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Title: Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. 5 - Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore, Etc.
Author: Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. 5 - Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore, Etc." ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SIR JOSEPH PORTER, K.C.B.]

  I am the monarch of the Sea,
  The ruler of the Queen's Navee,--
  When at anchor here I ride,
  My bosom swells with pride,
And I snap my fingers at a foeman's taunts.

[Illustration: COUSIN HEBE.]

And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts
  His sisters and his cousins!
  Whom he reckons by the dozens,
And his aunts!

[Illustration: RALPH RACKSTRAW.]

"I am the lowliest tar
  That sails the water.
And you, proud maiden, are
  My captain's daughter."

[Illustration: JOSEPHINE.]

"Refrain, audacious tar.
  Your suit from pressing;
Remember what you are,
  And whom addressing."

[Illustration: LITTLE BUTTERCUP.]

For I am called Little Buttercup,--dear Little Buttercup,
  Though I never could tell why;
But still I'm called Buttercup,--poor Little Buttercup,
  Sweet Little Buttercup I!

[Illustration: CAPTAIN CORCORAN.]

Fair moon, to thee I sing
  Bright regent of the heavens;
Say, why is every thing
  Either at sixes or at sevens!

[Illustration: BILL BOBSTAY, THE BOS'N]

He is an Englishman!
  For he himself has said it,
  And it's greatly to his credit
That he is an Englishman.

[Illustration: DICK DEADEYE.]

"I'm ugly too, aint I?"

       *       *       *       *       *


   I. JIMMY'S CRUISE IN THE PINAFORE                          5

  II. TWO LITTLE TRAVELLERS                                  27

 III. A JOLLY FOURTH                                         38

  IV. SEVEN BLACK CATS                                       52

   V. ROSA'S TALE                                            67

  VI. LUNCH                                                  89

 VII. A BRIGHT IDEA                                         105

VIII. HOW THEY CAMPED OUT                                   119

  IX. MY LITTLE SCHOOL-GIRL                                 141

   X. WHAT A SHOVEL DID                                     154

  XI. CLAMS                                                 168

 XII. KITTY'S CATTLE SHOW                                   182

XIII. WHAT BECOMES OF THE PINS                              189






A boy sat on a door-step in a despondent attitude, with his eyes fixed
on a pair of very shabby shoes, and his elbows resting on his knees, as
if to hide the big patches there. But it was not the fact that his toes
were nearly out and his clothes dilapidated which brought the wrinkles
to his forehead and the tears to his eyes, for he was used to that
state of things, and bore it without complaint. The prospect was a dull
one for a lively lad full of the spring longings which sunny April
weather always brings. But it was not the narrow back-street where noisy
children played and two or three dusty trees tried to bud without
sunshine, that made him look so dismal. Nor was it the knowledge that a
pile of vests was nearly ready for him to trudge away with before he
could really rest after doing many errands to save mother's weary feet.

No, it was a burden that lay very heavily on his heart, and made it
impossible to even whistle as he waited. Above the sounds that filled
the street he heard a patient moan from the room within; and no matter
what object his eyes rested on, he saw with sorrowful distinctness a
small white face turned wistfully toward the window, as if weary of the
pillow where it had laid so long.

Merry little Kitty, who used to sing and dance from morning till night,
was now so feeble and wasted that he could carry her about like a baby.
All day she lay moaning softly, and her one comfort was when "brother"
could come and sing to her. That night he could not sing; his heart was
so full, because the doctor had said that the poor child must have
country air as soon as possible, else she never would recover from the
fever which left her such a sad little ghost of her former self. But,
alas, there was no money for the trip, and mother was sewing day and
night to earn enough for a week at least of blessed country air and
quiet. Jimmy did his best to help, but could find very little to do, and
the pennies came in so slowly he was almost in despair.

There was no father to lend a strong hand, and Mrs. Nelson was one of
the "silent poor," who cannot ask for charity, no matter how much they
may need it. The twelve-year-old boy considered himself the man of the
family, and manfully carried as many burdens as his young shoulders
would bear; but this was a very heavy one, so it is no wonder that he
looked sober. Holding his curly head in his hands, as if to keep it from
flying asunder with the various plans working inside, he sat staring at
the dusty bricks in a desperate frame of mind.

Warm days were coming, and every hour was precious, for poor Kitty pined
in the close room, and all he could do was to bring her dandelions and
bits of green grass from the Common when she begged to go in the fields
and pick "pretties" for herself. He loved the little sister dearly,
and, as he remembered her longing, his eyes filled, and he doubled up
both fists with an air of determination, muttering to himself,--

"She _shall_ go! I don't see any other way, and I'll do it!"

The plan which had been uppermost lately was this. His father had been a
sailor, and Jimmy proposed to run away to sea as cabin boy. His wages
were to be paid before he went, so mother and Kitty could be in the
country while he was gone, and in a few months he would come sailing
gayly home to find the child her rosy self again. A very boyish and
impossible plan, but he meant it, and was in just the mood to carry it
out,--for every other attempt to make money had failed.

"I'll do it as sure as my name is Jim Nelson. I'll take a look at the
ships this very night, and go in the first one that will have me," he
said, with a resolute nod of the head, though his heart sank within him
at the thought. "I wonder which kind of captains pay boys best? I guess
I'll try a steamer; they make short trips. I heard the cannon to-day, so
one is in, and I'll try for a place before I go to bed."

Little did desperate Jimmy guess what ship he would really sail in, nor
what a prosperous voyage he was about to make; for help was coming that
very minute, as it generally does, sooner or later, to generous people
who are very much in earnest.

First a shrill whistle was heard, at the sound of which he looked up
quickly; then a rosy-faced girl of about his own age came skipping down
the street, swinging her hat by one string; and, as Jimmy watched her
approach, a smile began to soften the grim look he wore, for Willy
Bryant was his best friend and neighbor, being full of courage, fun, and
kindness. He nodded, and made room for her on the step,--the place she
usually occupied at spare moments when they got lessons and recounted
their scrapes to each other.

But to-night Willy seemed possessed of some unusually good piece of news
which she chose to tell in her own lively fashion, for, instead of
sitting down, she began to dance a sailor's hornpipe, singing gayly,
"I'm little Buttercup, sweet little Buttercup," till her breath gave

"What makes you so jolly, Will?" asked Jimmy, as she dropped down
beside him and fanned herself with the ill-used hat.

"Such fun--you'll never guess--just what we wanted--if your mother only
will! You'll dance, too, when you know," panted the girl, smiling like a
substantial sort of fairy come to bring good luck.

"Fire away, then. It will have to be extra nice to set me off. I don't
feel a bit like jigs now," answered Jimmy, as the gloom obscured his
face again, like a cloud over the sun.

"You know 'Pinafore'?" began Will, and getting a quick nod for an
answer, she poured forth the following tale with great rapidity: "Well,
some folks are going to get it up with children to do it, and they want
any boys and girls that can sing to go and be looked at to-morrow, and
the good ones will be picked out, and dressed up, and taught how to act,
and have the nicest time that ever was. Some of our girls are going, and
so am I, and you sing and must come, too, and have some fun. Won't it be

"I guess it would; but I can't. Mother needs me every minute out of
school," began Jimmy, with a shake of the head, having made up his mind
some time ago that he must learn to do without fun.

"But we shall be paid for it," cried Will, clapping her hands with the
double delight of telling the best part of her story, and seeing Jimmy's
sober face clear suddenly as if the sun had burst forth with great

"Really? How much? Can I sing well enough?" and he clutched her arm
excitedly, for this unexpected ray of hope dazzled him.

"Some of them will have ten dollars a week, and some more,--the real
nice ones, like Lee, the singing boy, who is a wonder," answered Will,
in the tone of one well informed on such points.

"Ten dollars!" gasped Jimmy, for the immensity of the sum took his
breath away. "Could _I_ get that? How long? Where do we go? Do they
really want us fellows? Are you sure it's all true?"

"It was all in the paper, and Miss Pym, the teacher who boards at our
house, told Ma about it. The folks advertised for school-children, sixty
of 'em, and will really pay; and Ma said I could go and try, and all
the money I get I'm going to put in a bank and have for my own. Don't
you believe me now?"

Miss Pym and the newspapers settled the matter in Jimmy's mind, and made
him more anxious than before about the other point.

"Do you think _I_ would have any chance?" he asked, still holding Will,
who seemed inclined for another dance.

"I know you would. Don't you do splendidly at school? And didn't they
want you for a choir boy, only your mother couldn't spare you?" answered
Will, decidedly; for Jimmy did love music, and had a sweet little pipe
of his own, as she well knew.

"Mother will have to spare me now, if they pay like that. I can work all
day and do without sleep to earn money this way. Oh, Will, I'm so glad
you came, for I was just ready to run away to sea. There didn't seem
anything else to do," whispered Jimmy in a choky sort of tone, as hopes
and fears struggled together in his boyish mind.

"Run as fast as you like, and I'll go too. We'll sail in the 'Pinafore,'
and come home with our pockets full of money.

"'Sing, hey, the merry maiden and the tar!'"

burst out Will, who was so full of spirits she could not keep still
another minute.

Jimmy joined in, and the fresh voices echoed through the street so
pleasantly that Mrs. Peters stopped scolding her six squabbling
children, while Kitty's moaning changed to a feeble little sound of
satisfaction, for "brother's" lullabies were her chief comfort and

"We shall lose school, you know, for we act in the afternoon, not the
evening. I don't care; but you will, you like to study so well. Miss Pym
didn't like it at first, but Ma said it would help the poor folks, and a
little fun wouldn't hurt the children. I thought of you right away, and
if you don't get as much money as I do, you shall have some of mine, so
Kitty can go away soon."

Will's merry face grew very sweet and kind as she said that, and Jimmy
was glad his mother called him just then, because he did not know how
to thank this friend in need. When he came out with the parcel of vests
he looked like a different boy, for Mrs. Nelson had told him to go and
find out all about it, and had seemed as much dazzled by the prospect as
he did, sewing was such weary work.

Their interview with Miss Pym was a most encouraging one, and it was
soon settled that Jimmy should go with Will to try for a place on the

"And I'll get it, too!" he said to himself, as he kissed Kitty's thin
cheek, full of the sweet hope that he might be the means of bringing
back life and color to the little face he loved so well.

He was so excited he could not sleep, and beguiled the long hours by
humming under his breath all the airs he knew belonging to the already
popular opera. Next morning he flew about his work as if for a wager,
and when Will came for him there was not a happier heart in all the city
than the hopeful one that thumped under Jimmy's threadbare best jacket.

Such a crowd of girls and boys as they found at the hall where they
were told to apply for inspection; such a chirping and piping went on
there, it sounded like a big cage full of larks and linnets; and by and
by, when the trial was over, such a smiling troop of children as was
left to be drilled by the energetic gentlemen who had the matter in
hand. Among this happy band stood our Jimmy, chosen for his good voice,
and Will, because of her bright face and lively, self-possessed manners.
They could hardly wait to be dismissed, and it was a race home to see
who should be first to tell the good news. Jimmy tried to be quiet on
Kitty's account, but failed entirely; and it was a pleasant sight to see
the boy run into his mother's arms, crying joyfully,--

"I'm in! I'm in! Ten dollars a week! Hurrah!"

"I can hardly believe it!" And weary Mrs. Nelson dropped her needle to
indulge in a few moments of delightful repose.

"If it goes well they may want us for a month or six weeks," the man
said. "Just think, maybe I'll get fifty or sixty dollars! and Baby will
get well right off," cried Jimmy, in an arithmetical sort of rapture,
as he leaned above Kitty, who tried to clap her little hands without
quite knowing what the joy was all about.


After that day Jimmy led a very happy life, for he loved music and
enjoyed the daily drill with his mates, though it was long before he saw
the inside of the theatre. Will knew a good deal about it, for an
actor's family had boarded with her mother, and the little girl had been
behind the scenes. But to Jimmy, who had only seen one fairy play, all
was very strange when at last he went upon the stage; for the glittering
world he expected was gone, and all was dusty, dark, and queer, with
trap-doors underfoot, machinery overhead, and a wilderness of scenery
jumbled together in the drollest way. He was all eyes and ears, and
enjoyed himself immensely as he came and went, sung and acted, with the
troop of lads who made up the sailor chorus. It was a real ship to him,
in spite of painted cannon, shaky masts, and cabin doors that led
nowhere. He longed to run up the rigging; but as that was forbidden,
for fear of danger, he contented himself by obeying orders with nautical
obedience, singing with all his might, and taking great satisfaction in
his blue suit with the magical letters "H. M. S. Pinafore" round his

Day by day all grew more and more interesting. His mother was never
tired of hearing his adventures, he sung Kitty to sleep with the new
songs, and the neighbors took such a friendly interest in his success
that they called him Lord Nelson, and predicted that he would be as
famous as his great namesake.

When the grand day came at last, and the crew of jolly young tars stood
ready to burst forth with the opening chorus,

"We sail the ocean blue,
  Our saucy ship's a beauty;
We're gallant men and true,
  And bound to do our duty!"

Jimmy hardly knew whether he stood on his head or his heels at first,
for, in spite of many rehearsals, everything seemed changed. Instead of
daylight, gas shone everywhere, the empty seats were full, the
orchestra playing splendidly, and when the curtain rose, a sea of
friendly faces welcomed them, and the pleasant sound of applause made
the hearts under the blue jackets dance gayly.

How those boys did sing! how their eyes shone, and their feet kept time
to the familiar strains! with what a relish they hitched up their
trousers and lurched about, or saluted and cheered as the play demanded.
With what interest they watched the microscopic midshipmite, listened to
Rafe as his sweet voice melodiously told the story of his hapless love,
and smiled on pretty Josephine, who was a regular bluebird without the

"Ain't this fun?" whispered Jimmy's next neighbor, taking advantage of a
general burst of laughter, as the inimitable little bumboat woman
advertised her wares with captivating drollery.

"Right down jolly!" answered Jimmy, feeling that a series of somersaults
across the stage would be an immense relief to the pent-up emotions of
his boyish soul. For under all the natural excitement of the hour deep
down lay the sweet certainty that he was earning health for Kitty, and
it made his heart sing for joy more blithely than any jovial chorus to
which he lent his happy voice.

But his bliss was not complete till the stately Sir Joseph, K. C. B.,
had come aboard, followed by "his sisters and his cousins and his
aunts;" for among that flock of devoted relatives in white muslin and
gay ribbons was Will. Standing in the front row, her bright face was
good to see, for her black eyes sparkled, every hair on her head curled
its best, her cherry bows streamed in the breeze, and her feet pranced
irresistibly at the lively parts of the music. She longed to dance the
hornpipe which the little Quaker aunt did so capitally, but, being
denied that honor, distinguished herself by the comic vigor with which
she "polished up the handle of the big front door," and did the other
"business" recorded by the gallant "ruler of the Queen's Navee."

She and Jimmy nodded to each other behind the Admiral's august back, and
while Captain Corcoran was singing to the moon, and Buttercup suffering
the pangs of "Wemorse," the young people had a gay time behind the
scenes. Jimmy and Will sat upon a green baize bank to compare notes,
while the relatives flew about like butterflies, and the sailors talked
base-ball, jack-knives, and other congenial topics, when not envying Sir
Joseph his cocked hat, and the Captain his epaulettes.

It was a very successful launch, and the merry little crew set sail with
a fair wind and every prospect of a prosperous voyage. When the first
performance was over, our two children left their fine feathers behind
them, like Cinderella when the magic hour struck, and went gayly home,
feeling much elated, for they knew they should go back to fresh
triumphs, and were earning money by their voices like Jenny Lind and
Mario. How they pitied other boys and girls who could not go in at that
mysterious little door; how important they felt as parts of the
spectacle about which every one was talking, and what millionnaires they
considered themselves as they discussed their earnings and planned what
to do with the prospective fortunes.

That was the beginning of many busy, happy weeks for both the
children,--weeks which they long remembered with great pleasure, as did
older and wiser people; for that merry, innocent little opera proved
that theatres can be made the scenes of harmless amusement, and opened
to a certain class of young people a new and profitable field for their
talents. So popular did this small company become that the piece went on
through the summer vacation, and was played in the morning as well as
afternoon to satisfy the crowds who wished to see and hear it.

Never had the dear old Boston Museum, which so many of us have loved and
haunted for years, seen such a pretty sight as one of those morning
performances. It was the perfection of harmless merry-making, and the
audience was as pleasant a spectacle as that upon the stage. Fathers and
mothers stole an hour from their busy lives to come and be children with
their children, irresistibly attracted and charmed by the innocent fun,
the gay music that bewitched the ear one could hardly tell why, and the
artless acting of those who are always playing parts, whether the
nursery or the theatre is their stage.

The windows stood open, and sunshine and fresh air came in to join the
revel. Babies crowed and prattled, mammas chatted together, old people
found they had not forgotten how to laugh, and boys and girls rejoiced
over the discovery of a new delight for holidays. It was good to be
there, and in spite of all the discussion in papers and parlors, no harm
came to the young mariners, but much careful training of various sorts,
and well-earned wages that went into pockets which sorely needed a
silver lining.


So the good ship "Pinafore" sailed and sailed for many prosperous weeks,
and when at last she came into port and dropped anchor for the season
she was received with a salute of general approbation for the successful
engagement out of which she came with her flags flying and not one of
her gallant crew killed or wounded. Well pleased with their share of the
glory, officers and men went ashore to spend their prize money with
true sailor generosity, all eager to ship again for another cruise in
the autumn.

But long before that time Able Seaman James Nelson had sent his family
into the country, mother begging Will to take good care of her dear boy
till he could join them, and Kitty throwing kisses as she smiled
good-by, with cheeks already the rosier for the comforts "brother" had
earned for her. Jimmy would not desert his ship while she floated, but
managed to spend his Sundays out of town, often taking Will with him as
first mate; and, thanks to her lively tongue, friends were soon made for
the new-comers. Mrs. Nelson found plenty of sewing, Kitty grew strong
and well in the fine air, and the farmer with whom they lived, seeing
what a handy lad the boy was, offered him work and wages for the autumn,
so all could be independent and together. With this comfortable prospect
before him, Jimmy sang away like a contented blackbird, never tiring of
his duty, for he was a general favorite, and Kitty literally strewed his
way with flowers gathered by her own grateful little hands.

When the last day came, he was in such spirits that he was found doing
double-shuffles in corners, hugging the midshipmite, who was a little
girl of about Kitty's age, and treating his messmates to peanuts with a
lavish hand. Will had her hornpipe, also, when the curtain was down,
kissed every one of the other "sisters, cousins, and aunts," and joined
lustily in the rousing farewell cheers given by the crew.

A few hours later, a cheerful-looking boy might have been seen trudging
toward one of the railway-stations. A new hat, brave in blue streamers,
was on his head; a red balloon struggled to escape from one hand; a
shabby carpet-bag, stuffed full, was in the other; and a pair of shiny
shoes creaked briskly, as if the feet inside were going on a very
pleasant errand.

About this young traveller, who walked with a sailor-like roll and
lurch, revolved a little girl chattering like a magpie, and occasionally
breaking into song, as if she couldn't help it.

"Be sure you come next Saturday; it won't be half such fun if you don't
go halves," said the boy, beaming at her as he hauled down the
impatient balloon, which seemed inclined to break from its moorings

"'Yes, I know
That is so!'"

hummed the girl with a skip to starboard, that she might bear a hand
with the bag. "Keep some cherries for me, and don't forget to give Kit
the doll I dressed for her."

"I shouldn't have been going myself if it hadn't been for you, Will. I
never shall forget that," said Jimmy, whom intense satisfaction rendered
rather more sedate than his friend.

"Running away to sea is great fun,

'With a tar that ploughs the water!'"

sung Will in spite of herself.

"'And a gallant captain's daughter,'"

echoed Jimmy, smiling across the carpet-bag. Then both joined in an
irrepressible chorus of "Dash it! Dash it!" as a big man nearly upset
them and a dog barked madly at the balloon.

Being safely landed in the train, Jimmy hung out of the window till the
last minute, discussing his new prospects with Will, who stood on tiptoe
outside, bubbling over with fun.

"I'll teach you to make butter and cheese, and you shall be my
dairy-woman, for I mean to be a farmer," he said, just as the bell rang.

"All right, I'd like that ever so much." And then the irrepressible
madcap burst out, to the great amusement of the passengers,--

"'For you might have been a Roosian,
A Frenchman, Turk or Proosian,
        Or an Ital-i-an.'"

And Jimmy could not resist shouting back, as the train began to move,--

"'But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
    I'm an Amer-i-can.'"

Then he subsided, to think over the happy holiday before him and the
rich cargo of comfort, independence, and pleasure he had brought home
from his successful cruise in the "Pinafore."



The first of these true histories is about Annie Percival,--a very dear
and lovely child, whose journey interested many other children, and is
still remembered with gratitude by those whom she visited on a far-off

Annie was six when she sailed away to Fayal with her mother, grandmamma,
and "little Aunt Ruth," as she called the young aunty who was still a
school-girl. Very cunning was Annie's outfit, and her little trunk was a
pretty as well as a curious sight, for everything was so small and
complete it looked as if a doll was setting off for Europe. Such a wee
dressing-case, with bits of combs and brushes for the curly head; such a
cosey scarlet wrapper for the small woman to wear in her berth, with
slippers to match when she trotted from state-room to state-room; such
piles of tiny garments laid nicely in, and the owner's initials on the
outside of the trunk; not to mention the key on a ribbon in her pocket,
as grown up as you please.

I think the sight of that earnest, sunshiny face must have been very
pleasant to all on board, no matter how seasick they might be, and the
sound of the cheery little voice, as sweet as the chirp of a bird,
especially when she sung the funny song about the "Owl and the pussy-cat
in the pea-green boat," for she had charming ways, and was always making
quaint, wise, or loving remarks.

Well, "they sailed and they sailed," and came at last to Fayal, where
everything was so new and strange that Annie's big brown eyes could
hardly spare time to sleep, so busy were they looking about. The donkeys
amused her very much, so did the queer language and ways of the
Portuguese people round her, especially the very droll names given to
the hens of a young friend. The biddies seemed to speak the same dialect
as at home, but evidently they understood Spanish also, and knew their
own names, so it was fun to go and call Rio, Pico, Cappy, Clarissa,
Whorfie, and poor Simonena, whose breast-bone grew out so that she
could not eat and had to be killed.

But the thing which made the deepest impression on Annie was a visit to
a charity-school at the old convent of San Antonio. It was kept by some
kind ladies, and twenty-five girls were taught and cared for in the big,
bare place, that looked rather gloomy and forlorn to people from happy
Boston, where charitable institutions are on a noble scale, as everybody

Annie watched all that went on with intelligent interest, and when they
were shown into the play-room she was much amazed and afflicted to find
that the children had nothing to play with but a heap of rags, out of
which they made queer dolls, with ravelled twine for hair, faces rudely
drawn on the cloth, and funny boots on the shapeless legs. No other toys
appeared, but the girls sat on the floor of the great stone room,--for
there was no furniture,--playing contentedly with their poor dolls, and
smiling and nodding at "the little Americana," who gravely regarded this
sad spectacle, wondering how they could get on without china and waxen
babies, tea-sets, and pretty chairs and tables to keep house with.

The girls thought that she envied them their dolls, and presently one
came shyly up to offer two of their best, leaving the teacher to explain
in English their wish to be polite to their distinguished guest. Like
the little gentlewoman she was, Annie graciously accepted the ugly bits
of rag with answering nods and smiles, and carried them away with her as
carefully as if they were of great beauty and value.

But when she was at home she expressed much concern and distress at the
destitute condition of the children. Nothing but rags to play with
seemed a peculiarly touching state of poverty to her childish mind, and
being a generous creature she yearned to give of her abundance to "all
the poor orphans who didn't have any nice dollies." She had several pets
of her own, but not enough to go round even if she sacrificed them, so
kind grandmamma, who had been doing things of this sort all her life,
relieved the child's perplexity by promising to send twenty-five fine
dolls to Fayal as soon as the party returned to Boston, where these
necessaries of child-life are cheap and plenty.

Thus comforted, Annie felt that she could enjoy her dear Horta and Chica
Pico Fatiera, particular darlings rechristened since her arrival. A
bundle of gay bits of silk, cloth, and flannel, and a present of money
for books, were sent out to the convent by the ladies. A treat of little
cheeses for the girls to eat with their dry bread was added, much to
Annie's satisfaction, and helped to keep alive her interest in the
school of San Antonio.

After many pleasant adventures during the six months spent in the city,
our party came sailing home again all the better for the trip, and Annie
so full of tales to tell that it was a never-failing source of amusement
to hear her hold forth to her younger brother in her pretty way,
"splaining and 'scribing all about it."

Grandmamma's promise was faithfully kept, and Annie brooded blissfully
over the twenty-five dolls till they were dressed, packed, and sent away
to Fayal. A letter of thanks soon came back from the teacher, telling
how surprised and delighted the girls were, and how they talked of
Annie as if she were a sort of fairy princess who in return for two poor
rag-babies sent a miraculous shower of splendid china ladies with gay
gowns and smiling faces.

This childish charity was made memorable to all who knew of it by the
fact that three months after she came home from that happy voyage Annie
took the one from which there is no return. For this journey there was
needed no preparation but a little white gown, a coverlet of flowers,
and the casket where the treasure of many hearts was tenderly laid away.
All alone, but not afraid, little Annie crossed the unknown sea that
rolls between our world and the Islands of the Blest, to be welcomed
there, I am sure, by spirits as innocent as her own, leaving behind her
a very precious memory of her budding virtues and the relics of a short,
sweet life.

Every one mourned for her, and all her small treasures were so carefully
kept that they still exist. Poor Horta, in the pincushion arm-chair,
seems waiting patiently for the little mamma to come again; the two
rag-dolls lie side by side in grandma's scrap-book, since there is now
no happy voice to wake them into life; and far away in the convent of
San Antonio the orphans carefully keep their pretty gifts in memory of
the sweet giver. To them she is a saint now, not a fairy princess; for
when they heard of her death they asked if they might pray for the soul
of the dear little Americana, and the teacher said, "Pray rather for the
poor mother who has lost so much." So the grateful orphans prayed and
the mother was comforted, for now another little daughter lies in her
arms and kisses away the lonely pain at her heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second small traveller I want to tell about lived in the same city
as the first, and her name was Maggie Woods. Her father was an
Englishman who came to America to try his fortune, but did not find it;
for, when Maggie was three months old, the great Chicago fire destroyed
their home; soon after, the mother died; then the father was drowned,
and Maggie was left all alone in a strange country.

She had a good aunt in England, however, who took great pains to
discover the child after the death of the parents, and sent for her to
come home and be cared for. It was no easy matter to get a five-years'
child across the Atlantic, for the aunt could not come to fetch her, and
no one whom she knew was going over. But Maggie had found friends in
Chicago; the American consul at Manchester was interested in the case,
and every one was glad to help the forlorn baby, who was too young to
understand the pathos of her story.

After letters had gone to and fro, it was decided to send the child to
England in charge of the captain of a steamer, trusting to the kindness
of all fellow-travellers to help her on her way.

The friends in Chicago bestirred themselves to get her ready, and then
it was that Annie's mother found that she could do something which would
have delighted her darling, had she been here to know of it. Laid
tenderly away were many small garments belonging to the other little
pilgrim, whose journeying was so soon ended; and from among all these
precious things Mrs. Percival carefully chose a comfortable outfit for
that cold March voyage.

The little gray gown went, and the red hood, the warm socks, and the
cosey wraps no longer needed by the quiet sleeper under the snow.
Perhaps something of her loving nature lingered about the clothes, and
helped to keep the orphan warm and safe, for Annie's great delight was
to pet and help all who needed comfort and protection.

When all was ready, Maggie's small effects were packed in a light
basket, so that she could carry it herself if need be. A card briefly
telling the story was fastened on the corner, and a similar paper
recommending her to the protection of all kind people, was sewed to the
bosom of her frock. Then, not in the least realizing what lay before
her, the child was consigned to the conductor of the train to be
forwarded to persons in New York who would see her safely on board the

I should dearly like to have seen the little maid and the big basket as
they set out on that long trip as tranquilly as if for a day's visit;
and it is a comfort to know that before the train started, the persons
who took her there had interested a motherly lady in the young
traveller, who promised to watch over her while their ways were the

All went well, and Maggie was safely delivered to the New York friends,
who forwarded her to the steamer, well supplied with toys and comforts
for the voyage, and placed in charge of captain and stewardess. She
sailed on the 3d of March, and on the 12th landed at Liverpool, after a
pleasant trip, during which she was the pet of all on board.

The aunt welcomed her joyfully, and the same day the child reached her
new home, the Commercial Inn, Compstall, after a journey of over four
thousand miles. The consul and owners of the steamer wanted to see the
adventurous young lady who had come so far alone, and neighbors and
strangers made quite a lion of her, for all kindly hearts were
interested, and the protective charity which had guided and guarded her
in two hemispheres and across the wide sea, made all men fathers, all
women mothers, to the little one till she was safe.

Her picture lies before me as I write,--a pretty child standing in a
chair, with a basket of toys on the table before her; curly hair pushed
back from the face, pensive eyes, and a pair of stout little feet
crossed one over the other as if glad to rest. I wish I could put the
photograph into the story, because the small heroine is an interesting
one, and still lives with the good aunt, who is very fond and proud of
her, and writes pleasant accounts of her progress to the friends in

So ends the journey of my second small traveller, and when I think of
her safe and happy in a good home, I always fancy that (if such things
may be) in the land which is lovelier than even beautiful old England,
Maggie's mother watches over little Annie.



Door-step parties were the fashion that year, and it was while a dozen
young folks sat chatting on Annie Hadwin's steps in the twilight that
they laid the plan which turned out such a grand success in the end.

"For my part, I am glad we are to be put on a short allowance of
gunpowder, and that crackers are forbidden, they are such a nuisance,
burning holes in clothes, frightening horses, and setting houses afire,"
said sober Fred from the gate, where he and several other fellows were
roosting socially together.

"It won't seem a bit like a regular Fourth without the salutes three
times during the day. They are afraid the old cannon will kick, and blow
off some other fellow's arm, as it did last year," added Elly Dickens,
the beau of the party, as he pulled down his neat wristbands, hoping
Maud admired the new cuff-buttons in them.

"What shall we do in the evening, since the ball is given up? Just
because the old folks are too tired to enjoy dancing, we can't have any,
and I think it is too bad," said pretty Belle, impatiently, for she
danced like a fairy and was never tired.

"The authorities didn't dare to stop our races in the morning. There
would have been an insurrection if they had," called out long Herbert
from the grass, where he lay at the feet of black-eyed Julia.

"We _must_ do something to finish off with. Come, somebody suggest a
new, nice, safe, and jolly plan for the evening," cried Grace, who liked
fun, and had just slipped a little toad into Jack Spratt's pocket as a
pleasant surprise when he felt for his handkerchief.

"Let us offer a prize for the brightest idea. Five minutes for
meditation, then all suggest a plan, and the best one shall be adopted,"
proposed Annie, glad to give a lively turn to her party.

All agreed, and sudden silence followed the chatter, broken now and
then by an exclamation of "I've got it! No, I haven't," which produced a
laugh at the impetuous party.

"Time's up," announced Fred, looking at "the turnip," as his big
old-fashioned watch was called. Every one had a proposal more or less
original, and much discussion followed; but it was finally decided that
Herbert's idea of floating about in boats to enjoy the fireworks on the
hill would be romantic, reposeful, and on the whole satisfactory.

"Each boat might have a colored lantern; that would look pretty, and
then there would be no danger of running into our neighbors in the
dark," said Annie, who was a little timid on the water in a wherry.

"Why not have lots, and make a regular 'feast of lanterns,' as they do
in China? I was reading about it the other day, and can show you how to
do it. Won't it be gay?" And Fred the bookworm nearly tumbled off his
perch, as an excited gesture emptied his pockets of the library books
which served as ballast.

"Yes! yes!" cried the other lads, with various demonstrations of
delight as the new fancy grew upon their lively minds.

"Fred and Annie must have the prize, for their idea is the most
brilliant one. Nan can give the flag to the winner of the race, and
'Deacon' can lead the boats, for _I_ think it would be fine to have a
procession on the river. Fireworks are an old story, so let us surprise
the town by something regularly splendid," proposed Elly, fired in his
turn with a bright idea.

"We will! we will!" cried the rest, and at once plunged into the affair
with all the ardor of their years.

"Let us dress up," said Julia, who liked theatricals.

"In different characters," added Maud, thinking how well her long yellow
hair would look as a mermaid.

"And all sing as we go under the bridges," put in Annie, who adored

"What a pity the boats can't dance, it would be so lovely to see them
waltzing round like fireflies!" said Belle, still longing for the ball.

"A lot of fellows are coming up to spend the day with us, and we ought
to have some sort of a picnic; city folks think so much of such things,"
said Herbert the hospitable, for his house and barn were the favorite
resorts of all his mates, and three gentle little sisters always came
into his plans if possible.

"I've got two girl cousins coming, and they would like it, I guess. I
should any way, for Jack will go tagging after Grace and leave me to
take care of them. Let's have a picnic, by all means," said lazy Fred,
who thought all girls but one great plagues.

"I shouldn't wonder if all our people liked that plan, and we might have
a town picnic as we did once before. Let every one ask his or her
mother, and see if we can't do it," suggested Annie, eager for a whole
day of merry-making.

The door-step party was late in breaking up that night; and if half the
plans proposed had been carried out, that town would have been
considered a large lunatic asylum. Wiser heads remodelled the wild
plans, however, and more skilful hands lent their aid, so that only the
possible was attempted, though the older folks had bright ideas as well
as the boys and girls, and gave the finishing touches to the affair.

The Fourth was a fine day, with a fresh air, cloudless sky, and no dust.
The town was early astir, though neither sunrise cannon nor the Antiques
and Horribles disturbed the dawn with their clamor. The bells rang
merrily, and at eight all flocked to the Town Hall to hear the
Declaration of Independence read by the good and great man of the town,
whose own wise and noble words go echoing round the world, teaching the
same lesson of justice, truth, and courage as that immortal protest. An
Ode by the master of the revels was sung, then every one shouted America
with hearty good-will, and before the echoes had fairly died away, the
crowd streamed forth to the river-side; for these energetic people were
bound to make a day of it.

At nine the races began, and both green banks of the stream were lined
with gay groups eagerly watching "our boys" as they swept by in
wherries, paddled in canoes, or splashed and tumbled in and out of their
tubs amid shouts of laughter from the spectators. The older fellows did
the scientific, and their prizes were duly awarded by the judges. But
our young party had their share of fun, and Fred and Herbert, who were
chums in everything, won the race for the little flag yearly given to
the lads for any success on the river. Then the weary heroes loaded the
big dory with a cargo of girls, and with the banner blowing gayly in the
wind, rowed away to the wide meadow, where seven oaks cast shade enough
to shelter a large picnic. And a large one they had, for the mammas took
kindly to the children's suggestion, agreeing to club together in a
social lunch, each contributing her stores, her family, and her guests,
all being happy together in the free and easy way so pleasant and
possible in summer weather.

A merry company they were, and it was a comfortable sight to see the
tired fathers lying in the shade, while the housewives forgot their
cares for a day, the young folks made table-setting and dishwashing a
joke by doing it together, and the children frolicked to their hearts'
content. Even the babies were trundled to the party by proud mammas and
took naps in their carriages, or held receptions for admiring friends
and neighbors with infantile dignity.

A social, sensible time, and when sunset came all turned homeward to
make ready for the evening festivities. It was vaguely rumored that the
pretty rustic bridge was to be illuminated, for the older people had
taken up the idea and had _their_ surprises ready as well as the young
folks. A band was stationed by the river-side, a pretty villa on the
hill blazed out with lines of light, and elms and apple-trees bore red
and golden lanterns, like glorified fruit. The clerk of the weather was
evidently interested in this novel entertainment, for the evening was
windless, dark, and cool, so the arch of light that spanned the shadowy
river shone splendidly. Fireworks soared up from the hill-top beyond,
fireflies lent their dancing sparks to illuminate the meadows, and the
three bridges were laden with the crowds, who greeted each new surprise
with cries of admiration.

Higher up the stream, where two branches met about a rocky island, elves
seemed gathering for a summer revel.

From all the landings that lined either shore brilliant boats glided to
the rendezvous; some hung with luminous globes of blue and silver, some
with lanterns fiery-red, flower-shaped, golden, green, or variegated, as
if a rainbow were festooned about the viewless masts. Up and down they
flashed, stealing out from dusky nooks and floating in their own
radiance, as they went to join the procession that wound about the
island like a splendid sea-serpent uncoiling itself from sleep and

"Isn't it beautiful?" cried even the soberest of the townsfolk, as all
turned their backs on the shining bridge and bursting rockets to admire
the new spectacle, which was finer than its most enthusiastic advocate
expected. All felt proud of their success as they looked, and even the
children forgot to shout while watching the pretty pageant that
presently came floating by, with music, light, and half-seen figures so
charming, grotesque, or romantic that the illusion was complete.

First, a boat so covered with green boughs and twinkling yellow sparks
that it looked like a floating island by starlight or a cage of
singing-birds, for music came from within and fresh voices, led by
Annie, sang sweetly as it sailed along. Then a gondola of lovely
Venetian ladies, rowed by the handsome artist, who was the pride of the
town. Next a canoe holding three dusky Indians, complete in war-paint,
wampum, and tomahawks, paddled before the brilliant barge in which
Cleopatra sat among red cushions, fanned by two pretty maids. Julia's
black eyes sparkled as she glanced about her, feeling very queen-like
with a golden crown on her head, all the jewelry she could muster on her
neck and arms, and grandmother's yellow brocade shining in the light.
Belle and Grace waved their peacock fans like two comely little Egyptian
damsels, and the many-colored lanterns made a pretty picture of the

A boatful of jolly little tars followed, with Tom Brown, Jr., as
skipper. Then a party of fairies in white, with silver wings and wands,
and lanterns like moon and stars.

Lou Pope, as Lady of the Lake, rowed her own boat, with Jack for a droll
little Harper, twanging his zitter for want of a better instrument.

A black craft hung with lurid red lanterns and manned by a crew of
ferocious pirates in scarlet shirts, dark beards, and an imposing
display of pistols and cutlasses in their belts, not to mention the
well-known skull and cross-bones on the flag flying at the masthead,
produced a tremendous effect as the crew clashed their arms and roared
the blood-thirstiest song they could find. All the boys cheered that,
and all the horses pranced as the pirates fired off their pistols,
causing timid ladies to shriek, and prudent drivers to retire from the
bridges with their carriage-loads of company.

A Chinese junk (or what was intended to look like one, but really
resembled a mud-scow), with a party of Mandarins, rich in fans,
umbrellas, and pigtails, taking tea on board in a blaze of fantastic
lanterns, delighted the children.

Then a long low boat came sliding by softly, lighted with pale blue
lamps, and on a white couch lay "Elaine," the letter in her hand, the
golden hair streaming to her knees, and at her feet the dwarf
sorrowfully rowing her down to Camelot. Every one recognized that, for
the master of the revels got it up as no one else could; and Maud
laughed to herself as the floating tableau went under the bridge, and
she heard people rushing to the other side, waiting eagerly to see the
"lily maid" appear and glide away, followed by applause, as one of the
prettiest sights seen that night.

There were eighty boats in all, and as the glittering train wound along
the curves of the river smooth and dark as a mirror, the effect was
truly beautiful, especially when they all congregated below the
illuminated bridge, making an island of many-colored light. An enchanted
island it seemed to lookers-on, for music and laughter came from it, and
a strange mixture of picturesque faces and figures flitted to and fro.

Elaine sat up and ate bonbons with the faithful dwarf; Ellen Douglas
ducked the Harper; the Chinamen invited Cleopatra to tea; the mermaids
pelted the pirates with water-lilies; the gallant gondolier talked art
with the Venetian ladies; and the jolly little tars danced hornpipes,
regardless of danger; while the three Indians, Fred, Herbert, and Elly,
whooped and tomahawked right and left as if on the war-path.

A regular Midsummer Night's Dream frolic, which every one enjoyed
heartily, while the band played patriotic airs, the pretty villa shone
like a fairy palace, and the sky was full of dazzling meteors, falling
stars, and long-tailed comets, as the rockets whizzed and blazed from
the hill-tops.

Just as the fun was at its height the hurried clang of a bell startled
the merry-makers, and a cry of "Fire!" came from the town, causing a
general stampede. "Post-office all afire! Men wanted!" shouted a
breathless boy, racing through the crowd toward the river. Then great
was the scampering, for shops stood thickly all about the post-office,
and distracted merchants hastily collected their goods, while the
firemen smashed windows, ran up and down ladders, broke in doors, and
poured streams of water with generous impartiality over everybody and
everything in the neighborhood, and the boys flew about, as if this
unexpected display of fireworks suited them exactly.

Such noble exertions could not fail of success, and the fire was happily
extinguished before the river was pumped dry. Then every one went home,
and, feeling the need of refreshment after their labors, had supper all
over again, to the great delight of the young folks, who considered this
a most appropriate finish to an exciting day.

But the merriest party of all was the one gathered on Fred's piazza to
eat cake and talk over the fun. Such a droll group as they were. The
Indians were sadly dilapidated as to feathers and paint, beside being
muddy to the knees, having landed in hot haste. Poor Cleopatra had been
drenched by the hose, but though very damp still sparkled with
unextinguishable gayety. Elaine had tied herself up in a big shawl,
having lost her hat overboard. Jack and Grace wore one waterproof, and
Annie was hoarse with leading her choir of birds on the floating island.
Also several of the pirates wore their beards twisted round behind for
the sake of convenience in eating.

All were wet, warm, and weary, but all rejoiced over the success of the
day's delights, and it was unanimously agreed that this had been the
jolliest Fourth they had ever known.



They all came uninvited, they all led eventful lives, and all died
tragical deaths; so out of the long list of cats whom I have loved and
lost, these seven are the most interesting and memorable.

I have no prejudice against color, but it so happened that our pussies
were usually gray or maltese. One white one, who _would_ live in the
coal-bin, was a failure, and we never repeated the experiment. Black
cats had not been offered us, so we had no experience of them till
number one came to us in this wise.

Sitting at my window, I saw a very handsome puss come walking down the
street in the most composed and dignified manner. I watched him with
interest, wondering where he was going.

Pausing now and then, he examined the houses as he passed, as if looking
for a particular number, till, coming to our gate, he pushed it open,
and walked in. Straight up to the door he came, and finding it shut sat
down to wait till some one opened it for him.

Much amused, I went at once, and he came directly in, after a long stare
at me, and a few wavings of his plumy tail. It was evidently the right
place, and, following me into the parlor, he perched himself on the rug,
blinked at the fire, looked round the room, washed his face, and then,
lying down in a comfortable sprawl, he burst into a cheerful purr, as if
to say,--

"It's all right; the place suits me, and I'm going to stay."

His coolness amused me very much, and his beauty made me glad to keep
him. He was not a common cat, but, as we afterward discovered, a Russian
puss. His fur was very long, black, and glossy as satin; his tail like a
graceful plume, and his eyes as round and yellow as two little moons.
His paws were very dainty, and white socks and gloves, with a neat
collar and shirt-bosom, gave him the appearance of an elegant young
beau, in full evening dress. His face was white, with black hair parted
in the middle; and whiskers, fiercely curled up at the end, gave him a
martial look.

Every one admired him, and a vainer puss never caught a mouse. If he saw
us looking at him, he instantly took an attitude; gazed pensively at the
fire, as if unconscious of our praises; crouched like a tiger about to
spring, and glared, and beat the floor with his tail; or lay luxuriously
outstretched, rolling up his yellow eyes with a sentimental expression
that was very funny.

We named him the Czar, and no tyrannical emperor of Russia ever carried
greater desolation and terror to the souls of his serfs, than this royal
cat did to the hearts and homes of the rats and mice over whom he ruled.

The dear little mice who used to come out to play so confidingly in my
room, live in my best bonnet-box, and bring up their interesting young
families in the storeroom, now fell an easy prey to the Czar, who made
nothing of catching half a dozen a day.

Brazen-faced old rats, gray in sin, who used to walk boldly in and out
of the front door, ravage our closets, and racket about the walls by
night, now paused in their revels, and felt that their day was over.
Czar did not know what fear was, and flew at the biggest, fiercest rat
that dared to show his long tail on the premises. He fought many a
gallant fight, and slew his thousands, always bringing his dead foe to
display him to us, and receive our thanks.

It was sometimes rather startling to find a large rat reposing in the
middle of your parlor; not always agreeable to have an excited cat
bounce into your lap, lugging a half-dead rat in his mouth; or to have
visitors received by the Czar, tossing a mouse on the door-steps, like a
playful child with its cup and ball.

He was not fond of petting, but allowed one or two honored beings to
cuddle him. My work-basket was his favorite bed, for a certain fat
cushion suited him for a pillow, and, having coolly pulled out all the
pins, the rascal would lay his handsome head on the red mound, and wink
at me with an irresistibly saucy expression that made it impossible to

All summer we enjoyed his pranks and admired his manly virtues; but in
the winter we lost him, for, alas! he found his victor in the end, and
fell a victim to his own rash daring.

One morning after a heavy snow-fall, Czar went out to take a turn up and
down the path. As he sat with his back to the gate, meditatively
watching some doves on the shed-roof, a big bull-dog entered the yard,
and basely attacked him in the rear. Taken by surprise, the dear fellow
did his best, and hit out bravely, till he was dragged into the deep
snow where he could not fight, and there so cruelly maltreated that he
would have been murdered outright, if I had not gone to the rescue.

Catching up a broom, I belabored the dog so energetically that he was
forced to turn from the poor Czar to me. What would have become of me I
don't know, for the dog was in a rage, and evidently meditating a grab
at my ankles, when his master appeared and ordered him off.

Never was a boy better scolded than that one, for I poured forth vials
of wrath upon his head as I took up my bleeding pet, and pointed to his
wounds as indignantly as Antony did to Cæsar's.

The boy fled affrighted, and I bore my poor Czar in to die. All day he
lay on his cushion, patient and quiet, with his torn neck tied up in a
soft bandage, a saucer of cream close by, and an afflicted mistress to
tend and stroke him with tender lamentations.

We had company in the evening, and my interesting patient was put into
another room. Once, in the midst of conversation, I thought I heard a
plaintive mew, but could not go to see, and soon forgot all about it;
but when the guests left, my heart was rent by finding Czar stretched
out before the door quite dead.

Feeling death approach, he had crept to say good-by, and with a farewell
mew had died before the closed door, a brave and faithful cat to the

He was buried with great pomp, and before his grave was green, little
Blot came to take his place, though she never filled it. Blot's career
was a sad and brief one. Misfortune marked her for its own, and life was
one too many for her.

I saw some boys pelting a wretched object with mud. I delivered a
lecture on cruelty to animals, confiscated the victim, and, wrapping
her in a newspaper, bore the muddy little beast away in triumph. Being
washed and dried, she turned out a thin black kit, with dirty blue bows
tied in her ears. As I don't approve of ear-rings, I took hers out, and
tried to fatten her up, for she was a forlorn creature at first.

But Blot would not grow plump. Her early wrongs preyed upon her, and she
remained a thin, timid, melancholy little cat all her days. I could not
win her confidence. She had lost her faith in mankind, and I don't blame
her. She always hid in corners, quaked when I touched her, took her food
by stealth, and sat in a forlorn bunch in cold nooks, down cellar or
behind the gate, mewing despondently to herself, as if her woes must
find a vent. She would _not_ be easy and comfortable. No cushion could
allure, no soft beguilements win her to purr, no dainty fare fill out
her rusty coat, no warmth or kindness banish the scared look from her
sad green eyes, no ball or spool lure her to play, or cause her to wag
her mortified thin tail with joy.

Poor, dear little Blot! She was a pathetic spectacle, and her end was
quite in keeping with the rest of her hard fate. Trying one day to make
her come and be cuddled, she retreated to the hearth, and when I pursued
her, meaning to catch and pet her, she took a distracted skip right into
a bed of hot coals. One wild howl, and another still more distracted
skip brought her out again, to writhe in agony with four burnt paws and
a singed skin.

"We must put the little sufferer out of her pain," said a strong-minded
friend; and quenched little Blot's life and suffering together in a pail
of water.

I laid her out sweetly in a nice box, with a doll's blanket folded round
her, and, bidding the poor dear a long farewell, confided her to old
MacCarty for burial. He was my sexton, and I could trust him to inter my
darlings decently, and not toss them disrespectfully into a dirt-cart or
over a bridge.

My dear Mother Bunch was an entire contrast to Blot. Such a fat, cosey
old mamma you never saw, and her first appearance was so funny, I never
think of her without laughing.

In our back kitchen was an old sideboard, with two little doors in the
lower part. Some bits of carpet were kept there, but we never expected
to let that small mansion till, opening the door one day, I found Mrs.
Bunch and her young family comfortably settled.

I had never seen this mild black cat before, and I fancy no one had ever
seen her three roly-poly, jet-black kits. Such a confiding puss I never
met, for when I started back, surprised, Mrs. Bunch merely looked at me
with an insinuating purr, and began to pick at my carpet, as if to

"The house suited me; I'll take it, and pay rent by allowing you to
admire and pet my lovely babies."

I never thought of turning her out, and there she remained for some
months, with her children growing up around her, all as fat and funny,
black and amiable, as herself.

Three jollier kits were never born, and a more devoted mother never
lived. I put her name on the door of her house, and they lived on most
comfortably together, even after they grew too big for their
accommodations, and tails and legs hung out after the family had

I really did hope they would escape the doom that seemed to pursue my
cats, but they did not, for all came to grief in different ways. Cuddle
Bunch had a fit, and fell out of the window, killing herself instantly.
Othello, her brother, was shot by a bad boy, who fired pistols at all
the cats in the neighborhood, as good practice for future gunning

Little Purr was caught in a trap, set for a woodchuck, and so hurt she
had to be gently chloroformed out of life. Mother Bunch still remained,
and often used to go and sit sadly under the tree where her infants were
buried,--an afflicted, yet resigned parent.

Her health declined, but we never had the heart to send her away, and it
wouldn't have done any good if we had tried. We did it once, and it was
a dead failure. At one time the four cats were so wearing that my
honored father, who did not appreciate the dears, resolved to clear the
house of the whole family; so he packed them in a basket, and carried
them "over the hills and far away," like the "Babes in the Wood." Coming
to a lonely spot, he let them out, and returned home, much relieved in
mind. Judge of his amazement when the first thing he saw was Mrs. Bunch
and her children, sitting on the steps resting after their run home.

We all laughed at the old gentleman so that he left them in peace, and
even when the mamma alone remained, feeble and useless, her bereavement
made her sacred.

When we shut up the house, and went to the city for the winter, we gave
Mother Bunch to the care of a kind neighbor, who promised to guard her
faithfully. Returning in the spring, one of my first questions was,--

"How is old Pussy?"

Great was my anguish when my neighbor told me that she was no more. It
seems the dear thing pined for her old home, and kept returning to it in
spite of age or bad weather.

Several times she was taken back when she ran away, but at last they
were tired of fussing over her, and let her go. A storm came on, and
when they went to see what had become of her, they found her frozen, in
the old sideboard, where I first discovered her with her kits about

As a delicate attention to me, Mrs. Bunch's skin was preserved, and
presented when the tale was told. I kept it some time, but the next
Christmas I made it into muffs for several dolls, who were sent me to
dress; and very nice little muffs the pretty black fur made, lined with
cherry silk, and finished off with tiny tassels.

I loved the dear old puss, but I knew the moths would get her skin if I
kept it, and preferred to rejoice the hearts of several small friends
with dolls in full winter costume. I am sure Mrs. Bunch would have
agreed with me, and not felt that I treated her remains with disrespect.

The last of my cats was the blackest of all, and such a wild thing we
called him the Imp. He tumbled into the garret one day through a broken
scuttle, and took possession of the house from that time forth, acting
as if bewitched.

He got into the furnace pipes, but could not get out, and kept me up one
whole night, giving him air and light, food and comfort, through a
little hole in the floor, while waiting for a carpenter to come and saw
him out.

He got a sad pinch in his tail, which made it crooked forever after. He
fell into the soft-soap barrel, and was fished out a deplorable
spectacle. He was half strangled by a fine collar we put on him, and was
found hanging by it on a peg.

People sat down on him, for he would lie in chairs. No one loved him
much, for he was not amiable in temper, but bit and scratched if
touched, worried the bows off our slippers in his play, and if we did
not attend to him at once, he complained in the most tremendous bass
growl I ever heard.

He was not beautiful, but very impressive; being big, without a white
hair on him. One eye was blue and one green, and the green one was
always half shut, as if he was winking at you, which gave him a rowdy
air comical to see. Then he swaggered in his walk, never turned out for
any one, and if offended fell into rages fit to daunt the bravest soul.

Yes, the Imp was truly an awful animal; and when a mischievous cousin of
ours told us he wanted a black cat, without a single white hair on it,
to win a wager with, we at once offered ours.

It seems that sailors are so superstitious they will not sail in a ship
with a black cat; and this rogue of a cousin was going to send puss off
on a voyage, unknown to any one but the friend who took him, and when
the trip was safely over, he was to be produced as a triumphant proof of
the folly of the nautical superstition.

So the Imp was delivered to his new master, and sailed away packed up in
an old fishing-basket, with his head poked out of a hole in the cover.

We waited anxiously to hear how the joke ended; but unfortunately the
passage was very rough, his guardian too ill to keep him safe and quiet,
so the irrepressible fellow escaped from prison, and betrayed himself by
growling dismally, as he went lurching across the deck to the great
dismay of the sailors.

They chased, caught, and tossed the poor Imp overboard without loss of
time. And when the joke came out, they had the best of it, for the
weather happened to improve, and the rest of the voyage was prosperous.
So, of course, they laid it all to the loss of the cat, and were more
fixed in their belief than ever.

We were sorry that poor old Imp met so sad a fate, but did not mourn him
long, for he had not won our hearts as some of our other pets had.

He was the last of the seven black cats, and we never had another; for I
really did feel as if there was something uncanny about them after my
tragical experiences with Czar, Blot, Mother Bunch's family, and the
martyred Imp.



"Now, I believe every one has had a Christmas present and a good time.
Nobody has been forgotten, not even the cat," said Mrs. Ward to her
daughter, as she looked at Pobbylinda, purring on the rug, with a new
ribbon round her neck and the remains of a chicken bone between her

It was very late, for the Christmas-tree was stripped, the little folks
abed, the baskets and bundles left at poor neighbors' doors, and
everything ready for the happy day which would begin as the clock struck
twelve. They were resting after their labors, while the yule log burned
down; but the mother's words reminded Belinda of one good friend who had
received no gift that night.

"We've forgotten Rosa! Her mistress is away, but she _shall_ have a
present nevertheless. Late as it is, she will like some apples and cake
and a Merry Christmas from the family."

Belinda jumped up as she spoke, and, having collected such remnants of
the feast as a horse would relish, she put on her hood, lighted a
lantern, and trotted off to the barn.

As she opened the door of the loose box in which Rosa was kept, she saw
her eyes shining in the dark as she lifted her head with a startled air.
Then, recognizing a friend, she rose and came rustling through the straw
to greet her late visitor. She was evidently much pleased with the
attention, and rubbed her nose against Miss Belinda gratefully, but
seemed rather dainty, and poked over the contents of the basket, as if a
little suspicious, though apples were her favorite treat.

Knowing that she would enjoy the little feast more if she had company
while she ate it, for Rosa was a very social beast, Miss Belinda hung up
the lantern, and, sitting down on an inverted bucket, watched her as she
munched contentedly.

"Now really," said Miss Belinda, when telling her story afterwards, "I
am not sure whether I took a nap and dreamed what follows, or whether
it actually happened, for strange things do occur at Christmas time, as
every one knows.

"As I sat there the town clock struck twelve, and the sound reminded me
of the legend which affirms that all dumb animals are endowed with
speech for one hour after midnight on Christmas eve, in memory of the
animals about the manger when the blessed Child was born.

"'I wish the pretty fancy was a fact, and our Rosa could speak, if only
for an hour, because I am sure she has an interesting history, and I
long to know it.'

"I said this aloud, and to my utter amazement the bay mare stopped
eating, fixed her intelligent eyes upon my face, and answered in a
language I understood perfectly well,--

"'You shall know it, for whether the legend is true or not I feel as if
I could confide in you and tell you all I feel. I was lying awake
listening to the fun in the house, thinking of my dear mistress over the
sea and feeling very sad, for I heard you say I was to be sold. That
nearly broke my heart, for no one has ever been so kind to me as Miss
Merry, and nowhere shall I be taken care of, nursed, and loved as I have
been since she bought me. I know I am getting old, and stiff in the
knees, and my forefoot is lame, and sometimes I'm cross when my shoulder
aches; but I do try to be a patient, grateful beast. I've got fat with
good living, my work is not hard, I dearly love to carry those who have
done so much for me, and I'll tug for them till I die in harness, if
they will only keep me.'

"I was so astonished at this address that I tumbled off the pail, and
sat among the straw staring up at Rosa, as dumb as if I had lost the
power she had gained. She seemed to enjoy my surprise, and added to it
by letting me hear a genuine _horse laugh_, hearty, shrill, and clear,
as she shook her pretty head, and went on talking rapidly in the
language which I now perceived to be a mixture of English and the
peculiar dialect of the horse-country Gulliver visited.

"'Thank you for remembering me to-night, and in return for the goodies
you bring I'll tell my story as fast as I can, for I have often longed
to recount the trials and triumphs of my life. Miss Merry came last
Christmas eve to bring me sugar, and I wanted to speak, but it was too
early and I could not say a word, though my heart was full.'

"Rosa paused an instant, and her fine eyes dimmed as if with tender
tears at the recollection of the happy year which had followed the day
she was bought from the drudgery of a livery-stable to be a lady's pet.
I stroked her neck as she stooped to sniff affectionately at my hood,
and said eagerly,--

"'Tell away, dear, I'm full of interest, and understand every word you

"Thus encouraged, Rosa threw up her head, and began with an air of pride
which plainly proved, what we had always suspected, that she belonged to
a good family.

"'My father was a famous racer, and I am very like him; the same color,
spirit, and grace, and but for the cruelty of man I might have been as
renowned as he. I was a very happy colt, petted by my master, tamed by
love, and never struck a blow while he lived. I gained one race for him,
and promised so well that when he died I brought a great price. I
mourned for him, but was glad to be sent to my new owner's racing-stable
and made much of, for people predicted that I should be another
Goldsmith Maid or Flora Temple. Ah, how ambitious and proud I was in
those days! Vain of my good blood, my speed, and my beauty; for indeed I
_was_ handsome then, though you may find it hard to believe now.' And
Rosa sighed regretfully as she stole a look at me, and took the attitude
which showed to advantage the fine lines about her head and neck.

"'I do not find it hard, for we have always said you had splendid points
about you. Miss Merry saw them, though you were a skeleton, when she
bought you; so did the skilful Cornish blacksmith when he shod you. And
it is easy to see that you belong to a good family by the way you hold
your head without a check-rein and carry your tail like a plume,' I
said, with a look of admiration which comforted her as much as if she
had been a _passée_ belle.

"'I must hurry over this part of my story, because, though brilliant,
it was very brief, and ended in a way which made it the bitterest
portion of my life,' continued Rosa. 'I won several races, and great
fame was predicted for me. You may guess how high my reputation was when
I tell you that before my last fatal trial thousands were bet on me, and
my rival trembled in his shoes. I was full of spirit, eager to show my
speed and sure of success. Alas, how little I knew of the wickedness of
human nature then, how dearly I bought the knowledge, and how it has
changed my whole life! You do not know much about such matters, of
course, and I won't digress to tell you all the tricks of the trade;
only beware of jockeys and never bet.

"'I was kept carefully out of every one's way for weeks, and only taken
out for exercise by my trainer. Poor Bill! I was fond of him, and he was
so good to me that I never have forgotten him, though he broke his neck
years ago. A few nights before the great race, as I was getting a good
sleep, carefully tucked away in my roomy stall, some one stole in and
gave me a warm mash. It was dark, I was half awake, and I ate it like a
fool, though I knew by instinct that it was not Bill who fed it to me. I
was a confiding creature then, and as all sorts of queer things had been
done to prepare me I thought it was all right. But it was not, and that
deceit has caused me to be suspicious about my food ever since, for the
mash was dosed in some way; it made me very ill, and my enemies nearly
triumphed, thanks to this cowardly trick.

"'Bill worked over me day and night, that I might be fit to run. I did
my best to seem well and gay, but there was not time for me to regain my
lost strength and spirit, and pride alone kept me up. "I'll win for my
master if I die in doing it," I said to myself, and when the hour came
pranced to my place trying to look as well as ever, though my heart was
very heavy and I trembled with excitement. "Courage, my lass, and we'll
beat in spite of their black tricks," whispered Bill, as he sprung to
his place.

"'I lost the first heat, but won the second, and the sound of the
cheering gave me strength to walk away without staggering, though my
legs shook under me. What a splendid minute that was when, encouraged
and refreshed by my faithful Bill, I came on the track again! I knew my
enemies began to fear, for I had borne myself so bravely they fancied I
was quite well, and now, excited by that first success, I was mad with
impatience to be off and cover myself with glory.'

"Rosa looked as if the 'splendid minute' had come again, for she arched
her neck, opened wide her red nostrils, and pawed the straw with one
little foot, while her eyes shone with sudden fire, and her ears were
pricked up as if to catch again the shouts she heard that day.

"'I wish I had been there to see you!' I exclaimed, quite carried away
by her ardor.

"'I wish you had, for I won, I won! The big black horse did his best,
but I had vowed to win or die, and I kept my word, for I beat him by a
head, and then dropped as if dead. I might as well have died then,
people thought, for the poison, the exertion, and the fall ruined me for
a racer. My master cared no more for me, and would have had me shot if
Bill had not saved my life. I was pronounced good for nothing, and he
bought me cheap. I was lame and useless for a long time, but his patient
care did wonders, and just as I was able to be of use to him he was

"'A gentleman in want of a saddle-horse purchased me because my easy
gait and quiet temper suited him; for I was meek enough now, and my size
fitted me to carry his delicate daughter.

"'For more than a year I served little Miss Alice, rejoicing to see how
rosy her pale cheeks became, how upright her feeble figure grew, thanks
to the hours spent with me; for my canter rocked her as gently as if she
were in a cradle, and fresh air was the medicine she needed. She often
said she owed her life to me, and I liked to think so, for she made _my_
life a very easy one.

"'But somehow my good times never lasted long, and when Miss Alice went
West I was sold. I had been so well treated that I _looked_ as handsome
and gay as ever, though my shoulder never was strong again, and I often
had despondent moods, longing for the excitement of the race-course with
the instinct of my kind; so I was glad when, attracted by my spirit and
beauty, a young army officer bought me and I went to the war. Ah! you
never guessed that, did you? Yes, I did my part gallantly and saved my
master's life more than once. You have observed how martial music
delights me, but you don't know that it is because it reminds me of the
proudest hour of my life. I've told you about the saddest; let me relate
this also, and give me a pat for the brave action which won my master
his promotion, though I got no praise for my part of the achievement.

"'In one of the hottest battles my captain was ordered to lead his men
to a most perilous exploit. They hesitated, so did he; for it must cost
many lives, and, brave as they were, they paused an instant. But _I_
settled the point, for I was wild with the sound of drums, the smell of
powder, the excitement of the hour, and, finding myself sharply reined
in, I rebelled, took the bit between my teeth, and dashed straight away
into the midst of the fight, spite of all my rider could do. The men
thought their captain led them on, and with a cheer they followed,
carrying all before them.

"'What happened just after that I never could remember, except that I
got a wound here in my neck and a cut on my flank; the scar is there
still, and I'm proud of it, though buyers always consider it a blemish.
But when the battle was won my master was promoted on the field, and I
carried him up to the general as he sat among his officers under the
torn flags.

"'Both of us were weary and wounded, both were full of pride at what we
had done; but _he_ got all the praise and the honor, _I_ only a careless
word and a better supper than usual.

"'I thought no one knew what I had done, and resented the ingratitude of
your race; for it was the horse, not the man, who led that forlorn hope,
and I did think I should have a rosette at least, when others got stars
and bars for far less dangerous deeds. Never mind, my master knew the
truth, and thanked me for my help by keeping me always with him till the
sad day when he was shot in a skirmish, and lay for hours with none to
watch and mourn over him but his faithful horse.

"'Then I knew how much he loved and thanked me, for his hand stroked me
while it had the strength, his eye turned to me till it grew too dim for
seeing, and when help came, among the last words he whispered to a
comrade were these, "Be kind to Rosa and send her safely home; she has
earned her rest."

"'I _had_ earned it, but I did not get it, for when I was sent home the
old mother's heart was broken at the loss of her son, and she did not
live long to cherish me. Then my hard times began, for my next owner was
a fast young man, who ill used me in many ways, till the spirit of my
father rose within me, and I gave my brutal master a grand runaway and

"'To tame me down, I was sold for a car horse; and that almost killed
me, for it was dreadful drudgery to tug, day after day, over the hard
pavement with heavy loads behind me, uncongenial companions beside me,
and no affection to cheer my life.

"'I have often longed to ask why Mr. Bergh does not try to prevent such
crowds from piling into those cars; and now I beg you to do what you can
to stop such an unmerciful abuse.

"'In snow-storms it was awful, and more than one of my mates dropped
dead with overwork and discouragement. I used to wish I could do the
same, for my poor feet, badly shod, became so lame I could hardly walk
at times, and the constant strain on the up grades brought back the old
trouble in my shoulder worse than ever.

"'Why they did not kill me I don't know, for I was a miserable creature
then; but there must be something attractive about me, I fancy, for
people always seem to think me worth saving. What can it be, ma'am?'

"'Now, Rosa, don't be affected; you know you are a very engaging little
animal, and if you live to be forty will still have certain pretty ways
about you, that win the hearts of women, if not of men. _They_ see your
weak points, and take a money view of the case; but _we_ sympathize with
your afflictions, are amused with your coquettish airs, and like your
affectionate nature. Now hurry up and finish, for I find it a trifle
cold out here.'

"I laughed as I spoke, for Rosa eyed me with a sidelong glance and
gently waved the docked tail, which was her delight; for the sly thing
liked to be flattered and was as fond of compliments as a girl.

"'Many thanks. I will come now to the most interesting portion of my
narrative. As I was saying, instead of knocking me on the head I was
packed off to New Hampshire, and had a fine rest among the green hills,
with a dozen or so of weary friends. It was during this holiday that I
acquired the love of nature which Miss Merry detected and liked in me,
when she found me ready to study sunsets with her, to admire new
landscapes, and enjoy bright summer weather.

"'In the autumn a livery-stable keeper bought me, and through the winter
fed me up till I was quite presentable in the spring. It was a small
town, but through the summer many city people visited there, so I was
kept on the trot while the season lasted, because ladies could drive me.
You, Miss Belinda, were one of the ladies, and I never shall forget,
though I have long ago forgiven it, how you laughed at my queer gait the
day you hired me.

"'My tender feet and stiff knees made me tread very gingerly, and amble
along with short mincing steps, which contrasted oddly, I know, with my
proudly waving tail and high-carried head. You liked me nevertheless,
because I didn't rattle you down the steep hills, was not afraid of
locomotives, and stood patiently while you gathered flowers and enjoyed
the lovely prospects.

"'I have always felt a regard for you since you did not whip me, and
admired my eyes, which, I may say without vanity, have always been
considered unusually fine. But no one ever won my whole heart like Miss
Merry, and I never shall forget the happy day when she came to the
stable to order a saddle-horse. Her cheery voice made me prick up my
ears, and when she said, after looking at several showy beasts, "No,
they don't suit me. This one now has the right air; can I ride her?" my
heart danced within me and I looked round with a whinny of delight. She
understood my welcome, and came right up to me, patted me, peered into
my face, rubbed my nose, and looked at my feet with an air of interest
and sympathy, that made me feel as if I'd like to carry her round the

"'Ah, what rides we had after that! What happy hours trotting gayly
through the green woods, galloping over the breezy hills, or pacing
slowly along quiet lanes, where I often lunched luxuriously on
clover-tops, while Miss Merry took a sketch of some picturesque bit with
me in the foreground.

"'I liked that, and we had long chats at such times, for she seemed to
understand me perfectly. She was never frightened when I danced for
pleasure on the soft turf, never chid me when I snatched a bite from the
young trees as we passed through sylvan ways, never thought it a trouble
to let me wet my tired feet in babbling brooks, or to dismount and take
out the stones that plagued me.

"'Then how well she rode! So firm yet light a seat, so steady a hand, so
agile a foot to spring on and off, and such infectious spirits, that no
matter how despondent or cross I might be, in five minutes I felt gay
and young again when dear Miss Merry was on my back.'

"Here Rosa gave a frisk that sent the straw flying, and made me shrink
into a corner, while she pranced about the box with a neigh which waked
the big brown colt next door, and set poor Buttercup to lowing for her
calf, the loss of which she had forgotten for a little while in sleep.

"'Ah, Miss Merry never ran away from me! She knew my heels were to be
trusted, and she let me caper as I would, glad to see me lively. Never
mind, Miss Belinda, come out and I'll be sober, as befits my years,'
laughed Rosa, composing herself, and adding, so like a woman that I
could not help smiling in the dark,--

"'When I say "years" I beg you to understand that I am _not_ as old as
that base man declared, but just in the prime of life for a horse. Hard
usage has made me seem old before my time, and I am good for years of
service yet.'

"'Few people have been through as much as you have, Rosa, and you
certainly _have_ earned the right to rest,' I said consolingly, for her
little whims and vanities amused me much.

"'You know what happened next,' she continued; 'but I must seize this
opportunity to express my thanks for all the kindness I've received
since Miss Merry bought me, in spite of the ridicule and dissuasion of
all her friends.

"'I know I didn't look like a good bargain, for I _was_ very thin and
lame and shabby; but she saw and loved the willing spirit in me, pitied
my hard lot, and felt that it would be a good deed to buy me even if she
never got much work out of me.

"'I shall always remember that, and whatever happens to me hereafter, I
never shall be as proud again as I was the day she put my new saddle and
bridle on, and I was led out, sleek, plump, and handsome, with blue
rosettes at my ears, my tail cut in the English style, and on my back
Miss Merry in her London hat and habit, all ready to head a cavalcade of
eighteen horsemen and horsewomen. _We_ were the most perfect pair of
all, and when the troop caracoled down the wide street six abreast, _my_
head was the highest, _my_ rider the straightest, and _our_ two hearts
the friendliest in all the goodly company.

"'Nor is it pride and love alone that binds me to her, it is gratitude
as well, for did not she often bathe my feet herself, rub me down, water
me, blanket me, and daily come to see me when I was here alone for weeks
in the winter time? Didn't she study horses' feet and shoes, that I
might be cured if possible? Didn't she write to the famous friend of my
race for advice, and drive me seven miles to get a good smith to shoe me
well? Have not my poor contracted feet grown much better, thanks to the
weeks of rest without shoes which she gave me? Am I not fat and
handsome, and, barring the stiff knees, a very presentable horse? If I
am, it is all owing to her; and for that reason I want to live and die
in her service.

"'_She_ doesn't want to sell me, and only bade you do it because you
didn't want the care of me while she is gone. Dear Miss Belinda, please
keep me! I'll eat as little as I can. I won't ask for a new blanket,
though your old army one is very thin and shabby. I'll trot for you all
winter, and try not to show it if I am lame. I'll do anything a horse
can, no matter how humble, to earn my living, only don't, pray don't
send me away among strangers who have neither interest nor pity for me!'

"Rosa had spoken rapidly, feeling that her plea must be made now or
never, for before another Christmas she might be far away and speech of
no use to win her wish. I was much touched, though she was only a
horse; for she was looking earnestly at me as she spoke, and made the
last words very eloquent by preparing to bend her stiff knees and lie
down at my feet. I stopped her, and answered, with an arm about her neck
and her soft nose in my hand,--

"'You shall _not_ be sold, Rosa! you shall go and board at Mr. Town's
great stable, where you will have pleasant society among the eighty
horses who usually pass the winter there. Your shoes shall be taken off,
and you shall rest till March at least. The best care will be taken of
you, dear, and I will come and see you; and in the spring you shall
return to us, even if Miss Merry is not here to welcome you.'

"'Thanks, many, many thanks! But I wish I could do something to earn my
board. I hate to be idle, though rest _is_ delicious. Is there nothing I
can do to repay you, Miss Belinda? Please answer quickly, for I know the
hour is almost over,' cried Rosa, stamping with anxiety; for, like all
her sex, she wanted the last word.

"'Yes, you can,' I cried, as a sudden idea popped into my head. 'I'll
write down what you have told me, and send the little story to a certain
paper I know of, and the money I get for it will pay your board. So rest
in peace, my dear; you _will_ have earned your living, and may feel that
your debt is paid.'

"Before she could reply the clock struck one, and a long sigh of
satisfaction was all the response in her power. But we understood each
other now, and, cutting a lock from her mane for Miss Merry, I gave Rosa
a farewell caress and went away, wondering if I had made it all up, or
if she had really broken a year's silence and freed her mind.

"However that may be, here is the tale, and the sequel to it is, that
the bay mare has really gone to board at a first-class stable,"
concluded Miss Belinda. "I call occasionally and leave my card in the
shape of an apple, finding Madam Rosa living like an independent lady,
with her large box and private yard on the sunny side of the barn, a
kind ostler to wait upon her, and much genteel society from the city
when she is inclined for company.

"What more could any reasonable horse desire?"



"Sister Jerusha, it really does wear upon me to see those dear boys eat
such bad pies and stuff day after day when they ought to have good
wholesome things for lunch. I actually ache to go and give each one of
'em a nice piece of bread-and-butter or one of our big cookies," said
kind Miss Mehitable Plummer, taking up her knitting after a long look at
the swarm of boys pouring out of the grammar school opposite, to lark
about the yard, sit on the posts, or dive into a dingy little shop close
by, where piles of greasy tarts and cakes lay in the window. They would
not have allured any but hungry school-boys, and ought to have been
labelled Dyspepsia and Headache, so unwholesome were they.

Miss Jerusha looked up from her seventeenth patchwork quilt, and
answered, with a sympathetic glance over the way,--

"If we had enough to go round I'd do it myself, and save these poor
deluded dears from the bilious turns that will surely take them down
before vacation comes. That fat boy is as yellow as a lemon now, and no
wonder, for I've seen him eat half a dozen dreadful turnovers for one

Both old ladies shook their heads and sighed, for they led a very quiet
life in the narrow house that stood end to the street, squeezed in
between two stores, looking as out of place as the good spinsters would
have done among the merry lads opposite. Sitting at the front windows
day after day, the old ladies had learned to enjoy watching the boys,
who came and went, like bees to a hive, month by month. They had their
favorites, and beguiled many a long hour speculating on the looks,
manners, and probable station of the lads. One lame boy was Miss
Jerusha's pet, though she never spoke to him, and a tall bright-faced
fellow, who rather lorded it over the rest, quite won Miss Hetty's old
heart by helping her across the street on a slippery day. They longed to
mend some of the shabby clothes, to cheer up the dull discouraged ones,
advise the sickly, reprove the rude, and, most of all, feed those who
persisted in buying lunch at the dirty bake-shop over the way.

The good souls were famous cooks, and had many books full of all manner
of nice receipts, which they seldom used, as they lived simply and saw
little company. A certain kind of molasses cookie made by their honored
mother,--a renowned housewife in her time,--and eaten by the sisters as
children, had a peculiar charm for them. A tin box was always kept full,
though they only now and then nibbled one, and preferred to give them
away to poor children, as they trotted to market each day. Many a time
had Miss Hetty felt sorely tempted to treat the boys, but was a little
timid, for they were rough fellows, and she regarded them much as a
benevolent tabby would a party of frisky puppies.

To-day the box was full of fresh cookies, crisp, brown, and sweet; their
spicy odor pervaded the room, and the china-closet door stood
suggestively open. Miss Hetty's spectacles turned that way, then went
back to the busy scene in the street, as if trying to get courage for
the deed. Something happened just then which decided her, and sealed
the doom of the bilious tarts and their maker.

Several of the younger lads were playing marbles on the sidewalk, for
Hop Scotch, Leap Frog, and friendly scuffles were going on in the yard,
and no quiet spot could be found. The fat boy sat on a post near by,
and, having eaten his last turnover, fell to teasing the small fellows
peacefully playing at his feet. One was the shabby lame boy, who hopped
to and fro with his crutch, munching a dry cracker, with now and then a
trip to the pump to wash it down. He seldom brought any lunch, and
seemed to enjoy this poor treat so much that the big bright-faced chap
tossed him a red apple as he came out of the yard to get his hat, thrown
there by the mate he had been playfully thrashing.

The lame child eyed the pretty apple lovingly, and was preparing to take
the first delicious bite, when the fat youth with a dexterous kick sent
it flying into the middle of the street, where a passing wheel crushed
it down into the mud.

"It's a shame! He _shall_ have something good! The scamp!" And with this
somewhat confused exclamation Miss Hetty threw down her work, ran to
the closet, then darted to the front door, embracing the tin box, as if
the house was on fire and that contained her dearest treasures.

"Sakes alive, what _is_ the matter with sister?" ejaculated Miss
Jerusha, going to the window just in time to see the fat boy tumble off
the post as the tall lad came to the rescue, while the cripple went
hopping across the street in answer to a kindly quavering voice that
called out to him,--

"Come here, boy, and get a cookie,--a dozen if you want 'em."

"Sister's done it at last!" And, inspired by this heroic example, Miss
Jerusha threw up the window, saying, as she beckoned to the avenger,--

"You too, because you stood by that poor little boy. Come right over and
help yourself."

Charley Howe laughed at the indignant old ladies, but, being a
gentleman, took off his hat and ran across to thank them for their
interest in the fray. Several other lads followed as irresistibly as
flies to a honey-pot, for the tin box was suggestive of cake, and they
waited for no invitation.

Miss Hetty was truly a noble yet a droll sight, as she stood there, a
trim little old lady, with her cap-strings flying in the wind, her rosy
old face shining with good-will, as she dealt out cookies with a lavish
hand, and a kind word to all.

"Here's a nice big one for you, my dear. I don't know your name, but I
do your face, and I like to see a big boy stand up for the little ones,"
she said, beaming at Charley as he came up.

"Thank you, ma'am. That's a splendid one. We don't get anything so nice
over there." And Charley gratefully bolted the cake in three mouthfuls,
having given away his own lunch.

"No, indeed! One of these is worth a dozen of those nasty pies. I hate
to see you eating them, and I don't believe your mothers know how bad
they are," said Miss Hetty, diving for another handful into the depths
of the box, which was half empty already.

"Wish you'd teach old Peck how you make 'em. We'd be glad enough to buy
these and let the cockroach pies alone," said Charley, accepting another
and enjoying the fun, for half the fellows were watching the scene from
over the way.

"Cockroach pies! You don't mean to say?" cried Miss Hetty, nearly
dropping her load in her horror at the idea, for she had heard of
fricasseed frogs and roasted locusts, and thought a new delicacy had
been found.

"We find 'em in the apple-sauce sometimes, and nails and bits of barrel
in the cake, so some of us don't patronize Peck," replied Charley; and
little Briggs the cripple added eagerly,--

"I never do; my mother won't let me."

"He never has any money, that's why," bawled Dickson, the fat boy,
dodging behind the fence as he spoke.

"Never you mind, sonny, you come here every day, and _I'll_ see that you
have a good lunch. Apples too, _red ones_, if you like them, with your
cake," answered Miss Hetty, patting his head and sending an indignant
glance across the street.

"Cry-baby! Molly-coddle! Grandma's darling!" jeered Dickson, and then
fled, for Charley fired a ball at him with such good aim it narrowly
escaped his nose.

"That boy will have the jaundice as sure as fate, and he deserves it,"
said Miss Hetty, sternly, as she dropped the lid on the now empty box;
for while she was talking the free-and-easy young gentlemen had been
helping themselves.

"Thank you very much, ma'am, for my cookie. I won't forget to call
to-morrow." And little Briggs shook hands with as innocent a face as if
his jacket pocket was not bulging in a most suspicious manner.

"You'll get your death a cold, Hetty," called Miss Jerusha, and, taking
the hint, Charley promptly ended the visit.

"Sheer off, fellows. We are no end obliged, ma'am, and I'll see that
Briggs isn't put upon by sneaks."

Then the boys ran off, and the old lady retired to her parlor to sink
into her easy-chair, as much excited by this little feat as if she had
led a forlorn hope to storm a battery.

"I'll fill both those big tins to-morrow, and treat every one of the
small boys, if I'm spared," she panted, with a decided nod, as she
settled her cap and composed her neat black skirts, with which the wind
had taken liberties, as she stood on the steps.

"I'm not sure it isn't our duty to make and sell good, wholesome lunches
to those boys. We can afford to do it cheap, and it wouldn't be much
trouble. Just put the long table across the front entry for half an hour
every day, and let them come and get a bun, a cookie, or a buttered
biscuit. It could be done, sister," said Miss Jerusha, longing to
distinguish herself in some way also.

"It _shall_ be done, sister!" And Miss Hetty made up her mind at that
moment to devote some of her time and skill to rescuing those blessed
boys from the unprincipled Peck and his cockroach pies.

It was pleasant, as well as droll, to see how heartily the good souls
threw themselves into the new enterprise, how bravely they kept each
other up when courage showed signs of failing, and how rapidly they
became convinced that it was a duty to provide better food for the
future defenders and rulers of their native land.

"You can't expect the dears to study with clear heads if they are not
fed properly, and half the women in the world never think that what
goes into children's stomachs affects their brains," declared Miss
Hetty, as she rolled out vast sheets of dough next day, emphasizing her
remarks with vigorous flourishes of the rolling-pin.

"Our blessed mother understood how to feed a family. Fourteen stout boys
and girls, all alive and well, and you and I as smart at seventy one and
two, as most folks at forty. Good, plain victuals and plenty of 'em is
the secret of firm health," responded Miss Jerusha, rattling a pan of
buns briskly into the oven.

"We'd better make some Brighton Rock. It is gone out of fashion, but our
brothers used to be dreadful fond of it, and boys are about alike all
the world over. Ma's _resate_ never fails, and it will be a new treat
for the little dears."

"S'pose we have an extra can of milk left and give 'em a good mugful?
Some of those poor things look as if they never got a drop. Peck sells
beer, and milk is a deal better. Shall we, sister?"

"We'll try it, Jerushy. In for a penny, in for a pound."

And upon that principle the old ladies did the thing handsomely,
deferring the great event till Monday, that all might be in apple-pie
order. They said nothing of it when the lads came on Friday morning, and
all Saturday, which was a holiday at school, was a very busy one with

"Hullo! Miss Hetty _has_ done it now, hasn't she? Look at that, old
Peck, and tremble!" exclaimed Charley to his mates, as he came down the
street on Monday morning, and espied a neat little sign on the sisters'
door, setting forth the agreeable fact that certain delectable articles
of food and drink could be had within at reasonable prices during

No caps were at the windows, but behind the drawn curtains two beaming
old faces were peeping out to see how the boys took the great
announcement. Whoever remembers Hawthorne's half-comic, half-pathetic
description of poor Hepsibah Pyncheon's hopes and fears, when arranging
her gingerbread wares in the little shop, can understand something of
the excitement of the sisters that day, as the time drew near when the
first attempt was to be made.

"Who will set the door open?" said Miss Hetty when the fateful moment
came, and boys began to pour out into the yard.

"I will!" And, nerving herself to the task, Miss Jerusha marched boldly
round the table, set wide the door, and then, as the first joyful whoop
from the boys told that the feast was in view, she whisked back into the
parlor panic-stricken.

"There they come,--hundreds of them, I should think by the sound!" she
whispered, as the tramp of feet came nearer, and the clamor of voices

"What bully buns!" "Ain't those cookies rousers?" "New stuff too, looks
first-rate." "I told you it wasn't a joke." "Wonder how Peck likes it?"
"Dickson sha'n't come in." "You go first, Charley." "Here's a cent for
you, Briggs; come on and trade like the rest of us."

"I'm so flurried I couldn't make change to save my life," gasped Miss
Jerusha from behind the sofa, whither she had fled.

"It is _my_ turn now. Be calm, and we shall soon get used to it."

Bracing herself to meet the merry chaff of the boys, as new and trying
to the old lady as real danger would have been, Miss Hetty stepped forth
into the hall to be greeted by a cheer, and then a chorus of demands for
everything so temptingly set forth upon her table. Intrenched behind a
barricade of buns, she dealt out her wares with rapidly increasing speed
and skill, for as fast as one relay of lads were satisfied another came
up, till the table was bare, the milk-can ran dry, and nothing was left
to tell the tale but an empty water-pail and a pile of five-cent pieces.

"I hope I didn't cheat any one, but I was flurried, sister, they were so
very noisy and so hungry. Bless their dear hearts; they are full now, I
trust." And Miss Hetty looked over her glasses at the crumby
countenances opposite, meeting many nods and smiles in return, as her
late customers enthusiastically recommended her establishment to the
patronage of those who had preferred Peck's questionable dainties.

"The Brighton Rock was a success; we must have a good store for
to-morrow, and more milk. Briggs drank it like a baby, and your nice
boy proposed my health like a little gentleman, as he is," replied Miss
Jerusha, who had ventured out before it was too late, and done the
honors of the can with great dignity, in spite of some inward
trepidation at the astonishing feats performed with the mug.

"Peck's nose is out of joint, if I may use so vulgar an expression, and
_our_ lunch a triumphant success. Boys know what is good, and we need
not fear to lose their custom as long as we can supply them. I shall
order a barrel of flour at once, and heat up the big oven. We have put
our hand to the work and must not turn back, for our honor is pledged

With which lofty remark Miss Hetty closed the door, trying to look
utterly unconscious of the anxious Peck, who was flattening his nose
against his dingy window-pane to survey his rivals over piles of unsold

The little venture _was_ a success, and all that winter the old ladies
did their part faithfully, finding the task more to their taste than
everlasting patchwork and knitting, and receiving a fair profit on
their outlay, being shrewd managers, and rich in old-fashioned thrift,
energy, and industry.

The boys revelled in wholesome fare, and soon learned to love "the
Aunties," as they were called, while such of the parents as took an
interest in the matter showed their approval in many ways most
gratifying to the old ladies.

The final triumph, however, was the closing of Peck's shop for want of
custom, for few besides the boys patronized him. None mourned for him,
and Dickson proved the truth of Miss Hetty's prophecy by actually having
a bilious fever in the spring.

But a new surprise awaited the boys; for when they came flocking back
after the summer vacation, there stood the little shop, brave in new
paint and fittings, full of all the old goodies, and over the door a
smart sign, "Plummer & Co."

"By Jove, the Aunties are bound to cover themselves with glory. Let's go
in and hear all about it. Behave now, you fellows, or I'll see about it
afterward," commanded Charley, as he paused to peer in through the clean
windows at the tempting display.

In they trooped, and, tapping on the counter, stood ready to greet the
old ladies as usual, but to their great surprise a pretty young woman
appeared, and smilingly asked what they would have.

"We want the Aunties, if you please. Isn't this their shop?" said little
Briggs, bitterly disappointed at not finding his good friends.

"You will find them over there at home as usual. Yes, this is their
shop, and I'm their niece. My husband is the Co., and we run the shop
for the aunts. I hope you'll patronize us, gentlemen."

"We will! we will! Three cheers for Plummer & Co.!" cried Charley,
leading off three rousers, that made the little shop ring again, and
brought two caps to the opposite windows, as two cheery old faces smiled
and nodded, full of satisfaction at the revolution so successfully
planned and carried out.



"No answer to my advertisement, mamma, and I must sit with idle hands
for another day," said Clara with a despondent sigh, as the postman
passed the door.

"You needn't do that, child, when I'm suffering for a new cap, and no
one can suit me so well as you, if you have the spirits to do it,"
answered her mother from the sofa, where she spent most of her time
bewailing her hard lot.

"Plenty of spirits, mamma, and what is still more necessary, plenty of
materials; so I'll toss you up 'a love of a cap' before you know it."

And putting her own disappointment out of sight, pretty Clara fell to
work with such good-will that even poor, fretful Mrs. Barlow cheered up
in spite of herself.

"What a mercy it is that when everything else is swept away in this
dreadful failure I still have you, dear, and no dishonest banker can rob
me of my best treasure," she said fondly, as she watched her daughter
with tearful eyes.

"No one shall part us, mamma; and if I can only get something to do we
can be independent and happy in spite of our losses; for now the first
shock and worry is over, I find a curious sort of excitement in being
poor and having to work for my living. I was so tired of pleasure and
idleness I really quite long to work at something, if I could only find

But though Clara spoke cheerfully, she had a heavy heart; for during the
month which had followed the discovery that they were nearly penniless,
she had been through a great deal for a tenderly nurtured girl of
three-and-twenty. Leaving a luxurious home for two plainly furnished
rooms, and trying to sustain her mother with hopeful plans, had kept her
busy for a time; but now she had nothing to do but wait for replies to
her modest advertisements as governess, copyist, or reader.

"I do wish I'd been taught a trade, mamma, or some useful art by which
I could earn our bread now. Rich people ought to remember that money
takes to itself wings, and so prepare their children to face poverty
bravely. If half the sums spent on my music and dress had been used in
giving me a single handicraft, what a blessing it would be to us now!"
she said, thoughtfully, as she sewed with rapid fingers, unconsciously
displaying the delicate skill of one to whom dress was an art and a

"If you were not so proud we might accept Cousin John's offer and be
quite comfortable," returned her mother, in a reproachful tone.

"No; we should soon feel that we were a burden, and that would be worse
than living on bread and water. Let us try to help ourselves first, and
then, if we fail, we cannot be accused of indolence. I know papa would
wish it, so please let me try."

"As you like; _I_ shall not be a burden to any one long." And Mrs.
Barlow looked about for her handkerchief.

But Clara prevented the impending shower by skilfully turning the poor
lady's thoughts to the new cap which was ready to try on.

"Isn't it pretty? Just the soft effect that is so becoming to your dear,
pale face. Take a good look at it, and tell me whether you'll have pale
pink bows or lavender."

"It is very nice, child; you always suit me, you've such charming taste.
I'll have lavender, for though it's not so becoming as pink, it is more
appropriate to our fallen fortunes," answered her mother, smiling in
spite of herself, as she studied effects in the mirror.

"No, let us have it pink, for I want my pretty mother to look her best,
though no one sees her but me, and I'm so glad to know that I _can_ make
caps well if I can't do anything else," said Clara, rummaging in a box
for the desired shade.

"No one ever suited me so well, and if you were not a lady, you might
make a fortune as a milliner, for you have the taste of a Frenchwoman,"
said Mrs. Barlow, adding, as she took her cap off, "Don't you remember
how offended Madame Pigat was when she found out that you altered all
her caps before I wore them, and how she took some of your hints and got
all the credit of them?"

"Yes, mamma," was all Clara answered, and then sat working so silently
that it was evident her thoughts were as busy as her hands. Presently
she said, "I must go down to our big box for the ribbon, there is none
here that I like," and, taking a bunch of keys, she went slowly away.

In the large parlor below stood several trunks and cases belonging to
Mrs. Barlow, and left there for her convenience, as the room was unlet.

Clara opened several of these, and rapidly turned over their contents,
as if looking for something beside pale pink ribbon. Whatever it was she
appeared to find it, for, dropping the last lid with a decided bang, she
stood a moment looking about the large drawing-room with such
brightening eyes it was evident that they saw some invisible beauty
there; then a smile broke over her face, and she ran up stairs to waken
her mother from a brief doze, by crying joyfully, as she waved a curl of
gay ribbon over her head,--

"I've got it, mamma, I've got it!"

"Bless the child! what have you got,--a letter?" cried Mrs. Barlow,
starting up.

"No; but something better still,--a new way to get a living. I'll be a
milliner, and you shall have as many caps as you like. Now don't laugh,
but listen; for it is a splendid idea, and you shall have all the credit
of it, because you suggested it."

"I've materials enough," she continued, "to begin with; for when all
else went, they left us our finery, you know, and now we can live on it
instead of wearing it. Yes, I'll make caps and sell them, and that will
be both easier and pleasanter than to go out teaching and leave you here

"But how _can_ you sell them?" asked her mother, half bewildered by the
eagerness with which the new plan was unfolded.

"That's the best of all, and I only thought of it when I was among the
boxes. Why not take the room below and lay out all our fine things
temptingly, instead of selling them one by one as if we were ashamed of

"As I stood there just now, I saw it all. Mrs. Smith would be glad to
let the room, and I could take it for a month, just to try how my plan
works; and if it _does_ go well, why can I not make a living as well as

"But, child, what will people say?"

"That I'm an honest girl, and lend me a hand, if they are friends worth

Mrs. Barlow was not convinced, and declared she would hide herself if
any one came; but after much discussion consented to let the trial be
made, though predicting utter failure, as she retired to her sofa to
bewail the sad necessity for such a step.

Clara worked busily for several days to carry into execution her plan;
then she sent some notes to a dozen friends, modestly informing them
that her "opening" would take place on a certain day.

"Curiosity will bring them, if nothing else," she said, trying to seem
quite cool and gay, though her heart fluttered with anxiety as she
arranged her little stock in the front parlor.

In the bay-window was her flower-stand, where the white azaleas, red
geraniums, and gay nasturtiums seemed to have bloomed their loveliest to
help the gentle mistress who had tended them so faithfully, even when
misfortune's frost had nipped her own bright roses. Overhead swung a
pair of canaries in their garlanded cage, singing with all their might,
as if, like the London 'prentice-boys in old times, they cried, "What do
you lack? Come buy, come buy!"

On a long table in the middle of the room, a dozen delicate caps and
head-dresses were set forth. On another lay garlands of French flowers
bought for pretty Clara's own adornment. Several dainty ball-dresses,
imported for the gay winter she had expected to pass, hung over chairs
and couch, also a velvet mantle Mrs. Barlow wished to sell, while some
old lace, well-chosen ribbons, and various elegant trifles gave color
and grace to the room.

Clara's first customer was Mrs. Tower,--a stout florid lady, full of the
good-will and the real kindliness which is so sweet in times of trouble.

"My dear girl, how are you, and how is mamma? Now this is charming. Such
a capital idea, and just what is needed; a quiet place, where one can
come and be made pretty without all the world's knowing how we do it."
And greeting Clara even more cordially than of old, the good lady
trotted about, admiring everything, just as she used to do when she
visited the girl in her former home to see and exclaim over any fresh
arrival of Paris finery.

"I'll take this mantle off your hands with pleasure, for I intended to
import one, and this saves me so much trouble. Put it up for me, dear,
at the price mamma paid for it, not a cent less, because it has never
been worn, and I've no duties to pay on it, so it is a good bargain for

Then, before Clara could thank her, she turned to the head-gear, and
fell into raptures over a delicate affair, all blonde and

"Such a sweet thing! I _must_ have it before any one else snaps it up.
Try it on, love, and give it a touch if it doesn't fit."

Clara knew it would be vain to remonstrate, for Mrs. Tower had not a
particle of taste, and insisted on wearing blue, with the complexion of
a lobster. On it went, and even the wearer could not fail to see that
something was amiss.

"It's not the fault of the cap, dear. I always was a fright, and my
dreadful color spoils whatever I put on, so I have things handsome, and
give up any attempt at beauty," she said, shaking her head at herself in
the glass.

"You need not do that, and I'll show you what I mean, if you will give
me leave; for, with your fine figure and eyes, you can't help being an
elegant woman. See, now, how I'll make even this cap becoming." And
Clara laid the delicate flowers among the blonde behind, where the
effect was unmarred by the over-red cheeks, and nothing but a soft ruche
lay over the dark hair in front.

"There, isn't that better?" she asked, with her own blooming face so
full of interest it was a pleasure to see her.

"Infinitely better; really becoming, and just what I want with my new
silver-gray satin. Dear me, what a thing taste is!" And Mrs. Tower
regarded herself with feminine satisfaction in her really fine eyes.

Here a new arrival interrupted them, and Clara went to meet several
girls belonging to what had lately been her own set. The young ladies
did not quite know how to behave; for, though it seemed perfectly
natural to be talking over matters of dress with Clara, there was an air
of proud humility about her that made them feel ill at ease, till
Nellie, a lively, warm-hearted creature, broke the ice by saying, with a
little quiver in her gay voice,--

"It's no use, girls; we've either got to laugh or cry, and I think, on
the whole, it would be best for all parties to laugh, and then go on
just as we used to do;" which she did so infectiously that the rest
joined, and then began to chatter as freely as of old.

"I speak for the opal silk, Clara, for papa has promised me a Worth
dress, and I was green with envy when this came," cried Nellie, secretly
wishing she wore caps, that she might buy up the whole dozen.

"You would be green with disgust if I let you have it, for no brunette
could wear that most trying of colors, and I was rash to order it. You
are very good, dear Nell, but I won't let you sacrifice yourself to
friendship in that heroic style," answered Clara, with a grateful kiss.

"But the others are blue and lilac, both more trying than anything with
a shade of pink in it. If you won't let me have this, you must invent
me the most becoming thing ever seen; for the most effective dress I had
last winter was the gold-colored one with the wreath of laburnums, which
you chose for me," persisted Nellie, bound to help in some way.

"I bespeak something sweet for New Year's Day. You know my style," said
another young lady, privately resolving to buy the opal dress, when the
rest had gone.

"Consider yourself engaged to get up my bridesmaids' costumes, for I
never shall forget what a lovely effect those pale green dresses
produced at Alice's wedding. She looked like a lily among its leaves,
some one said, and you suggested them, I remember," added a third
damsel, with the dignity of a bride-elect.

So it went on, each doing what she could to help, not with condolence,
but approbation, and the substantial aid that is so easy to accept when
gilded by kind words and cheery sympathy.

A hard winter, but a successful one; and when spring came, and all her
patrons were fitted out for mountains, seaside, or springs, Clara folded
her weary hands content. But Mrs. Barlow saw with anxiety how pale the
girl's cheeks had grown, how wistfully she eyed the green grass in the
park, and how soon the smile died on the lips that tried to say

"No, mamma, dear, I dare not spend in a summer trip the little sum I
have laid by for the hard times that may come. I shall do very well, but
I can't help remembering the happy voyage we meant to make this year,
and how much good it would do _you_."

Watching the unselfish life of her daughter had taught Mrs. Barlow to
forget her own regrets, inspired her with a desire to do her part, and
made her ashamed of her past indolence.

Happening to mention her maternal anxieties to Mrs. Tower, that good
lady suggested a plan by which the seemingly impossible became a fact,
and Mrs. Barlow had the pleasure of surprising Clara with a "bright
idea," as the girl had once surprised her.

"Come, dear, bestir yourself, for we must sail in ten days to pass our
summer in or near Paris. I've got commissions enough to pay our way,
and we can unite business and pleasure in the most charming manner."

Clara could only clasp her hands and listen, as her mother unfolded her
plan, telling how she was to get Maud's trousseau, all Mrs. Tower's
winter costumes, and a long list of smaller commissions from friends and
patrons who had learned to trust and value the taste and judgment of the
young _modiste_.

So Clara had her summer trip, and came home bright and blooming in the
early autumn, ready to take up her pretty trade again, quite unconscious
that, while trying to make others beautiful, she was making her own life
a very lovely one.



"It looks so much like snow I think it would be wiser to put off your
sleighing party, Gwen," said Mrs. Arnold, looking anxiously out at the
heavy sky and streets still drifted by the last winter storm.

"Not before night, mamma; we don't mind its being cloudy, we like it,
because the sun makes the snow so dazzling when we get out of town. "We
can't give it up now, for here comes Patrick with the boys." And Gwen
ran down to welcome the big sleigh, which just then drove up with four
jolly lads skirmishing about inside.

"Come on!" called Mark, her brother, knocking his friends right and
left, to make room for the four girls who were to complete the party.

"What do you think of the weather, Patrick?" asked Mrs. Arnold from the
window, still undecided about the wisdom of letting her flock go off
alone, papa having been called away after the plan was made.

"Faith, ma'm, it's an illigant day barring the wind, that's a thrifle
could to the nose. I'll have me eye on the childer, ma'm, and there'll
be no throuble at all, at all," replied the old coachman, lifting a
round red face out of his muffler, and patting little Gus on the
shoulder, as he sat proudly on the high seat holding the whip.

"Be careful, dears, and come home early."

With which parting caution mamma shut the window, and watched the young
folks drive gayly away, little dreaming what would happen before they
got back.

The wind was more than a "thrifle could," for when they got out of the
city it blew across the open country in bitter blasts, and made the
eight little noses almost as red as old Pat's, who had been up all night
at a wake, and was still heavy-headed with too much whiskey, though no
one suspected it.

The lads enjoyed themselves immensely snowballing one another; for the
drifts were still fresh enough to furnish soft snow, and Mark, Bob, and
Tony had many a friendly tussle in it as they went up hills, or paused
to breathe the horses after a swift trot along a level bit of road.
Little Gus helped drive till his hands were benumbed in spite of the new
red mittens, and he had to descend among the girls, who were cuddled
cosily under the warm robes, telling secrets, eating candy, and laughing
at the older boys' pranks.

Sixteen-year-old Gwendoline was matron of the party, and kept excellent
order among the girls; for Ruth and Alice were nearly her own age, and
Rita a most obedient younger sister.

"I say, Gwen, we are going to stop at the old house on the way home and
get some nuts for this evening. Papa said we might, and some of the big
Baldwins too. I've got baskets, and while we fellows fill them you girls
can look round the house," said Mark, when the exhausted young gentlemen
returned to their seats.

"That will be nice. I want to get some books, and Rita has been very
anxious about one of her dolls, which she is sure was left in the
nursery closet. If we are going to stop we ought to be turning back,
Pat, for it is beginning to snow and will be dark early," answered Gwen,
suddenly realizing that great flakes were fast whitening the roads and
the wind had risen to a gale.

"Shure and I will, miss dear, as soon as iver I can; but it's round a
good bit we must go, for I couldn't be turning here widout upsettin' the
whole of yez, it's that drifted. Rest aisy, and I'll fetch up at the
ould place in half an hour, plaze the powers," said Pat, who had lost
his way and wouldn't own it, being stupid with a sup or two he had
privately taken on the way, to keep the chill out of his bones he said.

On they went again, with the wind at their backs, caring little for the
snow that now fell fast, or the gathering twilight, since they were
going toward home they thought. It was a very long half-hour before Pat
brought them to the country-house, which was shut up for the winter.
With difficulty they ploughed their way up to the steps, and scrambled
on to the piazza, where they danced about to warm their feet till Mark
unlocked the door and let them in, leaving Pat to enjoy a doze on his

"Make haste, boys; it is cold and dark here, and we must get home. Mamma
will be so anxious, and it really is going to be a bad storm," said
Gwen, whose spirits were damped by the gloom of the old house, and who
felt her responsibility, having promised to be home early.

Off went the boys to attic and cellar, being obliged to light the
lantern left here for the use of whoever came now and then to inspect
the premises. The girls, having found books and doll, sat upon the
rolled-up carpets, or peeped about at the once gay and hospitable rooms,
now looking very empty and desolate with piled-up furniture, shuttered
windows, and fireless hearths.

"If we were going to stay long I'd have a fire in the library. Papa
often does when he comes out, to keep the books from moulding," began
Gwen, but was interrupted by a shout from without, and, running to the
door, saw Pat picking himself out of a drift while the horses were
galloping down the avenue at full speed.

"Be jabbers, them villains give a jump when that fallin' branch struck
'em, and out I wint, bein' tuk unknownst, just thinkin' of me poor
cousin Mike. May his bed above be aisy the day! Whist now, miss dear!
I'll fetch 'em back in a jiffy. Stop still till I come, and kape them
b'ys quite."

With a blow to settle his hat, Patrick trotted gallantly away into the
storm, and the girls went in to tell the exciting news to the lads, who
came whooping back from their search, with baskets of nuts and apples.

"Here's a go!" cried Mark. "Old Pat will run half-way to town before he
catches the horses, and we are in for an hour or two at least."

"Then do make a fire, for we shall die of cold if we have to wait long,"
begged Gwen, rubbing Rita's cold hands, and looking anxiously at little
Gus, who was about making up his mind to roar.

"So we will, and be jolly till the blunderbuss gets back. Camp down,
girls, and you fellows, come and hold the lantern while I get wood and
stuff. It is so confoundedly dark, I shall break my neck down the shed
steps." And Mark led the way to the library, where the carpet still
remained, and comfortable chairs and sofas invited the chilly visitors
to rest.

"How can you light your fire when you get the wood?" asked Ruth, a
practical damsel, who looked well after her own creature comforts and
was longing for a warm supper.

"Papa hides the matches in a tin box, so the rats won't get at them.
Here they are, and two or three bits of candle for the sticks on the
chimney-piece, if he forgets to have the lantern trimmed. Now we will
light up, and look cosey when the boys come back."

And producing the box from under a sofa-cushion, Gwen cheered the hearts
of all by lighting two candles, rolling up the chairs, and making ready
to be comfortable. Thoughtful Alice went to see if Pat was returning,
and found a buffalo-robe lying on the steps. Returning with this, she
reported that there was no sign of the runaways, and advised making
ready for a long stay.

"How mamma will worry!" thought Gwen, but made light of the affair,
because she saw Rita looked timid, and Gus shivered till his teeth

"We will have a nice time, and play we are shipwrecked people or Arctic
explorers. Here comes Dr. Kane and the sailors with supplies of wood,
so we can thaw our pemmican and warm our feet. Gus shall be the little
Esquimaux boy, all dressed in fur, as he is in the picture we have at
home," she said, wrapping the child in the robe, and putting her own
sealskin cap on his head to divert his mind.

"Here we are! Now for a jolly blaze, boys; and if Pat doesn't come back
we can have our fun here instead of at home," cried Mark, well pleased
with the adventure, as were his mates.

So they fell to work, and soon a bright fire was lighting up the room
with its cheerful shine, and the children gathered about it, quite
careless of the storm raging without, and sure that Pat would come in

"I'm hungry," complained Gus as soon as he was warm.

"So am I," added Rita from the rug, where the two little ones sat
toasting themselves.

"Eat an apple," said Mark.

"They are so hard and cold I don't like them," began Gus.

"Roast some!" cried Ruth.

"And crack nuts," suggested Alice.

"Pity we can't cook something in real camp style; it would be such fun,"
said Tony, who had spent weeks on Monadnock, living upon the supplies he
and his party tugged up the mountain on their backs.

"We shall not have time for anything but what we have. Put down your
apples and crack away, or we shall be obliged to leave them," advised
Gwen, coming back from an observation at the front door with an anxious
line on her forehead; for the storm was rapidly increasing, and there
was no sign of Pat or the horses.

The rest were in high glee, and an hour or two slipped quickly away as
they enjoyed the impromptu feast and played games. Gus recalled them to
the discomforts of their situation by saying with a yawn and a

"I'm so sleepy! I want my own bed and mamma."

"So do I!" echoed Rita, who had been nodding for some time, and longed
to lie down and sleep comfortably anywhere.

"Almost eight o'clock! By Jove, that old Pat _is_ taking his time, I
think. Wonder if he has got into trouble? We can't do anything, and may
as well keep quiet here," said Mark, looking at his watch and beginning
to understand that the joke was rather a serious one.

"Better make a night of it and all go to sleep. Pat can wake us up when
he comes. The cold makes a fellow _so_ drowsy." And Bob gave a stretch
that nearly rent him asunder.

"I will let the children nap on the sofa. They are so tired of waiting,
and may as well amuse themselves in that way as in fretting. Come, Gus
and Rita, each take a pillow, and I'll cover you up with my shawl."

Gwen made the little ones comfortable, and they were off in five
minutes. The others kept up bravely till nine o'clock, then the bits of
candles were burnt out, the stories all told, nuts and apples had lost
their charm, and weariness and hunger caused spirits to fail

"I've eaten five Baldwins, and yet I want more. Something filling and
good. Can't we catch a rat and roast him?" proposed Bob, who was a
hearty lad and was ravenous by this time.

"Isn't there anything in the house?" asked Ruth, who dared not eat nuts
for fear of indigestion.

"Not a thing that I know of except a few pickles in the storeroom; we
had so many, mamma left some here," answered Gwen, resolving to
provision the house before she left it another autumn.

"Pickles alone are rather sour feed. If we only had a biscuit now, they
wouldn't be bad for a relish," said Tony, with the air of a man who had
known what it was to live on burnt bean-soup and rye flapjacks for a

"I saw a keg of soft-soap in the shed. How would that go with the
pickles?" suggested Bob, who felt equal to the biggest and acidest
cucumber ever grown.

"Mamma knew an old lady who actually did eat soft-soap and cream for her
complexion," put in Alice, whose own fresh face looked as if she had
tried the same distasteful remedy with success.

The boys laughed, and Mark, who felt that hospitality required him to do
something for his guests, said briskly,--

"Let us go on a foraging expedition while the lamp holds out to burn,
for the old lantern is almost gone and then we are done for. Come on,
Bob; your sharp nose will smell out food if there is any."

"Don't set the house afire, and bring more wood when you come, for we
must have light of some kind in this poky place," called Gwen, with a
sigh, wishing every one of them were safely at home and abed.

A great tramping of boots, slamming of doors, and shouting of voices
followed the departure of the boys, as well as a crash, a howl, and then
a roar of laughter, as Bob fell down the cellar stairs, having opened
the door in search of food and poked his nose in too far. Presently they
came back, very dusty, cobwebby, and cold, but triumphantly bearing a
droll collection of trophies. Mark had a piece of board and the lantern,
Tony a big wooden box and a tin pail, Bob fondly embraced a pickle jar
and a tumbler of jelly which had been forgotten on a high shelf in the

"Meal, pickles, jam, and boards. What a mess, and what are we to do with
it all?" cried the girls, much amused at the result of the expedition.

"Can any of you make a hoe cake?" demanded Mark.

"No, indeed! I can make caramels and cocoanut-cakes," said Ruth,

"I can make good toast and tea," added Alice.

"I can't cook anything," confessed Gwen, who was unusually accomplished
in French, German, and music.

"Girls aren't worth much in the hour of need. Take hold, Tony, you are
the chap for me." And Mark disrespectfully turned his back on the young
ladies, who could only sit and watch the lads work.

"He can't do it without water," whispered Ruth.

"Or salt," answered Alice.

"Or a pan to bake it in," added Gwen; and then all smiled at the dilemma
they foresaw.

But Tony was equal to the occasion, and calmly went on with his task,
while Mark arranged the fire and Bob opened the pickles. First the new
cook filled the pail with snow till enough was melted to wet the meal;
this mixture was stirred with a pine stick till thick enough, then
spread on the board and set up before the bed of coals to brown.

"It never will bake in the world." "He can't turn it, so it won't be
done on both sides." "Won't be fit to eat any way!" And with these dark
hints the girls consoled themselves for their want of skill.

But the cake did bake a nice brown, Tony did turn it neatly with his
jack-knife and the stick, and when it was done cut it into bits, added
jelly, and passed it round on an old atlas; and every one said,--

"It really does taste good!"

Two more were baked, and eaten with pickles for a change, then all were
satisfied, and after a vote of thanks to Tony they began to think of

"Pat has gone home and told them we are all right, and mamma knows we
can manage here well enough for one night, so don't worry, Gwen, but
take a nap, and I'll lie on the rug and see to the fire."

Mark's happy-go-lucky way of taking things did not convince his sister;
but as she could do nothing, she submitted and made her friends as
comfortable as she could.

All had plenty of wraps, so the girls nestled into the three large
chairs, Bob and Tony rolled themselves up in the robe, with their feet
to the fire, and were soon snoring like weary hunters. Mark pillowed his
head on a log, and was sound asleep in ten minutes in spite of his
promise to be sentinel.

Gwen's chair was the least easy of the three, and she could not forget
herself like the rest, but sat wide awake, watching the blaze, counting
the hours, and wondering why no one came to them.

The wind blew fiercely, the snow beat against the blinds, rats scuttled
about the walls, and now and then a branch fell upon the roof with a
crash. Weary, yet excited, the poor girl imagined all sorts of mishaps
to Pat and the horses, recalled various ghost stories she had heard, and
wondered if it was on such a night as this that a neighbor's house had
been robbed. So nervous did she get at last that she covered up her face
and resolutely began to count a thousand, feeling that anything was
better than having to wake Mark and own she was frightened.

Before she knew it she fell into a drowse and dreamed that they were
all cast away on an iceberg and a polar bear was coming up to devour
Gus, who innocently called to the big white dog and waited to caress

"A bear! a bear! oh, boys, save him!" murmured Gwen in her sleep, and
the sound of her own distressed voice waked her.

The fire was nearly out, for she had slept longer than she knew, the
room was full of shadows, and the storm seemed to have died away. In the
silence which now reigned, unbroken even by a snore, Gwen heard a sound
that made her start and tremble. Some one was coming softly up the back
stairs. All the outer doors were locked, she was sure; all the boys lay
in their places, for she could see and count the three long figures and
little Gus in a bunch on the sofa. The girls had not stirred, and this
was no rat's scamper, but a slow and careful tread, stealing nearer and
nearer to the study door, left ajar when the last load of wood was
brought in.

"Pat would knock or ring, and papa would speak, so that we might not be
scared. I want to scream, but I won't till I see that it really is some
one," thought Gwen, while her heart beat fast and her eyes were fixed on
the door, straining to see through the gloom.

The steps drew nearer, paused on the threshold, and then a head appeared
as the door noiselessly swung wider open. A man's head in a fur cap, but
it was neither papa nor Pat nor Uncle Ed. Poor Gwen would have called
out then, but her voice was gone, and she could only lie back, looking,
mute and motionless. A tiny spire of flame sprung up and flickered for a
moment on the tall dark figure in the doorway, a big man with a beard,
and in his hand something that glittered. Was it a pistol or a dagger or
a dark lantern? thought the girl, as the glimmer died away, and the
shadows returned to terrify her.

The man seemed to look about him keenly for a moment, then vanished, and
the steps went down the hall to the front door, which was opened from
within and some one admitted quietly. Whispers were heard, and then feet
approached again, accompanied by a gleam of light.

"Now I must scream!" thought Gwen; and scream she did with all her
might, as two men entered, one carrying a lantern, the other a bright
tin can.

"Boys! Robbers! Fire! Tramps! Oh, do wake up!" cried Gwen, frantically
pulling Mark by the hair, and Bob and Tony by the legs, as the quickest
way of rousing them.

Then there was a scene! The boys sprung up and rubbed their eyes, the
girls hid theirs and began to shriek, while the burglars laughed aloud,
and poor Gwen, quite worn out, fainted away on the rug. It was all over
in a minute, however; for Mark had his wits about him, and his first
glance at the man with the lantern allayed his fears.

"Hullo, Uncle Ed! We are all right. Got tired of waiting for you, so we
went to sleep."

"Stop screaming, girls, and quiet those children! Poor little Gwen is
badly frightened. Get some snow, Tom, while I pick her up," commanded
the uncle, and order was soon established.

The boys were all right at once, and Ruth and Alice devoted themselves
to the children, who were very cross and sleepy in spite of their
fright. Gwen was herself in a moment, and so ashamed of her scare that
she was glad there was no more light to betray her pale cheeks.

"I should have known you, uncle, at once, but to see a strange man
startled me, and he didn't speak, and I thought that can was a pistol,"
stammered Gwen, when she had collected her wits a little.

"Why, that's my old friend and captain, Tom May. Don't you remember him,
child? He thought you were all asleep, so crept out to tell me and let
me in."

"How did he get in himself?" asked Gwen, glad to turn the conversation.

"Found the shed door open, and surprised the camp by a flank movement.
You wouldn't do for picket duty, boys," laughed Captain Tom, enjoying
the dismay of the lads.

"Oh, thunder! I forgot to bolt it when we first went for the wood. Had
to open it, the place was so plaguy dark," muttered Bob, much disgusted.

"Where's Pat?" asked Tony, with great presence of mind, feeling anxious
to shift all blame to his broad shoulders.

Uncle Ed shook the snow from his hair and clothes, and, poking up the
fire, leisurely sat down and took Gus on his knee before he
replied,--"Serve out the grog, Tom, while I spin my yarn."

Round went the can of hot coffee, and a few sips brightened up the young
folks immensely, so that they listened with great interest to the tale
of Pat's mishaps.

"The scamp was half-seas over when he started, and deserves all he got.
In the first place he lost his way, then tumbled overboard, and let the
horses go. He floundered after them a mile or two, then lost his
bearings in the storm, pitched into a ditch, broke his head, and lay
there till found. The fellows carried him to a house off the road, and
there he is in a nice state; for, being his countrymen, they dosed him
with whiskey till he was 'quite and aisy,' and went to sleep, forgetting
all about you, the horses, and his distracted mistress at home. The
animals were stopped at the cross-roads, and there we found them after a
lively cruise round the country. Then we hunted up Pat; but what with
the blow and too many drops of 'the crayther,' his head was in a muddle,
and we could get nothing out of him. So we went home again, and then
your mother remembered that you had mentioned stopping here, and we
fitted out a new craft and set sail, prepared for a long voyage. Your
father was away, so Tom volunteered, and here we are."

"A jolly lark! now let us go home and go to bed," proposed Mark, with a

"Isn't it most morning?" asked Tony, who had been sleeping like a

"Just eleven. Now pack up and let us be off. The storm is over, the moon
coming out, and we shall find a good supper waiting for the loved and
lost. Bear a hand, Tom, and ship this little duffer, for he's off

Uncle Ed put Gus into the captain's arms, and, taking Rita himself, led
the way to the sleigh which stood at the door. In they all bundled, and
after making the house safe, off they went, feeling that they had had a
pretty good time on the whole.

"I will learn cooking and courage, before I try camping out again,"
resolved Gwen, as she went jingling homeward; and she kept her word.



The first time that I saw her was one autumn morning as I rode to town
in a horse-car. It was early, and my only fellow-passenger was a crusty
old gentleman, who sat in a corner, reading his paper; so when the car
stopped, I glanced out to see who came next, hoping it would be a
pleasanter person. No one appeared for a minute, and the car stood
still, while both driver and conductor looked in the same direction
without a sign of impatience. I looked also, but all I could see was a
little girl running across the park, as girls of twelve or thirteen
seldom run nowadays, if any one can see them.

"Are you waiting for her?" I asked of the pleasant-faced conductor, who
stood with his hand on the bell, and a good-natured smile in his eyes.

"Yes, ma'am, we always stop for little missy," he answered; and just
then up she came, all rosy and breathless with her run.

"Thank you very much. I'm late to-day, and was afraid I should miss my
car," she said, as he helped her in with a fatherly air that was
pleasant to see.

Taking a corner seat, she smoothed the curly locks, disturbed by the
wind, put on her gloves, and settled her books in her lap, then modestly
glanced from the old gentleman in the opposite corner to the lady near
by. Such a bright little face as I saw under the brown hat-rim, happy
blue eyes, dimples in the ruddy cheeks, and the innocent expression
which makes a young girl so sweet an object to old eyes.

The crusty gentleman evidently agreed with me, for he peeped over the
top of the paper at his pleasant little neighbor as she sat studying a
lesson, and cheering herself with occasional sniffs at a posy of
mignonette in her button-hole.

When the old gentleman caught my eye, he dived out of sight with a loud
"Hem!" but he was peeping again directly, for there was something
irresistibly attractive about the unconscious lassie opposite; and one
could no more help looking at her than at a lovely flower or a playful

Presently she shut her book with a decided pat, and an air of relief
that amused me. She saw the half-smile I could not repress, seemed to
understand my sympathy, and said with a laugh,--

"It _was_ a hard lesson, but I've got it!"

So we began to talk about school and lessons, and I soon discovered that
the girl was a clever scholar, whose only drawback was, as she confided
to me, a "love of fun."

We were just getting quite friendly, when several young men got in, one
of whom stared at the pretty child till even she observed it, and showed
that she did by the color that came and went in her cheeks. It annoyed
me as much as if she had been my own little daughter, for I like
modesty, and have often been troubled by the forward manners of
schoolgirls, who seem to enjoy being looked at. So I helped this one
out of her little trouble by making room between the old gentleman and
myself, and motioning her to come and sit there.

She understood at once, thanked me with a look, and nestled into the
safe place so gratefully, that the old gentleman glared over his
spectacles at the rude person who had disturbed the serenity of the

Then we rumbled along again, the car getting fuller and fuller as we got
down town. Presently an Irishwoman, with a baby, got in, and before I
could offer my seat, my little school-girl was out of hers, with a

"Please take it, ma'am; I can stand perfectly well."

It was prettily done, and I valued the small courtesy all the more,
because it evidently cost the bashful creature an effort to stand up
alone in a car full of strangers; especially as she could not reach the
strap to steady herself, and found it difficult to stand comfortably.

Then it was that the crusty man showed how he appreciated my girl's good
manners, for he hooked his cane in the strap, and gave it to her,
saying, with a smile that lighted up his rough face like sunshine,--

"Hold on to that, my dear."

"Ah," thought I, "how little we can judge from appearances! This grim
old soul is a gentleman, after all."

Turning her face towards us, the girl held on to the stout cane, and
swayed easily to and fro as we bumped over the rails. The Irishwoman's
baby, a sickly little thing, was attracted by the flowers, and put out a
small hand to touch them, with a wistful look at the bright face above.

"Will baby have some?" said my girl, and made the little creature happy
with some gay red leaves.

"Bless your heart, honey, it's fond he is of the like o' them, and
seldom he gets any," said the mother, gratefully, as she settled baby's
dirty hood, and wrapped the old shawl round his feet.

Baby stared hard at the giver of posies, but his honest blue eyes gave
no offence, and soon the two were so friendly that baby boldly clutched
at the bright buttons on her sack, and crowed with delight when he got
one, while we all smiled at the pretty play, and were sorry when the
little lady, with a bow and a smile to us, got out at the church corner.

"Now, I shall probably never see that child again, yet what a pleasant
picture she leaves in my memory!" I thought to myself, as I caught a
last glimpse of the brown hat going round the corner.

But I did see her again many times that winter; for not long after, as I
passed down a certain street near my winter quarters, I came upon a
flock of girls, eating their luncheon as they walked to and fro on the
sunny side,--pretty, merry creatures, all laughing and chattering at
once, as they tossed apples from hand to hand, munched candy, or
compared cookies. I went slowly, to enjoy the sight, as I do when I meet
a party of sparrows on the Common, and was wondering what would become
of so many budding women, when, all of a sudden, I saw _my_ little

Yes, I knew her in a minute, for she wore the same brown hat, and the
rosy face was sparkling with fun, as she told secrets with a chosen
friend, while eating a wholesome slice of bread-and-butter as only a
hungry school-girl could.

She did not recognize me, but I took a good look at her as I went by,
longing to know what the particular secret was that ended in such a gale
of laughter.

After that, I often saw my girl as I took my walks abroad, and one day
could not resist speaking to her when I met her alone; for usually her
mates clustered round her like bees about their queen, which pleased me,
since it showed how much they loved the sunshiny child.

I had a paper of grapes in my hand, and when I saw her coming, whisked
out a handsome bunch, all ready to offer, for I had made up my mind to
speak this time. She was reading a paper, but looked up to give me the
inside of the walk.

Before her eyes could fall again, I held out the grapes and said, just
as I had heard her say more than once to a schoolmate at lunch-time,
"Let's go halves."

She understood at once, laughed, and took the bunch, saying with
twinkling eyes,--

"Oh, thank you! they are beauties!"

Then, as we went on to the corner together, I told her why I did it, and
recalled the car-ride.

"I'd forgotten all about that, but my conductor is very kind, and always
waits for me," she said, evidently surprised that a stranger should take
an interest in her small self.

I did not have half time enough with her, for a bell rang, and away she
skipped, looking back to nod and smile at the queer lady who had taken a
fancy to her.

A few days afterward a fine nosegay of flowers was left at the door for
me, and when I asked the servant who sent them he answered,--

"A little girl asked if a lame lady didn't live here, and when I said
yes, she told me to give you these, and say the grapes were very nice."

I knew at once who it was, and enjoyed the funny message immensely; for
when one leads a quiet life, little things interest and amuse.

Christmas was close by, and I planned a return for the flowers, of a
sort, that I fancied my young friend would appreciate.

I knew that Christmas week would be a holiday, so, the day before it
began, I went to the school just before recess, and left a frosted plum
cake, directed to "Miss Goldilocks, from she knows who."

At first I did not know how to address my nice white parcel, for I never
had heard the child's name. But after thinking over the matter, I
remembered that she was the only girl there with yellow curls hanging
down her back, so I decided to risk the cake with the above direction.

The maid who took it in (for my girl went to a private school) smiled,
and said at once she knew who I meant. I left my cake, and strolled
round the corner to the house of a friend, there to wait and watch for
the success of my joke, for the girls always went that way at recess.

Presently the little hats began to go bobbing by, the silent street to
echo with laughter, and the sidewalk to bloom with gay gowns, for the
girls were all out in winter colors now.

From behind a curtain I peeped at them, and saw, with great
satisfaction, that nearly all had bits of my cake in their hands, and
were talking it over with the most flattering interest. My particular
little girl, with a friend on each arm, passed so near me that I could
see the happy look in her eyes, and hear her say, with a toss of the
bright hair,--

"Mother will plan it for me, and I can get it done by New Year. Won't it
be fun to hang it on the door some day, and then run?"

I fancied that she meant to make something for me, and waited with
patience, wondering how this odd frolic with my little school-girl would

New Year's Day came and passed, but no gift hung on my door; so I made
up my mind it was all a mistake, and, being pretty busy about that time,
thought no more of the matter till some weeks later, as I came into town
one day after a visit in the country.

I am fond of observing faces, and seldom forget one if anything has
particularly attracted my attention to it. So this morning, as I rode
along, I looked at the conductor, as there was no one else to observe,
and he had a pleasant sort of face. Somehow, it looked familiar, and
after thinking idly about it for a minute, I remembered where I had
seen it before.

He was the man who waited for "little missy," and I at once began to
hope that she would come again, for I wanted to ask about the holidays,
remembering how "fond of fun" she was.

When we came to the South End Square, where I met her first, I looked
out, expecting to see the little figure running down the wide path
again, and quite willing to wait for it a long time if necessary. But no
one was to be seen but two boys and a dog. The car did not stop, and
though the conductor looked out that way, his hand was not on the strap,
and no smile on his face.

"Don't you wait for the little girl now?" I asked, feeling disappointed
at not seeing my pretty friend again.

"I wish I could, ma'am," answered the man, understanding at once, though
of course he did not remember me.

"New rules, perhaps?" I added, as he did not explain, but stood
fingering his punch, and never minding an old lady, wildly waving her
bag at him from the sidewalk.

"No, ma'am; but it's no use waiting for little missy any more,
because"--here he leaned in and said, very low,--"she is dead;" then
turned sharply round, rung the bell, put the old lady in and shut the

How grieved I was to have that pleasant friendship end so sadly, for I
had planned many small surprises for my girl, and now I could do no
more, could never know all about her, never see the sunny face again, or
win another word from lips that seemed made for smiling.

Only a little school-girl, yet how many friends she seemed to have,
making them unconsciously by her gentle manners, generous actions, and
innocent light-heartedness. I could not bear to think what home must be
without her, for I am sure I was right in believing her a good, sweet
child, because real character shows itself in little things, and the
heart that always keeps in tune makes its music heard everywhere.

The busy man of the horse-car found time to miss her, the schoolmates
evidently mourned their queen, for when I met them they walked quietly,
talked low, and several wore black bows upon the sleeve; while I,
although I never knew her name, or learned a single fact about her, felt
the sweetness of her happy nature, and have not yet forgotten my little



As my friend stood by the window, watching the "soft falling snow," I
saw him smile,--a thoughtful yet a very happy smile, and, anxious to
know what brought it, I asked,--

"What do you see out there?"

"Myself," was the answer that made me stare in surprise, as I joined him
and looked curiously into the street.

All I saw was a man shovelling snow; and, thoroughly puzzled, I turned
to Richard, demanding an explanation. He laughed, and answered

"While we wait for Kate and the children, I'll tell you a little
adventure of mine. It may be useful to you some day.

"Fifteen years ago, on a Sunday morning like this, I stood at the window
of a fireless, shabby little room, without one cent in my pocket, and
no prospect of getting one.

"I had gone supperless to bed, and spent the long night asking, 'What
shall I do?' and, receiving no reply but that which is so hard for eager
youth to accept, 'Wait and trust.'

"I was alone in the world, with no fortune but my own talent, and even
that I was beginning to doubt, because it brought no money. For a year I
had worked and hoped, with a brave spirit; had written my life into
poems and tales; tried a play; turned critic and reviewed books; offered
my pen and time to any one who would employ them, and now was ready for
the hardest literary work, and the poorest pay, for starvation stared me
in the face.

"All my ventures failed, and my paper boats freighted with so many high
hopes, went down one after another, leaving me to despair. The last
wreck lay on my table then,--a novel, worn with much journeying to and
fro, on which I had staked my last chance, and lost it.

"As I stood there at my window, cold and hungry, solitary and
despairing, I said to myself, in a desperate mood,--

"'It is all a mistake; I have no talent, and there is no room in the
world for me, so the quicker I get out of it the better.'

"Just then a little chap came from a gate opposite, with a shovel on his
shoulder, and trudged away, whistling shrilly, to look for a job. I
watched him out of sight, thinking bitterly,--

"'Now look at the injustice of it! Here am I, a young man full of
brains, starving because no one will give me a chance; and there is that
ignorant little fellow making a living with an old shovel!'"

A voice seemed to answer me, saying,--

"'Why don't you do the same? If brains don't pay, try muscles, and thank
God that you have health.'

"Of course it was only my own pluck and common sense; but I declare to
you I was as much struck by the new idea as if a strange voice _had_
actually spoken; and I answered, heartily,--

"'As I live I _will_ try it! and not give up while there is any honest
work for these hands to do.'

"With sudden energy I put on my shabbiest clothes,--and they were _very_
shabby, of course, added an old cap and rough comforter, as disguise,
and stole down to the shed where I had seen a shovel. It was early, and
the house was very quiet, for the other lodgers were hard workers all
the week, and took their rest Sunday morning.

"Unseen by the sleepy girl making her fires, I got the shovel and stole
away by the back gate, feeling like a boy out on a frolic. It was bitter
cold, and a heavy snow-storm had raged all night. The streets were full
of drifts, and the city looked as if dead, for no one was stirring yet
but milkmen, and other poor fellows like me, seeking for an early job.

"I made my way to the West End, and was trying to decide at which of the
tall houses to apply first, when the door of one opened, and a pretty
housemaid appeared, broom in hand.

"At sight of the snowy wilderness she looked dismayed, and with a few
unavailing strokes of her broom at the drift on the steps, was about to
go in, when her eye fell on me.

"My shovel explained my mission, and she beckoned with an imperious wave
of her duster to the shabby man opposite. I ploughed across, and
received in silence the order to--

"'Clear them steps and sidewalk, and sweep 'em nice, for our folks
always go to church, rain or shine.'

"Then leaving her broom outside, the maid slammed the door with a
shiver, and I fell to work manfully. It was a heavy job, and my hands,
unused to any heavier tool than a pen, were soon blistered; but I tugged
away, and presently found myself much stimulated by the critical and
approving glances bestowed upon me by the pretty girl, taking breakfast
in the basement with a buxom cook and a friend, who had evidently
dropped in on her way home from early Mass.

"I was a young fellow, and in spite of my late despair, the fun of the
thing tickled me immensely, and I laughed behind my old tippet, as I
shovelled and swept with a vigor that caused the stout cook to smile
upon me.

"When the job was done, and I went to the lower door for my well-earned
pay, the maid said, with condescension, as she glanced coquettishly at
my ruddy face and eyes that twinkled under the old cap, I suspect,--

"'You can wait here while I run up, and get the money, if master is

"'Ye haven't the heart of a woman, Mary, to kape the poor crater out
there when it's kilt wid the could he is,' said the buxom cook; adding,
in a motherly tone, 'Come in wid yez, my man, and set till the fire, for
it's bitter weather the day.'

"'Faix an' it is, ma'm, thankin' ye kindly,' I answered, with a fine
brogue, for as a lad I had played the Irishman with success.

"The good soul warmed to me at once, and, filling a mug with coffee,
gave it to me with a hearty--

"'A hot sup will do you no harrum, me b'y, and sure in the blessid
Christmas time that's just fore-ninst us, the master won't begrudge ye a
breakfast; so take a biscuit and a sassage, for it's like ye haven't had
a mouthful betwixt your lips the day.'

"'That I will,' said I; 'and it's good luck and a long life to ye I'm
drinkin' in this illegint coffee.'

"'Bless the b'y! but it's a grateful heart he has, and a blue eye as
like my Pat as two pays,' cried the cook, regarding me with increasing
favor, as I bolted the breakfast which I should have been too proud to
accept from any hand less humble.

"Here the guest asked a question concerning Pat, and instantly the
mother gushed into praises of her boy, telling in a few picturesque
words, as only an Irishwoman could do it, how Pat had come to 'Ameriky'
first when things went hard with them in the 'ould country,' and how
good he was in sending home his wages till she could join him.

"How she came, but could not find her 'b'y, because of the loss of the
letter with his address, and how for a year she waited and watched, sure
that he would find her at last. How the saints had an eye on him, and
one happy day answered her prayers in a way that she considered 'aquil
to any merrycle ever seen.' For, looking up from her work, who should
she see, in a fine livery, sitting on the box of a fine carriage at the
master's door, but 'her own b'y, like a king in his glory.'

"'Arrah, ye should have seen me go up thim steps, Katy, and my Pat come
off that box like an angel flyin', and the way he tuk me in his arms,
never mindin' his illigint coat, and me all dirt a-blackin' me range.
Ah'r, but I was a happy crayter that day!'

"Here the good soul stopped to wipe away the tears that were shining on
her fat cheeks, and Mary appeared with a dollar, 'for master said it was
a tough job and well done.'

"'May his bed be aisy above, darlin', and many thanks, and the
compliments of the sayson to ye, ladies.'

"With which grateful farewell I trudged away, well pleased at the
success of my first attempt. Refreshed and cheered by the kindness of my
humble hostess, I took heart, and worked away at my next job with
redoubled energy, and by the time the first bells rang for church, I had
three dollars in my pocket. My blood danced in my veins, and all my
despair seemed shovelled away with the snow I had cleared from other
people's paths.

"My back ached, and my palms were sore, but heart and soul were in tune
again, and hurrying home, I dressed and went to church, feeling that a
special thanksgiving was due for the lesson I had learned.

"Christmas garlands hung upon the walls, Christmas music rolled through
the church, and Christmas sermon, prayer, and psalm cheered the hearts
of all. But the shabby young man in the back seat found such beauty and
comfort in the service of that day that he never forgot it, for it was
the turning-point of his life."

My friend fell silent for a minute, and I sat, contrasting that past of
his, with the happy present, for he was a prosperous man now, with an
honored name, a comfortable fortune, and best of all, a noble wife, and
some brave lads to follow in his footsteps.

Presently I could not resist asking,--

"Did you go on shovelling, Dick?"

"Not long, for there was no need of it, thanks to Pat's mother," he
answered smiling.

"Come, I _must_ have all the story, for I know it has a sequel!"

"A very happy one. Yes, I owe to that kind soul and her little story,
the turn that Fortune gave her wheel. Nay, rather say, the touch of
nature that makes the whole world kin. For when I went home that day, I
sat down and made a simple tale from the hint she gave, and something of
her own humor and pathos must have got into it, for it was accepted, and
more stories solicited, to my great surprise.

"I wrote it to please myself, for I was in a happy mood; and though my
room was cold, the sun shone; though my closet was bare, honest money
was in my pocket, and I felt as rich as a king.

"I remember I laughed at myself as I posted the manuscript on Monday
morning, called it infatuation, and thought no more of it for days,
being busy with my new friend, the shovel.

"Snow was gone, but coal remained, and I put in tons of it with a will,
for this active labor was the tonic my overwrought nerves needed, and my
spirits rose wonderfully, as muscles earned the daily bread that brains
had failed to win.

"Ah! but they brought me something better than bread, dearer than fame;
and to that old shovel I owe the happiness of my life! The very day I
got the letter accepting the little story, I was gaily putting in my
last ton of coal, for I felt that now I might take up the pen again,
since in a kitchen I had discovered the magic that wins listeners.

"Bless my heart! how I worked and how I whistled, I was so happy, and
felt so lifted above all doubt and fear by the knowledge that my talent
was _not_ a failure, and the fact that my own strong arms could keep the
wolf from the door!

"I was so busy that I had not observed a lady watching me from the
window. She had opened it to feed the hungry sparrows, and my whistle
caught her ear, for it was an air she knew, and had heard a certain
young man sing before he dropped out of her circle, and left her
wondering sadly what had befallen him.

"All this I learned afterward; then I unconsciously piped away till my
job was done, wiped my hot face, and went in to get my money. To my
surprise I was told to 'go into the dining room, and missis would
attend to it.'

"I went and found myself face to face, not with 'missis,' but the woman
I had loved hopelessly but faithfully all that hard year, since I had
gone away to fight my battle alone.

"For a moment I believed she did not know me, in my shabby suit and
besmirched face. But she did, and with a world of feeling in her own
sweet face, she offered me, not money, but her hand, saying in a voice
that made my heart leap up,--

"'Richard, I was afraid you had gone down as so many disappointed young
men go when their ambitious hopes fail; but I am so glad, so proud to
see in your face that you still work and wait, like a brave and honest
man. I _must_ speak to you!'

"What could I do after that but hold the white hand fast in both my
grimy ones, while I told my little story, and the hope that had come at
last. Heaven knows I told it very badly, for those tender eyes were upon
me all the time, so full of unspoken love and pity, admiration and
respect, that I felt like one in a glorified dream, and forgot I was a

"That was the last of it, though, and the next time I came to see my
Kate it was with clean hands, that carried her, as a first love-token,
the little tale which was the foundation-stone of this happy home."

He stopped there, and his face brightened beautifully, for the sound of
little feet approached, and childish voices cried eagerly,--

"Papa! papa! the snow has come! May we go and shovel off the steps?"

"Yes, my lads, and mind you do it well; for some day you may have to
earn your breakfast," answered Dick, as three fine boys came prancing
in, full of delight at the first snow-fall.

"These fellows have a passion for shovelling which they inherit from
their father," he added, with a twinkle of the eye that told Mrs. Kate
what we had been talking about.

It was sweet to see with what tender pride she took the hand he
stretched out to her, and holding it in both her own, said, with her
eyes upon her boys,--

"I hope they _will_ inherit not only their father's respect for honest
work, but the genius that can see and paint truth and beauty in the
humble things of this world."




"I haven't a room in the house, ma'am, but if you don't mind going down
to the cottage, and coming up here to your meals, I can accommodate you,
and would be glad to," said Mrs. Grant, in answer to my demand for

"Where is the cottage?" and I looked about me, feeling ready to accept
anything in the way of shelter, after the long, hot journey from
broiling Boston, to breezy York Harbor.

"Right down there, just a step, you see. It's all in order, and next
week it will be full, for many folks prefer it because of the quiet."

At the end of a precipitous path, which offered every facility for
accidents of all sorts, from a sprained ankle to a broken neck, stood
the cottage, a little white building with a pretty woodbine over the
porch, gay flowers in the garden, and the blue Atlantic rolling up at
the foot of the cliff.

"A regular 'Cottage by the Sea.' It will suit me exactly if I can have
that front upper room. I don't mind being alone, so have my trunk taken
down, please, and I'll get ready for tea," said I, congratulating myself
on my good luck. Alas, how little I knew what a night of terror I was to
pass in that picturesque abode!

An hour later, refreshed by my tea and invigorated by the delicious
coolness, I plunged recklessly into the gayeties of the season, and
accepted two invitations for the evening,--one to a stroll on Sunset
Hill, the other to a clam-bake on the beach.

The stroll came first, and while my friend paused at one of the
fishily-fragrant houses by the way, to interview her washerwoman, I went
on to the hill-top, where a nautical old gentleman with a spy-glass,
welcomed me with the amiable remark,--

"Pretty likely place for a prospeck."

Entering into a conversation with this ancient mariner, I asked if he
knew any legend or stories concerning the old houses all about us.

"Sights of 'em; but it aint allers the _old_ places as has the most
stories concernin' 'em. Why, that cottage down yonder aint more 'n fifty
year old, and they say there's been a lot of ghosts seen there, owin' to
a man's killin' of himself in the back bedroom."

"What, that house at the end of the lane?" I asked, with sudden

"Jes' so; nice place, but lonesome and dampish. Ghosts and toadstools is
apt to locate in houses of that sort," placidly responded the venerable

The dampness scared me more than the goblins, for I never saw a ghost
yet, but I had been haunted by rheumatism, and found it a hard fiend to

"I've taken a room there, so I'm rather interested in knowing what
company I'm to have."

"Took a room, hev you? Wal, I dare say you won't be troubled. Some folks
have a knack of seeing sperrits, and then agin some hasn't. My wife is
uncommon powerful that way, but I aint; my sight's dreadful poor for
that sort of critter."

There was such a sly twinkle in the starboard eye of the old fellow as
he spoke, that I laughed outright, and asked, sociably,--

"Has she ever seen the ghosts of the cottage? I think _I_ have rather a
knack that way, and I'd like to know what to expect."

"No, her sort is the rappin' kind. Down yonder the only ghost I take
much stock in is old Bezee Tucker's. He killed himself in the back
bedroom, and some folks say they've heard him groanin' there nights, and
a drippin' sound; he bled to death, you know. It was kep' quiet at the
time, and is forgotten now by all but a few old chaps like me. Bezee was
allers civil to the ladies, so I guess he won't bother you, ma'am;" and
the old fellow laughed.

"If he does, I'll let you know;" and with that I departed, for my friend
called to me that the beach party was clamoring for our company.

In the delights of that festive hour, I forgot the croaking of the
ancient mariner, for I was about to taste a clam for the first time in
my life, and it was a most absorbing moment. Perched about on the rocks
like hungry penguins, we watched the jovial cooks with breathless
interest, as they struggled with refractory frying-pans, fish that
stubbornly refused to brown, steaming seaweed and hot stones.

A certain captivating little Margie waited upon me so prettily that I
should have been tempted to try a sea porcupine unskinned if she had
offered it, so irresistible was her chirping way of saying, "Oh, here's
a perfectly lovely one! Do take him by his little black head and eat him

So beguiled, I indulged recklessly in clams, served hot between two
shells, little dreaming what a price I was to pay for that marine

We kept up till late, and then I was left at my own door by my friend,
who informed me that York was a very primitive, safe place, where people
slept with unlocked doors, and nothing ever went amiss o'nights.

I said nothing of the ghosts, being ashamed to own that I quaked a
little at the idea of the "back bedroom," as I shut out the friendly
faces and bolted myself in.

A lamp and matches stood in the hall, and lighting the lamp, I whisked
up stairs with suspicious rapidity, locked my door and retired to bed,
firmly refusing to own even to myself that I had ever heard the name of
Bezee Tucker.

Being very tired, I soon fell asleep; but fried potatoes and a dozen or
two of hot clams are not viands best fitted to insure quiet repose, so a
fit of nightmare brought me to a realizing sense of my indiscretion.

From a chaos of wild dreams was finally evolved a gigantic clam, whose
mission it was to devour me as I had devoured its relatives. The sharp
shells gaped before me, a solemn voice said, "Take her by her little
head and eat her quick." Retribution was at hand, and, with a despairing
effort to escape by diving, I bumped my head smartly against the wall,
and woke up feeling as if there was an earthquake under the bed.

Collecting my scattered wits, I tried to compose myself to slumber
again; but alas! that fatal feast had murdered sleep, and I vainly tried
to lull my wakeful senses with the rustle of woodbine leaves about the
window, and the breaking waves upon the beach.

In one of the pauses between the ebb and flow of the waves, I heard a
curious sound in the house,--a muffled sort of moan, coming at regular
intervals. And, as I sat up to make out where it was, another sound
caught my attentive ear. Drip, drip, drip, went something out in the
hall, and in an instant the tale told me on Sunset Hill came back with
unpleasant vividness.

"Nonsense! it is raining, and the roof leaks," I said to myself, while a
disagreeable thrill went through me, and fancy, aided by indigestion,
began to people the house with uncanny inmates.

No rain had fallen for weeks, and peeping through my curtain I saw the
big, bright stars shining in a cloudless sky; so that explanation
failed, and still the drip, drip, drip went on. Likewise the moaning, so
distinctly now that it was evident the little back bedroom was next the
chamber in which I was quaking at that identical moment.

"Some one is sleeping there," I said, and then recollected that all the
rooms were locked, and all the keys but mine in Mrs. Grant's pocket up
at the house.

"Well, let the goblins enjoy themselves; I won't disturb them if they
let me alone. Some of the ladies thought me brave to dare to sleep here,
and it will never do to own I was scared by a foolish story and an odd

So down I lay, and said the multiplication table industriously for
several minutes, trying to turn a deaf ear to the outer world, and curb
my unruly thoughts. But it was a failure, and, when I found myself
saying over and over "Four times twelve is twenty-four," I gave up
affecting courage, and went in for a good honest scare.

As a cheerful subject for midnight meditation I kept thinking of B.
Tucker, in spite of every effort to abstain. In vain I recalled the fact
that the departed gentleman was "allers civil to the ladies." I still
was in mortal fear lest he might think it necessary to come and
apologize in person for "bothering" me.

Presently a clock struck three, and I involuntarily gave a groan that
beat the ghost's all hollow, so full of anguish was I at the thought of
several hours of weary waiting in such awesome suspense.

I was not sure at what time the daylight would appear, and bitterly
regretted not gathering useful information about sunrise, tides, and
such things, instead of listening to the foolish gossip of Uncle Peter
on the hill-top.

Minute after minute dragged slowly on, and I was just thinking that I
should be obliged to shout "Fire!" as the only means of relief in my
power, when a stealthy step under the window gave me a new sensation.

This was a start, not a scare, for the new visitor was a human foe, and
I had little fear of such, being possessed of good lungs, strong arms,
and a Roman dagger nearly as big as a carving-knife. That step broke the
spell, and, creeping noiselessly to the window, I peeped out to see a
dark figure coming up the stem of the tall tree close by, hand over
hand, like a sailor or a monkey.

"Two can play at that game, my friend; you scare me, and I'll scare
you;" and with an actual sense of relief in breaking the oppressive
silence, I suddenly flung up the curtain, and, leaning out, brandished
my dagger with what I intended to be an awe-inspiring screech, but,
owing to the flutter of my breath, the effort ended in a curious
mixture of howl and bray.

A most effective sound nevertheless; for the rascal dropped as if shot,
and, with one upward glance at the white figure dimly seen in the
starlight, fled as if a legion of goblins were at his heels.

"What next?" thought I, wondering whether tragedy or comedy would close
this eventful night.

I sat and waited, chilly, but valiant, while the weird sounds went on
within, and silence reigned without, till the cheerful crow of the
punctual "cockadoo," as Margie called him, announced the dawn and laid
the ghosts. A red glow in the east banished my last fear, and, wrapping
the drapery of my couch about me, I soon lay down to quiet slumber,
quite worn out.

The sun shining in my face waked me; a bell ringing spasmodically warned
me to hurry, and a childish voice calling out, "Bet-fast is most weady,
Miss Wee," assured me that sweet little spirits haunted the cottage as
well as ghostly ones.

As I left my room to join Margie, who was waiting in the porch, and
looking like a rosy morning-glory half-way up the woodbine trellis, I
saw two things which caused me to feel that the horrors of the night
were not all imaginary.

Just outside the back bedroom door was a damp place, as if that part of
the floor had been newly washed; and when, goaded by curiosity, I peeped
through the keyhole of the haunted chamber, my eye distinctly saw an
open razor lying on a dusty table.

My vision was limited to that one object, but it was quite enough, and I
went up the hill brooding darkly over the secret hidden in my breast. I
longed to tell some one, but was ashamed, and, when asked why so pale
and absent-minded, I answered, with a gloomy smile,--

"It is the clams."

All day I hid my sufferings pretty well, but as night approached, and I
thought of another lonely vigil in the haunted cottage, my heart began
to fail, and, when we sat telling stories in the dusk, a brilliant idea
came into my head.

I would relate my ghost story, and rouse the curiosity of the listeners
to such a pitch that some of them would offer to share my quarters, in
hopes of seeing the spirit of the restless Tucker.

Cheered by this delusive fancy, when my turn came I made a thrilling
tale of the night's adventures, and, having worked my audience up to a
flattering state of excitement, paused for applause.

It came in a most unexpected form, however, for Mrs. Grant burst out
laughing, and the two boys, Johnny and Joe, rolled off the piazza in
convulsions of merriment.

Much disgusted at this unseemly demonstration, I demanded the cause of
it, and involuntarily joined in the general shout when Mrs. Grant
demolished my ghost by informing me that Bezee Tucker lived, died in,
and haunted the tumble-down house at the _other_ end of the lane.

"Then who or what made those mysterious noises?" I asked, relieved but
rather nettled at the downfall of my romance.

"My brother Seth," replied Mrs. Grant, still laughing. "I thought you
might be afraid to be there all alone, so he slipped into the bedroom,
and I forgot to tell you. He's a powerful snorer, and that's one of the
awful sounds. The other was the dripping of salt water; for you wanted
some, and the girl got it in a leaky pail. Seth wiped up the slops when
he came out early in the morning."

I said nothing about the keyhole view of the harmless razor, but,
feeling that I did deserve some credit for my heroic reception of the
burglar, I mildly asked if it was the custom in York for men as well as
turkeys to roost in trees.

An explosion from the boys extinguished my last hope of glory, for as
soon as he could speak Joe answered, unable to resist the joke, though
telling it betrayed his own transgressions.

"Johnny planned to be up awful early, and pick the last cherries off
that tree. I wanted to get ahead of him, so I sneaked down before light
to humbug him, for I was going a-fishing, and we have to be off by

"Did you get your cherries?" I asked, bound to have some of the laugh on
my side.

"Guess I didn't," grumbled Joe, rubbing his knees, while Johnny added,
with an exulting chuckle,--

"He got a horrid scare and a right good scraping, for he didn't know any
one was down there. Couldn't go fishing either, he was so lame, and I
had the cherries after all. Served him right, didn't it?"

No answer was necessary, for the two lads indulged in a friendly scuffle
among the hay-cocks, while Mrs. Grant went off to repeat the tale in the
kitchen, whence the sound of a muffled roar soon assured me that Seth
was enjoying the joke as well as the rest of us.



Little Kitty was an orphan, and she lived in the poor-house, where she
ran errands, tended babies, and was everybody's servant. A droll,
happy-hearted child, who did her best to be good, and was never tired of
hoping that something pleasant would happen.

She had often heard of Cattle Shows, but had never been to one, though
she lived in a town where there was one every year.

As October came, and people began to get ready for the show, Kitty was
seized with a strong desire to go, and asked endless questions about it
of old Sam, who lived in the house.

"Did you say anybody could go in for nothing if they took something to
show?" she asked.

"Yes; and them that has the best fruit, or cows, or butter, or whatever
it is, they gets a premium," said Sam, chopping away.

"What's a primmynum?" asked Kitty, forgetting to pick up chips, in her

"It's money; some gets a lot, and some only a dollar, or so."

"I wish I had something nice to show, but I don't own anything but
puss," and the little girl stroked the plump, white kitten that was
frisking all over her.

"Better send her; she's pretty enough to fetch a prize anywheres," said
Sam, who was fond of both Kittys.

"Do they have cats there?" asked the child, soberly.

"Ought to, if they don't, for, if cats aint cattle, I don't see what
they be," and old Sam laughed, as if he had made a joke.

"I mean to take her and see the show, any way, for that will be
splendid, even if she don't get any money! O, puss, will you go, and
behave well, and get a primmynum for me, so I can buy a book of
stories?" cried Kitty, upsetting her basket in her sudden skip at the
fine plan.

Puss turned a somersault, raced after a chicken, and then rushed up her
mistress' back, and, perching demurely on her shoulder, peeped into her
face, as if asking if pranks like these wouldn't win a prize anywhere.

"You are going to take Mr. Green's hens for him; can't I go with you? I
won't be any trouble, and I do so want to see the fun," added Kitty,
after thinking over her plan a few minutes.

Now, Sam meant to take her, but had not told her so yet, and now, being
a waggish old fellow, he thought he would let her take her cat, for the
joke of it, so he said soberly,--

"Yes, I'll tuck you in somewheres, and you'd better put puss into the
blackbird's old cage, else she will get scared, and run away. You stand
it among the chicken-coops, and folks will admire her, I aint a doubt."

Innocent little Kitty was in raptures at the prospect, though the people
in the house laughed at her. But she firmly believed it was all right,
and made her preparations with solemn care.

The old cage was scrubbed till the wires shone, then she trimmed it up
with evergreen, and put a bed of scarlet leaves for snowy puss to lie
on. Puss was washed, and combed, and decked with a blue bow on the grand
day, and, when she had been persuaded to enter her pretty prison, the
effect was charming.

A happier little lass was seldom seen than Kitty when, dressed in her
clean, blue check frock, and the old hat, with a faded ribbon, she rode
away with Sam; and behind, among the hen-coops, was Miss Puss, much
excited by the clucking and fluttering of her fellow-travellers.

When the show grounds were reached, Kitty thought the bustle and the
noise quite as interesting as the cattle; and when, after putting his
poultry in its place, Sam led her up into the great hall where the fruit
and flowers were, she began to imagine that the fairy tales were coming

While she stood staring at some very astonishing worsted-work pictures,
a lady, who was arranging fruit near by, upset a basket of fine peaches,
and they rolled away under tables and chairs.

"I'll pick 'em up, ma'am," cried Kitty, who loved to be useful; and down
she went on her hands and knees, and carefully picked up every runaway.

"What is your name, my obliging little girl?" asked the lady, as she
brushed up the last yellow peach.

"Kitty; and I live at the poor-house; and I never saw a Cattle Show
before, 'cause I didn't have any thing to bring," said the child,
feeling as important with her cat as a whole agricultural society.

"What did you bring,--patchwork?"

"O, no, ma'am, a lovely cat, and she is down stairs with the hens,--all
white, with blue eyes and a blue bow," cried Kitty.

"I want to see her," said a little girl, popping her head up from behind
the table, where she had bashfully hidden from the stranger.

The lady consented, and the children went away together.

While they were gone, Sam came to find his little friend, and the kind
lady, amused at the cat story, asked about the child.

"She aint no friends but me and the kitten, so I thought I'd give the
poor little soul a bit of pleasure. The quarter I'll get for fetching
Green's hens will get Kitty some dinner, and a book maybe, or something
to remember Cattle Show by. Shouldn't wonder if I earned a trifle more
doing chores round to-day; if so, I shall give it to her for a premium,
'cause I fetched the cat for fun, and wouldn't like to disappoint the

As Sam laughed, and rubbed his rough hands over the joke of surprising
Kitty, the lady looked at his kind old face, and resolved to give him a
pleasure, too, and of the sort he liked.

She was rich and generous, and, when her little girl came back, begging
her to buy the lovely kitten, she said she would, and put five dollars
into Sam's hands, telling him that was Kitty's premium, to be used in
buying clothes and comforts for the motherless child.

Kitty was quite willing to sell puss, for five dollars seemed a splendid
fortune to her. Such a happy day as that was, for she saw everything,
had a good dinner, bought "Babes in the Wood" of a peddler, and, best of
all, made friends.

Miss Puss was brought up by her new mistress, and put on a table among
the flowers, where the pretty cage and the plump, tricksy kitten
attracted much attention, for the story was told, and the little girl's
droll contribution much laughed over.

But the poor-house people didn't laugh, for they were so surprised and
delighted at this unexpected success that they were never tired of
talking about Kitty's Cattle Show.



Miss Ellen was making a new pincushion, and a very pretty one it
promised to be, for she had much taste, and spent half her time
embroidering chair-covers, crocheting tidies, and all sorts of dainty
trifles. Her room was full of them; and she often declared that she did
wish some one would invent a new sort of fancy-work, since she had tried
all the old kinds till she was tired of them. Painting china, carving
wood, button-holing butterflies and daisies onto Turkish towelling, and
making peacock-feather trimming, amused her for a time; but as she was
not very successful she soon gave up trying these branches, and wondered
if she would not take a little plain sewing for a change.

The old cushion stood on her table beside the new one; which was ready
for its trimming of lace and ribbon. A row of delicate new pins also lay
waiting to adorn the red satin mound, and in the old blue one still
remained several pins that had evidently seen hard service.

Miss Ellen was putting a dozen needles into her book, having just picked
them out of the old cushion, and, as she quilted them through the
flannel leaves, she said half aloud,--

"It is very evident where the needles go, but I really do wish I knew
what becomes of the pins."

"I can tell you," answered a small, sharp voice, as a long brass pin
tried to straighten itself up in the middle of a faded blue cornflower,
evidently prepared to address the meeting.

Miss Ellen stared much surprised, for she had used this big pin a good
deal lately, but never heard it speak before. As she looked at it she
saw for the first time that its head had a tiny face, with silvery hair,
two merry eyes, and a wee mouth out of which came the metallic little
voice that pierced her ear, small as it was.

"Dear me!" she said; then added politely, "if you can tell I should be
very happy to hear, for it has long been a great mystery, and no one
could explain it."

The old pin tried to sit erect, and the merry eye twinkled as it went on
like a garrulous creature, glad to talk after long silence:--

"Men make many wonderful discoveries, my dear, but they have never found
that out, and never will, because we belong to women, and only a
feminine ear can hear us, a feminine mind understand our mission, or
sympathize with our trials, experiences, and triumphs. For we have all
these as well as human beings, and there really is not much difference
between us when we come to look into the matter."

This was such a curious statement that Miss Ellen forgot her work to
listen intently, and all the needles fixed their eyes on the audacious
pin. Not a whit abashed it thus continued:--

"I am called 'Granny' among my friends, because I have had a long and
eventful life. I am hearty and well, however, in spite of this crick in
my back, and hope to serve you a good while yet, for you seem to
appreciate me, stout and ordinary as I look.

"Yes, my dear, pins and people _are_ alike, and that rusty
darning-needle need not stare so rudely, for I shall prove what I say.
We are divided into classes by birth and constitution, and each can do
much in its own sphere. I am a shawl pin, and it would be foolish in me
to aspire to the duties of those dainty lace pins made to fasten a
collar. I am contented with my lot, however, and, being of a strong make
and enterprising spirit, have had many adventures, some perils, and
great satisfactions since I left the factory long ago. I well remember
how eagerly I looked about me when the paper in which I lived, with some
hundreds of relations, was hung up in a shop window, to display our
glittering ranks and tempt people to buy. At last a purchaser came, a
dashing young lady who bought us with several other fancy articles, and
carried us away in a smart little bag, humming and talking to herself,
in what I thought a very curious way.

"When we were taken out I was all in a flutter to see where I was and
what would happen next. There were so many of us, I could hardly hope to
go first, for I was in the third row, and most people take us in order.
But Cora was a hasty, careless soul, and pulled us out at random, so I
soon found myself stuck up in a big untidy cushion, with every sort of
pin you can imagine. Such a gay and giddy set I never saw, and really,
my dear, their ways and conversation were quite startling to an ignorant
young thing like me. Pearl, coral, diamond, jet, gold, and silver heads,
were all around me as well as vulgar brass knobs, jaunty black pins,
good for nothing as they snap at the least strain, and my own relations,
looking eminently neat and respectable among this theatrical rabble. For
I will not disguise from you, Miss Ellen, that my first mistress was an
actress, and my life a very gay one at the beginning. Merry, kind, and
careless was the pretty Cora, and I am bound to confess I enjoyed myself
immensely, for I was taken by chance with half a dozen friends to pin up
the folds of her velvet train and mantle, in a fairy spectacle where she
played the queen. It was very splendid, and, snugly settled among the
soft folds, I saw it all, and probably felt that I too had my part;
humble as it was, it was faithfully performed, and I never once deserted
my post for six weeks.

"Among the elves who went flitting about with silvery wings and spangled
robes was one dear child who was the good genius of the queen, and was
always fluttering near her, so I could not help seeing and loving the
dear creature. She danced and sung, came out of flowers, swung down from
trees, popped up from the lower regions, and finally, when all the
queen's troubles are over, flew away on a golden cloud, smiling through
a blaze of red light, and dropping roses as she vanished.

"When the play ended, I used to see her in an old dress, a thin shawl,
and shabby hat, go limping home with a tired-looking woman who dressed
the girls.

"I thought a good deal about 'Little Viola,' as they called her,--though
her real name was Sally, I believe,--and one dreadful night I played a
heroic part, and thrill now when I remember it."

"Go on, please, I long to know," said Miss Ellen, dropping the
needle-book into her lap, and leaning forward to listen better.

"One evening the theatre took fire," continued the old pin impressively.
"I don't know how, but all of a sudden there was a great uproar, smoke,
flames, water pouring, people running frantically about, and such a wild
panic I lost my small wits for a time. When I recovered them, I found
Cora was leaning from a high window, with something wrapped closely in
the velvet mantle that I pinned upon the left shoulder just under a
paste buckle that only sparkled while _I_ did all the work.

"A little golden head lay close by me, and a white face looked up from
the crimson folds, but the sweet eyes were shut, the lips were drawn
with pain, a horrible odor of burnt clothes came up to me, and the small
hand that clutched Cora's neck was all blistered with the cruel fire
which would have devoured the child if my brave mistress had not rescued
her at the risk of her own life. _She_ could have escaped at first, but
she heard Sally cry to her through the blinding smoke, and went to find
and rescue her. I dimly recalled that, and pressed closer to the white
shoulder, full of pride and affection for the kind soul whom I had often
thought too gay and giddy to care for anything but pleasure.

"Now she was calling to the people in the street to put up a ladder,
and, as she leaned and called, I could see the crowds far down, the
smoke and flame bursting out below, and hear the hiss of water as it
fell upon the blazing walls. It was a most exciting moment, as we hung
there, watching the gallant men fix the long ladder, and one come
climbing up till we could see his brave face, and hear him shout

"'Swing from the window-sill, I'll catch you.'

"But Cora answered, as she showed the little yellow head that shone in
the red glare,--

"'No, save the child first!'

"'Drop her then, and be quick: it's hot work here,' and the man held up
his arms with a laugh, as the flames licked out below as if to eat away
the frail support he stood on.

"All in one breathless moment, Cora had torn off the mantle, wrapped the
child in it, bound her girdle about it, and finding the gaudy band would
not tie, caught out the first pin that came to hand, and fastened it.
_I_ was that pin; and I felt that the child's life almost depended upon
me, for as the precious bundle dropped into the man's hands he caught it
by the cloak, and, putting it on his shoulder, went swiftly down. The
belt strained, the velvet tore, I felt myself bending with the weight,
and expected every minute to see the child slip, and fall on the stones
below. But I held fast, I drove my point deeply in, I twisted myself
round so that even the bend should be a help, and I called to the man,
'Hold tight, I'm trying my best, but what can one pin do!'

"Of course he did not hear me, but I really believe my desperate efforts
were of some use; for, we got safely down, and were hurried away to the
hospital where other poor souls had already gone.

"The good nurse who undid that scorched, drenched, and pitiful bundle,
stuck me in her shawl, and resting there, I saw the poor child laid in a
little bed, her burns skilfully cared for, and her scattered senses
restored by tender words and motherly kisses. How glad I was to hear
that she would live, and still more rejoiced to learn next day that Cora
was near by, badly burned but not in danger, and anxious to see the
child she had saved.

"Nurse Benson took the little thing in her arms to visit my poor
mistress, and I went too. But alas! I never should have known the gay
and blooming girl of the day before. Her face and hands were terribly
burnt, and she would never again be able to play the lovely queen on any
stage, for her fresh beauty was forever lost.

"Hard days for all of us; I took my share of trouble with the rest,
though I only suffered from the strain to my back. Nurse Benson
straightened me out and kept me in use, so I saw much of pain and
patience in that great house, because the little gray shawl which I
fastened covered a tender heart, and on that motherly bosom many aching
heads found rest, many weary creatures breathed their last, and more
than one unhappy soul learned to submit.

"Among these last was poor Cora, for it was very hard to give up beauty,
health, and the life she loved, so soon. Yet I do not think she ever
regretted the sacrifice when she saw the grateful child well and safe,
for little Sally was her best comforter, and through the long weeks she
lay there half blind and suffering, the daily visit of the little one
cheered her more than anything else. The poor mother was lost in the
great fire, and Cora adopted the orphan as her own, and surely she had a
right to what she had so dearly bought.

"They went away together at last, one quite well and strong again, the
other a sad wreck, but a better woman for the trial, I think, and she
carried comfort with her. Poor little Sally led her, a faithful guide, a
tender nurse, a devoted daughter to her all her life."

Here the pin paused, out of breath, and Miss Ellen shook a bright drop
off the lace that lay in her lap, as she said in a tone of real

"What happened next? How long did you stay in the hospital?"

"I stayed a year, for Nurse used me one day to pin up a print at the
foot of a poor man's bed, and he took such comfort in it they let it
hang till he died. A lovely picture of a person who held out his arms to
all the suffering and oppressed, and they gathered about him to be
comforted and saved. The forlorn soul had led a wicked life, and now lay
dying a long and painful death, but something in that divine face taught
him to hope for pardon, and when no eye but mine saw him in the lonely
nights he wept, and prayed, and struggled to repent. I think he was
forgiven, for when at last he lay dead a smile was on his lips that
never had been there before. Then the print was taken down, and I was
used to pin up a bundle of red flannel by one of the women, and for
months I lay in a dark chest, meditating on the lessons I had already

"Suddenly I was taken out, and when a queer round pin-ball of the
flannel had been made by a nice old lady, I was stuck in it with a party
of fat needles, and a few of my own race, all with stout bodies and big

"'The dear boy is clumsy with his fingers, and needs strong things to
use,' said the old lady, as she held the tomato cushion in both hands
and kissed it before she put it into a soldier's 'comfort bag.'

"'Now I shall have a lively time!' I thought, and looked gaily about me,
for I liked adventures, and felt that I was sure of them now.

"I cannot begin to tell you all I went through with that boy, for he was
brave as a lion and got many hard knocks. We marched, and camped, and
fought, and suffered, but we _never_ ran away, and when at last a Minie
ball came smashing through the red cushion (which Dick often carried in
his pocket as a sort of charm to keep him safe, for men seldom use
pins), I nearly lost my head, for the stuffing flew out, and we were all
knocked about in a dreadful way. The cushion and the old wallet together
saved Dick's life, however, for the ball did not reach his brave heart,
and the last I saw of him as I fell out of the hasty hand that felt for
a wound was a soft look in the brave bright eyes, as he said to himself
with a smile,--

"'Dear old mother hasn't lost her boy yet, thank God!'

"A colored lad picked me up, as I lay shining on the grass, and pins
being scarce in those parts, gave me to his mammy, who kept me to fasten
her turban. Quite a new scene I found, for in the old cabin were a dozen
children and their mothers making ready to go North. The men were all
away fighting or serving the army, so mammy led the little troop, and
they marched off one day following the gay turban like a banner, for she
had a valiant soul, and was bound to find safety and freedom for her
children at all risks.

"In my many wanderings to and fro, I never made so strange a journey as
that one, but I enjoyed it, full of danger, weariness and privation as
it was; and every morning when mammy put on the red and yellow
handkerchief I was proud to sit aloft on that good gray head, and lead
the forlorn little army toward a land of liberty.

"We got there at last, and she fell to work over a washtub to earn the
bread for the hungry mouths. I had stood by her through all those weary
weeks, and did not want to leave her now, but went off pinning a paper
round some clean clothes on a Saturday morning.

"'Now I wonder what will come next!' I thought, as Thomas Jefferson, or
'Jeff,' as they called him, went whistling away with the parcel through
the streets.

"Crossing the park, he spied a lovely butterfly which had strayed in
from the country; caught and pinned it on his hat to please little Dinah
when he got home. The pretty creature soon writhed its delicate life
away, but its beauty attracted the eye of a pale girl hurrying along
with a roll of work under her arm.

"'Will you sell me that?' she asked, and Jeff gladly consented,
wondering what she would do with it. So did I, but when we got to her
room I soon saw, for she pinned the impaled butterfly against a bit of
blue paper, and painted it so well that its golden wings seemed to
quiver as they did in life. A very poor place it was, but full of lovely
things, and I grew artistic with just looking about me at the pictures
on the walls, the flowers blooming on plates and panels, birds and
insects kept for copies, and gay bits of stuff used as back-grounds.

"But more beautiful than anything she made was the girl's quiet, busy
life alone in the big city; for, she was hoping to be an artist, and
worked day and night to compass her desire. So poor, but so happy, I
used to wonder why no one helped her and kept her from such hard, yet
patient, waiting. But no one did, and I could watch her toiling away as
I held the butterfly against the wall, feeling as if it was a symbol of
herself, beating her delicate wings in that close place till her heart
was broken, by the cruel fate that held her there when she should have
been out in the free sunshine. But she found a good customer for her
pretty work, in a rich lady who had nothing to do but amuse herself, and
spent much time and money in fancy-work.

"I know all about it; for, one day an order came from the great store
where her designs were often bought, and she was very happy painting
some purple pansies upon velvet, and she copied her yellow butterfly to
float above them.

"The poor insect was very dry, and crumbled at a touch, so my task there
was done, and as my mistress rolled up the packet, she took me to fasten
it securely, singing as she did so, for every penny was precious.

"We all went together to the rich lady, and she embroidered the flowers
on a screen very like that one yonder. I thought she would throw me
away, I was so battered now, but she took a fancy to use me in various
ways about her canvas work, and I lived with her all winter. A kind
lady, my dear, but I often wished I could suggest to her better ways of
spending her life than everlasting fancy-work. She never seemed to see
the wants of those about her, never lent an ear to the poor, or found
delight in giving of her abundance to those who had little, to brighten
their lives; but sighed because she had nothing to do when the world was
full of work, and she blessed with so many good gifts to use and to
enjoy. I hope she will see her mistake some day, and not waste all her
life on trifles, else she will regret it sadly by and by."

Here the pin paused with a keen glance at Miss Ellen, who had suddenly
begun to sew with a bright color in her cheeks, for the purple pansies
were on the screen that stood before her fire-place, and she recognized
the portrait of herself in that last description. But she did not fancy
being lectured by a pin, so she asked with a smile as she plaited up her

"That is all very interesting, but you have not yet told me what becomes
of the pins, Granny."

"Pins, like people, shape their own lives, in a great measure, my dear,
and go to their reward when they are used up. The good ones sink into
the earth and turn to silver, to come forth again in a new and precious
form. The bad ones crumble away to nothing in cracks and dust heaps,
with no hope of salvation, unless some human hand lifts them up and
gives them a chance to try again. Some are lazy, and slip out of sight
to escape service, some are too sharp, and prick and scratch wherever
they are. Others are poor, weak things, who bend up and lose their heads
as soon as they are used. Some obtrude themselves on all occasions, and
some are never to be found in times of need. All have the choice to wear
out or to rust out. I chose the former, and have had a useful, happy
life so far. I'm not as straight as I once was, but I'm bright still, my
point is sharp, my head firm, and age has not weakened me much, I hope,
but made me wiser, better, and more contented to do my duty wherever I
am, than when I left my native paper long ago."

Before Miss Ellen could express her respect for the worthy old pin, a
dismal groan was heard from the blue cushion, and a small voice croaked

"Alas, alas, I chose to rust out, and here I am, a miserable, worthless
thing, whom no one can use or care for. Lift the ruffle, and behold a
sad contrast to the faithful, honest, happy Granny, who has told us such
a varied tale."

"Bless me, what possesses everything to-day!" exclaimed Miss Ellen,
looking under the frill of the old cushion to see who was speaking now.
There to be sure she found a pin hidden away, and so rusty that she
could hardly pull it out. But it came creaking forth at the third tug,
and when it was set up beside Granny, she cried out in her cheery way,--

"Try Dr. Emery, he can cure most cases of rust, and it is never too late
to mend, neighbor."

"Too late for me!" sighed the new comer. "The rust of idleness has eaten
into my vitals while I lay in my silken bed, and my chance is gone
forever. I was bright, and strong, and sharp once, but I feared work and
worry, and I hid, growing duller, dimmer, and more useless every day. I
am good for nothing, throw me away, and let the black pins mourn for a
wasted life."

"No," said Miss Ellen, "you are not useless, for you two shall sit
together in my new cushion, a warning to me, as well as to the other
pins, to choose the right way in time, and wear out with doing our duty,
rather than rust out as so many do. Thank you, Granny, for your little
lecture. I will not forget it, but go at once and find that poor girl,
and help her all I can. Rest here, you good old soul, and teach these
little things to follow your example."

As she spoke, Miss Ellen set the two pins in the middle of the red satin
cushion, stuck the smaller pins round them, and hastened to put on her
shawl lest something should prevent her from going.

"Take me with you; I'm not tired, I love to work! use me, dear mistress,
and let me help in the good work!" cried Granny, with a lively skip that
sent her out upon the bureau.

So Miss Ellen pinned her shawl with the old pin instead of the fine
brooch she had in her hand, and they went gaily away together, leaving
the rusty one to bemoan itself, and all the little ones to privately
resolve that they would not hide away from care and labor, but take
their share bravely and have a good record to show when they went, at
last where the good pins go.


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[Illustration: "'I'm not hurt, all right in a minute,' he said, sitting
up, a little pale and dizzy, as the boys gathered round him, full of
admiration and alarm."--PAGE 251.]

       *       *       *       *       *





"An endless significance lies in work; in idleness alone is there perpetual

PRICE, $1.75.

       *       *       *       *       *






Price $1.50.

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       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "Sing, Tessa; sing!" cried Tommo, twanging away with all
his might.--PAGE 47.]

AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG: Containing "My Boys," "Shawl-Straps," "Cupid and
Chow-Chow," "My Girls," "Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore." 5 vols. Price
of each, $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "One hand stirred gruel for sick America, and the other
hugged baby Africa."--PAGE 76.]


       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "I pulled it full of water, and then I poked the pipe end
into her ear, and then I let it fly."]



By NEIL FOREST. Price $1.50.

       *       *       *       *       *




PRICE $1.50.

       *       *       *       *       *


LITTLE WOMEN; OR, MEG, JO, BETH, AND AMY. Parts First and Second. Price
of each, $1.50.

[Illustration: JO IN A VORTEX.--Every few weeks she would shut herself
up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and "fall into a vortex," as
she expressed it.--PAGE 44.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: NANNY'S SUBSTITUTE.

Nanny at the Fair, taking orders and carrying trays.--PAGE 171.]




_One handsome square 16mo volume, bound in cloth, black and gilt
lettered. Price $1.50._

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "WILL BRADLEY AND I."]


Written by one of us for the amusement of Pa's and Ma's in general, Aunt
Lovisa in particular.

PRICE $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *



BY H. H.,



     "----in all the lands
No such morning-glory."

--PAGE 133.]

PRICE $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *





BY P. THORNE. Price $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *





_With Illustrations by Addie Ledyard._

Two handsome square 16mo volumes, bound in cloth, black and gilt
lettered. Price, $1.50 each.

       *       *       *       *       *



HARRY BLOUNT. Passages in a Boy's Life on Land and Sea. By PHILIP

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: ENTERING PARADISE.--PAGE 23.

So in they marched, Katy and Cecy heading the procession, and Dorry,
with his great trailing bunch of boughs, bringing up the rear.]

WHAT KATY DID. With Illustrations by Addie Ledyard. One handsome, square
16mo volume, bound in cloth, black and gilt lettered. Price, $1.50.

_These books are sold by all booksellers and newsdealers
everywhere. When not to be found, send the advertised amount by
mail, to the Publishers_,



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