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Title: St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 2, December, 1877
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 2, December, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: THE HOLY FAMILY.]



ST. NICHOLAS.

VOL. V.
DECEMBER, 1877.
No. 2.


[Copyright, 1877, by Scribner & Co.]



THE THREE KINGS.

BY HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.


  Three Kings came riding from far away,
    Melchior and Gaspar and Baltazar;
  Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
  And they traveled by night and they slept by day,
    For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

  The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
    That all the other stars of the sky
  Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
  And the Wise Men knew that the coming was near
    Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

  Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
    Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
  Their robes were of crimson silk, with rows
  Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
    Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

  And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
    Through the dusk of night over hills and dells,
  And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
  And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
    With the people they met at the way-side wells.

  "Of the child that is born," said Baltazar,
    "Good people, I pray you, tell us the news,
  For we in the East have seen his star,
  And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
    To find and worship the King of the Jews."

  And the people answered: "You ask in vain;
    We know of no king but Herod the Great!"
  They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
  As they spurred their horses across the plain
    Like riders in haste who cannot wait.

  And when they came to Jerusalem,
    Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
  Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
  And said: "Go down into Bethlehem,
    And bring me tidings of this new king."

  So they rode away; and the star stood still,
    The only one in the gray of morn;
  Yes, it stopped, it stood still of its own free will,
  Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
    The city of David where Christ was born.

  And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
    Through the silent street, till their horses turned
  And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
  But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
    And only a light in the stable burned.

  And cradled there in the scented hay,
    In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
  The little child in the manger lay,--
  The child that would be king one day
    Of a kingdom not human but divine.

  His mother, Mary of Nazareth,
    Sat watching beside his place of rest,
  Watching the even flow of his breath,
  For the joy of life and the terror of death
    Were mingled together in her breast.

  They laid their offerings at his feet;
    The gold was their tribute to a king;
  The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
  Was for the priest, the Paraclete,
    The myrrh for the body's burying.

  And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
    And sat as still as a statue of stone;
  Her heart was troubled, yet comforted,
  Remembering what the angel had said
    Of an endless reign and of David's throne.

  Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
    With the clatter of hoofs in proud array;
  But they went not back to Herod the Great,
  For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
    And returned to their homes by another way.



ROWING AGAINST TIDE.

BY THEODORE WINTHROP.


[The following hitherto-unprinted fragment by Theodore Winthrop, author
of "John Brent," "The Canoe and the Saddle," "Life in the Open Air,"
and other works, was intended by him for the first chapter of a story
called "Steers Flotsam," but it has an interest of its own, and is a
complete narrative in itself.

Perhaps there are many of our young readers who do not know the history
of that brave young officer who, one of the very first to fall in the
late war, was killed at Great Bethel, Virginia, June 10, 1861. He was
born at New Haven, Connecticut, in September, 1828. He was a studious
and quiet boy, and not very robust. From early youth he had determined
to become an author worthy of fame, but he tore himself away from his
beloved work at the call of his country just as he was about to win
that fame, leaving behind him a number of finished and unfinished
writings, most of which were afterward published.

He could handle oars as well as write of them, could skate like his
hero in "Love and Skates," and was good at all manly sports. He
traveled much, visited Europe twice, lived two years at the Isthmus of
Panama, and returning from there across the plains (an adventurous trip
at that time), learned in those far western wilds to manage and
understand the half-tamed horses and untamed savages about whom he
writes so well. This varied experience gave a freedom and power to his
pen that the readers of the ST. NICHOLAS are not too young to perceive
and appreciate.]



Almost sunset. I pulled my boat's head round, and made for home.

I had been floating with the tide, drifting athwart the long shadows
under the western bank, shooting across the whirls and eddies of the
rapid strait, grappling to one and another of the good-natured sloops
and schooners that swept along the highway to the great city, near at
hand.

For an hour I had sailed over the fleet, smooth glimmering water, free
and careless as a sea-gull. Now I must 'bout ship and tussle with the
whole force of the tide at the jaws of Hellgate. I did not know that
not for that day only, but for life, my floating gayly with the stream
was done.

I pulled in under the eastern shore, and began to give way with all my
boyish force.

I was a little fellow, only ten years old, but my pretty white skiff
was little, in proportion, and so were my sculls, and we were all used
to work together.

As I faced about, a carriage came driving furiously along the turn of
the shore. The road followed the water's edge. I was pulling close to
the rocks to profit by every eddy. The carriage whirled by so near me
that I could recognize one of the two persons within. No mistaking that
pale, keen face. He evidently saw and recognized me also. He looked out
at the window and signaled the coachman to stop. But before the horses
could be pulled into a trot he gave a sign to go on again. The carriage
disappeared at a turn of the shore.

This encounter strangely dispirited me. My joy in battling with the
tide, in winning upward, foot by foot, boat's length after boat's
length, gave place to a forlorn doubt whether I could hold my
own--whether I should not presently be swept away.

The tide seemed to run more sternly than I had ever known it. It made a
plaything of my little vessel, slapping it about most uncivilly. The
black rocks, covered with clammy, unwholesome-looking sea-weed, seemed
like the mile-stones of a nightmare, steadily to move with me. The
water, bronzed by the low sun, poured mightily along, and there hung my
boat, glued to its white reflection.

As I struggled there, the great sloops and schooners rustling by with
the ebb, and eclipsing an instant the June sunset, gave me a miserable
impression of careless unfriendliness. I had made friends with them all
my life, and this evening, while I was drifting down-stream, they had
been willing enough to give me a tow, and to send bluff, good-humored
replies to my boyish hails. Now they rushed on, each chasing the golden
wake of its forerunner, and took no thought of me, straining at my oar,
apart. I grew dispirited, quite to the point of a childish despair.

Of course it was easy enough to land, leave my boat, and trudge home,
but that was a confession of defeat not to be thought of. Two things
only my father required of me--manliness and truth. My pretty little
skiff--the "Aladdin," I called it--he had given to me as a test of my
manhood. I should be ashamed of myself to go home and tell him that I
had abdicated my royal prerogative of taking care of myself, and
pulling where I would in a boat with a keel. I must take the "Aladdin"
home, or be degraded to my old punt, and confined to still water.

The alternative brought back strength to my arms. I threw off the
ominous influence. I leaned to my sculls. The clammy black rocks began
deliberately to march by me down-stream. I was making headway, and the
more way I made, the more my courage grew.

Presently, as I battled round a point, I heard a rustle and a rush of
something coming, and the bowsprit of a large sloop glided into view
close by me. She was painted in stripes of all colors above her green
bottom. The shimmer of the water shook the reflection of her hull, and
made the edges of the stripes blend together. It was as if a rainbow
had suddenly flung itself down for me to sail over.

I looked up and read the name on her headboards, "James Silt."

At the same moment a child's voice over my head cried, "Oh, brother
Charles! what a little boy! what a pretty boat!"

The gliding sloop brought the speaker into view. She was a girl both
little and pretty. A rosy, blue-eyed, golden-haired sprite, hanging
over the gunwale, and smiling pleasantly at me.

"Yes, Betty," the voice of a cheerful, honest-looking young fellow at
the tiller--evidently brother Charles--replied. "He's a little chap,
but he's got a man into him. Hurrah!"

"Give way, 'Aladdin!' Stick to it! You're sure to get there."

The sloop had slid along by me now, so that I could read her name
repeated on her stern--"James Silt, New Haven."

"Good-bye, little boy!" cried my cherubic vision to me, flitting aft,
and leaning over the port davit.

"Good-bye, sissy!" I returned, and raising my voice, I hailed,
"Good-bye, Cap'n Silt!"

Brother Charles looked puzzled an instant. Then he gave a laugh, and
shouted across the broadening interval of burnished water, "You got my
name off the stern. Well, it's right, and you're a bright one. You'll
make a sailor! Good luck to you!"

He waved his cap, and the strong tide swept his craft onward, dragging
her rainbow image with her.

As far as I could see, the fair-haired child was leaning over the stern
watching me, and brother Charles, at intervals, turned and waved his
cap encouragingly.

This little incident quite made a man of me again. I forgot the hard
face I had seen, and brother Charles's frank, merry face took its
place, while, leaning over brother Charles's shoulder, was that angelic
vision of his sister.

Under the inspiring influence of Miss Betty's smiles--a boy is never so
young as not to conduct such electricity--I pulled along at double
speed. I no longer measured my progress by the rocks in the mud, but by
the cottages and villas on the bank. Now that I had found friends on
board one of the vessels arrowing by, it seemed as if all would prove
freighted with sympathizing people if they would only come near enough
to hail. But I was content with the two pleasant faces stamped on my
memory, and only minded my business of getting home before dark.

The setting sun drew itself a crimson path across the widening strait.
The smooth water grew all deliciously rosy with twilight. The moon had
just begun to put in a faint claim to be recognized as a luminary, when
I pulled up to my father's private jetty.

Everything looked singularly sweet and quiet. June never, in all her
dreams of perfection, could have devised a fairer evening. I was a
little disappointed to miss my father from his usual station on the
wharf. He loved to be there to welcome me returning from my little
voyages, and to hail me gently: "Now then, Harry, a strong pull, and
let me see how far you can send her! Bravo, my boy! We'll soon make a
man of you. You shall not be a weakling all your life as your father
has been, mind and body, for want of good strong machinery to work
with."

He was absent that evening. I hurried to bestow my boat neatly in the
boat-house. I locked the door, pocketed the key, and ran up the lawn,
thinking how pleased my father would be to hear of my adventure with
the sloop and its crew, and how he would make me sketch the sloop for
him, which I could do very fairly, and how he would laugh at my vain
attempts to convey to him the cheeks and the curls of Miss Betty.



A CHAPTER OF BUTTS.


[Illustration: "I'LL BUTT IT," SAID THE GOAT.

"WHAT! IT BUTTS AGAIN."

"I'LL GIVE IT A GOOD ONE, THIS TIME."

"PERHAPS I'D BETTER GET OUT OF ITS WAY."

BUT HE DIDN'T.]



THE LION-KILLER.

(_From the French of Duatyeff_.)

BY MARY WAGER FISHER.


People in Tunis, Africa,--at least, some of the older people,--often
talk of the wonderful exploits of a lion-killer who was famous there
forty years ago. The story is this, and is said to be entirely true:

The lion-killer was called "The Sicilian," because his native country
was Sicily; and he was known as "The Christian" among the people in
Tunis, who were mostly Arabs, and, consequently, Mohammedans. He was
also called "Hercules," because of his strength,--that being the name
of a strong demi-god of the ancient Greeks. He was not built like
Hercules, however; he was tall, but beautifully proportioned, and there
was nothing in his form that betrayed his powerful muscles. He
performed prodigies of strength with so much gracefulness and ease as
to astonish all who saw them.

He was a member of a traveling show company that visited Tunis,--very
much as menagerie and circus troupes go about this country now from
town to town. His part of the business was, not simply to do things
that would display his great strength, but also to represent scenes by
pantomime so that they would appear to the audience exactly as if the
real scenes were being performed before their very eyes. In one of
these scenes he showed the people how he had encountered and killed a
lion with a wooden club in the country of Damascus. This is the manner
in which he did it:

After a flourish of trumpets, the Sicilian came upon the stage, which
was arranged to represent a circle, or arena, and had three palm-trees
in the middle. He was handsomely dressed in a costume of black velvet,
trimmed with silver braid, and, as he looked around upon the audience
with a grave but gentle expression, and went through with the Arabian
salutation, which was to bear his right hand to his heart, mouth and
forehead successively, there was perfect silence, so charmed were the
people with his beauty and dignity.

Then an interpreter cried:

"The Christian will show you how, with his club, he killed a lion in
the country of Damascus!"

Immediately following this came another flourish of trumpets and a
striking of cymbals, as if to announce the entrance of the lion.
Quickly the Sicilian sprang behind one of the three palms, whence to
watch his enemy. With an attentive and resolute eye, leaning his body
first to the right, and then to the left, of the tree, he kept his gaze
on the terrible beast, following all its movements with the graceful
motions of his own body, so naturally and suitably as to captivate the
attention of the spectators.

"The lion surely is there!" they whispered. "_We_ do not see him, but
_he_ sees him! How he watches his least motion! How resolute he is! He
will not allow himself to be surprised----"

Suddenly the Sicilian leaps; with a bound he has crossed from one
palm-tree to another, and, with a second spring, has climbed half-way
up the tree, still holding his massive club in one hand. One
understands by his movements that the lion has followed him, and,
crouched and angry, stops at the foot of the tree. The Sicilian,
leaning over, notes the slightest change of posture; then, like a flash
of light, he leaps to the ground behind the trunk of the tree; the
terrible club makes a whistling sound as it swings through the air, and
the lion falls to the ground.

The scene was so well played that the wildest applause came from all
parts of the audience.

Then the interpreter came in, and, throwing at the feet of the Hercules
a magnificent lion's skin, cried:

"Behold the skin of the lion that the Christian killed in the country
of Damascus."

The fame of the Sicilian reached the ears of the Bey of Tunis. But the
royal dignity of the Bey, the reigning prince of that country, would
not allow him to be present at exhibitions given to the common people.
Finally, however, having heard so much about the handsome and strong
Sicilian, he became curious to see him, and said:

"If this Christian has killed one lion with a club, he can kill
another. Tell him that if he will knock down my grand lion with it, I
will give him a thousand ducats"--quite a large sum in those days, a
ducat being about equal to the American dollar.

At this time the Bey had several young lions that ran freely about in
the court-yard or garden of his palace, and in a great pit, entirely
surrounded by a high terrace, on a level with the ground-floor of the
palace, a superb Atlas lion was kept in royal captivity. It was this
lion that the Bey wished the Sicilian to combat. The proposition was
sent to the Sicilian, who accepted it without hesitation, and without
boasting what he would do.

The combat was to take place a week from that time, and the
announcement that the handsome Sicilian was to fight a duel with the
grand lion was spread far and wide, even to the borders of the desert,
producing a profound sensation. Everybody, old and young, great and
small, desired to be present; moreover, the people would be freely
admitted to the garden of the Bey, where they could witness the combat
from the top of the terrace. The duel was to be early in the morning,
before the heat of the day.

During the week that intervened, the Sicilian performed every day in
the show, instead of two days a week, as had been his custom. Never was
he more calm, graceful and fascinating in his performances. The evening
before the eventful day, he repeated in pantomime his victory over the
lion near Damascus, with so much elegance, precision and suppleness as
to elicit round after round of enthusiastic cheers. Of course everybody
who had seen him _play_ killing a lion was wild with curiosity to see
him actually fight with a _real_ lion.

So, on the following morning, in the early dawn, the terrace around the
lion's pit was crowded with people. For three days the grand lion had
been deprived of food in order that he might be the more ferocious and
terrible. His eyes shone like two balls of fire, and he incessantly
lashed his flanks with his tail. At one moment he would madly roar,
and, in the next, rub himself against the wall, vainly trying to find a
chink between the stones in which to insert his claws.

Precisely at the appointed hour, the princely Bey and his court took
the places that had been reserved for them on one side of the terrace.
The Sicilian came a few steps behind, dressed in his costume of velvet
and silver, and holding his club in his hand. With his accustomed easy
and regular step, and a naturally elegant and dignified bearing, he
advanced in front of the royal party and made a low obeisance to the
Bey. The prince made some remark to him, to which he responded with a
fresh salute; then he withdrew, and descended the steps which led to
the lion's pit.

The crowd was silent. At the end of some seconds, the barred gate of
the pit was opened, and gave entrance, not to the brave and powerful
Hercules, but to a poor dog that was thrown toward the ferocious beast
with the intention of still more exciting its ravenous appetite. This
unexpected act of cruelty drew hisses from the spectators, but they
were soon absorbed in watching the behavior of the dog. When the lion
saw the prey that had been thrown to him, he stood motionless for a
moment, ceased to beat his flanks with his tail, growled deeply, and
crouched on the ground, with his paws extended, his neck stretched out,
and his eyes fixed upon the victim.

The dog, on being thrown into the pit, ran at once toward a corner of
the wall, as far as possible from the lion, and, trembling, yet not
overcome by fear, fixed his eyes on the huge beast, watching anxiously,
but intently, his every motion.

With apparent unconcern, the lion creepingly advanced toward the dog,
and then, with a sudden movement, he was upon his feet, and in a second
launched himself into the air! But the dog that same instant bounded in
an opposite direction, so that the lion fell in the corner, while the
dog alighted where the lion had been.

For a moment the lion seemed very much surprised at the loss of his
prey; with the dog, the instinct of self-preservation developed a
coolness that even overcame his terror. The body of the poor animal was
all in a shiver, but his head was firm, his eyes were watchful. Without
losing sight of his enemy, he slowly retreated into the corner behind
him.

Then the lion, scanning his victim from the corners of his eyes, walked
sidewise a few steps, and, turning suddenly, tried again to pounce with
one bound upon the dog; but the latter seemed to anticipate this
movement also, and, in the same second, jumped in the opposite
direction, as before, crossing the lion in the air.

At this the lion became furious, and lost the calmness that might have
insured him victory, while the courage of the unfortunate dog won for
him the sympathy of all the spectators.

As the lion, excited and terrible, was preparing a new plan of attack,
a rope ending in a loop was lowered to the dog. The brave little
animal, whose imploring looks had been pitiful to look upon, saw the
help sent to him, and, fastening his teeth and claws into the rope, was
immediately drawn up. The lion, perceiving this, made a prodigious
leap, but the dog was happily beyond his reach. The poor creature,
drawn in safety to the terrace, at once took flight, and was soon lost
to view.

At the moment when the lion threw himself on the ground of the pit,
roaring with rage at the escape of his prey, the Sicilian entered, calm
and firm, superb in his brilliant costume, and with his club in his
hand.

At his appearance in the pit, a silence like death came over the crowd
of spectators. The Hercules walked rapidly toward a corner, and,
leaning upon his club, awaited the onslaught of the lion, who, blinded
by fury, had not yet perceived his entrance.

The waiting was of short duration, for the lion, in turning, espied
him, and the fire that flashed from the eyes of the terrible beast told
of savage joy in finding another victim.

Here, however, the animal showed for a moment a feeling of anxiety;
slowly, as if conscious that he was in the presence of a powerful
adversary, he retreated some steps, keeping his fiery eyes all the time
on the man. The Sicilian also kept his keen gaze on the lion, and, with
his body slightly inclined forward, marked every alteration of
position. Between the two adversaries, it was easy to see that fear was
on the side of the beast; but, in comparing the feeble means of the
man--a rude club--with the powerful structure of the lion, whose
boundings made the very ground beneath him tremble, it was hard for the
spectators to believe that courage, and not strength, would win the
victory.

The lion was too excited and famished to remain long undecided. After
more backward steps, which he made as if gaining time for reflection,
he suddenly advanced in a sidelong direction in order to charge upon
his adversary.

[Illustration: "THE BEAST GAVE A MIGHTY SPRING."]

The Sicilian did not move, but followed with his fixed gaze the motions
of the lion. Greatly irritated, the beast gave a mighty spring,
uttering a terrible roar; the man, at the same moment, leaped aside,
and the lion had barely touched the ground, when the club came down
upon his head with a dull, shocking thud. The king of the desert rolled
heavily under the stroke, and fell headlong, stunned and senseless, but
not dead.

The spectators, overcome with admiration, and awed at the exhibition of
so much calmness, address and strength, were hushed into profound
silence. The next moment, the Bey arose, and, with a gesture of his
hand, asked mercy for his favorite lion.

"A thousand ducats the more if you will not kill him!" he cried to the
Sicilian. "Agreed!" was the instant reply.

The lion lay panting on the ground. The Hercules bowed at the word of
the Bey, and slowly withdrew, still keeping his eyes on the conquered
brute. The two thousand ducats were counted out and paid. The lion
shortly recovered.

With a universal gasp of relief, followed by deafening shouts and
cheers, the spectators withdrew from the terrace, having witnessed a
scene they could never forget, and which, as I said at the beginning,
is still talked of in Tunis.



BRUNO'S REVENGE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "ALICE IN WONDERLAND."


It was a very hot afternoon,--too hot to go for a walk or do
anything,--or else it wouldn't have happened, I believe.

In the first place, I want to know why fairies should always be
teaching _us_ to do our duty, and lecturing _us_ when we go wrong, and
we should never teach _them_ anything? You can't mean to say that
fairies are never greedy, or selfish, or cross, or deceitful, because
that would be nonsense, you know. Well, then, don't you agree with me
that they might be all the better for a little scolding and punishing
now and then?

I really don't see why it shouldn't be tried, and I'm almost sure (only
_please_ don't repeat this loud in the woods) that if you could only
catch a fairy, and put it in the corner, and give it nothing but bread
and water for a day or two, you'd find it quite an improved character;
it would take down its conceit a little, at all events.

The next question is, what is the best time for seeing fairies? I
believe I can tell you all about that.

The first rule is, that it must be a _very_ hot day--that we may
consider as settled; and you must be just a _little_ sleepy--but not
too sleepy to keep your eyes open, mind. Well, and you ought to feel a
little--what one may call "fairyish"--the Scotch call it "eerie," and
perhaps that's a prettier word; if you don't know what it means, I'm
afraid I can hardly explain it; you must wait till you meet a fairy,
and then you'll know.

And the last rule is, that the crickets shouldn't be chirping. I can't
stop to explain that rule just now--you must take it on trust for the
present.

So, if all these things happen together, you've a good chance of seeing
a fairy--or at least a much better chance than if they didn't.

The one I'm going to tell you about was a real, naughty little fairy.
Properly speaking, there were two of them, and one was naughty and one
was good, but perhaps you would have found that out for yourself.

Now we really _are_ going to begin the story.

It was Tuesday afternoon, about half-past three,--it's always best to
be particular as to dates,--and I had wandered down into the wood by
the lake, partly because I had nothing to do, and that seemed to be a
good place to do it in, and partly (as I said at first) because it was
too hot to be comfortable anywhere, except under trees.

The first thing I noticed, as I went lazily along through an open place
in the wood, was a large beetle lying struggling on its back, and I
went down directly on one knee to help the poor thing on its feet
again. In some things, you know, you can't be quite sure what an insect
would like; for instance, I never could quite settle, supposing I were
a moth, whether I would rather be kept out of the candle, or be allowed
to fly straight in and get burnt; or, again, supposing I were a spider,
I'm not sure if I should be _quite_ pleased to have my web torn down,
and the fly let loose; but I feel quite certain that, if I were a
beetle and had rolled over on my back, I should always be glad to be
helped up again.

So, as I was saying, I had gone down on one knee, and was just reaching
out a little stick to turn the beetle over, when I saw a sight that
made me draw back hastily and hold my breath, for fear of making any
noise and frightening the little creature away.

Not that she looked as if she would be easily frightened; she seemed so
good and gentle that I'm sure she would never expect that any one could
wish to hurt her. She was only a few inches high, and was dressed in
green, so that you really would hardly have noticed her among the long
grass; and she was so delicate and graceful that she quite seemed to
belong to the place, almost as if she were one of the flowers. I may
tell you, besides, that she had no wings (I don't believe in fairies
with wings), and that she had quantities of long brown hair and large,
earnest brown eyes, and then I shall have done all I can to give you an
idea of what she was like.

Sylvie (I found out her name afterward) had knelt down, just as I was
doing, to help the beetle; but it needed more than a little stick for
_her_ to get it on its legs again; it was as much as she could do, with
both arms, to roll the heavy thing over; and all the while she was
talking to it, half-scolding and half-comforting, as a nurse might do
with a child that had fallen down.

"There, there! You needn't cry so much about it; you're not killed
yet--though if you were, you couldn't cry, you know, and so it's a
general rule against crying, my dear! And how did you come to tumble
over? But I can see well enough how it was,--I needn't ask you
that,--walking over sand-pits with your chin in the air, as usual. Of
course if you go among sand-pits like that, you must expect to tumble;
you should look."

The beetle murmured something that sounded like "I _did_ look," and
Sylvie went on again:

"But I know you didn't! You never do! You always walk with your chin
up--you're so dreadfully conceited. Well, let's see how many legs are
broken this time. Why, none of them, I declare! though that's certainly
more than you deserve. And what's the good of having six legs, my dear,
if you can only kick them all about in the air when you tumble? Legs
are meant to walk with, you know. Now, don't be cross about it, and
don't begin putting out your wings yet; I've some more to say. Go down
to the frog that lives behind that buttercup--give him my
compliments--Sylvie's compliments--can you say 'compliments?'"

The beetle tried, and, I suppose, succeeded.

"Yes, that's right. And tell him he's to give you some of that salve I
left with him yesterday. And you'd better get him to rub it in for you;
he's got rather cold hands, but you mustn't mind that."

I think the beetle must have shuddered at this idea, for Sylvie went on
in a graver tone:

"Now, you needn't pretend to be so particular as all that, as if you
were too grand to be rubbed by a frog. The fact is, you ought to be
very much obliged to him. Suppose you could get nobody but a toad to do
it, how would you like that?"

There was a little pause, and then Sylvie added:

"Now you may go. Be a good beetle, and don't keep your chin in the
air."

And then began one of those performances of humming, and whizzing, and
restless banging about, such as a beetle indulges in when it has
decided on flying, but hasn't quite made up its mind which way to go.
At last, in one of its awkward zigzags, it managed to fly right into my
face, and by the time I had recovered from the shock, the little fairy
was gone.

I looked about in all directions for the little creature, but there was
no trace of her--and my "eerie" feeling was quite gone off, and the
crickets were chirping again merrily, so I knew she was really gone.

And now I've got time to tell you the rule about the crickets. They
always leave off chirping when a fairy goes by, because a fairy's a
kind of queen over them, I suppose; at all events, it's a much grander
thing than a cricket; so whenever you're walking out, and the crickets
suddenly leave off chirping, you may be sure that either they see a
fairy, or else they're frightened at your coming so near.

I walked on sadly enough, you may be sure. However, I comforted myself
with thinking, "It's been a very wonderful afternoon, so far; I'll just
go quietly on and look about me, and I shouldn't wonder if I come
across another fairy somewhere."

Peering about in this way, I happened to notice a plant with rounded
leaves, and with queer little holes cut out in the middle of several of
them. "Ah! the leaf-cutter bee," I carelessly remarked; you know I am
very learned in natural history (for instance, I can always tell
kittens from chickens at one glance); and I was passing on, when a
sudden thought made me stoop down and examine the leaves more
carefully.

Then a little thrill of delight ran through me, for I noticed that the
holes were all arranged so as to form letters; there were three leaves
side by side, with "B," "R" and "U" marked on them, and after some
search I found two more, which contained an "N" and an "O."

By this time the "eerie" feeling had all come back again, and I
suddenly observed that no crickets were chirping; so I felt quite sure
that "Bruno" was a fairy, and that he was somewhere very near.

And so indeed he was--so near that I had very nearly walked over him
without seeing him; which would have been dreadful, always supposing
that fairies _can_ be walked over; my own belief is that they are
something of the nature of will-o'-the-wisps, and there's no walking
over _them_.

Think of any pretty little boy you know, rather fat, with rosy cheeks,
large dark eyes, and tangled brown hair, and then fancy him made small
enough to go comfortably into a coffee-cup, and you'll have a very fair
idea of what the little creature was like.

"What's your name, little fellow?" I began, in as soft a voice as I
could manage. And, by the way, that's another of the curious things in
life that I never could quite understand--why we always begin by asking
little children their names; is it because we fancy there isn't quite
enough of them, and a name will help to make them a little bigger? You
never thought of asking a real large man his name, now, did you? But,
however that may be, I felt it quite necessary to know _his_ name; so,
as he didn't answer my question, I asked it again a little louder.
"What's your name, my little man?"

"What's yours?" he said, without looking up.

"My name's Lewis Carroll," I said, quite gently, for he was much too
small to be angry with for answering so uncivilly.

"Duke of Anything?" he asked, just looking at me for a moment, and then
going on with his work.

"Not Duke at all," I said, a little ashamed of having to confess it.

"You're big enough to be two Dukes," said the little creature. "I
suppose you're Sir Something, then?"

"No," I said, feeling more and more ashamed. "I haven't got any title."

The fairy seemed to think that in that case I really wasn't worth the
trouble of talking to, for he quietly went on digging, and tearing the
flowers to pieces as fast as he got them out of the ground. After a few
minutes I tried again:

"_Please_ tell me what your name is."

"Bruno," the little fellow answered, very readily. "Why didn't you say
'please' before?"

"That's something like what we used to be taught in the nursery," I
thought to myself, looking back through the long years (about a hundred
and fifty of them) to the time when I used to be a little child myself.
And here an idea came into my head, and I asked him, "Aren't you one of
the fairies that teach children to be good?"

"Well, we have to do that sometimes," said Bruno, "and a dreadful
bother it is."

As he said this, he savagely tore a heart's-ease in two, and trampled
on the pieces.

"What _are_ you doing there, Bruno?" I said.

"Spoiling Sylvie's garden," was all the answer Bruno would give at
first. But, as he went on tearing up the flowers, he muttered to
himself, "The nasty c'oss thing--wouldn't let me go and play this
morning, though I wanted to ever so much--said I must finish my lessons
first--lessons, indeed! I'll vex her finely, though!"

"Oh, Bruno, you shouldn't do that!" I cried. "Don't you know that's
revenge? And revenge is a wicked, cruel, dangerous thing!"

"River-edge?" said Bruno. "What a funny word! I suppose you call it
cooel and dangerous because, if you went too far and tumbled in, you'd
get d'owned."

"No, not river-edge," I explained; "rev-enge" (saying the word very
slowly and distinctly). But I couldn't help thinking that Bruno's
explanation did very well for either word.

"Oh!" said Bruno, opening his eyes very wide, but without attempting to
repeat the word.

"Come! try and pronounce it, Bruno!" I said, cheerfully. "Rev-enge,
rev-enge."

But Bruno only tossed his little head, and said he couldn't; that his
mouth wasn't the right shape for words of that kind. And the more I
laughed, the more sulky the little fellow got about it.

"Well, never mind, little man!" I said. "Shall I help you with the job
you've got there?"

"Yes, please," Bruno said, quite pacified. "Only I wish I could think
of something to vex her more than this. You don't know how hard it is
to make her ang'y!"

"Now listen to me, Bruno, and I'll teach you quite a splendid kind of
revenge!"

"Something that'll vex her finely?" Bruno asked with gleaming eyes.

"Something that'll vex her finely. First, we'll get up all the weeds in
her garden. See, there are a good many at this end--quite hiding the
flowers."

"But _that_ wont vex her," said Bruno, looking rather puzzled.

"After that," I said, without noticing the remark, "we'll water the
highest bed--up here. You see it's getting quite dry and dusty."

Bruno looked at me inquisitively, but he said nothing this time.

"Then, after that," I went on, "the walks want sweeping a bit; and I
think you might cut down that tall nettle; it's so close to the garden
that it's quite in the way--"

"What _are_ you talking about?" Bruno impatiently interrupted me. "All
that wont vex her a bit!"

"Wont it?" I said, innocently. "Then, after that, suppose we put in
some of these colored pebbles--just to mark the divisions between the
different kinds of flowers, you know. That'll have a very pretty
effect."

Bruno turned round and had another good stare at me. At last there came
an odd little twinkle in his eye, and he said, with quite a new meaning
in his voice:

"V'y well--let's put 'em in rows--all the 'ed together, and all the
blue together."

"That'll do capitally," I said; "and then--what kind of flowers does
Sylvie like best in her garden?"

Bruno had to put his thumb in his mouth and consider a little before he
could answer. "Violets," he said, at last.

"There's a beautiful bed of violets down by the lake--"

"Oh, let's fetch 'em!" cried Bruno, giving a little skip into the air.
"Here! Catch hold of my hand, and I'll help you along. The g'ass is
rather thick down that way."

I couldn't help laughing at his having so entirely forgotten what a big
creature he was talking to.

"No, not yet, Bruno," I said; "we must consider what's the right thing
to do first. You see we've got quite a business before us."

"Yes, let's consider," said Bruno, putting his thumb into his mouth
again, and sitting down upon a stuffed mouse.

"What do you keep that mouse for?" I said. "You should bury it, or
throw it into the lake."

"Why, it's to measure with!" cried Bruno. "How ever would you do a
garden without one? We make each bed th'ee mouses and a half long, and
two mouses wide."

I stopped him, as he was dragging it off by the tail to show me how it
was used, for I was half afraid the "eerie" feeling might go off before
we had finished the garden, and in that case I should see no more of
him or Sylvie.

"I think the best way will be for _you_ to weed the beds, while _I_
sort out these pebbles, ready to mark the walks with."

"That's it!" cried Bruno. "And I'll tell you about the caterpillars
while we work."

"Ah, let's hear about the caterpillars," I said, as I drew the pebbles
together into a heap, and began dividing them into colors.

And Bruno went on in a low, rapid tone, more as if he were talking to
himself. "Yesterday I saw two little caterpillars, when I was sitting
by the brook, just where you go into the wood. They were quite g'een,
and they had yellow eyes, and they didn't see _me_. And one of them
had got a moth's wing to carry--a g'eat b'own moth's wing, you know,
all d'y, with feathers. So he couldn't want it to eat, I should
think--perhaps he meant to make a cloak for the winter?"

"Perhaps," I said, for Bruno had twisted up the last word into a sort
of question, and was looking at me for an answer.

One word was quite enough for the little fellow, and he went on,
merrily:

"Well, and so he didn't want the other caterpillar to see the moth's
wing, you know; so what must he do but t'y to carry it with all his
left legs, and he t'ied to walk on the other set. Of course, he toppled
over after that."

"After what?" I said, catching at the last word, for, to tell the
truth, I hadn't been attending much.

"He toppled over," Bruno repeated, very gravely, "and if _you_ ever saw
a caterpillar topple over, you'd know it's a serious thing, and not sit
g'inning like that--and I shan't tell you any more."

"Indeed and indeed, Bruno, I didn't mean to grin. See, I'm quite grave
again now."

But Bruno only folded his arms and said, "Don't tell _me_. I see a
little twinkle in one of your eyes--just like the moon."

"Am _I_ like the moon, Bruno?" I asked.

"Your face is large and round like the moon," Bruno answered, looking
at me thoughtfully. "It doesn't shine quite so bright--but it's
cleaner."

I couldn't help smiling at this. "You know I wash _my_ face, Bruno. The
moon never does that."

"Oh, doesn't she though!" cried Bruno; and he leaned forward and added
in a solemn whisper, "The moon's face gets dirtier and dirtier every
night, till it's black all ac'oss. And then, when it's dirty all
over--_so_--" (he passed his hand across his own rosy cheeks as he
spoke) "then she washes it."

"And then it's all clean again, isn't it?"

"Not all in a moment," said Bruno. "What a deal of teaching you want!
She washes it little by little--only she begins at the other edge."

By this time he was sitting quietly on the mouse, with his arms folded,
and the weeding wasn't getting on a bit. So I was obliged to say:

"Work first and pleasure afterward; no more talking till that bed's
finished."

After that we had a few minutes of silence, while I sorted out the
pebbles, and amused myself with watching Bruno's plan of gardening. It
was quite a new plan to me: he always measured each bed before he
weeded it, as if he was afraid the weeding would make it shrink; and
once, when it came out longer than he wished, he set to work to thump
the mouse with his tiny fist, crying out, "There now! It's all 'ong
again! Why don't you keep your tail st'aight when I tell you!"

"I'll tell you what I'll do," Bruno said in a half-whisper, as we
worked: "I'll get you an invitation to the king's dinner-party. I know
one of the head-waiters."

I couldn't help laughing at this idea. "Do the waiters invite the
guests?" I asked.

"Oh, not _to sit down_!" Bruno hastily replied. "But to help, you know.
You'd like that, wouldn't you? To hand about plates, and so on."

"Well, but that's not so nice as sitting at the table, is it?"

"Of course it isn't," Bruno said, in a tone as if he rather pitied my
ignorance; "but if you're not even Sir Anything, you can't expect to be
allowed to sit at the table, you know."

I said, as meekly as I could, that I didn't expect it, but it was the
only way of going to a dinner-party that I really enjoyed. And Bruno
tossed his head, and said, in a rather offended tone, that I might do
as I pleased--there were many he knew that would give their ears to go.

"Have you ever been yourself, Bruno?"

"They invited me once last year," Bruno said, very gravely. "It was to
wash up the soup-plates--no, the cheese-plates I mean--that was g'and
enough. But the g'andest thing of all was, _I_ fetched the Duke of
Dandelion a glass of cider!"

"That _was_ grand!" I said, biting my lip to keep myself from laughing.

"Wasn't it!" said Bruno, very earnestly. "You know it isn't every one
that's had such an honor as _that_!"

This set me thinking of the various queer things we call "an honor" in
this world, which, after all, haven't a bit more honor in them than
what the dear little Bruno enjoyed (by the way, I hope you're beginning
to like him a little, naughty as he was?) when he took the Duke of
Dandelion a glass of cider.

I don't know how long I might have dreamed on in this way if Bruno
hadn't suddenly roused me.

"Oh, come here quick!" he cried, in a state of the wildest excitement.
"Catch hold of his other horn! I can't hold him more than a minute!"

He was struggling desperately with a great snail, clinging to one of
its horns, and nearly breaking his poor little back in his efforts to
drag it over a blade of grass.

I saw we should have no more gardening if I let this sort of thing go
on, so I quietly took the snail away, and put it on a bank where he
couldn't reach it. "We'll hunt it afterward, Bruno," I said, "if you
really want to catch it. But what's the use of it when you've got it?"

"What's the use of a fox when you've got it?" said Bruno. "I know you
big things hunt foxes."

I tried to think of some good reason why "big things" should hunt
foxes, and he shouldn't hunt snails, but none came into my head: so I
said at last, "Well, I suppose one's as good as the other. I'll go
snail-hunting myself, some day."

"I should think you wouldn't be so silly," said Bruno, "as to go
snail-hunting all by yourself. Why, you'd never get the snail along, if
you hadn't somebody to hold on to his other horn!"

"Of course I sha'n't go alone," I said, quite gravely. "By the way, is
that the best kind to hunt, or do you recommend the ones without
shells?"

"Oh no! We never hunt the ones without shells," Bruno said, with a
little shudder at the thought of it. "They're always so c'oss about it;
and then, if you tumble over them, they're ever so sticky!"

By this time we had nearly finished the garden. I had fetched some
violets, and Bruno was just helping me to put in the last, when he
suddenly stopped and said, "I'm tired."

"Rest, then," I said; "I can go on without you."

Bruno needed no second invitation: he at once began arranging the mouse
as a kind of sofa. "And I'll sing you a little song," he said as he
rolled it about.

"Do," said I: "there's nothing I should like better."

"Which song will you choose?" Bruno said, as he dragged the mouse into
a place where he could get a good view of me. "'Ting, ting, ting,' is
the nicest."

There was no resisting such a strong hint as this: however, I pretended
to think about it for a moment, and then said, "Well, I like 'Ting,
ting, ting,' best of all."

"That shows you're a good judge of music," Bruno said, with a pleased
look. "How many bluebells would you like?" And he put his thumb into
his mouth to help me to consider.

As there was only one bluebell within easy reach, I said very gravely
that I thought one would do _this_ time, and I picked it and gave it to
him. Bruno ran his hand once or twice up and down the flowers,--like a
musician trying an instrument,--producing a most delicious delicate
tinkling as he did so. I had never heard flower-music before,--I don't
think one can unless one's in the "eerie" state,--and I don't know
quite how to give you an idea of what it was like, except by saying
that it sounded like a peal of bells a thousand miles off.

When he had satisfied himself that the flowers were in tune, he seated
himself on the mouse (he never seemed really comfortable anywhere
else), and, looking up at me with a merry twinkle in his eyes, he
began. By the way, the tune was rather a curious one, and you might
like to try it for yourself, so here are the notes:

[Illustration]

     "Rise, oh, rise! The daylight dies:
        The owls are hooting, ting, ting, ting!
      Wake, oh, wake! Beside the lake
        The elves are fluting, ting, ting, ting!
      Welcoming our fairy king
        We sing, sing, sing."

He sang the first four lines briskly and merrily, making the bluebells
chime in time with the music; but the last two he sang quite slowly and
gently, and merely waved the flowers backward and forward above his
head. And when he had finished the first verse, he left off to explain.

"The name of our fairy king is Obberwon" (he meant Oberon, I believe),
"and he lives over the lake--_there_--and now and then he comes in a
little boat--and then we go and meet him--and then we sing this song,
you know."

"And then you go and dine with him?" I said, mischievously.

"You shouldn't talk," Bruno hastily said; "it interrupts the song so."

I said I wouldn't do it again.

"I never talk myself when I'm singing," he went on, very gravely; "so
you shouldn't either."

Then he tuned the bluebells once more, and sung:

     "Hear, oh, hear! From far and near
        A music stealing, ting, ting, ting!
      Fairy bells adown the dells
        Are merrily pealing, ting, ting, ting!
      Welcoming our fairy king
        We ring, ring, ring.

     "See, oh, see! On every tree
        What lamps are shining, ting, ting, ting!
      They are eyes of fiery flies
        To light our dining, ting, ting, ting!
      Welcoming our fairy king
        They swing, swing, swing.

     "Haste, oh, haste! to take and taste
        The dainties waiting, ting, ting, ting!
      Honey-dew is stored--"

"Hush, Bruno!" I interrupted, in a warning whisper. "She's coming!"

Bruno checked his song only just in time for Sylvie not to hear him;
and then, catching sight of her as she slowly made her way through the
long grass, he suddenly rushed out headlong at her like a little bull,
shouting, "Look the other way! Look the other way!"

"Which way?" Sylvie asked, in rather a frightened tone, as she looked
round in all directions to see where the danger could be.

"_That_ way!" said Bruno, carefully turning her round with her face to
the wood. "Now, walk backward--walk gently--don't be frightened; you
sha'n't t'ip!"

But Sylvie did "t'ip," notwithstanding; in fact he led her, in his
hurry, across so many little sticks and stones, that it was really a
wonder the poor child could keep on her feet at all. But he was far too
much excited to think of what he was doing.

I silently pointed out to Bruno the best place to lead her to, so as to
get a view of the whole garden at once; it was a little rising ground,
about the height of a potato; and, when they had mounted it, I drew
back into the shade that Sylvie mightn't see me.

I heard Bruno cry out triumphantly, "_Now_ you may look!" and then
followed a great clapping of hands, but it was all done by Bruno
himself. Sylvie was quite silent; she only stood and gazed with her
hands clasped tightly together, and I was half afraid she didn't like
it after all.

Bruno, too, was watching her anxiously, and when she jumped down from
the mound, and began wandering up and down the little walks, he
cautiously followed her about, evidently anxious that she should form
her own opinion of it all, without any hint from him. And when at last
she drew a long breath, and gave her verdict,--in a hurried whisper,
and without the slightest regard to grammar,--"It's the loveliest thing
as I never saw in all my life before!" the little fellow looked as well
pleased as if it had been given by all the judges and juries in England
put together.

"And did you really do it all by yourself, Bruno?" said Sylvie. "And
all for me?"

"I was helped a bit," Bruno began, with a merry little laugh at her
surprise. "We've been at it all the afternoon; I thought you 'd like--"
and here the poor little fellow's lip began to quiver, and all in a
moment he burst out crying, and, running up to Sylvie, he flung his
arms passionately round her neck, and hid his face on her shoulder.

There was a little quiver in Sylvie's voice too, as she whispered,
"Why, what's the matter, darling?" and tried to lift up his head and
kiss him.

But Bruno only clung to her, sobbing, and wouldn't be comforted till he
had confessed all.

"I tried--to spoil your garden--first--but--I 'll never--never----" and
then came another burst of tears which drowned the rest of the
sentence. At last he got out the words, "I liked--putting in the
flowers--for _you_, Sylvie--and I never was so happy before," and the
rosy little face came up at last to be kissed, all wet with tears as it
was.

Sylvie was crying too by this time, and she said nothing but "Bruno
dear!" and "_I_ never was so happy before;" though why two children who
had never been so happy before should both be crying was a great
mystery to me.

[Illustration: "IT'S THE LOVELIEST THING AS I NEVER SAW IN ALL MY LIFE
BEFORE!"]

I, too, felt very happy, but of course I didn't cry; "big things" never
do, you know--we leave all that to the fairies. Only I think it must
have been raining a little just then, for I found a drop or two on my
cheeks.

After that they went through the whole garden again, flower by flower,
as if it were a long sentence they were spelling out, with kisses for
commas, and a great hug by way of a full-stop when they got to the end.

"Do you know, that was my river-edge, Sylvie?" Bruno began, looking
solemnly at her.

Sylvie laughed merrily.

"What _do_ you mean?" she said, and she pushed back her heavy brown
hair with both hands, and looked at him with dancing eyes in which the
big tear-drops were still glittering.

Bruno drew in a long breath, and made up his mouth for a great effort.

"I mean rev--enge," he said; "now you under'tand." And he looked so
happy and proud at having said the word right at last that I quite
envied him. I rather think Sylvie didn't "under'tand" at all; but she
gave him a little kiss on each cheek, which seemed to do just as well.

So they wandered off lovingly together, in among the buttercups, each
with an arm twined round the other, whispering and laughing as they
went, and never so much as once looked back at poor me. Yes, once, just
before I quite lost sight of them, Bruno half turned his head, and
nodded me a saucy little good-bye over one shoulder. And that was all
the thanks I got for _my_ trouble.

I know you're sorry the story's come to an end--aren't you?--so I'll
just tell you one thing more. The very last thing I saw of them was
this: Sylvie was stooping down with her arms round Bruno's neck, and
saying coaxingly in his ear, "Do you know, Bruno, I've quite forgotten
that hard word; do say it once more. Come! Only this once, dear!"

But Bruno wouldn't try it again.



THE MOCKING-BIRD AND THE DONKEY.

(_From the Spanish of the Mexican poet José Rosas_.)

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.


  A mock-bird in a village
    Had somehow gained the skill
  To imitate the voices
    Of animals at will.

  And singing in his prison,
    Once, at the close of day,
  He gave, with great precision,
    The donkey's heavy bray.

  Well pleased, the mock-bird's master
    Sent to the neighbors 'round,
  And bade them come together
    To hear that curious sound.

  They came, and all were talking
    In praise of what they heard,
  And one delighted lady
    Would fain have bought the bird.

  A donkey listened sadly,
    And said: "Confess I must
  That these are shallow people,
    And terribly unjust.

  "I'm bigger than the mock-bird,
    And better bray than he,
  Yet not a soul has uttered
    A word in praise of me."



THE FAMOUS HORSES OF VENICE.

BY MARY LLOYD.


No doubt you all know something of Venice, that wonderful and
fairy-like city which seems to rise up out of the sea; with its bridges
and gondolas; its marble palaces coming down to the water's edge; its
gay ladies and stately doges. What a magnificent pageant was that which
took place every Ascension Day, when the doge and all his court sailed
grandly out in the "Bucentaur," or state galley, with gay colors
flying, to the tune of lively music, and went through the oft-repeated
ceremony of dropping a ring into the Adriatic, in token of marriage
between the sea and Venice! This was a custom instituted as far back as
1177. The Venetians having espoused the cause of the pope, Alexander
III., against the emperor, Frederic Barbarossa, gained a great victory
over the imperial fleet, and the pope, in grateful remembrance of the
event, presented the doge with the ring symbolizing the subjection of
the Adriatic to Venice.

But one of the most wonderful things about Venice is that, with the
exception of those I intend to tell you about, there are no horses
there. How charming it must be, you think, when you want to visit a
friend, to run down the marble steps of some old palace, step into a
gondola, and glide swiftly and noiselessly away, instead of jolting and
rumbling along over the cobble-stones! And then to come back by
moonlight, and hear the low plash of the oar in the water, and the
distant voices of the boatmen singing some love-sick song,--oh, it's as
good as a play!

Of course there are no carts in Venice; and the fish-man, the
vegetable-man, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, all
glide softly up in their boats to the kitchen door with their
vendibles, and chaffer and haggle with the cook for half an hour, after
the manner of market-men the world over.

So you see the little black-eyed Venetian boys and girls gaze on the
brazen horses in St. Mark's Square with as much wonder and curiosity as
ours when we look upon a griffin or a unicorn.

[Illustration: THE HORSES OF ST. MARK'S.]

These horses--there are four of them--have quite a history of their
own. They once formed part of a group made by a celebrated sculptor of
antiquity, named Lysippus. He was of such acknowledged merit that he
was one of the three included in the famous edict of Alexander, which
gave to Apelles the sole right of painting his portrait, to Lysippus
that of sculpturing his form in any style, and to Pyrgoteles that of
engraving it upon precious stones.

Lysippus executed a group of twenty-five equestrian statues of the
Macedonian horses that fell at the passage of the Granicus, and of this
group the horses now at Venice formed a part. They were carried from
Alexandria to Rome by Augustus, who placed them on his triumphal arch.
Afterward Nero, Domitian and Trajan, successfully transferred them to
arches of their own.

When Constantine removed the capital of the Roman empire to the ancient
Byzantium, he sought to beautify it by all means in his power, and for
this purpose he removed a great number of works of art from Rome to
Constantinople, and among them these bronze horses of Lysippus.

In the early part of the thirteenth century the nobles of France and
Germany, who were going on the fourth crusade, arrived at Venice and
stipulated with the Venetians for means of transport to the Holy Land.
But instead of proceeding to Jerusalem they were diverted from their
original intention, and, under the leadership of the blind old doge,
Dandolo, they captured the city of Constantinople. The fall of the city
was followed by an almost total destruction of the works of art by
which it had been adorned; for the Latins disgraced themselves by a
more ruthless vandalism than that of the Vandals themselves.

But out of the wreck the four bronze horses were saved and carried in
triumph to Venice, where they were placed over the central porch of St.
Mark's Cathedral. There they stood until Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797
removed them with other trophies to Paris; but after his downfall they
were restored, and, as Byron says in "Childe Harold":

     "Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
        Their gilded collars glittering in the sun;
      But is not Doria's menace come to pass?
        Are they not bridled?"--

Apropos of the last two lines I have quoted, I must tell you an
incident of history.

During the middle ages, when so many of the Italian cities existed as
independent republics, there was a great deal of rivalry between Genoa
and Venice, the most important of them. Both were wealthy commercial
cities; both strove for the supremacy of the sea, upon which much of
their prosperity depended, and each strove to gain the advantage over
the other. This led to many wars between them, when sometimes one would
gain the upper hand, and sometimes the other. At length, in the year
1379, the Genoese defeated the Venetians in the battle of Pola, and
then took Chiozza, which commanded, as one might say, the entrance to
Venice. The Venetians, alarmed beyond measure, sent an embassy to the
Genoese commander, Pietro Doria, agreeing to any terms whatever,
imploring only that he would spare the city. They also sent the chief
of the prisoners they had taken in the war in order to appease the
fierce anger of the general. "Take back your captives, ye gentlemen of
Venice," was the too confident reply of the haughty Doria; "we will
release them and their companions. On God's faith, ye shall have no
peace till we put a curb into the mouths of those wild horses of St.
Mark's. Place but the reins once in our hands, and we shall know how to
bridle them for the future."

Armed with the courage and energy which despair alone can give, the
Venetians rallied for the defence of their city. Women and children
joined in the preparations. All private feuds, jealousies and
animosities were forgotten in the common danger. All were animated by
the one feeling of implacable hatred of the Genoese. Pisani, an old
commander, who had been unjustly imprisoned through the envy of his
fellow-citizens, was released and put in command of the fleet. On
coming out of his cell, he was surrounded by those who had injured him,
who implored him to forget the injustice with which he had been
treated. He partook of the sacrament with them in token of complete
forgetfulness and forgiveness, and then proceeded against the enemy.
The confidence of the republic had not been misplaced. His bravery,
skill and foresight, together with the aid of another brave captain,
Carl Zeno, saved the city, retook Chiozza, and completely humiliated
the Genoese, who were now willing to sue for peace. So that, after all,
Doria's angry menace was the means of saving the independence of the
city, and the proud possession of the bronze horses of St. Mark's.



CHRISTMAS CARD.

(SEE "LETTER-BOX.")


[Illustration: A greeting by my page I send
To thee on Christmas Day, my friend.]



THE PETERKINS' CHARADES.

BY LUCRETIA P. HALE.


Ever since they had come home from the great Centennial at
Philadelphia, the Peterkins had felt anxious to have "something." The
little boys wanted to get up a "great Exposition," to show to the
people of the place who had not been able to go to Philadelphia. But
Mr. Peterkin thought it too great an effort, and it was given up.

There was, however, a new water-trough needed on the town-common, and
the ladies of the place thought it ought to be something
handsome,--something more than a common trough,--and they ought to work
for it.

Elizabeth Eliza had heard at Philadelphia how much women had done, and
she felt they ought to contribute to such a cause. She had an idea, but
she would not speak of it at first, not until after she had written to
the lady from Philadelphia. She had often thought, in many cases, if
they had asked her advice first, they might have saved trouble.

Still, how could they ask advice before they themselves knew what they
wanted? It was very easy to ask advice, but you must first know what to
ask about. And again: Elizabeth Eliza felt you might have ideas, but
you could not always put them together. There was this idea of the
water-trough, and then this idea of getting some money for it. So she
began with writing to the lady from Philadelphia. The little boys
believed she spent enough for it in postage-stamps before it all came
out.

But it did come out at last that the Peterkins were to have some
charades at their own house for the benefit of the needed
water-trough,--tickets sold only to especial friends. Ann Maria
Bromwich was to help act, because she could bring some old bonnets and
gowns that had been worn by an aged aunt years ago, and which they had
always kept. Elizabeth Eliza said that Solomon John would have to be a
Turk, and they must borrow all the red things and Cashmere scarfs in
the place. She knew people would be willing to lend things.

Agamemnon thought you ought to get in something about the Hindoos, they
were such an odd people. Elizabeth Eliza said you must not have it too
odd, or people would not understand it, and she did not want anything
to frighten her mother. She had one word suggested by the lady from
Philadelphia in her letters,--the one that had "Turk" in it,--but they
ought to have two words.

"Oh yes," Ann Maria said, "you must have two words; if the people paid
for their tickets, they would want to get their money's worth."

Solomon John thought you might have "Hindoos"; the little boys could
color their faces brown to look like Hindoos. You could have the first
scene an Irishman catching a hen, and then paying the water-taxes for
"dues," and then have the little boys for Hindoos.

A great many other words were talked of, but nothing seemed to suit.
There was a curtain, too, to be thought of, because the folding doors
stuck when you tried to open and shut them. Agamemnon said the
Pan-Elocutionists had a curtain they would probably lend John Osborne,
and so it was decided to ask John Osborne to help.

If they had a curtain they ought to have a stage. Solomon John said he
was sure he had boards and nails enough, and it would be easy to make a
stage if John Osborne would help put it up.

All this talk was the day before the charades. In the midst of it Ann
Maria went over for her old bonnets and dresses and umbrellas, and they
spent the evening in trying on the various things,--such odd caps and
remarkable bonnets! Solomon John said they ought to have plenty of
bandboxes; if you only had bandboxes enough, a charade was sure to go
off well; he had seen charades in Boston. Mrs. Peterkin said there were
plenty in their attic, and the little boys brought down piles of them,
and the back parlor was filled with costumes.

Ann Maria said she could bring over more things if she only knew what
they were going to act. Elizabeth Eliza told her to bring anything she
had,--it would all come of use.

The morning came, and the boards were collected for the stage.
Agamemnon and Solomon John gave themselves to the work, and John
Osborne helped zealously. He said the Pan-Elocutionists would lend a
scene also. There was a great clatter of bandboxes, and piles of shawls
in corners, and such a piece of work in getting up the curtain! In the
midst of it, came in the little boys, shouting, "All the tickets are
sold at ten cents each!"

"Seventy tickets sold!" exclaimed Agamemnon.

"Seven dollars for the water-trough!" said Elizabeth Eliza.

"And we do not know yet what we are going to act!" exclaimed Ann Maria.

But everybody's attention had to be given to the scene that was going
up in the background, borrowed from the Pan-Elocutionists. It was
magnificent, and represented a forest.

"Where are we going to put seventy people?" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin,
venturing, dismayed, into the heaps of shavings and boards and litter.

The little boys exclaimed that a large part of the audience consisted
of boys, who would not take up much room. But how much clearing and
sweeping and moving of chairs was necessary before all could be made
ready! It was late, and some of the people had already come to secure
good seats even before the actors had assembled.

"What are we going to act?" asked Ann Maria.

"I have been so torn with one thing and another," said Elizabeth Eliza,
"I haven't had time to think!"

"Haven't you the word yet?" asked John Osborne, for the audience was
flocking in, and the seats were filling up rapidly.

"I have got one word in my pocket," said Elizabeth Eliza, "in the
letter from the lady from Philadelphia. She sent me the parts of the
word. Solomon John is to be a Turk, but I don't yet understand the
whole of the word."

"You don't know the word and the people are all here!" said John
Osborne, impatiently.

"Elizabeth Eliza!" exclaimed Ann Maria, "Solomon John says I'm to be a
Turkish slave, and I'll have to wear a veil. Do you know where the
veils are? You know I brought them over last night."

"Elizabeth Eliza! Solomon John wants you to send him the large cashmere
scarf," exclaimed one of the little boys, coming in. "Elizabeth Eliza!
you must tell us what kind of faces to make up!" cried another of the
boys.

And the audience were heard meanwhile taking their seats on the other
side of the thin curtain.

"You sit in front, Mrs. Bromwich, you are a little hard of hearing; sit
where you can hear."

"And let Julia Fitch come where she can see," said another voice.

"And we have not any words for them to hear or see!" exclaimed John
Osborne behind the curtain.

"Oh, I wish we'd never determined to have charades!" exclaimed
Elizabeth Eliza. "Can't we return the money!"

"They are all here; we must give them something!" said John Osborne,
heroically.

"And Solomon John is almost dressed," reported Ann Maria, winding a
veil around her head.

"Why don't we take Solomon John's word 'Hindoos' for the first?" said
Agamemnon.

John Osborne agreed to go in the first, hunting the "hin," or anything,
and one of the little boys took the part of the hen, with the help of a
feather duster. The bell rang, and the first scene began.

It was a great success. John Osborne's Irish was perfect. Nobody
guessed it, for the hen crowed by mistake; but it received great
applause.

Mr. Peterkin came on in the second scene to receive the water-rates,
and made a long speech on taxation. He was interrupted by Ann Maria as
an old woman in a huge bonnet. She persisted in turning her back to the
audience, and speaking so low nobody heard her; and Elizabeth Eliza,
who appeared in a more remarkable bonnet, was so alarmed, she went
directly back, saying she had forgotten something. But this was
supposed to be the effect intended, and it was loudly cheered.

Then came a long delay, for the little boys brought out a number of
their friends to be browned for Hindoos. Ann Maria played on the piano
till the scene was ready. The curtain rose upon five brown boys done up
in blankets and turbans.

"I am thankful that is over," said Elizabeth Eliza, "for now we can act
my word. Only I don't myself know the whole."

"Never mind, let us act it," said John Osborne, "and the audience can
guess the whole."

"The first syllable must be the letter P," said Elizabeth Eliza, "and
we must have a school."

Agamemnon was master, and the little boys and their friends went on as
scholars. All the boys talked and shouted at once, acting their idea of
a school by flinging peanuts about, and scoffing at the master.

"They'll guess that to be 'row,'" said John Osborne in despair;
"they'll never guess 'P'!"

The next scene was gorgeous. Solomon John, as a Turk, reclined on John
Osborne's army-blanket. He had on a turban, and a long beard, and all
the family shawls. Ann Maria and Elizabeth Eliza were brought in to
him, veiled, by the little boys in their Hindoo costumes.

This was considered the great scene of the evening, though Elizabeth
Eliza was sure she did not know what to do,--whether to kneel or sit
down; she did not know whether Turkish women did sit down, and she
could not help laughing whenever she looked at Solomon John. He,
however, kept his solemnity. "I suppose I need not say much," he had
said, "for I shall be the 'Turk who was dreaming of the hour.'" But he
did order the little boys to bring sherbet, and when they brought it
without ice, insisted they must have their heads cut off, and Ann Maria
fainted, and the scene closed.

"What are we to do now?" asked John Osborne, warming up to the
occasion.

"We must have an 'inn' scene," said Elizabeth Eliza, consulting her
letter; "two inns if we can."

"We will have some travelers disgusted with one inn, and going to
another," said John Osborne.

"Now is the time for the bandboxes," said Solomon John, who, since his
Turk scene was over, could give his attention to the rest of the
charade.

Elizabeth Eliza and Ann Maria went on as rival hostesses, trying to
draw Solomon John, Agamemnon and John Osborne into their several inns.
The little boys carried valises, hand-bags, umbrellas and bandboxes.
Bandbox after bandbox appeared, and when Agamemnon sat down upon his,
the applause was immense. At last the curtain fell.

"Now for the whole," said John Osborne, as he made his way off the
stage over a heap of umbrellas.

"I can't think why the lady from Philadelphia did not send me the
whole," said Elizabeth Eliza, musing over the letter.

"Listen, they are guessing," said John Osborne. "'_D-ice-box_.' I don't
wonder they get it wrong."

"But we know it can't be that!" exclaimed Elizabeth Eliza, in agony.
"How can we act the whole if we don't know it ourselves!"

"Oh, I see it!" said Ann Maria, clapping. "Get your whole family in for
the last scene."

Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin were summoned to the stage, and formed the
background, standing on stools; in front were Agamemnon and Solomon
John, leaving room for Elizabeth Eliza between; a little in advance,
and in front of all, half kneeling, were the little boys in their India
rubber boots.

The audience rose to an exclamation of delight, "the Peterkins!"

It was not until this moment that Elizabeth Eliza guessed the whole.

"What a tableau!" exclaimed Mr. Bromwich; "the Peterkin family guessing
their own charade."



A DOUBLE RIDDLE.[A]

BY J.G.H.


  There is a word of music's own
    That lifts the soul to see and do,--
  A happy word, that leaps alone
    From lips by pleasure touched anew,

  Which, if it join thy parted name,
    O Blessed Virgin! bears a curse,
  Than which the fatal midnight flame,
    Or fateful war, holds nothing worse!

  What is this word, with baleful charm,
    To change the sweetest name we know
  To one surcharged with subtile harm?--
    And what the strange, new name of woe?

  And if you guess this riddle well,
    And speak this word in answer true,
  How may it lift--I pray you tell--
    The tuneful soul to see and do?

[Footnote A: The answer will be given in "Letter-Box" of January
number.]



UNDER THE LILACS

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.


CHAPTER 1

A MYSTERIOUS DOG.


The elm-tree avenue was all overgrown, the great gate was never
unlocked, and the old house had been shut up for several years. Yet
voices were heard about the place, the lilacs nodded over the high wall
as if they said, "We could tell fine secrets if we chose," and the
mullein outside the gate made haste to reach the keyhole that it might
peep in and see what was going on.

If it had suddenly grown up like a magic bean-stalk, and looked in on a
certain June day, it would have seen a droll but pleasant sight, for
somebody evidently was going to have a party.

From the gate to the porch went a wide walk, paved with smooth slabs of
dark stone, and bordered with the tall bushes which met overhead,
making a green roof. All sorts of neglected flowers and wild weeds grew
between their stems, covering the walls of this summer parlor with the
prettiest tapestry. A board, propped on two blocks of wood, stood in
the middle of the walk, covered with a little plaid shawl much the
worse for wear, and on it a miniature tea service was set forth with
great elegance. To be sure, the tea-pot had lost its spout, the
cream-jug its handle, the sugar-bowl its cover, and the cups and plates
were all more or less cracked or nicked; but polite persons would not
take notice of these trifling deficiencies, and none but polite persons
were invited to this party.

On either side of the porch was a seat, and here a somewhat remarkable
sight would have been revealed to any inquisitive eye peering through
the aforesaid key-hole. Upon the left-hand seat lay seven dolls, upon
the right-hand seat lay six, and so varied were the expressions of
their countenances, owing to fractures, dirt, age and other
afflictions, that one would very naturally have thought this a doll's
hospital, and these the patients waiting for their tea. This, however,
would have been a sad mistake; for, if the wind had lifted the
coverings laid over them, it would have disclosed the fact that all
were in full dress, and merely reposing before the feast should begin.

There was another interesting feature of the scene which would have
puzzled any but those well acquainted with the manners and customs of
dolls. A fourteenth rag baby, with a china head, hung by her neck from
the rusty knocker in the middle of the door. A sprig of white and one
of purple lilac nodded over her, a dress of yellow calico, richly
trimmed with red flannel scallops, shrouded her slender form, a garland
of small flowers crowned her glossy curls, and a pair of blue boots
touched toes in the friendliest, if not the most graceful, manner. An
emotion of grief, as well as of surprise, might well have thrilled any
youthful breast at such a spectacle, for why, oh! why, was this
resplendent dolly hung up there to be stared at by thirteen of her
kindred? Was she a criminal, the sight of whose execution threw them
flat upon their backs in speechless horror? Or was she an idol, to be
adored in that humble posture? Neither, my friends. She was blonde
Belinda, set, or rather hung, aloft, in the place of honor, for this
was her seventh birthday, and a superb ball was about to celebrate the
great event.

[Illustration: "A RAG-BABY HUNG FROM THE RUSTY KNOCKER."]

All were evidently awaiting a summons to the festive board, but such
was the perfect breeding of these dolls that not a single eye out of
the whole twenty-seven (Dutch Hans had lost one of the black beads from
his worsted countenance) turned for a moment toward the table, or so
much as winked, as they lay in decorous rows, gazing with mute
admiration at Belinda. She, unable to repress the joy and pride which
swelled her sawdust bosom till the seams gaped, gave an occasional
bounce as the wind waved her yellow skirts or made the blue boots dance
a sort of jig upon the door. Hanging was evidently not a painful
operation, for she smiled contentedly, and looked as if the red ribbon
around her neck was not uncomfortably tight; therefore, if slow
suffocation suited _her_, who else had any right to complain? So a
pleasing silence reigned, not even broken by a snore from Dinah, the
top of whose turban alone was visible above the coverlet, or a cry from
baby Jane, though her bare feet stuck out in a way that would have
produced shrieks from a less well-trained infant.

Presently voices were heard approaching, and through the arch which led
to a side path came two little girls, one carrying a small pitcher, the
other proudly bearing a basket covered with a napkin. They looked like
twins, but were not--for Bab was a year older than Betty, though only
an inch taller. Both had on brown calico frocks, much the worse for a
week's wear, but clean pink pinafores, in honor of the occasion, made
up for that, as well as the gray stockings and thick boots. Both had
round rosy faces rather sunburnt, pug noses somewhat freckled, merry
blue eyes, and braided tails of hair hanging down their backs like
those of the dear little Kenwigses.

"Don't they look sweet?" cried Bab, gazing with maternal pride upon the
left-hand row of dolls, who might appropriately have sung in chorus,
"We are seven."

"Very nice; but my Belinda beats them all. I do think she is the
splendidest child that ever was!" And Betty set down the basket to run
and embrace the suspended darling, just then kicking up her heels with
joyful abandon.

"The cake can be cooling while we fix the children. It does smell
perfectly delicious!" said Bab, lifting the napkin to hang over the
basket, fondly regarding the little round loaf that lay inside.

"Leave some smell for me!" commanded Betty, rushing back to get her
fair share of the spicy fragrance.

The pug noses sniffed it up luxuriously, and the bright eyes feasted
upon the loveliness of the cake, so brown and shiny, with a
tipsy-looking B in pie-crust staggering down one side, instead of
sitting properly atop.

"Ma let me put it on the very last minute, and it baked so hard I
couldn't pick it off. We can give Belinda that piece, so it's just as
well," observed Betty, taking the lead, as her child was queen of the
revel.

"Let's set them round, so they can see too," proposed Bab, going, with
a hop, skip and jump, to collect her young family.

Betty agreed, and for several minutes both were absorbed in seating
their dolls about the table, for some of the dear things were so limp
they wouldn't sit up, and others so stiff they wouldn't sit down, and
all sorts of seats had to be contrived to suit the peculiarities of
their spines. This arduous task accomplished, the fond mammas stepped
back to enjoy the spectacle, which, I assure you, was an impressive
one. Belinda sat with great dignity at the head, her hands genteelly
holding a pink cambric pocket-handkerchief in her lap. Josephus, her
cousin, took the foot, elegantly arrayed in a new suit of purple and
green gingham, with his speaking countenance much obscured by a straw
hat several sizes too large for him; while on either side sat guests of
every size, complexion and costume, producing a very gay and varied
effect, as all were dressed with a noble disregard of fashion.

"They will like to see us get tea. Did you forget the buns?" inquired
Betty, anxiously.

"No; got them in my pocket." And Bab produced from that chaotic
cupboard two rather stale and crumbly ones, saved from lunch for the
fete. These were cut up and arranged in plates, forming a graceful
circle around the cake, still in its basket.

"Ma couldn't spare much milk, so we must mix water with it. Strong tea
isn't good for children, she says." And Bab contentedly surveyed the
gill of skim-milk which was to satisfy the thirst of the company.

"While the tea draws and the cake cools let's sit down and rest; I'm so
tired!" sighed Betty, dropping down on the door-step and stretching out
the stout little legs which had been on the go all day; for Saturday
had its tasks as well as its fun, and much business had preceded this
unusual pleasure.

Bab went and sat beside her, looking idly down the walk toward the
gate, where a fine cobweb shone in the afternoon sun.

"Ma says she is going over the house in a day or two, now it is warm
and dry after the storm, and we may go with her. You know she wouldn't
take us in the fall, 'cause we had whooping-cough and it was damp
there. Now we shall see all the nice things; wont it be fun?" observed
Bab, after a pause.

"Yes, indeed! Ma says there's lots of books in one room, and I can look
at 'em while she goes round. May be I'll have time to read some, and
then I can tell you," answered Betty, who dearly loved stories and
seldom got any new ones.

"I'd rather see the old spinning-wheel up garret, and the big pictures,
and the queer clothes in the blue chest. It makes me mad to have them
all shut up there when we might have such fun with them. I'd just like
to bang that old door down!" And Bab twisted round to give it a thump
with her boots. "You needn't laugh; you know you 'd like it as much as
me," she added, twisting back again, rather ashamed of her impatience.

"I didn't laugh."

"You did! Don't you suppose I know what laughing is?"

"I guess I know I didn't."

"You did laugh! How darst you tell such a fib?"

"If you say that again I'll take Belinda and go right home; then what
will you do?"

"I'll eat up the cake."

"No, you wont! It's mine, ma said so, and you are only company, so
you'd better behave or I wont have any party at all, so now."

This awful threat calmed Bab's anger at once, and she hastened to
introduce a safer subject.

"Never mind; don't let's fight before the children. Do you know ma says
she will let us play in the coach-house next time it rains, and keep
the key if we want to."

"Oh, goody! that's because we told her how we found the little window
under the woodbine, and didn't try to go in, though we might have just
as easy as not," cried Betty, appeased at once, for after a ten years'
acquaintance she had grown used to Bab's peppery temper.

"I suppose the coach will be all dust and rats and spiders, but I don't
care. You and the dolls can be the passengers, and I shall sit up in
front and drive."

"You always do. I shall like riding better than being horse all the
time with that old wooden bit in my mouth, and you jerking my arms
off," said poor Betty, who was tired of being horse all the time.

"I guess we'd better go and get the water now," suggested Bab, feeling
that it was not safe to encourage her sister in such complaints.

"It is not many people who would dare to leave their children all alone
with such a lovely cake, and know they wouldn't pick at it," said Betty
proudly, as they trotted away to the spring, each with a little tin
pail in her hand.

Alas, for the faith of these too confiding mammas! They were gone about
five minutes, and when they returned a sight met their astonished eyes
which produced a simultaneous shriek of horror. Flat upon their faces
lay the fourteen dolls, and the cake, the cherished cake, was gone!

[Illustration: BAB AND BETTY ON THEIR WAY TO THE TEA-PARTY.]

For an instant the little girls could only stand motionless, gazing at
the dreadful scene. Then Bab cast her water-pail wildly away, and
doubling up her fist, cried out fiercely:

"It was that Sally! She said she'd pay me for slapping her when she
pinched little Mary Ann, and now she has. I'll give it to her! You run
that way. I'll run this. Quick! quick!"

Away they went, Bab racing straight on, and bewildered Betty turning
obediently round to trot in the opposite direction as fast as she
could, with the water splashing all over her as she ran, for she had
forgotten to put down her pail. Round the house they went, and met with
a crash at the back door, but no sign of the thief appeared.

"In the lane!" shouted Bab.

"Down by the spring!" panted Betty, and off they went again, one to
scramble up a pile of stones and look over the wall into the avenue,
the other to scamper to the spot they had just left. Still nothing
appeared but the dandelions' innocent faces looking up at Bab, and a
brown bird scared from his bath in the spring by Betty's hasty
approach.

Back they rushed, but only to meet a new scare, which made them both
cry "Ow!" and fly into the porch for refuge.

A strange dog was sitting calmly among the ruins of the feast, licking
his lips after basely eating up the last poor bits of bun when he had
bolted the cake, basket and all.

"Oh, the horrid thing!" cried Bab, longing to give battle but afraid,
for the dog was a peculiar as well as a dishonest animal.

"He looks like our China poodle, doesn't he?" whispered Betty, making
herself as small as possible behind her more valiant sister.

He certainly did; for, though much dirtier than the well-washed China
dog, this live one had the same tassel at the end of his tail, ruffles
of hair round his ankles, and a body shaven behind and curly before.
His eyes, however, were yellow, instead of glassy black, like the
other's, his red nose worked as he cocked it up, as if smelling for
more cakes in the most impudent manner, and never during the three
years he had stood on the parlor mantel-piece had the China poodle done
the surprising feats with which this mysterious dog now proceeded to
astonish the little girls almost out of their wits.

First he sat up, put his fore-paws together, and begged prettily; then
he suddenly flung his hind legs into the air, and walked about with
great ease. Hardly had they recovered from this shock when the hind
legs came down, the fore legs went up, and he paraded in a soldierly
manner to and fro, like a sentinel on guard. But the crowning
performance was when he took his tail in his mouth and waltzed down the
walk, over the prostrate dolls, to the gate and back again, barely
escaping a general upset of the ravaged table.

Bab and Betty could only hold each other tight and squeal with delight,
for never had they seen anything so funny; but when the gymnastics
ended, and the dizzy dog came and stood on the step before them barking
loudly, with that pink nose of his sniffing at their feet and his queer
eyes fixed sharply upon them, their amusement turned to fear again, and
they dared not stir.

"Whish, go away!" commanded Bab.

"Scat!" meekly quavered Betty.

To their great relief the poodle gave several more inquiring barks, and
then vanished as suddenly as he appeared. With one impulse the children
ran to see what became of him, and after a brisk scamper through the
orchard saw the tasseled tail disappear under the fence at the far end.

"Where _do_ you s'pose he came from?" asked Betty, stopping to rest on
a big stone.

"I'd like to know where he's gone, too, and give him a good beating,
old thief," scolded Bab, remembering their wrongs.

"Oh dear, yes! I hope the cake burnt him dreadfully if he did eat it,"
groaned Betty, sadly remembering the dozen good raisins she chopped
up, and the "lots of 'lasses" Ma put into the dear lost loaf.

"The party's all spoilt, so we may as well go home," and Bab mournfully
led the way back.

Betty puckered up her face to cry, but burst out laughing in spite of
her woe, "It was _so_ funny to see him spin round and walk on his head!
I wish he'd do it all over again; don't you?"

"Yes; but I hate him just the same. I wonder what ma will say
when--why! why!"--and Bab stopped short in the arch, with her eyes as
round and almost as large as the blue saucers on the tea-tray.

"What is it? oh, what is it?" cried Betty, all ready to run away if any
new terror appeared.

"Look! there! it's come back!" said Bab in an awe-stricken whisper,
pointing to the table.

Betty did look and her eyes opened even wider,--as well they
might,--for there, just where they first put it, was the lost cake,
unhurt, unchanged, except that the big B. had coasted a little further
down the gingerbread hill.



CHAPTER II.

WHERE THEY FOUND HIS MASTER.


Neither spoke for a minute, astonishment being too great for words;
then, as by one impulse, both stole up and touched the cake with a
timid little finger, quite prepared to see it fly away in some
mysterious and startling manner. It remained sitting tranquilly in the
basket, however, and the children drew a long breath of relief, for,
though they did not believe in fairies, the late performances did seem
rather like witchcraft.

"The dog didn't eat it!"

"Sally didn't take it!"

"How do you know?"

"_She_ never would have put it back."

"Who did?"

"Can't tell, but I forgive 'em."

"What shall we do now?" asked Betty, feeling as if it would be very
difficult to settle down to a quiet tea-party after such unusual
excitement.

"Eat that cake up just as fast as ever we can," and Bab divided the
contested delicacy with one chop of the big knife, bound to make sure
of her own share at all events.

It did not take long, for they washed it down with sips of milk and ate
as fast as possible, glancing round all the while to see if the queer
dog was coming again.

"There! now I'd like to see any one take _my_ cake away," said Bab,
defiantly crunching her half of the pie-crust B.

"Or mine either," coughed Betty, choking over a raisin that wouldn't go
down in a hurry.

"We might as well clear up, and play there had been an earthquake,"
suggested Bab, feeling that some such convulsion of nature was needed
to explain satisfactorily the demoralized condition of her family.

"That will be splendid. My poor Linda was knocked right over on her
nose. Darlin' child, come to your mother and be fixed," purred Betty,
lifting the fallen idol from a grove of chickweed, and tenderly
brushing the dirt from Belinda's heroically smiling face.

"She'll have croup to-night as sure as the world. We'd better make up
some squills out of this sugar and water," said Bab, who dearly loved
to dose the dollies all round.

"P'r'aps she will, but you needn't begin to sneeze yet awhile. I can
sneeze for my own children, thank you, ma'am," returned Betty, sharply,
for her usually amiable spirit had been ruffled by the late
occurrences.

"I didn't sneeze! I've got enough to do to talk and cry and cough for
my own poor dears without bothering about yours," cried Bab, even more
ruffled than her sister.

"Then who did? I heard a real, live sneeze just as plain as anything,"
and Betty looked up to the green roof above her, as if the sound came
from that direction.

A yellow-bird sat swinging and chirping on the tall lilac-bush, but no
other living thing was in sight.

"Birds don't sneeze, do they?" asked Betty, eying little Goldy
suspiciously.

"You goose! of course they don't."

"Well, I should just like to know who is laughing and sneezing round
here. May be it is the dog," suggested Betty, looking relieved.

"I never heard of a dog's laughing, except Mother Hubbard's. This is
such a queer one, may be he can, though. I wonder where he went to?"
and Bab took a patient survey down both the side paths, quite longing
to see the funny poodle again.

"I know where _I'm_ going to," said Betty, piling the dolls into her
apron with more haste than care. "I'm going right straight home to tell
Ma all about it. I don't like such actions, and I'm afraid to stay."

"I aint; but I guess it is going to rain, so I shall have to go
anyway," answered Bab, taking advantage of the black clouds rolling up
the sky, for _she_ scorned to own that she was afraid of anything.

Clearing the table in a summary manner by catching up the four corners
of the cloth, Bab put the rattling bundle into her apron, flung her
children on the top, and pronounced herself ready to depart. Betty
lingered an instant to pick up odds and ends that might be spoilt by
the rain, and when she turned from taking the red halter off the
knocker, two lovely pink roses lay on the stone steps.

"Oh, Bab, just see! Here's the very ones we wanted. Wasn't it nice of
the wind to blow 'em down?" she called out, picking them up and running
after her sister, who had strolled moodily along, still looking about
her for her sworn foe, Sally Folsom.

The flowers soothed the feelings of the little girls, because they had
longed for them, and bravely resisted the temptation to climb up the
trellis and help themselves, since their mother had forbidden such
feats, owing to a fall Bab got trying to reach a honeysuckle from the
vine which ran all over the porch.

Home they went and poured out their tale, to Mrs. Moss's great
amusement, for she saw in it only some playmate's prank, and was not
much impressed by the mysterious sneeze and laugh.

"We'll have a grand rummage Monday, and find out what is going on over
there," was all she said.

But Mrs. Moss could not keep her promise, for on Monday it still
rained, and the little girls paddled off to school like a pair of young
ducks, enjoying every puddle they came to, since India rubber boots
made wading a delicious possibility. They took their dinner, and at
noon regaled a crowd of comrades with an account of the mysterious dog,
who appeared to be haunting the neighborhood, as several of the other
children had seen him examining their back yards with interest. He had
begged of them, but to none had he exhibited his accomplishments except
Bab and Betty, and they were therefore much set up, and called him "our
dog" with an air. The cake transaction remained a riddle, for Sally
Folsom solemnly declared that she was playing tag in Mamie Snow's barn
at that identical time. No one had been near the old house but the two
children, and no one could throw any light upon that singular affair.

It produced a great effect, however; for even "teacher" was interested,
and told such amazing tales of a juggler she once saw that doughnuts
were left forgotten in dinner-baskets, and wedges of pie remained
suspended in the air for several minutes at a time, instead of
vanishing with miraculous rapidity as usual. At afternoon recess, which
the girls had first, Bab nearly dislocated every joint of her little
body trying to imitate the poodle's antics. She had practiced on her
bed with great success, but the wood-shed floor was a different thing,
as her knees and elbows soon testified.

"It looked just as easy as anything; I don't see how he did it," she
said, coming down with a bump after vainly attempting to walk on her
hands.

"My gracious, there he is this very minute!" cried Betty, who sat on a
little wood-pile near the door.

There was a general rush, and sixteen small girls gazed out into the
rain as eagerly as if to behold Cinderella's magic coach, instead of
one forlorn dog trotting by through the mud.

"Oh, do call him in and make him dance!" cried the girls, all chirping
at once, till it sounded as if a flock of sparrows had taken possession
of the shed.

"_I_ will call him, he knows _me_," and Bab scrambled up, forgetting
how she had chased the poodle and called him names two days ago.

He evidently had not forgotten, for though he paused and looked
wistfully at them, he would not approach, but stood dripping in the
rain with his frills much bedraggled, while his tasseled tail wagged
slowly, and his pink nose pointed suggestively to the pails and
baskets, nearly empty now.

"He's hungry; give him something to eat, and then he'll see that we
don't want to hurt him," suggested Sally, starting a contribution with
her last bit of bread and butter.

Bab caught up her new pail, and collected all the odds and ends, then
tried to beguile the poor beast in to eat and be comforted. But he only
came as far as the door, and sitting up, begged with such imploring
eyes that Bab put down the pail and stepped back, saying pitifully:

"The poor thing is starved; let him eat all he wants and we wont touch
him."

The girls drew back with little clucks of interest and compassion, but
I regret to say their charity was not rewarded as they expected, for,
the minute the coast was clear, the dog marched boldly up, seized the
handle of the pail in his mouth, and was off with it, galloping down
the road at a great pace. Shrieks arose from the children, especially
Bab and Betty, basely bereaved of their new dinner-pail; but no one
could follow the thief, for the bell rang, and in they went, so much
excited that the boys rushed tumultuously forth to discover the cause.

By the time school was over the sun was out, and Bab and Betty hastened
home to tell their wrongs and be comforted by mother, who did it most
effectually.

"Nevermind, dears, I'll get you another pail, if he doesn't bring it
back as he did before. As it is too wet for you to play out, you shall
go and see the old coach-house as I promised. Keep on your rubbers and
come along."

This delightful prospect much assuaged their woe, and away they went,
skipping gayly down the graveled path, while Mrs. Moss followed, with
skirts well tucked up, and a great bunch of keys in her hand, for she
lived at the Lodge and had charge of the premises.

The small door of the coach-house was fastened inside, but the large
one had a padlock on it, and this being quickly unfastened, one half
swung open, and the little girls ran in, too eager and curious even to
cry out when they found themselves at last in possession of the
long-coveted old carriage. A dusty, musty concern enough, but it had a
high seat, a door, steps that let down, and many other charms which
rendered it most desirable in the eyes of children.

Bab made straight for the box and Betty for the door, but both came
tumbling down faster than they went up, when, from the gloom of the
interior came a shrill bark, and a low voice saying quickly: "Down,
Sancho, down!"

"Who is there?" demanded Mrs. Moss, in a stern tone, backing toward the
door with both children clinging to her skirts.

The well-known curly white head was popped out of the broken window,
and a mild whine seemed to say, "Don't be alarmed, ladies; we wont hurt
you."

"Come out this minute, or I shall have to come to get you," called Mrs.
Moss, growing very brave all of a sudden as she caught sight of a pair
of small, dusty shoes under the coach.

"Yes 'm, I'm coming as fast as I can," answered a meek voice, as what
appeared to be a bundle of rags leaped out of the dark, followed by the
poodle, who immediately sat down at the bare feet of his owner with a
watchful air, as if ready to assault any one who might approach too
near.

"Now, then, who are you, and how did you get here?" asked Mrs. Moss,
trying to speak sternly, though her motherly eyes were already full of
pity as they rested on the forlorn little figure before her.



CHAPTER III.

BEN.


"Please 'm, my name is Ben Brown, and I'm traveling."

"Where are you going?"

"Anywheres to get work."

"What sort of work can you do?"

"All kinds. I'm used to horses."

"Bless me! such a little chap as you?"

"I'm twelve, ma'am, and can ride anything on four legs;" and the small
boy gave a nod that seemed to say, "Bring on your Cruisers. I'm ready
for 'em."

"Haven't you got any folks?" asked Mrs. Moss, amused but still
anxious, for the sunburnt face was very thin, the eyes big with hunger
or pain, and the ragged figure leaned on the wheel as if too weak or
weary to stand alone.

"No,'m, not of my own; and the people I was left with beat me so,
I--run away." The last words seemed to bolt out against his will, as if
the woman's sympathy irresistibly won the child's confidence.

"Then I don't blame you. But how did you get here?"

"I was so tired I couldn't go any further, and I thought the folks up
here at the big house would take me in. But the gate was locked, and I
was so discouraged, I jest lay down outside and give up."

"Poor little soul, I don't wonder," said Mrs. Moss, while the children
looked deeply interested at mention of _their_ gate.

The boy drew a long breath, and his eyes began to twinkle in spite of
his forlorn state as he went on, while the dog pricked up his ears at
mention of his name:

"While I was restin' I heard some one come along inside, and I peeked,
and saw them little girls playin'. The vittles looked so nice I
couldn't help wantin' 'em; but I didn't take nothin',--it was Sancho,
and he took the cake for me."

Bab and Betty gave a gasp and stared reproachfully at the poodle, who
half closed his eyes with a meek, unconscious look that was very droll.

"And you made him put it back?" cried Bab.

"No; I did it myself. Got over the gate when you was racin' after
Sanch, and then clim' up on the porch and hid," said the boy, with a
grin.

"And you laughed?" asked Bab.

"Yes."

"And sneezed?" added Betty.

"Yes."

"And threw down the roses?" cried both.

"Yes; and you liked 'em, didn't you?"

"Course we did! What made you hide?" said Bab.

"I wasn't fit to be seen," muttered Ben, glancing at his tatters as if
he'd like to dive out of sight into the dark coach again.

"How came you _here_?" demanded Mrs. Moss, suddenly remembering her
responsibility.

"I heard them talk about a little winder and a shed, and when they'd
gone I found it and come in. The glass was broke, and I only pulled the
nail out. I haven't done a mite of harm sleepin' here two nights. I was
so tuckered out I couldn't go on nohow, though I tried a Sunday."

"And came back again?"

"Yes, 'm; it was so lonesome in the rain, and this place seemed kinder
like home, and I could hear 'em talkin' outside, and Sanch he found
vittles, and I was pretty comfortable."

"Well, I never!" ejaculated Mrs. Moss, whisking up a corner of her
apron to wipe her eyes, for the thought of the poor little fellow alone
there for two days and nights with no bed but musty straw, no food but
the scraps a dog brought him, was too much for her. "Do you know what
I'm going to do with you?" she asked, trying to look calm and cool,
with a great tear running down her wholesome, red cheek, and a smile
trying to break out at the corners of her lips.

"No, ma'am; and I dunno as I care. Only don't be hard on Sanch; he's
been real good to me, and we're fond of one another; aint us, old
chap?" answered the boy, with his arm around the dog's neck, and an
anxious look which he had not worn for himself.

[Illustration: GETTING BEN'S SUPPER. (SEE NEXT PAGE.)]

"I'm going to take you right home, and wash and feed and put you in a
good bed, and to-morrow--well, we'll see what'll happen then," said
Mrs. Moss, not quite sure about it herself.

"You're very kind, ma'am. I'll be glad to work for you. Aint you got a
horse I can see to?" asked the boy, eagerly.

"Nothing but hens and a cat."

Bab and Betty burst out laughing when their mother said that, and Ben
gave a faint giggle, as if he would like to join in if he only had the
strength to do it. But his legs shook under him, and he felt a queer
dizziness; so he could only hold on to Sancho, and blink at the light
like a young owl.

"Come right along, child. Run on, girls, and put the rest of the broth
to warming, and fill the kettle. I'll see to the boy," commanded Mrs.
Moss, waving off the children, and going up to feel the pulse of her
new charge, for it suddenly occurred to her that he might be sick and
not safe to take home.

The hand he gave her was very thin, but clean and cool, and the black
eyes were clear though hollow, for the poor lad was half starved.

"I'm awful shabby, but I aint dirty. I had a washin' in the rain last
night, and I've jest about lived on water lately," he explained,
wondering why she looked at him so hard.

"Put out your tongue."

He did so, but took it in again to say quickly:

"I aint sick--I'm only hungry; for I haven't had a mite but what Sanch
brought for three days, and I always go halves; don't I, Sanch?"

The poodle gave a shrill bark, and vibrated excitedly between the door
and his master as if he understood all that was going on, and
recommended a speedy march toward the promised food and shelter. Mrs.
Moss took the hint, and bade the boy follow her at once and bring his
"things" with him.

"I aint got any. Some big fellers took away my bundle, else I wouldn't
look so bad. There's only this. I'm sorry Sanch took it, and I'd like
to give it back if I knew whose it was," said Ben, bringing the new
dinner pail out from the depths of the coach where he had gone to
housekeeping.

"That's soon done; it's mine, and you're welcome to the bits your queer
dog ran off with. Come along, I must lock up," and Mrs. Moss clanked
her keys suggestively.

Ben limped out, leaning on a broken hoe-handle, for he was stiff after
two days in such damp lodgings, as well as worn out with a fortnight's
wandering through sun and rain. Sancho was in great spirits, evidently
feeling that their woes were over and his foraging expeditions at an
end, for he frisked about his master with yelps of pleasure, or made
playful darts at the ankles of his benefactress, which caused her to
cry, "Whish!" and "Scat!" and shake her skirts at him as if he were a
cat or hen.

A hot fire was roaring in the stove under the broth-skillet and
tea-kettle, and Betty was poking in more wood, with a great smirch of
black on her chubby cheek, while Bab was cutting away at the loaf as if
bent on slicing her own fingers off. Before Ben knew what he was about,
he found himself in the old rocking-chair devouring bread and butter as
only a hungry boy can, with Sancho close by gnawing a mutton-bone like
a ravenous wolf in sheep's clothing.

While the new-comers were thus happily employed, Mrs. Moss beckoned the
little girls out of the room, and gave them both an errand.

"Bab, you run over to Mrs. Barton's, and ask her for any old duds
Billy don't want; and Betty, you go to the Cutters, and tell Miss
Clarindy I'd like a couple of the shirts we made at last sewing circle.
Any shoes, or a hat, or socks, would come handy, for the poor dear
hasn't a whole thread on him."

Away went the children full of anxiety to clothe their beggar, and so
well did they plead his cause with the good neighbors, that Ben hardly
knew himself when he emerged from the back bedroom half an hour later,
clothed in Billy Barton's faded flannel suit, with an unbleached cotton
shirt out of the Dorcas basket, and a pair of Milly Cutter's old shoes
on his feet.

Sancho also had been put in better trim, for, after his master had
refreshed himself with a warm bath, he gave his dog a good scrub, while
Mrs. Moss set a stitch here and there in the new old clothes, and
Sancho re-appeared, looking more like the china poodle than ever, being
as white as snow, his curls well brushed up, and his tassely tail
waving proudly over his back.

Feeling eminently respectable and comfortable, the wanderers humbly
presented themselves, and were greeted with smiles of approval from the
little girls and a hospitable welcome from "Ma," who set them near the
stove to dry, as both were decidedly damp after their ablutions.

"I declare I shouldn't have known you!" exclaimed the good woman,
surveying the boy with great satisfaction; for, though still very thin
and tired, the lad had a tidy look that pleased her, and a lively way
of moving about in his clothes, like an eel in a skin rather too big
for him. The merry black eyes seemed to see everything, the voice had
an honest sound, and the sun-burnt face looked several years younger
since the unnatural despondency had gone out of it.

"It's very nice, and me and Sanch are lots obliged, ma'am," murmured
Ben, getting red and bashful under the three pairs of friendly eyes
fixed upon him.

Bab and Betty were doing up the tea-things with unusual dispatch, so
that they might entertain their guest, and just as Ben spoke Bab
dropped a cup. To her great surprise no smash followed, for, bending
quickly, the boy caught it as it fell, and presented it to her on the
back of his hand with a little bow.

"Gracious! how could you do it?" asked Bab, looking as if she thought
there was magic about it.

"That's nothing; look here," and taking two plates Ben sent them
spinning up into the air, catching and throwing so rapidly that Bab and
Betty stood with their mouths open, as if to swallow the plates should
they fall, while Mrs. Moss, with her dish-cloth suspended, watched the
antics of her crockery with a housewife's anxiety.

"That does beat all!" was the only exclamation she had time to make,
for, as if desirous of showing his gratitude in the only way he could,
Ben took several clothes-pins from a basket near by, sent several
saucers twirling up, caught them on the pins, balanced the pins on
chin, nose, forehead, and went walking about with a new and peculiar
sort of toad-stool ornamenting his countenance.

[Illustration: "BEN PRESENTED IT TO HER ON THE BACK OF HIS HAND."]

The children were immensely tickled, and Mrs. Moss was so amused she
would have lent her best soup-tureen if he had expressed a wish for it.
But Ben was too tired to show all his accomplishments at once, and he
soon stopped, looking as if he almost regretted having betrayed that he
possessed any.

"I guess you've been in the juggling business," said Mrs. Moss, with a
wise nod, for she saw the same look on his face as when he said his
name was Ben Brown,--the look of one who was not telling the whole
truth.

"Yes, 'm. I used to help Senior Pedro, the Wizard of the World, and I
learned some of his tricks," stammered Ben, trying to seem innocent.

"Now, look here, boy, you'd better tell me the whole story, and tell it
true, or I shall have to send you up to Judge Allen. I wouldn't like to
do that, for he is a harsh sort of a man; so, if you haven't done
anything bad, you needn't be afraid to speak out, and I'll do what I
can for you," said Mrs. Moss, rather sternly, as she went and sat down
in her rocking-chair, as if about to open the court.

"I _haven't_ done anything bad, and I _aint_ afraid, only I don't want
to go back; and if I tell, may be you'll let 'em know where I be," said
Ben, much distressed between his longing to confide in his new friend
and his fear of his old enemies.

"If they abused you, of course I wouldn't. Tell the truth and I'll
stand by you. Girls, you go for the milk."

"Oh, Ma, do let us stay! We'll never tell, truly, truly!" cried Bab and
Betty, full of dismay at being sent off when secrets were about to be
divulged.

"I don't mind 'em," said Ben, handsomely.

"Very well, only hold your tongues. Now, boy, where did you come from?"
said Mrs. Moss, as the little girls hastily sat down together on their
private and particular bench opposite their mother, brimming with
curiosity and beaming with satisfaction at the prospect before them.

_(To be continued.)_



A CHAT ABOUT POTTERY.

BY EDWIN C. TAYLOR.


"Did you see those funny little china figures at the Centennial when
you were there?" asked Willie of his cousin Al on their way home from
school one day.

"What figures, Will? Do you mean those large red clay things from
England, or the Chinese figures that Mr. Wu had at his place?" said Al.

"I don't mean either; I said small figures. Don't you remember a
splendid show of pottery near the music-stand in the main building?"
asked Will.

"Yes," said Al. "Well, there was a lot of figures of London street
people, and some were the funniest-looking things you ever saw."

"I saw so much china and 'pottery,' as you call it, that I hardly
recollect any of it. But 'pottery,' I thought, meant merely flower-pots
and other ordinary stone-ware?"

[Illustration: LONDON CABMAN (ROYAL WORCESTER PORCELAIN)]

"Why, no," said Willie; "it means anything that is formed of earth and
hardened by fire. I heard Uncle Jack say so, and he knows, doesn't he?"
said Willie, decidedly.

"Of course; but people do call these things 'china' or 'porcelain' as
well as 'pottery,' don't they?"

"Yes; but Uncle Jack says 'pottery' means all those together, and
'porcelain,' 'majolica,' and other names like that are names of
different kinds of pottery," answered Willie.

"Well," said Al, "let's ask Uncle Jack to tell us all about it. What do
you say?"

"Yes; let's ask him this very night."

When the lads reached home they told their plan to Willie's sister
Matie, and then all three determined to carry it out.

"Rap-a-tap, tap," sounded briskly at the library door after supper.
"Come in," was the response, and in bounded the three children, their
faces lighted up with smiles at the prospect of spending an evening
with Uncle Jack.

"Welcome, youngsters," said he, in a cheery tone. "But you look as if
you were expecting something; what is it?"

"Oh, Uncle Jack, we want you to tell us all about pottery," cried the
boys.

"Yes, please do," chimed in Matie.

"All about pottery? Why, my dear children, that's very like asking me
to tell you all about the whole civilized world, for a complete history
of one would be almost a history of the other; and I could hardly do
that, you know," said Uncle Jack, with a smile.

"Willie said you could talk about pottery all night," cried Matie.

"And so I might, dear, and not get further than the ABC of its history,
after all," answered Uncle Jack.

"But how many kinds are there, uncle?" asked Will.

"That question demands an answer that must teach something," said Uncle
Jack. "There are two general kinds."

"Why, I saw a thousand kinds at the Centennial," interrupted Al, with a
wise look.

[Illustration: CHINESE DOG (ROYAL WORCESTER PORCELAIN)]

"That may be," said his uncle. "But then, too, you saw a thousand kinds
of people, and yet all those people were either men or women; so all
pottery comes under the two general classes of 'hard paste' and 'soft
paste.'"

"Why, none of it was soft, Uncle Jack, was it? I thought it was all
baked hard," said Will, looking incredulous.

[Illustration: TEA-STAND (ROYAL WORCESTER PORCELAIN)]

"So all pottery _is_ baked hard, for, until it is made hard by firing,
it is only wet clay and sand,--in pretty shapes, perhaps, but not fit
for any use or ornament,--and is not yet pottery."

"Then why is it called 'soft?'"

"You've seen pieces of stone that you could grind to powder under your
heel? You'd call them 'soft.' Other pieces you couldn't crush, and
you'd call them 'hard.' That is something like what is meant by 'hard'
and 'soft' applied to pottery,--at least, 'soft' doesn't mean soft like
putty."

"But if it's all baked, why isn't it all hard alike?" asked Will.

"Because different clays are used, and different degrees of heat
applied. At one time we get a kind of pottery that can be scratched
with a knife, at another a ware too hard to be so scratched; the one is
called 'soft paste' and the other 'hard paste.'"

The boys seemed to be satisfied with this explanation.

"Uncle, didn't you see at the Centennial some funny little figures
representing all sorts of London street-people?" asked Will.

"Yes, and I brought one with me, I think. Ah! here's one," he said,
showing them a droll little man about four inches high, "and it looks
very like a London cabman--or 'cabby,' as he is called."

"He's very homely," said Matie. "Where was he made, Uncle Jack?"

Her uncle turned the figure over, and, looking at a small round
impression on the under side, answered: "At the Royal Worcester Works
in England, where some of the best of modern porcelain has been made."

"Is that hard paste or soft, Uncle Jack?" asked Willie, while Al, as if
inclined to test the matter, began a search in his pockets for a knife.

"This is hard paste porcelain; it is 'translucent,'--that is, it shows
the light through," and he held the little cabman before the lamp.

"Here's another piece from the same factory," continued he, selecting a
second specimen from the cabinet. "This is a copy of the Chinese
'conventional dog,' made of blue 'crackle-ware.' You see, the glaze is
cracked all over the surface," he added.

"Who ever saw a blue dog?" cried Matie.

"In life, no one, my dear; but there are many things in Chinese art
that are not much like living objects."

[Illustration: DRESDEN CHINA.]

"I suppose you have all heard of Dresden china," presently continued
her uncle.

"Oh yes, sir!" cried Al. "Aunt Susie had a Dresden tea-pot that
belonged to her grandmother, and she said the tea always tasted better
out of it than from anything else."

"Well, here is an excellent French copy of an old Dresden figure. It is
a pretty flower-girl. See how gracefully she reaches for a nosegay from
her basket. I have seen bouquets of Dresden porcelain that you could
hardly distinguish from real flowers," said Uncle Jack.

"You'd hardly think that such a beautiful thing was made from common
earth," said Will.

"Nor is it," said his uncle. "This kind of china is made from a very
fine and very rare clay that, for a long time, was found only in China
and the Corean islands; but about a hundred and sixty years ago, a
noted chemist of Meissen, in Saxony, named Böttcher, discovered a bed
of it there, and manufactured the first true porcelain made in Europe,"
said Uncle Jack.

[Illustration: TERRA COTTA VASE.]

"Why couldn't they get the fine clay from China and make their
porcelain anywhere?" asked Will.

"Because the Chinese jealously kept all their clay to themselves,"
answered Uncle Jack.

"How did that man come to discover where the clay was, and if it was of
the right kind?" asked Al.

"By a strange chance. According to the fashion of the time, men
powdered their hair, using wheat flour for that purpose. One day a
neighbor of the chemist, in traveling an unfrequented part of the
country, observed on his horse's hoofs some white sticky clay, and it
occurred to him that this white clay, dried and powdered, would make an
excellent and cheap substitute for wheat flour as a hair powder. So he
carried a little home with him, and some of it finally reached
Böttcher. The chemist found it extremely heavy, and, fearing the
presence of some metal hurtful to the skin, he tested the clay in his
laboratory. To his surprise and joy this white hair-powder proved
itself possessed of the same qualities as the veritable Chinese
_kaolin_, as their clay is called."

[Illustration: MARK OF DRESDEN CHINA.]

[Illustration: MARK OF WORCESTER PORCELAIN.]

"Why, that sounds like a story," said Matie.

"Here now," said Uncle Jack, "is a vase; that might carry the mind back
thousands of years, to the time when bodies were burned instead of
buried, and the ashes kept in just such urns as this."

"Is that vase thousands of years old?" asked Matie.

"No, dear; this vase is only modeled after the ancient cinerary urns,
as they were called, and was made a year or two ago by Ipsen, of
Copenhagen."

"That isn't porcelain, is it, uncle?" asked Al.

"No, this is 'terra cotta,' which is Italian for 'earth cooked.' Those
beautiful lines of color and gilding are painted on the surface."

"Did you ever see any real antique vases, uncle?" asked Willie.

"Why, certainly. There are some in the Cesnola collection at our
Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fourteenth street that are known to have
been made 1,400 years before the Christian era. They were found on the
island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Sea, by General Di Cesnola, who
dug up a great many articles,--statues, ornaments of gold, silver and
bronze, beautiful glass bottles, and many domestic utensils. I saw a
cullender made of such earthenware as we have in the kitchen at this
day; it had been used as a milk-strainer, and particles of dried milk
were still clinging to its sides, after lying buried more than three
thousand years."

"Oh, we must go and see them!" cried Matie and the boys.

"Yes, you certainly should go," said their uncle. "You would see some
very curious things there, and the elegant forms of many of the
articles would show you that a love for beauty has existed almost as
long as man has lived."

"You were thinking of ancient times when you said the history of
pottery was almost that of the civilized world; weren't you, uncle?"
asked Will.

[Illustration: JEWELED PORCELAIN.]

"Yes," answered his uncle, taking from his cabinet a small jug covered
with rich gilding, and glistening as if set with precious stones.

"Oh, isn't that lovely?" cried Matie.

"Well, yes; some people think that this jeweled porcelain, as it is
called, is among the choicest of Copeland's works."

"Whose, sir?"

"Copeland, of Stoke-upon-Trent, where are some of the largest potteries
in England."

"But don't you like it, uncle?" asked Matie.

"I do admire it very much, Matie; but not so much as some more simple
objects that I have. Here is something that will explain my meaning,"
he added, taking from the cabinet a little vase of grayish-brown with
darker indented lines drawn in the form of small animals, flowers and
foliage.

"Oh, I've seen ever so many pieces like that, and I thought they were
common stone-ware, the same as the kitchen dishes," said Al.

"They are of common clay, it is true, but look at the drawing of the
figures," said his uncle, pointing to the tracery upon the surface of
the vase.

"Why, yes; it almost seems as if that little rabbit would run away, it
is so life-like," said Willie.

"It was not only for its beauty that I valued this vase, but for the
story that it tells," said Uncle Jack. "In the first place it tells
that the simple earth we walk upon can be made by man into works of
enduring beauty."

"Where was that vase made, uncle?" asked Willie.

"At the Doulton Works, Lambeth, England."

"What is the rest of the story about it?" inquired Al.

"For many years, common drain-pipes and building-tiles were the only
things made at the Doulton works; but some of the pottery people went
to an art school, and they thought it would be a good idea to ornament
some of the common things they made with the designs they had learned
to draw at school. So, with a bit of pointed stick, they made some of
their favorite pictures on the soft clay objects; and when these were
fired, the glaze flowed into the lines, making them darker than the
other parts, and thus the drawings showed plainly."

[Illustration: DOULTON WARE.]

"And since they found that out, have they given up making common pipes
and tiles?" asked Willie, with a look of interest.

"They still make quantities of those things at the Doulton works, but
the young men and women who had received drawing lessons and applied
their knowledge so well are the authors, I might almost say, of a new
style of artistic pottery," said Uncle Jack, in reply.

"Why, that was splendid, wasn't it?" cried Matie.

"Indeed it was a triumph not only for them, but for art itself, and it
shows what a good influence art has on even the humblest people," said
Uncle Jack. "Now can you see why I did not value my little vase most
for its beauty?"

"Oh yes, sir! for when you see it, you think of the potters who became
artists," said Will.

"Yes, and I never see any work of art or of patient industry without
trying to understand the meaning its maker meant it to carry, and to
remember the toils that were perhaps endured in its production,"
replied his uncle. Then, turning to Matie, he said: "I brought this
little 'English pug-dog' for you, Matie. He doesn't bite, and you'll
not need to give him any food," and he put upon the table a comical
little porcelain dog with a wry nose.

"Oh! isn't it funny? What an ugly black nose it has!" cried Matie.
"Will the black come off?"

"Oh, no!"

"Why not?" asked Al.

"Because it's fired; that is, after having been painted, the dog was
placed in a furnace and heated so as to melt the coloring matter, which
had been mixed with other ingredients, so that it flowed on the
surface, and cooled hard like glass."

[Illustration: MAJOLICA PLATE FROM CASTELLANI COLLECTION.]

"Are the colors like those I have in my paint-box?" asked Willie.

"No. They put the color on, worked up with what is called a flux, and
the mixture has the appearance of thin mud, showing no color at all;
the different tints are seen only after 'firing.'"

[Illustration: ENGLISH PUG IN PORCELAIN.]

"How can they tell what it's going to look like, if they don't see the
color?"

"That is one of the nice points of the 'ceramic art,' and much skill
and fine imagination are required to produce some of the wonderful
combinations of color seen upon Italian majolica."

"Why do they call it majolica?" asked Al.

"The name is derived from the Spanish island of Majorca in the
Mediterranean Sea, one of the places in Europe where glazed pottery was
first made. About the twelfth century, some Moorish potters had settled
there and carried their art with them."

"Did you ever see any of the old Italian majolica, uncle?" asked Al.

"Yes; in the splendid Castellani collection there are some of the very
best specimens of the finest majolica ever made,--that produced in the
fifteenth century by Giorgio Andreoli of Gubbio, and others who
followed him."

"Where is Gubbio?" asked Al.

"In Italy."

"Is the Castellani collection in Italy?"

"No, it's at the Metropolitan Museum, too; but only on loan at present,
though an effort is being made to purchase and keep it in this country
forever. I hope it will be successful, for it is a grand collection.
But I must tell you that when the French came to manufacture majolica,
most of which by that time was made in the little Italian town of
Faenza, they called the ware _faience_, after it. This name is applied
to most soft paste glazed pottery, while majolica is a ware that has a
peculiar luster, and in different lights displays all the colors of the
rainbow. Much ordinary glazed, unlustered pottery is incorrectly called
majolica, however."

"How do they make the luster, uncle?"

"By coating the ware with certain metallic oxides, which, at the last
of the many necessary firings, diffuses a glaze over the surface."

"You said the painting was one of the 'nice points of the ceramic art,'
uncle. What does 'ceramic' mean?" asked Willie.

"It is sometimes spelled K-e-r-a-m-i-c, _keramic_, and comes from the
Greek word _cheramos_, signifying 'potters' clay,' and hence, in a
general sense, pottery of every kind and methods of producing it."

Here Matie, who had been hugging her little pug for some time, began to
grow very sleepy, so Uncle Jack dismissed the children with a
"good-night" all around.

The door closed softly, and the little ones ran off to their beds,
while Uncle Jack leaned back in his easy chair in a pleasant reverie,
which we will leave him to enjoy.



POEMS BY TWO LITTLE AMERICAN GIRLS.


[ELAINE AND DORA READ GOODALE, the two sisters some of whose poems are
here given for the benefit of the readers of ST. NICHOLAS, are children
of thirteen and ten years of age.

Their home, where their infancy and childhood have been passed, is on a
large and isolated farm, lying upon the broad slopes of the beautiful
Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, and is quaintly called "Sky
Farm."

Here, in a simple country life, divided between books and nature, they
began, almost as soon as they began to talk, to express in verse what
they saw and felt, rhyme and rhythm seeming to come by instinct. Living
largely out-of-doors, vigorous and healthful in body as in mind, they
draw pleasure and instruction from all about them.

One of their chief delights is to wander over the lovely hills and
meadows adjoining Sky Farm. Peeping into mossy dells, where wild
flowers love to hide, hunting the early arbutus, the queen harebell, or
the blue gentian, they learn the secrets of nature, and these they pour
forth in song as simply and as naturally as the birds sing.]



SOME VERSES, WRITTEN BY DORA, ON A HUMMING-BIRD'S NEST,
WHICH SHE FOUND OVER HER STOCKING ON CHRISTMAS MORNING.


  When June was bright with roses fair,
    And leafy trees about her stood,
  When summer sunshine filled the air
    And flickered through the quiet wood,
  There, in its shade and silent rest,
  A tiny pair had built their nest.

  And when July, with scorching heat,
    Had dried the meadow grass to hay,
  And piled in stacks about the field
    Or fragrant in the barn it lay,
  Within the nest so softly made
  Two tiny, snowy eggs were laid.

  But when October's ripened fruit
    Had bent the very tree-tops down,
  And dainty flowers faded, drooped,
    And stately forests lost their crown,
  Their brood was hatched and reared and flown--
  The mossy nest was left alone.

  And now the hills are cold and white,
    'T is sever'd from its native bough;
  We gaze upon it with delight;
    Where are its cunning builders now?
  Far in the sunny south they roam,
  And leave to us their northern home.



THE GRUMBLER.


  _His Youth_.

  His coat was too thick and his cap was too thin,
  He couldn't be quiet, he hated a din;
  He hated to write, and he hated to read,
  He was certainly very much injured indeed;
  He must study and work over books he detested,
  His parents were strict, and he never was rested;
  He knew he was wretched as wretched could be,
  There was no one so wretchedly wretched as he.


  _His Maturity_.

  His farm was too small and his taxes too big,
  He was selfish and lazy, and cross as a pig;
  His wife was too silly, his children too rude;
  And just because he was uncommonly good,
  He never had money enough or to spare,
  He had nothing at all fit to eat or to wear;
  He knew he was wretched as wretched could be,
  There was no one so wretchedly wretched as he.


  _His Old Age_.

  He finds he has sorrows more deep than his fears,
  He grumbles to think he has grumbled for years;
  He grumbles to think he has grumbled away
  His home and his fortune, his life's little day.
  But, alas! 't is too late,--it is no use to say
  That his eyes are too dim, and his hair is too gray.
  He knows he is wretched as wretched can be,
  There _is_ no one more wretchedly wretched than he.

DORA.



JUNE.


  For stately trees in rich array,
  For sunlight all the happy day,
    For blossoms radiant and rare,
      For skies when daylight closes,
  For joyous, clear, outpouring song
  From birds that all the green wood throng,
    For all things young, and bright, and fair,
      We praise thee, Month of Roses!

  For blue, blue skies of summer calm,
  For fragrant odors breathing balm,
    For quiet, cooling shades where oft
      The weary head reposes,
  For brooklets babbling thro' the fields
  Where Earth her choicest treasures yields,
    For all things tender, sweet and soft,
      We love thee, Month of Roses!

ELAINE.



SPRING SONG.


  Oh, the little streams are running,
        Running, running!--
  Oh, the little streams are running
        O'er the lea;
  And the green soft grass is springing,
        Springing, springing!--
  And the green soft grass is springing,
        Fair to see.

  In the woods the breezes whisper,
        Whisper, whisper!--
  In the woods the breezes whisper
        To the flowers;
  And the robins sing their welcome,
        Welcome, welcome!--
  And the robins sing their welcome,--
        Happy hours!

  Over all the sun is shining,
        Shining, shining!--
  Over all the sun is shining,
        Clear and bright,--
  Flooding bare and waiting meadows,
        Meadows, meadows!--
  Flooding bare and waiting meadows
        With his light.

Sky Farm, March, '76.    ELAINE.



[Grown people often write in sympathy with children, but here is a
little poem by a child written in sympathy with grown folks:]


ASHES OF ROSES.


  Soft on the sunset sky
    Bright daylight closes,
  Leaving, when light doth die,
  Pale hues that mingling lie--
    Ashes of roses.

  When love's warm sun is set,
    Love's brightness closes;
  Eyes with hot tears are wet,
  In hearts there linger yet
    Ashes of roses.

ELAINE.



SUMMER IS COMING.


  "Summer is coming!" the soft breezes whisper;
    "Summer is coming!" the glad birdies sing.
  Summer is coming--I hear her quick footsteps;
    Take your last look at the beautiful Spring.

  Lightly she steps from her throne in the woodlands:
    "Summer is coming, and I cannot stay;
  Two of my children have crept from my bosom:
    April has left me but lingering May.

  "What tho' bright Summer is crownèd with roses.
    Deep in the forest Arbutus doth hide;
  I am the herald of all the rejoicing;
    Why must June always disown me?" she cried.

  Down in the meadow she stoops to the daisies,
    Plucks the first bloom from the apple-tree's bough:
  "Autumn will rob me of all the sweet apples;
    I will take one from her store of them now."

  Summer is coming! I hear the glad echo;
    Clearly it rings o'er the mountain and plain.
  Sorrowful Spring leaves the beautiful woodlands,
    Bright, happy Summer begins her sweet reign.

DORA.



SWEET MARJORAM DAY.

(_A Fairy Tale_.)

BY FRANK R. STOCKTON.


It was a very delightful country where little Corette lived. It seemed
to be almost always summer-time there, for the winters were just long
enough to make people glad when they were over. When it rained, it
mostly rained at night, and so the fields and gardens had all the water
they wanted, while the people were generally quite sure of a fine day.
And, as they lived a great deal out-of-doors, this was a great
advantage to them.

The principal business of the people of this country was the raising of
sweet marjoram. The soil and climate were admirably adapted to the
culture of the herb, and fields and fields of it were to be seen in
every direction. At that time, and this was a good while ago, very
little sweet marjoram was raised in other parts of the world, so this
country had the trade nearly all to itself.

The great holiday of the year was the day on which the harvest of this
national herb began. It was called "Sweet Marjoram Day," and the
people, both young and old, thought more of it than of any other
holiday in the year.

On that happy day everybody went out into the fields. There was never a
person so old, or so young, or so busy that he or she could not go to
help in the harvest. Even when there were sick people, which was
seldom, they were carried out to the fields and staid there all day.
And they generally felt much better in the evening.

[Illustration: THE BABIES IN THE SWEET MARJORAM BEDS.]

There were always patches of sweet marjoram planted on purpose for the
very little babies to play in on the great day. They must be poor,
indeed, these people said, if they could not raise sweet marjoram for
their own needs and for exportation, and yet have enough left for the
babies to play in.

So, all this day the little youngsters rolled, and tumbled, and kicked
and crowed in the soft green and white beds of the fragrant herb, and
pulled it up by the roots, and laughed and chuckled, and went to sleep
in it, and were the happiest babies in the world.

They needed no care, except at dinner-time, so the rest of the people
gave all their time to gathering in the crop and having fun. There was
always lots of fun on this great harvest day, for everybody worked so
hard that the whole crop was generally in the sweet marjoram barns
before breakfast, so that they had nearly the whole day for games and
jollity.

In this country, where little Corette lived, there were fairies. Not
very many of them, it is true, for the people had never seen but two.
These were sisters, and there were never fairies more generally liked
than these two little creatures, neither of them over four inches high.
They were very fond of the company of human beings, and were just as
full of fun as anybody. They often used to come to spend an hour or
two, and sometimes a whole day, with the good folks, and they seemed
always glad to see and to talk to everybody.

These sisters lived near the top of a mountain in a fairy cottage. This
cottage had never been seen by any of the people, but the sisters had
often told them all about it. It must have been a charming place.

The house was not much bigger than a bandbox, and it had two stories
and a garret, with a little portico running all around it. Inside was
the dearest little furniture of all kinds,--beds, tables, chairs, and
everything that could possibly be needed.

Everything about the house and grounds was on the same small scale.
There was a little stable and a little barn, with a little old man to
work the little garden and attend to the two little cows. Around the
house were garden-beds ever so small, and little graveled paths; and a
kitchen-garden, where the peas climbed up little sticks no bigger than
pins, and where the little chickens, about the size of flies, sometimes
got in and scratched up the little vegetables. There was a little
meadow for pasture, and a grove of little trees; and there was also a
small field of sweet marjoram, where the blossoms were so tiny that you
could hardly have seen them without a magnifying glass.

It was not very far from this cottage to the sweet marjoram country,
and the fairy sisters had no trouble at all in running down there
whenever they felt like it, but none of the people had ever seen this
little home. They had looked for it, but could not find it, and the
fairies would never take any of them to it. They said it was no place
for human beings. Even the smallest boy, if he were to trip his toe,
might fall against their house and knock it over; and as to any of them
coming into the fairy grounds, that would be impossible, for there was
no spot large enough for even a common-sized baby to creep about in.

On Sweet Marjoram Day the fairies never failed to come. Every year they
taught the people new games, and all sorts of new ways of having fun.
People would never have even thought of having such good times if it
had not been for these fairies.

One delightful afternoon, about a month before Sweet Marjoram Day,
Corette, who was a little girl just old enough, and not a day too old
(which is exactly the age all little girls ought to be), was talking
about the fairy cottage to some of her companions.

"We never can see it," said Corette, sorrowfully.

"No," said one of the other girls, "we are too big. If we were little
enough, we might go."

"Are you sure the sisters would be glad to see us, then?" asked
Corette.

"Yes, I heard them say so. But it doesn't matter at all, as we are not
little enough."

"No," said Corette, and she went off to take a walk by herself.

She had not walked far before she reached a small house which stood by
the sea-shore. This house belonged to a Reformed Pirate who lived there
all by himself. He had entirely given up a sea-faring life so as to
avoid all temptation, and he employed his time in the mildest pursuits
he could think of.

When Corette came to his house, she saw him sitting in an easy-chair in
front of his door near the edge of a small bluff which overhung the
sea, busily engaged in knitting a tidy.

When he saw Corette, he greeted her kindly, and put aside his knitting,
which he was very glad to do, for he hated knitting tidies, though he
thought it was his duty to make them.

"Well, my little maid," he said, in a sort of a muffled voice, which
sounded as if he were speaking under water, for he tried to be as
gentle in every way as he could, "how do you do? You don't look quite
as gay as usual. Has anything run afoul of you?"

"Oh no!" said Corette, and she came and stood by him, and taking up his
tidy, she looked it over carefully and showed him where he had dropped
a lot of stitches and where he had made some too tight and others a
great deal too loose. He did not know how to knit very well.

When she had shown him as well as she could how he ought to do it, she
sat down on the grass by his side, and after a while she began to talk
to him about the fairy cottage, and what a great pity it was that it
was impossible for her ever to see it.

"It _is_ a pity," said the Reformed Pirate. "I've heard of that cottage
and I'd like to see it myself. In fact, I'd like to go to see almost
anything that was proper and quiet, so as to get rid of the sight of
this everlasting knitting."

"There are other things you might do besides knit," said Corette.

"Nothing so depressing and suitable," said he, with a sigh.

"It would be of no use for you to think of going there," said Corette.
"Even I am too large, and you are ever and ever so much too big. You
couldn't get one foot into one of their paths."

"I've no doubt that's true," he replied; "but the thing might be done.
Almost anything can be done if you set about it in the right way. But
you see, little maid, that you and I don't know enough. Now, years ago,
when I was in a different line of business, I often used to get puzzled
about one thing or another, and then I went to somebody who knew more
than myself."

"Were there many such persons?" asked Corette.

[Illustration: THE REFORMED PIRATE.]

"Well, no. I always went to one old fellow who was a Practicing Wizard.
He lived, and still lives, I reckon, on an island about fifty miles
from here, right off there to the sou'-sou'-west. I've no doubt that if
we were to go to him he'd tell us just how to do this thing."

"But how could we get there?" asked Corette.

"Oh! I'd manage that," said the Reformed Pirate, his eyes flashing with
animation. "I've an old sail-boat back there in the creek that's as
good as ever she was, I could fix her up, and get everything all
ship-shape in a couple of days, and then you and I could scud over
there in no time. What do you say? Wouldn't you like to go?"

"Oh, I'd like to go ever so much!" cried Corette, clapping her hands,
"if they'd let me."

"Well, run and ask them," said he, rolling up his knitting and stuffing
it under the cushion of his chair, "and I'll go and look at that boat
right away."

So Corette ran home to her father and mother and told them all about
the matter. They listened with great interest, and her father said:

"Well now, our little girl is not looking quite as well as usual. I
have noticed that she is a little pale. A sea-trip might be the very
thing for her."

"I think it would do her a great deal of good," said her mother, "and
as to that Reformed Pirate, she'd be just as safe with him as if she
was on dry land."

So it was agreed that Corette should go. Her father and mother were
always remarkably kind.

The Reformed Pirate was perfectly delighted when he heard this, and he
went hard to work to get his little vessel ready. To sail again on the
ocean seemed to him the greatest of earthly joys, and as he was to do
it for the benefit of a good little girl, it was all perfectly right
and proper.

When they started off, the next day but one, all the people who lived
near enough, came down to see them off. Just as they were about to
start, the Reformed Pirate said:

"Hello! I wonder if I hadn't better run back to the house and get my
sword! I only wear the empty scabbard now, but it might be safer, on a
trip like this, to take the sword along."

So he ran back and got it, and then he pushed off amid the shouts of
all the good people on the beach.

The boat was quite a good-sized one, and it had a cabin and everything
neat and comfortable. The Reformed Pirate managed it beautifully, all
by himself, and Corette sat in the stern and watched the waves, and the
sky, and the sea-birds, and was very happy indeed.

As for her companion, he was in a state of ecstasy. As the breeze
freshened, the sails filled, and the vessel went dashing over the
waves, he laughed and joked, and sang snatches of old sea-songs, and
was the jolliest man afloat.

[Illustration: THE REFORMED PIRATE IS THE JOLLIEST MAN AFLOAT]

After a while, as they went thus sailing merrily along, a distant ship
appeared in sight. The moment his eyes fell upon it, a sudden change
came over the Reformed Pirate. He sprang to his feet and, with his hand
still upon the helm, he leaned forward and gazed at the ship. He gazed
and he gazed, and he gazed without saying a word. Corette spoke to him
several times, but he answered not. And as he gazed he moved the helm
so that his little craft gradually turned from her course, and sailed
to meet the distant ship.

As the two vessels approached each other, the Reformed Pirate became
very much excited. He tightened his belt and loosened his sword in its
sheath. Hurriedly giving the helm to Corette, he went forward and
jerked a lot of ropes and hooks from a cubby-hole where they had been
stowed away. Then he pulled out a small, dark flag, with bits of
skeleton painted on it, and hoisted it to the top-mast.

By this time he had nearly reached the ship, which was a large
three-masted vessel. There seemed to be a great commotion on board;
sailors were running this way and that; women were screaming; and
officers could be heard shouting, "Put her about! Clap on more sail!"

But steadily on sailed the small boat, and the moment it came alongside
the big ship, the Reformed Pirate threw out grapnels and made the two
vessels fast together. Then he hooked a rope-ladder to the side of the
ship, and rushing up it, sprang with a yell on the deck of the vessel,
waving his flashing sword around his head!

"Down, dastards! varlets! hounds!" he shouted. "Down upon your knees!
Throw down your arms! SURRENDER!"

Then every man went down upon his knees, and threw down his arms and
surrendered.

"Where is your Captain?" roared their conqueror.

The Captain came trembling forward.

"Bring to me your gold and silver, your jewels and your precious
stones, and your rich stuffs!"

The Captain ordered these to be quickly brought and placed before the
Reformed Pirate, who continued to stride to and fro across the deck
waving his glittering blade, and who, when he saw the treasures placed
before him, shouted again:

"Prepare for scuttling!" and then, while the women got down on their
knees and begged that he would not sink the ship, and the children
cried, and the men trembled so that they could hardly kneel straight,
and the Captain stood pale and shaking before him, he glanced at the
pile of treasure, and touched it with his sword.

"Aboard with this, my men!" he said. "But first I will divide it. I
will divide this into,--into,--into _one_ part. Look here!" and then
he paused, glanced around, and clapped his hand to his head. He looked
at the people, the treasure and the ship. Then suddenly he sheathed his
sword, and stepping up to the Captain, extended his hand.

"Good sir," said he, "you must excuse me. This is a mistake. I had no
intention of taking this vessel. It was merely a temporary absence of
mind. I forgot I had reformed, and seeing this ship, old scenes and my
old business came into my head, and I just came and took the vessel
without really thinking what I was doing. I beg you will excuse me. And
these ladies,--I am very sorry to have inconvenienced them. I ask them
to overlook my unintentional rudeness."

"Oh, don't mention it!" cried the Captain, his face beaming with joy as
he seized the hand of the Reformed Pirate. "It is of no importance, I
assure you. We are delighted, sir, delighted!"

"Oh yes!" cried all the ladies. "Kind sir, we are charmed! We are
charmed!"

"You are all very good indeed," said the Reformed Pirate, "but I really
think I was not altogether excusable. And I am very sorry that I made
your men bring up all these things."

"Not at all! not at all!" cried the Captain. "No trouble whatever to
show them. Very glad indeed to have the opportunity. By the by, would
you like to take a few of them, as a memento of your visit?"

"Oh no, I thank you," replied the Reformed Pirate, "I would rather
not."

"Perhaps, then, some of your men might like a trinket or a bit of
cloth--"

"Oh, I have no men! There is no one on board but myself--excepting a
little girl, who is a passenger. But I must be going. Good-by,
Captain!"

"I am sorry you are in such a hurry," said the Captain. "Is there
anything at all that I can do for you?"

"No, thank you. But stop!--there may be something. Do you sail to any
port where there is a trade in tidies?"

"Oh yes! To several such," said the Captain.

"Well, then, I would be very much obliged to you," said the Reformed
Pirate, "if you would sometimes stop off that point that you see there,
and send a boat ashore to my house for a load of tidies."

"You manufacture them by the quantity, then?" asked the Captain.

"I expect to," said the other, sadly.

The Captain promised to stop, and, after shaking hands with every
person on deck, the Reformed Pirate went down the side of the ship, and
taking in his ladder and his grapnels, he pushed off.

As he slowly sailed away, having lowered his flag, the Captain looked
over the side of his ship, and said:

"If I had only known that there was nobody but a little girl on board!
I thought, of course, he had a boat-load of pirates."

Corette asked a great many questions about everything that had happened
on the ship, for she had heard the noise and confusion as she sat below
in the little boat; but her companion was disposed to be silent, and
said very little in reply.

When the trip was over, and they had reached the island, the Reformed
Pirate made his boat fast, and taking little Corette by the hand, he
walked up to the house of the Practicing Wizard.

This was a queer place. It was a great rambling house, one story high
in some places, and nine or ten in other places; and then, again, it
seemed to run into the ground and re-appear at a short distance--the
different parts being connected by cellars and basements, with nothing
but flower-gardens over them.

Corette thought she had never seen such a wonderful building; but she
had not long to look at the outside of it, for her companion, who had
been there before, and knew the ways of the place, went up to a little
door in a two-story part of the house and knocked. Our friends were
admitted by a dark cream-colored slave, who informed them that the
Practicing Wizard was engaged with other visitors, but that he would
soon be at leisure.

So Corette and the Reformed Pirate sat down in a handsome room, full of
curious and wonderful things, and, in a short time, they were summoned
into the Practicing Wizard's private office.

"Glad to see you," said he, as the Reformed Pirate entered. "It has
been a long time since you were here. What can I do for you, now? Want
to know something about the whereabouts of any ships, or the value of
any cargoes?"

"Oh, no! I'm out of that business now," said the other. "I've come this
time for something entirely different. But I'll let this little girl
tell you what it is. She can do it a great deal better than I can."

So Corette stepped up to the Practicing Wizard, who was a pleasant,
elderly man, with a smooth white face, and a constant smile, which
seemed to have grown on his face instead of a beard, and she told him
the whole story of the fairy sisters and their cottage, of her great
desire to see it, and of the difficulties in the way.

"I know all about those sisters," he said; "I don't wonder you want to
see their house. You both wish to see it?"

"Yes," said the Reformed Pirate; "I might as well go with her, if the
thing can be done at all."

"Very proper," said the Practicing Wizard, "very proper, indeed. But
there is only one way in which it can be done. You must be condensed."

"Does that hurt?" asked Corette.

"Oh, not at all! You'll never feel it. For the two it will be one
hundred and eighty ducats," said he, turning to the Reformed Pirate;
"we make a reduction when there are more than one."

"Are you willing?" asked the Reformed Pirate of Corette, as he put his
hand in his breeches' pocket.

"Oh yes!" said Corette, "certainly I am, if that's the only way."

Whereupon her good friend said no more, but pulled out a hundred and
eighty ducats and handed them to the Practicing Wizard, who immediately
commenced operations.

Corette and the Reformed Pirate were each placed in a large easy-chair,
and upon each of their heads the old white-faced gentleman placed a
little pink ball, about the size of a pea. Then he took a position in
front of them.

"Now then," said he, "sit perfectly still. It will be over in a few
minutes," and he lifted up a long thin stick, and, pointing it toward
the couple, he began to count: "One, two, three, four----"

As he counted, the Reformed Pirate and Corette began to shrink, and by
the time he had reached fifty they were no bigger than cats. But he
kept on counting until Corette was about three and a half inches high
and her companion about five inches.

Then he stopped, and knocked the pink ball from each of their heads
with a little tap of his long stick.

"There we are," said he, and he carefully picked up the little
creatures and put them on a table in front of a looking-glass, that
they might see how they liked his work.

It was admirably done. Every proportion had been perfectly kept.

"It seems to me that it couldn't be better," said the Condensed Pirate,
looking at himself from top to toe.

"No," said the Practicing Wizard, smiling rather more than usual, "I
don't believe it could."

"But how are we to get away from here?" said Corette to her friend. "A
little fellow like you can't sail that big boat."

"No," replied he, ruefully, "that's true; I couldn't do it. But
perhaps, sir, you could condense the boat."

"Oh no!" said the old gentleman, "that would never do. Such a little
boat would be swamped before you reached shore, if a big fish didn't
swallow you. No, I'll see that you get away safely."

So saying, he went to a small cage that stood in a window, and took
from it a pigeon.

"This fellow will take you," said he. "He is very strong and swift, and
will go ever so much faster than your boat."

[Illustration: "'IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT COULDN'T BE BETTER,' SAID THE
CONDENSED PIRATE."]

Next he fastened a belt around the bird, and to the lower part of this
he hung a little basket, with two seats in it. He then lifted Corette
and the Condensed Pirate into the basket, where they sat down opposite
one another.

"Do you wish to go directly to the cottage of the fairy sisters?" said
the old gentleman.

"Oh yes!" said Corette.

So he wrote the proper address on the bill of the pigeon, and, opening
the window, carefully let the bird fly.

"I'll take care of your boat," he cried to the Condensed Pirate, as the
pigeon rose in the air. "You'll find it all right, when you come back."

And he smiled worse than ever.

The pigeon flew up to a great height, and then he took flight in a
straight line for the Fairy Cottage, where he arrived before his
passengers thought they had half finished their journey.

The bird alighted on the ground, just outside of the boundary fence;
and when Corette and her companion had jumped from the basket, he rose
and flew away home as fast as he could go.

The Condensed Pirate now opened a little gate in the fence, and he and
Corette walked in. They went up the graveled path, and under the
fruit-trees, where the ripe peaches and apples hung, as big as peas,
and they knocked at the door of the fairy sisters.

When these two little ladies came to the door, they were amazed to see
Corette.

"Why, how did you ever?" they cried. "And if there isn't our old friend
the Reformed Pirate!"

"Condensed Pirate, if you please," said that individual. "There's no
use of my being reformed while I'm so small as this. I couldn't hurt
anybody if I wanted to."

"Well, come right in, both of you," said the sisters, "and tell us all
about it."

So they went in, and sat in the little parlor, and told their story.
The fairies' were delighted with the whole affair, and insisted on a
long visit, to which our two friends were not at all opposed.

They found everything at this cottage exactly as they had been told.
They ate the daintiest little meals off the daintiest little dishes,
and they thoroughly enjoyed all the delightful little things in the
little place. Sometimes, Corette and the fairies would take naps in
little hammocks under the trees, while the Condensed Pirate helped the
little man drive up the little cows, or work in the little garden.

On the second day of their visit, when they were all sitting on the
little portico after supper, one of the sisters, thinking that the
Condensed Pirate might like to have something to do, and knowing how he
used to occupy himself, took from her basket a little half-knit tidy,
with the needles in it, and asked him if he cared to amuse himself with
that.

"No, MA'AM!" said he, firmly but politely. "Not at present. If I find
it necessary to reform again, I may do something of the kind, but not
now. But I thank you kindly, all the same."

After this, they were all very careful not to mention tidies to him.

Corette and her companion stayed with the fairies for more than a week.
Corette knew that her father and mother did not expect her at home for
some time, and so she felt quite at liberty to stay as long as she
pleased.

As to the sisters, they were delighted to have their visitors with
them.

But, one day, the Condensed Pirate, finding Corette alone, led her,
with great secrecy, to the bottom of the pasture field, the very
outskirts of the fairies' domain.

"Look here," said he, in his lowest tones. "Do you know, little
Corette, that things are not as I expected them to be here? Everything
is very nice and good, but nothing appears very small to me. Indeed,
things seem to be just about the right size. How does it strike you?"

"Why, I have been thinking the same thing," said Corette. "The sisters
used to be such dear, cunning little creatures, and now they're bigger
than I am. But I don't know what can be done about it."

"I know," said the Condensed Pirate.

"What?" asked Corette.

"Condense 'em," answered her companion, solemnly.

"Oh! But you couldn't do that!" exclaimed Corette.

"Yes, but I can--at least, I think I can. You remember those two pink
condensing balls?"

"Yes," said Corette.

"Well, I've got mine."

"You have!" cried Corette. "How did you get it?"

"Oh! when the old fellow knocked it off my head, it fell on the chair
beside me, and I picked it up and put it in my coat-pocket. It would
just go in. He charges for the balls, and so I thought I might as well
have it."

"But do you know how he works them?"

"Oh yes!" replied the Condensed Pirate. "I watched him. What do you
say? Shall we condense this whole place?"

"It wont hurt them," said Corette, "and I don't really think they would
mind it."

"Mind it! No!" said the other. "I believe they'd like it."

So it was agreed that the Fairy Cottage, inmates, and grounds should
be condensed until they were, relatively, as small as they used to be.

That afternoon, when the sisters were taking a nap and the little man
was at work in the barn, the Condensed Pirate went up into the garret
of the cottage and got out on the roof. Then he climbed to the top of
the tallest chimney, which overlooked everything on the place, and
there he laid his little pink ball.

He then softly descended, and, taking Corette by the hand (she had been
waiting for him on the portico), he went down to the bottom of the
pasture field.

When he was quite sure that he and Corette were entirely outside of the
fairies' grounds, he stood up, pointed to the ball with a long, thin
stick which he had cut, and began to count: "One, two, three----"

And as he counted the cottage began to shrink. Smaller and smaller it
became, until it got to be very little indeed.

"Is that enough?" said the Condensed Pirate, hurriedly between two
counts.

"No," replied Corette. "There is the little man, just come out of the
barn. He ought to be as small as the sisters used to be. I'll tell you
when to stop."

So the counting went on until Corette said, "Stop!" and the cottage was
really not much higher than a thimble. The little man stood by the
barn, and seemed to Corette to be just about the former size of the
fairy sisters; but, in fact, he was not quite a quarter of an inch
high. Everything on the place was small in proportion, so that when
Corette said "Stop!" the Condensed Pirate easily leaned over and
knocked the pink ball from the chimney with his long stick. It fell
outside of the grounds, and he picked it up and put it in his pocket.

Then he and Corette stood and admired everything! It was charming! It
was just what they had imagined before they came there. While they were
looking with delight at the little fields, and trees, and chickens,--so
small that really big people could not have seen them,--and at the cute
little house, with its vines and portico, the two sisters came out on
the little lawn.

When they saw Corette and her companion they were astounded.

"Why, when did you grow big again?" they cried. "Oh! how sorry we are!
Now you cannot come into our house and live with us any longer."

Corette and the Condensed Pirate looked at each other, as much as to
say, "They don't know they have been made so little."

Then Corette said: "We are sorry too. I suppose we shall have to go
away now. But we have had a delightful visit."

"It has been a charming one for us," said one of the sisters, "and if
we only had known, we would have had a little party before you went
away; but now it is too late."

The Condensed Pirate said nothing. He felt rather guilty about the
matter. He might have waited a little, and yet he could not have told
them about it. They might have objected to be condensed.

"May we stay just a little while and look at things?" asked Corette.

"Yes," replied one of the fairies; "but you must be very careful not to
step inside the grounds, or to stumble over on our place. You might do
untold damage."

So the two little big people stood and admired the fairy cottage and
all about it, for this was indeed the sight they came to see; and then
they took leave of their kind entertainers, who would have been glad to
have them stay longer, but were really trembling with apprehension lest
some false step or careless movement might ruin their little home.

As Corette and the Condensed Pirate took their way through the woods to
their home, they found it very difficult to get along, they were so
small. When they came to a narrow stream, which Corette would once have
jumped over with ease, the Condensed Pirate had to make a ferry-boat of
a piece of bark, and paddle himself and the little girl across.

"I wonder how the fairies used to come down to us," said Corette, who
was struggling along over the stones and moss, hanging on to her
companion's hand.

"Oh! I expect they have a nice smooth path somewhere through the woods,
where they can run along as fast as they please; and bridges over the
streams."

"Why didn't they tell us of it?" asked Corette.

"They thought it was too little to be of any use to us. Don't you
see?--they think we're big people and wouldn't need their path."

"Oh, yes!" said Corette.

In time, however, they got down the mountain and out of the woods, and
then they climbed up on one of the fences and ran along the top of it
toward Corette's home.

When the people saw them, they cried out: "Oh, here come our dear
little fairies, who have not visited us for so many days!" But when
they saw them close at hand, and perceived that they were little
Corette and the Pirate who had reformed, they were dumbfounded.

Corette did not stop to tell them anything; but still holding her
companion's hand, she ran on to her parents' house, followed by a crowd
of neighbors.

Corette's father and mother could hardly believe that this little thing
was their daughter, but there was no mistaking her face and her
clothes, and her voice, although they were all so small; and when she
had explained the matter to them, and to the people who filled the
house, they understood it all. They were filled with joy to have their
daughter back again, little or big.

When the Condensed Pirate went to his house, he found the door locked,
as he had left it, but he easily crawled in through a crack. He found
everything of an enormous size. It did not look like the old place. He
climbed up the leg of a chair and got on a table, by the help of the
tablecloth, but it was hard work. He found something to eat and drink,
and all his possessions were in order, but he did not feel at home.

Days passed on, and while the Condensed Pirate did not feel any better
satisfied, a sadness seemed to spread over the country, and
particularly over Corette's home. The people grieved that they never
saw the fairy sisters, who indeed had made two or three visits, with
infinite trouble and toil, but who could not make themselves observed,
their bodies and their voices being so very small.

And Corette's father and mother grieved. They wanted their daughter to
be as she was before. They said that Sweet Marjoram Day was very near,
but that they could not look forward to it with pleasure. Corette might
go out to the fields, but she could only sit upon some high place, as
the fairies used to sit. She could not help in the gathering. She could
not even be with the babies; they would roll on her and crush her. So
they mourned.

It was now the night before the great holiday. Sweet Marjoram Eve had
not been a very gay time, and the people did not expect to have much
fun the next day. How could they if the fairy sisters did not come?
Corette felt badly, for she had never told that the sisters had been
condensed, and the Condensed Pirate, who had insisted on her secrecy,
felt worse. That night he lay in his great bed, really afraid to go to
sleep on account of rats and mice.

He was so extremely wakeful that he lay and thought, and thought, and
thought for a long time, and then he got up and dressed and went out.

It was a beautiful moonlight night, and he made his way directly to
Corette's house. There, by means of a vine, he climbed up to her
window, and gently called her. She was not sleeping well, and she soon
heard him and came to the window.

He then asked her to bring him two spools of fine thread.

Without asking any questions, she went for the thread, and very soon
made her appearance at the window with one spool in her arms, and then
she went back for another.

"Now, then," said the Condensed Pirate, when he had thrown the spools
down to the ground, "will you dress yourself and wait here at the
window until I come and call you?"

Corette promised, for she thought he had some good plan in his head,
and he hurried down the vine, took up a spool under each arm, and bent
his way to the church. This building had a high steeple which
overlooked the whole country. He left one of his spools outside, and
then, easily creeping with the other under one of the great doors, he
carried it with infinite pains and labor up into the belfry.

There he tied it on his back, and, getting out of a window, began to
climb up the outside of the steeple.

[Illustration: THE CONDENSED PIRATE CLIMBS UP THE OUTSIDE OF THE
STEEPLE.]

It was not hard for him to do this, for the rough stones gave him
plenty of foot-hold, and he soon stood on the very tip-top of the
steeple. He then took tight hold of one end of the thread on his spool
and let the spool drop. The thread rapidly unrolled, and the spool soon
touched the ground.

Then our friend took from his pocket the pink ball, and passing the end
of the thread through a little hole in the middle of it, he tied it
firmly. Placing the ball in a small depression on the top of the
steeple, he left it there, with the thread hanging from it, and rapidly
descended to the ground. Then he took the other spool and tied the end
of its thread to that which was hanging from the steeple.

He now put down the spool and ran to call Corette. When she heard his
voice she clambered down the vine to him.

"Now, Corette." he said, "run to my house and stand on the beach, near
the water, and wait for me."

Corette ran off as he had asked, and he went back to his spool. He took
it up and walked slowly to his house, carefully unwinding the thread as
he went. The church was not very far from the sea-shore, so he soon
joined Corette. With her assistance he then unwound the rest of the
thread, and made a little coil. He next gave the coil to Corette to
hold, cautioning her to be very careful, and then he ran off to where
some bits of wood were lying, close to the water's edge. Selecting a
little piece of thin board he pushed it into the water, and taking a
small stick in his hand, he jumped on it, and poled it along to where
Corette was standing. The ocean here formed a little bay where the
water was quite smooth.

"Now, Corette," said the Condensed Pirate, "we must be very careful. I
will push this ashore and you must step on board, letting out some of
the thread as you come. Be sure not to pull it tight. Then I will
paddle out a little way, and as I push, you must let out more thread."

Corette did as she was directed, and very soon they were standing on
the little raft a few yards from shore. Then her companion put down his
stick, and took the coil of thread.

"What are you going to do?" asked Corette. She had wanted to ask
before, but there did not seem to be time.

"Well," said he, "we can't make ourselves any bigger--at least, I don't
know how to do it, and so I'm going to condense the whole country. The
little pink ball is on top of the steeple, which is higher than
anything else about here, you know. I can't knock the ball off at the
proper time, so I've tied a thread to it to pull it off. You and I are
outside of the place, on the water, so we wont be made any smaller. If
the thing works, everybody will be our size, and all will be right
again."

"Splendid!" cried Corette. "But how will you know when things are
little enough?"

"Do you see that door in my house, almost in front of us? Well, when I
was of the old size, I used just to touch the top of that door with my
head, if I didn't stoop. When you see that the door is about my present
height, tell me to stop. Now then!"

The Condensed Pirate began to count, and instantly the whole place,
church, houses, fields, and of course the people who were in bed, began
to shrink! He counted a good while before Corette thought his door
would fit him. At last she called to him to stop. He glanced at the
door to feel sure, counted one more, and pulled the thread. Down came
the ball, and the size of the place was fixed!

The whole of the sweet marjoram country was now so small that the
houses were like bandboxes, and the people not more than four or five
inches high--excepting some very tall people who were six inches.

Drawing the ball to him, the Condensed Pirate pushed out some distance,
broke it from the thread, and threw it into the water.

"No more condensing!" said he. He then paddled himself and Corette
ashore, and running to his cottage, threw open the door and looked
about him. Everything was just right! Everything fitted! He shouted
with joy.

It was just daybreak when Corette rushed into her parents' house.
Startled by the noise, her father and mother sprang out of bed.

"Our daughter! Our darling daughter!" they shouted, "and she has her
proper size again!!"

In an instant she was clasped in their arms.

When the first transports of joy were over, Corette sat down and told
them the whole story--told them everything.

"It is all right," said her mother, "so that we are all of the same
size," and she shed tears of joy.

Corette's father ran out to ring the church-bell, so as to wake up the
people and tell them the good news of his daughter's restoration. When
he came in, he said:

"I see no difference in anything. Everybody is all right."

There never was such a glorious celebration of Sweet Marjoram Day as
took place that day.

The crop was splendid, the weather was more lovely than usual, if such
a thing could be, and everybody was in the gayest humor.

But the best thing of all was the appearance of the fairy sisters. When
they came among the people they all shouted as if they had gone wild.
And the good little sisters were so overjoyed that they could scarcely
speak.

"What a wonderful thing it is to find that we have grown to our old
size again! We were here several times lately, but somehow or other we
seemed to be so very small that we couldn't make you see or hear us.
But now it's all right. Hurrah! We have forty-two new games!"

And at that, the crop being all in, the whole country, with a shout of
joy, went to work to play.

There were no gayer people to be seen than Corette and the Condensed
Pirate. Some of his friends called this good man by his old name, but
he corrected them.

"I am reformed, all the same," he said, "but do not call me by that
name, I shall never be able to separate it from its associations with
tidies. And with _them_ I am done for ever. Owing to circumstances, I
do not need to be depressed."

The captain of the ship never stopped off the coast for a load of
tidies. Perhaps he did not care to come near the house of his former
captor, for fear that he might forget himself again, and take the ship
a second time. But if the captain had come, it is not likely that his
men would have found the cottage of the Condensed Pirate, unless they
had landed at the very spot where it stood.

And it so happened that no one ever noticed this country after it was
condensed. Passing ships could not come near enough to see such a very
little place, and there never were any very good roads to it by land.

But the people continued to be happy and prosperous, and they kept up
the celebration of Sweet Marjoram Day as gayly as when they were all
ordinary-sized people.

In the whole country there were only two persons, Corette and the
Pirate, who really believed that they were condensed.



"SING-A-SING!"

BY S.C. STONE.


[Illustration]


  Listen! and hear the tea-kettle sing:
      "Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!"
  It matters not how hot the fire,
  It only sends its voice up higher:
      "Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!
       Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!"

  Listen! and hear the tea-kettle sing:
      "Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!"
  As if 't were task of fret and toil
  To bring cold water to a boil!
      "Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!
       Sing a-sing a-sing a-sing!"



NOW, OR THEN?

BY GAIL HAMILTON.


I suppose the wise young women--fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years
old--who read ST. NICHOLAS, who understand the most complex vulgar
fractions, who cipher out logarithms "just for fun," who chatter
familiarly about "Kickero" and "luliuse Kiser," and can bang a piano
dumb and helpless in fifteen minutes--they, I suppose, will think me
frivolous and unaspiring if I beg them to lay aside their
science,--which is admirable,--and let us reason together a few minutes
about such unimportant themes as little points of good manners.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of talking with a gentleman who
thought he remembered being aroused from his midnight sleep by loud
rejoicings in the house and on the streets over the news that Lord
Cornwallis had surrendered the British to the American forces. He was
only two years old at that time; but, he said, he had a very strong
impression of the house being full of light, of many people hurrying
hither and yon, and of the watchman's voice in the street penetrating
through all the din with the cry--"Past twelve o'clock and Cornwallis
is taken!"

Among many interesting reminiscences and reflections, this dignified
and delightful old gentleman said he thought the young people of to-day
were less mannerly than in the olden time, less deferential, less
decorous. This may be true, and I tried to be sufficiently deferential
to my courtly host, not to disagree with him. But when I look upon the
young people of my own acquaintance, I recall that William went, as a
matter of course, to put the ladies in their carriage; Jamie took the
hand luggage as naturally as if he were born for nothing else; Frank
never failed to open a door for them; Arthur placed Maggie in her chair
at table before he took his own; Nelly and Ruth came to my party just
as sweet and bright as if they did not know that the young gentlemen
whom they had expected to meet were prevented from attending; while
Lucy will run herself out of breath for you, and Mary sits and listens
with flattering intentness, and Anne and Alice and--well, looking over
_my_ constituency, I find the young people charming.

It is true that all manners are less formal, that etiquette is less
elaborate, now than a hundred years ago. Our grandfathers and
grandmothers--some, indeed, of our fathers and mothers--did not sit at
breakfast with their fathers and mothers, but stood through the meal,
and never spoke except when spoken to. I cannot say I think we have
deteriorated in changing this. The pleasant, familiar, affectionate
intercourse between parent and child seems to me one of the most
delightful features of domestic life. The real, fond intimacy which
exists between parents and children seems a far better and safer thing
than the old fashion of keeping children at arm's length.

But in casting aside forms we are, perhaps, somewhat in danger of
losing with them some of that inner kindness of which form is only the
outward expression. Without admitting that we are an uncivil people,
insisting even that we compare favorably with other nations, I wish our
boys and girls would resolve that the courtesy of the Republic shall
never suffer in their hands!

Does this seem a trivial aim for those who are bending their energies
to attain a high standing in classics and mathematics? There is perhaps
no single quality that does as much to make life smooth and
comfortable--yes, and successful--as courtesy. Logarithms are valuable
in their way, but there are many useful and happy people who are not
very well versed even in the rule of three. A man may not know a word
of Latin, or what is meant by "the moon's terminator," or how much
sodium is in Arcturus, and yet be constantly diffusing pleasure. But no
man can be agreeable without courtesy, and every separate act of
incivility creates its little, or large, and ever enlarging circle of
displeasure and unhappiness.

One does not wish to go through life trying to be agreeable; but life
is a great failure if one goes through it disagreeable.

Yes, little friends, believe me, you may be very learned, very
skillful, very accomplished. I trust you are: I hope you will become
more so. You may even have sound principles and good habits; but if
people generally do not like you, it is because there is something
wrong in yourself, and the best thing you can do is to study out what
it is and correct it as fast as possible. Do not for a moment fancy it
is because you are superior to other people that they dislike you, for
superiority never, of itself, made a person unlovely. It is invariably
a defect of some sort. Generally it is a defect arising from training,
and therefore possible to overcome.

For instance: two girls in the country have each a pony phaeton. One
drives her sisters, her family, her guests, her equals, and never
thinks of going outside that circle. Another does the same; but, more
than this, she often takes the cook, the laundress, or the one woman
who often is cook, laundress, housemaid, all in one. And to them the
drive is a far greater luxury than to her own comrades, who would be
playing croquet or riding if they were not with her. Now and then she
invites some poor neighbor, she takes some young sempstress or
worsted-worker to town to do her shopping, she carries the tired
housewife to see her mother, she asks three little girls--somewhat
crowded but rapturously happy--three miles to see the balloon that has
alighted on the hill; she drives a widowed old mother-in-Israel to a
tea-drinking of which she would otherwise be deprived. These are not
charities. They are courtesies, and this bright-faced girl is sunshine
in her village home and, by and by, when her box of finery is by some
mistake left at the station, a stalwart youngster, unbidden, shoulders
it and bears it, panting and perspiring, to her door-step, declaring
that he would not do it for another person in town but Miss Fanny! And
perhaps he does not even say _Miss_ Fanny--only Fanny. Now she could
get on very well without the villager's admiring affection, and even
without her box of finery; yet the goodwill of your neighbors is
exceeding pleasant.

Another thing Fanny excels in is the acknowledgment of courtesy, which
is itself as great a courtesy as the performance of kindness. If she is
invited to a lawn party or a boating picnic, whether she accept or
not, she pays a visit to her hostess afterward and expresses her
pleasure or her regrets; and she pays it with promptness, and not with
tardy reluctance, as if it were a burden. If she has been making a
week's visit away from home, she notifies her hostess of her safe
return and her enjoyment of the visit, as soon as she is back again. If
a bouquet is sent her,--too informal for a note,--she remembers to
speak of it afterward. You never can remember? No; but Fanny does. That
is why I admire her. If she has borrowed a book, she has an
appreciative word to say when she returns it; and if she has dropped it
in the mud, she does not apologize and offer to replace it. She
replaces it first and apologizes afterward, though she has to sacrifice
a much-needed pair of four-button gloves to do it! Indeed, no person
has as little apologizing to do as Fanny, because she does everything
promptly; and you may notice that what we apologize for chiefly is
delay. We perform our little social duties, only not in good season,
and so rob them of half their grace. It takes no longer to answer a
letter to-day than it will take to-morrow. But if the letter requires
an answer instantly, and you put it off day after day, your
correspondent is vexed, and your tardy answer will never be quite a
reparation. Remember that no explanation, no apology, is quite as good
as to have done the thing exactly as it should be in the first place.



JACK'S CHRISTMAS

BY EMMA K. PARRISH.


Jack had just heard of Christmas for the first time! Ten years old, and
never knew about Christmas before! Jack's mother was a weary,
overworked woman, and had no heart to tell the children about merry
times and beautiful things in which they could have no share.

His parents were very poor. When I tell you that they lived in a
log-house you might think so, although some people live very
comfortably in log-houses. But when I say that the snow drifted through
the cracks in the roof until the chamber floor was fit to go sleighing
on, and that it was so cold down-stairs that the gravy froze on the
children's plates while they were eating breakfast, and that the little
girls had no shoes but cloth ones which their mother sewed to their
stockings, you will see that they were poor indeed. Mrs. Boyd, Jack's
mother, generally went about her work with a shawl tied around her, and
a comforter over her ears, on account of the ear-ache; and on the
coldest days she kept Jack's little sisters wrapped up from head to
foot and perched on chairs near the stove, so they wouldn't freeze. No;
she didn't feel much like telling them about Christmas, when she didn't
know but they would freeze to death, or, may be, starve, before that
time. But Jack found out. He was going to school that winter, and one
learns so much at school! He came home one night brimful of the news
that Christmas would be there in three weeks, and that Santa Claus
would come down chimneys and say, "I wish you Merry Christmas!" and
then put lots of nice things in all the stockings.

Mrs. Boyd heard him talking, and was glad the children were enjoying
themselves, but hoped from her heart that they wouldn't expect
anything, only to be bitterly disappointed. Most of that evening little
Janey, the youngest girl, sat singing:

     "Wis' you Melly Kitsmas!
      Wis' you Melly Kitsmas!"

in a quaint, little minor key, that wasn't plaintive enough to be sad,
nor merry enough to be jolly, but only a sweet monotony of sounds and
words showing that she was contented, and didn't feel any of the
dreadful aches and pains which sometimes distressed her so.

For a week, Jack wondered and mused within himself how he could get
something for Christmas presents for his little sisters. He couldn't
make anything at home without their seeing it, nor at school without
the teacher's seeing it, or else the big boys plaguing him about it.
Besides, he would rather buy something pretty, such as they had never
seen before--china dolls in pink dresses, or something of that kind.
One morning, however, Jack discovered some quail-tracks in the snow
near the straw-stack, and he no longer wondered about ways and means,
but in a moment was awake to the importance of this discovery. That
very evening he made a wooden trap, and the next morning early set it
near the stack, and laid an inviting train of wheat quite up to it, and
scattered a little inside. He told his sisters, Mary and Janey, about
the trap, but not about what he meant to do with the quails when he
caught them. That afternoon Jack went to his trap, and to his unbounded
joy found an imprisoned quail, frozen quite stiff. He quickly set the
trap again, and ran to the house with his bird. All that evening he
worked at quail-traps and made three more.

It was so much warmer that their mother let the children stay up a
little later than usual; and Mary ventured to bring out her playthings
and Janey's. These were two dolls, some bits of broken dishes, and a
few little pine blocks. Mary watched her mother's face until she was
sure she was "feeling good," before she ventured to begin a play,
because on days when mother was very discouraged, it made her feel
worse if the children were noisy, and so they would keep quiet and
speak in whispers.

"Does Santa Claus bring dolls?" asked Mary, suddenly, of Jack.

"Oh yes; dolls with pretty dresses on; and little bunnits and pink
shoes; and little cubberds to keep their clothes in, and chairs, and
everything," said Jack, enthusiastically.

"Oh, my!" sighed Mary, as she looked dolefully at their poor little
heap of toys.

Reader, their dolls were cobs, with square pieces of calico tied around
them for dresses; and after hearing what Jack said, it wasn't so much
fun playing, and the little girls soon went to bed. After they were
asleep, Mrs. Boyd said, reproachfully:

"Jack, I wish you wouldn't say anything more about Christmas to the
children."

"Why, is it bad?" asked Jack, so astonished that he stopped whittling.

"No, of course not; but you're getting their heads full of notions
about fine things they never can have."

Jack's eyes twinkled.

"Oh, but you don't understand, mother," said he; "may be Santy Claus
will come this year."

His mother shook her head.

"You know I caught one quail to-day?" whispered Jack.

"Well!" said his mother.

"Well, I'm going to save 'em all the week, and Saturday take 'em to the
meat-man in the village. I guess he'll buy 'em. I heard that quails
were fetching two cents apiece. And I'm going to get enough money to
buy the girls something nice, and you must make 'em hang up their
stockings, mother, and then we'll put the things in after they get
asleep."

His mother smiled quite cheerfully. "Well," said she, "do the best you
can."

Their father was away that evening. He was generally away evenings,
because most of the neighbors had cozier firesides than his, besides
apples, and sometimes cider; and so he passed many a pleasant hour in
gossip and farm-talk, while his own little family shivered gloomily at
home.

By Saturday morning Jack had ten quails. The four traps had not been as
fruitful as they ought to have been, perhaps, but this was doing very
well, and he trudged joyfully to town with his game hanging on a stick
over his shoulder. The meat-man did indeed give two cents apiece for
quails, and he invited Jack to bring as many more as he could get.

The next Saturday was only two days before Christmas, and how beautiful
were all the stores on the village street! Even the groceries had
Christmas toys and Christmas trees. A good many boys and girls stood
around the store windows pointing out the things they most admired, and
wondering what Santa Claus would bring them. Jack had fifteen quails,
which brought him thirty cents; so he was now the owner of half a
dollar, which was more money than he had ever possessed in all his life
before. But when two dolls were bought, and they weren't very fine
dolls either, there were only twenty cents left. Jack _did_ mean to buy
something for his mother too, but he had to give that up, and after
looking over the bright colored toy-books in the show-case, he selected
two little primers, one with a pink cover and one with a blue one, and
with a big ache in his throat, parted with his last ten cents for
candy. How very, very little he was buying after all, and not one thing
for his dear mother who had sat up till two o'clock the night before,
mending his ragged clothes for him.

Jack's heart was very heavy as he walked out of the gay store with such
a little package, but it sank still lower when his father's tall form
loomed up suddenly before him right in front of the door.

"What you doing here?" he asked, sternly.

"Been buying a few things," said Jack.

"Let me see 'em," said his father.

[Illustration: "'LET ME SEE 'EM,' SAID HIS FATHER."]

Jack tremblingly opened his package.

"Where'd you get the money?"

"With quails," said Jack, meekly.

His father fumbled over the things with his big, mittened hand, and
said quite gently: "For the girls, I s'pose."

"Yes, sir," answered Jack, beginning to feel relieved.

"Well, run along home."

Jack was only too happy to do so. There wasn't much sympathy between
him and his father, nor, indeed, between his father and any of the
family--that is, there didn't seem to be; but I guess the stream was
frozen over, and only needed a few gleams of sunshine to make it bubble
on, laughing and gurgling as in the best of hearts.

Jack related his adventures to his mother in whispers, and hid the
Christmas articles in the wash-boiler until such time as they should be
wanted for certain small stockings. He told his mother how sorry he was
not to have a present for her, and that little speech went a long way
toward making her happy. That night she sat up--I wouldn't dare tell
you how late--making cookies,--something that hadn't been in the house
before that winter. She cut them out in all manner of shapes that
feminine ingenuity and a case-knife could compass, not forgetting a
bird for Janey, with a remarkably plump bill, and a little girl for
Mary, with the toes turned out. She also made some balls of brown sugar
(the Boyds never thought of such a luxury as white sugar), to make
believe candy, for she didn't know Jack had bought any candy.

Now I am going to tell what Mr. Boyd did after he met Jack by the
toy-store. He had gone to the village to have a "good time." That
didn't mean, as it does with some men, to get tipsy; but it meant he
was going to Munger's grocery, where he could meet people, and talk and
joke, and keep warm.

Mr. Boyd had been chopping wood for a farmer, and had received his pay;
but instead of going dutifully home and consulting with his wife about
what he should buy, he was going to "look around" and see what Munger
had. He was touched at the sight of Jack's poor little package of
gifts, but I doubt if it would have made much impression on his mind if
somebody hadn't walked in to Munger's and asked in a brisk, loud voice:
"Got any Brazil nuts, Munger?"

The man with the brisk voice bought I don't know how many quarts of
Brazil nuts, and walnuts, and filberts, and almonds, with all the
loungers looking on, very much interested in the spectacle. Then he
bought raisins, and candy, and oranges, Mr. Munger growing more smiling
every minute.

"Going to keep Christmas, I guess," said he, rubbing his hands
together.

"That I am; 'Christmas comes but once a year,' and there are little
folks up at our house who've been looking for it with all their eyes
for a fortnight."

Then he bought a bushel of apples, and, filling a peck measure with
them, passed them around among the men who sat and stood about the
stove.

"Take 'em home to your little folks if you don't want 'em," he said,
when any one hesitated.

There were three or four apples apiece, and Mr. Boyd put all his in his
pockets, with a slight feeling of Christmas warmth beginning to thaw
his heart.

After this cheery purchaser had gone, some one asked: "Who is that
chap?"

"He's the new superintendent of the Orphant Asylum," answered Mr.
Munger, rubbing his hands again; "and a mighty nice man he is, too.
Pays for all them things out of his own pocket. Very fond of children.
Always likes to see 'em happy."

There were two or three men around that stove who hung their heads, and
Mr. Boyd was one of them. He hung his the lowest, perhaps because he
had the longest neck. I don't know what the other men did,--something
good and pleasant, I hope,--but Mr. Boyd thought and thought. First he
thought how the "orphants" were going to have a brighter and merrier
Christmas than his own children, who had both father and mother. Then
he thought about sweet, patient little Janey, and quiet Mary, and
generous Jack, who had taken so much pains to give pleasure to his
sisters, and a great rush of shame filled his heart. Now, when Mr. Boyd
was once thoroughly aroused, he was alive through the whole of his long
frame. He thumped his knee with his fist, then arose and walked to the
counter, where he dealt out rapid orders to the astonished grocer for
nuts, candies and oranges; not in such large quantities, to be sure, as
the "orphants'" friend had done, but generous enough for three
children. And he bought a calico dress for his wife, a pair of shoes
for each of the little girls, and a cap for Jack. That store contained
everything, from grind-stones to slate-pencils, and from whale-oil to
peppermint-drops. These purchases, together with some needful
groceries, took all Mr. Boyd's money, except a few pennies, but a
Christmas don't-care feeling pervaded his being, and he borrowed a bag,
into which he stowed his goods, and set out for home.

It was a pretty heavy bagful, but its heaviness only made Mr. Boyd's
heart the lighter. When he reached home, he stood the bag up in one
corner, as if it held turnips, and said, "Don't meddle with that,
children." Then he went out and spent the rest of the short day in
chopping wood, which was very cheering to his wife. So many Sundays had
dawned with just wood enough to cook breakfast, that Mrs. Boyd began to
dread that day particularly, for her husband was almost sure to go
right away after breakfast and spend the whole day at the neighbors'
houses, while his own family shivered around a half-empty stove.

Mr. Boyd said never a word about the bag, and the unsuspecting
household thought it contained corn or some other uninteresting
vegetable, and paid little attention to it. It also stood there all the
next day, and the children grew quite used to the sight of it.

Sunday went by quietly, and, to the surprise of all, Mr. Boyd stayed at
home, making it his especial business to hold Janey on his lap, and
keep the stove well filled with wood. Janey wasn't feeling well that
day, and this unusual attention to her made the family very kindly
disposed toward their father, whom of late they had come to regard
almost as an alien.

Jack, whose shoes were not yet worn out, went to Sunday-school, and
after his return the winter day was soon gone. Then he began to fidget,
and was very desirous that his mother should put the little girls to
bed; while, strange to say, his father was desirous that the whole
family should go to bed, except himself. In course of time the little
girls were asleep in their trundle bed, with their little red stockings
hanging behind the door. Mr. Boyd sat with his back to the door, so
Jack slipped in his presents without his father's seeing him, and went
to his cold bed upstairs.

"Aint you going to hang up your stocking, mother?" asked Mr. Boyd after
Jack had gone.

Mrs. Boyd looked startled.

"Why, no," she answered, hesitatingly, not knowing whether the question
was asked in irony or in earnest.

"You better," said Mr. Boyd, going to the bag in the corner, and
beginning to untie the strings.

He laid out package after package on the floor. His wife knelt down by
them in a maze of astonishment. Then, with a great deal of enjoyment,
Mr. Boyd untied them one by one, showing candy, nuts, oranges, shoes,
and all the rest, except the calico dress, which he kept out of sight.

Aladdin felt very fine when he found the cave-full of precious stones,
but I don't believe he was much happier than Mrs. Boyd. Her eyes were
so full of tears that there seemed to be about eight pairs of shoes,
ten bags, and half a dozen Mr. Boyds; but she managed to lay hands on
the real one, and him she embraced fervently. Then she brought out the
cookies and sugar balls she had made, and said to her husband, in a
very shame-faced way:

"See my poor presents; I didn't know the children would have anything
nice, and I made these. I guess I wont put 'em in their stockings
though, now."

But Mr. Boyd insisted on their going in with the other things, and I
think they were prized by the children a little more dearly, if such a
thing could be possible, than those which they called their "boughten"
presents.

Now, I can't begin to describe the joyful time they had the next
morning, and particularly, the utter astonishment of Jack, who didn't
expect a thing, and hadn't even hung up a stocking. When that devoted
boy recognized one of his own gray socks crammed full of knobs and
bunches, with a beautiful plush cap on top, he was almost out of his
wits. Likewise, Mrs. Boyd's surprise was great at the discovery of her
new dress. The little girls were too happy that day to do much else but
count and arrange and re-arrange their delightful Christmas presents.

Mr. Boyd killed a chicken, and Jack contributed four quails which he
had caught since market-day, and the festival of Christmas was kept
with much hilarity by the Boyd family.

The neighbors, one by one, were surprised that Mr. Boyd hadn't dropped
in, as he usually did on Sundays and holidays. But Mr. Boyd was engaged
elsewhere. And this was only the beginning of good days for that
family, for, somehow, the Christmas feeling seemed to last through all
the year with Mr. Boyd, and through many other years; and the little
ball set rolling by Jack with his quail-traps, grew to be a mighty
globe of happiness for the whole family.



LEFT OUT.

By A.G.W.


  One day, St. Nicholas made a complaint:
  "I think it's quite plain why they call me a saint.
  I wonder if any one happens to see
  That nobody ever makes presents to me;
  That I, who make presents to ever so many,
  Am the only poor fellow who never gets any!"



MISS ALCOTT,

THE FRIEND OF LITTLE WOMEN AND OF LITTLE MEN.

BY F.B.S.


[Illustration]


Would the readers of ST. NICHOLAS, who are all admirers of Miss Louisa
Alcott, like to hear more than they now know about this kind friend of
theirs, who has been giving them so much pleasure by her stories, and
never writes so well as when she writes for boys and girls? Then, let
me tell you something about her own family and childhood, and how she
became the well-known writer that she is. She not only tells you
pleasant stories about "little women" and "old-fashioned girls," "eight
cousins," and children "under the lilacs,"--but she shows you how good
it is to be generous and kind, to love others and not to be always
caring and working for yourselves. And the way she can do this is by
first being noble and unselfish herself. "Look into thine own heart and
write," said a wise man to one who had asked how to make a book. And it
is because Miss Alcott looks into her own heart and finds such kindly
and beautiful wishes there that she has been able to write so many
beautiful books. They tell the story of her life; but they tell many
other stories also. So let me give you a few events and scenes in her
life, by themselves.

Miss Alcott's father was the son of a farmer in Connecticut, and her
mother was the daughter of a merchant in Boston. After growing up in a
pretty, rural town, among hardy people who worked all day in the fields
or the woods, and were not very rich, Mr. Alcott went down into
Virginia and wandered about among the rich planters and the poor slaves
who then lived there; selling the gentlemen and ladies such fine things
as they would buy from his boxes,--for he was a traveling merchant, or
peddler,--staying in their mansions sometimes, and sometimes in the
cabins of the poor; reading all the books he could find in the great
houses, and learning all that he could in other ways. Then, he went
back to Connecticut and became a school-master. So fond was he of
children, and so well did he understand them, that his school soon
became large and famous, and he was sent for to go and teach poor
children in Boston. Miss May, the mother of Miss Alcott, was then a
young lady in that city. She, too, was full of kind thoughts for
children, the poor and the rich, and when she saw how well the young
school-master understood his work, how much good he was seeking to do,
and how well he loved her, why, Miss May consented to marry Mr. Alcott,
and then they went away to Philadelphia together, where Mr. Alcott
taught another school.

Close by Philadelphia, and now a part of that great city, is
Germantown, a quiet and lovely village then, which had been settled
many years before by Germans, for whom it was named, and by Quakers,
such as came to Philadelphia with William Penn. Here Louisa May Alcott
was born, and she spent the first two years of her life in Germantown
and Philadelphia. Then, her father and mother went back to Boston,
where Mr. Alcott taught a celebrated school in a fine large building
called the Temple, close by Boston Common, and about this school an
interesting book has been written, which, perhaps, you will some day
read. The little Louisa did not go to it at first, because she was not
old enough, but her father and mother taught her at home the same
beautiful things which the older children learned in the Temple school.
By and by people began to complain that Mr. Alcott was too gentle with
his scholars, that he read to them from the New Testament too much, and
talked with them about Jesus, when he should have been making them say
their multiplication-table. So his school became unpopular, and all the
more so because he would not refuse to teach a poor colored boy who
wanted to be his pupil. The fathers and mothers of the white children
were not willing to have a colored child in the same school with their
darlings. So they took away their children, one after another, until,
when Louisa Alcott was between six and seven years old, her father was
left with only five pupils, Louisa and her two sisters ("Jo," "Beth"
and "Meg"), one white boy, and the colored boy whom he would not send
away. Mr. Alcott had depended for his support on the money which his
pupils paid him, and now he became poor, and gave up his school.

There was a friend of Mr. Alcott's then living in Concord, not far from
Boston,--a man of great wisdom and goodness, who had been very sad to
see the noble Connecticut school-master so shabbily treated in
Boston,--and he invited his friend to come and live in Concord. So
Louisa went to that old country town with her father and mother when
she was eight years old, and lived with them in a little cottage, where
her father worked in the garden, or cut wood in the forest, while her
mother kept the house and did the work of the cottage, aided by her
three little girls. They were very poor, and worked hard; but they
never forgot those who needed their help, and if a poor traveler came
to the cottage door hungry, they gave him what they had, and cheered
him on his journey. By and by, when Louisa was ten years old, they went
to another country town not far off, named Harvard, where some friends
of Mr. Alcott had bought a farm, on which they were all to live
together, in a religious community, working with their hands, and not
eating the flesh of slaughtered animals, but living on vegetable food,
for this practice, they thought, made people more virtuous. Miss Alcott
has written an amusing story about this, which she calls
"Transcendental Wild Oats." When Louisa was twelve years old, and had a
third sister ("Amy"), the family returned to Concord, and for three
years occupied the house in which Mr. Hawthorne, who wrote the fine
romances, afterward lived. There Mr. Alcott planted a fair garden, and
built a summer-house near a brook for his children, where they spent
many happy hours, and where, as I have heard, Miss Alcott first began
to compose stories to amuse her sisters and other children of the
neighborhood.

When she was almost sixteen, the family returned to Boston, and there
Miss Alcott began to teach boys and girls their lessons. She had not
been at school much herself, but she had been instructed by her father
and mother. She had seen so much that was generous and good done by
them that she had learned it is far better to have a kind heart and to
do unselfish acts than to have riches or learning or fine clothes. So,
mothers were glad to send her their children to be taught, and she
earned money in this way for her own support.

But she did not like to teach so well as her father did, and thought
that perhaps she could write stories and be paid for them, and earn
more money in that way. So she began to write stories. At first nobody
would pay her any money for them, but she kept patiently at work,
making better and better what she wrote, until in a few years she could
earn a good sum by her pen. Then the great civil war came on, and Miss
Alcott, like the rest of the people, wished to do something for her
country. So she went to Washington as a nurse, and for some time she
took care of the poor soldiers who came into the hospital wounded or
sick, and she has written a little book about these soldiers which you
may have read. But soon she grew ill herself from the labor and anxiety
she had in the hospital, and almost died of typhoid fever; since when
she has never been the robust, healthy young lady she was before, but
was more or less an invalid while writing all those cheerful and
entertaining books. And yet to that illness all her success as an
author might perhaps be traced. Her "Hospital Sketches," first
published in a Boston newspaper, became very popular, and made her name
known all over the North. Then she wrote other books, encouraged by the
reception given to this, and finally, in 1868, five years after she
left the hospital in Washington, she published the first volume of
"Little Women." From that day to this she has been constantly gaining
in the public esteem, and now perhaps no lady in all the land stands
higher. Several hundred thousand volumes of her books have been sold in
this country, and probably as many more in England and other European
countries.

Twenty years ago, Miss Alcott returned to Concord with her family, who
have ever since resided there. It was there that most of her books were
written, and many of her stories take that town for their
starting-point. It was in Concord that "Beth" died, and there the
"Little Men" now live. Miss Alcott herself has been two or three years
in Europe since 1865, and has spent several winters in Boston or New
York, but her summers are usually passed in Concord, where she lives
with her father and mother in a picturesque old house, under a warm
hill-side, with an orchard around it and a pine-wood on the hill-top
behind. Two aged trees stand in front of the house, and in the rear is
the studio of Miss May Alcott ("Amy"), who has become an artist of
renown, and had a painting exhibited last spring in the great
exhibition of pictures at Paris. Close by is another house, under the
same hill-side, where Mr. Hawthorne lived and wrote several of his
famous books, and it was along the old Lexington road in front of
these ancient houses that the British Grenadiers marched and retreated
on the day of the battle of Concord in April, 1775. Instead of soldiers
marching with their plumed hats, you might have seen there last summer
great plumes of asparagus waving in the field; instead of bayonets, the
poles of grape-vines in ranks upon the hill; while loads of hay, of
strawberries, pears and apples went jolting along the highway between
hill and meadow.

The engraving shows you how Miss Alcott looks,--only you must recollect
that it does not flatter her; and if you should see her, you would like
her face much better than the picture of it. She has large, dark-blue
eyes, brown clustering hair, a firm but smiling mouth, a noble head,
and a tall and stately presence, as becomes one who is descended from
the Mays, Quincys and Sewalls, of Massachusetts, and the Alcotts and
Bronsons of Connecticut. From them she has inherited the best New
England traits,--courage and independence without pride, a just and
compassionate spirit, strongly domestic habits, good sense, and a warm
heart. In her books you perceive these qualities, do you not? and
notice, too, the vigor of her fancy, the flowing humor that makes her
stories now droll and now pathetic, a keen eye for character, and the
most cheerful tone of mind. From the hard experiences of life she has
drawn lessons of patience and love, and now with her, as the apostle
says, "abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of
these is charity." There have been men, and some women too, who could
practice well the heavenly virtue of charity toward the world at large,
and with a general atmospheric effect, but could not always bring it
down to earth, and train it in the homely, crooked paths of household
care. But those who have seen Miss Alcott at home know that such is not
her practice. In the last summer, as for years before, the citizen or
the visitor who walked the Concord streets might have seen this admired
woman doing errands for her father, mother, sister, or nephews, and as
attentive to the comfort of her family as if she were only their
housekeeper. In the sick-room she has been their nurse, in the
excursion their guide, in the evening amusements their companion and
entertainer. Her good fortune has been theirs, and she has denied
herself other pleasures for the satisfaction of giving comfort and
pleasure to them.

     "So did she travel on life's common way
      In cheerful godliness; and yet her heart
      The lowliest duties on herself did lay."



THE BOY WHO JUMPED ON TRAINS.

BY MARY HARTWELL.


  There was a boy whose name was Dunn,
    And he was one
    As full of fun
  As any boy could walk or run!

  His cheeks were plump, his eyes were bright,
    He stepped as light
    As a camel might,
  And bounced and played from morn till night.

  And whether he was here or there,
    His parents' care--
    Unseen like air--
  Followed and held him everywhere.

[Illustration: "HE WOULD JUMP ON THE CARS TO RIDE."]

  He really was their joy and pride--
    Was good beside;
    But woe betide--
  He _would_ jump on the cars to ride!

  There, hanging to a brake or step,
    Tight hold he kept,
    And onward swept,
  Yelling with all his might, "Git-tep!"

  Dunn's father learned that he did so,
    And told him to
    Decline to go
  Where trains were running to and fro.

  As for his mother, she turned white,
    And gasped with fright
    To think Dunn might
  Come home a pancake some fine night!

[Illustration: "HIS FATHER'S STERN COMMAND."]

  But his relations often said,
    With shaking head,
    That boy was led
  To have his way if it killed him dead!

[Illustration: "THE FREIGHT-CARS DECKED WITH BOYS DID SLIDE."]

  And sure enough when school was out,
    And boys about
    The trains flocked out,
  Dunn followed too, with plunge and shout.

  He did not mean to grab a ride,
    But by his side,
    With tempting glide,
  The freight-cars decked with boys did slide!

  Where was his father's stern command?
    Out went his hand;
    He gained a stand--
  At least he _planned_ to gain a stand!

  What is it? Crash! His head is blind!
    That wheel behind--
    He hears it grind!
  And he is paralyzed in mind!

  On cork and crutches now goes Dunn!
    _Whole_ boys may run--
    Grab rides for fun--
  But, as I said, _this_ boy is _Dunn_!



THE TOWER-MOUNTAIN

BY GUSTAVUS FRANKENSTEIN.


I.

Many years ago, I was roving in a land strange and wonderful to me. It
was a tropical country, and I was wandering alone among the grand
scenery of the mountains, and the luxuriant vegetation of the
hill-sides and valleys.

I had with me but few implements, and these, such as were light and
easy to carry. A hunting-knife, a small hatchet, a canteen and a few
marching necessaries made up my kit.

One day while rambling about, living on the bountiful supplies of fruit
nature provides in that charming region, I came to a deep lake
surrounded by steep hills. On the opposite side of this lake I could
see a narrow gap or cleft, which seemed to lead to the higher ground. I
therefore made a raft,--not without considerable trouble,--and paddled
it across the lake. I found the gap quite narrow at its entrance, but
it soon became wider, while far forward, at the end of the chasm, there
appeared to be a series of rude steps.

I fastened the raft to the rock, in doing which I had the ill luck to
drop my hatchet into the deep water, and, notwithstanding the evil
omen, made my way into the crevice. I passed over the rough bottom of
the chasm until I came to the steps; these I ascended. At a height of
about a hundred feet I came to a wall of rock, the top of which I could
just reach with the ends of my fingers. By a great effort, I got a good
hold of the edge of the rock, and drew myself up.

When I stood at last upon the upper ground, I saw before me the most
beautiful trees and flowers I had yet met with. On either side the
rocks retreated and rose steeply to the summits I had partially seen
from the lake below. As I passed on and surveyed the plateau, I found
it to be a valley about a mile in diameter, encompassed by precipices
more or less abrupt. With but little trouble I found a place of easy
ascent, and soon climbed to the top of the rocky wall.

The delight I now experienced surpassed everything I had ever known.
Spread out before me, as I stood upon an eminence somewhat above the
general level, was a vast expanse overflowing with vegetation and
extending for miles in every direction, whilst all round about rose the
mighty domes and pinnacles of snow-clad mountains. I stood in the midst
of the sublimest mountain scenery in the world. I could look down upon
the beautiful lake, and up at the giant peaks, and all about me upon
the fruitful verdure, whilst the atmosphere was charged with
delightful odors, and a pleasant breeze tempered the sweet warm air.

As here was a delightful climate, fruit in abundance, and scenery
soul-exalting, of whose glory one could never grow tired, I felt rather
pleased with the thought "Why not stay here? Why not remain in this
beautiful place as long as circumstances will permit?"

All nature seemed here so lovely that I resolved to wander no further.

While gazing around at all this grandeur and beauty, my attention was
particularly drawn to a group of lofty peaks which rose in the midst of
this smiling garden. The sides of the towering eminences seemed almost
perpendicular, and they were about three or four thousand feet high.

I soon gave up all hope of ever reaching the top, but in examining the
rock I found at its base a great cavern, so high and wide that a very
large building might have stood in it, with plenty of room to spare.
The sides and roof sparkled with crystals of all hues, and were
singularly and picturesquely variegated with differently colored veins
running through them; and, as the cave opened toward the east, with a
large clear space in front of it, nothing could have been more splendid
than when the morning sun shone full into the vast chamber and lighted
it up with dazzling brilliancy.

In that chamber I made my humble home.

Near one of the streams that flowed over the precipice into the lake,
grew several species of very tall grasses, with great bushy heads of
long silky fibers that adorned and protected their flowers and fruit.
Of these fine strong threads I made a hammock, which I suspended from a
strong frame bound together with these tough fibers, placing it a few
feet back from the mouth of the cavern. Thus, I had an excellent bed,
and if I should need covering there were plenty of palm-leaves at hand
for the purpose. But in that torrid climate there was little need of
extra protection; the air of the cavern was of just that delightful
coolness which refreshes but does not chill.

Now, imagine me waking in the morning just as the dawn tinted the rosy
east, refreshed with sweet slumbers and rejoicing to behold the light,
rocking myself gently in my pretty hammock, and hailing the uprising
sun with a merry song,--and would you not suppose there was one happy
man in this great world?

While the day was yet young I would take a bath in the clear, soft
water of a little stream near by. Then, when all was sparkling and
bright in my humble house, I would partake with keen appetite of the
precious fruits of my unlimited and self-producing garden.

In the neighboring streams were many kinds of fishes, some of which I
knew to be very good eating, and I could have caught and eaten as many
birds as I wished; but the fruits and nuts were so plentiful, and of so
many different sorts, that I cared for, and, indeed, needed, no other
kind of food.

Thus, several months passed away, and I was not weary of this paradise.
There was enough to occupy my mind in the examination of the structure
and mode of growth of a vast number of species of plants. Their
flowering, their fruitage, and their decay offered a boundless field
for thought, and kept up a never-flagging interest.

For the first four months the sun traced his course through the heavens
to the north of me; I knew, therefore, that I was almost immediately
under the equator. For several days at the end of the four months, the
sun rose directly in the east, passing through the sky in a line
dividing it almost exactly into halves north and south. After that, for
six months, I had the great luminary to the south of me.

In all this time there was but little change in the weather. A short
period without rain was the exception. Otherwise, the mornings and
evenings were invariably clear, with a refreshing rain of about two
hours' duration in the middle of the day. In the afternoon the sun was,
of course, away from my cavern, shining upon the opposite side of the
mountain of solid rock, which rendered my abode delightfully cool in
the greatest heat of the day. Toward the end of the short dry period,
magnificent thunder-showers passed over my domain. Nothing could be
more glorious than these electrical displays of an equatorial sky, as I
sat snug and safe within the rocky shelter. The heaviest shower could
not wet me, the water without ran with a swift descent, from the cave,
and over the precipice into the lake below. It was not likely that the
lightning would take the trouble to creep in under the rock and there
find me out. And as for the thunder, I was not in the least afraid of
it, but gloried in its loud peals and distant reverberations among the
encompassing mountains.

It was during the violence of one of these tempests that a parrot flew
into my comfortable quarters.

"Hallo! my fine fellow!" said I. "Where do you come from, and what do
you want here?"

It flew about the room looking for a place to perch, trying to find a
footing against the wall, slipping down, and flying up again.

I left it free to find its own roosting-place, or fly out of the
cavern, as it liked. I had seen a few parrots of the same kind, outside
in my garden, had heard them chattering and shrieking amidst the
foliage, and had always been very much amused with their odd ways, and
pleased with the brilliance and the glitter of their splendid plumage.
But I never tried or cared to capture the gorgeous, noisy birds, or any
other of the creatures that were always to be seen around me. Indeed,
from the very first, the living things in this lovely valley appeared
to be uncommonly tame; and in time no bird or other animal showed the
least fear on my approach, regarding me no more than any other creature
that never did them harm. Of course, this came of my never molesting
them. But I never thought of getting on familiar terms with any of
them, although scarcely a day passed that some of these animals did not
come and eat of the fruit by the side of that which I was plucking. I
never laid hands on them, but always let them go about their own
business. They soon became accustomed to my umbrella even, for I early
made one of these necessities of a torrid climate; and although at
first when I had occasion to walk in the sun my appearance shaded by
the portable roof caused unusual chattering and commotion, I speedily
took on a familiar look to them. In the same way I became an object of
curiosity when I plucked a leaf and made of it a cup to drink from. But
at length all signs of strangeness vanished, and there even came to be
a kind of friendship between us.

[Illustration: THE VIEW FROM THE LEDGE.]

I therefore concerned myself no more about the parrot, thinking that,
of course, as soon as the rain should stop, the bird would fly away.

I had made a small table of three slabs of rock, where I frequently
placed fruits, nuts, roots and the like, that I might have in case I
should feel hungry when in my house, and yet not care to eat the fruit
directly from the plant, which I most generally preferred. Of course,
too, it was always desirable to have provisions on hand when it rained.

The next morning, when I awoke, the rain was still descending, for it
was just at this time that it rained for three or four days together.

I always had a healthy relish for the good things of this world, and,
as there was no rosy dawn to look at, my eyes immediately went in
search of the breakfast-table.

"What!" I exclaimed; and I sat upright in my hammock.

There was the parrot on the table.

I eyed him for some time, and then I cried out:

"You little thief! Stealing my food, are you?"

The parrot sat there, but said never a word. He merely raised one of
his claws and sleeked up the feathers on the back of his neck, in the
way his family know so well. Then, raising the feathers of his crest,
he gave utterance to a very faint shriek.

"Get out of this, you rascal!" I cried and immediately got up and went
toward him with the purpose of putting him out.

I approached the table very rapidly, expecting that the bird would fly
away. But he remained motionless. I was about to lay rude hands on him,
but I desisted.

"Why do violence to the creature? Why mar the serenity of this peaceful
vale?" I said to myself. "And why make such ado about a little fruit
when there is abundance on every hand?"

Happening just then to glance at the fruit, it seemed to me that it had
not been disturbed.

I examined it more closely, and began to feel I had done the parrot
great injustice. There it lay, just as I had left it the night before;
there was no evidence whatever of its having been picked at, and I came
to the comforting conclusion that the handsome bird had broken no moral
law.

The parrot rose greatly in my esteem at this happy discovery.

"Friend Parrot," said I, "I beg pardon for having so rashly jumped to
the conclusion that you had been guilty of theft. I believe that you
have touched nothing of the things which belong to me. Indeed, I am
sure that you have not. That you have so scrupulously regarded the
rights of property is to me the source of infinite gratification, and
fills me with the highest admiration of your character. To show you
that I am disinclined to let virtue go unrewarded, I accord you my
permission to stay here while I am eating my breakfast, and when I have
finished, you too may eat some, if you like."

Then, having arranged my toilet, I began to partake of the good things
that lay on the table, the parrot all the while looking at me with
lively interest. I could not help being amused at his significant
performances. He turned his knowing head one way, and then another, now
sidewise toward the fruits, and then obliquely up at me, as I sat
enjoying the repast, enlivening his gestures with gentle prattle, and
yet never making a single demonstration in the direction of my food. He
put me in such good humor that I was impelled to say to him:

"Friend Parrot, I don't mind being sociable; and if you are inclined to
do me the favor of honoring me with your company, I most respectfully
invite you to partake of this humble collation." And, taking up one of
the choicest nuts in the collection, I handed it to him forthwith.

He took it promptly, and proceeded to crack and munch it in regular
parrot fashion.

"You must excuse me," I resumed, "that my viands are not of the
choicest cooking, and that I have no servants to wait upon my highly
esteemed guest, and that there are no silver knives and forks and
spoons to eat with in the latest civilized style, but I have rid myself
of all those things, and am glad of it."

The parrot nodded his head approvingly, as much as to say, "Right,
quite right."

The poor bird was very hungry, and I let him eat his fill.

Breakfast over, my guest flew upon my shoulder and was disposed to be
affectionate. He delicately pecked at my lips, drew his bill gently
across my cheeks, and pulled my hair with his claws.

"Come, come! friend Parrot, none of your soft billing and cooing. Leave
that to women and children."

So I gave my friend politely to understand that I did not care for such
pretty endearments; and, soon comprehending the force of my objection,
he very sensibly desisted from bestowing further attention upon me, and
thenceforth kept his handsome person reasonably aloof.

I entertained my friend two days, during which I gave him much valuable
advice, and, which was more to the purpose and perhaps better
appreciated, plenty to eat.

On the morning of the third day, the sun rose in all his beauty again,
and I fully expected the bird would fly away. He was in no hurry to go,
however. I went out, wandered about, and toward noon returned home.
Still the parrot was there. So it was the next day, and the next. I did
not want to resort to force and drive him away.

Finally I said to him one day:

"Friend Parrot; since I see you are in no hurry to leave my humble
home, and that it evidently grieves you to lose the pleasure of my
society, I shall not eject you forcibly from the premises. Stay,
therefore, as long as it shall please you. I will share with you food,
and shelter from the sun and rain. And whenever you grow weary of this
my society, tired of this plain habitation, or disgusted generally with
civilization, and wish to return to the freedom of savage life, you are
at liberty to go. 'Tis a large door, always open, out of which you can
fly; and when you are gone I shall shed no tears over your departure."

The bird seemed really to comprehend the drift of my discourse, and
from that time forward we lived upon the most intimate terms, which,
however, never passed the bounds of mutual respect.

Now, if we were to live in such close ties of friendship, it was
necessary that my friend should have a name, and that he, too, should
be able to address me by mine. The title, "Friend Parrot," was rather
too formal, and his screeching at me in some unmeaning way every time
he wanted me could not for long be tolerated.

So, "Mr. Parrot" said I, "you are Mr. Parrot no longer. Your name is
'Pippity.'"

He soon learned his new name, and then said I:

"Pippity! my name is 'Frank.'"

It was incredible how rapidly he learned mine.

"Further, Pippity," I continued, "you must learn the names of the
things round about us."

Instruction began at once. For several days he had to be told the names
of things many times before he was able to repeat them correctly; but
after that, and apparently all of a sudden, he seemed to have caught a
bright idea and to thoroughly understand my method of teaching.

From that time on, when the name of a thing was made plain to him, he
seemed to grasp it immediately and never forgot it. This expedited
matters wonderfully, for I liked to talk to him and observe his efforts
to repeat what I said, so there was ample conversation, though somewhat
one-sided, going on in our ancient dwelling. I marveled at the parrot's
extraordinary power; but what astonished me above all was his wonderful
memory, and his unlimited capacity for taking in new ideas. Sometimes I
would ask him, after an interval of weeks, some name of a thing I had
taught him, and the answer was invariably correct. On such occasions I
would say to him:

"Pippity, what's that?"

He would tell me immediately; and I laughed outright when, one day, as
we were strolling through the forest, I stumbled over a stone, and the
parrot, perching on it, pecked it with his bill, and then, looking up
at me askance, asked:

"What's that?"

That was a phrase I had unwittingly taught him. And now I began more
than ever to perceive his extraordinary genius.

Thenceforth it was "What's that?" and "What's that?" and actually the
fellow wanted to learn more quickly than I could teach.

Once, after this intelligent bird had been with me for some months, we
were sitting quietly in our domicile, shaded from the afternoon sun by
our lofty rock-built palace, enjoying the beauties of creation, when
all at once he broke out in his clear, melodious voice:

"Tell me something new!"

I looked at him in amazement. I had never taught him to say that; but
undoubtedly he must have heard me say, at some time or other, "Pippity,
now I will tell you something new." Yet how the bird had managed to
turn the phrase grammatically to himself puzzled me not a little.

However, I soon began to teach him something else that was new, for I
had been thinking that it was time that he should learn the names of
the plants,--at least of the most interesting and useful. So it was not
long before Pippity had a fair acquaintance with botany.

Nearly a year had now rolled round, when one day Pippity was missing.
What could have happened to him? Had he grown tired of my society? Did
he begin to think that, after all, savage freedom was to be preferred
to dull, systematic civilization? Had he come to the conclusion that
much learning is, at best, but vanity? Did he want to go babbling again
in chaotic gibberish rather than to talk smoothly by rote?

Two days passed, in which to drive away any natural feeling of
loneliness at the parrot's absence, I set down notes as concisely as
possible of what had occurred to me so far. For this purpose I used the
point of my knife and thin slabs of mica, wishing to save the small
stock of memorandum paper in my note-book and journals as much as I
could. At other times I had used bark and similar things to write on,
but the mica was more durable, and more easily stowed away. It was my
intention to make a still more condensed series of notes on the paper I
had by me, whenever I should feel like undertaking the task. The juice
of berries would serve for ink, and a feather or light reed would make
as good a pen as I should want. This plan I carried out afterward.

[Illustration]

On the third day Pippity returned, and, as he came flying into the
palace, "Pippity, Pippity!" I cried, "I thought you were never coming
back. Have you been to see your old friends?" He hung his head
demurely, and said nothing.

Although I had told Pippity, when he had first sought my hospitality,
that I would shed no tears over his departure, if at any time he might
see fit to leave me, I must confess that I was very glad when he came
back. His society was agreeable. He was a good listener, and he was by
no means an idler, as far as that kind of honorable work is concerned
which consists in keeping body and soul together. For example,
strolling through our fertile garden, if I should happen to see some
fine fruit high on a tree, Pippity would fly up to it at my bidding,
and, cutting its stem with his bill, would quickly bring it to the
ground.

"Pippity," I would say, "do you see that extra fine bunch of bananas up
there? Now, do you go up and cut the stalk, while I stand below and
catch the luscious treasure on this soft bed of leaves."

And, before I would be done speaking, Pippity would already be pretty
well advanced with his work. For getting nuts, and such fruit as it was
desirable to take carefully from plants at great heights, his services
were invaluable.

It is a remarkable fact that, although we had such an abundance of
tropical fruits, as well as a large proportion of temperate
productions, on our domain, the cocoa-nut was not one of them. I
remembered that, in coming up from the lake, I had seen large numbers
of cocoa-nut trees growing on the small flat at which I first arrived
about nine hundred feet below the level of our palace plateau.

It would be an agreeable diversion, I thought, to go down there and get
some of those nuts, and it undoubtedly would be quite a treat to
Pippity to share them with me.

"So," said I, "Pippity, I am going down this narrow gorge to the lake;
cocoa-nuts grow there, and I mean that you and I shall have some. Keep
house while I am gone. I shall start with the first peep of dawn, while
it is cool, and be back some time in the afternoon."

I had made some baskets, in which we hung up the fruit we gathered. One
of these I took, and went down the declivity. I soon filled the basket
with good cocoa-nuts, saw plenty of monkeys, and was much amused at
their lively antics, and at their astonishment at seeing one so much
like them, and yet so different. I then returned--not, however, without
being obliged to throw away quite a number of the nuts before reaching
the top, in order to lessen the burden, which was light enough at
first, but which seemed to grow heavier and heavier as I proceeded.

As soon as Pippity saw me, he cried out:

"Cocoa-nuts! Cocoa-nuts!"

We relished them so much that I went down after them quite often,
always leaving Pippity at home to mind the house.

On one occasion, while I was gathering these nuts, I was startled by a
loud shrieking not far off, and, looking in the direction of the noise,
I saw that there was a great commotion among the monkeys--about a
hundred of them squealing and yelling and gesticulating at once. It was
on the ground, where the monkey-crowd swayed to and fro like any
civilized mob. I ran up to see what the fracas was about, but not
without some misgivings as to the risk of meddling in other people's
business.

(_To be continued_.)



SINGING PINS.

BY HARLAN H. BALLARD.


It has been said, you know, that all the millions of pins which are
lost every year are picked up by fairies and hammered out on elfin
anvils into notes of music. There are some who say that this statement
must be received with caution, although they admit that the half and
quarter notes do bear a very singular resemblance to pins.

I confess that I shared the doubts of this latter class of persons
until a few evenings since; for although I knew well enough that pins
were bright and sharp enough in their way, I never had been able to
discover one of a musical turn of mind.

But having on a certain evening heard a choir of pins singing "Yankee
Doodle" till you would have thought that their heads must ache forever
after, I hereby withdraw all my objections, and express my decided
opinion that the above-named theory of the future life of pins is fully
as accurate as any other with which I am acquainted.

The chorus of pins who were singing "Yankee Doodle" were standing at
the time on a piece of pine-board, and were evidently very much stuck
up.

One of their number, however, when asked if they were not rather too
self-important, bent his head quickly downward, and replied that he
couldn't see the point, which was exceedingly brassy for a pin.

They looked for all the world as if they were a line of music which,
impatient of being forever kept under key and behind bars, had revolted
under the leadership of an intrepid staff-officer, and marched right
out of Sister Mary's instruction-book.

[Illustration: TUNING THE PINS.]

Indeed, from a remark which the staff-officer let fall, to the effect
that if they did not all see sharp they would soon be flat again,
nothing else would be natural than to accept that supposition as the
truth.

Pins they were of all papers and polish.

They were not ranged according to height, as good soldiers should be,
nor did they all stand erect, but each seemed bent on having his own
way.

Their heads varied greatly from an even line, and on the whole they
looked far more like the notes of music which they had been, than like
the orderly row of singing-pins which they aspired to be. They had a
scaly appearance.

My small brother had assumed the management of this curious chorus, and
I was much amused at the manner in which he drilled them. For he coolly
picked up the splendid staff-officer by his head and poked the first
bass with his point, as if to say, "Time--sing!" Whereupon that pin set
up a deep, twanging growl, to express his disapprobation of that method
of drill.

In like manner did my brother treat each of the pins in succession.
Then it appeared that each had a different voice, and was capable of
producing but one sound. Moreover, they had been so arranged that, as
they uttered each one his peculiar note, the sounds followed each other
in such a manner as to produce the lively and patriotic air of "Yankee
Doodle." This was very wonderful and pleasing.

"Well, Johnny," said I, as soon as I could stop laughing, "that's
pretty good. Where did you pick that up?"

"Oh, a feller told me," said he. "'T aint nothing to do. All there is
of it is to get a tune in your head, and then drive a pin down in a
board, and keep a-driving, and trying it till it sounds like the first
note in the tune. Then stick up another for the second note, and so
on."

"How can you raise a pin to a higher note?" said I.

"Hammer her down farther," said he.

"And to make a lower note?" I asked.

"Pull her up a little," said he.

"How do you manage the time?"

"Oh, when you want to go slow, you put the pins a good ways apart; and
when you want to go fast, you plant 'em thicker."

The next day I found that this ridiculous brother of mine had set up a
pin-organ in a circular form. He had made one of those little
whirligigs which spin around when they are held over the register or by
a stove-pipe, and then had connected it by a string with a wheel. This
wheel, as it turned, set an upright shaft in motion, and from this
there projected a stick armed at the end with a pin. This was arranged,
as is shown in the cut, so that when it revolved, the pin in the stick
played upon the pins in the circle, and rattled off the "Mulligan
Guards" at a tremendous pace.

[Illustration: THE PIN-ORGAN.]

Johnny says that he invented the circular arrangement, and that all the
boys he knows are making these pin-organs for themselves, which I am
not at all surprised to hear.



ABOUT THE PORPOISES.

BY J. D.


The porpoise is a long, sleek fish without scales, black on the back,
and white and gray beneath. He is from four to ten feet in length, and
his sociability and good-nature are proverbial among seamen of all
nations.

A porpoise is rarely seen alone, and if he by chance wanders from his
friends, he acts in a very bewildered and foolish manner, and will
gladly follow a steamer at full speed rather than be left alone. He is
a very inquisitive fish, and is always thrusting his funny-looking
snout into every nook that promises diversion or sport.

[Illustration: A SCHOOL OF PORPOISES.]

A very familiar spectacle at sea is a school of porpoises--or
"porpusses," as the sailors call them. As soon as a school catches
sight of a ship, they immediately make a frantic rush for it, as if
their life depended upon giving it a speedy welcome. After diving under
the vessel a few times to inspect it and try its speed, they take their
station under the bows, just ahead, and proceed to cut up every antic
that a fish is capable of. They jump, turn over, play "leap-frog" and
"tag" in the most approved fashion. Their favorite antic is to dive a
few feet and then come to the surface, showing their backs in a half
circle, and then, making a sound like a long-drawn sigh, disappear
again. Sailors call them "sea-clowns," and never allow them to be
harmed.

They are met with in schools of from two or three to thousands. They
often get embayed in the inlets and shallow rivers which their
curiosity leads them to investigate. A porpoise once came into the
Harlem River and wandered up and down for a week seeking a way out. One
day he suddenly made his appearance amid some bathers and scattered
them by his gambols.

When they change their feeding-places, the sea is covered for acres
with a tumultuous multitude of these "sea-clowns," all swimming along
in the same direction.

When one of these droves is going against the wind (or to windward),
their plungings throw up little jets of water, which, being multiplied
by thousands of fish, present a very curious appearance.



THE WILD WIND.

BY CLARA W. RAYMOND.


  Oh, the wind came howling at our house-door,
    Like a maddened fiend set free;
  He pushed and struggled with gasp and roar,
    For an angry wind was he!

  He dashed snow-wreaths at our window-panes,
    The casements rattled and creaked;
  Then up he climbed to the chimney tops,
    And down through the flues he shrieked.

  He found Jack's sled by the garden fence,
    And tumbled it down in his spite;
  And heaped the snow till he covered it up,
    And hid it from poor Jack's sight.

  He tore down the lattice and broke the house
    Ned built for the birds last week;
  And he bent the branches and bowed the trees,
    Then rushed off fresh wrath to wreak.

  And oh! how he frightened poor little Nell,
    And made her tremble and weep,
  Till mother came up and soothed the wee maid,
    And lulled her with songs to sleep!

  Her tiny hand nestled, content and still,
    In her mother's, so soft and warm;
  While with magical power of low, sweet tones
    The mother-love hushed the storm.



THE MAGICIAN AND HIS BEE.

BY P.F.


It was a spelling bee. The magician had never had one, but he thought
it was better late than never, and so he sent word around that he would
have his bee just outside of the town, on the green grass. Everybody
came, because they had to. When the magician said they must do a thing,
there was no help for it. So they all marched in a long procession, the
magician at the head with his dictionary open at the "bee" page. Every
now and then he turned around and waved his wand, so as to keep the
musicians in good time. The cock-of-the-walk led the band and he played
on his own bill, which had holes in it, like a flute. The rabbit beat
the drum, and the pig blew the horn, while old Mother Clink, who was
mustered in to make up the quartette, was obliged to play on the
coffee-mill, because she understood no other instrument.

[Illustration]

The king came, with his three body-guards marching in front. The first
guard was a wild savage with bare legs, and a gnat stung him on the
knee, which made the second guard laugh so much that the third one who
carried the candles had a chance to eat a penny-dip, without any person
seeing him. The king rode in his chariot, drawn by two wasps. He was a
very warm gentleman, and not only carried a parasol to keep off the
sun, but the head ninny-hammer squirted water on the small of his back
to keep him cool.

[Illustration]

The court tailor rode on a goat, and he carried his shears and the
goose he ironed with. He balanced himself pretty well until a bird sat
on his queue, and that bent him over backward so that he nearly fell
off.

The queen also came; she was bigger than the king and had to have cats
to draw her chariot. The cats fought a good deal, but the driver, who
was a mouse, managed to get them along. The footman was also a mouse,
and the queen had two pet mice that sat at her feet or played with her
scepter. After the queen came the chief jumping jack, who did funny
tricks with bottles as he danced along.

[Illustration]

Then came the ladies of the court. They sat in nautilus shells, which
were each borne by two bearers. The first shell went along nicely, but
the men who carried the second were lazy and the lady beat them with a
hair-brush. As for the bearers of the last shell, they had a fight and
took their poles to beat each other, leaving their shell, with the
lady in it, on the ground. She didn't mind, for she thought that if
they went off and left her, she wouldn't have to do any spelling. So
she stayed in her shell and smiled very contentedly.

[Illustration]

The town bell-man walked along in grand state ringing his bell, and the
cock-who-could-n't-walk rode on a wheelbarrow and crowed by note. The
old ram wheeled the barrow, in which was also a basket containing the
hen and chickens. The smallest chicken tried to crow in tune with his
father, but nobody could hear whether he crowed right or wrong--and
what is more, nobody cared.

The monkey didn't walk, but was carried in a bucket by a mountaineer,
and he blew peas through a tube at the palace steward who was having
his hair combed by the court barber. It was so late that the barber had
to hurry, and so he used a rake instead of a comb. The steward did not
like this, but there was so little time that nothing else could be
done, for the procession was already moving.

[Illustration]

There was a lion who lived at the Town-hall. He was very wise, and his
business was to bite criminals. When he heard about the bee he thought
he would have to go, but the moment he showed himself in the street all
the relatives of the criminals got after him. The wasps stung him, a
game-cock pecked at him, a beetle nipped him, a dog barked at him, an
old woman ran after him with a broom, a wooden-legged soldier pursued
him with a sword, a rat gave chase to him, while a rabbit took down his
shot-gun and cried out, fiercely, that he would blow the top of that
old lion's head off, if he could only get a fair crack at him.

[Illustration]

Two of the liveliest animals in the town were the donkey and the old
cow. They went to the bee, but they danced along as if they didn't care
at all whether they spelled cat with a _c_ or a _k_. They each had two
partners. The donkey had two regular danseuses, but the cow had to
content herself with the court librarian and the apothecary.

[Illustration]

Out in the green grass where the company assembled there were a lot of
grasshoppers and little gnats. The grasshoppers said to each other, "We
can't put letters together to make words, so let us dance for a spell,"
which they did,--all but one poor young creature who had no partner,
and who sat sorrowfully on one side, while the others skipped gayly
about.

[Illustration]

As soon as the people and the chickens and donkeys and wasps and cows
and all the others were seated, side by side, in two long rows, the
magician gave out the first word. It was "Roe-dough-mon-taide"--at
least that was the way he pronounced it. The king and the queen were at
the heads of the two lines, and it was their duty to begin,--first the
king, and then the queen, if he missed.

But neither of them had ever heard of the word, and so they didn't try.
Then one of the wasps tried, and afterward a ram, a rabbit, and the
head ninny-hammer; but they made sad work of it. Then each one of the
company made an effort and did his, her or its very best, but it was of
no use; they could not spell the word.

Uprose then the little chicken that had stood on his mother's back and
tried to crow in tune with his father, and he cried out: "Give it up!"

"Wrong!" said the magician. "That's not it. You are all now under the
influence of a powerful spell. Here you will remain until some one can
correctly answer my question."

They are all there yet. How long would you, my reader, have to sit on
the grass before you could spell that word?

[Illustration]



SCRUBBY'S BEAUTIFUL TREE.

BY J.C. PURDY.


I.

"Papa!"

"Well, dear!"

"Wont to-morrow be Kissmuss?"

"Why, no, darling! We had Christmas-day long ago. Don't you remember?"

"Yes; but you said we'd have another Kissmuss in a year, and then I'd
have such a pitty tree. I'm sure it's a year. It _is_ a year, papa; and
it takes so awful long to wait for some time--it's jess a noosance. I
fink ole Kriss was drefful mean not to let me have a tree only cos we'd
got poor. Wasn't we ever poor before, papa? Don't he give trees to
_any_ poor little girls? I _do_ want a tree--sech a pitty one, like I
used to have!"

It was little Scrubby said all that. She was only four years old, but
she could say what she had to say in her own fashion. When she saw her
father's sorrowful face, she thought she had said rather too much this
time; so she gave him a hug and put up her mouth for a kiss.

"I dess I can wait, papa," she said. "But he will bring me a tree
_next_ Kissmuss, wont he? Jess like I used to have? And then wont that
be nice! There's my baby waked up. She'll be cryin' in a minute, I
s'pose."

Old Lucy, the dearest baby of all in this little girl's large family,
was taken up and quieted; and then something happened that was really
wonderful. Scrubby, with her poor torn and tangled doll in her arms,
sat very still for at least five minutes. The little maid was thinking
all that time. She did not think very straight, perhaps, but she
thought over a great deal of ground, and settled a good many things in
that busy little head of hers; then she sang them all over to good old
Lucy.

"Hush, my dear!" she sang. "Don't stay long, for it beats my heart when
the winds blow; and come back soon to your own chickabiddy, and then
Kissmuss'll be here. S'umber on, baby dear. Kriss is coming with such a
booful tree; then wont you be s'prised? She went to the hatter's to get
him a coffin, and when she come back he was fixin' my Kissmuss-tree!"

The little singer grew so enthusiastic when she came to the tree that
she could not wait to sing any more; so she just danced Lucy up and
down and chattered to her as fast as her tongue could go.

"It'll be for me and for you, Lucy, and for all the babies, and then
wont you be glad! And for mamma too, and for papa, cos we's all good
little chillen, if we _is_ poor. Yes, indeed, Ole Kriss is coming with
his reindeer. And he'll bring me a horse with pink shoes on; and you'll
have a piano--a _really_ piano, ye know; and mamma, she'll have two
little glass s'ippers, and--and--"

Little Scrubby stopped chattering just there, and laid her head down on
poor old Lucy's kind bosom.

"Oh dear!" she sighed, "I do _wish_ ole Kriss'd come with that pitty
tree!"

The kitten curled up on the hearth, and the little broken dog that lay
tipped over in the corner, and good old Lucy, and the three dolls
tucked up in mamma's basket, all heard the wish of the poor little
disappointed child.



II.

Everybody has noticed that the kittens and the dogs take a great many
naps in the day-time, and that the dolls and toy-animals let the
children do the most of the playing. That is because the pets and the
toys are tired out and sleepy after their doings the night before, when
the children were asleep and the grown people out of the way. They have
rare sprees all by themselves, but just as soon as any person comes
about, the fun stops,--the cat and the dog are sound asleep, the dolls
drop down anywhere still as a wood-pile, and the rocking-horse don't
even switch the ten hairs left in his tail.

As for talking, though, they might chatter all the time and nobody be
the wiser. People hear them, but not a soul knows what it is. Mamma
sticks paper into the key-hole to keep out the wind that whistles so,
papa takes medicine for the cold that makes such a ringing in his head,
and Bridget sets a trap to catch the mouse that "squales and scrabbles
about so, a body can't slape at all, 'most;" and all the while it is
the dolls and pets laughing and talking among themselves.

The bird in the cage and the bird out-of-doors know what it is. Very
tame squirrels and rabbits understand it; and the poor little late
chicken, which was brought into the kitchen for fear of freezing, soon
spoke the language like a native.

Scrubby understood all that any of them said, and they all understood
her and liked her immensely. Even the plants in the window would nod
and wink and shake out their leaves whenever she came about.

After little Scrubby and everybody else in the house had gone to bed
that night, Minx, the kitten, came out from behind the broom, and
prancing up to the little pasteboard and wool dog that lay tipped over
in the corner, pawed him about until he was as full of fun as herself.
Then she jumped upon the table and clawed the three dolls out of
mamma's work-basket, sending them all sprawling on the floor.

[Illustration: "OLE KRISS IS COMING WITH HIS REINDEER."]

They were a sad-looking lot of babies, anyway. There was Peg, knit out
of blue, red and yellow worsted, and with black beads for eyes. She was
a good deal raveled out, but there was plenty of fun in her yet, after
all.

Then there was Française. She was a French girl, who had been brought
from Paris for Scrubby before that bad time when papa "got poor." She
had been very elegant, but now her laces were torn, her hair would
never curl again, one arm swung loose, and her head wobbled badly; but,
for all that, she was still full of lively French airs. Lyd was the
last of the lot. Poor thing! She had been such a lovely wax blonde: but
now the wax had all melted off her cheeks, she was as bald as a squash,
one eye had been knocked out, and, worst of all, she had not a stitch
of clothes on. Scrubby had brought her to this plight; but, for all
that, Lyd loved the very ground Scrubby tumbled over; and so did all
the rest of them, for that matter, never caring how much she abused
them in her happy, loving way.

Very soon high fun was going on in that room, and it is a wonder the
neighbors did not come in to see what the uproar meant; but nobody
heard it.

Yes, Ned, the bird, heard it, took his head out from under his wing,
and laughed at the fun until he almost tumbled out of his cage. The
lively dog, Spot, heard it out in his shed, too, and whined at the door
until Jumping Jack contrived to undo the latch and let him in. The
little late chicken heard it also, hopped out of his snug basket, and
was soon enjoying himself as much as if they were all chickens and it
was a warm spring day.

Lucy heard it, too; but Scrubby had taken Lucy to bed with her, and had
her hugged up so tightly that the kind old baby couldn't get away, and
had to lie there and listen and wait.

They were having a good time in that room. The rocking-horse had been
hitched to the little wagon, and Jumping Jack was driver; Miss
Française had climbed into the wagon, and was sitting there as
gracefully as she could, trying to hold her head steady; she had the
pasteboard dog for a lap-dog, while Peg and Lyd sprawled on the
wagon-bottom, and Minx stood upon the horse's back like a circus-rider.

And so they went tearing around the room in fine style, Spot racing
with them and wagging his tail till it looked like a fan. Ned fairly
shouted in his cage, and the chicken jumped on a chair and tried his
best to crow.

After a while, Spot grabbed up a piece of paper from one corner, and
began to worry it. The fine Française saw that and tumbled out of the
wagon in a minute, as if she were only a very quick-tempered little
girl. She snatched the paper away from Spot and snapped out: "You
sha'n't spoil that! It's Scrubby's letter!"

The horse had stopped now, Jumping Jack jerked himself up to the
astonished dog, and said, very severely: "Spot, aint you ashamed to
worry anything that belongs to our Scrubby? I'll put you out if there's
any more of it."

"It's too bad, so it is," said Peg.

Lyd began to cry with her one eye, while Ned stopped laughing and went
to scolding; the chicken put his claw before his face, as if ashamed of
such a dog, and even the horse shook his head.

Poor Spot was under a cloud.

"I didn't know it was anything Scrubby cared for, and I don't believe
it is, either," he snapped.

"I saw Scrubby write it," said Minx, "and she stuck the pencil in my
ear when she'd finished."

"She was sitting on us when she wrote it," said Peg and Lyd together.

"Yes, and she held me on her lap and read it to me when it was done,"
put in Française.

"Of course it's her letter," spoke up the rocking-horse. "Don't you
remember, Fran, she hitched it to my bridle and told you to ride right
off and give it to old Kriss when he came around?"

"You're a nice crowd!" growled Spot. "Every one of you knew all about
this, and left it kicking around on the floor! You _are_ a nice crowd!
I'll take charge of it myself now, and see that old Kriss gets it. He
can't read it, of course. Nobody could read that; but it shows how much
_you_ all think of Scrubby."

Spot had the best of it now; but the French lady spoke up in a way that
put the others in good spirits right off, and made honest Spot feel as
if he had been sat down upon.

"Perhaps some people can read, if you cant," she said, "_I_ can read
that letter for you, and for old Kriss too, if he wants me to."

She could not read a word, but she opened out the scribbled sheet in
fine style, and just repeated what she had heard Scrubby say. And this
is what Scrubby tried to put in the letter:

    OLE KRISS: I want a tree, please, ole Kriss, _right away_. And lots
    of pitty things. And glass s'ippers for mamma. And moss under it,
    and animals, jess like I used to have. And a pink coat for papa,
    and not wait for some time, cos that's a noosance.

It was very queer how they all acted when they heard the letter. There
was not another cross word said--or a word of any kind for that matter.
Not one of them even looked at the others, and it was not until poor
Spot gave a big snuff that each of them found out that the rest were
crying.

"Well, I know what _I'm_ going to do," said Minx, at last. "I'm just
going to get that child a tree; that's what I'm going to do."

"And I'm going to help you," Française said, as heartily as if she were
not a fine lady at all. "She ruined my dress, and tore my lace, and put
my hair in such a state as never was; but I don't care. She wants a
tree, and she's going to have it."

"You ought to have heard how she talked to her papa and old Luce
to-night," sobbed the one-eyed baby. "It was enough to break a body's
heart."

"We did hear her," they all snuffled.

Then they wiped their eyes, and a minute afterward, with much chatter,
they began to make preparations for getting the tree.

All but Spot. Scrubby had used him the worst of all, she loved him so.
She had pulled every hair on him loose, and had twisted his tail until
it hung crooked; and yet Spot could not speak or do anything for crying
over little Scrubby's grief.



III.

Pretty soon, Lucy, who had listened to as much of this talk as she
could, heard the whole party go out of the back door and start off
somewhere. She was in a great state of mind about it. Not for anything
in the world would she waken Scrubby; but oh! how she longed to tumble
down-stairs and rush off after the rest!

What a party it was that did go out of that back door! And in what
style they went! Ned, the canary, was the only one left behind; and
those who couldn't walk, rode. For they had hitched the horse to
Scrubby's little battered sled, and made a grand sleighing party of it.

Jumping Jack drove, of course. The French lady had the seat of honor on
the sled, and much trouble she had to keep it, for there was nothing to
hold on by, and her head was so loose that it nearly threw her over.

Lyd had wrapped a dish-towel about her, and felt very comfortable and
well-dressed; while Peg had come just as she was, and they both rolled
about on the sled in a very dangerous fashion.

The late chicken held on with his claws to the curl of the runner, and
flapped his wings and squawked every time the sled plunged a little in
the snow. Minx rode horseback as before, while Spot went afoot, jumping
and barking, and snapping up a mouthful of snow every few minutes.

But not one of them knew where they were going, or what they were going
to do. They meant to get Scrubby a tree somehow, and that was all they
knew about it.

At last, Peg said (Peg was a very sensible baby, if she _was_ raveled
out):

"What are we going to do, anyhow?"

"Why, we're going to get a tree for Scrubby," they all answered.

"Well, what kind of a tree?--and where?"

That was a poser. None of them had thought so far as that. At last,
Minx said:

"Why, any kind--somewhere."

"There are plenty of trees in France," said Française.

"Then that's the place for us to go," said Jumping Jack; and at once
they raced off to the end of the garden, on their way to France.

"This aint the way, after all," Minx said, when they got to the fence.
"The world comes to an end just over there. I got up on the fence one
day, and there was nothing beyond but a great, deep hole."

"There's no use going off this other way," Spot put in, "for there's
nothing over there but a big lot of water with a mill standing by it. I
was over there one day."

"Then that is our way," said the French lady, decisively. "That is the
ocean. I know they brought me across the ocean, and I was awfully sick
all the way."

That last rather discouraged them, for nobody wanted to get awfully
sick if there was any other way to find Scrubby's tree; so they
concluded not to go to France.

"Well, let's go somewhere, for I'm getting cold," peeped the chicken;
and then there was a great discussion. At last, Spot said:

"We _are_ a stupid lot! There's that sparrow comes about the door every
day--he could tell us all about trees in a minute if we could find
him."

Minx knew where the sparrow kept himself, for she always watched him
with an eye to business.

"But," she said, "some of the rest of you will have to talk to him, for
he'll never let me come near him."

So then the chicken called to the sparrow, and the sparrow answered.
The matter was explained to him, and the bird fluttered down among them
as much excited as anybody.

"It's for little Scrubby, eh?" he said. "What in the world does she
want a tree for? I know. It's because she is half bird herself--bless
her heart!--and she likes trees just like any other bird. And don't she
come to the door every morning and give me crumbs and talk to me so
friendly? Of course, I'll help find a tree for her."

But he had not found one yet, and so the chicken told him.

"I don't know," he said. "Suppose I call Mrs. Squirrel. She can tell."
And off he flew, and had the gray squirrel there in a minute, cold as
it was.

Then they had to tell the story over again to Mrs. Squirrel and to Mr.
Rabbit, who had also hopped along to see what the fuss was all about.

"Scrubby's got to have a tree, and that's all about it," chattered Mrs.
Squirrel, as she whisked about in a state of great excitement. "I
didn't know old Kriss could be so mean as that. Call _him_ a saint! And
all because Scrubby's poor! Humph! Don't seem to _me_ she is so very
poor. Didn't I give her those eyes she has? And didn't the robin give
her his own throat? And hasn't she a sunbeam inside, that shines all
through? And didn't Miss June roll up all the flowers she had, and a
dozen birds beside, and wrap the whole bundle up in Scrubby's brown
skin? I don't call that being so very poor, do you? Anyhow, she is not
so poor but that she could make me feel jolly every time she came
out-doors last summer to run after me and chatter to me."

The rabbit had been standing all this time with one cold foot wrapped
up in his ear. He unfolded his ear now, and wiped his eyes with it.

"She almost cried," he said. "Just think of one of my little bunnies
wanting anything she couldn't get, and crying about it! It just breaks
my heart."

"Tree!" chirped the chicken.

"Yes," said Mrs. Squirrel, "why don't you go and get a tree for
Scrubby? What do you all stand here for, chattering and doing nothing?
I'd give her mine, only that great beech couldn't be got into the
house."

"We wanted your advice," the sparrow suggested.

"Advice! You don't need any advice. Why don't you give her your own
tree? That little Norway spruce is just the thing. Come along, and
don't be so selfish!"

"I'm not selfish; but really Norway is not fit, and, besides, I don't
believe he'll go."

"Nonsense! He's a beautiful tree, only there isn't much green on him;
and of course he'll go, for we'll make him go," answered the very
decided Mrs. Squirrel.

So they all whisked away to the sparrow's roosting-place. Norway was
not in good health, that was evident. He was very thin, and his temper
was in bad condition too; for when the sparrow asked him if he would
please step out and come with them, he answered:

"Not much I wont! It's bad enough standing here in the ground, poorly
as I am, without coming out there in the snow; and I'll not do it for
anybody."

"Oh dear! Scrubby will be _so_ disappointed! What will she do?" they
all cried out at once.

"What's that about Scrubby? What has Scrubby got to do with my catching
my death-cold, anyhow?" asked Norway.

And then they told him the whole story. He hardly waited for them to
get through before he broke out talking very fast.

"Why didn't you say so? How should I know it was for Scrubby? Of
course, I'll go! I'd do anything for her. She did enough for me, I
should think,"--and, as quickly as he could, he pulled his one foot out
of the ground and hopped into the snow beside the horse. Then he went
on talking. "You see if it hadn't been for Scrubby I wouldn't be alive
at all. She heard somebody say that I needed to have the dirt loosened
about my roots, and to have plenty of water. So she dug around me at a
great rate, and watered me until I was almost drowned. She cut off a
good many of my roots, and once she threw hot water all down this side
of me; but she didn't know. I'm not much of a tree, I confess; but
Scrubby did what _she_ could, and if she wants me she shall have me."

"Come on, then," said the chicken, "for I'm so cold my bill chatters."
And they went.

It was a very funny procession they made going back to the house,--the
horse prancing along with the sled, the three dolls taking a
sleigh-ride in their queer way, Spot racing about everywhere with Minx
on his back, and the tree hopping along after the sled as fast as his
one foot could go. The chicken rode back on one of Norway's branches,
and fluttered and squawked more than ever.

When they started, they looked about and called for the sparrow, Mrs.
Squirrel, and Mr. Rabbit, but they had all disappeared; so the rest
went back without them, shouting, laughing and singing.



IV.

It was a brave sight they saw when Jumping Jack opened the door to let
the party in.

Luce had got away from her little bedfellow at last without waking her.
She knew that the others had gone to get a tree for little Scrub, and
she knew that a tree was just no tree at all without plenty of things
to hang upon it. So she went to work, and by the time Jack opened the
door she had a great deal done. It was astonishing how many things she
had found to put on that tree; but then she had been rummaging among
Scrubby's old playthings up in the garret.

There were old dolls, little and big; there were old toys of all sorts;
there were pretty little pictures, and quantities of flowers made of
bright paper. A great many of the things Scrubby had thrown aside so
long ago they would be new to her now; and some of them mamma had put
away very carefully, so that the little girl should not altogether
spoil them.

Lucy had found them all and had brought them down-stairs; and now she
had them in a heap on the floor, trying to keep them in order, for they
were all very lively at being brought out again.

"Well, Luce, you _have_ done it!" Jack said.

"Of course, I have," answered Lucy. "Do keep that horse away, Jack, and
not let him run over these babies."

"Oh dear!" squawked the chicken, and fluttered under the table, for
these new-comers were all strangers to him.

Spot tried not to bark his astonishment and delight; Minx began to claw
all the old dolls and toys about; the French lady walked away into a
corner and waited to be introduced, while Lyd and Peg shook hands with
their old cronies until it seemed as though they never would stop.

The tree had hopped into the room and stood there, not knowing what to
do with himself. Lucy did not see him at first, being so busy with the
rest; but as soon as she did see him, she gave him such a hug as nearly
pulled him over.

"Oh, you dear old Norway! Did _you_ come? You're so good, and I'm so
glad! Come up to the fire and get warm. Here, Jack, and Lyd, and
Française, help me get this big foot-stool into the corner. It's
getting awful late."

Lucy flew about in a ragged kind of way until she had all the rest
flying about too, doing an amount of work nobody would have believed
possible. They were all glad enough to do the work, but they needed
just such a driving, thoughtful old body as Lucy to show them what to
do and keep them at it.

[Illustration: SCRUBBY'S FRIENDS ARRANGING HER CHRISTMAS-TREE.]

The big foot-stool was put where Lucy wanted it, and Norway warmed his
foot and hopped upon the stool, pushing himself as far back in the
corner as he could get, to make sure that he would not fall.

Then Lucy climbed upon a chair in front of him, ready for business. She
took Française up on the chair beside her to help arrange the things,
for the French girl had excellent taste, and nobody could deny it. Lyd
and Peg, and Minx and Spot, and even the chicken, brought the things to
go on the tree, and faster, too, than they could possibly be used,
while Ned shouted all manner of directions.

Poor Norway fairly bowed his head under the weight of all the things
that were hung upon him. And it was astonishing how pretty those
battered old dolls, broken toys, and torn flowers looked when upon the
tree. There were so many, and they had been arranged so nicely, that
they really did make a splendid show.

"But, oh dear!" Lucy sighed, when it was all done. "It's not your fault
I know, Norway, and you are just as good as you can be; but if you only
were not quite so thin, and were just a little bit greener! And then
we've no moss to put under you. But we haven't any nice little animals
to put on the moss, if we had it."

Just then, Jumping Jack heard a queer kind of noise outside, and opened
the door to see what it was. In whisked Mrs. Squirrel; the sparrow
hopped in close beside her, and Mr. Rabbit jumped along right after
them.

"How are you getting on?" asked the gray lady. "I brought this along
because I thought it might come handy. We laid in a great deal more
than we needed for our nest last fall, and we could just as well spare
it as not."

It was a big bundle of beautiful green moss she had brought, enough to
spread all around under the tree and make a fine carpet.

"Oh, you dear, good old thing!" said Luce. "That is just exactly what
we wanted. Here, Lyd! Peg! Help me spread this down."

"Chick," said the sparrow, "will you please take charge of this?"

And there was a great long vine of shining green ivy which the sparrow
had dragged in with him from some place in the woods. Lucy was so
delighted that she fairly clapped her brown leather hands.

"Quick, Française!" she cried. "Take this and twist it around the
tree. Just the thing to hide poor old Norway's bare places. Oh, it's
just lovely!"

All this time Mr. Rabbit had been holding his ears very straight up,
and now he shook a couple of button-balls and some acorn-cups out of
one, and a lot of mountain-ash berries out of the other.

"Do to hang around on the tree. Look kind of odd and nice," he said.

"Well, I should think so!" Luce answered. "I never did see such good
creatures as you are; and we all thought you had gone home to bed."

Speaking of bed made the chicken gape a little, and they all remembered
how late it was. They never stopped chattering and laughing for a
minute; but they went to work harder than ever, and soon had all the
moss spread down, the ivy twined over the tree, and the button-balls,
acorn-cups, and berries hung up where they would show best.

Then Mr. Rabbit got up on the stool and nearly covered himself with
moss; Mrs. Squirrel got under the tree and stood up on her hind-feet,
with an acorn in her paws; Minx curled herself up in the funniest way
on the moss; the sparrow flew up into the tree and began pecking at the
mountain-ash berries; Française and Lyd and Peg all sat down as well as
they could near the squirrel and the rabbit; Jumping Jack mounted the
horse and rode around beside the tree, to stand guard; Spot stood up on
his hind-legs just in front of the stool, with Scrubby's letter in his
mouth, and the chicken hopped up on Spot's head.

Then good old Lucy started to go upstairs after Scrubby, but she got no
further than the door. Scrubby had waked up and missed her dear old
doll, so she had come down to look for her, and there she stood now,
just inside the door, with her bright brown eyes wide open.

A minute before there had been only the scraggy little tree she had
taken care of, the battered old toys, the torn dolls and the little
pets she had played with and loved so well, the bird and the wild
creatures she had fed and chattered to, and a little bit of ivy and
green moss. But just as soon as she looked at them all, there was the
most beautiful Christmas-tree that ever was seen.

It was very curious; but it was the light that did it--the light of her
own happy eyes. It dies out of eyes that are older.



THE MINSTREL'S CAROL.

A CHRISTMAS COLLOQUY.


 MR. and MRS. BURTON.
 TOMMY, _aged seven._
 MAY, _aged five._
 LUCY, _aged eighteen._

 MR. and MRS. REMSEN.
 HARRY, } _Twins, aged_
 SADIE, } _six._
 PATRICK, _a hired man_.


_Scene: The Burtons' parlor on Christmas Eve_.


_Mr. B_. Tommy! stop making such a noise.

_Tommy._ Oh, I can't have any fun at all!

_Mr. B_. Why, yes you can. Look at all your toys scattered about. Play
something quietly.

_Tommy_. Nobody to play with.

_Mr. B_. Play with your little sister.

_Tommy_. She's sitting in mamma's lap; besides, she's a girl. Oh, papa
_[running to his father_] I wish the Remsens would come! I want to play
with Harry.

_Mr. B._ [_hastily_]. Never mind, never mind! The Remsens will not
come.

_May_. Why wont the Remsens come?

_Tommy_. Oh, dear me, there isn't anything nice to do!

_Mr. B_. Tommy, stop your whining. Don't say another word. May, don't
speak of the Remsens again. They are not coming, and that's an end of
it.

[_Enter_ LUCY.]

_Lucy_. What! tears on Christmas Eve, little May! And Tommy pouting!
Oh, that'll never do! Come, cheer up! You'll have plenty of fun soon
with Harry and Sadie.--It must be nearly time to send for the Remsens,
father.

_Mr. B._ [_vexed_]. Don't speak of them again. They're not coming, and
I don't want them. Why _will_ every one keep talking about them?

[_Enter_ PATRICK.]

_Mrs. B._ [_aside to Lucy_]. Mr. Remsen and your father have quarreled
about a piece of land; so the Remsens are not to come this year.

_Mr. B_. Well, Patrick, what is it?

_Patrick_. Shure, the horse is ready, sir.

_Mr. B_. Horse ready? What for?

_Patrick_. To be goin' for the Rimsins, shure!

_Mr. B._ [_angrily_]. We are not going for the Remsens! What do you
mean by acting without orders? Take the horse out at once!

_Patrick_. Widout orthers, is it? An' it's mesilf, thin, that hitched
up the crather every Christmas Ave I've lived wid yous for to go for
them same.

_Mr. B_. Don't answer, sir; do as I bid you.

_Patrick_ [_aside_]. It's plain the masther's rin his nose forninst
something harrud. [_Exit._]

_Mrs. B._ [_going to Mr. B. and putting her arm about him, he
sitting_]. Dear John, send for the Remsens, please. See how everything
conspires to ask it of you, from the prattle of the children to old
Patrick himself. It is Christmas Eve, dear! How can we teach the dear
chicks to be kind to each other unless we set the example? Send for our
old friends, John. They've been with us every Christmas Eve these many
years. You'll settle your affair with Mr. Remsen all the better,
afterward.

_Mr. B_. Why, Mary, would you have me crawl at the feet of a man who
tries to overreach me?

_Mrs. B_. No, John! But stand on your own feet, and say: "Come,
neighbor, let us do something better and wiser than hate each other."

_Mr. B_. I'll not do it. He has--

_Lucy_. Hark! What's that?

[_Music outside--the sound of a harp, or of a concealed piano played
very softly. Then, to its accompaniment, is sung the following carol:_]

     "Be merry all, be merry all!
      With holly dress the festive hall,
      Prepare the song, the feast, the ball,
        To welcome Merry Christmas.

     "And, oh! remember, gentles gay,
      To you who bask in fortune's ray
      The year is all a holiday:--
        The poor have only Christmas.

     "When you the costly banquet deal
      To guests who never famine feel,
      Oh spare one morsel from your meal
        To cheer the poor at Christmas.

     "So shall each note of mirth appear
      More sweet to heaven than praise or prayer,
      And angels, in their carols there,
        Shall bless the poor at Christmas."

_Lucy_. Oh, what a beautiful carol! I'll call in the minstrel.

_Mrs. B_. Yes, run Lucy! [_Exit_ LUCY.]

_Mr. B_. Set a chair by the fire, Tommy.

[_Enter_ LUCY, _with old minstrel carrying harp_.]

_Minstrel_. Good even, gentle folks, and a merry Christmas to you all!

_Mrs. B_. Come sit by the fire. Tommy placed the chair for you. It is
cold outside.

_Minstrel_. Thank you kindly, ma'am. So Tommy set the chair for the old
man? Where is Master Tommy? Ah, there's my little man! Come here,
Tommy. That's right. So, up, on my knee. Why, that's a bright face now!
And it ought to be bright, too; for this is Christmas Eve, merry
Christmas Eve, the children's happy time. Tommy, I remember when I was
as young as you are. I had a little sister.

_Tommy_. I have a little sister, too.

_Minstrel_. Oh, you have a little sister, eh! Where is she, then?

_Tommy [pointing]._ Over there, in the corner.

_Minstrel_. Bless my old eyes, so she is! Run and bring her, Tommy.

[TOMMY _runs, and returns leading and coaxing_ MAY.]

_Minstrel_ [_setting one on each knee_]. Now, good folks, if you'll let
me, I'll tell these little people a story of Jesus when he was a little
boy. It is called "The Holy Well."

[_They group themselves about the minstrel_.]

Early one bright May morning, Jesus, then a little boy of ten or twelve
years, awoke, and at once remembered that it was a holiday. His eyes,
bright with the morning light, sparkled yet more brightly at the
thought. There would be no school, no work. All the people would keep
the feast. He knew, too, that on that day, the boys of his age would
assemble betimes to play together at The Holy Well. So, brimful of
joyful expectation, he ran to ask his mother's leave to go and join in
the merry games. Soon he was on his way, and he quickened his steps
when he came in sight of the troops of happy children running hither
and thither in their sports. Drawing nearer, he stood still a little
while, watching the games with pleased and eager eyes. Then he called
out: "Little children, shall I play with you, and will you play with
me?" Now, these boys and girls were the children of rich parents, and
lived in much finer houses than the one Jesus had for a home. They had
handsome clothes, too, and everything of the best. So they looked on
the plainly dressed stranger, the son of a poor carpenter, and bade him
begone, saying: "We will not play with you, or with any such as you!"
What a rebuff was that! The poor, sensitive little lad had not expected
it, and his tender feelings were hurt. His eyes filled with tears; and
running home as fast as he could, he laid his head in his mother's lap,
and sobbed out to her the whole story. Then Mary was angry with the
ill-natured children, and told her son to go back and destroy them all
by his word; for she believed that her beautiful boy could do such
things. But, surely, if he could have harbored that thought, he would
not have been beautiful; and so, when his mother spoke, her words drew
away his thoughts from himself to the children who had grieved him. He
knew that they had never really known him, and so could not have
understood what they were doing. Therefore he said to his mother that
he must be helpful and gentle to people, and not destroy them. And that
was the way with him to the very end. For when, years after, the people
(perhaps among them some of those same children grown-up) were putting
him to death on a cross, he bethought him again that they did not
really know him, and prayed: "Father, forgive them; they know not what
they do." And, even before then, he had told all people to love their
enemies, and forgive and be good to one another. If he had not done all
that, Christmas would not be so happy a time for us.

_Mrs. B._ [_approaching her husband and laying her hand on his
shoulder_]. John, is not he right?

_Mr. B._ [_who has been lost in thought, starting and abruptly walking
aside_]. He is right! So are they all. [_Turning about_.] Dear wife,
Lucy, Tommy, May, you shall be happy! We'll have the Remsens! I say,
we'll have our dear old friends. Patrick shall harness the horse at
once, and--[_The Minstrel suddenly strips off his disguise and reveals
himself as_ MR. REMSEN.] What! Remsen! Is that you?

_Mr. R_. No need to harness up, old friend. Here I am! Ah! I knew how
it would be.

_Tommy_ [_capering about_]. Hi! Hi! Ho! Isn't it great, May? I shall
have Harry to play with.

_May_ [_clapping_]. And I shall have Sadie.

_Lucy_. Oh, what a delightful surprise! Oh, Mr. Remsen, I am glad, so
very glad, that you have come. We will send for the others at once.

_Mr. R_. Why, they're all here, too. You may be sure we all came
together. [_Opening the door._] Come! come in! It's all right, as we
knew it would be.

[_Enter_ MRS. REMSEN _and her children_, HARRY _and_ SADIE, _who
immediately run to_ TOMMY _and_ MAY.]

_Mrs. B. [to Mrs. R_.] Welcome, welcome, dear friend! This _is_ kind.

_Lucy_. Now Christmas Eve is what it ought to be.

_Mrs. R_. Oh, Mrs. Burton, I am happy again now. I was afraid that
Christmas would not bring love and joy for us this year. We could not
help coming. Old memories were too strong for us.

_Mr. R. to Mr. B_. Ah! neighbor, it's a sad thing to interrupt that
"peace on earth" of which the angels sung. There's my hand; take it
kindly.

_Mr. B_. And there's mine, with all my heart. We'll not let a bit of
land divide old friends.

_Mr. R_. Aye, aye! We'd better divide the land.

_Mr. B_. It seems easy to settle now. But no more of that to-night.
Come, let us sing our Christmas carol. It will be sweeter than ever.
Take your harp, friend, and turn minstrel again for the occasion.

[Illustration]

        With wond'ring awe,
        Tho wise men saw
      The star in Heaven springing,
        And with delight
        In peaceful night,
      They heard the angels singing,
        Hosanna, Hosanna
        Hosanna to His name!

        By light of star,
        They traveled far
      To seek the lowly manger;
        A humble bed
        Wherein was laid
      The wondrous little stranger.
        Hosanna, hosanna,
        Hosanna to His name!

        And still is found,
        The world around,
      The old and hallowed story;
        And still is sung
        In every tongue
      The angels' song of glory:
        Hosanna, hosanna,
        Hosanna to His name!

        The heavenly star
        Its ray afar
      On every land is throwing
        And shall not cease
        Till holy peace,
      In all the earth is glowing.
        Hosanna, hosanna,
        Hosanna to His name!



[Illustration]

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.


A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, my darlings! It's cold weather--too cold for
any but a Scribner Jack-in-the-Pulpit to be out-of-doors--but our
hearts are green, and there's a fine bracing air.

Christmas will not be here when you first get the December magazine, I
know, but ST. NICHOLAS likes to get a good start. He has Dutch blood in
his veins, and he knows well that in Holland St. Nicholas' Day comes on
the 6th of December.

So, just think of the dear Dutch youngsters, and what a happy holiday
they keep on the 6th,--for that is their season of gift-giving,--and
when the 25th comes to you, with its holy, beautiful light, and its
home joys, you'll be all the more ready to give it welcome.

Now for


A WINDFALL.

Here is a copy of a printed scrap thrown to me by a high wind the other
day. It isn't of very much use to a Jack-in-the-Pulpit; so I hand it
over to you, my chicks. It strikes me that it has the gist of some of
Deacon Green's remarks, and that somehow it doesn't come under the head
of what is called "pernicious reading":

    "GOOD ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG.--Avoid all boastings and exaggerations,
    backbiting, abuse, and evil speaking; slang phrases and oaths in
    conversation; depreciate no man's qualities, and accept
    hospitalities of the humblest kind in a hearty and appreciative
    manner; avoid giving offense, and if you do offend, have the
    manliness to apologize; infuse as much elegance as possible into
    your thoughts as well as your actions; and, as you avoid
    vulgarities, you will increase the enjoyment of life, and grow in
    the respect of others."


KING ALFRED AND THE CAKES.

Here is a story which I heard a girl tell her little sister the other
day, but I don't believe the girl told it altogether right. Can any of
my youngsters straighten it out? This is the story:

King Alfred, after his fatal defeat at Marston Moor, having taken
refuge in an oak-tree, was so absorbed in watching a spider which had
tried to weave its web eleven times and succeeded on the twelfth, that
he allowed the cakes to burn; whereupon, the herdsman's wife, rushing
in, exclaimed:

"Oh, Diamond! Diamond! what mischief hast thou done?"

To which he meekly replied: "I cannot tell a lie; I did it with my
little hatchet."

"Take away," cried she, "that bauble!"

"I have done my duty, thank heaven!" said he, but he never smiled
again.


A LITTLE SCHOOLMA'AM.

    DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: I should like to tell the Little
    Schoolma'am about _our_ little schoolma'am.

    She is a young lady of about twenty-one years, and looks too
    delicate to govern such a school. But she does it; and though as
    fond of fun as any of us at the right time, yet in school she
    insists on attention to business, and will not tolerate idleness or
    disobedience. She is very kind and gentle, but firm and decided,
    and we all know that she means what she says, and must be obeyed
    implicitly. She says she wants us to love and trust her as a
    friend, and we do. Out of school she seems as young as we do, for
    she is full of fun and likes us to have a good time. She tries to
    make school pleasant to us, and a while ago she put a box on her
    desk, and said, when we had any questions to ask, or complaints to
    make, we might write them on a slip of paper and put it in that
    box, which was locked and had a hole in the top. Sometimes she
    answers the questions publicly, and sometimes she writes them and
    puts them in the "letter-box." The scholar who has the best record
    for a month keeps the key the next month, and once a week opens the
    box and distributes the contents. It is quite an honor to be
    "postmistress," but no one can have it two months at a time. She
    lets us make suggestions if we think of any improvements in the
    school, and sometimes adopts them. Another of her plans is to allow
    five minutes at the end of each hour when we may whisper, but not
    talk out loud. If we wish to speak to any one we can leave our seat
    and walk to them, if they are not near to us. But any one who
    whispers, or communicates in any way at any other time, forfeits
    this chance. I forgot to say that we put notes to each other in the
    letter-box. We do like our little schoolma'am so much!--Yours
    truly,

    ALLIE BERTRAM.


AS IDLE AS A BIRD.

It is not so very long since I heard a little girl say that she "wished
she could only be as idle as a bird."

Now, this was not a very lazy sort of wish, if she had but known it.
There are very few little girls, or boys,--or grown-ups either, for the
matter of that,--who are as industrious as the birds. How many people
would be willing to begin their daily labors as early as the birds
begin theirs--at half-past three o'clock in the morning--and keep on
toiling away until after eight in the evening?

Think of it, my youngsters,--almost eighteen hours of constant work!

And the birds do it willingly, too; for it is a labor of love to bring
dainty bits to their hungry little ones and keep the home-nest snug and
warm.

One pair of birds that had been patiently watched from the first to the
last of their long, long day, made no less than four hundred and
seventy-five trips, of about one hundred and fifty yards each, in
search of food for their darling chicks!

As idle as a bird, indeed!--with all that hunting, and fetching, and
carrying, and feeding to do!


"OWN FIRST COUSINS."

Talking of birds, would you ever have thought it? The lovely and
brilliant Bird of Paradise, I'm told, is "own first cousin" to
the--Crows. And the Crows are not one bit ashamed to own the
relationship! Very condescending of them, isn't it?


ORANGE GROVES ON ST. JOHN'S RIVER.

    Ocala, Marion County, Fla., 1877.

    DEAR JACK: I was on the St. John's River at work with my father
    about three years ago. There were real wild-orange groves there,
    and the trees bore sour and bitter-sweet fruit. I will now tell you
    what I was doing on that river. I was pressing out the juice of the
    sour oranges and boiling it, for making citric acid. We used a
    cider press for pressing out the juice, and a copper cauldron for
    boiling it. We shipped the acid to Philadelphia, and I do not know
    what was done with it next.

    These groves were inhabited by wild beasts, such as opossums, wild
    cats, raccoons, deer, and, occasionally, bears and panthers.

    The groves were situated on high mounds, made ages and ages ago, by
    people of an ancient race known as "mound-builders." There were
    always shells on the mounds, which in some instances appeared to be
    made entirely of shells. Some mounds were fifty feet, or more,
    above the surrounding country, and from two hundred to four hundred
    yards in length.

    Now, I dare say, you would like me to say of what kind these shells
    were; but, as I never could find out for myself, I cannot tell you
    what kind they were. They are unlike any that I have seen
    elsewhere, and I think they do not belong to any living species of
    to-day. Farewell, dear Jack!--Yours truly,

    TROPIC.


THE BLIND CLERK.

    DEAR JACK: Ever so many millions of letters are dropped into the
    London Post-Office every year, but some are so badly addressed that
    they never get out again. When a direction is so ill-written that
    the sorters can't make it out, the letter is taken to a man they
    call the "Blind Clerk," and he generally deciphers it. Why they
    call him "blind" I don't know, for few addresses are beyond the
    power of his sharp eyes to make out. Here is one that did not give
    him much trouble; but can any of your young folks tell what it
    means?

          Sarvingle
          Num for te Quins prade
          Lunon.

    I'll send you the "blind" man's solution next month. Meantime, here
    is a puzzle for your merry crowd. You shall have an answer in that
    same postscript; but I should like to have the Little Schoolma'am
    and the rest work it out for themselves:

         "I am constrained to plant a grove
          To satisfy the girl I love;
          And in this grove I must compose
          Just nineteen trees in nine straight rows,
          And in each row five trees must place,
          Or never more behold her face.

          Ye sons of art, lend me your aid
          To please this most exacting maid."

    This puzzle is so old that it probably will be new to thousands of
    your young folks.--Yours truly,

    M. B. T.


BIRDS CAUGHT BY SALT.

Yes. It's so; though I must say I felt inclined to laugh the first time
I heard one boy tell another to put salt on a bird's tail by way of
catching it. Now, however, word comes, all the way from California,
that there is a lake there, called "Deep Spring Lake," whose waters are
very salt; and that during certain conditions of the weather the
water-fowl of the lake become so encrusted with salt that they cannot
fly, and the Indians wade into the water and simply catch the birds
with their hands. The coating taken from one duck weighed six
pounds,--enough to have drowned it, even if its eyes and bill had not
been so covered as to blind and choke it. When the weather is favorable
for the formation of this crust upon the birds, the Indians do their
best with fires and noise to keep them away from the few fresh-water
streams where the poor things would be safe from the salt. Besides
this, the savages imitate the cries and calls of the birds, so as to
entice them to the dangerous part of the lake.

It seems to me that men must be very mean as well as very hungry to
take advantage of the birds in that way. However, "circumstances alter
cases," as the school-boy said when he had been "punished for his good"
by mistake.


A SPELL UPON KEROSENE.

    Bridgeport, Conn.

    Dear Little Schoolma'am: One would think that the word "kerosene"
    could not be a very difficult one for the average inhabitant to
    write correctly; but it is. From the New York _Independent_ I learn
    that the following versions of the word have actually been received
    by the Portland Kerosene Oil Company in its correspondence:

    Caracine, carecane, caroziene, carocine, cursene, carozyne,
    coriseen, carosyne, caricien, carsine, caresene, carozine,
    carocene, carosean, carycene, caresien, caraseen, caroscene,
    crosen, carecene, carizoein, keriscene, karosin, kerocine,
    keressean, keriseene, kerasene, kerosen, kereseen, kerison,
    kerriseen, kerricene, keroseen, kerosine, karosina, keresene,
    kerrsein, keroscene, kerose, kerasseen, kereson kerocene, kerozene,
    kerrisene, kerryseen, kerissien, kersien, kerossein, keriscene.

    Now isn't that astonishing?--Yours sincerely,

    MARY N.G.


THE EYEBROW WORD.

What do you think this is? It is neither more nor less than the word
"supercilious," which is derived from _supercilium_, the Latin for
"eyebrow," as I heard the Little Schoolma'am tell the children not long
ago.

When she had said this, one of the little girls, in a rather scornful,
superior way, said, "I don't see any sense in that." Whereat the Little
Schoolma'am and two or three of the bigger girls laughed, for the
little girl had raised her eyebrow in a most "supercilious" expression,
giving the best possible proof of the appropriateness of the word. For,
certainly, it is hard for one's face to express a supercilious feeling
without raising the eyebrow, or at least changing that part of the
countenance which is over the eyelid.


SINCERE.

Here's one more derivation, while we are about it. I heard the other
day that the bees, with the aid of Latin, have given us a beautiful
word: "Sincere"--which is made of the words _sine-cera_, meaning "honey
without wax."

Remember this, my chicks, and let your kind words and good actions be
truly sincere,--pure honey, _sine cera_.


THE AUTHOR OF "HOME, SWEET HOME."

    Dear Jack: My grandfather knew a gentleman who was a very intimate
    friend of the author of "Home, Sweet Home"--John Howard Payne. Mr.
    Payne told this gentleman, Mr. C., how he came to write the song.
    He said that a play or operetta called "The Maid of Milan," that he
    had adapted from the French, was about to be played in London. In
    this play was a very pretty scene for which he had an air in his
    mind. He had to conjure up some words to suit the tune, and so he
    wrote the verses of "Home, Sweet Home." He also said that the very
    next day after the song had been brought out at the theater it was
    all over London. Everybody was singing it. Grandfather says that
    Mr. Payne got really very tired of hearing about this song, and at
    length said he supposed he would hereafter be known only as the
    author of "Home, Sweet Home." Mr. Robert S. Chilton wrote this
    beautiful verse about Mr. Payne's death:

          Sure, when thy gentle spirit fled
            To realms beyond the azure dome,
          With arms outstretched God's angels said:
           "Welcome to heaven's 'Home, Sweet Home!'"

    I believe this verse was inscribed on Mr. Payne's tomb-stone in
    Tunis, Africa; but I am not sure. Can any one tell me?--Yours
    truly,

    KATIE T.M.



BABY-BO.


[Illustration]


  How many toes has the tootsy foot?
    One, two, three, four, five!
  Shut them all up in the little red sock,
    Snugger than bees in a hive.

  How many fingers has little wee hand?
    Four, and a little wee thumb!
  Shut them up under the bed-clothes tight,
    For fear Jack Frost should come.

  How many eyes has the Baby Bo?
    Two, so shining and bright!
  Shut them up under the little white lids,
    And kiss them a loving good-night.



ARTHUR AND HIS PONY.


About the middle of the summer, little Arthur, who lived in the
country, went to see his grandmother, whose house was three or four
miles away from Arthur's home. He staid there a week, and when he came
home and had been welcomed by all the family, his father took him out
on the front piazza and said to him:

"Now, Arthur, if you are not tired, how would you like to take a ride?"

"Oh! I'm not tired," said Arthur. "I'd like a ride ever so much. Will
you take me?"

"No," said his father. "I meant for you to take a ride by yourself."

"But I can't drive," said little Arthur.

"I know that," his father said, with a smile, "but I think we can
manage it. Here, Joseph!" he called out to the hired man, "hurry and
bring Arthur's horse."

"Oh, papa!" cried Arthur, "I don't want my horse. I can't take a real
ride on him. He's wooden, and I was tired of him long ago. I thought
you meant for me to take a real ride," and the little fellow's eyes
filled with tears.

"So I do, my son," said his father, "and here comes the horse on which
you are to take it. Is that animal real enough for you, sir?"

Around the corner came Joseph, leading a plump little black pony, with
a long tail and mane, and a saddle, and bridle, and stirrups.

Arthur was so astonished and delighted that at first he could not
speak.

"Well, what do you think of him?" said his father.

"Is that my horse?" said Arthur.

"Yes, all your own."

Arthur did not go to look at his pony. He turned and ran into the
house, screaming at the top of his voice:

"Mother! mother! I've got a pony! Come quick! I've got a pony--a real
pony! Aunt Rachel! I've got a pony, Laura! Laura! come, I've got a
pony!"

When he came out again, his father said: "Come now, get on and try your
new horse. He has been waiting here long enough."

But Arthur was so excited and delighted, and wanted so much to run
around his pony and look at him on all sides, and kept on telling his
father how glad he was to get it, and how ever so much obliged he was
to him for it, and what a good man he was, and what a lovely pony the
pony was, that his father could hardly get him still enough to sit in
the saddle.

However, he quieted down after a while, and his father put him on the
pony's back, and shortened the stirrups so that they should be the
right length for him, and put the reins in his hands. Now he was all
ready for a ride, and Arthur wanted to gallop away.

"No, no!" said his father, "you cannot do that. You do not know how to
ride yet. At first your pony must walk."

So Arthur's father took hold of the pony's bridle and led him along the
carriage-way in front of the house, and as the little boy rode off,
sitting up straight in the saddle, and holding proudly to the reins,
his mother and his aunt and his sister Laura clapped their hands, and
cheered him; and this made Arthur feel prouder than ever.

He had a good long ride, up and down, and up and down, and the next day
his father took him out again, and taught him how to sit and how to
guide his pony.

In a week or two Arthur could ride by himself, even when the pony was
trotting gently; and before long he rode all over the grounds, trotting
or cantering or walking, just as he pleased.

The pony was a very gentle, quiet creature, and Arthur's father felt
quite willing to trust his little boy to ride about on him, provided he
did not go far from home.

Only once was there any trouble on the pony's account. As Arthur was
riding in a field, one afternoon, there came along a party of
gentlemen, who were hunting a fox. When they galloped away, over the
smooth grass, Arthur whipped up his pony, and went after them as fast
as he could go.

He went on and on, trying to keep up with the hunters, but he was soon
left behind, for his pony could not gallop half as fast as the large,
strong horses of the hunters.

Then he turned to come back, but he got into the wrong field, and soon
found that he did not know the way home.

Arthur began to be very much frightened, for the sun was setting, and
he could see no one of whom he could ask his way home. He first turned
his pony this way and then that way, but the little horse was now
hungry and tired, and he would not turn as Arthur wanted him to.

Then the pony resolutely started off and trotted along, paying no
attention to Arthur's pulls and tugs, and did not stop until he had
trotted right up to the door of Arthur's home.

You see, he knew the way well enough. Horses and dogs seldom lose
their way, unless they are very far from home.

Arthur's parents were frightened at their little boy's long absence,
and he was not allowed to ride again for three days, for he had been
told not to go out of the field in which he was when he saw the
hunters.

[Illustration: ARTHUR ON HIS PONY.]

Arthur rode that pony until he became quite a big boy, and his feet
nearly touched the ground as he sat in the saddle. Then he gave the
good little animal to a young cousin.

But he never liked any horse so much as this pony, which was his own,
real horse, when he was such a little boy.



YOUNG CONTRIBUTORS' DEPARTMENT.


[Illustration: TWO YOUNG MARTYRS.
(Drawn by a Young-Contributor.)]


"TOO-LOO!"

  The Blue Jay courted the Yellow Cuckoo;
    'Neath its nest he would stay all day long,
  Smoothing his feathers of silver and blue,
    Telling his love in a song:
      "Too-loo! too-loo!
        Oh, fly with me,
      My sweet Cuckoo,
        Across the sea!"

  The Cuckoo came gayly forth from her nest;
    But just then an arrow flew by,
  Piercing the bird's soft yellow breast,
    Who died with a single sigh.
      "Too-loo! too-loo!"
        The Blue Jay said;
      "What shall I do?
        My love is dead!"

  The Cuckoo lay cold and still on the ground--
    Dead, past all help to save;
  And by a Bird-defender was found,
    Who dug her a little grave.
      "Too-loo! too-loo!"
        Was the sorrowful lay,
      For the gentle Cuckoo
        Sung by the Jay.

AMY R.


"MARY AND HER LAMB."

(_A Critique._)

     "Mary had a little lamb."

In this poem each stanza, we may say each line, is unalloyed gold. Let
us examine the first line.

"Mary." The name strikes us at once as belonging to one pure as the
inside of an apple-bloom; and the rest of the poem assures us, that by
making Mary's name an index to Mary's character, we have not been
misled. A master's hand is visible from the first word.

"A little lamb." The poet does not take for granted, as one of less
genius would, that because a lamb is mentioned the reader necessarily
sees in his mind's eye one of the frolicsome, gentle, confiding
creatures commonly accepted as an emblem of meekness. Not at all. The
lamb is not only a lamb--it is a _little_ lamb. Thus never in the whole
course of the poem can we by any oversight look upon Mary's treasure as
a sheep; it retains its infantile sweetness and grace through the
entire narration. The poet thus draws our attention to the youth of the
animal, in order to palliate the little creature's after-guilt. This is
done with such grace and delicacy, that it is scarcely perceptible.

The line, as a whole, shows a touch of high art seldom seen in so short
a poem. The writer knows human nature--that, we see at a glance. Else,
would he not have entered into a detailed account of Mary's parentage,
her appearance, place of residence, or, at least, the manner in which
she became possessed of the lamb. But no; all is left to the
imagination. Mary may be as blonde as the "Fair one with golden locks,"
as dark as "Black Agnes." Each reader has a heroine after his own
heart, and each is satisfied.

     "Its fleece was white as snow."

No black sheep (or lamb) could we in any way imagine as a companion of
Mary--gentle, affectionate, pure little Mary. All her associates must
be pure as herself.

     "And everywhere that Mary went
      The lamb was sure to go."

Does not this suit the character given to Mary by her name? We can
image to ourselves the lost lamb, the mournful bleating for its mother,
its hunger and cold. In the depth of its misery we see Mary's sweet
face bending pityingly over it; she raises it, takes it home, it
revives, and loves her; she loves it in return. Can we wonder that it
follows in her footsteps wherever she goes? Those two lines tell more
than many a volume; but they must be read feelingly, or all is lost.

Now follows a tale of wrong-doing and of subsequent punishment. This
is, indeed, a master-stroke; for this climax we were not prepared.

     "It followed her to school one day,
      Which was against the rule."

Although the lamb follows its mistress everywhere, school is a tabooed
place. Yet the little creature cannot live without Mary, who has
departed fair and fresh as Overbury's "Happy Milkmaid." Long are the
hours that must elapse ere Mary's return, and the lamb tires of the
waiting. "It followed her to school one day." How innocent an act that
seems!--how natural! Then we read the next line,--"Which was against
the rule," and the lamb's action is turned from innocence to guilt.
Mary's favorite, that we have seen heretofore in only a good light,
violates deliberately a rule of the school which Mary attends. The
short sight of the animal's spiritual eyes prevents it from knowing the
extent of the disgrace to which it is to be subjected. At present the
end justifies the means in its little heart, and it leaves its pleasant
home to wander schoolward, and we are left to imagine its thoughts on
the way.

A scene in the school-house bursts upon us, and

     "It makes the children laugh and play
      To see a lamb at school."

This is another instance in which we are shown the poet's knowledge of
human nature. At anything less than the sight of a lamb the little
scholars are too well trained to laugh. This has no precedent. They
have been told how to behave should a dog enter the room, or should a
ludicrous error in lessons occur; but when a lamb trots soberly
in,--not gamboling now; conscience already whispers; remorse eats at
the little creature's peace of mind,--it is not to be expected that
order can be longer maintained, and the school, with the exception of
Mary, runs riot. Mary is perhaps, meanwhile, reproaching her pet with a
look "more in sorrow than in anger;" she is too gentle to scold, but
that glance completely fills the lamb's cup of sorrow; it is yet to
overrun, and the drop is soon poured in--the deep beneath "the lowest
deep" is soon reached.

     "For this the teacher turned him out."

It was his duty, reader; judge him not harshly.

     "But still he lingered near."

This, at least, was not forbidden,--to wait for his little mistress.

     "And waited patiently about
      Till Mary did appear."

How fraught with significance is that one word, "patiently!" All too
eager before, that was the lamb's fault, "and grievously hath [he]
answered it." He has turned over a new leaf, and wandering aimlessly
about, now nibbling a cowslip, now rolling in the young grass to still
the remorse gnawing at his heart, we can imagine him resolving to be a
better lamb in the future,--to grow more worthy Mary's love.

     "'What makes the lamb love Mary so?'
      The eager children cry."

All have noticed this devotion--all wonder at it. The teacher answers
in words that prove how well we read Mary's affectionate nature:

     "'Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,'
      The teacher did reply."

What could be a more worthy ending to so fine a poem than that the
loves of the two, human and brute, should be recognized by all Mary's
little world, her school-mates and her teacher. More poems like this,
sentiments so pure clad in plain Saxon words, would make our
world--wonderful and beautiful, as it now is--a fitter place of
dwelling for "men and the children of men." We regret but one point
about this gem,--that its author is "A Great Unknown."

C. McK.


THE DEATH OF PRINCE WILLIAM.

  There was a prince named William,
    And he had a sister, too;
  He was sailing o'er the English Channel,
    Over the Channel so blue.

  His father had gone ahead;
    And he made the boat go fast,
  But soon it struck upon a rock;
    There was a shock to the very mast!

  And everybody did wail,
    And everybody did cry,
  Because everybody thought
    That everybody must die!

  Prince William rushed into a boat,--
    Several lords and he,--
  And he was steering for the land,
    Across the dark blue sea.

  In the midst of the general weeping,
    He heard his sister's cry,
  And he made the boat go back,
    For he would not let her die!

  When he got near the ship,
    When he was touching her side,
  Down the side of the big ship
    Everybody did glide.

  Down went the little boat,
    Too frail for such a load;
  Down went the people in it,
    And the people that rowed.

  Down went the big ship,
    Her topmast in the air,
  And, if a person were near enough,
    He might see a man clinging there.

  The name of this man was Berold,
    And he was a butcher by trade,
  And by the help of a buff garment
    On the top of the water he stayed.

  In the morning some fishermen came
    And delivered him from the mast;
  And after he was recovered,
    His tale he told at last.

  When the king heard of the death of his children,
    He fainted away for a while,
  And from that day he was never,
    Never was seen to smile!

H.W.


ALLIE'S SUNSHINE.

"A snowy, windy day. Oh, how dismal!" sighed Allie. "I wish it would
clear off, so that I could go out-doors and play."

With this, Allie, who had been standing by the window gazing out at the
gray sky, sat down and commenced to read that beautiful book, "May
Stanhope." After reading quietly for more than an hour, she laid down
the book, exclaiming: "I _can_ and will try to be of some use in the
world. I do nothing but mope when it rains, or when anything goes
wrong. I will try to help others who need my help. I will ask mamma if
I can carry something to Miss Davies. I am sure she needs some help."

"Oh, the sun is shining!" Allie jumped up, and ran out of the room to
ask her mother if she would let her go to Miss Davies's. While she is
gone I will tell you briefly who she is. Her name is Allie Harris, and
she is a bright little girl, only apt to be dull on dark days.

Her mother gave the desired permission, and after wrapping herself up
warmly, she took the well-filled basket that her mother had prepared,
and set out on her errand of mercy. She soon reached Miss Davies's tiny
cottage. She knocked, and a cheery voice bade her enter. She walked
into a neat room, barely but cleanly furnished. At one end of it,
beside a window, around which an ivy was growing, sat a bright-faced
little woman sewing. She looked up and greeted Allie pleasantly. Allie
shyly made known her errand, and stayed with Miss Davies all the
afternoon, singing and reading aloud while Miss Davies sewed.

When it began to grow dark she bade Miss Davies a cheerful good-by, and
went merrily home. She said to her mother, "I have learned the _true_
secret of happiness at last." By doing _good_ to others you will forget
your _own_ unhappiness, and be made happy in return; while, if you
_mope_ and try to be disagreeable, you will be miserable.

F.H.


[Illustration: "H'M! DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW YOU'RE OUT?"
(Drawn by a Young Contributor.)]



THE LETTER BOX


Our beautiful new cover was designed and drawn by Walter Crane, of
London, who made all those lovely pictures in "The Baby's Opera." Our
readers will remember what we said of him last month, and that, though
a great artist in other ways also, he has done his best and most famous
work in drawing for the little folks. It would have been impossible,
therefore, to find a hand more skillful in the kind of art desired, or
better fitted to put upon the cover of ST. NICHOLAS just the things to
suit the best tastes and fancies; and of Mr. Crane's success we think
that no one who really studies the new cover can have a doubt. It seems
to us fully worthy both of the artist and the magazine; and, believing
that our young readers will all agree with us, we leave them the
delight of discovering and enjoying for themselves its special
beauties.


       *       *       *       *       *


There is a beautiful custom in England--which is to be hoped will yet
become general in America--of sending around Christmas cards, dainty
things with lovely pictures and hearty verses upon them. Friends and
lovers send them to one another, children send them to their parents,
parents to their children, and the postman, as he flies from house to
house, fairly glows with loving messages.

And now ST. NICHOLAS presents to one and all the sweet little card on
page 91, which was drawn by Miss L. Greenaway, a London artist, who has
drawn many beautiful pictures of child-life. A companion card will be
given next month.


       *       *       *       *       *


We are sure all our readers will appreciate the very comical pictures
on pages 144 and 145, which illustrate the funny story of "The Magician
and His Bee." But some of our older boys and girls may be able to put
them to another use,--which, also, would cause much fun and
merriment,--for these pictures would form an admirable series of
magic-lantern slides. And all that is needed to make them is a little
skill with the brush and--patience.

Take an _outline_ tracing of each figure; arrange all the tracings for
each slide on the glass strip, according to their positions in the
picture; then, by a slight touch of mucilage, or by holding each one
with the forefinger, secure them in their places until the outlines can
be traced on the glass. Fill up all the space outside the tracings with
black paint, and, this done, put in the shadings of the figures (lines
of features, costumes, etc.) with touches of the brush, according to
the lines in the printed pictures, until the reproductions upon the
slide are true and complete.

Once done, the pictures, enlarged and thrown upon a screen, would be
very funny indeed; and if, when they are exhibited, some one will read
the story aloud, so as to describe the slides as they succeed each
other, you may count upon having a jolly time.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Kiukiang, China, August 18, 1877.

    Dear St. Nicholas: I am not so far out of the world but that I can
    receive and read your excellent magazine. I look forward to mail
    day with much pleasure, especially the mail which brings the ST.
    NICHOLAS. I read every number through. I enjoy reading the letters
    from the little boys and girls, I suppose, because I am a little
    boy myself. There are no American boys here except my three little
    brothers. We would like to have a play with some of the boys who
    write for your magazine. The little boys of China have no such
    magazine as yours. I wish they had; it would make better boys of
    them. The children of the better class of Chinese go to school.
    There they learn to commit to memory the Chinese characters. In
    repeating the characters, they sway back and forth; it's real
    comical to see them. They repeat in a sing-song tone. They go to
    school at six in the morning. They have a rest at noon, after which
    they remain in the evening until eight o'clock. They have no idea
    of what we have in America; they are even stupid enough to ask if
    we have a sun and moon, and all such questions. My home is on the
    banks of the great river Yang-tse; nine miles back from the river
    are the Lu-Say Mountains, five thousand feet high. The foreign
    people find it very cool up in the mountains. There are several
    large pools of water where they bathe. I have written more than I
    expected to.

    --Good-by, dear ST. NICHOLAS, from your reader,

    EVANSTON HART.


       *       *       *       *       *


Readers who were interested in Professor Proctor's letter about the
Sea-Serpent in ST. NICHOLAS for August last, may like to read also
these little extracts on the same subject:

_From the New York "Independent."_

A sea-monster was seen by the officers of H.M.S. "Osborne," on June 2,
off the coast of Sicily, which is sketched by Lieut. Haynes and figured
in the London _Graphic_. The first sketch is merely of a long row of
fins just appearing above the water, of irregular height, and
extending, says Lieutenant Osborne, from thirty to forty feet in
length. The other sketch is of the creature as seen "end on," and shows
only the head, which was "bullet-shaped and quite six feet thick," and
a couple of flappers, one on each side. The creature was, says
Lieutenant Osborne, at least fifteen or twenty feet wide across the
back, and "from the top of the head to the part of the back where it
became immersed I should consider about fifty feet, and that seemed
about a third of its whole length." Thus it is certainly much longer
than any fish hitherto known to the zoölogists, and is, at least, as
remarkable a creature as most of the old wonder-makers ever alleged.

_From the "National Teachers' Monthly," September_.

Mr. John Kieller Webster says he has seen the sea-serpent in the
Straits of Malacca. Its body was fifty feet in length, the head twelve
feet, and the tail one hundred and fifty. It seemed to be a huge
salamander. The Chinese on board the ship were so frightened, they set
up a howl,--a circumstance very remarkable.


       *       *       *       *       *


THE GAME OF FAGOT-GATHERING.

There is a jolly in-door game, for the winter, called
"Fagot-Gathering," which has been described in print before, but it
makes so much fun that many who have never heard of it will be glad if
we tell about it here.

First you take some slips of paper,--as many as there are players,--and
on one of them you write "Fagot-Gatherer;" on each of the rest you
write either "good wood" or "snapper," making three times as many "good
woods" as "snappers." Of course, anybody who knows about wood-fires
will see that this is because some sticks will burn quietly and
brightly while others will crack and snap and fly without the least
warning. You put the papers into a hat, and each player takes one,
telling nobody what is written on it. Every one then sits as near to
the wall as possible, leaving a clear space in the middle of the room,
and the player who has chosen the "Fagot-Gatherer" slip proceeds in a
serious, business-like way to bundle the fagots. He, or she, chooses
four or five girls and boys, standing them together to represent a
fagot, and then makes similar groups of the rest in other parts of the
room. This done, he begins to "bind the fagots" by walking slowly
around each group, making with his arms such motions as a real
fagot-binder would make. The "sticks" are quiet until the binder lets
his arms fall, but then comes a sudden change; the "good woods" run to
their seats, but the "snappers" chase the "binder" and try to touch him
before he can begin to bind another "fagot;" failing in this, they have
to go and mourn among the "good woods." Then the binding of the second
"fagot" goes on, like that of the first. But when a "fagot-gatherer" is
touched, the "snapper" takes the place of the "gatherer," who goes and
rests himself. The game ends when all the "fagots" have been used up in
this way, and is then begun again by another selection of papers from
the hat. The fun is in the frights and surprises of the
"fagot-gatherer," who, of course, does not know who is a "good wood"
and who a "snapper;" and all do their best to avoid betraying
themselves. If you have a good big room and lots of players you will
find this game as full of fun as you can wish.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Philadelphia, September 16, 1877.

    Dear ST. NICHOLAS: I was looking over your September number, and
    happened to read a letter addressed to the "Little Schoolma'am,"
    and signed "Father of two school-girls;" it was about school
    lunches, and told of a visit to the new Normal school of
    Philadelphia; he said that in the lunch hall there is a long table
    on which there was nothing but cakes of all sorts. Now, being a
    member of the school, I was a little hurt at the injustice done to
    our school. I know there is something else but cake,--fruit, milk,
    soup, sandwiches, etc., being among the other things that are
    spread on the lunch-table, provided by the janitor, and sold to the
    girls at very low rates. So you see I had reason to be a little
    indignant at the discredit done to our school, and set about
    repairing it as far as possible; and you, too, can help repair the
    harm done to this fine public school by kindly printing this note.
    But I must close, for my letter is getting too long.

    --Your true friend,

    A MEMBER OF THE MODEL CLASSES PRIMARY DEPARTMENT. (Aged eleven
    years.)


       *       *       *       *       *


SCIENCE AT HOME.

    Brooklyn.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am an old boy, but not too old to be one of
    your most delighted readers; and I am glad of the present chance to
    send you my good wishes, and say my say. Here it is:

    Be sure and tell your youngsters to bear in mind that opportunities
    for home study on their own accounts are multiplying around them
    day by day, and that in taking advantage of them they will not only
    find great enjoyment and add to their stock of knowledge, but also
    will come upon hundreds of ways in which to amuse their friends,
    both old and young.

    Here, for instance, come Professor Mayer, and your frequent
    contributor, Mr. Charles Barnard, with a little book about "Light."
    They are not content with merely telling the dry facts about their
    subject, but, with pictures and plain speech, they explain how
    almost any boy or girl may, at small cost, make his or her own
    apparatus, and with it verify by actual trial what the book says.
    Some of the experiments are positively beautiful, and the hardest
    is not _very_ difficult.

    Then, too, Professor Tyndall has written out his lectures to young
    people, given before the Royal Institution at London during
    1875-76, in a little work called "Lessons in Electricity,"--most
    interesting and beautiful of scientific studies,--in which he tells
    how to make the instruments and conduct the experiments yourself.
    And, as if that were not enough, Mr. Curt W. Meyer, of the Bible
    House, New York, has arranged to supply a complete set of
    instruments, to suit this book of Professor Tyndall's, at a total
    cost of $55, packing-case and all; the various articles being
    obtainable separately at proportionate prices.

    I only wish we had had such chances fifty years ago; for, if our
    older friends had not made presents of such things to us,--as no
    doubt many oldsters will to your young folks this coming
    Christmas,--we'd have saved up our pocket money and gone ahead
    alone. I know that I made all my own electrical apparatus; but
    there was good fun in doing it, and it worked well, and made
    splendid times for our circle of young folks on cozy winter
    evenings.

    I hope you will read this letter through, although it is as long as
    most old men's memories.--Yours still affectionately,

    GRAN'THER HORTON.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Jamaica, L.I.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I read Jack-in-the-Pulpit's inquiry in the
    August number about the "Fiery Tears of St. Lawrence." Yesterday I
    was reading a book, and in it there was an article headed "Showers
    of Stars." I read it, and at the end of it was a piece which seemed
    to be an answer to Jack's question. I copied word for word from the
    book. Here it is:

    "Another writer suggests the theory that a stream or group of
    innumerable bodies, comparatively small, but of various dimensions,
    is sweeping around the solar focus in an orbit, which periodically
    cuts the orbit of the earth, thus explaining the actual cause of
    shooting stars, aerolites, and meteoric showers."

    This is all I have been able to find out, and I hope it is
    correct.--Believe me to be yours very truly,

    C.A.R.

C.A.R., and others who wish to know more of this subject, will find all
the latest information in "Appleton's Cyclopaedia," under the items
"Aerolite" and "Meteor," where admirably clear and condensed accounts
are given of all that is known about these bodies. C.A.R.'s extract
states the theory most generally held.


       *       *       *       *       *


TABLEAUX FROM ST. NICHOLAS PICTURES.

    Brooklyn, November, 1877.

    DEAR OLD ST. NICHOLAS: My little sisters and my brother love you,
    and so do I, for your monthly visits make our house brighter and
    pleasanter to us all. I am fifteen, not yet too old to be one of
    your children, you see.

    What I want to tell you is how easily some of your pictures can be
    turned into _tableaux-vivants,_ or even acted. There was
    "Pattikin's House;" I am sure we had the greatest fun with those
    pictures, we being so many girls: and "The man all tattered and
    torn that married the maiden all forlorn;" that was on p. 652 of
    the volume for 1876: "The Minuet," in January, 1877: "Hagar in the
    Desert," in June, 1877; my aunty did that, and it was lovely: the
    little girl in "The Owl That Stared," in November, 1876; and
    "Leap-Year," in the same number. All these we had at our own home,
    but there are lots of others that might suit some folks better than
    they would suit us.

    This winter some of your pictures will be used in a series of grand
    tableaux for our Sunday-school entertainments. A number of people
    belonging to the school can paint scenes, get up costumes, and all
    that. It is going to be splendid.

    I thought that your other children, you dear old ST. NICHOLAS,
    would surely like to know about this, and I hope I have not made my
    letter too long. From yours lovingly,

    MINA B.H.


       *       *       *       *       *


MARY C. WARREN answered correctly all the puzzles in the October
"Riddle-Box," but her answers came too late for acknowledgment in the
November number.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Black Oak Ridge, Passaic County, N.J.

    MRS. EDITOR: Excuse me writing to you, but I want to ask you if you
    think it is right to be killing cats all the time, for my brother
    Eddie has killed fifteen this year, and whenever I scold him about
    it, he begins to sing pilly willy winkum bang dow diddle ee ing
    ding poo poo fordy, pilly willy winkum bang. There, there he stands
    now behind the barn with his hands full of lumps of coal watching
    for one that killed his chicken a month ago. O dear, if he would
    only stop killing cats what a good boy he would be! He always gives
    me half of his candy, and he raises such nice melons in his garden.
    O, O, as true as I live there he goes now after the poor cat. Good,
    good, good--neither piece of coal hit her. What can I do to stop
    his bad habit. I think it is too bad even if they do kill his
    chicks once in a while. I have only got two cats left, Dick and
    Mizy, and he watches them awful close.--Your friend,

    KATIE BAKER.


       *       *       *       *       *


    New York.

    DEAR ST NICHOLAS: I want to send this story to The letter box that
    I wrote when I was 6 years old this is it

    LITTLE MAY

    Once upon a time there lived a little girl whose father and mother
    were very rich, so the little girl had lovely dresses, but she had
    a very bad temper and was very proud so nobody loved her. One day
    this little girl I might as well tell you her name it was May was
    sitting in her mothers lap Mama said she what makes everybody act
    so to me? Dear said her mother it is because you are so proud and
    get angry so easily then said May if I should try to be good would
    they like me Yes said her mother so after that May was a better
    child and every body liked her even her mother loved her better
    than before and so did her father and after that the little girl
    was no more saying Oh dear nobody loves me but lived happy and
    contented.

    ELISE L. LATHROP.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Geneva, N.Y.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I notice in a chapter of "His Own Master" for
    September a mistake which I can correct. In describing the
    Cincinnati suspension bridge, it says that trains go across on it.
    This is a mistake, as that bridge is only used for carriages,
    horse-cars and pedestrians, the steam-cars going across on another
    bridge above. There is now building a new railroad bridge below for
    the new Southern Railroad.--Yours respectfully,

    W.S.N.


       *       *       *       *       *


    San Leandro, Cal., Sept. 3, 1877.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I tried the Little Schoolma'am's way of pressing
    flowers, and I think it is ever so nice. I pressed a wall-flower;
    it retained all its brightness and looked just like a fresh flower.
    Last spring we discovered a humming-bird's nest in one of the trees
    in our orchard. It was very pretty, being no larger than half of a
    hen's egg. The first time I saw it the little mother was on it; she
    sat as still as a stone, and looked as if she would not budge an
    inch for me or anybody else. I am always very glad when the ST.
    NICHOLAS comes.--Your affectionate little reader,

    SUSIE R. IRWIN.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Princeton, N.J.

    DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to tell you of the interesting
    expedition I made last August to the college observatory here for
    the purpose of seeing the three planets, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
    Through the telescope we were shown Mars burning with a ruddy glow,
    and having on the rim of one side a bright white spot, which the
    professor told us was the ice piled up around the north pole;
    Saturn with its rings, seen with wonderful clearness, and shining
    pale and far off in comparison with Mars; Jupiter with its two dark
    bands around the center, and three of its satellites plainly
    visible; and, last, the moon with its curiously indented surface
    and ragged edge. The telescope was small, so we could not, of
    course, see the newly discovered satellites of Mars, the professor
    saying that there were only two instruments in this country that
    would show them. Hoping that you may have as good an opportunity to
    see these splendid heavenly bodies as I have had, I remain, your
    friend,

    B.H.S.



NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.


BABY DAYS, a selection of Songs, Stories and Pictures for Very Little
Folks, with an introduction by the Editor of ST. NICHOLAS, and 300
illustrations. Scribner & Co.--This large and very handsome book has
been made up from ST. NICHOLAS, and nearly all from the pages devoted
to the "Very Little Folks," and although the readers of this magazine
know that there have been many good things in that department, they can
have no idea, until they see it gathered together in this book, what a
wealth of pictures, stories, funny little poems and jingles have been
offered the little ones in ST. NICHOLAS. To children who have never
read ST. NICHOLAS, this book, with its three hundred pictures,--to say
nothing of its other contents,--will be a revelation; to children who
take the magazine, it will bring up many pleasant recollections of good
things they have enjoyed.


ABOUT OLD STORY-TELLERS--of How and When they Lived, and what Stories
they Told. By Donald G. Mitchell. Published by Scribner, Armstrong &
Co.--When any one comes late to dinner nothing can be kinder than to
bring back for him some of the good things which may have been removed
before his arrival,--and something very like this has here been done by
Mr. Mitchell for the boys and girls who came into this world too late
to hear in their original freshness all the good stories that were the
delight of their fathers and mothers when they were children. And these
fine old stories are all so nicely warmed up (if we may so express it)
by the author of the book, and so daintily and attractively presented
to our boys and girls, that some older folks may be in doubt whether or
not they would have lost anything in this respect if they, too, had
happened to come a little late to the feast furnished by Defoe, Dean
Swift, Miss Edgeworth, Oliver Goldsmith, the man who wrote the "Arabian
Nights," and other good old story-tellers.


Our little housekeepers, especially those who have put into practice
Marion Harland's admirable recipes which we gave in our third and
fourth volumes, will be delighted with a little book published by
Jansen, McClurg & Co., of Chicago. It is called SIX LITTLE COOKS; or,
Aunt Jane's Cooking-Class,--and, while it is really an interesting
narrative in itself, it delightfully teaches girls just how to follow
practically its many recipes. The only fault we have to find with it is
the great preponderance of cakes and pastry and sweets over healthful
dishes and the more solid kinds of cookery.


A very pleasant little book is THE WINGS OF COURAGE, adapted from the
French for American boys and girls by Marie E. Field, and published by
the Putnams. The three stories which make up the book will delight
fairy-loving boys and girls. They are illustrated by Mrs. Lucy G.
Morse, the author of "The Ash-Girl," well known to ST. NICHOLAS
readers. The pictures all are pretty, but to our mind the best of all
is "Margot and Neva," illustrating "Queen Coax."


BETTY AND HER COUSIN HARRY. By Miss Sarah E. Chester. American Tract
Society, N.Y. Price, $1; postage, 7 cents.--This book tells in a
bright and lively way about the pranks of a merry little girl and her
boy-cousin. There is plenty of good fun and goodwill throughout,
especially in the parts that tell of the doings of the two young
madcaps on April Fools' Day and the Fourth of July, and of the queer
way in which Toby, the pet crow, becomes peace-maker between them.


THE BODLEYS TELLING STORIES. Hurd & Houghton.--None of our young
friends who have read "The Doings of the Bodley Family" will need to be
told that this new volume is filled with stories bright, interesting,
and helpful; and the Bodley folks have already gained so many friends
and admirers that the book will be sure to make its way. We said of the
former volume that it was charming, but the new one is even more
exquisitely printed, and has a cover even more quaint and beautiful. So
we cordially commend it to our young friends as a book which will both
satisfy their interest and benefit their tastes.


THE CHRISTMAS STORY-TELLER, published by Scribner, Welford & Armstrong,
is a well-illustrated collection of excellent Christmas stories by
English writers. It is meant for papas and mammas rather than little
folks, but some of our older boys and girls may enjoy the Christmas
tales by such authors as Mark Lemon, Edmund Yates, Tom Hood, Shirley
Brooks, and that very funny man, F.C. Burnand.



THE RIDDLE-BOX


A CHESS PUZZLE.


Our readers will here find a "knight's move" problem, similar to the
one published in the "Riddle-Box" of ST. NICHOLAS for February, 1874.
By beginning at the right word and going from square to square as a
knight moves, you will find an eight-line quotation from an old poet.
The verse is quoted in one of "Elia's Essays." M.

+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|  And   |  you,  |  ding  | close  |  your  | bond-  |   me   |  cir-  |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|  gad-  |   me   |   oh   |  age   | chain  |  your  |   I    |   en   |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|   O    | vines; |   Do   |through |   so   | silk-  |  cles  |  too,  |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|  nail  |   ye   |  lest  | bles,  | break, |  Ere   |   me   |  That  |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|  your  | bram-  |  ars,  |   in   |  Bind  | knee,  |  And,  | weak,  |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
| bout,  |  But,  |   me   |  ver   | prove  | bines, |   I    |   ye   |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
|  Curl  |  fet-  |  this  |  bri-  |  your  |  ne-   |  too   | cour-  |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
| place; |   a-   |twines; |  ters  | leave  | teous  | wood-  |  may   |
|        |        |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+


EASY NUMERICAL ENIGMA.

The whole, composed of six letters, is a New England city. The 1 is a
numeral. The 1 2 is a word signifying "Behold!" The 1 2 3 is cheap. The
2 3 4 is to be indebted. The 3 4 is a pronoun. The 3 4 5 6 is a
cistern. The 4 5 6 is a measure.

C.D.


A PLEA FOR SANTA CLAUS.

By taking one letter from each line of this verse, you will find an
acrostic which spells a holiday greeting. The letters, too, are in a
straight line with one another--but what letters shall be taken?

      Coming with merry feet to young and old,
      Where snow and ice would block his onward way;
      Strive they in vain his eager step to stay,
      For Santa Claus is curious as bold.
      Why should he _not_ know what the ovens hold?
      Such odors tempt him, and he must obey!
      School-boys and matrons, grandsires, maidens gay,
      Forgive him if he warm his fingers cold
      While waiting: Arrows from his mystic pack--
      Wise fellow! see him choose! "_These_ (from _my_ bows),
      With shaft of silver, tipped with jewel rare,
      Aimed with the skill which Love can well impart,
      Shall strike the center of the coyest heart!
      Lest Santa Claus be slighted, then, beware!"

B.


BROKEN WORDS.

In each sentence, fill the first two blanks with two words which,
joined together, will form a word to fill the remaining blank.

1. "Do you buy paper ---- ---- or reams?" ---- one school-girl of
   another.
2. ---- ---- Puritans do not regard it as you free ---- men might.
3. He built ---- ---- when in ----, and lived like the natives
   themselves.

B.


PICTORIAL QUADRUPLE-ACROSTIC.

The initials and finals of the words represented by the small pictures
name two objects to be seen in the central picture. Two other words
relating to the central picture may also be found in succession, by
taking one letter from each of the words represented by the small
pictures.

L.J.


[Illustration]


CHRISTMAS ENIGMA.

The answer is a proverb relating to Christmas. Forty-four letters.
My 2 30 9 8 24 38 15 22 32 27, and also 25 20 11 38 31 25, and
6 13 17 35 25 9 18 29 2 are used in Christmas decorations.
36 1 26 42 9 16 are rung, 44 41 7 38 39 31 16 are told, 24 4 6 2 12
are played, 10 11 33 26 21 2 5 12 is laid aside, 19 9 43 38 35 37 16
are brightened by yule logs, 34 23 14 11 20 25 salutations are
exchanged, 28 22 4 8 35 44 gladdened, and 3 7 11 38 27 winged, all
at the good old Christmas-time.

B.


AUTHORS' NAMES.

The answers will give respectively the names of sixteen authors.

1. A cat's cry and a Scotch lake. 2. The value of the rim 3. A rough or
clumsy cut between a sunbeam and the old ladies' beverage. 4. A man's
name and an island. 5. A teacher commanding one of his male scholars to
perform his task. 6. A bun and a hotel. 7. A light, and a "k," and a
measure of length. 8. Strong and well.

   9. Two-thirds of an eye; a Scotch title prefixed;
      With a shoe-maker's tool nicely put in betwixt:
      If you look at it closely, I think you will find
      An essayist, poet, historian, combined.

10. Conqueror, embrace O. 11. Indispensable to printers, and a little
bed. 12. A bit, and a horse's cry. 13. A small nail and a Spanish
title. 14. A boy's nickname and an humble dwelling. 15. The patriarch
Jacob between "D" and myself.

  16. If two pretty girl-names together you tie
      (Some E's you must lose, for "I can't tell a lie"),
      The name of two poets at once you'll descry.

M.M.


A RIMLESS WHEEL.

The wheel is made of four words of seven letters each, with a common
central letter. The first word is written vertically, the second
horizontally, the third diagonally from left to right, and the fourth
diagonally from right to left. The half of each word, from the outside
to the central letter (but not including that letter), forms a smaller
word. The whole line of dots from 1_a_ to 1_b_ including the central
letter, indicates the first of the four principal words, while 1_a_
indicates the first of the small words belonging to it, and 1_b_
indicates its second small word. This numbering and lettering applies
also to the other words. The central letter is given, and all the words
are defined below.


              1a

    3a.        .        .4a

         .     .     .

            .  .  .

  2a  .  .  .  A  .  .  .  2b

            .  .  .

         .     .     .

    4b.        .        .3b

              1b


1. A wall of defense. 2. A brilliant bird of South America. 3. An
enthusiast. 4. The noise of a drum.

1_a_. Equal value. 1_b_. A fondling. 2_a_. The human race. 2_b_. A
relative. 3_a_. An article of summer use. 3_b_. Involuntary muscular
motion. 4_a_. To chafe. 4_b_. To entitle.

B.


MAGIC DOMINO-SQUARE.

Eight dominoes placed together form a square composed of sixteen
half-dominoes, as shown in the diagram below. But, in the diagram, each
row of four half-dominoes contains a different number of spots from any
of the other rows. Thus the topmost row, counting horizontally,
contains eighteen spots; the one below it only four; the first row to
the left, counting vertically, ten; the diagonal row, downward from
left to right, eight, etc. It is required to make a square of eight
dominoes of the same set, in which each vertical, horizontal, and
diagonal row of half dominoes shall contain exactly sixteen spots. Who
can do it?

M.D.

   +-------+-------+-------+-------+
   | *     | * * * |     * | *   * |
   |   *   |       |   *   | *   * |
   |     * | * * * | *     | *   * |
   +-------+-------+-------+-------+
   |       |       |     * |       |
   |   *   |       |       |   *   |
   |       |       | *     |       |
   +-------+-------+-------+-------+
   | *     | *     | *   * |     * |
   |       |       |       |   *   |
   |     * |     * | *   * | *     |
   +-------+-------+-------+-------+
   | *   * | *   * |     * |       |
   |       |   *   |       |   *   |
   | *   * | *   * | *     |       |
   +-------+-------+-------+-------+


DIAGONAL PUZZLE.

The puzzle contains ten words of ten letters each. Fill the blanks with
words suited to the sense, and arrange these one above another in the
order in which they occur in the sentences. They will then form a
square, and the diagonal letters, read downward from left to right,
will name a friend we all like.

---- (the same person as the diagonal, with another name) boys, and the
children may well put ---- in a friend who can ---- so much to their
happiness. No ordinary person is ---- to him; and the legend ---- us to
the belief that he is well-nigh ---- that tells of the ---- exercise of
his power in a ---- ---- manner, and on account of which he deserves to
be called the "----" patron.

B.


PROVERB PUZZLE.

Supply the blanks with words to complete the sense, and transpose them
into an appropriate proverb, with no letter repeated.

      When Santa Claus, laughing at Christmas cold,
      Leaps gayly out from his ---- of gold,
      No clattering ---- disturb the house,
      But down the ---- as still as a ----
      He glides to lighten his burdened back,
      By tossing treasures from out his pack;
      Then up and off, with no ---- behind
      But the "Merry Christmas" you all shall find.


SEXTUPLE ACROSTIC.

Initials, read downward, a man; read upward, a biblical locality.
Centrals, read downward, a portion; read upward, a snare. Finals, read
downward, something seen at night; read upward, small animals.

1. Stupid persons. 2. Toward the stern of a ship. 3. An insect in a
caterpillar state. 4. To come in.

N.T.M.


EASY DIAMOND PUZZLE.

In work, but not in play; a domestic animal; a singing bird; a light
carriage; in night, but not in day.

ISOLA.


NUMERICAL ENIGMAS.

1. She is such a sweet, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 child, I feel sure that I can
soon 1 2 3   4 5 6 7 of her love.

2. "Will you 1 2 3 4   5 6 row?" said the 1 2 3 4 5 6.

3. If you do 1 2 3 4   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 about the stem of, the vase,
choose the delicate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11.

4. Shall you 1 2 3 4   5 6 7 8   9 10 11 12 for robbing the poor little
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12's nest?

5. My 1 2   3 4 5 6 7 a house to the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 of ten children.

6. Shall it be a sail, 1 2 3,   4 5   6 7 8,--1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8?
Whichever it is to be, we must prepare for it to-day, Tom.

7. 1 2 3 4! 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4, I shall always be interested in your
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.

O.B.



ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN NOVEMBER NUMBER.


DOUBLE ACROSTIC.--Franklin, Herschel.

  F ---rit---- H
  R ----os---- E
  A ---lde---- R
  N --autilu-- S
  K --ennebe-- C
  L ---arc---- H
  I ----sl---- E
  N ---icke--- L


BROKEN WORDS.--1. Forgotten--forgot ten. 2. Offences--of fences.
3. Significant--sign if I can't. 4. Firmament--firm ament.


PICTORIAL NUMERICAL REBUS.--

        4,002,063
       83,080,010
           76,094
   89,000,000,011
   --------------
   89,087,158,178


HOUR-GLASS PUZZLE.--

  P E R P E T U A L
    T R I V I A L
      A B O D E
        O L D
          U
        A T E
      T H I N K
    A R M O R E R
  F L O U N D E R S


NUMERICAL ENIGMA--Cleopatra--ale, top, car.


BEHEADINGS AND CURTAILINGS.--1. Shame, Sham, Ham, Ha, A. 2. White,
Whit, Hit, It, I. 3. Coral, Cora, Ora, Or, R. 4. Spine, Pine, Pin, In, I.
5. Honey, Hone, One, On, O.


EASY DIAMOND PUZZLE.--D, Cid, Clara, Diamond, Droit, Ant, D.


CHARADE.--Stratagem.


PUZZLE BOUQUET.--1. Foxglove. 2. Hawkweed. 3. Tuberose. 4. Candytuft.
5. Snapdragon. 6. Wall-flower. 7. Sweet-pea. 8. Balsam (Ball Sam).
9. Snowdrop. 10. Marigold (Marry Gold).


TRANSPOSITIONS.--1. Earth, heart. 2. Oder, rode. 3. Wells, swell.
4. Evil, Levi. 5. Edges, sedge.


LETTER ANAGRAMS.--1. L over P--Plover. 2. R after S--Rafters.
3. S and T--Stand. 4. P under L--Plunder. 5. Et upon Ic--Unpoetic.


HIDDEN DRESS GOODS.--1. Calico.  2. Gingham.  3. Cotton. 4. Linen.
5. Serge. 6. Merino. 7. Silk. 8. Satin. 9. Muslin.


PICTORIAL PROVERB-ACROSTIC.--"The longest day must have an end."

   1. T ----e Deu---- M
   2. H ---yosciam--- U
   3. E -----ye------ S
   4. L -----as------ T
   5. O ------------- H
   6. N --ux Vomic--- A
   7. G --love(--e--) V
   8. E -----y------- E
   9. S -----e------- A
  10. T ----uree----- N
  11. D ----rup------ E
  12. A ---ndiro----- N
  13. Y -----ar------ D



THE ANSWERS TO THE PICTORIAL PUZZLES IN THE OCTOBER "RIDDLE-BOX" were
accidentally omitted from the November number, and are given here.
REBUS: "Liars are not to be believed or respected." PICTORIAL
PROVERB-ANAGRAM: "Listeners never hear any good of themselves."

ANSWERS TO ALL THE PUZZLES IN THE OCTOBER NUMBER have been received
from Harry H Neill, George J. Fiske, Eddie Vultee, John W. Riddle,
Marion Abbott, Harriet M. Hall, Grant Squires, George Herbert White,
William Kiersted, Maxwell W. Turner, Emma Elliott, H.V. Wurdemann,
Alice B. Moore, "Clarinet," Sophie Owen Smith, Julia Abbott, Alice M.
King, Mary W. Ovington, "Maudie," Edith Merriam, Eddie H. Eckel,
"Bessie and her Cousin," Alice Bertram, M.W. Collet, and "A.B.C."

ANSWERS TO SPECIAL PUZZLES were also received, previous to October
18th, from Georgietta N. Congdon, Bessie Dorsey, Fred M. Pease, T.M.
Ware, A.G. Cameron, "May," Rosie S. Palmer, Julia Lathers, Florence
Wilcox, Edwin R. Garsia, Lizzie M. Knapp, Alice B. McNary, May
Danforth, Katie Earl, W. Creighton Spencer, W. Irving Spencer, Carrie
M. Hart, Edna A. Hart, Olive E. Hart, B.P. Emery, Gertrude Eager, and
Alice T. Booth.





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