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Title: Great Mysteries and Little Plagues
Author: Neal, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           GREAT MYSTERIES

                         AND LITTLE PLAGUES.

                            BY JOHN NEAL.


    Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
    In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Dist. of

    55 Water Street.


"I'll give oo a _kith_ if oo want one!"]


I hate prefaces; and the older I grow, the more I hate them, and the
more unwilling I am to transgress--in that way--with my eyes open.

But something must be said, I suppose, if only by way of an
advertisement, or warning.

When I had finished what one of my daughters persists in calling my
"NAUGHTY-BIOGRAPHY," and the other, "PERSONALITIES"--while my hair has
grown visibly thinner, I will not say under what kind of domestic
remonstrance from another quarter, and a very amiable, though witty
somebody writes it "_Maundering_ Recollections"--I had an idea that, if
I went further, I might be found "painting the lily, gilding refined
gold," etc., etc., and so I pulled up--for the present.

But this little book was already under way. I had promised it, and such
promises I always keep--and for the best of reasons: I cannot afford to
break them.

When I turned out the original of "Children--What are they good for?"
some forty years ago, or thereabouts, I had never met with, nor heard
of, anything in that way. Children were overlooked. Their droppings were
unheeded--out of the nursery. But now, and in fact very soon after my
little essay appeared in the "Atlantic Souvenir," if I do not mistake,
the papers and magazines, both abroad and at home, were continually
brightened up with diamond-sparks and with Down-easterly or "Orient
pearls, at random strung," which seemed to have been picked up in
play-grounds, or adrift, or along the highway; and itemizers were seen
dodging round among the little folks, wherever they were congregated, or
following them as the Chinese follow a stranger, if they see him make
wry faces.

For amusement only, and to keep myself out of mischief--I hope I have
succeeded--just after the fire, not having much to do beyond twirling my
thumbs, and trying to whistle "I cares for nobody, and nobody cares for
me," I began collecting such as fell in my way.

My first idea was to call them "KINDLING-STUFF," or

"OVEN-WOOD," as characteristic, if not of them, at least of the
compiler; but finding the collection grew upon me, and myself growing
serious, I adopted "PICKINGS AND STEALINGS," which, on the whole, I
think still more characteristic, beside being both suggestive and

"GOODY GRACIOUS, A FAIRY STORY," I wrote for the purpose of showing--and
_proving_--that fairy stories need not be crowded with extravagant
impossibilities, to engage the attention of our little folks; and that
if they are so contrived as to seem true, or at least possible, they
need not be unwholesome. Am I wrong?

And furthermore saith not, as Jacob Barker used to write, at the bottom
of his letters,

"Your respected friend,"

J. N.






The child is father of the man. Men are but children of a larger growth.
How often do we meet with this array of words! Yet how insensible we are
to the profound philosophy they enwrap. Sublime and astonishing truths!
Uttered every day in our hearing, set before our eyes at every step of
our journey through life, written over all the monuments of Earth, upon
the pages and banners of all History, upon the temples and the pyramids,
the palaces and the sepulchres of departed Nations, upon all the doings
of the Past and the Present, as with unextinguishable fire, and sounding
forever and ever in the unapproachable solitudes of the Future! Yet
heard with indifference, read without emotion, and repeated from mouth
to mouth, day after day and year after year, without a suspicion of
their deep meaning, of their transcendent importance, of their
imperishable beauty. And why? The language is too familiar, the apparent
signification too simple and natural for the excited understandings of
the multitude. There is no curtain to be lifted, no veil to be rent as
with the hands of giants, no zone to be loosened, no mystery to be
expounded afar off, as in the language of another world, nothing to be
guessed at, or deciphered, nothing but what anybody might understand if
he would; and, _therefore_, nothing to be remembered or cared for.

But, in simple truth, a more sublime interrogation could not be
propounded than that which may appear to be answered by the language
referred to. _What are children?_ Step to the window with me. The
street is full of them. Yonder a school is let loose; and here, just
within reach of our observation, are two or three noisy little fellows;
and there another party mustering for play. Some are whispering
together, and plotting so loudly and so earnestly, as to attract
everybody's attention; while others are holding themselves aloof, with
their satchels gaping so as to betray a part of their plans for
to-morrow afternoon, or laying their heads together in pairs, for a trip
to the islands. Look at them, weigh the question I have put to you, and
then answer it, as it deserves to be answered. _What are children?_ To
which you reply at once, without any sort of hesitation perhaps,--"Just
as the twig is bent the tree's inclined"; or, "Men are but children of a
larger growth"; or, peradventure, "The child is father of the man." And
then, perhaps, you leave me, perfectly satisfied with yourself and with
your answer, having "plucked out the heart of the mystery," and uttered,
without knowing it, a string of glorious truths,--pearls of great price.

But, instead of answering you as another might, instead of saying, _Very
true_, what if I were to call you back to the window with words like
these: Do you know what you have said? do you know the meaning of the
language you have employed? or, in other words, _do you know your own
meaning_? what would you think of me? That I was playing the
philosopher, perhaps, that I wanted to puzzle you with a childish
question, that I thought I was thinking, or at best that I was a little
out of my senses. Yet, if you were a man of understanding, I should have
paid you a high compliment; a searcher after truth, I should have done
you a great favor; a statesman, a lawgiver, a philanthropist, a
patriot, or a father who deserved to be a father, I should have laid you
under everlasting obligations, I should have opened a boundless treasury
underneath your feet, I should have translated you instantly to a new
world, carried you up into a high mountain, as it were, and set before
you all the kingdoms of the earth, with all their revolutions and
changes, all future history, the march of armies, the growth of
conquerors, the waxing and the waning of empire, the changes of opinion,
the apparition of thrones dashing against thrones, the overthrow of
systems, and the revolution of ages.

Among the children who are now playing _together_,--like birds among the
blossoms of earth, haunting all the green shadowy places thereof, and
rejoicing in the bright air; happy and beautiful creatures, and as
changeable as happy, with eyes brimful of joy, and with hearts playing
upon their little faces like sunshine upon clear waters; among those who
are now idling together on that slope, or hunting butterflies together
on the edge of that wood, a wilderness of roses,--you would see not only
the gifted and the powerful, the wise and the eloquent, the ambitious
and the renowned, the long-lived and the long-to-be-lamented of another
age, but the wicked and the treacherous, the liar and the thief, the
abandoned profligate and the faithless husband, the gambler and the
drunkard, the robber, the burglar, the ravisher, the murderer, and the
betrayer of his country. _The child is father of the man._

Among them, and that other little troop just appearing, children with
yet happier faces and pleasanter eyes, the blossoms of the future--the
mothers of nations--you would see the founders of states and the
destroyers of their country, the steadfast and the weak, the judge and
the criminal, the murderer and the executioner, the exalted and the
lowly, the unfaithful wife and the broken-hearted husband, the proud
betrayer and his pale victim, the living and breathing portents and
prodigies, the embodied virtues and vices, of another age and of another
world, _and all playing together_! Men are but children of a larger

Pursuing the search, you would go forth among the little creatures, as
among the types of another and a loftier language, the mystery whereof
has been just revealed to you,--a language to become universal
hereafter, types in which the autobiography of the Future was written
ages and ages ago. Among the innocent and helpless creatures that are
called _children_, you would see warriors, with their garments rolled in
blood, the spectres of kings and princes, poets with golden harps and
illuminated eyes, historians and painters, architects and sculptors,
mechanics and merchants, preachers and lawyers; here a grave-digger
flying his kite with his future customers, there a physician playing at
marbles with his; here the predestined to an early and violent death for
cowardice, fighting the battles of a whole neighborhood; there a
Cromwell or a Cæsar, a Napoleon or a Washington, hiding themselves for
fear, enduring reproach or insult with patience; a Benjamin Franklin
higgling for nuts or gingerbread, or the "Old Parr" of another
generation sitting apart in the sunshine, and shivering at every breath
of wind that reaches him. Yet we are told that "just as the twig is
bent, the tree's inclined."

Hereafter is made up of the shreds and patches of Heretofore. If "Men
are but children of a larger growth," then _what are children_? Men of
a smaller growth. And this happens to be the truth, not only in the
world of imagination, but in the world of realities; not only among
poets, but among lawyers. At law, children are men,--little children
murderers. A boy of nine, and others of ten and eleven, have been put to
death in England, two for murder, and a third for "cunningly and
maliciously" firing two barns. Of the little murderers, one killed his
playmate and the other his bedfellow. One hid the body, and the other
himself. And therefore, said the judges, they knew they had done
wrong,--they could distinguish between good and evil; and therefore they
ordered both to be strangled. And they were strangled accordingly. As if
a child who is old enough to know that he has done wrong, is therefore
old enough to know that he deserves death!

So with regard to children of the other sex. At law, babies are women,
women babies. The same law which classes our mothers and our wives, our
sisters and our daughters, with infants, lunatics, idiots, and "persons
beyond sea," allows a child to be betrothed at seven, to be endowed of
her future husband's estate at nine, and to agree or disagree to a
previous marriage at twelve. And what is law in England is law here. We
are still governed by the Court of King's Bench, the lawyers and the
judges of Westminister Hall. Let no man say, therefore, that these are
the dreams of poetry, the glittering shapes that wander about forever
and ever among the vast chambers of a disordered imagination. They are
not so. They are no phantasms,--they are realities, they are substantial
existences, they "are known to the law."

Such are children. Corrupted, they are fountains of bitterness for ages.
Would you plant for the skies? Plant in the live soil of the warm and
generous and youthful; pour all your treasures into the hearts of
children. Would you look into the future as with the spirit of prophecy,
and read as with a telescope the history and character of our country,
and of other countries? You have but to watch the eyes of children at

What children are, neighborhoods are. What neighborhoods are,
communities are,--states, empires, worlds! They are the elements of
Hereafter made visible.

Even fathers and mothers look upon children with a strange
misapprehension of their dignity. Even with the poets, they are only the
flowers and blossoms, the dew-drops, or the playthings of earth. Yet "of
such is the kingdom of heaven." The Kingdom of Heaven! with all its
principalities and powers, its hierarchies, dominations, thrones! The
Saviour understood them better; to Him their true dignity was revealed.
Flowers! They are the flowers of the invisible world,--indestructible,
self-perpetuating flowers, with each a multitude of angels and evil
spirits underneath its leaves, toiling and wrestling for dominion over
it! Blossoms! They are the blossoms of another world, whose fruitage is
angels and archangels. Or dew-drops? They are dew-drops that have their
source, not in the chambers of the earth, nor among the vapors of the
sky, which the next breath of wind, or the next flash of sunshine may
dry up forever, but among the everlasting fountains and inexhaustible
reservoirs of mercy and love. Playthings! God!--if the little creatures
would but appear to us in their true shape for a moment! We should fall
upon our faces before them, or grow pale with consternation,--or fling
them off with horror and loathing.

What would be our feelings to see a fair child start up before us a
maniac or a murderer, armed to the teeth? to find a nest of serpents on
our pillow? a destroyer, or a traitor, a Harry the Eighth, or a Benedict
Arnold asleep in our bosom? A Catherine or a Peter, a Bacon, a Galileo,
or a Bentham, a Napoleon or a Voltaire, clambering up our knees after
sugar-plums? Cuvier laboring to distinguish a horse-fly from a
blue-bottle, or dissecting a spider with a rusty nail? La Place trying
to multiply his own apples, or to subtract his playfellow's gingerbread?
What should we say to find ourselves romping with Messalina, Swedenborg,
and Madame de Stael? or playing bo-peep with Murat, Robespierre, and
Charlotte Corday? or puss-puss in the corner with George Washington,
Jonathan Wild, Shakspeare, Sappho, Jeremy Taylor, Mrs. Clark, Alfieri,
and Harriet Wilson? Yet stranger things have happened. These were all
children but the other day, and clambered about the knees, and rummaged
in the pockets, and nestled in the laps of people no better than we are.
But _if_ they had appeared in their true shape for a single moment,
while playing together! What a scampering there would have been among
the grown folks! How their fingers would have tingled!

Now to me there is no study half so delightful as that of these little
creatures, with hearts fresh from the gardens of the sky, in their first
and fairest and most unintentional disclosures, while they are indeed a
mystery, a fragrant, luminous, and beautiful mystery. And I have an idea
that if we only had a name for the study, it might be found as
attractive and as popular, and perhaps--though I would not go too
far--_perhaps_ about as advantageous in the long run to the future
fathers and mothers of mankind, as the study of shrubs and flowers, or
that of birds and fishes. And why not? They are the cryptogamia of
another world,--the infusoria of the skies.

Then why not pursue the study for yourself? The subjects are always
before you. No books are needed, no costly drawings, no lectures,
neither transparencies nor illustrations. Your specimens are all about
you. They come and go at your bidding. They are not to be hunted for,
along the edge of a precipice, on the borders of the wilderness, in the
desert, nor by the sea-shore. They abound, not in the uninhabited or
unvisited place, but in your very dwelling-houses, about the steps of
your doors, in every street of every village, in every green field, and
every crowded thoroughfare. They flourish bravely in snow-storms, in the
dust of the trampled highway, where drums are beating and colors
flying--in the roar of cities. They love the sounding sea-breeze and the
open air, and may always be found about the wharves, and rejoicing
before the windows of toy-shops. They love the blaze of fireworks and
the smell of gunpowder; and where that is, they are, to a dead

You have but to go abroad for half an hour in pleasant weather, or to
throw open your doors or windows on a Saturday afternoon, if you live
anywhere in the neighborhood of a school-house, or a vacant lot, with
here and there a patch of green, or a dry place in it, and steal behind
the curtains, or draw the blinds, and let the fresh wind blow through
and through the chambers of your heart for a few minutes, winnowing the
dust and scattering the cobwebs that have gathered there while you were
asleep, and lo! you will find it ringing with the voices of children at
play, and all alive with the glimmering phantasmagoria of leap-frog,
prison-base, or knock-up-and-catch.

Let us try the experiment. There! I have opened the windows, I have
drawn the blinds, and hark! already there is the sound of little voices
afar off, like "sweet bells jangling." Nearer and nearer come they, and
now we catch a glimpse of bright faces peeping round the corners, and
there, by that empty inclosure, you see a general mustering and
swarming, as of bees about a newly-discovered flower-garden. But the
voices we now hear proceed from two little fellows who have withdrawn
from the rest. One carries a large basket, and his eyes are directed to
my window; he doesn't half like the blinds being drawn. The other
follows him, with a tattered book under his arm, rapping the posts, one
after the other, as he goes along. He is clearly on bad terms with
himself. And now we can see their faces. Both are grave, and one rather
pale, and trying to look ferocious. And hark! now we are able to
distinguish their words. "Well, I ain't skeered o' you," says the
foremost and the larger boy. "Nor I ain't skeered o' you," retorts the
other; "but you needn't say you meant to lick me." And so I thought.
Another, less acquainted with children, might not be able to see the
connection; but I could,--it was worthy of Aristotle himself, or John
Locke. "I _didn't_ say I meant to lick ye," rejoined the first, "I said
I _could_ lick ye, and so I can." To which the other replies, glancing
first at my window and then all up and down street, "I should like to
see you try." Whereupon the larger boy begins to move away, half
backwards, half sideways, muttering just loud enough to be heard, "Ah,
you want to fight now, jest 'cause you're close by your own house." And
here the dialogue finished, and the babies moved on, shaking their
little heads at each other, and muttering all the way up street. Men are
but children of a larger growth! Children but Empires in miniature.

How beautiful and how strange are the first combinations of thought in a
wayward or peevish child! And then, how alike we all are in our
waywardness and peevishness! It is but a change of name, and one trifle
is about as good as another to breed a quarrel, or to throw the wisest
and the best of our grown babies off their balance. A bit of writing,
the loss of a paper with pictures on it, a handful of glittering dust,
or somebody making mouths at us, a word or a look, and we are stamping
with rage, or miserable for half a day. A cloud coming up when the
horses are at the door, a little bad weather, a spot upon our new
clothes, or a lump of sugar not quite so large as another's; and what
children we are! How perfectly wretched!

I once knew a little boy, who, after sitting awhile as if lost in
thought, turned to his mother, and said: "Mother! what did you marry my
father for? Why didn't you wait till I grew up, and then marry me?"
Rather a strange question, to be sure, and the little fellow was but
just old enough to put his words together. But compare it with many a
question put by the sages of earth. Consider it side by side with the
ponderings and the misgivings, the inquisitiveness and the apprehensions
of a great Philosopher, when he interrogates the Builder of the
Universe, and sets himself in array, face to face, with Jehovah.

Nay, I have heard a very intelligent person of mature age betray a
confusion of thought altogether as laughable as that of the poor boy.
She had been to see a captious old lady whom her father, in his youth,
had once intended to marry. "And how did you like her?" said I. "Not at
all," she replied; "oh, you don't know how glad I am that father did not
marry her; I never should have liked her, I am sure." As if, marry whom
he might, she must have been born, _she_ herself, with precisely the
same preferences, prejudices and opinions!

"Oh, mother!" said little Mary, aged two years and a half at the time,
looking up as she heard a noise, and blushing from head to foot, "_I
hear a bad smell_,--'taint me nor brother. It was an old man in the next
house;" hemming loudly and suddenly, with a cough. Modesty is one
thing,--squeamishness about children another; and this is really too
good to be lost.

I remember a little boy who was a lexicographer from his birth, a
language-master and a philosopher. From the hour he was able to ask for
a piece of bread and butter, he never hesitated for a word, not he! If
one wouldn't serve, another would, with a little twisting and turning.
He assured me one day, when I was holding him by the hand rather tighter
than he wished (he was but just able to speak at the time), that I
should _choke_ his hand; at another, he came to me all out of breath, to
announce that a man was below _shaving_ the wall. Upon due inquiry, it
turned out that he was only _whitewashing_. But how should he know the
difference between whitewash and lather, a big brush and a little one?
Show me, if you can, a prettier example of synthesis or generalization,
or a more beautiful adaptation of old words to new purposes. I have
heard another complain of a school-fellow for _winking_ at him _with
his lip_; and he took the affront very much to heart, I assure you, and
would not be pacified till the matter was cleared up.

Another, now at my elbow, hardly five, has just been prattling about the
_handle_ of a pin, meaning the _head_; to him _shavings_ were
_board-ravellings_, above a twelvemonth ago, and I never shall forget
his earnestness about what he called the _necklace_ of the gate,--a
heavy iron chain with a large weight swinging to it,--which a
wood-sawyer had forgotten to replace after finishing his work.

It is but yesterday that a little boy, being asked by an elder sister in
my presence what a _widow_ was--he had been talking about a
widow--replied, _A poor woman that goes out a-washing_. What better
definition would you have? At home or abroad, is not the poor widow
always a-washing,--now the floors of a wealthier neighbor, and the
clothes of somebody who happens not to be a widow,--and now with her own
tears the face of her little baby, that lies half asleep and half
sobbing in her lap? Other children talk about the _bones_ in
peaches,--osteologists are they; and others, when they have the
toothache, aver that it _burns_ them. Of such is the empire of poetry. I
have heard another give a public challenge in these words to every child
that came near, as she sat upon the door-step with a pile of
tamarind-stones, nutshells, and pebbles lying before her: "Ah! I've got
_many-er_ than you!" That child was a better grammarian than Lindley
Murray; and her wealth, in what was it unlike the hoarded and useless
wealth of millions?

Not long ago, while passing through a narrow, unfrequented street, my
attention was attracted by two little girls at play together: one a
perfect tomboy, with large laughing eyes, and a prodigious quantity of
hair; the other a little timid creature, altogether too shy to look up
as I passed. The romp was balancing her body over the gate, and the
little prude was looking at her. On the opposite side of the way were
two smart-looking boys, whom I did not observe till I heard a sweet,
clear voice at my elbow saying--almost singing, indeed--"I'll give oo a
_kith_ if oo want one!" I stopped and heard the offer repeated by the
shy looking puss, while the romp stared at her with her mouth wide open,
and the boys cleared out with a laugh, being too shame-faced to profit
by the offer. Verily, verily, men _are_ but children of a larger
growth--_and women too_.

There was the language of truth, of innocence, of unadulterated nature!
There are no mealy-mouthed human creatures among the pure. But lo! that
child is going forth into the world, leaving behind her the green and
beautiful places, haunted with wild flowers, where everything appeared
in the language of truth; and after a little time, with far less purity,
she may blush and tremble at every thought of being kissed, with or
without her leave. And the poor boys,--anon they are to be the pursuers,
and pray and beseech, where, but for a newly-acquired and counterfeit
nature, they might loiter along by the wayside, and be sure of a call
from the rosy lips and bright eyes that hovered about their path. Poor

But children are wonderful for their courage, their patience, and their
fortitude. I have known a little boy completely worn out by watching and
suffering, tear off the bandages at last, and, looking up into the face
of a woman who watched over him, say to her with a sweet
smile,--"Georgee muss die, Chamber (her name was Chambers), _Georgee
muss die--Georgee want to die_." And he did die, with that very smile
upon his mouth.

Not many years ago, another was caught in a mill: they stopped the
machinery, and took the wheel to pieces; but it was an hour and a half
before they could free her entirely. During this time she threw her arms
about her father's neck, and kissing him, whispered: "_Am I dead,
papa?_" She died within two hours after she was liberated. One might
almost expect to see winglets of purple and gold, budding before death,
from between the shoulders of such a child.

The _reasoning_ of the little creatures, too, is always delightful; and
if you are good-natured enough to follow them through their own little
demonstrations, without insisting upon the language of a syllogism,
always _conclusive_. Take two or three examples in proof: A child about
three years of age, unperceived by its mother, followed her down cellar,
and, when its mother returned, was left there. By-and-by the little
thing was missed: inquiries were made in every quarter; the whole
neighborhood was alarmed; the well searched, the hen-house, the barn,
the very pigsty; but all in vain. At last, somebody had occasion to go
into the cellar, and there, upon the bottom step of the stairs, the
little creature was found, sitting by herself, as still as death, and
purple with cold. Half frantic with joy, the mother snatched her up,
and, running to the fire with her, asked her why she did not cry. "_I
toudn't, ma_" was the reply,--"I toudn't, ma,--_it war tho dark_!" After
all, now, was not that a capital reason?--was it not the truth? How
many are there who cannot, or will not cry, even to their Father above,
because _it is so dark_. Another child of about the same age used to lie
awake and chatter by the hour, after she went to bed. Out of all
patience with her one night, her bedfellow said to her,--

"Will you hold your tongue, Lucinda, and let me go to sleep?"

"No, I _tan't_."

"You can't,--why not, pray?"

"Cause it _mates my tomach ache, Ant Rachel_!"

And even that child--why do you laugh at her?--didn't she tell the
truth? and was not that a capital reason? How many grown people are
there who _cannot hold their tongues_--and, if the truth were told,
because _it makes their stomach ache_! or for some other reason not half
so much to the purpose.

They are decided politicians, too. A friend of mine has a boy just able
to speak.

"Houyah for Jackson!" said he one day, before his father.

"Why, Charles! why do you hurra for Jackson--I am not a Jackson man."

"Don't tare 'foo aint--I ar!" was the reply.

A _leader_, of course, for the next generation--of those who are to
think for themselves.

Their childish cunning, too, is exquisite. I remember seeing a little
boy about four years of age bite his eldest sister's finger in play so
as to leave a mark, for which he was chidden by his mother, whereupon he
stole away to his sister and put his finger into her mouth, and told her
to _bite_: she refused, he insisted; after a good deal of persuasion,
she yielded. "Harder! harder!" whispered he.

At last a mark appeared--a little _dent_. (You understand French, I

"_Now!_" said he, pulling her toward his mother. "_Now_"--his large eyes
sparkling with triumph, and holding up his plump, rosy little finger,
and making all sorts of faces--"_Now! tum to mother oosef!_"

Was there ever a better illustration of the Thistlewood Plot--of the
Gunpowder Plot--or of that policy which, here as well as there, makes
offences profitable to the informer? That boy was but another Vidooq; or
another First Consul of the French Empire.

And have you never, when riding by in a stage-coach, seen a little
fellow at the window or the door of a house in the country crying as if
his very heart would break? Did not he always stop till you got by,--and
then didn't he always begin again? with the same look, the same voice,
and the same outcry, refusing to be comforted? These are the fellows
for office--he only wanted an augmentation of salary; that was all--and
I dare say he got it.

"Ah, ah, hourra! hourra! here's a fellow's birthday!" cried a boy in my
hearing once. A number had got together to play ball; but one of them
having found a birthday, and not only the birthday, but the very boy it
belonged to, they all gathered about him, as if they had never witnessed
a conjunction of the sort before. The very fellows for a committee of
inquiry!--into the affairs of a national bank, too, if you please.

Never shall I forget another incident which occurred in my
presence, between two other boys. One was trying to jump over a
wheel-barrow--another was going by; he stopped, and, after considering a
moment, spoke:

"I'll tell you what you can't do," said he.

"Well, what is it?"

"You can't jump down your own throat."

"Well, _you_ can't."

"_Can't I though!_"

The simplicity of "Well, you can't," and the roguishness of "Can't I
though!" tickled me prodigiously. They reminded me of sparring I had
seen elsewhere--I should not like to say where--having a great respect
for the Temples of Justice and the Halls of Legislation.

"I say '_tis_ white-oak."

"I say it's red-oak."

"Well, I say it's white-oak."

"I tell ye 'taint white-oak."

Here they had joined issue for the first time.

"I say 'tis."

"I say 'taint."

"I'll bet ye ten thousand dollars of it."

"Well, I'll bet you ten thousand dollars!"

Such were the very words of a conversation I have just heard between two
children, the elder about six, the other about five. Were not these
miniature men? Stock-brokers and Theologians? or only _Land

"Well, my lad, you've been to meeting, hey?"

"Yes, sir."

"And who preached for you?"

"Mr. P----."

"Ah! and what did he say?"

"I can't remember sir, he put me out so."

"Put you out?"

"Yes, sir--he kept lookin' at my new clothes all meetin' time."

That child must have been a _close_ observer. Will anybody tell me that
he did not know what people go to meeting for?

It was but yesterday that I passed a fat little girl with large hazel
eyes, sitting by herself in a gateway, with her feet sticking straight
out into the street. She was holding a book in one hand, and with a bit
of stick in the other, was pointing to the letters.

"What's that?" cried she, in a sweet chirping voice; "_hey!_ Look on!
What's that, I say?--F--No--o--o--oh!" shaking her little head with the
air of a school-mistress, who has made up her mind not to be trifled

It reminded me of another little girl somewhat older, who used to sit
and play underneath my windows, and look down into the long green grass
at her feet, and shake her head, and laugh and talk by the hour, as if
she had a baby there, to the infinite amusement of all the neighborhood.
That girl should have betaken herself to the stage. She was the very
spirit of what may be called the familiar drama.

Talk as we may about children, their notions are sometimes both
affecting and sublime; and their adventures more extraordinary than were
the strangest of Captain Cook's,--more perilous than that of him who
discovered America. I have known a child, not three years of age, and
hardly tall enough to reach the round of a ladder, clamber up the side
and along the roof, and seat himself on the ridge-pole of a two-story
house, before they discovered him.

Very odd things occur to all parents, if they would but observe them,
and treasure them--in the flowering of their children's hearts.

"When I am dead, sister Mary, I'll come back to see you, and you must
save all the crumbs and feed me--won't ye, sister Mary?" said a little
boy to his sister.

Upon full inquiry, I found that he had associated the idea of little
angels, that would fly about, with the pigeons belonging to a neighbor,
which he had been accustomed to toll from the perch into the back-yard,
with little crumbs of bread, saved at the table. On another occasion, he
laid down his knife and fork, and looking up with the most perfect
seriousness and apparent good faith, said,--

"Father, I mustn't eat any more fat meat."

"Why not, my boy?"

"God told me I must not."


"Last night, father."

Of course the child had been dreaming--so I urged the inquiry a little

"Did you see God?"

"Yes, father."

"And how did He look?"

"Oh, He looked like a--like a--" thoughtfully, and casting about for a
comparison--and then all at once he brightened up and said,--

"Like a woodchuck, father!"

For a moment I was thunder-struck--where could he have got such an idea?
He had never seen a woodchuck in his life. Instead of laughing at the
absurdity of the notion, however, I treated the matter very seriously,
and after a while found that he had been on the watch at the window
every day for nearly a month, to see a woodchuck which had escaped from
a neighbor, and burrowed under our wood-house, and used to come out
after nightfall to feed. The little fellow was perfectly honest--he had
no idea of untruth or irreverence; others had seen the woodchuck, and he
had not, and nothing occurred to him half so strange or mysterious for a
comparison. It would not do to compare God with anything he had seen,
and a woodchuck was the only thing he had not seen which corresponded at
all with his notions of the Invisible.

But children have other characters. At times they are creatures to be
afraid of. Every case I give, is a fact within my own observation. There
are children, and I have had to do with them, whose very eyes were
terrible: children who, after years of watchful and anxious discipline,
were as indomitable as the young of the wild beast dropped in the
wilderness; crafty, and treacherous, and cruel. And others I have known,
who, if they live, _must_ have dominion over the multitude; being
evidently of them that, from the foundations of the world, have been
always thundering at the gates of Power.

There sits a little girl with raisins in her lap. She had enough to
spare a few minutes ago, but now she has given them all away, handful
by handful, to a much older and more crafty child. She has not another
left; and as she sits by him, and looks him up in the face, and asks him
for one now and then _so_ innocently, he keeps cramming them into his
mouth, and occasionally doles one out to her with such a look! so
strangely made up of reluctance and self-gratulation. And she, poor
thing, whenever she gets one, affects to enjoy it prodigiously, shaking
her head, and making a noise with her mouth as if it were crammed full.
Just as the twig is bent, etc., etc.

And it is but the other day--only a week ago--I had an opportunity of
seeing a similar case. A girl of eighteen months was overhauling her
play-basket before a boy of seven. She was ready enough to show all her
toys, but whatever he took into his hand, she would instantly reach
after. Before two minutes were over, I found him playing the man of
business, pretending to like what he did not, and to dislike what he
most coveted. There were heaps of playthings strewed about over the
floor. Among them were the remains of a little dog which had been sadly
pulled to pieces, but which the boy took a decided fancy to,
nevertheless. He kept his eye upon them, and after taking possession
leaned over toward the little girl, and shook his head, and spoke in
that peculiarly soothing voice, and with that coaxing manner, which are
common to horse-dealers, and which children so well know how to
counterfeit when they have a worthy object in view.

"Oh, the pretty teapot! Oh my! Mary want it," said he, turning it over
and over, and carefully displaying the crooked nose, the warped handle,
and the useless bottom, while he secured the dog.

That over, he tried his hand at a little Indian basket, talking all the
time as fast as his tongue could run, in favor of the toys he had no
relish for. A diplomatist in embryo, a chess-player, a merchant, a
lawyer? What more can the best of them do? What more have they ever

I saw three children throwing sticks at a cow. She grew tired of her
share in the game at last, and, holding down her head and shaking it,
demanded a new deal. They cut and run. After getting to a place of
comparative security, they stopped, and holding by the top of a
board-fence, over which they had clambered, began to reconnoitre.
Meanwhile another troop of children hove in sight, and, arming
themselves with brick-bats, began to approach the same cow; whereupon
two of the others called out from the fence,--

"You Joe! you better mind! that's our cow!"

The plea was admitted without a demurrer, and the cow was left to be
tormented by the legal owners. Hadn't these boys the law on their side?

A youth once lived with me who owned a little dog. One day I caught the
dog worrying what I supposed to be a rat, and the boy standing over him
and encouraging him. It proved to be a toad; the poor creature escaped
during my interference. Before a month had gone over, the dog showed
symptoms of hydrophobia, and I shot him. Not long after this I found the
boy at a pump trying to keep a tub full, which appeared to have no
bottom. I inquired what he was doing, and it turned out that he was
trying to drown a _frog_. I asked the reason: Because a _toad_ had
poisoned the poor little dog.

Here was a process of ratiocination worthy of any autocrat that ever
breathed. Because A suffered soon after worrying B, therefore C shall be
pumped to death. Precisely the case of Poland.

I know another little boy who once lost a favorite dog. About a week
afterward the dog reappeared, and the boy was the happiest creature
alive. But something happened a little out of the way, which caused
further inquiry, when it turned out that the new dog was not the old
one, though astonishingly like. The only difference I could perceive was
a white spot under the neck. Well, what does our boy do? receive the
stranger with thankfulness, and adopt him with joy, for his
extraordinary resemblance to a lost favorite? No, indeed; but he gives
him a terrible thumping, and turns him neck-and-heels out of doors on a
cold, rainy night! As if the poor dog had been guilty of personating
another! How perfectly of a piece with the behavior of grown people who
have cheated themselves, and found it out. Woe to the innocent and the
helpless who lie in their path! or sleep in their bosom, or inhabit
among their household gods!

But children are not merely unjust, and cruel, and treacherous, even as
men are. Like men, they are murderers, mischief-makers, devils, at
times. I knew two boys, the older not more than four, who caught a hen,
and, having pulled out her eyes with crooked pins, they let her go;
after which, on seeing her stagger and tumble about, and perhaps afraid
of discovery, they determined to cut off her head. One was to hold her,
and the other to perform the operation; but for a long while they could
not agree upon their respective shares in the performance. At last they
hit upon a precious expedient. They laid her upon the steps, put a board
over her body, upon which one of the two sat, while the other sawed off
her head with a dull case-knife. Parents! Fathers! Mothers! What child
of four years of age was ever capable of such an act, without a long
course of preparation? for neglect is preparation. Both were murderers,
and their parents were their teachers. If "the child is father of the
man," what is to become of such children? If it be true that "just as
the twig is bent the tree's inclined," how much have you to answer for?
If "men are but children of a larger growth," watch your children
forever, by day and by night! pray for them forever, by night and by
day! and not as children, but as _Men_ of a smaller growth,--as men
with most of the evil passions, and with all the evil propensities, that
go to make man terrible to his fellow-men, his countenance hateful, his
approach a fiery pestilence, and his early death a blessing, even to his
father and mother!




Once there was a little bit of a thing,--not more than so high,--and her
name was Ruth Page; but they called her Teenty-Tawnty, for she was the
daintiest little creature you ever saw, with the smoothest hair and the
brightest face; and then she was always playing about, and always happy:
and so the people that lived in that part of the country, when they
heard her laughing and singing all by herself at peep of day, like
little birds after a shower, and saw her running about in the edge of
the wood after tulips and butterflies, or tumbling head-over-heels in
the long rich grass by the river side, with her little pet lamb or her
two white pigeons always under her feet, or listening to the wild bees
in the apple-blossoms, with her sweet mouth "all in a tremble," and her
happy eyes brimful of sunshine,--they used to say that she was no child
at all, or no child of earth, but a Fairy-gift, and that she must have
been dropped into her mother's lap, like a handful of flowers, when she
was half asleep; and so they wouldn't call her Ruth Page,--no indeed,
that they wouldn't!--but they called her little Teenty-Tawnty, or the
little Fairy; and they used to bring her Fairy Tales to read, till she
couldn't bear to read anything else, and wanted to be a Fairy herself.

Well, and so one day, when she was out in the sweet-smelling woods, all
alone by herself, singing, "Where are you going, my pretty maid, my
pretty maid?" and watching the gold-jackets, and the blue dragon-flies,
and the sweet pond-lilies, and the bright-eyed glossy eels, and the
little crimson-spotted fish, as they "coiled and swam," and darted
hither and thither, like "flashes of golden fire," and then huddled
together, all of a sudden, just underneath the green turf where she sat,
as if they saw something, and were half frightened to death, and were
trying to hide in the shadow; well and so--as she sat there, with her
little naked feet hanging over and almost touching the water, singing to
herself, "My face is my fortune, sir, she said! sir, she said!" and
looking down into a deep sunshiny spot, and holding the soft smooth hair
away from her face with both hands, and trying to count the dear little
fish before they got over their fright, all at once she began to think
of the Water-Fairies, and how cool and pleasant it must be to live in
these deep sunshiny hollows, with green turf all about you, the
blossoming trees and the blue skies overhead, the bright gravel
underneath your feet, like powdered stars, and thousands of beautiful
fish for playfellows! all spotted with gold and crimson, or winged with
rose-leaves, and striped with faint purple and burnished silver, like
the shells and flowers of the deep sea, where the moonlight buds and
blossoms forever and ever; and then she thought if she could only just
reach over, and dip one of her little fat rosy feet into the smooth
shining water,--just once--only once,--it would be _so_ pleasant! and
she should be _so_ happy! and then, if she could but manage to scare the
fishes a little--a very little--that would be such glorious fun,
too,--wouldn't it, you?

Well and so--she kept stooping and stooping, and stretching and
stretching, and singing to herself all the while, "Sir, she said! sir,
she said! I'm going a-milking, sir, she said!" till just as she was
ready to tumble in, head first, something jumped out of the bushes
behind her, almost touching her as it passed, and went plump into the
deepest part of the pool! saying, "_Once! once!_" with a booming sound,
like the tolling of a great bell under water, and afar off.

"Goody gracious! what's that?" screamed little Ruth Page; and then, the
very next moment, she began to laugh and jump and clap her hands, to see
what a scampering there was among the poor silly fish, and all for
nothing! said she; for out came a great good-natured bull-frog, with an
eye like a bird, and a big bell-mouth, and a back all frosted over with
precious stones, and dripping with sunshine; and there he sat looking
at her awhile, as if he wanted to frighten her away; and then he opened
his great lubberly mouth at her, and bellowed out, "_Once! once!_" and

"Luddy tuddy! who cares for you?" said little Ruth; and so, having got
over her fright, she began to creep to the edge of the bank once more,
and look down into the deep water, to see what had become of the little
fish that were so plentiful there, and so happy but a few minutes
before. But they were all gone, and the water was as still as death; and
while she sat looking into it, and waiting for them to come back, and
wondering why they should be so frightened at nothing but a bull-frog,
which they must have seen a thousand times, the poor little simpletons!
and thinking she should like to catch one of the smallest and carry it
home to her little baby-brother, all at once a soft shadow fell upon
the water, and the scented wind blew her smooth hair all into her eyes,
and as she put up both hands in a hurry to pull it away, she heard
something like a whisper close to her ear, saying, "_Twice! twice!_" and
just then the trailing branch of a tree swept over the turf, and filled
the whole air with a storm of blossoms, and she heard the same low
whisper repeated close at her ear, saying, "_Twice! twice!_" and then
she happened to look down into the water,--and what do you think she saw

"Goody gracious, mamma! is that you?" said poor little Ruth; and up she
jumped, screaming louder than ever, and looking all about her, and
calling "Mamma, mamma! I see you, mamma! you needn't hide, mamma!" But
no mamma was to be found.

"Well, if that isn't the strangest thing!" said little Ruth, at last,
after listening a few minutes, on looking all round everywhere, and up
into the trees, and away off down the river-path, and then toward the
house. "If I didn't think I saw my dear good mamma's face in the water,
as plain as day, and if I didn't hear something whisper in my ear and
say, '_Twice! twice!_'"--and then she stopped, and held her breath, and
listened again--"If I didn't hear it as plain as I ever heard anything
in my life, then my name isn't Ruth Page, that's all, nor Teenty-Tawnty
neither!" And then she stopped, and began to feel very unhappy and
sorrowful; for she remembered how her mother had cautioned her never to
go near the river, nor into the woods alone, and how she had promised
her mother many and many a time never to do so, never, never! And then
the tears came into her eyes, and she began to wish herself away from
the haunted spot, where she could kneel down and say her prayers; and
then she looked up to the sky, and then down into the still water, and
then she thought she would just go and take one more peep--only
one--just to see if the dear little fishes had got over their fright,
and then she would run home to her mother, and tell her how forgetful
she had been, and how naughty, and ask her to give her something that
would make her remember her promises. Poor thing! little did she know
how deep the water was, nor how wonderfully she had escaped! once, once!
twice, twice! and still she ventured a third time.

Well and so--don't you think, she crept along--crept along--to the very
edge of the green, slippery turf, on her hands and knees, half trembling
with fear, and half laughing to think of that droll-looking fat fellow,
with the big bell-mouth, and the yellow breeches, and the grass-green
military jacket, turned up with buff and embroidered with gems, and the
bright golden eye that had so frightened her before, and wondering in
her little heart if he would show himself again; and singing all the
while, as she crept nearer and nearer, "Nobody asked you, sir, she said!
sir, she said! nobody asked you, sir, she said!" till at last she had
got near enough to look over, and see the little fishes there tumbling
about by dozens, and playing bo-peep among the flowers that grew
underneath the bank, and multiplied by thousands in the clear water,
when, all at once, she felt the turf giving way, and she put out her
arms and screamed for her mother. Goody gracious! how she did scream!
and then something answered from the flowing waters underneath, and from
the flowering trees overhead, with a mournful sweet sound, like wailing
afar off, "_Thrice! thrice!_" and the flashing waters swelled up,
saying, "_Thrice! thrice!_" and the flowering branch of the tree swept
over the turf, and the sound was the same, "_Thrice! thrice!_" and in
she went headlong, into the deepest part of the pool, screaming with
terror, and calling on her mother to the last: poor mother!

Well and so--when she came to herself, where do you think she was? Why,
she was lying out in the warm summer air, on a green bank, all tufted
with cowslips and violets and clover-blossoms, with a plenty of
strawberries underneath her feet, and the bluest water you ever saw all
round her, murmuring like the rose-lipped sea-shells; and the air was
full of singing-birds, and there was a little old woman looking at her,
with the funniest cap, and a withered face not bigger than you may see
when you look at the baby through the big end of a spyglass: the cap
was a morning-glory, and it was tied underneath the chin with bleached
cobweb, and the streamers and bows were just like the colors you see in
a soap-bubble.

"Goody gracious! where am I now?" said little Ruth.

"Yes, my dear, that's my name," said the little old woman, dropping a
low courtesy, and then spinning round two or three times, and squatting
down suddenly, so as to make what you call a cheese.

"Why, you don't mean to say that's your real name," whispered little

"To be sure it is! just as much as--and pray, my little creature, what's
your name?"

"Mine! oh my name is Ruth Page, _only_ Ruth Page," and up she jumped,
and spun round among the strawberries and flowers, and tried to make a
courtesy like the little old woman, and then they both burst out
a-laughing together.

"Well," said Goody Gracious, "you're a nice, good-natured, funny little
thing, I'll say that for you, as ever I happened to meet with; but
haven't you another and a prettier name, hey?"

"Why, sometimes they call me Little Teenty-Tawnty," said Ruth.

"Fiddle-de-dee, I don't like that name any better than the other: we
must give you a new name," said the little old woman; "but first tell
me"--and she grew very serious, and her little sharp eyes changed
color--"first tell me how you happened to be here, in the very heart of
Fairy-land, with nobody to take care of you, and not so much as a wasp
or a bumble-bee to watch over you when you are asleep."

"Indeed, and indeed, ma'am, I don't know," said little Ruth; "all I do
know is, that I have been very naughty, and that I am drowned, and that
I shall never see my poor dear mamma any more!" And then she up and told
the whole story to the little old woman, crying bitterly all the while.

"Don't take on so, my little dear, don't, don't!" said Goody Gracious;
and out she whipped what appeared to Ruth nothing but a rumpled leaf of
the tiger-lily, and wiped her eyes with it. "Be a good child, and, after
a trial of three days in Fairy-land, if you want to go back to your
mother you shall go, and you may carry with you a token to her that you
have told the truth."

"Oh, bless your little dear old-fashioned face," cried Ruth; "oh, bless
you, bless you! only give me a token that will make me always remember
what I have promised my poor dear mother, and I shall be so happy, and I
won't ask for anything else."

"What, neither for humming-birds, nor gold-fish, nor butterflies, nor
diamonds, nor pearls, nor anything you have been wishing for so long,
ever since you were able to read about Fairy-land?"

"No, ma'am; just give me a ring of wheat-straw, or a brooch from the
ruby-beetle, if you like, and I shall be satisfied."

"Be it so; but, before I change you to a fairy, you must make choice of
what you want to see in Fairy-land for three days running; for, at the
end of that time, I shall change you back again, so that if you are of
the same mind then, you may go back to your mother, and, if not, you
will stay with us forever and ever."

"Forever and ever?" said Ruth, and she trembled; "please ma'am, I should
like to go now, if it's all the same to you."

"No! but take this flower;" and, as she spoke, she stooped down, and
pulled up a forget-me-not by the roots, and breathed upon it, and it
blossomed all over. "Take this root," said she, "and plant it somewhere,
and tend it well, and at any time after three days, if you get tired of
being here, all you have to do will be just to pull it up out of the
earth, and wish yourself at home, and you will find yourself there in a
moment, in your own little bed."

"Goody gracious! you don't say so!"

"But I do say so."

"I declare, I've a good mind to try!"

"What, pull it up before you have planted it? No, no, my dear. It must
be left out threescore and twelve hours, and be watered with the dews
and the starlight of the South Sea, where you are now, thousands and
thousands of miles from your own dear country; but there is one thing I
would have you know before you plant the flower."

"If you please, ma'am," said little Ruth.

"It is given to you, my dear, to help you correct your faults; you mean
to do right, and you try pretty hard, but you are _so_ forgetful, you

"Yes, ma'am."

"Well, now, but remember--just so long as you tend this plant with care,
and water it every day at the same hour,--every day, mind you, and at
the same hour,--you will be growing better."

Ruth was overjoyed.

"But," continued the fairy, "if you neglect it for a single day, it will
begin to droop and wither, the leaves will change, and some of the
blossoms will drop off, and your mother will begin to feel unhappy and

"Oh, yes; but I never shall, ma'am--never, _never_!"

"Don't be too sure; and if you neglect it for two whole days running,
all the flowers will drop off but one, and your mother will take to her
bed, and nobody but you will know what ails her."

Poor Ruth began to tremble, and the tears came in her eyes.

"But," continued the fairy, "_but_ if you should neglect it for three
days running, my poor child--but for three days running--the last flower
will drop off, and your mother will die of a broken heart."

"Oh, mercy, mercy!" cried poor little Ruth. "Oh, take it! take it! I
wouldn't have it for the world!" and she flung it down upon the loose
earth, and shook her little fingers, just as if something had stung her.

"It is too late now. See, my dear, it has already taken root, and now
there is no help for it. Remember! your mother's health, happiness and
life depend upon that flower. Watch it well! And now, daughter of
earth," and, as she spoke, she stooped, and pulled up a whole handful of
violets, dripping with summer rain, and repeating the words, "Daughter
of earth, away! Rosebud, appear!" shook the moisture all over her; and
instantly the dear child found herself afloat in the air, with pinions
of purple gauze, bedropped with gold, with millions of little fairies
all about her, swarming like butterflies and blossoms after a pleasant
rain, and welcoming their sister Rosebud to Fairy-land.

"Well," thought Rosebud,--we must call her Rosebud now,--"well, if this
being a little fairy isn't one of the pleasantest things!" and then she
recollected that she had only three days to stay there and see the
sights, and she looked round her to ask if there was anybody near to
help her, and take charge of her, and tell her what to do, and where to

"Daughter," said a sweet voice that she knew, though it appeared to come
out, and steal up from the leaves of another morning-glory,--"Daughter!"

"Mother," said Rosebud.

"You may have your choice to-day of these three things,--a
butterfly-hunt, a wedding, or a play."

"Oh, a wedding, a wedding!" said Rosebud. "Oh, I have always wanted to
see a wedding!"

"Be it so," said the voice; and instantly a sweet wind arose, and lifted
her up, and swept her, and thousands more like her, over the blue deep,
so swiftly that nothing could be seen but a mist of sparkles here and
there, till they all found themselves on the sea-shore, at the mouth of
a deep sparry cave, all hung about with the richest moss, and lighted
with pearls in clusters, and with little patches of glowworms, and
carpeted with the wings of butterflies. In the midst were a multitude of
little fairies, hovering and floating over a throne of spider-net ivory,
on which lay the bride, with a veil of starlight, interwoven with the
breath of roses, covering her from head to foot, and falling over the
couch, like sunshine playing on clear water.

By and by a faint, strange murmuring was heard afar off, like the
ringing of lily-bells to the touch of the honey-bees, growing louder and
louder, and coming nearer and nearer every moment. Rosebud turned toward
the sea with all the other fairies, and held her breath; and after a few
moments, a fleet of little ships, with the most delicate purple and
azure sails, so thin that you could see the sky through them, came
tilting along over the sea, as if they were alive,--and so they
were,--and drew up, as if in order of battle, just before the mouth of
the cave; and then a silver trumpet sounded on the shore, and a swarm of
hornets appeared, whizzing and whirring all about the cave; and then
there was another trumpet, and another, about as loud as you may hear
from a caged blue-bottle, and compliments were interchanged, and a
salute fired, which frightened the little lady-fairies into all sorts of
shapes, and made the little fairy-bride jump up and ask if her time had
come, though, to tell you the truth, the noise did not appear much more
terrible to Rosebud than her little brother's pop-gun; and then, a sort
of barge, not unlike the blossom of a sweet pea in shape, was manned
from the largest of the fleet, and, when it touched the bright sparkling
sand, out leaped a little prince of a fellow, with a bunch of white
feathers in his hat, plucked from the moth-miller, a sword like the
finest cambric needle belted about his waist, and the most unimpeachable

This turned out to be the bridegroom; and after a few more flourishes,
and not a little pulling and hauling among the bridesmaids, the bride
and the bridegroom stood up together, and looked silly and sheepish, as
if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths; and after listening awhile to
an old droning-beetle, without hearing a word he said, they bowed and
courtesied, and made some sort of a reply, nobody could guess what; and
then forth stepped the master of ceremonies, a priggish-looking
grasshopper, with straw-colored tights, and a fashionable coat,
single-breasted, and so quakerish, it set poor little Rosebud
a-laughing, in spite of all she could do, every time she looked at his
legs; and _then_! out flew the ten thousand trumpeting bumble-bees, and
the katydid grew noisier than ever, and the cricket chirruped for joy,
and the bridegroom touched the bride's cheek, and pointed slyly toward a
little heap of newly-gathered roses and violets, piled up afar off, in a
shadowy part of the cave, just underneath a trailing canopy of
changeable moss; the bride blushed, and the fairies tittered, and little
Rosebud turned away, and wished herself at home, and instantly the bride
and the bridegroom vanished! and the ships and the fairies! and the
lights and the music! and Rosebud found herself standing face to face
with the little withered old woman, who was looking mournfully at the
drooping forget-me-not. The tears came into her eyes; and for the first
time since the flower took root--for the very first time--she began to
think of her mother, and of her promise to the fairy; and she stooped
down, in an agony of terror, and shame, and self-reproach, to see how it
fared with her forget-me-not. Alas! it had already begun to droop and
wither; and the leaves were changing color, and the blossoms were
dropping off, and she knew that her mother was beginning to suffer.

"Oh that I had never seen the hateful flower!" cried Rosebud; and then
instantly recollecting herself, she dropped upon her knees, and kissed
it, and wept upon it, and the flower seemed refreshed by her tears; and
when she stood up and looked into the face of the good little fairy, and
saw her lips tremble, and the color change in her sweet mournful eyes,
she felt as if she never should be happy again.

"Daughter of earth! child of the air!" said the fairy, "two more days
remain to thee. What wouldst thou have?"

"Oh nothing! nothing! Let me but go back to my dear, dear mother, and I
shall be so happy!"

"That cannot be. These trials are to prepare thee for thy return to her.
Be patient, and take thy choice of these three things,--a tournament, a
coronation, or a ball!"

"Goody gracious! how I _should_ like to see a coronation!" cried
Rosebud; and then she recollected herself, and blushed and courtesied,
and said, "If you please, ma'am."

"Call me mother, my dear; in Fairy-land I am your mother."

"Well, mother," said Rosebud, the tears starting into her eyes and her
heart swelling, as she determined never to call her mamma, no, never!
"Well, mother, if you please, I would rather stay here and watch the
flower; I don't want to see anything more in Fairy-land; I've had enough
of such things to last me as long as I live. But oh, if I should happen
to fall asleep!"

"If you should, my dear, you will wake in season; but take your choice."

"Thank you, mother, but I choose to stay here."

At these words the fairy vanished, and Rosebud was left alone, looking
at the dear little flower, which seemed to grow fresher and fresher, and
more and more beautiful every minute, and wondering whether it would be
so with her dear mamma; and then she fell a-thinking about her home, and
how much trouble she had given her mother, and how much better she would
always be, after she had got back to her once more; and then she fell
asleep, and slept so soundly that she did not wake till the sun was up,
and it was time to water the flower.

At first she was terribly frightened; but when she remembered what the
fairy told her, she began to feel comfortable, and, lest something might
happen, she took a little sea-shell that lay there, and running down to
the water, dipped it up full, and was on her way back, thinking how
happy her poor dear mamma would feel if she could only know _what_ it
was and _who_ it was that made her so much better, when she heard the
strangest and sweetest noises all about her in the air, as if the whole
sky were full of the happiest and merriest creatures! and when she
looked up, lo! there was a broad glitter to be seen, as if the whole
population of Fairy-land were passing right over her head, making a sort
of path like that you see at sunrise along the blue deep, when the
waters are motionless, and smooth, and clear.

"Well," said she, looking up, "I _do_ wonder where they are going so
fast"--and then she stopped--"and I do think they might be civil enough
just to let a body know; I dare say 'tis the coronation, or the
butterfly hunt, or the tournament, or the--oh, how I should like to be

No sooner was the wish uttered, than she found herself seated in a high
gallery, as delicately carved as the ivory fans of the East; with
diamonds and ostrich-feathers all about and below her, and a prodigious
crowd assembled in the open air,--with the lists open--a trumpet
sounding--and scores of knights armed cap-a-pie, and mounted on
dragon-flies, waiting for the charge. All eyes were upon her, and
everybody about was whispering her name, and she never felt half so
happy in her life; and she was just beginning to compare the delicate
embroidery of her wings with that of her next neighbor, a sweet little
Fairy, who sat looking through her fingers at a youthful champion below,
and pouting, and pouting, as if she wanted everybody to know that he had
jilted her, when she happened to see a little forget-me-not embroidered
on his beaver; and she instantly recollected her promise, and cried out,
"Oh, mamma! mamma!" and wished herself back again, where she might sit
by the flower and watch over it, and never leave it, never! till her
three days of trial were ended.

In a moment, before she could speak a word, or even make a bow to the
nice little boy-fairy, who had just handed her up her glove on the point
of a lance like a sunbeam, she found herself seated by the flower. Poor
little thing! It was too late! Every blossom had fallen off but one, and
that looked unhealthy, and trembled when she breathed upon it. She
thought of her mamma, and fancied she could see them carrying her up to
bed, and all the doctors there, and nobody able to tell what ailed her;
and she threw herself all along upon the grass, and wished all the
fairies at the bottom of the Red Sea, and herself with them! And when
she looked up, what do you think she saw? and where do you think she
was? why, she was at the bottom of the Red Sea, and all the wonders of
the Red Sea were about her,--chariots and chariot-wheels and the
skeletons of war-horses, and mounted warriors, with heaps of glittering
armor, and jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and banner, and shield,
and spear, with millions and millions of little sea-fairies, and Robin
Goodfellows, and giants and dwarfs, and the funniest looking monsters
you ever did see; and the waters were all bright with fairy-lamps that
were alive, and with ribbons that were alive, and with changeable
flowers that swam about and whispered to each other in a language of
their own; and there were great heaps of pearl washed up into drifts and
ridges, and a pile of the strangest-looking old-fashioned furniture, of
gold and ivory, and little mermaids with their dolls not longer than
your finger, with live fishes for tails, jumping about and playing
hide-and-seek with the sun-spots and star-fishes, and the striped
water-snakes of the Indian seas--the most brilliant and beautiful of all
the creatures that live there.

And while she was looking about her, and wondering at all she saw, she
happened to think once more of the _forget-me-not_, and to wish herself
back again! At that instant she heard a great heavy bell booming and
tolling--she knew it was tolling--and she knew she was too late--and she
knew that her mother was dead of a broken heart,--and she fell upon her
face, and stretched forth her hands with a shriek, and prayed God to
forgive her! and allow her to see her mother once more--only once more!

"Why, what ails the child?" whispered somebody that seemed to be
stooping over her.

It was her mother's voice! and poor Ruth was afraid to look up, lest it
should all vanish forever.

"Upon my word, Sarah," said another voice,--it was her father's; "upon
my word, Sarah, I do not know; but the poor little creature's thoughts
appear to have undergone another change. I have heard nothing to-day of
the forget-me-not which troubled her so the first week, have you?"

"She has mentioned it but once to-day, and then she shuddered; but
perhaps we had better keep it in the glass till we see whether it will
bear to be transplanted, for she seems to have set her little heart upon
having that flower live; I wish I knew why!"

"Do you, indeed, mamma?" whispered poor Ruth, still without looking up;
"well, then, I will tell you. That flower was given me by a fairy to
make me remember my promises to you, my poor, dear, dead mamma; and so
long as I water that, every day at the same hour, so long I shall be
growing better and better, and my poor dear mamma--boo-hoo! boo-hoo!"
and the little thing began to cry as if she would break her heart.

"Why, this is stranger than all," said the father. "I can't help
thinking the poor child would be rational enough now, if she hadn't
read so many Fairy-books; but what a mercy it was, my dear Sarah, and
how shall we ever be thankful enough, that you happened to be down there
when she fell into the water."

"Ah!" Ruth Page began to hold her breath, and listen with the strangest

"Yes, Robert; but I declare to you I am frightened whenever I think of
the risk I ran by letting her fall in, head first, as I did."

Poor Ruth began lifting her head by little and little, and to feel
about, and pinch herself, to see if she was really awake, or only

"And then, too, just think of this terrible fever, and the strange, wild
poetry she has been talking, day after day, about Fairy-land."

"Poetry! Fudge, Robert, fudge!"

Ruth looked up, full of amazement and joy, and whispered, "Fudge,
father, fudge!" and the very next words that fell from her trembling
lips as she sat looking at her mother, and pointing at a little bunch of
forget-me-nots in full flower, that her mother had kept for her in a
glass by the window, were these: "Oh, mother! dearest mother! what a
terrible dream I have had!"

"Hush, my love, hush! and go to sleep, and we will talk this matter over
when you are able to bear it."

"Goody gracious, mamma!"

"There she goes again!" cried the father; "now we shall have another

"Hush, hush, my love! you must go to sleep, now, and not talk any more."

"Well, kiss me, mamma, and let me have your hand to go to sleep with,
and I'll try."

Her mother kissed the dear little thing, and took her hand in hers, and
laid her cheek upon the pillow, and, in less than five minutes, she was
sound asleep, and breathing as she hadn't breathed before, since she had
been fished out of the water, nearly three weeks back, on her way to


Troublesome comforts are they at best, these Little Plagues; and yet,
how on earth should we get along without them? Mysterious and wonderful
in their perturbations and irregularities, they are continually amazing
the wisest by their questionings, and startling whole neighborhoods with
their strange outbreaks of inner life, as you may see by what follows.
For a long while--many years, indeed--I have been in the habit of
minuting down the stories that have come in my way about the little
folks--the seedling cherubim--out of which, as the stars are smelted,
the angels of God, who see His face forever, are to be recast and
refashioned for the skies. Grains of gold are they, often gathered from
street sweepings and rubbish; diamond-sparks which the great multitude,
in their headlong hurry, overlook, but infinitely precious to the
Philanthropist and the Philosopher. For example:--

No. 1. And this I had from the late John Pierpont, who related it of a
grandchild, yet living, I hope.

"Aunt May-ee," said the little thing to her aunt, who was combing her
hair, "I don't like Dod."

"Don't like God, Sissy! when He's so good to you, and gives you Aunt
Mary and grandpa, and grandma, and ever so many friends to take care of
you,--_why_, Sissy?"

"Well, but"--growing thoughtful and trying to escape--"well, but Sissy
don't like black Dod."

"There isn't any black God, Sissy."

"_Then who made Chloe?_"

Did not that child reason?

No. 2. "'Top, mother!" said a little boy to his mother, who was reading
to him about Abraham and Isaac, and had just come to the uplifted knife;
"'top, mother! I don't want to hea any more. _I despise him._" Did not
that child _feel_? and is it conceivable that he meant what he said?
Feeling his gorge rise, with abhorrence, it may be, and not
understanding the awful significance of the threatened sacrifice, a type
of what afterwards happened on Mount Moriah, where the Temple stands, he
took that word which, in his little childish experience, best
corresponded with his thought of horror and amazement that a father
should put his child to death.

No. 3. And this reminds me of a little girl, who had never learned to
read, but used to take her Bible and sit down by herself in the corner,
as all children do at times, and make believe read. One day, when the
mother was very busy, the child wanted to hear about Noah and the Ark.
The mother had read over certain passages aloud so often, that the child
had got them by heart. She opened at the place, and gave her little one
the book in her lap. After awhile, the child began to murmur to
herself--the mother listened--and the little thing read as follows, with
the greatest possible seriousness and unction: "And the Lord said unto
Noah, Come out, thou and thy wife, and thy sons' wives and thy
daughters, and--_balancez_!"

The dear little puss had just begun to go to the dancing-school. What
wonder that she didn't always know her head from her heels?

No. 4. Another little girl, who had been favored with glimpses of the
upper sky, having been told by her mother that she was _always_
surrounded by guardian angels, grew very thoughtful, and, after drawing
a long breath, looked up and said, "Mamma, do you mean _really_ that
_all the whole time_ they are with me?" On receiving a solemn assurance
in the affirmative, she exclaimed with an impatient fling, "Well,
really, I _should_ like to be alone a little while, _sometimes_."

What a lesson for the mother! If children are allowed to dabble with
mysteries like these, without explanation, they cannot be otherwise than
shocking sometimes, like a Leyden jar; and if they are, whose fault is
it? Either more or less ought to have been told that dear little, honest

No. 5. But children have wonderful foresight, and often reach
conclusions by a sort of intuitive logic, as women do--flashing the
truth upon us without preparation, and forecasting the future, as if
suddenly gifted with second sight. A little boy, having been told by his
parents that he couldn't go to church because he was too small, answered
with a toss of the head, "Well, you'd better take me now, for when I get
bigger, I may not want to go!" To which I say, Bravo! my little man!
Such a reply ought to throw the doors of any church wide open to you, as
to a glorified spirit--in embryo.

No. 6. A little girl knelt down by her mother's knee to say her prayers,
before going to bed. After finishing the Lord's Prayer, she went on to
offer up her little petitions for every separate member of the family,
and at last came to the youngest, who, having been rather naughty that
day, was out of favor: "And please God make Lucy a good little girl,
and make----" here she was suddenly interrupted by Lucy, who burst out
with--"Here you! stop that! I'll do my own praying myself, I thank you!"

Who would not sympathize with such a child, under such circumstances,
even though both were at an infant prayer-meeting? And who is there who
would not shrink from being prayed for to his face anywhere, after such
a fashion?

No. 7. Their notions of language, too, are sometimes of the drollest, as
where the poor boy used that unfortunate word _despise_, when he meant
only to express horror and astonishment. "How did you fall--_backward_?"
said a mother to a child who was just coming to herself and gasping for
breath, after a heavy fall. "_Backward_, mamma! no indeed--I fell

No. 8. A dear little boy, anything but pious, though happy and cheerful,
and about as good as most boys of his age, had been listening patiently
for a long while to his mother's account of heaven--likening it to a
great everlasting Sabbath-school. At last he looked up, with a troubled
countenance, and said in a whisper, "But mamma, don't you think God
would let me have a little devil come up and play with me sometimes,
when I have been very good?"

No. 9. Another little fellow, on his way home from his church with his
mother, seemed astonished at the crowds he saw. After walking awhile
without speaking, he came out with, "Why mamma, I should think God would
be tired making so many people." Here was an embryo theologian for you!
And yet he had probably never heard of the Scripture, where it is said
that God _repented_ of His making man. Nor was he quite prepared to
understand why such crowds were ever made, nor what they were good for,
seeing how they behaved, and how they were employed, and how they
dressed, and how they chattered. If Babels were scattered of yore, why
not now--if they try to scale the heavens by a forbidden path, or to
carry their bulwarks by assault, as most of the nations do?

No. 10. A little girl who had learned her letters and all her lessons by
the help of a pictured primer, but had never learned to put them
together, opened her book one day at the picture of a _quail_, with its
name underneath, in large letters. After studying a long while, she
seemed to catch the idea, and called it a _pigeon_--a word she could not
pronounce, though she knew the bird well enough, and out she came with
"Q. U. A. I. L.--_fidget_"--with such an air of triumph and
self-complacency, it was never forgotten.

No. 11. Children's prayers--if they are indeed prayers--must be
acceptable on earth as well as in heaven; and he must indeed be
heartless, or worse, who would think slightingly of them, although,
sooth to say, they are sometimes hard to bear. For example: a little
girl, on having her hair smartly pulled by her little brother, while
saying her prayers, went on for awhile, without turning her head, in the
same low monotone, "and please God, excuse me for a minute, while I kick
Neddy." Tell me that child was without understanding what is meant by
prayer! or that she meant to abuse the privilege. No such thing--though,
to be sure, she may have misunderstood some of its functions. Had she
not been a believer, she would have kicked Neddy at once, without asking
leave--would she not?

No. 12. But children must not be allowed to counterfeit or pretend.
Encourage them to be honest, even in prayer--honest even at church. A
fine, hearty little fellow, who had been treated with his first circus
on Saturday, and to his first church-service the next Sabbath-morning,
sat quietly enough, as everybody acknowledged, for the first half hour:
and then he began to grow uneasy, and fidget in his seat, until he was
admonished by his mother more than once. Worn to death at last, he
groaned out loud enough to be heard in the neighboring pews, "O dear!
I'd rather go to two circuses than one meeting!" Of course he told the
truth; and of course he ought to have been patted on the back, and
encouraged for his downright honesty.

No. 13. Quart pots don't hold a gallon--though pint bottles are
sometimes said to hold a quart in certain establishments; and we must
be wary of packing and crowding these earthen vessels, before they are
hooped and strengthened. A small boy, not otherwise remarkable, though
mischievous, adroit and playful, had been talked to, till he was out of
all patience with a clergyman, about the omnipresence of God. It was
pretty clear, from what followed, that he had begun to be somewhat
sceptical, and he determined to lay a trap for his teacher. One day,
when they were riding together, the following conversation was had:--

"Didn't you tell me, sir," said our young master, "that God is

"Yes, my child."

"Is he in this carriage?"


"Is he in my hat?"


"Is he in my pocket?"

"Yes, child"--rather impatiently.

"Hurrah! now I've got you! I ain't got no pocket!" was the clincher.

What a lesson for that clergyman! If, as Goethe says, Hamlet was an oak
planted in a china vase, intended for a rose-tree, so that when the
plant grew, the pot was shattered, what was likely to happen to that
child, if the omnipresence of God had been suffered to take root in his
young, unprepared heart?

No. 14. Another child, afflicted with similar misgivings, took a
different course to satisfy his inward longings. After propounding every
conceivable question at the breakfast-table one day, he clenched the
whole with, "Is God in this sugar-bowl?" "Certainly," said his mother.
Whereupon, with a whoop, he clapped his hand on the bowl, and shouted,
"Ah, ha! now I've got you, old fellow!"

So much for misunderstanding the most obvious truth, namely, that,
although men are but children of a larger growth, children are not often
philosophers, theologians, or giants--Mozart to the contrary
notwithstanding; and that, in training them for another world, they are
to be uplifted, not overborne, with mystery.

No. 15. Another little chap of three years only, met his father on his
return from a long journey, exclaiming, "O papa, I've got a tory of
_interet_ to tell you. Dis mornin' mamma was writin' in the parlor, an'
a gate, big, yeller fly comed in at the open window, an' it kep sayin'
_sizzum, sizzum, sizzum,_ three times, an' it _beed_ my hand with
its foot, and its foot was hot!"

Had not this child pretty decided notions of what is meant by the song
of a "bumble bee," and the sting? Let him alone for that.

No. 16. The same boy, having thrown something valuable into the fire,
was taken to task by his father, who, after remonstrating with him
awhile on the enormity of his transgression, wound up with, "Why, my
dear child, if you go on in this way, just think what a dreadful boy you
will be, when you grow up!" At this, the little fellow's face brightened
all over, and he exclaimed, "Why papa! I shall be yest like ee yobber
kitten, sant I?"--alluding to the autobiography of a very disreputable
fast kitten, who, or rather _which_, had taken to the highway at an
early age, and is therefore a special favorite with children of all
ages--like most of Mayne Reid's heroes, or Jonathan Wild, or Jack

No. 17. And this reminds me of a similar case, where well-meant
instruction was painfully misunderstood by a promising little fellow,
who was very fond of Bible-stories with illustrations. His mother was
showing him a picture of Daniel in the lion's den, with the old lions
ramping and tearing their prey to tatters, and a young lion--a
cub--looking on. Just when she had begun to congratulate herself on the
success of her teaching, the child cried out, "O mamma! look! look! the
little one won't get any!"

N. B.--Beware of cramming and overloading. Beware also of expecting too
much in this world. But, above, all, beware of misunderstanding yourself
in your children!

No. 18. Yet more. A little girl having been brought up on the song "I
want to be an angel!" had evidently been pondering the manners, habits,
occupations and usages of that fraternity, until at length she came out
decidedly with, "No mamma--I don't want to be an angel!"

"Not want to be an angel! Why, Susie!" exclaimed the mother, greatly
shocked at the child's hopeless condition; "and why not, pray?"

"'Cause, mamma, I don't want to lose all my pretty close, an' wear
fedders, like a hen!"

There's truthfulness for you--worth its weight in gold--a string of
"Orient pearls at random strung."

No. 19. Another little fairy, having been carefully trained to a proper
estimate of the becoming in attire, was taken into a room to see her
dead grandmother in her coffin. She looked very grave at first, and then
sorrowful, and after a minute or two said, in a low, sweet, trembling
voice, with her little hand stealing slowly into her mother's hand, "Has
grandmamma gone to heaven in that ugly cap, mamma?"

No. 20. Little mischiefs, at the best, I have said--are they not? Just
read the following, and say no, if you dare! A youngster in Peoria,
Illinois, while ransacking his sister's portfolio, came across a package
of love-letters carefully tied up with a blue ribbon, and stowed snugly
away; being her correspondence with a charming fellow, not, perhaps, to
the liking of papa and mamma. These he took to the corner of a crowded
thoroughfare, and, as he had seen the postman do, distributed them to
the passers-by. His poor sister heard of the achievement after they were
in general circulation; and then!--ask our friend Carlyle, after
shooting Niagara; or Wendell Phillips--after Grant. See No. 53.

No. 21. I have just met with this: "A little lady of thirty months only,
insists on calling a cane with a crooked handle, 'An umbrella without
any clothes on.'" There's a philologist for you! And one, too, capable
of giving a reason for what she says.

No. 22. A little boy in Scotland was asked by his Sabbath-school teacher
what was meant by _regeneration_. "Being born again," he replied. "And
would you not like to be born again, my little man?" said the teacher.
"_No!_" answered the boy, with decided emphasis, greatly to the surprise
of the good dominie. "And why not?" continued the latter. "For fear I
might be born a lassie," said the boy. Was there ever a better reason,
with the poor boy's understanding of the great mystery? So much for
dabbling with metaphysics before the unprepared.

No. 23. And sometimes they have to do with politics and other worldly
matters,--the social evil, perhaps, or woman's-rights, or universal
suffrage. And why not? being what they are, miniature men and women,
with the rights of both.

"Be you a Democrat or a Republican?" said one of these President-makers
in embryo, to another little fellow in a frilled apron. "No, I'm not
either," was the indignant reply; "I belong to the Congregational
Church." Of course he did; having been baptized into that denomination,
when just old enough to be deeply impressed with the ceremony.

No. 24. A little girl of six years at the most, after her nurse had
enlarged upon the character and attributes of the Old Evil One, till her
blood ran cold, broke out with, "Auntie, if the devil is so wicked, why
don't God kill him?" A question, by the way, which has "puzzled
philosophers of all sects and ages," like the "cosmogony of the world,"
according to Oliver Goldsmith, and his delightful friend, Ephraim

No. 25. Little Maud, five years old, was sitting on the floor, and
trying to stitch like her mother. Suddenly looking up, after a long
silence, she said, like one familiar with the gossip of the tea-table
and the quilting-frame, "Mamma, I was thinking God must be getting quite
along in years!" Of course, the poor little thing had never been so far
indoctrinated, as to understand that, with God, a thousand years are as
one day, or a watch in the night, and one day as a thousand years, with
no past, and no future, but one everlasting present.

No. 26. Another little woman, being asked by her Sunday-school teacher,
"What did the Israelites do after passing through the Red Sea?"
answered, "I don't know, ma'am, but I guess they dried themselves." And
why not, pray? What would be more likely?

No. 27. And here we have one exceedingly jealous for the Lord. A little
boy, who, whenever he went out to play, was plagued and pestered by a
little girl somewhat older--who squinted awfully, and was, it must be
acknowledged, absolutely frightful--on being asked why he was always so
_ugly_ to Susie Bates, since God made Susie Bates as well as him,
exclaimed, "O, Nurse Thompson, ain't you ashamed to talk in that way
about the good Lord?"

Will you tell me that child did not reason? or that, _as_ a child, he
was irreverent, because he would not charge God foolishly, nor hold the
Great Workman answerable for such workmanship?

No. 28. And this brings to mind the following incident: Some years ago
my own little boy went, with his brother Robert, on a trip to the
Islands. After awhile, he was caught making the most horrible faces at
another little boy, somewhat older, who sat in the stern of the boat a
long way off, but fronting them. Brother Robert interfered, and asked
what possessed my little fellow--a good-natured, pleasant boy, as ever
lived. "Why, don't you see? He's making faces at me all the time," said
Pepper-pot. Upon further inquiry, it turned out that the strange boy was
epileptic, or troubled with St. Vitus' dance, and all the faces he had
been making were involuntary. Of course, it never entered the head of
our little one that the faces he saw were God's work, or he would have
lowered his voice to a whisper, as he always did in the Sabbath-school,
when he asked about God.

No. 29. That children are curious, and inquisitive, and rather
troublesome at times, we all know. But, if it were otherwise, how would
they ever learn their a b _abs_ in this world? In a Western village, a
charming little widow had been made love to by a physician. "The
wedding-day appointed was--the wedding-clothes provided." But among her
children was a poor crippled boy, who had been allowed full swing ever
since the death of his father. "Georgie," said the mother, calling him
to her, "Georgie, I am going to do something pretty soon that I should
like to have a little talk with you about." "Well, ma, what is it?" "I
am going to marry Dr. Jones in a few days, and I hope----" "Bully for
you, ma! _Does Dr. Jones know it?_" Who that wears a cap would not
sympathize with that poor widow?

No. 30. But children are soothsayers and prophets; and they have open
visions, it may be, if we would but listen to their low breathing.
"Father," said a little Swedish girl, one still, starry night, after a
long silence, "father, I have been thinking if the wrong side of heaven
is so beautiful, what must the right side be?" Was not this a
revelation? and such a revelation, too, that even her father must have
been astonished? Was it not as if her whole character had been revealed
to him, on her way upward, as by a flash from the empyrean?

No. 31. But we must be patient with all anxious inquirers. In a small
Western village, there was a store kept by a nice young woman, who was a
teacher in the Sabbath-school, and deeply interested in all that
concerned that institution.

"Do you go to the Sabbath-school?" said she, one day, to a dirty little
chap, who came blundering through the establishment, as if he had taken
it for the play-ground.

"Sabbath-school! what's that?" said he.

"Don't you know? Why, a Sabbath-school is where we read in the Bible,
and learn all about God, and our blessed Saviour, and the----"

"O," said he, "I've read about God, and _t'other feller that killed his
brother_, in the School Reader. Tain't no use my goin' to school Sunday;
I know all about 'em." Whereupon the young lady teacher "dried
up"--wilted, perhaps--and set her trap for another young reprobate.

No. 32. "A little three-year-old," says a neighbor, "was in the habit of
helping himself to crackers without leave, by lifting the lid of a tin
box, and plunging his little arm in up to the elbow. One day, after
listening to stories about rats, he went after a cracker, and hearing a
noise that he fancied was made by rats, he scampered back to the
sitting-room, with big eyes and a flushed face, and assured his mother
that he wasn't afraid. 'O, muzzer!' said he, 'I ain't afaid o' _wats,
but I'se so tired I couldn't lift the cover_!'" How many grown people
have you heard guilty of a similar subterfuge. Not afraid, to be
sure--not they--but only somewhat hurried, or having just remembered an
engagement, as they were about lifting the lid of something dangerous.

No. 33. And here is a case of downright special pleading, worthy of Lord
Coke himself, or Saunders, or Theophilus Parsons, or Chitty, or Judge
Gould. "Oh, Tommy, that was abominable in you, to eat your little
sister's share of the cake!" "Didn't you tell me, ma, that I was always
to _take her part_?" said Tommy.

No. 34. "George," said a minister to one of the little boys, who looked
as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, "where is your sister Minnie?"
"Gone to heaven, sir." "What!--is she dead?" "O, no, sir; she went to
buy a box of matches." "Why, you said she had gone to heaven." "Yes,
sir--but you said last Sunday that matches were made in heaven, and so I
thought she went there."

N. B.--I don't believe a word of this; but if true, all I have to say
is, that, like the princes in the tower, it is well that such children
are not often allowed to grow up. "Whom the gods love die young," said
the ancients; but I say, Whom the gods love die of old age--unless they
have been snuffed out for their untimely brilliancy.

No. 35. "Father, I don't like the bishop." "Why, dear?" "Because he
sprinkled water all over my new frock, and said '_Fanny, I despise

No. 36. A little girl of seven years, who had been brought up to go to
_meeting_, and knew nothing about a church, high or low, was taken by a
friend to the Episcopal church on communion day. Returning home, she
was asked by her father how she liked the service. "Well, papa," she
answered, "I must say that I don't like to go to a place where the
minister _has to change his shirt three times in meeting_." Ritualistic,
High-Church ceremonies, the young lady was not quite prepared for.

No. 37. A certain little Sissy, being worried by a big brother till she
was out of all patience, plumped down upon her knees, where she stood,
and cried out, "O Lord! bless my brother Tom. He lies--he steals--he
swears; all boys do--we girls don't. Amen!" Was the poor thing a little
pharisee in her indignation, without knowing it? or was she only--like
most of us who are loudest in our outcries for the salvation of
others--a little overburdened with self-righteousness?

No. 38. _Small boy on tip-toe to his playfellows._--"Now you hush there,
all of you."

"Why, what's the matter, Bobby?" "Well--we've got a new baby. It's very
weak and tired, and walked all the way from heaven last night; and you
mustn't be kicking up a row here now."

No. 39. _Little Tommy._--"I say, ma, is it true that we are made out of
the dust?"

_Ma._--"Yes, Tommy; so we are told."

_Tommy._--"I'll be hanged if I can believe it; 'cause you see, if we
was, when we sweat, wouldn't we be muddy?"

That boy was a Transcendentalist, and no mistake.

No. 40. _Natural affection betraying itself._--A man of influence and
character was dying slowly of consumption. Being satisfied that his days
were numbered--his very breathings counted--he used to call his little
son to the bed-side, the pet of the household, and say to him, whenever
he wanted any little thing done, that by and by, after he was dead and
buried, the horse and carriage, and money-box, would all be little
Sammy's. At last the father died, and the little fellow, then about five
years of age,--with his grandfather and mother, were about leaving the
graveyard,--snatched the reins from his grandfather, and sung out, "_Get
up, old hoss! You's mine now, carriage, money-box and all!_" Had he been
a few years older, he would have kept the secret to himself, and
peradventure looked sorrowful over the untimely inheritance.

No. 41. Little Frank had been told to believe that we are all made of
dust. One day, as he stood watching at the window, while a strong wind
was whirling the dust into eddies, and hurrying it away into holes and
corners, and there piling it up with the dried leaves, his mother asked
him what he was thinking of. "O," said he, with uncommon seriousness
for so young a philosopher, "I thought the dust looked as though there
was going to be another little boy."

No. 42. A very little chap, who would no more have thought of going to
bed without saying his prayers, than of going to bed without his supper,
while the goodies were in sight, had just bidden everybody good-night,
with a warm, loving kiss. That very day his mother had been teaching him
the lines, "You'd scarce expect one of my age," and so he began his
little prayer in the following fashion: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I
pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero, don't view me with a cricket's eye, but----"

"Hush, hush!" said his mother; "O hush, my boy! that's no part of the

"Yes it is too, mamma--don't view me with a cricket's eye," etc., etc.

Didn't that mother laugh a little to herself, think you? I'll bet she

No. 43. A teacher in one of our Sabbath-schools, who had quite a
reputation for accommodating his lesson to the understanding of
children, said to a little bit of a thing, one day, with whom she had
been laboring for a long while, "If a naughty girl should strike you, my
dear, you would forgive her, wouldn't you?" "Yeth, marm--if I couldn't
catch her," was the reply--only to be matched by the dying Highlander,
who called out to a neighboring chief, whom he had just been reconciled
to, "But mark ye, lairdee--mind now--if I get abroad agen, all this goes
for naethin'."

No. 44. Another little chap, just verging upon three, but of a
thoughtful, prying disposition far beyond his years, sat watching his
mother while she was making biscuit for tea--though her husband was an
Orthodox clergyman of Pittsfield, Mass.--and asked her if it was not
wicked to work on Sunday. "Certainly," said she. "O my!" said he,
clapping his little hands, "won't 'oo catch it, when 'oo gets to

No. 45. And then, too, how knowing the little wretches are sometimes. A
young gentleman of about five summers was travelling in a crowded
stage-coach, and had been taken into the lap of a passenger. On the way,
some stories were told about pickpockets and their adroitness, and the
conversation at last became general. "Ah, my fine fellow," said the
gentleman who had the little one upon his knee, "how easy I could pick
_your_ pocket"--as it lay gaping near his hand. "No you couldn't,
neither," said the boy, "'cause I've been looking out for you all the

No. 46. And how wise beyond their years, and how full of resource in
danger, sometimes. As three children, Peter Mitchell, Louis Leach, and
Ann I. Lindsay, aged eight, five and four--I give their names, that they
be remembered, and the facts verified--were playing about the premises
of Mr. Horace Balcomb, in the town of Sudbury, Mass., Leach tumbled into
a hogs-head of rain-water set in the earth, five feet deep. As soon as
he fell in, the boy Mitchell ran away to find his mother, who lived a
long way off; but the little girl--only four, you will remember--managed
to get hold of the drowning boy by the shoulders, and keep his head
above the water, till the neighbors came to her help, and pulled him out
in safety.

No. 47. In a Boston Sunday-school--where, of course, impertinent,
puzzling questions are never allowed--the teacher asked, "Where was
Jesus _taken_, when he was arrested in the garden?" A bright little
thing answered immediately, "To the station-house." Whereupon the
teacher observed that there were no station-houses at that time; and the
poor child instantly corrected herself by saying, "I meant the State's
Prison." Teachers, beware!

No. 48. A naughty little boy, being told by his mother that God would
not forgive him, if he did something, answered, "Yes He would too--God
likes to forgive little boys--that's what He's for." Of course that
boy was a Universalist from the shell, and had about as clear a notion
of what God was _for_, as many a profound theologian, or metaphysician.

No. 49. But we have Grace Darlings, Florence Nightingales, and many
other self-denying, self-sacrificing heroines in miniature. We have only
to look about us, and have our ears open, and see, and hear, and
remember for ourselves, that female wonders are of all ages and every
age, and that God never measures them by feet or inches, nor counts
their years, nor weighs them in any other than the scales with which He
weighed the earth itself, at the beginning.

A long train of cars, fourteen or fifteen at least, were hurrying
through the Alleghanies. They were crowded with passengers. As they went
headlong down the inclined plane, they came to a short, narrow curve,
hewed through the living rock, with a high, steep wall on each side.
Suddenly a steam-whistle was heard through the gorge, screaming, Put on
the brakes! put on the brakes! Every window flew up, and scores of heads
were thrust out, and all the passengers sprang to their feet, while the
cars went thundering on, with a continually increasing speed. As the
engine approached the curve, the engineer had caught a glimpse of a
little girl playing on the track with her baby-brother. One moment! and
the cars would be tearing over them. The scream of the whistle startled
the little girl, and her marvellous readiness and self-possession, like
a flash. Seizing her baby-brother, she crowded him into a crevice made
by blasting, and just about large enough to admit the little fellow; and
the next moment, while the passengers were holding their breath, and
expecting to see the poor girl crushed against the steep wall, they
heard a clear, sweet, childish voice, like one crying in the wilderness,
"Cling close to the rock, Johnny! cling close to the rock!" and saw the
baby cuddling up close to the rough wall, as to the bosom of its mother,
while the ponderous cars whirled past him like a tornado. Careless for
herself, or at the worst, not thinking at all of herself, the poor
little barefooted sister stood for a moment like her brother's
guardian-angel, between the living and the dead.

No. 50. But just read the following, which is undoubtedly true--true in
every particular. Three children belonging to New Brunswick got lost in
the woods. It was a dreary, wild region; a dark storm was brewing; it
was near nightfall. The eldest, only six, having satisfied herself that
there was no hope of their being found, nor of their finding their way
out before the next day, put the little ones into a sheltered nook,
stripped off most of her own clothes to wrap them in, and went away in
search of dry sea-weed and brush, to cover them with. The next day the
little ones were found all warm and breathing, with the sea-grass and
brush heaped up about them, and the dear little six-year-old mother
lying dead and stiff on the shore, alongside of the last pile of brush
she had gathered, but wanted the strength to carry off.

No. 51. Three little girls were playing among the poppies and sage-brush
of the back-yard. Two of them were making believe keep house, a little
way apart, as near neighbors might. At last one of them was overheard
saying to the youngest of the lot, "There now, Nellie, you go over to
Sarah's house and stop there a little while, and talk as fast as ever
you can, and then you come back and tell me what she says about me, and
then I'll talk about her; and then you go and tell her all I say, and
then we'll get mad as hornets, and won't speak when we meet, just as our
mothers do, you know; and that'll be such fun--won't it?" Hadn't these
little mischiefs lived to some purpose? and were they not close
observers, and apt scholars, charmingly trained for the chief business
of life in a small neighborhood?

No. 52. A young hopeful of our acquaintance, under five years of age,
has been for a long time debating with himself whether he would be a
circus-rider or a brigadier-general. After weighing all the _pros_ and
_cons_, he has decided for the circus. What a pity some of our
brigadiers had not gone through a similar process in the late war--and
arrived at the same conclusion! We should have been spared many a
blundering mishap.

No. 53. A three-year-old baby in Georgetown, D.C., having watched the
operations of newsboys and letter-carriers while distributing circulars,
newspapers, etc., took from his father's desk a large pile of business
letters, and began the process of distribution with astonishing
success; but, after all, brought no blushes to anybody's cheek, so far
as we have reason to believe, notwithstanding the example set him by the
little boy with his sister's love-letters, already mentioned. See No.

Well do I remember a little chubby fellow strutting through the country
kitchen of his father, when I myself was but a broth of a boy, with a
heap of folded papers sticking out of his trousers' pocket. "These be
all writs, by George!" said he, slapping his thigh as he went along.
Upon further inquiry, we found that he was imitating a new
deputy-sheriff, who used to come a-courting there Sabba'-days.

No. 54. A young gentleman of only six at the outside, was cruelly beset
by a baby of eighteen months, with decided manifestations of fondness.
"Don't you see, Johnny, that the baby wants to kiss you?" said his
mother. "Yes 'm--'at's 'cause he tates me for his papa," was the
explanation of Lilliput. My own little fellow used to complain that the
servant-girls were always under his feet, when he invaded the kitchen.

No. 55. While crossing a steam-ferry, a little three-year-old exclaimed,
as he saw a sail-boat, "O, mamma! there's a boat with a bonnet on"--a
poke-bonnet, of course.

No. 56. And sometimes the best of us get more than we have bargained
for, while trying to enlighten these will-o'-the-wisps. A preacher, who
was talking to the boys in a pleasant, familiar way at the New-Hampshire
State Reform-School, about good people being respected while the naughty
were despised and shunned, ventured on an illustration suited to their
capacities. "Now, boys, when I walk through the streets, and I speak to
some people, and not to others, what is the reason?" "'Cause some are
rich and some are poor," yelped a little fellow in the corner; who, it
may be, never heard of the Apostle James, nor of what he says in Chapter
II. about the rich man coming into your assembly with a gold ring, in
goodly apparel, and also a poor man in vile raiment, and you say to the
first, "Sit thou here in a good place; and to the poor, Stand thou
there, or sit under my footstool;" yet was he learned in the Scripture
nevertheless, and that without knowing it,--God Almighty being his

No. 57. Can this be true? If yea, that child must have died young. It is
from the _Lawrence Eagle_. "In a gentleman's family in this city," says
the editor, "there is a little boy somewhat remarkable for smartness,
and for his understanding of 'pure English undefiled.' He is only four.
Not many days since, he was at the table 'cutting up' in the usual way,
when his mother reproved him. Upon this he began buttering a huge slice
of bread at such a furious rate, that his mother found it necessary to
interfere again: 'Why Johnny,' said she, 'how you do behave! You mustn't
eat so much butter; it will be the death of you.' The little chap looked
up with a roguish smile, and said, 'Well, mother, I mean to go well
buttered, you see, if I am not so well _bread_.'" This the editor was
kind enough to explain, by enclosing "_bred_" in a parenthesis, after
the style of newspaper purveyors, who seem to take it for granted that
most of their capital jokes are unintelligible to the common reader.

No. 58. Little Daisy's mother was trying to make her understand the
meaning of _smile_. "Oh yes, I know," said the little one, her face all
lighting up as she spoke, "it is the whisper of a laugh." Quite equal to
the "frozen music" of architecture, or the "poetry of motion." _Sed
quære_, as the lawyers say, Was such a thing ever said by a little
child? I know not.

No. 59. But here is something we can believe. A buxom Ohio school-girl
was going through her calisthenic performances for the amusement of her
little brothers and sisters. A youthful visitor, full of compassion for
the poor thing, asked her brother _if that gal had fits_? "No," replied
the indignant brother, "them's gymnastics." "Oh, I see; how long has she
had 'em?" which reminds me that I was once asked by a laborer, who saw
half a hundred stout fellows exercising in the open air, bare-headed,
with their jackets off, in Voelker's London Gymnasium at St. John's
Wood, "How much we got a day?"

No. 60. But the inquisitiveness of these folks, who are to govern the
world hereafter, is not confined to every-day investigations; and well
for us that they are not: and well must it be for the nations--for what
our children are now, that will our country be hereafter.

"Mamma, how does God born people black?" said a sprightly little
whippersnapper, who had been listening to a talk about the freedmen.

"By His great power."

"Well, I guess He must have a great big pot of blackin', and then He
smooches 'em all over, jess as soon as they are borned."

"No, no, my dear--that would soon rub off," said mamma.

After a while a very earnest, exulting little voice was heard from
underneath the bedclothes, saying, "I know now, mamma! He mixes the
blackin' with the dust."

Set down that child for a thorough-going investigator--never to be put
off with anything short of demonstration--like Sir Humphrey Davy, or

No. 61. And then, too, how jealous they are of their little
prerogatives, and how they stand up for themselves, when hard pushed! A
returned Californian found the baby he had left in her mother's lap, a
smart little wayward minx of five summers. One day he happened to offend
her ladyship, when she exclaimed, "There now! I do wish you'd never
married into the family."

No. 62. Freddy, a sunny-haired little fellow, just beginning to say "I
shall be five next year about this time," after sitting awhile as if
lost in thought, broke out with, "Say, pa, can God do anything?" "Yes,
dear." "Can He make a two-year old colt in two minutes?" "Why--He
wouldn't want to do that, Freddy." "But I say pa, if He did want to,
could He do it?" "Yes, certainly," answered the father, somewhat annoyed
at the child's pertinacity. "What! in two minutes, pa?" "Yes, in two
minutes." "Well, then, the colt wouldn't be two years old, would he?"
There's a logician for you--ay, and metaphysician too; but there! don't
they swarm about our supper-tables and Sabbath-schools, just now, like
the frogs in Egypt?

No. 63. _Putting it Home._--A little Berkshire five-year-old began to be
ravenous about bed-time, and was afraid to ask for more supper. At last,
after pondering the question awhile, he said, "Mother, are little
children that starve to death happy after they die?" Of course that
child drew extra rations for once.

No. 64. "Sammy," said a young mother to her darling, "Sammy dear, do
you understand the difference between body and soul?" "Don't think I do,
ma--that is, not exactly." "Shall mother try to make it clear to him?"
"Yes, mamma." "Well, then," patting his arms and shoulders, "this is the
body. The soul is what you live with; the body carries you about."
"_You_, mamma--and who is you?" "Never mind now--this, as I told you,"
touching him again on the shoulders and arms, "this is the body; but
there is something underneath, something deeper in. You can feel it now.
What is it?" "O, I know!" said he, with a flash of delighted
intelligence overspreading every feature, "it is my flannel undershirt."
Of course it was! What other soul had he any idea of after mamma was
done with him?

No. 65. _O Hush!_--A gentleman was admiring the beautiful hair of a
young, handsome, fashionable widow, when her little girl, who had no
idea of being overlooked, observed, with a fling and a pout, "I guess my
hair would look well too, if I took as much care of it. Mamma never
sleeps in her hair." Of course pollywog took a lesson, after bed-time,
with the young ladies who "tingle, skeem, an' dance."

No. 66. A clergyman of astonishing pertinacity, having tired out a large
congregation long before he had reached his tenthly, stopped to take
breath and wipe the sweat from his forehead, and was just beginning
afresh, when a little miss, just under the pulpit, exclaimed, "O mother!
he aint a-goin' to stop at all! he is a-swellin' up again."

No. 67. A fine manly little fellow of five years tumbled on the
door-step and cut his upper lip, so that a surgeon had to sew it up. He
sat in his mother's lap during the operation, pale and speechless,
though large tears gathered in his eyes, and seemed just ready to fall.
"O dear!" said she, as the doctor finished off, "I'm afraid it will
leave a bad scar." "Never mind," said Charley, patting her on the cheek,
"never mind, mother, darling, my mustache will cover it!"

There's a hero for you. How much better than Nelson's "Kiss me, Hardy."

No. 68. A boy who was warmly praised for not having once taken his eyes
off the preacher, answered, in the honesty of his little heart, "O, I
only wanted to see how near he was to the end."

No. 69. A Sandusky mother--was she a gipsy?--so runs the little story,
was reproving her three-year-old perplexity for eating icicles. "I
didn't eat 'em, mamma," said he, "I only sucked the juice out of 'em."
Worthy of any bar on earth, and of almost any special pleader in
politics or law, metaphysics or political economy.

No. 70. "The little darling! It didn't strike neighbor Smith's poor
little baby a-purpose, did he? It was a mere accident, wasn't it, dear?"
"Yes, mamma, to be sure it was, an' if he don't behave himself an' stop
makin' mouths at me, I'll crack him again."

No. 71. "Well Susie, how do you like your school?" "O, ever so much,
papa." "That's right, Susie. And now tell me what you have learned
to-day?" "Well, papa, I've learned the names of all the little boys."

And what more would you have? though the young lady were at a
boarding-school, and learning the polka, and the waltz, or the

No. 72. "I say, my fine fellow, where's this road go to?" "It hain't ben
nowhere sence we've lived in these parts." A legal question put to a
witness on the stand, legally answered--hey?

No. 73. "I do wish you would behave!" said a boy to his little sister,
in a fit of impatience. "Don't speak so to your sister," said mamma,
"she is a good little girl on the whole." "I don't see where the _good_
comes in," he replied. "It comes in right after the _a_," said the
little bepraised. Wasn't she smart?--or "just as cunnin' as she _could_

No. 74. "What did you use to do, mamma, before you was married?" asked a
little cherub, not four years old. "Well, my dear, I had a very good
time, generally." "A good time!" he exclaimed with a look of
astonishment, "what! without me?" Such babies will never allow
themselves to be undervalued, even to the last. They _will be missed_,
if they are not _mastered_. Not so bad--hey?

No. 75. A gentlewoman--I hate ladies--belonging to Gardiner, Maine, paid
a visit to the graveyard with her little daughter. Seeing the effigy of
a horse on one of the upright slabs, she stooped down to read the
inscription, but nothing did she find to explain the mystery; whereupon
the child whispered, that "maybe the poor man died of _nightmare_." A
very plausible conjecture, was it not, for a region where so many live
and die of the same ailment? now under the name of apoplexy, and now
under that of the heart disease, or plethora?

No. 76. A little creature, under three years of age, on being told that
she was too little to have a muff, asked, with a bright flush over her
whole face, "Am I too little to be cold?" Another, on being refused
admission to the church, upon the ground that she was too young, asked
if she was too young to sin and be sorry for it?

No. 77. Another three-year-old, on returning from her first visit to
church, asked for a cup of water, that she might christen her doll, just
as the preacher did the baby. And why not--if mother had failed to
enlighten her upon the subject of infant baptism?

No. 78. Two little girls, both under six, were overheard in conversation
about their neighbors. "Emma," said one of them, "wouldn't it be awful
if somebody should up and shoot our school-mistress?" "Yes indeed," was
the reply; "but then, wouldn't it be nice not to have any school?"

No. 79. A little boy once asked a godly minister, "Do you think my
father will go to heaven?" "Yes," replied the minister. "Well then, _I_
tell _you_, if he can't have his own way there, he won't stay long, you

No. 80. _Tit for Tat._--The family were at dinner. The conversation
turned upon a trip to the islands, about to take place. A clergyman
spoke to the little one, and after some bantering, asked her if she
could say the alphabet backward. "No sir," said she, wondering what
next, as the tadpole did when his tail dropped off. "Then," said he,
"you can't go to the islands." After looking very thoughtful for a few
moments, she asked, "Can you say the Lord's Prayer backward?" "No, my
dear." "Then," said she, "you can't go to heaven." Was not the inference
honest and fair, granting the premises?

No. 81. A little blue-eyed maiden, who was romping with her fifth
Christmas doll, and listening to some conversation about unhappy
marriages, incompatibilities of temper, and the Chicago recipe for
unmarrying, turned to her mother and said, "Well, ma, I'm never going to
marry. I'm going to be a widow." The dear little chatterbox! If she
could only have kept her own counsel a few years longer. How many are
there who would like being widows, without going through the form of
marriage? but then, they'll never say so, for widows have their
privileges, and privileges, too, that wives have not.

No. 82. And here we have something out of the common way, well vouched
for, and thoroughly safe to be repeated. A little boy of only eight
years, a son of Mr. Elias Bates, drove to the Agricultural Fair in
Medford, Mass., a pair of black calves, which were so perfectly trained
as to draw a little blue wagon, which had been got up for the occasion.
The little fellow--and this, probably, will be thought the best part of
the story by most of our young readers,--was furnished with _scrip_ from
the wallets of the bystanders to the amount of nobody knows how many
dollars; enough, at any rate, to nearly fill his cap. Whereat, says the
narrator, he was so entirely overcome with surprise and joy, that he
cried, and laughed, tried to talk, and then fairly broke down, and took
to his heels, and ran away, as if the dogs were after him.

No. 83. Lilly and Nina had prepared a doll's breakfast, and arrayed it
on a side-board, while they went to take a romp in the garden. Master
Bob, their little brother, clambered up the side-board and began
gobbling the dainties, as boys will do, you know, whatever may be their
age. "Why, Bobby!" said his mother, looking in at the open door, "what
_are_ you doing there?" "Playin' pussy, mamma."

No. 84. At a country fair in New Jersey, not long ago, a little boy who
was running about, like a distracted thing, and bawling as if he would
split his throat, was asked what was the matter. "I want my mammy," said
he, "that's what's the matter! Didn't I tell the darned thing she'd lose

No. 85. A little four-year-old went to church in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, last summer. On getting home, her mother asked her if she
remembered the text. "O yes, mamma; it was this: 'The Ladies Sewing
Circle will meet at Mrs. So-and-so's house, on Monday afternoon.'" A
capital text, whatever may have been the sermon.

No. 86. A Boston boy, five years of age, and a type of many now
flourishing there, if not a type of that class who are to be the
gold-brokers of hereafter, at least a representative boy of the shrewd
and calculating, now on their way up in the cashier-business, which so
often ends of late in there being neither cash-_here_ nor cash-_there_
for stockholders, having stolen, or appropriated, a can of milk, was
taken solemnly to task for the misdemeanor by his loving mother. "What
on earth were you going to do with the milk?" said she. "O, I was going
to steal a little puppy to drink it," was the reply. Perfectly
satisfactory, no doubt, like certifying checks by the handful, and
appropriating, or _conveying_, the gold of widows and orphans by the
wheelbarrow-load into a friend's pocket, or in speculating where what
you gain is yours, and what you lose, another's.

No. 87. A clergyman asked some children why we say Our Father _who art
in Heaven_, since God is everywhere? A little drummer-boy, who stood
afar off, looked as if he understood the question. "Well, my little
soldier, what have you to say?" "Because it's head-quarters," he

No. 88. "A little nephew of ours," says a contributor, "went with his
sister to school not long ago, for the first time. They kept him there
five mortal hours, with a short recess, which he did not know how to
take advantage of. On being asked how he enjoyed the school, he
answered, 'Petty well, I tank you, but I dut awfully _rested_.'"

No. 89. _A Specimen of Childish Faith, which, if not dwarfed nor
blighted, would be enough--almost--to move Mountains, after getting its
growth._--Two little girls, one nine and the other eleven, on getting up
one morning, had a trial to see which would get dressed first. Little
Sue was the winner; and turning to her sister, with the triumphant air
of a victor at the Olympian games, she said, "I knew I should beat you,
Sissy; for I asked God to help me, _and I knew He would_."

No. 90. A fine-looking, saucy, high-spirited girl of ten, bought of a
fashionable shoe-maker a pair of warranted boots. They broke out with
one day's wear. She carried them back to him. After turning them over,
inside and out, awhile, he said, "They were not taken in quite enough, I
see." "No," she replied, "but I was."

No. 91. A promising little chap having heard it stated confidentially
that a neighbor was married, and that she had a little boy and girl,
stowed the fact away for future use; and not long after reproduced it in
a large company of ladies and gentlemen, after this fashion: "Miss
M----, I tink our tortus-shell tat's ben dittin married--she's dut
tittens." But tortoise-shell cats don't have kittens--at least, not of
themselves, if by proxy; but _qui facit per alium facit per se_, as the
lawyers say; and the little boy may have misunderstood the symptoms.

No. 92. Charley, the other day, on seeing three or four funerals in
swift succession, expressed a wish that he might die "before Heaven was
too full."

No. 93. A mother, out a-shopping with her little girl and boy, bought
him a rubber balloon, which escaped while he was playing with it, and
went off up into the sky. Sissy, on seeing the tears in his eyes, and
his quivering chin, said, "Never mind, Neddy--when you dies and dose to
Heaben, you'll dit it."

No. 94. A Bible-class had been called upon for the names of the precious
stones mentioned in the Scriptures. After the question had gone through
the class, one little fellow held up his hand. "Well, Tommy," said the
teacher, "what precious stone have you found?" "Brimthtone, thir!"

No. 95. This beautiful anecdote must be given in the very words of the
narrator: "A lady visiting New York, found a ragged, cold, and hungry
child gazing wistfully at some cakes in a shop window. She took the
little forlorn thing by the hand, led her into the shop, bought her a
cake, and then led her away, and supplied her other wants. The grateful
little creature looked her full in the face, and whispered, '_Are you
God's wife?_'"

No. 96. A fashionable woman called upon a dentist to have some teeth
filled, taking with her a little niece. Among these were two front
incisors, which were filled on the lower edge. In a pleasant mood, when
everything went well with Aunty, glimpses of the gold were occasionally
seen. "O Aunt Mary," said the child, "how I should like to have
copper-toed teeth, like yours!"

And this reminds me of a little boy, whose father was bald-headed. One
day he was sent to have his hair cut. "How would you like to have it
cut, my little man?" said the artist. "Like papa's, with a hole in the
top," said he,--perhaps to see through.

No. 97. Master Jimmy was standing on his father's steps, in broad
daylight, smoking a cigar. "Why, Jim," said a neighbor, who was hurrying
by, "when did you learn to smoke?" "O," says the boy--"when I was a
little fellow!"

No. 98. "Papa," said a small urchin with a mischievous eye--"I say,
papa, ought the master to flog a fellar for what he didn't do?"
"Certainly not, my boy." "Well, then, he flogged me to-day when I didn't
do my sum." And there he had him!

No. 99. And this, too, is vouched for--though not by me: A little girl,
about five years old, heard a preacher vociferating in prayer till the
roof rang again. "Mother," said the little one, "don't you think, if he
lived nearer to God, he wouldn't have to pray so loud?" Maybe she had
been told about the priests of Baal, and their shouting before the
Hebrew prophet, who mocked them.

No. 100. Bishop Simpson, they say, in a lecture delivered at Boston, had
the courage to say, that in two or three years, at furthest, Chinese
servants would be common there. Next morning the father happened to
mention it. "O, pa," whispered Minnie, "won't it be nice! we shall have
a Chinese servant, and she will eat all the rats, and so we sha'n't have
to keep a cat!"

No. 101. A youngster, who had been playing in a mud-puddle till his
rubber boots were full of the dirty water, came home at last to report
progress, and ask leave to sit again. But his mother, with an eye to
doctor's bills, and a whooping-cough, or scarlet fever, said No; and the
child was kept in the house all day, till he could bear it no longer.
"O mamma!" said he, at last, "please whip me, and let me go out
again--_do_." It seems that he had outwaded all the rest of the boys,
without going much beyond his depth.

No. 102. Children are wonders. No matter how well acquainted with them
we may be, they are always taking us off our feet. A pious woman heard a
child, as she thought, say--and the child, too, of godly parents--"Dam
it to hell--who buys?"--having a basket on his arm, containing she knew
not what, so shocked was she. On reporting the case at head-quarters,
the affair was investigated, and it turned out that the poor little
fellow had a bushel of damsons, which he made believe hawk round, after
the fashion of small dealers who cry their wares in the street. What he
tried to say was, "Damsons to sell--who buys?"

No. 103. "How many sisters did you say, my dear?" "Only one beside
myself." "And how many brothers?" "None at all." "What! no brother!" "No
sir; mamma don't _approve_ of boys." That's a fact.

No. 104. A little nigger-boy at the South had just been equipped with a
new suit of clothes, the first he ever had in his life, you may be sure.
Next morning he appeared with one leg of the trousers ripped up from
shoe to waistband. On being asked how it happened, he answered, "Please
ma'am, I wanted to hear it _flop_!"

No. 105. Another little boy, while playing by himself on the carpet,
burst out with a ringing laugh. On being questioned, it turned out that
he had taken off the tail of a little toy pony, and stuck it into the
pony's mouth. "Papa," said he, "do Dod see everything?" "Yes, my boy."
"Well, then, I dess Dod will laugh, when He sees my pony."

No. 106. "I have somewhere met with a story," says a pleasant, gossiping
observer, "about a man who went, one dark night, to steal corn from his
neighbor's patch. He had taken his little boy with him to keep watch.
The man jumped over the fence with a large bag on his arm; but before he
began to fill it, he stopped and looked about on all sides, and, not
seeing anybody, was just going to work, when his little boy cried out,
'Oh, father, father! there is one way you haven't looked yet!'

"The old man was rather startled, and asked what he meant.

"'Why,' said the little one, 'you forgot _to look up_.'

"The father was silent--thunder-struck--as if he had been admonished by
a little guardian angel: he went back to the fence, took his little boy
by the hand, and hurried away without the corn."

No. 107. A mother was reading to her child, a boy of seven, about
another little boy whose father had lately died, leaving the family
destitute, whereupon the boy went to work for himself, and managed to
support them all.

"Now, my little man," said mother, after she had finished the story, "if
papa should be taken away, wouldn't you like to help your poor mother
and your little sisters?"

"Why, ma--what for? Ain't we got a good house to live in?"

"O yes, my child; but we couldn't eat the house, you know."

"Well--ain't we got flour and sugar, and other things in the

"Certainly, my dear; but they wouldn't last long--and what then?"

"Well--ain't there enough to last, till you could get another husband?"

Mamma _dried up_--just as the boy had _slopped over_.

No. 108. A mother had been telling her little girl about the blessings
above. "But will mamma be there too?" asked the child.

"Yes; you and I, and little brother, and papa." "O no, mamma," said
she--"papa can't go; papa can't leave the store."

No. 109. A little four-year-old, living just out of New York, was saying
the Lord's Prayer at his mother's knee. After he had finished, she said
to him--

"Now, Sandy, ask God to make you a good boy."

The child hesitated, grew thoughtful, and, after a few minutes, looked
up and whispered--

"It's no use, mamma--He won't do it, I tell you; I've asked Him ever so
many times."

No. 110. A little girl, the daughter of a Brooklyn wife, had been
listening to an argument about the occupations above, and the great
Hereafter. Turning suddenly to her aunt, she asked what people found to
do after they went to Heaven. Her aunt, being taken by surprise,
answered, "O, they play on golden harps." "What--all the time!"
"Yes--all the time, dear." "Then," said the child, "I don't want to go
there--I should be _so_ tired; and, what is more, I don't like the

No. 111. "Is it still raining, my dear?" said a mother to her child of
only three, at Jamaica, L. I. The child, after looking out of the
window, turned to her mother and said, "No, mamma, it ain't a-rainin'
now, but the trees is leakin'." The same child, having a habit of
putting pins in her mouth, was anxiously watched. Whenever she was very
still, they knew she was in some mischief. The other day, on seeing her
stand at the bureau in perfect silence, her mother began to have her
suspicions. "Mary," said she, "you are playing with pins, I'm afraid; I
hope you haven't got any in your mouth." "I ain't dut any in my mouth
now," she said; "but I bin playin' pins is meat."

No. 112. One round more, and I throw up the sponge. The same little wee
thing--a granddaughter of my own, by the way, and the first of the
series--mentioned in No. 10, who spelled _pigeon_ with _Q. U. A. I. L._,
and pronounced it _fidget_, was looking at a hive, in a book for babies.
"O," she shouted--"O, grandpa, I know what them is! They's the honeys,
and when they go away, I mean to steal their _porridge_." N. B.--She had
always called honey porridge.

No. 113. Once--and I give this for a fine illustration of the total
depravity we hear so much of--I had a pleasant specimen of the inward
working of that self-reproach we are all tried with sometimes, in this
way: Miss Nellie seemed shy of me one morning, when she came into the
breakfast room. Instead of running up to grandpa with a kiss upon her
little red lips, she kept aloof, and went wandering about beyond my
reach, with her eyes fastened on me all the time. At last, unable to
bear it longer, she whimpered, "Oo needn't look at me so, grandpa; I ony
toot one tawbelly."

No. 114. "High, there, high!" said Grandfather Hall to my little
boy--the first we had. "You don't know where you are." "Yes I do,
grandpa." "Well, where are you?" "I'm here," was the reply.

No. 115. _Analogy._--"What the plague is that?" said a father to his
little boy, as a dog ran past them with a muzzle over his head. "Well, I
guess it's a little _hoop-skirt_," said the boy.

No. 116. _Prepare to Pucker!_--A little four-year-old chap had been
trying a long while to pucker his mouth into shape, for whistling a
national tune, which he had just heard upon the street. At last he gave
it up, and went to his mother with tears in his eyes, exclaiming, "Ma,
I's so little I tan't make a hole big enough for Yankee Doolum to dit

No. 117. _Disinterested Advice._--"Mammy" said another little fellow,
just big enough to gobble dough-nuts, and relish mud-pies and lollipop,
who had been set to rocking the cradle of his baby brother, of whom he
professed to be very fond--_very_--"Mammy! if the Lord's got any more
babies to give away, don't you take 'em."

No. 118. _Rather a Paradox._--"What is conscience?" asked a
sabbath-school teacher. "An inward monitor," was the reply of a smart
little fellow, not large enough to spell ratiocination with safety. "And
what is a monitor?" "One of the iron-clads." Ergo.

No. 119. _The Reason why._--A boy of nine, having a motherly hen with a
large brood of chickens to watch, undertook to satisfy his mother that
he would rather be a chicken than a boy--chickens were so much happier.
The mother was obstinate, and so was the boy; but the next day he
happened to come across a copy of "Don Quixote," with which he was so
carried away, that he ran off to his mother to tell her that, on the
whole, "he guessed he'd rather be a boy than a chicken;" for, "if I was
a chicken," said he, "I couldn't read 'Don Quixote.'"

No. 120. _Retribution._--A little four-year-old shaver, living on
Munjoy, had picked up some naughty words--nobody knew where. But his
mother, to cure him, was in the habit of touching the tip of his tongue
with a little black pepper, until he seemed to have abandoned the
practice. Only last week, however, the Old Adam broke out afresh, and
he ran off to his mother, saying, "Dod dam it! Dod dam it! Now dit your
pepper-bots!" and then rushed to the table and grabbed the box, and
turned it up for the prescribed allowance; but the cover came off--as
might have been expected--filling his mouth, so that he could neither
speak nor breathe for awhile, and looked upon it as a judgment, and has
now left off swearing--for the present.

No. 121. _Influence of Example._--"I've done it, mamma! I've done it!"
screamed a little three-year-old tantrybogus, from the top of the cellar
stairs, to his mother, who had just left the kitchen for a few minutes.
"Tum and tee, mamma!" And sure enough, he had _done it_! having upset a
basket of eggs, and smashed them all, one after another, in a sort of
ecstacy. His mother had been preparing for a batch of cake, and he had
been delighted with her treatment of the eggs.

No. 122. _Appropriate Language._--"Auntie," said another little
three-year-old, one day--"Auntie, I don't lite mine apons tarched so
drefful. So much tarchess makes the tiffness tratch my--bareness."

No. 123. _After-thoughts._--Master Frank was in the habit of tumbling
out of bed o' nights, and his father would call him to account for it
next morning. One day he said, "Well, Frank, and so you tumbled out of
bed again?" "No I didn't, papa--it was the pillow; for I went up to see,
and the pillow was on the floor, by the bed-side." "What made you cry,
then, my boy?" "Well, you see, it was so dark, papa, I couldn't tell at
first whether 'twas me or the pillow."

No. 124. _Baby Theologians._--A child in the sabbath-school, on being
asked if he could mention a place where God was not, answered, "He is
not in the thoughts of the wicked."

Another, when told that God was everywhere, asked, "In this room?"
"Yes." "In the closet?" "Yes." "In the drawers of my desk?"
"Yes--everywhere--He's in your pocket now." "No He ain't, though." "And
why not?" "Tauth, I ain't dut no pottet."

No. 125. _A great Mystery._--"There is a little girl in Kentucky," says
a respectable paper, judging by appearances, "who has never spoken to
her father. She talks freely with anybody else, but when her father
speaks to her, she is speechless. They have whipped her, again and
again, but to no purpose; for she declares, with trembling lips, and
with tears in her eyes, that she has often tried to speak to him, but
could not."

No. 126. _Childish Metaphysics._--A grandson of the governor of
Virginia, a child of only four or five summers, was on a visit, not long
ago, to his maternal grandfather, a large landholder in Ohio. One day,
after a first visit to the sabbath-school, he led his grandfather down
to a magnificent tree, heavily laden with walnuts.

"Grandpa," said he, "whom do all these woods and fields belong to?"--of
course the child said _who_, instead of _whom_; but that is neither here
nor there.

"They belong to me, Charley."

"No, sir--_no!_--they belong to God."

The grandfather said nothing, till they reached the tree.

"Well, my boy, whom does this tree belong to?" he asked, as they stopped
underneath its wide, heavy branches.

For a moment, Charley hesitated; and then, looking up into the tree, he
said, while his mouth watered visibly, "Well, gran'father, the tree
belongs to God, but the walnuts are _ours_."

No. 127. "_A touch of Nature makes the whole world kin._"--A little
boy, who had been tormented by clouds of mosquitoes till he could bear
it no longer, exclaimed, "O dear me! O dear me! I do wish God would kill
the mosquitoes! I don't know what I would give Him, if He only would."

No. 128. _An Etymologist._--A Connecticut boy insisted on knowing what
was meant by the slang phrase, "a gone sucker"; and was overheard
praying soon after, on being sent off to bed--"God bless papa and mamma,
and baby; but I'se been such a bad boy, I rather guess I'm _a gone

No. 129. "How old are you, my dear?" said a railroad conductor to a
little gentlewoman, whose mother was trying to pass with a half ticket.
"I'm nine at home," was the reply, "but in the cars I'm only half-past

No. 130. _A fair Inference._--Dear little Mamie H., who had just got
over her sixth birthday, was studying her sabbath-school lesson, when
her mother told her, in reply to some question she had urged with a deal
of earnestness, that the naughty devil was black. "Well, then, mamma,"
said the child, "if he was a good devil, I s'pose he'd be white."

No. 131. _Grandchildren on their Good Behavior._--Bishop, to Nellie
peeping through the side-lights, with a big tom-cat in her arms. "Come
and see me, Nellie."

"No--I tan't."

_Bishop._--"Come come, and bring the cat with you; I want to see her."

"No, no! Tommy don't like Bishops."

No. 132. _A Baby Spendthrift._--"I say, Bobby," said one little
youngster to another, "lend me two cents, will yer? I got up so early,
that I spent all my money 'fore breakfast."

"More fool you."

"Wal!--how should I know the day was goin' to be so long?"

No. 133. _A Maxim well applied._--"Never put off till to-morrow, my dear
boy, what you can do to-day," said a watchful mother to her inquiring
son. "Yes, mamma, and so we'll have the raspberry-pie now, that's put
away for to-morrow--shan't we, mamma?"

No. 134. _A fair Inference._--At a sabbath-school concert in a crowded
and popular church, the pastor, who prided himself on the quickness and
cleverness of his little ones, said, "Boys, when I heard your beautiful
songs to-night, I had to work hard to keep my feet still; now what do
you think was the trouble with them?" "_Chilblainth!_" shouted a little
chap of six, or thereabouts.

No. 135. _A timely Rebuke._--A bright-eyed little fellow, in one of the
Brooklyn private-schools, having spelt a word, was asked by his teacher,
"Are you willing to bet you're right, Bennie?" The boy looked up with
an air of astonishment, and replied, "I _know_ I'm right, Miss V----,
but I never bet."

No. 136. _A dangerous Query._--A pupil was asked what S double E spelt.
Being rather slow with his answer, the teacher grew impatient, and
exclaimed, "You dunce! What is it I do with my eyes?" "O', I know the
word now, ma'am--S double E, _squint_."

No. 137. _Constructiveness._--The Springfield Republican tells of a
young gentleman who doesn't want to be the last angel God makes, because
"he wants to see how He makes 'em."

No. 138. _Imitation._--A little girl at Keokuk, Iowa, was lately found
in a barn giving trapèze performances to quite a gathering of wee folks.
They had fitted up a trapèze, with an old clothes-line and a
broomstick, at an elevation of twenty feet. "The party was broken up,"
says a spectator, "before anything else was broken."

No. 139. _The Tables turned._--"Are you talking to me, sir?" said a
respectable man to a little scapegrace, who had been holding what he
called an argument with his papa; "I'm your father, sir. Remember that,

"Well, who's to blame for that, I should like to know--'taint me," said
the boy.

No. 140. _Language._--A bright, clear-eyed little thing of three
summers, after listening demurely to a chapter of the Old Testament,
which her father read to the family aloud one pleasant Sabbath, looked
up with the air of one who felt called upon to say something, in the
dead silence that followed, and whispered, "Papa, ain't God a funny
fellow?" What knew that child of irreverence? What she meant to say was
that she had been delighted.

No. 141. _A new Paraphrase._--A father, who always insisted upon his
children giving their version of what they heard, in their own language,
to show that they understood it, asked Charlie to repeat the text which
they had been listening to.

Charlie hesitated awhile, and then, as if it had come to him all at
once, broke out with, "What are you loafing round here for, doin'
nothing? Go into my barn-yard, and go to work, and I'll make it all
right with you."

The text was, "Why stand ye here all the day idle? Go into the vineyard
and work, and whatsoever is right, I will pay thee." Who will venture to
say that the poor child did not understand the meaning?

No. 142. _The Darlings._--"Mamma!" shouted Lollipop, "make Bobby 'have
himself; every time I hit him with the whap-stick he hollars out."

No. 143. Another child was once heard calling out from the head of the
stairs to her mamma, that nurse "wouldn't _quiet_ her."

No. 144. _Tit for Tat._--Another wee thing, after complaining of her
teacher, said, with a tap of her little foot, and a something between a
sob and a whimper, she did "wish Miss Maria would go to school to
herself awhile, that she might see how she liked it."

No. 145. _A fair Inference._--A little boy and girl had been repeatedly
cautioned not to take the nest-egg, when foraging in the hay-mow, and
along by the fences; but one evening, little Sis found her way to the
nest, rather in advance of Bubby, and snatching the egg, off she started
for the house. Her brother followed, screaming, "Mother! mother! Susy's
ben and got the egg the old hen measures by!"

No. 146. _Another._--A little bit of a thing who had just got back from
a party, was asked by her mamma how she had enjoyed herself. "O mamma!"
said she, "I'm so full of happiness--I couldn't be no happier, without I
was bigger." So reasoned Samuel Johnson. The quart pot and the pint may
both be full; but the quart holds most.

No. 147. _From Over-Sea._--A little five-year-old Parisian went to
church with his mamma. Both began praying. "Mamma," whispered the little
fellow, "I've said my prayer." "Say it over again, my dear." The child
obeys, and whispers, "I have said it again, mamma," and gets the same
answer; and so for the third time, the mother not liking to be hurried
in her devotions. "But, mamma, I have said it over three times." "Say
it again, my dear." "But, mamma--won't it be tedious for the good God to
listen all the time to the same prayer? What if I say over the fable
I've just learnt at school?"

No. 148. _Definition of Faith._--A child was asked, "What is faith?"
"Doing God's will and asking no questions," was her reply.

_Another fair Inference._--"Lottie, dear," said a little visitor to her
playfellow of three, "what makes our Kitty so cross?" "'Cause she's
tuttin' her teef, I spec."

No. 149. _And yet another._--A little thing in a sabbath-school was
asked by her teacher "if she always said her prayers night and morning."
"No, Miss, I don't." "Why, Mary! Are you not afraid to go to sleep in
the dark, without asking God to take care of you, and watch over you
till morning?" "No, Miss, I ain't--'cause I sleep in the middle."

No. 150. _Did his Best._--A little chap had a dirty face, and his
teacher told him to go and wash it. He went away, and after a few
minutes came back, with the lower part of his countenance tolerably
clean, while the upper part was dirty and wet.

"Johnny," said the teacher, "why didn't you wash your face?"

"I did wash it, sir," said Johnny.

"You didn't wipe it all over, then?"

"I did wipe it, as high up as my shirt would go."

And this reminds me of a little boy who had been told never to go into
the water without leave. One day he came home heated and tired, with his
shirt on wrong side out. "You've been in a-swimming, Josie," said his
mother. "No, mamma." "How came your shirt turned inside out, then?"
"Wal," said Josie, after a moment's hesitation, "I rather guess it was
when I got over that high fence, and turned a somerset, head first."

No. 151. _A new Version._--A boy in our District School was reading a
lesson from the Bible in that deliberate fashion so usual with chaps of
six, and when he came to the passage, "Keep thy tongue from evil and thy
lips from guile," he drawled out, with a decided emphasis,
"Keep--thy--tongue from evil; and thy lips from--from--_girls_." Of
course, there followed an explosion. "Job was an oyster-man; and the
Lord, he shot him with four balls," if we may believe a new reading of
what was intended for Scripture: "Somebody was an _austere_ man; and the
Lord smote him with sore boils."

No. 152. _Children and Fools are said to speak the Truth._--"Be you
good?" said a little chap to Miss Bella M----, of the sabbath-school

"O no!" was the becoming reply.

"You ain't! well I knew you wasn't pretty, but I always thought you was

No. 153. The following sweet lines are too good for abridgment, or
paraphrase. I know not where they originated; nor who was the author.
Was there ever anything more childlike and beautiful than "Mamma, God
knows all the rest?"--or ever lines worthier of the text?


    "Now I lay"--repeat it, darling;
      'Lay me,' lisped the tiny lips
    Of my daughter, kneeling, bending
      O'er her folded finger-tips.

    "Down to sleep"--'To sleep,' she murmured,
      And the curly head dropped low;
    "I pray the Lord"--I gently added,
      You can say it all, I know.

    "'Pray the Lord'--the word came faintly,
      Fainter still--'My soul to keep;'
    Then the tired head fairly nodded,
      And the child was fast asleep.

    "But the dewy eyes half opened
      When I clasped her to my breast,
    And the dear voice softly whispered,
      'Mamma, God knows all the rest.'"

No. 154. _Natural Language._--A youngster of only two and a half, who
had often heard complaints in the family about pegs hurting the feet,
stole up to his mother one day, with his fingers in his mouth, and said,
"Mamma! O mamma! Me dut pegs tummin in my mouf, and dey hurts Billy." On
further examination, he was found to be cutting no less than three
little teeth.

No. 155. _An embryo Theologian._--A little boy, disputing one day with
his elder sister upon some Bible question, sung out, "I tell ye, it's
true! for Ma says so; an' if Ma says so, it is so, if it ain't so." That
boy's career is evident enough. Submission to authority, and sheer
dogmatism, will be likely to overtop the pretensions of private

No. 156. _Budding Subterfuges._--A little girl, belonging to Hartford,
Connecticut, was called to account one day by her mother for killing
flies. The amusement had become a serious occupation, and her dexterity
in catching them was only to be matched by her astonishing aptitude in
killing them. Her mother had begun to be frightened. "Mary, my love,"
said she, "don't you know that God loves the little flies?"

Mary stood for a few moments, lost in thought, her beautiful countenance
growing sadder and sadder, as if her conscience had begun to testify
against her in a whisper, just as poor Herod's might have done, after
the slaughter of _his_ innocents. At last, having apparently settled the
question with herself, she stole up to the nearest window where a big
blue-bottle was blundering and bumping about, and buzzing at a fearful
rate. After watching it for several minutes, with a piteous expression,
as if her heart were too full for speech, she began whispering just
loud enough to be heard by her mother, "Do ee fy know dat Dod loves oo?
Duz oo love Dod?"--stretching out her little hand as if to soothe its
evident terror. "Duz oo? Duz oo want to zee Dod?--well," in a tone of
the tenderest commiseration, putting her finger on the fly, and crushing
it softly against the glass--"Well--oo sal!"

No. 157. _A young Nero._--And this reminds me of something told me by
General Fessenden, the father of all the general Fessendens we know of.
"When I was a little fellow," said he, "not more than so high, the Old
Adam within me (what we Phrenologists call Destructiveness, he meant)
led me to pull off the wings of flies, and to impale them on pins, and
set them buzzing at the end of a hair. My father, in passing one day,
stopped long enough to catch me in the act. '_Nero!_' said he, and
passed on. 'Well,' said I to myself, 'what did he mean by that?
_Nero--Nero_--I'll ask somebody.' I did so--found out who Nero was, and
from that day to this, have never tormented any of God's creatures! And
yet, he was a lawyer, in large practice--and I believed him--that is, I
believed him, till I knew better."

No. 158. _Total Depravity._--"Do you say your prayers every day, my
little man--every night and morning?" said a mother in Israel to a
little reprobate of a shoe-black, to whom she had just given a trifle.
"Yes 'm,--I alluz says 'em at night, mum; but any smart boy can alluz
take care o' hisself in the daytime," was the reply.

No. 159. _Infant Theology._--A visitor of large experience in
sabbath-schools, asked the children at a crowded examination, "What was
the sin of the Pharisees?" "Eatin' camels, ma'am," said one of the
smartest, who had carried off many a prize. On further questioning, the
child justified, by referring to the passage, where the Pharisees were
said to strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

No. 160. _Sabbath-school Exercise._--But an English gentlewoman once
told me of something she herself had witnessed at a great London
sabbath-school examination, where a celebrated questioner called out a
little bright-eyed boy, by name, and asked him why Joseph refused to go
to bed with Potiphar's wife, when she asked him. A dead silence
followed, and then a look of amazement and consternation over all the
house, like a cloud: "'Cause he wan't sleepy," said the boy. A dead
silence followed; and then a most unseemly titter, on every side, so
that the questioner's indiscretion seemed to be entirely lost sight of.

No. 161. _Effectual Prayer._--A little boy in Jamaica went to the
missionary, and told him that he had been very ill, and often wished for
the minister to come and pray with him.

"But, Thomas," said the missionary, "I hope you prayed for yourself?"

"O yes, indeed!"

"Well--and how did you pray?"

"O, I jess begged."

Another child in a Sunday-school, only six at most, said, "When we kneel
down here in the school-room to pray, it seems to me as if my heart was
talking with God."

Another little girl, just turning four, on being questioned why she
prayed to God, answered--

"Because I know He hears me, and so I love to pray to Him."

"But how do you know He hears you?"

Putting her little hand upon her heart, she whispered, "O, I know He
does, mamma, because there is something here that tells me so."

No. 162. _Tit for Tat._--A pretty four-year-old midget went out to play
on the sidewalk. When she returned with wet and muddy feet, showing that
she had been somewhere else, her mother began to look serious; whereupon
the child, anticipating the worst, murmured, with her head in her
mother's lap, "Now, mamma, you be _dood_ to me, and I'll be _dood_ to

No. 163. _A very proper Distinction._--A little thing, not quite old
enough to understand her catechism, getting puzzled over the question,
"Who made you?" went for the answer to her mother. Having been told that
God made her, and all her little friends, and the whole human family,
she lost no time in communicating the discovery to Daisy Dean, her doll
of only one summer. Taking the little one on her knee, and looking very
solemn, she said, "Now, Daisy Dean, look me right in the eyes: I want to
tell 'oo somesin. Dod _made_ grampa--and gramma--and me--and papa and
mamma; but----" after a pause, and shaking her head slowly and
impressively--"_but_, Daisy Dean, Dod only _sewed_ you."

No. 164. _Human Nature._--A boy of about five, a bagfull of bumble-bees
at the best, when required to be still on the Sabbath, getting weary
toward nightfall, went up to his father, who had no little of the
Puritan mingled with his affection for the child, and said to him, with
great seriousness,--"Come, pa, let's have some spiritual fun." This was
a little too much for papa's gravity; and so he let him have it--for

No. 165. _Courtesy._--"A Brooklyn friend, who believes in catechism, and
teaches it with unflinching pertinacity, worthy of Calvin or Luther,"
says somebody--"was putting one of four through his paces one day, when
the question came up, 'Who tempted Eve?' The little fellow answered,
after some consideration, with a look of triumph, pointing to the floor,
'It's the gentleman that lives _down there_--I forget his name.'" For
"_down there_," the reader is at liberty to substitute another phrase,
if he happens not to be of the mealy-mouthed.

No. 166. _Doll-Factory._--A preacher in the neighborhood of Lewiston had
a little daughter, who had gone into the business of manufacturing paper
dolls. In the midst of a sermon, lately, he drew out his
pocket-handkerchief, in somewhat of a hurry, and lo! the whole air was
filled with what seemed at first to be Japanese butterflies. When they
settled, however, they were found to be paper dolls, about fifty in
number, which had been stowed away in his pocket-handkerchief, by his
little one, for safe keeping. The audience appeared to enjoy the rest of
the sermon exceedingly.

No. 167. _Undiluted Orthodoxy._--A little girl was much in the habit of
reproving her dolls for misbehavior, and sometimes after a most alarming
fashion. Her mother overheard her one day, while she was taking the
prettiest to task for being so naughty: "O you naughty, sinful child,"
said she, shaking the poor little waxen image, "you'll go to the lake of
fire and brimstone, you will! and you won't burn up, like other
babies--you'll only jest _sizzle_."

No. 168. _Puzzling Questions._--A little boy, who had just been admitted
to the sabbath-school, was greatly scandalized at finding, on his way
home, an apothecary's shop in full blast at a neighboring corner. "But,
my dear," said mamma, "the druggist is obliged to keep open Sunday, so
that sick people may get medicine." "Why! do people get sick on Sunday?"
"Yes, just as on any other day." "Well, good people don't die on Sunday,
do they?" "Certainly." "Why, how can that be? Does heaven keep open

No. 169. _Childish Faith._--The Portland Transcript knows of a little
four-year-old, who, being out for a sail, was told by his mother that
they were now on the sea. "On the sea, mamma! then who'll take care of
us?" "God, my dear--He will take care of us." "O yes--I know--_he's one
o' them kind_."

No. 170. The same inquisitive chap could not understand how two boys who
had died before he was born, could be his brothers. Mamma explained,
that being her children they were his brothers, though God had taken
them away to live with Him, before _he_ was born. He was very silent and
thoughtful for a few moments, and then exclaimed, "_O yes, I see--I used
to play with 'em up there in heaven, before I came down here._"

No. 171. _The Boy and the Bobbylink._--A bird lighted on a twig near a
little rugged-and-tough, hardly old enough to make himself understood.
The child took up a stone to throw at him, after the fashion of older
boys. Just then the little songster opened fire: "Bob-o'-link!
bobbylink! won't you, will ye! will ye, won't you! I'll mend your
breeches if you'll find the pieces--bobbylink!--link--link!" The boy's
outstretched arm dropped slowly down to his side. "Why didn't you let
fly, sonny?" said a stranger who had been watching him, and was not a
little curious to see how the struggle would end. The boy shook his
head, with a sorrowful air, but said nothing. "You might have killed him
and carried him home," said the stranger.

"I touldn't," said the little scapegrace.

"Couldn't! and why not, pray?"

"'_Cause he sung so._"

No. 172. _Superfluities._--A youngster, on being taken to the window of
a toy-shop where he saw a _papier maché_ mouse, which, on being wound
up, ran hither and thither, and whisked about like a live mouse, turned
away with ineffable contempt, saying, "O no, mamma, I don't want that!
we've got lots of 'em at home, and don't have to wind 'em up, neither."

No. 173. _Imitation!_--Two children of St. Louis were "playing butcher"
not long ago. He who personated the ox doesn't go to school any more.
One blow with a hatchet from a sturdy five-year-old, nearly split his
head; but he bellowed so frightfully, as to alarm the neighborhood, and
bring relief, just as the hatchet was lifted for another blow.

No. 174. _Soliloquies._--A little six-year-old, while undressing one
night, with his arms over his head tying his night-gown behind, was
overheard saying to himself, "I can beat Tommy Tucker, I can; I can
write my name in writin'; I can tell the time o' day by the clock, I can
spell Nebuchadnezzar, yes--and what's more--I can tie a double
bow-knot." There's a reasonable amount of self-complacency for you! He
was made for an author, and may soon be getting up his autobiography.

No. 175. Another little chap under four, while wading through a
mud-puddle after a heavy shower, came across an angle-worm, and then
fell into a reverie,--"Worms--they are the snakes' babies; little
mices--they are the rats' babies; and the stars--they are the moon's
babies--don't I know"--splash! splash!

No. 176. _Capital definition of Happiness._--A six-year-old school-girl
of Norwich, Connecticut, was asked for a definition of the word "happy."
"O, it is to feel as if you wanted to give all your things to your
little sister."

No. 177. _A fair Inference._--"Mamma," said a promising chap of four
summers, "if the people are all made of dust, ain't the colored folks
made of coal-dust?"

No. 178. _Not so bad._--A well-known, faithful teacher of Bridgeport,
who has charge of an infant class in a Sunday-school there, reports the
following case. Not long ago he was talking with them about the origin
of Christmas:--

"Where was Christ born?" he asked.

"In Bethlehem."

"Where is Bethlehem?"

"In Judea."

"Who first knew that Christ was born?"

"His mother."

No. 179. _As the Spirit moveth._--A little Quaker boy, about six years
old, after sitting, like the rest of the congregation, in dead silence,
all being afraid to speak first, as he thought, got up on the seat, and
folding his arms over his breast, murmured, in a sweet, clear voice,
just loud enough to be distinctly heard on the fore-seat, "I do wish the
Lord would make us all gooder--and gooder--and gooder--till there is no
bad left." Would a longer prayer have been more to the purpose?

No. 180. _A Non Sequitur._--"What have you done with your doll, Amy?"
"Lock it up, papa; doin' to teep it for my itty dirl, when I get big,
jess like mamma." "Ah, but if you shouldn't have any little girl?"
"Never mind, papa--then I'll dive it to my _g'an'chile_."

No. 181. _A Young Protestant._--Not long ago, as a crowd of foreigners
were presented to the Pope, a little American boy, between four and five
years of age, was led up with the rest. The Pope seemed pleased with the
bright-eyed little fellow, and lifted his foot somewhat higher than
usual, that the boy might more conveniently kiss the cross embroidered
upon the toe of his sandal. The boy did not seem to relish the
proposition. Drawing himself up, he looked His Holiness full in the
face, and said, with emphasis, "_No sir, I won't do it!_" The Americans
and English who were present hardly knew which way to look; but the Pope
only smiled good-humoredly, and exclaimed, _Americano_!

The venerable man is said to be "very fond of children, and very
indulgent," having none of his own, and no nephews or nieces, _to speak

Not long ago, the little son of an architect employed on certain
alterations of St. Peter's Basilica, for a coming festival, was sent by
the father to His Holiness, with drawings and specifications. The Pope
was so much pleased with the plans, and with the sprightliness of the
little messenger, that he led him to a secretary, opened a drawer full
of gold pieces, and told him to help himself. "Holy Father," said the
little scapegrace, "what if you take 'em and give 'em to me--your hand
is bigger than mine." The Pope smiled, and took advantage of the
suggestion. So says our "Parisian correspondent."

No. 182. _Another Word for a Blow._--A little boy and girl were playing
on the road-side among the clover-blossoms and butter-cups. The boy, who
seemed about five, suddenly took offence, and gave his little playmate,
who was still younger, a smart slap on the cheek. She turned away, and
sat down in the long grass, and began to cry. At first, the poor boy
seemed cross and sulky, as if determined to brave it out, but after a
minute or two his beautiful eyes changed color, his mouth trembled, and
he said, "I didn't mean to hurt you, Katy, darling--I am sorry." The
little rosy face brightened up--the sobs were hushed. "Well, then, if
you are sorry," said she, "_it don't hurt me_."

No. 183. _Just as the Twig is bent, etc. etc._--In order to amuse the
children of a sabbath-school, the teacher began reading to her class
the story of David and Goliah; and coming to the passage where Goliah so
boastingly dared the stripling shepherd-boy to enter the list, a little
chap, newly breeched, up and said to her, "Skip that! skip that! He's
blowin'--I want to know who licked."

No. 184. And only yesterday the following illustration of my text
happened in Fore-Street. Near Gorham's Corner, two little boys had set
themselves in battle-array against a third, somewhat larger. They were
all in petticoats, by the way. At last one of the two stepped a little
in advance of his companion, and bending his arm like a prize-fighter,
sung out, "D'ye see that! jess feel o' that air muscle!" The arm
appeared about the size of a turkey's leg, while he was manipulating the
biceps; and the countenance that of a trained pugilist. As the bigger
boy stepped up to _feel that muscle_, the little fellow let fly, and
sent him head over heels into the gutter, petticoats and all.

No. 185. _The Gates Ajar._--"Our five-year-old," says a neighbor, "stood
looking at the new moon a night or two ago. After a long and thoughtful
pause, he turned to his mother and whispered, 'Mamma, O mamma! Dod has
opened the door a little way.'"

No. 186. _Inferential._--A mother, who had with her a little daughter,
was examining the figure of a horse on a tomb-stone, and wondering what
on earth it was an emblem of. There was nothing to explain it, in the
inscription. "Mamma," said the little one, as they moved away, "I
shouldn't wonder if she died of the _nightmare_."

No. 187. _Capital!_--Just before Washington's birthday, in February
last, a teacher, while notifying the class, and preparing them for the
holiday, said something to the purpose, about the Father of his Country,
and then put the question,--

"Why should we celebrate Washington's birthday any more than _mine_?"

"Because _he never told a lie_!" shouted a young whippersnapper near the
door. But as he didn't vanish, probably he didn't mean it. He had only
read Weems's "Life of Washington" to advantage, and didn't care who knew

No. 188. _Save the Pieces!_--At Winchester, N.H., last winter, a girl of
ten, the daughter of O. L. Howard, coasted over a bank twenty feet high,
into the Ashuelot river. While on the way she was heard saying to
herself, "I'm afraid I shall lose my sled!" But she didn't, and was none
the worse for her ducking, though rather damp.

No. 189. _Sublime._--A cowardly scamp, though fashionably dressed,
having kicked a poor little newsboy, for trying to sell him a paper, the
lad hove to, till another boy accosted the "gentleman," and then
shouted, in the hearing of all the bystanders, "It's no use to try him,
Joe--he can't read."

No. 190. _Constructiveness._--The Belfast Journal renders an account of
a young authoress in that neighborhood, who, at the age of nine, has
written the opening chapter of a sensation story. Two of the characters
are described as twins, one five, and the other six years old.

No. 191. _Boston Notions._--The rector of a parish in Toledo, Ohio, was
lately catechizing the children of his Sunday-school, and asked, "Where
did the wise men come from?" "_From Boston!_" shouted a little wretch,
at the top of his voice. Upon further inquiry, it was found that both
father and mother were of the Bay-State faith.

No. 192. _Timely Preparation._--The Lewiston Journal says that a little
four-year-old, while standing by her teacher on examination-day, after
having spelt cat, dog, ox, cow, and some other monosyllables, suddenly
snatched at the teacher's watch-guard, and whispered, "Please, mayn't I
be 'smissed after my class gets through readin', so 't I can run home
an' get my hair _fizzled_ for the 'mittee?" Whereupon the teacher
'smissed her.

No. 193. _Conscience-money._--A Sunday-school teacher was in the habit
of passing round the hat among the little folks, for missionary
purposes. One day, he was thrown all aback, on finding a counterfeit
shilling among the coppers. Diligent inquiry being had, the little
reprobate, who was only expected to give a penny, but an honest penny,
was found out. "Georgie," said the teacher, with great seriousness,
"didn't you know it was good for nothing?" "To be sure I did," muttered
the boy. "Then why did you put it into the box?" "Well, I didn't 'spose
the little heathens would know the difference, and so I thought it would
be just as good for them."

No. 194. _Combativeness._--"Look here, mister!" sung out a lad of seven,
who had been treed by a ferocious dog; "if you don't call that dog off,
I'll eat up all your peaches!"

No. 195. _Childish Faith._--A little fellow with his first pocket-knife,
had it in use most of the time, for several days, occasionally lending
it to his playmates, "just to whittle with." One evening, after he had
been got ready for the night, and was kneeling by his mother's lap in
his night-gown, he finished off the usual service of "Now I lay me,"
with a "please God give little Jemmy Bailey a knife of his own, so't he
won't have to borrow mine all the time."

No. 196. _A Good Lesson for Mothers._--A bright-eyed, active little
fellow, who in due time made his way up to the desk, used to beset his
mother, in season and out of season, for a coat like his elder brothers,
with pockets behind. To all his importunities, the reply was--"Don't be
in a hurry; you are a little boy,--little boys don't wear such coats.
When you get to be a man, you shall have a coat with pockets behind."
After awhile the boy had to go to the springs for his health; but he
shuddered and shrank away from the cold bath. "Why, Charley, you are a
man--you shouldn't be afraid."

"O yes, I understand," was the reply; "when I want pockets behind, I am
only a little boy; and now that you want me to go in here--_now_, I am a

No. 197. _Funeral Ceremonies._--The San Francisco correspondent of a
Sacramento paper tells the following: "A little friend of ours found
among the gifts of Santa Claus a plump little waxen-doll. She christened
it Maud, and used to take it out for a walk, every pleasant morning. The
other day, on seeing a rag of orange-colored merino pinned to a stick by
the nursery-door, I peeped in at the children, but was immediately
served with notice to quit, by Bobby, who seemed to be the doctor, or a
health committee-man; for 'Maud was tooken dreadful bad with the
small-pox, and the yeller flag was hung out--didn't I see it?' Soon
after this, I heard a piteous wailing, with a sad attempt, and a sadder
failure, to sing the sabbath-school hymn, 'Sister thou wast Mild and
Lovely,' after which there was a little, crooked, undulating procession,
Bobby carrying the dog and Floy the cat, wrapped in shawls, and as they
slowly made their way up the hill, into the garden, I understood, from
the dismal moaning and sobbing, and from the melancholy rags they bore,
that the undertakers were 'performing' a funeral, poor Maud having died
of the terrible visitation. I hurried up to the grave, in what I dare
say passed for unseemly haste, but just in time to save the poor little
wax baby from being buried alive, or, at least, in all her bewitching
helplessness. Upon remonstrating, 'We'd ony sowed her up in a bag,'
murmured Floy, 'and we would have undigged her.'"

No. 198. _Glimpses of the sabbath-school._--"Gerty, my dear, you were a
very good little girl to-day," said the teacher. "Yes'm--I couldn't help
bein good; I got a tiff neck," said Gerty, with perfect seriousness.

"_Who's that a-bearin'?_"--The solemnity of a fashionable church in
Chicago was greatly disturbed, not long ago, by a little incident worth
remembering. Somebody's three-year-old pet had been often amused at home
with pretty good imitations of a bear, growling over his prey. While the
congregation were singing, one of those predetermined, zealous
worshippers, to be found everywhere, who cannot be persuaded to withhold
their contributions in church, though they never dream of pitching a
tune anywhere else, began a low, growling accompaniment, within two or
three pews of the child, without regard for time or tune, though
evidently to his own satisfaction, under an idea that he was singing
base--instead of basely. The little one looked surprised, and turning
suddenly to mamma, asked, in a voice loud enough to be heard by the
whole congregation, just as a lull occurred in the stanza, "O mamma!
mamma! who's that _a-bearin'_?"

Will nobody take the hint? Let us have congregational singing by all
means, instead of oratorios and operas, for church music--but no
menagerie music, if _you_ please.

No. 199. _A Plea in Bar._--"Come up here, you young reprobate, and take
a sound spanking," said the teacher, out of all patience with a
mischievous, quick-witted boy.

"You ain't got no right to spank me, and the copy you've set for me says

"Saucebox! Let me hear you read that copy; read it aloud, so that
everybody can hear you."

Whereupon the boy reads, like a trumpet, "'Let all the ends thou aimest
at be thy country's!'"

"Go to your seat, you young scapegrace."

And he went.

No. 200. _Foresight._--"Two cocoa-nuts for ten cents! hurrah!" shouted a
little shaver to his playfellow across the street; "that'll make me
sick to-morrow, and I shan't have to go to school--hurrah!"

No. 201. _I wouldn't, would you?_--A three-year-old youngster saw a
drunken fellow staggering through a crowded thoroughfare. "Mother," said
he, "did God make that man?" "Yes, my dear." "Well," after considering a
moment, "maybe He did, but I wouldn't have done it."

No. 202. _A drop of Gold._--"Mother," said a little poet of four
summers, "just hear the trees makin' music, for the leaves to dance by."

No. 203. _Another!_--A little fellow was eating bread and milk, when he
turned round to his mother and exclaimed, "O mother! I'm full of glory!
There was a lot o' sunshine in my spoon, and I swallowed it!"

No. 204. _Suggestive._--"She said she wouldn't let me go to her
funeral, grandma; but you'll let me go to yours, grandma, won't
you--there's a dear."

No. 205. _Logical Inference._--A little boy of our neighborhood, with an
eye as clear as a kitten's, had a dog named Caper. Dining with his
grandmother not long ago, when they had boiled mutton, his attention was
attracted by something he saw in the butter-boat. "What's them, gam'ma?"
said he. "Capers, my dear." He looked puzzled--grew thoughtful--and
watched the plates awhile, and then, having made up his mind, he came
out with, "Please, gam'ma, I want some more o' them little dogs." Of
course he had them.

No. 206. _Classification._--"Who makes the laws of our government?"
asked a committee-man of the class under review--a class of
Lilliputians. "Congress." "And how is Congress divided?" A dead
silence. At last a dear little thing, not more than so high, with a
wonderful memory, threw up her hand, thereby signifying that she was
ready to answer it. "Well," said the teacher, "what say you, Sallie? How
are they divided?" "Into civilized, half-civilized, and savage," was the
triumphant reply. If it be true, that the greater the truth the greater
the libel, might not Miss Sallie be indicted? Congressional miscreants
are getting so plentiful, just now, that children should be
cautioned--or tongue-tied.

No. 207. _Funny._--"There now!" said a little bit of a thing, while
rummaging a drawer in a bureau, and turning the contents all
topsy-turvy, of course; "there now! gran'pa has gone to heaven without
his spectacles. Won't you take 'em with you, gramma, when you go?"

No. 208. _A Natural Bonesetter._--A little fellow pitched head foremost
from the top of a coal-bin, and put his shoulder out. A surgeon was sent
for "about the quickest." No sooner had the messenger turned his back,
than the boy went to work anew, notwithstanding the pain, and while
climbing over the back of a chair, as if it were a ladder, he got
another tumble, which frightened his poor mother so that she hadn't
strength enough to scream. But lo! up jumped the young scapegrace, and
began surveying his arm, and shouting, "It's all right, mother! it's all
right!" And so it proved. The dislocation had been reduced with a snap,
the joint was back in its place, and the young gentleman was ready for
another demonstration.

No. 209. _No you don't!_--Freddy, between three and four, and Willie,
about five, were both extravagantly fond of milk, and always had a mug
of the best, to top off with, at supper; but, being in the country the
other day, they happened, for the first time in their lives, to see a
girl milking. "There now, Willie," said the youngest, "you see that,
don't you? I don't want any more milk after the cow's had it," averting
his eyes from the operation as he spoke, with an expression of downright
loathing. At supper, when their little mugs of milk were got ready for
them, both refused to touch them. On being questioned, Freddy contented
himself with saying that, for his part, he didn't want any milk after
the cows had it--and there he stopped, as if unwilling to go farther.
But Willie came out plump, with an account of the discovery made in the

Their mother saw that she had no time to lose; otherwise an
unconquerable repugnance might be associated with their fondness for a
wholesome diet, and so she told them how milk was made: that they did
not have it from the cows at second-hand, but that when cows ate grass,
and clean vegetables, and fruit, they were all changed into milk by a
wonderful chemical process, like that which turns all our food to
nourishment, giving us flesh and blood, bones and muscle, according to
our growth. Willie seemed satisfied with the explanation, and went back
to the little mug; but Freddy was not to be persuaded.

After supper Willie took his brother aside into a corner, and was
overheard expostulating with him, and saying, "It's all right now,
Freddy, and you can go on drinking your milk, just as you always have.
The cow eats grass, and that's what makes it. Now if the cow didn't eat
the grass, you'd have to, you see. That's what the cow's for."

Freddy went back to his milk without another word, as being, at the
worst, somewhat more agreeable than eating grass.

No. 210. _Little Pitchers have Big Ears._--A child, the son of a
minister, sat on the floor playing with his blocks one afternoon, when
two or three female parishioners dropped in for a dish of chat with
mamma. The conversation, after a few moments, turned, very naturally, it
may be supposed, on a floating scandal of the day. They had entirely
forgotten the child; but all at once recollected themselves, and came to
a sudden stop, and, looking at each other, tried to recall what had been

There sat the little imp, busy with his playthings, and, as it appeared
upon further inquiry, after the visitors had gone, without having
understood a syllable of what had been said; but the lively chattering
stopped so suddenly, he looked up, and then, turning over and rolling
on the floor, as if unable to restrain himself, he sung out, "Go on! go
right on! that's jess sech as I like to hear, every day!"

No. 211. _A Hint for the Doctor._--A little four-year-old midget being
in a bad way, was called upon to take a very nauseous medicine, and was
sitting in a high chair, in her night-dress, when the cup was offered
her. She shook her head with a piteous look, and then said, "No no--me
tan't tate it so; but me'll tate it with soogar," and sent off the nurse
for a lump. Whereupon her little brother rushed up to her, shouting,
"Take it, Sallie! take it, while she's gone, Sallie, and cheat her! and
then hide, Sallie--that's the way I do." And thereupon Miss Sallie
gulped down the abominable mixture to the last dregs, without winking,
only saying, "It choke Sallie," and then scrabbling down from the high
chair, and scuttling away under the bed, with an occasional chuckle, and
popping out her little curly head, her eyes dancing with joy, while
waiting for the nurse to get back. When she appeared, she was welcomed
with a shout of triumph by the youthful conspirators, Miss Sallie never
dreaming for a moment that she had been bamboozled.

No. 212. _The best of Reasons._--"Breakfasting with a physician the
other day," says somebody, whose name does not appear in the record,
"little Julia began to talk very earnestly, at the first pause in the
conversation. Her father checked her, somewhat sharply, saying, 'Why is
it that you always talk so much?' ''Tause I've dot somesin to say,' was
the reply. The solemn papa was obliged to look another way, while the
guests laughed outright."

No. 213. _Discouraging._--A little boy named Knight, of the
mission-school at New-London, was told by the teachers, one and all,
that if he was good, he would go to heaven. The little fellow accepted
the situation, and evidently did his best; but the next time he appeared
in his place, he seemed downhearted. On being questioned by his teacher
about the cause, and asked if he had been a good boy, he replied,
"Yes--I've tried ever so hard to be good; but it's no use. The boys tell
me I can't go to heaven, if I am ever so good." "And why not, pray?"
"Because they tell me the Bible says there'll be no _Knight_ there."

No. 214. _How to fix it._--Master Willie, a very good boy, as boys go,
happened to begin going to school, just when the first snow fell, and a
pretty new sled, with scarlet runners, had become his property. About
school-time, therefore, he began to have _such_ terrible aches. But
these would soon pass off, and then he would go off to slide. One
morning he came to his mamma with a _drefful_ headache--and school had
to be given up. "Very well, my dear," said she; "if you have such a
terrible headache, you can stay at home this beautiful morning; but
remember, you mustn't ask leave to go and slide, for I shall not
consent--I tell you now." "Yes, mamma." But within the next half hour
Willie came to her, saying his drefful headache was all gone, and would
she let him go just this once. "No, Willie--you know what I said--you
wouldn't have me tell a lie, would you?"

Willie turned away somewhat discouraged; but after a few moments his
little face brightened up, as with inward sunshine, and he stole up to
his mother's knee, and whispered,--"No, mother! No, no! I don't want you
to tell a lie; but couldn't you _just fix it_, you see, as you do when
you put me to bed, and say you are not going out, and then go?"

No. 215. _Excuse my Candor._--"What a fine head your little boy has!"
said a propitiatory friend--a phrenologist, perhaps--to a doating
father. "Ay, ay," said the delighted papa; "ay, ay, he's a chip of the
old block, ain't you, sonny?" "I guess so," said the boy, "for teacher
says I'm a little blockhead."

No. 216. _One of the Upper Ten._--"Ma," said a little moppet, "if I
should die and go to heaven, would I wear my moire antique?" "No,
darling, we cannot suppose we shall carry the fashions of this world
into the next." "Then, Ma, how would the little angels know I belonged
to the best society?"

No. 217. _Catching the Idea._--A little chap, on his return from church,
one day, where he heard an organ for the first time in his life, said
to his mother, "O, mammy, how I do wish you had been at church to-day,
to see the fun. There was a man there pumping music out of an old

No. 218. _Rather embarrassing._--A young lady--all women are ladies, you
know--wishing to impress upon her class in the sabbath-school the
terrible effect of Nebuchadnezzar's punishment, assured them that for
seven long years he ate grass _like a cow_. Up jumped a little boy with,
"Please, ma'am, did he give milk?" It is said the answer was not

No. 219. _Total Depravity again._--"O sister! sister!" said little
Mattie, "if you would only let me swear once--only just once!" her heart
being too full for utterance.

No. 220. _A timely Suggestion._--Mamma was telling Master Freddy about
the sacrifice, or intended sacrifice, of Isaac, and explaining the
illustration which appeared in the old family Bible. There lay the boy,
bound hand and foot, on the altar, with the faggots heaped about him,
and the great sacrificial knife just ready to descend, and almost
touching the nose of the ram. She was explaining, to the best of her
knowledge and belief, the necessity of the sacrifice, and the
providential appearance of the substitute, when Freddy, whose feelings
had been worked up to concert pitch, exclaimed, "Sheepy, sheepy! why
don't you grab the knife, and run?"

No. 221. _Tenderness of Conscience._--"Dad--I say, dad--Nathan swored
last first-day, I heard him," said the little son of Master Blair, a
Scotch Quaker, I once knew. "Ah--an' what deed he say, mon?" "He said
Old Scratch, an' I heard him."

No. 222. _Beautiful--exceedingly!_--A little one was talking about
home. "And where is your home, dear?" said a listener. Looking up into
his mother's face with loving eyes, he whispered, "_Where mother is._"

No. 223. _An embryo Metaphysician._--"What are you going to see,

"Nothing, gran'pa."

"Nothing, my boy--how can you see nothing?"

"Easy enough, gran'pa."

"Where would you look for it?"

"Down a well, gran'pa."

"Isn't there something burning here?" said the mother of this boy one
day, on coming into the room where he was at play, and sniffing as she

"Yes, mamma," sniffing in reply.

"Bless me--what is it?"

"Coal, mamma."

No. 224. _Influence of Example._--The little son of a friend in the
army, had learned to curse heartily, whenever anything disturbed him;
his father, of whom he had caught the trick, was ordered off, not long
ago, to a distant part of the country. Being separated from his boy, and
having had time for reflection, perhaps, he wrote home to his wife that
he was sorry to hear how little Joe still continued to curse and swear.
"Who told him?" said the boy. "He says a little bird told him," was the
mother's reply. "D--n that bird!" exclaimed the little scapegrace. He
was only six. While yet a baby, but just able to make himself
understood, an Irish girl came rushing in to the mother one day, saying,
"O ma'am! he keeps a-sayin' Jesus Christ, in the barn!"

No. 225. _Retribution._--"Tell you what 'tis, I won't pray for you when
I say my prayers, Willie," said a little thing to her playfellow in the
next house; "and Jesus won't bless you, _and_"--after a little
hesitation--"_and_--He shan't redeem you, neither!"

No. 226. _A young Poet._--A little four-year-old, laboring to impress a
sister with the prodigious quantity of something he had promised to give
her, said, "You just turn the sky over and I'll fill it

No. 227. _Literalness._--"_I_ know!" said a little boy to whom his
mother was reading that passage where the Lord is said to be walking in
the garden in the cool of the day; "I know! Just as papa does, with his
hands behind him, and an old coat on."

No. 228. _Letting the delicious Secret out._--Soon after his mother's
second marriage, a little shaver reached out his hand for another piece
of sponge-cake. Step-father shakes his head, and says _No_, after a
fashion that seems to admit of no appeal. "Well," says the boy, "I
don't care--only we're sorry we ever married you;" and then, as if
concentrating all the bitterness he felt, in a withering outburst, he
added, "And mother says so too!"

No. 229. _Their Notions of another World._--"Well then," said a little
girl, throwing down her book, "I don't want to die and go to heaven that
way; but if God would just let down a big basket, and draw me up with a
rope, I do think I should like it."

No. 230. Another little girl, after being made to understand what a
_post mortem_ examination was, declared that she would never consent to
be so dealt with, after death.

"What! when it would be such a help to the living, my dear?"

"Fiddle-de-dee! how would I look going to heaven all cut to pieces?"

No. 231. _Another._--Lottie, lying sick with a fever, having lost a dear
little cousin not long before, was unwilling to take her medicine, till
she was promised a pair of ear-rings. By and by, when she was believed
to be sound asleep, her mother was suddenly startled by a burst of loud
laughter. Being asked what was the matter, Lottie said, "O, it tickles
me so to think how cousin Hiram _will_ laugh, when he sees me come
trottin' into heaven with my new ear-rings!"

No. 232. _A Justification._--"Golly!--Gosh!--Gracious!" shouted a funny
little chap, at something he saw.

"Why, Bobby," said his mother, "where _did_ you pick up such words?"

"O, I've heard _you_ say Gracious, mamma, and the golly-gosh I just made
up myself," was the reply.

One day this dear mother, who had expostulated and pleaded with him till
she had no patience left, said she could bear with him no longer; she
wouldn't have a little boy round her that used such language; and so she
would have to put him away, and try to find another little son. In the
bitterness and desolation of his heart, Master Bobby went out into the
yard, and sat down on the grass to have a good cry by himself; whereupon
a little bantam rooster, not understanding the case, flew up on the
fence, and fell a-crowing like all possessed. "Shut up, darn you!"
blubbered Bobby, through his big dropping tears; "I've trouble enough on
my mind, without you!" He had just promised never to use that, nor any
other naughty word again, while he breathed the breath of life.

And for a time he kept his promise. But one day, just when they began to
feel greatly encouraged, he burst into the room with, "Oh, mother! what
do you think? I was coming through the field just now, and a horse was
tied there--the wickedest horse ever you _did_ see; an' he jist stood
still there, and kept sayin' 'By golly!' and 'By gosh!' and 'Dod darn
you!' and everything else he could think of. If you'd a been there,
you'd a-whipped him, oh, ever so hard, mamma! wouldn't you? And so would
I, if I'd had a whip." His mind was relieved.

No. 233. _Fishing and Mousing._--"Some years ago," says the New England
correspondent of--I forget what paper, "my cousin kept a district
school. Among her scholars was a little fellow of perhaps four years of
age, but too young to speak plainly. One day, when all the others were
hard at work, this youngster got hold of a pin and a string. The pin he
bent into the shape of a fish-hook, baiting it with a morsel of cheese.
He had seen a mouse come up through a hole in the corner of the hearth,
not long before, and went to work 'bobbing for whales.' On being asked
what he was at, he answered, 'Fishin' for a mousie.' This being rather
out of the usual course of study, the teacher, by way of punishment,
ordered him to stay where he was, and keep bobbing, till further orders.
After a while, there was a commotion; the mouse, it seemed, had
swallowed the cheese, hook and all, and the next moment Master Jerry,
giving a sudden jerk, sprang into the middle of the room, and swinging
the mouse round his head, shouted, 'I've dut 'im! I thware I've dut

No. 234. _Sunday-school Conundrums._--A smart little chap, with a wicked
eye, on being asked what was the chief end of man, replied, "The end
what's got the head on."

No. 235. _Inferential._--"Oh, mamma! mamma!" shouted a little shaver, as
he saw the sun going down, all red, like the opening to a furnace-fire,
"see how hot the sky is over there! Santa Claus is bakin', I guess."

Another of these natural philosophers, in petticoats, on hearing a man
dump coal into the bin with a terrible rumbling, shouted, "Oh, mother!
now I know what makes thunder. It is God puttin' coal on."

No. 236. _Coming to the Point._--"Tilly, my love," said a young mother
to a daughter in her fourth summer, "what would you do without your

"I should put on every day just such a dress as I wanted to," said
Tilly, coquetting with her little fan.

No. 237. _Second Thoughts._--"O papa, is it wrong to change your mind?"
"Well, no, my boy--that depends upon circumstances; but why do you ask?"
"You know I wanted to be a doctor, papa," said the little five-year-old.
"O yes, I remember; and what then?" "Well, if you please, papa, I'd
rather be a candy-store."

No. 238. _Special Pleading._--"A friend at Lewiston," says one of our
newspapers, "told his little Josey, about six years of age, not to go
out of the gate again without leave. Soon after, papa missed him from
the back-yard, and saw him a long way off, tumbling about on the
sidewalk. He went after him, and taking him by the hand, leading him
toward the house, and considering the question of punishment for such
disobedience, he asked him why he left the yard, when he had been told
not to do so. 'Well, you see, papa, you told me not to go out o' the
gate; but you didn't tell me not to climb over the fence.'" Demurrer
sustained.--Plea adjudged good, and no _respondeas ouster_ allowed.

No. 239. _And why not?_--"Lottie," said a little visitor, "what makes
your Kitty so cross?" "Oh, tause she's tuttin' her teef, I 'spec."

No. 240. _Vagabondizing._--Two Illinois chaps, one twelve, and the other
only eight, left their homes not long ago to see the world, or seek
their fortunes, without money or friends, and journeyed away off into
Iowa, three hundred miles or so. The father of one, after snuffing about
for two or three days, got upon their track, and followed them to
Rock-Grove, Iowa, where he found them pretty well used up, though far
from being sick of their bargain. They had no explanations to give--no
excuses to offer--but, so far as could be discovered, had no reason for
leaving their homes, or running away; and they had actually travelled
the whole distance, on railroads and stages, without money and without

No. 241. _Strange--if true._--"Harry! you shouldn't throw away nice
bread like that; you may want it yourself before you die." "Well,
mother, and if I should, would I stand any better chance of getting it
then, if I should eat it now?"

No. 242. _Am I dead, Papa?_--Many a child has propounded that same
question, with all seriousness, after a narrow escape. The first words
of a little boy who had just been fished up at New London lately,
were--"_Be I dead, though?_"

No. 243. _Enlisted for the War._--A little three-year-old, whose father,
a clergyman, had presented him with a military cap, all "fuss and
feathers," insisted on wearing it everywhere, and at all times, marching
through all the rooms, to music of his own, hour after hour, and day
after day, until his mother found it worth her while to remind him that
soldiers didn't train on the Sabbath. Whereupon, our young gentleman
started off up stairs, left foot first, with a new tune, compounded of
Hail-Columbia and Yankee-Doodle, Mother-Goose and Bobbylink, saying, as
he held on his way,--"_But I'm a soldier of the Lord, mamma._"

No. 244. _Repeating the Colic._--The rector of an Episcopal Church in
Albany, who had taken the greatest pains with his sabbath-school, and
prided himself not a little on the proficiency of his scholars, called
upon them one day, after a whole week of preparation, to repeat the
_Collect_. A dead silence: then for a show of hands; not a hand was
lifted; but, on casting his eyes over the little community, he saw a
sign of encouragement. "Ah, ha!" said he, "I see a little hand raised in
Miss Annie's class. Please repeat the _Collect_, my dear." The poor
thing seemed bewildered. "If you know the Collect, Fanny," said the
teacher, "why don't you repeat it?" The child blushed and stammered; but
on being further questioned, said, "I thought he wanted all that had the
_colic_ to hold up their hands; and I had it t'other night, and father
had to stay up, and take care of me." To _repeat_ her _colic_ would be
no joke to her, whatever it might be to others, and she was probably

No. 245. _Instinctive Perception._--How wonderful that children so
rarely misapply uncommon words, even where they do not understand
them--being their own interpreters. A boy of nearly fourteen, was
fishing for trout in a deep, clear brook. A stout, lubberly negro began
teasing him, and throwing mud at him. The boy jumped up, and swinging
the fish-pole round his head with all his might, fetched the colored
gemman such a wipe with the butt, as to send him headlong into the
water--where he left him floundering--and cleared out. When he reached
home, on being called upon by his mother for an explanation of his
uncomfortable appearance, he told her how it had happened. The mother
was indignant: to have her boy so treated by a nigger was too much. "And
did you brook the outrage?" she asked. "No mother," said the boy,
catching the idea, though he did not quite understand the word, "no
mother, _but I brooked the nigger_."

No. 246. _A puzzling Question._--A minister of the Gospel, while
preparing a discourse for the following Sabbath, stopped now and then to
review what he had written, to alter and erase here and there. "Father,"
said a young theologian of about five, just entering upon the ministry,
"father, does God tell you what to preach?" "Certainly, my child." "Then
what makes you scratch it out?"

No. 247. _Let Brotherly Love prevail._--Another of like spirit, under
five, in his regular evening prayer, remembered his younger brother with
a sob, who was in a very bad way, after the following fashion: "Oh Lord,
don't let my little brother die. Help Dr. S., oh Lord, to make him
well--though his parents _are_ Democrats."

No. 248. _Baby Champions._--In the "Life of Aaron Burr," by Davis, we
have a little incident--the first--which that bad man delighted to
recall. An old he-goat, or a ram, I forget which, came at his little
grandson, while yet a baby, and threatened him with his horns. The
child, having the blood of his grandfather in him, seized a stick, and
let him have it with such effect, that the animal sheered off, greatly
to the satisfaction of "grumpa," who saw it from the window. And here is
another case _in pint_. A little four-year-old of Mr. Cheney, living in
Ashland, N. H., was playing on the front yard with a younger sister and
a pet bantam. A large hawk suddenly swooped down upon the poor thing,
fastened his talons upon it, and would have carried it off but for the
child, who, seizing a hatchet he had been playing with, fell upon the
hawk, and pounded him till he let go his prey, and "skedaddled."

No. 249. _Budding Nature._--Matthews used to tell a story about a little
boy, who, on seeing the cherubim sculptured in Westminster-Abbey,
exclaimed, "O mamma, how I do wish I was a cherubim!" to the great joy
of his mother, who had to spank him oftener than he thought desirable;
but, on being asked wherefore, he said--almost sobbing--"'Cause they
ain't got nothin' but wings and head," rubbing his--behind--at the same
time, with uncommon energy.

"Ah," said another little chap to a playfellow who had just been sorely
trounced, "Ah, ha! I guess you hain't got any gran'-mother!"

And again. "Mamma," said another little tantrybogus, "why are them
orphans you talk so much about, and pity so much, the happiest little
creatures in the world, arter all?" "They are not, my son; but why do
you ask?" "'Cause they hain't got nobody to wallop 'em."

No. 250. _A definition of Pride._--"What is _pride_, my dear?" "Walking
with a cane, when you ain't lame," said the little four-year-old to whom
the query was propounded.

No. 251. _Liberty of Speech._--"Chickerin', is meetin' out?" said a
little fellow, perched upon a high fence, many years ago, to Dr.
Chickering, on his way from church.

No. 252. The same little rogue, who, by the way, has gone bravely up
since, leaving his own monument behind him--as most people do, I
believe--was crowing pretty loudly one day, when I was going by. "Holloa
there!" said I, "Holloa! I can lick you, Sam Fessenden!"

"Well--I'll tell you what you can't do!" said he.

"What is it?"

"You can't give me a rockin'-horse."

No. 253. _Admirable Definition._--At one of the ragged schools of
Ireland, a clergyman asked, "What is holiness?"

A dirty, ragged little wretch jumped up, and sung out, "Plase your
riverence, it's bein clane inside."

No. 254. _Another._--A boy, eight years old, having been told that a
reptile is an animal that creeps, and being asked on examination-day to
name one, answered, without winking, "_A baby_."

No. 255. _A Young Butcher._--A boy in New York, only five years old,
having heard papa say that he wished the two calves they had in the barn
were killed, got a hammer, and going to the barn by himself, succeeded
in killing them both; and returned to the house to tell the story--to
report progress and ask leave to sit again, as we say at Washington,
after a similar feat.

No. 256. _Flat Contradiction._--"What's that?" said a school-master,
pointing to the letter X. "It's daddy's name," said the boy. "No, you
little blockhead, it's X." "Tain't X, neither," said the boy; "it's
daddy's name, for I seed him write it many a time."

No. 257. _A delicate Scruple._--"Oh, mamma!" said a little chap, the
other day, who had been listening to her conversation with a neighboring
gossip; "did you say I was born a-Sunday?"

"Yes, my child."

"Ain't I wicked, mamma?"

"Why, what makes you ask such a question, Bobby?"

"Well, ain't I a sabbath-breaker, for bein' born a-Sunday? But, mamma, I
didn't mean to--I'm sure I didn't."

No. 258. _A desirable Parentage._--A crowd of dirty, ragged little
creatures were loitering about the large show-window of a
confectionery-shop. "O my! don't I wish he was my father!" said a little
barefooted girl, with her fist in her mouth. Was her sincerity to be

No. 259. _Not to be mealy-mouthed._--"I dare say when you get back to
mamma, Charlie, my boy, she'll have a nice present for you. What would
you like best, Charlie? a little brother, or a little sister?" "Well
now, Uncle George," after considering awhile, "if it makes no
difference to Ma, I'd rather have a pony."

No. 260. _High-school Training._--"I say, Ma! do you know what the
pyro--pyro--pyrotechnical remedy is, for a crying baby?" said a little
miss of thirteen, with cherry lips and roguish eyes.

"Gracious goodness me! no; I never heard of such a thing."

"Well, ma--it's _rock-it_!"

No. 261. _School Exercises._--"Well, Maggie, what do they do at school?"
"They whips me." "And then what do you do?" "I tingle, skeam, and
dance." Another group of three were questioned. The oldest said, "He had
to get grammar, arithmetic, geography," etc., etc. The second, that he
"got readin', spellin', and _diffinitions_." "And what do you get my
little man?"--to Master Jack, who happened just then to be spearing the
cat with a wooden sword. "Oh, I gets lots--I gets readin', and
spellin', and spankin'; and then I gets up in the mornin'--sometimes."

No. 262. _Childish Inferences._--"Come now, children, speak up! What is
it that makes the sea, salt?" "Codfish!" screamed a boy from a distant
corner of the room; "Codfish!" as if he were crying the article to a
Down-East population, Saturday morning.

No. 263. _Great Forbearance._--"O, Ma," said a little creature, who had
been allowed to stay at communion for the first time, "what do you
think! a man went round with a plateful of money, and offered it to
everybody in our pew; but I didn't take any."

No. 264. _A gentle rebuke for the Earl of ----_, a pompous and niggardly
gentleman, who personally superintends the dairy where he lives, and
actually sells the milk to the children with his own hands.

One morning, a pretty child, standing a-tip-toe, with her pitcher and
penny held up, caught the eyes of this nobleman. "Now," said he, "my
pretty lass--_now_," patting her on the head, and giving her a
kiss--"_now_, you may tell, as long as you live, that you have been
kissed by an Earl."

"O yes--but you took the penny, though," said the little witch,
innocently enough, I dare say. But what became of the Earl? Nobody
knows. It was a long while ago.

No. 265. _Where do all the Cooks go?_--A capital housekeeper having
discharged her cook with emphasis, exclaimed, "Well, thank heaven! there
are no cooks in the other world." Which other world did she mean, think
you? Her little girl seemed puzzled; but, after thinking awhile, said,
"Well, mamma, then who cooks wash-days? for you know they must have a
big wash, as they always wear white."

No. 266. _More Sabbath-school Exercises._--"Where was John Rogers
burned?--tell me now," said a teacher, in a voice that filled the room,
and startled the listeners at the door. "Couldn't tell," said the first.
No answer from the next. "Joshua knows," whispered a little thing at the
head of her class. "Well, then, if Joshua knows, he may tell," said the
teacher. "In the fire," shouted Joshua, with a look of imperturbable

No. 267. _Just as the twig is bent, etc., etc._--A little shaver, living
in Walcott, Maine, aged only five years, having well considered the
subject of earning his bread, went to a farmer and offered his services.
He was put to raking hay, and persevered as long as the rest, and went
home to his happy mother in the evening, with a silver dollar in his
pocket. And where did he get it? some lazy little Jackanapes will ask, I
dare say. Go to your mother, child.

No. 268. _Them's my Sentiments._--A six-year-old boy was set to work
upon what is called a "composition," all about water. He wrote as
follows: "Water is good to drink. Water is good to paddle in and swim
in, and to skate on when it grows hard in winter. When I was a little
wee baby, nurse used to wash me every morning in cold water--_ugh_! I
have heard tell the Injuns only wash themselves once in ten years. I
wish I was an Injun."

No. 269. _Arithmetic made easy._--"Peter--I say, Peter! what are you
doing with that boy?" "Helping him in 'rethmetic, sir." "How helping
him?" "He wanted to know if I took ten from seventeen, how many would be
left; and so I took ten of his apples to show him, an' now he wants 'em

"And why don't you give 'em back, hey?"

"'Cause I want him to remember how many was left."

No. 270. _Scripture and Poetry._--While a poor mother was moaning over
her wretchedness and helplessness, fearing that she would have to go to
the workhouse, her little boy looked up from his pile of blocks in the
chimney-corner, and murmured, "Mamma, I think God hears, when we scrape
the bottom of the barrel."

No. 271. _A glorious Boy._--The playmates of a small boy were trying to
persuade him to take a handful or two of cool, ripe cherries, from a
tree overhanging the stone-wall, where they were sitting together in the
hot sunshine.

"What are you afeard of?" said the largest, "for if your father should
find it out, he is so kind, he wouldn't punish you."

"That's the very reason why I wouldn't touch 'em," said the dear little
fellow, in reply.

No. 272. _Physics and Metaphysics._--An amiable professor, in France,
was laboring to explain that theory, according to which the body is
entirely renewed every six years, giving for illustration the experiment
made with a pig, by feeding it on madder till its bones were colored
through and through, and other cases. "And so, mam'selle," said he,
addressing a pretty little blonde with a roguish face, "in six years you
will be no longer Mademoiselle F----."

"I hope so," murmured Mam'selle F., casting down her eyes, and peering
up at him through her long lashes. Evidently she had somewhat
misunderstood her teacher.

No. 273. _Too good to be true._--A little boy having broken his
rocking-horse the very day it was brought home, his mother began
scolding him. "Why, mamma," said he, with a mischievous giggle, as if he
understood the joke, and _meant_ it, "What's the use of a horse afore
he's _broke_?"

No. 274. _True, beyond all question._--Said somebody to a little moppet,
as she sat on the door-step playing with her kitten and her doll, "Which
do you love best, darling, your kitten or your doll?"

After looking serious for a minute or two, she leaned over and
whispered, "I love Kitty best, but please don't tell Dolly."

No. 275. _A slight Misapprehension._--Three little negroes were lately
baptized by our friend, Mr. C., of the new Protestant Cathedral. After
the ceremony was over, one of them whispered to its mother, "You don't
mind it, mamma, do you, 'cause he baptized us in his night-gown?"

No. 276. _A Natural Curiosity._--A dear little six-year-old was going by
a church with her father. "What house is that?" asked the child. "That
is the Dutch Church," said papa; "people go there to be good, so that,
after a while, they may be angels." "Hi! then there'll be Dutch angels,

No. 277. _Much to the Point._--A sabbath-school teacher had been reading
to her class the beautiful story of Ruth--with a running accompaniment.
Wishing to call their attention to the kindness of the princely
husbandman, in ordering the reapers to drop here and there a handful of
wheat, she said, "Now, children, Boaz did another nice thing for poor
Ruth: can you tell me what it was?" "To be sure I can," said a little
fellow, a long way off;--"_he married her_."

No. 278. _A new Currency._--Our Sallie, a pleasant, active, sprightly
little thing, just old enough to make herself understood, partly by
pantomime and partly by lisping, came in all of a glow, saying,--

"O mamma! mamma! Me jess buyed a itte paper-doll."

"Indeed! and where did you buy it?"

"O, jess down here, in a defful big store; me toot a ittle dirl in me's

"And where did you get your money to pay for it?"

"O, me didn't buy it for money, mamma--me jess gived the gemman a fower
to pay for it."

And sure enough! Upon further inquiry, it turned out that the little
midget had entered a large store, made her way into the back part--one
of the largest establishments in Brooklyn, by the way--and seeing some
paper-dolls in hand, wanted to buy one; but having no money, offered a
flower she had just gathered on the way, which the shopman received with
all seriousness, regarding it as a lawful tender.

No. 279. _A new handle for Pussy._--Little three-year-old Mary was
playing roughly with her pet kitten. After pulling its ears, she began
carrying it by the tail. "Baby, dear," said her mother, "you hurt
pussy." "No I don't, mamma--'cause I'm carryin' it by the handle."

No. 280. _A new Puzzle._--A pretty little thing under five, on being
questioned by her mother about her Bible lesson, was asked, among other
matters, why the Lord wouldn't let Adam and his wife eat of the
forbidden fruit; and answered, that she "didn't know for certain, but
rather thought, maybe He wanted to can it for his own use."

No. 281. _More Logic._--In our Putnam for October, there are two
charming little manifestations of boyish character and boyish reasoning.
A chap of only five, soon after the fire at Barnum's Museum, which he
had investigated, was very anxious to know if there really were any such
creatures as devils, "with horns, hoofs, bats'-wings and eagles'
claws"--he had just been looking at an illustrated Pilgrim's Progress.
Mamma tried to put him off, but in vain. At last, he broke out with,
"Well--I don't believe there is any, for Barnum would be sure to have
one." And then, after another glance at the illustration, he added, "How
funny he _would_ look in a cage, with his horns and tail!"

The same little fellow hid his face in his mother's lap one day, while
it thundered. To soothe him, his mother explained the phenomena of
thunder and lightning. A lull followed, and he ran off to play in a
distant corner of the room. Then followed another burst, louder than
usual. Back he ran to his mother, exclaiming, "I don't see what fun 'tis
for God to go thunderin' round so!" Of course not.

No. 282. _Natural History._--According to Peter Pindar, Sir Joseph
Banks' fleas were lobsters till he boiled them, when "d--d a one turned
red;" whereat he exclaimed, according to the same authority, who, in his
own mortal extremity, if Byron may be credited,--

    With a death-bed sensation a blasphemous jest,"

"Fleas are _not_ lobsters--d--n their souls!"

But another question has lately come up. A little girl, of the Buffalo
tribe, wants to know if fleas are _white_; "cauth untle teld her that
Mary had a little lamb with _fleas_ as white as snow."

_Another._--A charity scholar--perhaps one of the Ragged School--on
being asked, after an examination in the Psalms, "What was the
Pestilence that walketh in darkness?" answered,--"Bed bugth, thir!"--Not
so much out of the way, after all; since fleas only _hop_ in darkness.

No. 283. _Cross-examination._--Says a neighbor, "Wife was undressing a
little four-year-old--Charley--the other evening. After he was set free,
he began to feel of his fat, chubby arms, with manifest
self-complacency; and looking up into his mother's face, he said,
'Mamma, who made me?'"

"'The Good Man away up in the sky,'" said mamma.

"Whereupon Charley grew thoughtful, and after looking up through the
tree-tops into the clear blue starlit sky for a few minutes, added,
'But, mamma, who took me down?'"

No. 284. _A Broad Hint._--There was an aged country clergyman, who found
so little time for study, that when fairly at work, he wouldn't allow
his grandchildren to romp in the passage, or play hide-and-seek, or
leap-frog in the study--the monster!

"Ma," said one of these little fellows, who had been snubbed for
riotous behavior one day, "I say, Ma,"--she had just been telling
him about heaven--"I say, Ma, I don't want to go to heaven." "Don't
want to go to heaven, Georgie!" "No, Ma, I'm sure I don't." "And why
not?" "Why, gran'pa will be there, won't he?" "Why yes--I hope so."
"Well--jest as soon as he sees us, he'll come scoldin' along, and
say,--'Whew--whew--whew! What are these boys here for?'"

No. 285. _Patronage._--"I say, dad--have you been to the Museum yet?"
said a young American of ten. "No, my son." "Well, jest you go, and
mention my name to the door-keeper, an' he'll take you round and show
you everything."

No. 286. _Childish Cunning._--"A child who is good at excuses is seldom
good for anything else," quoth Franklin. A naughty little chap, says a
contemporary, went blubbering into the back-yard, because his mother
wouldn't allow him to go down to the river on the Sabbath. On being
further remonstrated with, he said, "But, mamma, I didn't want to go in
a-swimmin' with 'em; I only wanted to go down an' see the bad little
boys drown, for goin' in a-swimmin' on a Sunday--boo-hoo, boo-hoo!"

No. 287. _Childish Trust._--The following illustration of the passage,
"Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he
shall not enter therein," will, I am sure, be thankfully received.

As the train stopped, a gentleman who had been seriously engaged in
conversation with another, who had a little boy with him, said to the
child, after bidding the father farewell--"Good-by, Charley; take care
of yourself."

"My father will take care of me," said the boy, with a look of
unquestioning trust.

No. 288. _What shall we pray for?_--A child of seven had been packed to
bed quite early for something rather serious. At the usual hour of
bed-time, her mother sat down by the bed-side to read prayers for the
day. "Mamma," said the little one, "please read the prayer for persons
in affliction."

No. 289. _A Poser._--"Well then--who took care of the babies?" asked a
little girl, on hearing her mother say that all people were once

No. 290. _Another Poser._--Aunt Bessie had been laboring with Master
Jack, to persuade him to go to bed at set of sun; urging for his
consideration that the dear little chickens always went to roost at that
time. "Yes, auntie--I know that--but then the old hen always goes with

No. 291. _A reasonable Being._--"Halloa, mamma! halloa there!" shouted
the angel of the household, from the top of the garret stairs, "I'm mad
as fire--and Hannah won't pacify me."

No. 292. _Mind your Pronunciation._--A gentlewoman of Belfast, Ireland,
was questioning a child in a charity school, about what the wife of a
king, and the wife of an emperor were called; and then she added for
their encouragement, "And now what is the wife of a duke called?"--"A
drake! a drake!" shouted half a dozen little voices.

No. 293. _Foresight, Sagacity, and Thrift._--Little Master Jemmy began
to save the change that fell in his way at a very early age, in the hope
of being a rich man, like Messrs A., B., and C., who rode in their
carriages, or "swung on the gate" all day long, with "a _little more_
fat pork," after their wishes had been granted for "as _much fat pork as
they could eat_."

One morning, at breakfast, when he was about gobbling the last
mouthful, his aunt informed him, that during the night a pair of babies
had been added to the family, already consisting of three beside Jemmy.

The boy dropped his knife and fork, and sung out,--"Good gracious, Aunt
Mary! if father and mother keep on at this rate, there won't be fifty
dollars a-piece for us!"

       *       *       *       *       *


[Transcriber Note: The following are note numbers, not page numbers]

Children's notions of theology, 1, 2, 13, 14, 22, 48, 70, 72, 132, 134,
166, 168, 178, 265, 283.

Children's notions of the Bible, 2, 39, 41, 148, 149, 163, 174, 228.

Children's notions of heaven, 4, 19, 88, 101, 119, 145, 215, 224, 230,
238, 239, 265, 284.

Lessons for teachers, 2, 4, 5, 31, 43, 47, 66.

Children's notions of praying, 6, 11, 37, 42, 98, 118, 155, 161, 163,
166, 187, 254, 288.

Their notions of language, 7, 10, 15, 21, 120, 121, 153, 194, 251.

Their honesty, 2, 8, 12, 17, 78, 115, 119, 122, 125, 137, 195, 243, 257,
271, 274.

Their ideas of another world, 25, 30, 38, 127, 144, 193, 242, 270.

Their instincts, 16, 18, 27, 28, 31, 44, 69, 76, 80, 90, 108, 118, 141,
144, 167, 181, 263.

Their philosophy, 21, 163, 165, 183, 203.

Their politics, 23, 214, 254.

Their Sunday-school exercises, 22, 26, 31, 43, 47, 66, 142, 156, 164,
165, 187, 195, 205, 241, 266, 277, 280, 282.

Their imitation, 28, 85, 105, 146, 176, 181, 192, 204, 212, 219, 222,
232, 240.

Their selfishness, 29, 40, 79, 87, 116, 150, 151, 243, 267.

Their quibbles, 33, 67, 80, 231, 245, 286.

Their misapprehension of words, 2, 35, 112, 120, 121, 160, 223, 252,
264, 276, 282.

Their puzzling questions, 24, 72, 160, 178, 253, 268.

Their cunning, 33, 45, 46, 51, 73, 79, 82, 92, 106, 224, 228, 130, 134,
139, 158, 163, 169, 172, 202, 206, 259, 260, 273, 279, 286.

Their unselfishness, 49, 50.

Their foresight, 52, 90, 102, 188, 208.

Their self-complacency, 54, 71, 77.

Their metaphysics, 1, 72, 74, 96, 162, 170, 261.

Their explanations, 84, 95, 123, 130, 156, 183, 196, 246, 262, 282.

Their adroitness, 85, 89, 99, 103, 105, 122, 124, 125, 147, 152.

Their speculations, 90, 100, 109, 140, 180, 210, 275.

Their business qualities, 91.

Their naturalness, 93, 110, 114, 180, 181, 189, 201, 218, 220, 263, 272,
274, 291.

Their faith, 98, 177, 287.

Their influence, 115, 285.

Their misapplication of words, 1, 48, 148, 162, 225.

Retribution, 128.

Example, 129, 267, 268.

A great mystery, 133, 217.

An etymologist, 136.

Their literalness, 134, 229, 235, 256, 268, 269, 277, 278, 279.

Their definitions, 156, 184, 257, 261, 262.

Their protestantism, 189, 190.

Their smartness, 197. _See_ Cunning, 201, 240, 250, 264, 269, 289.

Their constructiveness, 198.

Yankee notions, 1, 199.

Their pluckiness, 216, 237, 247, 255.

Total depravity, 227.

Where mother is, 230, 287.

Their poetry, 230, 234, 270.

Liberty of Speech, 259, 260.

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