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Title: Child Life in Prose
Author: Various
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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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_;
       "    in bold are surrounded by =equals=.
       "    in bold Gothic font are surrounded by ==double equals==.

2. Illustrations falling within the middle of a paragraph have been
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3. Footnotes, (two) have been placed immediately below the paragraph
   containing their anchor marker.

4. A detailed list of corrections and other transcription notes appears
   at the end of this e-text.



[Illustration]



CHILD LIFE IN PROSE.

EDITED BY
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.

==Illustrated.==

[Illustration]

BOSTON:
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY.
==The Riverside Press, Cambridge.==


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873,
BY JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington,

TWENTY THIRD IMPRESSION.



[Illustration]

"We behold a child. Who is it? Whose is it? What is it? It is in the
centre of fantastic light, and only a dim revealed form appears. It is
God's own child, as all children are. The blood of Adam and Eve,
through how many soever channels diverging, runs in its veins; and the
spirit of the Eternal, which blows everywhere, has animated it. It
opens its eyes upon us, stretches out its hands to us as all children
do. Can you love it? It may be heir of a throne,--does it interest
you? Or of a milking-stool,--do not despise it. It is a miracle of the
All-working; it is endowed by the All-gifted. Smile upon it, it will a
smile give back again; prick it, it will cry. Where does it belong? In
what zone or climate? It may have been born on the Thames or the
Amazon, the Hoang-ho or the Mississippi. It is God's child still, and
its mother's. It is curiously and wonderfully made. The inspiration of
the Almighty hath given it understanding. It will look after God by
how many soever names he may be called; it will seek to know; it will
long to be loved; it will sin and be miserable; if it has none to care
for it, it will die."

                                                  JUDD'S _Margaret_.



PREFACE.


The unexpectedly favorable reception of the poetical compilation
entitled "Child Life" has induced its publishers to call for the
preparation of a companion volume of prose stories and sketches,
gathered, like the former, from the literature of widely separated
nationalities and periods. Illness, preoccupation, and the inertia of
unelastic years would have deterred me from the undertaking, but for
the assistance which I have had from the lady whose services are
acknowledged in the preface to "Child Life." I beg my young readers,
therefore, to understand that I claim little credit for my share in
the work, since whatever merit it may have is largely due to her taste
and judgment. It may be well to admit, in the outset, that the book is
as much for child-lovers, who have not outgrown their child-heartedness
in becoming mere men and women, as for children themselves; that it is
as much _about_ childhood, as _for_ it. If not the wisest, it appears to
me that the happiest people in the world are those who still retain
something of the child's creative faculty of imagination, which makes
atmosphere and color, sun and shadow, and boundless horizons, out of
what seems to prosaic wisdom most inadequate material,--a tuft of grass,
a mossy rock, the rain-pools of a passing shower, a glimpse of sky and
cloud, a waft of west-wind, a bird's flutter and song. For the child is
always something of a poet; if he cannot analyze, like Wordsworth and
Tennyson, the emotions which expand his being, even as the fulness of
life bursts open the petals of a flower, he finds with them all Nature
plastic to his eye and hand. The soul of genius and the heart of
childhood are one.

Not irreverently has Jean Paul said, "I love God and little children.
Ye stand nearest to Him, ye little ones." From the Infinite Heart a
sacred Presence has gone forth and filled the earth with the sweetness
of immortal infancy. Not once in history alone, but every day and
always, Christ sets the little child in the midst of us as the truest
reminder of himself, teaching us the secret of happiness, and leading
us into the kingdom by the way of humility and tenderness.

In truth, all the sympathies of our nature combine to render childhood
an object of powerful interest. Its beauty, innocence, dependence, and
possibilities of destiny, strongly appeal to our sensibilities, not
only in real life, but in fiction and poetry. How sweetly, amidst the
questionable personages who give small occasion of respect for manhood
or womanhood as they waltz and wander through the story of Wilhelm
Meister, rises the child-figure of Mignon! How we turn from the light
dames and faithless cavaliers of Boccaccio to contemplate his
exquisite picture of the little Florentine, Beatrice, that fair girl
of eight summers, so "pretty in her childish ways, so ladylike and
pleasing, with her delicate features and fair proportions, of such
dignity and charm of manner as to be looked upon as a little angel!"
And of all the creations of her illustrious lover's genius, whether in
the world of mortals or in the uninviting splendors of his Paradise,
what is there so beautiful as the glimpse we have of him in his _Vita
Nuova_, a boy of nine years, amidst the bloom and greenness of the
Spring Festival of Florence, checking his noisy merry-making in rapt
admiration of the little Beatrice, who seemed to him "not the daughter
of mortal man, but of God"? Who does not thank John Brown, of
Edinburgh, for the story of Marjorie Fleming, the fascinating
child-woman, laughing beneath the plaid of Walter Scott, and gathering
at her feet the wit and genius of Scotland? The labored essays from
which St. Pierre hoped for immortality, his philosophies,
sentimentalisms, and theories of tides, have all quietly passed into
the limbo of unreadable things; while a simple story of childhood
keeps his memory green as the tropic island in which the scene is
laid, and his lovely creations remain to walk hand in hand beneath the
palms of Mauritius so long as children shall be born and the hearts
of youths and maidens cleave to each other. If the after story of the
poet-king and warrior of Israel sometimes saddens and pains us, who
does not love to think of him as a shepherd boy, "ruddy and withal of
a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look upon," singing to his
flocks on the hill-slopes of Bethlehem?

In the compilation of this volume the chief embarrassment has arisen
from the very richness and abundance of materials. As a matter of
course, the limitations prescribed by its publishers have compelled
the omission of much that, in point of merit, may compare favorably
with the selections. Dickens's great family of ideal children, Little
Nell, Tiny Tim, and the Marchioness; Harriet Beecher Stowe's Eva and
Topsy; George MacDonald's quaint and charming child-dreamers; and
last, but not least, John Brown's Pet Marjorie,--are only a few of the
pictures for which no place has been found. The book, of necessity,
but imperfectly reflects that child-world which fortunately is always
about us, more beautiful in its living realities than it has ever been
painted.

It has been my wish to make a readable book of such literary merit as
not to offend the cultivated taste of parents, while it amused their
children. I may confess in this connection, that, while aiming at
simple and not unhealthful amusement, I have been glad to find the
light tissue of these selections occasionally shot through with
threads of pious or moral suggestion. At the same time, I have not
felt it right to sadden my child-readers with gloomy narratives and
painful reflections upon the life before them. The lessons taught are
those of Love, rather than Fear. "I can bear," said Richter, "to look
upon a melancholy man, but I cannot look upon a melancholy child.
Fancy a butterfly crawling like a caterpillar with his four wings
pulled off!"

It is possible that the language and thought of some portions of the
book may be considered beyond the comprehension of the class for which
it is intended. Admitting that there may be truth in the objection, I
believe with Coventry Patmore, in his preface to a child's book, that
the charm of such a volume is increased, rather than lessened, by the
surmised existence of an unknown amount of power, meaning, and beauty.
I well remember how, at a very early age, the solemn organ-roll of
Gray's Elegy and the lyric sweep and pathos of Cowper's Lament for the
Royal George moved and fascinated me with a sense of mystery and power
felt, rather than understood. "A spirit passed before my face, but the
form thereof was not discerned." Freighted with unguessed meanings,
these poems spake to me, in an unknown tongue indeed, but, like the
wind in the pines or the waves on the beach, awakening faint echoes
and responses, and vaguely prophesying of wonders yet to be revealed.
John Woolman tells us, in his autobiography, that, when a small child,
he read from that sacred prose poem, the Book of Revelation, which has
so perplexed critics and commentators, these words, "He showed me a
river of the waters of life clear as crystal, proceeding out of the
throne of God and the Lamb," and that his mind was drawn thereby to
seek after that wonderful purity, and that the place where he sat and
the sweetness of that child-yearning remained still fresh in his
memory in after life. The spirit of that mystical anthem which Milton
speaks of as "a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping
symphonies," hidden so often from the wise and prudent students of the
letter, was felt, if not comprehended, by the simple heart of the
child.

It will be seen that a considerable portion of the volume is devoted
to autobiographical sketches of infancy and childhood. It seemed to me
that it might be interesting to know how the dim gray dawn and golden
sunrise of life looked to poets and philosophers; and to review with
them the memories upon which the reflected light of their genius has
fallen.

I leave the little collection, not without some misgivings, to the
critical, but I hope not unkindly, regard of its young readers. They
will, I am sure, believe me when I tell them that if my own paternal
claims, like those of Elia, are limited to "dream children," I have
catered for the real ones with cordial sympathy and tender solicitude
for their well-being and happiness.

                                                            J. G. W.

AMESBURY, 1873.



CONTENTS.


                         STORIES OF CHILD LIFE.

                                                                    PAGE

LITTLE ANNIE'S RAMBLE                  _Nathaniel Hawthorne_          13

WHY THE COW TURNED HER HEAD AWAY       _Abby Morton Diaz_             22

THE BABY OF THE REGIMENT               _T. W. Higginson_              27

PRUDY PARLIN                           "_Sophie May_"                 38

MRS. WALKER'S BETSEY                   _Helen B. Bostwick_            43

THE RAINBOW-PILGRIMAGE                 _Grace Greenwood_              54

ON WHITE ISLAND                        _Celia Thaxter_                58

THE CRUISE OF THE DOLPHIN              _T. B. Aldrich_                64

A YOUNG MAHOMETAN                      _Mary Lamb_                    76

THE LITTLE PERSIAN                     _Juvenile Miscellany_          81

THE BOYS' HEAVEN                       _L. Maria Child_               83

BESSIE'S GARDEN                        _Caroline S. Whitmarsh_        87

HOW THE CRICKETS BROUGHT GOOD FORTUNE  _P. J. Stahl_                  97

PAUL AND VIRGINIA                      _Bernardin de Saint Pierre_   101

OEYVIND AND MARIT                      _Björnsterne Björnsen_        109

BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN            _Charles Dickens_             119

AMRIE AND THE GEESE                    _Berthold Auerbach_           131

THE ROBINS                             _John Woolman_                135

THE FISH I DIDN'T CATCH                _John G. Whittier_            137

LITTLE KATE WORDSWORTH                 _Thomas De Quincey_           142

HOW MARGERY WONDERED                   _Lucy Larcom_                 145

THE NETTLE-GATHERER                    _From the Swedish_            149

LITTLE ARTHUR'S PRAYER                 _Thomas Hughes_               156

FAITH AND HER MOTHER                   _Elizabeth Stuart Phelps_     161

THE OPEN DOOR                          _John de Liefde_              165

THE PRINCE'S VISIT                     _Horace Scudder_              167


                         FANCIES OF CHILD LIFE.

THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS             _Harriet Beecher Stowe_       175

BLUNDER                                _Louise E. Chollet_           185

STAR-DOLLARS                           _Grimm's Household Tales_     192

THE IMMORTAL FOUNTAIN                  _L. Maria Child_              193

THE BIRD'S-NEST IN THE MOON            _New England Magazine_        201

DREAM-CHILDREN: A REVERY               _Charles Lamb_                204

THE UGLY DUCKLING                      _Hans Christian Andersen_     209

THE POET AND HIS LITTLE DAUGHTER       _Mary Howitt_                 220

THE RED FLOWER                         _Madame De Gasparin_          226

THE STORY WITHOUT AN END               _German of Carove_            229


                         MEMORIES OF CHILD LIFE.

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN                                              253

MADAME MICHELET                                                      262

JEAN PAUL RICHTER                                                    271

CHARLES LAMB                                                         276

HUGH MILLER                                                          281

WALTER SCOTT                                                         286

FREDERICK DOUGLASS                                                   290

CHARLES DICKENS                                                      297



STORIES OF CHILD LIFE.



STORIES OF CHILD LIFE.



LITTLE ANNIE'S RAMBLE.


[Illustration: D]

Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!

The town-crier has rung his bell at a distant corner, and little Annie
stands on her father's door-steps, trying to hear what the man with
the loud voice is talking about. Let me listen too. O, he is telling
the people that an elephant, and a lion, and a royal tiger, and a
horse with horns, and other strange beasts from foreign countries,
have come to town, and will receive all visitors who choose to wait
upon them! Perhaps little Annie would like to go. Yes; and I can see
that the pretty child is weary of this wide and pleasant street, with
the green trees flinging their shade across the quiet sunshine, and
the pavements and the sidewalks all as clean as if the housemaid had
just swept them with her broom. She feels that impulse to go strolling
away--that longing after the mystery of the great world--which many
children feel, and which I felt in my childhood. Little Annie shall
take a ramble with me. See! I do but hold out my hand, and, like some
bright bird in the sunny air, with her blue silk frock fluttering
upwards from her white pantalets, she comes bounding on tiptoe across
the street.

Smooth back your brown curls, Annie; and let me tie on your bonnet,
and we will set forth! What a strange couple to go on their rambles
together! One walks in black attire, with a measured step, and a heavy
brow, and his thoughtful eyes bent down, while the gay little girl
trips lightly along, as if she were forced to keep hold of my hand,
lest her feet should dance away from the earth. Yet there is sympathy
between us. If I pride myself on anything, it is because I have a
smile that children love; and, on the other hand, there are few grown
ladies that could entice me from the side of little Annie; for I
delight to let my mind go hand in hand with the mind of a sinless
child. So come, Annie; but if I moralize as we go, do not listen to
me; only look about you and be merry!

Now we turn the corner. Here are hacks with two horses, and
stage-coaches with four, thundering to meet each other, and trucks and
carts moving at a slower pace, being heavily laden with barrels from
the wharves; and here are rattling gigs, which perhaps will be smashed
to pieces before our eyes. Hitherward, also, comes a man trundling a
wheelbarrow along the pavement. Is not little Annie afraid of such a
tumult? No: she does not even shrink closer to my side, but passes on
with fearless confidence,--a happy child amidst a great throng of
grown people, who pay the same reverence to her infancy that they
would to extreme old age. Nobody jostles her; all turn aside to make
way for little Annie; and, what is most singular, she appears
conscious of her claim to such respect. Now her eyes brighten with
pleasure! A street musician has seated himself on the steps of yonder
church, and pours forth his strains to the busy town, a melody that
has gone astray among the tramp of footsteps, the buzz of voices, and
the war of passing wheels. Who heeds the poor organ-grinder? None but
myself and little Annie, whose feet begin to move in unison with the
lively tune, as if she were loath that music should be wasted without
a dance. But where would Annie find a partner? Some have the gout in
their toes, or the rheumatism in their joints; some are stiff with
age; some feeble with disease; some are so lean that their bones
would rattle, and others of such ponderous size that their agility
would crack the flagstones; but many, many have leaden feet, because
their hearts are far heavier than lead. It is a sad thought that I
have chanced upon. What a company of dancers should we be? For I, too,
am a gentleman of sober footsteps, and therefore, little Annie, let us
walk sedately on.

[Illustration]

It is a question with me, whether this giddy child or my sage self have
most pleasure in looking at the shop windows. We love the silks of sunny
hue, that glow within the darkened premises of the spruce dry-goods'
men; we are pleasantly dazzled by the burnished silver and the chased
gold, the rings of wedlock and the costly love-ornaments, glistening at
the window of the jeweller; but Annie, more than I, seeks for a glimpse
of her passing figure in the dusty looking-glasses at the hardware
stores. All that is bright and gay attracts us both.

Here is a shop to which the recollections of my boyhood, as well as
present partialities, give a peculiar magic. How delightful to let the
fancy revel on the dainties of a confectioner; those pies, with such
white and flaky paste, their contents being a mystery whether rich
mince, with whole plums intermixed, or piquant apple, delicately
rose-flavored; those cakes, heart-shaped or round, piled in a lofty
pyramid; those sweet little circlets, sweetly named kisses; those
dark, majestic masses, fit to be bridal loaves at the wedding of an
heiress, mountains in size, their summits deeply snow-covered with
sugar! Then the mighty treasures of sugar-plums, white and crimson and
yellow, in large glass vases; and candy of all varieties; and those
little cockles, or whatever they are called, much prized by children
for their sweetness, and more for the mottoes which they enclose, by
love-sick maids and bachelors! O, my mouth waters, little Annie, and
so doth yours; but we will not be tempted, except to an imaginary
feast; so let us hasten onward, devouring the vision of a plum-cake.

Here are pleasures, as some people would say, of a more exalted kind,
in the window of a bookseller. Is Annie a literary lady? Yes; she is
deeply read in Peter Parley's tomes, and has an increasing love for
fairy-tales, though seldom met with nowadays, and she will subscribe,
next year, to the Juvenile Miscellany. But, truth to tell, she is apt
to turn away from the printed page, and keep gazing at the pretty
pictures, such as the gay-colored ones which make this shop window the
continual loitering-place of children. What would Annie think if, in
the book which I mean to send her on New Year's day, she should find
her sweet little self, bound up in silk or morocco with gilt edges,
there to remain till she become a woman grown, with children of her
own to read about their mother's childhood. That would be very queer.

Little Annie is weary of pictures, and pulls me onward by the hand,
till suddenly we pause at the most wondrous shop in all the town. O my
stars! Is this a toyshop, or is it fairyland? For here are gilded
chariots, in which the king and queen of the fairies might ride side
by side, while their courtiers, on these small horses, should gallop
in triumphal procession before and behind the royal pair. Here, too,
are dishes of china-ware, fit to be the dining-set of those same
princely personages when they make a regal banquet in the stateliest
hall of their palace, full five feet high, and behold their nobles
feasting adown the long perspective of the table. Betwixt the king and
queen should sit my little Annie, the prettiest fairy of them all.
Here stands a turbaned Turk, threatening us with his sabre, like an
ugly heathen as he is. And next a Chinese mandarin, who nods his head
at Annie and myself. Here we may review a whole army of horse and
foot, in red and blue uniforms, with drums, fifes, trumpets, and all
kinds of noiseless music; they have halted on the shelf of this
window, after their weary march from Liliput. But what cares Annie for
soldiers? No conquering queen is she, neither a Semiramis nor a
Catharine; her whole heart is set upon that doll, who gazes at us with
such a fashionable stare. This is the little girl's true plaything.
Though made of wood, a doll is a visionary and ethereal personage,
endowed by childish fancy with a peculiar life; the mimic lady is a
heroine of romance, an actor and a sufferer in a thousand shadowy
scenes, the chief inhabitant of that wild world with which children
ape the real one. Little Annie does not understand what I am saying,
but looks wishfully at the proud lady in the window. We will invite
her home with us as we return. Meantime, good by, Dame Doll! A toy
yourself, you look forth from your window upon many ladies that are
also toys, though they walk and speak, and upon a crowd in pursuit of
toys, though they wear grave visages. O, with your never-closing eyes,
had you but an intellect to moralize on all that flits before them,
what a wise doll would you be! Come, little Annie, we shall find toys
enough, go where we may.

Now we elbow our way among the throng again. It is curious, in the
most crowded part of a town, to meet with living creatures that had
their birthplace in some far solitude, but have acquired a second
nature in the wilderness of men. Look up, Annie, at that canary-bird,
hanging out of the window in his cage. Poor little fellow! His golden
feathers are all tarnished in this smoky sunshine; he would have
glistened twice as brightly among the summer islands; but still he has
become a citizen in all his tastes and habits, and would not sing half
so well without the uproar that drowns his music. What a pity that he
does not know how miserable he is! There is a parrot, too, calling
out, "Pretty Poll! Pretty Poll!" as we pass by. Foolish bird, to be
talking about her prettiness to strangers, especially as she is not a
pretty Poll, though gaudily dressed in green and yellow. If she had
said "Pretty Annie," there would have been some sense in it. See that
gray squirrel, at the door of the fruit-shop, whirling round and round
so merrily within his wire wheel! Being condemned to the treadmill, he
makes it an amusement. Admirable philosophy!

Here comes a big, rough dog, a countryman's dog in search of his
master; smelling at everybody's heels, and touching little Annie's
hand with his cold nose, but hurrying away, though she would fain have
patted him. Success to your search, Fidelity! And there sits a great
yellow cat upon a window-sill, a very corpulent and comfortable cat,
gazing at this transitory world, with owl's eyes, and making pithy
comments, doubtless, or what appear such, to the silly beast. O sage
puss, make room for me beside you, and we will be a pair of
philosophers!

Here we see something to remind us of the town-crier, and his
ding-dong bell! Look! look at that great cloth spread out in the air,
pictured all over with wild beasts, as if they had met together to
choose a king, according to their custom in the days of Æsop. But they
are choosing neither a king nor a president, else we should hear a
most horrible snarling! They have come from the deep woods, and the
wild mountains, and the desert sands, and the polar snows, only to do
homage to my little Annie. As we enter among them, the great elephant
makes us a bow, in the best style of elephantine courtesy, bending
lowly down his mountain bulk, with trunk abased and leg thrust out
behind. Annie returns the salute, much to the gratification of the
elephant, who is certainly the best-bred monster in the caravan. The
lion and the lioness are busy with two beef-bones. The royal tiger,
the beautiful, the untamable, keeps pacing his narrow cage with a
haughty step, unmindful of the spectators, or recalling the fierce
deeds of his former life, when he was wont to leap forth upon such
inferior animals, from the jungles of Bengal.

Here we see the very same wolf,--do not go near him, Annie!--the
self-same wolf that devoured little Red Riding-Hood and her
grandmother. In the next cage, a hyena from Egypt, who has doubtless
howled around the pyramids, and a black bear from our own forests, are
fellow prisoners and most excellent friends. Are there any two living
creatures who have so few sympathies that they cannot possibly be
friends? Here sits a great white bear, whom common observers would
call a very stupid beast, though I perceive him to be only absorbed in
contemplation; he is thinking of his voyages on an iceberg, and of his
comfortable home in the vicinity of the north pole, and of the little
cubs whom he left rolling in the eternal snows. In fact, he is a bear
of sentiment. But O, those unsentimental monkeys! the ugly, grinning,
aping, chattering, ill-natured, mischievous, and queer little brutes.
Annie does not love the monkeys. Their ugliness shocks her pure,
instinctive delicacy of taste, and makes her mind unquiet, because it
bears a wild and dark resemblance to humanity. But here is a little
pony, just big enough for Annie to ride, and round and round he
gallops in a circle, keeping time with his trampling hoofs to a band
of music. And here,--with a laced coat and a cocked hat, and a
riding-whip in his hand,--here comes a little gentleman, small
enough to be king of the fairies, and ugly enough to be king of the
gnomes, and takes a flying leap into the saddle. Merrily, merrily
plays the music, and merrily gallops the pony, and merrily rides the
little old gentleman. Come, Annie, into the street again; perchance we
may see monkeys on horseback there!

Mercy on us, what a noisy world we quiet people live in! Did Annie
ever read the Cries of London City? With what lusty lungs doth yonder
man proclaim that his wheelbarrow is full of lobsters! Here comes
another mounted on a cart, and blowing a hoarse and dreadful blast
from a tin horn, as much as to say "Fresh fish!" And hark! a voice on
high, like that of a muezzin from the summit of a mosque, announcing
that some chimney-sweeper has emerged from smoke and soot, and
darksome caverns, into the upper air. What cares the world for that?
But, welladay! we hear a shrill voice of affliction, the scream of a
little child, rising louder with every repetition of that smart,
sharp, slapping sound, produced by an open hand on tender flesh. Annie
sympathizes, though without experience of such direful woe. Lo! the
town-crier again, with some new secret for the public ear. Will he
tell us of an auction, or of a lost pocket-book, or a show of
beautiful wax figures, or of some monstrous beast more horrible than
any in the caravan? I guess the latter. See how he uplifts the bell in
his right hand, and shakes it slowly at first, then with a hurried
motion, till the clapper seems to strike both sides at once, and the
sounds are scattered forth in quick succession, far and near.

Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!

Now he raises his clear, loud voice, above all the din of the town; it
drowns the buzzing talk of many tongues, and draws each man's mind
from his own business; it rolls up and down the echoing street, and
ascends to the hushed chamber of the sick, and penetrates downward to
the cellar-kitchen, where the hot cook turns from the fire to listen.
Who, of all that address the public ear, whether in church or
court-house or hall of state, has such an attentive audience as the
town-crier? What saith the people's orator?

"Strayed from her home, a LITTLE GIRL, of five years old, in a blue
silk frock and white pantalets, with brown curling hair and hazel
eyes. Whoever will bring her to her afflicted mother--"

Stop, stop, town-crier! The lost is found. O my pretty Annie, we
forgot to tell your mother of our ramble, and she is in despair, and
has sent the town-crier to bellow up and down the streets, affrighting
old and young, for the loss of a little girl who has not once let go
my hand! Well, let us hasten homeward; and as we go, forget not to
thank Heaven, my Annie, that, after wandering a little way into the
world, you may return at the first summons, with an untainted and
unwearied heart, and be a happy child again. But I have gone too far
astray for the town-crier to call me back.

Sweet has been the charm of childhood on my spirit, throughout my
ramble with little Annie! Say not that it has been a waste of precious
moments, an idle matter, a babble of childish talk, and a revery of
childish imaginations, about topics unworthy of a grown man's notice.
Has it been merely this? Not so; not so. They are not truly wise who
would affirm it. As the pure breath of children revives the life of
aged men, so is our moral nature revived by their free and simple
thoughts, their native feeling, their airy mirth, for little cause or
none, their grief, soon roused and soon allayed. Their influence on us
is at least reciprocal with ours on them. When our infancy is almost
forgotten, and our boyhood long departed, though it seems but as
yesterday; when life settles darkly down upon us, and we doubt whether
to call ourselves young any more, then it is good to steal away from
the society of bearded men, and even of gentler woman, and spend an
hour or two with children. After drinking from those fountains of
still fresh existence, we shall return into the crowd, as I do now, to
struggle onward and do our part in life, perhaps as fervently as ever,
but, for a time, with a kinder and purer heart, and a spirit more
lightly wise. All this by thy sweet magic, dear little Annie!

                                              _Nathaniel Hawthorne._



WHY THE COW TURNED HER HEAD AWAY.

[Illustration]


"Moolly Cow, your barn is warm, the wintry winds cannot reach you, nor
frost nor snow. Why are your eyes so sad? Take this wisp of hay. See,
I am holding it up? It is very good. Now you turn your head away. Why
do you look so sorrowful, Moolly Cow, and turn your head away?"

"Little girl, I am thinking of the time when that dry wisp of hay was
living grass. When those brown, withered flowers were blooming
clovertops, buttercups, and daisies, and the bees and the butterflies
came about them. The air was warm then, and gentle winds blew. Every
morning I went forth to spend the day in sunny pastures. I am thinking
now of those early summer mornings,--how the birds sang, and the sun
shone, and the grass glittered with dew! and the boy that opened the
gates, how merrily he whistled! I stepped quickly along, sniffing the
fresh morning air, snatching at times a hasty mouthful by the way; it
was really very pleasant! And when the bars fell, how joyfully I
leaped over! I knew where the grass grew green and tender, and
hastened to eat it while the dew was on.

"As the sun rose higher I sought the shade, and at noonday would lie
under the trees chewing, chewing, chewing, with half-shut eyes, and
the drowsy insects humming around me; or perhaps I would stand
motionless upon the river's bank, where one might catch a breath of
air, or wade deep in to cool myself in the stream. And when noontime
was passed and the heat grew less, I went back to the grass and
flowers.

"And thus the long summer day sped on,--sped pleasantly on, for I was
never lonely. No lack of company in those sunny pasture-lands! The
grasshoppers and crickets made a great stir, bees buzzed, butterflies
were coming and going, and birds singing always. I knew where the
ground-sparrows built, and all about the little field-mice. They were
very friendly to me, for often, while nibbling the grass, I would
whisper, 'Keep dark, little mice! Don't fly, sparrows! The boys are
coming!'

"No lack of company,--O no! When that withered hay was living grass,
yellow with buttercups, white with daisies, pink with clover, it was
the home of myriads of little insects,--very, very little insects. O,
but they made things lively, crawling, hopping, skipping among the
roots, and up and down the stalks, so happy, so full of life,--never
still! And now not one left alive! They are gone. That pleasant
summer-time is gone. O, these long, dismal winter nights! All day I
stand in my lonely stall, listening, not to the song of birds, or hum
of bees, or chirp of grasshoppers, or the pleasant rustling of leaves,
but to the noise of howling winds, hail, sleet, and driving snow!

"Little girl, I pray you don't hold up to me that wisp of hay. In just
that same way they held before my eyes, one pleasant morning, a bunch
of sweet clover, to entice me from my pretty calf!

"Poor thing! It was the only one I had! So gay and sprightly! Such a
playful, frisky, happy young thing! It was a joy to see her caper and
toss her heels about, without a thought of care or sorrow. It was good
to feel her nestling close at my side, to look into her bright,
innocent eyes, to rest my head lovingly upon her neck!

"And already I was looking forward to the time when she would become
steady and thoughtful like myself; was counting greatly upon her
company of nights in the dark barn, or in roaming the fields through
the long summer days. For the butterflies and bees, and all the bits
of insects, though well enough in their way, and most excellent
company, were, after all, not akin to me, and there is nothing like
living with one's own blood relations.

"But I lost my pretty little one! The sweet clover enticed me away.
When I came back she was gone! I saw through the bars the rope wound
about her. I saw the cart. I saw the cruel men lift her in. She made a
mournful noise. I cried out, and thrust my head over the rail,
calling, in language she well understood, 'Come back! O, come back!'

"She looked up with her round, sorrowful eyes and wished to come, but
the rope held her fast! The man cracked his whip, the cart rolled
away; I never saw her more!

"No, little girl, I cannot take your wisp of hay. It reminds me of the
silliest hour of my life,--of a day when I surely made myself a fool.
And on that day, too, I was offered by a little girl a bunch of grass
and flowers.

"It was a still summer's noon. Not a breath of air was stirring. I had
waded deep into the stream, which was then calm and smooth. Looking
down I saw my own image in the water. And I perceived that my neck was
thick and clumsy, that my hair was brick-color, and my head of an ugly
shape, with two horns sticking out much like the prongs of a
pitchfork. 'Truly, Mrs. Cow,' I said, 'you are by no means handsome!'

"Just then a horse went trotting along the bank. His hair was glossy
black, he had a flowing mane, and a tail which grew thick and long.
His proud neck was arched, his head lifted high. He trotted lightly
over the ground, bending in his hoofs daintily at every footfall. Said
I to myself, 'Although not well-looking,--which is a great pity,--it
is quite possible that I can step beautifully, like the horse; who
knows?' And I resolved to plod on no longer in sober cow-fashion, but
to trot off nimbly and briskly and lightly.

"I hastily waded ashore, climbed the bank, held my head high,
stretched out my neck, and did my best to trot like the horse, bending
in my hoofs as well as was possible at every step, hoping that all
would admire me.

"Some children gathering flowers near by burst into shouts of
laughter, crying out, 'Look! Look!' 'Mary!' 'Tom!' 'What ails the
cow?' 'She acts like a horse!' 'She is putting on airs!' 'Clumsy
thing!' 'Her tail is like a pump-handle!' 'O, I guess she's a mad
cow!' Then they ran, and I sank down under a tree with tears in my
eyes.

"But one little girl stayed behind the rest, and, seeing that I was
quiet, she came softly up, step by step, holding out a bunch of grass
and clover. I kept still as a mouse. She stroked me with her soft
hand, and said,--

"'O good Moolly Cow, I love you dearly; for my mother has told me very
nice things about you. Of course, you are not handsome. O no, O no!
But then you are good-natured, and so we all love you. Every day you
give us sweet milk, and never keep any for yourself. The boys strike
you sometimes, and throw stones, and set the dogs on you; but you give
them your milk just the same. And you are never contrary like the
horse, stopping when you ought to go, and going when you ought to
stop. Nobody has to whisper in your ears, to make you gentle, as they
do to horses; you are gentle of your own accord, dear Moolly Cow. If
you do walk up to children sometimes, you won't hook; it's only
playing, and I will stroke you and love you dearly. And if you'd like
to know, I'll tell you that there's a wonderful lady who puts you into
her lovely pictures, away over the water.'

"Her words gave me great comfort, and may she never lack for milk to
crumb her bread in! But O, take away your wisp of hay, little girl;
for you bring to mind the summer days which are gone, and my pretty
bossy, that was stolen away, and also--my own folly."

                                                 _Abby Morton Diaz._

[Illustration]



THE BABY OF THE REGIMENT.


We were in our winter camp on Port Royal Island. It was a lovely
November morning, soft and spring-like; the mocking-birds were
singing, and the cotton-fields still white with fleecy pods. Morning
drill was over, the men were cleaning their guns and singing very
happily; the officers were in their tents, reading still more happily
their letters just arrived from home. Suddenly I heard a knock at my
tent-door, and the latch clicked. It was the only latch in camp, and I
was very proud of it, and the officers always clicked it as loudly as
possible, in order to gratify my feelings. The door opened, and the
Quartermaster thrust in the most beaming face I ever saw.

"Colonel," said he, "there are great news for the regiment. My wife
and baby are coming by the next steamer!"

"Baby!" said I, in amazement. "Q. M., you are beside yourself." (We
always called the Quartermaster Q. M. for shortness.) "There was a
pass sent to your wife, but nothing was ever said about a baby. Baby
indeed!"

"But the baby was included in the pass," replied the triumphant
father-of-a-family. "You don't suppose my wife would come down here
without her baby! Besides, the pass itself permits her to bring
necessary baggage; and is not a baby six months old necessary
baggage?"

"But, my dear fellow," said I, rather anxiously, "how can you make the
little thing comfortable in a tent, amidst these rigors of a South
Carolina winter, when it is uncomfortably hot for drill at noon, and
ice forms by your bedside at night?"

"Trust me for that," said the delighted papa, and went off whistling.
I could hear him telling the same news to three others, at least,
before he got to his own tent.

That day the preparations began, and soon his abode was a wonder of
comfort. There were posts and rafters, and a raised floor, and a great
chimney, and a door with hinges,--every luxury except a latch, and
that he could not have, for mine was the last that could be purchased.
One of the regimental carpenters was employed to make a cradle, and
another to make a bedstead high enough for the cradle to go under.
Then there must be a bit of red carpet beside the bedstead; and thus
the progress of splendor went on. The wife of one of the colored
sergeants was engaged to act as nursery-maid. She was a very
respectable young woman, the only objection to her being that she
smoked a pipe. But we thought that perhaps Baby might not dislike
tobacco; and if she did, she would have excellent opportunities to
break the pipe in pieces.

In due time the steamer arrived, and Baby and her mother were among
the passengers. The little recruit was soon settled in her new cradle,
and slept in it as if she had never known any other. The sergeant's
wife soon had her on exhibition through the neighborhood, and from
that time forward she was quite a queen among us. She had sweet blue
eyes and pretty brown hair, with round, dimpled cheeks, and that
perfect dignity which is so beautiful in a baby. She hardly ever
cried, and was not at all timid. She would go to anybody, and yet did
not encourage any romping from any but the most intimate friends. She
always wore a warm, long-sleeved scarlet cloak with a hood, and in
this costume was carried, or "toted," as the soldiers said, all about
the camp. At "guard-mounting" in the morning, when the men who are to
go on guard duty for the day are drawn up to be inspected, Baby was
always there, to help to inspect them. She did not say much, but she
eyed them very closely, and seemed fully to appreciate their bright
buttons. Then the Officer-of-the-Day, who appears at guard-mounting
with his sword and sash, and comes afterwards to the Colonel's tent
for orders, would come and speak to Baby on his way, and receive her
orders first. When the time came for drill she was usually present to
watch the troops; and when the drum beat for dinner she liked to see
the long row of men in each company march up to the cook-house, in
single file, each with tin cup and plate.

During the day, in pleasant weather, she might be seen in her nurse's
arms, about the company streets, the centre of an admiring circle, her
scarlet costume looking very pretty amidst the shining black cheeks
and neat blue uniforms of the soldiers. At "dress-parade," just before
sunset, she was always an attendant. As I stood before the regiment, I
could see the little spot of red, out of the corner of my eye, at one
end of the long line of men, and I looked with so much interest for
her small person, that, instead of saying at the proper time,
"Attention, Battalion! Shoulder arms!" it is a wonder that I did not
say, "Shoulder babies!"

[Illustration]

Our little lady was very impartial, and distributed her kind looks to
everybody. She had not the slightest prejudice against color, and did
not care in the least whether her particular friends were black or
white. Her especial favorites, I think, were the drummer-boys, who
were not my favorites by any means, for they were a roguish set of
scamps, and gave more trouble than all the grown men in the regiment.
I think Annie liked them because they were small, and made a noise,
and had red caps like her hood, and red facings on their jackets, and
also because they occasionally stood on their heads for her amusement.
After dress-parade the whole drum-corps would march to the great
flag-staff, and wait till just sunset-time, when they would beat "the
retreat," and then the flag would be hauled down,--a great festival
for Annie. Sometimes the Sergeant-Major would wrap her in the great
folds of the flag, after it was taken down, and she would peep out
very prettily from amidst the stars and stripes, like a new-born
Goddess of Liberty.

About once a month, some inspecting officer was sent to the camp by
the General in command, to see to the condition of everything in the
regiment, from bayonets to buttons. It was usually a long and tiresome
process, and, when everything else was done, I used to tell the
officer that I had one thing more for him to inspect, which was
peculiar to our regiment. Then I would send for Baby to be exhibited;
and I never saw an inspecting officer, old or young, who did not look
pleased at the sudden appearance of the little, fresh, smiling
creature,--a flower in the midst of war. And Annie in her turn would
look at them, with the true baby dignity in her face,--that deep,
earnest look which babies often have, and which people think so
wonderful when Raphael paints it, although they might often see just
the same expression in the faces of their own darlings at home.

Meanwhile Annie seemed to like the camp style of housekeeping very
much. Her father's tent was double, and he used the front apartment
for his office, and the inner room for parlor and bedroom, while the
nurse had a separate tent and wash-room behind all. I remember that,
the first time I went there in the evening, it was to borrow some
writing-paper; and while Baby's mother was hunting for it in the front
tent, I heard a great cooing and murmuring in the inner room. I asked
if Annie was still awake, and her mother told me to go in and see.
Pushing aside the canvas door, I entered. No sign of anybody was to be
seen; but a variety of soft little happy noises seemed to come from
some unseen corner. Mrs. C. came quietly in, pulled away the
counterpane of her own bed, and drew out the rough cradle, where lay
the little damsel, perfectly happy, and wider awake than anything but
a baby possibly can be. She looked as if the seclusion of a dozen
family bedsteads would not be enough to discourage her spirits, and I
saw that camp life was likely to suit her very well.

A tent can be kept very warm, for it is merely a house with a thinner
wall than usual; and I do not think that Baby felt the cold much more
than if she had been at home that winter. The great trouble is, that a
tent-chimney, not being built very high, is apt to smoke when the wind
is in a certain direction; and when that happens it is hardly possible
to stay inside. So we used to build the chimneys of some tents on the
east side, and those of others on the west, and thus some of the tents
were always comfortable. I have seen Baby's mother running, in a hard
rain, with little Red-Riding-Hood in her arms, to take refuge with the
Adjutant's wife, when every other abode was full of smoke; and I must
admit that there were one or two windy days that season when nobody
could really keep warm, and Annie had to remain ignominiously in her
cradle, with as many clothes on as possible, for almost the whole
time.

The Quartermaster's tent was very attractive to us in the evening. I
remember that once, on passing near it after nightfall, I heard our
Major's fine voice singing Methodist hymns within, and Mrs. C.'s sweet
tones chiming in. So I peeped through the outer door. The fire was
burning very pleasantly in the inner tent, and the scrap of new red
carpet made the floor look quite magnificent. The Major sat on a box,
our surgeon on a stool; "Q. M." and his wife, and the Adjutant's wife,
and one of the captains, were all sitting on the bed, singing as well
as they knew how; and the baby was under the bed. Baby had retired for
the night,--was overshadowed, suppressed, sat upon; the singing went
on, and she had wandered away into her own land of dreams, nearer to
heaven, perhaps, than any pitch their voices could attain. I went in
and joined the party. Presently the music stopped, and another officer
was sent for, to sing some particular song. At this pause the
invisible innocent waked a little, and began to cluck and coo.

"It's the kitten," exclaimed somebody.

"It's my baby!" exclaimed Mrs. C. triumphantly, in that tone of
unfailing personal pride which belongs to young mothers.

The people all got up from the bed for a moment, while Annie was
pulled from beneath, wide awake, and placid as usual; and she sat in
one lap or another during the rest of the concert, sometimes winking
at the candle, but usually listening to the songs, with a calm and
critical expression, as if she could make as much noise as any of
them, whenever she saw fit to try. Not a sound did she make, however,
except one little soft sneeze, which led to an immediate flood-tide of
red shawl, covering every part of her but the forehead. But I soon
hinted that the concert had better be ended, because I knew from
observation that the small damsel had carefully watched a regimental
inspection and a brigade drill on that day, and that an interval of
repose was certainly necessary.

Annie did not long remain the only baby in camp. One day, on going out
to the stables to look at a horse, I heard a sound of baby-talk,
addressed by some man to a child near by, and, looking round the
corner of a tent, I saw that one of the hostlers had something black
and round, lying on the sloping side of a tent, with which he was
playing very eagerly. It proved to be his baby,--a plump, shiny thing,
younger than Annie; and I never saw a merrier picture than the happy
father frolicking with his child, while the mother stood quietly by.
This was Baby Number Two, and she stayed in camp several weeks, the
two innocents meeting each other every day in the placid indifference
that belonged to their years; both were happy little healthy things,
and it never seemed to cross their minds that there was any difference
in their complexions. As I said before, Annie was not troubled by any
prejudice in regard to color, nor do I suppose that the other little
maiden was.

Annie enjoyed the tent-life very much; but when we were sent out on
picket soon after, she enjoyed it still more. Our head-quarters were
at a deserted plantation house, with one large parlor, a dining-room
and a few bedrooms. Baby's father and mother had a room up stairs,
with a stove whose pipe went straight out at the window. This was
quite comfortable, though half the windows were broken, and there was
no glass and no glazier to mend them. The windows of the large parlor
were in much the same condition, though we had an immense fireplace,
where we had a bright fire whenever it was cold, and always in the
evening. The walls of this room were very dirty, and it took our
ladies several days to cover all the unsightly places with wreaths and
hangings of evergreen. In this performance Baby took an active part.
Her duties consisted in sitting in a great nest of evergreen, pulling
and fingering the fragrant leaves, and occasionally giving a little
cry of glee when she had accomplished some piece of decided mischief.

There was less entertainment to be found in the camp itself at this
time; but the household at head-quarters was larger than Baby had been
accustomed to. We had a great deal of company, moreover, and she had
quite a gay life of it. She usually made her appearance in the large
parlor soon after breakfast; and to dance her for a few moments in our
arms was one of the first daily duties of each one. Then the morning
reports began to arrive from the different outposts,--a mounted
officer or courier coming in from each place, dismounting at the door,
and clattering in with jingling arms and spurs, each a new excitement
for Annie. She usually got some attention from any officer who came,
receiving with her wonted dignity any daring caress. When the
messengers had ceased to be interesting, there were always the horses
to look at, held or tethered under the trees beside the sunny piazza.
After the various couriers had been received, other messengers would
be despatched to the town, seven miles away, and Baby had all the
excitement of their mounting and departure. Her father was often one
of the riders, and would sometimes seize Annie for a good-by kiss,
place her on the saddle before him, gallop her round the house once or
twice, and then give her back to her nurse's arms again. She was
perfectly fearless, and such boisterous attentions never frightened
her, nor did they ever interfere with her sweet, infantine
self-possession.

After the riding-parties had gone, there was the piazza still for
entertainment, with a sentinel pacing up and down before it; but Annie
did not enjoy the sentinel, though his breastplate and buttons shone
like gold, so much as the hammock which always hung swinging between
the pillars. It was a pretty hammock, with great open meshes; and she
delighted to lie in it, and have the netting closed above her, so that
she could only be seen through the apertures. I can see her now, the
fresh little rosy thing, in her blue and scarlet wrappings, with one
round and dimpled arm thrust forth through the netting, and the other
grasping an armful of blushing roses and fragrant magnolias. She
looked like those pretty French bas-reliefs of Cupids imprisoned in
baskets, and peeping through. That hammock was a very useful
appendage; it was a couch for us, a cradle for Baby, a nest for the
kittens; and we had, moreover, a little hen, which tried to roost
there every night.

When the mornings were colder, and the stove up stairs smoked the
wrong way, Baby was brought down in a very incomplete state of toilet,
and finished her dressing by the great fire. We found her bare
shoulders very becoming, and she was very much interested in her own
little pink toes. After a very slow dressing, she had a still slower
breakfast out of a tin cup of warm milk, of which she generally spilt
a good deal, as she had much to do in watching everybody who came into
the room, and seeing that there was no mischief done. Then she would
be placed on the floor, on our only piece of carpet, and the kittens
would be brought in for her to play with.

We had, at different times, a variety of pets, of whom Annie did not
take much notice. Sometimes we had young partridges, caught by the
drummer-boys in trap-cages. The children called them "Bob and Chloe,"
because the first notes of the male and female sound like those names.
One day I brought home an opossum, with her blind bare little young
clinging to the droll pouch where their mothers keep them. Sometimes
we had pretty green lizards, their color darkening or deepening, like
that of chameleons, in light or shade. But the only pets that took
Baby's fancy were the kittens. They perfectly delighted her, from the
first moment she saw them; they were the only things younger than
herself that she had ever beheld, and the only things softer than
themselves that her small hands had grasped. It was astonishing to see
how much the kittens would endure from her. They could scarcely be
touched by any one else without mewing; but when Annie seized one by
the head and the other by the tail, and rubbed them violently
together, they did not make a sound. I suppose that a baby's grasp is
really soft, even if it seems ferocious, and so it gives less pain
than one would think. At any rate, the little animals had the best of
it very soon; for they entirely outstripped Annie in learning to walk,
and they could soon scramble away beyond her reach, while she sat in a
sort of dumb despair, unable to comprehend why anything so much
smaller than herself should be so much nimbler. Meanwhile, the kittens
would sit up and look at her with the most provoking indifference,
just out of arm's length, until some of us would take pity on the
young lady, and toss her furry playthings back to her again. "Little
baby," she learned to call them; and these were the very first words
she spoke.

Baby had evidently a natural turn for war, further cultivated by an
intimate knowledge of drills and parades. The nearer she came to
actual conflict the better she seemed to like it, peaceful as her own
little ways might be. Twice, at least, while she was with us on
picket, we had alarms from the Rebel troops, who would bring down
cannon to the opposite side of the Ferry, about two miles beyond us,
and throw shot and shell over upon our side. Then the officer at the
Ferry would think that there was to be an attack made, and couriers
would be sent, riding to and fro, and the men would all be called to
arms in a hurry, and the ladies at head-quarters would all put on
their best bonnets, and come down stairs, and the ambulance would be
made ready to carry them to a place of safety before the expected
fight. On such occasions Baby was in all her glory. She shouted with
delight at being suddenly uncribbed and thrust into her little scarlet
cloak, and brought down stairs, at an utterly unusual and improper
hour, to a piazza with lights and people and horses and general
excitement. She crowed and gurgled and made gestures with her little
fists, and screamed out what seemed to be her advice on the military
situation, as freely as if she had been a newspaper editor. Except
that it was rather difficult to understand her precise directions, I
do not know but the whole Rebel force might have been captured through
her plans. And, at any rate, I should much rather obey her orders than
those of some generals whom I have known; for she at least meant no
harm, and would lead one into no mischief.

However, at last the danger, such as it was, would be all over, and
the ladies would be induced to go peacefully to bed again; and Annie
would retreat with them to her ignoble cradle, very much disappointed,
and looking vainly back at the more martial scene below. The next
morning she would seem to have forgotten all about it, and would spill
her bread and milk by the fire as if nothing had happened.

I suppose we hardly knew, at the time, how large a part of the
sunshine of our daily lives was contributed by dear little Annie. Yet,
when I now look back on that pleasant Southern home, she seems as
essential a part of it as the mocking-birds or the magnolias, and I
cannot convince myself that, in returning to it, I should not find her
there. But Annie went back, with the spring, to her Northern
birthplace, and then passed away from this earth before her little
feet had fairly learned to tread its paths; and when I meet her next
it must be in some world where there is triumph without armies, and
where innocence is trained in scenes of peace. I know, however, that
her little life, short as it seemed, was a blessing to us all, giving
a perpetual image of serenity and sweetness, recalling the lovely
atmosphere of far-off homes, and holding us by unsuspected ties to
whatsoever things were pure.

                                                  _T. W. Higginson._

[Illustration]



PRUDY PARLIN.


Prudy Parlin and her sister Susy, three years older, lived in
Portland, in the State of Maine.

Susy was more than six years old, and Prudy was between three and
four. Susy could sew quite well for a girl of her age, and had a stint
every day. Prudy always thought it very fine to do just as Susy did,
so she teased her mother to let _her_ have some patchwork too, and
Mrs. Parlin gave her a few calico pieces, just to keep her little
fingers out of mischief.

But when the squares were basted together, she broke needles, pricked
her fingers, and made a great fuss; sometimes crying, and wishing
there were no such thing as patchwork.

One morning she sat in her rocking-chair, doing what she thought was a
_stint_. She kept running to her mother with every stitch, saying,
"Will that do?" Her mother was very busy, and said, "My little
daughter must not come to me." So Prudy sat down near the door, and
began to sew with all her might; but soon her little baby sister came
along looking so cunning that Prudy dropped her needle and went to
hugging her.

"O little sister," cried she, "I wouldn't have a horse come and eat
you up for anything in the world!"

After this, of course, her mother had to get her another needle, and
then thread it for her. She went to sewing again till she pricked her
finger, and the sight of the wee drop of blood made her cry.

"O dear! I wish somebody would pity me!" But her mother was so busy
frying doughnuts that she could not stop to talk much; and the next
thing she saw of Prudy she was at the farther end of the room, while
her patchwork lay on the spice-box.

"Prudy, Prudy, what are you up to now?"

"Up to the table," said Prudy. "O mother, I'm so sorry, but I've broke
a crack in the pitcher!"

"What will mamma do with you? You haven't finished your stint: what
made you get out of your chair?"

"O, I thought grandma might want me to get her _speckles_. I thought I
would go and find Zip too. See, mamma, he's so tickled to see me he
shakes all over--every bit of him!"

"Where's your patchwork?"

"I don't know. You've got a double name, haven't you, doggie? It's Zip
Coon; but it isn't a _very_ double name,--is it, mother?"

When Mrs. Parlin had finished her doughnuts, she said, "Pussy, you
can't keep still two minutes. Now, if you want to sew this patchwork
for grandma's quilt, I'll tell you what I shall do. There's an empty
hogshead in the back kitchen, and I'll lift you into that, and you
can't climb out. I'll lift you out when your stint is done."

"O, what a funny little house!" said Prudy, when she was inside; and
as she spoke her voice startled her,--it was so loud and hollow. "I'll
talk some more," thought she, "it makes such a queer noise. 'Old Mrs.
Hogshead, I thought I'd come and see you, and bring my work. I like
your house, ma'am, only I should think you'd want some windows. I
s'pose you know who I am, Mrs. Hogshead? My name is Prudy. My mother
didn't put me in here because I was a naughty girl, for I haven't done
nothing--nor nothing--nor nothing. Do you want to hear some singing?

   "'O, come, come away,
     From labor now reposin';
     Let _busy Caro, wife of Barrow_,
     Come, come away!'"

"Prudy, what's the matter?" said mamma, from the next room.

"Didn't you hear somebody singing?" said Prudy; "well, 't was me."

"O, I was afraid you were crying, my dear!"

"Then I'll stop," said the child. "Now, Mrs. Hogshead, you won't hear
me singing any more,--it _mortifies_ my mother very much."

So Prudy made her fingers fly, and soon said, "Now, mamma, I've got it
done, and I'm ready to be _took out_!"

Just then her father came into the house. "Prudy's in the hogshead,"
said Mrs. Parlin. "Won't you please lift her out, father? I've got
baby in my arms."

Mr. Parlin peeped into the hogshead. "How in this world did you ever
get in here, child?" said he. "I think I'll have to take you out with
a pair of tongs."

Prudy laughed.

"Give me your hands," said papa. "Up she comes! Now, come sit on my
knee," added he, when they had gone into the parlor, "and tell me how
you climbed into that hogshead."

"Mother dropped me in, and I'm going to stay there till I make a
bedquilt,--only I'm coming out to eat, you know."

Mr. Parlin laughed; but just then the dinner-bell rang, and when they
went to the table, Prudy was soon so busy with her roasted chicken and
custard pie that she forgot all about the patchwork.

Prudy soon tired of sewing, and her mother said, laughing, "If Grandma
Read has to wait for somebody's little fingers before she gets a
bedquilt, poor grandma will sleep very cold indeed."

The calico pieces went into the rag-bag, and that was the last of
Prudy's patchwork.

One day the children wanted to go and play in the "new house," which
was not quite done. Mrs. Parlin was almost afraid little Prudy might
get hurt, for there were a great many loose boards and tools lying
about, and the carpenters, who were at work on the house, had all gone
away to see some soldiers. But at last she said they might go if Susy
would be very careful of her little sister.

Susy meant to watch Prudy with great care, but after a while she got
to thinking of something else. The little one wanted to play "catch,"
but Susy saw a great deal more sport in building block houses.

"Now I know ever so much more than you do," said Susy. "I used to wash
dishes and scour knives when I was four years old, and that was the
time I learned you to walk, Prudy; so you ought to play with me, and
be goody."

"Then I will; but them blocks is too big, Susy. If I had _a axe_ I'd
chop 'em: I'll go get _a axe_." Little Prudy trotted off, and Susy
never looked up from her play, and did not notice that she was gone a
long while.

By and by Mrs. Parlin thought she would go and see what the children
were doing; so she put on her bonnet and went over to the "new house."
Susy was still busy with her blocks, but she looked up at the sound of
her mother's footsteps.

"Where is Prudy?" said Mrs. Parlin, glancing around.

"I'm 'most up to heaven," cried a little voice overhead.

They looked, and what did they see? Prudy herself standing on the
highest beam of the house! She had climbed three ladders to get there.
Her mother had heard her say the day before that "she didn't want to
shut up her eyes and die, and be all deaded up,--she meant to have her
hands and face clean, and go up to heaven on a ladder."

"O," thought the poor mother, "she is surely on the way to heaven, for
she can never get down alive. My darling, my darling!"

Poor Susy's first thought was to call out to Prudy, but her mother gave
her one warning glance, and that was enough: Susy neither spoke nor
stirred.

Mrs. Parlin stood looking up at her,--stood as white and still as if she
had been frozen! Her trembling lips moved a little, but it was in
prayer; she knew that only God could save the precious one.

While she was begging him to tell her what to do, a sudden thought
flashed across her mind. She dared not speak, lest the sound of her
voice should startle the child; but she had a bunch of keys in her
pocket, and she jingled the keys, holding them up as high as possible,
that Prudy might see what they were.

When the little one heard the jingling, she looked down and smiled. "You
goin' to let me have some cake and 'serves in the china-closet,--me and
Susy?"

Mrs. Parlin smiled,--such a smile! It was a great deal sadder than
tears, though Prudy did not know that,--she only knew that it meant
"yes."

"O, then I'm coming right down, 'cause I like cake and 'serves. I
won't go up to heaven till _bime-by_!"

Then she walked along the beam, and turned about to come down the
ladders. Mrs. Parlin held her breath, and shut her eyes. She dared not
look up, for she knew that if Prudy should take one false step, she
must fall and be dashed in pieces!

But Prudy was not wise enough to fear anything. O no. She was only
thinking very eagerly about crimson jellies and fruit-cake. She crept
down the ladders without a thought of danger,--no more afraid than a
fly that creeps down the window-pane.

The air was so still that the sound of every step was plainly heard,
as her little feet went pat,--pat,--on the ladder rounds. God was
taking care of her,--yes, at length the last round was reached,--she
had got down,--she was safe!

"Thank God!" cried Mrs. Parlin, as she held little Prudy close to her
heart; while Susy jumped for joy, exclaiming, "We've got her! we've
got her! O, ain't you so happy, mamma?"

"O mamma, what you crying for?" said little Prudy, clinging about her
neck. "Ain't I your little comfort?--there, now, you know what you
_speaked_ about! You said you'd get some cake and verserves for me and
Susy."

                                                     "_Sophie May._"



MRS. WALKER'S BETSEY.


It is now ten years since I spent a summer in the little village of
Cliff Spring, as teacher in one of the public schools.

The village itself had no pretensions to beauty, natural or
architectural; but all its surroundings were romantic and lovely. On
one side was a winding river, bordered with beautiful willows; and on
the other a lofty hill, thickly wooded. These woods, in spring and
summer, were full of flowers and wild vines; and a clear, cold stream,
that had its birth in a cavernous recess among the ledges, dashed over
the rocks, and after many windings and plungings found its way to the
river.

At the foot of the hill wound the railroad track, at some points
nearly filling the space between the brook and the rocks, in others
almost overhung by the latter. Some of the most delightful walks I
ever knew were in this vicinity, and here the whole school would often
come in the warm weather, for the Saturday's ramble.

It was on one of these summer rambles I first made the acquaintance of
Mrs. Walker's Betsey. Not that her unenviable reputation had been
concealed from my knowledge, by any means; but as she was not a member
of my department, and was a very irregular attendant of any class, she
had never yet come under my observation. I gathered that her parents
had but lately come to live in Cliff Spring; that they were both
ignorant and vicious; and that the girl was a sort of goblin
sprite,--such a compound of mischief and malice as was never known
before since the days of witchcraft. Was there an ugly profile drawn
upon the anteroom wall, a green pumpkin found in the principal's hat,
or an ink-bottle upset in the water-bucket? Mrs. Walker's Betsey was
the first and constant object of suspicion. Did a teacher find a pair
of tongs astride her chair, her shawl extra-bordered with burdocks,
her gloves filled with some ill-scented weed, or her india-rubbers
cunningly nailed to the floor? half a hundred juvenile tongues were
ready to proclaim poor Betsey as the undoubted delinquent; and this in
spite of the fact that very few of these misdemeanors were actually
proved against her. But whether proved or not, she accepted their
sponsorship all the same, and laughed at or defied her accusers, as
her mood might be.

That the girl was a character in her way, shrewd and sensible, though
wholly uncultured, I was well satisfied, from all I heard; that she
was sly, intractable, and revengeful I believed, I am sorry to say,
upon very insufficient evidence.

One warm afternoon in July, the sun, which at morning had been
clouded, blazed out fiercely at the hour of dismissal. Shrinking from
the prospect of an unsheltered walk, I looked around the shelves of
the anteroom for my sunshade, but it was nowhere to be found. I did
not recollect having it with me in the morning, and believed it had
been left at the school-house over night. The girls of my class
constituted themselves a committee of search and inquiry, but to no
purpose. The article was not in the house or yard, and then my
committee resolved themselves into a jury, and, without a dissenting
voice, pronounced Mrs. Walker's Betsey guilty of cribbing my little,
old-fashioned, but vastly useful sunshade. She had been seen loitering
in the anteroom, and afterward running away in great haste. The charge
seemed reasonable enough, but as I could not learn that Betsey had
ever been caught in a theft, or convicted of one, I requested the
girls to keep the matter quiet, for a few days at least: to which they
unwillingly consented.

"Remember, Miss Burke," said Alice Way, as we parted at her father's
gate, "you promised us a nice walk after tea, to the place in the wood
where you found the beautiful phlox yesterday. We want you to guide us
straight to the spot, please."

"Yes," added Mary Graham, "and we will take our Botanies in our
baskets, and be prepared to analyze the flowers, you know."

My assent was not reluctantly given; and when the sun was low in the
west we set forth, walking nearly the whole distance in the shade of
the hill. We climbed the ridge, rested a few moments, and then started
in search of the beautiful patch of Lichnidia--white, pink, and
purple--that I had found the afternoon previous in taking a "short
cut" over the hill to the house of a friend I was wont to visit.

"Stop, Miss Burke!" came in suppressed tones from half my little
group, as, emerging from a thicket, we came in sight of a queer object
perched upon a little mound, among dead stick and leaves. It was a
diminutive child, who, judging from her face alone, might be ten or
eleven years of age. A little brown, weird face it was, with keen eyes
peering out from a stringy mass of hair, that straggled about
distractedly from the confinement of an old comb.

"_There_," whispered Matty Holmes, "there's Mrs. Walker's Betsey, I do
declare! She often goes home from school this way, which is shorter;
and now she is playing truant. She'll get a whipping if her mother
finds it out."

"Miss Burke, Miss Burke!" cried Alice, "see what she has in her hand!"
I looked, and there, to be sure, was my lost parasol.

"There, now! Didn't we say so!" "Don't she look guilty?" "Weren't we
right?" "Impudent thing!" were the whispered ejaculations of my
vigilance committee; but in truth the girl's appearance was
unconcerned and innocent enough. She sat there, swaying herself about,
opening and shutting the wonderful "instrument," holding it between
her eyes and the light to ascertain the quality of the silk, and
sticking a pin in the handle to try if it were real ivory or mere
painted wood.

"Let's dash in upon her and see her scamper," was the next benevolent
suggestion whispered in my ear.

"No," I said. "I wish to speak to her alone, first. All of you stay
here, out of sight, and I will return presently." They fell back,
dissatisfied, and contented themselves with peeping and listening,
while I advanced toward the forlorn child. She started a little as I
approached, thrust the parasol behind her, and then pleasantly made
room for me on the little hillock where she sat.

"Well, this _is_ a nice place for a lounge," said I, dropping down
beside her; "just large enough for two, and softer than any
_tête-à-tête_ in Mrs. Graham's parlor. Now I should like to know your
name?"--for I thought it best to feign ignorance of her antecedents.

"Bets," was the ready reply.

"Betsey what?"

"Bets Walker, mother says, but I say Hamlin. That was father's name.
'T ain't no difference, though; it's Bets any way."

"Well, Betsey, what do you suppose made this little mound we are
sitting upon?" I asked, merely to gain time to think how best to
approach the other topic.

"I don' know," she answered, looking up at me keenly. "Maybe a rock
got covered up and growed over, ever so far down. Maybe an Injun's
buried there."

I told her I had seen larger mounds that contained Indian remains, but
none so small as this.

"It might 'a' ben a baby, though," she returned, digging her brown
toes among the leaves and winking her eyelids roguishly. "A papoose,
you know; a real little Injun! I wish it had 'a' ben me, and I'd 'a'
ben buried here; I'd 'a' liked it first-rate! Only I wouldn't 'a'
wanted the girls should come and set over me. If I didn't want so bad
to get to read the books father left, I'd never go to school another
day." And her brow darkened again with evil passions.

"Did your own father leave you books?"

"Yes, real good ones; only they're old, and tore some. Mother couldn't
sell 'em for nothin', so she lets me keep 'em. She sold everything
else." Then suddenly changing her tone, she asked, slyly, "You hain't
lost anything,--have you?"

"Yes," I answered; "I see you have my sunshade."

She held it up, laughing with boisterous triumph. "You left it hanging
in that tree yonder," she said, pointing to a low-branching beech at a
little distance. "It was kind o' careless, I think. S'posing it had
rained!"

Astonishment kept me silent. How could I have forgotten, what I now so
clearly recalled, my hanging the shade upon a tree, the previous
afternoon, while I descended a ravine for flowers? I felt humiliated
in the presence of the poor little wronged and neglected child.

For many days after this the girl did not come to school, nor did I
once see her, though I thought of her daily with increasing interest.

During this time the principal of the school planned an excursion by
railroad to a station ten miles distant, to be succeeded by a picnic
on the lake shore. Great was the delight of the little ones, grown
weary of their unvaried routine through the exhausting heats of July.
Many were the councils called among the boys, many the enthusiastic
discussions held among the girls, and seldom did they break up without
leaving one or more subjects of controversy unsettled. But upon one
point perfect harmony of opinion prevailed, and it was the only one
against which I felt bound strongly to protest: this was the decision
that Mrs. Walker's Betsey was quite unnecessary to the party, and
consequently was to receive no notice.

"Why, Miss Burke! that _looking_ girl!" cried Amy Pease, as I
remonstrated. "She hasn't a thing fit to wear,--if there were no other
reason!" I reminded her that Betsey had a very decent basque, given
her by the minister's wife, and that an old lawn skirt of mine could
be tucked for her with very little trouble. "But she is such an
awkward, uncouth creature! She would mortify us to death!" interposed
Hattie Dale.

"She could carry no biscuits, nor cake, for she has no one to bake
them for her," said another. "She would eat enormously, and make
herself sick," objected little Nellie Day, a noted glutton.

In vain I combated these arguments, offering to take crackers and
lemons enough for her share, and even urging the humanity of allowing
her to make herself sick upon good things for once in her
poverty-stricken life. Some other teachers joined me; but when the
question was put to vote among the scholars, it received a hurried
negative, as unanimous as it was noisy.

"And now I think of it," added Mattie Price, the principal's daughter,
"the Walkers are out of the corporation, and so Betsey has no real
right among us at all." This ended the matter.

All the night previous to the great excursion, I suffered severely
from headache, which grew no better upon rising, and, as usual,
increased in violence as the sun mounted higher upon its cloudless
course. At half past nine, as the long train with its freight of
smiling and expectant little ones moved from the depot, I was lying in
a darkened room, with ice-bandages about my forehead, and my feverish
pillow saturated with camphor and hartshorn.

The disappointment in itself was not much. I needed rest, and the
utter stillness was very grateful to my overtasked nerves. Besides,
the slight put upon poor Betsey had destroyed much of the pleasure of
anticipation. I lay patiently until two o'clock, when, as I expected,
the pain abated. At five, I was entirely free, and feeling much in
need of a walk in the fresh air, which a slight shower had cooled and
purified.

Choosing the shaded route, I walked out upon the hill, ascending by a
gentle slope, and, book in hand, sat down under a tree, alternately
reading and gazing upon the sweet rural picture that lay before me.
Soon a pleasant languor crept over me. Dense wood and craggy hill,
green valley and gushing brook, faded from sight and hearing, and I
was asleep!

Probably half an hour elapsed before I opened my eyes and saw sitting
beside me the same elfish little figure I had once before encountered
in the wood. The same stringy hair, the same sunburned forehead and
neck, the same tattered dress, the same wild, weird-looking eyes. In
one hand she held my parasol, opened in a position to shade my face
from a slanting sunbeam; with a small bush in the other she was
protecting me from mosquitoes and other insect dangers.

"Well done, little Genius of the Wood; am I to be always indebted to
you for finding what I lose!" I said, jumping up and shaking my dress
free from leaves.

She laughed immoderately. "First you lose your shade in the woods,
and now you've gone and lost yourself! I guess you'll have to keep me
always," she giggled, trotting along beside me. "I was mighty scared
when I see you lying there, and the sun creeping round through the
trees, like a great red lion, going to spring at you and eat you up. I
thought you'd gone to the ride."

I explained the cause of my detention, and saw that she looked rather
pleased; for, as I soon drew from her, she had been bitterly
disappointed in the affair, and felt her rejection very keenly. She
had come to this spot now for the sole purpose of peeping from behind
some rock or tree at the return of the merry company, which would be
at six o'clock.

"I coaxed old Walker and his wife to let me have some green corn and
cucumbers, and I put on my best spencer and went to the depot this
morning, but none of 'em asked me to get in. Hal Price kicked my
basket over, too! I s'pose I wasn't dressed fine enough. They all wore
their Sunday things. I wish 't would rain and spile 'em. I do--_so_!"

I tried to console her, but she refused to listen, and went on with a
fierce tirade, enumerating sundry disastrous events which she "wished
would happen: she did _so_!" and giving vent to many very unchristian
but very childlike denunciations.

All on a sudden she stopped, and we simultaneously raised our heads
and listened. It was a deep, grinding, crashing sound, as of rocks
sliding over and past each other; then a crackling, as of roots and
branches twisted and wrenched from their places; then a jar, heavy and
terrible, that reverberated through the forest, making the earth quake
beneath our feet, and all the leafy branches tremble above us. We knew
it instantly; there had been a heavy fall of rock not far from us; and
with one exclamation, we started in the direction of the sound.

The place was reached in a moment; an enormous mass of rock and earth,
in which many small trees were growing, had fallen directly upon the
railroad track, and that too at a point where the stream wound
nearest, and its bank made a steep descent upon the other side.

Dreadful as the spectacle was to me through apprehension for the
coming train, I could only notice at that moment the wonderful change
in Mrs. Walker's Betsey. She leaped about among the rocks, shrieking
and wringing her hands; she grasped the uprooted trees, tugging wildly
at them till the veins swelled purple in her forehead, and her flying
hair looked as if every separate fibre writhed with horror. I had
imagined before what the aspect of that strange little face might be
in terror; now I saw it, and knew what a powerful nature lay hidden in
that cramped, undeveloped form.

This lasted but a moment, however. Then came to both the soberer
thought, What is to be done? It appeared that we were sole witnesses
of the accident; and though the crash might have been heard at the
village, who would think of a land slide? and upon the railroad!

Ten minutes must have elapsed before we could give the alarm, and in
less time than that the cars were due. In that speechless breathless
moment, before my duller ear perceived it, Betsey caught the sound of
the approaching train, deadened as it was by the hill that lay between
us. It was advancing at great speed; rushing on,--all that freight of
joyous human life,--rushing on to certain destruction, into the very
jaws of Death!

I was utterly paralyzed! Not so Mrs. Walker's Betsey.

"I'm agoin' to run and _yell_," she said, and was off upon the
instant. Screaming at the top of her voice, keeping near the edge of
the bank, where she could be soonest seen from the approaching train,
plunging through the underbrush, leaping over rocks, she dashed on to
meet the cars. "Fire! Fire! Murder! Stop thieves! Hollo the house!
Thieves! Mad dogs! Get out of the way, Old Dan Tucker!" were only a
few of the variations of her warning voice.

I followed as I could, seemingly in a sort of nightmare; wondering why
I did not scream, yet incapable of making a sound; expecting every
moment to fall upon the rocks, yet taking my steps with a sureness and
rapidity that astonished me even then.

Betsey's next move was to run back to me and tear my shawl from my
shoulders,--a light crape of a bright crimson color. Then bending down
a small sapling by throwing her whole weight upon it, she spread the
shawl upon its top and allowed it to rebound. She called me to shake
the tree, which I did vigorously. It stood at an angle of the road,
upon a bank which commanded a long view, and was a most appropriate
place to erect a signal. Then leaping upon the track, she bounded on
like a deer, shouting and gesticulating with redoubled energy now that
the train appeared in sight.

[Illustration]

It was soon evident that the engineer was neither blind nor deaf, for
the brakes were speedily applied, and the engine was reversed. Still
it dashed on at fearful velocity, and Betsey turned and ran back
toward the obstructed place in an agony of excitement. Gradually the
speed lessened, the wheels obeyed their checks, and when at last they
came to a full stop the cow-catcher was within four feet of the rock.

Many, seeing the danger, had already leaped off; many more, terrified,
and scarcely conscious of the real nature of the danger, crowded the
platforms, and pushed off those before them. It was a scene of wildest
confusion, in the midst of which my heart sent up only the quivering
cry of joy, "Saved, saved!" Betsey had climbed half-way up the bank,
and thrown herself exhausted upon the loose gravel, with her apron
drawn over her head. I picked my way down to the train to assist the
frightened children. Mr. Price, the principal, was handing out his own
three children, and teachers and pupils followed in swarms.

"Now, Miss Burke," said the principal, in a voice that grew strangely
tremulous as he looked at the frightful mass before him, "I want to
hear who it was that gave the alarm, and saved us from this hideous
fate. Was it you?" I believe I never felt a glow of truer pleasure
than then, as I answered quickly: "I had nothing to do with saving
you, Mr. Price. I take no credit in the matter. The person to whom
your thanks are due sits on the bank yonder,--Mrs. Walker's Betsey!"

Every eye wandered toward the crouching figure, who, with head closely
covered, appeared indifferent to everything. Mr. Price opened his
portemonnaie. "Here are ten dollars," he said, "which I wish you to
give the girl for myself and children. Tell her that, as a school, she
will hear from us again."

I went to Betsey's side, put the money in her hand, and tried to make
her uncover her face. But she resolutely refused to do more than peep
through one of the rents in her apron, as the whole school slowly and
singly defiled past her in the narrow space between the train and the
bank. A more crestfallen multitude I never saw, and the eyes that
ventured to look upon the prostrate figure as they passed within a few
feet of her had shame and contrition in their glances. Once only she
whispered, as a haughty-looking boy went past, "That's the boy that
kicked over my basket. I wish I'd 'a' let him gone to smash! I
do--_so_!"

The children climbed over the rocks and went to their homes sadder and
wiser for their lesson, and in twenty-four hours the track was again
free from all obstruction.

The principal, though a man but little inclined to look for the angel
side of such unprepossessing humanity as Mrs. Walker's Betsey, had too
strong a sense of justice, and too much gratitude for his children's
spared lives, not to make a very affecting appeal to the assembled
school on the day following. A vote to consider her a member of the
school, and entitled to all its privileges, met with no opposition;
and a card of thanks, drawn up in feeling terms, received the
signature of every pupil and teacher. A purse was next made up for her
by voluntary contributions, amounting to twenty dollars; and to this
were added a new suit, a quantity of books, and a handsome red shawl,
in which her brunette skin and nicely combed jetty hair appeared to
great advantage.

Betsey bore her honors meekly, and, no longer feeling that she was
regarded as an intruder, came regularly to school, learned rapidly,
and in her neat dress and improved manners gradually became an
attractive, as she certainly was a most intelligent child.

In less than a year her mother died, and her drunken step-father
removed to the far West, leaving her as a domestic in a worthy and
wealthy family in Cliff Spring.

The privileges of school were still granted her, and amid the
surroundings of comfort and refinement the change from Mrs. Walker's
Betsey to Lizzie Hamlin became still more apparent. She rapidly rose
from one class to another, and is now employed in the very school, and
teaches the youngest brothers and sisters of the very scholars who,
ten years ago, voted her a "nuisance" and a plague.

There is truth in the old rhyme,--

    "It isn't all in bringing up,
     Let men say what they will;
     Neglect may dim a silver cup,--
     It will be silver still!"

                                                _Helen B. Bostwick._



THE RAINBOW-PILGRIMAGE.

[Illustration]


One summer afternoon, when I was about eight years of age, I was
standing at an eastern window, looking at a beautiful rainbow that,
bending from the sky, seemed to be losing itself in a thick, swampy
wood about a quarter of a mile distant. We had just had a
thunder-storm; but now the dark heavens had cleared up, a fresh breeze
was blowing from the south, the rose-bushes by the window were dashing
rain-drops against the panes, the robins were singing merrily from the
cherry-trees, and all was brighter and pleasanter than ever. It
happened that no one was in the room with me, then, but my brother
Rufus, who was just recovering from a severe illness, and was sitting,
propped up with pillows, in an easy-chair, looking out, with me, at
the rainbow.

"See, brother," I said, "it drops right down among the cedars, where
we go in the spring to find wintergreens!"

"Do you know, Gracie," said my brother, with a very serious face,
"that, if you should go to the end of the rainbow, you would find
there purses filled with money, and great pots of gold and silver?"

"Is it truly so?" I asked.

"Truly so," answered my brother, with a smile. Now, I was a
simple-hearted child who believed everything that was told me,
although I was again and again imposed upon; so, without another word,
I darted out of the door and set forth toward the wood. My brother
called after me as loudly as he was able, but I did not heed him. I
cared nothing for the wet grass, which was sadly drabbling my clean
frock; on and on I ran; I was so sure that I knew just where that
rainbow ended. I remember how glad and proud I was in my thoughts, and
what fine presents I promised to all my friends out of my great
riches.

So thinking, and laying delightful plans, almost before I knew it I
had reached the cedar-grove, and the end of the rainbow was not there!
But I saw it shining down among the trees a little farther off; so on
and on I struggled, through the thick bushes and over logs, till I
came within the sound of a stream which ran through the swamp. Then I
thought, "What if the rainbow should come down right into the middle
of that deep, muddy brook!" Ah! but I was frightened for my heavy pots
of gold and silver, and my purses of money. How should I ever find
them there? and what a time I should have getting them out! I reached
the bank of the stream, and "the end was not yet." But I could see it
a little way off on the other side. I crossed the creek on a fallen
tree, and still ran on, though my limbs seemed to give way, and my
side ached with fatigue. The woods grew thicker and darker, the ground
more wet and swampy, and I found, as many grown people had found
before me, that there was rather hard travelling in a journey after
riches. Suddenly I met in my way a large porcupine, who made himself
still larger when he saw me, as a cross cat raises its back and makes
tails at a dog. Fearing that he would shoot his sharp quills at me,
and hit me all over, I ran from him as fast as my tired feet would
carry me.

In my fright and hurry I forgot to keep my eye on the rainbow, as I
had done before; and when, at last, I remembered and looked for it, it
was nowhere in sight! It had quite faded away. When I saw that it was
indeed gone, I burst into tears; for I had lost all my treasures, and
had nothing to show for my pilgrimage but muddy feet and a wet and
torn frock. So I set out for home.

But I soon found that my troubles had only begun; I could not find my
way; I was lost. I could not tell which was east or west, north or
south, but wandered about here and there, crying and calling, though I
knew that no one could hear me.

All at once I heard voices shouting and hallooing; but, instead of
being rejoiced at this, I was frightened, fearing that the Indians
were upon me! I crawled under some bushes, by the side of a large log,
and lay perfectly still. I was wet, cold, scared,--altogether very
miserable indeed; yet, when the voices came near, I did not start up
and show myself.

At last I heard my own name called; but I remembered that Indians were
very cunning, and thought they might have found it out some way; so I
did not answer. Then came a voice near me, that sounded like that of
my eldest brother, who lived away from home, and whom I had not seen
for many months; but I dared not believe the voice was his. Soon some
one sprang up on to the log by which I lay, and stood there calling. I
could not see his face; I could only see the tips of his toes, but by
them I saw that he wore a nice pair of boots, and not moccasins. Yet I
remembered that some Indians dressed like white folks. I knew a young
chief who was quite a dandy; who not only

    "Got him a coat and breeches,
     And looked like a Christian man,"

but actually wore a fine ruffled shirt _outside of all_. So I still
kept quiet, till I heard shouted over me a pet name, which this
brother had given me. It was the funniest name in the world.

I knew that no Indian knew of the name, as it was a little family
secret; so I sprang up, and caught my brother about the ankles. I
hardly think that an Onondaga could have given a louder yell than he
gave then; and he jumped so that he fell off the log down by my side.
But nobody was hurt; and, after kissing me till he had kissed away all
my tears, he hoisted me on to his shoulder, called my other brothers,
who were hunting in different directions, and we all set out for
home.

I had been gone nearly three hours, and had wandered a number of
miles. My brother Joseph's coming and asking for me had first set them
to inquiring and searching me out.

When I went into the room where my brother Rufus sat, he said, "Why,
my poor little sister! I did not mean to send you off on such a
wild-goose chase to the end of the rainbow. I thought you would know I
was only quizzing you."

Then my eldest brother took me on his knee, and told me what the
rainbow really was: that it was only painted air, and did not rest on
the earth, so nobody could ever find the end; and that God had set it
in the cloud to remind him and us of his promise never again to drown
the world with a flood.

"O, I think _God's promise_ would be a beautiful name for the
rainbow!" I said.

"Yes," replied my mother, "but it tells us something more than that he
will not send great floods upon the earth,--it tells us of his
beautiful love always bending over us from the skies. And I trust that
when my little girl sets forth on a pilgrimage to find God's love, she
will be led by the rainbow of his promise through all the dark places
of this world to 'treasures laid up in heaven,' better, far better,
than silver or gold."

                                                  _Grace Greenwood._

[Illustration]



ON WHITE ISLAND.

[Illustration]


I well remember my first sight of White Island, where we took up our
abode on leaving the mainland. I was scarcely five years old; but from
the upper windows of our dwelling in Portsmouth I had been shown the
clustered masts of ships lying at the wharves along the Piscataqua
River, faintly outlined against the sky, and, baby as I was, even then
I was drawn with a vague longing seaward. How delightful was that
long, first sail to the Isles of Shoals! How pleasant the unaccustomed
sound of the incessant ripple against the boat-side, the sight of the
wide water and limitless sky, the warmth of the broad sunshine that
made us blink like young sandpipers as we sat in triumph, perched
among the household goods with which the little craft was laden! It
was at sunset that we were set ashore on that loneliest, lovely rock,
where the lighthouse looked down on us like some tall, black-capped
giant, and filled me with awe and wonder. At its base a few goats were
grouped on the rock, standing out dark against the red sky as I looked
up at them. The stars were beginning to twinkle; the wind blew cold,
charged with the sea's sweetness; the sound of many waters half
bewildered me. Some one began to light the lamps in the tower. Rich
red and golden, they swung round in mid-air; everything was strange
and fascinating and new. We entered the quaint little old stone
cottage that was for six years our home. How curious it seemed, with
its low, whitewashed ceiling, and deep window-seats, showing the great
thickness of the walls made to withstand the breakers, with whose
force we soon grew acquainted! A blissful home the little house became
to the children who entered it that quiet evening and slept for the
first time lulled by the murmur of the encircling sea. I do not think
a happier triad ever existed than we were, living in that profound
isolation. It takes so little to make a healthy child happy; and we
never wearied of our few resources. True, the winters seemed as long
as a whole year to our little minds, but they were pleasant,
nevertheless. Into the deep window-seats we climbed, and with pennies
(for which we had no other use) made round holes in the thick frost,
breathing on them till they were warm, and peeped out at the bright,
fierce, windy weather, watching the vessels scudding over the
intensely dark blue sea, all feather-white where the short waves broke
hissing in the cold, and the sea-fowl soaring aloft or tossing on the
water; or, in calmer days, we saw how the stealthy Star-Islander
paddled among the ledges, or lay for hours stretched on the wet
sea-weed, watching for wild-fowl with his gun. Sometimes the round
head of a seal moved about among the kelp covered rocks.

In the long, covered walk that bridged the gorge between the
lighthouse and the house we played in stormy days, and every evening
it was a fresh excitement to watch the lighting of the lamps, and
think how far the lighthouse sent its rays, and how many hearts it
gladdened with assurance of safety. As I grew older, I was allowed to
kindle the lamps sometimes myself. That was indeed a pleasure. So
little a creature as I might do that much for the great world! We
waited for the spring with an eager longing; the advent of the growing
grass, the birds and flowers and insect life, the soft skies and
softer winds, the everlasting beauty of the thousand tender tints that
clothed the world,--these things brought us unspeakable bliss. To the
heart of Nature one must needs be drawn in such a life; and very soon
I learned how richly she repays in deep refreshment the reverent love
of her worshipper. With the first warm days we built our little
mountains of wet gravel on the beach, and danced after the sandpipers
at the edge of the foam, shouted to the gossiping kittiwakes that
fluttered above, or watched the pranks of the burgomaster gull, or
cried to the crying loons. The gannet's long white wings stretched
overhead, perhaps, or the dusky shag made a sudden shadow in mid-air,
or we startled on some lonely ledge the great blue heron that flew
off, trailing legs and wings, stork-like, against the clouds. Or, in
the sunshine on the bare rocks, we cut from the broad, brown leaves of
the slippery, varnished kelps, grotesque shapes of man and bird and
beast, that withered in the wind and blew away; or we fashioned rude
boats from bits of driftwood, manned them with a weird crew of
kelpies, and set them adrift on the great deep, to float we cared not
whither.

We played with the empty limpet-shells; they were mottled gray and
brown, like the song-sparrow's breast. We launched fleets of purple
mussel shells on the still pools in the rocks, left by the
tide,--pools that were like bits of fallen rainbow with the wealth of
the sea, with tints of delicate sea-weed, crimson and green and ruddy
brown and violet; where wandered the pearly eolis with rosy spines and
fairy horns, and the large round sea-urchins, like a boss upon a
shield, were fastened here and there on the rock at the bottom,
putting out from their green, prickly spikes transparent tentacles to
seek their invisible food. Rosy and lilac star-fish clung to the
sides; in some dark nook perhaps a holothuria unfolded its perfect
ferns, a lovely, warm buff color, delicate as frost-work; little
forests of coralline moss grew up in stillness, gold-colored shells
crept about, and now and then flashed the silver-darting fins of
slender minnows. The dimmest recesses were haunts of sea-anemones that
opened wide their starry flowers to the flowing tide, or drew
themselves together, and hung in large, half-transparent drops, like
clusters of some strange, amber-colored fruit, along the crevices as
the water ebbed away. Sometimes we were cruel enough to capture a
female lobster hiding in a deep cleft, with her millions of mottled
eggs; or we laughed to see the hermit-crabs challenge each other, and
come out and fight a deadly battle till the stronger overcame, and,
turning the weaker topsy-turvy, possessed himself of his ampler
cockle-shell, and scuttled off with it triumphant.

I remember in the spring kneeling on the ground to seek the first
blades of grass that pricked through the soil, and bringing them into
the house to study and wonder over. Better than a shop full of toys
they were to me! Whence came their color? How did they draw their
sweet, refreshing tint from the brown earth, or the limpid air, or the
white light? Chemistry was not at hand to answer me, and all her
wisdom would not have dispelled the wonder. Later the little scarlet
pimpernel charmed me. It seemed more than a flower; it was like a
human thing. I knew it by its homely name of poor-man's weather-glass.
It was so much wiser than I, for when the sky was yet without a cloud,
softly it clasped its little red petals together, folding its golden
heart in safety from the shower that was sure to come! How could it
know so much? Here is a question science cannot answer. The pimpernel
grows everywhere about the islands, in every cleft and cranny where a
suspicion of sustenance for its slender root can lodge; and it is one
of the most exquisite of flowers, so rich in color, so quaint and
dainty in its method of growth. I never knew its silent warning fail.
I wondered much how every flower knew what to do and to be: why the
morning-glory didn't forget sometimes, and bear a cluster of
elder-bloom, or the elder hang out pennons of gold and purple like the
iris, or the golden-rod suddenly blaze out a scarlet plume, the color
of the pimpernel, was a mystery to my childish thought. And why did
the sweet wild primrose wait till after sunset to unclose its pale
yellow buds; why did it unlock its treasure of rich perfume to the
night alone?

Few flowers bloomed for me upon the lonesome rock; but I made the most
of all I had, and neither knew of nor desired more. Ah, how beautiful
they were! Tiny stars of crimson sorrel threaded on their long brown
stems; the blackberry blossoms in bridal white; the surprise of the
blue-eyed grass; the crowfoot flowers, like drops of yellow gold spilt
about among the short grass and over the moss; the rich, blue-purple
beach-pea, the sweet, spiked germander, and the homely, delightful
yarrow that grows thickly on all the islands. Sometimes its broad
clusters of dull white bloom are stained a lovely reddish-purple, as
if with the light of sunset. I never saw it colored so elsewhere.
Dandelions, buttercups, and clover were not denied to us; though we
had no daisies nor violets nor wild roses, no asters, but gorgeous
spikes of golden-rod, and wonderful wild morning-glories, whose long,
pale ivory buds I used to find in the twilight, glimmering among the
dark leaves, waiting for the touch of dawn to unfold and become each
an exquisite incarnate blush,--the perfect color of a South Sea shell.
They ran wild, knotting and twisting about the rocks, and smothering
the loose boulders in the gorges with lush green leaves and pink
blossoms.

Many a summer morning have I crept out of the still house before any
one was awake, and, wrapping myself closely from the chill wind of
dawn, climbed to the top of the high cliff called the Head to watch
the sunrise. Pale grew the lighthouse flame before the broadening day
as, nestled in a crevice at the cliff's edge, I watched the shadows
draw away and morning break. Facing the east and south, with all the
Atlantic before me, what happiness was mine as the deepening
rose-color flushed the delicate cloud-flocks that dappled the sky,
where the gulls soared, rosy too, while the calm sea blushed beneath.
Or perhaps it was a cloudless sunrise with a sky of orange-red, and
the sea-line silver-blue against it, peaceful as heaven. Infinite
variety of beauty always awaited me, and filled me with an absorbing,
unreasoning joy such as makes the song-sparrow sing,--a sense of
perfect bliss. Coming back in the sunshine, the morning-glories would
lift up their faces, all awake, to my adoring gaze. It seemed as if
they had gathered the peace of the golden morning in their still
depths even as my heart had gathered it.

                                                    _Celia Thaxter._

[Illustration]



THE CRUISE OF THE DOLPHIN.


Every Rivermouth boy looks upon the sea as being in some way mixed up
with his destiny. While he is yet a baby lying in his cradle, he hears
the dull, far-off boom of the breakers; when he is older, he wanders
by the sandy shore, watching the waves that come plunging up the beach
like white-maned sea-horses, as Thoreau calls them; his eye follows
the lessening sail as it fades into the blue horizon, and he burns for
the time when he shall stand on the quarter-deck of his own ship, and
go sailing proudly across that mysterious waste of waters.

Then the town itself is full of hints and flavors of the sea. The
gables and roofs of the houses facing eastward are covered with red
rust, like the flukes of old anchors; a salty smell pervades the air,
and dense gray fogs, the very breath of Ocean, periodically creep up
into the quiet streets and envelop everything. The terrific storms
that lash the coast; the kelp and spars, and sometimes the bodies of
drowned men, tossed on shore by the scornful waves; the shipyards, the
wharves, and the tawny fleet of fishing-smacks yearly fitted out at
Rivermouth,--these things, and a hundred other, feed the imagination
and fill the brain of every healthy boy with dreams of adventure. He
learns to swim almost as soon as he can walk; he draws in with his
mother's milk the art of handling an oar: he is born a sailor,
whatever he may turn out to be afterwards.

To own the whole or a portion of a row-boat is his earliest ambition.
No wonder that I, born to this life, and coming back to it with
freshest sympathies, should have caught the prevailing infection. No
wonder I longed to buy a part of the trim little sail-boat Dolphin,
which chanced just then to be in the market. This was in the latter
part of May.

Three shares, at five or six dollars each, I forget which, had already
been taken by Phil Adams, Fred Langdon, and Binny Wallace. The fourth
and remaining share hung fire. Unless a purchaser could be found for
this, the bargain was to fall through.

I am afraid I required but slight urging to join in the investment. I
had four dollars and fifty cents on hand, and the treasurer of the
Centipedes advanced me the balance, receiving my silver pencil-case as
ample security. It was a proud moment when I stood on the wharf with
my partners, inspecting the Dolphin, moored at the foot of a very
slippery flight of steps. She was painted white with a green stripe
outside, and on the stern a yellow dolphin, with its scarlet mouth
wide open, stared with a surprised expression at its own reflection in
the water. The boat was a great bargain.

I whirled my cap in the air, and ran to the stairs leading down from
the wharf, when a hand was laid gently on my shoulder. I turned, and
faced Captain Nutter. I never saw such an old sharp-eye as he was in
those days.

I knew he wouldn't be angry with me for buying a row-boat; but I also
knew that the little bowsprit suggesting a jib, and the tapering mast
ready for its few square yards of canvas, were trifles not likely to
meet his approval. As far as rowing on the river, among the wharves,
was concerned, the Captain had long since withdrawn his decided
objections, having convinced himself, by going out with me several
times, that I could manage a pair of sculls as well as anybody.

I was right in my surmises. He commanded me, in the most emphatic
terms, never to go out in the Dolphin without leaving the mast in the
boat-house. This curtailed my anticipated sport, but the pleasure of
having a pull whenever I wanted it remained. I never disobeyed the
Captain's orders touching the sail, though I sometimes extended my row
beyond the points he had indicated.

The river was dangerous for sail-boats. Squalls, without the slightest
warning, were of frequent occurrence; scarcely a year passed that six
or seven persons were not drowned under the very windows of the town,
and these, oddly enough, were generally sea-captains, who either did
not understand the river, or lacked the skill to handle a small craft.

A knowledge of such disasters, one of which I witnessed, consoled me
somewhat when I saw Phil Adams skimming over the water in a spanking
breeze with every stitch of canvas set. There were few better
yachtsmen than Phil Adams. He usually went sailing alone, for both
Fred Langdon and Binny Wallace were under the same restrictions I was.

Not long after the purchase of the boat, we planned an excursion to
Sandpeep Island, the last of the islands in the harbor. We proposed to
start early in the morning, and return with the tide in the moonlight.
Our only difficulty was to obtain a whole day's exemption from school,
the customary half-holiday not being long enough for our picnic.
Somehow, we couldn't work it; but fortune arranged it for us. I may
say here, that, whatever else I did, I never played truant in my life.

One afternoon the four owners of the Dolphin exchanged significant
glances when Mr. Grimshaw announced from the desk that there would be
no school the following day, he having just received intelligence of
the death of his uncle in Boston. I was sincerely attached to Mr.
Grimshaw, but I am afraid that the death of his uncle did not affect
me as it ought to have done.

We were up before sunrise the next morning, in order to take advantage
of the flood tide, which waits for no man. Our preparations for the
cruise were made the previous evening. In the way of eatables and
drinkables, we had stored in the stern of the Dolphin a generous bag
of hardtack (for the chowder), a piece of pork to fry the cunners in,
three gigantic apple-pies (bought at Pettingil's), half a dozen
lemons, and a keg of spring-water,--the last-named article we slung
over the side, to keep it cool, as soon as we got under way. The
crockery and the bricks for our camp-stove we placed in the bows with
the groceries, which included sugar, pepper, salt, and a bottle of
pickles. Phil Adams contributed to the outfit a small tent of
unbleached cotton cloth, under which we intended to take our nooning.

We unshipped the mast, threw in an extra oar, and were ready to
embark. I do not believe that Christopher Columbus, when he started on
his rather successful voyage of discovery, felt half the
responsibility and importance that weighed upon me as I sat on the
middle seat of the Dolphin, with my oar resting in the row-lock. I
wonder if Christopher Columbus quietly slipped out of the house
without letting his estimable family know what he was up to?

How calm and lovely the river was! Not a ripple stirred on the glassy
surface, broken only by the sharp cutwater of our tiny craft. The sun,
as round and red as an August moon, was by this time peering above the
water-line.

[Illustration]

The town had drifted behind us, and we were entering among the group
of islands. Sometimes we could almost touch with our boat-hook the
shelving banks on either side. As we neared the mouth of the harbor, a
little breeze now and then wrinkled the blue water, shook the spangles
from the foliage, and gently lifted the spiral mist-wreaths that still
clung alongshore. The measured dip of our oars and the drowsy
twitterings of the birds seemed to mingle with, rather than break, the
enchanted silence that reigned about us.

The scent of the new clover comes back to me now, as I recall that
delicious morning when we floated away in a fairy boat down a river
like a dream!

The sun was well up when the nose of the Dolphin nestled against the
snow-white bosom of Sandpeep Island. This island, as I have said
before, was the last of the cluster, one side of it being washed by
the sea. We landed on the river side, the sloping sands and quiet
water affording us a good place to moor the boat.

It took us an hour or two to transport our stores to the spot selected
for the encampment. Having pitched our tent, using the five oars to
support the canvas, we got out our lines, and went down the rocks
seaward to fish. It was early for cunners, but we were lucky enough to
catch as nice a mess as ever you saw. A cod for the chowder was not so
easily secured. At last Binny Wallace hauled in a plump little fellow
crusted all over with flaky silver.

To skin the fish, build our fireplace, and cook the dinner, kept us
busy the next two hours. The fresh air and the exercise had given us
the appetites of wolves, and we were about famished by the time the
savory mixture was ready for our clam-shell saucers.

I shall not insult the rising generation on the seaboard by telling
them how delectable is a chowder compounded and eaten in this Robinson
Crusoe fashion. As for the boys who live inland, and know naught of
such marine feasts, my heart is full of pity for them. What wasted
lives! Not to know the delights of a clam-bake, not to love chowder,
to be ignorant of lobscouse!

How happy we were, we four, sitting cross-legged in the crisp salt
grass, with the invigorating sea-breeze blowing gratefully through our
hair! What a joyous thing was life, and how far off seemed
death,--death, that lurks in all pleasant places, and was so near!

The banquet finished, Phil Adams drew forth from his pocket a handful
of sweetfern cigars; but as none of the party could indulge without
risk of becoming sick, we all, on one pretext or another, declined,
and Phil smoked by himself.

The wind had freshened by this, and we found it comfortable to put on
the jackets which had been thrown aside in the heat of the day. We
strolled along the beach and gathered large quantities of the
fairy-woven Iceland moss, which, at certain seasons, is washed to
these shores; then we played at ducks and drakes, and then, the sun
being sufficiently low, we went in bathing.

Before our bath was ended a slight change had come over the sky and
sea; fleecy-white clouds scudded here and there, and a muffled moan
from the breakers caught our ears from time to time. While we were
dressing, a few hurried drops of rain came lisping down, and we
adjourned to the tent to await the passing of the squall.

"We're all right, anyhow," said Phil Adams. "It won't be much of a
blow, and we'll be as snug as a bug in a rug, here in the tent,
particularly if we have that lemonade which some of you fellows were
going to make."

By an oversight, the lemons had been left in the boat. Binny Wallace
volunteered to go for them.

"Put an extra stone on the painter, Binny," said Adams, calling after
him; "it would be awkward to have the Dolphin give us the slip and
return to port minus her passengers."

"That it would," answered Binny, scrambling down the rocks.

Sandpeep Island is diamond-shaped,--one point running out into the
sea, and the other looking towards the town. Our tent was on the river
side. Though the Dolphin was also on the same side, it lay out of
sight by the beach at the farther extremity of the island.

Binny Wallace had been absent five or six minutes, when we heard him
calling our several names in tones that indicated distress or
surprise, we could not tell which. Our first thought was, "The boat
has broken adrift!"

We sprung to our feet and hastened down to the beach. On turning the
bluff which hid the mooring-place from our view, we found the
conjecture correct. Not only was the Dolphin afloat, but poor little
Binny Wallace was standing in the bows with his arms stretched
helplessly towards us,--_drifting out to sea_!

"Head the boat in shore!" shouted Phil Adams.

Wallace ran to the tiller; but the slight cockle-shell merely swung
round and drifted broadside on. O, if we had but left a single scull
in the Dolphin!

"Can you swim it?" cried Adams, desperately, using his hand as a
speaking-trumpet, for the distance between the boat and the island
widened momently.

Binny Wallace looked down at the sea, which was covered with white
caps, and made a despairing gesture. He knew and we knew, that the
stoutest swimmer could not live forty seconds in those angry waters.

A wild, insane light came into Phil Adams's eyes, as he stood
knee-deep in boiling surf, and for an instant I think he meditated
plunging into the ocean after the receding boat.

The sky darkened, and an ugly look stole rapidly over the broken
surface of the sea.

[Illustration]

Binny Wallace half rose from his seat in the stern, and waved his hand
to us in token of farewell. In spite of the distance, increasing every
instant, we could see his face plainly. The anxious expression it wore
at first had passed. It was pale and meek now, and I love to think
there was a kind of halo about it, like that which painters place
around the forehead of a saint. So he drifted away.

The sky grew darker and darker. It was only by straining our eyes
through the unnatural twilight that we could keep the Dolphin in
sight. The figure of Binny Wallace was no longer visible, for the boat
itself had dwindled to a mere white dot on the black water. Now we
lost it, and our hearts stopped throbbing; and now the speck appeared
again, for an instant, on the crest of a high wave.

Finally it went out like a spark, and we saw it no more. Then we gazed
at each other, and dared not speak.

Absorbed in following the course of the boat, we had scarcely noticed
the huddled inky clouds that sagged down all around us. From these
threatening masses, seamed at intervals with pale lightning, there now
burst a heavy peal of thunder that shook the ground under our feet. A
sudden squall struck the sea, ploughing deep white furrows into it,
and at the same instant a single piercing shriek rose above the
tempest,--the frightened cry of a gull swooping over the island. How
it startled us!

It was impossible to keep our footing on the beach any longer. The
wind and the breakers would have swept us into the ocean if we had not
clung to each other with the desperation of drowning men. Taking
advantage of a momentary lull, we crawled up the sands on our hands
and knees, and, pausing in the lee of the granite ledge to gain
breath, returned to the camp, where we found that the gale had snapped
all the fastenings of the tent but one. Held by this, the puffed-out
canvas swayed in the wind like a balloon. It was a task of some
difficulty to secure it, which we did by beating down the canvas with
the oars.

After several trials, we succeeded in setting up the tent on the
leeward side of the ledge. Blinded by the vivid flashes of lightning,
and drenched by the rain, which fell in torrents, we crept, half dead
with fear and anguish, under our flimsy shelter. Neither the anguish
nor the fear was on our own account, for we were comparatively safe,
but for poor little Binny Wallace, driven out to sea in the merciless
gale. We shuddered to think of him in that frail shell, drifting on
and on to his grave, the sky rent with lightning over his head, and
the green abysses yawning beneath him. We fell to crying, the three of
us, and cried I know not how long.

Meanwhile the storm raged with augmented fury. We were obliged to hold
on to the ropes of the tent to prevent it blowing away. The spray from
the river leaped several yards up the rocks and clutched at us
malignantly. The very island trembled with the concussions of the sea
beating upon it, and at times I fancied that it had broken loose from
its foundation, and was floating off with us. The breakers, streaked
with angry phosphorus, were fearful to look at.

The wind rose higher and higher, cutting long slits in the tent,
through which the rain poured incessantly. To complete the sum of our
miseries, the night was at hand. It came down suddenly, at last, like
a curtain, shutting in Sandpeep Island from all the world.

It was a dirty night, as the sailors say. The darkness was something
that could be felt as well as seen,--it pressed down upon one with a
cold, clammy touch. Gazing into the hollow blackness, all sorts of
imaginable shapes seemed to start forth from vacancy,--brilliant
colors, stars, prisms, and dancing lights. What boy, lying awake at
night, has not amused or terrified himself by peopling the spaces
round his bed with these phenomena of his own eyes?

"I say," whispered Fred Langdon, at length, clutching my hand, "don't
you see things--out there--in the dark?"

"Yes, yes,--Binny Wallace's face!"

I added to my own nervousness by making this avowal; though for the
last ten minutes I had seen little besides that star-pale face with
its angelic hair and brows. First a slim yellow circle, like the
nimbus round the moon, took shape and grew sharp against the darkness;
then this faded gradually, and there was the Face, wearing the same
sad, sweet look it wore when he waved his hand to us across the awful
water. This optical illusion kept repeating itself.

"And I, too," said Adams. "I see it every now and then, outside there.
What wouldn't I give if it really was poor little Wallace looking in
at us! O boys, how shall we dare to go back to the town without him?
I've wished a hundred times, since we've been sitting here, that I was
in his place, alive or dead!"

We dreaded the approach of morning as much as we longed for it. The
morning would tell us all. Was it possible for the Dolphin to outride
such a storm? There was a lighthouse on Mackerel Reef, which lay
directly in the course the boat had taken, when it disappeared. If the
Dolphin had caught on this reef, perhaps Binny Wallace was safe.
Perhaps his cries had been heard by the keeper of the light. The man
owned a life-boat, and had rescued several people. Who could tell?

Such were the questions we asked ourselves again and again, as we lay
in each other's arms waiting for daybreak. What an endless night it
was! I have known months that did not seem so long.

Our position was irksome rather than perilous; for the day was certain
to bring us relief from the town, where our prolonged absence,
together with the storm, had no doubt excited the liveliest alarm for
our safety. But the cold, the darkness, and the suspense were hard to
bear.

Our soaked jackets had chilled us to the bone. To keep warm, we lay
huddled together so closely that we could hear our hearts beat above
the tumult of sea and sky.

We used to laugh at Fred Langdon for always carrying in his pocket a
small vial of essence of peppermint or sassafras, a few drops of
which, sprinkled on a lump of loaf-sugar, he seemed to consider a
great luxury. I don't know what would have become of us at this
crisis, if it hadn't been for that omnipresent bottle of hot stuff. We
poured the stinging liquid over our sugar, which had kept dry in a
sardine-box, and warmed ourselves with frequent doses.

After four or five hours the rain ceased, the wind died away to a
moan, and the sea--no longer raging like a maniac--sobbed and sobbed
with a piteous human voice all along the coast. And well it might,
after that night's work. Twelve sail of the Gloucester fishing fleet
had gone down with every soul on board, just outside of Whale's-back
Light. Think of the wide grief that follows in the wake of one wreck;
then think of the despairing women who wrung their hands and wept, the
next morning, in the streets of Gloucester, Marblehead, and Newcastle!

Though our strength was nearly spent, we were too cold to sleep. Fred
Langdon was the earliest to discover a filmy, luminous streak in the
sky, the first glimmering of sunrise.

"Look, it is nearly daybreak!"

While we were following the direction of his finger, a sound of
distant oars fell on our ears.

We listened breathlessly, and as the dip of the blades became more
audible, we discerned two foggy lights, like will-o'-the-wisps,
floating on the river.

Running down to the water's edge, we hailed the boats with all our
might. The call was heard, for the oars rested a moment in the
row-locks, and then pulled in towards the island.

It was two boats from the town, in the foremost of which we could now
make out the figures of Captain Nutter and Binny Wallace's father. We
shrunk back on seeing _him_.

"Thank God!" cried Mr. Wallace, fervently, as he leaped from the
wherry without waiting for the bow to touch the beach.

But when he saw only three boys standing on the sands, his eye
wandered restlessly about in quest of the fourth; then a deadly pallor
overspread his features.

Our story was soon told. A solemn silence fell upon the crowd of rough
boatmen gathered round, interrupted only by a stifled sob from one
poor old man, who stood apart from the rest.

The sea was still running too high for any small boat to venture out;
so it was arranged that the wherry should take us back to town,
leaving the yawl, with a picked crew, to hug the island until
daybreak, and then set forth in search of the Dolphin.

Though it was barely sunrise when we reached town, there were a great
many people assembled at the landing, eager for intelligence from
missing boats. Two picnic parties had started down river the day
before, just previous to the gale, and nothing had been heard of them.
It turned out that the pleasure-seekers saw their danger in time, and
ran ashore on one of the least exposed islands, where they passed the
night. Shortly after our own arrival they appeared off Rivermouth,
much to the joy of their friends, in two shattered, dismasted boats.

The excitement over, I was in a forlorn state, physically and
mentally. Captain Nutter put me to bed between hot blankets, and sent
Kitty Collins for the doctor. I was wandering in my mind, and fancied
myself still on Sandpeep Island: now I gave orders to Wallace how to
manage the boat, and now I cried because the rain was pouring in on me
through the holes in the tent. Towards evening a high fever set in,
and it was many days before my grandfather deemed it prudent to tell
me that the Dolphin had been found, floating keel upwards, four miles
southeast of Mackerel Reef.

Poor little Binny Wallace! How strange it seemed, when I went to
school again, to see that empty seat in the fifth row! How gloomy the
play-ground was, lacking the sunshine of his gentle, sensitive face!
One day a folded sheet slipped from my algebra; it was the last note
he ever wrote me. I couldn't read it for the tears.

What a pang shot across my heart the afternoon it was whispered
through the town that a body had been washed ashore at Grave
Point,--the place where we bathed. We bathed there no more! How well I
remember the funeral, and what a piteous sight it was afterwards to
see his familiar name on a small headstone in the Old South
Burying-Ground!

Poor little Binny Wallace! Always the same to me. The rest of us have
grown up into hard, worldly men, fighting the fight of life; but you
are forever young, and gentle, and pure; a part of my own childhood
that time cannot wither; always a little boy, always poor little Binny
Wallace!

                                                    _T. B. Aldrich._



A YOUNG MAHOMETAN.


The bedrooms in the old house had tapestry hangings, which were full
of Bible history. The subject of the one which chiefly attracted my
attention was Hagar and her son Ishmael. I every day admired the
beauty of the youth, and pitied the forlorn state of his mother and
himself in the wilderness.

At the end of the gallery into which these tapestry rooms opened was
one door, which, having often in vain attempted to open, I concluded
to be locked. Every day I endeavored to turn the lock. Whether by
constantly trying I loosened it, or whether the door was not locked,
but only fastened tight by time, I know not; but, to my great joy, as
I was one day trying it as usual, it gave way, and I found myself in
this so long-desired room.

It proved to be a very large library. If you never spent whole
mornings alone in a large library, you cannot conceive the pleasure of
taking down books in the constant hope of finding an entertaining one
among them; yet, after many days, meeting with nothing but
disappointment, it becomes less pleasant. All the books within my
reach were folios of the gravest cast. I could understand very little
that I read in them, and the old dark print and the length of the
lines made my eyes ache.

When I had almost resolved to give up the search as fruitless, I
perceived a volume lying in an obscure corner of the room. I opened
it. It was a charming print; the letters were almost as large as the
type of the family Bible. Upon the first page I looked into I saw the
name of my favorite Ishmael, whose face I knew so well from the
tapestry in the antique bedrooms, and whose history I had often read
in the Bible.

I sat myself down to read this book with the greatest eagerness. I
shall be quite ashamed to tell you the strange effect it had on me. I
scarcely ever heard a word addressed to me from morning till night. If
it were not for the old servants saying, "Good morning to you, Miss
Margaret," as they passed me in the long passages, I should have been
the greater part of the day in as perfect a solitude as Robinson
Crusoe.

[Illustration]

Many of the leaves in "Mahometanism Explained" were torn out, but
enough remained to make me imagine that Ishmael was the true son of
Abraham. I read here, that the true descendants of Abraham were known
by a light which streamed from the middle of their foreheads, and that
Ishmael's father and mother first saw this light streaming from his
forehead as he was lying asleep in the cradle.

I was very sorry so many of the leaves were gone, for it was as
entertaining as a fairy tale. I used to read the history of Ishmael,
and then go and look at him in the tapestry, and then return to his
history again. When I had almost learned the history of Ishmael by
heart, I read the rest of the book, and then I came to the history of
Mahomet, who was there said to be the last descendant of Abraham.

If Ishmael had engaged so much of my thoughts, how much more so must
Mahomet! His history was full of nothing but wonders from the
beginning to the end. The book said that those who believed all the
wonderful stories which were related of Mahomet were called
Mahometans, and True Believers; I concluded that I must be a
Mahometan, for I believed every word I read.

At length I met with something which I also believed, though I
trembled as I read it; this was that, after we are dead, we are to
pass over a narrow bridge, which crosses a bottomless gulf. The bridge
was described to be no wider than a silken thread; and all who were
not Mahometans would slip on one side of this bridge, and drop into
the tremendous gulf that had no bottom. I considered myself as a
Mahometan, yet I was perfectly giddy whenever I thought of passing
over this bridge.

One day, seeing the old lady who lived here totter across the room, a
sudden terror seized me, for I thought how she would ever be able to
get over the bridge. Then, too, it was that I first recollected that
my mother would also be in imminent danger. I imagined she had never
heard the name of Mahomet, because, as I foolishly conjectured, this
book had been locked up for ages in the library, and was utterly
unknown to the rest of the world.

All my desire was now to tell them the discovery I had made; for I
thought, when they knew of the existence of "Mahometanism Explained,"
they would read it, and become Mahometans to insure themselves a safe
passage over the silken bridge. But it wanted more courage than I
possessed to break the matter to my intended converts. I must
acknowledge that I had been reading without leave; and the habit of
never speaking, or being spoken to, considerably increased the
difficulty.

My anxiety on this subject threw me into a fever. I was so ill that my
mother thought it necessary to sleep in the same room with me. In the
middle of the night I could not resist the strong desire I felt to
tell her what preyed so much on my mind. I awoke her out of a sound
sleep, and begged she would be so kind as to be a Mahometan. She was
very much alarmed;--she thought I was delirious, and I believe I was;
for I tried to explain the reason of my request, but it was in such an
incoherent manner that she could not at all comprehend what I was
talking about.

The next day a physician was sent for, and he discovered, by several
questions that he put to me, that I had read myself into a fever. He
gave me medicines, and ordered me to be kept very quiet, and said he
hoped in a few days I should be very well; but as it was a new case to
him, he never having attended a little Mahometan before, if any
lowness continued after he had removed the fever, he would, with my
mother's permission, take me home with him to study this extraordinary
case at leisure. He added, that he could then hold a consultation with
his wife, who was often very useful to him in prescribing remedies for
the maladies of his younger patients.

In a few days he fetched me away. His wife was in the carriage with
him. Having heard what he said about her prescriptions, I expected,
between the doctor and his lady, to undergo a severe course of
medicine, especially as I heard him very formally ask her advice as to
what was good for a Mahometan fever, the moment after he had handed me
into his carriage.

She studied a little while, and then she said, a ride to Harlow Fair
would not be amiss. He said he was entirely of her opinion, because it
suited him to go there to buy a horse.

During the ride they entered into conversation with me, and in answer
to their questions, I was relating to them the solitary manner in
which I had passed my time, how I found out the library, and what I
had read in that fatal book which had so heated my imagination,--when
we arrived at the fair; and Ishmael, Mahomet, and the narrow bridge
vanished out of my head in an instant.

Before I went home the good lady explained to me very seriously the
error into which I had fallen. I found that, so far from "Mahometanism
Explained" being a book concealed only in this library, it was well
known to every person of the least information.

The Turks, she told me, were Mahometans. And she said that, if the
leaves of my favorite book had not been torn out, I should have read
that the author of it did not mean to give the fabulous stories here
related as true, but only wrote it as giving a history of what the
Turks, who are a very ignorant people, believe concerning Mahomet.

By the good offices of the physician and his lady, I was carried home,
at the end of a month, perfectly cured of the error into which I had
fallen, and very much ashamed of having believed so many absurdities.

                                                        _Mary Lamb._

[Illustration]



THE LITTLE PERSIAN.


Among the Persians there is a sect called the Sooffees, and one of the
most distinguished saints of this sect was Abdool Kauder.

It is related that, in early childhood, he was smitten with the desire
of devoting himself to sacred things, and wished to go to Bagdad to
obtain knowledge. His mother gave her consent; and taking out eighty
deenars (a denomination of money used in Persia), she told him that,
as he had a brother, half of that would be all his inheritance.

She made him promise, solemnly, never to tell a lie, and then bade him
farewell, exclaiming, "Go, my son; I give thee to God. We shall not
meet again till the day of judgment!"

He went on till he came near to Hamadan, when the company with which
he was travelling was plundered by sixty horsemen. One of the robbers
asked him what he had got. "Forty deenars," said Abdool Kauder, "are
sewed under my garment." The fellow laughed, thinking that he was
joking him. "What have you got?" said another. He gave the same
answer.

When they were dividing the spoil, he was called to an eminence where
their chief stood. "What property have you, my little fellow?" said
he. "I have told two of your people already," replied the boy. "I have
forty deenars sewed up carefully in my clothes." The chief desired
them to be ripped open, and found the money.

"And how came you," said he, with surprise, "to declare so openly what
has been so carefully hidden?"

"Because," Abdool Kauder replied, "I will not be false to my mother,
whom I have promised that I will never conceal the truth."

"Child!" said the robber, "hast thou such a sense of duty to thy
mother, at thy years, and am I insensible, at my age, of the duty I
owe to my God? Give me thy hand, innocent boy," he continued, "that I
may swear repentance upon it." He did so; and his followers were all
alike struck with the scene.

"You have been our leader in guilt," said they to their chief, "be the
same in the path of virtue!" and they instantly, at his order, made
restitution of the spoil, and vowed repentance on the hand of the boy.

                                              _Juvenile Miscellany._

[Illustration]



THE BOYS' HEAVEN.


Harry and Frank had a hearty cry when an ill-natured neighbor poisoned
their dog. They dug a grave for their favorite, but were unwilling to
put him in it and cover him up with earth.

[Illustration]

"I wish there was one of the Chinese petrifying streams near our
house," said Frank. "We could lay Jip down in it; and, after a while,
he would become a stone image, which we would always keep for a
likeness of him."

Harry, who had been reading about the ancient Egyptians, remarked that
it was a great pity the art of embalming was lost.

But Frank declared that a mummy was a hideous thing, and that he would
rather have the dead dog out of his sight forever, than to make a
mummy of him.

"It seems very hard never to see him again," said Harry, with a deep
sigh.

"But perhaps Jip has gone to some dog-heaven; and when we go to the
boys' heaven, we may happen to see our old pet on the way."

"If he should get sight of us he would follow us," said Frank. "He
always liked us better than dogs. O yes, he would follow us to the
boys' heaven, of that you may be sure; and I don't think boys would
exactly like a heaven without any dogs. Mother, what kind of a place
_is_ a boys' heaven?"

His mother, who had just entered the room, knew nothing of what they
had been talking about; and, the question being asked suddenly, she
hardly knew what to answer.

She smiled, and said, "How can I tell, Frank! You know I never was
there."

"That makes no difference," said he. "Folks tell about a great many
things they never saw. Nobody ever goes to heaven till they die; but
you often read to us about heaven and the angels. Perhaps some people,
who died and went there, told others about it in their dreams."

"I cannot answer such questions, dear Harry," replied his mother. "I
only know that God is very wise and good, and that he wills we should
wait patiently and humbly till our souls grow old enough to understand
such great mysteries. Just as it is necessary that you should wait to
be much older before you can calculate when the moon will be eclipsed,
or when certain stars will go away from our portion of the sky, and
when they will come back again. Learned men know when the earth, in
its travels through the air, will cast its long dark shadow over the
brightness of the moon. They can foretell exactly the hour and the
minute when a star will go down below the line which we call the
horizon, where the earth and the sky seem to meet; and they know
precisely when it will come up again. But if they tried ever so hard,
they could never make little boys understand about the rising and the
setting of the stars. The wisest of men are very small boys, compared
with the angels; therefore the angels know perfectly well many things
which they cannot possibly explain to a man till his soul grows and
becomes an angel."

"I understand that," said Harry. "For I can read any book; but though
Jip was a very bright dog, it was no manner of use to try to teach him
the letters. He only winked and gaped when I told him that was A. You
see, mother, I was the same as an angel to Jip."

His mother smiled to see how quickly he had caught her meaning.

After some more talk with them, she said, "You have both heard of
Martin Luther, a great and good man who lived in Germany a long time
ago. He was very loving to children; and once, when he was away from
home, he wrote a letter to his little son. It was dated 1530; so you
see it is more than three hundred years old. In those days they had
not begun to print any books for children; therefore, I dare say, the
boy was doubly delighted to have something in writing that his friends
could read to him. You asked me, a few minutes ago, what sort of a
place the boys' heaven is. In answer to your question, I will read
what Martin Luther wrote to his son Hansigen, which in English means
Little John. Any boy might be happy to receive such a letter. Listen
to it now, and see if you don't think so.

   "_To my little son, Hansigen Luther, grace and peace in Christ._

   "MY HEART-DEAR LITTLE SON: I hear that you learn well and pray
   diligently. Continue to do so, my son. When I come home I will
   bring you a fine present from the fair. I know of a lovely
   garden, full of joyful children, who wear little golden coats,
   and pick up beautiful apples, and pears, and cherries, and plums
   under the trees. They sing, and jump, and make merry. They have
   also beautiful little horses with golden saddles and silver
   bridles. I asked the man that kept the garden who the children
   were. And he said to me, 'The children are those who love to
   learn, and to pray, and to be good.' Then said I, 'Dear sir, I
   have a little son, named Hansigen Luther. May he come into this
   garden, and have the same beautiful apples and pears to eat, and
   wonderful little horses to ride upon, and may he play about with
   these children?' Then said he, 'If he is willing to learn, and to
   pray, and to be good, he shall come into this garden; and Lippus
   and Justus too. If they all come together, they shall have pipes,
   and little drums, and lutes, and music of stringed instruments.
   And they shall dance, and shoot with little crossbows.' Then he
   showed me a fine meadow in the garden, all laid out for dancing.
   There hung golden pipes and kettle-drums and line silver
   crossbows; but it was too early to see the dancing, for the
   children had not had their dinner. I said, 'Ah, dear sir, I will
   instantly go and write to my little son Hansigen, so that he may
   study, and pray, and be good, and thus come into this garden. And
   he has a little cousin Lena, whom he must also bring with him.'
   Then he said to me, 'So shall it be. Go home, and write to him.'

   "Therefore, dear little son Hansigen, be diligent to learn and to
   pray; and tell Lippus and Justus to do so too, that you may all
   meet together in that beautiful garden. Give cousin Lena a kiss
   from me. Herewith I recommend you all to the care of Almighty
   God."

The brothers both listened very attentively while that old letter was
read; and when their mother had finished it, Frank exclaimed, "That
must be a very beautiful place!"

Harry looked thoughtfully in the fire, and at last said, "I wonder who
told all that to Martin Luther! Do you suppose an angel showed him
that garden, when he was asleep?"

"I don't know," replied Frank. "But if there were small horses there
with golden saddles for the boys, why shouldn't Jip be there, too,
with a golden collar and bells?"

"Now, wouldn't that be grand!" exclaimed Harry. And away they both ran
to plant flowers on Jip's grave.

                                                   _L. Maria Child._



BESSIE'S GARDEN

[Illustration]


Above all things, Bessie loved flowers, but wild flowers most. It
seemed so wonderful to her that these frail things could find their
way up out of the dark ground, and unfold their lovely blossoms, and
all their little pointed leaves, without any one to teach or help
them.

Who watched over the dear little wild flowers, all alone in the
field, and on the hillside, and down by the brook? Ah, Bessie knew
that her Heavenly Father watched over them; and she loved to think he
was smiling down upon her at the same time that his strong, gentle
hand took care of the flowers and of her at once. And she was not
wrong, for Bessie was a kind of flower, you know.

One day the little girl thought how nice it would be to have a _wild_
garden; to plant ever so many flowering things in one place, and let
them run together in their pretty way, until the bright-eyed blossoms
should gaze out from the whole tangled mass of beautiful green leaves.

So into the house she ran to find Aunt Annie, and ask her leave to
wander over on a shady hillside where wild flowers grew thickest.

Yes, indeed, she might go, Aunt Annie said; but what had she to carry
her roots and earth in while making the garden?

O, Bessie said, she could take a shingle, or her apron.

Aunt Annie laughed, and thought a basket would do better; they must
find one. So they looked in the closets and attics, everywhere; but
some of the baskets were full, and some were broken, and some had been
gnawed by mice; not one could they find that was fit for Bessie's
purpose.

Then dear Aunt Annie poured out the spools and bags from a nice large
work-basket, and told Bessie she might have that for her own, to fill
with earth or flowers, or anything she chose.

Pleased enough with her present, our young gardener went dancing along
through the garden,--Aunt Annie watched her from the balcony,--dancing
along,--and crept through a gap in the hedge, and out into the field,
that was starred all over with dandelions, and down the hollow by the
brook, and up on the hillside, out of sight among the shady trees.

And how she worked that afternoon,--singing all the while to herself
as she worked! How she heaped together the rich, dark mould, and
evened it over with her little hands! How she dug up roots of violets,
and grass, and spring-beauty, and Dutchmen's breeches, travelling
back and forth, back and forth, never tired, never ceasing her song.

The squirrels ran up out of their holes to look at Bessie; the birds
alighted over her head and sang.

While Bessie was bending over her garden so earnestly, thump! came
something all at once, something so cold and heavy! How quickly she
jumped upon her feet, upsetting her basket, and making it roll down
the hill, violet-roots and all!

And then how she laughed when she saw a big brown toad that had
planted himself in the very centre of her garden, and stood there
winking his silly eyes, and saying, "No offence, I hope!"

The squirrel chattered as if he were laughing too; the bird sang,
"Never mind, Bessie, never mind; pick up your violets, and don't hurt
the poor old toad!"

"O no; it's God's toad; I shouldn't dare to hurt him," said Bessie.

Just at that moment she heard a bell ringing loudly from her father's
house. She knew it was calling her home; but how could she leave her
basket! She must look for that first; the hillside was steep and
tangled with bushes, yet she must make her way down and search for the
lost treasure.

[Illustration]

"Waiting, waiting, waiting!" suddenly sang the bird, from out of sight
among the boughs; "waiting, Bessie," sang the bird.

"True enough," said Bessie; "perhaps I'm making my mother or dear Aunt
Annie wait,--and they are so good! I'd better let the basket wait;
take care of it, birdie!--and none of your trampling down my flowers,
Mr. Toad!" And she climbed back again from bush to bush, and skipped
along among the trunks of the great tall trees, and out by the brook
through the meadow, hedge, garden,--up the steps, calling, "Mother,
mother! Aunt Annie! who wants me?"

"I, dear," said her mother's voice; "I am going away for a long visit,
and if you had not come at once, I couldn't have bidden my little girl
good by." So Bessie's mother kissed her, and told her to obey her kind
aunt, and then asked what she would like brought home for a present.

"O, bring yourself, dear mother; come home all well and bright," said
Bessie, "and I won't ask any more." For Bessie's mother had long been
sick, and was going now for her health.

Her mother smiled and kissed her. "Yes, I will bring that if I can,
but there must be something else; how would you like a set of tools
for this famous garden?"

Bessie's eyes shone with joy. "What! a whole set,--rake, and hoe, and
trowel, such as the gardener uses?"

"Exactly, only they'll be small enough for your little hands; and
there'll be a shovel besides, and a wheelbarrow, and a water-pot."

So Bessie did not cry when her mother went away, though she loved her
as well as any one possibly could. She thought of all the bright
things, of the pleasant journey and the better health; and then,--then
of her pretty set of tools, and the handsome garden they would make!

It was too late to go back to the hill that evening; and on the morrow
Bessie awoke to find it raining fast. She went into her Aunt Annie's
room with such a mournful face. "O aunty, this old rain!"

"This new, fresh, beautiful rain, Bessie; what are you thinking about?
How it will make our flowers grow! and what a good time we can have
together in the house!"

"I know it, Aunt Annie, but you'll think me so careless!"

"To let it rain!"

"No,--don't laugh, aunty,--to leave your nice basket out-of-doors all
night, and now to be soaked and spoiled in this--this--beautiful
rain." Bessie's countenance did not look as though the beautiful rain
made her very happy.

And good Aunt Annie, seeing how much she was troubled, only said, "You
must be more careful, dear, another time; come and tell me all about
it. Perhaps my Bessie has some good excuse; I can see it now in her
eyes."

"Yes, indeed, I have," said Bessie, wiping away her tears. And the
little girl crept close to her aunty's side, and told her of her
beautiful time the day before, and of the bird, and squirrel, and
toad; and how the basket rolled away down hill in the steepest place,
and then how the bell rang, and she couldn't wait to find it.

"And you did exactly right, dear," said Aunt Annie. "If you had
lingered, your mother would have had to wait a whole day, or else go
without seeing you. When I write, I shall tell her how obedient you
were, and I know it will please her more than anything else I shall
have to say."

Dear Aunt Annie, she had always a word of excuse and of comfort for
every one! Bessie was too small to think much about it then. She only
pressed her little cheek lovingly against her aunty's hand, and
resolved that, when she grew up to a young lady, she would be just as
kind and ready to forget herself as Aunt Annie was.

Ah, it was not Bessie's lot to grow up to a woman in this world!
Before the ground was dry enough for her to venture out in search of
her basket, she was seized with a fever, and in a few days shut up her
sweet eyes, as the flowers shut their leaves together, and never
opened them again.

Then the summer passed, and the grass grew green and faded, and
snow-flakes began to fall on a little grave; and Aunt Annie quietly
laid aside the set of garden tools that had come too late for
Bessie's use, and only made her mother feel sad and lonely when she
looked upon them now. And all this time, what had become of the
basket?

As it fell from Bessie's hands that bright spring afternoon, it had
lodged in a grassy hollow, that was all wound about, like a nest, with
roots of the tall birch and maple trees; close among the roots grew
patches of the lovely scented May-flower; and all the rest was long
fine grass, with a tiny leaf or a violet growing here and there.

The roots in the basket dried away, and died for want of water; but
the earth that Bessie had dug with them was full of little seeds,
which had been hiding in the dark for years, awaiting their chance to
grow.

Broader and darker grew the leaves on the shady boughs above, higher
and higher grew the grass, and all but hid Bessie's basket. "Coming,
coming, coming!" the bird sang in the boughs; but Bessie never came.

So the summer passed; and when autumn shook the broad leaves from the
trees, and some went whirling down the hill, and some sailed away in
the brook, some lodged in Bessie's basket; a few to-day, and a few the
next day, till the snow came, and it was almost full to the brim.

Sometimes there would come a hoar-frost, and then it was full of
sparkling flowers so airy that the first sunbeam melted them, but none
the less lovely for that; and they melted, and went down among the
leaves, and seed, and sand, and violet-roots.

In spring the May-flowers perfumed the hollow with their sweet, fresh
breath; but no one gathered them. The leaves and the grass nestled
close to Bessie's basket, as if they remembered her; and drops of rain
dripped into it from the budding boughs, and sparkled as they dropped,
though they were full of tiny grains of dust and seed; and thus
another summer passed, and no one knew what had become of Bessie's
basket.

The bird sang, "Coming, coming!" but she never came.

So the third spring came round; and Aunt Annie was putting her closet
in order one day, rolling up pieces, and clearing boxes, and smoothing
drawers, when she came upon a little bundle. It was the bags, and
work, and spools of thread--all old and yellow now--which she had
poured out that morning in spring, in order to give the basket to her
little niece.

"Dear child!" said Aunt Annie, "why have I never looked for the lost
basket? The poor little garden must be swept away, but it would be
pleasant to go where her sweet footsteps trod on that happy
afternoon."

So she went, all by herself, in the same direction which she had
watched Bessie take; and it seemed as if the little one were skipping
before her through the garden, the gate,--the gap in the hedge was not
large enough for Aunt Annie,--across the meadow that shone again with
starry dandelions, along by the brook, and up the hill, till she was
lost from sight among the trees.

How sweet and fresh it was in the lonely wood, with the birds, and the
young leaves, and starry wild flowers, and patches of pretty moss! Did
Bessie wait here and rest? Did she climb this rock for columbines? Did
she creep to the edge of this bank, and look over?

So Aunt Annie seated herself to rest among the moss and roots and
leaves; she picked columbines, climbing by help of the slender
birch-trees; she went to the edge of the bank, and looked down past
all the trees, and stones, and flowers, to the little brook below. And
what do you think she saw?

What do you think made the tears come in Aunt Annie's eyes so quickly,
though she seemed so glad they must have been tears of joy?

After a while Aunt Annie turned to go home. Why did she put the boughs
aside so gently, and step so carefully over the soft moss, as if she
feared making any sound. Can you think?

She found Bessie's mother seated at work with a sad face, and her back
turned towards the window.

"O," said Aunt Annie, "how dark the room is, with all these heavy
curtains! and how still and lonesome it seems here! You must come
this moment and take a walk with me out in the sunshine; it will do
you good."

Bessie's mother shook her head. "I don't care for sunshine to-day; I
would rather be lonely."

Then Aunt Annie knelt by her sister, and looked up with those sweet
eyes none could ever refuse. "Not care for sun, because our dear
little Bessie has gone to be an angel! O, you must see the field all
over buttercups and dandelions, like a sky turned upside down,--it
would have pleased her so! and you must see the brook and woods; and
then I have such a surprise for you, you'll never be sorry for laying
aside your work."

"Is it anything about Bessie?" the mother asked, as they went down the
steps, out into the bright, beautiful sunshine.

"Yes, yes! Everything makes you think of her to-day; I can almost see
her little footsteps in the grass. A bird somewhere in the wood sung
her very name,--and so sweetly, as if he loved her,--'Bessie, Bessie,
Bessie,' as if he were thinking of her all the while!"

They reached the wood soon, for Aunt Annie seemed in haste, and
hurried Bessie's mother on; though she had grown so happy all at once,
that she wanted to wait and look at everything,--the little leaves in
the ground, and the grass-blades, and clover, and bees even, seemed to
please her.

When you find people sad, there is nothing in all the world so good as
to take them out in the sun of a summer day. You must remember this;
it is better than most of the Latin prescriptions doctors write.

When they were fairly within the wood, at the brow of the steep bank,
Aunt Annie parted the branches with both her hands, and said, "You
must follow me down a little way; come."

O, as Aunt Annie looked back, it seemed as if she had brought all the
sunshine in her dear face! "Don't think of being afraid," she said;
"why, Bessie came down here once! I have found her basket, I've found
her beautiful garden!"

Yes, that was the secret! You remember the spot into which Bessie's
basket fell; all intertwined like a bird's-nest with roots of the
great tall trees; all green and soft with the fine grass that grows in
the woods. Here it had lain ever since. Here it was.--

But you cannot think how changed! The violet-roots, the leaves, dust,
rain, frost, seed,--you remember how they filled it, and withered to
leave room for more, day by day, week by week.

Now these had mingled together, and made rich earth; and the seeds had
grown, the tiny seeds, and were dear little plants and flowers, that
hung about the edge, and crept through the open-work sides, with their
delicate green leaves, and tendrils, and starry blossoms!

Violet, chickweed, anemone, spring-beauty, and dicentra, that children
call "Dutchman's breeches," with its pearly, drooping flowers,--these
had tangled into one lovely mass of leaves and blossoms, just such as
would have made our Bessie sing for joy.

Yet you have not heard the best; Aunt Annie's footsteps on the moss
would not have disturbed these. Right in the midst of the flowers in
Bessie's basket a little gray ground-sparrow had built her nest of
hair and moss, and there she was hatching her eggs! As they drew
nearer, the little bird looked up at the ladies with his bright brown
eye, and seemed to say, "Don't hurt me; don't, for Bessie's sake!"

No, they would not hurt Bessie's bird for the whole wide world. They
went quietly home, and left him there watching for his mate, who had
flown up towards the sky to stretch her wings a little.

Slowly, hand in hand, the sisters passed once more through the wood.
They could not bear to leave so sweet a place. And all the while
Bessie's bird sang to them his strange song, "Coming, coming, coming!"
They heard it till the wood was out of sight.

"Yes, there are always good things coming as well as going," Aunt
Annie said, softly, "if we are patient and wait. The dear child's
basket has grown more useful and lovely because she lost it that
bright day."

"And our lost darling?" Bessie's mother began to ask, and looked in
Aunt Annie's eyes.

"Our Bessie's flowers do not fade now; there is no cold winter in
heaven; she cannot lose her treasures there. And hasn't she grown more
useful and lovely, living among the angels all this while?"

Then, from afar in the woods, they heard the low, sweet voice, that
thrilled forth, "Coming, coming!" and Bessie's mother smiled, and
said, "She cannot come to us, but we soon shall go to her; and O, our
darling's hand in ours, how gladly shall we walk in the Eternal
Garden!"

                                            _Caroline S. Whitmarsh._

[Illustration]



HOW THE CRICKETS BROUGHT GOOD FORTUNE.


My friend Jacques went into a baker's shop one day to buy a little
cake which he had fancied in passing. He intended it for a child whose
appetite was gone, and who could be coaxed to eat only by amusing him.
He thought that such a pretty loaf might tempt even the sick. While he
waited for his change, a little boy six or eight years old, in poor,
but perfectly clean clothes, entered the baker's shop. "Ma'am," said
he to the baker's wife, "mother sent me for a loaf of bread." The
woman climbed upon the counter (this happened in a country town), took
from the shelf of four-pound loaves the best one she could find, and
put it into the arms of the little boy.

My friend Jacques then first observed the thin and thoughtful face of
the little fellow. It contrasted strongly with the round, open
countenance of the great loaf, of which he was taking the greatest
care.

"Have you any money?" said the baker's wife.

The little boy's eyes grew sad.

"No, ma'am," said he, hugging the loaf closer to his thin blouse; "but
mother told me to say that she would come and speak to you about it
to-morrow."

"Run along," said the good woman; "carry your bread home, child."

"Thank you, ma'am," said the poor little fellow.

My friend Jacques came forward for his money. He had put his purchase
into his pocket, and was about to go, when he found the child with the
big loaf, whom he had supposed to be half-way home, standing
stock-still behind him.

"What are you doing there?" said the baker's wife to the child, whom
she also had thought to be fairly off. "Don't you like the bread?"

"O yes, ma'am!" said the child.

"Well, then, carry it to your mother, my little friend. If you wait
any longer, she will think you are playing by the way, and you will
get a scolding."

The child did not seem to hear. Something else absorbed his attention.

The baker's wife went up to him, and gave him a friendly tap on the
shoulder. "What _are_ you thinking about?" said she.

"Ma'am," said the little boy, "what is it that sings?"

"There is no singing," said she.

"Yes!" cried the little fellow. "Hear it! Queek, queek, queek, queek!"

My friend and the woman both listened, but they could hear nothing,
unless it was the song of the crickets, frequent guests in bakers'
houses.

"It is a little bird," said the dear little fellow; "or perhaps the
bread sings when it bakes, as apples do."

"No, indeed, little goosey!" said the baker's wife; "those are
crickets. They sing in the bakehouse because we are lighting the oven,
and they like to see the fire."

"Crickets!" said the child; "are they really crickets?"

"Yes, to be sure," said she, good-humoredly. The child's face lighted
up.

"Ma'am," said he, blushing at the boldness of his request, "I would
like it very much if you would give me a cricket."

"A cricket!" said the baker's wife, smiling; "what in the world would
you do with a cricket, my little friend? I would gladly give you all
there are in the house, to get rid of them, they run about so."

"O ma'am, give me one, only one, if you please!" said the child,
clasping his little thin hands under the big loaf. "They say that
crickets bring good luck into houses; and perhaps if we had one at
home, mother, who has so much trouble, wouldn't cry any more."

"Why does your poor mamma cry?" said my friend, who could no longer
help joining in the conversation.

"On account of her bills, sir," said the little fellow. "Father is
dead, and mother works very hard, but she cannot pay them all."

[Illustration]

My friend took the child, and with him the great loaf, into his arms,
and I really believe he kissed them both. Meanwhile the baker's wife,
who did not dare to touch a cricket herself, had gone into the
bakehouse. She made her husband catch four, and put them into a box
with holes in the cover, so that they might breathe. She gave the box
to the child, who went away perfectly happy.

When he had gone, the baker's wife and my friend gave each other a
good squeeze of the hand. "Poor little fellow!" said they both
together. Then she took down her account-book, and, finding the page
where the mother's charges were written, made a great dash all down
the page, and then wrote at the bottom, "Paid."

Meanwhile my friend, to lose no time, had put up in paper all the
money in his pockets, where fortunately he had quite a sum that day,
and had begged the good wife to send it at once to the mother of the
little cricket-boy, with her bill receipted, and a note, in which he
told her she had a son who would one day be her joy and pride.

They gave it to a baker's boy with long legs, and told him to make
haste. The child, with his big loaf, his four crickets, and his little
short legs, could not run very fast, so that, when he reached home, he
found his mother, for the first time in many weeks with her eyes
raised from her work, and a smile of peace and happiness upon her
lips.

The boy believed that it was the arrival of his four little black
things which had worked this miracle, and I do not think he was
mistaken. Without the crickets, and his good little heart, would this
happy change have taken place in his mother's fortunes?

                                   _From the French of P. J. Stahl._

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

PAUL AND VIRGINIA.


On the eastern coast of the mountain which rises above Port Louis in
the Mauritius, upon a piece of land bearing the marks of former
cultivation, are seen the ruins of two small cottages. Those ruins are
situated near the centre of a valley, formed by immense rocks, and
which opens only toward the north. On the left rises the mountain,
called the Height of Discovery, whence the eye marks the distant sail
when it first touches the verge of the horizon, and whence the signal
is given when a vessel approaches the island. At the foot of this
mountain stands the town of Port Louis. On the right is formed the
road, which stretches from Port Louis to the Shaddock Grove, where the
church bearing that name lifts its head, surrounded by its avenues of
bamboo, in the midst of a spacious plain; and the prospect terminates
in a forest extending to the farthest bounds of the island. The front
view presents the bay, denominated the Bay of the Tomb; a little on
the right is seen the Cape of Misfortune; and beyond rolls the
expanded ocean, on the surface of which appear a few uninhabited
islands, and, among others, the Point of Endeavor, which resembles a
bastion built upon the flood.

At the entrance of the valley which presents those various objects,
the echoes of the mountain incessantly repeat the hollow murmurs of
the winds that shake the neighboring forests, and the tumultuous
dashing of the waves which break at a distance upon the cliffs; but
near the ruined cottages all is calm and still, and the only objects
which there meet the eye are rude steep rocks, that rise like a
surrounding rampart. Large clumps of trees grow at their base, on
their rifted sides, and even on their majestic tops, where the clouds
seem to repose. The showers, which their bold points attract, often
paint the vivid colors of the rainbow on their green and brown
declivities, and swell the sources of the little river which flows at
their feet, called the river of Fan-Palms.

Within this enclosure reigns the most profound silence. The waters,
the air, all the elements, are at peace. Scarcely does the echo repeat
the whispers of the palm-trees spreading their broad leaves, the long
points of which are gently agitated by the winds. A soft light
illumines the bottom of this deep valley, on which the sun shines only
at noon. But even at break of day the rays of light are thrown on the
surrounding rocks; and their sharp peaks, rising above the shadows of
the mountain, appear like tints of gold and purple gleaming upon the
azure sky.

Here two mothers, widowed by death and desertion, nursed their
children, with the sight of whom the mutual affection of the parents
acquired new strength.

Madame de la Tour's child was named Virginia; her friend Margaret's,
Paul. They loved to put their infants into the same bath, and lay them
in the same cradle; and sometimes each nursed at her bosom the other's
babe.

"My friend," said Madame de la Tour, "we shall each of us have two
children, and each of our children will have two mothers."

Nothing could exceed the attachment which these infants early
displayed for each other. If Paul complained, his mother pointed to
Virginia, and at that sight he smiled and was appeased. If any
accident befell Virginia, the cries of Paul gave notice of the
disaster, and then the dear child would suppress her complaints when
she found that Paul was unhappy. When I came hither, I used to see
them tottering along, holding each other by the hands and under the
arms, as we represent the constellation of the Twins. At night these
infants often refused to be separated, and were found lying in the
same cradle, their cheeks, their bosoms, pressed close together, their
hands thrown round each other's neck, and sleeping locked in one
another's arms.

When they began to speak, the first names they learned to give each
other were those of brother and sister, and childhood knows no softer
appellation. Their education served to increase their early
friendship, by directing it to the supply of each other's wants. In a
short time, all that regarded the household economy, the care of
preparing the rural repasts, became the task of Virginia, whose labors
were always crowned with the praises and kisses of her brother. As for
Paul, always in motion, he dug the garden with Domingo, or followed
him with a little hatchet into the woods; and if in his rambles he
espied a beautiful flower, fine fruit, or a nest of birds, even at the
top of a tree, he would climb up, and bring it home to his sister.

When you met one of these children, you might be sure the other was
not far off. One day, as I was coming down the mountain, I saw
Virginia at the end of the garden, running toward the house, with her
petticoat thrown over her head, in order to screen herself from a
shower of rain. At a distance, I thought she was alone; but as I
hastened toward her, in order to help her on, I perceived that she
held Paul by the arm, almost entirely enveloped in the same canopy,
and both were laughing heartily at being sheltered together under an
umbrella of their own invention. Those two charming faces placed
within the swelling petticoat recalled to my mind the children of Leda
enclosed within the same shell.

[Illustration]

Their sole study was how to please and assist each other; for of all
other things they were ignorant, and knew neither how to read nor
write. They were never disturbed by inquiries about past times, nor
did their curiosity extend beyond the bounds of their mountain. They
believed the world ended at the shores of their own island, and all
their ideas and affections were confined within its limits. Their
mutual tenderness, and that of their mothers, employed all the
activity of their souls. Their tears had never been called forth by
tedious application to useless sciences. Their minds had never been
wearied by lessons of morality, superfluous to bosoms unconscious of
ill. They had never been taught not to steal, because everything with
them was in common; or not to be intemperate, because their simple
food was left to their own discretion; or not to lie, because they had
no truth to conceal. Their young imaginations had never been terrified
by the idea that God has punishments in store for ungrateful children,
since with them filial affection arose naturally from maternal
fondness.

Thus passed their early childhood, like a beautiful dawn, the prelude
of a bright day. Already they partook with their mothers the cares of
the household. As soon as the crow of the cock announced the first
beam of the morning, Virginia arose, and hastened to draw water from a
neighboring spring; then, returning to the house, she prepared the
breakfast. When the rising sun lighted up the points of the rocks
which overhang this enclosure, Margaret and her child went to the
dwelling of Madame de la Tour, and offered up together their morning
prayer. This sacrifice of thanksgiving always preceded their first
repast, of which they often partook before the door of the cottage,
seated upon the grass, under a canopy of plantain; and while the
branches of that delightful tree afforded a grateful shade, its solid
fruit furnished food ready prepared by Nature; and its long glossy
leaves, spread upon the table, supplied the want of linen.

Perhaps the most charming spot of this enclosure was that which was
called Virginia's Resting-place. At the foot of the rock which bore
the name of the Discovery of Friendship is a nook, from whence issues
a fountain, forming, near its source, a little spot of marshy soil in
the midst of a field of rich grass. At the time Margaret brought Paul
into the world, I made her a present of an Indian cocoa which had been
given me, and which she planted on the border of this fenny ground, in
order that the tree might one day serve to mark the epoch of her son's
birth. Madame de la Tour planted another cocoa, with the same view,
at the birth of Virginia. These nuts produced two cocoa-trees, which
formed the only records of the two families: one was called Paul's
tree; the other, Virginia's tree. They both grew in the same
proportion as their two owners, a little unequally; but they rose, at
the end of twelve years, above the cottages. Already their tender
stalks were interwoven, and their young clusters of cocoas hung over
the basin of the fountain. Except this little plantation, the nook of
the rock had been left as it was decorated by Nature. On its brown and
moist sides large plants of maidenhair glistened with their green and
dark stars; and tufts of wave-leaved hart's-tongue, suspended like
long ribbons of purpled green, floated on the winds. Near this grew a
chain of the Madagascar periwinkle, the flowers of which resemble the
red gillyflower; and the long-podded capsicum, the seed-vessels of
which are of the color of blood, and more glowing than coral. Hard by,
the herb of balm, with its leaves within the heart, and the sweet
basil, which has the odor of the gillyflower, exhaled the most
delicious perfumes. From the steep side of the mountain hung the
graceful lianas, like floating drapery, forming magnificent canopies
of verdure upon the sides of the rocks. The sea-birds, allured by the
stillness of those retreats, resorted thither to pass the night. At
the hour of sunset we could see the curlew and the stint skimming
along the sea-shore; the black frigate-bird poised high in air; and
the white bird of the tropic, which abandons, with the star of day,
the solitudes of the Indian Ocean. Virginia loved to rest upon the
border of this fountain, decorated with wild and sublime magnificence.
She often seated herself beneath the shade of the two cocoa-trees, and
there she sometimes led her goats to graze. While she was making
cheeses of their milk, she loved to see them browse on the maidenhair
which grew upon the steep sides of the rock, and hung suspended upon
one of its cornices, as on a pedestal. Paul, observing that Virginia
was fond of this spot, brought thither, from the neighboring forest, a
great variety of bird's-nests. The old birds, following their young,
established themselves in this new colony. Virginia, at certain
times, distributed among them grains of rice, millet, and maize. As
soon as she appeared, the whistling blackbird, the amadavid bird, the
note of which is so soft, the cardinal, with its plumage the color of
flame, forsook their bushes; the paroquet, green as an emerald,
descended from the neighboring fan-palms; the partridge ran along the
grass; all came running helter-skelter toward her, like a brood of
chickens, and she and Paul delighted to observe their sports, their
repasts, and their loves.

Amiable children! thus passed your early days in innocence, and in the
exercise of benevolence. How many times, on this very spot, have your
mothers, pressing you in their arms, blessed Heaven for the
consolations that you were preparing for their declining years, and
that they could see you begin life under such happy auspices! How many
times, beneath the shade of those rocks, have I partaken with them of
your rural repasts, which cost no animal its life! Gourds filled with
milk, fresh eggs, cakes of rice placed upon plantain leaves, baskets
loaded with mangoes, oranges, dates, pomegranates, pine-apples,
furnished at once the most wholesome food, the most beautiful colors,
and the most delicious juices.

The conversation was gentle and innocent as the repasts. Paul often
talked of the labors of the day and those of the morrow. He was
continually planning something useful for their little society. Here
he discovered that the paths were rough; there that the seats were
uncomfortable; sometimes the young arbors did not afford sufficient
shade, and Virginia might be better pleased elsewhere.

In the rainy season the two families met together in the cottage, and
employed themselves in weaving mats of grass and baskets of bamboo.
Rakes, spades, and hatchets were ranged along the walls in the most
perfect order; and near these instruments of agriculture were placed
its products,--sacks of rice, sheaves of corn, and baskets of
plantains. Some degree of luxury is usually united with plenty, and
Virginia was taught by her mother and Margaret to prepare sherbet and
cordials from the juice of the sugar-cane, the lemon, and the citron.

When night came, they all supped together by the light of a lamp;
after which Madame de la Tour or Margaret told stories of travellers
lost during the night in forests of Europe infested by banditti; or of
some shipwrecked vessel, thrown by the tempest upon the rocks of a
desert island. To these recitals their children listened with eager
sensibility, and earnestly begged that Heaven would grant they might
one day have the joy of showing their hospitality towards such
unfortunate persons. At length the two families would separate and
retire to rest, impatient to meet again the next morning. Sometimes
they were lulled to repose by the beating rains which fell in torrents
upon the roofs of their cottages, and sometimes by the hollow winds,
which brought to their ear the distant murmur of the waves breaking
upon the shore. They blessed God for their own safety, of which their
feeling became stronger from the idea of remote danger.

                                        _Bernardin de Saint Pierre._

[Illustration]



OEYVIND AND MARIT.

[Illustration]


Oeyvind was his name. A low barren cliff overhung the house in which
he was born; fir and birch looked down on the roof, and wild-cherry
strewed flowers over it. Upon this roof there walked about a little
goat, which belonged to Oeyvind. He was kept there that he might not
go astray; and Oeyvind carried leaves and grass up to him. One fine
day the goat leaped down, and--away to the cliff; he went straight up,
and came where he never had been before. Oeyvind did not see him when
he came out after dinner, and thought immediately of the fox. He grew
hot all over, looked around about, and called, "Killy-killy-killy-goat!"

"Bay-ay-ay," said the goat, from the brow of the hill, as he cocked
his head on one side and looked down.

But at the side of the goat there kneeled a little girl.

"Is it yours, this goat?" she asked.

Oeyvind stood with eyes and mouth wide open, thrust both hands into
the breeches he had on, and asked, "Who are you?"

"I am Marit, mother's little one, father's fiddle, the elf in the
house, grand-daughter of Ole Nordistuen of the Heide farms, four years
old in the autumn, two days after the frost nights, I!"

"Are you really?" he said, and drew a long breath, which he had not
dared to do so long as she was speaking.

"Is it yours, this goat?" asked the girl again.

"Ye-es," he said, and looked up.

"I have taken such a fancy to the goat. You will not give it to me?"

"No, that I won't."

She lay kicking her legs, and looking down at him, and then she said,
"But if I give you a butter-cake for the goat, can I have him then?"

Oeyvind came of poor people, and had eaten butter-cake only once in
his life, that was when grandpapa came there, and anything like it he
had never eaten before nor since. He looked up at the girl. "Let me
see the butter-cake first," said he.

She was not long about it, took out a large cake, which she held in
her hand. "Here it is," she said, and threw it down.

"Ow, it went to pieces," said the boy. He gathered up every bit with
the utmost care; he could not help tasting the very smallest, and that
was so good, he had to taste another, and, before he knew it himself,
he had eaten up the whole cake.

"Now the goat is mine," said the girl. The boy stopped with the last
bit in his mouth, the girl lay and laughed, and the goat stood by her
side, with white breast and dark brown hair, looking sideways down.

"Could you not wait a little while?" begged the boy; his heart began
to beat. Then the girl laughed still more, and got up quickly on her
knees.

"No, the goat is mine," she said, and threw her arms round its neck,
loosened one of her garters, and fastened it round. Oeyvind looked up.
She got up, and began pulling at the goat; it would not follow, and
twisted its neck downwards to where Oeyvind stood. "Bay-ay-ay," it
said. But she took hold of its hair with one hand, pulled the string
with the other, and said gently, "Come, goat, and you shall go into
the room and eat out of mother's dish and my apron." And then she
sung,--

    "Come, boy's goat,
     Come, mother's calf,
     Come, mewing cat
     In snow-white shoes.
     Come, yellow ducks,
     Come out of your hiding-place;
     Come, little chickens,
     Who can hardly go;
     Come, my doves
     With soft feathers;
     See, the grass is wet,
     But the sun does you good;
     And early, early is it in summer,
     But call for the autumn, and it will come."

There stood the boy.

He had taken care of the goat since the winter before, when it was
born, and he had never imagined he could lose it; but now it was done
in a moment, and he should never see it again.

His mother came up humming from the beach, with wooden pans which she
had scoured: she saw the boy sitting with his legs crossed under him
on the grass, crying, and she went up to him.

"What are you crying about?"

"O, the goat, the goat!"

"Yes; where is the goat?" asked his mother, looking up at the roof.

"It will never come back again," said the boy.

"Dear me! how could that happen?"

He would not confess immediately.

"Has the fox taken it?"

"Ah, if it only were the fox!"

"Are you crazy?" said his mother; "what has become of the goat?"

"Oh-h-h--I happened to--to--to sell it for a cake!"

As soon as he had uttered the word, he understood what it was to sell
the goat for a cake; he had not thought of it before. His mother
said,--

"What do you suppose the little goat thinks of you, when you could
sell him for a cake?"

And the boy thought about it, and felt sure that he could never again
be happy in this world, and not even in heaven, he thought afterwards.
He felt so sorry, that he promised himself never again to do anything
wrong, never to cut the thread on the spinning-wheel, nor let the
goats out, nor go down to the sea alone. He fell asleep where he lay,
and dreamed about the goat, that it had gone to Heaven; our Lord sat
there with a great beard as in the catechism, and the goat stood
eating the leaves off a shining tree; but Oeyvind sat alone on the
roof, and could not come up.

Suddenly there came something wet close up to his ear, and he started
up. "Bay-ay-ay!" it said; and it was the goat, who had come back
again.

"What! have you got back?" He jumped up, took it by the two fore-legs,
and danced with it as if it were a brother; he pulled its beard, and
he was just going in to his mother with it, when he heard some one
behind him, and, looking, saw the girl sitting on the greensward by
his side. Now he understood it all, and let go the goat.

"Is it you, who have come with it?"

She sat, tearing the grass up with her hands, and said,--

"They would not let me keep it; grandfather is sitting up there,
waiting."

While the boy stood looking at her, he heard a sharp voice from the
road above call out, "Now!"

Then she remembered what she was to do; she rose, went over to
Oeyvind, put one of her muddy hands into his, and, turning her face
away, said,--

"I beg your pardon!"

But then her courage was all gone; she threw herself over the goat,
and wept.

"I think you had better keep the goat," said Oeyvind, looking the
other way.

"Come, make haste!" said grandpapa, up on the hill; and Marit rose,
and walked with reluctant feet upwards.

"You are forgetting your garter," Oeyvind called after her. She turned
round, and looked first at the garter and then at him. At last she
came to a great resolution, and said, in a choked voice,--

"You may keep that."

He went over to her, and, taking her hand, said,--

"Thank you!"

"O, nothing to thank for!" she answered, but drew a long sigh, and
walked on.

He sat down on the grass again. The goat walked about near him, but he
was no longer so pleased with it as before.

       *       *       *       *       *

The goat was fastened to the wall; but Oeyvind walked about, looking
up at the cliff. His mother came out, and sat down by his side; he
wanted to hear stories about what was far away, for now the goat no
longer satisfied him. So she told him how once every thing could talk:
the mountain talked to the stream, and the stream to the river, the
river to the sea, and the sea to the sky; but then he asked if the sky
did not talk to any one; and the sky talked to the clouds, the clouds
to the trees, the trees to the grass, the grass to the flies, the
flies to the animals, the animals to the children, the children to the
grown-up people; and so it went on, until it had gone round, and no
one could tell where it had begun. Oeyvind looked at the mountain, the
trees, the sky, and had never really seen them before. The cat came
out at that moment, and lay down on the stone before the door in the
sunshine.

"What does the cat say?" asked Oeyvind, pointing. His mother sang,--

    "At evening softly shines the sun,
     The cat lies lazy on the stone.
     Two small mice,
     Cream thick and nice,
     Four bits of fish,
     I stole behind a dish,
     And am so lazy and tired,
     Because so well I have fared,"

says the cat.

But then came the cock, with all the hens. "What does the cock say?"
asked Oeyvind, clapping his hands together. His mother sang,--

    "The mother-hen her wings doth sink,
     The cock stands on one leg to think:
     That gray goose
     Steers high her course;
     But sure am I that never she
     As clever as a cock can be.
     Run in, you hens, keep under the roof to-day,
     For the sun has got leave to stay away,"

says the cock.

But the little birds were sitting on the ridge-pole, singing. "What do
the birds say?" asked Oeyvind, laughing.

    "Dear Lord, how pleasant is life,
     For those who have neither toil nor strife,"

say the birds.

And she told him what they all said, down to the ant, who crawled in
the moss, and the worm who worked in the bark.

That same summer, his mother began to teach him to read. He had owned
books a long time, and often wondered how it would seem when they also
began to talk. Now the letters turned into animals, birds, and
everything else; but soon they began to walk together, two and two;
_a_ stood and rested under a tree, which was called _b_; then came
_e_, and did the same; but when three or four came together, it seemed
as if they were angry with each other, for it would not go right. And
the farther along he came, the more he forgot what they were: he
remembered longest _a_, which he liked best; it was a little black
lamb, and was friends with everybody; but soon he forgot _a_ also: the
book had no more stories, nothing but lessons.

One day his mother came in, and said to him,--

"To-morrow school begins, and then you are going up to the farm with
me."

Oeyvind had heard that school was a place where many boys played
together; and he had no objection. Indeed, he was much pleased. He had
often been at the farm, but never when there was school there; and now
he was so anxious to get there, he walked faster than his mother up
over the hills. As they came up to the neighboring house, a tremendous
buzzing, like that from the water-mill at home, met their ears; and he
asked his mother what it was.

"That is the children reading," she answered; and he was much pleased,
for that was the way he used to read, before he knew the letters. When
he came in, there sat as many children round a table as he had ever
seen at church; others were sitting on their luncheon-boxes, which
were ranged round the walls; some stood in small groups round a large
printed card; the schoolmaster, an old gray-haired man, was sitting on
a stool by the chimney-corner, filling his pipe. They all looked up as
Oeyvind and his mother entered, and the mill-hum ceased as if the
water had suddenly been turned off. All looked at the new-comers; the
mother bowed to the schoolmaster, who returned her greeting.

"Here I bring a little boy who wants to learn to read," said his
mother.

"What is the fellow's name?" said the schoolmaster, diving down into
his pouch after tobacco.

"Oeyvind," said his mother; "he knows his letters, and can put them
together."

"Is it possible!" said the schoolmaster; "come here, you Whitehead!"

Oeyvind went over to him: the schoolmaster took him on his lap, and
raised his cap.

"What a nice little boy!" said he, and stroked his hair. Oeyvind
looked up into his eyes, and laughed.

"Is it at me you are laughing?" asked he, with a frown.

"Yes, it is," answered Oeyvind, and roared with laughter. At that the
schoolmaster laughed, Oeyvind's mother laughed; the children
understood that they also were allowed to laugh, and so they all
laughed together.

So Oeyvind became one of the scholars.

As he was going to find his seat, they all wanted to make room for
him. He looked round a long time, while they whispered and pointed; he
turned round on all sides, with his cap in his hand and his book under
his arm.

"Now, what are you going to do?" asked the schoolmaster, who was busy
with his pipe again. Just as the boy is going to turn round to the
schoolmaster, he sees close beside him, sitting down by the
hearthstone on a little red painted tub, Marit, of the many names; she
had covered her face with both hands, and sat peeping at him through
her fingers.

"I shall sit here," said Oeyvind, quickly, taking a tub and seating
himself at her side. Then she raised a little the arm nearest him, and
looked at him from under her elbow; immediately he also hid his face
with both hands, and looked at her from under his elbow. So they sat,
keeping up the sport, until she laughed, then he laughed too; the
children had seen it, and laughed with them; at that, there rung out
in a fearfully strong voice, which, however, grew milder at every
pause,--

"Silence! you young scoundrels, you rascals, you little
good-for-nothings! keep still, and be good to me, you sugar-pigs."

That was the schoolmaster, whose custom it was to boil up, but calm
down again before he had finished. It grew quiet immediately in the
school, until the water-wheels again began to go; every one read aloud
from his book, the sharpest trebles piped up, the rougher voices
drummed louder and louder to get the preponderance; here and there
one shouted in above the others, and Oeyvind had never had such fun in
all his life.

"Is it always like this here?" whispered he to Marit.

"Yes, just like this," she said.

Afterwards, they had to go up to the schoolmaster, and read; and then
a little boy was called to read, so that they were allowed to go and
sit down quietly again.

"I have got a goat now, too," said she.

"Have you?"

"Yes; but it is not so pretty as yours."

"Why don't you come oftener up on the cliff?"

"Grandpapa is afraid I shall fall over."

"But it is not so very high."

"Grandpapa won't let me, for all that."

"Mother knows so many songs," said he.

"Grandpapa does, too, you can believe."

"Yes; but he does not know what mother does."

"Grandpapa knows one about a dance. Would you like to hear it?"

"Yes, very much."

"Well, then, you must come farther over here, so that the schoolmaster
may not hear."

He changed his place, and then she recited a little piece of a song
three or four times over, so that the boy learned it, and that was the
first he learned at school.

"Up with you, youngsters!" called out the schoolmaster. "This is the
first day, so you shall be dismissed early; but first we must say a
prayer, and sing."

Instantly, all was life in the school; they jumped down from the
benches, sprung over the floor, and talked into each other's mouths.

"Silence! you young torments, you little beggars, you noisy boys! be
quiet, and walk softly across the floor, little children," said the
schoolmaster; and now they walked quietly, and took their places;
after which the schoolmaster went in front of them, and made a short
prayer. Then they sung. The schoolmaster began in a deep bass; all the
children stood with folded hands, and joined in. Oeyvind stood
farthest down by the door with Marit, and looked on; they also folded
their hands, but they could not sing.

That was the first day at school.

                                                  "_The Happy Boy._"

[Illustration]



BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN.


Before the days of railways, and in the time of the old Great North
Road, I was once snowed up at the Holly-Tree Inn. Beguiling the days
of my imprisonment there by talking at one time or other with the
whole establishment, I one day talked with the Boots, when he lingered
in my room.

Where had he been in his time? Boots repeated, when I asked him the
question. Lord, he had been everywhere! And what had he been? Bless
you, everything you could mention, a'most.

Seen a good deal? Why, of course he had. I should say so, he could
assure me, if I only knew about a twentieth part of what had come in
_his_ way. Why, it would be easier for him, he expected, to tell what
he hadn't seen than what he had. Ah! a deal it would.

What was the curiousest thing he had seen? Well! He didn't know. He
couldn't momently name what was the curiousest thing he had
seen,--unless it was a Unicorn,--and he see _him_ once at a Fair. But
supposing a young gentleman not eight year old was to run away with a
fine young woman of seven, might I think _that_ a queer start?
Certainly! Then that was a start as he himself had had his blessed
eyes on,--and he had cleaned the shoes they run away in,--and they was
so little that he couldn't get his hand into 'em.

Master Harry Walmers's father, you see, he lived at the Elmses, down
away by Shooter's Hill there, six or seven miles from Lunnon. He was a
gentleman of spirit, and good-looking, and held his head up when he
walked, and had what you may call Fire about him. He wrote poetry, and
he rode, and he ran, and he cricketed, and he danced, and he acted,
and he done it all equally beautiful. He was uncommon proud of Master
Harry as was his only child; but he didn't spoil him, neither. He was
a gentleman that had a will of his own, and a eye of his own, and that
would be minded. Consequently, though he made quite a companion of the
fine bright boy, and was delighted to see him so fond of reading his
fairy books, and was never tired of hearing him say my name is Norval,
or hearing him sing his songs about Young May Moons is beaming love,
and When he as adores thee has left but the name, and that,--still he
kept the command over the child, and the child _was_ a child, and it's
very much to be wished more of 'em was!

How did Boots happen to know all this? Why, sir, through being
under-gardener. Of course I couldn't be under-gardener, and be always
about, in the summer time, near the windows on the lawn, a mowing and
sweeping, and weeding and pruning, and this and that, without getting
acquainted with the ways of the family. Even supposing Master Harry
hadn't come to me one morning early, and said, "Cobbs, how should you
spell Norah, if you was asked?" and when I give him my views, sir,
respectin' the spelling o' that name, he took out his little knife,
and he begun a cutting it in print, all over the fence.

And the courage of the boy! Bless your soul, he'd have throwed off his
little hat, and tucked up his little sleeves, and gone in at a Lion,
he would. One day he stops, along with her (where I was hoeing weeds
in the gravel), and says, speaking up, "Cobbs," he says, "I like
_you_." "Do you, sir? I'm proud to hear it." "Yes, I do, Cobbs. Why do
I like you, do you think, Cobbs?" "Don't know, Master Harry, I am
sure." "Because Norah likes you, Cobbs." "Indeed, sir? That's very
gratifying." "Gratifying, Cobbs? It's better than millions of the
brightest diamonds, to be liked by Norah." "Certainly, sir." "You're
going away, ain't you, Cobbs?" "Yes, sir." "Would you like another
situation, Cobbs?" "Well, sir, I shouldn't object, if it was a good
'un." "Then, Cobbs," says that mite, "you shall be our Head Gardener
when we are married." And he tucks her, in her little sky-blue mantle,
under his arm, and walks away.

Boots could assure me that it was better than a picter, and equal to a
play, to see them babies with their long bright curling hair, their
sparkling eyes, and their beautiful light tread, rambling about the
garden, deep in love. Boots was of opinion that the birds believed
they was birds, and kept up with 'em, singing to please 'em. Sometimes
they would creep under the Tulip-tree, and would sit there with their
arms round one another's necks, and their soft cheeks touching, a
reading about the Prince, and the Dragon, and the good and bad
enchanters, and the king's fair daughter. Sometimes I would hear them
planning about having a house in a forest, keeping bees and a cow, and
living entirely on milk and honey. Once I came upon them by the pond,
and heard Master Harry say, "Adorable Norah, kiss me, and say you love
me to distraction, or I'll jump in head-foremost." On the whole, sir,
the contemplation o' them two babies had a tendency to make me feel as
if I was in love myself,--only I didn't exactly know who with.

"Cobbs," says Master Harry, one evening, when I was watering the
flowers; "I am going on a visit, this present midsummer, to my
grandmamma's at York."

"Are you indeed, sir? I hope you'll have a pleasant time. I am going
into Yorkshire, myself, when I leave here."

"Are you going to your grandmamma's, Cobbs?"

"No, sir. I haven't got such a thing."

"Not as a grandmamma, Cobbs?"

"No, sir."

The boy looks on at the watering of the flowers for a little while,
and then he says, "I shall be very glad indeed to go, Cobbs,--Norah's
going."

"You'll be all right then, sir, with your beautiful sweetheart by your
side."

"Cobbs," returns the boy, a flushing, "I never let anybody joke about
that when I can prevent them."

"It wasn't a joke, sir,--wasn't so meant."

"I am glad of that, Cobbs, because I like you, you know, and you're
going to live with us,--Cobbs!"

"Sir."

"What do you think my grandmamma gives me, when I go down there?"

"I couldn't so much as make a guess, sir."

"A Bank of England five-pound note, Cobbs."

"Whew! That's a spanking sum of money, Master Harry."

"A person could do a good deal with such a sum of money as that.
Couldn't a person, Cobbs?"

"I believe you, sir!"

"Cobbs," says that boy, "I'll tell you a secret. At Norah's house they
have been joking her about me, and pretending to laugh at our being
engaged. Pretending to make game of it, Cobbs!"

"Such, sir, is the depravity of human natur."

The boy, looking exactly like his father, stood for a few minutes, and
then departed with, "Good night, Cobbs. I'm going in."

If I was to ask Boots how it happened that I was a going to leave that
place just at that present time, well, I couldn't rightly answer you,
sir. I do suppose I might have stayed there till now, if I had been
anyways inclined. But you see, he was younger then, and he wanted
change. That's what I wanted,--change. Mr. Walmers, he says to me,
when I give him notice of my intentions to leave, "Cobbs," he says,
"have you anything to complain of? I make the inquiry, because if I
find that any of my people really has anythink to complain of, I wish
to make it right if I can."

"No, sir; thanking you, sir, I find myself as well sitiwated here as I
could hope to be anywheres. The truth is, sir, that I'm a going to
seek my fortun."

"O, indeed, Cobbs?" he says; "I hope you may find it." And Boots could
assure me--which he did, touching his hair with his bootjack--that he
hadn't found it yet.

Well, sir! I left the Elmses when my time was up, and Master Harry, he
went down to the old lady's at York, which old lady were so wrapped up
in that child as she would have give that child the teeth out of her
head (if she had had any). What does that Infant do--for Infant you
may call him, and be within the mark--but cut away from that old
lady's with his Norah, on a expedition to go to Gretna Green and be
married!

Sir, I was at this identical Holly-Tree Inn (having left it several
times since to better myself, but always come back through one thing
or another), when, one summer afternoon, the coach drives up, and out
of the coach gets them two children. The Guard says to our Governor,
"I don't quite make out these little passengers, but the young
gentleman's words was, that they was to be brought here." The young
gentleman gets out; hands his lady out; gives the Guard something for
himself; says to our Governor, "We're to stop here to-night, please.
Sitting-room and two bedrooms will be required. Mutton chops and
cherry pudding for two!" and tucks her, in her little sky-blue mantle,
under his arm, and walks into the house much bolder than Brass.

Sir, I leave you to judge what the amazement of that establishment
was, when those two tiny creatures all alone by themselves was marched
into the Angel; much more so, when I, who had seen them without their
seeing me, give the Governor my views of the expedition they was upon.

"Cobbs," says the Governor, "if this is so, I must set off myself to
York and quiet their friends' minds. In which case you must keep your
eye upon 'em, and humor 'em, till I come back. But before I take these
measures, Cobbs, I should wish you to find from themselves whether
your opinions is correct." "Sir to you," says I, "that shall be done
directly."

So Boots goes up stairs to the Angel, and there he finds Master Harry
on a e-normous sofa,--immense at any time, but looking like the Great
Bed of Ware, compared with him,--a drying the eyes of Miss Norah with
his pocket-hankecher. Their little legs was entirely off the ground,
of course; and it really is not possible to express how small them
children looked.

"It's Cobbs! It's Cobbs!" cries Master Harry, and he comes running to
me and catching hold of my hand. Miss Norah, she comes running to me
on t'other side and catching hold of my t'other hand, and they both
jump for joy.

[Illustration]

"I see you a getting out, sir," says I. "I thought it was you. I
thought I couldn't be mistaken in your heighth and figure. What's the
object of your journey, sir?--Matrimonial?"

"We are going to be married, Cobbs, at Gretna Green," returns the boy.
"We have run away on purpose. Norah has been in rather low spirits,
Cobbs; but she'll be happy, now we have found you to be our friend."

"Thank you sir, and thank _you_, miss, for your good opinion. _Did_
you bring any luggage with you, sir?"

If I will believe Boots when he gives me his word and honor upon it,
the lady had got a parasol, a smelling-bottle, a round and a half of
cold buttered toast, eight peppermint drops, and a Doll's hairbrush.
The gentleman had got about half a dozen yards of string, a knife,
three or four sheets of writing-paper folded up surprisingly small, a
orange, and a Chaney mug with his name on it.

"What may be the exact natur of your plans, sir?" says I.

"To go on," replies the boy,--which the courage of that boy was
something wonderful!--"in the morning, and be married to-morrow."

"Just so, sir. Would it meet your views, sir, if I was to accompany
you?"

They both jumped for joy again, and cried out, "O yes, yes, Cobbs!
Yes!"

"Well, sir, if you will excuse my having the freedom to give an
opinion, what I should recommend would be this. I'm acquainted with a
pony, sir, which, put in a pheayton that I could borrow, would take
you and Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, (driving myself if you approved,)
to the end of your journey in a very short space of time. I am not
altogether sure, sir, that this pony will be at liberty till
to-morrow, but even if you had to wait over to-morrow for him, it
might be worth your while. As to the small account here, sir, in case
you was to find yourself running at all short, that don't signify;
because I'm a part proprietor of this inn, and it could stand over."

Boots assures me that when they clapped their hands, and jumped for
joy again, and called him, "Good Cobbs!" and "Dear Cobbs!" and bent
across him to kiss one another in the delight of their confiding
hearts, he felt himself the meanest rascal, for deceiving 'em, that
ever was born.

"Is there anything you want just at present, sir?" I says, mortally
ashamed of myself.

"We should like some cakes after dinner," answers Master Harry, "and
two apples--and jam. With dinner we should like to have toast and
water. But Norah has always been accustomed to half a glass of currant
wine at dessert. And so have I."

"It shall be ordered at the bar, sir," I says.

Sir, I has the feeling as fresh upon me at this minute of speaking as
I had then, that I would far rather have had it out in half a dozen
rounds with the Governor, than have combined with him; and that I
wished with all my heart there was any impossible place where those
two babies could make an impossible marriage, and live impossibly
happy ever afterwards. However, as it couldn't be, I went into the
Governor's plans, and the Governor set off for York in half an hour.

The way in which the women of that house--without exception--every one
of 'em--married _and_ single--took to that boy when they heard the
story, is surprising. It was as much as could be done to keep 'em from
dashing into the room and kissing him. They climbed up all sorts of
places, at the risk of their lives, to look at him through a pane of
glass. And they were seven deep at the keyhole.

In the evening, I went into the room to see how the runaway couple was
getting on. The gentleman was on the window-seat, supporting the lady
in his arms. She had tears upon her face, and was lying, very tired
and half asleep, with her head upon his shoulder.

"Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, fatigued, sir?"

"Yes, she is tired, Cobbs; but she is not used to be away from home,
and she has been in low spirits again. Cobbs, do you think you could
bring a biffin, please?"

"I ask your pardon, sir. What was it you--"

"I think a Norfolk biffin would rouse her, Cobbs. She is very fond of
them."

Well, sir, I withdrew in search of the required restorative, and the
gentleman handed it to the lady, and fed her with a spoon, and took a
little himself. The lady being heavy with sleep, and rather cross,
"What should you think, sir," I says, "of a chamber candlestick?" The
gentleman approved; the chambermaid went first up the great staircase;
the lady, in her sky-blue mantle, followed, gallantly escorted by the
gentleman; the gentleman embraced her at her door, and retired to his
own apartment, where I locked him up.

Boots couldn't but feel with increased acuteness what a base deceiver
he was, when they consulted him at breakfast (they had ordered sweet
milk-and-water, and toast and currant jelly, over night) about the
pony. It really was as much as he could do, he don't mind confessing
to me, to look them two young things in the face, and think what a
wicked old father of lies he had grown up to be. Howsomever, sir, I
went on a lying like a Trojan about the pony. I told 'em that it did
so unfort'nately happen that the pony was half clipped, you see, and
that he couldn't be took out in that state, for fear it should strike
to his inside. But that he'd be finished clipping in the course of the
day, and that to-morrow morning at eight o'clock the pheayton would be
ready. Boots's view of the whole case, looking back upon it in my
room, is, that Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, was beginning to give in.
She hadn't had her hair curled when she went to bed, and she didn't
seem quite up to brushing it herself, and its getting in her eyes put
her out. But nothing put out Master Harry. He sat behind his
breakfast-cup, a tearing away at the jelly, as if he had been his own
father.

In the course of the morning, Master Harry rung the bell,--it was
surprising how that there boy did carry on,--and said, in a sprightly
way, "Cobbs, is there any good walks in this neighborhood?"

"Yes, sir. There's Love Lane."

"Get out with you, Cobbs!"--that was that there boy's
expression,--"you're joking."

"Begging your pardon, sir, there really is Love Lane; and a pleasant
walk it is, and proud shall I be to show it to yourself and Mrs. Harry
Walmers, Junior."

"Norah, dear," says Master Harry, "this is curious. We really ought to
see Love Lane. Put on your bonnet, my sweetest darling, and we will go
there with Cobbs."

Boots leaves me to judge what a Beast he felt himself to be, when that
young pair told him, as they all three jogged along together, that
they had made up their minds to give him two thousand guineas a year
as head gardener, on account of his being so true a friend to 'em.
Well, sir, I turned the conversation as well as I could, and I took
'em down Love Lane to the water-meadows, and there Master Harry would
have drowned himself in a half a moment more, a getting out a
water-lily for her,--but nothing daunted that boy. Well, sir, they was
tired out. All being so new and strange to 'em, they was tired as
tired could be. And they laid down on a bank of daisies, like the
children in the wood, leastways meadows, and fell asleep.

I don't know, sir,--perhaps you do,--why it made a man fit to make a
fool of himself, to see them two pretty babies a lying there in the
clear still sunny day, not dreaming half so hard when they was asleep
as they done when they was awake. But Lord! when you come to think of
yourself, you know, and what a game you have been up to ever since you
was in your own cradle, and what a poor sort of a chap you are, after
all, that's where it is! Don't you see, sir?

Well, sir, they woke up at last, and then one thing was getting pretty
clear to me, namely, that Mrs. Harry Walmerses, Junior's, temper was
on the move. When Master Harry took her round the waist, she said he
"teased her so"; and when he says, "Norah, my young May Moon, your
Harry tease you?" she tells him, "Yes; and I want to go home!"

A billed fowl and baked bread-and-butter pudding brought Mrs. Walmers
up a little; but I could have wished, I must privately own to you,
sir, to have seen her more sensible of the voice of love, and less
abandoning of herself to the currants in the pudding. However, Master
Harry, he kep' up, and his noble heart was as fond as ever. Mrs.
Walmers turned very sleepy about dusk, and begun to cry. Therefore,
Mrs. Walmers went off to bed as per yesterday; and Master Harry ditto
repeated.

About eleven or twelve at night comes back the Governor in a chaise,
along with Mr. Walmers and a elderly lady. Mr. Walmers says to our
missis: "We are much indebted to you, ma'am, for your kind care of our
little children, which we can never sufficiently acknowledge. Pray,
ma'am, where is my boy?" Our missis says: "Cobbs has the dear child
in charge, sir. Cobbs, show Forty!" Then Mr. Walmers, he says: "Ah,
Cobbs! I am glad to see _you_. I understood you was here!" And I says:
"Yes, sir. Your most obedient, sir."

"I beg your pardon, sir," I adds, while unlocking the door; "I hope
you are not angry with Master Harry. For Master Harry is a fine boy,
sir, and will do you credit and honor." And Boots signifies to me,
that if the fine boy's father had contradicted him in the state of
mind in which he then was, he thinks he should have "fetched him a
crack," and took the consequences.

But Mr. Walmers only says, "No, Cobbs. No, my good fellow. Thank you!"
and, the door being opened, goes in, goes up to the bedside, bends
gently down, and kisses the little sleeping face. Then he stands
looking at it for a minute, looking wonderfully like it (they do say
he ran away with Mrs. Walmers); and then he gently shakes the little
shoulder.

"Harry, my dear boy! Harry!"

Master Harry starts up and looks at his pa. Looks at me too. Such is
the honor of that mite, that he looks at me, to see whether he has
brought me into trouble.

"I am not angry, my child. I only want you to dress yourself and come
home."

"Yes, pa."

Master Harry dresses himself quick.

"Please may I"--the spirit of that little creatur,--"please, dear
pa,--may I--kiss Norah, before I go?"

"You may, my child."

So he takes Master Harry in his hand, and I leads the way with the
candle to that other bedroom, where the elderly lady is seated by the
bed, and poor little Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, is fast asleep. There
the father lifts the boy up to the pillow, and he lays his little face
down for an instant by the little warm face of poor little Mrs. Harry
Walmers, Junior, and gently draws it to him,--a sight so touching to
the chambermaids who are a peeping through the door, that one of them
calls out, "It's a shame to part 'em!"

Finally, Boots says, that's all about it. Mr. Walmers drove away in
the chaise, having hold of Master Harry's hand. The elderly lady and
Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, that was never to be (she married a
captain, long afterwards, and died in India), went off next day. In
conclusion, Boots puts it to me whether I hold with him in two
opinions: firstly, that there are not many couples on their way to be
married who are half as innocent as them two children; secondly, that
it would be a jolly good thing for a great many couples on their way
to be married, if they could only be stopped in time and brought back
separate.

                                                  _Charles Dickens._

[Illustration]



AMRIE AND THE GEESE.


Amrie tended the geese upon the Holder Green, as they called the
pasture-ground upon the little height by Hungerbrook.

It was a pleasant but a troublesome occupation. Especially painful was
it to Amrie, that she could do nothing to attach her charge to her.
Indeed, they were scarcely to be distinguished one from another. Was
it not true what Brown Mariann had said to her as she came out of the
Moosbrunnenwood?

"Creatures that live in herds are all and every one stupid."

"I think," said Amrie, "that this is what makes geese stupid; they can
do too many things. They can swim and run and fly, but they can do
neither well; they are not at home in the water, nor on the ground,
nor in the air; and therefore they are stupid."

"I will stand by this," said Mariann; "in thee is concealed an old
hermit."

Amrie was often borne into the kingdom of dreams. Freely rose her
childish soul upward and cradled itself in unlimited ether. As the
larks in the air sang and rejoiced without knowing the limits of their
field, so would she soar away beyond the boundaries of the whole
country. The soul of the child knew nothing of the limits placed upon
the narrow life of reality. Whoever is accustomed to wonder will find
a miracle in every day.

"Listen!" she would say; "the cuckoo calls! It is the living echo of
the woods calling and answering itself. The bird sits over there in
the service-tree. Look up, and he will fly away. How loud he cries,
and how unceasingly! That little bird has a stronger voice than a man.
Place thyself upon the tree and imitate him; thou wilt not be heard
so far as this bird, who is no larger than my hand. Listen! Perhaps he
is an enchanted prince, and he may suddenly begin to speak to thee.
Yes," she continued, "only tell me thy riddle, and I will soon find
the meaning of it; and then will I disenchant thee."

While Amrie's thoughts were wandering beyond all bounds, the geese
also felt themselves at liberty to stray away and enjoy the good
things of the neighboring clover or barley field. Awaking out of her
dreams, she had great trouble in bringing the geese back; and when
these freebooters returned in regiments, they had much to tell of the
goodly land where they had fed so well. There seemed no end to their
gossipping and chattering.

[Illustration]

Again Amrie soared. "Look! there fly the birds! No bird in the air
goes astray. Even the swallows, as they pass and repass, are always
safe, always free! O, could we only fly! How must the world look
above, where the larks soar! Hurrah! Always higher and higher, farther
and farther! O, if I could but fly!"

Then she sang herself suddenly away from all the noise and from all
her thoughts. Her breath, which with the idea of flying had grown
deeper and quicker, as though she really hovered in the high ether,
became again calm and measured.

Of the thousand-fold meanings that lived in Amrie's soul, Brown
Mariann received only at times an intimation. Once, when she came from
the forest with her load of wood, and with May-bugs and worms for
Amrie's geese imprisoned in her sack, the latter said to her, "Aunt,
do you know why the wind blows?"

"No, child. Do you?"

"Yes; I have observed that everything that grows must move about. The
bird flies, the beetle creeps; the hare, the stag, the horse, and all
animals must run. The fish swim, and so do the frogs. But there stand
the trees, the corn, and the grass; they cannot go forth, and yet they
must grow. Then comes the wind, and says, 'Only stand still, and I
will do for you what others can do for themselves. See how I turn, and
shake, and bend you! Be glad that I come! I do thee good, even if I
make thee weary.'"

Brown Mariann only made her usual speech in reply, "I maintain it; in
thee is concealed the soul of an old hermit."

The quail began to be heard in the high rye-fields; near Amrie, the
field larks sang the whole day long. They wandered here and there and
sang so tenderly, so into the deepest heart, it seemed as though they
drew their inspiration from the source of life,--from the soul itself.
The tone was more beautiful than that of the skylark, which soars high
in the air. Often one of the birds came so near to Amrie that she
said, "Why cannot I tell thee that I will not hurt thee? Only stay!"
But the bird was timid, and flew farther off.

At noon, when Brown Mariann came to her, she said, "Could I only know
what a bird finds to say, singing the whole day long! Even then he has
not sung it all out!"

Mariann answered, "See here! A bird keeps nothing to himself, to
ponder over. But within man there is always something speaking on, so
softly! There are thoughts in us that talk, and weep, and sing so
quietly we scarcely hear them ourselves. Not so with the bird; when
his song is done, he only wants to eat or sleep."

As Mariann turned and went forth with her bundle of sticks, Amrie
looked after her, smiling. "There goes a great singing bird!" she
thought to herself.

None but the sun saw how long the child continued to smile and to
think. Silently she sat dreaming, as the wind moved the shadows of
the branches around her. Then she gazed at the clouds, motionless on
the horizon, or chasing each other through the sky. As in the wide
space without, so in the soul of the child, the cloud-pictures arose
and melted away.

Thus, day after day, Amrie lived.

                                            "_The Little Barefoot._"

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

THE ROBINS.


A thing remarkable in my childhood was, that once going to a
neighbor's house, I saw on the way a robin sitting on her nest, and as
I went near her she went off, but, having young ones, flew about, and
with many cries told her concern for them.

I stood and threw stones at her, until, one striking her, she fell
down dead. At first I was pleased with the exploit, but after a few
minutes was seized with horror for having in a sportive way killed an
innocent creature while she was careful of her young. I beheld her
lying dead, and thought that these young ones, for which she was so
heedful, must now perish for want of their parent to nourish them; and
after some painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up the
tree, took all the young birds and killed them, supposing that to be
better than to leave them to pine away and die miserably. I believed
in this case that the Scripture proverb was fulfilled: "The tender
mercies of the wicked are cruel."

I then went on my errand, but for some hours could think of little
else than the cruelties I had committed, and was troubled.

He whose tender mercies are over all his works hath placed a principle
in the human mind which incites to goodness towards every living
creature; and this being singly attended to, we become tender-hearted
and sympathizing; but being frequently rejected, the mind becomes shut
up in a contrary disposition.

I often remember the Fountain of Goodness which gives being to all
creatures, and whose love extends to the caring for the sparrow; and I
believe that where the love of God is verily perfected, a tenderness
toward all creatures made subject to us will be felt, and a care that
we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which
their Creator intended for them.

                                                     _John Woolman._

[Illustration]



THE FISH I DIDN'T CATCH.


Our old homestead (the house was very old for a new country, having
been built about the time that the Prince of Orange drove out James
the Second) nestled under a long range of hills which stretched off to
the west. It was surrounded by woods in all directions save to the
southeast, where a break in the leafy wall revealed a vista of low
green meadows, picturesque with wooded islands and jutting capes of
upland. Through these, a small brook, noisy enough as it foamed,
rippled, and laughed down its rocky falls by our garden-side, wound,
silently and scarcely visible, to a still larger stream, known as the
Country Brook. This brook in its turn, after doing duty at two or
three saw and grist mills, the clack of which we could hear in still
days across the intervening woodlands, found its way to the great
river, and the river took it up and bore it down to the great sea.

I have not much reason for speaking well of these meadows, or rather
bogs, for they were wet most of the year; but in the early days they
were highly prized by the settlers, as they furnished natural mowing
before the uplands could be cleared of wood and stones and laid down
to grass. There is a tradition that the hay-harvesters of two
adjoining towns quarrelled about a boundary question, and fought a
hard battle one summer morning in that old time, not altogether
bloodless, but by no means as fatal as the fight between the rival
Highland clans, described by Scott in "The Fair Maid of Perth." I used
to wonder at their folly, when I was stumbling over the rough
hassocks, and sinking knee-deep in the black mire, raking the sharp
sickle-edged grass which we used to feed out to the young cattle in
midwinter when the bitter cold gave them appetite for even such
fodder. I had an almost Irish hatred of snakes, and these meadows were
full of them,--striped, green, dingy water-snakes, and now and then
an ugly spotted adder by no means pleasant to touch with bare feet.
There were great black snakes, too, in the ledges of the neighboring
knolls; and on one occasion in early spring I found myself in the
midst of a score at least of them,--holding their wicked meeting of a
Sabbath morning on the margin of a deep spring in the meadows. One
glimpse at their fierce shining heads in the sunshine, as they roused
themselves at my approach, was sufficient to send me at full speed
towards the nearest upland. The snakes, equally scared, fled in the
same direction; and, looking back, I saw the dark monsters following
close at my heels, terrible as the Black Horse rebel regiment at Bull
Run. I had, happily, sense enough left to step aside and let the ugly
troop glide into the bushes.

Nevertheless, the meadows had their redeeming points. In spring
mornings the blackbirds and bobolinks made them musical with songs;
and in the evenings great bullfrogs croaked and clamored; and on
summer nights we loved to watch the white wreaths of fog rising and
drifting in the moonlight like troops of ghosts, with the fireflies
throwing up ever and anon signals of their coming. But the Brook was
far more attractive, for it had sheltered bathing-places, clear and
white sanded, and weedy stretches, where the shy pickerel loved to
linger, and deep pools, where the stupid sucker stirred the black mud
with his fins. I had followed it all the way from its birthplace among
the pleasant New Hampshire hills, through the sunshine of broad, open
meadows, and under the shadow of thick woods. It was, for the most
part, a sober, quiet little river; but at intervals it broke into a
low, rippling laugh over rocks and trunks of fallen trees. There had,
so tradition said, once been a witch-meeting on its banks, of six
little old women in short, sky-blue cloaks; and if a drunken teamster
could be credited, a ghost was once seen bobbing for eels under
Country Bridge. It ground our corn and rye for us, at its two
grist-mills; and we drove our sheep to it for their spring washing, an
anniversary which was looked forward to with intense delight, for it
was always rare fun for the youngsters. Macaulay has sung,--

    "That year young lads in Umbro
     Shall plunge the struggling sheep";

and his picture of the Roman sheep-washing recalled, when we read it,
similar scenes in the Country Brook. On its banks we could always find
the earliest and the latest wild flowers, from the pale blue,
three-lobed hepatica, and small, delicate wood-anemone, to the yellow
bloom of the witch-hazel burning in the leafless October woods.

Yet, after all, I think the chief attraction of the Brook to my
brother and myself was the fine fishing it afforded us. Our bachelor
uncle who lived with us (there has always been one of that unfortunate
class in every generation of our family) was a quiet, genial man, much
given to hunting and fishing; and it was one of the great pleasures of
our young life to accompany him on his expeditions to Great Hill,
Brandy-brow Woods, the Pond, and, best of all, to the Country Brook.
We were quite willing to work hard in the cornfield or the haying-lot
to finish the necessary day's labor in season for an afternoon stroll
through the woods and along the brookside. I remember my first fishing
excursion as if it were but yesterday. I have been happy many times in
my life, but never more intensely so than when I received that first
fishing-pole from my uncle's hand, and trudged off with him through
the woods and meadows. It was a still sweet day of early summer; the
long afternoon shadows of the trees lay cool across our path; the
leaves seemed greener, the flowers brighter, the birds merrier, than
ever before. My uncle, who knew by long experience where were the best
haunts of pickerel, considerately placed me at the most favorable
point. I threw out my line as I had so often seen others, and waited
anxiously for a bite, moving the bait in rapid jerks on the surface of
the water in imitation of the leap of a frog. Nothing came of it. "Try
again," said my uncle. Suddenly the bait sank out of sight. "Now for
it," thought I; "here is a fish at last." I made a strong pull, and
brought up a tangle of weeds. Again and again I cast out my line with
aching arms, and drew it back empty. I looked to my uncle appealingly.
"Try once more," he said; "we fishermen must have patience."

Suddenly something tugged at my line and swept off with it into deep
water. Jerking it up, I saw a fine pickerel wriggling in the sun.
"Uncle!" I cried, looking back in uncontrollable excitement, "I've got
a fish!" "Not yet," said my uncle. As he spoke there was a plash in
the water; I caught the arrowy gleam of a scared fish shooting into
the middle of the stream; my hook hung empty from the line. I had lost
my prize.

[Illustration]

We are apt to speak of the sorrows of childhood as trifles in
comparison with those of grown-up people; but we may depend upon it
the young folks don't agree with us. Our griefs, modified and
restrained by reason, experience, and self-respect, keep the
proprieties, and, if possible, avoid a scene; but the sorrow of
childhood, unreasoning and all-absorbing, is a complete abandonment to
the passion. The doll's nose is broken, and the world breaks up with
it; the marble rolls out of sight, and the solid globe rolls off with
the marble.

So, overcome by my great and bitter disappointment, I sat down on the
nearest hassock, and for a time refused to be comforted, even by my
uncle's assurance that there were more fish in the brook. He refitted
my bait, and, putting the pole again in my hands, told me to try my
luck once more.

"But remember, boy," he said, with his shrewd smile, "never brag of
catching a fish until he is on dry ground. I've seen older folks doing
that in more ways than one, and so making fools of themselves. It's no
use to boast of anything until it's done, nor then either, for it
speaks for itself."

How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I did not catch!
When I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to
anticipate the credit which belongs only to actual achievement, I call
to mind that scene by the brookside, and the wise caution of my uncle
in that particular instance takes the form of a proverb of universal
application: "NEVER BRAG OF YOUR FISH BEFORE YOU CATCH HIM."

                                                 _John G. Whittier._



LITTLE KATE WORDSWORTH.


When I first settled in Grasmere, Catherine Wordsworth was in her
infancy, but even at that age she noticed me more than any other
person, excepting, of course, her mother. She was not above three
years old when she died, so that there could not have been much room
for the expansion of her understanding, or the unfolding of her real
character. But there was room in her short life, and too much, for
love the most intense to settle upon her.

The whole of Grasmere is not large enough to allow of any great
distance between house and house; and as it happened that little Kate
Wordsworth returned my love, she in a manner lived with me at my
solitary cottage. As often as I could entice her from home, she walked
with me, slept with me, and was my sole companion.

That I was not singular in ascribing some witchery to the nature and
manners of this innocent child may be gathered from the following
beautiful lines by her father. They are from the poem entitled
"Characteristics of a Child Three Years Old," dated, at the foot,
1811, which must be an oversight, as she was not so old until the
following year.

    "Loving she is, and tractable, though wild;
     And Innocence hath privilege in her
     To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes,
     And feats of cunning, and the pretty round
     Of trespasses, affected to provoke
     Mock chastisement, and partnership in play.
     And as a fagot sparkles on the hearth
     Not less if unattended and alone
     Than when both young and old sit gathered round,
     And take delight in its activity,--
     Even so this happy creature of herself
     Was all-sufficient. Solitude to her
     Was blithe society, who filled the air
     With gladness and involuntary songs."

It was this radiant spirit of joyousness, making solitude, for her,
blithe society, and filling from morning to night the air with
gladness and involuntary songs,--this it was which so fascinated my
heart that I became blindly devoted to this one affection.

In the spring of 1812 I went up to London; and early in June I learned
by a letter from Miss Wordsworth, her aunt, that she had died
suddenly. She had gone to bed in good health about sunset on June 4,
was found speechless a little before midnight, and died in the early
dawn, just as the first gleams of morning began to appear above Seat
Sandel and Fairfield, the mightiest of the Grasmere barriers,--about
an hour, perhaps, before sunrise.

Over and above my love for her, I had always viewed her as an
impersonation of the dawn, and of the spirit of infancy; and this,
with the connection which, even in her parting hours, she assumed with
the summer sun, timing her death with the rising of that fountain of
life,--these impressions recoiled into such a contrast to the image of
death, that each exalted and brightened the other.

I returned hastily to Grasmere, stretched myself every night on her
grave, in fact often passed the whole night there, in mere intensity
of sick yearning after neighborhood with the darling of my heart.

In Sir Walter Scott's "Demonology," and in Dr. Abercrombie's
"Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers," there are some
remarkable illustrations of the creative faculties awakened in the eye
or other organs by peculiar states of passion; and it is worthy of a
place among cases of that nature, that in many solitary fields, at a
considerable elevation above the level of the valleys,--fields which,
in the local dialect, are called "intacks,"--my eye was haunted, at
times, in broad noonday (oftener, however, in the afternoon), with a
facility, but at times also with a necessity, for weaving, out of a
few simple elements, a perfect picture of little Kate in her attitude
and onward motion of walking.

I resorted constantly to these "intacks," as places where I was little
liable to disturbance; and usually I saw her at the opposite side of
the field, which sometimes might be at the distance of a quarter of a
mile, generally not so much. Almost always she carried a basket on her
head; and usually the first hint upon which the figure arose commenced
in wild plants, such as tall ferns, or the purple flowers of the
foxglove. But whatever these might be, uniformly the same little
full-formed figure arose, uniformly dressed in the little blue
bed-gown and black skirt of Westmoreland, and uniformly with the air
of advancing motion.

                                                _Thomas De Quincey._

[Illustration]



HOW MARGERY WONDERED.

[Illustration]


One bright morning, late in March, little Margery put on her hood and
her Highland plaid shawl, and went trudging across the beach. It was
the first time she had been trusted out alone, for Margery was a
little girl; nothing about her was large, except her round gray eyes,
which had yet scarcely opened upon half a dozen springs and summers.

There was a pale mist on the far-off sea and sky, and up around the
sun were white clouds edged with the hues of pinks and violets. The
sunshine and the mild air made Margery's very heart feel warm, and she
let the soft wind blow aside her Highland shawl, as she looked across
the waters at the sun, and wondered!

For, somehow, the sun had never looked before as it did to-day;--it
seemed like a great golden flower bursting out of its pearl-lined
calyx,--a flower without a stem! Or was there a strong stem away
behind it in the sky, that reached down below the sea, to a root,
nobody could guess where?

Margery did not stop to puzzle herself about the answer to her
question, for now the tide was coming in, and the waves, little at
first, but growing larger every moment, were crowding up, along the
sand and pebbles, laughing, winking, and whispering, as they tumbled
over each other, like thousands of children hurrying home from
somewhere, each with its own precious little secret to tell. Where did
the waves come from? Who was down there under the blue wall of the
horizon, with the hoarse, hollow voice, urging and pushing them across
the beach to her feet? And what secret was it they were lisping to
each other with their pleasant voices? O, what was there beneath the
sea, and beyond the sea, so deep, so broad, and so dim too, away off
where the white ships, that looked smaller than sea-birds, were
gliding out and in?

But while Margery stood still for a moment on a dry rock and wondered,
there came a low, rippling warble to her ear from a cedar-tree on the
cliff above her. It had been a long winter, and Margery had forgotten
that there were birds, and that birds could sing. So she wondered
again what the music was. And when she saw the bird perched on a
yellow-brown bough, she wondered yet more. It was only a bluebird, but
then it was the first bluebird Margery had ever seen. He fluttered
among the prickly twigs, and looked as if he had grown out of them, as
the cedar-berries had, which were dusty-blue, the color of his coat.
But how did the music get into his throat? And after it was in his
throat, how could it untangle itself, and wind itself off so evenly?
And where had the bluebird flown from, across the snow-banks, down to
the shore of the blue sea? The waves sang a welcome to him, and he
sang a welcome to the waves; they seemed to know each other well; and
the ripple and the warble sounded so much alike, the bird and the wave
must both have learned their music of the same teacher. And Margery
kept on wondering as she stepped between the song of the bluebird and
the echo of the sea, and climbed a sloping bank, just turning faintly
green in the spring sunshine.

The grass was surely beginning to grow! There were fresh, juicy shoots
running up among the withered blades of last year, as if in hopes of
bringing them back to life; and closer down she saw the sharp points
of new spears peeping from their sheaths. And scattered here and there
were small dark green leaves folded around buds shut up so tight that
only those who had watched them many seasons could tell what flowers
were to be let out of their safe prisons by and by. So no one could
blame Margery for not knowing that they were only common
things,--mouse-ear, dandelions, and cinquefoil; nor for stooping over
the tiny buds, and wondering.

What made the grass come up so green out of the black earth? And how
did the buds know when it was time to take off their little green
hoods, and see what there was in the world around them? And how came
they to be buds at all? Did they bloom in another world before they
sprung up here?--and did they know, themselves, what kind of flowers
they should blossom into? Had flowers souls, like little girls, that
would live in another world when their forms had faded away from this?

Margery thought she should like to sit down on the bank and wait
beside the buds until they opened; perhaps they would tell her their
secret if the very first thing they saw was her eyes watching them.
One bud was beginning to unfold; it was streaked with yellow in little
stripes that she could imagine became wider every minute. But she
would not touch it, for it seemed almost as much alive as herself. She
only wondered, and wondered!

But the dash of the waves grew louder, and the bluebird had not
stopped singing yet, and the sweet sounds drew Margery's feet down to
the beach again, where she played with the shining pebbles, and sifted
the sand through her plump fingers, stopping now and then to wonder a
little about everything, until she heard her mother's voice calling
her, from the cottage on the cliff.

Then Margery trudged home across the shells and pebbles with a
pleasant smile dimpling her cheeks, for she felt very much at home in
this large, wonderful world, and was happy to be alive, although she
neither could have told, nor cared to know, the reason why. But when
her mother unpinned the little girl's Highland shawl, and took off
her hood, she said, "O mother, do let me live on the door-step! I
don't like houses to stay in. What makes everything so pretty and so
glad? Don't you like to wonder?"

Margery's mother was a good woman. But then there was all the
housework to do, and if she had thoughts, she did not often let them
wander outside the kitchen door. And just now she was baking some
gingerbread, which was in danger of getting burned in the oven. So she
pinned the shawl around the child's neck again, and left her on the
door-step, saying to herself, as she returned to her work, "Queer
child! I wonder what kind of a woman she will be!"

But Margery sat on the door-step, and wondered, as the sea sounded
louder, and the sunshine grew warmer around her. It was all so
strange, and grand, and beautiful! Her heart danced with joy to the
music that went echoing through the wide world from the roots of the
sprouting grass to the great golden blossom of the sun.

And when the round, gray eyes closed that night, at the first peep of
the stars, the angels looked down and wondered over Margery. For the
wisdom of the wisest being God has made ends in wonder; and there is
nothing on earth so wonderful as the budding soul of a little child.

                                                      _Lucy Larcom._

[Illustration]



THE NETTLE-GATHERER.


Very early in the spring, when the fresh grass was just appearing,
before the trees had got their foliage, or the beds of white campanula
and blue anemone were open, a poor little girl with a basket on her
arm went out to search for nettles.

Near the stone wall of the churchyard was a bright green spot, where
grew a large bunch of nettles. The largest stung little Karine's
fingers. "Thank you for nothing!" said she; "but, whether you like it
or not, you must all be put into my basket."

Little Karine blew on her smarting finger, and the wind followed suit.
The sun shone out warm, and the larks began to sing. As Karine was
standing there listening to the song of the birds, and warming herself
in the sun, she perceived a beautiful butterfly.

"O, the first I have seen this year! What sort of summer shall I have?
Let me see your colors. Black and bright red. Sorrow and joy in turn.
It is very likely I may go supperless to bed, but then there is the
pleasure of gathering flowers, making hay, and playing tricks."
Remembrance and expectation made her laugh.

The butterfly stretched out its dazzling wings, and, after it had
settled on a nettle, waved itself backwards and forwards in the
sunshine. There was also something else upon the nettle, which looked
like a shrivelled-up light brown leaf. The sun was just then shining
down with great force upon the spot, and while she looked the brown
object moved, and two little leaves rose gently up which by and by
became two beautiful little wings; and behold, it was a butterfly just
come out of the chrysalis! Fresh life was infused into it by the warm
rays of the sun, and how happy it was!

The two butterflies must have been friends whom some unlucky chance
had separated. They flew about, played at hide-and-seek, waltzed with
each other, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves in the
bright sunshine. One flew away three times into a neighboring orchard.
The other seated itself on a nettle to rest. Karine went gently
towards it, put her hands quickly over it, and got possession both of
the butterfly and the nettle. She then put them into the basket, which
she covered with a red cotton handkerchief, and went home happy.

[Illustration]

The nettles were bought by an old countess, who lived in a grand
apartment, and had a weakness for nettle soup. Karine received a
silver piece for them. With this in her hand, the butterfly in her
basket, and also two large gingercakes which had been given to her by
the kind countess, the happy girl went into the room where her mother
and little brother awaited her. There were great rejoicings over the
piece of silver, the gingercakes, and the butterfly.

But the butterfly did not appear as happy with the children as the
children were with the butterfly. It would not eat any of the
gingerbread, or anything else which the children offered, but was
always fluttering against the window-pane, and when it rested on the
ledge it put out a long proboscis, drew it in again, and appeared to
be sucking something; however, it found nothing to suit its taste, so
it flew about again, and beat its wings with such force against the
window-pane, that Karine began to fear it would come to grief. Two
days passed in this way. The butterfly would not be happy.

"It wants to get out," thought Karine; "it wants to find a home and
something to eat." So she opened the window.

Ah, how joyfully the butterfly flew out into the open air! it seemed
to be quite happy. Karine ran after it to see which way it took. It
flew over the churchyard, which was near Karine's dwelling. There
little yellow star-like flowers of every description were in bud;
among them the spring campanula, otherwise called the morning-star.
Into the calyxes of these little flowers it thrust its proboscis, and
sucked a sweet juice therefrom; for at the bottom of the calyx of
almost every flower there is a drop of sweet juice which God has
provided for the nourishment of insects,--bees, drones, butterflies,
and many other little creatures.

The butterfly then flew to the bunch of nettles on the hill. The large
nettle which had stung Karine's finger now bore three white
bell-shaped flowers, which looked like a crown on the top of the
stalk, and many others were nearly out. The butterfly drew honey from
the white nettle-blossoms and embraced the plant with its wings, as
children do a tender mother.

"It has now returned to its home," thought Karine, and she felt very
glad to have given the butterfly its liberty.

Summer came. The child enjoyed herself under the lime-trees in the
churchyard, and in the meadows where she got the beautiful yellow
catkins, which were as soft as the down of the goslings, and which she
was so fond of playing with, also the young twigs which she liked
cutting into pipes or whistles. Fir-trees and pines blossomed and bore
fir-cones; the sheep and calves were growing, and drank the dew, which
is called the "Blessed Virgin's hand," out of the trumpet moss, which
with its small white and purple cup grew on the steep shady banks.

Karine now gathered flowers to sell. The nettles had long ago become
too old and rank, but the nettle butterflies still flew merrily about
among them.

One day Karine saw her old friend sit on a leaf, as if tired and worn
out, and when it flew away the child found a little gray egg lying on
the very spot where it had rested, whereupon she made a mark on the
nettle and the leaf.

She forgot the nettles for a long time, and it seemed as if the
butterfly had also forgotten them, for it was there no more. Larger
and more beautiful butterflies were flying about there, higher up in
the air. There was the magnificent Apollo-bird, with large white wings
and scarlet eyes; also the Antiopa, with its beautiful blue and white
velvet band on the edge of its dark velvet dress; and farther on the
dear little blue glittering Zefprinner, and many others.

Karine gathered flowers, and then went into the hay-field to work;
still, it often happened that she and her little brother went
supperless to bed. But then their father played on the violin, and
made them forget that they were hungry, and its tones lulled them to
sleep.

One day, when Karine was passing by the nettles, she stopped, rejoiced
to see them again. She saw that the nettles were a little bent down,
and, upon examination, found a number of small green caterpillars,
resembling those which we call cabbage-grubs, and they seemed to enjoy
eating the nettle leaves as much as the old countess did her nettle
soup. She saw that they covered the exact spot where she had made a
mark, and that the leaf was nearly eaten up by the caterpillars, and
Karine immediately thought that they must be the butterfly's children.
And so they were, for they had come from its eggs.

"Ah!" thought Karine, "if my little brother and I, who sometimes can
eat more than our father and mother can give us, could become
butterflies, and find something to eat as easily as these do, would it
not be pleasant?" She broke off the nettle on which the butterfly had
laid its eggs,--but this time she carefully wound her handkerchief
round her hand,--and carried it home.

On her arrival there, she found all the little grubs had crawled away,
with the exception of one, which was still eating and enjoying
itself. Karine put the nettle into a glass of water, and every day a
fresh leaf appeared. The caterpillar quickly increased in size, and
seemed to thrive wonderfully well. The child took great pleasure in
it, and wondered within herself how large it would be at last, and
when its wings would come.

But one morning it appeared very quiet and sleepy, and would not eat,
and became every moment more weary, and seemed ill. "O," said Karine,
"it is certainly going to die, and there will be no butterfly from it;
what a pity!"

It was evening, and the next morning Karine found with astonishment
that the caterpillar had spun round itself a sort of web, in which it
lay, no longer a living green grub, but a stiff brown chrysalis. She
took it out of the cocoon; it was as if enclosed in a shell. "It is
dead," said the child, "and is now lying in its coffin! But I will
still keep it, for it has been so long with us, and at any rate it
will be something belonging to my old favorite." Karine then laid it
on the earth in a little flower-pot which stood in the window, in
which there was a balsam growing.

The long winter came, and much, very much snow. Karine and her little
brother had to run barefooted through it all. The boy got a cough. He
became paler and paler, would not eat anything, and lay tired and
weary, just like the grub of the caterpillar shortly before it became
a chrysalis.

The snow melted, the April sun reappeared, but the little boy played
out of doors no more. His sister went out again to gather nettles and
blue anemones, but no longer with a merry heart. When she came home,
she would place the anemones on her little brother's sick-bed. And as
time went on, one day he lay there stiff and cold, with eyes fast
closed. In a word, he was dead. They placed him in a coffin, took him
to the churchyard, and laid him in the ground, and the priest threw
three handfuls of earth over the coffin. Karine's heart was so heavy
that she did not heed the blessed words which were spoken of the
resurrection unto everlasting life.

Karine only knew that her brother was dead, that she had no longer
any little brother whom she could play with, and love, and be loved by
in return. She wept bitterly when she thought how gentle and good he
was. She went crying into the meadows, gathered all the flowers and
young leaves she could find, and strewed them on her brother's grave,
and sat there weeping for many hours.

One day she took the pot with the balsam in it, and also the
chrysalis, and said, "I will plant the balsam on the grave, and bury
the butterfly's grub with my dear little brother." Again she wept
bitterly while she thought to herself: "Mother said that my brother
lives, and is happy with God; but I saw him lying in the coffin, and
put into the grave, and how can he then come back again? No, no; he is
dead, and I shall never see either of them again."

Poor little Karine sobbed, and dried her tears with the hand that was
free. In the other lay the chrysalis, and the sun shone upon it. There
was a low crackling in the shell, and a violent motion within, and,
behold! she saw a living insect crawl out, which threw off its shell
as a man would his cloak, and sat on Karine's hand, breathing, and at
liberty. In a short time wings began to appear from its back. Karine
looked on with a beating heart. She saw its wings increase in size,
and become colored in the brightness of the spring sun. Presently the
new-born butterfly moved its proboscis, and tried to raise its young
wings, and she recognized her nettle butterfly. And when, after an
hour, he fluttered his wings to prepare for flight, and flew around
the child's head and among the flowers, an unspeakably joyful feeling
came over Karine, and she said, "The shell of the chrysalis has burst,
and the caterpillar within has got wings; in like manner is my little
brother freed from his mortal body, and has become an angel in the
presence of God."

In the night she dreamed that her brother and herself, with
butterfly's wings, and joy beaming in their eyes, were soaring far,
far away, above their earthly home, towards the millions of bright
shining stars; and the stars became flowers, whose nectar they drank;
and over them was a wondrous bright light, and they heard sounds of
music,--so grand and beautiful! Karine recognized the tones she had
heard on earth, when their father played for her and her little
brother in their poor cottage, when they were hungry. But this was so
much more grand! Yet it was so beautiful, so exceedingly beautiful,
that Karine awoke. A rosy light filled the room, the morning dawn was
breaking, and the sun was looking in love upon the earth, reviving
everything with his gentleness and strength.

Karine wept no more. She felt great inward joy. When she again went to
visit the nettles, and saw the little caterpillars crawling on the
leaves, she said in a low voice, "You only crawl now, you little
things! By and by you will have wings as well as I, and you know not
how glorious it will be at the last."

                                                 _From the Swedish._

[Illustration]



LITTLE ARTHUR'S PRAYER.


The little school-boys went quietly to their own beds, and began
undressing and talking to one another in whispers; while the elder,
amongst whom was Tom, sat chatting about on one another's beds, with
their jackets and waistcoats off. Poor little Arthur was overwhelmed
with the novelty of his position. The idea of sleeping in the room
with strange boys had clearly never crossed his mind before, and was
as painful as it was strange to him. He could hardly bear to take his
jacket off; however, presently, with an effort, off it came, and then
he paused and looked at Tom, who was sitting at the bottom of his bed,
talking and laughing.

"Please, Brown," he whispered, "may I wash my face and hands?"

"Of course, if you like," said Tom, staring; "that's your
washhand-stand under the window, second from your bed. You'll have to
go down for more water in the morning if you use it all." And on he
went with his talk, while Arthur stole timidly from between the beds
out to his washhand-stand, and began his ablutions, thereby drawing
for a moment on himself the attention of the room.

On went the talk and laughter. Arthur finished his washing and
undressing, and put on his night-gown. He then looked round more
nervously than ever. Two or three of the little boys were already in
bed, sitting up with their chins on their knees. The light burned
clear, the noise went on. It was a trying moment for the poor little
lonely boy; however, this time he did not ask Tom what he might or
might not do, but dropped on his knees by his bedside, as he had done
every day from his childhood, to open his heart to Him who heareth the
cry and beareth the sorrows of the tender child, and the strong man in
agony.

[Illustration]

Tom was sitting at the bottom of his bed unlacing his boots, so that
his back was towards Arthur, and he did not see what had happened,
and looked up in wonder at the sudden silence. Then two or three boys
laughed and sneered, and a big brutal fellow who was standing in the
middle of the room picked up a slipper, and shied it at the kneeling
boy, calling him a snivelling young shaver. Then Tom saw the whole,
and the next moment the boot he had just pulled off flew straight at
the head of the bully, who had just time to throw up his arm and catch
it on his elbow.

"Confound you, Brown; what's that for?" roared he, stamping with pain.

"Never mind what I mean," said Tom, stepping on to the floor, every
drop of blood in his body tingling; "if any fellow wants the other
boot, he knows how to get it."

What would have been the result is doubtful, for at this moment the
sixth-form boy came in, and not another word could be said. Tom and
the rest rushed into bed and finished their unrobing there, and the
old verger, as punctual as the clock, had put out the candle in
another minute, and toddled on to the next room, shutting their door
with his usual "Good night, genl'm'n."

There were many boys in the room by whom that little scene was taken
to heart before they slept. But sleep seemed to have deserted the
pillow of poor Tom. For some time his excitement, and the flood of
memories which chased one another through his brain, kept him from
thinking or resolving. His head throbbed, his heart leapt, and he
could hardly keep himself from springing out of bed and rushing about
the room. Then the thought of his own mother came across him, and the
promise he had made at her knee, years ago, never to forget to kneel
by his bedside, and give himself up to his Father, before he laid his
head on the pillow, from which it might never rise; and he lay down
gently, and cried as if his heart would break. He was only fourteen
years old.

It was no light act of courage in those days for a little fellow to
say his prayers publicly, even at Rugby. A few years later, when
Arnold's manly piety had begun to leaven the school, the tables
turned; before he died, in the schoolhouse at least, and I believe in
the other houses, the rule was the other way. But poor Tom had come to
school in other times. The first few nights after he came he did not
kneel down because of the noise, but sat up in bed till the candle was
out, and then stole out and said his prayers, in fear lest some one
should find him out. So did many another poor little fellow. Then he
began to think that he might just as well say his prayers in bed, and
then that it did not matter whether he was kneeling, or sitting, or
lying down. And so it had come to pass with Tom, as with all who will
not confess their Lord before men; and for the last year he had
probably not said his prayers in earnest a dozen times.

Poor Tom! the first and bitterest feeling which was like to break his
heart was the sense of his own cowardice. The vice of all others which
he loathed was brought in and burned in on his own soul. He had lied
to his mother, to his conscience, to his God. How could he bear it?
And then the poor little weak boy, whom he had pitied and almost
scorned for his weakness, had done that which he, braggart as he was,
dared not do. The first dawn of comfort came to him in vowing to
himself that he would stand by that boy through thick and thin, and
cheer him, and help him, and bear his burdens, for the good deed done
that night. Then he resolved to write home next day and tell his
mother all, and what a coward her son had been. And then peace came to
him as he resolved, lastly, to bear his testimony next morning. The
morning would be harder than the night to begin with, but he felt that
he could not afford to let one chance slip. Several times he faltered,
for the Devil showed him first, all his old friends calling him
"Saint," and "Squaretoes," and a dozen hard names, and whispered to
him that his motives would be misunderstood, and he would only be left
alone with the new boy; whereas it was his duty to keep all means of
influence, that he might do good to the largest number. And then came
the more subtle temptation, "Shall I not be showing myself braver than
others by doing this? Have I any right to begin it now? Ought I not
rather to pray in my own study, letting other boys know that I do so,
and trying to lead them to it, while in public at least I should go on
as I have done?" However, his good angel was too strong that night,
and he turned on his side and slept, tired of trying to reason, but
resolved to follow the impulse which had been so strong, and in which
he had found peace.

Next morning he was up and washed and dressed, all but his jacket and
waistcoat, just as the ten minutes' bell began to ring, and then in
the face of the whole room he knelt down to pray. Not five words could
he say,--the bell mocked him; he was listening for every whisper in
the room,--what were they all thinking of him? He was ashamed to go on
kneeling, ashamed to rise from his knees. At last, as it were from his
inmost heart, a still small voice seemed to breathe forth the words of
the publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" He repeated them over
and over, clinging to them as for his life, and rose from his knees
comforted and humbled, and ready to face the whole world. It was not
needed; two other boys besides Arthur had already followed his
example, and he went down to the great school with a glimmering of
another lesson in his heart,--the lesson that he who has conquered his
own coward spirit has conquered the whole outward world; and that
other one which the old prophet learned in the cave at Mount Horeb,
when he hid his face, and the still small voice asked, "What doest
thou here, Elijah?" that however we may fancy ourselves alone on the
side of good, the King and Lord of men is nowhere without his
witnesses; for in every society, however seemingly corrupt and
godless, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

He found, too, how greatly he had exaggerated the effect to be
produced by his act. For a few nights there was a sneer or a laugh
when he knelt down, but this passed off soon, and one by one all the
other boys but three or four followed the lead.

                                           "_School-Days at Rugby._"



FAITH AND HER MOTHER.


Aunt Winifred went again to Worcester to-day. She said that she had to
buy trimming for Faith's sack.

She went alone, as usual, and Faith and I kept each other company
through the afternoon,--she on the floor with her doll, I in the
easy-chair with Macaulay. As the light began to fall level on the
floor, I threw the book aside,--being at the end of a volume,--and,
Mary Ann having exhausted her attractions, I surrendered
unconditionally to the little maiden.

She took me up garret, and down cellar, on top of the wood-pile, and
into the apple-trees; I fathomed the mysteries of Old Man's Castle and
Still Palm; I was her grandmother; I was her baby; I was a rabbit; I
was a chestnut horse; I was a watch-dog; I was a mild-tempered giant;
I was a bear, "warranted not to eat little girls"; I was a roaring
hippopotamus and a canary-bird; I was Jeff Davis, and I was Moses in
the bulrushes; and of what I was, the time faileth me to tell.

It comes over me with a curious, mingled sense of the ludicrous and
the horrible, that I should have spent the afternoon like a baby and
almost as happily, laughing out with the child, past and future
forgotten, the tremendous risks of "I spy" absorbing all my present,
while what was happening was happening, and what was to come was
coming. Not an echo in the air, not a prophecy in the sunshine, not a
note of warning in the song of the robins that watched me from the
apple-boughs.

As the long, golden afternoon slid away, we came out by the front gate
to watch for the child's mother. I was tired, and, lying back on the
grass, gave Faith some pink and purple larkspurs, that she might amuse
herself in making a chain of them. The picture that she made sitting
there on the short dying grass--the light which broke all about her
and over her at the first, creeping slowly down and away to the west,
her little fingers linking the rich, bright flowers, tube into tube,
the dimple on her cheek and the love in her eyes--has photographed
itself into my thinking.

How her voice rang out, when the wheels sounded at last, and the
carriage, somewhat slowly driven, stopped!

"Mamma, mamma! see what I've got for you, mamma!"

Auntie tried to step from the carriage, and called me: "Mary, can you
help me a little? I am--tired."

I went to her, and she leaned heavily on my arm, and we came up the
path.

"Such a pretty little chain, all for you, mamma," began Faith, and
stopped, struck by her mother's look.

"It has been a long ride, and I am in pain. I believe I will lie right
down on the parlor sofa. Mary, would you be kind enough to give Faith
her supper and put her to bed?"

Faith's lip grieved.

"Cousin Mary isn't _you_, mamma. I want to be kissed. You haven't
kissed me."

Her mother hesitated for a moment; then kissed her once, twice; put
both arms about her neck, and turned her face to the wall without a
word.

"Mamma is tired, dear," I said; "come away."

She was lying quite still when I had done what was to be done for the
child, and had come back. The room was nearly dark. I sat down on my
cricket by her sofa.

"Did you find the sack-trimming?" I ventured, after a pause.

"I believe so,--yes."

She drew a little package from her pocket, held it a moment, then let
it roll to the floor forgotten. When I picked it up, the soft,
tissue-paper wrapper was wet and hot with tears.

"Mary?"

"Yes."

"I never thought of the little trimming till the last minute. I had
another errand."

I waited.

[Illustration]

"I thought at first I would not tell you just yet. But I suppose the
time has come; it will be no more easy to put it off. I have been to
Worcester all these times to see a doctor."

I bent my head in the dark, and listened for the rest.

"He has his reputation; they said he could help me if anybody could.
He thought at first he could. But to-day--"

The leaves rustled out of doors. Faith, up stairs, was singing herself
to sleep with a droning sound.

"I suppose," she said at length, "I must give up and be sick now; I am
feeling the reaction from having kept up so long. He thinks I shall
not suffer a very great deal. He thinks he can relieve me, and that it
may be soon over."

"There is no chance?"

"No chance."

I took both of her hands, and cried out, "Auntie, Auntie, Auntie!" and
tried to think what I was doing, but only cried out the more.

"Why, Mary!" she said; "why, Mary!" and again, as before, she passed
her soft hand to and fro across my hair, till by and by I began to
think, as I had thought before, that I could bear anything which God,
who loved us all,--who _surely_ loved us all,--should send.

So then, after I had grown still, she began to tell me about it in her
quiet voice; and the leaves rustled, and Faith had sung herself to
sleep, and I listened wondering. For there was no pain in the quiet
voice,--no pain, nor tone of fear. Indeed, it seemed to me that I
detected, through its subdued sadness, a secret, suppressed buoyancy
of satisfaction, with which something struggled.

"And you?" I asked, turning quickly upon her.

"I should thank God with all my heart, Mary, if it were not for Faith
and you. But it _is_ for Faith and you. That's all."

When I had locked the front door, and was creeping up here to my room,
my foot crushed something, and a faint, wounded perfume came up. It
was the little pink and purple chain.

                                                 "_The Gates Ajar._"



THE OPEN DOOR.


Poor Mrs. Van Loon was a widow. She had four little children. The
eldest was Dirk, a boy of eight years.

One evening she had no bread, and her children were hungry. She folded
her hands, and prayed to God; for she served the Lord, and she
believed that he loved and could help her.

When she had finished her prayer, Dirk said to her, "Mother, don't we
read in the Bible that God sent ravens to a pious man to bring him
bread?"

"Yes," answered the mother, "but that's long, long ago, my dear."

"Well," said Dirk, "then the Lord may send ravens now. I'll go and
open the door, else they can't fly in."

In a trice Dirk jumped to the door, which he left wide open, so that
the light of the lamp fell on the pavement of the street.

Shortly after, the burgomaster passed by. The burgomaster is the first
magistrate of a Dutch town or village. Seeing the open door, he
stopped.

Looking into the room, he was pleased with its clean, tidy appearance,
and with the nice little children who were grouped around their
mother. He could not help stepping in, and approaching Mrs. Van Loon
he said, "Eh, my good woman, why is your door open so late as this?"

Mrs. Van Loon was a little confused when she saw such a well-dressed
gentleman in her poor room. She quickly rose and dropped a courtesy to
the gentleman; then taking Dirk's cap from his head, and smoothing his
hair, she answered, with a smile, "My little Dirk has done it, sir,
that the ravens may fly in to bring us bread."

Now, the burgomaster was dressed in a black coat and black trousers,
and he wore a black hat. He was quite black all over, except his
collar and shirt-front.

"Ah! indeed!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "Dirk is right. Here is a
raven, you see, and a large one too. Come along, Dirk, and I'll show
you where the bread is."

The burgomaster took Dirk to his house, and ordered his servant to put
two loaves and a small pot of butter into a basket. This he gave to
Dirk, who carried it home as quickly as he could. When the other
little children saw the bread, they began dancing and clapping their
hands. The mother gave to each of them a thick slice of bread and
butter, which they ate with the greatest relish.

When they had finished their meal, Dirk went to the open door, and,
taking his cap from his head, looked up to the sky, and said, "Many
thanks, good Lord!" And after having said this, he shut the door.

                                                   _John de Liefde._

[Illustration]



THE PRINCE'S VISIT.


It was a holiday in the city, for the Prince was to arrive. As soon as
the cannon should sound, the people might know that the Prince had
landed from the steamer; and when they should hear the bells ring,
that was much the same as being told that the Mayor and Aldermen and
City Councillors had welcomed the Prince, by making speeches, and
shaking hands, and bowing, and drinking wine; and that now the Prince,
dressed in splendid clothes, and wearing a feather in his cap, was
actually on his way up the main street of the city, seated in a
carriage drawn by four coal-black horses, preceded by soldiers and
music, and followed by soldiers, citizens in carriages, and people on
foot. Now it was the first time that a Prince had ever visited the
city, and it might be the only chance that the people ever would get
to see a real son of a king; and so it was universally agreed to have
a holiday, and long before the bells rang, or even the cannon sounded,
the people were flocking into the main street, well dressed, as indeed
they ought to be, when they were to be seen by a Prince.

It was holiday in the stores and in the workshops, although the
holiday did not begin at the same hour everywhere. In the great
laundry it was to commence when the cannon sounded; and "weak Job," as
his comrades called him, who did nothing all day long but turn the
crank that worked a great washing-machine, and which was quite as
much, they said, as he had wits to do, listened eagerly for the sound
of the cannon; and when he heard it, he dropped the crank, and,
getting a nod from the head man, shuffled out of the building and made
his way home.

Since he had heard of the Prince's coming, Job had thought and dreamed
of nothing else; and when he found that they were to have a holiday on
his arrival, he was almost beside himself. He bought a picture of the
Prince, and pinned it up on the wall over his bed; and when he came
home at night, tired and hungry, he would sit down by his mother, who
mended rents in the clothes brought to the laundry, and talk about the
Prince until he could not keep his eyes open longer; then his mother
would kiss him and send him to bed, where he knelt down and prayed the
Lord to keep the Prince, and then slept and dreamed of him, dressing
him in all the gorgeous colors that his poor imagination could devise,
while his mother worked late in her solitary room, thinking of her
only boy; and when she knelt down at night, she prayed the Lord to
keep him, and then slept, dreaming also, but with various fancies; for
sometimes she seemed to see Job like his dead father,--strong and
handsome and brave and quick-witted,--and now she would see him
playing with the children, or shuffling down the court with his head
leaning on his shoulder.

To-day he hurried so fast that he was panting for want of breath when
he reached the shed-like house where they lived. His mother was
watching for him, and he came in nodding his head and rubbing his warm
face.

"The cannon has gone off, mother," said he, in great excitement. "The
Prince has come!"

"Everything is ready, Job," said his mother. "You will find all your
things in a row on the bed." And Job tumbled into his room to dress
himself for the holiday. Everything was there as his mother had said;
all the old things renewed, and all the new things pieced together
that she had worked on so long, and every stitch of which Job had
overlooked and almost directed. If there had but been time to spare,
how Job would have liked to turn round and round before his scrap of
looking-glass; but there was no time to spare, and so in a very few
minutes he was out again, and showing himself to his mother.

"Isn't it splendid!" said he, surveying himself from top to toe, and
looking with special admiration on a white satin scarf that shone
round his throat in dazzling contrast to the dingy coat, and which had
in it an old brooch which Job treasured as the apple of his eye.
Job's mother, too, looked at them both; and though she smiled and did
not speak, it was only--brave woman!--because she was choking, as she
thought how the satin was the last remnant of her wedding-dress, and
the brooch the last trinket left of all given to her years back.

"If you would only have let me wear the feather, mother!" said Job,
sorrowfully, in regretful remembrance of one he had long hoarded, and
which he had begged hard to wear in his hat.

"You look splendidly, Job, and don't need it," said she, cheerfully;
"and, besides, the Prince wears one, and what would he think if he saw
you with one, too?"

"Sure enough," said Job, who had not thought of that before; and then
he kissed her and started off, while she stood at the door looking
anxiously after him. "I don't believe," said he, aloud, as he went up
the court, "that the Prince would mind my wearing a feather; but
mother didn't want me too. Hark! there are the bells! Yes, he has
started!" And Job, forgetting all else, pushed eagerly on. It was a
long way from the laundry to his home, and it was a long way, too,
from his home to the main street; and so Job had no time to spare if
he would get to the crowd in season to see the grand procession, for
he wanted to see it all,--from the policemen, who cleared the way, to
the noisy omnibuses and carts that led business once more up the
holiday streets.

On he shambled, knocking against the flag-stones, and nearly
precipitating himself down areas and unguarded passage-ways. He was
now in a cross street, which would bring him before long into the main
street, and he even thought he heard the distant music and the cheers
of the crowd. His heart beat high, and his face was lighted up until
it really looked, in its eagerness, as intelligent as that of other
people quicker witted than poor Job. And now he had come in sight of
the great thoroughfare; it was yet a good way off, but he could see
the black swarms of people that lined its edges. The street he was in
was quiet, so were all the cross streets, for they had been drained of
life to feed the great artery of the main street. There, indeed, was
life! upon the sidewalks; packed densely, flowing out in eddies into
the alleys and cross streets, rising tier above tier in the
shop-fronts, filling all the upper windows, and fringing even the
roofs. Flags hung from house to house, and sentences of welcome were
written upon strips of canvas. And if one at this moment, when weak
Job was hurrying up the cross street, could have looked from some
house-top down the main street, he would have seen the Prince's
pageant coming nearer and nearer, and would have heard the growing
tumult of brazen music, and the waves of cheers that broke along the
lines.

It was a glimpse of this sight, and a note of this sound, that weak
Job caught in the still street, and with new ardor, although hot and
dusty, he pressed on, almost weeping at thought of the joy he was to
have. "The Prince is coming," he said, aloud, in his excitement. But
at the next step, Job, recklessly tumbling along, despite his weak and
troublesome legs, struck something with his feet, and fell forward
upon the walk. He could not stop to see what it was that so suddenly
and vexatiously tripped him up, and was just moving on with a limp,
when he heard behind him a groan and a cry of pain. He turned and saw
what his unlucky feet had stumbled over. A poor negro boy, without
home or friends, black and unsightly enough, and clad in ragged
clothing, had sat down upon the sidewalk, leaning against a tree, and,
without strength enough to move, had been the unwilling
stumbling-block to poor Job's progress. As Job turned, the poor boy
looked at him beseechingly, and stretched out his hands. But even that
was an exertion, and his arms dropped by his side again. His lips
moved, but no word came forth; and his eyes even closed, as if he
could not longer raise the lids.

"He is sick!" said Job, and looked uneasily about. There was no one
near. "Hilloa!" cried Job in distress; but no one heard except the
black, who raised his eyes again to him, and essayed to move. Job
started toward him.

"Hurrah! hurrah!" sounded in the distant street. The roar of the
cheering beat against the houses, and at intervals came gusts of
music. Poor Job trembled.

"The Prince is coming," said he; and he turned as if to run. But the
poor black would not away from his eyes. "He might die while I was
gone," said he, and he turned again to lift him up. "He is sick!" he
said again. "I will take him home to mother!"

"Hurrah! hurrah! there he is! the Prince! the Prince!" And the dull
roar of the cheering, which had been growing louder and louder, now
broke into sharp ringing huzzas as the grand procession passed the
head of the cross street. In the carriage drawn by four coal-black
horses rode the Prince; and he was dressed in splendid clothes and
wore a feather in his cap. The music flowed forth clearly and sweetly.
"God save the king!" it sang, and from street and window and house-top
the people shouted and waved flags. Hurrah! hurrah!

Weak Job, wiping the tears from his eyes, heard the sound from afar,
but he saw no sight save the poor black whom he lifted from the
ground. No sight? Yes, at that moment he did. In that quiet street,
standing by the black boy, poor Job--weak Job, whom people pitied--saw
a grander sight than all the crowd in the brilliant main street.

Well mightst thou stand in dumb awe, holding by the hand the helpless
black, poor Job! for in that instant thou didst see with undimmed eyes
a pageant such as poor mortals may but whisper,--even the Prince of
Life with his attendant angels moving before thee; yes, and on thee
did the Prince look with love, and in thy ears did the heavenly choir
and the multitudinous voices of gathered saints sing, for of old were
the words written, and now thou didst hear them spoken to thyself,--

"_Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me._

"_For whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name,
receiveth me._"

Weak Job, too, had seen the Prince pass.

                                                   _Horace Scudder._



FANCIES OF CHILD LIFE.



FANCIES OF CHILD LIFE.



THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.


Once there was a nice young hen that we will call Mrs. Feathertop. She
was a hen of most excellent family, being a direct descendant of the
Bolton Grays, and as pretty a young fowl as you should wish to see of
a summer's day. She was, moreover, as fortunately situated in life as
it was possible for a hen to be. She was bought by young Master Fred
Little John, with four or five family connections of hers, and a
lively young cock, who was held to be as brisk a scratcher and as
capable a head of a family as any half-dozen sensible hens could
desire.

I can't say that at first Mrs. Feathertop was a very sensible hen. She
was very pretty and lively, to be sure, and a great favorite with
Master Bolton Gray Cock, on account of her bright eyes, her finely
shaded feathers, and certain saucy dashing ways that she had, which
seemed greatly to take his fancy. But old Mrs. Scratchard, living in
the neighboring yard, assured all the neighborhood that Gray Cock was
a fool for thinking so much of that flighty young thing,--that she had
not the smallest notion how to get on in life, and thought of nothing
in the world but her own pretty feathers. "Wait till she comes to have
chickens," said Mrs. Scratchard. "Then you will see. I have brought up
ten broods myself,--as likely and respectable chickens as ever were a
blessing to society,--and I think I ought to know a good hatcher and
brooder when I see her; and I know _that_ fine piece of trumpery, with
her white feathers tipped with gray, never will come down to family
life. _She_ scratch for chickens! Bless me, she never did anything in
all her days but run round and eat the worms which somebody else
scratched up for her!"

When Master Bolton Gray heard this he crowed very loudly, like a cock
of spirit, and declared that old Mrs. Scratchard was envious because
she had lost all her own tail-feathers, and looked more like a
worn-out old feather-duster than a respectable hen, and that therefore
she was filled with sheer envy of anybody that was young and pretty.
So young Mrs. Feathertop cackled gay defiance at her busy rubbishy
neighbor, as she sunned herself under the bushes on fine June
afternoons.

Now Master Fred Little John had been allowed to have these hens by his
mamma on the condition that he would build their house himself, and
take all the care of it; and, to do Master Fred justice, he executed
the job in a small way quite creditably. He chose a sunny sloping bank
covered with a thick growth of bushes, and erected there a nice little
hen-house, with two glass windows, a little door, and a good pole for
his family to roost on. He made, moreover, a row of nice little boxes
with hay in them for nests, and he bought three or four little smooth
white china eggs to put in them, so that, when his hens _did_ lay, he
might carry off their eggs without their being missed. The hen-house
stood in a little grove that sloped down to a wide river, just where
there was a little cove which reached almost to the hen-house.

This situation inspired one of Master Fred's boy advisers with a new
scheme in relation to his poultry enterprise. "Hullo! I say, Fred,"
said Tom Seymour, "you ought to raise ducks,--you've got a capital
place for ducks there."

"Yes,--but I've bought _hens_, you see," said Freddy; "so it's no use
trying."

"No use! Of course there is! Just as if your hens couldn't hatch
ducks' eggs. Now you just wait till one of your hens wants to set, and
you put ducks' eggs under her, and you'll have a family of ducks in a
twinkling. You can buy ducks' eggs, a plenty, of old Sam under the
hill; he always has hens hatch his ducks."

So Freddy thought it would be a good experiment, and informed his
mother the next morning that he intended to furnish the ducks for the
next Christmas dinner; and when she wondered how he was to come by
them, he said, mysteriously, "O, I will show you how!" but did not
further explain himself. The next day he went with Tom Seymour, and
made a trade with old Sam, and gave him a middle-aged jack-knife for
eight of his ducks' eggs. Sam, by the by, was a woolly-headed old
negro man, who lived by the pond hard by, and who had long cast
envying eyes on Fred's jack-knife, because it was of extra-fine steel,
having been a Christmas present the year before. But Fred knew very
well there were any number more of jack-knives where that came from,
and that, in order to get a new one, he must dispose of the old; so he
made the trade and came home rejoicing.

Now about this time Mrs. Feathertop, having laid her eggs daily with
great credit to herself, notwithstanding Mrs. Scratchard's
predictions, began to find herself suddenly attacked with nervous
symptoms. She lost her gay spirits, grew dumpish and morose, stuck up
her feathers in a bristling way, and pecked at her neighbors if they
did so much as look at her. Master Gray Cock was greatly concerned,
and went to old Doctor Peppercorn, who looked solemn, and recommended
an infusion of angle-worms, and said he would look in on the patient
twice a day till she was better.

"Gracious me, Gray Cock!" said old Goody Kertarkut, who had been
lolling at the corner as he passed, "a'n't you a fool?--cocks always
are fools. Don't you know what's the matter with your wife? She wants
to set,--that's all; and you just let her set! A fiddlestick for
Doctor Peppercorn! Why, any good old hen that has brought up a family
knows more than a doctor about such things. You just go home and tell
her to set, if she wants to, and behave herself."

When Gray Cock came home, he found that Master Freddy had been before
him, and established Mrs. Feathertop upon eight nice eggs, where she
was sitting in gloomy grandeur. He tried to make a little affable
conversation with her, and to relate his interview with the Doctor
and Goody Kertarkut, but she was morose and sullen, and only pecked at
him now and then in a very sharp, unpleasant way; so, after a few more
efforts to make himself agreeable, he left her, and went out
promenading with the captivating Mrs. Red Comb, a charming young
Spanish widow, who had just been imported into the neighboring yard.

"Bless my soul!" said he, "you've no idea how cross my wife is."

"O you horrid creature!" said Mrs. Red Comb; "how little you feel for
the weaknesses of us poor hens!"

"On my word, ma'am," said Gray Cock, "you do me injustice. But when a
hen gives way to temper, ma'am, and no longer meets her husband with a
smile,--when she even pecks at him whom she is bound to honor and
obey--"

"Horrid monster! talking of obedience! I should say, sir, you came
straight from Turkey!" And Mrs. Red Comb tossed her head with a most
bewitching air, and pretended to run away, and old Mrs. Scratchard
looked out of her coop and called to Goody Kertarkut,--

"Look how Mr. Gray Cock is flirting with that widow. I always knew she
was a baggage."

"And his poor wife left at home alone," said Goody Kertarkut. "It's
the way with 'em all!"

"Yes, yes," said Dame Scratchard, "she'll know what real life is now,
and she won't go about holding her head so high, and looking down on
her practical neighbors that have raised families."

"Poor thing, what'll she do with a family?" said Goody Kertarkut.

"Well, what business have such young flirts to get married," said Dame
Scratchard. "I don't expect she'll raise a single chick; and there's
Gray Cock flirting about fine as ever. Folks didn't do so when I was
young. I'm sure my husband knew what treatment a setting hen ought to
have,--poor old Long Spur,--he never minded a peck or so now and then.
I must say these modern fowls a'n't what fowls used to be."

Meanwhile the sun rose and set, and Master Fred was almost the only
friend and associate of poor little Mrs. Feathertop, whom he fed daily
with meal and water, and only interrupted her sad reflections by
pulling her up occasionally to see how the eggs were coming on.

At last "Peep, peep, peep!" began to be heard in the nest, and one
little downy head after another poked forth from under the feathers,
surveying the world with round, bright, winking eyes; and gradually
the brood was hatched, and Mrs. Feathertop arose, a proud and happy
mother, with all the bustling, scratching, care-taking instincts of
family life warm within her breast. She clucked and scratched, and
cuddled the little downy bits of things as handily and discreetly as a
seven-year-old hen could have done, exciting thereby the wonder of the
community.

Master Gray Cock came home in high spirits and complimented her; told
her she was looking charmingly once more, and said, "Very well, very
nice!" as he surveyed the young brood. So that Mrs. Feathertop began
to feel the world going well with her,--when suddenly in came Dame
Scratchard and Goody Kertarkut to make a morning call.

"Let's see the chicks," said Dame Scratchard.

"Goodness me," said Goody Kertarkut, "what a likeness to their dear
papa!"

"Well, but bless me, what's the matter with their bills?" said Dame
Scratchard. "Why, my dear, these chicks are deformed! I'm sorry for
you, my dear, but it's all the result of your inexperience; you ought
to have eaten pebble-stones with your meal when you were setting.
Don't you see, Dame Kertarkut, what bills they have? That'll increase,
and they'll be frightful!"

"What shall I do?" said Mrs. Feathertop, now greatly alarmed.

"Nothing as I know of," said Dame Scratchard, "since you didn't come
to me before you set. I could have told you all about it. Maybe it
won't kill 'em, but they'll always be deformed."

And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting under the pinfeathers of
the poor little hen mamma, who began to see that her darlings had
curious little spoon-bills different from her own, and to worry and
fret about it.

"My dear," she said to her spouse, "do get Doctor Peppercorn to to
come in and look at their bills, and see if anything can be done."

[Illustration]

Doctor Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrous pair of spectacles,
and said, "Hum! Ha! Extraordinary case,--very singular!"

"Did you ever see anything like it, Doctor?" said both parents, in a
breath.

"I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlargement of the
vascular bony tissue, threatening ossification," said the Doctor.

"O, dreadful!--can it be possible?" shrieked both parents. "Can
anything be done?"

"Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made of mosquitoes' horns and
bicarbonate of frogs' toes, together with a powder, to be taken
morning and night, of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be careful
about: they must never wet their feet, nor drink any water."

"Dear me, Doctor, I don't know what I _shall_ do, for they seem to
have a particular fancy for getting into water."

"Yes, a morbid tendency often found in these cases of bony
tumification of the vascular tissue of the mouth; but you must resist
it, ma'am, as their life depends upon it." And with that Doctor
Peppercorn glared gloomily on the young ducks, who were stealthily
poking the objectionable little spoon-bills out from under their
mother's feathers.

After this poor Mrs. Feathertop led a weary life of it; for the young
fry were as healthy and enterprising a brood of young ducks as ever
carried saucepans on the end of their noses, and they most utterly set
themselves against the doctor's prescriptions, murmured at the muriate
of fleas and the bicarbonate of frogs' toes, and took every
opportunity to waddle their little ways down to the mud and water
which was in their near vicinity. So their bills grew larger and
larger, as did the rest of their bodies, and family government grew
weaker and weaker.

"You'll wear me out, children, you certainly will," said poor Mrs.
Feathertop.

"You'll go to destruction,--do ye hear?" said Master Gray Cock.

"Did you ever see such frights as poor Mrs. Feathertop has got?" said
Dame Scratchard. "I knew what would come of _her_ family,--all
deformed, and with a dreadful sort of madness, which makes them love
to shovel mud with those shocking spoon-bills of theirs."

"It's a kind of idiocy," said Goody Kertarkut. "Poor things! they
can't be kept from the water, nor made to take powders, and so they
get worse and worse."

"I understand it's affecting their feet so that they can't walk, and a
dreadful sort of net is growing between their toes; what a shocking
visitation!"

"She brought it on herself," said Dame Scratchard. "Why didn't she
come to me before she set? She was always an upstart, self-conceited
thing, but I'm sure I pity her."

Meanwhile the young ducks throve apace. Their necks grew glossy like
changeable green and gold satin, and though they would not take the
doctor's medicine, and would waddle in the mud and water,--for which
they always felt themselves to be very naughty ducks,--yet they grew
quite vigorous and hearty. At last one day the whole little tribe
waddled off down to the bank of the river. It was a beautiful day, and
the river was dancing and dimpling and winking as the little breezes
shook the trees that hung over it.

"Well," said the biggest of the little ducks, "in spite of Doctor
Peppercorn, I can't help longing for the water. I don't believe it is
going to hurt me,--at any rate, here goes." And in he plumped, and in
went every duck after him, and they threw out their great brown feet
as cleverly as if they had taken rowing lessons all their lives, and
sailed off on the river, away, away, among the ferns, under the pink
azalias, through reeds and rushes, and arrow-heads and pickerel-weed,
the happiest ducks that ever were born; and soon they were quite out
of sight.

"Well, Mrs. Feathertop, this is a dispensation," said Mrs. Scratchard.
"Your children are all drowned at last, just as I knew they'd be. The
old music-teacher, Master Bullfrog, that lives down in Water-Dock
Lane, saw 'em all plump madly into the water together this morning;
that's what comes of not knowing how to bring up a family."

Mrs. Feathertop gave only one shriek and fainted dead away, and was
carried home on a cabbage-leaf, and Mr. Gray Cock was sent for, where
he was waiting on Mrs. Red Comb through the squash-vines.

"It's a serious time in your family, sir," said Goody Kertarkut, "and
you ought to be at home supporting your wife. Send for Doctor
Peppercorn without delay."

Now as the case was a very dreadful one, Doctor Peppercorn called a
council from the barn-yard of the Squire, two miles off, and a brisk
young Doctor Partlett appeared, in a fine suit of brown and gold, with
tail-feathers like meteors. A fine young fellow he was, lately from
Paris, with all the modern scientific improvements fresh in his head.

When he had listened to the whole story, he clapped his spur into the
ground, and, leaning back, laughed so loud that all the cocks in the
neighborhood crowed.

Mrs. Feathertop rose up out of her swoon, and Mr. Gray Cock was
greatly enraged.

"What do you mean, sir, by such behavior in the house of mourning?"

"My dear sir, pardon me,--but there is no occasion for mourning. My
dear madam, let me congratulate you. There is no harm done. The simple
matter is, dear madam, you have been under a hallucination all along.
The neighborhood and my learned friend the doctor have all made a
mistake in thinking that these children of yours were hens at all.
They are ducks, ma'am, evidently ducks, and very finely formed ducks,
I dare say."

At this moment a quack was heard, and at a distance the whole tribe
were seen coming waddling home, their feathers gleaming in green and
gold, and they themselves in high good spirits.

"Such a splendid day as we have had!" they all cried in a breath. "And
we know now how to get our own living; we can take care of ourselves
in future, so you need have no further trouble with us."

"Madam," said the Doctor, making a bow with an air which displayed his
tail-feathers to advantage, "let me congratulate you on the charming
family you have raised. A finer brood of young healthy ducks I never
saw. Give claw, my dear friend," he said, addressing the elder son.
"In our barn-yard no family is more respected than that of the ducks."

And so Madam Feathertop came off glorious at last; and when after this
the ducks used to go swimming up and down the river like so many
nabobs among the admiring hens, Doctor Peppercorn used to look after
them and say, "Ah! I had the care of their infancy!" and Mr. Gray Cock
and his wife used to say, "It was our system of education did that!"

                                            _Harriet Beecher Stowe._

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

BLUNDER.


Blunder was going to the Wishing-Gate, to wish for a pair of Shetland
ponies, and a little coach, like Tom Thumb's. And of course you can
have your wish, if you once get there. But the thing is, to find it;
for it is not, as you imagine, a great gate, with a tall marble pillar
on each side, and a sign over the top, like this, WISHING-GATE,--but
just an old stile, made of three sticks. Put up two fingers, cross
them on the top with another finger, and you have it exactly,--the way
it looks, I mean,--a worm-eaten stile, in a meadow; and as there are
plenty of old stiles in meadows, how are you to know which is the one?

Blunder's fairy godmother knew, but then she could not tell him, for
that was not according to fairy rules and regulations. She could only
direct him to follow the road, and ask the way of the first owl he
met; and over and over she charged him, for Blunder was a very
careless little boy, and seldom found anything, "Be sure you don't
miss him,--be sure you don't pass him by." And so far Blunder had come
on very well, for the road was straight; but at the turn it forked.
Should he go through the wood, or turn to the right? There was an owl
nodding in a tall oak-tree, the first owl Blunder had seen; but he was
a little afraid to wake him up, for Blunder's fairy godmother had told
him that this was a great philosopher, who sat up all night to study
the habits of frogs and mice, and knew everything but what went on in
the daylight, under his nose; and he could think of nothing better to
say to this great philosopher than "Good Mr. Owl, will you please show
me the way to the Wishing-Gate?"

"Eh! what's that?" cried the owl, starting out of his nap. "Have you
brought me a frog?"

"No," said Blunder, "I did not know that you would like one. Can you
tell me the way to the Wishing-Gate?"

"Wishing-Gate! Wishing-Gate!" hooted the owl, very angry. "Winks and
naps! how dare you disturb me for such a thing as that? Do you take me
for a mile-stone! Follow your nose, sir, follow your nose!"--and,
ruffling up his feathers, the owl was asleep again in a moment.

But how could Blunder follow his nose? His nose would turn to the
right, or take him through the woods, whichever way his legs went, and
"what was the use of asking the owl," thought Blunder, "if this was
all?" While he hesitated, a chipmunk came skurrying down the path,
and, seeing Blunder, stopped short with a little squeak.

"Good Mrs. Chipmunk," said Blunder, "can you tell me the way to the
Wishing-Gate?"

"I can't, indeed," answered the chipmunk, politely. "What with getting
in nuts, and the care of a young family, I have so little time to
visit anything! But if you will follow the brook, you will find an old
water-sprite under a slanting stone, over which the water pours all
day with a noise like wabble! wabble! who, I have no doubt, can tell
you all about it. You will know him, for he does nothing but grumble
about the good old times when a brook would have dried up before it
would have turned a mill-wheel."

So Blunder went on up the brook, and, seeing nothing of the
water-sprite, or the slanting stone, was just saying to himself, "I am
sure I don't know where he is,--I can't find it," when he spied a frog
sitting on a wet stone.

"Mr. Frog," asked Blunder, "can you tell me the way to the
Wishing-Gate?"

"I cannot," said the frog. "I am very sorry, but the fact is, I am an
artist. Young as I am, my voice is already remarked at our concerts,
and I devote myself so entirely to my profession of music, that I have
no time to acquire general information. But in a pine-tree beyond, you
will find an old crow, who, I am quite sure, can show you the way, as
he is a traveller, and a bird of an inquiring turn of mind."

"I don't know where the pine is,--I am sure I can never find him,"
answered Blunder, discontentedly; but still he went on up the brook,
till, hot and tired, and out of patience at seeing neither crow nor
pine, he sat down under a great tree to rest. There he heard tiny
voices squabbling.

"Get out! Go away, I tell you! It has been knock! knock! knock! at my
door all day, till I am tired out. First a wasp, and then a bee, and
then another wasp, and then another bee, and now _you_. Go away! I
won't let another one in to-day."

"But I want my honey."

"And I want my nap."

"I will come in."

"You shall not."

"You are a miserly old elf."

"And you are a brute of a bee."

And looking about him, Blunder spied a bee, quarrelling with a
morning-glory elf, who was shutting up the morning-glory in his face.

"Elf, do you know which is the way to the Wishing-Gate?" asked
Blunder.

"No," said the elf, "I don't know anything about geography. I was
always too delicate to study. But if you will keep on in this path,
you will meet the Dream-man, coming down from fairyland, with his bags
of dreams on his shoulder; and if anybody can tell you about the
Wishing-Gate, he can."

"But how can I find him?" asked Blunder, more and more impatient.

"I don't know, I am sure," answered the elf, "unless you should look
for him."

So there was no help for it but to go on; and presently Blunder passed
the Dream-man, asleep under a witch-hazel, with his bags of good and
bad dreams laid over him to keep him from fluttering away. But Blunder
had a habit of not using his eyes; for at home, when told to find
anything, he always said, "I don't know where it is," or, "I can't
find it," and then his mother or sister went straight and found it for
him. So he passed the Dream-man without seeing him, and went on till
he stumbled on Jack-o'-Lantern.

"Can you show me the way to the Wishing-Gate?" said Blunder.

"Certainly, with pleasure," answered Jack, and, catching up his
lantern, set out at once.

Blunder followed close, but, in watching the lantern, he forgot to
look to his feet, and fell into a hole filled with black mud.

"I say! the Wishing-Gate is not down there," called out Jack, whisking
off among the tree-tops.

"But I can't come up there," whimpered Blunder.

"That is not my fault, then," answered Jack, merrily, dancing out of
sight.

O, a very angry little boy was Blunder, when he clambered out of the
hole. "I don't know where it is," he said, crying; "I can't find it,
and I'll go straight home."

Just then he stepped on an old, moss-grown, rotten stump; and it
happening, unluckily, that this rotten stump was a wood-goblin's
chimney, Blunder fell through, headlong, in among the pots and pans,
in which the goblin's cook was cooking the goblin's supper. The old
goblin, who was asleep up stairs, started up in a fright at the
tremendous clash and clatter, and, finding that his house was not
tumbling about his ears, as he thought at first, stumped down to the
kitchen to see what was the matter. The cook heard him coming, and
looked about her in a fright to hide Blunder.

"Quick!" cried she. "If my master catches you, he will have you in a
pie. In the next room stands a pair of shoes. Jump into them, and they
will take you up the chimney."

Off flew Blunder, burst open the door, and tore frantically about the
room, in one corner of which stood the shoes; but of course he could
not see them, because he was not in the habit of using his eyes. "I
can't find them! O, I can't find them!" sobbed poor little Blunder,
running back to the cook.

"Run into the closet," said the cook.

Blunder made a dash at the window, but--"I don't know where it is," he
called out.

Clump! clump! That was the goblin, half-way down the stairs.

"Goodness gracious mercy me!" exclaimed cook. "He is coming. The boy
will be eaten in spite of me. Jump into the meal-chest."

"I don't see it," squeaked Blunder, rushing towards the fireplace.
"Where is it?"

Clump! clump! That was the goblin at the foot of the stairs, and
coming towards the kitchen door.

"There is an invisible cloak hanging on that peg. Get into that,"
cried cook, quite beside herself.

But Blunder could no more see the cloak than he could see the shoes,
the closet, and the meal-chest; and no doubt the goblin, whose hand
was on the latch, would have found him prancing around the kitchen,
and crying out, "I can't find it," but, fortunately for himself,
Blunder caught his foot in the invisible cloak, and tumbled down,
pulling the cloak over him. There he lay, hardly daring to breathe.

"What was all that noise about?" asked the goblin, gruffly, coming
into the kitchen.

"Only my pans, master," answered the cook; and as he could see nothing
amiss, the old goblin went grumbling up stairs again, while the shoes
took Blunder up chimney, and landed him in a meadow, safe enough, but
so miserable! He was cross, he was disappointed, he was hungry. It was
dark, he did not know the way home, and, seeing an old stile, he
climbed up, and sat down on the top of it, for he was too tired to
stir. Just then came along the South Wind, with his pockets crammed
full of showers, and, as he happened to be going Blunder's way, he
took Blunder home; of which the boy was glad enough, only he would
have liked it better if the Wind would not have laughed all the way.
For what would you think, if you were walking along a road with a fat
old gentleman, who went chuckling to himself, and slapping his knees,
and poking himself, till he was purple in the face, when he would
burst out in a great windy roar of laughter every other minute?

"What _are_ you laughing at?" asked Blunder, at last.

"At two things that I saw in my travels," answered the Wind;--"a hen,
that died of starvation, sitting on an empty peck-measure that stood
in front of a bushel of grain; and a little boy who sat on the top of
the Wishing-Gate, and came home because he could not find it."

"What? what's that?" cried Blunder; but just then he found himself at
home. There sat his fairy godmother by the fire, her mouse-skin cloak
hung up on a peg, and toeing off a spider's-silk stocking an eighth of
an inch long; and though everybody else cried, "What luck?" and,
"Where is the Wishing-Gate?" she sat mum.

"I don't know where it is," answered Blunder. "I couldn't find
it";--and thereon told the story of his troubles.

"Poor boy!" said his mother, kissing him, while his sister ran to
bring him some bread and milk.

"Yes, that is all very fine," cried his godmother, pulling out her
needles, and rolling up her ball of silk; "but now hear my story.
There was once a little boy who must needs go to the Wishing-Gate, and
his fairy godmother showed him the road as far as the turn, and told
him to ask the first owl he met what to do then; but this little boy
seldom used his eyes, so he passed the first owl, and waked up the
wrong owl; so he passed the water-sprite, and found only a frog; so he
sat down under the pine-tree, and never saw the crow; so he passed the
Dream-man, and ran after Jack-o'-Lantern; so he tumbled down the
goblin's chimney, and couldn't find the shoes and the closet and the
chest and the cloak; and so he sat on the top of the Wishing-Gate till
the South Wind brought him home, and never knew it. Ugh! Bah!" And
away went the fairy godmother up the chimney, in such deep disgust
that she did not even stop for her mouse-skin cloak.

                                                _Louise E. Chollet._



STAR-DOLLARS.


Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father and mother were
dead; and she became so poor that she had no roof to shelter herself
under, and no bed to sleep in; and at last she had nothing left but
the clothes on her back, and a loaf of bread in her hand, which a
compassionate person had given to her.

But she was a good and pious little girl, and when she found herself
forsaken by all the world, she went out into the fields, trusting in
God.

Soon she met a poor man, who said to her, "Give me something to eat,
for I am so hungry!" She handed him the whole loaf, and with a "God
bless you!" walked on farther.

Next she met a little girl crying very much, who said to her, "Pray
give me something to cover my head with, for it is so cold!" So she
took off her own bonnet, and gave it away.

And in a little while she met another child who had no cloak, and to
her she gave her own cloak! Then she met another who had no dress on,
and to this one she gave her own frock.

By that time it was growing dark, and our little girl entered a
forest; and presently she met a fourth maiden, who begged something,
and to her she gave her petticoat. "For," thought our heroine, "it is
growing dark, and nobody will see me; I can give away this."

And now she had scarcely anything left to cover herself. But just then
some of the stars fell down in the form of silver dollars, and among
them she found a petticoat of the finest linen! And in that she
collected the star-money, which made her rich all the rest of her
lifetime.

                                          _Grimm's Household Tales._



THE IMMORTAL FOUNTAIN.


In ancient times two little princesses lived in Scotland, one of whom
was extremely beautiful, and the other dwarfish, dark colored, and
deformed. One was named Rose, and the other Marion. The sisters did
not live happily together. Marion hated Rose because she was handsome
and everybody praised her. She scowled, and her face absolutely grew
black, when anybody asked her how her pretty little sister Rose did;
and once she was so wicked as to cut off all her glossy golden hair,
and throw it in the fire. Poor Rose cried bitterly about it, but she
did not scold, or strike her sister; for she was an amiable, gentle
little being as ever lived. No wonder all the family and all the
neighbors disliked Marion, and no wonder her face grew uglier and
uglier every day. The Scotch used to be a very superstitious people;
and they believed the infant Rose had been blessed by the Fairies, to
whom she owed her extraordinary beauty and exceeding goodness.

[Illustration]

Not far from the castle where the princesses resided was a deep
grotto, said to lead to the Palace of Beauty, where the queen of the
Fairies held her court. Some said Rose had fallen asleep there one
day, when she had grown tired of chasing a butterfly, and that the
queen had dipped her in an immortal fountain, from which she had risen
with the beauty of an angel.[A] Marion often asked questions about
this story; but Rose always replied that she had been forbidden to
speak of it. When she saw any uncommonly brilliant bird or butterfly,
she would sometimes exclaim, "O, how much that looks like Fairy Land!"
But when asked what she knew about Fairy Land she blushed, and would
not answer.

      [A] There was a superstition that whoever slept on fairy
          ground was carried away by the fairies.

Marion thought a great deal about this. "Why cannot I go to the Palace
of Beauty?" thought she; "and why may not I bathe in the Immortal
Fountain?"

One summer's noon, when all was still save the faint twittering of the
birds and the lazy hum of the insects, Marion entered the deep grotto.
She sat down on a bank of moss; the air around her was as fragrant as
if it came from a bed of violets; and with the sound of far-off music
dying on her ear, she fell into a gentle slumber. When she awoke, it
was evening; and she found herself in a small hall, where opal pillars
supported a rainbow roof, the bright reflection of which rested on
crystal walls, and a golden floor inlaid with pearls. All around,
between the opal pillars, stood the tiniest vases of pure alabaster,
in which grew a multitude of brilliant and fragrant flowers; some of
them, twining around the pillars, were lost in the floating rainbow
above. The whole of this scene of beauty was lighted by millions of
fire-flies, glittering about like wandering stars. While Marion was
wondering at all this, a little figure of rare loveliness stood before
her. Her robe was of green and gold; her flowing gossamer mantle was
caught upon one shoulder with a pearl, and in her hair was a solitary
star, composed of five diamonds, each no bigger than a pin's point,
and thus she sung:--

      The Fairy Queen
      Hath rarely seen
    Creature of earthly mould
      Within her door,
      On pearly floor,
    Inlaid with shining gold.
      Mortal, all thou seest is fair;
      Quick thy purposes declare!

As she concluded, the song was taken up, and thrice repeated by a
multitude of soft voices in the distance. It seemed as if birds and
insects joined in the chorus,--the clear voice of the thrush was
distinctly heard; the cricket kept time with his tiny cymbal; and ever
and anon, between the pauses, the sound of a distant cascade was
heard, whose waters fell in music.

All these delightful sounds died away, and the Queen of the Fairies
stood patiently awaiting Marion's answer. Courtesying low, and with a
trembling voice, the little maiden said,--

"Will it please your Majesty to make me as handsome as my sister
Rose."

The queen smiled. "I will grant your request," said she, "if you will
promise to fulfil all the conditions I propose."

Marion eagerly promised that she would.

"The Immortal Fountain," replied the queen, "is on the top of a high,
steep hill; at four different places Fairies are stationed around it,
who guard it with their wands. None can pass them except those who
obey my orders. Go home now: for one week speak no ungentle word to
your sister; at the end of that time come again to the grotto."

Marion went home light of heart. Rose was in the garden, watering the
flowers; and the first thing Marion observed was that her sister's
sunny hair had suddenly grown as long and beautiful as it had ever
been. The sight made her angry; and she was just about to snatch the
water-pot from her hand with an angry expression, when she remembered
the Fairy, and passed into the castle in silence.

The end of the week arrived, and Marion had faithfully kept her
promise. Again she went to the grotto. The queen was feasting when she
entered the hall. The bees brought honeycomb and deposited it on the
small rose-colored shells which adorned the crystal table; gaudy
butterflies floated about the head of the queen, and fanned her with
their wings; the cucullo, and the lantern-fly stood at her side to
afford her light; a large diamond beetle formed her splendid
footstool, and when she had supped, a dew-drop, on the petal of a
violet, was brought for her royal fingers.

When Marion entered, the diamond sparkles on the wings of the Fairies
faded, as they always did in the presence of anything not perfectly
good; and in a few moments all the queen's attendants vanished,
singing as they went:--

      The Fairy Queen
      Hath rarely seen
    Creature of earthly mould
      Within her door,
      On pearly floor,
    Inlaid with shining gold.

"Mortal, hast thou fulfilled thy promise?" asked the queen.

"I have," replied the maiden.

"Then follow me."

Marion did as she was directed, and away they went over beds of
violets and mignonette. The birds warbled above their heads,
butterflies cooled the air, and the gurgling of many fountains came
with a refreshing sound. Presently they came to the hill, on the top
of which was the Immortal Fountain. Its foot was surrounded by a band
of Fairies, clothed in green gossamer, with their ivory wands crossed,
to bar the ascent. The queen waved her wand over them, and
immediately they stretched their thin wings and flew away. The hill
was steep, and far, far up they went; and the air became more and more
fragrant, and more and more distinctly they heard the sound of waters
falling in music. At length they were stopped by a band of Fairies
clothed in blue, with their silver wands crossed.

"Here," said the queen, "our journey must end. You can go no farther
until you have fulfilled the orders I shall give you. Go home now; for
one month do by your sister in all respects as you would wish her to
do by you, were you Rose and she Marion."

Marion promised, and departed. She found the task harder than the
first had been. She could not help speaking; but when Rose asked her
for any of her playthings, she found it difficult to give them gently
and affectionately, instead of pushing them along. When Rose talked to
her, she wanted to go away in silence; and when a pocket-mirror was
found in her sister's room, broken into a thousand pieces, she felt
sorely tempted to conceal that she did the mischief. But she was so
anxious to be made beautiful, that she did as she would be done by.

All the household remarked how Marion had changed. "I love her
dearly," said Rose, "she is so good and amiable."

"So do I," said a dozen voices.

Marion blushed deeply, and her eyes sparkled with pleasure. "How
pleasant it is to be loved!" thought she.

At the end of the month, she went to the grotto. The Fairies in blue
lowered their silver wands and flew away. They travelled on; the path
grew steeper and steeper; but the fragrance of the atmosphere was
redoubled, and more distinctly came the sound of the waters falling in
music. Their course was stayed by a troop of Fairies in rainbow robes,
and silver wands tipped with gold. In face and form they were far more
beautiful than anything Marion had yet seen.

"Here we must pause," said the queen; "this boundary you cannot yet
pass."

"Why not?" asked the impatient Marion.

"Because those must be very pure who pass the rainbow Fairies,"
replied the queen.

"Am I not very pure?" said the maiden; "all the folks in the castle
tell me how good I have grown."

"Mortal eyes see only the outside," answered the queen, "but those who
pass the rainbow Fairies must be pure in thought, as well as in
action. Return home; for three months never indulge an envious or
wicked thought. You shall then have a sight of the Immortal Fountain."
Marion was sad at heart; for she knew how many envious thoughts and
wrong wishes she had suffered to gain power over her.

At the end of three months, she again visited the Palace of Beauty.
The queen did not smile when she saw her; but in silence led the way
to the Immortal Fountain. The green Fairies and the blue Fairies flew
away as they approached; but the rainbow Fairies bowed low to the
queen, and kept their gold-tipped wands firmly crossed. Marion saw
that the silver specks on their wings grew dim; and she burst into
tears. "I knew," said the queen, "that you could not pass this
boundary. Envy has been in your heart, and you have not driven it
away. Your sister has been ill, and in your heart you wished that she
might die, or rise from the bed of sickness deprived of her beauty. Be
not discouraged; you have been several years indulging in wrong
feelings, and you must not wonder that it takes many months to drive
them away."

Marion was very sad as she wended her way homeward. When Rose asked
her what was the matter, she told her she wanted to be very good, but
she could not. "When I want to be good, I read my Bible and pray,"
said Rose; "and I find God helps me to be good." Then Marion prayed
that God would help her to be pure in thought; and when wicked
feelings rose in her heart, she read her Bible, and they went away.

When she again visited the Palace of Beauty, the queen smiled, and
touched her playfully with the wand, then led her away to the Immortal
Fountain. The silver specks on the wings of the rainbow Fairies shone
bright as she approached them, and they lowered their wands, and sung,
as they flew away:--

    Mortal, pass on,
    Till the goal is won,--
    For such, I ween,
    Is the will of the queen,--
    Pass on! pass on!

And now every footstep was on flowers, that yielded beneath their
feet, as if their pathway had been upon a cloud. The delicious
fragrance could almost be felt, yet it did not oppress the senses with
its heaviness; and loud, clear, and liquid came the sound of the
waters as they fell in music. And now the cascade is seen leaping and
sparkling over crystal rocks; a rainbow arch rests above it, like a
perpetual halo; the spray falls in pearls, and forms fantastic foliage
about the margin of the Fountain. It has touched the webs woven among
the grass, and they have become pearl-embroidered cloaks for the Fairy
queen. Deep and silent, below the foam, is the Immortal Fountain! Its
amber-colored waves flow over a golden bed; and as the Fairies bathe
in it, the diamonds on their hair glance like sunbeams on the waters.

"O, let me bathe in the fountain!" cried Marion, clasping her hands in
delight. "Not yet," said the queen. "Behold the purple Fairies with
golden wands that guard its brink!" Marion looked, and saw beings
lovelier than any her eye had ever rested on. "You cannot pass them
yet," said the queen. "Go home; for one year drive away all evil
feelings, not for the sake of bathing in this Fountain, but because
goodness is lovely and desirable for its own sake. Purify the inward
motive, and your work is done."

This was the hardest task of all. For she had been willing to be good,
not because it was right to be good, but because she wished to be
beautiful. Three times she sought the grotto, and three times she left
in tears; for the golden specks grew dim at her approach, and the
golden wands were still crossed, to shut her from the Immortal
Fountain. The fourth time she prevailed. The purple Fairies lowered
their wands, singing,--

    Thou hast scaled the mountain,
    Go, bathe in the Fountain;
    Rise fair to the sight
    As an angel of light;
    Go, bathe in the Fountain!

Marion was about to plunge in, but the queen touched her, saying,
"Look in the mirror of the waters. Art thou not already as beautiful
as heart can wish?"

Marion looked at herself, and saw that her eye sparkled with new
lustre, that a bright color shone through her cheeks, and dimples
played sweetly about her mouth. "I have not touched the Immortal
Fountain," said she, turning in surprise to the queen. "True," replied
the queen, "but its waters have been within your soul. Know that a
pure heart and a clear conscience are the only immortal fountains of
beauty."

When Marion returned, Rose clasped her to her bosom, and kissed her
fervently. "I know all," said she, "though I have not asked you a
question. I have been in Fairy Land, disguised as a bird, and I have
watched all your steps. When you first went to the grotto, I begged
the queen to grant your wish."

Ever after that the sisters lived lovingly together. It was the remark
of every one, "How handsome Marion has grown! The ugly scowl has
departed from her face; and the light of her eye is so mild and
pleasant, and her mouth looks so smiling and good-natured, that to my
taste, I declare, she is as handsome as Rose."

                                                   _L. Maria Child._



THE BIRD'S-NEST IN THE MOON.


I love to go to the Moon. I never shake off sublunary cares and
sorrows so completely as when I am fairly landed on that beautiful
island.[A] A man in the Moon may see Castle Island, the city of
Boston, the ships in the harbor, the silver waters of our little
archipelago, all lying, as it were, at his feet. There you may be at
once social and solitary,--social, because you see the busy world
before you; and solitary because there is not a single creature on the
island, except a few feeding cows, to disturb your repose.

      [A] Moon Island, in Boston harbor.

I was there last summer, and was surveying the scene with my usual
emotions, when my attention was attracted by the whirring wings of a
little sparrow, that, in walking, I had frightened from her nest.

This bird, as is well known, always builds its nest on the ground. I
have seen one, often, in the middle of a cornhill, curiously placed in
the centre of the five green stalks, so that it was difficult, at
hoeing time, to dress the hill without burying the nest.

This sparrow had built hers beneath a little tuft of grass more rich
and thickset than the rest of the herbage around it. I cast a careless
glance at the nest, saw the soft down that lined it, the four little
speckled eggs which enclosed the parents' hope. I marked the multitude
of cows that were feeding around it, one tread of whose cloven feet
would crush both bird and progeny into ruin.

I could not but reflect on the dangerous condition to which the
creature had committed her most tender hopes. A cow is seeking a bite
of grass; she steps aside to gratify that appetite; she treads on the
nest, and destroys the offspring of the defenceless bird.

As I came away from the island, I reflected that this bird's
situation, in her humble, defenceless nest, might be no unapt emblem
of man in this precarious world. What are diseases, in their countless
forms, accidents by flood and fire, the seductions of temptation, and
even some human beings themselves, but so many huge cows feeding
around our nest, and ready, every moment, to crush our dearest hopes,
with the most careless indifference, beneath their brutal tread?

Sometimes, as we sit at home, we can see the calamity coming at a
distance. We hear the breathing of the monster; we mark its great
wavering path, now looking towards us in a direct line, now
capriciously turning for a moment aside. We see the swing of its
dreadful horns, the savage rapacity of its brutal appetite; we behold
it approaching nearer and nearer, and it passes within a hairbreadth
of our ruin, leaving us to the sad reflection that another and another
are still behind.

Poor bird! Our situations are exactly alike.

The other evening I walked into the chamber where my children were
sleeping. There was Willie, with the clothes half kicked down, his
hands thrown carelessly over his head, tired with play, now resting in
repose; there was Jamie with his balmy breath and rosy cheeks,
sleeping and looking like innocence itself. There was Bessie, who has
just begun to prattle, and runs daily with tottering steps and lisping
voice to ask her father to toss her into the air.

As I looked upon these sleeping innocents, I could not but regard them
as so many little birds which I must fold under my wing, and protect,
if possible, in security in my nest.

But when I thought of the huge cows that were feeding around them, the
ugly hoofs that might crush them into ruin, in short, when I
remembered _the bird's-nest in the Moon_, I trembled and wept.

But why weep? Is there not a special providence in the fall of a
sparrow?

It is very possible that the nest which I saw was not in so dangerous
a situation as it appeared to be. Perhaps some providential instinct
led the bird to build her fragile house in the ranker grass, which the
kine never bite, and, of course, on which they would not be likely to
tread. Perhaps some kind impulse may guide that species so as not to
tread even on a bird's-nest.

There is a merciful God, whose care and protection extend over all his
works, who takes care of the sparrow's children and of mine. _The very
hairs of our head are all numbered._

                                             _New England Magazine._

[Illustration]



DREAM-CHILDREN: A REVERY.


Children love to listen to stories about their elders when _they_ were
children; to stretch their imagination to the conception of a
traditionary great-uncle or grandame, whom they never saw. It was in
this spirit that my little ones crept about me the other evening to
hear about their great-grandmother Field, who lived in a great house
in Norfolk (a hundred times bigger than that in which they and papa
lived) which had been the scene--so, at least, it was generally
believed in that part of the country--of the tragic incidents which
they had lately become familiar with from the ballad of the Children
in the Wood. Certain it is that the whole story of the children and
their cruel uncle was to be seen fairly carved out in wood upon the
chimney-piece of the great hall, the whole story down to the Robin
Redbreasts! till a foolish rich person pulled it down to set up a
marble one of modern invention in its stead, with no story upon
it.--Here Alice put out one of her dear mother's looks, too tender to
be called upbraiding.

Then I went on to say how religious and how good their
great-grandmother Field was, how beloved and respected by everybody,
though she was not indeed the mistress of this great house, but had
only the charge of it (and yet, in some respects, she might be said to
be the mistress of it too), committed to her by the owner, who
preferred living in a newer and more fashionable mansion which he had
purchased somewhere in the adjoining county; but still she lived in it
in a manner as if it had been her own, and kept up the dignity of the
great house in a sort while she lived, which afterwards came to decay,
and was nearly pulled down, and all its old ornaments stripped and
carried away to the owner's other house, where they were set up, and
looked as awkward as if some one were to carry away the old tombs they
had seen lately at the Abbey, and stick them up in Lady C.'s tawdry
gilt drawing-room.

Here John smiled, as much as to say, "That would be foolish indeed."
And then I told how, when she came to die, her funeral was attended by
a concourse of all the poor, and some of the gentry, too, of the
neighborhood for many miles round, to show their respect for her
memory, because she had been such a good and religious woman; so good,
indeed, that she knew all the Psaltery by heart, ay, and a great part
of the Testament besides.--Here little Alice spread her hands.

Then I told what a tall, upright, graceful person their
great-grandmother Field once was; and how in her youth she was
esteemed the best dancer,--here Alice's little right foot played an
involuntary movement, till, upon my looking grave, it desisted,--the
best dancer, I was saying, in the county, till a cruel disease, called
a cancer, came, and bowed her down with pain; but it could never bend
her good spirits, or make them stoop, but they were still upright,
because she was so good and religious.

Then I told how she was used to sleep by herself in a lone chamber of
the great lone house; and how she believed that an apparition of two
infants was to be seen at midnight gliding up and down the great
staircase near where she slept, but she said "those innocents would do
her no harm"; and how frightened I used to be, though in those days I
had my maid to sleep with me, because I was never half so good or
religious as she,--and yet I never saw the infants.--Here John
expanded all his eyebrows and tried to look courageous.

Then I told how good she was to all her grandchildren, having us to
the great house in the holidays, where I in particular used to spend
many hours by myself, in gazing upon the old busts of the twelve
Cæsars, that had been Emperors of Rome, till the old marble heads
would seem to live again, or I to be turned into marble with them; how
I never could be tired with roaming about that huge mansion, with its
vast empty rooms, with their worn-out hangings, fluttering tapestry,
and carved oaken panels, with the gilding almost rubbed
out,--sometimes in the spacious old-fashioned gardens, which I had
almost to myself, unless when now and then a solitary gardening man
would cross me,--and how the nectarines and peaches hung upon the
walls, without my ever offering to pluck them, because they were
forbidden fruit, unless now and then,--and because I had more pleasure
in strolling about among the old melancholy-looking yew-trees, or the
firs, and picking up the red berries, and the fir-apples, which were
good for nothing but to look at,--or in lying about upon the fresh
grass with all the fine garden smells around me,--or basking in the
orangery, till I could almost fancy myself ripening too, along with
the oranges and the limes in that grateful warmth,--or in watching the
dace that darted to and fro in the fish-pond, at the bottom of the
garden, with here and there a great sulky pike hanging midway down the
water in silent state, as if it mocked at their impertinent friskings;
I had more pleasure in these busy-idle diversions than in all the
sweet flavors of peaches, nectarines, oranges, and such-like common
baits of children.--Here John slyly deposited back upon the plate a
bunch of grapes, which, not unobserved by Alice, he had meditated
dividing with her, and both seemed willing to relinquish them for the
present as irrelevant.

[Illustration]

Then, in a somewhat more heightened tone, I told how, though their
great-grandmother Field loved all her grandchildren, yet in an
especial manner she might be said to love their uncle, John L----,
because he was so handsome and spirited a youth, and a king to the
rest of us; and instead of moping about in solitary corners, like some
of us, he would mount the most mettlesome horse he could get, when but
an imp no bigger than themselves, and make it carry him half over the
county in a morning, and join the hunters when there were any out; and
yet he loved the old great house and gardens too, but had too much
spirit to be always pent up within their boundaries; and how their
uncle grew up to man's estate as brave as he was handsome, to the
admiration of everybody, but of their great-grandmother Field most
especially; and how he used to carry me upon his back, when I was a
lame-footed boy,--for he was a good bit older than me,--many a mile,
when I could not walk for pain; and how in after life he became
lame-footed too, and I did not always (I fear) make allowances enough
for him when he was impatient and in pain, nor remember sufficiently
how considerate he had been to me when I was lame-footed; and how when
he died, though he had not been dead an hour, it seemed as if he had
died a great while ago, such a distance there is betwixt life and
death; and how I bore his death, as I thought, pretty well at first,
but afterwards it haunted and haunted me; and though I did not cry or
take it to heart as some do, and as I think he would have done if I
had died, yet I missed him all day long, and knew not till then how
much I had loved him. I missed his kindness, and I missed his
crossness, and wished him to be alive again, to be quarrelling with
him (for we quarrelled sometimes), rather than not have him again, and
was as uneasy without him as he their poor uncle must have been when
the doctor took off his limb.

Here the children fell a-crying, and asked if their little mourning
which they had on was not for their Uncle John; and they looked up,
and prayed me not to go on about their uncle, but to tell them some
stories about their pretty dead mother.

Then I told how, for seven long years, in hope sometimes, sometimes in
despair, yet persisting ever, I courted the fair Alice W----n; and, as
much as children could understand, I explained to them what coyness,
and difficulty, and denial meant in maidens,--when suddenly, turning
to Alice, the soul of the first Alice looked out at her eyes with such
a reality of representment that I became in doubt which of them stood
there before me, or whose that bright hair was; and while I stood
gazing, both the children gradually grew fainter to my view, receding,
and still receding, till nothing at last but two mournful features
were seen in the uttermost distance, which, without speech, strangely
impressed upon me the effects of speech: "We are not of Alice, nor of
thee, nor are we children at all. The children of Alice call Bartrum
father. We are nothing; less than nothing, and dreams. We are only
what might have been, and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe
millions of ages before we have existence and a name";--and
immediately awaking, I found myself quietly seated in my bachelor
arm-chair, where I had fallen asleep, with the faithful Bridget
unchanged by my side,--but John L---- (or James Elia) was gone forever.

                                                     _Charles Lamb._



[Illustration]

THE UGLY DUCKLING.


It was beautiful in the country; it was summer-time; the wheat was
yellow; the oats were green, the hay was stacked up in the green
meadows, and the stork paraded about on his long red legs, discoursing
in Egyptian, which language he had learned from his mother. The fields
and meadows were skirted by thick woods, and a deep lake lay in the
midst of the woods. Yes, it was indeed beautiful in the country! The
sunshine fell warmly on an old mansion, surrounded by deep canals, and
from the walls down to the water's edge there grew large
burdock-leaves, so high that children could stand upright among them
without being perceived. This place was as wild and unfrequented as
the thickest part of the wood, and on that account a duck had chosen
to make her nest there. She was sitting on her eggs; but the pleasure
she had felt at first was now almost gone, because she had been there
so long, and had so few visitors, for the other ducks preferred
swimming on the canals to sitting among the burdock-leaves gossiping
with her.

At last the eggs cracked, one after another, "Tchick! tchick!" All the
eggs were alive, and one little head after another peered forth.
"Quack, quack!" said the Duck, and all got up as well as they could;
they peeped about from under the green leaves; and as green is good
for the eyes, the mother let them look as long as they pleased.

"How large the world is!" said the little ones, for they found their
present situation very different from their former confined one, while
yet in the egg-shells.

"Do you imagine this to be the whole of the world?" said the mother;
"it extends far beyond the other side of the garden to the pastor's
field; but I have never been there. Are you all here?" And then she
got up. "No, not all, but the largest egg is still here. How long will
this last? I am so weary of it!" And then she sat down again.

"Well, and how are you getting on?" asked an old Duck, who had come to
pay her a visit.

"This one egg keeps me so long!" said the mother, "it will not break.
But you should see the others! they are the prettiest little ducklings
I have seen in all my days; they are all like their father,--the
good-for-nothing fellow, he has not been to visit me once!"

"Let me see the egg that will not break!" said the old Duck; "depend
upon it, it is a turkey's egg. I was cheated in the same way once
myself, and I had such trouble with the young ones; for they were
afraid of the water, and I could not get them there. I called and
scolded, but it was all of no use. But let me see the egg. Ah, yes! to
be sure, that is a turkey's egg. Leave it, and teach the other little
ones to swim."

"I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. "I have been
sitting so long that I may as well spend the harvest here."

"It is no business of mine," said the old Duck, and away she waddled.

The great egg burst at last. "Tchick! tchick!" said the little one,
and out it tumbled; but O, how large and ugly it was! The Duck looked
at it. "That is a great, strong creature," said she; "none of the
others are at all like it. Can it be a young turkey-cock? Well, we
shall soon find out; it must go into the water, though I push it in
myself."

The next day there was delightful weather, and the sun shone warmly
upon the green leaves when Mother Duck with all her family went down
to the canal; plump she went into the water. "Quack, quack!" cried
she, and one duckling after another jumped in. The water closed over
their heads, but all came up again, and swam together in the
pleasantest manner; their legs moved without effort. All were there,
even the ugly, gray one.

"No! it is not a turkey," said the old Duck; "only see how prettily it
moves its legs! how upright it hold itself! it is my own child: it is
also really very pretty, when one looks more closely at it. Quack!
quack! now come with me, I will take you into the world, introduce you
in the duck-yard; but keep close to me, or some one may tread on you;
and beware of the cat."

So they came into the duck-yard. There was a horrid noise; two
families were quarrelling about the remains of an eel, which in the
end was secured by the cat.

"See, my children, such is the way of the world," said the Mother
Duck, wiping her beak, for she, too, was fond of eels. "Now use your
legs," said she; "keep together, and bow to the old duck you see
yonder. She is the most distinguished of all the fowls present, and is
of Spanish blood, which accounts for her dignified appearance and
manners. And look, she has a red rag on her leg! that is considered
extremely handsome, and is the greatest distinction a duck can have.
Don't turn your feet inwards; a well-educated duckling always keeps
his legs far apart, like his father and mother, just so,--look! now
bow your necks, and say, 'quack.'"

And they did as they were told. But the other ducks who were in the
yard looked at them, and said aloud, "Only see! now we have another
brood,--as if there were not enough of us already; and fie! how ugly
that one is! we will not endure it." And immediately one of the ducks
flew at him, and bit him in the neck.

"Leave him alone," said the mother; "he is doing no one any harm."

"Yes, but he is so large, and so strange-looking, and therefore he
shall be teased."

"These are fine children that our good mother has," said the old Duck
with the red rag on her leg. "All are pretty except one, and that has
not turned out well; I almost wish it could be hatched over again."

"That cannot be, please your highness," said the mother. "Certainly he
is not handsome, but he is a very good child, and swims as well as the
others, indeed rather better. I think he will grow like the others all
in good time, and perhaps will look smaller. He stayed so long in the
egg-shell, that is the cause of the difference"; and she scratched the
Duckling's neck, and stroked his whole body. "Besides," added she, "he
is a drake; I think he will be very strong, therefore it does not
matter, so much; he will fight his way through."

"The other ducks are very pretty," said the old Duck. "Pray make
yourselves at home, and if you find an eel's head you can bring it to
me."

And accordingly they made themselves at home.

But the poor little Duckling who had come last out of its egg-shell,
and who was so ugly, was bitten, pecked, and teased by both Ducks and
Hens. "It is so large!" said they all. And the Turkey-cock, who had
come into the world with spurs on, and therefore fancied he was an
emperor, puffed himself up like a ship in full sail, and marched up to
the Duckling quite red with passion. The poor little thing scarcely
knew what to do; he was quite distressed because he was so ugly, and
because he was the jest of the poultry-yard.

So passed the first day, and afterwards matters grew worse and worse;
the poor Duckling was scorned by all. Even his brothers and sisters
behaved unkindly, and were constantly saying, "The cat fetch thee,
thou nasty creature!" The mother said, "Ah, if thou wert only far
away!" The Ducks bit him, the Hens pecked him, and the girl who fed
the poultry kicked him. He ran over the hedge; the little birds in the
bushes were terrified. "That is because I am so ugly," thought the
Duckling, shutting his eyes, but he ran on. At last he came to a wide
moor, where lived some Wild Ducks; here he lay the whole night, so
tired and so comfortless. In the morning the Wild Ducks flew up, and
perceived their new companion. "Pray, who are you?" asked they; and
our little Duckling turned himself in all directions, and greeted them
as politely as possible.

"You are really uncommonly ugly!" said the Wild Ducks; "however, that
does not matter to us, provided you do not marry into our families."
Poor thing! he had never thought of marrying; he only begged
permission to lie among the reeds and drink the water of the moor.

There he lay for two whole days; on the third day there came two Wild
Geese, or rather Ganders, who had not been long out of their
egg-shells, which accounts for their impertinence.

"Hark ye!" said they, "you are so ugly that we like you infinitely
well; will you come with us, and be a bird of passage? On another
moor, not far from this, are some dear, sweet Wild Geese, as lovely
creatures as have ever said 'hiss, hiss.' You are truly in the way to
make your fortune, ugly as you are."

Bang! a gun went off all at once, and both Wild Geese were stretched
dead among the reeds; the water became red with blood; bang! a gun
went off again; whole flocks of wild geese flew up from among the
reeds, and another report followed.

There was a grand hunting party; the hunters lay in ambush all around;
some were even sitting in the trees, whose huge branches stretched far
over the moor. The blue smoke rose through the thick trees like a
mist, and was dispersed as it fell over the water; the hounds splashed
about in the mud, the reeds and rushes bent in all directions; how
frightened the poor little Duck was! he turned his head, thinking to
hide it under his wings, and in a moment a most formidable-looking dog
stood close to him, his tongue hanging out of his mouth, his eyes
sparkling fearfully. He opened wide his jaws at the sight of our
Duckling, showed him his sharp white teeth, and splash, splash! he was
gone,--gone without hurting him.

"Well! let me be thankful," sighed he; "I am so ugly that even the dog
will not eat me."

And now he lay still, though the shooting continued among the reeds,
shot following shot.

The noise did not cease till late in the day, and even then the poor
little thing dared not stir; he waited several hours before he looked
around him, and then hastened away from the moor as fast as he could;
he ran over fields and meadows, though the wind was so high that he
had some difficulty in proceeding.

Towards evening he reached a wretched little hut, so wretched that it
knew not on which side to fall, and therefore remained standing. The
wind blew violently, so that our poor little Duckling was obliged to
support himself on his tail, in order to stand against it; but it
became worse and worse. He then remarked that the door had lost one of
its hinges, and hung so much awry that he could creep through the
crevice into the room, which he did.

In this room lived an old woman, with her Tom-cat and her Hen; and the
Cat, whom she called her little son, knew how to set up his back and
purr; indeed, he could even emit sparks when stroked the wrong way.
The Hen had very short legs, and was therefore called "Cuckoo
Short-legs"; she laid very good eggs, and the old woman loved her as
her own child.

The next morning the new guest was perceived. The Cat began to mew and
the Hen to cackle.

"What is the matter?" asked the old woman, looking round; however, her
eyes were not good, so she took the young Duckling to be a fat Duck
who had lost her way. "This is a capital catch," said she; "I shall
now have ducks' eggs, if it be not a drake: we must try."

And so the Duckling was put to the proof for three weeks, but no eggs
made their appearance.

Now the Cat was the master of the house, and the Hen was the mistress,
and they used always to say, "We and the world," for they imagined
themselves to be not only the half of the world, but also by far the
better half. The Duckling thought it was possible to be of a different
opinion, but that the Hen would not allow.

"Can you lay eggs?" asked she.

"No."

[Illustration]

"Well, then, hold your tongue."

And the Cat said, "Can you set up your back? can you purr?"

"No."

"Well, then, you should have no opinion when reasonable persons are
speaking."

So the Duckling sat alone in a corner, and was in a very bad humor;
however, he happened to think of the fresh air and bright sunshine,
and these thoughts gave him such a strong desire to swim again, that
he could not help telling it to the Hen.

"What ails you?" said the Hen. "You have nothing to do, and therefore
brood over these fancies; either lay eggs or purr, then you will
forget them."

"But it is so delicious to swim!" said the Duckling; "so delicious
when the waters close over your head, and you plunge to the bottom!"

"Well, that is a queer sort of pleasure," said the Hen; "I think you
must be crazy. Not to speak of myself, ask the Cat--he is the most
sensible animal I know--whether he would like to swim, or to plunge to
the bottom of the water. Ask our mistress, the old woman,--there is no
one in the world wiser than she; do you think she would take pleasure
in swimming, and in the waters closing over her head?"

"You do not understand me," said the Duckling.

"What, we do not understand you! So you think yourself wiser than the
Cat and the old woman, not to speak of myself. Do not fancy any such
thing, child, but be thankful for all the kindness that has been shown
you. Are you not lodged in a warm room, and have you not the advantage
of society from which you can learn something? But you are a
simpleton, and it is wearisome to have anything to do with you.
Believe me, I wish you well. I tell you unpleasant truths, but it is
thus that real friendship is shown. Come, for once give yourself the
trouble to learn to purr, or to lay eggs."

"I think I will go out into the wide world again," said the Duckling.

"Well, go," answered the Hen.

So the Duckling went. He swam on the surface of the water, he plunged
beneath, but all animals passed him by on account of his ugliness.
And the autumn came, the leaves turned yellow and brown, the wind
caught them and danced them about, the air was very cold, the clouds
were heavy with hail or snow, and the raven sat on the hedge and
croaked, the poor Duckling was certainly not very comfortable!

One evening, just as the sun was setting with unusual brilliancy, a
flock of large, beautiful birds rose from out the brushwood; the
Duckling had never seen anything so beautiful before; their plumage
was of a dazzling white, and they had long slender necks. They were
swans; they uttered a singular cry, spread out their long, splendid
wings, and flew away from these cold regions to warmer countries,
across the open sea. They flew so high, so very high! and the little
Ugly Duckling's feelings were so strange; he turned round and round in
the water like a mill-wheel, strained his neck to look after them, and
sent forth such a loud and strange cry that it almost frightened
himself. Ah! he could not forget them, those noble birds! those happy
birds! When he could see them no longer, he plunged to the bottom of
the water, and when he rose again was almost beside himself. The
Duckling knew not what the birds were called, knew not whither they
were flying, yet he loved them as he had never before loved anything;
he envied them not, it would never have occurred to him to wish such
beauty for himself; he would have been quite contented if the ducks in
the duck-yard had but endured his company,--the poor, ugly animal!

And the winter was so cold, so cold! The Duckling was obliged to swim
round and round in the water, to keep it from freezing; but every
night the opening in which he swam became smaller and smaller; it
froze so that the crust of ice crackled; the Duckling was obliged to
make good use of his legs to prevent the water from freezing entirely;
at last, wearied out, he lay stiff and cold in the ice.

Early in the morning there passed by a peasant, who saw him, broke the
ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and brought him home to his wife.

He now revived; the children would have played with him, but our
Duckling thought they wished to tease him, and in his terror jumped
into the milk-pail, so that the milk was spilled about the room; the
good woman screamed and clapped her hands; he flew thence into the pan
where the butter was kept, and thence into the meal-barrel, and out
again, and then how strange he looked!

The woman screamed, and struck at him with the tongs, the children ran
races with each other trying to catch him, and laughed and screamed
likewise. It was well for him that the door stood open; he jumped out
among the bushes into the new-fallen snow,--he lay there as in a
dream.

But it would be too melancholy to relate all the trouble and misery
that he was obliged to suffer during the severity of the winter. He
was lying on a moor among the reeds, when the sun began to shine
warmly again, the larks sang, and beautiful spring had returned.

And once more he shook his wings. They were stronger than formerly,
and bore him forwards quickly, and, before he was well aware of it, he
was in a large garden where the apple-trees stood in full bloom, where
the syringas sent forth their fragrance, and hung their long green
branches down into the winding canal. O, everything was so lovely, so
full of the freshness of spring! And out of the thicket came three
beautiful white Swans. They displayed their feathers so proudly, and
swam so lightly, so lightly! The Duckling knew the glorious creatures,
and was seized with a strange melancholy.

"I will fly to them, those kingly birds!" said he. "They will kill me,
because I, ugly as I am, have presumed to approach them. But it
matters not; better to be killed by them than to be bitten by the
ducks, pecked by the hens, kicked by the girl who feeds the poultry,
and to have so much to suffer during the winter!" He flew into the
water, and swam towards the beautiful creatures; they saw him and shot
forward to meet him. "Only kill me," said the poor animal, and he
bowed his head low, expecting death; but what did he see in the
water? He saw beneath him his own form, no longer that of a plump,
ugly, gray bird,--it was that of a Swan.

It matters not to have been born in a duck-yard, if one has been
hatched from a Swan's egg.

The good creature felt himself really elevated by all the troubles and
adversities he had experienced. He could now rightly estimate his own
happiness, and the larger Swans swam around him, and stroked him with
their beaks.

Some little children were running about in the garden; they threw
grain and bread into the water, and the youngest exclaimed, "There is
a new one!" the others also cried out, "Yes, there is a new Swan
come!" and they clapped their hands, and danced around. They ran to
their father and mother, bread and cake were thrown into the water,
and every one said, "The new one is the best, so young and so
beautiful!" and the old Swans bowed before him. The young Swan felt
quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wings; he scarcely knew what
to do, he was all too happy, but still not proud, for a good heart is
never proud.

He remembered how he had been persecuted and derided, and he now heard
every one say he was the most beautiful of all beautiful birds. The
syringas bent down their branches towards him low into the water, and
the sun shone so warmly and brightly,--he shook his feathers,
stretched his slender neck, and in the joy of his heart said, "How
little did I dream of so much happiness when I was the ugly, despised
Duckling!"

                                          _Hans Christian Andersen._



THE POET AND HIS LITTLE DAUGHTER.


It was a June morning. Roses and yellow jasmine covered the old wall
in the Poet's garden. The little brown mason bees flew in and out of
their holds beneath the pink and white and yellow flowers.
Peacock-butterflies, with large blue eyes on their crimson velvet
wings, fluttered about and settled on the orange-brown wall-flowers.
Aloft, in the broad-leaved sycamore-tree, the blackbird was singing as
if he were out of his senses for joy; his song was as loud as any
nightingale, and his heart was glad, because his young brood was
hatched, and he knew that they now sat with their little yellow beaks
poking out of the nest, and thinking what a famous bird their father
was. All the robins and tomtits and linnets and redstarts that sat in
the trees of the garden den shouted vivas and bravuras, and encored
him delightfully.

The Poet himself sat under the double-flowering hawthorn, which was
then all in blossom. He sat on a rustic seat, and his best friend sat
beside him. Beneath the lower branches of the tree was hung the
canary-bird's cage, which the children had brought out because the day
was so fine, and the little canary loved fresh air and the smell of
flowers. It never troubled him that other birds flew about from one
end of the garden to the other, or sat and sung on the leafy branches,
for he loved his cage; and when the old blackbird poured forth his
grand melodies, the little canary sat like a prince in a stage-box,
and nodded his head, and sang an accompaniment.

One of the Poet's children, his little daughter, sat in her own little
garden, which was full of flowers, while bees and butterflies flitted
about in the sunshine. The child, however, was not noticing them; she
was thinking only of one thing, and that was the large daisy-root
which was all in flower; it was the largest daisy-root in the whole
garden, and two-and-fifty double pink-and-white daisies were crowded
upon it. They were, however, no longer daisies to the child's eyes,
but two-and-fifty little charity children in green stuff gowns, and
white tippets, and white linen caps, that had a holiday given them.
She saw them all, with their pink cheeks and bright eyes, running in a
group and talking as they went; the hum of the bees around seeming to
be the pleasant sound of their voices. The child was happy to think
that two-and-fifty charity children were let loose from school to run
about in the sunshine. Her heart went with them, and she was so full
of joy that she started up to tell her father, who was sitting with
his best friend under the hawthorn-tree.

[Illustration]

Sad and bitter thoughts, however, just then oppressed the Poet's
heart. He had been disappointed where he had hoped for good; his soul
was under a cloud; and as the child ran up to tell him about the
little charity children in whose joy she thought he would sympathize,
she heard him say to his friend, "I have no longer any hope of human
nature now. It is a poor miserable thing, and is not worth working
for. My best endeavors have been spent in its service,--my youth and
my manhood's strength, my very life,--and this is my reward! I will
no longer strive to do good. I will write for money alone, as others
do, and not for the good of mankind!"

The Poet's words were bitter, and tears came into the eyes of his best
friend. Never had the child heard such words from her father before,
for he had always been to her as a great and good angel.

"I will write," said he, "henceforth for money, as others do, and not
for the good of mankind."

"My father, if you do," said the child, in a tone of mournful
indignation, "I will never read what you write! I will trample your
writings under my feet!"

Large tears rolled down her cheeks, and her eyes were fixed on her
father's face.

The Poet took the child in his arms and kissed her. An angel touched
his heart, and he now felt that he could forgive his bitterest
enemies.

"I will tell you a story, my child," he said, in his usually mild
voice.

The child leaned her head against his breast, and listened.

"Once upon a time," he began, "there was a man who dwelt in a great,
wide wilderness. He was a poor man, and worked very hard for his
bread. He lived in a cave of a rock, and because the sun shone burning
hot into the cave, he twined roses and jessamines and honeysuckles all
around it; and in front of it, and on the ledges of the rock, he
planted ferns and sweet shrubs, and made it very pleasant. Water ran
gurgling from a fissure in the rock into a little basin, whence it
poured in gentle streams through the garden, in which grew all kinds
of delicious fruits. Birds sang in the tall trees which Nature herself
had planted; and little squirrels, and lovely green lizards, with
bright, intelligent eyes, lived in the branches and among the flowers.

"All would have gone well with the man, had not evil spirits taken
possession of his cave. They troubled him night and day. They dropped
canker-blight upon his roses, nipped off his jasmine and
honeysuckle-flowers, and, in the form of caterpillars and blight, ate
his beautiful fruits.

"It made the man angry and bitter in his feelings. The flowers were no
longer beautiful to him, and when he looked on them he thought only of
the canker and the caterpillar.

"'I can no longer take pleasure in them,' he said; 'I will leave the
cave, and go elsewhere.'

"He did so; and travelled on and on, a long way. But it was a vast
wilderness in which he dwelt, and thus it was many and many a weary
day before he came to a place of rest; nor did he know that all this
time the evil spirits who had plagued him so in his own cave were
still going with him.

"But so they were. And they made every place he came to seem worse
than the last. Their very breath cast a blight upon everything.

"He was footsore and weary, and very miserable. A feeling like despair
was in his heart, and he said that he might as well die as live. He
lay down in the wilderness, so unhappy was he, and scarcely had he
done so, when he heard behind him the pleasantest sound in the
world,--a little child singing like a bird, because her heart was
innocent and full of joy; and the next moment she was at his side.

"The evil spirits that were about him drew back a little when they saw
her coming, because she brought with her a beautiful company of angels
and bright spirits,--little cherubs with round, rosy cheeks, golden
hair, and laughing eyes between two dove's wings as white as snow. The
child had not the least idea that these beautiful spirits were always
about her; all she knew was that she was full of joy, and that she
loved above all things to do good. When she saw the poor man lying
there, she went up to him, and talked to him so pityingly, and yet so
cheerfully, that he felt as if her words would cure him. She told him
that she lived just by, and that he should go with her, and rest and
get well in her cave.

"He went with her, and found that her cave was just such a one as his
own, only much smaller. Roses and honeysuckles and jasmine grew all
around it; and birds were singing, and goldfish were sporting about
in the water; and there were beds of strawberries, all red and
luscious, that filled the air with fragrance.

"It was a beautiful place. There seemed to be no canker nor blight on
anything. And yet the man saw how spiders had woven webs like the most
beautiful lace from one vine-branch to another; and butterflies that
once had been devouring caterpillars were flitting about. Just as in
his own garden, yellow frogs were squatted under the cool green
strawberry leaves. But the child loved both the frogs and the green
lizards, and said that they did her no harm, and that there were
plenty of strawberries both for them and for her.

"The evil spirits that had troubled the man, and followed him, could
not get into the child's garden. It was impossible, because all those
rosy-cheeked cherubs and white-robed angels lived there; and that
which is good, be it ever so small, is a great deal stronger than that
which is evil, be it ever so large. They therefore sat outside and bit
their nails for vexation; and as the man stayed a long time with the
child, they got so tired of waiting that a good number of them flew
away forever.

"At length the man kissed the child and went back to his own place;
and when he got there he had the pleasure of finding that, owing to
the evil spirits having been so long away, the flowers and fruits had,
in great measure, recovered themselves. There was hardly any canker or
blight left. And as the child came now very often to see him,--for,
after all, they did not live so very far apart, only that the man had
wandered a long way round in the wilderness,--and brought with her all
the bright company that dwelt with her, the place was freed, at least
while she stayed, from the evil ones.

"This is a true story, a perfectly true story," added the Poet, when
he had brought his little narrative to an end; "and there are many men
who live like him in a wilderness, and who go a long way round about
before they can find a resting-place. And happy is it for such when
they can have a child for their neighbor; for our Divine Master has
himself told us that blessed are little children, and that of such is
the kingdom of heaven!"

The Poet was silent. His little daughter kissed him, and then, without
saying a word about the little charity children, ran off to sit down
beside them again, and perhaps to tell them the story which her father
had just related to her.

                                                      _Mary Howitt._

[Illustration]



THE RED FLOWER.


What it was, where it grew, I should find it difficult to tell you. I
had seen it once, when a little child, in a stony road, among the
thorns of a hedge; and I had gathered it. Ah! that was certain! It
waved at the end of a long stalk; its petals were of a flame-like red;
its form was unlike anything known, resembling somewhat a censer, from
which issued golden stamens.

Since those earliest days, I had often sought it, often asked for it.
When I mentioned it, people laughed at me. I spoke of the flower no
more, but I sought for it still.

"Impossible!" Experience writes the word in the dictionary of the man.
In the child's vocabulary, it has no existence. The marvellous to him
is perfectly natural. Things which he sees to be beautiful arrange
themselves along his path; why should he have a doubt of this or of
that? By and by, exact bounds will limit his domain. A faint line,
then a barrier, then a wall: erelong the wall will rise and surround
the man,--a dungeon from which he must have wings to escape.

Around the child are neither walls nor boundary lines, but a limitless
expanse, everywhere glowing with beautiful colors. In the far-off
depths, reality mingles with revery. It is like an ocean whose blue
waves glimmer and sparkle on the horizon, where they kiss the shores
of enchanted isles.

I sought the red flower. Have you never searched for it too?

This morning, in the spring atmosphere, its memory came back to my
heart. It seemed to me that I should find it; and I walked on at
random.

I went through solitary footpaths. The laborers had gone to their
noonday repose. The meadows were all in bloom. Weeds, growing in spite
of wind and tide spread a golden carpet beside the rose-colored
meadow-grass. In the wet places were tangles of pale blue
forget-me-nots; beyond them, tufts of the azure veronica, and over the
stream hung the straw-colored lotus. Under the grain, yet green,
corn-poppies were waving. With every breeze a scarlet wave arose,
swelled, and vanished.

[Illustration]

Blue butterflies danced before me, mingling and dispersing like
floating flower-petals in the air. Under the umbelled plants was a
pavement of beetles, of black and purple mosaic. On the tufts of the
verbena gathered insects with shells blazoned like the escutcheons of
the knights of the Middle Ages. The quail was calling in the thickets;
three notes here, and three there. I found myself on the skirt of a
pine forest, and I seated myself on the grass.

The red flower! I thought of it no longer. The butterflies had carried
it away. I thought how beautiful life is on a spring morning; what
happiness it is to open the lips and inhale the fresh air; what joy to
open the eyes and behold the earth in her bridal robes; what delight
to open the hands and gather the sweet-smelling blossoms. Then I
thought of the God of the heavens, that, arching above me, spoke of
his power. I thought of the Lord of the little ones,--of the insects
that, flitting about me, spoke of his goodness. All these accents
awoke a chord in harmony with that which burst forth from the
blossoming meadows.

I arose, and came to a recess in the shadowy edge of the forest.

As I walked, something glowed in the grass; something dazzled me;
something made my heart throb. It was the red flower!

I seized it. I held it tightly in my hand. It was the flower; yes, it
was the same, but with a strange, new splendor. I possessed it, yet I
dared not look upon it.

Suddenly I felt the blossom tremble in my fingers. They loosened their
grasp. The flower dilated. It expanded its carnation petals, slightly
tinged with green; it spread out a purple calyx; two stamens, two
antennæ, vibrated a moment. The blossom quivered; some breath had made
it shudder; its wings unfolded. As I gazed, it fluttered a little,
then rose in a golden sunbeam; its colors played in the different
strata of the air, the roseate, the azure, the ether; it disappeared.

O my flower! I know whither thou goest and whence thou comest! I know
the hidden sources of thine eternal bloom. I know the Word that
created thee; I know the Eden where thou growest!

Winged flower! he who falters in his search for thee will never find
thee. He who seeks thee on earth may grasp thee, but will surely lose
thee again. Flower of Paradise, thou belongest only to him who
searches for thee where thou hast been planted by the hand of the
Lord.

                                               _Madame De Gasparin._



[Illustration]

THE STORY WITHOUT AN END.


I.

There was once a child who lived in a little hut, and in the hut there
was nothing but a little bed, and a looking-glass which hung in a dark
corner. Now the child cared nothing at all about the looking-glass,
but as soon as the first sunbeam glided softly through the casement
and kissed his sweet eyelids, and the finch and the linnet waked him
merrily with their morning songs, he arose and went out into the green
meadow. And he begged flour of the primrose, and sugar of the violet,
and butter of the buttercup; he shook dew-drops from the cowslip into
the cup of a harebell; spread out a large lime-leaf, set his little
breakfast upon it, and feasted daintily. Sometimes he invited a
humming-bee, oftener a gay butterfly, to partake of his feast; but his
favorite guest was the blue dragon-fly. The bee murmured a good deal,
in a solemn tone, about his riches; but the child thought that if _he_
were a bee, heaps of treasure would not make him gay and happy; and
that it must be much more delightful and glorious to float about in
the free and fresh breezes of spring, and to hum joyously in the web
of the sunbeams, than, with heavy feet and heavy heart, to stow the
silver wax and the golden honey into cells.

To this the butterfly assented; and he told how, once on a time, he
too had been greedy and sordid; how he had thought of nothing but
eating, and had never once turned his eyes upwards to the blue
heavens. At length, however, a complete change had come over him; and
instead of crawling spiritless about the dirty earth, half dreaming,
he all at once awaked as out of a deep sleep. And now he could rise
into the air; and it was his greatest joy sometimes to play with the
light, and to reflect the heavens in the bright eyes of his wings;
sometimes to listen to the soft language of the flowers, and catch
their secrets. Such talk delighted the child, and his breakfast was
the sweeter to him, and the sunshine on leaf and flower seemed to him
more bright and cheering.

But when the bee had flown off to beg from flower to flower, and the
butterfly had fluttered away to his playfellows, the dragon-fly still
remained poised on a blade of grass. Her slender and burnished body,
more brightly and deeply blue than the deep blue sky, glistened in the
sunbeam; and her net-like wings laughed at the flowers because _they_
could not fly, but must stand still and abide the wind and the rain.
The dragon-fly sipped a little of the child's clear dew-drops and
blue-violet honey, and then whispered her winged words. And the child
made an end of his repast, closed his dark blue eyes, bent down his
beautiful head, and listened to the sweet prattle.

Then the dragon-fly told much of the merry life in the green
wood,--how sometimes she played hide-and-seek with her playfellows
under the broad leaves of the oak and the beech trees; or
hunt-the-hare along the surface of the still waters; sometimes quietly
watched the sunbeams, as they flew busily from moss to flower and from
flower to bush, and shed life and warmth over all. But at night, she
said, the moonbeams glided softly around the wood, and dropped dew
into the mouths of all the thirsty plants; and when the dawn pelted
the slumberers with the soft roses of heaven, some of the half-drunken
flowers looked up and smiled, but most of them could not so much as
raise their heads for a long, long time.

Such stories did the dragon-fly tell; and as the child sat motionless,
with his eyes shut, and his head rested on his little hand, she
thought he had fallen asleep; so she poised her double wings and flew
into the rustling wood.


II.

But the child was only sunk into a dream of delight, and was wishing
_he_ were a sunbeam or a moonbeam; and he would have been glad to hear
more and more, and forever. But at last, as all was still, he opened
his eyes and looked around for his dear guest, but she was flown far
away; so he could not bear to sit there any longer alone, and he rose
and went to the gurgling brook. It gushed and rolled so merrily, and
tumbled so wildly along as it hurried to throw itself head-over-heels
into the river, just as if the great massy rock out of which it sprang
were close behind it, and could only be escaped by a break-neck leap.

Then the child began to talk to the little waves, and asked them
whence they came. They would not stay to give him an answer, but
danced away, one over another, till at last, that the sweet child
might not be grieved, a drop of water stopped behind a piece of rock.
From her the child heard strange histories; but he could not
understand them all, for she told him about her former life, and about
the depths of the mountain.

"A long while ago," said the drop of water, "I lived with my countless
sisters in the great ocean, in peace and unity. We had all sorts of
pastimes; sometimes we mounted up high into the air, and peeped at the
stars; then we sank plump down deep below, and looked how the
coral-builders work till they are tired, that they may reach the light
of day at last. But I was conceited, and thought myself much better
than my sisters. And so one day, when the sun rose out of the sea, I
clung fast to one of his hot beams, and thought that now I should
reach the stars, and become one of them. But I had not ascended far,
when the sunbeam shook me off, and, in spite of all I could say or do,
let me fall into a dark cloud. And soon a flash of fire darted through
the cloud, and now I thought I must surely die; but the whole cloud
laid itself down softly upon the top of a mountain, and so I escaped
with my fright and a black eye. Now I thought I should remain hidden,
when all on a sudden, I slipped over a round pebble, fell from one
stone to another, down into the depths of the mountain, till at last
it was pitch dark, and I could neither see nor hear anything. Then I
found, indeed, that 'pride goeth before a fall,' resigned myself to my
fate, and, as I had already laid aside all my unhappy pride in the
cloud, my portion was now the salt of humility; and after undergoing
many purifications from the hidden virtues of metals and minerals, I
was at length permitted to come up once more into the free cheerful
air; and now will I run back to my sisters, and there wait patiently
till I am called to something better."

But hardly had she done when the root of a forget-me-not caught the
drop of water by her hair, and sucked her in, that she might become a
floweret, and twinkle brightly as a blue star on the green firmament
of earth.


III.

The child did not very well know what to think of all this; he went
thoughtfully home, and laid himself on his little bed; and all night
long he was wandering about on the ocean, and among the stars, and
over the dark mountain. But the moon loved to look on the slumbering
child, as he lay with his little head softly pillowed on his right
arm. She lingered a long time before his little window, and went
slowly away to lighten the dark chamber of some sick person. As the
moon's soft light lay on the child's eyelids, he fancied he sat in a
golden boat, on a great, great water; countless stars swam glittering
on the dark mirror. He stretched out his hand to catch the nearest
star, but it vanished, and the water sprayed up against him. Then he
saw clearly that these were not the real stars; he looked up to
heaven, and wished he could fly thither. But in the mean time the moon
had wandered on her way; and now the child was led in his dream into
the clouds, and he thought he was sitting on a white sheep, and he saw
many lambs grazing around him. He tried to catch a little lamb to play
with, but it was all mist and vapor; and the child was sorrowful, and
wished himself down again in his own meadow, where his own lamb was
sporting gayly about.

Meanwhile the moon was gone to sleep behind the mountains, and all
around was dark. Then the child dreamed that he fell down into the
dark, gloomy caverns of the mountain; and at that he was so frightened
that he suddenly awoke, just as Morning opened her clear eye over the
nearest hill.


IV.

The child started up, and, to recover himself from his fright, went
into the little flower-garden behind his cottage, where the beds were
surrounded by ancient palm-trees, and where he knew that all the
flowers would nod kindly at him. But, behold, the tulip turned up her
nose, and the ranunculus held her head as stiffly as possible, that
she might not bow good-morrow to him. The rose, with her fair round
cheeks, smiled, and greeted the child lovingly; so he went up to her
and kissed her fragrant mouth. And then the rose tenderly complained
that he so seldom came into the garden, and that she gave out her
bloom and her fragrance the livelong day in vain; for the other
flowers could not see her because they were too low, or did not care
to look at her because they themselves were so rich in bloom and
fragrance. But she was most delighted when she glowed in the blooming
head of a child, and could pour all her heart's secrets to him in
sweet odors.

Among other things, the rose whispered in his ear that she was the
fulness of beauty.

And in truth the child, while looking at her beauty, seemed to have
quite forgotten to go on, till the blue larkspur called to him, and
asked whether he cared nothing more about his faithful friend; she
said that she was unchanged, and that even in death she should look
upon him with eyes of unfading blue.

The child thanked her for her true-heartedness, and passed on to the
hyacinth, who stood near the puffy, full-cheeked, gaudy tulips. Even
from a distance the hyacinth sent forth kisses to him, for she knew
not how to express her love. Although she was not remarkable for her
beauty, yet the child felt himself wondrously attracted by her, for he
thought no flower loved him so well. But the hyacinth poured out her
full heart and wept bitterly, because she stood so lonely; the tulips
indeed were her countrymen, but they were so cold and unfeeling that
she was ashamed of them. The child encouraged her, and told her he did
not think things were so bad as she fancied. The tulips spoke their
love in bright looks, while she uttered hers in fragrant words; that
these, indeed, were lovelier and more intelligible, but that the
others were not to be despised.

Then the hyacinth was comforted, and said she would be content; and
the child went on to the powdered auricula, who, in her bashfulness,
looked kindly up to him, and would gladly have given him more than
kind looks had she had more to give. But the child was satisfied with
her modest greeting; he felt that he was poor too, and he saw the
deep, thoughtful colors that lay beneath her golden dust. But the
humble flower, of her own accord, sent him to her neighbor, the lily,
whom she willingly acknowledged as her queen. And when the child came
to the lily, the slender flower waved to and fro, and bowed her pale
head with gentle pride and stately modesty, and sent forth a fragrant
greeting to him. The child knew not what had come to him; it reached
his inmost heart, so that his eyes filled with soft tears. Then he
marked how the lily gazed with a clear and steadfast eye upon the
sun, and how the sun looked down again into her pure chalice, and how,
amid this interchange of looks, the three golden threads united in the
centre. And the child heard how one scarlet lady-bird at the bottom of
the cup said to another, "Knowest thou not that we dwell in the flower
of heaven?" and the other replied, "Yes, and now will the mystery be
fulfilled."

And as the child saw and heard all this, the dim image of his unknown
parents, as it were veiled in a holy light, floated before his eyes;
he strove to grasp it, but the light was gone, and the child slipped,
and would have fallen, had not the branch of a currant-bush caught and
held him; he took some of the bright berries for his morning's meal,
and went back to his hut and stripped the little branches.


V.

In the hut he stayed not long, all was so gloomy, close, and silent
within; and abroad everything seemed to smile, and to exult in the
clear and unbounded space. Therefore the child went out into the green
wood, of which the dragon-fly had told him such pleasant stories. But
he found everything far more beautiful and lovely even than she had
described it; for all about, wherever he went, the tender moss pressed
his little feet, and the delicate grass embraced his knees, and the
flowers kissed his hands, and even the branches stroked his cheeks
with a kind and refreshing touch, and the high trees threw their
fragrant shade around him.

There was no end to his delight. The little birds warbled, and sang,
and fluttered, and hopped about, and the delicate wood-flowers gave
out their beauty and their odors; and every sweet sound took a sweet
odor by the hand, and thus walked through the open door of the child's
heart, and held a joyous nuptial dance therein. But the nightingale
and the lily of the valley led the dance; for the nightingale sang of
naught but love, and the lily breathed of naught but innocence, and he
was the bridegroom and she was the bride. And the nightingale was
never weary of repeating the same thing a hundred times over, for the
spring of love which gushed from his heart was ever new; and the lily
bowed her head bashfully, that no one might see her glowing heart. And
yet the one lived so solely and entirely in the other, that no one
could see whether the notes of the nightingale were floating lilies,
or the lilies visible notes, falling like dew-drops from the
nightingale's throat.

The child's heart was full of joy even to the brim. He set himself
down, and he almost thought he should like to take root there, and
live forever among the sweet plants and flowers, and so become a true
sharer in all their gentle pleasures. For he felt a deep delight in
the still, secluded twilight existence of the mosses and small herbs,
which felt not the storm, nor the frost, nor the scorching sunbeam,
but dwelt quietly among their many friends and neighbors, feasting in
peace and good-fellowship on the dew and cool shadows which the mighty
trees shed upon them. To them it was a high festival when a sunbeam
chanced to visit their lowly home; whilst the tops of the lofty trees
could find joy and beauty only in the purple rays of morning or
evening.


VI.

And as the child sat there, a little mouse rustled from among the dry
leaves of the former year, and a lizard half glided from a crevice in
the rock, and when they saw that he designed them no evil, they took
courage and came nearer to him.

"I should like to live with you," said the child to the two little
creatures, in a soft, subdued voice, that he might not frighten them.
"Your chambers are so snug, so warm, and yet so shaded, and the
flowers grow in at your windows, and the birds sing you their morning
song, and call you to table and to bed with their clear warblings."

"Yes," said the mouse, "it would be all very well if all the plants
bore nuts and mast, instead of those silly flowers; and if I were not
obliged to grub under ground in the spring, and gnaw the bitter roots,
whilst they are dressing themselves in their fine flowers, and
flaunting it to the world, as if they had endless stores of honey in
their cellars."

"Hold your tongue!" interrupted the lizard, pertly; "do you think,
because you are gray, that other people must throw away their handsome
clothes, or let them lie in the dark wardrobe under ground, and wear
nothing but gray too? I am not so envious. The flowers may dress
themselves as they like for all me; they pay for it out of their own
pockets, and they feed bees and beetles from their cups; but what I
want to know is, of what use are birds in the world? Such a fluttering
and chattering, truly, from morning early to evening late, that one is
worried and stunned to death, and there is never a day's peace for
them. And they do nothing, only snap up the flies and the spiders out
of the mouths of such as I. For my part, I should be perfectly
satisfied, provided all the birds in the world were flies and
beetles."

The child changed color, and his heart was sick and saddened when he
heard their evil tongues. He could not imagine how anybody could speak
ill of the beautiful flowers, or scoff at his beloved birds. He was
waked out of a sweet dream, and the wood seemed to him a lonely
desert, and he was ill at ease. He started up hastily, so that the
mouse and the lizard shrank back alarmed, and did not look around them
till they thought themselves safe out of the reach of the stranger
with the large severe eyes.


VII.

But the child went away from the place; and as he hung down his head
thoughtfully, he did not observe that he took the wrong path, nor see
how the flowers on either side bowed their heads to welcome him, nor
hear how the old birds from the boughs and the young from the nests
cried aloud to him, "God bless thee, our dear little prince!" And he
went on and on, farther and farther into the deep wood; and he thought
over the foolish and heartless talk of the two selfish chatterers,
and could not understand it. He would fain have forgotten it, but he
could not. And the more he pondered, the more it seemed to him as if a
malicious spider had spun her web around him, and as if his eyes were
weary with trying to look through it.

And suddenly he came to a still water, above which young beeches
lovingly intwined their arms. He looked in the water, and his eyes
were riveted to it as if by enchantment. He could not move, but stood
and gazed in the soft, placid mirror, from the bosom of which the
tender green foliage, with the deep blue heavens between, gleamed so
wondrously upon him. His sorrow was all forgotten, and even the echo
of the discord in his little heart was hushed. That heart was once
more in his eyes; and fain would he have drunk in the soft beauty of
the colors that lay beneath him, or have plunged into the lovely deep.

Then the breeze began to sigh among the tree-tops. The child raised
his eyes and saw overhead the quivering green, and the deep blue
behind it, and he knew not whether he were awake or dreaming; which
were the real leaves and the real heavens,--those in the heights
above, or in the depths beneath? Long did the child waver, and his
thoughts floated in a delicious dreaminess from one to the other, till
the dragon-fly flew to him in affectionate haste, and with rustling
wings greeted her kind host. The child returned her greeting, and was
glad to meet an acquaintance with whom he could share the rich feast
of his joy. But first he asked the dragon-fly if she could decide for
him between the upper and the nether,--the height and the depth. The
dragon-fly flew above, and beneath, and around; but the water spake:
"The foliage and the sky above are not the true ones; the leaves
wither and fall; the sky is often overcast, and sometimes quite dark."
Then the leaves and the sky said, "The water only apes us; it must
change its pictures at our pleasure, and can retain none." Then the
dragon-fly remarked that the height and the depth existed only in the
eyes of the child, and that the leaves and the sky were true and real
only in his thoughts; because in the mind alone the picture was
permanent and enduring, and could be carried with him whithersoever he
went.

This she said to the child; but she immediately warned him to return,
for the leaves were already beating the tattoo in the evening breeze,
and the lights were disappearing one by one in every corner.

Then the child confessed to her with alarm that he knew not how he
should find the way back, and that he feared the dark night would
overtake him if he attempted to go home alone; so the dragon-fly flew
on before him, and showed him a cave in the rock where he might pass
the night. And the child was well content; for he had often wished to
try if he could sleep out of his accustomed bed.


VIII.

But the dragon-fly was fleet, and gratitude strengthened her wings to
pay her host the honor she owed him. And truly, in the dim twilight,
good counsel and guidance were scarce. She flitted hither and thither
without knowing rightly what was to be done; when, by the last
vanishing sunbeam, she saw hanging on the edge of the cave some
strawberries who had drunk so deep of the evening red that their heads
were quite heavy. Then she flew up to a harebell who stood near, and
whispered in her ear that the lord and king of all the flowers was in
the wood, and ought to be received and welcomed as beseemed his
dignity. Aglaia did not need that this should be repeated. She began
to ring her sweet bells with all her might, and when her neighbor
heard the sound, she rang hers also; and soon all the harebells, great
and small, were in motion, and rang as if it had been for the nuptials
of their mother earth herself with the prince of the sun. The tone of
the bluebells was deep and rich, and that of the white, high and
clear, and all blended together in a delicious harmony.

But the birds were fast asleep in their high nests, and the ears of
the other animals were not delicate enough, or were too much
overgrown with hair, to hear them. The fire-flies alone heard the
joyous peal, for they were akin to the flowers, through their common
ancestor, light. They inquired of their nearest relation, the lily of
the valley, and from her they heard that a large flower had just
passed along the footpath more blooming than the loveliest rose, and
with two stars more brilliant than those of the brightest fire-fly,
and that it must needs be their king. Then all the fire-flies flew up
and down the footpath, and sought everywhere till at length they came,
as the dragon-fly had hoped they would, to the cave.

And now, as they looked at the child, and every one of them saw itself
reflected in his clear eyes, they rejoiced exceedingly, and called all
their fellows together, and alighted on the bushes all around; and
soon it was so light in the cave that herb and grass began to grow as
if it had been broad day. Now, indeed, was the joy and triumph of the
dragon-fly complete. The child was delighted with the merry and
silvery tones of the bells, and with the many little bright-eyed
companions around him, and with the deep red strawberries which bowed
down their heads to his touch.


IX.

And when he had eaten his fill, he sat down on the soft moss, crossed
one little leg over the other, and began to gossip with the
fire-flies. And as he so often thought on his unknown parents, he
asked them who were their parents. Then the one nearest to him gave
him answer; and he told how that they were formerly flowers, but none
of those who thrust their rooty hands greedily into the ground and
draw nourishment from the dingy earth only to make themselves fat and
large withal; but that the light was dearer to them than anything,
even at night; and while the other flowers slept, they gazed unwearied
on the light, and drank it in with eager adoration,--sun, and moon,
and starlight. And the light had so thoroughly purified them, that
they had not sucked in poisonous juices like the yellow flowers of the
earth, but sweet odors for sick and fainting hearts, and oil of
potent ethereal virtue for the weak and the wounded; and at length,
when their autumn came, they did not, like the others, wither and sink
down, leaf and flower, to be swallowed up by the darksome earth, but
shook off their earthly garment, and mounted aloft into the clear air.
But there it was so wondrously bright that, sight failed them; and
when they came to themselves again, they were fire-flies, each sitting
on a withered flower-stalk.

[Illustration]

And now the child liked the bright-eyed flies better than ever; and he
talked a little longer with them, and inquired why they showed
themselves so much more in spring. They did it, they said, in the hope
that their gold-green radiance might allure their cousins, the
flowers, to the pure love of light.


X.

During this conversation, the dragon-fly had been preparing a bed for
her host. The moss upon which the child sat had grown a foot high
behind his back, out of pure joy; but the dragon-fly and her sisters
had so revelled upon it, that it was laid at its length along the
cave. The dragon-fly had awakened every spider in the neighborhood
out of her sleep, and when they saw the brilliant light they had set
to work spinning so industriously that their web hung down like a
curtain before the mouth of the cave. But as the child saw the ant
peeping up at him, he entreated the fire-flies not to deprive
themselves any longer of their merry games in the wood on his account.
And the dragon-fly and her sisters raised the curtain till the child
had lain him down to rest, and then let it fall again, that the
mischievous gnats might not get in to disturb his slumbers.

The child laid himself down to sleep, for he was very tired; but he
could not sleep, for his couch of moss was quite another thing than
his little bed, and the cave was all strange to him. He turned himself
on one side and then on the other, and, as nothing would do, he raised
himself and sat upright, to wait till sleep might choose to come. But
sleep would not come at all; and the only wakeful eyes in the whole
wood were the child's. For the harebells had rung themselves weary,
and the fire-flies had flown about till they were tired, and even the
dragon-fly, who would fain have kept watch in front of the cave, had
dropped sound asleep.

The wood grew stiller and stiller, here and there fell a dry leaf
which had been driven from its old dwelling-place by a fresh one, here
and there a young bird gave a soft chirp when its mother squeezed it
in the nest; and from time to time a gnat hummed for a minute or two
in the curtain, till a spider crept on tiptoe along its web, and gave
him such a gripe in the windpipe as soon spoiled his trumpeting. And
the deeper the silence became, the more intently did the child listen,
and at last the slightest sound thrilled him from head to foot. At
length, all was still as death in the wood; and the world seemed as if
it never would wake again. The child bent forward to see whether it
were as dark abroad as in the cave, but he saw nothing save the pitch
dark night, who had wrapped everything in her thick veil. Yet as he
looked upwards his eyes met the friendly glance of two or three stars;
and this was a most joyful surprise to him, for he felt himself no
longer so entirely alone. The stars were indeed far, far away, but yet
he knew them, and they knew him; for they looked into his eyes.

The child's whole soul was fixed in his gaze; and it seemed to him as
if he must needs fly out of the darksome cave thither, where the stars
were beaming with such pure and serene light; and he felt how poor and
lowly he was when he thought of their brilliancy; and how cramped and
fettered, when he thought of their free unbounded course along the
heavens.


XI.

But the stars went on their course, and left their glittering picture
only a little while before the child's eyes. Even this faded, and then
vanished quite away. And he was beginning to feel tired, and to wish
to lay himself down again, when a flickering will-o'-the-wisp appeared
from behind a bush,--so that the child thought, at first, one of the
stars had wandered out of its way and had come to visit him, and to
take him with it. And the child breathed quick with joy and surprise,
and then the will-o'-the-wisp came nearer, and set himself down on a
damp mossy stone in front of the cave, and another fluttered quickly
after him, and sat down over against him, and sighed deeply, "Thank
God, then, that I can rest at last!" "Yes," said the other, "for that
you may thank the innocent child who sleeps there within; it was his
pure breath that freed us." "Are you, then," said the child,
hesitatingly, "not of yon stars which wander so brightly there above?"
"O, if we were stars," replied the first, "we should pursue our
tranquil path through the pure element, and should leave this wood and
the whole darksome earth to itself." "And not," said the other, "sit
brooding on the face of the shallow pool."

The child was curious to know who these could be who shone so
beautifully and yet seemed so discontented. Then the first began to
relate how he had been a child too, and how, as he grew up, it had
always been his greatest delight to deceive people and play them
tricks, to show his wit and cleverness. He had always, he said, poured
such a stream of smooth words over people, and encompassed himself
with such a shining mist, that men had been attracted by it to their
own hurt.

But once on a time there appeared a plain man who only spoke two or
three simple words, and suddenly the bright mist vanished, and left
him naked and deformed, to the scorn and mockery of the whole world.
But the man had turned away his face from him in pity, while he was
almost dead with shame and anger. And when he came to himself again,
he knew not what had befallen him, till at length he found that it was
his fate to hover, without rest or change, over the surface of the bog
as a will-o'-the-wisp.

"With me it fell out quite otherwise," said the first; "instead of
giving light without warmth, as I now do, I burned without shining.
When I was only a child, people gave way to me in everything, so that
I was intoxicated with self-love. If I saw any one shine, I longed to
put out his light; and the more intensely I wished this, the more did
my own small glimmering turn back upon myself, and inwardly burn
fiercely while all without was darker than ever. But if any one who
shone more brightly would have kindly given me of his light, then did
my inward flame burst forth to destroy him. But the flame passed
through the light and harmed it not: it shone only the more brightly,
while I was withered and exhausted. And once upon a time I met a
little smiling child, who played with a cross of palm branches, and
wore a beaming coronet around his golden locks. He took me kindly by
the hand, and said, 'My friend, you are now very gloomy and sad, but
if you will become a child again, even as I am, you will have a bright
circlet such as I have.' When I heard that, I was so angry with myself
and with the child that I was scorched by my inward fire. Now would I
fain fly up to the sun to fetch rays from him, but the rays drove me
back with these words: 'Return thither whence thou camest, thou dark
fire of envy, for the sun lightens only in love; the greedy earth,
indeed, sometimes turns his mild light into scorching fire. Fly back,
then, for with thy like alone must thou dwell!' I fell, and when I
recovered myself I was glimmering coldly above the stagnant waters."

While they were talking, the child had fallen asleep; for he knew
nothing of the world, nor of men, and he could make nothing of their
stories. Weariness had spoken a more intelligible language to him;
_that_ he understood, and had fallen asleep.


XII.

Softly and soundly he slept till the rosy morning clouds stood upon
the mountain, and announced the coming of their lord the sun. But as
soon as the tidings spread over field and wood, the thousand-voiced
echo awoke, and sleep was no more to be thought of. And soon did the
royal sun himself arise; at first his dazzling diadem alone appeared
above the mountains; at length he stood upon their summit in the full
majesty of his beauty, in all the charms of eternal youth, bright and
glorious, his kindly glance embracing every creature of earth, from
the stately oak to the blade of grass bending under the foot of the
wayfaring man.

Then arose from every breast, from every throat, the joyous song of
praise; and it was as if the whole plain and wood were become a
temple, whose roof was the heaven, whose altar the mountain, whose
congregation all creatures, whose priest the sun.

But the child walked forth and was glad; for the birds sang sweetly,
and it seemed to him as if everything sported and danced out of mere
joy to be alive. Here flew two finches through the thicket, and,
twittering, pursued each other; there the young buds burst asunder,
and the tender leaves peeped out, and expanded themselves in the warm
sun, as if they would abide in his glance forever; here a dew-drop
trembled, sparkling and twinkling on a blade of grass, and knew not
that beneath him stood a little moss who was thirsting after him;
there troops of flies flew aloft, as if they would soar far over the
wood; and so all was life and motion, and the child's heart joyed to
see it.

He sat down on a little smooth plot of turf, shaded by the branches of
a nut-bush, and thought he should now sip the cup of his delight drop
by drop. And first he plucked down some brambles which threatened him
with their prickles; then he bent aside some branches which concealed
the view; then he removed the stones, so that he might stretch out his
feet at full length on the soft turf; and when he had done all this,
he bethought himself what was yet to do; and as he found nothing he
stood up to look for his acquaintance, the dragon-fly, and to beg her
to guide him once more out of the wood into the open field. About
midway he met her, and she began to excuse herself for having fallen
asleep in the night. The child thought not of the past, were it even
but a minute ago, so earnestly did he now wish to get out from among
the thick and close trees; for his heart beat high, and he felt as if
he should breathe freer in the open ground. The dragon-fly flew on
before, and showed him the way as far as the outermost verge of the
wood, whence the child could espy his own little hut, and then flew
away to her playfellows.


XIII.

The child walked forth alone upon the fresh dewy cornfield. A thousand
little suns glittered in his eyes, and a lark soared, warbling, above
his head. And the lark proclaimed the joys of the coming year, and
awakened endless hopes, while she soared circling higher and higher,
till at length her song was like the soft whisper of an angel holding
converse with the spring under the blue arch of heaven.

The child had seen the earth-colored little bird rise up before him,
and it seemed to him as if the earth had sent her forth from her bosom
as a messenger to carry her joy and her thanks up to the sun, because
he had turned his beaming countenance again upon her in love and
bounty. And the lark hung poised above the hope-giving field, and
warbled her clear and joyous song.

She sang of the loveliness of the rosy dawn, and the fresh brilliancy
of the earliest sunbeams; of the gladsome springing of the young
flowers, and the vigorous shooting of the corn; and her song pleased
the child beyond measure. But the lark wheeled in higher and higher
circles, and her song sounded softer and sweeter.

And now she sang of the first delights of early love, of wanderings
together on the sunny fresh hill-tops, and of the sweet pictures and
visions that arise out of the blue and misty distance. The child
understood not rightly what he heard, and fain would he have
understood, for he thought that even in such visions must be wondrous
delight. He gazed aloft after the unwearied bird, but she had
disappeared in the morning mist.

Then the child leaned his head on one shoulder to listen if he could
no longer hear the little messenger of spring; and he could just catch
the distant and quivering notes in which she sang of the fervent
longing after the clear element of freedom; after the pure all-present
light; and of the blessed foretaste of this desired enfranchisement,
of this blending in the sea of celestial happiness.

Yet longer did he listen, for the tones of her song carried him there,
where, as yet, his thoughts had never reached, and he felt himself
happier in this short and imperfect flight than ever he had felt
before. But the lark now dropped suddenly to the earth, for her little
body was too heavy for the ambient ether, and her wings were not large
nor strong enough for the pure element.

Then the red corn-poppies laughed at the homely-looking bird, and
cried to one another and to the surrounding blades of corn in a shrill
voice, "Now, indeed, you may see what comes of flying so high, and
striving and straining after mere air; people only lose their time,
and bring back nothing but weary wings and an empty stomach. That
vulgar-looking, ill-dressed little creature would fain raise herself
above us all, and has kept up a mighty noise. And now, there she lies
on the ground, and can hardly breathe, while we have stood still where
we are, sure of a good meal, and have stayed like people of sense
where there is something substantial to be had; and in the time she
has been fluttering and singing, we have grown a good deal taller and
fatter."

The other little red-caps chattered and screamed their assent so loud
that the child's ears tingled, and he wished he could chastise them
for their spiteful jeers; when a cyane said, in a soft voice, to her
younger playmates, "Dear friends, be not led astray by outward show,
nor by discourse which regards only outward show. The lark is indeed
weary, and the space into which she has soared is void; but the void
is not what the lark sought, nor is the seeker returned empty home.
She strove after light and freedom, and light and freedom has she
proclaimed. She left the earth and its enjoyments, but she has drunk
of the pure air of heaven, and has seen that it is not the earth, but
the sun, that is steadfast. And if earth has called her back, it can
keep nothing of her but what is its own. Her sweet voice and her
soaring wings belong to the sun, and will enter into light and freedom
long after the foolish prater shall have sunk and been buried in the
dark prison of the earth."

And the lark heard her wise and friendly discourse, and, with renewed
strength, she sprang once more into the clear and beautiful blue.

Then the child clapped his little hands for joy that the sweet bird
had flown up again, and that the red-caps must hold their tongues for
shame.


XIV.

And the child was become happy and joyful, and breathed freely again,
and thought no more of returning to his hut; for he saw that nothing
returned inwards, but rather that all strove outwards into the free
air,--the rosy apple-blossoms from their narrow buds, and the gurgling
notes from the narrow breast of the lark. The germs burst open the
folding doors of the seeds, and broke through the heavy pressure of
the earth in order to get at the light; the grasses tore asunder their
bands and their slender blades sprang upward. Even the rocks were
become gentle, and allowed little mosses to peep out from their sides,
as a sign that they would not remain impenetrably closed forever. And
the flowers sent out color and fragrance into the whole world, for
they kept not their best for themselves, but would imitate the sun and
the stars, which poured their warmth and radiance over the spring. And
many a little gnat and beetle burst the narrow cell in which it was
inclosed, and crept out slowly, and, half asleep, unfolded and shook
its tender wings, and soon gained strength, and flew off to untried
delights. And as the butterflies came forth from their chrysalids in
all their gayety and splendor, so did every humbled and suppressed
aspiration and hope free itself, and boldly launch into the open and
flowing sea of spring.

                                                 _German of Carove._

[Illustration]



MEMORIES OF CHILD LIFE.



MEMORIES OF CHILD LIFE.



HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN,

POET AND NOVELIST OF DENMARK.


My life is a lovely story, happy and full of incident. If, when I was
a boy, and went forth into the world poor and friendless, a good fairy
had met me and said, "Choose now thy own course through life, and the
object for which thou wilt strive, and then, according to the
development of thy mind, and as reason requires, I will guide and
defend thee to its attainment," my fate could not, even then, have
been directed more happily, more prudently, or better. The history of
my life will say to the world what it says to me,--There is a loving
God, who directs all things for the best.

In the year 1805 there lived at Odense, in a small mean room, a young
married couple, who were extremely attached to each other; he was a
shoemaker, scarcely twenty-two years old, a man of a richly gifted and
truly poetical mind. His wife, a few years older than himself, was
ignorant of life and of the world, but possessed a heart full of love.
The young man had himself made his shoemaking bench, and the bedstead
with which he began housekeeping; this bedstead he had made out of the
wooden frame which had borne only a short time before the coffin of
the deceased Count Trampe, as he lay in state, and the remnants of the
black cloth on the wood-work kept the fact still in remembrance.

Instead of a noble corpse, surrounded by crape and waxlights, here
lay, on the 2d of April, 1805, a living and weeping child,--that was
myself, Hans Christian Andersen. During the first day of my existence
my father is said to have sat by the bed and read aloud in Holberg,
but I cried all the time. "Wilt thou go to sleep, or listen quietly?"
it is reported that my father asked in joke; but I still cried on; and
even in the church, when I was taken to be baptized, I cried so loudly
that the preacher, who was a passionate man, said, "The young one
screams like a cat!" which words my mother never forgot. A poor
emigrant, Gomar, who stood as godfather, consoled her in the mean time
by saying that, the louder I cried as a child, all the more
beautifully should I sing when I grew older.

Our little room, which was almost filled with the shoemaker's bench,
the bed, and my crib, was the abode of my childhood; the walls,
however, were covered with pictures, and over the workbench was a
cupboard containing books and songs; the little kitchen was full of
shining plates and metal pans, and by means of a ladder it was
possible to go out on the roof, where, in the gutters between it and
the neighbor's house, there stood a great chest filled with soil, my
mother's sole garden, and where she grew her vegetables. In my story
of the "Snow Queen" that garden still blooms.

I was the only child, and was extremely spoiled; but I continually
heard from my mother how very much happier I was than she had been,
and that I was brought up like a nobleman's child. She, as a child,
had been driven out by her parents to beg; and once, when she was not
able to do it, she had sat for a whole day under a bridge and wept.

My father gratified me in all my wishes. I possessed his whole heart;
he lived for me. On Sundays he made me perspective-glasses, theatres,
and pictures which could be changed; he read to me from Holberg's
plays and the "Arabian Tales"; it was only in such moments as these
that I can remember to have seen him really cheerful, for he never
felt himself happy in his life and as a handicraftsman. His parents
had been country people in good circumstances, but upon whom many
misfortunes had fallen,--the cattle had died; the farm-house had been
burned down; and, lastly, the husband had lost his reason. On this the
wife had removed with him to Odense, and there put her son, whose mind
was full of intelligence, apprentice to a shoemaker; it could not be
otherwise, although it was his ardent wish to attend the grammar
school, where he might learn Latin. A few well-to-do citizens had at
one time spoken of this, of clubbing together to raise a sufficient
sum to pay for his board and education, and thus giving him a start in
life; but it never went beyond words. My poor father saw his dearest
wish unfulfilled; and he never lost the remembrance of it. I recollect
that once, as a child, I saw tears in his eyes, and it was when a
youth from the grammar school came to our house to be measured for a
new pair of boots, and showed us his books and told us what he
learned.

"That was the path upon which I ought to have gone!" said my father,
kissed me passionately, and was silent the whole evening.

He very seldom associated with his equals. He went out into the woods
on Sundays, when he took me with him; he did not talk much when he was
out, but would sit silently, sunk in deep thought, whilst I ran about
and strung strawberries on a bent, or bound garlands. Only twice in
the year, and that in the month of May, when the woods were arrayed in
their earliest green, did my mother go with us; and then she wore a
cotton gown, which she put on only on these occasions and when she
partook of the Lord's Supper, and which, as long as I can remember,
was her holiday gown. She always took home with her from the wood a
great many fresh beech boughs, which were then planted behind the
polished stone. Later in the year sprigs of St. John's wort were stuck
into the chinks of the beams, and we considered their growth as omens
whether our lives would be long or short. Green branches and pictures
ornamented our little room, which my mother always kept neat and
clean; she took great pride in always having the bed linen and the
curtains very white.

One of my first recollections, although very slight in itself, had
for me a good deal of importance, from the power by which the fancy of
a child impressed it upon my soul; it was a family festival, and can
you guess where? In that very place in Odense, in that house which I
had always looked on with fear and trembling, just as boys in Paris
may have looked at the Bastile,--in the Odense house of correction.

My parents were acquainted with the jailer, who invited them to a
family dinner, and I was to go with them. I was at that time still so
small that I was carried when we returned home.

The House of Correction was for me a great storehouse of stories about
robbers and thieves; often I had stood, but always at a safe distance,
and listened to the singing of the men within and of the women
spinning at their wheels.

I went with my parents to the jailer's; the heavy iron-bolted gate was
opened and again locked with the key from the rattling bunch; we
mounted a steep staircase,--we ate and drank, and two of the prisoners
waited at the table; they could not induce me to taste of anything,
the sweetest things I pushed away; my mother told them I was sick, and
I was laid on a bed, where I heard the spinning-wheels humming near by
and merry singing, whether in my own fancy or in reality I cannot
tell; but I know that I was afraid, and was kept on the stretch all
the time; and yet I was in a pleasant humor, making up stories of how
I had entered a castle full of robbers. Late in the night my parents
went home, carrying me; the rain, for it was rough weather, dashing
against my face.

Odense was in my childhood quite another town from what it is now,
when it has shot ahead of Copenhagen, with its water carried through
the town, and I know not what else! Then it was a hundred years behind
the times; many customs and manners prevailed which long since
disappeared from the capital. When the guilds removed their signs,
they went in procession with flying banners and with lemons dressed in
ribbons stuck on their swords. A harlequin with bells and a wooden
sword ran at the head; one of them, an old fellow, Hans Struh, made a
great hit by his merry chatter and his face, which was painted black,
except the nose, that kept its genuine red color. My mother was so
pleased with him that she tried to find out if he was in any way
related to us; but I remember very well that I, with all the pride of
an aristocrat, protested against any relationship with the "fool."

In my sixth year came the great comet of 1811; and my mother told me
that it would destroy the earth, or that other horrible things
threatened us. I listened to all these stories and fully believed
them. With my mother and some of the neighboring women I stood in St.
Canut's Churchyard and looked at the frightful and mighty fire-ball
with its large shining tail.

All talked about the signs of evil and the day of doom. My father
joined us, but he was not of the others' opinion at all, and gave them
a correct and sound explanation; then my mother sighed, the women
shook their heads, my father laughed and went away. I caught the idea
that my father was not of our faith, and that threw me into a great
fright. In the evening my mother and my old grandmother talked
together, and I do not know how she explained it; but I sat in her
lap, looked into her mild eyes, and expected every moment that the
comet would rush down, and the day of judgment come.

The mother of my father came daily to our house, were it only for a
moment, in order to see her little grandson. I was her joy and her
delight. She was a quiet and most amiable old woman, with mild blue
eyes and a fine figure, which life had severely tried. From having
been the wife of a countryman in easy circumstances she had now fallen
into great poverty, and dwelt with her feeble-minded husband in a
little house, which was the last poor remains of their property. I
never saw her shed a tear; but it made all the deeper impression upon
me when she quietly sighed, and told me about her own mother's
mother,--how she had been a rich, noble lady, in the city of Cassel,
and that she had married a "comedy-player,"--that was as she expressed
it,--and run away from parents and home, for all of which her
posterity had now to do penance. I never can recollect that I heard
her mention the family name of her grandmother; but her own maiden
name was Nommesen. She was employed to take care of the garden
belonging to a lunatic asylum; and every Sunday evening she brought us
some flowers, which they gave her permission to take home with her.
These flowers adorned my mother's cupboard; but still they were mine,
and to me it was allowed to put them in the glass of water. How great
was this pleasure! She brought them all to me; she loved me with her
whole soul. I knew it, and I understood it.

She burned, twice in the year, the green rubbish of the garden; on
such occasions she took me with her to the asylum, and I lay upon the
great heaps of green leaves and pea-straw; I had many flowers to play
with, and--which was a circumstance upon which I set great
importance--I had here better food to eat than I could expect at home.

All such patients as were harmless were permitted to go freely about
the court; they often came to us in the garden, and with curiosity and
terror I listened to them and followed them about; nay, I even
ventured so far as to go with the attendants to those who were raving
mad. A long passage led to their cells. On one occasion, when the
attendants were out of the way, I lay down upon the floor, and peeped
through the crack of the door into one of these cells. I saw within a
lady almost naked, lying on her straw bed; her hair hung down over her
shoulders, and she sang with a very beautiful voice. All at once she
sprang up, and threw herself against the door where I lay; the little
valve through which she received her food burst open; she stared down
upon me, and stretched out her long arm toward me. I screamed for
terror,--I felt the tips of her fingers touching my clothes,--I was
half dead when the attendant came; and even in later years that sight
and that feeling remained within my soul.

I was very much afraid of my weak-minded grandfather. Only once had he
ever spoken to me, and then he had made use of the formal pronoun,
"you." He employed himself in cutting out of wood strange
figures,--men with beasts' heads and beasts with wings; these he
packed in a basket and carried them out into the country, where he
was everywhere well received by the peasant-women, because he gave to
them and their children these strange toys. One day, when he was
returning to Odense, I heard the boys in the street shouting after
him; I hid myself behind a flight of steps in terror, for I knew that
I was of his flesh and blood.

I very seldom played with other boys; even at school I took little
interest in their games, but remained sitting within doors. At home I
had playthings enough, which my father made for me. My greatest
delight was in making clothes for dolls, or in stretching out one of
my mother's aprons between the wall and two sticks before a
currant-bush which I had planted in the yard, and thus to gaze in
between the sun-illumined leaves. I was a singularly dreamy child, and
so constantly went about with my eyes shut, as at last to give the
impression of having weak sight, although the sense of sight was
especially cultivated by me.

An old woman-teacher, who had an A B C school, taught me the letters,
to spell, and "to read right," as it was called. She used to have her
seat in a high-backed arm-chair near the clock, from which at every
full stroke some little automata came out. She made use of a big rod,
which she always carried with her. The school consisted mostly of
girls. It was the custom of the school for all to spell loudly and in
as high a key as possible. The mistress dared not beat me, as my
mother had made it a condition of my going that I should not be
touched. One day having got a hit of the rod, I rose immediately, took
my book, and without further ceremony went home to my mother, asked
that I might go to another school, and that was granted me. My mother
sent me to Carsten's school for boys; there was also one girl there, a
little one somewhat older than I; we became very good friends; she
used to speak of the advantage it was to be to her in going into
service, and that she went to school especially to learn arithmetic,
for, as her mother told her, she could then become dairy-maid in some
great manor.

"That you can become in my castle when I am a nobleman!" said I; and
she laughed at me, and told me that I was only a poor boy. One day I
had drawn something which I called my castle, and I told her that I
was a changed child of high birth, and that the angels of God came
down and spoke to me. I wanted to make her stare as I did with the old
women in the hospital, but she would not be caught. She looked queerly
at me, and said to one of the other boys standing near, "He is a fool,
like his grandpapa," and I shivered at the words. I had said it to
give me an air of importance in their eyes; but I failed, and only
made them think that I was insane like my grandfather.

I never spoke to her again about these things, but we were no longer
the same playmates as before. I was the smallest in the school, and my
teacher, Mr. Carsten, always took me by the hand while the other boys
played, that I might not be run over; he loved me much, gave me cakes
and flowers, and tapped me on the cheeks. One of the older boys did
not know his lesson, and was punished by being placed, book in hand,
upon the school-table, around which we were seated; but seeing me
quite inconsolable at this punishment, he pardoned the culprit.

The poor old teacher became, later in life, telegraph-director at
Thorseng, where he still lived until a few years since. It is said
that the old man, when showing the visitors around, told them with a
pleasant smile, "Well, well, you will perhaps not believe that such a
poor old man as I was the first teacher of one of our most renowned
poets!"

Sometimes, during the harvest, my mother went into the field to glean.
I accompanied her, and we went, like Ruth in the Bible, to glean in
the rich fields of Boaz. One day we went to a place the bailiff of
which was well known for being a man of a rude and savage disposition.
We saw him coming with a huge whip in his hand, and my mother and all
the others ran away. I had wooden shoes on my bare feet, and in my
haste I lost these, and then the thorns pricked me so that I could not
run, and thus I was left behind and alone. The man came up and lifted
his whip to strike me, when I looked him in the face and involuntarily
exclaimed, "How dare you strike me, when God can see it?"

The strong, stern man looked at me, and at once became mild; he patted
me on my cheeks, asked me my name, and gave me money.

[Illustration]

When I brought this to my mother and showed it her, she said to the
others, "He is a strange child, my Hans Christian; everybody is kind
to him. This bad fellow even has given him money."



MADAME MICHELET,

FRENCH AUTHOR, WIFE OF THE WELL-KNOWN WRITER, MICHELET.


Among my earliest recollections, dating (if my memory deceive me not)
from the time when I was between the ages of four and five, is that of
being seated beside a grave, industrious person, who seemed to be
constantly watching me. Her beautiful but stern countenance impressed
one chiefly by the peculiar expression of the light blue eyes, so rare
in Southern Europe. Their gaze was like that which has looked in youth
across vast plains, wide horizons, and great rivers. This lady was my
mother, born in Louisiana, of English parentage.

I had constant toil before me, strangely unbroken for so young a
child. At six years of age, I knit my own stockings, by and by my
brothers' also, walking up and down the shady path. I did not care to
go farther; I was uneasy if, when I turned, I could not see the green
blind at my mother's window.

Our lowly house had an easterly aspect. At its northeast corner, my
mother sat at work, with her little people around her; my father had
his study at the opposite end, towards the south. I began to pick up
my alphabet with him; for I had double tasks. I studied my books in
the intervals of sewing or knitting. My brothers ran away to play
after lessons; but I returned to my mother's work-room. I liked very
well, however, to trace on my slate the great bars which are called
"jambages." It seemed to me as if I drew something, from within
myself, which came to the pencil's point. When my bars began to look
regular, I paused often to admire what I had done; then, if my dear
papa would lean towards me, and say, "Very well, little princess," I
drew myself up with pride.

My father had a sweet and penetrating voice; his dark complexion
showed his Southern origin, which also betrayed itself in the
passionate fire of his eyes, dark, with black lashes, which softened
their glance. With all their electric fire, they were not wanting in
an indefinable expression of tenderness and sweetness. At sixty years
of age, after a life of strange, and even tragic, incidents, his heart
remained ever young and light, benevolent to all, disposed to confide
in human nature,--sometimes too easily.

I had none of the enjoyments of city-bred children, and less still of
that childish wit which is sure to win maternal admiration for every
word which falls from the lips of the little deities. Mother Nature
alone gave me a welcome, and yet my early days were not sad; all the
country-side looked so lovely to me.

[Illustration]

Just beyond the farm lay the cornfields which belonged to us; they
were of no great extent, but to me they seemed infinite. When
Marianne, proud of her master's possessions, would say, "Look, miss,
there, there, and farther on,--all is yours," I was really frightened;
for I saw the moving grain, undulating like the ocean, and stretching
far away. I liked better to believe that the world ended at our
meadow. Sometimes my father went across the fields to see what the
reapers were doing, and then I hid my face in Marianne's apron, and
cried, "Not so far, not so far! papa will be lost!"

I was then five years old. That cry was the childish expression of a
sentiment, the shadow of which gained on me year by year,--the fear
that I might lose my father. I desired to please, to be praised, and
to be loved. I felt so drawn towards my mother, that I sometimes
jumped from my seat to give her a kiss; but when I met her look, and
saw her eyes, pale and clear as a silvery lake, I recoiled, and sat
down quietly. Years have passed, and yet I still regret those joys of
childhood which I never knew,--a mother's caresses. My education might
have been so easy; my mother might have understood my heart,--a kiss
is sometimes eloquent; and in a daily embrace she would perhaps have
guessed the thoughts I was too young to utter, and would have learned
how faithfully I loved her.

No such freedom was allowed us. The morning kiss and familiar speech
with one's parents are permitted at the North, but are less frequent
in the South of France. Authority overshadows family affection. My
father, who was an easy man and loved to talk, might have disregarded
such regulations; but my mother kept us at a distance. It made one
thoughtful and reserved to watch her going out and coming in, with her
noble air, severe and silent. We felt we must be careful not to give
cause for blame.

My mother could spin like a fairy. All winter she sat at her wheel;
and perhaps her wandering thoughts were soothed by the gentle
monotonous music of its humming. My father, seeing her so beautiful at
her work, secretly ordered a light, slender spinning-wheel to be
carved for her use, which she found one morning at the foot of her
bed. Her cheek flushed with pleasure; she scarcely dared to touch it,
it looked so fragile. "Do not be afraid," said my father; "it looks
fragile, but it can well stand use. It is made of boxwood from our own
garden. It grew slowly, as all things do that last. Neither your
little hand nor foot can injure it." My mother took her finest
Flanders flax, of silvery tresses knotted with a cherry-colored
ribbon. The children made a circle round the wheel, which turned for
the first time under my mother's hands. My father was watching,
between smiles and tears, to see how dexterously she handled the
distaff. The thread was invisible, but the bobbin grew bigger. My
mother would have been contented if the days had been prolonged to
four-and-twenty hours, while she was sitting by her beautiful wheel.

When we rose in the morning, we said a prayer. We knelt together; my
father standing, bareheaded, in the midst. After that, what delight it
was to run to the hill-top, to meet the first rays of the sun, and to
hear our birds singing little songs about the welcome daylight! From
the garden, the orchard, the oaks, and from the open fields, their
voices were heard; and yet, in my heart, I hid more songs than all the
birds in the world would have known how to sing. I was not sad by
nature. I had the instincts of the lark, and longed to be as happy.
Since I had no wings to carry me up to the clouds, I would have liked
to hide myself like him among the tall grain and the flax.

One of my great enjoyments was to meet the strong south-winds that
came to us from the ocean. I loved to struggle with the buffets of the
blast. It was terrible, but sweet, to feel it tossing and twisting my
curls, and flinging them backward. After these morning races on the
hills, I went to visit the wild flowers,--weeds that no one else
cherished; but I loved them better than all other plants. Near the
water, in little pools hollowed by the rains in stormy weather, on the
border of the wood, sprang up, flourished, and died, forests of dwarf
proportions; white, transparent stars; bells full of sweet odors. All
were mysterious and ephemeral; so much the more did I prize and regret
them.

If I indeed had the merry disposition of the lark, I had also his
sensitive timidity, that brings him sometimes to hide between the
furrows in the earth. A look, a word, a shadow, was enough to
discourage me. My smiles died away, I shrunk into myself, and did not
dare to move.

"Why did my mother choose three boys, rather than three girls, after I
was born?" This problem was often in my mind. Boys only tear blouses,
which they don't know how to mend. If she had only thought how happy I
would be with a sister, a dear little sister! How I should have loved
her,--scolded her sometimes, but kissed her very often! We should have
had our work and play together, thoroughly independent of all those
gentlemen,--our brothers.

My eldest sister was too far from my age. There seemed to be centuries
between us. I had one friend,--my cat, Zizi; but she was a wild,
restless creature, and no companion, for I could scarcely hold her an
instant. She preferred the roof of the house to my lap.

I became very thoughtful, and said to myself, "How shall I get a
companion? and how do people make dolls?" It did not occur to me, who
had never seen a toy-shop, that they could be purchased ready-made. My
chin resting on my hand, I sat in meditation, wondering how I could
create what I desired. My passionate desire overruled my fears, and I
decided to work from my own inspiration.

I rejected wood, as too hard to afford the proper material for my
dolly. Clay, so moist and cold, chilled the warmth of my invention. I
took some soft, white linen, and some clean bran, and with them formed
the body. I was like the savages, who desire a little god to worship.
It must have a head with eyes, and with ears to listen; and it must
have a breast, to hold its heart. All the rest is less important, and
remains undefined.

I worked after this fashion, and rounded my doll's head by tying it
firmly. There was a clearly perceptible neck,--a little stiff,
perhaps; a well-developed chest; and then came vague drapery, which
dispensed with limbs. There were rudiments of arms,--not very
graceful, but movable; indeed, they moved of themselves. I was filled
with admiration. Why might not the body move? I had read how God
breathed upon Adam and Eve the breath of life; with my whole heart and
my six years' strength I breathed on the creature I had made. I
looked; she did not stir. Never mind. I was her mother, and she loved
me; that was enough. The dangers that menaced our mutual affection
only served to increase it. She gave me anxiety from the moment of her
birth. How and where could I keep her in safety? Surrounded by
mischievous boys, sworn enemies to their sisters' dolls, I was
obliged to hide mine in a dark corner of a shed, where the wagons and
carriages were kept. After being punished, I could conceive no
consolation equal to taking my child to bed with me. To warm her, I
tucked her into my little bed, with the friendly pussy who was keeping
it warm for me. At bedtime, I laid her on my heart, still heaving with
sobs; and she seemed to sigh too. If I missed her in the night, I
became wide awake; I hunted for her, full of apprehension. Often she
was quite at the bottom of the bed. I brought her out, folded her in
my arms, and fell asleep happy.

I liked, in my extreme loneliness, to believe that she had a living
soul. Her grandparents were not aware of her existence. Would she have
been so thoroughly my own, if other people had known her? I loved
better to hide her from all eyes.

One thing was wanting to my satisfaction. My doll had a head, but no
face. I desired to look into her eyes, to see a smile on her
countenance that should resemble mine. Sunday was the great holiday,
when everybody did what they liked. Drawing and painting were the
favorite occupations. Around the fire, in winter time, the little ones
made soldiers; while my elder brother, who was a true artist, and
worked with the best colors, painted dresses and costumes of various
sorts. We watched his performances, dazzled by the marvels which he
had at his finger-ends.

It was during this time of general preoccupation that my daughter,
carefully hidden under my apron, arrived among her uncles. No one
noticed me; and I tried, successfully, to possess myself of a brush,
with some colors. But I could do nothing well; my hand trembled, and
all my lines were crooked. Then I made an heroic resolution,--to ask
my brother's assistance boldly. The temptation was strong, indeed,
which led me to brave the malice of so many imps. I stepped forward,
and, with a voice which I vainly endeavored to steady, I said, "Would
you be so kind as to make a face for my doll?" My eldest brother
seemed not at all surprised, but took the doll in his hands with great
gravity, and examined it; then, with apparent care, chose a brush.
Suddenly he drew across her countenance two broad stripes of red and
black, something like a cross; and gave me back my poor little doll,
with a burst of laughter. The soft linen absorbed the colors, which
ran together in a great blot. It was very dreadful. Great cries
followed; everybody crowded round to see this wonderful work. Then a
cousin of ours, who was passing Sunday with us, seized my treasure,
and tossed it up to the ceiling. It fell flat on the floor. I picked
it up; and, if the bad boy had not taken flight, he would have
suffered, very likely, from my resentment.

Sad days were in store for us. My child and I were watched in all our
interviews. Often was she dragged from her hiding-places among the
bushes and in the high grass. Everybody made war upon her,--even Zizi,
the cat, who shared her nightly couch. My brothers sometimes gave the
doll to Zizi as a plaything; and, in my absence, even she was not
sorry to claw it, and roll it about on the garden walks. When I next
found it, it was a shapeless bunch of dusty rags. With the constancy
of a great affection, I remade again and again the beloved being
predestined to destruction; and each time I pondered how to create
something more beautiful. This aiming at perfection seemed to calm my
grief. I made a better form, and produced symmetrical legs (once, to
my surprise, the rudiment of a foot appeared); but the better my work
was, the more bitter the ridicule, and I began to be discouraged.

My doll, beyond a doubt, was in mortal peril. My brothers whispered
together; and their sidelong glances foreboded me no good. I felt that
I was watched. In order to elude their vigilance, I constantly
transferred my treasure from one hiding-place to another; and many
nights it lay under the open sky. What jeers, what laughter, had it
been found!

To put an end to my torments, I threw my child into a very dark
corner, and feigned to forget her. I confess to a shocking resolution;
for an evil temptation assailed me. But, if self-love began to triumph
over my affection for her, it was but as a momentary flash, a troubled
dream. Without the dear little being, I should have had nothing to
live for. It was, in fact, my second self. After much searching, my
unlucky doll was discovered. Its limbs were torn off without mercy;
and the body, being tossed up into an acacia-tree, was stuck on the
thorns. It was impossible to bring it down. The victim hung, abandoned
to the autumnal gales, to the wintry tempests, to the westerly rains,
and to the northern snows. I watched her faithfully, believing that
the time would come when she would revisit this earth.

In the spring, the gardener came to prune the trees. With tears in my
eyes, I said, "Bring me back my doll from those branches." He found
only a fragment of her poor little dress, torn and faded. The sight
almost broke my heart.

All hope being gone, I became more sensitive to the rough treatment of
my brothers; and I fell into a sort of despair. After my life with
_her_ whom I had lost; after my emotions, my secret joys and fears,--I
felt all the desolation of my bereavement. I longed for wings to fly
away. When my sister excluded me from her sports with her companions,
I climbed into the swing, and said to the gardener, "Jean, swing me
high,--higher yet: I wish to fly away." But I was soon frightened
enough to beg for mercy.

Then I tried to lose myself. Behind the grove which closed in our
horizon stretched a long slope, undulating towards a deep cut below.
With infinite pains, I surmounted all obstacles, and gained the road.
How far, far away from home I felt! My heart was beating violently.
What sorrow this would give to my dear father! Where should I sleep? I
should never dare to ask shelter at a farm-house, much less lie down
among the bushes, where the screech-owls made a noise all night. So,
without further reflection, I returned home.

Animals are happier. I wished to be little Lauret, the gold-colored
ox, who labors so patiently, and comes and goes all day long. Or I'd
like to be Grisette or Brunette, the pretty asses who are mother's
pets.

After all, who would not like to be a flower? However, a flower lives
but a very little while: you are cut down as soon as born. A tree
lasts much longer. Yet what a bore it must be to stay always in one
place! To stand with one's foot buried in the ground,--it is too
dreadful; the thought worried me when I was in bed, thinking things
over.

I would have been a bird, if a good fairy had taken pity on me. Birds
are so free, so happy, they sing all day long. If I were a bird, I
would come and fly about our woods, and would perch on the roof of our
house. I would come to see my empty chair, my place at table, and my
mother looking sad; then, at my father's hour for reading, alone in
the garden, I would fly, and perch on his shoulder, and my father
would know me at once.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

JEAN PAUL RICHTER,

ONE OF THE GREAT AUTHORS OF GERMANY.


It was in the year 1763 that I came into the world, in the same month
that the golden and gray wagtail, the robin-redbreast, the crane, and
the red-hammer came also; and, in case anybody wished to strew flowers
on the cradle of the new-born, the spoonwort and the aspen hung out
their tender blossoms,--on the 20th of March, in the early morning. I
was born in Wunsiedel, in the highlands of the Fitchtelbirge. Ah! I am
glad to have been born in thee, little city of the mountains, whose
tops look down upon us like the heads of eagles, and where we can
glance over villages and mountain meadows, and drink health at all thy
fountains!

To my great joy I can call up from my twelfth or, at farthest, my
fourteenth month of age one pale little remembrance, like an early and
frail snow-drop, from the fresh soil of my childhood. I recollect
that a scholar loved me much, and carried me about in his arms, and
took me to a great dark room and gave me milk to drink.

In 1765 my father was appointed minister to Joditz, where I was
carried in a girl's cap and petticoat. The little Saale River, born
like myself in the Fitchtelbirge, ran with me to Joditz, as it
afterwards ran after me to Hof when I removed there. A small brook
traverses the little town, that is crossed on a plank as I remember.
The old castle and the pastor's house were the two principal
buildings. There was a school-house right opposite the parsonage, into
which I was admitted, when big enough to wear breeches and a green
taffety cap. The schoolmaster was sickly and lean, but I loved him,
and watched anxiously with him as he lay hid behind his birdcage
placed in the open window to catch goldfinches, or when he spread a
net in the snow and caught a yellow-hammer.

My life in Joditz was very pleasant, all the four seasons were full of
happiness. I hardly know which to tell of first, for each is a
heavenly introduction to the next; but I will begin with winter. In
the cold morning my father came down stairs and learned his Sunday
sermon by the window, and I and my brother carried the full cup of
coffee to him,--and still more gladly carried it back empty, for we
could pick out the unmelted sugar from the bottom. Out of doors, the
sky covered all things with silence,--the brook with ice, the village
roofs with snow; but in our room there was warm life,--under the stove
was a pigeon-house, on the windows goldfinch-cages; on the floor was
the bull-dog and a pretty little poodle close by. Farther off, at the
other end of the house, was the stable, with cows and pigs and hens.
The threshers we could hear in the court-yard beating out the grain.

In the long twilight our father walked back and forth, and we trotted
after him, creeping under his nightgown, and holding on to his hands
if we could reach them. At the sound of the vesper-bell we stood in a
circle and chanted the old hymn,

    "Dis finstre Nacht bricht stark herein."
      "The gloomy night is gathering in."

The evening chime in our village was indeed the swan-song of the day,
the muffle of the over-loud heart, calling from toil and noise to
silence and dreams. Then the room was lit up, and the window-shutters
bolted, and we children felt all safe behind them when the wind
growled and grumbled outside, like the _Knecht Ruprecht_, or
hobgoblin. Then we could undress and skip up and down in our long
trailing nightgowns. My father sat at the long table studying or
composing music. Our noise did not disturb the inward melody to which
he listened as we sat on the table or played under it.

Once a week the old errand-woman came from Hof with fruit and meats
and pastry-cakes. Sometimes the housemaid brought her distaff into the
common room of an evening, and told us stories by the light of a
pine-torch. At nine o'clock in the evening I was sent to the bed which
I shared with my father. He sat up until eleven, and I lay wide awake,
trembling for fear of ghosts, until he joined me. For I had heard my
father tell of spiritual appearances, which he firmly believed he had
himself seen, and my imagination filled the dark space with them.

When the spring came, and the snows melted, we who had been shut up in
the parsonage court were set free to roam the fields and meadows. The
sweet mornings sparkled with undried dews. I carried my father's
coffee to him in his summer-house in the garden. In the evening we had
currants and raspberries from the garden at our supper before dark.
Then my father sat and smoked his pipe in the open air, and we played
about him in our nightgowns, on the grass, as the swallows did in the
air overhead.

The most beautiful of all summer birds, meanwhile, was a tender, blue
butterfly, which, in this beautiful season, fluttered about me, and
was my first love. This was a blue-eyed peasant-girl of my own age,
with a slender form and an oval face somewhat marked with the
small-pox, but with the thousand traits that, like the magic circles
of the enchanter's wand, take the heart a prisoner. Augustina dwelt
with her brother Romer, a delicate youth, who was known as a good
accountant, and as a good singer in the choir. I played my little
romance in a lively manner, from a distance, as I sat in the pastor's
pew in the church, and she in the seat appropriated to women,
apparently near enough to look at each other without being satisfied.
And yet this was only the beginning; for when, at evening, she drove
her cow home from the meadow pasture, I instantly knew the
well-remembered sound of the cow-bell, and flew to the court wall to
see her pass, and give her a nod as she went by; then ran again down
to the gateway to speak to her, she the nun without, and I the monk
within, to thrust my hand through the bars (more I durst not do, on
account of the children without), in which there was some little
dainty sugared almonds, or something still more costly, that I had
brought for her from the city. Alas! I did not arrive in many summers
three times to such happiness as this. But I was obliged to devour all
the pleasures, and almost all the sorrows, within my own heart. My
almonds, indeed, did not all fall upon stony ground, for there grew
out of them a whole hanging-garden in my imagination, blooming and
full of sweetness, and I used to walk in it for weeks together. The
sound of this cow-bell remained with me for a long time, and even now
the blood in my old heart stirs when this sound hovers in the air.

In the summer, I remember the frequent errands that I, with a little
sack on my back, made to my grandparents in the city of Hof, to bring
meat and coffee and things that could not be had in the village. The
two hours' walk led through a wood where a brook babbled over the
stones. At last the city with its two church-towers was seen, with the
Saale shining along the level plain. I remember, on my return one
summer afternoon, watching the sunny splendor of the mountain-side,
traversed by flying shadows of clouds, and how a new and strange
longing came over me, of mingled pain and pleasure,--a longing which
knew not the name of its object,--the awakening and thirsting of my
whole nature for the heavenly gifts of life.

After the first autumn threshing I used to follow the traces of the
crows in the woods, and the birds going southward in long procession,
with strange delight. I loved the screams of the wild geese flying
over me in long flocks. In the autumn evenings the father went with me
and Adam to a potato-field lying on the other side of the Saale. One
boy carried a hoe upon his shoulder, the other a hand-basket; and
while the father dug as many new potatoes as were necessary for
supper, and I gathered them from the ground and threw them into the
basket, Adam gathered the best nuts from the hazel-bushes. It was not
long before Adam fell back into the potato-beds, and I in my turn
climbed the nut-tree. Then we returned home, satisfied with our nuts
and potatoes, and enlivened by running for an hour in the free,
invigorating air; every one may imagine the delight of returning home
by the light of the harvest festivals.

Wonderfully fresh and green are two other harvest flowers, preserved
in the chambers of my memory, and both are indeed trees. One was a
full-branched muscatel pear-tree in the pastor's court-yard, the fall
of whose splendid hanging fruit the children sought through the whole
autumn to hasten; but at last, upon one of the most important days of
the season, the father himself reached the forbidden fruit by means of
a ladder, and brought the sweet paradise down, as well for the palates
of the whole family as for the cooking-stove.

The other, always green, and yet more splendidly blooming, was a
smaller tree, taken on St. Andrew's evening from the old wood, and
brought into the house, where it was planted in water and soil in a
large pot, so that on Christmas night it might have its leaves green
when it was hung over with gifts like fruits and flowers.

In my thirteenth year my father was appointed pastor of Swarzenbach,
also on the Saale River, a large market town, and I had to leave
Joditz, dear even to this day to my heart. Two little sisters lie in
its graveyard. My father found there his fairest Sundays, and there I
first saw the Saale shining with the morning glow of my life.



CHARLES LAMB,

GENIAL ENGLISH ESSAYIST.


From my childhood I was extremely inquisitive about witches and
witch-stories. My maid, and legendary aunt, supplied me with good
store. But I shall mention the accident which directed my curiosity
originally into this channel. In my father's book-closet, the "History
of the Bible," by Stackhouse, occupied a distinguished station. The
pictures with which it abounds--one of the ark, in particular, and
another of Solomon's Temple, delineated with all the fidelity of
ocular admeasurement, as if the artist had been upon the
spot--attracted my childish attention. There was a picture, too, of
the Witch raising up Samuel, which I wish that I had never seen.
Turning over the picture of the ark with too much haste, I unhappily
made a breach in its ingenious fabric, driving my inconsiderate
fingers right through the two larger quadrupeds,--the elephant and the
camel,--that stare (as well they might) out of the last two windows
next the steerage in that unique piece of naval architecture. The book
was henceforth locked up, and became an interdicted treasure. With the
book, the _objections_ and _solutions_ gradually cleared out of my
head, and have seldom returned since in any force to trouble me.

But there was one impression which I had imbibed from Stackhouse,
which no lock or bar could shut out, and which was destined to try my
childish nerves rather more seriously. That detestable picture!

I was dreadfully alive to nervous terrors,--the night-time, solitude,
and the dark. I never laid my head on my pillow, I suppose, from the
fourth to the seventh or eighth year of my life,--so far as memory
serves in things so long ago,--without an assurance, which realized
its own prophecy, of seeing some frightful spectre. Be old Stackhouse
then acquitted in part, if I say that, to his picture of the Witch
raising up Samuel, (O that old man covered with a mantle!) I owe, not
my midnight terrors, the horror of my infancy, but the shape and
manner of their visitation. It was he who dressed up for me a hag that
nightly sat upon my pillow,--a sure bedfellow, when my aunt or my maid
was far from me. All day long, while the book was permitted me, I
dreamed waking over his delineation, and at night (if I may use so
bold an expression) awoke into sleep, and found the vision true. I
durst not, even in the daylight, once enter the chamber where I slept,
without my face turned to the window, aversely from the bed, where my
witch-ridden pillow was. Parents do not know what they do when they
leave tender babes alone to go to sleep in the dark. The feeling about
for a friendly arm, the hoping for a familiar voice when they awake
screaming, and find none to soothe them,--what a terrible shaking it
is to their poor nerves! The keeping them up till midnight, through
candlelight and the unwholesome hours, as they are called, would, I am
satisfied, in a medical point of view, prove the better caution. That
detestable picture, as I have said, gave the fashion to my dreams,--if
dreams they were,--for the scene of them was invariably the room in
which I lay.

The oldest thing I remember is Mackery End, or Mackarel End, as it is
spelt, perhaps more properly, in some old maps of Hertfordshire, a
farm-house, delightfully situated within a gentle walk from
Wheathampstead. I can just remember having been there, on a visit to a
great-aunt, when I was a child, under the care of my sister, who, as I
have said, is older than myself by some ten years. I wish that I could
throw into a heap the remainder of our joint existences, that we might
share them in equal division. But that is impossible. The house was at
that time in the occupation of a substantial yeoman, who had married
my grandmother's sister. His name was Gladman. More than forty years
had elapsed since the visit I speak of; and, for the greater portion
of that period, we had lost sight of the other two branches also. Who
or what sort of persons inherited Mackery End,--kindred or strange
folk,--we were afraid almost to conjecture, but determined some day to
explore.

We made an excursion to this place a few summers ago. By a somewhat
circuitous route, taking the noble park at Luton in our way from Saint
Alban's, we arrived at the spot of our anxious curiosity about noon.
The sight of the old farm-house, though every trace of it was effaced
from my recollection, affected me with a pleasure which I had not
experienced for many a year. For though _I_ had forgotten it, _we_ had
never forgotten being there together, and we had been talking about
Mackery End all our lives, till memory on my part became mocked with a
phantom of itself, and I thought I knew the aspect of a place, which,
when present, O how unlike it was to _that_ which I had conjured up so
many times instead of it!

Still the air breathed balmily about it; the season was in the "heart
of June," and I could say with the poet,--

    But thou, that didst appear so fair
      To fond imagination,
    Dost rival in the light of day
      Her delicate creation!

Journeying northward lately, I could not resist going some few miles
out of my road to look upon the remains of an old great house with
which I had been impressed in infancy. I was apprised that the owner
of it had lately pulled it down; still I had a vague notion that it
could not all have perished, that so much solidity with magnificence
could not have been crushed all at once into the mere dust and rubbish
which I found it.

The work of ruin had proceeded with a swift hand, indeed, and the
demolition of a few weeks had reduced it to--an antiquity.

I was astonished at the indistinction of everything. Where had stood
the great gates? What bounded the court-yard? Whereabout did the
outhouses begin? A few bricks only lay as representatives of that
which was so stately and so spacious.

Had I seen these brick-and-mortar knaves at their process of
destruction, I should have cried out to them to spare a plank at least
out of the cheerful storeroom, in whose hot window-seat I used to sit
and read Cowley, with the grass-plot before, and the hum and flappings
of that one solitary wasp that ever haunted it about me,--it is in
mine ears now, as oft as summer returns; or a panel of the
yellow-room.

Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it! The
tapestried bedrooms,--tapestry so much better than painting,--not
adorning merely, but peopling, the wainscots, at which childhood ever
and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlid (replaced as
quickly) to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter
with those stern bright visages, staring back in return.

Then, that haunted room in which old Mrs. Brattle died, whereinto I
have crept, but always in the daytime, with a passion of fear; and a
sneaking curiosity, terror-tainted, to hold communication with the
past. _How shall they build it up again?_

It was an old deserted place, yet not so long deserted but that traces
of the splendor of past inmates were everywhere apparent. Its
furniture was still standing, even to the tarnished gilt leather
battledores and crumbling feathers of shuttlecocks in the nursery,
which told that children had once played there. But I was a lonely
child, and had the range at will of every apartment, knew every nook
and corner, wondered and worshipped everywhere.

The solitude of childhood is not so much the mother of thought, as it
is the feeder of love, and silence, and admiration. So strange a
passion for the place possessed me in those years, that though there
lay--I shame to say how few roods distant from the mansion,--half hid
by trees, what I judged some romantic lake, such was the spell which
bound me to the house, and such my carefulness not to pass its strict
and proper precincts, that the idle waters lay unexplored for me; and
not till late in life, curiosity prevailing over elder devotion, I
found, to my astonishment, a pretty brawling brook had been the
unknown lake of my infancy. Variegated views, extensive
prospects,--and those at no great distance from the house,--I was
told of such,--what were they to me, being out of the boundaries of my
Eden? So far from a wish to roam, I would have drawn, methought, still
closer the fences of my chosen prison, and have been hemmed in by a
yet securer cincture of those excluding garden walls. I could have
exclaimed with that garden-loving poet,--

    "Bind me, ye woodbines, in your twines;
     Curl me about, ye gadding vines;
     And O, so close your circles lace,
     That I may never leave this place!
     But, lest your fetters prove too weak,
     Ere I your silken bondage break,
     Do you, O brambles! chain me too,
     And, courteous briers, nail me through."

I was here as in a lonely temple. Snug firesides,--the low-built
roof,--parlors ten feet by ten,--frugal boards, and all the homeliness
of home,--these were the condition of my birth, the wholesome soil
which I was planted in. Yet, without impeachment to their tenderest
lessons, I am not sorry to have had glances of something beyond; and
to have taken, if but a peep, in childhood, at the contrasting
accidents of a great fortune.



HUGH MILLER,

SCOTTISH GEOLOGIST AND AUTHOR.


I was born on the tenth day of October, 1802, in the low, long house
built by my great-grandfather.

My memory awoke early. I have recollections which date several months
before the completion of my third year; but, like those of the golden
age of the world, they are chiefly of a mythologic character.

I retain a vivid recollection of the joy which used to light up the
household on my fathers arrival; and how I learned to distinguish for
myself his sloop when in the offing, by the two slim stripes of white
that ran along her sides and her two square topsails.

I have my golden memories, too, of splendid toys that he used to bring
home with him,--among the rest, of a magnificent four-wheeled wagon of
painted tin, drawn by four wooden horses and a string; and of getting
it into a quiet corner, immediately on its being delivered over to me,
and there breaking up every wheel and horse, and the vehicle itself,
into their original bits, until not two of the pieces were left
sticking together. Further, I still remember my disappointment at not
finding something curious within at least the horses and the wheels;
and as unquestionably the main enjoyment derivable from such things is
to be had in the breaking of them, I sometimes wonder that our
ingenious toymen do not fall upon the way of at once extending their
trade, and adding to its philosophy, by putting some of their most
brilliant things where nature puts the nut-kernel,--inside.

Then followed a dreary season, on which I still look back in memory as
on a prospect which, sunshiny and sparkling for a time, has become
suddenly enveloped in cloud and storm. I remember my mother's long
fits of weeping, and the general gloom of the widowed household; and
how, after she had sent my two little sisters to bed, and her hands
were set free for the evening, she used to sit up late at night,
engaged as a seamstress, in making pieces of dress for such of the
neighbors as chose to employ her.

[Illustration]

I remember I used to wander disconsolately about the harbor at this
season, to examine the vessels which had come in during the night; and
that I oftener than once set my mother a-crying by asking her why the
shipmates who, when my father was alive, used to stroke my head, and
slip halfpence into my pockets, never now took any notice of me, or
gave me anything. She well knew that the shipmasters--not an
ungenerous class of men--had simply failed to recognize their old
comrade's child; but the question was only too suggestive,
notwithstanding, of both her own loss and mine. I used, too, to climb,
day after day, a grassy knoll immediately behind my mother's house,
that commands a wide reach of the Moray Frith, and look wistfully out,
long after every one else had ceased to hope, for the sloop with the
two stripes of white and the two square topsails. But months and years
passed by, and the white stripes and the square topsails I never saw.

I had been sent, previous to my father's death, to a dame's school.
During my sixth year I spelled my way, under the dame, through the
Shorter Catechism, the Proverbs, and the New Testament, and then
entered upon her highest form, as a member of the Bible class; but all
the while the process of acquiring learning had been a dark one, which
I slowly mastered, with humble confidence in the awful wisdom of the
schoolmistress, not knowing whither it tended, when at once my mind
awoke to the meaning of the most delightful of all narratives,--the
story of Joseph. Was there ever such a discovery made before? I
actually found out for myself, that the art of reading is the art of
finding stories in books; and from that moment reading became one of
the most delightful of my amusements.

I began by getting into a corner on the dismissal of the school, and
there conning over to myself the new-found story of Joseph nor did one
perusal serve; the other Scripture stories followed,--in especial, the
story of Samson and the Philistines, of David and Goliah, of the
prophets Elijah and Elisha; and after these came the New Testament
stories and parables.

Assisted by my uncles, too, I began to collect a library in a box of
birch-bark about nine inches square, which I found quite large enough
to contain a great many immortal works,--"Jack the Giant-Killer," and
"Jack and the Bean-Stalk," and the "Yellow Dwarf," and "Bluebeard,"
and "Sinbad the Sailor," and "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin and
the Wonderful Lamp," with several others of resembling character.

Old Homer wrote admirably for little folks, especially in the Odyssey;
a copy of which, in the only true translation extant,--for, judging
from its surpassing interest and the wrath of critics, such I hold
that of Pope to be,--I found in the house of a neighbor. Next came the
Iliad; not, however, in a complete copy, but represented by four of
the six volumes of Bernard Lintot. With what power, and at how early
an age, true genius impresses! I saw, even at this immature period,
that no other writer could cast a javelin with half the force of
Homer. The missiles went whizzing athwart his pages; and I could see
the momentary gleam of the steel ere it buried itself deep in brass
and bull-hide.

I next succeeded in discovering for myself a child's book, of not less
interest than even the Iliad, which might, I was told, be read on
Sabbaths, in a magnificent old edition of the "Pilgrim's Progress,"
printed on coarse whity-brown paper, and charged with numerous
woodcuts, each of which occupied an entire page, that, on principles
of economy, bore letter-press on the other side. And such delightful
prints as they are! It must have been some such volume that sat for
its portrait to Wordsworth, and which he so exquisitely describes as

    "Profuse in garniture of wooden cuts,
     Strange and uncouth; dire faces, figures dire,
     Sharp-knee'd, sharp-elbow'd, and lean-ankled too,
     With long and ghastly shanks,--forms which, once seen,
     Could never be forgotten."

I quitted the dame's school at the end of the first twelvemonth, after
mastering that grand acquirement of my life,--the art of holding
converse with books; and was transferred to the grammar school of the
parish, at which there attended at the time about a hundred and twenty
boys, with a class of about thirty individuals more, much looked down
upon by the others, and not deemed greatly worth the counting, seeing
that it consisted only of _lassies_.

One morning, having the master's English rendering of the day's task
well fixed in my memory, and no book of amusement to read, I began
gossiping with my nearest class-fellow, a very tall boy, who
ultimately shot up into a lad of six feet four, and who on most
occasions sat beside me, as lowest in the form save one. I told him
about the tall Wallace and his exploits; and so effectually succeeded
in awakening his curiosity, that I had to communicate to him, from
beginning to end, every adventure recorded by the blind minstrel.

My story-telling vocation once fairly ascertained, there was, I
found, no stopping in my course. I had to tell all the stories I had
ever heard or read. The demand on the part of my class-fellows was
great and urgent; and, setting myself to try my ability of original
production, I began to dole out to them long extempore biographies,
which proved wonderfully popular and successful. My heroes were
usually warriors like Wallace, and voyagers like Gulliver, and
dwellers in desolate islands like Robinson Crusoe; and they had not
unfrequently to seek shelter in huge deserted castles, abounding in
trap-doors and secret passages, like that of Udolpho. And finally,
after much destruction of giants and wild beasts, and frightful
encounters with magicians and savages, they almost invariably
succeeded in disentombing hidden treasures to an enormous amount, or
in laying open gold mines, and then passed a luxurious old age, like
that of Sinbad the Sailor, at peace with all mankind, in the midst of
confectionery and fruits.

With all my carelessness, I continued to be a sort of favorite with
the master; and when at the general English lesson, he used to address
to me little quiet speeches, vouchsafed to no other pupil, indicative
of a certain literary ground common to us, on which the others had not
entered. "That, sir," he has said, after the class had just perused,
in the school collection, a "Tatler" or "Spectator,"--"that, sir, is a
good paper; it's an Addison"; or, "That's one of Steele's, sir"; and
on finding in my copy-book, on one occasion, a page filled with
rhymes, which I had headed "Poem on Peace," he brought it to his desk,
and, after reading it carefully over, called me up, and with his
closed penknife, which served as a pointer, in one hand, and the
copy-book brought down to the level of my eyes in the other, began his
criticism. "That's bad grammar, sir," he said, resting the
knife-handle on one of the lines; "and here's an ill-spelled word; and
there's another; and you have not at all attended to the punctuation;
but the general sense of the piece is good,--very good, indeed, sir."
And then he added, with a grim smile, "_Care_, sir, is, I dare say, as
you remark, a very bad thing; but you may safely bestow a little more
of it on your spelling and your grammar."



[Illustration]

WALTER SCOTT,

POET, HISTORIAN, AND NOVELIST OF SCOTLAND.


It was at Sandy Knowe, at the home of my father's father, that I had
the first knowledge of life; and I recollected distinctly that my
situation and appearance were a little whimsical. I was lame, and
among the old remedies for lameness some one had recommended that, as
often as a sheep was killed for the use of the family, I should be
stripped and wrapped up in the warm skin as it was taken from the
carcass of the animal. In this Tartar-like dress I well remember lying
upon the floor of the little parlor of the farm-house, while my
grandfather, an old man with snowy hair, tried to make me crawl. And I
remember a relation of ours, Colonel MacDougal, joining with him to
excite and amuse me. I recollect his old military dress, his small
cocked hat, deeply laced, embroidered scarlet waistcoat, light-colored
coat, and milk-white locks, as he knelt on the ground before me, and
dragged his watch along the carpet to make me follow it. This must
have happened about my third year, for both the old men died soon
after. My grandmother continued for some years to take charge of the
farm, assisted by my uncle Thomas Scott. This was during the American
war, and I remember being as anxious on my uncle's weekly visits (for
we had no news at another time) to hear of the defeat of Washington,
as if I had some personal cause for hating him. I got a strange
prejudice in favor of the Stuart family from the songs and tales I
heard about them. One or two of my own relations had been put to death
after the battle of Culloden, and the husband of one of my aunts used
to tell me that he was present at their execution. My grandmother used
to tell me many a tale of Border chiefs, like Watt of Harden, Wight
Willie of Aikwood, Jamie Telfer of the fair Dodhead. My kind aunt,
Miss Janet Scott, whose memory will always be dear to me, used to read
to me with great patience until I could repeat long passages by heart.
I learned the old ballad of Hardyknute, to the great annoyance of our
almost only visitor, Dr. Duncan, the worthy clergyman of the parish,
who had no patience to have his sober chat disturbed by my shouting
for this ditty. Methinks I see now his tall, emaciated figure, legs
cased in clasped gambadoes, and his very long face, and hear him
exclaim, "One might as well speak in the mouth of a cannon as where
that child is!"

I was in my fourth year when my father was told that the waters of
Bath might be of some advantage to my lameness. My kind aunt, though
so retiring in habits as to make such a journey anything but pleasure
or amusement, undertook to go with me to the wells, as readily as if
she expected all the delight the prospect of a watering-place held out
to its most impatient visitors. My health was by this time a good
deal better from the country air at my grandmother's. When the day was
fine, I was carried out and laid beside the old shepherd among the
crags and rocks, around which he fed his sheep. Childish impatience
inclined me to struggle with my lameness, and I began by degrees to
stand, walk, and even run.

I lived at Bath a year without much advantage to my lameness. The
beauties of the Parade, with the river Avon winding around it, and the
lowing of the cattle from the opposite hills, are warm in my
recollection, and are only exceeded by the splendors of a toy-shop
near the orange grove. I was afraid of the statues in the old abbey
church, and looked with horror upon the image of Jacob's ladder with
its angels.

       *       *       *       *       *

My mother joined to a light and happy temper of mind a strong turn for
poetry and works of imagination. She was sincerely devout, but her
religion, as became her sex, was of a cast less severe than my
father's. My hours of leisure from school study were spent in reading
with her Pope's translation of Homer, which, with a few ballads and
the songs of Allan Ramsay, was the first poetry I possessed. My
acquaintance with English literature gradually extended itself. In the
intervals of my school-hours I read with avidity such books of history
or poetry or voyages and travels as chance presented, not forgetting
fairy-tales and Eastern stories and romances. I found in my mother's
dressing-room (where I slept at one time) some odd volumes of
Shakespeare, nor can I forget the rapture with which I sat up in my
shirt reading them by the firelight.

In my thirteenth year I first became acquainted with Bishop Percy's
"Reliques of Ancient Poetry." As I had been from infancy devoted to
legendary lore of this nature, and only reluctantly withdrew my
attention, from the scarcity of materials and the rudeness of those
which I possessed, it may be imagined, but cannot be described, with
what delight I saw pieces of the same kind which had amused my
childhood, and still continued in secret the Delilahs of my
imagination, considered as the subject of sober research, grave
commentary, and apt illustration, by an editor who showed his poetical
genius was capable of emulating the best qualities of what his pious
labor preserved. I remember well the spot where I read these volumes
for the first time. It was beneath a huge platanus-tree, in the ruins
of what had been intended for an old-fashioned arbor in the garden
adjoining the house. The summer day sped onward so fast that,
notwithstanding the sharp appetite of thirteen, I forgot the hour of
dinner, was sought for with anxiety, and was found still entranced in
my intellectual banquet. To read and to remember was in this instance
the same thing, and henceforth I overwhelmed my schoolfellows, and all
who would hearken to me, with tragical recitations from the ballads of
Bishop Percy. The first time, too, I could scrape a few shillings
together, which were not common occurrences with me, I bought unto
myself a copy of these beloved volumes; nor do I believe I ever read a
book half so frequently or with half the enthusiasm.

To this period also I can trace distinctly the awaking of that
delightful feeling for the beauties of natural objects which has never
since deserted me. The neighborhood of Kelso, the most beautiful, if
not the most romantic, village in Scotland, is eminently calculated to
awaken these ideas. It presents objects, not only grand in themselves,
but venerable from their association. The meeting of two superb
rivers, the Tweed and the Teviot, both renowned in song; the ruins of
an ancient abbey; the more distant vestiges of Roxburgh Castle; the
modern mansion of Fleurs, which is so situated as to combine the ideas
of ancient baronial grandeur with those of modern taste,--are in
themselves objects of the first class; yet are so mixed, united, and
melted among a thousand other beauties of a less prominent
description, that they harmonize into one general picture, and please
rather by unison than by concord.



FREDERIC DOUGLASS,

THE SLAVE-BOY OF MARYLAND, NOW ONE OF THE ABLEST CITIZENS AND MOST
ELOQUENT ORATORS OF THE UNITED STATES.


I was born in what is called Tuckahoe, on the eastern shore of
Maryland, a worn-out, desolate, sandy region. Decay and ruin are
everywhere visible, and the thin population of the place would have
quitted it long ago, but for the Choptauk River, which runs through,
from which they take abundance of shad and herring, and plenty of
fever and ague. My first experience of life began in the family of my
grandparents. The house was built of logs, clay, and straw. A few
rough fence-rails thrown loosely over the rafters answered the purpose
of floors, ceilings, and bedsteads. It was a long time before I
learned that this house was not my grandparents', but belonged to a
mysterious personage who was spoken of as "Old Master"; nay, that my
grandmother and her children and grandchildren, myself among them, all
belonged to this dreadful personage, who would only suffer me to live
a few years with my grandmother, and when I was big enough would carry
me off to work on his plantation.

The absolute power of this distant Old Master had touched my young
spirit with but the point of its cold cruel iron, yet it left me
something to brood over. The thought of being separated from my
grandmother, seldom or never to see her again, haunted me. I dreaded
the idea of going to live with that strange Old Master whose name I
never heard mentioned with affection, but always with fear. My
grandmother! my grandmother! and the little hut and the joyous circle
under her care, but especially _she_, who made us sorry when she left
us but for an hour, and glad on her return,--how could we leave her
and the good old home!

But the sorrows of childhood, like the pleasures of after-life, are
transient. The first seven or eight years of the slave-boy's life are
as full of content as those of the most favored white children of the
slaveholder. The slave-boy escapes many troubles which vex his white
brother. He is never lectured for improprieties of behavior. He is
never chided for handling his little knife and fork improperly or
awkwardly, for he uses none. He is never scolded for soiling the
table-cloth, for he takes his meals on the clay floor. He never has
the misfortune, in his games or sports, of soiling or tearing his
clothes, for he has almost none to soil or tear. He is never expected
to act like a nice little gentleman, for he is only a rude little
slave.

Thus, freed from all restraint, the slave-boy can be, in his life and
conduct, a genuine boy, doing whatever his boyish nature suggests;
enacting, by turns, all the strange antics and freaks of horses, dogs,
pigs, and barn-door fowls, without in any manner compromising his
dignity or incurring reproach of any sort. He literally runs wild; has
no pretty little verses to learn in the nursery; no nice little
speeches to make for aunts, uncles, or cousins, to show how smart he
is; and, if he can only manage to keep out of the way of the heavy
feet and fists of the older slave-boys, he may trot on, in his joyous
and roguish tricks, as happy as any little heathen under the
palm-trees of Africa.

To be sure, he is occasionally reminded, when he stumbles in the way
of his master,--and this he early learns to avoid,--that he is eating
his _white bread_, and that he will be made to _see sights_ by and by.
The threat is soon forgotten, the shadow soon passes, and our sable
boy continues to roll in the dust, or play in the mud, as best suits
him, and in the veriest freedom. If he feels uncomfortable, from mud
or from dust, the coast is clear; he can plunge into the river or the
pond, without the ceremony of undressing or the fear of wetting his
clothes; his little tow-linen shirt--for that is all he has on--is
easily dried; and it needed washing as much as did his skin. His food
is of the coarsest kind, consisting for the most part of corn-meal
mush, which often finds its way from the wooden tray to his mouth in
an oyster-shell. His days, when the weather is warm, are spent in the
pure, open air and in the bright sunshine. He eats no candies; gets no
lumps of loaf-sugar; always relishes his food; cries but little, for
nobody cares for his crying; learns to esteem his bruises but slight,
because others so think them.

In a word, he is, for the most part of the first eight years of his
life, a spirited, joyous, uproarious, and happy boy, upon whom
troubles fall only like water on a duck's back. And such a boy, so far
as I can now remember, was the boy whose life in slavery I am now
telling.

I gradually learned that the plantation of Old Master was on the river
Wye, twelve miles from Tuckahoe. About this place and about that queer
Old Master, who must be something more than man and something worse
than an angel, I was eager to know all that could be known. Unhappily,
all that I found out only increased my dread of being carried thither.
The fact is, such was my dread of leaving the little cabin, that I
wished to remain little forever; for I knew, the taller I grew, the
shorter my stay. The old cabin, with its rail floor and rail bedsteads
up stairs, and its clay floor down stairs, and its dirt chimney and
windowless sides, and that most curious piece of workmanship of all
the rest, the ladder stairway, and the hole curiously dug in front of
the fireplace, beneath which grandmammy placed the sweet potatoes to
keep them from the frost, was MY HOME,--the only home I ever had; and
I loved it, and all connected with it. The old fences around it, and
the stumps in the edge of the woods near it, and the squirrels that
ran, skipped, and played upon them, were objects of interest and
affection. There, too, right at the side of the hut, stood the old
well, with its stately and skyward-pointing beam, so aptly placed
between the limbs of what had once been a tree, and so nicely
balanced, that I could move it up and down with only one hand, and
could get a drink myself without calling for help. Where else in the
world could such a well be found, and where could such another home be
met with? Down in a little valley, not far from grandmamma's cabin,
stood a mill, where the people came often, in large numbers, to get
their corn ground. It was a water-mill; and I never shall be able to
tell the many things thought and felt while I sat on the bank and
watched that mill, and the turning of its ponderous wheel. The
mill-pond, too, had its charms; and with my pin-hook and thread line I
could get _nibbles_, if I could catch no fish. But, in all my sports
and plays, and in spite of them, there would, occasionally, come the
painful foreboding that I was not long to remain there, and that I
must soon be called away to the home of Old Master.

I was A SLAVE,--born a slave; and though the fact was strange to me,
it conveyed to my mind a sense of my entire dependence on the will of
_somebody_ I had never seen; and, from some cause or other, I had been
made to fear this Somebody above all else on earth. Born for another's
benefit, as the _firstling_ of the cabin flock I was soon to be
selected as a meet offering to the fearful and inexorable Old Master,
whose huge image on so many occasions haunted my childhood's
imagination. When the time of my departure was decided upon, my
grandmother, knowing my fears, and in pity for them, kindly kept me
ignorant of the dreaded event about to happen. Up to the morning (a
beautiful summer morning) when we were to start, and, indeed, during
the whole journey,--a journey which, child as I was, I remember as
well as if it were yesterday,--she kept the sad fact hidden from me.
This reserve was necessary, for, could I have known all, I should have
given grandmother some trouble in getting me started. As it was, I was
helpless, and she--dear woman!--led me along by the hand, resisting,
with the reserve and solemnity of a priestess, all my inquiring looks
to the last.

The distance from Tuckahoe to Wye River, where Old Master lived, was
full twelve miles, and the walk was quite a severe test of the endurance
of my young legs. The journey would have proved too hard for me, but
that my dear old grandmother--blessings on her memory!--afforded
occasional relief by "toting" me on her shoulder. My grandmother,
though old in years,--as was evident from more than one gray hair, which
peeped from between the ample and graceful folds of her newly-ironed
bandanna turban,--was marvellously straight in figure, elastic, and
muscular. I seemed hardly to be a burden to her. She would have "toted"
me farther, but that I felt myself too much of a man to allow it, and
insisted on walking. Releasing dear grandmamma from carrying me did not
make me altogether independent of her, when we happened to pass through
portions of the sombre woods which lay between Tuckahoe and Wye River.
She often found me increasing the energy of my grip, and holding her
clothing, lest something should come out of the woods and eat me up.
Several old logs and stumps imposed upon me, and got themselves taken
for wild beasts. I could see their legs, eyes, and ears till I got close
enough to them to know that the eyes were knots, washed white with rain,
and the legs were broken boughs, and the ears only fungous growths on
the bark.

As the day went on the heat grew; and it was not until the afternoon
that we reached the much-dreaded end of the journey. I found myself in
the midst of a group of children of many colors,--black, brown,
copper-colored, and nearly white. I had not seen so many children
before. Great houses loomed up in different directions, and a great
many men and women were at work in the fields. All this hurry, noise,
and singing was very different from the stillness of Tuckahoe. As a
new-comer, I was an object of special interest; and, after laughing
and yelling around me, and playing all sorts of wild tricks, the
children asked me to go out and play with them. This I refused to do,
preferring to stay with grandmamma. I could not help feeling that our
being there boded no good to me. Grandmamma looked sad. She was soon
to lose another object of affection, as she had lost many before. I
knew she was unhappy, and the shadow fell on me, though I knew not the
cause.

All suspense, however, must have an end, and the end of mine was at
hand. Affectionately patting me on the head, and telling me to be a
good boy, grandmamma bade me to go and play with the little children.
"They are kin to you," said she; "go and play with them." Among a
number of cousins were Phil, Tom, Steve, and Jerry, Nance and Betty.

Grandmother pointed out my brother and sisters who stood in the group.
I had never seen brother nor sisters before; and though I had
sometimes heard of them, and felt a curious interest in them, I really
did not understand what they were to me, or I to them. We were
brothers and sisters, but what of that? Why should they be attached to
me, or I to them? Brothers and sisters we were by blood, but _slavery_
had made us strangers. I heard the words "brother" and "sisters," and
knew they must mean something; but slavery had robbed these terms of
their true meaning. The experience through which I was passing, they
had passed through before. They had already learned the mysteries of
Old Master's home, and they seemed to look upon me with a certain
degree of compassion; but my heart clave to my grandmother. Think it
not strange that so little sympathy of feeling existed between us. The
conditions of brotherly and sisterly feeling were wanting; we had
never nestled and played together. My poor mother, like many other
slave-women, had many children, but NO FAMILY! The domestic hearth,
with its holy lessons and precious endearments, is abolished in the
case of a slave-mother and her children. "Little children, love one
another," are words seldom heard in a slave-cabin.

I really wanted to play with my brother and sisters, but they were
strangers to me, and I was full of fear that grandmother might leave
without taking me with her. Entreated to do so, however, and that,
too, by my dear grandmother, I went to the back part of the house, to
play with them and the other children. _Play_, however, I did not, but
stood with my back against the wall, witnessing the mirth of the
others. At last, while standing there, one of the children, who had
been in the kitchen, ran up to me, in a sort of roguish glee,
exclaiming, "Fed, Fed! grandmammy gone! grandmammy gone!" I could not
believe it; yet, fearing the worst, I ran into the kitchen, to see
for myself, and found it even so. Grandmamma had indeed gone, and was
now far away, clean out of sight. I need not tell all that happened
now. Almost heartbroken at the discovery, I fell upon the ground, and
wept a boy's bitter tears, refusing to be comforted.

[Illustration]



CHARLES DICKENS,

FIRST NOVELIST OF THE PERIOD.


I have been looking on, this evening, at a merry company of children
assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas tree.

[Illustration]

Being now at home again, and alone, the only person in the house
awake, my thoughts are drawn back, by a fascination which I do not
care to resist, to my own childhood. Straight in the middle of the
room, cramped in the freedom of its growth by no encircling walls or
soon-reached ceiling, a shadowy tree arises; and, looking up into the
dreamy brightness of its top,--for I observe in this tree the singular
property that it appears to grow downward towards the earth,--I look
into my youngest Christmas recollections.

All toys at first, I find. But upon the branches of the tree, lower
down, how thick the books begin to hang! Thin books, in themselves, at
first, but many of them, with deliciously smooth covers of bright red
or green. What fat black letters to begin with!

"A was an archer, and shot at a frog." Of course he was. He was an
apple-pie also, and there he is! He was a good many things in his
time, was A, and so were most of his friends, except X, who had so
little versatility that I never knew him to get beyond Xerxes or
Xantippe: like Y, who was always confined to a yacht or a yew-tree;
and Z, condemned forever to be a zebra or a zany.

But now the very tree itself changes, and becomes a bean-stalk,--the
marvellous bean-stalk by which Jack climbed up to the giant's house.
Jack,--how noble, with his sword of sharpness and his shoes of
swiftness!

Good for Christmas-time is the ruddy color of the cloak in which, the
tree making a forest of itself for her to trip through with her
basket, Little Red-Riding-Hood comes to me one Christmas eve, to give
me information of the cruelty and treachery of that dissembling wolf
who ate her grandmother, without making any impression on his
appetite, and then ate her, after making that ferocious joke about his
teeth. She was my first love. I felt that if I could have married
Little Red-Riding-Hood, I should have known perfect bliss. But it was
not to be, and there was nothing for it but to look out the wolf in
the Noah's Ark there, and put him late in the procession on the table,
as a monster who was to be degraded.

[Illustration]

O the wonderful Noah's Ark! It was not found seaworthy when put in a
washing-tub, and the animals were crammed in at the roof, and needed
to have their legs well shaken down before they could be got in even
there; and then ten to one but they began to tumble out at the door,
which was but imperfectly fastened with a wire latch; but what was
that against it?

Consider the noble fly, a size or two smaller than the elephant; the
lady-bird, the butterfly,--all triumphs of art! Consider the goose,
whose feet were so small, and whose balance was so indifferent that he
usually tumbled forward and knocked down all the animal creation!
consider Noah and his family, like idiotic tobacco-stoppers; and how
the leopard stuck to warm little fingers; and how the tails of the
larger animals used gradually to resolve themselves into frayed bits
of string.

Hush! Again a forest, and somebody up in a tree,--not Robin Hood, not
Valentine, not the Yellow Dwarf,--I have passed him and all Mother
Bunch's wonders without mention,--but an Eastern king with a
glittering scymitar and turban. It is the setting-in of the bright
Arabian Nights.

O, now all common things become uncommon and enchanted to me! All
lamps are wonderful! all rings are talismans! Common flower-pots are
full of treasure, with a little earth scattered on the top; trees are
for Ali Baba to hide in; beefsteaks are to throw down into the Valley
of Diamonds, that the precious stones may stick to them, and be
carried by the eagles to their nests, whence the traders, with loud
cries, will scare them. All the dates imported come from the same tree
as that unlucky one, with whose shell the merchant knocked out the eye
of the genii's invisible son. All olives are of the same stock of that
fresh fruit concerning which the Commander of the Faithful overheard
the boy conduct the fictitious trial of the fraudulent olive-merchant.
Yes, on every object that I recognize among those upper branches of my
Christmas tree I see this fairy light!

But hark! the Waits are playing, and they break my childish sleep!
What images do I associate with the Christmas music as I see them set
forth on the Christmas tree! Known before all the others, keeping far
apart from all the others, they gather round my little bed. An angel,
speaking to a group of shepherds in a field; some travellers, with
eyes uplifted, following a star; a baby in a manger; a child in a
spacious temple, talking with grave men; a solemn figure with a mild
and beautiful face, raising a dead girl by the hand; again, near a
city gate, calling back the son of a widow, on his bier, to life; a
crowd of people looking through the opened roof of a chamber where he
sits, and letting down a sick person on a bed, with ropes; the same,
in a tempest, walking on the waters in a ship; again, on a sea-shore,
teaching a great multitude; again, with a child upon his knee, and
other children around; again, restoring sight to the blind, speech to
the dumb, hearing to the deaf, health to the sick, strength to the
lame, knowledge to the ignorant; again, dying upon a cross, watched by
armed soldiers, a darkness coming on, the earth beginning to shake,
and only one voice heard, "Forgive them, for they know not what they
do!"

Encircled by the social thoughts of Christmas time, still let the
benignant figure of my childhood stand unchanged! In every cheerful
image and suggestion that the season brings, may the bright star that
rested above the poor roof be the star of all the Christian world!

A moment's pause, O vanishing tree, of which the lower boughs are dark
to me yet, and let me look once more. I know there are blank spaces on
thy branches, where eyes that I have loved have shone and smiled, from
which they are departed. But, far above, I see the Raiser of the dead
girl and the widow's son,--and God is good!


THE END.



       *       *       *       *       *
Transcriber's Notes:


5. Minor punctuation errors have been corrected without comment and
   include missing or end of sentence comma and period errors and missing
   or misplaced quotation marks.


6. Spelling Corrections:

   p. 120, "wery" to "very"  (and it's very much to be)
   p. 128, "arter" to "after" (after all, that's where)
   p. 128, "biled" to "billed" (A billed fowl and)
   p. 128, "woice" to "voice" (the voice of love)
   p. 168, "Joe" to "Job" (29) (And Job tumbled into his)
   p. 275, "pototo" to "potato" (4) (a potato-field)
   p. 277, "familar" to "familiar" (3) (a familiar voice)


7. Suspected mispellings retained as possible alternate spellings of the
   time:

   "amadavid bird" (amadavat bird)
   "azalias" (azaleas)
   "gayety" (gaiety)
   "Mackarel" (Mackerel)
   "plash" (splash)
   "scymitar" (scimitar)
   "skurrying" (scurrying)


8. Printer Error corrections:

   p. 109, removed duplicate "carried" (Oeyvind carried leaves)


9. Word variations retained in the text which vary by author:

   "fireflies" and "fire-flies"
   "flagstones" and "flag-stones"
   "nightgown" and "night-gown"
   "Red Riding-Hood" and "Red-Riding-Hood"
   "schoolhouse" and "school-house"
   "toyshop" and "toy-shop"





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