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Title: St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, July 1878, No. 9
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. 5, July 1878, No. 9" ***

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[Illustration: "ONWARD WITH HER PRECIOUS BURDEN, THROUGH SHOT AND
SHELL".]



ST. NICHOLAS.

VOL. V.
JULY, 1878.
No. 9.


[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



THE GIRL WHO SAVED THE GENERAL.

BY CHARLES H. WOODMAN.


Far down the Carolina coast lies the lovely island of St. John, where
stood, one hundred years ago, a noble brick-built mansion, with lofty
portico and broad piazza. Ancient live-oaks, trembling aspens, and
great sycamores, lifted a bower over it to keep off the sun. Threading
their way through orange-trees and beds of flowers, spacious walks
played hide-and-seek around the house, coming suddenly full upon the
river, or running out of sight in the deep woods.

The owner of this place was Robert Gibbes. With his beautiful young
wife he kept an open hall, and drew to its doors many of the great and
noble people of the times; for he was wealthy and cultured, and she had
such charming manners that people loved her very presence. The great
house was full at all seasons. Eight children had already come to this
good couple, and seven little adopted cousins were their playmates--the
orphan children of Mrs. Fenwick, sister to Mr. Gibbes. He himself was a
cripple, and could not walk. In a chair which ran on wheels he was
drawn daily over the pleasant paths, sometimes by the faithful black
servants, sometimes by the still more devoted children, who tugged at
the rope like so many frisky colts. In their careless joy he forgot his
own sufferings, and would laugh heartily when they deserted him and
hid, with shouts, behind the great trunks, until every tree in the park
seemed to cry out "Papa!" and "Uncle Robert!" The loveliness of the
spot, and the happiness of its dwellers, suited well its name of
"Peaceful Retreat," by which it was known through all the country.

But in those troublous times it could not always remain "peaceful." In
the spring of 1779, the British took possession of all the sea-board.
General Prevost marched up from Savannah and laid siege to Charleston.
The beautiful city was about to fall into the enemy's hands; all night
the men had toiled in the trenches, the women had prayed on their knees
in their chambers, expecting every moment to hear the besieging cannon
roar through the darkness. At daylight the next morning the housetops
were thronged with anxious watchers; but as the sun came gloriously out
of the sea, it shone upon deserted fields; not a tent was to be seen.
Hearing that General Lincoln was hastening on with his army, Prevost
had struck his tents in the night, and was retreating rapidly toward
Savannah. He crossed the Stone Ferry, and fortified himself on John's
Island, as the island of St. John's was often called.

For weeks now the noise of musketry and heavy guns destroyed the quiet
joy at "Peaceful Retreat." The children, in the midst of play, would
hear the dreadful booming, and suddenly grow still and pale. The eldest
daughter, Mary Anna, was a sprightly, courageous girl of thirteen. She
had the care of all the little ones, for her mother's hands were full,
in managing the great estate and caring for her husband. The children
never played now in the park, unless Mary was with them; and when the
frightful noise came through the trees, they ran to her as chickens to
a mother's wing.

After a time, the enemy determined to take possession of this beautiful
place. A body of British and Hessians quietly captured the landing one
midnight, and, creeping stealthily onward, filled the park and
surrounded the house. At day-break, the inmates found themselves
prisoners.

Then came trying days for the family. The officers took up their
quarters in the mansion, allowing the family to occupy the upper story.
They may have been brave soldiers, but they certainly were not
gentlemen, for they did everything to annoy Mrs. Gibbes, who bore all
her trouble nobly and patiently. Little Mary had entire charge of the
smaller children, which was no easy task, for they were continually
getting into some sort of trouble with the troops.

John's Island was less than thirty miles from Charleston, and when the
American officers in the city heard that "Peaceful Retreat" had been
captured by the British, they determined to rescue it from the enemy.
Two large galleys were immediately manned and equipped and sent to the
plantation, with strict orders not to fire upon the mansion.

Sailing noiselessly up the Stono River, at dead of night, the vessels
anchored abreast the plantation. Suddenly, out of the thick darkness
burst a flame and roar, and the shot came crashing through the British
encampment. The whole place was instantly in uproar. The officers in
the house sprang from bed, and hastily dressed and armed. The family,
rudely awakened, rushed to the windows. A cold rain was falling, and
the soldiers, half-clad, were running wildly hither and thither, while
the officers were frantically calling them to arms. Mary woke at the
first terrible roar and fled to her mother's room. The excitable negro
servants uttered most piercing shrieks. The poor little children were
too frightened to scream, but clung, trembling, to Mary.

Mrs. Gibbes was in great distress. She knew not, at first, whether it
was an attack by friends on the camp, or an assault on the house by the
enemy. She ordered the servants to cease their wailing and dress
themselves. Then her husband and the children were prepared; and, while
the cannon bellowed in quick succession and the noise around the house
grew louder, the father and mother consulted what was best to do. It
was now evident that the attack was by their own friends, and its
object was to dislodge the enemy. But Mr. Gibbes did not know that the
house would not be fired on, and he advised instant flight. He was
carried to his chair, and the whole household sallied forth from a back
door.

The scene was terrific. The night was pitchy dark, and when, just as
they stepped out, a sheet of flame belched forth from the vessels, it
seemed to be almost against their faces. The roar shook the ground.
The troops were too busy saving themselves to notice the fugitives, and
they pushed on as rapidly as possible.

No one was sufficiently protected from the rain. Little Mary had the
hardest part, for nearly all the children were in her care. The mud was
deep. Some of the little ones could walk but a short distance at a
time, and had to be carried--Mary having always one, sometimes two, in
her arms. Several of the servants were near her, but none of them
seemed to notice her or her burdens. The last horse had been carried
off that very day; there was no escape but on foot.

Suddenly, a ball came crashing by them through the trees! Then a charge
of grape-shot cut the boughs overhead. They were exactly in the range
of the guns! It was evident they had taken the worst direction, but
there was no help for it now--it was too late to turn back. In her
agony, the mother cried aloud on God to protect her family. Mary hugged
closer the child in her arms, and trembled so she could hardly keep up.
Another crash! The shot shrieked past them, striking the trees in every
direction. The assault was fierce, the roar was incessant. The
frightened family rushed on as swiftly as possible toward a friend's
plantation, far back from the shore; but it was soon seen that they
would not have strength to reach it, even if they were not struck down
by the flying shot. The Americans were pouring their fire into these
woods, thinking the enemy would seek refuge there. The wretched
fugitives expected every moment to be the last. On they pushed through
mud and rain and screaming shot.

Soon they found they were getting more out of range of the guns. They
began to hope; yet now and then a ball tore up the trees around them,
or rolled fearfully across their path. They reached one of the houses
where their field-hands lived, with no one hurt; they were over a mile
from the mansion, and out of range. The negroes said no shot had come
that way. Unable to flee further, the family determined to stop here.
As soon as they entered, Mrs. Gibbes felt her strength leaving her, and
sank upon a low bed. Chilled to the bone, drenched, trembling with
terror and exhaustion, the family gathered around her. She opened her
eyes and looked about. She sprang up wildly.

"Oh, Mary!" she cried, "where is John?"

The little girl turned pale, and moaned: "Oh, mother! mother! _he's
left_!" She broke into crying. The negroes, quickly sympathetic, began
to wring their hands and wail.

"Silence!" said Mr. Gibbes, with stern but trembling voice. The tears
were in his own eyes. The little child now missing was very dear to
them all, and, moreover, was deemed a sacred charge, as he was one of
the orphan children of Mr. Gibbes's sister, intrusted to him on her
death-bed.

The wailing ceased; there was silence, broken only by sobs, and the
master asked:

"Who is willing to go back for the child?"

No one spoke. Mr. Gibbes turned to his wife for counsel. As the two
talked in low tones, Mrs. Gibbes called her husband's attention to
Mary, who was kneeling with clasped hands, in prayer, at the foot of
the bed. In a moment, the little maid rose and came to them, saying,
calmly:

"Mother, I must go back after baby."

"Oh, my child," cried the mother, in agony, "I _cannot_ let you!"

"But, mother, I must," pleaded Mary. "God will care for me."

It was a fearful responsibility. The guns yet roared constantly through
the darkness; the house might now be in flames; it might be filled with
carnage and blood. Mrs. Gibbes turned to her husband. His face was
buried in his hands. Plainly, she must decide it herself. With
streaming eyes, she looked at Mary.

"Come here, my child," she called through her sobs. Mary fell upon her
mother's neck. One long, passionate embrace, in which all a mother's
love and devotion were poured out, and the clinging arms were opened
without a word. Mary sprang up, kissed her father's forehead, and sped
forth on her dangerous mission of love.

The rain had now ceased, but the night was still dark and full of
terrors, for through the trees she saw the frequent flashes of the great
guns. The woods were filled with the booming echoes, so that cannon
seemed to be on every hand. She flew on with all speed. Soon she heard
the crashing trees ahead, and knew that in a moment she would be once
more face to face with death. She did not falter. Now she was again in
the fierce whirlwind! All around her the shot howled and shrieked. On
every side branches fell crashing to the earth. A cannon-ball plunged
into the ground close beside her, cast over her a heap of mud, and threw
her down. She sprang up and pressed on with redoubled vigor. Not even
_that_ ball could make her turn back.

She reached the house. She ran to the room where the little child
usually slept. The bed was empty! Distracted, she flew from chamber to
chamber. Suddenly she remembered that this night he had been given to
another nurse. Up into the third story she hurried, and, as she pushed
open the door, the little fellow, sitting up in bed, cooed to her and
put out his hands.

With the tears raining down her cheeks, Mary wrapped the babe warmly
and started down the stairs. Out into the darkness once more; onward
with her precious burden, through cannon-roar, through shot and shell!
Three times she passed through this iron storm. The balls still swept
the forest; the terrific booming filled the air.

With the child pressed tightly to her brave young heart, she fled on.
She neither stumbled nor fell. The shot threw the dirt in her face, and
showered the twigs down upon her head. But she was not struck. In
safety she reached the hut, and fell exhausted across the threshold.

And the little boy thus saved by a girl's brave devotion, afterward
became General Fenwick, famous in the war of 1812.



FORTY--LESS ONE.

BY JAMES RICHARDSON.


  Over by the tangled thicket,
    Where the level meets the hill,
  Where the mealy alder-bushes
    Crowd around the ruined mill,
  Where the thrushes whistle early,
    Where the midges love to play,
  Where the nettles, tall and stinging,
    Guard the vine-obstructed way,
  Where the tired brooklet lingers;
    In a quiet little pool,
  Mistress Salmo Fontinalis[A]
    Keeps a very private school.

  Forty little speckled beauties
    Come to learn of her, each day,
  How to climb the foaming rapids,
    Where the flashing sunbeams play,--
  How to navigate the eddies,
    How to sink and how to rise,
  How to watch for passing perils,
    How to leap for passing flies,--
  When to play upon the surface,
    When beneath the stones to hide,--
  All the secrets of the water,
    All brook learning, true and tried;--

  "That's a good-for-nothing skipper;"
    "That's a harmless yellow-bird;"
  "That's the flicker of the sunshine,
    When the alder-leaves are stirred;"
  "That's the shadow of a cloudlet;"
    "That's a squirrel come to drink;"
  "That--look out for him, my darlings!--
    He's a fierce and hungry mink;"
  "That's the ripple on the water,
    When the winds the wavelets stir;"
  "That--snap quick, my little hearties!--
    That's a luscious grasshopper."

[Illustration]

  So the clever Mistress Salmo
    Gives her counsel, day by day,--
  Teaching all the troutly virtues,
    All life's lessons, grave and gay.
  Well she knows the flashing terror
    Of King Fisher's sudden fall!
  Well she knows the lurking danger
    Of the barb'd hook, keen and small!
  Well she tries to warn her pupils
    Of all evils, low and high!
  But, alas! the vain young triflers
    Sometimes disobey--and die!

  What was that which passed so quickly,
    With a slender shade behind?
  What is that which stirs the alders
    When no ripple tells of wind?
  What sends Mistress Salmo darting
    Underneath the stones in fear?--
  Crying, "Hide yourselves, my darlings!
    Our worst enemy is near!"
  "I am bound to understand it,"
    Says one self-proud speckle-side;
  "When I see the danger's real,
    Then, if need be, I can hide."

  So he waits alone and watches,
    Sees the shadow pass again,
  Sees a fly drop on the water,--
    Dashes at it, might and main.
  "Missed it! Well," he says, "I never!
    That's the worst jump made to-day!
  Here another comes--now for it!"
    Splash! He's in the air--to stay!
  When the alders cease to tremble,
    Silence comes and sun-glints shine,
  Mistress Salmo Fontinalis
    Calls the roll,--just thirty-nine!

[Footnote A: Brook-trout.]



[Illustration]

HOW THE WEATHER IS FORETOLD.

BY JAMES H. FLINT.


In former times, the chief herald of the weather was the almanac, which
ambitiously prophesied a whole year of cold and heat, wet and dry,
dividing up the kinds of weather quite impartially, if not always
correctly.

But the almanac, good as it was now and then, and the weather-wise
farmers, correct as sometimes they might have been, were not always
able to impart exact information to the country; and they have been
thrown quite into the shade of late, by one who is popularly known
under the somewhat disrespectful title of "Old Prob," or "Old
Probabilities." He has become the Herald of the Weather to the sailor,
near the rocky, dangerous coasts; to the farmer, watching his crops,
and waiting for good days to store them; to the traveler, anxious to
pursue his journey under fair skies; and to the girls and boys who want
to know, before they start to the woods for a picnic, what are the
"probabilities" as to rain.

Every one who reads the daily paper is familiar with the "Weather
Record," issued from the "War Department, office of the Chief Signal
Officer," at Washington. These reports give, first, a general statement
of what the weather has been, for the past twenty-four hours, all over
the country, from Maine to California, and from the Lakes to the South
Atlantic States; and then the "Probabilities," or "Indications," for
the next twenty-four hours, over this same broad territory. The annual
reports of the Chief Signal Officer show that in only comparatively few
instances do these daily predictions fail of fulfillment.

The reason these prophecies are so true is a simple and yet a wonderful
one. The weather itself tells the observer what it is going to do, some
time in advance, and the telegraph sends the news all over the country,
from the central signal office at Washington.

We shall see, presently, how the weather interprets itself to "Old
Probabilities." Although it has proved such a fruitful subject of
discourse in all ages, yet I am afraid many people who pass remarks
upon it do not really think what the weather is made of. Let us examine
its different elements.

The atmosphere has weight, just as water or any other fluid, although
it seems to be perfectly bodiless. We must comprehend that the
transparent, invisible air is pressing inward toward the center of the
earth. This pressure varies according to the state of the weather, and
the changes are indicated by an instrument called a barometer.
Generally speaking, the falling of the mercury in the tube of the
barometer indicates rain, and its rise heralds clear weather. Sometimes
the rise is followed by cold winds, frost and ice. What these changes
really indicate, however, can be determined only by comparing the
barometric changes, at certain hours, in a number of places very far
apart. This is done by the Signal Service. Observations are made at
about one hundred and forty stations, in different portions of the
country, at given hours, and the results are telegraphed at once to
Washington, where our faithful "weather clerk" receives them, reasoning
out from them the "probabilities" which he publishes three times in
every twenty-four hours.

But the atmosphere varies not only in weight, but also in temperature.
The thermometer tells us of such changes.

Besides this, the air contains a great amount of moisture, and it shows
as much variation in this characteristic as in the others. For the
purpose of making known the changes in the moisture of the atmosphere,
an instrument has been invented called a "wet-bulb" thermometer.

We are thus enabled to ascertain the weight or pressure, the
temperature, and the wetness of the air, and now it only remains for us
to measure the force, and point out the direction, of the wind. This is
done by the familiar weather-vane and the anemometer. The vane shows
the direction, and the anemometer is an instrument which indicates the
velocity of the wind.

It is by a right understanding of all these instruments that the signal
service officer is enabled to tell what the weather says of itself; for
they are the pens with which the weather writes out the facts from
which the officer makes up his reports for the benefit of all
concerned. Thus, however wildly and blindly the storm may seem to come,
it sends messengers telling just where it arose, what course it will
take, and how far it will extend. But it tells its secrets to those
only who pay strict attention.

The system of danger signals, adopted by the United States Government,
has proved of great benefit to shipping. All along the coasts are
stations, at which plainly visible signals are displayed, to warn
ship-captains of approaching storms. The reports of observers at the
stations are required to give all instances in which vessels have
remained in port on account of official warnings given. In these cases
danger was avoided, and statistics show that disasters to shipping have
been considerably fewer since the introduction of the cautionary
signals.

The agricultural interests of the country also have been greatly
benefited by the daily bulletins sent to every farming district in the
land by the Weather Department. These bulletins are made from
telegraphic reports received at appointed centers of distribution,
where they are at once printed, placed in envelopes, and addressed to
designated post-offices in the district to be supplied. Each postmaster
receiving a bulletin has the order of the Postmaster-General to display
it instantly in a frame furnished for the purpose.

The bulletins reach the different offices, and are displayed in the
frames, on the average, at eleven o'clock in the morning, making about
ten hours from the time the report first left the chief signal officer
until it appeared placarded at every center of the farming populations,
and became accessible to all classes even in the most distant parts of
the country.

The information given on these bulletins has been found especially
valuable to those farmers who take an interest in the study of
meteorology, or the science of weather, and the facts announced are so
plain, that any intelligent person may profit by them. For instance,
each bulletin now announces, for its particular district, what winds in
each month have been found most likely, and what least likely, to be
followed by rain. Attention given to this one simple piece of
information will result in increasing the gains and reducing the losses
of harvesting.

Warnings of expected rises or falls in the great rivers are made with
equal regularity, telegraphed, bulletined in frames, and also published
by the newspapers, at the different river cities. These daily reports
give the depths of water at different points in the rivers' courses,
and thus make it easy for river shipping to be moored safely in
anticipation of low water, when ignorance might lead to the grounding
of the boats on sand-bars or mud-banks. The notices of the probable
heights which freshets may reach, are followed by preparations upon the
"levees" and river-banks, to guard against overflows.

The United States Signal Service is a branch of the army. No one is
admitted to it who is under twenty-one years of age. Every candidate
has to undergo before enlistment an examination, the chief subjects of
which are spelling, legible hand-writing, proficiency in arithmetic,
and the geography of the United States, physical and political.

Successful candidates are regularly enlisted in the army, as
non-commissioned officers, and go through a course of very systematic
instruction in military signaling and telegraphy. They are assigned
afterward to different posts, where they are required to make
observations and report the same by wire three times a day, to the
commanding officer at Washington. These observations are made by means
of the instruments I have described, and include the different
appearances in the sky; and at all the stations they are made at the
same hour, according to Washington time. The telegraph gives to the
Herald of the Weather and his aids the advantage of hearing from all
the hundred and forty-odd observers almost at the same time; and when
all this information has been gathered up, studied out, and
re-arranged, the same swift servant takes all over the country, again
almost at one time, the ripe results of the care and watching of more
than seven score persons separated by hundreds and even thousands of
miles from the central office.

I should like to describe the instruments fully, but must content
myself with telling you what remarkable things some of them do. The
self-registering barometer, for instance, is made to actually
photograph a storm; another is made to draw with a pencil, every hour,
figures that show the height of the column of mercury and the
condition of the atmosphere. Even the vane, or weather-cock, marks down
the direction and force of the wind.

The report of the chief signal officer for the year 1876 gives
some idea of the vast amount of labor performed by the service.
The Herald of the Weather never rests. As he says, "The duties of this
office permit little rest and less hesitation. Its action must be
prompt. * * * Its orders must issue, its signals of warning be given,
and its record thus made, sometimes when wisdom would delay, if
possible, and subsequent information show it had delayed rightly. It is
the simple duty of the office to act at each present moment as well as
it can with the information at that time before it. The reports to come
after can only give bases for future action, while exhibiting the right
and wrong of the past." These points should be borne in mind by those
who are disposed to find fault with some of the daily predictions about
the weather. If these predictions do not always come true, it is for
the reason given above. Each report must be made at a given hour.
Sudden changes may occur immediately after a report has been issued.
These changes cannot be waited for, and cannot always be foreseen. But
the general accuracy of the daily reports cannot be questioned, as
about eighty per cent of their predictions are known to have been
verified, and the average of failure grows less.

The method of arranging, comparing, and studying out the meaning of all
the different records of observations made at all the weather stations,
cannot be explained in a short article. But I may add that the weather
is, after all, not quite so capricious as its accusers have asserted.
And it has been found that all storms have certain "habits, movements,
and tracks." It is by applying these laws, and drawing conclusions from
them, that the prophet of the weather is able to tell so nearly what
kind of a day we shall have, and just about where and when the storm
will come.

Nearly all great storms have a rotary, or cyclonical character. The
little whirlwinds we often see on windy days, when the dust is caught
up and whirled around, are miniature examples of great storms which
sweep around immense circles. Almost all great rain, hail, and snow
storms revolve in this manner around a calm center where the mercury is
low in the tube of the barometer. Sometimes two or more cyclones meet,
and interfere with one another's rotary motions; and "when
interferences of this description take place, we have squalls, calms
(often accompanied by heavy rains), thunder-storms, great variations in
the direction and force of the wind," and irregular movements of the
barometer.

So then, considering all that the Herald of the Weather has to do, the
care and quickness with which it must be done, and the excellent
results he obtains, everybody who is at all interested in the changes
of the weather ought to be grateful to him for his faithfulness and
devoted attention to duty.

But why should the Government of the United States--that is to say, the
people as a whole--take the trouble and bear the cost of keeping a
small army of men to watch the weather all over the country, and to
telegraph their observations three times a day to Washington? Why
should the officials there take the trouble to compare these
observations and telegraph back to each locality what weather it may
expect, and what the weather will be elsewhere, so that you and I may
know when to stay at home, or when to take our umbrellas with us if we
go out?

Hardly. There are more important matters at stake. Most of you are old
enough to know that it is unexpected weather that causes most of the
trouble that the weather occasions. The farmer expects fair weather,
cuts his hay or grain, and a storm comes and spoils it. He looks for
rain, and lets his crop stand; the bright sun injures it, or he loses a
good chance to harvest it. The ship-master expects fair weather, puts
out from port, and his ship is driven back upon the shore, a wreck. He
expects a storm, stays in port, and misses the fair wind that would
have carried him far to sea.

Now, a very large part of these disappointments and losses may be
prevented, if one only knows with reasonable certainty what sort of
weather it is likely to be to-day and to-morrow; and that is just the
information the Weather Herald furnishes. The great storms usually come
slowly driving across the country--so slowly that the telegraph may
send word of their coming two or three days ahead. Thus the farmers may
know just what they may safely undertake to do; and so may the
ship-masters.

Since the farmers and seamen have learned to value the weather warnings
rightly, this service saves the country every year millions and
millions of dollars' worth of property, and, it may be, hundreds of
lives. Often a single timely warning has prevented losses that would
have amounted to more than the entire cost of the weather service from
the beginning until now. And possibly the yearly saving effected by
warnings of ordinary "changeable" weather, may together amount to more
than those in connection with great storms.



TOO MANY BIRTHDAYS.

BY FANNY M. OSBORNE.


The king of the island was the father, and the queen the mother, of the
little princess about whom this story is told. For many generations
there had been but one child born to the royal family; but goodness and
beauty being hereditary, these only children were beloved by all the
subjects of the realm; and although they ran a great danger of being
spoiled, they never were, but remained all through their lives as
simple, gentle, and unpretentious as though born to the humblest lot.

Of course, the event of the birth of one of these children had been,
from time immemorial, the occasion of the greatest and most sincere
rejoicing, and the enthusiasm of the people seemed even greater at each
repetition of these blessed anniversaries.

In this happy island crimes were almost unknown; and so generous and
confiding were the people, that they imagined all the world were as
good as themselves. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the
great physician Aigew came from a far distant land to attend the
grandfather of the little princess on his death-bed, no one in all the
island suspected that he was anything else than the best and kindest of
doctors. It is true that the former court physician, now displaced by
Aigew, had his doubts about his successor. But it is best not to
trouble ourselves with what we cannot understand; and whether or not
Aigew was as good as he pretended to be, the king and queen were
altogether pleased with their new doctor. Knowing him to be wise and of
great book-learning, they admitted him to the closest intimacy in their
private life, consulted him upon all questions of state, and accepted
his guidance and counsel as that of a superior being. It was to his
influence that the islanders owed their great birthday law, by which it
was enacted that, on each recurrence of the princess's anniversary,
every child in the kingdom was to be allowed his or her way, without
restraint, from sunrise until sunset; and, during the day, the use of
the word "no" was forbidden to all fathers and mothers and
nursery-maids, from one end of the island to the other.

Everybody thought this one of the best enactments of the reign. "What a
beautiful thought!" said they. "All the children in the land rejoicing
with their princess! When they are grown men and women, they will
always think of her with pleasure, for she will be associated with the
most delightful memories of their childhood."

It certainly did seem very charming at first. But the day after was
harvest-time for the great physician and his assistants, who kept
flying hither and thither post-haste.

Still, every one said it was a good law. It was true the children were
not quite so well next day; but then, what a fine moral effect! and
what a pleasant sight it was to see them all thoroughly happy for at
least one day in every year!

Now, just after the fourteenth birthday had been celebrated, Aigew was
called in to see to the princess. He gave her a little medicine, which
she took in the prettiest way, without jelly.

"That's a nice, good girl," said the grave doctor. "I have offered you
no birthday gift as yet; but it is in my power to give you anything you
wish. Say--what shall it be, sweet princess?"

"It is enough to give me your kind care," answered the princess.
"Everything else I have. The best part of all to me was the enjoyment
of the other children. Ah! how I wish I could have a birthday whenever
I choose!"

"Even that," said the doctor, "is possible," as he took something from
his bosom, smiling curiously to himself as he did so. "I give you this
little casket upon two conditions," said he. "One is that you are never
to mention the circumstance to a living soul; you are not even to speak
of it to me. The other I will tell you after I have explained the
nature of the gift. Inside this box are eighty crystal figures; each
one represents a birthday, and lies, as you see, in a separate
compartment. Begin at the right hand, and whenever you wish to have a
birthday, you have only to place one of these in your little mouth, and
it is here."

[Illustration: THE DOCTOR PRESENTS THE CASKET TO THE PRINCESS.]

The princess, trembling and faint from a strange perfume in the air,
took the box in her hand.

"But the other condition?"

"It is merely this: that no one but yourself ever tastes the contents
of the magical box. If any one should, the worst consequences would
follow; and, among others, all these birthdays, with all that they have
occasioned and all the presents that have been given in their honor,
will pass away and become as nothing. Remember this." And he was gone.

The princess examined her singular present with the most intense
interest. It looked wonderfully like a pill-box; but inside, lying in
the tiniest compartments, were marvelously small and beautiful figures
exactly like herself in miniature, except that, beginning at the right,
each one was a little older in appearance than the one preceding.

The next morning, before the rising of the sun, the little princess lay
awake, with the casket in her hand.

"Shall I? or shall I not?" said she. "I think I shall."

And the first figure from the right melted on her lips. The taste was
sweet; but that was soon forgotten in her surprise at the unusual
bustle which sprang up immediately in the city. Cannons were firing;
the populace was shouting, "Long live the princess!" and great vans
came thundering up to the entrance, laden with gifts. Yes, it was all
true; she might have a birthday whenever she chose. It passed off like
the fourteen that had gone before. On the morrow, another was
celebrated; another, after the interval of one day; and another in a
week from that; so that the whole kingdom was kept in a continual
uproar of festivity.

Dr. Aigew sent to his own country for many more learned doctors and
chemists. He built great laboratories, where, all day and all night,
pills and draughts and mixtures (of which I hope never even to know the
names) were zealously compounded. The huge chimneys sent forth black
clouds of physic-laden smoke, which began to hang like a pall over the
city. The fields, once yellow with corn, were now only cultivated for
the production of rhubarb and senna and camomile. The children of the
nation grew as yellow and bilious as Aigew himself. All the wealth of
the island was pouring into the coffers of the doctor. There were no
shops open but those of chemists and confectioners. No other trade had
an opportunity to flourish. The country was plainly going to ruin.

[Illustration: THE DOCTOR SUMMONS OTHER DOCTORS AND CHEMISTS.]

The old king saw but one way to save his people. He must send his
daughter away. This made him very sad, for he loved her dearly, and
could not bear to have her know the truth.

"What shall I do?" he asked the queen.

"It is quite plain," answered she. "Marry her."

This was easily done. The fame of her beauty and gentleness had reached
other lands; and a marriage was soon arranged between the little
princess and a handsome young prince, who was the son and heir of a
neighboring king.

In due time, the prince with his retinue started, in much pomp and
magnificence, to visit the bride; and he made such good speed, in his
impatience, that he arrived in the island several days before the time
appointed. Within the city gates, the cavalcade halted for a moment
that the prince might rest.

"I am very weary," said he to the chamberlain. "Call the first
gentleman-in-waiting, and ask him to tell the page to tell the butler
to send a servant with some wine. Or, stay! I'd like to taste the
national beverage, whatever it may be."

So the chamberlain told the first gentleman-in-waiting to tell the page
to tell the butler to tell a servant to ask some one for the national
beverage. The servant returned from a confectioner's shop, and told the
butler, who told the page, who told the first gentleman-in-waiting, who
told the chamberlain, that the people generally drank lemonade, but, on
account of the celebration of the princess's birthday, none was to be
had.

"There is some mistake!" cried the prince, who was tired and a little
cross, and very thirsty; "there is some mistake! The princess's
birthday will be the day after to-morrow, the date for which we were
invited. Go and find out the meaning of this riddle."

Soon the chamberlain returned, bringing the confectioner with him.

"My lord," says he, "this man tells so strange a story, that I have
brought him here lest you should suspect me of falsehood. He declares
that he has furnished confections, creams, and fruits for the
princess's birthday, forty-one distinct individual times."

"It is the truth, my lord," said the confectioner.

"It cannot be!" gasped the prince. "Make further inquiries. Tell the
chamberlain to tell the gentleman-in-waiting to tell the page to tell
the--ah! I am deathly faint. Forty-one, and I but twenty last month!"

Voices were heard and approaching footsteps. The chamberlain had
brought six reverend men, dignitaries of the town, all of whom
testified that on forty-one several occasions the birthday of the
princess had been celebrated.

"It is enough! In fact, too much!" cried the prince. "We return
immediately. This insult shall not pass unavenged."

So all the horses turned their heads where their tails had been; the
musicians changed their tune from "See, the conquering hero comes" to
"Take me home to die;" and the prince returned whence he came.

The king, his father, was not so wroth as the prince had expected.

"I have been wrong," said he. "The prince is 'O'er young to marry yet,'
while I have been a widower for many years, and perhaps should marry
first and set him an example. If the match proves unfortunate, I shall
not have so long to endure it, from the difference in our ages. From my
experience, he may learn wisdom. Yes, like a true father, I will
sacrifice myself. It is I who shall marry the lady. You say she is fair
and gentle, and only forty-one? I will sacrifice myself."

The other king and his court were much surprised when the news came
that the prince repudiated all thoughts of the marriage, and that the
father proposed to take his place as bridegroom. They were at first
disposed to be indignant; but then something had to be done, or the
kingdom would soon be ruined. And besides, the king was already on his
way; he was known to be of a fiery temper; he had at his command a
large and powerful standing army; and if he chose to make war, there
was no possibility of resisting him, for the soldiers of the island had
turned their swords into plowshares, and were engaged in raising senna.

[Illustration: DELIVERING THE PRINCE'S MESSAGE.]

The princess, as you may imagine, was not pleased with this change of
bridegrooms; but, used to obedience, she acquiesced in everything, and
told no one of the bitter tears she nightly shed upon her pillow. She
tried to be as cheerful as possible in presence of her parents, and
diverted her mind by having continual birthdays.

The bridegroom king halted at the gates of the town, with great
dignity. He, too, arrived on a different day from the one appointed. It
was a week later, at least. Age (the king was sixty, if he was a day)
travels with more care and deliberation than hot-headed youth.

While waiting for the gates to be opened, the king could not forbear
smiling at the horror of the young man when told of his bride's age.

"Forty-one is not so old," thought he. "Perhaps this is the very
confectioner's where they furnished the information, but could not
furnish any refreshment."

Turning to an attendant, he gave the order:

"Bring me from yonder house a draught of whatever is mostly used in the
city."

It was not the confectioner's house, as he supposed, to which he
pointed, but one of Aigew's laboratories. His majesty's commands were
carried thither; and the chemist, gray and wizen, came forth, bearing a
goblet filled with a dark liquid of peculiar odor. He bowed his knee,
and held it toward the king, who took it in his hand, sniffed his royal
nose suspiciously, and said:

[Illustration: THE CHEMIST PRESENTS THE BEVERAGE TO THE KING.]

"It has a disagreeable smell! What is it called?"

"Rhubarb and senna, your majesty; it is the only drink taken the day
after the princess's birthday. Merry-making and feasting, when indulged
in too freely, are necessarily followed by physic and fasting."

"I'll none of it," cried the king. "The princess's birthday! I thought
her birthday had passed weeks ago."

"Of that I know nothing," replied the chemist. "I only know that
yesterday we celebrated her seventy-second birthday. I am an old man,
as your majesty sees, and not likely to tell that which is false."

The king was purple with rage. He said but the one word "Home!" In a
few moments, he and his retinue had turned their backs, and they
speedily disappeared behind the hills. There was only left a cloud of
dust, and an occasional strain of "The girl I left behind me," borne
back upon the wind from the distance.

This last blow fell heavily on the father of the princess. He flew into
a rage; he had had too much of birthdays and bridegrooms, and
determined he would be a party to no more of either.

"Get you gone to a convent!" he cried to his weeping, frightened
daughter. "Don apparel suitable to your years, and offend my sight no
more!"

They placed upon the princess's yellow curls a beldame's cap, robed her
in a plain gown of black, and made ready to take her away.

"I cannot understand," thought she, "the cause of the misfortunes that
have befallen me and all the world. Can it be Dr. Aigew's casket?" She
took it from her bosom.

"I fear me I shall want no birthdays in the convent," said she, sadly.
"So there, little birds, take what is left."

As she strewed the sugary mites, the little birds caught them up and
flew away.

A sudden earthquake convulsed the land, a violent hurricane swept over
it. During these changes of nature, everything that had been affected
by the unnatural birthdays returned to its former state. All
remembrance even, connected with them ever so remotely, was wiped from
the memory of man.

I am not sure, but I think the prince did afterward visit the island,
and was much impressed by its quiet, sylvan life and the incomparable
beauty of the princess; and they do say----

[Illustration]



UNDER THE LILACS

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.



CHAPTER XVI.

DETECTIVE THORNTON.


A few days later, Miss Celia was able to go about with her arm in a
sling, pale still, and rather stiff, but so much better than any one
had expected, that all agreed Mr. Paine was right in pronouncing Dr.
Mills "a master hand with broken bones." Two devoted little maids
waited on her, two eager pages stood ready to run her errands, and
friendly neighbors sent in delicacies enough to keep these four young
persons busily employed in disposing of them.

Every afternoon the great bamboo lounging chair was brought out and the
interesting invalid conducted to it by stout Randa, who was head nurse,
and followed by a train of shawl, cushion, foot-stool, and book
bearers, who buzzed about like swarming bees round a new queen. When
all were settled, the little maids sewed and the pages read aloud, with
much conversation by the way; for one of the rules was, that all should
listen attentively, and if any one did not understand what was read, he
or she should ask to have it explained on the spot. Whoever could
answer these questions was invited to do so, and at the end of the
reading Miss Celia could ask any she liked, or add any explanations
which seemed necessary. In this way much pleasure and profit was
extracted from the tales Ben and Thorny read, and much unexpected
knowledge as well as ignorance displayed, not to mention piles of
neatly hemmed towels for which Bab and Betty were paid like regular
sewing-women.

So vacation was not all play, and the little girls found their picnics,
berry parties, and "goin' a visitin'," all the more agreeable for the
quiet hour spent with Miss Celia. Thorny had improved wonderfully, and
was getting to be quite energetic, especially since his sister's
accident; for while she was laid up he was the head of the house, and
much enjoyed his promotion. But Ben did not seem to flourish as he had
done at first. The loss of Sancho preyed upon him sadly, and the
longing to go and find his dog grew into such a strong temptation that
he could hardly resist it. He said little about it; but now and then a
word escaped him which might have enlightened any one who chanced to be
watching him. No one was, just then, so he brooded over this fancy, day
by day, in silence and solitude, for there was no riding and driving
now. Thorny was busy with his sister trying to show her that he
remembered how good she had been to him when he was ill, and the
little girls had their own affairs.

Miss Celia was the first to observe the change, having nothing to do
but lie on a sofa and amuse herself by seeing others work or play. Ben
was bright enough at the readings, because then he forgot his troubles;
but when they were over and his various duties done, he went to his own
room or sought consolation with Lita, being sober and quiet, and quite
unlike the merry monkey all knew and liked so well.

"Thorny, what is the matter with Ben?" asked Miss Celia, one day, when
she and her brother were alone in the "green parlor," as they called
the lilac-tree walk.

"Fretting about Sanch, I suppose. I declare I wish that dog had never
been born! Losing him has just spoilt Ben. Not a bit of fun left in
him, and he wont have anything I offer to cheer him up."

Thorny spoke impatiently, and knit his brows over the pressed flowers
he was neatly gumming into his herbal.

"I wonder if he has anything on his mind? He acts as if he was hiding a
trouble he didn't dare to tell. Have you talked with him about it?"
asked Miss Celia, looking as if _she_ was hiding a trouble _she_ did not
like to tell.

"Oh, yes, I poke him up now and then, but he gets peppery, so I let him
alone. May be he's longing for his old circus again. Shouldn't blame
him much if he was; it isn't very lively here, and he's used to
excitement, you know."

"I hope it isn't that. Do you think he would slip away without telling
us, and go back to the old life again?"

"Don't believe he would. Ben isn't a bit of a sneak, that's why I like
him."

"Have you ever found him sly or untrue in any way?" asked Miss Celia,
lowering her voice.

"No; he's as fair and square a fellow as I ever saw. Little bit low,
now and then, but he doesn't mean it, and wants to be a gentleman, only
he never lived with one before, and it's all new to him. I'll get him
polished up after a while."

"Oh, Thorny, there are _three_ peacocks on the place, and you are the
finest!" laughed Miss Celia, as her brother spoke in his most
condescending way with a lift of the eyebrows very droll to see.

"And _two_ donkeys, and Ben's the biggest, not to know when he is well
off and be happy!" retorted the "gentleman," slapping a dried specimen
on the page as if he were pounding discontented Ben.

"Come here and let me tell you something which worries me. I would not
breathe it to another soul, but I feel rather helpless, and I dare say
you can manage the matter better than I."

Looking much mystified, Thorny went and sat on the stool at his sister's
feet, while she whispered confidentially in his ear: "I've lost some
money out of my drawer, and I'm _so_ afraid Ben took it."

"But it's always locked up and you keep the keys of the drawer and the
little room?"

"It is gone, nevertheless, and I've had my keys safe all the time."

"But why think it is he any more than Randa, or Katy, or me?"

"Because I trust you three as I do myself. I've known the girls for
years, and you have no object in taking it since all I have is yours,
dear."

"And all mine is yours, of course. But, Celia, how _could_ he do it? He
can't pick locks, I know, for we fussed over my desk together, and had
to break it after all."

"I never really thought it possible till to-day when you were playing
ball and it went in at the upper window, and Ben climbed up the porch
after it; you remember you said, 'If it had gone in at the garret gable
you couldn't have done that so well;' and he answered, 'Yes, I could,
there isn't a spout I can't shin up, or a bit of this roof I haven't
been over.'"

"So he did; but there is no spout near the little room window."

"There is a tree, and such an agile boy as Ben could swing in and out
easily. Now, Thorny, I _hate_ to think this of him, but it has happened
twice, and for his own sake I must stop it. If he is planning to run
away, money is a good thing to have. And he may feel that it is his own;
for you know he asked me to put his wages in the bank, and I did. He may
not like to come to me for that, because he can give no good reason for
wanting it. I'm so troubled I really don't know what to do."

She looked troubled, and Thorny put his arms about her as if to keep
all worries but his own away from her.

"Don't you fret, Cely, dear; you leave it to me. I'll fix
him--ungrateful little scamp!"

"That is not the way to begin. I'm afraid you will make him angry and
hurt his feelings, and then we can do nothing."

"Bother his feelings! I shall just say, calmly and coolly: 'Now, look
here, Ben, hand over the money you took out of my sister's drawer, and
we'll let you off easy,' or something like that."

"It wouldn't do, Thorny; his temper would be up in a minute, and away
he would go before we could find out whether he was guilty or not. I
wish I knew how to manage."

"Let me think," and Thorny leaned his chin on the arm of the chair,
staring hard at the knocker as if he expected the lion's mouth to open
with words of counsel then and there.

"By Jove, I do believe Ben took it!" he broke out suddenly; "for when I
went to his room this morning to see why he didn't come and do my
boots, he shut the drawer in his bureau as quick as a flash, and looked
red and queer, for I didn't knock, and sort of startled him."

"He wouldn't be likely to put stolen money there. Ben is too wise for
that."

"He wouldn't _keep_ it there, but he might be looking at it and pitch it
in when I called. He's hardly spoken to me since, and when I asked him
what his flag was at half-mast for, he wouldn't answer. Besides, you
know in the reading this afternoon he didn't listen, and when you asked
what he was thinking about, he colored up and muttered something about
Sanch. I tell you, Celia, it looks bad--very bad," and Thorny shook his
head with a wise air.

"It does, and yet we may be all wrong. Let us wait a little and give
the poor boy a chance to clear himself before we speak. I'd rather lose
my money than suspect him falsely."

"How much was it?"

"Eleven dollars; a one went first, and I supposed I'd miscalculated
somewhere when I took some out; but when I missed a ten, I felt that I
ought not to let it pass."

"Look here, sister, you just put the case into my hands and let me work
it up. I wont say anything to Ben till you give the word; but I'll watch
him, and now my eyes are open, it wont be easy to deceive _me_."

Thorny was evidently pleased with the new play of detective, and
intended to distinguish himself in that line; but when Miss Celia asked
how he meant to begin, he could only respond with a blank expression:
"Don't know! You give me the keys and leave a bill or two in the
drawer, and may be I can find him out somehow."

So the keys were given, and the little dressing-room where the old
secretary stood was closely watched for a day or two. Ben cheered up a
trifle, which looked as if he knew an eye was upon him, but otherwise
he went on as usual, and Miss Celia, feeling a little guilty at even
harboring a suspicion of him, was kind and patient with his moods.

Thorny was very funny in the unnecessary mystery and fuss he made; his
affectation of careless indifference to Ben's movements and his clumsy
attempts to watch every one of them; his dodgings up and down stairs,
ostentatious clanking of keys, and the elaborate traps he set to catch
his thief, such as throwing his ball in at the dressing-room window and
sending Ben up the tree to get it, which he did, thereby proving beyond
a doubt that he alone could have taken the money, Thorny thought.
Another deep discovery was, that the old drawer was so shrunken that
the lock could be pressed down by slipping a knife-blade between the
hasp and socket.

"Now it is as clear as day, and you'd better let me speak," he said,
full of pride as well as regret, at this triumphant success of his
first attempt as a detective.

"Not yet, and you need do nothing more. I'm afraid it was a mistake of
mine to let you do this; and if it has spoiled your friendship with
Ben, I shall be very sorry; for I do not think he is guilty," answered
Miss Celia.

"Why not?" and Thorny looked annoyed.

"I've watched also, and he doesn't act like a deceitful boy. To-day I
asked him if he wanted any money, or should I put what I owe him with
the rest, and he looked me straight in the face with such honest,
grateful eyes, I could not doubt him when he said: 'Keep it, please, I
don't need anything here, you are all so good to me.'"

"Now, Celia, don't you be soft-hearted. He's a sly little dog, and knows
my eye is on him. When _I_ asked him what he saw in the dressing-room,
after he brought out the ball, and looked sharply at him, he laughed,
and said: 'Only a mouse,' as saucy as you please."

"Do set the trap there, I heard the mouse nibbling last night, and it
kept me awake. We must have a cat or we shall be overrun."

"Well, shall I give Ben a good blowing up, or will you?" asked Thorny,
scorning such poor prey as mice, and bound to prove that he was in the
right.

"I'll let you know what I have decided in the morning. Be kind to Ben,
meantime, or I shall feel as if I had done you harm in letting you
watch him."

So it was left for that day, and by the next, Miss Celia had made up
her mind to speak to Ben. She was just going down to breakfast when the
sound of loud voices made her pause and listen. It came from Ben's
room, where the two boys seemed to be disputing about something.

"I hope Thorny has kept his promise," she thought, and hurried through
the back entry, fearing a general explosion.

Ben's chamber was at the end, and she could see and hear what was going
on before she was near enough to interfere. Ben stood against his
closet door looking as fierce and red as a turkey-cock; Thorny sternly
confronted him, saying in an excited tone, and with a threatening
gesture: "You are hiding something in there, and you can't deny it."

"I don't."

"Better not; I insist on seeing it."

"Well, you wont."

"What have you been stealing now?"

"Didn't steal it,--used to be mine,--I only took it when I wanted it."

"I know what that means. You'd better give it back or I'll make you."

"Stop!" cried a third voice, as Thorny put out his arm to clutch Ben,
who looked ready to defend himself to the last gasp. "Boys, I will
settle this affair. _Is_ there anything hidden in the closet, Ben?" and
Miss Celia came between the belligerent parties with her one hand up to
part them.

[Illustration: MISS CELIA BECOMES PEACE-MAKER.]

Thorny fell back at once, looking half ashamed of his heat, and Ben
briefly answered, with a gulp as if shame or anger made it hard to
speak steadily:

"Yes'm, there is."

"Does it belong to you?"

"Yes'm, it does."

"Where did you get it?"

"Up to Squire's."

"That's a lie!" muttered Thorny to himself.

Ben's eye flashed, and his fist doubled up in spite of him, but he
restrained himself out of respect to Miss Celia, who looked puzzled, as
she asked another question, not quite sure how to proceed with the
investigation: "Is it money, Ben?"

"No'm, it isn't."

"Then what _can_ it be?"

"Meow!" answered a fourth voice from the closet, and as Ben flung open
the door a gray kitten walked out, purring with satisfaction at her
release.

Miss Celia fell into a chair and laughed till her eyes were full;
Thorny looked foolish, and Ben folded his arms, curled up his nose, and
regarded his accuser with calm defiance, while pussy sat down to wash
her face as if her morning toilette had been interrupted by her sudden
abduction.

"That's all very well, but it doesn't mend matters much, so you needn't
laugh, Celia," began Thorny, recovering himself, and stubbornly bent
on sifting the case to the bottom, now he had begun.

"Well, it would, if you'd let a feller alone. She said she wanted a
cat, so I went and got the one they gave me when I was at the Squire's.
I went early and took her without asking, and I had a right to,"
explained Ben, much aggrieved by having his surprise spoiled.

"It was very kind of you, and I'm glad to have this nice kitty. Give
her some breakfast, and then we will shut her up in my room to catch
the mice that plague me," said Miss Celia, picking up the little cat,
and wondering how she would get her two angry boys safely down-stairs.

"The dressing-room, she means; _you_ know the way, and _you_ don't need
keys to get in," added Thorny, with such sarcastic emphasis that Ben
felt some insult was intended, and promptly resented it.

"You wont get me to climb any more trees after _your_ balls, and my cat
wont catch any of _your_ mice, so you needn't ask me."

"Cats don't catch thieves, and they are what I'm after!"

"What do you mean by that?" fiercely demanded Ben.

"Celia has lost some money out of her drawer, and you wont let me see
what's in yours; so I thought, perhaps, you'd got it!" blurted out
Thorny, finding it hard to say the words, angry as he was, for the face
opposite did not look like a guilty one.

For a minute, Ben did not seem to understand him, plainly as he spoke;
then he turned an angry scarlet, and, with a reproachful glance at his
mistress, opened the little drawer so that both could see all that it
contained.

"They aint anything; but I'm fond of 'em--they are all I've got--I was
afraid he'd laugh at me that time, so I wouldn't let him look--it was
father's birthday, and I felt bad about him and Sanch--"

Ben's indignant voice got more and more indistinct as he stumbled on,
and broke down over the last words. He did not cry, however, but threw
back his little treasures as if half their sacredness was gone; and,
making a strong effort at self-control, faced around, asking of Miss
Celia, with a grieved look:

"Did _you_ think I'd steal anything of yours?"

"I tried not to, Ben, but what could I do? It was gone, and you the
only stranger about the place."

"Wasn't there _any one_ to think bad of but me?" he said, so sorrowfully
that Miss Celia made up her mind on the spot that he was as innocent of
the theft as the kitten now biting her buttons, no other refreshment
being offered.

"Nobody, for I know my girls well. Yet, eleven dollars are gone, and I
cannot imagine where or how; for both drawer and door are always
locked, because my papers and valuables are in that room."

"What a lot! But how could _I_ get it if it was locked up?" and Ben
looked as if that question was unanswerable.

"Folks that can climb in at windows for a ball, can go the same way for
money, and get it easy enough when they've only to pry open an old
lock!"

Thorny's look and tone seemed to make plain to Ben all that they had
been suspecting, and, being innocent, he was too perplexed and unhappy
to defend himself. His eye went from one to the other, and, seeing
doubt in both faces, his boyish heart sunk within him; for he could
prove nothing, and his first impulse was to go away at once.

"I can't say anything, only that I _didn't_ take the money. You wont
believe it, so I'd better go back where I come from. _They_ weren't so
kind, but _they_ trusted me, and knew I wouldn't steal a cent. You may
keep my money, and the kitty, too; I don't want 'em," and, snatching up
his hat, Ben would have gone straight away, if Thorny had not barred his
passage.

"Come, now, don't be mad. Let's talk it over, and if I'm wrong I'll
take it all back and ask your pardon," he said, in a friendly tone,
rather scared at the consequences of his first attempt, though as sure
as ever that he was right.

"It would break my heart to have you go in that way, Ben. Stay at least
till your innocence is proved, then no one can doubt what you say now."

"Don't see how it can be proved," answered Ben, appeased by her evident
desire to trust him.

"We'll try as well as we know how, and the first thing we will do is to
give that old secretary a good rummage from top to bottom. I've done it
once, but it is just possible that the bills may have slipped out of
sight. Come, now, I can't rest till I've done all I can to comfort you
and convince Thorny."

Miss Celia rose as she spoke, and led the way to the dressing-room,
which had no outlet except through her chamber. Still holding his hat,
Ben followed with a troubled face, and Thorny brought up the rear,
doggedly determined to keep his eye on "the little scamp" till the
matter was satisfactorily cleared up. Miss Celia had made her proposal
more to soothe the feelings of one boy and to employ the superfluous
energies of the other, than in the expectation of throwing any light
upon the mystery; for she was sadly puzzled by Ben's manner, and much
regretted that she had let her brother meddle in the matter.

"There," she said, unlocking the door with the key Thorny reluctantly
gave up to her, "this is the room and that is the drawer on the right.
The lower ones have seldom been opened since we came, and hold only
some of papa's old books. Those upper ones you may turn out and
investigate as much as you----Bless me! here's something in your trap,
Thorny!" and Miss Celia gave a little skip as she nearly trod on a
long, gray tail, which hung out of the hole now filled by a plump
mouse.

But her brother was intent on more serious things, and merely pushed
the trap aside as he pulled out the drawer with an excited gesture,
which sent it and all its contents clattering to the floor.

"Confound the old thing! It always stuck so I had to give a jerk. Now,
there it is, topsy-turvy!" and Thorny looked much disgusted at his own
awkwardness.

"No harm done; I left nothing of value in it. Look back there, Ben, and
see if there is room for a paper to get worked over the top of the
drawer. I felt quite a crack, but I don't believe it is possible for
things to slip out; the place was never full enough to overflow in any
way."

Miss Celia spoke to Ben, who was kneeling down to pick up the scattered
papers, among which were two marked dollar bills,--Thorny's bait for
the thief. Ben looked into the dusty recess, and then put in his hand,
saying carelessly:

"There's nothing but a bit of red stuff."

"My old pen-wiper--Why, what's the matter?" asked Miss Celia, as Ben
dropped the handful of what looked like rubbish.

"Something warm and wiggly inside of it," answered Ben, stooping to
examine the contents of the little scarlet bundle. "Baby mice! Aint
they funny? Look just like mites of young pigs. We'll have to kill 'em
if you've caught their mammy," he said, forgetting his own trials in
boyish curiosity about his "find."

Miss Celia stooped also, and gently poked the red cradle with her
finger; for the tiny mice were nestling deeper into the fluff with
small squeaks of alarm. Suddenly she cried out: "Boys, boys, I've found
the thief! Look here, pull out these bits and see if they wont make up
my lost bills."

Down went the motherless babies as four ruthless hands pulled apart
their cosey nest, and there, among the nibbled fragments, appeared
enough finely printed, greenish paper, to piece out parts of two bank
bills. A large cypher and part of a figure one were visible, and that
accounted for the ten; but though there were other bits, no figures
could be found, and they were willing to take the other bill on trust.

"Now, then, _am_ I a thief and a liar?" demanded Ben, pointing proudly
to the tell-tale letters spread forth on the table, over which all three
had been eagerly bending.

"No; I beg your pardon, and I'm very sorry that we didn't look more
carefully before we spoke, then we all should have been spared this
pain."

"All right, old fellow, forgive and forget. I'll never think hard of
you again,--on my honor I wont."

As they spoke, Miss Celia and her brother held out their hands frankly
and heartily. Ben shook both, but with a difference; for he pressed the
soft one gratefully, remembering that its owner had always been good to
him; but the brown paw he gripped with a vengeful squeeze that made
Thorny pull it away in a hurry, exclaiming, good-naturedly, in spite of
both physical and mental discomfort:

"Come, Ben, don't you bear malice; for you've got the laugh on your
side, and we feel pretty small. I do, anyway; for, after my fidgets,
all I've caught is a mouse!"

"And her family. I'm so relieved I'm almost sorry the poor little
mother is dead--she and her babies were so happy in the old pen-wiper,"
said Miss Celia, hastening to speak merrily, for Ben still looked
indignant, and she was much grieved at what had happened.

"A pretty expensive house," began Thorny, looking about for the
interesting orphans, who had been left on the floor while their
paper-hangings were examined.

No further anxiety need be felt for them, however, Kitty had come upon
the scene; and as judge, jury, and prisoner, turned to find the little
witnesses, they beheld the last pink mite going down Pussy's throat in
one mouthful.

"I call that summary justice,--the whole family executed on the spot!
Give Kit the mouse also, and let us go to breakfast. I feel as if I had
found my appetite, now this worry is off my mind," said Miss Celia,
laughing so infectiously that Ben had to join in spite of himself, as
she took his arm and led him away with a look which mutely asked his
pardon over again.

"Rather lively for a funeral procession," said Thorny, following with
the trap in his hand and Puss at his heels, adding, to comfort his
pride as a detective: "Well, I said I'd catch the thief, and I have,
though it is rather a small one!"



CHAPTER XVII.

BETTY'S BRAVERY.


"Celia, I've notion that we ought to give Ben something. A sort of
peace-offering, you know; for he feels dreadfully hurt about our
suspecting him," said Thorny, at dinner that day.

"I see he does, though he tries to seem as bright and pleasant as ever.
I do not wonder, and I've been thinking what I could do to soothe his
feelings. Can you suggest anything?"

"Cuff-buttons. I saw some jolly ones over at Berryville,--oxidized
silver, with dogs' heads on them, yellow eyes, and all as natural as
could be. Those, now, would just suit him for his go-to-meeting white
shirts,--neat, appropriate, and _in memoriam_."

Miss Celia could not help laughing, it was such a boyish suggestion;
but she agreed to it, thinking Thorny knew best, and hoping the
yellow-eyed dogs would be as balm to Ben's wounds.

"Well, dear, you may give those, and Lita shall give the little whip
with a horse's foot for a handle, if it is not gone. I saw it at the
harness shop in town, and Ben admired it so much that I planned to give
it to him on his birthday."

"That will tickle him immensely; and if you'd just let him put brown
tops to my old boots and stick a cockade in his hat when he sits up
behind the phaeton, he'd be a happy fellow!" laughed Thorny, who had
discovered that one of Ben's ambitions was to be a "tip-top groom."

"No, thank you; those things are out of place in America, and would be
absurd in a small country place like this. His blue suit and straw hat
please me better for a boy, though a nicer little groom, in livery or
out, no one could desire, and you may tell him I said so."

"I will, and he'll look as proud as Punch; for he thinks every word you
say worth a dozen from any one else. But wont _you_ give him something?
Just some little trifle, to show that we are both eating humble pie,
feeling sorry about the mouse money."

"I shall give him a set of school-books, and try to get him ready to
begin when vacation is over. An education is the best present we can
make him, and I want you to help me fit him to enter as well as we can.
Bab and Betty, began, little dears,--lent him their books and taught
all they knew; so Ben got a taste, and, with the right encouragement,
would like to go on, I am sure."

"That's so like you, Celia. Always thinking of the best thing and doing
it handsomely. I'll help like a house a-fire, if he will let me; but,
all day, he's been as stiff as a poker, so I don't believe he forgives
_me_ a bit."

"He will in time, and if you are kind and patient he will be glad to
have you help him; I shall make it a sort of favor to me on his part,
to let you see to his lessons, now and then. It will be quite true, for
I don't want you to touch your Latin or algebra till cool weather;
teaching him will be play to you."

Miss Celia's last words made her brother unbend his brows, for he
longed to get at his books again, and the idea of being tutor to his
"man-servant" did not altogether suit him.

"I'll tool him along at a great pace, if he will only go. Geography and
arithmetic shall be my share, and you may have the writing and
spelling; it gives me the fidgets to set copies and hear children make
a mess of words. Shall I get the books when I buy the other things? Can
I go this afternoon?"

"Yes, here is the list, Bab gave it to me. You can go if you will come
home early and have your tooth filled."

Gloom fell at once upon Thorny's beaming face, and he gave such a
shrill whistle that his sister jumped in her chair, as she added,
persuasively:

"It wont hurt a bit, now, and the longer you leave it the worse it will
be. Dr. Mann is ready at any time, and once over you will be at peace
for months. Come, my hero, give your orders, and take one of the girls
to support you in the trying hour. Have Bab, she will enjoy it and
amuse you with her chatter."

"As if I needed girls around for such a trifle as that!" returned
Thorny, with a shrug, though he groaned inwardly at the prospect before
him, as most of us do on such occasions. "I wouldn't take Bab at any
price; she'd only get into some scrape and upset the whole plan. Betty
is the chicken for me,--a real little lady, and as nice and purry as a
kitten."

"Very well; ask her mother, and take good care of her. Let her tuck her
dolly in, and she will be contented anywhere. There's a fine air, and
the awning is on the phaeton, so you wont feel the sun. Start about
three, and drive carefully."

Betty was charmed to go, for Thorny was a sort of prince in her eyes,
and to be invited to such a grand expedition was an overwhelming honor.
Bab was not surprised, for, since Sancho's loss, she had felt herself
in disgrace and been unusually meek; Ben let her "severely alone,"
which much afflicted her, for he was her great admiration, and had been
pleased to express his approbation of her agility and courage so often
that she was ready to attempt any fool-hardy feat to recover his
regard. But vainly did she risk her neck jumping off the highest beams
in the barn, trying to keep her balance standing on the donkey's back,
and leaping the lodge gate at a bound; Ben vouchsafed no reward by a
look, a smile, a word of commendation, and Bab felt that nothing but
Sancho's return would ever restore the broken friendship.

Into faithful Betty's bosom did she pour forth her remorseful
lamentations, often bursting out with the passionate exclamation, "If I
could only find Sanch and give him back to Ben, I wouldn't care if I
tumbled down and broke all my legs right away!" Such abandonment of woe
made a deep impression on Betty, and she fell into the way of consoling
her sister by cheerful prophecies and a firm belief that the organ-man
would yet appear with the lost darling.

"I've got five cents of my berry money, and I'll buy you a orange if I
see any," promised Betty, stopping to kiss Bab, as the phaeton came to
the door, and Thorny handed in a young lady whose white frock was so
stiff with starch that it crackled like paper.

"Lemons will do if oranges are gone. I like 'em to suck with lots of
sugar," answered Bab, feeling that the sour sadly predominated in her
cup just now.

"Don't she look sweet, the dear!" murmured Mrs. Moss, proudly surveying
her youngest.

She certainly did, sitting under the fringed canopy with "Belinda," all
in her best, upon her lap, as she turned to smile and nod, with a face
so bright and winsome under the little blue hat, that it was no wonder
mother and sister thought there never was such a perfect child as "our
Betty."

Dr. Mann was busy when they arrived, but would be ready in an hour, so
they did their shopping at once, having made sure of the whip as they
came along. Thorny added some candy to Bab's lemon, and Belinda had a
cake, which her mamma obligingly ate for her. Betty thought that
Aladdin's palace could not have been more splendid than the jeweler's
shop where the canine cuff-buttons were bought; but when they came to
the book-store she forgot gold, silver, and precious stones, to revel
in picture-books, while Thorny selected Ben's modest school outfit.
Seeing her delight, and feeling particularly lavish with plenty of
money in his pocket, the young gentleman completed the child's bliss by
telling her to choose whichever one she liked best out of the pile of
Walter Crane's toy-books lying in bewildering colors before her.

"This one; Bab always wanted to see the dreadful cupboard, and there's
a picture of it here," answered Betty, clasping a gorgeous copy of
"Blue-beard" to the little bosom, which still heaved with the rapture of
looking at that delicious mixture of lovely Fatimas in pale azure
gowns, pink Sister Annes on the turret top, crimson tyrants, and yellow
brothers with forests of plumage blowing wildly from their
mushroom-shaped caps.

"Very good; there you are, then. Now, come on, for the fun is over and
the grind begins," said Thorny, marching away to his doom, with his
tongue in his tooth and trepidation in his manly breast.

"Shall I shut my eyes and hold your head?" quavered devoted Betty, as
they went up the steps so many reluctant feet had mounted before them.

"Nonsense, child, never mind me! You look out of window and amuse
yourself; we shall not be long, I guess," and in went Thorny, silently
hoping that the dentist had been suddenly called away, or some person
with an excruciating toothache would be waiting to take ether, and so
give our young man an excuse for postponing his job.

But no; Dr. Mann was quite at leisure, and, full of smiling interest,
awaited his victim, laying forth his unpleasant little tools with the
exasperating alacrity of his kind. Glad to be released from any share
in the operation, Betty retired to the back window to be as far away as
possible, and for half an hour was so absorbed in her book that poor
Thorny might have groaned dismally without disturbing her.

"Done now, directly; only a trifle of polishing off and a look round,"
said Dr. Mann, at last, and Thorny, with a yawn that nearly rent him
asunder, called out:

"Thank goodness! Pack up, Bettykin."

"I'm all ready," and, shutting her book with a start, she slipped down
from the easy-chair in a great hurry.

But "looking round" took time, and before the circuit of Thorny's mouth
was satisfactorily made, Betty had become absorbed by a more
interesting tale than even the immortal "Blue-beard." A noise of
children's voices in the narrow alley-way behind the house attracted
her attention; the long window opened directly on the yard, and the
gate swung in the wind. Curious as Fatima, Betty went to look; but all
she saw was a group of excited boys peeping between the bars of another
gate further down.

"What's the matter?" she asked of two small girls, who stood close by
her, longing but not daring to approach the scene of action.

"Boys chasing a great black cat, I believe," answered one child.

"Want to come and see?" added the other, politely extending the
invitation to the stranger.

The thought of a cat in trouble would have nerved Betty to face a dozen
boys, so she followed at once, meeting several lads hurrying away on
some important errand, to judge from their anxious countenances.

"Hold tight, Jimmy, and let 'em peek, if they want to. He can't hurt
anybody now," said one of the dusty huntsmen, who sat on the wide
coping of the wall, while two others held the gate, as if a cat could
only escape that way.

"You peek first, Susy, and see if it looks nice," said one little girl,
boosting her friend so that she could look through the bars in the
upper part of the gate.

"No; it's only an ugly old dog!" responded Susy, losing all interest at
once, and descending with a bounce.

"He's mad, and Jud's gone to get his gun so we can shoot him," called
out one mischievous boy, resenting the contempt expressed for their
capture.

"Aint, neither!" howled another lad from his perch. "Mad dogs wont
drink, and this one is lapping out of a tub of water!"

"Well, he may be, and we don't know him, and he hasn't got any muzzle
on, and the police will kill him if Jud don't," answered the sanguinary
youth who had first started the chase after the poor animal, which had
come limping into town, so evidently a lost dog that no one felt any
hesitation in stoning him.

"We must go right home; my mother is dreadful 'fraid of mad dogs, and
so is yours," said Susy; and, having satisfied their curiosity, the
young ladies prudently retired.

But Betty had not had her "peep," and could not resist one look; for
she had heard of these unhappy animals, and thought Bab would like to
know how they looked. So she stood on tip-toe and got a good view of a
dusty, brownish dog, lying on the grass close by, with his tongue
hanging out while he panted, as if exhausted by fatigue and fear, for
he still cast apprehensive glances at the wall which divided him from
his tormentors.

[Illustration: THE STRANGE DOG.]

"His eyes are just like Sanch's," said Betty to herself, unconscious
that she spoke aloud, till she saw the creature prick up his ears and
half rise, as if he had been called.

"He looks as if he knew me, but it isn't our Sancho; _he_ was a lovely
dog." Betty said that to the little boy peeping in beside her; but
before he could make any reply, the brown beast stood straight up with
an inquiring bark, while his eyes shone like topaz, and the short tail
wagged excitedly.

"Why, that's just the way Sanch used to do!" cried Betty, bewildered by
the familiar ways of this unfamiliar-looking dog.

As if the repetition of his name settled his own doubts, he leaped
toward the gate and thrust a pink nose between the bars, with a howl of
recognition as Betty's face was more clearly seen. The boys tumbled
precipitately from their perches, and the little girl fell back
alarmed, yet could not bear to run away and leave those imploring eyes
pleading to her through the bars so eloquently.

"He acts just like our dog, but I don't see how it _can_ be him. Sancho,
Sancho, is it truly you?" called Betty, at her wits' end what to do.

"Bow, wow, wow!" answered the well-known bark, and the little tail did
all it could to emphasize the sound, while the eyes were so full of
dumb love and joy, the child could not refuse to believe that this ugly
stray was their own Sancho strangely transformed.

All of a sudden, the thought rushed into her mind, "How glad Ben would
be!--and Bab would feel all happy again. I _must_ carry him home."

Never stopping to think of danger, and forgetting all her doubts, Betty
caught the gate handle out of Jimmy's grasp, exclaiming eagerly: "He
_is_ our dog! Let me go in; I aint afraid."

"Not till Jud comes back; he told us we mustn't," answered the
astonished Jimmy, thinking the little girl as mad as the dog.

With a confused idea that the unknown Jud had gone for a gun to shoot
Sanch, Betty gave a desperate pull at the latch and ran into the yard,
bent on saving her friend. That it _was_ a friend there could be no
further question; for, though the creature rushed at her as if about to
devour her at a mouthful, it was only to roll ecstatically at her feet,
lick her hands, and gaze into her face, trying to pant out the welcome
which he could not utter. An older and more prudent person would have
waited to make sure before venturing in; but confiding Betty knew little
of the danger which she might have run; her heart spoke more quickly
than her head, and, not stopping to have the truth _proved_, she took
the brown dog on trust, and found it was indeed dear Sanch.

Sitting on the grass, she hugged him close, careless of tumbled hat,
dusty paws on her clean frock, or a row of strange boys staring from
the wall.

"Darling doggy, where have you been so long?" she cried, the great thing
sprawling across her lap, as if he could not get near enough to his
brave little protector. "Did they make you black and beat you, dear? Oh,
Sanch, where _is_ your tail--your pretty tail?"

A plaintive growl and a pathetic wag was all the answer he could make
to these tender inquiries; for never would the story of his wrongs be
known, and never could the glory of his doggish beauty be restored.
Betty was trying to comfort him with pats and praises, when a new face
appeared at the gate, and Thorny's authoritative voice called out:

"Betty Moss, what on earth are you doing in there with that dirty
beast?"

"It's Sanch, it's Sanch! Oh, come and see!" shrieked Betty, flying up
to lead forth her prize.

But the gate was held fast, for some one said the words, "Mad dog," and
Thorny was very naturally alarmed, because he had already seen one.
"Don't stay there another minute. Get up on that bench and I'll pull
you over," directed Thorny, mounting the wall to rescue his charge in
hot haste; for the dog did certainly behave queerly, limping hurriedly
to and fro, as if anxious to escape. No wonder, when Sancho heard a
voice he knew, and recognized another face, yet did not meet as kind a
welcome as before.

"No, I'm not coming out till he does. It _is_ Sanch, and I'm going to
take him home to Ben," answered Betty, decidedly, as she wet her
handkerchief in the rain water to bind up the swollen paw that had
traveled many miles to rest in her little hand again.

"You're crazy, child! That is no more Ben's dog than I am."

"See if it isn't!" cried Betty, perfectly unshaken in her faith; and,
recalling the words of command as well as she could, she tried to put
Sancho through his little performance, as the surest proof that she was
right. The poor fellow did his best, weary and footsore though he was;
but when it came to taking his tail in his mouth to waltz, he gave it
up, and, dropping down, hid his face in his paws, as he always did when
any of his tricks failed. The act was almost pathetic now, for one of
the paws was bandaged, and his whole attitude expressed the humiliation
of a broken spirit.

That touched Thorny, and, quite convinced both of the dog's sanity and
identity, he sprung down from the wall with Ben's own whistle, which
gladdened Sancho's longing ear as much as the boy's rough caresses
comforted his homesick heart.

"Now, let's carry him right home, and surprise Ben. Wont he be
pleased?" said Betty, so in earnest that she tried to lift the big
brute in spite of his protesting yelps.

"You are a little trump to find him out in spite of all the horrid
things that have been done to him. We must have a rope to lead him, for
he's got no collar and no muzzle. He _has_ got friends though, and I'd
like to see any one touch him _now_. Out of the way, there, boys!"
Looking as commanding as a drum-major, Thorny cleared a passage, and
with one arm about his neck, Betty proudly led her treasure forth,
magnanimously ignoring his late foes, and keeping his eye fixed on the
faithful friend whose tender little heart had known him in spite of all
disguises.

"I found him, sir," and the lad who had been most eager for the
shooting, stepped forward to claim any reward that might be offered for
the now valuable victim.

"I kept him safe till she came," added the jailer Jimmy, speaking for
himself.

"I said he wasn't mad," cried a third, feeling that his discrimination
deserved approval.

"Jud aint _my_ brother," said the fourth, eager to clear his skirts from
all offense.

"But all of you chased and stoned him, I suppose? You'd better look out
or you'll get reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals."

With this awful and mysterious threat, Thorny slammed the doctor's gate
in the faces of the mercenary youths, nipping their hopes in the bud,
and teaching them a good lesson.

After one astonished stare, Lita accepted Sancho without demur, and
they greeted one another cordially, nose to nose, instead of shaking
hands. Then the dog nestled into his old place under the linen duster
with a grunt of intense content, and soon fell fast asleep, quite worn
out with fatigue.

No Roman conqueror bearing untold treasures with him, ever approached
the Eternal City feeling richer or prouder than did Miss Betty as she
rolled rapidly toward the little brown house with the captive won by
her own arms. Poor Belinda was forgotten in a corner, "Blue-beard" was
thrust under the cushion, and the lovely lemon was squeezed before its
time by being sat upon; for all the child could think of, was Ben's
delight, Bab's remorseful burden lifted off, "Ma's" surprise, and Miss
Celia's pleasure. She could hardly realize the happy fact, and kept
peeping under the cover to be sure that the dear dingy bunch at her
feet was truly there.

"I'll tell you how we'll do it," said Thorny, breaking a long silence
as Betty composed herself with an irrepressible wriggle of delight
after one of these refreshing peeps. "We'll keep Sanch hidden, and
smuggle him into Ben's old room at your house. Then I'll drive on to
the barn, and not say a word, but send Ben to get something out of that
room. You just let him in, to see what he'll do. I'll bet you a dollar
he wont know his own dog."

"I don't believe I _can_ keep from screaming right out when I see him,
but I'll try. Oh, wont it be fun!"--and Betty clapped her hands in
joyful anticipation of that exciting moment.

A nice little plan, but Master Thorny forgot the keen senses of the
amiable animal snoring peacefully among his boots, and, when they
stopped at the Lodge, he had barely time to say in a whisper, "Ben's
coming; cover Sanch and let me get him in quick," before the dog was
out of the phaeton like a bombshell, and the approaching boy went down
as if shot, for Sancho gave one leap and the two rolled over and over,
with a shout and a bark of rapturous recognition.

"Who is hurt?" asked Mrs. Moss, running out with floury hands uplifted
in alarm.

"Is it a bear?" cried Bab, rushing after her, egg-beater in hand, for a
dancing bear was the desire of her heart.

"Sancho's found! Sancho's found!" shouted Thorny, throwing up his hat
like a lunatic.

"Found, found, found!" echoed Betty, dancing wildly about as if she too
had lost her little wits.

"Where? How? When? Who did it?" asked Mrs. Moss, clapping her dusty
hands delightedly.

"It isn't; it's an old dirty brown thing," stammered Bab, as the dog
came uppermost for a minute, and then rooted into Ben's jacket as if he
smelt a woodchuck and was bound to have him out directly.

Then Thorny, with many interruptions from Betty, poured forth the
wondrous tale, to which Bab and her mother listened breathlessly, while
the muffins burned as black as a coal, and nobody cared a bit.

"My precious lamb, how did you dare to do such a thing?" exclaimed Mrs.
Moss, hugging the small heroine with mingled admiration and alarm.

"I'd have dared, and slapped those horrid boys, too. I _wish_ I'd gone!"
and Bab felt that she had forever lost the chance of distinguishing
herself.

"Who cut his tail off?" demanded Ben, in a menacing tone, as he came
uppermost in his turn, dusty, red and breathless, but radiant.

"The wretch who stole him, I suppose; and he deserves to be hung,"
answered Thorny, hotly.

"If ever I catch him, I'll--I'll cut his nose off," roared Ben, with
such a vengeful glare that Sanch barked fiercely, and it was well that
the unknown "wretch" was not there, for it would have gone hardly with
him, since even gentle Betty frowned, while Bab brandished the
egg-beater menacingly, and their mother indignantly declared that "it
was _too_ bad!"

Relieved by this general outburst, they composed their outraged
feelings; and while the returned wanderer went from one to another to
receive a tender welcome from each, the story of his recovery was more
calmly told. Ben listened with his eye devouring the injured dog; and
when Thorny paused, he turned to the little heroine, saying solemnly,
as he laid her hand with his own on Sancho's head:

"Betty Moss, I'll never forget what you did; from this minute half of
Sanch is your truly own, and if I die you shall have the whole of him,"
and Ben sealed the precious gift with a sounding kiss on either chubby
cheek.

Betty was so deeply touched by this noble bequest, that the blue eyes
filled and would have overflowed if Sanch had not politely offered his
tongue like a red pocket-handkerchief, and so made her laugh the drops
away, while Bab set the rest off by saying, gloomily:

"I mean to play with all the mad dogs I can find; then folks will think
_I'm_ smart and give _me_ nice things."

"Poor old Bab, I'll forgive you now, and lend you my half whenever you
want it," said Ben, feeling at peace now with all mankind, including
girls who tagged.

"Come and show him to Celia," begged Thorny, eager to fight his battles
over again.

"Better wash him up first; he's a sight to see, poor thing," suggested
Mrs. Moss, as she ran in, suddenly remembering her muffins.

"It will take a lot of washings to get that brown stuff off. See, his
pretty pink skin is all stained with it. We'll bleach him out, and his
curls will grow, and he'll be as good as ever--all but--"

Ben could not finish, and a general wail went up for the departed
tassel that would never wave proudly in the breeze again.

"I'll buy him a new one. Now form the procession and let us go in
style," said Thorny, cheerily, as he swung Betty to his shoulder and
marched away whistling "Hail! the conquering hero comes," while Ben and
his Bow-wow followed arm-in-arm, and Bab brought up the rear, banging
on a milk-pan with the egg-beater.

(_To be continued_.)



THE YANKEE BOYS THAT DIDN'T NUMBER TEN.

BY W. M. BICKNELL.


[Illustration]

  'Tis morning, and no boy is seen
  In all the street, with play and fun.
  Ah! there comes Sam along the lane,
  With searching eyes, and he is one.

[Illustration]

  The road to school is lone for him;
  What could a single fellow do?
  But Ben appears just there away,
  And he with book and slate makes two.

[Illustration]

  Yet not enough for jolly sport;
  It's plain more lads there ought to be.
  Why, there is Tom, 'most out of breath!
  And now, together, they are three.

[Illustration]

  Then on they run and skip and frisk,
  With eager looks that seek for more;
  Dan trips along with joyous shout,--
  Now reckon, and you'll find them four.

[Illustration]

  They spring and hurry o'er the ground,
  All brave to wade or swim or dive.
  "Mother, there go the boys," cries Ed;
  No sooner said than there were five.

[Illustration]

  "Not half school-time," they all declare;
  "No clock can cheat us with its tricks!
  Upon the hill there's waiting Frank!"
  Though short and small, yet he made six.

[Illustration]

  O'er hedge and rocks and field they run;
  "Hello!" cries Ben, "see, there is Evan!"
  And now, as they rush on, we see,
  Like wonders of the world, they're seven.

[Illustration]

  As if a bird had carried word,
  Like birds the boys thus congregate;
  To join the rest leaped merry Will,
  And, puffing, swelled the count to eight.

[Illustration]

  Time quickly flew down by the shore,
  When boys and raft had fun so fine.
  But hark! Too plainly now they heard
  The clock! That made the doleful nine.

[Illustration]

  The crew had all put out from land,
  And out put teacher, Mr. Glenn,
  With swinging arm and noisy bell,--
  No boy was he to make the ten!



THE BARBECUE.

_(The "Tolerbul" Bad Boy again.)_

BY SARAH WINTER KELLOGG.


Marley came bolting into Aunt Silvy's cabin. This is what he usually did
when things vexed him.

"It's mean!" he said, snatching off his large straw hat and wiping the
perspiration from his brow.

Aunt Silvy was peeling peaches for drying--great, luscious Indian
peaches, too, beet-red from down to pit.

"Seems like yer's al'ays fin'in' somethin' mean," she said, as the long
peeling dropped into the pan, and she proceeded to stone the peach,
which looked as though pared by machinery. "What's de matter now?
Somethin' 'bout de barb'cue?"

"Yes, the committee's been 'roun' here to see what Pa'd subscribe, an'
he signed for o-n-e shoat! Think how it'll look!--'Wm. Coleman, one
shoat.' An' the paper's goin' all over the county; everybody'll see
it,--General Bradshaw, and Mandy, and all the girls! If I couldn't give
anything but a mean ole shoat, I wouldn't put my name down 'tall."

"Neber had no sich puffawmances at yer granpaw Thompson's. He uster
su'scribe a heap er deaf an' dum' an'mals. I 'members one Foaf July he
su'scribed,--lem me see ef I kin 'member what all he did su'scribe. Thar
wus two oxes an' 'leven milk cows, an'--"

"I don't b'lieve it," Marley interrupted.

"It's de bawn troof," said Aunt Silvy, solemnly. "I 'members dar wusn't
nuff cows lef' ter git milk fer de white folks' coffee nex' mawnin arter
dat barb'cue. But, law, Mah'sr Mawley! dat wusn't haf' yer granpaw
Thompson su'scribed. Thar wus fou'teen fat shoats, an'--lem me see how
many tuckies; twenty-fou' tuckies, thutty-fou' Muscovy ducks, fawty
chickuns, sebenteen geese an' ganders, an'--"

Marley gave a long whistle.

"Well, if that isn't the biggest story that ever I heard sence I was
created!"

"He did so. I could prove it by yer maw, but her wus sich a little gal
when it happened, her's fawgot. I 'members we all didn't hab no geese
ter pick arter dat barb'cue, 'cept one ole gander; an' I 'members goin'
to de hen-house, an' seein' not a sol'tary human critter lef in dat dar
hen-house 'cept de ole saddle-back rooster. An', law! I fawgot de
hams,--a heap er hams,--more 'n a hundud; an' de sheeps--law! I dunno
how many sheeps dar wus."

"An' didn't he subscribe a team of mules an' a half-dozen negroes?" said
Marley. "An' I want to know where my gran'pa got all the wagons to haul
all the things to the barbecue? I reckon it would take fifty wagons to
do it; I'm goin' to ask Pa."

"Law! I wouldn't go pesterin' master 'bout it. I neber say yer granpaw
tuck um ter de barb'cue; I say he su'scribed um."

"Then he didn't pay what he subscribed?"

"Shucks! Mah'sr Mawley. I can't make yer un'erstan' nuffin. Yer neber
did know nuffin sca'cely."

"I know why they keep the Fourth of July. You don't, do you?"

"Of cou'se! Law, chile! I's 'scended from a Rev'lution cullud genulmon
what wus presunt at de fuss Foaf July dar ever wus."

Marley laughed and laughed at this till Aunt Silvy began to sulk. He
couldn't afford to have her offended; he wanted her to do something for
him. So he checked his laughter, and said:

"You know everybody in the county is invited to the barbecue."

"Ob cou'se. De suckit-riders gives it out at all de 'p'intments. Ev'ry
pusson's 'vited, cullud pussons an' white folks. Thar'll be a heap er
folks thar."

"Now, look yere, Aunt Silvy; you b'long to me, you know. You always
said--"

"Yer b'longs ter me, mow like; an' yer maw b'longs ter me, too. I nussed
her when she wus a baby, an' yer too. Law! I owns yer bofe."

"Well, then, I'm your boy, an' I want you to do somethin' for me."

"I'll be boun' yer does."

"I felt so 'shame 'bout Pa's one shoat, that I went out to the front
gate, an' when the committee came to go away, I tole 'em I'd bring
somethin' to the barbecue."

"Mussy! yer aint got nuffin ter take."

"If I had a 'coon-dog, I might catch a 'coon or a 'possum. Look yere!
can't you borrow Boston's ole Rum for me?"

Boston was Aunt Silvy's husband, and belonged on another plantation, and
Rum was Boston's 'coon-dog.

"Ob cou'se I kin. Bos'on's mighty good ter min' me. But, law! yer aint
'quainted wid ole Rum; yer couldn't manage him no more'n nuffin. 'Sides,
'coons an' 'possums aint good now tell arter pussimon-time. Folks ud
duspise yer 'coon an' 'possum, kase they's so poo'."

"Well, what can I take? I know Pa wouldn't let you bake me anything."

"Mussy, no! Law! yer oughter seed de roas'in' an' fryin', an' all de
gwyne-ons at yer granpaw Thompson's. One Foaf we all tuck--lem me see,
how many cheese-cakes an' tauts wus it?"

"But what can I take?" said Marley, impatiently.

"I reckons some fresh fish would tas' tolerbul good."

"That's just it," Marley cried, springing to his feet; and he went on
talking excitedly about a splendid cat-fish hole, and where he could
find perch, and how he could keep them alive, etc. At length he said:
"Pa says I can't go unless I take Sukey on behine me. I'd a heap rather
walk than go in that poor folks' way. Mandy Bradshaw ud be sure to see
us, an' she'd turn up her nose higher'n she did when I rolled the
mandrake-apple to her."

"Needn't turn up _her_ nose at a ha'f Thompson. I wus 'quainted wid de
Bradshaws when dey wus poo' es yaller dirt,--had jis fou' ole niggers,
an' dey wus mos' all womens an' childuns."

"But General Bradshaw's tolerbul rich now,--a heap richer'n Pa."

"He got rich hoss-racin'," said Aunt Silvy, contemptuously.

But Marley was thinking about the hardship that Sukey was.

"She's such a coward," he said, "in riding. She hol's on to me so hard
that she pinches like sixty, an' mos' tears my clothes off. An' if the
horse goes out of a walk, she hollers that she's goin' to fall off. I
don't want to go pokin' up to the barbecue like it was the first time I
ever was on horseback in my life. But I'll have to go that way, or with
Sukey clingin' to me an' hollerin'."

"Reckon I might pussuade her ter stay to hum."

"Oh no!" Marley said, warmly. "Sukey must go; she'd be so disappointed,
I'd a heap rather stan' Mandy's gigglin' than Sukey's cryin'. No;
Sukey's got to go if she rides on my head."

"I'll tell yer," said Aunt Silvy. "Bos'on's got leave to tote dat little
bay mule uv Patrick's over here fer me ter ride ter de barb'cue. Her
name's Jinny, an' her racks tolerbul easy. I kin take Miss Sukey in my
lap an' Barb'ry Allen on behine."

Marley thought this a capital plan, and went away to make his
preparations for the Fourth. He brought an immense cotton-basket from
the gin-loft, and nailed it against the side of the little log
spring-house, after having half sunk it in the branch that flowed
through the building. This is where he meant to put his fish to keep
them fresh for the barbecue. Of these he felt sure, for the plantation
lay along a noble "run," abounding with creatures. He captured his fish
in a way not sportsman-like--by nets and night-hooks; but then there was
need of expedition, for there were only two days to the Fourth. When he
went to look at his lines, he always took his rifle and Rover; he might,
per-chance, encounter some game. The first day he shot a red squirrel.
But the next day--oh, the next day! It was late in the afternoon when he
went to the run. He was about descending the bluff which overhung one of
his lines, when he saw something that made his heart stand still, and
then leap as though it would jump from his body. He was never so excited
in his life. There, with its nostrils in the water, was a strange
animal. In an instant, he knew it. Rover, too, knew it, and gave a low
growl. Quickly Marley put his hand on the dog's head, and whispered,
"Down, Rover, down! good fellow, down!" But the wary creature at the
drink had heard something. Two antlers were suddenly flung up, and a
face turned to windward. Marley, with his knee on Rover, hardly dared to
breathe, yet aimed his rifle. "Down, Rover! good dog, down!" he again
whispered. Then the sharp crack of the rifle broke the silence, and
Marley, on his feet, strained his eager eyes through the smoke. Was that
a fallen deer, or was it the shadow of cypress-knees? He and Rover went
running and leaping to the spot. Yes, he had killed a fine buck with ten
tines. He was a happy boy, you may believe. Here was a contribution to
the barbecue worthy of the glorious day. When he had turned the animal
over and over, and wondered where it came from, and how it happened to
be there alone, he left Rover to guard it, and hurried back for help to
get it home. He ran every step of the way. Then, mounted on black Betts,
and accompanied by Jim, he returned to the heroic spot, and there found
the faithful Rover and his dead charge. The game was strapped behind
Marley's saddle, and old Betts was made to go galloping back to the
house. Then, after everybody had looked at the deer, and handled it in
every possible way, and wondered about it, and Marley had told over and
over the story of the shooting, the game was dressed and put down in the
spring-house, to keep cool for the morrow, which was the Fourth.

Marley rose early the next morning, and waked Aunt Silvy by firing his
rifle into her cabin. Then he saw the shoat and venison put in the
wagon, and a barrel of spring-water, crowded with darting fishes. After
breakfast, he dressed-up in his best clothes, and stuck two
cotton-blooms--one white, the other red--in his button-hole. He did not
wear these for ornaments, as the cotton-blossom, which opens white and
then quickly turns crimson, is as large and coarse as a hollyhock, which
it somewhat resembles; but among the planters it is considered an honor
to display the first cotton-blooms.

He was early on the barbecue ground, located near a fine clear spring,
about which were hung a score of gourd dippers. He found the campers
already humming like a hive. There were coaches and buggies and
lumber-wagons, and scores upon scores of tethered horses and mules,
which had brought people to the scene; and other carriages and
riding-horses were momently dashing in. Whole families came on
horseback,--not infrequently three riders to a mule or horse. Streams of
negroes were pouring in, usually on foot. There were well-dressed
gentlemen and gay ladies, and a fair sprinkling of shabby people; and
Marley wondered where they all came from. In a short time after his
arrival, he caught sight of Aunt Silvy; he knew her by the faded pink
satin bonnet which she had worn ever since he could remember. She had
Sukey on her shoulder, and was tugging up the hill from the spring.
Boston had failed to bring over "pacing Jinny" for his wife to ride, so
the faithful negro had brought Sukey all the way on her shoulder. Marley
was quite touched when he realized this, and he made up his mind that
he'd take Sukey back behind him, if Mandy Bradshaw should giggle her
head off about it. Why should he care for her mocking more than for the
comfort of Aunt Silvy, his life-long friend? He went over, and offered
to escort Sukey around to see the sights, but she preferred to stay with
Aunt Silvy; so he felt free to wander where he pleased. And he pleased
to wander everywhere, and to see everything. He was greatly interested
in all the proceedings,--the spreading of the long, long tables under
the oaks and beeches; the unloading of the wagons; the clatter of
dishes; the great boiling kettles down by the spring, where negroes were
dressing shoats and sheep and great beeves--every animal being left
whole, but split to the back-bone.

[Illustration: GOING TO THE BARBECUE.]

Then there was a rostrum, covered with forest-boughs and decorated with
wreaths and flags, where the Declaration of Independence was to be read
and the oration was to be given. "Yankee Doodle" the band was playing
from it when Marley strolled by, and about it were the Washington
Rifles, in their pretty uniform of blue and white, waiting to open the
programme by a salute and some special maneuvering.

But to Marley the most wonderful and interesting of all the sights was
the barbecuing. There were long, broad ditches, floored with coals a
foot deep, over which the great carcasses of hogs and bullocks were laid
on spits, as on a gridiron. Beyond these trenches, great log-fires were
kept blazing, that the ditches might be replenished with coals. Ever and
anon, an immense iron kettle would be seen, borne between two negro men,
and filled with glowing coals. Such hissing and sissing as there was
above those lines of fire! What savory odors were in the air! How
important and fussy the cooks at the spits! How splendid the great
log-heap fires! How grand the high-mounting flames and the columns of
blue smoke! Marley was in a mood to enjoy it all, for "the committee"
had expressed special pleasure with his contribution; it was the only
game on the ground, and they were warm in their compliments of his
sportsmanship.

But after a while, Marley, in his strollings about the grounds, saw a
written placard tacked to a tree. Of course he read it, and then he
stood confounded by the revelation it made to him. Can't you guess what
it was? An advertisement for an escaped pet deer! He knew by the
description (the ten tines, the slashed ear, etc.) that it was the deer
he had shot. To have shot anybody's pet deer, and to know that it was at
that moment over the coals, would have been mortification enough; but it
was the name at the foot of the advertisement which carried to Marley's
heart the sorest dismay he had ever felt in his life. Whose deer had he
killed? Guess! Why, Mandy Bradshaw's! He was so chagrined, so bitterly
distressed, that he would have said he could never smile again. What was
he ever to do about it? Of course, there was but one manly thing to do:
confess the whole matter to General Bradshaw. But he felt sure he'd
rather die than do this. He went over to where Aunt Silvy was barbecuing
the deer, the most melancholy-looking boy, perhaps, that ever was at a
barbecue with a cotton-bloom in his button-hole. To her he told the
truth, and felt better the instant he had spoken it. But when he asked
her advice, she replied:

"I don't devize nuffin. Yer granpaw Thompson uster say thar neber wus no
use in devizin' nobody, kase a wise man didn't need no device, an' a
fool wouldn't take no device. But ef I wus yer, I'd jis go ter Mandy an'
tell her how it happen."

Marley saw that it must come to this, and wisely decided that the sooner
it was done the better. So he began to hover around Mandy, lying about
on the grass, sitting on stumps and logs near her, and sauntering back
and forth. Finally, he saw her standing alone, her girl mate having run
off after a yellow butterfly. He walked in a dizzy kind of way to her
side. He said, "Howdy, Mandy?" and she answered, "Howdy?" looking at him
with a question in her look.

Marley knew she was wondering what he had come for, and that he was now
committed to some sort of explanation. He blushed and blushed, till it
seemed to him he never could stop blushing.

"Don't be mad at me," he said, pleadingly.

"I'm not mad at you," she said.

"But you will be when I tell you. I didn't go to do it. I wouldn't have
done it for the world, but I thought it was a wild deer and shot it."

"Oh! you're talkin' 'bout my deer; you shot my deer?"

"Yes," said Marley, hoarsely. He thought he was going to choke to death.
"They are barbecuing it now. I never was so sorry in my life. I'll pay
for it, or I'll get you another, or I'll do anything in the world you
tell me to."

Mandy burst out laughing, and said: "How absurd to talk so about that
deer. But you wouldn't do anything I tell you. You wouldn't go up on the
rostrum there, an' stan' on your head."

"Yes, I would, if it would keep you from being mad at me," said Marley.

"Well, I'm not, mad at you. I don't care much about that deer; he used
to scare me nearly to death, and Pa was going to bring him to the
barbecue. You've brought him instead of Pa--that's all the difference. I
shouldn't have thought you'd have told about it when you felt so badly.
I reckon you're tolerbul plucky. Why don't you ever come over to see
brother Bob."

"Don't know; 'cause he never asked me to, I reckon."

"I know he'd like to have you. Look yere! He's got some Roman candles
he's goin' to fire off to-night; so you stop as you go home this
evening. It's right on your way. Can't you?"

"I reckon so," answered Marley, his heart throbbing with pleasure.

"Look here, Marley," Mandy added, suddenly. "Don't say anything about
that deer, and I wont tell; so nobody'll know anything about it."

"I must tell General Bradshaw. There he is coming this way now, to take
you to 'the stand.'"

"Well, tell him, and I'll ask him not to tell."

When Marley had "owned up," the General gave him a hearty slap on the
back, calling him a brave lad and a good shot, and promised Mandy never
to tell as long as he lived. When Marley spoke of the antlers, etc., he
was told that he should keep them.

Then they went up to "the stand," and not a boy in the assemblage felt
in a better mood than Marley for applauding the patriotic music, and the
old "Declaration," and Mr. Delaney's ardent oration. At every allusion
to the star-spangled banner, Marley cheered; and when the orator
apostrophized the national bird, perched with one talon an the Alleghany
and the other on the Sierras, dipping his beak now in the Atlantic and
now in the Pacific, preening his feathers with the mighty Lakes as his
mirror, our Marley shouted in a patriotic transport from a stump, and
threw up his cap, and threw it up till it lodged in a tree, and he could
toss it no longer. He shook it down just as the marshal of the day
announced that he would proceed to blow the horn for dinner, to which
everybody, rich and poor, bond and free, was most cordially
invited--ladies to be served first, then the gentlemen, then the colored
people. They would please form by twos, and march to the tables as the
band played "Hail Columbia!"

Then a great bullock's horn, decorated with our blessed colors, was
raised to the marshal's lips, and he blew and blew and blew _such_
blasts; and when he had ended, the multitude--especially the
boys--shouted such shouts as might have leveled the walls of another
Jericho, if horn-blasts and shouts could do such things in these days.

Then the people, in long, fantastic line, wound in and out among the
trees to the tables in the thick shade; and Marley walked beside Mandy
Bradshaw, keeping step to the spirited music, and feeling heroic enough
to charge an army.



BIRDS AND THEIR FAMILIES

BY PROF. W.K. BROOKS.


In this paper we will talk a little about the different ways in which
birds bring up their children, and will say something, too, about the
young birds themselves. There is almost as great a difference in the
domestic habits and customs of birds as in those of human beings.

You have all heard how the ostrich lays its eggs in the sand, where the
sun can shine upon them, and keep them warm, while the parent birds are
away in search of food during the middle of the day. The South American
ostrich (an engraving of which is given on the next page) makes use of
the warmth of the sun and sand in the same way. According to Darwin, the
mother does not show the least affection for her young, but leaves the
labor of hatching the eggs entirely to the father, who attends to it
very faithfully, but is, of course, compelled to leave the nest
occasionally in search of food, selecting the middle of the day for this
purpose, as the heat of the sun is then sufficient to keep the eggs from
growing cold.

[Illustration: SOUTH AMERICAN OSTRICH.]

I suppose most of you know that if a quantity of wet decaying leaves or
straw is raked together into a large pile, and covered up with a thin
layer of sand or earth, and then left exposed to the sun and rain, the
heat given off by the decay of the vegetable matter forming the inside
of the pile will be retained until, after a few weeks, the interior of
the heap becomes so warm that, when the mound is broken open, a thick
cloud of smoke and steam will rise from it. The mound-building
"brush-turkey" of Australia, New Guinea, and the neighboring islands,
has somehow learned this fact; and also, that the steady and equal heat
generated is sufficient to hatch its eggs. So, instead of making a nest
and sitting upon the eggs until they are hatched, this bird, which has
very large and powerful feet, scratches up a huge pile of decaying
twigs, leaves and grass, thus making a mound often six or eight feet
high, and containing enough material to load several wagons, in which
the eggs are buried. The young birds are not helpless when hatched, like
the young of most of our singing birds, but are quite strong and active,
and able to burrow their way out of the mound, and take care of
themselves immediately.

Some birds provide for their young in still another way. They neither
sit and hatch their own eggs, nor provide an artificial incubator; but
go quietly and drop an egg into the nest of another bird, and allow this
bird to act as a nurse, hatching the egg and finding food for the young
bird. The most notable example of this habit among birds is the case of
the European cuckoo. This bird never builds a nest, or shows the least
love or even recognition of its young. The cuckoo always selects the
nest of a bird much smaller than itself, and as its eggs are much
smaller than those usually laid by a bird of its size, they are no
larger than those which properly belong in the nest; so that the owners
do not appear to discover the deception put upon them, but treat all the
eggs alike. As soon as the young cuckoo is hatched he begins to grow
very fast, and as he is larger and stronger than the other nestlings, he
manages to get the lion's share of the food which the old birds bring to
the nest. It would seem as if robbing his foster brothers and sisters of
part of their nest, of the attention and care of their parents, and of
nearly all of their food, might be enough to satisfy the young cuckoo;
but it is not. He wants not part, but, everything--the whole nest, all
the care of the old birds, and all of the food--for himself; so, when
the old birds are away, he pushes himself under one of the little
nestlings, which is of course too small and weak to help itself, and
throws it out of the nest to die. In this way he murders all his
foster-brothers, and if any eggs are still unhatched he throws them out
too. He now has all the attention of the old birds to himself, for they
continue to treat him as affectionately as if he were really one of
their own children, and go on bringing him food, and attending to all
his wants, long after he has grown to be as large as themselves, or even
larger.

[Illustration: THE CUCKOO.]

We have two species of cuckoo in the United States, but each of them
builds a nest of its own, and rears its own young, although our
yellow-billed cuckoo is a very bad nest-builder, and is said often to
desert its young, leaving them to starve unless other birds take pity
upon them and bring them food. Most of our smaller birds are very
sympathetic during the breeding season, and are ready to give food and
care to any young bird which needs it, even if it is not one of their
own species.

Although our American cuckoos have not, as a general thing, the bad
habits of those of Europe, we have another very common bird which is
hatched and brought up by strangers. Every boy who lives in the country
knows the cow-bird, cow-blackbird, or cow-bunting, for it is called by
all these names. It is a small bird, a little larger than the bobolink
and of much the same shape. The male has a dark-brown head and a bright
greenish-black back and wings, but the female is so much lighter in
color that you would hardly believe that they belong to the same
species. These birds are very abundant in the spring and summer, and may
be seen in flocks flying and feeding in company with the red-winged
blackbirds. They are often found among the cattle and sheep in the
pastures and barn-yards, and they derive all of their common names from
this habit. Although nearly related to the orioles, which make such
wonderful nests, the cow-birds make none at all, but lay their eggs in
the nests of other birds, such as the blue-bird, chipping-bird,
song-sparrow, yellow-bird, and some thrushes and fly-catchers. Like the
cuckoo, this bird usually chooses the nest of a bird much smaller than
itself, but as its egg is not small, the deception is at once
discovered, and the birds whose nest has been selected for this purpose
are very much disturbed. It is necessary for the female cow-bird to find
a nest in which the owners have just begun laying, for if the owners
have no eggs of their own they will desert the nest, and if their own
eggs are somewhat advanced before the cow-bird's egg is laid, their own
young will hatch first, and the parents will then leave the nest to hunt
for food, thus allowing the cow-bird's egg to become cold and die.

When the female cow-bird is ready to lay her egg, she often has great
trouble in discovering a nest at just the right stage. She leaves the
flock and perches upon some tree or bush, where she can have a good view
of all that is going on. When she discovers a nest by watching the
actions of its owners, she waits for an opportunity when both the owners
are away, when she approaches it very stealthily, but quickly, keeping a
very sharp watch, to be sure that she is not observed. If she finds that
the nest is fit for her purpose,--that is, if the birds have laid only a
part of their regular number of eggs,--she drops one of her own eggs
into it, and then disappears as swiftly and quietly as she came. If she
is unable to find a suitable nest in her own vicinity, she goes in
search of one, examining every thicket and bush--sometimes for a long
distance--until she finds one. A gentleman once followed a cow-bird
along the shore of a stream for two miles before she succeeded in
finding a nest which satisfied her. Occasionally, two or more cow-birds'
eggs are found in the same nest. It is not known whether both of these
are laid by the same bird, but it is more probable that in such a case
as this two cow-birds have visited the same nest.

The egg of the cow-bird has one interesting and important peculiarity.
It is necessary, as we have seen, that this should be hatched before the
other eggs; for if it were not, the old birds would stop sitting and
allow it to become cold as soon as their own young were hatched. This
danger, however, has been provided against, since the egg of the
cow-bird needs only eight or nine days of incubation, while the eggs of
those birds in whose nests it is usually found require from twelve to
fifteen days. A short time after the young cow-bird is hatched, all the
other eggs disappear, and they may sometimes be found on the ground,
broken, at a considerable distance from the nest,--so far away that the
young cow-bird could not possibly have thrown them there. The way in
which they are removed from the nest is not known, as no one has yet
watched closely enough to say whether the parents themselves destroy
them, or whether the female cow-bird returns to the nest and removes
them, to give more room for her own young when hatched.

I have already said that the smaller birds are very much disturbed and
troubled when they find one of these eggs in their nest, and are very
apt to desert it and go to another place if they have not yet any eggs
of their own. Our common yellow-bird, however, is sometimes wise enough
to find a better way out of its trouble. It values its neatly finished
nest too highly to desert it, and it is not strong enough to lift the
big egg and throw it over the edge, so it gathers a new supply of hay
and hair, and makes a false bottom to cover up the egg. Then it makes a
new lining to the nest, and lays its own eggs upon that, so that the
cow-bird's egg does not receive any of the warmth from its body, and
never hatches.

[Illustration: EGG OF COW-BIRD.]

I have given you several reasons for believing that birds are able to
think for themselves; but I do not see how anything could prove this
more clearly than this expedient of the yellow-bird for saving its young
from destruction by preventing the hatching of the cow-bird's egg.

Before leaving the subject of birds'-nests, I must say a few words about
the immense number of birds which sometimes gather in one place for the
purpose of raising their young. The enormous flocks of wild pigeons,
which from time to time visit certain parts of the United States, have a
definite portion of the woods, often several miles in extent, where they
gather every night. This is called the "roost," and here they build
their nests and rear their young. There are so many at these roosts that
it is not always safe to go under the trees, for large branches are
often broken off by the weight of the birds and their nests.

If you wish to know more about these pigeon-roosts, you will find long
accounts of them in the books about birds, by those two celebrated men,
Wilson and Audubon. Audubon's account of a roost which he visited in
Kentucky is very interesting and well worth your reading. It is printed
in the first volume of his "Ornithological Biography," and also, I
believe, in the "Life of Audubon, the Naturalist."

In these books, and in the other works of Audubon and Wilson, you will
also find much instructive and entertaining information in regard to all
of our common birds. Most of our sea-birds are very wild, as they are
much hunted by man, and on this account they build their nests and rear
their young on inaccessible and uninhabited rocky islands, and the
number of sea-birds which gather upon these islands during the breeding
season is almost beyond belief; but the following account of Ailsa
Craig, by Nathaniel P. Rodgers (the "Craig" is a rocky island on the
west of Scotland), will give some idea of their abundance at such
places:

    It was a naked rock, rising nine hundred and eighty feet abruptly
    out of the sea. A little level space projected on one side, with a
    small house on it. We could not conjecture the use of a habitation
    there. The captain of the steamer said it was the _governor's_
    house. We asked him what a governor could do there.

    "Take care of the birds," he replied.

    "What sort of birds?" we asked him.

    "Sea-fowl of all sorts," he said. "They inhabit the Craig, and ye'll
    may be see numbers of them. They are quite numerous, and people have
    been in the habit of firing to alarm the birds, to see them fly."

    He ordered his boy to bring the musket. The boy returned, and said
    it had been left behind at Glasgow.

    "Load up the swivel, then," said the captain; "it will be all the
    better. It will make quite a flight, ye'll find. Load her up pretty
    well."

    The steamer meanwhile kept nearing the giant craig, which was a bare
    rock from summit to the sea. We saw caves in the sides of the
    mountain. We had got so near as to see the white birds flitting
    across the black entrances of the caverns like bees about a hive.
    With the spy-glass we could see them distinctly, and in very
    considerable numbers, and at length approached so that we could see
    them on the ledges all over the sides of the mountain.

     We had passed the skirt of the Craig, and were within half a mile,
     or less, of its base. With the glass we could now see the entire
     mountain-side peopled with the sea-fowl, and could hear their
     whimpering, household cry, as they moved about, or nestled in
     domestic snugness on the ten thousand ledges. The air, too, about
     the precipices seemed to be alive with them. Still we had not the
     slightest conception of their frightful multitude. We got about
     against the center of the mountain when the swivel was fired, with
     a reverberation like the discharge of a hundred cannon, and what a
     sight followed! They rose up from that mountain--the countless
     millions and millions of sea-birds--in a universal, overwhelming
     cloud, that covered the whole heavens, and their cry was like the
     cry of an alarmed nation. Up they went,--millions upon
     millions,--ascending like the smoke of a furnace,--countless as the
     sands on the sea-shore,--awful, dreadful for multitude, as if the
     whole mountain were dissolving into life and light; and, with an
     unearthly kind of lament, took up their lines of flight in every
     direction off to sea! The sight startled the people on board the
     steamer, who had often witnessed it before, and for some minutes
     there ensued a general silence. For our own part, we were quite
     amazed and overawed at the spectacle. We had seen nothing like it
     before. We had never witnessed sublimity to be compared to that
     rising of sea-birds from Ailsa Craig. They were of countless
     varieties in kind and size, from the largest goose to the small
     marsh-bird, and of every conceivable variety of dismal note. Off
     they moved, in wild and alarmed rout, like a people going into
     exile; filling the air, far and wide, with their reproachful lament
     at the wanton cruelty which had driven them away.

This is only one of these breeding-places, but most of the rocky,
inaccessible cliffs and uninhabited islands of the northern and southern
shores of both continents are visited, at certain seasons, by sea-birds
in equally great numbers.

No subject connected with the history of birds furnishes more
interesting material for study than that of instinct. Young birds of
different species show that they have very different degrees of
instinctive knowledge. Some are able to take the entire care of
themselves, and do not need a mother to watch over them; others, on the
contrary, are perfectly helpless, and need teaching before they can do
anything for themselves, except breathe, and swallow what is put into
their mouths. The young chicken, a short time after it leaves the egg,
knows how to take care of itself nearly as well as the young mound-bird.
It can run after its mother, use its eyes, pick up food, and answer the
call of the old hen; and it does all this without instruction. How
different it is in all these respects from the young barn-swallow! This
is blind, and unable to run, or even to stand, knowing only enough to
open its mouth when it hears the old bird return to the nest, and to
swallow the food placed in its open bill. Far from knowing by instinct
how to use its wings, as the young chick does its legs, it does not
learn this until it is well grown, and has had several lessons in
flying; and even then it flies badly, and improves only after long
practice. After it has learned to fly, it is still very helpless and
baby-like, and very different from the active, bright-eyed, independent
little chick of the barn-yard; and, indeed, the young of all the
_Rasores_, or scratching birds, such as the hen, the quail, the
partridge, the pheasant and the turkey. In the admirable picture of an
English pheasant and its brood, on page 610, you will see how very much
like young chicks the young pheasants are.

[Illustration: ENGLISH PHEASANT AND YOUNG.]

The scratching birds are not the only ones which can take care of
themselves at an early age. This is true of the running birds, such as
the ostrich; and the same is the case with many of the wading birds,
such as the woodcock; and among the swimming birds, there are several
kinds that take full care of themselves soon after leaving the shell.

[Illustration: MALLARD DUCKS.]

In the picture on the preceding page you have a pair of mallard ducks
with three young ones, which are all able to swim and dive as well as
their parents. You all know that, far from standing in need of
instruction, young ducks take to the water by instinct, even when they
have been brought up by a hen; and they know that they are perfectly
safe upon it, although the anxious hen tries in every way to restrain
them and to call them back. There are many ways in which some of our
young birds show their really wonderful instincts, but there is nothing
more curious in this respect than the habits of the little chickens,
which most of us have opportunities of noticing,--if we choose to take
the trouble. These little creatures, almost as soon as they are born,
understand what their mother "clucks" to them; they know that they must
hide when a hawk is about; they often scratch the ground for food before
they see their mother or any other chicken do so; they are careful not
to catch bees instead of flies; and they show their early smartness in
many ways which are well worth watching.

But, sometimes, a brood of these youngsters find something that puzzles
them, as when they meet with a hard-shelled beetle, who looks too big to
eat and yet too small for a playmate.

[Illustration]



RAIN.

BY EDGAR FAWCETT.


  Oh, the Rain has many fitful moods
    Ere the merry summer closes,--
  From the first chirp of the robin-broods
    To the ruin of the roses!

  Through the sunshine's gold her glitter steals,
    In the doubtful April weather,
  When the world seems trying how it feels
    To be sad and glad together.

  Now and then, on quiet sultry eves,
    From her low persistent patter,
  She would seem confiding to the leaves
    An extremely solemn matter.

  Then, again, you see her from the sky
    Such a mighty flood unfolding,
  That you wonder if Old Earth knows why
    It receives so hard a scolding!

  Yet we learn to fancy, day by day,
    As we watch her softly shining,
  That she has no cloud, however gray,
    But it wears a silver lining!

  For in autumn, though with tears she tells
    How the lands grow sad and darken,
  Yet in spring her drops are tinkling bells
    For the sleeping flowers to hearken!

  And her tinted bow seems Love's own proof,
    As it gleams with colors seven,--
  Like a stately dome upon the roof
    Of her palace, high in heaven!



SNEEZE DODSON'S FIRST INDEPENDENCE DAY.

BY MRS. M.H.W. JAQUITH.


The usually quiet town of Greenville was in a hurly-burly of excitement
on this Fourth of July morning, because of the great Sunday-school
picnic, which was to take place on a fine ground, two miles distant. In
the fervor of patriotism and the bustle of preparing for the
picnic-celebration, almost every house in the village resounded with
shouts and noises; and all the children were on the tip-toe of
expectation and delight. Deacon Ebenezer Dodson sat in the arm-chair in
the "spare room," staring out of the window, and trying to think up the
speech he was to make that day. For he had been chosen by the
town-committee to open the exercises upon the stand with an appropriate
oration; and though he had mused and muttered and studied over it, from
the day when he was first requested to "perform" until this eventful
morning itself, he had not yet succeeded in composing a speech which
satisfied him.

"The flies bother the horses so, I can't practice on it in the field,
and my only chance is o' nights," he had often explained to his wife;
but his nightly meditations on it had been disturbed by such foreign
remarks as this:

"I say, Eb" (that was her family name for him; away from home she always
said "Deacon"), "you haint gone off to sleep, be you? I should feel
masterly cut up ef my cake should be heavy, an' everybody on the grounds
will know it's mine from the marks o' my name I'm goin' to put on the
frostin',"--by which she meant her initials done in red, white, and blue
powdered sugar.

And again:

"Do you remember Mis' Deacon Pogue's pound-cake at the d'nation party
las' winter? She'd bragged on it to every livin' soul, an', when they
came to cut it, there was a solid streak of dough right through the
middle from eend to eend. She didn't happin to be 'round when 'twas cut,
an' I thought it was my duty to let her see a piece, so she'd know how
to better it next time, and she was so mad, she's turned up her nose at
me ever sence."

The Deacon here murmured something beginning "Ninthly," for he had
arranged his speech in heads; but she kept on with such inspiring
memories, that he had poor chance to get up that "Speech by Deacon
Dodson," the sight of which legend on the printed programme had aroused
in him a fixed determination to do or die. But it seemed to him, as he
sat there, that it would be die; for not one "head" could he call up
clearly, and ever and anon his wife would cry out for wood or water, or
to state some fact concerning her cake or chickens.

Just now her rusk was the all-absorbing topic of thought. More than
twenty times she had looked at the dough and reported its "rise" to the
unsympathetic Deacon, who was pumping his arms up and down, and trying
to disentangle his "firstly" and "secondly."

"The procession is going to form at nine o'clock punctial, and march to
the grounds, and so there's no use of dressing Bubby twice," Mrs. Dodson
had said, so that youth of three summers was wandering around in his
night-gown, and had taken so active an interest in the proceedings that
Mrs. Dodson had several times sent him to his father, complaining, "I
never did see him so upstroferlous before."

Sneeze--so called because he was named for his father, and it was
necessary to distinguish them--was hurried in from the barn; his ears
were boxed for "not bein' 'round to take care of Bubby," and then he was
sent with him to the barn.

Deacon had been duly badgered and pestered about household troubles. He
had helped to put on Bubby's shoes--now far too small--and tried to hook
Mrs. Dodson's dress--similarly outgrown. But he was at length
exasperated into saying:

"By George! I can't think of a word of my speech, you bother me so!"

"You fairly make my blood run cold to be sayin' sech words as that on
this Fourth o' July mornin', which you always said was nex' door to
swearin'!" replied his wife; but her stream of talk was frozen up for
the time, and they were at length dressed, packed, and rattling over the
stony hills in a lumber-wagon.

"Wal, this seems quite like Independence Day," she said musingly. "I
remember once goin' to a reg'lar picnic when I was about the bigness of
Sneeze there, an' we had an awful good time. Mother'd plegged herself to
git up somethin' that nobody else'd have, an' finally she made a lot o'
figger four doughnuts to stand for Fourth o' July, you know, an' Aunt
Jane, she that was a Green, Uncle Josiah's first wife, was kind o'
jealous 'cause people noticed them more'n her cookin', an' she said they
was shortened with toughening till nobody couldn't eat 'em. It come
right straight back to mother, an' they never spoke for better'n a
year--no, 'twas just a year, come to think, for mother took sick in bed
very nex' Fourth, an' then Aunt Jane confessed humble enough, and they
made up."

Sneeze had been listening, and while his mother paused for breath, he
asked, "What do we keep Fourth of July for, an' what makes 'em call it
Independence Day? I heard Reub Blake say that was the true name of it."

"Why, Sneeze, I'm 'shamed of you that you don't know that much. It is
because George Washington was born on that day, or died; which was it,
father? An' he fought for our independence. Besides, he never told a
lie, as it tells about in the spellin'-book."

"Yes, it was something of that natur'," said the Deacon; "you'll know
all about it to-day when we come to speak and make our orations."

"Yes, Sneeze, an' Cynthia Ann, your father is goin' to be a speaker on
the stage; but you mus'n't feel set-up over the other girls an' boys
whose fathers an' mothers aint app'inted as speakers an' on the table
committee. You must listen to what father says."

They promised faithfully, and this is what Sneeze would have heard if he
had kept his pledge; but to tell the truth, he was at that time going
around with another boy looking into the baskets, and speculating on the
length of time before dinner.

"Deacon Ebenezer Dodson, the first speaker on the programme, will now
address the assembly," announced the chairman in a stentorian voice,
after the procession had formed, marched, settled down, and were ready
for the "exercises of the day." The Deacon stepped forward, and, with
very evident shaking of the knees, with coughs and ahems, glancing to
the right of him and to the left of him, to the heavens above and the
earth beneath, with trembling voice he began:

"Firstly, my friends and fellow-citizens of this great country, this
institution which we have come here to celebrate was instituted a great
many hundred years ago,--leastways, if not quite so long, since this
institution was instituted all men are free and equal"--(a long pause);
"and since this institution was instituted in this great country, we
have Sunday-schools and can go to church." Another pause.

"Secondly, little children, friends and fellow-citizens of this great
country, let us all use rightly and not abuse the advantages of this
institution which has been instituted for us, and go to church and
Sunday-school, and--and--I see Deacon Pogue is waiting to make some
remarks, and my friends and fellow-citizens of this great country, I
will detain you no longer to dwell upon this institution, which was
instituted to--to--" Here somebody benevolently thought to cheer, and
the "Hip, hip, hurrahs!" were taken up so lustily by the small boys,
that the magnetic sound warmed the Deacon into "Thirdly;" but Deacon
Pogue had stepped briskly forward, and so with a bow, and "Good-by, my
friends and fellow-citizens of this great country," he descended to his
delighted wife, who received him with many proud and joyful
congratulations.

[Illustration: DEACON DODSON'S ORATION.]

Deacon Pogue was more ready and noisy, but spoke quite as much to the
point as Deacon Dodson. He was followed by several others, none of whom
could be omitted without giving offense, and at length, with a great
flourish, the chairman announced "_The_ orator of the day, Captain
Buzwell, from Thornton, who has kindly consented to honor us," etc.

He was a lawyer with a gift of tongues, and his first few words brought
all the hitherto indifferent assembly quietly near the stand. After a
few well-put anecdotes, he said: "But to come back to the subject in
hand: one of your eloquent speakers has called this Fourth of July an
'institution.' That was a novel and happy idea. It is an 'institution,'
and upon it are founded all of our institutions,--free schools, free
religion, free speech, free press, free ballots, free action: freedom
everywhere for all men free and equal is founded on this glorious
'institution,' the corner-stone of which was laid Fourth of July, 1776."

At this point so great was Mrs. Dodson's conjugal pride, and so fearful
was she that her husband was not attending to the speaker's flattery,
that she poked him with her parasol till the Deacon was "fain to cry
out," as Bunyan says. When quiet was restored, the speaker continued:

"Another gifted orator has said,"--and, quoting something from Deacon
Pogue's pointless remarks, he made them also seem full of meaning; and
so on through the list of "distinguished speakers," till each one felt
that he himself had spoken most effectively.

Having thus pleased and interested all parties, he followed with an
instructive, historical speech, to which Sneeze, doughnut and cheese in
hand, listened so intently, that he found out at last "why they kept
Fourth of July."

After the speech and "appropriate instrumental music by the band," which
consisted of a drum and a bass-viol, the people dispersed to amuse
themselves as they saw fit, till dinner should be announced.

Mrs. Dodson, as "Table Committee," was disposed to magnify her office.
She kept the Deacon standing guard over her basket till nearly all the
rest were emptied, having reserved conspicuous places on the table for
her goodies. Taking advantage of her rival's presence, smiling sweetly,
she said as she opened the basket, "Mis' Pogue, your vittles look so
nice, I'm real 'shamed to bring mine out at all."

"But all the while I knew she was proud as Lucifer over 'em, and thought
she'd throw me quite in the shade," Mrs. Pogue told her next neighbor
that afternoon. "Her big cards of rusk did look nice, but her mince-pies
had slipped over into the custards, and they had dripped onto her cake
so it looked just awful! and that red-headed Sneeze had squeezed her
jelly-cake into flap-jacks, most likely by settin' on the basket. I
never see anybody so cut up in my life; her face was redder than a
beet."

And Mrs. Dodson said to the Deacon that night, "I did feel despritly
morterfied over my squashed vittles, with Mis' Pogue a-lookin' on with
all her eyes."

But when "the orator of the day" ate of her rusk, and said, "Mrs.
Dodson, these rusk have a peculiar taste, just such as those my dead
mother used to make for me when I was a boy, and I want you to give me
the recipe for my wife," and he took it down in his note-book, there was
full compensation for all her trials.

When all had eaten all they could, the young folk and children swung,
played ball, or "chased the squirrel" with the delightful penalty of
kissing it when caught, or rambled about at will, while the mothers
gathered the dishes together, and exchanged recipes and confidential
remarks on somebody's cookin'.

By four o'clock the babies were fretful; children of Bubby's age
complained that their shoes and clothes were too tight; somebody
suggested going home. In vain the young people protested--an hour from
that time the grounds were deserted; the lumber of the stage, made
sacred by such oratory, had been gathered up with the seats and tables,
and where so much of life had been, all was silence.

A neighbor's hired man was riding home with the Dodsons, but as Mrs.
Dodson did not mind him, she at once began to congratulate her husband
on his maiden speech. "Cappen Buzwell said you made the best oration
there was made to-day, Deacon. Did you pay 'tention, Sneeze, an' hear
what he said 'bout your father's speakin'?"

The Deacon modestly put in a faint, "Now, mother, don't," but she
interrupted him: "Yis I shall, for it's so, father, an' I'm goin' to say
my say. Besides, he told me, with tears in his eyes, that my rusk tasted
just like his dead mother's. But ef you'd only seen him tryin' to eat
one o' Mis' Pogue's doughnuts as if they was real good, when I could see
they was half chokin' of him!"

"That there man from town did make a purty considerable speech," said
the Deacon; "not so hefty as some I've heard, but real instructing. It
made me feel as though I wanted to fight somebody--purty much as I used
to when I was a boy, and heard my father tell how he fit in the war of
eighteen hundred and twelve, and his grandsir in the Revolutionary war."

"I guess you wasn't in any o' them wars?" stated the hired man,
inquiringly.

"No; I wasn't born then, and o' course I couldn't; but my father used to
tell us about it on trainin'-day nights. Trainin'-day was a great time,
with its uniforms and feathers; my father was a sarjint, and we had
gingerbread and federal cake."

"Well," burst out Sneeze, "if ever I get a chance I'm goin' to be a
soldier, an' fight for my country, as George Washington did. I just wish
we'd have trainin'-day now, and that Fourth of July came every day.
Then, too, when I'm a man, I'm goin' to marry Eliza Johnson, for she--"

"Shut up, Sneeze!" put in Mrs. Dodson. "Little boys like you ought to be
seen and not heard; when your parents make speeches and rusk at Fourth
o' July celebrations that them that was good judges says was most
interestin', you had ought to be listenin' to their talkin' and learnin'
o' them. Here's Bubby a tunin' for somethin' to eat; give him one of
them rusk out of the basket, an' stop your nonsense."

Sneeze's face was as red as his hair, and not another word did he say;
but his dreams that night were a mixture of feathers, soldiers and
pound-cake, Eliza Johnson, mother and speeches, and thus ended his first
memorable Independence Day.



MEADOW TALK.

BY CAROLINE LESLIE.


[Illustration]

  A bumble-bee, yellow as gold,
    Sat perched on a red-clover top,
  When a grasshopper, wiry and old,
    Came along with a skip and a hop.
  "Good-morrow!" cried he, "Mr. Bumble-Bee!
    You seem to have come to a stop."

     "We people that work,"
      Said the bee with a jerk,
  "Find a benefit sometimes in stopping;
      Only insects like you,
      Who have nothing to do,
  Can keep up a perpetual hopping."

  The grasshopper paused on his way,
    And thoughtfully hunched up his knees;
  "Why trouble this sunshiny day,"
    Quoth he, "with reflections like these?
  I follow the trade for which I was made;
    We all can't be wise bumble-bees.

     "There's a time to be sad,
      And a time to be glad;
  A time both for working and stopping;
      For men to make money,
      For you to make honey,
  And for me to do nothing but hopping."



A BOY'S EXPERIENCE WITH TAR MARBLES.

BY C.S.N.


Almost all boys, at some period of their lives, devote their spare time
to playing with marbles, and I certainly was not unlike other boys in
this respect. My fondness for marbles began very early, and when I was
about seven years old led me into a curious experience, which I am about
to relate. A great rivalry for acquiring marbles had suddenly arisen at
that time among the boys of the town, and to possess as many of the
little round beauties as my oldest brother owned, soon became the desire
of my heart and the height of my ambition.

I had already obtained a large number, when one day I overheard my
oldest brother telling one of his schoolmates that he had made the
important discovery that marbles could be formed from coal-tar, of which
there was a large quantity on a certain street in a distant part of the
town. He did not condescend to explain the process of manufacture, but
he showed the marbles he had made,--black, round, and glossy. The sight
inspired me with ardent desire to possess an unlimited quantity.

My brother told me just where the coveted treasure was to be found, and,
in the afternoon, I started off, without confiding to any one my
intention, to find the spot and lay in a supply of the raw material,
which I could convert into marbles at my leisure. Delightful visions of
bags filled with treasure, dancing through my brain, hastened the rate
of my speed almost to a run, before I arrived at the goal of my hopes.
It was a very hot July afternoon, and I was in a violent heat; but the
sight of the heaps of coal-tar put all thoughts of anything unpleasant
quite out of my head; it caused me to forget also that I had on a suit
of new clothes, of which I had been cautioned by my mother to be
extremely careful.

I need hardly remark that I was not very well acquainted with the
substance I was handling, and my only idea of its qualities was, that it
could be molded into any shape I pleased. I was not aware that it has
all the qualities of ordinary tar,--melts with heat, and becomes the
toughest, stickiest, most unmanageable of substances with which a small
boy can come into contact.

I fell to work to collect what I wanted to carry home. I filled the
pockets of my pantaloons, and of my jacket, and lastly, when these were
stuffed to their utmost capacity, I filled the crown of my hat so full
that it would hardly go on my head. The place was at some distance from
my home, and I did not wish to have to return immediately for more.

With a heart filled with triumph, I started off toward home. By this
time I began to realize that the weather was not cool. It had been a
long walk, and I was pretty tired, but I was also in a great hurry to
begin making marbles, so I walked as fast as I could. After a little
time I began to be sensible of a disagreeable feeling of stickiness
about my waist, and a slight trickling sensation in the region of the
knees.

A cloud not bigger than a man's hand flitted across my horizon,--perhaps
coal-tar _might_ melt?

I resolved to ascertain; and, like the famous old woman with her "yard
of black pudding," I very soon found it was much easier to obtain what I
wanted, than to know what to do with it when I had it. A very slight
inspection of my pockets satisfied me that coal-tar was capable of
becoming liquid, and, if I needed further evidence, the sable rivulets
that began to meander down the sides of my face gave ample corroboration
of the fact. I tried to take off my hat, but it would not come.

I looked down at my new trousers with feelings of dismay. Ominous spots
of a dismal hue were certainly growing larger. I tried to get the tar
out of my pockets, but only succeeded in covering my hands with the
black, unmanageable stuff, which at that moment I regarded as one of
those inventions of the devil, to entrap little boys, of which I had
often been warned, but to which I had given no heed. If it was a trap, I
was certainly _caught_; there was no doubt of that. But I was not
without some pluck, and in my case, as in that of many another brave, my
courage in facing the present calamity was aided by my fear of another
still more to be dreaded.

[Illustration: "I LOOKED DOWN AT MY NEW TROUSERS WITH DISMAY."]

That I should get a whipping for spoiling my new suit, if I could not
manage to get the tar off, I was quite certain, and I had had no
permission to go from home, and on the whole the outlook was not
cheerful in that direction. Quite driven to desperation, I seated myself
on the ground, and tried to scrape off the black spots, which had now
extended to formidable dimensions; while I could feel small streams
coming down inside of the collar of my shirt, and causing rather
singular suggestions of a rope around my neck. My labor was all in vain.
I got a good deal off, but there seemed to be an inexhaustible quantity
_on_. I gave it up in despair, and burst into uncontrollable sobs. The
flow of tears thinned the lava-like fluid, and it now resembled ink,
which covered my face like a veil; but in the extremity of my anguish a
hope dawned upon me. I found that I could wipe off with my hand this
thinner solution, and if water would do it, water was plenty, and I
would wash it off. A cousin of mine lived not very far off, and I knew
that in the yard of her house there was a pump. Inspired by this idea, I
set off at a run, and did not slacken my pace until I reached the spot.
Here another difficulty met me. I could not reach the handle of the pump
so as to get the benefit of the stream from its mouth, and it was only a
complete shower-bath that would restore me to respectability. I set to
work to find a rope, and fastened together quite a complicated piece of
machinery, as I thought, by which I managed to pump the ice-cold water
upon my devoted head. The effect was not as immediate as I had hoped.
But I had faith if a little was good, more must be better.
Creak--creak--creak--went the pump-handle, which did more work that
afternoon than in half a dozen days' washing.

Creak--creak--creak! But the tar only became harder and harder, until I
was encased in sheet-armor, like the famous Black Knight. Presently, my
cousin Jenny, an especial friend of mine, hearing such continual
pumping, and becoming anxious for the family supply of water, came out
to see what was the matter. Seeing a small figure curled up under the
spout of the pump, drenched to the skin and black as Othello, she
stooped down to investigate the phenomenon. Oh, what was my despair when
she discovered who it was, and in what plight!

To say she laughed would be to give a feeble idea of the peals of
laughter that succeeded each other as she stood and looked at me. She
would try to control her merriment for a moment, only to break forth
afresh, until she was obliged to sit down from sheer exhaustion. Every
time she glanced at my woe-begone countenance, and drenched condition,
she would go into fresh convulsions of fun. At last she recovered breath
enough to inquire into my case, and to assure me she would do what she
could for me; but she soon found, to my despair, that what she could do
was not much to my relief. The clothes could not be got off, and
certainly they could never be got clean. She did manage, with a strong
pair of shears, to cut off the pockets in my breeches, and then, fearing
my mother would be alarmed, she bade me go home, and she would promise
to secure me against a whipping.

I fancy she thought this last promise would be easily kept.

Somewhat comforted, I took up my line of march toward the paternal roof,
but, as I went along, my heart began to sink again; visions of a rod,
with which my not too saintly character had made me somewhat familiar,
loomed up before me; but worse than all, the thought of my brother's
ridicule made my sensitive spirit quail. I thought I would evade all for
that night, however, by going quietly up the back stairs, going to bed,
and "playing sick." Fortune favored me. I reached the bedroom without
being seen; and, just as I was, with my hat on, for it could only have
come off with my scalp, I got into bed, and covered myself entirely up
with the bed-clothes. It was now dusk, and I felt for the moment quite
safe. Presently my aunt came into the room to get something for which
she was looking, and I could hear her give several inquiring sniffs, and
as she went out I heard her say: "I certainly do smell tar; where can it
come from?" An interval of peace followed, and then in came my mother.
"Tar? Smell tar? Of course you do; it's strong enough in this room.
Bring a light."

[Illustration: "I COVERED MYSELF WITH THE BED-CLOTHES."]

It was the sound of doom!

My mother soon came close up to the bed, and held the light so that it
fell full upon me as she tried to turn down the bed-clothing. Probably,
if it had not been for several previous scrapes in which I had been
involved, she would have been much frightened; but as it was, the sight
of her young blackamoor had much the same effect upon her as upon my
cousin. Her exclamations and shrieks of laughter brought every member of
the household successively to the room, and as one after another came
in, fresh zest seemed to be given to the merriment of which I was the
unfortunate victim.

But every renewal of the fun was an added agony to me, for I clearly
foresaw that it would be rehearsed by Jack and Tom to all the boys in
the neighborhood. Beside this, I was not in a condition to be hilarious.
Plastered with tar from head to foot; streaming with perspiration at
every pore; my clothes drenched; my hair matted together, and my straw
hat, soaked with water, fastened upon it, and falling limp and wet about
my eyes; I was not rendered more comfortable by the fact that I could
not move without taking pillow and bed-clothes with me, as, in my
desperate desire to conceal myself from view, I had become enwrapped in
the bed-clothing like a caterpillar in its chrysalis; and I was
conscious of a dim fear that if I sat up, with the pillow stuck fast on
the top of my hat, the sight of me might produce fatal results upon the
already exhausted family.

At last the point was reached where I thought patience ceased to be a
virtue, and I rebelled against being any longer made a spectacle.

I declared if they would all go away but mother, I would tell her all
about it. The crowd retired, commissioned to send up a crock of butter,
a tub of hot water, and a pair of shears. Maternal love is strong, but I
doubt if it was often put to a severer test of its long-suffering than
was that of my mother that night.

[Illustration: THE SHOWER-BATH.]

Suffice it to say that, after my clothes had been cut to ribbons, the
sheets torn up, my head well-nigh shaved, and my whole person subjected
first to an African bath of melted butter, and afterward to one of hot
soap-suds, I had had my fill of bathing for one day, and was, shortly
before midnight, pronounced to be tolerably clean.

P.S.--I never made any marbles of coal-tar.



DAB KINZER: A STORY OF A GROWING BOY

BY WILLIAM O. STODDARD.


CHAPTER V.


During the week which followed the wedding-day, the improvements on the
Morris house were pushed along in a way that surprised everybody.

Every day that passed, and with every dollar's worth of work that was
done, the good points of the long-neglected old mansion came out
stronger and stronger; for Mrs. Kinzer's plans had been a good while
getting ready, and she knew exactly what was best to be done.

Before the end of the week Mr. Foster came over, bringing Ford with him,
and he soon arrived at an understanding with Dabney's mother.

"A very business-like, common-sense sort of a woman," he remarked to his
son. "But what a great, dangling, overgrown piece of a boy that is.
Still, you may find him good company."

"No doubt," said Ford, "and thus I can be useful to him. He looks as if
he could learn if he had a fair chance."

"I should say so," responded Mr. Foster, thoughtfully; "and we mustn't
expect too much of fellows brought up away out here, as he has been."

Ford gravely assented.

There was a surprise in store for the village people; for, early in the
following week it was rumored from house to house, "The Kinzers are all
a-movin' over to Ham Morris's."

And before the public mind was settled enough to inquire into the
matter, the rumor was changed into, "The Widder Kinzer's moved to Ham's
house, bag and baggage."

So it was, although the carpenters and painters and glaziers were still
at work, and the piles of Kinzer furniture had to be stowed around as
best could be. Some of them had even to be locked up overnight in one of
the barns.

The Kinzers, for generations, had been a trifle weak about furniture,
and that was one of the reasons why there was so little room for human
beings in their house. The little parlor, indeed, had been filled till
it put one in mind of a small "furniture store" with not room enough to
show the stock on hand, and some of the other parts of the house
required knowledge and care to walk about in them.

Bad for a small house, truly, but not so much so when the same articles
were given a fair chance to spread themselves.

It was a treat to Dab to watch while the new carpets were put down, one
after another, and then to see how much at home and comfortable the
furniture looked as it was moved into its new quarters.

Mrs. Kinzer took care that the house she left should speak well of her
to the eyes of Mrs. Foster, when that lady came to superintend the
arrival of her own household goods.

The character of these, by the way, at once convinced the village
gossips that "lawyer Foster must be a good deal forehanded in money
matters." And so he was, even more than his furniture indicated. Ford
had a wonderful deal to do with the settlement of his family in their
new home, and it was not until nearly the close of the week that he
found time for more than an occasional glance over the north fence.

"Take the two farms together," his father had said to him, "and they
make a really fine estate. I learn, too, that the Kinzers have other
property. Your young acquaintance is likely to have a very good start in
the world."

Ford had found out nearly as much on his own account, but he had long
since learned the uselessness of trying to teach his father anything,
however well he might succeed with ordinary people, and so he had said
nothing.

"Dabney," said Mrs. Kinzer, that Friday evening, "you've been a great
help all the week. Suppose you take the ponies to-morrow morning, and
ask young Foster out for a drive."

"Mother," exclaimed Samantha, "I shall want the ponies myself. I've some
calls to make, and some shopping. Dabney will have to drive."

"No, Sam," remarked Dabney; "if you go out with the ponies to-morrow,
you'll have my old clothes to drive you."

"What do you mean?" asked Samantha.

"I mean, with Dick Lee in them."

"That would be just as well," said Mrs. Kinzer. "The ponies are gentle
enough, and Dick drives well. He'll be glad enough to go."

"Dick Lee, indeed!" began Samantha.

"A fine boy," interrupted Dab, "and he's beginning to dress well. His
new clothes fit him beautifully. All he really needs is a shirt, and
I'll give him one. Mine are getting too small."

"Well, Dabney," said Mrs. Kinzer, "I've been thinking about it. You
ought not to be tied down all the while. Suppose you take next week
pretty much to yourself. Samantha wont want the ponies every day. The
other horses have all got to work, or I'd let you have one of them."

Dabney got up, for want of a better answer, and walked over to where his
mother was sitting, and gave the thoughtful matron a good, sounding
kiss.

At the same time he could not help thinking, "This comes of Ham Morris
and my new rig."

"There Dabney, that'll do," said his mother; "but how'll you spend
Saturday?"

"Guess I'll take Ford Foster out in the bay a-crabbing, if he'll go,"
replied Dabney. "I'll run over and ask him."

It was not too late, and he was out of the house before there was a
chance for further remarks.

"Now, he muttered," as he walked along, "I'll have to see old lawyer
Foster, and Mrs. Foster, and I don't know who all, besides. I don't like
that."

Just as he came to the north fence of his former residence, however, he
was hailed by a clear, wide-awake voice: "Dab Kinzer, is that you?"

"Guess so," said Dab; "is that you, Ford?"

"I was just going over to your house," said Ford.

"And I was just coming to see you. I've been too busy all the week, but
they've let up on me at last."

"I've got our family nearly settled," replied Ford, "and I thought I'd
ask if you wouldn't like to go out with me on the bay to-morrow. Teach
you to catch crabs."

Dab Kinzer drew a long, astonished sort of whistle, but he finished it
with, "That's about what I was thinking of. There's plenty of crabs, and
I've got a tip-top boat. We wont want a heavy one for just us two."

"All right, then. We'll begin on crabs; but some other day we'll go for
bigger fish. What are you going to do next week?"

"Got it all to myself," said Dab. "We can have all sorts of a good time.
We can have the ponies, too, when we want them."

"That's about as good as it knows how to be," responded the young
gentleman from the city. "I'd like to explore the country. You're going
to have a nice place of it over there, before you get through. Only, if
I'd had the planning of that house, I'd have set it back further. Not
enough trees, either."

Bab came stoutly to the defense of not only that house, but of Long
Island architecture generally, and was fairly overwhelmed, for the first
time in his life, by a flood of big words from a boy of his own age.

He could have eaten up Ford Foster, if properly cooked. He felt sure of
that. But he was no match for him on the building question. On his way
home, however, after the discussion had lasted long enough, he found
himself inquiring: "That's all very nice, but what can he teach me about
crabs? We'll see about that to-morrow."

The crab question was one of special importance, beyond a doubt; but one
of even greater consequence to Dab Kinzer's future was undergoing
discussion at that very hour, hundreds of miles away.

Quite a little knot of people there was, in a hotel parlor; and while
the blooming Miranda, now Mrs. Morris, was taking her share of talk very
well with the ladies, Ham was every bit as busy with a couple of elderly
gentlemen.

"It's just as I say, Mr. Morris," said one of the latter, with a
superfluous show of energy; "there's no better institution of its kind
in the country than Grantley Academy. I send my own boys there, and I've
just written about it to my brother-in-law, Foster, the New York lawyer.
He'll have his boy there this fall. No better place in the country,
sir."

"But how about the expenses, Mr. Hart?" asked Ham.

"Fees are just what I told you, sir, a mere nothing. As for board, all I
pay for my boys is three dollars a week. All they want to eat, sir, and
good accommodations. Happy as larks, sir, all the time. Cheap, sir,
cheap!"

If Ham Morris had the slightest idea of going to school at a New England
Academy, Miranda's place in the improved house was likely to wait for
her; for he had a look on his face of being very nearly convinced.

She did not seem at all disturbed, however, and probably her husband was
not looking up the school question on his own account.

That was the reason why it might have been interesting for Dab Kinzer,
and even for his knowing neighbor, to have added themselves to the
company Ham and Miranda had fallen in with on their wedding tour.

That night, however, Dab dreamed that a gigantic crab was trying to pull
Ford Foster out of the boat, while the latter calmly remarked: "There!
did you ever see anything just like that before?"



CHAPTER VI.


That Saturday morning was a sad one for poor Dick Lee!

His mother carefully locked up his elegant apparel, the gift of Mr.
Dabney Kinzer, the previous night, after Dick was in bed, and, when
daylight came, he found his old clothes by his bedside.

It was a hard thing to bear, no doubt, but Dick had been a bad boy on
Friday. He had sold his fish instead of bringing them home, and then had
gone and squandered the money on a brilliant new red neck-tie.

"Dat's good nuff for me to w'ar to meetin'," said Mrs. Lee, when her
eyes fell on the gorgeous bit of cheap silk. "Reckon it wont be wasted
on any good-for-nuffin boy. I'll show ye wot to do wid yer fish. You's
gettin' too mighty fine, anyhow."

Dick was disconsolate for a while, but his humility took the form of a
determination to go for crabs that day, mainly because his mother had
long since set her face against that tribe of animals.

"Dey's a wasteful, stravagant sort ob fish," remarked Mrs. Lee, in
frequent explanation of her dislike. "Dey's all clo'es and no body, like
some w'ite folks I know on. I don't mean the Kinzers. Dey's all got body
nuff."

And yet that inlet had a name of its own for crabs. There was a wide
reach of shallow water inside the southerly point at the mouth, where,
over several hundred acres of muddy flats, the depth varied from three
and a half to eight feet, with the ebb and flow of the tides. That was a
sort of perpetual crab-pasture, and there it was that Richard Lee
determined to expend his energies that Saturday.

Very likely there would be other crabbers on the flats, but Dick was not
the boy to object to that, provided none of them should notice the
change in his raiment. At an early hour, therefore, Dab and Ford were
preceded by their colored friend, they themselves waiting for later
breakfasts than Mrs. Lee was in the habit of preparing.

Dick's ill fortune did not leave him when he got out of sight of his
mother. It followed him down to the shore of the inlet, and compelled
him to give up all idea, for that day, of borrowing a respectable boat.
There were several belonging to the neighbors, from among which Dick was
accustomed to take his pick, in return for errands run and other
services done for their owners; but, on this particular morning, not one
of them all was available. Some were fastened with ugly chains and
padlocks. Two were hauled away above even high-water mark, and so Dick
could not have got them into the water even if he had dared to try; and
as for the rest, as Dick said, "Guess dar owners must hab borrowed 'em."

The consequence was that the dark-skinned young fisherman was for once
compelled to put up with his own boat, or rather his father's.

The three wise men of Gotham were not much worse off when they went to
sea in a bowl than was Dick Lee in that rickety little old flat-bottomed
punt.

Did it leak?

Well, not so very much, with no heavier weight than Dick's; but there
was reason in his remark that "Dis yer's a mean boat to frow down a fish
in, w'en you cotch 'im. He's done gone suah to git drownded."

Yes, and the crabs would get their feet wet and so would Dick; but he
resigned himself to his circumstances and pushed away. To tell the
truth, he had not been able to free himself from a lingering fear lest
his mother might come after him, before he could get afloat, with orders
for some duty or other on shore, and that would have been worse than the
little old "scow," a good deal.

"Reckon it's all right," said Dick, as he shoved off. "It'd be an awful
risk to trus' dem nice clo'es in de ole boat, suah."

Nice clothes, nice boats, a good many other nice things, were as yet
beyond the reach of Dick Lee, but he was quite likely to catch as many
crabs as his more aristocratic neighbors.

As for Dabney Kinzer and his friend from the city, they were on their
way to the water-side at an hour which indicated smaller appetites than
usual, or greater speed at the breakfast table.

"Plenty of boats, I should say," remarked Ford, as he surveyed the
little "landing" and its vicinity with the air of a man who had a few
fleets of his own. "All sorts. Any of 'em fast?"

"Not many," said Dab; "the row-boats, big and little, have to be built
so they'll stand pretty rough water."

"How are the sail-boats?"

"Same thing. There's Ham Morris's yacht."

"That? Why, she's as big as any in the lot."

"Bigger, but she don't show it," said Dab.

"Can't we make a cruise in her?" said Ford.

"Any time. Ham lets me use her whenever I like. She's fast enough, but
she's built so she'll stand most anything. Safe as a house if she's
handled right."

"Handled!"

Ford Foster's expression of face would have done honor to the Secretary
of the Navy, or the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee in Congress,
or any other perfect seaman, Noah included. It seemed to say: "As if any
boat could be otherwise than well sailed with me on board."

Dabney, however, even while he had been talking, had been hauling in
from its "float and grapnel," about ten yards out at low water, the very
stanch-looking little yawl-boat that called him owner. She was just such
a boat as Mrs. Kinzer would naturally have provided for her boy,--stout,
well made and sensible,--without any bad habits of upsetting, or the
like. Not too large for Dabney to manage all alone, the "Jenny," as he
called her, and as the name was painted on the stern, was all the better
off for having two on board.

"The inlet's pretty narrow for a long reach through the marsh," said
Dabney, "and as crooked as a ram's-horn. I'll steer and you pull till
we're out o' that, and then I'll take the oars."

"I might as well row out to the crab-grounds," said Ford, as he pitched
his coat forward and took his seat at the oars. "All ready?"

"Ready," said Dab, and the "Jenny" glided gracefully away from the
landing with the starting push he gave her.

Ford Foster had had oars in his hands before, but his experience must
have been limited to a class of vessels different from the one he was in
now.

He was short of something, at all events. It may have been skill, and it
may have been legs, or discretion; but, whatever was lacking, at the
third or fourth stroke the oar-blades went a little too deeply below the
smooth surface of the water; there was a vain tug, a little out of
"time," and then there was a boy on the bottom of the boat, and a pair
of well-polished shoes lifted high in the air.

"You've got it!" shouted Dabney.

"Got what?" exclaimed an all but angry voice from between the seats.

"Caught the first 'crab,'" replied Dabney,--"that's what we call it. Can
you steer? Guess I'd better row."

"No you wont," was the very resolute reply, as Ford regained his seat
and his oars; "I sha'n't catch any more crabs of that sort. I'm a little
out of practice, that's all."

"I should say you were, a little. Well, it wont hurt you. 'Tisn't much
of a pull."

Ford would have pulled it, now, if he had blistered all the skin off his
hands in doing so, and he did very creditable work, for some minutes,
among the turns and windings of the narrow inlet.

"Here we are," shouted Dabney, at last. "We are in the inlet yet, but it
widens out into the bay."

"That's the bay, out yonder?"

"Yes; and the island between that and the ocean's no better'n a mere bar
of sand."

"How d'you get past it?"

"Right across there, almost in a straight line. We'll run it, next week,
in Ham's yacht. Splendid weak-fishing, right in the mouth of that inlet,
on the ocean side."

"Hurrah!" exclaimed Ford. "I'm in for that. Is the bay deep?"

"Not very," replied Dabney, "but it gets pretty rough sometimes."

Ford was getting red in the face, just then, with his unaccustomed
exercise, and his friend added:

"You needn't pull so hard. We're almost there. Hullo! if there isn't
Dick Lee in his dry-goods box! That boat'll drown him, some day, and his
dad, too. But just see him pull in crabs!"

Ford came near "catching" one more as he tried to turn around for the
look proposed, exclaiming:

"Dab, let's get to work as quick as we can. They might go away."

"Might fly?"

"No; but don't they go and come?"

"Well, you go and drop the grapnel over the bows, and we'll see 'em come
in pretty quick."

The grapnel, or little anchor, was thrown over quickly enough, and the
two boys were in such an eager haste that they had hardly a word to say
to Dick, though he was now but a few rods away.

Now it happened that when Ford and Dab came down to the water that
morning, each of them had brought a load. The former had only a neat
little japanned tin box, about as big as his head, and the latter,
besides his oars, carried a seemingly pretty heavy basket.

"Lots of lunch, I should say," had been Ford's mental comment; but he
had not thought it wise to ask questions.

"Plenty of lunch, I reckon," thought Dab at the same time, but only as a
matter of course.

And they were both wrong. Lunch was the one thing they had both
forgotten.

But the box and the basket?

Ford Foster came out, of his own accord, with the secret of the box, for
he now took a little key out of his pocket and unlocked it with an air
of "Look at this, will you?"

Dab Kinzer looked, and was very sure he had never before seen quite such
an assortment of brand-new fish-hooks, of many sorts and sizes, and of
fish-lines which looked as if they had thus far spent their lives on dry
land.

"Tip-top!" he remarked. "I see a lot of things we can use one of these
days, but there isn't time to go over 'em now. Let's go for the crabs.
What made you bring your box along?"

"Oh," replied Ford, "I left my rods at home, both of 'em. You don't
s'pose I'd go for a crab with a rod, do you? But you can take your pick
of hooks and lines."

"Crabs? Hooks and lines?"

"Why, yes. You don't mean to scoop 'em up in that landing-net, do you?"

Dab looked at his friend for a moment in blank amazement, and then the
truth burst upon him for the first time.

"Oh, I see! You never caught any crabs. Well, just you lock up your
jewelry-box, and I'll show you."

It was not easy for Dab to keep from laughing in Ford Foster's face; but
his mother had not given him so many lessons in good breeding for
nothing, and Ford was permitted to close his ambitious "casket" without
any worse annoyance than his own wounded pride gave him.

But now came out the secret of the basket.

The cover was jerked off and nothing revealed except a varied assortment
of clams, large and small, but mostly of good size; tough old customers
that no amount of roasting or boiling would ever have prepared for human
eating.

"What are they for,--bait?"

"Yes, bait, weight and all."

"How's that?"

Dabney's reply was to draw from his pocket a couple of long, strong
cords, bits of old fishing-line. He cracked a couple of clams, one
against the other; tied the fleshy part firmly to the ends of the cords;
tied a bit of shell on, a foot or so from the end, for a sinker; handed
one to Ford; took the other himself, and laid the long-handled scoop-net
he had brought with him down between them, saying:

"Now we're ready. Drop your clam to the bottom and draw it up gently.
You'll get the knack of it in five minutes. It's all knack. There isn't
anything else so stupid as a crab."

Ford watched carefully, and obeyed in silence.

In a minute or so more the operation of the scoop-net was called for,
and then the fun began.

"The young black rascal!" exclaimed Dabney. "If he hasn't gone and got a
sheep's-head!"

"A sheep's-head?"

"Yes; that's why he beats us so badly. It's better than clams, only you
can't always get one."

"But how he does pull 'em in!"

"We're doing well enough," began Dabney, when suddenly there came a
shrill cry of pain from Dick Lee's punt.

"He's barefooted," shouted Dab, with, it must be confessed, something
like a grin, "and one of the little fellows has pinned him with his
nippers."

There need have been nothing very serious in that, but Dick Lee was more
than ordinarily averse to anything like physical pain, and the crab
which had seized him by the toe was a very muscular and vicious specimen
of his quarrelsome race.

The first consequence was a momentary dance up and down in the punt,
accompanied by vigorous howling from Dick, but not a word of any sort
from the crab. The next consequence was that the crab let go, but so, at
the same instant, did the rotten board in the boat-bottom upon which
Dick Lee had so rashly danced.

[Illustration: DICK LEE IN TROUBLE.]

It let go of the rest of the boat so suddenly that poor Dick had only
time for one tremendous yell as it let him right down through to his
armpits. The water was perfectly smooth, but the boat was full in an
instant, and nearly a bushel of freshly caught and ill-tempered crabs
were maneuvering in all directions around the woolly head which was all
their late captor could now keep in sight.

"Up with the grapnel, Ford," shouted Dab. "Take an oar! We'll both row.
He can swim like a duck, but he might split his throat."

"Or get scared to death."

"Or eaten up by the crabs."



CHAPTER VII.


At the very moment when the angry crab closed his nippers on the bare
big toe of Dick Lee, and his shrill note of discomfort rang across the
inlet, the shrill whistle of the engine announced the arrival of the
morning train at the little station in the village.

A minute or so later, a very pretty young lady was standing beside a
trunk on the platform, trying to get some information of the flag-man.

"Can you tell me where Mr. Foster lives?"

"That's the gimlet-eyed laryer from Yark?"

"Yes, he's from New York," said the young lady, smiling in his face.
"Where does he live?"

"He's got the sapiest boy, thin. Is it him as took the Kinzer house?"

"I think likely it is. Can you tell me how to get there?"

"Thim Kinzers is foine people. The widdy married one of the gurrels to
Misther Morris."

"But how can I get to the house?"

"Is it there ye're afther goin'? Hey, Michael, me boy, bring up yer owld
rattlethrap an' take the leddy's thrunk. She'll be goin' to the Kinzer
place. Sharp, now!"

"I should say it was!" muttered the young lady, as the remains of what
had been a carry-all were pulled up beside the platform by the skinny
skeleton of what might once have been a horse. "It's a rattletrap!"

There was no choice, however, for that was the only public conveyance at
the station, and the young lady's trunk was already whisked in behind
the dashboard, and the driver was waiting for her.

[Illustration: "THE ONLY PUBLIC CONVEYANCE AT THE STATION."]

He could afford to wait, as it would be hours before another train would
be in.

There was no door to open in that "carriage." It was all door except the
top and bottom, and the pretty passenger was neither helped nor hindered
in finding her place on the back seat.

If the flag-man was more disposed to ask questions than to answer them,
"Michael" said few words of any kind except to his horse. To him,
indeed, he kept up a constant stream of encouraging remarks, the greater
part of which would have been hard for an ordinary hearer to understand.

Very likely the horse knew what they meant, for he came very near
breaking from a limp into a trot several times, under the stimulus of
all that clucking and "g'lang now."

The distance was by no means great, and Michael seemed to know the way
perfectly. At least, he answered, "Yes'm, indade," to several inquiries
from his passenger, and she was compelled to be satisfied with that.

"What a big house it is! And painters at work on it, too!" she
exclaimed, just as Michael added a vigorous jerk of the reins to the
"Whoa!" with which he stopped his nag in front of an open gate.

"Are you sure this is the place?"

"Yes'm, indade. Fifty cints, mum."

By the time the trunk was out and swung inside the gate, the young lady
had followed; but for some reason Michael sprang back to his place and
whipped up his limping steed. It may have been the fear of being asked
to take that trunk into the house, for it was not a very small one. The
young lady stood for a moment irresolute, and then left it where it was
and walked straight up to the door.

No bell; no knocker. The workmen had not reached that part of their
improvements yet. But the door was open, and a very neatly furnished
parlor at the left of the hall seemed to say, "Come right in, please,"
and so in she went.

Such an arrival could not possibly have escaped the notice of the
inmates of the house, and, as the young lady from the railway came in at
the front, another and a very different looking lady marched through to
the parlor from the rear.

Each one would have been a puzzle to the other, if the elder of the two
had not been Mrs. Kinzer, and the widow had never been very much puzzled
in all her life. At all events, she put out her hand with a cordial
smile, saying:

"Miss Foster, is it not? I am Mrs. Kinzer. How could he have made such a
mistake?"

"Yes, Miss Annie Foster. But do please explain. Where am I, and how do
you know me?"

The widow laughed cheerily.

"How do I know you, my dear? Why, you resemble your mother almost as
much as your brother Ford resembles his father. You are only one door
from home here, and I'll have your trunk taken right over to the house.
Please, sit down a moment. Ah! my daughter Samantha, Miss Foster. Excuse
me a moment, while I call one of the men."

By the time their mother was fairly out of the room, however, Keziah and
Pamela were also in it, and Annie thought she had rarely seen three
girls whose appearance testified so strongly to the healthiness of the
place they lived in.

The flag-man's questions and Annie's answers were related quickly
enough, and the cause of Michael's blunder was plain at once.

The parlor rang again with peals of laughter, for Dab Kinzer's sisters
were ready at any time to look at the funny side of things, and their
accidental guest saw no reason for not joining them.

"Your brother Ford is out on the bay, crabbing, with our Dabney,"
remarked Samantha, as the widow returned. But Annie's eyes had been
furtively watching her baggage, through the window, and saw it swinging
up on a pair of broad, red-shirted shoulders just then, and, before she
could bring her mind to the crab question, Keziah exclaimed: "If there
isn't Mrs. Foster coming through the farm gate!"

"My mother?" And Annie was up and out of the parlor in a twinkling,
followed by all the ladies of the Kinzer family. It was really quite a
procession.

Now, if Mrs. Foster was in the least degree surprised by her daughter's
sudden appearance, or by her getting to the Kinzer house first instead
of to her own, it was a curious fact that she did not say so by a word
or a look.

Not a breath of it. But, for all the thoroughbred self-control of the
city lady, Mrs. Kinzer knew perfectly well there was something odd and
unexpected about it all. If Samantha had noticed this fact, there might
have been some questions asked; but one of the widow's most rigid rules
in life was to "mind her own business."

The girls, indeed, were quite jubilant over an occurrence which made
them at once so well acquainted with their very attractive new neighbor;
and they might have followed her even beyond the gate in the north fence
if it had not been for their mother. All they were allowed to do was to
go back to their own parlor and hold a "council of war," in which Annie
Foster was discussed from her bonnet to her shoes.

Mrs. Foster had been abundantly affectionate in greeting her daughter;
but when once they were alone in the wee sitting-room of the old Kinzer
homestead, she put her arms around her, saying:

"Now, my darling, tell me what it all means."

"Why, mother, it was partly my mistake and partly the flag-man's and the
driver's, and I'm sure Mrs. Kinzer was kind. She knew me, before I said
a word, by my resemblance to you."

"Oh, I don't mean that! How is it you are here so soon? I thought you
meant to make a long visit at your Uncle Hart's."

"I would but for those boys."

"Your cousins, Annie!"

"Cousins, mother! You never saw such young bears in all your life. They
tormented me from morning till night."

"But, Annie, I hope you have not offended--"

"Offended, mother! Aunt Maria thinks they're perfect, and so does Uncle
Joe. They'd let them pull the house down over their heads, you'd think."

"But, Annie, what did they do and what did you say?"

"Do! I couldn't tell you in all day; but when they poured ink over my
cuffs and collars, I said I would come home. I had just one pair left
white to wear home, and I traveled all night."

Poor Mrs. Foster! A cold shudder went over her at the idea of that ink
among the spotless contents of her own collar-box.

"What boys they must be! But, Annie, what did they say?"

"Uncle Joe laughed till he cried, and Aunt Maria said boys will be boys,
and I half believe they were sorry; but that was only a sort of a
winding-up. I wouldn't stay there another hour."

Annie had other things to tell, and, long before she had finished her
story, there was no further fault to be found with her for losing her
temper. Still, her mother said, mildly:

"I must write to Maria at once, for it wont do to let those boys make
trouble between us."



CHAPTER VIII.


Dab Kinzer and his friend were prompt enough in coming to the rescue of
their unfortunate fellow-crabber; but to get him out of the queer wreck
he had made of that punt was a tough task.

"I isn't drownin'," exclaimed Dick, heroically, as the other boat came up
beside him. "Jest you take yer scoop-net an' save dem crabs."

"They wont drown," said Ford.

"But they'll get away," said Dab, snatching the scoop. "Dick's head is
level on that point."

The side boards of the old punt were under water half the time, but the
crabs were pretty well penned in. Even a couple of them that had
mistaken Dick's wool for another sheep's-head were secured without
difficulty.

"What luck he'd been having!" said Ford. "He always does," said Dab. "I
say, Dick, how'll I scoop you in?"

"Has you done got all de crabs?"

"Every pinner of 'em."

"Den jest you wait a minute."

They were quite likely to wait, for the shining black face had instantly
disappeared.

"Sunk!" exclaimed Ford.

"There he comes," replied Dab. "He'd swim ashore from here, and not half
try. Why, I could swim twice as far as that, myself."

"Could you? I couldn't."

That was the first time Dab had heard his new acquaintance make a
confession of inability, and he could see a more than usually thoughtful
expression on his face. The coolness and skill of Dick Lee had not been
thrown away on him.

"If I had my clothes off," said Ford, "I'd try that on."

"Dab Kinzer, you's de best feller dar is. Wot'll we do wid de ole boat?"
burst out Dick on coming to the surface.

"Let the tide carry her in while we're crabbing. She isn't worth
mending, but we'll tow her home."

"All right," said Dick, as he grasped the gun-wale of Dab's boat and
began to climb over.

"Hold on, Dick."

"I is a-holdin' on."

"I mean wait a bit. Aint you wet?"

"Ob course I's wet."

"Well, then, you stay in there till you get dry. It's well you didn't
have your new clothes on."

"Aint I glad about dem!" emphatically exclaimed the young African.
"Nebber mind dese clo'es. De water on 'em's all good, dry water, like de
res' ob de bay."

And, so saying, Dick tumbled over in, with a spatter which made Ford
Foster tread on two or three crabs in getting away from it. It was not
the first time by many that Dick Lee had found himself bathing without
time given him to undress.

And now it was discovered that the shipwrecked crabber had never for one
instant loosened his hold of the line to the other end of which was
fastened his precious sheep's-head.

It was a regular crabbing crew, two to pull up and one to scoop in, and
never had the sprawling "game" been more plentiful on that crab pasture,
or more apparently in a hurry to be captured.

"What on earth shall we do with them all?" asked Ford.

"Soon's we've got a mess for both our folks, we'll quit this and go for
some fish," replied Dab. "The clams are good bait, and we can try some
of your tackle."

Ford's face brightened a good deal at the suggestion, for he had more
than once cast a crestfallen look at his pretentious box. But he
replied:

"A mess! How many crabs can one man eat?"

"I don't know," said Dab. "It depends a good deal on who he is. Then, if
he eats the shells, he can't take in so many."

"Eat de shells? Yah, yah, yah! Dat beats my mudder! She's allers
a-sayin' wot a waste de shells make," laughed Dick. "I jest wish we
might ketch some fish. I dasn't kerry home no crabs."

"It does look as if we'd got as many as we'd know what to do with,"
remarked Dab, as he looked down on the sprawling multitude in the bottom
of the boat. "We'll turn the clams out of the basket and fill that; but
we mustn't put any crabs in the fish-car. We'll stow 'em forward."

The basket held more than half a bushel, but there was a "heap" of what
Ford Foster called "the crusties" to pen up in the bow of the boat.

That duty attended to, and Dick was set at the oars, while Dab selected
from Ford's box just the very hooks and lines their owner had made least
account of.

"What'll we catch, Dab?"

"Most anything. Nobody knows till he's done it. Perch, porgies, cunners,
black-fish, weak-fish, may be a bass or a sheep's-head, but more cunners
than anything else, except we strike some flounders at the turn of the
tide."

"That's a big enough assortment to set up a fish-market on."

"If we catch 'em. We've got a good enough day, anyhow, and the tide'll
be about right by the time we get to work."

"Why not try here?"

"'Cause there's no fish to speak of, and because the crabs'll clean your
hook for you as fast as you can put the bait on. We must go out to
deeper water and better bottom. Dick knows just where to go. You might
hang your line out all day and not get a bite, if you didn't strike the
right spot."

Ford made no answer, for it was beginning to dawn upon him that he could
teach the "long-shore boys," black or white, very little about fishing.
He even allowed Dab to pick out a line for him and put on the hook and
sinker, and Dick Lee showed him how to fix his bait, "So de fust cunner
dat rubs agin it wont knock it off. Dem's awful mean fish. Good for
nuffin but steal bait."

A merry party they were, and the salt water was rapidly drying from the
garments of the colored oarsman, as he pulled strongly and skillfully
out into the bay and around toward a deep cove to the north of the inlet
mouth.

Then, indeed, for the first time in his life, Ford Foster learned what
it was to catch fish.

Not but what he had spent many an hour, and even day, in and about other
waters: but he had never had two such born fishermen at his elbow to
take him to the right place precisely, and then to show him what to do
when he got there.

Fun enough, for the fish bit well, and some of them were of very
encouraging size and weight.

Ford would have given half the hooks and lines in his box if he could
have caught from Dick or Dab the curious "knack" they seemed to have of
coaxing the biggest of the finny folks to their bait and then over into
the boat.

"Never mind, Ford," said Dab; "Dick and I are better acquainted with
'em. They're always a little shy with strangers at first. They don't
really mean to be impolite."

Still, it almost looked like some sort of favoritism, and there was no
danger but that Dick would be able to appease the mind of his mother
without making any mention of the crabs.

At last, almost suddenly, and as if by common consent, the fish stopped
biting, and the two "'long-shore boys" began to put away their lines.

"Going to quit?" asked Ford.

"Time's up and tide's turned," responded Dab. "Not another bite, most
likely, till late this evening. Might as well pull up and go home."

"Mus' look for wot's lef ob de ole scow on de way home," said Dick.
"I'se boun' to ketch it for dat good-for-not'in' ole board."

"We'll find it and tow it in," said Dab, "and perhaps we can get it
mended. Anyhow, you can go with us next week. We're going to make a
cruise in Ham Morris's yacht. Will you go?"

"Will I go? Yoop!" almost yelled the excited boy. "Dat's jest de one
t'ing I'd like to jine. Wont we hab fun! She's jest de bes' boat on dis
hull bay. You aint foolin' me, is yer?"

He was strongly assured that his young white associates were in sober
earnest about both their purpose and their promise, and, after that, he
insisted on rowing all the distance home.

On the way, the old punt was taken in tow; but the tide had swept it so
far inside the mouth of the inlet, that there was less trouble in
pulling it the rest of the way. It was hardly worth the labor, but Dab
knew what a tempest the loss of it might bring around the ears of poor
Dick.

When they reached the landing and began to overhaul their very brilliant
"catch," Dabney said:

"Now, Dick, take your string home, leave that basket of crabs at Mr.
Foster's, then come back with the basket and carry the rest to our
house. Ford and I'll see to the rest of the fish."

"I haven't caught half so many as you have, either of you," said Ford,
as he saw with what even-handed justice the fish were divided, in three
piles, as they were scooped out of the "fish-car."

"What of that?" replied Dabney. "We follow fisherman's rules down this
way. Share and share alike, you know. All the luck is outside the boat,
they say. Once the fish are landed, your luck's as good as mine."

"Do they always follow that rule?"

"The man that broke it wouldn't find company very easily, hereabouts,
next time he wanted to go a-fishing. No, nor for anything else. Nobody'd
boat with him."

"Well, if it's the regular thing," said Ford, hesitatingly. "But I'll
tell who really caught 'em."

"Oh, some of yours are right good ones. Your string would look big
enough, some days. Don't you imagine you can pull 'em in every time like
we did this morning. Crabs nor fish, either."

"No, I s'pose not. Anyhow, I've learned some things."

"I guess likely. We'll go for some more next week. Now for a tug!"

The boat had already been made fast, and the two boys picked up their
strings of fish, two for each, after Dick Lee had started for home, and
heavy ones they were to carry under that hot sun.

"Come and show the whole lot to my mother," said Ford, "before you take
yours into the house. I want her to see them all."

"All right," replied Dab. But he little dreamed of what was coming, for,
when he and Ford marched proudly into the sitting-room with their finny
prizes, Dabney found himself face to face with, not good, sweet-voiced
Mrs. Foster, but, as he thought, the most beautiful young lady he had
ever seen.

Ford Foster shouted: "Annie! you here? Well, I never!"

But Dab Kinzer wished all those fish safely back again, swimming in the
bay.

(_To be continued_.)



THE STORY OF PERSEUS.

(_Adapted from the German_.)

BY MARY A. ROBINSON.


Many gods and goddesses were worshiped by the ancient Greeks and Romans,
but, besides these, they also believed in _demigods_, so called because,
according to tradition, their parentage was half divine and half human.
These beings were generally distinguished for beauty, strength, valor or
other noble qualities. The stories of their adventures told by ancient
writers are as interesting as fairy-tales, and are so often represented
in painting and sculpture, and mentioned in books, that it is well for
every one to know something about them.

Perseus, one of these demigods, was the son of Jupiter, the highest of
the gods, and of Danaë, a mortal woman. It had been prophesied to
Danaë's father, Acrisius, king of Argos, that a grandson would take from
him both his throne and life, and he therefore caused Danaë and her
child to be shut up in a wooden box and thrown into the sea. The box was
caught in the net of a fisherman of the isle of Seriphos, by whom its
inmates were put safely on shore. The king of the island, whose name was
Polydectus, afterward took Danaë under his special care, and brought up
her son as if he had been his own.

When Perseus had grown to be a young man, the king urged him to go in
search of adventures, and set him the task of bringing him the head of
the terrible Gorgon named Medusa. Perseus asked the aid of the gods for
this expedition, which he felt obliged to make, and in answer to his
prayers, Mercury and Minerva, the patrons of adventurers, led him to the
abode of the Grææ, the woman-monsters, so called because they had been
born with gray hair. Perseus, compelled them to show him where lived the
nymphs who had in charge the Helmet of Hades, which rendered its wearer
invisible. They introduced Perseus to the nymphs, who at once furnished
him with the helmet, and gave him, besides, the winged shoes and the
pouch, which he also needed for his task. Then came Mercury, and gave
him the Harpe, or curved knife, while Minerva bestowed upon him her
polished shield, and showed him how to use it in approaching the
Gorgons, that he should not be turned into stone at the sight of them.

Perseus donned his shoes and helmet, and flew until he reached the abode
of the Gorgons. These were three hideous daughters of Phorcus, and
sisters of the Grææ. One only of them, Medusa, was mortal. Perseus found
the monsters asleep. They were covered with dragon scales, and had
writhing serpents instead of hair, and, besides these charms, they had
huge tusks like those of a boar, brazen hands and golden wings. Whoever
looked on them was immediately turned to stone, but Perseus knew this
and gazed only on their reflection in his shield. Having thus discovered
Medusa, without harm to himself, he cut off her head with his curved
knife. Perseus dropped the head of Medusa into the pouch slung over his
shoulder, and went quickly on his way. When Medusa's sisters awoke, they
tried to pursue the young demigod, but the helmet hid him from their
sight and they sought him in vain.

At length he alighted in the realm of King Atlas, who was of enormous
stature and owned a grove of trees that bore golden fruit, and were
guarded by a terrible dragon. In vain did the slayer of Medusa ask the
king for food and shelter. Fearful of losing his golden treasure, Atlas
refused the wanderer entertainment in his palace. Upon this Perseus
became enraged, and taking the head of Medusa from his pouch, held it
toward the huge king, who was suddenly turned to stone. His hair and
beard changed to forests, his shoulders, hands and bones became rocks,
and his head grew up into a lofty mountain-peak. Mount Atlas, in Africa,
was believed by the ancients to be the mountain into which the giant was
transformed.

Perseus then rose into the air again, continued his journey, and came to
Ethiopia, where he beheld a maiden chained to a rock that jutted out
into the sea. He was so enchanted with her loveliness that he almost
forgot to poise himself in the air with his wings. At last, taking off
his helmet so that he and his politeness might be perceived, he said:
"Pray tell me, beauteous maiden, what is thy country, what thy name, and
why thou art here in bonds?"

The weeping maiden blushed at sight of the handsome stranger, and
replied:

"I am Andromeda, daughter of Cepheus, king of this country. My mother
boasted to the nymphs, daughters of Nereus, that she was far more
beautiful than they. This roused their anger, and they persuaded
Neptune, their friend, to make the sea overflow our shores and send a
monster to destroy us. Then an oracle proclaimed that we never should be
rid of these evils until the queen's daughter should be given for the
monster's prey. The people forced my parents to make the sacrifice, and
I was chained to this rock."

As she ceased speaking the waves surged and boiled, and a fearful
monster rose to the surface. The maiden shrieked in terror, just as her
parents came hastening to her in hopeless anguish, for they could do
nothing but weep and moan.

Then Perseus told them who he was, and boldly proposed to rescue the
maiden if they would promise to give her to him as his wife.

The king and queen, eager to save Andromeda, at once agreed to this, and
said they would give him not only their daughter, but also their own
kingdom as her dowry.

Meanwhile, the monster had come within a stone's throw of the shore, so
Perseus flew up into the air, put on his helmet, pounced down upon the
creature, and killed it, after a fierce struggle. He then sprang ashore
and loosed the bonds of Andromeda, who greeted him with words of thanks
and looks of love. He restored her to the arms of her delighted parents,
and entered their palace a happy bridegroom.

Soon the wedding festivities began, and there was general rejoicing. The
banquet was not yet over, however, when a sudden tumult arose in the
court of the palace. It was caused by Phineus, brother of Cepheus, who
had been betrothed to his niece Andromeda, but had failed her in her
hour of need. He now made his appearance with a host of followers and
clamored for his bride.

But Cepheus arose and cried:

"Brother, art thou mad? Thou didst lose thy bride when she was given up
to death before thy face. Why didst thou not then win back the prize?
Leave her now to him who fought for her and saved her."

Phineus held his peace, but cast furious looks both at his brother and
at Perseus, as if hesitating which to strike first. Finally, with all
his might, he threw a spear at Perseus, but missed the mark. This was
the signal for a general combat between the guests and servants of
Cepheus and Phineus and his followers. The latter were the more
numerous, and at last Perseus was quite surrounded by enemies. He fought
valiantly, however, striking down his opponents one after another, until
he saw that he could not hold out to the end against such odds. Then he
made up his mind to use his last, but surest, means of defense, and
crying, "Let those who are my friends turn away their faces," he drew
forth the head of Medusa and held it toward his nearest adversary.

"Seek thou others," cried the warrior, "whom thou mayst frighten with
thy miracles!"

But in the very act of lifting his spear he grew stiff and motionless as
a statue. The same fate came upon all who followed, till at last Phineus
repented of his unjust conduct. All about him he saw nothing but stone
images in every conceivable posture. He called despairingly upon his
friends and laid hands on those near him; but all were silent, cold and
stony. Then fear and sorrow seized him, and his threats changed to
prayers.

"Spare me--spare my life!" he cried to Perseus, "and bride and kingdom
shall be thine!"

But Perseus was not to be moved to mercy, for his friends had been
killed before his very face. So Phineus shared the doom of his followers
and was turned to stone.

After these events Perseus and Andromeda were married, and together they
journeyed to Seriphos, where they heard that the king had been
ill-treating Danaë. When, therefore, the tyrant assembled his court to
see how Perseus had done his task, the son avenged his mother's wrongs
by petrifying the assemblage--king, courtiers and all! Then he gave back
to the nymphs the helmet, shoes and pouch they had lent to him, returned
the knife to Mercury, and presented Minerva with Medusa's head, which
ever after she wore upon her shield.

With his mother and his wife Perseus then sought his timid grandfather
Acrisius, and found him, not in his own realm of Argos, but at Larisa,
the city of King Teutamias, looking on at some public games. Perseus
must needs meddle in the exercises, and so managed to fulfill the old
prophecy and accidentally slay his grandfather by an unlucky throw of
the discus, a kind of flat quoit.

Perseus, who deeply mourned his grandfather's fate, soon exchanged the
kingdom of Argos for Tiryns, and there founded the city of Mycenæ. He
lived very happily with his wife, and ruled his kingdom long and wisely.



THE STORY LITTLE NELL READ.


Nell's mother had gone away for a long visit, and had left her little
girl with grandma, who loved her so much and was so kind to her that
Nell was very happy and very good,--except sometimes. Her naughty times
were lesson-times. Grandma, who lived in the country, far away from
schools, taught Nell herself; and Nell didn't like it.

That was queer, too, for she dearly loved stories--when grandma read
them--and could lie down on the soft rug before the fire, and play with
the kitty, and just listen. But when she had to sit up in a chair by the
table, and read for herself,--out loud, so that grandma could be sure
she got all the long words right,--she would look so cross that it made
grandma sad to see her, and long for a way to cure her little girl's
naughty temper.

She did find a way. One day, she came home from the store with a
beautiful new book, all red and gold outside, and full of pictures
within. "There!" she said to Nell, "you'll surely like to read that!"
But Nell didn't think so, and, when grandma opened the book and asked
her to read the middle story, she looked crosser than ever.

"Why, it's the story of 'A Naughty Girl!'" she said. "I don't believe
I'll like that, grandma." But grandma said nothing; only looked as if
she were listening very hard, and Nell read on:

"Once up-on a time, there was a naught-y lit-tle girl. She had been
naught-y so long that two lit-tle frowns had grown quite fast to her
eyebrows, and the cor-ners of her mouth turn-ed down so tight that she
on-ly had room for a lit-tle bit of a smile, which did not come ver-y
oft-en, be-cause it felt so crowd-ed; and, when she was ver-y an-gry, it
just slip-ped a-way al-to-geth-er--"

"Stop there!" said grandma, in such a funny tone that Nell looked up to
see what she meant. Grandma stood beside her, holding a little mirror so
that Nell could not help seeing her own face in it.

She looked and looked, and her face grew as red as the cover of her
book, and she wanted to cry, but at last she thought better of it, and,
looking up shyly, said:

"Grandma, I know! I'd do for a picture to put to this girl's story! My
face is just like that! But see now!"--and she opened her eyes very
wide, and raised up her eyebrows so far that the two little frowns in
them got frightened and tumbled off, and the wee smile that came to her
lips found so much room that it stretched itself into a real good laugh,
and grandma laughed too, and they were very merry all that day.

[Illustration: "THE FROWNS TUMBLED OFF."]

Grandma's little mirror taught Nell a lesson, and now, when she feels
the frowns coming back, she lifts her eyebrows almost up to her hair,
and runs for her red book, and she and grandma both laugh to think how
Nell was made into a picture to fit the naughty girl's story.



JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.


Well, here's July come again, warm and bright and happy, and the
children of the Red School-house are as busy as bees getting ready for
the Fourth. I suppose you are, too, my dears. Have as good a time as you
can, and help some other body to have a good time, too. But don't blow
yourselves up, for that is not the proper way to rise in the world.

For my part, I don't quite see the use of burning so much gunpowder by
way of celebrating the Fourth of July. From all I can make out, the mere
making sure of that day burned up quite enough of it.

But then, I'm only a peaceable Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and, of course, I
can't be expected to understand all these things.

Now, to work! But take it coolly and quietly, my dears. Don't treat
business as though it were a lighted fire-cracker with a short fuse.

First comes a message from Deacon Green about


ARIOSTO'S FAIRY-STORY.

The Deacon says that, as preaching is warm work just now, he will do no
more than give you a text, this time, and you can have a try at the
sermon all by yourselves. Here is what he sends you as the text:

Ariosto, the Italian poet, tells a story of a fairy, whose fate obliged
her to pass certain seasons in the form of a snake. If anybody injured
her during those seasons, he never after shared in the rich blessings
that were hers to give; but those who, in spite of her ugly looks,
pitied and cared for her, were crowned for the rest of their lives with
good fortune, had all their wishes granted, and became truly blessed.

"Such a spirit," adds the Deacon, "is Liberty. And neither we nor our
country can be kept safe without her. Since, too, Liberty cannot be kept
safe without sincerity and manhood--"

There, my dears, this gives you a good start. Now go on with the sermon.


A CONGRESS OF BIRDS.

    Brooklyn, N.Y.

    DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: I have something to tell you about some of
    your friends the birds, and perhaps your chicks can help answer the
    questions the anecdote raises.

    One summer evening of 1846, at Catskill Village, vast numbers of
    whip-poor-wills and swallows began to gather from all directions
    about an hour before sunset, and in a few minutes the sky was dark
    with their wings. They assembled above a high hill, and over the
    cemetery which was on this hill they circled and wheeled and mixed
    together, calling and twittering in a state of great excitement.
    They were so many that, standing anywhere in the cemetery, which
    covered about forty acres, one might have knocked them down by
    hundreds with an ordinary fishing-rod.

    The birds, though of such opposite natures, mingled in a friendly
    way, and seemed to be trying to settle some question of importance
    to both parties. Soon, the sun sank behind the mountains, and, while
    his last rays were fading, the birds went off in squads, as they had
    come, and all quickly disappeared.

    Whence they came, whither they went, and why they assembled, are yet
    mysteries to, your friend,

    Z.R.B.


MIDSUMMER NOON.

Here are some lines I heard a summer or two ago. It seems to me that
John Clare---the man who wrote them, I believe--must have made them when
he was near my pulpit, for they tell just how things are here these
sultry noons.

   "The busy noise of man and brute
    Is on a sudden hushed and mute;
    Even the brook that leaps along
    Seems weary of its merry song,
    And, so soft its waters sleep,
    Tired silence sinks in slumber deep.

   "The taller grass upon the hill,
    And spider's threads, are standing still;
    The feathers, dropped from moor-hen's wing,
    Which to the waters surface cling,
    Are steadfast, and as heavy seem
    As stones beneath them in the stream."


PIGS WITH SOLID HOOFS, AND PIGS THAT ARE NOT PIGS.

In Texas there are pigs whose hoofs are not divided like those of
ordinary pigs, but are each in one solid piece; at least, so I'm
informed in a paragram fresh from England.

If this is true, it is a strange thing; but here's something that seems
even stranger still:

The Guinea-pig is not a pig, and there are no Guinea-pigs in Guinea.
However, there are plenty in Guiana, and, as the names of these places
are very much alike, perhaps people got mixed in calling them. The
places are far enough apart, though, I believe; but this you can see by
your maps.

At any rate, the Guinea-pig is a sort of cousin of the squirrel and
rabbit, and is fond of potato and apple peelings, carrot-tops, parsley,
and cabbage; but he likes best the leaves from the tea-pot.


JACK.

Well, well! How much the dictionary men have to answer for! Now, who,
without them, ever would have thought that the name "Jack"--my name--is
sometimes used in an offensive sense?

For instance, as I'm told, these fellows make out that "Jack Frost"
means a mischievous boy; "Jack Towel" is a servants' towel; and a "Jack"
is a machine to do the work of a common work-man, to lift heavy weights.
Then there's a "Boot Jack," taking the place of a servant; a "Smoke
Jack," another servant, to turn a spit; a "Jack-a-Napes," or saucy
fellow; "Jack Tar," a common sailor; and "Jacket," a little Jack or
coat.

Now, I'm half inclined to take this ill of the dictionary men. But
perhaps I'm misinformed about them.


"TAKE THAT!"

This is not slang, my dears; not a bit of it. It is but the translation
of an inscription on an ancient Egyptian ball, a leaden one, used as a
kind of bullet and thrown from a sling. Sometimes the name of the
slinger was put on the ball,--so that the wounded could tell whom to
thank, perhaps.

The phrase "Take that!" has not entirely gone out of fashion, I believe;
and yet the world ought to be old enough to know better, by this time.


ANTS AGAIN.

Talking about ants last month put me in mind of a scrap, written long
ago by the Little Schoolma'am, and which one of my chicks sent to me.
Here it is, with the picture that belongs to it:

[Illustration: "AND AWAY WENT THE PIECE OF BREAD!"]

   "Hurrah!" said an ant to her sister,
      "I've found a nice piece of bread;
    We may push and pull, to carry it home,
      Where the little ants wait to be fed."

    So one pulled till she fell over backward,
      And the other pushed with her head,
    When down came a thief of a sparrow,
      And away went the piece of bread!


AIR THAT SINGS AND TALKS.

No doubt, my dears, you think that it is only men and phonographs and
such things that talk and sing; so did I until lately. But I've just
heard that there are some places in the world where the air itself sings
and talks. This fact, I'm told, is as old as the hills and woods; and it
is easy to prove, too. All you have to do is to go into the open air and
blow a horn, or call aloud, or sing in a strong clear voice, among the
hills, or by the edge of a wood, or even near a big empty barn.

Give this a good trial, my chicks, and let me know the result. Even if
you don't succeed, there's no doubt the experiment will prove
interesting, and you'll do no harm. Don't be afraid of disturbing the
birds; they're friends of mine, as you know, and, if you tell them you
are doing it for me, they will gladly put up with a little extra noise.


PLANTS WITH HAIR.

Some plants have hairs on their leaves, making them feel rough to the
touch, as I've heard. This can be seen very plainly by looking at a
common mallow-leaf through a microscope. And there is the mullein, too,
with very stiff hairs.

Now, what are these hairs for? I have been wanting to know this for some
time, and should be glad if some of you clever chicks would look into
the matter, and tell me what you find out.


AN ODD HYMN.

    Philadelphia, Pa.

    DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: Will you please ask the Little Schoolma'am,
    Deacon Green, and all your young folks, if they know and can tell me
    where to find the rest of the verses that go with this one?

       "The Choctaw and the Cherokee,
          The Kickapoo and Kaw,
        Likewise the Pottawatamie,--
          O teach them all thy law!"

    I think it is part of an old-fashioned missionary hymn. I once heard
    a boy repeat the whole of it, but this is the only verse I can
    remember.--Yours truly,

    L.M.B.


ANCIENTS AND MODERNS, ONCE MORE.

F.'s question, in the May number, about when the Ancients left off and
the Moderns began, has been answered by Charles J. Brandt, E.L.S., Stevie
B. Franklin, H.J.W., "Amneris," S.B.A., Edward Liddon Patterson, A.R.C.,
C.C.F., and Bessie P.

They all say pretty much the same thing, which is, that Ancient history
left off about the year A.D. 476, with the fall of the western Roman
Empire; that then came the Middle or Dark Ages; and that the Moderns
began about the year A.D. 1450, or a little while before the discovery
of America. But, of course, if you don't feel quite sure that these
chicks have given correct answers, you'd do well to look farther into
the matter.


THE INCOMPLETE TEXT.

    MY DEAR JACK: The letter E is the one to be added to that
    church-wall text which you gave to your chicks in May. If this vowel
    is set in at the right places, the text will read:

       "Persevere, ye perfect men;
        Ever keep these precepts ten!"

    This refers, of course, to the Ten Commandments that came through
    Moses. In a postscript you will find the names of the bright chicks
    who sent in the whole text in its complete form. Please give them my
    good wishes.--Yours sincerely,

    SILAS GREEN.

    P.S.--Fred S. Mead, Charles F. Fitts, Mary H. Bradley, Lou D.
    Denison, H.J.W., Arnold Guyot Cameron, "Nane," A.R.C., "Daisy,"
    Nellie Emerson; Bessie and Charlie Wheeler; Marie Armstrong, Neils
    E. Hansen, Katie Burnett, Lucy V. McRill, O.K.H., Bessie Dorsey,
    S.C., Edward A. Page, Bessie P.; Gladys H. Wilkinson, of Manchester,
    England; and Lane MacGregor.



THE LETTER-BOX.


    Boston, Mass., May 2, 1878.

    DEAR SAINT NICHOLAS: Will you give me room to rectify a slip of the
    pen? My "Sing-away Bird," in your May number, is not a thrush, but a
    sparrow; and I ought to be ashamed of the mistake, for I knew he was
    a sparrow, and had already spoken of him, in a story in verse,
    published three or four years ago, as

        "Only a sparrow with a snowy throat."

    Not only that, I hear his music every year, when I go into the White
    Mountain region, and consider it one of the chief charms of the wild
    scenery there. He sang this particular song to me last autumn, on
    the banks of the Androscoggin at Berlin Falls.

    I ask his pardon and yours for the blunder, and send the stanza as I
    have corrected it to make it tell the truth:

        'Twas the white-throated sparrow, that sped a light arrow
          Of song from his musical quiver;
        And the lingering spell slid through every dell
          On the banks of the Runaway River.
              "O sing! sing-away! sing-away!"
            And the trill of the sweet singer had
            The sound of a soul that is glad.

    I hope there are plenty of the ST. NICHOLAS children who know our
    wild birds well enough to see for themselves that I must have meant
    the one commonly known as the "Peabody-bird," so styled because his
    song seems always to be calling some human estray of that name, who
    never comes.

    But, indeed, I am afraid that none of us know our musical little
    friends of the fields and woods as well as we should and might know
    them, if we studied into the matter,--Truly yours,

    LUCY LARCOM.


       *       *       *       *       *


The story of Perseus, in this number, has been set in a frame of stars
by the old astronomers. In Professor Proctor's sky-map in ST. NICHOLAS
for January, 1877, you will find the constellation.


       *       *       *       *       *


    New York.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I find in Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" that he
    speaks of a "voyage to the country of the Houyhnhnms." Here are six
    consonants all in a row, and I would like to know if such a word can
    be correctly pronounced.

    If it is pronounced "hoy-nims," and I doubt the possibility of
    pronouncing it any other way, is there any need of so many
    consonants?--Yours truly,

    CHARLES A. REED.

The word "Houyhnhnms" is the name given by Dean Swift to an imaginary
race of horses endowed with reason. It is in two syllables, hou-yhnhnms,
and may be pronounced "hoo-inmz," with the accent on either syllable,
but the voice ought to be quavered in sounding the "n." It is likely
that Swift spelled the word so as to get a set of sounds as nearly as
possible like the gentle whinny of a horse when pleased.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Aintab, Northern Syria.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I saw a little piece in your magazine, in the
    department of "Jack-in-the-Pulpit," entitled "Persian Stoves," and I
    thought you would like to know that the native people in Turkey,
    right here, do just the same; and, to tell the truth, it is very
    comfortable sometimes. They call it tandoor. I have a brother in
    Constantinople studying, also a younger brother, and a dear little
    sister named Isabelle, here. We have taken your magazine ever since
    it started, and I think I at least shall never tire of it. Love to
    Jack and the Little Schoolma'am, Deacon Green, and all our old
    friends.--Your loving friend and reader,

    ELIZABETH M. TROWBRIDGE.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Portsmouth, N.H.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am sure you will like to hear how a cat adopted
    a mouse, so here is the whole story for you.

    A mother cat, named Tabby, had all her kittens taken away except
    one, and she loved and petted this one little kitten as much as one
    little kitten could be loved and petted. But she had a heart so full
    of love that she could not possibly use it all up on one kitten; so,
    one day, she brought home the cunningest little mouse I ever saw.
    That little mouse, when she found herself in the cat's mouth, must
    have thought there was not much more fun for her, but that Mrs. Cat
    was taking her home to make a luncheon upon her. But Tabby carried
    her very carefully, so as not to rumple her smooth coat of fur nor
    break any of her tiny bones. When Tabby reached home, she dropped
    the mouse into the warm nest where lay her kitten, and immediately
    began to wash off the dust of travel, just as she daily bathed
    Kitty. Mousey liked this so well that she remained very quiet and
    quickly dropped asleep.

    Tabby's mistress soon became interested in the happy family, and
    supplied bits of cheese and other things that mice like to eat. Now
    and then she saw this mouse perched on the back of the sleepy little
    kitten, and nibbling a bit of cheese held between her two front
    paws. Old Tabby would raise her head from her nap, to see what the
    little one was doing, and the Mousey would hide her lunch in one
    cheek, and look so innocent that Tabby would go to sleep again. Then
    Mousey would out with her cheese and go on nibbling. Thus, cat,
    kitten and mouse lived happily together until, one unfortunate day,
    Tabby had company; and before she could introduce the company to her
    family, the company had introduced the pet mouse to itself, and had
    swallowed her at one mouthful. Tabby tried hard to act as if her
    company were welcome, but she wore a very sad look during the whole
    visit. This is a true story.--Yours sincerely,

    A.J.B.


       *       *       *       *       *


"THE ST. NICHOLAS CLUB, of Philadelphia," a company of young puzzlers,
have sent us four clever metrical answers to Mr. Cranch's poetical
charades published in the April number. We are sorry that we have not
room to print all these answers, but here are two of them:

    FIRST CHARADE.

    When swiftly in the _car_ you glide,
    With friend or lover by your side,
      All fear or danger you deride.

    But should the car be overset,
    You surely will be in a _pet_,
      Although no ill betide.

    When safely in your home you rest,
    With foot upon the _carpet_ pressed,
      You heed no gloom outside.


    THIRD CHARADE.

    A man named Nicholas, with heavy _pick_.
    On bar of steel scarce made a dent or _nick_,
   "Pick, Nick!" a passing jester cried, in pleasant part.
   "I wish it were _picnic_," said he, "with all my heart."


       *       *       *       *       *


All the illustrations to the article called "Easter in Germany," printed
in the April number, were credited in the table of contents to Mr. J.F.
Runge. But the pictures entitled "An Easter Fancy," "An Easter
Carriage," and "An Easter Load," were drawn by Miss Fanny E. Corne, the
author of the article, and should have been credited to her.


       *       *       *       *       *


A correspondent, H.F.G., sends us the following novel and audacious
comparisons of words:

    COMPARISONS OF WORDS.

    (P. stands for Positive; C., Comparative; S., Superlative.)


    P. A part of the foot                        Sole
    C. Pertaining to the sun                     Solar
    S. Comforted                                 Solaced

    P. A river in Scotland                       Dee
    C. An animal                                 Deer
    S. One who does not believe in inspiration   Deist

    P. A negative                                No
    C. A Bible worthy                            Noah
    S. Dost know                                 Knowest

    P. To divide                                 Halve
    C. A port of France                          Havre
    S. The time of gathering grain and fruit     Harvest

    P. A grain                                   Corn
    C. An angle                                  Corner
    S. With an upper molding                     Cornised

    P. A personal pronoun                        Ye
    C. A division of time                        Year
    S. Is used in making bread                   Yeast

    P. A knot                                    Bow
    C. A tedious person                          Bore
    S. To make great pretensions                 Boast

    P. A personal pronoun                        You
    C. A pitcher                                 Ewer
    S. Accustomed                                Used

    P. A line of things                          Row
    C. A loud, deep voice or sound               Roar
    S. To cook                                   Roast

    P. To move with a lever.                     Pry
    C. Previous                                  Prior
    S. Appraised                                 Priced

    P. A secret agent                            Spy
    C. A steeple                                 Spire
    S. Seasoned                                  Spiced

    P. A body of water                           Sea
    C. A prophet                                 Seer
    S. At an end                                 Ceased

    P. A song                                    Lay
    C. A stratum                                 Layer
    S. Fastened with a cord                      Laced

    P. A meadow                                  Lea
    C. One of Shakspeare's royal characters      Lear
    S. Rented                                    Leased

    P. An insect                                 Flea
    C. To mock                                   Fleer
    S. Sheared                                   Fleeced

    P. A path                                    Way
    C. One who weighs                            Weigher
    S. Desolate                                  Waste

    P. A very common abbreviation                Co
    C. The center                                Core
    S. Border of the sea                         Coast

    P. A part of the body                        Neck
    C. A river of South-west Germany             Neckar
    S. Nearest                                   Next

    P. A river in Italy                          Po
    C. To examine steadily and earnestly         Pore
    S. A pillar                                  Post

    P. A vowel                                   E
    C. A spike of corn                           Ear
    S. A point of compass                        East

    P. A tool                                    Hoe
    C. Whitish                                   Hoar
    S. An army                                   Host

    P. A personal pronoun                        I
    C. Anger                                     Ire
    S. Cooled with ice                           Iced

    P. Compensation                              Fee
    C. Terror                                    Fear
    S. An entertainment                          Feast

    P. To clothe                                 Indue
    C. To suffer                                 Endure
    S. Persuaded                                 Induced


       *       *       *       *       *


    Brattleborough, Vt.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have been trying to start a fresh-water
    aquarium which shall be self-supporting. I have failed, so far,
    because I have been unable to procure the proper oxygen-producing
    plants.

    The little brook-plants I have tried do not answer the purpose. Can
    you tell me where I can find the following plants, or their seeds:
    _Vallisneria spiralis_ (or tape-grass), _Callitriche verna_ (or
    water-starwort), and _Anacharis alsinastrum_ (or
    water-thyme)?--Yours truly,

    E.M.P.

In general terms, the first and third plants named by E.M.P. are to be
sought for in very quiet streams, or in ponds; but, as they are quite
submerged, they may escape attention. _Callitriche_ is to be found
floating on the surfaces of small ponds or pools. But perhaps E.M.P. is
a little too far north for Vallisneria. Anacharis is in Canada, and
should, by rights, be in Vermont.

However, E.M.P. need not be restricted to these. In quiet fresh-water
streams, and especially in ponds, there are _Myriophyllums_ (or
water-milfoil), _Ceratophyllums_ (or hornwort), the aquatic
_Ranunculuses_, and the _Utricularias_ (or bladderworts), all of which
naturally grow submerged and are quite as good for producing oxygen as
those named by E.M.P. Water-cresses will do to get along with until the
other plants can be found.


       *       *       *       *       *


    DEAR ST. NICKOLAS: Daisie and me thought we would rite you a letter,
    and tell you that we did the ansers to some of your puzzles in the
    May number. We did them most all our own self. We are twin-sisters,
    and we are both just as old as each other. We go to skool every day.
    So good by.--From youre little frends,

    DOTTIE AND DAISIE.

    P.S.--We both send our love to your little girls and boys.


       *       *       *       *       *


    New York.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I thought you might like to know how to press
    flowers. The first thing to do, after you have gathered them, is to
    lay them smoothly between tissue-paper; then you must have felt
    drying-paper to put each side of the tissue-paper. The felt must be
    changed every day. The tissue-paper must not be changed at all, only
    the felt. Then you must have two pieces of smooth board, to put the
    papers between, and a box full of stones for a presser. We used a
    common soap-box, and put in stones to the weight of about
    thirty-five pounds. The handles were made of rope. I have found this
    a splendid way to press flowers, as it absorbs the moisture from the
    flower and does not leave it at all brittle.

    Will you publish this, so that all the little girls who take ST.
    NICHOLAS may have the opportunity of pressing flowers?--and I hope
    they may enjoy it as much as I did.--Your little friend,

    ROSIE S. PALMER.


       *       *       *       *       *


We have received letters in answer to Frank R.M.'s question about an
English painter, printed in the May "Letter-Box," from Carrie Johnson,
M.S. Bagley, Alice Lanigan, Lillie M. Sutphen. Seth K. Humphrey, Hannah
I. Powell, Frank R. Bowman, James Hardy Ropes, Grant Beebe, Isabelle
Roorbach, and H.A.M.

Some say the name of the painter is Sir Joshua Reynolds; others say it
is John Opie, who, also, was a great painter; and one or two think that
while Frank R.M.'s anecdote about the reply "With brains, sir!" belongs
to Opie, all the rest of the description concerns Reynolds only. And
this last seems to be the fact.

John Opie was born at St. Agnes, near Truro, in the county of Cornwall,
England, in the year 1761; and died in the city of London, April 9th,
1807.


       *       *       *       *       *


Several of our young correspondents seem to have taken to writing poetry
of late. The two following letters and poems--printed just as they came
to us--will serve as samples of those received:

    Winchester, Tenn.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS, Seeing so many writing to you of my age I thought
    I would send you a letter. I am ten years old, and am advanced for
    my age. I like to read you very much, &c.--Your constant reader

    ALBERT MARKS.

    P.S.--Please publish this poetry, which I wrote.

     1. I looked o'er the
        Place where Xerxes
        Massed his millions
        Before the grecian army,

     2. I looked where Xerxes
        Massed his hundred of ships
        Before the small grecian
        Navy. I looked o'er the place

     3. Where Xerxes reared a mighty
        Throne. I looked where ambitious
        Caesar fell benea the assassin's dagger.
        I looked where brave Leonidas braved
        The millions of Xerxes.

     4. I looked where Vesuvius laid
        Pompeii under ashes and Lava. I looked
        Where Marco Bozzaris bled for the
        liberty of Greece.


    Brooklyn, N.Y.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have taken an idea lately, of writing poetry,
    and indeed, when I find myself at a loss to know what to do, I take
    out my little blank book and begin some little verses, some pretty
    good and others to my dissapointment, the opposite. I first write my
    poem on paper and if thought good, put it in my book. The following
    is a little piece on

        SPRING.

        Oh, look! The grass is getting green
          The buds begin to sprout
        The blossoms on the oak-tree
          Are beginning to come out

        But hark! Who is that singing?
          It is the robin gay
        He has come back to greet us
          Upon this happy day

        But when we see the streamlet
          Released from ice and snow
        And down its pebbly routine
          In music sweet and low,

        And when at last the may flowers
          Their sunny faces bring
        It makes us feel so happy
          And reminds us it is spring

    R.S.F.


       *       *       *       *       *


BOOKS RECEIVED.

FROM THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY:


YUSUF IN EGYPT: AND HIS FRIENDS. By Sara Keables Hunt. Eight full-page
illustrations. Yusuf is a boy donkey-driver of Cairo, in Egypt. In
telling the story of this brave little fellow's ups and downs in the
world, the author describes many interesting scenes and incidents of
modern Egyptian life, and conveys in an attractive way much information
about the country and its people, customs, ancient temples and history.

NAN'S THANKSGIVING. By Hope Ledyard. Large type; illustrated. A bright
and sweet little story of a girl's unselfishness.

SATISFIED. By Catharine M. Trowbridge. Illustrated. AUNT LOU'S
SCRAP-BOOK. By Harriet B. McKeever. Large type; illustrated. ANGEL'S
CHRISTMAS. By Mrs. O.F. Walton. Illustrated.



THE RIDDLE-BOX.


DIAMOND REMAINDERS.

Behead and curtail, in the order given, words having the following
significations: 1, Arid; 2, to run away; 3, cattle-drivers; 4, to
consume; 5, to endeavor,--and leave a complete diamond reading
horizontally as follows: 1, A consonant; 2, to cut off; 3, a wanderer;
4, an instrument for writing; 5, a consonant.

CYRIL DEANE.


A CONCEALED BILL-OF-FARE.

In each of the following sentences, fill the blank with a word to be
found concealed in its sentence:

1. Let each guest have some -----. 2. Eating some ---- will be effectual
in satisfying hunger. 3. Nothing but terrible starvation could make one
eat such ----! 4. Ah! a morsel of ---- will taste good. 5. Give me, I
beg, good brown bread and a well-cooked ----. 6. Don't take cold ham;
eat some of this freshly cooked, hot ----. 7. Stop! I entreat you! Don't
give the child any more ----. 8. What if I should eat more ----? 9. He
has had quite enough ----. 10. Let me whisper to you. There sits a lady
who, it seems to me, is very fond of ----. 11. You will take, I hope, a
spoonful of ----? 12. She has helped me twice to ----.

O'B.


SQUARE-WORD.

1. An article used every day as human food. 2. A current report,
generally unauthorized. 3. A mineral much used in polishing metals. 4.
Part of the most important organ of the human body. 5. A mythical being,
supposed by the ancient Greeks to inhabit lonely woods.

B.


ANAGRAM DOUBLE-DIAMOND AND INCLOSED DOUBLE WORD-SQUARE.

From the sentence "Mad at pert hens," form a double-diamond of which the
center shall be a double word-square.

The diamond must read, across: 1. In profitable. 2. A covering for the
head. 3. Paired. 4. An implement used in writing. 5. In profitless.

The word-square must read, downward: 1. A casual event. 2. Partook of
food. 3. A spelled number.

C.D.


EASY "ANNIVERSARY" PUZZLES.

(Three Anniversaries.)

[Illustration: 1.]

[Illustration: 2.]

[Illustration: 3.]

These three pictures represent three annual anniversaries, the names of
which are to be found. The character of each anniversary is
appropriately symbolized in its picture.

CHARL.


GEOGRAPHICAL SINGLE ACROSTIC.

The initials will give one of England's principal sea-ports.

1. A river of Ireland. 2. A river in Farther India. 3. A river in
France. 4. The largest river in Western Asia. 5. A river in France.
6. A river in Italy. 7. A river in Prussia. 8. A river in North America.
9. A river in Siberia.

S.


EASY HIDDEN LATIN PROVERB.

Find in the following sentence a Latin proverb in common use:

The sachem seized a garment on which was embroidered his totem, pushed
the Italian, Orfugi, to the ground, and precipitately fled.

S.T.


DROP-LETTER PUZZLE.

M-K-H-Y-H-L-T-E-U-S-I-E-.

Every other letter is omitted; the answer is a well-known proverb.

J.M. and E.M.


EASY BEHEADINGS.

1. Behead an indication of sleepiness, and leave an artificial shade.
2. Behead another indication of sleepiness, and leave an animal.
3. Behead need, and leave an insect. 4. Behead an article used in
packing crockery, and leave a reckoning. 5. Behead an awkward bow, and
leave a kind of cloth. 6. Behead a locality, and leave network.
7. Behead to loiter, and leave a dolt. 8. Behead sudden blows, and
leave parts of a horse. 9. Behead to turn, and leave a peg. 10. Behead a
stain, and leave a piece of land. 11. Behead a bough, and leave a farm
in California. 12. Behead loose, and leave want.

M.G.A.


SHAKSPEAREAN ENIGMA.

  My first is in Proteus, also in Thurio;
  My second in Thurio, also in Proteus;
  My third's in Alonso, also in Sebastian;
  My fourth in Sebastian, also in Alonso;
  My fifth is in Oliver, also in Sylvius;
  My sixth in Sylvius, also in Oliver;
  My seventh is in Ferdinand, also in Dumain;
  My eighth in Dumain, also in Ferdinand;
  My whole is in Shakspeare's "As You Like It."

E.D.A.


PICTORIAL PUZZLE.

[Illustration]

From the eight letters of the word which describes the central picture,
spell words which name the sixteen objects shown in the border pictures.

R.


NUMERICAL PUZZLE.

After I had read 1 2 3 4 5 ' 6   7 8 9 10 12 11 13, I was convinced that
she was thoroughly conversant with the 1 2 3 4 5 6-7 8 9 10 12 11 13, as
she is fond of styling polite literature.

C.D.


CHARADE.

  Beneath his lady's window, erst,
      In hopeless mood,
      A minstrel stood.
  As, passionate, he smote my first,
  From his sad lips my second passed,
  And from my first rang out my last.

  A sudden joy possessed his soul.
  As down the night air sweetly stole
  A strain responsive from my whole.

L.W.H.


SYNCOPATIONS.

1. Syncopate a square column, and leave an adhesive salve; syncopate the
salve, and leave a person found in a bindery; syncopate again, and leave
a prayer. 2. A ladies' apartment in a seraglio, and leave injury; again,
and leave a meat. 3. A rough fastening, and leave to strike together;
again, and leave to cover the top.

L.E.


ACROSTIC.

The initials and finals name a fragrant flower. 1. A domestic animal.
2. A summer luxury. 3. A troublesome insect. 4. A kind of fruit. 5. A
short poem.

ISOLA.


DOUBLE, REVERSED ACROSTIC.

  A little verb used every day,
  Whose letters spell the same each way;
  My next, which means to lengthen out,
  Spells just the same if turned about;
  At close of day you'll find my third,--
  Reversed, you have the self-same word;
  My fourth, implying "held supreme,"
  The same each way, though strange it seem.
  An act, these four initials name,
  Backward or forward spelled the same.

J.F.B.


ENIGMA.

This enigma is composed of twenty-one letters, and is the name of one
who is dear to thousands of little folks.

1. The 4 6 2 9 10 12 is a mountain in California. 2. The 5 1 8 13 is
part of your face. 3. The 7 17 3 19 are parts of harness. 4. The 18 20
16 is a color. 5. The 15 14 21 is a girl's nickname.

C.D.


EASY ENIGMA.

My 6 5 4 is wrong-doing. My 3 2 1 is an article of female dress
sometimes worn over the hair. My whole is a lively ball-game, not now so
popular as formerly.

H.H.D.


BIOGRAPHICAL DOUBLE ACROSTIC.

The initials and finals name a noted American. 1. A naval officer of
high rank. 2. Brigands. 3. A singing-bird of America. 4. Part of a
circle. 5. A brave man. 6. A blacksmith's implement. 7. A small wild
animal somewhat like a weasel.

L.A.


HOUR-GLASS PUZZLE.

1. To perceive. 2. King of Persia. 3. A boy's nickname. 4. A consonant.
5. An enemy. 6. Aches. 7. Subjects to a feudal lord. Centrals, read
downward, an Alpine animal.

A.C. Crett.


REVERSALS.

1. Reverse current, and give a wild animal. 2. Reverse part of a bridge,
and give part of a city. 3. Reverse a swallow, and give a stopple. 4.
Reverse to praise, and give consisting of two. 5. Reverse an oblique
view, and give a lively dance.

ISOLA.



ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN JUNE NUMBER.


EASY BEHEADINGS.--Heart, tear, ear, a.

LABYRINTH.--The dotted line and arrows show the route to the center:

[Illustration]

ACCIDENTAL HIDINGS.--Metrical Compositions: Pean (ho_pe an_d); glee
(ea_gle e_ye); ode (go_od e_nough). Portions of Time: Hour (t_hou
r_ove); eon (Jun_e on_e); era (tow_er a_nd).

ANAGRAMS.--1. Rhapsody. 2. Numerical. 3. Depredation. 4. Exonerates. 5.
Deranging.

PICTORIAL PUZZLE.--An ox. Turn the picture so that the right-hand edge
becomes the bottom.

MELANGE.--1. Clover, lover. 2. Clover, clove. 3. Clover, cover. 4.
Clove, love. 5. Lover, lore. 6. Cover, over. 7. Cover, core. 8. Over,
rove. 9. Rove, roe.

EASY CLASSICAL ACROSTIC.--Demosthenes.

ENIGMA.--"A stitch in time saves nine."

EASY DIAMOND PUZZLE.--

      A
    E L F
  A L T E R
    F E W
      R

CHARADE.--Catacomb; cat, a, comb.

NUMERICAL PUZZLE.--Levi Nathan; leviathan.

FOUR-LETTER SQUARE-WORD.--

  K I N G
  I D O L
  N O T E
  G L E E

EASY CROSS-WORD ENIGMA.--Ohio.

METAGRAM.--1. Batter. 2. Fatter. 3. Latter. 4. Matter. 5. Patter.
6. Tatter. 7. Ratter.

EASY ACROSTIC.--Constantinople.

BLANK WORD SYNCOPATIONS.--1. Staging--tag, sing. 2. Sporting--port,
sing. 3. Roulette--let, route.

CHARADE.--Woman; wo, man.

TRANSPOSITIONS OF PROPER NAMES--1. Pensacola, clean soap. 2. Taxes,
Texas. 3. Carolina, an oil-car. 4. Colorado, cool road, 5. Washington;
saw nothing, thin wagons, 6. Load fir, Florida. 7. New York, worn key.
8. Baltimore, broil meat. 9. Daniel; nailed, denial. 10. Catherine, in
the acre.

SQUARE-WORD.--

  L I M E S
  I D E A L
  M E R G E
  E A G L E
  S L E E P

ADDITIONS.--1. Imp, ale; impale. 2. Bulls, eye; bull's-eye. 3. Nan,
keen; Nankin. 4. P, age; page. 5. Den, Mark; Denmark. 6. Asp, ire;
aspire.


ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN THE MAY NUMBER were received, before May 18, from
"Pansy," Ben Merrill, Arnold Guyot Cameron; May and Charlie Pray; Bessie
Hard, Harry H. Wolbert, "Bessie and her Cousin," Nessie E. Stevens,
Allie Bertram, Nettie A. Ives, L.E.B., Alice Lanigan, M.E. Bagley, Katie
Burnett, Bessie Dorsey, "Hard and Tough," E.L.S., Stella N. Stone, Clara
S. Gardiner, "Winnie;" X.Y.Z., and Bob White; Arthur Stowe, R.T. French,
Lizzie Folsom, Lizzie C. Lawrence, Bessie Taylor, Laura Randolph; John
D. Cress, M.R. Cress, and W.S. Eichelberger; Carrie J. Willcox; Frank
and Ralph Bowman; Nellie Emerson, "Black Prince," Neils E. Hansen;
Bessie and Charlie Wheeler; "Daisy," S.V. Gilbert, Rufus B. Clark, W.H.
McGee, Eva Doeblin, Edith Louise Jones, Harold S. MacKaye; Alice B.
MacNary and Mary C. Taylor; Florence L. Turrill, "Dottie and Daisie,"
Nellie C. Graham, S. Norris Knapp, Carrie L. Bigelow, George C. Harris,
Jr., Eddie F. Worcester, Charles H. Stout, Frank H. Nichols, Susie
Hermance, "Birdie and Allie;" Allen Bigelow Hathaway and Harold Gray
Hathaway; Anna E. Matthewson, H.B. Ayers, Austin D. Mabie, "Kaween,"
Lewis G. Davis, "Beech-Nut," E.M. Fergusson, Julie Baker, Mary H.
Bradley, Alfred C. Beebe, Charles N. Cogswell; C.M. Hunter and Frances
Hunter; "Prebo and Prebo's Uncle," "Cosy Club," Georgine C.
Schnitzspahn; V. and G.S.; Floy and Lillie Brown; Austin M. Poote,
Georgie B., Eddie Vultee, Bessie L. Barnes, Louisa K. Riedel; and
Gladys H. Wilkinson, of Manchester, England.





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