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Title: St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, V. 5, Nov 1877-Nov 1878 - Scribner's Illustrated
Author: Various
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 "St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, V. 5, Nov 1877-Nov 1878 - Scribner's Illustrated" ***

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Transcriber's Note:
Footnote B is incomplete due to text missing from original page.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: KITTY AND THE TURKISH MERCHANT.]


                            ST. NICHOLAS.

 ====================================================================
 VOL. V.                    APRIL,  1878.                      NO. 6.
 ====================================================================
                 [Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



HOW KITTY WAS LOST IN A TURKISH BAZAAR.

BY SARA KEABLES HUNT.


Kitty was a pretty little girl, with gray, laughing eyes, and a dimple in
each cheek; but from the time when she first commenced to toddle alone she
began to be dangerously fond of running away from home. Let a door be ajar
ever so little and out pattered the tiny feet into the streets of the
crowded city and all sorts of dangers. Papa and mamma had long
consultations of what should be done to correct this fault, while Aunt
Martha, looking over her spectacles, timidly suggested a little birch tea;
but mamma would not listen to that. Kitty was too small for any such
bitter dose yet, and papa, who rather admired Aunt Martha's suggestion,
declared finally that his wife must settle the matter herself--he "didn't
know how to train a girl."

So Kitty, left to an indulgent mother, went on her way, and hardly a day
passed but the cry went from cellar to attic, "Kitty is gone!" Nurses
without number came and went; they could never "stand Miss Kitty's strange
ways."

The little one had reached her fifth year without any serious injury,
notwithstanding her unfortunate habit, when there came a time of great
anxiety in their home, for her mamma was ill, growing paler and weaker
every day. The physicians suggested a winter in Egypt, and a trip up the
Nile; so, one bright October day, the family, consisting of the father and
mother, with Kitty and her nurse, sailed away from New York in a steamer
bound for Liverpool. Kitty was delighted with the novelty of everything
she saw on this grand trip. She did not once attempt to run away during
the whole of the long journey to Egypt, though all the time, and
especially in Liverpool, Maggie never failed to keep her "under her eye."

On a bright, warm November afternoon they sailed into the harbor of
Alexandria, and Kitty held tightly to Maggie's hand in open-mouthed
astonishment at the novelty of the scene. Vessels of all sizes and
descriptions thronged the harbor, carrying crews from many strange
nations--Arabs with long flowing robes and swarthy skins, black Nubians
and portly Turks, all screaming, apparently at the top of their voices.
Kitty's mamma had read to her little girl some stories from the "Arabian
Nights," and now, as they approached this eastern land, they mingled
curiously in her little brain. They were not long in landing, and as they
drove to the hotel on the Grand Square, Kitty fairly gave herself up to
staring about the streets. Here came a file of tall camels laden with
merchandise, stalking along with silent tread; there rode a fat Turk on a
very small donkey; then followed several ladies riding upon donkeys, and
each wearing the invariable street costume of Egyptian ladies--a black
silk mantle, with a white muslin face-veil which conceals all the features
except the eyes. Kitty admired the Syce men running before the carriages
to clear the way, and as she looked at their spangled vests and white,
long sleeves waving backward while they ran, she inwardly wished it had
been her position in life to be a Syce. What could be more delightful and
exciting!

Then there were the palm-trees and the water-carriers, with their
goat-skins of water slung over their shoulders, and the bazaars--all most
interesting to our travelers. But Kitty was too young to feel more than a
dim surprise at the objects around her. She knew nothing, of course, of
the history of Alexandria, once the first city in the world, where Euclid
presided over the school in mathematics, and Aristotle studied and gave
instruction. Here stood those vast libraries founded by Ptolemy Soter,
which were subsequently destroyed, and here St. Mark presided over the
church of Africa. Yet all this was unknown to Kitty, who was much more
interested in the good dinner set before her at the hotel, with its
dessert of fresh dates and great luscious grapes, and the comfortable
bed which received her tired little form that night.

"Maggie," said the invalid mother the next morning, "don't let Kitty go
out of your sight. I'm so nervous about her."

"Oh no, mum!" replied Maggie, re-assuringly. "Shure and I'll watch her
like a cat does a mouse," and the good Irish girl kept her word, so that
the two days spent in Alexandria were disturbed by no frights concerning
Kitty. At last they were off again, this time in the cars for Cairo. On,
on they went, villages on either hand, and such funny houses, such as
Kitty had never seen before, and mud hovels with domed roofs, but without
windows and often without doors.

"Shure," said Maggie, eyeing these rude dwelling-places with great
disdain, "it's glad I am that me mother was not an Egyptian, to bring me
up in a poor hoot loike thim."

For a time Kitty gazed wonderingly on the swiftly passing scenes, but by
and by the little head drooped, the eyelids closed, and Maggie took the
sleeping child into her lap, and let her sleep there until they reached
the railroad station at Cairo and stepped out into the din and confusion
of the motley crowd. With a bewildered look Kitty leaned back in the
carriage which conveyed them to the New Hotel, opposite the Esbekiyah
Gardens; then, as they approached the entrance, she looked up at the great
building with its many balconies and columns, and exclaimed: "It looks
just like a big church organ, mamma."

Many exciting days followed before they left for their trip up the Nile.
The bright sunshine of that cloudless sky appeared to revive the invalid.
It seemed, she said, as if she could feel it warm in her lungs and heart,
and she brightened so in the change that they all gathered hope and
courage, and went about on merry little trips to the many objects of
interest around Cairo, before their floating home was ready for their
departure. Kitty made friends of everybody; and had funny pantomime
conversations with the Arab waiter who took charge of their rooms,
examining curiously the long blue robe which he wore, and the red fez with
its black tassel on his head. "It's awful funny," she said, "to see people
calling the waiters by clapping their hands instead of ringing a bell; I
think it's a very strange country!" So saying she would walk up and down
the long rooms with her hands folded behind her as she had seen her papa
do.

Such donkey rides as Kitty and her papa had over the hard, smooth road
leading to the pyramids, with the long shadows of the acacias before them!
And then, how she teased him to buy a donkey for her to take to America!
But he only smiled in reply, saying, in true Arab fashion, "Bookrer"
(to-morrow).

They spent one day in the bazaars buying all sorts of beautiful sashes, in
brilliant colors, of Turkish embroidery. One bore the Sultan's name in the
Turkish language, worked with gold threads, and another had the motto,
"God is good," worked in blue and silver. Then there were shawls
"perfectly lovely," said the little New York girl, boxes of sandal-wood
that she longed to be smelling of continually, a pair of slippers and a
gold-embroidered smoking cap to be taken home to Uncle Harry, and a
beautiful cloak and table-cover for Aunt Martha.

But, alas! this visit awoke Kitty's long-slumbering propensity, and she
determined to watch for a good opportunity and go alone to that wonderful
bazaar. The opportunity soon came. It was just after breakfast. Maggie had
gone to the laundry with some of Kitty's white dresses. Papa was talking
with a French gentleman about New York, while mamma was yet sleeping.
"What a splendid chance!" whispered Kitty, and catching up her sailor hat
she sped away through a side entrance and down the Mouski, which is the
Broadway of Cairo. It is a narrow, crowded street, with tall houses, every
story projecting a little over the one under it, so that if you should
lean from a window of the upper floor you might shake hands with your
opposite neighbor. Kitty's bump of locality was pretty well developed, and
she found the way to the bazaar without any trouble. In her chubby hand
was clasped a little gold five-franc piece, which had been given her the
previous day, and visions of glittering treasures which should be bought
with that tiny gold piece floated before her eyes. She hurried on by the
quaint fountains which are placed at the corners of the bazaars, to cheer
those water-worshiping people, and soon found herself amid the charms and
mysteries of the bazaar, and in front of the little shops like
bow-windows, with their owners sitting cross-legged in the midst of their
goods, smoking and waiting indifferently for a customer. Walking toward
one of these turbaned merchants, Kitty said, with a queer attempt at
dignity, "Please show me some shawls."

But this clearly spoken sentence was all lost on the foreign merchant, to
whom English was an unknown language.

"Anni mush ariff," said the man, puffing away at his pipe, and
deliberately settling himself among his cozy cushions, as if for a long
and dreamy nap.

Kitty, of course, did not understand Arabic, and the words, which really
signified, "I don't understand," sounded to her unpracticed ears like "I
am a _sheriff_!" a word which was always associated in the little
runaway's mind with policemen, a class of persons who were to Kitty
objects of tyranny and terror.

"Oh, dear," whispered Kitty, "if he is a sheriff, may be he'll arrest me
and lock me up." So saying she fled from the presence of the astonished
merchant, and darted round a corner through a motley crowd of donkeys,
camels, and beggars blind and maimed. And now, her momentary fright over,
she entered a still more narrow way, where were stalls of glittering
diamonds set in every imaginable form, and gems of all sorts and sizes,
arranged in brilliant order. Kitty forgot everything in her admiration. "I
mean to buy a diamond pin. I just do!" she exclaimed, and, accosting the
man, asked the price of a huge crescent of gems.

"Allah!" cried the man, rousing from his languor. And then, in his own
language, he said to Kitty: "Little lady, where are you going? Are your
papa and mamma gone?"

Kitty looked silently and wonderingly at the kind-hearted merchant a
moment, and then her little mind began to realize that she was among a
strange people who could not understand a word that she might say. The
tears began to come in the gray eyes, and turning, she said, "I will go
home." But which way? Her little head grew bewildered, and, to crown all,
an immense camel stalking along with silent tread nearly stepped on her
little foot. She cried in earnest now, and the merchant kindly lifted her
up beside him on a soft, Turkish rug, right in the midst of the flashing
gems.

Quite a crowd had gathered now, listening eagerly while the man pictured
in earnest language the position of the lost child. But none knew little
Kitty; not a soul could speak to her in all that motley crowd of camel
drivers, donkey boys, beggars, milkmen with their goats, merchants and
dark-eyed women wrapped in their mantles and veils. There was none to help
her. Suddenly, out from the crowd came a young Arab boy, one of those
little fellows who carry about with them a vest full of snakes, exhibiting
them for a living in front of hotels and other public places.

"Me know she!" he cried, as his eyes fell on the little girl sitting there
on the rich Turkish carpet, her soft, golden hair floating around her,
more beautiful than all the merchant's gold and jewels.

The boy rapidly addressed the merchant, Kitty catching at the words, and
trying in vain to understand them. They seemed to satisfy the merchant,
however, and then the boy, pushing down a restless snake into its retreat,
advanced to the troubled child.

"You Americano," he said. "Me see you in New Hotel. You want see papa? Me
tek you."

Kitty, started up delighted; but at the sight of that inquisitive snake
making its re-appearance from the boy's pocket, she retreated and sat down
again amid the jewels. The merchant laughed. "She likes my diamonds,
Mahomet, better than your ugly reptiles." Then, taking a little gold ring
set with a small blue turquoise, he placed it on Kitty's first finger and
lifted her off the carpet, calling as he did so to a passing donkey boy,
and giving him some hurried instructions. Kitty smiled her thanks for her
pretty ring, and seeing the snake boy looking fiercely at the donkey boy,
who had lifted her into the saddle, "Come, too," she said, "you can talk,
and this boy can't." So the two boys ran alongside of the donkey, watching
carefully lest the little rider should fall; and very soon they emerged
from the bazaar and were galloping along the Mouski.

Meantime, Kitty's absence had been discovered at the hotel, and great
excitement followed. Her mamma fainted, and Maggie wrung her hands in
anxiety and despair. Her papa alone was cool and collected.

"She has run away so many times," said he, quietly, "that I have no doubt
she will come home safely, as always before."

Nevertheless, he dispatched messengers without number here and there, and
looked anxiously out into the streets for that dear little yellow head he
so loved. It was nearly noon when he saw it--the bright sun glaring down
on the tired little face under the sailor hat. He was going to be very
stern as he lifted his naughty child from the saddle, but she looked so
repentant, putting up her quivering lips for a forgiving kiss, that
somehow his anger fled away and he gave her the pardoning caress. The two
boys were sent away happy, with a generous baksheesh or present, and the
next day Kitty's father sought out the kind-hearted jewel merchant and
bought many a gem from his choice collection. Among them was a locket for
Kitty, in which he then placed his own and her mother's picture.

"Kitty," he said, gravely, as he hung the pretty thing about her neck,
"when you are tempted to do wrong, open this locket, and think how it will
pain two hearts that love you."

"Papa," said the repentant Kitty, "I never will run away again."

And she kept her word. So it came to pass that our little heroine lost her
evil propensity in the Turkish bazaar at Cairo.



"I'M A LITTLE STORY."

BY MARGARET EYTINGE.


[Illustration]

    You'd never guess what 't was I found
      One morning in my basket;
    Oh! such a precious, precious gem
      For such a funny casket.

    Gem, did I say? A wealth of gems:
      Sweet eyes of sapphire brightness,
    And, 'twixt two lips of coral red,
      Pearls dazzling in their whiteness.

    And gold was there on waving hair,
      And lilies too, and roses
    On rounded cheeks, and dimpled chin
      And cunningest of noses.

   "In here, mamma," the darling cried.
     "Look! I'm a little story;
    The one you didn't like, you know--
     'Prince Bee and Morning Glory.'

   "And Rover, he's a jingle, torn
     'Cause he went wrong--poor Rover!
    But _I_'m real pretty. Wont you take
      Me out and write me over?"

    I kissed the laughing eyes and mouth.
     "My pet, you need not ask it;
    No story sweet as you must stay
      In mamma's old waste-basket!"



EASTER IN GERMANY.

BY F. E. CORNE.


"Oh, look! look! all those pretty little Easter things in the window
already!" exclaimed my little sister one day, as we passed one of the
largest confectionery stores in Stuttgart; and, true enough, though Lent
was but half over, there they were, a pretty show. Eggs, of course, in
quantities and of all sizes, from that of an ostrich to a humming bird's,
made of chocolate or of sugar, and gayly decorated with little ribbons and
pictures. Then there were fat little unfledged chickens, some just
emerging from their shells, some not an inch long, and others large as
life; pure white lambs, with ribbons and bells round their necks;
paste-eggs, with holes at the ends, and, looking through, behold, a
panorama inside! and eggs with roses on one side, which, when blown upon,
emit a musical sound.

[Illustration: AN EASTER CARRIAGE.]

But odder than all these were the goats playing on guitars, or dragging
behind them fairy-like egg-shaped carriages, with little hares gravely
driving; and in others of these carriages were reclining one or two
(generally two) baby hares, or a hare mother rocking her little one in an
egg cradle; there were sugar balloons, in the baskets of which hares
watched over their nests full of eggs; wheelbarrows full of eggs, and
trundled by a hare; and dainty baskets of flowers, with birds perched upon
each handle, peering down into nests of eggs half hidden amidst the
blossoms. When one knows that each nest comes out, and forms the cover to
a box of _bonbons_ neatly concealed underneath, this pretty structure
certainly loses none of its attractiveness.

[Illustration: AN EASTER FANCY.]

In all directions signs of the approaching season begin to appear. Every
old woman in the market-place offers for sale a store of hard-boiled eggs,
smeared over with some highly colored varnish, besides candy chickens,
hares, etc., in abundance. All the various shop windows display pretty
emblematic articles. Besides the sugar and chocolate eggs, there are eggs
of soap and of glass; egg-shaped baskets and reticules; leather eggs,
which really are ladies' companions, and filled with sewing implements;
wooden eggs and porcelain eggs, and even egg-shaped lockets made of solid
gold.

It would be difficult to explain why these things appear at Easter, and
what they all mean. The eggs, as every one knows, we have at home, and
where they are in such abundance chickens will not be very far away. For
the lamb and the goat we can find scriptural interpretations, but the
rabbit and the hare--what can they have to do with Easter? Nine persons
out of ten can only answer, "The hares lay the Easter eggs." Queer hares
they must be, indeed, but the children here believe it as devoutly as they
do that the "Christ-kind" brings their Christmas presents, or as our own
little ones do in Santa Claus. No one knows exactly whence came this myth.
Many think it a relic of heathen worship; but a writer named Christoph von
Schmid, in an interesting story for children, suggests this much prettier
origin:

[Illustration: AN EASTER CRADLE.]

Many hundred years ago, a good and noble lady, Duchess Rosilinda von
Lindenburg, at a time when a cruel war was devastating the land, was
obliged to fly from her beautiful home accompanied only by her two little
children and one old man-servant.

They found refuge in a small mining village in the mountains, where the
simple but contented and happy inhabitants did what they could for their
comfort, and placed the best of all they had at the disposal of the
wanderers. Nevertheless, their fare was miserable; no meat was ever to be
found, seldom fish, and not even an egg; this last for the very good
reason that there was not a single hen in the village! These useful
domestic fowls, now so common everywhere, were originally brought from the
East, and had not yet found their way to this secluded place. The people
had not even heard of such "strange birds." This troubled the kind
duchess, who well knew the great help they are in housekeeping, and she
determined that the women who had been so kind to her should no longer be
without them.

Accordingly, the next time she sent forth her faithful old servant to try
and gather news of his master and of the progress of the war, she
commissioned him to bring back with him a coop full of fowls. This he did,
to the great surprise of the simple natives, and the village children were
greatly excited a few weeks later at the appearance of a brood of young
chickens. They were so pretty and bright, were covered with such a soft
down, were so open-eyed, and could run about after their mother to pick
up food the very first day, and were altogether such a contrast to the
blind, bald, unfledged, helpless, ugly little birds they sometimes saw in
nests in the hedges, that they could not find words enough to express
their admiration.

The good lady now saved up eggs for some time, then invited all the
housewives of the village to a feast, when she set before them eggs
cooked in a variety of ways. She then taught them how to prepare them for
themselves, and, distributing a number of fowls among them, sent the dames
home grateful and happy.

When Easter approached, she was anxious to arrange some pleasure for the
village children, but had nothing to give them, "not even an apple or a
nut," only some eggs; but that, she concluded, was, after all, an
appropriate offering, "as an egg is the first gift of the reviving
spring." And then it occurred to her to boil them with mosses and roots
that would give them a variety of brilliant colors, "as the earth," said
she, "has just laid aside her white mantle, and decorated herself with
many colors; for the dear God makes the fruit and berries not only good to
eat, but also pleasant to look upon," and the children's pleasure would be
all the greater.

Accordingly, on Easter Sunday, after the church service, all the little
ones of about the age of her own met together in a garden; and, when their
kind hostess had talked to them a while, she led them into a small
neighboring wood. There she told them to make nests of moss, and advised
each to mark well his or her own. All then returned to the garden, where a
feast of milk-soup with eggs and egg-cakes had been prepared. Afterward
they went back to the wood, and found to their great joy in each nest five
beautiful colored eggs, and on one of these a short rhyme was written.

[Illustration: AN EASTER LOAD.]

The surprise and delight of the little ones when they discovered a nest of
the gayly colored treasures, was very great, and one of them exclaimed:

"How wonderful the hens must be that can lay such pretty eggs! How I
should like to see them!"

[Illustration: THE OLD SERVANT BRINGS A COOP FULL OF CHICKENS.]

"Oh! no hens could lay such beautiful eggs," answered a little girl. "I
think it must have been the little hare that sprang out of the juniper
bush when I wanted to build my nest there."

Then all the children laughed together, and said, "The hares lay the
colored eggs. Yes, yes! the dear little hares lay the beautiful eggs!" And
they kept repeating it till they began really to believe it.

Not long afterward the war ended, and Duke Arno von Lindenburg took his
wife and children back to their own palace; but, before leaving, the
Duchess set apart a sum of money to be expended in giving the village
children every Easter a feast of eggs. She instituted the custom also in
her own duchy, and by degrees it spread over the whole country, the eggs
being considered a symbol of redemption or deliverance from sin. The
custom has found its way even to America, but nowhere out of the
_Vaterland_ are the eggs laid by the timid hare.

To this day children living in the country go to the woods just before
Easter, and return with their arms full of twigs and moss, out of which
they build nests and houses, each child carefully marking his own with his
name. They are then hidden behind stones and bushes in the garden, or, if
the weather be cold, in corners, or under furniture in the house. And on
Easter morning what an excitement there is to see what the good little
hare has brought! Not only real eggs boiled and colored, but sugar ones
too, and often wooden ones that open like boxes, disclosing, perhaps, a
pair of new gloves or a bright ribbon. He even sometimes brings hoops and
skipping-ropes, and generally his own effigy in dough or candy is found
trying to scamper away behind the nest.

[Illustration: "THE HARES LAY THE COLORED EGGS."]

Then what fun they have playing with the eggs, throwing them in the air
and catching them again, rolling them on the floor, exchanging with each
other, and _knocking_ them! This game is played by two, each child holding
an egg firmly in his hand, so that only the small end appears between the
thumb and forefinger, or under the little finger. The two eggs then are
knocked smartly against each other until one cracks, when it becomes the
property of the victorious party, who adds it to his stock. Those who have
never tried to break an egg in this way will be astonished to find how
many hard taps it is able to stand. But, as the game called "picking eggs"
is played in some parts of the United States during the Easter holidays,
it may be that many of our readers know all about this matter, and
understand very well how to select the eggs that shall prove strong and
victorious.

In Germany, presents are frequently bestowed upon servants at this season,
and exchanged between friends; and on Easter morning the churches are
crowded by many who scarcely ever think of entering at any other time. On
Good Friday only, considered here the holiest day in the whole year, are
they still more largely attended. The music is usually fine, but one
misses the beautiful flowers which adorn our home altars.

Easter Monday is looked upon as a grand holiday by the peasantry in many
parts of the country. Weddings are often deferred to this day, and many
village games are reserved for this season. The lads and lassies all
appear in their gala costumes; the girls with short, dark skirts, braided
with gold or silver, snowy aprons and full white sleeves, bright colored
bodices and odd little caps; the boys with knee-breeches, white stockings,
low shoes, and scarlet or yellow vests, the solid gold or silver buttons
on which are often their whole inheritance. But when they are dancing
gayly together on the green, they look a good deal happier than if they
were little kings and queens.

[Illustration: THE THROWER.]

Games vary in different villages throughout the country, but one example
will give some idea of what they are like.

Two of the leading young men of the place take entire charge of the day's
amusements, selecting for the purpose as the scene of festivities some inn
or _Wirthschaft_, to which is attached a large garden or meadow.

For several preceding evenings, when work is over, they go about from
house to house, dressed in their best, and carrying large baskets on their
arms. Everywhere they are kindly received, and bread with wine or cider is
placed before them. While they eat and drink, the baskets are quietly
slipped away by some member of the family, a generous donation of eggs is
placed within them, and they are secretly returned to their places. The
eggs are not asked for, neither are they alluded to in any way; but the
object of the visit is well understood and prepared for long beforehand.

When Monday morning dawns, the inn is found to have been gayly decorated
with garlands of green and flowers, and fluttering ribbons of many colors.
The tree nearest the house is ornamented in like manner, and on it the
prize to be contended for, conspicuously hangs. On the smooth grass hard
by, a strip, a few feet wide and perhaps a hundred long, has been roped
in, and at either end of this narrow plot a large, shallow, round-bottomed
basket, called a _Wanne_, is placed, one filled with chaff and the other
with eggs, dozens upon dozens, cooked and raw, white and colored.

[Illustration: THE CATCHER.]

The plan of the peculiar game which follows is that one player is pitted
to run a given distance, while another safely throws the eggs from one
basket to the other, he who first completes his task being, of course, the
winner. Accordingly, when the young men and maidens have arrived, two
leaders draw lots to determine who shall run and who shall throw. That
decided, the contestants are gayly decked with ribbons, a band strikes up
a lively air, a capering clown clears the way, and the game begins. He who
throws takes the eggs, and one after another swiftly whirls them the
length of the course, and into the chaff-filled basket, which is held in
the hands of an assistant. Occasionally he makes a diversion by pitching a
hard one to be scrambled for by the crowds of children who have assembled
to see the sport. Meantime (while wagers are laid as to who will likely
win) the other contestant speeds the distance of a mile or two to an
appointed goal, marks it as proof of his having touched it, and if he
succeeds in returning before all the eggs are thrown, the victory and the
prize are his, otherwise they belong to his opponent. The game finished,
the prize is presented to the victor with due ceremony and amid the cheers
of the crowd; the hard eggs are distributed among the company, and the raw
ones carried uproariously into the neighboring inn, there to be cooked in
various ways and eaten.

[Illustration: "HAPPIER THAN LITTLE KINGS AND QUEENS."]

The remainder of the day is spent in dancing and merry-making, and if a
wedding can possibly be arranged to take place on that afternoon the fun
is wilder than ever.



DICK HARDIN AWAY AT SCHOOL.

BY LUCY J. RIDER.


                                                _September 9th, 1877._

DEAR MOTHER: I don't feel very well. I want to come home. I am very sick.
I could not eat any supper. My throat aches pretty bad. I think I had
better come home. The boy that sleeps with me says most all boys feels so
at first; but may be I shall die. I want to come home. I will study good
at home. So good-by.--Your son,                                  DICK.

P. S.--I want to come home.

       *       *       *
                                                   _October 26, 1877._

DEAR MOTHER: Me and the boy that sleeps with me put a peace of paper on
the door, and that made me feel better. I got the ten cents and your
letter. I had to buy some pop-corn. All the boys buy pop-corn. A man has
pop-corn to sell. Jim gave me some pop-corn that time my throat had a lump
in it, and it felt better. It was red, and all sticky together. I think
that was why.

It's a buster of a house here, and it's got a bell on top of it. A boy
rings it. It comes right down in his closet. It comes through a little
round hole, and he pulls it, and he let me pull it once, and that makes it
ring. There's lots of boys here, and some girls. There is doves living up
where the bell is. I went up there. They kind of groan, and that is coon,
when they coo. I like the doves, but I don't like their coon. Every boy
writes their names up there. Sometimes they cuts their names, but Mr.
Wiseman says you mustn't any more. Mr. Wiseman is the Principle, and he
has got whiskers, and every boy has to mind him.

He points and he says, "Go to your rooms!" and we go. Some boy sent him a
paper, and it made him hoppin' mad. It was about a clock. It said:

    "Half way up the stairs he stands,
     And points and beckons with his hands."

Jimmy has a room, and he sweeps it sometimes. I sleep with Jimmy. There
isn't any woman to make up the bedclothes. We fix 'em. It isn't very hard.
You just pull them up and tuck them down. There is a gong, and that makes
you get up and eat breakfast. The breakfast is good. It is a round thing,
and a girl pounds it. You put five tea-spoons of sugar in your tea-cup. A
girl sits on the other side. There is lots of tables, and they make a
noise. By and by, one gets through and walks out. There is a lock on the
door, and that makes you hurry up or you can't have any breakfast. You
can't get in. The ten cents is 'most gone. I hope you will write me again
pretty soon.--Your son,                                   DICKERSON H.

P. S.--The peace of paper has got the days on it, and we scratch them off
every night. There is sixty-one more to scratch off, and that will make it
vacation.                                                        D. H.

       *       *       *
                                                   _November 3, 1877._

DEAR MOTHER: There is 'bout ten pianos here, and folks play on them all
the while. It sounds pretty. You can't tell what tune they play 'most
always. Mr. Wiseman has an noffice, and that's where you have to go when
you want to do things. Sometimes you have to go when you don't want to do
things. He sits in a chair and his legs go under the table. There's a
square hole where his legs go. It has a slate on it, and he writes your
name on it. It don't feel good. You ought to have seen Jim one day. He
fell into the river, but he got out. There is a river. He had the cookies
in his pocket. They were just as good, except the soap. He had some soap
too, and that wasn't very good. Jim didn't get dry pretty soon, and he had
the neuraligy or the toothache. The side of his cheek swelled out as big
as a foot-ball. He went to the office. He was sicker. I made up the bed
for a week, and he felt better. We went in swimming five times yesterday.
We have to treat. All men have to treat. It's molasses-candy and it's
pop-corn. To treat is to pay for what a nother feller eats. The button
come off of my shirt. I lost it, but I sewed on one of the black ones like
the ones on my jacket. The place to sew it on came out too, but I sewed it
one side. It made my thumb bleed.--Your son,         DICKERSON HARDIN.

       *       *       *
                                                  _November 17, 1877._

DEAR MOTHER: Jim has got a box. His mother sent it to him. The other boys
have boxes. We have to have boxes, 'cause they have hash that is made out
of boots. It is not good to eat. The soup tastes like a tooth-pick. The
butter is a thousand years old. A girl said so. If I should have a box, I
think it would be good for me. Put in some cookies and some apples and
cake and cheese and chicken-pie and a neck-tie and apple-pie and
fruit-cake and that other kind of jelly-cake and some cookies and
stockings and cans of fruit and fish-hooks and pop-corn and molasses and
cookies. Jim found a half a dollar in his box, down to the bottom. It was
for his neuraligy. My throat is not quite well yet.

I take drawing. There is a nice lady to teach it. She wears a white sack
with red pockets, and a blue bow. She pulls her hair down over her head.
She says we must draw things, when we look at them. I drew a dog, but it
came out a lamb. I can make a very nice bird. Jim put the feathers on to
the tail.

Mr. Wiseman has got some snakes in some bottles, and a frog and a toad. He
has got some grasshoppers with a pin stuck through them, and a spider and
some potato-bugs. It is the museum. He thinks a great deal of them.

There is a foot-ball, and we play it. It is as big as a pumpkin, but you
kick it. Then you get kicked and knocked down and your leg hurt; but you
don't cry. You never cry except when Jim's asleep in the night, and your
throat aches pretty bad.

There is twenty-four more days on the peace of paper.

Give my love to Tooty. How is the baby?--Your son,          D. HARDIN.

       *       *       *
                                                   _December 2, 1877._

DEAR MOTHER: It is not a very big town. There is one store where you
treat. It is Jerry's. You walk right in. Jerry has molasses-candy and
pop-corn and pea-nuts and string and oranges and canes and brooms and
raisins and ginger-snaps and apples and fish-hooks and pise. Jim bought a
pie once. It was wet, and you had to bite hard to bite it. He got it for
the lock-jaw. A lock-jaw is a supper, but Mr. Wiseman don't catch us. It
is at night. We had a chicken, but I promised I would not tell where it
came from. I will die before I will tell. All the boys will die before
they will tell. It was the big boys, and they put a blanket up to the
window and made a fire and roasted it. We had some salt and a jack-knife.
John Simms roasted it. He's a big boy. He knows how. He always roasts
things. You just stick a sharp stick through it and roast it. It is good,
but it makes your stummuck feel funny in the morning. There is a nother
store, where the girls get things, and there is a place to get your shoes
mended, and a depot, and a place for horse-shoes, and a church.

The box was very good. So good-by.                                  D.

P. S.--Mr. Wiseman said you'd feel bad about these three demerits in my
report, but you needn't. Jim has got about ten demerits. All the boys gets
demerits. One was a old bottle I threw in the hall, 'cause I didn't want
it on the table, and one was some water I threw out the window, and a boy
was walking under. I had just washed me, and he got wet, and one was a
noise. You make it with a tin tomato can and a string. I'll fix one for
you when I get home. The bottom has come out of my bank. And my trousers,
the gray ones. How is the baby?                                HARDIN.

P. S.--All the boys say Hardin.



[Illustration: A FULL STOP.]



UNDER THE LILACS.

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.

CHAPTER XI.

SUNDAY.


Mrs. Moss woke Ben with a kiss next morning, for her heart yearned over
the fatherless lad as if he had been her own, and she had no other way of
showing her sympathy. Ben had forgotten his troubles in sleep, but the
memory of them returned as soon as he opened his eyes, heavy with the
tears they had shed. He did not cry any more, but felt strange and lonely
till he called Sancho and told him all about it, for he was shy even with
kind Mrs. Moss, and glad when she went away.

Sancho seemed to understand that his master was in trouble, and listened
to the sad little story with gurgles of interest, whines of condolence,
and intelligent barks whenever the word "Daddy" was uttered. He was only a
brute, but his dumb affection comforted the boy more than any words, for
Sanch had known and loved "father" almost as long and well as his son, and
that seemed to draw them closely together now they were left alone.

"We must put on mourning, old feller. It's the proper thing, and there's
nobody else to do it now," said Ben, as he dressed, remembering how all
the company wore bits of crape somewhere about them at Melia's funeral.

It was a real sacrifice of boyish vanity to take the blue ribbon with its
silver anchors off the new hat and replace it with the dingy black band
from the old one, but Ben was quite sincere in doing this, though
doubtless his theatrical life made him think of the effect more than other
lads would have done. He could find nothing in his limited wardrobe with
which to decorate Sanch except a black cambric pocket. It was already half
torn out of his trousers with the weight of nails, pebbles and other light
trifles, so he gave it a final wrench and tied it into the dog's collar,
saying to himself, as he put away his treasures, with a sigh:

"One pocket is enough; I sha'n't want anything but a han'k'chi'f to-day."

Fortunately, that article of dress was clean, for he had but one, and with
this somewhat ostentatiously drooping from the solitary pocket, the
serious hat upon his head, the new shoes creaking mournfully, and Sanch
gravely following, much impressed with his black bow, the chief mourner
descended, feeling that he had done his best to show respect to the dead.

Mrs. Moss's eyes filled as she saw the rusty band, and guessed why it was
there; but she found it difficult to repress a smile when she beheld the
cambric symbol of woe on the dog's neck. Not a word was said to disturb
the boy's comfort in these poor attempts, however, and he went out to do
his chores conscious that he was an object of interest to his friends,
especially so to Bab and Betty, who, having been told of Ben's loss, now
regarded him with a sort of pitying awe very grateful to his feelings.

"I want you to drive me to church by and by. It is going to be pretty
warm, and Thorny is hardly strong enough to venture yet," said Miss Celia,
when Ben ran over after breakfast to see if she had anything for him to
do, for he considered her his mistress now, though he was not to take
possession of his new quarters till the morrow.

"Yes'm, I'd like to, if I look well enough," answered Ben, pleased to be
asked, but impressed with the idea that people had to be very fine on such
occasions.

"You will do very well when I have given you a touch. God doesn't mind our
clothes, Ben, and the poor are as welcome as the rich to Him. You have not
been much, have you?" asked Miss Celia, anxious to help the boy, and not
quite sure how to begin.

"No'm; our folks didn't hardly ever go, and father was so tired he used to
rest Sundays, or go off in the woods with me."

A little quaver came into Ben's voice as he spoke, and a sudden motion
made his hat-brim hide his eyes, for the thought of the happy times that
would never come any more was almost too much for him.

"That was a pleasant way to rest. I often do so, and we will go to the
grove this afternoon and try it. But I love to go to church in the
morning; it seems to start me right for the week, and if one has a sorrow,
that is the place where one can always find comfort. Will you come and try
it, Ben, dear?"

"I'd do anything to please you," muttered Ben, without looking up, for,
though he felt her kindness to the bottom of his heart, he did wish that
no one would talk about father for a little while, it was so hard to keep
from crying, and he hated to be a baby.

Miss Celia seemed to understand, for the next thing she said, in a very
cheerful tone, was, "See what a pretty thing that is. When I was a little
girl I used to think spiders spun cloth for the fairies, and spread it on
the grass to bleach."

Ben stopped digging a hole in the ground with his toe, and looked up, to
see a lovely cobweb like a wheel, circle within circle, spun across a
corner of the arch over the gate. Tiny drops glittered on every thread as
the light shone through the gossamer curtain, and a soft breath of air
made it tremble as if about to blow it away.

"It's mighty pretty, but it will fly off, just as the others did. I never
saw such a chap as that spider is. He keeps on spinning a new one every
day, for they always get broke, and he don't seem to be discouraged a
mite," said Ben, glad to change the subject, as she knew he would be.

"That is the way he gets his living. He spins his web and waits for his
daily bread, or fly, rather, and it always comes, I fancy. By and by you
will see that pretty trap full of insects, and Mr. Spider will lay up his
provisions for the day. After that he doesn't care how soon his fine web
blows away."

"I know him; he's a handsome feller, all black and yellow, and lives up in
that corner where the shiny sort of hole is. He dives down the minute I
touch the gate, but comes up after I've kept still a minute. I like to
watch him. But he must hate me, for I took away a nice, green fly and some
little millers one day."

"Did you ever hear the story of Bruce and his spider? Most children know
and like that," said Miss Celia, seeing that he seemed interested.

"No'm; I don't know ever so many things most children do," answered Ben,
soberly, for since he had been among his new friends he had often felt his
own deficiencies.

"Ah, but you also know many things which they do not. Half the boys in
town would give a great deal to be able to ride and run and leap as you
do, and even the oldest are not as capable of taking care of themselves as
you are. Your active life has done much in some ways to make a man of you,
but in other ways it was bad, as I think you begin to see. Now, suppose
you try to forget the harmful past, and remember only the good, while
learning to be more like our boys, who go to school and church, and fit
themselves to become industrious, honest men."

Ben had been looking straight up in Miss Celia's face as she spoke,
feeling that every word was true, though he could not have expressed it if
he had tried, and when she paused, with her bright eyes inquiringly fixed
on his, he answered heartily:

"I'd like to stay here and be respectable, for, since I came, I've found
out that folks don't think much of circus riders, though they like to go
and see 'em. I didn't use to care about school and such things, but I do
now, and I guess _he'd_ like it better than to have me knockin' round that
way without him to look after me."

"I know he would; so we will try, Benny. I dare say it will seem dull and
hard at first, after the gay sort of life you have led, and you will miss
the excitement. But it was not good for you, and we will do our best to
find something safer. Don't be discouraged, and, when things trouble you,
come to me as Thorny does, and I'll try to straighten them out for you.
I've got two boys now, and I want to do my duty by both."

Before Ben had time for more than a grateful look, a tumbled head appeared
at an upper window, and a sleepy voice drawled out:

"Celia! I can't find a bit of a shoe-string, and I wish you'd come and do
my neck-tie."

"Lazy boy, come down here, and bring one of your black ties with you.
Shoe-strings are in the little brown bag on my bureau," called back Miss
Celia, adding, with a laugh, as the tumbled head disappeared mumbling
something about "bothering old bags":

"Thorny has been half spoiled since he was ill. You mustn't mind his
fidgets and dawdling ways. He'll get over them soon, and then I know you
two will be good friends."

Ben had his doubts about that, but resolved to do his best for her sake;
so, when Master Thorny presently appeared, with a careless "How are you,
Ben," that young person answered respectfully,

"Very well, thank you," though his nod was as condescending as his new
master's; because he felt that a boy who could ride bareback and turn a
double somersault in the air ought not to "knuckle under" to a fellow who
had not the strength of a pussy-cat.

"Sailor's knot, please; keeps better so," said Thorny, holding up his chin
to have a blue silk scarf tied to suit him, for he was already beginning
to be something of a dandy.

"You ought to wear red till you get more color, dear," and his sister
rubbed her blooming cheek against his pale one as if to lend him some of
her own roses.

"Men don't care how they look," said Thorny, squirming out of her hold,
for he hated to be "cuddled" before people.

"Oh, don't they; here's a vain boy who brushes his hair a dozen times a
day, and quiddles over his collar till he is so tired he can hardly
stand," laughed Miss Celia, with a little tweak of the ear.

"I should like to know what this is for?" demanded Thorny, in a dignified
tone, presenting a black tie.

"For my other boy. He is going to church with me," and Miss Celia tied a
second knot for this young gentleman, with a smile that seemed to brighten
up even the rusty hat-band.

"Well, I like that--" began Thorny, in a tone that contradicted his words.

A look from his sister reminded him of what she had told him half an hour
ago, and he stopped short, understanding now why she was "extra good to
the little tramp."

"So do I, for you are of no use as a driver yet, and I don't like to
fasten Lita when I have my best gloves on," said Miss Celia, in a tone
that rather nettled Master Thorny.

"Is Ben going to black my boots before he goes?" with a glance at the new
shoes which caused them to creak uneasily.

"No, he is going to black _mine_, if he will. You wont need boots for a
week yet, so we wont waste any time over them. You will find everything in
the shed, Ben, and at ten you may go for Lita."

With that, Miss Celia walked her brother off to the dining-room, and Ben
retired to vent his ire in such energetic demonstrations with the
blacking-brush that the little boots shone splendidly.

He thought he had never seen anything as pretty as his mistress when, an
hour later, she came out of the house in her white shawl and bonnet,
holding a book and a late lily-of-the-valley in the pearl-colored gloves,
which he hardly dared to touch as he helped her into the carriage. He had
seen a good many fine ladies in his life, and those he had known had been
very gay in the colors of their hats and gowns, very fond of cheap
jewelry, and much given to feathers, lace and furbelows, so it rather
puzzled him to discover why Miss Celia looked so sweet and elegant in such
a simple suit. He did not know then that the charm was in the woman, not
the clothes, or that merely living near such a person would do more to
give him gentle manners, good principles and pure thoughts, than almost
any other training he could have had. But he _was_ conscious that it was
pleasant to be there, neatly dressed, in good company, and going to church
like a respectable boy. Somehow, the lonely feeling got better as he
rolled along between green fields, with the June sunshine brightening
everything, a restful quiet in the air, and a friend beside him who sat
silently looking out at the lovely world with what he afterward learned to
call her "Sunday face." A soft, happy look, as if all the work and
weariness of the past week were forgotten, and she was ready to begin
afresh when this blessed day was over.

"Well, child, what is it?" she asked, catching his eye as he stole a shy
glance at her, one of many which she had not seen.

"I was only thinking you looked as if----"

"As if what? Don't be afraid," she said, for Ben paused and fumbled at the
reins, feeling half ashamed to tell his fancy.

"You was saying prayers," he added, wishing she had not caught him.

"So I was. Don't you, when you are happy?"

"No'm. I'm glad, but I don't say anything."

"Words are not needed, but they help, sometimes, if they are sincere and
sweet. Did you never learn any prayers, Ben?"

"Only 'Now I lay me.' Grandma taught me that when I was a little mite of a
boy."

"I will teach you another, the best that was ever made, because it says
all we need ask."

"Our folks wasn't very pious; they didn't have time, I s'pose."

"I wonder if you know just what it means to be pious?"

"Goin' to church, and readin' the Bible, and sayin' prayers and hymns,
aint it?"

"Those things are a part of it, but, being kind and cheerful, doing one's
duty, helping others and loving God, is the best way to show that we are
pious in the true sense of the word."

"Then you are!" and Ben looked as if her acts had been a better definition
than her words.

"I try to be, but I very often fail; so every Sunday I make new
resolutions, and work hard to keep them through the week. That is a great
help, as you will find when you begin to try it."

"Do you think, if I said in meetin', 'I wont ever swear any more,' that I
wouldn't do it again?" asked Ben, soberly, for that was his besetting sin
just now.

"I'm afraid we can't get rid of our faults quite so easily; I wish we
could; but I do believe that if you keep saying that, and trying to stop,
you will cure the habit sooner than you think."

"I never did swear very bad, and I didn't mind much till I came here, but
Bab and Betty looked so scared when I said 'damn,' and Mrs. Moss scolded
me so, I tried to leave off. It's dreadful hard, though, when I get mad.
'Hang it,' don't seem half so good if I want to let off steam."

"Thorny used to 'confound!' everything, so I proposed that he should
whistle instead, and now he sometimes pipes up so suddenly and shrilly
that it makes me jump. How would that do, instead of swearing?" proposed
Miss Celia, not the least surprised at the habit of profanity which the
boy could hardly help learning among his former associates.

Ben laughed, and promised to try it, feeling a mischievous satisfaction at
the prospect of out-whistling Master Thorny, as he knew he should for the
objectionable words rose to his lips a dozen times a day.

The bell was ringing as they drove into town, and by the time Lita was
comfortably settled in her shed, people were coming up from all quarters
to cluster around the steps of the old meeting-house like bees about a
hive. Accustomed to a tent where people kept their hats on, Ben forgot all
about his, and was going down the aisle covered when a gentle hand took it
off, and Miss Celia whispered, as she gave it to him:

"This is a holy place; remember that, and uncover at the door."

Much abashed, Ben followed to the pew, where the Squire and his wife soon
joined them.

"Glad to see him here," said the old gentleman with an approving nod, as
he recognized the boy and remembered his loss.

"Hope he wont nestle round in meeting-time," whispered Mrs. Allen,
composing herself in the corner with much rustling of black silk.

"I'll take care that he doesn't disturb you," answered Miss Celia, pushing
a stool under the short legs and drawing a palm-leaf fan within reach.

Ben gave an inward sigh at the prospect before him, for an hour's
captivity to an active lad is hard to bear, and he really did want to
behave well. So he folded his arms and sat like a statue, with nothing
moving but his eyes. They rolled to and fro, up and down, from the high
red pulpit to the worn hymn-books in the rack, recognizing two little
faces under blue-ribboned hats in a distant pew, and finding it impossible
to restrain a momentary twinkle in return for the solemn wink Billy Barton
bestowed upon him across the aisle. Ten minutes of this decorous demeanor
made it absolutely necessary for him to stir; so he unfolded his arms and
crossed his legs as cautiously as a mouse moves in the presence of a cat,
for Mrs. Allen's eye was on him, and he knew by experience that it was a
very sharp one.

The music which presently began was a great relief to him, for under cover
of it he could wag his foot and no one heard the creak thereof; and when
they stood up to sing, he was so sure that all the boys were looking at
him, he was glad to sit down again. The good old minister read the
sixteenth chapter of Samuel, and then proceeded to preach a long and
somewhat dull sermon. Ben listened with all his ears, for he was
interested in the young shepherd, "ruddy and of a beautiful countenance,"
who was chosen to be Saul's armor-bearer. He wanted to hear more about
him, and how he got on, and whether the evil spirits troubled Saul again
after David had harped them out. But nothing more came, and the old
gentleman droned on about other things till poor Ben felt that he must
either go to sleep like the Squire, or tip the stool over by accident,
since "nestling" was forbidden, and relief of some sort he _must_ have.

Mrs. Allen gave him a peppermint, and he dutifully ate it, though it was
so hot it made his eyes water. Then she fanned him, to his great
annoyance, for it blew his hair about, and the pride of his life was to
have his head as smooth and shiny as black satin. An irrepressible sigh of
weariness attracted Miss Celia's attention at last, for, though she seemed
to be listening devoutly, her thoughts had flown over the sea with tender
prayers for one whom she loved even more than David did his Jonathan. She
guessed the trouble in a minute, and had provided for it, knowing by
experience that few small boys can keep quiet through sermon-time. Finding
a certain place in the little book she had brought, she put it into his
hands, with the whisper, "Read if you are tired."

Ben clutched the book and gladly obeyed, though the title, "Scripture
Narratives," did not look very inviting. Then his eye fell on the picture
of a slender youth cutting a large man's head off, while many people stood
looking on.

"Jack, the giant-killer," thought Ben, and turned the page to see the
words "David and Goliath," which was enough to set him to reading the
story with great interest, for here was the shepherd-boy turned into a
hero. No more fidgets now; the sermon was no longer heard, the fan flapped
unfelt, and Billy Barton's spirited sketches in the hymn-book were vainly
held up for admiration. Ben was quite absorbed in the stirring history of
King David, told in a way that fitted it for children's reading, and
illustrated with fine pictures which charmed the boy's eye.

Sermon and story ended at the same time; and while he listened to the
prayer, Ben felt as if he understood now what Miss Celia meant by saying
that words helped when they were well chosen and sincere. Several
petitions seemed as if especially intended for him, and he repeated them
to himself that he might remember them, they sounded so sweet and
comfortable, heard for the first time just when he most needed comfort.
Miss Celia saw a new expression in the boy's face as she glanced down at
him, and heard a little humming at her side when all stood up to sing the
cheerful hymn with which they were dismissed.

"How do you like church?" asked the young lady as they drove away.

"First-rate," answered Ben, heartily.

"Especially the sermon?"

Ben laughed and said, with an affectionate glance at the little book in
her lap:

"I couldn't understand it, but that story was just elegant. There's more,
and I'd admire to read 'em, if I could."

"I'm glad you like them, and we will keep the rest for another
sermon-time. Thorny used to do so, and always called this his 'pew book.'
I don't expect you to understand much that you hear yet awhile; but it is
good to be there, and after reading these stories you will be more
interested when you hear the names of the people mentioned here."

"Yes'm. Wasn't David a fine feller? I liked all about the kid and the corn
and the ten cheeses, and killin' the lion and bear, and slingin' old
Goliath dead first shot. I want to know about Joseph next time, for I saw
a gang of robbers puttin' him in a hole, and it looked real interesting."

Miss Celia could not help smiling at Ben's way of telling things; but she
was pleased to see that he was attracted by the music and the stories, and
resolved to make church-going so pleasant that he would learn to love it
for its own sake.

"Now, you have tried my way this morning, and we will try yours this
afternoon. Come over about four and help me roll Thorny down to the grove.
I am going to put one of the hammocks there, because the smell of the
pines is good for him, and you can talk or read or amuse yourselves in any
quiet way you like."

"Can I take Sanch along? He doesn't like to be left, and felt real bad
because I shut him up for fear he'd follow and come walkin' into meetin'
to find me."

"Yes, indeed; let the clever Bow-wow have a good time and enjoy Sunday as
much as I want my boys to."

Quite content with this arrangement, Ben went home to dinner, which he
made very lively by recounting Billy Barton's ingenious devices to beguile
the tedium of sermon-time. He said nothing of his conversation with Miss
Celia, because he had not quite made up his mind whether he liked it or
not; it was so new and serious, he felt as if he would better lay it by,
to think over a good deal before he could understand all about it. But he
had time to get dismal again and long for four o'clock, because he had
nothing to do except whittle. Mrs. Moss went to take a nap; Bab and Betty
sat demurely on their bench reading Sunday books; no boys were allowed to
come and play; even the hens retired under the currant-bushes, and the
cock stood among them, clucking drowsily, as if reading them a sermon.

"Dreadful slow day," thought Ben, and, retiring to the recesses of his own
room, he read over the two letters which seemed already old to him. Now
that the first shock was over, he could not make it true that his father
was dead, and he gave up trying, for he was an honest boy and felt that it
was foolish to pretend to be more unhappy than he really was. So he put
away his letters, took the black pocket off Sanch's neck, and allowed
himself to whistle softly as he packed up his possessions ready to move
next day, with few regrets and many bright anticipations for the future.

"Thorny, I want you to be good to Ben and amuse him in some quiet way this
afternoon. I must stay and see the Allens who are coming over, but you can
go to the grove and have a pleasant time," said Miss Celia to her brother.

"Not much fun in talking to that horsey fellow. I'm sorry for him, but _I_
can't do anything to amuse him," objected Thorny, pulling himself up from
the sofa with a great yawn.

"You can be very agreeable when you like, and Ben has had enough of me for
this time. Tomorrow he will have his work and do very well, but we must
try to help him through to-day, because he doesn't know what to do with
himself. Besides, it is just the time to make a good impression on him,
while grief for his father softens him and gives us a chance. I like him,
and I'm sure he wants to do well; so it is our duty to help him, as there
seems to be no one else."

"Here goes, then. Where is he?" and Thorny stood up, won by his sister's
sweet earnestness, but very doubtful of his own success with the "horsey
fellow."

"Waiting with the chair. Randa has gone on with the hammock. Be a dear
boy, and I'll do as much for you some day."

"Don't see how _you_ can be a dear boy. You're the best sister that ever
was, so I'll love all the scallywags you ask me to."

With a laugh and a kiss, Thorny shambled off to ascend his chariot,
good-humoredly saluting his pusher, whom he found sitting on the high rail
behind, with his feet on Sanch.

"Drive on, Benjamin. I don't know the way, so I can't direct. Don't spill
me out,--that's all I've got to say."

"All right, sir,"--and away Ben trundled down the long walk that led
through the orchard to a little grove of seven pines.

A pleasant spot, for a soft rustle filled the air, a brown carpet of
pine-needles, with fallen cones for a pattern, lay under foot, and over
the tops of the tall brakes that fringed the knoll one had glimpses of
hill and valley, farm-houses and winding river like a silver ribbon
through the low green meadows.

"A regular summer house!" said Thorny, surveying it with approval. "What's
the matter, Randa? Wont it go?" he asked, as the stout maid dropped her
arms with a puff, after vainly trying to throw the hammock rope over a
branch.

"That end went up beautiful, but this one wont; the branches is so high I
can't reach 'em, and I'm no hand at flinging ropes round."

"I'll fix it," and Ben went up the pine like a squirrel, tied a stout
knot, and swung himself down again before Thorny could get out of the
chair.

"My patience! what a spry boy!" exclaimed Randa, admiringly.

"That's nothing; you ought to see me shin up a smooth tent-pole," said
Ben, rubbing the pitch off his hands, with a boastful wag of the head.

"You can go, Randa. Just hand me my cushion and books, Ben; then you can
sit in the chair while I talk to you," commanded Thorny, tumbling into the
hammock.

"What's he goin' to say to me?" wondered Ben to himself, as he sat down
with Sanch sprawling among the wheels.

[Illustration: BEN AND THORNY IN THE GROVE.]

"Now, Ben, I think you'd better learn a hymn; I always used to when I was
a little chap, and it is a good thing to do Sundays," began the new
teacher with a patronizing air, which ruffled his pupil as much as the
opprobrious term "little chap."

"I'll be--whew--if I do!" whistled Ben, stopping an oath just in time.

"It is not polite to whistle in company," said Thorny, with great dignity.

"Miss Celia told me to. I'll say 'Confound it,' if you like that better,"
answered Ben, as a sly smile twinkled in his eyes.

"Oh, I see! She's told you about it? Well, then, if you want to please
_her_, you'll learn a hymn right off. Come now, she wants me to be clever
to you, and I'd like to do it; but if you get peppery, how can I?"

Thorny spoke in a hearty, blunt way, which suited Ben much better than the
other, and he responded pleasantly:

"If you wont be grand I wont be peppery. Nobody is going to boss me but
Miss Celia, so I'll learn hymns if she wants me to."

"'In the soft season of thy youth' is a good one to begin with. I learned
it when I was six. Nice thing; better have it." And Thorny offered the
book like a patriarch addressing an infant.

Ben surveyed the yellow page with small favor, for the long _s_ in the
old-fashioned printing bewildered him, and when he came to the last two
lines he could not resist reading them wrong:

    "The earth affords no lovelier _fight_
     Than a religious youth."

"I don't believe I could ever get that into my head straight. Haven't you
got a plain one anywhere round?" he asked, turning over the leaves with
some anxiety.

"Look at the end and see if there isn't a piece of poetry pasted in? You
learn that, and see how funny Celia will look when you say it to her. She
wrote it when she was a girl, and somebody had it printed for other
children. _I_ like it best, myself."

Pleased by the prospect of a little fun to cheer his virtuous task, Ben
whisked over the leaves and read with interest the lines Miss Celia had
written in her girlhood:

              "MY KINGDOM.

    "A little kingdom I possess,
      Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
     And very hard I find the task
      Of governing it well.
     For passion tempts and troubles me,
      A wayward will misleads,
     And selfishness its shadow casts
      On all my words and deeds.

    "How can I learn to rule myself,
      To be the child I should,
     Honest and brave, nor ever tire
      Of trying to be good?
     How can I keep a sunny soul
      To shine along life's way?
     How can I tune my little heart
      To sweetly sing all day?

    "Dear Father, help me with the love
      That casteth out my fear!
     Teach me to lean on Thee, and feel
      That Thou art very near;
     That no temptation is unseen,
      No childish grief too small,
     Since Thou, with patience infinite,
      Doth soothe and comfort all.

    "I do not ask for any crown
      But that which all may win;
     Nor seek to conquer any world
      Except the one within.
     Be Thou my guide until I find,
      Led by a tender hand,
     Thy happy kingdom in _myself_,
      And dare to take command."

"I like that!" said Ben, emphatically, when he had read the little hymn.
"I understand it, and I'll learn it right away. Don't see how she could
make it all come out so nice and pretty."

"Celia can do anything," and Thorny gave an all-embracing wave of the
hand, which forcibly expressed his firm belief in his sister's boundless
powers.

"I made some poetry once. Bab and Betty thought it was first-rate. _I_
didn't," said Ben, moved to confidence by the discovery of Miss Celia's
poetic skill.

"Say it," commanded Thorny, adding with tact, "_I_ can't make any to save
my life--never could; but I'm fond of it."

    "Chevalita,
     Pretty creter,
     I do love her
     Like a brother;
     Just to ride
     Is my delight,
     For she does not
     Kick or bite,"

recited Ben, with modest pride, for his first attempt had been inspired by
sincere affection and pronounced "lovely" by the admiring girls.

"Very good! You must say them to Celia, too. She likes to hear Lita
praised. You and she and that little Barlow boy ought to try for a prize,
as the poets did in Athens. I'll tell you all about it some time. Now, you
peg away at your hymn."

Cheered by Thorny's commendation, Ben fell to work at his new task,
squirming about in the chair as if the process of getting words into his
memory was a very painful one. But he had quick wits, and had often
learned comic songs; so he soon was able to repeat the four verses without
mistake, much to his own and Thorny's satisfaction.

"Now we'll talk," said the well-pleased preceptor, and talk they did, one
swinging in the hammock, the other rolling about on the pine-needles, as
they related their experiences boy-fashion. Ben's were the most exciting,
but Thorny's were not without interest, for he had lived abroad for
several years, and could tell all sorts of droll stories of the countries
he had seen.

Busied with friends, Miss Celia could not help wondering how the lads got
on, and, when the tea-bell rang, waited a little anxiously for their
return, knowing that she could tell at a glance if they had enjoyed
themselves.

"All goes well so far," she thought, as she watched their approach with a
smile, for Sancho sat bolt upright in the chair which Ben pushed, while
Thorny strolled beside him leaning on a stout cane newly cut. Both boys
were talking busily, and Thorny laughed from time to time, as if his
comrade's chat was very amusing.

"See what a jolly cane Ben cut for me. He's great fun if you don't stroke
him the wrong way," said the elder lad, flourishing his staff as they came
up.

"What have you been doing down there? You look so merry, I suspect
mischief," asked Miss Celia, surveying them from the steps.

"We've been as good as gold. I talked, and Ben learned a hymn to please
you. Come, young man, say your piece," said Thorny, with an expression of
virtuous content.

Taking off his hat, Ben soberly obeyed, much enjoying the quick color that
came up in Miss Celia's face as she listened, and feeling as if well
repaid for the labor of learning by the pleased look with which she said,
as he ended with a bow:

"I feel very proud to think you chose that, and to hear you say it as if
it meant something to you. I was only thirteen when I wrote it, but it
came right out of my heart, and did me good. I hope it may help you a
little."

Ben murmured that he guessed it would, but felt too shy to talk about such
things before Thorny, so hastily retired to put the chair away, and the
others went in to tea. But later in the evening, when Miss Celia was
singing like a nightingale, the boy slipped away from sleepy Bab and Betty
to stand by the syringa-bush and listen, with his heart full of new
thoughts and happy feelings, for never before had he spent a Sunday like
this. And when he went to bed, instead of saying "Now I lay me," he
repeated the third verse of Miss Celia's hymn, for that was his favorite,
because his longing for the father whom he had seen made it seem sweet and
natural now to love and lean, without fear, upon the Father whom he had
not seen.

(_To be continued_.)



THE SWALLOW.

BY NATHAN HASKELL DOLE.

[Illustration]


    Of all the birds that swim the air
      I'd rather be the swallow;
    And, summer days, when days were fair,
      I'd follow, follow, follow
    The hurrying clouds across the sky,
    And with the singing winds I'd fly.

    My eager wings would need no rest
      If I were but a swallow;
    I'd scale the highest mountain crest
      And sound the deepest hollow.
    No forest could my path-way hide;
    No ocean plain should be too wide.

    I'd find the sources of the Nile,
      I'd see the Sandwich Islands,
    And Chimborazo's granite pile,
      And Scotland's rugged Highlands;
    I'd skim the sands of Timbuctoo;
    Constantinople's mosques I'd view.

    I'd fly among the isles of Greece,
      The pride of great Apollo,
    And circle round the bay of Nice,
      If I were but a swallow,
    And view the sunny fields of France,
    The vineyards merry with the dance.

    I'd see my shadow in the Rhine
      Dart swiftly like an arrow,
    And catch the breath of eglantine
      Along the banks of Yarrow;
    I'd roam the world and never tire,
    If I could have my heart's desire!



THE WILD MUSTANG.

BY CHARLES BARNARD.


All the horses we see in the streets, or along the country roads, are
tame. Such a thing as a real wild horse is hardly to be found anywhere,
save in certain places in Texas, California, and parts of South America.
Elsewhere, the horse is tame enough, and no one can remember, neither is
it told in any history or story book, when or where men first tamed him
and put a bit in his mouth. A long, long time ago, all the horses were
wild, but no one knows when that could have been, for, as long as men can
remember, they have had tame horses, dogs, cats, elephants, camels and
cattle.

Now, the curious part of this is that there are wild horses both in North
and South America at this day. They do not belong to any one in
particular, and run wild, without saddle or bridle, all the year round.
Yet they are not descendants of the original wild horses, for there was a
time when their fathers were good cavalry horses, and belonged to the
Spanish armies that invaded Mexico and Peru. When Europeans discovered the
two continents on this side of the world, such a thing as a horse was
totally unknown to the people living here, and, when they saw the Spanish
cavalry, they thought the horses and riders some new kind of animal.
Seeing the horses champ their brass bits, the people thought they were
eating gold. So they brought lumps of gold to see them eat it. The
soldiers slyly put the gold in their pockets, and said the horses had
eaten it up, and the natives were simple enough to believe this wonderful
story.

Many of the Spanish soldiers were killed in the wars with the Mexicans,
and their horses broke loose and ran away. Some of them may have been
caught again by the Mexicans, but many others escaped and were never
captured again, and ran wild through the country. The descendants of these
horses grew and multiplied and spread over parts of North and South
America, going south into the great plains or pampas, and north into the
prairie lands of Texas and the valleys of California. These horses still
run wild, and are the only really wild horses in the world. At the same
time, they may not precisely resemble the first real wild horses, for
their fathers were tame, and, perhaps, they still remember something of
this, and have strange legends among themselves of the old days when their
ancestors were good Spanish cavalry horses.

The early settlers that landed in other parts of the country, at New
Amsterdam, at Jamestown and Plymouth Bay, also brought tame horses with
them, and these, in turn, spread over North America, as the settlers moved
out toward the west. These horses are now called "American horses," to
distinguish them from the wild horses of Texas and California. The
American horses, in time, met the wild horses, and then men noticed that
they were very different animals. The wild horse is smaller and more
muscular, he has stronger and stouter limbs, a larger head, and a more
bushy mane and tail. His ears are longer and more inclined to lie back on
his head, his feet are smaller and more pointed in front, and his hair is
rougher and thicker. His color is often curiously mixed in black and white
dots and flecks, like some circus horses that you may have seen; and, if
his color is uniform, it is generally dark red or deep gray or mouse
color. These mustangs are quite wild, and have no fixed feeding-ground.
They scamper in droves over the rolling prairies and pampas, and sleep at
night in such dry places as they can find. They keep in companies for
protection against bears or other wild animals, and if they are attacked,
they put their noses together and form a circle with their heels out, as
if they had been told of the old Spanish fighting days, and of the
soldiers forming with their pikes solid squares to resist attacks of
cavalry.

They can defend themselves against the bears in this way, but against the
lightning and men they have no protection, except to run away as fast as
they can. A thunder storm, or a very high wind, fills them with terror,
and away they go at furious speed through the grass, and, at last,
disappear in a cloud of dust on the horizon.

The wild horse can run away from a man; but this protection fails at
times. The horse-catchers--or "vaqueros," as they are called--are famous
riders, and to see them capture a wild mustang is better than to go to a
circus. The vaquero puts a Spanish saddle on a tame horse, and starts out
to see what he can find. In front, on the high pommel of the saddle, he
hangs in large coils a leather rope, about a hundred feet long, and called
a lasso. It is made of strips of raw hide, braided by hand into a smooth,
hard and very pretty rope. One end is secured to the saddle, and the other
end has a slip-knot making a sliding noose.

[Illustration: CAPTURING A WILD MUSTANG.]

The vaquero has not long to wait, for there are droves of horses cantering
or walking about over the swells and hollows of the prairie, with here
and there a smaller group looking on, or watching a battle between two
horses who wish to be captains of their bands or companies. Presently,
there is a strange sound of tramping hoofs, like the sound of a squadron
of cavalry, except that it has a grand, wild rush and swing such as no
cavalry ever had, and a cloud of dark heads rises over a swell of the
land. The leader sees the vaquero, and he halts suddenly, and the others
pull up in a confused crowd, and toss their heads, and sniff the air, as
if they scented danger near. The leader does not like the looks of things,
and turns and slowly canters away, followed by all the rest, tramping in
confusion through the yellow grass and wild barley. Presently they become
frightened, and away they fly in a dusty throng.

The vaquero's horse seems to think his chance has come, and he pricks up
his ears, and is eager for the glorious fun of a dash after the mustangs.
Away they go pell-mell, in a panic, and the tame horse galloping swiftly
after them. Down they tumble--some knocked over in the confusion, snorting
and flinging great flecks of foam from their dilated nostrils, trampling
over each other in mad haste, each for himself, and the American horse
sweeping after them. Now the vaquero stands up in his saddle, and the
lasso swings round and round in a circle over his head. Swish! It sings
through the air with a whirring sound, and opens out in great rings, while
the loop spreads wider and wider, and at last drops plump over the head of
a mustang. The vaquero's horse pulls up with a sudden halt, and sinks back
on his haunches, and braces his fore feet out in front. Ah! How the dust
flies! The mustang is fast, held by the slip-knot, and he rears up and
plunges in wild and frantic terror. The rope strains terribly, but the
vaquero watches his chances, and takes in the rope every time it slackens.
It is of no use! The poor mustang is hard and fast. Perhaps another rider
comes up and flings another lasso over his head. Then they ride round him,
and the mustang is twisted and tangled in the ropes till he can hardly
move. He falls, and rolls, and kicks furiously, and all in vain. Panting,
exhausted and conquered, he at last submits to his fate. His free days are
over, and he seems to know it. A few more struggles, and he recognizes
that man is his master, and, perhaps, in one or two days he submits to a
bit in his mouth, and becomes a tame horse for the rest of his life. If,
by any chance, he escapes before he is broken in, and runs away to join
his wild companions, he seems never to forget that terrible lasso, and if
he sees the vaquero again, he will stand, trembling and frightened, too
much terrified to even run away.

The wild mustangs of the far West are rapidly disappearing. As the
settlers come in, they capture them and tame them, so that in places where
once the wild horses roamed in great droves, hardly one is now to be seen,
and the much better American horse has taken his place. This picture shows
two vaqueros in South America just making a capture. They came out from
the plantation under the palm-trees, and the powerful white mustang has
just felt the pull of the lasso round his splendid neck. Poor fellow! It
is hard, but it will soon be over, and then he will one day enjoy chasing
others quite as much as the splendid black horse has enjoyed the exciting
chase after him.



APRIL'S SUNBEAM.

BY JOY ALLISON.


    "Here's a warm sunbeam, Daisy, Daisy;
      April sent it to wake you, dear!
     How can you be so lazy, lazy?
      Haven't you heard that Spring is here?"

     Daisy murmured, sleepy and surly:
     "Spring's too young yet--the air is cool;
     I don't believe in a sun so early,--
      He's just playing at April fool!"



[Illustration: EASTER LILIES.]

OLD NICOLAI.

BY PAUL FORT.


One fine summer morning, many years ago, there sat upon a log, in a garden
in Russia, an old man, who was mending a rake. The rake was a wooden one,
and he was cutting a tooth to take the place of one that was broken. He
was a stout, healthy old fellow, dressed in a coarse blue blouse and
trousers; and as he sat on the log, whittling away at the piece of wood
which was to become a rake-tooth, he sang, in a voice that was somewhat
the worse for wear, but still quite as good a voice as you could expect an
old gardener to have, a little song. He sang it in Russian, of course, and
this was the way it ran:

    "Zvoeri raboti ne znaiut
     Ptitzi zhivut bes truda
     Liudi ne zvoeri ne ptitzi
     Liudi rabotoi zhivut."

Expressed in English, this ditty simply set forth the fact that the beasts
and the birds do not labor, but Man, who is neither a beast nor a bird, is
obliged to work.

The old fellow seemed to like the lines, for he sang them over several
times, as he went on with his whittling. Just as he was about to make a
new start on his "Zvoeri raboti," a boy, about fifteen years old, came
out of the house which stood by the side of the garden, and walked toward
him.

"Nicolai Petrovitch," said the boy, sitting down on a wheelbarrow, which
was turned over in front of the gardener, "why is it that you are so fond
of singing that song? One might suppose you are lazy, but we know very
well you are not. And then, too, there is no sense in it. Birds don't
work, to be sure, but what have you to say about horses and oxen? I'm sure
they work hard enough--at least, some of them."

"Martin Ivanovitch," said the old man, as he took up the rake and tried
the new tooth, to see if it would fit in the hole, "this stick will have
to be cut down a good deal more; it is hard wood. What you say about the
beasts is very true. But I like that song. It may not be altogether true,
but it is poetry, and it pleases me."

"You like poetry, don't you?" said Martin.

"Yes, indeed, little Martin, I like poetry. If it had been possible, I
should have been a poet myself. I often think very good poetry, but as I
cannot read or write, there is no sense in my trying to make use of any of
it."

"But how did you learn to like poetry, as you cannot read?" asked Martin.

"Oh! I heard a great deal of very good poetry when I was a young man, and
then I learned to like it. And I remembered almost all I heard. Now, my
daughter Axinia reads poetry to me every Sunday, but I do not remember it
so well."

"What kind of poetry suits you best?" asked the boy, who seemed to be
tired of studying, or working, or perhaps playing, and therefore glad to
have a quiet talk with the old man.

"I like all kinds, Martin Ivanovitch. I used to sing a great deal, and
then I liked songs best. I think you have heard me sing some of my good
songs."

"Oh yes!" said Martin, "I remember that song about the young shepherdess,
who wanted to give her sweetheart something; and she could not give him
her dog, because she needed him, nor her crook, because her father had
given it to her, nor one of her lambs, because they all belonged to her
mother, who counted them every day, and so she gave him her heart."

"Yes, yes," said old Nicolai, smiling; "I like that song best of all. I
should be proud to have written such poetry as that. He must have been a
great poet who wrote that. But I do not hear many songs now. My little
Axinia is reading me a long poem. It is called the 'Dushenka.' Perhaps you
have heard of it?"

"Oh yes!" said Martin.

"Well, she is reading that to me. She likes it herself, I do not
understand it all; but what I do understand, I like very much. It is good
poetry. It must have been a grand thing to write such poetry as that," and
the old man laid down his knife and his stick, and took off his cap, as if
in involuntary homage to the author of "Dushenka," which is one of the
standard poems in Russian literature.

"You were not a gardener when you were a young man, were you, Nicolai
Petrovitch?" asked Martin.

"O no! But long before you were born I became a gardener. When I was a
young man I had a good many different employments. Being a serf, I paid a
yearly sum to my master, and then I went where I pleased. Sometimes I was
well off, and sometimes I was badly off. I have been out on the lonely
steppes in winter, often only three or four of us together, with our
horses and carts, when the snow came down so fast, and the wind blew so
fiercely, that we could scarcely make our way through the storm; and even
the colts that were following us could hardly keep their feet in the deep
drifts. Sometimes, we would lose our way in these storms,--when we could
see nothing a hundred feet from us,--and then we should have wandered
about until we died, if we had not given up everything to the horses. They
could always find their way home, even in the worst storms. And then,"
said old Nicolai, knocking from the rake a tooth that was cracked (for the
new one was finished and hammered in), "I used to drive a sledge on a
post-road. That was harder, perhaps, than plunging through the snow-storms
on the steppes, for I used to have to drive sometimes by day and sometimes
by night, in the coldest weather; and a wind that is cold enough when you
are standing still, or going along the same road that it is taking, is
fifty times worse when you are driving, as fast as you can, right into the
teeth of it. I used to be glad enough when we reached a post-house and I
could crowd myself up against the great brick stove and try and get some
little feeling into my stiffened fingers. The winter that I drove a sledge
was the worst winter I have ever known. I did not care to try this hard
life another season, so I went to Moscow, and there I became servant to a
young fellow who was the greatest fool I ever knew."

"What did he do?" asked Martin. "Why was he a fool?"

"Oh! he was a boy without sense--the only Russian boy I ever knew who had
no sense at all. If he had belonged to some other nation, I should not
have wondered so much. This fellow was about fifteen or sixteen, and ought
to have known something of the world, but he knew nothing. He was going to
the university when I was with him, but you might have thought he was a
pupil at a mad-house. Whatever came into his cracked brain, came out of
his mouth; and whatever he wanted to do, he did, without waiting to think
whether it would be proper or not. The biggest fool could cheat him; and
when anybody did cheat him, and his friends found it out and wanted to
punish the rascal, this little fool of mine would come, with tears in his
eyes, to beg for the poor wretch, who must feel already such remorse and
such shame at being found out! Bah! I can hardly bear to think of him.
Why, there was once a house afire, in a neighborhood where one of his
friends lived, and what does this young fool do but jump out of his bed,
in the middle of a stormy night, and run to this fire, with nothing but
his night-clothes on!"

"This is very curious," said Martin, laughing. "Nicolai Petrovitch, do you
know----"

"Well, as I was going on to tell you," said the old man, who seemed
thoroughly wrapped up in his subject, "I couldn't stand any such folly as
that, and so I soon left him and went to live with Colonel Rasteryaieff. I
stayed there a long, long time. There I became a gardener, and there I
learned almost all the poetry that I know. The colonel had a daughter, who
was a little child when I went there; but when she grew old enough, she
became a girl of great sense, and she liked poetry, and used to come and
read to me, out of the books she had. I always tried to get at some work
which would let me listen to her, during the hour that she would come to
me in the afternoon. She read better than my little Axinia. I used to wish
I was a poet, so that I could hear her read some of my songs."

"But, Nicolai Petrovitch," cried Martin, his eyes fairly sparkling with a
discovery he had made, "do you know that I believe that that fool of a
boy you lived with was the poet who wrote the songs and the poetry that
you like best--that he wrote the 'Dushenka,' which Axinia Nicolaievna is
reading to you?"

"What!" said the old gardener, laying down his knife and the piece of wood
he was cutting.

"I mean what I say," said Martin. "Wasn't his name Bogdanovitch?"

[Illustration: A STORM ON THE STEPPES.]

"Bog-dan-ovitch!" repeated Nicolai, his eyes wide open in surprise.
"Yes--that was his name. How did you know him? It was nearly fifty years
ago since I lived with him."

"Oh yes!" said Martin, still laughing, "it must have been that long ago. I
read his life only a short time since, in the edition of 'Dushenka' which
we have. It was surely Bogdanovitch whom you lived with. Why, Nicolai
Petrovitch, you ought to be proud of having had such a master! He was one
of our great poets. He wrote the song of the shepherdess, and he wrote the
'Dushenka.' He might have acted very simply when he was young, but he
certainly became a great poet."

"So he wrote the shepherdess song, did he?" said Nicolai.

"Yes, he wrote that, and many other good things, and he became quite a
famous man. Queen Catharine thought a great deal of him, and the people at
court paid him many honors. They did not consider him a fool, as you did.
If you would like to know all about what happened to this young boy who
was such a simpleton, I will lend you the book with his life in it, and
Axinia Nicolaievna can read it to you."

"My little Martin Ivanovitch," said the old man, picking up his knife and
the yet unfinished rake, "I do not believe that I ever could have become a
poet, even if I had known how to read and write. It would have been
impossible for me to have gone to a fire in my night-clothes!"



[Illustration]

THE PROFESSOR.

BY CLARENCE COOK.


The Professor seated himself at the luncheon-table with an air of
importance. He was twelve years old, but he might have been taken for six,
or even for three, he looked so wise. The children's nurse poured herself
out a cup of tea. The teapot was too full, and a large drop fell upon the
shining mahogany table. The Professor looked at the drop with evident
pleasure.

"Stop, nurse!" he cried, as she was about to wipe it up with her napkin.
"Let's see who can take up that tea without touching it, and leave the
table dry!"

"Thuck it up," said Pip.

"Mamma doesn't like you to drink tea," said nurse.

"Besides, that would be touching it," said Tom.

"Take it up with a thpoon," said Pip.

"You couldn't do it; it would spread all over," said the Professor.

"And that would be touching it just as much," said Bob.

"Don't fink it can be done!" said Pip, shaking her head.

"All shut your eyes," said the Professor. "You, nurse, shut yours, too.
Don't any of you look."

Nurse shut both her eyes, hard. Pip put her two fat little fists into her
eyes, and listened. Tom laid his head down sideways on the table, and
curled his arms round it. Bob declared that he wouldn't shut his eyes; he
was going to see that the Professor acted fair.

"Now open your eyes," said the Professor.

They all looked up, and there stood the sage, who had covered the drop
with a little blue bowl. He lifted the bowl, and, on the spot where had
been the drop of tea, stood a lump of loaf-sugar holding up the tea in its
paws, or pores, whichever you please.

Nurse picked up the lump of sugar and ate it. The table was as dry as a
bone.

"Oh, my!" said Pip.

       *       *       *

The Professor walked over to the window.

"Oh, nurse!" said he, "why don't you make Bridget wash this paint off the
glass?"

"She has tried to get it off," said nurse, "but she can't do it."

"What loths of little thpots!" said Pip.

"What careless fellows those painters were!" said Tom.

"Who knows how to get it off?" said the Professor.

"Take a thpunge and thum thope," said Pip.

"'T wont do," said nurse; "Bridget has tried."

"Oh, I know!" said Bob. "Kerosene!"

"Thath dangeruth," said Pip, "and thmells bad, bethides."

"Nurse," said the Professor, "what will you give me if I will show you how
to take it off?"

"I'll give you a cent," said nurse.

"Give me a cent and I'll do it," said the Professor. "But I must be paid
in advance." He took the cent. "Now look, all of you," he said; and,
laying it flat on the glass, he held it with the tips of the first and
second fingers, and rubbed it briskly over the pane. Off went the spots
like buckwheat cakes of a cold winter-morning!

"Oh, how nithe!" said Pip.

"Any feller could do that," said Bob.

"Yeth," said Pip, "if they'd theen anybody do it before."

       *       *       *

"Why, Tom!" cried nurse, "where did you get that paint on your sleeve?"

"There! I told Fred Mason he'd get me all over paint, if he didn't stop
fooling," said Tom.

"It'th a wewy big thpot," said Pip.

"It'll never come off," said Tom; "and it's my new jacket, too! Mason
pushed me against the door."

"Well," said the Professor, "there's no use crying over spilt milk."

"Oh," said Pip, "is it milk in the paint that makth it so white?"

"Nonsense, Pip! The thing to do now is to get the paint off Tom's coat.
Who knows how to do it?"

"Don't fink anybody duth," said Pip.

"Hold out your arm," said the Professor. And, with the sleeve of his own
coat, he briskly rubbed the sleeve of Tom's; and away went the spot of
paint in a jiffy.

"He's wubbed it onto his own thleeve," said Pip.

But no; the Professor's sleeve was as clean as Tom's.

"Where ith it went to?" said Pip. "Oh, nurse! Ithn't that thingler?"

"I say," said Bob, "you couldn't have got it off if it had dried on your
coat."

"Perhaps not," said the Professor.

       *       *       *

It was again luncheon-time, and Pip, Tom, and Bob were in the dining-room,
where nurse Charlotte, seated at the head of the table, was already
pouring herself out a cup of tea. She had cut bread and butter for the
children, filled their tumblers with milk, and was ready, when they should
be ready, to help them to the apple-and-sago pudding--"just the nithest
pudding in the world," as merry little Pip used to say every time it came
on table.

All the children were there but the Professor; the others did not know
where he was. Pip was the first one to see him coming across the lawn.

"How queer!" said Pip. "He'th all mud, and what hath he got in hith hand?"

"It's a turtle," says Tom.

"It'th a bird," says Pip.

"Perhaps it's a turtle-dove," says nurse.

"Should say 't was a mud-turtle by the looks of his legs," said Bob.

"Nurth, do turtle-doves live in the mud?" said Pip.

"Nonsense," said Bob, "as if birds ever lived in the mud!"

"Well," said Pip, "thum thwallows, I _know_, make their neths of mud, and
then they live in their neths, and that's living in mud. But here comth
the Profethor; let's see what heeth found. It's thumthin in a glath."

The Professor came up, walking very slowly across the grass; then stepped
carefully up upon the piazza, and, as he passed the window, he called for
some one to come and open the front door.

All the children ran together, and opened the door with such a flourish,
the Professor was obliged to call out, "Stand off! Hands off!"

"Will it splode?" said Pip.

"Will it bite?" said Bob.

"Will it fly away?" said Tom.

"It will splode," said the Professor, "and it will fly away; but it won't
bite."

"Oh my!" said Pip, "what can it be? I never heard of any creature
splodin!"

The Professor looked pleased; his face was red, his hair was tumbled, his
coat was torn, and his boots and trousers were muddy.

"You look as if you had had a hard time catching the creature, whatever it
is," said nurse. "You'd better leave it out-of-doors now, and clean
yourself, and come and eat your luncheon."

"Oh, please, nurse, let's see it now!" said all the children; and nurse,
who wanted to see it herself, agreed.

"You can't see it," said the Professor; "it's invisible! You can't see it
till it disappears!"

"Oh dear," said Pip, "I just ache to know about it."

"Well," said the Professor, "light mamma's wax-taper."

"I don't see what good lighting a taper will do, if the creature's
invisible," said Bob.

The Professor set his burden down on the table. It was a saucer filled
with water, and in the water stood a tumbler upside down. There was
nothing to be seen in the tumbler.

The Professor struck an attitude.

"What I have in this tumbler, nurse and children, was obtained with great
difficulty. I've been about it ever since lesson-time."

"Where did you find it?" says Pip.

"How came you to know about it?" says Tom.

"I should think it would be hard to catch nothing," says Bob.

"I found it in the water, in the little pool in our woods. I saw it first
the other night in the dark, and I caught it to-day when it was hiding. I
took a long stick and gently stirred up the dead leaves that lie rotting
on the bottom, and he began to come up--first one, then another--now here,
and now there."

"Ho! ho!" says Bob. "How could that be? How could _he_ come up in pieces,
and in different places?"

"Poor thing!" said Pip. "He wath dead!"

"Oh, if he's dead I don't care about him," says Bob.

"He's far from dead," said the Professor; "and though he was in pieces,
he's all together now, and safe in this tumbler." And then, seizing the
lighted taper, he turned up the tumbler, held the taper quickly to its
mouth, and--Pop! went something, with a quick flash.

"Oh, fire-works!" says Bob.

"Oh, tell us truly about it!" says Tom. "Where did you buy it? Let's have
some for the Fourth!"

"Children," said the Professor, "I have told you the truth about it. It's
gas. It's carbureted hydrogen. I found it in the pond. 'Carbureted
hydrogen' is its science name. Its poetry name is 'Will-o'-the-wisp,' and
there's another name besides."

"I should think two names were enough for nothing," says Bob.

"What'th the other name?" said Pip.

"_Ignis fatuus_," said the Professor. "It means 'Cheating-fire.' Sometimes
this gas, rising to the top of the water in bubbles, takes fire (by what
they call spontaneous combustion, or by mixing with some other gas, or in
some other way), and then, as one bubble after another takes fire and goes
flickering along, it looks as if some one were walking through the woods
with a lantern."

"And thath how it cheat-th, isn't it?" said Pip. "But I don't thee how it
is thet afire. Perhapth, now--perhapth it's the fire-flyth!"

"Oh, good for you!" said the Professor; and he chased her round the table,
and caught her, and kissed her.

"Well, how did you ever get it with that tumbler?" said Tom.

"Well, easy enough. First, I filled the tumbler with water. Then I laid
the saucer over the top. Then I plunged the whole under the water, holding
tumbler and saucer with both hands firm, and turned them over in the
water, and drew them out. The saucer, as well as the tumbler, was then
full of water, and though the tumbler was upside down the water couldn't
fall out."

"What hindered it, I'd like to know?" said Bob.

"Atmospheric pressure," said the Professor, pushing the words out slowly.
"The whole atmosphere weighs down on the water in the saucer and balances
the water in the tumbler and keeps it in."

"It had all leaked out before you reached home, anyway," said Bob.

"The gas pushed it out," said the Professor, "I told you how I stirred up
the bottom of the pool. It was all covered with dead leaves. These as they
rot give out gas, but it cannot easily escape from the bottom, and stays
down among the leaves and slime till it is stirred up. Then the little
bubbles of gas come popping up, and as they mount I am ready with my
tumbler and saucer. I slip them both softly into the water a little way
off, draw out the saucer, slide the inverted tumbler over the bubbles
before they break; and the gas mounts into the tumbler, each bubble of gas
displacing a little water; then over more bubbles, and more and more,
until all the water in the tumbler is out and the gas is in its place;
then I fill the saucer with water again, slide it under the tumbler, and
bring it home."

"Come to your luncheon, children," cried nurse. "The pudding will be
cold."

"Oh, wait a minute," said Tom. "You said the gas drove out the water in
the tumbler. Why don't it drive out the water in the saucer?"

The Professor looked puzzled.

"Well, it would in time, I suppose. But you see, its nature is to push
upward, because it's light----"

"Oh, now, it pushes the same every way," said Tom.

"There's something we don't know," said Bob.

"Oh, yeth, I am afwaid we don't know it all," said Pip.

"Well," drawled the Professor, "I don't know, only I guess it's because
the water is too dense--too close together, for one thing; and the same
atmospheric pressure that kept the water in keeps the gas in, for
another."

"There, I do believe that's it," said Pip. "Oh, how nice it did pop off!
Like a vewy small fwier-cracker a great way off. Now let's have some
pudding. Apple and sago! Just the nithest pudding in the world!"



    One day an ant went to visit her neighbor;
    She found her quite busy with all sorts of labor;
    So she didn't go in, but stopped at the sill;
    Left her respects, and went back to her hill.



[Illustrations: MOUSIE'S ADVENTURES FROM GARRET TO CELLAR.]



FOUR CHARADES.[A]

BY C. P. CRANCH.


I.

    When swiftly in my first you glide along,
      Naught ruffles up the temper of your mind;
    All goes as smoothly as a summer song,
      All objects flit beside you like the wind.

    But if you should be stopped in your career,
      And forced to linger when you fain would fly,
    You'll leave my first, and, very much I fear,
      Will fall into my second speedily.

    Till in some snug and comfortable room
      Your friends receive you as a welcome guest,
    You'll own that Winter's robbed of half his gloom,
      When on my whole your feet in slippers rest.


II.

MY FIRST.


    I sunder friends, yet give to laws
    A place to stand and plead their cause.
    Though justice and sobriety
    Still find their safest ground in me,
    I spread temptation in man's way,
    And rob and ruin every day.


MY SECOND.

    Success and power are in my name,
    Men strive for me far more than fame.
    One thing I am unto the wise,
    But quite another in fools' eyes,
    Through me the world is rich and strong,
    Yet too much love of me is wrong.


MY WHOLE.

    My first and second when they meet,
    As lawyers' fees, my whole complete.
    And yet my first too oft enjoyed,
    Is sure to make my second void.
    My whole is good and bad by turns,
    As every merchant daily learns.


III.

    My first the stout Hibernian wields
    On banks and streets and stubborn fields,
    To earn the bread that labor yields.

    My second is a name for one
    Whose youth and age together run,
    A leader all good people shun.

    My whole in summer-time is sweet,
    When youths and maids together meet
    Beneath some shady grove's retreat.

    (So simple is this short charade,
    That I am very much afraid
    You'll guess at once, without my aid.)


IV.

    When I was a little boy, how welcome was my first;
    When tired of play I went to bed, my lessons all rehearsed.
    How soundly all the night I slept, without a care or sorrow,
    And waked when sunshine lit the room, and robins sang good-morrow.

    When I was a little boy, what joy it was to see
    My second waiting at the door for Willy and for me;
    And how we trotted off to bring ripe apples from the farm,
    And piled our bags on Nellie's back, nor felt the least alarm.

    But when I was a little boy, I had an ugly dream,
    A huge black bear was in my bed, I gave a dreadful scream,
    And roused the house; they brought in lights, and put my whole to
         flight,
    Since then I made a vow to eat no supper late at night.


    [A] The answers will be given in the "Letter-Box" for May, 1878.



WISE CATHERINE AND THE KABOUTERMANNEKEN.

BY HOWARD PYLE.


In old times, there was once a quaint little dwarf, who was known as the
Kaboutermanneken of Kaboutermannekensburg.

In the very ancient times of good King Broderic and Frederic Barbarossa,
he constantly lived above ground, and many times was seen trudging along
through the moonlit forest with a bag over his shoulder. What was in the
bag nobody exactly knew, but most people supposed it to be gold.

The Kaboutermanneken was a peppery little fellow, and at the slightest
word his rage would fire up hotly. Since he was quite able, small as he
was, to thrash the strongest man, he was very generally avoided.

It is a well-assured fact that, as churches increase, dwarfs and
elfin-folk diminish; so, at last, when the town of Kaboutermannekensburg
was founded, and a church built, the Kaboutermanneken was fairly driven to
the wall, or, rather, into the ground, where he lived in the bowels of the
earth, and only appeared at intervals of a hundred years. But, upon the
last day that terminated each of these series of a hundred years, he would
re-appear in his old haunts, and, I believe, continues the practice to the
present day, in spite of railroads, steam-engines, and all the
paraphernalia of progress, so destructive to fairy lore.


I.--THE GOLDEN CUP.

Once upon a time, after the Kaboutermanneken's visits had become events of
such rarity, there lived a worthy wood-chopper, who had a daughter named
Catherine; a pretty little maiden of sixteen, and yet the wisest woman in
the kingdom of Kaboutermannekensburg. Shrewd as she was, she had yet the
best, the kindest, and the most guileless heart in the world; and many a
sick man, troubled woman, and grieved child had cause to bless her and her
wisdom. One winter, when labor was cheap and bread expensive, the
wood-chopper, whose name was Peter Kurtz, chopped his hand instead of the
stump he was aiming a blow at, and, in consequence, rendered himself unfit
for work for many a day. During his sickness, the whole care of the family
devolved upon Kate; for Peter's wife had died nearly two years before; so
it was Kate who tended the baby, dressed Johann, mended Wilhelm's
small-clothes, and attended to the wants of her father; for in those days
a sick man was more complaining than a child two years old. Beside these
acts of labor, she had to cook the meals, wash the dishes, sweep the
house, run of errands, chop the wood, make the fire, and many other little
odd duties of the kind; so that, upon the whole, her time was pretty well
occupied.

There seemed a probability now, however, that one of these duties would be
dispensed with, namely, cooking the meals; not that there was any
indolence upon Catherine's part, but because the necessary materials were
not forthcoming. Indeed, the extent of the larder at present consisted of
half a bowl of cold gravy, and about a quarter of a loaf of bread.

When Catherine, that cold morning, inspected the woeful emptiness of the
cupboard, she wrung her cold blue hands in despair; but, wring her poor
little hands ever so much, she could not squeeze good bread and meat out
of them; something must be done, and that immediately, if she would save
the children from starving. At length she bethought herself that many rich
people of Kaboutermannekensburg were fond of burning pine-cones instead of
rough logs, not only on account of the bright, warm and crackling fire
they produced, but also because of the sweet resinous odor that they threw
out, filling the house with a perfume like that which arose from the
censers in the cathedral.

It was woeful weather for Catherine to go hunting for pine-cones. The snow
lay a good foot deep over the glossy brown treasures, and she herself was
but thinly clad; yet the children must have bread. Not having eaten any
breakfast that morning, she slipped the remnant of the loaf into the
basket to serve as lunch, and then started to face the wind toward the
forest.

Bitterly cold blew the wind from the bleak north; tearing through the
moaning pine forest, that tossed and swayed before the tempest, gnawing
Catherine's nose and fingers, and snatching up, as it were, handfuls of
snow, and hurling them in a rage through the air. Poor Catherine was
nearly frozen, yet she struggled bravely on through the drifting snow.
Suddenly she caught sight of a quaint little cottage that she had never
seen before, much as she had traveled this portion of the forest; but a
more welcome sight still was the gleam of a cheery fire within, that
illuminated the frost-covered panes with a ruddy glow.

Catherine, stumbling, sliding, struggling through the drifts, reached the
cottage at last, raised the latch, and entered a door-way so low that even
she, small as she was, had to stoop her head in passing.

"Shut the door!" shrieked a shrill voice, with startling abruptness; and,
for the first time, Kate perceived a very little old man seated in a very
large chair, and smoking a very long pipe. A great beard reached below his
dangling feet and touched the floor.

[Illustration: "A VERY LITTLE OLD MAN SEATED IN A VERY LARGE CHAIR."]

"May I warm myself at your fire, kind gentleman?" said Kate, dropping a
courtesy. The little old man grunted without looking at her.

"May I warm myself at your fire, sir?" repeated Kate, in a louder voice,
supposing he must be deaf.

"I heard you!" growled the old dwarf, with sudden rage. "You don't suppose
I'm deaf, do you? I said yes. You don't want to argue, do you?"

Kate murmured her thanks, feeling much astonished and very uncomfortable
at the old gentleman's conduct. Thus they sat in silence for a long while,
the little old man smoking like a volcano. At length:

"Are you hungry?" said he, abruptly.

"Yes, sir," said Kate, bethinking herself of her bread.

"So am I!" said the old man, shortly, at the same time resuming his
smoking. Removing his pipe after another pause, "I haven't had anything to
eat for one hundred years; I feel kind of empty," said he.

"I should think so," thought Kate to herself; then, after regarding him in
silence for a few minutes, she said, timidly, "I--I have a--a piece of
bread in my basket, sir, if you would like to have it?"

"Like to have it? You speak as though you had no sense. Of course, I
should like to have it! Why didn't you offer it to me sooner?"

Kate, in spite of her hunger, that had recommenced gnawing her, now that
she was warm, handed him the piece of bread. The old man seized it
ravenously, opened his mouth to an astonishing extent, bolted the large
morsel as one does a pill, and then resumed his smoking as though nothing
of any note had occurred. Kate regarded him with silent astonishment.

"What are you doing out in this kind of weather?" said the old man,
suddenly.

"I came to gather pine-cones to sell in the town," said Kate.

"You're a fool!" snapped the old man. "How do you suppose you can gather
pine-cones in twelve inches of snow, not to mention the drifts?"

"Nevertheless, sir, I have to get the children something to eat, and
father----"

"Oh! don't bother me with that story!" said the old man, impatiently. "I
know all about it. Your father's Peter Kurtz, isn't he?"

"Yes, sir."

"Umph!" grunted the dwarf. Then, after another pause, "go to the closet
yonder, and take one of the cups there, in return for the bread you gave
me."

"Indeed, sir," said Kate, earnestly, "I do not care for any return
for----"

"Do as I tell you!" bellowed the dwarf, in a fury.

Kate crossed the room, opened the cupboard, and--what a sight met her
eyes! All the dishes, bowls, cups and saucers were of pure gold.

"Take one of the cups?" said Kate, in breathless doubt.

"That's what I said, wasn't it?" snarled the dwarf. "You are just like all
women, never contented with what you receive."

Catherine was far too wise to answer foolish abuse with useless excuse;
she silently took one of the beautiful cups and put it in her basket. She
was so overcome that she did not think of any word of thanks until she had
reached the door; then, turning: "May heaven bless you, sir, for----"

"Shut the door!" screamed the dwarf.

Kate hurried home, but before reaching the town she wisely covered the cup
with snow, that no gossiping neighbor might catch sight of it; for she
well knew that gossip was like the snow-ball that the little boys start
rolling from the top of a hill--small in the commencement, but sure to
grow before it ends its course.

"Where have you been all this time?" whined Peter.

When Kate recounted her adventure, her father could hardly believe her,
and when she had carefully removed the snow from the cup, he could hardly
believe his eyes. He placed it upon the table, and then, sitting down in
front of it, he examined it with breathless astonishment and delight.

The cup was of solid gold, heavy and massive; carved upon it in bold
relief was a group of figures representing a host of little elves at a
banquet. So exquisitely were they engraved that they appeared actually to
move, and it seemed as though one could almost hear their laughter and
talk. A glittering, carved golden snake, curled around the brim of the
cup, served as a handle; its eyes were two diamonds. After Peter Kurtz had
feasted his eyes upon this treasure for a long time, he arose suddenly,
and, without saying a word, wrapped up the cup in a napkin, drew his cowl
more closely around his face, and, taking his staff, prepared to leave the
house.

"Where are you going, father?" said Kate.

"I am going," said Peter, "to take this cup to our master, the Baron von
Dunderhead; that will be far more to our advantage than selling it to some
petty goldsmith or other."

"Take care what you do, father!" said Kate, quickly. "I foresee that
danger will come of it, if you fulfill your intention."

"Bah!" said Peter, and, without deigning another word, he marched out of
the house; for Peter, like a great many men in those days, had a very poor
opinion of the feminine intellect, and a very good opinion of his own. So
off he marched boldly toward castle Dunderhead.

When Peter presented the golden cup to the baron, with a low bow, that
nobleman could not find sufficient words to express his admiration. He
sighed with rapture, and examined the cup from every side with the utmost
minuteness.

"Give this worthy man," said he, "four bags of guilders; money is nothing
to the acquisition of such a treasure of beauty."

Here Peter secretly hugged himself, and chuckled at his daughter's
warning. Meanwhile, the baron examined the cup with huge satisfaction.
Suddenly turning to Peter, "Where is the saucer?" said he.

"The saucer?" repeated Peter, blankly. "Please you, my lord, it never had
a saucer!"

"Never had a saucer?" repeated the baron. "You don't mean to tell me that
such a cup as that was ever made without a saucer to go with it!"

[Illustration: "HE EXAMINED WITH ASTONISHMENT AND DELIGHT."]

"Nevertheless, my lord, _I_ have no saucer," said Peter, humbly.

"You are deceiving me," said the baron, sternly. Then, fixing his eye upon
poor Peter, "Where did you get that cup?" said he, abruptly. "Me-thinks
you are rather a poor man to possess such a treasure."

"Oh, good my lord!" cried poor Peter, "I will tell you the whole truth. An
old man in the forest gave it to my daughter Kate."

"Do you expect me to believe such a story as that?" exclaimed the baron.
"You stole it, you thief!" he roared, at the same time seizing Peter by
the collar. "Ho! guards! Arrest this man, and throw him into the dungeon,"
cried he to his attendants.

"Mercy! mercy, my lord!" cried poor Peter, falling on his knees. But the
guards dragged him off in spite of his cries, and popped him into a
dungeon, where he was left to meditate over his folly in not heeding his
daughter's advice.


II.--THE GOOSE THAT WAS TO LAY THE GOLDEN EGG.

Catherine waited anxiously for her father's return, but her fears told her
all when night came and he came not.

After she had put the children to bed, having given them each a piece of
bread, which she had borrowed from a kind neighbor, she threw a shawl
around her head and started off in the direction of Castle Dunderhead,
where her fears told her only too plainly her father was. The bars of the
dungeon windows came upon a level with the ground, like those of a cellar.

"Father!" murmured Catherine.

"Oh, Kate!" was the response, followed immediately by the sound of violent
crying, and Catherine knew her father was there. "Oh, Kate! if I--I had
but l-listened to you!" sobbed the poor fellow; for, now that the
discovery was too late to avail him, he felt perfectly sure of his
daughter's superior intelligence. Then, with much sobbing, he recounted
all the particulars of his interview with the baron. "Can't you do
something to get your poor old father out?" continued he.

Kate was thoughtful for a moment. "I'll try, father," said she, at length;
and, bidding him a hasty adieu, she hurried off. She ran, without
stopping, to where the little cottage stood in the forest; but, as you
have already probably guessed, the old man was the Kaboutermanneken, his
day's visit was over, and he had descended once more into the obscurity of
the earth; consequently Catherine, much to her perplexity, could not
discover the little cottage. After vainly seeking for some time, she at
length saw the hopelessness of her task, and wended her way sorrowfully
homeward. She lay awake nearly all night, vainly cudgeling her brains for
some plan by which to deliver her father from his confinement. At length
an idea occurred to her, and, smiling to herself, she turned on her pillow
and fell asleep until the sun shining in her eyes awakened her. Then,
arising, she donned her best frock and neatest cap, and proceeded to the
Castle Dunderhead. She was directly presented to the baron.

"My lord!" said she, falling upon her knees.

"Well, my pretty damsel," said he; for Kate looked very sweet in her saucy
cap.

"My lord," continued she, and the tears rose to her eyes as she spoke;
"you have my father in custody."

"Ha!" exclaimed the baron, frowning,--"Peter Kurtz?"

"Yes, my lord."

"Bring forth Peter Kurtz!" cried the baron to the guard, and soon Peter
made his appearance, crying like a good fellow. "Now that I have you
confronted with each other," continued the baron, "where did your father
get that cup?"

"_He_ did not get it, my lord; an old man in the forest gave it to me,"
answered Catherine.

"Humph!" grunted the baron. "Your father has taught you prettily."

"My lord," resumed Catherine, "I came to buy my father's liberty."

"Ha!" cried the baron, eagerly, "have you brought the saucer?"

"No, my lord." The baron's countenance fell. "But, if you release my
father, we have a goose at home that I will give you, and every egg it
will lay for you shall be of pure gold." The baron's countenance lifted
again. "This, my lord, I offer you."

Peter's eyes had been opening in wide astonishment as Kate proceeded.

"Why, Kate," exclaimed he, "_I_ don't know about----"

"Be quiet, father!" said Catherine.

The baron thought Peter's exclamation arose from his regret at parting
with such a treasure; so his eagerness arose in proportion.

"Can you swear to the truth of this?" asked the baron.

"I can!" said Kate, firmly.

Peter could contain himself no longer.

"Why, Kate! how can you----"

"Be quiet, father!" interrupted Catherine, again.

"He shall have his freedom," cried the baron, eagerly, "and the cup to
boot."

"We do not want the cup, my lord," answered wise Catherine.

"Yes, but we do!" cried Peter; for, as the prospect of his pardon
increased, respect for his daughter's wisdom diminished in direct ratio.

"You shall have it!" cried the baron; "release him, guards!"

"One thing more," said Catherine; "a proclamation must be issued stating
that you will never arrest my father again in connection with this
affair."

"It shall be done!" said the baron; upon which he dismissed them both with
the golden cup, which Peter had accepted in spite of his daughter's
protestations.

That same afternoon the proclamation was issued, and Catherine carried a
large gray goose to Castle Dunderhead.

"Father," said she, when she returned, "since you have accepted the golden
cup, you must leave this place, for the baron will always look enviously
upon you. Had you left it with him he would have paid no more attention to
you, but now it is different."

"Why so?" said Peter; "hasn't the baron given his promise that he will
never arrest me or mine again? And about that goose----"

[Illustration: "A PAGE WAS APPOINTED TO ESCORT IT."]

"Never mind the goose, father," interrupted Kate. "I say again that every
egg the goose lays _shall_ be of pure gold."

"Well, I'm sure I don't understand it," said Peter, testily; "and,
moreover, I am _not_ going to leave Kaboutermannekensburg. The idea of
_your_ trying to teach _me_ wisdom!"

"No, I could never do that," murmured Kate, with a sigh.

"No, I should think not, indeed!" said Peter, pompously.

The baron could not make enough of his goose. He had a splendid pen made
for it, of ebony inlaid with silver, the nest was of purest eider-down,
and a special page was appointed to escort it every morning to the water
and back. It was fed upon sweet herbs and sponge-cake; it grew enormously
fat; and, as time went on, its voice, its appetite, and its healthy
condition increased to an astonishing extent. Only one thing troubled the
baron, and that was it did not lay. Every day he himself went to the nest
expecting to find the much-looked-for golden egg, and every day he did
_not_ find it. So matters continued for a long time.

One morning, as Kate and her father were at breakfast, a squad of
soldiers, headed by the high-sheriff, marched into the house.

"Peter Kurtz and Catherine Kurtz, you are to consider yourselves under
arrest," said the sheriff.

"But the baron has issued a proclamation that he will never arrest me
again," said poor Peter.

"You are arrested," continued the sheriff, without paying the slightest
attention to Peter, "in the king's name, upon suit of the Baron von
Dunderhead, for obtaining goods under false pretense."

Catherine said never a word--not even "I told you so"--but submitted,
whilst poor Peter cried like a very child.

They were thrown into separate dungeons, in default of bail. Not many days
elapsed, however, before they were brought forth to be tried by the grand
tribunal.

The king sat upon a chair of state, with a learned judge at each side, to
decide the extraordinary cases that were brought before him.

Peter and Catherine were led up to the bar, the latter calm and collected,
the former weeping bitterly, and continually crying, "if I had but minded
her! if I had but minded her!"

This doleful cry, which was continued in spite of the violent
vociferations of "order in the court!" at length aroused the king's
curiosity, and he inquired what he meant. Amid many sobs, Peter contrived
to tell the king the whole story. "Had I minded," said he, in conclusion,
"when she advised me not to take the cup to the baron; had I minded when
she advised me not to receive it back again; or, had I minded when she
advised me to leave Kaboutermannekensburg, I had never gotten myself into
this trouble--miserable wretch that I am!" Here he commenced sobbing
afresh with great vehemence.

The king put on his spectacles and looked at Catherine. "Faith!" said he,
"thou art much wiser than most girls of thy age, and--ahem! very pretty,
too, I vow!" Then, turning to the baron, "Prefer your charge, baron," said
he. Hereupon the baron told how Catherine had given him the goose for her
father's freedom and the golden cup, and how she had sworn that every egg
it should lay would be of pure gold.

"Well," said the king, "did she forswear herself?"

"N-no, not exactly," hesitated the baron.

"I said that every egg it laid for you should be of pure gold, did I not?"
said Kate to the baron.

"Yes, you did," snarled the baron, whose anger was commencing to boil.

"And I say again," said Kate, calmly, "that every egg it lays for you
_shall_ be of pure gold."

"Well, then, what _is_ the matter?" said the king, scratching his nose in
great perplexity.

[Illustration: "THE KING SAT UPON A CHAIR OF STATE, WITH A LEARNED JUDGE
AT EACH SIDE."]

"Why, your majesty," bellowed the baron, losing all control of himself,
"_it is a gander_!"

The king burst into a roar of laughter.

"Faith!" said he, turning to Kate, "thou art the shrewdest maiden in the
world." Then, to the baron: "The maid was right, and every egg the goose
lays shall be of pure gold." And so Baron Von Dunderhead and his case were
dismissed.

Catherine had made a great impression upon the king, both on account of
her shrewdness and beauty; so, being a jolly monarch, he conceived the
notion of marrying her to the heir apparent. The heir apparent had no
objection, and so the ceremony was consummated with great state.

Even to this day the good folk of the kingdom of Kaboutermannekensburg
look back with longing to the time when Catherine the Wise was queen, and
ruled not only her husband, but his kingdom also.

As for Peter, he was appointed lord chief justice, for one did not have to
be very wise to be a judge in those days.



    Open the snowy little bed,
      And put the baby in it;
    Lay down her pretty curly head,
      She'll go to sleep in a minute.

    Tuck the sheet down round her neck,
      And cover the dimples over,
    Till she looks like a rose-bud peeping out
      From a bed of sweet white clover.



HOW THE STONE-AGE CHILDREN PLAYED.

BY CHARLES C. ABBOTT.


Not long since I wandered along a pretty brook that rippled through a
narrow valley. I was on the lookout for whatever birds might be wandering
that way, but saw nothing of special interest. So, to while away the time,
I commenced geologizing; and, as I plodded along my lonely way, I saw
everywhere traces of an older time, when the sparkling rivulet that now
only harbors pretty salamanders was a deep creek, tenanted by many of our
larger fishes.

How fast the earth from the valley's slopes may have been loosened by
frost and washed by freshet, and carried down to fill up the old bed of
the stream, we will not stop to inquire; for other traces of this older
time were also met with here. As I turned over the loose earth by the
brook-side, and gathered here and there a pretty pebble, I chanced upon a
little arrow-point.

[Illustration: THE HATCHET.]

Whoever has made a collection, be it of postage stamps or birds' eggs,
knows full well how securing one coveted specimen but increases eagerness
for others; and so was it with me, that pleasant afternoon. Just one
pretty arrow-point cured me of my laziness, banished every trace of
fatigue, and filled me with the interest of eager search; and I dug and
sifted and washed the sandy soil for yards along the brook-side, until I
had gathered at least a score of curious relics of the long-departed red
men, or rather of the games and sports and pastimes of the red men's hardy
and active children.

[Illustration: ARROW-HEADS.]

For centuries before Columbus discovered San Salvador, the red men (or
Indians, as they are usually called) roamed over all the great continent
of North America, and, having no knowledge of iron as a metal, they were
forced to make of stone or bone all their weapons, hunting and household
implements. From this fact they are called, when referring to those early
times, a stone-age people, and so, of course, the boys and girls of that
time were stone-age children.

But it is not to be supposed that because the children of savages they
were altogether unlike the youngsters of to-day. In one respect, at least,
they were quite the same--they were very fond of play.

Their play, however, was not like the games of to-day, as you may see by
the pictures of their toys. We might, perhaps, call the principal game of
the boys "Playing Man," for the little stone implements, here pictured,
are only miniatures of the great stone axes and long spear-points of their
fathers.

In one particular these old-time children were really in advance of the
youngsters of to-day; they not only did, in play, what their parents did
in earnest, but they realized, in part, the results of their playful
labor. A good old Moravian missionary, who labored hard to convert these
Indians to Christianity, says: "Little boys are frequently seen wading in
shallow brooks, shooting small fishes with their bows and arrows." Going
a-fishing, then, as now, was good fun; but to shoot fishes with a bow and
arrow is not an easy thing to do, and this is one way these stone-age
children played, and played to better advantage than most of my young
readers can.

Among the stone-age children's toys that I gathered that afternoon, were
those of which we have pictures. The first is a very pretty stone hatchet,
very carefully shaped, and still quite sharp. It has been worked out from
a porphyry pebble, and in every way, except size, is the same as hundreds
that still are to be found lying about the fields.

No red man would ever deign to use such an insignificant-looking ax, and
so we must suppose it to have been a toy hatchet for some little fellow
that chopped away at saplings, or, perhaps, knocked over some poor
squirrel or rabbit; for our good old Moravian friend, the missionary, also
tells us that "the boys learn to climb trees when very young, both to
catch birds and to exercise their sight, which, by this method, is
rendered so quick that in hunting they see objects at an amazing
distance." Their play, then, became an excellent schooling for them; and
if they did nothing but play it was not a loss of time.

The five little arrow-points figured in the second picture are among those
I found in the valley. The ax was not far away, and both it and they may
have belonged to the same bold and active young hunter. All of these
arrow-points are very neatly made.

The same missionary tells us that these young red men of the forest
"exercise themselves very early with bows and arrows, and in shooting at a
mark. As they grow up, they acquire a remarkable dexterity in shooting
birds, squirrels, and small game."

Every boy remembers his first pen-knife, and, whether it had one or three
blades, was proud enough of it; but how different the fortune of the
stone-age children, in this matter of a pocket-knife.

[Illustration: FLINT KNIFE.]

In the third picture is shown a piece of flint that was doubtless chipped
into this shape that it might be used as a knife.

I have found scores of such knives in the fields that extend along the
little valley, and a few came to light in my search that afternoon in the
brook-side sands and gravel. So, if this chipped flint is a knife, then,
as in modern times, the children were whittlers.

[Illustration: FISH-HOOKS.]

Of course, our boys nowadays would be puzzled to cut a willow whistle or
mend the baby's go-cart with such a knife as this; but still, it will not
do to despise stone cutlery. Remember the big canoe at the Centennial,
that took up so much room in the Government building. That boat, sixty
feet long, was made in quite recent times, and only stone knives and
hatchets were used in the process.

I found, too, in that afternoon walk, some curiously shaped splinters of
jasper, which at first did not seem very well adapted to any purpose; and
yet, although mere fragments, they had every appearance of having been
purposely shaped, and not of accidental resemblances to a hook or sickle
blade. When I got home, I read that perfect specimens, mine being
certainly pieces of the same form, had been found away off in Norway; and
Professor Nilsson, who has carefully studied the whole subject, says they
are fish-hooks.

Instead of my broken ones, we have in the fourth illustration some
uninjured specimens of these fish-hooks from Norway. Two are made of
flint, the largest one being bone; and hooks of exactly the same patterns
really have been found within half a mile of the little valley I worked in
that afternoon.

The fish-hooks shown in our picture have been thought to be best adapted
for, and really used in, capturing cod-fish in salt water, and perch and
pike in inland lakes. The broken hooks I found were fully as large; and so
the little brook that now ripples down the valley, when a large stream,
must have had a good many big fishes in it, or the stone-age fishermen
would not have brought their fishing-hooks, and have lost them, along this
remnant of a larger stream.

But it must not be supposed that only children in this by-gone era, did
the fishing for their tribe. Just as the men captured the larger game, so
they took the bigger fishes; but it is scarcely probable that the boys who
waded the little brooks with bows and arrows would remain content with
that, and, long before they were men, doubtless they were adepts in
catching the more valuable fishes that abounded, in Indian times, in all
our rivers.

So, fishing, I think, was another way in which the stone-age children
played.



THE MAN WHO DIDN'T KNOW WHEN TO STOP.

BY M. M. D.


[Illustration]

    A very fair singer was Mynheer Schwop,
    Except that he never knew when to stop;
    He would sing, and sing, and sing away,
    And sing half the night and all of the day--
          This "pretty bit" and that "sweet air,"
          This "little thing from Tootovère."
    Ah! it was fearful the number he knew,
    And fearful his way of singing them through.
    At first, the people would kindly say:
    "Ah, sing it again, Mynheer, we pray"--
          [This "pretty bit," or that "sweet air,"
          This "little thing from Tootovère"].
    They listened a while, but wearied soon,
    And, like the professor, they changed their tune.
    Vainly they coughed and a-hemmed and stirred;
    Only the harder he trilled and slurred,
    Until, in despair, and rather than grieve
    The willing professor, they took their leave,
          And left him singing this "sweet air,"
          And that "pretty bit from Tootovère;"
    And then the hostess, in sorry plight,
    While yet he sang with all his might,
    Let down the blinds, put out the light,
    With "Thanks, Mynheer! Good-night! good-night!"

    My moral, dear singers, lies plainly a-top:
    Be always obliging, and willing--to stop.
    The same will apply, my dear children, to you;
    Whenever you've any performing to do,
    Your friends to divert (which is quite proper, too),
    Do the best that you can--_and stop when you're through_.



PUCK PARKER. BY LIZZIE W. CHAMPNEY.


    "Boom-er-oom, a boom-er-oom, a boom, boom, boom!
     Zim-er-oom, a zim-er-oom, a zim, zim, zim!"

It was a familiar sound, that of the great bass-drum. Puck Parker and
Snarlyou and Kiyi had all heard it, time and time again. These little
friends lived in Paris during the late war between Germany and France,
when the German army was besieging the city, and soldiers were always
marching about to the sound of the drum. This morning all three of them
were at the kitchen door that opened into the corridor, which led into the
court where you had a view of the street. Snarlyou was a little white
Angora cat, and she puffed out her tail and waved it angrily over her back
as she snarled fiercely at Kiyi, who was a little Prussian pup. Unlike the
army he represented, he was getting the worst of the fray, and stood
yelping in a cowardly way behind the scraper. Puck was doing all he could
to encourage the dog by waving his porridge spoon at him, but it was of no
use.

[Illustration: "PUCK WAS LEANING OVER THE LITTLE GATE IN THE KITCHEN
DOOR."]

Puck Parker was a fat-faced little boy, who was leaning over the little
gate in the kitchen door. He had been very naughty this morning, having
run away with Kiyi, giving his nurse, Augustine, a regular hunt for him.
She found him at last, wandering quite independently in beautiful Park
Monceaux, a favorite resort for nurses and babies, where she had often
gone with him before; and she could have forgiven him easily enough for
running away, had he not sprawled himself upon the walk and kicked and
screamed so that she could scarcely get him home.

This Augustine was a peasant woman, and when a little girl she had tended
the sheep in the mountains of Auvergne, wearing the picturesque
peasant-costume and carrying her distaff with her. She now had two
children of her own, and every morning early before they were up she would
kiss them good-bye, leaving them in her sister's charge while she went to
take care of the little American boy, of whom she became very fond. She
would often tell stories to him and sing funny songs.

As we have said, Puck was leaning against the little gate which had been
placed across the door to keep him from running away, though it was of no
use now, for he was big enough to climb over it. Augustine, to punish him
for his naughtiness, as well as to guard against such a thing happening
again that morning, had undressed him, knowing that he would not be likely
to run away with nothing on but his little shirt.

At first, Puck was at a loss for amusement, and so wandered disconsolately
upstairs into his mamma's room. She was seated at his papa's writing-desk,
while in front of her lay lots of little cards, like this, "Mr. and Mrs.
Franklin Parker, P.P.C."

Some of these she put into small envelopes, directed to people that she
knew, and the rest she shut up in her card-case.

"What are those?" asked Puck.

"These are cards," said his mother, "which your papa and I are sending to
our friends, to let them know that we are going away from the city. The
letters 'P.P.C.' in the corner stand for '_Pour prendre congé_,' which is
French for 'To take leave.'"

"Is oo doin away," asked Puck, "an' me too?"

"Yes, you are going with us," replied his mother.

"Den me wants some tards, too," said the little fellow; and Mrs. Parker,
taking a number of blank cards, wrote upon them, "Puck Parker, P.P.C."

[Illustration: "UP IN A BALLOON."]

Cramming his mother's work-basket upon his comical little head, he seized
his cards and trudged away to distribute them among his friends. If he
could only have gone out-of-doors, he could have found friends enough to
have given them to; but he knew that Augustine would not relent so soon,
and so contented himself with carrying them down to Snarlyou and Kiyi. But
they were both out in the court, and would not come to him, even when he
dropped porridge on the steps to tempt them.

Puck did not have many opportunities to distribute his cards, for the next
day, while he was at dinner with his father and mother, they all heard a
sound which went

    "Boom-er-oom, a boom-er-oom!
     A boom! boom! boom!"

It sounded as if some one was playing an immense bass-drum, a long way
off, and playing very slowly.

"Listen!" Puck's father explained. "It is time we were off; there are the
cannon again, outside of the city."

And so that very afternoon they left Paris. Can you guess how? Not by the
railway, or by boat, or by omnibus, or by any ordinary means of travel.
Guess again--something queer this time. Not perched on the back of a
dromedary, or sent by express labeled "This side up with care, C. O. D.,"
or telegraphed, or shot through the air in a bomb-shell, though the last
is something like it. Yes, you are right now; they _did_ go by balloon.

There were Puck and his father and his mamma, and an accomplished aëronaut
to guide the balloon, which was one of the best kind, and, as the
professor said, perfectly easy to manage. You know, perhaps, that during
the siege of Paris it was almost impossible for any one to leave the city
unless he went up in a balloon, and floated off above the besieging army.
A great many persons escaped from Paris in this way.

Poor Augustine was very sorry to lose little Puck, who gave her one of his
cards when he bade her good-bye; and Kiyi set up a doleful howl when they
all left the court, as though he knew he should never see them again.

When everything was ready, the balloon rose into the air, and Puck nestled
down in his mother's arms and watched the ground and the roofs of the
houses sink away beneath him. That is, he looked over the side of the car
once, and saw them falling; but it made him dizzy, and he did not try it
again. His mother saw the sick look about her little boy's mouth, and
said, pleasantly:

"Isn't it nice? It's better than having wings. And then you can make
believe you are in a big ship; see all those ropes stretching away up
there; they look just like rigging."

Puck gave a quick, frightened glance up, then shuddered and said, faintly:

"Yes, it's awful nice; but me's 'fraid, and _so_ cold."

The cold was, indeed, intense; and his mamma wrapped Puck as warmly as she
could in a shawl, and held him tightly, and very soon he was fast asleep.
When he awoke, he found that his mother was also asleep, and his father
was holding him. He had forgotten all about the balloon while he was
asleep, and so looked dazed and startled when he opened his eyes; and his
father, to keep up his failing courage, sang cheerily:

    "Up in a balloon, boys,
       Up in a balloon,
     All among the little stars
       That twinkle round the moon."

"Don't see any stars crinkle," said Puck; "nuffin but ugly gray fog."

His mother awoke just then, and she caught her breath with a gasp as she
looked up, for all the rigging of the imaginary ship had disappeared, and
a dense fog was folded close around them. The balloon seemed, too, to have
met with a new current of wind, for it was rushing along with fearful
velocity, whither,--even the professor himself could not guess. Looking
downward, they saw the same impenetrable fog, and the professor concluded
to let the balloon drift on in its course for a while.

Presently, Puck exclaimed: "Mamma, don't oo hear ze bears g'owl?" For some
time, the others had heard a low menacing grumble. It sounded like the
roar of machinery, with the falling of a heavy trip-hammer at regular
intervals, and it seemed possible that they were in the vicinity of a
manufacturing town. There was a little light in the eastern horizon, and
Puck suddenly exclaimed, "T'ere's anoder b'loon!" It was the full moon,
instead, that rose majestically, and the fog seemed to be disappearing.
Looking down, the professor thought he could see the land, and he allowed
the balloon to slowly descend. By and by, they could all see that the
ground was marked with white streaks and spots, which they supposed to be
snow.

Lower and lower sank the balloon, and still Puck's bears continued to
"g'owl."

Suddenly, the professor uttered an exclamation of horror--only two words,
"The sea!" But they sounded like a sentence of doom to the travelers. They
were floating over a wide and angry sea!

The professor threw overboard a bag of ballast, and the balloon darted
upward again into space. Where were they? Was it the Bay of Biscay, the
North Sea, the English Channel, or the open Atlantic?

Very soon, the balloon began to descend again. The roar of the waves was
louder than ever, and they beat the same tune that the great bass-drum and
the cannon had played:

    "Boom-er-oom, a boom-er-oom!
     A boom! boom! boom!"--

for they were striking against a rocky wall, and the white cliffs of Dover
rose ghostly in the moonlight before them.

The professor threw overboard his last bag of ballast; Puck hid his face
in his mother's dress, while she, in the presence of that mighty danger,
sang a hymn. Mrs. Parker was one of the singers in the choir of a church
at Paris, and her voice had been much admired; but she had never sung
before as she sang now. Her voice was sustained instead of drowned by the
roar of the sea, and was re-echoed back from the rocky cliff marvelously
clear and pure, as she sang "Save me, O God, from waves that roll."

Slowly the balloon seemed to climb that sheer, chalky precipice,
frightening the sleepy sea-gulls from their nests, but never grazing
against the wall, as it seemed as if it inevitably must. Slowly it reached
the summit, paused a moment poised over the edge, then swept landward a
little way, when the guide-rope (which had been dragging in the water)
caught on the rocks, and it stopped. The professor opened the
escape-valve, and they alighted from the car, and then walked to the brink
of the abyss and, silently and solemnly, looked down.

This was the last of aërial navigation that any of the party ever indulged
in. The professor packed up his balloon and went to the United States to
exhibit it. Puck Parker left one of his "P.P.C." cards in the car of the
balloon, and his parents were glad enough to get to a land where they did
not forever hear the "Boom-er-oom, a boom-er-oom, a boom, boom, boom," and
the "Zim-er-oom, a zim-er-oom; a zim, zim, zim."



[Illustration]

EASTER EGGS.

BY CLARA W. RAYMOND.


    Dear Grandpa Lee, with little Grace,
      Followed the path-way to the mill;
    Bright daisies starred the shady lane,
      And now and then a bird would trill.

    Once, when a birdling spread its wings,
      She said, "All things are fair and gay,--
    The sky so blue where birdie sings!"
      Said grandpa, "This is Easter Day."

    Thus happily they onward went,
      Till Grace cried, "There is little Kate,
    And Frank and Nellie, too--and oh!
      Nell's swinging on the garden gate!"

    As Grace and grandpa came in sight,
      The little ones to meet them sped,--
    Their eager, prattling lips apart,
      Eyes flashing bright and cheeks rose-red.

   "Oh, grandpa! in the hedge we've found
      Four Easter eggs, all colored blue;
    They're in the sweetest little nest;
      We want to show our prize to you!"

    Said grandpa, "Touch them not, my dears;
      Those eggs God dyed with colors rare;
    The mother-bird will soon come back,
      And guard her nest with loving care.

   "These Easter eggs, in leaf-hid nests,
      Imprison countless song-birds bright,
    That soon will break the tinted shell
      And rise and sing in joyous flight."



[Illustration]

A VISIT TO A LONDON DOG-SHOW.

BY LAURA SKEEL POMEROY.


Some years ago I went to see a great dog-show at the Alexandra Palace, in
the north of London.

My friend Charley, a bright boy who knows the way all over this part of
the city, was my escort. We concluded to go to the show by the underground
railroad, and at half-past one o'clock we were at the station called South
Kensington. We bought our tickets there, and passed through gateways where
men in uniform examined our tickets, allowing but one person to pass at a
time, then descended two long flights of stone steps, and went down, down,
into the subterranean station.

[Illustration: A BLACK AND WHITE SETTER.]

Although it is nearly forty feet below the surface, daylight is let in
from above at this station, as in many of the others on the line.

Before and behind us we could see the great black-mouthed tunnels, through
which the trains were constantly passing.

When our train arrived we quickly found seats in a car, or carriage, as
they call them here, and were soon rushing along underground.

Now and again we came out into the open air for a while; soon we were at
Bayswater, then at King's Cross, at which station we got out of the car
and climbed up the iron stairs to the earth's surface again.

From King's Cross to Alexandra Palace was a ride of about twenty minutes
more, this time on a railroad which ran, for some distance, _above_ the
surface of the earth. We sped above the tops of smoky houses, by sooty
walls, through egg-shaped tunnels, beyond all these to the open country,
where were smooth green grass, groups of picturesque trees, and tangled
hedges.

The train stopped at the station called Muswell Hill, on which is built
the new Alexandra Palace--a large red-brick building at the top of the
hill. It is not so extensive as the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, but, like
it, is covered over with glass, and contains tropical plants, many
palm-trees, several theaters and lecture-rooms, and a large bazaar with
gay booths, at which you can buy almost anything you wish for.

As we approached the central part of the hall, a deafening chorus of dogs,
yelping, barking, growling and howling, assailed our ears. The stalls in
which the dogs were chained were arranged to form several aisles. They
faced each other, with a wide passage-way between, for the crowd of
spectators. The stalls were open, and each one had from one to five
animals chained in it.

The persons who exhibited dogs numbered one thousand and thirty-nine,
and, as each exhibitor sent several of his animals, you can roughly
estimate the immense number of dogs brought together.

It made my heart ache at first to see the poor creatures jumping and
pulling at their chains. Some looked worried and excited, and some of them
seemed bored to death, surly and contemptuous, as if saying, "Go away, or
I will bite you if you stare at me a moment longer;" and some were sulky
and turned their backs, hiding their noses in the straw.

The little puppies slept unconsciously through it all, while the mother
dogs struggled with their chains and barked furiously.

There were greyhounds,--great, tall, slender creatures, that looked as if
they could run a mile a minute,--deer-hounds, beautiful pointers, setters,
retrievers, and otter-hounds. These last were dangerous, and were kept in
wire cages. There were bull-terriers, fox-terriers, spaniels, white and
black Newfoundlands, shepherd dogs, mastiffs, and fierce bull-dogs that
looked as if they would be glad to eat you without ceremony.

There was every variety of lap-dog, and among them the tiniest little
Italian greyhound,--not more than eight inches long. This last was like a
porcelain toy dog, and looked brittle, as if its thin legs would snap if
much handled. I did not think it a pretty pet; it seemed too fragile to
play with.

[Illustration: A BLACK AND WHITE POINTER.]

A very different creature was a Siberian greyhound, about four feet and a
half tall, with long, wolf-shaped nose, and covered with bluish, short,
curly hair.

The pet dogs called "pugs" had short, black noses, turned up in about as
much of a curl as their tails. Their faces were sooty-black, and shone as
if polished with a brush. They curled up their black lips, showing two
small, very white teeth, with the tip of a pink tongue hanging out of the
mouth, the most comical, and at the same time, the ugliest little beasts
one ever saw.

[Illustration: AN IRISH SETTER.]

They were straddled upon showy velvet cushions, with their fore-paws wide
apart, and their round, black eyes looking straight at you, snarling all
the time, but not changing their position, being too fat and lazy to move.

All the black-and-tan terriers had their ears so cut as to make them very
sharp and pointed.

There were beautiful spaniels of all shades, and little Maltese terriers.
One of these was a perfect beauty. Its hair was like spun glass, of a
bluish, pinkish gray, snow-white in the partings. When it trotted about,
it looked like an opal, or a piece of live Venetian glass. Its name ought
to have been "Jewel," for it looked like one.

The King Charles spaniels were very like lovely English blondes, with
their golden-brown ears hanging like long curls on each side of their
innocent, milk-white faces. They had soft, hazel eyes, of melting
tenderness, like those of the prettiest little girl-baby.

Most of these lay upon handsomely embroidered cushions, with the dog's
name neatly worked in front. One fairy-like specimen had the name "Pixie"
worked in silver letters on a sky-blue velvet ground. Another tiny
creature looked like a snow-white ball of floss silk, rolled up in a
basket of quilted blue satin.

Ladies' maids were seated in chairs beside these dainty pets, with
ivory-handled brushes and tortoise-shell combs, to arrange their curls;
for many of them wore each a little top-knot curl, tied with a scarlet,
pink, or blue ribbon, as best became the wearer's complexion.

I could think of nothing but a dancing-school exhibition or a children's
ball, where nurse-maids sit by their charges, to keep their pretty finery
in order. So choice were some of these doggies that they were covered with
glass cases, open at the top.

[Illustration: HEAD OF BLOODHOUND.]

The grandest of all the dogs--the one I would have liked best to have--was
a fine St. Bernard, of a tawny color, with white spots, and a grand, noble
head. He sat up on his haunches and allowed every one to come and pet him,
lifting his big, honest paw, as if to shake hands with the little
children, and wagging his tail slowly back and forth in a very dignified
manner. What deep brown eyes he had, and what a soft, warm breast!

The Prince of Wales sent two black and brown Thibet mastiffs from the
north of India. They had long, black lips, and wore a very stern, dark
expression. The Princess of Wales, also, sent a snow-white Russian
wolf-hound.

Some of the dog-stalls were labeled "dangerous," and I wondered that many
of the persons who poked at the inmates with their canes were not bitten,
for every little while you would see a sudden falling back of the crowd,
and hear a sharp growl from some angry animal who was being teased, or was
impatient to go home.

The bloodhounds were the fiercest and most sullen-looking of all. They did
not join in the general barking and uproar, but kept their heads buried in
the straw. Once, as we were watching them, away off in a remote end of the
building, an acrobat began his performance of walking on a rope and
jumping through rings, high up in the air. Then these hounds suddenly
lifted themselves erect, and, fixing their sharp eyes on that little red
and blue speck of a man suspended in the air, set up a loud, long,
unearthly howl, which all the other dogs took up, and for a few minutes
the sounds shook the whole palace, like the roar of all the wild beasts of
the forest.

By and by four o'clock came, and the owners of the dogs came in to take
them home. How glad they were to see them! They jumped up, rolled about,
licked their keepers' hands and faces, whining and yelping for joy. One
dog, who had not been sent for, was jealous to see his neighbor petted. He
growled at every loving caress, and sat snarling in his corner,
discontented and sour, till he saw his own master, when he broke into a
howl of intense delight and tugged furiously at his chain.

[Illustration: A PAIR OF SPANIELS.]

When the big hampers were brought to confine the dangerous ones, and the
collars and chains were being unfastened, what a rollicking, rushing time
it was! The glad creatures jumped and galloped all the way to the station.

The train was full of dogs--they were everywhere. Eager to be off, they
were hurrying up and down the platform, dancing about the ticket offices,
racing over trunks, for all the world like boys let out of boarding-school
going home for the holidays.

We saw their impatient faces pushing out of every car-window, their tails
wagging out of every door.

A gentleman in our carriage had two little mites of terriers in his
overcoat pockets. One, he said, was a Skye, and the other a Yorkshire,
terrier. Little Skye was tired and sleepy, and showed just the tip of his
nose and one ear above the pocket; but little Yorkshire was perfectly wild
with fun. He had on a small brown blanket, bound with scarlet braid, which
his master said was his new Ulster coat.

He began his pranks by putting his nose in Charley's pockets, looking for
a shilling. Not finding one, the gentleman sent him into his own coat
pocket, whence, after burrowing and tugging for a while, out he came, with
a coin between his teeth, which he held tight and would not give up. His
master said that when the dog found a piece of money he went alone to the
cake shop, and the baker would give him a cake, which he would run home
with and eat up immediately, being particularly fond of sweets. He was two
years and a half old, ten inches long, with yellowish hair, which hung in
a fringe over his mischievous black eyes. He was elastic as a ball of
wool, and looked very much like one.

But we had to part company with him at King's Cross Station, where his
owner put him in his pocket again, and bade us good-bye. We could see the
tip of the little tail wagging till we lost sight of him in the distant
crowd.

It would take a long time to even mention all the handsome dogs, and many
of the young readers of ST. NICHOLAS will not need to be told more about
them, as there have been several dog-shows in America since the time when
Charley and I saw the one in the Alexandra Palace at London. The boys and
girls who visited any one of the dog-shows held recently in New York,
Boston, and other American cities, will no doubt remember many interesting
and curious sights. But they did not have a greater treat than Charley and
I had, all for the small price of one English shilling.

[Illustration: SKYE TERRIER.]



[Illustration: KEPT IN.]



MERRY RAIN.

BY FLETA FORRESTER.


    Sprinkle, sprinkle, comes the rain,
    Tapping on the window-pane;
          Trickling, coursing,
          Crowding, forcing
              Tiny rills
    To the dripping window-sills.

    Laughing rain-drops, light and swift,
    Through the air they fall and sift;
          Dancing, tripping,
          Bounding, skipping
              Thro' the street,
    With their thousand merry feet.

    Every blade of grass around
    Is a ladder to the ground;
          Clinging, striding,
          Slipping, sliding,
              On they come
    With their busy zip and hum.

    In the woods, by twig and spray,
    To the roots they find their way;
          Pushing, creeping,
          Doubling, leaping,
              Down they go
    To the waiting life below.

    Oh, the brisk and merry rain,
    Bringing gladness in its train!
          Falling, glancing,
          Tinkling, dancing
              All around,--
    Listen to its cheery sound!



DRIFTED INTO PORT.

BY EDWIN HODDER.

CHAPTER V.

A CATASTROPHE.


Blackrock School could never be the same again to Howard. Although he had
"the answer of a good conscience" in regard to the matters implied against
him, he could not but feel that, whereas he once could challenge all the
world against holding a suspicion of his integrity, now there might be
many who were in a state of doubt as to whether he were trustworthy or
not.

He grew dull and somber, and, although he had the satisfaction of knowing
that no cloud of distrust hovered over his home circle, he could not shake
off that uneasy feeling which haunted him, and which none know how to
appreciate save those who have been wrongfully suspected.

It was the early summer season, and the time was coming round for those
school sports which usually sink everything else into forgetfulness. The
cricket matches were planned, the bathing and boating season had
commenced, the woods were green with summer verdure. In former years
Howard and Digby always had thrown themselves heart and soul into all the
sports, as leaders of the school. But now neither took much interest in
things of the kind. Digby was morose and sullen, while Howard was sad, and
unusually depressed.

I have said that the bathing season had commenced at the school,
notwithstanding the fact that the weather was so changeable as to be one
night as cold as October, and the next morning as hot as July. But I have
not yet described the bathing-place, and, perhaps, I should have done so
at the commencement of the story, as it accounts for the somewhat singular
name of the school.

The river ran just at the end of the school grounds, within a stone's
throw of the favorite lounging-place of the boys, under the elms. The
river bank at that part was very steep, and just under the clump of trees
a huge black rock, fern-grown and slippery, stretched out into the river.
At one side of this rock the bank shelved down, gradually and evenly, into
a large basin or hole, partially overhung by the trees, and quite out of
the rapid current of the river.

This was the bathing-place, and it was one of the best I have ever seen.
The boat-houses were about half a mile down the river, and bathing and
boating were two of the special features of Blackrock sports. The Doctor
maintained (as every sensible person ought), that while cricket and
foot-ball are desirable, swimming is essential, and he laid it down as a
rule that everybody should learn to swim, and that on no account should a
boy be allowed to enter a boat until he was a sufficiently good swimmer to
get safely to shore, should his boat be upset.

Monday morning was as bright and warm as the previous evening had been
cold and miserable. Lessons were studied in the grounds instead of in the
class-rooms, and when the breakfast bell rang, there were not a few who
were talking about the forthcoming bath and the evening row.

At prayers, Digby was absent. Not for the first time, within the
recollection of many; but as he had not sent in any excuse for
non-attendance, Howard and McDonald, who occupied the rooms next to his,
were asked if they knew what had become of him. Neither of them did, but
McDonald remarked that he was up earlier than usual, which was not
considered at all remarkable, as the morning was deliciously warm and
bright.

The Doctor looked displeased, but no further notice was taken before the
boys, although he had made up his mind to administer a serious caution to
Master Digby for irregularities, which latterly were becoming so frequent
as to call for special notice.

The time for bathing was fixed for an hour after breakfast, the doctor
holding that while the weather was unsettled, and the water cold, bathing
was more beneficial a little while after a light meal than before.

A rush was made to the clump of trees, and a pell-mell scamper down the
steep bank. When Mr. Featherstone, one of the masters, came up two minutes
after with some of the older boys, amongst whom were Martin and Howard, he
was surprised to hear his name called loudly by several of the boys.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Digby Morton's clothes are on the bank," cried Aleck Fraser, excitedly,
"but we can't see him anywhere."

Mr. Featherstone had all his wits about him. He knew the rough
stepping-places up to the head of the Blackrock, from which he could scan
the river up and down. In a moment he was standing on the rock, carefully
taking within his view every yard of ground within range; but he could see
nothing of Digby.

"Martin Venables," he shouted from the rock, "run to the house, and ask
the Doctor to come here at once. Howard and Aleck hurry down to the
boat-house, and inquire about Morton. Send the boatman up at once with
boats and men. McDonald and Marsden, go up to the meadow-dell and search.
Look sharp, all of you!"

Swiftly sped the boys on their exciting errands, while Mr. Featherstone
remained upon the rock, and the other boys with hushed whispers talked
together in little groups, or looked into the water-holes with
half-averted eyes.

Howard and Martin were the first to return, both flushed with anxious
excitement. Then came the Doctor, sadly out of breath, and much
distressed.

"But Digby is a good swimmer, is he not?" asked the Doctor.

"Few better in the school," answered Mr. Featherstone. "I don't like to
think of the worst, but there are strong eddies in the pool this morning,
and the river runs at a furious rate after the heavy rain. My fear is that
he left the pool, and was caught by an eddy, and swung upon the rocks. In
that case he may have been rendered insensible, and so have been drowned."

The boys returned one after another, and each unsuccessful. The boatmen
soon arrived.

"Have you heard or seen anything this morning of Mr. Digby?" asked the
Doctor of Mason, the manager of all the boating arrangements of the
school.

"No, sir; but my man, who was agoing out to see after his lines, about six
this morning, said as how he see something dark floating down the river,
but he didn't pay much heed to it, till he called it to mind when the
young gentlemen came down just now, and said as how Mr. Digby were
missing."

"Then, should we not commence the search low down the river?" asked the
Doctor.

"'Taint no manner of use," answered Mason; "with the current runnin' like
this, he'd be ten mile away and more, by this time, if it was him, or more
likely out at sea, as the tide would have met the river by this time. But
you see, sir, it mightn't have been him after all, for there's lots o'
snags and things floating down this morning after last night's rain."

But Dr. Brier would leave no stone unturned. Messengers were sent on
horseback to every town and village on either side of the river, for
twenty miles down; the river was dragged; boatmen were sent out to search;
everything that could be done was done. But the afternoon came and no
tidings. Messengers were sent early to Mr. Morton. All the towns and
villages around were in excitement, but nothing came of it, and by evening
the conviction was borne home to every heart, too clearly for hope to set
aside, that Digby Morton was dead.


CHAPTER VI.

A BREAK-UP.


[Illustration: "IN A MOMENT, MR. FEATHERSTONE WAS STANDING ON THE ROCK."]

Pacing up and down the river bank in a terrible excitement, or sitting in
some solitary place with his eyes staring vacantly, or with head buried in
his trembling hands, through which the tears would trickle, a man might
have been seen haunting the neighborhood of Blackrock. It was Mr. Morton,
so altered that those who knew him best almost failed to recognize in him
the same man.

Let us not inquire too narrowly into the causes of this remarkable change.

It was not until all hope with regard to the recovery of Digby's body was
abandoned, that it was so strikingly apparent. At first there was the
rebellious cry from his heart, "It cannot be true; it shall not be true,"
and then a gentler and more subdued frame of mind ensued, as he prayed,
"Oh that it may not be true," until at length it was useless to hope
against hope, and the strong man bowed down his broken heart, as he said,
"O God! it is true."

And what of Ethel?

It was her first loss, poor child, and her first contact with a great
appalling sorrow. She was perplexed and stunned with the dreadful blow.
She seemed utterly alone now; whether or not she really could have relied
on Digby in the past for advice and guidance, does not matter--she felt
she could, and now this source of reliance had gone. Her father was
changed, so changed that he seemed almost a stranger, and now in this
crisis of her need she felt that he could yield neither help nor sympathy
to her, while she was impotent to minister to him.

It was well for Ethel that at the time of her sad visit to Blackrock,
Madeleine Greenwood was there, for in her she found a companion of her own
age, and a comforter as well as friend.

As the time drew near for Mr. Morton to return to Ashley House, the
attachment which had sprung up between the two girls became closer and
more intimate, and when Ethel returned to Ashley House, it was a very
great satisfaction to her to have Madeleine with her for a lengthened
visit, a concession which Mr. Morton could not deny to her earnest
entreaties.

The clothes of poor Digby, his books and school treasures, were packed up
and sent away. The Doctor held a funeral service with the boys on the
Sunday after the catastrophe, and addressed them briefly, but with great
earnestness and emotion, on the loss they had sustained, and the awful
suddenness of death, urging upon all the necessity of preparation, as none
knew the day nor hour when the change would come.

A week later a marble column was raised upon the spot where the clothes
were found, bearing this simple inscription: "In loving memory of D. M.,
who was drowned while bathing, June 18, 18--, aged 17 years."

On the evening of the day when the stone was raised, Martin and Howard sat
together beside it.

Howard was very pale, and looked as if he had gone through a severe
illness. He sat for some time gazing at the monument, until a tear dimmed
his eye.

"My good fellow," said Martin, "why do you give way to so much useless
regret? You are so morbidly sensitive that you seem to blame yourself as
though you had been guilty of poor Digby's death."

Howard made no reply to his friend's remark, and for some moments remained
quite silent. Then he said; "Martin, I shall never forgive myself about
poor Digby. I fear I have wronged him."

"You wronged him? What do you mean?"

"I mean that in that miserable affair about the miniature, I reflected the
blame in some degree upon him; I could not at the time help thinking that
he knew something about it, and I fear I caused a wrong suspicion to rest
on him. It is useless to give way to regret, but I do so wish I could
speak to him just once again, to say that I now feel that I wronged him by
my suspicions."

"Are you quite satisfied in your own mind, that you did wrong him?" asked
Martin.

"Yes; something has happened which I have not mentioned to a soul, and
shall not, except to you. Since poor Digby's death, I have lost my
overcoat. I wore it on that cold Sunday night, and afterward hung it up in
my room. I should not have missed it, but that I had left in the pocket my
Bible--you remember the one, it was given to me by my father when I first
left home for school. I have searched everywhere for the coat, and cannot
find it. It is a great loss to me, for I would have parted with anything
else in the world rather than lose that Bible."

"Have you not mentioned it to my uncle?" asked Martin, his face taking on
a sharper look.

"No; he is worried and sad as it is, and I hate the idea of reflecting
upon fellows in the school. It will turn up in time, perhaps, but I can't
help thinking that there must be some thief in the school, and that the
coat has gone where the miniature went."

"I really think it would be well to tell the Doctor," said Martin.

"Well, I may do so yet; but we break up next week, and if the truth should
not be discovered, every boy will leave with a suspicion resting upon
him,--for this is not confined to the twenty,--and it will do the school a
great injury. But I tell it to you, Martin, because as I shall not return
after this term, you know, you can keep your eyes open in case anything
should turn up about it."

"What a wretched break-up we are having, altogether!" said Martin, after a
little pause, in which he was thinking whether to take Howard's view of
the case, or to still persuade him to make the matter known. "A break-up
of Mr. Morton's home; a break-up of the Doctor's health, I fear, for all
this anxiety has distressed him sadly; and a break-up of our little
fraternity here, for now that you are going, and Digby gone, and Aleck
Fraser is on the move, our 'set' will never be made up again. I hope,
though, that our friendship will not be broken up."

"It never shall, if I can help it," said Howard; "and now while we are
talking about it, will you promise to write to me, and tell me all about
the school, as long as you stay in it, and about the Doctor, and Mrs.
Brier, and especially all about yourself?"

The promise was duly made, and unlike many promises of a similar nature,
was faithfully fulfilled.

The day before the breaking up, Dr. Brier asked Howard to speak with him
in the library.

"My dear Howard," said the Doctor, putting his hand on his shoulder, "I
cannot let you leave the school without telling you how deeply I regret
parting with you. Your conduct has always been exemplary, and your
influence beneficial in the school. I am sorry that the clouds have
gathered round us so darkly lately, but some day we shall see through
them, if we cannot at present. I want you to know that throughout, I
consider you to have held a manly and a Christian course, and you have my
unqualified approval of your conduct, as you have my sincere belief in the
uprightness and integrity of your character. God bless you, my dear lad,
wherever you go, and make those principles which have distinguished you in
your school-life, useful to the world, in whatever part of it your lot may
be cast! And now I wish to give you this little present, as a token of
friendship, and let it serve as a reminder to you, that as long as I
live, I shall be glad and thankful to serve you."

It was a handsome set of books the Doctor gave him, and more than all his
other treasures of prizes and friendly presents, was this one preserved,
for it assured him that the Doctor, who never said what he did not
believe, regarded him with the same trust as ever.


CHAPTER VII.

A LETTER, AND A FATAL CHASE.


Three months had passed since the break-up at Blackrock School, and Martin
had faithfully fulfilled his promise to keep up a brisk correspondence
with his old friend. But no letter gave Howard a keener pleasure, than the
one from which the following extracts are taken, and which will connect
the history of events:

     TO HOWARD PEMBERTON.

     MY DEAR OLD CHUM: Every day I seem to miss you more and more, and I
     only wish the time had come for me to throw off school and take my
     plunge, as you have done, into the great stream of life. I don't
     take an interest in anything now; even cricket is a bore, and the
     talks about forming for foot-ball fail to start me up. The Doctor
     evidently misses you, and very often inquires after your welfare.
     He is not himself at all. I think the end of last term shook him a
     great deal. Mrs. Brier is as she always was. I don't know what some
     of us would do without her.

     Is not my cousin spending a very long time at Ashley House? I think
     I told you I was invited to go and see her there, and I could write
     you a dozen pages or more about the visit, if time allowed--but it
     doesn't. Madeleine and Ethel are as thick as thieves. I can quite
     believe that my cousin has cheered and helped them all very much in
     this time of their great trial, and I don't wonder at any girl
     loving her, for she is a first-rate companion, and as good as she
     is beautiful.

     I had a long chat with Mr. Morton, and he appeared to be much
     interested in hearing me talk of poor Digby's ways and doings
     amongst us. But you hardly know sometimes whether he is awake or
     asleep when you are talking to him, for he keeps his head buried in
     his hands. He seems regularly smitten down, poor man! He is talking
     of going abroad for some months, and I think it will do him good.
     If he goes, it will only be upon the condition that Madeleine stays
     with Ethel. I shouldn't be surprised if she were to become a
     permanent resident there.

     I don't know if you ever heard Madeleine's history. It is a
     singular one, like my own. Her father and my father were partners
     in business. A fire ruined them both; and, as you know, an accident
     on the railway occurred which proved fatal to both. My poor mother
     I never knew, and she knew nothing of these troubles; but
     Madeleine's mother had to bear them all, and the weight was too
     heavy; she died broken-hearted, the life crushed out of her by
     misfortune upon misfortune. So, up to the present time, Madeleine
     and I have been, to a very great extent, dependent upon others; and
     as our circumstances in life have been so strangely similar, we are
     more like brother and sister than cousins. I shall be very glad,
     for her sake, if she finds in the Mortons more than is ordinarily
     found in chance friends. And I shall be glad, for my own sake, when
     I can release the dear old Doctor from the burden with which he
     willingly shackled himself when he took me under his care.

     I wish I could have a good long talk with you, my dear old boy, on
     this and a hundred other subjects; but I can't. And now I must
     knock off for to-night, as the Doctor has just sent for me.
                                                      MARTIN VENABLES.

     P. S.--I write in a violent hurry. The Doctor has read some
     extraordinary news in the paper just in from London. It is about
     the missing miniature, found on a prisoner. He will leave here for
     London by the 7.45 train in the morning. I want this to catch the
     post, so cannot write more, except that the Doctor wishes me to say
     he will be sure to see you before he has been long in London.
                                                                 M. V.

This postscript threw the little household at Rose Cottage into a great
flutter at the breakfast table the next morning.

"What can it mean?" asked Howard. "Have you seen anything in the paper,
uncle, to which it refers? I have not seen the paper for a week."

"'Pon my word, I don't know," said Captain Arkwright. "It can't be--yes,
it may, though. Just wait a minute."

The Captain jumped up, snatched the paper of the day before from a
side-table, and began to search for a particular heading, which, of
course, was not on the pages he had first opened.

"Here it is!" he cried at length. "It is headed, 'A Fatal Chase.'"

"Let me see it," said Howard, almost trembling with anxiety, as he ran his
eye hastily over the report.

It ran on this wise:

     A robbery was committed a few days ago on the firm of Robinson &
     Co., of this city, a report of which appeared in our columns. From
     information received by the police, a person who had taken a
     passage on board the "Ariadne," for New York, was suspected, and
     warrants were issued for his apprehension. The arrest was made, but
     as the police were bringing the prisoner from the vessel to the
     quay, a violent struggle ensued. Police-constable Janson was hurled
     by the prisoner over the edge of the quay into the water, while he,
     quick as lightning, made a rush to escape. He fled as far as the
     end of the quay, and was making for the draw-bridge, where he would
     soon have gained the open road, when his foot caught in a rope,
     which threw him with fearful violence over the wharf into the pool.
     In falling, he appears to have come into collision with a boat, and
     when his body was recovered he was found to be quite dead. The
     deceased was a young man of powerful build, and had taken his
     passage under the name of James Williams; but no clue has been
     obtained at present as to his antecedents. Upon his person was
     found a bundle of bank-notes, a sovereign, and some silver, and in
     a side-pocket was a miniature portrait of a young lady, of very
     beautiful workmanship, set in gold and studded with precious
     stones. The police are making searching inquiries, and as it is
     thought that this valuable portrait must have been stolen, it is
     believed that it will lead to further discoveries.

How Howard got through his work at the office that day, he was at a loss
to know, for nothing remained on his mind for a moment at a time, except
the vague and curious report about the Fatal Chase, and the anticipated
visit of the Doctor with further particulars. No sooner had the clock
struck six, than he sped away from the office, trusting to his legs to
carry him more quickly than the omnibus or car.

Before he had time to ask, "Any news of the Doctor?" a well-known voice
was heard, and the outstretched hand of his old friend grasped his.

"Well, my dear boy, how are you? You see, I need no introductions. Here I
am, quite at home in your family circle."

"And what news, Doctor Brier?"

"A great deal, satisfactory and unsatisfactory. But come and sit down,
and I will tell you the whole story."

The whole story took a long time to tell, but it may be summed up in a few
words.

The unfortunate man, who met his death so violently, was identified as a
person who had once been in the employment of Messrs. Robinson & Co.,
ship-owners. The notes found upon him were traced as notes he had received
in payment of a cheque forged in their name. But no information could be
obtained as to his antecedents, nor the series of events that had brought
his career to so pitiful a close. The greatest mystery hung about the fact
of the miniature portrait; no clue of the faintest kind could be obtained
as to how it came into his possession, but the Doctor had identified it,
beyond the least shadow of a doubt, as the one stolen from Blackrock
House.

It was necessary for the Doctor to remain in town for some days, and Mrs.
Pemberton would not hear of his making a home anywhere else than at Rose
Cottage. To this he was nothing loth; and to Howard, the presence of his
old friend and master in the house, was a source of unqualified
satisfaction.

Many a time they speculated about the strange secrets which lay locked up
in that little miniature, and wished they could devise some means to
extort them.

"But we must watch and wait," said the Doctor. "I seem to feel satisfied
that we shall clear up the mystery some day."

The "some day" was very far ahead. Meantime, a verdict of "accidental
death" was returned upon Williams. The miniature was formally made over to
the Doctor, and when he had completed all the inquiries which could be
instituted, and was nearly worn out with visits to and from the police and
inquisitors generally, he bade adieu to the little circle of friends, and
once more the veil, of which only a corner had been lifted, fell over the
circumstances.


CHAPTER VIII.

LIKE SEEKS LIKE.


Howard Pemberton had thought often of his future, even in early school-boy
days, and many a time he and Martin had talked together about the great
battle of life, and how to fight it.

They both were indebted to dear old Doctor Brier for one thing; he had
always insisted that the basis of all achievement worth achieving was in
character, and that the basis of character must be a disciplined and
educated sense of honor; the utter despising from the heart of everything
mean.

Howard was certainly one of those of whom it might be predicted, that he
was sure to succeed. And he accepted the responsibilities of success, and
determined to make the best he could of his life. From his first start, he
had thrown his heart into his business, and common figures, and dull
routine, were to his mind invested with a power which could help him in
his pursuit,--not the mere pursuit of making money, but of being
something. Before a twelvemonth had passed, he had made himself master of
every detail in his business; at the end of his second year, he was so
invaluable that he was intrusted with duties which the firm had never
before placed in the hands of any clerk; and, at the end of his third
year, the period of which I now write, he had been told that on the
retirement of the senior partner he would be taken into the concern.

I must, for the purposes of my story, relate some of the principal
incidents, which in the three years that have elapsed, have helped to make
up the true life of Howard.

In the first place, his friend, Martin Venables, has been his constant
companion. Growing weary of school-life, and longing to plunge, as he had
said, into the great stream of life, he had happened to mention his wish,
on his visit to Mr. Morton, and that gentleman, having taken a great
interest in Martin, had been successful in procuring for him a good
government appointment, in an office where he found scope for honest
labor, with vistas of future promotion, dependent upon his own exertions,
and he was as happy as the day was long in his new sphere of work.

He took up his abode near to Howard, and scarcely an evening passed,
except when he was at the Mortons, which they did not spend together.
Madeleine was still at Ashley House "on a visit," but with a few
intervals, it had lasted for three years, and Martin was a frequent
visitor there, especially after Mr. Morton's return from Italy. A strong
friendship had sprung up between the two, and Mr. Morton certainly looked
forward as eagerly to the visits as did Martin.

And Howard, too, was a visitor at Ashley House.

At first, there was a great prejudice against Howard in the Morton family.
Ethel could not bear to hear his name, for it was painfully associated in
her mind with poor Digby's death.

But after a time, through the quiet influence of Madeleine's conversations
about Howard and Martin's evident affection for him, this prejudice died
away, and Martin was invited to bring his friend to Ashley House.

Acquaintance ripened into a true and earnest friendship, and, under the
influence of the young people, Mr. Morton found sources of happiness which
he never had dreamed life could yield to him; and even Mrs. Morton had so
far thrown off her listlessness, as to be able to take an interest in
their plans and purposes.

It was a lovely summer evening, toward the end of July, that the party of
friends were all together upon the lawn; they had drawn the garden chairs
up, and, after the game of croquet in which Madeleine and Howard had
succeeded in beating Ethel and Martin, were prepared to devote the
remainder of the evening to chat. Seeing this, Mr. Morton had put away his
book, and drawn up his chair beside them, while Mrs. Morton, regardless of
falling dews and rising damp, had followed the example of her husband.

"Now," said Mr. Morton, "short holidays, like this Saturday afternoon, are
good; but are not long holidays better? And now that everybody is thinking
of taking a trip somewhere or other, should not we 'do as Rome does,' and
think of the same thing?"

"I suppose, sir, we all have been thinking of it, more or less, for the
past year," said Martin; "and I for one must think of it seriously, for my
holidays are fixed by official rules, and begin very soon."

"And yours, Howard?" inquired Mr. Morton.

"I can take a holiday now, or later," he answered. "But I do not generally
get a month straight off, as these government officials do. However, I
shall try for a longer holiday this year than I had last."

"Well, now," said Mr. Morton, drawing up his chair more closely to the
group, "don't you think we might make up a party, and all go somewhere
together?"

A burst of assents went up like a flight of rockets. It was just the very
thing that all the young people wanted. And then began such a storm of
questions; such a variety of wild and improbable suggestions; such a
catalogue of countries as would take years to explore, and such merry
banter and repartee, that even Mrs. Morton caught the enthusiasm, and
threw herself into the proposal with a vigor that caused her husband to
open his eyes wide in a gratified astonishment.

After discussing places, from Siberia to the Sandwich Islands, the votes
were unanimous in favor of a tour to the North of Scotland, including Skye
and the Shetland Isles.

(_To be continued._)



[Illustration: SEEING HIMSELF AS OTHERS SEE HIM.]



THE THREE WISE WOMEN.

BY MRS. E. T. CORBETT.


[Illustration]

    Three wise old women were they, were they,
    Who went to walk on a winter day.
    One carried a basket, to hold some berries;
    One carried a ladder, to climb for cherries;
    The third, and she was the wisest one,
    Carried a fan to keep off the sun!

[Illustration]

   "Dear, dear!" said one. "A bear I see!
    I think we'd better all climb a tree!"
    But there wasn't a tree for miles around.
    They were too frightened to stay on the ground;
    So they climbed their ladder up to the top,
    And sat there screaming, "We'll drop! we'll drop!"

[Illustration]

    But the wind was strong as wind could be,
    And blew their ladder right out to sea!
    Soon the three wise women were all afloat
    In a leaky ladder, instead of a boat!
    And every time the waves rolled in,
    Of course the poor things were wet to the skin.

[Illustration]

    Then they took their basket, the water to bail;
    They put up their fan, to make a sail;
    But what became of the wise women then,--
    Whether they ever got home again,
    Whether they saw any bears or no,--
    _You_ must find out, for _I_ don't know.



ALWAYS BEHINDHAND.

BY M. D. K.


[Illustration]

Supper was ready and waiting. Our guest had not arrived, but there was
another train an hour later. Should the family wait for my friend, or
should I alone, who was the personage especially to be visited? My father
paced the floor nervously, as was his wont when he felt disturbed. He had
the evening papers to read, and he never opened them until after tea. This
was a habit of his. He was very fixed--or, as some express it, "set"--in
his little ways. It was Bridget's evening out, and she had begun to show a
darkened visage. Bridget was no friend to "company," and it was policy to
conciliate her. So the family seated themselves at the table, and I sat
near, waiting until brother John should be ready to accompany me a second
time to the station.

"What about this young lady friend of yours, Nelly?" asked my father. "Is
she one of the unreliable sort--a little addicted to tardiness, that is?"

"I am obliged to confess, papa, that at boarding-school, where I longest
knew Jeannette, she was inclined to be dilatory; but that was years ago.
It is to be hoped that she has changed since then."

"I should wish to have very little to do with a behindhand person," said
my father, shaking his head very gravely.

"Oh, papa!" I remonstrated, "you will not condemn a dear friend for one
single fault. Jeannette is beautiful and accomplished, sensible and
good-tempered. Everybody thinks she is splendid."

"She may have very pleasant qualities, but I tell you, girls," he added
with sudden emphasis, "that a want of punctuality vitiates the whole
character. No one is good for much who cannot be depended upon; and what
dependence is to be placed on a man who is not up to his engagements? In
business, such a man is nowhere; and in social life a dawdling, dilatory
man or woman is simply a pest. But mind, my child, I am not characterizing
your friend; we cannot tell about her till we see."

The later train brought my friend. She was profuse in her regrets; she had
been belated by a mistake in the time; her watch was slow. As she was
pouring forth a torrent of regrets and apologies, I observed my father
bestowing glances of evident admiration at the fair speaker, while the
rich color came and went in her cheeks and her eyes kindled with
animation. Truly, beauty covers a multitude of faults. Sister Bell, who
was as punctual as my father, was appeased, and promised to take care of
the tea-things and let Bridget go out. My father good-naturedly offered to
regulate the halting watch by the true time.

To her chamber we went together, to talk as girls do talk when they meet
in this way, after a long separation. Folding me in her arms, she told me
all about her recent engagement to George Allibone; showed me her
engagement ring, and her lover's photograph. It was a noble head finely
posed, and a most engaging face, and my ready and cordial admiration was a
new bond of sympathy. It took until nearly midnight to say all that we
girls, aged twenty, had to say to each other; and this, in addition to the
fatigues of travel, was accepted as an excuse for Jenny's tardiness at
breakfast. She really had meant to be early.

But this was only the beginning. Throughout the whole three weeks of her
visit, she was scarcely punctual in a single case where time was
definitely appointed. She was late in rising, late at meals, late at
church and for excursions, and, to our profound mortification, late for
dinner appointments, even when parties were made especially on her
account. She seemed sorry and mortified, but on each occasion she would do
the same thing over again.

"What _can_ she be doing?" my mother sometimes asked in perplexity, when
my sister and I were ready and waiting.

"Doing her hair, mother," we answered, "and she will do it over until it
suits her, be it early or late."

"Oh, these hair-works!" sighed my mother. "How much tardiness at church
and elsewhere is due to over-fastidious hair-dressing! What is that line
of good George Herbert's? 'Stay not for the other pin.' I think he must
have meant hair-pins."

My sister and I sometimes agreed between ourselves to compel her to
readiness by standing by, to help her in her preparations; but in vain.
She must write a letter or finish a story before making her toilet. Why
not accomplish the toilet first, to be sure of it--any time remaining, for
the other purposes? She didn't _like_ to do so. No philosopher could tell
why. It is an unaccountable, mysterious something, rooted deep in some
people's natures--this aversion to being beforehand. I have seen it in
other people since the time when it so puzzled and troubled me in Jenny.
It marred the pleasure of the visit most miserably. I was continually
fearing the displeasure of my father and the discomfort of my mother. The
whole household were disturbed by what seemed to them downright rudeness.

"Now, Jenny," I would plead, "do be early, dear, when papa comes with the
carriage. It annoys him dreadfully to wait."

She would promise to "try."

"But pray, Jenny, why need you have to try. It is easy enough. For my
part, I never will make any one wait for me. I go without being ready, if
need be, or I stay behind."

I had come to talk very plainly to her, out of love and good-will, as well
as, sometimes, from vexation of spirit. For the twentieth time she would
tell me how truly she had meant to be punctual in some given case, and
that she should have been so but that she was hindered when nearly ready
by some unforeseen occurrence.

"But, my dear, unforeseen hindrances will often occur, and you must lay
your account with them, and give yourself extra time. You will run the
risk of meeting some great calamity by trusting, as you do, to the last
minute."

And the calamity did befall her. Mr. Allibone spent a day with us. We were
anticipating with great pleasure a second visit, when a telegram arrived
requesting Jenny to meet him in Boston on the succeeding morning. A
business emergency had summoned him abroad very suddenly, and he was to
embark for Liverpool in the evening.

We all sympathized with Jenny in the startling effect of this sudden
announcement, and offered her every sort of help when the hour for her
departure was at hand. She had only to compose herself and prepare for the
journey. Sister Bell would arrange her hair and bring her dress, and she
would be spared all effort. She seemed grateful, but was sure she could be
ready without troubling any one. She dreamed not how much she was, even
then, troubling us, for we were beginning to tremble lest she should
somehow manage to be late for this, her only train.

She kissed us all twice over when the hackman arrived at the door; but,
suddenly glancing in the mirror and observing how ashen was her usually
brilliant complexion, she declared against wearing the gray cashmere in
which she was dressed, of a hue so like her face. George must not meet her
thus. She seized her black silk, with which, in spite of remonstrances,
she proceeded to array herself. There was time enough; the carriage must
surely be too early. Alas! for the ripping out of gathers, in the
violence of her haste, and for the loopings of her skirt, not to be
dispensed with! Horses could not be made to do the work of five minutes in
three.

She saw the cars move off without her!

No words were called for. My mother carried a glass of elderberry wine to
the poor girl, and left her alone to her tears. They would do her good.

We ourselves needed rest, after the troubled scene of hurry and
excitement, and we sat down, feeling as if a whirlwind had passed.

"It is beyond my comprehension," said my father, when he came home to
dinner. "I can understand tardiness," he continued, categorically, "as the
result of indolence. Lazy people dread effort and postpone it. There is a
man in my employ who continues to work sometimes after hours. The men tell
me that he is actually too lazy to leave off work and put away his tools.
But Miss Jeannette seems active and energetic."

"She miscalculates, papa," I said. "She always imagines there is plenty of
time until the last minute."

"But herein is the mystery," persisted my father. "Whence this
_uniformity_ of dereliction? Why not sometimes too early and sometimes
just in the right time, instead of always and everywhere late, and making
others late?"

"Poor girl!" said my mother, whose compassion was uppermost. "I pity her
with all my heart; yet it is not a case of life and death. This trial may
be attended with beneficial results. We will hope so."

I am sorry that this hope was apparently not to be realized. The lesson
failed to be read aright. Jeannette recovered her serenity, and resumed
her tardy ways. A yet severer lesson was needed, and it came.

The steamer in which, after an absence of ten or twelve weeks, George
Allibone was to embark for home, was lost, and not a passenger saved.

My father took me at once to my poor stricken friend, in her distant home.
Pale and dumb with grief, yet with tearless eyes, she let us take her
almost lifeless hand. From her bloodless lips came only the low, anguished
cry, "If only I had said farewell!"

What comfort in words? We offered none. My father's eyes brimmed over, and
my heart was breaking for my poor Jeannette.

But relief came speedily. The joyful news was received that George was
safe, having made a necessary change in his plans, and would arrive in a
fortnight. Jeannette came up from the depths. What should her
thank-offering be? She made the resolution to become at once faithful to
her appointments, prompt and reliable. It was not that she would
_try_--she would speak the commanding words "I will."

She has kept her resolution. Writing to me, after a lapse of years, she
said: "You will hardly know your dilatory friend. I remember and practice
your advice of former years, to be first ready for my appointments, and to
reserve other work for the interval of waiting after I am ready. It is
surprising how often I find not a moment left for waiting. Still, I feel
the old tendency to procrastinate, and I am obliged steadfastly to resist
it. 'Delays are dangerous,' as our old writing-copies used to run; the
sentiment is hackneyed, but oh, how true! George says he owes you ten
thousand thanks for your faithful counsel, and we shall speak them when
you make us the visit of which we feel so sure, because your promises, as
I well know, are faithfully kept."



THE THREE HORSE-SHOES; OR, MARSHAL DE SAXE AND THE DUTCH BLACKSMITH.

BY DAVID KER.


Maurice de Saxe was a son of the King of Saxony, and a fine lad he
was--tall and strong and handsome, and as brave as a lion. But the king,
like a certain old woman of whom you may have heard, had so many children
that he didn't know what to do; and so, as Maurice had such a lot of elder
brothers as to have not much chance of inheriting the crown, or anything
else that would keep him in bread and butter, his father sent him out to
seek his fortune, like many another prince in those days. So he went over
to France, and entered the army of King Louis XV.

Now, at that time there was always a war going on somewhere or other, and
the French armies were fighting in every part of Europe; and the king
cared very little who his officers were, or where they came from, if they
were only brave men and clever fighters, and ready to go wherever he liked
to send them. So, as you may think, it was not long before our friend
Maurice, who was quite as brave as any of them, and a good deal cleverer
than most, began to make his way. First, he got to be a lieutenant, then a
captain, then a major, then a colonel, and at last, while he was still
quite a young man, he came out as Count de Saxe, and Field-Marshal of the
Army of Flanders, with fifty thousand men under him! That was pretty good
promotion, wasn't it?

But, although he had got on so fast, no one could say that it was more
than he deserved; for he was by far the best general that France had had
for many a day. He beat the Germans, and he beat the Flemings, and he beat
the English, though they fought against him as stoutly as men could; and,
at last, his soldiers got to have such faith in him, that whenever he
appeared the battle seemed to turn at once, as if the very sight of him
brought good fortune along with it. And a gallant sight it was to see him
prancing along on his fine black horse in front of the line of battle,
with his plumed hat and laced coat glittering in the sunshine, and his
sword gleaming in his hand, and his dark handsome face and large black
eyes kindling like fire the moment the first gun was heard. Every
picture-shop in Paris had his likeness in the window; and King Louis
himself had the marshal's portrait hung up in his cabinet, and liked
nothing better than to invite him to dinner, and hear him tell of all the
battles that he had won. Indeed, such a favorite did he become at court,
that at last nothing would serve the king but he must go to the war too,
and see how his friend Monsieur de Saxe disposed of the enemy. Saxe gained
the victory, as usual; and after all was over, there was a great supper on
the battle-field, and the king himself hung the Cross of St. Louis around
the marshal's neck, and the marshal sat at his right hand in triumph, and
thought himself the finest fellow in the whole world.

But, curiously enough, the one thing that this great general specially
prided himself upon was neither his skill in warfare nor his favor at
court, but simply his strength. There was nothing he enjoyed so much as
showing off the power of his muscles, and astonishing the people about him
by bending an iron bar, or felling a horse with one blow of his fist; and
he was fond of saying that he would give his purse and all the money in it
to any man who was stronger than himself, if he could ever fall in with
him.

Now, it happened that, one day, while the French and German armies were
lying pretty close to each other, Marshal de Saxe sent a message to the
enemy's camp, asking some of the German officers to dine with him; and
after the meal he began to boast of his strength, as usual, till at last
an old German general, who sat at his left, said that he would like to see
a specimen of what his Excellency could do. Saxe made no answer, but took
up a large silver dish, which was standing before him, in his strong white
fingers (for, big and powerful as his hands were, they were white and
smooth as any lady's, and he was very proud of them), and, without more
ado, rolled it up like a sheet of paper!

"Can your Honor unroll that dish again?" asked he, handing it to the
German; and, although the general was a strong man, and tried his best, he
found the task too hard for him, and was forced to own himself beaten.

"Your Excellency's strength is very great," said he, "but, nevertheless, I
venture to think that there is one man in Flanders who can match it."

"And who may he be?" asked Saxe, frowning.

"A blacksmith in the village of Scheveningen, Dirk Hogan by name. All the
country around knows of his exploits; and when I met with him myself I saw
such things as I should have thought impossible, had my own eyes not
witnessed them."

When the marshal heard this, he looked blacker than ever; and the first
thing he did next morning was to send off messengers in every direction to
inquire for a village called Scheveningen, and a man named Dirk Hogan.
And, sure enough, some of them came back with news that there was such a
village, and that Dirk Hogan, the smith, had been living there till quite
lately; but that now he had sold his forge and gone away, and nobody knew
what had become of him.

This was a decided disappointment for our friend Saxe, but he had
something else to think of just then. The enemy's army had lately received
strong re-enforcements, and seemed inclined to attack him; and he was
riding out one morning to reconnoiter their position, when suddenly his
horse stumbled and cast a shoe.

"There's a village just ahead of us, your Excellency," said one of his
officers. "Shall I ride on and see if I can find a blacksmith?"

"Do so," answered Saxe; and the officer came back presently to say that he
had found what he wanted. So the horse was led up to the door of the
smithy, and the smith himself came out to have a look at it.

The moment he appeared, the marshal fastened his eyes upon him as if he
would look him right through. And well he might; for this smith was such a
man as one does not see every day--very nearly as tall as Saxe himself,
and even broader across the shoulders, while upon his bare arms the huge
muscles stood out under the tanned skin like coils of rope. The marshal
felt at once that he could never be comfortable till he had had a trial
of strength with this sturdy-looking fellow; so he bade him bring out one
of his best horse-shoes.

The smith did so; and Saxe, looking at it, said quietly: "This ware of
yours is but poor stuff, my friend; it will not stand work. Look here!"

He took it in his strong hands, and with one twist broke the iron like a
biscuit.

The smith looked at him for a moment, and then, without seeming at all
taken aback, brought out a second horse-shoe, and a third; but Saxe broke
them as easily as he had broken the first.

"Come," said he, "I see it's no use picking and choosing among such a
trashy lot; give me the first shoe that comes to hand, and we'll cry
quits."

The smith produced a fourth shoe, and fitted it on; and Saxe tossed him a
French crown--a coin about the size of a silver dollar. The Dutchman held
it up to the light, and shook his head.

"This coin of yours is but poor metal, mynheer," said he, saying the words
just as the marshal had spoken his. "It wont stand work. Look here!"

He took the coin between his finger and thumb, and with one pinch cracked
it in two like a wafer.[B]

It was now the marshal's turn to stare; and the officers exchanged winks
behind his back, as much as to say that their champion had met his match
at last. Saxe brought out another crown, and then a third; but the smith
served them in like manner.

"Come," said he, imitating the marshal's voice to perfection, "I see it's
no use picking and choosing among such a trashy lot. Give me the first
crown that comes to hand, and we'll cry quits."

The Frenchman looked at the Dutchman--the Dutchman looked at the
Frenchman--and then both burst into a roar of laughter, so loud and hearty
that the officers who stood by could not help joining in.

"Fairly caught!" cried the marshal, suddenly, and added, "What's your
name, my fine fellow?"

"Dirk Hogan, from Scheveningen."

"Dirk Hogan!" cried Saxe. "The very man I've been looking for! But I've
found him in a way I didn't expect!"

"So it seems," said the smith, grinning. "I needn't ask who _you_
are--you're the Count de Saxe, who was always wanting to meet with a
stronger man than himself. Does it seem to you as if you had met with him
now?"

"Well, I rather think it does," quoth Saxe, shrugging his shoulders; "and
as I promised to give him my purse whenever I _did_ meet with him, here it
is. And now, if you'll come along with me, and serve as farrier to my
head-quarters' staff, I promise you that you shall never have cause to
repent of having met with Maurice de Saxe."

And the marshal was as good as his word.

    [B] ...[missing text]... Hercules" is said to have achieved a similar
        feat more than once.



[Illustration]

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.


It is beginning to feel something like spring. However, we mustn't be too
certain, for April is the month for little tricks of all kinds. Let us be
careful and not be caught by make-believe spring weather.


HAIR-BRAIDS IN THE OLDEN TIME.

I'm told that, eight centuries ago, girls and women wore their hair in
braids. Each woman had two braids, which she slipped separately into long,
narrow cases of silk, or some other material, and wound with ribbon. They
hung like base-ball bats. On the statue of a queen of those times, the
braids, cased in this style, reached lower than the knees.

Years ago, every British sailor dressed his hair in a pigtail at the back,
so that it hung

                      "Long and bushy and thick,
    Like a pump-handle stuck on the end of a stick."

I heard of one sailor whose mates did his hair so tightly that he couldn't
shut his eyes, and he nearly got punished for staring at his commanding
officer,--a hair-breadth escape, as somebody called it.


KNOTS AND THE NORTH POLE.

My feathered friends tell me of a bird called the knot, something like a
snipe in shape, whose color is ashen gray in winter and bright Indian red
in summer. They say he is very particular about the weather, and likes
best fine bracing days with sunshine and a moderate breeze; so, in winter
he flies south, but in summer he goes farther north than man has yet been
able to go.

Now, I've been told that the farther north you go, the colder is the
climate; but this bird, who likes pleasant weather so much, goes beyond
the coldest places known! Perhaps he has found a cheerful and comfortable
summer home, bright and bracing, somewhere near the North Pole, on which
somebody will find him, may be, one of these days, quietly perched,
preening himself, and looking at a distance like a bit of red cloth on a
broomstick. If he _has_ found a cozy spot away up there, he's smarter than
any Arctic explorer I ever heard of.


THE TRAILING ARBUTUS.

                                          Johnstown, Pa., March, 1878.

     DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: Some of your other chicks may like to hear
     what my uncle has just told me about the mayflower, or trailing
     arbutus, so as to know where to hunt for it as soon as spring
     comes. It grows chiefly in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania,
     and is always to be found among mountains, hills, and high lands.
     Late in March or early in April, under the brown and withered
     leaves of last year, you will find it--cool, shiny, fragrant, with
     clusters of star-like blossoms, the color being of all shades of
     pink from very deep to a pinkish white. Yet farther under the
     leaves you will find the trailing stems. I hope many will join in
     the search for this first sweet flower of spring.--Your true
     friend,                                              AMANDA S. K.


MIRA IN CYGNUS.

On clear nights, during the first half of this month, my dears, the star
called Mira, in the constellation Cygnus (or "The Swan"), can be seen in
full luster. This is what the owl tells me; and he adds that it is one of
those strange stars which vary in brightness. It shines for about a
fortnight very brightly indeed; then by degrees it fades away, until, at
the end of three months, it cannot be seen. After remaining five months
out of sight, it gradually brightens up again. May be you've heard all
about this before; but now is your time to see Mira twinkle her bright eye
at you. I'll take a peep at her from my pulpit, myself, if I can manage to
catch sight of her.


A RARE SPECIMEN.

                                                      Brookline, Mass.

     DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: Did you ever hear this story about
     Agassiz? If not, please show it to the other boys and girls.--Yours
     truly,                                              NELLIE CHASE.

     One day, a man put together parts of various insects and submitted
     them to Agassiz as a rare specimen. He also pretended not to know
     to what species it belonged, and asked the professor to tell him.
     It was April Fools' Day. Agassiz gave a single glance at the object
     and, looking up, said "Hum-bug."


A SARDONIC GRIN.

Here's a bit of advice which Deacon Green once gave to the boys of the red
school-house. It came back to me all at once the other day as I was
watching a plump little darkey eating a sour pickle, and making very wry
faces.

The Deacon said: "Whenever you come across a word that you don't
understand thoroughly, don't rest until you have found out all you can
about it."

Sometimes words grow out of queer things and in very odd ways. There's
"sardonic," for instance. As applied to a grin, it means one that a man
makes if he is forced to laugh when he doesn't want to, or tries to smile
when he really is ready to cry out with pain.

Now, the birds tell me that in the island called Sardinia there used to
grow a plant with a very disagreeable taste; and whenever a piece of it
was put into anybody's mouth, it made his face pucker up into a broad,
unwilling smile--made him "laugh the wrong side of his mouth," as I've
heard boys say. Well, in course of time, the name of the island was given
to the plant, and then, with a slight change, it was used to describe the
wry face the taster made.

So you see, my dears, some words are like puzzles. By the way, I'd like to
know what you yourselves can find out about this same word "sardonic," for
it may be that those chattering little friends of mine, the birds, have
been trying to make an April fool of your Jack,--perhaps, just to see if I
can smile a "sardonic" smile when I find out what they've done.


A POSER FROM THE LITTLE SCHOOLMA'AM.

This letter, and the picture I give you with it, have just come to me. Now
let's see what your wits are worth, my dears.

                                                 The Red School-house.

     MY DEAR JACK: I have a favor to ask of you. Will you please show to
     your chicks a copy of the picture which I now send to you, and ask
     them to give you the one word which will express the meaning of it.
     You can tell them, as a clue, if you like, that by means of what
     the picture means they can find out what it means.--Truly your
     friend,                                   THE LITTLE SCHOOLMA'AM.

[Illustration]


GREENLAND.

Letters have come from Andrew A. Bateman, Frank Polley, M. E. Andrews,
Edward Liddon Patterson, Bessie B. Roelafson, and Horatio Warren, all
telling much the same story--that a man named Eric sailed from Iceland in
the year 983, and, reaching the west coast of Greenland, saw there large
herds of reindeer browsing on the meadows. This pleased him, and he called
the country "Greenland."

The Little Schoolma'am says that this is correct, and adds that in some
parts Greenland is much colder than it used to be. She wants to know if
you can give any reason why.


THE FEAST OF KITES.

In Japan, the 23d of April is a splendid day for boys, I should think. I'm
told that the Feast of Kites is held on that day, with kite-fights and
kite-dances, and all sorts of good fun. Who knows anything more about
this?


ANSWERS to the "Tobacco" and "Cares" riddles were sent by W. P., N. E., W.
L. and F. H. Amerman, Nellie J. Towle, A. B. Easton, "Ned," L. C. L., E.
E. B., Nessie E. Stevens, "Mione," Mary H. Barnett, "Bessie," "Lucy and
Annie," A. R. S., and Wm. V. F. Several sent amended versions of both
riddles, but no one has given a satisfactory answer to Archbishop
Whately's rhymed puzzle. "Lucy and Annie" send this verse as the solution:

    "To him who cons the matter o'er,
       A little thought reveals,--
     He heard it first who went before
       Two pair of _soles_ and _'eels_."

I'm afraid it is not the right answer, and I'm beginning to think that the
archbishop made the riddle on the First of April!



TABBY'S RIDE.


Tabby was a great traveler. She knew every spot about the house--from
attic to cellar--and just where everything that she liked was kept. There
was hardly a rat or a mouse on the place that could hide from her. She
crawled into every dark corner of the barn; could tell the number of eggs
in each hen's nest; and often she took long walks through the fields,
creeping through every hole in the fence that was as big as her body.

Besides all this, she rode about the farm-yard a great many times. She had
merry rides with little Harry in his baby-carriage, with Johnny and Fred
as horses; she had lain curled up on the great load of hay when Mr. Dorr
and the men drove in from the fields; and she had traveled ever so many
miles in the empty wagon, when the boys played it was a train of cars. She
liked this railroad journey best; but Fred always waked her up at every
station by his loud Too-oo-oo-t! At other times, she did not know that
they were moving, even when Fred said they were dashing along at a
terrible rate!

But such a ride as the one I shall tell about, she never had had before in
all her life! Indeed, she would never have taken it--but she could not
help it. Ponto made her go. You see, Ponto and Tabby were good friends.
They lived and ate together; they ran races and played all sorts of nice
games; and they liked each other very much. Sometimes they had little
quarrels; but they soon forgot their anger and were friends again.

Every evening, when Ponto came into the yard, the two friends would run
down one little hill from the house and up another little hill to the barn
where Mary was milking. Ponto would keep the pigs out of the yard, and
Tabby would watch every hole in the barn floor for a rat or a mouse. Then,
when Mary was done milking, she would pour some fresh milk into a pan for
Tabby to drink.

But, after a while, there came a long rain-storm. Ponto had to stay in the
yard for two or three days. Tabby did nothing but doze! It seemed as if it
never would stop raining! But it did at last; and when Ponto and Tabby ran
down the hill again, they saw at the bottom--a pond deep enough to drown
them both!

Tabby did not know what to do. In all her travels she had never crossed a
pond of water. She was frightened, and would have gone back to the house,
but she looked toward the barn, and saw Mary and the pan of milk waiting
for her beside the door.

Ponto did not care for the water, for he could swim. So when they came to
the edge of the pond, he plunged in and was soon across. Then he looked
back to see what had become of Tabby. He thought she would be at his
heels.

But no! There she was on the bank where he had left her. Her back was
curled up till it looked as if it were broken, and her tail was waving
over it! What in the world was the matter? She never looked so except when
she was angry.

[Illustration]

Now, Ponto thought Tabby was a wonderful cat. He had seen her catch rats,
and he knew that she could do some things that even he could not. "Surely
she can cross that pond," thought he. He did not know what to make of it.

He called to her, with a bark, to "Jump in and swim across." But she only
replied with a cross "Meouw," which he did not hear. Then he said again,
"It's easy to swim across--come on!"

"As easy as for you to climb a tree," said Tabby, in an angry way.

This was too much for Ponto! He could not climb a tree, and Tabby knew it.
When he was too rough in his play, she would run up into the apple-tree,
and there she was safe. So this reply made him angry. Tabby should not
have said it--but then, she wanted the milk!

"It is so easy that I can swim across and carry you, too," thought Ponto,
and then he plunged into the water again. When he reached the shore, he
seized Tabby by the back of the neck with his teeth, and rushed back into
the water. Poor Tabby! She thought she certainly would be drowned.

But Ponto knew better. He held his head so high that the water hardly
touched her pretty little paws. So she kept quiet and did not struggle. It
was not so bad after all! And besides, there was the milk!

When they landed, Tabby had a stiff neck for a while, and Ponto had to
shake his great shaggy sides until they were dry. Then they ran up the
hill as fast as they could go, and into the barn,--and almost into the
milk-pail before they could stop.

Tabby was very thankful to Ponto for this ride. She said to herself that
she would help him to climb a tree the next time that he tried. But as she
drank her milk, she was glad that they both could follow Mary home by the
long path through the orchard.

Tabby did not forget her strange ride. But she has never taught Ponto how
to climb a tree! She has not even helped him up to the lowest limb. Do you
think she ever will?



LULLABY.


    Little boy John is sleepy,
      Little boy John can rest,
    Now that the sun all its labor has done,
      And gone to its bed in the west.

    Rattle goes into the closet,
      Letter-blocks go there too;
    Wait till the morn for the cow in the corn,
      And the horn of the Little Boy Blue.

    Into the crib with Johnny,
      As soon as his prayers are said;
    Tuck him all in from the toes to the chin,
      Alone in his soft, downy bed.

    Then in the morning early,
      Soon as the sun shall rise,
    Little boy John, with the coming of dawn,
      Will open his pretty blue eyes.

    Butterflies in the garden,
      Roses, and lilies fair,
    Birds in the trees, and the big bumble-bees,
      Shall welcome our little one there.

    Yet if the day be rainy,
      Dreary and dark the sky,
    Still there is fun for our own little one,
      In the nursery cozy and dry.

    Beat a big drum all morning,
      Build a card-house till noon,
    Play after that with the dog and the cat,
      Will keep little Johnny in tune.

    Little boy John is sleepy,
      Winks with his two little eyes,
    Nods with his head--so we put him to bed,
      And under the cover he lies.

[Illustration]



THE LETTER-BOX.


The readers of ST. NICHOLAS are so familiar, by this time, with the new
cover of the magazine, that they can understand, better perhaps than at
first, how much this cover, which Mr. Walter Crane has so carefully and
thoughtfully drawn, is meant to express. The girl or boy who will take the
trouble to study the meaning of the many distinct parts of which the
design is composed, will see that pretty much every subject that ST.
NICHOLAS thinks it well to talk about, is, in some way, symbolized in the
smaller pictures.

The department "For Very Little Folks" is represented by a baby in a
cradle, with a youthful nurse reading to it. Below this scene,
"Jack-in-the-Pulpit" holding forth to his hearers; and, in the next
picture, the poetry of the magazine is personified by a boy mounted on
Pegasus, the fabled winged horse that poets ride. A young hunter, who
shakes hands with a friendly gorilla, indicates that stories of travel, in
strange and distant countries, are to be found within.

In the upper picture, on the other side, two youngsters with telescope and
globe show that scientific subjects may be treated of in such a way as to
interest boys and girls; and a young artist, hard at work, illustrates how
industriously and earnestly our artists work to make good pictures for the
magazine. Sports and games are represented by the little fellow playing
cricket, which, as well as base-ball, is an excellent game, and often
played in this country, though not to so great an extent as in England,
where Walter Crane lives. The young sailor in his canoe, starting out on
the wide ocean in search of adventure, gives a good idea of how the
readers of ST. NICHOLAS go all over the world and see strange sights, in
company with the writers of our stories of fun and adventure.

There are still other things to be noticed on this cover. At the very top,
you will see a figure of young Time, probably the son of old Tempus, who
holds out a tablet to let us know what month the number is for; and, at
the bottom, are two round faces, like young worlds, which show that
children, in both the eastern and western hemispheres, are always on the
lookout for the coming of ST. NICHOLAS.

At the top are the muses of Literature and Art, who see to it that we have
plenty of good articles and pictures; while at the bottom are the two
griffins, who keep out everything that is bad.

In the center is St. Nicholas himself, the good old patron of girls and
boys.

Down at the bottom of this central picture, in the left-hand corner, just
behind the girl's foot, there is a curious little design. That is the
artist's distinctive mark, which he often puts on his pictures. INV.
stands for invented, or designed, and under this are two V's. In
Old-English, V is the same letter as U, and these two V's stand for
double-u, or W--for Walter. Then there is a little picture of a crane. And
so we can easily see that the meaning of the sign is, "Designed by Walter
Crane."

Thus we have shown that this cover tells quite a story, and, if we study
it longer, we may see more in it than is mentioned here.

       *       *       *

                                                        Roxbury, Mass.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: We have formed a club for playing battledoor and
shuttlecock. Our highest scores are 5084, 4556, 3545, and 3496. Will you
ask your subscribers, through the "Letter-Box," if they know of any higher
scores?--Yours truly,
                                       THE BROTHERS OF THE BATTLEDOOR.

       *       *       *

                                                     Cincinnati, Ohio.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am very busy now putting pictures on Easter eggs, the
insides of which have been blown out and replaced by very fine
caraway-seed candy, put in through a little hole at one end and then
covered by a picture. The money I get for these eggs is for my Easter
offering. Duck-eggs are the prettiest to use, because they are of such a
lovely greenish-blue tint. May be some of your other readers may like to
make some of these Easter eggs. Mamma says she could scarcely keep house
without the ST. NICHOLAS now, and I think so too.--Your friend,
                                                          GEORGE M. A.

       *       *       *

                                                         Chicago, Ill.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Will you be so kind as to tell a little Scottish girl
where to find the date when England claimed Scotland, as Mrs. Weiss says,
in her story about the "Arms of Great Britain," in the January number of
your magazine? I cannot find any such date. King Edward I., I know,
claimed it, but Robert the Bruce disputed it so successfully that none
have ever claimed it since--Yours respectfully,           AGGIE NICOL.

William the Conqueror, in A. D. 1072, subdued Malcolm III. of Scotland,
and received his homage. This was the first time England claimed, and
exercised, sovereignty over Scotland.

       *       *       *

STELLA C.--Homer is the "Blind Man of Smyrna."

       *       *       *

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Will you please print this poem? It was written for my
brother Bertie, by a well-known authoress, within five minutes, by my
father's watch, and with the alteration of but one word. I must tell you
we gave her the subject. Hoping you will print this poem, I remain yours
truly,                                                   CHARLES H. M.

BERT'S FUTURE WIFE.

    Do you wish to see her--
      Bertie's future wife,
    The maid who'll share his fortune,
      Brighten all his life?

    This is how I see her,
      In my fancy's eye:
    Tall and fair and slender,
      Cheerful, good and spry;

    Eyes as deep as pansies,
      Lips like cherries red,
    And a wealth of sunshine
      Growing on her head.

    Kind her voice, and gentle,
      Sweet her merry laugh,--
    There, I've told you wonders,
      Yet not told you half.

    Nothing could be better
      Than this lovely maid,
    Now let's see him get her:--
      Hard work, I'm afraid.

       *       *       *

                                                       Monroeville, O.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have for some time been anxious to take the ST.
NICHOLAS, but did not have the money. I was told that if I would gather
hickory-nuts enough to amount to the sum, I might take it. I gathered
three bushels, sold them, sent for the magazine, and, last evening,
received two numbers, with which I was very much pleased.--Your faithful
reader,                                                CLARA LINDSLEY.

       *       *       *

                                                          Danbury, Ct.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: A party of us boys read about "Hare and Hounds" in the
October number, and we tried the game the Saturday after. We all spent the
day at my cousin's; he lives on a farm where there is plenty of room for
us to run. Our "hare" got a good start, and though we ran hard and
followed up the "scent" well, we did not catch him. We caught our next
"hare" though. We treat to apples instead of candy. We think the game is
great fun.

I have taken ST. NICHOLAS for two years and I think it is splendid. I
liked the "Bass Cove Sketches," and mamma laughed heartily when I read
them to her. I am ten years old, and I hope to take you till I am
twenty.--Your constant reader,
                                                      WILLIE H. ALLEN.

       *       *       *

A CORRESPONDENT sends us the following account of some incidents of the
great flood in Virginia last November:

After several days of rain, the James and other rivers rose very suddenly,
and caused great destruction of life and property, carrying away houses,
bridges, crops, and cattle, and covering large sections of the country
with water.

There were no lives lost where the flood came during daylight, though many
families lost food, clothing, and their homes; but where the sudden rage
of the waters burst forth at night, many people were swept away and
drowned.

Some one saw among the poor animals struggling with the waters, a poor,
frightened little rabbit, on a plank, running from side to side, as it
tossed and pitched up and down on the waves.

A queer instance of characteristic nature in an animal is worth
recording, although the creature could scarcely be considered a sufferer
from the flood. One man, whose house was swept away and lodged on an
embankment lower down, had a pet hog, whose dwelling had been under the
house. Of course the man imagined him drowned, as no one had thought of
him in the haste of the flight. The day after, when the fury of the waters
was somewhat spent, the man and his son paddled out to the house to see if
anything had escaped. On going in through the upstairs window, they found
that the hog had coolly walked in and up the stairs, and, selecting a
feather-bed, was now reclining very comfortably in the very middle of it,
entirely unhurt!

But only this gentleman of ease and the wreckers profited by the great
flood. To others it came like a cruel and stealthy foe, sweeping all
before its merciless rush. One little girl, two years old, snatched from
her bed and barely saved, said the next day, with a little face still
sunshiny, as she pointed to their roof, just seen, with the upper windows
above the waters: "Dess see! The flood came, and it dess took
everysing--dollies and all!"                                        M.

       *       *       *

SEVERAL correspondents write kindly correcting an error in the February
"Letter-Box," page 301, in the item about "King Alfred and the Cakes." It
was "Prince William, son of Henry I.," not "of Henry II.," who was
drowned.

       *       *       *

                                                         Athens, Ohio.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Reading what Jack said in February about the little
birds being killed by flying against the telegraph wires, I thought I
would write and say that we often pick them up. They look soft and pretty,
as if they were asleep, as they are not cut and their feathers are not
rumpled. I also want to tell you about my canary-birds. My little Toppie
hatched three little singers, which I named Tom, Dick, and Harry. I sold
Harry to pay for my ST. NICHOLAS. We sent Dick to a little girl who had
been praying for a bird. She was so glad to get it that she said she must
be a good little girl. We still have the other one, who is singing nearly
all the time. I was twelve on Washington's birthday. I have one sister and
three brothers, and we all love the ST. NICHOLAS.--Your affectionate
reader,                                              HATTIE F. NOURSE.

       *       *       *

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have a dolly twenty-five years old. I am going to
take her to Saratoga this summer. I think it will do her good. I am seven
years old. I like ST. NICHOLAS ever so much.           MATTIE WYCKOFF.

       *       *       *

                                                     Providence, R. I.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: In the December number of ST. NICHOLAS, in "A Chat
About Pottery," I find on page 105 the question, "Who ever saw a blue
dog?" and the answer, "In life, no one, my dear." During the past month I
have seen, several times, a dog as blue as the sky on a summer's day. He
is of the "Spitz" breed, and, as his master keeps a dye-house, we think he
is used as an advertisement.

He attracts a good deal of attention when on the street.--Yours truly,
                                                           EDWIN S. T.

       *       *       *

                                                     Shawangunk, N. Y.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: My uncles have taken the ST. NICHOLAS for me for three
years, and I like it very much.

I see in your "Letter-Box" a letter from Alma Aylesworth asking how apples
were made to grow sweet on one side and sour on the other.

They take a sprout of the sweet and another of sour, just as near the same
size as possible, split each in two at the middle, press one-half of each
to a half of the other, put grafting-wax up the cracks, and set it in like
any other graft.

For a few years, this limb will bear apples sweet on one side and sour on
the other; but when the tree gets old, the apples will be of one flavor
throughout.--I remain your faithful reader,            MAMIE C. COCKS.

       *       *       *

                                                         Franklin, Pa.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to have you tell me what Cleopatra's
needle is. I read about its voyage in the papers.--Yours truly,
                                                              B. L. F.


The obelisk known as Cleopatra's needle, presented by the Khedive to
England, is a great stone that was cut out in one piece from the quarries
of Syene, Egypt, it is supposed in the time of Thothmes III. (about 1600
years B. C.), when, also, it was set up in the temple of Karnak, at
Thebes. It is a tall, rectangular pillar, tapering from the base to near
the top, where it is pointed like a flattened pyramid; its sides are
inscribed with hieroglyphics. The obelisk was taken to Alexandria by Queen
Cleopatra, and was named after her. Some think that Cleopatra's Needle
was another stone, quarried by order of Ramesis II., and set up in
Heliopolis, the City of the Sun; but several obelisks have borne the name,
and this may have caused uncertainty about them. The former account is
believed to be correct.

       *       *       *

                                                         Ashland, Wis.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I saw, in your January number, two ways pictured for
carrying the mails. Here, where I live, on the shore of Lake Superior, we
see both ways at the present time. The mail from Bayfield comes on the
backs of packers, and on the railroad the mails come from Milwaukie and
other points south of us.

We have a jolly fire-place. It is large enough for Santa Claus to come
right down without any trouble; and he filled our stockings full last
year.--From your constant reader,                    ESTELLE WILMARTH.

       *       *       *

We have received the following letters in answer to Alice Clinton's
question, in the February "Letter-Box," asking for a list of books
pleasant to read:

                                                     Ogdensburg, N. Y.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Will you please tell Alice Clinton, if she wants some
interesting and instructive books, to read Dickens's "Child's History of
England" and Higginson's "History of the United States."--Truly yours,
                                                          LULIE JAMES.


                                                             Brooklyn.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have taken you ever since you were born, and I like
you better all the while.

I think Alice Clinton would enjoy "About Old Story-tellers," by Ik Marvel;
"America Illustrated," edited by J. David Williams: and Parley's
"Universal History," as they are all very nice.--Your friend,
                                                   CORA EUGENIA ALWYN.

       *       *       *

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Inclosed you will find a short story which my little
brother wrote, as he said he wanted to write something for good
ST. NICHOLAS.--Yours truly,                                   J. S. H.


THE FISHER.

Once there was a boy who did not obey his mother and went fishing and fell
into the water how frighten was the mother when she found out that her boy
was drowned and the father and mother began to cry and one day a man came
to comfort them. But he could not and they never found that boy.

       *       *       *

WE have received the following lines as an answer to the geographical
puzzle in the February number:

    _Queen Charlotte_ the fair
    To a ball did repair
    In the city of _Aire_,
    And met all the _Adams_ carousing there,
    Sweet _Alexandria_, _Sydney_ the swell,
    And noble young _Ellsworth_, who pleased her right well.
    They praised her fine _Cashmere_, with _Brussels_ to trim it,
    But found it _Toulon_(g) and _Toulouse_ the next minute.
    Her shoulders were _Chili_, she thought she should freeze,
    But a warm _Paisley_ shawl put her quite at her ease.
    Her rich _Diamond_ jewelry sparkled and shone;
    Her shoes were _Morocco_, of smallness unknown;
    And her kerchief diffused a sweet smell of _Cologne_.
    A _Superior_ dancer, she floated around,
    With _Washington_ great or _Columbus_ was found.
    With _Madison_ flirting or dancing a jig,
    _Montgomery_, _Raleigh_, she cared not a fig
    For them, or for _Jackson_, who stared in surprise
    When she said she was _Hungary_, coolly did rise,
    And was borne off by _Quincy_ from under his eyes.
    At _Table_, _Elk_, _Sandwich_, and _Orange_ she ate,
    Sat drinking _Moselle_ and _Madeira_ till late;
    Then, after an evening quite _Pleasant_, she said
    _Farewell_ to her hostess, and went home, they said,
    With gallant _Prince Edward_, a gentleman bred.
                                                          LIZZIE E. T.

       *       *       *

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I saw in the January number a recipe for "chocolate
creams." I have a very good recipe for chocolate caramels. It is: Half a
pint of rich milk, a square and a half (or an ounce and a half) of Baker's
unsweetened chocolate, softened on the fire. Let the milk boil; then stir
in the chocolate very hard; add half a pint of best white sugar, and three
table-spoonfuls of molasses. Boil until very thick, taking care not to
burn it. Pour on buttered tins, and, when nearly cold, cut in squares.

If you think this is a good recipe (which I am sure you will, as I have
tried it many times, and have never known it to fail), please put it in
the "Letter-Box," and oblige, your interested reader,
                                               MARY WHARTON WADSWORTH.

       *       *       *

                                                     Butte Creek, Cal.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am ten years old, and live in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, and my papa belongs to a mining company--mining for gold. I
have a hydraulic mine of my own, but I don't get any gold out of it. I
have a dog whose name is Flora, and a wooden sword and dagger, and I play
soldier with her and get cleaned out sometimes.

We have no school here, but I study my lessons every day, and papa hears
me recite at night. I study arithmetic, geography, spelling, U. S.
history, and writing. I may write to you again some time.--Yours truly,
                                                      SCOTTIE HANKINS.

       *       *       *

                                                     Philadelphia, Pa.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I want to tell you about a girl we had. She was a
German girl, and she asked my father, who is a druggist, for a label. She
wanted to send it to Germany, so her friends could direct the letters. On
the label was printed, "Dr. Siddall, Mantua Drug-store, Tinct. of Myrrh,
No. 3526 Haverford St., W. Phila." She sent this label, and when the
answer came, the direction read, "Care Dr. Siddall, Mantua Drug-store,
Tinct. of Myrrh, No. 3526 Haverford St., W. Phila."

We had a good laugh over it, to think that anybody would put "Tinct. of
Myrrh" on the direction of a letter.

I thought I would send you this to put in the ST. NICHOLAS, so that
everybody who reads this could have a laugh over it.--Very respectfully,
                                                        J. R. SIDDALL.

       *       *       *

DORA'S HOUSEKEEPING, by the author of "Six Little Cooks," is a handy
little book that tells about the troubles and triumphs of a girl fifteen
years old, who is left unexpectedly to take charge of a house and provide
daily meals for its six inmates. The story itself is pleasant, and it
introduces useful hints about household duties--such as bed-making,
sweeping, care of lamps, etc. The book is adapted to beginners, for its
recipes contain fuller detailed directions than cook-books usually give.
Solids and sweets are treated of in common-sense proportion, and waste is
guarded against with tasty dishes prepared from remnants. The book is
illustrated, and is published by Messrs. Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago.

       *       *       *

CHILD MARIAN ABROAD, by William M. F. Round, is a little book with eight
full-page pictures. It gives a lively and interesting account of a bright
little girl's adventures during a tour in Europe with her uncle and aunt.
She sees many great people and grand sights, plays with a princess, gets
into comical scrapes,--some with the help of a little American boy named
Harry,--and, altogether, has a delightful trip, very pleasant to read
about.

       *       *       *

A CORRESPONDENT, having read in the November number the poem "My Girl," by
Mr. Adams, sends us this clever imitation:

MY BOY.

    A little crib in "mother's room,"
    A little face with baby bloom,
    A little head with curly hair,
    A little woolly dog, a chair.

    A little while for bumps and cries,
    A little while to make "mud pies,"
    A little doubting wonder when
    A little pair of hands is clean.

    A little ball, a top to spin,
    A little "Ulster" belted in,
    A little pair of pants, some string,
    A little bit of everything.

    A little blustering, boisterous air,
    A little spirit of "don't care,"
    A little tramping off to school,
    A little shrug at woman's rule.

    A little odor of cigar,
    A little twilight talk with Ma,
    A little earnest study then--
    A little council grave again.

    A little talk about "my girl,"
    A little soft mustache to twirl,
    A little time of jealous fear,
    A little hope the way to clear.

    A little knowledge of the world,
    A little self-conceit down hurled,
    A little manly purpose new,
    A little woman, waiting, true.

    A little wedding gay at eve,
    A little pang the home to leave,
    A little mother lone at dawn,
    A little sigh--my boy was gone!                           L. R. I.

       *       *       *

E. I. S.--We believe that some consider it not quite certain whether
"thumbs up" or "thumbs down" was the sign of mercy. But Appleton's
"American Cyclopædia" says that, when, in a Roman amphitheater, a
gladiator was overcome in fight, he was allowed to appeal to the
spectators; and, if they pointed downward with their thumbs, his life was
spared,--but if upward, his opponent dispatched him on the spot.



THE RIDDLE-BOX.


#NUMERICAL ENIGMA.#

I am composed of thirteen letters in two words that form the name of a
king lately dead.

My 6 5 8 7 is the capital of his realm.
My 4 11 6 2 10 is the city of his birth.
My 1 7 10 2 3 12 is a noted port in his kingdom.
My 8 2 13 9 10 is a cathedral city in his dominions.
                                                       L. H., V. H., +


#EASY DIAMOND PUZZLE.#

1. A consonant. 2. A wager. 3. A city in Italy. 4. A part of the body.
5. A vowel.                                                   N. B. S.


#WORD SYNCOPATIONS.#

Remove one word from another, and leave a complete word.

1. Take a crime from a clergyman's house, and leave an attendant. 2. Take
a summer luxury from worthy of observation, and leave remarkable. 3. Take
savage from to puzzle, and leave a drink. 4. Take suffrage from a bigot,
and leave a river in Great Britain. 5. Take to lean from a glass vessel,
and leave an animal.                                      CYRIL DEANE.


#ANAGRAMS.#

Each anagram is formed from a single word, and a clue to the meaning of
that word is given, between brackets, after its anagram.

1. Any one can (trouble). 2. I anoint combs (joinings). 3. Cover no sin
(change). 4. A rude song (perilous). 5. I'm no cereal (rite). 6. A mad
girl (song). 7. Real blue ant (fixed). 8. An egg dies (liberate).   W.


#DROP-LETTER PUZZLE.#

Every other letter is omitted.

H- D-T- M-C- W-O -O-H -E-L -H-T -E -A-H -O -O.                   C. D.


#EASY RHOMBOID PUZZLE.#

               . . . .
                 . . . .
                   . . . .
                     . . . .

ACROSS: 1. Oversight. 2. Clean. 3. To fall. 4. To jump. DOWN: 1. One
hundred. 2. An article. 3. A color. 4. A title. 5. A part of the body. 6.
A pet name for a parent. 7. A vegetable.                      H. H. D.


#PICTORIAL ANAGRAM PUZZLE.#

[Illustration: From the letters of the word which describes the central
picture, form words describing the remaining ten pictures.    H. S. S.]


#SEXTUPLE WORD-CROSS.#

         .
         .
         .
         .
   . . . O . . .
         .
         .
         .
         .

The central letter, O, is given in the diagram, and is used for both the
Full Perpendicular and the Full Horizontal; but the central letter forms
no part of the words that make the limbs and arms of the cross.

   FULL PERPENDICULAR, eight letters: An American singing-bird.
   FULL HORIZONTAL, seven letters: An instrument of war.
   TOP LIMB, three letters: A short, jerking action.
   BOTTOM LIMB, four letters: Part of a chain.
   LEFT ARM, three letters: A small gulf.
   RIGHT ARM, three letters: An instrument for catching fish.       B.


#PRESIDENTIAL DISCOVERIES.#

In the full names of the nineteen presidents of the United States, find
the following hidden words, each of which is selected entire from the name
of some single president, although in one or two cases the spelling merely
gives the sound of the word that is to be found:

1. An insect. 2. A household task. 3. Two birds. 4. A faithful woman. 5. A
forest tree, familiar to school-boys. 6. Two Old Testament men. 7. Four
New Testament men. 8. A product of the mine. 9. Two products of the pig.
10. The thousandth part of a dollar. 11. A heavy weight. 12. An inhabitant
of the western part of Europe. 13. A famous spy, executed during the
Revolutionary war. 14. A line of soldiers. 15. One of the supports of a
bridge. 16. Dexterity. 17. A river crossing and river obstructions. 18.
Fish eggs. 19. Affirmative votes. 20. A noted Philadelphia philosopher and
statesman. 21. An old-time Grecian hero. 22. A useful timber. 23. An
English statesman whose head was cut off. 24. A title-deed to lands or
estates. 25. Three musical syllables. 26. A title of the Deity, mentioned
in the Bible. 27. A delicious sweetmeat. 28. A domestic fowl. 29. A girl's
name. 30. Something added. 31. One of the members of a family.
                                                            C. MARVIN.


#EASY DOUBLE ACROSTIC.#

1. Pleasing. 2. The ocean. 3. "A little house full of meat, with no door
to go in and eat." 4. A bar of wood. 5. A thought. 6. A tribe. 7. Pleased.

The initials and finals, read downward, spell the names of two powerful
countries.                                                        DEL.


#NUMERICAL PUZZLE.#

      1   2
     3  4  5
      6   7

My 3 4 5 is to obstruct. My 1 4 7 is to bend under weight. My 2 4 6 is a
carriage.

Place the letters in the positions indicated by the figures of the
diagram, and read therefrom my whole, which is the name of a large island.
                                                              H. H. D.


#A PROVERB AMONG PROVERBS.#

ONE word taken from each sentence in succession will form the answer.

  1. "Likeness begets love, yet proud men hate one another."
  2. "They that hide can find."
  3. "Trade knows neither friends nor kindred."
  4. "It is better to be happy than wise."
  5. "Gold may be bought too dear."
  6. "If you would have a good servant, take neither a kinsman nor a
          friend."
  7. "A gift long waited for is sold, not given."
  8. "It's time to sit when the oven comes to dough."
  9. "Only that which is honestly got is gain."
 10. "Prudent people always ask the price ere they purchase."
 11. "Good advice is never out of place."
 12. "Friendship is the perfection of love."              CYRIL DEANE.


#A MEDLEY.#

    A word that means to cleanse, behead,
      And leave of cloth a kind;
    Behead again, and leave a seed
      Canaries love to find;
    Behead again, and it will leave
      An animal behind.

    Transpose my first, and it becomes
      A set of antics gay;
    Then curtail twice, and leave what oft
      Projects into a bay;
    Curtail again, and leave what boys
      Will put in mother's way.

    Transpose again, and find a word
      To horses may apply;
    Curtail it twice, and leave a step
      That one can measure by;
    Behead it, and you have a card
      That often counts for high.

    Transpose again, and bring to light
      A well-known proper name;
    And in the very center find
      A serpent known to fame,
    That caused the death of one,--a queen,--
      Who laid to beauty claim.                               H. H. D.


#HALF WORD-SQUARE.#

A member of a legislative body; a plant; new; periods of time; to allow,
reversed; a preposition; a consonant.                     A. C. CRETT.



ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN MARCH NUMBER.


A COMMON ADAGE.--"Well begun is half done."

LITERARY ENIGMA.--
    "Sweet was the sound when oft at evening's close
     Up yonder hill the village murmur rose."
                                     _Goldsmith's "Deserted Village."_

1. Euripides. 2. Tasso. 3. Southey. 4. Hume. 5. Irving. 6. Carlyle. 7.
Wordsworth. 8. Hawthorne. 9. Lyell. 10. Davy. 11. Emerson. 12. Mann.

TRANSPOSITIONS.--1. I pass no, passion. 2. Glare, large. 3. Let this,
thistle. 4. United, untied. 5. One cadet, anecdote. 6. Towels, lowest. 7.
Not impart, important. 8. Lambs cringe, clamberings.

EASY REVERSALS.--1. Drab, bard. 2. Reed, deer. 3. Door, rood. 4. Yard,
dray. 5. Keel, leek. 6. Loop, pool. 7. Tram, mart. 8. Doom, mood. 9. Part,
trap. 10. Room, moor.

DOUBLE DIAMOND.--Perpendicular: Ponderous. Horizontal: Gathering.
             P
           P O D
         V I N E S
       G A R D E N S
     G A T H E R I N G
       C A R R I E D
         S T O V E
           S U E
             S

CURTAILMENTS AND BEHEADINGS.--Poe, poet. Raven, rave. Bells, ells.

EASY NUMERICAL ENIGMA.--Robinson Crusoe. Robin, cross, ounce.

PICTORIAL ANAGRAM PROVERB-PUZZLE.--"A new broom sweeps clean."

EASY UNIONS.--1. Rest-o-ring, restoring. 2. Sweet-e-ned, sweetened. 3.
Inter-e-sting, interesting.

AN OLD MAXIM.--"Light cares speak; great ones are dumb."

RHOMBOID PUZZLE.--
     E P O D E
       O P E R A
         E A R L Y
           N O T E D
             R O S E S

DOUBLE CROSS-WORD ACROSTIC.--Steam, Smoke. 1. ScissorS. 2. TeaM. 3. EchO.
4. ArK. 5. MandrakE.

EASY DIAMOND PUZZLE.--1. T. 2. Era. 3. Trout. 4. Auk. 5. T.

MALTESE-CROSS PUZZLE.--
       F R E S H
     B   A S A   I
     E I   S   A D
     I N T E N S E
     N N   N   H A
     G   A C T   L
       C L E A R

POETICAL REBUS.--"Oh, what a tangled web we weave
                  When first we practice to deceive."
                                                  _Scott's "Marmion."_

NUMBERICAL ENIGMA.--Nightingale. Nigh, tin, gale.

DOUBLE ACROSTIC.--Louisa M. Alcott, Ralph W. Emerson, 1. LumbeR. 2.
OpheliA. 3. UsuaL. 4. ImP. 5. SumacH. 6. AndreW. 7. MoosE. 8. AsyluM. 9.
LakE. 10. CondoR. 11. OlympuS. 12. TO. 13. TeN.

WORD SYNCOPATIONS.--1. La-wren-ce; wren, lace. 2. K-now-ing; now, king. 3.
De-fin-ed; fin, deed. 4. Re-fine-d; fine, reed. 5. W-ant-ed; ant, wed. 6.
F-urn-ish; urn, fish.

CHARADE--Wedgwood.

ABBREVIATIONS.--1. Beryl, bey. 2. Crown, cow. 3. Fairy, fir. 4. Grape,
gap. 5. Steam, sea. 6. White, wit. 7. Halts, hat. 8. Honey, hoe. 9. Bevel,
bee. 10. Pence, pen.

       *       *       *

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES in the February number were received, before February
18, from Lucian J., G.L., N.E., G.A.R.C., Mattie E. Doyle, Josie Brown,
B.P. Emery, Réné L. Milhau, Willie C. Du Bois, "Dominie," M.H.F., "Ben
Zeen," M. Alice Chase, W.L. and F.H. Amerman, Louie C.O. Haughton, Frank
Haughton, Alice Stedman, Kittie Perry, Annie L. Zieber, Georgine C.
Schnitzspahn, Anna M. Richardson, H.A. Warren, Constance Grand-Pierre and
Sarah Duffield, W. Eichelberger, "Adelaide and Reggie," Mason Romeyn
Strong, Robert M. Webb, "L.," "Yankee Girl," Grace B. Latimer, Eugene L.
Lockwood, "Bob White," "Medea," Robert Howard, Nellie J. Towle, Eddie H.
Gay, Ray T. French, Gertrude C. Eager, Abbie G. Weed, Arthur C. Smith,
Addie Campbell, "Bessie and her Cousin," Lucy V. MacRill, M.W. Collet,
L.C.L., Hattie M. Heath, "Little Eagle," Edith Wilkinson, Grace Van
Wagenen, Nessie E. Stevens, A.H. Babcock, Anna E. Mathewson, Clara B.
Dunster, Ben Merrill, C.E. Sands, John Taylor, Jennie Taylor, Harry
Durand, Nellie A. Hudson, Leonice B. Barnes, "Winnie, Brookline," Bessie
L. Barnes, Louise G. Hinsdale, Lizzie B. Clark, Lizzie M. Dow, Mabel
Barrows, Miller Bowdoin & Co., R.T. McKeever, "Three Cousins," "St.
Nicholas Club," Lizzie E.T." Anna F. Robinson, Florence E. Turrill, Ida N.
Carson, Camille and Leonie Giraud, "New Friend," George J. Fiske, Florence
Wilcox, Fred M. Pease; No name, Cambridgeport; Eddie Vultee, Milly E.
Adams, Perry Adams, Maude Adams, and Anna R. Stratton.





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