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´╗┐Title: Little Grandmother
Author: May, Sophie, 1833-1906
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Grandmother" ***

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(This file was produced from images generously made


[Illustration: LITTLE GRANDMOTHER.--Page 90.]


LITTLE PRUDY'S

FLYAWAY SERIES

[Illustration]

LITTLE GRANDMOTHER

ILLUSTRATED

LEE & SHEPARD, BOSTON.


_LITTLE PRUDY'S FLYAWAY SERIES._

LITTLE GRANDMOTHER.

BY

SOPHIE MAY,

AUTHOR OF "LITTLE PRUDY STORIES," "DOTTY DIMPLE STORIES," "THE DOCTOR'S
DAUGHTER," ETC.

_ILLUSTRATED._

BOSTON:
LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS.

NEW YORK:
LEE, SHEPARD AND DILLINGHAM.

1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,
BY LEE AND SHEPARD,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



Electrotyped and Printed at the Establishment of
W. W. HARDING,
Philadelphia.


    TO

    MY LITTLE CUBAN FRIEND

    _MARIA AROZARENA._


_LITTLE PRUDY'S FLYAWAY SERIES._

TO BE COMPLETED IN SIX VOLS.

    1. LITTLE FOLKS ASTRAY.

    2. PRUDY KEEPING HOUSE.

    3. AUNT MADGE'S STORY.

    4. LITTLE GRANDMOTHER.

    (Others in preparation.)



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER                              PAGE

I. GEORGE WASHINGTON,                  9

II. THE SAMPLER,                      24

III. THE BROKEN BRIDGE,               31

IV. THE TITHING-MAN,                  44

V. A WITCH-TALK,                      56

VI. A WITCH-FRIGHT,                   67

VII. THE SILK POCKET,                 83

VIII. PATTY'S SUNDAY,                 99

IX. MRS. CHASE'S BOTTLE,             110

X. MASTER PURPLE,                    122

XI. LITTLE GRANDFATHER,              134

XII. THE LITTLE DIPPER,              144

XIII. MR. STARBIRD'S DREAM,          160

XIV. SPINNING,                       176

XV. THE BRASS KETTLE,                186



LITTLE GRANDMOTHER



CHAPTER I.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.


I believe I will tell you the story of Grandma Parlin's little
childhood, as nearly as possible in the way I have heard her tell it
herself to Flyaway Clifford.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, then, Grandma Parlin, her face full of wrinkles, lay in bed under
a red and green patchwork quilt, with her day-cap on. That is, the one
who was going to be Grandma Parlin some time in the far-off future.

She wouldn't have believed it of herself now if you had told her. You
might as well have talked to the four walls. Not that she was deaf: she
had ears enough; it was only brains she lacked--being exactly six hours
old, and not a day over.

This was more than seventy years ago, little reader, for she was born on
New Year's day, 1800,--born in a town we will call Perseverance, among
the hills in Maine, in a large, unpainted house, on the corner of two
streets, in a bedroom which looked out upon the east.

Her mother, who was, of course, our little Flyaway's great grandmother,
lay beside her, with a very happy face.

"Poor little lamb," said she, "you have come into this strange world
just as the new century begins; but you haven't the least idea what you
are undertaking!--I am going to call this baby Patience," said she to
the nurse; "for if she lives she will have plenty of trouble, and
perhaps the name will help her bear it better."

And then the good woman lay silent a long while, and prayed in her heart
that the little one might grow up in the fear of the Lord. She had
breathed the same wish over her other eight children, and now for this
ninth little darling what better prayer could be found?

"She's the sweetest little angel picter," said Siller Noonin, smoothing
baby's dot of a nose; "I guess she's going to take after your side of
the house, and grow up a regular beauty."

"We won't mind about looks, Priscilla," said Mrs. Lyman, who was
remarkably handsome still. "'Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but
the woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised.'"

"Well, well, what a hand Mrs. Lyman is for Scripter," thought Siller, as
she bustled to the fireplace, and began to stir the gruel which was
boiling on the coals. Then she poured the gruel into a blue bowl,
tasting it to make sure it was salted properly. Mrs. Lyman kept her eyes
closed all the while, that she might not see it done, for it was not
pleasant to know she must use the spoon after Priscilla.

The gruel was swallowed, Mrs. Lyman and the baby were both asleep, and
the nurse had taken out her knitting, when she heard some one step into
the south entry.

"I wonder who that is," thought Siller; "it's my private opinion it's
somebody come to see the new baby."

She knew it was not one of the family, for the older children had all
gone to school and taken their dinners, and the two little ones were
spending the day at their aunt Hannah's. Now it was really no particular
business of Siller Noonin's who was at the door. Squire Lyman was in the
"fore room," and Betsey Gould, "the help," in the kitchen. Siller was
not needed to attend to callers; but when she was "out nursing" she
always liked to know what was going on in every part of the house, and
was often seen wandering about with her knitting in her hands.

As she stole softly out of the bedroom now, not to waken Mrs. Lyman, she
heard Mr. Bosworth talking to Squire Lyman, and was just in time to
catch the words,--

"The poor General! The doctors couldn't do nothing for him, and he
died."

"Not _our_ General?" cried Siller, dropping her knitting-work.

"Yes, George Washington," replied the visitor, solemnly.

Siller leaned back against the open door, too much excited to notice how
the cold air was rushing into the house. "General Washington! When did
he die? and what was the matter of him?" gasped she. "Speak low; I
wouldn't have Mrs. Lyman get hold of it for the world!"

"He died a Saturday night, the fourteenth of last month, of something
like the croup, as near as I can make out," said Mr. Bosworth.

Squire Lyman shook his head sorrowfully, and put another stick of wood
on the fire.

"Mrs. Noonin," said he, "will you have the goodness to shut that door?"

Siller shut the door, and walked to the fire with her apron at her eyes.
"O dear, O dear, how quick the news has come! Only a little over a
fortnight! Here it is a Wednesday. Where was I a Saturday night a
fortnight ago? O, a settin' up with old Mrs. Gould, and little did I
think--Why, I never was so beat! _Do_ you suppose the Britishers will
come over and go to fighting us again? There never was such a man as
General Washington! What _shall_ we do without him?"

Siller's voice was pitched very high, but she herself supposed she was
speaking just above her breath. Mr. Bosworth stamped his snowy boots on
the husk mat, and was just taking out his silk handkerchief, when
Siller, who knew what a frightful noise he always made blowing his nose,
seized his arm and whispered,--

"Hush, we're keeping the house still? I don't know as you know we've got
sick folks in the bedroom."

As she spoke there was a sudden sharp tinkle of the tea-bell--Mrs.
Lyman's bell--and Priscilla ran back at once to her duty.

"Where have you been?" said Mrs. Lyman, "and what did I hear you say
about George Washington?"

There was a fire in the lady's mild, blue eyes, which startled
Priscilla.

"You've been dozing off, ma'am," said she, soothingly. "I hadn't been
gone more'n a minute; but folks does get the _cur'usest_ notions,
dreaming like in the daytime."

"There, that will do," said the sweet-voiced lady, with a keen glance at
the nurse's red eyelids; "you mean well, but the plain truth is always
safest. You need not try to deceive me, and what is more, you can't do
it, Priscilla."

Then the nurse had to tell what she had heard, though it was too sad a
story to come to the sick woman's ears; for every man, woman, and child
in the United States loved the good George Washington, and must grieve
at the news of his death.

Mrs. Lyman said nothing, but lay quite still, looking out of the window
upon the white fields and the bare trees, till the baby began to cry,
and Siller came to take it away.

"Bless its little heart," said the nurse, holding it against her
tear-wet cheek; "it's born into this world in a poor time, so it is. No
wonder it feels bad. Open its eyes and look around. See, Pinky Posy,
this is a free country now, and has been for over twenty years; but it's
my private opinion it won't stay so long, for the Father of it is dead
and gone! O, Mrs. Lyman, what awful times there'll be before this child
grows up!"

"Don't borrow trouble, Priscilla. The world won't stop because one man
is dead. It is God's world, and it moves."

"But, Mrs. Lyman, do you think the United States is going to hold
together without General Washington?"

"Yes, to be sure I do; and my baby will find it a great deal better
place to live in than ever you or I have done; now you mark my words,
Priscilla."

All the people of Perseverance considered Mrs. Lyman a very wise woman,
and when she said, "Now you mark my words," it was as good as Elder
Lovejoy's amen at the end of a sermon. Priscilla wiped her eyes and
looked consoled. After what Mrs. Lyman had said, she felt perfectly easy
about the United States.

"Well, baby," said she, "who knows but you'll see great times, after
all, in your day and generation?"

And upon that the baby went to sleep quite peacefully, though without
ever dreaming of any "great times."

Ah, if Siller could only have guessed what wonderful things that baby
was really going to see "in her day and generation!" The good woman had
never heard of a railroad car, or a telegraph wire, or a gaslight. How
she would have screamed with astonishment if any one had told her that
Miss Patience would some time go whizzing through the country without
horses, and with nothing to draw the carriage but a puff of smoke! Or
that Miss Patience would warm her feet at a hole in the floor (for
Siller had no idea of our furnaces). Or that Miss Patience's
grandchildren would write letters to her with lightning (for a
telegraph is almost the same thing as that).

But, no; Siller was only thinking about some cracker toast and a cup of
tea, and wondering if it was time to set the heel in her stocking. And
before she had counted off the stitches, the children came home from
school, and she had more than she could do to keep the house still.

Little Moses, two years old, had to see the new baby, and in a fit of
indignation almost put her eyes out with his little thumbs; for what
right had "um naughty sing" in his red cradle?

But Moses soon found he could not help himself; and as "um naughty sing"
did not seem to mean any harm, he gave up with a good grace.

Days, weeks, and months passed on. Siller Noonin went to other houses
with her knitting-work, and Patience cut her teeth on a wooden plate,
took the whooping-cough, and by that time it was her turn to give up;
for another baby came to the house, and wanted that same red cradle. It
was a boy, and his name was Solomon. And after that there was another
boy by the name of Benjamin; and Benjamin was the only one who never had
to give up, for he was always the youngest. That made eleven children in
all: James, John, Rachel, and Dorcas; the twins, Silas and George; and
then Mary, Moses, Patience, Solomon, and Benjamin.

There was a great deal to be done in the house, for there were two large
farms, with cattle and sheep, and two men who lived at Squire Lyman's
and took care of the farms. Milk had to be made into butter and cheese,
and wool into blankets and gowns, and there was generally only one girl
in the kitchen to help to do all the work. Her name was Betsey Gould,
and she was strong and willing; and Rachel and Dorcas each did her
share, and so did even little Mary; but they could not do everything.
The dear mother of all had to spin and weave, and bake and brew, and
pray every hour in the day for strength and patience to do her whole
duty by such a large family.

They were pretty good children, but she did not have so much time to
attend to them as mothers have in these days, and they did not always
look as tidy or talk as correctly as you do, my dears. You must not
expect too much of little folks who lived before the time of railroads,
in a little country town where there were no Sabbath schools, and hardly
any news-papers.

It is of Patience Lyman, the one who afterwards became Grandma Parlin,
that I shall have most to say. She was usually called Patty, for short
(though Patty is really the pet name for Martha instead of Patience),
and she was, as nearly as I can find out, very much such a child as
Flyaway Clifford--with blue eyes, soft light hair, and little feet that
went dancing everywhere.

And now, if you think you know her well enough, perhaps you would like
to go to school with her a day or two, about three quarters of a mile
away from home.



CHAPTER II.

THE SAMPLER.


How do you think she was dressed? In a "petticoat and loose gown." The
loose gown was a calico jacket that hung about the waist in gathers, and
the petticoat was a moreen skirt that came down almost to the ankles.
Then her feet--I must confess they were bare. Nearly all the little
children in Perseverance went barefooted in summer.

Patty had been longing for an education ever since she was two years
old, and at three and a half she was allowed to go to school. All the
other children had been taught the alphabet at home, for Mrs. Lyman was
a very considerate woman, and did not think it fair to trouble a teacher
with baby-work like that; but this summer she had so much to do, with
little Benny in her arms and Solly under her feet, that she was only too
glad to have talkative Patty out of the way.

So, just as the stage-horn was blowing, at half past eight one bright
June morning, Mary put into the dinner basket an extra saucer pie,
sweetened with molasses, and walked the little one off to school. What
school was Patty had no idea. She had heard a great deal about the new
"mistress," and wondered what sort of a creature she could be. She soon
found out. Miss Judkins was merely a fine-looking young lady, with a
tortoise-shell comb in her hair, not quite as large as a small
chaise-top. She looked like other people, and Patty was sadly
disappointed. There was an hour-glass on the desk full of dripping sand,
and Patty wanted to shake it to make the sand go out faster, for she
grew very tired of sitting still so long hearing the children read,
"Pretty cow, go there and dine." She was afraid to say her letters; but
after she had said them, was much prouder than the Speaker of the Senate
after he has made a very eloquent speech. She had nothing more to do,
and watched the little girls working their samplers. Her sister Mary,
not yet eight years old, was making a beautiful one, with a flower-pot
in one corner and a tree and birds in the other, and some lines in the
middle like these:--

"EDUCATION.

    "Be this Miss Mary's care:
      Let this her thoughts engage;
    Be this the business of her youth,
      The comfort of her age."

Patty looked on, and watched Mary's needle going in and out, making
little red crooks. She did not know the silk letters, and would not have
understood the verse if she had heard it read; but neither did the big
sister understand it herself.

"Be _this_ the business of her youth," Mary thought meant the _sampler_,
for really that sampler _had_ been the business of her youth ever since
she had learned to hold a needle, and the tree wasn't done yet, and the
flowers were flying out of the flower-pot on account of having no stems
to stand on. Patty was ashamed because she herself had no canvass with
silk pictures on it to carry out to the "mistress." The more she
thought about it, the more restless she grew, till before noon she fell
to crying, and said aloud,--

"_I_ want to work a _sambler_; yes, I do."

Miss Judkins told Mary she had better take her home. Patty felt
disgraced, and cried all the way, she did not really know what for.
Sometimes she thought it was because the school was such a poor place to
go to, and then again she thought it was because she wanted to work a
"sambler." When they got home she did not wait till they were fairly in
the house, but called out, with a loud voice,--

"O, mamma! She's only a woman! The mistress is only a woman!"

That was all the way she had of telling how cruelly disappointed she
felt in the school.

Mrs. Lyman had just put the baby in the cradle, and was now rocking
little Solly, who was crying with a stone bruise in the bottom of his
foot. Betsey Gould was washing, Dorcas and Rachael were making dresses,
and the dinner must be put on the table. No wonder tired Mrs. Lyman was
sorry to see Patty come home crying, or that she laid her pale, tired
face against Solly's cheek when Patty whined, "Mayn't I work a sambler?"
and said, in a low tone, as if she were breathing a prayer,--

"Let patience have her perfect work."

Patty had often heard her poor, overburdened mother make that same
remark, but had never understood it before. Now she thought it meant,
"Let my daughter Patience have a sambler to work;" and she cleared the
clouds off her little face, and went dancing out to see the new
goslings. Mary, who was thoughtful beyond her years, coaxed Solly into
her arms, and soothed him with a little story, so that her mother could
go and take up the dinner.

Patty found out next day that she was not to have a sampler; but to
console her Mary hemmed a large piece of tow and linen cloth, and told
her she might learn to work on it with colored thread. It was a funny
looking thing after Patty had scrawled it all over with Greek and
Hebrew; but it was a wonderful help to the child's feelings.

She was a great pet at school, and grew quite fond of going; but she
tells Flyaway she does not remember much more that happened, after she
began that sampler, until the next spring. At that time she was a trifle
more than four years old.



CHAPTER III.

THE BROKEN BRIDGE.


It was early in April, and the travelling was very bad, for the frost
was just coming out of the ground. Mary, Moses, and the twins attended a
private school, on the other side of the river, and Patty went with
them; but they were all rather tired of her company.

"Mother, we're afraid she'll get lost in one of the holes," said Moses.
"Won't you make her stay at home?"

Mrs. Lyman stood before the brick oven, taking out of it some blackened
cobs which had been used for smoking hams, and putting them into a dish
of water.

"What are you doing with those cobs?" asked Moses, while Patty caught at
her mother's skirts, saying,--

"I won't lose me in a hole, mamma! Mayn't I go to school?"

"I will tell you what I am doing with the cobs, Moses," said Mrs. Lyman;
"making pearlash water. I shall soak them a while, and then pour off the
water into bottles. Cob-coals make the very best of pearlash."

How queer that seems to us! Why didn't Mrs. Lyman send to the store and
buy soda? Because in those days there was no such thing as soda.

"But as for Patience," said she, "I really don't see, Moses, how I can
have her stay at home _this_ week. Rachel is weaving, Dorcas is
spinning, and the baby is cutting a tooth. Just now my hands are more
than full, my son."

Patty was delighted to hear that. It never once occurred to her to feel
ashamed of being such a trial to everybody. Dorcas tied her hood, pinned
her yellow blanket over her little shoulders, kissed her good by, and
off she trotted between Mary and Moses, full of triumph and
self-importance.

There was only a half-day's school on Saturday, and as the children were
going home that noon, George said,--

"I call this rather slow getting ahead. Patty creeps like a snail."

"Because her feet are so small," said kind-hearted Mary.

"They are twice as big as common with mud, I am sure," returned George;
whereupon Silas laughed; for whatever either of the twins said, the
other twin thought it very bright indeed.

"There, don't plague her, Georgie," said Mary, "Moses and I have got as
much as _we_ can do to get her home. I tell you my arms ache pulling!"

As she spoke a frightful noise was heard,--not thunder, it was too
prolonged for that; it was a deep, sullen roar, heard above the wail of
the wind like the boom of Niagara Falls. Very soon the children saw for
themselves what it meant. _The ice was going out!_

There was always more or less excitement to these little folks,--and,
indeed, to the grown folks too,--in the going out of the ice, for it
usually went at a time when you were least expecting it.

This was a glorious sight! The ice was very thick and strong, and the
freshet was hurling it down stream with great force. The blocks were
white with a crust of snow on top, but they were as blue at heart as a
bed of violets, and tumbled and crowded one another like an immense
company of living things. The tide was sending them in between great
heaps of logs, and the logs were trying to crush them to pieces, while
they themselves rushed headlong at terrible speed. The sun came out of a
cloud, and shone on the ice and logs in their mad dance. Then the white
blocks quivered and sparkled like diamonds, and the twins cried out
together, "How splendid!"

"Pretty! pretty!" chimed in little Patty, falling face downwards into a
mud puddle.

"Well, that's pretty works," said Moses, picking her up, and partially
cleansing her with his gingham pocket-handkerchief.

"Hallo, there!" shouted Mr. Griggs, the toll-gatherer, appearing at the
door of his small house with both arms above his head. "Children,
children, stop! Don't you come anigh the bridge for your lives!"

"Oh, it's going off! its going off!" cried the five Lymans in concert.

They forgot to admire any longer the magnificent sight. The ice might be
glorious in its beauty; but, alas, it was terrible in its strength!

How could they get home? That was the question. They could see their
father's house in the distance; but how and when were they to reach it?
It might as well have been up in the moon.

"They can't come after us," wailed Mary, wringing her hands; "'twill be
days and days before they can put a boat into this river."

"What shall we do?" groaned Moses; "we can't sleep on the ground."

"With nothing to eat," added George, who remembered the brick-red Indian
pudding they were to have had for dinner.

"Don't be scared, children; go ahead," said Dr. Hilton, from the bank.

"What! Would you have 'em risk their lives?" said the timid
toll-gatherer. "Look at them blocks crowding up against the piers! Hear
what a thunder they make! And the logs swimming down in booms! You step
into our house, children, and my wife and the neighbors, we'll contrive
to stow you away somewheres."

Crowds of people were collecting on the bank watching the ice go out.

"Well, you are in a pretty fix, children," said one of the men. "How
did your folks happen to let you come?"

The Lymans stood dumb and transfixed.

"Hurry! Why don't you step lively?" said Dr. Hilton, and two or three
other men.

"Stay where you are, children," cried Mr. Chase and Dr. Potter from the
other bank.

"If we could only see father!" said one of the twins. Brave as they both
thought themselves, the roaring torrent appalled them.

Suddenly there was a shout from the other end of the bridge as loud and
shrill as a fog-bell:--

"Children, come home! George! Silas! Mary? Be quick?"

It was Squire Lyman's voice.

"What shall we do?" cried Mary, running round and round.

"'Twon't do to risk it, neighbor Lyman," screamed the toll-gatherer.

"Children, run! there is time," answered the father, hoarsely.

It was Mary who called back again, "Yes, father, we'll come."

For the twins did not seem to feel clear what to do. "He knows," thought
she. "What father tells us to do must be right."

She stepped firmly upon the shaking bridge. For an instant Moses
hesitated, then followed with Patty; and after him came the twins, with
their teeth firmly set.

"Quick! quick!" screamed Squire Lyman. "Run for your lives!"

"Run! run!" echoed the people on both banks; but Mr. Griggs's tongue
clove to the roof of his mouth.

The roaring torrent and the high wind together were rocking the bridge
like a cradle. If it had not been for Patty! All the rest could run. It
seemed as if the mud on the child's shoes had turned to lead. She hung,
crying and struggling, a dead weight between Moses and Mary, who pulled
her forward, without letting her little toddling feet touch the ground.

The small procession of five, how eagerly everybody watched it! The poor
toll-gatherer, if he had had the courage, would have run after the
children, and snatched them back from their doom. Every looker-on was
anxious; yet all the anxiety of the multitude could not equal the
agonizing suspense in that one father's heart. He thought he knew the
strength of the piers; he thought he could tell how long they would
stand against the ice; but what if he had made a mistake?

The children did not get on quite as fast as he had expected. Every
moment seemed an age, for they were running for their lives!

It was over at last, the bridge was crossed, the children were safe!

The toll-gatherer, and the other people on the bank, set up a shout; but
Squire Lyman could not speak. He seized Dr. Potter by the shoulder, and
sank back against him, almost fainting.

"Papa! O, papa!" cried Patty, whose little heart scarcely beat any
faster than usual, in spite of all the fuss she had made, "I couldn't
help but laugh!"

This little speech, so babyish and "Patty-like," brought Squire Lyman to
himself, and he hugged the silly creature as if she stood for the whole
five children.

"Father, it was a tough one, I tell you," said Silas.

"O, father," said Moses, "if you knew how we trembled! With that baby to
pull over, too!"

"I'll tell you what I thought," said Mary, catching her breath. "I
though my father knew more than the toll-gatherer, and all the other
men. But anyway, if he didn't know, I'd have done what he said."

"Bravo for my Polly," said Squire Lyman, wiping his eyes.

Just half an hour after this, when they were all safe at home, the
bridge was snapped in two, and went reeling down stream. Squire Lyman
closed his eyes and shuddered. Of course no one could help thinking what
might have happened if the children had been a little later; and
everybody fell to kissing Patty, for that had long been a family habit
when any feeling came up which was too strong or too deep to be
expressed.

The next day, in Mrs. Lyman's Sunday evening talk with the children, she
told them the trust Mary had shown in her father, when he asked her to
cross the bridge, was just the feeling we should have towards our
heavenly Father, who is all-wise, and can never make mistakes; and then
she gave them this verse to learn:--

    "Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust."

Patty forgot the verse very soon; but Mary remembered it as long as she
lived.



CHAPTER IV.

THE TITHING-MAN


One summer's day, two years or so after this, Moses was half sick with a
"run-round" on his finger, and consented to go up in the
spinning-chamber and play with Patty: he never played with girls when he
was well. Dorcas was at the little flax-wheel spinning linen, and Patty
was in a corner under the eaves, with her rag babies spread out before
her,--quite a family of them. The oldest granddaughter was down with
brain fever, and she wanted Moses to bleed her. Moses did it with great
skill. When he practiced medicine, he pursued the same course Dr. Potter
did, their family physician; he bled and "cupped" Patty's dolls, and
gave them strong doses of calomel and "jalap."

[Illustration: DR. MOSES BLEEDS AND CUPS.--Page 45.]

"Dorcas," said Dr. Moses, looking up, with his jackknife in the air,
"what's a witch?"

"A witch? Why, we call Patty a little witch sometimes when she tangles
the flax and tries to spin."

"O, I never!" exclaimed Patty, "only just once I--"

"No, no; I mean a real witch," pursued Moses. "You know what I mean.
Betsey Gould's mother puts Bible leaves under the churn to keep 'em out
of the butter."

"Bible leaves!" said Dorcas. "How did Mrs. Gould's Bible happen to be
torn?"

"I don't know; but she puts horseshoes top o' the door, too," added
Moses; "you know she does, Dorcas, and lots of other folks do it. What
sort of things are witches? And what makes father and mother laugh about
'em, when other folks are so afraid?"

"Because father and mother are wiser than most of the people in this
little town. Perhaps I ought not to say it, Moses, but it's the truth."

It was the truth, and Moses knew it very well. He was only talking to
amuse himself, and to hear what Dorcas would say. You must remember this
was more than sixty years ago, and Perseverance was a poor little
struggling town, shut in among the hills, where the stage came only
twice a week, and there were only two news-papers, and not very good
schools. The most intelligent families, such as the Lymans, Potters, and
Chases, laughed at the idea of witches, but there were some people who
believed in them, and that very night little Patty was to have her head
filled with strange stories.

You remember Siller Noonin, who was at Squire Lyman's when Patty was
born? She was a widow, with not much of a home of her own, and was
always going about from house to house nursing sick people, and doing
little odds and ends of work. To-day she had dropped in at Squire
Lyman's to ask if Mrs. Lyman had any more knitting for her to do. In the
nicely sanded sitting-room, or "fore-room," as most of the people called
it, sat Dr. Hilton, leaning back upon the settle, trotting his foot. He
called himself a doctor, though I suppose he did not know much more
about the human system than little Doctor Moses, up in the
spinning-chamber. When old ladies were not very well, he advised them to
take "brandy and cloves, and snakeroot and cinnamon;" and sometimes, if
they happened to feel better after it, they thought Dr. Hilton knew a
great deal.

"You are just the person--ah, I wanted to see," said Dr. Hilton to
Priscilla; "I've been all round looking you up."

"Now that's strange, for I was on my way to your house," said Siller,
putting her hand to her side. "I don't feel well right here, and I
didn't know but you could tell me of some good bitters to take."

Dr. Hilton felt Siller's pulse, looked at her tongue, and then said,
with a wise roll of the eye, which almost set Rachel to laughing, "I
would advise you, ma'am--ah, to get a quart--ah, of good brandy, and
steep some cloves in it, and some--ah,--some--ah,--"

"Snakeroot and cinnamon," chimed in Rachel, looking up from her sewing
with a very innocent face.

Now that was exactly what the Doctor was going to say, only he was
trying to say it very slowly, so that it would sound like something
remarkable, and he did not like to have the words taken out of his
mouth. No doctor would have liked it.

"Well, well, young woman," said he rising from the settle in a rage, "if
you understand medicine better than I do, miss, I'll give up my patients
to you, and you may take charge of 'em."

"Beg pardon, sir," said Rachel; "I only wanted to help you. You seemed
to have forgotten part of your bitters."

It was very rude of Rachel to make sport of the Doctor, even though he
was only a quack; and her mother told her afterwards she was surprised
to see she was no more of a lady.

"Mark my words, Rachel," said Mrs. Lyman, "those who are careless about
other people's feelings will have very few friends."

Rachel blushed under her mother's glance, and secretly wished she were
as careful of her words as her sweet sister Dorcas.

But I was going to tell you that Dr. Hilton had been looking for
Priscilla, because he wished her to go and keep his house a few days
while his wife was gone on a visit. Siller told Mrs. Lyman she was
always very lonesome there, because there were no children in the house
and begged that "the two small girls" might go and stay with her till
she got a little used to it,--one night would do.

Mrs. Lyman very seldom allowed Mary or Patience to be gone over night;
but to oblige Priscilla, who was always such a good friend of the
children in all their little sicknesses, she consented.

"I shall take them with me to prayer meeting in the evening," said
Siller.

"Very well," replied Mrs. Lyman.

The little girls had never visited at Dr. Hilton's before, and were glad
to go, but Patty did not know how much it would cost her. The house was
very nice, and the white sand on the parlor floor was traced in patterns
of roses and buds as fine as a velvet carpet. On the door-stone, at the
east side of the house, stood an iron kettle, with flaming red flowers
growing in it, as bright as those on Mary's sampler. Mary said it seemed
as if the kettle had been taken off the stove and set out there to cool.

After a nice supper of hot biscuits, honey, cheese, and spice-cake, they
all started for prayer meeting, locking the house behind them; for Dr.
Hilton had business in the next town, and was to be gone all night.

Patty was not in the habit of sitting remarkably still, even at church
on the Sabbath; and as for a prayer meeting in a school-house, she had
never attended one before, and the very idea of it amused her to begin
with. It was so funny to see grown people in those seats where the
children sat in the daytime! Patty almost wondered if the minister would
not call them out in the floor to recite. The services were long, and
grew very dull. To pass away the time, she kept sliding off the back
seat, which was much too high for her, and bouncing back again, twisting
her head around to see who was there, or peeping through her fingers at
a little boy, who peeped back again.

Mary whispered to her to sit still, and Siller Noonin shook her head;
but Patty did not consider Mary worth minding, and had no particular
respect for Siller. Finally, just at the close of a long prayer, she
happened to spy Daddy Wiggins, who was sleeping with his mouth open, and
the sight was too much for Patty: she giggled out-right. It was a very
faint laugh, hardly louder than the chirp of a cricket; but it reached
the sharp ears of Deacon Turner, the tithing-man,--the same one who sat
in church watching to see if the children behaved well, and he called
right out in meeting, in a dreadful voice,--

"_Patience Lyman!_"

If he had fired a gun at her head it would not have startled her more.
It was the first time she had ever been spoken to in public, and she
sank back in Mary's arms, feeling that all was over with her. Other
little girls had had their names called out, but they were generally
those whose parents did not take proper care of them,--rude children,
and not the sort with whom Patty associated.

O, what would her mother say? Was there any place where she could go and
hide? Sally Potter would never speak to her again, and Linda Chase would
think she was a heathen child.

She didn't care whether she ever had any new clothes to wear or not;
what difference would it make to anybody that lived out in the barn? And
that was where she meant to live all the rest of her days,--in one of
the haymows.

Kind sister Mary kept her arm round the sobbing child, and comforted
her, as well as she could, by little hugs. The meeting was soon over,
and Patty was relieved to find that she had the use of her feet. So
crushed as she had been by this terrible blow, she had hardly supposed
she should be able to walk.



CHAPTER V.

A WITCH-TALK.


"It was real mean and hateful of Deacon Turner," says Mary, as they went
back to Dr. Hilton's. "You didn't giggle any, hardly, and he knew you
didn't mean to. I'll tell father, and he won't like it one bit."

Patty choked back a sob. This was a new way of looking at things, and
made them seem a little less dreadful. Perhaps she wouldn't stay in the
barn forever; possibly not more than a year or two.

"Deacon Turner is a very ha'sh man," said Siller; "but if he'd stopped
to think twice, he wouldn't have spoken out so to one of you children;
for you see your father is about the best friend he's got. He likes to
keep on the right side of Squire Lyman, and he must have spoke out
before he thought."

Patty drew a long breath. She began to think the Deacon was the one to
blame, and she hadn't done any thing so very bad after all, and wouldn't
live in the barn more than a day or two, if she did as long as that.

She was glad she was not going home to-night to be seen by any of the
family, especially Rachel. By the time they reached Dr. Hilton's she was
quite calm, and when Siller asked her if she would like some pancakes
for breakfast, she danced, and said, "O, yes, ma'am," in her natural
voice.

But, as Siller said, they were all rather stirred up, and wouldn't be
in a hurry about going to bed. Perhaps the blackberry tea they had drunk
at supper time was too strong for Siller's nerves; at any rate, she felt
so wide awake that she chose to sit up knitting, with Patty in her lap,
and did not perceive that both the children were growing sleepy.

It was a lovely evening, and the bright moon sailing across the blue sky
set the simple woman to thinking,--not of the great and good God of whom
she had been hearing this evening, but, I am ashamed to say, of witches!

"I'm glad I've got company," said she, nodding to Mary, "for there's
kind of a creeping feeling goes over me such shiny nights as this. It's
just the time for Goody Knowles to be out on a broomstick."

"Why, Siller Noonin," exclaimed Mary, "_you_ don't believe in such
foolishness as that! I never knew you did before!"

Siller did not answer, for she suddenly remembered that Mrs. Lyman was
very particular as to what was said before her children.

"Tell me, Siller; you don't suppose witches go flying round when the
moon shines?" asked Mary, curling her lip.

"That's what folks say, child."

"Well, I do declare, Siller, I thought _you_ had more sense."

Mrs. Noonin's black eyes sparkled with anger.

"That's free kind of talk for a little girl that's some related to Sir
William Phips; that used to be Governor of this Commonwealth of
Massachusetts," said she.

"I never heard of Mr. Phips."

"Well, that's nothing strange. He died over a hundred years ago; but
_he_ didn't make fun of witches, I can tell you. He had 'em chained up
so they couldn't hurt folks."

"Hurt folks?" said little Patty.

"Yes; you know witches have a way of taking various shapes, such as cats
and dogs, and all sorts of creeturs, and going about doing mischief,"
said Siller, with a solemn click of her knitting-needles.

Mary's nose went farther up in the air. She had heard plenty about the
Salem Witchcraft, and knew the stories were all as silly as silly can
be.

"Didn't you never hear tell of that Joan of Arc over there to Salem?"
went on Siller, who knew no more about history than a baby.

"We've heard of _Noah's_ ark," put in Patty.

"Well, Joan was a witch, and took the shape of a man, and marched at the
head of an army, all so grand; but she got found out, and they burnt her
up. It was fifty years ago or more."

"Beg your pardon, Siller; but it was almost four hundred years ago,"
said Mary; "and it wasn't in this country either, 'twas in France.
Mother told me all about it; she read it in a book of history."

Siller looked extremely mortified, and picked up a stitch without
speaking.

"And besides that," said Mary, "Joan of Arc was a beautiful young girl,
and not a witch. I know some of the people called her so; but mother
says they were very foolish and wicked."

"Well, I ain't a going to dispute your mother in her opinion of witches;
she knows twice to my once about books; but that ain't saying she knows
everything, Polly Lyman," returned Siller, laying down her knitting in
her excitement; "and 'twill take more'n your mother to beat me out of my
seven senses, when I've seen witches with my own naked eyes, and heard
'em a talking to their gray cats."

"Where? O, where?" cried little Patty.

All the "witch" Siller had ever seen was an Englishwoman by the name of
Knowles, and the most she ever heard her say to her cat was "Poor
pussy." But Siller did not like to be laughed at by a little girl like
Polly Lyman; so she tried to make it appear that she really knew some
remarkable things.

"Well," said Mary, "I don't see why a gray cat is any worse to talk to
than a white one: why is it? Mrs. Knowles asked my mother if it was
having a gray cat that made folks call her a witch.--Siller, Mrs.
Knowles wasn't the woman you meant, when you said you'd seen a witch?"

"Perhaps so--perhaps not. But what did your mother say when Mrs. Knowles
asked her that question?"

"Why, mother laughed, and told Mrs. Knowles not to part with her gray
cat, if it was good to catch mice."

"Yes, yes. I know your mother don't believe any of these things that's
going; but either Goody Knowles is a witch, or else I am," said Siller,
her tongue fairly running away with her.

"Why, Siller Noonin, what makes you think so?"

"Well, for one thing, she can't shed but three tears, and them out of
her left eye," said Siller; "that I know to be a fact, for I've watched
her, and it's a sure sign. Then Daddy Wiggins, he weighed her once
against the church Bible, and she was the lightest, and that's another
sure sign. Moreover, he tried her on the Lord's Prayer, and she couldn't
go through it straight to save her life. Did you ever mind Goody
Knowles's face, how it's covered with moles?"

"Do you mean those little brown things," cried Patty, "with hair in the
middle? I've seen 'em lots of times; on her chin, too."

"Yes, dear. Well, Polly, there never was a witch that didn't have moles
and warts."

"But what does Mrs. Knowles do that's bad?" says Mary, laughing a
little, but growing very much interested.

"Well, she has been known to bewitch cattle, as perhaps you may have
heard. Last spring Daddy Wiggins's cows crept up the scaffold,--a thing
cows never did afore."

"O, but my father laughed about that. He said he guessed if Mr.
Wiggins's cows had had hay enough, they wouldn't have gone out after
some more; they'd have staid in the stalls."

"It will do very well for your father to talk," returned Siller, who was
growing more and more excited. "Of course Goody Knowles wouldn't bewitch
any of _his_ creeturs; it's only her enemies she injures. And that makes
me think, children, that it's kind of curious for us to be sitting here
talking about her. She _may_ be up on the ridge-pole of the house,--she
or one of her imps,--a hearing every word we say."

"O, dear! O, dear!" cried Patty, curling her head under Siller's cape.

"Nonsense, child. I was only in fun," said the thoughtless Siller,
beginning to feel ashamed of herself, for she had not intended to talk
in this way to the children; "don't lets think any more about it."

And with that she hurried the little girls off to bed; but by this time
their eyes were pretty wide open, as you may suppose.



CHAPTER VI.

A WITCH-FRIGHT.


Patty had forgotten all about her deep mortification, and never even
thought of Deacon Turner, the tithing-man.

"Hark!" whispered she to Mary, "don't you hear 'em walking on the roof
of the house?"

"Hear what?" said Mary, sternly.

"Those things Siller calls creeturs--on broomsticks," returned Patty.

"Nonsense; go to sleep, child."

Mary was too well instructed to be really afraid of witches; still she
lay awake an hour or two thinking over what Siller had said, and
hearing her cough drearily in the next chamber. Little Patty was
sleeping sweetly, but Mary's nerves were quivering, she did not know
why, and

    "All things were full of horror and affright,
    And dreadful even the silence of the night."

As she lay wishing herself safe at home in her own bed, there was a
sudden noise outside her window,--the sound of heavy footsteps. Who
could be walking there at that time of night? If it was a man, he must
want to steal. Mary did not for a moment fancy it might be a woman, or a
"creetur" on a broomstick,--she was too sensible for that; but you will
not wonder that, as she heard the footsteps come nearer and nearer, her
heart almost stopped beating from fright. Siller had not coughed for
some time, and was very likely asleep. If so, there was no time to be
lost.

Mary sprang out of bed, and ran down stairs, whispering, "Fire! Murder!
Thieves!"

That wakened Patty, who ran after her, clutching at her night-dress, and
crying out, "A fief! A fief!"

For she had lost a front tooth the day before, and could not say
"thief."

It was a wonder they both did not fall headlong, going at such speed.

Siller was in the kitchen, standing in the middle of the floor, with a
red cloak on, staring straight before her, with a white, scared look.

"Hush, children, for mercy's sake!" she whispered, putting her
handkerchief over Patty's mouth, "we're in a terrible fix! It's either
thieves or murderers, or else it's witches. Yes, Polly Lyman, witches!"

"I don't hear the steps now," said Mary. "O, yes I do, too; yes I do,
too."

By that time there was a loud knocking.

"It must be witches; thieves wouldn't knock," whispered Siller, tearing
her back hair. "Hear 'em rattle that door! That was what it meant when I
saw that black cat, just before sundown, worritting the doctor's dog. I
thought then it was an imp."

The door continued to rattle, and the children's teeth to chatter; also
Siller's, all she had left in her head.

"O, if we had a silver bullet," said she, "that would clear 'em out."

Poor little Patty! You may guess at the state of her mind when I tell
you she was speechless! For almost the first time in her life she was
too frightened to scream.

The knocking grew louder and louder; and Siller, seeing that something
must be done, and she was the only one to do it, began to behave like a
woman.

"Stop shaking so, children," said she, with a sudden show of courage.
"Keep a stiff upper lip! I've got an idea! It may be flesh and blood
thieves come after the doctor's chany tea-cups!"

"O, throw them out the window," gasped Mary.

"No, Polly; not while I'm a live woman," replied Siller, who really had
some sense when she could forget her fear of hobgoblins. "Into the
hampshire, both of you, and let me button you in."

The "hampshire" was a large cupboard, the lower part of which was half
filled with boxes and buckets; but the children contrived to squeeze
themselves into it.

"It isn't fair, though," said Mary, putting her head out. "I ought to
help you, Siller. Give me the shovel and tongs, and I will."

Siller only answered by buttoning the hampshire door.

Patty, feeling safer, screamed "Fief!" once more; and Mary gave her a
shaking, which caused the child to bite her tongue; after which Mary
hugged and kissed her with the deepest remorse.

Who knew how long either of them had to live? What if the man should
break down the kitchen door and get into the house? He was knocking
harder than ever, and had been calling out several times,--

"Let me in! Why don't you let me in?"

"There, I do declare, that sounds like Dr. Hilton," whispered Mary to
Patty.

And sure enough, next moment the voice of Siller was heard exclaiming,
in the utmost surprise,--

"Bless me, doctor, you don't mean to say that's _you_!"

It was the most welcome sound that the little prisoners in the
"hampshire" could possibly have heard. And the laugh, gruff and cracked,
which came from the doctor's throat, as soon as he got fairly into the
house, was sweeter than the song of a nightingale.

"Let us out! Let us out!" cried they, knocking to be let out as hard as
the doctor had knocked to be let in, for Mary was beating the door with
a bucket of sugar and Patty with a pewter porringer. But Siller was "all
of a fluster," and it was the doctor himself who opened the hampshire
doors after the little girls had almost pounded them down.

They were both ashamed to be caught in their night-dresses, and ran up
stairs as fast as they could go, but on the way overheard the doctor
reproving Siller for giving "those innocent little children such a
scare." He was not a wise man, by any means, but he had good common
sense.

"It is lucky my wife don't believe in witches," said he, "for I'm as
likely to come home late at night as any way, and she'd be in hot water
half her time."

Next morning the children were very glad to go home, and Mary, though
she would hardly have said so to any one, could not help thinking she
should never like Siller Noonin quite so well after this as she had done
before.

They were climbing the fence to run across the fields, when some one
said,--

"Patience Lyman!"

It was Deacon Turner, the tithing-man; but his voice was very mild this
morning, and he did not look like the same man Patty had seen at prayer
meeting. His face was almost smiling, and he had a double red rose in
his hand.

"Good morning, little ladies," said he, giving the rose to Patty, who
blushed as red as the rose herself, and hung her head in bashful shame.

"Thank you, sir," she stammered.

"I can't bring myself to believe you meant to disturb the meetin' last
night," said the deacon, taking her unwilling little hand.

"No, O, no!" replied Patty, with dripping eyes.

"It was in the school-'us, but then the school-'us is just as sacred as
the meetin'-'us, when it's used for religious purposes. I'm afeared,
Patience, you forgot you went there to hold communion 'long of His
saints. I'm afeared your mind warn't in a fit state to receive much
benefit from the occasion."

Patty felt extremely uncomfortable. Good Deacon Turner seldom took the
least notice of children--having none of his own, and no nieces or
nephews;--and when he did try to talk to little folks, he always made a
sad piece of work of it. He did not know how to put himself in sympathy
with them, and could not remember how he used to feel when he was young.

"We shall always be glad to see you at the regular Wednesday evenin'
prayer meetin'," said he, "or to the prayer meetin's in the school-'us;
but you must remember it ain't like a meetin' for seckler pupposes,
Patience,--it's for prayer, and praise, and the singing of psalms; and
you should conduct yourself in a circumspect and becoming manner, as is
fittin' for the house of worship; and remember and feel that it's a
privilege for you to be there."

This was about the way the deacon talked to Patty, and of course she did
not understand one word of it. She tells Flyaway Clifford and Dotty
Dimple that grown people in old times almost always talked "too old,"
and children were afraid of them.

"Yes, my child," added the deacon, "you should realize that it is a
precious privilege, and feel to say with the Psalmist,--

    "'I joyed when to the house of God,
      Go up, they said to me;
    Jerusalem, within thy walls,
      Our feet shall standing be.'"

Patty was crying by this time very loud, and there was a certain babyish
sound in her wail which suddenly reminded Deacon Turner that he was
talking to a little girl, and not to a young woman.

"There, there, now, don't cry," said he, patting her head, for her
sun-bonnet had fallen back on her neck, "you didn't mean to make fun of
religion; I'm sartin sure of that."

"No, I di-idn't, or if I did, I di-idn't mean to," almost howled Patty.

A grim smile overspread the deacon's face. The idea of an infant like
that making fun of religion!

"Somehow I was thinkin' you was an older child than what you be," said
he, rubbing her silky hair as roughly as a plough would go through a bed
of flowers. The action almost drove Patty wild, but the good man meant
it most kindly.

"Let's see, I suppose you know your letters now?" added he, going to the
other extreme, and talking to her as if she were very young indeed.
"And, of course, your mother, who is a godly woman, has you say your
catechism. Do you remember, my dear, who made you?"

The question caused Patty to raise her tearful eyes in astonishment. Did
he think a girl six and a half years old didn't know that?

"Yes, sir," said she, meekly; "God made me."

"Right, my dear; that's well said. You're not such a bad child after
all, and seem to have considerable sense. Here is a dollar for you, my
little woman, and tell your mother I know she's bringing you up in the
way you should go, and I hope when you are old you'll not depart from
it."

Patty stared at the dollar through her tears, and it seemed to stare
back again with a face almost as big as a full moon.

"O, thank you, sir," said she, with a deep courtesy.

Never in her life had she owned a whole silver dollar before. How it
danced and shone! She held it tight, for it did not seem to be real, and
she was afraid it would melt or fly away before she could get it home.

"Mother, O mother," cried she, "see this live dollar! Deacon Turner gave
it to me for remembering who made me!"

"Why, child, what do you mean?"

"She means just what she says, mother," said Mary. "Deacon Turner spoke
to her in prayer meeting last night--"

"Why, Patience!"

"And he was sorry for it, mother, just as Siller thought he'd be; and so
he wanted to give her something to make up, I suppose; but _should_ you
have thought he'd have given her that dollar?"

Mrs. Lyman was grieved to learn that Patty had been so restless and so
irreverent, and called her into the bedroom to talk with her about it.

"My little girl is old enough to begin to think," said she.

"Yes, mother," said Patty, laying the silver dollar against her cheek,
"I do think."

"But, Patience, you knew the people had met in that school-house to talk
about God; you should have listened to what they were saying."

"But, mamma, the words were too big; I can't understand such big words."

"Well, then, my daughter, you certainly could have sat still, and let
other people listen."

Patty hung her head.

"Has a child any right to go where good people are worshipping God, and
behave so badly as to disturb them?"

"No, mamma."

Patty was crying again, and almost thought the barn _would_ be the best
place for her to live in. Even her "live dollar" could not console her
when her mother spoke in such a tone as that.

"I'll never make any more _disturbment_, mamma," said she, in a
broken-hearted tone.

"I hope you'll remember it," said Mrs. Lyman, taking the child's two
hands in hers, and pressing them earnestly.

Patty was afraid she was about to deprive her of the precious dollar;
but Mrs. Lyman did not do it; she thought Patty would remember without
such a hard punishment as that.



CHAPTER VII.

THE SILK POCKET.


When Mrs. Lyman heard what a fright the children had had at Dr. Hilton's
she was much displeased, and forbade Siller Noonin ever to talk to them
again about witches. Siller confessed she had done wrong, and "hoped
Mrs. Lyman wouldn't lay it up against her."

Patty said,--

"Poh, she couldn't scare ME! I flied on a broomstick my own self, and I
tumbled off. '_Course_ Mrs. Knowles can't do it; big folks like her!"

At the same time Patty did not like to see Mrs. Knowles come to the
house. It wasn't likely she had ever "flied on a broomstick;" but when
Mrs. Lyman walked out with the good woman, as she sometimes did, Patty
was uneasy till she got home again. Nobody suspected the little girl of
such foolishness, and she never told of it till years after, when she
was a tall young lady, and did not mind being laughed at for her
childish ideas.

But perhaps you would like to know what became of her live dollar. She
did not know what to do with so much money, and talked about it first to
one and then to another.

"Moses," said she, "which would you ravver do, have me have a hundred
cents, and you have ninety-nine cents, or me have ninety-nine cents, and
you have a hundred?"

Moses appeared to think hard for a moment, and then said,--

"Well, I guess I'd rather _you'd_ have the hundred."

"O, would you?" cried Patty, kissing him gratefully.

"Yes," said Moses; "for if I had the most, you'd be teasing me for the
odd cent."

The dollar burnt Patty's fingers. Some days she thought she would give
it to the heathen, and other days she wondered if it would be wrong to
spend it for candy. Sometimes she meant to buy a pair of silver
shoe-buckles for her darling Moses, and then again a vandyke for her
darling Mary. In short, she could not decide what to do with such a vast
sum of money.

One day there came to the house a beggar girl, a little image of dirt
and rags. She told a pitiful story about a dead mother and a drunken
father, and nobody could know that it was quite untrue, and her mother
was alive, and waiting for her two miles away.

Patty was so much interested in the little girl's story, that she almost
wanted to give her the silver dollar on the spot, but not quite. She ran
into the bedroom to ask her mother what it was best to do.

"Why, I thought I fastened that door," cried John, flourishing a
paint-brush in her face. "Scamper, or you'll get some paint on your
gown."

Patty scampered, but not before she had stained her dress.

"Where is mother?" asked she of Dorcas.

"In the parlor; but don't go in there, child, for the doctor's wife is
making a call, and Mrs. Chase, too."

Patty did not wait for Dorcas to finish the sentence, but rushed into
the parlor, out of breath. I am afraid she was rather glad to let the
doctor's wife know she had some money, and thought of giving it away.
Patty was not a bold child, but there were times when she did like to
show off.

"O, mother, mother!" cried she, without stopping to look at the ladies.
"Let me have my silver dollar this minute! 'Cause there's a poor
little--"

"My child," said Mrs. Lyman, in a tone which checked Patty, and made her
blush to the roots of her yellow hair.

"Pray, let her finish her story," said the doctor's wife, drawing the
little one to her side; "it's something worth hearing, I know."

"It's a little girl," replied Patty, casting down her eyes, "and her
mother is dead and her father is drunk."

Patty supposed he lay all the while with his hat on, for she had once
seen a man curled up in a heap by the roadside, and had heard John say
he was drunk.

"How very sad!" said Mrs. Potter.

Mrs. Chase looked sorry.

"Do you say the mother is dead?" said she.

"Yes'm; the man killed her to death with a jug, and then she died,"
replied Patty, solemnly.

"Where is the child? Something must be done about it at once," said Mrs.
Potter, a very kind lady, but apt to speak without much thought. "O,
Patty, dear, I am glad you have such a good heart. It is beautiful to
see little children remembering the words of our Saviour, 'It is more
blessed to give than to receive.'"

Patty's eyes shone with delight. It seemed to her that she was a little
Lady Bountiful, going about the world taking care of the poor. She
crept closer to Mrs. Potter's side.

"I haven't but just one silver dollar," said she, in a low voice; "but
I'd ravver give it to the little girl than keep it myself, I would!"

"Bless your dear little soul," said the doctor's wife, kissing Patty;
but Mrs. Chase said nothing; and all at once it occurred to the child
that perhaps Mrs. Chase had heard of her being spoken to in meeting, and
that was why she did not praise her. Dreadful thought! It frightened
Patty so that she covered up her face till both the ladies had gone
away, for they did not stay much longer.

After the door was closed upon them, Mrs. Lyman said--,

"Here is your silver dollar, Patty, in my pocket."

Patty fancied that her mother's voice was rather cold. She had expected
a few words of praise, or at least a kiss and a smile.

"But think a minute, Patience. Are you sure you want to give it away?"

Patty put her fingers in her mouth, and eyed the dollar longingly. How
large, and round, and bright it looked!

"I thought I heard you speak yesterday of buying Dorcas a vandyke,--or
was it Mary?--and the day before of getting some shoe-buckles for
Moses," added Mrs. Lyman, in the same quiet tones. "And only this
morning your mind was running on a jockey for yourself. Whatever you
please, dear. Take time to think."

"O, I'd ravver have a jockey. I forgot that--a white one."

"And what will become of the poor little girl?"

"O, I guess Dorcas will give her some _remmernants_ to eat, and folks
all around will see to her, you know."

"My child, my child, you don't think as you did when those ladies were
here. Do you remember your last Sunday's verse, and what I said about it
then?"

Mrs. Lyman's voice was very grave.

Patty repeated the verse,--

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them;
otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

She knew very well what it meant.

"Doing alms before women is just the same as doing 'em before men,"
thought Patty.

She had been making pretty speeches just for the sake of being praised,
and she didn't care so very much about the beggar girl after all.

"I am going out to see that poor child for myself," said Mrs. Lyman,
putting down the black silk pocket she was making; and Patty followed,
with her money clasped close to her bosom.

But by that time the dirty-faced little creature had gone away.

"She told wrong stories," said Dorcas; "she said, in the first place,
her mother was dead, and afterwards that her mother was sick."

"Naughty thing! I'm glad I didn't give her my silver dollar!" exclaimed
Patty; though she dared not look up, for fear of meeting her mamma's
eyes.

"Where _have_ you been, child, to get so stained with paint?" said
Rachel, who always saw things before any one else did. "Come here, and
let me sponge your gown with spirits of turpentine."

"Strange I shouldn't have noticed that," said Mrs. Lyman. "I hope Mrs.
Potter didn't spoil her crape shawl when she put her arm round you,
Patience."

Patty dropped her eyes with shame, to think how pleased Mrs. Potter had
been with her just for nothing at all.

"Spirits _turpletine_?" said she, making believe she had never heard the
word before. "_Spirits_ turpletine? That isn't _angels_, Rachel? Then
what makes you call 'em spirits?"

Rachel knew the child was talking for the sake of changing the subject,
and she would not answer such a foolish question.

"Stand still, you little try-patience," said she, "or I shall never get
off the paint."

Mrs. Lyman went back to finish her pocket. Ladies in those days wore
them under their dresses, tied about their waists. Mrs. Lyman's was a
very pretty one, of quilted black silk, and when it was done, Patty put
her dollar in it, and jingled it beside a gold piece of her mother's.

"Which is worth the most, mamma?" said she, "your dollar or my dollar?"

"Mine is worth just twenty times as much as yours."

"Well, I'm glad that naughty girl hasn't got either of 'em," thought
Patty. "I'm sorry I made believe _good_; but I want my dollar, and here
'tis, all safe."

Safe! Before night Patty's dollar was gone, and her mother's gold piece
with it,--pocket, and all. It went that very afternoon; but nobody knew
it till Mrs. Lyman was getting ready to go to the store two days
afterwards, and wanted her pocket to put on.

When she came into the kitchen and said it was not in her bureau drawer,
and when Rachel, who always did the hunting, had looked everywhere and
could not find it, then there was crying in that house, you may be sure.
Patty said at once the beggar girl had taken the pocket.

"But how could she?" said Dorcas. "She was out of sight and hearing
before mother began to quilt it."

"Well, then she came back in the night," sobbed Patty.

"I dare say Snippet has put it out of place," said big brother James.

"Yes, Patty is a great hand to lose things," said Rachel.

"No, no, no; that _niggeramus_ girl came and took it; came in the
night," persisted Patty.

"Patience!" said her mother, reprovingly; and then Patty had to stop.

She mourned only for the silver dollar. She would have mourned for the
gold piece too, if she had known that her mother intended to buy fall
clothes with it for the little girls. It was as well Patty did not know
this, for she had as much already as she could bear.

Priscilla Noonin came over that afternoon with her knitting. "It was
midsummer, and the hay was down," and there were two men helping get it
into the barn. One of the men was tall and well formed, but the other,
Israel Crossman, was so short as to be almost a dwarf. He had yellow and
white hair, was a little lame, and his hands were covered with warts.
After supper he sat a few minutes on the top of the fence whittling a
stick. As Siller Noonin stood knitting at the window she saw him, and
shook her head.

"Somehow or 'nother," said she, "I don't like the looks of that man, and
never did. It's my private opinion, Mrs. Lyman, that either he stole
your pocket or I did."

"Be careful," whispered Mrs. Lyman, "he will hear you."

He might have heard, or might not; but he soon got off the fence and
limped away.

"Israel bears a good character," said Mrs. Lyman; "I will not suspect
him, unless I see better reason than I have ever seen yet."

The loss of the silk pocket continued to be a great mystery. Everybody
hunted for it from garret to cellar; but summer passed, and it did not
come.

Patty's grief wore away by degrees; still she never heard the word
"pocket" or the word "dollar" without a pang. And every time she saw
Mrs. Chase or Mrs. Potter, she could not help wondering if her money
didn't fly away just to punish her for trying to "show off" before them?
At any rate, she would never, never "show off" again.



CHAPTER VIII.

PATTY'S SUNDAY.


But we must give up hunting for a little while: Sunday has come. Let us
forget that "live dollar" (_perhaps_ it's a dead dollar now), and go to
church with Patty.

When she was "dressed for meeting," she went into the nicely sanded
parlor and stood alone before the looking-glass a minute or two to
admire herself. Look at her! She had on a blue cambric frock, and a blue
cambric jockey, or hat, turned up a little at the sides, and tied under
the chin with a blue ribbon; and on her little brown hands were a pair
of white cotton gloves. Don't laugh, little city folks! This was all
very fine, sixty years ago, in a backwoods town. But look at her feet,
and you _must_ laugh! Her shoes were of the finest red broadcloth, and
Mrs. Lyman had made them herself out of pieces of her own cloak and some
soft leather left in the house by Mr. Piper, the shoemaker. He went from
family to family, making shoes; but he could not make all that were
needed in town, so this was not the first time Mrs. Lyman had tried her
hand at the business. She used a pretty last and real shoemaker's
thread, and Mr. Piper said she was "a dabster at it; no wonder her
husband was well off when he had such a smart wife."

For, strange as it may seem to you, Squire Lyman _was_ "well off,"--that
is, he had one of the best farms in the county, and more money than any
one else in Perseverance, except Mr. Chase and Dr. Potter; those two
men were much wealthier than he was.

All the Lymans walked to church except the squire and his wife and the
two little boys; they went in the chaise. Dr. Potter rode horseback,
with a great show of silk stockings. His wife was propped up behind him
on a pillion. She was a graceful rider, but of course she had to put one
arm around the doctor to keep from falling off. This would be an odd
sight now to you or me, but Patty was so used to seeing ladies riding on
pillions that she thought nothing about it. She looked down at her red
shoes twinkling in and out of the green grass, and might have been
perfectly happy, only the soles wouldn't squeak.

"Patty! Patty!" called sister Mary, "come back here and walk with me."

Patty did not know till then that she was _hopping_. She went and took
Mary's hand, and walked soberly along, thinking.

"I hope Deacon Turner didn't see me. I guess he's 'way ahead of us. I
want to run and swing my arms; but I won't, because it is God's holy
day."

On the way they overtook Sally Potter, whose jockey was dented and
faded; and Patty said, "Good morning, Sally," with quite an air. But
when Linda Chase came along, and her new red bosom-pin shone out in the
sun, Patty's heart died within her.

"S'pose Linda don't know some folks don't like to see little girls wear
bosom-pins," thought she.

When they reached the meeting-house Mrs. Potter was just alighting upon
a horse-block. "Good morning, Linda," said she; "and how do _you_ do,
Patty, my dear?"

"H'm! She didn't say '_Linda_, my dear.' Guess she don't like
bosom-pins," thought Patty; and her silly heart danced up again.

"O, but I know why Mrs. Chase says 'Patty, my dear;' it's because
I--well, she s'poses I gave that dollar to the girl that her father was
drunk."

And I am glad to say Patty blushed.

The meeting-house was an unpainted building with two doors. As they
walked in at the left door, their feet made a loud sound on the floor,
which was without a carpet. There were galleries on each side of the
house, and indeed the pulpit was in a gallery, up, up, ever so high,
with a sounding-board over the preacher's head. Right in the middle of
the church was a box stove, but you could see that it was not half large
enough to heat the house. Of course there was no fire in it now, for it
was midsummer; but in the winter ladies had to carry foot-stoves full
of live coals to keep their feet warm in their pews.

Squire Lyman's pew was very near the pulpit, and was always pretty well
filled. Like the rest of the great square boxes,--for that was what they
looked like,--the seat was so high that Patty's scarlet shoes dangled in
the air ever so far from the floor.

At precisely ten o'clock, Elder Lovejoy walked feebly up the aisle, and
climbed the pulpit stairs. Patty watched him, as if he had been one of
Jacob's angels ascending the ladder. He was a tall, thin man, with a
fair complexion and long features. He wore a large turned-down collar
and a white neckerchief, stuffed round the throat with what was called a
pudding, and the ends of the neckerchief were so very long that they
hung half way down his vest. Everybody loved Elder Lovejoy, for he was
very good; but Patty thought him more than human. He seemed to her very
far off, and sacred, like King Solomon or King David; and if he had worn
a crown, she would have considered it very appropriate.

After a long prayer, during which all the people stood up, Elder Lovejoy
read a long, long psalm, and the people rose again to hear it sung. They
turned their backs to the pulpit, and faced the singers.

But there was a great surprise to-day. A strange sound mingled with the
voices singing; it was the sound of a bass-viol. The people looked at
one another in surprise, and some with frowns on their faces. Never had
an instrument of music of any sort been brought into that little church
before; and now it was Deacon Turner's brother, the blacksmith, who had
ventured to come there with a fiddle!

Good Elder Lovejoy opened his eyes, and wiped his spectacles, and
thought something must be done about it; they could not have "dance
music" in that holy place. Deacon Turner and a great many others thought
just so too; and at noon they talked to the wicked blacksmith, and put a
stop to his fiddle.

But nothing of this was done in church time. Elder Lovejoy preached a
very long sermon, in a painfully sing-song tone; but Patty thought it
was exactly right; and when she heard a minister preach without the
sing-song, she knew it must be wrong. She could not understand the
sermon, but she stretched up her little neck towards the pulpit till it
ached, thinking,--

"Well, mamma says I must sit still, and let other people listen. I
won't make any _disturbment_."

Mrs. Lyman looked at her little daughter with an approving smile, and
Deacon Turner, that dreadful tithing-man up in the gallery, thought his
lecture had done that "flighty little creetur" a great deal of good--or
else it was his dollar, he did not know which.

Patty sat still for a whole hour and more, counting the brass nails in
the pews, and the panes of glass in the windows, and keeping her eyes
away from Daddy Wiggins, who always made her want to laugh. At last the
sermon was over, and the people had just time enough to go to their
homes for a cold dinner before afternoon service, which began at one
o'clock.

Sunday did seem like a long day to little folks; and do you wonder? They
had no Sabbath school or Sabbath school books; and the only part of the
day which seemed to be made for them was the evening. At that time they
had to say their catechisms,--those who had not said them the night
before.

Did you ever see a Westminster Catechism, with its queer little
pictures? Then you can have no idea how it looks. After supper Mrs.
Lyman called the children into her bedroom, shut the door, and had them
repeat their lessons, beginning with the question, "Who was the first
man?"

Patty supposed the Catechism was as holy as the Bible, and thought the
rhyme,--

    "Zaccheus he
    Did climb a tree,
    His Lord to see,"

was fine poetry, of course, and she never dreamed of laughing at the
picture of dried-up little Zaccheus standing on the top of a
currant-bush.

Little Solly could answer almost all the questions, and sometimes baby
Benny, who sat in his mamma's lap, would try to do it too. They all
enjoyed these Sunday evenings in "mother's bedroom," for Mrs. Lyman had
a very pleasant way of talking with her children, and telling
interesting Bible stories.

The lesson this evening was on the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet."
When Patty understood what it meant, she said promptly, "Well, mamma,
_I_ don't do it."

For she was thinking,--

"What you s'pose I want of Linda Chase's bosom-pin? I wouldn't be seen
wearing it!"



CHAPTER IX.

MRS. CHASE'S BOTTLE.


You see Patty knew as much about her own little heart as she did about
Choctaw.

One Wednesday morning, early in September, Mrs. Lyman stood before the
kneading trough, with both arms in dough as far as the elbows. In the
farthest corner of the kitchen sat little Patty, pounding mustard-seed
in a mortar.

"Mamma," said she, "Linda Chase has got a calico gown that'll stand
alone."

"I've heard you tell of that before," said Mrs. Lyman, taking out a
quantity of dough with both hands, putting it on a cabbage-leaf, and
patting it into shape like a large ball of butter. A cabbage-leaf was as
good as "a skillet," she thought, for a loaf of brown bread.

"Did you ever see a gown stand all alone, mother? Linda says _hers_
does."

"Poh, it don't!" said Moses. "I know better."

"Then hers told a lie!" exclaimed little Solly. "George Wash'ton never
told a lie."

"Linda tells the truth," said Patty; "now, mamma, why don't _my_ gowns
stand alone?"

"I want to be like George Wash'ton," put in Solly again, pounding with
the rolling-pin, "and papa's got a hatchet; but we don't have no cherry
trees. I _can't_ be like George Wash'ton."

"O, what a noise! Stop it!" said Moses, tickling little Solly under the
arms.

"Mamma, I wish I was as rich as Linda," said Patty, raising her voice
above the din.

A look of pain came into Mrs. Lyman's eyes. It was not alone the
children's racket that disturbed her. She sighed, and turned round to
open the door of the brick oven. The oven had been heated long ago, and
Dorcas had taken out the coals. It was just the time to put in the brown
bread, and Mrs. Lyman set the cabbage-leaf loaves on the wooden
bread-shovel, and pushed them in as far as they would go.

After this was done she began to mix pie-crust; but not a word had she
to say about the gown that would stand alone.

"Now, Patience, you may clean the mortar nicely, and pound me some
cinnamon."

Patty thought her mother could not know how her little arm ached. Linda
Chase didn't have to pound things; her mother thought she was too
small. Linda's father had a gold watch with a chain to it, and Linda's
big brother drove two horses, and looked very fine, not at all like
George and Silas. Patty would not have thought of the difference, only
she had heard Betsy Gould say that Fred Chase would "turn up his nose at
the twins' striped shirts."

"Mamma," said she, beginning again in that teasing tone so trying to
mothers, "_I_ have to eat bread and milk and bean porridge, and Linda
don't. She has nice things all the time."

"Patience," said Mrs. Lyman, wearily, "I cannot listen to idle
complaints. Solomon, put down that porringer and go ask Betsey to wash
your face."

"But, mamma," said Patty, "why can't I have things like Linda Chase?"

"My little girl must try to be happy in the state in which God has
placed her," said Mrs. Lyman, trimming a pie round the edges.

"But I don't live in a state," said Patty, dropping a tear into the
cinnamon; "I live in the _District_ of Maine; and I want a gown that'll
stand alo-ne!"

    "It's half past eight,
    And I can't afford to wait,"

sang Moses from the south entry.

This was a piece of poetry which always aroused Patty. Up she sprang,
and put on her cape-bonnet to start for school at Mrs. Merrill's, just
round the corner.

"Daughter," said Mrs. Lyman, in a low voice, as she was going out, "you
have a happier home than poor Linda Chase. Don't cry for things that
little girl has, because, my dear, it is wicked."

"A happier home than poor Linda Chase!"

Patty was amazed, and did not know what her mother meant; but when she
got to school there was Linda in a dimity loose-gown, and Linda said,--

"_My_ mother wants you to come and stay all night with me, if _your_
mother's willing."

So Patty went home at noon to ask. Mrs. Lyman never liked to have Patty
gone over night; but the child pleaded so hard that she gave her
consent, only Patty must take her knitting-work, and musn't ask to wear
her Sunday clothes.

When she went home with Linda she found Mrs. Chase sitting by the parlor
window very grandly dressed. She kissed Patty, without once looking at
Patty's gingham loose-gown; but her eyes were quite red, as if she had
been crying.

"I like to have you come to see Linda," said she, "for Linda has no
little sister, and she feels rather lonesome."

Then the children went up stairs to see the wonderful calico gown which
cost "four and sixpence" a yard, and _almost_ stood alone (that was all
Linda had ever said it could do).

Mr. Chase and Fred were both away from home; and Patty was glad, for Mr.
Chase was so very polite and stiff, and Fred always talked to her as if
she was a baby. She did not like to go to see Linda when either of them
was there.

Mrs. Chase took both the little girls in her lap, and seemed to enjoy
hearing their childish prattle. Patty glanced at the gay rings on the
lady's fingers, and at the pictures on the walls, and wondered why it
wasn't a happy home, and what made Mrs. Chase's eyes so red. Then all at
once she remembered what Siller Noonin had said: "O, yes, Mrs. Chase
has everything heart can wish, except a bottle to put her tears in."

Patty did not see why a handkerchief wasn't just as good; but she could
not help looking at Linda's mother with some curiosity. If she really
had a strong preference for crying into a bottle, why didn't her rich
husband buy her a bottle, a glass one, beautifully shaped, with gold
flowers on it, and let her cry into it just as much as she pleased? He
was rich, and he ought to.

When they went to bed in the beautiful chamber that had such pretty
furniture, Mrs. Chase kissed them good night, but not in a happy way,
like Patty's mother.

"What makes your ma look so?" said Patty; "has she got the side-ache?"

"No, I guess not," replied little Linda; "but she says she feels bad
round the heart."

"My ma don't," returned Patty, thoughtfully. "I never heard her say so."

That was the last Patty knew, till ever so long afterwards, right in the
middle of a dream, she heard a great noise. It was a sound of scuffling,
and something being dragged up stairs. She saw the glimmer of lights,
and heard somebody's voice--she thought it was Mr. Chase's--say, "Look
out for his head, George."

"What is it?" whispered Patty. "O, _what_ is it?"

Linda covered her face with the sheet, and whispered, trembling all
over,--

"I _guess_ Freddy's sick."

"No, no, no," cried Patty; "hear how loud he talks!"

"O, but he's very sick," repeated Linda.

They heard him in the next chamber, kicking against the wall, and saying
dreadful words, such as Patty had never heard before--words which made
her shiver all over as if she was cold.

"Is it 'cause he is sick?" said she to Linda.

Linda thought it was.

Next morning, bright and early, Patty had to run home to help Moses turn
out the cows; there were nine of them, and it took two, besides the dog
Towler, to get them to pasture. She told her mother what she had heard
in the night, and her mother looked very sober; but Rachel spoke up
quickly,--

"I'll tell you, Patty, what makes Fred Chase have such sick turns; he
drinks too much brandy."

"Yes," said big brother John; "that fellow keeps a bottle in his room
the whole time."

"Is it his mamma's bottle?" asked Patty; for it flashed over her all at
once that perhaps that was the reason Mrs. Chase didn't have a bottle to
cry into, because Fred kept it up in his room--full of brandy.

Nobody knew what she meant by asking "if it was his mamma's bottle;" so
no one answered; but Mrs. Lyman said,--

"You see, Patty, it can't be very pleasant at Linda's house, even if she
does have calico dresses that stand alone."

"It don't _quite_ stand alone, mamma."

"And I hope you won't cry again, my daughter, for pretty things like
hers."

"No, I won't mamma.--Is that why Linda's mother 'feels bad round her
heart,' 'cause Freddy drinks out of the bottle?"

"Yes, dear, it makes Mrs. Chase very unhappy."

"Then I'm sorry, and I won't ever cry to have things like Linda any
more."

"That is right, my child; that's right!--Now, darling, run and help
Moses turn out the cows."



CHAPTER X.

MASTER PURPLE.


I think it was the next winter after this that Patty had that dreadful
time in school. If she had known what was coming, she would not have
been in such a hurry for her shoes. Mr. Piper came in the fall, after he
had got his farm work done, to "shoe-make" for the Lymans, beginning
with the oldest and going down to the youngest; and he was so long
getting to Patty that she couldn't wait, and started for school the
first day in a pair of Moses's boots.

O, dear; but such a school as it was. Timothy Purple was the worst
teacher that ever came to Perseverance. He was very cruel, but he was
cowardly too; for he punished the helpless little children and let the
large ones go free. I have no patience with him when I think of it!

The first day of school he marched about the room, pretending to look
for a nail in the wall to hang the naughtiest scholar on, whether it was
a boy or a girl. Patty was so frightened that her milk-teeth chattered.
You little folks who go to pleasant, orderly schools, and receive no
heavier punishment than black marks in a book, can't have much idea how
she suffered.

She expected every day after this to see a rope come out of Mr. Purple's
pocket, and was sure if he hung anybody it would be Patty Lyman. Mr.
Purple soon found she was afraid of him, and it gratified him, because
he was just the sort of man to like to see little ones tremble before
him.

"I tell you what," said Moses, indignantly, "he's all the time picking
upon Patty."

And so he was. He often shook her shoulders, twitched her flying hair,
or boxed her pretty little ears. Not that he disliked Patty, by any
means. I suppose a cat does not dislike a mouse, but only torments it
for the sake of seeing it quiver.

Moses was picked upon too; but he did not make much complaint, for the
"other fellows" of his age were served in the same way.

As for poor little browbeaten Patty, she went home crying almost every
night, and her tender mother was sometimes on the point of saying to
her,--

"Dear child, you shall not go another day."

But she did not say it, for good Mrs. Lyman could not bear to make a
disturbance. She knew if she should take Patty out of school, other
parents would take their children out too; for nobody was at all
satisfied with Mr. Purple, and a great many people said they wished the
committee had force enough to turn him away.

But there was a storm in the air which nobody dreamed of.

The sun rose one morning just as usual, and Patty started for school at
half past eight with the rest of the children. You would have pitied her
if you had been there. The tears were dripping from her seven years old
eyes like a hail shower. It was very cold, but she didn't mind that
much, for she had a yellow blanket round her head and shoulders, and
over those boots of Moses's were drawn a pair of big gray stockings,
which turned up and flopped at the toes. And it wasn't that ridiculous
goosequill in her hair which made her cry either, though I am sure it
must have hurt. No; it was the thought of the master, that dreadful man
with the ferule and the birch sticks.

Her mother stood at the door with a saucer pie in her hand. She knew
there was nothing Patty liked better.

"Here, Patience," said she, in a tone of motherly pity, "here's a pie
for you. Don't you think now you can go without crying?"

Patience brightened at that, and put the bunch of comfort into Moses's
dinner pail, along with some doughnuts as big as her arm, and some brown
bread and sausages.

It was a long way to the school-house, and by the time the children got
there their feet were numb. There was a great roaring fire in the
enormous fireplace; but it did Patty no good, for this was one of the
master's "whipping days," and he strode the brick hearth like a savage
warrior. Where was the _little_ boy or girl brave enough to say,
"Master, may I go to the fire?"

Poor Patty took out her Ladies' Accidence, and turned over the leaves.
It was a little book, and the title sounds as if it was full of stories;
but you must not think Patty would have carried a story book to school!

No; this was a Grammar. In our times little girls scarcely seven years
old are not made to study such hard things, for their teachers are wise
enough to know it is of no use. Patty was as good a scholar as any in
school for her age. Her letters had been boxed into her ears very young
by Miss Judkins, and now she could read in Webster's Third Part as fast
as a squirrel can run up a tree; but as for grammar, you could put all
she knew into a doll's thimble. She could not tell a noun from a verb,
nor could Linda Chase or Sally Potter, if you stood right over them, all
three, with three birch switches. They all knew long strings of words,
though, like this:--

"A noun is the name of anything that exists, or that we have any notion
of."

She liked to rattle that off--Patty did--or her little nimble tongue,
her head keeping time to the words.

I wish you had heard her, and seen her too, or that I could give you any
idea of Mr. Purple's school.

Stop a minute. Shut your eyes, and think you are in
Perseverance.--There, do you see that man in a blue swallow-tail coat?
This is the master. His head runs up to a peak, like an old-fashioned
sugar loaf, and blazes like a maple tree in the fall of the year. He
stands by his desk making a quill pen, and looking about him with sharp
glances, that seem to cut right and left. Patty almost thinks his head
is made of eyes, like the head of a fly; and she is sure he has a pair
in the pockets of his swallow-tail coat.

But it is a great mistake. He does not see a twentieth part of the
mischief that is going on; and what he does see he dares not take much
notice of, for he is mortally afraid of the large boys.

There is a great noise in the room of shuffling feet and buzzing lips,
but he pretends not to hear it.

Up very near the back seat sits Mary Lyman, or Polly, as almost
everybody calls her, with a blue woolen cape over her shoulders, called
a vandyke, and her hair pulled and tied, and doubled and twisted, and
then a goosequill shot through it like a skewer.

Behind her, in the very back seat of all, sits Dorcas, the prettiest
girl in town, with a pale, sweet face, and a wide double frill in the
neck of her dress.

Patty's future husband, William Parlin, is just across the aisle. He is
fourteen years old, and you may be sure has never thought yet of
marrying Patty.

The twins, Silas and George, sit together, pretending to do sums on a
slate; but, I am sorry to say, they are really making pictures of the
master. George says "his forehead sneaks away from his face," and on the
slate he is made to look like an idiot. But the color of his hair cannot
be painted with a white slate pencil.

"I expect every day I shall scream out 'Fire!'" whispered Silas! "Mr.
Purple's a-fire!"

In the floor stands brother Moses, with a split shingle astride his
nose, after the fashion of a modern clothes-pin. So much for eating
beechnuts in school, and peeling them for the little girls; but he and
Ozem Wiggins nod at each other wisely behind Mr. Purple's back, as much
as to say, they know what the reason is _they_ have to be punished; it
is because they are only nine years old; if they were in their teens the
master wouldn't dare! Ozem has not peeled beechnuts, but he has "called
names," and has to hold out a hard-wood poker at arm's length. If he
should curve his elbow in the least, it would get a rap from the
master's ferule.

"Class in Columbian Orator," says Mr. Purple, "take your places out in
the floor."

A dozen of the large boys and girls march forth, their shoes all
squeaking as if some of the goosequills had got into the soles.

"Observe!"

You would not understand that, but they know it means, "Make your
manners;" and the girls obey by quick little courtesies, and the boys by
stiff little bows.

Most of them say "natur" and "creetur," though duly corrected, and
Charley Noonin, Siller's nephew, says "wooled" for "would."

Next comes a class in the Art of Reading. The twins are in that.

Then Webster's Third Part, and unhappy little Patty steps out, almost
crying with chilblains, and has to be shaken because she doesn't stand
still.

After that some poor little souls try to spell out the story of
"Thrifty and Unthrifty" in Webster's shingle-covered spelling-book.

"Class in Morse's Geography.--Little lady in that front seat, be
car-ful! Come out here, Patty Lyman, and stand up by the fireplace. No
crying."

It is almost a daily habit with Master Purple to call Patty into the
floor while the geography class recites, and afterwards to give her a
small whipping, for no other reason in the world than that she cannot
stand still. William Parlin, who is a manly, large-hearted boy, pities
the poor little thing, and sometimes darkly hints that he is not going
to look on much longer and see her abused.



CHAPTER XI.

LITTLE GRANDFATHER.


But let us hear the geography class.

The pupils stay in their seats to recite, while the master walks the
floor and switches his boots. There is such a fearful uproar to-day that
he has to raise his voice as if he were speaking a ship in a storm.

"What two rivers unite to form the Ohio?"

"A pint of clover seed and a bushel of _Timothy_," replies William
Parlin, in a low voice.

"Right," returns Mr. Purple, who has not heard a word, but never
contradicts William because his father is on the committee.--"Next:
Soil of Kentucky?"

"Flat-boats and flat-irons," replies one of the twins, just loud enough
to set the boys laughing three seats before and behind him.

"Very well, _ver_-y well.--Less laughing.--What is the capital? Speak up
distinctly."

"Capital punishment," responds the other twin, cracking an acorn.

"Correct.--Next may answer, a _little_ louder: Where is Frankfort?"

And that was the way the lesson went. There had been a great deal more
noise than usual, and Mr. Purple was almost distracted, for he saw the
large boys were "in league," and he dared not call them to account.

Meanwhile active little Patty, who thought she was standing perfectly
still, studying that dreadful Ladies' Accidence, had really been
spinning about on one foot; and just then she darted forward to tear a
bit of shining bark from a white birch stick in the "ears" of the
fireplace.

"Master," cried out a mean-spirited boy on the front bench, "Patty's
pickin' gum off that ar log; I seed her."

Master Purple strode quickly across the room. He had been longing for a
whole hour to give _somebody_ a terrible whipping; and here was a good
opportunity.

Of course it was the unmanly little tell-tale he was going to punish?

No, indeed; it was Patty. He seized upon the bewildered little creature
with the greatest fury.

"Patty Lyman, what do you mean, young woman? Haven't I laid down a rule,
and how dare you disobey? It was only yesterday I feruled Ozen Wiggins
for chewing gum."

"I didn't," wailed Patty.

"What? Do you contradict me? We'll see about that! Hold out your hand,
you naughty, wicked child!"

The tone was so fierce, and the clutch on her shoulder hurt her so much,
that poor Patty screamed fearfully.

"Hold out your hand!" repeated the master.

Patty gave him her slender baby-palm, poor little creature! while Dorcas
and Mary, up in the back seats, both drew in their breaths with a
shudder.

Down came the hard-wood ferule, whizzing through the air like a thing of
life. No time then to tell Mr. Purple she _couldn't_ have picked gum off
a hard-wood stick if she had tried; he wouldn't have believed her, and
wouldn't have listened, no matter what she said.

One! two! three! Patty had never been struck like this before. The twins
looked at each other, and almost rose from their seats. Indignation
flashed from thirty pairs of eyes, but the master was too excited to see
it.

Four! five! six! Patty's little figure bent like a broken reed, when
there was a shuffling of boots in the aisle, and a voice shouted,

"Stop that, sir!"

It was William Parlin's voice. He had sent it on ahead of him, and was
following after it as fast as he could.

"Let that child alone, Master Purple."

[Illustration: LITTLE GRANDFATHER SPEAKS.--Page 138.]

Master Purple was so utterly surprised and confounded that he stood
stock still, with his ferule high in the air.

In another minute William was at his side.

"Do you mean to let go that little girl's hand, sir?"

Master Purple stood and glared.

"She's taken her last ruling, sir. I won't look on and see such small
children abused, sir. If the committee can't make a fuss about it, I
will."

You might have heard a pin drop. The whole school held its breath in
surprise. Master Purple, not knowing what he did, dropped Patty's hand,
and the sobbing child tried to go to her seat; but, blinded with tears,
and pain and fright, she mistook the way, and staggered along to the
fireplace.

"Poor little thing, don't cry!" said William, lowering his voice to the
gentlest tone; and taking her in his arms he carried her up to the back
seat, and set her in Dorcas's lap.

It was an action which Patty never forgot. From that moment she loved
dear William Parlin with all her little heart.

"O, William, do be careful," said Dorcas; for by that time Master Purple
had come to his senses, and was rushing towards William, brandishing
that heavy ruler.

But William was too quick for him. Before Master Purple could reach the
back seat, the boy ran across the benches between the heads of the
frightened children, and seizing the monstrous tongs, tossed them like a
feather, exclaiming,

"Stand off, sir!"

What could Mr. Purple do? He was angry enough to tear William in
pieces; but it was not so easy to get at a boy who was armed with a
pair of tongs.

"How dare you?" he cried, choking with rage; "how dare you, young man?
Are the boys in this school willing to look on and see their teacher
insulted?"

The boys did seem to be willing. Mr. Purple glanced about the room,
hoping some one would come to his aid; but no one came. They were all
against him, and full of admiration for William, though none of them
would have dared to take William's place.

The little boys liked the excitement, but the little girls thought this
was the end of the world, and began to cry.

"Is this the treatment I am to receive from my school?" exclaimed Master
Purple, in despair.

The like had never been heard of in the town of Perseverance that a
school should rise against its teacher.

"I am going straight to your father to inform him of your conduct," he
stammered, his face white with wrath.

And seizing his hat, he rushed out of the house, without stopping for
his cloak.

I will not try to describe the uproar which followed. I will only say
that William Parlin was afterwards reproved by his father for his rash
conduct, but not so severely as some people thought he should have been.
Mr. Purple's red head was never seen in that school-house again. Another
teacher came to take his place, who was a Christian gentleman, and
treated the little children like human beings.

No one was more glad of the change than Patty Lyman. The new master came
to town before her tender palm was quite healed from the cruel blows;
and she was the first to see him. But the meeting happened in such a
queer way, that I shall have to tell you about it.



CHAPTER XII.

THE LITTLE DIPPER.


"Well, mother," said Squire Lyman, one afternoon, "the new teacher has
got along, and by the looks of him I don't believe he is the man to
abuse our little girl. Patty, dear, open the cellar door for papa."

Mr. Lyman's arms were full of hemlock, which he had brought home from
the woods. Betsy liked it for brooms, and he and his hired men always
got quantities of it when they were hauling the winter's wood from the
wood lot.

"Yes, I know the Starbird family very well," replied Mrs. Lyman; "that
is, I used to know this young man's mother, and I presume he is quite
different from Mr. Purple."

Mrs. Lyman was sitting before the kitchen fire with the great family
Bible in her lap; but, instead of reading it, she was winding round it
some white soft wicking.

"Why, mamma, mamma, what are you doing?" exclaimed Patty. "How can papa
read to-night with the Bible all tied up?"

"I shan't hurt the good book, my dear." And as Mrs. Lyman spoke she cut
the wicking in two with the shears, and as it fell apart it let out the
precious volume just as good as ever. Then she took from the table some
slender sticks, and put on each stick twelve pieces of wicking, giving
each piece a little twist with her fingers.

"O, now I know," said Moses, who was watching too; "you're a goin' to
make candles--going to dip those strings in a kettle of something hot.
Yes, I know."

"Yes, and there's the kettle," said Patty.

Mrs. Lyman was very late this year about her candles. She dipped them
once a year, and always in the afternoon and evening, because there was
so much, so very much going on in that kitchen in the morning.

"Now, please, mamma," said Patty, "let me help."

Mrs. Lyman tipped two chairs face downward towards the floor,--"Like
folks trying to creep," said Patty,--and laid two long sticks from one
chair to the other, making a very good fence. Next she set the candle
rods across the fence, more than a hundred of them in straight rows.

"James," called she, going to the door; and while James was coming she
laid a large plank on the floor right under the candle rods.

"That's to catch the drippings," said the learned Moses; and he was
right.

Squire Lyman and James came in and lifted the heavy brass kettle from
the crane, and placed it on a board just in front of the brick hearth,
not far from the creeping chairs; and then Mrs. Lyman sat down to dip
candles.

In the first place, when she put the pieces of wicking into the kettle
of hot tallow and took them out again, they looked like greasy strings,
and nothing else. One after another she dipped them in and drew them
out, dipped them in and drew them out, and set them carefully back in
their places across the fence.

Patty and Moses looked on with great Interest.

"How slow they are!" said Moses. "I've kept count, and you've dipped
more'n a hundred sticks, and you haven't made one candle yet."

"Rome wasn't built in a day," said Mrs. Lyman, going back to the very
beginning, and dipping the first row over again.

"I don't know what Rome is," said Patty.

"Well, I wouldn't fuss with those strings," observed Moses; "why, this
makes twice, and they're no bigger round yet than slate pencils."

"I'd let 'em alone," said Patty, "and not try."

"Moses, you might as well run off and see if father wants you," said
Mrs. Lyman; "and, Patience, I know Dorcas would like some cloves
pounded."

In about an hour Patty was back again. The candles had grown, but only a
very little. They were no larger yet than _lead_ pencils. And there sat
Mrs. Lyman with a steady, sober look on her face, as if she had made up
her mind to wait and let them take their time to grow.

"What slow candles!" cried Patty.

"Patience, dear," said Mrs. Lyman, smiling.

"There, mamma, you said Patience, but you didn't mean me; you meant the
_good_ kind of patience."

"Yes, I meant the patience that works and waits. Now go and wash some
potatoes for to-morrow's breakfast, and then you may come again and
look."

"When Patty came the second time, she exclaimed, with delight,

"O, mamma, they're as big round as candy! Wish _'twas_ candy; wouldn't I
eat?"

Mrs. Lyman began again at the first row.

"Why, mamma Lyman, true's you live I can begin to see 'em grow!"

"You are right," said her mother. "People don't work and wait, all for
nothing, daughter."

"Yankee Doodle came to town," sang Patty, dancing the time to the tune,
as if she did not hear her mother's words. But she did hear them, and
was putting them away in her memory, along with a thousand other things
which had been said to her, and which she had not seemed to hear at the
time.

I wish Mrs. Lyman could have known this, for she sometimes thought it
was of no use to talk to Patty. I wish she could have known that years
afterwards the dancing child would be comforted in many a trouble by
these cheery words, "People don't work and wait for nothing, daughter."
For you see it all came back to Patty when she was a woman. She saw a
picture of her good mother dipping candles, with a steady, sober look on
her face; and that picture always did her good.

I wonder if the little folks, even in these days, don't hear and heed
more than they appear to? If so, their mammas ought to believe it, and
take courage.

"Mother, why do you pour hot water into that kettle? Won't water _put
out_ candles?"

"Perhaps not; perhaps it will make the tallow rise to the top," said
Mrs. Lyman, laughing.

"O, so it does. Isn't it _such_ fun to dip candles? They grow as fast as
you can wink. Mayn't I dip, please, mamma?"

"Who was it," replied Mrs. Lyman, with a quiet smile, "that said, 'I'd
let 'em alone, and not try?'"

"O, but, mamma, that was when they didn't grow, you know."

"Well, dear, I'll let you dip in a rod by and by; I can't stop now."

Patty waited, but the "by and by" did not come. Mrs. Lyman seemed to
have forgotten her promise; and about eight o'clock had to leave the
candles a few minutes to give Dorcas some advice about the fitting of a
dress. Dorcas was to take her mother's place; but just as she started
for the kitchen, there was an outcry from Mary, who had cut her finger,
and wanted it bound up.

"It's my by-and-by _now_," thought little Patty.

There was not a soul in the kitchen to attend to those candles. Deary
me, and the tallow growing so cold! Wasn't it Patty's duty to help?

Of course it was; and seating her little self with much dignity in the
chair from which her mother had just risen, and propping her feet on the
round, she took up the business where it was left off. It seemed the
easiest thing in the world to flash those round white candles into the
kettle and out again; but they were a great deal heavier than she had
supposed. After she had dipped two or three rods her arm felt very
tired. How could mamma do it so fast, without stopping one bit?

A bright thought seized Patty, as bright as all those dozen-dozen
candles burning in a row.

"Guess I'll dip 'em slow; then there'll be more tallow stick on."

Strange mamma hadn't thought of that herself; but mammas can't think of
everything, they have so much to do. Patty swayed a rod full of candles
from side to side in the kettle, not perceiving that they were melting
to their heart's cores. When she took them out they dripped great tears,
and as she held them up, wondering why they hadn't grown any, the
kitchen door opened, and some one walked in.

Who it was Patty could not see, for her face was turned away; but what
if it should be brother James, and he should call out,

"Well, Snippet, up to mischief, hey?"

The very thought of such a speech frightened her so that she set her row
of candles across the chairs in great haste, hitting them against
another row, where they stuck fast.

"Good evening, miss," said a strange voice.

Patty turned her head, and there, instead of James, stood a handsome
young gentleman she had never seen before. She knew at once it must be
the new teacher.

The first thing she did was to seize a row of candles, hit or miss, and
dashed them into the kettle.

"Beg pardon. I'm afraid I've come to the wrong door," said the stranger,
bowing very low, and trying his best not to smile.

"O, no, sir; yes, sir; thank you," replied bewildered Patty, almost
plunging head first into the kettle. But instead of that she suddenly
straightened up, and popped in another row of candles.

Mr. Starbird was so amused by the little creature's quick and
kitten-like motions that he stood still and watched her. He thought he
had never seen so funny a sight before.

"He smiles just as _cheerfully_," mused Miss Patty, with an airy toss of
the head. "Guess he thinks I'm smart! Guess he thinks he'll put me in
the C'lumby Norter [Columbian Orator] first thing _he_ does! Big girl
like this, sitting up so straight, working like a woman!"

With that she rocked forward, and nearly lost her balance; but no harm
was done; she only pushed the kettle half way off the board.

The gentleman thought it was about time to interfere, and let some of
the family know what the child was doing.

"Will you please point the way to the parlor, little miss?" said he,
with a bewitching smile.

Patty slid from her seat, and, in her confusion, was aiming straight for
the cellar door, when, alas! alas! one of her feet got caught in the
rounds of the chair, and she tumbled out headlong. In trying to save
herself, she put forth both hands, and struck against the kettle, which
was already tipsy, and of course turned over.

It was a critical moment. Mr. Starbird saw the kettle coming, and had
the presence of mind to spring the other way. A flood of hot water and
tallow was pouring over the floor, and little Patty screaming lustily.

Mr. Starbird thought she was scalding to death, and instead of taking
care of himself, turned about to save her. But before he could reach
her, she had darted through the bar-room door and disappeared--without
so much as a blotch of tallow on her shoes.

Gallant Mr. Starbird did not get off so well. His foot slipped on the
oily floor, and down he fell. Before he could get up the whole household
had come to the rescue, Rachel and John bringing tin dippers, and Mrs.
Lyman a mop; but Dorcas a roll of linen, for she knew the stranger must
be scalded.

He tried to make the best of it, poor man; and while Dorcas was doing up
both his blistered hands, he smiled on her almost as "cheerfully" as he
had smiled on the little candle-dipper. He found it very pleasant to
look at Dorcas. Everybody liked to look at her. She had a rare, sweet
face, as delicate as a white snowdrop just touched with pink, and she
did know how to do up sore fingers beautifully; she had practised it on
every one of the children.

Patty was so sorry and ashamed that she crept to bed in the dark, and
cried herself to sleep.

The next morning that unpainted kitchen floor was a sight to behold, and
Rachel said she did not think it would ever come clean again.

"See what I found in the kettle," said she.

Two rows of little withered candles, all worn out, and crooked besides.

"Did I do that too?" said Patty.

"I should think you did. What mischief will you be up to next?" said
Rachel, sharply.

"But, but, mamma _said_ I might dip."

"Why, yes, so I did," said the much-enduring mother, suddenly
remembering her own words. "Well, well, Rachel, we won't be too hard on
Patience. I'll warrant she'll never try this caper again."



CHAPTER XIII.

MR. STARBIRD'S DREAM.


Mr. Starbird began the school with his hands in mittens; but for all
that he governed the big boys without the least effort. His blisters
were so troublesome that he had to go to Squire Lyman's every day to
have them done up, and in that way Patty grew very well acquainted with
him. Before spring the whole family felt as if they had always known
him, and Mrs. Lyman called him Frank, because she and his mother had
been "girls together." Dorcas did not call him Frank, but they were
remarkably good friends.

After the winter school was done, Mr. Starbird still staid at
Perseverance, studying law with Mr. Chase, and boarding at Squire
Lyman's. He was a very funny man, always saying and doing strange
things; and that brings me round at last to Patty's dollar.

One evening Patty was so tired with picking up chips that she went and
threw herself into her mother's arms, saying, "Why don't the boys stick
the axe clear through the wood, mamma; then there wouldn't be chips to
bother folks."

For a wonder Mrs. Lyman was sitting down without any work in her hands,
and could stop to stroke Patty's hair and kiss her "lips like snips of
scarlet," which made the little girl happier than anything else in the
world. Mr. Starbird sat in a large armchair, holding a skein of yarn for
Dorcas, who sat in a small rocking-chair, winding it.

"Mrs. Lyman," said Mr. Starbird, "do you believe in dreams?"

"Indeed, I do not," replied Mrs. Lyman. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, I don't believe in them myself any more than you do, Mrs. Lyman.
But I did have such a very singular dream last night!"

"Do tell us what it was," said Dorcas.

"Certainly, if you like," said Mr. Starbird; "but I--but I don't know
about it; is it best to speak of such things before Patty?"

"Yes, you must, Mr. Starbird," cried Patty, springing up eagerly. "_I_
won't tell anybody, long's I live."

Mr. Starbird laughed.

"Well, in the first place, Mrs. Lyman, let me ask you if you lost any
money ever so long ago?"

"Yes, I lost a twenty-dollar gold piece last summer."

"Yes; and me, too. I had a silver dollar, 'n' I lost it," cried Patty.

"How strange!" said Mr. Starbird. "So my dream does have some sense in
it. Excuse me, Mrs. Lyman; but will you tell me where you kept the
money?"

"In my black silk pocket; but the pocket went too."

"And I suppose you have hunted everywhere for it."

"Of course we have," said Dorcas. "I guess you'd think so, Mr. Starbird;
why, we've turned this house upside down."

"To be sure. Well, I'd like to ask another question, Mrs. Lyman. Did you
ever think that woman that is about here so much--Siller Noonin, I
believe they call her--could have taken the money?"

"O, no, indeed, Francis; we consider Priscilla an honest woman."

"That was not what I meant to say, Mrs. Lyman. What I was going to ask
was this: Wasn't there a funny old man here at the time you lost the
money? and didn't Siller Noonin say that either he stole the money or
she did?"

Mrs. Lyman looked surprised.

"Yes; there was a little old man at the house in haying-time, and I
believe Priscilla did say she thought--"

"Yes, mother," broke in Dorcas; "and he was sitting out on the fence
when she said it, and we were afraid he heard; but how did you know
that, Mr. Starbird? It didn't come to you in your dream?"

"Ah, Miss Dorcas, you are beginning to be curious; but when I go on to
tell you more, you will open your eyes wider yet. I never saw that
little old man, Mrs. Lyman, and never heard you speak of him; but I
dreamed I was husking corn in your barn, and a man about as tall as your
Mary--"

Just then Mary, and Moses, and George, and Silas, and John, and Rachel
came into the room, followed by William Parlin; and Mr. Starbird had to
begin at the beginning and tell as far as this all over again.

"A man as tall, perhaps, as Mary, with hair the color of pumpkin and
milk, limped up to me--"

"Why, mother, why, Rachel, his hair _was_ all yellow and white," said
Moses.

"Well, so I said," pursued Mr. Starbird. "And there were red rings round
his eyes, and he had a turn-up nose, and hands all covered with warts."

"Mr. Starbird, you must have seen Israel Crossman," said Mrs. Lyman, who
had stopped rocking in her surprise.

"Israel Crossman! That was the very name he spoke as he limped into the
barn. I declare, Mrs. Lyman, this is growing more and more mysterious;
but I never saw Israel Crossman; I give you my word."

"How very strange!" said Dorcas; "but do make haste and finish, for I am
getting all of a tremble."

"Me, too," cried Patty, clinging close to her mother's neck.

"Well, the old man sidled along to me, and said he,--

"'I'm Isr'el Crossman; and look here: me and Squire Lyman's two hired
men and (I've forgotten the other name) got in hay into this ere barn
last summer. Squire Lyman's folks used me well; but there's one thing
that's laid heavy on my mind. Mrs. Lyman lost a gold piece while I was
here--'"

"Yes, and me a silver dollar," cried Patty.

"'And it distressed me bad,' said Israel, 'for Siller Noonin up and said
that either she stole it, or I did. But it's come to me lately,' said
Israel, 'what must have 'come of that money! I never took it; bless you,
I never stole a pin! But I see that little Patty to play out in the barn
with one of her rag babies.'"

"O, I never," exclaimed Patty.

"Don't interrupt," whispered one of the twins, deeply interested.

"You know I am only telling a silly dream, my dear," said Mr. Starbird.
"This little man said he saw Patty playing on the scaffold before the
hay was got into the barn, and she had something round her doll's neck
that looked like a pocket. He didn't know any more than that; but he
'sort of mistrusted' that she might have left the doll on the scaffold,
and the men might have pitched hay right on top of it."

"Sure enough," exclaimed Dorcas, with a nervous laugh; "who knows but
she did?"

"Have you lost a doll, Patty?" asked William Parlin.

"No; I never."

"O, she doesn't know when she loses dolls," said Rachel; "she always
keeps more than a dozen or so on hand."

"Well, I was going to say," continued Mr. Starbird, "you could easily
find out whether there was any meaning to my dream. If there _is_ a doll
up there on the scaffold, the hay is getting so low you could scrape
round and find it."

"That's so," cried the twins.

"Not that it's really worth while, either," added Mr. Starbird; "for, as
I said, it was only--"

"But there isn't the least harm in going out to see," said Mary and the
twins, and William Parlin, all in a breath, as they started on a run for
the barn. Patty slipped down from her mother's arms and followed.

"Me! Me! Let me go first," she cried. And before any one else could do
it, her swift little feet were mounting the ladder, and next minute
tripping over the scaffold.

"O, look! O, catch! Here it is! Here is my dolly all up in the corner,
and here's a pocket round her neck!"

Dorcas, who was always rather nervous, sat on the barn floor and laughed
and cried herself into such a state that Mr. Starbird had to give her
his arm to help her back to the house.

There was a great time, you may be sure, when Patty shook the pocket
before everybody's eyes, and James rang the twenty-dollar piece on the
brick hearth to make sure it was good gold. Dorcas was so excited that
pink spots came in both her cheeks, and even James did not know what to
think. Betsey Gould started right off to Dr. Potter's, where Siller
Noonin happened to be, to tell Siller the story. Dorcas kept having
little spasms of laughing and crying, and the whole household had rather
a frightened look; for it was the most marvellous dream they ever heard
of.

"Well, mother, what do you think now of dreams?" said Moses. "Guess
you'll have to give it up."

Mrs. Lyman had been in her bedroom to put the gold piece into her
drawer, and she now came back and took up her stocking-basket, as if
nothing had happened.

"I will tell you to-morrow what I think of dreams, Moses.--Hush, Patty,
I am afraid we shall be sorry you found your dollar, if it makes you so
noisy."

Mr. Starbird went up to the table where Mrs. Lyman sat, pretending to be
looking for the shears, but really to get a peep at the lady's eyes. At
any rate, he did not go away till he had made her look at him, and then
they both smiled, and Mrs. Lyman said, in a very low voice,--

"Francis, you have kept up the joke long enough."

Frank nodded and went back to the settle.

"James," said he, "you are the wise one of the family; I wish you would
tell me how you account for my dream."

"Can't account for it," said James, shaking his head; "don't pretend
to."

"Well, then, if you can't," returned Mr. Starbird, looking very
innocent, "perhaps you can tell me what day of the month it is?"

There was a general uproar then.

"Have you been making fools of us, Frank Starbird?" cried James and
Rachel, seizing him, one by the hair, the other by the ears.

"April Fools! April Fools!" exclaimed all the children together,--all
except Dorcas.

"It's the best fool I ever heard of," said William Parlin; "but how did
you do it, sir?"

"Yes, explain yourself," said James and Rachel. "Was mother in the
secret?"

"No; but Dorcas was. Let go my hair, James, and I'll speak.--Fact is, I
happened to find that rag baby out there on the scaffold this afternoon
with that pocket on its neck, and so I dreamed a dream to suit myself."

"Yes," said Dorcas; "and I told him just how Israel Crossman looked, and
all about Siller Noonin, and didn't he say it off like a book?"

"Wasn't it a dream, then?" asked little Patty.

"No, dear; it was only nonsense."

"Well, then, I didn't put my dolly out there,--did I?"

"Yes, of course you did," said her mother; "only you have forgotten it."

But Patty looked puzzled. She could not recollect that ever so long ago,
the day the beggar girl came to the house, she had cured Polly Dolly
Adaline's sore throat with her mother's quilted pocket, and then had
carried the sick dolly out to the barn, "so she could get well faster
where there wasn't any noise."

No, Patty could not recollect this, and the whole thing was a mystery to
her.

"Children," said Mrs. Lyman, looking up from her stockings, as soon as
there was a chance to speak, "I have one word to say on this subject:
whenever you hear of signs and wonders, don't believe in them till
you've sifted them to the bottom. And when you've done that, mark my
words, you'll find there's no more substance to them than there is to
Francis Starbird's April Fool Dream."

"True," said Rachel and James; and then, as half a dozen of the younger
ones had gone out, they had a quiet talk, five or six of them, round the
fire, and Patty went to sleep sitting on Mr. Starbird's knee.



CHAPTER XIV.

SPINNING.


So Patty had her dollar back; and now what to do with it was the
question. She thought of a great many things to buy, but always grew
tired of them before she had fairly made up her mind.

At last she went to her mother, and said, "Mamma, I'm only a little
girl, and don't know much; won't you please tell me what to get?"

"Do you really wish me to decide for you, my dear? And will you be
satisfied with my choice?"

"Yes, mamma, I truly will be satisfied. But--but--you don't want to
give my dollar to the heathens--do you? It's all clear silver, and I
s'pect _coppers_ just as good for those heathens, mamma."

"What makes you think copper is just as good, my child?"

"Because that's what people put into the box; and when they put any
silver in, it's in little bits of pieces. I don't s'pect the heathens
know the difference."

Mrs. Lyman smiled, though at the same time she was sorry to think how
selfish people are, and how little they are willing to give away.

"Let me ask you a question, dear. How would you like to have me carry
this dollar to Mrs. Chase and Mrs. Potter, and tell them my little girl
sent it for them to give to some poor child?"

Patty looked up in surprise.

"If you are going to give it to a poor child, mamma, can't you do it
'thout telling folks?"

"Yes, I could. I didn't know, though, but you'd like to have Mrs. Potter
and Mrs. Chase hear of it."

A pink blush crept over Patty's face, and away up to the top of her
forehead.

"O, mamma, I don't! I don't!"

"Well, I believe you, my dear. You have seen a little of the folly of
trying to show off. And that reminds me--Yes, I have a very good idea;
and when your papa goes to Augusta next week, I will send your dollar,
and have him buy you something you can always keep."

Patty liked the sound of that, and when her father came home from
Augusta with a little round trunk in his hands, she could hardly wait
for him to get into the house. He had brought her a little red Bible,
with clasp covers. It was the first whole Bible she had ever owned. She
was much pleased, and has kept the little book all these years, though
its beauty is quite gone by this time. It is very precious to her,
because these words are on one of the fly-leaves in her dear mother's
own writing: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen
of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

Time passed on, and on, and on. Patty's wrists grew so strong that she
was trusted to milk a small red cow, though she must still have been
quite a little girl, for she could not remember which was the cow's
right side, and had to mark her bag with a piece of chalk. Very soon she
had two cows to milk, just as Mary and Moses had; and Moses, who was an
early bird, used to wake her from a sound sleep by calling out, "Come,
come, Patty! Dr. Chase's cows are out! Mary and I have milked! Up, up,
Patty! Why don't you start?"

Patty thought it was very hard to be called so early in the morning.
What did she care for Dr. Chase's cows? She was tired of hearing Moses
talk about them. Poor little creature! She always ran down stairs,
rubbing her eyes, and her mother comforted her by saying,--

"Never mind it. After you have milked your cows and turned them out, you
may go to bed again, my dear, and have another nap."

Patty always thought she would do it; but after the work was done, she
was no longer sleepy, and did not wish to go to bed.

When she was ten years old, she learned to spin cotton. Her mother
first carded it into rolls, and then Patty "roped" it, and spun it on a
wheel; but the spindle was so high up that she was obliged to have a
board to walk back and forth upon. She liked it as well as any other
work, for she had a "knack" at spinning; but the older she grew, the
less time she had for play. Her mother, though very kind to her
children, did not seem to think it made much difference whether they
played or not. She never praised Patty; but once the little girl
overheard her telling some ladies that her youngest daughter was a
"natural worker," and "the smartest child she had." Of course that
pleased Patty very much, and afterwards she was brisker than ever.

Her stint was three skeins of cotton a day; and sometimes, when she was
spinning it, Linda Chase would come up in the chamber and look on.
Linda could not draw a thread without pulling the cotton all to pieces,
and it amazed her to see Patty's spindle whirl so fast; for it went at a
wonderful rate, especially when any one was looking on.

"I'm spinning warp for my new gown," said Patty; "and Rachel is going to
weave it."

"What color will it be?"

"Blue and copperas, in little checks," replied Patty.

Linda knew what copperas color was,--it was a dull yellow.

"'Twill only be for me to go to school in," explained Patty. "I shall
have it for my _not-very-best_. By and by I'm going to learn how to spin
linen on that little flax-wheel, and Rachel will weave me some
table-cloths, and sheets, and pillow-cases, just as she does for
Dorcas. Guess why she weaves them for Dorcas."

"I'm sure I can't guess. Because she wants to, I suppose."

"Look here--it's a secret. Dorcas is going to be married by and by, and
that is the reason Mr. Starbird comes here on that white-faced horse. He
doesn't come to see the rest of us; he comes to see Dorcas."

Patty stopped her wheel in her eagerness.

"Yes; and you know, when I was a little speck of a girl, I spilled some
hot tallow over, and burnt his hand; and he says that is the reason he
is going to marry Dorcas."

"What! because you burnt his hand?"

"Yes. I don't see why that made him like Dorcas," said Patty,
reflectively; "but that's what he said. And then I shall have eight
brothers; won't it be nice?"

"Does Betsey Potter know?"

"Yes. I told her."

"Well, I should have thought you might have told me first," said Linda,
pouting. "I don't like it very well to have you tell me last."

"O, I told Betsey first because she came first. I never heard of it
myself till this morning," said Patty, innocently.

She was never known to keep a secret twenty-four hours.

The idea of a wedding in the family was perfectly delightful to the
little girl, and after this she used to watch for Mr. Starbird every
third week, just as regularly as Dorcas did, and was almost as much
pleased when she saw him coming on his white-faced horse.

It was so nice to think of having more brothers; for as yet poor Patty
had only seven!



CHAPTER XV.

THE BRASS KETTLE.


There was a great time that year preparing for Thanksgiving. It seemed
as if the tall clock had never ticked so fast before, nor the full moon
smiled down from the top of it with such a jolly face.

"It's going to be what you may call a sort of a double Thanksgiving,"
said Moses.

"Why?" asked Patty. "Because there'll be double turkeys and double
puddings?"

"No, Patty Lyman! Don't you remember what's going to happen before
dinner?"

"O, you mean the wedding! I knew that ever so long ago."

Patty had heard of it the day before.

"Equal to Fourth of July and training-day put together," remarked Moses,
snatching a handful of raisins out of the bowl Mary held in her lap.

"Yes," said Patty, leaving off her spice-pounding long enough to clap
her hands; "it's splendid!"

"I don't see how you can say so," said the thoughtful Mary, "when our
dear sister Dorcas is going 'way off, and never'll live at home any
more!"

"Yes, I know it," responded Patty, looking as serious as she could, for
Mary was wiping her eyes on her apron. "It's dreadful! O, how bad I
feel!"

The kitchen was so full you could hardly turn around. Everybody was
there but Dorcas, and she was finishing off her wedding-dress. Mrs.
Lyman was stuffing two large turkeys; Betsey was making brown bread;
Moses chopping mince-meat; and those who had nothing else to do were
talking. Aunt Hannah was there, helping Rachel make the wedding-cake;
but the trouble was with aunt Hannah that she couldn't come without
bringing her baby; and there he was, rolling about the floor like a soft
bundle of yellow flannel--a nice, fat baby, with a ruffled cap on his
head. He was named Job, after his father, who had borne that name
through a long life, and been very patient about it.

"Now, Patty," said Rachel, "I see you've stopped pounding cloves, and I
wish you'd take care of this baby; he is rolling up towards the molasses
jug, and will tip it over next thing he does."

Patty had only stopped pounding for half a minute. It seemed to her that
her right hand always had a mortar-pestle in it. She ran now to get
some playthings for Job--a string of earthen-ware beads, and a pewter
plate to hold them when he should break the string; and a squash-shell,
filled with peas,--just as good as a rattle, let me tell you. Then she
sat on the floor, making baby-talk with the little creature, who has
since that been somebody's grandfather.

Patty always meant well, and now she was really able to help a great
deal. At ten years old she was quite a tall girl, though what the
country-folks called rather "slim." Her dress was made of thick cotton
and woollen goods, all rough with little knobs,--the same Rachel had
woven in "blue and copperas checks."

Patty soon tired of amusing Job. She wanted to do something of more
importance.

"I should think I might chop mince-meat instead of you, Moses. There,
now, you're getting it so fine 'twill be poison."

Aunt Hannah heard that and laughed.

"That child takes everything in earnest," said she. "I told Moses if he
got the mince-meat _too_ fine, 'twould be poisonous; but I never saw any
mince-meat that _was_ too fine--did you, Rachel?"

"Mary," said Mrs. Lyman, "if you please, you may poke up the coals now.
George, you'll have to move round, and let her get to the oven."

"I'll attend to it myself," said George, rising from his chair, at one
end of the big fireplace, and stirring the glowing coals in the brick
oven with the hard-wood "poking-stick."

"Now, if you'll all keep still," said James, "I'll read you something
from the newspaper."

Moses dropped his chopping-knife, Mary looked frightened, and Patty
stopped shaking the squash-shell. They knew it would never do to make a
noise while James was reading.

"My son, my son," pleaded Mrs. Lyman, turning round from her turkey, and
shaking her darning-needle at him, "you wouldn't try to read in all this
confusion? Wait till we get a little over our hurry. Go to the
end-cupboard, and fetch me a couple of good, stout strings; I want these
turkeys all ready to tie on the nails."

She was going to roast them before the fire. That was the way they
cooked turkeys in old times.

"And, Betsey," said Mrs. Lyman, "you may as well go to work on the
doughnuts. Make half a bushel or more."

"What about the _riz_ bread?" said Betsey.

"I should think a dozen loaves would be enough," replied Mrs. Lyman, who
was now beginning to make a suet pudding.

You see they meant to have plenty of food, for beside their own large
family, they expected twenty or thirty guests to dinner day after
to-morrow.

"O, mother!" exclaimed Mary, "I'm afraid you're not making that pudding
thick enough. Siller Noonin says the pudding-stick ought to stand
alone."

"Priscilla is thinking of the old Connecticut Blue Laws about mush,"
replied Mrs. Lyman, smiling; "we don't mind the blue laws up here in
Maine. And this isn't mush, either; it's suet pudding.--Solomon, my son,
you may go into the shed-chamber, and bring me a bag of hops; we must
have some beer starting."

Betsey swung the frying-kettle on the crane, and had just turned away,
when the baby crept up, and tipped over sick George's basin of
pussy-willow and cider, which was steeping in one corner of the
fireplace. There was no harm done, only Job lost his patience, and
cried, and for five minutes there was a perfect Bedlam of baby-screams,
chopping-knives, and mortar-pestles, and in the midst of it, the sound
of the hired men winnowing grain in the barn.

But there could hardly be too much noise for Patty. I presume she was
never happier in her life than on the Monday and Tuesday before
Thanksgiving; but Wednesday came, and it rained in torrents.

"Will they be married if it doesn't clear off?" said she.

"You do ask the funniest questions," replied Rachel. "Just as if Mr.
Starbird would stay away from his own wedding on account of the
weather!"

It rained all night; but Thursday morning the sun came rushing through
the clouds, his face all aglow with smiles, and put an end to such
dismal business. Patty looked out of the window, and watched the clouds
scampering away to hide, and whispered in her heart to the little birds
that were left in the maple trees,--

"How kind God is to give us a good wedding-day!"

About ten o'clock the guests began to come, and among the first was Mr.
Starbird. Patty had never seen him look so fine as he did when he stood
up with her dear sister Dorcas to be married. He wore a blue coat, and a
beautiful ruffled shirt, and his shoe-buckles--so Moses said--were of
solid silver. Why he needed gloves in the house, Patty could not
imagine; but there they were on his hands,--white kids at that.

Dorcas was quite as fine as the bridegroom. She had no veil, but her
high-topped comb sat on her head like a crown, and there was a
wonderfully rich stomacher of embroidered lace in the neck of her dress.
Such a dress! It shimmered in the sun like a dove's wings, for it was of
changeable silk, the costliest affair, Patty thought, that a bride ever
wore. It was fastened at the back like a little girl's frock, and the
waist was no longer than the waist of a baby's slip.

Patty took great pride in looking at her beautiful sister, from the top
of her shell comb to the tips of her white slippers, which were just the
size of Patty's own.

The ceremony was as long as a common sermon; and it would have been
longer yet, if Elder Lovejoy had been there to perform it. He was sick,
and this man, who came in his place, did not speak in a sing-song tone;
Patty was not sure it was quite right to do without that. He was young
and diffident. Patty knew he trembled, for she could see his coat-flaps
shake; and she can see them shake now, every time she thinks of the
wedding.

There is something else she can see; and, as I don't believe you ever
heard of such a thing, I must tell you.

After the dinner of turkeys, roast beef, mince pies, apple pies, pumpkin
pies, plum and suet pudding, doughnuts, cheese, and every other good
thing you can think of, the children went into the back room for a
frolic. There were aunt Hannah's three oldest girls, and uncle Joshua's
four big boys, William Parlin and his sister Love, and a few more.

While they were there, just beginning a game of blindfold, the bride
came out in her travelling-dress, with her young husband, to say good
by. Mary fell to crying, the twins had tears in their eyes, and it would
have been a very sober time, if Rachel had not called out, in her brisk
way,--

"All step round to the sides of the room, and let me have the middle!"

People always minded Rachel; so she had the floor at once, though no one
could think what she meant to do, when she brought along a big brass
kettle, the very one in which Patty had dipped those unfortunate
candles, and set it upon a board, in the middle of the floor.

"Now, my friends," said she, courtesying, "you all know I am the oldest
daughter, and it isn't fair that my younger sister should be married
before I am; do you think it is?"

"No, no; not at all," said uncle Joshua's four boys, laughing.

"And I don't see," added Rachel, with another courtesy,--"I don't see
how Mr. Starbird happened to make such a strange mistake as to choose
Dorcas instead of me!"

"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Starbird, bowing very low, "I never'll do
so again."

"But since the deed is done," said Rachel, "and cannot be undone, I
shall be obliged to dance in the brass kettle. That's what ladies do
whose younger sisters are married first."

Then, with quite a sober face, she mounted a wooden cricket, stepped
into the kettle, and began to dance.

There was not room to take many steps; but she balanced herself very
gracefully, and sung, keeping time with her feet.

Rachel was one of the brightest, wittiest young ladies in Perseverance,
and this performance of hers amused the bride and bridegroom, and
everybody else but little Patty. Patty took it all in earnest. She had
never heard before of the funny ceremony of dancing in a brass kettle,
and wondered if it had anything to do with those candles of hers.

"Mr. Starbird likes Dorcas better than he does Rachel," thought the
little girl, "and that was why he asked her to marry him. I should think
Rachel might know that! She says he made a mistake; but he didn't! If
Rachel feels so bad, I shouldn't think she would tell of it. Poor Mr.
Starbird! He'll be so sorry! and Dorcas will be so sorry! O, I wish
Rachel hadn't told--"

"Why, Patty, what makes you look so sober?" asked William Parlin. "You
look as if Master Purple had been feruling you."

But Patty was ashamed to let any one know the trouble in her mind; and
after the bride and bridegroom had gone, she ran away by herself to cry;
and that is all she remembers of the wedding.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Is it really grandma Parlin you have been writing about?" says Prudy.

"It doesn't seem much like it; for here she sits, with her cap and
spectacles on, knitting a stocking. Please take off your cap, grandma,
so we can think how you looked when you were a little girl."

Mrs. Parlin took it off, but it didn't make any difference, for her hair
was grayer still without the lace.

"That isn't the way, children," said aunt Madge; "you'll have to
imagine how she looked; or, as Fly would say, you must make believe.
Touch her hair with gold. There, see how it shines! Take off those
spectacles; smooth out the wrinkles; make her face as soft as a
rose-leaf, as soft as your face, Fly; dwindle her figure down, down,
till she looks about ten years old. Now do you see her? Isn't she
pretty? How the sparkles come and go in her eyes! Wouldn't you like to
have a romp with her in the new-mown hay? For she hasn't any more
rheumatism in her back than a butterfly. Her feet are dancing this
minute in pink kid slippers with rosettes on them as big as poppies, and
she wears a white muslinet gown, with a pink calico petticoat. Wasn't
that the way she was dressed at the wedding, father Parlin?"

"How should I know?" replies grandpa. "I don't remember what she had
on; but she was the spryest, prettiest little girl in town; and she
hasn't a child--no, nor a grandchild either--that begins to be equal to
her."

"Except Flyaway," cries Prudy; "you forget that Flyaway is just like
her!"

       *       *       *       *       *

This is not a bad place to leave our friends. I did intend to tell about
another member of the circle; but I believe I will not, for I may put
him into another story; that is, if you would like to hear about William
Parlin,--I wonder if you would?--in a book we will call "LITTLE
GRANDFATHER."





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