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´╗┐Title: Rollo's Experiments
Author: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rollo's Experiments" ***

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                                BY THE

                  READ, AT WORK, AT PLAY, AT SCHOOL,
                           AT VACATION, &c.

                      WEEKS, JORDAN, AND COMPANY

       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839,

                           By T. H. CARTER,

    In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

                          STEREOTYPED AT THE




                 JONAS AN ASTRONOMER              11

                 PRUNING                          23

                 THE GREAT BEETLE AND WEDGE       35

                 THE LITTLE BEETLE AND WEDGE      46

                 SPLITTING                        59

                 HOROLOGY                         80

                 JONAS'S DIAL                     94

                 THE BEE-HIVE                    112

                 JONAS'S MAGNET                  124

                 MAGNETISM                       139

                 INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY         157

                 OSCILLATIONS                    165

                         ROLLO'S EXPERIMENTS.


One day, when Rollo was about seven years old, he was sitting upon the
steps of the door, and he heard a noise in the street, as of some sort
of carriage approaching. A moment afterwards, a carryall came in sight.
It drove up to the front gate, and stopped. Rollo's father and mother
and his little brother Nathan got out. His father fastened the horse to
the post, and came in.

When Rollo first heard the noise of the carryall, he was sitting still
upon the steps of the door, thinking. He was thinking of something that
Jonas, his father's hired boy, had told him about the sun's shining in
at the barn door. There was a very large double door to Rollo's father's
barn, and as this door opened towards the south, the sun used to shine
in very warm, upon the barn floor, in the middle of the day.

Rollo and Jonas had been sitting there husking some corn,--for it was in
the fall of the year;--and as it was rather a cool autumnal day, Rollo
said it was lucky that the sun shone in, for it kept them warm.

"Yes," said Jonas; "and what is remarkable, it always shines in farther
in the winter than it does in the summer."

"Does it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Jonas.

"And what is the reason?" asked Rollo.

"I don't know," said Jonas, "unless it is because we want it in the barn
more in the winter than we do in the summer."

"Ho!" said Rollo; "I don't believe that is the reason."

"Why not?" said Jonas.

"O, I don't believe the sun moves about in the heavens, to different
places, only just to shine into barn doors."

"Why, it keeps a great many farmers' boys more comfortable," said Jonas.

"Is it so in all barns?" asked Rollo.

"I suppose so," said Jonas.

After some further conversation on the subject, the boys determined to
watch the reflection of the sun's beams upon the barn floor for a good
many days, and to mark the place that it came in to, at noon every day,
with a piece of chalk. It was only a few minutes before the carryall
came up, that they had determined upon this, and had marked the place
for that day; and then Rollo had come out of the barn, and was sitting
upon the door step, thinking of the subject, when his reflections were
interrupted in the manner already described.

So, when Rollo saw his father getting out of the carryall, he ran to
meet him, and called out to him, talking very loud and rapidly,

"Father, Jonas says that the sun shines farther in, upon the barn floor,
in winter than in summer;--does it, do you think?"

But this was not a proper time for Rollo to bring up his philosophical
question. His father had a carpet bag and several packages in his hands,
and he was also conducting Rollo's mother in, and thinking about the
horse and carryall. So he told Rollo that he must not speak to him then,
for he could not attend to him.

Rollo then walked along back into the yard, and began to think of the
subject of the sun's shining in at the south door. He looked up towards
the sun, and began to consider what sort of a change in its place, at
noon, on different days, would be necessary in order to account for its
shining in more at south doors and windows, on some days, than on
others. He reflected that if the sun were exactly overhead, at noon, it
could not shine in at any doors at all; for the rays would then strike
perpendicularly down the sides of the houses. While he was standing
thus, lost in thought, looking up to the sun, with his arm across his
forehead, to shelter his eyes a little from the dazzling rays, he
suddenly felt the pressure of two soft hands upon his ears, as of
somebody who had come up behind him. He turned round, and found his
cousin Lucy standing there.

Lucy asked him what he was thinking of, and he told her. He then took
Lucy into the barn, and showed her the chalk mark upon the floor. She
looked on with a good deal of interest, and said she thought it was an
excellent plan; and she wished there was a great barn with a south
floor at _their_ house. Lucy knew more about the subject than Rollo did,
and she gave him some explanations about it. "You see," said she, "that
the sun rises in the east every morning, and comes up higher and higher,
every hour, till noon; and then it begins to go down again, and at last
it sets in the west. But, at some times in the year, it comes up higher
at noon than it does at other times, and so it does not shine so much
into the door."

"It shines _more_, you mean," said Rollo.

"No," said Lucy; "not so much. In the winter the sun moves around by the
south, and keeps pretty low all day, and of course shines farther into
doors and windows."

Then, after a moment's pause, she added,

"If we should mark the place on the floor all the year round, we should
find what time the sun is farthest to the south."

"So we should," said Rollo.

"It would be in the winter," said Lucy.

"Yes," said Rollo; "in the middle of the winter exactly."

"Yes," said Lucy; "and in the middle of the summer it would be nearest

"Jonas and I will try it," said Rollo.

"I can try it in the house," said Lucy, "where the sun shines in at my
chamber window."

"O no," said Rollo; "that won't do."

"Why not?" said Lucy.

"Because the window does not come down to the floor, and so does not let
the sun in enough."

"O, that makes no difference," said Lucy; "we have nothing to do with
the bottom of the door; you only mark where it shines in the farthest,
and that place is made by the top of the door, for it shines in farthest
by the top of the door."

"Well," said Rollo, "I don't know but that the house will do; but then
you can't chalk on the carpet."

"Chalk on the carpet?" said Lucy.

"Yes, to mark the place."

"No," said Lucy, thinking; "but I can mark it some other way."

"How?" asked Rollo.

"Why, I can put a pin in," said Lucy.

"O dear," said Rollo, with a laugh, "put a pin in! That's no way to mark
a shadow."

"It isn't a shadow," said Lucy.

"Yes, it is," said Rollo.

"No," said Lucy; "a shadow is dark, and this is bright."

"Yes," said Rollo, "this is a bright shadow; some shadows are bright,
and some are dark."

"O Rollo!" said Lucy; and she turned away from him, a little out of

The truth was, that Rollo and Lucy were getting decidedly into a
dispute. From the sublime heights of practical astronomy, they had
fallen, by a sad and very rapid descent, to a childish altercation.
Rollo had a very high idea of the superior facilities afforded by
Jonas's barn floor for observing the daily changes in the sun's meridian
altitude, and he did not like the idea of Lucy's finding that she had
equally good opportunities for observation at her home. Lucy was a
little fretted at Rollo's captious spirit; but then her mind soon became
unruffled again, and she turned back towards Rollo, and said, as they
walked along the yard,

"I don't think the sunshine on the floor is a shadow, Rollo; but then I
don't see why a shadow would not do, just as well."

"How?" said Rollo.

"Why, look there at the shadow of that post,--that would do."

She pointed to a post with a rounded top upon it, which stood by the
side of the garden gate. The shadow, clear, distinct, and well defined,
was projected upon the walk; and Lucy told Rollo that they might mark
the place where the top of that shadow came every day, and that that
would do just as well.

"But how could we mark it?" said Rollo.

"Why, we could drive a little stake unto the ground."

"O, that would not do," said Rollo. "People would trip over them, and
break them down. They would be exactly in the walk."

Lucy saw that this would be a difficulty, and, for a moment, seemed to
be at a loss. At length, she said,

"We might go somewhere else, then, where the people would not come."

"But what should we do for a post?" said Rollo.

"Could not we get Jonas to drive a tall stake down?" said Lucy.

"Yes," said Rollo; "I suppose so."

The children went out into the garden to find a good smooth place, and
while they were walking about there, Rollo's mother came out, and they
told her the whole story. She seemed quite interested in the plan, and
told them of a better way than any that they had thought of.

"You see," said she, "that the _height_ of the stake or pole that makes
the shadow is not material; for the shadow of a small one will vary just
as much, in proportion to its length, as that of a long one will. So,
instead of taking a wooden stake, out of doors, you might take a large
pin, and drive it down a little way into the window sill, in the house.
Then you can mark the shadow with a pen, very exactly."

"So we can," said Lucy, clapping her hands.

"And you might put a piece of white paper, or a card down first,"
continued Rollo's mother, "and drive the pin through that, and then mark
the places where the end of the shadow comes every day, directly on the
card, with a fine pen. Thus you could be a great deal more exact than
you can in chalking upon a barn floor."

Rollo asked his mother if she would not be kind enough to help them fix
their apparatus; but she said she would give them particular directions,
though she should prefer letting them do the whole themselves, and then,
if they met with any difficulties, they might come and report them to
her, and she would tell them how to surmount them. So she recommended to
them to go and find a blank card, or piece of white pasteboard, or of
stiff white paper, as big as a common card. "Then," said she, "choose
some window where the sun shines in at noon, and put the card down upon
the sill, and drive the pin down through it. But you must not drive the
pin through the middle of the card, for the shadow will always be off to
the north of the pin, and therefore the pin may be pretty near the south
end of the card. Then the shadow will be more likely to come wholly upon
the card, even when it is longest. You had better place the card in such
a position, too, that its sides shall lie in the direction of north and
south. Then the shadow at noon will lie along exactly in the middle of
it. You must get a large and stout pin, too; and drive it in firmly, a
little way, with a small hammer. It will be well, too, to drive another
smaller pin into the other end of the card, so as to keep it fixed in
its north and south position."

"How can we know when it is north and south, exactly?" said Lucy.

"You cannot do it exactly," said Rollo's mother; "but you can get it
pretty near. One way is to borrow father's little compass, and adjust it
by that. Another way is to see when it is exactly twelve o'clock by the
clock, and then the shadow of the pin will of itself be about north.

"Then you might move the north end of the card until the shadow is
brought exactly into the middle of the card, and then put the other pin
in, and fix it in that place. Then if you make a mark along where the
shadow comes, that mark will be a north and south line, and you can mark
the place where the shadow of the pin's head crosses that line, when it
crosses it every day at noon."

The children said that they believed they understood the directions, and
they determined to try the plan. They thought they would fix two cards,
one at Rollo's house, and one at Lucy's; and they immediately went off
in pursuit of blank cards and big pins.


One afternoon, Rollo saw his father coming out into the garden, with a
little saw and a knife, and a small pot of paint in his hands.

"Father," said he, "are you going to prune your trees now?"

"Yes," said his father.

"Then, shall I go and get my wheelbarrow?"

"Yes," replied his father, again.

So Rollo ran off after his wheelbarrow. It had been arranged, between
him and his father that morning, that they should work in the garden an
hour or two in the afternoon, and that Rollo should pick up all the
cuttings from the trees, and wheel them away, and then, when they were
dry, make a bonfire with them.

Rollo found his wheelbarrow in its proper place, and trundled it along
into the garden.

"Father," said he, "what trees are you going to prune first?"

"O, I am going to begin at the back side of the garden, and prune them
all, advancing regularly to the front."

"What is the saw for?" said Rollo.

"To saw off the large branches, that I can't cut off easily with a

"But I should not think you would want to saw off any large branches,
for so you will lose all the apples that would grow on them next year."

"Why, sometimes, the branches are dead, and then they would do no good,
but only be in the way."

"But do they do any hurt?" said Rollo.

"Why, they look badly."

"But, I mean, would they do any actual hurt to the tree?"

"Why, I don't know," said his father; "perhaps they would not. At any
rate, if I cut them off pretty close to the living part of the tree, the
bark will then gradually extend out over the little stump that I leave,
and finally cover it over, and take it all in, as it were."

By this time, Rollo and his father had reached the back side of the
garden, and his father showed him the place where he had cut off a limb
the year before, and he saw how the fresh young bark had protruded
itself all around it, and was spreading in towards the centre so as to
cover it over. Rollo then saw that it was better that all old dead limbs
should be cut off.

"That's curious," said Rollo.

"Yes, very curious," said his father. "A tree will take in, and cover
up, almost any thing that is fastened to the wood, in the same manner."

"Will it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said his father. "If you drive a nail into a tree, the bark will,
after a time, cover it over entirely. Sometimes people find things in
old trees, which were put upon them when they were young."

"How big things?" said Rollo.

"O, I don't know exactly how big. The tree will make an effort to
enclose any thing small or large. Only, if it is very large, it will
take a great while to enclose it, and it might be so large that it never
could enclose it."

"Well, father, how large must it be so that the tree never could enclose

"O, I don't know, exactly. Once I saw a tree that was growing very near
a rock. After a time it came in contact with it, and it grew and pressed
against it, until the rock crowded into the wood. Then the bark began to
protrude in every direction along the rock, as if it was making an
effort to spread out and take the rock all in. But I don't think it will
ever succeed; for the rock was part of a ledge in a pretty large hill."

"What a silly tree!" said Rollo.

"Father, I believe I will try the experiment some time," continued
Rollo, after a pause.

"Very well," said his father.

"What shall I put into the tree?" asked Rollo.

"You might put in a cent," said his father, "and then, if it should get
fairly enclosed, I presume the tree will keep it safe for you a good
many years."

Rollo determined to do it. "Then," said he, "I shall never be out of
money, and that will be excellent." His father told him that he must
make a small cleft in the bark and wood, with a chisel and mallet, and
then drive the cent in, edgewise, a little way.

So Rollo got his chisel and mallet, and inserted the cent according to
his father's directions, and by that time there were a good many
branches and twigs on the ground, which his father had taken off from
the trees, and so he began to pick them up, and put them into his

They went on working together for some time, and talking while they
worked. Rollo was continually asking his father questions, and his
father sometimes answered them, and sometimes did not, but was silent
and thoughtful, as if he was thinking of something else. But whether he
got answers or not, Rollo went on talking.


"Father," said Rollo, at length, after a short pause, during which he
had been busily at work putting twigs into his wheelbarrow, "Henry has
got a very interesting book."

His father did not answer.

"_I_ think it is a very interesting book indeed. Should not you like to
read it, father?"

His father was just then reaching up very high to saw off a pretty large
limb, and he paid no attention to what Rollo was saying. So Rollo went
on talking half to himself--

"One story is about Aladdin and his lamp. If he rubbed his lamp, he
could have whatever he wished; something would come, I have forgotten
what its name was, and bring him whatever he asked for."

Just then, down came the great branch which his father had been sawing
off, falling from its place on the tree to the ground.

Rollo looked at it a moment, and then, when his father began sawing
again, he said,

"Should not you like such a lamp, father?"

"Such a lamp as what, my son?" said his father.

"Why, such a one as Aladdin's."

"Aladdin's! why, what do you know of Aladdin's lamp?"

"Why, I read about it in Henry's story book," said Rollo. "I just told
you, father."

"Did you?" said his father. "Won't you just hand me up the paint brush?"

"Well, father," said Rollo, as he handed him the brush, "don't you
wish you had an Aladdin's lamp?"

"No, not particularly," said his father.

"O father!" exclaimed Rollo, with surprise, "I am sure _I_ do. Don't you
wish _I_ had such a lamp, father?"

"No," said his father.

"Why, father, I really think I could do some good with it. For instance,
I could just rub my lamp, and then have all your trees pruned for you,
at once, without any further trouble."

"But that would not be worth while; for you might have a much larger and
better garden than this made at once, with thousands of trees, bearing
delicious fruit; and ponds, and waterfalls, and beautiful groves."

"O, so I could," said Rollo.

"And, then, how soon do you think you should get tired of it, and want

"O, perhaps, I should want another pretty soon; but then I could have
another, you know."

"Yes, and how long do you think you could find happiness, in calling
beautiful gardens into existence, one after another?"

"O, I don't know;--a good while."

"A day?"

"O, yes, father."

"A week?"

"Why, perhaps, I should be tired in a week."

"Then all your power of receiving enjoyment from gardens would be run
out and exhausted in a week; whereas mine, without any Aladdin's lamp,
lasts me year after year, pleasantly increasing all the time without
ever reaching satiety."

"What is satiety, father?"

"The feeling we experience when we have had so much of a good thing that
we are completely tired and sick of it. If I should give a little child
as much honey as he could eat, or let him play all the time, or buy him
a vast collection of pictures, he would soon get tired of these things."

"O father, I never should get tired of looking at pictures."

"I think you would," said his father.

Here the conversation stopped a few minutes, while Rollo went to wheel
away a load of his sticks. Before he returned, he had prepared himself
to renew his argument. He said,

"Father, even if I did get tired of making beautiful gardens, I could
then do something else with the lamp, and that would give me new

"Yes, but the new pleasure would be run out and exhausted just as soon
as the pleasure of having a garden would have been; so that you would,
in a short time, be satiated with every thing, and become completely
wretched and miserable."

"But, father," said Rollo, after being silent a little while, "I don't
think I should get tired of my beautiful gardens very soon: I don't
think I should get tired even of looking at pictures of them."

"Should you like to try the experiment?"

"Yes, sir," said Rollo, very eagerly.

Rollo's father had a great many books of pictures and engravings of
various kinds in his library; and sometimes he used to allow the
children to see them, but only a very few at a time. They had not yet
seen them all. He only allowed them to see them as fast as they had time
to examine them thoroughly, and read about them and understand them.
But now he said to Rollo,

"I could let you have all the books of prints and engravings I have got,
and see them all at one time, and that would be giving you Aladdin's
lamp, exactly, so far as my pictures are concerned."

"Well," said Rollo, clapping his hands.

"But then, in a short time, you would get tired of looking at them; you
would become satiated, and would in fact spoil the whole pleasure by
attempting to enjoy it too fast. But then I think it would perhaps do
you good."

"How, father?"

"Why, by teaching you the value of moderation, and the uselessness of
Aladdin's lamps in all human enjoyments. It would be a very valuable
experiment in intellectual philosophy, which I think it very probable
might be of use to you. So, if you please, you may try it."

"Well, father, I am sure I should like to see the pictures."

"That is all settled then," said his father; "some day you shall."


Rollo was coming home one morning after having been away on an errand,
and he saw a large wood pile near Farmer Cropwell's door. Now it
happened that Rollo had once been on a journey pretty far back into the
country; it was at the time when Jonas told him and Lucy the stories
related in the book called "Jonas's Stories." On that journey, Jonas had
one day told him that the sap of the maple-tree was sweet, and had let
him taste of some, where it oozed out at the end of the log. Seeing
Farmer Cropwell's wood pile reminded Rollo of this; and he thought he
would look at the ends of all the logs, and see if he could not find
some drops of sweet sap there.

But he could not, for two reasons: none of those trees were maple-trees,
and then, besides, they were all dry. There was no sap in them of any
kind; at least, not enough to ooze out. While Rollo was looking there,
one of Farmer Cropwell's large boys came out with an axe in his hand. He
rolled out a pretty large log of wood, though it was not very long, and
struck his axe into the end of it, as if he was going to split it.

"I don't believe you can split that great log," said Rollo.

"I don't expect to do it with the axe," said the boy, as he left the axe
sticking in the log.

"How then?" said Rollo.

"I have got beetle and wedges here, round behind the wood pile."

So the boy went to another side of the wood pile, and brought a large
beetle and an iron wedge. When he got back to his log, he started out
the axe which he had left sticking into it. Then Rollo saw that the axe
had made a little indentation, or cleft, in the wood. He put the point
of the wedge into this cleft, and drove it in a very little, with a few
light blows with the axe. Then he took the great heavy beetle, and began
driving the wedge in, with very heavy blows.

Presently, Rollo saw a little crack beginning to extend out each side
from the wedge. The crack ran along across the end of the log, and
thence down the side, and grew wider and wider every moment. At last,
the wedge was driven in as far as it would go, and still the log was not
split open.

"Now stop," said Rollo; "I will put a stick in, and keep the crack open,
while you drive the wedge in, in another place."

"O, that won't do," said the boy; "a stick would not keep it open."

"Why not?" said Rollo.

"Because it is not solid enough; the sides of the cleft draw together
very hard. They would crush the stick."

Here Rollo put his hand into his pocket, and drew out a walnut, and he
asked the boy if it would crack a walnut.

"Try it," said the boy.

So Rollo put the walnut into the crack. He slipped it along until he got
it to a place where the crack was just wide enough to receive it, and
hold it steady. He left it there, and then the boy began to knock out
the wedge.

He struck it first upon one side, and then upon the other, and thus
gradually worked it out. The walnut was crushed all to pieces. The boy
then drove in the wedge again, so as to open the log as it was before.
He then went to the place where he had got the beetle and wedge at
first, and brought a large wooden wedge which he had made before, and
began to put that into the crack, not very far from the iron wedge.

"This will keep it open," said he.

"Yes, I think it will," said Rollo. "But put it up close to the iron

"No," said the boy; "for then I can't knock the iron wedge out."

So the boy put the large wooden wedge in, at a little distance from the
iron one, and drove it in rather gently with the beetle. This opened the
cleft a little more, so that the iron wedge came out pretty easily.

"I don't see what makes the sides of the logs draw together so hard,"
said Rollo.

"O, they can't help it," said the boy.

"That is no reason," rejoined Rollo. "I should think that, after the log
is once split open, it would stay so. If I split a piece of wood in two
with my knife, the pieces don't try to come together again."

So Rollo began to examine the log, and to look into the cracks, to see
if he could find out what it was that made the parts draw together so
hard as to crush the walnut. Presently, he observed that the log was not
split open from end to end. The crack commenced at one end, and extended
nearly towards the other, but not quite; so that at this other end the
log was solid and whole, just as it always had been. So Rollo perceived
that the two halves being joined and held together firmly here, they
could only be separated at the other end by the wedge springing them
open, and, of course, by their elasticity they tended to spring together
again. Then besides, he saw, by looking into the crack, a great number
of splinters, large and small, which extended obliquely from one side to
the other, and bound the two sides strongly towards each other.

By this time the boy had got the wedge knocked out.

"It is strange," said Rollo, "that such a small wedge will split such a
tough and solid log."

"O, not very strange," said the boy. "You see," he continued, taking up
the wedge, and pointing to the several parts as he explained them, "you
see here at this part, where it enters the wood it is sharp, and the
sides spread out each way, so that, when I drive it in, they force the
wood apart."

"Why don't they have the back of the wedge wider still? and then it
would force the wood open farther; and then you would not have to put in
a wooden wedge afterwards,--so," he added, making a sign with his
fingers. He put the tips of his fingers together, and then separated his
hands, so as to represent a very blunt-shaped wedge.

"Then it would not drive in so easily," answered the boy. "Perhaps I
could not drive it in at all, if it was so blunt."

"They might have the wedge longer then," said Rollo, "and then it would
be just as tapering, and yet it would be a great deal broader at the
back, because the back would be farther off."

"That would make the wedge a great deal too heavy. It would not drive."

"Why, yes, it would," said Rollo.

"No, it would not," said the boy. "It would be just like a shoemaker's
lap-stone; pounding it would hardly move it."

Rollo did not understand what the boy meant by what he said about the
shoemaker's lap-stone; so he paused a moment, and presently he said,

"I don't think it would make any difference, if it was heavy. And,
besides, it might be made of wood, and that wouldn't be heavy."

"O, wood wouldn't do," said the boy.

Now it happened that while they had been talking, the boy had gone on
driving in his wooden wedge into the cleft that the iron one had made,
and it had been gradually splitting the log open more and more. So that
just as the boy was saying that "a wooden wedge wouldn't do," Rollo was
actually seeing with his own eyes that it _would_ do; for at that moment
the boy gave the last blow, and the halves of the log came apart and
fell over, one to one side, and the other to the other.

"Why, there," said Rollo, "you have split the log open with a wooden

"O, that is because I had an iron one in first," said the boy.

"What difference does that make?" said Rollo.

"A great deal of difference," said the boy.

"But _what_ difference?" persisted Rollo.

"I don't know exactly what difference," said the boy; "only I know you
can't do any thing with a wooden wedge until you have first opened a
seam with an iron one."

Rollo was confident that it could not possibly make any difference
whether a wooden wedge was used first or last. The boy was sure that it
did, though he could not tell why. Finally, they determined to try it;
so the boy struck his axe into the end of the next log, and then
attempted to drive in his wooden wedge. But he did not succeed at all.
The wedge would not stay. Rollo told him that he did not strike hard
enough. Then he struck harder, but it did no good. The wedge dropped out
the moment he let go of it, and on taking it up, they found that the
edge of it was bruised and battered; so that even Rollo gave up all
hopes of making it enter.

"Ah!" said the boy, taking up the wedge, and looking at it, "now I know
what the reason is. It is the edge."

"Where?" said Rollo. "Let me see."

"Why, when there is no crack," said the boy, "you see the edge of the
wedge comes against the solid wood, and when I drive, it only bruises
and batters it; but the iron is hard, and goes in. But then, when a
crack is made, the wedge can go in easily; for the edge does not touch;
then only the sides rub against the wood."

"How?" said Rollo. "I don't understand."

"I'll show you in a minute," said the boy. So he took the iron wedge,
and went to work driving it into the log. It soon began to make a crack,
which ran along the log, and opened wider and wider. When, at length, it
was pretty wide, he put the wooden wedge in, and he showed Rollo that
the edge of the wedge did not now have to force its way, but went easily
into the crack, and only the sides came in contact with the two parts of
the log which it was separating.

"That's curious," said Rollo.

"Yes," said the boy.

"I wish I had a little beetle and wedge," said Rollo. "I have got a
hammer. That would do for a beetle, if I only had a wedge."

"O, a hammer won't do," said the boy.

"Why not? Would not an axe do as well as a beetle?"

"No," said the boy, "it would spoil the axe and the wedge too."

"How?" asked Rollo.

"Why, it would bruise it all up,--hard iron knocking against the hard

"Would it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," replied the farmer's boy; "it would spoil the head of the axe,
and the head of the wedge too."

"Is that the reason why they make a wooden beetle?"

"Yes," said the boy; "and they put iron rings around the ends to keep
the wood from being bruised and battered."

"O, I wish I had a little beetle and wedge!" said Rollo.

"Perhaps you might make one."

"O, I could not make an iron wedge--nor the beetle rings."

"No, but you might make wedges of wood,--pretty hard wood; that would do
to split up pieces of pine boards, and then you would not need any rings
to your beetle."

"Jonas can help me," said Rollo.

"Yes," said the boy; "Jonas will know all about it."

So Rollo set out to go home, full of the idea of making a wooden beetle
and wedge, so as to split up pieces of boards. He determined, in case he
should succeed, to make a smaller one still for Thanny.


When Rollo got home, he looked about for Jonas every where, but could
not find him. He went around the house and yard, calling "Jonas! Jonas!"
very loud. Presently Nathan came out to the door, and told him that his
mother wanted to see him. So Rollo went in to his mother.

"You ought not to make such a noise," said she, "calling Jonas. You
disturb us all."

"But, mother," said he, "I want to find him very much."

"No doubt," said his mother; "but you must find him with your eyes, not
with your tongue."

"Why, mother," said Rollo, laughing, "what do you mean by that?"

"Boys very generally have a habit of trying to find people with their
tongues, that is, by calling them; but it is a very bad habit. You see,"
she continued, "there are five or six persons now in and about the
house, and if you go around calling out for Jonas, you disturb us all;
but if you go about quietly, and _look_ for him, you do not disturb any

"But then it is not so easy to find him by looking for him," said Rollo.

"Why not?" asked his mother.

"Because," said Rollo, "I can call out for him, in a moment, in the
yard, and then if he is any where within hearing, he answers; and so I
know where he is. But it would take me some time to go to all the places
that are within hearing."

"True," said his mother, "I see it is more trouble to find any body with
your eyes, than with your voice; but then it is so much pleasanter for
all the rest of us, that you must submit to it."

So Rollo went away again to look for Jonas. He inquired of Dorothy in
the kitchen, and she told him that she saw Jonas going out towards the
barn a few minutes before. So Rollo went off in pursuit of him.

He found him at work in a little back room in the barn, looking over
some harnesses.

"What are you doing, Jonas?" said Rollo.

"I am overhauling these harnesses, to get them all ready for winter."

"For winter?" said Rollo.

"Yes," replied Jonas; "they are sleigh-harnesses."

"Well, Jonas," said Rollo, "I wanted to see you about a beetle and
wedge. Do you think you could help me about making a little beetle and

"I can help you by my _advice_," said Jonas.

"O, but I want you to help me _make_ them."

Then Jonas asked Rollo what made him think of a beetle and wedge; and
Rollo told him of the conversation he had held with the farmer's boy.
Then Jonas talked a long time about it, giving him particular advice and
direction about the plan, though he said he could not himself go and
help him then, for he could not leave his harnesses.

The advice which Jonas gave him was, substantially, this:--

"The boy was right in what he said about the necessity of having iron
wedges, to split up large logs of hard wood; but you had better have
short pieces of pine boards for your logs, and then wedges of hard wood
will do instead of iron; for hard wood is so much more solid than pine,
that I think wedges of it will answer very well. There are some pieces
of walnut under the bench, which will do finely, and I will give you one
of them."

"I'll go, now, and get it," said Rollo.

"No," said Jonas, "not yet; let me tell you about making the beetle."

So Rollo stood in the door way, waiting to hear what Jonas had to say
about the beetle, but evidently quite impatient to go.

"If you make your wedges of hard wood, it will not be necessary to have
iron rings to your beetle, because it will not get battered much, in
driving wooden wedges. Now you must go to the wood pile, and look out a
piece of round wood, about as large round as my arm, and bore a hole in

"A hole in it!" said Rollo.

"Yes, a small auger hole, to put the handle into. Then you must put the
wood into the saw-horse, and saw off the ends, at a little distance
from the hole, so that, when the handle is put in, it will be like a

"A mallet!" said Rollo. "But I wanted a beetle."

"Well, a mallet is a small beetle, without rings."

"Is it?" said Rollo, thoughtfully.

"Yes," replied Jonas; "and if you work slowly and carefully, I think you
can make a pretty good one yourself."

Rollo thought so too, and away he ran to make the experiment. Under the
great work bench, he found, among a quantity of boards and bits of wood,
a number of long bars of walnut, which Jonas had split out from the wood
pile to keep for handles. He took one of these, and carried it off to
the shed, to look for the saw and the hatchet.

The first thing was, as he supposed, to saw off a piece of the wood just
long enough for a wedge. But in this he was mistaken. In doing any piece
of work of this kind, it is always very important to consider which part
it is best to do first. Rollo did not think of this, and so he marked
off a piece of the walnut wood about long enough for a wedge, and then
sawed it off.

"Now," said he, "I must make the sides smooth, and sharpen it."

So he took the piece of wood in his hand, and put one end of it down
upon a large log of wood, and then attempted to smooth and sharpen it,
as he had seen Jonas sharpen a stake. But he could not succeed very
well. The wood was very hard, and he could not cut it. Then it was so
short that it was almost impossible to hold it. At almost every blow of
the hatchet it slipped out of his hand; and then, besides, he was very
much afraid of cutting his fingers; so that, after working laboriously
for some time, he came back to Jonas in despair, holding his wedge in
his hands, which, however, instead of being properly sharpened, was only
rounded off a little at the corners.

"O dear me!" said he to Jonas, as he came up to him with the intended
wedge in his hands, "I can't make a wedge at all. It's no use to try."
Then he explained to Jonas the difficulties that he had met with.

"True," said Jonas; "I see. I advise you to give it up."

"Yes," said Rollo, "the wood is so hard."

"O, no," said Jonas; "_that_ is no great trouble--you could easily
manage that."

"But then I can't hold it."

"That is of no consequence either. I could tell you a way to hold it
well enough."

"What is the reason, then, why you think I had better give up?"

"Because you have not patience enough."

Rollo stood silent and thoughtful as Jonas said this, with his piece of
wood in one hand, and his hatchet in the other.

"It takes a great deal of patience to make a thing which we never made

"Why?" said Rollo.

"O, because there are always unforeseen difficulties. We don't know
exactly how to do it, and are apt to make mistakes; and so we spoil some
of our work, and this makes us impatient and fretful."

"But I could not help coming to you," said Rollo, "when I found I could
not sharpen my wedge."

"I did not blame you for coming to me," said Jonas.

"But you said I was impatient."

"Yes, but not for coming to me--I judged by your looks and tone of
voice. Now if you can keep good-natured and pleasant, so as to go on
steadily and patiently, difficulties or no difficulties, I will help you
by my advice; otherwise, I think you had better give up the plan."

Rollo stood a few minutes leaning on the door, and swinging it back and
forth a little. He seemed to be in doubt whether to be good-natured or
not. At length, the better feelings triumphed, and he said,

"Well, Jonas I will try. How can I hold my wedge while I sharpen it?"

"You must not saw it off until it is all sharpened and smoothed. By that
means, you see, the long end of the stick, that you make it from, will
serve for a handle."

"So it will," said Rollo; "I never thought of that."

So Rollo went off in pursuit of the stick from which he had sawed off
his first wedge, intending to make another upon the end of it, and then
saw it off when it was all ready.

He found that now he could hold his wood very easily, and there was no
danger of cutting his fingers. So he could strike much heavier blows. He
soon sharpened his wedge, and then carried it to Jonas to ask him if he
thought it would do.

"No," said Jonas, "I don't think it will do, very well."

"Won't it?" asked Rollo, looking somewhat disappointed.

"Why, you see the sides are not smooth; and then you have not sharpened
it uniformly. You have cut away more at the corners than you have in the
middle, so that it is thicker in the middle. That is the way that boys
always sharpen wedges."

"Why do they?" asked Rollo.

"I suppose it is because it is easier to cut away at the edges, and so
they get more off there. Now you had better get your wedge as true, and
perfect, and smooth as you can, before you saw it off. It will be a
great deal pleasanter to work with a good wedge than with a poor one,
and so you had better take pains with it, and make as perfect a one as
you can, if you make any."

"But, Jonas," said Rollo, "I can smooth it and finish it, after I get it
sawed off."

"Not half as easily as you can now," said Jonas.

During all this time Jonas kept on with his own work; and now he said
no more, and seemed disposed to leave Rollo to his own decision.

Rollo walked slowly back to the shed. He longed to have his wedge done;
but then Jonas had often told him before, that if he was attempting to
make any thing, it was best to take pains with it, and make it as
complete and perfect as possible, and then he would prize it more, and
take more pleasure in it, when it was done. Rollo knew that this was
good advice, though, like almost all other boys, he was always in such a
hurry to finish any thing that he undertook, and to have it ready for
use, that he did not like to take the necessary pains.

On reflection, however, he concluded to take Jonas's advice; and he
accordingly began to smooth the sides of his wedge again with the
hatchet. He did it slowly and carefully; and after some time he found
that he had got the wedge into a much more perfect shape than before. He
then carried it to Jonas again.

Now Jonas approved it very much, but told him that he had better smooth
it a little more with his knife before sawing it off. Rollo did so; and
then he carried it back to the horse, and sawed it off at the right
distance, and it made an excellent wedge. The edges, at the head of the
wedge, were left somewhat rough by the saw. These, however, he trimmed
off with his knife, and then carried the wedge to Jonas.

"Very well," said Jonas; "now you want one more."

"One more?" said Rollo. "No, I want my beetle next."

"No," said Jonas, "one more wedge. Make all your wedges first."

"Why, Jonas, you see, if I make my beetle next, I can try it with this
wedge, and then I can make another, if I want it, afterwards."

"No," replied Jonas, "that is not a good way. You ought to finish up
your apparatus all complete, before you try it at all. Then you will
take a great deal more pleasure in trying it. Besides, if you get to
work splitting up your wood, you will not want to leave it, and go to
making a new wedge then. Now is the time to do it."

Rollo felt very desirous to make his beetle first, so as "just to try it
a little," as he said. Still, he had so often found, when he had not
followed Jonas's advice, that he was sorry for it afterwards, that he
concluded to make another wedge now. He accordingly went to work again,
and having learned how to do it by his practice upon the first one, he
succeeded very easily, and finished it much quicker than he did before.

Then he went to work upon his beetle. He selected a round stick of wood,
of about the right size, and then examined it carefully to find the part
which was most uniform and regular in its shape; and he bored a hole for
the handle in the middle of this part. He made his handle of pine wood,
for this was much easier to cut, and Jonas told him he thought it would
do nearly as well. When the handle was finished, he drove it into the
hole, and then he sawed off the ends of the stick of wood at the right
distances from the hole. He first took pains to measure on each side, so
as to have the distances exactly the same.

When this was done, he had quite a pretty little mallet. That is, it was
made very much like a carpenter's mallet; still, as a mallet is made
chiefly for the purpose of driving a chisel, and this was, on the other
hand, only intended to be used for splitting wood with a wedge, Jonas
told him he thought it would be strictly proper to call it a _little
beetle_. He worked so slowly and carefully, however, in doing all this,
that the afternoon had entirely passed away when he got the beetle and
the wedges done; and just when he was thinking that he was ready to try
them, he saw Dorothy at the kitchen door, ringing the bell to call him
in to tea.


When play time came the next day, Rollo ran after Nathan to show him his
beetle and wedges, and to get him to go out and see him 'split' with
them. Nathan trotted along after him, very much pleased.

Rollo had his beetle in one hand, and his two wedges in the other, and,
as he walked along, he looked over his shoulder towards Nathan, who was
following him, and talked to him by the way, explaining to him something
about his beetle and wedges.

"You see I am going to split, Thanny. I am going to split some kindling
wood for Dorothy. I shall put my wedges into the wood, and then drive
them in with my beetle, and that will make the wood split open more and
more; and perhaps I will let you split a little, Thanny."

By this time Rollo had got out to the shed, and he put his beetle and
wedges down upon the floor, while he went away to get some boards to
split. There were some old boards behind the barn, which Jonas told him
were to be split up to burn, and from these he chose one, which was not
very long, and dragged it to the shed. He placed this upon the
saw-horse, and then sawed off a piece from one end, about as long as he
thought it would be well to have the sticks of kindling wood. After he
had sawed off one piece, he was going to split it up, but then he
reflected that it would be more systematic and workmanlike to finish his
sawing first. So he sawed off another, and another piece, until the
board was all sawed up into short pieces. He placed these together
neatly in a pile, and then taking one of them, he sat down upon the
floor, with Thanny, and prepared to try his beetle and wedges.

"Now," said Rollo, "I think I must have a knife,--some old knife or
other,--to make a little place to drive my wedge in. Thanny, why can't
you go and ask Dorothy to let me have a knife? Come, that's a good boy."

So Nathan got up off of the floor, where he had been sitting by Rollo's
side, and went in for a knife. In a few minutes he came out, and
asked Rollo if a broken one would do. He had brought out a broken knife.
The handle was whole and strong, but the blade was broken in two, about
in the middle.

"Why, yes," said Rollo, taking the knife and looking at it, "I believe
that will do.

"Yes," he continued, "I shall like this better, for I can keep this all
the time, with my wedges. And besides, I believe that I can drive it

So Rollo held the edge of the knife to the end of the board, and then
drove it in a little way, with his little beetle. This made a small
opening or cleft in the angle or edge of the board at one end. Then he
began to drive in his wooden wedge, telling Nathan to look carefully and
see when it began to split. Nathan stood near him, stooping down, with
his hands upon his knees, and looking on with great attention.


Rollo drove in his wedge, and it proceeded admirably. The wood soon
began to crack, and the crack gradually extended almost to the end of
the board. When he had driven it in pretty far, he told Nathan to see
how he was going to manage with his second wedge. He was now very glad
that he had followed Jonas's advice, and made the second wedge before
trying the first. He inserted the second wedge in the crack, and drove
it in. This forced the wood open more, and loosened the first wedge, so
that he could easily get it out again, and very soon the board was split
entirely in two. Nathan was very much delighted with the whole

In the same manner, Rollo split two or three other pieces off from his
board, and then Nathan wanted him to let _him_ split one. Rollo was at
first somewhat unwilling to let his little beetle go out of his hand at
all, he was so interested in using it; but considering that it would
give Nathan a good deal of pleasure, he concluded to let him try it

"I will start it for you, Thanny," said he. And he accordingly made a
small cleft by driving in his knife; and then he inserted the wedge, and
drove that in too, just far enough to start the crack, and enable the
wood to retain the wedge. Nathan then took the beetle, and pounded away.

He found that he could not strike such heavy blows as Rollo could, and
yet the wedge gradually penetrated farther and farther, and the crack
opened wider and wider, to Nathan's great delight. Rollo was himself
gratified to see how much his little brother was pleased with his beetle
and wedges. When the first wedge was driven fully in, he handed him the
other, and showed him how to insert that into the crack made by the
first wedge, at a little distance from it. Nathan then drove in the
second wedge, and this soon finished the work, for it split the piece
off entirely, and Nathan took it up, and looked at it, very much pleased
at what he had done.

"Now," said Rollo, "give me the beetle again."

"No," said Nathan, "I want to split some more."

"O, no," said Rollo, in a tone of good-humored expostulation; "no; it is
_my_ beetle and wedge. I let you have it to split one stick off; but now
you ought to let me have it again, immediately."

"No," said Nathan, "I want to split some more."

Rollo took up the two wedges, and would not let Nathan have them, and
Nathan held the beetle away behind him so that Rollo should not have
that. Thus they seemed to be in inextricable difficulty. Rollo did not
know what to do.

"Nathan," said he, at length, after a pause, "give me my beetle."

"No," said Nathan, "_I_ want to split."

"O, dear me!" said Rollo, with a sigh.

At first, he thought that he would take the beetle away from Nathan by
force; but he reflected in a moment that this would be wrong, and so
finally he concluded to go and state the case to his mother.

So he rose, and began to walk away, saying,

"Well, Nathan, I mean to go and tell mother, that you won't let me have
my beetle."

Then Nathan, whose conscience secretly reproved him for what he was
doing, pulled the beetle round from behind him, and threw it down upon
the floor, where Rollo had been sitting. This was wrong. It was a very
ill-natured way of giving it up. If he was satisfied that he was wrong,
he ought to have handed it to Rollo pleasantly. Instead of that, he
threw it down, with a sullen look, and sat still.

Then Rollo, thinking that it was now no longer necessary to go and
trouble his mother with the difficulty, began to return. As he came
back, he said, in a kind and soothing tone,

"Now, you are a good boy, Nathan. That is right--to give me back my
beetle. Now I will let you split again, some time."

But Rollo was mistaken in supposing that Nathan was a good boy. Boys are
not good until their _hearts_ are right. When a child has something
which he ought not to have, it is not enough for him to throw it down
upon the floor, sullenly, because he is afraid to have his father or
mother told that he has got it. He ought to give it up pleasantly, and
feel that it is right that he should do so. If Nathan had said to
himself, "I ought not to keep this beetle, for it is not mine--it is
Rollo's; he made it, and he has been kind enough to lend it to me, and
now I ought to be willing to give it back to him pleasantly again;" and
then had given it to him with a pleasant countenance,--that would have
been really being a good boy. But to throw it down in a pet, because he
was afraid to have Rollo complain to his mother, was very far from being
like a good boy.

However, it was very kind in Rollo to speak soothingly and pleasantly to
Nathan; though, if he had reflected how much goodness depends upon the
state of the heart, he would not have supposed that Nathan was yet a
good boy. In fact, when he saw that Rollo was coming back again, and was
not going to his mother, after standing still, looking quite sullen for
a moment, he suddenly stooped down, seized Rollo's knife, and ran off
with it out into the yard.

Rollo instantly pursued him, calling out, "Nathan! bring back my knife;
Nathan! Nathan! give me my knife."

Nathan, however, ran on, though Rollo ran the fastest, and was rapidly
overtaking him; and just at the instant before he reached him, Nathan's
foot tripped; he fell, and as he threw forward his hands to try to save
himself, they came down upon the ground, and his forehead struck the
corner of the knife blade. He immediately screamed out with pain and
terror. Dorothy, alarmed by his cries, came out, took him up in her
arms, and carried him into the house.

She took him to the table, and began to bathe the wounded forehead in
cold water. This was what she always did when the children got cut or
scratched, or hurt in any such way. It prevents inflammation. She saw
that Nathan was not hurt much, though he continued to cry very loud. His
crying was, however, partly from pain, and partly from vexation.

In a few minutes, Rollo's mother came down stairs to see what was the
matter. Rollo thought that his mother might suppose that he had hurt
Nathan, and so he began to explain at once how it happened. But his
mother held up her hand to him, as a signal for him to be silent. She
knew that it was then no time to ascertain the facts.

She came up and looked at Nathan's forehead a moment, and she saw that
it was not much hurt. Besides, she knew, by the sound of Nathan's cries,
that they did not proceed from much pain. She therefore said to him,

"Stop crying, Nathan!"

Now Nathan knew that his mother did not tell him not to cry, except when
she was sure that he could control himself if he chose to do so; and he
also knew that she punished him if he did not obey. So he began
immediately to repress his sobs and cries, and very soon became still.
She then put a small plaster, of some sort, upon his forehead, and then
carried him up stairs and laid him on the bed.

"There," said she, "Thanny, lie still there a little while, till your
forehead has done aching, and you get pleasant again; then you may get
up, and come to me."

Then she went to her work again, and Rollo came and stood by her side,
and told her the whole story.

"Nathan did wrong," said she; "but it would have been better for you not
to have run after him."

"Why, mother," said Rollo, "he was running away with my knife; and I
can't split at all without my knife. One thing I know,--I shall not let
him split any more with my beetle and wedges."

"That would be one way to treat him," said his mother; "but there is
another thing you might do, if you chose."

"What, mother?" asked Rollo.

"Why, make him a beetle and wedge, for his own."

"Why, mother!" said Rollo, with surprise.

"Yes," said she. "You might make him one. Think how pleased he would be
with it. Then he could sit down with you, and you could both be
splitting together."

"But, seems to me, mother, that that would be rewarding him for being a
naughty boy."

"It would be so, if you were to make him a beetle and wedge, _because he
was a bad boy_; but I proposed that you should make it for another
reason, that is, to _please_ him."

"But perhaps he would _think_ I did it because he ran away with my
knife," said Rollo.

"I don't think there is any danger that he would imagine that you did it
as a reward for that," replied his mother.

Here Rollo paused a moment. He did not feel quite ready to undertake to
make Nathan a beetle and wedges; but he did not know exactly how to
reply to his mother's reasoning. At length he said, in a timid and
hesitating voice,

"But, mother, it seems to me that it would be better to punish Nathan,
rather than reward him, or do any thing which would seem like rewarding
him for acting so."

"That may be true," said his mother. "And it is true, also, that if you
should refuse to let him split wood any more with your wedges, it would
be punishing him; while, on the other hand, if you should make him a
little beetle and wedge of his own, it would be forgiving him. Now I do
not say that he ought not to be punished; but which do you think is
_your_ duty towards him,--you, yourself, being only another child, a few
years older than he,--to punish or to forgive?"

"Why,--to forgive,--I suppose," said Rollo, rather doubtfully.

"I am rather inclined to that opinion, myself," said his mother: "but
you can do just as you please."

Rollo remained some minutes about his mother's chair, not knowing
exactly what to do or say next. He sat down upon the floor, and began to
play with some shreds of cloth which were lying there. Presently, he
looked up and said,

"Mother, what was the reason why you would not let me tell you what was
the matter with Nathan in the kitchen?"

"Because," said she, "he was crying then, and it is no time to learn how
an injury happened, during the excitement of the moment. If you find
Nathan crying out in the yard, for instance, and try to get him to tell
you how he got hurt, you only make him cry the more. Get him quiet
first, and then learn the story afterwards.

"Then, besides the difficulty of his speaking intelligibly," she
continued, "at such a time, boys are very strongly tempted to misrepresent
the facts, during the excitement of the first moments. They are very
likely to be a little vexed or angry, and, under the influence of those
feelings, not to give a correct and honest account. So that it is always
best to put off inquiries till the trouble is all over."

Here Nathan came into the room. His forehead had ceased to give him
pain, and so he had clambered down from the bed where his mother had
placed him, and now came into the room, looking quiet and calm, though
still not very happy.

Rollo went to him, and said, "Come, Nathan, now we will go down stairs
to play again." And he began to lead him down stairs. As they walked
along, Rollo said,

"I am going to make you a beetle and wedge for your own, Nathan, and
then you and I can split together: only, it is not a _reward_, you must
understand. It was wrong for you to keep my beetle, and run away with my
knife, and you are sorry you did so, an't you, Nathan?"

"Yes," said Nathan.

"And you won't do so any more, will you, Nathan?"

"No," said Nathan, "I won't do so any more."

Whether Nathan was really sorry for what he had done, or whether he only
said so because Rollo was going to make him a beetle, is very doubtful;
though it is not impossible that he was a little sorry.

Rollo went down into the shed again with Nathan; and while he was at
work making the new beetle and wedge, he let Nathan use his. The first
piece of board had been split up; so he laid another one before Nathan,
and gave him his beetle and wedges and knife, and then went away out to
the barn to get some more wood for wedges, and an auger.

When he came back, he found Nathan standing at the shed door, with the
little beetle in his hand, waiting for him. As Nathan saw Rollo coming,
he called to him, saying,

"Come, Rollo, come and help me; the board won't split."

"What is the matter with it?" said Rollo.

"I don't know," said Nathan, "only it won't split."

So Rollo went in to see. He found that Nathan had gone to work wrong.
Instead of trying to drive the wedge into the _end_ of the board, so as
to split it _along_ the grain, he had made the cleft with the knife in
the side of the board, and was attempting to drive it in there, as if
he supposed he could split the board _across_ the grain.

"Why, Nathan," said Rollo, "that isn't right. You can't split it

Then he put the wedge into the end, where it ought to be put, and set
Nathan to driving it. _Now_ it began to split at once; though Nathan
could not see why the board should not split one way as well as the

Rollo himself did not understand it very well. Nathan asked him why it
would not split the other way, and he said that that was _across_ the
grain. But when Nathan asked him what he meant by _grain_, he could not

He took up the wood and examined it, and observed little lines and
ridges, running along in the direction in which it would split; but at
the ends of the board, where it had been sawed across the grain, it was
rough. He determined to ask Jonas about it, or his father.

He then went to work, and made the wedges and a little beetle for
Nathan. He made Nathan's beetle smaller than his own, because Nathan
was not strong enough to strike hard with such a heavy beetle. He did
not get it done in season to use that day; but, the next day, he and
Nathan sat down upon the shed floor, and spent an hour in splitting up
the boards. They split them all up into good, fine kindling wood. Then
they piled the pieces up in a neat pile, and then brought Dorothy out to
see them.

Dorothy seemed very much pleased, and promised the boys that, the next
time she baked pies, she would kindle the fire in the oven with their
kindling wood, and then she would bake them each a little apple

       *       *       *       *       *

That evening, just before Rollo went to bed, he asked Jonas if he could
tell him why boards would only split _along_ the grain.

"Yes," said Jonas, "I think I can tell you. But do you know what the
grain is?"

"No," said Rollo, "I don't know any thing about it."

"You know that boards are made from the stems of tall trees."

"Yes," said Rollo.

"Well, now when trees are growing, there are little channels running up
and down from the roots to the branches."

"What are they for?" said Rollo.

"They are for the sap. The sap flows up and down in them. But then there
are no channels across from one side of the tree to the other, because
there is no sap to go across. The sap all has to go up from the roots to
the branches; and so the channels must all be up and down the tree.

"Now," continued Jonas, "when they cut down the tree, the trunk will
split easily, up and down, the way the channels and fibres all go; but
it won't split easily across. And just so, when they saw it up into
boards, the boards will all split lengthwise, from end to end, for this
is the way the channels and fibres all lie; but it won't split across,
for that would be across all the fibres, and the wood is made very
strong in that direction, and it is well it is so."

"Why?" said Rollo.

"Because, if trees would split across, as easily as they do up and down,
the first good wind would blow down all the forests in the world."

"O, Jonas!" exclaimed Rollo, "all the forests in the world?"

"Yes," replied Jonas, "if the wind blew all over the world."


One day, at eleven o'clock, Rollo, after having put away his books
carefully into his desk, went out to play. It was a calm and pleasant
autumnal day. Brown and yellow leaves were falling from the trees, and
lying about the yard. Rollo found Nathan sitting upon the steps of the
door which looked toward the garden yard. He felt satisfied and happy,
for he had studied his lessons diligently, and, when he saw Nathan, he
concluded to have a little play with him.

"Now, Nathan," said Rollo, "I will lie down upon the steps, and make
believe I am a bear gone to sleep, and you come and poke me with your
stick, and then I will growl at you."

"Well," said Nathan, "I will."

So Rollo laid down upon the steps, putting his arms upon the threshold
of the door for a pillow, and his head upon his arms, and pretended to
be asleep; but he did not look much as if he was asleep, after all, for
he could not look quite sober. He tried to look sober; but there was a
lurking smile upon his face, which made his countenance look quite
different from that of a bear. Nathan came creeping along softly, and
when he got near enough, he began to poke him with the end of his little
whip-handle; then Rollo would start up and begin to growl, when Nathan
would scamper away, shouting with laughter, Rollo after him, upon

This play lasted several minutes, until at length Nathan spoiled it by
punching Rollo too hard with his whip-handle. A great many plays are
spoiled by roughness on the part of some who are engaged. Rollo, being
hurt a little, got out of patience. He ought to have asked Nathan,
pleasantly, not to punch him so hard. Instead of that, however, he
declared that he would not play any more, and got up and went away.
Nathan followed him, lashing the ground and the leaves with his whip.

They both went into a corner of the yard, where Rollo used to have his
sand-garden. This sand-garden was made of clean sand, which Rollo and
his cousin James once wheeled up from the brook; and then, after they
had smoothed it out, and raked it over, they used to get plants and
flowers, without any roots, and stick down, and then call it their
garden. They used to water the plants, and so they could keep them green
and bright for several days, which was long enough for them; for, after
that, they generally preferred putting down fresh ones. But, now, the
sand-garden had been for a long time neglected. The remains of some of
the old plants were there, withered and dried, and the leaves of autumn
were scattered over its surface.

Rollo began to rake off the leaves with his fingers, and then sat down,
and went to digging a hole in the sand. It was very dry upon the top,
but on digging down a little way, he found it damp, and so it would hold
together pretty well, and he could pat it into any shape. A load of
clean sand makes a very good place for children to play in, in a corner
of a yard.

Rollo sat down on one side of the sand-garden, and Nathan on the other,
and both busied themselves in digging and building little houses. They
both became very much interested, and sat some time very still, until,
at length, Rollo looked around to see what Nathan might be doing.

"What are you doing, Thanny?" said he.

"O, I'm making the sand run down through."

Rollo observed that Nathan had an old tin dipper, which he was holding
up in one hand, and putting some dry sand into it with the other. There
was a very small hole in the bottom of the dipper, for it was an old one
which had been worn out and thrown away; and the sand ran out of this
little hole in a fine stream, and it was this which interested Nathan so

"O, Nathan," said Rollo, "let me have the dipper."

"No," said Nathan, "I want it myself."

Rollo would not take it away from Nathan, though he wanted it very much

"Yes, Nathan," said he, "let me have the dipper, and I will make you an
hour-glass out of it."

But Nathan said, "No, no," and moved away a little farther.

Rollo then remembered that such a little boy was generally not
interested in any one thing very long, and that, if he should let Nathan
alone, he would soon put the dipper down, and then he could have it
without any difficulty. So he went on making houses in the sand, and in
a few minutes Nathan put the dipper down. Then, soon after, Rollo took
it up and put some dry sand into it, and he found that the sand would
run very smoothly, in a fine stream, through a small hole there was in
the bottom of it.

He determined to make an hour-glass of it. He had seen an hour-glass at
his uncle George's. It was made of glass, big at the bottom and at the
top, and narrow in the middle between the two. Through the narrow part
in the middle, there was a very small hole, to let the sand run down
through; and there was just sand enough put in to run through in an
hour. So that, if a person should set the sand to running, he would know
when an hour had expired, by observing when the sand had all run

Rollo thought that he could make an hour-glass; and he thought it would
be a great convenience to him to have an hour-glass in the yard;
because it often happened, when he came out to play, that his mother
would tell him that he might stay out an hour; and then he had to go in
very often to look at the clock, in order to know exactly when the hour
had expired.

There were, however, so many little sticks and old leaves in the sand,
that it kept getting continually clogged up, and at last Rollo began to
get discouraged. He tried to pick out the little sticks; but he found he
could not do that, and at last it occurred to him that probably Dorothy
had some sand in the house that was cleaner.

He accordingly went in and asked her. She told him that he must wash his
own sand, and that would make it clean.

"But haven't you got some that is clean already?" said he.

"Yes," said Dorothy; "but you will like your hour-glass better if you
make it all yourself."

So Dorothy told him how to wash sand, for Rollo said that he did not
know. She said he must put a little in a basin, and then pump water into
it. "When the basin is nearly full of water, you must stir it round,
and then pour off the water, and pump in more;--do this until the water
comes off clear."

So Rollo took the basin which Dorothy gave him, and went out to his
sand-garden, and put in a little sand. Then he went to the pump, and
pumped water into it. Then he stirred it about with his hand. The water
immediately became very turbid, and a great many little sticks and
leaves came floating up to the surface. Rollo was surprised to find how
rapidly the water separated the light things which would float upon the
top, from the heavy sand which would sink to the bottom. He kept pouring
off the water, and pumping in more, until at length no more sticks and
leaves came off, and the water appeared pretty clear. Then he carried
the sand away, and spread it out upon a clean board in the sun to dry.

While he was thus at work preparing the sand for his hour-glass, Jonas
happened to come by, and asked Rollo what he was doing. Rollo told him
that he was making an hour-glass. Jonas looked on for a few minutes, and
then he told Rollo that he thought that was a pretty good plan. "And
_I_ am going to have a time-keeper, too," said he.

"Are you?" said Rollo. "What?"

"I am going to make a dial," said he.

"A dial!" said Rollo; "what, a real dial?"

Rollo had an idea that a dial was exceedingly complicated and difficult
to make, or to understand; and, in fact, it is difficult to make one
that shall be exact in its indications. He did not think it possible
that Jonas could make one.

"Yes," said Jonas, "a real dial; and I have got a noon mark already."

"A noon mark!" said Rollo; "what is a noon mark?"

"It is a mark to show when it is exactly twelve o'clock."

"Let me go and see it," said Rollo, "while my sand is drying."

Rollo followed Jonas off into the barn, and when there, Jonas pointed to
a small line which he had cut with his penknife upon the barn floor. It
began at the foot of one of the posts, by the side of the door, and
extended back into the barn exactly straight.

"Is that the noon mark?" said Rollo. He was surprised to see that a
noon mark was nothing but a cut with a penknife upon a barn floor.

"Yes," said Jonas; "that is a meridian."

"A meridian!" said Rollo, looking upon it with an air of great curiosity
and respect.

"Yes," said Jonas; "a line drawn exactly north and south, is called a
meridian line; and that is exactly north and south."

"What do you call it a noon mark for?" said Rollo.

"Because," said Jonas, "the shadow of the edge of the door post will
always be exactly upon it at noon. So that I can always tell now when it
is noon, by the shadow of the post upon my noon mark, if the sun

All this was very new and very curious to Rollo. He had never seen or
heard of a noon mark before; and it seemed to him a very simple and
beautiful way of knowing when it was noon. He asked Jonas how he found
out about it, and Jonas told him that he had been reading about it in a
book on astronomy.

"Your father let me have the book," said he; "and see my chalk marks for
the sun's shadow."

Rollo looked, and found that Jonas had put down quite a number of chalk
marks along in a line, where they had first began to mark the place
where the shadow of the door reached into. Rollo and Lucy had forgotten
all about their plan of making such a series of observations; but Jonas
had gone on regularly, making a mark every Monday, at noon, precisely.
As the sun, at that season of the year, was going round farther and
farther to the south every week, it shone in farther and farther upon
the floor, so that each chalk mark was farther in than the one made the
week before.

In order to make his marks at the right time, Jonas wanted to know,
every Monday, when it was precisely twelve o'clock, and this led him to
make his noon mark, having seen the account of it in the book which
Rollo's father had lent him. He learned there that the shadows of all
upright objects are cast exactly north at twelve o'clock, or rather very
nearly north; near enough for his purposes. Now, as the post of the barn
door was upright, he knew that the shadow of it would be in the north
and south line at noon. Of course, if he had a north and south line, or
a meridian line, as it was called in the book, drawn upon the floor, he
knew that he could tell when it was noon, by the shadow of the post
coming then exactly upon that line. He explained this all to Rollo, and
Rollo was very much pleased with it indeed. He determined to have a noon
line somewhere in the house.

Rollo asked Jonas what was the way to draw a noon line. Jonas told him
that there were several ways. One way, he said, was to observe some day,
by the clock, when it was exactly noon, and then to mark, upon the barn
floor, the line where the shadow of the edge of the post fell precisely
at that moment. Another way was to get a compass needle, and put it down
upon the floor, and then draw a north and south line precisely in the
direction that the needle indicated. That would, of course, be a north
and south line, because the compass needle always pointed north and
south. He said that he adopted both these methods to make his noon line.
First, he got a compass needle, which Rollo's father had lent him, and
put that down upon the barn floor just at the foot of the door post, and
observed the direction; and he also noticed when it was twelve, by the
clock in the house, and he found that, when it was twelve by the clock,
the shadow of the post came exactly to the line indicated by the
direction of the compass needle; and so he knew that that was a correct
meridian line.


That evening, Rollo told his father about his hour-glass, and also about
Jonas's noon line. His father said it was very difficult to draw a
meridian line.

"O no, father," said Rollo; "Jonas has drawn one, and he told me how,
and it was a very easy way."

"Yes," said his father, "it is easy to draw something which you can call
a noon mark; but it is a very difficult and delicate operation to do it
with any considerable degree of exactness."

"I think that Jonas's is exact," said Rollo.

"It probably may be as exact as he could make it with his means and
instruments; but there are a great many sources of error which he could
not possibly have avoided."

"What?" asked Rollo.

"Why, in the first place, the clock is not exact. It is near enough to
answer all the purposes of a family; but it may often be a minute or
more out of the way. Then besides, while Jonas is going from the clock
out to the barn, the shadow is slowly moving on, all the time; so that
he cannot tell exactly where the shadow was, when it was precisely
twelve by the clock.

"Then again, it is not always exactly noon when the shadow comes to the
north and south line. It varies a little at different seasons of the
year, though it is so near that we say, in general terms, that at noon
all shadows of upright objects point to the north. Still, it is not
_precisely_ true, except on a very few days in the year. Then, again,
the post of the barn door is not exactly upright."

"I thought they always made door posts exactly upright," said Rollo.

"They do make them as nearly upright as they can, with the common
carpenters' instruments; but they are not _exact_. To set a post of any
kind, with great precision, perpendicular to the horizon, would require
very expensive mathematical instruments, and very laborious and nice
observations. Then, again, if the clock had been exact, and the post
perfectly upright, Jonas could not have marked the place of the shadow
exactly. The shadow has not an exact and well-defined edge; and then,
even while he was marking at one end, the shadow would be moving along
at the other end, and so his noon mark would not be exactly straight."

"Why, father, he could make the mark right along quick."

"No matter how quick he might make it. It would take some time, wouldn't

"Only a _very little_," said Rollo.

"And do you suppose the sun would stand still, even during that little
time, so as to let the shadow remain stationary?

"However," continued his father, "I don't say this to disparage Jonas's
noon mark. I dare say, it is accurate enough for his purposes. He only
wants to know from it when it is time for him to come in to dinner, or
something like that. I only want you to understand what exactness is,
and to see, a little, how difficult it is to attain to any considerable
degree of it, in such cases. So thus, it seems, that Jonas has got a
sort of a dial?"

"Why, it only tells him what o'clock it is at one hour in the day,"
said Rollo. "But I think he might make it do for all the afternoon and

"How?" inquired his father.

"Why, all he has got to do is to watch some day when it is nine o'clock,
and ten o'clock, and so on, every hour; and then make a line where the
shadow comes every hour, just as he did for twelve o'clock. Then he will
have marks for every hour in the day, and when the shadow comes along to
these marks, one after another, he will know what time it is."

"O, but the difficulty is," said his father, "that the shadow will not
come to the same places, at the same hours, on different days. It will
come to the _meridian line_, at twelve, always,--that is, nearly to it;
but it will not come to any other lines regularly,--that is, if the
object, which casts the shadow, is upright."

"Will any other kind of object carry the shadow regularly?" asked Rollo.

"Yes," said his father, "an object that leans over to the north, so as
to point to the North Star. If you and Jonas could put a post into the
ground so as to have it point to the North Star, then you could mark,
all around it, the places to which the shadow would come for every hour
in the day, and afterwards it would come to the same places regularly,
or nearly so. It would be near enough for your purposes; and I don't
know but that it would be quite a respectable dial for you."

Rollo then asked his father why it was that a post, which pointed to the
North Star, would bring a shadow any more regularly to the hour marks,
than an upright one would; but he said that Rollo did not know enough,
yet, to understand the explanation, even if he were to try to explain
it. "Therefore," said he, "you must wait until you study astronomy
before you can expect to understand it; but you can now, in the mean
time, make such a dial, if you wish to do it."

Rollo did wish to do it very much. He accordingly told Jonas all that
his father had said. It seemed very strange to Jonas, that a post,
pointing to the North Star, should have its shadows move round any more
regularly than a post in any other position. He could not imagine what
the North Star could have to do with the shadows. Still, he determined
to try the experiment.

A few days after this, Jonas did try the experiment. He got two narrow
boards, which were once pickets belonging to a picket fence, one end of
each was sharp, so that it could be driven down into the ground. Then he
selected a certain part of the yard, in a corner, where the dial would
be out of the way, and yet the path to the barn led along pretty near
it. The reason why Jonas got two boards was this: he knew that, if he
drove only one stake into the ground, and inclined it towards the North
Star, it would be very likely to get started out of its proper position;
but if he had two, he could drive the second one down perpendicularly
from the end of the first, and then nail the two ends together; and that
would keep all steady.

After having got every thing ready, the boys waited till the evening
before fixing up the dial, because they could not see the North Star in
the day time. But when the evening came, they went out, and began their
preparations. It was a clear and pretty cold evening, and the stars were
out in thousands.

"Which is the North Star?" asked Rollo.

Jonas looked about a minute or two, saying, "Let me see--where's the
Dipper? O, I see a part of it; the rest is down behind the barn. It was
up high the last time I saw it."

"Where is the Dipper?" said Rollo, looking eagerly in the direction to
which Jonas was turned.

"Come this way," said Jonas, "so as to be out of the way of the barn,
and you can see it better."

So Jonas pointed out the Dipper to Rollo, with its square body, and
long, bent handle. It was at first quite difficult for Rollo to see any
thing that looked at all like a dipper; as it consisted only of stars,
which it required some imagination to make look like one.

"The handle reaches almost down to the ground," said Rollo.

"Down to the horizon, you mean," said Jonas.

"Is that the horizon?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Jonas, "where the earth and sky meet. Not long ago the
Dipper handle was away up there," he continued, pointing up very high.

"Does the Dipper move?" said Rollo.

"Yes, it goes round and round the North Star, all the time. All the
stars that are near the North Star keep going round and round it, once
every day."

"And the rest of the stars," said Rollo, "do they go round too?"

"Yes," said Jonas; "only they are so far from the North Star, that they
go in larger circles, and so go down below the horizon, and are out of
sight sometimes. They come up in the east, like the sun, and go over and
down in the west. But they don't go over straight," he added. "They
don't come right up straight; and so go directly over. They slant away,
off to the south, so as to keep always just so far from the North Star."

"That's curious," said Rollo.

"I think it is," said Jonas. "And they all go together; they don't move
about among themselves, at all."

"Don't they?" said Rollo.

"No," said Jonas; "only there are a few wandering stars, that keep
wandering about among the others. But the rest all keep exactly in
their places, and all go round together; so they are called _fixed_

"Show me one of the wandering stars," said Rollo.

"I don't know which they are," said Jonas, "only they are pretty bright

"I guess that's one," said Rollo, pointing to a pretty bright star in
the east.

"Perhaps it is," said Jonas.

"I wish I knew," said Rollo.

"I'll tell you how you can find out," said Jonas.

"How?" asked Rollo.

"Why, when you go into the house, take a piece of paper, and go to the
window, and make some dots upon it, for all the stars around that one.
Make the dots just in the places that the stars seem to be in. Then let
them all go. They will rise more and more, and go overhead, and down in
the west, and to-morrow night they will come up in the east again; and
then you can look at them again, and see if the bright star has changed
its place at all."

Rollo said that he meant to do that; and then he said that he began to
feel cold, and wanted to go in. But Jonas told him that he ought to
wait and help finish the dial.

So they went to the place which Jonas had selected, and Jonas, looking
up first at the North Star, made a hole in the ground, with an iron bar,
in an oblique direction, so that the bar should point pretty nearly to
the North Star. Then he drove in one of his stakes in the same way. He
then made a hole, perpendicularly, directly under the end of this
inclined stake, and drove the other stake down into that. The two upper
ends of the stakes were now together.

Then Jonas stooped down, so as to bring his eye near the edge of the
inclined stake, at the lower end, so that he could "_sight_" along the
edge of it, towards the star. He had previously cut a notch in it, so
that he could get his eye down far enough to look directly along the
edge. At the same time, Rollo took hold of the upper end, and stood
ready to move it either way, as Jonas might direct, until it should
point exactly towards the North Star.

"Down," said Jonas.

Then Rollo moved it a little down.

"Down more."

Rollo moved it farther.

"Up--up a little," added Jonas. "There--that will do. Now hold the two
stakes firmly together, exactly so."

Then Jonas took some nails, which he had before provided, and nailed the
tops of the stakes together, Rollo holding the axe up against them, on
the opposite side. This supported the end of the inclined stake firmly,
so that it could not move up or down. This was all that the boys wanted
to do in the evening, and so they both went in.

The next day, Jonas sawed off the ends of both stakes where they
projected beyond the junction; and then Rollo said he would watch the
clock all day, and mark the place where the shadow came each hour, and
drive a little stake down. "Then," said he, "our dial will be done."

"But what do you suppose is the reason," said Rollo, "that we must make
it point to the North Star more than to any other?"

"I don't know," said Jonas, "unless it is because the North Star is the
only one that keeps always in the same place. The rest move round and
round every day. Those that are far enough from the North Star to go
down below the horizon, rise and set; and those that are not far
enough, go round and round in circles, in the open sky. But the North
Star keeps still."

"Does it?" said Rollo, turning around, and looking up to the part of the
heavens where he had seen the star the evening before.

"Yes," said Jonas; "and the reason why we cannot see it now, is the
bright daylight. It is up there now, just where it was last night."

"And the Dipper, too?" said Rollo.

"Yes, and the Dipper, too; only that has moved half round, I suppose,
and is now away up above the North Star."

"I wish I could see it," said Rollo. And he looked as steadily and
intently into the clear blue sky, as he could; but he could not possibly
see the least sign of a star.

       *       *       *       *       *

However, the sun shone bright, and it cast a strong shadow from the
stakes which they had driven into the ground. Jonas soon went away to
his work, and left Rollo to mark the hours by means of the clock.

So Rollo had to go into the house very often to see what time it was;
and at last his father, who was sitting there at his writing, asked him
what made him want to see the clock so much. Rollo told him the reason.
So his father put down his pen, and came out to see the dial.

When he saw the two stakes, with their lower ends driven into the
ground, and the upper ends nailed firmly together, he looked at them
with a smile, but did not say any thing.

"Will that do?" said Rollo, looking up very eagerly into his father's

His father did not answer, but continued to examine the work on all
sides, with a countenance expressive of curiosity and pleasure.

"It points to the North Star, exactly," added Rollo. "Jonas _sighted_

"Yes," said his father; "I think that will do; you have got quite a
respectable _gnomon_."

"Gnomon?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said his father; "we call such a thing a gnomon. In common dials,
they are made of brass; but I don't see why this won't do very well. It
is rather a _large_ gnomon."

"Is it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said his father, "I think it is the biggest gnomon I ever saw.

"But how are you going to mark the hour lines, Rollo?" asked his father.

"Why, we are going to drive little stakes down into the ground."

"'Seems to me that you can contrive some better plan than that," said
his father.

"Why?" said Rollo. "Is not that a good plan?"

"Not very good," he replied; "because you cannot be exact in driving
down stakes. The beauty of a dial is its exactness. I should think that
you would do better to put a board down upon the ground, and mark your
lines upon that."

"O, the board would get knocked about," said Rollo.

"I dare say that Jonas would contrive some way to keep it steady."

"But he says he can't do any thing more about the dial to-day, for he
must attend to his work."

"Let me see--he is putting the harnesses in order, I believe."

"Yes, sir," said Rollo.

"Well, you may tell him that after he has done the harness that he is at
work upon now, he may finish his dial."

Then Rollo's father went into the house, and away went Rollo in pursuit
of Jonas.

Jonas liked the plan of putting a board down very much, and in a short
time he went to work to do it. He planed out a board of the right
length, and then put it down upon the ground, under and between the two
stakes, but nearest to the upright one. They placed it across at right
angles to the line between the stakes, and of course, as the stakes were
in a north and south line, the board was in an east and west line, and
so the shadows were cast exactly across it.

The board being planed smooth, the edge of the shadow could be seen much
more distinctly upon it, than upon the ground; so Jonas was satisfied
that it would be a great deal better to draw the hour lines upon the
board. After having determined upon the place where it was to go, he
took it up again, and then drove down two strong but short stakes, sawed
off square at the top, into the ground, one on each side; so that they
should come under the two ends of the board. Then he laid the board
down again upon the stakes, and nailed the ends of the board to them.
The stakes had been driven in until they were just level with the
surface of the ground, and so the board seemed to be lying along upon
the ground too, though it was, in fact, fastened securely to the short
stakes. Then the boys marked the hour lines upon the board with some
black paint; and thus they had a very respectable dial. When the sun
shone, Rollo could tell what o'clock it was near enough for all his



One of the drollest of all of Rollo's experiments was his plan for
getting a bee-hive.

One day, he was in the garden with a playmate of his, named Henry, who
lived not very far from his father's house.

In the back part of the garden were some tall hollyhocks growing. They
were in full flower. Hollyhocks are very tall. They grow up in a
straight stem, as high as a man's head, with leaves and flowers from top
to bottom.

The flowers are large, and shaped somewhat like a cup, or rather a
wine-glass, and bees often go into them to get honey.

Now it happened that as Rollo and Henry were sauntering about, near
these hollyhocks, Rollo happened to see a bee in one of the flowers,
loading himself up with wax or honey. The flower, that the bee was in,
was just about as high as Rollo's head.

"O, there's a bee!" said Rollo; "let's catch him."

"Catch him!" said Henry. "If you do, you'll catch a sting, I rather

"No," said Rollo, "I can catch him without getting stung."

"How?" said Henry.

"I will show you," said Rollo.

So saying, Rollo approached the hollyhocks, and put both his hands up
slowly to the flower which the bee was in. He then very carefully
gathered together the edges of the flower, so as to enclose and imprison
the bee. He then gently broke off the stem of the flower, and held it up
to Henry's ear, to let him hear the bee buzz within.

"Now," said Rollo, "I wish I had a little bee-hive. I would put him in,
and perhaps he would make some honey in there."

"Do you think he would?" said Henry.

"Yes," replied Rollo, "I have no doubt he would; bees always make honey
in bee-hives."

"Haven't you got some box that will do?" said Henry.

"I don't know," said Rollo; "let us go along towards the barn, and see
if we can't find one. I suppose it is no matter what the shape of it
is," he added, "if it is only a box, with a small hole for the bees to
go in and out."

"But you haven't got but one bee," said Henry, as they walked along
towards the barn.

Rollo held the flower, with the bee imprisoned in it, safely in his

"O, I can catch plenty more. I could catch a whole hive of them, in

"But I don't believe they will stay and work in your hive," said Henry.
"They will all fly off and go home to where they belong."

"No," said Rollo, "I will plug up the hole, and keep them shut in until
they get used to it. When they get wonted to the new hive, they will
stay there, after that, I know. That's the way they do with doves."

"But you won't have any queen bee," said Henry. "Bees won't work without
a queen bee. I read it in a book."

"Well, perhaps I can catch a queen bee, some day," said Rollo, rather

Rollo was so much interested in his plan, that he was determined not to
see any difficulties in the way of it; and yet he could not help feeling
that there was some uncertainty about his succeeding in entrapping a
queen bee.

However, just at this point in the conversation, he suddenly stopped,
and pointed down to a flower-pot, which stood bottom upwards, upon a
seat, near where they were walking.

"There," said he, "that will do for a bee-hive."

"Ho!" said Henry, "that is not a box."

"No matter," said Rollo; "it is just as good, and there is a little hole
for the bees to go out and in at."

There is always a little hole in the bottom of a flower-pot.

"So there is," said Henry; "but do you think that the bees will make
honey in an earthen pot?"

"O, yes," said Rollo, "just as well as in any thing. The bees don't care
what they make the honey in. Sometimes they make it in old logs."

"Well," said Henry, "and we'll call it a honey-pot. And where shall we
put it?"

"We can keep it on this seat: it is as good a place as any; the bees
will be right in the garden as soon as they come out of their hive."

So saying, Rollo asked Henry to hold his bee a minute, while he got the
honey-pot ready. Henry took the flower very carefully, so as not to let
the bee escape, and then Rollo lifted up the flower-pot, and looked
inside. It was pretty clean; but as Rollo knew that bees were very nice
in their habits, he thought he would just take it to the pump, and wash
it out a little.

In a few minutes, he brought it back, and replaced it, bottom upwards,
upon the seat, and then prepared to put the bee in. He took the flower
again from Henry's hand, and then very carefully inserted the edges of
it, which had been gathered together with his fingers, into the hole. He
then began to knock and push the bottom of the flower, to make the bee
go in. The bee, not knowing what to make of this treatment, kept up a
great buzzing, but soon went in.

"There," said Rollo. "Now, Henry, you be ready to clap your thumb over
the hole, as soon as I take the flower away, or else he'll come out."

"O, no," said Henry; "he'll fly up and sting me."

"No, he won't," said Rollo. "I only want you to keep him in a minute,
while I go and get a plug."

Henry then, with much hesitation and fear, put his thumb over the hole,
as Rollo withdrew the flower. He stood there while Rollo went for a
plug; but he seemed to feel very uneasy, and continually called Rollo to
be quick.

Rollo could not find a plug, but he picked up a small, flat stone, and
concluded that that would do just as well. So he released Henry from his
dangerous position, and put the stone over the hole.

"There," said Rollo, with a tone of great satisfaction, when he had done
this, "now he is safe. We'll let him stay, while we go and catch another

So they went back to the hollyhocks, and there, quite fortunately, they
found another bee just going into one of the flowers. Rollo secured him
in the same way, and carried him along, and pushed him into the
flower-pot. Henry stood ready to clap the stone on, as soon as he was
in, and then they came back to the hollyhocks again. They had then to
wait a little while, watching for bees; at length, however, one came,
and, by and by, another; and so, in the course of an hour or two, they
got seven bees, all safe in the honey-pot, and Rollo said he thought
seven were about enough to go to work, at least, to begin. They had not
yet found any one, however, that seemed to Rollo to be a queen bee.

At last, it was time for Henry to go home, and Rollo concluded to leave
his bee-hive until the next morning. He thought he would leave the hole
stopped up, so that the bees might get used to their new accommodations;
but he intended to open it the next day, in order to let them begin
their work.

The next morning, Henry came over soon after breakfast to see how
affairs stood in respect to the bee-hive. He and Rollo went out into the
garden to look at the establishment, and found every thing as they had
left it the night before. Rollo felt quite confident of the success of
his experiment. The only thing that gave him any uneasiness was the want
of a queen bee. He and Henry were just speculating upon the expediency
of sending in a bumble-bee instead, for a king, when their attention was
arrested by hearing Jonas calling Rollo. They looked up, and saw him
standing at the garden gate.

"Rollo," said Jonas, "do you want to go out with me to the pasture, and
catch the horse?"

"Why,--yes," said Rollo. But yet he did not go. He seemed to feel in
doubt. "Must you go this minute?" said he.

"Yes," said Jonas. "Come; and Henry may go, too."

"Well, wait a minute, just till I go and open the door in my bee-hive."

"Your bee-hive!" said Jonas; "what do you mean by that?"

But Rollo did not hear what Jonas said; for he had run off along the
alley, Henry after him, towards the place where they had established
their hive.

"What does he mean by his bee-hive?" said Jonas to himself. "I mean to
go and see."

So Jonas opened the garden gate, and came in. When he came up near the
seat where Henry and Rollo stood, he found the boys standing a step or
two back from the flower-pot, both watching the hole with the utmost

"What are you looking at, there, boys?" said Jonas, with great surprise.

"O, we are looking to see the bees come out."

"The bees come out!" said Jonas.

"Yes," said Rollo; "that is our bee-hive,--honey-pot we call it. We have
put some bees in it."

Here Jonas burst into a loud, and long, and apparently incontrollable
fit of laughter. Henry and Rollo looked upon him with an expression of
ludicrous gravity and perplexity.

"What are you laughing at?" said Rollo.

Jonas could hardly control himself sufficiently to speak; but presently
he succeeded in asking Rollo if he supposed that bees would make honey

"Certainly I do," said Rollo, with a positive air. "Why should they not?
They don't care what shape their hive is, or what it is made of, and this
flower-pot is as good as any thing else. There! there! see, Henry," he
exclaimed, interrupting himself, and pointing down to the flower-pot,
"one is coming out."

Henry and Jonas both looked, and they saw a poor, forlorn-looking bee
cautiously putting forth his head at the hole, and then slowly crawling
out. He came on until he was fairly out of the hole, and then, extending
his wings, rose and flew away through the air.

Here Jonas burst out again in a fit of laughter.

"You needn't laugh, Jonas," said Rollo; "he'll come back again; I know
he will. That's the way they always do."

"And you suppose that the bees will fill up the flower-pot with honey?"
said Jonas.

"Yes," said Rollo; "and then I shall take it away without killing any of
the bees. I read how to do it in a book."

"How shall you do it?" said Jonas.

"Why, when this honey-pot is full of honey, I shall get another, and put
on the top of it, bottom upwards. Then the bees will work up into that,
and come out at the upper hole. When they get fairly at work in the
upper hive, then I shall get Henry to hold it, while I slip the lower
one out, and put the upper one down in its place."


As Rollo was speaking these words, in order to show Jonas more exactly
how he meant to perform the operation, he took hold of the flower-pot
with both his hands, and slid it suddenly off of the seat. Now it
happened that the poor bees that were inside, chilled with the dampness
and cold, were nearly all crawling about upon the seat; and when Rollo
suddenly moved the flower-pot along, forgetting for a moment what there
was inside, the rough edges of the flower-pot bruised and ground them to
death, and they dropped down upon the walk, some dead, some buzzing a
little, and one trying to crawl.

"There now, Rollo," said Henry, in a tone of great disappointment and
sorrow, "now you have killed all our bees!"

Rollo looked astonished enough. He had no idea of such a catastrophe;
and he and Henry both at the same instant took up the honey-pot to see
if any of the bees had escaped destruction. Their eyes fell, at the
same moment, upon one solitary bee that was standing upon the inside
of the flower-pot. His attention had been arrested by the sudden glare
of light, and so, just as Rollo and Henry first observed him, and before
they had time to put the flower-pot down again, he spread his wings and
flew out towards them.

Down dropped the flower-pot. The boys started. "Run!" exclaimed Jonas,
following them with shouts of laughter, "run, run, boys, for dear life!"
and away they all went towards the garden gate.

The bee, however, was not following them. His only object was to get
away. He flew in another direction; but Rollo, Henry, and Jonas did not
stop to look behind them. They kept on running, until Jonas was well on
his way towards the pasture, and Rollo and Henry were safe in the shed.
And this was the last time that Rollo ever attempted to _make up_ a hive
of bees.


One evening, after tea, Rollo was seated upon his cricket, before the
fire, reading. His mother was upon the sofa, also reading, and so the
room was very still.

By and by, Rollo finished his book. It was quite a small story-book, and
he had been reading it some time, and so he had got to the end. He laid
the book down, therefore, upon the table, and began to consider what he
should do next.

"Mother," said Rollo, "what shall I do?"

"I don't know," said his mother; "you must contrive some way to amuse
yourself, for I am busy reading, now."

Rollo sat still, looking at the fire a few minutes, and then he thought
he would go out into the kitchen, and see what Nathan was about.
Accordingly, he went into the kitchen. Dorothy was at work, making some
bread for the next day. Jonas was bringing in wood. Nathan was sitting
upon the floor before the fire, very much interested in looking at
something which he held in his hand.

"What have you got, Nathan?" said Rollo.

"I am seeing this nail stick on," said Nathan.

"Stick on!" said Rollo; "what does the child mean?" He accordingly came
up to Nathan, and found that he had a smooth, flat bar of steel, not
very regular in its shape, in one hand, and a nail in the other; and he
was amusing himself with applying the nail to the bar of steel, and
seeing it adhere.

"It is a magnet," said Rollo. "What a big magnet! Where did you get it,

"Jonas gave it to me," said Nathan.

"Let me try it," said Rollo. And he stooped down by the side of Nathan,
and offered to take away the magnet.

But Nathan held it off upon one side, and said, "No, no; I must have it.
Jonas gave it to me."

"Well, Thanny," said Rollo, "I won't take it away; only you let me sit
here and see you play with it."

So Rollo sat still, and did not molest Nathan, but only looked on and
saw him touch the little nail to the bar, and leave it hanging there.
Rollo knew it was a magnet, for he had heard of magnets, though he had
never before had an opportunity of seeing one. As Nathan found that
Rollo was not going to take the magnet away from him, he soon ceased to
appear afraid of him, and presently he let Rollo have the magnet in his
hands. Rollo said he only wanted to look at it a moment, to see what
made the nail stick on.

He examined the steel bar carefully. It was not quite a foot long, and
was shaped like a common flat ruler; only, instead of being straight
from end to end, it was swelled out a little along in the middle. On
looking at the bar very attentively, Rollo observed some very fine,
hair-like lines, crossing each other, so as to produce the appearance of
fine net-work. Rollo supposed that this was what caused the magnet to
take up the nail. He observed that there was one place, near the middle
of the bar, where this net-work was more distinct and strong than in the
other parts of the bar, and so he put the nail there, expecting that it
would be attracted very strongly. But he was surprised at observing
that it was not attracted there at all. He then tried it at different
places, all along the bar, and he found that it was not attracted any
where in the middle, but only at the two ends.

While he was wondering what could be the cause of this, he heard the
front door open, and he knew that his father had come home. So he jumped
up and ran off into the entry, Nathan following him, to show his father
the magnet. His father was busy putting away his coat and hat, and told
the boys to go into the parlor, and he would come in, in a moment, and
see it. When he came in, he sat down before the fire, and took the
magnet, Rollo and Nathan standing by his side, and looking on with eager

Rollo's father examined the magnet from end to end, very carefully, for
some time, without speaking. At length, he said,

"It is an old file."

"An old file!" said Rollo.

"Yes," said his father. "Some of Jonas's work, I suppose."

"Yes, sir," replied Rollo; "at least it is Jonas's magnet."

"There you see the marks," continued his father, pointing to the
net-work, "of the old file teeth. Jonas ground them nearly out."

"Are those the marks of the file teeth?" said Rollo. "I thought it was
the magnetism."

"No," said his father, smiling, "those are the traces of the file teeth,
undoubtedly. You may go and ask Jonas how he got his magnet."

So away went Rollo and Nathan in pursuit of Jonas. They found him in the
kitchen, just arranging his wood for the morning fires. They asked him
where he got his magnet, and Jonas replied as follows:--

"Why, the other day, I went into town with your father's watch, to get a
new crystal put in; and when I was at the watchmaker's, I saw a
curious-shaped piece of iron hanging up. I asked the man what it was. He
said it was a magnet, that he kept to touch needles. Then he gave me a
nail, and let me see how the magnet would attract it. He told me, too,
that if I had a knife, and would rub my knife on the magnet, the knife
would attract, too; and so I did rub it, and I found that my knife would
attract the nail, though not very strong. Then I asked him if any piece
of iron would attract, after it was rubbed upon the magnet; and he said
that _iron_ would not, but that any piece of _steel_ would. He told me
that if I would bring a larger piece of steel, when I came after the
watch, he would rub it for me, and then I should have a larger magnet. I
told him I had not any steel. But he said any old file would do, and
that I might grind the sides and edges a little, and make it smooth.

"So, when I came home, I found some old files in the barn. Some were
three-cornered, and some were flat. I thought the flat would be the best
shape, and I asked your father if he would give me one of them. He said
he would; and so I ground the ends square, and the sides smooth, upon
the grindstone. Then, when I went after the watch, the man rubbed it for
me, and it makes a very good magnet."

Then Rollo and Nathan went back, and repeated this story to their

"Very well," said their father; "that was a very good way to get a
magnet. I remember giving Jonas the file; but I did not know what he
wanted it for."

"I think a magnet is a very curious thing," said Rollo. "See how the
nail sticks to it!"

"There are a great many other things curious about it," said his father,
"besides that."

"What?" said Rollo.

"I should want some other apparatus to show you," replied his father.

"And can't you get the other apparatus?"

"I don't know. Perhaps mother might get it. Yes, I'll tell you what we
will do. I will name some things which mother may prepare, and you may
get them together upon the table in the kitchen, when they have got the
kitchen all in order. Then I will come out, and give you all, out there,
a lecture upon magnetism."

Rollo and Nathan were exceedingly pleased with this plan; and even
Rollo's mother looked somewhat gratified. She said she did not know much
about magnetism, and she meant to go out into the kitchen herself, and
hear the lecture.

"And what things shall we get?" said Rollo.

"Two or three needles," replied his father, "some fine, and some coarse;
some thread, a saucer nearly full of water, a cork, the sand-box off of
my table, and a sheet of white paper. Put them all in good order upon
the table, and set the chairs around it. Then, when all is ready, come
and tell me."

So Rollo's mother put down her book and went to help Rollo collect the
articles which his father had said he should require. She began to look
into her needle book for the needles and thread, while Rollo went for
the sand-box. When Rollo came back with the sand-box and the sheet of
paper in his hand, he found Nathan with his high chair, at the kitchen
door, trying to get in.

"What are you doing here, Nathan?" said Rollo.

"I want to get my high chair in," he replied.

The truth was, that Nathan, having learned from the conversation what
was going on, was eager to secure a good seat for himself, and so he
was attempting to drag out the high chair which was kept in the parlor
for him to sit up to the table in.

Rollo, as he happened to feel rather good-natured than otherwise, just
then, after putting down his things, helped Nathan get his chair through
the door, and placed it up at the kitchen table, which stood out in the
middle of the floor. He then went into a closet, and opened a little
drawer, where he knew corks were kept, and brought out one or two,
selecting the cleanest and softest that he could find. When he came
back, he found Nathan, pouring out some black sand, from the sand-box,
upon the sheet of paper.

"Now, Nathan," exclaimed Rollo, running up to him, and seizing the
sand-box, "you are a very naughty boy." And he attempted to take away
the sand-box violently.

But Nathan, though he knew very well that he was doing wrong, did not
seem fully disposed to admit Rollo's authority to set him right by
violence. He resisted; and, in the struggle, the table was pushed away,
and the water in the saucer spilled over. The water ran along under the
sheet of paper. Nathan, seeing the mischief that had been done, was a
little frightened, and released his hold. Rollo then took up the paper,
which had sand upon the upper side, and water dripping off from the
under side, saying,

"There, Nathan, now see what you have done!"

"I didn't do it," said Nathan.

"You did," said Rollo.

"I didn't," said Nathan.

Hereupon, Jonas came up to the table to see what was the matter. Each of
the boys told his story.

"Now we are in pretty trouble," said Jonas; "we thought we were going to
have a fine lecture; instead of that, there are two boys to be punished,
and wet paper to be dried."

"Punished?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Jonas, "Nathan for touching the sand-box, and you for
touching _him_."

"Why, he was pouring out all the sand," said Rollo, "and I was only
trying to stop him."

"Yes, but you know," said Jonas, "that you had no right to stop him by
violence. That always makes the difficulty worse."

Here Rollo began to look pretty sober. He knew that he had done what he
had very often been forbidden to do.

"Now," said Jonas, "we can wait and tell your mother about it, when she
comes out, or we can just settle it all among ourselves."

"How?" said Rollo, with an anxious look.

"Why, I can dry the paper and the sand," said Jonas, "if you and Nathan
will only punish the boys."

"How shall we do it?" asked Rollo, looking up with a faint and doubtful

"I think a pretty good punishment," said Jonas, "would be for you and
Nathan to go and sit in two corners of the room, with your faces to the
wall, until I get the paper and sand dry--if you think that would be
punishment enough."

"Well," said Rollo,--his eye brightening at the idea of winding up so
unpleasant a business so easily,--"well, Nathan, let's go."

Nathan was ready, and so he climbed down from his high chair, and as
Rollo went to one corner of the room, he went to the other, and they
took their places, as Jonas had directed; only Nathan could not resist
the temptation of looking round, now and then, to see how Jonas got on
with the drying of the paper. They, however, bore their self-inflicted
punishment very patiently; and when Jonas had got the paper dried, and
the table wiped down, and every thing replaced as it was before, he told
them that it was time for them to get up again. The punishment was not
very severe, it is true; but then, it was probably a pretty efficacious
one, in respect to its effect in impressing it upon Nathan's mind that
he must not touch things without leave, and upon Rollo's, that, when
Nathan is doing wrong, he must not set him right by violence.

In a short time after this, the things were all ready upon the table,
the chairs were placed around it, and Rollo went to call his father. He
found him writing a letter. As soon as he reached the end of a sentence,
he came out, and took his place at the table. Rollo's mother sat next to
him at the same side of the table, and Jonas and Dorothy in two chairs,
on the opposite side. Rollo then was placed at one end of the table,
and Nathan, in his high chair, at the other.

Just then, however, Rollo's mother observed that the table was wet a

"Why, Rollo," said she, "how came the table wet?"

"Why, Nathan and I did it," said he.

"How?" said his mother.

"Why, we did it--eh--pulling. But Jonas has settled it all, mother."

"Ah! Jonas has settled it, has he? very well. Then we will all now
attend to the lecture."


Rollo's father looked over the things which had been arranged upon the
table, for a moment, in silence, and then took up Jonas's magnet.

"This bar is what they call a magnet," said he; "but all the magnetism
is in the two ends."

"It is?" said Rollo; "and what is the reason of that?"

"You can see that it is so," said his father, without answering Rollo's
question, "in this way."

So he laid a small nail down upon the table, and then touched the middle
of the magnet to the nail. It was not attracted at all. Then he moved it
along a little, towards one end, and touched it again. Still it was not
attracted. Then he moved it along farther and farther; but the nail was
not attracted until he got to the end of the bar, and then the nail
hopped up and adhered to it quite strongly.

"How curious!" said Rollo.

His father then repeated the same experiment with the other half of the
bar, and found the result the same. The nail did not appear to be at all
attracted until he reached the end, and then it was lifted and held by
this end, just as it was by the other.

"So that, you see," said Rollo's father, "that the attractive power of
the magnet resides in the ends."

"Well, father, what is the reason?"

"I don't know," said his father.

"Don't you know, father?" said Rollo. "I thought you were going to tell
us all about it."

"No," said his father. "I only know a very little about it, myself. I am
going to explain to you some of the facts,--such as I happen to know. So
you must all remember this fact, that in the magnet, the attractive
power is not distributed over the whole mass, but resides only in the
opposite ends. These ends are called _poles_."

"Yes, sir," said Rollo, "we will remember."

"Now I can make this apparent in another way," said his father. Then he
asked Rollo's mother to thread a needle; and when it was threaded, he
asked Jonas to stand up and hold the thread in such a manner as to let
the needle hang over the middle of the table.

Then, when the needle was still, he brought up the middle of the magnet
very near to the needle; but it did not move towards it at all. Then he
drew the magnet along towards himself, keeping it at the same distance
from the needle, and when the end of the bar came opposite to the
needle, it immediately leaped out of its place, and adhered strongly to

"There is another way still," continued the lecturer, "better than
either of these."

So saying, he took off the needle, which had adhered to the magnet, and
drawing out the thread, he laid the needle itself carefully away upon a
distant corner of the table. Rollo took it up, and was going to place it
back with the others. But his father told him to put it down again, by
itself, where he had placed it, and not to touch any of the things
without his direction.

"I am going to show you another way," he added, "of making it evident
that the attractive power of the magnet resides at or near the poles."

So saying, he opened the sheet of paper, and spread it out upon the
table. Then he laid the magnet down upon it.

"Now, Jonas," said he, "sprinkle some sand upon it from my sand-box,
carefully, and see where the sand will adhere."

So Jonas took the sand-box, and held it over the bar, not very high, and
moved it slowly along, from one end to the other, and thus sanded the
magnet all over. The sand fell off of it, however, freely, at every part
except the ends; and Jonas, observing that it seemed to adhere there,
held the sand-box a little longer over those places; and thus there was
formed a sort of a black bur at the extremities, consisting of an
accumulation of the black particles of sand. Rollo's father then took up
the bar carefully, and passed it around, so that all who were seated at
the table could examine it closely.

"It is thickest on all the edges and corners," said Rollo.

"Yes," said his mother; "and the sand forms little black bristles,
pointing off in every direction."

They all examined it attentively, and observed the little black bristles
pointing out every way from the edges and corners at the ends.

"This shows you," said Rollo's father, "exactly how the magnetic power,
so far as its attractive force on other bodies is concerned, is
distributed. You see it resides in the two ends, and the two ends seem
to be exactly alike."

"Yes, sir," said Rollo, "exactly."

"They _seem_ to be so," continued his father; "but the fact is, the
magnetism of one end is very different from that of the other."

"I see that the cluster of sand is a little bigger at one end, than it
is at the other," said Rollo's mother. She was more observing than the
others, and had noticed a little difference, which had escaped the rest.

"That indicates only a difference in degree," said Rollo's father; "but
there is a difference in _kind_."

"What do you mean by that, father?" asked Rollo.

"Why, if the attractive powers at the two ends were both alike in their
nature, only one was stronger than the other, then the difference would
be in _degree_; but there is a difference in the nature of the magnetism
itself. In fact, the magnetisms of the two ends are of opposite natures
in some respects."

"Why, both ends attract the sand," said Rollo, "just alike."

"True," said his father; "they seem to attract the sand in precisely the
same way; and, looking at the bar, as I now hold it up," he added, "with
the sand adhering in the same way at the two ends, one would suppose
that they were both magnetic alike. But, in fact, there is a great
difference between them."

All the company looked upon the two ends of the bar, as Rollo's father
held it up, wondering how he would show that there was any difference
between them.

"Now, in the first place," he continued, "we must get the sand off of
the ends. Do you think you can get it off for me, Rollo?" said he.

Rollo took the bar very eagerly, and attempted to brush the sand back
upon the paper. He succeeded in brushing off a little of it; but the
greater portion remained. When he rubbed upon one side, it moved round
to the other; and he could not get it off.

"Hand it to me," said his father, "and I will show you how it can be

He also asked Jonas to hand him the tongs, which were standing by the
side of the fire. He then held the tongs over the sheet of paper, in a
horizontal position, and gently rapped the end of the magnet against
them, letting the end project a little over the tongs. This knocked all
the sand off, and left the bar clean as it was before.

"Now let me see," said he, "what was it that I was going to tell you

"You were going to show us," said Rollo's mother, "that there are two
different kinds of magnetisms in the two ends of the bar."

"O, yes," said he. "In order to do this, I must poise a needle in a new

He then took up one of the corks which Rollo had put upon the table.
From one end of this cork, he cut off, with his penknife, a round, flat
piece. It was about as large around as a wafer, but somewhat thicker.
He cut a little groove along the upper side of this, and laid the same
needle which he had before used, and which he had put away upon the
corner of the table, into this groove. Then he put the whole carefully
into the saucer of water, which he had previously drawn up towards him.

"There," said he, "we call a cork like that, a _float_; because it is
intended to float a needle upon. Now, you see, the needle being
supported by the cork, and the cork floating freely in the water, the
needle is at liberty to move in any way."

Nathan thought it was a very curious experiment to poise a needle so,
upon a piece of cork,--even without the magnetism. And he watched it as
it slowly moved about, with a face full of interest and curiosity.

The needle swung round a little one way and the other, and finally came
to a state of rest. Then Rollo's father held the magnet in his hands, in
such a manner as to point it towards the needle, and then gradually
brought it down near the water, just by the side of the point of the
needle. The point immediately began to move slowly towards the bar; but
Rollo's father lifted it up suddenly, before the needle had time to
touch it. Then he brought the same end of the magnet down upon the other
side of the point of the needle, and that drew it back again.

"There," said he, "you all see that the point of the needle is attracted
by the bar, whichever side I put it."

They all said they saw it very plainly.

"Now," said he, "I am going to turn the magnet, and bring the other end
of it down to the point of the needle; and if the magnetism at this end
is the same with that in the other, the point of the needle will of
course be attracted by this end too."

"Certainly," said Rollo's mother.

Then he brought down the other end of the bar towards the needle. This
other end was a little bigger than the one which he had tried first,
because the file had been a little bigger at that end. But the needle,
instead of being drawn towards it, as it had been towards the other end,
began to move slowly away from it.

"Why, it is going away," said Rollo.

His father did not answer, but immediately raised the bar and put it
down upon the other side of the point, and then the point began to move
away back again; being evidently driven away from the large end of the
magnet, on whichever side it was presented.

Then Rollo's father reversed the magnet again; that is, he brought the
smaller end towards the needle as at first. The point of the needle was
now attracted, that is, drawn towards the magnet; and then when he
changed it again, and brought the large end to the needle, it was always
_repelled_; that is, driven away again.

"Now you see," he said, "that the small end of the magnet attracts the
point of the needle, and the large end drives it away. That shows that
the magnetism in the two ends is of two different kinds.

"And now," he continued, "there is one thing more which is remarkable
about it; and I want you to observe it very carefully. You see," he
says, "that the small end of the magnet attracts the point of the
needle. But if I try it now upon the other end of the needle, where the
eye is, it will _repel_ that, just as the large end of the magnet repels
the point."

He tried it, and the result was just as he had said. And he repeated the
experiment in a great many ways, and they always found that the large
end of the magnet would draw the eye of the needle towards it, and drive
the point away; and the small end of the magnet would draw the point of
the needle, and drive the eye away. This proved, as Rollo's father said,
some great difference between the magnetisms of the two ends. "And you
see," he added, "that it is a difference in _kind_, not merely a
difference in _degree_."

"But one thing seems strange to me," said Rollo's mother, "and that is,
that both ends of the magnet don't attract the point of the needle, just
as both of them attracted the nail."

"And the sand," said Rollo.

"Yes," added his mother. "When you brought both ends of the magnet, one
after the other, to the nail, they both attracted it."

"And so they did the needle which hung down by the thread," said Jonas.

"Yes," said Rollo's mother; "but now this needle, that is floating upon
the water, is half attracted, and half repelled."

"The reason is," said Rollo's father, "that the needle, that is floating
upon the water, is a magnet itself, and has two magnetic poles; but the
sand, and the nail and the needle that Jonas held up by the thread, were
not magnets. They were only common pieces of iron and steel."

"Why, father," said Rollo, "that was the very same needle; you laid it
away upon the corner of the table."

"Yes," said his father; "but it was not a magnet _then_."

"When?" asked Rollo.

"Why, when Jonas held it up by the thread."

"And is it a magnet now?"

"Yes," said his father. "We will see if it is not."

So he took the needle off from the float, and put it upon the paper. He
then sprinkled a little sand over it, from the sand-box, and, upon
taking it up, they all saw that there was a little tuft of black sand
both upon the point and at the eye, showing that it was magnetic at both

"It became magnetic," said Rollo's father, "only by being touched by the
bar magnet; and that was the reason why I put it away by itself as soon
as it had touched the bar. I did not want to have it mixed with the
other needles, which had not been touched, and which, of course, were
not magnetic. Now, if I take one of the needles which has not been
touched, and put it upon the float, you will see that both ends of it
will be attracted by both ends of the bar."

So he placed away the magnetized needle upon the corner of the table
again, and took another one, and placed it very carefully upon the
float. Then he brought down one end of Jonas's magnet very near the
point of the needle. It attracted it. Then he brought it down very near
the eye of the needle. It attracted the eye too. Then he turned the
magnet, and tried the other end, and he found that that end also would
attract both the eye and the point of the needle.

"Try the magnetized needle, and see if that will attract it too," said
Rollo's mother.

Then Rollo's father took the magnetized needle from the corner again,
and brought the two ends of that, one after another, near to the ends of
the needle upon the float. It attracted them just as Jonas's magnet had
done, only a great deal more feebly.

"So, you see that this needle is really a little magnet, just like
Jonas's great one."

"Only there is no proof that it has the two different kinds of magnetism
in the two ends," said Rollo's mother.

"We can easily show that," said his father. He asked Dorothy to get
another saucer full of water, while he prepared another float. Then he
put the magnetized needle upon the new float, leaving the unmagnetized
one upon the old float. They both looked almost precisely alike, each
upon its own little disc of cork in its saucer of water.

"There," said he, "you cannot see any difference between them; but there
is a great deal of difference between them; for one is only a common
needle of steel, but the other has its two extremities magnetic in
opposite ways."

To prove this, Rollo's father brought one end of the bar to the _point_
of the magnetized needle, and the point was repelled. He brought it then
to the _eye_ of the same needle, and it attracted it. Then he brought
the same end of the bar, first to the point, and then to the eye of the
unmagnetic needle, and it attracted them both; so it was evident that
there was a considerable difference, in reality, between the condition
of the two, though there was no difference in external appearance.

"Now you see, from all this," added Rollo's father, "that when a magnet
touches a piece of steel, like a needle, it immediately makes it a
magnet itself; that is, it makes the two ends magnetic, one having one
kind of magnetism, and the other the other kind; and then, if you take
two magnets, and bring those two poles which have the same magnetism
together, they repel one another; and if you bring those together which
have different magnetisms, they attract each other."

"How do you know that they are the same magnetisms that repel, and
different that attract?" said Rollo's mother.

"I will show you," said his father.

Then he took the needles that he had used off from their floats, and
laid them away. He took next two new needles, exactly of a size, and he
held them together between his thumb and finger, with the eyes
projecting together. Then he rubbed them once or twice upon the end of
Jonas's magnet, saying,

"There, you see I use both of these needles alike. Of course the eyes
have both the same magnetisms. Now you will find that when I put one of
them upon the float, and then bring the eyes together, they will repel
each other; but an eye and a point will attract. So two points will

"But you have not magnetized the points," said Rollo's mother.

"Yes," said his father. "When we magnetize one end, the other end
becomes magnetized, itself, in the contrary way."

So he put one of the needles upon the float, and then brought the eye of
the other down very near to its eye. It was repelled, as he had said it
would be. He then brought the two points together, and they were
repelled. But if he brought an eye towards a point, or a point towards
an eye, they were attracted.

"This is the end of my lecture," said he, "for to-night."

"O, father," said Rollo, "a little more."

"No more to-night, only to recapitulate," said he.

"Recapitulate? what is that?"

"Why, tell you, briefly, the substance of what I have explained, so that
you may remember it."

"Well, father," said Rollo.

"In the first place, a magnet has a peculiar and mysterious attractive
power for iron, residing in its two extremities, which are called _its
poles;_ and the power which resides in one extremity is, in some way or
other, opposite in its nature to that of the other extremity. Each of
these poles repels a pole like itself, and attracts one different from
itself, in any other magnet."

Poor Nathan could not understand this grave, philosophical disquisition
very well, and he began to get pretty sleepy. He had, however, been
somewhat amused, during the greater part of the time, in seeing the
corks float about upon the water, with the needles upon them. So his
father took the needles off, and let him have the two floats in one of
the saucers to play with, a few minutes, while Dorothy put the other
things away. He asked her to put all the things away together, so that
they could get them ready the next evening, and then he said that
perhaps he would give them another lecture.


Rollo's father gave one or two other lectures upon magnetism, in the
course of which Rollo found out a good deal about the subject; and,
having learned from his father's explanations that any magnet, when
balanced freely, would point to the north and south, that is, one end to
the north and the other to the south, he determined to try the
experiment. He accordingly poised a needle carefully upon a cork, as his
father had done in his lecture, and put it in a basin of water upon the
platform. But he did not succeed very well. The needle would always
swing round, and turn its point towards the garden gate; but Rollo knew
very well that the garden gate was not north from the platform. He
remembered that the North Star was over the barn, for he and Jonas had
noticed it particularly when they had made the dial. The needle,
therefore, ought to have pointed towards the barn, according to his
father's lecture; but it would not. Rollo took up a straw, and pushed
the point of the needle round, and said, "Point there! point there, I
tell you!" But all in vain. The needle would not heed either his pushing
or his commands; but, as soon as he let it go, it would immediately
swing back into its old position, where it pointed towards the garden

Rollo was just about giving up in despair, when he saw his sister Mary
coming in from the garden gate, with a book under her arm.

"O Mary," said he, "what shall I do? My needle won't point right."

"Why, what is the matter with it?" said Mary.

"It will point over towards the garden," said Rollo; "look."

So Mary came up, and looked at his needle. She saw that it was pointing
towards the garden gate.

"Now I'll push it away," said Rollo, "and you will see that it comes
directly back again."

So he took up his straw, and pushed the point of the needle away. The
cork moved, turning round rapidly, until at length it swung away
towards one side of the basin, and then suddenly drifted up against the
side, and stuck there.

"That's another plague," said Rollo. "It will run up to the side of the
basin, and stick there."

"What makes it?" said Mary.

"I don't know," said Rollo.

Mary sat down upon the platform, and examined the needle and the surface
of the water very carefully. She observed that the water was heaped up a
little against the side of the basin, all around. She asked Rollo to
observe it.

"Yes," said he, "and the needle and cork run right up that ridge of

"And the bubbles too," said Mary.

Mary pointed, when she said this, to several little bubbles which were
adhering closely to the side of the basin, in another place.

She took up a little straw, and pushed away some of the bubbles from the
side of the basin, and then gently moved them back again until they were
pretty near, and observed that they would immediately rush up against
the side again. She did not understand this phenomenon, especially as
the water was raised a little along the edge by the side of the basin,
so that the bubbles and the needle actually appeared to rush up hill.

After examining this for some time, Mary moved the cork float, with the
needle upon it, back into the middle of the basin, and then left it to
itself. It slowly moved around until it pointed to the garden gate, as
it had done before.

"Now what is the reason?" said Rollo; "that isn't north."

Mary looked upon it very attentively for a few minutes in silence, and
then said, suddenly,

"O, I see."

"What?" said Rollo.

She did not answer, but pointed down to the platform by the side of the

Rollo looked where she pointed, and saw the hammer lying there. He had
had it to play with a short time before, and, when he brought the basin
of water, he had laid it down by his side.

"What?" said Rollo.

"The hammer attracts the needle," replied Mary.

"The hammer?" said Rollo.

"Yes," replied Mary. "Don't you know that iron attracts the needle, and
it will not point to the north if there is any iron near to draw it

Rollo was just going to take the hammer up, but Mary stopped him,

"Wait a moment. Let me take it away slowly, and see the effect."

So Mary told Rollo to watch the needle, while she carefully drew the
hammer away.

Rollo did so. He and Mary both watched the needle. It was pointing
pretty nearly toward the hammer, and when Mary gently moved the hammer
away, the needle, released from the influence which the iron exerted
upon it, slowly moved back towards the direction of the barn, that is,
the direction of a north and south line, which is called the meridian.

"It's going back! it's going back!" said Rollo.

Mary said nothing, but watched it carefully. The needle swung beyond the
direction of the meridian a little way, and then came slowly back
again. So it continued vibrating from one side to the other, though to a
less and less distance every time. Finally, it came to a state of rest;
but it was not then, however, exactly in the meridian.

"What makes it swing so, back and forth?" said Rollo.

"I don't know exactly," said Mary. "I suppose the force that it moves
with, carries it a little beyond, and then it is drawn back again, and
that makes the oscillations."

"Oscillations?" said Rollo, inquiringly.

"Yes. They call this swinging back and forth, _oscillating_; and each
movement is an oscillation."

"Is that the name of it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary. "When you tie a little stone to a string, and hold the
upper end of the string still, and let the stone swing back and forth,
it makes oscillations."

"I mean to try it," said Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary; "and I will help you by and by, after I have studied
my philosophy lesson."

"Your philosophy lesson?" asked Rollo. "Have you got a philosophy lesson
to get?"

"Yes," said Mary, "in that great book."

So Rollo took up Mary's book, which she had laid down upon the platform
near Rollo's apparatus. He found that the title of it was "Intellectual

"Intellectual Philosophy?" said Rollo; "and what sort of philosophy is
_intellectual_ philosophy?"

"It is the philosophy of the _mind_," replied Mary. "It explains to us
about the thoughts and feelings of our minds."

"Are there any _experiments_ in intellectual philosophy?" asked Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary, "we can try experiments in intellectual philosophy."

"What experiments?" said Rollo.

"Why, there is a question whether we always dream when we are asleep."

"_I_ do," said Rollo, "every night."

"Yes, but perhaps not all night long."

"Yes, I do," said Rollo. "I have good long dreams."

"But," replied Mary, "you may dream several hours in the night, so as to
remember good long dreams in the morning, and yet perhaps you might have
been, for some time, perfectly sound asleep, so as not to have any
dreams in your mind at all. Some persons think we dream all the time
when we are asleep, and others think we don't dream all the time. Now we
might contrive some experiments to decide the question."

"How?" said Rollo.

"Why, you and I might agree to wake each other up several times, from a
sound sleep, and then, if we were dreaming at that time, we should
probably remember it."

"Well," said Rollo, "let us try it."

"That would be an experiment in intellectual philosophy," said Mary.

Rollo determined to try the experiment; and then he took Mary's book,
and asked her where her lesson was that day. She found the place, and
Rollo read a little. He could not understand it very well, and so he
concluded that he would rather have Mary go and study her lesson, and
then come down and help him make the experiments of oscillation.

Mary accordingly took her book and went in, and left Rollo at his play.


In about an hour, Mary came down into the yard in pursuit of Rollo, in
order to try the experiments which she had proposed.

When Rollo saw her coming, he left his play, and ran to meet her.

"Well, Mary," said he, "have you come to make the oscillations?"

"Yes," said Mary. "I have brought some thread for strings, and I want
you to get some pebble stones--some large, and some small ones."

Rollo went for the pebble stones, while Mary looked about for a suitable
place for making the experiments. In a corner of the yard there was a
bench under a tree, and the branches came down pretty low. Mary thought
that this would be a good place, for she could tie her strings to these
branches with the pebbles hanging down below; and she and Rollo could
watch the oscillations, while seated upon the bench.

Mary took her station here, and Rollo presently appeared, with the crown
of his cap half filled with pebble stones. Mary said they would do
finely. She poured them out upon the bench by her side, and Rollo put
his cap upon his head again.

"Now, Rollo," said she, "we will study the art of experimenting."

"No," said Rollo, "we are going to study oscillation."

"Yes," replied Mary; "the experiments are to be on oscillations; but
what I want principally to teach you, is, the proper way to make

"Well," said Rollo.

Mary said no more, but she proceeded to tie a small pebble to the end of
one of the long threads which she had brought out with her. Then she
tied the other end of the thread to the branch of the tree, which was
over her head. The pebble then hung down before them, so that both Rollo
and herself could plainly see all its motions.

"The first thing," said Mary, "is to get a clear idea of the nature of
the oscillation, for we must know what we are experimenting about."

So saying, Mary carefully took hold of the suspended pebble stone, and
began to draw it off towards one side. She showed Rollo that, as it was
confined by its string above, it must move in a curved line when she
drew it away from its place, rising higher and higher the farther it was
drawn away. And when she had drawn it out to a considerable distance, to
one side, it was at a much higher level, than when it hung down freely
in its natural position.

"Now," said Mary, "you see that if I let it go, it will descend of
course as much as it can, for the earth draws it downwards."

"The earth draws it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary. "The reason why things fall is that they are
attracted, or drawn down, by the earth. Now the earth draws the pebble.
It _would_ go straight towards it, if it could; but the string confines
it, and so it can only go down in the same way that it came up; that is,
by the curved line."

Mary then held one of her hands open at the place where the pebble had
hung when it had been at liberty, and let go the pebble, which she had
been holding with the other. It fell down in the curved line, or arc, as
Mary had said it would, until it struck her hand, and there it stopped
and remained at rest.

"What did you stop it for?" said Rollo.

"So that we could see and attend to one part of the phenomenon at a
time," said Mary; "that is, the _descent_ of the pebble. You see the
attraction of the earth causes the pebble to go down if it can, and the
confinement of the string prevents its going down in any other way than
in that curve or arc. For the string keeps it always just its own length
from the branch, and so that makes the curved line the arc of a circle."

"Yes," said Rollo, "I understand."

Then Mary drew up the pebble once or twice more, and let Rollo see it
fall against her hand. Rollo observed that it was a very regular arc.

"Now we see," continued Mary, "that I hold my hand so as to stop the
pebble stone at the lowest point to which it can go; for I hold it
exactly under the point where the upper end of the string is fastened to
the tree. Now I will take my hand away, and then let the pebble fall,
and we will see what takes place."

So Mary took her hand away, and let the pebble fall freely. It descended
as before through the arc, and then, by the force which it acquired in
moving so far, it was propelled beyond the lowest point, and ascended in
another curve, upon the other side, similar to the first. When the force
was expended, it came back again; and thus it swung to and fro, several
times, and at length came almost to a state of rest.

"There," said Mary, "those are the oscillations we are going to
experiment upon."

"Yes," said Rollo.

"And first," said Mary, "we notice that they are regular."

So she swung the pebble again; and as it moved to and fro, she counted
the oscillations aloud, beating time with her hand, down and up, thus,--

"One,--two,--three,--four," &c. Rollo perceived that they were very

"Now, first we will endeavor to ascertain by our experiments," said
Mary, "what the _time_ of the vibrations depends upon."

"Well," said Rollo.

"You see," continued Mary, "it swings back and forth with a certain
degree of rapidity. Now we want to know what this rapidity depends
upon, and then we could make a pendulum so that it would oscillate
faster or slower, just as we pleased."

"A pendulum?" asked Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary, "we call it a _pendulum_. Any heavy body hung in this
manner, so as to swing back and forth by its weight, is called a
_pendulum_. So that we are experimenting upon the oscillations of a

"Yes," said Rollo, "I understand."

"Now the question which we are going to examine," said Mary, "is, what
the rapidity of the vibrations depends upon."

"O, it depends upon the bigness of the pebble," said Rollo.

"How do you know?" said Mary.

"Why, of course, a bigger pebble will be heavier, and will fall quicker,
and that will make it vibrate faster."

"That is _reasoning_ about it," said Mary, "and what we want to do, now,
is to _experiment_. Now, in order to decide it by experiment, we must
try two pendulums, one with a small pebble, and the other with a large

"Very well," said Rollo, "we will; and then we shall see that the big
one will vibrate the quickest."

"Let us think, first, what other circumstances there are, that it may
depend upon."

"I can't think of any thing else," said Rollo.

"Why, there is the nature of the body which we suspend. A piece of cork
may oscillate differently from a piece of stone."

"Yes," said Rollo, "it will oscillate slower."

"We must not decide," said Mary, "in our own minds, before we try the
experiment. We must leave our minds free to observe the facts, and wait
until we make the experiment, before we come to any conclusion, or else
we shall not be good experimenters."

"Why not?" said Rollo.

"Because," said Mary, "when persons make up their minds beforehand what
the facts will be, they are very apt not to observe fairly. So good
observers or experimenters always take care to keep their minds free and

"Well," said Rollo, "and what else is there that the oscillations may
depend upon?"

"The length of the string," replied Mary.

"O yes," said Rollo, "it may depend upon that."

"Let us see," continued Mary. "There are three experiments we have
already proposed; a large and a small pebble; a pebble and a cork; a
long and a short string; and now there is one more,--a long and short

"How?" said Rollo.

"Why, if I draw up the weight, which forms the pendulum, pretty high, it
will swing back and forth through a long arc. But if I move it only a
little way, it will swing through only a short arc, and _that_ may make
a difference in the length of the vibrations."

"Well," said Rollo, "and now let us try."

"First, let us see whether we have got all the apparatus we want. Here
are strings and pebbles,--only we want a cork."

"I'll go and get one," said Rollo.

So Rollo went off towards the house to get the cork. In a few minutes he
came back, saying,

"I have got the cork. Now how shall we begin?"

"First," replied Mary, "we will try what effect the weight of the pebble
will have upon the oscillations."

"Very well," said Rollo.

"Now, in order to test that," added Mary, "we must take two pebble
stones, of different sizes, and hang them together, by strings of the
same kind, and of the same length; and then we must set them a-going
exactly together, and then watch the oscillations. You see that as they
will be alike in every respect, excepting the size of the pebble stones,
whatever difference there is in the mode of vibration will probably be
caused by the difference in the size of the stones."

"Is that the way they do it?" said Rollo.

"Yes," replied Mary. "Whenever we want to know what effect any one
circumstance produces, in such a case, we always arrange two experiments,
making them very different in respect to the circumstance which we wish
to examine, and as nearly alike as possible in all other respects."

"I think that is a very good way," said Rollo.

"Yes," replied Mary, "I think it is an excellent way."

While Mary was thus explaining her plan to Rollo, she was going on
steadily with preparations, Rollo standing all the time by her side,
looking on with great interest. Mary selected two pebbles. One was as
big as a walnut, and the other about as big as an egg. She tied two of
her threads to these stones, one to each, and then tied the other ends
of these threads to a small branch of the tree which extended
horizontally over their heads. They hung down about two feet. She took
care so to adjust the strings, as to have the centres of the stones as
nearly as possible on a level.

"The big one is twice as large, and so it will go twice as fast," said

"We shall see," said Mary.

She then drew them both carefully out a little way on one side, and
holding them there steadily a moment, she let them go. They immediately
began to swing back and forth, together.

After a few oscillations, however, the large stone began to gain a
little upon the other, and seemed to be moving faster. Presently it had
gained half an oscillation, i. e. when the large one was moving forward,
the small one would be coming back.

"The big one moves the fastest," said Rollo.

"Not much," said Mary.

"No," said Rollo, "not much."

"And I don't think it is owing to the difference in the bigness of the

"What else can it be?" said Rollo. "They are exactly alike in all other

"Not exactly," said Mary. "We have made them as nearly alike as we
could, but not exactly. There may be a good many little differences that
we do not observe. But if the size of the stone would cause any
difference in the vibrations, I should think it would make a much
greater difference, for one is twice as big as the other."

"Let us try a _very_ big stone," said Rollo.

"Well," said Mary.

So Rollo got a stone as large as an orange, which was as heavy a one as
Mary thought the thread would hold; and Mary suspended that from the
branch of the tree, and then swung it in company with the two others.
They all went very nearly together at first, though there was evidently
a slight difference, which, in a short time, separated the oscillations,
so that the stones did not keep together; while yet they each swung back
and forth, in nearly the same time. Rollo and Mary both concluded, from
the result of this experiment, that the size of the vibrating body did
not perceptibly affect the rapidity of the vibrations.

"Now," said Mary, "we will try different lengths of string."

So she began to look over Rollo's pebbles, to find two as nearly as
possible alike.

"The pebble stones must be of the same size, this time, for we want the
two pendulums to be alike in all respects, except the length of the
string, for that is the circumstance which we are now going to consider.
We will have one string twice as long as the other."

Mary found two pebbles very nearly equal in size, and similar in shape.
She tied them to two strings, making one string twice as long as the
other. She suspended them as before, and then, taking hold of one with
one hand, and the other with the other, she drew them out to the same
distance on one side, and let them go. The short one began at once to
swing back and forth very quick, while the other followed quite slowly.

"That makes a difference," said Rollo, clapping his hands.

"It goes twice as fast," said Mary.

"More than twice as fast," said Rollo, "I think."

"Let us see," said Mary.

They set them vibrating again; but they did not succeed in ascertaining
whether the short one went more or less than twice as fast as the other.
The two motions, so rapid and so near together, confused them. At
length, Mary proposed that Rollo should count the vibrations of the long
pendulum, while she counted those of the short one, and when she had got
up to twenty, she said they would both stop, and then Rollo could tell
how many he had got in the same time. But this plan, though apparently a
very simple one, they found it somewhat difficult to put into practice.
Mary's pendulum puzzled Rollo's counting, and Rollo, who could not count
very well without at least whispering the numbers, puzzled Mary, and so
pretty soon they gave it up.

Rollo then said that he meant to try a very short pendulum indeed, and
he asked Mary to tie one up for him, not more than an inch in length.
She, however, said that it would not be necessary to tie it to the
branch; but, instead of that, she took hold of the string of one of the
pebbles which was already hanging before them, about an inch above the
pebble itself, and then set the pebble in motion; and they were both
very much interested in observing how quick it vibrated to and fro.

Rollo then wanted to try a very long one, and proposed that he should
climb up into the tree, and tie the end of the string to a high branch.
But Mary was afraid that he would fall; and besides, she said that the
pendulum would not swing clear of the branches below. She, however,
immediately thought of the chamber window, and said that she would try
it there. She accordingly went up into her chamber, taking a large
pebble stone with her, and Rollo remained below to set the pendulum in
motion, when it should be ready. Mary soon appeared at the window, and
Rollo watched her while she tied her pebble to the end of a thread.

"Have you got your thread long enough?" said Rollo. "It will take a
good long thread to reach away down here."

"It is a whole spool of cotton," said Mary. And, so saying, she held up
in her hand the spool, to the thread of which she was tying her pebble

When it was secured, she slowly let it down, until it reached Rollo's
hand, which was held up from below, ready to receive it. Mary then held
the thread steady above, at a little distance out from the window, while
Rollo took the stone along the side of the house, three or four feet
from the place where it would naturally hang. He then let it go, and it
swung back very slowly.

"O, how slow!" said Rollo.

"Yes," said Mary, "it is very slow, indeed."

"I wish you had gone up to the garret window," said Rollo.

"O, this will do very well," said Mary.

Rollo determined to see how many he could count while the stone made one
oscillation to and fro. He counted sixteen.

Mary then said she was tired of experimenting, and so she should not
come down again. She, however, asked Rollo to set the pendulum
swinging, and that then she would draw the thread in, and he could see
that it would go faster and faster, the farther she drew it up, for that
would make the string grow shorter and shorter.

Rollo did so; and this was the end of the experiments on oscillations.


The following corrections have been made to the text:

Page 14: She looked on with a good deal{original omitted this word} of

Page 32: "What is satiety, father?"{original had a single quotation mark
instead of the double one}

Page 88: Then he stirred{original had stirrred} it about with his hand

Page 122: he took hold of the flower-pot with both his hands, and slid
it suddenly off of the seat.{the original had a footnote here, See
Frontispiece. The frontispiece however relates to a different chapter
(Pruning) and so the footnote has been removed}

Page 149: and the small end{original had and} of the magnet would draw
the point of the needle

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