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´╗┐Title: The Brownies: Their Book
Author: Cox, Palmer, 1840-1924
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.

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[Illustration: Cover]



          [Illustration]

          TAKE NOTICE:

          _This book belongs to_
          ___________________________

          ___________________________

          [Illustration]

          _Presented
          by_    ___________________________
          __________________________________



THE BROWNIES: THEIR BOOK

BY PALMER COX

[Illustration]

          APPLETON-CENTURY-CROFTS, INC.
          NEW YORK



          Copyright 1887, by UThe Century Co.\E

          Copyright renewed, 1915, by UThe Century Co.\E

          All rights reserved. This book, or parts
          thereof, must not be reproduced in any
          form without permission of the publisher.

          Printed in U. S. A.

[Illustration: _BROWNIES, like fairies and goblins, are imaginary little
sprites, who are supposed to delight in harmless pranks and helpful
deeds. They work and sport while weary households sleep, and never allow
themselves to be seen by mortal eyes._]



CONTENTS.


                                                      Page

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES AT SCHOOL                  1

  THE BROWNIES' RIDE [Illustration]                      8

  THE BROWNIES ON SKATES [Illustration]                 14

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES ON BICYCLES               19

  THE BROWNIES AT LAWN-TENNIS      [Illustration]       25

  THE [Illustration] BROWNIES' GOOD WORK                30

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES AT THE GYMNASIUM          36

  THE BROWNIES' FEAST [Illustration]                    42

  THE BROWNIES TOBOGGANING      [Illustration]          48

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES' BALLOON                  55

  THE BROWNIES [Illustration] CANOEING                  62

  THE BROWNIES IN THE MENAGERIE [Illustration]          68

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES' CIRCUS                   73

  THE BROWNIES [Illustration] AT BASE-BALL              78

  THE BROWNIES AND THE BEES      [Illustration]         83

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES ON ROLLER SKATES          89

  THE BROWNIES AT THE SEASIDE   [Illustration]          94

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES AND THE SPINNING-WHEEL   101

  THE BROWNIES' VOYAGE [Illustration]                  108

  THE [Illustration] BROWNIES' RETURN                  114

  THE BROWNIES' SINGING-SCHOOL [Illustration]          120

  THE BROWNIES' [Illustration] FRIENDLY TURN           126

  [Illustration] THE BROWNIES' FOURTH OF JULY          132

  THE BROWNIES IN THE TOY-SHOP          [Illustration] 138



[Illustration]

THE BROWNIES AT SCHOOL.


          AS Brownies rambled 'round one night,
          A country schoolhouse came in sight;
          And there they paused awhile to speak
          About the place, where through the week
          The scholars came, with smile or whine,

[Illustration]

          Each morning at the stroke of nine.
          "This is," said one, "the place, indeed,
          Where children come to write and read.
          'T is here, through rules and rods to suit,
          The young idea learns to shoot;
          And here the idler with a grin
          In nearest neighbor pokes the pin,

[Illustration]

          Or sighs to break his scribbled slate
          And spring at once to man's estate.
          How oft from shades of yonder grove
          I've viewed at eve the shouting drove
          As from the door they crowding broke,
          Like oxen from beneath the yoke."

          Another said: "The teacher's chair,
          The ruler, pen, and birch are there,
          The blackboard hangs against the wall;
          The slate's at hand, the books and all.
          We might go in to read and write
          And master sums like scholars bright."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          The more they talked, the stronger grew
          The wish to prove how much they knew.
          From page to page through books to pass
          And spell the words that tried the class;
          So through their skill they soon obtained
          Access to all the room contained.

[Illustration]

          "I'll play," cried one, "the teacher's part;
          I know some lessons quite by heart,
          And every section of the land
          To me is plain as open hand."
          "With all respect, my friend, to you,"
          Another said, "that would not do.
          You're hardly fitted, sir, to rule;

[Illustration]

          Your place should be the dunce's stool.
          You're not with great endowments blessed;
          Besides, your temper's not the best,
          And those who train the budding mind
          Should own a disposition kind.
          The rod looks better on the tree
          Than resting by the master's knee;
          _I'll_ be the teacher, if you please;
          I know the rivers, lakes, and seas,
          And, like a banker's clerk, can throw
          The figures nimbly in a row.
          I have the patience, love, and grace,
          So requisite in such a case."

[Illustration]


          Now some bent o'er a slate or book,
          And some at blackboards station took.
          They clustered 'round the globe with zeal,
          And kept it turning like a wheel.
          Said one, "I've often heard it said,
          The world is rounder than your head,
          And here, indeed, we find it true.
          With both the poles at once in view,
          With latitudes and each degree
          All measured out on land and sea."
          Another said, "I thought I knew
          The world from Maine to Timbuctoo,
          Or could, without a guide, have found
          My way from Cork to Puget Sound;
          But here so many things I find
          That never dawned upon my mind,
          On sundry points, I blush to say,
          I've been a thousand miles astray."
          "'T is like an egg," another cried,
          "A little longer than it's wide,
          With islands scattered through the seas
          Where savages may live at ease;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          And buried up in Polar snows
          You find the hardy Eskimos;
          While here and there some scorching spots
          Are set apart for Hottentots.
          And see the rivers small and great,
          That drain a province or a state;
          The name and shape of every nation;
          Their faith, extent, and population:
          And whether governed by a King,
          A President, or council ring."

[Illustration]

          While some with such expressions bold
          Surveyed the globe as 'round it rolled,
          Still others turned to ink and pen,
          And, spreading like a brooding hen,
          They scrawled a page to show the band
          Their special "style," or "business hand."

[Illustration]

          The teacher had enough to do,
          To act his part to nature true:
          He lectured well the infant squad,
          He rapped the desk and shook the rod,
          And stood the dunce upon the stool,
          A laughing-stock to all the school--
          But frequent changes please the crowd,
          So lengthy reign was not allowed;
          And when one master had his hour,
          Another took the rod of power;
          And thus they changed to suit the case,
          Till many filled the honored place.

[Illustration]

          So taken up was every mind
          With fun and study well combined,

[Illustration]

          They noticed not the hours depart,
          Until the sun commenced to dart
          A sheaf of lances, long and bright,
          Above the distant mountain height;
          Then from the schoolroom, in a heap,
          They jumped and tumbled, twenty deep,
          In eager haste to disappear
          In deepest shades of forests near.

          When next the children gathered there,
          With wondering faces fresh and fair,
          It took an hour of morning prime,
          According to the teacher's time,
          To get the books in place once more,
          And order to the room restore.
          So great had been the haste to hide,
          The windows were left open wide;
          And scholars knew, without a doubt,
          That Brownies had been thereabout.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

THE BROWNIES' RIDE.


          ONE night a cunning Brownie band
          Was roaming through a farmer's land,
          And while the rogues went prying 'round,
          The farmer's mare at rest they found;
          And peeping through the stable-door,
          They saw the harness that she wore.
          The sight was tempting to the eye,
          For there the cart was standing nigh.

[Illustration]

          "That mare," said one, "deserves her feed--
          Believe me, she's no common breed;
          Her grit is good: I've seen her dash
          Up yonder slope without the lash,
          Until her load--a ton of hay--
          Went bouncing in beside the bay.
          In this same cart, old Farmer Gill
          Takes all his corn and wheat to mill;
          It must be strong, though rude and rough;
          It runs on wheels, and that's enough."

[Illustration]

          Now, Brownies seldom idle stand
          When there's a chance for fun at hand.

[Illustration]

          So plans were laid without delay;
          The mare was dragged from oats and hay,
          The harness from the peg they drew,
          And every one to action flew.
          It was a sight one should behold
          To see them working, young and old;
          Two wrinkled elves, like leather browned,
          Whose beards descended near the ground,
          Along with youngsters did their best
          With all the ardor of the rest.

[Illustration]

          While some prepared a rein or trace,
          Another slid the bit in place;
          More buckled bands with all their might,
          Or drew the harness close and tight.

[Illustration]

          When every strap a buckle found,
          And every part was safe and sound,
          Then 'round the cart the Brownies flew,--
          The hardest task was yet to do.
          It often puzzles bearded men,
          Though o'er and o'er performed again.

          Some held the shafts to steer them straight,
          More did their best to balance weight,
          While others showed both strength and art
          In backing Mag into the cart.
          At length the heavy job was done,
          And horse and cart moved off as one.

[Illustration]

          Now down the road the gentle steed
          Was forced to trot at greatest speed.

[Illustration]

          A merrier crowd than journeyed there
          Was never seen at Dublin Fair.
          Some found a seat, while others stood,
          Or hung behind as best they could;
          While many, strung along, astride,
          Upon the mare enjoyed the ride.

[Illustration]

          The night was dark, the lucky elves
          Had all the turnpike to themselves.
          No surly keeper barred the way,
          For use of road demanding pay,
          Nor were they startled by the cry
          Of robbers shouting, "Stand or die!"
          Across the bridge and up the hill
          And through the woods to Warren's mill,--
          A lengthy ride, ten miles at least,--
          Without a rest they drove the beast,
          And then were loath enough to rein
          Old Mag around for home again.

[Illustration]

          Nor was the speed, returning, slow;
          The mare was more inclined to go,
          Because the feed of oats and hay
          Unfinished in her manger lay.
          So through the yard she wheeled her load
          As briskly as she took the road.
          No time remained to then undo
          The many straps which tight they drew.
          For in the east the reddening sky
          Gave warning that the sun was nigh.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          The halter rope was quickly wound
          About the nearest post they found;
          Then off they scampered, left and right,
          And disappeared at once from sight.

[Illustration]

          When Farmer Gill that morning fair
          Came out and viewed his jaded mare,
          I may not here in verse repeat
          His exclamations all complete.
          He gnashed his teeth, and glared around,
          And struck his fists, and stamped the ground,
          And chased the dog across the farm,
          Because it failed to give alarm.
          "I'd give a stack of hay," he cried,
          "To catch the rogue who stole the ride!"
          But still awry suspicion flew,--
          Who stole the ride he never knew.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES ON SKATES.


          ONE night, when the cold moon hung low
          And winter wrapped the world in snow
          And bridged the streams in wood and field
          With ice as smooth as shining shield,
          Some skaters swept in graceful style
          The glistening surface, file on file.
          For hours the Brownies viewed the show,
          Commenting on the groups below;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Said one: "That pleasure might be ours--
          We have the feet and motive powers;
          No mortal need us Brownies teach,
          If skates were but within our reach."
          Another answered: "Then, my friend,
          To hear my plan let all attend.
          I have a building in my mind
          That we within an hour can find.
          Three golden balls hang by the door,
          Like oranges from Cuba's shore;
          Behind the dusty counter stands
          A native of queer, far-off lands;
          The place is filled with various things,

[Illustration]

          From baby-carts to banjo-strings;

[Illustration]

          Here hangs a gun without a lock
          Some Pilgrim bore to Plymouth rock;

[Illustration]

          And there a pair of goggles lie,
          That saw the red-coats marching by;

[Illustration]

          While piles of club and rocker skates
          Of every shape the buyer waits!
          Though second-hand, I'm sure they'll do,
          And serve our wants as well as new.
          That place we'll enter as we may,
          To-morrow night, and bear away
          A pair, the best that come to hand,
          For every member of the band."
          At once, the enterprise so bold
          Received support from young and old.
          A place to muster near the town,
          And meeting hour they noted down;
          And then retiring for the night,
          They soon were lost to sound and sight.

          When evening next her visit paid
          To fold the earth in robes of shade,
          From out the woods across the mead,
          The Brownies gathered as agreed,
          To venture boldly and procure.

[Illustration]

          The skates that would their fun insure.
          As mice can get to cake and cheese
          Without a key whene'er they please,
          So, cunning Brownies can proceed
          And help themselves to what they need.

[Illustration]

          For bolts and bars they little care
          If but a nail is wanting there!
          Or, failing this, with ease descend
          Like Santa Claus and gain their end
          As children to the windows fly
          At news of Jumbo passing by,
          So rushed the eager band away
          To fields of ice without delay.

          Though far too large at heel and toe,
          The skates were somehow made to go.
          But out behind and out before,
          Like spurs, they stuck a span or more,
          Alike afflicting foe and friend
          In bringing journeys to an end.
          They had their slips and sudden spreads,
          Where heels flew higher than their heads,
          As people do, however nice,
          When venturing first upon the ice.
          But soon they learned to curve and wheel
          And cut fine scrolls with scoring steel,
          To race in clusters to and fro,
          To jump and turn and backward go,
          Until a rest on bed so cool,
          Was more the wonder than the rule.

[Illustration]

          But from the lake they all withdrew
          Some hours before the night was through,
          And hastened back with lively feet
          Through narrow lane and silent street,
          Until they reached the broker's door
          With every skate that left the store.

          And, ere the first faint gleam of day,
          The skates were safely stowed away;
          Of their brief absence not a trace
          Was left within the dusty place.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES ON BICYCLES.


[Illustration]

          ONE evening Brownies, peeping down
          From bluffs that overlooked the town,
          Saw wheelmen passing to and fro
          Upon the boulevard below.
          "It seems," said one, "an easy trick,
          The wheel goes 'round so smooth and quick;
          You simply sit and work your feet
          And glide with grace along the street.
          The pleasure would be fine indeed
          If _we_ could thus in line proceed."

[Illustration]

          "Last night," another answer made,
          "As by the river's bank I strayed,
          Where here and there a building stands,
          And town and country-side join hands,
          Before me stood a massive wall
          With engine-rooms and chimneys tall.

[Illustration]

          "To scale the place a way I found,
          And, creeping in, looked all around;
          There bicycles of every grade
          Are manufactured for the trade;
          Some made for baby hands to guide,
          And some for older folk to ride.

          "Though built to keep intruders out,
          With shutters thick and casings stout,
          I noticed twenty ways or more,
          By roof, by window, wall and door,
          Where we, by exercising skill,
          May travel in and out at will."

          Another spoke, in nowise slow
          To catch at pleasures as they go,
                  And said, "Why let another day
                  Come creeping in to drag away?
                          Let's active measures now employ
                          To seize at once the promised joy.
                      On bicycles quick let us ride,
                      While yet our wants may be supplied."

          So when the town grew hushed and still,
          The Brownies ventured down the hill.
              And soon the band was drawing nigh
              The building with the chimneys high.

[Illustration]

          When people lock their doors at night,
          And double-bolt them left and right,
          And think through patents, new and old,
          To leave the burglars in the cold,
          The cunning Brownies smile to see
          The springing bolt and turning key;
          For well they know if fancy leads
          Their band to venture daring deeds,
          The miser's gold, the merchant's ware
          To them is open as the air.

[Illustration]

          Not long could door or windows stand
          Fast locked before the Brownie band;
          And soon the bicycles they sought
          From every room and bench were brought.
          The rogues ere long began to show
          As many colors as the bow;
          For paint and varnish lately spread
          Besmeared them all from foot to head.
          Some turned to jay-birds in a minute,
          And some as quick might shame the linnet;
          While more with crimson-tinted breast
          Seemed fitted for the robin's nest.

          But whether red or green or blue,
          The work on hand was hurried through;
          They took the wheels from blacksmith fires,
          Though wanting bolts and even tires,
          And rigged the parts with skill and speed
          To answer well their pressing need.
          And soon, enough were made complete
          To give the greater part a seat,
          And let the rest through cunning find
          Some way of hanging on behind.
          And then no spurt along the road,
          Or 'round the yard their courage showed,
          But twenty times a measured mile
          They whirled away in single file,
          Or bunched together in a crowd
          If width of road or skill allowed.
          At times, while rolling down the grade,
          Collisions some confusion made,
          For every member of the band,
          At steering wished to try his hand;
          Though some, perhaps, were not designed
          For labor of that special kind.

          But Brownies are the folk to bear
          Misfortunes with unruffled air;
          So on through rough and smooth they spun
          Until the turning-point was won.
          Then back they wheeled with every spoke,
          An hour before the thrush awoke.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES AT LAWN-TENNIS.


          ONE evening as the woods grew dark,
          The Brownies wandered through a park.
          And soon a building, quaint and small,
          Appeared to draw the gaze of all.
          Said one: "This place contains, no doubt,
          The tools of workmen hereabout."
          Another said: "You're quite astray,
          The workmen's tools are miles away;
          Within this building may be found
          The fixtures for the tennis ground.
          A meadow near, both long and wide,
          For half the year is set aside,
          And marked with many a square and court,
          For those who love the royal sport.
          On afternoons assembled there,
          The active men and maidens fair
          Keep up the game until the day
          Has faded into evening gray."
          "In other lands than those we tread,
          I played the game," another said,
          "And proved my skill and muscle stout,
          As 'server' and as 'striker-out.'
          The lock that hangs before us there
          Bears witness to the keeper's care,
          And tramps or burglars might go by,
          If such a sign should meet the eye.
          But we, who laugh at locks or law
          Designed to keep mankind in awe,
          May praise the keeper's cautious mind,
          But all the same an entrance find."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Ere long, the path that lay between
          The building and the meadow green,
          Was crowded with the bustling throng,
          All bearing implements along;
          Some lugging stakes or racket sets,
          And others buried up in nets.
          To set the posts and mark the ground
          The proper size and shape around,
          With service-line and line of base,
          And courts, both left and right, in place,
          Was work that caused but slight delay;
          And soon the sport was under way.
          And then a strange and stirring scene
          Was pictured out upon the green.

[Illustration]

          Some watched the game and noted well
          Where this or that one would excel.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          And shouts and calls that filled the air
          Proved even-handed playing there.
          With anxious looks some kept the score,
          And shouted "'vantage!" "game all!" or
          To some, "love, forty!"--"deuce!" to more.
          But when "deuce set!" the scorer cried,
          Applause would ring on every side.
          At times so hot the contest grew,
          Established laws aside they threw,
          And in the game where four should stand,
          At least a dozen took a hand.
          Some tangled in the netting lay
          And some from base-lines strayed away.
          Some hit the ball when out of place
          Or scrambled through unlawful space.
          But still no game was forced to halt
          Because of this or greater fault.

[Illustration]

          And there they sported on the lawn
          Until the ruddy streaks of dawn
          Gave warning that the day was near,
          And Brownies all must disappear.



THE BROWNIES' GOOD WORK.


[Illustration]

          ONE time, while Brownies passed around
          An honest farmer's piece of ground,
          They paused to view the garden fair
          And fields of grain that needed care.
          "My friends," said one who often spoke
          About the ways of human folk,

[Illustration]

          "Now here's a case in point, I claim,
          Where neighbors scarce deserve the name:
          This farmer on his back is laid
          With broken ribs and shoulder-blade,
          Received, I hear, some weeks ago;
          While at the village here below,
          He checked a running team, to save
          Some children from an early grave.
          Now overripe his harvest stands
          In waiting for the reaper's hands;
          The piece of wheat we lately passed
          Is shelling out at every blast.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Those pumpkins in that corner plot
          Begin to show the signs of rot;
          The mold has fastened on their skin,
          The ripest ones are caving in,
          And soon the pig in yonder sty
          With scornful grunt would pass them by.
          His Early Rose potatoes there
          Are much in need of light and air;
          The turnip withers where it lies,
          The beet and carrot want to rise.
          'Oh, pull us up!' they seem to cry
          To every one that passes by;
          'The frost will finish our repose,
          The grubs are working at our toes;

[Illustration]

          Unless you come and save us soon,
          We'll not be worth a picayune!'
          The corn is breaking from the stalk,
          The hens around the hill can walk,
          And with their ever ready bill
          May pick the kernels at their will.
          His neighbors are a sordid crowd,
          Who've such a shameful waste allowed
          So wrapped in self some men can be,
          Beyond their purse they seldom see;
          'T is left for us to play the friend
          And here a helping hand extend.
          But as the wakeful chanticleer
          Is crowing in the stable near,
          Too little of the present night
          Is left to set the matter right.

          "To-morrow eve, at that dark hour
          When birds grow still in leafy bower
          And bats forsake the ruined pile
          To exercise their wings awhile,
          In yonder shady grove we'll meet,
          With all our active force complete,
          Prepared to give this farmer aid
          With basket, barrel, hook, and spade.

[Illustration]

          But, ere we part, one caution more:
          Let some invade a druggist's store,
          And bring along a coated pill;

[Illustration]

          We'll dose the dog to keep him still.
          For barking dogs, however kind,
          Can oft disturb a Brownie's mind."
          --When next the bat of evening flew,
          And drowsy things of day withdrew,
          When beetles droned across the lea,
          And turkeys sought the safest tree
          To form aloft a social row
          And criticise the fox below,--
          Then cunning Brownies might be seen
          Advancing from the forest green;
          Now jumping fences, as they ran,
          Now crawling through (a safer plan);
          Now keeping to the roads awhile,
          Now "cutting corners," country style;
          Some bearing hoes, and baskets more,
          Some pushing barrows on before,
          While others, swinging sickles bright,
          Seemed eager for the grain in sight.
          But in advance of all the throng
          Three daring Brownies moved along,
          Whose duty was to venture close
          And give the barking dog his dose.

[Illustration]

          Now soon the work was under way,
          Each chose the part he was to play:
          While some who handled hoes the best
          Brought "Early Roses" from their nest,
          To turnip-tops some laid their hands,
          More plied the hook, or twisted bands.
          And soon the sheaves lay piled around,
          Like heroes on disputed ground.
          Now let the eye turn where it might,
          A pleasing prospect was in sight;
          For garden ground or larger field
          Alike a busy crowd revealed:
          Some pulling carrots from their bed,
          Some bearing burdens on their head,
          Or working at a fever heat
          While prying out a monster beet.
          Now here two heavy loads have met,
          And there a barrow has upset,

[Illustration]

          While workers every effort strain
          The rolling pumpkins to regain;

[Illustration]

          And long before the stars withdrew,
          The crop was safe, the work was through.
          In shocks the corn, secure and good,
          Now like a Sioux encampment stood;
          The wheat was safely stowed away;
          In bins the "Early Roses" lay,

[Illustration]

          While carrots, turnips, beets, and all
          Received attention, great and small.
          When morning dawned, no sight or sound
          Of friendly Brownies could be found;
          And when at last old Towser broke
          The spell, and from his slumber woke,
          He rushed around, believing still
          Some mischief lay behind the pill.
          But though the field looked bare and strange,
          His mind could hardly grasp the change.
          And when the farmer learned at morn
          That safe from harm were wheat and corn,
          That all his barley, oats, and rye
          Were in the barn, secure and dry,
          That carrots, beets, and turnips round
          Were safely taken from the ground,
          The honest farmer thought, of course,
          His neighbors had turned out in force
          While helpless on the bed he lay,
          And kindly stowed his crop away.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          But when he thanked them for their aid,
          And hoped they yet might be repaid
          For acting such a friendly part,
          His words appeared to pierce each heart.
          For well they knew that other hands
          Than theirs had laid his grain in bands,
          That other backs had bent in toil
          To save the products of the soil.
          And then they felt as such folk will
          Who fail to nobly act, until
          More earnest helpers, stepping in,
          Do all the praise and honor win.



THE BROWNIES AT THE GYMNASIUM.


[Illustration]

          THE Brownies once, while roaming 'round,
          By chance approached a college ground;
          And, as they skirmished every side,
          A large gymnasium they espied.
          Their eyes grew bright as they surveyed
          The means for exercise displayed.
          The club, the weight, the hanging ring,
          The horizontal bar, and swing,

[Illustration]

          The boxing-gloves that please the heart
          Of him who loves the manly art,
          All brought expressions of delight,
          As one by one they came in sight.
          The time was short, and words were few
          That named the work for each to do.
          Their mystic art, as may be found
          On pages now in volumes bound,
          Was quite enough to bear them in
          Through walls of wood and roofs of tin.
          No hasp can hold, no bolt can stand
          Before the Brownie's tiny hand;
          The sash will rise, the panel yield,
          And leave him master of the field.--
          When safe they stood within the hall,
          A pleasant time was promised all.

[Illustration]

          Said one: "The clubs let me obtain
          That Indians use upon the plain,
          And here I'll stand to test my power,
          And swing them 'round my head an hour;
          Though not the largest in the band,
          I claim to own no infant hand;
          And muscle in this arm you'll meet
          That well might grace a trained athlete.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Two goats once blocked a mountain pass
          Contending o'er a tuft of grass.
          Important messages of state
          Forbade me there to stand and wait;
          Without a pause, the pair I neared
          And seized the larger by the beard;
          I dragged him from his panting foe
          And hurled him to the plain below."

[Illustration]

          "For clubs," a second answered there,
          "Or heavy weights I little care;
          Let those by generous nature planned
          At heavy lifting try their hand;
          But give me bar or give me ring,
          Where I can turn, contort, and swing,
          And I'll outdo, with movements fine,
          The monkey on his tropic vine."

[Illustration]

          Thus skill and strength and wind they tried
          By means they found on every side.
          Some claimed at once the high trapeze,
          And there performed with grace and ease;
          They turned and tumbled left and right,
          As though they held existence light.
          At times a finger-tip was all
          Between them and a fearful fall.
          On strength of toes they now depend,
          Or now on coat-tails of a friend--
          And had that cloth been less than best
          That looms could furnish, east or west,
          Some members of the Brownie race
          Might now be missing from their place

[Illustration]

          But fear, we know, scarce ever finds
          A home within their active minds.
          And little danger they could see
          In what would trouble you or me.
          Some stood to prove their muscle strong,
          And swung the clubs both large and long
          That men who met to practice there
          Had often found no light affair.

[Illustration]

          A rope they found as 'round they ran,
          And then a "tug-of-war" began;
          First over benches, stools, and chairs,
          Then up and down the winding stairs,
          They pulled and hauled and tugged around,
          Now giving up, now gaining ground,
          Some lost their footing at the go,
          And on their backs slid to and fro
          Without a chance their state to mend
          Until the contest found an end.

[Illustration]

          Their coats from tail to collar rent
          Showed some through trying treatment went,
          And more, with usage much the same,
          All twisted out of shape, and lame,
          Had scarce a button to their name.
          The judge selected for the case
          Ran here and there about the place
          With warning cries and gesture wide
          And seemed unable to decide.

[Illustration]

          And there they might be tugging still,
          With equal strength and equal will--
          But while they struggled, stars withdrew
          And hints of morning broader grew,
          Till arrows from the rising sun
          Soon made them drop the rope and run.

[Illustration: Brownie.]



[Illustration]

THE BROWNIES' FEAST.


[Illustration]

          IN best of spirits, blithe and free,--
          As Brownies always seem to be,--
          A jovial band, with hop and leap,
          Were passing through a forest deep,
          When in an open space they spied
          A heavy caldron, large and wide,
          Where woodmen, working at their trade,
          A rustic boiling-place had made.
          "My friends," said one, "a chance like this
          No cunning Brownie band should miss,
          All unobserved, we may prepare
          And boil a pudding nicely there;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Some dying embers smolder still
          Which we may soon revive at will;
          And by the roots of yonder tree
          A brook goes babbling to the sea.
          At Parker's mill, some miles below,
          They're grinding flour as white as snow
          An easy task for us to bear
          Enough to serve our need from there:
          I noticed, as I passed to-night,
          A window with a broken light,
          And through the opening we'll pour
          Though bolts and bars be on the door."
          "And I," another Brownie cried,
          "Will find the plums and currants dried;
          I'll have some here in half an hour
          To sprinkle thickly through the flour;
          So stir yourselves, and bear in mind
          That some must spice and sugar find."

[Illustration]

          "I know," cried one, "where hens have made
          Their nest beneath the burdock shade--
          I saw them stealing out with care
          To lay their eggs in secret there.
          The farmer's wife, through sun and rain,
          Has sought to find that nest in vain:
          They cackle by the wall of stones,
          The hollow stump and pile of bones,
          And by the ditch that lies below,
          Where yellow weeds and nettles grow;
          And draw her after everywhere
          Until she quits them in despair.

[Illustration]

          The task be mine to thither lead
          A band of comrades now with speed,
          To help me bear a tender load
          Along the rough and rugged road."
          Away, away, on every side,
          At once the lively Brownies glide;
          Some after plums, more 'round the hill--
          The shortest way to reach the mill--
          While some on wings and some on legs
          Go darting off to find the eggs.
          A few remained upon the spot
          To build a fire beneath the pot;
          Some gathered bark from trunks of trees,
          While others, on their hands and knees,
          Around the embers puffed and blew
          Until the sparks to blazes grew;
          And scarcely was the kindling burned
          Before the absent ones returned.
          All loaded down they came, in groups,
          In couples, singly, and in troops.

[Illustration]

          Upon their shoulders, heads, and backs
          They bore along the floury sacks;
          With plums and currants others came,
          Each bag and basket filled the same;

[Illustration]

          While those who gave the hens a call
          Had taken nest-egg, nest, and all;
          And more, a pressing want to meet,
          From some one's line had hauled a sheet,
          The monstrous pudding to infold
          While in the boiling pot it rolled.
          The rogues were flour from head to feet
          Before the mixture was complete.
          Like snow-birds in a drift of snow
          They worked and elbowed in the dough,
          Till every particle they brought
          Was in the mass before them wrought.
          And soon the sheet around the pile
          Was wrapped in most artistic style.
          Then every plan and scheme was tried
          To hoist it o'er the caldron's side.
          At times, it seemed about to fall,
          And overwhelm or bury all;
          Yet none forsook their post through fear,
          But harder worked with danger near.
          They pulled and hauled and orders gave,
          And pushed and pried with stick and stave,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Until, in spite of height and heat,
          They had performed the trying feat.
          To take the pudding from the pot
          They might have found as hard and hot.
          But water on the fire they threw,
          And then to work again they flew.
          And soon the steaming treasure sat
          Upon a stone both broad and flat,
          Which answered for a table grand,
          When nothing better was at hand.

[Illustration]

          Some think that Brownies never eat,
          But live on odors soft and sweet.
          That through the verdant woods proceed
          Or steal across the dewy mead;
          But those who could have gained a sight
          Of them, around their pudding white,
          Would have perceived that elves of air
          Can relish more substantial fare.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          They clustered close, and delved and ate
          Without a knife, a spoon, or plate;
          Some picking out the plums with care,
          And leaving all the pastry there.
          While some let plums and currants go,
          But paid attention to the dough.
          The purpose of each Brownie's mind
          Was not to leave a crumb behind,
          That, when the morning sun should shine
          Through leafy tree and clinging vine,
          No traces of their sumptuous feast

[Illustration]

          It might reveal to man or beast;
          And well they gauged what all could bear,
          When they their pudding did prepare;
          For when the rich repast was done,
          The rogues could neither fly nor run.
          --The miller never missed his flour,
          For Brownies wield a mystic power;
          Whate'er they take they can restore
          In greater plenty than before.



THE BROWNIES TOBOGGANING


[Illustration]

          ONE evening, when the snow lay white
          On level plain and mountain height,
          The Brownies mustered, one and all,
          In answer to a special call.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          All clustered in a ring they stood
          Within the shelter of the wood,
          While earnest faces brighter grew
          At thought of enterprises new.
          Said one, "It seems that all the rage,
          With human kind of every age,
          Is on toboggans swift to slide
          Down steepest hill or mountain side.
          Our plans at once we must prepare,
          And try, ourselves, that pleasure rare.
          We might enough toboggans find
          In town, perhaps, of every kind,
          If some one chanced to know where they
          Awaiting sale are stowed away."

          Another spoke: "Within us lies
          The power to make our own supplies;
          We'll not depend on other hands
          To satisfy these new demands;
          The merchants' wares we'll let alone
          And make toboggans of our own;
          A lumber-yard some miles from here
          Holds seasoned lumber all the year.
          There pine and cedar may be found,
          And oak and ash are piled around.
          Some boards are thick and some are thin,
          But all will bend like sheets of tin.
          At once we'll hasten to the spot,
          And, though a fence surrounds the lot,
          We'll skirmish 'round and persevere,
          And gain an entrance,--never fear."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          This brought a smile to every face,
          For Brownies love to climb and race,
          And undertake such work as will
          Bring into play their wondrous skill.
          The pointers on the dial plate
          Could hardly mark a later date,
          Before they scampered o'er the miles
          That brought them to the lumber piles,
          And then they clambered, crept, and squeezed,
          And gained admittance where they pleased;
          For other ways than builders show
          To scale a wall the Brownies know.

          Some sought for birch, and some for pine,
          And some for cedar, soft and fine.
          With free selection well content
          Soon under heavy loads they bent.
          It chanced to be a windy night,
          Which made their labor far from light,
          But, though a heavy tax was laid
          On strength and patience, undismayed
          They worked their way by hook or crook,
          And reached at last a sheltered nook;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Then lively work the crowd began
          To make toboggans true to plan.
          The force was large, the rogues had skill,
          And hands were willing--better still;
          So here a twist, and there a bend,
          Soon brought their labors to an end.

[Illustration]

          Without the aid of steam or glue,
          They curved them like a war canoe;
          No little forethought some displayed,
          But wisely "double-enders" made,
          That should they turn, as turn they might,
          They'd keep the downward course aright;
          They fashioned some for three or four,
          And some to carry eight or more,

[Illustration]

          While some were made to take a crowd
          And room for half the band allowed.
          Before the middle watch of night,
          The Brownies sought the mountain height,
          And down the steepest grade it showed
          The band in wild procession rode;
          Some lay at length, some found a seat;
          Some bravely stood on bracing feet.
          But trouble, as you understand,
          Oft moves with pleasure, hand in hand,
          And even Brownies were not free
          From evil snag or stubborn tree
          That split toboggans like a quill,
          And scattered riders down the hill.

[Illustration]

          With pitch and toss and plunge they flew,--
          Some skimmed the drifts, some tunneled through;
          Then out across the frozen plain
          At dizzy speed they shot amain,

[Illustration]

          Through splintered rails and flying gates
          Of half a dozen large estates;
          Until it seemed that ocean wide
          Alone could check the fearful ride.
          Some, growing dizzy with the speed,
          At times a friendly hand would need
          To help them keep their proper grip
          Through all the dangers of the trip.

          And thus until the stars had waned,
          The sport of coasting was maintained.
          Then, while they sought with lively race
          In deeper woods a hiding-place,
          "How strange," said one, "we never tried
          Till now the wild toboggan ride!

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          But since we've proved the pleasure fine
          That's found upon the steep incline,
          We'll often muster on the height,
          And make the most of every night,
          Until the rains of spring descend
          And bring such pleasures to an end."
          Another answered frank and free:
          "In all such musters count on me;
          For though my back is badly strained,
          My elbow-joint and ankle sprained,
          I'll be the first upon the ground
          As long as patch of snow is found,
          And bravely do my part to steer
          Toboggans on their wild career."

          So every evening, foul or fair,
          The jovial Brownies gathered there,
          Till with the days of
          Spring, at last,
          Came drenching shower and melting blast,
          Which sent the mountain's ice and snow
          To fill the rivers miles below.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES' BALLOON.


[Illustration]

          WHILE rambling through the forest shade,
          A sudden halt some Brownies made;
          For spread about on bush and ground
          An old balloon at rest they found,
          That while upon some flying trip
          Had given aeronauts the slip.
          And, falling here in foliage green,
          Through all the summer lay unseen.
          The Brownies gathered fast to stare
          Upon the monster lying there,

[Illustration]

          And when they learned the use and plan
          Of valves and ropes, the rogues began
          To lay their schemes and name a night
          When all could take an airy flight.
          "We want," said one, "no tame affair,
          Like some that rise with heated air,
          And hardly clear the chimney-top
          Before they lose their life and drop.
          The bag with gas must be supplied,
          That will insure a lengthy ride;
          When we set sail 't is not to fly
          Above a spire and call it high.
          The boat, or basket, must be strong,
          Designed to take the crowd along;
          For that which leaves a part behind
          Would hardly suit the Brownie mind.

[Illustration]

          The works that serve the town of Bray
          With gas are scarce two miles away.
          To-morrow night we'll come and bear,
          As best we can, this burden there;
          And when inflated, fit to rise,
          We'll take a sail around the skies."

[Illustration]

          Next evening, as the scheme was planned,
          The Brownies promptly were on hand;
          For when some pleasure lies in view,
          The absentees are always few.
          But 't was no easy task to haul
          The old balloon, car, ropes and all,
          Across the rocks and fallen trees
          And through the marshes to their knees.
          But Brownies, persevering still,
          Will keep their course through every ill,
          And in the main, as history shows,
          Succeed in aught they do propose.

[Illustration]

          So, though it cost them rather dear,
          In scratches there and tumbles here,
          They worked until the wondrous feat
          Of transportation was complete.
          Then while some busy fingers played
          Around the rents that branches made,
          An extra coil of rope was tied
          In long festoons around the side,
          That all the party, young and old,
          Might find a trusty seat or hold.
          And while they worked, they chatted free
          About the wonders they would see.
          Said one: "As smoothly as a kite,
          We'll rise above the clouds to-night,
          And may the question settle soon,
          About the surface of the moon."
          Now all was ready for the gas,
          And soon the lank and tangled mass
          Began to flop about and rise,
          As though impatient for the skies;
          Then was there work for every hand
          That could be mustered in the band,
          To keep the growing monster low
          Until they stood prepared to go;
          To this and that they made it fast,
          Round stones and stakes the rope was cast;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          But strong it grew and stronger still,
          As every wrinkle seemed to fill;
          And when at last it bounded clear,
          And started on its wild career,
          A rooted stump and garden gate,
          It carried off as special freight.
          Though all the Brownies went, a part
          Were not in proper shape to start;
          Arrangements hardly were complete,
          Some wanted room and more a seat,
          While some in acrobatic style
          Must put their trust in toes awhile.
          But Brownies are not hard to please,
          And soon they rested at their ease;
          Some found support, both safe and strong,
          Upon the gate that went along,
          By some the stump was utilized,
          And furnished seats they highly prized.

          Now, as they rose they ran afoul
          Of screaming hawk and hooting owl,
          And flitting bats that hooked their wings
          At once around the ropes and strings,

[Illustration]

          As though content to there abide
          And take the chances of the ride.
          On passing through a heavy cloud,
          One thus addressed the moistened crowd:
          "Although the earth, from which we rise,
          Now many miles below us lies,
          To sharpest eye, strain as it may,
          The moon looks just as far away."
          "The earth is good enough for me!"

[Illustration]

          Another said, "with grassy lea,
          And shady groves, of songsters full.--
          Will some one give the valve a pull?"
          And soon they all were well content,
          To start upon a mild descent.

          But once the gas commenced to go,
          They lost the power to check the flow;
          The more they tried control to gain,
          The more it seemed to rush amain.
          Then some began to wring their hands,
          And more to volunteer commands;
          While some were craning out to view
          What part of earth their wreck would strew,
          A marshy plain, a rocky shore,
          Or ocean with its sullen roar.

[Illustration]

          It happened as they neared the ground,
          A rushing gale was sweeping round,
          That caught and carried them with speed
          Across the forest and the mead.
          Then lively catching might be seen
          At cedar tops and branches green;
          While still the stump behind them swung,
          On this it caught, to that it hung,
          And, as an anchor, played a part
          They little thought of at the start.
          At length, in spite of sweeping blast,
          Some friendly branches held them fast:
          And then, descending, safe and sound,
          The daring Brownies reached the ground
          But in the tree-top on the hill
          The old balloon is hanging still,
          And saves the farmers on the plain
          From placing scare-crows in their grain.



THE BROWNIES CANOEING.


[Illustration]

          AS day in shades of evening sank,
          The Brownies reached a river bank;
          And there awhile stood gazing down
          At students from a neighboring town,
          Whose light canoes charmed every eye,
          As one by one they floated by.
          Said one, "We'll follow, as they go,
          Until they gain the point below.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          There stands a house, but lately made,
          Wherein the club's effects are laid;
          We'll take possession after dark,
          And in these strange affairs embark."

[Illustration]

          They all declared, at any cost,
          A chance like this should ne'er be lost;
          And keeping well the men in sight
          They followed closely as they might.

[Illustration]

          The moon was climbing o'er the hill,
          The owl was hooting by the mill,
          When from the building on the sands
          The boats were shoved with willing hands.
          A "Shadow" model some explored,
          And then well-pleased they rushed on board;
          The open "Peterboro'," too,
          Found its supporters--and a crew.
          The Indian "Birch-bark" seemed too frail
          And lacked the adjunct of a sail,
          Yet of a load it did not fail,--
          For all the boats were in demand;
          As well those which with skill were planned

[Illustration]

          By men of keenest judgment ripe,
          As those of humbler, home-made type.
          And soon away sailed all the fleet
          With every Brownie in his seat.

[Illustration]

          The start was promising and fine;
          With little skill and less design
          They steered along as suited best,
          And let the current do the rest.

          All nature seemed to be aware
          That something strange was stirring there.
          The owl to-whooed, the raven croaked;
          The mink and rat with caution poked
          Their heads above the wave, aghast;
          While frogs a look of wonder cast
          And held their breath till all had passed.
          As every stream will show a bend,
          If one explores from end to end,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          So every river, great and small,
          Must have its rapids and its fall;
          And those who on its surface glide
          O'er rough as well as smooth must ride.
          The stream whereon had started out
          The Brownie band in gleeful rout

[Illustration]

          Was wild enough to please a trout.
          At times it tumbled on its way
          O'er shelving rocks and bowlders gray
          At times it formed from side to side
          A brood of whirlpools deep and wide
          That with each other seemed to vie
          As fated objects drifted nigh.
          Ere long each watchful Brownie there,
          Of all these facts grew well aware;
          Some losing faith, as people will,
          In their companions' care or skill,
          Would seize the paddle for a time,

[Illustration]

          Until a disapproving chime
          Of voices made them rest their hand,
          And let still others take command.
          But, spite of current, whirl or go,
          In spite of hungry tribes below,--

[Illustration]

          The eel, the craw-fish, leech, and pout,
          That watched them from the starting out,
          And thought each moment flitting by
          Might spill them out a year's supply,--
          The Brownies drifted onward still;
          And though confusion baffled skill,
          Canoes throughout the trying race
          Kept right side up in every case.
          But sport that traveled hand in hand
          With horrors hardly pleased the band,
          As pallid cheek and popping eye
          On every side could testify;
          And all agreed that wisdom lay
          In steering home without delay.

          So landing quick, the boats they tied
          To roots or trees as chance supplied,
          And plunging in the woods profound,
          They soon were lost to sight and sound.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES IN THE MENAGERIE.


[Illustration]

          THE Brownies heard the news with glee,
          That in a city near the sea
          A spacious building was designed
          For holding beasts of every kind.
          From polar snows, from desert sand,
          From mountain peak, and timbered land,
          The beasts with claw and beasts with hoof,
          All met beneath one slated roof.

[Illustration]

          That night, like bees before the wind,
          With home in sight, and storm behind,
          The band of Brownies might be seen,
          All scudding from the forest green.
          Less time it took the walls to scale
          Than is required to tell the tale.
          The art that makes the lock seem weak,
          The bolt to slide, the hinge to creak,
          Was theirs to use as heretofore,
          With good effect, on sash and door;
          And soon the band stood face to face
          With all the wonders of the place.
          To Brownies, as to children dear,
          The monkey seemed a creature queer;
          They watched its skill to climb and cling,
          By either toe or tail to swing;
          Perhaps they got some hints that might
          Come well in hand some future night,
          When climbing up a wall or tree,
          Or chimney, as the case might be.

          Then off to other parts they'd range
          To gather 'round some creature strange;
          To watch the movements of the bear,
          Or at the spotted serpents stare.
          Around the sleeping lion long
          They stood an interested throng,
          Debating o'er its strength of limb,
          Its heavy mane or visage grim.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          The mammoth turtle from its pen
          Was driven 'round and 'round again,
          And though the coach proved rather slow
          They kept it hours upon the go.
          Said one, "Before your face and eyes
          I'll take that snake from where it lies,
          And like a Hindoo of the East,
          Benumb and charm the crawling beast,
          Then twist him 'round me on the spot
          And tie him in a sailor's knot."
          Another then was quick to shout,
          "We'll leave that snake performance out!
          I grant you all the power you claim
          To charm, to tie, to twist and tame;
          But let me still suggest you try
          Your art when no one else is nigh.
          Of all the beasts that creep or crawl
          From Rupert's Land to China's wall,
          In torrid, mild, or frigid zone,
          The snake is best to let alone."

          Against this counsel, seeming good,
          At least a score of others stood.
          Said one, "My friend, suppress alarm;
          There's nothing here to threaten harm.
          Be sure the power that mortals hold
          Is not denied the Brownies bold."

[Illustration]

          So, harmlessly as silken bands
          The snakes were twisted in their hands.
          Some hauled them freely 'round the place;
          Some braided others in a trace;
          And every knot to sailors known,
          Was quickly tied, and quickly shown.

          Thus, 'round from cage to cage they went,
          For some to smile, and some comment
          On Nature's way of dealing out
          To this a tail, to that a snout

[Illustration]

          Of extra length, and then deny
          To something else a fair supply.
          --But when the bear and tiger growled,
          And wolf and lynx in chorus howled,
          And starting from its broken sleep,
          The lion rose with sudden leap,
          And, bounding 'round the rocking cage,
          With lifted mane, roared loud with rage,
          And thrust its paws between the bars,
          Until it seemed to shake the stars,--

[Illustration]

          A panic seized the Brownies all,
          And out they scampered from the hall,
          As if they feared incautious men
          Had built too frail a prison pen.



THE BROWNIES' CIRCUS.


          ONE night the circus was in town
          With tumbling men and painted clown,
          And Brownies came from forest deep
          Around the tent to climb and creep,
          And through the canvas, as they might
          Of inner movements gain a sight.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Said one, "A chance we'll hardly find
          That better suits the Brownie mind;
          To-night when all this great array
          Of people take their homeward way,
          We'll promptly make a swift descent
          And take possession of the tent,
          And here, till morning light is shown,
          We'll have a circus of our own."
          "I best," cried one, "of all the band
          The elephant can take in hand;
          I noticed how they led him round
          And marked the place he may be found;
          On me you may depend to keep
          The monster harmless as a sheep."

          The laughing crowd that filled the place,
          Had hardly homeward turned its face,
          Before the eager waiting band
          Took full possession as they planned,
          And 'round they scampered left and right

[Illustration]

          To see what offered most delight.
          Cried one, "If I can only find
          The whip, I'll have a happy mind;

[Illustration]

          For I'll be master of the ring
          And keep the horses on the spring,
          Announce the names of those who ride,
          And snap the whip on every side."
          Another said, "I'll be a clown;
          I saw the way they tumble down,
          And how the cunning rogues contrive
          To always keep the fun alive."

[Illustration]

          With such remarks away they went
          At this or that around the tent;
          The wire that not an hour before
          The Japanese had traveled o'er
          From end to end with careful stride,
          Was hunted up and quickly tried.
          Not one alone upon it stepped,
          But up by twos and threes they crept,
          Until the strand appeared to bear
          No less than half the Brownies there.
          Some showed an easy, graceful pose,
          But some put little faith in toes,
          And thought that fingers, after all,
          Are best if one begins to fall.

          When weary of a sport they grew,
          Away to other tricks they flew.
          They rode upon the rolling ball
          Without regard to slip or fall;
          Both up and down the steep incline
          They kept their place, with balance fine,
          Until it bounded from the road,
          And whirled away without its load.
          They galloped 'round the dusty ring
          Without a saddle, strap or string,
          And jumped through hoops both large and small,
          And over banners, poles and all.

          In time the elephant was found
          And held as though in fetters bound;
          Their mystic power controlled the beast,--
          He seemed afraid to move the least,
          But filled with wonder, limp and lax,
          He stood and trembled in his tracks,
          While all the band from first to last
          Across his back in order passed.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          So thus they saw the moments fly
          Till dawn began to paint the sky;
          And then by every flap and tear
          They made their way to open air,
          And off through lanes and alleys passed
          To reach their hiding-place at last.



THE BROWNIES AT BASE-BALL.


[Illustration]

          ONE evening, from a shaded spot,
          The Brownies viewed a level lot
          Where clubs from different cities came
          To play the nation's favorite game.

          Then spoke a member of the band:

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          "This game extends throughout the land;
          No city, town, or village 'round,
          But has its club, and diamond ground,
          With bases marked, and paths between,
          And seats for crowds to view the scene.
          At other games we've not been slow
          Our mystic art and skill to show;
          Let's take our turn at ball and bat,
          And prove ourselves expert at that."

          Another answered: "I have planned
          A method to equip our band.
          There is a firm in yonder town,
          Whose goods have won them wide renown;
          Their special branch of business lies
          In sending forth these club supplies.
          The balls are wound as hard as stones,
          The bats are turned as smooth as bones,
          And masks are made to guard the nose
          Of him who fears the batter's blows,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Or stops the pitcher's curves and throws.
          To know the place such goods to find,
          Is quite enough for Browny-kind!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          When hungry bats came forth to wheel
          'Round eaves and find their evening meal,
          The cunning Brownies sought the store,
          To work their way through sash and door.
          And soon their beaming faces told
          Success had crowned their efforts bold.
          A goodly number of the throng
          Took extra implements along,

[Illustration]

          In case of mishap on the way,
          Or loss, or breakage during play.
          The night was clear, the road was good,
          And soon within the field they stood.

          Then games were played without a pause,
          According to the printed laws.
          There, turn about, each took his place
          At first or third or second base,

[Illustration]

          At left or right or center field.
          To pitch, to catch, or bat to wield,
          Or else as "short-stop" standing by
          To catch a "grounder" or a "fly."

[Illustration]

          Soon every corner of the ground
          Its separate set of players found.
          A dozen games upon the green,
          With ins and outs might there be seen;
          The umpires noting all with care
          To tell if hits were foul or fair,

[Illustration]

          The "strikes" and "balls" to plainly shout,
          And say if men were "safe" or "out,"
          And give decision just and wise
          When knotty questions would arise.

[Illustration]

          But many Brownies thought it best
          To leave the sport and watch the rest;
          And from the seats or fences high
          They viewed the scene with anxious eye
          And never failed, the contest through,
          To render praise when praise was due.

[Illustration]

          While others, freed from games on hand,
          In merry groups aside would stand,
          And pitch and catch with rarest skill
          To keep themselves in practice still.

[Illustration]

          Now "double plays" and balls well curved
          And "base hits" often were observed,
          While "errors" were but seldom seen
          Through all the games upon that green.
          Before the flush of morn arose
          To bring their contests to a close,
          The balls and bats in every case
          Were carried back and put in place;
          And when the Brownies left the store,
          All was in order as before.



THE BROWNIES AND THE BEES.


[Illustration]

                          WHILE Brownies once were rambling through
                          A forest where tall timber grew,
                          The hum of bees above their head
                          To much remark and wonder led.
                  They gazed at branches in the air
                  And listened at the roots with care,
                  And soon a pine of giant size
                  Was found to hold the hidden prize.
          Said one: "Some wild bees here have made
          Their home within the forest shade,
          Where neither fox nor prying bear
          Can steal the treasure gathered there."
                  Another spoke: "You're quick and bright,
                  And as a rule judge matters right;
                  But here, my friend, you're all astray,
                  And like the blind mole grope your way.
                  I chance well to remember still,
                  How months ago, when up the hill,
          A farmer near, with bell and horn,
          Pursued a swarm one sunny morn.
          The fearful din the town awoke,
          The clapper from his bell he broke;
          But still their queen's directing cry

[Illustration]

          The bees heard o'er the clamor high;
          And held their bearing for this pine
          As straight as runs the county line.
          With taxes here, and failures there,
          The man can ill such losses bear.
          In view of this, our duty's clear:
          To-morrow night we'll muster here,
          And when we give this tree a fall,
          In proper shape we'll hive them all,
          And take the queen and working throng
          And lazy drones where they belong."

          Next evening, at the time they'd set,
          Around the pine the Brownies met
          With tools collected, as they sped
          From mill and shop and farmer's shed;
          While some, to all their wants alive,
          With ready hands procured a hive.

          Ere work began, said one: "I fear
          But little sport awaits us here.
          Be sure a trying task we'll find;
          The bee is fuss and fire combined.
          Let's take him in his drowsy hour,
          Or when palavering to the flower.
          For bees, however wild or tame,
          In all lands are about the same;
          And those will rue it who neglect
          To treat the buzzer with respect."

[Illustration]

          Ere long, by steady grasp and blow,
          The towering tree was leveled low;
          And then the hive was made to rest
          In proper style above the nest,
          Until the queen and all her train
          Did full and fair possession gain.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          Then 'round the hive a sheet was tied,
          That some were thoughtful to provide,
          And off on poles, as best they could,
          They bore the burden from the wood.

[Illustration]

          But trouble, as one may divine,
          Occurred at points along the line.

          'Twas bad enough on level ground,
          Where, now and then, _one_ exit found;

[Illustration]

          But when the Brownies lacked a road,
          Or climbed the fences with their load,--
          Then numbers of the prisoners there
          Came trooping out to take the air,
          And managed straight enough to fly
          To keep excitement running high.

[Illustration]

          With branches broken off to suit,
          And grass uplifted by the root,
          In vain some daring Brownies tried
          To brush the buzzing plagues aside.
          Said one, whose features proved to all
          That bees had paid his face a call:
          "I'd rather dare the raging main
          Than meddle with such things again."
          "The noble voice," another cried,
          "Of duty still must rule and guide,--
          Or in the ditch the sun would see
          The tumbled hive for all of me."

          And when at last the fence they found
          That girt the farmer's orchard 'round,
          And laid the hive upon the stand,
          There hardly was, in all the band,
          A single Brownie who was free
          From some reminders of the bee.

          But thoughts of what a great surprise
          Ere long would light the farmer's eyes
          Soon drove away from every brain
          The slightest thought of toil or pain.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES ON ROLLER SKATES.


[Illustration]

          THE Brownies planned at close of day
          To reach a town some miles away,
          Where roller skating, so 'twas said,
          Of all amusements kept ahead.
          Said one: "When deeper shadows fall,
          We'll cross the river, find the hall,

[Illustration]

          And learn the nature of the sport
          Of which we hear such good report."

          To reach the bridge that led to town,
          With eager steps they hastened down;
          But recent rains had caused a rise--
          The stream was now a fearful size;
          The bridge was nearly swept away,
          Submerged in parts, and wet with spray.

          But when the cunning Brownies get
          Their mind on some maneuver set,
          Nor wind nor flood, nor frost nor fire
          Can ever make the rogues retire.

          Some walked the dripping logs with ease,
          While others crept on hands and knees
          With movements rather safe than fast,
          And inch by inch the danger passed.

[Illustration]

          Now, guided by the rumbling sound
          That told where skaters circled 'round,
          Through dimly lighted streets they flew,
          And close about the building drew.

          Without delay the active band,
          By spouts and other means at hand,
          Of skill and daring furnished proof
          And gained possession of the roof;
          Then through the skylight viewed the show
          Presented by the crowds below.

[Illustration]

          Said one: "While I survey that floor
          I'm filled with longing more and more,

[Illustration]

          And discontent with me will bide
          Till 'round the rink I smoothly glide.
          At night I've ridden through the air,
          Where bats abide, and owls repair;
          I've rolled in surf of ocean wide,
          And coasted down the mountain-side;
          And now to sweep around a hall
          On roller skates would crown it all."

          "My plans," the leader answer made,
          "Are in my mind already laid.
          Within an hour the folk below
          Will quit their sport and homeward go;

[Illustration]

          Then will the time be ripe, indeed,
          For us to leave this roof with speed,
          And prove how well our toes and heels
          We may command when set on wheels."

          When came the closing hour at last,
          And people from the rink had passed,
          The Brownies hurried down to find
          The roller skates they'd left behind.

          Then such a scene was there as few
          May ever have a chance to view.
          Some hardly circled 'round the place,
          Before they moved with ease and grace,
          And skated freely to and fro,
          Upon a single heel or toe.
          Some coats were torn beyond repair,
          By catches here and clutches there,
          When those who felt their faith give way,
          Groped right and left without delay;

[Illustration]

          While some who strove their friends to aid,
          Upon the floor themselves were laid,
          To spread confusion there awhile,
          As large and larger grew the pile.

[Illustration]

          Some rose with fingers out of joint,
          Or black and blue at every point;

[Illustration]

          And few but felt some portion sore,
          From introductions to the floor.
          But such mishaps were lost to sight,
          Amid the common wild delight,--
          For little plaint do Brownies make
          O'er bump or bruise or even break.

          But stars at length began to wane,
          And dawn came creeping through the pane;
          And much against the will of all,
          The rogues were forced to leave the hall.



THE BROWNIES AT THE SEASIDE.


[Illustration]

          WITHIN a forest dark and wide,
          Some distance from the ocean side,
          A band of Brownies played around
          On mossy stone or grassy mound,
          Or, climbing through the branching tree,
          Performed their antics wild and free.

[Illustration]

          When one, arising in his place
          With sparkling eyes and beaming face
          Soon won attention from the rest,
          And thus the listening throng addressed:
          "For years and years, through heat and cold,
          Our home has been this forest old;
          The saplings which we used to bend
          Now like a schooner's masts ascend.

[Illustration]

          Yet here we live, content to ride
          A springing bough with childish pride,
          Content to bathe in brook or bog
          Along with lizard, leech, and frog;
          We're far behind the age you'll find
          If once you note the human kind.

[Illustration]

          The modern youths no longer lave
          Their limbs beneath the muddy wave
          Of meadow pool or village pond,
          But seek the ocean far beyond.
          If pleasure in the sea is found
          Not offered by the streams around,
          The Brownie band at once should haste

[Illustration]

          These unfamiliar joys to taste;
          No torch nor lantern's ray we'll need
          To show our path o'er dewy mead,
          The ponds and pitfalls in the swale,
          The open ditch, the slivered rail,
          The poison vine and thistle high
          Show clear before the Brownie's eye."
          --Next evening, as their plan they'd laid,
          The band soon gathered in the shade.
          All clustered like a swarm of bees
          They darted from the sheltering trees;
          And straight across the country wide
          Began their journey to the tide.
          And when they neared the beach at last,--
          The stout, the lean, the slow, the fast,--
          'T was hard to say, of all the lot,
          Who foremost reached the famous spot.
          "And now," said one with active mind.
          "What proper garments can we find?
          In bathing costume, as you know,
          The people in the ocean go."

          Another spoke, "For such demands,
          The building large that yonder stands,

[Illustration]

          As one can see on passing by,
          Is full of garments clean and dry.
          There every fashion, loose or tight,
          We may secure with labor light."

          Though Brownies never carry keys,
          They find an entrance where they please;
          And never do they chuckle more
          Than when some miser bars his door;
          For well they know that, spite of locks,
          Of rings and staples, bolts and blocks,
          Were they inclined to play such prank
          He'd find at morn an empty bank.
          So now the crafty Brownie crew
          Soon brought the bathing-suits to view;
          Some, working on the inner side,
          The waiting throng without supplied.--

[Illustration]

          'Twas busy work, as may be guessed,
          Before the band was fully dressed;
          Some still had cloth enough to lend,
          Though shortened up at either end;
          Sortie ran about to find a pin,
          While others rolled, and puckered in,

[Illustration]

          And made the best of what they found,
          However strange it hung around.

          Then, when a boat was manned with care
          To watch for daring swimmers there,--

[Illustration]

          Lest some should venture, over-bold,
          And fall a prey to cramp and cold,--
          A few began from piers to leap
          And plunge at once in water deep,
          But more to shiver, shrink, and shout
          As step by step they ventured out;
          While others were content to stay
          In shallow surf, to duck and play
          Along the lines that people laid
          To give the weak and timid aid.

          It was a sight one should behold,
          When o'er the crowd the breakers rolled;--
          One took a header through the wave,
          One floated like a chip or stave,
          While others there, at every plunge,
          Were taking water like a sponge.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          But while the surf they tumbled through,
          They reckoned moments as they flew,
          And kept in mind their homeward race
          Before the sun should show his face.

[Illustration]

          For sad and painful is the fate
          Of those who roam abroad too late;
          And well may Brownies bear in mind
          The hills and vales they leave behind,
          When far from native haunts they run,
          As oft they do, in quest of fun.
          But, ere they turned to leave the strand,
          They made a vow with lifted hand
          That every year, when summer's glow
          Had warmed the ocean spread below,
          They'd journey far from grove and glen
          To sport in rolling surf again.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES AND THE SPINNING-WHEEL.


[Illustration]

          ONE evening, with the falling dew,
          Some Brownies 'round a cottage drew.
          Said one: "I've learned the reason why
          We miss the 'Biddy, Biddy!' cry,
          That every morning brought a score
          Of fowls around this cottage door;
          'T is rheumatism most severe
          That keeps the widow prisoned here.
          Her sheep go bleating through the field,
          In quest of salt no herb can yield,
          To early roost the fowls withdraw
          While each bewails an empty craw.
          And sore neglect you may discern
          On every side, where'er you turn.
          If aid come to the widow's need,
          From Brownies' hands it must proceed."
          Another said: "The wool, I know,
          Went through the mill a month ago.
          I saw them when they bore the sack
          Tip yonder hill, a wondrous pack
          That caught the branches overhead,
          And round their heels the gravel spread.
          Her spinning-wheel is lying there
          In fragments quite beyond repair.
          A passing goat, with manners bold,
          Mistook it for a rival old,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          And knocked it 'round for half an hour
          With all his noted butting power.
          They say it was a striking scene,
          That twilight conflict on the green;
          The wheel was resting on the shed,
          The frame around the garden spread,
          Before the goat had gained his sight,
          And judged the article aright."

[Illustration]

          A third remarked: "I call to mind
          Another wheel that we may find.
          Though somewhat worn by use and time,
          It seems to be in order prime;
          Now, night is but a babe as yet,
          The dew has scarce the clover wet;
          By running fast and working hard
          We soon can bring it to the yard;
          Then stationed here in open air
          The widow's wool shall be our care."

          This suited all, and soon with zeal
          They started off to find the wheel;
          Their course across the country lay
          Where great obstructions barred the way;
          But Brownies seldom go around
          However rough or wild the ground.

          O'er rocky slope and marshy bed,
          With one accord they pushed ahead,Across
          the tail-race of a mill,
          And through a churchyard on the hill.

          They found the wheel, with head and feet,
          And band and fixtures, all complete;

[Illustration]

          And soon beneath the trying load
          Were struggling on the homeward road.

          They had some trouble, toil, and care,
          Some hoisting here, and hauling there;

[Illustration]

          At times, the wheel upon a fence
          Defied them all to drag it thence,
          As though determined to remain
          And serve the farmer, guarding grain.
          But patient head and willing hand
          Can wonders work in every land;
          And cunning Brownies never yield,
          But aye as victors leave the field.

          Some ran for sticks, and some for pries,
          And more for blocks on which to rise,
          That every hand or shoulder there,
          In such a pinch might do its share.

          Before the door they set the wheel,
          And near at hand the winding reel,
          That some might wind while others spun,
          And thus the task be quickly done.

          No time was wasted, now, to find
          What best would suit each hand or mind.
          Some through the cottage crept about
          To find the wool and pass it out;
          With some to turn, and some to pull,
          And some to shout, "The spindle's full!"
          The wheel gave out a droning song,--
          The work in hand was pushed along.

[Illustration]

          Their mode of action and their skill
          With wonder might a spinster fill;
          For out across the yard entire
          They spun the yarn like endless wire,--
          Beyond the well with steady haul,
          Across the patch of beans and all,
          Until the walls, or ditches wide,
          A greater stretch of wool denied.

          The widow's yarn was quickly wound
          In tidy balls, quite large and round.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          And ere the night began to fade,
          The borrowed wheel at home was laid;
          And none the worse for rack or wear,
          Except a blemish here and there,
          A spindle bent, a broken band,--
          'T was ready for the owner's hand.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES' VOYAGE.


[Illustration]

          ONE night, a restless Brownie band
          Resolved to leave their native strand,
          And visit islands fair and green,
          That in the distance might be seen.

          In answer to a summons wide,
          The Brownies came from every side--
          A novel spectacle they made,
          All mustered in the forest shade.
          With working implements they came,
          Of every fashion, use, and name.

          Said one, "How many times have we
          Surveyed those islands in the sea,
          And longed for means to thither sail
          And ramble over hill and vale!

[Illustration]

          That pleasure rare we may command,
          Without the aid of human hand.
          And ere the faintest streak of gray
          Has advertised the coming day,
          A sturdy craft, both tough and tall,
          With masts and halyards, shrouds and all,
          With sails to spread, and helm to guide,
          Completed from the ways shall glide.
          So exercise your mystic power
          And make the most of every hour!"

          With axes, hammers, saws, and rules,
          Dividers, squares, and boring tools,
          The active Brownies scattered 'round,
          And every one his labor found.
          Some fell to chopping down the trees,
          And some to hewing ribs and knees;
          While more the ponderous keelson made,
          And fast the shapely hull was laid.
          Then over all they clambered soon,
          Like bees around their hive in June.
          'T was hammer, hammer, here and there,
          And rip and racket everywhere,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          While some were spiking planks and beams,
          The calkers stuffed the yawning seams,
          And poured the resin left and right,
          To make her stanch and water-tight.
          Some busily were bringing nails,
          And bolts of canvas for the sails,
          And coils of rope of every size
          To make the ratlines, shrouds, and guys.
          It mattered little whence it came,
          Or who a loss of stock might claim;
          Supply kept even with demand,
          Convenient to the rigger's hand.

          'T was marvelous to see how fast
          The vessel was together cast;
          Until, with all its rigs and stays,
          It sat prepared to leave the ways.
          It but remained to name it now,
          And break a bottle on the bow,
          To knock the wedges from the side,
          And from the keel, and let it slide.

[Illustration]

          And when it rode upon the sea,
          The Brownies thronged the deck with glee,
          And veering 'round in proper style,
          They bore away for nearest isle.

[Illustration]

          But those who will the ocean brave
          Should be prepared for wind and wave
          For storms will rise, as many know,
          When least we look for squall or blow
          And soon the sky was overcast,
          And waves were running high and fast;

[Illustration]

          Then some were sick and some were filled
          With fears that all their ardor chilled;
          But, as when dangers do assail
          The humankind, though some may quail,
          There will be found a few to face
          The danger, and redeem the race,--

[Illustration]

          So, some brave Brownies nobly stood
          And manned the ship as best they could.
          Some staid on deck to sound for bars;
          Some went aloft to watch for stars;
          And some around the rudder hung,
          And here and there the vessel swung,
          While, others, strung on yard and mast,
          Kept shifting sails to suit the blast.

          At times, the bow was high in air,
          And next the stern was lifted there.

[Illustration]

          So thus it tumbled, tossed, and rolled,
          And shipped enough to fill the hold,
          Till more than once it seemed as though
          To feed the fish they all must go.

[Illustration]

          But still they bravely tacked and veered,
          And hauled, and reefed, and onward steered;
          While screaming birds around them wheeled,
          As if to say: "Your doom is sealed";
          And hungry gar and hopeful shark
          In shoals pursued the creaking bark,
          Still wondering how it braved a gale
          That might have made Columbus pale.

          The rugged island, near them now,
          Was looming on their starboard bow;
          But knowing not the proper way
          Of entering its sheltered bay,
          They simply kept their canvas spread,
          And steered the vessel straight ahead.
          The birds were distanced in the race;
          The gar and shark gave up the chase,
          And turning back, forsook the keel,
          And lost their chances of a meal.

          For now the ship to ruin flew,
          As though it felt its work was through,
          And soon it stranded, "pitch and toss,"
          Upon the rocks, a total loss.
          The masts and spars went by the board--
          The hull was shivered like a gourd!
          But yet, on broken plank and rail,
          On splintered spars and bits of sail
          That strewed for miles the rugged strand,
          The Brownies safely reached the land.

[Illustration]

          Now, Brownies lack the power, 'tis said,
          Of making twice what once they've made;
          So all their efforts were in vain
          To build and launch the ship again;--
          And on that island, roaming 'round,
          That Brownie band for years was found.



THE BROWNIES' RETURN.


          ONCE while the Brownies lay at ease
          About the roots of rugged trees,
          And listened to the dreary moan
          Of tides around their island lone
          Said one: "My friends, unhappy here,
          We spend our days from year to year
          We're cornered in, and hardly boast
          A run of twenty leagues at most
          You all remember well, I ween,
          The night we reached this island green,
          When flocks of fowl around us wailed,
          And followed till their pinions failed.
          And still our ship at every wave
          To sharks a creaking promise gave,
          Then spilled us out in breakers white,
          To gain the land as best we might.
          Since then how oft we've tried in vain
          To reach our native haunts again,
          Where roaming freely, unconfined,
          Would better suit our roving mind.

          "To-night, while wandering by the sea
          A novel scheme occurred to me,
          As I beheld in groups and rows
          The weary fowl in deep repose.
          They sat as motionless as though
          The life had left them years ago.
          The albatross and crane are there,
          The loon, the gull, and gannet rare.
          An easy task for us to creep
          Around the fowl, while fast asleep.
          And at a given signal spring
          Aboard, before they spread a wing,
          And trust to them to bear us o'er.
          In safety to our native shore."

          Another spoke: "I never yet
          Have shunned a risk that others met,
          But here uncommon dangers lie,
          Suppose the fowl should seaward fly,
          And never landing, course about,
          And drop us, when their wings gave out?"

          To shallow schemes that will not bring
          A modest risk, let cowards cling!
          The first replied. "A Brownie shows
          The best where dangers thickest close.
          But, hear me out: by sea and land,
          Their habits well I understand.
          When rising first they circle wide,
          As though the strength of wings they tried,
          Then steering straight across the bay,
          To yonder coast a visit pay.
          But granting they for once should be
          Inclined to strike for open sea,
          The breeze that now is rising fast,
          Will freshen to a whistling blast,
          And landward sweeping, stronger still,
          Will drive the fowl against their will."

[Illustration]

          Now at his heels, with willing feet,
          They followed to the fowls' retreat.
          'Twas hard to scale the rugged breast
          Of crags, where birds took nightly rest.
          But some on hands, and some on knees,
          And more by vines or roots of trees,
          From shelf to shelf untiring strained,
          And soon the windy summit gained.
          With bated breath, they gathered round;
          They crawled with care along the ground.
          By this, one paused; or that, one eyed;
          Each chose the bird he wished to ride.

[Illustration]

          When all had done the best they could,
          And waiting for the signal stood,
          It hardly took a moment's space
          For each to scramble to his place.

[Illustration]

          Some seized a neck and some a head,
          And some a wing, and some a shred
          Of tail, or aught that nearest lay,
          To help them mount without delay.
          Then rose wild flaps and piercing screams,
          As sudden starting from their dreams
          The wondering fowl in sore dismay
          Brought wings and muscles into play.
          Some felt the need of longer sleep,
          And hardly had the strength to "cheep;"
          While others seemed to find a store
          Of screams they'd never found before
          --But off like leaves or flakes of snow
          Before the gale the Brownies go,
          Away, away, through spray or cloud
          As fancy led, or load allowed.
          Some birds to poor advantage showed,
          As, with an oddly balanced load,
          Now right or left at random cast,

[Illustration]

          They flew, the sport of every blast;
          While fish below had aching eyes
          With gazing upward at the prize.
          They followed still from mile to mile,
          Believing fortune yet would smile;
          While plainer to the Brownies grew
          The hills and vales that well they knew.
          "I see," said one, who, from his post
          Between the wings, could view the coast,
          "The lofty peaks we used to climb

[Illustration]

          To gaze upon the scene sublime."
          A second cried: "And there's the bay
          From which our vessel bore away!"
          "And I," another cried, "can see
          The shady grove, the very tree
          We met beneath the night we planned
          To build a ship and leave the land!"

          All in confusion now at last,
          The birds upon the shore were cast.
          Some, tumbling through thick branches, fell
          And spilled the load that clung so well.
          Some, "topsy-turvy" to the ground,
          Dispersed their riders all around;
          And others still could barely get
          To shores where land and water met.

          Congratulations then began,
          As here and there the Brownies ran,

[Illustration]

          To learn if all had held their grip
          And kept aboard throughout the trip.
          "And now," said one, "that all are o'er
          In safety to our native shore,
          You see, so wasted is the night,
          Orion's belt is out of sight;
          And ere the lamp of Venus fades
          We all must reach the forest shades.



THE BROWNIES' SINGING-SCHOOL.


[Illustration]

          AS mists of evening deeper grew,
          The Brownies 'round a comrade drew,
          An interesting tale to hear
          About a village lying near.
                  "Last night," said he, "I heard arise
                  From many throats discordant cries.
                  At once I followed up the sound,
                  And soon, to my amazement, found
                  It issued from a building small
                  That answered for the county hall.

          "I listened there around the door,
          By village time, an hour or more;
          Until I learned beyond a doubt
          A singing-school caused all the rout.
          Some, like the hound, would keep ahead,
          And others seemed to lag instead.
          Some singers, struggling with the tune,
          Outscreamed the frightened northern loon.
          Some mocked the pinched or wheezing cry
          Of locusts when the wheat is nigh,
          While grumbling bassos shamed the strain
          Of bull-frogs calling down the rain."

          The Brownies labor heart and hand
          All mysteries to understand;
          And if you think those Brownies bold
          Received the news so plainly told,
          And thought no more about the place,
          You're not familiar with the race.

[Illustration]

          When scholars next their voices tried,
          The Brownies came from every side;
          With ears to knot-holes in the wall,
          To door-jambs, thresholds, blinds, and all,
          They listened to the jarring din
          Proceeding from the room within.

[Illustration]

          Said one at length, "It seems to me
          The master here will earn his fee,
          If he from such a crowd can bring
          A single person trained to sing."
          Another said, "We'll let them try
          Their voices till their throats are dry,
          And when for home they all depart,
          We'll not be slow to test our art."

          That night the Brownies cheered to find
          The music had been left behind;
          And when they stood within the hall,
          And books were handed 'round to all,
          They pitched their voices, weak or strong,
          At solemn verse and lighter song.

[Illustration: John-ny Mor-gan play'd the organ, The father beat the
drum, The sis-ter play'd the tam-bou-rine.]

          Some sought a good old hymn to try;
          Some grappled with a lullaby;
          A few a painful effort made
          To struggle through a serenade;
          While more preferred the lively air
          That, hinting less of love or care,
          Possessed a chorus kind and bright
          In which they all could well unite.
          At times some member tried to rule,
          And took control of all the school;
          But soon, despairing, was content
          To let them follow out their bent.

          They sung both high and low, the same,
          As fancy led or courage came.

[Illustration]

          Some droned the tune through teeth or nose,
          Some piped like quail, or cawed like crows
          That, hungry, wait the noonday horn
          To call the farmer from his corn.
          By turns at windows some would stay
          To note the signs of coming day.
          At length the morning, rising, spread
          Along the coast her streaks of red,
          And drove the Brownies from the place
          To undertake the homeward race.

          But many members of the band
          Still kept their singing-books in hand,
          Determined not with those to part
          Till they were perfect in the art.
          And oft in leafy forest shade,
          In after times, a ring they made,
          To pitch the tune, and raise the voice,
          To sing the verses of their choice,
          And scare from branches overhead
          The speckled thrush and robin red,
          And make them feel the time had come
          When singing birds might well be dumb.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES' FRIENDLY TURN.


          ONE night while snow was lying deep
          On level plain and mountain steep,
          A sheltered nook the Brownies found,
          Where conversation might go 'round.
          Said one: "The people hereabout
          Their wood supply have taken out;
          But while they stripped the timber lot,
          The village parson they forgot.

[Illustration]

          Now that good man, the story goes,
          As best he can, must warm his toes."
          Another spoke: "The way is clear
          To show both skill and courage here.
          You're not the sort, I know, to shirk:
          And coward-like to flee from work.
          You act at once whene'er you find
          A chance to render service kind,
          Nor wait to see what others do
          In matters that appeal to you.

          "This task in waiting must be done
          Before another day has run.
          The signs of change are in the air;
          A storm is near though skies are fair;
          As oft when smiles the broadest lie,
          The tears are nearest to the eye.
          To work let every Brownie bend,
          And prove to-night the parson's friend.
          We'll not take oxen from the stall,
          That through the day must pull and haul,
          Nor horses from the manger lead;
          But let them take the rest they need.
          Since mystic power is at our call,
          By our own selves we'll do it all.
          Our willing arms shall take the place
          Of clanking chain and leathern trace,
          And 'round the door the wood we'll strew
          Until we hide the house from view."

          At once the Brownies sought the ground
          Where fuel could with ease be found,--
          A place where forest-fires had spread,
          And left the timber scorched and dead.
          And there throughout the chilly night
          They tugged and tore with all their might;
          Some bearing branches as their load;
          With lengthy poles still others strode,

[Illustration]

          Or struggled till they scarce could see,
          With logs that bent them like a V;
          While more from under drifts of snow
          Removed old trees, and made them go
          Like plows along the icy street,
          With half their limbs and roots complete.
          Some found it hard to train their log
          To keep its place through jolt and jog,
          While some, mistaking ditch for road,
          Were almost buried with their load,
          And but for friends and promptest care,
          The morning light had found them there.

[Illustration]

          The wind that night was cold and keen,
          And frosted Brownies oft were seen.
          They clapped their hands and stamped their toes,
          They rubbed with snow each numbing nose,
          And drew the frost from every face
          Before it proved a painful case.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          And thus, in spite of every ill,
          The task was carried forward still.
          Some were by nature well designed
          For work of this laborious kind,
          And never felt so truly great,
          As when half crushed beneath a weight.
          While wondering comrades stood aghast,
          And thought each step must be the last.

          But some were slight and ill could bear
          The heavy loads that proved their share,

[Illustration]

          Though at some sport or cunning plan
          They far beyond their comrades ran.

          Around the house some staid to pile
          The gathered wood in proper style;
          Which ever harder work they found
          As high and higher rose the mound.

          Above the window-sill it grew,
          And next, the cornice hid from view;
          And, ere the dawn had forced a stop,
          The pile o'erlooked the chimney-top.

          Some hands were sore, some backs were blue,
          And legs were scraped with slipping through
          Where ice and snow had left their mark
          On rounded log and smoothest bark.

          That morning, when the parson rose,
          Against the pane he pressed his nose,
          And tried the outer world to scan
          To learn how signs of weather ran.

          But, 'round the house, behind, before,
          In front of window, shed, and door,
          The wood was piled to such a height
          But little sky was left in sight!

[Illustration]

          When next he climbed his pulpit stair,
          He touched upon the strange affair,
          And asked a blessing rich to fall
          Upon the heads and homes of all
          Who through the night had worked so hard
          To heap the fuel 'round the yard.
          His hearers knew they had no claim
          To such a blessing if it came,
          But whispered: "We don't understand--
          It must have been the Brownie Band."

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES' FOURTH OF JULY.


          WHEN Independence Day was nigh,
          And children laid their pennies by,
          Arranging plans how every cent
          Should celebrate the grand event,
          The Brownies in their earnest way
          Expressed themselves about the day.
          Said one: "The time is drawing near--
          To every freeman's heart so dear--
          When citizens throughout the land,
          From Western slope to Eastern strand,

[Illustration]

          Will celebrate with booming gun
          Their liberties so dearly won!"

          "A fitting time," another cried,
          "For us, who many sports have tried,

[Illustration]

          To introduce our mystic art
          And in some manner play a part."
          A third replied, with beaming face:
          "Trust me to lead you to a place
          Where fireworks of every kind
          Are made to suit the loyal mind.

          "There, Roman candles are in store,
          And bombs that like a cannon roar;
          While 'round the room one may behold
          Designs of every size and mold,--
          The wheels that turn, when all ablaze,
          And scatter sparks a thousand ways;
          The eagle bird, with pinions spread;
          The busts of statesmen ages dead;
          And him who led his tattered band
          Against invaders of the land
          Until he shook the country free
          From grasp of kings beyond the sea.

          "We may, from this supply, with ease
          Secure a share whene'er we please;
          And on these hills behind the town
          That to the plain go sloping down,

[Illustration]

          We'll take position, come what may,
          And celebrate the Nation's Day."

          That eve, when stars began to shine,
          The eager band was formed in line,
          And, acting on the plans well laid,
          A journey to the town was made.

          The Brownies never go astray,
          However puzzling is the way;
          With guides before and guards behind,
          They cut through every turn and wind,
          Until a halt was made at last
          Before a building bolted fast.
          But those who think they'd turn around
          And leave because no keys are found
          Should entertain the thought no more,
          But study up the Brownie lore.

          They rummaged boxes piled around
          And helped themselves to what they found,
          Some eager to secure the wheel
          That would so many sparks reveal.
          Some active members of the band
          To bombs and crackers turned their hand,
          While more those emblems sought to find
          That call the Nation's birth to mind,
          And bring from every side the shout
          When all their meaning blazes out.

[Illustration]

          Ere long, upon the homeward road
          They hastened with their novel load:
          And when the bell in chapel tower
          Gave notice of the midnight hour,
          The ruddy flame, the turning wheel,
          The showering sparks and deafening peal
          Showed Brownies in the proper way
          Gave welcome to the glorious day.

[Illustration]

          The lighted eagles, through the night,
          Looked down like constellations bright;
          The rockets, whizzing to and fro,
          Lit up the slumbering town below;
          While, towering there with eyes of fire,
          As when he made his foes retire,
          Above all emblems duly raised,
          The Father of his Country blazed.

          But ere the Brownies' large supply
          Had gone to light the summer sky,
          Some plasters would have served the band
          Much better than the goods on hand;
          For there were cases all about
          Where Brownies thought the fuse was out,
          Till with a sudden fizz and flare
          It caught the jokers unaware.

          At times, in spite of warning cries,
          Some proved too slow at closing eyes;
          Some ears were stunned, some noses got
          Too close to something quick and hot,
          And fingers bore for days and weeks
          The trace of hasty powder's freaks.

          Some dodging 'round would get a share
          Of splendor meant for upper air,
          And with a black or speckled face
          They ran about from place to place,
          To find new dangers blaze and burn
          On every side where'er they'd turn.

          But few were there who felt afraid
          Of bursting bomb or fusillade,
          And to the prize they'd stick and hang
          Until it vanished with a "bang,"
          Or darting upward seemed to fly
          On special business to the sky.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

          But there, while darkness wrapped the hill,
          The Brownies celebrated still;
          For, pleasures such as this they found
          But seldom in their roaming 'round;
          And with reluctant feet they fled
          When morning tinged the sky with red.

[Illustration]



THE BROWNIES IN THE TOY-SHOP.


          AS shades of evening settled down,
          The Brownies rambled through the town,
          To pry at this, to pause at that;
          By something else to hold a chat,
          And in their free and easy vein
          Express themselves in language plain.
          At length before a store, their eyes
          Were fixed with wonder and surprise
          On toys of wood, and wax, and tin,
          And toys of rubber piled within.

[Illustration]

          Said one, "In all our wandering 'round,
          A sight like this we never found.
          When such a passing glimpse we gain,
          What marvels must the shelves contain!"

          Another said, "It must be here
          Old Santa Claus comes every year
          To gather up his large supply,
          When Christmas Eve is drawing nigh,
          That children through the land may find
          They still are treasured in his mind."

          A third remarked, "Ere long he may
          Again his yearly visit pay;
          Before he comes to strip the place,
          We'll rummage shelf, and box, and case,
          Until the building we explore
          From attic roof to basement floor,
          And prove what pleasure may be found
          In all the wonders stowed around."

          Not long were they content to view
          Through dusty panes those wonders new:
          And, in a manner quite their own,
          They made their way through wood and stone.

          And then surprises met the band
          In odd conceits from every land.
          Well might the Brownies stand and stare
          At all the objects crowded there!
          Here, things of gentle nature lay
          In safety, midst the beasts of prey;
          The goose and fox, a friendly pair,
          Reposed beside the lamb and bear;
          There horses stood for boys to ride;
          Here boats were waiting for the tide,

[Illustration]

          While ships of war, with every sail
          Unfurled, were anchored to a nail;
          There soldiers stood in warlike bands;
          And naked dolls held out their hands,
          As though to urge the passers-by
          To take them from the public eye.
          This way and that, the Brownies ran;
          To try the toys they soon began.

[Illustration]

          The Jack-in-box, so quick and strong,
          With staring eyes and whiskers long,
          Now o'er and o'er was set and sprung
          Until the scalp was from it flung
          And then they crammed him in his case,
          With wig and night-cap in their place,
          To give some customer a start
          When next the jumper flew apart.
          The trumpets, drums, and weapons bright
          Soon filled them all with great delight.
          Like troops preparing for their foes,
          In single ranks and double rows,

[Illustration]

          They learned the arts of war, as told
          By printed books and veterans old;
          With swords of tin and guns of wood,
          They wheeled about, and marched or stood,

[Illustration]

          And went through skirmish drill and all,
          From room to room by bugle-call;
          There Marathon and Waterloo
          And Bunker Hill were fought anew;
          And most of those in war array
          At last went limping from the fray.
          The music-box poured forth an air
          That charmed the dullest spirits there,
          Till, yielding to the pleasing sound,
          They danced with dolls a lively round.

          There fish were working tail and fin
          In seas confined by wood and tin;
          The canvas shark and rubber whale
          Seemed ill content in dish or pail,
          And leaping all obstructions o'er
          Performed their antics on the floor.

          Some found at marbles greatest fun,
          And still they played, and still they won,
          Until they claimed as winners, all
          The shop could furnish, large and small.

[Illustration]

          More gave the singing tops no rest--
          But kept them spinning at their best
          Until some wonder strange and new
          To other points attention drew.

          The rocking-horse that wildly rose,
          Now on its heels, now on its nose,

[Illustration]

          Was forced to bear so great a load
          It seemed to founder on the road,
          Then tumble feebly to the floor,
          Never to lift a rocker more.

          No building in the country wide
          With more attractions was supplied.
          No shop or store throughout the land
          Could better suit the Brownie band.
          For when some flimsy toy gave way
          And 'round the room in pieces lay

[Illustration]

          'Twas hardly missed in such a store,
          With wonders fairly running o'er:
          To something else about the place
          The happy Brownie turned his face,
          And only feared the sun would call
          Before he'd had his sport with all.

          Thus, through the shop in greatest glee,
          They rattled 'round, the sights to see,
          Till stars began to dwindle down,
          And morning crept into the town.
          And then, with all the speed they knew,
          Away to forest shades they flew.

[Illustration: THE END]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]





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