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Title: Little Mittens for The Little Darlings - Being the Second Book of the Series
Author: Fanny, Aunt, 1822-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Mittens for The Little Darlings - Being the Second Book of the Series" ***

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[Illustration: Aunt Fanny's new little Friend.]










443 & 445 BROADWAY.



Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1862, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.





_Mitten Stories_




THE LITTLE KITTENS,               7




ILKEN ANNIE,                    117


Only to think! A letter from Aunt Fanny to the little ones, which begins
in this fanny way:


All the small children looked at Mary O'Reilly--who sat staring at the
fire, with her whiskers sticking up in the air, and then felt their
faces with their little fat hands. They did not find the least scrap of
a whisker anywhere on their round cheeks; and Pet said--"But I a ittle
girl; I not a kitty"--at which all the family laughed, and ran to kiss
her--and she thought she had been very smart, I can tell you; and
clapped her hands and said again--"No! I not a kitty!" and all the rest
of the little ones said they were not kittens, and for two minutes
there was such fun, everybody mewing like cats, and patting each other
softly for play. The little mother said they must all have been to
Catalonia; and that might be the reason why Aunt Fanny called them
"kittens;" or perhaps it was because _she loved them_.

So she began again:

       *       *       *       *       *


_You_ must have stories as well as the rest--of course you must. If I
should forget to write some for such sweet little monkeys as you, that
I know and love so dearly, and some other sweet little monkeys that I
don't know, but love very much; why, Mr. Appleton, who has sweet little
monkeys of his own, would say to me with a grave face--"Aunt Fanny! I'm
surprised at you! What do you mean by such conduct? What has become of
that big room in your heart, which you keep brimful of love for babies
and little bits of children? Do you want them to sit humdrum on rainy
days, when they are tired of playing with dolls, and tops, and kittens,
and have no story book for their kind mammas to read to them? This will
never do, Aunt Fanny. Please to begin right away!"

Oh! what a dreadful thing it would be, for any one to suppose that I did
not love you any more. I could not bear it; so here I am beginning
"right away," and the very first thing that comes into my mind is a
story about kittens. What do you think of that! you lovely little red,
white, and blue darlings! with your pretty red cheeks, pure white skins,
and sweet blue eyes! The bright hazel, gray, and black eyes are like the
stars; so no wonder we love the "star-spangled banner," when such
precious little ones as you wear the very same colors as the dear old
flag. Then--

    "Hurrah for the children forever,
    And three cheers for the red, white, and blue."

And now for the kitten story.


One cold, bright day in the middle of last winter, a lady came to see
me. She brought with her two little girls with the roundest and rosiest
faces; even their dear little noses were red as roses for a minute or
two, till they got warm, because Mr. Jack Frost had been pinching them
all the way from their house to mine. But he couldn't get at their
fingers, for they were covered with pretty white mittens, and they had
on such warm coats and nice fur tippets, and so many cunning little
flannel petticoats about a quarter of a yard long, that they looked as
round as dumplings. Their fat legs were all packed up in woollen
leggings; and they had little brown button-over boots--with, would you
believe it? heels! Just to think of it! heels! and they didn't tumble
down either. Well, I gave them--guess how many kisses, apiece? and then
their mamma and I sat down to talk. It was very _old_ kind of talk: all
about "contrabands" (that's a _very_ hard word, isn't it?) and about the
best way to make noodle soup, and so on. The children did not care a fig
about that kind of talk; so they walked off to a corner, and began to
play with some funny things they found. One was an old man all made of
black wadding, and another was a very fat old woman made of white
wadding. The old woman hadn't the least speck of a foot to stand on; her
body was just a great round roll of wadding, without legs; I never saw a
real, live old woman without legs, did you? But this one must have come
from no one knows where. You see, she and the black wadding man were
left by Santa Claus one Christmas night, who drove off in his sleigh in
such a hurry that he forgot even to leave a card with their names; and
that's just the long and the short of it, or the black and the white of

Pretty soon Sarah, my daughter, came into the room. "Oh you dear, dear,
little things!" she cried, "I am so glad to see you!"

"Then tell me a story," said Mary, the elder.

"Would you like to hear about the three little kittens that lost their

"O yes, yes!" they both exclaimed.

Then Sarah took dear little Charlotte upon her lap, and Mary stood
close to her knee, pressing lovingly against her; her large dark eyes
were fastened on Sarah's face, for she did not mean to lose a single
word of the delightful story; and Sarah began:

      "Three little kittens
      Lost their mittens;
    And they began to cry:
      'Oh mother dear,
      We very much fear,
    That we have lost our mittens.'"

"Oh, what bad kittens! I shame for them!" said Charlotte.

      "Oh, Mamma, dear,
      We very much fear
    That we have lost our Mittens!"]

"Their mamma was 'shame' too," continued Sarah, "for she gave them a dab
with her paw on their ears, and said in a severe voice:

      "'Lost your mittens?
      Oh, you naughty kittens!
    Now you shan't have any pie!"

and then she gave them each such a good whipping that the tears ran down
on the ground, and made it very damp.

    "But the three little kittens,
    _Found_ their mittens,
      And they began to cry,
      'Oh, mother dear,
      Only see here,
    See! just look! we have found our mittens.'"

"Oh! I so _grad_," said little Charlotte, and she clapped her hands; and
then gazing at her own pretty white mittens, held them up, and cried:
"Look! _I've_ got mittens! look! look!"

"So you have," said Sarah, kissing her--"and they keep your hands nice
and warm, don't they?"

"Did they keep the kittens' hands warm too?" asked little Mary.

"Yes, as warm as toast; and their mother was so glad they were found,
that she hugged her three children to her breast, and cried:

    "'Found your mittens?
    Oh, you dear, good little kittens!
      _Now_ you _shall_ have some pie.'

"Then she got a large apple pie out of the closet, and cut them a
tremendous slice apiece; and the little kittens were so glad that they
kept saying, 'purr purr purr,' which meant, 'Thank you, ma'am! Oh,
thank you, ma'am! Thank you very much.'

"But, dear me, what a pity! they forgot to take their mittens off; and
such a sticky, lot, when they were done eating, you never saw! They were
full of bits of apple, and sugar, and crumbs of buttery pie crust. The
kittens stared with dismal faces at their mother, and it was plain to
see that

    "The three little kittens
    Had _soiled_ their mittens;
      And they began to cry:
        'Oh, mother dear,
        We very much fear,
    That we have soiled our mittens.'

"This was really dreadful! The old cat started up, her whiskers curling
with rage; she very nearly danced on her hind legs, she was so angry. It
wasn't right to get into such a passion; but then you know she was only
an old cat, and had not read that pretty verse which begins, 'Let dogs
delight to bark and bite;' so she mewed, and snarled, and made her tail
up into an arch, and said very crossly:

    "'You've soiled your mittens?
    Oh! you naughty, bad kittens!'

and she whipped them so dreadfully this time, that they cried till the
tears made a little puddle on the ground."

"Oh my!" said Charlotte, and her bright black eyes looked very sorry.

"Oh my!" said Mary, exactly like her little sister.

Sarah laughed a little bit, and said, "Oh my!" too. "_Your_ dear mamma
wouldn't do so, would she?" she asked.

"Oh no!" cried both the children; and then they had to get down, and run
to kiss their mother; whose large dark eyes were full of love for her

"After the poor kittens had wiped their eyes, and blowed their noses,
and sighed two or three times, one of them said to the others, "Don't
cry any more. Let's get our little pails and fill them with water and
borrow a piece of soap from the cook, and wash our mittens."

"'Oh yes! you darling sister, to think of such a nice plan!' cried the
other two; and they rolled over on their backs, and flourished all their
soft paws in the air together, they were so glad.

    "So the three little kittens
    Washed their mittens,
      And hung them up to dry.

"Then they ran to their mother, who was fast asleep on the rug, with
her tail curled round her; but they did not mind that--which I think was
not quite polite--for when people and cats are taking a nap, everybody
must keep _very_ quiet, and not go near them or make a noise; but our
friends, the kittens, did not think, you see: they just went pounce
right on top of their mother, and sang out:

          "'Oh, mother, dear,
          Only see here,
    See! open your eye, see! we have _washed_ our mittens.'

"The old cat, for a wonder, did not get angry; instead of that, she
smiled a sweet smile, rubbed her chin with her paw, and in a musical,
mewing tone of delighted surprise, exclaimed:

      "'Washed your mittens!
      Oh you little ducks of kittens!
    But s-hh! Listen! I think I hear a rat close by.'

"'Purr purr.'

"'_Mew!_' said one of the little kittens, who was afraid of the rat.

"'Hush up, you naughty little kitten! I hear a rat close by.'

"That's all."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh!" cried Mary, "tell me about the rat, won't you?"

"Well, I believe the old cat ran like lightning after the rat, caught
him, and gave her little kittens a paw apiece, and eat all the rest up

"Every bit?" asked Charlotte.

"I don't think she left the least scrap," said Sarah.

"Tell another story," said Mary. "Ah, _do_!"

How we laughed--their mother and I--softly to ourselves, when Mary asked
Sarah for more stories; Sarah laughed too, and was just going to begin
another, when the mother said it was time to go. So I bid her good-by,
and sent my kind regards to Mr. Ewer, the dear little childrens'
father--who is a minister, and one of the best men in the whole world;
because he is never tired of working for God. Great crowds of people go
to hear him preach, and his constant prayer is: that he may bring them
all, old and young, to the feet of the Blessed Jesus.

I was very sorry to have those sweet little pets go so soon, because I
wanted to talk to them myself; but, _of course_, they must mind their
mother; and I never _tease_ any one to stay. It is not polite; so I
kissed them heartily, and went with them to the front door.

The wind blew sharply in my face, and I said, "You dear little kits!
I'm glad you are not made of sugar candy; you would snap all to pieces
such a cold day! but here, what is this? where in the world is your

There was the darling little Charlotte, standing in the cold, with only
one white mitten on.

"Why dear me!" exclaimed her mother, "what _have_ you done with it?"

Then the cunning precious pet laughed out merrily, and turning her
sweet face up to us, with the funniest little twist of her eye, lisped

    "I a ittie kitten,
    I _loss_ my mitten."

We both burst out laughing--we could not help it; but her mother,
smoothing the smiles almost away, made believe to be the kittens'
mother, and cried out:

      "Lost your mitten?
       Oh you naughty little kitten!
    Now you can't have any pie."

So back we all went to the parlor, both the children laughing, as if it
was the funniest joke in the whole world; and we looked under the
tables, and chairs, and sofas, and piano, and into all the corners. The
little darlings, dancing up and down, and singing that they were little
kittens, and had lost their mittens, and running all round the room in
the greatest glee. But _we_ could not find the mitten; and after we had
stopped looking, and were feeling very sorry that Mr. Jack Frost would
have such a fine chance pinching Charlotte's fingers, what do you think
the queer little puss did? Why, she just crept behind the door, which
was opened way back nearly to the wall, and in a minute, out she came
again, with the lost mitten. The funny little thing had hidden it there
on purpose, so as to be like the kittens in the story.

How we did laugh--for you know she was in play, and did not mean to do
anything naughty. She skipped up to her mamma, and chirped out:

          "See, mamma, dear!
           Only look here,
    I found my mitten! didn't I?"

And her mother just caught her up in her aims and kissed her, and said:

             "Found your mitten?
             Oh, you good little kitten!
    Now you shall have some pie!"

And off they went, the children perfectly delighted with the comical
play of the kittens. I dare say they hid their mittens again as soon as
they got home. I know I should, if I had been a funny little girl;
wouldn't you? But don't hide the soldiers' mittens--for all the world!
They wouldn't like that at all, you know; and if any of them was as
cross as the old cat, they might ask General McClellan to give them
leave of absence, so that they could come and give you what Paddy gave
the drum.

"What was that?"



One evening the little mother said: "Here is a sweet little story for
the 'darling kittens'; but first Aunt Fanny requested me to ask Clara to
repeat the fourth commandment to the little ones, slowly and

"Yes, mamma," said Clara, "I will; I know it perfectly. Gentleman and
ladies, come stand in a row before me."

So the little tots trotted and skipped up to their sister,--who was
quite a great girl in their eyes--and after hopping up and down, first
on one foot, then on the other, and puckering up their mouths like
little bags, to keep all the laugh in tight, they stood almost still.

Then Clara all at once grew grave; for she was about to repeat something
out of the Holy Bible, and although this was a great pleasure to her,
she did not dream of even smiling.

She began thus, in a clear, distinct voice:


"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor
and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy
God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy
daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor the
stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven
and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:
wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The little ones had listened with great attention, and their mother now

"My darlings, you know it is wrong to work on Sunday. You see me put
all my sewing out of the way on Saturday evenings, and on Sunday I go to
church; and when I am home, I either read the Holy Bible or a good book,
or talk to you. You are very little children, but if you saw any one
sewing or working on Sunday, what would you say to them?"

"'Member the Sabbath day," chimed the little ones.

"That's right! and you too must never forget to 'keep it holy.' This
little story is about keeping the _fourth commandment; and now I will
read it_:

"Once upon a time, a pretty little girl was riding in a stage coach,
along a country road, with her aunt. She had been making this aunt a
visit, and was now coming home to her kind mother. It was a pretty long
ride, over hill and dale; but Tillie, for that was the little girl's
name, was delighted at first, and laughed every time the stones in the
road made the stage give a jump, and a bump, and a rumble, and a

"But pretty soon she began to get tired, and wanted to jump and tumble
herself. She could not run about in a stage coach--of course not--there
was no room; and Tillie's little feet began to kick, because they could
not get any play.

"At last her aunt said, 'Sit still, dear: look at the ducks, and pigs,
and geese all along the road; and see those patient oxen in the field,
how they turn one way when the farmer says "Gee," and the other when he
says "Haw."'

"Tillie looked for a moment, and then said, 'Oh, I _so_ tired.' Just
then she spied a large black and white blanket shawl lying on her aunt's
lap. She took it, and with great efforts managed to roll it up, and
fasten the roll with two large pins she found in it, which had shiny
black heads. Then she made believe that the shawl was a baby; and very
soon every one in the stage was laughing at her funny talk.

"'Oh, my dear baby,' she said, 'I 'fraid the light hurts your little
eyes; please, auntie, lend me your veil.'

"Her aunt smiled, and gave Tillie her brown barege veil; and the little
girl spread it tenderly over the top of the shawl, saying, 'There, my
baby, don't cry any more.'

"'Ai! ai! ai! a----i!' screamed the baby--that is, _Tillie_ screamed,
and pretended it was her--'ai! ai! a----i!'

"'What, darling, what is it?' said Tillie, 'do you want to look out of
the window and see the pretty trees? So you shall, dearest. There, don't
bump your little head!' And taking off the brown barege veil, she poked
the top of the shawl out of the window; and it had a real nice time
staring, and did not cry any more.

[Illustration: Tillie and her Aunt going up to the House.]

"Pretty soon the stage stopped at the gate leading to Tillie's home. As
her aunt helped the little girl out, the shawl slipped from her hands,
and down it fell on the grass.

"'Oh, my child! my child!' she exclaimed, 'you have broken your neck!
you have broken your neck! Oh, are you _all_ killed?' Then she began to
shriek softly, as if the baby was crying her eyes out, until she saw her
mother standing, smiling, at the door of the house, when she began to
laugh, and forgetting all about her poor baby, sprang to her arms,
looking very much like a dear little baby herself.

"The next day was Sunday. Tillie had been taught to keep it holy. She
never wanted to play with her dolls or toys, but liked to go to church
with her papa and mamma, and if she did not quite understand all that
the good minister said, she always sat very still. The naughty little
girl in the next pew would try her best to make Tillie laugh. She would
tie knots in the corners of her pocket handkerchief, and roll it into
the shape of a little fat man, and dance it up and down before her; but
Tillie would not laugh. Then she would twist her face all kinds of ways,
run out her tongue, and pretend to be biting the end of it off; but
Tillie never so much as smiled. She had been taught the ten commandments
by her loving mother, and she knew just as well as you or I what the
fourth commandment was, and how to keep it.

"Well, my little kittens, as I was telling you, it was Sunday--bright,
beautiful, but quite cold.

"As they went up stairs after breakfast to dress for church, Tillie's
aunt said, 'I believe I will wear my black and white blanket shawl, it
is so very cold.'

"When she came to take the great black-headed pins out and unfold
it--for it was still a big round roll of a baby--she found it was all
creased, and tumbled, and looked very bad.

"'Dear me!' said she to herself, 'I ought to have looked at this last
night. It was very careless in me.'

"She stood thinking a moment, then went down stairs into the kitchen,
and put an iron on the fire. She meant to press out the shawl herself,
as the servants might object to ironing on Sunday.

"I am sorry to think that you will know by this that Tillie's aunt did
not think of God's holy day and His commandment, as she ought to have

"Pretty soon the iron was quite hot. She got out the skirt board, which
had been put away in the closet, spread her shawl out smooth, and began
to press it back and forth with the hot iron.

"Her back was turned to the open door, and she was so busy over her
shawl, that she never heard some tiny little pattering footsteps coming
down the stairs; or saw a sweet little child now standing in the

"It was Tillie, with an expression on her face, half astonishment and
half sorrow.

"She looked on for a moment in silence, while the hot iron went back and
forth, back and forth. Then she took two or three steps forward, a
strange light came into her eyes, one little hand was raised, and then
the voice of a child, sorrowful and earnest, uttered these words: _Six
days shall thou labor, and do all that thou hast to do, but the seventh
is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God._

"Tillie's aunt started, and gave a cry as though some one had struck her
a violent blow; so awful did this reproof sound from the mouth of a
little child. Back went the skirt board and iron into the closet, and
the half-smoothed shawl was taken up stairs in silence.

"What could she say? She was breaking the fourth commandment; and she
wept bitter tears over her great fault; and I am sure, as long as she
lives, she will keep the black and white shawl, and remember that God
saw fit, out of the mouth of a child, to reprove her for working on His
Holy day."

The little children had listened, without losing a single word; and they
understood it all, for Willie exclaimed: "Oh, what a naughty aunt! but
she won't do so again, will she, mamma?"

"I know a little hymn about Sunday," said Minnie.

"Well, say it, dear," said the little mother.

"I want to sing it," said Minnie.

"So you shall, dear," answered the mother, "and we will all sing with

The dear child's eyes sparkled with pleasure at this, and she began with
her sweet robin's note to sing--I am sure every little boy and girl has
heard it before--

    "Lord, how delightful 'tis to see,
    A whole assembly worship thee.
    At once they sing, at once they pray;
    They _hear_ of _heaven_, _and_ learn the way.

    "I've been to church, and love to go,
    'Tis like a little heaven below;
    Not for my pleasures or my play,

All the children joined in singing this hymn, with hearts and voices;
and their Heavenly Father heard, and poured his blessing down upon this
good and happy family.


This evening the mother said: Here is a story Aunt Fanny wrote a long
time ago, about Sarah, her daughter, and her niece Fanny. It is true,
every word; and she says that she was reminded of it by an anecdote,
which a lady told her of one of her own dear little daughters.

The lady said: "Not long ago my Mary was invited to a children's party.
I made her a very pretty dress; and just before she went I kissed her
and said, 'Now, my darling, you know what a little tear-coat you are--do
try this time, if you can come home without a single rent in your pretty

"'Oh, yes, mamma!' she answered, 'I will take the most _paticularest_
care of it;' and she smoothed it softly down, and walked out with such
a funny, mincing step that I had to laugh.

"But the little monkey came home a sight to behold; the dress hung in
tatters, as if some wild animal had torn it in pieces.

"'Why!' I exclaimed, 'here's the rag bag walking in.'

"Mary looked in my face with a sweet, sorrowful expression, and tripping
close up to me, with a little, dancing step, on the tips of her toes,
said, 'Oh, mamma, I met with _such a unfortin_--I tore my frock; please
to excuse me.'

"I had to laugh--and seeing that, she concluded that her 'unfortin' was
rather a good joke--and went laughing and singing off to bed.

"But," Aunt Fanny goes on to say, "you dear little darlings, please
don't go to tearing your clothes for the fun of it--this winter at
least--as we have no time to mend them, while we are working for the
brave soldiers.

"After we are at peace, and all happy and comfortable, let's have a
grand tearing time together--because we shall be so glad. I promise that
you shall tear me into three-cornered pieces, or any other shape you
like, when that happy time comes; but now, my darlings, we must wear our
old clothes, and save our money to buy comforts for the defenders of the
flag. That's my opinion. What's yours? Please let me know in your
longest words, and see if I don't print them in a book some of these
days. That's all."



One day little Sallie's mother was very ill indeed; she was lying on the
bed with a bandage dipped in ice water around her head, for her head was
throbbing and aching as if it were made entirely of double rows of
teeth, every one of them afflicted with a jumping, raging toothache,
and her little daughter felt so sorry for her, that she begged
permission to go to a shop and buy her a new head.

Sallie was an only child; she played little with other children, and she
was so accustomed to being constantly with her father and mother, and
other grown persons, that she talked in a very amusing and funny
fashion, for she would use very long words, perfectly understanding
their meaning, but with such comically strange jumblings and twistings,
and alterings of syllables, as to make it very difficult to preserve a
becoming gravity while listening to her. If you laughed, the fun was all
over, for Sallie would turn as red as a whole box of wafers; all the
dimples in her face would take French leave, and you could almost have
declared there was a bonfire lighted up in each of her eyes; but this
only lasted a moment, for she was a sweet-tempered, affectionate little
creature, and got over being laughed at as quick as possible, which is a
great deal quicker than you or I would have done.

"Dear mamma," said Sallie, her face perfectly beaming with tenderness
and sympathy; "dear mamma, what a terrible pain you are in; it is really
_overpalling_! It's very _instraordinary_ that you should have such a
head. I can feel the beating! I wish you could sell it to the drummer
of a _regimen_, and buy a new one; I wish I could give you mine, mamma;
mine is perfectly empty; not a speck of pain, or anything else, in it,
and it would last just so, as long as you live, and ever so much longer.
It is so _destressing_ to have a head so brimful of _sufferling_;" and
little Sallie looked as grieved as cock-robin's wife when he was killed
by the sparrow, with his bow and arrow.

"My dear dove and darling," said her mother, "I know you would give
your head and shoulders, and all your new shoes, to make me well, but
you can do nothing but keep perfectly quiet, as still as a mouse with
the lock-jaw. As the Frenchman says, you must 'take hold of your tongue,
and put your toe on your mouth;'--he meant finger, I suppose. You need
not leave the room, my little Sallie, only do not make any noise."

[Illustration: "Play softly, Kitty; your Mamma is very undisposed."]

So Sallie sat down very quietly on the carpet with her kitten, only
whispering once in a while, "Play softly, kitty, for your mamma is very

Just at this moment another little girl came darting like a sunbeam into
the room. It was Fanny. Fanny was Sallie's cousin; she was a dear little
weeny woman of seven years, with a lily-white skin, hazel eyes, and a
sweet, musical voice, and she ran up to Sallie with such a gentle,
song-like salutation, you would have supposed it was a bob-o-link,
saying, "How do you do?" Let me tell you, if you have never heard a
bob-o-link, its few low notes are deliciously sweet, and are only
surpassed by the sweet voice of a good little girl.

Fanny had come to spend the day with Sallie. She was about a year older
than her cousin; she had the same amiable, affectionate ways, and used
almost as many long words, so they got on together famously.

It was raining a little, and Fanny said the mud in the streets was very
_stickery_, and she had hard work to keep her boots clean. "I declare,"
she continued, "such very dirty streets are only fit for _esquarians_."

"_Esquarians!_" said Sallie, "what kind of an animal is that? Pigs?"

"My patience!" said Fanny, "did you never hear of _esquarian_ exercise?
I take it every day at Mr. Disbrow's. It is riding on horseback."

"Oh!" said Sallie, rubbing her chin, "of course. I was a perfect goose
not to know that. I wish, when the streets are muddy, we could fly like
birds through the air: how pleasant it must be to be dangling in the
air, with nothing to do but stare at the sun! I would not come down for
a week. Just fancy! what perfect happiness!"

"And no lessons to learn," said Fanny. "Now, there's grammar--I hate it
like pepper, and the hard words in the dictionary nearly _discolates_
my jaw. You ought to be thankful, Sallie, that you don't go to school;
for my part, I am always glad when '_chatterday_' comes, as you call

Sallie knew better than that, but she called Saturday chatterday,
because Fanny almost always spent that day with her, and they chattered
so much you would hardly believe but what they had breakfasted on two or
three dictionaries apiece, and each word was undergoing digestion.

"I think I should like to go to Mr. Abbott's school," said Sallie;
"mamma says that they have an _intermittent_ of five minutes in every
hour. Only think! you can talk to everybody, or walk with anybody, or
put your head in your desk, or eat candy, or drink water all the time,
or never stop laughing, or anything else you please till the five
minutes are over. That's the school for me. I should think he would
have a million of scholars. I am sure if I studied all the time, my head
would be cracked in a week. Why, Fanny, I tried to say the alphabet
backward the other evening, and it _fatwigged_ me so I had to go to

Here Sallie's mother gave a little laugh, which was instantly changed
into a smothered groan, for the laughing hurt her head, that it seemed
as if a whole regiment of dragoons was galloping through her brain; but
the long words and the wrong words sounded so funny, and the children
acted and talked so much like two old ladies over a cup of tea, it was
not human nature to keep from being amused; and, in fact, their comical
prattle acted like a fairy talisman or distant music; it soothed her,
and made her in a measure forget her pain.

Sallie heard only the groan, and coming softly to the bed, she
whispered: "Dear mamma, did we talk too loud? I meant to be as moute as
a muce. I mean as mute as a mouse."

Her mother laughed again at this funny mistake; she could not help it,
and Sallie laughed too, and said, "That was a mistake, you know; I had a
kink in my tongue; I do believe it must have been twisted like a
corkscrew. It is all right now, isn't it, mamma?" and Sallie ran her
tongue out till you could nearly see the roots, and it seemed quite
wonderful where she kept it all, and that it did not get worn out with
all the hard work and exercise she gave it; but I suppose some people's
tongues are like dogs' tails, they like to show how happy they are by
keeping up a continual wagging.

"Shall we go into the next room and play there?" asked Sallie; "we will
be so still you will think the very chairs and tables are taking a nap;
we will be like the mummies in the _cats' combs_, and I should like
very much to know what a _cats' comb_ is, and how a mummy can be buried
in it."

"You mean _cacatombs_," laughed little Fanny. "Papa says they are either
taverns or caverns--I forget which he said--in Egypt, where they bury
the mummies."

"You must call it _catacombs_, my dear little girls; they are large
caverns, not taverns: a mummy in a tavern would frighten all the idlers
and ragamuffins out of it. I don't know but what it would be a good
plan, but you two dear little twisters and turners of the king's English
would frighten that cranky old fellow, Dr. Johnson, into a long
sickness, if he was only alive and could hear you. I love to hear you
talk; it does me good. Don't go out of the room, but take that pack of
cards I gave you to play with, and sit down on the floor and build card

The children thought this a capital idea. Down they sat in great glee,
and immediately commenced the business of building houses, their eyes
nearly starting out of their heads, in their anxiety to make houses
three stories high; but, spite of all their efforts, the moment they
attempted the third story, down would come all the cards with a flop,
leaving the builders with a long-sounding O--h, to stare at the ruins.

"The fact is," said Sallie, looking so wise and solemn you would have
thought she was an owl's granddaughter, at least, "the fact is, there is
one _peculiarrarity_ about card houses."

"What's that?" asked Fanny, pursing up her mouth and trying to look as
if she knew already.

"Why, I'll tell you," answered Sallie, taking a long breath for the
prodigious long word that was coming, "if you ever expect to build card
houses, or cocked hats, or steamboats, you must go to work

"That's not the word," said Fanny, looking as dignified as ten judges;
"that's not the word at all, Sallie."

"What is it, then?" said Sallie, shutting one eye, and looking very hard
at Fanny with the other.

"_Sister Mister Macalley!_ There! don't I know?"

"My dear child," answered Sallie, with a patronizing air, and her head
on one side, "you are right. It is _Sister Mister Macalley_; I only
said _systimystiattically_ for fun, you know--just for fun and fancy,
old Aunt Nancy." And the little girls laughed merrily, and thought it a
capital joke.

Sallie's mother had to laugh too, until she was almost killed, at this
last sally. She did not wonder that the long word "_systematically_" had
proved one too many for the children; she expected, the next thing, to
hear of "indivisibility," or "incompatibility," or something twice as
long, if possible; but, at any rate, the laughing or something else did
her so much good that she felt well enough to get up and drink a cup of
tea and eat a piece of dry toast, while the little girls were having
their luncheon, and desperate were the efforts she was obliged to make,
to keep from laughing at the speeches they made over the meal. They were
twenty times more amusing than the heavy, long-winded jokes with which
aldermen, and other big bugs entertain each other for hours at the
great public dinners, where they are obliged to give each other the wink
to let every one know _where the laugh ought to come in_. No! it was
just one little, rollicking, chuckling laugh all lunch time; and how
they managed to make so much bread and butter and raspberry jam
disappear, I am sure I cannot tell.

Sallie lived in the city of New York, in Eleventh street, very near
Broadway. Directly round the corner was Mrs. Wagner's ice cream saloon,
or, as Sallie called it, "Mrs. Waggles."

In the afternoon her mother said she and Fanny might go, by themselves,
to this saloon, and buy each a treat of six-pence worth of ice cream.

The children were in a perfect ecstasy of delight at this announcement;
their faces were radiant with good humor and happiness. Only to think of
it! what grandeur! to go all by themselves! that was the great point!
not a cousin, or a grandmother, or even a nurse to take care of them;
and they scrabbled up on all the chairs, and jumped down again, and
twirled round and round till Sallie's mother said it was fortunate their
heads, and arms, and legs were all fastened together very strong, or
they would long ago have been whirled off their bodies, and out of the

I wish you could have seen Sallie having her hair curled that afternoon.
Her mother would be in the act of laying a curl gracefully over one
ear, when Sallie's head would bob suddenly round, and the curl would be
planted right between her eyes, making her squint dreadfully; and when a
curl was to repose on her temple, Sallie would bob the other way, and
the curl would be landed on the back of her head, the end sticking up
like a horn. She _did_ try, but who could keep still, on such a
delightful occasion, when they were going to walk about the world just
like grown people, with their money in their pockets! Sallie even wanted
her mother to lend her a lace veil, and her gold watch, to add to her
dignity--"so as to come home in time for tea, you know, mamma;" but her
mother concluded, as Sallie could not tell the time by the watch, the
necessity for carrying it was rather doubtful. And after considerable
tumbling and popping around like fire-crackers, and making cheeses and
whirligigs, and chattering like a whole army of magpies, the children
were dressed, at last, and sent on their way rejoicing.

When they got into the street, they took hold of each other's hands _and
ran all the way_, as an inevitable matter of course, and arrived at the
ice cream saloon in a laughing, breathless condition, so very little
like grown people that I am afraid they must have forgotten their
dignity, or left it locked up in the bookcase at home.

They took their seats at one of the marble tables, and with very large
eyes and innumerable giggles gave their order, and then there never
before was such splendid ice cream! It was so cold, they really had to
blow it, and they had to stop a great many times to laugh, and to wonder
what the other people thought of them; at any rate, everybody would
think they were "_instraordinary_" good girls to be allowed to come out
all by themselves.

"Only imagine," continued Sallie, "perhaps, after this, we shall be
_considit_ such excellent children--kind of oldey and serious, you
know--that mamma will pack up our trunks, and let us go eleventeen times
farther than this. How perfectly delightful! to go in every direction at
once, and rush all round the world like the _comic_ papa told me of the
other day;" and Sallie became so excited with this brilliant prospect
that she jumped up and down, and gave a little scream of joy.

"What's all that noise?" said a queer, discordant voice at the farther
end of the saloon.

The children started, and looked back a little frightened; their
charming castles in the air put to flight, "like the baseless fabric of
a vision," by the rough question which they thought had been aimed at

"Walk in, ladies! take a seat! What will you have? Shut up! G-o-o-d

The words sounded as if they had been rubbed through a nutmeg grater.

"Take a piece of pie? don't forget to pay for it! Shut up! Call again!
I'm all right! Hurra!" And the parrot--for it _was_ a large and handsome
parrot--hopped upon a chair, from the floor where he had been strutting
about, and looked at the company with eyes as sharp as a carving-knife.

Fanny and Sallie, by this time, had found out that it was a bird that
was talking to them, and not cross old Mr. Grumpy, as they had at first
supposed, who, always being in an ill humor himself, never could bear to
see any one looking happy. They walked up to where the bird was, and
stood there lost in admiration at his accomplishments; and really he was
a very wonderful bird, and sometimes talked as if he understood what he
was saying, which, between you and me, is what some birds, boobies for
instance, cannot do.

While they were standing there as still as could be expected, for they
had to give a little skip now and then, under such remarkable
circumstances, a nurse came up with a very beautiful baby in her arms,
and two young gentlemen also drew near to listen to the parrot. As soon
as Poll saw the baby, he yelled out: "Sweet little baby! sweet little
baby! G-o-o-d morning, little baby! Is it a girl?"

The nurse, who was a very silly-looking goose of a girl, turned very red
at this question, and, dropping a courtesy to Poll, simpered out: "No,
sir; if yez plaze, sir, it's a boy, sir!" A roar of laughter from all
around followed this answer, and the poor girl looked as if she thought
the parrot was a police officer, in a bright-green great coat, who meant
to put her instantly to death for daring to answer him. She concluded
she had better run for her life, which she accordingly did, stumbling
against all the tables, and breaking her toes over every chair; but she
disappeared at last, the parrot shrieking most horribly after her, and
all the people laughing till their sides ached.

With many a lingering, admiring glance at their funny new friend, the
children at last left the enchanting saloon, and hastened home to tell
of all the wonderful things they had seen and heard; both talking,
exclaiming, and laughing at once, until it would have taken at least six
mammas to have heard it all.

When Sallie's father came home, of course he had to hear how they went
out, "just like two old women, very independent, and eat a poll parrot
and heard an ice cream," at which he was greatly astonished until they
explained that it was the ice cream they had eaten, and the poll parrot
they had heard.

Soon after tea, Fanny was sent for, and after many attempts, her bonnet
and pretty little white Marseilles cloak were fastened, for she jumped,
and Sallie jumped during the operation, till you would have thought they
were pith witches, only they fortunately kept on their feet; afterward
they kissed each other jumping, and the kisses lighted on the very ends
of their noses, and Sallie ran to the corner with her, and bade her
good-by, and ran back to her mother, who was standing at the door, and
ran into the parlor and all round it with such a hop-skip-and-jump, that
her mother thought the mayor of the city, if he only could see her,
would be wanting to hire her for a lamplighter.

At last the time came for Sallie to go to bed, and she was undressed
with plenty more laughing and jumping, but her dear little face grew
sober and sweetly serious when she said her prayers, and in this her
mother was very particular: not a word was mispronounced; and every
syllable was distinctly repeated until the little girl knew them all
correctly, and what was more, understood them, and it was a beautiful
sight to see the little one's clasped hands and innocent face when she
asked God to bless all her relatives and friends, and make her a good

Sallie's mother, that evening, seemed to want a great many things out
of the nursery; she was continually coming in with a light, and looking
for her pocket handkerchief, or thimble, or a book.

At last Sallie grew quite impatient at these disturbances; she sat up
straight in her little crib, and in a plaintive tone, said, "Dear mamma,
why do you come in so often with a light? you _invaluably_ wake me up
when you do."

Her mother rushed out of the room, light and all, to have a laugh over
the long word "invariably," which her little Sallie had heard somewhere,
and altered so comically, then returning, she kissed the little rosy
cheek, and said she really would not disturb her again if she wanted
anything ever so much; and with a kiss on the other cheek, as Sallie
said, to make it "_valance_," she bade her good night.


"Oh! here is something from Aunt Fanny, which looks extremely
interesting," said the little mother one evening.

"Read it, do, please!" cried the children with sparkling eyes. "We will
work at our mittens harder than ever, for anything so very nice."

So the kind mother began as follows:

       *       *       *       *       *


I must tell you what happened to me this morning--not for the first
time, to be sure; but as it always makes me just as happy, I might as
well call them all "first times."

I was very busy writing a ridiculous story for you about the Honorable
Mr. Kite, when a barouche full of ladies drove up to the door. As I was
sitting at the window, I could see them getting out. With them was a
lovely little girl.

"Oh!" said I to Sarah, my daughter, "what a darling little child is
coming here! I never saw her or the ladies before, and I am afraid they
have stopped at the wrong house."

But the front door bell rang, and a moment after the servant handed me
two cards. One was quite large and almost square. It had the name of a
lady upon it. The other was such a dear little card that I must give you
the exact pattern. Here it is--

[Illustration: Miss Annie Louisa Beckwith]

name and all; and when Maria handed it to me, she said, "Oh, ma'am! if
you could only see what a sweet little girl is down stairs! She took
this card out of a silver card case of about the same size as this, and
she smiled and skipped into the house as if she was _so_ pleased!"

You may be sure I was not long in going down to the parlor. I had hardly
got in the door when two little arms were round me, and a sweet voice
said, "Aunt Fanny;" and when I stooped down, I think I got at least
twenty kisses. Then one of the ladies took my hand, and told me how her
little daughter loved me, and, above all, loved "Lame Charley," because
she, like him, had been very ill for a long time, and his patience and
sweetness had helped _her_ to be patient and sweet. "But my darling is
better now," she continued; "and when we came to New York, she begged me
to bring her to see you."

I came very near crying. A thankful prayer rose in my heart, that God
had permitted me to add to the happiness of this little one, whose
pale, delicate face showed that she had passed through much suffering.
It does grieve me so, to know that children must sometimes spend hours
and days in pain! And I stooped again and kissed this tender little
blossom, and felt sure, as I looked at the soft, loving expression of
her large dark eyes, that Jesus, our Saviour and Friend, had loved and
comforted her all through her illness.

The other lady was her aunt--a gentle, lovely person, for whom I seemed
to feel an affection at once: indeed, we all talked together like old
friends, and I could hardly bear to have them go away. I had a strange
feeling, as if I must have known them all before, in some far off time.
The mother's voice especially had a charming, cordial tone, which I
shall always remember.

They could not stay very long, they said, because they had left a lady
in the carriage who was an invalid. Then I wanted to run out and bring
her in; but they said they must go; and my dear little new friend left
me, with kisses, and promises to come some time and see me again.

This visit put me in mind of a story about little Annie, which I meant
to have told you before. If you will please to forgive me, I will tell
it to you now. I shall call it "Ilken Annie," because that is her own
name for herself. By "ilken" she means "little."


Ilken Annie lives in a beautiful house on Staten Island. Her mamma and I
are great friends, and we have had plenty of pleasant fun together. Near
the house is a lovely little lake, shaped exactly like the figure
"eight" turned sideways, so: [symbol]. It has a cunning little bridge in
the narrowest part, across which a whole regiment of dolls could
march--and you and I, too, for that matter. It is so small and pretty,
that I do believe you and I could catch gold fish out of it. I have
looked very hard in it to find a mermaid, which, you know, is a lady
with no feet: instead of those, she has a fish's tail. I wonder how one
would taste boiled; for she is only a fish, after all, like the sea
horses which swim about in the aquarium at Barnum's Museum. If Annie and
I ever catch a mermaid in this beautiful lake, we will be sure to tell
you all about it.

Near by is a grand old oak tree, standing alone and majestic, like a
king on his throne; and a lovely flower garden, at the side of the
house, is so bright in colors that one would suppose a company of
rainbows had gone to housekeeping there.

In the middle of this garden there stands, day and night, a beautiful
young lady, in a round straw hat; but I wouldn't kiss her for a dollar!
for her cheeks, as well as all the rest of her, are as white as chalk
and as hard as a stone. I dare say her heart is too, if she happens to
have any. Who wants to kiss stone people? I'd rather kiss _you_, and
ilken Annie, and that other sweet little Annie who came to see me.

Ilken Annie, when she was about four years old, was one pleasant day
sitting in her chair by the window, knitting a little white garter--that
is, she was learning to knit one.

"Oh my," she said, "the stitch is so naughty! It is running away! What
shall I do?"

You see, there were five stitches on the knitting needle, and Annie's
little fat fingers had hard work to keep them there.

So her kind mamma showed her very carefully how to pull a stitch through
with the other needle, before it had time to be off on its travels; and
the dear little child, with a bright smile, kissed her mother, and said,
"It is all tight now; oh, how glad I am!" And she put out her chubby
little leg to try how much larger that celebrated stitch had made the

Presently she cried out again, "Oh, mamma, here's a stitch all _climbed_
up, and another all rolled down; and one is so little I can't see his
eye to poke the needle through. Oh, what a bad children!"

Her mother laughed at this funny speech, and said pleasantly, "'Try, try
again,' ilken Annie." Then she pulled and twitched at the "bad
children-stitches;" and once more Annie sat down to knit, singing, with
a pretty little bird's note--

    "'Tis a lesson you should heed:
      Try, try again;
    If at first you don't succeed,
      Try, try again."

Of course you know all of this pretty little song, don't you? Just sing
it now.

By and by the little girl and her mother went down to luncheon; and
there, on the table, were such lots of nice cream and raspberries, and
white home-made bread! Oh! how I wish all the darling children in the
world could have such a delicious lunch--so much better for them than
pies or a whole bushel of sugar candy.

When this nice lunch was over, Annie's mother said, "My little darling,
I am going to New York to buy a chest of tea, and hire a cook, besides
taking a trunk which belongs to a friend. You must keep house for me,
dear; and if any company comes, behave very politely to them, and take
off their bonnets, and talk to them, and ask them to stay till I come

"So ilken Annie will, mamma," she answered; "but I'll tell them they
mustn't pull off their shoes and stockings and paddle in the lake,
saying, 'quack,' and making believe they are a duck, like brother did.
I'll tell them that's naughty, won't I?"

"Yes," said the good mamma, laughing, "tell them what brother did. That
will amuse them very much, dear; and when I come home, I will give you a
dozen kisses and a pretty new book."

Oh, how Annie's blue eyes sparkled at this! for, would you believe it,
she could read! Yes, read! and only four years old! It did not seem to
have hurt her; for she was just as round, and plump, and rosy as
possible. She learned her letters, nobody knows how--from the tops of
newspapers; and the reading came so easy, that instead of having to
learn in that pretty little school book called, "Reading without tears,"
Annie seemed always to have on a ticklesome apron, which turned all her
lessons into "reading with laughing;" and it was such a funny business,
and Annie grew so fat and bright under it, that her mother did not feel
worried; but I advise all the rest of you, little darlings, if you don't
like learning to read quite as well as bread and butter and raspberry
jam, to put it off till your dear little heads and bodies have had at
least two years more of play, and frolic, and tumbling about like
kittens. You like that advice, don't you?

So Annie helped her mother to dress. She ran to the closet, brought out
a green bandbox, and raising the cover, lifted up her mother's bonnet;
then she opened one of the bureau drawers, and got her a pair of new kid
gloves, and shut the drawer again. "Oh!" cried she, with a little
laugh, "I forgot to take out a clean hankfun--too bad!" By this funny
word she meant "pocket handkerchief."

So she ran back to the bureau, opened the drawer, and took a "hankfun"
from a pile in the corner; and then her mother was quite ready.

Annie felt a little bit like crying when her mamma kissed her for
good-by. She was such a little thing, you see--only four years old. You
don't want your mamma to go away either, do you? you precious little
rose, pink, bluebell, daisy!

But ilken Annie tried to look pleasant, and that is a famous way to _be_

The carriage was just driving away, when the little girl remembered that
her mother had not taken a shawl. It might be quite cool by the
afternoon; so she ran quickly up stairs, got a plaid shawl, and Harry,
one of her brothers, who is a right handsome little fellow, and as good
as he is handsome, ran to the carriage with it; and then kissed his hand
and raised his cap to his mamma for good-by; while Archie, the coachman,
was looking on in great admiration.

[Illustration: Harry giving the Shawl to his Mother.]

Then he drove away with her, down to the Hunchback, at the landing,
which was to take her to New York.

Now, don't you think, you fanny darling, that the "Hunchback" was an old
man with a great lump on his shoulders; and Annie's mother was to take
a seat on the top of it; and then the old man would swim to New York
with her. Not a bit of it! The Hunchback was only an ugly old steamboat,
which was all hunched up in the middle; and scratched through the water
like a great crab trying to dance the polka.

Annie sat down and began to knit a little.

While she was knitting, she said this funny thing, which Eliza, the
nurse, had taught her. See if you can say it:

"Little Kitty Kickshaw knotted and knitted for her kith and kinsfolk in
her kinsman's kitchen.

"This knotting and knitting by little Kitty Kickshaw, in her kinsman's
kitchen, kept her kinsfolk.

"So come and kiss kind little Kitty Kickshaw, for keeping her kith and
kinsfolk by knotting and knitting in her kinsman's kitchen."

Pretty soon, down dropped a stitch off the needle.

"O--h," said Annie, "too bad! I must put it away till mamma comes home."
So she opened a drawer in the table and laid her knitting down. Then she
put on a nice little pink sun bonnet, and ran out into the garden to
pick some flowers. The stone young lady smiled at her; but as she could
not speak or run, Annie did not care a speck for her: she thought a
great deal more of the good little dog dozing on the mat before the

Pretty soon the dog, whose name was Grip, woke up, shook himself, and
ran after her to have a frolic, for he was always ready for that; and
Annie and he raced around, till her sun-bonnet fell off. Then she sat
down under the grand old oak tree, and had a real nice talk with Grip,
who ran out his tongue, and wagged his tail, and looked as wise as

He was just listening very attentively to a story about the beautiful
new house her papa had had built for the ducks to live in, when there
came a sound like the crunching of wheels on the gravelled road; and in
a twinkling he cocked up his ears, and, without waiting for the end of
the story, ran off barking, to see who had arrived. I think he was very
impolite; don't you?

Then Annie got up and ran too, saying to herself, "Why! I wonder if dear
mamma has come back."

[Illustration: Ilken Annie talking to Grip.]

No; it was not her mother's carriage. It was another one; and it soon
whirled round the sweep, and stopped at the door.

"Oh, my," said Annie, "that is the company. I must go and help her out.
Why, grandmamma!" she exclaimed, "dear grandmamma, is that you?"

"Yes, little darling," said a pleasant voice; and a tall, beautiful lady
stepped from the carriage, and lifting Annie in her arms, gave her a
good kissing.

"Oh, grandmamma, I'm so glad. I am the house-_keeping_; and I must be
very polite and kind to you. Come in, grandmamma, and let me take off
your hat."

The lady sat down in the parlor, smiling at the sweet little child, and
let her untie her bonnet with her small fat fingers. It took quite a
long time, for Annie could not get the right ribbon to pull; but her
grandmamma never said "hurry," but let the little one do just as she

"Mamma has gone to New York, grandma," said Annie, "to buy a cook and
hire a chest of tea."

"Buy a cook?" asked her grandma, laughing.

"Oh, yes, grandma," said Annie, quite serious; "she told me so."

"_Hire_ a cook and _buy_ the tea. Isn't that it, darling?"

"O--h, _yes_, grandma! I made a mistake, didn't I?"

They both laughed merrily, and then Annie, sitting in her own tiny
chair, put one little fat hand over the other, and began to think.

She looked up at her kind, beautiful grandma, with such a serious pair
of blue eyes, that the good lady came near laughing; but she sat quite
still, to see what Annie would do or say next. She loved the little girl

You see, Annie was such a loving, obedient little child, that she was
anxious to do just what her mother told her; and she was thinking of
the best way to be kind to the company.

Suddenly her blue eyes brightened, as if she had got hold of a
delightful thought; and looking up, with the expression of an angel, in
her grandmother's face, she said, in her sweet little voice, "Grandma,
shall I read the Bible to you?"[A]

[Footnote A: A fact.]

"Oh, the precious child!" Truly, "of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Her grandmother's eyes filled with happy tears as she said, "Yes,
darling;" and ilken Annie, getting her own pretty Bible, read about good
little Samuel to her grandmother.

Then she got into her lap, and sang her ever so many little songs; and
let me tell you, that anybody would have wished to be a grandmother
right away, if they could have had such a delightful time as Annie's
grandmother did. I'm sure I do.

And when the dear mamma came home, and heard all that her sweet little
child had done, she took her in her arms and fondly kissed her, and
prayed God in her heart that He would make her "ilken" Annie always as
good and lovely as she was then. I am almost certain she will be; for a
good child will be sure to become a good woman or man. So take care,
little darlings, to be better than ever you were before; and above all,
_obedient_ to your parents.

Not long after this, a great event happened at Annie's house. You must
know that she had no less than five loving brothers; all older than
herself. Quite a lot of them, isn't there? And their mother let them
have all manner of innocent fun and frolic; because she was one of the
very best mothers in the world, and knew that children ought to be made
not only as _good_, but as _happy as possible_. So, lo and behold!
everybody and his wife, and I too, were invited to a splendid concert
at Annie's house.

The best of it was, that the concert was to be just like Christy's
minstrels; and the boys, and some of their friends who were to help, had
bought the most splendid black woolly wigs; and were going to have their
faces made very nearly as black as ink. I tell you what it is! I was
just as full of the fun of it as I could hold; and I went directly to a
jeweller I knew, and got him to lend me several breastpins, with such
big make-believe diamonds in them, that they almost put your eyes out
shining. These the boys wore in their ruffled shirts; and they were
_such_ dandies! oh my, what dandies they were!

You must know, at a _real_ concert, the people throw beautiful flowers
to the singers that please them most. Annie and I got up an immense
bouquet, about the size of a peck measure, without telling anybody a
word about it; and saved it up, to throw _at_ one of the "colored

The evening came, and was warm and clear; little Alice and the
"Doctor,"[B] my two children and I went early. As we drove in at the
gate it looked like fairy land; for, hanging to the trees in every
direction, were beautiful colored Chinese lanterns; the long winding
drive to the house was all a-light with them.

[Footnote B: Sarah is called the "Doctor."]

A band of music was playing on the wide piazza; and as we entered,
everybody was presented with a beautiful red, white, or blue paper fan.
Wasn't it splendid?

How little Annie's eyes did sparkle! _they_ were like real diamonds, and
far more precious. She nestled down in a seat close to me, and together
we enjoyed all the comical songs and funny jokes of the minstrels.

You don't know how queer their black wigs looked! and they kept Annie
and me laughing all the time, with rolling their eyes, making funny
faces, and telling conundrums.

Presently Willie, one of Annie's brothers, who played the bones, called
out to Robert, a neighbor's son, who was banging the tamborine on his
head and his elbow, and his knee and his foot, as fast and as hard as he

"Mister Julius."

"What dat you want, Mister Snow?"

"You know dat ar ole saw you lent me, Mister Julius, to saw de
dictionary in two, so to gib you half?"

"Yes, sar, I know him very well, sar."

"Well, sar, dat ar saw, sar, he wort nottin, sar! Ob all de saws dat I
ebber saw saw, I nebber saw a saw saw as dat ar saw saws! He! ho!"

"I don't see dat ar saw, sar; but I want to ax you a question."

"Berry well; succeed."

"When de day breaks, what becomes ob de pieces?"

"I--I--don't 'xactly know, sar. Trow em in de ash barrel?"

"No, sar! dey jes let em alone. He! ho!"

Then another brother got up, and made such a low bow that his black wig
tumbled over his eyes, showing his brown hair behind. He poked it back
again, and began to sing this--all the rest playing on fiddles, bones,
and triangles, as hard as they could:

    "Come, brothers, now unite with us, and join us, one and all,
    The Stars and Stripes shall not come down, shall never, never fall:
    We've got two splendid captains, to their country ever true;
    McClellan, and great Winfield Scott, and the Red, White, and Blue.

    _Chorus._ "Then hurrah for the Union,
    Hurrah for the Union,
    Hurrah for the Union,
    And the Red, White, and Blue."

"Ah! now's the time for the bouquet!" I whispered to Annie; and I took
it out from under the seat, and threw it as hard as I could. The little
dog who lived with Annie, thought I did it for him to catch. He bounced
upon the stage, barking and wagging his tail till he nearly wagged it
off; and seized the bouquet, while Annie's brother tried to get it away;
and they chased each other up and down the room, the minstrels and the
company all laughing ready to kill themselves. What fun it was!

At last Annie's brother got about a quarter of the flowers away from the
dog; and then he put his hand on his heart, and made a bow lower than
the first; and Annie was afraid he had almost broken the bone in his

After this funny concert was over, the musicians, who had been sent for
from New York, began to play dancing tunes; and all the company went
into another large parlor, and commenced to dance; while Annie's
brothers and their friends got scrubbing brushes, and soap, and hot
water, and scrubbed and rubbed, and scrubbed and rubbed, till they
nearly scrubbed the noses off their faces; but it was not very long
before they came in, looking as white and clean as could be; only Annie
thought they had made a great mistake--taking out their splendid
breastpins. She said, "Why, Aunt Fanny, those breastpins are so _brighty
bright!_ oh, how I wish I had one! Don't you?"

"Yes, dear," I answered; "and I will go and ask the jeweller to give me
one for you to keep. You shall choose it yourself."

This was delightful! and Annie and I danced and laughed, and had some
ice cream in a snug little corner together; and she sat up ever so late,
without wanting to shut her blue eyes once; and when the company went
away they kissed Annie, and shook hands with the handsome, gentlemanly
little boys, and thanked them for their nice, funny concert. I don't
know but what some of them kissed one or two of the youngest of Annie's
brothers. I did; but that's because I'm only Aunt Fanny, which makes a
difference, you see. I'm so little, that half the time the children
forget I am quite old. They catch hold of me, and make me play so hard,
that I am afraid I shall never get to be a very mouldy old lady, sitting
in a corner, with my head tied up in a flannel petticoat, to keep off
the draught. I'm afraid I shall always be frisky. What do _you_ think
about it, you little apple dumplings?

Would you like to hear the rest about the breastpin? Well, I will tell
you. Annie chose the one with the great red stone in the middle and ten
white ones all round it; and I went the very next day to the jeweller in
New York, and said:

"See here, Mr. Jeweller, here are all your breastpins, and I am very
much obliged to you; but I want you to _give_ me one, for a darling."

"What kind of a darling, Mrs. Aunt Fanny?"

"Well, she is four years old, and has rosy cheeks, dark brown hair,
large blue eyes, and a little dimpling, dainty mouth, full of small
white pearls. They are not set in gold, like the pearls in your glass
case. No, indeed! they grew fast in her dear little head; and she eats
bread and milk with them.

"But let me tell you, Mr. Jeweller, that she has something far more
precious than what I have been relating. Shut up in her innocent breast
is a beautiful heart, which is full of love to all around her; and it
gently whispers to her, 'Ilken Annie, be obedient to your parents, kind
to everybody, and faithful in praying night and morning, to the dear
Saviour, to watch over and protect His little lamb, and all she loves.'
Oh, Mr. Jeweller, you cannot find such a precious jewel as ilken Annie's
heart, in all your store."

Something came into the good jeweller's eyes, and fell upon his cheeks.
They were two bright tears; and he softly said, "No; I have no such
treasures here, and none now in my home; for, not long ago, God took my
one little white lamb, my wee darling. She has gone to heaven, and my
house is empty."

I felt very, very sorry for him--but I could not speak. He wrapped up
the breastpin in a piece of paper, and gave it to me for Annie; and I
sent it to her with this fine poetry:

    My dear "ilken" Annie,
    Your loving Aunt Fanny
    Has got this fine breastpin
      On purpose for you;
    So that, when in town,
    With your new hat and gown,
    And this red and white breastpin,
      You'll be quite a view.

    Then the girls and the boys
    Will make a great noise,
    And cry, "Goody gracious!
      _What_ a breastpin! just see!
    'Tis the color of roses!
    And real, I supposes;
    I wish your Aunt Fanny
      Would buy one for _me_."

    Then you'll say, "But she can't,
    For she isn't _your_ aunt,
    But _my_ little auntie
      That lives down the lane;
    And I'm ilken Annie,
    So winsome and cannie,
    With my 'hankfun' and 'too bad!'
      'And try, try again.'

    "I have a dear màmma,
    And good and grave pàpa,
    And such a kind grandmamma,
      Gentle and sweet,
    And my three, four, five brothers,
    Like three, four, five mothers,
    To love me and tend me,
      And guide my young feet."

    And now, little maiden,
    With so much love laden,
    I pray that to you
      May all "good gifts" be given;
    And happiness rare,
    Without shadow of care;
    And then--this life ended,
      Your home may be--HEAVEN.

And so ilken Annie got her breastpin from me; and I received in return
some kisses from her; and I think I had the best of the bargain. And
what is more--I do believe, if you will go down to Staten Island and
call upon her, she will show you the garters, which must be finished by
this time; and the breastpin, if it isn't lost; and the poetry; and
Grip, the dog; and the stone young lady in the garden; and the cunning
little bridge; and ever so many dimples in her sweet face; and be _so_
kind to you! Perhaps she will say, "Shall I read the Bible to you."
Wouldn't that be lovely? Come! let's you and I go down together, this
very minute! Oh, dear me! I quite forgot that the boats don't run in the
evening. Never mind! we'll go some other time.

Till then, don't quite forget

    Your loving


       *       *       *       *       *

When the reading of these little stories was finished, it was found that
twelve more pairs of nice warm mittens were ready for our brave
soldiers; and the Little Mother sent them to George, with so much love,
and so many prayers for his welfare, and the safety of his
comrades--that it did seem as if God's blessing would rest upon every
soldier who wore them.

And now, little darling, reading this, or having a kind mamma or friend
to read it to you--won't you pray for the soldiers? Will you say this
little prayer to-night:

"O my Heavenly Father: Please watch over all the soldiers. Send Thy Holy
Spirit into their leaders: then love and peace will surely come; and
there will be no more of this dreadful war. I pray for this, in the name
of Jesus, my dear Saviour. Amen."


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