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Title: Illustrated Science for Boys and Girls
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: FROM DR. FRANKLIN'S BROOM-CORN SEED. See Page 223.]

D. Lothrop & Company,
Franklin Street.

Copyright, 1881,
By D. Lothrop & Company.


How Newspapers are made.                 11
Umbrellas.                               38
Paul and the Comb-makers.                54
In the Gas-works.                        69
Racing a Thunder-storm.                  86
August's "'Speriment."                  103
The Birds Of Winter.                    125
Something About Light-houses.           141
"Buy a Broom! Buy a Broom!"             158
Talking by Signals.                     171
Jennie finds out how Dishes are made.   183
Archery For Boys.                       192
Dolly's Shoes.                          202
A Glimpse of some Montana Beavers.      208
How Logs go to Mill.                    211


The N. Y. Tribune Building at Night.        13
A Contributor to the Waste-Paper Basket.    16
Office of the Editor-In-Chief.              17
Regular Contributors                        19
How Some of the News is Gathered            22
Type-Setter's Case In Pi.                   22
Type-Setters' Room.                         23
Taking "Proofs."                            24
In the Stereotypers' Room.                  25
Finishing the Plate.                        27
Printing Presses of the Past and Present    29
A News-Dealer.                              32
A Bad Morning for the News-Boys.            35
"Any Answers come for Me?"                  36
The First Umbrella.                         37
What Jonas saw adown the Future.            38
Lord of the Twenty-Four Umbrellas.          41
A "Duck's Back" Umbrella.                   43
An Umbrella Handle Au Naturel.              44
Cutting the Covers.                         45
Finishing the Handle.                       48
Sewing "Pudding-Bag" Seams.                 49
Completing the Umbrella                     50
Master Paul did not feel Happy.             51
My Lady's Toilet.                           53
The New Circle Comb                         55
Ancient or Modern--Which?                   56
"In Some Remote Corner Of Spain."           58
A Retort.                                   64
Kitty in the Gas-Works.                     69
The Metre.                                  69
The Gasometre.                              75
Inflating the "Buffalo."                    79
A Plucky Dog.                               83
Our Balloon Camp.                           85
The Professor's Dilemma.                    89
The Wreck of the "Buffalo."                 91
The Incubator.                              94
How the Chicken is Packed.                 106
How the Shell is Cracked.                  107
The Artificial Mother.                     109
The Chickadee.                             115
The Black Snow-Bird.                       118
The Snow Bunting.                          121
The Brown Creeper.                         122
Nuthatches.                                124
The Downy Woodpecker.                      126
Fourth Order Light-House.                  129
A Modern Light-House                       132
Light-House on Mt. Desert.                 134
Light-House at "The Thimble Shoal"         138
First Class Light-Ship.                    141
The Blind Broom-Maker of Barnstable.       146
A Gay Cavalcade.                           147
The Comedy of Brooms.                      150
Up in the Attic.                           151
Plant the Broom!                           153
The Tragedy of Brooms.                     156
In Obedience to the Signals.               163
The Potter's Wheel.                        169
The Kiln and Saggers.                      170
Mould for a cup.                           171
Handle Mould.                              171
Making a Sugar-Bowl.                       171
Rest for flat Dishes.                      173
The Target.                                183
Dolly's Shoes                              186
A Maine Wood-Chopper.                      193
A River-Driver.                            196
"The Liberated Logs came sailing along."   197
Through the Sluice.                        198



We will suppose that it is a great newspaper, in a great city, printing
daily 25,000, or more, copies. Here it is, with wide columns, with small,
compact type, with very little space wasted in head lines, eight large
pages of it, something like 100,000 words printed upon it, and sold for
four cents--25,000 words for a cent. It is a great institution--a power
greater than a hundred banking-houses, than a hundred politicians, than a
hundred clergymen. It collects and scatters news; it instructs and
entertains with valuable and sprightly articles; it forms and
concentrates public opinion; it in one way or another, brings its
influence to bear upon millions of people, in its own, and other lands.
Who would not like to know something about it?

And there is Tom, first of all, who declares that he is going to be a
business man, and who already has a bank-book with a good many dollars
entered on its credit side--there is Tom, I say, asking first of all:
"How much does it cost? and where does the money come from? and is it a
paying concern?" Tom shall not have his questions expressly answered; for
it isn't exactly his business; but here are some points from which he may

"_How much does it cost?_" Well, there is the publishing department, with
an eminent business man at its head, with two or three good business men
for his assistants, and with several excellent clerks and other
employès. Then there is the Editor-in-Chief, and the Managing Editor,
and the City Editor, and a corps of editors of different departments,
besides reporters--thirty or forty men in all, each with some special
literary gift. Then there are thirty or forty men setting type; a
half-dozen proof-readers; a half-dozen stereotypers; the engineer and
foreman and assistants below stairs, who do the printing; and several men
employed in the mailing department. Then there are tons and tons of paper
to be bought each week; ink, new type, heavy bills for postage; many
hundreds of dollars a week for telegraphic dispatches; and the interest
on the money invested in an expensive building; expensive machinery, and
an expensive stock of printers' materials--nothing being said of the pay
of correspondents of the paper at the State Capitol, at Washington, at
London, at Paris, etc. Tom is enough of a business man, already, I know,
to figure up the weekly expenses of such an establishment at several
thousands of dollars--a good many hundreds at each issue of the paper.


"_And where does the money come from?_" Partly from the sale of papers.
Only four cents apiece, and only a part of that goes to the paper; but,
then, 25,000 times, say two-and-a-half cents, is $625, which it must be
confessed, is quite a respectable sum for quarter-dimes to pile up in a
single day. But the greater part of the money comes from advertisements.
Nearly half of the paper is taken up with them. If you take a half-dozen
lines to the advertising clerk, he will charge you two or three dollars;
and there are several hundred times as much as your small advertisement
in each paper. So you may guess what an income the advertising yields.
And the larger, the more popular, and the more widely read the paper, the
better will be the prices which advertisers will pay, and the more will
be the advertisements. And so the publisher tries to sell as many papers
as he can, partly because of the money which he gets for them, but more,
because the more he sells the more advertising will he get, and the
better rates will he charge for it. So, Tom, if you ever become the
publisher of a newspaper, you must set your heart on getting an editor
who will make a paper that will sell--whatever else he does or does _not_

"_And is it a paying concern?_" Well, I don't think the editors think
they get very large pay, nor the correspondents, nor the reporters, nor
the printers, nor the pressmen. They work incessantly; it is an intense
sort of work; the hours are long and late; the chances of premature death
are multiplied. I think they will all say: "We aren't in this business
for the money that is in it; we are in it for the influence of it, for
the art of it, for the love of it; but then, we are very glad to get our
checks all the same." As to whether the paper pays the men who own
it--which was Tom's question: I think that that "depends" a great deal on
the state of trade, on the state of politics, and on the degree to which
the paper will, or will not, scruple to do mean things. A great many
papers would pay better, if they were meaner. It would be a great deal
easier to make a good paper, if you did not have to sell it. When, then,
Jonathan shall have become a minister, he doesn't want to bear down too
hard on a "venal press" in his Fast Day and Thanksgiving sermons.
Perhaps, by that time, Tom will be able to explain why.

"_How, now, is this paper made?_" "But," interrupts Jonathan, "before
they make it, I should like to know where they get the 100,000 words to
put into it; I have been cudgeling my brains for now two weeks to get
words enough to fill a four page composition--say 200 words, _coarse_."

The words which are put into it are, besides the advertisements, chiefly:
1. News; 2. Letters and articles on various subjects; 3. Editorial
articles, reviews, and notes; 4. Odds and ends.

The "_letters and articles on various subjects_" come from all sorts of
people: some from great writers who get large pay for even a brief
communication; some from paid correspondents in various parts of the
world; some from all sorts of people who wish to proclaim to the world
some grievance of theirs, or to enlighten the world with some brilliant
idea of theirs--which generally loses its luster the day the article is
printed. A large proportion of letters and articles from this last class
of people get sold for waste-paper before the printer sees them. This is
one considerable source of income to the paper, of which I neglected to
tell Tom.


As for the "_odds and ends_"--extracts from other papers, jokes, and
various other scraps tucked in here and there--a man with shears and
paste-pot has a good deal to do with the making of them. If you should
see him at work, you would want to laugh at him--as if he were, for all
the world, only little Nell cutting and pasting from old papers, a
"frieze" for her doll's house. But when his "odds and ends," tastefully
scattered here and there through the paper, come under the reader's eye,
they make, I am bound to say, a great deal of very hearty laughter which
is not that laughter of ridicule which the sight of him at his work might


About the "_news_," I must speak more fully. The "_editorial articles,
reviews, and notes_," we shall happen upon when we visit the office.

A part of the news comes by telegraph from all parts of the world. Some
of it is telegraphed to the paper by its correspondents, and the editors
call it "special," because it is especially to them. Perhaps there is
something in it which none of the other papers have yet heard of. But the
general telegraphic news, from the old-world and the new, is gathered up
by the "Associated Press." That is to say, the leading papers form an
Association and appoint men to send them news from the chief points in
America and in Europe. These representatives of the Associated Press are
very enterprising, and they do not allow much news of importance to
escape them. The salaries of these men, and the cost of the telegraphic
dispatches, are divided up among the papers of the Association, so that
the expense to each paper is comparatively small. Owing to this
association of papers, hundreds of papers throughout the country publish
a great deal of matter on the same day which is word-for-word alike.

Two devices in this matter of Associated Press dispatches save so much
labor, that I think you will like me to describe them.

One is this: Suppose there are a dozen papers in the same city which are
entitled to the Associated Press dispatches. Instead of making a dozen
separate copies, which might vary through mistakes, one writing answers
for all the dozen. First, a sheet of prepared tissue paper is laid down,
then a sheet of a black, smutty sort of paper, then two sheets of tissue
paper, then a sheet of black paper, and so on, until as many sheets of
tissue paper have been piled up, as there are copies wanted. Upon the top
sheet of paper, the message is written, not with pen, or pencil, but with
a hard bone point, which presses so hard that the massive layers of
tissue paper take off from the black paper a black line wherever the bone
point has pressed. Thus a dozen pages are written with one writing, and
off they go, just alike, to the several newspaper offices. The printers
call this queer, tissue-paper copy--"manifold."


The other device is a telegraphic one. Suppose the Associated Press agent
in New York is sending a dispatch to the Boston papers. There are papers
belonging to the Association at, say, New Haven, Hartford, Springfield
and Worcester. Instead of sending a message to each of these points,
also, the message goes to Boston, and operators at New Haven, Hartford,
Springfield, and Worcester, _listen to it as it goes through_, and copy
it off. Thus one operator at New York is able to talk to perhaps a score
of papers, in various parts of New England, or elsewhere, at once.

But in a large city there is a great deal of city and suburban news. Take
for example, New York; and there is that great city, and Brooklyn, and
Jersey City, and Hoboken, and Newark, and Elizabeth, to be looked after,
as well as many large villages near at hand. And there is great
competition between the papers, which shall get the most, the exactest,
and the freshest, news. Consequently, each day, a leading New York paper
will publish a page or more of local news. The City Editor has charge of
collecting this news. He has, perhaps, twenty or twenty-five men to help
him--some in town, and others in the suburbs.

His plan for news collecting will be something like this: He will have
his secretary keep two great journals, with a page in each devoted to
each day. One of these, the "blotter," will be to write things in which
are going to happen. Everything that is going to happen to-morrow, the
next day, the next, and so on, the secretary will make a memorandum of or
paste a paragraph in about upon the page for the day on which the event
will happen. Whatever he, or the City Editor, hears or reads of, that is
going to happen, they thus put down in advance, until by and by, the book
gets fairly fat and stout with slips which have been pasted in. But, this
morning, the City Editor wants to lay out to-day's work. So his secretary
turns to the "blotter," at to-day's page, and copies from it into
to-day's page in the second book all the things to happen to-day--a
dozen, or twenty, or thirty--a ship to be launched, a race to come off, a
law-case to be opened, a criminal to be executed, such and such important
meetings to be held, and so on. By this plan, nothing escapes the eye of
the City Editor who, at the side of each thing to happen, writes the name
of the reporter whom he wishes to have write the event up. This second
book is called the "assignment book;" and, when it is made out, the
reporters come in, find their orders upon it, and go out for their day's
work, returning again at evening for any new assignments. Besides this,
they, and the City Editor, keep sharp ears and eyes for anything new; and
so, amongst them, the city and suburbs are ransacked for every item of
news of any importance. The City Editor is a sort of general. He keeps a
close eye on his men. He finds out what they can best do, and sets them
at that. He gives the good workers better and better work; the poor ones
he gradually works out of the office. Those who make bad mistakes, or
fail to get the news, which some other paper gets, are frequently
"suspended," or else discharged out-and-out. Failing to get news which
other papers get, is called being "beaten," and no reporter can expect to
get badly "beaten" many times without losing his position.


And now, Tom, and Jonathan, and even little Nell, we'll all be magicians
to-night, like the father of Miranda, in "The Tempest," and transport
ourselves in an instant right to one of those great newspaper offices.

[Illustration: TYPE-SETTER'S CASE IN PI.]

It is six o'clock. The streets are dark. The gaslights are glaring from
hundreds of lamp-posts. Do you see the highest stories of all those
buildings brilliant with lights? Those are the type-setters' rooms of as
many great newspapers. In a twinkling we are several stories up toward
the top of one of these buildings. These are the Editorial Rooms. We'll
make ourselves invisible, so that they'll not suspect our presence, and
will do to-night just as they always do.

[Illustration: TYPE-SETTERS' ROOM.]

Up over our heads, in the room of the type-setters, are a hundred
columns, or more, of articles already set--enough to make two or three
newspapers. The Foreman of the type-setters makes copies of these on
narrow strips of paper with a hand-press, and sends them down to the
Editor-in-Chief. These copies on narrow strips of paper, are called
"proofs," because, when they are read over, the person reading them can
see if the type has been set correctly--can prove the correctness or
incorrectness of the type-setting.

[Illustration: TAKING "PROOFS."]

The Editor-in-Chief runs rapidly through these proofs, and marks, against
here and there one, "_Must_," which means that it "must" be published in
to-morrow's paper. Against other articles he marks, "_Desirable_," which
means that the articles are "desirable" to be used, if there is room for
them. Many of the articles he makes no mark against, because they can
wait, perhaps a week, or a month. By having a great many articles in type
all the time, they never lack--Jonathan will be glad to know--for
something to put into the paper. Jonathan might well take the hint, and
write his compositions well in advance. Against some of the articles, the
word "_Reference_" is written, which indicates that when the article is
published an editorial article or note with "reference" to it must also
be published. Before the Editor-in-Chief is through, perhaps he marks
against one or two articles the word "_Kill_," which means that the
article is, after all, not wanted in the paper, and that the type of it
may be taken apart--the type-setters say "distributed"--without being


When the Editor-in-Chief is through with the proofs, perhaps he has a
consultation with the Managing Editor--the first editor in authority
after him--about some plans for to-night's paper, or for to-morrow, or
for next week. Perhaps, then, he summons in the Night Editor. The Night
Editor is the man who stays until almost morning, who overlooks
everything that goes into the paper, and who puts everything in according
to the orders of the Editor-in-Chief, or of the Managing Editor. Well, he
tells the Night Editor how he wants to-morrow's paper made, what articles
to make the longest, and what ones to put in the most important places in
the paper. Then, perhaps, the City Editor comes knocking at the door, and
enters, and he and the Editor-in-Chief talk over some stirring piece of
city news, and decide what to say in the editorial columns about it.

After the Editor-in-Chief has had these consultations, perhaps he begins
to dictate to his secretary letters to various persons, the secretary
taking them down in short-hand, as fast as he can talk, and afterwards
copying them out and sending them off. That is the sort of letter-writing
which would suit little Nell--just to say off the letter, and not to have
to write it--which, in her case, means "printing" it in great, toilsome
capitals. After dictating perhaps a dozen letters, it may be that the
Editor-in-Chief dictates in the same manner, an editorial article, or
some other matter which he wishes to have appear in the paper. Thus he
spends several hours--perhaps the whole night--in seeing people, giving
directions, dictating letters and articles, laying out new plans, and
exercising a general headship over all things.

Turning, now, from his room, we observe in the great room of the editors,
a half dozen men or more seated at their several desks--the Managing
Editor and the Night Editor about their duties; two or three men looking
over telegraph messages and getting them ready for the type-setters; two
or three men writing editorial, and other articles.

From this room we turn to the great room of the City Department. There is
the City Editor, in his little, partitioned-off room, writing an
editorial, we will suppose, on the annual report of the City Treasurer,
which has to-day been given to the public. At desks, about the great
room, a half-dozen reporters are writing up the news which they have been
appointed to collect; and another, and another, comes in every little

[Illustration: FINISHING THE PLATE.]

Over there, is the little, partitioned-off room for the Assistant City
Editor. It is this man's duty, with his assistant, to prepare for the
type-setters all the articles which come from the City Department. There
are stacks and stacks of them. Each reporter thinks his subject is the
most important, and writes it up fully; and, when it is all together,
perhaps there is a third or a half more than there is room in the paper
to print. So the Assistant City Editor, and his Assistant, who come to
the office at about five o'clock in the afternoon, read it all over
carefully, correct it, cut out that which it is not best to use, group
all the news of the same sort so that it may come under one general head,
put on suitable titles, decide what sort of type to put it in, etc.,--a
good night's work for both of them. They also write little introductions
to the general subjects, and so harmonize and modify the work of twenty
or twenty-five reporters, as to make it read almost as if it were written
by one man, with one end in view.

The editors of the general news have to do much the same thing by the
letters of correspondents, and by the telegraphic dispatches.

While this sort of work goes on, hour after hour, with many merry laughs
and many good jokes interspersed to make the time fly the swifter, we
will wander about the establishment. Here, in the top story of the
building, is the room of the type-setters. Every few minutes, from
down-stairs in the Counting Room, comes a package of advertisements to be
put into type; and from the Editorial Rooms a package of news and general
articles for the same purpose. They do not trouble to send them up by a
messenger. A tube, with wind blown through it very fast, brings up every
little while a little leathern bag, in which are the advertisements or
the articles--the "copy" as the type-setters call it.

In this room are thirty or forty type-setters. Each one of them has his
number. When the copy comes up, a man takes it and cuts it up into little
bits, as much as will make, say, a dozen lines in the paper, and numbers
the bits--"one," "two," etc., to the end of the article. Type-setter
after type-setter comes and takes one of these little bits, and in a few
moments sets the type for it, and lays it down in a long trough, with the
number of the bit of copy laid by the side of it. We will suppose that an
article has been cut up into twenty bits. Twenty men will each in a few
moments be setting one of these bits, and, in a few minutes more they
will come and lay down the type and the number of the bit in the long
trough, in just the right order of the number of the bits--"one," "two,"
etc. Then all the type will be slid together, and a long article will
thus be set in a few minutes, which it would take one or two men several
hours to set. It is by this means that long articles can in so short a
time be put into type. Each man who takes a bit, has to make his last
line fill out to the end of the line; and, because there are sometimes
not words enough, so that he has to fill out with some extra spaces
between the words, you may often see in any large daily paper every two
inches, or so, a widely spaced line or two showing how the type-setter
had to fill out his bit with spaces--only he would call the bit, a


I said that each type-setter has his number. We will suppose that this
man, next to us, is number "twenty-five." Then he is provided with a great
many pieces of metal, just the width of a column, with his number made on
them--thus: "TWENTY-FIVE." Every time he sets a new bit of copy, he puts
one of these "twenty-fives" at the top; and when all the bits of type in
the long trough are slid together the type is broken up every two inches
or so, with "twenty-five," "thirty-seven," "two," "eleven," and so on, at
the top of the bits which the men, whose numbers these are, have set. When
a proof of the article is taken, these several numbers appear; and, if
there are mistakes, it appears from these numbers, what type-setters made
them, and they have to correct them. Also, of each article, a single
"proof" is taken on colored paper. These colored paper "proofs" are cut up
the next day, and all the pieces marked "twenty-five," "thirty-seven," and
so on, go to the men who have these numbers, and when pasted together show
how much type, number "twenty-five," "thirty-seven," and so on, are to be
paid for setting--for the type-setters are paid according to the amount of
type which they set.


Add Yellow Fever

Eight new cases of yellow fever--four whites and four
colored--were reported to the Board of Health to-day.
But one death has occurred since last night, Archie P.
Kehoe, son of the late Captain P. M. Kehoe, who died
beyond the city limits.


In addition to the new cases reported to the Board of
Health, the following persons were stricken with the
fever to-day: Lyttleton Penn; P. S. Simonds, an
ex-policeman; Jessie Anderson, Mrs. John Bierman, and
R. T. Dabney, the Signal Service officer, who it was
thought had a mild attack of the fever about three
weeks ago.


Miss Louise Bedford died last night of yellow fever at
Barclay Station, Tenn.

Fifteen nurses were assigned to duty to-day by the

The weather is clear and pleasant.

                   TWENTY THREE


As fast as the proofs are taken they go into the room of the
proof-readers to be corrected. The bits of copy are pasted together
again, and one man holds the copy while another reads the proof aloud.
The man holding the copy notices any points in which the proof does not
read like the copy, and tells the man who is reading it. The man reading
it corrects the variations from copy, and corrects all the other mistakes
which he can discover, and then the type-setters have to change the type
so as to make it right. There the proof readers sit hard at work, reading
incredibly fast, and making rapid and accurate corrections; then the
"copy" is locked up, and no one can get at it, except the Managing Editor
or Editor-in-Chief gives an order to see it. This precaution is taken, in
order to make certain who is responsible for any mistakes which appear in
the paper--the editors, or the type-setters.

By this time it is nearly midnight, and the editors, type-setters, etc.,
take their lunches. They either go out to restaurants for them, or have
them sent in--hot coffee, sandwiches, fruit, etc.--a good meal for which
they are all glad to stop.

And now the Foreman of the type-setters sends to the Night Editor that
matter enough is in type to begin the "make-up"--that is, to put together
the first pages of the paper. There the beautiful type stands, in long
troughs, all corrected now, the great numbers of the type-setters removed
from between the bits of type--the whole ready to be arranged into page
after page of the paper. So the Night Editor makes a list of the articles
which he wants on the page which is to be made up; the Foreman puts them
in in the order which the Night Editor indicates; the completed page is
wedged securely into an iron frame, and then is ready to be stereotyped.

[Illustration: A NEWS-DEALER.]

The room of the stereotypers is off by itself. There is a furnace in it,
and a great caldron of melted type metal. They take the page of the paper
which has just been made up; put it on a hot steam chest; spat down upon
the type some thick pulpy paper soaked so as to make it fit around the
type; spread plaster of Paris on the back, so as to keep the pulpy paper
in shape; and put the whole under the press which more perfectly squeezes
the pulpy paper down upon the type, and causes it to take a more perfect
impression of the type. The heat of the steam chest warms the type, and
quickly dries the pulpy paper and the plaster of Paris. Then the pulpy
paper is taken off, and curved with just such a curve as the cylinders of
the printing-press have, and melted type metal is poured over it, which
cools in a moment; when, lo, there is a curving plate of type-metal just
like the type! The whole process of making this plate takes only a few
minutes. They use such plates as these, rather than type, in printing the
great papers chiefly for reasons like these: 1. Because plates save the
wear of type; 2. Because they are easier handled; 3. Because they can be
made curving, to fit the cylinders of the printing presses as it would be
difficult to arrange the type; 4. Because several plates can be made from
the same type, and hence several presses can be put at work at the same
time printing the same paper; 5. Because, if anything needs to be added
to the paper, after the presses have begun running, the type being left
up-stairs can be changed and new plates made, so that the presses need
stop only a minute for the new plates to be put in--which is a great
saving of time.

But, coming down into the Editorial Rooms again--business Tom, and
thoughtful Jonathan, and sleepy little Nell--all is excitement. Telegrams
have just come in telling of the wreck of an ocean steamer, and men are
just being dispatched to the steamer's office to learn all the
particulars possible, and to get, if it may be, a list of the passengers
and crew. And now, just in the midst of this, a fire-alarm strikes, and
in a few moments the streets are as light as day with the flames of a
burning warehouse in the heart of the business part of the city. More men
are sent off to that; and, what with the fire and the wreck, every
reporter, every copy-editor, every type-setter and proof-reader are put
to their hardest work until the last minute before the last page of the
paper must be sent down to the press-rooms. Then, just at the last,
perhaps the best writer in the office dashes off a "leader" on the wreck
sending a few lines at a time to the type-setters--a leader which, though
thought out, written, set, corrected, and stereotyped in forty minutes,
by reason of its clearness, its wisdom, and its brilliancy, is copied far
and wide, and leads the public generally to decide where to fix the
blame, and how to avoid a like accident again. There is the work of the
"_editorial articles, reviews, and notes_"--to comment on events which
happen, and to influence the minds of the public as the editorial
management of the paper regards to be wise. There is all sorts of this
editorial writing--fun, politics, science, literature, religion--and he
who says, with his pen, the say of such a newspaper, wields an influence
which no mind can measure.


Well, the fire, and the wreck, have thoroughly awakened even little Nell.
And so down, down we go, far under ground, to the Press-rooms. There the
noise is deafening. Two or three presses are at work. At one end of the
press is a great roll of paper as big as a hogshead and a mile or more
long. This immense roll of paper is unwinding very fast, and going in at
one end of the machine; while at the other end, faster than you can
count, are coming out finished papers--the papers printed on both sides,
cut up, folded, and counted, without the touch of a hand--a perfect
marvel and miracle of human ingenuity. The sight is a sight to remember
for a lifetime. Upon what one here sees, hinges very much of the thinking
of a metropolis and of a land.

And now, here come the mailing clerks, to get their papers to send
off--with great accuracy and speed of directing and packing--by the first
mails which leave the city within an hour and a half, at five and six
o'clock in the morning. And after them come the newsboys, each for his
bundle; and soon the frosty morning air in the gray dawn is alive with
the shouting of the latest news in this and a dozen other papers.

[Illustration: "ANY ANSWERS COME FOR ME?"]

This, I am sure, is too fast a world even for business Tom: so let us
"spirit" ourselves back to our beds in the quiet, slow-moving, earnest
country--Tom and Jonathan and little Nell and I--home, and to sleep--and
don't wake us till dinner-time!


[Illustration: THE FIRST UMBRELLA.]

About one hundred and thirty years ago, an Englishman named Jonas Hanway,
who had been a great traveller, went out for a walk in the city of
London, carrying an umbrella over his head.


Every time he went out for a walk, if it rained or if the sun shone
hotly, he carried this umbrella, and all along the streets, wherever he
appeared, men and boys hooted and laughed; while women and girls, in
doorways and windows, giggled and stared at the strange sight, for this
Jonas Hanway was the first man to commonly carry an umbrella in the city
of London, and everybody, but himself, thought it was a most ridiculous
thing to do.

But he seems to have been a man of strength and courage, and determined
not to give up his umbrella even if all London made fun of him. Perhaps,
in imagination, he saw adown the future, millions of umbrellas--umbrellas
enough to shelter the whole island of England from rain.

Whether he did foresee the innumerable posterity of his umbrella or not,
the "millions" of umbrellas have actually come to pass.

But Jonas Hanway was by no means the first man in the world to carry an
umbrella. As I have already mentioned, he had travelled a great deal, and
had seen umbrellas in China, Japan, in India and Africa, where they had
been in use for so many hundreds of years that nobody knows when the
first one was made. So long ago as Nineveh existed in its splendor,
umbrellas were used, as they are yet to be found sculptured on the ruins
of that magnificent capital of Assyria, as well as on the monuments of
Egypt which are very, very old; and your ancient history will tell you
that the city of Nineveh was founded not long after the flood. Perhaps it
was that great rain, of forty days and forty nights, that put in the
minds of Noah, or some of his sons, the idea to build an umbrella!

Although here in America the umbrella means nothing but an umbrella, it
is quite different in some of the far Eastern countries. In some parts of
Asia and Africa no one but a royal personage is allowed to carry an
umbrella. In Siam it is a mark of rank. The King's umbrella is composed
of one umbrella above another, a series of circles, while that of a
nobleman consists of but one circle. In Burmah it is much the same as in
Siam while the Burmese King has an umbrella-title that is very comical:
"Lord of the twenty-four umbrellas."

The reason why the people of London ridiculed Jonas Hanway was because at
that time it was considered only proper that an umbrella should be
carried by a woman, and for a man to make use of one was very much as if
he had worn a petticoat.

There is in one of the Harleian MSS. a curious picture showing an
Anglo-Saxon gentleman walking out, with his servant behind him carrying
an umbrella; the drawing was probably made not far from five hundred
years ago, when the umbrella was first introduced into England. Whether
this gentleman and his servant created as much merriment as Mr. Hanway
did, I do not know; neither can I tell you why men from that time on did
not continue to use the umbrella. If I were to make a "guess" about it, I
should say that they thought it would not be "proper," for it was
considered an unmanly thing to carry one until a hundred years ago when
the people of this country first began to use them. And it was not until
twenty years later, say in the year 1800, that the "Yankees" began to
make their own umbrellas. But since that time there have been umbrellas
and umbrellas!


The word umbrella comes from the Latin word _umbra_, which means a
"little shade;" but the name, most probably, was introduced into the
English language from the Italian word _ombrella_. Parasol means "to ward
off the sun," and another very pretty name, not much used by Americans,
for a small parasol, is "parasolette."

It would be impossible for me to tell you how many umbrellas are made
every year in this country. A gentleman connected with a large umbrella
manufactory in the city of Philadelphia gave me, as his estimate,

This would allow an umbrella to about one person in six, according to the
census computation which places the population of the United States at
40,000,000 of people. And one umbrella for every six persons is certainly
not a very generous distribution. Added to the number made in this
country, are about one-half million which are imported, chiefly from
France and England. You who have read "Robinson Crusoe," remember how he
made his umbrella and covered it with skins, and that is probably the
most curious umbrella you can anywhere read about. Then there have been
umbrellas covered with large feathers that would shed rain like a "duck's
back," and umbrellas with coverings of oil-cloth, of straw, of paper, of
woollen stuffs, until now, nearly all umbrellas are covered either with
silk, gingham, or alpaca. And this brings us to the manufacture of
umbrellas in Philadelphia, where there are more made than in any other
city in America.

If you will take an umbrella in your hand and examine it, you will see
that there are many more different things used in making it than you at
first supposed.

First, there are the "stick," made of wood, "ribs," "stretchers" and
"springs" of steel; the "runner," "runner notch," the "ferule," "cap,"
"bands" and "tips" of brass or nickel; then there are the covering, the
runner "guard" which is of silk or leather, the "inside cap," the
oftentimes fancy handle, which may be of ivory, bone, horn, walrus tusk,
or even mother-of-pearl, or some kind of metal, and, if you will look
sharply, you will find a rivet put in deftly here and there.

For the "sticks" a great variety of wood is used; although all the wood
must be hard, firm, tough, and capable of receiving both polish and
staining. The cheaper sticks are sawed out of plank, chiefly, of maple
and iron wood. They are then "turned" (that is made round), polished and
stained. The "natural sticks," not very long ago, were all imported from
England. But that has been changed, and we now send England a part of our
own supply, which consists principally of hawthorne and huckleberry,
which come from New York and New Jersey, and of oak, ash, hickory, and
wild cherry.

[Illustration: A "DUCK'S BACK" UMBRELLA.]

If you were to see these sticks, often crooked and gnarled, with a piece
of the root left on, you would think they would make very shabby sticks
for umbrellas. But they are sent to a factory where they are steamed and
straitened, and then to a carver, who cuts the gnarled root-end into the
image of a dog or horse's head, or any one of the thousand and one
designs that you may see, many of which are exceedingly ugly. The artist
has kindly made a picture for you of a "natural" stick just as it is
brought from the ground where it grows, and, then again, the same stick
after it has been prepared for the umbrella.

Of the imported "natural" sticks, the principal are olive, ebony, furze,
snakewood, pimento, cinnamon, partridge, and bamboo. Perhaps you do not
understand that a "natural" stick is one that has been a young tree,
having grown to be just large enough for an umbrella stick, when it was
pulled up, root and all, or with at least a part of the root. If, when
you buy an umbrella that has the stick bent into a deep curve at the
bottom for the handle, you may feel quite sure that it is of partridge
wood, which does not grow large enough to furnish a knob for a handle,
but, when steamed, admits of being bent.

The "runner," "ferule," "cap," "band," etc., form what is called umbrella
furniture and for these articles there is a special manufactory. Another
manufactory cuts and grooves wire of steel into the "ribs" and
"stretchers." Formerly ribs were made out of cane or whalebone; but these
materials are now seldom used. When the steel is grooved, it is called a
"paragon" frame, which is the lightest and best made. It was invented by
an Englishman named Fox, seventeen or eighteen years ago. The latest
improvement in the manufacture of "ribs" is to give them an inward curve
at the bottom, so that they will fit snugly around the stick, and which
dispenses with the "tip cup,"--a cup-shaped piece of metal that closed
over the tips.

[Illustration: AN UMBRELLA HANDLE _au naturel_]

Of course we should all like to feel that we Americans have wit enough to
make everything used in making an umbrella. And so we have in a way; but
it must be confessed that most of the silk used for umbrella covers, is
brought from France. Perhaps if the Cheney Brothers who live at South
Manchester in Connecticut, and manufacture such elegant silk for ladies'
dresses, and such lovely scarfs and cravats for children, were to try and
make umbrella silk, we would soon be able to say to the looms of France,
"No more umbrella silk for America, thank you; we are able to supply our

[Illustration: CUTTING THE COVERS.]

But the "Yankees" do make all their umbrella gingham, which is very nice.
And one gingham factory that I have heard about has learned how to dye
gingham such a _fast_ black, that no amount of rain or sun changes the
color. The gingham is woven into various widths to suit umbrella frames
of different size, and along each edge of the fabric a border is formed
of large cords. As to alpaca, a dye-house is being built, not _more_ than
a "thousand miles" from Philadelphia on the plan of English dye-houses,
so that our home-made alpacas may be dyed as good and durable a black as
the gingham receives; for although nobody minds carrying an _old_
umbrella, nobody likes to carry a faded one. Although there are umbrellas
of blue, green and buff, the favorite hue seems to be black.

And now that we have all the materials together to make an umbrella, let
us go into a manufactory and see exactly how all the pieces are put

First, here is the stick, which must be "mounted." By that you must
understand that there are two springs to be put in, the ferule put on the
top end, and if the handle is of other material than the stick, that must
be put on.

The ugliest of all the work is the cutting of the slots in which the
springs are put. These are first cut by a machine; but if the man who
operates it is not careful, he will get some of his fingers cut off. But
after the slot-cutting machine does its work, there is yet something to
be done by another man with a knife before the spring can be put in.
After the springs are set, the ferule is put on, and when natural sticks
are used, as all are of different sizes, it requires considerable time
and care to find a ferule to fit the stick, as well as in whittling off
the end of the stick to suit the ferule. And before going any farther you
will notice that all the counters in the various work-rooms are carpeted.
The carpet prevents the polished sticks from being scratched, and the
dust from sticking to the umbrella goods.


After the handle is put on the stick and a band put on for finish or
ornament, the stick goes to the frame-maker, who fastens the stretchers
to the ribs, strings the top end of the ribs on a wire which is fitted
into the "runner notch;" then he strings the lower ends of the
"stretchers" on a wire and fastens it in the "runner," and then when both
"runners" are securely fixed the umbrella is ready for the cover.

As this is a very important part of the umbrella, several men and women
are employed in making it. In the room where the covers are cut, you will
at first notice a great number of V shaped things hanging against the
wall on either side of the long room. These letter Vs are usually made of
wood, tipped all around with brass or some other fine metal, and are of a
great variety of sizes. They are the umbrella cover patterns, as you soon
make out. To begin with, the cutter lays his silk or gingham very
smoothly out on a long counter, folding it back and forth until the
fabric lies eight or sixteen times in thickness, the layers being several
yards in length. (But I must go back a little and tell you that both
edges of the silk, or whatever the cover is to be, has been hemmed by a
woman, on a sewing machine before it is spread out on the counter). Well,
when the cutter finds that he has the silk smoothly arranged, with the
edges even, he lays on his pattern, and with a sharp knife quickly draws
it along two sides of it, and in a twinkling you see the pieces for
perhaps two umbrellas cut out; this is so when the silk, or material, is
sixteen layers thick and the umbrella cover is to have but eight pieces.

After the cover is cut, each piece is carefully examined by a woman to
see that there are no holes nor defects in it, for one bad piece would
spoil a whole umbrella.

Then a man takes the pieces and stretches the cut edges. This stretching
must be so skilfully done that the whole length of the edge be evenly
stretched. This stretching is necessary in order to secure a good fit on
the frame.

After this the pieces go to the sewing-room, where they are sewed together
by a woman, on a sewing-machine, in what is called a "pudding-bag" seam.
The sewing-machine woman must have the machine-tension just right or the
thread of the seam will break when the cover is stretched over the frame.


The next step in the work is to fasten the cover to the frame, which is
done by a woman. After the cover is fastened at the top and bottom, she
half hoists the umbrella, and has a small tool which she uses to keep the
umbrella in that position, then she fastens the seams to the ribs; and a
quick workwoman will do all this in five minutes, as well as sew on the
tie, which has been made by another pair of hands. Then the cap is put on
and the umbrella is completed.

But before it is sent to the salesroom, a woman smooths the edge of the
umbrella all around with a warm flat-iron. Then another woman holds it up
to a window where there is a strong light, and hunts for holes in it. If
it is found to be perfect the cover is neatly arranged about the stick,
the tie wrapped about it and fastened, and the finished umbrella goes to
market for a buyer.

After the stick is mounted, how long, think you does it take to make an

Well, my dears--it takes only fifteen minutes!

So you see that in the making of so simple an every-day article as an
umbrella, that you carry on a rainy day to school, a great many people
are employed; and to keep the world supplied with umbrellas thousands and
thousands of men and women are kept busy, and in this way they earn money
to buy bread and shoes and fire and frocks for the dear little folks at
home, who in turn may some day become umbrella makers themselves.



Little Paul Perkins--Master Paul his uncle called him--did not feel
happy. But for the fact that he was a guest at his uncle's home he might
have made an unpleasant exhibition of his unhappiness; but he was a
well-bred city boy, of which fact he was somewhat proud, and so his
impatience was vented in snapping off the teeth of his pocket-combs, as
he sat by the window and looked out into the rain.

It was the rain which caused his discontent. Only the day before his
father, going from New York to Boston on business, had left Paul at his
uncle's, some distance from the "Hub," to await his return. It being the
lad's first visit, Mr. Sanford had arranged a very full programme for the
next day, including a trip in the woods, fishing, a picnic, and in fact
quite enough to cover an ordinary week of leisure. Over and over it had
been discussed, the hours for each feature apportioned, and through the
night Paul had lived the programme over in his half-waking dreams.


And now that the eventful morning had come, it brought a drizzling,
disagreeable storm, so that Mr. Sanford, as he met his nephew, was
constrained to admit that he did not know what they should find to supply
the place of the spoiled programme.

"And my little nephew is so disappointed that he has ruined his pretty
comb, into the bargain," said the uncle.

"I was--was trying to see what it was made of," Paul stammered, thrusting
the handful of teeth into his coat pocket. "I don't see how combs are
made. Could you make one, uncle?"

"I never made one," Mr. Sanford replied, "but I have seen very many made.
There is a comb-shop not more than a half-mile away, and it is quite a
curiosity to see how they make the great horns, rough and ugly as they
are, into all sorts of dainty combs and knicknacks."

"What kind of horns, uncle?"

"Horns from all parts of the country, Paul. This shop alone uses nearly a
million horns a year, and they come in car-loads from Canada, from the
great West, from Texas, from South America, and from the cattle-yards
about Boston and other Eastern cities."

"You don't mean the horns of common cattle?"

"Yes, Paul; all kinds of horns are used, though some are much tougher and
better than others. The cattle raised in the Eastern, Middle and Western
States furnish the best horns, and there is the curious difference that
the horns of six cows are worth no more than those of a single ox. Many
millions of horn combs are made every year in Massachusetts; perhaps more
than in all the rest of the country. If you like we will go down after
breakfast and have a look at the comb-makers."

Paul was pleased with the idea, though he would much rather have passed
the day as at first proposed. He was not at all sorry that he had broken
up his comb, and even went so far as to cut up the back with his knife,
wondering all the while how the smooth, flat, semi-transparent comb had
been produced from a rough, round, opaque horn.

By and by a mail stage came rattling along, without any passengers, and
Mr. Sanford took his nephew aboard. They stopped before a low, straggling
pile of buildings, located upon both sides of a sluggish looking race-way
which supplied the water power, covered passage-ways connecting different
portions of the works.

"Presently, just over this knoll," said his uncle, "you will see a big
pile of horns, as they are unloaded from the cars."

[Illustration: MY LADY'S TOILET.]

They moved around the knoll, and there lay a monstrous pile of horns
thrown indiscriminately together.

"Really there are not so many as we should think," said Mr. Sanford, as
Paul expressed his astonishment. "That is only a small portion of the
stock of this shop. I will show you a good many more."

He led the way to a group of semi-detached buildings in rear of the
principal works, and there Paul saw great bins of horns, the different
sizes and varieties carefully assorted, the total number so vast that the
immense pile in the open yard began to look small in contrast.

At one of the bins a boy was loading a wheelbarrow, and when he pushed
his load along a plank track through one of the passage-ways Mr. Sanford
and his nephew followed. As the passage opened into another building, the
barrow was reversed and its load deposited in a receptacle a few feet

In this room only a single man was employed, and the peculiar character
of his work at once attracted the attention of Paul. In a small frame
before him was suspended a very savage-looking circular saw, running at a
high rate of speed. The operator caught one of the great horns by its
tip, gave it a turn through the air before his eyes, seized it in both
hands and applied it to the saw. With a sharp hiss the keen teeth severed
the solid tip from the body of the horn, and another movement trimmed
away the thin, imperfect parts about the base. The latter fell into a
pile of refuse at the foot of the frame, the tip was cast into a box with
others; the horn, if large, was divided into two or more sections, a
longitudinal slit sawn in one side, and the sections thrown into a box.

[Illustration: THE NEW CIRCLE COMB]

"This man," said Mr. Sanford, "receives large pay and many privileges, on
account of the danger and unpleasant nature of his task. He has worked at
this saw for about forty years, and in that time has handled, according
to his record, some twenty-five millions of horns, or over two thousand
for every working day. He has scarcely a whole finger or thumb upon
either hand--many of them are entirely gone; but most of these were lost
during his apprenticeship. The least carelessness was rewarded by the
loss of a finger, for the saw cannot be protected with guards, as in

Paul watched the skilful man with the closest interest, shuddering to see
how near his hands passed and repassed to the merciless saw-teeth as he
sent a ceaseless shower of parts of horns rattling into their respective
boxes. Before he left the spot Paul took a pencil and made an estimate.

"Why, uncle," he said, "to cut so many as that, he must saw over three
horns every minute for ten hours a day. I wouldn't think he could handle
them so fast."

Then, as he saw how rapidly one horn after another was finished, he drew
forth his little watch and found that the rugged old sawyer finished a
horn every ten seconds with perfect ease.

"Would you like to learn this trade?" the old fellow asked. He held up
his hands with the stumps of fingers and thumbs outspread; but Paul only
laughed and followed his uncle.

They watched a boy wheeling a barrow-load of the horns as they came from
the saw, and beheld them placed in enormous revolving cylinders, through
which a stream of water was running, where they remained until pretty
thoroughly washed. Being removed from these, they were plunged into
boilers ranged along one side of the building, filled with hot water.

"Here they are heated," said Mr. Sanford, "to clear them from any
adhering matter that the cold water does not remove, and partially
softened, ready for the next operation."


From the hot water the horns were changed to a series of similar caldrons
at the other side of the room, filled with boiling oil. Paul noticed that
when the workmen lifted the horns from these vats their appearance was
greatly changed, being much less opaque, and considerably plastic,
opening readily at the longitudinal cut made by the saw. As the horns
were taken from the oil they were flattened by unrolling, and placed
between strong iron clamps which were firmly screwed together, and put
upon long tables in regular order.

"Now I begin to see how it is done," Paul said, though he was thinking
all the time of questions that he would ask his uncle when there were no
workmen by to overhear.

"The oil softens the horn," said Mr. Sanford, "and by placing it in this
firm pressure and allowing it to remain till it becomes fixed, the whole
structure is so much changed that it never rolls again. Some combs, you
will notice, are of a whitish, opaque color, like the natural horn, while
others have a smooth appearance, are of amber color, and almost
transparent. The former are pressed between cold irons and placed in cold
water, while the others are hot-pressed, it being 'cooked' in a few
minutes. These plates of horn may be colored; and there are a great many
'tortoise-shell' combs and other goods sold which are only horn with a
bit of color sprinkled upon it.

"The solid tips of the horns, and all the pieces that are worth anything
cut off in making the combs, are made up into horn jewelry, chains,
cigar-holders, knife-handles, buttons, and toys of various kinds. These
trinkets are generally colored more or less, and many a fashionable
belle, I suppose, would be surprised to know the amount of money paid for
odd bits of horn under higher sounding names. But the horn is tough and
serviceable, at any rate, and that is more than can be said of many of
the cheats we meet with in life."

The next room, in contrast with all they had passed through previously,
was neat and had no repulsive odors. Here the sheets of horn as they came
from the presses were first cut by delicate circular saws into blanks of
the exact size for the kind of combs to be made, after which they were
run through a planer, which gave them the proper thickness.

"What do you mean by 'blanks'?" Paul asked, as his uncle used the term.

"You can look in the dictionary to find its exact meaning," was the
answer. "But you will see what it is in practice at this machine."


They stepped to another part of the room; and here Paul saw the "blanks"
placed in the cutting-machine standing over a hot furnace, where, after
being softened by the heat, they were slowly moved along, while a pair of
thin chisels danced up and down, cutting through the centre of the blank
at each stroke. When it had passed completely through, an assistant took
the perforated blank and pulled it carefully apart, showing two combs,
with the teeth interlaced. After separation they were again placed
together to harden under pressure, when the final operations consisted of
bevelling the teeth on wheels covered with sand-paper, rounding the
backs, rounding and pointing the teeth; after which came the polishing,
papering and putting in boxes.

"I suppose they go all over the country," said Paul as he glanced into
the shipping-room.

"Much further than that," was the reply. "We never know how far they go;
for the wholesale dealers, to whom the combs are shipped from the
manufactory, send them into all the odd corners of the earth. Every
little dealer must sell combs, and in the very nature of the business
they frequently pass through a great many hands before reaching the user,
so at the last price is many times what the makers received for them. I
suppose it often happens that horns which have been sent thousands of
miles to work up are returned to the very regions from which they came,
in some other form, increased very many fold in value by their long
journey. Or a horn may come from the remoter parts of South America to be
wrought here in Massachusetts, and then be shipped from point to point
till it reaches some remote corner of Africa, Spain, or Siberia, as an
article of barter. And even different parts of the same horn may be at
the same moment decking the person of a New York dandy and unsnarling the
tangled locks of a Russian Tchuktch."

While Paul was watching the deft fingers of the girls who filled the
boxes and affixed the labels, his uncle stepped through a door
communicating with the office, and soon returned with three elegant

"One of these," he said, "represents a horn which came from _pampas_ of
Buenos Ayres; this one, in the original, dashed over the boundless plains
of Texas; and here is another, toughened by the hot, short summers and
long, bitter winters of Canada. Take them with you in memory of this
cheerless rainy day."

Paul could not help a little sigh as he thought again of the pleasures he
had enjoyed in anticipation; but still he answered bravely, "Thank you;
never mind the rain, dear uncle. All the New York boys go off in the
woods when they get away from home; but not many of them ever heard how
combs are made, and I don't suppose a quarter of them even know what they
are made of. I can tell them a thing or two when I get home."


Philip and Kitty were curled up together on the lounge in the library,
reading Aldrich's "Story of a Bad Boy." It was fast growing dark in the
corner where they were, for the sun had gone down some time before, but
they were all absorbed in Tom Bailey's theatricals, and did not notice
how heavy the shadows were getting around them. Papa came in by-and-by.

"Why, little folks, you'll spoil your eyes reading here; I'd better light
the gas for you," and he took out a match from the box on the mantle.

"O, let me, please," cried Philip, jumping up and running to the burner.
So he took the match, and climbed up in a chair with it. Scr-a-tch! and
the new-lit jet gave a glorified glare that illuminated everything in the
room, from the Japanese vase on the corner bracket to the pattern of the
rug before the open fire. But as Philip turned it off a little it grew
quieter, and finally settled down into a steady, respectable flame.
Philip always begged to light the gas. It had not been long introduced in
the little town where he lived, and the children thought it a very fine
thing to have it brought into the house, and secretly pitied the boys and
girls whose fathers had only kerosene lamps.

"Why can't you blow out gas, just as you do a kerosene light?" asked
Kitty, presently, leaving the Bad Boy on the lounge, and watching the
bright little crescent under the glass shade.

"Because," explained papa, "unless you shut it off by turning the little
screw in the pipe, the gas will keep pouring out into the room all the
time, and if it isn't disposed of by being burned up, it will mix with
the air and make it poisonous to breathe. A man at the hotel here, a few
nights ago, blew out the gas because he did not know any better, and was
almost suffocated before he realized the trouble and opened his window."

"And where does the gas come from in the first place?" pursued Kitty.

"Why, from the gas-works, of course," said Philip in a very superior way,
for he was a year the elder of the two. "That brick building over by
Miller's Hill--don't you know--that we pass in going to Aunt Hester's."

"I know that as well as you do, Philip Lawrence," said Kitty with some
dignity. "What I wanted to know was what it's made out of. What is it,

"Out of coal," said papa. "They put the coal in ovens and heat it till
the gas it contains is separated from the other parts of the coal, and
driven off by itself. Then it is purified and made ready for use."

"Out of coal? How funny! I wish I could see all about it," said Philip,
looking more interested.

"And so do I wish I could," added Kitty.

"I don't see why it cannot be done," said papa. "If you really care to
see it, and won't mind a few bad smells, I will ask Mr. Carter to-morrow
morning, when he can take you around and explain things."

The next day when Mr. Carter was asked about it, he said, "O, come in any
day you like. About three in the afternoon would be a good time, because
we are always newly-filling the retorts then." This sounded very nice and
imposing to the children, and at three the next afternoon they started
out with papa. The gas-house certainly did smell very badly as they drew
near it, and dainty Kitty sniffed in considerable disgust. Philip
suggested that perhaps she had better not go in after all; he didn't
believe girls ever did go into such places. And upon that Kitty valiantly
declared she did not mind it a bit, and sternly set her face straight.

[Illustration: A RETORT.]

Mr. Carter met them at the door. "You are just in time to see the retorts
opened," said he, and led the way directly into a large and very dingy
room, along one side of which was built out a sort of huge iron cupboard
with several little iron doors. The upper ones were closed tight, but
some of the lower ones were open a crack, and a very bright fire could be
seen inside. Everything around was dirty and gloomy, and these gleams of
fire from the little iron doors made the place look weird and ghostly.
Long iron pipes reached from each of the upper doors up to one very large
horizontal pipe or cylinder near the ceiling overhead. This cylinder ran
the whole length of the room, and, at its farther end, joined another
iron pipe which passed through the wall.

"Those are the furnace-doors down below," said Mr. Carter to the
children. "What you see burning inside of them is coke. Coke is what is
left of the coal after we have taken the gas and tar out of it. The upper
doors open into the retorts, or ovens, that we fill every five hours with
the coal from which we want to get gas. Each retort holds about two
hundred pounds, and from that amount we get a thousand cubic feet of

"Is it just common coal;" asked Kitty, "like what people burn in stoves?"

"Not exactly. It is a softer kind, containing more of a substance called
hydrogen than the sorts that are generally used for fuel. Several
different varieties are used: 'cherry,' 'cannel,' 'splint,' and so on,
and they come from mines in different parts of England and Scotland,
chiefly. Glasgow, Coventry and Newcastle send us a great deal."

Philip started as if a bright idea had struck him. "Is that what people
mean when you're doing something there's no need of, and they say 'you're
carrying coals to Newcastle?'"

"Yes. You see such an enterprise would be absurd. Just notice the man
yonder with the long iron rod! He is going to open one of the retorts,
take out the old coal--only it is now coke--and put in a fresh supply."

A workman in a grimy, leather apron loosened one of the retort doors, and
held up a little torch. Immediately a great sheet of flame burst out, and
then disappeared.

He took the door quite off, and there was a long, narrow oven with an
arched top, containing a huge bed of red-hot coals.

"What a splendid place to pop corn!" exclaimed Kitty.

Papa laughed. "You would find it warm work," said he, "unless you'd a
very long handle to your corn-popper." And Kitty thought so too, as she
went nearer the fiery furnace.

"You see," said Mr. Carter, "these red-hot coals have been changed a
great deal by the heat. They have given up all their gas and tar, and are
themselves no longer coal, but _coke_. We shovel out this coke and use it
as fuel in the furnaces down below to help heat up the next lot. Then new
coal is put into the retorts, and they are closed up with iron plates,
like that one lying ready on the ground."

"It's all muddy 'round the edge," observed Kitty.

"Yes, that paste of clay is to make it air-tight. The heat hardens the
clay very quickly, so all the little cracks around the edge are plastered
up. When the coal is shut up in the ovens, or retorts, the heat, as I
just told you, divides it up into the different substances of which it is
made; that is, into the coke which you have seen, a black, sticky liquid
called tar, the illuminating gas, and more or less ammonia, sulphur, and
other things that must be got rid of. Almost all these things are saved
and used for one purpose or another, though they may be of no use to us
here. If we have more coke than we ourselves need it is sold for fuel.
The coal-tar goes for roofing and making sidewalks, or sometimes (though
you wouldn't think it possible, as you look at the sticky, bad-smelling,
black stuff) in the manufacture of the most lovely dyes, like that which
colored Miss Kitty's pink ribbon. The ammonia is used for medicine and
all sorts of scientific preparations, in bleaching cloth, and in the
printing of calicoes and cambrics."

"When the materials of the coal are separated as I told you in the
retorts, most of the tar remains behind, and is drawn off; but some gets
up the pipes. That large, horizontal cylinder is always nearly half full
of it. The gas, which is very light, you know, rises through the upper
pipes leading from the retorts, and bubbles up through the tar in the
bottom of the cylinder. Then it passes along the farther end of the
cylinder, and into the condensing pipes."

He opened a door, and they went through into the next room. Here the
large pipe which came through the wall of the room they had just left,
led to a number of clusters of smaller pipes that were jointed and
doubled back and forth upon each other, cob-house fashion.

"When the gas goes through these pipes," said Mr. Carter, "it gets pretty
well cooled down, for the pipes are kept cold by having so great an
amount of surface exposed to draughts of air around them. And when the
gas is cooled the impurities are cooled too, so that many of them take a
liquid form and can be drawn off."

The next room they entered had a row of great, square chests on each
side, as they walked through.

"These are the purifiers," explained Mr. Carter again. "They are boxes
with a great many fan-like shelves inside, projecting out in all
directions, and covered thickly with a paste made of lime."

"Lime like what the masons used when they plastered the new kitchen?"
asked Philip.

"About the same thing. The boxes are made air-tight, and the gas enters
the first box at one of the lower corners. Then before it can get through
the connecting-pipe into the next box, it has to wind its way around
among these plates coated with lime. This lime takes up the sulphur and
other things that we do not want in the gas, and so by the time it gets
through all the boxes it is quite pure and fit to use."

Then the party all went into the room where the gas was measured. It was
a little office with a queer piece of furniture in it; something that
looked like a very large drum-shaped clock, with several different dials
or faces. This, Mr. Carter said, was the metre or measurer, and by
looking at the dials it could be told exactly how much gas was being made
every day.

[Illustration: KITTY IN THE GAS-WORKS.]

"As soon as the gas gets through the purifiers," said he, "it comes, by
an iron pipe, in here, and is made to pass through and give an account of
itself before any of it is used. And now I suppose you would like to know
how it does report its own amount, wouldn't you?"

[Illustration: THE METRE.]

Philip and Kitty both were sure they did want to know, so he sketched a
little plan of the metre on a piece of paper, and then went on to explain

"This shows how the metre would look if you could cut it through in the
middle. The large drum-shaped box A. A. is hollow, and filled a little
more than half way up with water. Inside it is a smaller hollow drum, B.
B. so arranged as to turn easily from right to left, on the horizontal
axis C. This axis is a hollow pipe by which the gas comes from the
purifiers to enter the several chambers of the metre in turn, through
small openings called valves. The partitions P. P. P. P. divide the drum
B. B. into--let us say--four chambers, 1, 2, 3, 4, all of the same size,
and capable of holding a certain known amount of air or gas. The chamber
1 is now filled with gas, 3 with water, and 2 and 4 partly with gas and
partly with water. The valves in the pipe C are so arranged that the gas
will next pour into the chamber 2. This it does with such force as to
completely fill it, lifting it quite out of the water and into the place
that 1 had occupied before. Then as 1 is driven over to the place which 4
had occupied, the gas with which it was filled passes out by another pipe
and off to the large reservoir you will see by and by, its place being
filled with water. At the same time 4 is driven around to the place of 3,
and 3 to that of 2. The water always keeps the same level, and simply
waits for the chambers to come round and down to be filled.

"Next, 3, being in the place of 2, receives its charge of gas from the
entrance pipe, is in turn lifted up into the central position, and sends
all the other chambers around one step further. And when the drum gets
completely around once, so that the chambers stand in the same places as
at first, you know each chamber must have been once filled with gas and
then emptied of it. If then we know that each chamber will hold, say two
and a half cubic feet of gas, we are sure that every time the drum has
turned fully around it has received and sent off four times two and a
half feet, or ten feet in all. Now we connect the axis C with a train of
wheel-work, something like that in a clock, and this wheel-work moves the
pointers on the dials in front, so that as the gas in passing in and out
of the chambers turns the drum on the axis, it turns the dial pointers

"The right hand dial marks up to one hundred. While its pointer is
passing completely around once, the pointer on the next dial (which marks
up to one thousand) is moving a short space and preserving the record of
that one hundred; and then the first pointer begins over again. The two
pointers act together just like the minute and hour hands on a clock.
Then the next dial marks up to ten thousand, and acts in turn like an
hour-hand to the thousands' dial as a minute-hand, and so on. You see
each dial has its denominations, 'thousands,' 'hundred thousands,' or
whatever it may be, printed plainly below it. And now, when we want to
read off the dials, we begin at the left, taking in each case the last
number a pointer _has passed_, and read towards the right, just as you
have learned to do with any numbers in your 'Eaton's Arithmetic.' There
is one thing more to remember, however; the number you read means not
simply so many cubic feet of gas but so many hundred cubic feet."

Philip and Kitty immediately set to work to read the dials on the office
metre, and found that they were not now so very mysterious.

"But how do you know how much people use?" asked Philip. "There is
something like this metre, only smaller, down cellar at home, and a man
came and looked at it the other day, to see how much gas had been burned
in the house he said, when I asked him what he was going to do."

"The metre you have at home works in the same way as this," said Mr.
Carter, "and the dial-plates are read in the same way. But the gas that
your little metre registers is only that which you take from the main
supply-pipe, to light your parlors and bed-rooms.

"When a stream of gas from the main enters the house, it has to pass
through the metre the very first thing, before any of it is used; and
each little metre keeps as strict an account of what passes through from
the main to the burners, as the large one here in the office does of that
which passes from the purifiers to the reservoir. But there is this
difference between the two: the gas keeps pouring through the office
metre as long as we keep making it in the retorts, but it passes through
your metre at home only just as long as you keep drawing it off at the
burners. So if we find by looking at the metre that 5450 feet have passed
through during a given time, we send in our bill to your papa for that
amount, knowing it must have been burned in the house.

"But most likely the metre doesn't say anything directly about 5450. It
says, perhaps, 11025. 'How can that be?' you would think. 'We haven't
burned so much as that,' and you haven't--during this one quarter. But
after the metre had been inspected at the end of the last quarter, the
pointers did not go back to the beginning of the dials and start anew;
they kept right on from the place where they were, so that 11025 is the
amount you paid for last time and the amount you want to pay for this
time, lumped together. Now this is what we do. We turn to our books and
see how much you were charged with last time, and subtracting that record
from the present record leaves the amount you have used since the last
time of payment.

"Then suppose another case. Your metre registers only as far as 100,000.
At the end of the last quarter it marked 97850; now it records but 3175.
How would you explain that, master Philip?"

Philip looked puzzled a moment, and then said,

"I should think it must have finished out the hundred thousand and begun
over again."

"Exactly. And to find the amount for this quarter you would add together
the remainder of the hundred thousand (2150) and the 3175, and get 5325,
the real record. But I guess you've had arithmetic enough for the
present, so we'll go out now and see the gasometer, or gas reservoir."

They all went out of doors then, papa, Mr. Carter, Philip and Kitty,
across a narrow court-yard. There was a huge, round box, or drum, with
sides as high as those of the carriage-house at home, but with no opening
anywhere, "like a great giant's bandbox," thought Kitty. Four stout
posts, much taller still than the "bandbox" itself, were set at equal
distances around it, and their extremities were joined by stout beams
which passed across over the top of the gasometer.

As the children went up nearer to it, they saw it was made of great
plates of iron firmly riveted together, and that it did not rest on the
ground, as they had supposed, but in the middle of a circular tank of

"After the gas has been made and purified and measured," said Mr. Carter,
"it is brought by underground pipes into this gasometer, and from here
drawn off by other pipes into the houses. The weight of this iron shell
bearing down upon the gas, gives pressure or force enough to drive the
gas anywhere we wish."

[Illustration: THE GASOMETRE.]

"But why do you put the--the iron thing in water, instead of on the
ground?" asked Kitty.

"So as to make it air-tight, and give it a chance to move freely up and
down. Of course if the iron shell were empty its own weight would make it
sink directly to the bottom of the water-tank and stay there. But gas,
you know, is so much lighter than common air that it always makes a very
strong effort to rise higher and higher, carrying along whatever encloses
it. You saw that illustrated in the balloon that went up last Fourth of
July. Now, as the gas from the works pours into the reservoir from
beneath, it is strong enough to lift the iron box up a little in the
water. Of course that gives a little more room. Then as more gas comes in
to take up this room, the gasometer keeps on rising slowly. We make sure
of its not rising above the water and letting the gas leak out, by means
of the beams you see stretched across above it. They are all ready to
hold it down in a safe position if the need should come.

"On the other hand, as the people in town draw off the gas to burn, the
gasometer would, of course, tend to sink down gradually. So we have the
water-tanks made deep enough to allow for every possible necessity in
that direction. In very cold weather we keep the water from freezing by
passing a current of hot steam into it. If it should ever freeze, the
gasometer might as well be on the ground, for it could not move up and
down, or be trusted to keep the gas from leaking out around the edges.
With these precautions, however, we know it is perfectly trustworthy."

"I saw it one morning early, when I was out coasting on the hill," said
Philip, "and it wasn't more than half as high as it is now."

"A great deal had been drawn off during the night and we had not been
making any more during the time to take its place."

"Does it ever get burned out too much?"

"No, there's no danger of it. We make enough to allow a good large margin
above what we expect will be used."

The children looked about a little longer, and then, with good-byes and
many thanks to Mr. Carter, walked home again with papa, over the crisp,
hard snow.

Next week Philip had a composition to write at school. He took "Gas" for
his subject, and wrote:

  "Gas that you burn is made out of soft coal. They put it in Ovens
  and cook it until it is not coal any longer. The Ovens are so hot
  you cant go anywhare near them but the men do With poles and big
  lether aprons. I would not like to shovle in the coal. I would
  rather have a Balloon. They use two or three tons every day. it
  makes coke and Tar and the gas that goes up the pipes. They make
  the gas clean and mesure it in a big box of water, and tell how
  much there is by looking at the clock faces in front. Then it goes
  into a big round box made of iron and then we burn it. but I do not
  like to smell of it. you must not blow it out for if you do you
  will get choked. This is all I Remember about gas.

                                          "PHILIP RAYMOND LAWRENCE."


If it had been a yacht in which we were speeding along at the rate of a
trifle over a mile per minute, we should have "taken our reckoning,"
"hove the log," or done something nautical, and the captain would
doubtless have reported in regular sea-faring terms that we were off Oil
City with Lake Chautauqua so and so many knots on our port quarter.

But it wasn't a yacht, nor a schooner, nor a Conestoga wagon, lightning
express or catamaran, in which we were travelling neck and neck with one
of the wildest looking storm clouds of hot mid-summer.

No. It was--can you guess it? Yes, a _balloon_.

And this is how it all came about:

Fourth of July came upon the _fifth_ that year, (because of some strange
oversight on the part of the folks who first hit upon the plan of
dividing time into weeks, somehow the Fourth will, every once in a while,
strike Sunday.)

[Illustration: INFLATING THE "BUFFALO."]

At least it did in Cleveland; and although they were a day late, the
Clevelanders determined to have a big time. So they had sent for Prof.
Samuel A. King, an aeronaut of distinction. Balloonists, you know, are
nearly always called "Professors"--why this is so I don't _profess_ to
know. And Prof. King had arrived in Cleveland a few days before, bringing
his great balloon, the "Buffalo."

Early upon the morning of the 5th he was on hand with the helpless
monster all in a heap tied about with ropes, mixed up with netting and
sand-bags, and supplemented with a big basket which looked a good deal
like an inverted straw hat made for some huge giant.

The netting was carefully spread out on the Nicholson pavement in the
centre of the pretty square that you will remember if you have ever been
in Cleveland. The bags were filled from a wagon-load of sand and hitched
with snap-catches about the edges. So they stood about in a circle. Then
the aerostat, as the great bag is called, was unrolled and spread evenly
over this. An oiled-muslin tube was tied to the neck, and its other
extreme to a gas main in a hole which some of the workmen had dug for the

Next the gas was turned on. The bag began to rise, looking at first like
ever so many young whales all huddled together. The men now began, under
the Professor's direction, to pull the netting over to hold the bag down.
The sand-bags were brought closer and set along on either side of the
tube. The bag now began to grow round and plump. Groups of lookers-on
kept growing, too, until all the square was alive with them. The helpers
kept walking around the swelling globe, changing the bags to lower
strands of the netting; and so it continued until by two o'clock the
balloon was full--that is, allowance was made only for expansion when the
balloon should have reached the clouds.

Every few moments the breeze would sway the monster to and fro, and it
seemed chafing to break away. Soon after, the basket was tied upon the
ring, and into this a great heap of sand-bags was piled, and a lot of
ropes, an anchor, an aneroid, thermometer, compass and other accessories
tied into the rigging or outside of the basket.

How grandly she stood there, the vast dome towering above the trees, her
amber sides bright with decorations and her shapely globe held in leash
by the white network--but bless me! here's more than four pages used up,
and we haven't started yet.

At precisely four o'clock the Professor's cheery voice was heard all
through the square as he sang out, "All aboard!" And his eight companions
responded as soon as they could get through the dense crowd that surged
on every side.

Now the sole remaining rope which held us to the earth was gripped by a
score of eager men.

The order came, "Let go!" The basket was raised a few feet and then
settled slowly back. This made the crowd laugh.

"Throw out two bags!" cried the Professor.

Then--then how grandly we lifted! How the cannon roared and bands added
their noise to the shouts of the hundred thousand people whose faces were
all turned toward our little wicker car!

The writer was sand-man, and following orders, he let out the contents of
another bag which fell in a swift gray stream plump down into the midst
of a little group of young ladies who were seated on a house-top.

If it happens that _this book_ reaches that family, opportunity is now
taken to apologize to those young ladies for thus pouring sand down the
backs of their necks.

Well, we sailed along grandly, soon leaving the city far behind--I forgot
to say that just as we were leaving, a darkey in a white apron came
through the crowd bringing us a hamper of good things. What an appetite
this keen upper air gave us, to be sure! We ate and drank and toasted
everything and everybody.

Pretty soon one of the boys said, (we were all newspaper men, and spoke
of each other as "boys"):

"Listen a moment!"

And we all held our breaths. What supreme silence! the gentle sighing of
the wind among the trees a mile below, the barking of dogs, or subdued
shouts of excited villagers, was all we could hear--but hark!

We were approaching a small town. In the square, through the gathering
twilight, we could discern a crowd, and now there came to us, refined by
distance, the familiar notes, played by the village band, of "Up in a
balloon, boys!"

We passed over the village, and the Professor pulled the valve cord
gently, so we dropped towards the place and cheered in reply.

"Now let's give them a song," said the Professor.

[Illustration: A PLUCKY DOG.]

So he began, and we came in on the chorus:

                     "Oh! 'twas old Sam Simons,
                     And young Sam Simons,
                       Old Sam Simons' son:
                     Now young Sam Simons
                     Is old Sam Simons,
                       For old Sam Simons is gone."

I wish the editor would only give me room to tell you about the scores of
funny things that happened that afternoon; but after all, the real
adventures happened the next day. So I can only speak briefly of the
pretty carrier-pigeons we loosed, which flew swiftly back to Cleveland,
bearing our messages to the newspapers--short notes only, to be sure,
wrapped about their slender legs, and which appeared in the papers the
following morning. One of these I find in the scrap-book before me, for
it was returned to me some weeks afterwards. It reads:

  "_We've just eaten supper out of our hamper, unhampered by any
  fears as to breakfast. Supper above the clouds is what I call high
  living. We can see you yet, but you are only a smoky stain upon the
  shore of Lake Erie. The Professor says we are to go into camp and
  then continue trip to-morrow. Good-night._"

It would never do, either, to forget the plucky dog which ran after our
drag-rope as it trailed along the ground when we were quite near the
earth, and held on with his teeth though we pulled him along over the
stubble on his back, and never let go until we had jerked him plumb over
a fence.

I've been in all sorts of camps--military camps, hunting camps and camp
meetings, but never dreamed of such a thing as a _balloon camp_ before!
By the help of some farmers we filled the great basket with stones and
then pitched a tent and made a fire at a safe distance. Lines were run to
trees in three directions, loosely to give the balloon "play" in case of
much wind, and then we all lay down in our blankets and tried to sleep.

At the very first signs of dawn we were up, and there she stood in the
still air just like a vision. At sunrise a hospitable farmer invited us
to breakfast, and wasn't it good? I'll never forget that coffee.

By eight o'clock quite a large number of country folks had reached the
field. Teams were hitched all along the fences. Now the Professor
announced that as he wished to make a long trip that day, he should carry
plenty of ballast and so could allow only two persons with him. It had
been agreed that we should draw cuts, and this was done good-naturedly.

[Illustration: OUR BALLOON CAMP.]

choice fell upon a photographer, and the writer.

We were sorry indeed to leave our companions behind us, but there was no
help for it. So we took our seats in the basket, said good-by, and were

Now we went up! _up!_ UP! passing through a thin cloud that made
everything below look dim and distant. We were in the region where
_November spends the summer_. Whew! how chilly it was. We wrapped our
overcoats and blankets close about us and our teeth chattered. Then we
rubbed our hands and faces. Why! how queerly they looked and felt.

"Ha! ha! look at the Professor's face. Why! there _ain't a wrinkle
left_!" said the photographer.

And so it proved. The aneroid told us that we were over three miles from
the ground, and the atmosphere was so diminished in pressure that the
internal forces of the body pressed outward and made the skin full and

One of yesterday's party had provided some large envelopes with long red
tails of tissue paper to drop into towns, and we wrote messages and
enclosed them in some of these, putting sand in one end, and launched
them. We watched them as they shot hither and yon in their swift flight
toward the earth. The chance finder was requested to send the contents to
the nearest telegraph office, but we never heard from any of them, save

About noon we found by comparing our maps with the streams below that we
had passed into Pennsylvania; and not long afterwards we descried Oil
City set upon the creek, with all its hills covered with derricks and oil

Speaking of Oil City, reminds me of a rather funny incident: For a couple
of years I had been in correspondence with a young man who resided there,
and who was also a journalist. His name and mine were just the same. I
had promised faithfully to stop and see him at any time chance might
bring me near his home. I took one of the envelopes and wrote a _regret_,
dropping it over the city. It was picked up in the road and handed to
him, but he always insisted that I had broken my promise unreasonably.

At the rate in which Oil City was left behind we knew our pace was very
rapid, though to us it all seemed like a dead calm, for we kept just even
with the wind.

The Professor said we could reach New England by midnight if the wind
held and it didn't grow cloudy; but alas! for the past hour we had been
watching a little fleecy nebulous bit of mist that seemed, like a spirit,
to spring from the nothingness of the blue ether, growing constantly, and
attracting other cloudlets which came toward it from all quarters of the
heavens and were swallowed up. A growing, whirling wall of pearly gray
mounted and spread its shadow over half the earth.

We threw out sand and mounted above it. Then it arose toward us again. It
seemed as though we could reach our hands into its surging depths. Over
went seats, baskets, the tent--everything we could spare, and I'm not
sure the Professor didn't glare at one of his companions with malicious
and deadly intent.

The truth rushed upon us that we were racing with a storm.

It was of vital importance to keep in the sun, for the moment the shadows
below could place their chilly spell upon our steed, the gas would chill
and condense, and we would drop! drop! swiftly to the earth. At last it
came, and we knew it was inevitable. Below us we could hear the crashing
of thunder reverberating away into the depths of the black storm masses,
and the lightnings every moment lit the weird scene with a grandeur but
few mortals have ever witnessed. For a brief moment we hung suspended
like Mahomet's coffin in the centre of a great cave of pearl. Shall I
ever forget that glimpse of heavenly splendor? A single shaft of sunlight
broke through its walls and then died like the last ray of hope. Then
downward we rushed! A mile nearer earth within the first minute! As the
air grew denser we fell more gradually. Our long drag-rope was out,
weighing perhaps three hundred pounds. Now we were closely enshrouded by
leaden clouds. The rain ran down the bag in rivulets and trickled upon
our heads.

"Look, oh look!" cried the Professor.

We were now below the storm, and along its dense ceiling could see its
broad extent. We were above the mountains. No towns nor even houses could
be discovered, only dense forests, through which the gale howled as among
the rigging of a ship upon a winter sea.

Very quickly our drag-rope touched the tree-tops and began to glide among
the swaying pines.

"Hold on at life-ropes!" shouted the Professor, knife in hand.

In another instant the basket gave a dreadful surge; a mass of pine
boughs swept about our heads, followed by a strong jerk. The Professor
had cut the cord which bound the anchor coil. The anchor had dropped and
caught among the limbs. We were safe! No! not yet.


The line must be shortened so we could clear the tree-tops. All three
tugged at the rope. Then other lashings were made while the great
aerostat plunged about like a wounded leviathan. We were eighty feet from
the ground. Two of us found it convenient to go down the drag-rope, but
the poor Professor, tall and heavy, preferred to try the tree. This was
wet and slippery, as well as full of projecting points of broken
branches. About twenty feet from the ground the Professor's clothes
caught. He was in a great dilemma.

Amid a good deal of laughter we managed to liberate him, and as he
reached the ground he exclaimed: "Well, of all the scrapes I was ever in,
this is about the meanest!"

But help came even here. Far down the slope we heard a shout, which you
may be sure was quickly answered. Then, after a while, the bushes parted
and a half-score of woodsmen carrying gleaming axes ran to our aid. They
were all thoroughly wet, like ourselves.

"What can we do for you?" they asked.

"Cut down half a dozen of these pines. I want to save the balloon,"
answered the aeronaut.

Then you should have seen the chips fly! Down came the trees, one after
the other, and finally the one to which our steed was lashed. The gas
soon escaped through great holes torn by the limbs, and our gallant craft
was robbed of its power. Standing upon one of the fallen trees I made the
sketch you see before you.

We found upon inquiring that we had landed in Potter county,
Pennsylvania; and consulting our watches, found we had travelled one
hundred and twenty-five miles in about two hours.

We were made comfortable at a lumberman's cabin,

[Illustration: THE WRECK OF THE "BUFFALO."]

and managed to get out of the woods in a couple of days where we could
telegraph to our friends.

It cannot be denied that after the excitement had passed we felt very
much like an old farmer who listened to our adventures. He said:

"Mebbe some folks prefer to travel in a flying Beelzebub, but I'm willin'
to git along in a buck-board with a good road to put my feet agin when I
git off."

_You'll_ say, now, "I guess that race was enough for you!" But you're
wrong; for I've had several trips since; and now you've a perfect right
to retort, "Well! you are a bigger _balloonatic_ than I took you for."

Perhaps you're right.


August _was_ rather a troublesome boy. Generous and jolly,--his playmates
called him a firstrate good fellow, but older people complained that he
was curious, meddlesome, and always "cluttering round."

But here is mamma's opinion:

"August was born to be busy. He is inventive too. He asks questions to
gain information, and he handles things to see how they are made."

"What is he tinkering at now, mamma?" asked Tom. "He has got hold of an
old, old book, full of _f ss_, and all yellow; he's rigged two pans in a
barrel, and bought a naptha lamp, and locked us all out of the attic."

"And he just came in with a covered basket, mamma," said Katie, "carrying
it ever so carefully. I was jumping rope in the hall, and he asked me not
to joggle. What do you suppose he was doing, mamma?"

"Suppose we wait till he tells us," said mamma, smiling.

"He's only trying some of his 'speriments," said wise little Robbie, aged

After the children went out, mamma took up her work and sat down by the
window, watching the three outside, and waiting for her oldest boy,
August, who presently came to take her into his confidence.

"Mamma, I am trying an experiment."

"And is that something new, August?" with an encouraging smile.

"But the _kind_ is new, mamma. Did you ever hear of Réaumur?"

"Who wrote that curious old book on the art of hatching fowls by
artificial incubation? Yes, August."

"Then will you come and see, mamma, what _I_ have begun to do?"

He led the way, two steps at a time, to the attic. When they reached the
door, August drew from his pocket a key, and unlocked it and led his
mother in.

A flour-barrel stood in the centre of the floor, closely covered. August
removed the cover, and lifted up a piece of carpet. His mother looked in.

Within the barrel was suspended a large, deep pan, resting on three iron
cleats. This pan was partly filled with hot water, and floating on the
water was another pan--a shallow one--which contained a layer of sand an
inch deep. Over this was spread a piece of linen cloth, and in the cloth
thirty-six large Brahma eggs lay closely packed. In the center stood a
neat thermometer.

[Illustration: THE INCUBATOR.]

"You have made your arrangements very neatly, August," said mamma. "Of
course I do not understand them exactly."

"Well, you see, mamma, this shallow pan gets its heat from the water
beneath it. I put that in hot, and keep it just right with this lamp."

Saying which, he knelt in front of the barrel, and opened a neat little
door, fitted with a brass knob and hinges.

Stooping down and looking in, his mother saw on a tall flower-pot, which
stood upside down, a naptha safety-lamp sending forth a small, steady

"That keeps the temperature about equable;" said August, "but I have
another lamp, larger than this, to use in case my incubator grows too

"When did you set them?" asked mamma.

"This morning."

"To-day is the first of March: then if no accident happens, and the eggs
are good, you expect them to hatch on the twenty-first?"

"Yes, mamma, and the eggs are all right because I told Grandma I wanted
some _very_ fresh, and she saved them for me."

"Did Grandma know of your experiment?"

"Oh! no, mamma. Not a soul but you knows about it; and I want you to keep
the secret until we know how it will turn out."

"Very well!" said mamma; "but if you lock the door you had better leave
the key with me in case anything should happen. I will look at your
incubator occasionally while you are at school."

August gave his mother a grateful look--he felt so encouraged by her

"How warm do you keep the eggs?" she asked as he carefully replaced the
carpet and cover.

"Réaumur says at 32°, that is about 103 1-2 Fahrenheit.[A]"

"Must the eggs be kept at that temperature all the time?"

"No, only through the first week. The second it is a little less and the
third still less."

"There is the luncheon-bell, dear; we must go down or the children will
be trooping up here. I hope, my boy, that you will succeed."

"If I don't I shall try again," said August. Then, taking a final look to
see that the thermometer and lamp were all right, he locked the room and
they went down.

He paid several visits to the attic during the day and evening, finding
on each occasion that all worked well and steadily. Before going to bed
he refilled the lamp, so the supply of naptha shouldn't be exhausted;
then he went to sleep and dreamed all night of eggs and chickens.

In the morning he was up and at his incubator before any one else was
stirring. The thermometer indicated that the eggs were a trifle cool, so
he turned up the wick of the lamp. Before going to church he turned the
eggs. This he did twice daily, being careful not to jar them. The
incubator worked well all day and all night.

The next day was Monday and he had his school duties to attend to. He
left everything in good order, took the attic key to his mother, and went
off to school full of confidence.

Alas! When mamma went up at ten o'clock, she could scarcely see across
the room. Everything was black with soot. The naptha lamp was smoking

The first thing was to get the window open, and put out the lamp. Then
mamma looked at the eggs. Alas, again! There they lay covered with fine
black soot. She took up one and tried to wipe it, but succeeded only in
making a smirch which she could not wipe off. She knew then that the eggs
were spoiled.

In the midst of it all August came in from school having been dismissed
early. Poor August! He could scarcely keep the tears back.

"Well, August," said his mamma very practically, "I don't think a naptha
lamp just the thing. They are very apt to smoke, and they are very

"Yes," said August, trying to be cheerful. "Failure the first! I shall
try it again. Grandma will give me some more eggs. I've only lost three

"And _I_ will go to town this afternoon," said his mother, "and see if I
cannot find a lamp which will be more reliable."

There was no school that afternoon, so August cleaned the room, and
supplied the incubator with fresh eggs, greatly encouraged by his
mother's sympathy and interest.

The other children were curious enough to know what was going on in the
attic; but they could get no information.

Toward evening Mrs. Grant returned from town, bringing for her little boy
a large tin lamp which would burn kerosene. He lighted it and adjusted
the wick to just the right height. Then it was placed within the barrel
to warm the second setting of eggs.

Day after day August and his mother watched and tended them. Everything
progressed finely.

On the next Monday the eggs, having been in the incubator a week, were
far enough advanced to be tested. At a south window there hung a heavy
green Holland curtain. In this mamma allowed August to cut a hole, a
little smaller than an egg, and she herself staid to assist him.

When all was ready, she handed August the eggs one by one. One by one he
held them to the aperture. The first seemed quite transparent. In vain
August turned and turned it--there was nothing to be seen but the yolk
floating at the top. With a sigh he laid that aside and took up another.

"O, mamma, look!" he cried excitedly.

Mrs. Grant examined it with great interest. Not only could she distinctly
see the dark form of a little chick, particularly the head with its
immense eye, but bright blood-veins were also plainly defined, branching
out in all directions from the body. Another and still another of the
eggs looked like this one. August was greatly excited.

"They are lively enough!" he said. "See, mamma, this one moves, and

Then came one that was dark and shaky. "Addled," pronounced August. After
this a number more appeared as promising as the former ones.

Finally all were tested. They were pleased enough with the result. Three
were clear--that meant there were no chickens within the shells; one was
addled; and thirty-two contained live chicks.

August was so wild over this discovery that his hands grew unsteady, and
he unfortunately dropped two of the eggs and broke them. This left him
but thirty likely to hatch; but these were all very promising.

"I am sure we will succeed now, mamma," cried August gaily.

"It looks like it, certainly," said mamma.

But alas for poor August's bright hopes! and alas for the expected
chickens! Whether August was too confident and grew careless, or whether
it was one of those unforeseen accidents that _will_ happen, will never
be known; but this is certain, that the next morning when August went,
later than usual, to look at his incubator, he found the thermometer had
gone up to 110 and must have been at that temperature some time, for in
egg after egg, which he opened in despair, was a poor little dead chick.

Even if a boy is fourteen years old, he cannot help crying sometimes over
a great disappointment.

Poor August put out his lamp with sorrowful breath and some of his tears
fell upon the hot chimney which hissed as if in mockery.

Then he locked himself in his own room, threw himself on the bed, refused
his breakfast and gave way to his grief.

Tom, Katie and Robbie all tried to get at him, but without avail. Katie
coaxed with loving words. Robbie murmured, "Poor Gussie!" Tom said "Never
mind, old fellow, if your 'speriment has failed. Come and play ball."

August's reply was not very polite.

"My experiment hasn't failed, and that is all you know about it, Tom!"

But the word "fail" seemed to rouse him, to restore his courage; for
presently unlocking the door and coming out, he said quietly to himself,
"I shall just go down to Grandma's for some more eggs--that's what I
shall do!"

Grandma was curious to know what he did with so many eggs; but she asked
no questions. She had great respect for August and his 'speriments.

She only said, "This makes one hundred and eight eggs, child. Now, if I
had set all these, and if they had all hatched, what a lot of little
chickens I would have had!"

"Ah!" thought August. "If!--" And he drew a long sigh.

Mamma, meanwhile, had been up to the attic to look at the incubator,
knowing nothing of what had happened. Great was her amazement to find the
lamp out, a basin full of broken eggs and little dead chicks, and the
incubator itself deserted and empty.

"Why, August!" she cried, as she met him in the door with a basket of
fresh eggs. "What has happened, dear child?"

"Only failure number two;" he answered, trying to speak cheerfully,
though even yet the tears lay high. "They got too hot in the night,

"Yet you are not quite discouraged?" said mamma.

August held out his basket with a smile.

So once more the incubator was set.

"We must take more pains this time," said mamma.

"Yes'm," answered August, "I'll try not to let any thing happen to

Things did work more smoothly this time. The temperature was kept about
right, the eggs were tested successfully and without accident.

One week, two weeks, two weeks and a half, and then things happened
again, things which came near being serious enough. It was Saturday
afternoon. August was going with the other children to a circus. He had
turned the eggs carefully and sprinkled them lightly with warm water. He
had admitted the children into his secret, and they were all in the room
waiting for him.

"These eggs are a little cool," said August, putting one up to his cheek.
"I must leave them just right, I think I will fill the lamp and turn it
up a little. Tommy, will you take the lamp out?"

Down on his knees Tommy went, and drew out the lamp which he set on the
floor. Then, kneeling still above it, he blew hard, directly down the

"PUFF! BANG! _Crack!_" went something, causing August, Katie and Robbie
to start violently, while poor Tommy, with his hands to his eyes, rolled
over on the floor with a groan.

"Mamma, oh! mamma!" screamed Katie, "the lamp is 'sploded!"

"And Tommy's killed!" shrieked Robbie.

Mamma flew up the stairs and to Tommy.

"Oh! his eyes!" she cried. "Quick, August, water!"

"Oh! my poor Tommy!" sobbed little Robbie. "See him all b'eedin',

August came running with the water, and knelt down and held the basin
while Katie flew for a sponge and soft linen.

When the blood was washed off, and his smarting eyes had been bathed with
fresh, cool water, Tommy discovered that he had been more frightened than
hurt; and mamma and the rest were greatly relieved to find his worst
wound, a slight cut between the eyes, could be cured by court-plaster.

It was a great wonder, however, that more harm had not been done; for
when the child blew so forcibly down the chimney, the wick shot up out of
the lamp and the chimney shivered in pieces; one of the pieces had struck
his face, making the cut, while the hot air and smoke flashing into his
eyes caused them to smart fiercely. August had neglected to fill the lamp
at the proper time, and the oil had burned nearly out. It was the sudden
forcing of air down the tube which caused the explosion.

"I thought you said 'twas a safety lamp!" said Katie indignantly.

"'Tisn't half so good as our un-safety ones;" declared Robbie.

"It's never safe to blow directly down upon a full flame in any lamp,"
said mamma. "The wick should always be turned down first and the flame
gently blown."

"Accident the third;" said August ruefully. "Mamma, do you feel like
trusting me any farther?"

His mother smiled. "The usual experience of inventors, my son."

Sunday passed quietly. Monday with its school duties was well over.
Tuesday morning--"Three weeks to-day!" said August, and half fearfully
opened his incubator.

"_Peep! Peep! Peep!_"

The lad trembled with excitement, and a flush of joy spread over his
face. He could hardly believe his ears. "One, two, three," he hurriedly
counted, "four, five, six." On he counted, up to twenty eggs chipped or
cracked. One chicken was half out of its shell, and one, quite
independent, was scrambling over the rest of the eggs.

August held his breath and looked at them as long as he dared to keep the
incubator open. Then softly closing the lid, he rushed down stairs.

"Hurrah! Hurrah!" he shouted at the door of his mother's room. "They're
hatching, mamma! They're hatching!"

"Are they, really?" asked mamma, pleased enough, and she hurried up the
stairs, closely followed by the children, whom August's joyful cry had
aroused from their sleep. In great excitement they clustered around the

"Oh! what a cunning, fluffy one!" cried little Katie, as she spied the
oldest chick.

"But what is the matter with that other one?" asked Tommy.

"He has just left the shell and is not dry yet," August explained. "As
soon as he is dry he will be downy like the other."

"Hear em say '_peep! peep!_'" cried little Robbie, grasping the edge of
the barrel with both hands, and stretching his short legs to their utmost
extent in order to get his eyes high enough to look over the edge.

"What lots are cracked!" said Tommy. "Oh! August, here is one cracked all

"Yes," said August, "that chick will soon be out." Even as he spoke the
shell parted, and a third little bright-eyed chicken struggled out and
looked about in amazement.

The children could have watched them much longer with great interest, but
mamma was afraid the incubator would get too cool, and she advised August
to cover it.

"How _do_ they do it, mamma?" asked Katie.


"The little chick is packed very wonderfully in his shell," said mamma.
"His head under his wing, legs folded up with the feet toward the head,
his bill coming out from under one wing. This bill is furnished with a
little hard point on the top. When he is ready to crack the shell and
come out, he begins to move. He turns his whole body slowly round,
cracking the shell as he goes, by pressing with his whole force against
it, the hard, sharp point on the top of his bill coming next the shell.
When he is a few days old this hard point drops off. Just before he
hatches, after the egg is cracked all around, he frees his head from his
wing and struggles to stretch himself. Then the shell parts and he gets
his head out, and presently his legs, one after the other. I forgot to
say that just before hatching he gradually absorbs the yolk of the egg
into his body, and that nourishes him for twenty-four hours after


"It's very curious, isn't it?" said Tommy.

"I didn't know anything but hens or ducks could hatch eggs," said Katie.

"Why, Katie!" exclaimed August, "there is a place at Canton, in China,
where _thousands_ of ducks' eggs are hatched artificially every day.
There are twenty-eight rooms to the establishment, and all along the
sides of these rooms are rows of sliding trays filled with eggs. These
eggs are put in the first room the first day; on the second day they are
moved to the second room; and so on, until they hatch in the last room.
The heat is graduated, the last rooms being cooler than the first. All
these eggs are hatched by the heat of the rooms."

"If they hatch thousands every day," asked Tommy, "what do they do with
the little ducks?"

"They hatch them for the people in the neighboring towns," replied
August. "The Chinese are very fond of ducks and ducks' eggs. A gentleman
who has been to Canton, and seen the hatching-rooms, told me he had seen
people take eggs there to be hatched. They would pay for the hatching and
then one of the men in charge of the rooms would count their eggs, and
give them just as many little ducklings."

"I guess they don't have accidents there, then," said Katie.

"_I_ won't have accidents _always_," August replied.

"But what _do_ they do with so many ducks?" asked Tommy.

"Why, half the poor Chinese people near the coast live on the water all
the time in boats that are half houses. Of course they could not keep
hens, but they can keep ducks and they do."

"Oh, yes!" cried Tommy. "I 'member how papa told about seeing them fed
and called into the boats. He said every flock knew its own call, and
would go scuttling through the water to the right boat. He thought they
were in this d'edful hurry, cause the last one got whipped."

"What shall I do about school, mamma?" August asked.

"Oh! go, and recite your most important lessons," she answered wisely. "I
will take care of the eggs and chickens till you return."

It was just as well for August to be occupied, since the hatching,
although it went on surely, was slow work.

With great faith in his incubator, August had previously built a little
yard for the expected chickens.

It was in box form, about eight feet long and two feet wide. In the
center was a feeding-tray and water tank, and at one end a hover. This
hover (H) was


lined with soft fur loosely tacked to the top and sides and hanging down
the front in narrow strips to form a curtain. It sloped from the front to
the back. The water tank was a stout earthen bottle in a saucer; a small
hole near the bottom of the bottle let the water, drop by drop, into the
saucer, so that as the chickens drank, the supply in the saucer was
continually freshening. The bottom of the yard was covered with gravel
three inches deep. This neat yard was now waiting down stairs in a sunny
shed room to receive the chickens.

August went to school, and on his way home called for his grandmother to
go up to the house to dinner.

Grandma knew that it was just three weeks since August had taken the last
eggs, and that twenty-one days was the time allotted by nature for the
bringing forth of chickens, so she shrewdly suspected what she would
find; but it had not occurred to her that she would find chickens alive
without the aid of a hen.

"Grandma," asked August, as they walked along "when you set a hen on
thirteen eggs, how many do you expect will hatch?"

"I hope for all," she replied, "but I seldom get all. I think ten out of
thirteen is a very good proportion."

"My incubator beats your hens!" thought August.

When they reached the house he took her straight to the attic.

"Well, I never!" she exclaimed. "So that is your secret, August! Well, I
declare! And it really hatches the eggs, doesn't it? I always knew,
child, that you would invent something wonderful."

"I didn't _invent_ much," he said modestly. "In 1750, Réaumur, the
French naturalist, gave an account of his experiments in hatching eggs in
barrels set in hot-beds of horse-manure; and the Chinese and the
Egyptians have hatched them for ages in ovens."

"But this is by hot water and lamps," said Grandma.

"Yes," said August, "I never saw an incubator before I made this; but,
Grandma, I had read of them made on the same principle."

"At any rate," said Grandma, "I think that you deserve great credit for
patience and ingenuity."

By evening thirty chickens were hatched from the thirty-six eggs. The
other six gave no signs of life. By Grandma's advice they were left in
the incubator "to give them a chance," but they never hatched.

The next morning all the members of the family took the chickens
down-stairs, even Robbie, who took two in a basket, and deposited them in
their new home.

Then their food was prepared, the yolks of hard-boiled eggs crumbled up
fine, bread crumbs, milk, and a little fine cracked corn. After a few
days they could be fed almost entirely upon the cracked corn.

The whole family then stood around the yard admiring the brood, thirty
little, bright-eyed, yellow, fluffy balls. They soon learned to eat and
to drink, and were busy, happy little creatures. They would run under the
hover when they wanted warmth or quiet, just as naturally as they would
have run under a mother hen. The box was built on castors, and could be
rolled from window to window, and thus kept in the sunlight, in which the
little creatures reveled; and at night it could be pushed near the stove.
Of course August had to renew the gravel very often, and he was very
particular to keep the food dishes sweet and clean. When the weather grew
warm enough the yard was rolled into an open shed, and they could run out
of doors.

These chickens were considered very wonderful, and many visitors came to
see them. They grew fast and were as tame as kittens. Day after day the
children came to feed the pretty pets, bringing them young clover tops
and tender grass. Katie treated them with her birds' canary and hemp
seed. Robbie gave them bits of his cookies and cakes. Anything that the
children liked to eat, these little chickens liked also; and when they
heard the little boots coming towards them they would perch on the edge
of their yard and chirp and peep and coax for their dainties.

By and by their wings began to grow and the fluffy down was changed to
feathers. Grandma said that now they must have meat occasionally, chopped
up fine, and they had it Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The little creatures were frantic for the meat. They would fly upon
August, and, if they could get there, into the dish, which they more than
once overturned.

When their plumage was well out they were handsome fowls. August built a
large coop and out-door yard for them, but they were not often confined
in it, for the children loved to have them about with them, and watched
them as carefully as a hen mother could have done; and great was the joy
of Katie and Robbie as they ran to their mother to report the first
crowing of the little cockerels.

When last I saw them they were well grown. The pullets, August proudly
informed me, were laying.

It was the glorious Fourth. Torpedoes were the order of the day, and
Katie and Robbie were amusing themselves by throwing the snappers in all
directions, and seeing their feathered pets run to eat what they could
never find. The other fowls, disturbed by the noise of the day, preferred
to keep hidden away in their houses, but these liked to keep about with
the children and see the fun.

August began his experiments when some of my young readers were quite
little children. He has continued them through several seasons, until
now, after much study and patient industry, he has enlarged and greatly
improved his incubator. He has changed its form entirely, and has
attached an electric apparatus which regulates the heat, and avoids all
danger from smoke. He has applied for a patent, and has made arrangements
for taking care of a large number of chickens as early as February, being
still greatly interested in this successful "'speriment."


  [A] Fahrenheit and Réaumur were both inventors of thermometers.
      Those commonly in use are Fahrenheit's.


It seems strange that any birds should stay with us during the cold and
frost when there is so much food which they like in the southern part of
our country. Men of science wonder why they do remain here, and are
unable to account for it. Perhaps it is because it is the true home of
these birds which remain, and they prefer to search long and diligently
for their scanty food, and bear the cold and the winds and the frost,
rather than leave it. This is as _we_ should do, and doubtless the birds
that stay through the winter love _their_ homes just as much--as a bird
possibly can.

Of course everybody,--that is, everybody except the tiniest, wee baby,
has seen the winter birds, some of them; at least the Chickadees, the
Snow-birds, and Downy Woodpeckers, and Bluejays and Shore larks. _But are
you acquainted with the little fellows?_ Do you know where and how they
live, and what they eat, and of their habits and songs?

[Illustration: THE CHICKADEE.]

A great favorite of mine is the Chickadee, with his black cap and white
shirt bosom. This active little gentleman is the most social and friendly
of them all. If out in the country, this little fellow in company with
his mates will twitter gaily at sight of you, every now and then looking
curiously at you as if asking, "And who are _you_, sir?" or "Who are
_you_, ma'am?" and pecking his way gradually nearer and nearer will
inspect you in the quaintest and merriest way. Afraid! O no, not they.
Mr. Samuels, a writer about birds, says that he once had an inquisitive
little Chickadee perch on the end of his boot and sit there watching him
inquiringly. They have even been known to feed from the open hand. If you
will daily scatter some crumbs for them before the door, or upon the
window-sill, you will learn for yourselves how neighborly they are.

Still the Chickadees are strangely tender, needing a warm, cosy nest to
shield their little bodies. They cannot make their nests on the limbs of
trees. Oh, no, that wouldn't do, for the first thing they knew the wind
would blow, blow, and down would come their home. So they hunt around in
the woods or along the rails and posts, for the nests in the wood that
have been deserted by the woodpecker, who has flown away to a milder
clime. If the Chickadees can not find these, they set to work themselves
and with great labor dig a hole in a tree, or post, for their winter
quarters. They prefer decayed trunks or posts so they can work more
easily. To the bottom of their holes they bring pieces of wool, moss, and
feathers or hair, and weave warm carpets and curtains to make cosy their
little homes.

The Chickadees are very active, lively little things. They are always in
motion; now hopping along in search of food, sending forth the peculiar
cry that gives them their name, and then alighting on the tree limbs and
moving from one tree to another "traversing," as Wilson, a great
authority on birds, says, "the woods in regular procession from tree to
tree, and in this manner traveling several miles a day." They are very
strong for their size, and will hang below a limb supported by their
claws, with their head downwards, which we should think would make them
dizzy, but it does not seem to.

These little roamers of our roads and woods are so genial, companionable
and social, that not only do _we_ enjoy their society, but other birds
are enchanted with them and seek their company. The Chickadees do not
object. And so Brown Creepers, Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, and other
birds, often join them in their merry rambles and scrambles. They feed
mostly on very small insects and eggs, such as infest the bark of trees,
but will eat almost anything offered them; even meat they will peck from
a bone.

Pleasant, indeed, in the midst of winter is this little bird's cry:

"_Chick-a-dee-dee-dee! Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!_"

Pleasant his sharp whistle:

"_Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Pe-wee!_"

How much we should miss these amiable favorites should they ever take a
notion to desert us! They stay with us throughout the year, but in summer
they are shyer than in winter for they rear their young then. It is not
until their family cares are over in the autumn, that they gather in
small flocks and resume their merry life and social ways.

[Illustration: THE BLACK SNOW-BIRD.]

Another very interesting and neighborly winter bird is our familiar
Snow-bird, often called the "Black Snow-bird" to distinguish it from the
Snow Bunting or "White Snow-bird."

These tiny birds visit us from the north. Their journeys extend over the
whole breadth of the United States. They appear here in the latter part
of October, and are first seen among the decaying leaves near the borders
of the woods, in flocks of about thirty. If molested, they at once fly to
the trees. As the weather becomes colder they approach nearer the
farm-houses and towns.

They are real weather prophets. When a storm is near at hand they gather
together in large flocks, and work very, very diligently in search of
food,--doubtless making provision for the time of wind and storm when
they can get none.

But it is after the snow-storms, when the ground is white with the downy
flakes, that the Snow-birds become the most friendly. How pleasant it is
then to see them gather about the house, and around the barn and
out-houses, to search for edibles. Not only then do they appear in the
country-places, but even in the crowded city their little forms may be
seen in multitudes, on the snowy streets and in the windows.

They build their nests near the ground, often on a stump or log, or in a
deep thicket, in such a manner as to be shielded from the wind and
storms. They construct their homes from bits of fine grasses and leaves,
and it is interesting to observe what wonderful architects they are.

The Snow-birds, I am sorry to say, though friendly with us are not, like
the little Chickadees, peaceful among themselves. They are often very
quarrelsome, and will peck at each other in a way that little birds
should not. Perhaps they "make up" with one another and are good friends
again. I hope so.

The Snow-birds are very nimble on the ground, and, I guess, can eat
faster and more for their size than any other winter bird. It is a very
funny sight to see them scratch away the snow with their tiny feet to get
their food, which, when insects and eggs are not to be had, is the seeds
of many kinds of weeds that still rise above the snow, and along the
border of the roads.

Sometimes, perhaps, you have come upon a dead Snow-bird in the morning
following a cold night, and perhaps have wondered if the poor little
creature froze to death, and why he did not die at home. But the
Snow-birds are sometimes affected with a dizziness or faintness which
makes them fall from the limbs, or during their flight. _What_ makes them
dizzy or faint, we do not know; not from hanging head downwards like the
little Chickadees, surely. But they often, alas! come to their death
through this affection.

The snow-birds have a peculiar cry of "_Chuck! chuck!_"--and another of
"_Chit, chit-a-sit!_" which however, they seldom utter except when taking
flight. They stay with us until about the 29th of April, when they wing
away to the north or to the higher ranges of our mountains.

Somewhat similar to the Snow-birds are the Snow Buntings or "White
Snow-birds." They appear every winter in large flocks, often of many
thousands. They are sometimes called "bad weather birds," from the fact
of their moving to the northward during fine weather and to the southward
on the advent of deep snow-storms. They are much shyer than either the
Chickadees or Snow-birds; but they are often seen on the roadsides and in
the lanes searching for the seeds of weeds that grow there. On the
sea-shore, which they greatly frequent, they live on small shellfish. It
is curious that the greater the snow and the colder the weather of
winter, the whiter do the Snow-Buntings appear.

They are very swift flyers, and often in flocks of great numbers seem to
be a cloud of snow-flakes driven before a storm. They make their nests in
the fissures of the rocks, forming from grass, and feathers, and the down
of the Arctic fox, a very cosey home. They frequent the roads and lanes
in the vicinity of Boston, and their white forms and busy beaks can be
seen throughout the winter season.

[Illustration: THE SNOW BUNTING.]

They have peculiar notes like a clear whistle, and a "_chirr, chirr!_"
which they utter when flying.

A very fine little bird quite common in this State in the winter season,
is the Brown Creeper, with its showy brown and white coat. These active
little creatures are great lovers of the woods and pass their lives among
the trees.

Unlike the Chickadees and Nuthatches, who also are partial to the woods,
they very rarely descend to the ground to either hop about or hunt for
food. Nor do they, like the two former birds, ever hang to a limb with
their heads downward.

Still the Brown Creeper seems to be constantly in activity, and hunts
most diligently for the insects it feeds upon. This it does somewhat in
the manner of the Woodpecker, by clinging to the trunks or branches of
trees, supporting itself by its stiff tail-feathers and thus moving about
quite securely.

[Illustration: THE BROWN CREEPER.]

They are very methodical. They strive to get every insect from a tree
that there is on it, before leaving for another. So they generally alight
near the foot of a tree and gradually climb to the top; an insect must be
very, very small to escape their piercing gaze.

They often work around a tree in spirals, and so are at times lost to the
sight of an observer of their ways; and if the watcher runs around to the
other side of the tree, very likely by the time he gets there, lo! they
are back to the former side.

But they are not at all shy, and though not as neighborly and social as
the Chickadee, or Snow-bird, still they will not fly away from the
presence of unmolesting persons.

The Brown Creeper has not the bill suitable to excavate a hole for
himself, so he is obliged to find a hollow trunk, a squirrel's nest, or a
deserted Woodpecker's home. Here the little bird builds a nest of dry
twigs and lays its pretty eggs.

As the mid-winter cold deepens they retire to the depths of the woods, or
into the brown and sheltered thickets, where their little cry of "_Chip,
chip_," and "_Cree, cree, cree_," may be frequently heard; and very
pleasant it is, too. Very useful they are, these little Brown Creepers,
as well as the Chickadees and Nuthatches, for they help preserve our
beautiful trees and shrubbery from the destroying worms and insects.

I have mentioned the Nuthatches. These birds, a little larger than the
others before noticed, are not so numerous as the Chickadees and
Snow-birds, but they are very interesting. The name of Nuthatches was
given to them long ago, because it was supposed they broke the wood nuts
by repeated _hatchings_ or hammerings with their bills. But now men of
science, who study birds, do not think that is true, and believe the
Nuthatches to be wrongly named.

[Illustration: NUTHATCHES.]

It was also thought that the Nuthatches, like the squirrels, lay up in
the summer a store of nuts for their winter use. But this also is
doubted, since the Nuthatch will climb along the trees and limbs in
search of insects and larvæ when the tree hangs full of nuts. So it is
thought their principal food is composed of ants, seeds of various
shrubbery, bugs and insects.

While the female bird is sitting on her eggs, the male Nuthatch displays
a great deal of care and affection, supplying her regularly with the
choicest food he can collect. With this he flies away to the mouth of the
hole where they have established their home, and calls to her so
tenderly, offering her the delicacy he has brought. He seems to call to
her sometimes, simply to inquire how she is, and to soothe her labors
with his incessant chatter. Seldom does he venture far from the nest, and
if any danger threatens he instantly flies back to alarm her.

The white-breasted Nuthatch is known by his cry of "_quank, quank_,"
repeated frequently as he keeps moving along the branches of a tree,
piercing the bark with his bill and breaking off pieces in search of
insects and their larvæ.

This affectionate bird, like the little Chickadees, rests and roosts with
his head downwards; and also like them, is very curious and inquiring. If
you are in sight, he will gradually make his way to you and reconnoitre
your appearance, as if he would learn who you are.

There is also another bird of this species called the red-breasted
Nuthatch, who is seen in New England, in winter, and who leads a similar
life to his white-breasted relative.


Though most of the many species of Woodpeckers leave us on the advent of
cold weather, still there are some that remain. My little readers, I am
certain, have nearly all seen the round homes of the Woodpecker. You may
observe them in almost any wood. They are about alike except in size and
situation. A round hole in a tree or post is all you will see from a
distance; but if you can climb,--for their holes are usually more than
six feet from the ground,--you may look down into the deep home itself.

How much patience and perseverance they must have to dig, bit by bit,
such straight deep nests. These holes are seldom lined with any thing,
but are generally enlarged at the bottom so as to give the family more
"elbow room."

The one we know best in winter is the Downy Woodpecker, the prettiest and
smallest of the tribe. It builds its nest in various trees, preferring
the apple-tree, poplar and birches. Its hole is smaller than those of
other woodpeckers because, I suppose, the bird itself is so much smaller
that he can do with less room.

The Downy Woodpeckers are very sociable; and although they themselves are
not gregarious, you may often see them followed by Chickadees, Creepers,
Nuthatches and Wrens, whose company they appear to be pleased with.

They are not shy of man, but, unlike most of their tribe, haunt
roadsides, orchards, and grounds about houses and out-buildings, which
they prefer to the deep forests. They are generally seen in pairs, and
are very active little birdies. In searching for food, insects and eggs,
they move from tree to tree and thus pass the day. They rarely alight on
the ground. Their ordinary cry is a "_Chick_, _chick_," repeated rapidly.

A somewhat larger Woodpecker, called the Hairy Woodpecker, is also an
inhabitant of our woods in winter and much like the Downy Woodpecker in

These are the principal and most common of our winter birds. There are
some others sometimes seen, such as the Tree-Sparrow, Blue-Jay and Golden
Crowned Wren, but space forbids an account of their ways and songs. I
hope what I have told you of the winter birds will induce you to study
and observe more closely their almost human ways.


You have all heard of the Seven Wonders of the World; did you know that
two of these wonders were veritable Light-houses?

About 300 B. C., Cheres, the disciple of Lysippus, cast the famous brazen
Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Sun God Apollo, and erected it at the
entrance of the harbor where it was used as a Light-house, the flames
which crowned the head of the Sun God by night serving to guide wandering
barks into his Rhodian waters.


For eighty years its hundred brazen feet towered superbly above port and
town, and then it was partly destroyed by an earthquake. For nearly a
thousand years the sacred image remained unmolested where it had fallen,
by Greek and Roman, Pagan and Christian; but at last the Saracen owners
of Rhodes, caring as little for its religious association as for its
classic antiquity, sold the brass of it for the great sum of £36.000, to
the Jewish merchants of Edessa.

Just about the time that the Colossus was set astride the Rhodian harbor,
King Ptolemy Philadelphus caused a noble tower of superb white stone,
four hundred feet high, to be erected by an architect named Sostrasius,
son of Dixiphanes, at the entrance to the port of Alexandria, which was a
bran-new busy city in those days, a mere mushroom growth in that old, old
Egypt, where the upstart Ptolomies were reigning on the throne of the

It is said that this Sostrasius didn't want his own name to be forgotten,
so he carved it deep in the stone of the tower and covered it over with
plaster whereon he inscribed by royal command:

"King Ptolemy to the Gods, the Saviours, for the benefit of sailors."

Josephus tells us that the light, kept burning on the top of this Pharos,
as it was called, probably from a word that signifies _fire_, was visible
for forty miles at sea. For a thousand years it shone constantly until
the Alexandrian Wonder likewise fell a prey to time and the Saracens.

The words Pharos-Phâre, Faro, etc., have been adopted into more than one
European language to express Light-house or sea-light.

Some persons suppose that great mirrors must have been used to direct the
light on the Pharos and keep it from being lost, but it is most probable
that no more effective means of illumination than a common fire was

The only other Light-houses of antiquity of which any record has been
preserved are the Tower of Conira in Spain, which Humboldt mentions as
the _Iron Tower_, and a magnificent stone Light-house at Capio, near the
mouth of the Guadalquiver, that Strabo tells us about, on a rock nearly
surrounded by sea.

Then tradition points out Cesar's Altar at Dover, the _Tour d' Ordre_ at
Boulogne, a Roman Pharos at Norfolk, and, in early British history, St.
Edmund's Chapel at the same place, as having been originally intended for

Though we are far ahead of our forefathers in our scientific apparatus
for illuminating Light-houses, we have never equalled them in
magnificence of architecture; for, in point of grandeur, the _Tour de
Corduan_ at the mouth of the River Garonne, in France, is probably the
noblest edifice of the kind in the world, and it is nearly three hundred
years since it was completed under Henry IV., having been twenty-six
years in building.

[Illustration: A MODERN LIGHT-HOUSE]

All these centuries it has stood strong on its great reef, and has served
to guide the shipping of Bordeau and the Languedoc Canal, and all that
part of the Bay of Biscay; and it promises, in all human probability, to
show its steadfast light for centuries to come.

Corduan is stoutly built in four stories, each of a different order of
architecture, highly ornamented and adorned with the busts of the Kings
of France, and of the heathen divinities. The first story contains the
store-rooms, the second, the so-called King's apartments, the third a
chapel, and the fourth the dome or lower lantern. The tower completed is
197 feet high.

When this splendid structure was completed no better method for
illuminating was known than by burning billets of oak wood in a chauffer
in the upper lantern; and it was considered a great matter when a rude
reflector in the form of an inverted cone was suspended above the flame
to prevent the light from escaping upward. It is not known, in fact, that
any more effective mode of lighting was employed until 1760, not much
more than one hundred years ago; and then the radiance was not especially
brilliant as it would seem to us. At that time Smeaton the engineer began
to use wax candles at the Eddystone Light-house, which soon degenerated
to tallow dips, probably on account of the expense, and they must have
given the keeper abundance of occupation in the way of snuffing and

In 1789 a French scientist, M. Lenoir, made an epoch in the history of
Light-houses, and in the progress of civilization as well, when he
introduced an improvement in the way of lighting up the _Tour de
Corduan_; for, of course, the comparative safety in coast navigation
attained to by means of our modern Light-house system is of the first
consequence in commerce and international communication, which means the
spread of science, enlightenment and religion throughout the world. M.
Lenoir placed Argand lamps with parabolic mirrors or reflectors in the
lantern, which is, as it appears, a glass room on the summit of the tower
entered by a trap-door at the head of a spiral staircase. Such a great
change having been brought about, men of science have not rested content,
but have gone on making one advance after another. In 1820 the famous
diaptric instruments of Mr. Fresnel were placed in Corduan on trial, and
proved such a grand success that, gradually, they have been universally
adopted. The wonderful lens which you saw at the Centennial belongs to a
diaptric refracting light of the first order, and oil lamps constructed
on the Fresnel principle, and, placed with lenses of different orders,
according to the Light-house they are used for, serve an admirable
purpose. Lard is found to be the best illuminator, as a general thing,
for the light it casts through lenses of the first order reaches as far
out to sea as it is possible for any light to be seen on account of the
convexity of the earth. Experiment has proved it safer than mineral oil,
and it is cheaper than gas, which however is occasionally used near a
city whence it can easily be obtained. Only in some few special instances
electric light, the most intense procurable, is employed.


The Centennial birth-day gift of the citizens of France to the American
Republic is a colossal brazen statue of Liberty, which is to be a Pharos
to light the shipping of the world into New York harbor. It will stand on
Bedloe's Island, and from the torch in its uplifted hand will flash a
calcium light. Only the hand and arm were finished in time to be sent to
the Exposition; but these were on so gigantic a scale that a man standing
in the little gallery which ringed the thumb holding the torch seemed
like an ant or a fly creeping along at that height.

Sir Walter Scott--dear Sir Walter, whose "Tales of a Grandfather" and
Scottish stories and poems were so delightfully familiar to the boys and
girls of the last generation, left a charming little diary of a voyage he
made in the summer of 1814, on board a Light-house yacht, in company with
the Commissioners of Northern Lights,--who have charge of the
Light-houses in Scotland, as the Elder Brethren of Trinity House have of
those in England,--their Surveyor-Viceroy, the engineer Stevenson, and a
few other gentlemen.

The first Light-house they visited was an old tower, like a "border
keep," still illuminated by a grate fire on top. The commissioners think
of substituting an oil revolving-light; but Sir Walter wonders if the
_grate_ couldn't be made to revolve!

Next they came to Bell Rock, which, in olden times, was the terror of
sailors feeling their way in and out of the islands and rocks and shoals
of the beautiful, perilous coast of Scotland. Inch-cape Rock, as it was
then called, had shipwrecked many a helpless crew before the Abbot of
Aberbrathock, fifteen miles off, out of pity caused a float to be fixed
on the rock, with a bell attached which, swinging by the motion of the
waves, warned seamen of the danger.

Many years later, when Abbot and Monastery bells had all become things of
the past, a humane naval officer set up two beacons on Bell Rock by
subscription; but they were soon destroyed by the fury of the elements.

At last in 1802, people began to realize the danger of this terrible reef
in the highway of navigation, and the Commissioners appointed Mr. Robert
Stevenson to erect a Light-house on this point.

It was a perilous undertaking, and once the engineer and his workmen made
a very narrow escape from drowning; but it was successfully accomplished
by the brave and skilful Stevenson. Sir Walter thus describes this famous

"Its dimensions are well known; but no description can give the idea of
this slight, solitary, round tower, trembling amid the billows, and
fifteen miles from Arbraeth (Aberbrathock), the nearest shore. The
fitting up within is not only handsome, but elegant. All work of wood
(almost) is wainscot; all hammer-work brass; in short, exquisitely fitted
up. You enter by a ladder of rope, with wooden steps, about thirty feet
from the bottom where the mason-work ceases to be solid, and admits of
round apartments. The lowest is a storehouse for the people's provisions,
water, etc.; above that, a storehouse for the lights, oil, etc.; then the
kitchen of the people, three in number; then their sleeping chamber; then
the saloon or parlor, a neat little room; above all the Light-house; all
communicating by oaken ladders with brass rails, most handsomely and
conveniently executed."

In the course of the voyage Mr. Stevenson determined that his
"constituents" should visit a reef of rocks called _Skerry Vhor_
(Skerrymore), where he thought it would be essential to have a
Light-house. Sir Walter's description of this visit is quite amusing and
perhaps you would like to read it. The wind had blown squally all night,
and in consequence everything and everybody were pitched and tossed about
at a great rate, on board the little vessel. Nobody relished the attempt
to land under these circumstances on this wild ridge.

"Quiet perseverance on the part of Mr. Stevenson, and great kicking,
bouncing, and squabbling upon that of the Yacht, which seems to like the
idea of Skerry Vhor as little as the Commissioners. At length, by dint of
exertion, comes in sight this long ridge of rocks (chiefly under water)
on which the tide breaks in a most tremendous style. There appear a few
low, broad rocks at one end of the reef, which is about a mile in length.
These are never entirely under water though the surf dashes over them.
Pull through a very heavy swell with great difficulty, and approach a
tremendous surf dashing over black pointed rocks--contrive to land well
wetted. We took possession of the rock in the name of the Commissioners,
and generously bestowed our own great names on its crags and creeks. The
rock was carefully measured by Mr. S. It will be a most desolate position
for a Light-house--the Bell Rock and Eddystone a joke to it, for the
nearest land is the wild island of Tyree, at fourteen miles distance. So
much for the Skerry Vhor."


As might have been expected, the Commissioners were discouraged at the
aspect of affairs and delayed the work from year to year, but at last, in
1834, the Board placed this serious undertaking in the hands of Mr. Alan

Mr. Stevenson has left us a thrilling account of his noble work on
Skerrymore Rocks, than which no worthier monument was ever left behind to
the memory of a gifted and conscientious man.

In the first place he had to build barracks for his workmen on the Isles
of Tyree and Mull, and then to begin the foundation of the tower on the
only one of the gneiss rocks of the reef which was broad enough for the
purpose, and this is but barely so, for at high water little remains
around the tower's base but a narrow band of a few feet of rugged rocks,
washed into gullies by the sea, which plays through them almost

Everything had to be thought of and provided for beforehand; even so
small a matter as the want of a little clay for tamping holes might have
stopped the work for a time.

Piers were built at Mull where the granite was quarried, and all sorts of
conveniences and contrivances for the vessels and tug in use.

The poor workmen suffered dreadfully from seasickness when compelled to
live on their vessel, so they erected a temporary wooden barrack on the
rock, but it was completely swept away in a November gale, destroying the
work of a season in a single night. The dauntless men went to work again,
however, and built another shelter which stood so successfully that it
was finally taken down several years after the Light-house was completed.

Alan Stevenson tells us of their life in this wave-washed eyrie, where he
was perched forty feet above the sea-beaten rock with a goodly company of
thirty men, where often for many a weary night and day they were kept
prisoners by the weather, anxiously looking for supplies from the shore.
At such times they were generally obliged to stay in bed, where alone
they found an effectual shelter from the wind and spray which searched
every cranny in their walls. More than once the fearfulness of the storm
drove the more timid from their frail abode, which the sea threatened to
overwhelm, out on the bare rock where the roofless wall of the
Light-house offered a safer defence against the perils of the wind and

Innumerable were the delays and disappointments which tried the courage
and faith of Stevenson and his brave band. It was a good lesson in the
school of patience, and they learned to trust in something stronger than
an arm of flesh. More than once their cranes and materials were swept
away by the waves, and the workmen left, desponding and idle. They
incurred daily risks in landing and in blasting the splintery gneiss, and
in the falling of heavy bodies in the narrow space to which they were
confined. For all, they met with no loss of life or limb, and maintained
good health in spite of being obliged to live on salt provisions for six

But the hardships and responsibilities by no means end with the building
of the Light-house; the keeper who has it in charge holds a most
important position, for upon the skill of his hands in the management of
the delicate costly lenses and machinery, the clearness of his head, and
the courage of his heart, as well as his honesty and fidelity, depends,
even more than upon the captain of a vessel, the safety of many precious
lives and millions of property; so it is of the first importance that he
be intelligent, efficient and trustworthy.

A Light which has been visible for years cannot be suffered to be extinct
for one hour without endangering a vessel's safety. The failure to
illuminate at the proper time might prove fatal to the confiding mariner.

In England it is a situation for life unless the holder prove unworthy,
with a pension if superannuated; but in our own country the appointments
are in a measure political, and consequently liable to be temporary. This
circumstance is deplored by the Board which sometimes in this way loses
valuable servants after they have gained a skill and experience which
only comes with time; and raw, untried hands have to be placed in
positions of trust. It is hoped that some change will soon be brought
about in this matter.


A year or more ago a gentleman, who holds an important position in the
office of the Light-house Board and is specially interested in the
comfort and welfare of the keepers, came in the course of a tour he was
making on one of the Supply Ships, which carry half-yearly stores to the
different posts, to a very isolated Light-house off the Florida coast,
twenty miles from any human habitation and sixteen from _terra firma_.
Just before the arrival of the vessel a little child of the keeper had
died, and was about to be buried in the sea without so much as a word of
prayer being said over it. Mr. ---- was shocked to find that these poor
people in their isolation seemed to have no idea of religion, and that
there was not a book of any kind at the station. The parents made no
objection to his reading the burial service over the poor baby, out of a
little prayer-book which he happened to have in his pocket, and he went
away determined to do his part towards making good the deficiency he had
discovered; for on investigation it was found that very many Light-houses
were quite as much cut off from books as the one he had visited, and one
instance had occurred of a poor fellow who had actually gone crazy, from
sheer mental starvation, in his loneliness.

Many persons have interested themselves in Mr. ----'s scheme. An
appropriation has been asked from Congress for supplying reading matter
to the six hundred and more Light-houses along our coast; and in the mean
time private individuals have sent in contributions in the way of old
books and magazines. The lady and gentlemen clerks at the Light-house
Board have been most kind and helpful in the matter; for they always feel
an interest in the condition of the keepers and their families, and when
cases of suffering come to their knowledge, as lately, when a keeper at
the South was burnt out and lost all his possessions, are prompt with
their assistance. In this instance they helped to sort and arrange the
motley piles of donated literature, which was then bound up nicely, in
uniform volumes, at the Government Printing Office, and a neat little
library-case of strong oak wood was made, fitted up with shelves and
having heavy metal clasps and handles; and just so many volumes, always
including a Bible, were placed in each case.

The Store-ships will now go out with a goodly lading of these supplies;
one will be left at each station, and the next time the ship comes round
the old case will be taken away and a fresh one substituted. In this way
a circulating library system is established, and every Keeper well
supplied with abundance of wholesome and entertaining reading matter.

You children, with your wealth of books and delightful magazines coming
every month, can perhaps hardly appreciate the boon this kind thought, so
well carried out, will prove; for you have never known what it is to be
shut up in a lonely tower, day after day, month after month, with no
outside interest or amusement. You can do your part towards brightening
the lives of these men with their wives and children, and I am sure you
will be glad of the opportunity. Many of you, no doubt, have piles of old
magazines or story papers, or even of books, for which you have no
further use. Would you not like to put up a nice package of these, and
send them by Express to the "Care of the Chief Clerk of the Light-house
Board, Washington, D. C."?

New supplies are constantly needed, and in this way you could not fail to
give pleasure to those who have little enough in a life of monotonous


Last summer while on our vacation trip along the sea-coast we made our
plans so as to stop over a train at Barnstable that we might have time to
take a look at that ancient burgh, but found to our dismay when it was
too late, that of _time_ we had altogether too much, for when we stepped
out of the car it was seven o'clock in the morning, and our train would
not leave till four in the afternoon! And to make matters worse it began
to rain. We managed, however, at intervals when the rain held up, to get
a pretty good idea of the place, but were driven back to the station by
the persistent drizzle long before noon; and there we seemed destined to
spend five tedious hours, with not much of anything to do, except to get
the way-bills of the Old Colony Railroad by heart, and commit to memory
whatever might be available in the other advertisements posted on the


We were beginning to be desperate, when my companion, strolling about,
discovered a small placard saying that fruit was for sale in the freight
depot. I set out to explore, having visions of apples and pears, but
especially peaches and grapes before me.

Passing the wide freightage doors, I came to a narrow one which was wide
open; so I first looked, and then walked in. It was an unfinished place
where a slim young woman was busy about her housework, while a
sick-looking man was "standing round." There was a cooking-stove, and she
was taking pies out of the oven, which she set in a row on a cumbrous
wooden bench that filled all the opposite end of the room, and under it
were stored bunches of something unknown to me which I found afterwards
was broom-corn. She was pretty and girlish, and had blue eyes, and fair

She asked me to sit down, and told me they had been living there off and
on for three years. "We used to live in 'Commons,' but we did not like,
and so came up here. My husband is not well, and I go out washing, and
take in washing."

It was a very queer place to live in, but neat and comfortable, yet it
seemed just as if they might have been moving, and had merely stopped
here over night and set up their stove in order to cook something to eat.

Upon inquiring for the fruit, about which it began to seem as if there
must be either a mistake or a mystery for nothing of the kind was to be
seen except the dish of apples left over from the pies, she directed me
up-stairs; and up the steep narrow stairs I went, nearly stumbling over a
great black dog (which she assured me would not bite) that lay stretched
at the threshold of a dreary kind of room which had one occupant--a man
with his shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbows at work near one of the
windows at the farther end. And now I remembered that we had seen him at
his bench there as we sat in the depot, and wondered what he was doing.

[Illustration: A GAY CAVALCADE.]

No indications of fruit; but there were four machines and a stack of
brooms, and the litter of shreds and waste, and I was about to retreat
with an apology after making known my errand. He said I had made no
mistake, but he was out of everything except confectionery; peanuts,
dates and figs. So as there were no apples, no pears, no peaches, no
grapes, after all my perseverance, _dates_ I would have, and he went to a
closet where he said he kept them, holding his hands out before him in
such a way that I knew he could not see even before he said, "I am

After he had weighed them and received his pay, there were a few words
about his business, which he seemed delighted to talk about, and because
I put a question or two, he asked if I was a reporter, and said "that
used to be my business. I was on the reportorial staff of the
Pennsylvania legislature, when from overtasking my eyes, and other
causes, I became blind. I went to the Institution at South Boston, and
learned to make brooms so that I could earn my living."

He was full of interest in the work he had been compelled to fall back
upon, and invited me to come in with my companion and see how it was

"Now I wish," said he, "that I had some stuff ready. I have to soak it
before I use it. But your train does not go till four o'clock. I will put
some to soak immediately, and if you will come in about three I will
begin at the beginning and make a broom, so that you can then see the
whole process."

To be sure we were glad to go, and he did as he said he would, and
explained every particular, even to the cost.

"The broom-corn comes from the West," he said, "though a good deal grows
in the Mohawk valley, and the largest broom establishment in the United
States is at Schenectady.

"It often grows, if thriving stalks, ten or twelve feet tall; it can be
cultivated here, but not so profitably. It comes in large bales, weighing
anywhere from one hundred and fifty to five hundred pounds. Where I buy
mine in Boston it costs me six cents a pound, though the price varies.

"I sort it out on a 'sorting bench,' first, for if I took it as it is,
the brooms would be of queer qualities. Sorting is a regular trade to

"The next thing, I tie it in bundles, and then it is ready for use. I put
as many of these to soak the night before, as I want to make up in the
day. I leave it in the water half an hour, then let it drain, and it
keeps damp enough for working; if it was dry it would break when I sew
it. Here you see this lot, from which I shall make the broom. I call now
we have wire, and it is galvanized to prevent it from rusting. It costs
me twelve cents a pound; it used to cost seventeen."


Having made the handle fast, he took a bunch of the corn, smoothed it
carefully through his hands to even it, laid it against the handle, put
his foot on the treadle or whatever the hour-glass shaped piece of
mechanism might be named, and with one or two revolutions wired it tight.
This lot had the butts left on, but from the next layer he sliced them
down wedge-fashion with a very sharp knife, having secured them to those
already on by a strap which could be fastened at such length as he chose
by means of a leather button; another and another tier, each time of
choicer quality, succeeded, and so on till the stock for that broom was
used up.

"This," he explained, "is a number eight broom. If there had been time I
would have made a _hurl_ broom, which is the best. (The 'hurl' is the
finest part of the corn, the heart.) I make five sizes: number six is the
smallest, and it is the smallest manufactured in this country. I can make
twenty of those in a day. Of the number ten, the hurl, I have made
twelve, and they sell for forty cents apiece. Sometimes when I have got a
lot of brooms on hand I hire a horse and cart, take a boy with me, and go
round the country to sell them; and people will object to paying my
prices, and I can't always make them believe that it pays to buy a good
article, even if it is a broom. They sometimes say that they can get
enough of them at fourteen cents, but I tell them when they pay fourteen
cents for a broom, they only get a fourteen-cent broom."

[Illustration: UP IN THE ATTIC.]

He had now a rough broom, which he released from the vise and took over
to the press which had three pairs of cruel-looking irons that he said
were "the jaws," of sizes to shut round brooms of three different
thicknesses and hold firmly, while he did the next thing, which he made
known in this wise:

"Now I shall sew it. The number six have only two sewings--all they need,
they are so thin. The others have three. They are all sewed with waxed
linen twine: the higher sizes have pink, because it looks better; the
others have tow-colored. You see my needle? It is some like a
sail-maker's, but not exactly. I have two, though one will last a
lifetime. I keep them in this oiled rag to prevent them from rusting.
They cost fifty cents apiece, and were made of the very best of steel.
See what nice metal it is!" He held out one, shaped more like a paddle
than anything else, polished to the last degree, and as lustrous as
silver; then he threw it on the floor to show us how it would ring.

"Broom tools of all kinds are made at Schenectady, but my needles, knives
and combs come from Hadley. I will show you the combs pretty soon; the
knives you have already seen. Let me see--where did I lay that other
needle? No, you need not look for it; I must find it myself. I have to be
careful where I leave my things, so that I can put my hand on them the
moment I want them. Oh, here it is," picking it up with his long supple
fingers, and rolling it securely up in the oiled cloth.

"Now you notice I put on this _palm_," and he held up what looked like a
mitt just large enough to cover the palm of the hand and the wrist,
having a hole to slip the thumb through and leaving that and the fingers
free. It was made of cowhide, and sewed together on the back, while in
the inside was set a thimble against which the needle was to be pressed
in doing the hard sewing, while the leather protected the skin from being
fretted by the broom.

"It is not just like a sail-maker's palm," he added. "I have one of those
which a man gave me, and I will show it to you." So going again to his
dark closet, he groped for it among his multifarious things, and came
back with one similar, except that it was of raw-hide, and the thimble
was a little projection looking like a pig's toe.

[Illustration: "PLANT THE BROOM!"]

He sewed the broom through and through, producing the three pink rows.
Then he said he would comb it to clear away the loose and broken stems;
and so he passed through it a sort of hetchel made of thirty small
knife-blades set in a frame, "which cost me," said he, "more than you
would think--that comb was five dollars; and now I comb it out with this
one to remove the small stuff and the seeds." And releasing it from the
clamp, he took down a fine comb from a nail, and repeated the process.

"And now it is ready to be trimmed. I lay it on this hay-cutter, which
some friends bought cheap for me at a fair, and answered my purpose after
a few alterations, and I trim it off, nice and even at one end--and now
it is done. You have seen a broom made."

That was true. Our only regret was that we could not have that same broom
to take away; but on our zig-zag journey, when we were likely enough to
stop over or turn off anywhere, that was an absurdity not to be thought
of. We did, however, "buy a broom" that we _could_ take--and an excellent
one it proved--and we accepted a small package of broom-corn seed which
the blind workman was anxious we should have, "to plant in some spare
spot just to see how it looks when growing."

When we went down-stairs, the woman was out on the platform, her yellow
hair tossing about in the wind, and she seemed as happy with her meagre
accommodations in the freight house as if she were owner of a mansion.
She begged us to go in and get some of her apples, we were welcome, and
"they did not cost me anything," she added. She told us more about her
fellow-tenant, and said he paid half the rent, "and he used to board with
us, but now he boards up in town, and he goes back and forth alone, his

                    *       *       *       *       *

This curious and pleasant little episode made us so ready to be
interested in everything pertaining to brooms that it seemed a kind of
sarcasm of circumstances when, at a junction not very far along our
route, we saw, perched upon his cart, a pedler doing his best to sell his
brooms to the crowd on their way home from one of the Cape camp-meetings.
His words were just audible as the train went on:

"Buy a broom! Buy a broom! Here's the place to buy a cheap broom, for
_fourteen_ cents! _only_ fourteen cents! A broom for fourteen cents! So

And it happened not many days later that somebody read in our hearing
that the broom-corn is a native of India, and that Dr. Franklin was the
means of introducing it into this country; from seeing a whisk of it in
the hands of a lady he began to examine it--being of an inquiring mind,
as everybody knows--and found a seed, which he planted.

The street-sweeper's broom is the genuine _besom_, made of birch stems,
cut out in the country, and brought into town tied up in bundles like
fagots; suitable enough for those stalwart men who drag them along so
leisurely, but burdensome for the hands of the wretched little waifs,
who, tattered and unkempt, make a pretence of keeping the crossings
clean; who first sweep, and then hold out a small palm for the penny,
dodging the horses' hoofs, and just escaping by a hair's breadth the
wheels of truck or omnibus in their attempts to secure the coin, if some
pitiful passer-by stops at the piping call:

"Please ma'am, a penny!"

That is the almost tragic prose of brooms.


But there is a bit of poetic history that ought not to be forgotten, for
it was a sprig of the lovely broom bush--call it by the daintier name of
heath if you will--such as in some of its varieties grows wild in nearly
every country in Europe, a tough little flowering evergreen, symbol of
humility, which was once embroidered on the robes, worn in the helmet,
and sculptured on the effigies of a royal house of England. Which of the
stories of its origin is true, perhaps no one at this distant day can
determine; but whether a penitent pilgrim of the family was scourged by
twigs of it--the _plantagenesta_--or a gallant hunter plucked a spray of
it and put in his helmet, it is certain that the humble plant gave the
stately name of "Plantagenet" to twelve sovereigns of that kingdom; and
their battle-cry--which meant to them conquest and dominion, but has a
very practical sound to us, and a specially prosaic meaning to one like
the blind broom-maker of this simple story--was this:

                 "_Plant the broom! Plant the broom!_"


When boys live some distance apart, it is pleasant to be able to
communicate with each other by means of signals. Many and ingenious have
been the methods devised by enthusiastic boys for this purpose. But it
can be brought much nearer perfection than has yet been done, by means of
a very simple system.

At the age of fourteen I had an intimate friend who lived more than a
mile away, but whose home was in plain sight from mine. As we could not
always be together when we wished, we invented a system of signalling
requiring a number of different colored flags; but we were not quite
satisfied with it, for we could send but few communications by its use.
Then, when we came to test it, we found the distance was too great to
allow of the different colors being distinguished. The white one was
plainly visible. It seemed necessary, therefore, that only white flags
should be used. We studied over the problem long and hard, with the
following result.

We each made five flags by tacking a small stick, eighteen inches long,
to both ends of a strip of white cloth,[B] two feet long by ten inches
wide. Then we nailed loops of leather to the side of our fathers' barns,
so that, when the sticks were inserted in them, the flags would be in the
following positions:

The upper left hand position was numbered 1, upper right 2, lower right
3, lower left 4, centre 5. Notice, there was no difference in the
_flags_; the _positions_ they occupied determined the communication.

Thirty combinations of these positions can be made:

                1--1 2--2 4--1 2 3--1 4 5--1 2 3 5
                2--1 3--2 5--1 2 4--2 3 5--1 2 4 5
                3--1 4--3 4--1 2 5--2 4 5--1 3 4 5
                4--1 5--3 5--1 3 4--3 4 5--2 3 4 5
                5--2 3--4 5--1 3 5--1 2 3 4--1 2 3 4 5.

These combinations were written down; and opposite each was written the
question or answer for which it stood. The answers likely to be used most
we placed opposite the shortest combinations, to save time in signalling.
My old "Code" lies before me, from which I copy the following examples:

                     1. _Yes._
                     2. _No._
                     3. _Morning._
                     4. _Afternoon._
                     5. _Evening._
                     1 2. _Can you come over?_
                     1 3. _When?_
                     2 5. _Wait till I find out._
                     1 3 4. _Can you go a-fishing?_
                     2 4 5. _Are you well to-day?_

Suppose, now, that I place flags in positions 2 4 and 5. (See the above

Harry glances down his "code" until he reaches 2 4 5 and its
signification, and perhaps answers with a flag at 1.

Then the following dialogue ensues:

I. 1 2.

He. 1 5.

I. 4.

He. 2 5.

And, in a few moments,

He. 1.

We usually spent our noon hour conversing with each other in this manner;
and, when it became necessary for either to leave his station, all the
flags, 1 2 3 4 5, were put out, signifying "gone."

One combination, 1 2 3 4, was, by mutual consent, reserved for a
communication of vital importance, "COME OVER!" It was never to be used
except in time of trouble, when the case would warrant leaving everything
to obey the call. We had little expectation of its ever being used. It
was simply a whim; although, like many other things, it served a serious
purpose in the end.

Not far from my father's house stood a valuable timber lot, in which he
took an especial pride. Adjoining this was an old apple-orchard, where
the limbs of several trees that had been cut down, and the prunings of
the remainder, had been heaped together in two large piles to be burned
at a favorable opportunity. One afternoon, when there was not the
slightest breath of wind, we armed ourselves, father and I, with green
pine boughs and set the brush-heaps a-fire. We had made the heap in as
moist a spot as possible, that there might be less danger of the fire
spreading through the grass. While the flame was getting under way, I
busied myself in gathering stray bits of limbs and twigs--some of them
from the edge of the woods--and throwing them on the fire.

"Be careful not to put on any hemlock branches!" shouted my father from
his heap. "The sparks may snap out into the grass!"

Almost as he spoke a live coal popped out with a loud snap and fell at my
feet, and little tongues of flame began to spread through the dead grass.
A few blows from my pine bough had smothered them, when snap! snap! snap!
went three more in different directions. As I rushed to the nearest I
remembered throwing on several dead hemlock branches, entirely forgetting
their snapping propensity.

Bestowing a few hasty strokes upon the first spot of spreading flame, I
hastened to the next and was vigorously beating that, when, glancing
behind me, I saw to my dismay that the first was blazing again. Ahead of
me was another, rapidly increasing; while the roaring, towering flame at
the heap was sputtering ominously, as if preparing to send out a shower
of sparks. And, to make matters worse, I felt a puff of wind on my face.
Terror-stricken I shouted:

"Father! The fire is running! Come quick!"

In a moment he was beside me, and for a short time we fought the flame

"It'll reach the woods in spite of us!" he gasped, as we came together
after a short struggle. "There isn't a neighbor within half a mile, and
before you could get help it would be too late! Besides, one alone
couldn't do anything against it!"

A sudden inspiration seized me.

"I'm going to signal to Harry!" I cried. "If he sees it he'll come and,
perhaps, bring help with him!"

"Hurry!" he shouted back, and I started for the barn. The distance was
short. As I reached it I glanced over to Harry's. There were some white
spots on his barn. He was signalling and, of course, could see my signal.

Excitedly I placed the flags in 1 2 3 4, and, without waiting for an
answer, tore back across the fields to the fire. It was gaining rapidly.
In a large circle, a dozen rods across, it advanced toward the buildings
on one hand and swept toward the woods on the other. We could not conquer
it. We could only hope to hinder its progress until help should arrive.


Fifteen minutes of desperate struggle and then, with a ringing cheer,
Harry and his father dashed upon the scene. Their arrival infused me with
new courage; and four pairs of hands and four willing hearts at length
conquered the flame, two rods from the woods!

My father sank down upon a rock, and, as he wiped the perspiration from
his smutty face, he said:

"There, boys, your signalling has saved the prettiest timber lot in the
town of Hardwick! I shall not forget it!"

Were we not justly proud?

Two days after I found upon my plate at breakfast a small package, which
contained two pretty little spy-glasses.

"Perhaps they will enable you to enlarge your 'signal code,'" was all my
father said when I thanked him.

We soon found that with the aid of the glasses we could distinguish any
color. So we made a set of blue flags, which gave us thirty more
communications by using them in place of the white ones. And, by mixing
the blue flags with the white combinations and the white with the blue
combinations, over _two hundred_ communications could be signalled. Thus
we could converse with each other by the hour.

The way we wrote down the mixed combinations was, by using a heavy figure
to represent a blue flag; as 1[2]4[5], which meant that positions 1 and 4
were occupied by white flags, 2 and 5 by blue ones.

Blue flags can be inserted in the original thirty combinations in the
following manner: 1[2], 12[3], 1[23], 123[4], 12[34], 1[2]3[4], 1[23]4,
1[234], 23[5], 2[35], 234[5], 23[4]5, 2[3]45, 2[3]4[5], 2[34]5, 23[45],
2[345], and so on.

Among the many recollections that throng my memory in connection with
this subject, is that of an incident which has caused me many a hearty
laugh since its occurrence, although at the time I did not feel
particularly amused. Harry had gone away visiting, giving me no definite
idea of when he would return. So, one drizzling, uncomfortable day, as I
was sitting rather disconsolate at my barn window, I was delighted to see
several flags appear on his barn.

Eagerly I read:

1 3 4. "_Can you go a-fishing?_"

The fine drizzling rain was changing into larger drops, and there was
every reasonable prospect of a very wet day, and I thought he must be
joking; but I answered:


"_Now_," was the reply.

"_Where?_" I asked.

"_Bixbee's pond._"

"_Are you in earnest?_"

"_I will meet you there._"

I answered "_Yes_," and, shouldering my fish-pole, started off
across-lots. The distance was fully a mile and a half, and before I had
passed over a quarter of the distance the bushes, dripping with rain, had
completely drenched me. When nearly there the increasing rain became a
heavy shower; but I kept on. I reached the pond, but nothing was to be
seen of Harry. Not a frog could I find for bait, owing to the incessantly
pouring rain, and I knew it would be difficult to find a worm. So, after
half an hour of tedious waiting and monotonous soaking, I started for
Harry's, my patience entirely worn out.

The rain came down in torrents as, at length, I turned in at the gate;
and I suppose I looked as forlorn as a drenched rooster, for I heard a
girlish giggle as I stepped upon the piazza, but I did not then suspect
the truth.

"Where's Harry?" I asked of his mother whom I found alone.

"Why, you didn't expect to find him at home, did you? He won't be back
for a number of days yet."

(Another subdued giggle from the next room.)

"You're as wet as a drowned rat!" went on the motherly woman. "What on
earth started you out in this rain?"

"It's that Hattie's work!" I burst out angrily, and told her the whole

"Dear me!" she exclaimed, holding up her hands, despairingly, "I never
did see such a torment as that girl is! I noticed she has seemed very
much tickled over something! I'll give her a real scolding!"

I darted out the door; and, as I splashed my way disconsolately down to
the road, I heard a voice, struggling between repentance and a desire to
laugh, call after me:

"Forgive me, Charlie, but it was _such_ a joke!"

Hattie never meddled with her brother's signals again. For her mother's
displeasure and the severe cold that followed my drenching more than
balanced the enjoyment she derived from that very practical joke.

                    *       *       *       *       *

Two years ago I visited my native town. Resuming my old place by the barn
window, I gazed across the intervening forest to where Harry used to
stand and signal to me. Tacked up against the window-sill was my old
"signal code," covered with dust and cobwebs. Harry was hundreds of miles
away, carving himself a name among his fellow-men. Of all the friends of
former days, scarcely one remained in the old town. And I could only
wish, with all my heart, that I were once again enjoying my boyhood's
happy hours.


  [B] If the buildings should be painted, the flags should
      be of a color that would contrast with that of the paint.


Ah! I know something! I know something you girls don't know! I know how
they make dishes what you eat off of; and it's just the same way they
make dolly's dishes, I guess.

Yes, I _do_ know. And I've got some pictures papa _drawed_ for me, too,
and I'll tell you all about them. They're in my pocket right under my
handkerchief. I put them under my handkerchief because I don't want them
to get dirty. I've got some 'lasses candy on top. I haven't got enough,
or I'd give you all some.

Papa took me to a _pottery_. I don't know why they call it a pottery, for
they make cups and saucers, and sugar-bowls, and everything. First the
man took us through the _dressing-room_. I did not see any dresses, nor
anybody dressing themselves. I only saw piles of dishes and men and women
hammering at them. I asked papa why they called it that, and he said,
wait till we come back, for that was the very last of all. So we went on
into the yard. I looked into one part of the building where it was all
dark, with three great chimneys, broad on the ground and narrow high up.
But the man and papa went right on, round to the other side of the

There wasn't anything to see, though, but horses and carts hauling clay,
and great heaps of it on the ground. I wouldn't have called it anything
but dirt, but papa said it was _kaolin_, not exactly dirt, but clay. He
spelt it for me.

There was another of those big chimneys in the yard, only bigger. The man
said that was where they dried the clay. Then he led us to a little door
in the side of the house, and we went in. That brought us into a little
room where they were getting the clay ready.

First there was a sand-screen--like Mike uses, where they sieved it. Next
they weighed it and put it into bins. It looked like fine, dark flour.

[Illustration: THE POTTER'S WHEEL.]

A little piece off from the bins there was a big deep box. They were
mixing clay and water in it, and making a paste. It looked like lime when
they're making mortar. The box leaked awfully, and white paste was
running down on the floor.

At the end of the box they had a pump working, and it was pumping the
paste into what they called a _press_. It was too funny for anything. I
couldn't more than half understand it. But it looks something like a
baby-crib, only it has slats across the top, and they're close together.
They have a lot of bags inbetween the slats, and the clay gets into the
bags and gets pressed flat, so that most of the water is squeezed out.
When they take it out of the bags it looks something like a sheet of
shortcake before it's cut or baked. Then they roll a lot of them
together, and that's what they make dishes out of. They call it

The man took us down into the cellar under the little room to show us the
engine that made the paste and pumped and pressed the clay. I was afraid,
and didn't want to go down, but papa said it was only a little one. It
was nice and clean down there, with a neat brick floor, but awful hot. I
was glad to come up.

[Illustration: THE KILN AND SAGGERS.]

After the little room there's one big room where they don't do much of
anything. It is like a large shed, for it is dark and has no floor. The
dressing-room where we were first is on one side, and the dark room where
the big chimneys are, is back of it. We went through it, and over to one
side and up the stairs to the second story.

It's nice up there. It's one great big room, five times as big as our
Sunday School room, with ever so many windows. All around the sides and
down the middle, and cross-ways, and out in the wings are shelves, piled
full of brand-new dishes. And there are tables all along the walls, and
that's where they make them. I could stand and look all day.

I saw two boys throwing up a great big lump of clay and catching it; then
cutting it with a string and putting the pieces together again, then
throwing it up again, until it made me dizzy to look at them. I asked the
man what they were doing, and he said, _wedging the clay_. That means
taking the air out. They keep on doing that until there are no
air-bubbles in it.

We stopped and talked to a man who was making a sugar-bowl, and he told
us how he did it. All the men have on the table in front of them a lump
of clay, a wheel, some moulds, a sharp knife, a bucket of water with a
sponge in it, and something like the slab of a round, marble-topped
table, only it's made of plaster Paris, to work on.

[Illustration: MOULD FOR A CUP.]

And do you know what the potter's-wheel is? It's as old as the hills and
it's in the Bible, but I guess everybody don't know what it is. It looks
as if it was made of hard, smooth, baked white clay, and is something
like a grindstone, only not half as thick. The grindstone stands up, but
this lays flat, with its round side turned up, like the head of a barrel.
And it's set on a pivot, like the needle of the compass in our

The moulds are like Miss Fanny's wax-fruit moulds. They're made of
plaster Paris, and they're round outside, and they have the shape of what
the man wants to make on the inside, and they're in two pieces. Little
things like cups are made in one mould; but big things like pitchers are
made in two or three pieces, in two or three moulds, and then put
together. Handles and spouts and such things are made separately in
little moulds and put on afterwards.

[Illustration: HANDLE MOULD.]

Here's the way. First the man cuts off a piece of the biscuit, and kneads
it on the plaster Paris slab. Then he takes one piece of the mould, fixes
the clay in nicely, shaves off what he don't want, then puts on the other
piece of the mould, and sets it on the wheel. He gives it a shove and
sets it spinning. It stops itself after a while, then he opens the mould,
and there is the dish. The clay keeps the same thickness all through, and
fills both pieces of the mould.

[Illustration: MAKING A SUGAR-BOWL.]

Then the man takes it out and sponges it. If it isn't just the right
shape all he has to do is wet it, and it will come right. Then he puts on
the handle or puts the pieces together, fixing them just so with his
fingers and knife. It isn't very hard, but he has to be careful. The soft
dishes look real cute. Then they're ready to be burnt the first time.

We walked all around and saw here one man making cups, another, tureens,
another, bird-baths, and every imaginable thing that is ever made in
porcelain. Then we went down-stairs, through the dark rooms, into where
the tall chimneys are. Then I found out they called them _kilns_. They
have at the bottom a prodigious furnace, over that a tremendous oven,
where they put the dishes in to bake.

But they don't put them right in just as they are. Oh, no. There were on
the high shelves all around, a lot of things called _saggers_. They look
something like bandboxes made of firebrick. The soft dishes are put in
them, the lids are put on, and then they are piled up in the oven. Then
the men build a big fire in the furnace, and let it burn for several
days. When it goes out they let several more days go by for the kiln to
cool, and then take out the saggers. When the dishes are taken out they
are hard and rough and of a yellowish white. They build the fire after
they get them in, and let it out and the kiln cool off before they take
them out, because the men have to go in and out the big ovens.

Wouldn't you think a pile of soft plates and saucers would burn all
together and stick fast to each other? Well, they don't. There are little
things made of hard clay with three bars and three feet, and they put
them in between dishes so that one plate has one in it, and the next
plate sets on top of that, so that they can't stick together. Did you
ever see three little dark spots on the bottom of a saucer? This is what
makes them. There are lots and lots of these little stands lying all
around everywhere, and broken pieces of them and the clay, scattered like
flour all over the ground and floors thick.

We next went into the room back of the kilns. It had shelves all around,
too, and there were piles of dishes after the first burning. A lot of
women sat on stools on the floor and they were brushing the fire cracks
with some stuff out of little bottles. This was to fill them up so that
the glazing wouldn't run in.

[Illustration: REST FOR FLAT DISHES.]

We went into another room at one side of the first and there's where they
did the glazing. They called it _dipping_. There was a large tank in the
middle of the room with a deep red liquid in it. Papa asked the man what
it was, and he said it was a secret preparation. The men dipped the
dishes in, and they came out a beautiful pink, so pretty that it seemed a
pity they couldn't stay so. There were shelves all around this room, too,
and there the dishes look like they do when we see them--the pink glazing
has turned white.

There is nothing more done to them except the _dressing_. We had now gone
all around, and were almost at the _dressing-room_ where we started. And
when we went in again we found that the dressing was nothing but knocking
off any rough lumps with a chisel. I remember every bit of it. And every
time I look at dishes I think there are ever so many things we use every
day and don't know anything about.


Mr. Maurice Thompson has excited all the grown-up boys who loved in their
younger days to draw the bow, by his graceful articles on archery for
young men and women.

[Illustration: Fig. A.]

I want to tell the boys who are wide awake how they may, without too much
labor and with but little expense, make their own bows and arrows and
targets, having _their_ fun, like their elders, in this health-giving and
graceful recreation.

In the first place, after you have made your implements for the sport,
you must never shoot at or towards anyone; nor must you ever shoot
directly upwards. In the one case you may maim some one for life, and in
the other you may put out your own eye as an acquaintance of the writer's
once did in Virginia.

To make a bow take a piece of any tough, elastic wood, as cedar, ash,
sassafras or hickory, well-seasoned, about your own length. Trim it so as
to taper gradually from the centre to the ends, keeping it flat, at
first, until you have it as in this sketch--for a boy, say, five feet in
height: (Fig. A)

This represents a bow five feet long, one and a quarter inches broad in
the middle, three-fourths of an inch thick at the centre, and a half-inch
scant at the ends in breadth and thickness.

Bend the bow across your knee, pulling back both ends, one in each hand,
the centre against your knee, and see whether it is easily bent, and
whether it springs readily back to its original position. If so your bow
is about the right size. Cut near each end the notch for the string as in
this figure: (Fig. B.)

[Illustration: Fig. B.]

Bevel the side of the bow which is to be held towards you, so that a
section of your bow will look like this figure: (Fig. C.)

[Illustration: Fig. C.]

The back or flat part is held from you in shooting, and the bevelled or
rounded part towards you. Scrape the bow with glass and smooth it with

To shape your bow lay it on a stout, flat piece of timber, and drive five
ten-penny nails in the timber, one at the centre of your bow, and the
others as in figure below, so as to bend the ends for about six inches in
a direction contrary to the direction in which you draw the bow: (Fig.

[Illustration: Fig. D. (A and B are six inches from the ends.
The bow is bent slightly at C.)]

Your bow is now finished as far as the wood-work is concerned, and you
may proceed to wrap it from end to end with silk or colored twine,
increasing its elasticity and improving the appearance. The ends of the
wrap must be concealed as in wrapping a fish-hook. Glue with Spaulding's
glue a piece of velvet or even red flannel around the middle to mark your
handhold. The ends may in like manner be ornamented by glueing colored
pieces upon them.

A hempen string, whipped in the middle with colored silk, to mark the
place for your arrow nock to be put, in shooting, will make a very good

For arrows any light, tough wood, which splits straight, will do. I use
white pine, which may be gotten from an ordinary store-box, and for
hunting-arrows seasoned hickory. These must be trimmed straight and true,
until they are in thickness about the size of ordinary cedar pencils,
from twenty-five to twenty-eight inches in length. They must be feathered
and weighted either with lead or copper, or by fastening on sharp
awl-points or steel arrow-points with wire.

I used to make six different kinds; a simple copper-wrap, a blunt leaden
head, a sharp leaden head like a minie bullet, an awl-point wrapped with
copper wire and soldered, and a broad-head hunting-arrow.

To make a copper wrap, wrap with copper wire the last half-inch of the
arrow until you get near the end, then lay a needle as large as your wire
obliquely along the arrow as in this figure: (Fig. E.) Continue the
wrapping until you have weighted the arrow sufficiently; draw out the
needle and thrust the end

[Illustration: Fig. E.]

of your wire through the little passage kept by the needle, and draw it
tight thus: (Fig. F.)

[Illustration: Fig. F (Before wrap was drawn through.)]

[Illustration: Fig. G. (After wire was drawn through.)]

A blunt leaden head is made by pouring three or four melted buck-shot
into a cylinder of paper, wrapped around the end of the arrow, slightly
larger at the open end, and tied on by a piece of thread. The wood of the
arrow must be cut thus: (Fig. H.)

[Illustration: Fig. H.]

The paper is put on thus: (Fig. X.)

[Illustration: Fig. X.]

It should look like this after the metal has been poured in and the paper
all stripped off. (Fig. I.)

[Illustration: Fig. I.]

It should look like this after being sharpened like a minie bullet: (Fig.

[Illustration: Fig. J.]

An awl-point arrow is made by inserting the point in the end of the
arrow, wrapping with copper wire, and getting a tinner to drop some
solder at the end to fasten the wire and awl-point firmly together. The
awl-point looks like this: (Fig. K.)

[Illustration: Fig. K.]

The awls (like Fig. L.) are filed like this into teeth-like notches on
the part going into the wood, and roundly sharp on the other part thus:
(Fig. M.)

[Illustration: Fig. L.]

[Illustration: Fig. M.]

These may be shot into an oak-tree and extracted by a twist of the hand
close to the arrow-point.

[Illustration: Fig. N.]

The broad-head hunting-point (Fig. N.) is put on by slitting the arrow
and inserting the flat handle of the arrow point, and wrapping it with
silk, sinews, or copper wire. These points can be sharpened along the
line A B on a whetstone, and will cut like knives. The hunting arrow
looks like this: (Fig. O.)

[Illustration: Fig. O.]

To feather an arrow you strip a goose feather from the quill and, after
clipping off the part near the quill-end, you mark a line down the arrow
from a point one inch from the nock and, spreading some Spaulding's glue
along that line apply the feather, lightly pressing it home with
forefinger and thumb. After you have glued on one piece lay aside the
arrow and fix another, and so on until the first is set, so that you may
put on another piece. When you have fastened these feathers on each arrow
lay them aside for ten or twelve hours. The three feathers will look like
this: (Fig. P.)

[Illustration: Fig. P.]

A boy can hardly make a good quiver unless he were to kill some furred
animal and make a cylindrical case such as the Indians have, out of its
skin. I am afraid that he usually would have to get a harness-maker to
make him a quiver out of leather, somewhat larger at the top than at the
bottom. It should hold from eight to twelve arrows.

A good target may be made of soft pine, circular or elliptical in shape.
In the latter case a line-shot might count, even though it were farther
from the centre. Pieces should be tacked to the back of this target at
right angles to the grain of the wood. Differently-colored circles or
rings, a little more than the width of an arrow, must be painted on this,
with a centre twice the width of an arrow. The outer ring counts one, the
next two, three, four and so on to the centre, which of course counts
highest. By this plan one's score could be told with perfect accuracy.

[Illustration: THE TARGET.]

If an arrow struck on a line between number three and four it counts
three and a half. Anything like this rarely happens. The target is fixed
upon an easel formed of three pieces of wood fastened together by a
string at the top, and it ought to lean back at the top slightly, away
from the archer.

The three arrows count seven, nine, ten--twenty-six in all. In
target-shooting you should use awl-pointed, wire-wrapped arrows, as they
can be easily drawn out of even a wooden target.


I can't help wondering if any of the little maidens who are having so
much comfort with their beloved dolls in these Christmas holidays, ever
think that _somebody_ must have taken a great deal of pains to dress them
up so nicely, and above all, to make the tiny garments and hats and

The doll's _shoes_!--so pretty, so daintily shaped, so beautifully
stitched and trimmed, so perfectly, faultlessly finished from heel to
toe, the "cunningest things" in all dolly's wardrobe--did it ever occur
to the girlie "playing mother," to ask where they came from, and by whose
dexterous fingers they were fashioned? She knows well enough that when
Angelina Christina, or Luella Rosa Matilda Jennette, has worn these out,
there are enough to be bought in the toy shops for twenty-five or thirty
cents a pair; _but who makes them?_

That was the question which came into _my_ head one day, and I set to
work to find out--doing just what must suggest itself to anybody who
wants information, whatever the subject: that is to say, I went to
head-quarters, and asked questions.

There are two places in Boston--one a "shoe and leather exchange," and
the other the establishment of an importer and dealer in shoe store
supplies, where they furnish doll's shoes "to the trade," as the phrase
is: one is on Congress street, and the other on Hanover; and the
proprietors, Mr. Daniels and Mr. Swanberg, instead of being amused at my
errand, very kindly told me what I wanted to know.

Some of the shoes are imported, but they are inferior in style to those
made in this country--notwithstanding they come from Paris, and
everything from that place is supposed superlatively choice and to be
desired, as you are very well aware. In the United States there is one
factory--and but one, so far as I could ascertain--which supplies a large
quantity, about fifteen hundred dozens, for the American market, sending
them to all parts, and furnishing the toy-stores in Chicago and other
western cities, as well as New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

This manufactory is at Bordentown, New Jersey, and has been in existence
about twelve years, and the value of stock now sent out is about seven
thousand dollars a year; so much money for the wee feet that run on no
errands, and save no steps for anybody! The wholesale jobbers of course
advance the price, and in the retail stores they are higher yet; so that
each tradesman through whose hands they pass has his trifle of profit in
helping to shoe the feet of the doll-people. They retail from a dollar
and a dollar and a quarter a dozen, to three dollars and seventy-five
cents, according to the style.

[Illustration: DOLLY'S SHOES]

They "run," as the dealers express it, in twelve sizes; the "common
doll's shoes" (which means shoes for common dolls) vary, however, from
the class made for wax dolls, which have grades peculiar to themselves,
being not only extra full and wider in the soles, but numbering fewer
sizes, from one to six only. Of the common kind, the slippers and ties
run from one to twelve, the others from three, four or five to that
number. They come packed in regular sizes, a "full line," as those for
children do, or in assorted sizes and styles; in small, square boxes,
such as shoe dealers know by the name of "cartoon," which is another word
for the French _carton_, meaning simply that they are made of
paste-board. The tiniest is not much more than an inch long, but is a
perfectly formed and finished shoe on that miniature scale; and the
largest is almost big enough for Mrs. Tom Thumb, measuring about four
inches, and it could certainly be worn by many a baby you have seen.

As for the names, they come in this order:--slippers, ties, ankle ties,
Balmorals, buttoned boots, Polish buttoned, Polish eyeletted, and
Antoinette, which is a heeled, croquet slipper, in which her doll-ship,
when engaged in that out-of-door game, can show off her delicate, clocked
stockings to advantage.

But what shall I say of the variety in color and trimmings? They are in
white and crimson, in buff and blue, in scarlet and purple, in rose color
and violet, in bronze and silver and gold, everything but black, for
dolls don't like black except in the tips of their gay Balmoral or Polish
boots. And the stuff they are made of is such soft material as can only
be found in goat and sheep and kid and glove kid, and _skivers_, which is
the name for split leather. I strongly suspected that they were all made
of scraps left from large slippers and shoes, but, though this is
generally the case, some whole skins have to be used because nothing is
ever manufactured for real people boots and shoes and slippers for all
kinds of dolls, high and low, rich and poor; to walk in, to dance in, to
play croquet in, or to stay at home in; to match their costumes, to match
their hair, to match their eyes, to suit them if anything on earth
_could_ suit. And every doll could be sure about her "size," for the
number is stamped on the bottom of the soles; and I must not forget to
say that they have also the "trademark," which is the imprint under the
number; this "trade mark" is a pair of boots smaller than anything you
can think of.

Now I am coming to the original question--"_who makes them?_" They are
made in large quantities during about six months of the year,
accumulating in the summer, ready for the trade, which begins in August,
and drops off after the first of January, and is over with for that
season by March. In those six working months the factory employs about
forty women, and they are mostly invalids or old persons who are not able
to do anything but light work, and who receive only small wages, because
they are not capable of earning much. So they are generally thin, pale
hands and slender fingers which patiently and skillfully fit the
patterns, and sew the seams, and do the even nice stitching, and dainty
ornamentation, which help to make glad the hearts of the many little
girls all over the country, who have found a precious doll, all so
daintily shod, among the gifts of their Merry Christmas.



Our road passed down along Hell-Gate river, leaving Deer Lodge City some
eight miles to the left. As one goes down, the country changes, and
occasional pines appear along the banks of the stream, and the landscape
becomes much more interesting. At one place, where a tiny tributary flows
in, a large community of beavers were building a dam. They were not at
all afraid of us, and so we leisurely observed the process, wishing to
settle the vexed question as to whether beavers do actually do
intelligent mason-work.

They had already sunk a great deal of brush, together with limbs of
trees, and were now filling this wicker-work in with earth and rocks
which they procured a little distance above on the opposite bank. A
beaver would run up, flatten his tail on the mud near the bank, then
another beaver would scrape the earth up and upon the tail of the first,
and pack it down. After he had his load complete, the carrier-beaver
would swim away rapidly; his tail, with the load of earth, floating on
the surface, the swift movement of the animal alone keeping it afloat.

The sagacious creature would invariably swim to the right place and dump
the load, and then return for another, the stream presenting a scene of
great activity, as several of these curious animal-masons were constantly
and swiftly passing and repassing each other with their heavy loads.

Others, the carpenters among them, were at work in the thicket opposite,
cutting brush. We saw many large trees which had been cut down by them.
The stumps looked as though some boy had chopped them down with a dull
axe. It is surprising to reflect upon the pertinacity of these creatures
which enables them to gnaw down such immense trees, and the wisdom with
which they calculate the direction in which the trees will fall.

It is said here that the beavers cut the limbs off from these trees and
then sever them into lengths of about three feet each, and after that
float them to the center of their pond, sink them to the bottom and
fasten them there, where they remain and are used as food during the
winter when the pond is frozen over. This is thought to be one of the
principal uses of the pond--to provide a pantry which will not freeze.
The pond furnishes a depth of water that is always still, and never
freezes to the bottom.

Although, after witnessing this almost human sagacity, we had many
compunctions, we concluded to shoot one fine animal for his skin. We shot
one through the head. His companions immediately disappeared; and before
we could secure our wounded beaver he also had dived beneath the waters
of their pond, and although we waited sometime in the vicinity, we failed
to discover him again. The inhabitants say it is nearly impossible to
kill a beaver with a rifle, and never, on any occasion does the trapper
shoot one.


[Illustration: A MAINE WOOD-CHOPPER.]

All boys and girls know that boards are made of sawed logs, and that logs
are trunks of trees. Few, however, know with what hardship and difficulty
the trees are felled, trimmed and carried from the woods where they grow
to the mills where they are made into boards.

In the far West, and in the wilds of Maine, are acres upon acres, and
miles upon miles, of evergreen forests. One wooded tract in Maine is so
vast that it takes an army of choppers twenty years to cut it over. By
the time it is done a new growth has sprung up, and an intermediate one
is large enough to cut; so the chopping goes on year after year. The
first or primeval growth is pine. That is most valuable. After the pines
are cut, spruce and hemlock spring up and grow.

Most of the men who live in the vicinity of the lake region work in the
woods in the winter. They camp in tents and log huts near the tracts
where they are felling trees. All day long, day after day, week after
week, they chop down such trees as are large enough to cut, lop off the
branches and haul the logs to the nearest water. This work is done in
winter because the logs are more easily managed over snow and ice. All
brooks large enough to carry them, all rivers, ponds and lakes, are
pressed into service and made to convey the ponderous freight towards
civilization. All along the shores and in the woods are busy scenes--men,
oxen and horses hard at work, the smoke from the logging camps curling
among the trees.

Every log has the initial or mark of the owner chopped deep into the wood
to identify it. Then, when the ice breaks up, the logs are sent down the
brooks to the rivers and through the rivers to the lakes. The logging
camps are disbanded, the loggers return to their homes, and the
river-drivers alone are left to begin their duties.

The river-drivers are the men who travel with the logs from the beginning
of their journey till they are surrendered to the saw-mills. Each wears
shoes the soles of which are thickly studded with iron brads an inch
long; and each carries a long pole called a "pick-pole," which has a
strong sharp-pointed iron spike in the end. This they drive into the
wood, and it supports and steadies them as they spring from log to log.

Their first duty is to collect "the drive." The logs which form "the
drive" are packed together and held in place by a chain of guard-logs
which stretches entirely around the drive, forming what is called "the
boom." The guard-logs are chained together at the ends about two feet
apart. The guard is always much larger than the boom of logs, so that the
shape of the boom may be changed for wide or narrow waters.

At the head of each boom is a raft which supports two large windlasses,
each of which works an anchor. On this head-work about thirty
river-drivers take up their position to direct the course of the boom.

To change its position or shape, ten of the drivers spring into a boat or
bateau; one takes a paddle at the bow; eight take oars; and one, at the
stern, holds the anchor. They row with quick strokes toward the spot
where the anchor is to be dropped, the cable all the time unwinding from
the windlass.

"Let go!" shouts the foreman.

Splash! goes the anchor overboard.

The boat then darts back to the head-works. Out spring the men to help
turn the windlass to wind the cable in. They sing as they work, and the
windlass creaks a monotonous accompaniment as "Meet me by moonlight," or
the popular "Away over yonder," comes floating over the rippling water.

[Illustration: A RIVER-DRIVER.]

Meanwhile another bateau has been out with another anchor; and as both
windlasses turn, the boom swings toward the anchorage, and thus is so
much further on its way.

Though the men sing as they work, and make the best of their mishaps with
jests and laughter, they often carry homesick hearts. In cold and stormy
weather their hardships are great, an involuntary bath in the icy water
being an event of frequent occurrence. Also their work demands a constant
supply of strength which is very trying; frequently a head wind will
drive them back from a position which it has taken several days to gain,
and all the toil of fresh anchorages must be repeated.

The most dangerous part of the work is "sluicing" the logs. When the boom
reaches the run which connects the lake or river with the dam through the
sluice of which the logs must pass, the chain of guard-logs is detached,
and fastened in lines along both sides of the run, and the rafts are
drawn off to one side and anchored to trees. The river-drivers, armed
with their pick-poles, are then stationed along the run, on the dam,
wherever they may be needed.

The liberated logs now come sailing along, their speed quickening as they
near the sluice. When they reach it they dart through, their dull, rapid,
continuous thud mingling with the roar of the water. How they shoot the
sluice! log after log--two, six, a dozen together--pitching, tossing,
struggling, leaping end over end; finally submitting to destiny and
sailing serenely down the river toward another lake.

Meanwhile the river-drivers with their long poles and quick movements,
looking not unlike a band of savages, have enough to do, with steady
feet, and eyes on the alert. For of all the vast array of logs--and I
once saw twenty-four thousand in one drive--not one goes through the
sluice but is guided on to it by one or more of the drivers. They often
ride standing on the floating logs, conducting this, pushing that,
hurrying another, straightening, turning and guiding; and just before the
log on which a driver stands reaches the sluice, he springs to another.

Woe to him if his foot should slip, or his leap fail! He would be crushed
among the logs in the sluice, or dashed among the rocks in the seething


After all the logs are safely sluiced, the chains of the guards are
slipped, the rafts are broken up, and these, windlasses and all, follow
the logs. Then the boats are put through the sluice. Sometimes, when the
dam is high, some of the river-drivers go through in the boats--a
dangerous practice, this; for often the bateaux have gone under water,
entirely out of sight, to come up below the falls, and more than once
have lives been lost in this foolhardy feat.


A boom generally passes from three to six dams, and sometimes takes four
months to reach the mills.

Occasionally the logs become jammed in the rivers, and must wait for more
water; if this can be supplied from a lake above, the difficulty is
easily remedied.

In the spring of 1880, a jam occurred at Mexico in Maine. The logs were
piled forty feet above the water and covered an extent of area as large
as an ordinary village. This great jam attracted visitors from all parts
of the country until the spring freshets of the next year could supply
the river with water sufficient to loose them and bear them on their way.


At the present time, July, 1880, the jam is still there. I saw the
driving and sluicing as I have described it, in May, 1880. It was very
interesting.--S. B. C. S.

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