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´╗┐Title: The Big Nightcap Letters - Being the Fifth 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 "The Big Nightcap Letters - Being the Fifth Book of the Series" ***

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[Illustration: Cover]






          BY THE AUTHOR OF
          ETC., ETC.

          NEW YORK
          D. APPLETON & COMPANY,
          443 & 445 BROADWAY.

   ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by
   In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
      for the
   Southern District of New York.


              ----, AND ----,

               YOU KNOW WHO;




IT has always been my favorite theory, that the goodness and beauty of a
truly Christian life in children could be taught quite as effectually by
combining the gay with the grave, as by being altogether grave; for I
chanced to remember that I invariably omitted all the latter portions of
the story-books bestowed upon me when a child; and I have reason to
believe that human nature is pretty much the same now as then.

In each of these little stories, it has been my single aim to inculcate
a desire in children to _do_ good, to _be_ good, and to seek prayerful
assistance from the One source of all goodness--their Father in Heaven.

And now one word about the sixth book of this series. Trembling with a
deep responsibility, I have ventured to write a fairy story, (that
enchanted ground for the little ones,) through the whole of which I
trust this thread of my theory has run _unbroken_. It is the last of our
little friend, Lame Charley; and if the dear children who have made his
Nightcaps theirs, will bear him, and me for his sake, in affectionate
remembrance, it will gladden the heart of their loving

                                                   AUNT FANNY.






  FOURTH LETTER TO GEORGE. ILL TEMPER,                 108



*** The stories written for the SEVEN NIGHTCAP CHILDREN remaining, will
be found in "Little Nightcap Letters."




ONE evening, when all the children, after the usual frolic with Crocus
the cat and the TREMENDOUS DOG, had settled themselves for their
"nightcaps," (their meaning of which word, of course, you all know,) the
little mother cleared her throat, and paused, for she was feeling for a
letter that was in her pocket.

"Something particularly good is coming to-night," whispered George to

"What makes you think so?"

"Don't you see how bright her eyes are? See! now she is hugging Charley,
and kissing him;" and unable to resist this loving exhibition, he rushed
from his seat to hug and kiss Charley, too, and ask him if he felt quite

Charley thanked him with a loving look, and George went back to his
seat, all in a glow.

"Children," said the little mother, "I received to-day a letter from
Aunt Fanny! She says you have given her so many delightful stories, she
thinks it is quite time to give you some in return."


"Did you ever!" exclaimed the children, eagerly. "What a perfect bird of
an Aunt Fanny! How perfectly delightful!"

"She wishes me to ask how you would like her to send you each a story,
that you would know had been written especially for you?"

"Oh! oh! oh! what a capital idea!" cried all the children, clapping
their hands at such a rate, that an old bachelor opposite opened the
window and looked out with a spy-glass, to see where the fire was; and
nearly frightened a lamplighter into fits, who was just at that very
moment lighting a lamp at his door.

This most delightful announcement made the children chatter so fast,
that Charley became nearly sick, laughing at what they said; for George
again called Aunt Fanny a "perfect bird!" and Harry improved it by
exclaiming that she was a perfect _cat_ bird! which, of course, meant
something very complimentary.

"Won't she write stories like a _mice_!" cried Johnny.

"And won't mamma read the writing like a precious kitten!" said Clara.

"Well, I never knew kittens could read writing before," laughed Harry.

"But, mamma," said Anna, "the letter looks very thick; is the first
story in it?"

"Yes," said the little mother. "I will read what Aunt Fanny says--she

"And now, dear children, what do you think? Do you remember the story
of the 'Doctor' in the first Nightcap book? Well, that very doctor is
now a young lady; and she has written a story on purpose for our dear
little Charley. I think it is very charming; and I have sent it for the
very first one, because I well know this will best please his loving
brothers and sisters. Sarah, (the _real_ name of the 'doctor,' you
know,) has tried to write what would most gratify Charley's sweet and
tender nature." Here the little mother stopped, and kissed her lame boy,
and the children murmured, "dear, dear Charley." Then she read on--

"You will perceive that Sarah has endeavored to imitate the beautiful
German style. Here is her story. Give Charley a kiss for us both before
you begin."

And in almost breathless silence the mother read the title--


"Some children stood in a group before the door of the village
school-house one lovely summer evening.

"They were all talking pleasantly together, from Kline, the son of the
rich and proud Hoffmeister, to little blue-eyed Carl, the only child of
the poor baker.

"It is very true that Kline wore a velvet jacket, richly embroidered,
while Carl's coat was old, and his wooden shoes were rough enough, in
all conscience; but what of that? If they were good friends, what
difference did _that_ make, I should like to know? Wait till children
become grown people, for pity's sake, before you expect them to measure
each other's worth by what they possess or wear!

"'The new schoolmaster, Meinherr Friedrich, comes to-morrow,' said Otto.
'I am so glad. I was weary of that old Master Hoffman, with his crooked
problems and hard lessons.'

"'So was I, truly,' cried Kline, who, although a good merry boy, hated
his books as he did medicine.

"'Ah, thou didst always like play better than work, my Kline,' said Max,
'and so do I. Meinherr Friedrich will be wise if he keep me and thee
apart during school hours; but come, see which can get home first--one,
two, three!' and away they all scampered, laughing and shouting as only
schoolboys can.

"The following day, the boys were all standing around the schoolhouse,
when the door opened, and Master Friedrich himself, appeared, and cried
in a cheery, hearty voice, 'Welcome, my children.'

"'Welcome, master,' cried they.

"And now they entered and took their seats, and were quite still while
the good master read a short chapter in the Book of Books; and then
reverently kneeling, prayed that the dear Jesus would guide him in his
teachings, and bless them, and send His Holy Spirit to watch over them

"School began; the thumb-worn books were brought out--the lazy boys
began to sigh and frown, and wish impatiently for the recess, and wonder
why Latin dictionaries were ever invented; when, as if by magic, they
found themselves listening to the pleasant voice of Master Friedrich,
and actually understanding their lessons, so clear and simple were his
explanations; and the time for recess came, to their great astonishment,
long before they had expected.

"When the studies were over, the master drew from his desk a box; and
whilst the children gathered around, he opened it and drew out charming
little pink-and-white seashells, pretty pictures, and many other
beautiful things, which he gave to the children, with loving words.

"But the most lovely thing of all, was a little porcelain statuette of
an angel. She stood, so fair, so pure--with her small white hands folded
upon her breast, and her eyes uplifted, that the children gazed

"'Oh the dear angel! the beautiful angel!' cried they all. 'Wilt thou
not give it to me, Master Friedrich?'

"But the good master smiled, and said--'The little angel is too lovely
to be given to any boy who is not good and true of heart. We shall
presently see who shall deserve her. He who brings me, to-morrow, the
brightest thing on earth, shall have the angel.'

"At this the children looked at each other, as if wondering what the
good master might mean; but he said no more, and they went home

"The next day, after the lessons (which had now become so pleasant) were
finished, the children clustered around the master to show him what they
had brought.

"Some of the smaller ones had picked up sparkling stones on the road,
and as they held them in the sunlight, were sure they must be something
bright and precious.

"Some had polished up a shilling, until it shone like a little crown.
Heinrich brought a watch-crystal, which his father had given him, and
which he considered a wonder of transparent brightness; and Kline, the
rich Hoffmeister's son, had brought a paste buckle, made to imitate
diamonds, than which, in his opinion, nothing could be brighter.

"All these things were laid on the schoolmaster's desk, side by side.
The shillings shone away famously, the pebbles and watch-crystal did
their best, but Kline's buckle was the bravest of all.

"'Ah! mine's the brightest!' shouted Kline, clapping his hands.

"'But where is little Carl?' said Master Friedrich. 'He ran out just

"All eyes were turned to the door, when presently, in rushed Carl,
breathless. In his hands, held up lovingly against his neck, was a poor
little snow-white dove. Some crimson drops upon the downy breast, showed
that it was wounded.

"'Oh! master!' cried Carl, 'I was looking for something bright, when I
came upon this poor little white dove. A cruel hawk had wounded it, and
I caught it quickly, and ran here. Oh! I fear it will die!'

"Even as he spoke, the dove's soft eyes grew filmy; it nestled closer in
Carl's neck, gave a faint cry, and died.

"Carl sank on his knees beside the master's desk, and from his eyes
there fell upon the white dove's poor broken wing, two tears, large and

"The master took the poor dead dove from his hands, and laid it tenderly
down on the desk with the bright things; then raising Carl, he softly

"'My children, there is no brighter gem on earth, than a _tender,
pitying tear_.'

"The boys were silent for a moment, for they felt that the master had
decided that Carl had rightly won the angel, and then Kline cried out--

"'Nay, master, thou didst not fairly explain to us. I pray thee give us
yet another trial.'

"'Yes, dear master,' said Max 'give us one more trial.'

"'What sayest thou Carl?' said Master Friedrich.

"'Yes, dear master,' answered the generous boy.

"The good master smiled thoughtfully, and his eyes rested for a moment,
lovingly, upon Carl; then glancing round, he said--'He who brings me the
loveliest thing on earth to-morrow, shall have the angel.'

"The children clapped their hands, and departed satisfied.

"After school, the next day, Kline was the first to run up to Master
Friedrich, and lay upon his desk what he considered the loveliest thing
in the whole world--his new soldier cap, with the long scarlet feather,
and bright golden tassel. Max came next, and placed beside the cap a
small silver watch, his last birthday gift, with a bright steel chain
attached. Otto brought a great picture-book, just sent him by his
godmother; Rudolph a tiny marble vase, richly sculptured; and so on,
until a still more motley collection than before lay upon Master
Friedrich's desk.

"Then little Carl stepped modestly up, and placed in the master's hand
a pure white lily. The rich perfume filled the room; and bending over
the flower, and inhaling the delicious fragrance, the master softly
said--'My children, the blessed Word of God says--Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I
say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like
one of these. Carl has rightly chosen.'

"But murmurs arose; the children were not satisfied; and again they
asked for another trial. And as before, good Master Friedrich inquired--

"'What sayest thou, Carl?' and he answered as before, with generous
haste, 'Yes, dear master.'

"'Now this is the last time,' said the master. 'He who brings me the
_best_ thing on earth shall have the angel.'

"'The very best thing on earth is plum cake!' cried Kline, on the third
day, as he walked up to the desk, bearing a large cake, richly frosted,
with a wreath of sugar roses round the edge. This he placed triumphantly
before the master, sure of the prize.

"'Nay, thou art wrong this time, Kline,' said Max. 'I asked my father
what was the very best thing on earth, and he laughed, and gave me this
golden guilder; the prize is mine.'

"'Ah! but _my_ father said that the very best was a good glass of
Rhenish wine,' cried Otto, 'and I have brought a bottle of it thirty
years old; the prize is surely mine.'

"So they went on till all had placed their offering before the master.

"'And thou, Carl?' said he. 'What hast thou brought which thou thinkest
the best on earth?'

"A crimson flush rose to the little boy's forehead, and coming softly
forward, he took from his breast a _small, worn Testament_, pressed it
to his lips, and then reverently laid it down with the rest as he said,
in a sweet, low voice--

"'My mother, dear master, says that God's precious Testament is far
before all other possessions.'

"''Tis thine, my Carl!' cried the master, snatching the boy to his
breast. 'The white angel is thine! for there is nothing in the wide,
wide world half so precious as the blessed words of Jesus;' and he
placed the angel in the hands of the trembling boy.

"Kline knit his brows, and gazed with anger and disappointment at the
little Carl; and the rest, seeing him do this, felt themselves
aggrieved; but suddenly the cloud cleared from Kline's face, and rushing
forward, he caught Carl in his arms, crying--'Forgive me, dear Carl! now
I am right glad thou hast won the prize!'

"Ah! the blessed effect of a bright example! Quickly joining hands, the
children danced joyfully around the little Carl, who stood in the midst,
the white angel pressed to his breast, his fair hair falling in curls
on his shoulders, and his blue eyes full of holy tears.

"The good Master Friedrich also wept for joy, and prayed, from the depth
of his pure and simple heart, that Jesus would bless this lesson to the
children's everlasting good. He had turned away that none might perceive
his tears.

"But One in heaven saw them, Master Friedrich."

The story was finished, but no one spoke, for the tears were softly
falling from Charley's eyes; and the rest of the children, with qui
vering lips, were gazing in his face. At last he said, in a low
voice--"What a lovely story! and how sweet and good little Carl was!
Dear mamma! we will all try to be generous and good, as he was; and we
all know what a precious book the Bible is. I love Carl; and I thank
Aunt Fanny and Miss Sarah with all my heart, for writing this beautiful
story about him."

And now all the children, with subdued and tender glances, kissed their
dear mother and Charley, and went quietly to bed, thinking of the dear
little Carl, and wishing softly to each other, that their mother had
thought of asking _them_ to find the "brightest and loveliest and best
thing on earth," for they hoped they should have done just as the dear
Carl did.



_For Harry._

DEAR HARRY:--I have happened upon an odd story of a heedless namesake of
yours, and as you are a dear head-over-heels little fellow, I think you
will be both amused and instructed by reading it; or at any rate, you
will resolve never to cut any thing like the very extraordinary capers
the other Harry did, either in the vegetable or travelling line. Once,
when you were a very little fellow and were visiting at a cousin's house
in the country, you busied yourself all one morning, pulling up
radishes, eating the roots, and then setting the tops back in the earth,
and when the gardener came to gather some for tea, he found them all
wilted and flat to the ground. Do you remember how you had to run for
it, when he caught sight of you laughing at him? and how his having the
rheumatism in his knee, so that he could not move fast, was all that
saved you from a good thrashing? _I_ do. So here is the story, and
hoping it will be very serviceable in helping you to "mend your ways," I
am your loving

                                                   AUNT FANNY.


"'Oh! how I do hate to write exercises!' exclaimed Harry, one Monday
afternoon in the summer time; 'what's the use? they are abominable!' and
he stamped his foot and threw down his pen, clapped his hat on his head,
and rushed out of the front door.

"No wonder he was called 'heedless' Harry; for he was so thoughtless,
that he never stopped one moment to reflect, when he set about doing any
thing, whether or not it would get him into trouble; and consequently he
was always in some scrape or other. He was old enough, certainly, to
know better, and pleasant enough, in other respects, to be liked very
much by all who knew him. He was full of fun, perfectly fearless, and
bore an accidental scratch or tumble like a man. But, dear me! what a
heedless, careless little scamp! That very morning, before school began,
his mother had sent him into the garden to gather vegetables. He cut the
carrots so that they would stand up on end, and with great onions began
knocking them down, as if they were tenpins; then he had a game of
jack-straws with some small slender beans, and ended the vegetable
business by stringing a dozen red peppers and tying them round the cat's
neck, making her sneeze her head nearly off; for the poor thing went
'tchitz! tchitz! tchitz!' for a quarter of an hour.

"When he was tired of laughing at her, he marched away to skip stones
in the brook, and ended by slipping on the bank and tumbling into the
water, and treating himself to a very thorough ducking.

"Harry lived with his parents on a large pleasant farm, about twenty
miles from the city of New York. He had never been in New York; and this
afternoon, at which my story commences, when he rushed to the front
door, he put his hand in his pockets and said to himself: 'I've a great
mind to run away! I know I shall catch it to-morrow, about that old
exercise, and I can't write it. I won't! now!'

"He walked to the fence, and climbing up, looked over into a neighbor's

"A beautiful white horse was quietly grazing, and lazily switching the
flies off his back with his long and silken tail.

"'Halloo!' exclaimed heedless Harry, 'there's Lightfoot! Jolly! what a
chance to go off on my travels! I'll catch him. There! now he is
drinking out of the brook. I'll go and jump on his back.'

"As usual, the little scapegrace had entirely forgotten that the horse
was very swift and spirited, and also that he did not belong to him or
his parents. So Harry, with one bound, jumped the fence, paying no kind
of attention to a great thorn which tore down the leg of his pantaloons
for half a yard, ran up to Lightfoot, caught him with one hand by his
flowing mane, placed the other on his back, and tried to mount him.

"Horses are animals, but they are not stupid or fools for all that. So
Lightfoot, while he kept his nose in the brook, had been quietly
watching Harry out of the corner of his eye; and when the young
gentleman tried to jump on his back, the horse gave a quick little start
to one side, and a knowing flourish with his tail, which sent Mr. Harry
plump into the brook for the second time that day, and then Lightfoot
scampered off with a neigh which sounded remarkably like a horse laugh.

"The angry boy scrambled up the low bank like a lame grasshopper, and
screamed out, 'You hateful old thing! I _will_ get on your back! see if
I don't!' So he cut a stout branch from a tree, stripped it, made it
whistle through the air, and with a spiteful chuckle advanced once more
upon Lightfoot.

"The horse gave another neigh. Harry approached him softly, hiding the
whip behind him, smoothed his neck, and patted his side, and then, with
a sudden spring, leaped upon his back.

"Lightfoot stood perfectly still. Then Harry clucked his tongue against
his palate to coax him to go.

"But the horse pretended not to hear him. 'Get up! Get up!' cried Harry.
'Come now, get up, I tell you.'

"Lightfoot went on eating, as if there was nobody within a mile of him.

"Harry became more and more impatient; he thumped the horse with his
knees, and drummed with his heels, and finding that did no good, he
raised the switch, to strike him.

"Lightfoot was a 'cute' Yankee horse, he wasn't 'raised' in Vermont for
nothing; so when he caught sight of the switch, he ducked his head, and
off went Harry like a flash of lightning, and found himself sprawling on
the grass.

"You would think that was enough; and that Harry, after all these
gymnastics, would go home like a boy that had some sense pounded into
him by all these hard knocks. Not at all. Up he sprang, ran to
Lightfoot, and jumped for the third time upon his back.

"'Get up! Get up! you goose!' he cried. This time the horse heard him,
without any doubt; he gave a nourish with his long tail, cleared the
fence with a bound, and rushed down the road like an arrow shot from a

"And now our young friend would gladly have dismounted, but that was
easier thought of than done. To get off a horse in full gallop may not
be difficult, if you are not particular whether you come down on your
heels or your head. Harry reflected, that though possibly his head might
be harder than the stones in the road, and the stones would be hurt the
most, yet there was rather a chance that the stones might crack his head
instead, so he concluded to hold on if he could.

"On dashed Lightfoot for miles and miles, with Harry clinging for dear
life to his neck and mane. At last they approached a large town, and
Lightfoot stopped of his own accord at a public house.

"Out came the landlord, staring with surprise, and lifted Harry off,
half-dead with fatigue and fright, while the hostler led the horse to
the stable.

"After the heedless boy had washed his face and brushed his clothes, he
felt better, but desperately hungry; there was no fun in that; so he
concluded to hunt up a dinner.

"When he entered the dining-room, the people looked at him from head to
foot. Of course this was because they were admiring him, he thought; so
he drew himself up, and putting on an air of dignity, as if he was a
gentleman on his travels, he said: 'I want my dinner. Bring me a
beefsteak, some potatoes, and an apple-dumpling.'

"At these words the landlord advanced, put his hand on Harry's shoulder,
and said: 'Who are you?'

"Harry preferred eating to talking just then, so he answered: 'Give me a
beefsteak directly. When I have eaten my dinner I will tell you my

"'Um! we'll see--tell it to me this instant, or you may get your dinner
as you can, like a gipsy under a fence--but you won't have any here.'

"'I will have it,' cried Harry, in a rage.

"'You shan't!' said the landlord.

"'I will!' cried Harry.

"'John,' said the landlord to the waiter, 'I forbid your bringing any
dinner to this impertinent little scamp.'

"'Impertinent yourself!' screamed Harry, nearly beside himself with
passion; and he seized a glass to throw it in the landlord's face.

"At this riotous noise, some more servants and the landlady rushed into
the room; and the latter screaming out, 'You little wretch!' and
snatching up a broomstick, rushed full tilt at Harry, who, concluding
that it was best not to wait for the fight, jumped over the table,
darted out of the door, and flew up the street.

"He ran for a long time, as if a mad dog were after him, until he had
gained the outskirts of the town, and stopping, breathless and
exhausted, began to reflect upon his situation.

"We always make remarkably wise reflections when we are suffering from
our misconduct. Harry began to think he had been acting very like a
donkey, and would very willingly have returned home, and taken to
studying his hated lessons.

"Night was now approaching; the twilight deepened and darkened; and it
was only by the stars which came peeping out one by one, that he could
see his way. A strange feeling of dread and loneliness came over him,
and he was rejoiced at last to see dimly before him a large barn.
Jumping the fence, he went up and tried the door; fortunately it was
open, and our heedless friend was glad enough to throw himself down on a
heap of fragrant hay, and spite of his hunger, was soon in a dreamless

"The dismal screech (for it isn't crowing) of one of those long-legged
Shanghai roosters, awoke him just as the dawn was streaking the sky; and
shaking the hay from his dress, Harry went out into the road again.

"He was walking along, wondering whether he should ever see home again.
A market-wagon came up behind him, and he turned to inquire his way.

"'Where do you come from?' said the market man. Harry told him. 'Bless
my wig!' said the man, 'you can't get home to-day, no how you can fix
it. Come with me. I'm going to York to sell my sass, and to-morrow I
will take you half-way home.'

"'Jolly! that's a good fellow,' cried Harry, brightening up, 'and you'll
be a better fellow yet, if you'll give me one of these rosy-cheeked
apples; I'm hungry enough to swallow the horse and wagon.'

"'Massy sakes! air you? Well, eat one out each basket. 'Twon't make any
difference; they don't count apples.'

"So the heedless boy went into the apple-eating business with all his
teeth; and before he had made a finish of it, they had crossed the
Jersey City ferry, and rumbled into the streets leading to Washington
Market, where the market man speedily disposed of his fruit and
vegetables, which he called 'sass.' When he had concluded this business,
he took Harry down into one of the cellars, where he ordered a nice
breakfast, and strange to say, Harry had some inside room left, for he
did his part in clearing the plates in fine style.

"After that, they went to a public house, where the good market man left
Harry, as he had some business in a distant part of the city; but he
charged the boy on no account to leave the house till he returned. Harry
promised he would not.

"When he was gone, Harry put his nose out of the window. The day was
clear and beautiful, and at the end of the street he could see the

"'Dear me,' said Harry to himself, 'what's the harm of going to look at
the water. It's a real ocean. I've never seen the ocean. I'll just take
one peep and come back.'

"Down he went to the edge of the pier, and sat upon the end, to stare
around him. A steamboat coming quickly alongside, one of the waves she
made flew up in Harry's face, and splashed him from top to toe. He
jumped up in such a particular hurry, that a sailor on a large ship on
the other side, burst out laughing, saying, 'Are you afraid, Mr. Sugar

"'Afraid! I!' cried Harry, indignantly, and turning round suddenly, his
foot tripped against a stone, and he tumbled over backwards into the

"Harry opened his mouth to bawl, but instead of that, had it well filled
with salt water. The sailor ran faster than a lamplighter, jumped in the
water, caught Harry by the collar, and dragged him on shore, and set
him down in the sun to dry.

"While Harry was drying, the sailor asked him all manner of questions,
and soon had his whole history. Then the cunning fellow invited him to
dinner; and heedless Harry, delighted to get on board a great ship, went
with him, never thinking again of the kind, generous market man.

"And now, boys, and girls too, read for your benefit what happened next.
The old sailor was commissioned to find one or two cabin boys for his
ship, which sailed that very evening, as soon as the tide served. Harry
was strong and quick--Harry was fearless--Harry had run away from
home--Harry wanted to see the world--Harry was the boy, the very dandy,
for a cabin boy; so the sailor proposed that Harry should continue his
travels in his company.

"'Where are you going?' said our young friend.

"'To Senegal,' said the sailor.

"'And what sort of a place is Senegal?'

"'Senegal,' answered the sailor, 'is a most magnificent country, where
the rivers are made of milk, and the mountains of sugar. The rain is
composed of lemonade, and the birds fall down from the trees all stuffed
and roasted, ready to eat, from morning till night. The trees are
covered with sugar-plums; and all the streams are full of goldfishes,
which come when you whistle to them. They are real gold, and used for
money by the inhabitants!'

"'But--do they ever _write exercises there_?' asked Harry, with a
cunning twinkle in his eye.

"'NEVER!' cried the sailor, who saw what the trouble was with the silly
boy. 'The king of this delightful country has expressly forbidden it. He
has burned down all the colleges and blown up all the schools.'

"'Jolly!' cried Harry, snapping his fingers, 'that's the country for me!
I'll go with you, sure pop!'

"You perceive that heedless Harry did not use very elegant language, but
as a true historian, I must tell you of persons, places, and things just
as they are, and I hope your good sense will teach you to avoid all such

"The sailor, taking advantage at once of Harry's delight in his account
of Senegal, carried him to the captain, and making an awkward bow, said:
'Captain, here is a new hand.'

"'Good!' cried the captain. 'He looks strong. I hope he won't die of
weariness and fatigue, like the other ones.'

"At these words, Harry began to feel rather uncomfortable. 'What!' said
he to the sailor, as they left the cabin, 'do boys have to work on board
your ship?'

"'Sartain, for sure; all the time,' said the sailor, laughing.

"'I want to go away,' cried Harry, already disgusted with the maritime

"'What's that you say?' shouted the sailor, with a mocking air. 'You
forget, my fine friend, that I gave you a dinner; pay me for it.'

"Harry shook his pockets, they were empty. 'If you can't pay, you must
stay,' cried the sailor, and just then the ship left the harbor.

"The heedless boy burst into tears. Alas! sorrow and repentance came too
late! It was only now that he remembered his father and mother, probably
made ill with grief at his disappearance; and the worry the good market
man must be in, thinking the boy to whom he had been so kind was lost,
perhaps murdered, in the great and wicked city.

"In the midst of these doleful lamentations, the sailor came up and
pulled Harry by the ear.

"'Come, you sniffling booby! go to work,' he said.

"Harry looked at him in astonishment.

"'My eyes! do you think you can eat and drink for nothing? Come, take
this broom; do you hear?'

"Our dismal friend took the broom, and would liked to have broken it
over the head of the brutal sailor, but he was not strong enough.

"'Will you go to sweeping or not?' cried the sailor, swearing in the
most terrible manner.

"'I don't want to sweep,' said Harry.

"'Don't want to?'

"'No!' Harry, perfectly red with anger, threw down the broom, and
crossed his arms.

"'Oh! that's the way you behave, is it?' said the sailor. 'Come to me,

"With that he caught up a knotted rope's end, and gave Harry half a
dozen blows over his shoulders. You see blows from Susan were given
rather more frequently on board ship than sugar plums. 'Now, my dear
friend,' said the sailor, 'this is only the beginning of your fun. Now,
you know what will happen if you are idle. Susan is my wife, and my name
is Jack Bowsprit; so take care of Susan and Jack, and pick up the broom
and sweep the deck, if you don't want some more of our delicate

"Poor Harry began, to sweep with a trembling lip, his heart swelling
with rage and misery: then he had to wash the decks, and after that to
scrape the carrots and peel the potatoes, and then he was rewarded by
having a piece of salt pork given him for his supper, and eating it with
the sailors.

"Harry was in despair. When supper was over he came up and sat on the
deck to think. Tears came thick and fast as his misconduct and its
miserable consequences rose up in his mind. He knelt down for the first
time since he had left home, and prayed his Heavenly Father to forgive
him, and promised that if he only was permitted to see his dear parents
again, he would indeed be an obedient, thoughtful boy: he would try to
be so from that moment.

"Meanwhile, a fair, keen breeze rose, and continued for many days, and
the ship sailed swiftly on to her destination. In a month more they
beheld Senegal. Entering the river, they soon came to Saint Louis, where
they landed.

"You can imagine how rejoiced Harry was to set foot once more upon the
firm earth--not with the permission of the captain, though: for fearing
they might keep him on the ship all the time, in the dusk of the evening
he slid down a rope that was hanging over the side, and, scrambling on
shore without being seen, made the best possible use of his heels.

"Liberty is a very fine thing; but some other things are wanted besides
to make it perfect--dinner, for instance, and a house containing a
comfortable bed to sleep in.

"Harry was not much afraid at first at finding himself in a savage
country, alone and unprotected. To the heedless, whatever is new is

"It was now bright moonlight, serene and still. Harry, exhausted and
tired with his flight, lay down on the luxuriant grass.

"At home, lying down in such a bed would have given him so severe a cold
in his head, that he would have nearly sneezed and snuffled it off. Not
so in Senegal. Still there were other inconveniences, for Harry had not
rested for five minutes, when he heard a stealthy footstep; his heart
began to beat. He had learned in his Geography that Senegal was full of
wild beasts, as well as the sugar plums the treacherous sailor talked
about. He began to wish he had staid in the ship; but if he returned,
there was Jack Bowsprit, and there was SUSAN as sure as a gun. It is no
doubt very disagreeable to be devoured by wild beasts; but then again it
is very painful to be beaten by a Susan. Harry was sure of the beating
if he returned, and he was not quite sure of being eaten up if he
remained; so he concluded to stay.

"While he was cogitating all these things, he heard again the same
stealthy tread; and, in a moment, he saw in the bright moonlight a
jackal, about the size of a big dog.

"Our heedless Harry was without weapons of defence, but he was by no
means without courage. Up he sprang, seized a large stone, and flung it
at the jackal; at almost the same instant the wild beast leaped at him
and bit his leg.

"Both gave a howl of pain at the same moment. Happily, Harry was not
much hurt; while the jackal, with another cry, lay dead at his feet.

"Harry gazed at his fallen enemy, his heart beating with excitement; he
could not help thinking that if any thing a quarter as bad had happened
to him at home, his kind mother could not have found caresses and
court-plaster enough to console him; and here he was, alone, and
wounded. He went to a stream near by, and washed and tied up his leg as
well as he could; and then he began to think how he could pass the night
without danger. To rest on the bosom of the earth was not safe; another
jackal might come after the first to help him pick the bones. To be sure
he might regain the ship--but SUSAN!! At last he concluded he would
leave the earth, and climb a tree. After much toil, and terrible
scratching and scrambling, he managed to get into an immense tree, and
settling himself in a fork like an arm-chair, he fell into a troubled


"The first rays of the sun awoke our hero. Just as he was about to
descend from the tree, he heard a slight noise above. He looked up, and
there he saw (oh! oh! what I hope you may never see except in a
Menagerie or Barnum's Museum) an enormous boa constrictor, at least
fifty feet long, suspended from the top boughs of the tree, twisting
about. With a fierce and horrible hiss, which froze the blood in Harry's
veins, he twisted, and turned, and looked at the terrified boy.

"Harry screamed aloud. He had read of this dreadful monster, how he
thought nothing of swallowing a bull whole for his breakfast; and, of
course, our young friend would be only a side dish--a mere trifle. The
boa advanced towards him with another dreadful hiss, which seemed to
say--'Here's a nice little mouthful! wait for me.'

"But Harry was determined to make one desperate attempt to postpone the
feast. He slid down the trunk of the tree like lightning, and when he
stood on the ground he did not stop to ascertain which way the wind
blew, but ran like a rail car, under full steam, panting and screaming
very much as they do.

"All at once he stopped short, for a terrible roaring, like an immense
peal of thunder, shook the earth. What was it? Oh, mercy! it was a great
lion who was just waking up.

[Illustration: THE LION.]

"What was the luckless, heedless boy to do? Between the lion and the boa
constrictor, Harry was certainly lost. Whichever was to eat him, it was
certain he would make a breakfast for one of them; for on turning his
head, he saw, to his increased horror, that the monstrous snake had
followed him; and at the same moment an enormous lion appeared running,
making bounds as high as the arch of a bridge.

"Harry threw himself on his knees. For one moment he was a prey to the
most agonizing despair. Then he clasped his hands together, and implored
for pardon for all his faults; and then rising, with a white and
terror-stricken face, he endeavored to await with fortitude the coming
of his cruel fate.

"But now a very remarkable thing happened. Harry, nearly petrified with
amazement, saw the lion and boa advance with savage fierceness upon each

"Oh! then he thanked God in his heart! He carefully crept to one side,
and watched, with an eagle-like glance, what would happen next.

"With a wild roar and savage bound, the lion sprang upon the serpent,
and tried to tear him in pieces, while the boa, hissing like a thousand
geese, twisted himself, fold after fold, round the body of his enemy,
crushing him, squeezing him, and rolling over till his bones cracked.
The angry roar changed into a cry of despair and frenzy. Soon that cry
became weaker and weaker, fainter and fainter, then ceased
altogether--the lion was dead.

"The monstrous serpent, without waiting to lay the table, or call for
mustard, licked his prey all over, and then swallowed him whole.

"You will ask, perhaps, why Harry did not run away. He had two excellent
reasons. The first was, he did not know where in this part of the world
to run; he might find a tiger at the very next turn; and the second,
that he was too frightened to move.

"So Harry stood by and witnessed this ruthless, shocking spectacle, to
the end, his heart beating as if it would leap out of his breast; and
when the boa had finished his frightful meal, the poor little fellow
observed that the monster was so gorged, he could scarcely move, and
that in a few moments more he was fast asleep.

"'There is one good thing,' he said to himself, 'the awful thing don't
care to breakfast twice, so I am safe for the present.'

"As the boa seemed perfectly helpless, he conceived a splendid but bold
idea, for he was by no means a timid child.

"He approached and stamped upon the tail of the reptile, who remained
immovable; then he made a cord of a vine that was growing near, with a
running knot at the end, and slipping this round the boa's neck, and
drawing it with all his might, he strangled the serpent.

"Hardly had he concluded this brilliant achievement, when he heard the
galloping of horses. Terrified and trembling, he waited half in hope and
half in fear for what was to come, when in a few moments, to his great
joy, he beheld some officers of the marine service, whom he was sure
were Americans, approaching him.

"What was their astonishment at seeing a little boy standing, pale, and
with eyes wild and distended with excitement, over the dead body of an
enormous snake.

"'Good gracious!' exclaimed the one who appeared to be the captain,
'what on earth are you doing with that amiable creature?'

"Harry, with his eyes full of tears, simply told his history.

"The officers were very much affected. They belonged to an American ship
of war that was just about returning home.

"'Would you like to go back with us?' said the captain, kindly.

"'Oh, Captain!' cried Harry, 'gladly will I go with you, but--'

"'But what?' asked the captain.

"'I want you to promise me that I shan't be beaten by Susan.'

"'What on earth do you mean?' cried the captain, as he and the rest
burst into a laugh.

"Harry explained how Jack Bowsprit used to beat him with a rope's end,
which he called his wife, Susan, and how he hated Susan worse than

"They all laughed again at this, and the captain promised that Susan
should be thrown overboard as far as he was concerned, and that he
should be taken safely home.

"So Harry went with the officers, who treated him as if he was their
son; and after a prosperous voyage, he arrived safely at New York; and
money was given him to get home.

"That very evening Harry stood once more before his sorrowing, almost
broken-hearted parents. What did they do? They did not utter one word of
reproach; they just opened their arms, and the boy flung himself upon
their breasts; and amid tears and blessings all was forgiven. But not
forgotten. Oh, no! for Harry, once so heedless, tried his utmost to
correct his faults, and with God's help, he _succeeded_; and now he is
so steady, industrious, and obedient, that it is almost impossible to
believe that he ever was called

                        HEEDLESS HARRY."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was many a roguish, laughing look cast at Harry as this strange
story was being read; and when it was finished, George exclaimed,
eagerly--"Oh, mamma! what a pity Aunt Fanny did not know about Harry,
and the old black cook, and the dishcloth! Wouldn't she have laughed?"

"Tell us about it, Harry, do! do!" cried all the brothers and sisters.

The children knew the story as well as Harry, but they delighted to
watch the sparkle of his eyes, and his animated gestures, for to tell
the truth, he _did_ enjoy mischief beyond words to describe.

"Well," cried Harry, jumping up, "you see I _would_ go down in the
kitchen and teaze the cook; and she could never touch me with the
broomstick, because I ran full tilt; and she was very fat, you know,
always trod on her dress, and sometimes came down flat on her nose.

"Well, one day she said--'If you come in the kitchen again, I'll pin the
dishcloth fast to your jacket!' I _came right back_. 'PIN IT!' said I,
'that's all I want.' So she pinned it, and I stood very, _very_ still
till it was done. Then I made one jump in the air, and gave one
tremendous shout, and put _square_ up stairs for mother's room, the cook
after me; but I ran fastest, she was so fat. I got in the room first,
tore off the dishcloth--her best dishcloth--bran new, and threw it into
the very middle of the fire; and she had the pleasure of seeing the last
of her new dishcloth blazing up the chimney. So that's what a cook gets
when she pins her dishcloth on a boy."

The children clapped their hands, and screamed with laughter at this
story; and they laughed still harder, when Harry put on a comical,
half-provoked look, and added, "But you know mother made me take the
very money I was going to buy a new ball with, and buy a yard of crash
to make another dishcloth for the cook; that crashed _me_, so I don't
think I shall burn any more for the present."

And now the children, bidding each other "good night," went skipping and
dancing to bed, delighted with the evening's entertainment, wondering
who would have the next story from Aunt Fanny.



_For Anna._

DEAR ANNA:--I have lately been reading a book full of pure and beautiful
thoughts, called "Vernon Grove," and the other evening I became
acquainted with the authoress. She is a most lovely lady, dignified and
graceful; and I had a very delightful conversation with her about books.

In Vernon Grove there is a short story about a dear little girl, which
story interested me so much, that I asked permission of the authoress to
copy it out for you. Here it is, somewhat enlarged and altered, but the
main parts just as she wrote it. I know, dear Anna, it is exactly such a
tender, sweet story, as will most gratify your affectionate heart; so it
is yours, with a kiss from your loving

                                                   AUNT FANNY.


"On a curtained bed, in a darkened chamber in the city of Charleston,
not many years ago, lay a beautiful lady, pale--almost dying; but, oh!
how happy, for her earnest prayer had been answered, and God had at
last given her the blessing of a child, and the little tender life was
even now nestling soft as a rose-leaf in her bosom.

"It was late in the sweet spring-time, which in that southern country is
so beautiful. A hushed and joyous stillness reigned in the house, but
every lip was smiling, from the good old black cook, who was 'so grad
missis ben got her heart's desire,' to the funny little fellow with his
wool standing up in kinks all over his head, who ran of errands, and who
evinced his delight by walking on his kinky head all about the yard.

"Never was baby more welcomed. A daughter, too, just what her parents
desired--a darling girl to be a companion for her mother all day long.

"The nursery was now the most interesting and delightful room in the
house. Though evidences of boundless wealth and exquisite taste were in
every part, until the baby came, it was only a grand, silent, gloomy
mansion; for no young pure voice had awakened the echoes in the stately
halls--no little pattering feet made there delicious heart-music.

"But _now_ what a magic change! How friends flocked to see the wonderful
nursery which the expectant mother had been so happy in preparing; how
they peeped into the bureau drawers, and admired the piles of rare lace
and snowy lawn, which were to enfold the delicate limbs of this favored

"And then the surprising and splendid toys in gold and silver! the
beautiful pictures already hung upon the walls, painted by skilful
artists, telling stories that she would understand almost from infancy,
of 'Little Red Riding Hood,' 'The Lamented Babes in the Wood,' and
'Little Mary and her pretty pet Lamb, who _would_ go to school with
her.' Ah! what a beautiful world was to be opened to the sight and mind
of that sweet spring flower.

"Every day the good doctor came to see the mother and the little baby,
and every day the mother grew stronger; and the greatest delight of both
parents was to look at their new child, and softly kiss its tender
cheek, and feel the velvet touch of its precious little hands.

"Then, very soon, it grew so knowing, and showed such surprising
quickness, far beyond (the _parents_ thought) of any baby ever seen or
read of since the beginning of the world. Of course it was very red at
first, but then the red was such a beautiful shade. It hadn't the least
speck of hair; but what of that? There was a lovely expression about
even the _back_ of its head; really quite intellectual.

"Very soon, it would start at an unexpected noise or touch, and if
dinner did not come at the very moment it was wanted, little Eva (for
that was her sweet name) could cry in a manner to astonish you; but
then, such an excellent cry! so loud and strong, that it was certain she
had splendid lungs. And what more could a mother's heart desire? And
her precious treasure was watched and guarded night and day by a
mother's love, stronger than death.

"But what is this? The good doctor watches little Eva as she grows, and
always when he looks at her, a sad, strange expression comes over his
face; and one day, when going down stairs, he paused, and turned to go
back, but did not, for he said aloud to himself: 'Not yet; they cannot
bear it yet; and perhaps, after all, I may be in the wrong.'

"They were both so happy--that young father and mother! How they pitied
all the poor married people who had no children!

"But the next day after this the good doctor decided not to withhold
the communication, whatever it might be, from Eva's father and mother.
As soon as he entered the room, he said abruptly: 'Nurse, bring me the
child.' He stood by a window, and threw wide open the darkened blinds.
The little Eva was brought to him just from her morning toilette, fresh,
sweet, and pure as a rain-brightened flower; her long embroidered dress
sweeping the carpet, and soft lace nestling about her tiny arms.

"'Oh, dear doctor!' exclaimed the young mother, 'do not take the baby
there! That bright glare of light has dazzled even my strong eyes; and
how can her feeble sight endure it?'

"'It is necessary, madam,' replied the doctor. He seemed to be a cross
old fellow, but beneath his gruff manner was hidden a great, kind heart.

"He took the child, and having sent the nurse away, turned from the
mother, who lay anxiously watching him. He gazed fixedly at little Eva,
while he exposed her beautiful and tender eyes to the bright glare of
the morning sun. His brow was contracted into a great heavy frown, and a
short but deep sigh escaped him; but he never took his eyes from her
face: then he forced the lids, with their long silken fringes, far away
from the ball of the eye, and little Eva was now screaming with the pain
caused by this rough and cruel treatment. Alas! a deeper shade of
anxiety crossed the doctor's face, and the hard and unfeeling man, as
the weeping mother thought him, drew the infant tenderly to his breast,
and murmured in a low tone, '_Poor little thing! poor little helpless
thing!_' and gave her back to her nurse, and went away without saying
another word.

"That same evening the doctor came again. It was very unusual for him to
come after dark, and his great creaking boots and rough manner would
have broken in upon a very pretty group.

"But he went softly up stairs, and looked in the room, unseen himself.
There was the happy mother wrapped in a cashmere, and half-buried in an
immense arm-chair, with a sweet motherly look upon her face, watching
her darling.

"Close to his wife, Eva's father sat, holding her in his arms; and,
wonderful to tell, for a _man_, holding her quite comfortably; for he
had lulled her to sleep with a lullaby of his own composition, the
language of which was utterly unknown to the rest of the company. He was
learning to talk 'baby talk,' and was really getting on very well, and
just now he was looking extremely proud and happy at his success in
soothing the little one.

"Opposite to these happy parents sat Mr. Vernon, a noble-looking
gentleman, and his wife, a beautiful lady, uncle and aunt to the baby;
and, in the distance, was the faithful black nurse, old Dinah, fast
asleep, and quite as happy, in her own opinion, as the rest of the

"Presently the father laid the baby tenderly down in her beautiful
cradle, and while gently rocking her, said softly: 'I wonder what the
baby was thinking about while I sang to her?'

"'She looked so wonderfully wise,' said the mother.

"'Did you ever come across that lovely little poem--"What is the little
one thinking about?"' said Mr. Vernon. 'I can only remember the last
part of it, though my little daughter has often read it to me,' and he
recited, in a sweet, low voice, this exquisite little fragment:

          "What is the little one thinking about?
           What does she think of her mother's eyes?
           What does she think of her mother's hair?
           What, of the cradle roof that flies
           Forward and backward through the air?
           What does she think of her mother's breast,
           Round and beautiful, smooth and white,
           Seeking it ever with fresh delight--
           Cup of her life, and couch of her rest?
           What does she think, when her quick embrace
           Presses her hand, and buries her face
           Deep, where the heart-throbs sink and swell
           With a tender love she can never tell,
               Though she murmurs the words
               Of all the birds,
           Words she had learned to murmur well?
           Now she thinks she'll go to sleep!
           I can see the shadow creep
           Over her eyes in soft eclipse
           Over her brow, and over her lips.
           Out to her little finger-tips!
           Softly sinking--down she goes!
           See! she is hushed in sweet repose."

"As the doctor gazed on this lovely scene, and heard the beautifully
touching words so fitly spoken, instead of smiling, he frowned and
sighed, for his heart was troubled.

"Coming forward, he grumbled out, 'A family party, I see.'

"'Yes,' said the father, rising and smiling; 'and no one but yourself
would find a welcome.'

"'So much the better,' growled the doctor. 'Nurse, light the gas.'

"'We have not lit it yet,' said the young mother, pointing to the two
wax lights in a distant corner, 'because they tell me the eyes of
infants are very weak and tender.'

"The doctor took no notice of this, only nodded to the nurse; and she,
standing in mortal fear that he would cut her head off immediately if
she hesitated, obeyed his order.

"The mother looked at her little child, who was still peacefully
sleeping, and then shaded her eyes with her hand from the sudden blaze
of light, thinking that though the doctor seemed very cruel, he must be
doing what was right. Poor young mother!

"'I only need this last test before I tell you what it means,' said the
doctor. 'Here, give me the child.'

"The father tenderly laid the little Eva in his arms, though quite at a
loss to imagine what experiment was to be tried. The light was certainly
too strong to be let suddenly into a darkened room, he thought; but the
doctor knew best. It was strange that only the noble-looking gentleman,
Mr. Vernon, seemed to divine the meaning of the rough but kind-hearted
man, but he knew only too well; he was _sadly sure_. I will tell you
why, presently.

"And now the tender head of the sleeping child lay helplessly against
the physician's rough coat, encircled by his arm.

"Suddenly he dashed some cold water, that stood near, into her face.

"Little Eva awoke, and opened her dark blue eyes immediately under the
bright stream of light. She did not cry; she did not shrink; calmly she
looked up, never flinching, never winking as she lay.

"The doctor raised her nearer and nearer to the flame; he turned the
screws, and let out each burner to its fullest capacity, and passed his
hands rapidly to and fro close to the child's eyes, then turning towards
the wondering, panic-stricken group, who were slowly beginning to
understand the meaning of that fearful pantomime, he laid her once more
in her father's arms, and looking in his face, said, in a rough, broken
voice, while a great tear trembled in his eye--'God help little

"The doctor went away that night with the sorrowful wail of the poor
parents smiting his heart.

"He came again and again, but nevermore in that house did he open the
door upon a group so smilingly happy, as that which greeted him on the
fatal night, when he told them the dreadful truth, that their child
would never see their faces, for she was blind.

"And now I will tell you about Mr. Vernon. When he was quite a young
man, rich, handsome, and surrounded with friends, he was taken ill with
a dreadful fever, which left him totally blind. For a long, long time he
murmured at God's will, and refused to believe there was any thing left
worth living for; but God's ways are not our ways, and in His own good
time He so softened the wilful heart of the blind man, so that he became
not only resigned, but happy.

"After a few years, God gave him a beautiful wife, who loved him more
because of the affliction which made him so dependent upon her loving
care; and oh! how I hope that all who are reading this true story will
have a tender pity for those upon whom God has caused outward darkness
to fall. They cannot see the sunshine, or the beautiful flowers--let
them _feel_ the warm sunshine of a loving heart.

"In due course of time Mr. Vernon had two lovely children, the elder a
pretty little maiden, with deep blue eyes, and dark, wavy hair, whose
sweet name was Ruth. The dear little girl was six years old before the
other darling came to gladden his parents' heart, and having no
companions but her blind father and gentle mother, she grew to be quite
a dignified little woman. None so proud and happy as Ruth, when she was
guiding her blind father; none knew better all his favorite walks in and
around the beautiful country place where they lived; and her gentle,
patient ways made her the very darling of his heart.

"In a few years there was another little being in the world, to whose
happiness Ruth was necessary; and that was her poor blind cousin, Eva,
and though Ruth's parents missed her sadly, they would often give up
their darling, and send or take her into the city, to visit and comfort
and amuse Eva.

"Ruth understood Eva better than any one else, because she had been her
dear blind father's constant companion; and Eva loved her with all her
heart; she knew her step; she would hear it before any one else did,
and the color would rush in her face, and she would wait with beating
heart till the door opened, and then she would rush to her, throw her
arms round her neck, and cry, 'Oh, dear Ruth! darling Ruth!' and kiss
her twenty times, and Ruth would kiss Eva just as many, and then they
would sit down close together, and have such a nice, happy talk! for
Ruth had to tell all about the chickens, and Dandy, the pony, who loved
sugar so dearly; and how she had hemmed six pocket-handkerchiefs for her
dear father, and most wore a hole in her little thimble; and how her
little baby brother had scrabbled off with old Dobbin's bran-bag, just
as the poor old horse was going to eat his dinner, and poked his own
dear little head in it, and when he pulled it out, the bran was all over
his face, making him look as if he was covered with freckles; which
funny caper made Eva laugh like 'any thing.'

"And when the talking was over, Ruth read to little Eva, for all toys
were useless to the blind child; but her books were doubly dear, and
Ruth was never tired of reading to her; so while she staid, Eva was as
happy as it was possible to be.

"One day the good doctor brought a celebrated occulist to see Eva. An
occulist is a physician who cures diseases of the eyes, and devotes his
whole time and talent to that precious and delicate part of the human

"The occulist examined her eyes very carefully, and then said: 'After a
few years I can perform an operation on Eva's eyes that _may_ give her
sight; but it will be a very painful one, and perhaps I may not succeed.
If this dear little child were mine, I would almost rather let her
remain blind than give her such terrible pain, which may end in

"But oh! what a blessed hope! her parents _would not_ see the dark side;
they dwelt upon the happiness it would be for little Eva to see; and one
day her father took her upon his knee, and, fondly kissing her, said:
'Eva, my darling, would you like to see the beautiful sunlight and sweet

"'O papa! yes! yes! but, most of all, I want to see you and mamma, and
Ruth and Dinah.'

"'Well, my darling, if you can make up your mind to endure a terrible
pain, when you are older we will have the operation tried. It will only
last a moment, dear Eva, and then just think! you will see the whole
beautiful world! and know all of us by our faces, as you now do by our
steps and voices; you will see the birds flying in the air; the moon
sailing slowly in the heavens, the little twinkling stars, and the
rippling water, and we shall be so happy! so happy! I will not tell you
when to have it done; I will wait till _you_ are ready, my darling.'


"Then Eva thought long of it, and had many an earnest conversation upon
the subject with her little cousin Ruth; and one day she said: 'Ruth,
will you promise me, _true for true_, that you will come and hold my
hand when they operate upon my eyes?'

"'I promise you, _true for true_,' said Ruth.

"And so the matter was settled.

"Time passed on; and Eva was now eleven years old, and Ruth nine.

"Then Eva made a great resolution, and going to her father, she said:
'_Father, I am ready_ NOW.'

"They were simple words; but poor little Eva had prayed to God, for
nights and nights, and many times in the day, to give her strength to
say them, and God had heard her prayer; for though her father turned
deadly pale at the words, the low sweet voice of the child did not

"And now the good doctor came, all his roughness gone, and he held that
little head, with its glossy waves of hair, to keep it steady, but it
trembled far less than he did; for he had watched Eva from her infancy,
and dearly loved her, and he was intensely interested in the result of
the experiment about to be performed.

"Near Eva stood her mother and her brave and faithful cousin Ruth,
holding her hand, as she had promised '_true for true_,' and telling her
to take courage, for all would be well.

"'Patience,' said the operator, softly; 'a pang, and half the suffering
will be over.'

"The little hand which held Ruth's was clasped more tightly, and a groan
smote on the listeners' ears. The room reeled--a faintness came over the
heroic child; but she was soon herself again.

"'Would you not rather wait a day or two for the other eye to be
operated upon?' said the kind physician. 'A week hence, or a month, will

"'Oh! no,' answered Eva, with quiet self-possession, 'let it be done
to-day; let it be done NOW. I do not think I could bear the suspense,
and it would _please my father_ to know that it was over.'

"Love sustained her. Another sigh--another groan, and it was finished.

"Then came the bandages, the darkened room, the stillness, the repose,
for one whose nerves had been so shaken; but often those little cousinly
hands were clasped together in a pressure which spoke more love than
many words.

"Her father hardly ever left the house, and her mother wept often, for
she loved her child in her blindness as much as a mother _could_ love,
and had never wished her to go through so much suffering--suffering
which might be fruitless; and she waited for the result with trembling

"A _look_ from a physician has often more weight than many words spoken;
and Ruth, who read the good doctor's face with the keenness of a child's
perception, was the first to see an expression of hope shining upon it.
When the day came for the bandages to be removed, Eva's father and
mother were so dreadfully agitated, that they had to leave the room.
Trembling, they stood outside in the hall, waiting for the happy or
wretched tidings.

"But Ruth--brave little Ruth--held Eva's hand as before. Those little
clasped hands gave each other courage, for Ruth needed it as much as
Eva, and her heartbeats could almost be heard in the silence. What a
study her sweet little face was, as the emotions of love, pity, fear,
and hope, crossed it, as shadowy clouds flit across the sky!

"Slowly, cautiously, the bandages were removed, and at last the end
came, and the little girl saw upon the physician's face a broad,
cheerful, happy smile. Ruth was a heroine, and had great self-control;
but now control became impossible. She thought not of consequences--she
only thought of the unceasing prayer which had been breathed by that
household for many weeks--she only saw that that prayer had been

"'SHE WILL SEE! she will see!!' she almost screamed. 'Eva! Eva! love!
darling! do you hear?'

"The physician gave her a stern look of rebuke, but it was too late;
Little Eva had fainted.

"'_Ruth is right_,' said he to the father and mother, who had rushed in
at this blessed announcement, 'but she has been too abrupt. Her cousin
and herself are wonderful little women in times of trial and danger; but
neither of them are equal to a sudden joy.'

"It was a long time before Eva got well, and was permitted to use her
new and precious gift of sight; but then the amazement and delight with
which she ran from one thing to another--the joy with which she gazed
upon the faces of her parents and Ruth, no one of us, who have always
seen, can ever know or appreciate.

"And old Binah said, as she hugged her darling to her faithful breast,
'God bress de good massa dat gib de sight to my little missis. It don't
make no sort of difference to she, case old Binah _black_. Dear, no!
she lub her just de same when she see _dat_! don't you, little missis?'

"'Why, _of course_ I do,' answered little Eva, and she kissed good old
Binah, and ran off with Ruth to look at some flowers. Oh, that precious
sight! how dear it was, to her!

"And now she is no longer _poor_ rich little Eva."

       *       *       *       *       *

The children had listened to the story of Eva, with eager, breathless
attention; and when Ruth screamed out, "She will see! she will see!"
they very nearly screamed, too, so rejoiced were they that the blindness
had been removed; and the dear little girl had not suffered so much for

"It must be so terrible to be blind," said Anna; "don't you remember
when we went to see the exhibition of the blind children at the Academy
of Music, the tears were rolling down mamma's face nearly the whole
time, and we all felt so sorry, that we came home quite unhappy?"

"Dear me," cried Harry, "I do wish there was no such affliction; why
must there be, mamma?"

"God knows best, dear Harry," answered the little mother. "If He did
not, for His own wise purpose, permit us to know trouble and sorrow in
this world, we would never desire that blessed rest and peace hereafter,
which he promises to all those who put their trust in him."

"Yes, God must know best," said Clara, in a low voice; "for dear Charley
has had more suffering and sorrow than any of us, and yet he loves Him,
and wants to go to heaven."

"When Charley was very little," said the mother, "I found him crying
bitterly one day. 'Why, what is the matter, my darling?' I said.

"'Oh mamma!' he sobbed, 'I am so afraid there won't be room enough in
heaven for me! Do you think such a poor, lame child can get there?'

"I took him in my arms, and kissed and comforted him, and told him that
Jesus looked at the heart, not at the weak, crooked body; and that the
better and purer his life was, the greater would be his welcome to His
house Beautiful, when life had ended here."

All the children looked at Charley, with their eyes full of love; and in
their prayers that night, they entreated that Jesus would remember their
dear little brother's life-long suffering, and give him a place close to
Him in heaven.



_For George._

"DEAR GEORGE:--You know you are now nearly seventeen years old, and
quite a patriarch in the Nightcap family; and I am rejoiced that I can
say with truth, that you have been, and are, a most excellent elder
brother, unselfish, sweet-tempered, and always setting a good example."

"Dear me," interrupted George, laughing and blushing very much, "I do
not deserve such high praise;" but here the expression of his face
changed, his lip began to tremble, and running up to his mother, he
kissed her, and said--"Whatever I am that is good, you, dear mother,
have made me."

"With God's help and blessing, my dear son," said his mother, returning
the kiss; and then she went on reading.

"When you were a little fellow, of not quite seven years, you had the
scarlet fever, and were very ill; and perhaps you remember how cross you
were for a long time after."

"Oh, yes," exclaimed George; "mother used to say somebody else must have
jumped into my skin, for, certainly, I was not the same George."

"I have written a story about this change in temper, and how a cure was
effected. _You_ became sweet-tempered again, as soon as you got quite
well; but Arthur, in my story, required a lesson and some punishment, as
he became cross without scarlet fever, rhyme, or reason. I hope you will
let me know if you think I have invented a good plan to cure a
cross-patch. You know I am a great believer in our always trying first
upon _ourselves_, what we propose to '_do to others_,' as the very best
way of finding out if we would like the same '_done to us_.'"

"Why, that's the 'golden rule!'" cried little Minnie; and now the
children settled themselves, and eagerly listened to the following


"When Arthur was about seven years old, he was one of the very best boys
to be found in a long summer's day. In the morning he would spring out
of bed with a bright smile, wash and dress himself quickly, with the
help of Mary, his kind nurse, say his prayers slowly and reverently,
(ah! _that_ was the secret of his goodness!) and then all day long he
would be so obliging and good-tempered, that no one could help loving
him that knew him; and so they didn't try to help it, for everybody
loved him dearly.

"But, alas! I have heard the doctors say, (and of course _they_ must
know,) that once in every seven years the whole body is renewed, flesh,
bones, blood, nerves, muscles; and I grieve to have to relate, that in
Arthur's case the change seemed to include his spirit-part also; that
is, his good temper and loving ways marched out of him, and some very
bad substitutes marched in, as I shall proceed to relate.

"One morning Arthur awoke at his usual hour, but not with his usual
smile. His face was all puckered up like a frozen apple. He floundered
about the bed, and bumped his head against the head-board, and was just
as cross as forty bears.

"Of course every thing went wrong; he put his stockings on wrongside
out, tied his shoes in a hard knot, pulled on his pantaloons with the
back part before, and drew his arms through his jacket upside down. Did
you ever hear of such a piece of work?

"When Mary came to brush his hair and wash his face, he screamed out,
stamping his foot at her--'Do stop! Stop! I tell you! You brush me as
hard as ever you can! I wish you would leave me alone, you ugly old

"Oh, dear, dear, what a sad boy! He puts me in mind of that other
naughty boy who scolded his nurse in a piece of poetry. This is it:

          "'Oh _why_ must my face be washed so clean,
              And scrubbed and scoured for Sunday?
           When you know very well, as you've always seen,
              'Twill be dirty again on Monday.

          "'My hair is stiff with the hateful soap,
              That behind my ears is dripping;
           My smarting eyes, I'm afraid to ope,
              And my lips the suds are sipping.

          "'They're down my throat, and they're up my nose,
              And to choke me you seem to be trying,
           That I'll shut my mouth, you needn't suppose,
              For how can I keep from crying?

          "'And you rub as hard as ever you can,
              And your hands are hard, to my sorrow;
           No woman shall wash me, when I'm a man,
              And I wish I was one to-morrow.'

"But at last Arthur went sulking down to breakfast, _forgetting to say
his prayers_; and taking his seat at the table, whined out, the very
first thing--'Just look at this piece of toast; it is all burnt, and as
hard as a stone. I won't have it!' Then he tasted his coffee, and
exclaimed--'Pooh! what coffee! perfect slops!'

"His mother was grieved to see him acting so naughtily, and said,
gently--'I am sorry, Arthur, you are not pleased; will you have an egg?'

"Arthur cracked an egg with his teaspoon, looked at it, threw it down,
and turning up his nose with disdain, said--'Eggs! Brickbats you mean!
they have been boiling all night.'

"This exhibition of ill temper distressed his mother exceedingly, but
she did not say any thing to him then; being a woman of excellent sense,
she formed a plan in her mind which she hoped would effect a cure.

"Arthur was an only child. His parents were rich, and they preferred
that he should be educated at home; they feared his learning evil as
well as good at a large school. Hitherto this plan had been very
successful, for Arthur was as studious and obedient as his tutors could
possibly wish; and this sudden and sad change made all around him
unhappy. I will give you a history of one of these miserable days.

"On this morning, his tutor arrived, as usual, at nine o'clock; and
commenced by giving his pupil a lesson in penmanship. There was an
ominous scowl on Arthur's face. He twitched his copy-book before him,
pretended he could not find a good pen, scratched and blotted the paper
from top to bottom, and so, when the lesson was finished, the page was
a sight to behold.

"'You have not tried to write well,' said his master, mildly.

"'My pen was abominable, and the paper was greasy,' said Arthur,

"'A bad workman always pretends that his _tools_ are to blame,' said the

"'Oh, dear me! you are never satisfied! If I write too lightly, you say
it looks as if a spider had scampered over the paper with inky legs; if
I bear on harder, you ask me how much horse power I have put on to make
such heavy strokes. I don't know what to do! I don't! You are always

"'Oh, no! not always, for here are a great many pages on which I have
written, "Very well; very well, indeed."'

"'That was only by chance,' said Arthur.

"'But if these chances do not always occur, whose fault is it?'

"'Oh, mine! I suppose you mean to say,' answered Arthur, pettishly.

"'Well, my dear boy, only look at your writing to-day. It resembles a
company of soldiers, each of whom carries his musket to suit himself,
this one to the right, that to the left, a third horizontally, a fourth
perpendicularly, and all the rest of the letters with broken backs and
crooked legs. Just look at it!'

"'Oh, dear! you are always mocking me,' whined Arthur. 'One would think
I did it all on purpose. Oh, dear me!'

"At last this lesson came to an end; but the others were no better, and
the poor master went away with his temper sorely tried, sadly
remembering the happy and good little Arthur of the year before.

"In the afternoon, his mother said, in a pleasant tone, 'Come, dear
Arthur, come and take a walk with me; it is such a lovely day; the
robins are singing in the trees; and look, how fast the delicate white
clouds are sailing through the air! Come, dear.'

"'It isn't pleasant! and I can't _bear_ robins,' said Arthur.

"His mother sighed and went alone.

"Left at home, Arthur tried to amuse himself. He got out his puzzle, or
dissected map of the United States; but as ill-tempered people are
never patient or gentle, in a very little while he had cracked South
Carolina nearly in two, snapped off the top of Maryland, broken New York
into three pieces, and made mince-meat of the Union generally, which was
a very shocking thing to do, even on a dissected map; and then, the
cross boy ended by throwing all the States into the black coal-scuttle.

"After this he tried to read; but nothing seemed to amuse him. From
'Robinson Crusoe' he went to the 'Rollo Books,' and from those to
'Nightcaps,' and declared they were all stupid alike, 'a perfect pack of

"As a last resource, he called Jumbo, his big cat, who was so fond of
Arthur, that he would let him do just what he pleased with him, that
is, as long as his little master was kind; but to-day he pinched his
ears, and pulled his tail, and twitched his whiskers at such a rate,
that poor Jumbo puckered up his face like a pudding-bag, and squalled
like a first-class opera singer.

"'The bad old thing!' exclaimed Arthur. 'I declare, he ought to be
drowned! I'll never play with him again. Scat! scat! get out!' and off
scampered poor Jumbo, and hid himself behind the kitchen door.

"All this time you are wondering his mother did not punish him. Wait a
little. Just read to the end, and then tell me what you think of her
mode of punishment. I shall wish very much to know if you approve of

"One evening, after Arthur had gone to bed, his father and mother had a
long consultation with each other about the best way of curing Arthur's
ill temper; and they agreed upon a plan his mother had thought of during
the day.

"The next morning came, when the trial was to be made. Every one
received his or her instructions from Arthur's mother, and were quite
ready to begin the new mode of punishment.

"But, for a wonder, on this particular morning Arthur awoke feeling very
pleasant and amiable. Never mind, he was to receive his lesson all the

"While Mary was helping him to dress, she seemed very snappish and


"'Do, for goodness sake, keep still, Master Arthur!' she said; 'you are
always fidgeting and fussing.'

"'_I?_' said Arthur, laughing. 'Why, I've been as still as a mouse!'

"Mary was silent for a moment, but presently she exclaimed--'How
carelessly you have washed your hands, your shirt is all wet. I have
shown you how to wash without splashing a hundred times. You worry my
life out!'

"'I _tried_ to do as you told me,' said Arthur, with a little sigh.

"'Oh, fiddlesticks! don't tell _me_! You are a terrible boy!' and Mary
bounced out of the room, banging the door behind her.

"Arthur went down to breakfast, and ran up to his mother to tell her
about Mary. 'I think _she_ was "terrible,"' he said. 'What could be the
matter with her, mamma?'

"'Perhaps she was indulging in ILL TEMPER,' answered his mother,

"When they sat down to breakfast there was no toast.

"'I should like a piece of toast,' said Arthur.

"His mother rang a little bell, and the cook came in. She looked first
at the mistress, with a peculiar smile, and then she looked at Arthur.

"'Margaret,' said he, 'there is no toast.'

"'I know it, Master Arthur; it was too brown; and you are so hard to
suit, that I did not dare to serve it.'

"'_I_ hard to suit?' cried Arthur, who seemed to have forgotten what a
naughty boy he had been. '_I_ hard to suit? Not at all. If the toast
_is_ a little too brown, I don't mind it. Give it to me, Margaret.'

"'I threw it away,' said the cook.

"'Oh, well, I'm in no hurry; I will wait while you make me another

"'My fire has gone out,' said the cook.

"'Well, you can re-light it, can't you?'

"'Do you think I have nothing to do but to wait upon you?' cried the
cook. 'You know nothing ever suits you; and you always speak rudely to
me;' and she flounced out of the room.

"'How _can_ she say so, mamma?' cried Arthur. '_I_ speak rudely to her?
Why, I was as polite as ever I could be. It is too bad!'

"'Servants find it very hard to attend upon you, Arthur. They are
accustomed to polite treatment from the rest of us.'

"'Well--but mamma--to accuse me to-day, when it was _she_ who'--

"'Was indulging in ILL-TEMPER,' interrupted his mother.

"_Arthur understood_, and was silent.

"The hour for his grammar lesson had now arrived. The tutor bowed to
Arthur's mother, smiled, and commenced:

"'Do you _know_ your lessons, my young friend?'

"'I have studied them, sir.'

"'Do you _know_ them? It is of little consequence that you have studied
them, if you do not know them.'

"'I believe I do, sir.'

"'Well, let us see--begin.'

"'In the _tenses_,' began Arthur a little embarrassed, 'we should
distinguish the _moods_ and the verbs.'

"'Nonsense! you should have said, "In the _verbs_ we should distinguish
the moods and the tenses."'

"'Yes, sir, that is what I _meant_ to say; I knew that, but my tongue

"'Your tongue slips very often. Continue'--

"Arthur, still more embarrassed, said--'We should also distinguish the
_moods_ and the persons.'

"'You must be demented! What have the moods to do in that sentence?
Perhaps you are expecting a visit from the man in the moon, and that
makes you talk such nonsense. The grammar says--"We should distinguish
the _numbers_ and the persons." Your tongue does nothing but slip; you
do not know your lesson.'

"'Excuse me, sir; I do know it.'

"'You are not respectful, Master Arthur,' said the teacher in a cold,
severe tone.

"'But, sir'--

"'When a boy knows his lesson he does not make such abominable blunders
in reciting.'

"'But, sir, you troubled me; you put me out.'

"'_I_ trouble you? A very singular excuse, and a very poor one. Come,
let me look at your composition.'

"But here matters became worse and worse. The master 'pshawed,' and
frowned, and grumbled to himself. 'No application! no thought! bad
spelling! bad grammar! a perfect mass of faults!'

"Arthur grew red and pale by turns, as his teacher wrote right across
the page in large letters: 'A composition so badly done, that it is
impossible to correct it.'

"Then he rose coldly, looking very grim, took his hat, and addressing
Arthur's mother, said--'Madam, I cannot consent to teach your son any
longer; I have so little success, that I feel I have no right to the
very liberal salary you have accorded me. Another, perhaps, will do

"'Oh, sir! no! pray, don't go!' exclaimed Arthur; 'I will try to do
better! indeed, I will! upon my word and honor I will. I love you, sir!'

"A pleasant light suddenly came into the teacher's eyes, and a soft
smile passed like lightning over his lips.

"'Do, please, give me your hand, sir,' said Arthur, 'and promise me that
you will continue to teach me.'

"His broad, black eyebrows immediately contracted into a great frown;
and he said gruffly--'Very well, I will try you once more,' and left the

"For a few moments there was silence; then a distressed expression came
over Arthur's face, as he said--'Mamma, my teacher was very--(he was at
a loss for a word) very _singular_ with me to-day--don't you think so,

"'What do you mean by _singular_?'

"'Why, not as he usually is--not at all.'

"'His reproofs seemed perfectly just to me; you were not perfect in your

"'Well, mamma, I do not deny that; but at all other times he has been so
kind and patient, and never treated me with such unexpected severity.'

"'Ah!' said his mother, 'I am afraid, then, that this morning he was
indulging in ILL TEMPER.'

"Arthur hung his head, and was silent: his conscience was busy
whispering to him, and the rest of the morning passed painfully; but
after luncheon, he prepared for a walk with joy, for the day was lovely,
and the air exhilarating.

"But all at once the sky became overcast, and very soon after the rain
fell in torrents.

"'Oh, dear me, how tiresome!' cried Arthur, 'just when I am going to
take a walk; it is perfectly hateful.'

"'God sends the rain,' said his mother, gently.

"Arthur hung his head again without answering. What could he say,
indeed? But with his new resolution strong in his mind, he determined
to bear this disappointment with patience; and he called Jumbo to play
with him.

"But the cat, usually so quick to come purring to his knee, remained
just where he was, as if he had been suddenly struck deaf, and dumb, and
blind. Arthur went to him, and tried to take him in his arms; but he
hissed at his playmate, and scampered away with his back and tail high
in the air, and hid under the sofa.

"'Ah me!' sighed Arthur, 'I suppose Jumbo is like the rest; he is
indulging in ILL TEMPER, too.'

"'Not quite that,' observed his mother; 'but animals have _memories_.'

"'I think you had better say that they are spiteful, mamma.'

"'Perhaps they are, my son; but they have no reason, while _we_ are
capable of controlling our impatience, and governing our passions, if we
ask God to help us.'

"Upon this Arthur fairly broke down; and, bursting into tears, sobbed
out--'Oh, dear mamma, I understand the lesson I have received from every
one to-day. Do believe that I will try with all my strength to conquer
my ill temper: I promise you. Do, please mamma, forgive me.'

"His mother wound her loving arms around her son, and tenderly kissed
him, and said--'I forgive you, my dear child, with all my heart, and we
will both pray to our Heavenly Father to send down His Holy Spirit to
guide and direct your efforts to do right. You have borne your
disappointments to-day with patience and resignation; and I feel that
you will soon be the good, sweet-tempered boy, you were a year ago.'

"Arthur kept his promise, and whenever he was tempted to give a cross
answer, or get in a passion, he was sure to remember in time the
celebrated day when everybody, by his mother's instructions, attempted
his cure, by showing him, in their own persons, the unlovely
consequences of indulging in

                            ILL TEMPER."

       *       *       *       *       *

"What a nice story!" exclaimed the children, "and what a good way of
curing Arthur--better than a hundred whippings. When we do any thing
bad, mamma, you must punish us Aunt Fanny's way. Couldn't you punish us
for something now?"

The little mother laughed at this comical request, and said--"I can't
think of any thing just now to punish you for; and I hope you don't want
to do any thing naughty on purpose."

"O dear, no!" cried the children, but George, with a good-humored
twinkle in his eye, added--"At any rate, mamma, the next time Harry puts
salt into the sugar-bowl, and makes me spoil my coffee, I intend to put
powdered sugar into the salt-cellar for him to sprinkle over his stewed

"Oh, do!" cried all the children; "only think of oysters and sugar!
perfectly dreadful!"

"'Well,' said Harry, laughing, 'I shall have to buy a snuff-box, then,
and keep it in my pocket full of salt.'

"'But don't forget yourself,' said Anna, 'and politely offer a pinch of
it to the first old lady you meet; she might think you meant to play a
trick upon her, you know.'

"'What an idea!' cried Harry; 'I wouldn't do such a thing; I should
think it would make her sneeze worse than any snuff. Wouldn't it?'

"'The best way to find that out,' said George, with a roguish smile,
'would be to take a good pinch yourself.'

"While this conversation had been going on, little Johnny had
disappeared in the pantry; and now, at this very moment, he came out,
screaming: 'Oh! my nose hurts! my nose hurts!' and ran to his mother.

"It seems that, anxious to find out what kind of snuff salt would make,
he had privately walked into the pantry, and had snuffed and poked quite
a quantity into his poor little nose, and now it smarted as if twenty
hornets had stung him at once; and he jumped up and down with the pain.

"They had a great time soaking his nose in warm water, and felt very
sorry for him, though they could not, for their lives, help laughing
when George said that Johnny had salted and pickled his nose so well,
that it would keep in the hottest weather; at any rate, it would last
him as long as he lived; which comforted Johnny very much, for he
thought that it might have to be cut off to get the salt out.

"After this they bid everybody good night, and went to bed, and Johnny
said he felt 'pretty _compertuffle_.' His mother had told him that 'good
little Henry,' of whom you have read, always said 'compertuffle' for
'comfortable,' and Johnny thought it was just the right word to express
his feelings."



_For Clara._

DEAR, TENDER-HEARTED LITTLE CLARA:--In the olden time, there was a
beautiful superstition in Germany, that on Christmas eve our Saviour,
just as he was when a little child here below, comes at midnight in at
the door, and fills all those children's shoes with gifts, who have
followed His example of goodness and obedience. You know that _you_
hang up your _stockings_, and Santa Claus comes down the chimney; but
the little German children believe that they are far more blessed. It is
a beautiful idea, for it brings Him, who for our sakes became a little
child on earth, more closely and lovingly to the children's hearts. They
grow up sure of His love and sympathy, from infancy to old age.

I have asked Sarah ("the doctor") to write me another story after the
German fashion, on purpose for you. She has given me this "Rose Crown;"
and the story turns upon the sweet and solemn belief of the German

You will perceive that the little Gottfried in the story thought of this
with such intensity, and with such perfect faith in its truth, as to
cause him to walk in his sleep, like a somnambulist. No doubt your dear
mother can tell you many strange and extraordinary stories of
somnambulists, who do the most wonderful and startling things while in
this kind of trance state, of which they are utterly unconscious when
they awake.

I hope this story will please my dear little Clara; it is called


"It was Christmas eve, and a cold winter's day. The flakes of snow fell
softly and thickly, and had already covered the earth with a white

"At one of the windows of the large house that stands on the top of the
hill, where the purple violets first peep out in the spring-time, stood
the little Gottfried and his sister Marie.

"'Only look, dear Marie,' said Gottfried, 'how fast the snow falls! What
large flakes! They look like little milk-white doves.'

"'It is the Mother Holle shaking her feather-beds,' cried Marie,
laughing; and looking up towards the sky, and beckoning with her hand,
she sang--

            "'Mother Holle,
             Good wife Holle,
          Fill the meadows fair and full:
             Stay not, pause not,
             Shake away,
          Make the snow fall fast to-day.'

"'Oh! I can sing a prettier song than thine,' said Gottfried. 'Listen,
now. The good wife Katarine taught it to me;' and he sang--

            "'See the snow-flakes,
             Merry snow-flakes!
          How they fall from yonder sky,
          Coming lightly, coming sprightly,
          Dancing downwards, from on high.
          Faint or tire, will they never,
          Wheeling round and round forever.
             Surely nothing do I know,
             Half so merry as the snow;
          Half so merry, merry, merry,
             As the dancing, glancing snow.

            "'See the snow-flakes,
             Solemn snow-flakes!
          How they whiten, melt and die.
          In what cold and shroud-like masses
          O'er the buried earth they lie.
          Lie as though the frozen plain
          Ne'er would bloom with flowers again.
             Surely nothing do I know,
             Half so solemn as the snow,
          Half so solemn, solemn, solemn,
              As the falling, melting snow.'

"'Ah! thy song is sad, brother,' said little Marie: 'it makes me sigh.'

"As she spoke, a little boy, poorly clad, was seen coming up the avenue;
and Gottfried exclaimed--'Here comes Heinrich!' and running out of the
room, he presently returned, leading by the hand Heinrich, the little
faggot-maker, whose mother, a poor but pious widow, lived in a hut just
out of the village.

"'Why, Heinrich, where hast thou been this cold day?' asked Marie.

"'Taking my faggots to Herr Kaufferman's,' said the poor boy. 'But oh,
Gottfried, they have there the most beautiful Christmas Tree!' and then
Heinrich paused and sighed.

"'And to-night the dear Christkindchen, or Holy Child, will bring them
presents,' said Gottfried. 'I hope he will fill _thy_ shoes full.'[A]

"'Alas! the Christ-child never comes to me,' said Heinrich.

"'What! hast thou never heard how he comes at midnight, bearing a
lighted taper and a crown of white roses, and gives presents to all
the good children?'


"'My mother has told me of this,' said Heinrich, 'and I have waited and
watched, but he _never_ comes! He never _will_ come. It was only
yesterday that I met Hans, the butcher's son, and he mocked me, and
snapped his fingers in my face, and said--"Thou art so poor, that thy
shoes will never have any thing in them;" and I was so angry, and wanted
to strike him, but my mother said I must never fight or quarrel with any
one, and I went away from him; but it is hard to be poor,' and here he
began to cry.

"'Ah! yes, it is sad, dear Heinrich; but do not weep; here, wipe thine
eyes with my new pocket-handkerchief. Come, now, be happy; and I will
pray to the Christ-child, and beg him to come this very night to thee.'

"At this the little faggot-maker's face brightened, and soon after he
went away.

"In the evening, the children had their supper, and soon after they
stood by the knee of their kind mother, and sang this hymn:

          "Jesus, our Shepherd! we ask for thy blessing,
             Through the long hours of this dreary night;
           Let us not know (thy kind favor possessing)
             Danger or sorrow, till morning is bright.

          "Jesus, our Saviour! oh! grant thy protection,
             To thy dear arms we have trustingly come;
           Oh, Lamb of God! make secure our election,
             Guard us, and keep us, and call us thine own.

          "Jesus, our Crown! Oh, thou Heavenly Glory!
             Humbly we kneel, and entreat thee to love,
           Bless and receive us, as in Bible story,
             Till we shall come to thy mansion above."

"When they had finished the hymn, they reverently repeated their
prayers; and then, each bidding the other good night and sweet dreams,
went to their white-curtained beds.

"Later at night, their mother came to see that they were warm. Gottfried
was still awake; he was troubled about little Heinrich; and he told his
mother how the poor boy had grieved because the Christ-child never came
to him. 'I have prayed to Him, dear mother; do you think He will hear
me?' said the tender-hearted boy.

"'Yes, dear child,' said the mother, 'dost thou not remember what the
hymn says?

          "'And when, dear Jesus, I kneel down,
             Morning and night to prayer,
           Something there is within my heart,
             Which tells me THOU ART THERE."

"'He works sometimes through _human_ hands; and now look thou, my little
Gottfried,' continued his mother, kissing him, 'I will make this night a
wreath of white roses for thee, and fasten a purse about the stems, with
some golden guilders within, and thou shalt take it to Heinrich
to-morrow morning.'

"'Ah, thou dearest mother!' cried Gottfried, joyfully, and the loving
kisses were pressed upon her cheek. 'The dear Jesus has heard me
already;' and kneeling in the bed, he poured out his grateful thanks;
and then lying down, he soon fell asleep, with a bright flush of
happiness upon his face.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The snow had ceased to fall, and it was late, but still in the widow's
cottage the fitful fire-light (for candles there were none) showed her
bending over some work. By her side on the hearth crouched the little

"'Go to bed, dear child,' said his mother; 'it is too late for thee.'

"'Ah, dear mother! let me wait for thee,' answered the boy; 'it is so
cold and dark in our little room above.' He was silent for a moment,
gazing into the fire in a wishful manner; then he said--'Mother, dost
thou think the Christ-child will indeed hear Gottfried's prayer, and
come to me and thee?'

"'I hope he will, my Heinrich,' said the sad mother, smiling faintly.

"'Ah, but mother, dost thou not _know_ it?'

"The fire burned low, and the poor woman could no longer see. She put up
the coarse sewing with a sigh, and resting her hand tenderly on her
boy's head, sat quite still.

"Not a sound was heard. The light in the room was dim, and gloom had
settled upon the hearts of both mother and child.

"Hark! what was that?

"A low tap sounded at the door, and then it slowly opened; and to the
astonished gaze of the two sitting by the hearth, there appeared the
figure of a little child. A snow-white robe draped his slender limbs. In
one hand he bore a lighted taper, and in the other a most beautiful
wreath of white roses. His dark blue eyes shone with an unearthly
lustre, as it appeared to the amazed and bewildered Heinrich, and his
golden curls floated upon his shoulders.

"'Oh! mother! mother!' whispered Heinrich, almost breathless, 'it is the
Christ-child in very truth come to me at last. His face is like
Gottfried's--only far more beautiful;' and mother and son sank on their

"Slowly the little form advanced towards them, paused before Heinrich,
lightly placed the rose crown upon his head, and then, the sweet lips
parting in a faint, tender smile, it waved its little hand towards him,
and disappeared from their sight.

"When they could speak, the mother and son bowed their heads in thankful
prayer, then lifted their brimming eyes to each other.

"'Truly thou hast been wondrously rewarded, my Heinrich,' said the poor
widow; 'give the beautiful crown to me, that I may see what the dear
Christ-child has brought to thee.'

"She stirred the fire, and put on some light wood to make a blaze, and
then Heinrich lifted the crown from his head. As he did so--oh! wonder!
there fell from it a silken purse, and through the deep crimson network
they could see the yellow gleam of gold.

       *       *       *       *       *

"With the early blush of morning little Gottfried awoke, and the first
thing he did was to run smilingly to the door to find his shoes. There
they were, in good truth, crammed to the very top with presents. Marie,
too, awoke at the moment, and from each little white bed there arose
delighted exclamations and merry shouts of joy.

"Now their mother entered, and said--'A merry Christmas to you, my

"With joyful kisses they welcomed her, and breathlessly showed her their
gifts; then Gottfried exclaimed--'Oh! mother! I have had such a
pleasant dream; I dreamed that the dear Christ-child went to Heinrich
with the wreath, and gave it to him.'

"'Well, thou shalt take it thyself this morning, dear child, when thou
hast eaten thy breakfast.'

"But what was this? Where could the wreath be? The good mother, faithful
to her promise had made it the evening before, and had laid it on the
table in the parlor, but it was not to be found.

"This loss put the little Gottfried in such distress, that his mother
promised quickly to make another; and she was just preparing to hasten
out to purchase the roses, when Heinrich ran in, his mother following;
and, scarcely pausing for breath, the boy told the wonderful thing that
had happened to them in the night.

"With a sudden understanding of the strange and beautiful story,
Gottfried's mother took Heinrich's mother aside, and whispered to her
how the rose crown had mysteriously disappeared from the house in the

"The two mothers gazed into each other's faces, and then looked with
love and wonder at the little unconscious Gottfried. Tender tears and
smiles struggled in their faces, for they knew in a moment that it was
he who had risen in his sleep, had taken the rose crown to Heinrich, and
had laid his head upon his pillow again without waking.

"When they gently and tenderly told the strange tale to the wondering
children, Heinrich, bursting into tears, threw his arms passionately
round Gottfried's neck, and sobbed out--'Oh! Gottfried! how thou must
have loved me to have done this thing, even while sleeping;' and the
grateful boy never forgot it. He kept his crown of roses as his dearest
treasure, though they soon became withered and brown; and Gottfried and
Heinrich were always friends, though one was rich and the other poor;
and each mother loved and blessed the child of the other even as her

        [NOTE.--This story was suggested by reading about
          Christmas in Germany, in Bayard Taylor's "Views

       *       *       *       *       *

"A--h!" sighed the children, when the story was finished; "this is the
best of all! How those two German boys must have loved each other ever

"Gottfried must have been almost as good as Charley," said Clara, with a
glance full of love towards her brother. The little girl, with her
sweet, sensitive nature, and gentle, caressing ways, seemed closer to
Charley than the rest, though he loved all his brothers and sisters with
his whole heart; but Clara was softer and tenderer, and murmured out her
love in such a dove-like way, that, next to his mother, the sick boy
liked to have her smooth his hair, and hold his hand, and kneel by his
side in prayer; and the rest of the children knew this, and lovingly
gave Clara "her place." Not a shade of envy, that black and wicked
passion, ever entered their hearts; for, as I have many times written,
this was the home of LOVE.


[A] In Germany, they fill the children's shoes instead of their



_To Johnny._

DEAR LITTLE JOHNNY:--I have heard such a cunning little story about two
little children that live in New York, that I have written it out for
you; I shall begin it, "Once upon a time"--the way you like best. Here
it is:


"Once upon a time little Harry was playing in the parlor, and his kind
mother was reading. Presently the door opened, and a lady entered,
holding by the hand the dearest little bit of a girl you ever saw, about
three years old, with such sweet blue eyes and soft curling hair, that
she looked almost like a fairy.

"Harry's mother was very glad to see the lady; she kissed her and little
Nannie, and made them sit on the very best sofa, and Harry kissed
Nannie, and everybody seemed very much pleased.

"After saying what a very fine day it was, just as all the grown people
do when they begin to talk, Nannie's mamma began to tell Harry's mamma
something very wonderful, when, all at once, they saw Harry's eyes
opened about as big round as a pair of saucers, and a dozen ears seemed
to have sprouted out all over his head; and he was listening to the
wonderful story with every one of them.

"Harry's mamma thought that would never do, and she said--'My son,
Nannie's mamma and I want to talk secrets, and it is not right for such
a little boy as you to hear them; so take the dear little girl out of
the room, and show her every thing she wants to see. Mind, dear! _show
her every thing_.'

"So Harry took Nannie's hand, and led her out of the room. He felt quite
bashful at first, and when he got into the hall and had shut the door,
he dropped her hand; and then the two children stood and looked at each
other like two pussy cats on a fence; only they looked a great deal
prettier, because, you know, neither of them had any fierce whiskers or
long claws. Not they, indeed! I suppose Harry will have whiskers one of
these days, if he lives to be a man; but Nannie will never have any,
because if she Jives a thousand years she will never be a great, rough
man, but a beautiful little woman, which is a great comfort to think of.

"At last Harry said--'Say, Nannie, what do you want to see?'

"'I want to tee a 'teamboat.'

"'A steamboat!' exclaimed Harry.

"'Ess, a 'teamboat--big one!' said little Nannie.

"Harry looked puzzled; but he took her hand again, and led her very
carefully up the long flight of stairs, and into every room on the
second floor. They looked under the beds and into the band-boxes, opened
all the bureau drawers and wardrobe doors, peered down into the
bath-tub, and almost tumbled in, and couldn't find a steamboat. Then
they went up stairs again, and all over the rooms in the third story--no
steamboat there.

"Then they went up stairs again, and all over the rooms in the top of
the house, opened all the cook's bundles, the waiter's boxes, the
chambermaid's trunk, and the laundress's umbrella; but not a single
steamboat was to be seen.

"What was poor Harry to do?

"He _must_ mind his mamma; and Nannie kept saying--'I want to tee a

"All of a sudden Harry spied a globe of the world in one corner of the
attic, and he cried out--'Here, Nannie, let's look on this world and see
if we can find one.'


"So down they nestled close together, and turned the world round and
round, but, strange to tell, there was not a single steamboat sailing on
it. It was really too bad.

"They came down stairs again, and then a bright thought struck
Harry--'Oh, yes!' he exclaimed, 'I know where a steamboat is. Dear me!
certainly! Come, Nannie, hurry.'

"Down they went to the hall, and Harry put on his cap, and opened the
front door, and the children went out. Hand in hand they trotted merrily
along, both delighted to think that at last they were on the track of a

"After walking a long way, they came to a rough board fence, and Harry
peeped through a knot-hole to see what was inside. He looked so long,
that Nannie cried impatiently--'Let me see the 'teamboat.'

"'No, it isn't,' said Harry; 'it's some boys playing ball. Come and

"Nannie went close to the fence, and stood on the very tips of her
little toes, but the knot-hole was too high; so Harry lifted her with
all his strength, and she had a fine time seeing the boys playing ball.

"As he let her come down rather suddenly, she caught her frock in a
splinter of wood in the fence, and it was torn from top to bottom. 'Oh,
my!' said Nannie, looking at her dress, 'what a _gate_ hole; oh, my!'

"'Oh, never mind it,' cried Harry, 'that's nothing;' and he laughed so
merrily, that Nannie thought to tear dresses was great fun, and laughed

"On they went, hand in hand, and every fence they came to where there
were no houses, they peeped through and searched for the steamboat; and
they scrambled and fell against so many rough boards, that Nannie's
pretty little new hat that her kind grandmamma had just given her, was
all bent and torn and twisted, till from a nice little round hat, it
came to be a queer-looking, five-cornered one, with one end of ribbon
over her nose, and another sticking out behind; and the beautiful lace
cap inside was only fit for the rag-bag. Did you ever hear any thing
like it?

"Well, the dear little things wandered on, Harry knowing that he was
minding his mamma, like a good boy. He was very happy; because, you
know, children that are obedient and good are never any thing else. Of
course not.

"And little Nannie's lovely blue eyes were very busy looking all over
the world for the steamboat.

"At last they came to an open space--I believe, in Seventy-second
street, where the Central Park is; and a very amiable-looking policeman,
who fortunately at that time was wide awake, happened to look that way.

"He was very much astonished when he saw such little creatures all
alone; and Nannie, looking as if she had been in the wars; but, in spite
of her torn dress, looking like just what she was--the tender little pet
of a household, watched over, and loved, and cared for night and day;
and Harry, too, it was plain to see, with his bright eyes and manly
bearing, was of gentle birth and breeding.

"So the policeman walked up to them, and said--'I suppose this is Tom
Thumb and his wife out for a walk.'

"'No, it isn't,' said Harry; 'my name is Harry.'

"'And what is yours, little lady?'

"'My name 'ittle Nannie.'

"'Where did you come from?'

"'Home,' said Harry.

"'Where is home?'

"'Why, in Thirty-second street, to be sure; don't you know?'

"'Did you run away?' said the policeman.

"'No,' said Harry, and his eyes blazed with indignation, 'I'm minding
mamma; she told me to show Nannie every thing, and Nannie wanted to see
a steamboat, and I'm finding one for her now!'

"At this the policeman laughed, and then he looked so kindly at the
children, that I suspect he had a dozen children of his own at his
house, and that made him love every other little child. Why, bless your
dear little heart, I love all the little children in the whole world,
because I love you so dearly.


"Then the policeman said--'Well, Harry, you are a long way from home;
and I think you had better put off the steamboat-hunting business till
some other day. Your mother may think you and Nannie are a little too
young to travel about the world by yourselves. Come; I will go back
with you.'

"It was very fortunate he did, for though Harry knew very well what
street he lived in, he did not know how to get to it; and it would have
been a sad thing for the dear little creatures if they had been lost.
But now the good policeman took Nannie in his arms, because she was
getting very tired, and Harry by the hand, and they all got into a
railroad car, and before long were at the house.

"But oh! what a distracted house! For when Nannie's mother had finished
the wonderful secret, and wanted to leave, the children were not to be
found. They searched the house; they examined the bath-tubs and
wash-tubs; they went out into the garden and down into the cellar, but
they were not to be found; and then the weeping, terrified mothers went
out into the street, and asked everybody they met, if they had seen the


"The waiter, who was just setting the table for dinner, rushed round the
corner, brandishing the carving-knife like a pistol, and frightened a
fashionable young gentleman out of all his five wits, for he thought it
was a crazy man, trying to kill him; and when he turned round he was
scared again, for there was the laundress, who had started out with a
wet shirt in her hands, which she was just starching; there _she_ was,
waving it about in the wind, like a flag of distress, and crying as hard
as she could.


"Then the waiter dropped the carving-knife, and flew up the street,
while the fat cook, who had left a pudding half-made in the kitchen, ran
after him, dropping her pudding-stick, and wheezing dreadfully; and
away in the distance, they saw the chambermaid, with the broomstick in
her hand, and her hair all about her ears. She looked so like a witch,
from grief and fright, that as she disappeared, the people looking after
her were sure she had mounted the broomstick the very next moment, and
had flown over the tops of the houses.

"Dear me! what a terrible time it was! But you see they all loved Harry
so much, that they were almost crazy, and that made them cut up all
these didoes.

"All came back lamenting, for no children had been found; and the
distressed mothers were just writing a note to send to the
police-office, to order the whole city to be searched, when--a quick
ring at the bell--Could it be? Out they all rushed, mothers, cook,
waiter, chambermaid, laundress, the cat, and the dog. The door was
opened, and, oh, joyful sight! there stood the children and the
policeman, all laughing together.

"No wonder they all screamed and cried, and laughed and talked, all in a
bunch. Nobody cared a pin for Nannie's torn dress and five-cornered
bonnet, when the darling child was safe, and hugged tight to her
mother's breast; and Harry and his mother had a grand kissing time too.
Why, dear me! they almost wanted to kiss the good policeman, they were
so glad; not quite, though; but they gave him what he thought was quite
astonishing--something that came out of a purse, and shone like gold;
and between you and me, it _was_ gold.

"And Harry's mother was not the least angry with him, when she heard
that he was such a good boy, and was only minding his mamma when he went
all over the world with Nannie to find a steamboat: no, indeed! She
kissed him again. But let me tell you as a great secret, that she was
very careful after that to tell Harry to look for steamboats, or any
thing else little girls or he might want to see, _inside_ of the house;
and although it is many months since this happened, I know that Harry
and Nannie have not been steamboat-hunting since; but they are both
good, lovely children, and both mind their mammas."

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Johnny, "_my_ story is tip-top! I wish you would
read it right over again, mamma."

"Yes, mamma, do!" cried all the rest. "It is _so_ interesting. Dear
little Nannie, she's a darling!"

"I wonder if her grandmother gave her a new hat," said Minnie. "_I_
would, if _I_ was her grandmother."

The children laughed at the idea of Minnie's being a grandmother, and
Harry said--"Come, sit on my lap, grandmother, and let me see if you
know your letters yet." Minnie did not like this much, but as Harry
called her his "dear little pet" the next moment, she forgave him

"But Aunt Fanny has written something else in this letter," said the
mother. "Shall I read it, or repeat the story?"

"Oh! read all the letter _this time_," cried the children, "and the
story again to-morrow night."

The little mother read on.

"And now, my dear children, I have sent you six stories; and if any one
will count the boots and shoes in the first Nightcap book, they will
find that there are the surprising number of thirteen of you!--a baker's

"Let me see how many are left.

"Minnie and Willie, and Bennie and Lillie, and dear little Fanny, my
_namesake, and Katie and Pet_. I think I will write to this dear little
band collectively, and the stories shall make the 'Little Nightcap
Letters;' and the little darlings shall have them all to themselves."

"Oh, yes! yes! yes! that will be a grand plan!" cried the children. "Did
you ever hear of such a sensible Aunt Fanny? She makes it just as we
like it."

"If you like this plan," Aunt Fanny goes on to say, "then the 'Big
Nightcap Letters' are finished with this story sent to Johnny; and that
you will all grow wiser, and better, and fatter over them, is the loving
wish of your

                                                      "AUNT FANNY."

And so the Big Nightcap Letters were ended; and the children went off to
bed good, thankful, and content, and rose the next day good, thankful,
and content.

Pray Heaven, dear little reader, you may always do the same.


Important New Juveniles,


D. APPLETON & CO., 346 & 348 BROADWAY.


7 vols. 18mo., 87 cents each.

            I. GRACE AND CLARA; or, Be Just as well as Generous.
           II. ELLEN LESLIE; or, The Reward of Self-Control.
          III. FLORENCE ARNOTT; or, Is She Generous?
           IV. EMILY HERBERT; or, The Happy Home.
            V. ROSE AND LILLIE STANHOPE; or, The Power of Conscience.
           VI. JESSIE GRAHAM; or, Friends Dear, but Truth Dearer.
          VII. BLIND ALICE.

          "Miss McIntosh is the most fascinating writer of
          Juvenile Books of the present day. She endeavors
          to enforce good principles, while she at the same
          time caters for the amusement of children."




          author of the "Heir of Redclyffe." With
          Illustrations, 1 vol. 16mo., price 62 cents.


        THE LANCES OF LYNWOOD. With Illustrations, 1 vol.
          16mo., 75 cents.

          No English writer has succeeded in so faithfully
          portraying the human passions as the talented
          author who has given to the world 'Heartsease' and
          the 'Heir of Redclyffe.' Her Juvenile "Writings
          have a charm of historical interest thrown around
          them, which cannot fail to render her works as
          much admired by young people as by those more

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 7, Table of Contents, the first letter actually begins on page 9.
The original read 8.

Page 7, Table of Contents, "ILLTEMPER" changed to "ILL TEMPER" (GEORGE.

Page 7, Table of Contents, "106" changed to "108" for the Fourth Letter

Page 103, the text changes a character's name from "Dinah" to "Binah."
This was retained as in another of this series, the character's name is
indeed Binah there.

Page 127, "embarrased" changed to "embarrassed" (still more embarrassed)

Page 146, "Christ-kindcherr" changed to "Christkindchen" (the dear

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