, in the great, sweeping crowd of men, women and children; past the gorgeous dry goods stores; past candy and apple stands; past all sorts of strange and funny and bewildering things, Charlie was slowly dragged, a helpless and unwilling prisoner. He only broke silence once. Passing a window filled with braids and chignons, and doubtless taking them for scalps, he inquired with considerable interest if “Indians kept store there.”

“Oh! what a lovely silk!” ejaculated Aunt Mary’s friend, coming to a sudden stop before one of the great dry goods emporiums on Washington Street.

Aunt Mary stopped, too. The pattern was too gorgeous to be lightly passed. She raised her hand to remove her vail, forgot her charge for a moment, and when she looked again Charlie had disappeared.

“Charlie! Charlie! Why, where is he?” she exclaimed, pale with fright. “I thought you had hold of him!”

“I dropped his hand not a minute ago, to be sure my pocket hadn’t been picked. I thought you would look out for him.”

In vain they searched; in vain they questioned clerks and policemen and apple-women. Nobody had seen such a boy, and yet everybody seemed to think that they certainly should remember if they had. It was now half past four. And Tom, who might have helped them so much, was gone!

“Perhaps,” suggested a pitying apothecary’s clerk, with a very small moustache and very smooth hair, “perhaps the young man Tom has taken him home.”

There was a small spark of comfort in this suggestion and, though unbelieving, the two hurried homewards, only to find Tom sitting on the doorstep, lazily fanning himself, and hear his surprised ejaculation:

“Why! what have you done with Charlie?”

“He’s lost!” said Aunt Mary, bursting into tears. “He’ll get run over, or carried away, or something terrible will happen to him. I shall never have another minute’s peace while I live!”

Tom listened impatiently to the details of the story, told by both together, and, tossing his fan into the hall, started down the steps.

“Don’t fret till I come back. He’s all right somewhere, and I’ll bring him home with me.”

“I’m going back. I can’t stay here. I can help search,” said Aunt Mary, still in tears, and her loyal companion avowed her determination to stand by her.

Tom had hurried away without stopping to listen, and was now out of sight; but the two wretched women, heated, footsore and wearied, followed resolutely after. The scene of the mysterious disappearance was at last reached, and again the oft repeated inquiries were made, but with the same result.

“Here is where I was intending to bring him,” said Aunt Mary, pausing mournfully before the window of a toy-bazar crowded with drums, guns, trumpets and wooden monkeys. “He had talked so much about his rocking-horse, the poor lost lamb! And now—”

The sentence was never finished, for, with a half hysterical shriek, she dropped her parasol upon the sidewalk and rushed into the store, where the apparition of a curly head of flaxen hair, slowly oscillating back and forth, had that instant caught her eye. It was Charlie, sure enough, in the highest feather, mounted upon the back of the largest and realest-looking horse in the entire stock of the establishment, whose speed he was endeavoring to accelerate by the aid of divers kicks and cluckings, while the proprietor and unemployed clerks looked admiringly on.

Aunt Mary, despite her regard for appearances, hugged him and cried over him without stint, and finally made a brave attempt to scold him, but her heart failed her, at the very outset.

“He’s been here nigh upon two hours,” said the proprietor, as he made change for the coveted horse. “He came in alone and went right to that horse, and there he’s stuck ever since. I don’t let boys handle ’em much without I know they’re going to buy, but he made me think so much of a little fellow I lost a year ago that I let him do just as he liked.”

No mishap occurred in getting Charlie home this time. The toyman’s boy was sent for a hack, and, with the rocking-horse perched up by the side of the driver, and the doors tightly closed, nothing happened beyond what happens to ordinary boys who are carried about in hacks. Some little difficulty was experienced in getting him out on arrival home, for it appeared that he had formed the plan on the way of taking his horse into the coach and making a tour of the city by himself. He could not in any manner be satisfied of the impossibility of such an arrangement, and was at last taken out in a high state of indignation by the driver, who expressed a vehement wish to himself that “he had such a young one!” Nothing took place worthy of mention before bed-time, with the exception, perhaps, of the breaking of the carving-knife, and the ruin of Aunt Mary’s gold pen in an attempt to vaccinate his new acquisition.

For three days peace—comparative peace—reigned in the household. From morning till night, in season and out of season, Charlie was busy with his horse, astride of it, or feeding it, or leading it to water, or punishing it for imaginary kicks and bites, and so keeping out of mischief; but with the dawn of the fourth he awoke, apparently for the first time, to a realization of the fact that he was not lying in his own little bed, and a sudden flood of homesickness rolled over his soul, drowning out rocking-horse, hand-organs, Tom’s music-box, and each and every Bostonian delight which, until that moment, had led him captive.

From that moment his mourning was as incessant and obstinate as that of Rachael. He sat on the top stair, and filled the house with wailings. Cakes, candy and coaxings were alike in vain, and even a desperate promise of Tom’s—to show him a whole drove of elephants, had no more effect upon him, to use the cook’s simile, “than the wind that blows.”

“No human being can endure it any longer,” declared grandma, and in that statement every member of the household cordially agreed.

That fact having been established without discussion, but one thing remained to do; to get him home in as good condition as when he left there.

“One can hardly do that,” said Tom. “He’s got a rag on every finger but one, and I don’t know how much court-plaster about him.”

Notwithstanding, the afternoon train saw Charlie on board, under the double guardianship of Aunt Mary and Tom, and at five o’clock he was in his mother’s arms.

“The silence in the house was a thousand times worse than the sound of his little feet,” she said, with her eyes full of tears, “and made me think of that possible time when I should never hear them any more.”

Johnny’s a drummer and drums for thᵉ King.
MDC*VII


A WONDERFUL TRIO.


BY JANE HOWARD.


IN a little stone hut among the mountains lived Gredel and her son Peterkin, and this is how they lived: They kept about a dozen goats; and all they had to do was to watch them browse, milk them, and make the butter and cheese, which they partly ate and partly sold down in the village, or, rather, exchanged for bread. They were content with bread, butter, and cheese; and all they thought about was the goats. As for their clothes, it would be impossible to speak of them with patience. They had no ambition, no hope, no thought beyond the day, and no sense of gratitude towards yesterday. So they lived, doing no harm, and effecting little good; careless of the future, and not honestly proud of anything they had done in the past.

But one day Gredel (who was the widow of a shepherd that had dropped over the edge of a cliff) sat slowly churning the previous day’s milk, while Peterkin sat near her, doing nothing at all, thinking nothing at all, because he had nothing to ponder over, and looking at nothing at all, for the goats were an everyday sight, and they took such capital care of themselves that Peterkin always stared away over their heads.

“Heigho!” suddenly exclaimed Gredel, stopping in her churning; and Peterkin dropped his stick, looked at his mother slowly, and obediently repeated, “Heigho!”

“The sun rises,” said Gredel, “and the sun sets; the day comes, and the day goes; and we were yesterday, and we are to-day, and we shall be for some tomorrows; and that is all, all, all.”

Said Peterkin, “Mother, what is there in the world?”

“Men and women,” repeated the wise parent; “goats, and many other things.”

“But is it the end of life to get up, watch goats, eat and drink, and fall asleep again? Sometimes I wonder what is on the other side of the hill.”

“Who can say what is the end of life?” asked slow-thoughted Gredel. “Are you not happy?”

“Yes. But there is something more.”

“Do you not love me—your mother?”

“Yes. But still I think—think—think.”

“Love is enough,” said Gredel, who had passed more than half way through life, and was content to rest.

“Then it must be,” said Peterkin, “that I want more than enough.”

“If so, you must be wicked,” remarked Gredel; “for I am at peace in loving you, and you should be content in loving me. What more do you want? You have enough to eat—a warm bed in winter—and your mother who loves you.”

Peterkin shook his head.

“It will rain to-night,” said Gredel; “and you will be warm while many will be shivering in the wet.”

Gredel was quite right; for when the sun had set, and the heavens were all of one dead, sad color, down came the rain, and the inside of the hut looked very warm and comfortable.

Nevertheless, Peterkin still thought of the something beyond the mountain, and wondered what it might be. Had some wise one whispered in his ear, he must have learnt that it was healthy ambition, which helped the world and the worker at the same time.

Soon it began to thunder, and Peterkin lazily opened the wooden shutters to look at the lightning.

By this time Gredel, having thanked Providence for a large bowl of black bread steeped in hot goat’s milk, was nodding and bobbing towards the flaming wood fire.

“Mother mother! here comes something from this world!”

“And what comes from the world?”

“Something like three aged women, older than you are a very great deal. Let me wait for another flash of lightening. Ha! The first has a big stick; the second has a great pair of round things on her eyes; and the third has a sack on her back, but it is as flat as the palm of my hand, and can have nothing in it.”

“Is there enough bread, and cheese, and milk, and salt in the house?—We must consider.”

“Aye,” answered Peterkin; “there is plenty of each and all.”

“Then let them come in, if they will,” said Gredel. “But they shall knock at the door first, for we go not out on the highways and in the byways to help others. Let them come to us—good. But let us not go to them, for they have their business, and we have ours; and so the world goes round!”

“They are near the door,” whispered Peterkin, “and very good old women they look.”

The next moment there was a very soft and civil tapping at the door.

“Who goes there?” asked Peterkin.

“Three honest old women,” cried a voice.

“And what do three honest old women want?” called Gredel.

“A bit of bread each,” replied the voice, “a mug of milk each, and one corner for all three to sleep in until in the morning up comes the sweet yellow sun.”

“Lift up the latch,” said Gredel. “Come in. There is bread, there is milk, and a corner laid with three sacks of thistle down. Come in, and welcome.”

Then up went the latch, and in stepped the three travellers. Gredel looked at them without moving; but when she saw they were pleasant in appearance—that their eyes were keen in spite of their many wrinkles, and that their smiles were very fresh and pleasant notwithstanding the lines about their mouth, lazy but good-hearted Gredel got up and made a neat little bow of welcome.

“Are you sisters?” she asked.

“We are three sisters,” answered the leader, she who carried the stick. “I am commonly called Sister Trot.”

IN STEPPED THE THREE.

“And I,” said the second, who wore the spectacles, “am commonly called Sister Pansy.”

“And I,” added the third, who carried the bag, “am styled Sister Satchel.”

“Your mother and father must have been a good-looking couple,” said Gredel, smiling.

“They were born handsome,” quoth Trot, rearing her head proudly, “and they grew handsomer.”

“How came they to grow handsomer?” asked Peterkin, who had been standing in a corner.

“Because they were brisk and hurried about,” replied Pansy, “and never found the day too long. But pray, sir, who are you?”

“I am Peterkin, son of Gredel.”

“And may I ask what you do?” inquired Trot.

“Watch the goats.”

“And what do you do when you watch the goats?”

“Look about.”

“What do you see when you look about?” asked Sister Pansy.

“The sky, and the earth, and the goats.”

“Ah!” said Pansy, “it is very good to look at the sky, and truly wise to look at the earth, while it is clever to keep an eye on the goats; but Peterkin—Peterkin—you do not look far enough!”

“And when you look about,” queried Sister Satchel, “what do you pick up?”

“Nothing,” said Peterkin.

“Nothing!” echoed the visitor. “What! not even an idea?”

“What is an idea?” asked Peterkin.

“Oh, oh, oh!” said the three sisters. “Here is Peterkin, who not only never picks up an idea, but actually does not know what one is!”

“This comes of not moving about,” said Trot.

“Of not looking about,” said Pansy.

“And of not picking up something every day,” said Satchel. “And a worse example I, for one, never came across.”

“Nor I!” “Nor I!” echoed the other sisters.

Whereupon they all looked at Peterkin, and seemed dreadfully serious.

“Why, whatever have I done?” he demanded.

“That’s just it!” said the sisters. “What have you done?”

“Nothing!” exclaimed Peterkin, quite with the intention of justifying himself. “Nothing at all!”

“Ah!” said Trot, “that is the truth, indeed; whatever else may be wrong—done nothing at all!”

“Nothing!” “Nothing!” repeated Satchel and Pansy, in a breath.

“Dear me!” said Peterkin.

Whereupon Gredel, half-frightened herself, and partly indignant that her boy should be lamented over in this uncalled-for manner, said, “Would you be pleased to take a seat?”

“Certainly!” said Trot. “Still I, for one, would not think of such a thing until your stools were dusted.”

Gredel could not believe her eyes, for actually Trot raised one end of her stick and it became a brush, with which she dusted three stools.

“I think, too,” said Sister Pansy, looking out sharp through her spectacles, “that if we were to stop up that hole in the corner we should have less draught. As a rule, holes are bad things in a house.”

So off she went, and stopped up the hole with a handful of dried grass she took from a corner.

“Bless me!” said Satchel; “here are four pins on the floor!”

Whereupon she picked up the pins and popped them into her wallet. Meanwhile Gredel looked on, much astonished at these preceedings.

“I may as well have a rout while I am about it,” said Trot, beginning at once to sweep up.

“Cobwebs in every corner!” cried Pansy; and away she went, looking after the walls.

“No wonder you could not find your wooden spoon,” remarked Satchel; “why, here it is, most mysteriously up the chimney!”

There was such a dusting, sweeping, and general cleaning as the place had never seen before.

“This is great fun!” said Peterkin; “but how it makes you sneeze!”

“Here, dame Gredel,” cried Satchel; “I have picked up all the things you must have lost for the last three years. Here is your thimble; and now you can take the bit of leather off your finger. Here are your scissors, which will cut cloth better than that knife; and here is the lost leg of the third stool—so that I can now sit down in safety.”

“Why,” exclaimed Peterkin, “the place looks twice as large as it did, and ten times brighter. Mother, I am glad the ladies have come.”

“I am sure, ladies,” said the good woman, “I shall never forget your visit.”

To tell the truth, however, there was something very ambiguous in Gredel’s words.

“There!” said Trot; “and now I can sit down in comfort to my bread and milk.”

“And very good bread and milk, too,” said Satchel. “I think, sisters, we are quite fortunate to fall upon this goodly cot.”

“Yes,” remarked Trot, “they are not bad souls, this Gredel and Peterkin; but, they sadly want mending. However, they have good hearts, and you know that those who love much are forgiven much; and indeed I would sooner eat my supper here than in some palaces you and I, sisters, know something about.”

“Quite true!” assented the others, “quite true!” And so they went on talking as though they had been in their own house and no one but themselves in the room. Gredel listened with astonishment, and Peterkin with all his ears, too delighted even to be astonished.

“Now this,” thought he, “comes of their knowing something of what goes on beyond the Great Hill as far away as I can see.”

“Time for bed,” suddenly said Dame Trot, who evidently was the leader, “if we are to see the sun rise.”

The sisters then made themselves quite comfortable, and tucked up their thistle-down beds and home-spun sheets with perfect good humor.

. . . . . . . .

Peterkin awoke cheerily, and he was dressed even before the sun appeared. He made the fire, set the table, gave the place a cheerful air, and then opened the door to look after the goats, wondering why he felt so light and happy. He was soon joined by the three sisters, who made a great to-do with some cold water and their washing.

“Is it good to put your head souse in a pail?” asked Peterkin.

“Try it,” replied Dame Trot.

So by this time, quite trusting the old women, he did so, and found his breath gone in a moment. However, he enjoyed breathing all the more when he found his head once more out of the pail, and after Pansy had rubbed him dry with a rough towel, which she took out of Satchel’s wallet, he thought he had never experienced such a delightful feeling as then took possession of him. Even since the previous night he felt quite a new being, and alas! he found himself forgetting Gredel—his mother Gredel, who loved him and taught him only to live for to-day.

“And shall I show you down the hill-side?” asked Peterkin, when the three sisters had taken their porridge and were sprucing themselves for departure.

“Yes,” said dame Trot, “and glad am I thou hast saved us the trouble of asking thee.”

“A good lad,” remarked Pansy to Gredel, “but he must look about him.”

“Truly,” said Satchel. “And, above all, he must pick up everything he comes across, when he can do so without robbing a neighbor, and he may steal all his neighbor knows, without depriving the gentleman of anything.”

Then Peterkin, feeling as light as a feather, started off down the hillside, the three old sisters chatting, whispering, and chuckling in a very wonderful manner. So, when they were quite in the valley, Peterkin said, “Please you, I will leave you now, ladies; and many thanks for your coming.” Then he very civilly touched his tattered cap, and was turning on his battered heels, when Sister Trot said, “Stop!” and he turned.

“Peterkin,” she said, “thou art worth loving and thinking about, and for your kindness to us wanderers we must ask you to keep something in remembrance of our visit. Here, take my wonderful stick and believe in it. You know me as Trot, but grown-up men call me the Fairy Work-o’-Day.” Peterkin made his obeisance, and took the stick.

“I will never lose it!” said he.

“You never will,” said Trot, “after once you know how to use it.”

“Well,” said sister Pansy, “I am not to be beaten by my sister, and so here are my spectacles.”

“I shall look very funny in them,” said Peterkin, eyeing them doubtfully.

“Nay; nobody will see them on your nose as you mark them on mine. The world will observe their wisdom in your eyes, but the wires will be invisible. By-the-by, sister Pansy is only my home-name; men call me Fairy See-far; and so be good.”

“As for me,” said the third sister, “I am but the younger of the family. I could not be in existence had not my sisters been born into the world. I am going to give you my sack; but take heed, it were better that you had no sack at all than that you should fill it too full; than that you should fling into it all that you see; than that you should pass by on the other side when, your sack being full, another human being, fallen amongst thieves, lies bleeding and wanting help! And now know that, though I am sometimes called Satchel, my name amongst the good people is the Fairy Save-some.”

“Good by,” suddenly said the three sisters. They smiled, and instantly they were gone—just like Three Thoughts.

So he turned his face towards home, with sorrow in his heart as he thought of the three sisters, while hope was mixed with the sadness as he glanced towards the far-off mountain which was called Mons Futura.

Now, Peterkin had never cared to climb hillsides, and, therefore he rarely went down them if he could help it, always lazily stopping at the top. But now the wonderful stick, as he pressed it upon the ground, seemed to give him a light heart, and a lighter pair of heels, and he danced up the hillside just as though he were holiday-making, soon reaching home.

“See, mother,” said Peterkin, “the good women have given me each a present—the one her stick, the second her glasses, and the third her wallet.”

“Ho!” said Gredel. “Well, I am not sorry they are gone, for I am afraid they would soon have made you despise your mother. They are very pleasant old people no doubt, but rude and certainly ill-bred, or they would not have put my house to rights.”

“But it looked all the better for it.”

“It looked very well as it was.”

“But the world goes on and on,” said Peterkin.

Gredel shook her head. “Humph!” she said, “a stick, an old pair of spectacles, and a sack not worth a dime! When people give gifts, let them be gifts and not cast-offs.”

“Anyhow,” said Peterkin, “I can tell you that the stick is a good stick, and helps you over the hill famously. I will keep it, and you may have the sack and the spectacles.”

“Let us try your spectacles,” cried Gredel. “Oh!” she said, trying them on carelessly. “These are the most wonderful spectacles in the world,” she went on; “but no more civil than those three old women.”

“What do you mean, mother?”

“I see you, Peterkin—and a very sad sight, too. Why, you are lazy, careless, unwashed, and stupid; and a more deplorable object was never seen by honest woman.”

Poor Peterkin blushed very much; but at this point, his mother taking off the glasses, he seized and placed them before his own eyes. “Oh!” he exclaimed.

“What now?” asked Gredel in some alarm.

“Now I see you as you are—and a very bad example are you to set before your own son! Why, you are careless, and love me not for myself but yourself, or you would do your best for me, and send me out in the world.”

“What? And dare you talk to your mother in such fashion? Give me the spectacles once more!” and she clapped them on again. “Bless me!” she continued, “the boy is quite right, and I see I am selfish, and that I am making him selfish—a very pretty business, indeed! This is to be thought over,” she said, laying aside the spectacles.

By this time Peterkin had possessed himself of the stick, and then, to his amazement, he found it had taken the shape of a spade.

“Well,” said he, “as here is a spade I think I will turn over the potato-patch.” This he did; and coming in to breakfast he was admonished to find how fine the milk tasted. “Mother,” said he, “here is a penny I have found in the field.”

“Put it in the bag,” said Gredel.

He did so, and immediately there was a chink.

Over he turned the sack, and lo! there were ten pennies sprinkled on the table.

“Ho, ho,” said Peterkin, “if, now, the bag increases money after such a pleasant manner, I have but to take out one coin and cast it in again, and soon I shall have a fortune.” He did so; but he heard no chinking. He inverted the bag again, and out fell the one coin he had picked up while digging the potato-patch.

“This, now, is very singular,” he said; “let me put on the spectacles.” This done, “Ha!” he cried, “I see now how it is. The money will never grow in the sack, unless one works hard; and then it increases whether one will or not.”

Meanwhile Gredel, taking up the stick, it took the shape of a broom, and upon the hint she swept the floor. Next, sitting down before Peterkin’s clothes, the stick became a needle, and she stitched away with a will.

So time rolled on. The cottage flourished, and the garden was beautiful. Then a cow was brought home, and it was wonderful how often fresh money changed in the wallet. Gredel had grown handsomer, and so also had Peterkin. But one day it came to pass that Peterkin said: “Mother, it is time I went over the great hill.”

“What! canst thou leave me?”

“Thou didst leave thy father and mother.”

Gredel was wiser than she had been, and so she quietly said: “Let us put on the spectacles. Ah! I see,” she then said, “a mother may love her son, but she must not stand in his way as he goes on in the world, or she becomes his enemy.”

Then Peterkin put on the spectacles. “Ah! I see,” said he, “a son may love his mother, but his love must not interfere with his duty to other men. The glasses say that every man should try and leave the world something the better for his coming; that many fail and but few succeed, yet that all must strive.”

“So be it,” said Gredel. “Go forth into the world, my son, and leave me hopeful here alone.”

“The glasses say that the sense of duty done is the greatest happiness in the world,” said Peterkin.

Then Gredel looked again through the glasses.

“I see,” said she; “the glasses say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Go forth into the world, my son: we shall both be the happier for having done our duty.”

So out into the world went Peterkin.

What else is there to tell? Why, who can write of to-morrow?

By the way, you should know that amongst the very wise folk sister Trot is known as “Industry,” sister Pansy as “Foresight,” while honest Satchel is generally called “Economy.”

Out For the Afternoon


TWO FORTUNE-SEEKERS.


BY ROSSITER JOHNSON.


ONE afternoon I went over to see Fred Barnard, and found him sitting on the back steps, apparently meditating.

“What are you doing?” said I.

“Waiting for that handkerchief to dry,” said he, pointing to a red one with round white spots, which hung on the clothes-line.

“And what are you going to do when it’s dry?” said I.

“Tie up my things in it,” said he.

“Things! What things?”

“O, such things as a fellow needs when he’s traveling. I’m going to seek my fortune.”

“Where are you going to seek it?” said I.

“I can’t tell exactly—anywhere and everywhere. I’m going till I find it.”

“But,” said I, “do you really expect to turn over a stone, or pull up a bush, or get to the end of a rainbow, and find a crock full of five-dollar gold pieces?”

“O, no!” said Fred. “Such things are gone by long ago. You can’t do that nowadays, if you ever could. But people do get rich nowadays, and there must be some way to do it.”

“Don’t they get rich mostly by staying at home, and minding their business,” said I, “instead of going off tramping about the world?”

“Maybe some of them do,” said Fred; “but my father has always staid at home, and minded his business, and he hasn’t got rich; and I don’t believe he ever will. But there’s uncle Silas, he’s always on the go, so you never know where to direct a letter to him; and he has lots of money. Sometimes mother tells him he ought to settle down; but he always says, if he did he’s afraid he wouldn’t be able to settle up by and by.”

I thought of my own father, and my mother’s brother. They both staid at home and minded their own business, yet neither of them was rich. This seemed to confirm Fred’s theory, and I was inclined to think he was more than half right.

“I don’t know but I’d like to go with you,” said I.

“I don’t want you to,” said Fred.

“Why,” said I, in astonishment; “are we not good friends?”

“O, yes, good friends as ever,” said Fred; “but you’re not very likely to find two fortunes close together; and I think it’s better for every one to go alone.”

“Then why couldn’t I start at the same time you do, and go a different way?”

“That would do,” said Fred. “I’m going to start to-morrow morning.” And he walked to the line, and felt of the handkerchief.

“I can take mother’s traveling-bag,” said I. “That will be handier to carry than a bundle tied up.”

“Take it if you like,” said Fred; “but I believe there’s luck in an old-fashioned handkerchief. In all the pictures of boys going to seek their fortunes, they have their things tied up in a handkerchief, and a stick put through it and over their shoulder.”

I did not sympathize much with Fred’s belief in luck, though I thought it was possible there might be something in it; but the bundle in the handkerchief seemed to savor a little more of romance, and I determined that I would conform to the ancient style.

“Does your father know about it?” said I.

“Yes; and he says I may go.”

Just then Fred’s father drove around from the barn.

“I’m going away,” said he to Fred, “to be gone several days. So, if you go in the morning, I shall not see you again until you return from your travels.” And he laughed a little.

“Well, I’m certainly going to-morrow morning,” said Fred, in answer to the “if.”

“You ought to have a little money with you,” said Mr. Barnard, taking out his wallet.

“No, sir, I thank you,” said Fred; “but I’d rather not have it.”

His father looked surprised.

“I think it’s luckier to start without it,” said Fred, in explanation.

“Very well! Luck go with you!” said Mr. Barnard, as he drove off.

“Do you think it best to go without any money at all?” said I. “It seems to me it would be better to have a little.”

“No,” said Fred; “a fellow ought to depend on himself, and trust to luck. It wouldn’t be any fun at all to stop at taverns and pay for meals and lodging, just like ordinary travelers. And then, if people saw I had money to pay for things, they wouldn’t believe I was going to seek my fortune.”

“Why, do we want them to know that?” said I.

I do,” said he.

“That isn’t the way the boys in the stories do,” said I.

“And that’s just where they missed it,” said Fred; “or would, if they lived nowadays. Don’t you see that everybody that wants anything lets everybody know it? When I’m on my travels, I’m going to tell every one what I’m after. That’s the way to find out where to go and what to do.”

“Won’t some of them fool you,” said I, “and tell you lies, and send you on the wrong road?”

“A fellow’s got to look out for that,” said Fred, knowingly. “We needn’t believe all they say.”

“What must we take in our bundles?” said I.

“I’m going to take some cookies, and a Bible, and a tin cup, and a ball of string, and a pint of salt,” said Fred.

“What’s the salt for?” said I.

“We may have to camp out some nights,” said Fred, “and live on what we can find. There are lots of things you can find in the woods and fields to live on; but some of them ain’t good without salt—mushrooms, for instance.” Fred was very fond of mushrooms.

“And is the string to tie up the bags of money?” said I—not meaning to be at all sarcastic.

“O, no!” said Fred; “but string’s always handy to have. We may want to set snares for game, or tie up things that break, or catch fish. And then if you have to stay all night in a house where the people look suspicious, you can fix a string so that if any one opens the door of your room, it’ll wake you up.”

“If that happened, you’d want a pistol—wouldn’t you?” said I. “Or else it wouldn’t do much good to be waked up.”

“I’d take a pistol, if I had one,” said Fred; “but I can get along without it. You can always hit ’em over the head with a chair, or a pitcher, or something. You know you can swing a pitcher full of water around quick, and not spill a drop; and if you should hit a man a fair blow with it, ’twould knock him senseless. Besides, it’s dangerous using a pistol in a house. Sometimes the bullets go through the wall, and kill innocent persons.”

“We don’t want to do that,” said I.

“No,” said Fred; “that would be awful unlucky.”

Then he felt of the handkerchief again, said he guessed it was dry enough, and took it off from the line.

“Fred,” said I, “how much is a fortune?”

“That depends on your ideas,” said Fred, as he smoothed the handkerchief over his knee. “I should not be satisfied with less than a hundred thousand dollars.”

“I ought to be going home to get ready,” said I. “What time do we start?”

“Five o’clock exactly,” said Fred.

So we agreed to meet at the horse-block, in front of the house, a minute or two before five the next morning, and start simultaneously on the search for fortune.

I went home, and asked mother if there was a red handkerchief, with round white spots on it, in the house.

“I think there is,” said she. “What do you want with it?”

I told her all about our plan, just as Fred and I had arranged it. She smiled, said she hoped we would be successful, and went to get the handkerchief.

It proved to be just like Fred’s, except that the spots were yellow, and had little red dots in the middle. I thought that would do, and then asked her for the salt, the cup, and the cookies. She gave me her pint measure full of salt, and as she had no cookies in the house, she substituted four sandwiches.

“But,” said I, “won’t you want to use this cup before I get back?”

“I think not,” said she, with a twinkle in her eye, which puzzled me then, but which afterward I understood.

I got my little Bible, and some twine, and then went into the yard to hunt up a stick to carry the bundle on. I found a slender spoke from an old carriage-wheel, and adopted it at once. “That,” said I to myself, as I handled and “hefted” it, “would be just the thing to hit a burglar over the head with.”

I fixed the bundle all ready for a start, and went to bed in good season. Mother rose early, got me a nice breakfast, and called me at half past four.

“Mother,” said I, as feelings of gratitude rose within me at the excellence of the meal, “how does a camel’s-hair shawl look?”

“I don’t know, my son,” said she. “I never saw one.”

“Never saw one!” said I. “Well, you shall see one, a big one, if I find my fortune.”

“Thank you,” said mother, and smiled again that peculiar smile.

Fred and I met promptly at the horse-block. He greatly admired my stick; his was an old hoe-handle, sawed short. I gave him two of my sandwiches for half of his cookies, and we tied up the bundles snugly, and slung them over our shoulders.

“How long do you think it will take us?” said I.

“Maybe three or four years—maybe more,” said he.

“Let us agree to meet again on this spot five years, from to-day,” said I.

“All right!” said Fred; and he took out a bit of lead pencil, and wrote the date on the side of the block.

“The rains and snows will wash that off before the five years are up,” said I.

“Never mind! we can remember,” said Fred. “And now,” he continued, as he shook hands with me, “don’t look back. I’m not going to; it isn’t lucky, and it’ll make us want to be home again. Good-bye!”

“Good-bye! Remember, five years,” said I.

He took the east road, I the west, and neither looked back.

I think I must have walked about four miles without seeing any human being. Then I fell in with a boy, who was driving three cows to pasture, and we scraped acquaintance.

“Where y’ goin’?” said he, eyeing my bundle.

“A long journey,” said I.

“Chiny?” said he.

“Maybe so—maybe not,” said I.

“What y’ got t’ sell?” said he.

“Nothing,” said I; “I’m only a traveler not a peddler. Can you tell me whose house that is?”

“That big white one?” said he; “that’s Hathaway’s.”

“It looks new,” said I.

“Yes, ’tis, spick an’ span,” said he. “Hathaway’s jest moved into it; used to live in that little brown one over there.”

“Mr. Hathaway must be rich,” said I.

“Jolly! I guess he is!—wish I was half as rich,” said the boy. “Made ’s money on the rise of prop’ty. Used to own all this land round here, when ’twas a howlin’ wilderness. I’ve heard dad say so lots o’ times. There he is now.”

“Who?—your father?” said I.

“No; Hathaway.” And the boy pointed to a very old, white-headed man, who was leaning on a cane, and looking up at the cornice of the house.

“He looks old,” said I.

“He is, awful old,” said the boy. “Can’t live much longer. His daughter Nancy’ll take the hull. Ain’t no other relations.”

“How old is Nancy?” said I; and if I had been a few years older myself, the question might have been significant; but among all the methods I had thought over of acquiring a fortune, that of marrying one was not included.

“O, she’s gray-headed too,” said the boy, “’n a post, ’nd blind ’s a bat. I wish the old man couldn’t swaller a mouthful o’ breakfast till he’d give me half what he’s got.” And with this charitable expression he turned with the cows into the lane, and I saw him no more.

While I was meditating on the venerable but not venerated Mr. Hathaway and his property, a wagon came rumbling along behind me.

“Don’t you want to ride?” said the driver, as I stepped aside to let it pass.

I thanked him, and climbed to a place beside him on the rough seat. He was in his shirt-sleeves, and wore a torn straw hat. He had reddish side-whiskers, and his chin needed shaving, badly.

“Got far to go?” said he, as the team started up again.

“I expect to walk all day,” said I.

“Then you must get a lift when you can,” said he. “Don’t be afraid to ask. A good many that wouldn’t invite you, as I did, would let you ride if you asked them.”

I promised to remember his advice.

“Ever drive a team?” said he.

“Not much,” said I.

“I want a good boy to drive team,” said he. “Suppose you could learn.” And then he began to talk to the horses, and to whistle.

“How much would you pay?” said I.

“I’d give a good smart boy ten dollars a month and board,” said he. “Git ap, Doc!”

“How much of that could he save?” said I.

“Save eight dollars a month easy enough, if he’s careful of his clothes, and don’t want to go to every circus that comes along,” said he.

I made a mental calculation: “Eight times twelve are ninety-six—into a hundred thousand—one thousand and forty-one years, and some months. O, yes! interest—well, nearly a thousand years.” Then I said aloud, “I guess I won’t hire; don’t believe I’d make a very good teamster.”

“I think you would; and it’s good wages,” said he.

“Nobody but Methuselah could get rich at it,” said I.

“Rich?” said he. “Of course you couldn’t get rich teaming. If that’s what you’re after, I’ll tell you what you do: plant a forest. Timber’s good property. The price of it’s more than doubled in ten years past, and it’ll be higher yet. You plant a tree, and it’ll grow while you sleep. Chess won’t choke it, and the weevil can’t eat it. You don’t have to hoe it, nor mow it, nor pick it, nor rotate it, nor feed it, nor churn it, nor nothing. That’s the beauty of it. And you plant a forest of trees, and in time it’ll make you a rich man.”

“How much time?” said I.

“Well, that piece of timber you see over there,—that’s Eph Martin’s; he’s going to cut it next season. The biggest trees must be—well, perhaps eighty years old. You reckon up the interest on the cost of the land, and you’ll see it’s a good investment. I wish I had such a piece.”

“Why don’t you plant one?” said I.

“O, I’m too old! My grandfather ought to have done it for me. Whoa! Doc. Whoa! Tim.”

He drew up at a large, red barn, where a man and a boy were grinding a scythe. I jumped down, and trudged on.

After I had gone a mile or two, I began to feel hungry, and sat done on a stone, under a great oak tree, to eat a sandwich. Before I knew it I had eaten two, and then I was thirsty. There was a well in a door-yard close by, and I went to it. The bucket was too heavy for me to lift, and so I turned the salt out of my cup in a little pile on a clean-looking corner of the well-curb, and drank.

The woman of the house came to the door, and took a good look at me; then she asked if I would not rather have a drink of milk. I said I would, and she brought a large bowlful, which I sat down on the door-step to enjoy.

Presently a sun-browned, barefooted boy, wearing a new chip hat, and having his trousers slung by a single suspender, came around the corner of the house, and stopped before me.

“Got any Shanghais at your house?” said he.

“No!”

“Any Cochins?”

“No!”

“Any Malays?”

“No!”

“What have you got?”

“About twenty common hens,” said I, perceiving that his thoughts were running on fancy breeds of fowls.

“Don’t want to buy a nice pair of Shanghais—do you?” said he.

“I couldn’t take them to-day,” said I.

“Let’s go look at them,” said he; and I followed him toward the barn.

“This is my hennery,” said he, with evident pride, as we came to a small yard which was inclosed with a fence made of long, narrow strips of board, set up endwise, and nailed to a slight railing. Inside was a low shed, with half a dozen small entrances near the ground.

“Me and Jake built this,” said he. “Jake’s my brother.”

He unbuckled a strap that fastened the gate, and we went inside. A few fowls, of breeds unfamiliar to me, were scratching about the yard.

“Don’t you call them nice hens?” said he.

“I guess they are,” said I; “but I don’t know much about hens.”

“Don’t you?” said he. “Then I’ll tell you something about them. There’s money in hens. Father says so, and I know it’s so. I made fifty-one dollars and thirteen cents on these last year. I wish I had a million.”

“A million dollars,” said I, “is a good deal of money. I should be satisfied with one tenth of that.”

“I meant a million hens,” said he. “I’d rather have a million hens than a million dollars.”

I went through a mental calculation similar to the one I had indulged in while riding with the teamster: “Fifty-one, thirteen—almost two thousand years. Great Cæsar! Yes, Great Cæsar sure enough! I ought to have begun keeping hens about the time Cassius was egging on the conspirators to lay out that gentleman. But I forgot the interest again. Call it fifteen hundred.”

“Let’s go in and look at the nests,” said the boy, opening the door of the shed.

The nests were in a row of boxes nailed to the wall. He took out some of the eggs, and showed them to me. Several had pencil-writing on the shell, intended to denote the breed. I remember Gaim, Schanghy, and Cotching.

“There’s a pair of Shanghais,” said he as he went out, pointing with one hand while he tightened the gate-strap with the other, “that I’ll sell you for five dollars. Or I’ll sell you half a dozen eggs for six dollars.”

I told him I couldn’t trade that day, but would certainly come and see him when I wanted to buy any fancy hens.

“If you see anybody,” said he, as we parted, “that wants a nice pair of Shanghais reasonable, you tell ’em where I live.”

“I will,” said I, and pushed on.

“Money in hens, eh?” said I to myself. “Then if they belonged to me, I’d kill them, and get it out of them at once, notwithstanding the proverb about the goose.”

After some further journeying I came to a roadside tavern. A large, square sign, with a faded picture of a horse, and the words Schuyler’s Hotel, faintly legible, hung from an arm that extended over the road from a high post by the pump.

I sat down on the steps, below a group of men who were tilted back in chairs on the piazza. One, who wore a red shirt, and chewed a very large quid of tobacco, was just saying,—

“Take it by and through, a man can make wages at the mines, and that’s all he can make.”

“Unless he strikes a big nugget,” said a little man with one eye.

“He might be there a hundred years, and not do that,” said Red Shirt. “I never struck one.”

“And again he might strike it the very first day,” said One Eye.

“Again he might,” said Red Shirt; “but I’d rather take my chances keeping tavern. Look at Schuyler, now. He’ll die a rich man.”

The one who seemed to be Schuyler was well worth looking at. I had never seen so much man packed into so much chair; and it was an exact fit—just enough chair for the man, just enough man for the chair. Schuyler’s boundary from his chin to his toe was nearly, if not exactly, a straight line.

“Die rich?” said One Eye. “He’s a livin’ rich; he’s rich to-day.”

“If any of you gentlemen want to make your fortune keeping a hotel,” said Schuyler, “I’ll sell on easy terms.”

“How much, ’squire?” said Red Shirt.

He took the East Road, I the West, and neither looked back.”—See page 61.

“Fifteen,” answered Schuyler.

“Fifteen thousand—furniture and all?” said One Eye.

“Everything,” said Schuyler.

“Your gran’f’ther bought the place for fifteen hundred,” said One Eye. “But money was wuth more then.”

While listening to this conversation, I had taken out my cookies, and I was eating the last of them, when One Eye made his last recorded remark.

“Won’t you come in, sonny, and stay over night?” said Schuyler.

“Thank you, sir,” said I; “but I can’t stop.”

“Then don’t be mussing up my clean steps,” said he.

I looked at him to see if he was in earnest; for I was too hungry to let a single crum fall, and could not conceive what should make a muss. The whole company were staring at me most uncomfortably. Without saying another word, I picked up my stick and bundle, and walked off.

“Thirteen thousand five hundred,” said I to myself, slowly,—“in three generations—four thousand five hundred to a generation. I ought to have come over with Christopher Columbus, and set up a tavern for the red-skins to lounge around. Then maybe if I never let any little Indian boys eat their lunches on the steps, I’d be a rich man now. Fifteen thousand dollars—and so mean, so abominably mean—and such a crowd of loafers for company. No, I wouldn’t keep tavern if I could get rich in one generation.”

At the close of this soliloquy, I found I had instinctively turned towards home when I left Schuyler’s Hotel. “It’s just as well,” said I, “just as well! I’d rather stay at home and mind my business, like father, and not have any fortune, if that’s the way people get them nowadays.”

I had the good luck to fall in with my friend the teamster, who gave me a longer lift than before, and sounded me once more on the subject of hiring out to drive team for him.

As I passed over the crest of the last hill in the road, I saw something in the distance that looked very much like another boy with a bundle over his shoulder. I waved my hat. It waved its hat. We met at the horse-block, each carrying a broad grin the last few rods of the way.

“Let’s see your fortune,” said I, as I laid my bundle on the block.

“Let’s see yours,” said he, as he laid his beside it.

“You started the plan,” said I; “so you tell your adventures first.”

Thereupon Fred told his story, which I give nearly in his own words.

He traveled a long distance before he met with any incident. Then he came to a house that had several windows boarded up, and looked as if it might not be inhabited. While Fred stood looking at it, and wondering about it, he saw a shovelful of earth come out of one of the cellar windows. It was followed in a few seconds by another, and another, at regular intervals.

“I know how it is,” said Fred. “Some old miser has lived and died in that house. He used to bury his money in the cellar; and now somebody’s digging for it. I mean to see if I can’t help him.”

Going to the window, he stooped down and looked in. At first he saw nothing but the gleam of a new shovel. But when he had looked longer he discerned the form of the man who wielded it.

“Hello!” said Fred, as the digger approached the window to throw out a shovelful.

“Hello! Who are you?” said the man.

“I’m a boy going to seek my fortune,” said Fred. “What are you digging for?”

“Digging for a fortune,” said the man, taking up another shovelful.

“May I help you?” said Fred.

“Yes, if you like.”

“And have half?”

“Have all you find,” said the man, forcing down his shovel with his foot.

Fred ran around to the cellar door, laid down his bundle on the grass beside it, and entered. The man pointed to an old shovel with a large corner broken off, and Fred picked it up and went to work.

Nearly half of the cellar bottom had been lowered about a foot by digging, and the man was lowering the remainder. With Fred’s help, after about two hours of hard work, it was all cut down to the lower level.

Fred had kept his eyes open, and scrutinized every shovelful; but nothing like a coin had gladdened his sight. Once he thought he had one, and ran to the light with it. But it proved to be only the iron ear broken off from some old bucket.

“I guess that’ll do,” said the man, wiping his brow, when the leveling was completed.

“Do?” said Fred, in astonishment. “Why, we haven’t found any of the money yet.”

“What money?”

“The money the old miser buried, of course.”

The man laughed heartily. “I wasn’t digging for any miser’s money,” said he.

“You said so,” said Fred.

“O, no!” said the man. “I said I was digging for a fortune. Come and sit down, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

They took seats on the highest of the cellar steps that led out of doors.

“You see,” continued the man, “my wife went down cellar one day, and struck her forehead against one of those beams; and she died of it. If she had lived a week longer, she’d have inherited a very pretty property. So I’ve lowered the cellar floor; and if I should have another wife, her head couldn’t reach the beams, unless she was very tall—taller than I am. So if she inherits a fortune, the cellar won’t prevent us getting it. That’s the fortune I was digging for.”

“It’s a mean trick to play on a boy; and if I was a man, I’d lick you,” said Fred, as he shouldered his bundle and walked away.

Two or three miles farther down the road he came to a small blacksmith shop. The smith, a stout, middle-aged man, was sitting astride of a small bench with long legs, making horseshoe nails on a little anvil that rose from one end of it.

Fred went in, and asked if he might sit there a while to rest.

“Certainly,” said the blacksmith, as he threw a finished nail into an open drawer under the bench. “How far have you come?”

“I can’t tell,” said Fred; “it must be as much as ten miles.”

“Got far to go?”

“I don’t know how far. I’m going to seek my fortune.”

The smith let his hammer rest on the anvil, and took a good look at Fred. “You seem to be in earnest,” said he.

“I am,” said Fred.

“Don’t you know that gold dollars don’t go rolling up hill in these days, for boys to chase them, and we haven’t any fairies in this country, dancing by moonlight over buried treasure?” said the smith.

“O, yes, I know that,” said Fred. “But people get rich in these days as much as ever they did. And I want to find out the best way to do it.”

“What is that nail made of?” said the smith, holding out one.

“Iron,” said Fred, wondering what that had to do with a boy seeking his fortune.

“And that hammer?”

“Iron.”

“And that anvil?”

“Iron.”

“Well, don’t you see,” said the smith, resting his hammer on the anvil, and leaning over it toward Fred,—“don’t you see that everything depends on iron? A farmer can’t cultivate the ground until he has a plow; and that plow is made of iron. A butcher can’t cut up a critter until he has a knife; and that knife is made of iron. A tailor can’t make a garment without a needle; and that needle is made of iron. You can’t build a ship without iron, nor start a mill, nor arm a regiment. The stone age, and the brass age, and the golden age are all gone by. This is the iron age; and iron is the basis of all wealth. The richest man is the man that has the most iron. Railroads are made of iron, and the richest men are those that own railroads.”

“How can one man own a railroad?” said Fred, amazed at the vastness of such wealth.

“Well, he can’t exactly, unless he steals it,” said the smith.

“I should like to own a railroad,” said Fred; and he thought what fun he might have, as well as profit, being conductor on his own train; “but I didn’t come to steal; I want to find a fortune honestly.”

“Then look for it in iron,” said the smith. “Iron in some form always paves the road to prosperity.”

“Would blacksmithing be a good way?” said Fred.

“Now you’ve hit it,” said the smith. “I haven’t got rich myself, and probably never shall. But I didn’t take the right course. I was a sailor when I was young, and spent half my life wandering around the world, before I settled down and turned blacksmith. I dare say if I had learned the trade early enough, and had gone and set up a shop in some large place, or some rising place, and hadn’t always been so low in my charges, I might be a rich man.”

Fred thought the blacksmith must be a very entertaining and learned man, whom it would be pleasant as well as profitable to work with. So, after thinking it over a few minutes, he said,—

“Do you want to hire a boy to learn the business?”

“I’ll give you a chance,” said the smith, “and see what you can do.” Then he went outside and drew in a wagon, which was complete except part of the iron-work, and started up his fire, and thrust in some small bars of iron.

Fred laid aside his bundle, threw off his jacket, and announced that he was ready for work. The smith set him to blowing the bellows, and afterward gave him a light sledge, and showed him how to strike the red-hot bar on the anvil, alternating with the blows of the smith’s own hammer.

At first it was very interesting to feel the soft iron give at every blow, and see the sparks fly, and the bars, and rods taking the well-known shapes of carriage-irons. But either the smith had reached the end of his political economy, or else he was too much in earnest about his work to deliver orations; his talk now was of “swagging,” and “upsetting,” and “countersinking,” and “taps,” and “dies”—all of which terms he taught Fred the use of.

Fred was quick enough to learn, but had never been fond of work; and this was work that made the sweat roll down his whole body. After an hour or two, he gave it up.

“I think I’ll look further for my fortune,” said he; “this is too hard work.”

“All right,” said the smith; “but maybe you’ll fare worse. You’ve earned a little something, anyway;” and he drew aside his leather apron, thrust his hand into his pocket, and brought out seven cents; which Fred accepted with thanks, and resumed his journey.

His next encounter was with a farmer, who sat in the grassy corner of a field, under the shade of a maple tree, eating his dinner. This reminded Fred that it was noon, and that he was hungry.

“How d’e do, mister?” said Fred, looking through the rail-fence. “I should like to come over and take dinner with you.”

“You’ll have to furnish your own victuals,” said the farmer.

“That I can do,” said Fred, and climbed over the fence, and sat down by his new acquaintance.

“Where you bound for?” said the farmer, as Fred opened his bundle, and took out a sandwich.

“Going to seek my fortune,” said Fred.

“You don’t look like a runaway ’prentice,” said the farmer; “but that’s a curious answer to a civil question.”

“It’s true,” said Fred. “I am going to seek my fortune.”

“Where do you expect to find it?”

“I can’t tell—I suppose I must hunt for it.”

“Well, I can tell you where to look for it, if you’re in earnest; and ’tain’t so very far off, either,” said the farmer, as he raised the jug of milk to his mouth.

Fred indicated by his attitude that he was all attention, while the farmer took a long drink.

“In the ground,” said he, as he sat down the jug with one hand, and brushed the other across his mouth. “There’s no wealth but what comes out of the ground in some way. All the trees and plants, all the grains, and grasses, and garden-sass, all the brick and stone, all the metals—iron, gold, silver, copper—everything comes out of the ground. That’s where man himself came from, according to the Bible: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ And the first primary foundation of it all is agriculture. Hewson, the blacksmith, pretends to say it’s iron; and he maintained that side in the debating club at the last meeting. But I maintained it was agriculture, and I maintain so still. Says I, ‘Mr. President, what’s your tailor, and your sailor, and your ship-builder, and your soldier, and your blacksmith going to do without something to eat? [Here the farmer made a vigorous gesture by bringing down his fist upon his knee.] They can’t eat needles, nor spikes, nor guns, nor anvils. The farmer’s got to feed ’em, every one on ’em. And they’ve got to have a good breakfast before they can do a good day’s work, and a dinner in the middle of it, and a supper at the end of it. Can’t plow without iron?’ says I. ‘Why, Mr. President, in Syria and thereabouts they plow with a crooked limb of a tree to this day. The gentleman can see a picture of it in Barnes’s Notes, if he has access to that valuable work.’ And says I, ‘Mr. President, who was first in the order of time—Adam the farmer, or Tubal Cain the blacksmith? No, sir; Adam was the precursor of Tubal Cain; Adam had to be created before Tubal Cain could exist. First the farmer, and then the blacksmith;—that, Mr. President, is the divine order in the great procession of creation.’”

Here the farmer stopped, and cut a piece of meat with his pocket-knife.

“Boy,” he continued, “if you want a fortune, you must dig it out of the ground. You won’t find one anywhere else.”

Fred thought of his recent unpleasant experience in digging for a fortune, and asked, “Isn’t digging generally pretty hard work.”

“Yes,” said the farmer, as he took up his hoe, and rose to his feet; “it is hard work; but it’s a great deal more respectable than wandering around like a vagrant, picking up old horse-shoes, and hollering ‘Money!’ at falling stars.”

Fred thought the man was somehow getting personal. So he took his bundle, climbed the fence, and said good-bye to him.

He walked on until he came to a fork of the road, and there he stopped, considering which road he would take. He could find no sign-board of any sort, and was about to toss one of his pennies to determine the question, when he saw a white steeple at some distance down the right hand road. “It’s always good luck to pass a church,” said he, and took that road.

When he reached the church, he sat down on the steps to rest. While he sat there, thinking over all he had seen and heard that day, a gentleman wearing a black coat, a high hat, and a white cravat, came through the gate of a little house almost buried in vines and bushes, that stood next to the church. He saw Fred, and approached him, saying,—

“Whither away, my little pilgrim?”

“I am going to seek my fortune,” said Fred.

“Haven’t you a home?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Parents?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are they good to you?”

“O, yes, sir.”

“Then you are fortunate already,” said the gentleman. “When I was at your age, I had neither home nor parents, and the people where I lived were very unkind.”

“But my father isn’t rich,” said Fred; “and he never will be.”

“And you want to be rich?” said the gentleman.

“Yes, sir. I thought I’d try to be,” said Fred.

“What for?”

“What for? Why—why—so as to have the money.”

“And what would you do with the money, if you had it?”

“I’d—I’d use it,” said Fred, beginning to feel that he had come to debating school without sufficiently understanding the question.

“Do you see that pile of large stones near my barn?” said the gentleman. “I’ll give you those, and lend you a wheelbarrow to get them home.”

“I thank you,” said Fred; “but I don’t want them. They’re of no use.”

“O, yes, they are! You can build a house with them,” said the gentleman.

“But I’m not ready to build a house,” said Fred. “I haven’t any land to build it on, nor any other materials, nor anything to put into it; and I’m not old enough to be married and keep house.”

“Very true, my son! and if you had a cart-load of money now, it wouldn’t be of any more value to you than a cart-load of those building stones. But, after you have been to school a few years longer, and trained yourself to some business, and made a man of yourself, and developed your character, then you will have tastes, and capacities, and duties that require money; and if you get it as you go along, and always have enough to satisfy them, and none in excess to encumber you, that will be the happiest fortune you can find.”

Fred took a few minutes to think of it. Then he said,—

“I believe you have told me the truth, and set me on the right track. I will go home again, and try to make a man of myself first, and a rich man afterward.”

“Before you start, perhaps you would like to come into my house and get rested, and look at some pictures.”

Fred accepted the invitation. The lady of the house gave him a delicious lunch, and he spent an hour in the clergyman’s study, looking over two or three portfolios of prints and drawings, which they explained to him. Then he bade them good-bye, shouldered his bundle, and started for home, having the good fortune to catch a long ride, and arriving just as I did.

“What I’ve learned,” said he, as he finished his story, “is, that you can get rich if you don’t care for anything else; but you’ve either got to work yourself to death for it, or else cheat somebody. You can get it out of the ground by working, or you can get it out of men by cheating. But who wants to do either? I don’t. And I believe it isn’t much use being rich, any way.”

Then I told Fred my adventures. “And what I’ve learned,” said I, “is, that you can get rich without much trouble, if you’re willing to wait all your life for forests to grow and property to rise. But what’s the use of money to an old man or an old woman that’s blind and deaf, and just ready to die? Or what good does it do a mean man, with a lot of loafers round him? It can’t make him a gentleman.”

And meditating upon this newly-acquired philosophy, Fred and I went to our homes.

“Mother,” said I, “I’ve got back.”

“Yes, my son, I expected you about this time.”

“But I haven’t found a fortune, nor brought your camel’s-hair shawl.”

“It’s just as well,” said she; “for I haven’t anything else that would be suitable to wear with it.”


THE LITTLE CHRISTMAS PIES.


BY E. F.


FLORIS shut up her book, and looked at mamma. “Mamma, I wish we could be s’prised Christmas!”

“Surprised.” It was a moment before mamma understood. “It is somewhat difficult,” she said then, “to surprise little girls who feel at liberty to go to mamma’s drawers at any time, and to untie all the packages when the delivery-man comes. In a small house like this people have to help surprise themselves.”

“Who wants to help surprise theirselves!” exclaimed little Katy. “You ought to be cunning, mamma, and hide things; a ‘truly’ hide—you know—and not just in bureau drawers.”

That’s not what I mean at all, Katy,” said Floris. “Mamma, I mean a surprise, and not our Christmas presents. Of course, Katy and I know what them’ll be, or most know. It’ll be our new hats, or some aprons, or something we’d had to have any way, and just one of the every-day Christmas presents besides; a book, or a horn of candy. I most know mine’ll be a silver thimble this year, ’cause I lost my old one, and I heard you tell papa that Katy’d better have a workbox, so’s to s’courage her to learn sewing more. Now, see ’f ’tain’t so.”

Mamma sat before her little daughters, her guilt confessed in her looks.

“Not that we blame you, mamma,” added Floris, kindly. “I’m old ’nough now to know that if Santa Klaus brings us anything, he comes round beforehand, and gets every cent they cost out of papa—great Santa Klaus, that is!”

“But what did you mean by a surprise, Floris?”

“O, I d’no, quite,” answered Floris. “But I thought I sh’d like to have something happen that never had before; something planned for me ’n’ Katy that we didn’t know a breath about, and there was no chance of prying into, so that ’twould honestly s’prise us. I never was s’prised in my life yet, mamma. I always found out some way.”

Mrs. Dewey smiled. She went out to prepare dinner, and nothing more was said; and Miss Floris took up her book with a sigh.

But at night, while she was buttoning the two white night-dresses, Mrs. Dewey returned to the subject. “My little daughters, if you will keep out of the kitchen to-morrow, all day, I think I can promise that something very strange and delightful shall happen on Christmas.”

Four little feet jumped right up and down, two little faces flew up in her own, four little hands caught hold of her, four bright eyes transfixed her—indeed, they came pretty near having the secret right out of her on the spot.

“O, mamma! What is it?”

“You must be very anxious to be ‘truly s’prised,’” remarked mamma.

Floris saw the point. She subsided at once. She smiled at mamma with the first elder-daughter smile that had ever crossed the bright child-face.

“I guess I shall be ‘truly s’prised’ if we are s’prised,” she said, with a funny little grimace, as she laid her head on the pillow.

“Now, remember, it is to be a ‘truly keep-out,’” warned Mrs. Dewey. “You are not to enter the kitchen at all—not once all day to-morrow.”

“Why, surely, mamma Dewey, you are not to do anything towa’ds it before breakfast,” reasoned little Katy.

“I shall at least notice whether I am obeyed.”

“What’ll happen if we don’t?” inquired Katy.

“Nothing’ll happen then,” said mamma, quietly.

The little voices said no more, and mamma went down stairs. They said not a single word more, because the little Deweys were so constructed that had there not been a standing command that they should not speak after mamma closed the door, their little pink tongues would have run all night; but they squeezed each other’s hands very tightly, and also remained awake somewhat longer than usual.

Mrs. Dewey smiled next morning to see her daughters seated at their lessons in that part of the sitting-room furthest from the door that opened into the hall and thus into the kitchen. They never once directly referred to last night’s conversation; but they were extremely civil to her personally, most charmingly civil, obedient, and thoughtful. Indeed, Katy’s little round shingled head would bob out into the hall almost every time mamma’s step was heard. “You must let me bring you anything I can, mamma—anything I can, ’thout going into the kitchen, I mean.”

But, to Katy’s disappointment, mamma wished no assistance. Floris offered to go down town, if mamma needed. But mamma wished nothing that Floris could do. However, to their delight, they saw the delivery-man, when he came, taking down lots of orders in his book. “Would it be w’ong to listen in the hall?” Katy whispered. “’Cause I could hear everything she told him, ’f I was a-mind to.”

Floris told her it would be very wrong.

The elder little girl studied, and played, and sang, and amused her doll all the morning, and refused to listen to any pleasant sound she heard from the kitchen. She shut her little nose, also, against a sudden whiff of deliciousness as some door opened. She even went to the well, and brought hard water for her room, because the rain water would have taken her near the forbidden regions.

But little Katy was as restless as a bee. She had a thousand errands through the hall. When Floris reprimanded her, she said she didn’t ’tend to go a-near the kitchen door. Floris looked out often; but, at last, the little one settled on the hall stairs with her paint-box, and the elder sister felt at rest.

But even to her it finally grew a long forenoon. Before ten o’clock she found herself infected with the same restlessness. Then the various sounds which she heard distracted her, such busy sounds—she would, at last, have given almost anything to know what was going on out there.

The mantel clock was just striking eleven when the hall door unclosed, and Katy’s plump little person partially appeared.

“Come here, quick, quick! or she’ll be back. I’ve found out, Flory!

“O, have you—Why, Katy Dewey!” Floris over-turned the music-stool as she ran. Katy, her head turned listeningly toward the kitchen door, blindly crowded a spoonful of something into her mouth.

“There! isn’t that ’licious good? O, Floris, such things as I have seen out there!—the box of raisins is down on the table, and all her extrach Lubin bottles. I couldn’t stay to look much; but, Floris, there’s twelve of the most beautiful mince patties—O, the most beautiful! all iced, and ‘Merry Christmas,’ in pink sand, on every one, and there’s twelve more in the iron ready to fill—wasn’t that I gave you crammed with raisins!”

Floris’s eyes danced. “Kit Dewey, I’ll bet we’re going to have a Christmas party—a party of little boys and girls! What else was there, do tell me!”

“O, I d’no; there was heaps of raisins—and, mebbe, there was ice cream;” suddenly remembering Floris’s fondness for that delectable.

Floris knew better than that; but still her eyes danced. Suddenly they heard the back kitchen door, and, as suddenly, Floris turned white. “The mince-spoon, Katy! You’ve brought the mince-spoon! Mamma’ll know!”

Katy’s little mouth dropped open.

“Quick! She’s coming this way!”

Floris softly got into the sitting-room, so did Katy.

“Where is the spoon?” hurriedly whispered the elder girl.

“I stuffed it under the stair carpet, where that rod was up.”

They could hear mamma coming through the hall. But she came only part way. After a pause, she returned to the kitchen.

“Katy, what if she’s found it?”

“She couldn’t.”

They stole out into the hall. The spoon was gone!

“O, Katy! I’ll bet you left it sticking out!” said Floris, and burst into tears. Katy did the same. With one accord they ascended the stairs to their room.

When, with red eyes, they came down to dinner, they found mamma in the dining-room as placid as usual. The kitchen door was wide open. After dinner Floris was requested to wipe the dishes. Her work took her into every part of the kitchen domains, and her red eyes peered about sharply; but nothing unusual was to be seen—not one trace of the beautiful patties, not a raisin-stem, even!

Christmas day came and went. Floris had her silver thimble, and Katy her work-box. The dinner table was in the usual holiday trim. But the little frosted pies, with the pink greetings, were not brought forward—no, and not one word was said concerning them, not even by mamma’s eyes.

At night they cried softly in their little white bed, after mamma had gone down. “And, Floris, I ’member now, there was something else, under a white cloth, like a plate of kisses, I thought,” sobbed Katy, her wet little face pressed into the pillows; “and I shall always think she was going to make fruitcake, for there was citron all cut up, and there was almonds—”

“Don’t, Katy! I don’t want to hear it! I can’t hear it!” said Floris, in a thick voice; “and don’t let us disobey mamma more by talking.”

But what did become of the beautiful, frosted, pink-lettered little pies—would you like to know?

Floris and Katy cannot tell you; for never yet have mamma and her little daughters exchanged a word upon the subject—but I think I can. At least I was told that a factory-weaver’s family, where there were several little girls, had the most lovely of patties, and kisses, and sugar-plums sent them for their Christmas dinner last year.


THE STRANGERS FROM THE SOUTH.


BY ELLA FARMAN.


UNLESS I take a long half mile circle, my daily walk to the post-office leads me down through an unsavory, wooden-built portion of town. I am obliged to pass several cheap groceries, which smell horribly of sauer-kraut and Limburg cheese, a restaurant steamy with Frenchy soups, a livery stable, besides two or three barns, and some gloomy, windowless, shut-up buildings, of whose use I haven’t the slightest idea.

Of course, when I go out in grand toilet, I take the half mile circle. But, being a business woman, and generally in a hurry, I usually go this short way in my short walking-dress and big parasol; and, probably, there is an indescribable expression to my nose, just as Mrs. Jack Graham says.

Well, one morning I was going down town in the greatest hurry. I was trying to walk so fast that I needn’t breathe once going by the Dutch groceries; and I was almost to the open space which looks away off to the sparkling river, and the distant park, and the forenoon sun,—I always take a good, long, sweet breath there, coming and going,—when my eye was caught by a remarkable group across the street.

Yes, during the night, evidently, while the town was asleep, there had been an arrival—strangers direct from the Sunny South.

And there the remarkable-looking strangers sat, in a row, along the narrow step of one of the mysterious buildings I have alluded to. They were sunning themselves with all the delightful carelessness of the experienced traveler. Though, evidently, they had been presented with the liberty of the city, it was just as evident that they didn’t care a fig for sightseeing—not a fig, either, for the inhabitants. All they asked of our town was its sunshine. They had selected the spot where they could get the most of it. Through the open space opposite the sun streamed broadly; and the side of a weather-colored building is so warm!

What a picture of dolce far niente, of “sweet-do-nothing,” it was! I stopped, hung my parasol over my shoulder,—there was a little too much sunshine for me,—and gazed at it.

“O, how you do love it! You bask like animals! That fullness of enjoyment is denied to us white-skins. What a visible absorption of luster and heat! You are the true lotus-eaters!”

The umber-colored creatures—I suppose they are as much warmer for being brown, as any brown surface is warmer than a white one. I never did see sunshine drank, and absorbed, and enjoyed as that was. It was a bit of Egypt and the Nile life. I could not bear to go on.

Finally, I crossed the street to them. Not one of them stirred. The eldest brother was standing, leaning against the building. He turned one eye on me, and kept it there. At his feet lay a bulging, ragged satchel. Evidently he was the protector.

The elder sister, with hands tucked snugly under her folded arms, winked and blinked at me dozily. The little boy with the Nubian lips was sound asleep,—a baby Osiris,—his chubby hands hiding together between his knees for greater warmth. The youngest sister, wrapped in an old woolen shawl, was the only uncomfortable one of the lot. There was no doze nor dream in her eyes yet—poor thing, she was cold!

I didn’t believe they had had anywhere to lay their heads during the night. Liberty of a city, to one kind of new arrivals, means just that, you know. Sundry crumbs indicated an absence of the conventional breakfast table. Poor little darkies!

“Children,” I said, like a benevolently-disposed city marshal, “you mustn’t sit here in the street.”

“We’s gwine on soon, mistis,” said the protector, meekly.

“I ’low we ain’t, Jim!” The big sister said this without any diminution of the utter happiness of her look.

“It’s powerful cold comin’ up fru the norf, mistis. I mus’ let ’em warm up once a day,” said Jim.

“Up through the north! Pray, where are you going?”

Jim twisted about. He looked down at the toe of his boot, reflectively.

“I ex-pect, I ex-pect—”

“You spec, Jim! You allers spectin’! Mistis, we’s free—we kin go anywhars!”

I suspect there had been a great deal of long-suffering on the part of Jim. He burst out like flame from a smoldering fire,—

Anywhars! That’s what ails niggas! Freedom means anywhars to ’em, and so they’re nuffin’ nor nobody. You vagabon’, Rose Moncton, you kin’t go anywhars much longer—not ’long o’ me!”

“O, you white folksy Jim! I ’low this trompin’ was yer own plan. When you finds a town whar it’s any show of warm, I’ll hang up my things and stay, and not afore—ye hyar that! I ’low I won’t see Peyty and Kit a-freezin’!”

She scowled at me, she actually did, as if I froze her with my pale face and cool leaf-green dress, and kept the sun off her, talking with that “white folksy Jim.”

I fancied Jim was hoping I would say something more to them. I fancied he, at least, was in great need of a friend’s advice.

“Where did you come from?” I asked him. But the other head of the family answered,—

“Come from nuff sight warmer place than we’s goin’ anywhars.”

“Rose is allers techy when she’s cold, mistis,” Jim apologized. “Ole Maum Phillis used fer to say as Rose’s temper goose-pimpled when the cold air struck it. We kim from Charleston, mistis. We’s speckin’ to work out some land for ourselves, and hev a home. We kim up norf to git wages, so as we kin all help at it. I’d like to stop hyar, mistis.”

“Hyar! I ’low we’s goin’ soufard when we gits from dis yer, you Jim,” sniffed “Rose Moncton,” her face up to the sunshine.

Poor Jim looked care-worn. I dare say my face was tolerably sympathetic. It felt so, at least.

“Mistis,” the fellow said, “she’s kep us tackin’ souf an’ norf, souf an’ norf, all dis yer week, or we’d been somewhars. She don’t like de looks of no town yet. We’s slep’ roun’ in sheds six weeks now. I gits sawin’ an’ choppin’, an’ sich, to do once a day, while dey warms up in de sun, an’ eats a bite. Den up we gits, an’ tromps on. We’s got on so fur, but Rose ain’t clar at all yit whar we’ll stop. Mistis, whar is de warmest place you knows on?”

I thought better and better of myself as the heavy-faced fellow thus appealed to me. I felt flattered by his confidence in me. I always feel flattered when a strange kitty follows me, or the birdies hop near for my crumbs. But I will confess that no human vagabond had ever before so skillfully touched the soft place in my heart. Poor, dusky wanderer! he looked so hungry, he looked so worn-out, too, as a head of a family will when the other head pulls the other way.

“Well, Jim, the warmest place I know of is in my kitchen. I left a rousing fire there ten minutes ago. You all stay here until I come back, which will be in about seven minutes; then you shall go home with me, and I will give you a good hot dinner. You may stay all night, if you like, and perhaps I can advise you. You will be rested, at the least, for a fresh start.”

Rose Moncton lifted her listless head, and looked in my face. “Laws!” said she. “Laws!” said she again.

Jim pulled his forelock to me, vailed the flash in his warm umbery eyes with a timely wink of the heavy lids. He composed himself at once into a waiting attitude.

I heard another “Laws!” as I hastened away. “That young mistis is done crazy. She’ll nebber kim back hyar, ’pend on dat!” Such was Rose’s opinion of me.

I opened my ears for Jim’s. But Jim made no reply.

Father and mother had gone out of town for two days. Our hired girl had left. I really was “mistis” of the premises. If I chose to gather in a circle of shivering little “niggas” around my kitchen stove, and heat that stove red-hot, there was nobody to say I better not.

I was back in five minutes, instead of seven. Jim stood straight up on his feet the moment he discovered me coming. Rose showed some faint signs of life and interest. “’Clar, now, mistis! Kim along, den, Jim, and see ye look to that there verlise. Hyar, you Kit!” She managed to rouse her sister with her foot, still keeping her hands warmly hidden, and her face to the sun.

But the other head took the little ones actively in charge. “Come, Peyty, boy! come, Kit! we’s gwine now!”

Peyty opened his eyes—how starry they were! “O, we goin’, mo’? Jim, I don’t want to go no mo’!”

“Ain’t gwine clar thar no, Peyty, boy; come, Kit—only to a house to warm the Peyty boy—come Kit!”

Kit was coming fast enough. But Peyty had to be taken by the arm and pulled up. Then he stepped slowly, the tears coming. The movement revealed great swollen welts, where his stiff, tattered, leathern shoes had chafed and worn into the fat, black little legs. “Is dat ar Mistis Nelly?” he asked, opening his eyes, wonderingly, at the white lady.

Rose had got up now. A sudden quiver ran over her face. “No, Peyty. Mist’ Nelly’s dead, you know. Wish we’s back to Mas’r Moncton’s, and Mist’ Nelly libbin’, an’ Linkum sojers dead afore dey cum!”

There was a long sigh from everybody, even from Jim. But he drew in his lips tightly the next moment. “Some niggas nebber was worf freein’. Come along, Peyty, boy—ready, mistis.”

I walked slowly along at the head of the strangers from the south. Little feet were so sore, Peyty couldn’t walk fast. Kit’s big woman’s size shoes were so stiff she could only shuffle along. Jim’s toes were protruding, and I fancied he and Rose were as foot-sore as the little ones. I dare say people looked and wondered; but I am not ashamed to be seen with any kind of children.

I took them around to the back door, into the kitchen, which I had found unendurable while baking my bread and pies. The heated air rushed out against my face as I opened the door. It was a delicious May-day; but the procession behind me, entering, proceeded direct to the stove, and surrounded it in winter fashion, holding their hands out to the heat. Even from Jim I heard a soft sigh of satisfaction.

Poor, shivering children of the tropics! I drew up the shades. There were no outer blinds, and the sun streamed in freely.

“There, now. Warm yourselves, and take your own time for it. Put in wood, Jim, and keep as much fire as you like. I am going to my room to rest for an hour. Be sure that you don’t go off, for I wish you to stay here until you are thoroughly rested. I have plenty of wood for you to saw, Jim.”

I brought out a pan of cookies. I set them on the table. “Here, Rose, see that Peyty and Kit have all they want. When I come down, I’ll get you some dinner.”

The poor children in stories, and in real life, too, for that matter, always get only bread and butter—dear me, poor dears! When I undertake a romance for these waifs in real life, or story, I always give them cookies—cookies, sweet, golden, and crusty, with sifted sugar.

I left them all, even to Jim, looking over into the pan. My! rich, sugary jumbles, and plummy queen’s cakes? When I saw their eyes dance—no sleep in those eyes now—I was glad it wasn’t simply wholesome sandwiches and plain fried cakes, as somebody at my elbow says now it ought to have been. I would have set out a picnic table, with ice-cream and candies, for those wretched little “niggas,” if I could! I nodded to them, and went away. It is so nice, after you have made a child happy, to add some unmistakable sign that it is quite welcome to the happiness!

I knew there was nothing which they could steal. I expected they would explore the pantry. I judged them by some of my little white friends. But the silver was locked up. China and glass would hardly be available. If, after they had stuffed themselves with those cookies, they could want cold meat, and bread and butter, I surely shouldn’t begrudge it. Then I thought of my own especial lemon tart, which stood cooling on the shelf before the window; but I was not going back to insult that manly Jim Moncton by removing it.

Just as I was slipping on my dressing-gown up in my own cool, quiet chamber, I caught a faint sound of the outside door of the kitchen. Something like a shriek, or a scream, followed. Then there was an unmistakable and mighty overturning of chairs. I rushed down. At the very least I expected to see my romantic “Rose Moncton” with her hands clenched in brother Jim’s kinky hair. With loosened tresses, without belt or collar, I appeared on the scene.

What did I see? Why, I saw Phillis, Mrs. Jack Graham’s black cook, with every one of my little “niggas” in her arms—heads of the family and all! There they were, sobbing and laughing together, the portly Phillis the loudest of the whole. One of Mrs. Jack’s favorite china bowls lay in fragments on the floor.

Phillis called out hysterically as she saw me. Jim discovered me the same moment. He detached himself, went up to the window, and bowed his head down upon the sash. I saw the tears roll down his cheek and drop.

“Laws, Miss Carry! dese my ole mas’r’s niggers! dey’s Mas’r Moncton’s little nigs, ebery one! dey’s runned roun’ under my feet in Mas’r Moncton’s kitchen many a day down in ole Carline—bress em souls!” She hugged them again, and sobbed afresh, The children clung to the old cook’s neck, and waist, and arms like so many helpless, frightened black kittens.

Phillis at last recovered her dignity. She pointed them to their chairs. She picked up the pieces of china in her apron. “Done gone, anyhow—dese pickaninnies gib ole Phillis sich a turn! It mose like seein’ Mas’r Moncton an’ Miss Nelly demselves. Whar you git ’em, Miss Carry?”

I told her.

“Bress your heart, Miss Carry! Len’ me a cup, and git me some yeast, and I’ll bring Mistis Graham ober, an’ I’ll be boun’, when she sees dat ar lubly little Peyty, she’ll hire him to—to—to—lor! she’ll hire him to look into his diamint eyes.”

I know she herself kissed tears out of more than one pair of “diamint eyes” while I was getting the yeast. I heard her.

“O, Maum Phillis!” I heard Jim say. “You think we’ll hire out roun’ hyar?”

Could we, Maum Phillis?” pleaded Rose, her voice soft and warm now. “We’s done tired out. I’m clean ready to drop down in my tracks long this yer blessed stove, and nebber stir anywhars!”

“Bress you, chilluns! You hev tromped like sojers, clar from ole Carline! Spec it seems like home, findin’ one of de old place hands—Phillis knows. Dar, dar! don’t take on so. Miss Carry, she’ll bunk you down somewhar it’s warm, and thar you stay an’ rest dem feet. I’ll send my mistis ober, and dey two’ll pervide fer ye on dis yer street; dis yer one ob de Lord’s own streets.”

Well, do you think Mistis Graham and Mistis Carry dishonored Maum Phillis’s faith in them?

No, indeed! The family found homes on “de Lord’s own street.” Jam is coachman at Squire Lee’s. Peyty is at the same place, taken in at first for his sweet disposition, and “diamint eyes,” I suspect. He is now a favorite table-waiter.

Kit is Maum Phillis’s right-hand woman. Rose is our own hired girl. She is somewhat given to sleepiness, and to idling in sunny windows, and to scorching her shoes and aprons against the stove of a winter’s evening. But, on the whole, she is a good servant; and we have built her a bedroom out of the kitchen.

I have never regretted crossing the street to speak to the strangers from the south.


WI’ WEE WINKERS BLINKIN’.


BY J. E. RANKIN, D. D.


WI’ wee winkers blinkin’,
Blinkin’ like the starn,
What’s wee tottie thinkin’?
Tell her mither, bairn.
On night’s downy dream-wings,
Where’s the bairnie been,
That she has sic seemings
In her blinkin’ een?
Let her mither brood her,
Like the mither-doe;
When enough she’s woo’d her,
She maun prie her mou’:
Let her mither shake her,
Like an apple bough,
Frae her dreams to wake her:—
That’s our bairnie now!
There! I’ve got her crowin’
Like the cock at dawn;
Mou’ wi’ fistie stowin’,
When she tries to yawn:
She’ll na play the stranger
Drappit frae the blue,
Lest there might be danger
Back she sud gae through!
She’s our little mousie,
In this housie born,
That I tumble tousie,
Ilka, ilka morn:
She’s her mither’s bairnie,
Only flesh an’ blood;
Blinkin’ like the starnie
Through a neebor cloud.

LUCY’S PET.


THE CHILDRENS’ SHOES.


BY BLANCHE B. BAKER (nine years’ old).


FOUR pairs of little shoes.
All in a row;
Four pairs of little shoes
For to-morrow.
Four pairs of little shoes
Worn every day;
Four pairs of little shoes
Ready for play.
Four pairs of little shoes
By the fire’s glow;
Four pairs of little shoes
White at the toe.
Four pairs of little shoes
Travelling all day;
Four pairs of little shoes
Resting from play.
Four pairs of little shoes
Waiting for day;
Four pairs of little shoes
Never go astray!

ETHEL’S EXPERIMENT.


BY B. E. E.


WHITE flakes on the upland, white flakes on the plain,
Frost bon-bons in meadow, in garden, in lane;
And wise little Ethel—the strangest of girls—
Puts on her grave thinking-cap, shakes her brown curls,
And talks to herself, in a curious way,
Of “snow” and a “ball” and a “hot summer’s day!”
Then, down to the brook, where the gnarled willows grow,
And the ice-covered reeds stand like soldiers in row,
Our brave little girl trudges off all alone,
And rolls a large snow-ball just under the stone
That lies on the brink of the streamlet, and then
In this wise begins her soliloquy: “When
The Fourth of July comes, what fun it will be
To have all this snow tucked away, for you see
Nobody will guess how it came there,—but me!”
Green leaves on the upland, green leaves on the plain,
And bluebirds and robins and south winds again.
The brook in the meadow is wide awake now,
And fragrant bloom drops from the old willows bough,
When Ethel remembers her treasure, her prize,
That under the edge of the great boulder lies;
And stealthily creeping close down to the brink,
Where the slender reeds quiver—now what do you think
Our little girl found? Why, never a trace
Of the snow-ball—O no! but just in its place
A tiny white violet, sweetest of sweet,
Because of the coverlid over its feet
Through all the long winter! And Ethel’s mamma,
When she heard the whole story said, “Truly we are
No wiser than children. We bury our grief,
And find in its hiding-place Hope’s tender leaf!”

CINDERS:

THE FORTUNE CARL FOUND IN THE ASHES.


BY MADGE ELLIOT.


HOW artful the wind was that cold March morning, hiding away every now and then, pretending to be quite gone, only to rush out with a fearful howl at such unexpected moments that Carl was nearly blown off his feet each time.

But he struggled bravely forward, bending his head to the blast, and holding his brimless hat on with one hand, while he carried his battered tin pail in the other.

There was not a gleam of fire in the wretched room he had just left; and Tony and Lena, his little sisters, wrapped in the old piece of carpet that served them for a blanket, were almost crying with hunger and with cold.

They would have cried outright if Carl had not kissed them, and said, “Never mind, young uns—wait till I can give you each a reg’lar bang-up lace hankercher to cry on,—then you may cry as much as you please.”

Father and mother had died within a week of each other, when February’s snows were upon the ground, leaving these three poor children without money and without friends—a bad way for even grown-ups to be left.

So Carl, poor boy, found himself, at ten years of age, the head of a family.

Of course he became a newsboy.

Almost all heads of families ten years and under, become newsboys.

Twenty-five cents given him by an old woman who sold apples and peanuts, and who, by the way, was not much better off than he was himself, started him in business.

But the business, I am sorry to say, scarcely paid the rent, leaving nothing for clothing, food and fire, three very necessary things,—be a home ever so humble.

So every morning, almost as soon as the day dawned—and I can tell you day dawns very quickly in a room where the window hasn’t a scrap of shade or curtain—before he went down town for his stock of morning papers, Carl started out to bring home the family fuel.

This consisted of whatever sticks and bits of wood he could find lying about the streets, and whatever cinders and pieces of coal he could pick from the ash-barrels and boxes.

If the weather was at all mild, Tony, the eldest sister, and the housekeeper, went with him, and helped him fill the old pail.

She carried a forlorn-looking basket, that seemed ashamed of the old piece of rope that served for its handle, and stopped on her way home at several houses, where the servant girls had taken a fancy to the gray-eyed, shy little thing, to get the family marketing.

But alas! very very often the supply fell far short of the demand, for the winter had been a very severe one, and everybody had such a number of calls from all sorts of needy people, that they could afford to give but little to each one.

This particular March morning Carl went out alone, wondering as he went when “the fortune” was going to “turn up.”

For these poor children, shut out from dolls, fairy-books, and all things that make childhood merry and bright, used to while away many an hour, talking of “a fortune” which the brother had prophesied would one day be found in the ashes.

At different times this dream took different shapes.

Sometimes it was a pocket-book, oh! so fat with greenbacks, sometimes a purse of gold, sometimes “a diamint ring:” but, whatever it should prove to be, Carl was convinced, “felt it in his bones,” he said, it would be found, and found hidden among the cinders.

Once he had brought home a silver fork, “scooped,” as he called it in newsboy’s slang, from an ash-heap in an open lot.

On this fork the family had lived for three days.

Once he rescued a doll, which would have been lovely if it had had a head; and at various times there were scraps of ribbon, lace and silk, all of which served to strengthen the belief that something wonderful must “turn up” at last.

“Cricky! how that old wind does holler,” said Carl to himself, as he toiled along, “an’ it cuts right through me, my jacket’s so thin an’ torn—I’d mend it myself if I only knew how, and somebody’d lend me a needle and thread.

“Don’t I wish I’d find the fortune this morning!

“I dreamt of it last night—dreamt it was a bar of gold, long as my arm, and precious thick, too.

“Guess I’ll go to that big bar’l afore them orful high flat houses—that’s allus full of cinders.

“It’s lucky for us them big bugs don’t sift their ashes! We wouldn’t have no fire if they did,—that’s what’s the matter.”

So he made his way to the “big bar’l,” hoping no one had been there before him, and, leaning over without looking, put his cold, red hand into the ashes, but he drew it out again in a hurry, for, cold as it was, it had touched something colder.

“Hello!” cried Carl, “what’s that? It don’t feel ’zactly like the bar of gold,” and, dropping on his knees, he peeped in.

A dirty little, shaggy, once-white dog raised a pair of soft, dark, wistful eyes to his face.

“Why! I’m blessed,” said Carl, in great surprise, “if it ain’t a dog. Poor little beggar! that was his nose I felt, an’ wasn’t it cold?”

“I s’pose he’s got in among the ashes to keep warm; wot pooty eyes he’s got, just like that woman’s wot give me a ten cent stamp for the Tribune the other day, and wouldn’t take no change. Poor old feller! Are you lost?”

The dog had risen to its feet, and still looking pleadingly at Carl, commenced wagging its tail in a friendly manner.

“Oh! you want me to take you home,” continued Carl. “I can’t ’cause I dunno where you live, and my family eats all they can git theirselves—they’re awful pigs, they are,” and he laughed softly, “an’ couldn’t board a dog nohow.”

But the dog kept on wagging his tail, and as soon as Carl ceased speaking, as though grateful for even a few kind words, it licked the cold hand that rested on the side of the barrel.

That dog—kiss won the poor boy’s heart completely. “You shall go with me,” he cried impulsively. “Jest come out of that barrel till I fill this pail with cinders, and then we’ll be off. He kin have the bones we can’t crack with our teeth ennyhow,” he said to himself,—not a very cheerful prospect, it must be confessed, for the boarder.

The dog, as though he understood every word, jumped from the box, and seated himself on the icy pavement to wait for his new landlord and master.

In a few moments the pail was full, and the boy turned toward his home, running as fast as he could, with the dog trotting along by his side.

“See wot I foun’ in the ashes,” he cried, bounding into the room. “Here’s the fortune alive an’ kickin’. Wot you think of it?”

“Oh, wot a funny fortune!” said Tony, and “Wot a funny fortune!” repeated little Lena.

“It’s kinder queer,—the pocket-book an’ the dimint ring a-turnin’ into a dog!” Tony continued. “But no matter, if we can’t buy nothin’ with him, we can love him, poor little feller!”

“Poor ’ittle feller!” repeated Lina. “He nicer than dollie ’ithout a head, ennyhow. We can lub him.”

“An’ now, Carl,” said the housekeeper, “you make the fire, an’ I’ll run to market, for it’s most time you went after your papers.”

And away she sped, to return in a few minutes with five or six cold potatoes, a few crusts of bread, and one bone, with very little meat—and that gristle—clinging to it.

And this bone—think if you can of a greater act of self-denial and charity—the children decided with one accord should be given to “Cinders,” as they had named the dog on the spot.

That night, after Carl had sold his papers, and come home tired but hopeful, for he had made thirty cents clear profit to save toward the rent, they all huddled together, with doggie in the midst of them, around the old iron furnace that held their tiny fire.

Presently the Head of the Family began whistling a merry tune, which was a great favorite with the newsboys.

Imagine the astonishment of the children when Cinders pricked up his ears, rose on his hind legs, and, after gravely walking across the room once, began to walk round and round, keeping perfect time to the music!

“Hurrah! hurrah!” shouted Carl, his eyes sparkling. “Look at that! look at that! Tony, it ’tis the fortune after all! an’ I did find it in the ash-box!”

“Why, wot do you mean, Bub?” cried Tony, almost as excited as her brother. “Wot do you mean, an’ ware’s ‘the fortune?’”

“Why there, right afore your eyes. I mean Cinders is one o’ them orful smart hundred-dollar dogs wot does tricks. He’s bin lost by that circus wot went away night afore last, an’ he’s bin lost a-purpose to make my dreams come true! I’ll take him out the fust fine day, an’ we’ll bring home lots of stamps. You see if we don’t!”

I’ll sell the papers,” said Tony, by this time quite as excited as her brother; “I kin do it, Carl. ‘’Ere’s the mornin’ Herald, Sun, Times an’ Tri-bune!’” imitating the shrill cry of the newsboy, and doing it very well, too, “an’ the fellers’ll be good to me, ’cos I’m your sister, an’ they like you.”

“You’re a brick, Tony!” said Carl, “an’ for sich a small brick the brickiest brick I ever knowed; but I kin sell ’em myself in the mornin’, an’ you kin take ’em in the afternoon, for that’s the time Cinders an’ me must perform. ‘Monseer Carlosky an’ his werry talented dog Cinders, son of the well-known French performing poodle Cinderella.’ How’s that, Tony? O I’ve read all about ’em on the circus bills, and that’s the way they do it. Yes, you’ll have to take the papers in the afternoon, cos then’s when the swell boys an’ gals is home from school,—’cept Saturdays, then we’ll be out most all day.”

“Dance more, Tinders, dance more!” here broke in little Lena; but Cinders stood looking at his master, evidently waiting for the music.

So Carl commenced whistling—did I tell you he whistled like a bird?—and Cinders once more marched gravely across the room, and then began waltzing again in the most comical manner.

He had evidently been trained to perform his tricks just twice; for when the music ceased this time he proceeded to stand on his head, and then sitting up on his hind legs, he nodded politely to the audience, and held out one of his paws, as much as to say, “Now pay if you please.”

The poor children forgot hunger and cold in their delight, and that miserable room resounded to more innocent, merry laughter that night than it had heard for many long years, perhaps ever before.

Cinders got another bone for his supper—the others had nothing—and then they all went to bed, if lying on the bare floor, with nothing for a pillow can be called going to bed, and dreamed of “the fortune” found at last in the ashes.

The next afternoon, which fortunately was a fine one, for March having “come in like a lion was preparing to go out like a lamb,” Carl came racing up the crazy stairs, taking two steps at a time, and, tossing a bundle of evening papers to Tony, he whistled to Cinders, and away they went.

Poor Carl looked shabby enough, with his toes sticking out of a pair of old shoes—a part of the treasures “scooped” from the ash-heap—and not mates at that, one being as much too large as the other was too small, his tattered jacket and his brimless hat.

But Cinders followed him as faithfully as though he had been clad in a costly suit of the very latest style.

Turning into a handsome, quiet street, Carl stopped at last before a house where three or four rosy-cheeked children were flattening their noses against the panes of the parlor windows, trying to see a doll which another rosy-cheeked child was holding up at a window just opposite.

“Now Cinders, ole feller!” said Carl, while his heart beat fast, “do your best. Bones!” and he began to whistle.

At the first note Cinders stood up on his hind legs, at the second he took his first step forward.

At the beginning of the fourth bar the waltz began; and by this time the rosy-cheeked children had lost all interest in the doll over the way, and were all shouting and calling “Mamma!” and the cook and chambermaid had made their appearance at the area gate.

The march and waltz having been gone through with twice, Cinders stood on his head—“shure,” said the cook, “I couldn’t do it betther myself”—tumbled quickly to his feet again, nodded affably once to the right, once to the left, and once to the front of him, and held out his right paw.

“He’s the cliverest baste ever I seen,” said the chambermaid, “so he is!” and she threw a five cent piece in Carl’s old hat; and, at the same moment the window was opened, and out flew a perfect shower of pennies, while the little girl across the way kept shouting, “Come here, ragged little boy! Come here, funny doggie! Oh, why don’t you come here?”

And, making his best bow to his first audience, Carl went over to the doll’s house, and was received by the whole family, including grandpa and grandma, with great delight and laughter, and was rewarded at the end of his entertainment with much applause, three oranges, and a new ten cent stamp.

That afternoon Cinders earned one dollar and three cents for his little master; and I can’t describe to you the joy that reigned in that small bare room when Carl, in honor of his debut as “Monseer Carlosky” brought in, and spread out on a newspaper on the floor, a wonderful feast! Real loaf of bread, bought at the baker’s, bottle of sarsaparilla at the grocer’s, and peanuts, apples, and a hunk of some extraordinary candy from the old woman who kept a stand at the corner, and who had started Carl as a newsboy. She also received her twenty-five cents again, with five cents added by way of interest.

“Why! didn’t they look when they see me a-orderin’ things, and payin’ for ’em on the spot!” said “Monseer,” with honest pride, as he carved the loaf with an old jackknife.

As for Cinders, no meatless bone, but half a pound of delicious liver, did that remarkable dog receive, and more kisses on his cold, black nose than he knew what to do with.

After that, as the weather grew finer and finer, and the days longer, Carl and his dog wandered farther and farther, and earned more and more money every day, until the little sisters rejoiced in new shoes, hats and dresses, and the housekeeper had a splendid basket—not very large, of course—with a handle that any basket could be proud of, and actually did go to market, fair and square, and no make believe about it.

And Carl presented himself with a brand-new suit of clothes, from the second-hand shop next door, including shoes that were made for each other, and a hat with a brim.

By-and-by the cheerless room was exchanged for a pleasanter one; and the story of the fair-haired Head of the Family, and the fortune he found in the ashes, took wings, and returned to him laden with blessings.

And five years from that bleak March morning, when Cinder looked up so pleadingly in the boy’s, face, Carl found himself a clerk in the counting-room of a generous, kind-hearted merchant.

“A boy who worked so hard and so patiently to take care of his little sisters,” this gentleman said to his wife, “and who was ready to share his scanty meals with a vagrant dog, must be a good boy, and good boys make good men.”

And Tony and Lena, both grown to be bright, healthy, merry girls, befriended by many good women, were going to school, taking care of the house, earning a little in odd moments by helping the seamstress who lived on the floor below, and still looking up with love and respect to the Head of the Family.

Cinders, petted and beloved by all, performed in public no more, but spent most of his time lying by the fire in winter, and on the door-step in summer, waiting and listening for the step of his master.

So you see Carl was right.

He did find his fortune among the ashes.

But would it have proved a fortune had he been a cruel, selfish, hard-hearted boy?

Ah! that’s the question.


TOM’S CENTENNIAL.

A FOURTH OF JULY STORY.


BY MARGARET EYTINGE.


“HURRAH! To-morrow’s the Fourth of July—the glorious Fourth!” shouted Tom Wallace, careering wildly around the flower garden, as a Roman candle he held in his hand, evidently unable to contain itself until the proper time, went off with a fizz and a pop and flashed against the evening sky, “and it’s going to be the greatest Fourth that ever was known, because it’s the Centennial!”

“A cent-tennial!” said his little sister Caddy, “that won’t be anything great.”

“Pooh! you don’t understand—girls never do—Centennial don’t mean anything about money. Centennial means ’pertaining to, or happening every hundred years’—if you don’t believe me ask Noah Webster—and just a hundred years ago this magnificent Republic of America, gentlemen of the jury,” he continued, mounting a garden-chair, and making the most absurd gestures, “was declared free and independent, and its brave citizens determined not to drink tea unless they chose to, and our cousins from the other side of the Atlantic went marching home to the tune the old cow died on.”

“What tune was that?” asked Caddy.

“Gentlemen of the jury,” said Tom, “I’m astonished to find such ignorance in this great and enlightened country. The name of that memorable tune was and still is, as Your Honor well knows, Yankee Doodle;” and the orator, descending from the chair, commenced whistling that famous melody.

“Well, then,” said Caddy, after a moment’s thought, “if a Centinal is something about a hundred years old, Aunt Patience is one, for she’s a hundred years old to-morrow—she told me so—and she feels real bad ’cause she can’t go to the green to see the fire-works, on ’count of the pain in her back, and Faith ain’t got any shoes or hat, and the flour’s ’most gone, and so’s the tea, and she says ‘the poor-house looms.’”

“‘The poor-house looms,’ does it?” said Tom laughing; and then he stuck his hands in his pockets, and hummed “Hail Columbia” in a thoughtful manner.

“I say, Frank,” he called out at last, going up on the porch, and poking his head in at a window, “what are you doing?”

“‘The king was in the parlor, counting out his money,’”

answered Frank.

“How much, king?”

“Twenty—thirty—thirty-five,” said Frank, “one dollar and thirty-five cents. How do you figure?”

“Two, fifteen. Come out here, I want to tell you something.”

Frank, who was two years younger than Tom appeared.

“What’s up?” he asked, throwing himself into the hammock which hung from the roof of the porch, and swinging lazily.

“Would it break your heart, and smash the fellows generally, if we didn’t go to the meeting on the green to-morrow evening, after all the fuss we’ve made about it?”

What?” asked Frank, in a tone of surprise, assuming a sitting position so suddenly that the hammock—hammocks are treacherous things—gave a sudden lurch, and landed him on the floor.

Tom’s laughter woke all the echoes around.

“Forgive these tears,” he said, as he wiped his eyes, “and now to business. You know not, perhaps, my gentle brother, that we have a centenarian, or as Caddy says, a centinal among us?”

“A centinal?” said Frank, stretching himself out on the floor where he had fallen.

“A centenarian, or centinal, whichever you choose, most noble kinsman, and she lives on the outskirts of this town. Her name—a most admirable one—is Patience. Her granddaughter’s—another admirable one—Faith.

“Patience has the rheumatism. Faith has no shoes. They want to see some fire-works, and hear some Fourth of July—being centinals they naturally would.

“What say you? Shall we and our faithful clan, instead of swelling the ranks of the militia on the green, march to the humble cottage behind the hill, and gladden the hearts of old Patience and young Faith with a pyr-o-tech-nic display?”

“Good!” said Frank, who always followed the lead of his elder brother.

And “Good!” echoed Caddy; “but don’t spend all your money for fire-works. Give some to Aunt Patience, ’cause she’s the only centinal we’ve got.”

“And she’ll never be another,” said Tom,

“‘While the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.’”

So on the evening of the Fourth the people of Tomstown were somewhat astonished to see the young Centennial Guards march down the principal street, pass the green, where extensive preparations for festivities had been made, and keep on up the hill until, beginning to descend on the other side, they were lost to sight.

At the head marched Frank with his drum. Caddy came directly behind him with a bunch of brilliant flowers. The others carried flags, Chinese lanterns, and boxes of fire-works, while Captain Tom flew here and there and everywhere, trying to keep—an almost hopeless task—the mischievous company in something like order.

“Where away?” shouted Uncle Al—an old sailor home for the holiday—as the guards passed his door.

“To Aunt Patience—our own special Centennial,” Frank shouted back with a tremendous roll of the drum.

Uncle Al, always ready for fun, pipe in mouth, fell in line, waving his tarpaulin on the end of a stick, and Ex, his yellow dog, and Ander, his black one, followed after, grinning and wagging their tails.

Then the butcher’s boy, and his chum the baker’s boy, who were going by, turned and joined the procession, and away they all went, hurrahing, laughing and drumming, to the door of the very small cottage.

“Bless my heart!” said Aunt Patience, who was sitting in a wooden arm-chair on the stoop, and who, hearing faintly, poor, dear, deaf old soul, the noise of the approaching “guards,” had been thinking the frogs croaked much louder than usual, “what’s this?”

And bare-footed, brown-eyed Faith came out with wonder written all over her pretty face.

“Three cheers for our special Centennial!” shouted the boys; and they gave three with a will, as Caddy placed her flowers in the old woman’s hand.

“Now for the pyr-o-tech-nic display!” commanded Captain Tom; and for nearly an hour Roman candles fizzed, blue-lights popped, torpedoes cracked, pin-wheels whizzed, and fire-crackers banged.

Old Patience said it was worth living a hundred years to see.

And as the last fire-work went up a rocket and came down a stick, the gallant company formed in single file, and, marching past Aunt Patience, each member bade her “good-night,” and dropped some money in her lap.

As for Uncle Al—that generous, jolly, warm-hearted old sailor, his gift was three old-fashioned silver dollars; one for himself, one for Ex, and one for Ander.

“No one should think,” he said, “that his dogs were mean dogs.”

Then away they all went again, hurrahing, shouting, and drumming like mad!


LITTLE CHUB AND THE SKY WINDOW.


BY MARY D. BRINE.


LITTLE CHUB sat on the curb-stone, dipping small brown toes into the not very pure water which flowed along the gutter, and watching with his large, blue eyes the fleecy clouds which far up above the narrow court in which he dwelt with granny sailed lazily across the patch of blue sky just visible between two tall buildings opposite.

Chub’s real name was Tommy Brown, but, on account of his roly-poly figure and little round face, he was nick-named “Chub,” and even granny called him so, till the boy forgot he had another name.

There had been a funeral that morning near Chub’s house, and all the boys gathered about the spot, listening open-eared and open-eyed to the service which told the mourners of that “happy land, far, far away,” and was intended to comfort them.

But Chub was too little to understand much of all he heard, and could only feel very sorry for the poor little girl who cried for her dear mamma, and clung to her father’s hand terrified because that mamma would not even open her eyes nor look at her. Then the carriages moved slowly down the street, and Chub went home to granny and teased her with questions.

“Granny, what’s up there?”

Mrs. Brown, at her wash-tub, half-enveloped in steam, scrubbed away and answered:

“The other wurrld, honey dear,” reverentially raising her eyes to the blue patch of sky to which Chub’s fat finger pointed.

What other world, granny?”

“The good place where yer mammy and daddy have gone, to be sure.”

“How did they get there?” from Chub, his little brow full of puzzled knots.

“Arrah thin, ye ax too many questions, honey. Some good angel flew down and lifted them up, of course, and—and—flew away wid ’em agin. Run now to the corner and fetch me a bar of soap, there’s a dear.”

Chub went for the soap, and, returning, seated himself on the curb-stone as we first found him, and calculating the length of time it might possibly take an angel to fly heavenward with little Jennie’s mother, watched the blue patch and fleecy clouds to see the final entrance of the two into that other world granny talked about. Presently two bootblacks strolled along, jingling pennies in their pockets, and swinging their blacking-boxes independently.

“Hi, Chub,” they shouted, “want a penny?”

Chub held out his hand nothing loth.

“Who giv it ter yer?” he asked, delightedly, for so much wealth had not been his since he could remember.

“Earned it shinin’ boots, ov course. We’re rich men, Chub, don’t ye know that?” passing on with a chuckle.

An idea seized our small boy. He withdrew his toes from the gutter, forgot all about the flying angel and patch of sky, and startled granny, who was bending over her wash-tub, with:

“Granny, I’m goin’ inter business, like other men.”

“Bless the boy! what does he mean?”

“Two fellers giv me a cent just now, and they earned it a-shinin’ boots, and I’m goin’ to ’sist you and grow rich, granny.”

Granny stopped punching her clothes, came out of the steam, and sat down to laugh at the new man of business.

Chub’s round face glowed with honest determination, and his roly-poly figure straighted as well as it could.

“Yes, ma’am! I’m a-goin fur a bootblack, and I’m goin’ to buy an orange as soon as I earn a cent.”

“Where you goin’ ter git yer box and brushes, hey, Chub?” asked Granny, renewing her attack upon the wash-boiler and its contents.

The boy’s countenance fell, and visions of oranges faded slowly and reluctantly from his eyes. Suddenly, however, he remembered his friend Sim Hardy, who frequently gave him the uneaten end of a banana, and now and then part of a stick of licorice, for which favors Chub had yielded in return a large share of his warm little heart.

“Sim’ll get me a box, ’thout it’s costin’ anythin’. Maybe he’ll hook one fur a little chap like me.”

Granny rested from her labors and turned a stern face upon the boy.

“Thomas Brown, never dare you lift a finger of yourn to touch what’s been stole. Remember who’s watchin’ ye all the time, and don’t go fur to sile the family name of Brown. If yer do, I’ll trounce yer well for it, there, now!”

Granny, I’am goin’ inter business, like other men.

It was probably the last awful threat that awed Chub into obedience, for he gave no more thought to Sim’s way of getting a machine for him, but tried to think of another plan.

It wasn’t long, however, before his friends among the bootblacks raised a sum between them and presented Chub with the necessary capital with which to begin business in earnest. And to granny’s delight her boy started off one fine morning regularly equipped for his first battle for daily bread—and an orange.

For a long time the little, six-years-old bootblack sat on the Astor House steps awaiting custom. But big boys somehow grabbed all the jobs, and nobody noticed little Chub, nor heard his weak cry, “Shine yer up fur ten cents! Want a shine, sir?”

So when night came, the little fellow shouldered his box and went home, minus his orange, and with pockets as empty as when he started from home. He cried a little, to be sure, and granny comforted him with kisses, and put him to bed tenderly. For nearly a week things worked very badly for Chub. Business didn’t prosper, and sitting all day in the hot sun made the little fellow sick of trying to be a man and do business. He couldn’t somehow make the thing work, and Sim Hardy, the friend who would have taught him, was busy on another route, and so Chub sat swinging his little bare feet all day, with nothing to do but watch the sky and wish he could fly up to “that other world” where he didn’t believe the “angels would let him go so long without a job.”

One night he went home with two ten cent stamps in his pocket, and a prouder boy never lived. But granny’s anxious eyes saw an unusual flush on the boy’s cheeks, and the little hands felt dry and hot. And that night the boy was restless and talked in his sleep.

It had been a fearfully hot day, and granny feared the child was suffering from sunstroke. So she kept ice on his head, and with part of the newly-earned money bought some medicine which quieted Chub and gave him an hour’s sweet sleep just before sunrise.

Then he opened his blue eyes and told granny about a dream in which he had seen a beautiful angel peep out of a little window in the sky and look all about as if searching for something. And presently Chub heard a voice say, “Oh, there’s little Chub! I’ve found him.” Then, as he looked up to see who had called his name from the clouds, the window opened wide, and the angel spread beautiful white wings, as white as snow, and fluttered gently down with arms opened lovingly towards Chub, who dreamed he was sitting with his box all that time on the Astor House steps. But just before she reached him he woke up, and, lo and behold, all the angel his waking eyes saw was dear old granny, who stood with a cooling drink beside the bed, and fanned away the tormenting flies.

So Chub told his dream. Granny wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron, and hugged her boy closer.

Want a shine, sir?

“The angels can’t have ye yet, Tommy,” she said. “Yer granny’s boy, and this wurrld is good enuff fur ye this long while yet.”

Chub felt better the next day, and went out to his day’s business with a stout little heart, and eyes full of sunbeams. Some of the sunshine of the day crept out of the little room with him when he left granny alone over her wash-tubs, but she knew when he returned at night he would bring it all back again. So she scrubbed and rubbed and boiled and punched her clothes, until the room resembled cloud-land, and the white clothes hanging on lines shone out of the mist like the white wings Chub had talked about.

. . . . . . . .

“Oh, dear! Them big fellers don’t give a little chap a chance at all, at all.”

A big sigh shook Chub’s breast as he muttered this, wiping the perspiration from his face, and settling the torn hat more comfortably on his curly head. He slid down from his seat, and stood on the edge of the sidewalk a minute, waiting a chance to cross.

Hark! what a swift galloping of hoofs on the cobble-stones! Down the street, the closely-crowded street, dashed a runaway horse, dragging the light buggy, whose owner had just vacated it. Everybody scampered right and left in the first moment of terror, but a wee child, frightened from its nurse’s hand, stands directly in the path of the swift-coming animal.

Impulsively Chub, the boy of six years, the brave little business man, flings his blacking-box directly at the head of the runaway horse, and as fast as his short legs can carry him he rushes for the child whose life is in peril. In one instant the horse, startled by the well-aimed blow, turns aside, and then plunges on despite the efforts of strong arms to stop him.

That instant spared the little girl, but Chub’s box had opened the sky-window for him—poor little fellow—for over his brave little figure, crushing the life from his braver heart, passed the animal which had jumped on one side when the box struck him, and directly in Chub’s line.

They lifted him tenderly, and laid him on the broad step which had been the only business office Chub had owned. But only once the blue eyes opened, and then they sought the blue sky above, and even strong men felt tears in their eyes when faintly and gaspingly the dying boy cried, “Oh, angel! angel! here’s little Chub a-waitin’ fur yer; don’t ye see him?”

Then upward reached the small, brown arms, and downward fluttered the white lids, which were raised never on earth again, not even when granny’s tears covered the round, white face, and her arms clasped close the little roly-poly figure which had suddenly grown so stiff and helpless.

Up to “that other world,” through the “sky-window,” the white-winged angel had borne little Chub; and all that had puzzled him on earth was, maybe, in his angel-mother’s arms, made clear to him at last.


LITTLE BOY BLUE


BY C. A. GOODENOW.


NOT the identical one that slept under the haystack, while the cows trampled the corn; no, indeed, he was quite too wide awake for that! Our little Boy Blue had another name; but he was seldom called by it, and did not much like it when he was. For when he heard people say “John Allison Ware!” he knew that he was in mischief, and justice was about to be meted unto him.

Why was he called little Boy Blue? Because, when he was a tiny baby, his eyes were so very blue—“real ultramarine,” Aunt Sue said; but baby only wrinkled his nose at the long word, and mamma smiled.

However, the eyes kept their wonderful color as the baby grew up, so the name was kept, too.

Boy Blue had four sisters: three older, one younger, than himself. He used, sometimes, to wish for a brother, but mostly he was too busy to worry over trifles. He had so much to do the days were not long enough.

He had to work in his garden; it was about as large as a pocket-handkerchief, but it required a great deal of care. He had to feed the kitty, help shell the peas for dinner, ride on the saw-horse, and be an ice-man, a strawberry-seller, a coal-heaver and a fish-monger, all with only the aid of his wheelbarrow.

Above all, he had to help Jotham.

What Jotham would have done without his help I cannot tell. With it, he kept the garden in order, mended the broken tools, made sleds, swings, skipping-ropes, carts and baby-houses for the five little Wares.

If Jotham could not have got along without Boy Blue, I am sure the little Wares would have sadly missed Jotham.

One day Jotham was making a sled for Elsie. It was June, and people do not usually wish to slide on the daisies and clover; but Jotham liked to get things finished early. I suppose he knew, too, that when Elsie’s sled was done he would have to make one a-piece for Lill, for Dora, for Boy Blue, and for little Tot; so, perhaps, he thought from June to December was not too long time for so much work.

The sled was ready to be painted; and blue paint, in a nice little bucket, with a small brush in it, was waiting for the sled. Boy Blue stood by helping.

Just then somebody called Jotham into the house.

“I might paint a little until he comes back,” thought Boy Blue. “Don’t fink I’d better, maybe. Elsie said blue stripes; ’haps I shouldn’t get them even. H’m!”

The blue eyes twinkled, and the funny little mouth was puckered in a round, rosy button as their owner considered the matter.

“I might practice, first,” said Boy Blue.

So he tugged the paint-bucket down from the bench; he slopped a little over, too. It did not fall on his trowsers; they were short, and fastened at the knee with three buttons; the blue splashes were on the white stockings below the trowsers, and Boy Blue saw them.

“But they will wash,” said he to himself.

Then Boy Blue and the paint-bucket walked off behind the tool-house; that was a good place to practice, because the clapboards were so smooth, and of a nice gray color, on which the blue paint showed beautifully.

“I’ll make five stripes, ’cause I’m most five years old,” thought Boy Blue.

The first were crooked, and he had to make five more; they-were too long, so he made some shorter ones. Soon all the side of the tool-house, as high as his short arm could reach, was painted in blue stripes.

“If I only had a ladder!” mused Boy Blue. “Fink I’d better get one.”

He trudged into the shed, still carrying the paint-bucket; it was not so full now as when Jotham left it, and did not slop much.

There was no ladder in the shed, so he went on into the barn.

“Ouf! ouf!” grunted Piggy White, hearing steps, and expecting dinner.

“I’m busy now, Piggy White,” said Boy Blue, looking over the side of the pen. “I’m painting. Oh my! Piggy White, you’d look just beautiful if you only had some blue stripes!”

Piggy White was a young pig, quite clean and pretty; the little Wares made a pet of him. He had a fresh straw bed every night, and Jotham took a deal of care to keep his house tidy. He was so accustomed to visits from the children he only gently grunted in reply to Boy Blue’s remark.

The next thing seen of that small lad he had climbed over and was as busy over Piggy White as he had been on the tool-house. Piggy liked to have his back rubbed, and was very quiet while Boy Blue painted a long stripe down his spine and shorter ones across his sides.

“Piggy White, if you wig your tail so I fink I’ll scold. I want to paint the end of it.”

By this time there was not much paint in the bucket, but there was a great deal on Boy Blue’s hands, on his stockings, on the short trowsers, and on the front of his little blouse.

“H’m!” said Boy Blue, suddenly looking up. “I fink—Jotham—I fink I’ve got frough.”

“The land of liberty!” said Jotham, looking down. “You’re blue, sure enough.”

Then he picked up the little workman and carried him into the house.

When mamma had been out and looked at the tool-house and Piggy White, and had come in and looked at Boy Blue, she said what she had said about five hundred times:

“I don’t know what I shall do with you!”

But she did. For she told Nurse Norah to give him a bath.

When he had been scrubbed and rubbed and dried, and stood very red and warm to have his hair brushed, he sobbed:

“Somebody didn’t ought to look after me better!”

“Sure, ’twould take a paycock’s eyes, and more, to look after sich a stirabout! Now run, see the organ-man with your sisters, and be good,” said Norah.

The organ-man carried a monkey, and the monkey carried a tambourine, with which he played such pranks the little Wares fell off the steps one after another in fits of laughter, and Boy Blue decided at once to buy that monkey if he could. So when the organ-man went away Boy Blue followed. Only Tot saw him go, for the others were running back to the nursery to see if the dolls were awake. And Tot could not make people understand what her little, lisping tongue meant to say.

It grew late and later; it was almost dark. Boy Blue did not come home. They began to wonder; they began to be anxious; they began to look for him. They called his name everywhere. They shouted, “Little Boy Blue! Boy Blu-u-u-e! Blu-u-u-ue!”

He did not come. They thought what if he should never come back!

Mamma cried.

“Somebody has stolen him!” said Norah.

“He is drowned!”

“He is run over!”

“He is—”

Here he is!”

So he was! They had looked everywhere and inquired of everybody, and given up in despair. Papa and Jotham had gone to get help in searching for him. Mamma was in distress. And there little Boy Blue came walking into the house himself!

“Where have you been?” cried the sisters.

He had followed the monkey until he was tired, had come back unseen, had climbed into the hammock in the orchard, and had been asleep there ever since.

“And we just crazed about ye, ye bad boy!” said Norah, while mamma hugged him.

“You needn’t fink I’d get lost,” said Boy Blue, proudly. “I don’t do such fings. I want my supper!”

He had it. But at our house we still keep asking this question:

“What shall we do
With little Boy Blue?”

GHOSTS AND WATER-MELONS.


BY J. H. WOODBURY.


BOBBY TATMAN was a little Yankee fellow, but he looked like an Italian boy, with his tangly brown hair, and his soft, simple dark eyes. He was very fond of water-melons; but he was very much afraid of ghosts; and in his simple heart he believed everything that was told him, and thereby hangs a tale.

There was a man, whom all the neighbors knew as Uncle Ben, who had some very fine water-melons—which Bobby knew all about—for they were only about a mile from Bobby’s father’s house.

These were the nearest water-melons that Bobby knew of, and he used to go over occasionally, with his friend James Scott, to look at them, and see how they were coming on. Both Bobby and his friend grew much interested in the melons, as they were ripening, and Bobby wondered why his father did not raise water-melons, too. This was not a large patch, and it was in a sunny nook of Uncle Ben’s farm, out of sight from his house.

“It wouldn’t be stealing to take water-melons,” remarked Bobby’s friend one day, as the two were sitting on the fence alongside the little patch. “It wouldn’t be any more stealing than picking off corn to roast, when we go a-fishing, would be stealing, as I can see.”

“I don’t know as it would be,” Bobby admitted, musingly. “I should like that old big fellow! Uncle Ben says that’s a mountain-sweet. But it would almost be stealing to take that one, sure! and Uncle Ben would miss it the first thing, too.”

“I s’pose he would,” said James, “and then there’d be a row. It won’t do to take that one. I tell you what, Bobby, we won’t take any of ’em now, but we’ll come to-night, after dark, and then there won’t be any danger of anybody’s seeing us. Of course it won’t be stealing; but Uncle Ben’s just mean enough to make a row about it, I s’pose, if he should happen to find it out.”

“I guess he would,” said Bobby. “I shouldn’t want to have him see us, anyhow.”

And so, not to run any risk, they concluded to wait.

When it was night they came again, and sat together upon the same fence, listening for a time for sounds of any others who might be approaching, before they got down to select their melons. All was still, and, feeling secure from detection, they got down and began to search among the vines. They could tell by rapping upon the melons which the ripe ones were, and it was not long till they had made their selection, and were scudding away, each with a melon almost as large as he could carry, along the fence towards Uncle Ben’s corn-field, which was still farther from his house.

When they got to the corn-field they felt safe, and, as the melons were heavy, they concluded to eat one before going further. So they sat down in a nook of the fence—a Virginia rail-fence, as we used to call that kind—and Bobby took out a knife that he thought a great deal of—because his Aunt Hannah had given it him, and it had his initials on a little silver plate set in the handle—and in a moment more they were eating and praising the delicious melon.

“Of course ’tain’t stealing,” said James Scott, as Bobby again brought up that question. “Uncle Ben always does have better water-melons than anybody else, and he can’t expect to have ’em all to himself. What’s the use of living in a free country, if you can’t have a water-melon once in a while? Help yourself. Bobby—but don’t eat too near the rind.”

Bobby helped himself,—though he could not help thinking all the time that it was to Uncle Ben’s water-melon,—and the boys filled up, gradually, till they could hold no more. Then each had a great shell that would have almost floated him, had he felt like going to sea in it, and the question was, what to do with them.

“Let’s tuck ’em under the bottom rail,” said James; “they won’t be noticed there.”

So they tucked them under the lower rail—a broad, flat rail that seemed to have been made on purpose to cover them—and then they both got straight up on their feet to stretch themselves. In the same instant they both started suddenly, and took to their heels.

They ran till they were out of breath; and James Scott got a long way ahead of his friend Bobby. But Bobby came up with James before he started again, and asked, as soon as he could get breath enough, “Was it Uncle Ben?

“It must have been him, or his ghost,” was the reply. “Did you see his legs, Bobby?”

“No. Did you?”

“It didn’t look as if he had any. He was a queer-looking chap, anyhow.”

“I wonder if he’s coming?” And Bobby seemed almost ready to start again. “Do you s’pose he knew us?”

“Shouldn’t wonder if he did. But, if ’twas Uncle Ben, he’d know he couldn’t catch us. He must have been there all the time. I say, Bobby, I’m afraid we’ll hear about this.”

“I don’t see how he happened to be right there! Oh, dear! I left my knife, too!”

“I guess if t’was Uncle Ben he’ll take care of that. Of course he’ll know who it belongs to. If he gets that knife, he hadn’t oughter say anything about the water-melon. It’s worth more’n both on ’em.”

“I know it. Don’t you suppose it was Uncle Ben’s ghost, after all? I wish it was!”

“It couldn’t have been, unless he’s died since noon, you know. He looked well enough then. Do you s’pose it would be of any use to go back, Bobby?”

“No, indeed! I’d rather go home. I wish I had my knife, though. I wonder why he didn’t speak?”

“That’s what I don’t understand. I should have thought he would just said something, before we got out of hearing.”

“Like as not it wasn’t him, after all.”

“Like as not it wasn’t, Bobby. S’posing we go back.”

“I’m going home,” was Bobby’s reply. “I don’t believe it pays to steal water-melons, anyway.”

“’Twasn’t stealing, Bobby!—no such thing! Of course anybody’s a right to take a water-melon. Uncle Ben had no business to raise ’em, if folks had got to steal ’em before they could eat ’em!”

“That’s so,” groaned Bobby. “I shouldn’t have thought he’d have planted them.”

And so, groaning in spirit, Bobby went home. He had lost his knife, and everybody would know next day that he had been stealing water-melons. He couldn’t help thinking that the folks would call it stealing, after all.

What to do he didn’t know; but he must go home at all events. He was never out very late, and when he went in his mother asked him where he had been. He said he had been over to James Scott’s.

“I don’t like to have you over there so much, Bobby,” said his mother. “I am afraid James Scott is not a very good boy.”

Bobby’s face was flushed, and he seemed very tired, so his mother told him he had better go to bed. He was glad enough to go, but he lay a long time thinking of his knife and the water-melons, and of Uncle Ben standing there by the fence, before he went to sleep.

Bobby slept in the attic, up under the roof. There was another bed in the same attic for the hired man. There were also a great many things for which there was no room anywhere else,—large chests, piles of bedding, and things that had got past use.

Bobby got to sleep at last; but he awoke in the night—something unusual for him—after the moon had risen, and was giving just light enough to show things in the room very dimly. He opened his eyes, and almost the first object he saw caused his heart to beat very quickly. Somebody was sitting upon one of those large chests. It was a dim and indistinct form, but it looked ghostly white in the moonlight, and Bobby could not help feeling afraid. He had never seen a ghost, fairly, but he began to think now that he had one in his room.

Bobby lay and watched that ghost, feeling warm and cold by turns, till at last he was sure it was beginning to look like Uncle Ben. The wind had begun to blow, and to move the branches of the old elm outside, thus causing the moonlight to flicker fitfully in the room. It seemed as if it must be Uncle Ben! Bobby could see him laugh, though he could not hear a sound except the sighing wind and the swaying branches of the old elm, mingling dolefully with the snoring of the hired man.

The ghost laughed and shook his head by turns, and pointed his finger at Bobby, as if to say, “I’ve marked you!

Bobby began to imagine that Uncle Ben had been run over by a cart, or killed in some way that very afternoon, and that his ghost was really there. He was almost glad it was so, for he could endure the ghost, disagreeable as he felt his presence to be, much better than meet Uncle Ben alive, with that knife in his possession.

So he shivered, and sweat, and reasoned himself more firmly into the belief that it was Uncle Ben’s ghost that was sitting on the chest. He was glad of it, for now he could go in the morning and find his knife, and hide that other water-melon before anyone else should pass that way. Still the presence of the ghost was very disagreeable to him; and at last he ventured to go and get into the other bed with the hired man, rather than lie longer alone.

The hired man stopped snoring, turned over, woke up, and asked Bobby what was the matter.

“There’s somebody up here,” said Bobby, ashamed to own that it was a ghost.

“Who? where?” and the hired man sat up and looked around.

“On that chest,” said Bobby. “Don’t you see him?”

“Ye—yes; I see him.” And, as if afraid to speak again, the hired man watched the blinking countenance of the stranger closely.

After a moment he got out of bed carefully, saying in a whisper as he did so:

“How long has he been there, Bobby?”

“Ever so long,” was Bobby’s reply. “Ain’t it a ghost?”

“I guess so. I’ll find out, at all events,” and the bold fellow moved carefully towards it.

He approached on tiptoe till he could almost touch it, and then he stopped.

“It’s a ghost, Bobby,” said he, “sure enough; but I’ll fix him!”

He just drew back one arm, and planted a prodigious blow right in the ghost’s stomach; and you ought to have seen that ghost jump!

It went almost out of the window at one leap; but fell short, on the floor, and lay as if dead. The hired man went boldly back and got into bed, remarking:

“That’s one of the ghosts we read about, Bobby; I guess he won’t trouble us any more!”

Bobby did not quite understand it. He began to think that Uncle Ben might be still living; but he went to sleep again, at last, and the next time he awoke it was morning. It was daylight, and the hired, man had gone down-stairs. He looked for the ghost. There he lay, sure enough, very quiet on the floor, but, after all, it was only a bag of feathers!

So Bobby felt sure he would have to meet Uncle Ben, and that everybody would know all about it; and he felt very miserable all day, waiting for him to come. He did not go near James Scott, for he felt that it was largely owing to him that he had got into trouble. It wasn’t at all likely that he could or would help him out of it. He wanted dreadfully to go and look for his knife, but would no more have done that than he would have gone and drowned himself. Indeed, he did think rather seriously of doing the last; but, being a good swimmer, he supposed the probabilities would be against his sinking; and besides, he still had a regard for the feelings of his mother.

It was a miserably long day, but after all Uncle Ben did not come. What could it mean? Bobby did not know, but he went to bed and slept better the next night. And the next day his fears began to wear away. It was night again, and still Uncle Ben had not come.

The third morning Bobby was almost himself again. He was resolved, now, to go and look for his knife. It must be that Uncle Ben had not found it. If he had, he would certainly have made it known before this. He was quite sure, too, that Uncle Ben could not have known who those two boys were. So he went, with a lightened heart, early in the day, to look for his knife.

Of course he took a roundabout way, that he might keep as far from Uncle Ben’s house as possible. Judge of his surprise and relief when he saw, on coming in sight of the spot, not Uncle Ben, but a dilapidated scarecrow. It stood leaning against the fence, where, having served its time, Uncle Ben had probably left it, neglected and forgotten. Being arrayed in one of Uncle Ben’s old coats, it did have a strange resemblance to the old man himself.

“It’s all right, after all,” thought Bobby, and he hurried confidently forward to pick up his knife. But imagine now the surprise and fright that came into Bobby’s soft eyes when he found that his knife was not there! Neither the knife, the water-melon, nor the water-melon rinds! All were gone.

Without stopping long, Bobby turned to retrace his steps. But as he did so some one called to him. It was Uncle Ben; and he stopped again and stood mute.

“I’ve been waiting to see ye, Bobby,” said the old man, coming up. “I reckoned you’d come for your knife, and I thought you’d rather see me here than have me bring it home to ye. Of course I knew you’d been here, when I found this, but it wasn’t likely you’d come alone. I’m sorry you’ve been in bad company, Bobby. Your father and mother think you’re a good boy, and I don’t want them to think any other way. Of course you don’t want them to think any other way, either, do you, Bobby?” And the old man looked kindly down into the soft eyes.

Bobby made out to say that he did not.

“That’s the reason, Bobby, why I didn’t bring the knife home. I thought I’d better give it to ye here. Now take it, and don’t for the world ever say a word to anybody how you lost it. And I want ye to come down to the melon-patch with me, for I’m going to send a nice mountain-sweet over to your mother.”

Bobby took his knife, and followed Uncle Ben, unable to utter a word. As they went along, the old man talked to him of his corn and his pumpkins, just as if there was no reason in the world why he and Bobby should not be on the best of terms. He seemed to have quite forgotten that Bobby had ever stolen anything from him. Arrived at the patch he picked off one of the finest melons, as large as the boy could carry, and, after a little more talk, sent him with it to his mother.

And so, after all, Bobby’s heart never felt lighter than it did that morning, after he had left Uncle Ben. He had at last found words to thank him, and to say that he was very sorry for what he had done, but scarce more. But that was all Uncle Ben wanted; and, so long as he lived, after that, he had no truer friend among the neighbor’s boys than Bobby Tatman.


FUNNY LITTLE ALICE.


BY MRS. FANNY BARROW (“AUNT FANNY”).


ONCE on a time, not long ago, four little girls lived together in a large farm-house. It was quite by itself—on the top of a hill with thick woods all around it—but as it was full of people from the city, thirty miles away, and as these people were always polite to each other, and it was warm, sweet summer-time, they were very happy together.

Daisy and May were sisters; Katie had another father and mother, and funny little Alice was the only child of a lady whose husband was dead, so Alice had no father. Poor little thing!

But as she was only two and a half years old, she was too young to feel very sorry for herself, especially as all the ladies in the house loved and petted her; every gentleman rode her to “Banbury Cross” on his foot, and “jumped her” almost as high as the ceiling; and Daisy, May and Kate, who were each seven years old, let her come in to all their plays—which I hope you also do, my little reader, with your baby sisters and brothers.

One day Alice was walking in the road with her nurse. She had seen one of the ladies pick a checkerberry leaf out of the grass and eat it, so she pulled up a handful of leaves and crammed them into her mouth.

“Oh, take them out, take them out! Do, Alice!” cried the nurse. “They may be poison! If you swallow them you will die, and have to lie in the cold grave, and the worms will eat you up!”

But the nurse had to pull her mouth open, and dig out the leaves, for Alice had never before heard of the cold grave, and she did not care a button about it.

That night her mamma, with whom the little girl slept, was awakened by a feeling as if some one were choking her, and found Alice sleeping with her curly head buried in her mother’s neck, and the rest of her little fat body spread across her breast. She lifted the child gently, and put her back on her own pillow. But the next instant Alice flung herself again on her mother.

“Don’t, dear,” she said; “you must lie on your own side. It hurts me to have your head on my throat.”

“Well,” said the sleepy little thing, “if you don’t let me I shall die, and have to lie in the told drave, and the wullims will eat me up.”

Her mother was perfectly astonished at this speech. She could not imagine where Alice had heard it; but we know, don’t we?

The farmer had a poor old fiddle-headed white horse, whose stiff old legs couldn’t run away if the rest of him wanted to, and the young ladies used to drive him by themselves in a buggy. The morning after Alice’s speech two young ladies took her driving with them. She sat on a little bench at their feet, and went off in high glee.

It was cloudy, and, for fear it might rain, they took a big waterproof cloak. Before they got back it was pouring down, so all were buttoned up in the cloak, with Alice’s little round rosy face just peeping out in front. The old white horse jogged on not a bit faster than usual, though Miss Lizzie, who was driving, slapped his back with the reins the whole time. At last he whisked up his tail, and twisted it in the reins.

“Oh, now, just look at that horrid old tail!” said Miss Lizzie. “How am I ever to get rid of it?”

“It is not a horrid old tail!” cried Alice, her sweet hazel eyes flashing. “It’s a nice white tail! He’s a booful horse, with a nice white tail.”

“Well, so he is,” said Miss Lizzie, laughing. “So hurra for the booful horse!”

This reminded the funny little thing of one of her songs, which she immediately set up at the top of her voice, and as they reached the house in the pouring rain, the ladies inside heard Alice singing with all her little might:

“Woar, boys, fevver!
Woar, boys, woar!
Down with the tritty!
Up with the ’tar!
We’ll rally round the f’ag, boys,
Rally round ’gain,
Shoutin’ the batter crider fee-dom!”[3]

[3] These are the words little Alice meant, as I suppose you all know:

“Hurra, boys, forever!
Hurra, boys, hurra!
Down with the traitor!
Up with the star!
We’ll rally round the flag, boys,
Rally round again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!”

That afternoon, when it had cleared up, Daisy said:

“Come, May, come, Katie, let’s take our dolls and have a picnic.”

“I want to picnic, too,” cried Alice.

“So you shall, you little darling,” said all the girls, running to her and kissing her, “and you can bring Nancy with you.”

Nancy was a knit worsted doll, with two jet beads for eyes. She slept with Alice, who loved her dearly, and who now ran off to get her, in a great state of delight.

The children took a lunch, of course; for who ever heard of a picnic without it? A stick of peppermint candy was broken in four pieces, which, with four ginger-cakes and four huge apples, begged from the farmer’s wife, were packed in a little basket, and then they set off, all running, for no girl or boy can walk when they are so happy; at least, I never knew of any—have you?

The warm, bright sun had dried up all the drops on the grass long before. They ran merrily through the meadow at the back of the house, and soon got to the entrance to the wood. There they found a nice, mossy place, and, sitting down on the old roots of the trees, they spread their lunch on a large, flat stone that was near, and commenced to “tell stories.”

“Last night,” began Daisy, “I woke up, and I thought I would get out of bed, and look out of the window; and what do you think I saw?”

“Oh! what?” cried the rest, with their mouths wide open.

“Why, I saw ten thousand diamonds dancing and sparkling in the dark.”

“Oh, oh! I wish I had seen them!” cried May and Katie.

This was the first time that Daisy had seen the fire-flies flashing their soft, bright lights. She did not mean to tell a falsehood; she really thought that they were diamonds.

“My mamma went to a party last winter, and what do you think she ate?” asked Katie.

“What?” inquired May and Daisy.

“Frogs!” said Katie.

“Oh! oh! how awful!” cried May and Daisy—but all this time little Alice had said nothing.

“Once I saw an elephant,” said May in her turn. “It was in the menagerie. A little boy stuck a pin in his trunk, and he caught the boy up by his jacket, and shook him right out of it, and hurt him so! and he screamed like everything!”

“Oh, oh! how dreadful!” exclaimed Katie and Daisy, but little Alice said nothing—because she was not there! While the others had been lost in wonder over the stories, she had trotted off farther into the woods, clasping her dear Nancy in her arms, and softly singing this queer little song:

“By-lo-by, my darlin’ baby,
Baby,
Taby,
Faby,
Maby,
Darlin’ baby.”

“There, now, she’s fas’ as’eep,” said Alice. “Sh! sh!” She laid Nancy softly down among the mossy roots of a hollow tree, and, sitting close beside her, she heaved a funny little sigh, and said: “Oh, my! that child will wear me out!” which was a speech her nurse had very often made to her.

Soon there was a rustling sound. The hollow tree was full of dry, dead leaves, and out of these a huge black snake came crawling. It slowly curled itself round Nancy, and then lay quite still.

Alice looked curiously at a creature she had never before seen, or even heard of. Then she put out one little fat hand, and gently patted the snake on its head.

“Did you want to see my Nancy?” she asked. “Well, so you s’all, poor sing!” Then she smoothed the snake’s head, who appeared to like it very much, for it shut its eyes and seemed to sleep.

And the sweet little tender-hearted child, never dreaming of any danger from the loathsome reptile, looked up and smiled at the birds piping over her head, and kept on softly smoothing the head of her plaything.

And this was how “Mitter ’Trong,” as she called the gentleman who rode her oftenest to “Banbury Cross,” found Alice, as he was walking through the wood that summer afternoon. No wonder that he screamed, and rushed to her, and caught her up and kissed her, and almost cried, and then went at the snake with his stick.

But it was as frightened as he was, and May, Daisy and Kate came running up, just as it was squirming back into the hollow tree. Then there were three more screams, and their six bright eyes grew perfectly wild with terror—while little Alice looked on very much surprised, but not a bit frightened.

The children had missed their dear little playmate at last, and, very much alarmed and ashamed of their carelessness, were searching for her.

Mr. Strong carried little Alice home in triumph on his shoulder, where she was kissed and cried over again, and Mr. Strong was thanked for saving her.

The black snake might not have bitten her, but it might have squeezed such a little thing to death, so Mr. Strong and another gentleman went back, and poked the snake out of the hollow tree, and killed it; and, finding Nancy patiently waiting for some one to come for her, they brought her back to the arms of her cunning little mother. And after this, funny little Alice never went out without her nurse.

We must bid her good-bye now, because this story is long enough; but some day I will tell you more about her.


“PRETTY,” AND HER VIOLIN.


BY HOLME MAXWELL.


FELICE was a servant. She was just twenty years old, but she was like a child in our land. She talked a little, soft, broken English; our words were very, very hard for her fine, pretty Italian lips to manage. She was tall, and extremely refined and delicate; every one admits this now, but her little girl-mistress saw it at a glance, as Felice came in behind papa, pausing, tall and slender, with her exquisite brown hair and brown eyes, to be addressed.

“Here is your mistress,” said the papa to Felice, indicating the young girl dressed in white. “She is the little woman of the house, and will tell you about your duties.”

Felice bowed like a tall lily, as the “mistress,” so much younger and so much smaller than herself, came forward, slowly and with irregular steps, leaning upon a fairy sort of cane. “You are pretty, pretty, pretty—pretty as I could ask for,” said the young girl.

Felice was not accustomed to be taken by her mistresses with two tender, white hands, and called “Pretty, pretty, pretty.” A soft color came into her pale, clear cheeks, and her eyes grew liquid as she bent over the little girl without speaking. But when the little girl turned away, looking so quaint in her stylish white dress, as she leaned upon her little cane, Felice instinctively followed her. She placed the velvet hassock under her feet as she sat down, and slipped the cane into the “rest” attached to the small lounging-chair.

“Can you make a bed nicely, Pretty?” said the little girl.

“Yes, mees,” answered Felice.

“Can you put the room nicely, Pretty?”

“Yes, mees.”

“And do birds and flowers and gold-fish prosper with you, Pretty?”

“I cannot tell you, mees.”

“Can you sew nicely?”

“Mees say nicely—no, alas! I work not with the needle, none, in four year.”

“Well, then, can you read,—our English books? you know,—and a long while at a time? Pray, don’t say no.”

“Alas, mees, I know not to read the Ingleese, none. Ah, mees, I think now to my heart this is one meestake. You wish not me. You wish not one chambermaid.”

“You cannot know what I wish, my Pretty.” But the little mistress’s face was downcast and clouded. From under her sunny eyelashes she studied the long, slender, folded hands of poor “Pretty.” They were browned and hardened with rougher labors than hair-dressing, and embroidering, the mending of laces, or the tending of flowers.

She pointed at last to a door across the hall. “Your room, Pretty. Have your things brought up.”

Felice,” corrected the soft Italian lips.

“No, Pretty,” persisted the little mistress, with a lovely smile.

This little girl of fourteen—Lulu Redfern—was mistress of many things: of a brown-stone mansion, of her papa, and of his immense wealth. She was almost like a fairy in her willfulness and in her power. Why might she not change her servant’s name if she chose?

While “Pretty” was gone, Mr. Redfern came back. “Papa,” said the mistress, “of what were you thinking? Pretty does not sew, does not understand flowers and pets, does not read, does not even dress hair!”

“Don’t she?” said papa, crestfallen. “Why, she looks as if she did.”

“Papa, did you ask at all?”

“No,” confessed papa, “I did not. I supposed, of course, she could; else why did she apply. Can’t she be of any use, my birdie?”

“I don’t see how, papa.”

“Well, then, we shall have to send her away, I suppose. I fancied she would be quite the person you would like to have about you—she is so different from that fluttering, nervous French Adele. But you certainly do not need another mere chambermaid.”

“Yet, papa, I cannot have her go, now that she has come. Can’t I keep her, papa, to look at? She won’t cost so much as a Sevres vase.”

Felice, with her droopy face and soft steps, was passing. She had a small satchel in one hand, and in the other—what do you suppose?

A violin-case, little, black, old.

“Whew!” said papa to himself. “That’s queer luggage.” But Miss Redfern did not see the queer luggage.

So “Pretty” staid, on the footing of a Sevres vase; and drooped over and about her little mistress like a beautiful lily wherever she went, and that was nearly all she could do for many days.

Now, this little girl, who could have everything almost, could not have everything quite. She loved music beyond all things else; but on account of her little lame feet she could not play. The grand piano was for the guests. Rare players used to come and play for her; and none of the music ever seemed to depart from the house, so that all the rooms were haunted by divine harmonies. When Lulu lay awake at night, kept awake by pain, the wondrous strains played themselves again at her ear, and the sweet, pure young soul took wings to itself, and swept away and away among lovely scenes, until lameness and pain and a thwarted life were quite forgotten.

It was one night, about a week after Felice came. She had lifted her mistress into bed, and had said, “I wish you a most lofely good night, Mees Looloo,” and had gone. It was not a “most lofely” night. “Mees Looloo’s” little feet were throbbing with pain worse than ever before; but about midnight she was growing hushed and serene. There were wafts and breathings of Mendelssohn, and Wagner, and Mozart, and Beethoven all about her; and she was falling asleep, when, suddenly, a fine, sweet, joyous, living strain pierced through the dreamy songs and harmonies.

Lulu lifted her head. She knew in a moment that this was real music. Enchanting as were her dreams by both night and day, no one so clear-headed as the little mistress. She had sat and listened too often for coming and going feet, for closing doors, to be mistaken as to the source of any sound. This midnight music came from “Pretty’s” room; and she who loved reed, and pipe, and horn, and string so well, knew that it was the rarest violin-music.

It was entrancingly sweet. Air after air entirely unknown to the little music lover floated out on the still midnight. Poor little Miss Redfern! She buried her face in her pillows and sobbed in an ecstasy of happiness. “Now I know what it is so pure, so high, that I see in my Pretty’s face. It is that which is in the faces of all the artists that come here. My Pretty is no servant. Papa said that she looked as if she could do all these things—papa felt she was an artist. Papa could not help bring her, I could not help keep her,—O, my own Pretty!”

By and by the music ceased; and, listening, Lulu heard the violin deposited in the box.

She looked bright as a bird when her maid came to lift her to the bath, next morning. “Ah, Mees Looloo, I wish you a lofely good morning.”

“It is both lovely and good, dear Pretty,” said the child-mistress, stooping to kiss the long artist fingers busy with her sleeve-buttons. “I understand these fingers now.”

“Haf you not always understood their mooch slow ways, Mees Looloo?”

“Mees Looloo” clasped the two strong, nervous hands close to her breast. “Pretty! I know what they were made for; they are the musician’s hands. I heard you last night. I heard a violin in your room. How could you have it here, Pretty, and not bring it out when I am often so tired and need to be soothed?”

“O, Mees Looloo, I haf not thought. I haf played when I could not haf sleep to mine eyes, and haf thought of Etalee.”

Then Lulu heard the simple story. It was the violin belonging to Felice’s father, and Felice had handled it from her babyhood. She had brought it to America and had carried it from place to place with her. Nobody had cared; nobody had questioned the poor young chambermaid.

But “Mees Looloo” cared. “Pretty” brought the violin as simply as if bidden to bring a flower or a book. It was old, dark, rich—mellow in its hues as in its tones.

“May papa come up?”

“I haf always lofed to please you, mees,” said “Pretty.” “But I haf nevaire learn moosic. I haf none other but vary old moosic.”

There were, indeed, some old, yellow sheets of foreign music lying in the bottom of the case; but Felice did not take them out. “I know in my heart this moosic—father’s lofely moosic.”

She lifted the instrument to her bosom. She laid her clear, dark cheek against it lovingly, in the unconscious fashion of the true lovers of the violin; her fingers, long, supple, dark, sounded the chords; the bow gleamed and glanced as it sought the strings; and, bending over it, “Pretty’s” young face paled and flushed gloriously, as the father’s “lofely moosic” stirred her two listeners to tears.

The child mistress talked to papa in a very excited manner as he bore her away on his shoulder to the breakfast-room. Papa listened, papa thought, and, finally, papa assented.

“I think so, dear. She is worth it! There are only you and I to spend the money, and why shall we not do as we like, birdie?”

So little lame Miss Redfern was to be a Patron of Music. That was almost as good as to be a musician.

“Pretty” could refuse nothing to her dear little mistress. In her loving simplicity she did as she was bidden, even to the trying on of one handsome dress after another when she was taken to the fine shops. And at night, after the hair-dresser was done with the soft curls of her brown hair, and she stood before the mirror in her lace frills and silk dress, she simply said in her soft, limited English, “You have made me mose lofely, Mees Looloo.”

In the evening, when the invited guests—bearded and spectacled men, and fine and gracious women—were gathered down in the gardens below, among the lighted trees and the fountains and the arbors, the tall, simple “Pretty” obeyed her mistress again without a question. Lifting her violin to her bosom, she came out upon the balcony, and played once more the old Italian music. With bared heads and silent lips the company of musicians stood to listen.

Soft bravos, fluttering handkerchiefs, showers of fresh flowers, greeted simple “Pretty.” They thought her some new star, and this her private début.

What was their surprise to hear it was the little Miss Redfern’s maid whom they had thus quietly been brought to see and pass judgment upon! But, gracefully, nay generously, they acknowledged her as thoroughly worth the musical education Mr. Redfern and his daughter were planning to bestow.

To simple “Pretty” herself, simple with all the honesty and unconsciousness of true genius, the great plan was not at all too strange, nor too great. If one had offered her beauty or pleasure in another shape, she might have drawn back from the gift—but not from music. It did not seem to surprise her that she was going back to the Old World, and not as a steerage passenger, but dressed in costly robes, and under the care of friends, to study with the great masters of music.

“I will come back, dear Mees Looloo, and sing to you and the kind papa lofelier than you can think, when I sall haf staid long. Some other day you sall haf to be proud of your ‘Pretty.’”

Yes, some day “Pretty” will come back to her little mistress, and to us, with the sweet old Italian violin.


DOLLY’S LAST NIGHT.


BY EMILY HUNTINGTON MILLER.


THE clock in the warm, bright kitchen was striking nine; not nine in the morning, but nine in the evening, which is a very different thing, as the old clock seemed to know, for it counted off the chime with a soft, sleepy roll, as if bent upon making the least possible disturbance.

Dolly put the cookies into the deep tin box that had held thousands of such dainties in its day, set the lid a-tilt upon the edge, gave a glance of satisfaction at the great loaves peeping out from the white cloth that covered them, the row of pies on the shelf below, and the plump chickens trussed up sociably on the platter, and then came out from the pantry, and shut the door upon the savory smells. Dolly was not a beauty, but she had a clear, fresh face, and was full of health and vigor and content. She was a model housekeeper, too, as the old clock could have testified, and this was the first time it had been called upon to countenance such irregular doings as the turning of night into day. But this was the night before Thanksgiving, and when one is cook, chambermaid, housekeeper, and mistress of the manse, she certainly has a right to regulate her own days in spite of the almanac-man.

Yes, and nurse besides; for on the lounge lay Dolly’s mother, not exactly sick, but weak from a long fever that had left her ankles so swollen and painful that she could not walk a step without assistance. Bess and Johnny had been away through it all, but now their father had gone for them, and early in the morning they would reach home,—the pleasant prairie home, with its broad, boundless fields, from which they expected some day to reap a fortune.

The lounge was in the kitchen, for the Marshalls cared a great deal more for comfort than ceremony, and Dolly’s kitchen, with its clean yellow floor, bright rugs, white table, and window full of growing plants, was a famous place for comfort.

“I hope you are through at last,” said Mrs. Marshall, looking up sleepily at Dolly.

“All but the candy, and that’ll not take long,” said Dolly cheerily.

“For pity’s sake, do let the candy go; the children are just as well off without it.”

“Oh, but I promised Johnny I’d have some for him, and it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without it. The nuts are all cracked, and I’ll sit here and pick out the goodies while the molasses boils,” and Dolly whisked out the clean iron skillet, and poured the molasses in so quickly her mother could only say: “You’ll kill yourself working so hard, and what good do you think that will do the children?”

“Choog! choog!” said the molasses in its hurry to get out of the jug, and Dolly smiled as she coaxed it to make less haste and more speed.

“I’m tough as a pine knot,” she said, merrily; “but if I were really going to die I should like to have the children say, ‘She always tried to help us have good times, and the very last night she was here she made us some candy.’”

There was a foolish little moisture in Dolly’s eyes as she dropped into the low-cushioned chair, the same old creaky chair in which her mother had rocked her when she was a baby, and in which she herself had rocked Bess and Johnny scores of times. She was very tired, now that she came to sit down and think about it, and her little speech wakened a sort of pathetic pity for herself. She even began to fancy what they would all do without her, but just at that point the molasses made a sudden rush for the top of the skillet, and put an end to her musing.

Mrs. Marshall roused up a little also.

“It seems so strange to have Thanksgiving come without a flake of snow! Joel says it is as dry as midsummer, too. I never feel easy about the stacks until there’s a good fall of snow.”

“Joel is very careful,” suggested Dolly, “and father plowed a good strip around the stacks before he went away.”

“Yes, I know. But what good would a few furrows do against a prairie fire such a time as this?”

“Then we’ll hope the Lord’ll not let a fire start in such a time as this,” and Dolly seized her boiling syrup at the precise moment of crispiness, poured it over the plump white kernels spread thickly in the shallow pans, and set the whole to cool in the back kitchen.

When everything was tidy, and Dolly was ready to help her mother to bed, the old clock ventured to remark, in the same soft purr as before, that it only lacked two hours to midnight; to which Dolly smilingly answered that Thanksgiving only came once a year.

“How the colts stamp,” said Dolly. “I wonder if Joel could have forgotten to water them before he went home.”

“Joel ought not to have gone home,” said her mother. “It isn’t right for two lone women to be left with no neighbors within a mile. Are you sure the fire is all right, Dolly? seems to me there’s a smoky smell in here.”

“It’s the molasses, I dropped a little on the stove; but I’ll go out and see that all is right after you are in bed, and then we shall both feel better.”

Dolly went without her lamp, and as she passed the hall window she caught sight of a dull red glow, down against the dark horizon. In another instant she stood outside, her rosy color all blanched at sight of the fire sweeping down the prairie on those swift, terrible wings of the west wind. For an instant she was dizzy and confused with terror at the thought of her utter helplessness, then, as if a voice had repeated it to her, she recalled the verse she had read that morning, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee,” and, with a silent prayer for help, she went back to her mother.

“The prairie is on fire,” she said, trying to speak quietly.

Her mother sprang from the bed, and sank down, almost fainting, from pain.

“O Dolly!” she gasped, “we shall die here all alone.”

“I’ll make a good fight, first,” said Dolly, bravely. “I must go and do what I can, and you must wait here and pray. Only perhaps you had better get your clothes on again, in case of the worst.”

Dolly threw some heavy shawls upon the bed, placed her mother’s clothes within reach, hugged her once, and rushed away. In two minutes more she had put on Joel’s boots, tied up her curly head in an old comforter, and buttoned herself into her father’s coat. She was ready to fight fire, and she knew just how to do it. But first the colts must be taken from the low thatched stable that would be sure to blaze at the first spark. Already they were growing restless with the strong smell of smoke, and that strange intuition of danger which horses seem to possess. Dolly had some difficulty in leading them out, and then she hardly knew what to do with them, for she knew well enough they would go scouring off when the fire came near. She was a quick-witted little woman, however, and she soon had the colts in the back kitchen, tied fast to the old carpet loom. Then she filled the tubs and pails with water, and set them along the line of the buildings, cut some heavy branches of hemlock, and brought out the horse-blankets and dipped them in water.

The house, behind its clump of evergreens, might possibly escape, but there seemed little chance for the low barn, the granary, and the immense stacks of hay, yet in them lay their hopes for a year, and Dolly determined not to give them up without a desperate struggle. She scarcely dared look at the fire, but she saw once how a brighter light leaped up as the flames caught a barn or a stack of hay in the distance. As rapidly as possible she broadened the circle about the line of buildings, lighting the thick grass with one hand, and dashing out the flame with the other, when it threatened to go beyond her control. She felt almost guilty as she saw the blaze she had kindled go sweeping away towards the east, carrying the same terror to others which was rapidly coming down upon her, but it was her only chance of escape, and there was not another house between them and the river. She worked on in desperation as the air grew thick with smoke, and at last she could hear the roar and crackle when the flames swept the great corn-field, fairly leaping along the rows of dry stalks. It was almost upon her, and she ran back within her burned circle, and waited for doom.

Her hands were blistered, her eye-lashes were burned off, but she did not know it. She only watched, with every nerve tense and throbbing, to see if the fire would leap the line. It died down a little in spots, crept sullenly along the edge, as if loth to go by, flamed up here and there at a bunch of tall weeds, then, with a sudden puff, the wind lodged a whirling handful of cinders at the foot of the great straw stack!

Dolly sprang at it like a tiger, tearing away the burning straw, and striking right and left with the wet blanket. Then a little blaze crept under the fence, and she beat the life out of it in a breath. Another whirl of cinders upon the roof of the stable, but they fell black and harmless. Then another blaze running along the edge of the shed, but the water was ready for it; and Dolly, with eyes everywhere, ran, and beat, and trampled, until at last the fire veered away to the south, and left the little homestead safe in the midst of a blackened waste.

Dolly walked back and forth, around the stacks and the buildings, whipping out the smallest sparks, and then turned towards the house in a stupor of exhaustion. She wanted to lie right down on the warm ground by the side of the straw pile, and go to sleep, but she had enough sense left to reach the house, and make her way to her mother’s room.

“We’re all right, mother,” she said in a husky voice, “the fire has gone by;” and dropping upon the bed, smoke, dirt, boots, and all, she sank into a heavy sleep. Her mother tried in vain to rouse her, so she dragged the shawls over her, and watched anxiously for morning. But as the gray light began to reveal Dolly’s face, she was terrified at its ghastly whiteness, intensified by the soot and smoke which begrimed it. She tried again to rouse her, but Dolly lay in a stupor, and she could only clasp her hands and pray for help. She crept painfully from the bed, and was trying to drag herself to the door, when Joel rode up on horseback, with his wife behind him. She was a stout, red-cheeked young woman, and, springing off without waiting for help, ran to the back kitchen, where there were sounds of some one stirring.

“Miss Dolly splittin’ kindlin’s, I’ll be bound! Joel’s jest that shiftless not to think on’t. My gracious Peter!” she exclaimed, as she suddenly opened the door, and found herself confronted by one of the colts.

She left Joel to settle matters with the colts, and made her way to Mrs. Marshall and Dolly, carrying the poor lady back to bed in her strong arms, as if she had been a baby.

“Don’t you worry about Dolly, ma’am,” she said, confidently, “she’ll sleep it off, and come out all right, and I’ll just take off my things and do for you. I can stop as well as not; our house was burned up, and we just managed to save ourselves, so you see I ain’t got a smitch o’ work to do for myself.”

“Your house burned! Oh, Sarah, how hard that is for you and Joel,” said Mrs. Marshall.

“Yes’m, it’s a kind of a pity, and I’d got the nicest kind of a chicken pie ready for Thanksgivin’. We never see the fire till it was jest ketchin’ holt of us, and then we got on the colt and raced it down the gully to Dickerman’s pond ahead of the fire. We just made a go of it, and set there till mornin’. Says I, ‘Joel, it’s Thanksgivin’ day; be ye right down thankful?’ And Joel he looked at me and says, kind o’ solemn like, ‘Yes, I be!’ And so be I, ’cause we might ’a been burned in our bed, leastways I might, if Dolly hadn’t been so considerin’ as to let Joel come home.”

Sarah had been all the time tugging at Dolly, pulling off boots and coat, and undoing her scorched hair. She bathed her face and hands, and lifted her upon the pillow, but Mrs. Marshall’s terror only increased at seeing Dolly remain perfectly passive, never opening her eyes, and allowing Sarah to lift her as if she were dead. Hour after hour she slept on, only when Sarah raised her on her vigorous arm, and fed her with chicken broth, forcing it patiently into the closed mouth, until at last a little color crept into the pallid face, and the sleep was not so death-like. But even at nine o’clock, when the travelers arrived, Dolly gave them a doubtful recognition. She smiled faintly at the children’s kisses, stared for an instant at her father’s anxious face, and then went on dozing and muttering. Bess stole in and out on tiptoe, the tears dropping down on her pet kitten, and Johnny blundered about with his mouth full of delicious candy his very heart dissolving with grief and gratitude.

Dolly talked about the candy, and Johnny was impressed with the idea that she wanted some, and actually made an attempt to administer a small chunk, but he was not very successful, and Dolly kept on muttering: “The very last night she was here she made them some candy; the very last night; the very last night; but they couldn’t find it; they never could find it; the fire came and burnt them all up; the very last night; the—very—last—night.”

If there had been a doctor at hand, Sarah would have given up her patient to a course of brain fever, with proper deference; but as there was none within twenty miles she was compelled to persevere with her sensible applications of water, friction, and chicken broth, and in a couple of days she had the satisfaction of seeing Dolly laugh in quite a natural fashion at Joel’s story of the gray colt, which was taken from the kitchen with one foot firmly bedded in a pan of molasses candy.

“’Twasn’t all stepped on,” said Johnny, “and I saved you a chunk. I’m awful glad you made it, ’cause nobody ’tended to Thanksgiving very much.”

“I’m glad I made it,” said Dolly, “for I should not have seen the fire in time if I had gone to bed earlier. I remember something foolish about its being my last night,” and Dolly smiled doubtfully at her mother, not feeling quite sure what she had said, and what she had only thought.

“It was not foolish at all, dear,” said her mother, kissing the scorched fingers. “Nothing better could be said of any life, than that it was a sacrifice for others.”

“Shet yer eyes, Dolly, and never mind about yer last days,” said Sarah, decidedly; “you won’t see ’em this fifty year, if things is managed anyway reasonable.”


NIB AND MEG.


BY ELLA FARMAN.


AND who do you suppose rang at the Doll Doctor’s door one Saturday.

Two noticeable personages, I assure you.

Three or four lovely phaetons were drawn up before the house; the drawing-room was open; and pretty faces, set in brown, and black, and yellow hair, and crowned with flowery hats, were looking out until every one of Miss Chatty’s windows seemed like a painting thronged with cherubs; small ladies, gloved and parasolled, and draped à la mode, were coming and going up and down the front steps; and Miss Teresa Drew was just stepping from the beautiful family carriage, that had its coachman, and its footmen, and its crested panels, and her tall French maid was behind her with a doll and a doll’s maid in her arms—but all the gay show didn’t begin to attract the attention that was universally bestowed, the moment they appeared in sight, upon the two queer little beings who came across the street, unattended and on foot, right up to Miss Chatty’s gate.

But, you see, they were gotten up in their very, very best. I am not a fashion writer, my dears, and I couldn’t begin to tell you, so that you would have a clear idea, how Miss Teresa Drew was dressed; but I must try to give you the tout ensemble of these two new children. “Tout ensemble,” my Wide Awakes, is one of those French phrases that mean so much, and are so handy, but which take so many of our English words in the translation; a little miss of my acquaintance renders it as “the all-over-ness of a person.” The costume of these children had a peculiar all-over-ness. Their shawls, a pair of ragged and worn broches, enveloped them to the throat and dragged after them; and the effect over short dresses and bare legs was striking; and the shawls, in both cases, were surmounted by old straw hats which looked, for all the world, like two much-battered toadstools.

Miss Chatty happened to see them coming up to the door, all her richly-dressed little people drawing aside to let them pass; and she dropped her order-book and made her way through her à-la-mode cherubs, and answered the door-bell herself.

“Be you the Doll Doctor, mem?” asked the elder of the children.

Miss Chatty intimated that she was.

“They told us as wot you lived here, mem, and as how you could put the wust cases together.” Opening her shawl, she drew forth a bundle, and, dropping upon one knee, undid it deftly. She was self-possessed in spite of her bare feet; but Miss Chatty was much embarrassed. The children, evidently, were street Arabs, and she hesitated, from various reasons, to ask them in among her little girls; but neither had she the heart to dismiss them; besides, she was, withal, considerably curious and amused. The hands busy with the bundle were very hard, and very tanned; the face, all intent upon the knot of the string, was strangely quaint and mature,—indeed, the utter absence of childish timidity and embarrassment was perhaps the chief reason why Miss Chatty hesitated, with such a dear, funny, soft-hearted manner, in her treatment of these new patrons.

Finally the knot was untied. A couple of dolls’ heads were displayed, very much curtailed as to nose, badly rubbed as to their black china curls, and sadly crackled as to their cheeks, as cheeks will after long painting.

“There, mem, Nib and me, us found these in an ash bar’l one day,” said the girl. “But jest heads hain’t much to hug; and Nib and me’s got nither time nor patterns for bodies; and wen us heard as wot there was a Doll Doctor, us done ’thout a breckfus mornin’s, and saved up fer ter buy ther cloth an’ ther waddink. Ther cloth is ter cut out ther bodies, and ther waddink is ter stuff ’em—Nib an’ me don’t like sawdust—waddink won’t go ter run out ’f ther’s a rip. An’, mem, Nib an’ me, us hopes as they’ll be done a-Saturdy. An’ here, mem, is wot us hopes’ll make a dress for ’em both. An’ here, mem, is ther thread ter sew it. An’ this here, mem, in this little paper, is some adgink for ter trim ther things. An’ us is werry pertic’ler ’bout its bein’ a-Saturdy, mem, as Sundy gits ter be a-lonesum with nothink ter do. Hain’t Sundy a-lonesum, Nib?”

“You bet!” affirmed Nib.

All the cherubs, haloed with the pretty hair and crowned with the flowery hats, and Miss Chatty, too, would, doubtless, have been very much shocked had Nib’s voice not been like a little flute, and the eyes she lifted, like two great big violets, and the teeth she showed, beautifully white. But when lips and lids closed again, she was as homely as the other; and then everybody was shocked at what they had heard, the cherubs looking at each other, and the Doll Doctor’s face becoming much suffused as she received the young rag-pickers’ spoils. But she could not send them away. She shuddered at the old calico. Still she respectfully took it.

“Us want’s ’em as tall as this, jest about,” continued Meg, showing Miss Chatty a strip of paper. “Us thinks that’s the purtiest size for a doll.”

Miss Chatty was scarce able to speak even now; for the audacity, the simplicity, and the perfect good faith of the rag-baby “order” was as paralyzing as it was funny. She was a dear, honest Christian, but she couldn’t think quite what to do with her new customers much more readily than would Sexton Brown had Nib and Meg gone into Grace Church on Sunday. It was well for Sexton Brown that Nib and Meg had never heard that God the Father was preached at Grace Church, or they might have gone in.

Meg, at last, seemed struck by the silence of the Doll Doctor. “Mem,” said she, hastily, “don’t you go fer ter be afeard us won’t pay. Us has got ther money saved up—hain’t us, Nib?”

“I’m not afraid, not at all,” said Miss Chatty. “And they will be done on Friday. Come for them on that day. I am always extremely busy on Saturday.”

At that Meg looked much pleased. “Mem, ’f you do do us a nice job, an’ so prompt-like, ther’s lots of girls us knows as’ll get you ter fix ther dolls. Us girls thet sells things hain’t got no time fer nothink, and us couldn’t go fer ter sew and cut out if us had!”

Evidently not. Nib and Meg, under the shawls, were picturesque with tatters.

“Us wants our dolls tidy and lovesome, mem,” she added, caressingly touching the white cotton in Miss Chatty’s hand, and feasting her eyes upon its whiteness perceptibly. Miss Chatty saw it; and she saw something else at the same moment,—direful gaps and rents about the childish waist betraying that there was sad lack of “whiteness” for little Meg’s own wear,—poor Meg! that wanted her dolly “tidy and lovesome,” feasting upon the one shred of wholesome white cloth,—Miss Chatty knew the little girl’s soul to be clean by that token; and if she had halted in her treatment before, she took the little ones right into her heart now, which was a much lovelier place than her parlor.

“Don’t you think, mem, as ther’s likely to be adgink for all ther underclothes, cos us’d get more ef ther wasn’t.”

Miss Chatty was sure there would be plenty; and Nib and Meg went down the steps and away, at their leisure. “My! wasn’t them thar swell girls!” said little Nib, all aloud. “But I didn’t care; did you, Meg? An’ I seed derlicious dolls in ther,—I’ll bet ourn’ll have flouncers, or sumthink.”

Miss Chatty, hearing, resolved there should, at least, be “sumthink.”

Her little ladies all were looking at her as she re-entered the drawing-room. They were ready to burst forth into a breeze of fun and ridicule, or to be very sorry,—just which way their dear Doll Doctor gave the cue. She laid the bundle on the shelf, the pink calico by itself in a bit of paper, and wrote down the order. “Poor little waifs,” she sighed. “Think of it, children, how hard they try to be like other folks, and how much they seem to wish for something to love!”

There was a little hush, until Teresa Drew spoke. “I never thought of it, but I wonder what street-children do do for dolls!”

“Madame ought not to have to touch objects from the barrel of the ashes; it is very mooch disgoosted,” said Teresa’s French maid. She stooped and whispered to her little mistress. The child directly took out her purse, and laid a shining half eagle on the table by Miss Chatty’s hand.

“Please buy them both a nice, well-dressed doll, with plenty of ’adgink’ on the clothes. Who would think they could care for lace! We must tell mamma that, Hortense.”

Miss Chatty kissed her kind little customer. All her little ladies were pleased if she shook hands when they came, and very happy indeed if she twined a curl over her finger, or re-tied a sash,—for she had the dearest and daintiest of mother-ways. “My dear,” she said, “I think the little girls would feel tenderest toward the very dollies they have worked so hard to get. But I should like to buy clothing for the children themselves with your gold piece.”

The idea roused a creditable little furore of benevolence among the children. Every tiny pocket-book came open, and although there was no more gold, Miss Chatty soon became the treasurer of a respectable fund for the benefit of Meg and Nib, whom several now remembered to have seen as rag-pickers and match-girls.

Indeed, there was so much generous talk about Meg and Nib that when Miss Chatty went to bed she dreamed a very long and very nice dream.

In this dream all the pavements in the city were fringed with toadstools, and the stems were little girls, each with a doll in her arms, and they were all on their way to her house to be mended. When all had arrived, a tall, white angel came, and stood in the door and looked in. And she said, “Behold, I am she that weepeth over the woes of children. I sit upon a cloud over this city. To-night, on the evening air, I listened for the noise of crying and quarreling, and, instead, I heard laughter, and playing, and lullabies. The thanks of one that weeps are sweeter than all others. Take my blessing, O giver of dolls, because you have learned that a little girl, to be good, must have something to love.”

Then the children sang “bye-low-baby-bye” in soft tones; and after they were through singing, they sat and nodded deliciously,—children, dolls, and she, too; and all this while the Angel of the Children’s Woes sat in their midst on a canopied coach that had a coachman, and a footman, and a French maid, and rested from her tearful labors—indeed her eyes grew every moment of a most bright and smiling azure; and while she was resting, on a loom of silver she wove edging until there was a great plenty to have trimmed all the dolls in the world.

It was quite a pleasant dream, in fact; and Miss Chatty woke with her heart all soft, and young, and warm, and it staid so all day Sunday.

After breakfast, Monday morning, she put on her holland gloves and went out to dig around her roses. She desired the circle of dark loam about her trees to be exactly and truly round. So she found it necessary to do her own digging.

As she set her foot on the spade, a little voice she knew called from the bottom of the garden. “Please, Miss Chatty, were there a great many nice dolls brought Saturday?”

And another little voice continued, “May we go and see them?”

It was Sylvey Morgan and Teddy. They were looking over the broken paling of the garden fence, their little faces twinkling with smiles and sunshine.

“Yes, birdies. You may go up through the basement, and I will step over and see Mintie.”

The children flew to the gate and up to the house, for you must know that it was very nice, indeed, to go up to Miss Chatty’s parlors and look at the beautiful dolls all by themselves. They well knew they “mustn’t touch;” and Miss Chatty was well assured they wouldn’t.

She picked some clove pinks and went over to the house of the children. It was a small cottage in vines fronting a back street. She went around to the sitting-room, where, by the window, sat a young girl with a poor little pinched-up face. A cane, gayly painted, and adorned with a flowing ribbon bow, leaned against the window, and told the girl’s story.

The room was very plain only about this corner. This nook had a bird cage and a hanging basket of ivy in the window; Mintie’s chair, with its gay cushion, stood on a Persian mat; there was a little window garden growing on the ledge; and on the elbow stand was a globe with gold fish, while opposite hung some pretty water colors. Mintie’s hair was tied back with a rose-pink bow, and her wrapper was a marvelous web of roses and posies. Altogether the endeavor to surround poor Mintie Morgan with brightness and beauty was very evident.

But Mintie herself looked peevish, and as if never anything in the world had been done for her. It was plain she was no nice, ideal invalid, but a girl whom to take care of would be a great trial.

She did smile, however, as she took Miss Chatty’s clove pinks. “You always bring enough, and plenty of grass and leaves, so that there is a chance to try a bouquet. I believe you do it that I may fuss with them half the forenoon if I like.”

Miss Chatty colored a trifle at being detected. “Well, that is nothing against me, I hope, Mintie. How do you feel to-day?”

“O, good-for-nothing, and all tired out just to think it is Monday morning instead of Saturday night.”

“I do wish you had something pleasant to occupy yourself with,” said Miss Chatty, sympathetically, instead of whipping out the little sermon on contentment. She had always thought she wouldn’t thank anybody to preach contentment to her, had she been broken-backed and with no feet to speak of, like Mintie.

“Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“Of course there isn’t,” said Mintie. “I want something pretty if I have anything, work which will make me forget I am in this chair. I won’t sew the children’s clothes. Father and mother should contrive that I was amused. And if you felt so very bad for me, Miss Chatty, I guess you would have offered to let me dress some of them dolls before now!”

“So I might, I should think myself,” said Miss Chatty, startled into saying a very unwise thing; for, of course, a ten-dollar doll wasn’t to be put in careless fingers.

“But, of course,” continued Mintie, fretfully, “you don’t have more than you can do yourself.”

“No,” said Miss Chatty, much relieved, “I don’t. But, poor little Mintie, you ought to have something nice to do!”

“Well, you need all the money, and I shouldn’t like to work, even at anything pretty, unless I was paid. I don’t wish to talk about work at all unless that is understood. You needn’t ever bring anything here to do just to amuse me.” And Mintie looked,—only think of a young girl looking as ugly as pictures of misers that you have seen!

As for Miss Chatty, she blushed clear up to her eyes. “My dear child!” she exclaimed. “How could you think I should be unjust!”

And then she went and stood in the door. The dear little old maid was dreadfully ashamed, and a trifle indignant, too, over Mintie’s bad manners and selfishness. But after a moment she reflected that probably the poor girl had no pocket-money at all, and couldn’t get any either; and she recollected also that it had been said that physical deformity often produced spiritual crookedness and halting. She tried to think of some way to help her. She thought of offering Nib’s and Meg’s dolls to make and clothe; but no, Mintie wished to handle only beautiful things.

All at once her dream came up before her, as pleasant as in her sleep, and it seemed to turn inside out and reveal its meaning.

She went back and kissed Mintie. Then she went home and kissed Sylvey and Teddy and sent them away. After that she made herself ready, and went upon another eccentric little journey among her wealthy friends.

It is said that Miss Chatty talked a deal of beautiful and flowery nonsense at every house where she called, all about the influence upon poor children of a flower to watch, or a bird to tend, or a lovely doll to love. She told everybody that she was going to send a missionary in the shape of a pretty doll to every ragged and dirty child in the city.

They laughed at the idea of the doll-mission; but as she begged at most places for nothing more than “pieces,”—bits of silk and bright woolens, remnants of ribbons and laces, the natural leavings of dressmaking, of which there is always plenty at every house,—Miss Chatty did not render herself very obnoxious.

But at three or four houses there was far more weighty talk; and from them Miss Chatty took away considerable money. Then she went down upon Vesey Street, and one of her friends among the merchants gave her a roll of bleached muslin, and the same good man also gave her a card of edging in the name of his little daughter. She then went down farther still, to Bleecker Street, where a jolly young importer of cheap toys sold her a gross of china dolls at cost.

Tuesday, all day, she cut patterns of skirts, and polonaises, and basques, and fichus, and walking jackets, all as fanciful as possible, bearing in mind the temper of her seamstress.

On Wednesday she went over to Mintie, carrying the bundles and her own walnut cutting board.

And when Mintie had looked at the great army of curly-pated dolls, with their naked little kid bodies, every one of them wearing the same rosy smile, and had laid all the lustrous silky velvets to her cheek, and had sheened the silks over her knee, and had delighted with the laces and the iris ribbons, she did smile, the first sunny smile of her blighted life, I do believe; and she said she should be very, very happy, and that she should dress no two dolls alike; and she never mentioned her wages at all.

But after Miss Chatty had unfolded her plan, and told her how well she was to be paid, Mintie became cross again. She said after the dolls were done it was a shame for ragged children to have them, and they would have to be taken from her house to be distributed, for she couldn’t, and wouldn’t, bear the sight of such creatures!

But in what manner the Doll Mission was organized, and how the lovely missionaries did their work, and whether the Angel really stopped weeping, will make another long story; and it will be still more beautiful than this and the other.


THE LITTLE PARSNIP-MAN.


BY E. F.


ONE year Mrs. Dumpling was ill all the summer, and there was nobody much to tend the kitchen garden, except Dimple.

Dimple was extremely sturdy, but being shorter than the spade, he could not use the spade at all; and he was so very much shorter than a hoe, that the hoe kicked, and generally hit Dimple on the nose; and before summer was out he was so much shorter than the weeds, that when he went to pull them, the weeds felt quite at liberty to turn about and pull him; they’d hang back and pull, and pull, until they got Dimple all excited and puffing, and then they’d suddenly let go his little hands, and down would go Dimple on the ground, over on his back, pulled right off his little roots,—his little feet, I mean,—while the weeds would just swing, and nod, and shake with laughter, and then they would grow—oh, how they would grow! A little rough pulling at one, if you don’t get pulled clear off your feet and out of your place, is so very good for anybody.

Dimple finally gave up the weeds, and tended the vegetables only. He cultivated them with a stick, scratching along the roots, and making the soil black and loose. One day he sat under a shady row of tall mustard-weeds, and scratched along a line of some feathery green stuff his mamma had sowed. He sat poking the dirt, and thinking what a pretty green plants turned as the dirt was stirred, when suddenly, poking away a big stone, he saw something white, and round, and wrinkled, just like a head,—an old man’s bald head!

“Why,” said Dimple, “who’s here?”

He dug a little, and he came to some sleepy old eyes, all shut, and wrinkled, and peevish.

“Why-ee!” said Dimple. “It is somebody!”

He dug and dug, and he came to a nose,—an awful big nose.

“Why-ee!” said Dimple. “It’s a Roman nose. I fink it is a grandpa.”

He dug a little mite more, and there were some moustaches growing right out of the big nose. He pulled and pulled with his two forefingers, and loosened them up, and all at once they flopped out of the dirt; and they were two long waxed moustaches.

Dimple was so surprised he said nothing this time, but dug away, almost scared. Pretty soon he found a mouth, a large funny mouth, close up under the nose, and the mouth was dreadful live and quirky.

“Why-ee-ee!” said Dimple. “I fink it is somebody, and he’s waking up!”

For now the eyes did seem to twinkle, and the little bare skull to wink and move its wrinkles up and down.

Dimple dug away again, and found a chin and some straggling beard.

“I fink what it is now,” said Dimple. “Mamma readed about him yes’day. He lives down in the mines. He’s a Kobold, and he wants to get out.”

It was so bad to be stuck fast in the dirt, Dimple dug now just as hard as he could. The little old man himself didn’t help at all to loosen up his two long, slim legs. Finally Dimple, with a mighty effort, and by shutting both eyes hard, pulled them out, and he tumbled over on his back, and the little old man tumbled over on his back, and lay like one dead.

Then Dimple saw he had no arms. “Dee-me!” said he. “I be’eve he started to bring up some gold, and the other Kobolds ran after him and cut off his arms. Dee-me! I fink what if he has got up so far and beed-ed to deff!”

Dimple scampered in, and his face was so white, and his story so wild, that Mrs. Dumpling managed to walk up into the garden.

Dimple took her to the place; the little old man was there, sure enough. Mrs. Dumpling saw him herself, in a glimmering dazed kind of way, for just one moment,—his twinkling eyes, his bald skull, his Roman nose, his long moustaches, and his straggling beard.

Then she sat down on the grass and laughed.

She picked him up; and the moment she touched him there was an awful transformation. Even Dimple saw it was only a parsnip,—a pronged, ill-shaped, tough old parsnip.

But that night something happened which Dimple never forgot. The old Parsnip-Man came to his bed and spoke to him. But I regret to say that he used many large words which Dimple could not understand.

“Kind sir,” said he, “naturally we are a fine and shapely race,—we, and our cousins the Beets and the Carrots and the Salsify. If we are brought up, as every new generation ought to be, with tender surroundings, and kept out of the company of stones and clods and weeds, we have a dear promise that many of us shall be placed on the dinner-table when children eat, and be changed into rosy cheeks, and white arms, and handsome young bodies, and live a long, merry life above ground in the sunshine. But if we are neglected by those upon whom we are dependent, we are changed underground, and become horrid old fellows, with ugly faces; and when we are pulled up, we are carted away and fed to cattle.

Do you know what it must be to be fed to cattle?” he roared.

And then, after a moment, he smiled mournfully. “A word to the wise,” he said. The low, pleading tone floated all about Dimple like a cool, green leaf. When he looked up to ask what the “Word” was, the Parsnip-Man had disappeared.

Dimple told his mamma in the morning. Mamma knew the “Word” very well. She said it was too bad, and she would have the parsnip-bed hoed that very day.


HOW DORR FOUGHT.


BY SALOME.


LITTLE Dorr Eastman always wore his sword—in the daytime, I mean. He would have liked to wear it at night—indeed, he tried it once; but as the belt was indispensable, and that was exceedingly rasping and uncomfortable with a night-gown, and as he often rolled upon the sword itself, and the sword, being hard, hurt his soft, plump side, and his soft, plump limbs, he gave it up, regretfully, since it was Dorr’s belief that “real truly” soldiers always slept with their “arms” on. And Dorr “knew”—for was not his brother Dick a colonel, and his father a general, and his grandfather a general?

But, then, they had been at West Point, and got toughened. After he grew up and had been at West Point, and had undergone discipline, doubtless a belt would not be uncomfortable in bed, and a sword could be worn with a night-gown!

The fancy-store in the village where Dorr’s papa owned a summer mansion, drove a flourishing trade during the season in gilt papers, and mill-boards, and tinsels; for, once a week, at least, the young soldier fashioned new stripes and epaulets; one day being a sergeant, on the next a major; and then, for days together, commander-in-chief U. S. A., during which space mamma, and Trudie, and Soph addressed him as His Excellency. Every stick which he could hew into the shape of a horse’s head, became a gallant charger, until mamma’s hall was one long, vast stable; mamma blew a whistle for reveillé; and the embryo cadet thought nothing of turning out at five in the morning, and splashing into a cold tub, especially on picnic mornings. But Dorr said he was hardening for West Point and glorious campaigns.

Hold your Hand, now.

His greatest anxiety was concerning these campaigns. “Mamma,” he said to her one day, “I fears there’s no use in me growing up!”

“Why, Your Excellency? It grieves me to hear that,” said mamma.

“’Cause everybody will be fighted out before that, mamma. Colonel Dick says they settle things now, and not fight.”

“Well, my little son, there will always be men who must wear swords, to make people afraid, so that they will think it is the safer way to settle without a war. My little Dorr shall be one of those men, and a great share of the time he will be home on furlough and stay with mamma. Won’t he like that?”

“No, he wouldn’t!” cried Dorr, stoutly, swelling up after the manner of colonels and generals. After a turn or two across the room, he came back to his mamma’s knee. “It’s likely, though, there’ll be Injuns. There always was Injuns in this land, Trudie says, and if they’s lasted s’long, it’s likely they’ll last s’long as I live; and Dick says there’ll be always war s’long as there’s Injuns!”

“O! my little blue-eyed Dorr,” said mamma, “wouldn’t you care to be scalped?”

“Why’d I care?” answered Dorr. “Wouldn’t my ‘feet be to the foe’?”

Mamma could not but laugh at her stern little man; and then she thought he had better go with the girls in the garden.

And there he was not a moment too soon. The sacred inclosure was already invaded by a ruthless hand—a fat, yellowish-black little hand, which was thrust through the paling, evidently after one of Soph’s treasures—the beautiful rose-pink dwarf dahlia.

Dorr saw it. “Soph! Soph! he’s breaking off your new Mex’can Lilliput dahlia!” and headlong went Sergeant Dorr toward the fence; but, half way there, he tripped in the tall asters, and crushed dozens of mamma’s choice autumn blooms as he fell.

Soph and Trudie both came running down the gravel. The boy behind the paling also ran, or would, had not the fat arm been thrust in too far; for, turning it in haste, it stuck fast, and now held him Sergeant Dorr’s prisoner.

His fall had made Sergeant Dorr very mad; and, picking himself up, he drove toward the paling in hot haste. “You flower-thief! them’s Soph’s flowers! You clear out of this, or I’ll shoot you with my sword!”

And the sword was brandished; and as Roly-poly couldn’t “clear out,” much as he wished, he staid, his hand still clasping the stalk of the “Mex’can Lilliput,” which he seemed unable to let go. Seeing that, down came Dorr’s wooden sword upon the arm! It was a sturdy stroke, too, so sturdy that the sword bounded and flew over on the other side, where an angry little bare black foot kicked it far out into the road, while the owner of the foot howled with pain.

“Dorr Eastman!” cried Trudie.

“You cruel, cruel boy!” cried Soph.

“He no bus’ness with your flowers, then!” said Dorr, crowding back an angry whimper.

“I’ve a mind to shake you!” said Trudie. But, instead, she went to the fence where the little bow-legged mulatto, still howling, was trying to get free.

“Little boy,” said she, “I’m sorry; but it is wrong to steal!”

“But we done got no flowers of our own,” said he; “and besides, I hain’t broke it. O, dear, where’s mammy? I hain’t gooine to stay hyer—don’t! don’t!” He howled louder than ever as Trudie took his arm.

“Hush up, simpleton! I’m only going to get you out.” With a firm grasp she turned his arm where he might draw it back. “There, I’ll let you out now, if you will stand still a moment after I let go.”

The boy sobbed mightily, but stood still. “Stand there till I tell you to go,” commanded Trudie. Then she broke one of her own flowers for him, and also went into her pocket. “Hold your hand, now,” said she.

Sobbing, and with hidden face, the small ragamuffin held up his hand, and Trudie poured into it a stream of pennies and candies. “The flower,” said she, “is because you like pretty things. The rest is to pay you for being struck.”

The tawny little hand dashed the “pay” to the ground. “I can’t be paid for being struck!” he cried, baring his tearful eyes, and gleaming with them at the “sergeant.”

“What’s all this?” asked mamma, coming down the walk.

He tumbled into her Arms Head first.

Hearing the story, she went outside, and bared the beaten arm. There was a frightful lump on the soft, black baby flesh. She looked up at her little soldier ruefully, and he ran off.

She took the child in, and bathed the bruise with camphor, picked him a gorgeous bouquet, and sent him home with various admonitions and tendernesses. Then she waited for Dorr to come.

By and by he came. He was still without his sword. He rushed to her, as she turned at the sound of the little footstep, and tumbled into her arms head first.

“Mamma,” he said, “I have martial-courted myself! I runned after him, but he wouldn’t strike me. Then I thought what you said ’bout ‘kisses for blows,’ but he wouldn’t kiss me; but I know’d there should be a kiss somewheres, ’cause ’twas your kind of a battle, not papa’s; so I gave him my sword, and asked him to come to play—and—well, mamma, I haven’t got any sword no more!”

The little heart heaved; but mamma hugged him close, and shed a glad tear to think her teaching had had its effect as well as papa’s.

“My kind of battles are very hard, much harder to be fought than papa’s,” she said, “and Dorr is braver than if he had killed a hundred men.”

ALL THE WAY TO CANADA.


TIM’S PARTNER.


BY AMANDA M. DOUGLAS.


“AIN’T got nothin’, Miss May, to set up a chap in housekeepin’—have you?”

“Housekeeping!” the young lady cried in surprise. “Why, surely, Tim, you are not thinking of—” and she paused, suddenly eying the figure before her from head to foot.

A strange, misshapen creature it was. He was barely eighteen, but he might have been twice that from the looks of his face, which was thin and sharp, and wrinkled about the eyes and forehead, surmounted by a shock of sandy brown hair, and thatched with an old gray felt hat going to tatters. A short, humpbacked figure, with a body out of all proportion to the pinched, slender legs. The arms were long, and finished by hands twice too large. A poor, pitiful object; yet there was something wistful and touching in the great brown eyes.

“Of gettin’ married? Was you goin’ to say that, Miss May? He! he! A gal would want a husband mighty bad, wouldn’t she, when she picked up such a crooked stick? The good Lord knows why he made me this way, I s’pose,” falling for a moment into a reflective mood. “But ’tain’t that, Miss May. I’ve got a room of old Mother Budd, and a stove, and a mattress, and now I’ve taken a pardner—Jerry; but you don’t know nothin’ ’bout him. He’s a little chap what’s had a drunken father all his life, and has to get about on two crutches—worse’n me, a good sight,” looking down with pride on his thin legs and substantial feet. “And now his father’s sent up to the Island, ’nd he had no place to go to. So we’ve set up together. He’s smart in some ways, is Jerry—kin sew like a gal, and cook, and we’ll get along just jolly. Only if we had some dishes and things. You see we have to pay a dollar a week in advance, for old Mother Budd’s sharp at a bargain, lookin’ out for tricks. Then I bought some coal an’ wood, an’ that took about all my spare capital.” He gave a sort of humorous grin, as he said “capital.”

He had shoveled off the snow and cleaned out the gutter to perfection. Miss May had paid him thirty cents. After a moment she said,—

“Come down in the basement, Tim. I should not wonder if we could find you an outfit. Two boys housekeeping! It’s rather funny!”

Tim scraped and wiped his feet, stood his shovel in the corner of the area, and followed the young lady within. All winter he had been on hand to clean the sidewalk and put in coal. Besides his wages she had given him a few old garments, and his gratitude had touched her. Now she felt rather amused.

Bridget gave him a somewhat unfriendly stare as he entered the kitchen. She never could understand why a lady like Miss May should take fancies “to beggars and that sort of trash.” Dr. May looked rather serious about it, and wished her mother had lived, or that aunt Helen knew how to interest her in other people. He saw quite enough of the misery and wretchedness of the world without having his pretty young daughter breaking her heart over it.

“Come and warm yourself, Tim. Bridget, where are those cracked and checked dishes and old tins I picked out the other day? And there are some chairs down cellar. O, and those old comfortables I laid away.”

“Sure, miss, I was goin’ to ask you if I mightn’t give the dishes to my cousin, Ann Flynn, who is to be married on Sunday night. They’d be a godsend to her.”

“We’ll divide them;” and Miss May smiled.

Bridget very unwillingly opened the closet door. The idea of giving china dishes to a beggar! She grudged everything that could go to a “cousin.”

Miss May picked out two cups and saucers, four plates, two bowls, and several miscellaneous articles, including a block-tin tea-pot and two or three dilapidated tin pails.

“O, Miss May! Why, we’ll feel as grand as kings!” and the eyes were lustrous with gratitude.

“Here’s a basket to pack them in. Bridget, give him a little tea and sugar, and some of the cold meat left yesterday. I’ll run up stairs and find some bed-clothes.”

She came back laden. Tim’s face glowed to its utmost capacity, which was large, seeing that he had been out in the cold all the morning.

“There, I haven’t any table, but all these will help. You are sure your partner, as you call him, is a trusty fellow?”

“He’s good as gold, though he hain’t no legs worth speakin’ of. He used to sell papers on the cars, but he stumbled one day, ’nd had one cut off, and t’other hurt. His father used to keep him round beggin’, but he’s bound to have nice times now along o’ me. If you could hear him sing, Miss May—it’s like a bird hangin’ out a winder. When the weather comes warm he kin sell apples and flowers, and sich. I’ll have a little spare capital bimeby to start him with. An’ it’ll be next to havin’ folks of one’s very own. I never had any, you see. Not that I’d want a father like Jerry’s. Poor little chap, he’s had rough times, what with the beatin’ and the starvin’.”

Miss May winked a tear out of her blue eyes. How ready these street Arabs were to stand by one another! Would anybody in her “set” take in a poor brother unhesitatingly?

Tim was grateful from the very depths of his soul, and it was no mean one. He bundled the articles in a great pack, and shouldered them, chairs and all, and drew his rough sleeve across his eyes, while his good-bye had a very husky sound.

If Miss May could have heard the rejoicing!

And yet it was a miserable little room, up three flights of stairs, with only one window looking into a rear house. Their bedstead had been made of dry goods boxes, and when they covered it with her clean chintz comfortable, and arrayed their closet shelves with the dishes, leaving the door open so they could feast their eyes on their new possessions, they could not resist giving three cheers; and Tim was actually coaxed into dancing a breakdown, while Jerry clapped “Finnegan’s Wake” with his thin hands on the one good knee he had left. It was a blustering March day, but they two had a delightfully warm room and a feast. What amused them most of all was beautiful Miss May’s idea that Tim was going to be married.

“Tim,” said Jerry solemnly, when their laugh had ended, “I don’t know how girls feel about such poor cripples as you and me, but my opinion is that my mammy would have been glad enough to had a husband with the great, tender heart you’ve got. Poor mammy! I’m glad she’s in heaven along of the angels, and I’m glad she don’t know about my legs. God wouldn’t tell her when she was so happy—would He, Tim?”

“No, He wouldn’t,” said Tim over a great lump in his throat.

There never were such happy days in the life of either as those that followed. Jerry cooked, kept accounts, washed, ironed, and mended, and as the days grew warmer began to do quite a thriving business in button-hole bouquets, standing on the corner as the men went up town. Now and then he sold popular photographs on commission, or a lot of choice bananas.

Tim was brisk and active, and caught up all manner of odd jobs. Now and then he saw Miss May. Once he sent Jerry with a bouquet of flowers.

“I wanted you to see him, Miss May,” he said afterward, hanging around until he caught sight of her. “He don’t look pale and peaked, as he did when we first set up. It’s good livin’, you see, and no beatin’s. And we have just the jolliest times you ever heard of. He don’t want me to call him anything but pardner. I do believe that ere little chap would give his life for me.”

“O, Tim, how good you are!” she cried. “You shame richer and wiser people. It is very noble to take that poor little boy by the hand and love and protect him.”

“Noble!” echoed Tim, pulling his forelock and coloring through the tan and grime. “Why, Miss May, he’s a sight of help and comfort to me; better’n any wife would be, ’cause, you see, no woman who’d take me ever’d be half so good.”

“Tim,” she said, opening her dainty Russia leather pocket-book, “I want to add a little mite to your happiness. I am going to the country soon, for the whole summer. I want you to take this, and spend it just as I tell you. You and Jerry must go on some nice excursion; there will be plenty of them presently. Get a good dinner, and take all the delight you can, and remember to tell me all about it afterward.”

“O, Miss May, you are too good for anybody’s folks! Indeed, I’ll tell you every word. And can I come again next winter to shovel snow and do chores?”

“Yes, indeed. I shall be glad to have you. God bless you and your partner, poor, brave little soul. I shall think of you often.”

“I never see an angel ’xcept the ones in the picters with wings, but I know Miss May is one,” said Tim to himself.

Tim and his partner counted their money that night. Business had been flourishing of late.

“There’s twenty-one dollars that we’ve saved up free and clear, and the lady’s five. Tim, you had better put it in the bank;” and Jerry’s eyes sparkled feverishly.

“I’d have to hide the bank book then;” and Tim chuckled. “Think of havin’ a bank account! Why, we’d feel a’most like Astor, or the old Commodore.”

“But I wish you would, Tim. I’m afraid to have so much in the house. It will be something against winter when business is dull. Now we’re making plenty to live on. Won’t you, Tim?”

“To be sure I will—to-morrow. And we’ll hide the book in that same chink in the floor. No one would think of looking there. And we’ll have a rousin’ time on some ’xcursion. We’ll choose one with a brass band, and have a little dance in one corner by ourselves. There isn’t the beat of Miss May in this whole world.”

“She’s good, but then she’s rich, you know. Five dollars doesn’t look so large to her as it does to you and me. But, Tim, I love you better than a hundred Miss Mays.”

Tim chuckled and winked hard, but said never a word.

He was off early in the morning, as he had an important job on hand. Jerry would have dinner all ready at noon, and he would put on his “store clothes” and go down to the bank like any other swell. My eyes! Weren’t they in clover?

Tim could not get home until three; but he had earned two dollars since morning. They each had a key to the door, and finding it locked, Tim drew out his. Jerry had gone to business; afternoons were his time. There was no dinner set out on the table and covered with a napkin. A curious chill of something like neglect went to Tim’s warm heart; but he whistled it away, found a bite of cold meat and some oatmeal. Then he decided he would run over on Broadway and tell Jerry of his good luck. It was too late to think of going to the bank.

No little chap sat on the well-known corner. Tim walked up a block, down again, and studied the cross street sharply. Had he sold out and gone home? Or may be he had taken the money to the bank! Tim ran home again. Yes, that was it. The money was gone.

He waited and waited. Somehow he did not feel a bit jolly; but he boiled the kettle and laid the supper. No Jerry yet. What had become of him? Had he put on his best suit?

They had made a clothes-press out of a dry goods box, and Tim went to inspect it. Why—Jerry’s shelf was entirely empty. Shirts, stockings, yes, everything, even to his old every-day suit, gone. Tim dropped on the floor, and hid his face in his hands. Had Jerry—

It was funny, but Tim squared off and gave the box a thump that bruised his knuckles. It seemed to him that the box had breathed a suspicion that Jerry had stolen the money and run away. Then he kicked it, and sat down and cried as if his heart would break. His pardner, little Jerry, a thief! No, he would never, never believe it.

He sat up till midnight, and it seemed to him there had never been such loneliness since the world began. Then the next morning he made some inquiries. Their two nearest neighbors were washerwomen. Both had been out all day. No one had seen Jerry.

If Jerry’s father were not in prison—but he had been sent up in February for a year, and here it was only the last of June. Or if there had been any evil companions hanging around; but Jerry and every scrap of his belongings, as well as the money, had surely disappeared.

There was no gay excursion for Tim. He brooded over his desertion, and grew morose, began to save his money again, and shut himself up like a hermit. The poor, crippled boy that he had taken to his heart, that he had warmed and fed! Ah! it was very bitter. Perhaps not even his beautiful Miss May would care to remember him.

So he did not go near her. Autumn came on apace. One dreary November day, when he could find nothing to do, he turned homeward, weary and heart-sick. Ah, if there was only a cheery voice to welcome him!

Some one stood by his door, a lady in dainty attire. Some one caught his arm, and cried,—

“O, Tim, I’m so glad you have come! I have been waiting almost an hour. Tim, I’ve found little Jerry, and he is dying; but he asks for you constantly. Come right away. Don’t lose a moment.”

“Jerry!” in a sort of dazed way, as if he but half understood. “Little Jerry—my pardner? O, Miss May—no, you can’t mean it—dying?”

“Yes. Hurry, Tim. I’ve waited so long already!”

They walked down the stairs, scudded through the streets to a horse car. It seemed to Tim as if they rode an hour. Then they alighted, and a short walk brought them to a decent looking tenement house. Up one flight of stairs, and the door opened.

“Is it Tim?” asked a weak voice.

Tim threw himself on his knees by the bedside, and kissed the sweet, wan face with the tenderness of a mother. For some minutes only sobs were heard.

“You told him, Miss May?”

“No, Jerry. We hurried so there was no chance. But I will tell him every word.”

“O, Tim, you didn’t think I was a thief? It broke my heart to go. It was father. He got out some way, and had been watching us. He came that night when we were so happy counting our money, but he didn’t dare offer to take me away then. The next morning he walked in with a paper, which he said was a warrant for me, and that if I dared to say a word he’d send me to the Refuge. I picked up my things—I was so afraid of him—and then he wanted the money, and swore if I didn’t get it he’d murder me. I told him I wouldn’t; so he tied my hands and bound my mouth, lest I should scream, and then he hunted everywhere; and O, Tim, he found it! He took me right out of the city with him to a vile den, where they wanted to make a thief of me.”

“O, Jerry, dear, don’t talk; it takes away all your strength. God knows I never could have a hard thought of you now;” and Tim broke down.

“Just a little. I couldn’t get back to you. They watched me, and beat me until I was sore and stiff; and there I staid until only a fortnight ago, when one night I gave them the slip. I wanted to come back and tell you how it was, but the way was so far, and I was so tired, so tired! Then I fell down in the street, and a good woman picked me up and brought me in here, where it’s so nice and clean, Tim, and such a quiet place to die in! And then I don’t seem to remember much until yesterday, when Miss May came in, and this morning, when she brought her father. And then I wanted to see you, to tell you—Tim, if I could live and earn the money—you were so good to me—so good. Tim, if you could hold me in your arms again! Miss May said I would find mammy in heaven; that God cared for poor little boys. Does He, Tim? I like you to tell me. And will you come and let me be your pardner again? Is it very far? Kiss me, Tim. You know now I wasn’t a thief. Miss May sang something yesterday about opening the starry gates—”

“At the portals Jesus waits;
All the heavenly host, begin;
Open wide the starry gates,
Let the little traveller in,”

sang the sweet voice over a tremulous sob.

Closer clung the thin arms, and the cool cheek was pressed against Tim’s, hot with burning tears. The little hands that had kept their house tidy, and prepared the simple meals, lay limp and useless. The eyes could not see any more, but the lips smiled and murmured a few incoherent words, soft, sweet, and then an awesome silence. The little waif Jerry had gone over the river.

“O, Miss May,” cried Tim, “they will take him in—won’t they? For, you see, the poor little chap didn’t have a square chance in this world! He’s been kicked and cuffed about, and had to go on crutches, an’ been half starved many a time, but he wouldn’t lie nor steal for all that. He ought to be happy somewheres. O, Jerry! Jerry! I loved you so! And you was true to the last!”

“They will take him in,” Miss May says, with solemn tenderness. And presently she unclasps the arms that are wound around Jerry’s neck, lays the poor hands straight, and leads Tim over by the window. He looks at her with dumb, questioning eyes, as if he would fain have her fathom the mystery that he knows so little about. She brushes away some tears; but O, what can she say to comfort him? For Jerry was all he had.

Presently Tim comes back and kisses the cold lips and stares at the strange beauty overspreading the wan face.

“O, Miss May,” he cries, “do you suppose I could ever earn enough to pay for his being buried in some country place, where there’d be a few flowers and a tree growing over him? I’d work all my life long. For he’d like it so. I can’t bear to think of having him carried away—”

“No,” she says, with a shiver. “I will see about it, Tim.” Then she gives a few orders to the woman, and goes away, leaving Tim with his “pardner.”

Dr. May shook his head at his daughter at first, and said it was folly; but two days after he had him buried in a pretty rural cemetery, with a white marble slab above his head containing two words—“Tim’s Partner.” And Tim, who takes care of the doctor’s horse now, and does odd chores, pauses occasionally and says to Miss May, “There never can be anybody quite like Jerry to me again. Over in the other country we’ll be pardners forever.”


“UNTO BABES.”


BY HELEN KENDRICK JOHNSON.


“’ET, ittie oottie, I dettie ut ’en it det e ittie iter;” which, being interpreted, means, “Yes, little rooster, I’ll get up when it gets a little lighter.”

The same was uttered by a pair of cherry lips, opening below a pair of laughing eyes, which were parted from the cherry lips by a cherry nose. The nose was cherry because it stuck out from the face so round and plump that the sun, which had been around painting cherries just this time of the year, threw a glance at it and said, “There’s another!” and gave it a good strong stroke with his brush. This little accident made the whole face look funny; for, like most people who do their work in a hurry, the sun had dipped up so much paint, and dashed it at the nose so carelessly, that it had hit ever so many other places—a spot on the chin, a daub on the cheeks, and a streak on the forehead.

Now there is some excuse for the sun; for while everybody knows that boys never will stand still long enough to have their faces properly attended to, everybody, little and big, and not only that, but every tree and flower and blade of grass, keeps dancing and whirling about, while the sun is trying to fix it.

The result is just what you would expect—apples with one red cheek and one white one, blackberries with three colors on the same stem, so that the boys can always quote the old riddle, “blackberries are red when they’re green,” and cherries that make half your pail-full, “not fit to eat,” according to your mother, and speckled little fellows, just like this one.

On this particular morning there was great excitement in the towzley head that popped up to make the lucid remark above quoted. His big sister did not dream that little Wide Awake took it all literally when she said, “Don’t get up the first time the rooster crows.”

She forgot that childhood’s sweetest trait is trust, and she was startled to remember it when she heard the precious little fellow’s sweet voice twitter out in the faint dawn:

“Et, ittie ootie, I dettie ut ’en it det e ittie iter.”

Long before the sun had fairly got his paints mixed for another dash at the fruit and the children, Strut crowed again.

Was Wide Awake asleep? Asleep, indeed! Up went the head again, and this time two flying heels followed, and the bright voice sang again:

“’E ootie c’ows, an’ a’aw ’e do’s.”

He meant to say:

“The rooster crows, and away he goes,” meaning his little self.

“Little brother, it isn’t time to get up for an hour. Hop into bed again,” called out Sister Laura.

“’Ou ed e ’econ’ tine,” said a sorrowful, drooping little voice.

“Go to sleep—that’s a good boy!” was the answer, and Laura set the copy for him by going off instantly herself.

But Wide Awake had not won his name without deserving it, and he passed a long and lonesome hour trying to amuse himself with nothing.

Finally, dressing-time came. When he reached the kitchen, all was as busy as a coming picnic could make it. Dinah was flying from cellar to pantry, and from pantry to oven. As soon as he got to the back stairs door-way, Wide Awake spied something wrong high up on Dinah’s back.

“Attieilly on ou olly,” he cried out.

“Keep still, Allie; don’t boffer me screaming,” said Dinah.

Attieilly on ou olly,” said he, coming close to her, and pointing, and pulling her dress.

“Go ’long, I tell you!” said she. “I’ll tell your sister, and you won’t get no cake.”

Allie reluctantly stepped back a little; but he spoke volumes of anxiety, had any one been looking.

No one was.

“Oh! what’s dat on my neck?” screamed out Dinah, in a minute. “Oh-h-h!”

“Allie tole Dine attieilly on ou olly,” said Allie, as Dinah’s cries brought Laura, who picked off from Dinah’s neck an immense caterpillar, which the patient little fellow had been compelled to watch in its upward journey from the shoulder where he first espied it.

At length the preparations were fairly finished, the horses were at the door, Allie’s eyes were dancing almost out of his head with joy, the refreshments were all packed in, and, almost in the midst of the baskets a stool was set for Allie, and his happy little self deposited upon it. The rest were finally seated, and the picnickers move off for Dudley’s woods.

Everybody talked and laughed together; and Allie sang to himself, with no fear of being heard. Presently he seized an end of his sister’s shawl, and shouted with all his might:

“Doos, Laula, doos!”

“Yes, dear, Laula knows.”

My doos, Laula! my doos ober dare.”

“Yes, dear, never mind,” was the answer.

“Ve’er min’ doos, Laula?” said the voice, anxiously.

“No, never mind, we’ll see another.”

“Where is the feather on your hat, child?” asked Laura, when they had ridden two miles farther.

“Doos dawn, Laula; ’ou ed no min’ my doos.”

“Dear me! that was what he called his feather,—his goose,” said she. “I might have remembered.”

“Laula, Allie’s feets feel ’et.”

“Wet, child? I guess not,” said Laura, and chatted on.

They were nearing the woods as she spoke, and soon the loaded carriages turned into a wood so uninviting and full of underbrush that you looked again all over the party to see if they appeared crazy from anything but gay spirits.

No, they were sane, no doubt; and there must be an explanation for such a choice. The explanation was, that it was not choice at all, it was circumstance which guided them. Twenty-five years ago that very day, a party of four young married people, with their older children, had come to this wood to pick blackberries, which grew in great abundance upon its borders. It was half a frolic; but still it was no accident that sent them home with forty shining black quarts to enjoy by their firesides. The next year they went again, and the next, and the next; and every year the company grew larger. But, strange to say, as it grew larger the quarts grew smaller, and finally, somehow or other, “the blackberries are not worth picking this year;” or “the blackberries are all dried up this year,” became the continual complaint when the excursionists returned home with emptier and emptier baskets.

But the “Blackberry Party” grew as thick as its namesake fruit had been of old, and now, for twenty-five years, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, grandchildren and neighbors, gathered to the time-honored festival. To be sure, every year more of the elders stayed behind, because they missed one and another who were there “last year,” and life’s merriment was checked for them forever until they should follow.

But new ones had come to take the lead, and the merry scenes went on in the gnarled old forest. It was a strange fact that in all these years the day on which the picnic occurred had never been stormy. A glorious succession of bright days had spanned the quarter of a century, and it was taken as a sign that heaven smiled peculiarly upon the innocent joy which the day was sure to bring.

This was the quarter centennial, and the procession had picked up little Allie, as “big enough to go this year.” And so little Allie was very happy, although, in spite of Sister Laura’s assurance, he did think that his feet were “’et.”

Laura thought so too, in a minute; for she lifted a can that had once held six quarts from the “morning’s milking,” and found “only a stingy little pint or so,” left.

“Allie’s feet us ’et, Laula,” said the voice, which did not dream that it sounded like the silver trumpet of an unheeded angel.

“Fisk an’ Tarlo ginkin auty, Laula,” said Allie once more.

“Carlo naughty! drive him away. But he won’t bite Allie.”

“No, ’e bite auty, ’pring auty.”

“Never mind,—he won’t hurt you. Carlo is a good doggie.”

“Go ’way, there! What are you doing, you scamps! I declare! Frisk and Carlo have been drinking half that spring water!”

“Allie tole Laula.”

But Laula was bemoaning the loss; for the spring was almost a mile away, and this wood was provided with no modern conveniences.

The cask of ice-water was too precious to be used for cooking purposes, and away trudged the youths for another bucket-full.

This weakened the effective force of the dinner getters materially; for, under the pretense of picking the traditional blackberries, nearly all the party, in couples or in groups, had strayed off to parts unseen. The remaining ones were lighting a lively fire, and going through various manœuvres before it, and a certain odor therefrom said plainly, “You don’t often get better coffee than I come from.”

Allie, meantime, was roaming about unnoticed. He gained an immense amount of information in this leisure hour.

Presently Laura called out, “I have got the lemons ready; bring me that box of sugar.”

The box was brought, a ten-pound one, and full to the brim.

“Laula, don’ pu’ dat! Dat au ’alt, Laula!”

“Allie doesn’t like to see his pet sugar thrown away in such a big hole,” said she, gayly, as she emptied the box into the oaken cask. “Run for the ice-water, I hear them coming from all directions.”

Great white lumps of ice, pure cold water,—in they went, and Laura stirred violently with her monstrous ladle.

“Allie shall have the first taste,” said she, “to show him that his dear sugar is not wasted.”

“Allie don’ wan’! Allie know e au ’alt.”

“All spoilt? No, dear, just see how nice it is!”

“Laula pu’ in ’alt,” said he, again. “Laula ta’!”

Laula did “ta’,” then; and she dropped the cup with a scream of horror. For, besides the fact that ten pounds of salt in any combination do not help to make either a refreshing or a thirst-allaying drink, here were five dozen fine lemons, and many quarts of ice-water, a hopeless loss.

“How could that stupid Dinah bring the salt instead of the sugar?” she muttered, as soon as vexation would allow her to speak at all.

One by one the party dropped in, and the first cry was for lemonade, “Laura’s famous manufacture.” More famous than it ever had been it became immediately, and, amid the general din of exclamations no one heard Allie say:

“Allie knew. Allie tole Laula ’bout ’alt!”

Then was felt, with greater cruelty, the absence of milk for the fragrant coffee; and the delicious cake, and sandwiches, and ham, and turkey, and tarts, and pastry, were but half enjoyed.

It was with a heavy heart that poor Laura packed up the dishes, and laid away more untouched food, than usual.

A row of lemon and berry pies had been set upon one of the benches; and somebody, to keep the insects out, had thrown a table-cloth upon them. Along came two lovers, whose visions were only fairy-like, and who were in that state of mind when it made no difference where they rested or went, so that they rested or went together. With their eyes entirely occupied in gazing at one another, they wandered up to the temporary cupboard.

A little voice close by fairly screamed out:

“Don’ ’it on ’e bys! Don’t ’it on ’e bys!”

A vague smile into his earnest face was all the reply he received, and down sat the pair, too full of a fond trust in themselves to remember to doubt anything created.

“Oh! oh! oh! oh!” resounded all about them, and an instant later their own “oh” mingled in the chorus, as the groan of broken crockery rose on the air, and table-cloth and drapery were pronounced a ruin.

“’Ou ’at wite on ’e bys,” said a voice which was not needed to confirm the fact.

At length the light of the twenty-fifth glorious day began to steal in long darting lines among the foliage that had been a shelter from its rays all day. As the company assembled, it was found to have been an unusually bad year for blackberries, though why it should have been the most imaginative did not venture to suggest.

As they started homeward Laura said:

“Now sit right still, Allie, for fear you should fall out, for we shall go very fast indeed.”

There was little need for the warning, as Allie was well wedged down in front, and well wrapped up in an extra shawl of Laura’s, because she forgot to bring his little overcoat.

But by-and-by the whip worked quietly out of its broken holder, and no eyes but the two bright, observant eyes in the littlest head saw that in a minute it must fall.

The little fellow tried to dart forward, but the great shawl held him too securely.

“Sit still, Allie,” said Laura.

Poor Allie seemed to think he might as well, too. His warnings had saved nothing, yet; but still from his huge roll of woolen he said:

“’E ’ip dop, Laula.”

Presently the horses lagged a little, and the driver, leaning forward for his whip, discovered its loss.

The long procession halted, wondering what had happened to the first carriage. The whip was found, “’way back,” and, as two carriages had passed over it, it was a handsome whip no more.

“What a shame!” said the driver, as he tried to crack the broken lash.

“Allie tole ’ou. Allie’s patint am keen wown ou’!” fell from the cherry lips.

Now came home and bed for the little child who had begun to be joyous in anticipation at four o’clock in the morning. No wonder that in such a long series of discouragements his “patience was clear wore out.”

His sleep that night was broken by a kind of baby-boy, Cassandra-like murmur, which would have touched to its depths the heart of any tender soul that heard it.

“Laula,” it said, plaintively, “Allie tole ’ou!”

But Laula was fast asleep.

A PRIZE FOR A SQUIRREL.


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BABY.


BY MAGARET EYTINGE.


THE Tutchy children were all mad.

I don’t mean they had lost their senses and required strait-jackets, but they certainly did need something to smooth the frowns from their brows and the pouts from their lips.

The Tutchy children were pretty children—when they weren’t mad—with bright blue eyes, much the color of some of their grandmother’s centennial dinner-plates, and auburn hair that looked as though it would, on the slightest provocation, turn red.

There were nine of them, Susie, Willie, Robbie, Lizzie, Nellie, Annie, Sallie, Maud and Baby.

Quite enough for such a little woman as Mrs. Tutchy to look after.

Captain Tutchy was away—he was away about half the time with his ship “The Treasure”—named, he said, after his wife—and Mrs. Tutchy had just received a letter from him saying he could not be home for the Christmas holidays, and so the children must wait for their presents and their party until he came, “and you may expect me, my dear,” the letter ended, “the second day of the New Year.”

And this is why the Tutchy children were mad.

They said nothing until mamma, hearing baby cry, went out of the room. Then they began:

“What will Christmas be without papa?” said Lizzie. “Who’s to laugh, I’d like to know? Papa does most of the laughing.”

“I shan’t, for one!” said Willie.

“Nor I,” said Robbie.

“There won’t be a bit of fun getting up early on Christmas morning,” said Nellie. “No boxes to open, and no stockings to empty!”

I’ll not hang up my stocking, and I’ll not get up early, either—so there now!” said Annie.

“Why? won’t Santa Claus come at all?” asked Sallie and Maud, in one breath.

“Yes, I s’pose he’ll come,” answered Annie, “but he won’t bring such nice things as he does when papa’s home. He’s a very, very old friend of papa’s.”

“No party! Just think of it!” said Susie. “’Twon’t seem like Christmas.”

“And the captain,” said Robbie, who was fond of giving the captain his title, “isn’t coming back till the day school begins. He never did such a thing before, and I think it’s real mean!”

“Great old holidays!” said Lizzie.

I’m mad!” said Susie, who, by-the-by, was the eldest of them all.

“So are we all of us!” said the others in chorus.

Just then Mrs. Tutchy came into the room with Baby in her arms, and in Baby’s arms was a funny, broken-nosed doll.

Baby was the sweetest, dearest little thing that ever played “patty-cake” or said “goo.”

Her eyes were so blue that you thought of violets, blue-bells, and summer skies, the moment you saw them, and then gave it up, for there was nothing quite as blue as they were, and her silken hair lay all over her pretty, round head in tiny rings just the size and color of mamma’s wedding-ring.

Mrs. Tutchy looked both surprised and sad when she saw eight frowns and pouts—perhaps I should say seven, as wee Maud’s almost disappeared when she looked up at her mother—instead of eight smiles.

But she pretended not to notice the sixteen unlovely things, and said, in a pleasant voice, “Baby is ready for a ride. I have wrapped her up warmly. Get her hood, Susie, and, Willie and Robbie, fasten her little wagon on your new sled. You may all go for a walk—I don’t remember such a fine 24th of December for years—but I shall expect you home in an hour, and whatever you do, take good care of Baby.”

Now if the Tutchy children had not been mad they would have jumped up and down and shouted and half-smothered Baby with hugs and kisses; but being mad, they went silently about—their silence, to tell the truth, would have been considered noise by a small, quiet family—preparing for their walk.

And when they were ready, if Maud had not set them the example, they would have actually forgotten to kiss mamma “good-by.” Dear me! how mad they were!

Off they started in a funereal manner, Susie and Maud ahead, the other girls following two by two, and the boys dragging Baby, still holding the broken-nosed doll, in her little wagon on the sled, bringing up the rear.

Baby crowed and cooed and prattled to her dollie—there never was a jollier baby in the whole world—but still Will and Bobbie frowned and pouted.

“I wish we didn’t have to lug Baby everywhere,” at last said Willie.

“So do I,” said Robbie.

They had never thought, much less said such a thing before, but then they had never been quite as mad before.

Suddenly the sound of a drum was heard, then the shrill blasts of horns and the ear-piercing strains of a fife, and they could see a crowd gathering in the distance.

“Hurry up!” called Susie, who had remarkably sharp eyes, “there’s some men on horseback dressed awful funny!” and away she ran, dragging Maud by the hand, and away went Nellie, Lizzie, Annie and Sallie after her as fast as they could go.

“We can’t run with Baby,” said Willie, “and we’ll miss all the fun!”

“Too bad!” said Robbie, with two frowns rolled into one. “But I say, Will, let’s go anyhow.”

“Pshaw! there won’t be anything to see by the time we get there,” said Will.

“I don’t mean to take Baby,” said Robbie. “We’ll leave her by the door of this empty house. Nothing can happen to her before we come back.”

“That’s so,” said Will, “we won’t be gone a minute;” and they lifted the sled, wagon and all, up the two steps that led to the door, and, before Baby knew what they were about, they were off.

The other children were already two blocks away, but the boys soon overtook them, and another block brought them to the spot where the crowd was gathered.

The frowns and pouts, for the time being, disappeared, and the Tutchys laughed long and loud at the antics of the queer-looking figures who were parading about with a patch-work banner inscribed, “Old Original Santa Claus Guards,” when suddenly Susie turned around, and with frightened eyes cried out:

“Why Will,—Robbie, where’s Baby?”

Will hung his head, but Robbie, assuming a careless air, replied:

“The captain’s youngest daughter? O! she’s safe. We couldn’t bring her and run after you too, and so we left her.”

But Susie waited to hear no more. “Show me where!” she said, and they all started back again on a much faster run than that with which they had followed “The Old Original Santa Claus Guards.”

The “house to let” was quickly reached.

No sled—no wagon—no broken-nosed doll—no BABY was there!

And now indeed the frowns and pouts took flight, and tears and sobs came in their stead.

“O dear! O dear!” cried the Tutchy children, “what shall we do?”

Then they ran hither and thither, asking every one they met:

“Have you seen a baby in a little wagon on a sled?”

“A beautiful baby, with blue eyes?”

“A broken-nosed baby—O, no, no, no! a lovely baby with a broken-nosed doll?”

“A sweet baby, with golden curls?”

“A baby named ‘Snow-drop’ and ‘Diamond’ and ‘Bird’ and ‘Plum’?”

No one had seen her, and sadly the procession took up the line of march for home.

How they told their mamma they never knew, but when the tale was done she gave one great gasp, and tore out of the house like a wild woman, with no hat on her head, and nothing but a small shawl about her.

“I must go too,” said Susie, and she flew after the poor distracted mother, while the seven other children sat down on the floor and cried.

“O! how wicked we have been,” said Lizzie, “to say that to-morrow wouldn’t be a merry Christmas, when we had such a darling, beautiful baby!”

“And dear papa coming home in a few days!” sobbed Nellie.

“And mamma so good and sweet!” said Sallie.

“And all of us such very nice chilluns!” said Maud.

Willie and Robbie said nothing, but buried their faces in their hands, and wept softly.

“I SEE DIS YERE BABY A-SETTIN’ ON A SLED.”

The sun went down, and back came mamma and Susie, hollow-eyed and pale, but no Baby.

Not one of the children thought of stockings, or presents, or parties, or Christmas itself, that wretched Christmas Eve, but they clustered in silence, real silence this time, about their mother, until one by one they fell asleep.

But Mrs. Tutchy sat with dry, wide-opened eyes, listening—listening all night long, until the joyous morning chimes rang out upon the clear, frosty air.

As they ceased, the sharp ringing of the street door-bell echoed through the quiet house.

Dropping wee Maud from her lap, where she had slept for several hours, the poor little woman, her heart beating loud and fast, hastened with trembling steps to the door and flung it open.

There stood a tall, straight negro woman, with a gaudy turban on her head, a small boy, much darker than herself, clinging to her skirts with one hand, and yes—O, thanks to the good God—holding the rope of the boys’ sled with the other, baby in her arms!

Almost as wild with joy as she had been with sorrow, the mother snatched her darling, and covered her with kisses.

“Come in, come in,” she cried, in her old, pleasant voice, the tired gone out of her face, and her eyes shining bright with happiness.

Up jumped the Tutchy children from all corners of the room, and such a hurrahing and shouting of “Merry Christmas,” and kissing of Baby never was known, even in that house before.

“An’ now, yo’ Abraham Ulysses, yo’ jess tell the lady yo’ information,” said the woman to the grinning boy, pulling her dress out of his hand, and pushing him forward.

“Needn’t push so,” said Abraham Ulysses, rolling his eyes about in the most wonderful manner for a moment, and then fixing them solemnly on Mrs. Tutchy’s face.

“I war a-goin’ along, an’ da’ war a drum down da’—I’s goin’ to have a drum—”

“I’ll drum ye,” interrupted his mother, giving him a smart slap on the cheek. “Perceed on yo’ story widout no prelimnaries.”

“Yo’ jess stop dat now, Mary Ann Johnson. I ain’t tellin’ no story. I’s tellin’ the truff, ebery word of it, an’ yo’d better mine yo’ brack bisness, Mary Ann Johnson, and dat’s de fac’!”

“Lissen at dat ar sassy young nigger!” said Mary Ann Johnson, raising her hands and eyes. “Go on, I tell yo.”

Abraham Ulysses went on.

“Da war a drum an’ sojers—I’s goin’ to be a sojer, a sword sojer—and all de wite folks dey runned to see ’em, an’ I runned, too, but ’pears, tho’, I couldn’t git da’, an’ I see dis yere baby a-settin’ on a sled, an’ I sez to myself, ‘Bressed nippers! Abra’m ’Lysses, dat ar’s one of dem angel babies dat done come done from hebben Chrismasses, an’ dat ar’ sled she’s a-settin on, Santy Close’s goin’ to giv’ to yo’ sho’s yo’ bohn!’ an’ I took hole dat ar rope, an’ drug dat ar’ sled—”

“To our premises,” interrupted his mother, “an’ he cum a-runnin’ in, an’ a-shoutin’ ‘Hi! mam, here’s a little angel fer yo’! take her out de waggin quick, an’ giv’ de sled to me.’”

“But bress yo’ heart, honey, I knowed dat ar’ baby was mislaid de minute dese eyes beheld her, an’ I took de sweet thing in my arms an’ mollified her tears, an’ giv’ her some milk an’ soon she fell asleep.

“An’ I set up dis yere bressed night wid dat ar’ bressed chile, ’spectin’ ebery minute somebody’d come and require for her, an’ sho’ ’nuff, a perliceman makes his appearment early dis yere bressed mornin’ an’ tole me—how he foun’ out war de chile was de Lord ony knows—to fetch de pooty lammie here, an’ I done come tho’ Mr. Johnson is a-waitin fer his breakfis’, an’ de pork a-sizzlin’ in de pan dis yere bressed minute.”

“Thank you a million times!” said Mrs. Tutchy; and in the twinkling of an eye Mary Ann Johnson was several dollars richer than when she entered the room.

“Thank you a million of times!” repeated the children; and Will, after whispering a moment with Robbie, went up to Abraham Ulysses, and placed the rope of the sled, which he had dropped while telling his story, in his funny little black hand. “The ‘Two-Forty’ is yours,” he said.

“Hi, mam! look a-yere, yo’ Mary Ann Johnson, wot I done tole yo’? Santy Close did send it to me,” screamed Abraham Ulysses, cutting a queer caper, “an’ sho’s yo’s bohn dat ar’ baby is an angel, too, ain’t she?” turning to Mrs. Tutchy.

“Yes, my boy,” said the happy little woman, “the angel of this house.”


A TURKISH CARRIAGE.


MRS. WHITE’S PARTY.


BY MRS. H. G. ROWE.


“NOW, Ef May, you go right straight back home! Lotty an’ I want a little time to ourselves without a little snip like you taggin’ after, an’ listenin’ to every word we say; so you go right straight back this minute!”

Little Effie Maylie Marsh (called “Ef May” for short) turned her round blue eyes for a moment full upon her sister, and then, without word or sign, trotted composedly along in that sister’s wake, serenely oblivious of the fact that she was the one too many in the little party that had started, joyful at the prospect of a whole afternoon’s confidential chat, for the blackberry patch over the hill, when poor Ef May as usual intruded her roly-poly presence just when she was least wanted.

“Did Mother know that you came?”

Sister Anne looked and spoke with all the dignity that her twelve years was capable of, but the intruder never flinched.

“Yes, she did. I said lemme go pick blackberry with the other girls, an’ she said”—

“What?”

“Yes, if they don’t project.”

Both girls laughed, for Ef May was famous for her conversational blunders, and good-natured Lotty whispered under the shelter of her sunbonnet:

“Let her go, she won’t do any harm.”

“Yes she will. She’ll hear every single word we say and tell Gus of it just as quick as she gets home. I know her, of old.”

Poor Anne had had bitter experiences of her little sister’s quickness of hearing and equal quickness in repeating whatever she had heard, and she was far too shrewd to trust her on this occasion. But how to get rid of the dear little nuisance—ah, that was the rub!

“May,” she whispered mysteriously, and Ef May pricked up her ears and looked curious. “If you’ll go home now, like a good girl, you shall (put your ear closer, so Lotty won’t hear) go to Mrs. White’s party, to-night.”

Ef May had often heard older people talk about parties, and in her inquisitive little soul she had longed many a time, to know more about them, and especially to see with her own eyes what they were like; and now she stood with her great blue eyes wide open like a pair of very early morning glories, and a little flush of excitement deepened the roses on her plump cheeks, as Anne continued in her most seductive tones:

“Now, run right along, there’s a darling! and I’ll get you ready, my own self, and see that you have a”—

“Rockaway?” suggested Lotty, in a voice that sounded suspiciously hoarse, to which Anne replied, with an air of lofty disdain that,—

“Ef May had outgrown such babyish ways long ago, and would go to the party as other folks did.”

Ef May was a very old bird for one of her age, and this “chaff” between the two girls did strike her as a little suspicious. Perhaps there was some hidden flaw in this magnificent offer, and jerking her little yellow curly head one side like a shrewd canary, she fixed one round, bright eye full upon her sister’s face as she asked solemnly:

“Now, Anne Marsh,—‘honest an’ true, black an’ blue,’ can I go to Mrs. White’s party, this very night?”

“Yes, you shall, if I have to go with you myself.”

Ef May was satisfied; even Lotty’s half suppressed giggle passed unobserved, and her face shone with happy anticipation as turning her chubby feet homeward she smiled her parting salutation:

“Good-by,—I’ll go home an’ ’repair myself for the party.”

The girls laughed, but Lotty said rather regretfully:

“It was kinder too bad to fool the little thing so. What will you say to her when night comes?”

“Oh, I’ll coax her up, somehow—make her doll a new hat, maybe.”

And thus dismissing poor Ef May and her forthcoming disappointment from their minds the two girls walked gaily on, laughing and chatting in their pleasant school-girl fashion, as they gathered the rich purple berries, heedless of scratched hands and stained finger tips, while they listened to the partridge drumming in the cedars overhead, or the social chatter of that provident little householder the squirrel, who, perched upon some convenient bough out of possible reach of their longing fingers, discoursed in the choicest squirrel language of his way of preserving acorns and beechnuts by a receipt handed down from squirrel forefathers as far back as the days of Noah—a receipt that never had failed and never would.

It was after sunset when, with full baskets and tired steps, they walked up the lane that led to Anne’s home, both starting guiltily as they caught sight of Ef May’s little figure seated in the doorway with her bowl of bread and milk and her blue eyes turned wistfully upon them as they came slowly up the clover-bordered path.

“I was in hopes she’d be asleep,” muttered Anne with an uncomfortable feeling at the heart as she saw the joyfully significant nod with which her little sister greeted her, and hastily bestowing a generous handful of the delicious fruit upon her, she said, with an effort to appear natural and at ease:

“See what a lot of nice, ripe blackberries I brought you!”

The little girl smiled, but she shook her head with an air of happy importance.

“I’ll put ’em away for my breakfast,” she whispered. “I must save my appetite for to-night, you know.”

Anne could have cried with a relish.

“Oh, Ef May,” she began penitently, “I’m afraid I’ve done wrong in telling you—”

“Come, Anne! Come right in! Supper is waiting for you,” called their mother, and the confession was postponed until they should be alone again; but when that time came, and, after her usual custom Anne took the little one to her room to undress and put her to bed, the sight of the child’s happy expectant face forced back the words that she would have spoken and made her feel that she could not yet confess the deception.

“You must curl my hair real pretty, now. I do wish,” with a sigh, “that mamma would let me wear her waterwig.”

And the bright eyes shone like stars, as she thus gave the signal for the preparations to commence; and Anne obeyed, patiently brushing out the tangled locks and curling them one by one over her fingers, while she listened to the excited chatter of her little charge and vaguely wondered how long it would be possible for those dreadfully wide awake eyes to keep open. She was as long about her task as possible, but the the last curl was finished at last, and Effie asked eagerly:

“What dress are you going to put on me?”

By this time poor Anne was fairly desperate.

“I forgot to tell you,” she said with a sudden determination to carry out the joke to the end, “that this is a queer party, something like the ‘sheet and pillow case balls,’ that you’ve heard of,—and everybody goes to this in——in their nightgowns.”

Ef May looked up sharply.

“What’s that for?” she asked with a suspicious look at her sister’s guilty face.

“Because—well, I guess its because its the fashion.”

Ef May pondered the subject for a moment, and then her brow cleared:

“I’ll wear my very bestest one, then, with the tuckered out yoke an’ Humbug trimming,” she said, complacently, “an’ my corals outside.”

Anne obeyed without a word, and the little lady surveyed herself in the glass with a smile of intense satisfaction.

“Ain’t it most time to go?” she asked, and Anne detecting, as she thought, just the ghost of a yawn in the tone, replied briskly:

“Oh no, not for some time yet. Come and sit in my lap,—there lay your head on my shoulder, ea-sy, so as not to tumble the curls, and I’ll sing, ‘Tap, tap, tapping at the garden gate,’ so you won’t get tired of waiting you know.”

Mrs. White’s Party.

The little girl was nothing loth to accept her sister’s offer, for in spite of her exertions to keep herself awake the heavy eyelids would droop, the curly head press more heavily, and the lively, chattering little tongue grow slower and more indistinct in its utterances until at last it was silent altogether; not even the tiniest line of blue parted the golden lashes, the dimples settled undisturbed into their old places about the rosy mouth while only the faintest breath of a sigh answered to Anne’s good-night kiss as she softly laid her precious burden down among the snowy pillows of her own little bed, and stole away, with the secret resolve in her heart that never again, by word or act, would she deceive the innocent little sister who trusted so implicitly in her truth and honor.

. . . . . . . .

It was a funny party, and Ef May looked about her in astonishment as a servant in dressing gown and night-cap, announced in a sleepy sing-song tone:

“Miss Ef May Marsh?”

Mrs. White, a heavy-eyed lady in an elaborately embroidered and ruffled night-dress, gave her hand a little languid shake, and asked, in a faint, die-away voice:

“How do you rest, my dear?”

“Very well, ma’am, generally, ’cept when I eat too much cake for my supper.”

At this Mrs. White nodded intelligently.

“’S that you, Ef May?” murmured a voice at her elbow, and there was Tommy Bliss, his brown curls all in a tangle, and—oh, horrible! in a yellow flannel night-gown with legs. Such a figure as he was with his short body all the way of a bigness, and his little yellow straddling legs like an old-fashioned brass andiron.

Ef May turned away and pretended not to see him, while she remarked with an air of kindly condescension to a little girl near her:

“It’s impressively warm here.”

“Kick the clo’es off, then.”

There was a refreshing briskness in the tones that went straight to Ef May’s heart and she “took to” the stranger on the spot.

“Who is that old gentleman with such a big tassel in his night-cap?”

The little girl rubbed her eyes and looked in the direction indicated.

“Oh, that’s old Dr. Opiamus. He gives all the babies paragoric, and the old folks laudanum, so that they can die and not know it.”

Ef May shuddered. There was something in the idea that even to her childish fancy was horrible.

“Don’t you want another blanket?” asked her new friend; but Ef May shook her head.

“I hear some music?” she exclaimed, and just then began the funniest medley of sound that was ever heard:

First, a low, soft, half-frightened strain as of some wandering night-bird calling to his mate to set her glow-worm lamp in the window to light him home; then the quick, cheery note of the cricket chimed in; the owl’s solemn “too-whit! too-whit! too-whoo!” broke in at stately intervals; and the “rain-call” of the loon burst forth like a wild, weird laugh in the midst of the softer sounds, until the dancers, who had tried in vain to keep time with the strange music, faltered, hesitated, and at last stopped entirely, and dropped off to sleep upon the couches and easy chairs with which the rooms were filled, to a low, monotonous march that sounded exactly like the patter of raindrops upon the roof.

The costumes were a study, and Ef May who strange to say didn’t feel at all sleepy herself, found it rare fun to watch them.

There were old ladies, who minus their false fronts, teeth, and spectacles, would never have been recognized by their most intimate friends, in “calf’s-head” night-caps tied tightly under their chins, short night-gowns with wide, crimped ruffles at neck and wrists, and blue flannel petticoats just short enough to show the felt slippers beneath; young ladies, whose wealth of curls, braids and puffs had many a time excited the admiration and envy of their less fortunate sisters, appeared here, looking like picked chickens, their luxuriant tresses packed away in a drawer, their flounces, and ruffles, and panniers, and overskirts, all safe in the closet, their jewelry and their smiles laid aside together, and they nodded indifferently to stately gentlemen in tasselled night-caps and gorgeous dressing gowns, or frowned aside upon the boys, who, in all sorts of night gear, bobbed about in the most desirable nooks and corners, disturbing everybody with their clumsy ways and sleepy drollery.

In short, taken as a whole, a comical looking set they were,—and so stupid! Ef May felt somewhat hurt and a good deal offended when even her new friend dropped off into a doze instead of listening to her questions, and she was only too glad when a good looking young gentleman with a pen behind his ear and a roll of manuscript sticking out of the pocket of his dressing gown, walked leisurely up to her and began talking in a queer rambling fashion about the people around them.

“What makes some of the sleepiest folks groan and grumble so, all the time?” asked the little girl curiously, and her companion laughed, a queer, dreamy sort of a laugh, as he replied:

“Oh, those are the ones that came here on nightmares,—that sort of riding always makes people restless, it’s worse than a hobby for that!”

He spoke the last words with a sudden fierceness that startled her, but he didn’t seem to notice her frightened face for he kept on talking, in that steady but far off tone:

“Do you see that man there with his face all twisted up into a knot? That’s the head master of the Boys’ Grammar School,—he ate toasted cheese for his supper and he’s having a hard night of it,—no doubt the boys will have a hard time of it, to-morrow.”

Ef May thought of brother Gus’ careless scholarship, and trembled.

“There’s a little girl that told a lie to her mother,—hear her moan and sob! She will confess her fault and ask to be forgiven, in the morning, I think.”

Ef May silently took the lesson to heart.

“Do you see that old fellow in the corner? How he grasps with his hands and mutters, and now he is trying to call ‘murder!’ He has spent all his life hoarding up riches, and now, sleeping or waking, he lives in constant terror of losing his gold that he will neither spend for himself or others.”

“But here,” and the speaker pointed to a corner near at hand, where rolled up into a round yellow ball, was the figure of Johnny Staples, sound asleep in the velvety depths of an easy chair, his good-natured, honest little face, calm and peaceful, with not a cloud of suffering, remorse or fear to mar its innocent beauty.

“But here,” he repeated, “is one who will find in our friend’s party the refreshment and rest that only health and innocence can reasonably expect.”

Just then the company showed signs of a general breaking up, and the assembled guests gave such a loud, unanimous snore that Ef May started up, terrified half out of her senses; and pulling vigorously at her sleeping sister’s sleeve, she cried out with a burst of angry tears:

“It’s a nasty, mean old party, any how! They snore, an’ talk in their sleep, an’ make up faces, an’—I won’t go again, so, there!”

But she did for all that.


QUEER CHURCH.


BY REV. S. W. DUFFIELD.


OF course Queer Church is on Queer Street, in the town of Manoa. And all good boys and girls who study geography know just where Manoa ought to be.

The Rev. Mr. Thingumbob is the minister, and among the principal attendants are Mr. So-and-So, Mr. What’s-his-Name, Mr. Jigmaree, Mr. You-Know-Who, Mrs. Grundy, Mr. Tom Collins, the Misses Glubberson, Mr. What-d’ye-Callum, that distinguished foreign family the Van Danks, Mr. William Patterson, Mrs. Partington, and Mr. Gradgrind. You have possibly heard of some of these persons before. Besides, there is quite a congregation, and there is also a very big number of little people, aged all the way from five to fifteen.

Where there are so many of them it naturally follows that they have a large number of things their own way. But probably my story would not have been written if a little girl called True Gravelines hadn’t come to town. “True” is short for Gertrude, which was her name.

True had been taken from the Orphan Asylum by Mrs. Potiphar. And because she loved the little lady, Mrs. Potiphar had her taught and trained as her own daughter, and even Mrs. Grundy said that she was charming, and the Glubberson girls—who were old maids and not handsome—allowed that she would make a fine woman.

Finally True came across the story of “Goody-Two-Shoes,” which that great big child of an Oliver Goldsmith told so sweetly, and she had some new ideas. One of them was that she would like to make some changes in Queer Church.

So she got all the boys and girls together after school and proposed her plan. Now True was tall for her age, with dark eyes, and beautiful rich brown hair. And she wore lovely dresses, and such kid slippers, and such a splendid real gold chain with a true and genuine watch that ticked and kept time. So of course she had matters a good deal in her own hands.

The “chatter meeting” (as she called it) was held in the summer-house that cost ten thousand dollars, and that stood among Mrs. Potiphar’s roses in the side garden back of the lawn. And it resolved to send a committee to wait on Mr. Thingumbob—for Queer Church was the only church in Manoa, and they all went there on Sundays.

They weren’t a bit afraid of him—not they! He had lots of boys and girls of his own, and one of them had such rosy cheeks that he looked as though the angel had forgotten to bring him to the front door and had stuck him in the apple-tree, whence, when he was ready to be picked, his father had taken him down.

To be sure True was the head of the delegation, and it started off, twenty strong, on Saturday morning. How the people at the Manse opened their eyes as the troop came in, just as grave as you please, and asking to be shown up to the study. Well, so did the minister when he saw them. He laid down his pen and he said: “How do you do, gentlemen and ladies! Pray be seated!” So they all sat down wherever they could, and waited for True to begin.

“Mr. Thingumbob,” she said, “why can’t we be somebodies in church, too?”

“I don’t know, my dear. Aren’t you somebodies now?”

“O-dear-bless-me-no,” says True, all in a breath.

“Well, what would you like to do?” asked Mr. Thingumbob.

“Why, we’d just like to have one week all to ourselves in the church, and one Sunday all to ourselves, to have sermons, and sing hymns, and all such things.”

The pastor looked very queer—just like his church. Now that had in it everything to make a church pleasant—but it was all for big people. Said he “True, I guess I’ll try it. You stay here with me and let the rest of these youngsters go.”

So the black-eyed ten-year-older stayed and talked and planned, and then how they laughed, and then they talked some more and laughed some more, and then it was dinner-time. And away went True.

On Sunday morning in that beautiful autumn weather, Mr. Thingumbob—who did pretty much as he pleased too told the church about it. All that week the children were to have it their own way. Nobody was to do anything but the children. As a special favor to himself he wanted to have them do just as they pleased all that week and next Sunday, and he’d be responsible.

When I first heard the story I thought the children and he must have loved each a great deal, for him to make such an offer. And I guess they did.

Let’s see. Monday was his reception evening and he wanted nobody to come but the children. So they all came, and played big people, and asked about his health and how he enjoyed his summer vacation, and talked of business, and said their children (doll-children you know) had the measles and the whooping-cough, and what luck they had in shooting (with a bow-gun) and how they hoped he’d call soon and all that. Such a time! How funny it did seem, too.

And then there was Tuesday evening, and Mr. Thingumbob had a literary circle who met in the church parlor. So all the children went, and all the big people were to have stayed away—but I know some who peeked. And Mr. Thingumbob told them about the little boy, Tom Chatterton, up in St. Mary Radcliffe church, and the boxes with the old papers, and how this small chap wrote poetry and how he pretended to copy it from the old papers, and how great learned men went to words over it and some said ‘He did’ and some said ‘He didn’t’ and some called him a ‘forger’ and some called him a ‘genius,’ and how he got tired of it all, and how he took a drink of arsenic and water and died when he was hardly grown to be a man.—For that was just what the big folks expected to talk about.

And then there was Wednesday evening, and that was Prayer-meeting. And the big grown-up people all stayed away and the little folks all came. How they did sing! And what a pleasant talk they had that night too—about the little Boy that heard the doctors and asked them questions until his mother thought he had run away and got lost. And Mr. Thingumbob sat right down in the middle of them and they got all around him and he was the only big man there was there.

And then there was Thursday night—when the church people used to go to their Mission Chapel and help the poor people to sing and pray and find out how they did and what they wanted. So they all went together—all the larger children of Queer church, that is—and saw the mission people. And True Gravelines felt so badly for a poor little girl that she gave her her warm gloves. And Tommy What’s-his-name let another fellow have his brand-new jack-knife because he hadn’t got any at all of his own. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t give the Mission people pennies, or promise things to them, like the big folks.

And on Friday afternoon they had a sewing-society and the girls came and sewed—dear, dear, what sewing it was!—and they brought lunch along and the boys came to tea, and it was just like a pic-nic. And Mr. Thingumbob was there too. And afterwards they played “Hy-Spy” in the church up-stairs, down the aisles and in the galleries and back of the organ—and True Gravelines, for real and certain, hid under the pulpit! And then they set back all the chairs in the Sunday-school room and played “Fox and Geese” and “Thread the Needle” and ever so many other things that I don’t know the names of—only I do know that they were bound to act all the while like gentlemen and ladies, and they surely did.

And then came Saturday and they forgot all about being big men and women, and went off to play and let Mr. Thingumbob alone so he could write his sermon. But he said he didn’t want to write his sermon, he wanted to talk it, and he asked True what he should talk about. And she told him she wanted to hear about the little girl that was sick and died and that Some One took by the hand and made her well. So he said he would, and he promised to use real short weenty-teenty words—“Because” said True, “there’s some that’s only little bits of things and they won’t understand.”

And then Sunday came. And all the big people took back seats. And all the little people went in to play big people, and opened their bibles and their hymn-books, and stood up, and sat down, and sang, and leaned their heads forward in prayer-time, and did just what they saw their papas and mammas do. And one boy, Peter Gradgrind, he went to sleep, because he said that was the way his father did. And Mr. Thingumbob laughed when he heard that.

And that was a real short service. It was all there, every bit of it. But the sermon was only a quarter of an hour long and all the rest was in the same proportion.

When it came time for Sunday school they all went. And the biggest one in each class taught the others. And by this time they had all got to be so good that they were trying to be big folks in earnest. And there was Tom Collins Jr. for Superintendent and he tried his best. And True played the tunes on the cabinet organ. And you never did see how well it all went!

Weren’t they tired when night came! But out they came again—that is the bigger ones did—and then Mr. Thingumbob talked to them about growing to be men and women. It was a little sermon in short words, but I don’t think they will forget it—for it was about a Boy who did what his father and mother wanted him to do, who learned his father’s business and worked to help the family along, who always did good to others, who tried to be a boy and yet to do like grown-up folks all the while. And by this time all the boys and girls knew how it seemed to play at big people, and make calls, and hear sermons, and do good.

Then, they all went to bed and slept like tops.

And they talk there to this day about it. And isn’t it funny?—the Queer Church people actually have fixed some of the seats in front low enough for the little folks, and they are very proud to see them sitting there like small men and women. And every now and then Queer Church has a sermon in short words, and a prayer-meeting where the children swarm on Mr. Thingumbob’s chair, and a sewing-club of little girls—O, and ever so many strange nice things for children, that came of that week of playing at big people.

And when you ask the folks there “What does Mrs. Grundy say?” and “How does Mr. Gradgrind take it?” what do you think they answer?

Why, they just say “We don’t care. We want the children to grow up to love the church and to love things that are good.”

Wouldn’t you like to go to Queer Church and make a week of it?


THE FUN-AND-FROLIC ART SCHOOL.


BY STANLEY WOOD.


COUSIN JOE had been sitting half asleep over a book in the library, when all at once the door opened just a little and a row of eyes peeped in at him, the eyes beginning somewhere near the top of the door and ending pretty close to the bottom. There were just five of these eyes; the one nearest the top being large and of a lovely soft brown color, the next one gray, the next one brown, the next blue, and the last one away down towards the bottom, a mischievous brown.

“Peep!” said a voice, which matched the mischievous brown eye, and a fat little hand was thrust in through the crack.

“May we come in?” asked a soft voice, which sounded near the top of the door.

“Certainly,” said Joe, shutting his book and trying to look as though he had not been half asleep over it. The door opened, and the cousins marched in. First came Bryant, a chubby five-year-old, with sturdy legs, a large head, yellow hair and brown eyes full of mischief, next to him Leefee, seven years old, slight of figure, a little lady with light hair and sky-blue eyes; then Adale, ten years old, her brown hair flying and her brown eyes dancing; after her Maud, only fourteen, but quite a young lady for all that, with serious gray eyes, and last of all, Cora, a slender young woman of seventeen with soft brown hair and eyes.

“Ladies and gentleman,” said cousin Joe, when they all stood before him, “to what do I owe the honor of this visit?”

“Your Royal Highness,” replied Maud, who had read one of Sir Walter Scott’s novels, “we have a humble petition to present, in which—”

“My top’s broked,” interrupted Bryant, suddenly.

“And we want you to tell us a story,” said Adale with eagerness.

“Have you learned your lessons, Adale?” asked cousin Joe, very solemnly.

“Oh yes, indeed.”

“Where is Terra del Fuego?”

“But cousin, I study geography only five days in the week; you can’t expect me to know where Terra del Fuego is on Saturday.”

“Really, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“And you’ll tell us a story?” said Leefee.

“One we haven’t heard before,” suggested Adale.

“My top’s broked,” said Bryant with much emphasis.

“Friends,” said cousin Joe, “the demand for new stories is in great excess of the supply. When I finished telling you my last story, Adale there remarked that she had read that story in Wide Awake. Now there’s a moral in that remark of Adale’s, for when my friends and fellow-citizens have grown old enough to read stories they are too old for me to tell them to.”

“Oh, cousin!”

“But, I’ll compromise with you; instead of a story I’ll give you a drawing-lesson.”

“I get drawing-lessons enough at school,” said Adale.

“I didn’t know you could draw, cousin Joe,” said Clara.

“I can’t; and that’s the beauty of my system. The teacher doesn’t need to know anything about drawing, and the students never learn anything.”

“How absurd!” said Cora.

“How curious!” said Maud.

“How pleasant!” said Adale.

“How funny!” said Leefee.

“My top’s broked,” said Bryant.

“The class will come to order,” said cousin Joe.

Then they all gathered around the library-table, and each one was provided with a pencil and a bit of paper.

“Students of the Fun-and-Frolic Art School,” said Joe, “we have met for mutual deterioration in art. As you all ought to know, but no doubt many of you do not, Sir Edward Landseer was a great artist in dogs, Rosa Bonheur is a great artist in horses and kine, but we unitedly will be great artists in—pigs.”

“Pigs?”

“Yes, ladies and gentleman, I repeat it—PIGS! Is there anyone in the class who can draw a pig?”

“I can draw one, such as the boys draw on their slates at school,” said Adale.

“Please draw one then,” said cousin Joe. In a moment Adale had accomplished the task and handed him the result.

“This,” said Joe, as he held it up in view of the class, “this is

THE CONVENTIONAL PIG.

“You see it doesn’t look like a pig, but every boy knows it is intended to represent a pig. If it looked a good deal more like a pig he might not recognize it. Thus conventional politeness does not resemble real politeness, yet everybody knows what it is intended to represent. There is a moral in that remark somewhere—if you can find it—and now we’ll go on with the lesson. The first thing you must do in order to become an artist in my school is to shut your eyes.”

“Shut our eyes!”

“Why, cousin,” said Cora, “I thought all artists had to keep their eyes especially wide open.”

“There are some who do not,” said cousin Joe, sententiously.

“I’ve seen people shut one eye and look at pictures through their hand with the other—so,” said Adale, making a fist of her little hand and peeping through it.

“Those people were connoisseurs,” said Joe; “we are artists and must shut both eyes, Cora; will you begin? Shut your eyes, place your pencil on the paper, and draw the outlines of a pig as nearly as you can.”

“But, cousin Joe, isn’t this a play for little girls, not for—well—proper young ladies?”

“Very well, Miss Cora; we’ll begin with Leefee then.”

Little Miss Leefee seized her pencil eagerly, and shutting her eyes uncommonly close, drew this:

THIS IS A PIG.

How the rest did laugh at poor Leefee!

“You’ll have to write under it, ‘This is a pig,’” said Adale.

“And I will do it too,” said Leefee, and she did so, as you can see by the picture.

“It’s your turn now, Adale,” said Joe.

“This will be a conventional pig, like my other one,” said Adale, laughing as she shut her eyes. When she had finished her drawing, all confessed, amidst great laughter, that it was not at all a “conventional pig;” so Adale wrote under her production:

“THIS IS AN UNCONVENTIONAL PIG.”

“It looks more like a tapir than a pig,” said Leefee, mindful of Adale’s criticism on her effort.

“Well, isn’t a tapir a kind of unconventional pig?” replied the artist.

“Your pigs are all too long,” said Maud; “you don’t make them fat enough.”

“You can be guided by your own criticism, for you come next after Adale,” said cousin Joe, merrily.

Maud drew her pig with great care. “There!” said she, as she displayed the result of her labors, “what do you think of that?”

MAUD’S FAT PIG.

“Oh what a funny rabbit!” exclaimed Adale.

“It’s more like a rat,” said Leefee.

“It must be a pig,” said Maud firmly, “I’m drawing pigs.”

In the mean time Miss Cora, who had declined to enter into such childish sport, had been closely observed by Adale. Suddenly that versatile young lady seized Cora’s paper before she could prevent it, and exclaiming with a triumphant flourish, “Cora’s pig! Oh, do look at Cora’s pig!” she displayed this:

CORA’S FEROCIOUS PIG.

Cora blushingly acknowledged that she had been induced by the enthusiasm of the others to try and improve on their efforts.

“What a fierce-looking quadruped,” said Maud.

“Yes; I have called it my ferocious pig,” replied Cora, evidently greatly enjoying her production.

“Ladies and gentleman of the Fun-and-frolic Art School,” said cousin Joe, oratorically, “your incapacity has exceeded my highest expectations. Your efforts to draw the lineaments of the domestic animal known as the pig having exceeded in grotesqueness and falseness to nature the efforts of many more experienced artists, I am naturally very much gratified. I now have the honor to announce to you that ‘school’s out.’”

“Oh not yet, cousin.”

“Not yet?”

“No; you must draw a pig,” said Maud.

“You must draw a pig,” said Adale.

“You must draw a pig,” said Leefee.

“My top’s broked,” said Bryant.

“Necessity knows no law,” said cousin Joe.

“Bring me my pencil now, my hand feels skilful, and the shadows lift from my waked spirit airily and swift,” and with an air of vast importance he began to execute his task. The little cousins were so fearful that he would take a sly peep at his work, that they blindfolded him, and his production was received with shouts of laughter. When they took off his muffler he saw this:

THE ACEPHALOUS OR ONE-EYED PIG.

Oh what a bad pig,” said Cora.

“Oh what a bad pig,” said Maud.

“Oh what a bad pig,” said Adale.

“Oh what a bad pig,” said Leefee.

“My top—”

“Shall be mended,” said cousin Joe, taking little Bryant upon his knee.


SOME QUAKER BOYS OF 1776.


BY C. H. WOODMAN.


IN 1776, the eastern end of Long Island was over-run with the English troops and mercenaries. There was no security to life or property: everything was at the mercy of the wicked Hessians.

At this time there was living on the island, and not far from New York, a Quaker by the name of Pattison. Henry Pattison, the father, was one of the strictest of the sect; of a noble, generous nature, a kind neighbor, and a wise councilor. He was universally loved and revered. He won the name of the Peace-Maker.

He owned a fine farm, and was growing wealthy, when the war came and sad days settled down upon the community.

Mother Pattison was the true type of the Quaker wife and mother. Under her tidy white cap beamed the placid, tender face which is so common among these pure-hearted people, and her skillful advice and winning words of consolation were often heard in the house of the sick and afflicted. Eight sturdy boys, and one little sweet, timid flower of a daughter, blessed this good couple, and made their home one of happiness and love.

Edmund, the oldest son, was a handsome, manly lad of eighteen. Beneath his broad-brimmed hat, his quiet “thee” and “thou,” beat a fiery and fearless heart that often broke through the mild Quaker training and made him, notwithstanding his peace principles, a leader among his fellows.

One day, as he sat in the barn, quietly enjoying his noonday rest, a British trooper rode up to the door. Seeing Edmund he shouted:

“Come, youngster, make haste and stir yourself. Go and help my driver there unload that cart of timber into the road!”

Now Edmund had just been hard at work loading that wood, to carry it to a neighbor to whom it was sold.

Both wagon and oxen belonged to his father.

“Come, hurry!” said the horseman.

“I shall not do it!” said Edmund.

“What—sirrah!” cried the ruffian, “we shall see who will do it!” and he flourished his sword over the boy’s head, swearing and threatening to cut him down unless he instantly obeyed.

Seeking for some firm spot of entrance”—PAGE 82.

Edmund stood unflinchingly, fiercely eyeing the enraged soldier.

Just then a little boy, Charles, the son of a neighbor, ran into the house and told Mrs. Pattison that “a Britisher was going to kill her Edmund.” She rushed to the barn, begged the soldier to stop, pleaded with her son to unload the wood and so save his life.

“No fear of death, mother; he dare not touch a hair of my head.”

“Dare not!” The horseman flourished his sword before the lad’s face and swore he would kill him instantly.

“You dare not!” said Edmund firmly; “and I will report you to your master for this.”

The fierce and defiant look really awed the trooper, and he mounted his horse, although he still told the boy he would “cut him into inch pieces.”

Edmund knew that such things were actually done by the soldiers, and he appreciated the man’s terrible rage. He coolly walked across the barn-floor, and armed himself with a huge pitchfork.

“You cowardly rascal!”—the boy’s words came fierce and sharp. “Now take one step towards this floor, and I stab you with my pitchfork.”

The gentle Mrs. Pattison expected to see her boy at once shot down like a dog. She ran to the house, and, meeting her husband, sent him to the rescue.

Friend Pattison rode hastily up, and said calmly to the trooper:

“You have no right to lay a finger upon that boy, who is a non-combatant.”

The man did not move.

Then Farmer Pattison turned toward the road, saying he would ride and call Col. Wurms, who commanded the troops.

Upon this the horseman, thinking it best for him to see his master first, drove the spurs into his horse and galloped away, uttering vows of vengeance.

The little boy who had alarmed Mrs. Pattison was a lad of fourteen,—the son of a neighbor who was in Washington’s army.

Sitting one day under the trees, with the little Pattisons, talking indignantly of the “British thieves,” he saw a light-horseman ride up toward a farm-house just across the pond. He guessed at once what the man was after. He tried to signal the farmer, but in vain.

“They are pressing horses,” cried Charlie; “they always ride that way when stealing horses.”

He thought of his father’s beautiful colt, his own pet.

“Fleetwood shall not go!” said he.

Running as fast as he could to the barn, he leaped on to his back, and started for the woods.

The red-coat saw him, and, putting his spurs into his horse, rising in the saddle and shouting, he tore down the road at headlong speed.

Charlie’s mother rushed to the door. She saw her little son galloping towards the woods with his murderous enemy close upon his heels. Her heart beat fearfully, and she gave one great cry of prayer as her brave little boy dashed into the thick woods, and out of sight, still hotly pursued by the soldier.

The trees were close-set and the branches low. Charlie laid down along the horse’s neck to escape being swept off. He cheered on, with low cries, the wild colt, who stretched himself full length at every leap.

With streaming mane, glaring eyes, distended nostrils, he plunged onward. Charlie heard the dead dry boughs crackling behind, and the snorting of the soldier’s horse, so near was his fierce pursuer. On, on Fleetwood dashed, bearing his little master from one piece of woods to another, till the forest became dense and dark. He had now gained some on the soldier; and, seeing ahead a tangled, marshy thicket, Charlie rode right into its midst.

Here he stood five hours without moving.

The soldier, so much heavier with his horse, dared not venture into the swamp. He rode round and round, seeking for some firm spot of entrance. Sometimes he did come very near; but every time sinking into the wet, springy bog he was obliged to give it up; he could not even get a shot at the boy, the brush was so thick, Fleetwood instinctively still as a mouse, and finally, with loud oaths, he rode off.

But the lad and the colt still stood there hour after hour, not knowing whether they might venture out; but at nightfall his mother, who had been watching all the while, with tears and prayers, saw her dear boy cautiously peeping through the edge of the woods. By signs she let him know that the danger was past, and, riding up to the house, he dismounted. Then, leaning against his beautiful colt, his own bright, golden curls mingling with Fleetwood’s ebon mane, the plucky little fellow told his adventures to the eager group.

The Quaker neighbors in this vicinity had at last been driven, by the outrages of the hostile troops, to use some means of defense. They agreed that, whenever a house should be attacked, the family would fire a gun, which would be answered by firing from other houses, and so the neighborhood become aroused.

But Farmer Pattison so abhorred the use of a gun that he would have none in his house. He procured a conch-shell which, when well blown, could be heard a great way.

One night, while Charlie’s family were all soundly sleeping, and, without, the clear November air was unstirred by a breath of wind, suddenly the grum report of the conch boomed in at the windows and alarmed the whole house.

Wakened so unceremoniously, all thought it was a gun; but no one could tell whence it came. The venerable grandfather knelt in prayer; the sick English officer, staring at the house, ordered his two guards to prepare for defence; the mother sat trembling, while the two little girls, Grace and Marcia, hid their faces in their mother’s night-dress.

But our Charlie was brave. He loaded the old firearm, and, going down to the piazza blazed away, loading and firing, to frighten away the unseen foe. Through the still air could be heard the guns of the neighbors, all aroused to defend their homes.

But no burning building could be seen, nor were there any shouts or noises of conflict.

The alarm subsided, but for the rest of the night the little family sat anxious and waited for the dawn. In the morning they learned the cause of the alarm. It seems that at noon, the day before, the Pattison boys were trying their lungs on the conch, calling the hired men to dinner.

Little Joseph stood by, waiting his turn, but it didn’t come. Dinner was ready, and the shell was put away on the shelf over the kitchen door. The little fellow’s disappointment was great, and that night he dreamed of robbers, of English soldiers and burning houses. He dreamed that he must blow the shell.

Up he jumped, ran down stairs, and through two rooms, still asleep, and, standing in a chair, got the conch from the shelf. Going to the back door he blew it lustily, and aroused the whole family. They rushed down-stairs in great alarm, and there stood the little boy, bareheaded and in his nightgown, while great drops of perspiration stood on his face, from the exertions he had made!


WHAT I HEARD ON THE STREET.


BY CLARA F. GUERNSEY.


NOT long ago, while I was waiting for the cars at a street corner, I heard two men talking together. The one was a young fellow of nineteen or so, a big, tall youth, whose appearance would have been pleasing had he not worn, in addition to a general air of discouragement, that look of being on the down-hill road, which, once seen, is unmistakable.

His clothes were sufficiently good in quality, but they seemed never to have known the clothes-brush, his coat lacked four or five buttons, for which three pins were a very inadequate substitute, and he had an aspect generally of having forgotten the use of soap and water.

Perhaps all this might not have been his fault. It is possible he had no womankind belonging to him, though I don’t hold that an excuse for missing buttons, and his work might have been such as bred fluffiness and griminess, but no man’s work obliges him to slouch when off duty, to keep his hands in his pockets, or tilt his hat on one side.

The other man was a brisk, middle-aged person, whom I take to have been a worker in iron in one way or another. He had on his working-dress, and his hands were black, but the blackness in his case was a mere outside necessity, and went no farther than the surface. He looked bright and sensible, and it was in a pleasant voice that he asked the younger man:

“Well, Jim, got a place?”

Jim gave a weary, discouraged sigh, and shifted from one foot to the other.

“Yes, I’m in Blank’s, but I might as well not be.”

“Why?”

“Oh,” returned Jim, in a forlorn manner, “what’s the use? I work all the week, and when Saturday night comes, there’s just five dollars. What’s that? Why, it’s just nothing.”

“No, it ain’t,” replied the senior, laying a kindly hand on the other’s shoulder. “It’s just five dollars better than nothing. Put it that way, Jim.”

“Well, now, that’s so,” said Jim, brightening up wonderfully after a minute’s thought. “It does make it seem different, don’t it?” And he walked off, apparently much comforted.

If you think of it, Reader, you will see that the difference between five dollars and nothing is infinitely greater than that between five and five thousand.


KIP’S MINISTER.


BY KATE W. HAMILTON.


JACK and Jill went up the hill,’” piped Bud’s shrill voice from the hayloft in the barn where she was hunting eggs. “‘To fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, And Jill——’”

If Bud’s own name had been Jill she could not have come “tumbling after,” any more speedily than she did. A board tilted, her foot slipped, and in a moment she was sitting on the floor below. Fortunately a quantity of hay had fallen with her, so there was no broken crown or other crushed bones; but her dignity was considerably jarred, and glancing around to see whether any one had witnessed the mishap, she discovered Kip looking out toward the road from a door at the farther end of the building.

“Kip Crail! what makes you stand there for?” she demanded, severely.

“I’m a-watching my minister,” answered Kip slowly.

It is not every boy who owns a minister all by himself, but Kip spoke as if nobody else had any claim upon this one; and as he seemed to have noticed neither her tone nor her downfall, Bud regained her chubby feet, shook the hay from her yellow curls, and going to Kip’s side looked curiously after the slightly grey-haired man, in clothing somewhat worn, who was quietly picking his way along the road. Her blue eyes discerned nothing remarkable, and she turned away disappointed.

“Ho! Why he’s everybody’s minister; he a’n’t yours.”

Kip knew better than that. Did not he remember who always knew him, and stopped to shake hands and say “How do you do, Christopher?”—a name that made him feel nearly as big as anybody. And who always asked after his mother? And did not forget when he told him little Bob was sick? The people in the house hitched up their sleek horses and nice carriage, and drove two miles to the city church every Sunday; but Kip, with freckled face shining from soap, head wet and combed till not a hair could stir from its place, and red hands thrust into his pockets, trudged whistling over the hill to the little frame church where most of the people from the straggling villages and the neighboring farms gathered.

“So he is my minister,” said Kip stoutly as he considered the matter.

He would have liked to share the honor that day, however, with the inmates of the large comfortable farm-house; for they were really the most prosperous family in the village, while he, only a distant relative, was “chore boy and gener’ly useful” as he phrased it. And there was to be a “donation party” at his minister’s home that very evening.

“If they’d just give something handsome!” he said to Nancy the “hired girl,” who was busy in the kitchen.

“They won’t never think of it no more’n they will of flyin’,” replied Nancy, dextrously turning a flapjack, and the subject also, by requesting Kip to “run for an armful of wood.”

Somebody always wanted wood or water, or something from the cellar, or something from the attic, whenever Kip was in sight. But he scarcely thought of the constant calls that morning, so full was he of other thoughts. Nancy might dispose of the question carelessly, but he could not. He was connected with the house, and he felt that the honor of the house was involved. Beside, he wanted his minister well treated and he knew—few knew better than Kip—how sorely the “something handsome” was needed in the shabby little parsonage. He did not mean they should “never think of it” as Nancy had said! he would remind them by bringing up the subject naturally and innocently in some way.

So he lingered in the room a few minutes after breakfast, while Mrs. Mitchel was gathering up the dishes, and Mr. Mitchel consulting the almanac. He coughed once or twice, and then, staring straight out of the window, observed as follows:

“There goes our big rooster! He’s most as big as a turkey, a’n’t he, Aunt Ann? Turkeys always make me think of Thanksgivings, Christmases, Donations and such things—oh yes! there is going to be a donation down to the minister’s to-night!”

Kip considered that very delicately and neatly done!

“Eh? what?” said Mrs. Mitchel, paying no attention except to the last sentence.

“Who’s going to have a donation?”

“Down to the minister’s,” repeated Kip. “Everybody’ll take ’em things, you know—flour and potatoes and wood—something handsome, I hope—the folks that can ’ford to.”

That was another masterly hint. Kip chuckled to himself at his success in managing his self-appointed task but his spirits sank with Mr. Mitchel’s first words.

“Well, now, I don’t know as I approve of that way. The folks here can do as they please—it’s no affair of mine—but seems to me it’s better to pay a man a decent salary, and let him buy his own things.”

“Don’t know as I ’prove of that way either,” soliloquized Kip indignantly when he found himself alone behind the wood-pile. “Don’t know as I ’prove of folks giving me their old clothes,” looking down at his patched knees. “Seems to me ’twould be better to pay me decent wages and let me buy my own clothes. But seein’ they don’t, these trousers are better’n none; and I guess if Uncle Ralph had a sick wife and three or four children he’d think a donation party was a good deal better’n nothing.”

Ideas that found their way into the brain under Kip’s thatch of light hair were sure to stay, and the cows, the chickens, and the wood-pile heard numerous orations that morning—all upon one subject.

“Now if I owned all these things, do you s’pose I’d go off to the big city church every Sunday, and wouldn’t go down now and then to see what was a-doin’ for the poor folks round here? And when I went, don’t you s’pose I’d see how his coat was gettin’ shinier and shinier, and her cloak fadeder, and all the new clothes they have is their old ones made over? A boy don’t like that kind of dressin’-up partic’lar well, and how do you s’pose my minister feels? Don’t you b’lieve I’d know when she got sick, how the bundles from the grocery-store was smaller and fewer ’count of the bottles that had to be paid for and the doctor’s bill? And wouldn’t I hear the tremble in his voice when he prays for them that has ‘heavy burdens to carry?’ Just wait till I’m a man and see!”

Old Brindle looked at him meditatively, and one pert little bantam mounted the fence and crowed with enthusiasm, but no member of the barn-yard offered any suggestions; and going to a little nook behind the manger, Kip drew forth his own offering for the important evening—a little bracket-shelf, clumsily designed and roughly whittled out, but nevertheless the work of many a precious half-hour. He looked at it rather doubtfully. It did not altogether satisfy even his limited conceptions of beauty.

“But then if you keep it kind of in the shade, and look at it sort o’sideways—so—it does pretty well,” he said, scrutinizing it with one eye closed. “I guess Mis’ Clay will, seein’ she’s had to look sharp for the best side o’things so long.”

But how he did wish the others would send something—“something that would count,” as he said. He was down on the ground gathering up a basketful of chips when one of the well-kept horses and the light wagon passed out of the yard and down the lane bearing Mr. Mitchel away to the town. A host of brilliant possibilities suddenly trooped through Kip’s thoughts as he watched the vehicle out of sight. His wish grew into something deeper and stronger.

“Oh please do make him think and bring back something nice for them!” he murmured.

Bud, who had a fashion of appearing in the most unexpected times and places, looked at him wonderingly from around a corner of the wood-pile.

“What makes you do that for?” she asked solemnly.

“’Cause,” answered Kip briefly, with a flush rising to his freckled cheeks. “I don’t care,” he whispered to himself. “The minister’s folks are good and care for other folks, and it’s ’bout time somebody was takin’ care of them.”

Bud did not quite accept the lucid explanation given her. She seated herself on a log and pondered the subject until she reached a conclusion that she considered satisfactory; and after that, though she said nothing about it, she watched quite as eagerly and much more expectantly for her father’s return than did Kip.

There certainly was something new and unusual in the light wagon when at last it drove up to the door again. Both children discovered that at once—Bud from the window, Kip from the piazza—a great, easy, luxurious arm-chair. Mr. Mitchel lifted it out and carried it into the house.

“See here! What do you think of that?” he said to his wife triumphantly. “I happened into a furniture store where they were auctioning everything off and I got this at such a bargain that I took it in a hurry. Isn’t that as comfortable a chair as you ever saw? Just try it.”

Mrs. Mitchel examined and admired; Nancy who came to the kitchen door exclaimed and interjected; and the household generally bestowed such unqualified commendation that Mr. Mitchel’s gratification increased.

“I think I know a good thing when I see it,” he declared, “and this couldn’t be bought anywhere else for that money. Nothing in the world the matter with it either, not a flaw about it except”—showing where the back could be lowered to make it more of a reclining chair—“this spring works a little hard. But a cabinet-maker could fix that in a few moments, and we’ll have it done right away. Kip!” as the boy passed the door—“Kip, could you take this down to the parson’s this afternoon? I want it to go at once.”

Kip could scarcely believe his ears. “Yes sir!” he said with his eyes fairly dancing. “You mean to send it to him, uncle Ralph? guess I can take it!”

He never called his minister “the parson”—it scarcely sounded respectful enough—but of course he knew who was meant and he was far too happy for any criticising thought. That handsome easy chair! Wouldn’t the very sight of it rest poor tired Mrs. Clay? Kip could see just how her pale face would look leaned back against the cushions.

“AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER.”

“It’s pretty heavy for you to carry so far though,” Mr. Mitchel was saying when Kip recalled his wandering wits far enough to understand. “’Jim could take it in the wagon perhaps”—

“I might put it in the hand-cart and wheel it over,” interposed Kip with a sudden inspiration. He could bear no delay, and he wanted to take it himself.

Mr. Mitchel commended that suggestion as “not a bad notion on Kip’s part.”

“And what shall I tell him, uncle Ralph?”

“Tell him—why, he’ll understand; he can see for himself. Tell him I sent it, and he’ll know what to do with it, I suppose.”

Kip supposed so too. He waited for no further directions, but made a partial toilet very expeditiously, and was soon safely out on the road with his treasure. To say that he was pleased and proud is a very faint description of his feelings. He trundled that hand-cart by no out-of-the-way route, and he was not long alone; the village boys hailed him:

“Hello, Kip! What you got there?”

“It’s our folks’ present to the minister,” answered Kip grandly, and one after another the admiring boys fell into line until the chair formed the center of a triumphal procession. The village soon knew of the gift, as the village always did know of everything that happened within its limits, and Kip had the satisfaction of being stopped several times, and of hearing that Mr. Mitchel had done “the handsome thing,” and that the chair was “out-and-out nice.”

So, in a beatific state, he reached the gate of the little parsonage. There was no lack of assistance. Every urchin was anxious to share at least the reflected glory of helping to carry it, and it was borne to the house very much as a party of ants bear off a lump of sugar—by swarming all over it. The minister came to the door, the body-guard fell back, and Kip presented his prize.

“Here’s something that Uncle Ralph sent you, sir; he bought it in town to-day. He said tell you he sent it, and he guessed you’d know what to do with it,” he said with shining eyes.

The minister’s eyes shone too, and then grew dim. This was so unexpected, and it meant so much to him! It had sometimes seemed hard to that kindly, tender heart that the one of all the village who could have done most, had never manifested any interest in his work for those poor people—had not lifted with even a finger the burden of care and sacrifice, or shown any disposition to aid or encourage. But there must have been sympathy after all. This was a generous gift in its luxuriousness—a thoughtful one, for it was for the dear invalid. He opened a door near him and said softly:

“Rachel, look here!”

How he had wanted just such an easy, restful cushioned niche for the worn slight form! The boys could not understand what it was to him in itself and in what it represented—“Only his voice had a tremble in it like when he prays,” Kip said to himself on his homeward way.

However he hated “fixed up company” in general he would not for anything miss the gathering at the parsonage that evening, and wood and water, cows and kindlings must be looked after early. So it happened he did not speak with Mr. Mitchel again until nightfall. Then that gentleman bethought him of his commission.

“Ah, Kip, carried the chair safely, did you?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, what did he say to it?”

“I wish you’d seen him, uncle Ralph!” said Kip radiantly. “Not, as he said much either, only something ’bout he didn’t know how to thank you—”

“How to thank me?” repeated Mr. Mitchel in amazement. “Why should he? He isn’t so short of work as all that, is he?”

“Short of work, uncle Ralph!” It was Kip’s turn to open wide eyes of astonishment. “I should think not, with all his preachin’ and Sunday-school and poor folks! I don’t s’pose he thought he’d have time to sit in it much himself; but Mrs. Clay, she’s sick—”

“What have the Clays to do with it?” demanded Mr. Mitchel with clouding brow and a dawning suspicion of something wrong. “I told you to take it to Mr. Parsons—the cabinet-maker’s—to have that spring fixed.”

Kip saw it all then, but he wished the floor would quietly open and drop him into the cellar, or that he could fly through the roof. He thrust his hands deep into his pockets, and his face flushed and paled.

“I—thought—you said the parson’s,” he stammered. “I s’posed ’twas for the minister’s donation, and so—”

“You took it there?” Mr. Mitchel completed the sentence. “Now how in the world—”

But it was too much to be borne. Kip waited for nothing more, but rushed from the house, and if in the shadow of the friendly wood-pile he leaned his head against the rough sticks and cried, there was no one to see.

“They may fix it up any way they please,” he said. “I can’t do it! I can’t and I wont!”

A little later he stood by the old gate watching the great yellow moon come up, and digging his red fists into his eyes now and then to wipe away some stray tears of shame, indignation and grief that still gathered there. This was not a very nice world anyhow, he decided with a queer aching spot at his heart. Almost it seemed as if he had asked for bread and received a stone—a sharp heavy stone at that.

Indoors Mr. Mitchel had expressed very distinctly his opinion of the carelessness and obtuseness that could have caused such a blunder, and the “awkwardness of the whole thing,” and in no little vexation was trying to find some means of remedy.

“I might write a note and explain, but then—I declare it’s the most awkward disagreeable thing I ever knew! Such a stupid blunder.”

“Papa,” interposed the slow, wondering voice of Bud, “I didn’t know there could be any mistakes up there.”

“Up where, child?”

“In heaven. Kip prayed you’d bring something for his minister—’cause I heard him—behind the wood-pile,” said Bud with slow emphasis. “I thought that made the chair come. I’m most sure ’twasn’t any mistake, papa.”

Mr. Mitchel pushed aside pen and paper, put on his hat and walked out. He really did not know the best way out of the difficulty. It was very vexatious, and in his perplexity he journeyed towards the parsonage. When he came in sight of the house he paused. What did he intend to do? Go there when others were making their offerings, and explain that he had not wished to show any friendship or appreciation, and wanted to take back what had been proffered through mistake? Certainly not! He turned, but at that moment some one joined him.

“Ah, Mr. Mitchel! Just going in? That was a generous gift of yours—exactly the thing for poor Mrs. Clay.”

Others came with similar comment. There was no chance to say anything, and scarcely knowing why or how, Mr. Mitchel found himself in the well-filled room, saw the sweet, pale face, with its smile of welcome for all, looking out from the cushions of the new chair, and felt the quick warm grateful clasp of the minister’s hand. Something in look and clasp and murmured words brought a sudden throb to Mr. Mitchel’s heart, a moisture to his eye.

Then, before he had time to recover from his bewilderment, some one had called on him to “make a few remarks,” and others echoed the request, and he found himself pushed forward to the front and heard his own voice saying, “How much cause all had to value Mr. Clay’s work in the village,” and expressing the hope that he might “enjoy these simple offerings as tokens of esteem and friendship.” Aye, and he meant it too, for catching the spirit of those around him, and swiftly comprehending more of the good man’s life and work than he had ever done before, he only regretted that he had not sent the offering of his own free will and pleasure.

He found an opportunity, however, to whisper to Kip who had slipped in later with very sober face—a face that brightened at sight of him.

“It’s all right. Don’t say a word to anybody about it.”

He had a pleasant evening despite a feeling of strangeness about it, and on his homeward way muttered something to himself about “a blessed blunder.” What he told at home Kip did not know, but when the boy arrived, a little later, Bud, wide-awake and listening for his step, raised her yellow head from its pillow and called:

“Ke—ip! it all comed out right, didn’t it?”

Kip thought it had. He was sure of it afterward when he saw the friendship that from that night began between the Mitchels and “his minister.”


JIM’S TROUBLES.


BY GRANDMERE JULIE.


Spot.

“I KNOW he didn’t do it,” said good Mrs. Martin; “he says he didn’t do it, and I believe him.”

“Then you don’t believe me?” asked Mrs. Turner rather severely. “I wish I had never seen that boy! I’m sure I have done my best by him, and been a mother to him. And now he’s turned out bad, everybody blames me for it. Father says, if he has done it, it is my fault for tempting him; Nelly has nearly cried her eyes out about it; and everybody seems to think it is more wicked to lose a spoon than to steal it—I declare they do.”

“Well, he’s been a good, honest boy ever since he came here—a real nice, obliging, pleasant spoken little fellow; and it stands to reason a good boy don’t turn bad all in a jerk like that,” said Mrs. Martin, shaking her head.

“I don’t know about jerks,” answered Mrs. Turner, “but I do know that, as soon as I had done cleaning that spoon, I put it back in the case, and as I was a-going to put it away, Jim comes in to get a pail, and says he, ‘ain’t it a pretty little box!’ and says I: ‘yes, but what’s in it is prettier.’ Then I smelt my bread a-burning, and I put down the case right here,” said Mrs. Turner striking the corner of her kitchen table, “and I ran to see to my bread, and when I came back Jim was gone, and my spoon was gone too. And I don’t suppose it walked off itself—do you?”

“Of course it didn’t,” said Mrs. Martin; “but some one else might have come in, or it may be somewhere”—

“I’d like to know where that somewhere is, then,” said Mrs. Turner; “I have looked high and low and turned the house upside-down for a week, and I haven’t seen any spoon yet. And nobody could come in without my seeing them because the front door was locked and so was the kitchen door, and anybody who came in or went out had to go through the back kitchen where I was. I saw Jim go out with his pail, but I didn’t suspect anything then—why should I? And it isn’t the spoon I mind so much, it’s the trouble, and the idea of that boy that had been treated like one of the family—but I won’t say anymore about it. I’ll send him back to New York, and”—

“No, don’t do that! I guess I’ll take him,” said Mrs. Martin. “He hasn’t any home to go to, and if you send him back, there’s no telling what will become of him. Where is he?”

“I guess he is sulking about the place somewhere,” said Mrs. Turner. “He said he hadn’t done it, and now he won’t say another word. I’ll call him if you really want him.”

Mrs. Martin said she really wanted him, and Mrs. Turner, stepping out on the kitchen porch, called out, “Jim, Jim!”

There was no answer, but pretty soon a boy walked across the yard toward the house, and stopped near the porch.

He was a boy about twelve years old, tall of his age and rather thin, and with a round, honest face, which looked very pleasant when he was happy, but which was at that moment very much clouded.

“I’ll speak to him by myself, if you don’t mind,” said Mrs. Martin, shutting the door and seating herself on the porch step.

“Come here, my boy,” said she kindly, while her homely face looked almost beautiful with goodness. “I don’t believe you are a bad boy; I think it’s all a mistake, and it will come out all right some day. I am going to take you home with me, if you will come.”

Jim’s brown eyes brightened, but he answered, not very gratefully, “Thank you, but I’d better go away from here—they all believe I took it.”

“No, they don’t; I don’t for one. You had better stay and behave like a good, honest lad, and I’ll be a true friend to you. Besides, we mustn’t run away from our troubles! you know they are sent to make us good and strong, don’t you see, my boy?”

Having finished her little sermon, Mrs. Martin got up and gave Jim a motherly hug and a kiss. And poor Jim “broke down” as he would have called it. But it was a breaking down that did him a world of good, and made a new boy of him.

“There, there,” said Mrs. Martin, “now go and get your things, and we will go home.”

Jim went up-stairs quietly to the little attic room that had been his own for two years. He made a small bundle of his old clothes. He wouldn’t take the new ones. “They was my friends when they got them for me,” he said to himself, “but now they ain’t my friends any more, and them clothes don’t belong to me now.”

Jim’s grammar was not perfect, but he meant well, and in his heart he was very sorry to leave the friends who had been so kind to him during two happy years.

As he turned to go down-stairs, he heard a noise in the hall, not far from him, and he saw Nellie Turner who seemed to be waiting for him. “Oh! Jim,” she said, and could not say more, because she began to cry.

Poor little Nelly had been breaking her heart about Jim’s trouble. She was a nice little girl ten years old, with bright yellow curls, pink cheeks, and blue eyes; but now the pink of her cheeks had run into her eyes, and she did not look as pretty as usual. But Jim thought she was beautiful, and her red eyes were a great comfort to him.

At last he spoke, “Good-by, Nelly; I am going away.”

“I know it,” said Nelly, “but, Jim, I don’t believe you are bad, and you will be good, won’t you?”

“Yes, I will,” said Jim. Then he left Nelly crying on the stairs, and went quickly to the porch where Mrs. Martin was waiting for him.

“Well, good-by, Jim,” said Mrs. Turner. “I hope you’ll be a good boy. Remember I have been kind to you.”

“Yes’m, thank you,” said Jim, rather coldly. He wanted to see “Father,” but Mr. Turner had taken himself out of the way.

While Mrs. Martin was walking home with her little friend, and talking to him to cheer him up, they heard something running after them, and Jim said, “Here is Spot, what shall I do? I am afraid I can’t make him go back.”

“Well, we’ll take him home, too,” said Mrs. Martin. “I like dogs, they are such faithful friends; they don’t care if people are pretty or ugly, rich or poor, good or bad, they just love them, and stick to them. Yes, we will take Spot, and make him happy.”

This remark made two people very happy. Jim brightened up, and laughed; and Spot, who had kept his tail between his legs in a most respectful and entreating manner, now began to wag it joyfully, and showed his love by nearly knocking down Mrs. Martin, to let her know that he understood what she had said, and approved of it.

Spot had been given to Jim by one of his school-mates, and Jim was very proud of his only piece of personal property. Spot was a white dog with a great many black spots all over him, and he was not exactly a beauty, but he was the best, lovingest, naughtiest, and most ridiculous young dog that ever adorned this world. He was always stealing bones, and old boots and shoes, and burying them in secret places as if they had been treasures, and no one had the heart to scold him much, because he looked so repentant and as if he would never, no never, do it again as long as he lived.

Since the silver spoon had disappeared, Spot had been very unhappy; people seemed to give him all the benefit of their disturbed tempers. Mrs. Turner spoke crossly to him, and would not let him stay in the kitchen; Mr. Turner had slyly kicked him several times; Nelly cried over him when he wanted to play, and Jim only patted his head, and said, “poor Spot, poor Spot!” by which he meant, “poor Jim, poor Jim!” But now Spot felt that a good time was coming, and he rejoiced beforehand, like a sensible dog.

And, in truth, a pretty good time did come. Jim was not entirely happy, because he could not prove his innocence, but he found that no one had been told of his supposed guilt.

Mrs. Turner had not said a word about her missing spoon to any one. “I will give him another chance to begin right,” she had said to her husband. And Mr. Turner had replied, “I don’t believe he took it any more than I did; so what’s the good of making a fuss about nothing?”

No fuss had been made; but Mrs. Turner had said to her little daughter, when she started for school the morning after Jim’s departure, “Nelly, you must be careful not to say a single word to anybody about Jim. But I don’t want you to ask him to come here, and it’s just as well for you not to play with him much.”

“It is too bad,” said Nelly. But she was an obedient little girl, and the first time Jim came to school, when she saw that he hardly dared to look at her she thought that it would be better to tell him the truth.

OPINIONS DIFFER RESPECTING JIM.

So at recess she called him, and asked him to go with her on the road, where no one would hear them; then she said:

“Jim, I want to tell you something. Mamma told me I must not ask you to come to the farm any more, and that I must not play with you much, and so I won’t do it. But I like you just the same, and I will give you an apple every day to say we are friends.”

Nelly was as good as her word. Every morning, at recess, she gave Jim a small red and yellow “lady-apple,” which she had rubbed hard to make it shine, and which was one of the two apples her father gave her when she went to school; and the “lady-apples” were all kept for her, because she said they were so good and so pretty—“just like my little girl,” Mr. Turner said.

And what do you suppose Jim did with his apples?

Eat them. No, not he!

Every time Nelly gave him an apple, he put it in his pocket and took it home. Then in the evening before going to bed, he made a hole in it—the apple, not in the bed—and strung it on a piece of twine which hung from a nail in the window-sash in his little room.

The poor apples got brown, and wrinkled, and dry, but they were very precious to Jim, but every one of them said to him, as plain as an apple can speak: “I like you just the same.”

And so the winter passed away quietly. Mrs. Martin became very fond of Jim; she said he was so smart and so handy about the house she didn’t know what she would do without him, and she didn’t think boys were any trouble at all.

But, alas, how little we know what may happen!

Spring had come, and house-cleaning had come with it. Mrs. Martin had a nice “best-room” which she never used except for half an hour on Sunday afternoons during the summer, and which was always as clean as clean can be. But in Spring, it had to be made cleaner, if possible; summer could not come till that was done.

So the carpet was taken up, shaken, and put down again, and as Jim had helped in the shaking, Mrs. Martin kindly invited him to come in, and admire the room.

“What a pretty room it is!” said Jim; “why don’t you live in it?”

“Because it would wear out the carpet, and it is more comfortable in the sitting-room;” answered Mrs. Martin. Then she showed him a few books, boxes, and other works of art which were spread out on the big round table, and Jim admired everything.

Among Mrs. Martin’s treasures, there was a brown morocco “Keepsake,” containing a pair of scissors, a silver thimble, and a needle-case. It had belonged to Mrs. Martin’s little daughter who had died several years before, and when Mrs. Martin went into the best-room on Sunday afternoons she always opened the “Keepsake,” and thought of the little hands that had played with it, long ago. And now as a reward of merit, she showed it to Jim.

“It is the prettiest thing I ever saw!” said Jim; “when I am rich I will give Nellie Turner one just like it.”

“She will have to wait some time, I guess,” said Mrs. Martin, laughing.

Then they looked at the pictures of George Washington shaking hands with nobody, and of his wife, looking very sweet and handsome.

“You are so great at stringing up things, Jimmy,” said Mrs. Martin with a funny look, “I want you to hang up these pictures for me, will you?”

“I will,” said Jim, blushing a little as he thought of his string of apples; “I will do it next Saturday.”

Jim kept his promise. The pictures were hung in the best light and made the room look so much prettier, that even Spot, who had been a silent observer, could keep still no longer, and barked his approbation. Then the blinds and windows were closed, the door locked, and the best-room was left to quiet and darkness.

The next day being Sunday, Mrs. Martin paid her usual afternoon visit to the best-room. She admired the pictures a little while, then she went to the round table to take up the Keepsake; but the Keepsake was not there.

She looked all over the table and under it, behind every chair and in every corner, but she did not find it. “I wonder where it can be? Perhaps I took it to the sitting-room without thinking,” said Mrs. Martin to herself.

She went back to the sitting-room and looked everywhere, but found no Keepsake. Then she sat down in her rocking-chair and tried to think about something else, but could only say to herself: “I wonder where it is!”

Jim came into the room with a new Sunday-school book, which he began to read. Mrs. Martin looked at him while he read, but for some reason she did not say anything to him about the Keepsake.

The next morning she put off her washing, and as soon as Jim had gone to school she began to search the whole house; but no Keepsake did she find.

“It can’t be, it can’t be,” she said with tears in her eyes; “but I must look in his room—perhaps he took it up to look at—he said it was so pretty.”

Mrs. Martin went up to Jim’s room, but found nothing there except his clothes, the apples, and a few little treasures such as boys have.

Then she fell on her knees by Jim’s bed, and cried with all her heart. “No, I won’t believe it till I have to,” she said at last. “Poor boy; it’s hard on him and he has been so good, too! But I must speak to him about it, and if he has done wrong I must try to be patient with him.”

When Jim came home from school in the afternoon, Mrs. Martin called him into the sitting-room. “Come here, Jim,” she said; “I want to speak to you.”

She had said it very kindly, but there was something in her voice that made Jim feel a little queer.

He came in and stood before her, and she said to him: “Jim do you know what has become of that pretty Keepsake I showed you the other day? I can’t find it anywhere, and I have looked and looked.”

“I LIKE YOU JUST THE SAME! I LIKE YOU JUST THE SAME!”

“No,” said Jim boldly, “I havn’t seen it since. I hope it isn’t lost.” Then he stopped, and his face blushed crimson. There was something in Mrs. Martin’s eyes, as well as in her voice, that reminded him of his trouble about the silver-spoon.

“Oh! you don’t think”—he cried out.

But he could say no more—Mrs. Martin had him in her arms the next moment.

“No, I don’t think,” she said, “I don’t, my boy! not for the world I wouldn’t! only I can’t find it, and—and—”

“Let me look for it,” said Jim.

They looked again together, but with no success. That night there were two heavy hearts in the quiet little house, and the next morning there were two pair of red eyes at the breakfast table.

“You must not grieve so, Jim,” said Mrs. Martin. “I hope it will all come out right; we must try to bear it well, and go to work as if nothing had happened.”

But she could not follow her own advice, and the washing remained undone.

Jim did not go to school, and spent his time looking everywhere in the orchard and in the garden, while Spot followed him, wondering what was the matter.

No one had any appetite for dinner, and after trying in vain to eat a potato, Jim went up to his room.

Mrs. Martin tried to sit still, and sew, but she could not bear it long; and when she heard the children coming from school, she went to the gate to look at them; they were so happy that it seemed to do her good.

“Is Jimmy sick?” asked little Nelly, stopping on her way.

“No,” said Mrs. Martin; “but he’s been busy, and couldn’t go to school.”

Nelly wanted to send him a nice russet apple she had kept for him, but she did not quite dare to do it because Mrs. Martin looked so sober.

Jim heard her voice from his room, but he did not dare to show himself. “She won’t like me just the same when she hears of this,” he thought; and he felt as if he had not a friend in the world. “I would give my head to find that thing,” he said; “she don’t believe I took it, but she believes it too; I shall have to go away from here, and I don’t care what becomes of me, anyway.”

Mrs. Martin stood at the gate a little while watching the children, then she went to the garden to look at her hot-beds—two large pine boxes in which lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes were doing their best to grow fast and green.

When she came near the beds, she saw Spot stretched on the ground, enjoying an old bone, as she thought.

“This won’t do, Spot,” she said; “I don’t want you to bring your bones here. Go away!”

Spot did not seem to mind her at all, so she came a little nearer to make a personal impression upon him with the toe of her shoe.

Spot growled, and turned away his head a little, and as he did so, a little silver thimble fell out of the old bone and rolled upon the ground.

“My Keepsake!” exclaimed Mrs. Martin. And, as she said afterward, she was so taken by surprise you could have knocked her down with a feather.

She waited half a minute to get her breath when she picked up the thimble and ran toward the house, calling with all her might: “Jim, Jim, here it is! here, come!”

Jim never remembered how he got down stairs, but there he was staring at the thimble, and so happy that he couldn’t even begin to say a word.

Mrs. Martin was just explaining to him: “you see it was Spot, and the bone, and the hot-bed fell out of it, and I knew it was not you”—when, they heard a big voice calling from the road: “Jim, Jim, come out here quick!”

They looked round, and saw farmer Turner running as fast as such a fat man could run, and waving something shiny over his head.

“Here it is!” he said, “here is that blessed spoon! I was a-plowing in a corner of the orchard, when I turned up a soft stone made of red morocco, with a silver spoon in it. Didn’t I tell you so? I never believed it. Hallo! what’s the matter?”

The matter was a most wonderful scramble. Mrs. Turner and little Nelly had run across lots, and here they were, talking, and laughing, and crying. Everybody hugged everybody else, and everybody was so glad she was so sorry, or so sorry she was so glad—farmer Turner vowed he couldn’t tell which it was most.

At last they made out that they were all very glad, and Mrs. Martin invited them all to stay to tea. They accepted the invitation, and such a tea-party never took place anywhere—not even in Boston—for the company had joy as well as hot biscuits, and happiness as well as cake.

Spot was scolded and forgiven, and wagged his tail so hard that it is a wonder it didn’t come off.

As for Jim, he got kisses enough that evening to last him for a lifetime.

This is the true end to a true story, but not the last end by any means.

For Jim is now a “boy” twenty-one years old, and Nelly “likes him just the same,” only a great deal more.

They’ll think I’m Papa!


ON THE WAY TO THE BLOOMING.

THE CHRISTMAS THORN.


BY LOUISE STOCKTON.


IN the December of 1752, Roger Lippett was a boy of ten years, and “Dan,” his dog, was six months old and had to be taught to swim. To this pleasing duty Roger addressed himself whenever he had a chance, and the only draw-back was that his mother would allow no wet dog upon her sanded floor, and as Roger had to be wherever Dan was, he had often a tedious time in waiting for such a very curly dog to get dry.

But this Sunday afternoon the two had taken a long walk after the swim, and when they came back Dan was dry and uncommonly clean and white.

In the little parlor Roger found the usual Sunday company. In an arm-chair on one side of the fireplace sat Simon Mitchels, the school-master; opposite to him, on a three-legged stool, was Caleb Dawe, the parish clerk, and on the settle, in front of the fire, was Roger’s cousin, old Forbes the miller, and short Daniel Green, the sexton. His mother sat in her high-backed chair by the window, and Phœbe Rogers’ younger sister was near her playing gleefully with a kitten.

“Christmas!” said Caleb; “there’ll be no Christmas! What between the New Way and the Old Way, we’ll all go astray. It is a popish innovation at the best, and if King George knew his duty, he’d put his foot on it.”

“Nonsense!” said Simon, testily; “when a thing is wrong, ’tis wrong, and if you mean to make it right, you must not mind a little temporary trouble. King George knows that just as well as any one, and so do you! If you wanted a new roof on your house you would first have to take the old one off.”

“Not Caleb,” said old Forbes. “Caleb ’d patch the old one until it was new-made over.”

“Yes,” replied Simon, “that is just what we have been doing with the year—patching and patching. Now here comes King George, and says, ‘Look here, this is 1752, and if we are ever going to have a decent regular year with the proper number of days in it, ’tis time we were about it.’ But you people who patch roofs object because it alters the dates for one year a day or two. Thanks be to the King, however, he has the power.”

“Alters the dates a day or two!” repeated Caleb. “You yourself said the New Way would take eleven days out of the year.”

“Only this year,” Simon replied; “afterward it will be all right. It is but to bring the first of January in the right place.”

“It was right enough,” persisted Caleb. “And I say no one, king or no king, has any right to take eleven days away from the English people.”

Then Mistress Margery Lippett spoke:

“For my part,” she said, “I think the New Way unchristian. Mistress Duncan, you know, has a fine crowing little boy, and when the squire asked how old he was, she told him—’twas but a day so ago—three months and two weeks; and he laughed, and told her she would have to take the two weeks off. Now that I call unchristian, and not dealing justly with the child.”

At this the school-master laughed, and taking his pipe out of his mouth, and pushing his velvet skull-cap a little farther back, he replied:

“They were both right, Mistress Margery. Both of them. The mother counts by weeks—very good—the squire by the proper calendar. One makes the child three months and two weeks, and she is right; the other deducts eleven days to fit the calendar, and he, too, is right.”

“Out with it,” cried Caleb; “out with such a calendar! Why, the whole realm will be in confusion. None of us will ever know how old we are, or when the church-days are due; but I doubt if, in spite of it all, the Pope’s new calendar doesn’t keep the squire’s rent-day straight. They’ll look out for that.”

“I suppose,” said Simon, “you all think the year was created when the world was?”

“Of course it was,” said Mistress Margery; “didn’t He make the day and the night, and do you suppose He would have passed the year over?”

“You are about right,” said Simon; “but the trouble is we are just finding out what His year is? See here, Roger,” and he turned his head to the boy, “do you know how many different kinds of years we can reckon?”

“Not I, master,” said Roger.

“Well, I’ll tell you. Suppose you wanted a measure of time answering to a year, you might reckon from the time the apples blow to when they blow again, but if a frost or a blight seize them, you’d be out with your count, wouldn’t you?”

“Truly,” said Mistress Margery, who delighted to see how well Roger understood his learned master.

“Well, then,” resumed the teacher, “you would soon find that if you wanted a regular, unchangeable guide, one unaffected by seasons, by droughts, heats, or hostile winds, you would look to the skies. You would, perhaps, if you were wise enough, and had observed—you would single out some special star; you would take close notice of its position, note its changes, then you would say, ‘When that comes back to the very spot where it was when I began to watch it, that time I shall count as my year.’ Do you follow me?”

“That I do,” said Roger.

“That, then, is one way in which a year was once calculated, and the star chosen gave three hundred and sixty-five days for a year.”

“Now that is a calendar, true and unchangeable, and correct beyond what a Pope can make,” said Caleb.

“That, Roger,” said Simon, taking no notice of Caleb, “is called a Sidereal year. Now, come you here, Phœbe, and tell me what is a Lunar year?”

“A year of moons,” said Phœbe, her bright eyes dancing.

“You have the making of a scholar in you,” said Simon; “’tis a pity you are a girl. A Lunar year is a year of twelve moons. This Lunar year has but three hundred and fifty-four days, still it served the purposes of the Chaldeans, the Persians, and Jews.

“Then there was the Solar year, calculated by the sun; and it and the Lunar year agreed so badly that every three years another lunar month had to be counted in to keep the one from running away from the other. Now, I suppose you all think,” looking at the group around the fireside, “that all these years began the first of January and ended the thirty-first of December?”

“It is but just that they should,” said old Forbes, Caleb disdaining to speak.

“But they didn’t,” said Simon. “The Jews began their year in March; in Greece it began in June, and certain Eastern Christians began theirs in August.”

“That isn’t England,” said Caleb, in a tone of contempt.

“Truly not,” said Simon; “but the English year used to begin the twenty-fifth of December, until the coronation of William the Conqueror—when was that, Phœbe?”

“In 1066,” said Phœbe, smoothing her teacher’s ruffles with the air of a petted and privileged child.

“It was January the first, 1066,” resumed Simon; “and it was judged so important an event that it was ordered that ever after the year should begin on that day. But I can tell you worse than that of England. There are places in England to-day, where they reckon their year from the twenty-fifth of March!

“But long before William’s time,” he continued, “the Romans had ideas, and they thought it wise to straighten up the year for their own use. So Julius Cæsar—when did he begin to reign, Phœbe?”

“I don’t know,” said she.

“In 63, B. C.” said Roger, eagerly.

“No, that was Cæsar Augustus, and we are coming to him. Julius Cæsar lived before that, and he arranged the years so that all the even numbers among the months, except February, had thirty days, and all the odd ones thirty-one. Do you understand that?”

“Not I,” said Phœbe, frankly.

“January is the first month; it is not an even number?”

“No,” said Phœbe.

“March is the third month, and so is not an even number?”

“No,” said Phœbe again.

“They each then, being odd, had thirty-one days, while May and July, and the other even months, except February, had thirty days. That was all very easy, and the length of the year seemed settled; but when Cæsar Augustus came on the throne he was not satisfied. ‘What,’ said he, ‘shall Julius Cæsar in his month of July have thirty-one days, and I, in my month of August, have but thirty!’ And so he at once made August longer.”

“He was very foolish,” said Phœbe. “I was born in February, wasn’t I, mother? and I don’t care because Roger was born in December, when there are more days.”

“But you are not a Cæsar,” replied her teacher. “At any rate this Cæsar made the year all wrong again; and in 1582 Gregory, who was Pope, set to work to help matters. He had to drop some days, I believe, in the first year just as we are going to now. The French and Italian people, and some others, were wise enough to see this improvement at once, and they adopted Pope Gregory’s year; but we, for nearly two hundred years more, have been getting along with the old way, and our new year comes ahead of almost everybody else’s, and those who travel get their dates badly mixed.”

“Surely,” said Roger, “it would be best to have the same year the world over.”

“So King George thinks,” said Simon; “but Caleb here says not, and quarrels because eleven days have to be dropped out of this one year, so that for all aftertime the years, months, and days, will go on in an even, regular and seemly manner.”

“And I rightly object,” replied Caleb; “and when the proper Christmas-day comes I shall keep it, and no king, no pope, and no Julius Cæsar, nobody, shall ever make me change the blessed day for any other falsely called by its name.” And Caleb put his hands to his three-legged stool, and lifting it and himself at the same moment, brought it down with a bang.

“Well, we can’t go wrong about Christmas-day,” said Mistress Margery, “if we but follow the blooming of the Glastonbury Thorn.”

“That we cannot,” answered old Forbes. “For hundreds and hundreds of years, long before popes or calendars were thought of, that Thorn has bloomed every Christmas Eve, and not only the one at Glastonbury, but every sacred slip cut from it and planted has remembered the birthday of The Child and never failed to blossom!”

“That is all superstition,” said Simon; “the plant naturally blossoms twice a year—that is all.”

“Indeed that is not all,” cried Mistress Margery. “I was born and raised at Quainton, but seven miles from here, and there, as you all know, is a fine tree grown from a Glastonbury slip, and many’s the time when, with the whole village, have I gone out to see the blooming.”

“And when did it bloom, mother?” asked Phœbe.

“Always on Christmas Eve. The blossoms were snow white, and by Christmas night they were gone.”

“But, mother,” said Roger, “why is the Glastonbury tree the best, if this at Quainton blooms as well?”

“Because it was the first one planted, of course,” said Mistress Margery; “I know no other reason.”

Phœbe saw the little smile upon Simon’s face, and taking his coat lappets in both hands, she bent her pretty little head in front of his, and said:

“Tell us, master.”

“You think,” he answered, “that I must know all the old wives’ stories? Well, I will tell you this one. Joseph of Arimathea, you know, gave his sepulchre to receive the body of the Lord. Into it the blessed angels went, and out from it, upon the third day, came the Risen Saviour. From that hour, until the one in which he saw the Lord return unto the skies, Joseph followed Him, and then all Palestine became to him empty and weary. There were people who doubted the resurrection; people who said that Joseph himself was one who aided in a deception; and so, tired of it all, he took his staff in hand and wandered until he came to England, and to Glastonbury. On Christmas-day he climbed the hill where the old, old church now stands, and here, in sign that his wanderings were over, he planted his staff. At once it rooted, it shot forth leaves, it blossomed, and the scent of the milk-white flowers filled the air. From that time to the days when Charles and Cromwell fought, it has blossomed on Christmas Eve; but then it was cut down by some impious hand, yet still all the slips, the twigs, which had been cut off by pilgrims, have kept the sacred birthday; and as your mother says, the one in Quainton can as well as the other decide between the Old calendar and the New.”

“I am glad to hear thee say so,” exclaimed Mistress Margery, with brightening eyes, “and if you choose to journey with us when next we go to Quainton, you are heartily welcome to our company, and I’ll bespeak thee a honest welcome from my sister who, like my Phœbe here, has a strong leaning toward learning.”

“Nay,” said the school-master, looking a little ashamed of himself; “I but told the story to amuse the child. The plant is merely a sort of hawthorn from Aleppo, and regularly blooms twice in the year, if the weather be but mild.”

But although Mistress Margery was much disappointed that he had no desire to go to Quainton, she found both Roger and Phœbe bent upon witnessing the Christmas blooming.

“I don’t know,” said she, lightly, “but that between the Old Way, and the New, the Thorn will be confused, and not know when it should bloom.”

“It will not bloom on your new Christmas, take my word for that,” said Forbes; “and if the children will wait until the true day comes, I myself will take them along, for I have a mind to see it myself.”

“But, cousin Forbes,” said Phœbe, “it may bloom on the new day.”

The little people had their way. On the morning of the twenty-fourth of December, by the New Style, but the thirteenth by Caleb’s count, Roger and Phœbe started off, mounted on their mother’s own steady white horse, Phœbe behind her brother, with the bag containing their holiday clothes, while to Roger was given their lunch, and a bottle of blackberry wine for their aunt, with whom they were to lodge in Quainton.

The morning was cold and bleak, but the children rode merrily on. It was the first time they had been trusted alone on such an expedition, and Phœbe at once proposed that they should play that Roger was a wandering knight, and she one of the fair, distressed damsels who were always met by knights when on their travels.

“I would,” said Roger, “if you could find another knight to whom I could give battle, but it is rather tame to be pacing along here with you behind me, and no danger ahead.”

“I wish then,” said Phœbe, “that mother had not wanted cousin Forbes’ horse, for, perhaps, he would have lent it to us, and then, with such a horse, we could have been a knight and a lady out hawking, and I would have given you a race.”

“That would have been a rarely good plan,” said Roger, looking up the level road, “and I do not like to lose it. Ho, lady,” he cried, looking behind him, “thy father is in pursuit!” And clapping both feet to the sides of the horse, he put him to his speed.

“Oh, Roger! oh, sir Knight!” exclaimed Phœbe, “my hood—if I could but tie it!”

“I cannot wait for hoods,” said the knight, in a stern voice; “when we reach my castle thou shalt have twenty-two, and a crown beside.”

The lady would not have doubted this for the world, but she nevertheless loosened one hand, clinging desperately to her protector with the other, and pulled off the hood, held it, and clutched her knight who, with cries of “on Selim, on!” urged poor old Dobbin to his best.

There was, indeed, a clatter of horses’ hoofs behind, and with it a loud cry, Phœbe turned her head.

“Oh, sir Knight!” she cried with very short breath; “my father is near at hand! Hasten, oh, hasten!”

And sure enough, some one was! He was short and stout, and looked much more like a butcher’s boy than a gentle lady’s father; and he was certainly in pursuit, and he called again and again, but the only effect was to make the flying knight more vigorously kick the sides of his horse, and more vehemently push on. But as fortune would have it the father’s horse was the swiftest, and in spite of the knight’s best efforts he was down along-side.

“What do you mean?” he exclaimed, “by racing off in this way! If I didn’t know that was Mistress Margery Lippett’s horse I would have let you go on, seeing that you haven’t sense enough to know he has lost a shoe.”

At this Roger quickly stopped his steed.

“Which one?” he exclaimed—“Here Phœbe, I must get down—the hind foot shoe is gone.”

ON THE ROAD ONCE MORE.

“Oh, Roger,” cried Phœbe, “what would mother say! She is so careful of Dobbin, and she charged us to take heed of him; and Roger, must we go home, do you think?”

“Of course not,” replied Roger, “and see here Dick,” for he now recognized his pursuer, “cannot you tell me where to find a blacksmith?”

“There is one at Torrey,” said Dick, “a mile down that road. It is the nearest place, but it will take you out of your way, if you are going to the Blooming as am I, who must be off, or my master will take my ears in pay for my tarrying.”

It was easy enough to find the blacksmith’s shop, but the blacksmith was not there, although he would soon be back, his wife said. Roger tied his horse, and then he and Phœbe wandered about until he declared it was lunch time; so they came back, and were about to eat their lunch by the stile, when the smith’s wife saw them, and calling them into her kitchen, spread a table for them, and added a cold pie and some milk to their repast.

But still the man did not come, and Roger waited in great impatience. He was almost ready to start off again for Quainton, but Phœbe was so sure that the penalty of injuring Dobbin would be the never trusting of them alone again, that he was afraid to risk it. Then there came a man with two horses to be shod, and he waited and scolded and stamped his feet, and then the blacksmith came, but he at once attended to the man, and so Dobbin had to wait. But at last Dobbin was shod, and Roger mounted, and then the blacksmith lifted Phœbe up.

“Where are you going?” said the smith.

“To Quainton,” replied Roger; “we are going to see the Blooming.”

“Why, so are we,” said the man. “It is late for you children to be on the road. If I had known all this I would have shod your horse first. You had better wait for us.”

“Oh, no,” replied Phœbe, “we have first to go to our aunt’s. It would frighten her greatly to have us come so late.”

Roger looked down the road. It was certainly late in the afternoon, but the road was direct, and so he said good-by, and off old Dobbin trotted.

It now seemed as if the mile out of the way had stretched itself to two, and it was fast growing dark when they reached a mile-stone three miles from Quainton. Little Phœbe was certain they should be lost riding on in the dark; but not so Roger.

“There is no fear of that,” said he stoutly, “we will meet others going.”

And Roger was right. The nearer they got to Quainton the greater became the throng of people, and they were one and all going to the Blooming.

They came from the lanes, from over the fields, out of every hamlet, from every road. They were in wagons; they were on foot and on horse-back; two old ladies were in a sedan-chair, and at last they overtook an old man carried like “a lady to London,” by two great sons. As it grew dark and darker, and no stars came out to brighten the sky, wandering lights began to shine forth and torches, candles, lanterns, gleamed out on the roadside and flickered in the bushes and among the trees. There was in every group much talking and discussion; and it was easy to be seen that most of the people were of Caleb’s opinion, and doubted the new way of arranging the year; but it was equally clear that they meant the slip from the Glastonbury thorn to decide the matter for them.

Roger kept close behind a travelling-carriage which was attended by two horsemen carrying torches, and greatly to his joy it went into Quainton and passed directly by his aunt’s home.

“There is no use in stopping,” cried Phœbe, as the house came in sight, “it is all shut up and dark, and aunt Katherine has surely gone with the others.”

This was so likely to be the case that Roger urged on his horse, and again overtook the carriage. When they reached the field in which the Thorn-tree stood it was already filled with flickering, moving lights, and was all astir with people and voices.

Roger jumped down, lifted Phœbe, and then tying Dobbin to an oak sapling which still rustled with dried and brown leaves, he turned to his sister and, hand in hand, they hastened to where the Thorn was growing, and around which stood a large group.

The tree was bare, leafless, and looked as if dead.

“If that blooms to-night,” said a woman, “’twill be a miracle.”

“It is always a miracle,” said a grave and sober-looking man by her side.

Phœbe held closely to her brother’s hand; but the scene was too wonderful to promise much talking on her part. The darkness, the dim and shadowy trees and bushes, the tramping of unseen horses, the confusion of voices, the laughing and complaining of children, the moving lights, the thronging people, and in the centre of it all a ring of light and a dense group around the tree, made a wonderful picture.

Nearer and nearer the people pressed, the parish beadle in advance, with his watch in his hand, a man by his side swinging his lantern so that the light would fall directly upon it. Many eyes were bent on it.

It grew late, and the crowd became silent, gathering closer around the tree.

“Twenty minutes of twelve—a quarter of twelve—five minutes of twelve!” proclaimed the beadle.

The tree was still bare, and gave no signs of bloom.

Twelve o’clock!

And off in the distance pealed the bells, ushering in King George’s Christmas.

The torches flared upon the tree; the people in the rear of the crowd stood on tiptoe and craned their necks to see the milk-white bloom.

But the tree was silent and bare!

King George could not be right.

The next day aunt Katherine came out of the room where she was putting her bed linen away in the lavender-scented press.

“The church-bells have done ringing,” she said. “Run, children, and see if any one has gone.”

Off flew Phœbe with Roger after her, and when she reached the church-yard, the only person she saw was Marian Leesh, a neighbor’s child, looking over the wall at the minister and the clerk who were standing by the door. When the clergyman saw Phœbe he came toward her.

“Child,” he said, “what is the meaning of this? Is it possible that the people refuse to keep the Christmas-day? Where is your family?”

“We do not belong here,” said Phœbe; “we came to see the Blooming. We are at aunt Katherine’s, and she is looking over her linen press.”

The minister frowned.

“And the rest of the people?”

“They are all at work,” cried Roger, coming up; “the cooper has his shop open, and the mercer is selling, and they have all put away the cakes and the mistletoe, and there is to be no Christmas until the true day comes.”

“Nonsense!” cried the minister. “Jacob, bring me my hat!” and without taking off his gown he strode down into the village.

But it was all in vain; the minister talked and scolded, but the people went on with their work. They would not go to church; they would not sing their carols nor hang holly and mistletoe boughs.

“This New Way might do for lords and ladies,” they said, “but as for them the Christmas kept by their fathers, and marked by the blooming of the Thorn, was their Christmas,” and so the sexton closed the church, and the discomfited minister went home; and he was the only person in Quainton who that day ate a Christmas dinner.

When the news came to London and to the court of how these people, and others in different villages, refused to adopt the New Style, the little fat king and his lords and ladies laughed; but they soon found it was a serious matter, and so it was ordered that the churches should be opened also on “old Christmas” and sermons preached on that day wherever the people wished them. And thus it was that our sixth of January, known as “Twelfth Night,” “little,” or “old Christmas,” came to be a holiday.

But Roger and Phœbe spent one year of their lives without a Christmas. They returned home upon the twenty-sixth, and found that there the New Christmas had been kept; and as they could not go back to Quainton when the Old Christmas came, they missed it altogether.

As for the Thorn-tree! Who can tell whether it still blooms? In the chronicles which tell of the Glastonbury bush, and of the Quainton excitement, there is no mention made of its after blooming; and the chances are Phœbe’s mother was a true prophet when she said it was possible that between the Old Style and the New Style the Thorn would become confused and bloom no more for any Christmas-day.


MIDGET’S BABY.


BY MARY D. BRINE.


“O MY SAKES!” It was early in the morning when Midget stood on tiptoe, peeping behind a large ash-barrel, and, with wide-open eyes, uttered this exclamation. So early that only a few enterprising milkmen and extra smart market-men were about the street, and nobody but Midget had heard the feeble cry which startled her and led to an inquisitive peep behind the barrel.

It was in an alley-way where piles of rubbish, all sorts of odds and ends, and much that was impure and disagreeable, had it all their own way from dawn till night, that Midget was standing this chilly morning. And “O my sakes!” escaped her lips once again before she ventured to stop staring and begin work. No wonder she stared, for on the ground, surrounded by bits of broken crockery and discarded ale-bottles, half-choked with the dust of ashes, and carelessly wrapped in a dilapidated old shawl, a baby was lying, stretching little thin arms helplessly into the narrow space between the high brick wall and the barrel, and testifying by feeble wails its need of timely assistance. Midget was so shocked and surprised at first that she could only give vent to her favorite exclamation as above, but presently her small shoulder was pressed against the barrel, and after much tugging and some hard breathing it was shoved aside, and Midget had her arms around the forlorn and neglected baby in a moment.

It was just at that part of the fall season when early mornings and evenings are chilly and suggestive of shivers, and baby, who might have been all night on the ground, was blue with cold and quite savage with hunger. Midget’s shawl, ragged almost as that which was wrapped about the baby, was made to do double duty, as she folded the little waif in her arms, and realized the important fact that she was holding a real, live baby.

It was not possible to carry a bundle of wood and baby at the same time, so the bundle which was to help grandma get her cup of tea was unceremoniously dropped, and the little girl hurried home with her new-found treasure.

While she is hastening over the pavements, her blue eyes dancing with joy and excitement, we may learn something concerning her and her rather uncomfortable home.

Midget lived with her grandmother, who was both father and mother to the little thing who had never known the care or love of either parent. Her father had never, in his best days, been much of a man, and when, soon after his wife’s death, he was accidentally killed in the factory where he worked, poor little Midget was left totally unprovided for, and quite dependent, in her babyhood, upon grandma, who at least was able to pay the small monthly rent of the cellar home to which Midget was taken. The child, because of her small size, had earned from neighbors the nickname “Midget,” and had reached the age of eight years, still answering to the title, and almost forgetting her real name was Maggie. A wild, wilful, and not far from naughty little girl she was, but her heart was kindly disposed, and held a world of good intentions and affectionate thoughts, that somehow nobody, not even grandma, could often get a sight of. She didn’t understand why there was not a little sister with whom she might play all day, instead of having to go out early in the morning to pick up sticks and chips for the fire which cooked their scanty meals.

Midget much preferred a game of “ring around a rosy” with the other children, properly called “Les Miserables,” who swarmed about the side street where she had lived so long, than to work for her daily bread and blue milk, according to granny’s directions. And poor old granny herself, possessing not much of the virtue called patience, was called upon by her idea of training a child the way she should go, to give little Midget many a “cuff on the ear,” and a shaking which roused all that was naughty in the lassie’s heart, and made the blue eyes snap very angrily. As for school, Midget had no time for education, but in some way, she, with several other children, had learned their letters, and could spell cat and dog as well as any school girl. During the day she earned a little by selling papers on the street, and yet I’m sorry to say most of her pennies went in sticks of candy down her little throat, unknown to granny. “If I only had a little sister,” she would think, excusing herself, “if granny would only buy babies, as other women do, why I’d be as good as anything, and help her take care of it! I would!”

Eh! what’s that?

But granny didn’t buy babies, and Midget still hated work, and sometimes there were clouds and sometimes sunshine, and on this very morning when Midget found the baby she had been saucy to grandma, and grandma had boxed the little ears, and so it had begun a very cloudy day indeed.

But we must return to Midget, who, ere this, has reached home.

How glad she was, and at the same time how frightened, poor little Midget! What should she do with the baby, that was the question; and when at last the cellar was reached, and Midget laid her burden in grandma’s lap, she asked the question over again.

“Eh! what’s this?” asked the old woman, lifting her hands and brows together, while baby, who, in all its life of eighteen months had never beheld such a queer thing as granny’s broad-frilled cap, opened its mouth and screamed a terrified answer.

“’Tain’t only a baby, granny,” exclaimed Midget, patting the wee stranger’s hands, and trembling lest her grandmother should rise and drop it. “Only nothin’ but just a baby, and I’m so glad I found it, ain’t you, granny? ’Cause you see it’s a kind of sister, you know, and you won’t have to buy one.”

“Glad?” repeated the old woman, “that I ain’t!” But the rather snappish answer was quite out of keeping with the impulsive kiss laid on the little one’s velvety cheek. Midget brightened when she saw granny do that.

“I say, do you think it’s got any mamma, granny?” she asked.

Did have, most likely, but reckon her ma wa’n’t good for much,” was the reply, while the baby, amused by Midget, began to laugh.

“I shouldn’t have thought any mother would chuck her baby behind a barrel,” said Midget, thoughtfully. Then she began to plead with her grandmother that it might be allowed to stay with them, promising such wonderful things, and such care of it, that granny, who loved babies, and didn’t really know but what a reward might be offered for the child, at last yielded, and promised to keep it at least a few days. And Midget, delighted beyond measure, seemed to feel two years older as she rocked the little stranger to sleep, and laid it in her own little straw bed. “I was a stranger and ye took me in,” kept somehow repeating itself in granny’s mind all that day. She had read it in her Bible long ago, and had heard it from the pulpit once, but never before had it come back so forcibly as to-day. “Well! well! The Lord will provide, I dare say. And goodness knows, if he don’t, the child will starve along with Midget and her old granny.”

No advertisement appeared in reference to the lost baby, and at the end of a week the little one had grown so dear to the two who had taken her in, that granny decided to keep her “a little longer.”

But what had come over Midget? The frowsy head began to look smooth as the clustering curls would permit, the little, active body, always bent upon mischief, had busied itself in new ways, and began to look tidy and neat as the unavoidable rags would allow. Hands and face were clean as soap and water could make them, and Midget actually kept her boots laced since baby’s advent into the family. Granny also noticed that Midget grumbled less at having to go out in the early dawn for sticks,—in fact, the grumbling in course of time ceased altogether; for Midget was bent upon fattening the baby and making it grow. And how could a baby grow fat unless she kept it nice and warm, and gave it plenty of food? Granny’s cup of tea would not do for baby, but Midget drank cold water most of the time, and baby had the blue milk all to her hungry, healthy little self.

By-and-by, after the little one had been in her new home about three weeks, and all the children had kissed it and admired it to their hearts’ content, and all the old crones of the neighborhood had speculated as to how granny would be able to provide for it, Midget found pleasant work to do in selling cut flowers on the street for a florist near by. Such an important little Midget had never before been heard of in that neighborhood, and it was wonderful how long it had been since granny had found it necessary to punish her. No more saucy words, or frowns on the child-face, because there was baby always watching her little Midget-mamma with wide eyes, and once, just once, Midget saw the baby kick out its tiny foot just as she had naughtily kicked a little playmate who ventured to provoke her anger. And as Midget was determined her baby should excel all others, of course she was careful of her influence. Then, too, she continued to be neat and tidy, lest the baby might turn her sweet face away when a kiss was wanted, and that would almost have broken Midget’s heart.

The mornings were daily growing colder, and our little girl’s shawl grew no thicker or warmer, sad to say, as she started early each day for the flower-stand on Broadway. But Midget kept up a brave heart, and was glad for the little custom she found. How closely she stuck to business, and how patiently she looked forward to the hour when, released from duty, she would scamper home for a frolic with baby, we have neither time nor space to describe minutely, but we may say that with this new happiness in her heart, and with the importance of taking good care of her baby constantly in her mind, no wonder our little Midget grew gentle and good, and found the sunshine oftener than she used to.

Midget and her Baby.

And all this time the wee stranger grew pretty and strong, and granny began to fear lest somebody should claim this bright treasure, which made the old cellar so happy a place, despite its scanty furniture and lack of home comfort. But nobody came for it, and finally the winter had slipped by and spring made its appearance.

Midget had laid up a few dollars—think of it, children who read this, a few dollars! probably the sum that some of you spend in candy and toys during one day and think nothing of—for a new dress for baby and some trifles for granny and herself. She was eight years old, old enough to feel very grand and important when planning her shopping expedition; and indeed, the little girl sadly needed something to wear, if she would still make herself bright and attractive to baby.

When the days grew warm she used to take her baby to the flower-stand, and people passing paused often, as well to admire this bright little nurse and her charge as to purchase the dainty blossoms offered for sale. Then in an hour or so granny would come for the baby, and, taking her home, leave the small flower vender free to attend to business.

Didn’t Midget get tired of selling her flowers all day on the street? O yes, very tired; but the day’s hard work only made her evenings merrier; and the bed-time frolics with baby made Midget grow fat from laughing, if the old adage is true, “Laugh and grow fat.” There had been so many bright days, in Midget’s opinion, since baby came; that the little girl quite forgot that there were such thing as clouds. And so one day, when she went home, it gave her a dreadful shock to find poor old granny faint and ill upon the low bed, and two of the neighbors watching beside her.

Midget looked around. Where was her baby? There was granny, so white, and grown so suddenly older than Midget had ever noticed before, but baby was crying in the arms of a girl-neighbor, who had volunteered to “kape the spalpeen quiet” till Midget’s return.

It didn’t take our little mother a minute to secure within her own tender arms the frightened baby, and then Midget sat patiently down beside granny, who neither stirred nor opened her dim eyes until midnight. If I had time I could tell you how, after days of watching and sadness, grandma made Midget understand that her sickness could not be cured on earth. But the end came, after all, too suddenly for little Midget’s comprehension, and when the kind neighbors had laid the old woman away, to rest forever from labor, our little heroine had only her laughing, crowing baby to comfort and cheer her.

She went to live with a kind woman who had known granny for years, and was but little better off in worldly goods than the old grandmother had been. Still, Midget could not starve; and she and her baby were made welcome in the new home. And after that she took the little one with her to the flower-stand, and brought her home at noon herself each day for two weeks.

And then another thing happened, which, for a brief time, almost broke the child’s heart.

It was a beautiful day late in the summer, and baby, a big, fat girl, was crowing and laughing in Midget’s lap, when a gentleman paused to buy flowers. While Midget was giving him change baby reached out her hand to touch the gentleman’s cane, and he looked at the baby face first with indifference, then more earnestly, and finally with a startled look on his own face which puzzled Midget.

Then he questioned her about the child, and asked if it had, under the soft golden curls, on the back of the neck, a small red mark.

Midget innocently replied: “O, I’ve seen it whenever I’ve dressed my baby; why, sir?”

Poor little Midget! Little she knew that with her own lips she was giving away her baby, for the gentleman, raising the curls that fell about the fat little neck, saw himself the mark which gave him back his own lost child.

It would be too long a story to relate how, just as he and his wife, so long ago, were going on board a European steamer, followed by nurse and baby, the nurse, carrying out a well-laid plot, slipped behind and sold for a large sum (promised) her little charge to an accomplice, who hoped to claim the reward which he thought would be offered, when, too late, the child’s loss was discovered; and, from that day until now, both parents had mourned for their baby. The nurse, failing to receive her promised share of money, worried and frightened the accomplice until he deserted the baby, and when the nurse would have sought it, Midget had taken her treasure home. The reward was offered, but, as it happened, granny had not seen it, and thus the child of aristocratic birth became indebted for life to Midget’s care.

All this the gentleman explained afterwards to Midget, after he had bidden her return to the florist her flowers and come with him. And then, in the presence of baby May’s mother Midget told her story, with many sobs and tears.

But the sunshine was coming to our heroine again,—the clouds were only for a little while. And when Mr. and Mrs. —— engaged at a good price the services of faithful Midget, as nurse for the baby she loved, and took both baby and Midget away to the beautiful country-house, where were birds and flowers and hanging leaves and grasses, which made the fall so cheery a season as it never had been for Midget before—why, then, the little girl wondered if it were not all a dream, and if the beautiful house and charming meadows would not suddenly change into dismal streets and old cellars and she a poor little flower-merchant again.

Little Midget is still nurse to baby May, still a bright, tidy, well-shod little girl, and best of all, baby still calls her “sissy Mid’it” and loves her as dearly as when, in the old times, Midget fed her on blue milk and crackers.


A NOCTURNAL LUNCH, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.


BY LILY J. CHUTE.


THERE was one pet, secret fault which was the delight of Tot Sheldon’s heart, and that was the eating, at night, after going to bed of such goodies as she could previously lay her mischievous little hands on.

Anything whatever to eat between the five o’clock P. M. supper and the seven o’clock A. M. breakfast was a forbidden luxury to the Sheldon children, for their good parents considered it altogether an unwholesome habit for little ones to give their stomachs work for the night. It was only adults, in their opinion, who might indulge themselves in rosy-cheeked apples, tempting nuts, or other dainties, in the long winter evenings, with impunity. To be sure, these little treats, seeming doubly delicious to the watering mouths of the children because forbidden them, were only brought forth after the clock had struck eight—the bed-hour of the youthful Sheldons, but, by some mysterious instinct which children often possess, they knew well enough the night custom of their elders, and were ambitious to grow up, that they, too, might not go to bed hungry.

For it was not seldom the case that they were, notwithstanding their hearty suppers of bread and milk, and such other food as was supposed to be harmless to the youthful digestion, really hungry before they fell to sleep.

Little Tot, however, had a special antipathy to hunger, either real or imaginary, and a similar love, as has been said, for secret nocturnal feasts. The other children being boys, Tot had a cunning little bed-room all to herself, and so could indulge her eccentric appetite without much fear of disturbance. To be sure, she often felt certain guilty qualms of conscience, when her mother would look into her room to kiss her good-night, and she feigned sleep, while clutching tightly her prize beneath her pillow. Crumbs of gingerbread or cracker would have betrayed her the next day, but Tot had been brought up to take care of her own mite of a room.

She wasn’t afraid of nightmares. Not Tot! She had eaten too many stolen suppers, and passed through the ordeal unharmed, to be afraid of any such bugbears, as she termed them. Neither of illness, for she considered her little stomach to be quite equal to that of any feather-bearing ostrich that ever stalked.

Sometimes it was a rosy baldwin or a brown russet apple, a juicy pear, or bit of cake, or even a “cent’s worth” of candy, that found its way to Tot’s chamber. But one night it was a whole pint of roasted chestnuts which her uncle Harry had given her as he met her coming from school, and which she had hoarded away, beneath the snowy sheets of her bed, till night.

For once Tot Sheldon was not unwilling to go to bed, a most remarkable occurrence. She said her good-nights with such cheerfulness, and started off with such alacrity that, unmindful of the many bed-times when the contrary had been true of her behavior, Mr. Sheldon said something, in a satisfied tone, about “the good effect of early training,” etc.

Chestnuts were Tot’s special delight,—and roasted chestnuts!

How she longed to get at them, that she might release the mealy meat, white and fine almost as flour, from the bursting brown shells, and revel in the peculiar, delicious flavor which she knew and loved so well!

Having undressed and ensconced herself in her cosey little bed, she waited with impatience for her mother’s nightly visit. She daren’t eat any of the nuts before, for fear something of the nutty aroma might be in her breath.

But she forgot that roasted chestnuts have a fragrance of their own, even while yet in their shells, and she trembled with fear least she should lose her treasures, when her mother, after kissing her, said kindly:

“You haven’t been eating chestnuts, have you, Tot? It seems as though I smelled them.”

“No, marm,” replied naughty, trembling Tot.

“That’s right, for you’d be sure to have dreadful nightmares,” said Mrs. Sheldon, as she bade her child good-night, and closed the door, distrusting the evidence of her own keen sense of smell.

“Well, anyway,” said Tot to herself, as her mother’s footsteps died away, “I hadn’t eaten any, so I didn’t tell a lie.”

She thought the matter over a moment, thinking of the nightmares of which she had been so often told, and half resolving to be so good a girl as not to eat any of the nuts; but in the midst of her resolution her hand strayed beneath her pillow, and into a paper-bag, and came out with a splendid great chestnut, which she had no sooner tasted than she sat up in bed, and with the bag in her lap began a feast.

The room was not very dark, for the light from the hall burner streamed through the transom over her door; and, if it had been pitch dark, Tot had no fear of it, for she had never been frightened with any of the silly, wicked stories often told to children.

So she crunched away on the delicious nuts until they were about half gone, and then stopped suddenly with a sense of fear lest she had eaten too many, rolled the bag carefully about the rest, put them under her pillow, and soon dozed off to sleep.

But she didn’t sleep as soundly as usual, and woke up sometime in the night, when the hall-light had been put out, and it was perfectly dark. Her hand was tightly grasping the bag of nuts, and as she didn’t go at once to sleep, she thought she would try just one more,—which resulted in her again sitting up in bed, and finishing the pint of roasted chestnuts in the dark.

She sat up in bed, and began a feast.

That was a fearful infliction for Tot’s little stomach, strong as it was naturally, and although she didn’t have any nightmares—that she could remember, at least—she woke reluctantly in the morning, to a sense that Bridget was knocking loudly on her door, and telling her that breakfast was over, and it was very late.

At first she felt obstinate, and declared that she wouldn’t get up, but would go to sleep again; then a sudden guilty consciousness of the paper-bag full of the husks of a pint of chestnuts came to her mind; and the fear least somebody should come into the room and discover them made her turn hastily out of bed and begin to dress.

But, as the old saying goes, she got out “the wrong side of the bed” that morning, and everything was troublesome. Never had Tot experienced so much trouble with every article of clothing, with her ablutions, with her hair; and at last she nearly left the room without her bag of shells, which she had laid on a chair while making the bed, which she dared not leave unmade, although there was no time, this morning, for it to air first.

But cramming the shells into her pocket, together with her pocket-handkerchief, Tot started down-stairs, regardless of such faults in her toilet, as that her petticoat was wrong side out, her dress buttoned “up garret and down cellar,” her hair parted almost as much on the side as a boy’s, while her curls, usually so pretty, were mere stringlets.

When she reached the sitting-room, the clock pointed to quarter before nine, and as there was no time for her to eat the breakfast which had been saved for her, she threw on her sack and hat, seized her books, and started for school.

The rule of the school was that each pupil must be in his or her seat at five minutes before nine, and as Tot was one of the best scholars, and very ambitious, she was disgusted to find that all kinds of street obstructions concurred to belate her.

She came within a hair’s breadth of being run over by one desperate driver, and was only rescued by a brave policeman who pulled her from the tangle of horses and teams, but he hurt her arm severely by his grasp. Indeed, poor Tot afterward found it was black and blue.

Then she fell down in the mud and made a sorry looking spectacle of both herself and her books.

So that when she arrived at school, only to find the doors closed for the morning prayer, she was about as thoroughly cross as could well be imagined.

A reproof from her teacher, who was vexed that his best pupil should set such an example of tardiness, exasperated Tot into an ugly obstinate resolve to say nothing of the accidents by which she was belated. So she took her seat without a word, and looked for her French grammar, to study the lesson which was soon to be called for.

But she couldn’t find it, and then she remembered laying it apart from the other books, the previous evening, and that it was thus left at home.

Too angry still with the teacher, whom she had always before liked, to tell him of the blunder, Tot turned to her desk-mate and broke another rule, by asking the loan of the French grammar which the latter was not using.

But the master’s eye was on her.

“Miss Sheldon, you were whispering! Take a misdemeanor!”

Tot did not answer, and choked down the rising sobs. A “misdemeanor” was the blackest of black marks, and never before had she received one.

Some of her friends among the pupils looked at her sympathizingly, but there were those who, always envious of the more studious and obedient of their number, showed their spiteful delight at her fall.

Of course she failed in her French, and lost her high place in the class, and finally, when a stinging and almost unjust rebuke came from the teacher, poor Tot could stand it no longer, and bursting into tears she hastily pulled her handkerchief from her pocket, when, with it, out flew the forgotten chestnut-shells all over the room!

Into the master’s very face and eyes they went, and he, half blinded, and not fully realizing how it happened, told Tot that she needn’t stay at school any longer unless she could behave better.

Out of temper from the beginning, angered beyond measure at what she considered injustice, and maddened still more by the shout of laughter that went up from the school at the episode of the nut-shells, Tot defiantly replied:

“Then I’ll go home, and never enter this hateful old place again as long as I live—never!”

“Miss Sheldon, you will repent this. Miss Mayfair will accompany you to your mother at once, and will take with her your discharge from this school. Go to the dressing-room. Your books will be sent to you to-night.”

With flushed face and quickly beating heart, Tot left the school-room, put on her things, and started for home.

Had not her companion been with her, it is possible that she would have made some truant attempt to avoid meeting her parents’ eyes.

It was a little strange that Nettie Mayfair, her own particular friend, should have been selected as her companion. But so it was, and, as soon as they were out of the building, Nettie exclaimed in friendly but annoyed tones:

“Why, Tot Sheldon, how could you!”

I!” repeated Tot, her anger rising toward the very one to whom she had meant to pour out all her griefs, “how could I? Why, I didn’t do anything—it was all that mean old Mr. Stimpson! I never saw such an abominable man in my life!”

“Oh, Tot!” began Nettie indignantly, “you know he has always been as good as—”

“No, he hasn’t either, Net Mayfair—and if you stand up for him, you’re just as bad as he, a mean hateful girl—so!”

“I should think you’d be ashamed of yourself, you spiteful girl,” cried Nettie, “I don’t see how I ever came to like you.”

“And I never did like you” retorted Tot, “though I was fool enough to think I did! I’ll never speak to you again!”

“Nor I to you, so long as I live!” was Nettie’s reply.

Arrived at home at last, the message and accompanying discharge from Mr. Stimpson was read by Mrs. Sheldon, who, full of sorrow and almost in tears, told her daughter to go to her chamber and remain till her father should come home, and they could decide what should be done with her.

The key was turned that made Tot a prisoner in her own little bed-room, and here she remained through the long hours of the day without hearing a word or a step near her door. No voice came to her longing ears from parent or brother; no food to eat, and no books to read,—nothing to do but to think.

What a condition was she in indeed! Discharged in disgrace from the school she loved; under the lasting ban of the displeasure of the master she had always so much respected; the friendship with her own Nettie utterly broken; and a prisoner in her room, utterly uncertain what the future might be to which her parents would consign her.

The twilight darkened, and night came on. The hall gas was not lit, and still no sound came to her. All was silent as the grave.

At last, fearing and trembling, poor little Tot undressed and crept into bed, where she lay for a long time unable to go to sleep, the bed seeming as if lined with thorns.

But at last she slept so soundly, that she was only awakened by her mother’s voice, close to her face, saying in its kindest and sweetest tones:

“Why, Tot, my darling, what is the matter? Why are you so flushed and restless?”

In utter delight at the dear sound of her mother’s voice so gentle and kind, Tot sprang out of bed when her mother exclaimed, half laughing and halt in amazement:

“Bless the child! I don’t wonder you were restless! Why, you’ve been sleeping on a bed of chestnut-shells! But, oh! you naughty girl, you told me last night you hadn’t been eating chestnuts!”

The laugh had left her mother’s voice, and it was sad but yet tender, when Tot exclaimed in surprise:

“Last night! wasn’t it night before last? What day is this, mamma?”

“Tuesday, of course,—what do you mean?”

“I thought it was Wednesday, and oh! such dreadful things happened yesterday!” and Tot threw herself on her mother’s bosom, and burst into sobs.

“Oh—I see, my dear,” said Mrs. Sheldon, tenderly stroking her child’s tumbled curls, “you’ve had your nightmare! But don’t cry, for nothing really dreadful has happened, except that I’m afraid my little girl told her mother a wrong story last night.”

“Oh, no, I didn’t, mamma—or, at least I thought I didn’t; for I hadn’t eaten a single nut when you asked me, but ate them afterwards;—but, oh! I’ll never do it again in the world, if you’ll forgive me.”

The forgiveness was freely granted, when the story of a day’s troubles which had been crowded into an hour’s disturbed slumber, had been related, and Tot in the neatest of toilets and with the freshest curls, ate her breakfast, and, without forgetting to take her French grammar, went off to school. She could hardly get it out of her head all day long, that she was in disgrace, but her lessons went off well, Mr. Stimpson was as kind as ever, and Nettie Mayfair was as loving as a bosom-friend could possibly be.

Tot’s strong digestive organs had done the heavy work assigned them by their reckless little mistress, but they had given her a foretaste of what might happen in reality, were she to grow dyspeptic and miserable, through abusing them. In her unrest, she had turned over her pillow to find a cool spot for her head, and spilt the shells from their bag into the bed.

One good lesson was taught by the nightmare, however, to the mother as well as the child, for thereafter, some light refreshment, as a slice of light plain cake and a glass of milk, was allowed each child of the Sheldon family, an hour before he or she went to bed, and thus the temptation to recur to her old habit never overcame Tot’s resolution to eat no more private lunches.

DAISY’S SURPRISE.


LULU’S PETS.


BY MARY STANDISH ROBINSON.


FIRST, there was Tom Doddles; and he was a bother. Grandma said so, when she found him snugly curled up in her favorite arm-chair, grandpa stumbled over him in the doorway, and sister Caroline declared that “the little plague shouldn’t go with her when she went to take her music lessons.” Don’t imagine that Tom Doddles cared for music; O, not at all; he plainly said so when he heard any, by a series of howls, and little, jerky barks.

But he liked to drive out in the phaeton, and stand up with his fore-paws on the dash-board, and look at the horse, with the most solemn air imaginable.

That is, he would do so for a short distance, until thinking, doubtless, that the wise traveler should improve all opportunities, he would dash down and away for a nearer inspection of bird or butterfly. And once he had too much curiosity about a bee; after that, he thought bees were rather disagreeable, and quite ignored their society.

And you see, scrambling through sand-heaps, and splashing through mud-puddles, was apt to disarrange his toilet. And he didn’t care in the least, but would jump back again in a social manner, that was very distressing to Caroline.

She did not like to have her clean frocks “mussed” and disfigured by mud, and ever so many little black and white hairs.

But what could she do? What would you do, if you lived in the country, and your little sister had a little pet dog that wanted to go to town whenever you did? Would you let him go? And if he stood up on his hind legs, as straight as a soldier, and begged, “jess as hard,” as his little mistress said, while she kissed and coaxed for him, could you refuse?

Caroline could not, for a long time; but one day she drove off, leaving Lulu and Tom Doddles wailing together, while she flourished the whip to keep him at a distance.

His non-attendance was such a relief and comfort generally, that she decided to leave him at home in future; and for several weeks poor Tommy supplicated in vain.

At last, when the phaeton and little gray pony came around to the door, Tom was invisible.

Cad laughed as she took the reins.

“Why, Tom has given it up,” she said, “poor little fellow! How he did enjoy going; but he was a nuisance, and I’m glad if he’s learned better.”

“Come, Fannie,” to the friend who was going with her, and away they went, as gayly as if there were no little dogs breaking their hearts at home.

However, that day, the little dog was otherwise engaged. You’ll laugh to hear that when they were about two miles from home, the merry chatter of the girls was broken by a tiny, smothered bow-wow, very much like a suppressed sneeze in church.

“O!”

“What is that?” chorused the girls.

Then Cad jumped, and almost let the gray pony have his own way.

For something under the seat was tickling her; and before she could look for the cause, out popped the head of Thomas Doddles, Esq., who proceeded to look serenely about him, as if conscious of a success that no one could dispute.

“The cunning darling!” said Fannie, laughing so that she could not sit up straight.

“O you scamp!” cried Cad. “I’d throw him away if ’twere not for Luly.”

“Now sir!” said she, addressing him with great severity, “don’t you dare to jump out of this carriage to-day.”

But you’ll not be surprised to learn that he did so the very next moment. How could he help it, when a chipmunk chattered a challenge for a race to the nearest tree?

Tom lost, and nearly dislocated his neck by looking up so much, and barking at the same time.

As for the chipmunk, not a walnut cared he; and what he chippered back might mean:

“You’re smart, Mr. Dog, but, smart as you are you can’t catch me!”

Well, Tom Doddles was a bother! But he was a cunning one, and between the scoldings and the pettings that he received he was as spoiled as a doggie could be.

But we all felt bad when a careless man shot him by mistake.

And Lulu mourned so much that Aunt Sarah, after talking with mamma and grandma, went away one afternoon, and returned at night with a large box, about which she was as mysterious as a fairy godmother.

Lulu knew from experience that Aunt Sarah’s mysteries always meant something delightful; and after a little teasing about what was in the big wooden box, she put two kisses on auntie’s cheek, and said she would go to bed, and “find it all out in a dream.”

But she didn’t, after all. She was awakened the next morning by a smart little tap that was not a kiss, on her own round, pinkie-pearly cheek.

And there was such a queer little munchy noise going on!

The blue eyes opened; languidly at first, but they were wide and bright in an instant, for there was something curious for them to see. First, a heap of walnuts lying on her bed. Where did they come from? Then, sitting up in the midst of them, and working away like a complete little nut-cracker, was the most charming gray squirrel that anybody ever saw.

“O!” exclaimed Lulu. “Why!! Where did you come from, Beauty?”

For all answer, Gray-Coat tossed her an empty walnut-shell, and cracked an uncommonly large one on the spot, just to show her how well he could do it.

Lulu picked up a piece of shell from the pillow. “That’s what struck me on the cheek,” she said, jumping up. “I know now! he was in Aunt Saty’s box, and I guess he’s all mine. Where’s auntie? Where is mamma?

“O! O! O! What is this here? A little silver house, true’s I live.”

By this time the little girl was dancing around the room, as if she were practising for a ballet performance. Grandma, mamma and Aunt Sarah appeared in the door-way, and grandpa peeped in, too.

“What’s going on here?” asked he.

“O, I never!” said Lulu, hugging first one and then the other. “I know all ’bout it, auntie. You did it, an’ I think he’s lovely, an’ what’s his name, an’ he’s mine for always, ain’t he?”

“His name is Dick,” said auntie.

“Dickon Gray,” suggested mamma, “and I hope that Pussy will not eat him.”

“We must watch him,” said grandma.

And they did, very carefully at first. But surely, that squirrel and cat were predestined friends; for they would frolic and play together like two kittens.

And when puss was in extra good humor she would treat Dickon to a ride on her back.

“Arrah,” said Robert, the hired man, “an’ did ye iver say the loike o’ that, now? It bates the li-in an’ the lamb, I’m thinkin’.”

Yes, and puss evidently had much respect for Dick’s judgment; because, upon her return from market she often brought a tender mouse-steak for his inspection.

I suppose you would like to know if Dickon lived in his little house? It was of tin, and so new and bright that it did look like silver. He had a nice bed made of cotton wool, in the upper story. But did he sleep in it? Well—sometimes. One morning he was not there; and after much vain searching Lulu was sure that he was dead—had run away—been stolen—the cat had eaten him.

And she was dolefully sobbing for each separate fate, when Robert opened the kitchen door and said, “Ah, come ’ere now, Miss Luly! an’ ye’ll laugh a laugh as big as Tim Toole’s.”

Robert was a favorite with Lulu, and she followed him up-stairs into the grain-chamber, sobbing and sighing as she went.

He swung her up in his strong arms, over the great oat-bin, with, “An’ only say there, now, Miss Luly!”

And then, how she did laugh! for there was the darling, eating his way out of the oats, as if his very life depended upon it.

Didn’t she hug him, though! He was so tame that she could handle and fondle him without fear of being bitten; but this time her joy made her squeeze him so close that he suddenly darted up, and sliced a tiny bit of skin from the tip of her saucy little nose.

“Euh!” cried Lulu, “mamma! Dick’s bit my nose! I ’fraid he’s all spoiled it! What shall I do?”

Mamma was frightened, I assure you, and ran to examine her little girl.

Dick repented the moment he did this naughty thing; and tucked his head under Lulu’s arm while he trembled violently.

“It’s nothing serious, but he must be whipped,” said mamma.

“O no! please don’t whip him,” said Lulu. “His little heart beats so fas’ now I’m ’fraid ’twill break.”

“’Twas only a love-pat,” said grandpa, “I guess he didn’t mean to.”

“He’ll bite harder next time if he is not properly punished,” said mamma, firmly, and she shut him in his cage, and gave him three or four strokes with a small switch. Then he was left alone in disgrace.

But it was not long before Lulu stole in, and gave him a lump of sugar that she had coaxed from grandma.

“Don’t you mind it, Dicky,” said she, kissing him through the prison-bars. “I love you just as much’s ever, and to-morrow you shall come out again.”

Dick nibbled part of the sugar, and slyly tucked away the rest in a corner. I dare say he was thinking of next winter; just as housekeepers are when they put up the sweetmeats that we all like so well.

Then he remembered that he had a carriage at command, and bowled away in his wheel at a rapid pace; only he never arrived anywhere, you know, and that must have puzzled him sorely.

So Lulu went on loving him more and more every day, until Tom Doddles was almost forgotten.

Dolls were neglected, and sometimes abused; for was not Miss Patty Primrose (who only a year ago had been “the beautifulest darling”), found lying on the hard, cold floor, with her clothing in wild disorder?

Lulu well knew that Miss Patty had been snugly tucked up in a cradle-bed, and put by on a high shelf. How came she down there in this plight?

Lulu looked up at the cradle, and saw a pair of very bright, sprite-y eyes peering out of it. Behold! Master Dick had turned out poor dolly, and was lying flat on his stomach in the little bed, using his own silver-gray tail for a blanket.

It grieves me; but as a faithful historian I must relate that a sad day finally came, when dear Dickon was missing; and alas! this time, he could not be found.

There was no clue to his fate.

Perhaps the voices of the woods had called him back to his early home. Perhaps he had been enticed away.

No one knew, but in a few days they realized that he had gone “for always,” as Lulu said, and they spoke of getting another one for her.

But she did not want it.

“I would rather ’member my own p’ecious Dicky,” she said, “than to have fifty ‘other ones,’ They could never be the same, and would only make me think that p’r’aps he was mis’able somewhere while they was havin’ a good time.”


DAYS OF THE WEEK.


WHAT JANET DID WITH HER CHRISTMAS PRESENT.


BY L. J. L.


WHEN Janet awoke on Christmas morning and saw her stocking, which had been placed most invitingly beside the chimney the night before, hanging as limp and apparently as empty as at the moment of leaving it there, she was not a little astonished as well as grieved at the thought that Santa Claus had passed her by.

This was not strange, for such a thing had never happened before; but after rubbing her eyes to make sure of being awake, she looked again and was so positive it had occurred now, notwithstanding there was no reason to expect it, that when she arose to prepare for breakfast she did not take the pains to so much as peep into her stocking to verify her surmises.

And there is no telling when she would have done so had not her pride whispered, as she was about to leave the room, that it would be well to put the empty stocking out of sight, and thus hide from others the evidence of her disappointment.

But the moment she laid her hand upon it for this purpose she discovered that she had been laboring under a great mistake. It was not empty. Concealed in a fold of the upper part was a sealed envelope directed to Miss Janet Dunstan, and beside it a neat package wrapped in tissue-paper which, when unrolled, she found to contain five ten-dollar bills!

What could it mean? Could so much money be really hers?

For a little while Janet was too much bewildered to think of the note in her hand as a probable explanation, but presently she caught sight of it, and with a little laugh at her own stupidity she opened it and found in Grandpa’s hand-writing the quaintest, queerest epistle it had ever been hers to receive.

It began with “Respected Granddaughter,” and then with a profusion of big words and complimentary phrases, went on to relate how a number of her worshipful friends, consisting of father, mother, uncle Tim, grandma and himself had gathered themselves together at an appointed place to deliberate upon the matter of Christmas gifts; and being thus in “solemn conclave assembled” that which should be done for her had received due attention, and it had been the unanimous decision in view of the fact of her having attained the dignity of fifteen years, that it was time to cease filling her stockings with toys and confections; and, as it proved somewhat difficult to decide what other offerings might be most acceptable, they had finally come to the conclusion to act upon a suggestion made by uncle Tim, which was to give nothing but money, with which she could procure such things as would best suit her taste: therefore, in the accompanying package she would please find fifty dollars—ten dollars from each; and hoping this would prove entirely satisfactory, he had the honor to subscribe himself her humble servant, etc., etc., etc.

Janet laughed. Knowing well grandpa’s propensity for joking she saw the sly fun with which all these stilted phrases had been indited; but when she again looked upon the money in her hand, her eyes filled with tears at the thought of the confidence in her, on the part of her relatives, which so generous a gift signified.

For none of them were wealthy, although in fairly comfortable circumstances, and she knew so large an amount of money would never have been placed at her disposal had they not been tolerably sure that it would not be foolishly expended. And, then and there, she resolved they should see that their confidence had not been misplaced. Not one dollar would she use until there had been discovered some good purpose to which the whole could be devoted.

But the discovering of such a purpose proved more difficult than was anticipated; partly, because she knew without being told, that it was not expected the money would be used for clothing or for any of those necessary things such as her parents had been in the habit of providing; and she labored under a great disinclination to ask advice in the matter, having an instinctive feeling that the money was given her as a sort of test, which stimulated her to be equal to the emergency alone.

A week elapsed, and the opening day of the winter term of school arrived with the question no nearer a settlement than on Christmas morning, except that she had come to the determination to find, if possible, some method of investing her money, by which, while serving some useful purpose to others as well as herself, it should be made to yield something of interest in return.

This denoted both a benevolent and practical turn of mind; and as if only waiting such a conclusion, a plan whereby this possibly might all be accomplished was that day suggested to her in a remark made by one of her school-mates which she chanced to overhear.

“Oh, how I wish,” said one little girl to another, “some one here would keep books to lend as they do in cities. My auntie writes she has the reading of all the books she desires by simply paying two cents a day for their use.”

Janet started as the thought flashed across her mind that, perhaps, here was something she could do; and she wondered how many books fifty dollars would buy, and if she would be capable of managing a circulating library of this kind.

The more she thought about it the more pleasing seemed the idea; and when Saturday came, bringing a respite from school duties, as was her wont with all matters of importance, she went to talk it over with grandpa and get his opinion.

Without preamble or delay, waiting only to exchange greetings, she plunged directly into her subject by saying:

“Grandpa, I have decided that I would like to open a circulating library with my money. Do you think I have enough?”

Evidently grandpa was not a little surprised, as well as amused, for he seemed for a moment to be struggling between a desire to both whistle and laugh, although he actually did neither; but, giving Janet a quizzical look over his spectacles he said:

“Oho! and so you propose to devote your means to charitable purposes, do you?”

“No, I don’t mean to do anything of the kind,” answered Janet; “I propose to have pay for lending my books.”

Then grandpa did laugh and whistle too. But Janet did not allow herself to be disturbed, well knowing that she was sure of his sympathy and attention when he should have his laugh out; and directly, as she expected, he became quite grave, and asked her what had put such an idea into her head.

Then, as she was confident he would, he listened most kindly while she told him all that had been in her mind from the moment of receiving her gift, and of how the little girl’s remark had seemed to indicate a way by which she could do not only that which she so much desired, but also to gratify a wish she had herself often felt—a wish for more fresh reading matter than it had been at all times convenient to procure. For she thought, could she purchase a small number of volumes and lend them in the manner suggested, that perhaps these might yield a sufficient return to enable her to get such others as might from time to time be desired.

A look of pleased interest gradually stole over grandpa’s face as Janet told her plan, and when she had finished he took his spectacles in his hand, and while balancing them on his forefinger, remarked:

“Why, Janet, you bid fair to become a capital business woman! This is not a bad project for a fifteen-year-old head!”

“But what do you think, grandpa?—can I make it work?” queried Janet impatiently, too intent upon her purpose to care for compliments.

Grandpa deliberated a few moments and then replied:

“Yes, Janet, I believe your idea is a practicable one, providing you are willing to begin in a small way.”

GRANDPA HIGHLY APPROVES OF JANET.

This Janet expected, as a matter of course, for she well knew fifty dollars could not be made to buy a great number of books; but thinking there might be more in grandpa’s remark than appeared, she asked him to explain.

“Why,” said he, “inasmuch as your means will not admit of many books, it seems to me that it would be advisable to restrict the variety to only such as may be suited to a single class of readers; for instance, to young people like yourself.”

Janet’s eyes sparkled as she clapped her hands and said:

“I like that. So it shall be; and we will call it the Boys’ and Girls’ Library.”

The project approved and a name chosen, what further remained to be done seemed comparatively easy. At least so Janet thought; for grandpa, thoroughly pleased with the idea, very cheerfully offered to assume the entire care of bringing the library into working order, after which it was understood the whole management would rest upon Janet.

It would occupy too much space to enter into all the details of how this was finally brought about—of the letters written to distant booksellers and the answers received; of the catalogues he and Janet looked over together and their discussions in regard to the merits of different authors—therefore we will omit all this and come at once to the completed work as it stood when ready to hand over to Janet’s charge.

At first father and mother had been somewhat doubtful of her scheme; but upon learning that it met with grandpa’s approval they concluded to allow it a fair trial. They saw that to insure the harmonious working of the library, there were two important things to be secured at the outset: That patrons should have perfect freedom to come and go, and still not be allowed to intrude upon the quiet or privacy of the household; and with this end in view they caused a tiny room at the end of the hall, which had an outside door of its own, to be fitted up and set apart for the exclusive use of the library.

Across one side of the room was placed a row of low shelves where, after being carefully numbered, the books were neatly arranged, but leaving when all was done considerable unoccupied space which, grandpa said, was for growth should the venture prove a success.

Before the window stood a small table holding pens, ink, and record-book, with which, and two chairs, the furniture of the room was complete.

The main feature of the room, of course, was the books; and, considering that these had all come before the public long after grandpa had ceased to be personally interested in youthful literature, it seemed almost a mystery how he had been able to make his selections with such admirable taste and judgment. But this was soon accounted for by the fact that he had been governed in his choice by the standing of publishing houses and the approval of critics of established taste and ability. Only such as were thus vouched for were allowed a place in the collection. When all were shelved there were thirty-five volumes in strong cloth covers, including stories for both boys and girls, biographies, travels, etc., and one which would be classed under no general head, bearing the funny title “Behaving.”

These cost on an average $1.20 each, and were all the works of standard authors, such as Mrs. Whitney, Miss Muloch, Miss Alcott, Miss Yonge, Miss Jewett, T. B. Aldrich, J. T. Trowbridge, with others of equal merit. One novel feature of this library must not be omitted, which was a tiny microscope intended to accompany a book entitled, “Evenings with the Microscope,” indicating that grandpa meant this library to be a means of profit as well as pleasure to the young people of the village.

The cost of the books and microscope amounted to forty-four dollars, leaving six dollars, which were invested in a subscription to two monthly magazines, one a four-dollar monthly, suited to mature minds, and one copy of Wide Awake, which took the remaining two. The magazines were Janet’s own suggestions, in order that every young person should be sure to find in the library something to please the individual taste.

Grandpa thought it advisable to burden the working of the library with as few rules as possible, and after careful deliberation he decided upon three which, if strictly adhered to, he thought would be quite sufficient.

First, The library was to be open to the public on three days of each week between the hours of four and six, P.M., and at no other time. Not even for the accommodation of some special friend were books to be either taken from or returned to the library at irregular hours.

Second, Borrowers of books were to pay for their use at the rate of two cents per day; and were to make good any damage received at their hands; and last but by no means least, no running accounts were to be allowed. Every book was to be paid for when returned, otherwise the delinquent person was to be denied another until the indebtedness was cancelled.

Grandpa’s idea in this was not so much to prevent loss, as to instil into the minds of Janet and her friends correct business habits.

He reasoned, very correctly, that if a person contracted the habit of incurring debt in youth it would be very likely to follow him through life; therefore, even in so small a matter as this he thought it wisest and best to be careful and exact.

Everything being in readiness, Janet announced her project by distributing among her schoolmates a few neatly written notices, containing a statement of her plan of lending books, and the rules to be observed, and then in a few courteous words invited patronage.

Such a commotion as this simple announcement created! The questions and explanations which arose from all sides were something to be remembered: “Whatever had made her think of such a thing? Could any one have a book that wished? and must every one pay? Surely she would make exceptions in favor of her dearest, dearest friends?” until poor Janet was fairly bewildered.

But she finally succeeded in making them understand all about it, and why it would be necessary to conduct the library with strict impartiality by showing them how unjust it would be to favor one above another.

Two or three of her most intimate friends were at first a little inclined to feel themselves personally aggrieved at this; but their better judgment soon convinced them of their error, and on the day of opening these were the very first to present themselves.

The eagerness with which others followed, and the number of books taken on this day proved that Janet’s venture had met with sufficient favor to warrant its success.

And Janet proved a good manager, too. When the hour for opening the library arrived, she took her place by the table before the open record-book, and as fast as each one made a choice of a book she wrote under the proper date its number and the name of the taker, leaving on the same line a blank space where the date of return, and amount received for use, was to be daily recorded.

Both magazines and fully two-thirds of the books were taken on this first day; but, as was to be expected, this was rather above the average on succeeding days. Still the demand for books continued fair throughout the winter, and also through the spring and summer months, one set of readers succeeding another until there was scarcely a house in the village where one or more books from Janet’s little library had not found its way.

And wherever they went they carried a good influence with them, one which tarried and before long became manifest in several different ways. For, besides being bright and interesting, affording entertainment of a high order, there was not one which did not teach some useful lesson, inculcate some pure and noble sentiment, or show the beauty and desirability of brave and unselfish purposes.

And so these few good books became a refining and inspiring element in the young society of this retired, humdrum little village, such as had never been felt there before, and from which the young people profited to a surprising degree.

Throughout the entire school this good influence was especially felt, helping the boys to grow more manly and courteous, the girls to become gentle and more attentive to their studies, while yet sacrificing nothing of their accustomed jollity but its rudeness and carelessness.

The boys and girls were not, to all appearances, conscious of the change in themselves, nor had they been would many have recognized its source; but their elders were not slow to discover the little leaven at work in their midst, nor to benefit by the suggestion of a duty owed to themselves and families which this contained, as the unusual number of subscribers to some of our best periodical literature the following year amply testified.

As the year was about drawing to a close, grandpa looked over Janet’s record-book to ascertain what had been the measure of the pecuniary reward of the enterprise; and this is what he learned: The different patrons of the library numbered nearly one hundred, a few having read every one of the books, while others had taken not more than one or two. But of the thirty-five books each and every one had been out several times, and as some had proved greater favorites than others, grandpa made a general average of time upon the whole of one hundred days each—equal to thirty-five hundred days—which, at two cents per day, had brought a return of seventy dollars. The magazines, evidently, had been the greatest favorites of all, as the record showed that they had been out fully three-fourths of the time, and had earned a trifle over ten dollars.

This, added to the earnings of the bound books, made the nice sum of eighty dollars in something less than one year—thirty dollars over and above the original investment—while not one book was lost, nor one so badly worn that it would not do good service some time longer.

To say that grandpa was delighted at this showing would be but a feeble expression of his feelings; and when the facts in regard to the success of her undertaking were laid before Janet’s friends, they were so well pleased that their united judgment was in favor of a continuance of the work, advising that she withdraw the thirty dollars profit and put this amount out on interest, while the original sum should be reinvested in new books.

This was quite in accordance with her own wishes; and as the year had been prolific of cheap editions of old and standard works, as well as of many new ones, she was enabled to increase her stock to over one hundred choice volumes suited to both old and young readers, naturally increasing the number of her patrons and adding greatly to the popularity of the little library. And although only about one-fourth of the second year has elapsed, the people of the village are already beginning to look upon Janet’s library as one of the permanent and praiseworthy institutions of the town, many talking confidently of a time in the near future when it shall comprise many hundreds of volumes, and be no longer “the Little Library.”


CHRISTMAS ROAST BEEF.


BY A. W. LYMAN.


I HAD just sat down to my dinner, Christmas Day, when there was a distant shout down the street; then another still nearer. The policeman on the corner sounded his rattle for reinforcements; there was the sharp clatter of hoofs on the paving stones; two pistol shots in quick succession, and the confused murmur of many voices. I rushed to the window in time to see an excited crowd gathered about a prostrate and wounded steer, a fugitive from a passing drove of Texas cattle. There was little damage done by his mad flight; the old newsman on the corner was knocked down and sustained trifling injuries, and the excitement was soon over. The wounded animal was taken away in a wagon, and I resumed my dinner, with my mind on the Texas steer. “Poor fellow!” I mused, “you have a long, hard journey of it from Texas to roast beef!” and I began mentally to follow him in his successive steps.

From the peculiar figure which I saw on his flank as he lay in the street, I could trace him back through two thousand miles of wanderings, down to the ranche of Col. Mifflin Kennedy, where he was born.

There are three or four larger ranches in Texas, but Kennedy’s is a model in its way, and a brief description of it will give an idea of the manner in which stock-growing is carried on here. Kennedy’s ranche is a peninsula, comprising more than one hundred thousand acres of land, projecting into the gulf between the Neuces and Rio Grande rivers. On three sides of this tract are the waters of the gulf, so that all the owner had to do was to build a fence on the land side, and his farm was enclosed. But this was not so easy a task as one might think, for this fence of stout planks is thirty-one miles long. At intervals of three miles along the fence are little villages, groups of houses for the herders, stables for their horses, and pens for the stock. Within the enclosure roam about forty thousand cattle, ranging in size from young calves to three-year-olds, and perhaps as many more horses, sheep and goats.

I should guess that our steer began his first experience with life at Kennedy’s, on an early spring day. A spring day in March, the very thought of which makes you shiver, is in Texas a season of bud and blossom and singing birds. The new grass is thrusting its bright green blades up through the brown and faded tufts of last year’s dead verdure, the trees are unfolding their leaves and the broad prairies are white and blue and purple by turns, with the early wild flowers which grow in beds miles in extent.

The branding process.

The little calf has enjoyed a happy existence of a few days amid scenes like this, when his first sorrow comes—an experience much like that of the baby with vaccination. This is the branding process which he must undergo, a hot iron being placed against his flank, which burns off the hair, and imprints upon the tender hide a mark—a sort of monogram—which he never outgrows—and which serves to distinguish him forever from the cattle of other ranches. In Texas every stock-grower has his own peculiar brand, which is registered with the proper official, and no person is permitted to use that mark besides himself. By this means cattle that wander away or are stolen can be singled out wherever found, as you see I recognized our wanderer in New York.

After the branding the calf is turned loose to make his living on the plains, and for two or three years he leads a life of absolute freedom. He rapidly grows tall, gaunt, uncouth and belligerent, and by the time he is a full-fledged steer, what with his immensely long horns, shaggy hair, and wild-rolling eyes, he is a fierce-looking fellow. I have a pair of horns taken from a steer in Western Texas, which measure more than five feet across from tip to tip, and this is not a remarkably large measurement.

When our steer is not more than three years old, he enters upon another stage of his existence, which for him ends ingloriously, in a few months, in a Northern slaughter-house. Some spring day, such as I have described, the cattle-buyer appears, and the steer changes owners.

The collecting and assorting of the herds for the drive Northward, on the fenced ranches in the settled portions of the State, are easily accomplished; but in the grazing regions further west, where the cattle roam without limit, this work is both difficult and perilous. The cattle in these remote regions are mostly bought by a class of bold, daring men, of long experience on the frontier, known as “out-riders,” who buy and collect the cattle from the stock-raiser, and sell them to the speculators from the north.

The outrider fills his saddle-bags, and most likely a belt which he wears around his waist, with gold coin to the amount of tens of thousands of dollars, for in the section of country he visits there are no banks; and, taking a few trusty companions, all well mounted and armed, sets out on his long journey, beset by constant danger from lurking Indians and white outlaws who infest this wild country.

The stock-grower who has lived remote from the settlements, perhaps seeing no human being except the owner of a neighboring ranche for a year, looks upon the “outrider’s” visit as an event in his existence.

He is a most hospitable host, and for several days after his guest’s arrival no business is thought of, and a season of feasting, riding and hunting is observed. When this is over they begin their negotiations.

The herds are scanned over to get some idea of their condition, but the cattle are not carefully counted and weighed as stock is in the North. The herds are simply sold “as they run.” That is, the owner looks through his book to see how many cattle he has branded, and the “outrider” pays him so much for his brand, which entitles the buyer to all the cattle that he can find in scouring the prairies, which bear the purchased mark.

There is considerable sport and a great deal of hard, rough riding in getting the wild herds together and assorting them. It is in this work that the splendid horsemanship and wonderful skill with the lasso or lariat, of which so much has been written, are displayed by the Texas herder.

In a few days everything is in readiness, and the herds are started on their long Northern march.

The Outrider.

A route is selected which affords the best pasturage, and is most convenient to the streams, as it is essential that the cattle should reach the end of the drive in prime condition for the market.

There are few incidents to enliven the wearisome weeks that follow. The herds browze leisurely along from six to ten miles a day, following the winding courses of the creeks and rivers, the herders following lazily after to keep them in the general direction northward.

For days and days human habitations are lost sight of, and the droves and riders are alone in the midst of the great, grassy ocean. Not quite alone, either—I came near forgetting that bright and cheerful companion of the drove, the cow-bird, a brown little fellow about the size of the well-known chipping-sparrow, or “chippy,” as the boys call him. Flitting along on the outskirts of the drove, one moment tilting gleefully on a tall, swaying weed, the next perching saucily on the tip of a steer’s horns, perhaps at night roosting complacently on his back, the cow-bird goes through the long journey from the Texas plains to the stock-pens at the Kansas railroad station, whence the cattle are shipped to the east. Whether the little fellows return to Texas to accompany the next herd, or die of grief at separation from their long-horned friends, I cannot say; but I think they must go back, for their cheerful presence is never missed, and their number never grows less.

The lasso.

Although, as I have said, there are few incidents to interrupt the monotony of the drive, the cattle-men sometimes meet with thrilling experiences. In former years Indian attacks were not infrequent, and many a brave band of herders has been surrounded and killed by the savages whose hunting-grounds were encroached upon by the droves. There is always danger, too, of stampedes in the herds, caused either by the terrific thunder-storms and tornadoes which burst upon the great plains without warning, or by the “cattle thieves,”—bands of white, Indian, or half-breed outlaws, who live by stealing stray cattle from the herds, and sell them or kill them for their hides. Having in his early life encountered one or more of the devastating prairie fires which sweep over the great, dry pastures almost every fall, the slightest smell of smoke or sight of flame will plunge the steer into a panic of fright, and this well-known circumstance is turned to advantage by the cattle thieves in securing their plunder.

Getting some distance to windward of a herd on a dark night, the rogues set fire to a buffalo robe, and the pungent smoke of the burning hair is borne down upon the reposing cattle by the wind. The first whiff gives the alarm, ten thousand pairs of horns are reared aloft in air, and one united snort of terror is heard. Before the herders can mount their horses and check the panic the herd is past control, and the maddened and terrified animals, trampling one another and whatever comes in their way under foot, dash frantically off in the darkness with a noise like the roll of distant thunder. They scatter beyond hope of recovery. In the confusion following upon the heels of the stampede the thieves succeed in driving off scores and sometimes hundreds of the stragglers.

The Cow-Bird.

There are other incidents that I could narrate of amusing and exciting adventures during the drive. One episode I now recall of my first trip over the great cattle trail, was the encountering of a large herd of buffaloes which became intermingled with our cattle just after we crossed the Arkansas River in Southern Kansas. The buffaloes became so bewildered that they marched along with the cattle, and the young Texans enjoyed rare sport for two days in lassoing them. We had a welcome variety in our scanty bill of fare by the addition of tongue and other choice tid-bits to our larder.

As the railroads are neared the drive becomes more and more tiresome, and the Texas herders, longing for the wider freedom of the plains, are not sorry to have it end. But the steer, if he could peep into the future, would be sorry to have the journey brought to a close, for with the railroad the romance of his career is over, and the last two weeks of his life are full of hunger, thirst and suffering. The great droves are divided into small herds, and distributed among the hundreds of stock pens. After a rest of a few days the last journey is begun. With eighteen or twenty of his companions the steer is taken from the pens and stowed away in the cattle-car—a sort of gigantic coop on wheels. There is neither room to turn around nor to lie down, so closely are the poor fellows wedged in. Now and then a steer contrives to get down on his knees at the risk of being trampled under the feet of his neighbors, but he gains little rest in this way.

The cattle trains run slowly, and from ten or twelve days are occupied in the journey from Central Kansas to New York. At intervals of three hundred miles the trains are stopped and the cattle are taken off, placed in pens and fed and watered. After a rest of twenty-four hours the journey is again resumed. During the continuous runs of three hundred miles—about thirty hours in time—the poor creatures are without food or drink, and their suffering, especially in warm weather, is intense. Is it a wonder that they lose on an average two hundred pounds in weight each between the Texas prairies and New York?

A large herd of buffaloes became intermingled with our cattle.

The cattle dealers are not, as might at first appear, regardless of the sufferings of their stock. To them the loss in weight is a loss in money, and for selfish reasons, if for no other, they would be interested in any plan for keeping the animals in good condition. Many devices and inventions have been tried to lessen suffering and save flesh, all of which have been found objectionable. One of these inventions was a “palace cattle car,” which was introduced a few years ago. It was a car divided into stalls, so as to allow each animal a separate apartment. There was room to lie down, and food and drink were supplied to every stall, so that there was no need to take the cattle from the cars during the entire journey. But for some reason the cars did not work well. The speculators and butchers objected on the ground that with so few cattle in a car the cost of getting them to market was too great; and those who had welcomed them because they promised to relieve suffering, acknowledged that the steer, placed singly in a stall, was bruised more by being thrown against the partition walls than when he was jammed in between two of his fellow prisoners in the old cars. So the “palace cars” were withdrawn, and the old system of slow torture—twenty-four to thirty-six hours of fasting and jolting followed by a day of feasting and rest—went on. But thoughtful and humane men have for years been studying the question of live stock transportation, and some day not long distant means will be found to lessen the sufferings of the steer in his railroad trip to New York. Even no less a personage than a United States Senator has devoted many years to this subject, and I am not sure but more real fame will attach to the name of the Hon. John B. McPherson of New Jersey for a recent invention to relieve suffering cattle than he will earn in the Senate Chamber; at any rate he is entitled to everlasting gratitude from all the sons and daughters of Bos.

The invention to which I refer is a simple arrangement for feeding and watering stock on the cars, and consists of a trough for water which revolves on a pivot so as to be readily cleaned and inverted when not in use; and a folding rack for hay, which can be shut up out of the way when empty. Experiments with Mr. McPherson’s invention have proved its usefulness, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company will soon have two hundred cars built with his improvement. With a well-filled rack before him, and fresh water always within reach, the steer will be able to get through the journey with a tolerable degree of comfort, even though he is without a bed to lie upon.

The cattle-yards in our large cities, acres of small, square pens, ranged in long rows, with narrow lanes between, are familiar and not particularly inviting places, and, luckily for the steer, his life there is short. Landed from the cars he is driven into one of the small pens with about thirty others, where he stays for a day or two without experiencing any new incident in his life, except that he is poked and yelled at by any number of beef-buyers who want to learn his condition. Poor fellow! It makes little difference what condition he may be in, for there are a million mouths to feed in the city over there, and three thousand miles across the blue ocean yonder, those pursy Englishmen are calling for “American beef!”

About the second morning after his railroad journey is finished, and our steer is in the Jersey stock pens, a dirty-looking old ferry-boat runs up alongside the wharf. The gates are opened and the cattle go rushing pell-mell on deck, where they find themselves in pens similar to those they have just left. Twenty minutes steaming up and across the Hudson River, and the steamer ties up at the Thirty-fourth Street dock in New York.

Manhattan Market, where the cattle are going, is that large brick building nearly two blocks away from the river. The river-front and the broad avenue between the landing and the market are crowded with piles of freight, and heavily-loaded trucks, and we instinctively wonder how the timid and frightened cattle can ever be driven through such jam and confusion. At many of the landings this work has been attended with the greatest difficulty; accidents have been of frequent occurrence, and many cattle have escaped and rushed madly through the crowded streets, like the hero of our story.

Cattle-yard.

But the cattle dealers have overcome this obstacle just as the railroads conquer the mountains and rocks—by tunneling. As the cattle come from the boat they pass under an archway, and find themselves in an underground passage, a long tunnel dug many feet underneath buildings and streets. The further end of the tunnel opens in the abattoir, or slaughter-house, and the cattle come out face to face with fate in the shape of a hundred butchers, who stand with gleaming knives awaiting their victims. The cattle are driven forward. Overhead, fastened to strong cross-beams, is a windlass, around which a rope is coiled. A stout iron hook hanging from the end of the rope is seized by one of the butchers, who deftly catches it around the hind leg of a steer. The windlass is turned, and in a trice the poor fellow is swinging in mid-air, head downward. A huge tin pan is slipped under his head, and a long knife, keen-edged as a razor, is drawn across his throat. The life-blood gushes out in a dark stream, and in less time than it takes to tell it our steer ceases to exist, and becomes beef.

We shall not have time to watch the process of cutting up and the disposition of all the parts in detail. From the time the steer passes into the hands of the man with the hook until he is hung up two halves of beef occupies eleven minutes, and on a trial of skill between the butchers the work has been done in eight minutes. But this is a small part of the work. The pan of blood has to be taken to the tanks in the adjoining room, where it is dried and made into a fertilizer to enrich the earth; the horns are saved for the comb manufacturer; the large bones in the head are sent to the button factory; the hide to a tannery; the hoofs to the glue and gelatine makers. The tripe man comes around for the stomach; one man buys all the tongues, and another has a contract for all the tails; and so on, until every scrap is disposed of.

If we visit the abattoir on a cold day we shall see perhaps three thousand beeves hanging up in the cool and airy room, but in warm weather we shall have to take a peep into one of those gigantic refrigerators yonder, each of which holds three hundred cattle. The meat is suspended from hooks over a vast bed of ice which keeps the air at a temperature of thirty-eight degrees. Similar refrigerators have been built recently in the holds of vessels, and with forty tons of ice three hundred beeves have been safely transported to Liverpool and sold in the British markets.

Around the door, as we pass out, is a group of pale, hollow-faced men, delicate women, and sickly children, with hacking coughs. These are the blood-drinkers—people in all stages of consumption, who come hither to catch the warm blood of the cattle, which they drink with the eagerness of hope. Some of them have been coming for many months, and have been benefited by the medicine, but in the case of others it is plainly to be seen that they are making a hopeless struggle against death.

All is over.

As soon as the meat has cooled sufficiently it is delivered to the retail butchers of the city and its suburbs, who haul it to their shops or to the markets. All night long, while the great city is asleep, the market wagons creak and rumble through the almost deserted streets, and by four o’clock in the morning the beefsteaks for a million breakfasts, and the roasts and other choice cuts for a million dinners, are temptingly displayed on the white wooden blocks or marble slabs, behind which stand the fat, ruddy-faced, good-natured butchers in white aprons ready to serve all comers. The days before Thanksgiving and Christmas are the occasions when the butchers make their greatest displays, and the markets are then well worth a visit. Beef in halves and quarters, fancifully decked with wreaths and streamers, fat haunches, juicy sirloins with just the right proportion of fat to lean, “porterhouse” steaks garnished with sprigs of parsley, and other tender bits, are set off with as much art and made as attractive as a Broadway shop window in the holiday season.

But we have finished our slice of Christmas roast beef and thus ends our story. We may wonder whether there will always be meat enough to supply all the world; but a moment’s reflection will satisfy us that we need not worry about that. There are in Texas alone nearly five millions of cattle and there are nearly half a million driven to market every year. Only think of it! supposing this number all in one drove marching in single file at the rate of ten miles a day, it would be nearly two months from the time the first steer entered New York until the last one came in sight. They would make a line reaching from Columbus, Ohio, to New York—550 miles long.


GRANNY LUKE’S COURAGE.


BY M. E. W. S.


“COME, Tim, hurry up and be courageous.”

Tim didn’t hurry up, nor was he in a hurry to be courageous.

“Can’t you shoot the creature?”

“No, grandma, I’m afraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“Well, grandma, I’m afraid of hurting it,” said Tim.

“But that’s what shooting was meant for!” said Granny Luke, indignant at the weak-minded grandson.

“You shoot it, grandma!”

“I don’t know how to shoot—and, well—I am afraid of a gun, because I am a woman!” said Mrs. Luke, who was known in all the mining region as “Granny Luke”—more because she called herself so, than because anybody else gave her that title.

She was an “old country” woman who, having lost her children, was left with a number of young grandchildren to bring up. Fate had wafted her to the lead mines in Iowa, down by one of which she had settled in a log cabin, and had picked up a living by boarding the miners, attending to them in sickness, and by sending her eldest, Tim, down the shaft with the miners’ dinners. A lead mine is worked far under ground, from a shaft which is sunk like a bucket in a well. Tim was not afraid to go down this bucket, nor to crawl on his hands and knees far into Yorkshire Tom’s lead, with a tallow candle in his cap, to carry the miner his dinner; nor did he dread an occasional rattlesnake, who, coiled at the mouth of the cave, would often ring his deadly rattle at the boy. No, Tim was inured to danger, and he knew how to give the rattlesnake a good tap over his ugly head with a stick, and silence his hiss forever; and he knew how to measure and guard against the equally poisonous air, in some parts of the mine, by the uncertain flame of his candle.

But he could not “shoot the creature.” Love made him a coward.

For the “creature” was a beautiful fawn, the loveliest, soft eyed, tender pet that ever lived, whom Tim had trained and fed and educated, and brought in from the prairie when the fawn was a baby. Some hunters had shot the pretty doe, the fawn’s mother, and Tim had educated the orphan.

Granny Luke had a little garden where she raised with her own hands a few vegetables, highly prized by the miners. The fawn had shown a great appreciation of early cabbage sprouts, green peas, beet tops and other succulent green things. No bars could keep him out, and no ropes could tie this gentle robber. He would jump over everything, and he nibbled so neatly and judiciously that Granny Luke’s garden had been ruined several times, and now her really long-suffering patience was at an end.

“No early peas and no late peas, no corn, no squash, no lettuce, no anything,” said Granny, in despair. “The creature shall be shot.”

TIM’S COURAGE FAILS.

She loved Primrose, too—as Tim had named the pretty fawn, whom he found deserted, lying on a bed of those yellow flowers which grow in tufts on the prairie. Primrose had tears in his big eyes, and was crying for his mother just like a human baby, when Tim found him and brought him home in his arms. Granny Luke had fed him with warm milk then, and had tended him as carefully as she did Tim, at a similar tender age; but those days were past, and Primrose was growing every day to be a buck of promise; and although he was tame enough to them, his moral nature could not be cultivated to know that while it was proper to eat green boughs and the coarse grass of the prairie, it was a sin to eat the fine things behind the fence.

Granny Luke gardened like a German woman, and sowed her water-cresses and spinach every day, hoping for continuous crops. But Primrose allowed them to nearly reach perfection, and then down they went, under his even, strong, white teeth.

If Granny Luke threw a stone at him he would give her one tender, loving look out of his beautiful eyes, and run away over the prairie for fifty miles, perhaps, glad of the exercise; always back, however, to greet Tim, when he crawled up out of the well-like bucket and from the cold, dark mine into the sun, and ready to offer him the warm friendship of his own well-furred neck, as the poor boy threw an arm around his four-footed friend, and the twain sat down, to an out door supper.

And now his grandma wished him to shoot this intimate, dear, beautiful friend!

No wonder that Tim’s courage failed.

“I have invited the General to a venison dinner day after to-morrow,” said Granny Luke; “and Primrose must be shot. I shall roast his saddle.”

Poor Tim shuddered. Granny Luke’s sensibilities had been blunted by time, and hard work and poverty. She had been doing very well in her affairs—thanks to the friendship of the General Superintendent of the mines, an old-country friend of her’s; and as he appreciated her excellent cooking, and fresh vegetables, she occasionally gave him and his fellow officers a good dinner. Primrose was to be offered up to two passions—revenge and avarice—for as he ate her spinach, he must therefore be eaten.

The group was standing outside the cabin door, Tim leaning irresolutely on his gun; Granny Luke, her arms akimbo, looking at him; and Primrose, as beautiful as only a fawn can be, was calmly nibbling the lower branches of a tree. Animals are better off than we are; they never suffer from anxiety. So Primrose had no possible idea that those branches might be the last which he would ever munch. He looked up at Mrs. Luke and her grandson and gave a friendly “neigh!

This upset Tim, and he burst out a-crying: “I can’t shoot him! Granny—and I won’t!”

There came round the corner of the house a slow, massive tread. It was Yorkshire Tom, with his pick-axe on his shoulder.

“What’s all this! what’s all this!” said the man, catching Mrs. Luke’s arm as it was descending on Tim’s back.

“The boy is disobedient, and refuses to shoot Primrose,” said the stern old woman.

Yorkshire Tom was a patient man, and he staid a half hour to listen to the ins and outs of this curious case. He liked Tim and had felt his heart warm many a time as the little pale fellow, with the candle in his cap, came creeping through the dark alleys bringing him a dinner, and staying to chat awhile of the bright upper earth.

“Now, Dame, thee’s a little hard on the young un! ain’t thee!” said Tom, in broad Yorkshire brogue. “Come lad, take the beast, and come along o’ me. I’ll shoot him for thee.”

So Tim, with his arm around the neck of dear Primrose, walked off to Yorkshire Tom’s, far out of sight and hearing of Granny Luke.

It was ten o’clock, of a moonlight night, when Tim came wearily home, with a saddle of venison on his back. Although he was weary, he looked bright, and his cheeks very red—perhaps from the exercise.

“A large, plump saddle!” said his grandmother, “I had no idea Primrose was so fat—that comes from eating my spinach! A nice roast this for the General—why, boy, you look feverish. I must give you some peppermint tea! So Yorkshire Tom did it, did he? Well, Tim, you tell him to keep the rest of the meat to pay himself for the trouble—all but two steaks from the hind leg, remember.”

“Yes, Granny; I’ll remember,” said Tim, whose eyes were sparkling.

That was a good dinner that Granny Luke cooked for the General. The saddle was done to a turn, and she had some wild currant jelly, some fried potatoes, and a few vegetables which Primrose had not eaten. As she waited on the gentlemen, she enjoyed hearing them commend her cooking, and did not hesitate to utter a few words of praise over her departed Primrose! We often think of virtues in our friends after they have gone, which did not occur to us while they were living.

Alas, for human constancy! Tim ate a large plateful of roast Primrose; and what was more, he liked him.

“Well! I was right,” said his grandma; “he has forgotten all about his lost pet, and I am glad I have had Primrose shot!”

But Granny Luke missed the fawn more and more, and she saw her spinach and water-cresses and lettuces grow unmolested without that supreme pleasure which she had thought would be hers! Her days were lonely, as her grandchildren left her for their tasks, and no Primrose came to give her trouble.

She awoke one day feeling rather unwell, and as she was tying her cap over her gray hairs, which were her crown of glory, she saw a little black snake wiggling its way through the logs of her cabin.

It frightened her; not because she cared for the little snake, but because the miners believe it an evil omen if a snake crawls into a house. She was superstitious, the poor old ignorant woman; and although she had plenty of courage in every other way, she was afraid of a “bad sign.”

However, she drove the snake away, and went about her household tasks. Tim was sent off with the miners’ breakfast—her other grandchildren were fed and sent out to pick out the shining bits of metal from a heap of stones, and the strong old woman bent over a wash-tub to do her week’s washing. She had got about half through when she, fairly tired, let the soap fall, rubbed her arms dry, and thought she would look at her spinach and see how it was growing.

“Oh! gracious goodness!” what did she see?

Who was there nibbling the spinach, eating off the young water cresses, and taking an occasional shy glance at the beet tops, and shaking his pretty furry ears? Who but Primrose!

“I knew it! I knew it!” said Granny Luke. “I knew when I saw that black snake that I was going to have bad luck! That is an evil spirit—and he has come after me! Oh, hou! ough! hou! Tim!”

Granny Luke’s courage was all gone. Primrose was dead—and she had eaten him; yes, two steaks out of his hind legs. But there he was, with little horns growing out of his forehead!

But Primrose—for it was he, and no other—hearing her familiar voice, had leaped the paling and ran to lick the kind hand that had fed his infant deership.

GRANNY LUKE LOSES HER COURAGE.

This was too much, and Granny Luke fainted dead away; and when Tim came home he found her on the ground in front of the cabin, and Primrose was licking her forehead with his cool, rough tongue.

“You see, grandma,” said he, in explanation, “Yorkshire Tom goes a-hunting sometimes, and he had just shot a fine buck when you wanted me to shoot Primrose. So he took us both over to his cabin and we tied Primrose up, and he sent you some venison from his buck, and he kept Primrose at his house. I went over to see him every day; and Yorkshire Tom said it was not wicked, so that I didn’t have to tell a lie; and you never asked me anything about Primrose, and so I didn’t have to say anything. And we meant to keep him always tied up, and he has got away to-day and I’m sorry, grandma; but I hope you won’t make me shoot him now, because he’s so big; and all I’m afraid of is that somebody else will shoot him—”

And Tim skipped off as lightly as Primrose himself to caress and fondle the creature who was now no longer a fawn.

It took Granny Luke some time to believe that Primrose was not a spirit! He had to eat a whole crop of lettuces before she believed in him, but she was secretly so glad to see him that she forgave Tim, and only asked of Yorkshire Tom that he would build a more secure paling for Mr. Primrose, and also to make her a higher fence for her vegetables; all of which he did, and she forgave him, particularly as he sent her another saddle of venison, and “two steaks from the hind leg,” of another deer which he had shot, assuring her that Primrose was still too young to make good venison.


BILLY’S HOUND.
(A Two-Part Story.)


BY SARA E. CHESTER.


PART I.

BILLY used to read Sir Walter Scott’s poems when he was not much larger than the book, his sisters say. From Sir Walter he received the idea that there is no such thing as a hero without his steed and hounds. Although Billy did not aim at being a hero exactly, he by no means called himself a coward; and he considered a horse and dog as necessary to a daring, manly fellow as to a regular hero.

The horse Billy confidently expected to own when he should come into long-tailed coats and moustaches. He knew the high price of a good article, and was willing to wait; but a “trusty hound,” which he could have for the asking, he wanted at once. All the boys belonging to his little clan either owned, or had some time owned, a dog; and when the huntsmen set out for the chase (in pursuit of such noble game as nuts or apples, birds’ eggs or nests) the dogs followed their masters. Those who were not followed had tales to tell—either of mysterious strangers who had lurked about the premises and enticed their dogs away on account of their immense market value, or of bloody street fights in which their brave ones had perished. Each boy except Billy had had his experience, and if not the present possessor of a hound, could boast the noble pedigree or gallant death of one departed.

But it was not altogether Sir Walter, nor an ambition to be the owner of a high-born warrior, which made Billy long for a dog; he was born with a love for them as certain people are born with a love for babies, and he had many fancies about his hound which were not of a bold and bloody nature. He pictured him affectionate and gentle. He pictured him comfortably dozing by the fire on winter evenings; sharing a corner of his room at night; sharing his last crust should changing fortunes make them paupers—always faithful, tender and true, a friend to be relied upon though other friends might fail.

Unfortunately he did not inherit his tastes from his father. That gentleman disliked the canine race in proportion as Billy liked it, and although an indulgent parent generally, would not listen to Billy’s petitions for a dog. Occasionally, however, Billy received such a tempting offer that he was emboldened to renew his pleas, and one day, unable to resist the fascination of a fierce little black-and-tan, began:

“Father, there’s a dog——”

“Once for all,” interrupted his father, rather noisily, “I say, no! Don’t mention that subject to me again, sir! Anything that is reasonable, from a parrot to a monkey, I’ll consider. But you are not to mention dogs to me again, sir!”

“You know papa was bitten once, dear,” said his sister, as the door closed after their angry sire. “You really ought not to tease him. Why won’t you try and be contented with a dear little kitten, or a canary?”

“I’d as soon pet a rattlesnake as a kitten,” said Billy; “one is as mean and sly as the other. And that canary of yours—it’s got just about as much soul as a lump of sugar.”

“How would you like a goat? Goats are big and fierce——”

“A goat is a brute,” said Billy. “As for the dog that bit father, you know it was a bull—the only variety of dog that has any treachery in its blood. I don’t ask to own a bull-dog. But a goat! Do you s’pose Byron could ever have said this about a goat?” (Billy had spoken the poem at school, and proceeded to declaim):

“In life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend;
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own;
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone!”

“I’ll have a dog, or nothing,” he concluded.

“He has his father’s will,” sighed his mother, as he left the room.

A few weeks later Billy was rambling home. He had been sent with a dish to an invalid; and between the fear of spilling its contents and the attention he must pay to his steps had had a wretched time; so on the way home he was thoroughly enjoying liberty. Hands were free to shy stones at balky and rickety horses, and feet were free to roam and linger where they listed. He was a long time on that homeward journey, and only reached the graveyard at half-past four.

Billy had been known to quicken his footsteps when passing the graveyard by moonlight; and it is said that once when the sky was dark above and the night dark beneath, he ran quite around the corner, where he sauntered and whistled indifferently. But there was no occasion for running to-day. Neither moonlight nor darkness brooded over the graves; the white stones were dazzling in the sunshine, and the blades of grass twinkled like so many little stars; birds hopped fearlessly over the graves, not changing their gay tunes nor lowering their loud voices out of respect to the place; and altogether the graveyard looked so cheery and tempting in the afternoon sunshine that Billy stepped over the stile.

There was a general scattering of birds, butterflies, chipmunks and squirrels, each of these inferior creatures being warned by a voice in its little breast to flee. A noble dog would have needed no such warning, but would have approached Billy as an equal, assured of the reception to which his rank entitled him.

Having sole possession of the premises, Billy strolled about with a sovereign air. He pulled off his cap and turned up his face, letting the sunshine warm his cheeks to red and his yellow hair to gold. He surveyed the sky with some interest, as there was quite a variety of colors to-day, which pleased him better than the ordinary white and blue that in his opinion too much resembled milk and water. He cut a willow stick for a whistle, and examined names and dates as he passed the tombstones. Arriving at the grave of a boy who had died at his age, he sat down, took out his knife, and as he worked whistled cheerily above the little fellow whose whistling days were over. By and by an occasional chipmunk or squirrel ventured out in search of nuts; and at last a reckless kitten came within throwing distance. It would have been sad for the kitten had the soil been sterile and stony; but in that grassy region there was nothing to throw except the knife and the stick in the boy’s hands. The knife could by no means be spared, so away went the whistle with the coward cat before it. As the whistle was not to be found after a hunt in the thick grass, Billy resumed his rambles.

This brought him back to the stile in course of time; and he lifted a foot to go over when he was stopped by a faint cry. He paused just as he stood, one foot on the stile and one on the ground, listening breathlessly; for his educated ear knew the animal by its voice. Faint as the tones were they were unmistakable puppy tones. No kitten’s fretty “me-ouw,” no squirrel’s soulless “chir-chir,” was there; it was the noble voice of a puppy, though so faint and far that Billy could not at once detect its source. He listened until the cry came again, prolonged and piteous. It was a puppy in distress, a little baby dog in need of championship! who so ready in the wide world as he to espouse its cause! His knightly soul thrilled with pity as he ran eagerly about, led hither and thither by the repeated cries. He grew wild as he could not find the puppy behind a tree or tombstone or anywhere in the grass; and it was not until a second voice came to his aid that he ran in the right direction. The second voice was loud and angry, and provoked the first to shriller efforts. Puppies at war! Now Billy was doubly anxious to find them, for he could see the fun as well as support the under dog. He had decided by this time that they were near the fence which separated the graveyard from the barley field; and as he ran thither a third cry broke upon his ears, then a fourth, a fifth—till voices innumerable seemed to join the chorus.

“A dozen, as I’m alive!” said Billy; and by this time he had an opportunity to count them, though it was by no means easy to count all the big heads and little feet which he found struggling, pushing and climbing in the old tin pan between the fence and a walnut tree. He bent above the moving mass, and after various attempts learned that their number was seven. In regard to eyes, total blindness indicated extreme youth. And as to the cause of their complaint, it was evident that they had been abandoned in their ignorance and helplessness, and were in need of food.

Billy gazed into the pan with emotions of pride and compassion; the pride of a discoverer and possessor; the compassion of a heart always sensitive to canine grief, but moved to its depths by this spectacle of blind and orphaned infant woe. Seven little wails proceeding from seven hungry mouths, fourteen little paws groping and struggling towards escape from suffering whose cause was hardly comprehended—the sight might rouse a stouter heart than Billy’s.

“They’re a prize,” thought he, viewing the enormous heads and wee paws, critically. “They look like rare ones—Irish setters, perhaps. Bob would know. He’s up on those things.”

Bob might also make some helpful suggestions in regard to the puppies’ future; for Billy could not take them home; he could not leave them to starve, and he was far from willing to distribute among his friends the orphans whom he had rescued from untimely graves, and towards whom his heart was beating with such tender interest.

In his dilemma he left the puppies, to consult with Bob; and as he ran away, looked in vain for the mother dog.

“It would never do to let them starve,” said Bob; “but we must give the mother a fair chance. If she isn’t back by seven we can conclude they’re abandoned, and they shall have a home in my barn, for the present.”

Having met at seven, Bob and Billy hastened to the graveyard. No mother dog could be seen as they approached the stile, and a chorus of loud wails informed them that she had not returned. They were soon kneeling by the pan, criticising forms and faces; at the same time observing with deepest pity how the little mouths told their misery and the weary paws strove to escape from it.

BILLY EXPERIENCES UNSPEAKABLE HAPPINESS.

“I should judge you were a pointer by your nose,” said Bob, addressing the only puppy who could be said to have an attempt at the feature. “This may be a Newfoundland,” referring to one whose nose they would not have discovered but for the end of a wee pair of nostrils. “They’re a splendid lot, poor babies! It’s a clear case of desertion, Billy. We mustn’t leave them here without food another moment.”

Billy lifted the rusty old pan and clasped it tenderly against his jacket. Then they stepped briskly towards the stile, for the graveyard was by no means the tempting place it had been two hours ago.

“Keep an eye out for my father,” said Billy. “They make such a noise they may get us into trouble.”

But by sometimes crossing streets and turning corners suddenly, sometimes running and sometimes dodging, they succeeded in reaching the barn without encountering friend or acquaintance who would betray them.

“Take them in and make them at home on the hay while I go for their supper,” said Bob.

At the barn door Billy and the puppies were received by no less a person than Timothy, the coachman, who had consented to give the orphans a temporary asylum. He also bent gravely and critically over the pan; but his verdict did not agree with Bob’s.

“Mongrel, very mongrel,” said Timothy, shaking his head.

The fact that they belonged to his own humble rank in life may possibly have increased his sympathy; but it is certain that no orphaned kittens could have roused such emotions of pity in his manly breast. He had a corner ready, cushioned with hay; and they were soon rubbing against something better adapted to their tender sides than cold tin. But though they nestled in the hay as if they liked it, their wails continued, and they soon began to toddle about in search of food. When Bob came bringing it, however, Timothy shook his head and said:

“Ten chances to one against touching a drop, Billy. I’ve known ’em to die rather than drink it out of a saucer at that age.”

A vision of seven little puppies wailing and toddling to their doom, of seven cold, stiff forms, seven green graves in a row, clouded Billy’s fancy for a moment. But no, he would not accept such dark possibilities. The puppies must be tenderly persuaded what was for their good; and canine reason must triumph over mere brute prejudice.

But, alas, for Billy’s faith in canine intelligence—no sooner were the little noses introduced to the saucer than wails broke forth with tenfold energy. One after another they struggled from his hands and toddled away, until the seventh sat afar in the hay, with milky nose and empty stomach protesting against the insult it had received.

Billy was sorely tried and disappointed; but he considered their youth and blindness; he reflected that even human intelligence fears what it cannot see, and that it becomes one to have much patience with blind puppy babies. So he captured them again, individually, and repeated the process several times, until each, in spite of kicks and screams, had been compelled to sniff or lap up a few drops. He did not rest till the saucer was emptied; and by that time Timothy thought they had probably taken enough to preserve life through the night, though not enough to make them comfortable and hush their wails.

Billy went home with the wails still in his ears. You may be sure, however, that it was not of seven weak, blind, crying infants that he dreamed; but of seven gallant hounds full-statured, noses cold and keen of scent, heads erect and proud—for faith and hope are brave at the age of twelve.

But like other dreams which faith and hope have dreamed at night, Billy’s fled at dawn. One-seventh of it at least could never come true. One-seventh of it was found stiff and still in the hay; and was speedily borne to a lonely little grave beneath the apple tree.

“What did I tell you?” said Timothy. “They’ll all be dead afore night, sooner’n drink from a saucer. You’d best drown ’em, Billy, and put ’em out o’ misery.”

But Billy vowed he would never drown them; that he wouldn’t hesitate if they were kittens; but he’d as soon drown a baby as a puppy. He was going to raise the six! No pains should be spared to rear a round half-dozen. Number Seven was the obstinate member of the family anyway. Billy knew him by the spot on his right ear; and didn’t he remember how much harder he kicked than the other six last night? Drown them! Never!

An expression, not of disappointment, might have been observed on Timothy’s face; although he shook his head, saying:

“Mongrel, very mongrel, Billy. It’s my advice to drown ’em.”

That head shook frequently during the day; indeed, whenever Timothy appeared in the barn door to see how Bob and Billy were succeeding. They were not to be discouraged by head-shakings; but were rather provoked to greater efforts, as perhaps, Timothy intended. Hopes prevailed over fears until evening, when it became only too evident that a pair of the puppies toddled more and more feebly as the shadows fell. Applications of milk to their nostrils, force, and even mild persuasion, so annoyed them that it seemed true kindness to let them depart in peace. They were allowed therefore to toddle into a secluded corner, where they lay down together, and from which they toddled out no more.

“It’s better so,” said Timothy. “They ain’t got nothing to go a-huntin’ and cryin’ for now. If they ain’t found what they wanted by this time, they don’t know the difference.”

It was said with quite a softening of Timothy’s big voice, as he gently lifted them for the burial. Billy and Bob sat apart, silent and abject, their hands in their pockets and scowls upon their brows. But they rose and followed Timothy as he advanced to the cemetery, bearing a puppy in each hand. Few remarks were made until they were returning to the barn, when Bob said:

“Brace up, Billy. Four’s a better number than seven. You would have found seven a big family on your hands. I’ve always noticed a difference in their constitutions. Those two never had as much strength as the others.”

“Do you think the others will come on?” Billy asked, timidly.

“I do,” said Bob. “They’re robust compared to the others; and they’ve eaten quite a lot to-day. I shouldn’t wonder if their eyes would be open by morning.”

Billy was only too glad to hope again, and went home to dream of a gallant quartette, in spite of Timothy’s parting words:

“Very mongrel, Billy, and no constitution. The sooner you put an end to ’em, the better for all parties.”

Timothy having spoken, went immediately to the kitchen, where he confided to cook the whole tragic tale, and said he had heard how oatmeal porridge was nourishing for young puppies; “and suppose you make us a little, Eliza, with not too much oatmeal and a plenty of milk, so ’s ’t’ll go down easy.”

Later, Timothy might have been seen, by the light of a lantern, kneeling upon the hay, feeding the puppies porridge, which he promised would give them “sound sleep with something on their stomachs,” and save them perhaps from being dead puppies in the morning.

Although Billy dreamed his brave dreams of an unbroken quartette, still he stepped into the barn with some anxiety the next morning. But the oatmeal porridge had proved popular; the puppies took it with little urging, and even learned to smell their way into its neighborhood. It did not make them strong and sprightly; it did not open their eyes; but it kept them from dying, and surely this was not a small thing to accomplish. The very fact that three days went by and no death occurred in the family, encouraged them all to hope that a stronger tide of life would soon set in, forcing eyes open and making legs frisky. But when three other days had dragged along, Timothy, in a moment of impatience declared that their eyes would never open.

“A blind dog is sure no good,” said he; “and mongrel as they are, you’ll drop ’em in the river, if you take my advice, Billy.”

NOTWITHSTANDING THEY ARE MONGREL.

Nevertheless he went to Eliza and said: “Why not try a little juice of the beef? Meat, as all know, is the food for grown dogs. Why not the juice of the meat for young dogs without teeth to chew the solid? I’ll step around to the butcher’s, Eliza.”

He returned from the butcher’s with a pound of chopped beef. Eliza put the water to it; and early the next morning Timothy might again have been seen kneeling on the hay. He endeavored to persuade the puppies that his cup had invigorating properties and a cure for blindness; and urged them as they loved life and desired to view the face of nature, to partake. But, alas, once more for canine reason! One after another they sniffed, spit, sputtered, wailed and retreated.

“You’re a mongrel, brutish set,” said Timothy, in righteous indignation; “and I’ll be blowed if you’re worth saving!”

But before he could leave them to their fate, either his words, or a sudden instinct of self-preservation, turned one of the retreating puppies straight about. Timothy was not inclined to offer any assistance and run the risk of another disappointment. But when it became evident that the puppy was trying to smell his way to the beef-tea, he put the cup under his nose, and was rewarded by seeing a small pink tongue come out for a taste. One taste led to another and another, until the little fellow had breakfasted bravely, and Timothy was so rejoiced that he tried the obstinate three again. But his efforts were vain; and he fastened all his hopes on the good puppy, whose conduct he hastened to report to Bob and Billy.

THE BEEF-TEA PREVAILS.

Now whether medical science will allow any direct connection between beef-tea and the eyes, we do not know, but it is certain that when Billy entered the barn two hours later he was startled by a bright gaze. If a pair of stars had fallen from the sky to gaze at him out of that corner, he could hardly have been more amazed than to discover that the bright objects were the eyes of a dog—of his little dog.

“Bob! Timothy!” he screamed. But before they could arrive he had bounded towards the puppy and lifted him up. Seated upon Billy’s hands he held his head erect and looked at his master with (the foolish master fancied) affectionate recognition.

“It’s the beef-tea!” said Timothy, who had by this time arrived.

“And thanks to you, old friend,” said Billy. “He’ll live now, Tim. Do you s’pose he’d change the world that’s to be taken a good look at for a hole in the ground? Not he!”

“You’re right!” said Timothy. “We must make these blind fellows take some of the eye-opener and get a look at the world before it’s too late.”

They were all so encouraged by that pair of bright eyes that they labored patiently with the three blind brothers; but though they still partook of oatmeal porridge freely, they could never be induced to imbibe more than an occasional drop of beef-tea; and instead of waxing fat and active on oatmeal, they waned daily.

All the love which Billy had divided among seven was given to the quartette; and so a greater portion was blighted when the next puppy died.

“It makes me think of the ‘ten little Injuns,’ the way they drop off one after another,” said Billy, as they laid him away from the sunshine which he had never seen.

So the love of four fell to three; and though Billy was very proud of the puppy who ate beef-tea, who was learning to walk firmly and briskly, he was equally as tender of the less fortunate brothers. It is true that on entering the barn one morning he forgot them for a moment as the other trotted towards him and laid—yes, actually rubbed!—his nose in his hand. But he recovered from the glad surprise directly, and looked over at the bed in the corner. Still asleep, the lazy fellows! He tossed some hay at them, which caused a languid paw to appear; then a head stirred, and another until the little soft heap had shaken itself apart and separated into two puppies, who faced about and looked at each other. Yes, for the first and last time, they celebrated their awakening after the usual fashion of opening the eyes.

“Hurrah!” shouted Billy.

(END OF PART I.)

IN YE OLDEN TIME.—“BEWITCHED!”


BILLY’S HOUND.
(A Two-Part Story.)


BY SARA E. CHESTER.


PART II.

BUT it was his last hurrah; for puppies, like people, view the world through their own eyes, and where their brother had seen, approved, and desired, they gazed quite indifferently. Bob and Billy carried them out-doors for a broader view of life; but could not persuade them that sunshine and verdure were more to be desired than two snug little beds underground. Better death, with no good Puppy-land to go to; better an end of all things, than life with its ups and downs, its roses and thorns, the uncertain joys and certain ills that puppy flesh is heir to—such seemed their reflections as they gazed upon the world with languid, melancholy eyes. They shunned their brother’s gay society; they refused food and wailed with hunger; they partook of a little and wailed with pain; one died in the evening, yawning and stretching; the other in the morning, kicking and squealing; two new graves were dug under the apple-tree: and one puppy fell heir to the love of six.

“I wouldn’t care so much if they hadn’t opened their eyes,” said Billy; “but I thought they were sure to live then. It’s discouraging, I declare; I’m afraid it’s going to end like the ten little Injuns, ‘And then there were none.’”

“No, it won’t,” said Bob. “We’ll raise this fellow.”

“Yes,” said Timothy, “he’s going to live.” When Timothy spoke so positively one could afford to hope.

“Do you hear?” said Billy, capturing the lively puppy, who was behaving like anything but a mourner after the funeral. “We have hopes of you, sir; and beware how you disappoint us. See what obstinacy has done, and take warning by your brothers. I advise you to make the most of all the life you’ll ever get, for it isn’t soul that gives you such a knowing look. There is nothing behind those eyes but brains; and brains die out as much as bodies, sir. Bob,” he exclaimed, “see him look at me. Don’t tell me he doesn’t understand!”

“I wouldn’t risk such an opinion,” said Bob. “They say that eyes are the windows of the mind. Now that he’s got his windows open why shouldn’t you take looks back and forth.”

“Pretty good,” said Billy. “Duke has spied out the fact, somewhere, that I’m his master.”

They had named him, in contempt of Timothy, and in anticipation of the rank which was expected to assert itself with his growth.

“He certainly makes a difference between you and the rest of us,” said Bob.

The difference became more marked each day. In no one’s hand did Duke rub his little nose so often as in his master’s; no one else’s cheeks were licked so affectionately. It was Billy that he trotted after, and squealed for, when the big gate separated them and his master’s face was set towards home. These signs of preference were very flattering to Billy, but also caused him pangs, for the fonder he became of the dog, the more he feared to lose him. Although he increased rapidly in bulk, strength, vivacity and intelligence, it was a long time before Billy could cease to be alarmed if he appeared languid, over-slept, or ate lightly. However, he developed at last into such a sturdy fellow that anxiety on his account was absurd. All lingering doubts as to his loyalty, also, came to an end, for Billy had feared that his best affections might be won over to the master who fed him. But Duke knew his own master, and did not seem disposed to inquire why he was banished from his table.

AFTER HIS MASTER.

The devotion of “Bob’s dog” to Billy was a constant source of surprise to the boys who had not heard the secret of the mastership. Wherever Billy went, the dog was sure to go—unless ordered to the contrary, for whatever Billy ordered, the dog was sure to do. His absolute obedience, rather than natural talent, made him the accomplished fellow which he became. Billy’s will was his dog’s will, and so great was the patience of both teacher and scholar that in course of time there was hardly a dog in town so skilled as Duke in leaping, vaulting, fetching and carrying, so at home on land and water—whether summoned to scour a field, explore a bush, stem a tide, or save a boy from drowning.

Assured, then, of his life and loyalty, proud of his character and his accomplishments, Billy had but two things to regret: that Duke was a plebeian and an exile.

He had grown to full size, and neither developed into pointer, spaniel nor mastiff; into setter, Irish or English; into hound, fox, blood or grey. Indeed, he had not the positive traits which would admit him into any family, however humble. Duke was hopelessly “mongrel.”

Considering his stubby paws, blunt nose, ungainly shape and indefinite color on the one hand, and on the other his intelligence, good-humor, honor and fidelity, Billy could not but learn a gradual lesson on the folly of judging from appearances. Never, he reflected, was canine exterior more plebeian, canine character more noble. So, though something of an aristocrat by nature, radical principles slowly worked in Billy’s mind, until one day, at Timothy’s suggestion that he should change Duke’s name, he was prepared to answer:

HE WAS A FAMOUS VAULTER.

“No, sir! I believe people ought to rank according to their actions. What difference does it make how you happen to look, or what family you happen to be born into, if you’re a good fellow? My dog and I are Americans, and we’ll stand by our principles, and take rank according to the way we behave; won’t we, old fellow? I claim that he’s a duke in character, Tim; and he’s handsome enough to suit me. I wouldn’t have a spot on him changed now.”

To which plebeian Timothy, with an approving smile, replied:

“There’s no danger of his getting stolen, neither, Billy, for the price he’d fetch in market; no more’n he’ll get shot or poisoned for his bad temper.”

“No great loss without some small gain,” said Billy. “I’m satisfied, except for one thing, Tim.”

That one remaining cause of dissatisfaction Timothy appreciated. He knew that Billy would never be contented to have the dog which he had saved from death, reared and educated an exile from his home; and, though he and Bob would have missed Duke from their table, they made various plans for getting him admitted to Billy’s.

“I was screwing up my courage to lay the case before father,” said Billy, “when out he came with something about that ugly little dog of Bob’s that he’d seen around our house. He warned me not to encourage him—but I can tell you it’s hard work to keep Duke away, though he’s such an obedient fellow, and the cook never feeds him.”

“Billy,” said Bob, “he’ll have to save your father’s life. That’s the way the enemies in books always get into favor. Can’t you have him pull him out of the water one of these windy days?”

“That’s not such a bad suggestion,” said Billy; “the best you’ve made yet. What do you think, Duke? Could you swim a mile and pull him ashore? I believe he’s equal to it, Bob; and you know father’s always tipping over. He generally rights himself, to be sure; but he may be glad of a little assistance some time. I’ll keep Duke trained on bringing logs ashore, and we’ll be on the lookout windy mornings; for father never misses a breeze.”

But many a windy morning a dog and his master saw a stout gentleman set sail in a frail bark on a crafty sea; many a morning they roamed the beach, practicing on drowning logs, as they watched the wind sport with a distant sail; and however the sail might swell and veer, and lie over toward the waves, it always came erect and stately into port, while a stout gentleman stepped safely ashore.

“The winds are against us, Duke,” said Billy. “There’s no use in fooling around the shore any longer. I’m going to make a bold strike to-day; and if father won’t listen to reason, we’ll just have to give it up—unless we run away and live together. What do you say to that?”

Duke replied by a series of barks which Billy understood to signify assent.

“We’ll try father first,” said Billy.

He waited till his father was in his after-dinner mood. He followed him from the dining-room to the piazza, watched his chair go back on two legs, his feet go up on the railing, his cigar take its place in his teeth, the smoke curl and climb, the newspaper turn and turn, and still the courage of the boy on the steps did not rise to the occasion. It was not until the chair came down on four feet, and the stump of cigar dropped over the railing, that Billy ventured to speak:

“Father!”

He looked so well pleased with life as he walked, portly and smiling, towards his hat, that Billy thought now, if ever, he would be willing to please his son.

Hats of various shapes and degrees hung upon the rack. There was the broad-brimmed straw in which Judge Jenks appeared the country squire; there was the little cloth cap in which he rode the waves a gallant mariner; there was the soft felt which suited rough-and-ready moods; there was the second-best beaver; and there was the best beaver, known to Billy and his sisters as the “Pet and Pride.”

The choice to-day fell on the “Pet and Pride.”

“Good luck!” thought Billy. “I can get anything out of him when he’s petting that hat.”

“Well, my son,” said papa, holding the hat in one hand and passing the other caressingly around and around the crown, until the fur lay in silkiest smoothness.

But Billy waited until the hat was on, and papa surveyed the result in the mirror. It gave him an elegant judicial aspect, and was vastly becoming beyond a doubt.

“Now’s my time,” thought Billy.

“Father,” said he, “I’d like to have a little talk with you—a little discussion on a certain subject.”

“What is it?” said papa. “The Greenback movement? Or have you been catching Communism from Pat? What is it, Billy? Have you got the questions of the day settled for us? Which shall it be: hard or soft money, free-trade or the tariff?”

“I’m not just up on those matters, sir,” said Billy. “It’s a different subject.”

“Well,” said papa, giving the “Pet and Pride” a parting glance, ere he walked to the door, “well, Billy, what is it?”

“It’s—it’s—dogs, sir,” said Billy, meekly.

Stern and cold grew the beaming face beneath the “Pet and Pride.” Aversion was in the tones which repeated Billy’s word “Dogs!

“And what have you to say on this subject?” inquired his father; “that they are faithful, trusty beasts? I tell you they are treacherous and villainous; that you wish to own one for no reason but that they are odious to your father and you are determined to have your own way! I reply better than you deserve, and offer you once more a goat, or a pair of them.”

“Thanks. It’s a dog or nothing, sir,” said Billy.

“As you please,” said his father. “But understand that this subject is not to come up again. Nothing could induce me to have a snarling, snapping, vicious, treacherous cur on the premises; and you are never to mention dogs to me again, sir.”

Billy stalked out of one gate and his father out of another.

“He has the Jenks will,” reflected his father, not without an emotion of pride. “A dog or nothing, indeed!”

But the Jenks will did not support Billy very bravely as he walked on towards Bob’s; and by the time he reached the gate, anger, pride and all harsh, inspiring feelings had given place to sadness. Bob told Timothy afterwards that he had never seen Billy so nearly “floored.” He did not need to ask the result of his interview; but proposed that he should accompany him to the post-office, whither he was hastening with a letter.

The wind which had lured Billy to the shore in the morning still rose in fitful gusts, playing tricks with all detached objects, greatly to the delight of Duke who ran in pursuit of every flying thing.

Billy’s eyes followed the dog gloomily.

“If it wasn’t for that leg of father’s that got bitten thirty years ago!” he said. “Speaking of angels, there goes father now. Hold on to your hat, Bob.”

Each boy seized his hat as a sudden gust came sweeping down the street. But papa, who had appeared in view a block ahead of them, walked calmly on, as if assured that no impertinent breeze would dare molest the “Pet and Pride.” He was so confident and careless that the wind could not resist taking him down a little, and lifting the hat whirled it about his head.

The uncovered judge put forth his hand, but the movement was too grave and deliberate; the wind wished to play tag, and it takes two to play at that game, so the judge must be taught how. As the deliberate hand almost reached the hat, off skipped the wind with it, compelling the judge with a stately skip to follow. But he could be taught even swifter motions than those; a second time he almost reached the hat, and it moved on with a hop and a whirl; while he, with something like a hop and a whirl, moved after. But still the hat, so near his hand, was not in it. His indignation rose. He could not allow matters to proceed after this unruly fashion. With a plunge he pounced on his property—when, lo! it lay across the ditch in the dust of the road, while his tormentor laughed at him!

But no, it was not the wind that laughed after all, though it seemed quite human enough to do so—the shrill tones proceeded from three open mouths on the corner. How dare those ragged urchins lift up their voices in derision of a Judge of the Supreme Court! Better, perhaps, to lose the hat than gratify them by pursuing it. But it was his “Pet and Pride”—by no means an inexpensive affair; a city hat, only to be replaced by a day’s journey; and then he might never find such an easy fit again.

After two or three somersets the hat stood still, unhurt, except for a little dust. The wind fell as suddenly as it had risen, and the judge was enabled to recover his property without sacrificing his dignity. At least so he flattered himself as he walked at his usual gait over the ditch, into the road. He had not calculated on another gust; and when the hat was actually snatched almost out of his grasp again, rather than become the sport of those rascals on the corner he decided to let it go, and run the risk of getting it at the next ebb of the wind.

He was turning away when he happened to see near the corner a big, black mud-puddle, lying in wait for unwary victims of the wind. If the wind and water had conspired to tease him they could not have succeeded better. While the hat was blown directly towards the puddle, the water was at the same time lashed upward to show him how black and muddy it was, how totally destructive to hats.

He felt tempted to pursue the “Pet and Pride” at a flying gait; but as he paused to consider the boys on the corner, the mud-puddle lost its terrors in a new object which appeared upon the scene. This was nothing less than a dog that came galloping after the hat with almost the speed of the wind. Better that the “Pet and Pride” should be drowned in the muddiest depths than become a puppy’s plaything, thought the judge. It was too late for him to rescue it by this time. The hat was doomed to the dog or the water—the water he sincerely hoped, as he prepared to seek the nearest store where a covering for his head could be found.

But as he was turning away he observed that the chances were in the dog’s favor. It was wonderful to see those four little paws fly over the ground. They were gaining on the wind, no doubt about it. Gaining, gaining—till the race was so close that one must wait a moment and see it out. “Ah, the rascal has it! No, you little scamp, you’re beaten! You didn’t count on that gust, sir!”

But as the judge so soliloquized, a familiar voice behind him shouted, “Fly, Duke, fly!” With a leap those four winged feet overtook the gust; and there stood the dog at the edge of the mud-puddle, carefully holding the “Pet and Pride” in his teeth.

The judge recognized that “ugly little dog of Bob’s” at the same time that he recognized his son’s voice; and presently he discovered that the race had been run not for his torment, nor for mere amusement, but for the purpose of rescuing and restoring his property.

“Well, well,” said the judge, as Duke trotted up and presented the hat to him; “well, well, Bob, you’ve a fine dog, sir; a gentlemanly fellow, upon my word. You’ve trained him well, Bob. He does you credit, he does indeed.”

Bob rapped Billy with his elbow, as much as to say, “Here’s your golden opportunity; speak up!”

“He’s mine, sir,” Billy blurted out.

Yours!” said the judge, removing his hand from the canine head he was actually condescending to pat; “yours!

Encouraged by another rap Billy continued:

“You can’t say that he’s ever given you any trouble, father. He’s never eaten a mouthful at home.”

“What do you think of such deception, sir?” said his father. “Do you mean to tell me that you have been boarding him out?”

“No, sir; he lives on charity. Bob supports him.”

“Charity!” said his father. “What do you mean, sir?”

But as he dusted the “Pet and Pride,” caressing it as of old, he took a kindly peep at the little head by his knee, and gave it one more pat before moving away.

“You’re all right, old boy,” said Bob. “You’ve had your chance; that wind did you a good turn, after all. It doesn’t sound quite so fine to say Duke saved his hat as his life, but it amounts to the same in the end. Just keep cool, Billy, and you’re all right.”

It was not very easy to keep cool, however. Billy hoped and watched and waited a whole day before the subject of dogs was mentioned again.

“Where did you get him?” asked his father, as the smoke began to curl from his after-dinner cigar.

“Him?” said Billy, confusedly. “Oh, Duke? I found him in the graveyard, with six more. The mother had left them, and I couldn’t let them die—though the rest did, after all. But we succeeded in raising Duke; and I couldn’t part with him after all that, sir.”

“Don’t attempt to excuse your obstinacy,” said his father, inwardly commenting on “that Jenks will.” “He’s a trained animal, I see. That is where the time has gone which should have been devoted to Latin. A very bad report that last, sir. Is he anything of a mouser?”

“Splendid!” said Billy.

Nothing more was said until the “Pet and Pride,” after the usual amount of caressing, was surveyed in the mirror—then tender memories prompted papa to say, gruffly:

“He is not to live on charity like a beggar. Shut him up in the store-room, if he’s good for anything, and let him have it out with the rats. But keep him away from me, sir. Let him be fed in the basement, but let him understand that he is not to come above ground where I can see him; and remember that he is on trial—distinctly on trial.”

WITH DUKE’S COMPLIMENTS.

The glad news was at once conveyed to Duke, Bob and Timothy; and Billy was a happy boy—for a few days. Like other mortals of whom we hear, having gained much he wished to gain more. He was not satisfied that Duke had conquered the rats and won the servants’ affections. He wished his higher accomplishments to shine in higher circles. He wanted his dog admitted to the full privileges of citizenship. He longed to introduce him to his own room on the second floor, and he found stern discipline necessary to keep him from the first floor.

Having investigated the kitchen, Duke felt a natural curiosity as to the parlor, and he was often caught on the top stair, peeping into the hall. Billy’s sisters called him up, but could not make him disobey his master. However he might stretch his neck, wag, cry and peer wistfully, he could not be tempted to put a paw on the hall floor.

“Where did he learn obedience?” said the judge one day, after observing his daughters’ vain attempts. “Certainly not of his master. But perhaps you know the secret, Billy, and can give it to me to try on my son. I should like to see if there’s anything to be done with that will of his.”

“Duke has never had any teacher but me, sir,” said Billy. “Shall I forbid his coming on the stairs?”

“Come up here,” said the judge, snapping his fingers towards Duke. “Let’s see what you think of this hall before we send you down.”

But to his surprise the dog did not obey.

“Come!” said Billy; and at the word he leaped toward his master, then looked about for some means of expressing gratitude. Spying a newspaper, and newspapers and elderly gentlemen being associated in his mind, he fetched it and presented it to the judge. The next noon he was summoned again. By that time he had discovered that the newspaper was taken with the cigar, and no sooner saw the one produced than he ran in search of the other. After a few days it happened that the judge dropped all responsibility in regard to his paper. He took his cigar and sat down, assured that wherever the paper might be, to what remote corner of the house any careless member of the family might have taken it, that knowing little dog would find it for him.

THE CIRCUS.

Having proved that he was a useful member of society, Billy wished Duke to display his higher accomplishments, and one day introduced to the dining-room what was known down-stairs as the Circus. Judge Jenks was greatly entertained, and the next day undertook to be circus-manager himself. He succeeded so well that it became an after-dinner custom for Duke to speak, leap and dance at his bidding. It was funny to see the portly gentleman whistling sprightly airs, with the greatest gravity of countenance, while the little dog, with countenance as grave, spun around on two feet, wholly intent upon keeping time to the tune. He would become a lion, monkey, or squirrel at command, but the last was his favorite character, as it involved nuts, which he must sit upright and nibble. After his fondness for almonds was discovered Billy noticed that they were seldom missing from dessert without being called for. By many little indications he was persuaded that Duke’s merits had overcome his father’s prejudices. But after all Duke was only a dog, with faults as well as virtues; and while he was still on trial Billy could not help fearing that some mischievous prank might end the trial unfavorably. He waited many days, hoping that his father would declare the probation ended; but at last there came a day when Duke gave a table-cloth a shaking which brought the judge’s favorite meerschaum pipe to ruin. Billy considered the misfortune fatal.

NOTHING COULD BE WORSE THAN THIS.

“It’s come at last. All’s up with us,” he thought, as he administered the punishment customary for such offences. But what was his surprise to hear his father say, sternly:

“That will do; that will do, sir! Who left the pipe on the table? You had better find out and save some of your blows for the chief offender. How would you fare if I should deal out justice to you at that rate? Dogs will be dogs, sir; and Duke’s none the worse for an occasional overflow of spirits.”

“Thank you, father, for defending my dog,” said Billy, warmly. “I was afraid it might end in my having to part with him.”

“Part with him?” said his father. “A very good suggestion. The best thing you can do. I advise you to part with him by all means. I should recommend an elderly gentleman who has learned to temper justice with mercy; one who needs a cheerful, young companion, competent and willing either to wait upon him or amuse him; one who will promise the dog a permanent home, and agree not to be too hard upon him for trifling offences. Allow me to recommend Judge Jenks, sir.”

“With Judge Jenks’ permission, I’ll take the home and keep the dog,” said Billy.

“We will call it a bargain,” said his father, his eyes twinkling as he added, “remarkable what a difference there is in dogs; eh, Billy?”

“Yes, sir!” said Billy.


PUSSY WILLOW AND THE SOUTH WIND.

Fie! moping still by the sleepy brook?
Little Miss Pussy, how dull you look!
Prithee, throw off that cloak of brown,
And give me a glimpse of your gray silken gown!
My gray silken gown, Sir Wind, is done,
Put its golden fringes are not quite spun.
What a slow little spinner! pray, pardon me,
But I have had time to cross the sea.
Haste forth, dear Miss Pussy! the sky is blue,
And I’ve a secret to whisper to you.
Nay, nay, they say Winds are changeful things,
I’ll wait, if you please, till the Bluebird sings.

LITTLE SISTER AND HER PUPPETS.


BY REV. W. W. NEWTON.


GOOD NIGHT, LOVELY STAR.

THERE was a dear little girl once whose name was Emily, but everybody called her “Little Sister,” because she was so sweet, and loved everyone.

She couldn’t pronounce some words plainly, and people used to get her to talk, on purpose to hear the cunning words used.

She used to sing a little song before she went to bed, and this was the way she sang it:

“Good night nitten tar (little star)
I mun (must) go to my bed
And neave (leave) you to burn
While I nay (lay) down my head,
On my pinnow (pillow) to neep (sleep)
Till the morning light,
When you mill (will) be fading
And I mill (will) be bight (bright).”

As she sang this little song, she would lean her face up against the window pane and throw a sweet kiss to the star and say, “Dud night, you nubny (lovely) nitten (little) tar!” (star.)

“Little Sister” used to make everybody love her who came near her. The grown-up people would always want to take her right up in their laps, and the little children loved to have her come up with her flowing silken hair and put her arms around them and kiss them.

When she went out with her sled in winter time, the gentlemen used to want to pull her, and the little boys would always drag her sled up hill again after a slide.

This was because she was so kind and sweet, and had such polite ways.

Little Sister used to love to go and see some puppets which were exhibited at a Punch-and-Judy show near where she lived.

The men used to stand under a great overspreading elm tree and work their puppets there, but there were so many people around the show that she could not see it plainly. Betsey, her nurse, used to hold her up, but still Little Sister couldn’t see it all.

On Little Sister’s fourth birthday, when she came down into the dining-room at breakfast time, what should she see over in one corner of the room but a puppet stand, with six puppets. First of all there was Punch, and then there was Judy; then there was the Doctor and the Judge, and the Policeman and Sheriff.

She was delighted. “Where did this come from?” she asked.

Then her papa told her that he had had the stand made for her, and had bought the puppets as a birthday present.

These puppets he worked with his thumb and fingers.

“Oh! what nubney nitten puppets!” said Little Sister, and off she ran to show them to her mamma.

Then in the afternoon of her birthday, her mother invited some little friends to come in and see the first exhibition of Little’s Sister’s puppets.

Nobody could see how her papa worked them from behind the stand.

They were ever so funny. One puppet was named Tommy, and he sat down to eat a piece of meat. Then the pussy-cat came on the boards, and walked right up to Tommy to take away the meat he had in his hands. Tommy gave the cat a hit on the head with his funny arm, and then pussy stood up on her hind legs and hit Tommy back. Finally pussy got hold of the piece of meat and jumped down, while poor little Tommy was left alone crying. Pussy was beautifully dressed up with a white paper ruffle around her neck, and pink ribbons tied on her feet and tail.

LITTLE SISTER’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

Then Tommy brought his naughty cat who had stolen the meat, before the Judge, an old wise-looking man, with a grey wig on, and the Judge sentenced pussy to be put in prison.

There was a prison all ready, which Little Sister’s papa had made out of a paper box. There were slats in it, and it was painted black, and had the word “Prison” printed at the top of it in large black letters.

Poor pussy, the thief, looked very sadly when the puppet policeman marched her off to prison.

Then there was old Punch, who threw the baby out of the window, and was also taken before the Judge and was hanged.

Then Tommy got sick from eating too much meat, and the Doctor had to come and bleed him. This made all the little folks laugh ever so much.

After this, Judy went to a store to buy some sausage, and when she got it home it turned into a snake and ran away.

THE POLICEMAN PUTS PUSSY IN A SAFE PLACE.

Then Tommy took up his father’s musket to fire it off and the gun went to pieces, and poor little Tommy was blown up in the air; his head and hands and feet were all blown away from his body and there was nothing left of him.

Then there was a paper doll named Polly Flinders, who set herself on fire.

This was the song Little Sister’s papa sang in a piping, squeaky voice, when he made little Polly dance:

“Little Polly Flinders
Sat among the cinders
A-warming her pretty little toes;
Her mother came and caught her
And spanked her little daughter
For burning her nice new clothes.”

When he got through singing this funny little song, he would set Polly on fire and then put her in a toy wash-tub, and all of a sudden a little fire-engine would appear and squirt water on her in the wash-tub. Then the curtain would drop down, and Punch would put his head out and say in a squealing little voice, “Children, don’t you ever play with fire.”

These were some of the ways in which Little Sister and her papa amused their friends on Saturday afternoons.

Sometimes Little Sister and her brother invited poor children to come in and see the funny puppets work. Sometimes these little children went with their papa while he showed the puppets to poor little children in some of the houses and asylums in the city where they lived.

One time they all went to the Children’s Hospital, where the sick children were, and made the poor little things laugh over the funny doings of Tommy and Jerry, and Pussy and Polly Flinders.

And in this way dear Little Sister and her little playthings did good to others; for we can serve God and be doing good by making others happy even in our plays, and with the toys which are given to us, instead of keeping them selfishly for ourselves.

FIRST SPRING FLOWERS.


SPRING FUN.

THE best of fun, I tell you, boys—
I wonder if you know?—
Is to get a dozen polywogs
And find out how frogs grow.
You go and catch them in the pond,
Along in early spring;
And when you stir them up—O, my!
They squirm like anything!
They are just like a little spot
Of jelly, with two eyes;
And such a funny little tail,
Of quite astounding size.
You put them in a great big dish—
A large bowl is the best.
They swim and squirm, and squirm and swim,
And never seem to rest.
Put in some dirt and water plants—
I’ve known them to eat meat.
They’ll grow and grow so beautiful
The girls would call them sweet.
And bunches by and by appear—
On each side there are two.
And little legs, like sprouting plants,
Will pretty soon peep through.
The legs grow long, the tail grows short;
And by and by you’ll see
There isn’t any tail at all
Where a tail used to be.
And froggy now can jump on land,
Or in the water swim.
And scientific men will now
“Amphibious” call him.

THE LOST DIMPLE.


BY MARY D. BRINE.


MY little boy lies in his trundle bed,
With chubby arms above his head,
And a rosy flush on his cheek so fair,
And a gleam of gold in his tangled hair;
His beautiful eyes, so soft and blue,
’Neath rose leaf lids are hidden from view;
For sound asleep is my little boy,
My troublesome comfort, baby Roy!
But ah! there’s something upon his cheek
Of which I do not like to speak;
So I kneel beside my baby dear,
And softly kiss away the tear.
And I kiss from his rosy mouth a pout,
Which even slumber has not smoothed out.
And I have another kiss to spare,
To smooth the frown from his forehead fair.
How came the tear and the pout and frown
On this dear little face to settle down?
Ah well! I’m sorry to have to say
That Roy was a naughty boy to-day.
It wasn’t pleasant to play, you see,
When Roy and mamma couldn’t agree;
So he went to Dreamland to find a smile,
And the dimples will come in a little while.
There’s one should be in his cheek, right there,
And one belongs in his chin. ’Tis rare
That I look in vain for the merry trace
Of the winsome dimples in baby’s face!
But, by and by, he will open his eyes,
All soft and blue as the summer skies:
And when he laughs at my merry call,
I shall find the dimples, the smiles, and all.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY.


BY KATE LAWRENCE.


WATCHING FOR PAPA.

THERE were once two little bears who lived in a cave in the woods.

Papa Bear had been killed by a hunter, and his skin made into a coat, which the hunter wore while killing other bears.

Mamma Bear accepted this hard fact, but the little bears never gave up hoping that he would come, and they used to watch for him at the window every day.

One day when they were watching, they saw two little boys who had come into the woods for berries. Their baskets were about half full, but some dispute had arisen, and the luscious fruit hung ungathered while the two boys fought—boxing and scratching one another in a manner too shocking to be described.

“O, Mamma Bear!” they cried together, “do come and see; here are two of those dreadful creatures whom you call boys—they are fighting terribly.”

“Don’t stand and look at them, my darlings,” said Mamma B.; (the children sometimes called her Mamma B.) “‘evil communications corrupt good manners.’”

“What does that mean Mamma B.,” asked the little bears.

Now Mamma Bear did not like this question, for she did not know exactly what it meant herself. But she managed to say, “It means, my dears, that if you like to stand and watch boys and girls when they are quarrelling and fighting, you will soon get to be as bad as they are yourselves.”

At this both the little bears put their paws up over their faces, and cried, “O, Mamma B.!” for their feelings were dreadfully hurt by this comparison. “O, Mamma B., we couldn’t be so bad! never, never!”

“I hope not,” said Mamma B., kindly; “but when I was a little bear, my mother used to say, sometimes, that her children were as cross as boys and girls.”

“O, Mamma B.!” cried the little bears again. “Boys and girls are dreadful creatures, aren’t they?”

THE SLEEP OF THE INNOCENT.

“Men and women are dreadful creatures,” said Mamma B.; “and though their babies are very gentle and playful at first, it will not do to trust them. Human nature soon begins to show itself. Men often kill, not to get their food, or defend themselves against their natural enemies, as bears do, but for the pleasure of killing. Besides they kill each other; and that, you know, bears very seldom do.”

“But we kill lambs and calves, mamma dear,” said one little bear, proudly; “I have killed a chicken myself!”

“That was for your natural food,” said Mamma Bear, beaming upon him fondly. “The most intelligent animals are those which, like bears, eat both meat and vegetables. Men are almost as intelligent as we are; but they never will be truly wise, until they learn to live in peace with each other, as bears do.”

Before the little bears went to bed that night, their mamma taught them this pretty little hymn:

“Let boys delight to scold and fight,
For ’tis their nature to;
Let naughty children scratch and bite—
All human beings do.
“But little bearies, never let
Your angry passions rise;
Your little paws were never made
To tear each other’s eyes.”

When the little bears could recite this perfectly, they went to sleep with their paws around each other’s necks, resolving that they would never, never quarrel, for fear that they might sometime get to be as bad as boys and girls; and their mamma could not but feel grateful that they were so docile.


JACK HORNER.

ALMOST every child has been early taught to repeat the lines:

“Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, ‘What a brave boy am I!’”

And Jack has generally been regarded as a nice, fat little boy, who, having pleased his mother by his good conduct, has been rewarded by a pie of his own. And we have thought of him as sitting quietly in the chimney-corner, enjoying his pie; and when he pulled out that plum, wondering if it were full of plums.

But among the many “investigations” of the present day, it appears that Jack Horner, though a boy, was a “defaulter” to a serious amount, and the plum which he pulled out of his pie cost the life of another.

A tradition which had its rise in the county of Somersetshire, England, has at last found a place in history, and seems to be looked upon as reliable.

During the imperious reign of Henry VIII., he procured by an act of Parliament the abolishment of several hundred monasteries, and a court was established for the management of their revenues and their silver, all of which he ordered granted for his benefit.

When this act came in force, at the monastery at Wells it was determined by the abbot that the title-deeds of the abbey estates, and the valuable grange attached, should not be confiscated by the king, but sent to the commissioners at London.

The abbot, wishing for some safe method of conveying them, finally hit upon this curious device. To avoid their being taken, he thought the safest method would be to put them in a pie, which should be sent as a present to one of the commissioners. The trustiest messenger, and one little likely to excite suspicion, was a boy named Jack Horner, the son of poor parents, living in the neighborhood of the monastery. He set out on foot carrying the pie.

It was a tiresome journey, and the road probably had few attractions, so, selecting a comfortable corner on the wayside, Jack sat down to rest. Like most boys on such occasions, he began to think of something to eat; and, having no well-filled bag to go to, he thought he might take a little from the inside of the pie, and it would never be missed.

So, “he put in his thumb,” when to his astonishment he found only papers. This was poor satisfaction to the hungry lad, but he had wit enough to conclude that papers sent in such a manner must be valuable, so he determined to pocket one, which he did, and pursued his journey.

Upon delivering the pie, it was at once discovered that the chief deed was missing, and, as it was thought the abbot had withheld it, an order was at once sent for his execution, for not the slightest suspicion seems to have fallen upon Jack.

Years after, the paper was found in the possession of Jack’s family, which, being the deed to abbey estates, was a “plum” of some value.

1. Tell in your own words the meaning of the rhyme of “Little Jack Horner.”

2. Do you know any other Mother Goose rhyme that has a hidden meaning?


DOUBLE DINKS.


BY ELIZABETH STODDARD.


WIDE AWAKES, you have not heard of the boy Lolly Dinks that was, and is—a boy mitey in body and mighty in mind. He knows himself as the son and ruler of Mr. Dinks, a mild, pleasant man, who tears his shirt collar in two of mornings when his slippers are in the very place he put them, and he can’t find them, and who sits up of nights making books out of other people’s thoughts, and calls it a Literary Avocation! I call it st—al—ng. What I write comes from my own mind and Lolly’s.

Now, as always, the business of my life is to amuse Lolly. Lots of oat-meal, beef-tea, little pills, have I taken to keep me up so that I might make a successful business. For a time I supposed that I was teaching him; but I wasn’t, he was teaching me, and from that he went on till I found he governed me. Did you ever hear anything like this—me, Mrs. Dinks, his mother, minding Lolly Dinks? Somebody has to mind me, and as Mr. Dinks will not read this, I confess I make him mind.

And I thought myself so clever,—that I was packing, cramming the cells of Lolly’s brain with useful in-for-ma-tion, as full as the cells of a bee-hive with honey. I did it at all hours, and made a nuisance of myself under all circumstances. I’d go on this way: Suppose it a winter morning, and breakfast-time. Lolly and I are waiting for the bell to ring.

“Lolly,” say I, “little Jack Frost came in last night by the window panes; don’t you long to hear about little Jack?” and my voice is sweet as a sugar lump.

“No, marmy, I want some beefsteak. I smell it;” and Lolly gives so loud a sniff that I have to raise my voice, and thereby lose some of its sweetness.

“It is strange so many things should have Jack tied to them,” I continued. “There’s Jack-at-a-pinch, Jack-at-all-trades,—”

“Tom Bower,” breaks in Lolly, “has a toy he calls Jack-in-a-box; nasty thing, it jumps. I want my egg boiled so hard that this poker couldn’t smash it,” and he gives the fender such a bang that my nerves go ting-a-ling like a cracked bell,—not like poor Ophelia’s sweet bells, jangled, out of tune. But duty requires me to go on, for must not my Lolly understand something of great Nature’s laws? With sternness I proceed.

“There is, also, Jack-a-dandy, Jack-ass, Jack-a-napes, Jack Ketch, the hangman, Jack-pudding—”

“And Jack-straw,” cries Lolly; “and somebody’s lost my set of ivory Jack-straws.”

“My son, the substance, or appearance, which we call Jack Frost, is rigidly and beautifully regulated by laws, crystals—”

“Where is that boy?” asked papa Dinks, coming from behind his newspaper.

A moment afterward we heard him singing in the breakfast-room, “Spring, spring, gentle spring,” and presently found him near a beefsteak tranquilly munching a biscuit.

“The childhood,” says Milton, “shows the man, as morning shows the day;” but Milton was always saying one thing or another. If this is true, what will Lolly’s bump of reverence be when he has grown to be a man? Where shall a bank be found rich enough for him to draw the money he must have? And how many persons will be hired to find his garters, his hat, his knife, his book? I never could abear Paradise Lost, and I don’t wonder that the angel with the flaming sword kept Adam and Eve out of the garden, for Adam and Eve were a poky pair, after all, and could never have raised vegetables; that is, according to Milton. As a man, will this said Lolly domineer over his kind, and exact his rights? He thinks it hard that children should not have the privilege of scolding parents, when the parents are so old and the children so young; and why shouldn’t he contradict, when he is contradicted; he knows just as well as any old Dinks knows?

Lolly is not a nice hero for a story, but what can I do? He is all the Lolly Dinks I have,—a “poor thing, but mine own.” And if I can’t make the best of him, I must make the worst; it is “live and Dinks live” with me. All is, Wide Awakes, try to help him with his poor traits; that is, not make use of them on your own account.

Outside his family circle, which is compact though narrow, my Lolly has the reputation of a “perfect gentleman.” Our friends and neighbors invite him to dinner and to lunch. Then they tell how good, how refined, how sweet his manners, how gentle! And this young Dinks hears it all; does he believe so? Why not? He is to these people as he appears; but when I try to present to their view an interior picture, one I am somewhat familiar with, they return a pitying smile, and believe in their hearts that I am describing myself, or, at any rate, that I am solely to blame for all his shortcomings. I even bring up absolute facts. I say, “This morning, when I offered Lolly five cents, he tossed away, because I would not give him ten cents.” Or, “Yesterday, because I refused to go on the beach in a gale of wind to sail his boat, Lolly said, ‘You never do anything for me; you sit in your chair and read and read, and I think you are real mean.’” This, too, when I had trudged a mile into the woods with him, and lugged home a pile of bushes, flowers, and grasses. It is of no use; I am in the minority; they sympathize with him, not with me. I must hold my peace, but I will ask myself the question, so long as I have the spirit of a woman,—not Pilate’s,—whether old people or young people tell the truth; but, is it the young people or the old people who lie?

Whatever Lolly’s aspects are, life is a constant surprise and delight to him. He walks daily among wonders, as Emerson says. Well, as I have said before, this Master Dinks got into the habit of instructing me. His style was more imperative and curt than mine. Here is a sample:—

“Do you wish to know?
Listen, Marmy.
Shall I tell you?”

Of course I have got to know. His lesson begins: “Suppose, Mrs. Marmy, that the moon, being tired of her white color, should wish to borrow a few yellow rays from the sun,—where would she find postage stamps to get it at the sun post office?”

This terrible conundrum floors me, and I sit dismayed.

“Get ’em from the next rainbow!” he shrieks.

“My Lolly,” I reply, solemnly, “I see you understand the eternal fitness of things.”

And then in his turn he is posed, and falls back into his simple child ways. He twists himself up into my lap, and rubs his head against my shoulder, and says, for the hundredth time,—

“Tell me what you used to do, mother, dear.”

He kisses me; but I must own there is an “ancient and fish-like smell” about him, which comes from his fondness for catching minnows, and other small deer of the sea. Still it goes for a kiss.

A short tale follows.

Cola Meggs and Sailor Studd were two dogs, whose acquaintance I made in my childhood. One was mouse-colored, and the other was white, with large black patches; both were large. They hated cats, they hunted cats. In the underpinning of our house was a hole where the broken crockery was thrown. I used to crawl through this hole to get dishes for my family’s table; very odd-shaped dishes, kind of three-cornered things they were. The cats hid in this dark place when Cola and Sailor were on the war-path, and made themselves very unpleasant. So much so that I was often obliged to sit on the doorstep while the battle raged between cats and dogs. Then I knew what it meant by reigning cats and dogs. One day I sat on the cold, cold doorstep till I grew numb, but my brain was on fire. I composed a poem.

“So Cola Meggs and Sailor Studd
Had a fight and fell in mud.
Won’t I hang them onto pegs,
Even though they have 8 legs.”
(The cat was killed.)

“Marmy,” said Lolly, with dignity, “will you please read me Jules Verne’s story ‘Round the World.’”

Ah me, the mitey part of my Lolly Dinks had flown into the past, where so many little children lie in the amber of a mother’s memory.

He reminds me of the apple blossom and the apple; both are perfect in their way, and in the latter the nub of the blossom, from which the fruit comes, remains. But this does not make me opposed to apple trees; I am not like the man who said he was fond of apples, but he did not approve of the cultivation of the apple tree. I am willing that they should grow as crooked as they like, and lay their dark arms about Tennyson’s fields, and his white kine glimmer as they please.

I also made it one branch of my Dinks amusing business to print some of my talks with Lolly. Mr. Gill made a book for me; not the Mr. Gill whose teeth Wordsworth has given an immortal chatter to, but a Boston Gill. I thought some mothers might find a soothing syrup in the book for their Dinks boys. I know one little girl liked it so much that in reading it she fell out of bed and bumped her head dreadfully. A boy found it in a circulating library, but his mother carried it back the next day. She could see neither rhyme nor reason in it, and the boy cried, because he said he was afraid there was only one Lolly Dinks mother in the world; if there was, he was sure he could be as bad as Lolly Dinks, too.

What to do next about Lolly? Some wise person talks to me about the transition periods; meantime am I to submit to having all my moral corns trod upon, and to watch the growth of his incipient corns? So far he has had everything, from Noah’s ark to a schooner-rigged boat, from a paint box to a set of croquet. He has had all that money can buy; but I have a curious feeling that now he needs something that money cannot buy. I hope this confession will not bring down upon my weak head any dogmatic, cut-and-dried mamma. I am not at home to her. I have gone out: business calls me yonder. Perhaps my own Lolly will tell me what to do next. With all his restlessness and perversity, I see how the sense of beauty develops in his mind, and that somehow he begins to perceive the harmony of goodness; that to be selfish gives him a kind of creepy shame.

“Our Father in heaven,” he said, one day. “Where is the Mother?”

Will he see our life better, more clearly, than Mrs. Dinks, his mother, or Mr. Dinks, his father? We are waiting to learn.


LEARNING TO SWIM.


BY EDGAR FAWCETT.


HERE I am, papa,
In my new tights dressed,
Crazy for a bath,
It must be confessed.
Shall we go straight in?
Oo! the water’s cold!
Let me take your hand,
Nice and large to hold.
I’m a big boy, now,
Tall and strong of limb.
Eight years old to-day,
Yet I cannot swim!
Teach me, please, papa;
Keep my chin up ... so!
Not a bit of use—
Down I’m sure to go!
Don’t I kick out right
While my arms are spread?
O, I really think
That I’m made of lead!
Floundering here, I feel
Like so sad a dunce!
It’s as though you tried
Twenty things at once!
While you make your strokes
Regular and neat,
You must also tend
To your legs and feet!
I don’t even float
As well as some old log!
O, how can you swim
Unless you’re born a frog!

SWEETHEART’S SURPRISE.


BY MARY E. C. WYETH.


I.

Rosebud! Goldilocks! Busy Bee!
Sweetest of all sweethearts to me!
Where art thou hiding? “Tum an’ see!
Ah, those rippling child-tones,
Sweet with baby glee,
Lure my feet to lightness
When they summon me.

II.

Where away, darling? Where hast thou fled?
Shine out and show me thy sunny-ringed head.
Ho! hiding there in my white lily bed!
“Ha, ha! pitty mamma!
Finks you’se foun’ me out?
Dess you tant imazhin
What dis dirl’s about.”

III.

“Huwwy up—fas’ you tan—shut ’oo eyes,
Sweetheart’s dot such a lovely s’prise!
Peep now, twick, mamma, ’fore he flies!
Ope her waxen fingers
On a jewel rare:
Lo! a gleaming humming-bird,
Darting through the air!

IV.

“Flied yite into my hands—dess so.
Wasn’t it tunnin’ to see him go?
Wasn’t it lovely to s’prise you, though?”
Oh, thou wee, wise baby,
Early to divine,
’Tis the sweet surprise that makes
Simplest joys to shine.

THE CROSS-PATCH.


BY MRS. EMILY SHAW FARMAN.


I KNOW a little black-eyed boy, with tight curls all over his head. He is very sweet and pleasant when things go right; but he has days when everything seems to go wrong, and then he is called Cross-Patch. His other name is Frank. When these days come round, everybody wishes it was night.

Cross-Patch comes down to breakfast with a red nose and a snuffle, and drags his feet along as if they were flat-irons.

Papa hears him coming, and says, “Falling barometer, heavy showers, and, possibly, storms.” Papa says this as if he were reading the newspaper, but he is really reading Frank.

As Cross-Patch comes into the room and bangs the door, Tom, his big brother, exclaims, “Indicative mood!” and Susie, who goes to the High School, laughs and says, “Objective case, and dis-agrees with everybody in the first person singular!”

“I don’t care! I ain’t! and you shan’t laugh at me!” roars Frank.

“Croth-pash!” lisps little Lucy.

“Come here, Frank,” says mamma, very gently, “and tell mamma what is the matter.”

“Phebe got soap in my eyes, and she washed my face hard in the middle, just as if I didn’t have any nose at all, and the comb stuck in my hair every time, and hurt, and—”

“And you got out at the foot of the bed!” says provoking Tom.

“No, I didn’t. I got out at the side; and ’tisn’t fair!” cries Frank.

“No,” says papa, with a sigh, “I see it isn’t; it is very cloudy and threatening.”

Then they all laugh, and Cross-Patch gets worse and worse. He sits down at the table, and takes a baked potato; it is hot, and burns his fingers; so he pushes his plate away very hard, and upsets a glass of milk, and has to be sent up stairs. He puts an apple in his pocket, and goes off to school without any breakfast. On the way a big bad boy takes the apple away from him, just as he is going to take his first bite.

At school things are no better. The hardest word in the spelling lesson is t-h-r-o-u-g-h, through, and of course the teacher gives him that word to spell, and he sticks in the middle of it, and can’t get through.

Then comes the multiplication table, and the teacher asks him “nine times four,” and he answers, “sixty-three.” The crosswise has got into his brain, and he keeps on saying “sixty-three” till he thinks it is right; and then he is very cross when he is told to learn his lesson, and stay after school to recite it.

As he goes home he wishes he could meet the man that made the spelling book, and the other man that made the multiplication table, so that he might knock them both down, and jump on them with all his might a long time; but, as he doesn’t see them anywhere, he thinks he will play ball.

He plays that the front gate is the spelling-book man, and that the lantern post is the man that made the multiplication table, and he sends the ball, first at one, and then at the other, with great fury. At last, in a very wild throw, Cross-Patch hits the multiplication man—I mean the lantern post—on the head. The pieces come rattling down on the sidewalk, and this dreadful noise frightens away all the crossness. Frank runs into the house to his mamma, and tells her how sorry he is, and begs her to tell papa all about it, and gives her all the money in his little savings bank to pay for the broken lantern. Then mamma asks him if he is sure that Cross-Patch has gone away entirely, and he cries a great shower of tears, and says, “Yes, mamma, every inch of him!” and mamma gives Frank some supper, and puts him to bed, and tells him to pray to the good angels to drive Cross-Patch very far off, in the night, so that he can’t get back for a great many days.


THE PROUD BANTAM.


By Clara Louise Burnham.


THERE lived a Bantam rooster on a farm not far away,
So haughty and puffed up, as I have heard the neighbors say,
That from morning until evening he would strut the country round,
And crow aloud self-praises as he stepped along the ground:
“I’m Chanticleer Grandissimo, my pedigree is fine,
Oh, who can show as yellow claws or such a comb as mine?
Where some have one tail feather, I am proudly waving two,
And I have an extra doodle to my Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
The other roosters in the barn-yard talked the matter o’er,
The little upstart really was becoming quite a bore.
At last a handsome game-cock volunteered to take the case;
“It’s time,” he said, “the creature should be taught to know his place;
It goes against the grain, my friends, to whip a thing so small,
But since it’s for our peace of mind, why—duty first of all!”
And hardly had these sentiments escaped the noble bird
Than up came little Bantie with his haughty, scornful word.
The handsome game-cock’s feathers glistened golden in the light;
Loud cried the tiny rooster in his coat of snowy white,
“Just step aside and let your betters pass, I’ll thank you, sirs!”
“We’ve all a right here,” mild replied the owner of the spurs.
Oh, then the Bantam tiptoed round: “What’s that I heard you say?
I’m Chanticleer Grandissimo!”—ah! in the dust he lay.
Above him stood the game-cock like a giant in his might,
And round him all the other fowls rejoicing in his fright.
And while he still lay, giddy, with his dainty claws in air,
He was forced to hear a lecture from the other, then and there;
And, greatly to the credit of the silly little bird,
He changed his manner afterward and heeded every word.
“My name is Cock-a-doodle Small,” he meekly learned to say,
He minded his own business, nor got in others’ way.
So in our world we sometimes find Grandissimos, and all
Would do well to recall the fate of Cock-a-doodle Small.

THERE is a young man with a cane,
Whose thoughts are not fixed upon gain;
For he says, “Don’t you see,
It’s enough, just to be
Such a young man with a cane!”

THE TRUE STORY OF SIMPLE SIMON.


BY HARRIETTE R. SHATTUCK.


ONCE there was a boy named “Simple Simon.”

He wasn’t a pretty boy, for his nose turned up at every thing, and the corners of his mouth turned down, and he was always crying for something he didn’t possess. He had a tooth come once, but instead of being glad that he had something to eat with, he cried all the time till he got two more teeth; and even then he wasn’t satisfied and he had to have twenty more; such a simple boy as he was!

He had nice little white dresses, but he didn’t like them and cried for pants and a jacket; and when he got those he wasn’t contented, but wanted some pockets! Just think what an unreasonable boy! They used to put him to bed at six o’clock, but a boy down town didn’t go to bed till eight, so he cried to sit up till eight; and when they had let him do so, was he content? Oh, no! he fussed until they had to allow him to go to bed only when the rest of the folks went. Only see what a silly boy!

They always gave him bread and milk for his supper, and sometimes strawberries and jelly; but he saw that his aunt had sponge cake and his uncle warmed-up potatoes, and he thought he must have them too, so he cried into his mug and daubed his chin with jelly until they had to give him cake and potatoes too. What a greedy boy!

His father gave him a pretty boat with white sails, and a flag on top, and he used to pump the sink full of water and sail the boat in it, but once he saw a pond, and then he cried to go and sail his boat on that, and when they took him there the pond wasn’t big enough! What could they do with that boy? He had a rocking-horse at Christmas and he rode on it as much as a week without complaining, but one day he discovered that his horse wouldn’t go ahead any—only up and down—and he got mad at it and pulled out its tail, and then cried for a real horse that would kick and go. But they couldn’t keep on giving him all he wanted, this funny boy!

He used to read out of a picture-book about “Jane and John,” and “the five pond lilies,” until he found a big book in the library that had long words in it which he couldn’t understand, and he teased and teased until he got somebody to tell him all about it. What an absurd boy he was getting to be!

Once a little lady gave him a daisy to wear in his button-hole, but he pulled it in pieces instead, and they had to tell him what every part was named. His father took him to an Art Exhibition, and he saw a big picture of horses and men, but he couldn’t admire it quietly, but had to feel of it and find out how it was done; and before he would consent to go home his father was obliged to buy him a paint pot and a brush; and he spent a whole week trying to paint a horse on one of the barn doors—and what a horse! and what a boy! Well, finally he was too big to learn at home, (as he already knew more than anyone else in the house) and they sent him away to the academy where he studied, like the rest of the boys—but when he found out that there were some books that the other boys didn’t study, then he insisted on learning those lessons, and he studied Turkish and Chinese and the Wealth of Nations, this wise boy who was no longer contented with doing only what others could do!

He never played base ball or cricket, or rowed on the river; these things were too common for him—other boys might do so, but he preferred to walk in the woods and pull bugs to pieces, write letters for the newspapers and talk in debating societies. Thus he was different from other boys, and that suited him—but still he didn’t feel satisfied yet, this restless boy! and he never did get satisfied in all his life, because it was impossible for him to be, though he became rich and was sent to Congress and even ran for the Presidency, with six or eight other boys. And I suppose if he had been chosen Emperor of Russia, he would still have wanted something better, he was such an ambitious boy!

So you can see why he was called “Simple Simon.” They might have called him a more disagreeable name still if he had been a girl, and acted so.


IN THE TUNNEL OF MOUNT CENIS.


BY MRS. ALFRED MACY.


GRANDMOTHER’S CLOCK.

LEAVING Turin, the whole country is mountainous, the tributaries of the Po frequently relieving the sameness. The engine now shoots into this tunnel, now into that, either of which, from its length, the inexperienced traveller might mistake for “the grand.” When, however, the approach of the latter was near, there was no misjudging the signs. The lights overhead were newly arranged; there was a general quick-step on the top of the car; and, too late to draw back, we were, willing or unwilling, propelled into “chaos.”

Entering these depths a seriousness takes possession of one similar to that which affects a passenger for the first time crossing the Suspension Bridge at Niagara Falls. The air seems stupefying, and were it not “that the lamp holds out to burn,” you would not believe there were any oxygen in the atmosphere.

Subterranean apartments were occasionally seen at the right and left. In one instance several persons, perhaps the mountain kings, though by no means, in royal robes, appeared to be lunching. The glare of their lights was dismal. These rooms, or dens, were invariably near the lamp-posts, as though between these points life could not be endurable.

Pastime is out of the question in this Great Tunnel.

As everything seems to be rushing to destruction, reflections are a natural consequence during this ride of nearly a half hour. It takes but very few minutes to “retrospect” (any word is right in a tunnel) one’s whole life. It is surprising too, how thick and fast the short-comings present themselves, especially those of childhood. Indeed I did not get beyond the first dozen years of my youth, yet they were countless. One of these transgressions out of which in later years I had had much enjoyment on the review, came to me very significantly in the tunnel and I grew very sober over it. Now that I am safely at Modane and know that I will never take the route through the “Alpine Bore” again, I transcribe a confession of the above in the form of the

STORY OF THE CLOCK.

My real name was so short that I was called Nancy, “for long.” I was the fourth child in a very large family. The three elder were a brother and two sisters. The first, very quick at books and figures, finished his education at an early age, and seemed to me about as old and dignified as my father. My sisters, Sarah and Mary, were exemplary in school and out. The former, at eight, read Virgil; painted “Our Mother’s Grave” at eleven—’twas an imaginary grave judging from the happy children standing by; wrote rhymes for all the albums, printed verses on card-board and kept on living. Mary read every book she could find; had a prize at six years of age for digesting “Rollins’ Ancient History;” had great mathematical talent, and though she sighed in her fourteenth year that she had grown old, yet continues to add to her age, being one of the oldest professors in a flourishing college.

With such precedences, it is not strange that my parents were astonished when their fourth child developed other and less exaggerated traits, with no inclination to be moulded. Within ten months of my eighth year, my teacher, who had previously dealt with Sarah and Mary with great success, made the following remark to me: “If thou wilt learn to answer all those questions in astronomy,” passing her pencil lightly over two pages in Wilkin’s Elements, “before next seventh day, I’ll give thee two cents and a nice note to thy parents” (my father was a scientific man, and my mother a prime mover in our education).

“Two cents” did seem quite a temptation, but the lesson I concluded not to get. “I worked wiser than I knew.” I may have wanted a “two cents” many a time since, but I never was sorry about that. Spelling, arithmetic, grammar, geography, history and reading, though they were the Peter-Parley edition, seemed about enough food for a child that was hungering and thirsting for a doll like Judith Collin’s, and for capacity to outrun the neighboring boys. To be sure the recitation in concert, where the names of the asteroids, only four in number (instead of a million and four) were brought out by some of us, as “vesper,” “pallid,” “you know,” and “serious” showed that we did not confine ourselves too closely to the book.

Seventh-day afternoon was a holiday, and on one of these occasions I was sent to stay with my grandmother, as my mother and my maiden aunt (the latter lived with my grandmother) were going to Polpis to a corn-pudding party. I was too troublesome to be left at home, therefore, two birds were to be killed with one stone.

Now I had for a long time desired to be left alone with my lame and deaf grandmother and the Tall Clock, especially the Tall Clock. I went, therefore, to her old house on Plover street in a calm and lovely frame of mind and helped get my aunt ready for the ride.

’Twas a cold day though September; and after she took her seat in the flag-chair tied into the cart, I conceived the notion to add my grandmother’s best “heppy” to the wraps which they had already put into the calash. I always had wanted a chance at that camphor-trunk; and the above cloak, too nice to be worn, lay in the bottom underneath a mighty weight of neatly-folded articles of winter raiment. It came out with a “long pull” and many a “strong pull” and I got to the door with the head of it, while the whole length of this precious bright coating was dragging on the floor. But the cart had started, and when my aunt looked back, I was flourishing this “heppy” to see the wind fill it.

I returned to the room, restored the article to the chest quite snugly, leaving one corner hanging out and that I stuffed in afterwards and jumped upon the cover of the trunk so that it shut. Very demurely I sat down before the open fire by my grandmother’s easy chair, rocking furiously, watching my own face in the bright andirons, whose convex surfaces reflected first a “small Nancy” far off, then as I rocked forward, a large and distorted figure. My rapid motions made such rapid caricatures that I remained absorbed and attentive. My grandmother, not seeing the cause of my content, decided (as she told my mother afterwards), “that the child was sick, or becoming regenerated.” Happy illusion!

At last, my grandmother got to nodding and I sprang to my long-contemplated work.

Putting a cricket into one of the best rush-bottom chairs, I climbed to the Clock; took off the frame, glass and all, from its head, placing it noiselessly on the floor; opened the tall door in the body of the clock; drew out and unhung the pendulum—the striking weight, whose string was broken, was made all right and put for the time being on the table. Then the “moon and stars” which had been fixed for a quarter of a century, were made to spin; the “days of the month” refused to pass in review without a squeak that must be remedied, so I flew into the closet to get some sweet oil which was goose-grease; but shutting the closet-door I roused my grandmother.

I quietly went at the old rocking again, the bottle of goose-grease in my pocket, which I feared might melt and I should lose the material—the bottle was already low.

Fortunately my grandmother began napping again, and I resumed my task. Applying the oil with a bird’s wing was lavish process—the wheels moved easily; the hands became quite slippy; the moon “rose and set” to order; the days of the month glided thirty times a minute, and I was just using a pin to prove the material of the dial when my grandmother turned her head, at the same time reaching for her cane (the emergency had been foreseen and special care had I taken that the cane should not be forthcoming). “Nancy! Nancy! is thee crazy?”

Thinking to strengthen this idea, I jumped into the clock and held the door fast; but finally thinking ’twas cowardly not to face it I jumped out again, up into the chair, saying, “I am mending this old clock;” and notwithstanding her remonstrances, continued my work putting back the various pieces. When I was afraid of “giving out and giving up,” I decided I would just answer her back once and say “I wont.” The wickedness would certainly discourage her beyond a hope, and then I could finish.

So I put the moon on, staring full; in putting on the hands I got, I thought, sufficiently worked up to venture my prepared reply to her repeated “get down!”

I accordingly approached my grandmother, stopping some feet from her; bent my body half-over, my long red hair covering my eyes, and my head suiting its action to my earnestness, and in a decided rebellious tone, I spelled, “I W-O-N-T;” but accidently giving myself a turn on my heel I fell to the floor, with the pronunciation still unexpressed.

I quickly rose, though I saw stars without any “two cents,” and returned to, and finished my work. I had just put the last touch on when I heard the wheels. How I dreaded my aunt’s appearance! As she entered the door I was found “demurely rocking” to the pictures in the andirons.

My aunt thought I did not seem natural, and kissed me as being “too good, perhaps, to be well.” My grandmother tried to speak, but I interrupted:

“I must go home without my tea. I am not afraid of the dark, and I better go.”

This was another proof of indisposition to the aunt. I left the house, kissing as I thought, my grandmother into silence; but as I looked back I saw she could not utter a word without laughing at the aunt’s anxiety, and so had to put off the narration till after my departure.

I went home about as fast as possible; desired to go to bed immediately—never went before without being sent, and then not in a very good mood. My mother followed me with a talk of “herb tea,” and as I thought I must have some “end to the farce,” I agreed that a little might do me good. My mother consequently brought me, I do believe, a “Scripture measure” pint of bitter tea, which I hurriedly drank, as I knew my sisters had already started for my grandmother’s, to see how I had been through the afternoon. When they returned, though I heard the laughing and talking in the sitting-room below, I was, to all intents and purposes, sound asleep and snoring.

No allusion was ever made to my demeanor. I went to school as usual, and told the school-girls that I had had such a good time at my aunt’s the day before that I would never go there again “as long as I lived.”

My grandmother and aunt died long ago. For years I had no reason to believe that my afternoon’s tragedy was known to any one. But once, not long since, speaking of that clock, I said, “I’m glad it did not descend to me;” when a friend replied, with a very knowing look, “So is your grandmother!”

“THREE MICE SAT IN THE BARN TO SPIN.”


NURSERY TILES. —APRIL SHOWERS AND APRIL SUNSHINE.

A RIDE ON A CENTAUR.


BY HAMILTON W. MABIE.


SID’S mother had a way of telling him stories just before he went to bed, and Sid loved bed-time more than any other hour in the day. I couldn’t begin to tell you all he had learned in this way nor all the places he had been to. When people travel in strange countries they have to have a guide who knows the fine roads and wonderful places to be seen in that part of the world. Now Sid was a little traveller just setting out on a very long journey and it was a very fortunate thing for him that he had his mother as a guide.

When night was coming on and it was getting dark out of doors, the open wood fire was lighted in the back parlor; and then in the glow which made everything in the room look so queer, with his hand in hers, Sid’s mother took him off to other lands and even to the Moon.

One night, not long ago, as Sid sat looking into the fire with his head against his mother’s knee, she said:

“Come, Sid, let’s go to Greece and take a ride on a Centaur.”

Nothing could have pleased Sid more. He hadn’t the slightest idea what a Centaur was, but he loved to ride, and it made very little difference to him what he rode on.

Besides he was tired to-night and didn’t feel like walking; so, with his eyes half shut, and feeling very, very comfortable, Sid waited for the Centaur to take him off.

“Well,” said his mother, in a voice that was always very sweet to him; “there’s a little country in Greece called Thessaly, and it’s full of caves, and beautiful valleys as well. In one of the caves lived a Centaur named Chiron. He had the body of a horse, but instead of a horse’s neck and head he had the head and shoulders and body of a man down to the waist. He was a very old and wise Centaur and although he lived in a cave he loved the open air on the high mountains.”

How much longer Sid’s mother talked I don’t know. Although she did not notice it, Sid was gone. He had been carried off by a Centaur. While he was looking into the fire and wondering what made the coals take such queer shapes he heard a strange noise outside. It wasn’t exactly the neighing of a horse and it was not exactly the voice of a man, but it was something between the two.

“That’s very funny,” said Sid to himself; “wonder what it is!”

In a moment or two he heard it again and it sounded a great deal nearer than before. Then there was a sharp canter down the road and the clatter of hoofs past the windows. Sid’s mother did not seem to pay any attention to the noise, but she had stopped talking—at least Sid thought she had, and he got up very quietly, stepped out into the hall and went to the side door. There wasn’t any moon but the stars were shining brightly and there, going round and round the circle of grass under the apple trees, Sid saw a splendid black horse. As it came round again to the place where he stood Sid saw that it was not a horse after all, for above its forelegs it had the head and body of a man.

It was a Centaur. Sid had never seen one before and he was sure nobody in that neighborhood owned one. Where it had come from he hadn’t the slightest idea, and if it hadn’t been for the apple trees and the great, dark church beyond he would have believed he was dreaming.

The Centaur cantered around two or three trees more and then, without saying a word, as he passed Sid, stretched out his arms, caught the boy, put him on his back and was off like a racer. No boy ever had such a ride before and I don’t know that any one ever will again.

No sooner had the Centaur struck the road than he broke into a gallop and went thundering along through the night as if a thousand witches or some other horrible creatures were chasing him. His hoofs rang on the hard ground and struck sparks of fire out of the stones along the way. On and on they flew, past houses and orchards and ponds over which a white mist lay like a soft night dress. They leaped the tall gates without so much as dropping a penny for the keeper who was fast asleep in the little house, and they rushed over bridges as if there were no notices about fast driving posted up at either end. Faster and faster they flew along until fences and trees and barns were all mixed up together and Sid couldn’t tell one from the other. He thought the Centaur couldn’t go any faster, but he was mistaken, for he broke into a dead run and then such going! It took Sid’s breath away. Every thing vanished and there wasn’t any thing left in the world but himself and the Centaur and the wind that was trying its best to blow him off. There wasn’t any noise either. It was just one tremendous rush. It was like the flight of an arrow that goes straight through the air from the moment it leaves the bow till the moment it strikes the mark and there’s hardly a breath between.

How long the ride was I don’t know for Sid never could tell, but after a time the Centaur began to slacken speed, broke into a gallop, then into a gentle trot and finally stopped short. His broad flanks were steaming and he was wet from hoof to hoof, but he did not seem to mind it.

Sid had been a little frightened at first, and you must admit that it was rather alarming to be picked up and carried off like the wind by a Centaur—but he was a brave boy and soon forgot every thing but the splendid ride he was taking. As soon as the Centaur stopped he slipped down and stood on the ground.

Although it was night the air was so soft and pure and the stars shone so brightly through it that he could see it was a strange country. There were hills every where but they were green and although it was wild it looked beautiful as far as he could see.

The Centaur stretched himself on the ground and Sid saw that although his face was very queer it was quite intelligent. He seemed to be waiting to rest himself. Sid wanted very much to talk with him but he wasn’t sure that he ought to and he didn’t know exactly what to say. There was so much of the horse about the Centaur that Sid couldn’t make up his mind whether he really was a horse or a man.

The Centaur paid no attention to the boy for a long time but finally he turned to him and said:

“Well, how did you like it?”

The voice was queer, there was no doubt about that. It made him think of a horse, but the words were human. The Centaur could speak good English, there was no doubt about that either.

“It was just splendid,” Sid answered. “What made you come for me?”

“Why,” replied the Centaur, speaking slowly as if it were not easy for him to talk; “I knew you could ride and I was sent for you.”

Sid couldn’t understand why he could ride easier than any other boy. “Can’t everybody ride?” he asked in a quick way he has when he is interested in anything.

“Oh, bless you, no,” said the Centaur; “very few indeed; it all depends on your mind. Most boys wouldn’t have seen me, much less kept on my back.”

Sid thought that was very queer, but he asked no more questions about it. He didn’t feel very well acquainted yet.

“Who sent you for me?” he continued at last.

“Chiron sent me,” answered the Centaur getting on his legs, “and we must be off.”

He put Sid on his back as before and started on a gentle canter. They were on the side of a mountain with here and there olive trees and pines.

“Where are we?” asked Sid after a moment.

“Is this Thes—Thes—?”

“Yes,” said the Centaur; “it’s Thessaly.”

“Where am I going?”

“You are going to school,” replied the Centaur.

That rather surprised Sid and didn’t entirely please him. He thought he had enough of school by daylight without going at night too, but he said nothing, thinking it certainly must be a new kind of school if they had to send so far for scholars, and wondering whether his father, who was a minister, would be able to pay the bills.

The road which the Centaur took led them around the mountain and presently they came out into a little level space in the side of the mountain and in front of a cave. In the middle of this grassy place a Centaur was lying on his side, and around him were ten or more young men stretched full length on the ground and leaning on their elbows, in a half circle.

Sid slid down to the ground and slipped into the little group without being noticed. The Centaur in the middle was very old, so old that he looked as if he had been alive for centuries; and he had a very wise and beautiful face.

The young men were the most splendid fellows Sid had ever seen. They had beautiful forms and noble heads and fine, bright faces, and they had magnificent arms and chests. They looked like heroes, and I think most of them were.

This was the school and a very queer school it certainly was. Sid was eight years old and went to a Kindergarten where he had books and blocks and all kinds of things and here they hadn’t so much as a scrap of paper. He was inclined to think it must be a poor affair, but he thought he would wait until he had heard some of the recitations before he made up his mind. That was the queerest thing of all—there weren’t any recitations. No books, no desks, no black-boards, no recitations! well, it certainly was a funny school. There wasn’t even a roll called. If there had been Sid would have heard some strange names. That great splendid fellow at the end of the line, with his curly hair all in confusion about his noble head, was called Hercules, and the next was Achilles and the next Theseus and then came Castor and Pollux, and Ulysses and Meleager and Æsculapius and others whose names I have forgotten.

While Sid was thinking about these things the old Centaur began to talk. His voice was very low and very sweet and somehow it made Sid feel that the teacher had seen everything there was to be seen in the world and knew everything there was to be known. School was evidently going to begin.

“I have told you,” said the Centaur, very slowly, “about the Gods and the old times when the world was young. I have told of heroes and of the great things they did. I have taught you music which the Gods love, and medicine which is useful for men. I have told you how to be strong and high-minded and noble. I have taught you to be brave and true that you may do great things for yourself and the world. By day I have made your bodies firm and sinewy, and at night I made you think of the Gods who live beyond the stars. What shall I tell you now?”

Nobody spoke for a minute and then Ulysses, who had a very wise face for one so young, said: “Tell us of yourself, oh, Chiron.”

This seemed to please everybody and all the scholars repeated the words:

“Tell us of yourself, oh, Chiron.”

“The Centaurs,” began Chiron after a little while, “were born long before men came into the world. It was a rough place then and needed somebody stronger than men to live in it. So the Gods made us with the strength and swiftness of the animals and yet with some of the thoughts and feelings of men. And we lived in caves and ran through the valleys, and leaped across the rushing streams and climbed the mountains. And we learned many things about the world and made it easier for men when they came. I think we were sent to do what animals couldn’t do and that now you are come and grown strong to conquer even the animals, our work is done and we must soon die.”

Just then a little bell rang. At first Sid thought school must be out, but the bell sounded very familiar to him. In fact it was the cuckoo clock in the front parlor striking nine.

“Bless me, Sid,” said his mother; “you ought to have been in bed an hour ago.”


Lill’s Travels in Santa Claus Land.
BY ELLIS TOWNE.

EFFIE had been playing with her dolls one cold December morning, and Lill had been reading, until both were tired. But it stormed too hard to go out, and, as Mrs. Pelerine had said they need not do anything for two hours, their little jaws might have been dislocated by yawning before they would as much as pick up a pin. Presently Lill said, “Effie, shall I tell you a story.”

“O yes! do!” said Effie, and she climbed up by Lill in the large rocking-chair in front of the grate. She kept very still, for she knew Lill’s stories were not to be interrupted by a sound, or even a motion. The first thing Lill did was to fix her eyes on the fire, and rock backward and forward quite hard for a little while, and then she said, “Now I am going to tell you about my thought travels, and they are apt to be a little queerer, but O! ever so much nicer, than the other kind!”

As Lill’s stories usually had a formal introduction she began: “Once upon a time, when I was taking a walk through the great field beyond the orchard, I went way on, ’round where the path turns behind the hill. And after I had walked a little way, I came to a high wall—built right up into the sky. At first I thought I had discovered the ‘ends of the earth,’ or perhaps I had somehow come to the great wall of China. But after walking a long way I came to a large gate, and over it was printed in beautiful gold letters, ‘Santa Claus Land,’ and the letters were large enough for a baby to read!”

How large that might be Lill did not stop to explain.

“But the gate was shut tight,” she continued, “and though I knocked and knocked and knocked, as hard as I could, nobody came to open it. I was dreadfully disappointed, because I felt as if Santa Claus must live here all of the year except when he went out to pay Christmas visits, and it would be so lovely to see him in his own home, you know. But what was I to do? The gate was entirely too high to climb over, and there wasn’t even a crack to peek through!”

Little barefoot children ran off with them.

Here Lill paused, and Effie drew a long breath, and looked greatly disappointed. Then Lill went on:

“But you see, as I was poking about, I pressed a bell-spring, and in a moment—jingle, jingle, jingle, the bells went ringing far and near, with such a merry sound as was never heard before. While they were still ringing the gate slowly opened and I walked in. I didn’t even stop to inquire if Santa Claus was at home, for I forgot all about myself and my manners, it was so lovely. First there was a small paved square like a court; it was surrounded by rows and rows of dark green trees, with several avenues opening between them.

“In the centre of the court was a beautiful marble fountain, with streams of sugar plums and bon-bons tumbling out of it. Funny-looking little men were filling cornucopias at the fountain, and pretty little barefoot children, with chubby hands and dimpled shoulders, took them as soon as they were filled, and ran off with them. They were all too much occupied to speak to me, but as I came up to the fountain one of the funny little fellows gave me a cornucopia, and I marched on with the babies.

“We went down one of the avenues, which would have been very dark only it was splendidly lighted up with Christmas candles. I saw the babies were slyly eating a candy or two, so I tasted mine, and they were delicious—the real Christmas kind. After we had gone a little way, the trees were smaller and not so close together, and here there were other funny little fellows who were climbing up on ladders and tying toys and bon-bons to the trees. The children stopped and delivered their packages, but I walked on, for there was something in the distance that I was curious to see. I could see that it was a large garden, that looked as if it might be well cared for, and had many things growing in it. But even in the distance it didn’t look natural, and when I reached it I found it was a very uncommon kind of a garden indeed. I could scarcely believe my eyes, but there were dolls and donkeys and drays and cars and croquet coming up in long, straight rows, and ever so many other things beside. In one place the wooden dolls had only just started; their funny little heads were just above ground, and I thought they looked very much surprised at their surroundings. Farther on were china dolls, that looked quite grown up, and I suppose were ready to pull; and a gardener was hoeing a row of soldiers that didn’t look in a very healthy condition, or as if they had done very well.

“The gardener looked familiar, I thought, and as I approached him he stopped work and, leaning on his hoe he said, ‘How do you do, Lilian? I am very glad to see you.’

“The moment he raised his face I knew it was Santa Claus, for he looked exactly like the portrait we have of him. You can easily believe I was glad then! I ran and put both of my hands in his, fairly shouting that I was so glad to find him.

“He laughed and said:

“‘Why, I am generally to be found here or hereabouts, for I work in the grounds every day.’

“And I laughed too, because his laugh sounded so funny; like the brook going over stones, and the wind up in the trees. Two or three times, when I thought he had done he would burst out again, laughing the vowels in this way: ‘Ha, ha, ha, ha! He, he, he, he, he! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi! Ho, ho, ho, h-o-oo!’”

Lill did it very well, and Effie laughed till the tears came to her eyes; and she could quite believe Lill when she said, “It grew to be so funny that I couldn’t stand, but fell over into one of the little chairs that were growing in a bed just beyond the soldiers.

“When Santa Claus saw that he stopped suddenly, saying:

“‘There, that will do. I take a hearty laugh every day, for the sake of digestion.’

“Then he added, in a whisper, ‘That is the reason I live so long and don’t grow old. I’ve been the same age ever since the chroniclers began to take notes, and those who are best able to judge think I’ll continue to be this way for about one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six years longer,—they probably took a new observation at the Centennial, and they know exactly.’

“I was greatly delighted to hear this, and I told him so. He nodded and winked and said it was ‘all right,’ and then asked if I’d like to see the place. I said I would, so he threw down the hoe with a sigh, saying, ‘I don’t believe I shall have more than half a crop of soldiers this season. They came up well, but the arms and legs seem to be weak. When I get to town I’ll have to send out some girls with glue pots, to stick them fast.’

“The town was at some distance, and our path took us by flower-beds where some exquisite little toys were growing, and a hot-bed where new varieties were being prop—propagated. Pretty soon we came to a plantation of young trees, with rattles, and rubber balls, and ivory rings growing on the branches, and as we went past they rang and bounded about in the merriest sort of a way.

“‘There’s a nice growth,’ said Santa Claus, and it was a nice growth for babies; but just beyond I saw something so perfectly splendid that I didn’t care about the plantation.”

“Well,” said Lill impressively, seeing that Effie was sufficiently expectant, “it was a lovely grove. The trees were large, with long drooping branches, and the branches were just loaded with dolls’ clothes. There were elegant silk dresses, with lovely sashes of every color—”

Just here Effie couldn’t help saying “O!” for she had a weakness for sashes. Lill looked stern, and put a warning hand over her mouth, and went on.

“There was everything that the most fashionable doll could want, growing in the greatest profusion. Some of the clothes had fallen, and there were funny-looking girls picking them up, and packing them in trunks and boxes. ‘These are all ripe,’ said Santa Claus, stopping to shake a tree, and the clothes came tumbling down so fast that the workers were busier than ever. The grove was on a hill, so that we had a beautiful view of the country. First there was a park filled with reindeer, and beyond that was the town, and at one side a large farm-yard filled with animals of all sorts.”

Santa Claus fed them with lumps of sugar.

“But as Santa Claus seemed in a hurry I did not stop long to look. Our path led through the park, and we stopped to call ‘Prancer’ and ‘Dancer’ and ‘Donder’ and ‘Blitzen,’ and Santa Claus fed them with lumps of sugar from his pocket. He pointed out ‘Comet’ and ‘Cupid’ in a distant part of the park; ‘Dasher’ and ‘Vixen’ were nowhere to be seen.

“Here I found most of the houses were Swiss cottages, but there were some fine churches and public buildings, all of beautifully illustrated building blocks, and we stopped for a moment at a long depot, in which a locomotive was just smashing up.

“Santa Claus’ house stood in the middle of the town. It was an old-fashioned looking house, very broad and low, with an enormous chimney. There was a wide step in front of the door, shaded by a fig-tree and grape-vine, and morning-glories and scarlet beans clambered by the side of the latticed windows; and there were great round rose-bushes, with great, round roses, on either side of the walk leading to the door.”

“O! it must have smelled like a party,” said Effie, and then subsided, as she remembered that she was interrupting.

“Inside, the house was just cozy and comfortable, a real grandfatherly sort of a place. A big chair was drawn up in front of the window, and a big book was open on a table in front of the chair. A great pack half made up was on the floor, and Santa Claus stopped to add a few things from his pocket. Then he went to the kitchen, and brought me a lunch of milk and strawberries and cookies, for he said I must be tired after my long walk.

“After I had rested a little while, he said if I liked I might go with him to the observatory. But just as we were starting a funny little fellow stopped at the door with a wheelbarrow full of boxes of dishes. After Santa Claus had taken the boxes out and put them in the pack he said slowly,—

“‘Let me see!’

“He laid his finger beside his nose as he said it, and looked at me attentively, as if I were a sum in addition, and he was adding me up. I guess I must have come out right, for he looked satisfied, and said I’d better go to the mine first, and then join him in the observatory. Now I am afraid he was not exactly polite not to go with me himself,” added Lill, gravely, “but then he apologized by saying he had some work to do. So I followed the little fellow with the wheelbarrow, and we soon came to what looked like the entrance of a cave, but I suppose it was the mine. I followed my guide to the interior without stopping to look at the boxes and piles of dishes outside. Here I found other funny little people, busily at work with picks and shovels, taking out wooden dishes from the bottom of the cave, and china and glass from the top and sides, for the dishes hung down just like stalactites in Mammoth Cave.”

Here Lill opened the book she had been reading, and showed Effie a picture of the stalactites.

“It was so curious and so pretty that I should have remained longer,” said Lill, “only I remembered the observatory and Santa Claus.

“When I went outside I heard his voice calling out, ‘Lilian! Lilian!’ It sounded a great way off, and yet somehow it seemed to fill the air just as the wind does. I only had to look for a moment, for very near by was a high tower. I wonder I did not see it before; but in these queer countries you are sure to see something new every time you look about. Santa Claus was standing up at a window near the top, and I ran to the entrance and commenced climbing the stairs. It was a long journey, and I was quite out of breath when I came to the end of it. But here there was such a cozy, luxurious little room, full of stuffed chairs and lounges, bird cages and flowers in the windows, and pictures on the wall, that it was delightful to rest. There was a lady sitting by a golden desk, writing in a large book, and Santa Claus was looking through a great telescope, and every once in a while he stopped and put his ear to a large speaking-tube. While I was resting he went on with his observations.”

“Presently he said to the lady, ‘Put down a good mark for Sarah Buttermilk. I see she is trying to conquer her quick temper.’

“‘Two bad ones for Isaac Clappertongue; he’ll drive his mother to the insane asylum yet.’

“‘Bad ones all around for the Crossley children,—they quarrel too much.’

“‘A good one for Harry and Alice Pleasure, they are quick to mind.’

“‘And give Ruth Olive ten, for she is a peace-maker’”

Just then he happened to look at me and saw I was rested, so he politely asked what I thought of the country. I said it was magnificent. He said he was sorry I didn’t stop in the green-house, where he had wax dolls and other delicate things growing. I was very sorry about that, and then I said I thought he must be very happy to own so many delightful things.

“‘Of course I’m happy,’ said Santa Claus, and then he sighed. ‘But it is an awful responsibility to reward so many children according to their deserts. For I take these observations every day, and I know who is good and who is bad.’

“I was glad he told me about this, and now, if he would only tell me what time of day he took the observations, I would have obtained really valuable information. So I stood up and made my best courtesy and said,—

“‘Please, sir, would you tell me what time of day you usually look?’

“‘O,’ he answered, carelessly, ‘any time from seven in the morning till ten at night. I am not a bit particular about time. I often go without my own meals in order to make a record of table manners. For instance: last evening I saw you turn your spoon over in your mouth, and that’s very unmannerly for a girl nearly fourteen.’

“‘O, I didn’t know you were looking,’ said I, very much ashamed; ‘and I’ll never do it again,’ I promised.

“Then he said I might look through the telescope, and I looked right down into our house. There was mother very busy and very tired, and all of the children teasing. It was queer, for I was there, too, and the bad-est of any. Pretty soon I ran to a quiet corner with a book, and in a few minutes mamma had to leave her work and call, ‘Lilian, Lilian, it’s time for you to practise.’

“‘Yes, mamma,’ I answered, ‘I’ll come right away.’

“As soon as I said this Santa Claus whistled for ‘Comet’ and ‘Cupid,’ and they came tearing up the tower. He put me in a tiny sleigh, and away we went, over great snow-banks of clouds, and before I had time to think I was landed in the big chair, and mamma was calling ‘Lilian, Lilian, it’s time for you to practise,’ just as she is doing now, and I must go.”

So Lill answered, “Yes, mamma,” and ran to the piano.

Effie sank back in the chair to think. She wished Lill had found out how many black marks she had, and whether that lady was Mrs. Santa Claus—and had, in fact, obtained more accurate information about many things.

But when she asked about some of them afterwards, Lill said she didn’t know, for the next time she had traveled in that direction she found Santa Claus Land had moved.

GRANDMA AND TODDLEKINS.


BOB’S “BREAKING IN.”


BY ELEANOR PUTNAM.


“WHY don’t you write a story, Tom?” said Jim.

“Can’t,” said I; “never did such a thing in my life.”

You see the beginning of it all was Jim’s coming home for a three months’ leave. Jim’s in the navy and just home from Japan. So he came to see us, and so I broke my leg. When we came home from school we had planned no end of larks for the vacation, what with the Christmas tree and sleighing and skating and coasting, and making candy over to Aunt Lewes’, and going into Boston to Pinafore and having Charlotte-russe at Parker’s, and all the rest.

So the first thing I did the very night after we got home, was to fall through a bad place in the stable floor and break my leg, and Will said it was lucky it wasn’t one of the horses. Of course that finished my fun, for I could not go anywhere with the rest, but just had to lie there with my leg in splints; and though of course I had my presents just the same, I was mad all the vacation.

It wasn’t any great fun, you’d better believe, to lie on a lounge and stick in the house and see Will going everywhere and having no end of jolly times every day.

Then when the Saturday came for him to go back to Dr. Thomas’s and leave me behind, and I thought of seeing all the fellows and hearing what they had for presents and all that, I concluded that if I’d been well I’d have been glad for once in my life even to go back to school. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough done for me either, for mother and Jennie, the cook, almost cured me of ever liking cream cakes and jam again, by the heaps of it they gave me. Nell made me more neckties than I can wear in ten years, and played backgammon by the hour. Father brought me a new book from the city nearly every night, and Jim told me more stories—“yarns” he called them—and he and I made the most complete man-of-war that ever was seen in these parts. So you can see that I was not neglected, but I tell you there’s nothing like being well and having two whole legs to stand on. I’d got pretty tired of reading and jig-sawing and painting, and one afternoon I’d been telling them about the time we broke Bob Richards in at school, and says Jim:

“Tom, old fellow,” says he, “why don’t you write a story. Write it all out, and send it to Wide Awake; you never know what you can do till you try,” says he.

I thought I couldn’t at first, but the next day Jim had to drive over to Medford, and Nell had to go too to match mother’s gray dress and get some red ribbons for the dog. They both went off, and mother had a caller down stairs, so I was left all alone, and that’s how I came to write about it anyway.

You see our fellows have always had a fashion of giving the new boys a “breaking in.” The thing began by just doubling up the bed clothes, or sewing up the fellow’s sleeves, and then they got to ducking them and scaring them with ghosts, and when at last they pumped on little Fred Harris and frightened him into brain fever, Dr. Thomas forbade anything more of the sort.

Now when Dr. Thomas says anything he has a way of meaning it, so we fellows were surprised enough when one day Jeff Ryder came into the gym where we were having a circus, and said: “I tell you what let’s do! Let’s give Bob Richards a regular breaking in!”

“Yes I would, Jeff,” said Harry Thorndike, in the odd, quiet way he had with him. Harry Thorndike was our head boy, and entered Harvard last summer. “Yes, I would,” says he, “and get sent home for a month; it would be no end of fun. I would.”

Of course we boys all looked at Jeff when Harry spoke in that way, to see if he didn’t feel cheap, but he didn’t, a bit.

“I’ll take all the blame,” says he, “and I’ll risk being sent home.”

So then he told us all about his plan, and we thought it was a jolly good one too.

Bob Richards was a new fellow; only been there four weeks; and when he first came we thought he was a regular moon-calf. He was rather small of his age and had a kind of pinched, half-starved look, as if he’d never had a good square meal from soup clear through to pudding in his life. He was homesick and lonesome too, and we got into the way of calling him “baby” and “sissy,” but he never seemed to mind a bit, but would always help a fellow with his lessons just the same, and was first-class in any game.

One day Ralph Bixby, the bully of the school, said something about Richard’s mother, and I just wish you could have seen that little fellow fire up.

“You say what you like about me,” says he, “but don’t you say anything about my mother; it won’t be best for you, Bixby.”

“Do you want to fight?” says Bixby, bristling up like a turkey cock.

“It is not fighting I am after,” says Richards, very quietly, “but I can fight if there is need of it.”

But Bixby said he wouldn’t fight with an underclass man, and then went off and told Dr. Thomas that little Richards had been offering to fight. We all liked little Richards, for he was clear grit right through and no mistake. So when Jeff told us his plan we all agreed to it and there weren’t more than half a dozen of us fellows that knew about it, and we didn’t have to go and tell everyone about it either, as girls would.

BOB IS CALLED UPON TO MEET HIS DOOM.

At last the term was ended, and we were going home next day; that is, all we fellows who had any homes to go to, or any invitations to visit. But Bob Richards, he didn’t have any place to go because his mother was poor and lived way down in Machias, and it was too far away. So most boys would have been ugly about it and envious of the other boys, but Richards wasn’t a bit. Will and I were though, one winter when all our people were away in Germany, and we had to stay at the school or else go to Aunt Jocelyn’s. We don’t like very well to go to Aunt Jocelyn’s, for she always has cold meat and rice pudding without any plums, and says that she likes to see boys sober and useful. She gave Will and me dictionaries for Christmas presents. So we’d rather go most anywhere than to Aunt Jocelyn’s. But we were mad though to think we had to stay at the school, and Will told one of the fellows that he’d punch him if he didn’t stop looking so glad.

Little Richards you would have thought was going himself, he looked so glad and happy, and rushed about up and down stairs into all the rooms, helping the fellows pack and cord their trunks, strap up their valises, and directing cards for their boxes, and you’d have thought he was going himself sure enough.

“Don’t you wish you were going home, Richards?” said Ned Smith. He is one of those fellows who are always saying things they ought not to, though not meaning to be hateful. He’d do no end of things for a fellow who was sick, and then like as not tell him something that would make him sicker than ever. So he couldn’t think of anything better to say than to ask little Richards if he didn’t wish he was going home.

“Why, yes,” said Bob, in the bright, quick way he had with him; “why, yes, of course I wish I was going home, but if I can’t I can’t, so there’s an end to it. Besides I’m going home next summer; it’ll only be twenty-five weeks.”

Just to think of his speaking of it in that chipper way, as if he’d said twenty-five minutes instead of weeks.

The packing was all done after a while, and we were ready for an early start next morning. We had eaten our last supper, beef-steak and fried potatoes—we always have a sort of extra good supper the last night of the term. Then after supper we had a good time in Mrs. Thomas’ own room, with her two babies and her cousin who played the piano for us, and by ten o’clock we were all in our rooms and the house got still.

It was eleven o’clock when we heard three mews and a scratch like a cat, which was Jeff Ryder’s signal; he could have opened the door and come in just as well, but he was always very fond of giving all kinds of signs.

We opened the door and there were Hal Thorndike and the two Everett boys and Jeff. Will and I had a room alone. We came out and joined them and went up stairs trying to keep still, though Will would giggle, and he and Jeff had a scuffle on the landing about which should go in and get Bob out of bed.

At last Harry Thorndike settled it by telling them both to go. They had masks that Jeff and I made of black cloth with holes cut through for the eyes and mouth.

So they went in and waked up Bob, and said in a horrid, scarey sort of way, “Unhappy mortal! prepare to suffer your doom! Arise and proceed to the hall of judgment!”

He wasn’t more than half awake, but he was clear pluck, and he came out shivering with cold and with a blanket round his shoulders.

The boys had blindfolded him, and they led him round and round till he was pretty well mixed up, and then they took him to the Hall of Judgment, which was Harry Thorndike’s room.

The two younger boys staid with him while we older ones fell to work like beavers in Bob’s room.

We had a hard time though you’d better believe, trying to keep quiet, for the fellows would forget every now and then and speak or laugh out loud. We had Archibald, the school janitor, up to help us, and we made quick work of what we had to do I can tell you.

To begin with, his room was just the forlornest place that ever you saw, and no mistake! We furnish our own rooms at Dr. Thomas’, and we always try to fix them up rather gorgeous. Our mothers and sisters are always sending us gimcracks to make our dens kind of gay. Then if fellows happen to have any girl friends you know, they are always sending them tidies and such trash for philopene presents, and though we don’t much care to have the things round under feet, somehow if one fellow has them, all the rest wants them too.

But I just wish you could have seen little Richards’ room! the barest, coldest place! There was no carpet, only a common sort of rug before the little old stove, that was so wheezy and full of cracks that it would not do much but smoke anyway. There was a bedstead, and his study table with his books on it. There was a picture of his mother, and one of his sister—rather pretty she was too, with smiling eyes like Richards’, and soft hair in little rings about her forehead and face. Thorndike said that she would be very pretty when she was older—say seventeen. Mrs. Thomas’ cousin is sixteen and a half. Bob had put a little wreath of some kind round the two pictures. There was a plant too on the table. He brought it in his hand all the way from Machias, with a brown paper bag over the top of it, and now it was just ready to bloom.

The first thing we did was to bring in a big warm carpet all made and fitted to the room, and we spread it down, but didn’t nail it because of the noise and because we thought he’d like to do it himself. Then we covered the old table and mantle with jolly, bright cloths. We never could have picked them out in the world if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Thomas’ cousin, the one who played on the piano for us. She is rather nice for a girl, and sometimes wears little gold horse-shoes in her ears. Jeff Ryder is going to marry her when he is twenty-one, but nobody knows it yet, not even she. Jeff only told me one night when I had a sore throat and he slept with me. So she helped us pick out the things, and gave us a tidy, and a pin-cushion the size of a bean bag. Then we moved in a first-class stove, and Archibald set her up and built a rouser of a fire in her. We put a pair of new blankets on the bed, and Jeff Ryder brought out a student’s lamp—one of the double headers; the two Belknap boys—that means Will and me—gave a big easy chair to go beside the table; then the Everett boys gave a set of book shelves; and Dr. Thomas gave a box of books, as many as a dozen I should think. We left these in the box, for Will and I always think that half the fun of having presents is opening the bundles ourselves. Harry Thorndike gave the stove and a little clock from his own room. We put the pin-cushion on the bureau, and the tidy on the chair, and while we were standing there looking at it all, there came the very softest kind of a step outside and there was the Doctor’s wife. She had a picture in her arms, one that I had seen a good many times in her own sitting-room. It was quite a large picture of a woman with a sort of hood on her hair and a baby in her arms; both the woman and the baby had a kind of shiny hoop just above their heads in the air, looking as if in a minute they’d drop down and make crowns. Will told me once that he thought it was a picture of Mrs. Thomas and the baby, but I think not, though there was the same kind of look too on both their faces.

“Hang this up, boys,” she said; “he is very fond of it, and I have had it for a good many years. I’ve babies of my own now to look at, so we will give this to Bob. Let us hang it over the mantle-piece.”

There is something rather queer about the Doctor’s wife. It isn’t that she isn’t pretty, for she is; and it isn’t that she is odd or old, for she is younger a good deal than the Doctor, and as kind and jolly as a girl; but there is something queer about her, for I don’t know how many fellows have said she seemed just like their mothers; and what I want to know is how in creation can she look and seem like the mothers of so many boys—dark and light, and homely and handsome, English, German, American, and even one colored fellow said she made him think of his “mammy.” I think it must be a kind of motherish way which she has, that makes us all feel so about her.

She gave the picture to Hal Thorndike and he hung it up, and I tell you the room did look just immense.

Then we went down stairs and brought Bob up again, and sat him down in his new chair, and told him not to take off his blinder till he’d counted three hundred, and then we all ran down into Will’s and my room to wait and see what he would do. We rather expected to hear him shout, or tear round, or do something or other; but we counted three hundred two or three times over, and not a sound came from his room.

By and by Jeff said he was going up to see what the row was—which was only his way of speaking; for you couldn’t call it a row, could you, when there wasn’t a sound to be heard!

Jeff didn’t come back, and then Will said he’d go and see where Jeff was, so Hal said it was like Clever Alice and her cheeses that she sent rolling down hill after each other; but at last the two boys came back, not grinning at all, but solemn and long-faced enough.

“I guess he’s mad,” said Jeff; “anyhow he can’t be glad, for he’s howling!” which was another of Jeff’s ways of speaking; for Bob certainly was not howling.

“I don’t see what he wants to act that way for,” said Will. “I bet I wouldn’t if I had so many things given to me at once!”

“You can’t always tell,” said Hal. “It isn’t always a sign a fellow is mad if he howls. I howled like a good one when my father came home from sea, when I was a little fellow, a good many years ago.”

“Let’s go up and see what’s the matter with him,” said I.

“Let’s go to bed!” said Harry. “Don’t one of you young rats go near his room to-night, or I’ll report you to the Doctor!”

We all laughed, for of course we knew he’d never report us; he isn’t that kind; but we minded what Hal said all the same, as everybody has a way of doing, and we didn’t hear a sound more till morning, and the gong waked us up.

And then there was Archibald at the door to help with the trunks and boxes, and the lamps were lighted in the dining-room, and there were fritters and syrup for breakfast, but they were too hot to eat. Then there was Jeff Ryder with a present for the Doctor’s wife’s cousin—some candy in a jolly, silver box, lined with blue silk (Jeff will spend all his quarter’s money on one thing), and there in a dark corner of the stairs was the cousin herself, with a little pink sack on, crying about something, and Harry Thorndike was leaning on the balusters saying, as I came along, “Why Anette, child, it’s only for two weeks anyhow! Come, don’t send me off this way; can’t you wish me a merry Christmas?”

Then they shouted that the big sleigh was ready, and I thought we were going to get off without having to see Bob at all.

So I rushed out through the hall and down the slippery steps, but there was Bob before me, very white in the face, and with his eyes looking more than ever like his sister’s.

I tell you we fellows felt awful cheap; a sight cheaper than Bob did himself. Jeff Ryder whispered to me that he was going to bolt, but it was no go. Bob stepped right in front of us.

HURRAH FOR HOME AND CHRISTMAS!

“Boys,” said he; “boys, you must let me—if I only could tell you—if you only knew—” and just then Hal Thorndike came along (the cousin had run away up-stairs) and set things right as he has a way of doing.

“All right, youngster,” he said; “we know just what you want to say—no one who looked at you could accuse you of being ungrateful. Let up now, old fellow, don’t say a word more, but go up to my room and see if I left my watch-key on the bureau.”

Bob ran off, and Harry said, “now cut for it, fellows!” says he; “hip, vamoose, get, pile into the sleigh, or he’ll be back again, thanking you worse than ever!”

So in we jumped, the whip cracked, the bells jingled, and we gave three cheers for the Doctor, and three more for his wife, and then we dashed away.

Of course, little Richards wrote to us, but a letter isn’t half so bad as to have a fellow brace right up and thank you before your face and eyes. So we got out of it pretty well after all, didn’t we?

And this is all there is about “Bob’s ‘Breaking In,’” and not much of a story either to write all out and send to a magazine. But you see Jim told me to, and it was lonesome with Jim and Nell and mother gone, and only the cat for company the whole afternoon.


LITTLE John Locke
Says kittie can talk;
And this, my dears, is exactly how:
John said, “Kittie mine,
Say, when will you dine?”
And kittie looked up and said, “Neow-w.”

THE FIRST HUNT


BY J. H. WOODBURY.


EPHRAIM BARTLETT’S first hunting adventure was of such a serio-comic nature that it seems really worth relating.

Ephraim’s father was a “selectman.” He had also been a captain of militia in his younger days, and therefore it happened that in speaking of him everybody called him “The Captain.” He bore his honors meekly, was a well-to-do farmer, and very much respected.

It was town-meeting day—early in November,—when, of course the captain had to go to the polls to look after the voting, and help count the votes. It was delightful Indian-summer weather, too; one of the last of those soft hazy days in the late autumn, when there is such a quiet beauty over the earth that it seems of heaven itself. When even the winds forget to blow; and it seems, at times, as if all nature were asleep. Then can be heard, in the edge of the distant forest, the tapping of woodpeckers, the barking of squirrels, and the hoarse cries of blue-jays, so distinctly does every slight sound reach you through the still atmosphere. It was on such a day that the captain and his hired man went to town-meeting, leaving Ephraim “the only man on the farm.”

Now Ephraim had been all the fall longing for a hunt; but his father had not time to go hunting with him, and he thought Ephraim too young to go alone. His father had no objection to his going alone, if he would only go without a gun; but Ephraim could not see the use of hunting without a gun. He longed to get into the woods with his father’s old training gun, all alone. This old piece was rather heavy for sporting purposes; but it was always kept in perfect order, standing in a corner of the captain’s bed-room, behind his desk.

So, after his father was gone, and while his mother was busied about the house, the temptation to take that gun was more than Ephraim could withstand. Watching his opportunity, he first secured the powder-horn and shot-pouch out of the drawer where they were kept, and then he took the musket, and bore it stealthily away behind the barn. He felt in a hurry, and as if he were not doing quite right, and was not quite easy in his mind, even after he had got the gun out of sight. He half resolved to carry it back at once, but finally concluded that he could return it just as well after he had had his hunt, and went to work to load it.

Ephraim was not quite sure how the gun should be loaded; but the powder seemed the most essential thing, so he put a handful of that in first. Then, without any wad between, as there should have been, he put in a handful of shot; and they were large enough, he thought, to kill almost anything. He put a very big wad on top of these, and rammed it hard down with the iron ramrod. It was a flint-lock piece, and he knew that powder would be needed in the pan; so he opened it to put some in. But the pan was already filled; for in ramming down the charge the piece had primed itself.

It was all right, Ephraim felt sure, and, keeping the barn between him and the house, he went towards the wood.

It was a lonely old wood. I often went through it myself when I was a boy, and I know all about it. In the brightest day it would be dark and gloomy under some of those great, wide-spreading, low-branched hemlocks. There were all kinds of wood there that are found in a New England forest; beech, birch, maple, oak, pine, hemlock and chestnut; and partridges, squirrels, rabbits, owls,—in fact, all sorts of small game made it their home.

With the gun on his shoulder Ephraim entered the woods and went trudging straight into it, as if all the game worth shooting were in the middle of it. He could hear the squirrels and blue-jays in the high branches overhead; but it was his first hunt, and he was resolved to have something bigger.

His progress was suddenly arrested, however, by the appearance of a very sedate-looking bird, as large as a good-sized fowl, with a thick muffler of feathers around its throat and shoulders, that sat perched on a dead limb before him. The bird was facing him, and when he stopped it stretched its neck downward, and turned its head to one side as if to listen or observe his movements. Ephraim wondered why it did not fly away, but presently it occurred to him that it was an owl, and could not see him.

“Ah!” thought he, “you are just the fellow I’m looking for! Now just stay where you are a minute, and I’ll fix you!”

He had to find a rest before he could hold his gun steady, and then he was sure to take good aim. But he had to draw so hard on the trigger that he closed his eyes, just as the gun went off; and when he opened them again he was looking another way.

The action of his piece seemed unaccountable. It had started backward so suddenly as to throw him over, and there was a pain in his shoulder as if it had been hit. But he was sure he had killed the owl, and, looking for it, he was again surprised to see it sailing noiselessly away. It seemed in no great haste, and evidently had not started without due reflection. It stopped, before going out of sight, and remained perched on another dry limb, as if waiting for Ephraim to come and shoot it again.

Without reflecting at all as to whether he would be any better off after shooting that owl, or whether it had not just as good a right to live as he, Ephraim sprang up, seeing that there was a chance for another shot, and made all haste to reload his piece.

He put the powder and shot in without any wad between, as before—though not quite so much as at first,—for he thought he had loaded a little too heavy. There was a pain in his shoulder yet, and he did not care to be hit that way again. He rammed the charge down in a great hurry, looked in the pan to see if the priming was all right, and then went softly towards the owl.

When Ephraim got near the owl turned his head first to one side and then to the other, as if he suspected there was a boy in the woods, somewhere; but he did not fly, and, nervous with haste, Ephraim found another rest, and again took good aim.

Strange to say that gun hit him again. He even rolled upon the ground, feeling as if he had got a double allowance of pain. Just as soon as he could think at all, he decided that he wouldn’t fire that gun again. Of course he had killed the owl (a very reasonable supposition, considering how hard the gun had hit him), and he guessed he wouldn’t hunt any more that time.

But when he looked for the owl he didn’t see him anywhere. Could it be that there hadn’t been any owl there? An optical illusion, he might have thought, had he ever heard of such a thing. At any rate there was no owl there. But he noticed something sticking in the limb where he thought the owl had been—and he kept his eyes on it for some time. It looked like the ramrod that belonged to his gun; but how in the world could that be?

He looked at his gun, which was lying on the soft bed of leaves where it had fallen, and then he felt sure it was the ramrod, for it was gone. But how in the world?—He couldn’t understand it—till he happened to think that perhaps he didn’t take the ramrod out after loading.

“Ah! that’s it!” thought he. “But what am I going to do? It’s away up there and I can’t get it!” and then Ephraim began to wish he had left the gun at home. The pain in his shoulder didn’t trouble him much then; his trouble was mostly in his mind, concerning his father and that ramrod. How he could reconcile one to the loss of the other was more than he could tell.

It was a very large tree, without a foot-hold or a finger-hold for a long way up, and the ramrod was stuck in a large dead limb, ten feet out. Ephraim saw at once that he never could get it; and he wished he hadn’t fired that last shot. Possibly he thought the owl was to blame; but whether he did or not there was no help for it. So after awhile he got up, and picked up his gun, and went slowly and sadly towards home.

He had not decided upon any course in particular when he entered the house. It was one of those cases the explanation of which must be left largely to the circumstances of the moment.

His mother met him with the gun in his hand.

“Ephraim!” said she astonished, and too frightened to say more.

“I’ve been hunting, mother,” said Ephraim, very demurely.

“Hunting, my child? Merciful Father!”

“Father didn’t know, it, mother; and I don’t want you to tell him.”

“My son! my son! is the gun loaded?”

“Not now, mother. I fired it off.”

“For pity’s sake, Ephraim! don’t ever take it out again.”

“You won’t tell father, if I won’t take it again, will you, mother?”

“You’ll promise me, Ephraim, that you will never take it again?”

“Yes, mother, if you won’t tell him.”

“Then put it where it belongs,—just as you found it. It’s a wonder you didn’t get hurt.”

Ephraim might have said that he was a little hurt; for he had a sore and swollen shoulder; but he said nothing of that, nor of the ramrod; but he tried to be as good a boy as he could all the rest of the day.

The captain was late home that night, and did not notice anything wrong; but the next day, while at his desk, his eyes fell upon his old training-gun, and he saw that the ramrod was missing. He mused upon it. Where could it be? He never lent that gun; nobody had had it out of the house that he knew of. He went and asked his wife.

Ephraim happened to be with his mother; and when his father asked about the ramrod he looked at her and she looked at him. One or the other of them must let the cat out, but which should it be?

“Do you know anything about the ramrod, Ephraim?” she asked.

“I went a-hunting, father,” said Ephraim, looking down.

“A-hunting? Who—what—when? You have not been shooting that gun, have you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Goodness! Who loaded it?”

“I—did—sir.”

“And fired it off?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you kill anything?”

“I—don’t know,—sir.”

After all, the captain couldn’t help laughing at this point, and as soon as he did Ephraim felt better. He brightened up in a moment, and made the best of his father’s good-nature by telling the whole story at once. He had forgotten to take the ramrod out, he said, and fired it at the owl. He guessed the owl went off to die somewhere, for he didn’t see him again; but the ramrod was up so high he couldn’t get it.

The captain laughed; still, the view he took of the matter was an unpleasantly serious one for Ephraim; who understood that if he should ever take that gun again in his father’s absence the consequences would be direful. The gun was no gun without a ramrod, in his father’s trained eyes, so he at once set out, with Ephraim as guide, and the hired man carrying a ladder, to recover it.

Ephraim led them straight to the tree, and there the ramrod was, still sticking in the limb. But the ladder proved too short, and they had to go back without it. The next day they went again, with the longest ladder on the farm, and got the ramrod and carried it home.

But Ephraim never fired it off again.


CHINESE DECORATION FOR EASTER EGGS.


By S. K. B.


DIAGRAMS OF DECORATIONS FOR EASTER EGGS.

YOU should select a good-sized egg, and of a rich dark color. I have found that eggs laid by the Brahma hens are just about the right shade for pleasing effect.

First make an opening in the large end and drop out the contents of the shell. Then with your pencil trace lightly on the shell some features as in fig. 1. Next paint the whites of the eyes with solid white, and the lips a bright vermilion. Then go over your outlines with black paint or India ink, filling the eyeball with black. Use water-color paints.

Now we have a showy-looking Chinaman, but he has no cap on; neither does he wear the national pigtail. To supply the first of these necessary articles, you will cut a piece of bright-colored paper after the fashion of fig. 2. If you please, you can decorate it with a heavy line of black paint. Its pieces 1, 2, 3 and 4, are to be bent tightly up at the dotted line, so as to receive a decided crease. Then each one may be touched with stiff paste, slipped within the shell and fastened. Then the strip must be pasted together at A and B, drawing one end over the other far enough to make the cap fit well.

To make the pigtail, take some black silk twist and make a braid about four inches long, and about as thick as single zephyr worsted. Tie one end with a bit of thread, and paste the other end on the top of the back part of the head. This you will do before you fasten the cap on. Now our Chinaman is finished—and when you have hung him up by a silken ribbon pasted inside of his cap, he will look very much like fig. 3, and he can be made to hold popcorn or any light candy.


IL SANTISSIMO BAMBINO.


BY PHEBE F. MᶜKEEN.


ON the Capitoline Hill, in Rome, stands a church, twelve hundred years old, called Ara Cœli. It is unpromising in its outward appearance, but is rich in marbles and mosaics within.

The Bambino.

The most precious possession of this ancient church, however, is a wooden doll called Il Santissimo Bambino—The Most Holy Infant. It is dressed like an Italian baby, and an Italian baby is dressed like a mummy. We often see them in their mothers’ arms, so swathed that they can no more move than a bundle without any baby inside of it. Their little legs must ache for the freedom of kicking. The dress of the Bambino is very different from that of a bambino after all, for it is cloth of silver, and it sparkles all over with jewels which have been presented to it, and it wears a golden crown upon its head.

This is the history of this remarkable doll, as devout Roman Catholics believe. You must judge for yourselves how much of it is truth and how much fable.

They say this image of the infant Saviour was carved from olive-wood which grew upon the Mount of Olives, by a monk who lived in Palestine; and, as he had no means of painting it with sufficient beauty, his prayers prevailed upon St. Luke to come down from Heaven and color it for him. Then he sent it to Rome to be present at the Christmas festival. It was shipwrecked on the way, but finally came safely to land, and was received with great reverence by the Franciscan monks, who placed it in a shrine at Ara Cœli. It was soon found to have miraculous power to heal the sick, and was so often sent for to visit them, that, at one time, it received more fees than any physician in Rome. It has its own carriage in which it rides abroad, and its own attendants who guard it with the utmost care.

One woman was so selfish as to think it would be a capital thing if she could get possession of this wonder-working image for herself and her friends.

“She had another doll prepared of the same size and appearance as the ‘Santissimo,’ and having feigned sickness and obtained permission to have it left with her, she dressed the false image in its clothes, and sent it back to Ara Cœli. The fraud was not discovered till night, when the Franciscan monks were awakened by the most furious ringing of bells and by thundering knocks at the west door of the church, and, hastening thither, could see nothing but a wee, naked, pink foot peeping in from under the door; but when they opened the door, without stood the little naked figure of the true Bambino of Ara Cœli, shivering in the wind and rain. So the false baby was sent back in disgrace, and the real baby restored to its home, never to be trusted away alone any more.”

This marvelous escape is duly recorded in the Sacristy of the church where the Bambino safely dwells under lock and key all the year, except the time from Christmas to Epiphany, when it comes out to receive the homage of the people.

We went to see it last Christmas.

As I told you, the church stands on one of the Seven Hills of the Eternal City; it is approached by a flight of stone steps as wide as the building itself and as high as the hill. There were many beggars on these steps; some old and blind, others young and bright-eyed. Beside the beggars, there were people with tiny images of the Baby in the Manger, toy sheep, and pictures of the Bambino for sale.

When we went into the church, we found one of the chapels fitted up like a tableau. The chapels are something like large alcoves along the sides of a church. Each is consecrated to some saint, and often belongs to some particular family who have their weddings and funerals there.

Family of Roman Beggars.

It was in the second chapel on the left that we found the scene represented. The Virgin Mary was dressed in a bright blue silk, adorned with various jewels. In her lap lay the Bambino, about the size of a baby six weeks old. I do not believe St. Luke painted its face, for it was not half so well done as most of the wooden dolls we see. An artificial mule had his nose close to the baby’s head. Joseph sat near, and in front the shepherds were kneeling. All these people were of life-size, made of wood, and dressed in real clothes. Beyond them was to be seen a pretty landscape—sheep, covered with real wool, a girl with a pitcher on her head coming down a path to a sparkling fountain of glass. In the distance was the town of Bethlehem. In mid-air hovered an angel, hung by a wire in his back from the ceiling. On pasteboard screens, above the Virgin and Child were painted a crowd of cherubs looking down, and in their midst God the Father—whom no one hath seen nor can see—was represented in the likeness of a venerable man, spreading his hands in blessing over the group below.

A great many little children were coming with the older people to look at all this, and talking, in their pretty Italian tongue, about the “Bambino.”

Epiphany, as perhaps you know, is the day kept in memory of the visit of the Wise Men whom the Star in the East guided to our Saviour’s cradle. On that day, Il Santissimo Bambino was to be carried with all ceremony back to the Sacristy; so we went to see that.

We were glad to find the Blessed Virgin had two nice silk dresses; she had changed from blue to red, and the Bambino was standing on her knee. The Shepherds had gone, and the Wise Men had come, all very gorgeous in flowered brocade and cloth of gold, with crowns on their heads, and pages to hold their trains.

It was yet an hour or two before the “Procession of the Holy Cradle” would proceed; so we went out of the side door of the church to stray about the Capitoline Hill in the meanwhile.

We went down the steps where Tiberias Gracchus, the friend of the people, was killed, some two thousand years ago. That brought us into a small square called Piazza di Campidoglio. It is surrounded on three sides by public buildings, and in front has a grand stairway leading down to the street. It was in this very spot that Brutus made his famous speech after the assassination of Julius Cæsar. We crossed the square, went up some steps and through an archway.

A company of little Romans were playing soldier there, and the small drum-major made the walls of the capitol resound with his rattling music. That reminds me to tell you that Santa Claus does not visit Italy; but an old woman, named Navona, comes instead. She may be his wife, for aught I know; in fact, it seems quite likely, for she has a way, just like his, of coming down the chimney, bringing gifts for the good children and switches for the naughty. These must have been very good little boys, for every one of them seemed to have a new sword or gun. Probably Navona has to keep the house while Santa Claus is away about his Christmas business, and that is the reason she does not reach her small people here until the night before Epiphany, the 6th of January.

We went down a lane of poor houses, dodging the clothes which hung drying over our heads, and came to a large green gate in the high stone wall of a garden. We knocked, but no one answered. Presently a black-eyed little boy came running to us, glad to earn two or three sous by going to call the custode. While we wait for him to do so, I must tell you why we wished to go through this green door. You have read, either in Latin or English, the story of Tarpæia, the Roman maiden, who consented to show the Latin soldiers the way into the citadel if they would give her what they wore on their left arms, meaning their bracelets, and then the grim joke they played after she had done her part, by throwing upon her their shields, which were also “what they wore on their left arms.”

It was to see the Tarpæian rock, where she led her country’s enemies up, and where, later, traitors were hurled down, that we wished to go through the gate. Presently the keeper came, a rosy young woman, leading a little girl, who was feeling very rich over a new dolly she was dangling by its arm.

We were admitted to a small garden, where pretty pink roses were in blossom, and the oranges were hanging on the trees, though the icicles were fringing the fountain not far away. On the edge of the garden, along the brow of the cliff, runs a thick wall of brown stone; we leaned over it and looked down the steep rock which one assaulting party after another tried, in old times, to scale.

It was on this side that the Gauls were trying to reach the citadel at the time the geese saved the city. Do you know that for a long time, annually, a dog was crucified on the capitol, and a goose carried in triumph, because, on that occasion, the dogs failed to give the alarm and the geese did it!

We looked down on the roofs and into the courts of poor houses which have huddled close about the foot of the hill, but beyond them we could look down into the Forum, where Virginia was stabbed, where Horatius hung up the spoil of the Curiatii, where the body of Julius Cæsar was burned, where the head of Cicero was cruelly exposed on the very rostrum where had often been seen the triumph of his eloquence. Opposite to us stood the Palatine Hill, a mass of crumbling palaces; a little farther off rose the mighty wall of the Coliseum, where the gladiators used to fight, and where so many Christian martyrs were thrown to the wild beasts while tens of thousands of their fellow-men, more cruel than lions, looked on, for sport.

Just at the roots of the Capitoline, close by, though out of sight, was the Mamertine Prison, where St. Paul, of whom the world was not worthy, was once shut up in the dismal darkness of the dungeon.

As we went from the garden back to the Piazza di Campidoglio, we saw something unusual was going on in the palace on the left of the capital. In the door stood a guard in resplendent array of crimson and gold lace. Looking through the arched entrance, we could see in the inner court an open carriage with driver and footman in livery of bright scarlet. Something of a crowd was gathering in the corridors. We stopped to learn what it was all about. An Italian woman answered, “La Principessa Margarita!” and an English lady close by explained that the Princess Margaret, wife of the crown prince, had come to distribute prizes to the children of the public schools. Only invited guests could be present, but the people were waiting to see her come down. So we joined the people and waited also.

It was a long time and a pretty cold one. A brass band in the court cheered our spirits now and then. The fine span of the princess looked rather excited, at first, by the trumpets so close to their ears, but they stood their ground bravely. If one of the scarlet footmen tightened a buckle, it raised our hopes that his mistress was coming; the other put a fresh cigar in his mouth, and they sank.

The Equipage of the Bambino.—Page 76.

Meantime the guard in the gold-laced crimson coat and yellow silk stockings paced up and down. At length there was a messenger from above; the royal carriage drove under the arch close to us. There was a rustle, and down came the princely lady, dressed in purple velvet, with mauve feathers in her hat, a white veil drawn over her face, and a large bouquet in her white-gloved hand—rather pretty, and very graceful. Before entering her carriage, she turned to shake hands with the ladies and gentlemen who had accompanied her. She was very complaisant, bowing low to them, and they still lower to her. Then she bowed graciously to the crowd right and left, and they responded gratefully. She smiled upon them, high and low, but there was a look in her face, as it passed close to me, as if she was tired of smiling for the public. She seated herself in the carriage; the lady-in-waiting took her place beside her, the gentleman-in-waiting threw over them the carriage-robe of white ermine lined with light blue velvet and stepped in himself.

Then the equipage rolled off, the scarlet footmen getting up behind as it started. This princess is very good and kind, greatly beloved by the people, and, as there is no queen, she is the first lady in the kingdom. Her husband first and her little son next are heirs to the crown.

This show being over, we hastened back to the church, fearing we had missed the Bambino in our pursuit of the princess. But we were in good time. On the side of the church opposite the tableau was a small, temporary platform. Little boys and girls were placed upon this, one after the other, to speak short pieces or recite verses about the Infant Christ. It was a kind of Sunday-school concert in Italian. The language is very sweet in a child’s mouth. There were a great many bright, black-eyed children in the church, and most of them seemed to have brought their Christmas presents along with them, as if to show them to the Bambino.

There were ragged men in the crowd, and monks, and country-women with handkerchiefs tied over their heads for bonnets. One of them who stood near me had her first finger covered with rings up to the last joint. That is their great ambition in the way of dress.

At length the organ ceased playing, and the notes of a military band were heard. Then we saw a banner moving slowly down one of the aisles, followed by a train of lighted tapers. Over the heads of the people we could only see the banner and the lights; they passed down and paused to take the Bambino. Then they marched slowly all around the church—people falling on their knees as they passed by.

Out at the front door they went, and that sacred image was held high aloft, so that all the people on the great stairway and in the square below might get a sight of it, and be blessed. Then up the middle of the church they came, to the high altar. This was our chance to see them perfectly.

First the banner, with an image of the Virgin on it, was borne by a young priest dressed in a long black robe and a white short gown trimmed with lace; next came a long procession of men in ordinary dress, carrying long and large wax candles, which they had a disagreeable habit or dripping as they went along.

“Servants of great houses,” remarked a lady behind me.

“They used to come themselves,” answered another.

Then followed Franciscan monks in their brown copes, each with a knotted rope for a girdle, and sandals only on his bare feet. After these came the band of musicians, all little boys; and now approached, with measured tread, three priests in rich robes of white brocade, enriched with silver. The middle one, a tall, venerable-looking man, with hoary hair and solemn countenance, held erect in his hands the sacred dolly. As it passed, believers dropped upon their knees. When he reached the high altar, he reverently kissed its feet, and delivered it to its custodian to be carried to the Sacristy!


MY MOTHER PUT IT ON.


BY MRS. A. D. T. WHITNEY.


IT was old Boston—Boston forty years and more ago,—and it was New Year’s morning.

We had lived in our new house in one of the lately laid-out, airy neighborhoods over on the West Hill since June. Before that, we lived in Pearl street, where all the great warehouses are now, and where the other great warehouses were burned down,—melted into strange, stone monuments of ruin,—in the terrible fire, six years ago from now. Down in Pearl street, in a large house with a garden to it, and a wonderful staircase inside that had landings with balustraded arches through to other landings, and which was a sublimity and delight to me that the splendid stairways in Roman palaces can scarcely equal now,—still lived my best and beautiful friend, Elizabeth Hunter. I thought in those days all Elizabeths were beautiful, because I knew two who had fair, delicious complexions, sweet, deep-cornered mouths, and brown hair. My hair was light and straight and fine; it looked thin and cold to me by side of theirs.

On this New Year, I was to go and spend the day with Elizabeth. My father and my brother Andrew were to come to dinner. My mother was an invalid, and could not bear the cold and the fatigue. But she had my pretty dress all ready for me, a soft, blue merino—real deep-sky blue,—with trimming to the tucks and hem and low neck-band and sleeve-bindings of dark carbuncle-colored velvet ribbon in a raised Greek pattern. You may think it looked queer; but it didn’t; it was very pretty and becoming.

Before I was to go, however, there was ever so much other New Year delight to keep the time from seeming long. Father and Andrew were going down to the whip-factory in Dock square, to choose for Andrew the longest-lashed toy-whip, with the gayest snapper and the handsomest handle, that he could pick out there. And afterward they were going to a great toy-shop, to buy me the wax doll I had been promised.

I did not care to choose my doll, as Andrew would choose his whip. I had a kind of real little-mother feeling about that. I would rather have what came to me, what my father brought me. I wanted it to be mine from the first minute I saw it, without any doubt, or any chance to choose otherwise. If I had looked and hesitated among dozens of them, and picked out one, I should always have felt as if I had left some child behind that maybe ought to have been mine, and that I had not quite whole chosen any one. So I was content to stay with my mother, and run down from her with the quarter and half dollars to the watchman and the carrier and the scavenger and the milkman, when they came with their expectation of a little present. What dear old simple days those were, when we had a family regard for our milkman, our watchman, our scavenger!

Meanwhile, I was to be dressed.

I had just got on my blue morocco slippers, that looked so funny with my striped dark calico morning-frock, when the bell, that I thought I had done answering with the silver fees, rang loudly again. Marcella, our housemaid, called me from the foot of the nursery stairs.

“It’s somebody for you, Miss Emmeline,” she said, and I thought she meant another man for money. I took the last quarter from the little wallet father had filled for me, and ran down. But it was the tall black servant from the Hunters. And he had in his hand a pretty paper box tied with a silk cord.

“Mrs. Hunter’s compliments and love, miss, to you and to your ma; and she hopes you’ll wear something she has made for you just like Miss Elizabeth’s, to-day.”

I took the box, made a little courtesy to him, and said, “Please thank Mrs. Hunter, and say I wish her a happy New Year, and here’s a happy New Year for you.” For I thought he couldn’t help seeing the silver quarter, and thinking it was for him; and father had told me to “use my judgment,” and I certainly wanted to give it to him the minute I saw he had come all the way with a present for me. Elizabeth and I liked Jefferson very much; he gave us macaroons and prunes and almonds from the pantry, and he swung us in the swing in the great drying-room. He made me a fine bow, and thanked me, and said he should keep my quarter for luck.

So I ran up to my mother, and kissed her—for somehow whenever anything pleasant came to me I always kissed my mother—and we opened the box. It was a beautiful blue silk braid net, with a long blue ribbon run through to tie it round the head with.

“O, mother!” I cried, “it’s a long ribbon, for flying ends!” I was so glad; for I had no curls like Elizabeth’s and I thought flying ribbons would seem like them a little, and I had never worn any.

“It is very pretty,” said my mother; “but I think, dear, with your short hair, a short bow would look better.”

She did not tell me that my face was narrow and my nose was long, and that I couldn’t possibly look like Elizabeth Hunter, even with flying ends. I know it now, as I have found out a good many things that I didn’t understand at the time.

I was disappointed; too disappointed to say anything; and before I spoke, mother, who had put the net over my hair, and drawn the ribbon, tied a butterfly bow with it over my left ear, and snipped the ends into short dovetails with her small bright toilet scissors.

I choked a little in my throat, and the tears came into my eyes.

“Did you care so much?” asked mother tenderly, and kissed me again. “But it is a great deal prettier for you so; trust me, dear.”

I did not speak then, for I couldn’t; but I tried to swallow the choke and the tears; mother who was always kind, had been so dearly kind to me that day. And Andrew came running up the stairs just then, and bounced in at the door; and there was my dear wax-baby in his arms, and I was a happy little mother; and what happy little mother, with her baby born on New Year’s morning cares how her cap is tied?

The baby was dressed in a pretty white slip and a bib; and there was a blanket with pink scalloped edges, to wrap it in.

“There were dollies a good deal older, and some all grown up,” said Andrew; “but father thought you’d want to have it a real baby, and let it grow. And it opens and shuts its eyes. See here! There! it’s gone to sleep; and now look at my whip!” He pulled it out from under his arm, whence it trailed behind him, and cracked it gloriously with its yellow snappers, right over my baby’s head.

“O, And! Be careful! Give her right to me. Boys don’t know how to tend babies, you know. But you’re real good; and your whip is splendid!”

“Guess I am! Brought her right straight along, and didn’t care a mite, and three boys hollered after me, ‘’Fore I’d be a girl, and carry a rag-baby!’ I just kept her with one hand and cracked my whip with the other, and looked right ahead, as if they wasn’t anywhere!”

I put my arms round his neck, and hugged him and the baby and the whip all together; for my Andie always was a hero, and loved me. He brought me my greatest gift pleasures, and my happiest surprises. Father always took him into the plan, if Andie hadn’t already begged it for me,—whenever there was one. I think our parents had that notion about son and daughter, and what the little man and woman should be to each other. Mother used to set me to do all the little cheery, comfortable home-things for Andie. Andie brought me my wax doll when I was seven years old; he walked down to Jones’s, with father, the day he was seventeen, and brought me home my real, gold watch. I always mended Andie’s stockings after I was old enough,—and quite little girls were old enough in those days; and I made pan ginger-bread for his supper when he was coming home cold from coasting on the Common; and I read to him when he was sick with sore throat and saved money to fill his bag with white alleys when marble-time came round. Andie and I used to promise never to get married, but to keep house with each other when we were grown up. I have never got married; but Andie has been lying in the gray stone tomb at Mount Auburn for thirty years.

My mother hurried me a little now; for Marcella was ready.

We walked down across the Common, Marcella and I; she was to leave me at the door. There was a biting wind, with snow-needles in it; and the path was deep with half-trodden snow; but I was warm in my cloth pelisse with gray fur cape and border,—my quilted bonnet edged with fur, and my thick little mocasins with gray fur round the ankles.

I was perfectly happy till Mrs. Hunter unfastened my things by the large parlor fire, and lifted off my bonnet carefully.

Elizabeth, with her dimpled face, her sweet-set mouth, her brown curls among which the long blue ribbon floated,—for the net was a mere matter of ornament, and lay light and loose over the hair, held only by the ribbon band simply tied at the left temple,—was standing by, impatient to get me out and begin our day.

“Why, where are the long ends?” she said. And then I immediately felt as if all there was of me was that one little, short-chopped, butterfly bow.

“Mother thought—” I began, and there stopped. My lips trembled a little, and I blushed hot.

Mrs. Hunter looked sorry. “Was she quite particular?” she asked, after an instant. “Because I have another ribbon. Just for to-day, perhaps, because you like to be like Lizzie? It would be a pity not to please the child,” she said to Mrs. Marchand, her sister, who was there. She was drawing the blue ribbon from her pretty round, carved worktable, and she put out her hand to untie my little bow.

Then it came over me. I started back. “Please! No! Please not, Mrs. Hunter. Thank you—a great deal—” I stammered, in a hurry, and afraid I was dreadfully impolite,—“but mother put it on!”

I wouldn’t have had that bow with the dovetailed ends untied, that minute, for all the world.

A singular expression, I thought, passed between the faces of the two ladies. Mrs. Hunter leaned down from her chair, reached my hand, drew me to her again, and kissed me. “You are a dear little thing,” she said to me. “The little souls know best,” she said to her sister.

“When the little souls are—” but Mrs. Marchand did not say what.

I wondered why Mrs. Hunter, while she praised me,—but it was not praise either; it was better than that,—should have looked as if she pitied me so. I couldn’t think it was for the sake of the ribbon. No, indeed: I know now what it was.

We had a beautiful time. Of course I had brought my baby, and I secretly thought it was a great deal cunninger and prettier than Elizabeth’s, that she had had ever since her last birthday, and that really looked quite old and common to me now, though she had kept it so nice, and I had admired it so.

Father and Andrew came to dinner; and after dinner we had forfeits, and Hunt the Ring, and Magical Music, and Still Palm. There were three other children who came to spend the afternoon.

I was very happy. There was a hidden corner in my heart that kept warming up every now and then, as if mother and I had a secret together, and we were whispering it to each other across the wide, cold city. Elizabeth’s pretty hair and long blue ribbons flew this way and that in the merry play and running; and I noticed them just as I always had, and I knew that there was nothing pretty about my short, plain, light-colored hair, and I did think that flying ends would have been a comfort if I could have had them in the first place; but there was something beyond comfort in the loyalty of wearing that butterfly bow which nobody need touch or try to change for me, since—because she thought it best for me to wear it so—my mother had put it on!

I HAD BROUGHT MY BABY.

I ran straight up to her dressing-room the minute we got home. She sat there in her white flannel wrapper before the fire. I threw my arms around her and laid my head down on her lap.

“Now untie the little bow,” I said: and she asked: “Did my little girl wear it all the day for my sake?”

She understood. We had been whispering to each other’s thought across all the cold, wide city.

“Mother,” I asked her, after I said my prayers, and before I said goodnight, “why did I have such a Rocky-Mountain kind of a face? Why couldn’t God have given me a pretty, flat face? Can you tell?”

“God didn’t see best to make you handsome, dear; but He will make you beautiful, if you will let Him, his own way. And I don’t think,” she added, more lightly, and laughing a sweet laugh, “that my Emmie’s face could be a flat one! It wouldn’t suit her at all; and I love this a great deal better!”


When I was seventeen years old, my mother had been dead eight years. I had a stepmother.

That was horrible, you think? Wait till you hear.

When my father—a graver, silenter, but not less kind and gentle man—brought home at last this lady, as truly, I think, for our sakes as his own,—he called us to them both as they sat together on the long velvet sofa in the library. I remember the moment, and the look of everything as if it were just now. It was a September midday; they had been married in church, and we had all come straight home; there was no company,—“this day was for themselves and the children,”—and dinner was going on, almost just as usual, in the dining room beyond.

The lady, whom we had seen but few times,—her home had been at a distance in the country,—was dressed in a plain violet silk; and now her bonnet was off, her dark hair looked homelike and simple, just parted away over her low, pleasant forehead and twisted richly behind; and her face,—I never forget that about it,—was watching the door when we came in.

My father said to me, being the girl and the oldest,—“Emmeline, I hope you will be the happier for this day, and I believe you will, from this day forward as long as you and my wife shall live.” He fell, unpremeditatedly, into the words of the Solemn Service that had been spoken over them; it was as if he had married us two, in our new relation, to each other.

He said to Andrew—“My boy knows what men owe to women; he and I must do our best and manliest for these two. We four are a family now.”

The new wife stretched out a hand to each of us. She slipped her arm round me, and drew me to her side, while she held Andrew’s hand upon her knee. The face that looked into mine was very wistful and kind; it almost seemed to beseech something of me. It asked leave to be loving.

We children did not know what to say. I felt uneasy not to speak at all. I believe I smiled a little, shyly. Then I asked—

“What shall I call you, please?”

“What shall they call you, Lucy?” asked my father.

“Call me ‘step-mamma,’” was the answer; and I think he was utterly surprised.

“I will not take their mother’s name away,” she said. “I will not be instead of her. I will be called just what I want to be; a step, a link, between her and them. I will try and do for her what she would have done if she had stayed.”

“Then I think I’ll call you ‘For-mamma,’” said straight-spoken Andrew. “I think that will do very well.”

We all laughed; and it relieved the feeling. “Thank you, Andrew,” said our step-mamma. “That is a great help at the very beginning. I believe we shall understand each other.”

For my part I only kissed her. By the way she kissed me back, I knew it was her first act “for” my mother.

So we began to love her, and we called her “step-mamma.” People thought it very odd, and we never explained it to them. We let our relation explain itself. But among ourselves, the familiar, privileged, lovely name was “For-mamma.” That we kept this sign through so many years,—the years of our troublesome, probative childhood,—tells more than any story of the years could tell.

I only wanted to say a little bit of what she was to me at seventeen; and how my mother’s very words came again to me through her, as by an accepted mediation.

I went with her to a large party; my very first large grown-up party.

My old friend, Elizabeth Hunter, was a bride this winter. I had been bridesmaid at her wedding; that was the beginning of my coming out, earlier than I should otherwise have done.

What a plain little bridesmaid I had been, to what an exquisite vision of a bride! I remember thinking as we, the bridal party, walked through the long rooms, when all was gay, and ceremony was broken through at supper-time—when the rooms rustled with the turning of the groups to look after her and the murmur went along about her beauty—“What difference ought it to make, that she is the beauty, and that I can never be,—so long as the beauty is and we all feel it?” Yet the strange difference was there, and the cross of my beauty-loving nature was that I in my own being and movement, could never hold and represent it.

I looked at myself when I had dressed for this large party. The lovely blue silk—the delicate lace—the white roses—they almost achieved prettiness enough of themselves; and I suppose I looked as nice as I could; but there were still the too prominent brows, the nose too big for the eyes, the lips too easily parted over the teeth fine and white, but contributing to the excess of profile, or middle-face, that had made me call it Rocky-Mountain outline when I was a child.

I went down to my step-mamma’s room. She, in her ruby-colored satin, was fairer at thirty-eight than I at seventeen. I sat watching her as she put pearl earrings into her ears.

“For-mamma,” I said, “I don’t believe I shall ever care much for parties. And it will be for a very mean and selfish reason, too.—I think it is only pretty people who can enjoy them much.”

She laid down the second pearl hoop on the table, and came to me.

“Emmie,” she said, “I know it is a hard thing for a woman who loves all lovely things, not to be very beautiful herself. The dear Lord has not made you very beautiful, in mere features. But can’t you wear a plain face awhile, because He has given it to you to wear, and trust to Him to make it lovely in his way and season?”

My step-mamma hardly ever said anything so direct as this to me, about religion. She only lived her religion in a pleasant, comfortable, unassuming way, and kept a light shining by which I saw—without her flashing it upon me like a dark-lantern—into any little selfish or God-forgetful course of my own life. Now, these words came to me—across ten years—the very words said to me in that same room, at that same hour of night.... Why—it was the very night! We were going to a New Year’s party.

A great heart-beat came up in my throat, and the tears pressed up together into face and eyes, while I felt the kindling of my own look, and saw what it must be by the answering color and the light in hers.

I put my hands out and reached them round her waist as she stood close to me in her beautiful glowing dress, under which a more beautiful heart was glowing brighter. “I cannot tell you two apart, Mamma and For-mamma!” I said.

We went together to the party. For-mamma had to put her one pearl hoop in her pocket after she got there, for she had forgotten the other on her dressing table. And what that party was to me I wonder if any grand, lovely, tender church-service ever was to anybody, more or better!

I had a quiet time, compared to some girls who were always rushed after, and rushing through the gay dances. I was politely asked, and I did dance; but not every time; that was as it always was with me. But all the beauty and all the gladness in the whole room was mine; for it was all “the dear Lord’s,” and He was giving it as He would. “Passing it round,” I couldn’t help thinking—was it irreverent, I wonder—as the sweet, rich confections were passed round, that were meant, a share in turn, for all. My turn would come. And for my plain, still, Rocky-Mountain face that I was wearing now,—there was a secret between me and some Heart that thought of me across whatever cold and emptiness of wintry way might seem to lie between, like that which had been when in my childish disappointment I wore the simple bit of ribbon that “my mother had put on.”


There came a time when I had to give up other beauty. To recognise that it was not for me,—yet. Not in all this long, waiting world, as other people have it. That was harder; yet it was all one. It seemed to me that some people were given at their birth a kind of ticket that opened to them all paradises; and that others were thrust forth, unaccredited, into a life whose most beautiful doors would be shut, one after another, in their faces.

THE GROWN-UP EMMELINE.

I had to content myself with a fate like my face; a plain pleasantness without great, wonderful delight. A Rocky-Mountain aspect of living, that seemed hard and rough until I got into the heart of it, and let it shut out the fair champaigns, and then it showed me its own depth, and height, and glory.

There was one long, heavy time when For-mamma and I were separated for years. For-mamma was a widow, now; we four that had been a family together were we two here and they two there; they three, in the other home. And my grandmother, in her feeble, querulous, uncomfortable old age, had nobody to come and live with her and “see her through,” as she said. At nearly the same time, For-mamma’s sister died, and there were five little children to be cared for. I thought she would never get away from that duty, though mine might see an end. But a new wife came there after a good while, as For-mamma—I hope it was as she came—had come to us; and then grandmother died, and nobody could say otherwise than that it was a release. I did not say so; I hate to hear people say that; it is so apt to mean a release for those who outlive. There are long dyings, and brief ones; when it is over, we go back to the well time to measure our loss. Grandmother’s dying began almost twenty years before, when her nerves gave out, and her comfort in living was over, and people began to lose patience with her. I looked back to that time, and thought what a bright handsome woman, fond of her own way but with such a fine capable way, I could recollect her.

I had tried to do my duty; it was a piece of life that the same Love had put on me that I had learned—a little—to believe in as a mother’s; and now it was over—“through,” and For-mamma and I came together again, so gladly!

I suppose everybody thinks we are very fortunate people, and perfectly happy; for we have plenty of money, and can do all the pleasant things that can be done with money, for ourselves and for others. I suppose many persons think that my five years with Grandmother Cumberland were paid for in the fifty thousand dollars that she left me. I know that they were paid for as they went along, and as I found myself able and cheerful to live them.

For-mamma and I are happy; I do not think we shall ever leave each other now so long as we both may live. I often think how my father joined us together with those words.

We have a lovely and dear home, and friends to fill it when we want them; we have happy errands to many who get some happiness through our hands; we have travelled together, and seen glorious and wonderful things; we read and think, we sing and sew, we laugh and talk and are silent together; we do not let each other miss or want. But, for all this we have each—and both together—our troubles to bear, that would not have been worthy to be called troubles if they had stirred in us so slightly as to have been forgotten long ago.

We only bear them as things grown tender to us by their very pain and pressure, because of Some One who will say to us when we go home to Him:

Did my dear child wear it all the day for My Sake?


AFTERWARDS.

Once, down in the night, but a blinded thing:—
Now, the great gold light and the beautiful wing!

A CHILD IN FLORENCE.


BY K. R. L.


PART I.

WE lived in that same Casa Guidi from whose windows Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poet-eyes saw what she afterward put into glowing verse. Casa Guidi is a great pile of graystone, a pile of many windows which give upon the Via Maggio and a little piazza, as the squares in Florence are called. Consequently it is lighter and brighter than are many of the houses in Florence, where the streets are narrow and the houses lofty.

According to almost universal custom, Casa Guidi was divided into half a dozen different apartments, occupied by as many families. Ours was on the second floor, on the side of the house overlooking the piazza on which stood the church of San Felice. The pleasantest room in our apartment, as I thought, was a room in which I passed many hours of an ailing childhood; a room which I christened “The Gallery,” because it was long and narrow, and was hung with many cheerful pictures. It opened into a little boudoir at one end, and into the salon at the other. The walls of gallery and boudoir were frescoed gayly with fruits, and flowers, and birds.

Here the sun streamed in all through the long, mild, Florentine winters; here I would lie on my couch, and count the roses on the walls, and the birds, and the apricots, and listen to the cries in the streets; and, if a procession went by, hurry to the window and watch it pass, and stay at the window until I was tired, when I would totter back to my couch, and my day-dreams, and my drawing, and my verse-making, and my attempts at studying.

I was fired with artist-ambitions at the age of ten; and what wonder, surrounded as I was by artists living and dead, and by their immortal works. It seemed to me then that one must put all one’s impressions of sight and form into shape. But I did not develop well. Noses proved a stumbling-block, which I never overcame, to my attaining to eminence in figure-sketching.

The picture that I admired most in those days was one of Judith holding up the gory head of Holofernes, in the Pitti Gallery of Paintings. I was seized with a longing to copy it, on my return from my first visit to the Gallery. I seated myself, one evening, before a sheet of drawing-paper, and I tried and tried; but the nose of Holofernes was too much for me. All that I could accomplish was something that resembled an enlarged interrogation mark, and recalled Chinese Art, as illustrated on fans. I was disappointed, disgusted—but, above all, surprised: it was my first intimation that “to do” is not “as easy as ’tis to know what ’twere good to do.”

In the midst of my futile efforts, a broad-shouldered, bearded man was announced, who, having shaken hands with the grown-ups, came and seated himself beside the little girl, and her paint-box and pencils and care-worn face.

“O, Mr. Hart,” I cried, “do make this nose for me!”

Whereupon he made it, giving me many valuable suggestions, meanwhile, as to the effect produced by judicious shading. Still, I was discouraged. It was borne in upon me that this was not my branch of art.

Posing.

“Mr. Hart,” I said, “I think I would like to make noses your way.”

“Would you? Then you shall. Come to my studio to-morrow, and you shall have some clay and a board, and try what you can do.”

So the next day I insisted upon availing myself of this invitation. Mr. Hart was then elaborating his machine for taking portraits in marble, in his studio in the upper part of the city. He had always several busts on hand, excellent likenesses. His workmen would be employed in cutting out the marble, while he molded his original thought out of the plastic clay. There has always been a fascination to me in statuary. Mr. Ruskin tells us that form appealed to the old Greeks more forcibly than color. That was in the youth of the race; possibly, the first stage of art-development is an appreciation of form; in my case, I have not passed into the maturer stage yet. The rounded proportions, curves, and reality of a statue appeal to me as no painting ever did.

Nevertheless, I made no greater progress in molding than in sketching. I made my hands very sticky; I used up several pounds of clay; then I relinquished my hopes of becoming a sculptor. I found it more to my taste to follow Mr. Hart around the rooms, to chatter with the workmen, to ask innumerable questions about the “Invention.”

It has been suggested that it was to this Invention of Mr. Hart’s that Mrs. Browning referred when she wrote of—

“Just a shadow on a wall,”

from which could be taken—

“The measure of a man,
Which is the measure of an angel, saith
The apostle.”

Mr. Hart wore the apron and the cap that sculptors affect, as a protection from the fine, white dust that the marble sheds; generally, too, an ancient dressing-gown. Costumes in Bohemia, the native land of artists, are apt to be unconventional.

It was a most wondrous thing to me to watch the brown clay take shapes and beauty under the sculptor’s touch. I can still see him fashioning a wreath of grape-leaves around a Bacchante’s head; the leaves would grow beneath his hand, in all the details of tendrils, stems, veinings. It seemed to me he must be so happy, to live in this world of his own creating. I hope that he was happy, the kindly man; he had the patience and the enthusiasm of the genuine artist,—a patience that had enabled him to surmount serious obstacles before he reached his present position. Like Powers and Rheinhart, he began life as a stone-cutter. I wonder what dreams of beauty those three men saw imprisoned in the unhewn stone, to which they longed to give shape, before Fate smiled on them, and put them in the way of doing the best that in them lay!

An Italian Garden.

In spite of the fact that neither Painting nor Sculpture proved propitious, a great reverence and love of Art was born in me at this time. Possibly a love and reverence all the more intense, because Art became to me, individually, an unattainable thing. I remember passing many hours, at this period, in what would certainly have been durance vile, had I not been fired with a lofty ambition. Mr. Edwin White was sketching in a picture which called for two figures—an old man and a child. The old man was easily obtained, a beautiful professional model of advanced years; but the child was not so readily found. I was filled with secret joy when it was suggested to me that I should be the required model. I was enchanted when the permission was given me to perform this important service. This was before the time of the long illness to which I referred in the beginning of this paper. The spending every morning for a week or so in Mr. White’s studio implied the being excused from French verbs and Italian translations. What a happy life, I thought, to be a model! I envied the beautiful old patriarch with whom I was associated in this picture. Kneeling beside him, as I was instructed to do, I thought what bliss it would be to be associated with him always, and to go about with him from studio to studio, posing for pictures.

There must be an inspiration for artists in the very air of Florence. The beautiful city is filled with memorials of the past, painted and carved by the masters passed away. I suppose that artists are constantly aroused to the wish to do great things by the sight of what these others have accomplished. Then, too, the history of the past, the religion of the past, are such realities in Florence. The artist feels called upon to interpret them, not as dead fancies, but as facts. The mythology of the Greeks and Romans meets one at every turn. I, for one, was as intimately acquainted with the family history of Venus, of Ceres, of Pallas, of Persephone, as with that of Queen Elizabeth, of Catherine de’ Medici, of Henrietta Maria. Nay, I was more intimate with the delightful elder set.

The heathen gods reigned sylvanly in the Boboli Gardens, and it was there that I formed a most intimate personal acquaintance with them. The Boboli Gardens are the gardens of the Pitti Palace, an immense, unlovely pile, the memorial of the ambition of the Marquis Pitti, who reared it. He had vowed that he would build a palace large enough to hold in its court-yard the palace of his hated rival, the Marquis Strozzi. He was as good as his word; but in carrying out his designs he ruined his fortune. The vast palace, when completed, passed out of his hands into those of the Medici, then the Dukes of Florence. Afterwards, it became the residence of the foreign rulers of Florence. When I remember the city, Austrian soldiers guarded the great gateway of the Pitti, and marched up and down the court-yards; and the showy white uniforms of Austrian officers were conspicuous in the antechambers and guard-rooms.

But behind the great palace, the fair Boboli Gardens spread away. There was a statue of Ceres crowning a terrace, up to which climbed other terraces—an amphitheatre of terraces, in truth, from a fish-pond in the centre—which commanded the city through which the Arno flowed. Many a sunny day have we children—my sisters and I—sat at the base of this statue and gossiped about Ceres,—beautiful Mother Nature, and her daughter, who was stolen from her by the Dark King. Further down, on a lower slope, was a statue of Pallas, with her calm, resolute face, her helmet, her spear, her owl. I remember that Millie, and Eva, and I, were especially fond of this Pallas. I used to wonder why it was that men should ever have been votaries of Venus rather than of her. I have ceased to wonder at this, since then; but in those days I especially criticised a statue of Venus, after the well-known Venus of Canova, which impressed me as insipid. This statue stood hard by the severe majesty of Pallas, white against a background of oleanders and laurestines.

Then there was a second fish-pond, in the center of which was an orange-island, about which tritons and mermen and mermaids were disposed. I can see their good-humored, gay—nay, some of them were even leering—faces still. Soulless creatures these, we were well aware, and so were sorry for them. The immortal gods, of course, we credited with souls; but these—with the wood-nymphs, and bacchantes, and satyrs, that we were apt to come upon all through the garden,—these we classed as only on a level a trifle higher than that of the trees, and brooks, into which some of them had been transformed in the course of the vicissitudes of their careers.

Perhaps it is because the spirit of the old religion so took possession of me in that Italian garden, that to this day the woods, and the dells, and the rocks, seem to me to be the embodied forms of living creatures. A Daphne waves her arms from the laurel tree; a Clytie forever turns to her sun-lover, in the sunflower.


A CHILD IN FLORENCE


BY K. R. L.


PART II.

THE two public picture galleries of Florence—the Pitti and the Uffizi—are on either side of the Arno. They are connected by a covered way, which runs along over the roofs of houses, and crosses the jewelers’ bridge, so called because upon it are built the shops of all the jewelers in town,—or so it would seem at first sight. At all events, here are nothing but jewelers’ shops; small shops, such as I imagine the shops of the middle ages to have been. But in the narrow windows, and in the unostentatious show-cases, are displayed most exquisite workmanship in Florentine mosaic, in turquoise, in malakite, exquisite as to the quality of the mosaic and the character of the designs in which the earrings, brooches, bracelets, were made up. As a rule, however, the gold-work was inferior, and the settings were very apt to come apart, and the pins to break and bend, after a very short wear.

Sauntering across this bridge, one passes, on his way to the Uffizi, various shops in narrow streets, where the silks of Florentine manufacture are displayed. Such pretty silks, dear girls, and so cheap! For a mere song you may go dressed like the butterflies, in Florence, clad in bright, sheeny raiment, spun by native worms out of native mulberry leaves. Equally cheap are the cameos, and the coral, that are brought here from neighboring Naples, and the turquoises, imported directly from the Eastern market, and the mosaics, inlaid of precious stones in Florence herself.

So we come out upon the Piazza, or Square, of the Uffizi. The Uffizi Palace itself is of irregular form, and inclosed by loggiae, or covered colonnades. In front of the palace stands the David of Michael Angelo, in its strong beauty. Michael Angelo said of this that “the only test for a statue is the light of a public square.” To this test the David has been subjected for over three hundred years, and still, in the searching light of day, stand revealed the courage and the faith and the strength of the young man who went forth to do battle with the giant, “In the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” And who shall say to how many of us Michael Angelo does not preach, across the centuries, a sermon in stone, as we stand before his David?—as we recall what Giants of Doubt, of Passion, of Pride, we, too, are called upon to battle with in our day?

In a square portico, or loggia, giving upon the Piazza, is a statue of Perseus, another slayer of monsters, or, rather, a slayer of monsters in another realm. It was this Perseus to whom Pallas gave a mirror-shield of burnished brass, whom Mercury armed with an adamantine scythe, giving him also wings on his feet. It was this Perseus who slew the Gorgon Princess Medusa. In the statue, the fatal head of Medusa, with its stony stare, is held aloft by the warrior, who is trampling upon the headless trunk. This head had, in death as in life, the power of turning many men to stone, and was thus made use of by Perseus against other enemies of his. The subject of the stony-eyed Gorgon possessed, apparently, a curious fascination for artists. There is a famous head painted on wood by Leonardo da Vinci, besides this statue by Benvenuto Cellini, in the Uffizi.

How, as a child, I used to puzzle over the strange fable in both statue and picture! But, since then, I have had experience of Gorgon natures in real life; natures that chilled and repressed, stupefied all with whom they came in contact; and I wonder less at the fable, and I pass the word on to you, that you may know, when unsympathetic surroundings chill your heart and blunt your feelings, and subdue your better self, that you are being haunted by Da Vinci’s very Medusa, by Gellini’s very Medusa, snaky locks, fixed eyes, impassive deadness.

Michael Angelo in his Studio.

Into the great Uffizi Palace: up the wide marble stairway, into the long gallery that opens into the immense suite of rooms hung with pictures; the gallery hung with pictures, too, and set with statues.

How I wish I could make you see with my eyes! How I wish I could be to you something more than a mere traveler, telling what I have seen! That long corridor, windows on one side, statues and pictures on the other, always seems to me like a nursery for love of art. At the far end are the quaint pictures of Giotto and Cimabue. Then the reverent, religious paintings of Fra Angelico. Oh, those sweet-faced, golden-haired angels! Oh, the glimpse into the land seen by faith, inhabited by shining ones! Oh, the radiance of those pictures! The gold back-grounds, the bright faces, the happy effect of them! The artists believed them with all their souls, as Ruskin has said; so they painted pictures which recall the refrain of Bernard de Cluny’s Rhyme of the Celestial Country. Presently pictures by Perugino, Raphael’s master, and—quite at the other end of the gallery—the portrait of Raphael, painted by himself. This picture is on an easel, and stands apart. Are you familiar with Raphael’s beautiful, calm, young face? It is a face which has passed into a proverb for beauty and serenity. A velvet cap is pushed off the pure brow; the hair is long and waving; the eyes are large and dark and abstracted. I always stood before this picture as before a shrine.

All the way down the gallery are statues and busts. There are the Roman emperors, far more familiar to me through their counterfeit presentments than through the pages of history. Augustus, Diocletian, Trajan: to us girls they were studies in hair-dressing, if in nothing else. Some of them with flowing locks, some with close, short curls, some with hair parted in the middle and laid in long, smooth curls, like a woman. Of such was Heliogabulus, and of such was Vitellius.

One morning—soon after we came to Florence—we started off up on a quest—through the Uffizi—Millie, Eva and I, and our elders. The object of our quest was no less a goddess than she called of the Medici.

I remember that we wandered down the long gallery I have described, and through room after room. It was the fancy of our mamma, and the uncle who was taking care of us all, to find their way about for themselves. For instance: if we had been told that a certain picture, by a certain master, was to be found in a certain palace, we roamed in and out around the other pictures until the picture revealed itself to us. It was surprising how seldom we were deceived in this method of ours. We would pass by dozens of pictures by inferior artists, completely unmoved; then, suddenly, a thrilling vision of beauty would glow upon us, and we would acknowledge ourselves to be in a royal presence-chamber.

Such a presence-chamber is the Tribune in the Uffizi palace. We came upon many marble Venuses before we arrived in this Tribune, a large, octagon room, with a domed ceiling, blue, flecked with gold stars; but we passed them all by—until finally we entered the reverent stillness which is kept about the Venus of Venuses. We recognized her at once. There she stood, in that silent room, the light subdued to a judicious mellowness—beautiful with the fresh, smiling beauty of perpetual youth; beautiful with the same beauty that gladdened the heart of the Greek artist who carved her, hundreds of years ago; so many hundreds of years that the marble has, in consequence, the rich cream-color of old ivory.

In this same Tribune hangs the portrait of a beautiful young woman, called the Fornarina. Of her only this is known, that she was the beloved of Raphael, and that she was the daughter of a baker in Rome. Fornarina means little bakeress, or, perhaps we should say, baker-girl. But this Fornarina might be a princess. An “ox-eyed Juno” princess, dark and glowing, with a serene composure about her that one remembers as her most striking characteristic.

Raphael’s lady-love. Millie and I knew more about her than was ever written in books. Not reliable gossip—gossip of our own invention, but gossip that delighted our hearts.

Other pictures by Raphael hang here, too. How distinctly I recall them. How vivid are all the works of this great painter! The critics say that one who excelled in so many things, excelled also in expression. Yes. It is this which gives to his pictures the distinctness of photographs from life. They are dramatic. They take you at once into the spirit of the scene represented. They are full of soul, and herein lies the great difference between Raphael’s works and those of other schools, the Venetian, for instance. The painters of Venice aimed at effects of color; Raphael used color only in order to express a loftier thought.

Are you tired of the Uffizi? Come with me, for a few minutes, before we go, into the Hall of Niobe. Words fail me to relate with what mingled emotions of sympathy, distress and delight we children used to haunt this hall, and examine each sculptured form in turn. The story goes that Niobe incurred the displeasure of Diana and Apollo, who wreaked their vengeance upon the mother by killing her fourteen children. At the head of the hall stands Niobe, convulsed with grief, vainly imploring the angry brother and sister to show compassion, and at the same time protecting the youngest child, who is clinging to her. But we feel that both intercession and protection will be in vain. On the other side of the hall are her sons and daughters. Some already pierced with arrows, stiff in death; some in the attitude of flight, some staggering to the ground. It is an easy matter for the imagination to picture the supreme moment when, bereft of all her children, the mother’s heart breaks, and she is turned to stone. The legend relates that that stone wept tears. Nor was it a difficult matter for me to take this on faith. What is more, many is the time I have planted myself before the very marble Niobe in the Uffizi, firmly expecting to see the tears flow down her cheeks.

La Fornarina of the Uffizi, at Florence.

So we come out upon the streets of Florence again. Fair Florence, the narrow Arno dividing her, the purple Appennines shutting her in the Arno’s fertile valley. Flower-women stop us on the streets, and offer us flowers. Flower-women who are not as pretty as they are wont to be at fancy-dress parties; they are apt to be heavy and middle-aged, in fact, one of them, the handsomest of the band, has a scar on her face, and a tinge of romance attached to her name. It is whispered about that her lover’s dagger inflicted the scar, in a fit of jealousy. Once I myself saw a look flash into her eyes, when something was said to offend her by a passer-by on the street, which suggested the idea that she might have used her dagger in return. It was the look of a tiger aroused. And after that I never quite lost sight of the smothered fire in those black eyes of hers.

I used to wonder why I saw so few pretty faces in Florence. Moreover, how lovely the American ladies always looked in contrast with the swarthy, heavy Tuscan women. As a rule, that is. Of course, there were plain Americans and handsome Tuscans; but our countrywomen certainly bear off the palm for delicacy of feature and coloring. Still, the Tuscan peasant-girls make a fine show, with their broad flats of Leghorn straw; and when they are married they are invariably adorned with strings of Roman pearls about their necks. So many rows of pearls counts for so much worldly wealth.

I stroll on, stopping to look in at the picture stores, or coming to an enraptured pause before a cellar-way piled up with rare and fragrant flowers, such as one sees seldom out of Florence—the City of Flowers.


A CHILD IN FLORENCE.


BY K. R. L.


PART III.

ONE summer we lived in a villa a short distance outside the gates of Florence. For Florence had gates in those days, and was a walled city, kept by Austrian sentinels. That was the time of the Austrian occupation. Since then, Solferino and Magenta have been fought, and the treaty of Villafranca has been signed, and now, “Italy’s one, from mountain to sea!”—

“King Victor has Italy’s crown on his head,
And his flag takes all heaven with its white, green and red.”

But then the Florentines bowed their necks under a hated foreign yoke, scowling when they dared at a retreating “maledetto Tedesco” (cursed German).

The phrase “white, green and red” recalls to me the fire-balloons we used to send up from our villa garden, on the summer nights of long ago. We had, for our Italian tutor, an enthusiastic patriot, who had fought in the Italian ranks in ’48, and who was looking forward to shouldering a musket soon again. It afforded him intense gratification to send the national colors floating out over Florence. Our villa was built on a hill-side, commanding a fine view of the Val d’Arno, and of the City of Flowers herself, domed, campaniled, spired. The longer the voyages made by our balloons, the higher rose the spirits of our Signor Vicenzo. He regarded these airy nothings, made by his own hands, of tissue paper and alcohol, as omens of good or ill to his beloved country.

I suppose he was a fair type of his countrymen intensely dramatic, with a native facility of expression. One notices this facility of expression among all classes. The Italians have an eloquent sign-language of their own, in which they are as proficient as in the language of spoken words. It is charming to see two neighbors communicating with each other across the street, without uttering a syllable, by the means of animated gestures. It seems a natural sequence that they should be a people of artists.

Such long rambles as my sisters and I and our maid Assunta took, starting from the villa! Assunta was the daughter of a neighboring countryman of the better sort, who cultivated a grape vineyard and an olive field, besides keeping a dairy. We had a way of happening by in the evening in time for a glass of warm milk. Assunta’s mother supplied our table with milk and butter daily, moreover; butter made into tiny pats and done up daintily in grape leaves, never salted, by the way; milk put up in flasks cased in straw, such as are also used for the native wine. Was it the unfailing appetite of childhood, or was that milk and butter really superior to any I have ever tasted since? What charming breakfasts recur to me! Semele, as we called our baker’s rolls; a golden circle of butter on its own leaf; great figs bursting with juicy sweetness; milk.

How good those figs used to taste for lunch, too, when we would pay a few crazis for the privilege of helping ourselves to them off the fig-trees in some podere (orchard, vineyard), inclosed in its own stone wall, on which scarlet poppies waved in the golden sunlight, beneath the blue, blue skies. Am I waxing descriptive and dull? Well, dear girls, I wish you could have shared those days with me. Roaming about those hill-sides, my sisters and I peopled them with the creatures of our own imaginations, as well as those of other people’s imaginations, to say nothing of veritable historical characters. We read and re-read Roger’s Italy. Do you know that enchanting book? Can you say by heart, as Millie, Eva and I could, “Ginevra,” and “Luigi,” and “The Brides of Venice”? I wonder if I should like that poetry now? I loved it then. Also, I date my knowledge of Byron to that same epoch. We children devoured the descriptions in “Childe Harold,” and absorbed “The Two Foscari,” which otherwise we would perhaps have never read. Byron was the poet of our fathers and mothers; but in these early days dramatic and narrative poetry was more intelligible than the mysticism of Tennyson and the Brownings, so enchanting to me now.

A Christmas Tree Festival.

One evening, some friends who occupied a neighboring villa invited mamma to be present at the reading of a manuscript poem by an American poet, Buchanan Read. I was permitted to go, too, and was fully alive to the dignity of the occasion. Mr. Read was making a reputation rapidly; there was no telling what might be in store for him. The generous hand of brother artists in Florence all cheered him on his way, and accorded to him precisely that kind of sympathetic encouragement which his peculiar nature required. The group of interested, friendly faces in the salon at Villa Allori rises up before me as I write, on the evening when Mr. Read, occupying a central position, read aloud, in his charming, trained voice.

I remember that, in the pauses of the reading, Mr. Powers, who was present, amused one or two children about him by drawing odd little caricatures on a stray bit of note paper, which is, by the way, still in my possession. Doubtless Mr. Powers’ reputation rests upon his statues, not his caricatures; yet these particular ones have an immense value for me, dashed off with a twinkle in the artist’s beautiful dark eyes.

There was also present on this occasion a beautiful young lady, for whom Mr. Read had just written some birthday verses, which he read to us, after having completed the reading of the larger manuscript. Those birthday verses have haunted me ever since, and this, although I cannot recall a word of the more ambitious poem.

Mr. Powers had lived for so many years in Florence that he was by right of that, if by no other right, the patriarch of the American colony there. He and his large family were most intensely American, in spite of their long expatriation. His was emphatically an American home, as completely so as though the Arno and the Appenines had been, instead, the Mississippi and the Alleghanies. This was no doubt due to the fact that Mrs. Powers was preëminently an American wife and mother, large-hearted and warm-hearted. She never forgot the household traditions of her youth. She baked mince-pies and pumpkin-pies at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and dispensed these bounties to her countrymen with a lavish hand. Then, too, the Powers lived in a house, and not in an apartment, or, as we say, on a flat. The children ran up and down-stairs, and in and out their own yard, which lay between the dwelling-house and the studio, just as American children do. And in this genial, wholesome home an artist grew up in the second generation. A son of Mr. Powers is now making name and fame for himself in his father’s profession.

It has been said that the beautiful face of the eldest daughter of this family is suggested in her father’s “Greek Slave.” I looked up to her then with the respect which a child feels for an elder girl, “a young lady in society.” I can appreciate now and admire, even more than I did then, the extreme simplicity and unconsciousness which so well accorded with her grand, classic beauty. She was the good fairy at a Christmas Tree Festival, to which all the American girls and boys in Florence were bidden, on the twenty-fifth of December. We were all presented with most exquisitely made bonbonnieres, chiefly of home manufacture. We were feasted on doughnuts which brought tears to some of our eyes; dear American doughnuts, that might have been fried in the land of the free. We had French candy ad libitum; but there was also on exhibition a pound or so of genuine American stick candy, such as we see by the bushel in this country, and which had been brought over from the United States by a friend recently arrived, at Mrs. Powers’ special request We examined this stick candy with patriotic enthusiasm. We ate little bits of it, and thought it infinitely better than our candied fruits and chocolate creams. Doubtless this little incident here recalled will account for the fact that I always associate peppermint stick candy with the flag of the Union. It is an unfortunate caprice of mind; but, nevertheless, the national stripes always rise before me when I see these red and white sticks.

I am inclined to the belief that exiles make the best patriots. We American children stood up fiercely for our own native land, whenever the question as to national superiority arose between ourselves and English, French, or Italian children,—especially the English. With these we fought the Revolutionary war all over again, hotly, if injudiciously. And I am confident that we had a personal and individual sense of superiority over them. No doubt we were endowed, even at that early age, with the proverbial national conceit. Some one had told me that every American was a sovereign, and that I was consequently a princess in my own right. This became a conviction with me, and greatly increased my self-importance. How glorious to be the citizen of a country of such magnificent gifts of citizenship!

But to return to Mr. Powers. His statue of California was on exhibition at this time. This is, to my mind, the most noble and impressive of his works. The strong, resolute face, of classic outlines, and of the sterner type of beauty, bears a distinct resemblance to the sculptor’s second daughter, although by no means a portrait. It has been told me that one of the fathers of our American church, traveling in Italy, suggested an important alteration in this statue. California originally carried in her hand a bar, supposed to represent a bar of solid gold. The idea occurred to the bishop that were this smooth bar—which might mean anything—made to represent a nugget of gold in the rough, the point of the story would be far more effectively told; and on this idea the bishop spoke. The sculptor was impressed directly, and with all the unaffected simplicity of real genius he thanked his critic for the hint. California now displays her symbolic nugget; and, moreover, about her head is designed a fillet of bits of ore in the rough.

The America of Powers is another impressive and beautiful female form. A vision of the sculptor comes before my eyes, standing in front of this statue, and talking it over with a party of visitors. Such a beautiful, simple-mannered man—with his mild dark eyes and serene face! He wore the usual blouse and linen apron, and the cap of the sculptor. He held his chisel in his hand as he conversed. Some of his audience did not agree with him in the peculiar political views he held. But Mr. Powers would not argue, and what need? Had he not preached his sermon in stone and eloquently!


The wisest Child in the village in school
Was walking out in the evening cool
When she spied an Owl in a tulip-tree,
So a civil “Good evening, sir” said she,
Bu it gave her a shock (as it might give you)
When he solemnly answered “To wit:—to who?”
“Why, to you, to be sure!” said the little maid:
“But you’ve made a mistake, sir, I am afraid.
I don’t know what you mean by ‘to wit’
But objective is ‘whom’, I am sure of it.
The story-books say you’re a very wise fowl,
But that was a blunder, Mr Owl!”

SEEING THE POPE.


BY MRS. ALFRED MACY.


IT is only the young people of America who, in this age of the world, have not been to Europe; therefore to them and for them I have written down, in journal form, a few incidents of travel; among them, a brief account of an evening spent with La Baronessa Von Stein, and a presentation to the Pope.

Wednesday. This evening we have spent, by invitation, with the Baroness Von Stein, widow of Baron Von Stein of Germany. The Baroness, a German by birth, passed much of her youth in Poland. Skilled as a horsewoman, she often joined her father in rural pastimes, shooting, hunting etc. Being perfectly well, and of great mind, she acquired, as do all the noble women of Europe, a thorough knowledge of the ancient classics in their originals; also a familiarity with nearly every spoken language of the Old and New World. Well comparing with Margaret, Queen of Navarre in fluency of tongue, she readily changes from Italian to French, from French to Spanish, quotes from Buckle, Draper, etc., in English, is quite at home on German philosophy, notwithstanding her devotion to the Catholic Church. A singularly attractive old lady is she now; rather masculine in manner, exceedingly so, in mind; a fine painter in oil to whom the Pope has sat, in person, for his portrait. We have seen the likeness. It is pronounced perfect. She is very anxious for us to see his Holiness, and we certainly shall not leave Rome without so doing. The Baroness has an autograph note from Pio Nono, which is a rare possession. This she displayed with far more pride than was apparent upon showing her own handiwork. When the Holy Father sat to her, in order to get the true expression, conversation was necessary and she repeated, with much satisfaction, snatches therefrom, which were of the brightest nature. However learned he may be, in the Baroness Von Stein he meets no inferior.

As we entered her room, she was smoking: she begged pardon, but continued the performance.

The cigar was a cigar, no cigarette, no white-coated article, but a long, large, brown Havana, such as gentlemen in our own country use.

“You will find no difficulty,” said she, between her whiffs, “in seeing ‘Il Papa,’ and then you will say how good is his picture.”

During a part of our interview, there was present a sister of a “Secretario Generalissimo to the Pope,” who told us the manner in which the Popeship will be filled—she talked only in Italian, but I give a literal translation. “The new Pope is approved by the present Pio Nono. His name is written upon paper by the present Pope and sealed. The document is seen by no one, till after the death of ‘Il Papa,’ when it is opened, as a will, by the proper power. Unlike a will, it can not be disputed.”

Pio Nono certainly had his election in a far different way, according to the statements of the Roman Exiles of that day.

As the life of his Majesty hangs upon eternity, the matter of a successor will soon be decided. “Antonelli gone, where will it fall!” said I, but at once perceived that I was trespassing and the subject was speedily changed.

We left the Baronessa, intent upon one thing, viz., a presentation to the Pope, as soon as practical. Our Consul being no longer accredited to this power, but to Victor Emanuel, we must apply elsewhere.

Thursday. Started early this morning, from my residence corner of Bacca di Leone and Via di Lapa (doubtful protectors), for the American College and Father Chatard, in order to get a “permit” to the Monday Reception at the Vatican. On my way (and those who know Rome as well as we do will know how much on the way) I took, as I do upon all occasions, the Roman and Trajan forums, always walking when practicable; by the above means, I am likely to become very familiar with these beautiful views. They are so fascinating that I can not begin any day’s work without taking these first. The Trajan is my favorite. It may not be uninteresting to mention here that, on my circuitous stroll to the said College, I saw, and halted the better to see, one of those picturesque groups of Contadini and Contadine who frequent the towns of Italy. There were, first the parents, dressed in the fantastic garb of their class of peasantry, i.e., the mother with the long double pads, one scarlet and one white, hanging over her head and neck, while the father wore a gay slouched hat; then three girls, severally garbed in short pink dress, blue apron embroidered with every conceivable color simple and combined, yellow handkerchief thrown over the chest, long earrings, heavy braids, bare-footed or in fancifully knit shoes.

Roman Contadino.

Two boys in equally remarkable attire, and a baby that looked like a butterfly, completed the domestic circle. They did not seem to mind my gaze. The father continued his smoking, the mother her knitting, the girls their hooking, the boys their listless lounging, and the baby its play in the dust. There was a charm in the scene. One sight however (to be sure mine was an extended opportunity) is sufficient. A few steps beyond this gathering, I found photographs colored to represent these vagrants, and at one store pictures of the very individuals—I purchased specimens to take to America, a novelty the other side of the Atlantic.

After an hour or two, I reached the American College, was met by the students who very politely directed me to the Concièrge, and my name was taken to the learned Father. The students all wore the long robe, though speaking English.

Being a Quaker by birth, therefore educated to respect every man’s religion, and to believe that every man respects mine, nevertheless I felt misgivings incumbent upon the meeting of extremes. I was ushered into a large drawing-room and was examining the pictures, which generally tell the character of the owner, when Mr. Chatard entered. As he asked me to be seated, I thought, as some one has expressed it before me, “the whole world over, there are but two kinds of people,—‘man and woman.’”

The youth of this college may thank their stars that America has given them one of her most learned and worthy sons, though the sect to which his mother once belonged must deplore his loss.

In conversation with this Reverend gentleman, I obtained the requirements necessary to an introduction to the Pope, and was a little surprised that he should question my willingness to conform to the same. It was however, explained. He had been much embarrassed by the demeanor of some of the American women. Seeking the privilege of meeting the Pope in his own palace, where common courtesy and etiquette naturally demand a deference to the Lord of the Manor, yet these ladies, having previously guaranteed a compliance with the laws of ceremony, after gaining admission refused to obey them.

Seeing the Pope was not, to me, a religious service and is not generally so considered.

My only fear was that my plain manners in their brusqueness, would have the appearance of “omission.”

But the requirements are simple. Bending the knee, as a physical performance, was a source of anxiety. I at once called to mind the great difficulty which, as a young girl, I had in the play:

“If I had as many wives
As the stars in the skies,” etc.

Notwithstanding the person who had to kneel in the game had a large cushion to throw before her to receive the fall, I always shook the house from the foundations when I went down. I can hear the pendants now, of a chandelier in a certain frame house in my native town ring out my weight, as I flung the cushion in front of a boy that knew “he was not the one,” and took to my knees. True, the Vatican is not shaky in its underpinnnings, and faithful practice upon the floor of my apartment in Bocca di Leone, I thought, would be productive of some good. Quickly running through this train of reflection, and finally trusting that the gathering would not be disturbed by any marked awkwardness, I returned home to await the tidings.

Monday Evening. Have seen Pio Nono—have committed no enormity.

According to directions, in black dress, black veil, à la Spanish lady, ungloved hands (what an appearance at a Presidential reception!) we were attired. Took a carriage for the Vatican. Before we left home the padrona viewed us, pronounced us all right, and earnestly sought the privilege of selecting a coach for us. She had an eye to style. Is it possible that she did not give us credit for the same “strength,” and we traveling Americans? It is to be confessed that the horses were less like donkeys than otherwise might have been. Trying the knee the last thing before leaving the house, there was certainly reason for encouragement, though still a lingering humility.

Our ride was subdued, but we reached St. Peter’s, passed through the elegant halls of the Pope’s Palace, surpassed only by those of the Pitti at Florence in their gold and fresco, and were ushered into the reception room of Pio Nono.

This apartment, long and narrow, seemed more like a corridor than a hall. Its beauties are described in various guide books, so that “they who read can see.”

We were the only Protestants. The other ladies were laden with magnificent rosaries, pictures, toys, ribbons, etc., for the Holy Father’s blessing. Even I purchased one of the first, viz., a rosary, to undergo the same ceremony, as a gift to a much-loved servant girl at home.

We sat here many minutes in quiet (inwardly longing to try the fall.) At length the Pope was led in. We forgot our trials. A countenance so benign, beaming with goodness, spread a cheer throughout the assembly. We took the floor naturally and involuntarily. Except in dress, he might have been any old patriarch. The white robe, long and plain, gave him rather the appearance of a matriarch.

It chanced that his Holiness passed first up the right side of the hall. We sat vis à vis, so that we had the benefit of all that he said before we came in turn. While addressing the right, who continue on their knees, the left rise. As he turns to the latter they again kneel, whereas those opposite change from this posture to the standing.

The Pope talked now in French, now in Italian mostly in the former. As he approached our party, we were introduced merely as Americans, but our religion was stamped upon our brows. Turning kindly to my young daughter, who wore, as an ornament, a chain and cross, he said, as if quite sure of the fact, “You can wear your cross outside, as an ornament; I am obliged to wear mine inside as a cross;” whereupon, with a smile, he drew this emblem from his wide ribbon sash, showing her a most elegant massive cross of gold and diamonds, probably the most valuable one in the world. As he replaced this mark of devotion, his countenance expressing a recognition of our Protestantism, perhaps a pity for our future, placing his hand upon our heads, he passed on. The blessing of a good old man, whatever his faith, can injure no one, and may not be without its efficacy, even though it rest upon a disciple of George Fox.

I shall never cease to be glad that I have seen Pio Nono.


FAYETTE’S RIDE.


BY CLARA F. GUERNSEY.


“HELLO, girls! I say, hello!”

This polite salutation was addressed to two young girls who were standing at the parsonage gate in the little village of Valery’s Corners. The taller of the two colored with vexation, and looked back to the house as though she hoped no one had seen or heard.

The second answered in a clear, rather peculiar voice, “How do you do, Carlos?”

“I say,” returned Carlos, “I was up to your place, and seen your folks to-day.”

“I hope they were all well,” said the girl who had spoken before, while the other took no notice of Carlos whatever.

“Well, no, they wasn’t, jest. I thought I’d tell you—”

“O, what is it?” cried Fayette Locey, running out to the wagon, while her companion followed more slowly, looking rather annoyed than anxious.

“O, it ain’t nothing to be scared at, only Mr. Ford and Dick ain’t to home. They’ve gone over to the cattle sale at Elmira, and young Mis’ Ford she’s there alone, with only your aunt, and the hired man, and the baby.”

“Is the baby sick?” asked Fayette, troubled.

“No, not the baby.”

“Will you be good enough to tell us at once what is the matter?” said Helen Ford, speaking for the first time with a sort of cold irritation and a certain dignity which Carlos, though it rather awed him, resented as “stuck up.”

“Ye see,” said Carlos, letting the reins hang loose over the backs of the two old farm horses, “I was a-going past your house this morning, and I knew you was down here, and I thought your folks might have something to send.”

“You were very kind,” said Fayette; but Helen made no sign.

“I see young Mis’ Ford, and she said the old lady was kind of ailin’, and the men folks being away, and no one but Hiram, she felt kind of lonesome.”

“Did she send you for us?” asked Helen.

“No, not jest. She said the old lady might be going to have one of her bad spells, and as I was coming down to the corners I might tell you, and you could act your judgment, though she didn’t want to disappoint you of your visit. I could see she was consid’rable anxious.”

“Are you going back soon?” asked Fayette.

“’Bout half an hour or so. Tell ye what. I’ll call when I’ve done my arrands, and then you’ll have your minds made up.”

“O, thank you, Carlos,” said Fayette, gratefully. “I wish you would.”

Helen said nothing; but as they walked back to the house, she looked perplexed and annoyed. “So provoking of Sue,” she broke out at last. “If there was anything really the matter, why couldn’t she send a note? But she is so nervous and fanciful.”

“Sue’s not very strong, and you know Hiram is no one to depend upon. I hope Mrs. Allison and Eleanor will be back before we go.”

“So you are going?” said Helen, as if the idea vexed her.

“Why, Helen, I think one of us should go. If aunt had such an attack as she had in the winter, what could Sue do?”

“I dare say it is only her fancy,” said Helen. “But you are as ready to fancy things as she is, Fayette. If there were any reason for anxiety,” she continued in the even tones which had contributed to establish Helen Ford’s character as a “superior girl,”—“If there were any reason for anxiety, don’t you suppose I should be as anxious about my mother as you can be, who never saw her till you came to live with us three months ago?”

There was a covert sting in these words which Fayette felt and resented, but she held her tongue.

“Then I don’t want to miss this lecture,” Helen resumed. “It is the last of the set, and I feel it my duty to improve every opportunity that is offered me.”

Fayette slightly raised her black eyebrows. She knew her cousin’s way of squaring her duty with her inclination.

“I presume, too, that the boy has quite exaggerated the case. Persons of that class always like to make a sensation, and I dare say Sue only meant that mother had a little cold. She has such a habit of talking to all sorts of people as if they were her equals.”

“Yes, I think Sue does rather look upon human beings as if they were her fellow-creatures,” said Fayette.

“I don’t profess to understand sarcasm,” said Helen, setting her rather thin lips very straight. “Papa and Dick will be at home to-morrow, and one night can make no very great difference to Sue. It would be a serious disadvantage to me to lose this lecture. I have the notes of the whole set, and this is the last, and I should never be satisfied to leave them in that unfinished state.”

“And suppose you were not satisfied? What then?” said Fayette.

For a moment Helen had an odd sensation, as though some one had suddenly lifted a curtain and given her a glimpse of an unsuspected near and unpleasing region; but the feeling passed, and left behind it a sense of vexation with her cousin.

“Persons who do not care for intellectual pleasures can never understand what they are to others,” said Helen, with a superior and pitying smile, which provoked Fayette. “As the professor said last night, it is the first duty of every one to develop his or her nature to its highest capacities, and to seize every opportunity for mental enlargement.”

“Fiddlesticks!” thought the irreverent Fayette; but she did not say it, and that at least was something.

“Then it would not be polite to the Allisons to go off in this way, and when company is coming to tea, too. Mr. Allison is gone, and the ladies won’t be home till nearly tea time. How it would look to go off!”

“We could leave a message; and, Helen, if Sue were nervous and fanciful,—and I don’t think she is,—it would only be one more reason for not leaving her alone. I shall go,” concluded Fayette, with sudden decision.

“You will do as you please, of course,” said Helen, coldly, but secretly not ill pleased. “But it will look very strange.”

“I can’t help it. You can tell them all how it was;” and Fayette ran up stairs to pack up her things.

She had hardly done so when Carlos came back. “I wish you joy of your companion,” said Helen to her cousin, with something very like a sneer.

“I might easily have a worse one,” said Fayette, who liked the big, simple young fellow. “One of us is enough to go, and it may as well be I as you. I hope you’ll enjoy the evening. Remember me to Miss Fenton and the others.”

It was with a little pang that Fayette spoke. She had been quite as much interested in the lectures as her cousin, and she had found herself very much at home with the Misses Fenton, the granddaughters of Mrs. Lyndon, at the Hickories.

“Well, of course one is enough, and more than enough,” said Helen; “but I suppose now you have alarmed yourself so, you will not be satisfied to stay here. I shall come home with Mr. Allison Sunday. Good-bye.”

Helen went back to the house, and laid out her dress for the evening.

The party from the Hickories, and the stray professor, who had given four lectures on geology in Valery’s Corners, were coming to tea at the Parsonage.

Helen had met the professor before, and had been complimented on the interest she displayed in science, and she felt, as she said, that she could not be satisfied without putting down the notes of the last lecture.

Helen was an intellectual girl—so said her teachers, and so she believed. She liked to acquire facts, and rules, and classifications, and dates, and range them all nicely away in her mind, as she put her cuffs, and collars, and laces, and ribbons in her boxes; as she saved odds and ends of silk and linen, and put them into labeled bags.

As it pleased her to look over her drawers, and count up her possessions, so she liked to review her stock of knowledge gained from text-books, and say, “All this is mine.”

She told Mrs. Allison that her sister-in-law had sent a message by Carlos, and that Fayette had gone home.

“Sue is a little nervous sometimes,” said Helen, in her most superior manner.

Helen’s evening was very successful. She was invited to the Hickories by Mrs. Lyndon. She talked to the professor. She took her notes, but some way, even when she had neatly copied out the names of all the saurians, she did not feel as well “satisfied” as she had expected.

It was not till between seven and eight that evening that Carlos set Fayette down at her uncle’s gate.

The roads were rough, and they had been a long time coming the nine miles. Carlos lived at Scrub Hollow, a very forlorn hamlet, three miles further away.

It was a wild March night, with a loud-sounding wind rushing through the upper air. Fayette, as she stood at the gate a moment, and looked out over the confused mass of rounded, rolling hills that formed the dim landscape, felt lonely and half frightened.

Everything was so dim and gray, and seemed so full of mysterious sound! The low roar of increasing streams, the multiplied whisper and rustle of the woods, made the world seem something different from the ordinary daylight earth.

She shook off the fancies that crowded upon her, and walked quickly up to the house, which stood at some distance from the road—a pile of gray buildings, with sharp, many-angled roofs rising against the sky.

A light shone from the “living-room” window.

Fayette opened the door, and was greeted by a cry of joy from young Mrs. Ford.

“O, Fayette! I’m so glad it’s you!” and there was an emphasis as, if the speaker were rather glad it was not some one else.

“I thought I’d come,” said Fayette, kissing her. “How’s aunt?”

“I think she is pretty sick,” said Sue, lowering her voice. “She’s gone to bed.”

“Have you sent Hiram for the doctor?”

“Hiram has gone. I’m all alone. Word came over from Springville, just after Carlos was here, that his father had broken his leg, and he had to go, of course.”

“But why didn’t you tell him to send Dr. Ward over?”

“Mother wouldn’t let me. You know how she hates to send for a doctor, and she thought she’d be better.”

A voice from the next room called to know who was there, and Fayette went in.

Mrs. Ford was in bed, her face drawn and pinched. A look of pain crossed her features as her niece entered. There was disappointment in her voice as she said,—

“Is that you, Fayette?”

“Yes, aunt. I thought I’d come.”

There are women who, in Mrs. Ford’s place, would have been angry with the girl for doing what one dearer had left undone; but Mrs. Ford, if she had such a feeling, was too just to visit it upon Fayette.

“You are a good child,” she said, with uncommon softness, but with a sigh. “Don’t be troubled. I shall get over it by and by.”

But Mrs. Ford did not get over it. The trouble was furious and intense neuralgia; not such as young ladies have when they suffer “awfully” in the morning, and go to a party at night, but blinding, burning pain, reducing the life power every minute, and threatening the heart.

Sue and Fayette tried in vain every remedy in their power. Even Mrs. Ford’s favorite panacea of seven different herbs, steeped in spirits with pepper and spice, utterly failed.

The patient grew worse and worse, and at midnight it was evident that, unless help came speedily, her hours were numbered.

The farm was not on the high road, and their nearest neighbors were two old maiden ladies, a mile away, neither of whom could have been of the least use.

Scrub Hollow lay three miles to the south. A nurse might have been found there, but no physician. Springville, where Dr. Ward lived, was a little further off in the opposite direction.

The road to Springville was rough and lonely, and lay over wind-swept hill and through dark valley, by woods and swamps; for this portion of the southern frontier is even now but thinly settled.

“What shall we do?” said poor Sue, wringing her hands. “What shall we do?”

“There’s only one thing to do,” said Fayette, desperately. “I shall go for the doctor.”

“O, Fayette! Walk all that way alone!”

“I shall ride Phœbe. I can saddle her myself. Father taught me how. I must go, Sue. I can’t let aunt lie here and die, and never try to save her. It’s hard to leave you alone, but it won’t take long. Baby hasn’t waked up once. What a mercy! Don’t say a word, Sue: I must go.”

“O, Fayette!” cried Sue, helplessly; but she made no further objection, and Mrs. Ford had not heard the hurried consultation.

Fayette would give herself no time to think. She was a nervous little thing, and she dreaded the long ride through the windy night more than she had ever feared anything in her life.

She was not a very daring rider, though at the little frontier post where she had passed two years with her parents, her father had taught her to manage a horse with reasonable skill, and she had ridden many a mile with him over the prairie.

“O, if father were here now!” she said, a sob suddenly rising.

Then she was doubtful about her own power to manage Phœbe, the great chestnut mare, the pride of her uncle’s heart, strong, swift, spirited creature that she was.

For two years Phœbe had borne away the prize at state and county fairs, and the horse-racing world had tempted her owner in vain. Fayette had mounted her more than once, and ridden around the yard, and up and down the road, but always with some secret fears. She had never dared even to try a canter; and now to mount at “mirk midnight,” and go, as fast as might be, off into the darkness alone on Phœbe’s back, seemed an awful thing to poor Fayette.

She knew that the mare was gentle, and she had often petted her, and fed her, and led her to water. She did not much doubt but that Phœbe would submit to be saddled and bridled by her hand, but still it was with many a misgiving that she put on her hat and jacket. She did not take time to find her habit, and, lighting the lantern, went out to the barn.

Phœbe was not lying down. Disturbed, perhaps, by the loud-blowing wind, she was wide awake; and as Fayette entered with the light, she turned her head with a low whinny, as though glad to see a friend.

Fayette went into the stall in fear and trembling; but she loosened the halter, and led Phœbe out unresisting.

The mare was so tall, and Fayette was so short, that she was obliged to stand up on a box to slip on the bridle; to which Phœbe submitted, turning her soft, intelligent eyes on the girl with mild, wondering inquiry. The saddle was harder to manage, but Fayette strained at the girth till her wrists ached, and hoped all was right.

Some faint encouragement came to her, as she saw how gently the mare behaved. “O, Phœbe, darling,” said Fayette, “you will be good—I know you will. You are the only one that can help us now.”

Petted Phœbe, used to caresses as a house cat, rubbed her dainty head on Fayette’s shoulder, as if to reassure her.

Poor Fayette put up one brief wordless prayer for help and courage, and then she led Phœbe out of the stable, mounted her by the aid of the horse-block, and rode away into the night.

Sue, watching forlorn, heard the mare’s hoofs beating fainter down the road; and relieved that at least Fayette had got off without accident, listened till the last sound died away on the wind.

CHAPTER II.

IT was a wild March night. The wind blew loud and cold, though there was in the air a faint breath of spring, and the brooks were coming down with fuller currents every hour to swell the Susquehanna. There had been heavy rains for the last few days, and the roads were deeply gullied, and somewhat dangerous by night.

The wild, white moon, nearly at the full, was plunging swiftly through heavy masses of gray cloud, that at times quite obscured her light, and the solid shapes of hill and wood, and the sweeping, changing shadows were so mingled that it was hard to distinguish what was real earth and what was but the effect of cloud and wind-blown moonshine. All the twilight world seemed sound and motion.

Phœbe, as well as her rider, perhaps, felt some of the influences of the time; for she snorted and turned her head homeward, as if minded to return to her warm stable; but she gave way to Fayette’s voice and hand, and, striking into a steady pace, picked her way down the steep and deeply-furrowed road as soberly as an old cart-horse.

The Ford farm-house lay half way up the side of a high hill, and the farm extended into the valley below in pasture and meadow land. Here, for a space, was a hard gravel road; and Fayette, yielding to the spur of the moment, let Phœbe canter, which she was only too willing to do, and was relieved to find how easily she kept her seat, and how gentle was the motion.

In a few minutes the bounds of the farm were passed, and Fayette’s heart sank low as they drew near the roaring, sounding woods through which the road lay. The trees stood up like a black wall, with one blacker archway, into which the path ran, and was lost in the darkness beyond.

People who have never been allowed to hear the word “ghost,” who know nothing of popular superstitions, who are strangers to ballad lore and to Walter Scott, will, nevertheless, be often awed and sometimes panic-struck by night, and darkness, and wind, and that power of the unseen which laughs Mr. Gradgrind himself to scorn.

Fayette, however, had not been properly brought up, according to Mr. Gradgrind’s system. She had read all sorts of wild tales, and listened to them from the lips of a Scotch nurse. She knew many a ballad, and many a bit of folk lore, and old paganism,—pleasant enough puppets for imagination to play with under the sunshine, but which now rose up in a grim life-likeness quite too real.

The owls began to call from the shadows, and once and again came a long, wild scream, which, in the darkness and wind, had an awful sound.

Fayette knew perfectly well that it was only a coon calling, but for all that it frightened her. There came over her that horrible feeling which most people have experienced once in their lives at least—the sense that some unseen pursuer is coming up behind. In a sudden spasm of terror, she very nearly gave way to the impulse that urged her to rush blindly on anywhere to escape the dread follower. Nerves and imagination were running wild; but Fayette, from her earliest years, had been trained to self-control and duty. She checked the panic that urged her to cry and scream for help. She used her reason, and forced herself to look back and assure her senses that, so far as she could see the dim track, she and Phœbe were the only living creatures there.

“I am doing what is right,” she said to herself. “God is here as much as in my room at home. It is folly to fear things that are not real, and as for living beings, not even a wolf could catch me on Phœbe.”

Resolutely rousing her will, she grew more used to her situation, and, more able to control her terrors, she sternly refused to give rein to her frightened fancy. She drew a long breath, however, when once the wood was passed and the road began to climb the opposing hill, behind which, and across the creek, lay Springville. She thought of William of Deloraine and his ride to Melrose, and smiled at the remembrance of that matter-of-fact hero.

“It’s a good thing, Phœbe, dear, that you and I have no deadly feud with any one,” she said; and then she patted the mare and praised her, and Phœbe, quickening her pace, broke into a gallop, and took the hill road with long, sweeping strides that soon brought them to the summit.

Fayette began to enjoy the swift motion and a sense of independence and safety in Phœbe’s gentle compliance with her will; but at the hill-top she checked the pace, fearing a stumble down the deeply gullied hill, which was still sending rivulets to the creek. The amiable Phœbe chose to obey, and picked her way, careful both for herself and her rider.

Now rose a new voice on the wind. It was the sound of angry waters, a long roar rising louder from time to time.

“How high the creek must be!” thought Fayette; and as the roar increased, she began to have a sort of fear of the bridge, which she knew must be crossed; but she classed the feeling with her ghostly terrors, and soon found herself drawing near the bridge, the noise of the water almost drowning that of the wind.

As she came to the bank, a heavy cloud came over the moon, involving the whole landscape in sudden and dense blackness; and at that instant Phœbe planted her feet like a rock, and refused to stir an inch.

In vain Fayette coaxed and urged, for she dared not strike, even if she had had a whip. Phœbe was immovable as a horse of bronze; but at last she began to pull at the bridle, as though she meant to turn homeward.

Just then the moon came out, and Fayette, looking eagerly forward, saw, to her horror, that the bridge was gone. A post and rail only remained, and beyond was a chasm where the furious waters had not even left a wreck behind.

Had Phœbe’s senses not been more acute than her own, two steps more would have plunged horse and rider into the flood.

Fayette turned sick, and felt as if she should fall from the saddle. She rallied, however, for she knew she must. Her senses came back in thankfulness to God, and she confessed humbly enough to Phœbe that she had known best; and Phœbe, looking over her shoulder, said, “I told you so,” as plainly as a horse could.

Fayette was at a loss. A mile further up the stream was another and much better bridge than the rickety old plank structure that was missing; but to reach it she must turn back and make a long detour, that would nearly double her journey, while every minute lessened the chances of the sufferer at home.

She knew that just below the bridge was a ford easily passable in summer, and she remembered hearing her uncle say that once, when the bridge was down, he had crossed this ford on horseback. It might be that even now she and Phœbe could make their way across.

A wagon track led down to the water’s edge, and Phœbe did not refuse to follow this path to the stream’s edge, where Fayette checked her, afraid to face the passage.

The creek was coming down ruffled before the wind into waves “crested with tawny foam,” and the “wan water” looked eerie and threatening.

Fayette refused to think of the water kelpie, who just then obtruded himself on her mind. She bent from the saddle and scanned the road.

Judging from the traces on the gravel, she thought that a wagon must have passed not many hours before. Her courage rose, and she set her will to the task before her.

“If Phœbe thinks it safe, I’ll try it,” she said; and as the rein hung loose, Phœbe stepped cautiously in. She seemed doubtful at first, but she went on, and the water rose and rose.

The moon cast an uncertain, wavering light on the dancing stream; the roar filled Fayette’s ears like a threatening voice; the waves, as they plunged toward her, seemed hands raised to pull her down; and still Phœbe stepped steadily on, and the stream came higher and higher. Fayette drew up her feet as far as she could, and glanced back to the shore, half minded to turn; but it was now as far to one bank as to the other. The water touched her feet; it flowed over them.

The next instant she scarcely checked the shriek that rose to her lips, for she felt that the mare no longer touched bottom, but was swimming for her life and her rider’s.

At the real danger her ghostly terrors fled. With a sense of wonder she felt her mind grow calm, her courage rise, her senses wake to their work.

To her relief she saw that Phœbe had not lost her wits, but was keeping straight across the creek. She let the mare take her own way, only helping her as far as she could by keeping her head in the way she wished to go. She thought of nothing but the minute’s need; and of all the possibilities before her, the only fear that shaped itself in her mind was one for her horse.

The current was strong, but so was Phœbe, and her blood was up. She snorted fiercely, as if angry with the force that crossed her will, and putting out her strength, she breasted the storm gallantly.

It was but a minute, though it seemed an hour to Fayette, before she touched bottom.

The water sank rapidly, and she reached the shore but a little below the usual landing. The bank came down to the stream with a somewhat steep incline; but mountain-bred Phœbe planted her fore feet firmly, scrambled cat-like up the incline, shook the clinging water from hide and mane, and with a joyous whinny, rushed like an arrow on the track.

The way was plain before her, and in a minute or two more Fayette, with some trouble, checked Phœbe’s gallop at Dr. Ward’s gate. A light was burning over the office door.

Fayette slipped from the saddle, but before she turned to the house, she put her arms round Phœbe’s neck, and kissed the white star on her forehead. As she ran up the walk, she felt, for the first time, that she was wet nearly to her knees, and the wind made her shiver.

She rang the bell sharply, and to her relief the door was opened directly by Dr. Ward himself, who had just come in.

Hurriedly, but clearly, Fayette told her story.

“Yes, I understand,” said Dr. Ward. “But, dear me,” he added, as the light fell on her more clearly, “where have you been to get so wet?”

“In the water,” said Fayette. “The creek is so high, and the bridge is down.”

“Child! You did not ride that ford to-night?”

“Not all the way, sir. Phœbe swam.”

“Phœbe, indeed! A pretty pair are you and Phœbe to race round the country at midnight. Go to Mrs. Ward and get some dry clothes, while my man gets out the gig.”

“O, sir, please be quick.”

“Yes, yes; only get off those wet things. Let Phœbe stay here till to-morrow, for my old gig can’t swim the creek, whatever you and the mare can do. We must go by the upper bridge.”

Mrs. Ward, called out of bed, supplied Fayette with dry things, and Phœbe was consigned to the doctor’s admiring colored man, to be well cared for before she took possession of her bed in the warm stable.

The doctor kept a trotter for emergencies, and in an hour and a half from the time she had left home Fayette came back.

Sue came to meet them, white and scared; and, as she came, Fayette heard a cry of anguish, which she knew that nothing but the direst extremity could have wrung from her strong, self-controlled aunt.

The doctor took out his ether flask and sponge, and hurried to the bedside.

Before long the ministering spirit did its good office. The tortured nerves relaxed, and the patient slept.

Fayette put on her wrapper, and curled herself up on the sofa, leaving Sue and the doctor watching by the fire.

When she woke it was broad daylight. All seemed quiet about the house. She stole across the floor, and looked into her aunt’s room. Mrs. Ford was awake, and held out her hand.

“Is the pain gone, aunt?” asked Fayette, kissing her, and feeling a new love rising in her heart.

“Yes, child; but I am very weak.”

“It was the ether saved your life, I really think,” said Fayette, to whom the past night seemed like a dream.

“No, my dear,” said Mrs. Ford. “It was you.”

Bow-wow.


FANNY.


BY CLARA DOTY BATES.


WHAT do the wistful eyes discover,
Full of their baby dignity?
Lips, I know, are as red as clover,
Cheeks like the bloom that flushes over
Peaches, sun-ripe on the tree.
Let but a merry play-thought brighten
Over the little pensive face,
Then how the sober shades will lighten,
Then how the dimples deep will frighten
Every grave line from its place.
Well, I know there is mischief sleeping,
Plenty of it, behind this guise;
Little brain has a way of keeping
Back the smiles; but still they are peeping
Out from the brow, the mouth, and eyes.

LITTLE MARY’S SECRET.


BY MRS. L. C. WHITON.


O LARKS! sing out to the thrushes,
And thrushes, sing to the sky;
Sing from your nests in the bushes,
And sing wherever you fly;
For I’m sure that never another
Such secret was told unto you—
I’ve just got a baby brother!
And I wish that the whole world knew.
I have told the buttercups, truly,
And the clover that grows by the way;
And it pleases me each time, newly,
When I think of it during the day.
And I say to myself: “Little Mary,
You ought to be good as you can,
For the sake of the beautiful fairy
That brought you the wee little man.”
I’m five years old in the summer,
And I’m getting quite large and tall;
But I thought, till I saw the new-comer,
When I looked in the glass, I was small;
And I rise in the morning quite early,
To be sure that the baby is here,
For his hair is so soft and curly,
And his hands so tiny and dear!
I stop in the midst of my pleasure—
I’m so happy I cannot play—
And keep peeping in at my treasure,
To see how much he gains in a day.
But he doesn’t look much like growing,
Yet I think that he will in a year,
And I wish that the days would be going,
And the time when he walks would be here!
O larks! sing out to the thrushes,
And thrushes, sing as you soar;
For I think, when another spring blushes,
I can tell you a great deal more:
I shall look from one to the other,
And say: “Guess, who I’m bringing to you?”
And you’ll look—and see—he’s my brother!
And you’ll sing, “Little Mary was true.”

NURSERY TILES. —THE SHEPHERD BOY.

HOW PATTY CURTIS LEARNED TO SWEEP.


BY MRS. M. L. EVANS.


NOWADAYS nearly every school-room is furnished with a waste-paper basket, dust-pan and brush, with which the pupils are expected to keep the room tidy. But in the days when Patty Curtis went to school in the old brick school-house in Sagetown, such luxuries were unheard of, and the school-room during the greater part of the day was a haven for dirt—rather clean dirt it was, but it answered the definition which says, “Dirt is matter out of place.”

Certainly the school-room floor was no place for the scraps of paper over which Patty industriously scribbled with her stubby lead-pencil, but it was there she dropped them without thought of wrong-doing or idea of further responsibility for her manuscript fragments. Cores of haws and crab-apples, and shells of “pig-nuts” found the same resting place, and soiled slate-rags were in such abundance as would have delighted the heart of any “old rag man;” during flower season, too, a desk proudly adorned with fresh flowers in the morning meant a floor sadly strewed with wilted, trodden fragments in the afternoon, and over all this litter was plentifully sprinkled the dust of the earth. Of this we are all supposed to be made, and it needs but little faith to believe that children are made of it, when one sees, in a school-room, the quantity of it they can kick off their feet, and shake out of their jackets and skirts.

The services of a janitor were as unknown to the old school-house as were the basket, dust-pan and brush; the teacher was expected to do the sweeping herself. This, Miss Kelsey, Patty’s new teacher one spring term, found no pleasant ending to a hard day’s work. The desks and seats were awkwardly constructed, and placed very close together; if Miss Kelsey tried to sweep without looking under them, she found she left more dirt than she swept out, and if she thrust both head and broom under the seat, in order to see what she was doing, she was sure to bump her head, and “jab” herself with the broom-handle, and in either case she came out of the school-room tired and hot, and choked with dust.

It is not strange, then, that she had not done the sweeping many days before she came to the conclusion:

“It is the children who make all this labor necessary, and it is but right that they should do it themselves; they are little and active and could sweep under these troublesome seats more easily than I can; besides the girls will soon have such work to do at home, and their mothers will be glad to have them learn to do it here.”

So one evening when both hands on the little round clock pointed to IV., and thirty-six boys and girls were waiting the tap at the bell that should dismiss them, Miss Kelsey spoke:

“I have decided to ask you children to do the sweeping for me hereafter, and I will choose two each evening from your names, as they stand on my register, to do the work. To-night Sarah Adams and Aggie Bentley may sweep. There are two brooms, one girl can take the boys’ side and the other the girls’ side of the room, and you will soon finish the sweeping.”

For a moment each pupil eyed the dirty floor, and tried to decide whether or not sweeping was a desirable piece of work. Sarah Adams very soon decided to her satisfaction that it was not, and she raised her hand.

“Well, Sarah?” said Miss Kelsey.

“Please, Miss Kelsey, mother’s at a quiltin’ at Deacon Smith’s, and she told me to come home as soon as school was out, and help Nancy get supper for the men.”

Sarah was the oldest girl in school, and Miss Kelsey knew that in whatever she led the other children were sure to follow, but she did not want to offend Mrs. Adams by refusing to allow Sarah to go home when school was dismissed, so she reluctantly said:

“Well, then, I suppose I will have to excuse you. Hattie Bitner may take your place to-night, and you can sweep to-morrow night.”

Up went Hattie’s hand as if worked by a spring. “Miss Kelsey, mother’s making soap, and she told me to come home right away as soon as school was out to tend the baby.”

It was natural, though perhaps not wise, for Miss Kelsey to lose patience at this point.

“Then,” said she, “you may go immediately, and mind you run every step of the way. Well, Patty Curtis, what is your mother doing that you cannot stay to sweep?”

Now, Patty had been trying during all of the previous dialogue to think if there was not something that her mother might possibly want her to do after school, by which she might escape the sweeping, but all in vain, for Patty’s mother was one of the women who “never want children bothering around about the work,” and as Patty was too conscientious to invent an excuse, as some children would have done, she had no answer for Miss Kelsey’s question except a rather sulky, “Nothing that I know of, ma’am.”

“Then you and Aggie Bentley take the brooms when the others are gone,” said Miss Kelsey, as she tapped the bell.

Aggie Bentley was one of the pleasantest little girls in the world; when appointed to sweep she did not think of trying to evade the duty, it was enough for her that her teacher had asked her to do it, and she took the broom so cheerfully and went to work with such a vim that Patty was shamed out of her unwillingness, and soon was swinging the broom as briskly and as awkwardly as was Aggie. Still it was not a pleasant task, and when she came out of the school-room, coughing, sneezing, and wiping the dust out of her eyes, she found words for her disgust:

“Ugh! Nasty work! I’m glad there’s thirty-four more to sweep before it comes our turn again. Let’s see, thirty-four, two at a time, that’s seventeen days. Nearly a month before we’ll have to sweep again, Aggie!”

But Patty was doomed to disappointment, for at the moment she was making this clearly expressed calculation, Miss Kelsey was also giving the sweeping question serious thought.

“It is going to be a hard matter to persuade these children to do the sweeping,” thought she. “I suppose most of the mothers can find something for them to do, and the little rogues who have always loitered and played half an hour or more on their way home, will come to-morrow with a fine assortment of excuses, all to the effect that they must be at home immediately after school. I think I had better change the plan and make the sweeping a punishment for whispering. They will not care to tell their parents that they are detained for misdemeanors, and it will put a check on the whispering too.”

So the next morning as soon as school opened she told the pupils she should appoint to the sweeping, that night, the first two that she should see whispering.

“O, my goodness gracious!” said thoughtless Flindy Jenkins to herself in a loud whisper, “I’ll get caught sure.” And sure enough she did, for down went her name in Miss Kelsey’s “black book.”

Whispering was Patty’s besetting sin, and on hearing Miss Kelsey’s decision she buttoned up her mouth very tightly indeed, and resolved not to open it again until some one else was caught, and she would no doubt have kept this politic resolution had she not soon after spied little Biddy Maginnis in the act of whisking out of a knot-hole in the desk a bunch of violets that Patty had, a short time before, fastened there. They were the first violets of the season and Biddy wanted to smell of them, but Patty did not like to have her treasures so roughly handled and in the excitement of a moment forgot everything else.

“Give those back here,” she said, fiercely, and almost aloud.

“Patty Curtis,” said Miss Kelsey, as she wrote her name under that of Flindy Jenkins, “I am sorry to say that you will have to sweep again to-night.” And Patty with a gasp of shame and surprise, sank back into her seat with her rescued flowers.

“It’s too bad,” she said to herself as she heard the children around her giggle, and in spite of her efforts the tears chased each other down her cheeks, giving the pretty violets a salt bath. The tears stopped after a while, but Patty did not recover from her vexation: she sulked all day, and was sulky still when she took the broom in hand after school. She would show Miss Kelsey, she thought in her naughty little heart, that the school-room would look but precious little better for her being kept to sweep it.

Flindy Jenkins was a poor companion for a little girl in such a frame of mind, and she really fell in with Patty’s suggestion that they sweep so the school-room should “look like Biddy Maginnises’ house in the Hollow;” and when Miss Kelsey came to school early the next morning she found the room looking worse, if possible, than if it had not been swept at all.

That afternoon Miss Kelsey sat at her desk thinking so intently about the sweeping, that she did not see Aggie Bentley standing beside her until the little girl spoke timidly:

“Please, Miss Kelsey, may Patty Curtis and I go out and play a little while? we have got all our lessons.”

Miss Kelsey glanced over to Patty and saw an eager face shadowed by a very doubting expression, for the little girl knew she deserved no play-time after her conduct of the night before. So she was surprised to see Miss Kelsey’s face brighten, and to hear her give a cordial consent. The truth was that Miss Kelsey had suddenly solved the problem that had been troubling her for several days. Offer as reward to the two that would sweep, a half hour’s extra recess when lessons were learned! Why had she not thought of it before? for if there was anything more coveted than “reward cards,” it was these “half hours.” Before school closed she made a simple statement of her new plan, and was amused to see what an electrifying effect it had upon the children; and when they were dismissed what a scramble there was for the brooms! if there had been thirty-six of these, thirty-six children would soon have been sweeping away at the floor of the little school-room; as there were but two, great was the pulling and twisting they received, and loud the uproar among those who wanted to use them. The trouble was soon settled by Miss Kelsey, who took possession of the brooms and said the two should sweep who came first in the morning.

Patty Curtis was now in luck, for the fact that her mother had nothing for her to do at home, which had been such a draw-back to her before, would be the greatest help now; she could come to the school-house as early as she liked while other little girls had to wash dishes, or rock cradles, and the boys had wood to split and cows to drive to pasture.

The next morning Patty was the first one at the school-house, and she had nearly finished half the sweeping when Sarah Adams came, so she and Sarah had the half hour play together. Sarah was two years older than Patty, and a very quarrelsome girl, and she and Patty succeeded in quarelling so over the play-house they were building that neither little girl got much enjoyment from the reward of her labor.

As Patty intended to sweep the next morning, and did not want Sarah for a playmate, she lingered after school was dismissed to make arrangements with Aggie Bentley to assist her. They agreed that Aggie was to prevail upon her indulgent mother to allow her to start for school as soon as she ate her breakfast. Patty was to go at the same time, and they would have the sweeping done before Sarah, or any one else, should arrive.

But when the two little girls went into the entry to get their sunbonnets they noticed that the brooms were gone from the corner where they always stood.

“Perhaps they have been carried out of doors,” said Patty, and she looked out on the steps and in various possible and impossible places, but in vain; then she went into the house and told Miss Kelsey that the brooms were gone, and Miss Kelsey helped the little girls search. At last they all gave up. Then the teacher spoke:

“I suspect, Patty, some of the pupils think you have done enough sweeping for a while, and want to give you a rest, so have hidden the brooms. Never mind, you will have many more chances to do the sweeping, and besides you ought not to want all the half hours for yourself.”

But this did not comfort Patty very much; you will see she was rather a selfish little girl, and she did want all the half hours, as well as all other obtainable good things, for herself.

“It is that Sarah Adams who has hid them brooms,” she said to Aggie as they walked home together, “and she has just done it for spite. I wish I could think of some way to get ahead of her, but I can’t.”

“Well, we won’t have to go to school so early,” said Aggie; “you come over to my house and we will have a nice play before the bell rings.”

Before dark, however, Patty had thought of a way to “get ahead” of Sarah Adams. This was simply, to take a broom with her when she went to school the next morning. But a lion in the form of Patty’s mother stood in the way of her getting a broom; Patty knew she would never allow one to be taken away from home; if Patty took one she must take it without permission. Now there were but two brooms in the house; one stood in the kitchen and was in such constant use that Patty knew it would be missed long before she could return it; the other was kept in the hall closet and was used once a week, in sweeping the parlor and “spare room,” and the day before had been the regular sweeping day. This she must take if she took either, altho’ she knew she should not, but she did not allow herself time enough to think about it to be persuaded out of the notion; she took the broom from the closet, and in the gathering darkness carried it to a hiding place between the wood shed and the pig-pen, and then went to bed to be tormented all night with visions of her mother’s best broom:—an old beggar woman stole it away; a black witch mounted it, and rode to the moon, never to return; and lastly, Sarah Adams found it, and knowing Patty intended sweeping with it burned it up before her very eyes. Patty was glad when morning came, and she hurried out to assure herself of the safety of the broom, as soon as she was dressed. When she had eaten her breakfast she started to school with the broom, and stopped for Aggie Bentley. Aggie found an old broom which her mother said she might take. They swept and dusted the room in high glee, and Patty had perched herself upon one of the front desks, and sat kicking her heels in triumph, when Sarah Adams and Hattie Bitner entered with the hidden brooms.

“Needn’t mind sweeping this morning, girls,” said Patty; “and the next time you hide brooms you’d better hide all in Sagetown.”

“I’ll pay you up, miss,” said Sarah, when she had recovered from her astonishment, and she and Hattie threw down their brooms and left the room in high wrath.

Some way Patty did not enjoy her half hour play that morning; she was fearful that she might not be able to get her mother’s broom back into the house without being discovered, and Sarah’s threat troubled her; what means Sarah would take to get her into trouble she could not imagine.

That evening as Patty sat at home, swinging back and forth in her little rocking-chair, who should come to make her a visit but Sarah; that hypocritical young woman was as smiling and as amiable as possible, but she declined all of Patty’s invitations to “go out and play;” this made Patty uneasy, she wished Sarah would go home. Pretty soon Patty’s mother came in and sat down, and Sarah immediately began talking about school and Miss Kelsey’s plans for the sweeping. Patty grew still more uneasy and made another effort to get Sarah out of doors, but when Sarah said—

“My mother said she thought it was so queer that Mrs. Curtis should let Patty take a new broom from home to sweep that dirty school-house with,”—then Patty resigned herself to her fate.

“Patty Curtis! you don’t mean to say that you took my best broom to the school-house,” said Mrs. Curtis, dropping her knitting in her astonishment.

“Yes I did,” said Patty; “but I wouldn’t, if that mean thing there hadn’t hid the brooms.”

“And I,” said Sarah, “wouldn’t have hid ’em, if you hadn’t been so stingy as to want all the play-times yourself.”

“There, that will do for you both,” said Mrs. Curtis. “Patty, you may get yourself a bowl of bread and milk for your supper, and go to bed immediately.”

This, Mrs. Curtis considered a very light punishment; it would have been much heavier if her motherly indignation had not been a little stirred against Sarah for playing informer; but to Patty it was hard enough, for she had intended going out on the common with the girls, late in the evening, for a game of “black man” by the light of the rising moon; and as she eat her bread and milk, crying quietly to herself, she heard Sarah’s taunting voice under the window:

“Don’t you wish you’d let me sweep, so you could play ‘black man’ to-night?”

“Don’t care,” answered Patty; “I had a play when you didn’t, and I’ll have another to-morrow.”

So she did, and though Miss Kelsey interfered to prevent Patty from having a monopoly of the sweeping, still she did it so often that before the term closed she became a famous sweeper, and her mother actually allowed her to take charge of the sweeping of the sitting-room at home, and was not at all sorry that Miss Kelsey had proved such a skillful tactician.


A BIRD STORY.


BY M. E. B.


IT’S strange how little boys’ mothers
Can find it all out as they do,
If a fellow does anything naughty,
Or says anything that’s not true!
They’ll look at you just a moment
Till your heart in your bosom swells,
And then they know all about it—
For a little bird tells!
Now where the little bird comes from,
Or where the little bird goes,
If he’s covered with beautiful plumage,
Or black as the king of the crows,
If his voice is as hoarse as a raven
Or clear as the ringing of bells,
I know not—but this I am sure of—
A little bird tells!
The moment you think a thing wicked,
The moment you do a thing bad,
Are angry or sullen or hateful,
Get ugly or stupid or mad,
Or tease a dear brother or sister—
That instant your sentence he knells
And the whole to mamma in a minute
That little bird tells.
You may be in the depths of a closet
Where nobody sees but a mouse,
You may be all alone in the cellar,
You may be on the top of the house,
You may be in the dark and the silence,
Or out in the woods and the dells—
No matter! Wherever it happens
The little bird tells!
And the only contrivance to stop him,
Is just to be sure what you say—
Sure of your facts and your fancies,
Sure of your work and your play;
Be honest, be brave, and be kindly,
Be gentle and loving as well,
And then—you can laugh at the stories
The little bird tells!

A NEW LAWN GAME.


By G. B. Bartlett.


A COMPLETELY new lawn game has just been imported from Germany, which must soon become a very popular and amusing pastime for old and young, for the appliances are very simple and any one can play it, while with practice great skill will be developed. At present there is only one set of this game in America; but the readers of the Wide Awake will need to try it but once to appreciate and enjoy it.

BOGGIA.

The game of Boggia requires one black ball, nine white balls, and nine colored balls. Croquet balls will answer; but those of hard wood are better, since they are heavier; still if made of light wood, melted lead can be poured into holes made with a gimlet until they weigh about one-half pound each.

Any even number can play, from two to eighteen persons.

The players are divided into two equal sides. The colored balls are divided among the players of one side, and the white balls among the players of the other side.

At first the players choose by lot which shall have the first roll; but in all future games the side that wins has the first roll. To make this choice, the leader of one side holds behind him a colored in one hand, and a white ball in the other; and the leader of the other side guesses, right or left. If he guesses the hand which holds the color of his own side he gains the right to begin the game; if not, the other side begins. The leader first rolls the black ball on the lawn to such a distance as he chooses, from a starting-line. Upon this starting-line every player must place his right foot when he rolls; this line extends across the lawn at least twenty feet, and the player can roll from any part of it, as it is often desirable to roll from different angles.

The leader then rolls a white ball, trying to have it stop as close as possible to the black ball.

The leader of the other side then rolls a colored ball; his object being to come in closer, or to knock away either the black ball or the white ball.

The players of each side play alternately—a white and a color—and the luck constantly changes; for as, at the close of the game, all balls of one side count which are nearer to the black than any ball of the other side, a lucky roll may change the whole result by coming in closer, or by knocking away either black, white, or colored balls.

Great skill can be used, as, if the ball is too swift, it goes beyond all the balls unless it hits and scatters them; if too light, it fails to come in near the black. Great excitement always attends the last roll, as a good player who knows the ground can often change the whole aspect of the game for the advantage of his own side, and a careless one often throws the game into the hands of the opposite by knocking away the balls belonging to his own side.

The side which first scores ten wins the game.


The pussy cat’s licking her paws:
I wonder what can be the cause!
Naughty cat, have you eaten a dear little bird?
But the big maltese beauty says never a word.
Now Kit, tell the truth while you live in this house—
What have you been eating? And Pussy says, “Maowse!

Mother Pussy’s Pet.


HOW PHILIP SULLIVAN DID AN ERRAND.


By Mary Densel.


BANG, bang, bang! went Philip Sullivan’s hammer, as he pounded on his sled “Chain Lightning.” “Chain Lightning” had needed mending ever since last winter, but Phil had concluded not to touch it till “just before the snow came.”

“Never do to-day what you can put off until to-morrow.”

The consequence was that the north wind suddenly puffed up a midnight storm, and Master Phil was awakened one morning by the shouts of the six Dyke boys, who were coasting merrily down “Sullivan Hill.”

Phil was out of bed in a twinkling. Ten o’clock found him still working fiercely on “Chain Lightning,” his glue-pot simmering before the fire in company with his father’s best chisel and his mother’s machine oil-can.

The shouts of the Dyke boys still resounded; and not only their jubilation but that of forty more coasters drove Phil nearly frantic.

With all his might Phil worked on, and “Chain Lightning” was beginning to look as if it might hold its own even among newer sleds, when the door leading into the library opened softly, and fair-haired Rosabel, Phil’s sister, appeared on the threshold. At the same moment an opposite door flew open with a jerk, and there stood Rosabel “done in sepia,” as it were; little brown Kate, Rosabel’s twin-sister.

Phil glanced up, and then became more than ever absorbed in his work. There was a peculiar expression on the twins’ faces. Phil instantly recognized it. “The errand cast of features,” he grimly called it.

“Phil, dear,” began Rosabel.

“Phil, dear,” echoed Kate.

Phil handled a screw-driver dextrously.

“Phil, dear, will you please run over to the station and see if my new skates have come by the twelve-o’clock train? Go when the cars are due, won’t you?”

“And Phil, dear,” chimed in Kate, “can’t you manage to go into the city to-day and call for a roll of music which is to be left for me at Hale and McPherson’s?”

Now could anything be more trying to the temper of the average youth than requests like these, made under the existing circumstances? Perhaps some of us may find it in our hearts to forgive Phil for answering with a certain touch of asperity:

“Don’t ‘Phil dear’ me! I’m not going to the station, and I’m not going to the city, and—”

Bang, bang, bang! the hammer expressed the rest of his sentiments.

Rosabel arched her eyebrows, and mildly withdrew.

Kate tarried to wheedle the enemy a bit, and, that failing, gave it as her opinion that boys ought never to have been created. Departing she closed the door with more force than was strictly needful, and left Phil alone.

That individual worked on in an injured and gloomy frame of mind.

“Mean enough in them to be forever nagging me. Mean enough in me not to get their skates and music.”

It was hard for Phil to decide which was the greater wretch, himself or Kate. Rosabel, he concluded, could never be a “blot on the earth,” whatever she did. It was Rosabel who had helped him write his composition on “Spring;” it was Rosabel who knit his mittens; it was Rosabel who never shirked her share of the stirring when they made molasses candy.

The remembrance of Rosabel’s virtues haunted Phil even after “Chain Lightning” was in order, and he was shooting down “Sullivan Hill,” lying prone on his sled, with his legs waving in the air.

Perhaps that was the reason that when his elder brother Will came hastily up the hill and offered him five cents if he would carry a bundle to a store next the railway station (you see that Phil was regarded as the family errand boy), he condescended to saunter in that direction. Not that he cared for the pennies, although he accepted them as a token of brotherly esteem.

He even quickened his pace as a shrill whistle sounded in the distance, and ended by racing up to the depot just as the twelve-o’clock train stopped.

No one seemed to know about Rosabel’s skates.

“Ask the man in the express office—perhaps they came on an earlier train,” suggested Fred Rodman, who was standing on the platform. “I’ll keep your sled for you. Or, see here, just slip the rope through this iron ring on the rear car.”

Phil did as he was bidden, and leaving his sharp-shooter tied with a slip-knot, went into the express office.

The man in the express office had never heard the proverb concerning “a place for everything;” or, if he had, knowing it was not among the Ten Commandments, felt under no obligation to heed it. He remarked that “somebody had said something about some skates being somewhere,” and went fumbling among boxes and bundles, exclaiming alternately, “Hi! here they be,” and “Ho! no they ain’t.”

NOT GOING TO LOSE “CHAIN LIGHTENING” AT ANY RATE!

At last, just as he laid his hand on a queer-looking package, and was next to sure that here were the skates, the engine bell rang, there was a slight scurry outside, and the train began to move.

Phil was out of the depot in a flash.

“Stop!” he cried; but the locomotive paid no heed.

Slowly past the platform glided the cars, pulling “Chain Lightning” behind.

Almost before he knew what he was doing, Phil had thrown himself on the sled and grasped its rope. To his horror the slip-knot suddenly tightened, and “Chain Lightning” was firmly fastened. Every moment the train quickened its speed.

I should not dare to tell the rest of this story, were it not true. I am not “making it up.” It really happened.

The sled hung on the car. Phil Sullivan clung to the sled. Do you suppose he would lose “Chain Lightning?” Not he.

Faster and faster—faster and faster still—dashed on the train. Over the sleepers bounded “Chain Lightning.” To this side, to that, it swayed madly. Phil’s grasp never slackened. On they rushed. Phil dared not roll off the sled now lest he should be killed. It seemed no less certain death to stay on.

The engine gave short panting breaths, as if it were frightened, itself, at the trick it was playing the boy.

A kindly tree stretched out a limb, but tried in vain to rescue Phil. The sled bounded far less now as the train whizzed along. The runners were half an inch from the ground. Held by its strong rope, the sharp-shooter was like a small tail to a big kite. Cinders flew—the cars flew—“Chain Lightning” flew—Phil flew. (I am telling you the truth.)

It seemed to our friend as if he had been rushing through space ever since he was born. It seemed as if he had come millions of miles. Would this awful ride never end? Phil’s fingers were numb, so tightly did they clasp “Chain Lightning’s” edge. He saw stars before him.

And now thump! bump! bump! thump! “Chain Lightning” was knocking the sleepers once more. It might have occurred to Phil that he could hardly bear this sort of travelling much longer had not his brain been too dizzy to do much thinking.

Presently, after another small eternity, with a final shriek the locomotive drew up in the city depot.


An hour later Philip Sullivan entered the paternal mansion. Never a word did he say in regard to the black-and-blue spots which dotted him from head to foot, not yet did he feel it necessary to mention that every bone in his body had an especial and separate ache.

“I thought I might as well go into town,” he remarked carelessly. “Here’s your music, Kate. Your skates will probably come to-morrow, Rosabel.”

“Well, you are a dear,” began Kate, looking up from her crocheting. But before she could finish there came a loud ring at the door-bell, and in rushed Fred Rodman. As he caught sight of Phil, his eyes and mouth opened wide, and he stared for a full minute.

At last, “Aren’t you dead?” he gasped.

“Pho!” said Phil loftily. “I’ve as much right to be living as you, sir.”

“Well, I never!” said Fred. “I was over to the post-office when the whistle blew, and came out just in time to see you off, and I raced most of the way to the city after you, and then I turned round and raced back to tell your folks!”

“Pho!” said Phil again.

We will pass over any family discussion of the incident; but within an hour one half of the boys in town were relating to the other half the story of Phil Sullivan’s ride. To be sure the versions differed, and to this day some of the lads a little out of Phil’s own circle are convinced he went to town on the cow-catcher, and other some believe that he rode all the way under a car, sitting on a brace between the wheels.

But that evening, Phil much bruised and battered, yet whole in every limb, told to a select few the full particulars of his journey; and the facts of the case are as I have here narrated them.


WINTER WITH THE POETS.


By The Editor.


OUR prose writers have many winter scenes worthy of reading and remembrance (notably such as are found in the writings of Charles Dickens and Nathaniel Hawthorne) which might almost be called prose poems; but to-day we will wander together through the flower gardens of the real poets, whose eyes were made clearer to see the beauties of the world around them, by the loving attention they gave to common things.

There is a rabbinical fable to the effect that Jesus was once passing along a crowded city street, and that he came to a place where lay, unsightly, ragged and bruised, a dead dog. The disciples said, “What does this carrion here? throw it out of the Master’s way.” But the Master said, “Look what beautiful teeth—they are white as pearls!”

So the poet finds “nothing common or unclean” in anything that God has made, and man has not marred; and even, as in the case of the poor, ill-used animal, finds something left to admire in the wreck and ruin of former beauty. And though winter wrecks the beauty of the summer, it has a beauty of its own.

For a country winter in New England there is no better description than Whittier’s “Snow-Bound” and for the same season in Old England parts of Cowper’s “Winter Evening,” “Winter Morning Walk” and “Winter Walk at Noon.” Longfellow has a description of winter in “Hiawatha” and a winter storm at sea in the “Wreck of the Hesperus.”

Shakespeare has scattered references to winter throughout his plays; but he is rather the poet of human life and society than of inanimate nature.

James Thomson, who wrote “The Seasons,” has a fine description of Winter; and every one should know by heart the first twenty lines of his “Hymn on the Seasons.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley has some beautiful lines on a winter’s night; and Tennyson has many fine lines, “The Death of the Old Year,” and parts of “In Memoriam” being the finest.

Would it not be interesting to each one of the readers of the Grammar School to gather together all the references to winter thoughts and scenery to be found in the writings of their favorite poet? Try and see!


BESSIE’S STORY.


By Frank H. Converse.


WHAT my own—my true own name may be or may have been, I do not know. I have a fancy like a dream, that perhaps it has been Adélê. And yet I cannot say why. My father, the captain, whose daughter I am by adoption, gave to me the name of Bessie, for his wife, and Luna, for the moon. Thus within the log-book it is written Bessie Luna Wray.

Girls that have upon the shore their home can tell to an exactness what age they have and when their birthdays shall be. But for myself who have only a home upon the sea, I may know but this—that I have nearly fifteen years of age, “or thereabouts,” as the captain says. I have never known of the birthday—only an anniversary. And when I have forgotten myself of the day of the month on which that happens, I obtain the “Petrel’s” log-book for the year of eighteen hundred and sixty-four, where I find this of record:

“Journal of hemaphrodite brig ‘Petrel,’ Wray, master, from San Francisco to Honolulu, Dec. 25, 1864.

“This day begins with clearing weather and light airs from S. E. Middle part of day wind light and baffling. At 3 P. M. passed a quantity of floating wreck stuff. Moon fulls at 11. P. M. At 11.30 P. M., Lat. by obs. 30° 15´, hove to, and picked up a boat of French build with ‘Toulon’ written in pencil on the seat, and a female child about one year old wrapped in a capote such as is worn by the pilots of Dieppe. Got under way at 12 M., course W. b. N. Call the child Bessie Luna Wray. So ends this twenty-four hours.”

Such is all I know of my beginning of life. Excepting that only for the uncommon brightness of the moon, the lookout had not seen the drifting boat. It is said in all the books I have read, of the babe who is discovered, that it smiles sweetly in the face of its benefactor. But the captain tells me often that I rent the air with crying till I was black in the face, until, arriving on the deck of the “Petrel,” old Candace, the negress, took me in her embrace. She it was who was stewardess, with her husband Jim (also of color) as cook.

The captain would at once have had me fed with Port wines, condensed milk, canned soups, and like nourishment. But Candace said “no,” and gave me of food in small quantities. “Dat ’ar little stummick mus’n be filled to depletion,” is that which the captain repeats as her words to him.

Remaining on board, she had a care of me for four years. I would not be on the shore for even an hour. I cried bitterly when out of sight of my captain. Again we had a stewardess who was English, with her husband to cook. She taught me my sewing, and a prayer to say to the good God. But as I became more old in years the captain gave to me my instruction in books. He learned me of many things useful, and it is said of me that I have a marvellous power to attain in study. At my present age I am thin—svelte, as old M. Jacques, the former mate, says—with a complexion of brunette, and eyes and hair which are black. This it is, with the readiness which I had in learning the French language of M. Jacques, which gives me to think that my mother at least was French. The accent and words seemed to always be known to me as of a dream.

But the captain will have it to say that I am a gift of Christmas from his wife who is with the good God. Be that as it may, I am to him as his very, very own, and he to me as father and mother in one, “the child of his old age,” he insists; for though straight and erect as the mast of the “Petrel,” he is in age sixty years.

He has provided for me everything of comfort and elegance that a young girl could wish. For the “Petrel” is a small brig which goes over all the world where a keel may float, in order to trade. It may be to purchase shells in the Indian ocean, furs in St. Petersburg, fruits at Havana, spices in Ceylon, silks at Nankin, diamonds or ostrich feathers at Cape Town, knick-knacks in London, or bijouterie at Havre—anywhere and everywhere that a bargain may be made, we go. And in every port the ladies of the consignee, or the American consul, will have me at their homes, and are so good to me. They take me to the galleries of art and places of interest. I attend the service of the church with them, and at their homes I meet people who are delightful. Thus I have learned to love things which are beautiful, and the captain is only too willing to get for me what I desire. He has had built for me into the cabin a little cabinet organ. We took as passengers to the Sandwich Islands last year, a good missionary, and his wife, who accompanied him, taught me the music, and to sing and play, so that I am never ennuyéed at sea. I have a great abundance of books; I have my music, my studies (navigation is among them), my sewing, a canary bird, and a pot of ivy—beside my journal from which these pages are recorded—what would you more? It does not matter that we meet storms—sometimes terrible ones. I do not say it to boast, but I have not anything of fear within. I love to be on deck; I have the long oil coat which buttons close about me like that of the captain, and boots of rubber. Oftentimes the captain permits that I give the orders for taking in the light sails, or tacking the brig. And I can steer with the wheel as well as old Dan himself, or trace the vessel’s course upon the chart when I have figured the reckoning.

You of the young ladies who murmur because of the space of closets, should visit my room. It has a length of ten feet, a breadth of six. My berth, with three drawers beneath it, takes much of the room. But I have a tiny wash-stand, a small chair, and a trunk also.

Pictures too. The one, “Christ Stilling the Tempest,” is a small painting in oil, which was a present to myself from a lady in Rome whose husband is a great artist.

Opposite hangs a photograph of the “Immaculate Conception,” also a present from a lady in Liverpool, Mrs. Fancher. There is fastened to the wall a swinging lamp of solid silver. A diver of the submarine brought it up from the wreck of a steam yacht which, belonging to Omar Pacha, was lost with all those on board in the Persian Gulf. The man gave it as pay for his passage to Foochow. But imagine to yourself the curtains of my berth being of silk damask worked with gold thread! They are of much value, yet when one asks of their price, the captain says, with his laugh, that he bought them for a song. It was while we were loading with a few teas at Foochow. A man habited as a sailor came on board at the evening, and offered this for fifty dollars. He had been a runaway from a ship, and seeking the country, was impressed into the army of Chinese insurgents. They had sacked the emperor’s country seat at Ningpo, and this was torn from the hangings of the couch of the princess—or he thus said. The captain told him he could not give but twenty dollars, though it was of more worth. But the man said “no,” and went out. It was then, thinking that he had gone, I began to sing and play the song of Adelaide Proctor, “The Lost Chord,” which I so love. And the strange man came back and began to cry! He said to the captain if I would sing it once more, he should have the stuff at his own price, which I did willingly, and thus it was purchased.

My book-shelves are of sandal-wood inlaid with ebony. They were given me in Madras by the merchant with whom the captain has done business these many years. The ewer and jug in my wash-stand are of bronze. They were discovered from a tomb in the Island of Cyprus.

But it is in especial of one voyage—the last—of which I have to tell, for it came near to become an adventure. We were bound to Lisbon, seeking a cargo of the light wines for the market of New York, and the captain had with him for the purchase three thousand dollars in gold. He had shipped for the voyage a different chief mate, and also two men of the crew who came on board with him. It happens to me to notice small things, and I remember that I looked with surprise at the familiarity which these common sailors had secretly with the first mate. Old Jacques would hardly have spoken to a sailor even upon the land, except in the way of duty. I had for this Mr. Atkin, as he called himself, a strong dislike. His face had a smooth badness, but he was fluent of tongue with an appearance of education, and the captain smiled at what he said was my childish prejudice. Yet the good God has given me to read the human face, and I often have chosen out those from the crew who I felt would make trouble to the officers, and was seldom with mistake.

The second officer was Waters, a man very young but brave and active. He too regarded this Atkin with suspicion. “Tell your father, Miss,” he said to me in private, “to keep his weather eye open, and look out for Atkin.”

The captain did but laugh when I told him, and bade me not trouble my little head with fears. But I found him watchful in a quiet way after that, though there happened nothing for some time of suspicion.

I find as I copy from my journal that I do not sometimes frame these sentences in the exact order that I read them in books. I cannot seem to readily correct myself, so I have made a point to put down all the conversation which I remember, exactly as it was spoken by those of whom I shall write. It will be a good practice for me. I began to keep my journal three years since, with view of having a better command of language.

We finally made sight of the Teneriffe peak among the Canary Islands. It rises many thousand feet above the sea, and for miles is visible in the clear weather.

That night the winds died away, and we were becalmed, and so warm as it was! I could not sleep, and in the first watch—that of the captain—I went upon deck. Old Dan is a sailor who has been at sea with us a great many years, and the only one that the captain wishes me to speak with when he is not present.

So after I had chatted with the captain a little, he went forward a moment with a command for the second mate.

“How do you head, Dan?” I asked of him idly.

“Mostly all round the compass, there being no steerage way to speak of, Miss,” he made answer.

I yawned, for I had a strong desire to sleep, yet cared not to go to the close air of below.

All at once, I thought of the life-boat which swings at the “Petrel’s” stern, covered with canvas, and how delightful to be in it were it possible. If there came a breath of wind I should feel it there; and remembering that I had seen a torn fore-royal put into the boat a few days previous, I made up my mind what to do. “Look you, Dan,” I said, “I am going to sleep in the life-boat till you shall come to the wheel again in the morning watch from twelve till four, and then you can call me.”

“Very well, Miss,” he made reply, though he regarded me with a little doubt, “only maybe Cap’n Wray wouldn’t think—”

“He need know nothing of it,” I said with impatience, for I have a will headstrong, which often causes me after-sorrow. And without other words I slipped myself within the boat, pulling the cover in place with care.

“Where is Miss Wray?” I heard the captain to ask as he came aft a moment after.

“She’s turned in, sir,” was the answer of Dan.

Then the captain began his walk of the quarter-deck with vain whistlings for the breeze.

But it was charming laying upon the old sail listening to the twitter of Mother Cary’s chickens, and the cool swash of the sea about the rudder.

It is not a wonder, then, that I fell into fast sleep, only to awaken by the bell striking “one, two, three, four,” which I knew had the meaning of two o’clock of the morning, and I had some regret at my foolish whim, for it had become quite cool and damp. Yet I knew I might not release myself until four o’clock, when old Dan again had the wheel.

I raised a corner of the cover and peeped out. Spanish Joe stood with one hand upon the wheel, looking sideways in the half darkness of the night. The light from the binnacle was upon his swarthy face with strength, and I told myself, with a little shiver, that it was the face of a brigand such as I had gazed upon in some gallery of pictures. But figure to yourself my feelings as Mr. Atkin, after listening a moment at the open window of the state-room of the captain, came directly behind the wheel, and seating himself upon the taffrail so near that I could touch him, began with an absent drumming of his fingers upon the cover of the boat itself!

“Everybody is sound asleep but you and I, Joe,” he said in half a whisper.

Bueno,” was the reply of Joe; “an’ now, s’pose you say what you have think ’bout us try to get dis money you tell us of, eh?”

“Well, Joe,” he answers, and you cannot imagine to yourself how like oil was his voice, “I’ve laid the thing out about this way. To-morrow night when Dan is steering and the Swede on the lookout, we’ll give young Waters a little pleasant surprise, and when he comes to himself, he’ll find that his hands are lashed and something over his mouth to keep him from making a noise—savey, Joe?”

I trembled in every limb, and was with a cold perspiration on my face. Had I been one who swoons readily I should have fainted. But at once I recovered myself. “Be brave, Bessie,” I repeated to my heart: “it is for the dear captain’s sake.”

“Then we’ll get the captain out,” the wretch continued, as Spanish Joe made a small nod of the head, “and serve him so, and if the cook, or Dan, or the Swede make a fuss (which they won’t dare do) they’ll see that the balance of power is with us, for we’ve got pistols, and they haven’t. Eh, Joe?”

“Then w’at?” asked Joe with much of eagerness.

“Why, then,” Mr. Atkin goes on with the ease that he would remark upon the weather, “we’ll put the long boat over the side, and politely invite Captain Wray, Miss Wray, Mr. Waters and the cook or one of the men to step in. They can shape their course for the Azores, only thirty miles away, Joe, and we’ll shape ours for Europe.”

“But will you?” I thought within myself with my teeth clenched.

“I’ll take command, of course,” thus the bad man continued; “and when we are near the land we’ll rig up the life-boat here”—and he thumped it with his hand—“take some provisions, water and the money—”

“One tousan’ apiece,” breaks in the sailor.

“Take the money,” Mr. Atkin went on as if Joe had not interrupted; “and when we get ashore, every man will take his share, Joe—and scatter!” he said with a flourish of his fingers.

“But the brig shall find harbor too—they gives alarm and sends after us,” said Joe.

“Not after I have fixed the rudder and taken away the compass, my good Joe,” said the smooth Mr. Atkin; “so now you can let Jerry know what is expected of him, and to-morrow night—”

He made no finish of his words, though, but rising, walked slow away.

Ah, how slowly passed the time! but finally, Joe, with yawns, struck the eight bells, and the wheel was relieved by old Dan.

Surely I lost no time in coming from my hiding-place, and I sought the captain, who, without removing his clothing, had reclined himself upon a lounge in the cabin. I revealed to him in whispers that which I had heard.

“My brave little girl!” he said, as I had made an end of my story; but I could not think what there was of bravery in laying perdu, and listening to conspirators. Had I not given him counsel, though, I think he would have been for dashing upon the three who thus conspired, and smiting them hip and thigh. But I told him to communicate in secret with Mr. Waters, and they two together might make plans of strategy which would avail without bloodshed; and he did so.

It was unfortunate that the captain was entirely without firearms of any kind. I think I myself would have dared to use one in such an emergency. But he whispered to me in the morning that he had that which should serve the same end; and with a beating heart I awaited the result.

The calm remained into the forenoon of the next day. The sea was like oily glass, without a ripple as far as one could view, and the sun made itself hardly to be endured, so fierce did it beat down upon the scorched deck, in the seams of which the pitch fairly melted. The sails hung without motion against the mast, and the wheel was idle.

With a heart fast beating I followed the captain, who had told me to be without fear, upon the deck.

“I wish we had a couple of the turtle that are laying round so plenty, asleep on the water, this morning,” said the captain, as if to myself, who, stood by him, though in a careless way.

I had no meaning of his words, but Atkin, who was near, looked at the black specks upon the water some distance away, with interest.

“Yes, sir,” he made reply, “there’s always lots of them about the Azores in calm weather—nice soup they make, too.”

“You might take the longboat, if you like, Mr. Atkin,” said the captain with a yawn, as if it had but then occurred to him, “and with your watch take two or three—it would be a change from salt beef.”

“Very well, sir,” Atkin replies; for this man was a lover of nice food—a gourmand. “Here, you Joe and Jerry, get the boat over the side.”

THE TABLES ARE SUDDENLY TURNED ON THE CONSPIRATORS.

I began to guess that there was a purpose in this. I saw that the captain had, under a mask of carelessness, a face of anxiety, and that the hand that held his glasses with which he viewed the horizon, trembled never so little as he paced backward and forward while the two men were putting over the boat. When all was ready, Mr. Atkin in the stern-sheets pushed off from the vessel’s side.

“Stop a bit!” now called the captain, as I watched with strong anxiety his face. There was a stern ring in his voice which I had seldom heard. And at the same time I saw Mr. Waters, Dan and the Swede come from the cook’s galley with buckets of hot water which they brought to the rail.

“Well?” asked Atkin with inquiry. And he motioned the two men to cease from rowing.

“You see Teneriffe peak, do you?” again spoke the captain.

“Why, yes, sir,” was the answer of Atkin: “what then?”

“Just this,” said the captain; “my advice to you, you scoundrels, is that you pull your prettiest for the Azore Islands; for while my name is Wray not one of you ever shall set foot again of this brig’s deck!”

Ah, then what oaths! what cries of rage! And so desperate was this villain Atkin that he drew a pistol and commanded his men to pull back, which they did with hesitation. But they were scarce within reach when old Dan discharged the contents of his hot-water bucket full at them. I clapped my hands. I could not resist. For Atkin caught enough of it on his neck and shoulder to cause him to fall backward over the thwart with a roar, and by accident, discharge his pistol in the air.

Then it was they saw they were entrapped, and pulled hastily away to a distance, where they laid upon their oars with angry words each to the other.

And oh, how with eagerness we watched for a breeze, which came not until in the late afternoon. But when once more the ripple of the water made around the bows, and the sails swelled out with a wind from the southwest, I breathed with freeness, and we all thanked the good God as we watched the boat of the conspirators to disappear in the distance.

There were left on board the captain, second mate, two men, the cook and stewardess. And Captain Wray said I should be his second mate, Mr. Waters acting as chief officer.

Many times I stood at the wheel for three and four hours before we reached Lisbon. But the “Petrel,” which has but a tonnage of one hundred and sixty, was easily handled, and the good God gave us favoring winds, as also fair weather; so with much fatigue, but otherwise well, we finally reached our port in safety.

The captain sometimes speaks as one who is getting too old for the life of the ocean—in particular of late does he say this. And he has made hints at a home upon the land, with a house which shall look far out over the sea, and be ever within the sound of its voice. It may be that after a time, and with him, I should be content thus to live. But as now, I regard it with dread. I had somehow dreamed of a continuation of this life which so delights me, and some day to be buried under the blue waves. But we shall see.

The foregoing story is entirely true in all its essential features. I was somewhat acquainted with Miss Wray, and it was with sorrow that in the list of disasters two winters ago, I read that the brig “Petrel” was lost in the English Channel, with all on board, in a December gale.

F. H. C.


A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION


By The Editor.


WINTER TO SUMMER.

I would not be so friendly with the sun;—
Hot-headed fellow, prying everywhere!
My flowers brightly bloom when he is gone,
And sparkle in the clear and frosty air.”

SUMMER TO WINTER.

“Winter, I own your icy blossoms fair,
But cold and white, unlike the rainbow hues
That paint my flowers—and who would ever care
For flowers less lasting than my morning dews?”

THE GRASS, THE BROOK, AND THE DANDELIONS.


BY MARGARET EYTINGE.


THE sparkling, babbling, baby-brook that ran gayly through the meadow whispered to the sleeping grass, one lovely spring morning, just as dawn was breaking, “Wake up, wake up, and see what May has scattered over you.” And the grass, awaking from a pleasant dream of summer, beheld a number of bright, yellow, star-shaped dandelions, smiling in the early sunshine.

“Welcome a thousand times,” said its many blades in a chorus of delight. “How sweet and fresh you look, with the dew-drops clinging to your dainty petals of shining gold. But you may well look bright and happy,” they continued in less cheerful tones, “for you are flowers, and flowers so beloved by the sun that he paints you his own beautiful color.”

“And are you not happy, too?” asked the dandelions, in innocent surprise.

“Yes, we are happy,” answered the grass, with a little sigh; “but we would be so much happier if we were flowers!”

We are nothing, you know, but common grass, with no hope of being anything better.”

“No change for us. No budding and turning into sweet, blue, white, pink, or golden blossoms.”

“Grass we are, and grass we must remain until the end of our days.”

“For shame!” cried the dandelions, their honest faces all aglow. “‘Common grass,’ indeed! Dear May told us all about you, and the blissful mission that is yours, only yours, before she dropped us here.”

You have been chosen to clothe the whole earth, while the flowers you envy are only the ornaments that cling to the lovely robes you weave.”

“Surely you would not have been so chosen if you were not beautiful, and most beautiful.”

“Why are we never called so, then?” asked the grass. “Even the children never notice us; but mark our words, the moment they see you, they’ll shout, ‘O, the pretty, pretty dandelions!’”

“They don’t call us ‘pretty’—O, no, indeed!”

“Nothing is ever said about us.”

“We’re grass, that’s all. No one ever gathers us.”

“We are never made into posies or worn in waving ringlets.”

“Nobody admires us and nobody praises us.”

“Not so, not so,” murmured the brooklet, soft and low, and its words all flowed in tune and rhyme. “I’ve sung your praises many a time. And bird and bee oft tell to me, as through the meadow and field I pass, how much they love the beautiful grass. So don’t get blue, whatever you do, for green’s the color, dear grass, for you. And, believe me, everywhere you grow, a joy you bring, I know ’tis so. And now, I pray, bend over this way, and take the kiss I have for you.”

The grass bent gracefully toward the brook, and took not one, but three kisses, and then the chattering little thing went dancing on its way.

Early that evening, as the setting sun was sinking slowly in the west, a strong, sunburnt young fellow, with a merry twinkle in his bright brown eyes, came into the meadow, and began cutting some sods,—whistling as he worked,—and packing them away in a wheelbarrow he had brought with him.

The grass that had talked with the dandelions, and been kissed by the brook in the morning, was the last to be cut, and so was placed upon the top of the load.

“O, what can this mean?” asked its many tiny blades, this time in a chorus of sorrow. “Why are we taken from our home? Alas! we never knew how much we loved our beautiful meadow until now, when we are leaving it forever. Where can we be going?”

But just then the man took up the handles of the wheelbarrow, and the grass only had time to wave a last farewell as he trundled it away.

“Farewell,” called the dandelions; “farewell,” murmured the brook; and “farewell,” sighed the grass that was left behind.

The young man wheeled the barrow into the front yard of a newly-built little cottage on the other side of the road.

There was here no sign of anything green, but the brown earth had been dug and nicely raked, and the grass heard it saying softly to itself in joyful tones, “O, now I shall be dressed at last—here comes the beautiful, friendly grass to cover me.”

Then the grass thought of what the dandelions had said.

Down went the sods on the ground, and away went the barrow for some more; and again and again it went, until at least a dozen loads had been brought; and then, taking off his coat, the very brown young man, whistling merrily all the time, began to make a grass plot.

Soon all the sods were put down; and the tiny garden commenced already to look bright and cheerful.

“Jenny!” called the brown-faced, brown-eyed, brown-haired (wasn’t he brown?) gardener, as he took off his hat to wipe his brow.

A rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed young woman came to the cottage door in answer to his call, with a rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed baby girl in her arms. “O, the beautiful grass!” cried she, when she saw what had been done; and, “Pretty, pretty!” said the baby girl, clapping her fat, dimpled hands.

Then the grass thought of what the brook had sung.

“It makes the place look pleasant at once,” said the man, leaning on his spade and looking smilingly at his work. “But just wait till we have a good shower, and then it will be as green as—as—green as—well, as green as grass, for I don’t know anything greener,” he added, laughing. “And I say, Jenny, what a splendid place it’ll be for baby to tumble about on! You can latch the gate, and then she can roll about here as much as she pleases—bless her little heart!”

“Bess ’er ittie heart!” echoed baby, with funny gravity.

“Yes, indeed,” answered the happy mother, kissing the soft, sweet red mouth of her darling. “She’ll have many a merry hour here, with the daisies and dandelions. How thankful we ought to be,” she went on a moment after, her face growing serious with a feeling of gratitude, “to Our Father in Heaven for covering the earth with such a lovely garment—so soft for the weary feet, so refreshing to the tired eyes! And do you know, Ralph, I never feel so sorry for the poor in great cities as I do in summer, when I think of them shut in tall, dreary brick houses, from the windows of which they can see nothing but paving-stones, no beautiful grass, or else such little struggling patches that the sight makes them sadder than ever.”

“There, what did we tell you?” asked a voice so tiny that only the grass heard—and lo! a dandelion that had clung to its friends, and so been carried along to share their new abode.

“Yes—yes, you were right,” answered the grass. “We see how blessed we are, and now we wouldn’t change places with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed.”


THE BIRDS’ HARVEST.


BY MRS. J. D. CHAPLIN.


IF “Restwood,” the little country-house to which we fly from the heat, and dust, and toil of the great city, were only large enough, we would invite all the young “Wide Awakes” to gather there. We would show them such scenery; we would wander with them through the deep pine-forest, whose whisperings are mingled with the wild roar of the dashing sea, and take them to sail in our fairy-like boat, over a bay that cannot be outshone by even the lovely Italian waters.

Near us are rich country squires, in great, square, white houses, where their fathers lived and died; farmers, who fight manfully against what inlanders call sterility, making fruitful the very sands by their energy; and a few retired city gentlemen, who fish, and sail, and hunt, and read, and ride, and eat, and sleep.

But the greatest among all these, a few years ago,—he may prove in the coming day one of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,—was a tall, frail young man, whom his neighbors regarded as deficient in intellect. Everybody is weak in some direction. A wise man has remarked, that no one since the fall, when all humanity lost its balance, has been perfectly sane. It is sometimes very hard to tell who, taking all things into account, are the “weaker;” but there is little doubt that a jury of wise men would have counted our friend Jotham Belden among them.

What little balance-wheel was missing in that mind, He who made it only knows; but we rejoice that, while He withheld some powers common to most men, He also bestowed on him what He withholds from many—a powerful memory, and a delicately refined taste, and a strong sense of right.

Jotham was no pauper weakling. He was the cherished son of an honorable widow, who had ample means to gratify all his innocent desires; who speaks of him now with a sigh as well as a smile, and tells how he was the fairest and brightest of her fold, till the blight fell on him, and he rose from his sick bed shattered in body, and with a cloud over his mind. “He was never again the same Joe, whose bright speeches and merry pranks had been the pride of the farm-house, and the amusement of the village,” she tells you.

The Scotch have this beautiful saying: “The feckless (witless) are God’s peculiar care.” And it seemed as if this blighted one, Joe Belden, were, indeed, His peculiar favorite; as if, in the furnace of pain, with his worldly wisdom had also been consumed all of meanness, and selfishness, and hardness.

Jotham grew up very watchful of the interests of all about him. No fellow-being was too low or too sinful to claim his pity; no creature of God too mean to share his love and protection. Being weak in body, he had never toiled for his bread. When in the house, he read, in stammering accents, to his mother, held the yarn while she wound it, and performed any little task she required. This all done, he would stroll out, as he said, to see that all was right in town. He would go to a house where there was sickness, look anxiously up at the windows, and hang patiently round the gate till spoken to. Then he would ask, “Want anybody to go for the doctor? Want any jelly? Want burdocks, or horseradish, or anything?”

If sent for the doctor, or allowed to dig herbs for the sufferer, he was the happiest man in town; if nothing was wanted there, he would wander off to the lonely poor-house—a long, red building, in a barren waste, looking as if erected to teach men and women that they had no business to be old and poor, and that they must be punished for it. Here his were like angels’ visits in the joy they brought. His pockets were an unfathomable depth; heavy with jack-knives, gimlets, screws, nails, buttons, keys, chalk, cinnamon, cloves, and lozenges, and the thousand innumerable trifles which become treasures in such a blank as this poor-house was.

Jotham’s coming made more commotion than a peddler’s; for although he brought far less stores, either in quantity or quality, they could get his as they could not the other’s, for want of money. Newspapers, tracts, and, occasionally, a book, were among his gifts; and perhaps He who seeth not as man seeth, regarded and blessed these weak efforts as He does not always the gold and the silver which rich men cast into the treasury.

One spring day, after an unusually severe winter, Jotham presented himself before his mother in a blue farm-frock, with his pants tucked into a pair of two capacious cowhide boots.

“Why, my son, are you going to work?” the old lady asked, in surprise.

“Yes, Hans has plowed the three-cornered field for me, and I’m going to sow grain myself,” he cried, triumphantly.

“But that’s poor soil, dear boy, and it’s far from the house. There are stones there, and you cannot gather your crop if any grows,” said his mother.

“They’ll gather the crops themselves, mother; they don’t need any sickle, nor any one to teach them. God teaches them how to get in their harvest,” was Jotham’s reply.

“Whom are you talking about, Jotham,” asked his mother, in surprise.

“Of God’s birds, mother. The men said at the store last night, that lots of birds died round there in the fall and spring—starved to death, and all the grain is God’s. I’m going to sow a field on purpose for them, and nobody shall reap it but them. I love them because God loves them. I’ll feed them as he feeds me.”

Tears filled her eyes as she laid her hand tenderly on the brown head of her smitten son. Was she not happier than many a mother whose bright boy has wandered far from innocence and truthfulness?

One day, not long after this, Jotham’s minister saw him walking over the fields in a strange, circuitous manner, describing curves and angles like a drunken man. Waiting till he came up to the road, the gentleman asked, “What makes you walk in that way, Jotham?”

“For fear I’ll step on the ant-hills, sir. There never were so many ants before, sir; the fields and the roads are full of their little houses. They built them grain by grain; and what would God think of me if I trod on them just for carelessness,—as if a giant should tear our house down to amuse himself, or because he didn’t care! You know, sir,” he added, in a whisper, looking reverently up to the skies, “He hadn’t any home down here, though the foxes and the birds had; and He’s very careful of all homes now,—homes are such beautiful things, sir.”

“God bless you, dear boy,” said the minister. “It was for Christ’s sake you cast seed broadcast over that rocky field, for His sake that you turned your foot away from the home of the poor ant; and for this love He will never leave you hungry or homeless.”

“Thank you, sir,” was the innocent reply of poor Jotham.

“God’s birds” gathered one harvest under the eye of their grateful patron, and then he was called away from his simple work.

His step had long been growing weaker, and the hectic burning more brightly in his cheek, when, one evening, as he lay on the lounge beside his mother, in light slumber, he called her, and said, “Did you hear that, mother?”

“No, Jotham. What do you hear?”

“The fluttering of a great many wings—birds of every color; and all the other creatures I have loved, are enjoying themselves in the sunshine. The black ants have all turned to gold, and all the other creatures that men hate. I hear a voice, mother—hark! ‘Ye are of more value than many sparrows. Go to the ant; consider her ways.’ I never hurt anything God made—did I, mother?”

“No, my child.”

“Well, I told Him so, and He smiled on me.”

“You’ve been dreaming, Jotham,” said his mother, tenderly.

“Have I?” he asked; and it is no matter whether his vision was what we call “dreaming,” or not; he had dealt lovingly with the weak things of God, and was now receiving His approval, as “faithful over a few things.”

Before day dawned Jotham’s weak powers were expanding in the warmth of God’s love, and he is now, for aught we know, one of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Many summers have brought birds and flowers since then; but if you should pass Willow Brook Farm to-day, you would see a wild-looking crop of grain growing rank and free in a three-cornered field, off to the east of the house. Perhaps you would also see an aged woman standing in the door-way, shading her eyes with her hand, as she looks off on this little memorial crop which she has caused to be planted every year, for the sake of him who planted it once “for Christ’s sake.”


BIRDS’-NEST SOUP.


BY ELLA RODMAN CHURCH.


EVERY one thinks of China when birds’-nest soup is mentioned—it seems so naturally to belong with stewed snails, fricasseed rats, and other delicacies of that sort; and the Chinese are very large consumers of this strange dish, but they are not the only ones.

The nests from which the soup is made are found in Borneo, Java, and other warm regions, and are the dwelling-houses of the edible or esculent swallow. They are not made, like other nests, of moss, leaves, and twigs, as not much soup could be extracted from such things, but the substance is like gelatine, and is thought to proceed from the body of the bird—just as the web does from that of the spider, or the cocoon from the silk-worm.

When the swallows’ houses are new and fresh they are snowy white, and so delicate and pretty, that they look quite good enough to eat. This is the kind that the Chinese are extravagantly fond of, and they pay enormous prices for them. But the sun and wind soon darken them, and a family of swallows at housekeeping do not keep them in very nice order; so that, before they are fit for soup, they have to be cleaned and bleached.

The airy swallows, who do not think anything of precipices, and never trouble their heads about the soup business, build their nests in such dangerous caves, often hanging directly over the sea, that the people who gather them do it at the risk of their lives; and this makes birds’-nest soup a very expensive dish. The nests are very clear and beautiful, and so transparent that, when held to the light, pictures placed on the other side can be seen through them. Some of them are shaped like clam and oyster shells, and much thicker at the end that is fastened to the rock.

The outside is in layers; but the inside shows the glutinous threads of which they are made, and which exposure to the air has made as hard as isinglass. These nests are so shallow, that they do not seem capable of holding either birds or eggs, one of them measuring only two inches in length, one and three quarters in breadth, and half an inch in depth. It is said, however, that the building of one nest will keep a pair of swallows hard at work for two months; it is well, therefore, that the little laborers do not know that they are not building houses but soup.

There are four different kinds of swallows that make these gelatinous nests; and the opening to the cave where they are built is always taken possession of by a swallow that mixes moss with the gelatine, and tries to drive the soup swallow away. But they fight sturdily for their beloved caves, and even attempt to knock down the mixed nests with stones.

The people of Borneo, where these nests are found in the greatest quantities, have many singular stories about their origin; and perhaps the most interesting of these is the account of the hungry little boy to whom no one would give anything to eat.

This little boy was taken by his father from one Dyak village to another, called Si-Lébor; and as the journey was long, they arrived tired and hungry. It was a large village, with plenty of Dyaks in it; and the chief of the tribe brought refreshments for the father, but gave the poor child nothing. The dishes must have been served in hotel fashion, just enough for one; for it did not take the poor little traveler long to see that he was to go hungry. The narrative says that “he felt much hurt;” which he undoubtedly did, and began to cry.

Instead, however, of appealing to his selfish father for a share of the viands, he made quite a little speech to the chief and his followers:—

“To my father,” said he, “you have given food, the prīok of rice is before him, the fatted pig has been killed—everything you have given him. Why do you give me nothing?”

But people who keep their enemies’ heads in their houses, in ornamental rows, as these Dyaks did, cannot be very tender-hearted; and the moanings of a hungry little boy were nothing more to them than the buzzing of a fly. The child cried and cried; but his father placidly pursued his way through the rice and the pig; while the others probably continued their conversation, or stared stolidly at nothing in particular.

After a while the poor little neglected boy became quiet, and seemed to have forgotten about being hungry. He even amused himself with a dog and a cat, which he placed together on a mat round which all the people were seated in Dyak fashion. The cat and the dog, guided by the boy, cut up such queer antics, that every one burst out laughing.

But a spell was working against them for their cruelty. The boy was protected by the evil spirits; and soon the sky grew black, and fearful gusts of wind rushed over the place. Then came such awful peals of thunder and lurid flashes of lightning, while the ground beneath them shook and rumbled, that the whole universe seemed breaking up.

The darkness was frightful; and the dazzling flashes of lightning only showed the fearful changes that were taking place. The village, with its houses, melted away; and, with the inhabitants, were changed into masses of stone. Not one was left alive, except the boy; and it must have been a long time before he got anything to eat.

He went back to his native village, and lived to be respected as the chief of his tribe; it is not probable that any one ever neglected him again in the matter of rice and fatted pigs. Indeed, one would suppose, after that lesson, a constant guard of watchers would be kept on a sharp lookout for hungry little boys.

But to come to the birds’ nests. Many years after this particular little boy had died an old and honored chief, a young chief, who was his lineal descendant, had a remarkable dream. In this dream, he was told that he and his tribe would find great riches if they went to Si-Lébor, the petrified village. They started the next day; and, searching carefully about among the rocks, they came to an extensive cave. They entered it with lighted torches, and found it full of the famous edible birds’ nests.

“Ah!” said they, delighted, “this is our portion, instead of that which was denied to our ancestor; his due was refused then, it has now been given to us his descendants; this is our ‘balas’ (revenge).”

The birds’ nests were brought out of the cave by thousands; and thus they found their treasure. These Si-Lébor caves are still considered the richest; and the tribes who own them, the descendants of the hungry little boy, are the most prosperous and respected in all the region round.

They say you are the Fellow that made so much Trouble in Kansas.


THE STORY OF TWO FORGOTTEN KISSES.


BY KITTY CLOVER.


WHEN little Dimple Dumpling, one chill fall evening,
Was tucked up, all in white, within his downy bed,
His mamma quite forgot to come and kiss him,
And in the morning, too, forgot to come, ’tis said:—
Of course ’tis strange that two forgotten kisses
Should make such mischief in the house in just one night;
But when Boy Dumpling woke up in the morning,
His lips, they say, had lost their sweet, his eyes their bright,
And he, who’d always been a darling,
He fell at once with nurse to quarreling.
He would not wear his scarlet frock,
Although the morn was chill and frosty;
And off he kicked his sky-blue sock,
Till nurse called him “Mister Crosstie,”
And, all at once, giving a dreadful groan,
She left cross Dimple Dumpling all alone.
But when the sounds of silver spoons and bowls
Came up and jingled round in Dimple’s chamber,
And in stole savory sniffs of steaks and rolls,
Quick from his chair did Dimple clamber;
And as he knew that little leggies bare
Were not received at mamma’s breakfast table,
He thought he’d better oil and ’fume his hair
And button on his frock himself if able,—
The scarlet frock,—
The sky-blue sock,—
He was in it
In a minute!
But down stairs Dimple hourly grew more cross,
And o’er the house with awful noise went rushing,
Till all his folks stood up, quite at a loss
To hit upon some brand-new means of hushing.
But on his friends the ogre frowned,
And in the desks and drawers went prowling,
Until a fierce jack-knife was found
That just exactly matched his scowling.—
Then Dimple opened every blade,
And went right at his dearest treasures,
And hacked, till every toy was made
The victim of his savage measures.
Next Dimple growled aloud he’d “keep a school;”
So up hopped Minnie, merry as a linnet,
And offered picture-book and painted rule—
But “no,” he shrieked, “he wouldn’t have her in it!”
He seized her wooden dolls that couldn’t smile.—for O,
O, how he hated smiles, grim Dimple Dumpling!
And all the time they sat there in that wooden row
His yellow head against the wall was crumpling,—
It must have been so sore,—but there he sat, like stone,
And kicked the floor till mamma cried, “O, this is
Very bad!”—but, ah, if mamma’d only known
Her little boy was bad for lack of kisses!
Well, all at once, the silver sun shone out,
And Minnie played she’d never heard those speeches,
But led cross Dimple out, with skip and shout,
Down where the wind had blown the rareripe peaches.
Just one single Red-Cheek lay on the grass,
And O, how Dimple pushed and rushed to get it,
Though Minnie stepped aside to let him pass;
And, then, away he ran to stand and eat it.—
O, Dimple Dumpling! O, such a bad little man,
All for two kisses! I wonder if this can
The reason be that so many a little brother
Goes wrong his life long,—for lack of kisses and mother!
How do I know but a terrible hunger
Gnaws at the hearts of motherless boys?
How do I know but ’tis that that destroys
All that is good, until boys that are younger
Than you, Boy Dumpling, make the streets sorrowful places,
And the angels weep at the look on the wee, wee faces?
But off ran selfish Dimple through the pink peach trees,—
“I’s goin’ by myse’f into the meadow,”
He screamed,—instead, he fell upon his chubby knees
And tumbled over in the brambly shadow.
Then loud did Dimple shriek, “Minnie! hornets and bees!”
He rolled, he struck before, and struck behind him,
While little Minnie flew along the pink peach trees,—
“O, dear Dimple! Dimple darling!”—to find him.
Ah, well, perhaps the hornets like a naughty fellow!
For there they rested on his round and rosy cheeks,
And there they clung upon his hair so soft and yellow,—
No wonder that the tender little sister shrieks!
And when they heard her not a hornet missed her;
They stung her blind just ’cause she was his sister!—
Poor little sister, poor little brother,
One ran one way, and one the other!
All day long was dear little Dimple lost,
And all the house was out and calling, “Dimple! Dimple!”
Till just at dark a dingle dim was crossed,
And there, asleep, down in the grass, all sweet and simple,
And like a lily, Dimple was; and mamma, in her joy,
Kissed and kissed him, and he woke up Her Own Good Boy.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Variations in spelling and hyphenation are retained.

Perceived typographical errors have been changed.

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