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´╗┐Title: The Diving Bell - Or, Pearls to be Sought for
Author: Woodworth, Francis C. (Francis Channing), 1812-1859
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diving Bell - Or, Pearls to be Sought for" ***

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of Florida.


[Illustration: THE FOX AND THE CRAB.]








With Tinted Illustrations.




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of


"TRY THE OTHER END"        80
THE GREEDY FLY         101
"I DON'T KNOW"         119
THE WRONG WAY            131
THE RIGHT WAY            135


THE FOX AND THE CRAB      (Frontispiece)




The reader, perhaps, as he turns over the first pages of this volume,
is puzzled, right at the outset, with the meaning of my title, _The
Diving Bell_. It is plain enough to Uncle Frank, and possibly it is to
you; but it may not be; so I will tell you what a diving bell is, and
then, probably, you can guess the reason why I have given this name to
the following pages.

If you will take a common glass tumbler, and plunge it into water,
with the mouth downwards, you will find that very little water will
rise into the tumbler. You can satisfy yourself better about this
matter, if, in the first place, you lay a cork upon the surface of the
water, and then put the tumbler over it.

Did you ever try the experiment? Try it now, if you never have done
so, and if you have any doubt on the subject.

You might suppose, that the cork would be carried down far below the
surface of the water. But it is not so. The upper side of the cork,
after you have pressed the tumbler down so low that the upper end of
it is even below the surface of the water--the upper side of the cork
is not wet at all.

"And what is the reason of this, Uncle Frank?"

I will tell you. There is air in the tumbler, when you plunge it into
the water. The air stays in the vessel, so that there is no room for
the water.

"Oh, yes, sir; I see how that is. But I see that a little water finds
its way into the tumbler, every time I try the experiment. How is

You can press air, the same as you can press wood, or paper, or cloth,
so that it will go into a smaller space than it occupied before you
pressed it. Did you ever make a pop-gun?

"Oh, yes, sir, a hundred times."

Well, when you send the wad out of the pop-gun, you do it by pressing
the air inside the tube. Now if your tumbler was a hundred or a
thousand times as large, the air would prevent the water from coming
in, just as it does in this instance. Suppose I had dropped a purse
full of gold into a very deep river, and it had sunk to the bottom.
Suppose I could not get it in any other way but by going down to the
bottom after it. I could go down to that depth, and live there for
some time, by means of a diving bell made large enough to hold me,
precisely in the same way that a bird might go down to the bottom of a
tub of water, in a tumbler, and stand there with the water hardly over
his feet. There is a good deal of machinery about a diving bell, it
is true. But I need not take up much time in describing it. It is
necessary for the man to breathe, of course, while he is in the diving
bell; and as the air it contains is soon rendered impure by breathing,
fresh air must be introduced into the bell by means of a pump, or in
some other way. I am not very familiar with the necessary machinery,
to tell the truth. I never explored the bottom of a river in this way,
and I think it will be a long time before I make such a voyage.

The diving bell has been used for a good many useful purposes--to lay
the foundations of docks and the piers of bridges; to collect pearls
at Ceylon, and coral at other places.

I am not sure but the diving bell is getting somewhat out of use now.
People have found out another way of groping along on the bottom of
rivers and seas. They do it frequently, I believe, by means of a kind
of armor made of India rubber. But so far as my book is concerned, it
is of no consequence whether the diving bell is out of use or not. I
shall use the title, at all events.

If, after my account of the diving bell, you still ask why I choose
to give such a name to the budget I have prepared for you, I can
answer your question very easily.

I think you will find something worth looking at in the budget--not
pearls, or pieces of coral, or lost treasures, exactly, but still
something which will please you, and something which, when you get
hold of it, will be worth keeping and laying up in some snug corner of
your memory box. I say _when you get hold of it_; for the valuable
things I have for you do not all lie on the surface. You will have to
_search_ for them a little. That is, you will have to think. When you
have read one of my stories, or fables, you may find it necessary to
stop, and ask yourself "What does Uncle Frank mean by all this?" In
other words, you will have to use the diving bell, and see if you
can't hunt up something in the story or the fable, which will be
useful to you, and which will make you wiser and better. Now you see
why I have called my book _The Diving Bell_, don't you?



It is Uncle Frank's notion, that it is a good thing to laugh, but a
better thing to think. A great many people, however, old as well as
young, and young as well as old, live and die without thinking much.
They lose three quarters of the benefit they ought to get from
reading, and from what they see and learn as they go through the
world, by never diving below the surface of things. I don't suppose
it is so with you. I hope not, at all events. If it is so, then you
had better shut up this book, and pass it over to some young friend of
yours, who has learned to think, and who loves to read books that will
help him about thinking. No, on the whole, you needn't do any such
thing. Just read the book--read it through. Perhaps you will get a
taste for such reading, while you are going through the book.

I must tell you an anecdote just here. You will not refuse to read
that, at any rate.

Not long ago I was in a book store, looking over some new books which
I saw on the counter, when a fine-looking boy, who appeared to be
about nine years old, came in. He had a shilling in his hand, and said
he wanted to buy a book.

"But what book do you want?" one of the clerks asked.

The boy could not tell what it was exactly. But it was a "funny
book"--he was sure of that--and it cost a shilling.

Well, it finally turned out that the book which the little fellow
wanted was a comic almanac--a book filled with miserable
pictures--pictures of men and beasts twisted into all sorts of odd
shapes--and vulgar jokes, and scraps of low wit.

"Will you let me look at it?" I asked the little boy as the clerk
handed the book to him.

"Yes, sir," said he.

I took the almanac, and turned over some of its leaves. There was not
a particle of information in the book, except what related to the sun,
and moon, and stars, and that formed but a small portion of the
volume. "My son," said I, pleasantly, "what do you buy this book

"To make me laugh," said he.

"But is _that_ all you read books for--to find something to laugh at?"
I inquired.

"No, sir," he replied, "but then this book is _so_ funny. Giles Manly
has got one, and"--he hesitated.

"He has a great time over it," I interrupted, to which the little boy
nodded, as much as to say,

"Yes, sir, that's it."

"Did your father send you after this book?" I asked.

"No, sir."

"Did your mother tell you to get it?"

"No, sir. But my mother gave me a shilling, and told me I might buy
just such a book as I liked."

"Well, my son," said I, "look here. You have heard Giles read some of
the funny things in this almanac, have you not?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you've seen some of the pictures?"

"Yes, sir, all of them."

"Then you know pretty well what the book is?"

"Yes, sir, all about it, and that's what makes me want to buy it."

"Well, you have a right to buy just such a book as you want. But if I
were in your place, I would not buy that book; and I'll tell you why.
There's a good deal of fun in it, to be sure. No doubt you would laugh
over it, if you had it. But you can't learn anything from it. Come,
now, I'll make a bargain with you. Here's a book"--I handed him one of
the _Lucy_ books, written by Mr. _Jacob Abbott_--"which is worth a
dozen of that. This will make you laugh some, as well as the other
book; and it will do much more and better than that. It will set you
to _thinking_. It will instruct, as well as amuse you. It will sow
some good seeds in your mind, and your heart, too. It will teach you
to be a _thinker_ as well as a reader. It costs a little more than
that almanac, it is true. But never mind that. If you'll take this
book, and give the gentleman your shilling, I'll pay him the rest of
the money. Will you do it? Will you take the Lucy book, and leave the
funny almanac?"

He hesitated. He hardly knew whether he should make or lose by the

"If you will do so," I continued, "and read the book, when you get
through with it, you may come to my office in Nassau street, and tell
me how you was pleased with it. Then, if you say that you did not like
Mr. Abbott's book so well as you think you would have liked the book
with the funny pictures, and tell me that you made a bad bargain, I'll
take back the Lucy book, and give you the almanac in the place of it."

That pleased the little fellow. The bargain was struck. Mr. Abbott's
book was bought, and the boy left the store, and ran home.

I think it was about a week after that, or it might have been a
little longer, that I heard my name spoken, as I was sitting at my
desk. I turned around, and, sure enough, there was the identical boy
with whom I had made the trade at the book store.

"Well, my little fellow," I said, "you've got sick of your bargain,
eh?" "No, sir," he said, "I'm glad I made it;" and he proceeded to
tell me his errand. It seemed that he had been so pleased with the
book, that he "wanted a few more of the same sort," as the razor strop
man says; and his father had told him that he might come to me, ask
me to get all the Lucy books for him.

Now you see how it was with that little fellow, before he read the
book I gave him. He had got the notion that a child's book could not
be amusing--could not be worth reading--unless it was filled with such
nonsense as there was in the "funny book" he called for. He had not
got a _taste_ for reading anything else. As soon as he did get such a
taste, he liked that kind of reading the best; because, besides making
him laugh a little now and then, it put some thoughts into his
head--gave him some hints which would be worth something to him in
after life.

Now, I presume there are a great many boys and girls, who love to read
such nonsense as one finds in comic almanacs, and books like
"Bluebeard," and "Jack the Giant Killer," but who, like the youth I
met in the book store, could very easily learn to like useful books
just as well, and better too, if they would only take them up, and
read them.

Why, my little friends, a book need not be dull and dry, because it is
not all nonsense. Uncle Frank don't mean to have a long face on, when
he writes for young people. He believes in laughing. He likes to laugh
himself, and he likes to see his young friends laugh, too, sometimes.

I hope, indeed, that you will find this little book amusing, as well
as useful; though I should be very sorry if it were not useful, as
well as amusing.






    A bee who had chased after pleasure all day,
    And homeward was lazily wending his way,
    Fell in with a Spider, who called to the Bee:
    "Good evening! I trust you are well," said he.


    The bee was quite happy to stop awhile there--
    He always had leisure enough and to spare--
    "Good day, Mr. Spider," he said, with a bow,
    "I thank you, I feel rather poorly, just now."


    "'Tis nothing but work, with all one's might--
    'Tis nothing but work, from morning till night.
    I wish I were dead, Mr. Spider; you know
    I might as well die as to drag along so."


    The Spider pretended to pity the Bee--
    For a cunning old hypocrite spider was he--
    "I'm sorry to see you so poorly," he said;
    And he whispered his wife, "He will have to be bled."


    "'Tis true sir,"--the knave! every word is a lie--
    "That rather than live so, 'twere better to die.
    'Twere better to finish the thing, as you say,
    Than to live till you're old, and die every day.


    "The life that you lead, it may do very well
    For the beaver's rude hut, or the honey bee's cell;
    But it never would suit a gay fellow like me.
    I love to be merry--I love to be free."


    "In hoarding up riches you're wasting your time;
    And--pray, sir, excuse me--such waste is a crime.
    And then to be guilty of avarice, too!
    Alas! how I pity such sinners as you!"


    Strange, strange that the Bee was so stupid and blind;
    "Amen!" he exclaimed, "you have spoken my mind;
    I've been very wicked, I know it, I feel it;
    The bees have no right to their honey--they steal it.


    "But how in the world shall I manage to live?
    Should I beg of my friends, not a mite would they give;
    'Tis easy enough to be idle and sing,
    But living on air is a different thing."


    Our Spider was silent, and looked very grave--
    'Twas a habit he had, the cunning old knave!
    No Spider, pursuing his labor of love,
    Had more of the serpent, or less of the dove.


    At length, "I believe I have hit it," said he;
    "Walk into my palace, and tarry with me.
    We spiders know nothing of labor and care;
    Come in; you are welcome our bounty to share.


    "I live like a king, and my wife like a queen;
    We wander where flowers are blooming and green,
    And then on the breast of the lily we lie,
    And list to the stream running merrily by.


    "With us you shall mingle in scenes of delight,
    All summer, all winter, from morn until night,
    And when 'neath the hills sinks the sun in the west,
    Your head on a pillow of roses shall rest.


    "When miserly bees shall return from their toils"--
    He winked as he said it--"we'll feast on the spoils;
    I'll lighten their loads"--said the Bee, "So will I."
    And the Spider said, "Well, if you live, you may try."


    The Bee did not wait to be urged any more,
    But nodded his thanks, as he entered the door.
    "Aha!" said the Spider, "I have you at last!"
    And he seized the poor fellow, and tied him up fast.


    The Bee, when aware of his perilous state,
    Recovered his wit, though a moment too late.
    "O treacherous Spider! for shame!" said he.
    "Is it thus you betray a poor innocent Bee?"


    The cunning old rascal then laughed outright.
    "My friend!" he said, grinning, "you're in a sad plight.
    Ha! ha! what a dunce you must be to suppose
    That the heart of a Spider could pity your woes!


    "I never could boast of much honor or shame,
    Though slightly acquainted with both by name;
    But I think if the Bees can a brother betray,
    We Spiders are quite as good people as they.


    "I guess you have lived long enough, little sinner,
    And, now, with your leave, I will eat you for dinner.
    You'll make a good morsel, it must be confessed;
    And the world, very likely, will pardon the rest."

    [Illustration: THE SPIDER'S TRIUMPH.]


    This lesson for every one, little and great,
    Is taught in that vagabond's tragical fate:
    _Of him who is scheming your friend to ensnare,
    Unless you've a passion for bleeding, beware_!



Genius, in its infancy, sometimes puts on a very funny face. The first
efforts of a painter are generally rude enough. So are those of a
poet, or any other artist. I have often wished I might see the first
picture that such a man as Titian, or Rubens, or Reynolds, or West,
ever drew. It would interest me much, and, I suspect, would provoke a
smile or two, at the expense of the young artists.

History does not often transmit such sketches to the world. But I wish
it would. I wish the picture of the sheep that Giotto was sketching,
when Cimabue, one of the greatest painters of his age, came across
him, could be produced. I would go miles to see it. And I wish West's
mother had carefully preserved, for some public gallery, the picture
that her son Benjamin made of the little baby in the cradle. You have
heard that story, I dare say.

Benjamin, you know, showed a taste for drawing and painting, when he
was a very little boy. His early advantages were but few. But he made
the most of these advantages; and the result was that he became one of
the first painters of his day, and before he died, he was chosen
President of the Royal Society in London. How do you think he made his
colors? You will smile when you hear that they were formed with
charcoal and chalk, with an occasional sprinkling of the juice of red
berries. His brush was rather a rude one. It was made of the hair he
pulled from the tail of Pussy, the family cat. Poor old cat! she lost
so much of her fur to supply the young artist with brushes, that the
family began to feel a good deal of anxiety for her pussyship. They
thought her hair fell off by disease, until Benjamin, who was an
honest boy, one day informed them of their mistake. What a pity that
the world could not have the benefit of one of the pictures that West
painted with his cat-tail brush.

And then, what a treat it would be, to get hold of the first rhymes
that Watts and Pope ever made. I believe that Watts had been rhyming
some time when he got a fatherly flogging for this exercise of his
genius, and he sobbed out, between the blows,

    "Dear father, do some pity take,
    And I will no more verses make."

That couplet was not his first one, by a good deal. The habit, it
would seem, had taken a pretty strong hold of him, when the whipping
drew that out of him.

It seems to me that the childhood and early youth of a genius are more
interesting than any riper periods of his life; or rather, that they
become so, when time and circumstances have developed what there was
in the man, and when from the stand-point of his fame in manhood, we
look back upon his early history. What small beginnings there have
been to all the efforts of those who have made themselves masters of
the particular art to which they have directed their attention.

I wonder what kind of a thing Washington Irving's first composition
was. There must have been a first one; and, without doubt, it was a
clumsy affair enough. If I were going to write his history, I would
find those who knew him when he was a mere child, and I would pump
from them as many anecdotes about his little scribblings as I possibly
could, and I would print them, lots of them. I hardly think I could do
the reader of his biography a better service.

I wonder what his first experience was with the editors. These
editors, by the way, are often very troublesome to the young sprig of
genius. Placed, as they are, at the door of the temple of fame, they
often seem to the unfledged author the most disobliging, iron-hearted
men in the world. He could walk right into the temple, and make
himself perfectly at home there, if they would only open the door. So
he fancies; and he wonders why the barbarians don't see the genius
sticking out, when he comes along with his nicely-written verses, and
why they don't just give him, at once, a ticket of admission to the
honors of the world. "These editors are slow to perceive merit," he
says to himself.

Your old friend Uncle Frank once set himself up for a genius. Don't
laugh--pray, don't laugh. I was young then, and as green as a juvenile
gosling. Age has branded into me a great many truths, which, somehow
or other, were very slow in finding their way to my young mind. The
notion that I am a genius does not haunt me now, and a great many
years have passed since such a vision flitted across my imagination.
But I will tell you how I was cooled off, once on a time, when I got
into a raging fever of authorship, and was burning up with a desire to
make an impression on the world. I had written some verses--written
them with great care, and with ever so many additions, subtractions,
and divisions. They were perfect, at last--that is, I could not make
them any more perfect--and off they were posted to the editor of the
village newspaper. I declare I don't remember what they were about.
But I dare say, they were "Lines" to somebody, or "Stanzas" to
something; and I remember they were signed "Theodore Thinker," in a
very large, and as I then thought, a very fair hand.

"Well, did the editor print them, Uncle Frank?"

Hold on, my dear fellow. You are quite too fast. As I said, when the
lines to somebody or something were sent to the editor, I was in a
perfect fever. I could hardly wait for Wednesday to come, the day on
which the paper was to be issued--the paper which was to be the medium
of the first acquaintance of my muse with "a discerning public."

"Well, how did you feel when the lines were printed?"

When they were printed! Alas, for my fame! they were not printed at
all. The editor rejected them. "Theodore's lines," said he--the great
clown! what did _he_ know about poetry?--"Theodore's lines have gone
to the shades. They possessed some merit,"--_some_ merit! that's all
he knows about poetry; the brute!--"but not enough to entitle them to
a place. Still, whenever age and experience have sufficiently
developed his genius,"--mark the smooth and oily manner in which the
savage knocks a poor fellow down, and treads on his neck--"whenever
age and experience have sufficiently developed his genius, we shall be
happy to hear from him again."

If you can fancy how a man feels, when he is taken from an oven,
pretty nearly hot enough to bake corn bread, and plunged into a very
cold bath, indeed--say about forty degrees Fahrenheit--you can form
some idea of my feelings when I read that paragraph in the editorial
column, under the notice "To correspondents."

I am inclined to think there are a great many little folks climbing up
the stairs of the stage of life, who verily believe that genius has
got them by the hand, leading them along, but who, in fact, are not a
little mistaken. It is rather important that one should know whether
he has any genius or not; and if he has, in what particular direction
he will be likely to distinguish himself.

I don't believe in the old-fashioned notion that people all come into
the world with minds and tastes so unlike, that, if you educate one
ever so carefully, he never will make a poet, or a painter, or a
musician, as the case may be; while the other will be a master in one
of these branches, with scarcely any instruction. But I do believe
there is a great difference in natural capacities for a particular
art; and that some persons learn that art easily, while others learn
it with difficulty, and could, perhaps, never excel in it, if they
should drive at it for a life-time.

Ralph Waldo, a boy who lived near our house, when I was a child, was
the sport of all the neighborhood, on account of the high estimate in
which he held his talent at drawing pictures. Now it so happened that
Ralph's pictures, to say the least, were rather poor specimens of the
art. Some of them, according to the best of my recollection, would
never have suggested the particular animal or thing for which they
were made, if they had not been labeled, or if Ralph had not called
them by name.

Such dogs and cats, such horses and cows, such houses and trees, such
men and women, were never seen since the world began, as those which
figured on his slate. And yet he thought a great deal of his
pictures. How happy it used to make him, when some of the boys in the
neighborhood, perhaps purely out of sport, would say, "Come, Ralph,
let's see you make a horse now." With what zeal he used to set himself
about the task of making a horse. When it was done, and ready for
exhibition, though it was a perfect scare-crow of a thing, he used to
hold it up, with ever so much pride expressed in the rough features of
his face, as if it were an effort worthy of being hung up in the
Academy of Design, or the Gallery of Fine Arts.

This state of things lasted for some years. But Ralph did not make
much progress in the art. His horses continued to be the same stiff,
awkward things that they were at first. So did his cows, and oxen, and
dogs, and cats, and men. It became pretty evident, at least to
everybody except the young artist himself, that he never would shine
in his favorite profession. He was not "cut out for it," apparently,
though it took a great while to beat the idea out of his head, that he
was going to make one of the greatest painters in the country. When he
became a young man, however, he had sense enough to choose the
carpenter's trade, instead of the painter's art. I think he showed a
great deal more judgment than many other people do, who imagine they
are destined to astonish two or three continents with their wonderful
productions in some department of the fine arts, but who,
unfortunately, are not much better fitted for either of them than a
goose or a sheep.




Reader--young reader, for I take it for granted you _are_ young,
though if you should not happen to be, it does not matter--I have
about three quarters of a mind to let you know what I think of the
practice of _putting on airs_. The best way to do the thing perhaps,
will be in the form of a story, and a story it shall be--a story
about a friend of mine who is sometimes called Aunt Kate, and who has
been known to call herself by that name.

It is true that some of the incidents in this story are not much to my
friend's credit. But I am sure she cannot blame me for mentioning them
to you; for she gave me the whole story, and I shall tell it almost
exactly in her own words. Are you ready for it? Well, then, here it

Reader, have you ever been from home? Of course you have. Everybody
goes from home in these days; but in the days of my childhood such an
event was not a matter of course affair, as it now is. Most people
stayed at home then, more then they do now--the very aged, and the
very young, especially.

When I was a child, my parents sometimes took me with them, when they
went to visit their city friends. These journeys used to excite the
envy of all my young companions, none of whom, if I recollect right,
had ever been to a city. But times have changed even in my native
village; and the juvenile portion of its inhabitants begin their
travels much earlier in life now, than they did then.

But the first time I went from home alone--that was an event! Went
alone, did I say? I am too fast. My father saw me safely to the place
where I was to go, and left me to spend a few days and come home in
the _stage_.

When he left me, he gave me a bright half dollar, for spending money.
Now would you give anything, my little friend, to know how I spent it?
If you had known me in those days, you could have easily guessed, even
if not much of a Yankee. I bought a book with it, of course. I
thought I could not purchase anything to be compared with that in
value. Since then I have learned there are other things in the world
besides books, although I must own that I still cling to not a little
of my old friendship for them. How long seemed the few days I was
absent from my father's house. I had seen a great deal of the world, I
thought, during that time. There seemed to be an illusion about it--a
feeling as if I had been from home for weeks; and when I returned, and
found some of the good things upon the table which were baked before I
left home, I thought they must be very old--very old indeed.

"I should like to know how long you think you have been gone," said
some member of the family.

Sure enough! How long had I been away? Not quite a week. But you need
not smile, for that week _was_ a long one. We do not always measure
time by minutes and hours. That is not the only week of my life that
has appeared long. I have seen other weeks that seemed as long as some
months. We sometimes live very fast, and at other times, more slowly.

But this is not _the_ journey I am going to tell you about. I was
young then, and a little green, no doubt; but before I left home
again, I had got rid of my ignorance on some points. Miss Tompkins, a
maiden lady, who sometimes came to our house to sew, and who laid
claim to more personal experience in such matters than myself, had
received from some one a chapter of instructions about traveling--a
kind of traveler's guide--and as she did not wish to be so selfish as
to keep all her knowledge for her own use, she very freely gave away
some of it for my benefit.


"When you travel," said my instructor, "you must not be too modest
and retiring. You must always help yourself to the best things that
come within your reach, as if you considered them yours, as a matter
of course. If you only act as if you think yourself a person of
consequence, you will be treated as such. But if you stand one side,
and seem to think that anything is good enough for you, every one will
be sure to think so too. It is as much as saying that you don't think
yourself of much importance. Others, of course, will conclude that you
ought to be the best judge, and that you are a sort of nobody, who
may be disposed of to suit anybody's convenience."

Now as these items of advice were given as the result of the
experience of those who had seen a great deal of the world, and as I
was very ready to admit my own ignorance, I resolved to lay up these
hints for future service, when I should travel again.

The time came, at length, for another journey. The stage, which passed
regularly through our village once a day, accommodating those who
wished to go north one day, and those who wished to go south the next,
picked me and my baggage up, at my father's door. A very young lady,
an acquaintance of mine, and two stranger gentlemen, were the only
passengers besides myself, until we reached the next town, five miles
distant, where we stopped to change horses. When we got into the coach
again, at this place, we found a new passenger safely stowed away in
one corner of the back seat.

This passenger was an old lady, of a class sometimes found in our
country villages, who are aunts to everybody, and claim the greater
part of the younger portion of the community as sheer boys and girls.
It seems the driver was one of her boys, and, on account of his being
so nearly related, she claimed a free passage. She was already
_there_, and the driver had to choose between these two things--either
to admit her claim, or to turn her out. He wisely concluded to make a
virtue of necessity. It would not answer to be rude to Aunt Polly, he
thought. Some of the other nephews and nieces might think him cruel.

But there was another question to be settled. She had possession of
the back seat. This would hardly do on the strength of a free ticket,
when it was claimed by those who had paid their passage.

"You must get up, Aunt Polly," said the driver, "and let these ladies
have the back seat."

But Aunt Polly, alas! declared, in the most positive manner, that she
_could not_ ride on the middle seat.

"Yes you _can_," said the driver, "and you _must_; so get up."

But Aunt Polly was by no means easily moved. She still, to the no
small vexation of the driver, kept on saying that she could not ride
on the middle seat. In this state of things one of the gentlemen
undertook the task of settling matters, and, addressing me, inquired
which seat I preferred. All the instructions which I had received at
once rushed to my mind. Now was the time to put them in practice--to
let it be known that I was not going to give up my seat to any one,
certainly not to one who had no claim to it. So drawing myself up to
my full height--which was nothing to boast of, by the way--I answered
with becoming dignity, "I prefer the back seat, sir."

He then turned to my companion, and said, "Which seat do you prefer?"

"It makes no difference with me, sir," was the modest reply.

A smile passed over the face of the gentleman--a smile which evidently
indicated one of two things; either that he thought my companion
showed her ignorance of the world, in making herself of so little
consequence, and seeming to say, "You may do what you please with me;"
or he thought my reply very old for one of my years. Which was it? Ah,
that was the question. I could not forget that peculiar smile. In
fact, you see I have not forgotten it yet. It seemed to mean
something; but what did it mean? Oh, how I wanted to know exactly
what it meant, and how carefully I watched, to see if I could not find

The matter of seats was soon arranged to the satisfaction of all
parties. The old lady and myself had the back seat, while my companion
took the middle seat. I observed that the above-named gentleman
passenger offered several polite attentions to my companion, while he
did not seem to notice me at all, although I had let him know that I
was a person of so much consequence. This might be accounted for by
the fact that she was seated very near him, while my seat was more
distant, or there might be some other cause for it.

The opinion of a stranger whom I never expected again to meet, was not
in itself of any great importance; yet it certainly had a bearing on
the question whether or not my traveling instructions were of the
right kind. If they were, my answer was certainly the right one, and
calculated to make a favorable impression upon the minds of my fellow
passengers. But when I tried to look at the affair in this light, I
was disturbed by a secret thought that I should have had a more
comfortable feeling of self-respect, if I had given up the back
seat--for which, after all, I did not care a straw--to an aged female,
who really thought she could not ride on the middle seat.

When I returned home, I related the incident to Miss Tompkins, the
seamstress whose directions I had undertaken to follow, and also
frankly owned that I was not quite sure which reply had caused that
peculiar smile. She assured me there could be no doubt on that point.
"The gentleman was amused at the ignorance of the world which that
other girl showed. He thought she was not much, or she would not so
readily step aside, and give up her _rights_ to any one who might
choose to claim them."

But I was by no means convinced of the truth of this statement of the
case; and when I was a little older, I came to such conclusions on the
subject that I believe I have never tried, since that time, to
establish my claim to be a person of consequence by similar means.

Indeed, to tell the truth, I have not thought much of the wisdom of
these instructions, from that day to this; and I certainly would not
recommend to you, my young friend, that which I have turned out of my
own service, as useless lumber. Seriously, I do not think you will
ever suffer in the opinion of your fellow travelers, by being kind and
obliging, and showing that you do not think yourself of so much
consequence as to forget there is any one else in the world. When a
person takes pains to impress others with a sense of his importance,
it almost always excites a suspicion that he is trying to pass for
something more than he really is. It does not require all this show
and pretension to keep the place which really belongs to him, and to
attempt more than this, will only draw upon him neglect and contempt.

To this chapter in the experience of Aunt Kate, I feel very much like
adding a word or two, "by way of improvement," as the ministers say.
But on second thought, I guess it will be as well to let you use the
diving bell, and see if you cannot bring out the improvement



The other day I came across a man who was tugging with all his might
at the wrong end of a lever. That is, he had a great crowbar, almost
as large as he could lift, and was bearing down on one end of it,
while the block of wood which he had put under it for a _purchase_,
was at the same end. He was trying to pry up a large stone in that
way. But the stone would not be pryed up. It was a very obstinate
stone, the good old farmer thought. He had no notion of giving up the
project, however. So he pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves,
and went to work in right good earnest. Still the stone did not stir;
or if it did it was only just enough to aggravate the man.

What could be the matter? The stone was not a very large one. It did
not look as if it could stand a great deal of prying. What was the

There happened to be a school-boy passing that way at the time. He was
not much of a farmer, and still less of a mechanic, I should think;
but he thought he saw what the trouble was. It did not seem to be so
much the lever itself, or the farmer, or the stone to be moved, as in
the way the man went to work. The boy ventured to hint this idea to
the farmer:

"Why, my dear sir," he said, "there is no use in your breaking your
neck in that style. You are at the wrong end of the lever. You haven't
_purchase_ enough."

The good-natured farmer (for he _was_ good-natured, and did not get
into a passion because a mere boy, young enough to be his
grand-child, attempted to help him out of his difficulty) the
good-natured farmer stopped a moment, looked at the matter carefully,
and frankly acknowledged that he had gone the wrong way to work.

"I wonder what on earth I was thinking of," said he, in his usual
blunt language. Of course he shifted his crow-bar immediately, so as
to get a good _purchase_. The trouble was all over then. The stone
came up easily enough, of course.

It came into my mind while I was thinking about this farmer's mistake
in the use of his lever, that certain people--myself included,
perhaps--might profit by this blunder.

A great many, for instance, use the lever of _truth_--a very good
crow-bar, the best to be had--in overturning moral evils. But they do
not accomplish anything, because they take hold of the wrong end of
the lever. They have no _purchase_.

Here is a man, who, as I think, is in the habit of wrong doing every
day. Well, I settle it in my mind that I will talk to him, and see if
I cannot make a better man of him. I look him up, and go to prying at
his sin, like a man digging up pine stumps by the job. I call him hard
names. Why not? He deserves them. Everybody knows that. I do not mince
the matter with him at all. But what I say seems to have no good
effect upon him. It makes him angry, and he advises me to mind my own
business, assuring me, at the same time, that he shall take good care
to mind his.

I see plainly enough that I have been working half an hour or more to
no purpose, and that very likely I have made matters worse. Yet what
was my error?

Simply this: that I spent all my strength at the short arm of the
lever. If I had gone to work with a kind and tender spirit, something
as Nathan went to work at David, once on a time, and used the other
end of the lever, I should have got a good _purchase_, at least, and I
am not sure but the stone would have yielded. As it is, however, the
troublesome thing is there yet, and it seems to be settling into the
ground deeper than ever.

I know some good people, among whom I can count half a score of
ministers, who try very hard to keep bad books and periodicals out of
the family circle.

There is no end to their talk against these things. They tell their
children that they must never read such and such books, and that if
they ever catch one of them reading these books, they shall take good
care to punish them for it.

But in spite of all the efforts of these people, they don't succeed in
keeping these bad books out of the family. In some way or other, they
are smuggled into the hands of a boy or girl, and they are read, while
the parent, perhaps, knows nothing of it. That is all wrong, of
course. I don't mean to say anything to excuse the boy or
girl--nothing of the kind. But why didn't these parents go another
way to work? Why, instead of preaching all those long sermons on bad
books, and threatening their children with punishment in case they
read these books, why did they not provide other books, equally
interesting, though innocent and useful? That would have been a wiser
course, methinks. That would have been the right end of the crow-bar
to work at. The way to get rid of an evil is to find something else to
put in its place. So I think.

But some of these very fathers and mothers, though they cry out so
loudly against immoral books and periodicals, say they cannot afford
to buy books for their children. It was only last week that I heard
one of them tell a friend, who asked him to subscribe for a magazine
for his daughter, that he was poor, and could not afford it. Poor! he
gave one party last winter, on this same daughter's account, which
cost him more than a hundred dollars. He cannot afford it! Well, if he
does not afford to furnish reading for those children, I am afraid
they will afford it themselves.

I have seen a little girl, when her sister had been doing something
wrong, run straight to her mother, and tell her of it. But it only
made the little mischief-maker worse. She went the wrong way to work.
She labored hard enough to come at her sister's fault; but her labor
was all thrown away. She was at the wrong end of the crow-bar. If,
instead of posting off, as fast as she could run, to her mother, every
time that sister did wrong, as if she really _liked_ to be a
tell-tale, she had said, as kindly as she could, "Susy, don't do so;
that's naughty," or something of the kind, I presume it would all have
been well enough.





A crab boasted that he was very cunning in setting traps. He used to
bury himself in the mud, just under a nice morsel of a clam or an
oyster; and when the silly fish came to make a dinner of this dainty
morsel, he would catch him in his claws, and eat him.

He pretended to have a good deal of honor, though. He was quite a
pious crab, according to his own account of himself. When he had
caught a fish by his cunning, he used to say, "Poor fellow! it is his
own fault, not mine. He ought to have kept out of the trap. If one
does not know enough to keep away from my claws, he _ought_ to be
caught. Poor fellow! I'm sorry for him; but it can't be helped."

That is the way he took to quiet his own conscience, and to excuse
himself to others, when they complained of his deceitful conduct.

An old fox, having heard of our crab's mode of catching fish, and
what he said about it, determined to set a trap for the crab. He did
so. He went down to the sea shore, and thrust his long, bushy tail
into the water. The crab, thinking he had got another dinner by his
wit, seized the fox's tail with his claws. But the fox, giving a
sudden spring, brought the crab out of the water, and prepared to make
a meal of him at his leisure.

The crab complained, and accused the fox of being a deceitful fellow,
and a murderer to boot.

"But," said Reynard, "I have only acted according to your own rule. If
one does not know enough to keep away from a fox's tail, he _ought_
to be caught. It is the same thing as if he caught himself."

"Ah!" said the crab, with a sigh, "I made that rule for others, and
not for myself. I see now that _there is a flaw in it_."




A fly, who was a great lover of sweet things, came across a cup full
of molasses. He alighted on the edge of the cup, and commenced sipping
the molasses. It pleased him very much. He thought he had never tasted
anything so good before. At length, beginning to be surfeited with his
dinner, instead of flying away, and going about his business, until
he should be hungry again, he plunged into the molasses, so as to
enjoy as much of it as he could.

Mistaken fly! He fared very much as you might suppose he would. He
lost his life in the molasses.


That is just the way with thousands, who have fewer legs and ought to
have more brains than this fly. They are not content with a right and
proper use of the good things which God has given them. They plunge
into a sea of pleasure, so as to enjoy as much of it as they possibly
can. But such a surfeit, instead of increasing the enjoyment, makes
them miserable. They are drowned in the midst of their pleasures.





Caroline Rose was as happy a girl as ever you saw in your life--"as
happy as the days are long"--so her schoolmaster used to say. There
were a great many good points in Caroline's character besides this,
that she was so generally cheerful--for I consider that a good point
in any one's character. She was kind to her companions, obedient,
respectful, and affectionate to her parents; and she seldom got into a
fit of anger, or made a fool of herself by being sulky. One might have
met her frequently, and have supposed that he was well acquainted with
her, and still have loved her very much. Yet there was one thing in
her character which every one, as soon as he saw it, must dislike, and
which sometimes, where she was well known, made her appear exceedingly
unlovely. Shall I tell you what that was? I will do so, so as to put
you on your guard in that particular point. That trait in her
character was _selfishness_. If she ever got anything that she liked,
she used to act as if she were not willing that any one else should
enjoy it with her. Indeed, she appeared to be displeased, if one of
her playmates, as was sometimes the case, did take a great deal of
pleasure in her pretty things.

Her father once brought her home a fine set of tea things, when she
was quite young. Now, should you not suppose that she would like to
have all the girls in the neighborhood come and take tea with her, and
use her pretty new cups and saucers, and spoons and plates? Well, so
should I. But she showed a great deal of selfishness in this
matter--so much, in fact, that she made herself appear ridiculous, as
well as unlovely. She was glad to have the girls come and look at the
tea things, and hear them say that they were very pretty. But that was
as far as her generosity went. She did not ask the girls to sit down
and drink tea with her. Indeed, she did not want her playmates to
handle the cups and saucers. "I'm so afraid you will break them!" said
she. What a foolish and unreasonable girl!

It got to be a sort of proverb in the little village where Caroline
resided, when any one was not very generous, "She's almost as selfish
as Carrie Rose," I don't know whether she knew how she was regarded
among boys and girls of her own age; and I don't know how much she
cared for their good will, if she did hear what they thought of her.
But this I know, that I could not bear to have such a character. I
would rather give away half of all I am worth than to give any reason
to people to think I was mean and selfish. How I should dislike to
have folks say to themselves, and perhaps to others, when they meet me
in the streets, "There goes a selfish man--a man who is about as
good as people will average, in other respects, but who is as small as
the little end of nothing, in his dealings." I think I would rather
live on a crust of dry bread than to get money by being close, and
small, and mean, and selfish.

[Illustration: MY PRETTY KITTEN.]

Caroline had a kitten given her, by her uncle, when she had grown up
to be quite a large girl. It was a beautiful creature. I think they
called it a Maltese kitten. Nothing of the kind had been seen in the
place where Caroline lived, before Tommy, as she called her new pet,
was brought there. Well, of course she told all the little folks what
a fine present her uncle had made to her, and they were invited to
come over and see the "dear little creature." She talked about her
kitten as if it were one of the wonders of the world, and as if she
thought she was a young queen, with the wealth of Cleopatra or
Elizabeth, and that half the inhabitants of the globe would certainly
come and bow before her and her wonderful kitten.

When she met her young friends, she talked of nothing hardly but "my
pretty Maltese kitten."

That is the way with selfish folks. They think and talk a great deal
of what concerns _them_, and you seldom hear them praise anything that
belongs to their neighbors.

I shall never forget--if you will allow me to go a step or two out of
my way for an illustration--I shall never forget how, when I was a
little school-boy, Mother Budd, a rather selfish old lady, used to
call us into her kitchen, to see the nice honey she had been taking
out of her bee-hives. "Isn't that fine?" she would ask; "eh, isn't
that fine honey, boys?" Of course it was fine, and we said so. "Well,
you can go now," she would say, after that. As for letting us taste of
her fine honey, that she never thought of doing.

I don't know but we should almost have served her right, if we had
done something as a good old minister I have heard of, once did in
very similar circumstances. He was making a call upon one of the
ladies of his parish--upon Aunt Katy, who was noted all over the
neighborhood for being close-fisted. Almost as soon as the good man
had got into the house, she invited him to go into the buttery, and
look at her nice cheeses. He went in, the old lady acting as a guide.
"There," said she, pointing to a mammoth cheese which she had just
made for the fair, and which she was particularly proud of, "there's a
cheese for you." "Thank you, Aunt Katy," said the minister, "my wife
was saying only this morning that we should have to get a new cheese
pretty soon." And he took the cheese down from the shelf, carried it
out to his wagon, bade the astonished lady of the house a good
morning, and drove off to visit some of the rest of his flock.

Selfishness has the same face, look at it where you will. It made
quite a scar in the features of Caroline's character. Without that,
they would have been beautiful--with it, they were ugly enough.

But about that kitten. Clara Goodsell was as full of fun as a hickory
nut is of meat. She heard of Caroline's kitten, and she, too, was
invited to call and see it. She did not go, though, and, indeed, the
girls very generally failed to comply with the invitation. They knew
well enough that, if they went to see the kitten, they would not be
allowed to take it, and that all they could do would be to stand a
little way off, and look at it, and remark how beautiful it was.

One day, when the girls at school were required to write compositions,
Clara thought she would write something which would make Carrie
ashamed of her selfishness. The teacher read all the compositions
aloud. When he came to Clara's, the girls had as much as they could do
to keep from laughing, for they knew, before it was read, what it was
about. The schoolmaster had to bite his lips to keep from smiling a
little, too.

Clara did not call any names. But she wrote such a composition about
"_My Pretty Kitten_" that anybody could see it was meant for
Caroline. The selfish girl saw it, as well as the rest, and before
school was out, she burst into tears, she felt so badly. But the
composition did her good. She improved wonderfully after that.



How difficult it is for many people to say these words. They don't
like to own that they are ignorant of anything. They want to make you
think that they know everything. When you ask them a hard question,
instead of saying right out, plumply and honestly, "I don't know,"
they will try to trump up some answer that will not expose their
ignorance. And oh, what wretched work they sometimes make with their
answers. They make perfect fools of themselves.

People never appear well, among those of good sense, who attempt to
pass themselves off as knowing more than they do. It is not to be
expected that any one person can know everything; and why should you,
or anybody else, be ashamed to own that you can't tell all about this
thing, or that thing? Why it is often one part of wisdom to see that
you can't understand a particular subject, and another part of wisdom
to confess that you can't understand it.

I think that the dog, who figures with a certain vain, self-conceited
monkey, in the fable, showed a good deal of wisdom in his remarks.

The monkey, you must know, belonged to a very learned astronomer. The
animal often watched his master, while he was looking through his
telescope. "There must be something delightful in that," he thought,
and one day, when the astronomer was absent, the monkey looked through
the instrument for a long time. But he saw nothing strange or
wonderful; and so he concluded that his master was a fool, and that
the telescope was all nonsense. Not long after that, he met Rover,
the family dog, and he told him what he thought of his master. "And
what do _you_ think of the matter, friend Rover?" he added.

"I don't know the use of the telescope," said the dog, "and I don't
know how wise our master may be. But I am satisfied of two things."

"What are they?" the monkey asked.

"First," said the dog, "that telescopes were not made for monkeys to
look through; and second, that monkeys were not made to look through

[Illustration: THE LEARNED GEESE.]




A company of geese used to meet together very often, to talk about the
affairs of the nation, and to contrive ways and means to do the public
good. They were full of learning; had read all the valuable books that
ever were printed in the goose language; and had got the notion into
their heads that when they died, wisdom would perish in the earth.
They looked down upon the great mass of goosehood about them with
feelings of pity--almost of contempt. At their public meetings--which
were held pretty often, for they had much more public than private
business to attend to--they occupied a great share of their time in
discussing questions which were so deep and muddy, that nobody but
they ever saw to the bottom of them. Indeed, many very sensible geese,
who made few pretensions to learning, have doubted whether they saw
very clearly into these questions themselves. I, too, have my doubts
on the subject, as well as these sensible geese; and I go farther
than they in my doubts. I doubt whether, in case any learned goose
could see to the bottom of very many of these muddy subjects, his
knowledge would be worth much to him. I will give you a specimen of
some of the questions they used to debate upon, and leave you to judge
of their value for yourselves. They were such as these:

"How _thick_ is the shadow of a goose in the moonlight?"

"How much would the shadow of a tolerably learned gander weigh, if it
could be weighed?"

"How early do goslings begin to know a great many things, if not

"When a fox starts off after a goose, is it because he loves himself,
or because he loves his wife and the little foxes?"

"Whether geese ought not to be willing to die, for the sake of
affording a good dinner to Christians on Christmas and Thanksgiving

"Whether there would be such a thing as a good, pious goose, who was
not willing to die for such a purpose?"

One day, our learned geese were holding a meeting in the barn yard,
according to their custom, and were, if possible, more earnest and
noisy than ever in their discussions. This time they were considering
what it was best to do to prevent foxes from making such havoc in the
neighborhood. The question was submitted, whether it would not be
safer and better for geese to sleep with their heads up, instead of
placing them under their wings, after the old fashion.

But right in the midst of the debate, while one of the speakers was
astonishing himself as well as the rest of the company, with his
reasoning and his eloquence, a fox, who had been slily listening to
the debate, stepped into their ranks, and seized the orator, cutting
short his neck and his speech at the same instant.


There are several things to be learned by this fable. But I shall
content myself with simply pointing out one of them, presuming your
good sense will discover the rest: _Before you attempt to take care of
others, learn to take care of yourselves_.



Edward was rather a rude, headstrong boy. Like a great many young
people of his age, he needed to be punished sometimes, and sometimes
his parents did deal pretty sternly with him. Edward had a sister,
older than himself, by some years. Fanny--for this was the name of the
girl--tried one day, to tame little Eddy, when, according to her
notion, he was inclined to be too wild. Fanny was grieved to see her
brother act so rudely. They were visiting that day, at Aunt Sally's,
and it was natural enough that Fanny should wish to have her brother
behave as well as he could.

"Eddy," said she, in the hearing of her aunt and some of her cousins,
"you act like a young colt."

"Well, what if I do?" said Eddy, rather tartly.

"Why, you will need breaking, if you go on so, that's all."

"And suppose I should need breaking, I'd like to know who'll break

"May be I'd try my hand at it, if there's nobody else to do it."

"I'd like to see you try it."

"Hush, Edward! I'm ashamed of you."

"You had better hush yourself, if you want me to hush."

At this point in the dispute between the brother and sister, Aunt
Sally thought it was best to put a stop to it. She saw that Fanny
could do no good to Edward, while he was in that mood, and so she said
a word or two which turned the thoughts of both the brother and sister
into another channel.

I suppose it can hardly be necessary to say to you, that, whatever
may have been the right way to manage Edward, that which his sister
tried at this time was certainly the wrong.



Edward still behaved rather rudely--still "acted like a young colt."
"What a pity!" Fanny said to herself. "Mamma will be mortified, if she
ever hears about it. Well, I must try again, and see what I can do
with the little fellow this time."

So she called Eddy out into the yard in front of the house, and there,
where nobody else but him could hear her, she said,

"Eddy, I want to tell you a little story."

"Well," said Edward, "I want to hear a little story."

"Once there was a little boy," the sister said, commencing her story,
"that had a sister who was kind to him. His sister took good care of
her brother. She tried to do so, at any rate. When this little boy was
abroad, playing with his cousins, he was rude. He would not mind his
sister. He was a good deal younger than she was, and one would
suppose that he ought to have listened to her, when she talked to
him. But he did not. He was just as rude as ever; and his sister was
afraid that, when his mamma heard of his conduct, she would feel
ashamed of her son. What do you think of that boy, Eddy?"

"Sister," said the little fellow, "I am a very naughty boy. But I am
sorry I behaved so. I will try to do better, if you will forgive me."

And so, you see, the wild, rattle-headed boy, who was so full of fun,
that he could hardly hold in, and who was so wild that Fanny thought
it was best to check him with a curb bit, something as she would a
young colt, was completely tamed by this soft, gentle language. My
young friend, don't you think there's great power in such words? I do,
and I advise you, when you are dealing with such a "young colt" as
Eddy was, to try the plan that Fanny tried last, and see if it don't
succeed better than anything else?

    Use gentle words, for who can tell
      The blessings they impart!
    How oft they fall as manna fell,
      On some nigh-fainting heart!

    "In lonely wilds by light-winged birds
      Rare seeds have oft been sown;
    And hope has sprung from gentle words,
      Where only grief had grown."




A spruce young goat tried very hard to make himself appear like a
sheep. He endeavored to talk and act like a sheep. Half his time was
spent in putting on airs. He went so far as to cut off his beard, so
that he might bear a more striking resemblance to the sheep family;
and he was once heard to say that he would give anything if he
could either get rid of his horns altogether, or have them twisted as
the horns were worn by some of the old fathers whom he so much
admired. The little simpleton, however, lost more than he gained by
his singular manners. Instead of his being more respected and beloved,
as he expected to be, he was despised by everybody.

[Illustration: THE GOAT AND HIS PUPIL.]

One day, after being ridiculed and abused by some of his young
neighbors, he went to his schoolmaster with a great budget full of
troubles. This schoolmaster was an old goat, with a long beard, and a
long head, too, as it would seem from the character he had.

"O dear!" said the little simpleton, "everybody hates me. I wish I
were dead. I'm sure I don't know what it means. The more I try to be
good, the less they all like me."

"My dear fellow," said Mr. Longbeard, "I am sorry for you. But I can
do nothing to help you. It will always be so, until you do better."

"Why, I do as well as I can now," replied the young goat.

"You ape the sheep too much."

"Well, the farmer thinks more of his sheep than he does of his
goats--a great deal more."

"And what of it?"

"Why, if he likes the sheep best, he will like me best when I act as
the sheep do."

"That's your mistake. He will not like you half as well."

"Why not?"

"For the same reason that nobody else likes you so well--because you
don't act like yourself. Take my advice, now. _Be yourself_. Don't try
to be anybody else. Depend upon it, if you ever come across a person
that likes you, he will like you as a goat, and not as a sheep. A
sheep you could never be, though you should practice all your
life-time. Be a goat, then--be a goat, and nothing else."

This advice, I believe, proved of some service to the juvenile goat;
and by the way, reader, perhaps it may be worth something to you.



It is an old saying--and there is a good deal of truth in it--that
"barking dogs never bite." I say there is a good deal of truth in it.
It is not strictly true. Scarcely any proverb will bear picking to
pieces, and analyzing, as a botanist would pick to pieces and analyze
a rose or a tulip. Almost all dogs bark a little, now and then. Still
I believe those dogs bark the most that bite the least, and the dogs
that make a practice of biting the hardest and the oftenest, make very
little noise about it.

Have you never been passing by a house, and seen a little pocket
edition of a cur run out of the front door yard, to meet you, with
ever so much bravery and heroism, as if he intended to eat you at two
or three mouthfuls? What a barking he set up. The meaning of his _bow,
wow, wow_, every time he repeated the words, was, "I'll bite you! I'll
bite you!" But the very moment you turned round and faced him, he ran
back into the yard, as if forty tigers were after him. You see he was
all bark, and no bite.

Well, it is about the same with men and women, and boys and girls, as
it is with dogs. Those who bark most bite least, the world over.

Show me a boy who talks about being as bold as a lion, and I will show
you one with the heart of a young rabbit, just learning to eat
cabbage. I do dislike to see boys and girls boasting of what they can
do. It always gives me a low opinion of their merits.

There is Tom Thrasher. You don't know Tom, do you? Well, he is one of
your barking dogs. He is all the time boasting of the great things he
is able to do. Nobody ever saw him do any such things. Still he keeps
on boasting, right in the midst of the young people who know him
through and through, a great deal better than he knows himself. It is
strange that he should brag at that rate where everybody knows him.
But he has fallen into the habit of bragging, and I suppose he hardly
thinks of the absurd and foolish language he is using. According to
his account of himself, he can run a mile in a minute, jump over a
fence ten rails high, shoot an arrow from his bow twenty rods, and
hit an apple at that distance half a dozen times running.

I must tell you a story about this Tom Thrasher. Poor Tom! he got
"come up with," not long ago, by some fun-loving boys that lived in
his neighborhood. Tom had been boasting of his great feats in jumping.
He could jump higher than any boy on Blue Hill. In fact, he had just
jumped over the fence around Captain Corning's goat pasture, which, as
everybody knows, was eight rails high, and verily believed he could
have cleared it just as easily, if it had been two rails higher. That
was the kind of language he used to this company of boys. They did not
believe a word he said.

"Let's try Tom," one whispered to another, "let's try the fellow, and
see how high he can jump."

"Say, Tom," said one of the boys, "will you go down to the captain's
goat pasture with us, and try that thing over again?"

Tom did not seem to be very fierce for going. But all the boys urged
him so hard, that he finally consented and went. When he got to the
goat pasture, he measured the fence with his eye; and from the manner
in which he shrugged his shoulders, it was pretty clear that he
considered the fence a very high one indeed. He was not at all in a
hurry about performing the feat. But the roguish boys would not let
him off.

"Come, Tom," said one.

"Now for it," said another.

"No backing out," said a third.

"It's only eight rails high," said a fourth.

Still, somehow or other, Tom could not get his courage quite up to the
point. The best thing he could have done, in my way of thinking, when
he found himself so completely cornered was to have said, "Well,
boys, there's no use in mincing the matter at all. I am a little
dunce. I can no more jump over that fence than I can build a steamboat
or catch a streak of lightning." But that was not his way of getting
out of the scrape.

"Let me give the word now," said one of the lads. "I'll say 'one, two,
three,' and when I come to 'three,' you shall run and jump."

"Go ahead," said Tom.

And the other boy began: "_One--two--three_"--

Tom started, and ran. I'm not sure but he had boasted so much about
his jumping, that he had almost made himself believe he really could
jump over that fence. At any rate, he tried it, and--failed, of
course. His feet struck the fence about three quarters of the distance
from the ground, and over he went, head foremost, into the goat
pasture. It was fortunate for him that he did not break his neck. As
it was, his _spirit_ was broken, and that was about all. He went home
a much humbler boy than he was when he came to the goat pasture; and a
somewhat wiser one, too. After that unfortunate leap, if Tom ever
boasted largely of what he could do and what he had done, it was a
very common thing for his playmates to say, "Take care, Tom; remember
that famous leap."

    *       *       *       *       *

_Woodworth's Juvenile Works_.





A Beautiful Series, comprising six volumes, square 12 mo., with eight
Tinted Engravings in each volume. The following are their titles

I. THE PEDDLER'S BOY, or I'll Be Somebody.
II. THE DIVING BELL, or Pearls to be Sought For
III. THE POOR ORGAN-GRINDER, and other stories.
IV. LOSS AND GAIN, or Susy Lee's Motto.
V. MIKE MARBLE; His Crotchets and Oddities.

"Of those who have the gift to write for children, Mr. Woodworth
stands among the first; and what is best of all, with the ability to
adapt himself to the wants and comprehension of children, he has that
high moral principle, which will permit nothing to leave his pen that
can do harm."--_Arthur's Home Gaz_.

"We never pen a notice with more pleasure than when any work of our
friend Mr. Woodworth is the subject. Whatever he does is well done,
and in a sweet and gentle spirit"--_Christ. Inquirer_.

"The author is a man of fine abilities and refined taste, and does his
work in a spirit of vivacious but most truthful earnestness."
--_Ladies Repos._

WOODWORTH'S STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS. 12mo., with Illuminated Title, and
upwards of Fifty Beautiful Engravings; pp. 336.

WOODWORTH'S STORIES ABOUT BIRDS. Uniform with the above. With Sixty
Splendid Engravings.

These two volumes, containing characteristic anecdotes, told in a
brief and pleasing vein, are among the most entertaining books of the
kind to be found in the English language.

"Attractive stories, told in a style of great liveliness and
beauty."--_N.Y. Tribune._

"A _melange_ of most agreeable reading."--_Presbyterian_.

"They cannot fail to be intensely interesting."--_Ch. Register_.

"Charming stories, told with that felicitous simplicity and eloquence
of diction which characterize all Mr. Woodworth's efforts for the
young."--_N.Y. Commercial Advertiser_.

"Nothing can be more interesting than the stories and pictorial
illustrations of these works."--_Brattleborough Dem_.

       *       *       *       *       *

UNCLE FRANK'S PEEP AT THE BEASTS. Square 12mo. Profusely Illustrated;
pp. 160.

UNCLE FRANKS PEEP AT THE BIRDS. Uniform with the above.

These two volumes are written in the simplest style, and with words,
for the most part, of two or three syllables. They are exceedingly
popular among children.

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