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Title: Happy Days for Boys and Girls
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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                          HAPPY DAYS
                             FOR
                        BOYS AND GIRLS.


            [Illustration: {Three children playing}]


                       136 ILLUSTRATIONS


                       CONTRIBUTIONS BY

  LOUISA M. ALCOTT, ALICE AND PHOEBE CAREY, C. A. STEPHENS,
     MARY N. PRESCOTT, WILLIAM M. THAYER, F. CHESEBORO,
            J. G. WOOD, S. W. LANDER, and others.


                        PHILADELPHIA:
                       PORTER & COATES,
                     822 CHESTNUT STREET.



                       Copyright, 1877,
           BY HORACE B. FULLER AND PORTER & COATES.


                          PRESS OF
                      HENRY B. ASHMEAD.
                        PHILADELPHIA.



[Illustration: YOUNG FISHERS.]



[Illustration: {A bird and nestlings}]

CONTENTS.


PROSE.

                                                                PAGE
  Accident, The                       _Louisa M. Alcott_         280

  Adventure in the Life of Salvator
      Rosa                            _L. D. L._                  84

  African Elephant, The               _J. G. Wood_               319

  Animal in Armor, The                                            75

  Aunt Thankful                       _M. H._                    253

  Barn Swallows                       _W. Wander_                194

  Birds                               _F. F. E._                  25

  "Bitters"                                                      203

  Books and Reading                                               36

  Bruin at a Maple-Sugar Party        _C. A. Stephens_           313

  Camels                              _J. G. Wood_               339

  Cave at Benton's Ridge              _F. E. S._                 350

  Charley                                                        368

  Charlie's Escape                                               109

  Charlie's Christmas                                             79

  Crippled Boy, The                   _S. W. Lander_             374

  Daisy's Temptation                                             111

  Daring Feat                                                    183

  Davy Boys' Fishing-Pond             _L. M. D._                 130

  Envy Punished                                                  271

  Every Cloud has a Silver Lining                                 31

  Faithful Friends                    _X._                       237

  Fairy Bird, The                     _Louisa M. Alcott_         207

  Fred and Dog Stephen                                           205

  Giraffe, The                        _J. G. Wood_               188

  Going for the Letters                                          198

  Good Word not Lost                                             308

  Gratitude of a Cow                                             196

  Haunts of Wild Beasts               _C. A. Stephens_           355

  Help Yourselves                     _Wm. M. Thayer_             46

  Holiday Luck                        _Sara Conant_              296

  How a Good Dinner was Lost          _Fannie Benedict_          256

  How Maggie paid the Rent                                       227

[Illustration: {Children sledding}]

  How Sweetie's "Ship came In"        _Margaret Field_            96

  Hunting Adventure                                              362

  If; or, Bessie Green's Holiday                                 176

  Iron Ring, The                      _A. L. O. E._               76

  It takes Two to Make a Quarrel                                 306

  John Stocks and the Bison           _Author of "Drifting
                                          to Sea"_               138

  Kindness Rewarded                                               28

  Kindness to Animals                 _Robert Handy_             284

  Lace-making                                                     44

  Lame Susie                                                     261

  Lion the Fire-dog                   _Benjamin Clarke_           38

  Lion on the Threshold                                          190

  Marcellin                                                       82

  Merry Christmas                     _E. G. C._                 166

  Monkeys                             _L. B. U._                 301

  Motherless Boy, The                                             49

  Mouse and Canary, The                                          287

  Mrs. Pike's Prisoners               _M. R. W._                 123

  My Mother's Stories                 _E. E._                    303

  My Story                            _S. P. Brigham_            332

  Nearly Lost                                                    365

  Neddy's Half Holiday                                           121

  Nicolo's Little Friend              _H. A. F._                 390

  Nino                                _Sara Conant_              244

  Orchard's Grandmother               _S. O. J._                   9

  Parsees, The                                                   371

  Polly Arrives                       _Louisa M. Alcott_         282

  Ponto                                                          310

  Puppet                              _Mary B. Harris_           162

  Puss                                _Robert Handy_             293

  Que                                 _Mary B. Harris_           144

  Reason and Instinct                 _Flaneur_                   60

  Reginald's First School-Days                                   384

  Rough                               _M. R. O._                  17

  Sally Sunbeam                                                  251

  Saved by a Fiddle                   _Sir Lascelles Wraxall_    211

  Song of the Bird                                               323

  Squanko                             _F. Cheseboro_             274

  Squirrels                                                      160

  St. Bernard Dog                                                 53

  Stitching and Teaching              _E. G. C._                 152

  Stories about Dogs                                             137

  Strange Combat, A                   _C. A. Stephens_           116

  Sweet One for Polly                 _Louisa M. Alcott_         277

[Illustration: {Two children having a picnic}]

  Thorns                                                         347

  Tim the Match-Boy                                              268

  Truant, The                                                    393

  Two Friends. A Story for Boys                                  288

  Two Gentlemen in Fur Cloaks                                    107

  Uncle John's School-Days                                       234

  What Nelly gave Away                                           115

  White Butterfly                                                 63

  Wings                                                          273

  Working is Better than Wishing                                  65

  Young Artist, The                                              218


POETRY.

  All among the Hay                                              286

  Annie                                                          175

  Answer to a Child's Question                                   113

  Bird's Nest, The                    _Mary. N. Prescott_        216

  C--A--T                                                        186

  Cherry-Time                                                    128

  Child's Petition                                               392

  Child's Prayer                                                 137

  Children                                                        62

  Children's Song                                                141

  Cleopatra                           _Edgar Fawcett_            388

  Common Things                                                  249

  Coral-Workers, The                                              37

  Counting Baby's Toes                                           345

  Dinner and a Kiss                                              381

  Dream of Summer, A                  _Mary N. Prescott_          29

  Erl King                            _Mary N. Prescott_         241

  Faithful unto Death; or, The Sentry
      of Herculaneum                  _W. B. B. Stevens_         230

  Flight of the Birds                                             56

  For the Children                                                58

  Forced Rabbit, The                                             180

  From Bad to Worse                   _Alice Cary_               331

  Frost, The                                                      22

  Good-Humor                                                      35

  Good Shepherd, The                                              52

  I am Coming                                                    110

  Kind to Everything                                              68

  Let him Live                        _Mary R. Whittlesey_       300

  Little Helpers                                                  73

  Little Home-body                    _Geo. Cooper_              119

[Illustration: {Two figures walk through a snowy landscape}]

  Little Red Riding-Hood              _L. E. Landon_             224

  My Little Hero                                                  92

  My Mother                                                      382

  Minutes                                                        196

  My Picture                                                      23

  Music Lesson, The                                               22

  Nothing to Do                                                  105

  Now the Sun is Sinking                                         206

  Our Daily Bread                                                157

  Preparing for Christmas                                        143

  Rich and Poor                       _Ellen M. H. Gates_         42

  Rigmarole about a Tea-Party                                    206

  Robin Redbreast                                                 95

  Rustic Mirror, The                  _M. R. W._                 222

  Sailing the Boats                   _George Cooper_            305

  Secret                              _Mary R. Whittlesey_       264

  Shakspeare                          _Richard H. Stoddard_      389

  Sheep and the Goat                                             328

  Silly Young Rabbit, The                                        242

  Silver and Gold                     _Ellis Gray_               265

  Smiles and Tears                                               390

  Snow-Fall                                                      151

  Snow-Man, The                       _Marian Douglas_           192

  Song of the Rose                    _T. E. D._                  41

  Sparrow, The                                                   122

  Spring has Come                                                202

  Story of Johnny Dawdle                                          47

  Summer                                                          78

  That Calf                           _Phoebe Cary_               70

  To the Cardinal Flower              _M. R. W._                  40

  Touch Not                                                       61

  Two Mornings                        _Mary N. Prescott_         267

  Under the Pear Trees                                           349

  Up and Doing                                                   182

  Vacation                            _Beverly Moore_            232

  War and Peace                                                  126

  Way to Walk                         _M. R. W._                 337

  We should hear the Angels singing   _Kate Cameron_              91

  What so Sweet                       _Mary N. Prescott_         344

  What the Clock says                                            149

  Why                                                             24

  Willie's Prayer                                                159

  World, The                          _Lilliput Lectures_        185

  Worship of Nature                                              361



HAPPY DAYS.



[Illustration: {Settlers run from the native inhabitants}]

THE ORCHARD'S GRANDMOTHER.


I must ask you to go back more than two hundred years, and watch two
people in a quiet old English garden.

One is an old lady reading. In her young days she was a famous beauty.
That was very long ago, to be sure; but I think she is a beauty
still--do not you?

She has such a lovely face, and her eyes are so sweet and bright! and
better than that, they are the kind which see pleasant things in
everybody, and something to like and be interested in. I hope with all
my heart yours are that kind, too.

The other person is a little child. She was christened Mary Brenton,
like her grandmother; but she was called Polly all her days, for
short; and we will call her so.

She is sitting on the grass with a little cat in her arms, which she
is trying to put to sleep. But the kitten is not so accommodating as
a doll would be, and just as Polly does not dare to move for fear of
waking her, she makes up her mind that a run after a leaf and a play
with any chance caterpillar which may be so unlucky as to cross her
path, will be very preferable, and tries to get away.

It is one of the most delightful days that ever was. September, and
almost too warm, if it were not for the breeze that brings cooler air
from the sea. Once in a while some fruit falls from the heavily-laden
trees, and the first dead leaves rustle a little on the ground. The
bees are busy, making the most of the bright day; for they know of the
stormy weather coming. The sky is very blue, and the flowers very
bright. Two swallows are playing hide-and-seek through the orchard,
and chasing each other in great races, now so close to the ground that
it seems as if their feet might catch in the green grass, and now away
up in the air over the high walls out towards the hills; and just as
one loses sight of them, and turns away, here they are again. And in
the kitchen the girls are clattering the dishes and laughing; and do
you hear some one singing a doleful tune in a cheery, happy voice?

That is Dorothy, Polly's dear Dorothy, who waits upon grandmother,
with whom she has been to France, and Holland, and Scotland, and who
can tell almost as charming stories as grandmother herself.

The house is large and old, with queer-shaped windows, all sizes and
all heights from the ground, and a great many of them hidden by the
ivy. That is the outside; and if you were to go in, you would find
large, low rooms, filled with furniture that you would think queer and
uncomfortable. And there are portraits in some of them, one of Polly,
probably painted not very long before, in which she is attired after
the fashion of those days, and looks nearly as old as she would now
if she were living!

Now let us go back to the garden. The kitten has escaped, and Polly is
wishing for something to do.

"Where's Dolly?" says grandmother. "Find her, and then gather some
apples and plums, and have a tea drinking."

The doll had been very ill all day; it was strange in grandmother to
forget it. She had fallen asleep just before dinner, and been put
carefully in her bed; it would never do to wake her so soon. And
besides, a tea party was not amusing when there was no one to sit at
the other end of the table. This referred to Tom, Polly's dearest
cousin, who had just left her after a long visit; and she missed him
sadly.

"And," says Polly, "I do not think I should care for it if he were
here, if I could have nothing but apples. I'm tired of them. I have
eaten one of every kind in the garden to-day, even the great yellow
ones by the lower gate. I think they're disagreeable; but I left them
till the very last, and then I was afraid they would feel sorry to be
left out. I think I will eat another, though; and I will not have a
party--it's a trouble. Which kind would you take, grandmother?"

"One of the very smallest," says the old lady, laughing; "but stop a
moment. I have one I'll give you;" and she took a beauty from her
pocket, and threw it on the grass by Polly.

"That's the very prettiest apple I ever saw," says the child. "Where
did you get it? Not off our trees. 'Father gave it to you?' and where
did he find it?"

Grandmother did not know.

[Illustration: LITTLE POLLY.]

After admiring her apple a little more, Polly eats it in a most
deliberate manner, enjoying every bite as if it were the first she had
eaten that day, and when she has finished it, gives a contented little
sigh, and sits looking at the fine brown seeds which she holds in
her hand. Presently she says, earnestly,--

"Grandmother!"

"What now, Polly?"

"I wish I had that dear little apple's two brothers and two sisters,
and I would put them in the doll's chest until to-morrow; I wouldn't
eat them to-day, you know."

"I will tell you what you can do," says grandmother. "Are those seeds
in your hand? Go find Dorothy, and ask her to give you the empty
flower-pot from the high shelf at my window; and then you can fill it
with dark earth from one of the flower-beds, and plant them; then by
and by you will have a tree, and can have plenty of your apple's
children."

That was a happy thought. And Polly puts the seeds carefully on a
leaf, and runs to find Dorothy. Now she comes back with a queer little
Dutch china flower-pot, and sits down on the grass again, and makes a
hole in the soft brown earth with her finger, and drops the fine seeds
in.

For days she watered them, and carried them to sunny places; but at
last she grew very impatient, and one morning, when she was all alone
in the garden, very much provoked that they had not made their
appearance, took a twig and explored; and the first poke brought to
light the little seeds, as shiny and brown as when they left the
apple. It was a great disappointment, and Polly caught them up, and
threw them as far away as she could, and with tears in her eyes ran in
to tell grandmother.

"Ah," said the dear old lady, "it was not time! Thou hast not learned
thy lesson of waiting; and no wonder, when there are few so hard, and
thou art still so young."

Then she sent Polly back to the garden, and the pot was put in its
place, again. And a week or two after, as grandmother was just going
to make room in the earth for a new plant, she saw growing there a
little green sprig, which was not a weed. She listened a moment, and
heard the child's voice outside.

"Polly, my dear, are you sure you scattered all the seeds of your
pretty apple the day you were so provoked at their not having begun to
grow for you?"

The child reddened a little, and turned away.

"I don't know, grandmother. I think so; I wished to then."

How delighted she was when the old lady showed her the treasure, and
how carefully it was watched and tended! For one little seed had been
buried deeper than the rest, and now in the sunshine of grandmother's
wide window it had come up. Every pleasant day it was placed somewhere
in the sun, and at night it was always carried to Polly's own room.
Her dolls and other old play-house friends, formerly much honored, and
of great consequence, were quite neglected for "the apple tree," as
she always called the tiny thing with its few bits of leaves.

And now we must leave the Brentons' old stone house and the garden.
All this happened in the days of King Charles I., when there was a
great war, and the country in a highly discordant state. Polly's
father was on the king's side, and one day he did something which was
considered particularly unpardonable by his enemies, and at night he
came riding from Oxford in the greatest hurry he had ever been in; and
riding after him were some of Cromwell's men. It was bright moonlight,
and as he rode in the paved yard the great dogs in their kennels began
to bark, and that waked Polly's mother, in a terrible fright at
hearing her husband's voice, and sure something undesirable had
happened.

Squire Brenton hurried in to tell her, in as few words as possible,
what he had done, and that he was followed, and had just time to say
good by, and take another horse, and rush on to the sea, where he
hoped to find a fishing-boat, by means of which he could escape.

"And you," said he, "had better take Polly and one of the men, and
ride to your cousin Matthew's; for in their rage at my escape, they
may mean to burn my house. I little thought a month ago,--when he
offered you 'a safe home,' and I laughed in his face, and said, 'Give
your good wife the same message; for she may not find your house so
safe as mine by and by,'--that you would need to accept so soon."

"But I cannot go there now," said Mistress Brenton; "for cousin
Matthew is away with the Roundhead army, and his wife and sister have
gone to the north. I'll go with you. Listen: I heard one of the maids
say to-day that a ship sails to-morrow at daybreak from the bay by
Dunner's with a company of Puritans for Holland, on their way to one
of the American colonies. We will go for a time to our friends in
Amsterdam, and be quite safe."

Anything was better than staying where he was; and Squire Brenton,
bidding her hurry, went to the stables with his tired horse, and
waking one of his men whom he could trust, told him why he was there,
and to say, when the men came, that he was in Oxford yesterday, when
they had a letter, and that Mistress Brenton had gone north to some
friends. He gave him some messages for his brother, and then, sending
him out to a field with the horse he had been riding, which would
certainly have betrayed him, he went back to the yard, trying to keep
the two fresh horses still, while he listened, fearing every moment to
hear his pursuers coming down the road.

Presently out came Mistress Brenton, carrying some bundles of
clothing, and a few little things besides, and wrapped in a great
riding cloak; and at her side walked Polly, very sleepy, and looking
wonderingly in the faces of the others, and asking all manner of
childish questions.

Suddenly she ran back to the house, just as her father was going to
lift her on his horse; and when she came back, what do you think she
had? Together in a little bag were her doll and kitten, and one arm
held tightly her little apple tree, wrapped in some garment of her own
which she had found lying near it.

And then they rode away. The poor child, after begging them to go to
her uncle's, so she might say good by to grandmother, fell asleep,
holding fast her treasures all the while.

There was a faint glimmer of light over the sea as they neared the
shore, and they saw anchored at a little distance a small ship, and
could see the men moving about her deck; for the wind had risen. Mr.
Brenton found a man whom he knew, in whose charge he left the horses,
and then a fisherman rowed them to the vessel.

The captain was nowhere to be seen, and the sailors paid no attention
to them as they came on deck in the chilly morning twilight; and they
went immediately below, and hid themselves in a dark corner, thinking
they might have to go ashore if discovered, and that it was best to
keep out of sight until it was too late to turn back. In the darkness
they fell asleep. This may seem very strange; but remembering the long
ride, and the fright they had been in, and that now they felt safe, we
can hardly wonder. At any rate, it was the middle of the afternoon
before Colonel Brenton--I think I have never given him his title
before--made his appearance on deck, to the great astonishment of the
captain and all the other people, who knew him more or less. He told
the captain what had happened, saying at the end he would pay him
double the usual passage money to Holland, where he meant to stay for
a while; and at this the rough man really turned pale.

"Holland, _Holland_!" said he; "do you not see we're going down the
Channel? We are bound direct for America."

The story says that Colonel Brenton was almost beside himself, and
offered large sums of money to be taken back, or to France; but the
captain would not consent, saying that they had made good progress,
and it was late in the year. The ship would come back in the spring,
and he must content himself.

Those of the ship's company who knew our friends had great wonderings
at their having turned Puritans, until they knew the true state of
affairs. Must not it have been dreadful news to Mistress Brenton, and
was it not really a dreary prospect--a dreary journey in that frail
ship, and at the end a cold, forlorn country? and all the stories of
the Indians' cruelties to the settlers came to her mind. They could
not, in all probability, return for many months. No one whom she cared
particularly for would be there to welcome them. Polly did not take it
very much to heart, though she cried a little because she was not to
go to Holland, which she had heard so much of from her grandmother and
Dorothy. It was a great many days before they gave up their hope of
falling in with some vessel to which they might be transferred; and
the first two weeks were sunshiny and pleasant, with a good wind. But
soon it grew bleaker and colder, and they suffered greatly. All
through the pleasant days, Polly had been having a very enjoyable
time. There were several children on board, and they had games around
the deck and in the cabin.

It was delightful to have the kitten, who had a cord tied around her
neck; and when she was not in Polly's arms, she was generally anchored
for safety in the cabin. Every day she had part of her little
mistress's dinner; and though she missed the garden, and the dead
leaves that nestled about the walks, and made such nice playthings,
and the sedate old family cat, her mother, and her mother's numerous
poor relations who lived in the stables, she was by no means unhappy.
And the doll's expression was as complacent as ever, though she had
worn one gown an astonishing length of time. But if you could have
seen the care the little tree received! It was carefully wrapped in
the same little cloak Polly put round it the night they left home, and
only on the warmest days it was taken on deck to have the sunshine;
and every day it had part of Polly's small allowance of water; and
when the kitten had had its share, there would often be very little
left.

The weary days went slowly by. The ship was slow at the best, and the
winds were contrary. The provisions grew less and less, and the water
was almost exhausted. Two people--a man, and a child Polly had grown
very fond of--died, and were buried in the sea. The sky was cold and
gray, and it snowed and rained, and every one looked sad and
disheartened. It was terribly desolate. Polly could not often go on
deck, for the frozen spray and rain made it very slippery and
dangerous there; and her mother told story after story, and did her
best to shorten the longest December days she had ever known. And soon
there came a terrible bereavement. One night there was a great storm,
and the dearly-beloved kitten, frightened to death by the things
rolling about, and the pitching of the ship, broke the cord and rushed
out in the darkness, and never was seen any more. I think a little cat
has never been so mourned since the world began. That night, the Dutch
flower-pot, with its leafless twig, went rolling about the cabin
floor, and half the earth was scattered in the folds of its
wrappings, and carefully replaced next morning.

But at last the voyage was ended; they saw land, and finally came
close to it and went ashore, Polly with her dear doll and something
else rolled up in a little gray cloak. The ship was to stay until
spring; and there seemed no hope of getting back to England until
then. It was hard to decide what to do; but at last Colonel Brenton
heard of some men whom he had known, who had been made prisoners in
some of the battles in the north of England and sent to the
Massachusetts colony by Cromwell, who had feared to imprison them.
They had been sent to the settlement in York.

So the Brentons joined a party going there, or to places beyond. It
was the last of January that they came to York, and were warmly
welcomed at the great garrison, where they lived till spring. Polly
found a very nice child to play with. There had been a good harvest,
and the Indians were uncommonly peaceable. They had great log fires in
the wide fireplace in the east room; and for a winter in those times,
it was very comfortable. The flower-pot was deposited in a chink of
the great chimney. Polly had insisted upon bringing it with her; and
though "the tree" at that time was a slender little straight stick,
she had firm faith that spring time would give it leaves again. And
strange to say, she was not disappointed; for all the exposure had not
destroyed it. The first of June came, and they were still living in
the garrison-house, looking every day for a messenger to tell them the
ship was ready to go back. Some people on their way to one of the
eastern settlements, early in April, had told them there were no signs
of her sailing; and since then they had heard nothing. How dismayed
they were, early in June, to find the ship had sailed nearly two
months before! It seemed as if everything was against them; and they
could live no longer in the garrison. So the Brentons had a little log
house near by, and "the squire" worked every day in the great field
down towards the river. It must have been such a strange life for
them! and I suppose their thoughts often went back to the dear English
home. When Mistress Brenton looked from the small window in her log
house out over half-cleared fields, and saw the garrison-house, and
her husband working among the hills of corn with his gun close by,
every now and then looking anxiously about him, she would remember the
wide window, with its cushioned seat, in her own room at home, and the
sunny garden, with the flowers and bees, and the maids and men singing
and chattering in the distance, and the dear voice of grandmother
singing the old church hymns. It was a great change; but days much
more forlorn than these were yet to come.

The Indians came around the settlement in large numbers, and no one
dared to be out alone. At night the people waked in fear at the
slightest noise; and in the daytime it was after the same fashion.
News came of whole settlements having been murdered or made captives,
and some of their own neighbors disappeared finally; and then the
suspense was terrible. At last, one day Mrs. Brenton had gone up to
the garrison to see one of the women, who was ill, and most of the men
were in the field. Polly went with her mother; but the women were
talking over something about the king and Parliament, which she found
very uninteresting, and soon she unfastened the great outer door, and
unwisely ran out with her doll in her arms, and went down to the field
to see the men at work. But on her way, she bethought herself of a
charming stump she had seen out at one side of the path, and went to
visit it. None of the men happened to see her. She talked to the
doll, and made a throne for her of the soft moss growing around her,
and had been playing there some time, when suddenly she heard shouts,
and thought they must be killing a snake, and looked up to see all the
men running up the hill to the garrison, with a great many Indians
chasing them; and she heard a gun fired, and saw one of the men who
had petted and been very kind to her, and told her stories, fall to
the ground. Ah, how frightened she was!

The doll was snatched from her throne, and the poor little girl ran
towards the garrison, too, right towards the Indians. It was weary
work running over the rough ground,--and the tall grass was not much
better,--and then on, up the hill. By this time the men had succeeded
in getting in; and the wicked-looking Indians, after a yell of
disappointment, turned to go back to the one who lay dead on the
hill-side, and to escape the bullets which would come in a moment from
the loopholes. O, if she could only get by them!

Up the hill she hurried as fast as the poor tired little feet could
carry her, hugging the doll, almost breathless, with the great tears
falling very fast, and still crying, "Wait, father!"

I am glad I know one kind thing the Indians of those days did. As they
turned, they saw her coming, and some hurried forward a little to
seize her; and it would have been so easy. But one spoke, and they all
stopped, and laughed, and shouted, and the child got safely in.

Then the Indians went to the Brentons' house, and some others, and
burned them; but luckily the apple tree was at the play-house, by a
large rock, at a little distance, and the wind was not in that
direction; and after they disappeared, it was brought up to the fort,
safe and sound.

It soon grew tall and strong, and in a little while was entirely too
large for its pot; and finally Polly was forced to put it in the
ground. It was hard to do it; for she had cared for it, and loved it
so long, and this was giving it up, in a measure. And I think if she
had understood that now it must be left behind, it would have been
almost impossible to have persuaded her. Her father comforted her by
telling her he could get quantities of the apples not very far from
home, and she could plant more seeds as soon as she liked, or, far
better than that, he would graft a tree.

In September, news came that a ship was going to the east coast of
England; and they were all heartily glad, in spite of the long,
dangerous voyage; and leaving the York friends, who had been so kind,
and whom they would probably never see any more, Polly gave the little
tree to a Masterson child, her great friend, who promised to wrap it
in straw for winter, and to be very kind to it and fond of it. And I
think she must have been faithful to her charge. Mistress Brenton laid
some of the leaves in the little book she had had in her pocket that
night, almost a year ago, when they left home. So they went to Boston,
and sailed for the old country.

I know nothing more of them; but we will hope their voyage was a short
and easy one, and that they reached home on a pleasant, sunny day, and
grandmother was there, and Dorothy, and all the people, and Polly had
stories to tell as wonderful as Dorothy's, and all true, and that they
were all happy forever after.

A while ago I stood on the hill with an old farmer, eating one of a
pocketful of apples he had given me, and said how very nice it was,
and that I had never seen any like it.

"There are none of my apples sell half so well," said he. "I've forty
young trees that have been bearing a few years; and over to the right
you see some old ones. Mine were grafted from those and my father
took his grafts from an old tree I'd like to show you;" and as we
walked towards it, he said, "It looks, and I guess it is, as old as
any around here. My father always said it was brought from England in
a flower-pot by some of the first settlers. Perhaps you have heard the
story. It's very shaky. The high winds last fall were pretty hard on
it. It will never bear again, I am afraid. I set a good deal by the
old thing. The very first thing I can remember is my father's lifting
me up to one of the lower limbs, and I was frightened and cried. I
believe I think more of that tree than of anything on my farm. My wife
always laughs at me about it. Well, it has lasted my time. I'm old and
shaky, too; and I suppose my sons won't miss this much, and will like
the young orchard best."

"And you and I like your orchard's grandmother," said I.

                                                    S. O. J.



ROUGH.


He was a donkey, and we called him Rough. He belonged to Gerald and
me. We didn't keep him for his useful qualities, and we certainly
didn't keep him for his moral qualities; and I don't know what we did
keep him for, unless, for the best reason in the world, that we loved
him.

He was always getting us into scrapes, the most renowned of which was
one Rough's enemies were fond of alluding to.

We were bidden to a christening one fair spring morning; and we not
only accepted the invitation, but promised to bring apple-blossoms, to
fill the font and make the church look gay. We had an old apple
orchard, that bore beautiful blossoms, but worthless fruit; and of
these blossoms we had leave to pick as many as we chose.

So we filled the donkey-cart with them, and set forth for the
christening, which was to be at a little church about a mile or more
distant from our farm. Rough's enemies will tell how we arrived when
the christening was all over, and our apple blossoms faded.

We were never so happy as when we had a whole leisure afternoon to go
off with Rough in the donkey-cart, and our little sister Daisy by
Gerald's side, on the board that served as seat, and I lying on my
back on the bottom of the cart, with my heels dangling out of it. So I
would lie for hours, whistling and looking up at the drifting clouds,
or with my hat over my eyes to keep out the sun.

One afternoon, early in March, when the roads were almost knee deep in
mud, and the last of the melting snow made a running stream on either
side of the road, we were slowly travelling along after the manner I
have described. We were going to take a longing look at the skating
pond, two miles from our farm. We were forbidden to try the dangerous
ice, but meant only to look upon the scene of our winter's delight.

"Some one's in the pond!" cried Daisy.

"How do ye know?" said I, not removing my hat from my face.

You see Daisy was only six years old, and I hadn't much faith in her
observation.

"Cos I sees 'em with my own eyes."

I jumped up and looked. It was only a hat I saw. Gerald meanwhile
said nothing, but had pulled up Rough (who not only stopped, but lay
down in the mud), and looked. I watched him, to see what he thought,
or proposed to do.

[Illustration: {A child collecting flowers together}]

People had a way of trusting to Gerald's judgment rather than their
own, and were generally better off for it.

"It _is_ some one in the pond," said Gerald; and then followed a short
discussion as to whether we should leave Daisy alone to the mercies of
Rough, which resulted in our leaving Rough, and taking Daisy along
with us down to the pond.

We could see a boy, apparently about Gerald's age, swimming and
striving to keep up, and catching at the ice, which broke as he clung
to it. He swam feebly, as if benumbed and wearied.

"Keep a brave heart!" roared Gerald; "we'll save you!" and then began
to take off his boots and coat. The boy sank--under the ice, this
time. We could see it bobbing up and down as he swam beneath it.

"Stay here till I call you," said Gerald to me, as he stepped from the
shore on to the ice, and walked out towards where the swimmer was
hidden by the ice. I stood breathless, with my eye on Gerald.

The ice began to crack under him. He lay down on his stomach, and
pulled himself forward with his hands. Up came the swimmer not far
from him.

"Keep up! Gerald will save you!" cried Daisy.

The poor fellow cast one despairing look at Gerald, and sank again.
Gerald had gone as far as was practicable on the ice. I could hear it
cracking all over, and see the white cracks darting suddenly over ice
that had looked safe.

Up came the boy again.

"Keep up! keep up!" cried Daisy, in an excited treble. "Gerald will
save you!"

But the boy could hear nothing. He had his eyes closed, and seemed to
have fainted. Gerald reached out, and clutched him by the arm. How the
ice cracked all about him! My heart was in my mouth; I thought he was
in. I began to take my coat off.

"A scarf!" said Gerald, speaking for the first time.

I took off my own, and picked up Gerald's from the ground, and tied
them firmly together. I saw that they were too short. Daisy offered
hers. I took it, with an inward fear, if the child should catch cold;
it seemed paltry to think of it at such a moment. I stepped out on the
ice, and went a few steps, when Gerald cried,--

"Stop!"

I obeyed like a soldier.

"Throw it now!"

I threw the long string of scarfs. Gerald dexterously caught it, and
upholding the poor boy with one hand, with the other passed the string
under his arms, and tied the ends of it to his own arm. Then he paused
a moment before attempting the hazardous work of coming ashore, and
looked at me speculatively. I knew what he meant. There was a shadow
of trouble in his face that had nothing to do with his own danger. He
was weighing the possibility of his falling in, and my doing the same
in trying to save him, and Daisy alone on the shore. I gave a cheering
"Go ahead, old fellow!" and he began to push himself back again,
dragging his senseless burden after him by the scarf tied to his arm.

Crack! crack! crack! went the ice all about him, and little tides of
water flooded it. At last it seemed a little firmer. Gerald rose to
his feet, and dragging the boy still in the water after him, began to
walk slowly towards the shore, not seeming to notice how the sharp
edges of the ice cut the face and forehead of the poor half-drowned
boy.

Again the ice began to crack and undulate. Gerald stood still for a
moment, and the piece on which he stood broke away from the rest, and
began to float out. He jumped to the next, which broke, and so to the
next, and the next, till he neared the shore. Then he paused a moment,
and looked at me.

"Go ashore!" he roared like a sea captain.

Then I noticed that I stood on a detached piece of ice, but nearer
land than Gerald. I found no difficulty in gaining the shore.

"Now stand firm and give a hand!" said Gerald.

I grasped his hand, and he jumped ashore, and together we lifted the
boy out of the water. Daisy burst into tears, crying,--

"O, Gerald, Gerald, I thought you'd be drowned!"

Gerald very gently put her clinging arms away from him, saying,
firmly,--

"Don't cry, Daisy. We have our hands full with this poor fellow."

I got the skates off the "poor fellow," and gave them to Daisy to
hold. She, brave little woman, gulped down her tears, and only gave
vent to her emotion, now and then, by a little suppressed sob. Gerald
began beating the hands and breathing into the mouth and nostrils of
the seeming lifeless form before us.

"Is he dead, Gery?" said I.

"No!" said Gerald, fiercely. It was evident that he wouldn't believe
he had gone through so much trouble to bring a dead man ashore. "Look
for his handkerchief, and see if there's a mark on it."

I fished a wet rag out of the wet trousers pocket, and found in one
corner of it the name "Stevens."

"There's a farmer of that name two miles farther on. I don't know any
one else of that name. Must be his son. We'll take him home;" and he
began wrapping his coat about the poor boy; but I insisted on mine
being used for the purpose, as Gerald was half wet, and his teeth were
already chattering. "We must get him off this wet ground as soon as
possible," said Gerald; and together we lifted him, and slowly and
laboriously bore him to the donkey-cart in the road.

By this time Gerald had only strength enough to hold the reins, and we
set out forthwith for the Stevens farm, I, with what help Daisy could
give, trying to bring some show of life back to the stranger. Perhaps
the jolting of the cart helped,--I don't know,--but by and by he began
to revive, and at last we propped him up in one corner of the cart,
with his head supported by Daisy's knee.

I shall not soon forget how long the road seemed, and how I got out
and walked in deep mud, and how, when poor Rough seemed straining
every muscle to make the little cart move at all, Gerald insisted on
getting out, too, and leading Rough; how the sun set as we were wading
through a long road, where willow trees grew thick on either side, and
Daisy said, "See; all the little pussies are out!" how, at last, we
reached the Stevens farm, and restored the half-drowned boy to his
parents. I remember, too, how they were so utterly absorbed, very
naturally, in the welfare of their boy, as to forget all about us, and
offer us no quicker means of return home than our donkey-cart.

They came to call on us the next day, and to thank us, and specially
Gerald, with tears of gratitude. And Gerald was a hero in the village
from that day forth.

I remember well how dark it grew as we waded slowly and silently
home, and how poor little Rough did his very best, and never stopped
once.

I think he understood the importance of the occasion; but those who
were not Rough's friends, believe it was a recollection, and
expectation of supper, that made him acquit himself so honorably.

As we neared our home, we saw a tall figure looming up in the dark,
and soon, by the voice, we knew it was Michael, one of the farm hands,
sent to seek us.

"Bluder an nouns," he exclaimed, "it is you, Mister Gery! An' yer
muther, poor leddy, destroyed wid the fright. An' kapin' the chilt out
to this hair. Hadn't ye moor sense?"

We explained briefly; and Daisy begged to be carried, as the cart was
all wet.

With many Irish expressions of sympathy, Michael took the child in his
arms; and so we arrived at home, and found father and mother half
distracted with anxiety, and the farm hands sent in all directions to
look for us. We were at once, all three of us, put to bed, and made to
drink hot lemonade, and have hot stones at our feet, and not till then
tell all our experiences, which were listened to eagerly.

Daisy escaped unhurt, I with a slight cold, but Gerald and poor little
Rough were the ones who suffered. Gerald had a severe attack of
pneumonia, from which we had much ado to bring him back to health, and
Rough was ill. They brought us the news from the stable on the next
morning. We couldn't tell what was the matter; perhaps he had strained
himself, perhaps had caught cold. We could not tell, nor could the
veterinary surgeon we brought to see him. Poor Rough lay ill for
weeks, and one bright spring morning he died.

They told us early in the morning, before we were out of bed, how, an
hour ago, Rough had died.



[Illustration: THE MUSIC LESSON.]

THE MUSIC LESSON.


    Touch the keys _lightly_,
      Nellie, my dear:
    The noise makes Johnnie
      Impatient, I fear.

    He looks very cross,
      I am sorry to see--
    Not looking at all
      As a brother should be.

    Whatever you're doing,
      Bear this always in mind:
    In all _little things_
      Be both _thoughtful_ and _kind_.



THE FROST.


    The frost looked forth one still clear night,
    And whispered, "Now I shall be out of sight;
    So through the valley and over the height
          In silence I'll take my way:
    I will not go on like that blustering train,
    The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,
    Who make so much bustle and noise in vain,
          But I'll be as busy as they."

    Then he flew to the mountain, and powdered its crest;
    He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed
    In diamond beads; and over the breast
          Of the quivering lake he spread
    A coat of mail, that it need not fear
    The downward point of many a spear
    That he hung on its margin, far and near,
          Where a rock could rear its head.

    He went to the windows of those who slept,
    And over each pane like a fairy crept:
    Wherever he breathed, wherever he stept,
          By the light of the moon were seen
    Most beautiful things: there were flowers and trees;
    There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees;
    There were cities with temples and towers, and these
          All pictured in silver sheen!

    But he did one thing that was hardly fair:
    He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there
    That all had forgotten for him to prepare--
          "Now, just to set them a-thinking,
    I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he,
    "This costly pitcher I'll burst in three,
    And the glass of water they've left for me
          Shall 'tchick!' to tell them I'm drinking."



[Illustration: {A woman and two children with a calf}]

MY PICTURE.


    I have a little picture;
      Perchance you have one too.
    Mine is not set in frame of gold;
      'Tis first a bit of blue,
    And then a background of dark hills--
      A river just below,
    Along whose broad, green meadow banks
      The wreathing elm trees grow.

    Upon an overhanging ridge
      A little farm-house stands,
    Whose owner, like the man of old,
      Has builded "on the sands;"
    And yet, defying storms and wind,
      It stands there all alone,
    And brightens up the landscape
      With a beauty of its own.

    Fairy-like my picture changes
      As the seasons come and go.
    Now it glows 'neath summer's kisses;
      Now it sleeps 'mid winter's snow.
    I can see the breath of spring-time
      In the river's deeper blue,
    And autumn seems to crown it
      With her very brightest hue.

    Ah. I'd not exchange my picture
      For the choicest gem of art;
    Yet I must not claim it wholly;
      It is only mine in part;
    For 'tis one of nature's sketches--
      A waif from that Great Hand
    Which hath filled our earth with models
      Of the beautiful and grand.



WHY?


    Why are the blossoms
      Such different hues?
    And the waves of the sea
      Such a number of blues?
    So many soft greens
      Flit over the trees?
    And little gray shadows
      Fly out on the breeze?

    Why are the insects
      So wondrously fair;
    Illumining grasses
      And painting the air?
    You dear little shells,
      O, why do you shine?
    And feathery sea-weed
      Grow fragile and fine?

    Why are the meadows
      Such gardens of grace,
    With infinite beauty
      In definite space?
    Each separate grass
      A world of delight?
    O, food for the cattle,
      Why are you so bright?

    Why are our faces
      Such lovable things,
    With lips made for kisses,
      And laughter that sings?
    With eyes full of love,
      That sparkle and gleam,
    Through beautiful colors,
      That change like a dream?

    Think for a moment--
      Look up to the sky;
    Question your heart; it
      Will answer the Why!
    Bright is the glitter
      Of beauty unfurled--
    Boundless the love that
      Has fashioned the world!



BIRDS.


The wisdom of God is seen in every part of creation, and especially
in the different kinds of birds. The beauty displayed in their
graceful forms and varied colors strikes every beholder, while the
adaptation of their organs for the purposes of flight, their peculiar
habits and modes of living, are a constant source of admiration to the
student of nature.

Almost everything about the shape of a bird fits it for moving rapidly
in the air, and all parts of its body are arranged so as to give it
lightness along with strength. The soft and delicate plumage of birds
protects them from cold or moisture; their wings, though so delicate,
are furnished with muscles of such power as to strike the air with
great force, whilst their tails act like the rudder of a ship, so that
they can direct their course at pleasure with the utmost ease.

The internal structure of a bird also is such as to help it to sustain
itself in, and to fly quickly through, the air. Its lungs are pierced
with large holes, which allow air to pass into cavities in the breast,
and even into the interior of the bones. It is thus not only rendered
buoyant, but is enabled to breathe even while in rapid motion. Two
sparrows, it is said, require as much air to maintain their breathing
properly as a guinea pig.

In many other ways the skill and goodness of God are seen in the "fowl
of the air." Their necks and beaks are long, and very movable, so that
they may readily pick up food and other objects from the ground. The
muscles of their toes are so arranged that the simple weight of the
body closes them, and they are able, in consequence, to sit on a perch
a long time without fatigue. Even in a violent wind a bird easily
retains its hold of the branch or twig on which it is sitting. Their
bills are of almost all forms: in some kinds they are straight; in
others curved, sometimes upwards and sometimes downwards; in others
they are flat; in some they are in the form of a cone, wedge-shaped,
or hooked. The bill enables a bird to take hold of its food, to strip
or divide it. It is useful also in carrying materials for its nest, or
food to its young; and in the birds of prey, such as the owl, the
hawk, the falcon, eagle, etc., the beak is a formidable weapon of
attack.

The nostrils of birds are usually of an oval form, and are placed near
the base of the beak. Their eyes are so constructed that they can see
near and distant objects equally well, and their sight is very acute.
The sparrow-hawk discerns the small birds which are its prey at an
incredible distance. No tribe of birds possesses an outward ear,
except those which seek their food by night; these have one in the
form of a thin, leathery piece of flesh. The inside ear, however, is
very large, and their hearing is very quick.

[Illustration: BIRD'S NEST.]

Another admirable feature in the structure of birds consists in their
feathers. These are well adapted for security, warmth, and freedom of
motion. The larger feathers of the body are placed over each other
like the slates on the roof of a house, so that water is permitted to
run off, and cold is kept out. The down, which is placed under the
feathers, is a further protection against the cold; and hence it is
most abundant in those species that are found in northern climates.
The feathery covering of birds forms their peculiar beauty: on this,
in the warm climates, Nature bestows her most delicate and brightest
colors.

[Illustration: {An apteryx, or kiwi}]

Another point which sets forth the resources of Infinite Wisdom is the
structure and uses of the wings of birds. The size of the wings is not
always in proportion to the bulk of their bodies, but is accommodated
to their habits of living. Accordingly, birds of prey, swallows, and
such birds as are intended to hover long in the air, have much longer
wings, in proportion to their size, than hens, ducks, quails, etc. In
some, such as the ostrich, the cassiowary, and the penguin, the
largest quill-feathers of the wing are entirely wanting.

Then, again, how varied is the flight of birds! The falcon soars above
the clouds, and remains in the air for many hours without any sign of
exertion. The swallow, the lark, and other species, sail long
distances with little effort. Others, like the sparrow and the
humming-bird, have a fluttering flight. Some, as the owl, fly without
any noise; and some, like the partridge, with a loud whir.

                        "Around the head
    Of wandering swain the white-winged plover wheels
    Her sounding flight, and then directly on
    In long excursion skims the level lawn,
    To tempt him from her nest."

How graceful are the motions of the hawk, sweeping higher and higher
in circles, as he surveys far and wide the expanse of fields and
meadows below, in which he hopes to espy his prey. Our paper would be
too long were we to say even a little about the roosting, the
swimming, or running, the migration, the habits and instincts, the
varied notes and pleasant songs, of the endless species of birds.

All these subjects are well worthy of being carefully studied; for
they all show the design of their Creator. The extraordinary creature
represented in the engraving is the "Apteryx," or "wingless bird" of
New Zealand. It was not known to European naturalists till of late
years, and for a long time the accounts which the natives of New
Zealand gave of it were discredited. A specimen of it, preserved in
brine, was, however, brought to this country, and a full description
of the bird given.

The kirvi-kirvi, as the New Zealanders call it, stands about two feet
high. Its wings are so small that they can scarcely be called wings,
and are not easy to find under the general plumage of the body. Its
nostrils, strange to say, are at the tip of the beak. The toes are
strong, and well adapted for digging, the hind one being a thick,
horny spur. To add to the singularity of this creature, it has no tail
whatever. The kirvi-kirvi conceals itself among the extensive beds of
fern which abound in the middle island of New Zealand, and it makes a
nest of fern for its eggs in deep holes, which it hollows out of the
ground. It feeds on insects, and particularly worms, which it disturbs
by stamping on the ground, and seizes the instant they make their
appearance. Night is the season when it is most active; and the
natives hunt it by torchlight. When pursued, it elevates its head,
like an ostrich, and runs with great swiftness. It defends itself,
when overtaken, with much spirit, inflicting dangerous blows with its
strong spur-armed feet.

In this instance, as in all others, God has wisely adapted the very
shape and limbs of the creature to the habits by which it was intended
to be distinguished.

                                                    F. F. E.



KINDNESS REWARDED.


When Agrippa was in a private station, he was accused, by one of his
servants, of having spoken injuriously of Tiberius, and was condemned
by that emperor to be exposed in chains before the palace gate. The
weather was very hot, and Agrippa became excessively thirsty. Seeing
Thaumastus, a servant of Caligula, pass by him with a pitcher of
water, he called to him, and entreated leave to drink. The servant
presented the pitcher with much courtesy; and Agrippa, having allayed
his thirst, said to him,--

"Assure thyself, Thaumastus, that if I get out of this captivity, I
will one day pay thee well for this draught of water."

Tiberius dying, his successor, Caligula, soon after not only set
Agrippa at liberty, but made him king of Judea. In this high situation
Agrippa was not unmindful of the glass of water given to him when a
captive.

He immediately sent for Thaumastus, and made him controller of his
household.



[Illustration: {People gathering hay}]

A DREAM OF SUMMER.


    West wind and sunshine
      Braided together,
    What is the one sign
      But pleasant weather?

    Birds in the cherry-trees,
      Bees in the clover;
    Who half so gay as these
      All the world over?

    Violets among the grass,
      Roses regretting
    How soon the summer 'll pass,--
      Next year forgetting.

    Buds sighing in their sleep,
      "Summer, pray grant us
    Youth, that its bloom will keep
      Fragrance to haunt us!"

    Rivulets that shine and sing,
      Sunbeams abetting,--
    No more remembering
      Their frozen fretting.

    Sweet music in the wind,
      Sun in the showers;
    All these we're sure to find
      In summer hours.

                         MARY N. PRESCOTT.

[Illustration: SUMMER FLOWERS.]



EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.


"Please, Mr. Mate has _that_ cloud a silver lining?"

The question was asked by little Kate Vale, the daughter of an
emigrant, who, with her mother, was following her father, who had gone
before to New York. Katie was a quiet, gentle little child, who gave
trouble to no one. She had borne the suffering of seasickness at the
beginning of the voyage so patiently, and now took the rough sea-fare
so thankfully, that she had made a fast friend of Tom Bolton, the
mate. Bolton had a warm, kindly heart, and one of the children whom he
had left in England was just the age of Katie; this inclined him all
the more to show her kindness. Katie often had a piece of Bolton's
sea-biscuit; he told her tales which he called "long yarns," and
sometimes in rough weather he would wrap his thick jacket around her,
to keep the chill from her thinly-clad form. Katie was not at all
afraid of Bolton, or "Mr. Mate," as she called him, and she took hold
of his hard brown hand as she asked the question,--

"Has that cloud a silver lining?"

Bolton glanced up at a very black, lowering cloud, which seemed to
blot the sun quite out of that part of the sky.

"Why do you ask me, Kate?" said the sailor.

"Because mother often says that every cloud has a silver lining, and
that one looks as if it had none."

Tom Bolton gave a short laugh.

"None that we can see," he replied; "for the cloud is right atween us
and the sun. If we could look at the upper part, where the bright
beams fall, we should see yon black cloud like a great mass of silvery
mother-o'-pearl, just like those that you yesterday called shining
mountains of snow."

Katie turned round, and raising her eyes, watched for some minutes
the gloomy cloud. It was slowly moving towards the west, and as it did
so, the sun behind it began to edge all its dark outline with
brightness.

"See, see!" exclaimed Katie; "it is turning out the edge of its silver
lining. If I were up there in the sky, I suppose that all would look
beautiful then. But I don't know why mother should take comfort from
talking of the clouds and their linings."

The mother, Mrs. Vale, who was standing near, leaning against the
bulwarks, heard the last words of her child, and made reply,--

"Because we have many clouds of sorrow here to darken our lives, and
our hearts would often fail us but for the thought, 'There is a bright
side to every trial sent to the humble believer.'"

And Mrs. Vale repeated the beautiful lines,--

    "Yon clouds, a mass of sable shade
      To mortals gazing from below,
    By angels from above surveyed,
      With universal brightness glow."

Katie did not quite understand the verse, but she knew how patiently
and meekly her mother had borne sudden poverty, the sale of her goods,
and the bitter parting from her beloved husband. Bolton also had been
struck by the pious courage of one who had had a large share of
earthly trials.

"_Your_ clouds at least seem to be edged with silver," he observed,
with a smile; and as he spoke, the glorious beams of the sun burst
from behind the black mass of cloud, making widening streams of light
up the sky, which, as Katie remarked, looked like paths up to heaven.

The vessel arrived at New York, after rather a rough voyage, and Mrs.
Vale, to her great delight, found her husband ready at the port to
receive her. He brought her good tidings also. A fortnight before her
landing he had procured a good situation, and he was now able to take
her and their child to a comfortable home. Past sorrows now seemed to
be almost forgotten.

[Illustration: {Katie and Bolton on the deck of the ship}]

Bolton, who, during a trying voyage, had shown much kindness to Mrs.
Vale as well as to Katie, was invited during his stay at New York to
make their house his home. He had much business to do as long as he
remained in the great city, so saw little of the Vales except in the
evenings, when he shared their cheerful supper, and then knelt down
with them at family prayers. The mate learned much of the peace and
happiness which piety brings while he dwelt under the emigrant's roof.

But ere long the day arrived when Bolton's vessel, the Albion, was to
start for England. She was to weigh anchor at one o'clock, and at
midday the mate bade good by to his emigrant friends.

"A pleasant journey to you, and a speedy return; we'll be glad to see
you back here," said Henry Vale, as he shook the mate by the hand.

Bolton's journey was to be much shorter, and his return much more
speedy than he wished, or his friends expected. He was hastening down
to the pier to join his vessel, when he saw hanging up in a shop
window a curious basket, made of some of the various nuts of the
country prettily strung together.

"That's just the thing to take my Mary's fancy," said the mate to
himself. "I've a present for every one at home but for her; it won't
take two minutes to buy that basket."

Great events often hang upon very small hooks. If Bolton had not
turned back to buy the basket, he would not have been passing a house
on which masons were working at the very moment when a ladder,
carelessly placed against it, happened to fall with a crash. The
ladder struck Bolton, and he fell on the pavement so much stunned by
the shock, that he had to be carried in a senseless state into the
shop of an apothecary.

Happily no bones were broken, but it was nearly an hour before the
mate recovered the use of his senses. He then opened his eyes, raised
his head, and stared wildly around him, as if wondering to find
himself in a strange place, and trying to think how he came to be
there. Bolton pressed his aching forehead, seeking to recall to his
memory what had happened, for he felt like one in a dream. Soon his
glance fell on the clock in the apothecary's shop, and at the same
instant the clock struck _one_! Bolton started to his feet, as if the
chime of the little bell had been the roar of a cannon.

"The Albion sails at one!" cried the mate; and without so much as
stopping to look for his oilskin cap, with bandaged brow and
bareheaded, Bolton rushed forth into the street, and, dizzy as he
felt, staggered on towards the pier from which the vessel was to sail.

It was not to be expected that the sailor's course should be a very
straight one, or that with all his haste he should manage to make good
speed. The streets of New York seemed to be more full of traffic than
usual, and twice the mate narrowly escaped being knocked down again by
some vehicle rapidly driven along the road. At last, breathless and
faint, and scarcely able to keep his feet, poor Bolton arrived at the
wharf to which his ship had been moored but an hour before. But the
Albion was there no longer--the vessel had started without the
mate--he could see her white sails in the distance; she was already
on her way back to Old England, and she had left him behind!

This was a greater shock to poor Bolton than the blow from the falling
ladder had been. He stood for several minutes gazing after the ship
with a look of despair, then slowly the sailor returned to the house
of the Vales.

"Nothing more unlucky could possibly have happened," muttered the mate
to himself. "Here's a pretty scrape that I shall get into with my
employers; the mate of their vessel absent just at the time when he
ought to have been at his post! Then I've nothing with me--nothing,
save the clothes that I stand in! All my luggage is now on the waves,
and a precious long time it will be before I shall see it again. But I
don't care so much for the luggage; what I can't bear to think of is
my wife and my children looking out eagerly for the arrival of the
good ship Albion, and then, when she reaches port, finding that no Tom
Bolton is in her! I wish that that stupid basket had been at the
bottom of the sea before ever I set eyes on it!"

Pale, haggard, and looking--as he was--greatly troubled, Bolton
entered the house of the Vales, which he so lately had quitted. The
family were just finishing their dinner; and not a little astonished
were they to see one whom they had believed to be on the wide sea.

"Here I am again, like a bad half-penny," said the sailor; and sitting
down wearily on a chair which Katie placed for him directly, Bolton
gave a short account of what he called the most unlucky mischance that
had ever happened to him in the course of his life.

The Vales felt much for his trouble, and begged him to remain with
them until he could get a passage in some other vessel bound for
England.

[Illustration: THE MAN AT THE WHEEL.]

"And don't take your accident so much to heart," softly whispered
little Katie; "you know mother's favorite proverb--'Every cloud has a
silver lining.'"

"Sometimes, even in this life, we can see the silver edge round the
border," observed Mrs. Vale.

Bolton had too brave a heart and too sensible a mind to give way long
to fretting, though he did not see how so black a cloud as that which
hung over his sky could possibly have anything to brighten its gloom.
He tried to make the best of that which he could not prevent, and
retired to rest that night with a tolerably cheerful face, though with
a violent headache, and a heartache which troubled him more.

Bolton slept very little that night, nor indeed did any one else in
the house; for with the close of day there came on a violent storm
which raged fiercely until the morning. Katie trembled in her little
cot to hear how the gale roared and shrieked in the chimneys, and
rattled the window-frames, and threatened to burst open the doors. The
child raised her head from the pillow, and thanked the Lord that her
sailor friend was not tossing then on the waves.

But far more thankful was Katie when tidings reached New York of what
the storm had done on that terrible night. Bolton was sitting at
breakfast with his friends on the third day after the tempest, when
Vale, who was reading the newspaper, turned to the part headed
"Shipping Intelligence."

"Any news?" inquired Tom Bolton, struck by the expression on the face
of his friend.

Instead of replying, Vale exclaimed, "How little we can tell in this
life what is really for our evil or our good! You called that accident
which prevented your sailing in the Albion an 'unlucky mischance.'"

"Of course I did. My wife and children are impatient to see me--"

"Had you sailed in that ship," interrupted Vale, "they would never
have seen you again. The Albion went down in that storm!"

What was the regret of Tom Bolton on hearing of the disaster, and what
was his thankfulness for his own preservation, I leave the reader to
guess. Often in after days did the little American basket remind him
in his own home of what others might have called the chance that led
him to turn back on his way to the ship, and so caused the accident
which vexed him so much at the time.



GOOD-HUMOR.


    I am a first-rate fairy--
      "Good-Humor" is my name;
    I use my wand where'er I go,
      And make the rough ways plain;

    And make the ugly faces shine,
      The shrillest voices sweet,
    The coarsest ore a golden mine,
      The poorest lives complete.



[Illustration: {A boy sits reading in an armchair}]

BOOKS AND READING.


I really am in doubt whether or not the young folks ought to be
congratulated in consequence of the great number of juvenile books
which are being placed before them about this time. An excellent book
is certainly excellent company; but there is a limit to all things;
and so we may have too many books, taking it for granted that all are
good ones.

You all know, that, as a general rule, people in America read too
much, and think too little. Reading is a benefit to us only when it
leads to reflection. It is useless when it leaves no lasting
impression on the mind; it is _worse_ than useless if the lesson it
conveys be not a really good one.

Suppose you sit down to a well-furnished table at a hotel to eat your
dinner. The waiter hands you a bill of fare, upon which is printed a
long list of good and wholesome dishes, and then quietly waits until
you order what you wish. You are not expected to eat of every one,
however attractive they may be, but rather to select what you like
best,--enough to make a modest meal,--and let that suffice.

But the selection is not all. If you expect to gain health and
strength by your dinner, you must eat it in a proper manner; that is,
slowly. Otherwise nature's work will be imperfectly done, and your
food become a source of bodily harm, instead of a benefit.

Now, it is precisely so with the food of the mind, which comes to you
through books. You are not expected to read everything which comes
within your reach. You should rather select the best, and, having done
so, read them slowly and carefully. You may read too much as well as
eat too much; and while the one will injure your body, the other will
as certainly harm your mind.

One of the worst evils which too much reading leads to is a habit of
_reading to forget_. You know what a bad habit is, how it clings to
us, when once contracted, and how hard it is to be shaken off. Some
boys and girls read a book entirely through in a single evening, and
the next day are eagerly at work on another, to be as quickly
mastered. No mind, however strong, can stand such a strain. You see at
once that it would be absolutely impossible for them to remember what
they read. And so they read for a momentary enjoyment, and gradually
fall into the habit I have spoken of--reading to forget. I need not
tell you that such a habit is fatal to any very high position in life.

How often we hear parents boast that their children are "great
readers," just as if their intelligence should, in their opinion, be
measured by the number of books and papers which they had read! Need I
say, that, on the contrary, they are objects of pity?

But how much may we read with profit? That is a question not always
easy to answer. Some can read a great deal more than others. Yet, if
young people read slowly, and think a great deal about the subject,
there is very little danger of their reading too much, provided they
select only good books; because good books are very scarce--much more
so in proportion to the number printed than they were twenty years
ago; and there are very few young persons who have too great a supply
of good works placed within their reach.

I have mentioned one evil which results from too much reading, and
will only briefly allude to another equally important. Children who
attend school have no time to devote to worthless books. Their studies
consume many hours. If, aside from the time which should be devoted to
play, to their meals, and the various duties of home, they will read a
useless book every day or two, their health is sure to suffer. The
evil consequences may not be at once apparent, but in later years the
penalty will certainly have to be paid. This reflection alone, if
there were no other reason, should induce the young to discard all
useless books, and read only such as shall have a tendency to make
them wiser and better.



THE CORAL-WORKERS.


    The little coral-workers,
      By their slow but constant motion,
    Have built those pretty islands
      In the distant dark-blue ocean;
    And the noblest undertakings
       Man's wisdom hath conceived
    By oft-repeated efforts
       Have been patiently achieved.



[Illustration: {Lion carries a baby's basket down some stairs}]

LION THE FIRE DOG.


Lion, who was a cross between a Great St. Bernard and a Newfoundland
dog, came into the possession of the superintendent of the London fire
brigade when he was but twelve months old. His first retreat was in
the engine-house, where, on some old hose and sacking, he made himself
as comfortable as he could, and coiled himself up, like the tubing on
which he lay. Considering that he was thus placed in charge of the
engine-house, he resented the first occasion on which a fire occurred
at night. The fire bell rang, and the firemen crowded to the spot,
prepared to draw forth the engine, when a decided opposition was made
on the part of Lion, who showed a determination to fasten himself on
the first fireman who dared to enter the house. In this way the
faithful dog kept them all at bay until the arrival of his master,
whom he instantly recognized and obeyed. As soon as the horses were
harnessed, and the engine was in motion, Lion bounded along in
company, and was present at his first fire. After that time, he
attended no less than three hundred and thirty-two fires, and not
only attended, but assisted at them, always useful, and sometimes
doing work and saving life, which, but for him, would have been lost.

His chief friends, the firemen, say it would take a long while to tell
all his acts of daring and sagacity; but we must, in justice to his
memory, record some of the most notable.

Whenever the fire bell rang, Lion was immediately on the alert,
barking loudly, as if to spread the dire alarm. Then, as soon as his
master had taken his place on the engine, and before the horses were
off, he led the way, clearing the road and warning every one of the
approach of the engine, and spreading the news of the fire by his loud
voice.

On one occasion, when the horses were tearing along the streets as
fire engine horses alone can, a little child was seen just in front of
the engine. To stop the horses in time was impossible, though the
driver did his best. The brave hearts of the firemen sank within them
as they felt they must drive over the little body. Bystanders raised
their arms and shrieked as they witnessed an impending catastrophe
which they could do nothing to avert. No human help could avail, and
it must needs be that the engine of mercy, on its way to save life,
must sacrifice the life of an innocent, helpless child!

But stay! Human eyes were not the only ones that took in that sad
scene, and that saw the impending doom of the little one. Brave,
sagacious, and fleet, Lion saw at a glance the danger that threatened
the child, and springing forward, he knocked him down; then seizing
him firmly in his jaws, he made for the pavement obliquely, and gently
deposited his charge in the gutter just as the engine went tearing by.

But this was only an incident by the way; Lion's real work began when
the scene of the fire was reached. As soon as the door was opened, or
dashing through the window if there was a delay in opening the door,
the noble animal would run all over the burning house, barking, so as
to arouse the inmates if they were unaware of the danger; and never
would he leave the fire until he had either aroused them or had drawn
the attention of the firemen to them.

Once the firemen could not account for his conduct. Darting into the
burning house,--the ceilings of which had given way,--and then out
again to the firemen, he howled and yelled most loudly. It was
believed that no one was in the house, but Lion's conduct made his
master feel uneasy.

Still nothing could be done by way of entering the house, as the fire
was raging fiercely, and the house would soon fall in. Finding that
his entreaties were not regarded, and suffering from burns and
injuries, the noble animal discontinued his efforts, but ran uneasily
round the engine, howling in a piteous manner; nor would he leave the
spot after the fire was put out until search was made, when beneath
the still smouldering embers, the firemen discovered the charred body
of an old man, whom he had done his utmost to save.

Lion's noble efforts, however, were often crowned with success; and
many a one has to bless the wondrous qualities with which God had
endowed him.

At one fire, after the inmates had made their escape, a cry was raised
that "the baby had been left behind in the cradle up stairs," though
no one seemed to be able to indicate the room. The fire had so far got
hold of the dwelling, such dense volumes of flame and smoke were
issuing from every opening, that it was impossible for any fireman to
enter, and the crowd stood horror-stricken at the thought of the
perishing babe.

The crisis was a terrible one; an effort was made, an entry was
effected, and some of the men ventured some distance within the
burning pile, only to retrace their steps.

At this emergency, Lion dashed past the men, disappeared amid the
flames, but returned in a minute into the street with the empty cradle
in his powerful jaws. The consequence of this almost incredible
feat--which was witnessed by many--may be better imagined than
described.

The fact that Lion did not re-enter the house--which, though badly
burned, he would doubtless have done had he left the child behind--was
sufficient to convince the dullest intellect that the child was
secure; and it was very soon ascertained that the object of search was
safe in a neighboring house.

No wonder, then, that this noble animal endeared himself to all who
knew him; and those who knew him best loved him the most. For fourteen
years Lion continued his noble and useful career as public benefactor,
as friend and companion to the firemen, and as mourner at their
graves; for he attended the funerals of no less than eleven of them.

Death came to him at length; for last year he died from injuries
received in the discharge of his self-imposed duties.

There are few of our readers who would not have liked to pat that
brave old dog; there are fewer still who may not learn useful and
valuable lessons from the speaking testimony of that dumb animal.

                                            BENJAMIN CLARKE.



TO THE CARDINAL FLOWER.


    O, my princely flower, shall I never win
    To your moated citadel within,
                     To your guarded thought?

    The pansies are proud; but they show to me
    Their purple velvets from over the sea,
                     With gold inwrought.

    And they gently smile wherever we meet;
    They seem to me like proud ladies sweet
                     From a foreign shore.

    Wild primrose buds in my very hand
    Their odorous evening stars expand,
                     And all their lore.

    But your strange eyes gleam as they pass me by,
    And seem to dream of a warmer sky,
                     Far over the sea.

                                  M. R. W.



[Illustration: {A woman, an elderly man and two children watch
    butterflies in a garden}]

THE SONG OF THE ROSE.


    I come not when the earth is brown, and gray
    The skies; I am no flower of a day,
    No crocus I, to bloom and pass away;

    No cowslip bright, or hyacinth that clings
    Close to the earth, from whence it springs;
    Nor tulip, gay as song birds' wings.

    I am the royal rose, and all things fair
    Grow fairer for my sake; the earth, the air,
    Proclaim the coming of the flower most rare.

    Green is the earth, and beautiful the sky,
    And soft the breeze, that loves to linger nigh;
    I am the rose, and who with me shall vie?

    The earth is full of gladness, all in tune
    With songs of birds; and now I come, O June,
    To crown thee, month of beauty, with my bloom.

                                  T. E. D.



RICH AND POOR.


    My dear little girl, with the flowers in your hair,
    Stop singing a moment, and look over there;
    While you are so safe in the sheltering fold,
    With treasures of silver, and treasures of gold,
    Just a few steps away, in a dark, narrow street,
    With no pure, cooling drink, and no morsel to eat,
    A poor girl is dying, no older than you;
    Her lips were as red, and her eyes were as blue,
    Her step was as light, and her song was as sweet,
    And the heart in her bosom as merrily beat.

    But now she is dying, so lonely and poor,
    For famine and fever crept in at the door.
    While you were so gay, in your beautiful dress,
    With music and laughter, and friends to caress,
    From the dawn to the end of the weariful day,
    She was always at work, with no moment for play.
    She saw you sometimes, but you seemed like a star
    That gleamed in the distance, so dim and afar.
    And often she wondered if God up above
    Remembered the poor girl, in pity and love.

    Ah, yes, _He remembered_, 'mid harpings and hymns,
    And loud alleluias, and waving of wings,
    He heard in _His_ heaven the sound of her tears,
    And called her away while the sun of her years
    Was yet in the east; now, she never will need
    From you any more a compassionate deed.
    Nay, some time, perhaps, from her home in the skies,
    She will look back to see you with tears in your eyes,
    For sooner or later we quiver with pain,
    And down on us all drops the sorrowful rain.

    She never will need you; but many bereft,
    Hungry, and heart-sore, and homeless are left.
    You can, if you will, from the place where you stand,
    Reach downward to help them; the touch of your hand,
    The price of one jewel, the gift of a flower,
    May waken within them, with magical power,
    A hope that was dying. O, don't be afraid
    The poor and the desolate spirit to aid.
    The burdens are heavy that some one must bear,
    You dear little girl with the flowers in your hair.

                        ELLEN M. H. GATES.

[Illustration: RICH AND POOR.]



LACE-MAKING.


"See, mamma what is the woman doing? She looks as if she was holding a
pin-cushion in her lap and was sticking pins in it."

"So she is, my dear," Ellen's mother remarked. "But that is not all
she is doing. There is a cluster of bobbins hanging down one side of
the cushion which are wound with threads, and these threads she weaves
around the pins in such a manner as to make lace."

"I never saw anybody make lace that way. I have seen Aunt Maria knit
it with a crochet-hook."

"This is a different kind of lace altogether from the crocheted lace.
They do not make it in the United States. The woman whom you see in
the picture lives in Belgium in Europe. In that country, and in some
parts of France and Germany, many of the poorer people earn a living
at lace-making. The pattern which in making the lace it is intended to
follow is pricked with a pin on a strip of paper. This paper is
fastened on the cushion, and then pins are stuck in through all the
pin-holes, and then the thread from these bobbins is woven around the
lace."

"Can they work fast?"

"An accomplished lace-maker will make her hands fly as fast as though
she were playing the piano, always using the right bobbin, no matter
how many of them there may be. In making the pattern of a piece of
nice lace from two hundred to eight hundred bobbins are sometimes
used. In such a case it takes more than one person--sometimes as many
as seven--at a single cushion."

"It must be hard to do."

"I dare say it would be for you or me. Yet in those countries little
children work at lace-making. Little children, old women and the least
skilful of the men make the plainer and coarser laces, while
experienced women make the nicer sorts."

"What do they do with their lace when it is finished?"

"All the lace-makers in a neighborhood bring in their laces once a
week to the 'mistress'--for women carry on the business of
lace-making--then this 'mistress' packs them up and takes them to the
nearest market-town, where they are peddled about from one
trading-house to another until they are all sold."

"Do they get much for them?"

"The poor lace-makers get hardly enough to keep them from starvation
for their fine and delicate work; but the laces, after they have
passed through the hands of one trader after another, and are at last
offered to the public, bring enormous prices. A nice library might be
bought for the price of a set of laces, or a beautiful house built at
the cost of a single flounce."

"I think I should rather have the house, mamma."

"So should I. But the people who buy these laces probably have houses
already. There is over four million dollars' worth of lace sold every
year in Belgium alone."

Ellen thought she should never see a piece of nice lace without
thinking of these wonderful lace-makers, who produce such delicate
work and yet are paid so little for it; and while she was thus
thinking over the matter, mamma went quietly on with her sewing.

[Illustration: LACE-MAKERS.]



HELP YOURSELVES.


Many boys and girls make a failure in life because they do not learn
to help themselves. They depend on father and mother even to hang up
their hats and to find their playthings. When they become men and
women, they will depend on husbands and wives to do the same thing. "A
nail to hang a hat on," said an old man of eighty years, "is worth
everything to a boy." He had been "through the mill," as people say,
so that he knew. His mother had a nail for him when he was a boy--"a
nail to hang his hat on," and nothing else. It was "Henry's nail" from
January to January, year in and out, and no other member of the family
was allowed to appropriate it for any purpose whatever. If the broom
by chance was hung thereon, or an apron or coat, it was soon removed,
because that nail was "to hang Henry's hat on." And that nail did much
for Henry; it helped make him what he was in manhood--a careful,
systematic, orderly man, at home and abroad, on his farm and in his
house. He never wanted another to do what he could do for himself.

Young folks are apt to think that certain things, good in themselves,
are not honorable. To be a blacksmith or a bootmaker, to work on a
farm or drive a team, is beneath their dignity, as compared with being
a merchant, or practising medicine or law. This is PRIDE, an enemy to
success and happiness. No _necessary_ labor is discreditable. It is
never dishonorable to be _useful_. It is beneath no one's dignity to
earn bread by the sweat of the brow. When boys who have such false
notions of dignity become men, they are ashamed to help themselves as
they ought, and for want of this quality they live and die unhonored.
Trying to save their dignity, they lose it.

Here is a fact we have from a very successful merchant. When he began
business for himself, he carried his wares from shop to shop. At
length his business increased to such an extent, that he hired a room
at the Marlboro' Hotel, in Boston, during the business season, and
thither the merchants, having been duly notified, would repair to make
purchases. Among all his customers, there was only one man who would
carry to his store the goods which he had purchased. The buyers asked
to have their goods carried, and often this manufacturer would carry
them himself. But there was one merchant, and the largest buyer of the
whole number, who was not ashamed to be seen carrying a case of goods
through the streets. Sometimes he would purchase four cases, and he
would say, "Now, I will take two, and you take two, and we will carry
them right over to the store." So the manufacturer and the merchant
often went through the streets of Boston quite heavily loaded. This
merchant, of all the number who went to the Marlboro' Hotel for their
purchases, succeeded in business. He became a wealthy man when all the
others failed. The manufacturer, who was not ashamed to help himself,
is now living--one of the wealthy men of Massachusetts, ready to aid,
by his generous gifts, every good object that comes along, and honored
by all who know him.

You have often heard and read the maxim, "God helps those who help
themselves." Is it not true?

                                          WILLIAM M. THAYER.



THE STORY OF JOHNNY DAWDLE.


    Here, little folks, listen; I'll tell you a tale,
    Though to shock and surprise you I fear it won't fail;
    Of Master John Dawdle my story must be,
    Who, I'm sorry to say, is related to me.

    And yet, after all, he's a nice little fellow:
    His eyes are dark brown and his hair is pale yellow;
    And though not very clever or tall, it is true
    He is better than many, if worse than a few.

    But he dawdles at breakfast, he dawdles at tea--
    He's the greatest small dawdle that ever could be;
    And when in his bedroom, it is his delight
    To dawdle in dressing at morning and night.

    And oh! if you saw him sit over a sum,
    You'd much wish to pinch him with finger and thumb;
    And then, if you scold him, he looks up so meek;
    Dear me! one would think that he hardly could speak.

    Each morning the same he comes tumbling down,
    And often enough is received with a frown,
    And a terrible warning of something severe
    Unless on the morrow he sooner appear.

    But where does he live? That I'd rather not say,
    Though, if truth must be told, I have met him to-day;
    I meant just to pass him with merely a bow,
    But he stopped and conversed for a minute or so.

    "Well, where are you going?" politely said I;
    To which he replied, with a groan and a sigh,
    "I've been doing my Latin from breakfast till dinner,
    And pretty hard work that is for a beginner."

    "But now I suppose you are going to play
    And have pleasure and fun for the rest of the day?"
    "Indeed, but I'm not--there's that bothering sum;
    And then there's a tiresome old copy to come."

[Illustration: JOHNNY DAWDLE.]

    "Dear me!" I replied, and I thought it quite sad
    There should be such hard work for one poor little lad;
    But just at that moment a lady passed by,
    And her words soon made clear that mistaken was I:

    "Now, then, Mr. Dawdle, get out of my way!
    I suppose you intended to stop here all day;
    The bell has done ringing, and yet, I declare,
    Your hands are not washed, nor yet brushed is your hair."

    "Ho, ho!" I exclaimed; "Mr. Dawdle, indeed!"
    And I took myself off with all possible speed,
    Quite distressed that I should for a moment be seen
    With one who so lazy and careless had been.

    So now, if you please, we will wish him good-bye;
    And if you should meet him by chance, as did I,
    Just bid him good-morning, and say that a friend
    (Only don't mention names) hopes he soon may amend.



THE MOTHERLESS BOY.


One day, about a year ago, the door of my sitting-room was thrown
suddenly open, and the confident voice of Harvey thus introduced a
stranger:

"Here's Jim Peters, mother."

I looked up, not a little surprised at the sight of a ragged, barefoot
child.

Before I had time to say anything, Harvey went on:

"He lives round in Blake's Court and hasn't any mother. I found him on
a doorstep feeding birds."

My eyes rested on the child's face while my boy said this. It was a
very sad little face, thin and colorless, not bold and vicious, but
timid and having a look of patient suffering. Harvey held him firmly
by the hand with the air of one who bravely protects the weak.

"No mother!" said I, in tones of pity.

"No, ma'am; he hasn't any mother. Have you, Jim?"

"No," answered the child.

"She's been dead ever so long; hasn't she, Jim?"

"Yes, ever since last winter," he said as he fixed his eyes, into
which I saw the tears coming, upon my face. My heart moved toward him,
repulsive as he was because of his rags and dirt.

"One of God's little lambs straying on the cold and barren hills of
life," said a voice in my heart. And then I felt a tender compassion
for the strange, unlovely child.

"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Round in Blake's Court," he replied.

"Who with?"

"Old Mrs. Flint; but she doesn't want me."

"Why not?"

"Oh, because I'm nothing to her, she says, and she doesn't want the
trouble of me." He tried to say this in a brave, don't-care sort of
way, but his voice faltered and he dropped his eyes to the floor. How
pitiful he looked!

"Poor child!" I could not help saying aloud.

Light flashed over his pale face. It was something new to him, this
interest and compassion.

"One of God's little lambs." I heard the voice in my heart saying this
again. Nobody to love him--nobody to care for him. Poor little boy!
The hand of my own child, my son who is so very dear to me, had led
him in through our door and claimed for him the love and care so long
a stranger to his heart. Could I send him out and shut the door upon
him, when I knew that he had no mother and no home? If I heeded not
the cry of this little one precious in God's sight, might I not be
thought unworthy to be the guardian of another lamb of his fold whom I
loved as my own life?

"I've got heaps of clothes, mother--a great many more than I want. And
my bed is wide. There's room enough in the house, and we've plenty to
eat," said Harvey, pleading for the child. I could not withstand all
these appeals. Rising, I told the little stranger to follow me. When
we came back to the sitting-room half an hour afterward, Jim Peters
would hardly have been known by his old acquaintances, if any of them
had been there. A bath and clean clothes had made a wonderful change
in him.

I watched the poor little boy, as he and Harvey played during the
afternoon, with no little concern of mind. What was I to do with him?
Clean and neatly dressed, there was a look of refinement about the
child which had nearly all been hidden by rags and dirt. He played
gently, and his voice had in it a sweetness of tone, as it fell every
now and then upon my ears, that was really winning. Send him back to
Mrs. Flint's in Blake's Court? The change I had wrought upon him made
this impossible. No, he could not be sent back to Mrs. Flint's, who
didn't want the trouble of him. What then?

[Illustration: THE MOTHERLESS BOY.]

Do the kind hearts of my little readers repeat the question, "What
then?" Do they want very much to know what has become of little Jim
Peters?

It is just a year since my boy led him in from the street, and Jim is
still in our house. No one came for him. No one inquired about him. No
one cared for him. I must take that last sentence back. God cared for
him, and by the hand of my tender-hearted son brought him into my
comfortable home and said to me, "Here is one of my lambs, astray,
hungry and cold. He was born into the world that he might become an
angel in heaven, but is in danger of being lost. I give him into your
care. Let me find him when I call my sheep by their names."

As I finished writing the last sentence a voice close to my ear said
"Mother!" I turned and received a loving kiss from the lips of Jim. He
often does this. I think, in the midst of his happy plays, memory
takes him back to the suffering past, and then his grateful heart runs
over and he tries to reward me with a loving kiss. I did not tell him
to call me "Mother." At first he said it in a timid, hesitating way,
and with such a pleading, half-scared look that I was touched and
softened.

"She isn't your real mother," said Harvey, who happened to be near,
"but then she's good and loves you ever so much."

"And I love her," answered Jim, with a great throb in his throat,
hiding his face in my lap and clasping and kissing my hand. Since then
he always calls me "Mother;" and the God and Father of us all has sent
into my heart a mother's love for him, and I pray that he may be mine
when I come to make up my jewels in heaven.



THE GOOD SHEPHERD.


    Jesus says that we must love him.
      Helpless as the lambs are we;
    But He very kindly tells us
      That our Shepherd He will be.

    Heavenly Shepherd, please to watch us,
      Guard us both by night and day;
    Pity show to little children,
      Who like lambs too often stray.

    We are always prone to wander:
      Please to keep us from each snare;
    Teach our infant hearts to praise Thee
      For Thy kindness and Thy care.



THE ST. BERNARD DOG.


By the pass of the Great St. Bernard travellers cross the Pennine
Alps (Penn, a Celtic word, meaning _height_) along the mountain road
which leads from Martigny, in Switzerland, to Aosta, in Piedmont. On
the crest of the pass, eight thousand two hundred feet above the sea
level, stands the Hospice, tenanted by about a dozen monks.

This is supposed to be the highest spot in Europe inhabited by human
beings. The climate is necessarily rigorous, the thermometer in winter
being often twenty-nine degrees below zero, whilst sixty-eight degrees
Fahrenheit is about the highest range ever attained in summer. From
the extreme difficulty of respiration, few of the monks ever survive
the period of their vow, which is fifteen years, commencing at the age
of eighteen.

This hospice is said to have been first founded in the year 962, by
Bernard, a Piedmontese nobleman. It will be remembered that it was
over this pass Napoleon, in May, 1800, led an army of thirty thousand
men into Italy, having with them heavy artillery and cavalry.

For poor travellers and traders the hospice is really a place of
refuge. During winter, crossing this pass is a very dangerous affair.
The snow falls in small particles, and remains as dry as dust.
Whirlwinds, called "tourmentes," catch up this light snow, and
carrying it with blinding violence against the traveller, burying
every landmark, at once put an end to knowledge of position.
Avalanches, too, are of frequent occurrence.

After violent storms, or the fall of avalanches, or any other unusual
severity of winter weather, the monks set out in search of travellers
who may have been overwhelmed by the snow in their ascent of the
pass. They are generally accompanied in their search by dogs of a
peculiar breed, commonly known as the St. Bernard's Dog, on account of
the celebrated monastery where these magnificent animals are taught to
exercise their wondrous powers, which have gained for them and their
teachers a world-wide fame. On their neck is a bell, to attract the
attention of any belated wayfarer; and their deep and powerful bay
quickly gives notice to the benevolent monks to hurry to the relief of
any unfortunate traveller they may find.

Some of the dogs carry, attached to their collars, a flask of spirits
or other restorative. Their wonderfully acute sense of smell enables
them to detect the bodies of persons buried deeply beneath the surface
of the snow, and thus direct the searchers where to dig for them. The
animal's instinct seems to teach it, too, where hidden chasms or
clefts, filled with loose snow, are; for it carefully avoids them, and
thus is an all-important guide to the monks themselves.

We have stories without number as to what these dogs accomplish on
their own account; how they dig out travellers, and bring them,
sometimes unaided by man, to the hospice.

[Illustration: THE ST. BERNARD DOG.]

A few years ago one of these faithful animals might be seen wearing a
medal, and regarded with much affection by all. This noble dog had
well deserved the distinction; for one stormy day he had saved
twenty-two individuals buried in their snowy envelope. Unfortunately,
he met, at a subsequent period, the very fate from which he had
rescued so many persons. At the worst season an Italian courier was
crossing the pass, attended by two monks, each escorted by a dog
(one being the wearer of the medal), when suddenly a vast avalanche
shot down upon them with lightning speed, and they were all lost.

Another of these dogs, named "Barry," had served the St. Bernard
Convent during twelve years, and had saved the lives of fifteen
persons during that time. Whenever the pass was obscured by fogs and
wintry snow-storms, he would go forth in search of lost travellers. It
was his practice to run barking till he lost his breath, and he would
venture into the most dangerous places. If, as sometimes happened, he
did not succeed in drawing out from the snow some traveller stiffened
with cold or overcome with exhaustion, he would run back to the
convent and fetch some of the monks.

One day this brave dog found a little child in a half-frozen state. He
began directly to lick him, and having succeeded first in restoring
animation, and next in the complete resuscitation of the boy, he
induced the child, by his caresses, to tie himself on his back. When
this was effected, he transported the poor child, as if in triumph, to
the hospice. When overtaken by old age, the glorious dog was pensioned
off by way of reward, and after his death his body was stuffed and
placed in the museum at Berne.

It is said that dogs of this variety inherit the faculty of tracking
footsteps in snow. A gentleman once obtained a pup which had been
produced in London by a female of the St. Bernard breed. The young
animal was brought to Scotland, where it was never observed to give
any particular tokens of a power of tracking footsteps until winter.
Then, when the ground was covered with snow, it showed the utmost
inclination to follow footsteps; and such was its power of doing so,
that though its master might attempt to confuse it by walking in the
most irregular fashion, and by inducing other persons to cross his
path in all directions, yet it always followed his course with great
precision.

Sir Thomas Dick Lander, who for many years resided at Grange House,
Edinburgh, had a fine dog of the St. Bernard breed presented to him.
Its bark was so loud that it could be distinguished at the distance of
a mile. Its bark once led to its recovery, when stolen by some
carters. "Bass," as the dog was named, had been missing for some time,
when it was brought back to Grange House by a letter-carrier, who said
that in going along a certain street, he heard a barking inside a
yard, and at once recognized the voice of Bass. "He knocked at the
gate," writes Sir Thomas, "and immediately said to the owner of the
premises,--

"'You have got Sir Thomas Lander's big dog.'

"The man denied it.

"'But I know you have,' continued the letter-carrier. 'I am certain
that I heard the bark of Sir Thomas's big dog; for there is no other
dog in or about all Edinburgh that has such a bark.'

"The man then admitted that he had a large dog, which he had bought
for a trifle from a couple of coal carters; and at last, with great
reluctance, he gave up the dog to the letter-carrier, who brought him
home here."

Sir Thomas, after describing many of Bass's characteristics, then
proceeds:--

"He took a particular fancy for one of the postmen who delivers
letters here, though he was not the man whom I have already had
occasion to mention. It was the duty of this postman I now allude to,
besides delivering letters, to carry a letter-bag from one receiving
house to another, and this big bag he used to give Bass to carry. Bass
always followed that man through all the villas in the neighborhood
where he had deliveries to make, and he invariably parted with him
opposite to the gate of the Convent of St. Margaret's, and returned
home.

"When our gate was shut, to prevent his following the postman, the dog
always leaped a high wall to get after him. One day, when the postman
was ill, or detained by some accidental circumstance, he sent a man in
his place. Bass went up to the man, curiously scanning his face,
whilst the man retired from the dog, by no means liking his
appearance, and very anxious to decline all acquaintance with him. But
as the man left the place, Bass followed him, showing strong symptoms
that he was determined to have the post-bag. The man did all he could
to keep the possession of it. But at length Bass, seeing that he had
no chance of getting possession of the bag by civil entreaty, raised
himself on his hind legs, and putting a great fore paw on each of the
man's shoulders, he laid him flat on his back in the road, and quietly
picking up the bag, he proceeded peaceably on his wonted way. The man,
much dismayed, arose and followed the dog, making, every now and then,
an ineffectual attempt to coax him to give it up.

"At the first house he came to he told his fears and the dilemma he
was in; but the people comforted him by telling him that the dog
always carried the bag. Bass walked with the man to all the houses at
which he delivered letters, and along the road till he came to the
gate of St. Margaret's, where he dropped the bag; and making his bow
to the man, he returned home."



THE FLIGHT OF THE BIRDS.


    O wise little birds! how do you know
            The way to go
    Southward and northward, to and fro?

    Far up in the ether piped they:
            "We but obey
    One who calleth us far away.

    "He calleth and calleth year by year
            Now there, now here;
    Ever He maketh the way appear."

    Dear little birds, He calleth me
            Who calleth ye:
    Would that I might as trusting be!

[Illustration: FEEDING THE BIRDS.]



FOR THE CHILDREN.


    Come stand by my knee, little children,
      Too weary for laughter or song;
    The sports of the daylight are over,
      And evening is creeping along;
    The snow-fields are white in the moonlight,
      The winds of the winter are chill,
    But under the sheltering roof-tree
      The fire shineth ruddy and still.

    You sit by the fire, little children,
      Your cheeks are ruddy and warm;
    But out in the cold of the winter
      Is many a shivering form.
    There are mothers that wander for shelter,
      And babes that are pining for bread;
    Oh, thank the dear Lord, little children,
      From whose tender hand you are fed.

    Come look in my eyes, little children,
      And tell me, through all the long day,
    Have you thought of the Father above us,
      Who guarded from evil our way?
    He heareth the cry of the sparrow,
      And careth for great and for small;
    In life and in death, little children,
      His love is the truest of all.

    Now come to your rest, little children,
      And over your innocent sleep,
    Unseen by your vision, the angels
      Their watch through the darkness shall keep;
    Then pray that the Shepherd who guideth
      The lambs that He loveth so well
    May lead you, in life's rosy morning,
      Beside the still waters to dwell.

[Illustration: BED-TIME.]



[Illustration: {A dog breaks a hole through ice to get a drink}]

REASON AND INSTINCT.


Are dogs endowed with reason? As you grow up, you will spend many
happy hours in the contemplation of this interesting question. It does
sometimes seem as if there could be no possible doubt that dogs, as
well as horses, elephants, and some other of the higher animals, are
gifted with the dawn of reason, so extraordinary are some of their
acts.

It is but a few days since a dog in Vermont saved a house from
burning, and possibly the inmates. The dog discovered the fire in the
kitchen, flew to his master's apartment, leaped upon his bed, and so
aroused the people to a sense of their danger.

"As I was walking out one frosty morning with a large Newfoundland
dog," says the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, "I observed the animal's repeated
disappointment on putting his head down to drink at sundry ice-covered
pools. After one of these disappointments, I broke the ice with my
foot for my thirsty companion. The next time Tiger was thirsty, he did
not wait for me to 'break the ice,' but with his foot, or, if too
strong, by jumping upon it, he obtained water for himself."

Here seems to be the manifestation of a desire to _learn from
observation_.

After the battle of Fredericksburg, it fell to my duty to search a
given district for any dead or wounded soldiers there might be left,
and to bring relief. Near an old brick dwelling I discovered a soldier
in gray who seemed to be dead. Lying by his side was a noble dog, with
his head flat upon his master's neck. As I approached, the dog raised
his eyes to me good-naturedly, and began wagging his tail; but he did
not change his position. The fact that the animal did not growl, that
he did not move, but, more than all, the intelligent, joyful
expression of his face, convinced me that the man was only wounded,
which proved to be the case. A bullet had pierced his throat, and
faint from the loss of blood, he had fallen down where he lay. His dog
had _actually stopped the bleeding from the wound by laying his head
across it_. Whether this was casual or not, I cannot say. But the
shaggy coat of the faithful creature was completely matted with his
master's blood.

Strange as these facts may appear, we should not confound INSTINCT
with intelligence which comes from REASON. There is a wide difference
between them. Before long I propose to discuss this matter to some
extent, in an article which I have already begun.



TOUCH NOT.


    Touch not the tempting cup, my boy,
      Though urged by friend or foe;
    Dare, when the tempter urges most,
      Dare nobly say, No--no!
    The joyous angel from on high
    Shall tell your soul the reason why.

    Touch not the tempting cup, my boy;
      In righteousness be brave;
    Take not the first, a single step,
      Towards a drunkard's grave;
    The widow's groan, the orphan's sigh,
    Shall tell your soul the reason why.



[Illustration: {Two girls, their arms full of flowers and foliage}]

CHILDREN.


    What could we without them,
      Those flowers of life?
    How bear all the sorrows
      With which it is rife?
    As long as they blossom,
      Whilst brightly they bloom,
    Our own griefs are nothing,
      Forgotten our gloom.

    We joy in the sunshine--
      It sheds on them light;
    We welcome the shower--
      It makes them more bright;
    On our pathway of thorns
      They are thrown from above,
    And they twine round about us,
      And bless us with love.

    Bright, beautiful flowers,
      So fresh and so pure!
    How could we without them
      Life's troubles endure?
    So guileless and holy,
      Such soothers of strife,
    What could we without them,
      Sweet flowers of life?



THE WHITE BUTTERFLY.

A TALE FOR CHILDREN.


Very slowly and wearily over road and hedge flew a white butterfly one
calm May evening; its wings had been torn and battered in its flight
from eager pursuers, who little cared that their pleasure was
another's pain. On, on, went the fugitive, until it came to a little
garden so sweet and quiet that it rested from its flight and said,
"Here, at least, I shall find peace; these gentle flowers will give me
shelter." Then, with eager swiftness, it flew to a stately peony. "Oh,
give me shelter, thou beautiful flower!" it murmured as it rested for
a second upon its crimson head--a second only, for, with a jerk and an
exclamation of disgust, the peony cast the butterfly to the ground.
With a low sigh it turned to the pansy near. Well, the pansy _wished_
to be kind, but the butterfly was really very tattered and dirty; and
then velvet soils so easily that she must beg to be excused. The
wall-flower, naturally frank and good-natured, had been so tormented
all day by those troublesome bees that she solemnly vowed she would do
nothing more for anybody.

The tulips were asleep; and the other flowers, trying to emulate fair
Lady Rose, held their heads so very high that they, of course, did not
hear the low, soft cry, "Oh, will no one give me shelter?" At last
there came an answer, "I will, gladly," in a shy and trembling tone,
as though fearing to be presumptuous, from a thick thorny bush which
helped to protect the more dainty beauties from the rough blasts of a
sometimes too boisterous wind; in consideration of which service the
flowers considered the briar as a good, useful sort of thing,
respectable enough in its common way, but not as an equal or
associate, you understand. With gratitude the forlorn butterfly rested
all night in the bosom of one of its simple white blossoms.

When night had gone and the bright sun came gliding up from the east,
calling on Nature to awake, the flowers raised their heads in all the
pride of renewed beauty and saluted one another. Where was the forlorn
butterfly? Ah! where? They saw it no more; but over the white blossom
where it had rested there hovered a tiny fairy in shining, changing
sheen, her wand sparkling with dewdrops. She looked down on the
flowers with gentle, reproachful eye, while they bent low in wonder
and admiration.

"Who is it?" they asked. "How beautiful! how lovely!"

The fairy heard them with a smile, and said, "Fair flowers, I _was_ a
shabby butterfly; what I _am_, you see. I came to you poor and weary;
and because I was poor and weary you shut me out from your hearts."

The pansy and the wall-flower bent their heads in sorrow, and Lady
Rose blushed with shame.

"If I had only known!" muttered the peony; "but who would have thought
it?"

"Who indeed?" laughed the fairy; "but learn, proud peony, that he who
thinks always of self loses much of life's sweetness--far more than he
ever suspects; for goodness is as the dew of the heart, and yieldeth
refreshment and happiness, even if it win no other recompense. But it
is meet that it should be rewarded. Behold, all of you!" and the fairy
touched with her wand the white blossom on which she had rested,
saying, "For thy sweetness be thou loved for ever!" At these words a
thrill of happiness stirred the sap of the rough, neglected briar, and
a soft, lovely blush suffused the petals of its flowers, and from its
green leaves came forth an exquisite odor, perfuming the whole garden
and eclipsing the other flowers in their pride.

Then the fairy rose in the air, and hovering over her resting-place
for a moment ere she vanished said, "Such is the reward of goodness.
Fare thee well, sweet briar!"



[Illustration: {Tom and Pearson on the deck of the ship in the snow}]

WORKING IS BETTER THAN WISHING.


"Now then, Tom, lad, what's up? in trouble again?" asked a
good-natured sailor of his messmate, one snowy day on the wide
Atlantic.

The boy was leaning moodily against the bulwarks of the vessel--a
pleasant, ruddy young fellow of fourteen, but with a cloud on his face
which looked very like discontent.

Snow was falling heavily, but he did not heed it; he looked up,
however, at the approach of his friend, and answered,--

"I'm all right, Pearson; it isn't that. I was only wishing and
wondering why I can't get what I want; it seems a shame, it does!" and
Tom paused abruptly, half choked by a sob.

"What is it, Tom?" asked Pearson; "have the other lads been plaguing?
Such a big, hearty fellow as you ought not to fret for that."

"I don't," said Tom, sharply; "it's not that; but they've found out
that my little brother is in the workhouse at home, and they throw it
at me. I'd do anything to get him out, too, for he oughtn't to be
there: we come of a better sort, Pearson," he said, proudly; "but
father and mother dying of that fever put us all wrong. Uncle got me
to sea, and then, I suppose, he thought he'd done enough; so there was
only the workhouse left for Willy. He's the jolliest little chap,
Pearson, you ever saw, and I'd work day and night to get him out, if I
could; but where's the use? A poor boy like me can do nothing; so I
just get in a rage, or don't care about anything, and fight the other
lads; or I'm had up for neglect of duty, or something."

"And so you lose all chance of getting on, and being able in time to
help your little brother," said Pearson, as if musing; "but what's
that you have in your hand, Tom--a picture?"

"It's Willy," said the boy; "yes, you may look, Pearson. Mother had it
taken just before she fell ill; he's only four, but he's the prettiest
little chap, with yellow hair all in curls. I dare say they've cut
them off, though," he added, bitterly. "There's a bit of a sickly
child on board, belonging to the tall lady in black, that reminds me a
little of him, only he isn't near as pretty as Willy."

"Yes, he is a pretty little lad," said Pearson, returning the
photograph; "and now, Tom, mind my word: I am an old fellow compared
to you, and I'll give you a bit of advice. The little lad is safe, at
any rate, in the workhouse; he's got food and clothes, and you
couldn't give him that; so be content, and try to do your own duty. If
you get a good character, instead of being always had up for sulking
or fighting, that's the best chance for you, and, after you, for
Willy. As for the lads' teasing, why, be a bit hard of hearing, and
before many years, I warrant, you'll be having Willy aboard ship as
boy, when you're an able-bodied seaman."

Tom laughed. "Thank you, Pearson. Well, I'll try; but I do get wishing
and bothering of nights."

"Ah, that wishing's a poor trick," said Pearson; "give it up, Tom, and
work instead."

People don't often take advice, but this time it was followed. A great
deal of rough weather came on; every one had as much as he could do,
and Tom worked with the best of them, and to his great joy was noticed
by the ship's officers as a willing lad.

One bright morning brought all the passengers on deck,--the ship was
bound for Rio,--and among them came the tall lady in black, with her
little boy in her arms. Tom's duties took him near her, and he could
not but steal a glance at the little face like Willy's; but, O, so
pale and pinched now! The child had suffered dreadfully in the rough
weather; it was doubtful whether he would see land again, he was so
weakened. Tom felt sorry for the little fellow, but his work engrossed
him, and he had nearly forgotten the white-faced child, when, to his
great surprise, the captain called him. The lady in black was a
relative of the captain, and it seemed that while Tom had been
glancing at the sick child, the child had been watching him, and had
taken a fancy to his clear round face, and active movements.

"Let me see what sort of a head-nurse you can make," said the captain
to Tom; "this little fellow will have you carry him, he says, and
teach him to climb the rigging."

Tom smiled, but instantly checked himself, as hardly respectful to the
captain.

They dressed Carlo up in a suit of sailor clothes. To be sure they
were rather large for him, but then it was such fun to be a real
little sailor. Under Tom's care his face soon grew round and fat, and
his merry laugh rang out on the air. And now he would live to see his
father and his birthplace again, for he was born in South America, and
had only left his Portuguese father for a few months, to accompany his
English mother on a visit to her relatives.

The day before they sighted land, Tom was sent for into the captain's
cabin, and there a wonderful proposal was made to him--that he should
give up sea life, and go to Bella Sierra as little Carlo's attendant.
Carlo's parents were rich people; little Carlo had taken a great fancy
to him, and he would have good wages.

[Illustration: THE LITTLE SAILOR.]

It sounded very pleasant; but little Willy! he should never see
him--it would not do. Tom hesitatingly explained this to Carlo's
mother, drawing the little photograph out of his pocket the while.

Then came the last and best proposition,--that Willy should come out
on the _Flying Star's_ next voyage, and live, too, at Bella Sierra.
Mrs. Costello--the lady in black--promised to pay all expenses, and
put him in charge of the stewardess. Carlo, her only child, had grown
so fond of Tom, that she would do anything to keep him.

"Such an active, willing boy," she explained to the captain. "I have
often watched him at work, and admired the way in which he did it."

"Well, lad," said Pearson, when Tom came to tell him the news, "wasn't
I right when I told you that the best way you could work for Willy
was by doing your own duty? If you had gone on in that half-and-half,
discontented way, no rich lady would have cared to have you about her
house--would she?"

Tom looked thoughtful. "Yes, you were right, Pearson; you've done it
all; and now I want you to do one thing more. Please look after Willy
a bit when he comes out; he's such a daring little chap, he'll always
be running away from the stewardess."

"Ah, you want me to be nurse now--do you?" said Pearson; "all right,
lad, and as the song says, 'Don't forget me in the land you're going
to.' And you can still stick to my old motto, that 'Working is better
than Wishing.'"



KIND TO EVERYTHING.


    Softly, softly, little sister,
      Touch those gayly-painted wings;
    Butterflies and moths, remember,
      Are such very tender things.

    Softly, softly, little sister,
      Twirl your limber hazel twig;
    Little hands may harm a nestling
      Thoughtlessly, as well as big.

    Gently stroke the purring pussy,
      Kindly pat the friendly dog;
    Let your unmolesting mercy
      Even spare the toad or frog.

    Wide is God's great world around you:
      Let the harmless creatures live;
    Do not mar their brief enjoyment,
      Take not what you cannot give.

    Let your heart be warm and tender--
      For the mute and helpless plead;
    Pitying leads to prompt relieving,
      Kindly thought to kindly deed.

[Illustration: SOFTLY, SOFTLY, LITTLE SISTER.]



[Illustration: {The farmer and the calf}]

THAT CALF!


    To the yard, by the barn, came the farmer one morn,
      And, calling the cattle, he said,
    While they trembled with fright, "Now, which of you, last night,
      Shut the barn door, while I was abed?"
      Each one of them all shook his head.

    Now the little calf Spot, she was down in the lot;
      And the way the rest talked was a shame;
    For no one, night before, saw her shut up the door;
      But they said that she did,--all the same,--
      For they always made her take the blame.

    Said the horse (dapple gray), "I was not up that way
      Last night, as I now recollect;"
    And the bull, passing by, tossed his horns very high,
      And said, "Let who may here object,
      I say 'tis that calf I suspect!"

    Then out spoke the cow, "It is terrible, now,
      To accuse honest folks of such tricks."
    Said the cock in the tree, "I'm sure 'twasn't me;"
      And the sheep all cried, "Bah!" (There were six.)
      "Now that calf's got herself in a fix!"

    "Why, of course, we all knew 'twas the wrong thing to do."
      Said the chickens. "Of course," said the cat;
    "I suppose," cried the mule, "some folks think me a fool;
      But I'm not quite so simple as that;
      The poor calf never knows what she's at!"

    Just that moment, the calf, who was always the laugh
      And the jest of the yard, came in sight.
    "Did you shut my barn door?" asked the farmer once more.
      "I did, sir; I closed it last night,"
      Said the calf; "and I thought that was right."

    Then each one shook his head. "She will catch it," they said;
      "Serve her right for her meddlesome way!"
    Said the farmer, "Come here, little bossy, my dear!
      You have done what I cannot repay,
      And your fortune is made from to-day.

    "For a wonder, last night, I forgot the door, quite;
      And if you had not shut it so neat,
    All my colts had slipped in, and gone right to the bin,
      And got what they ought not to eat--
      They'd have foundered themselves upon wheat."

    Then each hoof of them all began loudly to bawl;
      The very mule smiled; the cock crew;
    "Little Spotty, my dear, you're a favorite here,"
      They cried. "We all said it was you,
      We were so glad to give you your due."
      And the calf answered, knowingly, "Boo!"

                              PHOEBE CARY.

[Decoration]



[Illustration: HELPING MOTHER.]

LITTLE HELPERS.


    Planting the corn and potatoes,
      Helping to scatter the seeds,
    Feeding the hens and the chickens,
      Freeing the garden from weeds,
    Driving the cows to the pasture,
      Feeding the horse in the stall,--
    We little children are busy;
      Sure, there is work for us all.

    Spreading the hay in the sunshine,
      Raking it up when it's dry,
    Picking the apples and peaches
      Down in the orchard hard by,
    Picking the grapes in the vineyard,
      Gathering nuts in the fall,--
    We little children are busy;
      Yes, there is work for us all.

    Sweeping, and washing the dishes,
      Bringing the wood from the shed,
    Ironing, sewing and knitting,
      Helping to make up the beds,
    Taking good care of the baby,
      Watching her lest she should fall,--
    We little children are busy;
      Oh, there is work for us all.

    Work makes us cheerful and happy,
      Makes us both active and strong;
    Play we enjoy all the better
      When we have labored so long.
    Gladly we help our kind parents,
      Quickly we come to their call;
    Children should love to be busy;
      There is much work for us all.



[Illustration: THE PUZZLED PUPPIES.]

THE ANIMAL IN ARMOR.


This picture of three curious little puppies looking at a tortoise
reminds me of a story told of a countryman who saw some land-tortoises
for the first time at a fair held in a market-place of his native
village. Very much surprised at their queer look, he asked the man who
was selling them how much they were.

"Eighteenpence a pair," was the answer.

"Eighteenpence!" said the man; "that is a great deal for a thing like
a frog. What will you take for one _without the box_?"

Little folks would not make such a stupid mistake as this; they would
know that this strange-looking animal between its two shells was a
tortoise. There are different sorts--some that live on land, and some
in water. Those that live in the sea are called turtles, and their
shells are not so hard as that of the land-tortoise. It is easy to see
why this is: a turtle would not be able to swim with so thick a shell;
it would be much as if a man in armor were to try. Their shells are
not all in one, but joined together by a sort of gristle, which
enables them to move with greater ease and not so stiffly.

Directly any one hears the name of tortoise, he begins to think of
tortoise-shell. This ought really to be called turtle-shell, as it is
made from the shell of the hawk's-bill turtle. Tortoise-shell is made
by soaking the plates of the shell in warm water until they are soft;
then they are pressed into the shapes wanted in warm iron moulds, and
taken out and polished.

Some of the sea-turtles are very fierce; and although they have no
teeth, their jaws are so strong that they can bite a walking-stick in
half. Land-tortoises are quite harmless; they only attack the insects
they feed upon. They go to sleep, like the dormouse, in the winter,
but they do not make a burrow; they cover themselves with earth by
scraping it up and throwing it over their bodies. In doing this they
would find their heads and tails very much in the way if it were not
that they are able to draw them in between their shells. No one, of
course, knows how they find their way out again in the spring; but it
is supposed that they scratch the earth away and throw it underneath
them, at the same time pushing their way up.

Tortoises live to a very great age. One was given to the Zoological
Gardens in 1833 which had already lived seventy years in Port Louis,
in the island of Mauritius. Its shell, from the head to the tail,
measured four feet four inches and a half, and it weighed two hundred
and eighty-five pounds.

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {A Chinese man fishing with birds}]

THE IRON RING.


Chang Wang was a Chinaman, and was reputed to be one of the shrewdest
dealers in the Flowery Land. If making money fast be the test of
cleverness, there was not a merchant in the province of Kwang Tung who
had earned a better right to be called clever. Who owned so many
fields of the tea-plant, who shipped so many bales of its leaves to
the little island in the west, as did Chang Wang? It was whispered,
indeed, that many of the bales contained green tea made by chopping up
spoiled black tea leaves, and coloring them with copper--a process
likely to turn them into a mild kind of poison; but if the unwholesome
trash found purchasers, Chang Wang never troubled himself with the
thought whether any one might suffer in health from drinking his tea.
So long as the dealer made money, he was content; and plenty of money
he made.

But knowing how to make money is quite a different thing from knowing
how to enjoy it. With all his ill-gotten gains, Chang Wang was a
miserable man; for he had no heart to spend his silver pieces, even on
his own comfort. The rich dealer lived in a hut which one of his own
laborers might have despised; he dressed as a poor Tartar shepherd
might have dressed when driving his flock. Chang Wang grudged himself
even a hat to keep off the rays of the sun. Men laughed, and said that
he would have cut off his own pigtail of plaited hair, if he could
have sold it for the price of a dinner!

Chang Wang was, in fact, a miser, and was rather proud than ashamed of
the hateful vice of avarice.

Chang Wang had to make a journey to Macao, down the great River
Yang-se-kiang, for purposes of trade. The question with the Chinaman
now was, in what way he should travel.

"Shall I hire a palanquin?" thought Chang Wang, stroking his thin
mustaches; "no, a palanquin would cost too much money. Shall I take my
passage in a trading vessel?"

The rich trader shook his head, and the pigtail behind it--such a
passage would have to be paid for.

"I know what I'll do," said the miser to himself; "I'll ask my uncle
Fing Fang to take me in his fishing-boat down the great river. It is
true that it will make my journey a long one; but then I shall make it
for nothing. I'll go to the fisherman Fing Fang, and settle the matter
at once."

The business was soon arranged, for Fing Fang would not refuse his
rich nephew a seat in his boat. But he, like every one else, was
disgusted at Chang Wang's meanness; and as soon as the dealer had left
his hovel, thus spoke Fing Fang to his sons, Ko and Jung:--

"Here's a fellow who has scraped up money enough to build a second
Porcelain Tower, and he comes here to beg a free passage in a
fishing-boat from an uncle whom he has never so much as asked to share
a dish of his birds'-nests soup!"

"Birds'-nests soup, indeed!" exclaimed Ko; "why, Chang Wang never
indulges in luxuries such as that. If dogs' flesh were not so cheap,
he'd grudge himself the paw of a roasted puppy!"

"And what will Chang Wang make of all his money at last?" said Fing
Fang, more gravely; "he cannot carry it away with him when he dies."

"O, he's gathering it up for some one who will know how to spend it!"
laughed Jung. "Chang Wang is merely fishing for others; what he
gathers, they will enjoy."

It was a bright, pleasant day when Chang Wang stepped into the boat of
his uncle, to drop slowly down the great Yang-se-kiang. Many a civil
word he said to Fing Fang and his sons, for civil words cost nothing.
Chang Wang sat in the boat, twisting the ends of his long mustaches,
and thinking how much money each row of plants in his tea-fields might
bring him. Presently, having finished his calculations, the miser
turned to watch his relations, who were pursuing their fishing
occupation in the way peculiar to China. Instead of rods, lines, or
nets, the Fing Fang family was provided with trained cormorants, which
are a kind of bird with a long neck, large appetite, and a particular
fancy for fish.

It was curious to watch a bird diving down in the sunny water, and
then suddenly come up again with a struggling fish in his bill. The
fish was, however, always taken away from the cormorant, and thrown by
one of the Fing Fangs into a well at the bottom of the boat.

"Cousin Ko," said the miser, leaning forward to speak, "how is it that
your clever cormorants never devour the fish they catch?"

"Cousin Chang Wang," replied the young man, "dost thou not see that
each bird has an iron ring round his neck, so that he cannot swallow?
He only fishes for others."

"Methinks the cormorant has a hard life of it," observed the miser,
smiling. "He must wish his iron ring at the bottom of the
Yang-se-kiang."

Fing Fang, who had just let loose two young cormorants from the boat,
turned round, and from his narrow slits of Chinese eyes looked keenly
upon his nephew.

"Didst thou ever hear of a creature," said he, "that puts an iron ring
around his own neck?"

"There is no such creature in all the land that the Great Wall
borders," replied Chang Wang.

Fing Fang solemnly shook the pigtail which hung down his back. Like
many of the Chinese, he had read a great deal, and was a kind of
philosopher in his way.

"Nephew Chang Wang," he observed, "_I_ know of a creature (and he is
not far off at this moment) who is always fishing for gain--constantly
catching, but never enjoying. Avarice--the love of hoarding--is the
iron ring round his neck; and so long as it stays there, he is much
like one of our trained cormorants--he may be clever, active,
successful, but he is only fishing for others."

I leave my readers to guess whether the sharp dealer understood his
uncle's meaning, or whether Chang Wang resolved in future not only to
catch, but to enjoy. Fing Fang's moral might be good enough for a
heathen, but it does not go nearly far enough for a Christian. If a
miser is like a cormorant with an iron ring round his neck, the man or
the child who lives for his own pleasure only, what is he but a greedy
cormorant with the iron ring? Who would wish to resemble a cormorant
at all? The bird knows the enjoyment of _getting_; let us prize the
richer enjoyment of _giving_. Let me close with an English proverb,
which I prefer to the Chinaman's parable--"Charity is the truest
epicure, for she eats with many mouths."

                                                 A. L. O. E.



SUMMER.


    I'm coming along with a bounding pace
      To finish the work that Spring begun;
    I've left them all with a brighter face,
      The flowers in the vales through which I've run.

    I have hung festoons from laburnum trees,
      And clothed the lilac, the birch and broom;
    I've wakened the sound of humming-bees,
      And decked all nature in brighter bloom.

    I've roused the laugh of the playful child,
      And tired it out in the sunny noon;
    All nature at my approach hath smiled,
      And I've made fond lovers seek the moon.

    For this is my life, my glorious reign,
      And I'll queen it well in my leafy bower;
    All shall be bright in my rich domain;
      I'm queen of the leaf, the bud and the flower.

    And I'll reign in triumph till autumn-time
      Shall conquer my green and verdant pride;
    Then I'll hie me to another clime
      Till I'm called again as a sunny bride.



CHARLIE'S CHRISTMAS.


Oh how cold and miserable everything is! Hardly a thought to be
uppermost on Christmas eve in the mind of a little school-boy; and yet
it was that which filled the mind of Charlie Earle on the Christmas
eve of which I am going to tell you. Only a few hours before, he had
been as happy as any boy could be. Everybody was going home, and
everybody was in the highest spirits and full of the most delightful
hopes of what the holidays would bring them; and now everybody except
Charlie has gone home, and he is left alone in the dreary school-room,
knowing that at any rate Christmas day, and maybe many other days, are
to be spent away from home, and from all the pleasant doings which he
had pictured to himself and others only the very day before.

The coming of the post-bag had been scarcely noticed in the
school-room that morning. So when old Bunce, the butler, looked in at
the door and said, "Master Earle is wanted in the doctor's room," the
boys all wondered, and Charlie's neighbor whispered to him, "Whatever
can he want you for, Earle?" The doctor's tale was soon told, and it
was one which sent Charlie back to the school-room with a very
different face to the one with which he had left it. A letter had come
to Doctor West from Charlie's father, and in it a note from his mother
to Charlie himself, written the night before, and saying that a
summons had come that very morning calling them to Charlie's
grandmother, who was very ill, and that they were starting for
Scotland that night and would be almost at their journey's end when
Charlie got the news. The note said that Laura, Charlie's sister,
would go with them, but that they could not wait for Charlie himself,
so they had written to Mrs. Lamb, Charlie's old nurse, who lived about
ten miles from Dr. West's, and had asked her to take charge of him for
a day or two, till more was known of his grandmother's state and some
better plan could be made for him. It was sad enough for Charlie to
hear of the illness of his kind old grandmother--sad enough to see the
merry start of the other boys, while he had to stay behind; but to
have to think of Christmas day spent away from father and mother, away
from Laura and home, was excuse enough for a few bitter tears. But
unpleasant things come to an end as well as pleasant ones, and
Charlie's lonely waiting in the school-room came to its end, and he
found himself that afternoon snugly packed into the Blackridge coach,
and forgetting his own troubles in listening to the cheery chatter of
the other passengers, and in looking at what was to be seen as the
coach rolled briskly along the snow-covered road. It was quite dark
when they reached Blackridge, and Charlie looked out at the people
gathered round the door of the "Packhorse Inn," and a sudden fear
filled his mind lest there should be no one there to meet him; but he
soon saw by the light at the inn door Nurse Lamb herself, with her
kind face looking so beaming that it seemed a little bit like _really_
going home.

"Here, father," said Nurse Lamb to her jolly-looking husband; "here's
Master Charlie, safe and sound! You bring the luggage in the barrow
while I take him home quick, for I am sure he must be cold."

And so nurse bustled Charlie off down a lane and across a meadow, till
they came to a wicket-gate, beyond which stood the back of a low,
deep-thatched cottage half buried in snow. On getting round to the
front the door was opened by a little girl, and nurse called out,
"Here, Molly, here we are;" adding, "Molly is my step-daughter, Master
Charlie--the one I used to tell you about before I was married, when
we were down at Hastings."

[Illustration: WINTER.]

When they got into the house, there was the kitchen with its rows of
bright pewter plates, its wide hearth and roaring fire, its hams
hanging to the beams, all just as they had been described in the days
when nurse's new home at Blackridge Farm was a subject of never-ending
interest to the two children in Mrs. Earle's nursery.

After he had had a capital tea, Charlie was allowed to go round with
the farmer to see that the horses were all right for the night,
Charlie carrying the lantern and feeling himself quite a man as he
followed the farmer into the stable. There was much coming and going
at the farm that evening, for was it not Christmas eve? and nurse was
busy sending off gifts to neighbors who were not so thriving as
herself, and busy, too, in making preparations for the morrow. Charlie
meanwhile sat in the settle and made friends with Molly, who was about
his own age and knew much more, though she was only a girl, about dogs
and rabbits and tadpoles than London-bred Charlie. By and by they
helped to stir the great plum-pudding, and dressed the kitchen and
parlor with evergreens, till nurse called them to come and hear the
chimes.

And Charlie thought it very beautiful as he stood at the door and
listened to the bells. And as they stood there the wind wafted to them
also the voices of the choir as they went on their round through the
village, singing their carols; and then Charlie went to bed with
"Hark, the herald angels sing!" ringing in his ears.

Next morning Charlie, as he ran down stairs, could hardly believe this
was really Christmas day, all was so unlike any Christmas he had known
before; but in the kitchen he found one thing like the Christmas
mornings at home, for he found quite a little pile of parcels beside
his plate, containing the pretty gifts prepared by father and mother
and Laura, and sent by them to nurse, so that at any rate the little
lad should not be robbed of this part of his Christmas pleasures.
There was a note, too, from mother, saying that she and father and
Laura were safe in Edinburgh, and that grandmother was better, and
that she hoped to tell him in her next letter when they and he should
meet at home in London. Such a bright beginning was enough to make all
the rest of the day bright; and bright it was. Charlie found plenty to
do till church-time, as Molly showed him all the nooks and corners
about the farm.

The old church, with its high pews and country congregation made
Charlie feel that he must be dreaming. Surely it could not be
Christmas, but must be the autumn? and he and Laura and everybody had
come away from London for the holidays?

No; it was no dream. It was really Christmas; for there, round the
pillars, were the holly-wreaths with their red berries, and there,
behind the chancel-screen, were the same Christmas texts as in their
church in London. When service was over, Charlie and Molly hurried
home to help Martha, the farm-girl, to have all in readiness for the
Christmas dinner. But after dinner there was not much sitting
still--at any rate for Charlie; for who could think of sitting still
indoors, when outside there were a pond covered with ice and a
farmyard full of horses and dogs?

Nor was the evening after tea without its pleasure. When the snow
began to fall, and the doors and windows were tightly closed, then a
huge log was piled on the fire; and while Farmer and Mrs. Lamb sat and
talked before it in the parlor, Charlie and Molly had a fine game of
romps in the big kitchen with Martha; and when they were tired of
that, they sat on the hearth and roasted chestnuts, while nurse read a
Christmas tale to them.

And here I must leave Charlie finishing his Christmas day, hoping that
any who read this story of it may agree with Charlie in thinking, when
he laid his head on the pillow that night, that, though it had been
spent far from home, it had not been an unhappy day, after all.



[Illustration: {Marcellin and the hunter}]

MARCELLIN.


Marcellin, a young shepherd boy, who tended his father's flock upon
the mountains, having penetrated a deep gorge to search for one of his
sheep which was missing, discovered in the thickest of the forest a
man lying upon the ground overcome with fatigue, and faint from want
of food.

"My poor lad," said the man, "I am dying from hunger and thirst. Two
days ago I came upon this mountain to hunt. I lost my way, and I have
passed two nights in the woods."

Marcellin drew some bread and cheese from his knapsack, and gave to
the stranger.

"Eat," he said, "and then follow me. I will conduct you to an old oak
tree, in the trunk of which we shall find some water."

The food satisfied his hunger; then he followed Marcellin, and drank
of the water, which he found excellent. Afterwards the boy conducted
him down the mountain, and pointed out the way to the city.

Then the hunter said to the shepherd boy, "My good lad, you have saved
my life. If I had remained in the mountain another night, I should
have died. I will show you my gratitude. Come with me to the city. I
am rich; and I will treat you as if you were my own son."

"No, sir," said Marcellin; "I cannot go with you to the city. I have a
father and a mother who are poor, but whom I love with all my heart.
Were you a king, I would not leave my parents."

"But," said the hunter, "you live here in a miserable cabin with an
ugly thatched roof; I live in a palace built of marble, and
surrounded with statues. I will give you drink in glasses like
crystal, and food upon plates of silver."

"Very likely," responded Marcellin; "but our house is not half as
miserable as you suppose. If it is not surrounded with statues, it is
among fruit trees and trellised vines. We drink water which we get
from a neighboring fountain. It is very clear, though we do not drink
from crystal cups. We gain by our labor a modest living, but good
enough. And if we do not have silver ware in our house, we have plenty
of flowers."

"Nonsense, my boy! Come with me," said the hunter; "we have trees and
flowers in the city more beautiful than yours. I have magnificent
grounds, with broad alleys, with a flower garden filled with the most
precious plants. In the middle of it there is a beautiful fountain,
the like of which you never saw. The water is thrown upward in small
streams, and falls back sparkling into the great white marble basin.
You would be quite happy to live there."

"But I am quite happy _here_," replied Marcellin. "The shade of our
forests is at least as delicious as that of your superb alleys. Our
fields are running over with flowers. You can hardly step without
finding them under your feet. There are flowers around our
cottage--roses, violets, lilies, pansies. Do you suppose that our
fountains are less beautiful than your little jets of water? You
should see the merry brooks bounding down over the rocks, and running
away through the flowery meadow."

"You don't know what you refuse," rejoined the hunter. "If you go into
the city, you will be put to school, where you can study all
departments of art and science. There are theatres, where skilful
musicians will enchant your ears by harmony. There are rich saloons,
to which you will be admitted, to enjoy splendid fêtes. And since you
so much love the country, you shall pass your summer vacation with me
in a superb chateau which I possess."

"Well, I am greatly obliged to you," replied the shepherd boy; "but I
think I had better stop with father and mother. I can learn everything
useful in our village school. I am taught to fear God, to honor my
parents, and to imitate their virtues. I don't wish to learn anything
beyond that. Then your musicians, which you tell about, do they sing
any better than the nightingale or the golden robin? Then we have our
concerts and our fêtes. We are right down happy when we are all
together on Sunday evening under the trees. My sister sings, while I
accompany her upon my flute. Our chants can be heard a long way off,
and echo repeats them. And in the evening, when we stay in the house,
grandfather is with us. We love him so much because he is so good. No,
I will not leave my parents. I will not renounce their home, if it is
humble. I cannot go to the city with you."

The hunter saw that it was of no use to argue the point; so he said,--

"What shall I give you, then, to express my gratitude for your
services? Take this purse, filled with gold."

"What need have I of it? We are poor, but we want nothing. Besides, if
I accept your money, I should _sell_ the little service I have been
able to render. That would be wrong; my mother would blame me for such
conduct. She tells me that we ought always to assist those who are in
trouble and want without expecting pay for it."

"Generous boy! What shall I give you as a mark of my gratitude? You
must accept something, or I shall be greatly disappointed."

"Is it so?" asked Marcellin, playfully. "Then give me the cup which
is suspended at your side--that one on which is engraved a picture of
some dogs pursuing a stag."

The hunter joyfully gave the cup to the happy shepherd boy, who,
having once more indicated the way which would lead to the city, bade
him good day, and went back to his flock.

And the rich man returned to his splendid dwelling, having learned
that it is the proper use of the means we have, rather than wishing
for greater, which brings happiness and contentment.



AN ADVENTURE IN THE LIFE OF SALVATOR ROSA.


There is in the museum at Florence a celebrated painting, which calls
to mind a thrilling adventure of Salvator Rosa when quite young.

The scene represents a solitude, very rugged and sublime--mountains
upon every side, with their tops covered with snow, while through the
dark clouds in the sky a few straggling sunbeams find their way to the
valley. Upon the border of an immense cliff stands a group of men
whose costume denotes them to be brigands of the Apennines. Upon the
very edge of the precipice, erect and calm, is a young man, surrounded
by the brigands, who are preparing to throw him into the depths below.
The chief is a short distance away, and seemingly about to give the
fatal signal. A few paces in advance stands a female, of strange
beauty, waving her hand menacingly towards the chief as if commanding
that the young man's life be spared. Her manner, resolute and
imperious, the countenance of the chief, the grateful calmness of the
prisoner, all seem to indicate that the woman's order will be obeyed,
and that the victim will be saved from the frightful death with which
he has been menaced.

This picture, as will be readily guessed, is the work of SALVATOR
ROSA. Born at Arenella, near Naples, in 1615, of poor parents, he was
so admirably endowed by nature that, even in his boyhood, he became a
spirited painter, a good musician, and an excellent poet. But his
tastes led him to give his attention to painting.

Unfortunately, some severe satires which he published in Naples made
him many enemies in that city, and he was obliged to fly to Rome,
where he took a position at once as a painter. Leaving that city after
a while, he went to Florence, and there found a generous encouragement
and many friends, and there his talent was appreciated by the world of
art.

The environs of Florence afforded him superior advantages in
developing his genius. The Apennines, with their dark gorges, their
picturesque landscapes, and their snow-clad peaks, pleased his wild
imagination. In their vast recesses he found his best inspirations and
his most original subjects. Often he wandered for days over the abrupt
mountains, infested with bandits, to find work for his ambitious
pencil.

One day he had advanced farther than usual into the profound and
dangerous solitudes. He sat down near a torrent, and began to sketch a
wild landscape before him. All of a sudden he saw, at the summit of a
rock near at hand, a man leaning upon his carbine, and apparently
watching him with great curiosity. A large hat, with stained and torn
brim, covered his sun-burnt visage; a leather belt bound his dark sack
to his body, and gave support to a pistol and hunting-knife,
invariably carried by the brigands of the mountains. His black beard,
thick and untidy, concealed a portion of his face; but there could be
no doubt that his dark glance was fixed upon the stranger who came to
invade his domain.

For almost any other but our hero, the sudden apparition of that wild
and menacing figure would have been good cause of terror. But Salvator
was a painter, and a painter in love with his art; and he had in that
strange costume, that forbidding look, something so much in harmony
with the aspect of nature about him, that he at once made the man a
subject of study.

"I mustn't lose him," he said; "he's an inhabitant of the country. He
comes just in the nick of time to complete my landscape; and his
position is quite fine."

And, drawing tranquilly his pencil, he began to transfer the outlines
of the brigand to his album, when the stranger, coming a few paces
nearer to him, said, in a rough voice,--

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

"Well, my good fellow, I come to take your portrait, if you'll hold
still a bit," responded the painter.

"Ah, you jest with me! Have a care," said the other, coming still
nearer.

"No," replied Salvator, seriously; "I am a painter; and I wander over
these mountains with no other purpose but to admire these beautiful
landscapes, and to sketch the most picturesque objects."

"To sketch!" cried the brigand, with evident anger, hardly knowing
what the word meant. "Do you not know that these mountains belong to
us? Why do you come here to spy us out?"

At these words he gave a shrill whistle, and three other men, clothed
like himself, came towards the spot from different directions.

"Seize this man!" he said to his companions; "he comes to observe us."

All resistance was useless. And so, after having tried in vain to
prove his innocence, the young man was surrounded and seized.

"March!" cried the man who had first met him. "You must talk with our
chief."

The leader of these brigands was a man about forty years of age, named
Pietratesta. His great physical strength, his courage, and, more than
all the rest, his energy, had made him a favorite among his
companions, and given him authority over them. Famous among the
mountains for his audacious crimes, condemned many times to an
outlaw's death, pursued in vain by the officers of the law, habituated
for years to a life of adventure, pillage, and murder, he treated his
prisoners without pity or mercy. All who were unable to purchase their
liberty by paying whatever ransom he fixed, were put to death. He
looked upon civilized people not as men, but as prizes.

As he saw the captive approach, he asked the usual question,--

"Who are you?"

"Salvator Rosa, a Neapolitan painter, now resident of Florence."

"O, a painter! A poor prize, generally. But you are famous, I hear;
the prince is your friend. Your pictures sell for very large prices.
You must pay us ten thousand ducats."

[Illustration: {Sivora, the chief's wife, standing on the cliff edge}]

"Ten thousand ducats, indeed! Where do you suppose I can get so much?"

"Well, as for that, if you haven't got the money, your friends must
get it for you."

"But my friends are not rich."

"Ah, excuse me!" said the chief, smiling. "When one has a prince for a
protector, he is always rich."

"It is true that the prince is my patron; but he owes me nothing."

"No matter if he don't. He would not be deprived of such an artist as
you for a paltry ten thousand ducats."

"He pays me for my pictures; but he will not pay my ransom."

"He _must_," said the robber, emphatically; "so no more words. Ask
your friends, if you prefer, or whoever you will; but bring me ten
thousand ducats, and that within a month; otherwise you must die."

As the chief uttered these words, he walked away, leaving Salvator in
the middle of the ground which formed the camp.

During the short conversation two children came from one of the tents,
being attracted by the noise. Their little blond heads, curiously
turned towards the captive, their faces, tanned by the sun, but
animated by the crimson of health and youth, and their picturesque
costume had attracted the attention of the painter. When the chief had
gone away, he approached them, and smiled. The children drew away
abashed; then, reassured by the air of goodness which the young man
wore, they came nearer, and permitted him to embrace them.

"Are you going to live with us?" said the eldest, who was about eight
years of age.

"I don't know, my little friend."

"O, I wish you would! It is so nice to stop in these mountains. There
are plenty of beautiful flowers, and birds' nests, too. I have three
already; I will show them to you, and then we will go and find some
more. But what is that you have got under your arm?"

"It is my sketch-book."

"A sketch-book? What is a sketch-book?"

"It is what I carry my pictures in."

"Pictures? O, do let me see them!"

"Yes, indeed; here they are."

"What pretty pictures! O, mother, come and see! Here are mountains,
and men, and goats. Did you make them all?"

Attracted by the call of the child, a lady came out of the principal
tent. She was yet young, tall, and covered with a medley of garments
from various costumes. Her face sparkled with energy, and might have
been called beautiful. She threw a sad glance at Salvator, and
approached him haughtily, as if to give an order. But seeing the two
children busily looking over the sketch-book, and observing the
familiar way with which both treated their new acquaintance, she
appeared to change her manner somewhat, and began to look at the
pictures herself, and to admire them. At the end of half an hour the
mother and the children seemed like old friends of Salvator Rosa.

The woman was the wife of the chief. A daughter of an honorable
family, she married a young man at Pisa, her native city, who proved
to be captain of this band of robbers. She could not well leave the
company into which she had been betrayed; and so, with a noble
self-denial, she became resigned to her hard lot. An unwilling witness
of the many crimes of her husband and his companions, she suffered
cruelly in her resignation. Yet her fidelity, her virtue,--things
rarely known, but sometimes respected among these mountain
brigands,--had given her a moral power over the men as well as over
her husband. More than once she had used this means to temper their
ferocity, and obtain pardon for their unfortunate prisoners.

Just then one of the brigands came and brought to the prisoner the
order from the chief that he should write to his friends to obtain
money for his ransom. The man was going, under a disguise, to the city
of Florence; and he offered to deliver any letters intrusted to his
care. He indicated the place where the ten thousand ducats must be
left, so that Salvator might inform his correspondent.

Our hero had many devoted friends; but nearly all were artists like
himself, and without fortune. Nevertheless, he decided to write to one
of them. He gave orders that all the pictures in his studio should be
sold. He hoped that the money which they would bring, together with
what his friends could advance to him, would amount to the sum
demanded by the chief.

This done, Salvator easily persuaded himself that he should soon be
set at liberty, and the artist recovered his unconcern, and almost his
usual good spirits. The country around him was full of romantic
studies for his pencil. He had, besides, found in the society of the
children of Pietratesta two charming companions. He instructed them in
the elements of his art; and his pupils, to both of whom the study was
quite new, seemed never to grow tired of their task.

In a moment of good humor, he drew caricatures of each member of the
band, which created a great deal of amusement. Then he drew, with
great care, the portraits of the two children. This attention
profoundly touched the heart of the mother, and her tender sympathy,
almost wasting among these unfeeling men, found a secret pleasure in
rendering the captivity of the young painter less unhappy and less
hard. She conversed with him familiarly, and it gave her great
pleasure to see the care which he took to instruct her children.

So Salvator Rosa, to whom the band gave quite a considerable degree of
liberty, never dreamed of taking improper advantage of it. Thanks to
his fancy and his recklessness as an artist, he almost forgot that he
was the prisoner of a cruel master, and that his life was in peril.

But the ransom, which he had sent for, came not. Whether the letters
he had written failed to reach their destination, or whether his
friends were deaf to his request for assistance, he received no
answer. He wrote repeatedly, but always with the same result.

And so the months slipped by, and the chief began to grow impatient at
the long delay. His wife had more than once calmed his anger, and
prevented any catastrophe. At length several weeks went by, in which
the expeditions of the band were unfruitful. The provisions were
running low, and Pietratesta saw in his captive one unprofitable
mouth. Sivora, his wife, felt her influence to be growing weaker and
weaker under the increasing destitution and continued delay.

One day Pietratesta encountered his prisoner, and, addressing him in
an irritated voice,--

"Well?" he said, as if his question needed no other explanation.

"Nothing yet," responded Salvator Rosa, sadly.

"Ah, this is too much!" cried the brigand. "I begin to think you are
playing with me. But do you know the price Pietratesta makes those pay
who cross him?"

"Alas! I am far from trying to deceive you. You know that I have done
all in my power to obtain my ransom. I have written to various
persons; your own men have taken my letters. You see that it is not
my fault."

"It is always the fault of prisoners when their ransom is not paid."

"Wait a little longer. I will write again to-day."

"Wait! wait! A whole year, month after month, has gone by, and you
repeat the same old story. A year--an age for me--I have waited. Do
you think I have been making unmeaning threats? Do you expect to abuse
my patience with impunity? It has given out at last--the more so as,"
added he, now that he felt his anger increasing, "I ought to have
settled this affair a long while ago. This is your last day, observe
me."

At a sign from their chief, four bandits seized the young man, and
bound him. As Salvator was led away, he cast one sad look at the
dwelling where he had passed many happy hours, and from which he was
going to his death. For a moment he stopped to say farewell to the
children, who were standing at the door crying and stretching out
their little naked brown arms towards him.

A few moments later, Sivora, who had been gathering flowers in the
mountains, returned home. Observing that her husband, as well as
Salvator, was absent, and her children in tears, she guessed the
painful truth.

"Where is Salvator?" she asked of the eldest.

"They have bound him, and carried him away," responded the child,
still crying.

"Which way?"

"Down yonder," was the reply of the child, pointing with its finger in
the direction of a rocky cliff already too well known for its horrible
scenes.

"Alas, wretched man!" exclaimed Sivora, almost frantically, as she
comprehended the new crime her husband was about to commit. She sat
down for a moment, covered her face with her hands--a prey to the
most unspeakable anxiety. Then, rising suddenly, her eyes flashing
with determination,--

"Come!" she said, resolutely; "come, my children. Perhaps we may yet
be in time."

And, taking the hands of her little ones, who followed her with
difficulty, but yet eagerly, she darted away at a rapid pace in the
direction taken by the brigands.

While the men were hurrying Salvator along, the chief maintained a
profound silence. His band followed him as dumb as slaves who go to
execute the will of their master, which they know is law. They soon
arrived at the summit of a cliff, which overhung a yawning abyss
beneath. After having taken one look over the precipice, and examined
the neighborhood rapidly, Pietratesta cried, "Halt!" and the whole
body came to a rest.

"There is just a quarter of an hour for you to live," he said, turning
to his prisoner. "You have time to die like a Christian. Make your
prayer."

The young man hesitated for a moment, threw his agitated eyes around,
then, kneeling on the rock, he prayed earnestly. The men stood
unmoved, as if they had been statues cut from stone.

Salvator rose, with a calm demeanor, and said, addressing the chief in
a firm tone,--

"My life is in your hands, I know. You are going to kill me without
any cause. I have prayed," he added, with a voice full of authority,
"for the salvation of my soul, and repentance for thine. God will
judge us both. I am ready."

Immediately the brigands seized the young man, and hurried him towards
the precipice. Already they waited but the signal of their chief,
already Pietratesta had given the fatal command, when a cry was heard
not many paces distant, which suspended the preparations.

"Stop!" exclaimed a harsh voice.

The bandits, astonished at the interruption, turned to see whence it
came. A woman ran towards them, her hair in disorder, her countenance
pale and agitated, her dark eyes flashing with determination. She held
by their hands two children, who, with weeping eyes, were hastening,
with all the speed their young limbs could carry them, towards the
precipice.

It was Sivora.

As she came forward the chief uttered an exclamation of disappointment
and anger.

"Why do you come here?" he asked, in an irritated voice.

"You know well enough," responded Sivora, without any sign of
intimidation. "What are you about to do? What is the crime of this
young man? What is the wrong he has committed? You know he is
innocent, and that it is not his fault that the price of his ransom
has not been paid. Why commit a useless crime? You have too many on
your soul already," she added, in a low, sad voice. "Since it is not
too late, let the young man go. His ransom is not absolutely
necessary. If it was, would his death bring it to you? Remember with
what care and solicitude he has treated your children! with what
patience he has instructed them in his art! See, they weep, as if
their hearts would break, at the wrong you would do their friend! It
is they--it is I--who ask clemency. You will not kill Salvator; you
will pardon him for the love you bear your children."

As she said these words she pushed the two little blond heads into the
arms of their father.

The brigands, hesitating, touched, without knowing why, struck with an
involuntary respect for the woman, remained immovable, with their eyes
fixed upon their chief, as if waiting to ascertain his wishes. He
stood, brooding, nervous, his eyes bent upon the ground, hardly daring
to look upon Sivora, at once his suppliant and accuser, a prey to
violent emotions. The authority of that respected voice, and the
irritation at being deprived of his revenge,--the invincible love he
had for the woman, and the shame of giving way before his men,--all
these warring considerations, the effects of which were plainly to be
seen on his swarthy face, spoke of the severe contest going on within.

At length his evil genius got the control.

"What do I care for his solicitude and his tenderness?" he said, in a
coarse voice. "He would forget all as soon as he should get out of our
hands; and he would, no doubt, send the police after us if we should
let him go. I know what the promises of captives are worth. Besides,
_I_ command here, I alone, and I will be obeyed. Take away these
children; and you, comrades, despatch your your prisoner."

"Ah! is it so?" exclaimed Sivora, in a piercing voice, throwing
herself before the bandits, who were pushing their victim towards the
chasm. "Then I will beg no more; I _command_ now. Listen to me well,
for these are my last words. You know with what devotion, with what
resignation, I have supported this bitter life which you brought me to
among these mountains. The isolation, the sorrow, the shame, I have
endured for thee. I have never complained. I hoped, after such
sacrifices, you would at length listen to my words, and renounce your
bad life. But since you do not care for my devotion, since I am
nothing to you, listen well to my words, Pietratesta. If you dare to
commit this odious crime, look for a mother for your children, for,
with your victim, you will slay your wife!"

So saying, she advanced close to the brink of the cliff, over which
she could spring at the signal from her husband.

Salvator, motionless and rooted to the spot, in silence, full of
anxiety, observed this strange scene. The robbers, hardened by crime,
for the first time hesitated at the command of their chief, and fixed
their eyes upon the beautiful woman to whom despair added a new charm.
They quailed before her authority, and stood as motionless as statues.

Pietratesta, overwhelmed by the recollections which the woman's words
awakened, alarmed at her threats and her resolution, hung his head,
like a guilty wretch before a just judge, while Sivora, with wild
countenance, piercing voice, and imperial manner, her long black hair
loosely falling upon her shoulders, with her arms extended towards the
abyss, almost resembled an ancient goddess, who suddenly appears at
the moment of crime, arrests the homicidal arm, and subjects the
criminal to punishment. There was in her figure an imposing grandeur,
before which the rude men, for an instant recalled to themselves, felt
humiliated and condemned.

Astounded by that firmness and devotion, ashamed of his violence
towards the woman who was living a life of outrage, the chief, after
some moments of moody silence, said, in an altered voice,--

"You wish it! He is free!"

Salvator threw himself upon his knees before his preserver, covered
her hand with kisses and tears, and pressed, with transport, the two
children in his arms. Completely wild with happiness and gratitude, he
abandoned himself to the buoyancy of his generous nature, when Sivora
said to him, in a whisper,--

"Go! go quickly! The tiger is only sleeping!"

They put a bandage over the eyes of the young man, so that he might
not see the path by which he descended from the mountains, and two of
the brigands then conducted him to the highway which led to the city.

Hardly had he entered Florence, yet sad from the recollection of the
scene in which he came near being a victim, when the young painter
hastily sketched the principal details; and, some time after, the
picture of which we have spoken was composed, and hangs this day in
the museum at Naples, admired and pointed out to all visitors.

                                                    L. D. L.



WE SHOULD HEAR THE ANGELS SINGING.


    If we only sought to brighten
      Every pathway dark with care,
    If we only tried to lighten
      All the burdens others bear,
    We should hear the angels singing
      All around us, night and day;
    We should feel that they were winging
      At our side their upward way!

    If we only strove to cherish
      Every pure and holy thought,
    Till within our hearts should perish
      All that is with evil fraught,
    We should hear the angels singing
      All around us, night and day;
    We should feel that they were winging
      At our side their upward way!

    If it were our aim to ponder
      On the good that we might win,
    Soon our feet would cease to wander
      In forbidden paths of sin;
    We should hear the angels singing
      All around us, night and day;
    We should feel that they were winging
      At our side their upward way!

    If we only did our duty,
      Thinking not what it might cost,
    Then the earth would wear new beauty
      Fair as that in Eden lost;
    We should hear the angels singing
      All around us, night and day;
    We should feel that they were winging
      At our side their upward way!

                             KATE CAMERON.



MY LITTLE HERO.


    "How we wish that we knew a hero!"
      Say the children, pressing round;
    "Will you tell us if such a wonder
      In London streets can be found?"

    I point from my study-window
      At a lad who is passing by:
    "My darlings, there goes a hero;
      You will know his oft-heard cry."

    "'Tis the chimney-sweep, dear father,
      In his jacket so worn and old;
    What can _he_ do that is brave and true,
      Wandering out in the cold?"

    Says Maudie, "I thought that a hero
      Was a man with a handsome face."
    "And I pictured him all in velvet dressed,
      With a sword," whispered little Grace.

    "Mine is only a 'sweeper,' children,
      His deeds all unnoticed, unknown;
    Yet I think he is one of the heroes
      God sees and will mark for his own.

    "Out there he looks eager and cheerful,
      No matter how poorly he fares;
    No sign that his young heart is heavy
      With the weight of unchildish cares.

[Illustration: MY LITTLE HERO.]

    "Home means to him but a dingy room,
      A father he shudders to see;
    Alas for the worse than neglected sons
      Who have such a father as he!

    "And a mother who lies on a ragged bed,
      So sick and worn and sad;
    No friend has she but this one pale boy--
      This poor little sweeper-lad,

    "So rough to others, and all unskilled,
      Yet to her most tender and true,
    Oft waking with patient cheerfulness
      To soothe her the whole night through.

    "He wastes no time on his own scant meals,
      But goes forth with the morning sun;
    Never a moment is wasted
      Till his long day's work is done.

    "Then home to the dreary attic
      Where his mother lies lonely all day,
    Unheeding the boys who would tempt him
      To linger with them and play.

    "Because she is helpless and lonely,
      He is doing a hero's part;
    For loving and self-denying
      Are the tests of a noble heart."



[Illustration: {A robin sits on a snowy branch}]

ROBIN REDBREAST.


    Robin, Robin Redbreast,
      O, Robin, dear!
    And what will this poor Robin do?
      For pinching days are near.

    The fireside for the cricket,
      The wheat-stack for the mouse,
    When trembling night winds whistle,
      And moan all round the house.
    The frosty way like iron,
      The branches plumed with snow--
    Alas! in winter, dead and dark,
      Where can poor Robin go?
      Robin, Robin Redbreast,
        O, Robin dear!
      And a crumb of bread for Robin,
        His little heart to cheer.



HOW SWEETIE'S "SHIP CAME IN."

A CHRISTMAS STORY.


It will be a real honest story--of how Christmas came to a poor cold
home, and made it bright, and warm, and glad. A _very_ poor home it
was, up three flights of worm-eaten, dirt-stained stairs, in the old
gray house that stood far up a narrow, crooked alley, where the sun
never shone except just a while in the middle of the day. He tried
hard to brighten up the place a little, but the tall houses all about
prevented him. Still he slanted a few golden beams even into that
wretched home away up under the eaves; for though the few small panes
of glass in the narrow windows had been mostly broken out, and their
places filled with boards nailed tight to keep out the wintry winds,
and rain, and snow, still there were some left through which a feeble
ray did sometimes creep and make glad the hearts of the children. Five
fatherless children lived with their mother in that old garret. Night
and day the mother sewed, taking scarcely any rest, and yet found it
hard to keep all the little toes and knees covered, and could get only
the poorest food for the five hungry mouths. The thought that, work
never so hard, she could not earn enough to give them one hearty,
satisfying meal, made her heart ache.

Three boys and two girls, in one old naked room, with only their
mother to care for them, and she so poor, that for years she had not
had a new gown, or a new bonnet! Yet she liked pretty new clothes, as
well as any one ever did, I know.

Of these five little folks, the oldest was Harry, the newsboy; then
came Katie, and Willie, and Fred, and, last of all, wee Jennie.

Though Harry was the oldest, yet _he_ was not very old. Just
twelve--a thin, white little fellow, with eyes that always looked as
if they wanted more. More what? Well, more sunshine; more warm
clothes, and bright, hot fires, and, O, very much more to eat!
Sometimes he would make fifty cents in a day, selling newspapers, and
then he would hurry joyfully home, thinking of the hungry little
mouths it would help to fill. But some days he would hardly earn ten
cents the whole long day. Then he would go slowly and sadly along,
wishing all sorts of things--that he could take home as much meat as
he could carry to the little ones who had not eaten meat for so long
they had almost forgotten how it tasted; or that the gentlemen, who
owned the clothing stores which he was passing, would say to him,
"Come in, my little fellow, and help yourself to as many warm clothes
as you want for yourself and your little brothers at home;" or that he
could find a heap of money--and his mouth would water, thinking of the
good things which he could buy and take home with some of it.

The other children always knew whether it had been a good or bad day
with Harry, by the way he came up the stairs. If he came with a hop,
skip, and a jump, they knew it meant a good day; and a good day for
Harry was a good evening for them all.

Though Katie was really the name of the second child, she hardly ever
was called so; for her mother, and the children, and all the
neighbors, called her Sweetie, she was so good and so thoughtful for
others, so sweet-tempered and kind. She did everything so gently that
none of them could ever love her half as much as she deserved. Though
only ten years old, and very small and pale, she did every bit of the
housework, and kept the ugly old room and its faded furniture so neat,
that it seemed almost home-like and pretty to them all. It was
happiness enough for the little ones to get her first kiss when she
came back from an errand, to sit by her at table, and, above all, to
lie closest to her at night. Willie, and Fred, and Jennie, all slept
with her on a straw bed in the corner; and they used to try to stretch
her little arms over them all, so that even the one farthest off might
feel the tips of her fingers, so dearly did they love her.

They had once owned more than one bedstead, and many other comfortable
things besides; but when their father was killed at the great factory
where he worked, their mother was obliged to sell almost everything to
get enough money to pay for his funeral, and to help support her
little family; so that now she had only a narrow wooden settee for her
bed, while Harry stretched himself on a couple of chairs, and the rest
slept all together in the bed on the floor. Poor as they were, they
were not very unhappy. Almost every night, when their mother took the
one dim candle all to herself, so that she could see to sew neatly,
Sweetie would amuse the other children by telling them beautiful
stories about the little flower people, and the good fairies, and
about Kriss Kringle--though how she knew about him I can't tell, for
he never came down their chimney at Christmas.

"And, when my ship comes in," Sweetie used to say, "I'll have the
tallest and handsomest Christmas tree, filled to the top with candies
and toys, and lighted all over with different-colored candles, and
we'll sing and dance round it. Let's begin now, and get our voices in
tune." Then they would all pipe up as loud as they could, and were as
happy as if they half believed Sweetie's ship was ready to land.

But there came a hard year for poor needle-women: it was the year I am
writing about, and Sweetie's mother found it almost impossible to get
even the necessaries of life. Her children's lips were bluer, their
faces more pinched, and thin, threadbare clothes more patched than
ever. Sweetie used to take the two boys, and hunt in the streets for
bits of coal and wood; but often, the very coldest days, they would
have no fire. It was very hard to bear, and especially for the poor
mother, who still had to toil on, though she was so chilled, and her
hands so numbed, she could hardly draw her needle through her work;
and for Harry, who trudged through the streets from daylight until the
street lamps were lighted.

The day before Christmas came. People were so busy cooking Christmas
dainties that they did not stop to sift their cinders very carefully,
and Sweetie and the boys had picked up quite a large bag full of
half-burnt coal in the alleys, and were carrying it home as carefully
as if it were a great treasure--as, indeed, it was to them. Being very
tired, they sat down to rest on the curbstone in front of an elegant
mansion. One of the long windows was open.

"Let's get close up under the window," said Sweetie. "I guess it's too
warm inside, and may be we shall get some of the heat. O! O! don't it
smell good?" she cried, as the savory odors of the Christmas cooking
stole out upon the air.

"What is it, Sweetie?" whispered Willie.

"Coffee," said Sweetie, "and turkeys, and jelly, perhaps."

"I wish I had some," sighed Freddy, "I'm so cold and hungry!"

"Poor little man! he must come and sit in Sweetie's lap; that will
make him warmer," said his sister, wrapping her shawl around him.

"Yes; that's nice," said the little fellow, hugging her tight.

Mr. Rogers, the owner of this fine house, had lost his wife and two
dear children within the year. He lived here alone, with his servants,
and was very desolate. When the children stopped under his window, he
was lying on a velvet sofa near it, and, lifting himself up, he peeped
out from behind the curtains just as Fred crept into his sister's
arms; and he heard all they said.

"When your ship comes in, Sweetie, will it have turkeys and jellies in
it?" said Willie, leaning against her.

"Yes, indeed," said Sweetie. "There will be turkeys almost as big as
Jennie, and a great deal fatter."

"But it's so long coming, Sweetie; you tell us every time it _will_
come, and it never _comes_ at all."

"O, no, Freddy. I don't ever say it _will_ come, but it's nice to
think what we would do if it should come--isn't it?"

"We'd buy a great white house, like this--wouldn't we, Sweetie?"

"No, Willie. I'd rather buy that nice little store over by the church,
that's been shut up so long, and has FOR SALE on the door. I'd furnish
it all nice, and fill the shelves with beautiful goods, and trimmings
for ladies' dresses, and lovely toys. It shows so far that everybody
would be sure to buy their Christmas things there. It's just the
dearest little place, with two cosy rooms back of the shop, and three
overhead; and I'd put flour and sugar, and tea and coffee, and all
sorts of goodies, in the kitchen cupboard, and new clothes for all of
us in the closets up stairs. Then I'd kindle a fire, and light the
lamps, and lock the door, and go back to the dreary old garret once
more--poor mother would be sitting there, sad and sober, as she
always is now, and I would say to her, 'Come, mother, before you light
the candle, Jennie and I want you to go with us, and look at the
lovely Christmas gifts in the shop windows.' Then she'd say,
sorrowfully, 'I don't want to see them, dear; I can't buy any of them
for you, and I don't want to look at them.' But I'd tease her till I
made her go; and I'd leave Harry, who would know all about it
beforehand, to lock up the dismal old room, and bring all the rest of
you over to the new house. You'd get there long before we did, and the
light would be streaming out from the little shop windows--O, so
bright! 'Mother,' I'd say, 'let's go in here, and buy the cotton you
wanted;' and when I got her in, I'd shut the door quick, and dance up
and down, and say, 'Dear mother. Sweetie's ship's come in, and brought
you this new home, and everything comfortable; and Sweetie will tend
the shop, and you needn't sew any more day and night, for it's going to
be--' 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for us--every one!'
Harry and all of you would shout, and our dear mother would cry for
joy."

"Will it come to pass soon, Sweetie?" asked both the boys at once.

"Not very, I'm afraid," answered Sweetie, in a subdued tone; but, when
she saw their look of disappointment, she brightened up in a moment,
and added, "It'll be all the better, when it does come, for waiting so
long--but look here! To-night is Christmas Eve, and we've got coal
enough here to make a splendid fire. We won't light it till dark, and
then it will last us all the evening. And I've got a great secret to
tell you: Harry made a whole dollar yesterday, and mother is going to
give us each three big slices of fried mush, and bread besides, for
supper; and, after supper, I'll tell you the prettiest story you ever
heard, and we'll sing every song we know, and I guess we'll have a
merry Christmas if nobody else does."

[Illustration: HOW SWEETIE'S SHIP CAME IN.]

"I wish it was Christmas all the time," said Freddy, faintly.

"Christ was born that day," said Sweetie, softly, "and that makes it
best of all."

"Yes," said Willie; "the dear Lord who came from Heaven and, for our
sakes, became poor, and had not where to lay his head, not even a
garret as good as ours--"

"I know," said Freddy; "he was born in a manger, and a beautiful star
shined right over it. I can sing a hymn about it."

Then they picked up their bag, and started for home, gay as larks over
the prospect of the treat they were to have that night--fried mush and
a fire! that was all, you know.

Mr. Rogers, concealed by the heavy silk curtains, had heard every word
they said, and his eyes were full of tears. He rang for his servant.

"Harris," said he, when the man came in, "follow those children, find
out where they live, and what their neighbors say of the family."

When he was left alone again, he began to think,--

"Rich as I am, I have never yet done any great good to anybody. Who
knows but God may have sent those children under my window to teach me
that, instead of my own lost darlings, he means me to care for these
and other suffering little ones who live in the lanes and alleys of
this great city!"

Harris soon came back, and told his master what he had learned about
the circumstances of the family; and he added,--

"Everybody calls the oldest girl Sweetie, and they do say she's as
good as gold."

Mr. Rogers went out, and, before night, had bought the little corner
store, for which Sweetie had longed. Then, calling his servants
together, he related what he had overheard the children say, and told
them how anxious he was to grant Sweetie's wish, and let her take her
mother to her new home on Christmas Day.

"But I cannot do it," said Mr. Rogers, "unless you are willing to help
me work on Christmas Eve, for there is a great deal to be done."

No one could refuse to aid in so good a cause; and besides, Mr. Rogers
was always so considerate of his servants that they were glad to
oblige him. They all went to work with a will, and soon the little
house and store were put in perfect order.

There were ribbons, laces, buttons, needles, pins, tapes, and, indeed,
all sorts of useful things in the store. In the cellar were coal and
wood, two whole hams, a pair of chickens, and a turkey. The kitchen
pantry was stocked with sugar and flour. There was one barrel of
potatoes, and another of the reddest apples. Up stairs the closets and
bureaus were bursting with nice things to wear, not quite made into
garments, but ready to be made, as soon as Sweetie and her mother got
time.

So rapidly and so completely was everything arranged, that it seemed
as if one of those good fairies, of whom Sweetie had so often told the
children, had been at work.

"The money this has cost me," thought Mr. Rogers, "will make a family
of six happy, and do them good all the rest of their lives. I am glad
the thought has come to my heart to celebrate Christ's birthday in so
pleasant a way."

Late in the afternoon he picked his way through the dull, dirty alley
to the old gray house where Sweetie lived. As he went up the worn and
dusty stairway, he heard the children singing their Christmas songs.

"Poor little things!" said he; and the tears stood in his eyes.
"Happy even in this miserable place, while I know so many surfeited
with luxuries, and yet pining and discontented!"

Harry jumped to open the door as he knocked; and Mr. Rogers, entering,
apologized to the children's mother for his intrusion by saying he had
come to ask a favor.

"It is but little we can do for any one, sir," replied Mrs. Lawson;
"but anything in our power will be cheerfully done."

"Even if I propose to carry off this little girl of yours for a
while?" he asked; but, seeing the troubled look in the other
children's faces, he hastened to explain.

"The truth is," said he, "having no little folks of my own, I thought
I'd try and make other people's happy to-day; so I set out to get up a
Christmas tree; but I find I don't know how to go to work exactly, and
I want Sweetie to help me."

He spoke so sadly when he said he had no children of his own, that
Sweetie could not refuse to go.

"O, yes, sir," said she; "I'll go; that is, if I may come back this
evening--for I couldn't disappoint Freddy and all of them, you know!"

"They shan't be disappointed, I promise you," said Mr. Rogers, as he
took her down stairs.

"Why, I never was in a carriage in all my life," said Sweetie, as he
lifted her into his beautiful clarence, and sat down beside her.

"I shouldn't wonder if you should ride in a carriage pretty often
now," said Mr. Rogers, "for your ship's coming in."

Sweetie couldn't tell whether she was in a dream or not. Half crying,
half laughing, her face flushed with surprise, she asked,--

"How did you know?"

"Know what?" said her friend, enjoying her bewilderment.

"Why," she answered, "about the way I keep up the children's spirits,
and make them forget they are hungry and cold, while I tell them about
my ship coming in?"

"A little bird told me," said he, and then was quiet.

Sweetie did not like to ask any more; so she sat quite still, leaning
back in one corner of the carriage, among the soft, crimson cushions,
and watched the people in the street, thinking how happy she was, and
how strange it was that little Katie Lawson should be riding with a
grand gentleman in a splendid carriage!

Suddenly, with a whirl and a turn, they stopped before a house. Mr.
Rogers lifted her out, and led her up the broad steps; and she found
he was taking her into the beautiful white house, under the windows of
which she had sat with Willie and Fred the day before.

"Now," said Mr. Rogers, rolling a comfortable arm-chair for Sweetie in
front of a glowing fire, "while you are getting warm, and eating your
dinner, I am going to tell you about my Christmas tree, and how your
ship came in."

A little table was brought in, and set between them, filled with so
many delicacies, that Sweetie's head grew dizzy at the sight. She
thought of her little hungry brothers and sister, and would rather not
have eaten, but Mr. Rogers made her.

"My little girl," said he, finally, "never forget this: God always
rewards a faithful heart. If he seems to be a long time without caring
for his children, he never forgets or forsakes them."

Then he told her that he had overheard her conversation with her
brothers under his window, and that God had suddenly put it into his
heart to take care of some of the poor and fatherless in that great
city. "And I am going to begin with Sweetie," said he, very tenderly;
"and this is the way her ship shall come in. She shall have a new home
to give to her mother for a Christmas present, and the boys shall sing
their Christmas hymns to-night in the bright little parlor of the
corner store, instead of the dingy old garret; and here are the deeds
made out in Katie Lawson's own name, and nobody can take it away from
her. But come, little woman," he added,--for Sweetie was sobbing for
joy, and could not thank him,--"go and wash your face, for the horses
are tired of standing in the cold, and we must go and fetch the boys,
or I shall never get my Christmas tree set up."

An old lady, with a face beaming with kindness,--it was Mr. Rogers's
housekeeper,--then took Sweetie, and not only washed her tear-stained
cheeks, but curled her soft brown hair, and put on her the loveliest
blue dress, with boots to match. All the time she was dressing her,
Sweetie, who could not believe her senses, kept murmuring,--

"It's only a dream; it's too good to be true; the boys won't believe
it, I know; it's just like a fairy story, and, of course, it's only
pretending."

"No, indeed," said the old lady; "it's really true, my dear, and I
hope you'll be so grateful and kind to Mr. Rogers that he won't be so
lonely as he has been without his own dear little children."

Sweetie could hardly realize her own good fortune; and, when she went
down into the parlor, she burst into tears again, saying,--

"O, sir, I can't believe it. I am so happy!"

"So am I, Sweetie," said Mr. Rogers; and really it was hard to tell
which was the happier--it is always so much more blessed to give than
to receive. Together they rode to the new home, and laughed and cried
together as they went all over it. After they had been up stairs, and
down stairs, and in my lady's chamber, as Mr. Rogers said, he put her
into the carriage again.

"James," said he to the coachman, "you are under this young lady's
orders to-night, and must drive carefully."

Then, kissing Sweetie, he put the key of her new home into her hand,
and, telling her he should want her help to-morrow about his Christmas
tree, he bade her good night.

James drove Sweetie home, for the last time, to the dilapidated old
house. She ran up stairs, Freddy said afterwards, "just as Harry
always did when he'd had a good day." "Mother and children," said she,
"Mr. Rogers, the kind gentleman who was here, has sent me back in his
carriage to take you all to see something beautiful he has been
showing me. Harry, you be the gentleman of the house, and hand mother
and Jennie to the carriage, and I'll come right along." She stopped
long enough--this good child, who, even in her own good fortune, did
not forget the misfortunes of others--to run into the next room, where
an old woman lived, who was a cripple, and whose daughter supported
her by sewing.

"Mrs. Jones," said she, hurriedly, "a kind gentleman has given us a
new home, and we are going to it to-night, never to come back here to
live any more. Our old room, with the rent paid for a year, and all
there is in it, I want you to take as a Christmas present from
Sweetie; and I wish you a Happy, happy New Year, and please give this
to Milly;" and, slipping a five-dollar bill, which Mr. Rogers had
given her, into the old woman's hand, she ran out, and jumped into the
carriage. The street lamps blinked at them, like so many stars, as
they rolled along, and the boys and Jennie screamed with delight; but
Sweetie sat quite still.

James knew where to stop. Sweetie got out first, and ran and unlocked
the door of the little corner store. When they were all inside, and
before any one had time to ask a question, Sweetie threw her arms
about her mother's neck.

"Mother," she cried, "Sweetie's ship's come in; but it never would
have come if it had not been for Mr. Rogers; and it's brought you this
pretty house and shop for your own, and, please God, we'll all have--"

"A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" shouted Willie, ending her
sentence just as she had ended the story the day before.

"And all the better," said Fred, who remembered too, "because Christ
was born that day."

Mrs. Lawson, overwhelmed with joy, fainted. She soon recovered,
however, though Sweetie insisted on her lying on the soft lounge
before the fire, while she set the table. How pretty it looked, with
its six purple and white plates, and cups and everything to match! How
they did eat! How happy they were!

"Now," said Mrs. Lawson, when the dishes were washed, and they all sat
round the fire, "my little Sweetie, whose patience, and courage, and
cheerfulness have kept up the hearts of the rest of us, and proved the
ship that has brought us this cargo of comforts, you must tell us your
Christmas story before we go to bed."

So Sweetie told them all Mr. Rogers had said and done for her. They
were so excited they sat up very late, and happiness made them sleep
so soundly, that they did not wake till the sun was shining brightly
into the little shop. People began to come in very early, to make
little purchases. One lady bought a whole dollar's worth of toys,
which made them feel as if they were full of business already.

Later in the forenoon, Mr. Rogers sent for Harry and Sweetie to come
and help dress his Christmas tree; and Christmas night his parlor was
filled with poor children, for each of whom some useful gift hung on
the tree. Milly was there by Sweetie's invitation, and Mr. Rogers sent
her home in his carriage, with the easiest chair that money could buy
for her old lame mother. The tears filled his eyes as Milly thanked
him again and again for all his kindness; and, as he shut the door
after the last one, he said,--

"Hereafter I will make it always a Merry Christmas for God's needy
ones."

I am sure he did, for he had Sweetie always near him. He used to call
her his "Christmas Sweeting;" and then she would laugh, and say he was
her "Golden Sweeting."

What is better than gold he gave the family: he found patrons for Mrs.
Lawson, and customers for the shop, and placed Harry in a mercantile
house, where he soon rose to be head clerk. The other children he put
at school. Sweetie he never would let go very far out of his sight. He
had her thoroughly and usefully educated, and no less than her mother,
and brothers, and sister, did he bless the day when "Sweetie's ship
came in"--

    A ship which brought for every day
      A welcome hope, an added joy,
    A something sweet to do or say,
      And hosts of pleasures unalloyed,

    Its cargo, made of pleasant cares,
      Of daily duties to be done,
    Of smiles and laughter, songs and prayers,
      The glad, bright life of Happy Ones.

                                             MARGARET FIELD.



[Illustration: NOTHING TO DO.]

NOTHING TO DO.


    I have sailed my boat and spun my top,
      And handled my last new ball;
    I trundled my hoop till I had to stop,
      And I swung till got a fall;
    I tumbled my books all out of the shelves,
      And hunted the pictures through;
    I've flung them where they may sort themselves,
      And now--I have nothing to do.

    The tower of Babel I built of blocks
      Came down with a crash to the floor;
    My train of cars ran over the rocks--
      I'll warrant they'll run no more;
    I have raced with Grip till I'm out of breath;
      My slate is broken in two,
    So I can't draw monkeys. I'm tired to death
      Because I have nothing to do.

    I can see where the boys have gone to fish;
      They bothered me, too, to go,
    But for fun like that I hadn't a wish,
      For I think it's mighty "slow"
    To sit all day at the end of a rod
      For the sake of a minnow or two,
    Or to land, at the farthest, an eel on the sod:
      I'd rather have nothing to do.

    Maria has gone to the woods for flowers,
      And Lucy and Rose are away
    After berries. I'm sure they've been out for hours;
      I wonder what makes them stay?
    Ned wanted to saddle Brunette for me,
      But riding is nothing new;
    "I was thinking you'd relish a canter," said he,
      "Because you have nothing to do."

    I wish I was poor Jim Foster's son,
      For he seems so happy and gay,
    When his wood is chopped and his work all done,
      With his little half hour of play;
    He neither has books nor top nor ball,
      Yet he's singing the whole day through;
    But then he is never tired at all
      Because he has nothing to do.



[Illustration: TWO GENTLEMEN IN FURS.]

TWO "GENTLEMEN IN FUR CLOAKS."


This is the name given to the bears in Kamschatka by the Laplanders,
who think they will be offended if they are called by their real name;
and we may give the same name to the bears in the picture. They are
Polar bears, who live in the seas round the North Pole, and fine white
fur coats they have of their own. They are white on purpose, so that
they may not be seen easily among all the snow and ice in which they
live. The head of the Polar bear is very long and flat, the mouth and
ears are small in comparison with other bears, the neck is long and
thick, and the sole of the foot very large. Perhaps you will wonder
how the bear manages to walk on the ice, as nobody is very likely to
give him skates or snow-boots. To be sure, he has strong, thick claws,
but they would not be of much use--they would only make him slip on
the hard ice--but the sole of the foot is covered nearly all over with
thick, woolly hair, so the bear walks as safely as old ladies do when
they wrap list round their boots.

The Polar bear likes to eat fish, though he will eat roots and berries
when he can get no better, and he is a very good swimmer; he can dive,
too, and make long leaps in the water. If he wants a boat, he has only
to get on a loose piece of ice, and then he can float about at his
ease.

This is a full-grown bear, of course. Young bears cannot do all these
things; they have to stay with their mothers on shore, where they eat
seals and seaweed; the seaweed is their vegetable, I suppose. When the
young bears travel and get tired, they get on their mother's back, and
ride there quite safely, whether in the water or on land.

Bears are very fond of their young, and will do anything to defend
them. There is a story told of a poor mother-bear and her two cubs
which is almost too sad to tell, but it will make us think kindly of
the bear, so I will tell it to you.

Years ago a ship which had gone to the North Pole to make discoveries
got fixed tight in the ice; one morning, while the ship was still
unable to get loose, a man at the lookout gave warning that three
bears were coming across the ice toward the ship. The crew had killed
a walrus a few days before, and no doubt the bears had smelled it. The
flesh of the walrus was roasting in a fire on the ice, and two of the
bears ran eagerly to it, dragged out the bits that were not burnt, and
began to eat them; they were the cubs, but were almost as large as
their mother.

The sailors threw some more of the flesh they had on board on to the
ice. These the old bear fetched; and putting them before her cubs, she
divided them, giving them each a large piece, and only keeping a small
bit for herself. When she came to fetch the last piece the sailors
shot at the cubs, killing them; they also wounded the mother, but not
mortally; the poor mother never thought of herself, only of her cubs.
They were not quite dead, only dying, and she crawled to where they
lay, with the lump of meat she had fetched, and put it down before
them, as she had done the first time. When she found they did not eat,
she took hold first of one, then of the other, and tried to lift them
up, moaning pitifully all the time, as if she thought it would be of
no use. Then she went a little way off and looked back. But the cubs
were dead now, and could not move, so she went back to them and began
to lick their wounds. Once more she crawled away from them, and then
again came back, and went round and round them, pawing them and
moaning. At last she seems to have found out that they were dead; and
turning to the ship, she raised her head and uttered a loud growl of
anger and despair. The cruel sailors fired at her in reply, and she
fell between her poor dead cubs, and died licking their wounds.



[Illustration: THE FAITHFUL BOY.]

CHARLIE'S ESCAPE.


I have some boy-cousins living in the country of whom I think a great
deal. They write me letters quite often. I can hardly tell whose
letters give me the most pleasure, the "big boys'," who write me about
their school, their colts and calves, their good times on the
holidays, or the little printed letters I get from the "small boys,"
telling me how many chickens they have and that they love me. I am
sure I love them _all_, and hope they will grow to be good, true men.

Charlie is one of the "big boys." Not _very_ big, either--just
thirteen years old, and rather small and slight for his years. A few
weeks ago a neighbor of his father's was going away, and got Charlie
to do "the chores" for him during his absence--feed the young cattle,
milk the cow and keep things in order about the barn. Charlie is an
obliging boy, so he performed his task faithfully. If I had time,
boys, I would just like to stop here and give you a little lecture on
faithfulness, with Charlie for a model, for he _is_ a "faithful boy."
But I want to tell my story. For two or three days Charlie went each
morning to his neighbor's barn, and after milking the cow turned all
the creatures to pasture, and every night drove them home again. One
morning, as he stood by the bars waiting for them all to pass out, a
frisky year-old calf--"a yearling" the farmers call them--instead of
going orderly over the bars, as a well-disposed calf should, just gave
a side jump and shook her horns at Charlie. "Over with you!" called
Charlie, and waved his hand at her. Miss Yearling either fancied this
an insult or an invitation to single combat, for she again lowered her
head and ran at Charlie, who had no stick, and so thought best to run
from the enemy. He started for the stable door, but in his hurry and
fright he could not open it, and while fumbling at the latch the
creature made another attack. Charlie dodged her again, and one of her
horns pierced the door nearly an inch. Again she ran at him, and with
her nose "bunted" him off his feet. Charlie was getting afraid now,
and called out to the folks in the house, "Oh, come and help me!" and
right then he bethought him of something he had read in his father's
"Agriculturist" about a boy in similar danger, who saved himself by
grasping the cow's horns that had attacked him. So just as the
yearling was about to try again if she could push him over, he took
fast hold of each horn. But his situation was getting _very
unpleasant_, for he was penned up in a corner, with the barn behind
him, a high fence on one side and the now angry heifer in front. He
had regained his feet, but was pushed and staggered about, for he was
fast losing his strength. No wonder his voice had a quiver in it as he
again shouted as loud as he could, "Oh, do come quick!" The lady in
the house was busy getting breakfast, and heard no sound. A
lady-visitor in one of the chambers heard the first call, but thought
it only boys at play. By and by the distressed shout again smote her
ears, and this time she heard the words, "Help me!" She ran down
stairs to the housekeeper, who opened the outside door and listened.
Charlie's voice was weak and faint now, and the fear came to the lady
that he had fallen into the barn cellar. She ran quickly to the great
door of the barn. "Where are you, Charlie?" "Come to the stable door,"
answered back a faint, trembling voice. She quickly ran through the
barn to that door, but she could not open it at first, for the heifer
had pushed herself around till she stood broadside against the door.
But the lady pushed hard and got the door open a little way, and
seizing the big stable broom hit the naughty animal two or three heavy
whacks that made her move around; and as soon as she opened the door
wide, Charlie let go her horns, and she (the heifer), not liking the
big broom-handle, turned and ran off as fast as her legs could go. The
lady helped Charlie up and into the house, for he could hardly stand.
He was bruised and lame, and the breath had almost left him. But after
resting a while and taking some good warm drink, he tried to walk
home; and though the lady helped him, he found it hard work, for he
was so sore and bruised. Charlie's mother was frightened enough to see
her boy come home leaning on their neighbor's arm and looking so pale.
She helped him undress and lie down, and then she did just what your
mother, little reader-boy, would do if you had such an escape as
Charlie's. She put her arms around her boy and said, "Let us thank the
good Lord that you were not killed, my boy." And do you think Charlie
will ever forget his escape? I don't. And I hope he will always thank
"the good Lord" not only for the escape, but for his every blessing.



I AM COMING!


    I am coming! I am coming! sings the robin on the wing;
    Soon the gates of spring will open; where you loiter I will sing;
    Turn your thoughts to merriest music, send it ringing down the vale,
    Where the yellow-bird is waiting on the old brown meadow-rail.

    I am coming! I am coming! sings the summer from afar;
    And her voice is like the shining of some silver-mantled star;
    In it breathes the breath of flowers, in it hides the dawn of day,
    In it wake the happy showers of the merry, merry May!



DAISY'S TEMPTATION.


"I don't think grandma would ever know it. I could just slip them into
my pocket and put them on after I get there as e-a-sy! I'll do it;"
and Daisy Dorsey lifted her grandma's gold beads from a box on her
lap. She clasped them about her chubby neck and stood before the
mirror, talking softly to herself. "How nice it will be!" she said,
drawing up her little figure till only the tip of her nose was visible
in the glass. "And Jimmy Martin will let me fly his kite instead of
Hetty Lee. Hetty Lee, indeed! I don't believe she ever had any
grandmother--not such a grandmother as mine, anyway."

Then the proud little Daisy fell to thinking of the verse her mother
had read to her that morning, about the dear Father in heaven who sees
us always, and the blessed angels who are so holy and so pure.

"And I promised mamma I would be so good and try so hard to do right
always. No, no; I can't do it. Lie there, little pretty gold beads.
Daisy loves you, but she wants to be good too. So good-bye, dear
little, bright gold beads," laying them softly back in the drawer and
turning away with her eyes like violets in the rain.

Now, it so happened that good Grandma Ellis had heard every word Daisy
had said, had seen her take the beads from their box in the drawer,
knew just how her darling was tempted and how she had conquered pride
and evil desire in her little heart, for she was in her bath-room,
adjoining her chamber; and the door being ajar, she could hear and see
all that Daisy said and did.

How glad she was when she heard her say, "I can't do it. Good-bye,
pretty gold beads!" and she felt so sorry, too, for the great tears in
the sweet blue eyes.

Daisy wore the coral beads to the picnic, and no child had a merrier
day than she, for she had struggled with temptation, had overcome
through the loving Father's aid, and so was happy, as we all are when
we do right.

That evening, when the harvest-moon lifted its bright face to the
bosom of the east, Grandma Ellis sat in her old-fashioned high-backed
chair thinking.

Such a pretty picture she made, too, with her light shawl draped
gracefully over her shoulders, her kerchief and cap so snowy, and her
sweet face so full of God's love and his divinest peace!

In her hands she held the gold beads, and there was something very
like tears in her gray eyes, for the necklace had a history that only
grandma knew--she and one other, whose face that night was far away
where they need no light of the moon, nor of the sun, for God is the
light of the place.

"Come here, Daisy," she said, presently. "Come to grandma."

The little creature flew like a bird, for she loved the sound of that
dear old voice; and besides, Daisy was a happy child that night, and
in her heart the singing-birds of content and joy kept up a merry
music of their own.

[Illustration: DAISY'S TEMPTATION.]

Grandma Ellis threw the little necklace over Daisy's head as she came
toward her, and lifting her to her knee and kissing her glad eyes
said, speaking low and softly,

"That is for my Daisy to keep always, for grandma's sake. It is not
just the ornament for your little dear neck in these days, but keep it
always, because grandma loved it and gave it to her darling that would
not deceive her, even for the sake of flying Jimmy Martin's kite at
the picnic."

Then Daisy was sure grandma knew all about her sad temptation, and how
she had coveted the bright gold beads for just one little day. Now
they were to be hers for ever, and half for shame, half for very joy,
Daisy hid her curly head in grandma's bosom and sobbed aloud.

"Hush, darling!" grandma said; "we are all tempted to do wrong
sometimes, and the dear Father in heaven suffers this to be that we
may grow stronger through resistance. Now, if you had yielded to the
voice of pride and desire this morning, do you think you could have
been happy to-day, even with the necklace and flying Jimmy's kite?"

"No, no! Oh, grandma, forgive me!" sobbed the little voice from
grandma's bosom.

"Yes, dear, as I am sure God does, who saw how you were sorely tried
and surely conqueror. Kiss me good-night now; and when you have said
your 'Now I lay me,' add, 'Dear Father, help grandma's Daisy to be
good and happy always.'"

An hour later, with the gold beads still about her neck, Daisy in her
little bed was dreaming of the beautiful fields and flowers that are
for ever fadeless in the land we name eternal; and the blessed angels,
guarding her slumber and seeing the smile upon her happy lips, were
glad because of Daisy's temptation, for they knew that the dear child
would be stronger and purer and better because she had overcome.



ANSWER TO A CHILD'S QUESTION.


    Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
    The linnet and thrush say "I love and I love!"
    In the winter they're silent, the wind is so strong;
    What it says I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
    But green leaves and blossoms and sunny warm weather,
    And singing and loving, all come back together.
    But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
    The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
    That he sings and he sings, and for ever sings he,
    "I love my love, and my love loves me."



[Illustration: NELLY'S GARDEN.]

WHAT NELLY GAVE AWAY.


Nelly Ray was a bright, brave-hearted little girl, whom no one could
help loving.

Singing like a lark in the morning, wearing sweet smiles on her face
all day, cheerful even when the shadows fell, it would have been
strange indeed if her humble home had not seemed like a bit of
paradise, and the ground under her feet had not blossomed like the
rose.

It was a pleasant day in the early spring, when the grass was just
lifting itself above the moist earth, when the soft south wind was
blowing among the tender little leaves of the lilac bushes, when the
birds were busy building their nests, when the merry little brook was
beginning its song and the great round world looked glad and bright,
that Nelly began to make her garden.

Her father had dug the ground and made it ready for her, and so she
took her little red basket full of seeds of different kinds, each kind
tied up by itself and labelled, and down in the little beds she
dropped candy-tuft, and phlox, and lady-slippers.

How happy she was at her work! Her cheeks were the color of ripe
peaches, her eyes were as sweet as twin violets, and her little mouth
was like a fresh rosebud, but better and brighter far than the cheeks
and lips was the light of kindness that shone in her eyes.

Her sister Jennie, who sat sewing by the window, watched her with
loving interest.

"Mother," she said, at length, looking up from her work, "do you know
what a generous little girl our Nelly would be if she was only a rich
man's child?"

"Is she not generous now, Jennie?" asked her mother.

"Oh yes, surely she is. But I was thinking how much good she would do,
and how much she would give away, if only we were not poor."

She saw that her mother was smiling softly to herself.

"She gives away more now, of course, than some rich children do. Just
think how faithfully she works in that little garden, so as to have
flowers to give away! I do not believe there is a house anywhere near
us into which sickness or poverty comes where her simple flowers will
not go."

"Did you ever think, dear Jennie, of the other garden which Nelly
weeds and waters every day?"

"No, mother. What garden do you mean?"

"The garden of her heart, my dear child. You know that the rain which
the clouds take from the lakes and rivers comes back to refresh and
beautify our fields and gardens; and so it is with our little Nelly's
good deeds and kind, loving words. She gives away more than a handful
of violets, for with them goes a bright smile, which is like sunshine
to the sick heart. She gives more than a bunch of roses, for with them
always goes a kind word. And doing these little things, she gets a
large reward. Her own heart grows richer."



A STRANGE COMBAT.


We are told that the old Romans greatly delighted in witnessing the
combats of wild beasts, as well as gladiators, and that they used to
ransack their whole broad empire for new and unheard-of
animals--anything and everything that had fierceness and fight in it.
Those vast amphitheatres, like the Coliseum, were built to gratify
these rather sanguinary tastes in that direction.

But I doubt whether even the old Romans, with all their large
experience, ever beheld so strange and grotesque a "set-to" (I'm
pretty sure none of our American boys ever did) as the writer once
stumbled upon, on the shores of one of our Northern Maine lakes--Lake
Pennesseewassee, if you can pronounce that; it trips up editors
sometimes.

I had been spending the day in the neighboring forest, hunting for a
black squirrel I had seen there the evening before, having with me a
great, red-shirted lumberman, named Ben--Ben Murch. And not finding
our squirrel, we were making our way, towards evening, down through
the thick alders which skirted the lake, to the shore, in the hope of
getting a shot at an otter, or a mink, when all at once a great sound,
a sort of _quock, quock_, accompanied by a great splashing of the
water, came to our ears.

"Hush!" ejaculated Ben, clapping his hand to his ear (as his custom
was), to catch the sound. "Hear that? Some sort of a fracas."

And cautiously pushing through the dense copse, a very singular and
comical spectacle met our eyes. For out some two or three rods from
the muddy, grassy shore stood a tall, a very tall bird,--somewhere
from four to five feet, I judged,--with long, thin, black legs, and
an awkward body, slovenly clad in dull gray-blue plumage. The neck
was as long as the legs, and the head small, and nearly bare, with a
long, yellowish bill. Standing knee deep in the muddied water, it was,
on the whole, about the most ungainly-looking fowl you can well
imagine; while on a half-buried tree trunk, running out towards it
into the water, crouched a wiry, black creature, of about average dog
size, wriggling a long, restless tail, and apparently in the very act
of springing at the long-legged biped in the water. Just now they were
eying each other very intently; but from the splashed and bedraggled
appearance of both, it was evident there had been recent hostilities,
which, judging from the attitude of the combatants, were about to be
renewed.

"Show!" exclaimed Ben, peering over my shoulder from behind. "An old
_hairn_--ain't it? Regular old _pokey_. Thought I'd heered that
_quock_ before. And that creatur'? Let's see. Odd-looking chap. Wish
he'd turn his head this way. Fisher--ain't it? Looks like one. Should
judge that's a fisher-cat. What in the world got them at loggerheads,
I wonder?"

By "hairn" Ben meant _heron_, the great blue heron of American
waters--_Ardea Herodias_ of the naturalists. And fisher, or
fisher-cat, is the common name among hunters for Pennant's marten, or
the _Mustela canadensis_, a very fierce carnivorous animal, of the
weasel family, growing from three to four feet in length, called also
"the black cat."

The fisher had doubtless been the assailant, though both had now that
intent, tired-down air which marks a long fray. He had probably crept
up from behind, while old long-shanks was quietly frogging along the
shore.

But he had found his intended victim a game one. The heron had a
character to sustain; and although he might easily have flown away, or
even waded farther out, yet he seemed to scorn to do either.

Not an inch would it budge, but stood with its long, javelin-like beak
poised, ready to strike into the fisher's eye, uttering, from moment
to moment, that menacing, guttural _quock_, which had first attracted
our attention.

This sound, mingling with the eager snarling and fretting of the cat,
made the most dismal and incongruous duet I had ever listened to. For
some moments they stood thus threatening and defying each other; but
at length, lashing itself up to the proper pitch of fury, the fisher
jumped at his antagonist with distended jaws, to seize hold of the
long, slender throat. One bite at the heron's slim neck would settle
the whole affair. But this attempt was very adroitly balked by the
plucky old wader's taking a long step aside, when the fisher fell into
the water with a great splash, and while struggling back to the log,
received a series of strokes, or, rather, stabs, from the long,
pointed beak, dealt down with wonderful swiftness, and force, too; for
we distinctly heard them _prod_ into the cat's tough hide, as he
scrambled upon the log, and ran spitting up the bank. This defeat,
however, was but temporary, as any one acquainted with the singular
persistence and perseverance of the whole weasel family will readily
guess. The fisher had soon worked his way down the log again, the
heron retiring to his former position in the water.

Another succession of quocks and growlings, and another spring, with
even less success, on the side of the cat. For this time the heron's
bill wounded one of his eyes; and as he again retreated up the log, we
could see the bloody tears trickling down over his shaggy jowl.

Thus far the battle seemed favorable to the heron; but the fisher
again rallied, and, now thoroughly maddened, rushed down the log, and
leaped blindly upon his foe. Again and again his attacks were parried.
The snarling growls now rose to shrieks, and the croaking quocks to
loud, dissonant cries.

"Faugh!" muttered Ben. "Smell his breath--fisher's breath--clean here.
Always let that out somehow when they're mad."

Even at our distance, that strong, fetid odor, sometimes perceptible
when a cat spits, could plainly be discerned.

"Old _hairn_ seems to be having the best of it," continued Ben. "I bet
on him. How cool he keeps! Fights like a machine. See that bill come
down now! Look at the marks it makes, too!" For the blood, oozing out
through the thick fur of the cat in more than a dozen spots, was
attesting the prowess of the heron's powerful beak.

But at length, with a sudden bound upward, the fisher fell with his
whole weight upon the back of his lathy antagonist. Old long-legs was
upset, and down they both went in the water, where a prodigious
scuffle ensued. Now one of the heron's big feet would be thrust up
nearly a yard; then the cat would come to the top, sneezing and
strangling; and anon the heron's long neck would loop up in sight,
bending and doubling about in frantic attempts to peck at its foe, its
cries now resembling those of a hen when seized in the night, save
that they were louder and harsher. Over and over they floundered and
rolled. The mud and water flew about. Long legs, shaggy paws, wet,
wriggling tail, and squawking beak, fur and feathers--all turning and
squirming in inextricable confusion. It was hard telling which was
having the best of the _mêlée_, when, on a sudden, the struggle
stopped, as if by magic.

[Illustration: {The marten about to attack the heron}]

"One or t'other has given in," muttered Ben.

Looking more closely, we saw that the fisher had succeeded in getting
the heron's neck into his mouth. One bite had been sufficient. The
fray was over. And after holding on a while, the victor, up to his
back in water, began moving towards the shore, dragging along with
him, by the neck, the body of the heron, whose great feet came
trailing after at an astonishing distance behind. To see him, wet as a
drowned rat, tugging up the muddy bank with his ill-omened and
unsightly prey, was indeed a singular spectacle. Whatever had brought
on this queer contest, the fisher had won--fairly, too, for aught I
could see; and I hadn't it in my heart to intercept his retreat. But
Ben, to whom a "black cat" was particularly obnoxious, from its
nefarious habit of robbing traps, had no such scruples, and, bringing
up his rifle with the careless quickness of an old woodsman, fired
before I could interpose a word. The fisher dropped, and after
writhing and snapping a few moments, stretched out--dead.

Leaving Ben to take off its skin,--for the fur is worth a trifle,--I
was strolling along the shore, when upon coming under a drooping
cedar, some six or seven rods from the scene of the fight, another
large heron sprang out of a clump of brambles, and stalked off with a
croak of distrust. It at once occurred to me that there might be a
nest here; and opening the brambles, lo, there it was, a broad,
clumsy structure of coarse sticks, some two or three feet from the
ground, and lined with moss and water grasses. In it, or, rather, on
it, were two chicks, heron chicks, uncouth little things, with long,
skinny legs and necks, and sparsely clad with tufts of gray down. And
happening to glance under the nest, I perceived an egg, lodged down
among the bramble-stalks. It had probably rolled out of the nest. It
struck me, however, as being a very small egg from so large a bird;
and having a rule in my pocket, I found it to be but two and a half
inches in length by one and a half in width. It was of a dull,
bluish-white color, without spots, though rather rough and uneven. I
took it home as a curiosity.

On the edge of the nest I saw several small perch, a frog, and a
meadow-mouse, all recently brought, though the place had a suspicious
odor of carrion.

All this while the old heron had stood at a little distance away,
uttering now and then an ominous croak. I could easily have shot it
from where I stood, but thought the family had suffered enough for one
day.

The presence of the nest accounted for the obstinacy with which the
old male heron had contested the ground with the fisher.

Both old birds are said to sit by turns upon the eggs. But the nests
are not always placed so near the ground as this one. Last summer,
while fishing from the "Pappoose's Pond," I discovered one in the very
top of a lofty Norway pine--a huge bunch of sticks and long grass,
upon the edge of which one of the old herons was standing on one foot,
perfectly motionless, with its neck drawn down, and seemingly asleep.

The artist who could have properly sketched that nest and bird would
have made his fortune then and there.

                                             C. A. STEPHENS.



LITTLE HOME-BODY.


    Little Home-body is mother's wee pet,
    Fairest and sweetest of housekeepers yet;
    Up when the roses in golden light peep,
    Helping her mother to sew and to sweep.
    Tidy and prim in her apron and gown,
    Brightest of eyes, of the bonniest brown;
    Tiniest fingers, and needle so fleet,
    Pattern of womanhood, down at my feet!

    Little Home-body is grave and demure,
    Weeps when you speak of the wretched and poor,
    Though she can laugh in the merriest way
    While you are telling a tale that is gay.
    Lily that blooms in some lone, leafy nook;
    Sly little hide-away, moss-sided brook;
    Fairies are fine, where the silver dews fall;
    Home fairies--these are the best of them all!

                            GEORGE COOPER.



[Illustration: NEDDY AND HIS LAMB.]

NEDDY'S HALF HOLIDAY.


"We've had a good time, Tony, old fellow, haven't we?" said Neddy
Harris, who was beginning to feel tired with his half day's ramble in
the fields. As he said this he sat down on some boards in the barn.

Tony replied to his young master by rubbing his nose against his face,
and by a soft "baa," which was as near as he could come to saying, "A
first-rate time, Master Neddy."

"A grand good time," added the boy, putting his arms around the lamb's
neck and laying his face on its soft wool.

"And now," he continued, "as father says we should always do, I'll
just go back and think over what I've done this holiday afternoon; and
if I forgot myself in anything and went wrong, it will be best for me
to know it, so that I can do better next time.

"I'm sorry about that poor squirrel," said Neddy; "he never did me any
harm. What a beautiful little creature he was, with his bright black
eyes and shiny skin!"

And the boy's face grew sad, as well it might, for he had pelted this
squirrel with stones from tree to tree, and at last knocked him to the
ground.

"But it was so cruel in me! Now, if I live a hundred years, I'll never
harm another squirrel. God made these frisky little fellows, and
they've just as much right to live as I have."

Neddy felt better about the squirrel after this good resolution, which
he meant to keep.

"That was curious about the spider," he went on, trying to push all
thoughts of the dead squirrel from his mind. Let me tell you about
this spider. In the corner of a fence Neddy saw a large circular
spider's web, shaped like a funnel, down in the centre of which was a
hole. As he stood looking at the delicate thing, finer than any woven
silk, a fly struck against it and got his feet tangled, so that he
could not escape. Instantly a great black spider ran out of the hole
at the bottom of the web, and seizing the poor fly dragged him out of
sight and made his dinner off of him.

Neddy dropped a piece of dry bark about the size of his thumb nail
into the web, and it slipped down and covered the hole through which
the spider had to come for his prey. Instantly the piece of bark was
pushed up by the spider, who came out of his den and ran around on the
slender cords of his web in a troubled kind of way. Then he tried to
get back into his hidden chamber, but the piece of bark covered the
entrance like a shut door. And now Mr. Spider was in a terrible
flurry. He ran wildly up one side of his web and down another; then he
tugged at the piece of bark, trying to drag it out, but its rough
edges took hold of the fine silken threads and tore them.

"You'll catch no more flies in that web, old chap," said Neddy as he
stood watching the spider.

But Neddy was mistaken. Spider did not belong to the give-up class. If
the thing could not be done in one way, it might in another. He did
not reason about things like human beings, but then he had instinct,
as it is called, and that teaches animals how to get their food, how
to build their houses or make their nests, and how to meet the dangers
and difficulties that overtake them in life. After sitting still for a
little while, spider went to work again, and this time in a surprising
way. He cut a circle close around the piece of bark as neatly as you
could have done with a pair of sharp scissors, and lo! it dropped to
the ground, leaving a hole in the web about the size of a ten-cent
piece.

"Rather hard on the web, Mr. Landpirate," said Neddy, laughing. "Flies
can go through there as well as chips."

When he called the spider a land-pirate, Neddy was wrong. He was no
more a pirate--that is, one who robs and murders--than is the
woodpecker or swallow, for they feed on worms and insects. The spider
was just as blameless in his work of catching and eating flies as was
Neddy's white bantam when she went off into the fields after
grasshoppers.

But Neddy's laugh at the spider was soon cut short. The most difficult
part of his work was done when he got rid of the piece of bark. As
soon as that was out of his way he began moving backward and forward
over the hole he had cut in the web, just as if he were a weaver's
shuttle, and in about ten minutes it was all covered with gauzy
lacework finer than ever was worn by a queen.

"I'll give it up, old fellow," exclaimed Neddy, taking a long breath
as he saw the work completed. "This just beats me out." Spider crept
down into his den again to wait for another fly, and Neddy, leading
Tony, went on his way pleased and wondering.



THE SPARROW.


    Thou humblest bird that wings the air, the Master cares for thee;
    And if he cares for one so small, will he not care for me?

    His eye looks on thee from above, he notices thy fall;
    And if he cares for such as thee, does he not care for all?

    He feeds thee in the sweet spring-time, when skies are bright and
            blue;
    He feeds thee in the autumn-time, and in the winter too.

    He leads thee through the pathless air, he guides thee in thy
            flight;
    He sees thee in the brightest day, and in the darkest night.

    Oh, if his loving care attends a bird so mean and small,
    Will he not listen to my voice when unto him I call?



[Illustration: {Mrs. Pike talks to Sarah and Jane}]

MRS. PIKE'S PRISONERS.

A TRUE STORY.


Early on a cloudy April afternoon, many years ago, several little
girls were playing in a village door-yard, not far from the fence
which separated it from a neighbor's. They were building a play-house
of boards, and were so busily occupied, that none of them had noticed
a lady standing at a little four-paned window in the house the other
side of the fence, who had been intently regarding them for some time.
The window was so constructed as to swing back like a door, and being
now open, the lady's face was framed against the dark background of
the room, producing the effect of a picture. 'Twas a strange face,
sallow and curiously wrinkled, with a nose like the beak of a hawk,
and large black eyes, which seemed to be endowed with the power of
perpetual motion. These roved from one to another of the busy
builders, till suddenly one of them seemed to be aware that some one
was looking at her, and turned towards the little window.

"Ah, I know you, Wealthy Robbins! Come here a minute, my little dear,"
spoke the lady, in a shrill, quavering voice. And she beckoned to her
with a hooked finger like a claw. But Wealthy shrank back, murmuring,
"I don't want to," almost under her breath, and nudging with her elbow
the nearest girl; "Hannah, Mrs. Pike wants something. See!"

"Is that you, Hannah Green? Come over here, and I'll give you a piece
of my Passover candy." And the lady waved in the air a long candle-rod
entwined with a strip of scarlet flannel, which made it look like a
mammoth stick of peppermint candy.

This attracted the attention of all the girls, and going close to the
fence, they peered through, while she besought them, with enticing
promises and imploring eyes, to come around under the window, for she
had something to tell them.

"Don't let's go," whispered Mary Green, the oldest of the group.
"Mother told me never to go near her window when she's standing there,
for she's a crazy woman. That stick isn't candy no more than I am."

"Come, Sarah; I always knew you were a kind little girl," said Mrs.
Pike, in a coaxing tone, to the youngest and smallest of the group;
"_do_ come here just a minute."

At last, Sarah Holmes and her sister Jane went around, and stood under
the little window. Jane said it could do no harm just to go and see
what Mrs. Pike wanted, and if _she_ was shut up in jail, she guessed
she'd want a good many things.

"Now, you dear little lambs, you see I'm all alone in the house; and
they've gone away, and forgotten to give me my dinner; and I'm _very_
hungry. All I want is a little unleavened bread, for this is Passover
Day, you know. Well, you just climb in through the dining-room window,
little Sarah,--Jane can help you,--and unlock my door, so I can go to
the buttery and get some bread. Then I'll bring you out a nice saucer
mince pie, and come back here, and you can lock me in. They'll never
know; and I shall starve if you don't take pity on me."

After some whispering together, the little girls did as they were
bidden, notwithstanding the warnings of their mates the other side of
the fence. When they had disappeared from view, Mary Green turned
away, and began to hammer, as though she was driving a nail into Mrs.
Pike's head, or Jane Holmes's, or somebody's, ejaculating, "I guess
they'll rue this day."

Which prophetic words came very near being verified at the moment
they were spoken. For no sooner had Jane unlocked the door of Mrs.
Pike's room, than out sprang that lady, and clutched one of the little
girls with either hand, almost shrieking, "Ah, I know you! you belong
to that wicked and rebellious tribe of Korah. Why didn't you come over
to the help of the mighty immediately? Now, you shall see how _you_
like dwelling in the Cave of Machpelah for a day and a night, and a
month and a year, until He shall come whose right it is to reign."

And she thrust the trembling, awe-struck children into the room that
had been her prison, and turned the key upon them. Then away she
strode out of the house and up the street, a noticeable figure, truly,
in her short yellow nankeen dress, with pantalets of the same, and
neat white Quaker cap, with long white ribbons crossed under her chin,
and carrying an immense umbrella over her head. It was strange that
none of the nearest neighbors should see her pass. The front door was
on the opposite side of the house from where the little girls were
playing; so they did not observe her exit; and thus it happened that
the crazy lady, who had been confined in the house for weeks, escaped
without any check upon her triumphant progress. Busy women, seeing her
from their windows, thought Mrs. Pike must be better again, to be out,
and did wish her friends wouldn't let her walk the streets looking
like a Dutch woman. Boys paused in their games almost respectfully, as
she passed by; for notwithstanding her strange appearance and rapid
movements, there was an air of mysterious command about the woman
which checked any rudeness.

"There goes Madam Pike," exclaimed one ragged-kneed boy, when she had
passed out of hearing. "Got on her ascension-robe--hasn't she? Wonder
if that umberil will help her any? I say, boys, do you suppose all the
saints that walk the streets of the new Jerusalem look like her?"

While Mrs. Pike walked rapidly on, with a keen appreciation of the
fresh air and occasional gleams of sunshine, the little prisoners
drooped like two April violets plucked and thrown upon the ground.
They were so frightened and awe-struck, that the idea of calling for
help from the open window did not occur to them; and they crouched
upon the floor, melancholy and mute. After a while, some odd-looking
garments, hanging in a row on one side of the room, attracted their
attention; but they did not dare to go near them at first. Mrs. Pike
was what was called a Second Adventist, and had read the Bible and
Apocrypha with a fiery zeal, and an earnest determination to find
therein proof of what she believed, and had attended Second Advent
meetings, and exhorted wherever she could get a hearing, until her
poor brain was crazed. But lately her husband and friends had kept her
in doors as much as possible; and she spent most of the time knitting
ascension-robes for the saints of the twelve tribes of the house of
Judah. These were long garments, coming nearly to the feet, each of a
single color, royal purple and blue being her favorites. She said that
she must improve every moment, lest the great and dreadful day of the
Lord should come, and she should not be ready, i. e., would not have a
robe prepared for each of the saints to ascend in. When her son, a boy
of twelve, died, she had him buried by the front doorstep, so, when
the procession of saints should pass out at the door, Erastus could
join them immediately, and not have to come from the burying-ground, a
mile away.

It was after sunset when Mr. Pike passed along the village street, on
his way home, and was informed by a good woman, standing at her gate,
that his wife had gone by about one o'clock, and that, not long after,
Jane and Sarah Holmes were missed. Some little girls they had been
playing with had seen them get into Mr. Pike's house through the
dining-room window, and that was the last that had been seen or heard
of them. Mrs. Holmes was going on dreadfully; for she thought that, as
likely as not, Madam Pike had thrown them down in the well, or hid
them where they would never be found, and then run away. The
bewildered man hurried home to harness his horse, and go in search of
his wife; for, with a trust in her better nature, worthy of a woman,
he believed that she would tell him where the children were, if she
knew. Fortunately, he found her in a tavern about a mile from home,
preaching, as the children would say. As usual, she was exhorting her
hearers to prepare for the great and terrible day of the Lord, etc.,
etc.; but when her husband appeared in the doorway, the thread of her
discourse was suddenly broken, and she turned and accosted him with,
"Ah, Mr. Pike, have you seen my prisoners in the Cave of Machpelah?
They belong to that wicked and rebellious tribe of Korah, you know."

"Well, Mary, let's go home, and see how they are getting along," said
he, in a confident tone; for he instantly divined who her prisoners
were, and that the Cave of Machpelah could not be far away.

Mrs. Pike was quite willing to go with him, and worried all the way
home; for she said prisoners were always in mischief, and there were
the robes hanging in the cave, which she had forgotten to put out of
their reach. So when they arrived, her first act was to unlock the
door of the children's prison. And her next was to pounce upon them
with even more vigor than when she emerged from it in the afternoon.
For there they lay asleep on the carpet, Jane in a purple robe, and
Sarah in a green, their hands and feet invisible by reason of the
great length of their garments.

"Don't hurt them, Mary," said Mr. Pike. For she was hustling off the
precious robes before the little girls were fairly awake; and they
might have fared hardly, had not the kind man been present to see that
justice was done; to wit, that they were compensated for their
imprisonment by pockets full of cakes and fruit, and sent home to
their mother without delay. That happy woman did not send them
supperless to bed, nor say a word about punishing them, either then or
afterwards. Perhaps she guessed that their punishment had already been
sufficiently severe.

"O, mother," said Jane, "at first we didn't dare to stir or speak, for
fear the crazy lady was listening; and she seemed angry enough to kill
us. I felt as if my hair was turning gray, and Sarah looked as white
as the wall. Well, after a great many hours, we began to look about
the room, and we saw those queer gowns she knits, hanging in a row;
and we got up and looked at them. By and by we got so tired doing
nothing, that we took them down and tried them on, and played we were
the saints. We tried to fly, but the old things were so heavy and
long, that we couldn't even jump. And after a while we were so tired
that we lay down and went to sleep, and never woke till Mrs. Pike came
home. O, but 'twas the lonesomest, longest, dreariest afternoon we
ever, ever knew--wasn't it, Sarah?"

This was the story, with variations, which the Holmes girls had to
tell to their mates the next day, and the next, and so on, until it
ceased to be a novelty.

But Mrs. Pike's prisoners were heroines, in the estimation of the
village girls and boys, for more than one year, and doubtless still
remember and tell to their children the story of their afternoon in
the Cave of Machpelah.

                                                    M. R. W.



WAR AND PEACE.


WAR.

    The warrior waves his standard high,
      His falchion flashes in the fray;
    He madly shouts his battle-cry,
      And glories in a well-fought day.
    But Famine's at the city gate,
      And Rapine prowls without the walls;
    The city round lies desolate,
      While Havoc's blighting footstep falls.
    By ruined hearths, by homes defiled,
      In scenes that nature's visage mar,
    We feel the storm of passions wild,
      And pluck the bitter fruit of war.


PEACE.

    The cobweb hangs on Sword and belt,
      The charger draws the gliding plow;
    The cannons in the furnace melt,
      And change to gentle purpose now;
    The threshers swing their ponderous flails,
      The craftsmen toil with cheerful might;
    The ocean swarms with merchant sails,
      And busy mills look gay by night;
    The happy land becomes renowned,
      As knowledge, arts, and wealth increase,
    And thus, with plenty smiling round,
      We cull the blessed fruits of peace.

[Illustration: WAR.]



CHERRY-TIME.


    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      We children used to say--
    "The merriest throughout the year,
      For all is bright and gay."

    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      The air is fresh and sweet,
    And fair flowers in the garden bloom,
      And daisies 'neath our feet.

    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      For hanging on the tree,
    All round and glistening in the sun,
      The pretty fruit we see.

    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      Up in the tree so high
    We children climbed, and, laughing, said,
      "Almost into the sky."

    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      The robins thought so too,
    And helped themselves to "cherries ripe"
      While wet with morning dew.

    "Oh, cherry-time is a merry time!"
      The sunshine and the showers
    Of God's rich mercy fall on us
      In happy childhood's hours.

[Illustration: CHERRY-TIME.]



[Illustration: {The boys in the pond, fishing with rods}]

THE DAVY BOYS' FISHING-POND.


"Boys," said Mr. Davy, "how would you like to have a fishing-pond?"

The five boys looked at him eagerly, to see if he were in earnest.

"O, splendid, papa!" say they in chorus; "but how _can_ we have a
fishing-pond?"

"You know that hollow down in the pasture," continued Mr. Davy, "and
what a blemish it is upon the farm. I have wondered if we could not
make it useful in some way, and at the same time improve the looks of
things. I think we might build an embankment upon the open side, make
the slope steeper all round, bring the water into it from the creek,
and so have a fishing-pond. We should have to make a race-way from the
creek to the pond, and cut a channel through the meadow, in which the
water could flow back to the creek again below the fall. I think it
could be done," said Mr. Davy, after a pause, "only there would be a
great deal of work necessary, and we could hardly afford to hire it
done."

"O, father, _we_ can do the digging," shouted five voices in chorus;
"we can do it with our spades and wheelbarrows. School doesn't begin
for a month yet, and we can get it all done in that time."

"Hurrah for a fish-pond!" cried Percy, and in imagination he fairly
felt the bites of the three-pound trout he was to catch before summer
was over.

Mr. Davy is a practical farmer. By that I mean that he cultivates the
land with his own hands. He, with his men, and those of the boys who
are old enough, are in the fields every morning in summer by five
o'clock, ploughing, planting, sowing, or milking the cows, and, later
in the season, haying, harvesting, or threshing. Tommy, the eldest of
his sons, is thirteen years old; Clarence, the youngest, is five.

Mr. Davy had been thinking of the fishing-pond for some time, and had
matured the plan in his mind before speaking of it to the boys. The
morning after the conversation of which I have told you, I saw the
five boys standing in thoughtful silence upon the bank above the
hollow in the pasture. I do not believe the engineer who is planning
the bridge across the British Channel, to connect England and France,
feels anymore responsibility than did the Davy boys that morning.

"May we begin to-day, father?" said they, eagerly, at breakfast-time.

"Yes; and Patrick can help you," was the reply.

The horses were harnessed to the plough, and driven to the hollow.
Patrick was instructed how to proceed. He put the reins round his
neck, and took firm hold of the handles. "Go on wid ye, now!" he cried
to the horses. A furrow was soon turned, and the fish-pond fairly
begun.

"Your work," said Mr. Davy to the boys, "will be to wheel away the
earth which Patrick ploughs out. The first thing is to lay a plank
for your wheelbarrows to run upon."

Tommy and George soon brought the planks from the tool-house. Blocks
were laid the proper distance apart to sustain them, and, after two or
three hours' work, a line of plank, which looked to the boys as grand
as the new Pacific Railway, stretched across the hollow. The little
laborers went in to dinner flushed with excitement and hard work, but
as happy, I dare say, as if they had been to Barnum's Museum, and seen
the wax figures and wild animals.

Patrick had, during the forenoon, ploughed a good many furrows, and
now the boys were busy enough carrying away the earth. Each had a
wheelbarrow of his own--Clarence's a toy, which, with a tiny spade,
his father had brought from the city with a view to the work now in
progress. It required a steady hand to keep the wheelbarrows upon the
plank. They _would_ run off once in a while, and then all hands
halted, and lifted them upon the track again. The earth was to be
deposited--"dumped," the boys said--upon the site of the new
embankment. As the first loads were overturned, Mr. Davy made his
appearance.

"This fish-pond must have an outlet, you know," said he, "at the point
where the bottom is lowest. I will measure it off for you, and drive
three stakes on either side. Here we will have a gate; for our pond
will need emptying and cleaning occasionally. Fish will not live in
impure water."

The boys were delighted. All this excavating, laying out of
earthworks, and planning of gate-way, seemed like real engineering.
They were reënforced, after a while, by Patrick and the horses; and
then how suddenly they became tired, his shovelfuls were so large in
comparison with theirs--his wagon carried away so much more at a load!

Pretty early that evening little Clarence crept into his mother's
lap, and told her a marvellous story of the amount of earth he had
wheeled away; but his tired little eyes acted as though some of it had
blown between their lids; and soon mamma tucked him away for twelve
hours' sleep.

The hollow in the pasture, I forgot to say, was half an acre in
extent, and appeared as though Nature had scooped it out on purpose to
make a place for the Davy boys' fishing-pond. The creek, too, running
nearly alongside, was there to supply it with water.

"What shall we ever do with that hill?" said Percy, pointing to a rise
of ground on one side the hollow, as he and his brothers were
surveying their work; "we never can cart all that away, nor dig up
those trees, either."

"Let's leave it for an island," said Frank--"a _real_ island--land
with water all round it" (he had just begun studying geography); "and
the trees will make a splendid grove, where we can have picnics."

"The island will afford a harbor for the boat, too," said Mr. Davy,
who had just joined the children. "I suppose you will want a boat on
your pond--will you not?"

The boys could scarcely believe their ears. A boat of their own, on
their own pond! They had never dreamed of anything half so nice.

"Time to be at work!" said Mr. Davy.

All the forenoon, as I watched them from my window, I saw the
embankment growing slowly, but steadily, while the sloping sides of
the hollow became steeper and steeper. At night a visible step had
been taken towards a fishing-pond.

I cannot tell you about every one of the days during which the Davy
boys worked so industriously. At last, however, the excavation was
completed, the embankment raised to the desired height. The frame for
the gate-way stood firm between its crowding sides. Gates were in
progress at the carpenter's, made of solid plank, a door sliding up
and down over an open space near the bottom. This was easily worked by
means of a handle at the top.

"And now," said Mr. Davy, "to get the water into the pond. Patrick and
Michael must build a dam a little way up the creek and the race-way
from a point just above. We shall need a gate similar to the one at
the outlet."

The boys were glad to give way to Patrick and Michael, when it came to
building dams and race-ways. In the mean time they assisted the mason
who was lining the embankment on either side the gate with stone, to
protect it against the action of the water. The stone-boat, a little,
flat vehicle which slides over the ground without wheels, was brought
out, for piles of stone were to be drawn from a distant part of the
farm.

"But I shall want one of you to carry the hod for me," said the mason.

It was arranged that they should take turns at this; so one would stay
and fill with mortar the queer little box which hod-carriers use, and
bear it on his shoulders to the mason, who was fast laying the curved
wall.

"Why do you have the wall laid in this rounding shape, papa?" asked
George. "Why not have it straight?"

"Because the curve makes it stronger to resist the force of the water.
You notice that the mason chooses stones which are larger at one end
than at the other. He lays them so that the larger ends form the outer
side of the curve--the smaller form the inner or shorter side, as you
see by looking at this wall. The stones, thus wedged against each
other, could not be as easily forced out of place as if they were
square in shape, and laid in a straight line. Imagine the water
pressing upon the inner side of the curve. How readily the wall would
give way, and the water come pouring through! Have you never observed,
children," continued Mr. Davy, "that in bridges, culverts, or any
structure which is to sustain a heavy weight, the foundations are
always laid in the form of an arch?"

"Yes, papa," answered George; "but I never knew why it was. I see now
that it is to make them strong."

The boys had quite enough of hod-carrying and stone-quarrying before
the wall was done. In fact, Patrick was pressed into the service
repeatedly. The hod became too uneasy a burden for the boys'
shoulders, even though it was padded with sheep-skin.

A channel to convey the water from the pond was now the only thing
wanting. This was speedily begun, and the little workmen found
themselves down in a trench behind a low rampart of earth.

"Let's play we are soldiers," said George. "We'll have Patrick and
Michael for captain and lieutenant (only they must work, if they _are_
officers), and papa for general and engineer."

Each little soldier did his best. The officers worked faithfully. The
engineer came round often, and the dark thread across the bright,
green meadow spun out rapidly.

"Let's elect Frank quartermaster," said Tommy; "then he'll go to
headquarters, and make requisition for rations. _I_ think it's time
for dinner."

"Tell mother to send a big basketful, Frank. Soldiers get awful
hungry," said Percy.

"Tell mother we want to make coffee in the field, too," said George.
"Real soldiers do."

I fear that Patrick and Michael did most of the work after this, for
the department of the commissary seemed to require the attention of
all the boys.

Mamma was willing to issue rations in the field. "But," said she,
"soldiers often have only hard tack and coffee. I suppose you will
want nothing more."

This was a view of the case for which the boys were not prepared. They
did not wish to seem unsoldierly, but they were very hungry.

"You know, mother," said Percy, "soldiers had bacon sometimes with
their hard tack."

"And we are only _playing_ soldiers. We ain't _real_ soldiers," said
matter-of-fact Clarence.

His brothers were quite ashamed that he should give this as a reason
for wanting a good dinner, yet when they saw the pies and cakes going
into the basket, they made no remarks.

While the quartermaster was at the house, Tommy and George had built a
fire, to boil the coffee. Two crotched stakes were driven firmly in
the ground. A stout rod lay across them, and on this hung the kettle.
A lively fire was burning underneath, the water boiling. In a few
moments the coffee was made.

After washing carefully in the creek,--for everything must be done as
soldiers do,--all sat down in a circle on the ground. The coffee was
served in tin cups; but shall I confess that our soldiers were so
unsoldierlike as to drink it with cream and sugar?

Patrick and Michael partook; but as they were absent directly
afterwards, under pretence of smoking a noon pipe, I fancy they ate
still further rations in the farm-house kitchen. The boys, however,
said it was the best dinner they ever ate in their lives.

They were now ready for a visit from the general. "We will have these
breastworks," said he, "smoothed down in regular shape, and sow
grass-seed upon them, so that in a few weeks there will be a green
slope in place of these unsightly clods."

I assure you that as I look from my window while writing this story,
those slopes appear very pretty, with the merry, sparkling stream
flowing between.

But I must hasten; for you will be anxious to know that the pond,
gates, outlet, and all were done at last. Then came the day upon which
the water was to be let in. A great day it was for the whole
neighborhood. All the boys for a mile round were there to see.

When everything was ready, Mr. Davy, who was up at the dam, hoisted
the gate; the water came rushing through; in a few moments it had
reached the end of its course, and poured over into the pond.

Such a shout as rose from the throats of the forty or fifty boys! It
must have surprised those placid meadows and the great solemn rocks
around. And you would have thought the sleepy old hills had actually
been startled into life, such sounding echoes they sent back in
answer.

The water spread itself thinly at first over the bottom of the pond.
Slowly it rose; the little hollows were filled up, the slight
elevations hidden from sight. Gradually it closed round the tiny green
island which stood out above its surface like an emerald set in
shining silver. By night the pond was full. The water began running
over the top of the gate, making the prettiest little waterfall, and
over it a light spray rose softly towards the evening sky.

Bright and early the next morning there was commotion at the Davys'.
The boys were going to Maxwell's Creek, ten miles away, fishing. Mrs.
Davy was stirring round, preparing their lunch. George and Percy
hurried to the stable.

"Come, Brown Billy," said Percy to the favorite pony; "time to get up
and have your breakfast. We are all going fishing to-day;" and he laid
his hand smartly upon the pony's back.

Brown Billy raised his head, opened his eyes in astonishment to see
the boys so early in his stall; but hearing their merry voices, he
seemed to understand the situation at once, and to be in full sympathy
with them. An extra allowance of oats was put in the manger, and while
the boys were eating their breakfast in the house, Brown Billy
leisurely munched his in the stable. Then, after a draught from the
pump, he was put into the traces. Two casks and a large basket were
lifted in, the luncheon deposited, and soon they were on their way.
The sun was just peeping above the horizon, spreading a crimson glory
over every hill, and tree, and shrub; but this was so familiar a sight
to the Davy boys, that it caused no remark, though they were not
insensible to its beauty.

The scene of their day's sport was a beautiful glen among the hills,
through which the stream, a genuine, untaught child of the woods,
jumped and tumbled at its own wild will, now leaping from precipices
in the loveliest cataracts, then fretting noisily over its stony bed,
and, a little farther on, flowing as smoothly as if it never thought
of foaming or fretting in all its course.

Tommy tied Brown Billy to a tree, giving him a long tether, that he
might pick at the fresh grass.

Trout are the most delicate of fishes, and require careful treatment.
Indeed, they are quite the aristocracy of the finny tribe. Mr. Davy
had given Patrick directions not to allow them to be caught with a
hook, as it could not be taken from their mouths without causing much
pain, and perhaps death.

Patrick chose a place in the stream where the channel was narrow, but
deep, and waded in.

"Now, boys," said he, "yes all go above a little way, wade out into
the sthrame, and bate the wather with yer fish-poles. This will drive
thim down, and I'll see what I can do wid the basket."

The boys pulled off shoes and stockings, and rolled their trousers
above the knees. Clarence sat on the bank, paddling with his bare feet
in the stream. Stepping out into the creek, they hopped from one mossy
stone to another, the water pleasantly laving their feet. Standing in
a row across the stream, they began beating rather gently, at the same
time walking slowly forward, hoping to drive the fish before them.
Presently Patrick brought up the basket, the water streaming from it
as it did from Simple Simon's sieve, and in the bottom, wriggling and
squirming, lay four fine trout. Tommy seized the basket, and in an
instant the fish were within the cask, in their native element again,
though in rather close quarters. The boys hung over the barrel, gazing
at the pretty creatures with intense delight. The sun shone down into
the water, making the bright spots on their sides look like gold.

"Never mind, little trout," said Franky; "you are not going to be
hurt--only moved to our fish-pond."

Do you not think they enjoyed that day far more because there was no
cruelty in their sport?

Their amusement was varied by a delicious lunch, and an occasional
ramble through the woods. Towards evening they drove home, elated with
their success. The cask contained nearly as many fish as could swim.
The second cask was filled with fresh water, to replace that in the
first when it should no longer be fit for the use of the fish. These
delicate little trout are so sensitive to any impurity, that they
could not have remained in the same water during the drive home
without suffering. Indeed, they might have died before reaching the
pond.

My young readers may not know that fish breathe an element of the
water which is a part of air also. In fact, the same element which
sustains us sustains them also, viz., oxygen. Only one ninth part of
water, however, is oxygen, while of air it is one fifth. I dare say
you have all seen goldfishes, shut up in crystal prisons, swimming
their endless round in a quart or two of water. Perhaps you have
observed them lifting their heads above the surface, mouths wide open,
gasping for breath. The oxygen is exhausted from the water, and unless
it be speedily changed their mistress will lose her beautiful pets.

The trout were put into the pond--a small beginning, to be sure; but
it _was_ a beginning. How lonely they must have been at first! What a
boundless ocean it must have seemed to them!

We will hope they found some cosy harbor in the grassy-lined sides of
the island, where they could meet together and talk over their strange
experience of moving. Plenty of company came soon, however; for all
the boys in the neighborhood were interested in stocking the pond.

A boat was in progress in Mr. Davy's tool-house. The boys watched
every inch of its growth, from the shaping of the skeleton frame to
the last dash of the paint-brush. When it was done, the seats put
across from side to side, the coatings of white paint laid on, and
elevated upon four stakes to dry its glistening sides, the boys
thought nothing was ever half so beautiful; but when they saw it upon
the pond, gently rocking from side to side, the oars hanging in the
locks, and lazily swaying to the motion of the water, it seemed to
them more beautiful still.

This is not all a fancy sketch, dear boys and girls. Perhaps some of
the farmer children who read it may persuade their papas to make a
fishing-pond of some unsightly "hollow in the pasture" upon their own
farms.

                                                    L. M. D.



[Illustration: THE LITTLE SAVOYARD AND HIS DOG.]

STORIES ABOUT DOGS.


A Newfoundland dog belonging to a gentleman in Edinburgh was in the
habit of receiving a penny each day from his master, which he always
took to a baker's shop and bought a loaf of bread for himself. One day
a bad penny was given him by a gentleman by way of frolic. Dandie ran
off with it to the baker's, as usual, but was refused a loaf. The poor
dog waited a moment, as if considering what to do; he then returned to
the house of the gentleman who had given him the bad coin; and when
the servant opened the door, he laid it at her feet and walked away
with an air of contempt.

Some dogs are fond of music, while others seem not to be affected by
it in the slightest degree. These two anecdotes are related by the
author of a recent volume. He is speaking of a friend: "As soon as the
lamp is lighted and placed on the sitting-room table, a large dog of
the water-spaniel breed usually jumps up and curls himself around the
lamp. He never upsets it, but remains perfectly still. Now, my friend
is very musical, but during the time the piano is being played the dog
remains perfectly unmoved, until a particular piece is played. He will
not take the slightest notice of loud or soft pieces, neither
sentimental nor comic, but instantly the old tune entitled 'Drops of
Brandy' is played, he invariably raises his head and begins to howl
most piteously, relapsing into his usual state of lethargy as soon as
this tune is stopped. My friend cannot account for this action of the
dog in any way, nor can we learn from any source the reason of its
dislike.

"Again, the wife of a hotel-keeper, lately deceased, possessed a pet
lap-dog which delighted in listening to its mistress playing on the
piano; if the usual hour for her daily practice passed by, the dog
would grow impatient, snap and bark, and be perfectly uneasy until the
lady consented to gratify its wishes by sitting down to the instrument
and playing a few tunes. During this operation the dog would sit
motionless on a chair by her side; and when the music was ended, he
would jump down, quite satisfied for that day."



A CHILD'S PRAYER.


    Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;
      Bless thy little lamb to-night;
    Through the darkness be thou near me,
      Keep me safe till morning light.

    Through the day thy hand hath led me,
      And I thank thee for thy care;
    Thou hast warmed and fed and clothed me,
      Listen to my evening prayer.



[Illustration: {A man jumps from one steam locomotive to another}]

JOHN STOCKS AND "THE BISON."


One winter afternoon, as Archy Douglas sat studying his lessons, Mrs.
Falkoner, the housekeeper, came to invite him to have tea in her room.
While they were at the table, they heard the kitchen bell ring, at
which Mrs. Falkoner seemed surprised, for she said the weather would
incline few people to leave their own firesides.

It turned out, however, to be a visitor for Mrs. Falkoner herself, for
in a few minutes one of the servants came to say a person who called
himself John Stocks wanted to see her, and John presented himself in
the doorway without further delay.

An active man, with the look, at first sight, of the mate of a ship,
he stood gently stamping the snow off his boots on the door mat,
laughing in a low tone, as if he was very much pleased to see the
worthy Mrs. Falkoner, and was enjoying her stare of astonishment to
the full.

"Dear bless me, John, is it really you?" said Mrs. Falkoner, almost
running to meet him. "Whatever wind has blown you here?"

"No wind at all, Mary; nought but the snow," he said, laughing: but
correcting himself, he added, "Ah, well, there was a wind, after all,
for we're fairly drifted up a few miles t'other side of the Junction;
and so I got leave to run over and see you: not often I get the
chance--is it, now?"

All this time he had been taking off his outer coat; and when he was
fairly in the room, Archy found he was a young man, certainly not more
than thirty. He had crisp black hair, a bold, manly face, very red
with exposure to the weather, and at the same time expressive of great
determination of character. But one peculiarity about his face was,
that though so young, his forehead was not only scarred and lined, but
round his eyes and about his mouth it was puckered and wrinkled to a
most extraordinary degree. Archy felt a great curiosity about him,
but was not long left in doubt, for Mrs. Falkoner took care to make
her visitor known to the young gentleman as her youngest half brother
and an engine-driver on the main line.

A remarkably quiet man did John Stocks seem in regard to general
conversation; he said very little about the weather, and less about
things going on in the great world, and anything he did say on these
topics had almost to be coaxed out of him. However, he evidently took
great delight in giving all the family news, even to the most minute
particular.

"Of course you've heard," he said, warming one hand at the fire, "that
Bob's come home from America. Then that old Thompson has given up the
shop."

"Yes; so I heard," said Mrs. Falkoner, pouring out another cup of tea,
not appearing to take very great interest in them. "No accidents on
your line lately, I hope."

"Not much," was the answer, and he again went back to the family news.
"Jenny's got a baby," he said, suddenly, with great glee, as if this
piece of news was far before any other.

This intelligence at least was news to Mrs. Falkoner, and she listened
to all he had to say about it with great interest.

But when Mrs. Falkoner was called away for a few minutes, it became
necessary for Archy to entertain the visitor till her return.

Of course Archy had many questions to put about the railway and the
engines, and dangers and catastrophes. John was excessively civil, and
on this subject was full of intelligence; but when he was asked if his
own engine had broken down in the snow, he became quite horrified, if
not indignant.

"What, master, broke down?" he said. "Not a bit o't. I'd back the old
Bison against a drift twice as heavy. But, d'ye see, when you comes
and finds an engine and seven wagons o' minerals, and another engine,
and wagons besides that all ahead o' ye, and stuck fast, why, I says,
ye must give in. There ain't no use expecting yer engine to drive
_through_ 'em, so must lie by till all's cleared, which won't be for
five hours at least."

"How is it that the line's blocked up now?" asked Archy. "There has
been no more snow all day."

"Ay, that's true, master," said the engine-driver. "But d'ye see, a
mile from the Junction there's a bit of heavy cutting, with a steep
sloping bank on either side. Now, this afternoon there was a slip;
most all the snow drifted there, and part of the bank itself fell in,
and so there is a block-up. As I said afore, the mineral train, she
comes up first, and she sticks fast, and then we has to follow, as a
matter in course. But had my old Bison been afront, he'd have done
differently, I make no doubt."

"Is your engine a much stronger one?" said Archy, greatly amused to
hear how funny it was to call a train she, while he called the engine
he, and by an animal's name, too.

"It's not that he's stronger, sir, but he's got more go in him, has
the Bison. He's an extraordinary plucky engine. I've seen him do
wonderful things when Mat Whitelaw was driver, and me stoker to 'em.
I'll just tell you one on 'em, and then ye can judge what sort o'
stuff the Bison's made o'. It was one day in summer, some two years
ago; we had just taken in water at the junction, and were about to run
back to couple on the coaches, when an engine passed us tearing along
at a tremendous speed on the other line o' rail, but, mark me, without
a driver or stoker, or aught else on it. I thought my mate was mad,
when he got up steam, and off in the same direction; but in a moment
I saw what he was up to. The Bison was going in the chase. 'See to the
brake, John,' was all Mat said, when off we were after the runaway at
full speed. It seemed to me nought but a wild-goose chase; for, d'ye
see, master, we were on another line o' rails altogether. But Mat knew
what he was about, and it was my place to do his bidding. I was always
proud o' the old Bison before that morning, but I never knew till then
what a good engine was, and what was depending on it.

"You would have thought he fairly snorted to his work, going at the
rate o' forty miles an hour we were, and at last we got abreast o' the
runaway engine, and could have passed him, but that would have been
useless. There wasn't another driver on the whole line would have
thought of the thing so quickly as Mat did, nor could have regulated
the speed so nicely to a moment. The two different engines were
running just opposite each other on the two different lines, the
runaway being a good deal worn out now, and going much slower than at
first, when Mat he says to me, hoarsely, 'Jump across. It'll be safer
if I stick here to hold the regulator; but I'll go, if you'd rather
stay.' I had such confidence in Mat Whitelaw, that I could trust my
life with him before any mortal man; and the instant he gave the word,
I jumped, and did it safe. We each put on our brakes, and took breath,
and desperately hot we both were, I can assure you."

"Were you not terribly afraid?" said Archy, who had been almost
breathless during the recital.

"I can't say that we were," said John, coolly; "but I'll tell you I
was frightened enough the next moment, when Mat looked at his watch,
and sees that the down express was due in a few minutes on his line. I
believe that Mat thought more o' the passengers that might be
smashed, and the risk for the Bison, than o' his own safety. He said
it would never do to reverse the engines now; but if we kept on, he
thought there might yet be time to run into the siding at the nearest
station. So on we went once more at increased speed, straight on
ahead, though it was like running into the very face of the danger.
The telegraph had been hard at work, and the station people had been
laying their heads together, and they were at the points. So, when
they heard the whistle, and saw Mat putting on the brake, they at once
opened the points,--not a moment too soon, I can tell you,--and in he
ran into the siding. Now, what Mat did, sir, was what I call about
equal to most generals in war, and as great a benefit to society."

"He must be a brave fellow," said Archy; "and I hope you were both
rewarded for it."

"The company behaved very handsome," was the answer. "Mat got on to
the Great Western line at once; but the worst of it is, he and I are
parted, and the old Bison; he felt his loss as much, if not more than
me."

Mrs. Falkoner, who had come in during the latter part of the story,
now said,--

"But tell the young gentleman what you did your own self, and what the
company thought of your conduct."

"Tuts, Mary," he answered; "I did nought extraordinary; there ain't a
man in the service but could have done the same, had they known old
Bison as well as I did."

"I should like to hear it, John," said Archy, who was standing ready
to leave the brother and sister alone.

"Well, 'cept it be to tell you how I got to be driver of the Bison
myself, it's not worth the listening to. When Mat left, Bill Jones got
to be my mate--the worst driver on the line; at least he couldn't
manage the Bison. He did not understand that engine one bit, and was
constantly getting into trouble, till I was driven almost wild. Bill
would say, 'Bison, indeed! he ought to be called Donkey; it would suit
his kicking ways better.' It was quite true he kicked, but he never
did it with Mat on him, and went along the rails as smooth as oil.
Well, at one part o' the line, there is a gradual long incline, and
one day we were just putting on more steam to run up, when we sees at
the top two or three coaches coming tearing down straight upon us. We
knew there was a heavy excursion train on ahead, and we had been going
rather slow on that account, and this was some of the coaches that had
got uncoupled from the rest. Well, Bill, my mate, no sooner saw it
coming, than says he, 'Jump for your life!' and out he went. But I
knew what a quick engine the Bison was, and, moreover, I saw our guard
had noticed the danger, too, and would work with me; so I reversed
the engine, and ran back, until the coaches came up to us, but did no
further damage save giving us a bit of a shake as they struck on the
old Bison; and so we drove them afore us right up to the station. Bill
was killed, as might have been expected, for he had no faith in the
Bison whatever; and so the company, they came to see I understood that
engine, and they made me driver o' him from that time."

Archy now bade the worthy engine-driver good night, saying that he
should always take a greater interest in engines than ever before, and
that he should have liked very much to have seen such a famous one as
the Bison.

John Stocks evidently took this speech as a personal compliment, and,
in consequence, bade Archy a friendly good by, saying, as he did so,
"that people nowadays talked of nothing but ships and extraordinary
guns, and what not, but to his mind a good engine was before them
all."

                                        MRS. GEORGE CUPPLES.



THE CHILDREN'S SONG.


    Merrily sang the children, as their mother softly played;
    With eager, outstretched faces a pretty group they made;
    Their clear and bird-like voices ran loudly through the air,
    Till "Baby" heard the music, and crept from stair to stair,
    That she might join the singers, and in their gladness share.

    Dear, merry little warblers! I love to hear you, too;
    Your fresh, unworldly feelings, your hearts so fond and true,
    Give to your songs a sweetness that no other strains possess;
    They soothe the harassed spirit when troubles thickly press,
    And evoke the warm petition, "O GOD, OUR CHILDREN BLESS!"



[Illustration: PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS.]

PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS.


    How earnest Kate and Constance and Brother Willy look,
    Counting up varied treasures, ship, bat and doll and book!

    The three are very busy, and very happy too,
    Trying to mend up old things to look almost like new.

    The book was rather shabby, but Kate with paste and thread
    Has made it firm and tidy, and rubbed it clean with bread.

    And now, ere she resigns it, she lingers, glancing o'er
    The pretty picture pages and well-known lines once more.

    Constance has dressed the dolly--you see how nice it looks--
    And all its things are fastened with little strings or hooks.

    The ship with clean new rigging--Will's work--they eye with pride,
    And they have quite a drawerful of other things beside--

    Boxes of beads and sweeties, and many a top and ball,
    Saved for the coming Christmas; and who's to have them all?

    Not their own merry playmates, bright girl and happy lad,
    Who'll meet for winter pastime like them well fed and clad.

    No; children in close alleys, or the large workhouse near,
    Our little friends--obeying Christ's words--will please and cheer.

    And their own Christmas pleasures will seem more glad and sweet
    For knowing such poor neighbors enjoy for once a treat.



[Illustration: {A man stands over Que, who is asleep on his mailbag}]

QUE.


He was a wee bit of a boy to carry the United States mail on his
back, seven miles, every day. He was only eleven years old, and as
long, to an inch, as the mail bag, which was just three feet and
eleven inches long. When he went along the road, you would sometimes
see him, and sometimes the bag; that was as you happened to be on this
or the other side of him. Many persons' hard hearts have been made to
open a crevice, at sight of the little fellow, to let a little jet of
pity spirt out for him. But "The Point" ran out three miles and a half
to the south of the county road and the stage coach, and the nearest
coach post-office; and because it was only a small point, and sparsely
settled, it couldn't afford a horse for the short distance; and
because it was a short distance, no man, or boy, who was able to do a
full day's work, would break into it to walk the seven miles; and
because it was seven miles, no one who was not well could walk so far
every day, and the year round. So it happened that the job was up for
bids one spring, and the person who would carry the mail from Gingoo
to the Point for the smallest amount of money, was to have it for a
year.

One woman offered to carry it for eighty dollars; another for seventy;
one big boy offered for sixty-five; he'd make the girls at home do the
work, he said,--they hadn't anything else to do,--and he would give
them each a new ribbon to pay for it: and between you and me, I am
very glad that that boy didn't get the job.

Without saying a word to his family about it, Que made up his mind
that he would carry the mail himself. When the others sent in their
bids he sent in his, for fifty dollars. _So_ it happened that Que was
mail-carrier. He was so little and bow-legged, that there were not
many things that he could do; for instance, he couldn't run. His head
and feet were very large, and his arms and intermediate body very
small; therefore he could dream and wonder what he should do when he
grew up, and walk (with care) as much as he pleased, but was not a
favorite among the boys in playing games.

Of course he was not baptized into the name Que, but was called, by
his parents and the christening minister, John Quincy Adams Pond, Jr.;
named for his father, you see. They began to call him Que before he
was out of his babyhood; for they had one boy named John Lee, but as
they always called him Lee, they entirely forgot that fact till after
the ceremony of Que's christening. And they really weren't much to
blame, for they had nine other boys, and poor memories; and though
both are misfortunes, they can't be helped. To avoid mixing their two
Johns, they called one Lee and the other Que.

Que looked upon seven miles a day as no walk at all, and upon fifty
dollars a year as a fortune, and upon "United States mail-carrier" as
a title little below "Hon." or "Esq." He had hoped, all his life, that
he should, some fine day, have a right to one or the other of these
titles. Probably the fact that his name already ended with a "Jr."
excited his ambition in that particular direction. Money and dignity
seemed to Que the two things most to be desired in life, unless I
might add a small family.

Now, we will leave Que's antecedents behind, and go on to his life
while he carried the mail; and a very queer little life it was, as you
will say when you get to the end of it, though I don't know when that
will be, for Que isn't there himself yet. The mail contract was from
July 1, 1860, to July 1, 1861, and if your mathematics are in good
running order, you will see that that was just a year.

July 1, 1860, was as fine a day in Gingoo as any day in the year; and
Que was in as high spirits as on any day in the course of his life.
Unfortunately the mail coach reached Gingoo exactly at forty minutes
past eleven, unless the driver got drunk or fell asleep, which
happened about two hundred and forty days in the year. But whether
sober, drunk, or asleep, the four coach horses always stood before
Gingoo office door by twelve o'clock at latest.

It makes no difference to you or to me when the coach stood there; but
it made a great deal of difference to Que, for twelve o'clock on the
finest day in the year, and that day the first of July, is apt to be
rather warm; and in the year 1860 it was _very_ warm. Nevertheless, at
quarter past twelve, Que started with the bag. I, happening to be at
the right side of him, saw only the bag start with Que.

Perhaps you don't see why Que should have started right in the heat of
the day; but if you had been Que, and could have heard all the
Pointers clamoring for their mail, you would have started just when
Que did. The mail-bag was made of very dark leather, and drew the sun
tremendously. Now, as Que had on a pair of light linen pants and a
little gray lined coat, of course he ought to have walked between the
bag and the sun; but not being a scientific boy, he didn't think of
that, and slung the bag over his sunny shoulder, and from that height
it trailed to the ground.

Que walked on as fast as he could, trying not to think too much of the
heat and the weight; but the peculiar odor that the sun brought from
the leather bag was blown up his nose, and down his throat, and into
his ears, by a strong south wind that blew, and before Que had time to
think whether he had better or better not, he was lying fast asleep by
the side of the road, on the grass; rather he was lying on the
mail-bag, and that was lying on the grass. Why didn't he fall on the
other side? For two reasons; first, he was attracted mail-bag way by
the sleepy odor before spoken of; and secondly, the weight was all
that way, and as he began to sleep before he began to drop, of course
the bag was his natural bed when he did drop.

The Point road was lonesome, and it must have been quite an hour
before any one came that way. Then a man and two horses, and a cart
loaded high with laths, were seen coming over the hill; that is, they
would have been seen, if Que hadn't been asleep just then.

"Hollo! what's all this?" said the driver when he got opposite the bag
and Que.

"All this" neither stirred nor spoke.

"Whoa! whoa, there!" called the driver to his horses.

Now, if Que had been taking only a light, after-dinner nap, he would
have been wide awake as soon as the cart stopped; for the hill was a
long one, and the rumbling had been as long, and merely from lack of
that lullaby, a well-conditioned boy should have wakened at once. But
Que didn't.

"I declare," said the driver, "if it ain't that bran new mail-boy!"
Thereupon he went up and looked at him; but not being of a magnetic
temperament, he didn't wake Que that way.

"Bless the chick, if he isn't dead asleep," continued the driver,
talking to himself. This driver had a habit of talking to himself, for
he said, "then he was always sure of having somebody worth talking
to."

"Now, won't those Pointers growl for their mail, when it is a couple
of hours late? The first day, too! Que'll catch it." Then he gave Que
a little roll, so that he rolled from the bag over into the grass.

"Well, I always _was_ a good-natured fellow. Guess I'll take his bag
along for him, and save him the scolding."

So the driver threw the bag on top of the load of laths, and left the
bag-boy to sleep it out.

When Que had slept half an hour longer, he started up, staring wide
awake.

"I've been asleep," said Que; and so he had.

"My bag's been and gone," continued Que; and so it had.

But he was a bright boy, and all the brighter, perhaps, for having
just been asleep; so he looked round, which is a very good thing to do
when you get into trouble, and the very thing that half the people in
the world never think to do.

"There are tracks in the grass; and there is a cart-track in the dust,
and it had two horses, and these foot-tracks went back to it. Why, the
lath man must have taken it;" and so he had.

Que started towards the Point as fast as he could go, and
consequently, when he got there, which was just fifty minutes after
the bag got there, he had no breath left to ask any questions about
it. Still he panted on to the post-office.

"Who are you?" asked the postmaster.

"I'm--a--bag," gasped Que.

"Bag of wind!" said the postmaster, emphatically.

"A--mail--bag!" said Que.

"Humph! So you're the new mail boy--are you? Send your bag down by
express, and came yourself by accommodation--didn't you?"

"The lath man's got it; where is he?" Que had recovered his breath a
little by this time.

"I don't know anything about the lath man," growled the postmaster.

But when Que began to cry, which he did at once, the postmaster
couldn't stand that, for he had no children of his own, and his
feelings, consequently, weren't hardened; so he dragged the bag from
a corner, and threw it on Que's back.

"There, take your bag, and go home, and don't be two hours late the
first day, next time." He didn't stop to think that there cannot be
two first days to the same thing. Que didn't stop to think of it,
either, but started homewards as fast as his bow-legs would let him. I
think he approximated more nearly to running, that day, than he ever
had done in his life before.

Que's nine brothers treated him with great respect, when he got home.
The family had been to tea, but each one had saved some part of his
supper for Que; so, though he had an indigestible mixture, there was
plenty of it,--while it lasted.

"Did you have a good time, Que?"

"Was it fun?"

"Did you get anything for it?"

"Did you get tired?"

"Going to keep it up?"

"Can't I go next time?"

"Do you like it?"

"Did you see any boys?"

"Anybody give you a lift?"

How all together the questions did come! But the confusion of them
saved Que from the trouble of answering the nine boys, and as soon as
there was a lull, his father said,--

"You were gone some time, sir; I hope you didn't stop to play on the
road?"

"O, no, sir," said Que. "I haven't played at all;" which was very
true, you know.

"Did there seem to be many letters?" asked his mother; and be it
understood, that she asked quite as much because Que looked as if the
bag had been heavy, as from feminine curiosity.

"Didn't notice, ma'am; the bag wasn't very heavy;" and it wasn't,
except on his conscience, and he knew his mother didn't mean that, at
all.

For several weeks after that everything went on smoothly enough. Que
had a pretty good time, and found it some fun, and felt that he was
getting something for it, and didn't get very tired, and kept it up,
and never took any of his brothers with him, and liked the business,
and saw a good many boys, and got a large number of "lifts" from
hay-carts and wagons, and particularly from the lath man. So, in
course of time, all the brothers' questions were satisfactorily
answered.

It is a way that the world has, to let you trip once, and then run on
smooth ground some time, before it puts another snag in your way; and
it made no exception in Que's favor. His drab clothes kept clean a
long time, in spite of the leather bag, and washed well when they were
not clean. The Gingoo postmaster took a fancy to him, and the Point
post master refrained from tormenting him. The mails were not
unbearably heavy nor the month of July remarkably hot after the first.
Que had a good appetite for his supper, and plenty of supper to show
it on, and slept long and heavily every night and a part of every
morning, and thought that the world was a pretty good kind of place,
after all. But that was only because he hadn't come to the second snag
yet.

One day, in the first end of August, a wind sprang up. It wasn't a
very uncommonly high wind, only no one was expecting it, because the
days had been muggy, and that made every one say, "Why, what a high
wind there is to-day!"

You and I can't tell why the wind should have gone on rising through
the forenoon; but we can guess, which will answer our purpose just as
well; for you know it is but little more than that that your father
and his friends, and father's father and his friends, do, when they
meet together and "express opinions."

_I_ guess that the wind rose higher through the forenoon because, as
soon as it began to play about in the morning, it caught the whisper
of people's surprise, and thought it would take the hint, and blow
them up a little.

"What a dickens of a wind!" said Que, when he stood, or tried to
stand, on top of the hill with his bag.

Que had learned all the easy ways of carrying that bag long ago; of
strapping it in a little roll over his shoulders when it wasn't very
full; of carrying it on his head when it had enough inside to balance
just right, and of strapping it round his body when it had nothing in
it. But, as the days had been all stormless alike, he had been obliged
to adapt himself only to the conditions of the bag, and not at all to
the state of the weather.

As the masculine mind is capable of taking in only one idea at a time,
as soon as Que put his mind to the state of the weather, it drew
itself away from the manner of carrying the bag.

"Wish I had something between me and the wind," sighed he.

Just then the wind blew off his hat, to teach him the polite order of
mentioning two persons, of whom himself was one.

Que followed after it as fast as he could, and let the bag drop beside
him, and by chance it hung from his neck to the windward side.

The wind blew very strong.

"I do declare," said he, "I shouldn't wonder a bit if the wind blew me
away."

Que was a truthful boy; but he did wonder very much when he found, two
seconds afterwards, that the wind _was_ blowing him away. But he
didn't wonder at all, when he lay, a minute later, against a huge
apple tree; partly because people generally get through wondering when
they are at the end of anything, but mostly because the blow stunned
Que, so that he didn't know anything for an hour.

When he gradually came to himself, he didn't know where he was. Then a
little wind shook a green apple down on his nose, and he concluded
that he was under an apple tree; which was quite correct.

Then he looked about to see whether he was in the United States or
not; he saw the five juniper trees that had been standing in a row,
half a mile from his father's house, ever since he could remember, and
concluded that he must be; wherein he was again quite correct.

Then he wondered if any one would come for him, for he felt so stiff
and sore that he thought he never could go home alone.

"They'll come for me, _I_ know; for if I've had a gale they must have
had one; and if they have had one they'll know that I've had one. Of
course they'll come."

Que felt round for his mail-bag, and got his head on it, and waited.
While he was lying there it occurred to him that the people down in
the village wouldn't have been walking about with bags broader than
themselves to windward of them, and mightn't have felt the breeze as
he did; so his last reasoning wasn't correct at all.

"I'll bet they didn't feel it a bit!" thought Que; and by this time he
was so fully in possession of his original faculties, that his
reasoning was quite correct again. No one else had felt the gale.

Que put his head on the bag and thought that his end had come, and so
cried himself to sleep.

His family had not felt the gale very heavily; but when tea-time came,
and Que didn't, they felt that; and when darkness came, and Que
didn't, they felt that; and when a report came, with a growl, from
the Point that they wanted their mail, Que's father started out with a
lantern to find it.

Que, having finished his nap, felt better, and tried to get up; but
his ankle didn't want to move; and when he tried again it actually
wouldn't move; so he lay down again to wait and watch. When he saw the
lantern go by, he called, and his father came.

"What are you doing here, sir?"

"Nothing," said Que.

"Get up, then."

"I can't," said Que.

"You've been asleep, sir."

"Yes, sir," said Que.

"What have you done with the mail-bag?"

"It is the mail-bag that's done with me," said Que.

Then his father took him by the collar, and stood him up, and saw at
once what was the matter. Que had sprained his ankle.

It seemed to Que, during the next four weeks, as if that ankle never
would heal; but it did at last, and John Lee, who had carried the mail
in the mean time, was loath to give the job to Que again. He felt for
Que through his pain, but charged him one twelfth of fifty dollars for
doing his work a month, and would like to do it a while longer.

There isn't much more to tell of Que as a mail-boy. The end of the
year found him the possessor of forty-five dollars and five shillings.

The next year the Point afforded a horse, and Que took the mail on the
horse's back; the year following they had a horse and wagon, and Que
drove that; when they have a railway I have no doubt Que will be a
conductor; and when the mail is blown through a tunnel, Que, of
course, will blow it.

Even the second snag, you see, needn't lay you a dead weight on the
earth.

                                             MARY B. HARRIS.



WHAT THE CLOCK SAYS.


    The clock's loud tick
    Says, "Time flies quick."
    "Listen," says the chime;
    "Make the most of time,
    For remember, young and old,
    Minutes are like grains of gold;
    Spend them wisely, spend them well,
    For their worth can no man tell."



[Illustration: THE SNOW-FALL.]

THE SNOW-FALL.


    Old Winter comes forth in his robe of white,
    He sends the sweet flowers far out of sight,
    He robs the trees of their green leaves quite,
        And freezes the pond and the river;
    He has spoiled the butterfly's pretty nest,
    And ordered the birds not to build their nest,
    And banished the frog to a four months' rest,
        And makes all the children shiver.

    Yet he does some good with his icy tread,
    For he keeps the corn-seeds warm in their bed,
    He dries up the damp which the rain had spread,
        And renders the air more healthy;
    He taught the boys to slide, and he flung
    Rich Christmas gifts o'er the old and young,
    And when cries for food from the poor were wrung,
        He opened the purse of the wealthy.

    We like the Spring with its fine fresh air;
    We like the Summer with flowers so fair;
    We like the fruits we in Autumn share,
        And we like, too, old Winter's greeting:
    His touch is cold, but his heart is warm;
    So, though he brings to us snow and storm,
    We look with a smile on his well-known form,
        And ours is a gladsome meeting.

[Decoration]



STITCHING AND TEACHING.


Will had had the croup. Then the measles took possession of him, and
lastly, the whooping-cough, finding him well swept and garnished,
entered in, and shook and throttled him in a manner quite deplorable.

His convalescence, however, was relieved of its monotony by a headlong
fall from a step ladder in the library, whereby he sprained his wrist,
to say nothing of the mischief that he made, in his descent, amid the
ink, books, and papers.

Treading on a pin in the sewing-room was another diversion in his
favor, giving him, for a while, a daily looking forward to bandages
and poultices, and an opportunity to weigh the advantages of obedience
in case he should ever again wish, and be forbidden, to jump out of
bed and run barefoot amid the dressmaker's shreds in search of his
top.

Now, all this is no uncommon experience for a small boy. I simply
mention it by way of apology for introducing Will in an unamiable
mood. One regrets to have one's friends make an unfavorable first
impression.

This was Will's first morning at school since his recovery. He found
that the boys had gone on in their Latin, had gone on in their French,
leaving him far behind; they had got into decimals, and he way back
pages; they had a new writing-master, and wrote with their faces
turned a new way, to the great disgust of Will. They had had a botany
excursion to Blue Hills, which he had lost. He was down at the foot of
the class, and at the end of the morning he had made up his desperate
mind to remain there forever. It was no use for a fellow to try to put
through such a pile of back lessons.

He came stamping up stairs, kicked at the nursery door, slung in his
bag of books, and stood on the threshold, pouting and glaring angrily
at his sister Emily.

Emily sat in the window opposite, the sunlight sifting through the
flickering ivy leaves on to her golden hair and fair sweet face. She
was singing over her sewing as Will made his noisy entrance. She
looked up at the scowling boy in the doorway, her pale cheeks flushing
with surprise and then with pity.

"What's the matter?" she asked, gently.

"Matter?" roared Will; "I guess you'd ask, if you knew how old 'Crit'
had been cramming the fellows, and me nowhere. I'll--run away to sea,
or somewheres. I'm not going to _stand_ it."

Will bounced his hand down so hard on a tea-poy, two little terra
cotta shepherdesses bounded up from it, knocked their heads together,
and fell clattering to the floor.

"O, Will," cried Emily, rising up with a scared face, and dropping her
pretty work-basket, "don't talk so. You are tired now, and everything
troubles you, because you have been sick so long. By and by, when you
are a little stronger, you will feel differently. Don't think about
the back lessons. Just try to be glad you are well enough to go to
school again, and be with the boys."

"O, don't preach!" persisted Will, gruffly.

With the cloud still hanging over his handsome face, he shook himself
away from the caressing hand which was laid upon his shoulder, as if
to hold him back from running away to the great, pitiless sea.

"Asy! asy, now!"

This was Kathleen, the nurse, calling out in cautioning tones to Will,
who had jerked against the tray she was carrying causing the two
saucers of strawberries to click together sharply, and the buttered
rolls to slip over the edge of the plate.

"You're tired with the school, poor craythur, an' no wonder at that
same. Larnin's murtherin', bad luck to it! I tried it mysel oncet, a
moonth or so, avenin's. It's myself was watchin' for ye, Master Will,
and when ye came round the corner I had this bit sup arl ready for ye.
'The crame--quick--Bridget!' says I, and then I ran away up the two
flights with it; and barrin' the joggle you give it, it's in foine,
tip-top orther an' priservation arl tegither, bless your little sowl!"

Kathleen set out the crisp little rolls and the great crimson berries
in the most tempting way she could devise, and went off, bobbing her
head with satisfaction to see the children place themselves at table,
and partake of her well-timed lunch.

Will, as an atonement for the ungentle way in which he had come in
upon his sister after school, offered her the nicest plate of berries,
and insisted that she should take the crispiest roll. He suddenly
remembered that Emily, too, had had whooping-cough and measles at the
same time, and quite as badly as himself. But, then, she had not
sprained her wrist or lamed her foot; so it was no wonder her temper
had not suffered. Besides, it was expected of girls not to make a
fuss.

In view of these last circumstances, he suppressed the apology he was
about to make for his late unpleasant remarks.

"It never will do to give up too much to girls," he reasoned, draining
the last drop of cream from the pitcher.

"Your grandmamma is coming over from Brookline this afternoon in the
carriage, to take the two of you home with her to spind the night."

This was Kathleen back again at the nursery door, and wiping her face
with her apron as she unburdened herself of this forgotten bit of
news.

"You won't run away to sea now," besought Emily, with imploring eyes.

"Maybe I mightn't," shouted Will, tossing up his cap in glee at this
unexpected prospect of fun.

It was now only the middle of the long summer day. Such a tiresome
journey as the sun had to go before it rolled quite away in the west!
Will longed to give it a push, and to hurry up the clock to strike
five, the hour when they should be on their way to beautiful
Brookline.

Impatient little Will! Emily kindly helped him to get through with the
lagging time. At her suggestion, he played ball a while on the lawn,
while from time to time she nodded encouragingly to him through the
open window. By and by the ball bounded up into a spout, cuddling down
among some soft old maple leaves, where Will could not see it.
Thereupon Will came into the house in a great pet, storming about till
he was persuaded to sit on the floor and paste pictures in his
scrap-book.

This quiet occupation did not amuse him long. His fingers, his chin,
his cheeks, his curls even soon became stiff with mucilage. Mucilage
on his trouser knees, mucilage on his jacket elbows--in fact, mucilage
everywhere on and around him.

Emily, after having, with great painstaking, washed her brother and
all the surrounding furniture, proposed that he should study a Latin
lesson. The book soon went down with a bang. "Because," as Will
sulkily explained to his sighing sister, "it made his head buzz."

Emily gently suggested a French lesson as a corrective of this
unpleasant "buzz." The remedy soon proved to be a failure. The French
book came down more noisily than the Latin book.

Emily laid aside her drawing in despair. It was such a relief to hear
Kathleen's heavy step in the entry, and to remember it was time now
for Will to be dressed for dinner!

Poor Kathleen had a thankless task before her. Master Will required a
great deal of preparation. His curls were gummed and tangled; his
fingers were inky, and suspiciously pitchy.

"You've been climbin' unknownst up that pine tree again, an' you a
told not to?" questioned Kathleen, examining the fingers keenly.

"Hush up, and go ahead!" was Will's rude answer.

"How _can_ you speak so?" reproved Emily, turning round upon Will,
while she tied back her hair with a band of blue ribbon.

"Fie, fie, sir!" cried displeased Kathleen, "going ahead" with great
energy, her mouth pursed up in disapproval of Master Will's manners,
while she washed, and combed, and curled, and took off and put on his
apparel.

"Where's your stockings, Master Will,--the blue stripes?"

"Dunno."

Will sat in a low chair, his stubby bare feet stuck out before him,
and his two hands actively employed as fly-catchers. Suddenly he
remembered having amused himself the day before in oiling his sled
runners, using the striped stockings for wipers; but he did not
trouble Kathleen just then with the tidings. The blue-striped
stockings were not found. Then came a difficulty with his new boots.

"Aow! they pinch!"

"Where, sir?"

Master Will, not being able to say exactly where, was left to get used
to the new boots as well as he could.

"Now see, here's your new suit; an' be careful with it, mind--careful
as iver was. It's me afternoon out; and if ye go tearin' the cloos on
ye, ye'll jist mind thim yersel, or else go in tatthers wid yer
grandmamma."

This speech had no more wholesome effect on Will than to cause him to
stick out his tongue at Emily, while Kathleen, standing behind him,
arranged his buttons and his drapery generally.

"Now, if you could only be as good as you're purty," exclaimed
Kathleen, wheeling Will suddenly round before his tongue was quite in
place again, "you'd do well enough."

With a few finishing touches to Emily's sash ribbon, Kathleen went off
to make her own gorgeous toilet for her afternoon out.

The dinner was next to be gotten through with. But that was not an
unpleasant hour to Will. After dinner the children were permitted by
their mother to amuse themselves under the shadow of the great elm
behind the house. She knew that with Emily this permission simply
meant liberty to sit quietly beneath the overhanging branches, gazing
dreamily over the soft summer landscape, or listening to the sweet
sounds that stirred the air around and above her. But with Will it
might be more broadly interpreted into leave for frequent raids over
fences and through bars for butterflies and beetles, or any luckless
rover that strayed along. So she explained to her son in this wise:--

"Will, dear, remember that your grandmamma is coming for you, and you
must not soil or tear your clothes by running about. Play quietly in
the shade. The time will not be long now."

"Yes, mum."

Such implicit obedience as this "Yes, mum" implied! In fact, there was
the promise in it of every one of the cardinal virtues.

The two children then went away through the long hall, whose doors
stood wide open in the warm summer afternoon, and Will, dragging along
the slower-footed Emily, hurried on to the elm tree.

"Don't pull so, Will; I shall drop my basket, and my spool and
thimble will roll away."

"What do you want to bother with work for this beautiful afternoon?"
inquired Will, slackening his pace.

"I promised mamma I would try and finish it this week," said Emily,
"and I like to keep my word."

"I thought the machine sewed."

"So it does; but mamma says I must learn just the same as if there
were no machines."

"Well, I'm glad I'm not a girl, to sit pricking my fingers, and
jabbing needles in and out all day."

Patience was not one of Will's virtues.

How lovely it was out under the elm! The sweet-scented grass was warm
with the afternoon sun, and musical with the chirp and hum of its
insect homes. The bees fluttered in and out over mamma's rose garden,
and all the air was filled with the delicate fragrance of the roses.

Emily, seated on the great gnarled elm roots, drank in all the sweet
scents and sounds, her forgotten work-basket lying overturned in the
grass before her. Will spread himself out at full length on the
ground, and kept his eyes open for chippers and spiders, and all the
busy little things that crept, or leaped, or flitted around him. Now
and then the afternoon hush was broken by the faintly tinkling bells
of a horse-car turning some distant corner, the rumbling of a heavy
team going over the dusty turnpike, or the voices of the belfry clocks
calling the hour to each other from the steeples of the neighboring
city.

Master Will, however, soon became tired of this quiet. He scrambled
up, and wandering away into the rose garden, lifted caressingly to his
cheek the beautiful pink blossoms which leaned towards him from amid
the green leaves. He was looking for a choice little bud to fasten in
Emily's hair; and when he found it, he came whistling out into the
clear grassy spaces again, a little bird in a bough overhead tilting,
and twittering, and eying him askance.

Will rushed up to Emily, and hung the bud in her ear; he rearranged it
in the blue ribbon of her hair, so that it nodded sleepily over her
nose; he dropped it, as if it were a tiny pink egg, in the soft golden
moss of curls which he upturned on his sister's head. Then he threw it
away, and stamped on it; for Emily had drawn a book from her pocket,
and deep in some fairy under-world story, was unmindful of his roses
and his pains.

He ran recklessly away into the rose garden; he caught a bumblebee; he
pursued a daddy long-leg with the watering-pot, going deeper and
deeper all the time among the briery branches. The crashing of the
stems caused Emily to come up from fairy-land a moment.

"Have a care, Will, dear. The roses have thorns. You may tear your
nice jacket."

Crash, crash! rip, rip! The rose trees are dragging at Will with their
prickly fingers. With great effort he burst away from them, and rushed
out, with no worse mischance than a rent in his trousers.

"Aw! aw! aw!"

All the little knolls seemed to take up Will's sorrowful cry, and
repeat it.

"You must not tear or soil your clothes."

Every cricket in the grass seemed to be screaming these words of his
mother, and here was her luckless son with two green spots on his
stockings, and a grievous rent in his new pantaloons.

It was Kathleen's afternoon out; she had warned him, and there was no
help in that direction. He looked mournfully over his shoulder at the
damages with a vague idea that he had perhaps some undeveloped
capacity for mending.

[Illustration: "YOU'LL SEE HOW NICELY I'LL SEW IT."]

"Couldn't you pin it up nicely?" he inquired, in most insinuating
tones, of Emily, whose eye just then met his.

Emily burst into a merry laugh.

Will was mute with indignation, and tingling to his finger's ends,
with this untimely mirth. His flashing eyes asked if this were a time
for jesting.

"Come here, Willy, boy, and you'll see how nicely I'll sew it, not pin
it. Never fret about it, dear; I will explain to mamma that you were
really not so much in fault. It was only rather a mistake to get in so
far among the bushes. If you had been chasing the cat, or turning
somersets, she might, perhaps, be vexed; but poh! she will excuse
this."

Will, unseen by Emily, wiped away with his thumb one big tear after
another out of the corner of his eye.

"She is a good sister, anyhow, and I am a mean fellow ever to get mad
with her, and say rude things to her," he said to himself, as Emily
darned, and chatted, and bade him be of good cheer.

"My stockings, too, sister. There's a great green grass stain on both
of them, and grandmamma expects us to be _so_ nice."

Will coughed to choke down a sob.

"Perhaps you may have time to change them, Will. I will help you. But
we must get the pantaloons all nicely done first."

So this kind sister stitched, and taught unconsciously as she
stitched, lessons of love and patience, lessons of cheerful
helpfulness and sweet unselfishness, which Will never forgot.

More than once, in after life, when, in heedless pursuit of life's
roses, he had been wounded by its thorns, he remembered that sweet
face of consolation, those dear hands held out to aid him, and all the
sunshine and the song of that sweet summer afternoon, and fresh peace
and hope came to him with the remembrance.

"It's all finished now, the very last stitch; and now for the
stockings. Let me see the spots."

Will put his two heels firmly together, turned out his toes, pulled up
his puffy pantaloons, and stooped his head and strained his eyes to
look for them.

They were but little ones, after all, and a brisk rubbing with the
handkerchief, and a judicious pulling down of the trouser bindings,
almost concealed them. They were just in time with their repairs; for
grandmamma's yellow-wheeled carriage was coming up the avenue.

                                                    E. G. C.



OUR DAILY BREAD.


    A little girl knelt down to pray
      One morn. The mother said,
    "My love, why do we ever say,
      Give us our daily bread?
    Why not ask for a week or more?"
      The baby bent her head
    In thoughtful mood towards the floor:
      "We want it fresh," she said.



[Illustration: LITTLE WILLIE.]

WILLIE'S PRAYER.


    One sweet morning little Willie,
      Springing from his trundle-bed,
    Bounded to the vine-wreathed window
      And put out his sunny head.

    It was in the joyous spring-time,
      When the sky was soft and fair,
    And the blue-bird and the robin
      Warbled sweetly everywhere.

    In the field the lambs were playing,
      Where the babbling brook ran clear;
    To and fro, in leafy tree-tops,
      Squirrels frisked without a fear.

    In his ear his baby-brother
      Baby-wonders tried to speak,
    And the kiss of a fond mother
      Rested on his dimpled cheek.

    Zephyrs from the fragrant lilacs
      Fanned his little rosy face,
    And the heart's-ease, gemmed with dewdrops,
      Smiled at him with gentle grace.

    Gliding back with fairy footsteps,
      Willie, dropping on his knees,
    Softly prayed, "Dear God, I love you!
      Make it always happy, please!"



SQUIRRELS.


How pretty little squirrels look perched in the branches of a tree! I
like to watch them as they nimbly run up the trunk or spring from
bough to bough. One or two are generally to be seen in a clump of
great old beeches near a house in the country where I usually spend
some happy weeks in summer; and I will tell you a story of a little
squirrel whose acquaintance I made there last summer.

I happened to be up very early one morning, long before breakfast was
ready or any of the family were down, and I went out into the garden
to enjoy the fresh, sweet smell of the early day. The cows were
grazing in the field beyond, and now and then lowing a friendly
"good-morning" to each other. Some ducks were waddling in procession
down to the pond, quacking out their wise remarks as they went. The
little birds were singing lustily their welcome to the new-born day.
Even the old watch-dog came yawning, stretching, blinking and wagging
his tail in kindly dog-fashion to bid me "good-day" in the summer
sunshine.

As I stood under the great beech trees, taking in with greedy eye and
ear the sights and sounds of country-life so refreshing to a Londoner,
I heard something fall from one of the trees, then a scuffle, and
immediately afterward a white Persian cat belonging to the house
bounded toward me in hot pursuit of a dear little squirrel. I was just
in time to save the poor little animal by stepping between it and the
cat. The squirrel passed under the edge of my dress and made off again
up another tree; so pussy lost her prey.

Soon afterward, when we were at breakfast, the butler told us that one
of the little boys of the village, who had lost a pet squirrel, had
asked if he might look for it in the garden of the house. It had first
escaped into some trees in the park, and he had traced it from them
into the garden. It at once occurred to me that this must be the
little creature I had saved from the cat. I remembered how it made
straight toward me, as if asking me for protection from its enemy,
which only a tame squirrel would do; and I proposed, when breakfast
was over, that we should go out and help in the search.

Little Jack Tompkins stood under the beech trees, looking with
tear-stained face up into the branches. Suddenly I saw his face
brighten, and he called out, "I see un, ma'am; I see un! If so be no
one warn't by, I be sure he'd come to I."

I need not say we retreated to a distance; then Jack called up the
tree in a loud whisper, "Billee, Billee!" and in a minute down came
the little creature on to his shoulder. I can tell you Jack was a
happier child than he had been when he came into the garden. And when
I told him what a narrow escape "Billee" had had from the cat, he
said, "It would be hard if a cat eat he, for our old puss brought he
up with her own kits." Then he told us how the squirrel, when a tiny
thing, had dropped out of its nest and been found by him lying almost
dead at the foot of a tree, and how he had carried it home and tried
whether pussy would adopt it as one of her own kittens. The cat was
kind; the squirrel throve under her motherly care, and became Jack's
pet and companion.

Now, children, in this instance it was all very well to keep a tame
squirrel. "Billee" seemed happy leading the life he was accustomed to;
he had been fed and cared for by human beings from his infancy, and
might be as incapable of finding food and managing for himself in a
wild state as a poor canary would be if let loose from its cage. But
generally it is cruel to imprison little wild birds and animals who
have known the enjoyment of liberty.

[Illustration: THE SQUIRREL.]



PUPPET.


Puppet had two occupations. She had also a guitar and a half-bushel
basket. These things were her capital--her stock in trade.

The guitar belonged to one of her occupations, the half-bushel basket
to the other.

In consideration of her first employment, she might have been called a
street guitarist. In consideration of her second, she might have been
called a beggar--a broken-bits beggar.

Puppet would have been considered, among lawyers, "shrewd;" or, at a
mothers' meeting, "cunning;" or, among business men, "sharp." That is
to say, she knew a thing or two. She knew that being able to sing no
songs was a disadvantage to her first occupation, as a large hole,
half way up her basket, was an advantage to her second.

It seems odd that a hole in one's begging basket should be an
advantage.

But because of the hole, she had always behind her a crowd of dogs,
that seemed to have been just dropped from the basket, the last one
never having fairly got his nose out; and because of the dogs she was
known as "Puppet" all over the city.

To be known by a characteristic name is of great advantage to a
beggar.

If Biddy, looking from the basement door, says to cook, "Och, an'
there comes up the street our little Puppet, with her dogs all behind
her, carrying her basket," cook is much more likely to see the broken
bits "botherin' roun' on the schalves o' the cubbid," than she would
be if Biddy should say, "Shure, an' thir cams to us a dirty beggar, it
is."

But it is with Puppet's first occupation, and not her second, that we
have to do. If you had not read more descriptions of faces within the
last year than you can possibly remember in all the years of your life
put together, I would tell you what sort of face Puppet's was; that it
was a bright face, with blue eyes, just the color of the blue ribbon
that went first round the guitar's neck, and then round Puppet's; that
Puppet's teeth were as white as the mother-of-pearl pegs that held her
guitar strings at the bottom; that her cheeks were as white as the
ivory keys; that her hair was long, and yellow--just the shade of the
guitar's yellow face.

But that would be very much like a dozen other faces that you have
seen; so I will only say that it was a smiling little face.

It smiled as it bent over the guitar, while the little fingers picked
their ways in and out among the strings; and it smiled yet more
sweetly as she looked up to catch the coppers thrown from the fourth
and fifth story, and sky-parlor windows.

Puppet once lived with a man who said that he was her uncle; and she
believed him so thoroughly, that she let him box her ears whenever he
felt like it, till he died. Since then Puppet had lived almost
friendless and alone.

One hot July day Puppet was wandering through the streets of the great
city, with her little guitar under her little arm. The city did not
seem so great to Puppet as it does to some of the rest of us, because
she was born and brought up there.

"O, dear," sighed Puppet, "_what_ a mean place you are!"

No one had given her a copper since the cool of the morning. People
seemed to have a fancy for spending their coppers on soda-water and
ice-cream.

"What shall I do?" moaned Puppet. Whatever should she do? Puppet must
have coppers, or she could not live.

She sat in a cool, shaded court, close to the busy street; but she
couldn't get away from the heat, and the noise, and the people
sighing, like herself, "O dear, O dear!"

"I'll try once more," said Puppet, tuning her guitar.

She played "Home, Sweet Home," with variations. But all the people who
heard her were suffering, because their homes in the city were rather
hot than sweet. "Home, Sweet Home" could win no pennies from "city
folks" in July.

Then Puppet whistled to her guitar accompaniment a little "Bird
Waltz," and whirled on the pavement in time, till I doubt if she
herself knew whether the guitar had gone mad, and were waltzing about
her, or she were waltzing about the guitar.

A boy came dancing into the court, singing,--

    "O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad!
    O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad!"

But he danced out again, without leaving a penny behind him; so it
would have been just as well if he had never come in. Still, he amused
himself for a few minutes, which not many people were able to do in
that hot July midday.

Puppet went from the little court, and wandered on and on. At last she
left the city far away behind her.

And out and away from the city there were green fields.

Puppet had heard of green fields, but she had never seen any face to
face before. As she looked at them, she had a dim remembrance that she
had heard that they were covered with long, waving grass. But all
these fields were close shaven, like the beautiful mouse-colored
horses in the city.

It was pleasant, but not very exciting to a city girl. The city girl
presently grew tired of it.

"There seem to be houses farther along," she said; "I'll go and play
there."

Puppet slung the little guitar about her little neck, and started off
again.

Presently she came to a cottage with a little green yard in front of
it, and in the middle of the little green yard was a great green tree.

Puppet sat down on the grass, leaned against the tree, and felt very
hungry.

A lady was sitting by an open window, sewing. She was sitting so that
Puppet could see only a bit of her left cheek, and her dark hair, just
beginning to turn gray, and her right hand as she brought the needle
up from her work. From what she did see, Puppet thought that she would
give her something to eat, if she could but get her attention. Surely,
she must be often hungry herself, or why should she have so many gray
hairs?

Puppet, leaning against the tree, ran her fingers over the guitar
frets in light harmonies; but the lady did not look.

Her thoughts must be far away, in a quiet and happy place, that
Puppet's harmonies should seem a part of that place.

The guitar broke into a low, mournful minor. Still the lady gave no
heed to Puppet.

Puppet was feeling very hungry. She would play the Fandango. That
_must_ rouse any one. She began at the most rattling part.

The gray-haired lady looked round quickly. "Bless me, bless me! what's
this?" Seeing a little girl out by the tree, she put her sewing on the
table, and came to the door and into the yard.

"Dear me! a little girl with yellow hair, and I just to have been
dreaming of a little girl with yellow hair!"

"Is anything the matter with my hair, mum?" Puppet stopped playing,
and ran her hands through the yellow mass of uncombed locks.

"Ah, no, little girl! there is nothing the matter with your hair.
Only--" The lady was thinking how soft, and fine, and curly was the
yellow hair of which she had been dreaming.

"What do you want?" asked the lady.

"I'm very hungry," said Puppet, "because of the walk, and--and--and
all," concluded Puppet, remembering that the lady could not
understand.

"Come in, then."

Puppet went in. Up in one corner of the sitting-room were a little
tip-cart and a doll. Puppet ate her bread and meat, looking hard at
the tip-cart.

"Where is it, mum?"

"Where is what, child?"

"The child, mum." Puppet pointed to the tip-cart.

"Gone, my dear," said the lady, softly.

"Dead?" Puppet remembered that that was what they said about her uncle
when he went away. It was the only going away that she had ever known.

"Yes, I suppose so," said the lady, with a little shiver.

"That's bad, mum."

"No, not bad," said the lady, sorrowfully. "It is just right that it
should be so."

"But it must be lonesome like, unless there were kicks and things."
Puppet was still thinking of her uncle.

The lady wondered what the child could mean, and not knowing, said,--

"What's your name? How could I have forgotten to ask your name?"

"Puppet."

"That's a funny name. And where do you live?"

"Two or three miles away from here."

"Have you walked here to-day?"

"Yes, mum."

"What should make the child walk so far, I wonder?"

"Money, mum, and things to eat."

"Have you eaten enough?"

"Yes. I must go home now, or I shall be late."

"Are you sure you know the way?" asked the lady, a little anxiously.
"You're such a little thing!"

"O, yes, mum! Go as I came."

"Well, good by."

"Good by, mum."

But was Puppet _sure_ that she knew the way?

       *       *       *       *       *

The next morning, a man walking on a road that ran by the edge of a
meadow, was going to his work.

Hark! What did he hear? Was it a cry! was it a child's cry? And what
was that? It sounded like a fiddle. He stopped to look around.

"I declare, we've had a high tide in the night!" said he, and trudged
on.

But what was that? _That_ was certainly a child's cry.

The man looked sharply about.

"It can't be she," he said. "Folks from heaven wouldn't cry, even if
they were let to come--at least, if they were little children."

And so he still looked sharply about. And looking, what did he see?

He saw great haystacks of meadow hay out in the meadow, with the
tide-water all about them. Then his eyes were fixed on one particular
haystack. On its top, with her yellow hair and smiling face in sight,
was--it could not be, though--but it was--a little girl, and dangling
by the side of the stack was a guitar with a yellow face. The man
waded through the water that lay between the dry land and the stack.

"Crawl down to my shoulders;" and he stood by the side of the stack
till she was on his shoulders, with her arms about his neck.

[Illustration: {Puppet, with her guitar, sitting on top of a haystack}]

"How came you there?"

"I went everywhere to try to get home, and it was dark, all but the
moon; and I saw the stack, and a board went from the ground to the top
of it."

"Sure enough, the prop."

"And I was so tired!"

"Poor child!"

"And I never saw the water come before, and it was only wet enough to
wet my feet when I got up."

"Well, well! We'll go home and get something to eat."

The man walked into his kitchen with the little girl and the guitar on
his shoulders.

"Why, John, are you back? Dear me, if there isn't that same
child--Puppet!"

John went off to his work again. Puppet ate her breakfast, and told
her story, and then said,--

"Please, mum, may I play with the cart?"

And because of her yellow hair, she might play with the cart.

"But aren't you sick, and oughtn't you to take some medicine, and go
to bed?" asked the lady, whose hair had grown gray over sickness and
medicine.

Puppet meditated. She felt very well. She thought that she had rather
play with the tip-cart than to take medicine. So she played all day,
and went to bed at night.

At night John come home from his work, and, as usual, heard of all
that had happened through the day.

"I wish we could keep the little thing, John, dear. She has yellow
hair, just like--"

"Yes," said John, "I saw."

"And she'd be _such_ a comfort!"

"If she didn't die by and by," said John.

"But, John, dear, just think of a little thing like her spending the
night in the middle of a meadow, with the water all about her."

John thought. And he thought that if she could stand that without
being sick, she could stand their love without dying.

So Puppet and the guitar live with John and the gray-haired lady.

MARY B. HARRIS.



[Illustration: "MIKE ROLLED OVER AND OVER TO THE FOOT OF THE STEPS."
    See p. 169.]

MERRY CHRISTMAS.


All the hill-side was green with maples, and birches, and pines. The
meadows at its foot were green, too, with the tufted salt grass, and
glittering with the silver threads of tide braided among its winding
creeks. Beyond was the city, misty and gray, stretching its wan arms
to the phantom ships flitting along the horizon.

From the green hill-side you could hear the city's muffled hum and
roar, and sometimes the far-off clanging of the bells from its hundred
belfries. But the maples and birches seemed to hear and see nothing
beyond the sunshine over their heads and the winds which went
frolicking by. Life was one long dance with them, through the budding
spring and the leafy summer, and on through the grand gala days of
autumn, till the frost came down on the hills, and whispered,--

"Your dancing days are all over."

But the pines were quite different. They, the stately ones, stood
quite aloof, the older and taller ones looking stiffly over the heads
of the rollicking maples, and making solemn reverences to the great
gray clouds that swept inland from the ocean. The straight little
saplings at their feet copied the manners of their elders, and folding
their fingers primly, and rustling their stiff little green petticoats
decorously, sat up so silent and proper.

So unlike the small birches and maples that chattered incessantly,
wagging their giddy heads, and playing tag with the butterflies in the
sunshine all the day long!

"How tiresome those stupid old pines are! No expression, no animation.
So lofty and so exclusive, and forever grumbling to each other in
their hoarse old Scandinavian, which it gives one the croup even to
listen to! Of what possible use _can_ they be?"

This was what the maple said to the birch one day when the Summer and
her patience with her sombre neighbor were on the wane--one day when
there was a gleam of golden pumpkins in the tawny corn stubble beyond
the wood, and the purpling grapes hung ripening over the old stone
wall that lay between, and the maple had brightened its summer dress
with a gay little leaf set here and there in its shining folds.

The birch agreed with the maple about the pines, and the maple went
glibly on.

"I've ordered my autumn dresses--a different one for each day in the
week. Just think of those horrid pines never altering the fashion of
their stiff old plaiting."

"We shall not be obliged to remain in this dull place much longer,"
said the tall pines loftily to each other, looking quite over the
heads of the maple and the birch. "We shall soon be crossing the
ocean, and then our lives will have just begun. We simply vegetate
here."

"Ho, ho!" laughed the maple and the birch behind their fluttering
green fans, pretending to be greatly amused at what the west wind was
saying to them.

Now, though the trees spoke a different language, yet each understood
perfectly well what the other said; so their rudeness was quite
inexcusable.

When the summer was ended, the maple began to put on her gorgeous
autumn dresses; but the pines looked much at the sky, and paid little
heed to the maple. The other trees on the hill-side, quite faded with
their summer gayeties, looked on languidly in the still autumn days at
the maple's brilliant toilets.

Soon the cold rains swept in from the sea, blurring the wood vistas;
and when they were gone, the frost came in the midnight, with its
unwelcome message, and later the snow lay white above all the faded
and fallen crimson and gold of the maple and the tarnished silver of
the birch.

All the trees, brown and bare now, moaned in the wintry wind--all but
the tall pines, and they were crossing the ocean; their lives had
begun. The little saplings remained behind, but with their heads
perked stiffly up above the snow; they had the air of expecting
somebody.

They were not disappointed. One sunny morning, a boy and a girl came
singing through the wood paths, each in a pair of high-topped boots,
and each in a faded and closely-buttoned coat, the girl with a blue
hood pulled over her rosy face, and the boy with a fur cap closely
tied about his ears by a red comforter. The two drew a hand-sled, and
peered about under the tall trunks as they went stamping through the
deep snow. How they shouted as they spied the little pine trees
perking up their heads! How they tossed aside the snow, and worked
away with their jackknives, hacking at the little pine trees till they
had cut them all down, all ready to be piled up on their hand-sled.

"Where are you going?" asked the giddy little birch of the pines,
peeping out from a small window in her snow-house. Her nose was
purple, and her fingers stiff with cold; but down under the earth her
feet were warm, and that was pleasant, at any rate.

"It is of no consequence where," said the pines, in their grimmest
Scandinavian.

The birch simply said, "O!" and drew in her little purple nose, hoping
heartily they were all going to be burned, as that would be a good end
and riddance of them.

But the little pines were not going to be burned; they were going away
to the city that lay misty and still beyond the frozen meadows.
Stretched out stiffly on the hand-sled, they were jostled along out
through the wood, over the frozen turnpike, and across the mill-dam to
Boston.

They alighted at the Boylston Market, and were ranged in a row against
the dark brick wall.

"How much happens in a very short time!" they said to each other; "all
those gaudy, chattering trees left without a leaf to cover them, our
own friends all gone on their travels, and we here in the city,
wrapped in our warm winter furs."

It was the Christmas week. The shop windows were gay with toys and
gorgeous Christmas offerings; the shop doors were opening and shutting
on the crowd that came and went through them. A bustling throng of
people passed incessantly up and down the narrow sidewalks, and
carriages of all descriptions blocked the crossings, or drove
recklessly over the frozen pavement.

The old woman in the quilted black hood and shaggy cape, who had
charge of the little pine trees, drove a brisk trade that day in her
wreaths and holly; but though many people stopped to admire the little
pines, and even to ask their price, no purchaser had yet appeared for
them.

The old dame was rubbing her mittened hands briskly together, and
mumbling in a displeased way at the pine trees, when a carriage drew
suddenly up at the curbstone, and out sprang a little girl.

"See, papa, how lovely! So green, and fresh, and thick!" she said,
pointing to the row of pines.

A bargain was concluded in a trice. The money was dropped into the
eager, outstretched mitten of the old woman, and a little Christmas
tree dragged over the sidewalk, and set up in the buggy.

"We must have some of these lower branches cut off; they are in the
way," said papa.

"Hev a knife, sir?" shouted a ragged little fellow, whipping a rusty
old knife out of his pocket.

"Please, sir, lemme cut it for you. Say, where?" he cried, laying hold
of the pine, as the gentleman in the buggy pointed to him where to
cut.

The lower branches being trimmed to the gentleman's satisfaction, the
Christmas tree, leaning comfortably against the crimson afghan, was
soon on its way to Meadow Home, while its lower branches and some
jingling small coin remained in the hands of the gaping urchin on the
curbstone.

"This here's luck--fust-rate luck," remarked the small boy, stamping
his feet, and staring stupidly after the retreating buggy wheels.

"Out of the way there!" growled a man in a farmer's frock, lifting a
pile of frozen turkeys from a wagon.

The boy ducked aside, his ragged little trousers fluttering in the
wind. Then he sat down on the market steps to count his coin.

"Hi! twenty-five cents. There's a mutton stew and onions for you and
your folks a Christmas, Mike Slattery, and all this jolly green stuff
thrown in free gratis. That chap was a gen'leman, and no mistake.
Won't Winnie hop when she sees me a-h'isting of these here over our
stairs, and she a-blowin' at me for a week to bring her some sich, and
me niver seein' nary a chance at 'em 'cept stealin's, which is wot
this here feller ain't up to no ways whatsomever. No, _sir_. Hi!"

Mike waved his Christmas boughs aloft in great glee.

An old gentleman with gold-headed cane and spectacles was going up the
steps of the market, followed by a beautiful black-and-white setter.
The playful dog sprang at the green branches. Mike held on to them
stoutly. The dog suddenly let go of them, and bounded away, while Mike
rolled over and over to the foot of the steps, clutching tightly the
pine boughs.

"You'll ketch it," he muttered, setting his teeth hard together behind
his white lips, and trying in vain to scramble up.

"Yer hurt, bub?" asked a wrinkled old apple woman, turning round on
her three-legged stool, and thrusting her nose inquiringly out of the
folds of the old brown shawl, which was wrapped around her head.

"You bet I be!" whimpered Mike, pointing forlornly with his one
unoccupied finger to his bruised ankle.

"Been playin' pitch-pennies, yer mis'ble young 'un!" grinned a tall
boy, strolling by with his hands in his pockets, and his ferret eyes
on the sharp lookout for mischief.

In a twinkling he swooped up Mike's small coin, which had rattled to
the pavement, and vanished with them in a struggling tangle of horse
cars and omnibuses before Mike finished his desperate yell of, "Gim me
'um."

By this time a crowd had gathered about the prostrate Mike, who,
faint with pain, was at last lifted into the chaise of a kind-hearted
doctor, who was passing, and carried to his house in Bone Court.

There we will leave Mike for a while, and look after the little pine
tree on its way to Meadow Home.

Such a group of round, rosy faces as were on the watch for it in the
great bay window of Meadow Home, peering out in the red sunset,
straining their eyes in the dim twilight, and peering still more
persistently as the stars came out through the gathering darkness!

The fire danced in the grate, and the shadows danced on the wall, and
the four little heads danced more and more impatiently in the window
pane, as the cold winter night settled down on the world outside of
Meadow Home.

"They're run away with and threw out. What will you bet, Mab?" shouted
Will, turning away from the window in disgust, and indulging in a
double somerset.

"_Thrown_, Will," corrected Mabel, just now more indignant with his
grammar than his slang.

Mabel began to clear with her sleeve an unblurred peep through the
pane, and then pressed her nose hard against the glass.

"It's _my_ opinion," she said, with great pompousness, "that the
Christmas trees are all sold. I told Ely not to put off buying till
to-day. Don't you remember, Alice? And so papa is just coming home
without them."

Alice poh-pohed. Alice was sitting up stiffly at a table by the fire,
stuffing a pin-cushion, assisted, or, more properly, impeded, by her
small brother Chrissy, who had offered his services, and would not
listen to Alice's nay. Chrissy was not handsome in any light, but by
the flickering firelight he looked like a little ogre. He sat
hunched up in his chair, his knees drawn up to his nose, the sharp end
of his tongue curling out of the corner of his mouth, and his small
eyes actually crossed in the earnestness of his work, which consisted
in snatching chances at the stuffing with a table-spoon and a cup of
bran.

[Illustration: THE LITTLE SLATTERYS.]

"I hear them," exclaimed Mabel, springing down from the window, her
nose a spectacle.

Now away down stairs flew all the four, who had been wriggling for an
hour in the bay window.

"Shut the door, Chrissy," nodded the dignified Alice to Chrissy, whose
eyes had marvellously uncrossed, and whose tongue had disappeared at
Mabel's announcement. Chrissy drew down his knees, and obeyed. "Spoon
up the bran you spilled, Chrissy," directed Alice, calmly stitching at
her pin-cushion.

The reluctant Chrissy's obedience was less of a success this time. The
noise of a great commotion in the hall below reached the quiet
chamber. Chrissy, with his face twisted inquiringly first over one
shoulder and then over the other, spooned at random.

The sounds came nearer. Through the hurrying of eager feet and the
clamor of glad voices was a tap-tapping on the wainscot and a thumping
on the oaken stairs.

"May be it's St. Nicholas?" questioned Chrissy, spooning very
unsteadily, his eyes and his ears wide open.

"No; it isn't time for him. He's doing up his pack now, and they are
harnessing his reindeer."

"Who? Where?"

The door burst open, and in tumbled four children and the little pine
tree. Chrissy darted forward, shrieking with delight, and fell
headlong among the family group.

"What a pretty pine!" said Alice, calmly locking up the pin-cushion
in her work-box.

Now Ely, still in her fur cap and sack, rushed in excitedly among her
struggling brothers and sisters, and rescued the pine tree.

"Sitting up so piminy there, Alice Eliot, your two hands folded, and
the beautiful Christmas tree just going to destruction, with those
four wretched little thunderbolts pitching into it!"

Ely was purple with wrath.

The four little Eliots were on their feet again in a trice, giggling
and nudging each other behind the excited Ely.

"It's a truly lovely pine," remarked Alice, composedly, shaking some
bran from her skirt.

"You might have said so, if you had gone round looking for them in the
freezing cold, as I did, and then couldn't find one fit to be seen,
except--"

"Alice, didn't I tell her so?" interrupted Mabel, pulling Chrissy's
fat fingers away from Ely's pocket just as they were about to grasp
the protruding heels of a little dancing jack.

Alice now lighted the gas, Ely set the pretty pine tree carefully
against the wall, and the four little Eliots danced hand in hand
frantically about it.

Then Alice, and Mabel, and Ely went up close to the fender, and
whispered together about the presents Ely had brought home to put in
the children's stockings, and Mabel helped Ely empty her great
stuffed-out pocket; and the fire laughed through the bars of the grate
to see the parcels that came forth.

By and by Mabel and Ely took the pine tree carefully down stairs into
a beautiful room, and Alice came close behind them with a great
covered basket. The four little Eliots followed noisily, striving to
peep under the basket covers; but Ely thrust them all out again into
the hall, and locked the door upon them.

Now began the Christmas adorning of the little pine tree. Such
beautiful things as were hung upon it, and folded about it, and
festooned around it!

"How charming to be a pine!" murmured the little tree, with its head
among the frescoed cherubs on the ceiling.

"Where are you, Mabel Eliot? Light up the burners now," commanded Ely
from the top of a step-ladder.

Ely crept out from under the green baize around the foot of the pine
tree, two pins in her mouth, a crimson smoking-cap on her dishevelled
head, and a pair of large-flowered toilet slippers drawn over her
hands.

"I crawled in behind there to see if there mightn't be a place
somewhere for these," explained Ely, hastening for the torch, and
proceeding to light up.

The pine tree now saw itself reflected in the great mirror opposite,
and echoed the "splendid" of the three girls, who clapped their hands
at the gorgeous effect. Then the lights were put out. The silver key
was turned in the door again, and the girls went away, leaving the
pine tree in darkness indeed.

The four small Eliots, after pinning up their stockings by the
chimney, seated themselves in their night-gowns on the hearth-rug, and
talked over St. Nicholas before they got into bed. Each agreed to wake
the others if he "should just but catch Santa Claus coming down the
chimney."

Chrissy, squinting up his eyes till nothing but two little lines of
black lashes were visible, was sure "he should catch him; O, yes, he
should."

So they all climbed sleepily into bed, pinning their faith on Chrissy.

The night darkened and deepened, the stars moving on in a grand
procession. Somewhere about midnight St. Nicholas was off on his ride,
galloping over the roof-tops, and knocking at every chimney-top that
had a knocker, just getting through at day dawn with the deal he had
to do. The "eight tiny reindeer" had barely trotted him out of sight,
when thousands of little children in thousands of homes began hopping
out of bed to look in their stockings.

The Christmas morning was breaking in joy and gladness, as if the dear
Christ Child of eighteen hundred years ago were newly born that day.
Little children, and old men, and maidens waked to give good gifts and
greetings to each other, remembering whom the good Father in heaven
had given to them on that first glad Christmas morn.

In an attic in Bone Court, Mike Slattery, wildly staring about him,
bolted up in bed, waked by big Winnie, and little Pat, and Jimmy
roaring "Merry Christmas" in his ears.

"Oop, Mike, an' tak' a look at Winnie's Christmas fixin's foreninst
yer two eyes," piped Jimmy, flapping the little breeches he was too
excited to put on at the little pine branches stuck up thickly in the
window.

"Isn't yer fut that better ye might hobble up to see what the good
gintleman--him as brought ye home--left behind for yees and us
arl--the Christmas things, ye'll mind?" inquired Winnie, combing her
tangled auburn locks, and stooping compassionately over Mike.

"There's the big burhd for yees," cackled little Pat, staggering up to
the bedside with a goose hugged to his bosom.

"Hooray!" cried Mike, swinging his pillow; "that thafe of a chap
didn't do us out of our Christmas dinner, thin. Here's a go beyant
mutton and onions."

"Blissid be thim as saysonably remimbers the poor," sniffed Mrs.
Slattery, who was down on her hands and knees washing up the broken
bit of hearth under the stove.

"That's so," chimed in the little Slatterys; and then they all fell
again to admiring the goose.

The sun had climbed a long way up the sky, and was just looking in
through the pine branches in the Slatterys' window, when a little
golden head, surmounted by a blue velvet hat, looked in through the
Slatterys' door.

"Merry Christmas. May I come in?"

Pat looked at Jim, and Jim looked at Mike, and all three,
open-mouthed, looked at the little golden head in the doorway.

"I just came in to bring you some pretty story books of mine, and a
cap of brother Jack's, and a nice new pair of shoes for Mike. How do
you do, Mike, this morning? Papa--he's the doctor who brought you
home, Mike--is coming soon to see you."

She had emptied her little leathern bag, laid down her gifts on a
chair, and vanished before Winnie got up the stairs from the
wood-house, or Mrs. Slattery, in the closet, had finished skewering up
the goose, or a single little Slattery had found a word to say.

I cannot stay to tell you about the Slatterys' Christmas dinner, and
Mike perched up at the table, with brother Jack's cap on his head, and
the new pair of shoes on the floor by his side. I have just time to
stop a minute at Meadow Home, where a little golden head, with a
little blue velvet hat tilted atop, flits in before me at the great
hall door. As I went quickly through the holly and under the wreaths,
a little voice, in wheedling tones, called from the gallery above,--

"Stay to dine to dinner?"

At the same time a small dancing jack, dangling from somewhere
overhead, caught by his hands and feet in my chignon, as if striving
to pull me up. Ah, naughty Chrissy!

Chrissy clapped his hands in delight, and then dropping the string of
the little jack, ran away swiftly to hide.

"Do stay to dine, aunt Clara," begged Mabel, and Alice, and Ely, all
three springing forward at once to disengage the jumping jack from my
hair.

"Ah, do, Miss Clara; I've something to tell you about a little boy I
saw this morning," pleaded little golden-head, peering through an
evergreen arch. "Do stay and see the Christmas tree lighted after
dinner," besought all four, gathering closely around me.

But aunt Clara was engaged to dine at the square old house over the
way, with the dear old lady who could not see the pine wreaths that
made her old-fashioned parlor so sweet with their resinous, balmy
fragrance.

"They remind me of the times when my girls and boys were all about me
so gay and happy, and the old house resounded with their 'Merry
Christmas.' 'Tis many a year now, dear Clara, since there was a merry
Christmas here; but happy Christmases there have been, thank God, not
a few. A happy Christmas, dear, to you, and thanks for brightening the
day for me," said the old lady, with a gentle sigh, as I placed her at
the quiet table.

A merry, merry Christmas to all the little "Merrys" who read this
story. Do not forget that there are homes where live forlorn little
Mikes and Jimmys, whom you can make glad in this glad time; and do not
forget that there are sorrowing homes which the mere sight and sound
of your bright young faces and voices will brighten and cheer.

                                                    E. G. C.



[Illustration: ANNIE.]

ANNIE.


    I've a sweet little pet; she is up with the lark,
    And at eve she's asleep when the valleys are dark,
    And she chatters and dances the blessed day long,
    Now laughing in gladness, now singing a song.
    She never is silent; the whole summer day
    She is off on the green with the blossoms at play;
    Now seeking a buttercup, plucking a rose,
    Or laughing aloud at the thistle she blows.

    She never is still; now at some merry elf
    You'll smile as you watch her, in spite of yourself;
    You may chide her in vain, for those eyes, full of fun,
    Are smiling in mirth at the mischief she's done;
    And whatever you do, that same thing, without doubt,
    Must the mischievous Annie be busied about;
    She's as brown as a nut, but a beauty to me,
    And there's nothing her keen little eyes cannot see.

    She dances and sings, and has many sweet airs;
    And to infant accomplishments adding her prayers,
    I have told everything that the darling can do,
    For 'twas only last summer her years numbered two.
    She's the picture of health, and a southern-born thing
    Just as ready to weep as she's ready to sing,
    And I fain would be foe to lip that hath smiled
    At this wee bit of song of the _dear little_ child.



IF; OR, BESSIE GREEN'S HOLIDAY.


It seems absurd to say so, and at first sight almost impossible, that
that one little word of only two letters could have so much power, and
yet there is no doubt that the constant use of "_if_" spoilt Bessie
Green's holiday and took away from it all the enjoyment and pleasure
which she imagined a long summer day spent in the country would give.
How she had thought about it and looked forward to it for weeks
beforehand! Her parents were poor, hardworking people who rarely left
home, and so the very idea of a treat like this was delightful, and
she scarcely slept the night before, so afraid was she of not being
ready in time. I cannot tell you how often she got up in the course of
the night, either to see what o'clock it was or to look out of the
window and wonder whether it was going to be a fine or a wet day, but
it seemed to her as if morning would never come. However, long before
six she was up and dressed, and with one last good-bye to her mother
through the kitchen door was off to the station. And very soon the
train went speeding away from the smoky streets of the city toward the
green fields and shady lanes of the country.

Now, if Bessie Green had been as wise as her companions, she would
have done as they did--looked out of the window and admired all she
saw passing by, and so have begun the enjoyment of the day; for to
eyes unaccustomed to such scenes even the cows and sheep grazing in
the meadows or the horses galloping off across the fields frightened
by the train were all new and amusing sights. But our foolish little
friend, instead of doing this, began to look first at her own dress
and then at her neighbors', and thereby she grew discontented: "_If_ I
only had a felt hat with a red feather in it, like Mary Jones',
instead of this straw one with a plain bit of blue ribbon round it,
how I should like it! and _if_ mother would buy me a smart muslin
frock, such as Emma Smith wears, how much better it would be than the
cotton frocks she always gets for me!" And she pouted and frowned and
looked so miserable that her schoolfellows would have wondered what
was the matter if they had noticed her, but they were so busy thinking
of other things that they never saw there was anything amiss. Happy
children! They had resolved to enjoy themselves, and they did so from
morning till night, while unhappy little Bessie let discontent creep
in, and so her holiday--that day she had looked forward to so
much--was, as I said before, spoilt.

Ah! I fear there are many people in this world, both young and old,
who do as Bessie did: instead of being contented with the state of
life in which God has placed them, and doing their best to make
themselves and others happy, they let this little word "_if_" creep in
on every occasion, and in too many cases spoil not _one day only_, but
their _whole lives_.

[Illustration: GOOD-BYE.]

But to return to our story. The train went speeding along, miles and
miles away from London, with its millions of people and houses and
hot, dusty streets and courts, where almost the only green leaves were
the cabbages on the costermongers' trucks, out into the pure, fresh,
breezy country, where houses were as scarce as trees in the city, and
the cornfields stretched away and away, till bounded in the far
distance by sloping heathery hills. And what a shout of pleasure arose
from the two hundred throats of our little travellers when at length
they stopped at a roadside station and exchanged the train for a shady
lane leading to a park, the kind owner of which had placed it at their
disposal for the day! Now ought not Bessie to have begun at last to
enjoy herself? No; foolish Bessie had seen a carriage at the station,
and envied the ladies who got into it: "_If_ I had a carriage and
horses, how much pleasanter it would be driving up this lane, instead
of walking as I am obliged to do now!" And so she went along at such a
slow, sulky pace that she was far behind when the lodge gates were
reached, and was almost shut out when the children and teachers were
admitted into the park. And as they had shouted for joy at sight of
the shady lanes, how much more did they shout when they saw the
beautiful spot in which for a whole long day they were to amuse
themselves! There were meadows covered with hay--not such hay as is
seen in stables, brown and hard and stiff, but soft, green and
grassy-looking, smelling sweetly, and just the thing to roll about in
and cover one another up with; then there was a nice level
cricket-ground, and all ready for the boys to begin a game; there were
shady trees under which to sit and listen to the birds' songs, and
woody dells and valleys full of ferns and wild flowers; ponds on which
swans swam about and came on swiftly and silently through the water in
hopes of food, and little streams trickling along with a murmuring
noise between the rushes and yellow flags which grew on their banks.
Certainly this was a delightful spot to be in; and when in the midst
of the beautiful park they saw the house and gardens--a house so large
that it seemed a palace in the eyes of the children, while the gardens
were filled with flowers of every color--they shouted again, all
except Bessie, who of course began again to envy: "Oh, what a splendid
house! _If_ I could only live there, I am sure I should never be
unhappy again; _if_ I could stay here and not go back to London;
_if_--"

But at this point her grumbling came to a sudden stop, for at a given
signal all the children, who had been racing over the grass, formed
into line and marched straight up to the house to make their bows and
curtseys to the kind lady and gentleman who lived there, and who had
come out into the porch with her own little girls and boys to welcome
the visitors. Of course Bessie found something fresh to be
discontented at: "_If_ I were one of that lady's little girls, I
should be dressed as nicely as she is, and then, _if_ I liked to play
about here all day long, I could do so."

And in this way she went on all the day. After going to the house and
listening to a few words from the owner, and in return singing one of
their prettiest songs, the children were sent off to play, and in a
few minutes they were scattered in all directions, amusing themselves
in different ways; and though Bessie joined in many games, yet that
one word "_if_" was in her mind the whole time, and she did not play
as merrily as usual. Dinner came, and the children, called together by
a bugle, sat down in a tent; but though the fare provided was better
than Bessie was accustomed to, even on a Sunday, yet this spirit of
discontent had so possessed her that it was only because she was very
hungry that she ate what was given her, all the time wondering what
the people who lived at the great house were eating for their dinner,
and thinking over and over again, "_If_ I had the chickens and other
good things which they are sure to have, I should like it much better
than this mutton and cherry pie."

Oh, Bessie, Bessie! when you are older and know more of the world, you
will discover that living in a grand house and having good things to
eat do not make people happier; they in their turn may be as
discontented as you are, and be always wishing they had something else
which does not belong to them, and that word "_if_" may be as
frequently in _their_ mouths as in _yours_.

But now the dinner is over, and the merry troop have dispersed
again--the boys eager to return to their game of cricket, and the
girls to haymaking and swinging under the trees or other modes of
spending the hours of this pleasant day; and judging by the laughter
and shouts of joy, all are as happy as it is possible to be--indeed,
it is a surprise to many when the bugle calls them once more together
for tea, and they find that even a summer's day must come to an end at
last, and that within two hours they will all be starting once more on
their homeward journey. Very quickly did most of the children drink up
the fragrant tea and the delicious milk, for they wanted to have a
last look at the places where they had spent the day and picked wild
flowers or made hay. Bessie was among the foremost of these; for now
that she was going away so soon from it, she grew yet more
discontented, and that little word "_if_" was used more than ever as
she went about, not, as the others did, just to say good-bye to the
fields and woods, but to look at them again and wish they were hers.

I need not stop to tell you of the evening journey, for it was like
the morning one, excepting that now the hopes of a pleasant day had
been fulfilled, and the children talked of what they had done, instead
of what they intended to do. Bessie Green wondered, as she heard them
talking, how it was that they all seemed so much happier than she did,
and how it was that the longed-for holiday had not been altogether a
day of enjoyment. When she arrived at home, she had very little to say
about what she had done or seen; but as she has since then been more
contented, we must suppose that her wondering has had some effect, and
that she is beginning to see what made the day so different to her and
to her companions; in which case we may hope that the next time she
goes into the country she will not spoil her holiday by the too
frequent use of the word "_if_."



THE FORCED RABBIT.

A FUNNY FACT TOLD IN VERSE.


    You have heard of forced potatoes, have you not, dear little folks?
    Of melons forced, and cucumbers, and grapes in purple cloaks?
    But I have seen, and handled, too--and oh, the sight was funny!--
    A rabbit forced, a tiny one, a snow-white little Bunny.

    Two little girls of ten and twelve--I love them very much--
    Once thought a tenant they would like for their new rabbit-hutch,
    So off to town they drove one day, and there a rabbit bought,
    And home the furry tenant in their pony-carriage brought.

    They petted, nursed and fondled it, and showed it every care,
    And said before it went to bed its sheets of straw they'd air;
    They also begged it very hard itself at home to make,
    And hoped, although its bed was strange, it would not lie awake.

    How happy was this Bunny white I really cannot tell,
    But certainly it happy looked, and was extremely well;
    Its eyes were bright, its nose was cool, its tongue a lovely pink.
    And for its pulse--well, that was strong and regular, I think.

    When summer came, the little girls were taken to the sea,
    And left their rabbit with the groom--a youth of twenty-three.
    They bathed and dug upon the shore, and played with Cousin Jack;
    They heard the band upon the sand, and rode on donkey-back.

    Then home they came, and went at once to see their Bunny dear,
    To stroke his ribs, and pat his head, and feel each wiry ear;
    But oh! alas! they found him not--the rabbit was not there!
    His hutch, like Mrs. Hubbard's shelf, was very, very bare.

    Now, where is he? They called the groom, the youth of twenty-three,
    And said, "Oh, George, where's Bunny gone? Oh where, oh where is
            he?"
    "He's in the hot-house," George replied; "the gardener put him
            there,
    For he was growing thinner, miss, and losing all his hair."

    They trotted to the garden then, and there the Bunny found,
    And 'neath a vine beheld their pet reposing on the ground.
    "Why, what is that?" they both exclaimed; "can that a rabbit be?
    I never in my life before so strange a thing did see!"

[Illustration: THE RABBIT.]

    They were surprised, and certainly the sight was strange to view,
    For Bunny looked so very huge, and such a bundle too!
    Such fat he had, and lots of hair, they longed a bit to pull;
    He was exactly like a ball of living cotton-wool.

    No tailor ever did produce a coat so superfine,
    'Twas white as snow, and very thick on stomach, chest and spine--
    As thick as heads of stupid boys with countenances glum;
    And oh! the hair was very long--as long as any sum!

    A host of friends and neighbors came the funny sight to see,
    To one and all a rabbit forced was quite a novelty;
    And everybody petted him, and loved him very much,
    And brought him goody-goodies for the larder in his hutch.

           *       *       *       *       *

    One day--and now my pen and ink the deepest mourning wear--
    They let him out upon the lawn for exercise and air;
    They turned their backs, two dogs rushed up, and one, with swelling
            chest,
    Seized Bunny by his woolly throat, and--you must guess the rest.



UP AND DOING.


    Boys, be up and doing,
      For the day's begun;
    Soon will come the noontide,
      Then the set of sun;
    At your tasks toil bravely
      Till your work is done.

    Let your hands be busy
      In some useful way;
    Don't neglect your study,
      Don't forget your play;
    There is time enough for each
      Every blessed day.



A DARING FEAT.


Remarkable for its spire, the loftiest of St. Petersburg, is the
church of St. Peter and St. Paul. An anecdote connected with this
church, and not known, I believe, out of Russia, is worth telling. The
spire, which rises

    "Lofty, and light, and small,"

and is probably represented in an engraving as fading away almost into
a point in the sky, is, in reality, terminated by a globe of
considerable dimensions, on which an angel stands, supporting a large
cross. This angel was out of repair; and some suspicions were
entertained that he designed visiting, uninvoked, the surface of the
earth. The affair caused some uneasiness, and the government at length
became greatly perplexed. To raise a scaffolding to such a height
would cost a large sum of money; and in meditating fruitlessly on this
circumstance, without knowing how to act, some time was suffered to
elapse.

Among the crowd of gazers below, who daily turned their eyes and their
thoughts towards the angel, was a mujik called Telouchkine. This man
was a roofer of houses (a slater, as he would be called in countries
where slates were used); and his speculations by degrees assumed a
more practical character than the idle wonders and conjectures of the
rest of the crowd. The spire was entirely covered with sheets of
gilded copper, and presented to the eye a surface as smooth as if it
had been one mass of burnished gold. But Telouchkine knew that the
sheets of copper were not even uniformly closed upon each other, and,
above all, that there were large nails used to fasten them, which
projected from the side of the spire.

Having thought on these circumstances till his mind was made up,
Telouchkine went to the government and offered to repair the angel
without scaffolding, and without assistance, on condition of being
reasonably paid for the time expended in the labor. The offer was
accepted.

The day fixed for the adventure arrives. Telouchkine, provided with
nothing more than a coil of ropes, ascends the spire in the interior
to the last window. Here he looks down at the concourse of the people
below, and up at the glittering "needle," as it is called, tapering
far above his head. But his heart does not fail him; and stepping
gravely out upon the window, he sets about his task.

He cuts a portion of the cord in the form of two large stirrups, with
a loop at each end. The upper loops he fastens upon two of the
projecting nails above his head, and places his foot in the others.
Then digging the fingers of one hand into the interstices of the
sheets of copper, he raises one of the stirrups with the other hand,
so as to make it catch a nail higher up. The same operation he
performs on behalf of the other leg, and so on alternately. And thus
he climbs, nail by nail, step by step, and stirrup by stirrup, till
his starting-point is undistinguished from the golden surface, and the
spire dwindles in his embrace till he can clasp it all round.

So far, so well. But he now reaches the ball--a globe of between nine
and ten feet in circumference. The angel, the object of this visit, is
above this ball, and concealed from his view by its smooth, round, and
glittering expanse. Only fancy the wretch at this moment, turning up
his grave eyes, and graver beard, to an obstacle that seems to defy
the daring and intrepidity of man!

[Illustration: THE SEA.]

But Telouchkine is not dismayed. He is prepared for the difficulty;
and the means he used to surmount it exhibits the same remarkable
simplicity as the rest of the feat.

Suspending himself in his stirrups, he girds the "needle" with a cord,
the ends of which he fastens around his waist; and so supported, he
leans gradually back, till the soles of his feet are planted against
the spire. In this position, he throws, by a strong effort, a coil of
cord over the ball; and so coolly and accurately is the aim taken,
that at the first trial it falls in the required direction, and he
sees the end hang down on the opposite side.

To draw himself into his original position, to fasten the cord firmly
around the globe, and with the assistance of this auxiliary to climb
to the summit, is now an easy part of his task; and in a few minutes
more Telouchkine stands by the side of the angel, and listens to the
shout that bursts like sudden thunder from the concourse below, yet
comes to his ear only like a faint and hollow murmur.

The cord, which he had an opportunity of fastening properly, enabled
him to descend with comparative facility; and the next day he carried
up with him a ladder of ropes, by means of which he found it easy to
effect the necessary repairs.



THE WORLD.


    Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world,
    With the wonderful water around you curled,
    And the wonderful grass on your breast--
    World, you are beautifully dressed.

    The wonderful air is over me,
    And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree;
    It walks on the water, and whirls the mills,
    And talks to itself on the tops of the hills.

    You friendly Earth, how far do you go,
    With the wheat-fields that nod, and the rivers that flow,
    With cities, and gardens, and cliffs, and isles,
    And people upon you for thousands of miles?

    Ah, you are so great, and I am so small,
    I tremble to think of you, World, at all!
    And yet, when I said my prayers to-day,
    A whisper inside me seemed to say,
    "You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot;
    You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!"

                      _Lilliput Lectures._



C--A--T.

FOR THE VERY LITTLE ONES.


    Be quiet, good Tabby!
      See how still you can be,
    For I'm going to teach you
      To spell C--A--T.

    I'll show you the way
      Mother reads it to me:
    She looks very sober,
      And says C--A--T.

    Fred says you can't learn,
      But we'll show him that we
    Can learn, if we please,
      To spell C--A--T.

    To what little May said
      Tabby did not agree,
    And I doubt if she learned
      To spell C--A--T.

[Illustration: C--A--T.]



THE GIRAFFE.


The creature which forms the subject of this paper is the giraffe, or
camelopard (_Camelopardalis Giraffa_) noted for its wonderful and
beautiful form and its remarkable habits.

At the first sight of a giraffe, the spectator is struck by its
enormously long neck, and will naturally ask himself how it is
supported, and how its mobility is preserved. Every one who has the
least acquaintance with anatomy is aware that a strong and very
elastic ligament passes down the back of the neck, and acts as a strap
by which the head is preserved from falling forward. In the giraffe
this ligament (popularly called the paxwax) is of great length and
thickness, and is divided into longitudinal halves, and proceeds, not
only down the entire neck, but along the back, nearly to the tail. So
powerful a band requires correspondingly large attachments; and
accordingly we find that the vertebræ of the shoulders send out
enormously long perpendicular processes, which give to the shoulder
that height which is so eminent a characteristic of the animal. To
these processes the ligament of the neck is fastened by accessory
bands, which add both to its strength and elasticity.

The natives of Southern Africa make great use of this ligament, which
is carefully removed and dried. When the native wishes to make a
kaross, or any other article of apparel, he soaks a piece of the
ligament in water, and then beats it with a stone. This treatment
causes it to split into filaments, which can be worked to almost any
degree of fineness, and with these the native sews his leathern dress.
I have now before me a piece of this Kaffir thread, as it is called.
In its dry state, it is shrivelled and contracted, and no one who was
not acquainted with it could guess the purpose to which it was
originally devoted.

Although the neck of the giraffe is so enormously long, it only
consists of seven vertebræ, as is indeed the rule throughout the
mammalia. It seems very remarkable that in the neck of the elephant
and of the giraffe there should be precisely the same number of
vertebræ. Such, however, is the case, and the difference in length is
caused by the great length of those bones in the giraffe, and their
shortness and flatness in the elephant.

The giraffe is a swift animal, and even upon level ground will put a
horse to its utmost mettle; but on rough and rocky ground, especially
if the chase be directed up hill, the horse has no chance against the
giraffe, which can hop over the stones with the agility of the goat,
and even leap ravines which no horse will dare to face. So energetic
is the animal when chased, and so violently is the tail switched from
side to side, that the long, stiff hairs hiss sharply as they pass
through the air.

Sometimes, but very rarely, the giraffe will miss its footing and fall
to the ground; but it recovers itself immediately, and is on its feet
before much advantage can be taken of the mishap. When it lies down
intentionally, it is obliged to pack up its legs in a manner which
seems extremely awkward, although the animal can lie or rise with
perfect ease; and, like the camel, it possesses callosities upon the
knees and breast, on which it rests while reposing.

The height of the giraffe is rather variable, but on an average is
from twelve to eighteen feet.

[Illustration: THE GIRAFFE.]



THE LION ON THE THRESHOLD.


At Rietriverspoort, South Africa, writes Lichtenstein, we came to the
dwelling of a farmer named Van Wyk. Whilst we were resting our tired
oxen, and enjoying the cool shade of the porch, Van Wyk told us the
following story:--

"It was something more than two years ago that here, in this spot
where we are standing, I had to make a daring shot. My wife was
sitting in the house near the door, the children were playing about,
and I was busy doing something to my wagon on the other side of the
house, when suddenly what should we see, on the doorstep, but the
shadow of a great lion darkening the bright daylight. My wife, quite
stunned with terror, and knowing also how dangerous it often is to try
and run away in such cases, remained in her place, while the children
took refuge upon her lap. Their cries made me aware of something
having happened; and my astonishment and consternation may be imagined
when I discovered what guest was blocking up my entrance to my own
house.

"The lion had not as yet seen me: but how was I, unarmed as I was, to
defend my family? Involuntarily I moved along the side of the house
towards the window, which was open; and, most happily for me, I saw,
standing in a corner of the room near the window, a loaded gun. I was
able to reach it with my hand, though the window, as you see, is too
small for any one to get through. Still more providential was it that
the room door happened to be open, so that I could see the whole
terrible scene through the window. The lion had got into the house,
and was looking steadfastly at my wife and children. He made a
movement, and seemed about to spring upon them, when, feeling that
there was no longer any time to waste in deliberating what was to be
done, I uttered a few encouraging words to my wife, and with God's
help, shot right across the room into the passage, where I struck the
lion in the head, so that he could not move again. The ball had passed
close to the hair of my little boy."

[Illustration: THE LION.]

The same writer, Lichtenstein, says that the lion, like a cat, takes
its prey by springing upon it, and never attacks a man or animal which
does not attempt to run away from him without first placing himself at
a distance of ten or twelve paces off, and measuring his spring. This
habit of the lion has been turned to account by hunters, who make it
their practice never to fire at a lion until he has so placed himself:
long practice enabling them to know exactly where and when to hit it
with effect while the animal is preparing for his spring. If any one
is so unfortunate as to meet a lion unarmed, the only hope of escape
is presence of mind. To run away is certain destruction; if a man has
the coolness to remain standing where he is, the lion will not attack
him. He will not attempt the spring if the man stands motionless as a
statue, and looks quietly into his eyes. The erect figure of the human
species of itself alarms the lion, and when, in addition to this, he
sees his antagonist calm and unmoved, the feeling of awe is increased.
A sudden gesture, indicative of alarm, will of course disturb this
impression; but if the man continues to show self-possession, the lion
will at last be as afraid of the man as the man of the lion. After a
time he slowly raises himself, looks carefully round, retreats a few
steps, lies down again, makes a further retreat, and ends by taking
a rapid flight, as if his desire were to get as far out of the
presence of the human species as he possibly can. Indeed, we are told
by the settlers at the Cape, that it is not likely that the experiment
has been very often made. Formerly, when there were more lions to be
seen there than at present, and when, at the same time, the settlers
were inexperienced in lion-hunting, large numbers of hunters used to
go in chase of the lion, whom they would endeavor to entice into the
plain, and round whom they used to form a circle. They shot at him
first from one side and then from another, and if the poor animal
tried to break through the left side of the human wall, they would
attack him from the right. At present, however, experienced
lion-hunters generally prefer going alone after their dangerous prey,
and sometimes pursue him to his den. Such species of sport is always
dangerous, however, and is often attended with fatal results. We have
heard from a reliable source that in many sports among the mountains
near the Elephant River, lions are to be seen in such large numbers,
that on one occasion our informant saw as many as three and twenty
together. Most of them were young, and only eight quite full grown. He
had just loosened his oxen on an open place, and took the rather
cowardly than humane course of escaping to the tents of some
Hottentots, and leaving his oxen to the mercy of the lions, without
firing a shot.



THE SNOW-MAN.


    Look! how the clouds are flying south!
      The wind pipes loud and shrill!
    And high above the white drifts stands
      The snow-man on the hill.

    Blow, wild wind from the icy north!
      Here's one who will not fear
    To feel thy coldest touch, or shrink
      Thy loudest blast to hear!

    Proud triumph of the school-boy's skill!
      Far rather would I be
    A winter giant, ruling o'er
      A frosty realm, like thee,

    And stand amidst the drifted snow,
      Like thee, a thing apart,
    Than be a man who walks with men,
      But has a frozen heart!

                           MARIAN DOUGLAS.

[Illustration: THE SNOW-MAN.]



[Illustration: {A pair of barn swallows bring food to their nestling}]

BARN SWALLOWS.


When I was a youngster,--and that, let me tell you, young friends,
was some time ago,--they used to say that swallows lived in the mud
all winter, as the eels do. The books made no such stupid blunder;
only the ignorant people, such as never seem to use their eyes or
their reason. It was one of the popular errors of the time. Silly as
the notion seems, it has been held by a great many respectable
persons.

Possibly the error may have arisen from the fact that the moment the
swallows appear in any locality, in the spring of the year, they
immediately search out some muddy place, where they can get materials
for their nests. First they carry a mouthful of mud, then some threads
of dry hay or straw, then more mud, and so on. These frequent visits
to a marshy locality might readily lead an unobserving person to
imagine that the birds came from the muddy recesses in the banks. But,
of course, they are on a very different errand.

Having commenced their nests, the swallows rest during the warmest
part of the day, so that the sun may dry their work, and make it hard
and strong. Then more mud is plastered on--more threads of straw; and
so the industrious birds continue until the body of the nest is
completed. A nice, soft lining of fine grass or hair finishes the
whole, and makes a summer home for both birds and their young.

Unlike most other birds, swallows often repair old nests, if the
frosts and storms of winter have injured them, as they generally do;
and sometimes the birds come back to the same locality for several
years. They select some unexposed corner, under the eaves of a barn or
house, if possible pretty high from the ground, and in a very few days
the entire dwelling, lining and all, will be completed.

If unmolested, barn swallows will form quite a colony in the space of
a few years. But, if their nests are injured or torn down, or their
young ones are stolen away or disturbed, the birds forsake the
locality forever. Where a number of families live together, their
chattering, when, as the evening comes on, they are catching gnats and
flies for supper, or feeding their young ones, is very pleasant and
diverting. And there is music in their language, too--music which a
thoughtful person is ever glad to hear.

Last summer, when business was dull, I went on a vacation, away up
into the Granite State. While passing through the town of Unity (my
little niece insists upon calling it _Utiny_--but she will speak
plainer one of these years), my attention was called to a small
village church on the wayside. Around the entire building, under the
eaves, were brackets, some three inches in width, and perhaps as far
apart. In the spaces thus formed were hundreds upon hundreds of
swallows' nests. Hardly a single space was left unoccupied, while many
contained two, and sometimes three nests. Not content with the eaves,
the colony had commenced upon the belfry, and far up towards the spire
every possible nook and corner seemed to be spoken for.

I stopped to contemplate the very interesting spectacle. A villager
informed me that the colony came regularly every year, and, as near as
could be judged, the same birds; that for ten years the birds had been
petted by the inhabitants, and protected by all, old and young. He
said that the swallows had all disappeared in a body, about a week
previous to my visit, adding, "You don't know what a lovely spectacle
it is to witness the evolutions of these birds on a summer evening,
when they are teaching their young ones to fly. They swarm around the
building like bees, and their music is most delightful to hear."

I could readily imagine the beauty of the scene, from the great number
of nests, though I mean to see the colony at their devotions this
year. "Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for
herself, where she may lay her young, _even thine altars_, O Lord of
hosts, my King and my God."

It would be interesting to know where these birds go as winter
approaches. It is very easy, and perhaps very true, to say that they
"go south." But to what part of the south? Do they keep in a body
there, as here? Do they have nests, and rear their young, there, as
with us? There is a fine field for inquiry, which it is hoped some of
our boys will go into by and by. For the present, if any of them are
passing through Unity, let them remember the church which has its
largest congregation on the outside.

                                                  W. WANDER.

[Decoration]



GRATITUDE OF A COW.


A gentleman passing through a field observed a cow showing many
symptoms of uneasiness, stamping with her feet and looking earnestly
at him. At first he feared to approach her, but afterward went toward
her, which seemed to please her much. She then guided him to a ditch
where her calf was lying helpless; and he was just in time to save it
from death, to the no small delight of the cow. Some days after, when
passing through the same field, the cow came up to him as if to thank
him for his kindness. As among the various animals with which the
earth abounds none is more necessary to the existence of man than the
cow, so likewise none appears to be more extensively propagated; in
every part of the world it is found, large or small, according to the
quantity and quality of its food. There is no part of Europe where it
grows to so large a size as in England, whose pastures are admirably
suited to its nature. The quantity of milk and butter varies according
to the difference of its pasture; some cows in favorable situations
yield twenty quarts of milk in a day.

To form a just idea of the value of this animal, we ought to consider
that there is scarcely any part of it without its utility to man. The
skin is manufactured into leather; the hair, mixed with lime, is used
in plastering walls and building houses; the bones serve as a
substitute for ivory; when calcined, they are used by the refiners of
silver to separate the baser metals; and when ground and spread over
the fields, they form a fertilizing manure. Combs, knife-handles and
many useful articles are made from the horns, which, when softened in
boiling water, become pliable, so as to be formed into lanterns--an
invention usually ascribed to King Alfred. We are furnished with
candles from the tallow, and the feet afford an oil adapted to a
variety of purposes. Glue is made from the cartilages, gristles and
parings of the hide boiled in water; calves' skins are manufactured
into vellum; saddlers and others use a fine thread prepared from the
sinews, which is much stronger than any other equally fine. The blood,
gall, etc., are used in many important manufactures.

[Illustration: THE COW AND HER CALF.]



MINUTES.


    We are but minutes--little things!
    Each one furnished with sixty wings,
    With which we fly on our unseen track,
    And not a minute ever comes back.

    We are but minutes; use, use us well,
    For how we are used we must one day tell.
    Who uses minutes has hours to use;
    Who loses minutes whole years must lose.



[Illustration: {Uncle Godfrey wades through snow, two horses and a
    dingo nearby}]

GOING FOR THE LETTERS.

AN AUSTRALIAN STORY.


It was a bitter cold day in the end of the month of January. The
morning had been a very unpleasant one--neither frost nor snow, a sort
of compound of rain and sleet; but now the snow was falling fast, and
the clear crystals were fast hiding every shrub and plant that had a
place in the beautiful flower garden, in front of the drawing-room
windows of Arundel Manor, while inside a roaring fire, that made the
handsomely-furnished apartment look even more than usually snug and
comfortable, was surrounded by a family party consisting of Mrs. St.
Clair, the three children, and uncle Godfrey.

It was the "children's hour," and his niece was trying to coax a tale
out of "dear uncle," who did not seem much in the humor to comply with
her request, when mamma looked up and said, "My dear, do not trouble
your uncle so. I am sure, Godfrey, that Lydia must torment you; and if
she does, we must send her to the nursery."

Poor Lydia's face fell at once. "I am sure I did not mean to tease
uncle."

"Never mind, my pet; I know I promised to tell you a story to-night,
and was just thinking what it was to be, when my fit of musing sent
memory back many a long day, and revealed a scene distant many a
thousand miles. Now that I am fairly awake, I will show you the
picture of my waking dream. So up you jump;" and Lydia, catching hold
of his hand, was quickly seated on her uncle's knee, her usual place
at story time, and throwing her arms round his neck, exclaimed,--

"O, you dear old pet!"

"I heard," began uncle Godfrey, "some boys, who shall be nameless,
grumbling this morning at being kept inside, for fear of catching cold
on such a raw day, and my thoughts instantly turned to a day similar
to this, and how I then prayed to be under the shelter of some
friendly roof; and I also thought how thankful every one ought to be
who is able to sit at a warm fire, when it freezes hard, or when the
snow is covering the earth by inches every hour.

"I dare say you think it fine fun to run over to the lodge and bring
the letters from the post-boy; at least I did when as young as you
are; but going for letters is not always the pleasantest thing
imaginable, as I once nearly found out to my cost.

"If you are all so anxious to hear the contents of letters from your
uncle Wilfred, you may fancy how eagerly he and I used to watch for
the arrivals of the mails at Sydney, and be sure that one or both of
us were certain to be at the office in Kiandra on the day it reached
there, and with what delight we read and re-read the letter which
never failed to make its appearance monthly to one or other of us.

"Our winter fall of snow generally began about the 12th of May, and
from that date till the month of October it was a matter of no small
difficulty to get our letters at the place where we lived, a long nine
miles from Kiandra of a very mountainous track.

"186- was an extraordinary season. May passed, no snow--June the same,
only heavy, I may say, nearly constant showers of rain. 'A glorious
year,' the diggers called it. 'Never such a season for work since the
diggings broke out. Two months' work at a time when there is never any
water. O, what a wash-up there will be in November!'

"Such was the substance of the conversation when any two of the
residents met, varied, perhaps, by remarks as to whether old
So-and-so, who had been twenty years in the district, would be right
in saying there was to be nine feet of snow, or whether So-and-so was
a better judge in saying we were to have none at all?

"I was then living by myself, Wilfred being away in Sydney, and was
looking out for him every day, and hoping he might be back before the
winter fairly set in, when it was scarcely possible to travel. As I
said before, June had passed, and we were getting well into July, when
I heard that our English mail would be in Kiandra on the following
Wednesday. It was now Friday.

"We had got a fine week for work, raining gently all the time, which
is what we diggers like, and no frost, which dries up the water, and
makes us all idle, when on Sunday the weather completely changed, and
very suddenly, too, as, indeed, it always did there. The wind, which
had been from north or east, without any warning chopped right round
to the south-west, and we had a strong frost. Next day was cloudy, but
at night frost was harder than ever, and everything with liquid in it,
even to the tea-pot in a room where there was a fire nearly all night,
was full of solid ice.

"The thermometer was down to 18° below zero in the same place; and in
bed, in the next room, with four pairs of new blankets, I thought I
should have been fairly frozen. We were hard at work all that day,
which was a drizzly, snowy one, everything betokening a fall of snow;
so, when Wednesday dawned, though not so deep as I expected, I was
not surprised to find more than a foot of it all over.

"Down the country the floods had been dreadful; nearly all the bridges
had been washed away, and the roads turned into bogs, so that our
mails came in very irregularly, sometimes ten days behind time. You
may therefore imagine I was in a great worry to hear from Wilfred, my
last letter being a month old, as well as anxious for _home_ news. So
I donned my oil-skin over my blanket-coat, put on my thigh gum-boots,
tied my comforter round my neck and up over my ears, and pulling my
south-wester on, prepared to face the weather.

"I found the walk into town, though very heavy, not so bad as I
expected, and arrived safely, without any mishaps, but rather tired
and uncomfortably moist, it being a sort of drizzle all the way; but a
letter from Wilfred, saying he would not leave for some time, and so
would not be caught in this storm, and the perusal of a kind one from
'the old country' soon made me forget my discomfort, and I spent a
pleasant evening at a friend's.

"At bed-time it was a beautiful starry night; but I did not altogether
fancy it. There was a kind of half soft feel through the frost, that
sounded to me like a change, and the thought of the morrow's walk was
not a pleasant one; but there was no use forestalling what might never
be. So to bed and to sleep; but ere my eyes were well closed, the wind
began to whistle round the corner of the house, and--hallo--what's
that! Big drops of rain, and lumps of earth and gravel, were pelting
the panes of glass.

"A few minutes there was a lull--a dead silence--when flash!
crash!--the room was in a blaze of light, and at the same instant the
thunder made the very bed shake again, and also made my heart rise to
my mouth. Listening earnestly for some time, and no further
disturbances occurring, I began, after thanking a kind Providence for
his protection, to think over the matter, and came to the conclusion
that at last we were in for a downright fall, this being the third
time that, to my knowledge, such had been preceded by a single clap of
thunder.

"Next day the snow came down in earnest; and as it was drifting in
every direction, I took the advice of my friends, and quietly stopped
where I was. Large, feathery flakes fell unceasingly all the
afternoon, and by night there was fully two feet in the town; but as
it looked a little better on Friday afternoon, and my dog, cat, and
fowls could get nothing to eat until my return, I determined to make a
start, though against the opinions of most of the town's people.

"When I left Kiandra there was a dense fog, which shortly changed,
first to a light, and then to a heavy snow; and by the time I dragged
myself the mile to the top of the mountain, it was coming down, and no
mistake!

"It was impossible to see one yard in any direction, and my legs were
already beginning to _talk_; but it was too late to think of turning.
I had had only to fight through one extra deep drift as yet, and knew
the road hitherto well; but now I had to turn off from where the track
lay hid, and had not gone far when my difficulties fairly began, and I
was quickly ploughing my way through some five or six feet of snow.

"Half an hour's hard work found me clear of that, and for a couple of
miles everything went swimmingly. The snow was here firm enough to
bear my weight, although now and again, bump! down I went through the
crust, nearly jerking my joints out. The nearer home the deeper got
the snow, and, of course, so much the more tired I felt. The main
creek to be crossed was hidden entirely; and as its exact whereabouts
was not very easily guessed at, you may depend it was not a pleasant
sensation to plump down and find myself up to the neck. Luckily, the
water was no depth, and as my boots were tight and long, a hard
scramble pulled me out of my first trouble.

"A short rest, and I was again on my way; but it took me a good many
hours to get the next three or four miles, even though I met no more
serious difficulty than some very heavy drifts. I was getting very
tired, and hungry, too, and you may fancy it was no joke wading the
snow, never less than two feet, lucky if not going past the knees at
every step; but at last I was in a mess, and how to get out of it I
knew not. The look of the country, when a lull gave me the chance of
seeing, showed I was off my road; and when I felt I was lost, my
thoughts were anything but satisfactory.

"I knew not which way to turn, so sat down to think it over, and was
looking around as well as the drifting snow would permit, when coming
along my tracks was a large yellow dog. My heart gave a bound of
delight, and jumping up, I let a 'cooey,'[A] to tell its master that
some one was in the same predicament, as I doubted not he was.

"Slowly a minute or two passed, but no reply to my communication.
Alas! all was silence, and I then saw, by its pointed ears and bushy
tail, that it was a dingo, or native dog, which was running my
footsteps. It was no use sitting where I was. So on I started in the
direction I fancied, every minute feeling more and more fagged, and
when at last darkness set in, was almost inclined to give up.

"My yellow friend followed me for some time at a respectful distance;
and though the dingo is a sneaking coward, still, had sleep
overpowered me, he might have been tempted to try how I tasted, as he
must have been hungry to come so close to me as he did. So, although I
never had any fear of such an event actually occurring, I was not at
all sorry when he trotted off, his tail, as usual, between his legs,
to join some of his companions, whose unearthly howls he heard at no
great distance; there must have been five or six.

"I felt really glad they came no nearer, as a mob of them are very
daring; and I have known them, when well starved for a week or two,
kill calves, and even colts, when the mothers were weak and could not
fight for them. But it was not very long before I found that they were
not after me, as I nearly stumbled against a mare and colt belonging
to myself, that were standing under a tree, and whinnied as I spoke.
We had sent all our horses away two months ago but this one, as she
could not be found, and we thought she was dead. The poor thing could
not have tasted food for days; but what could I do but pity the pair,
and feel that their end was to be food for the _warregals_ (native
dogs).

"As I had now been walking seven or eight hours, and hard at it all
the time, I could see nothing for it but to yield to necessity, as
sleep was fast overpowering me, when I distinctly heard the bark of a
dog, which I felt confident was my old watch, 'Jack.' My spirits rose
at once, and again I was alive, and pushed in the direction of the
welcome sound.

"At the same time I caught a glimpse of a cluster of trees, whose
peculiar shape I had often remarked, which told me where I was; and
this fact was also quickly proved by my plunging into an old
prospecting hole--the only one in the neighborhood. It was about six
feet deep, and full of snow and water. I thought I was lost, as the
frozen slush went down my back, and that I, who had been picked out of
the Canton River, in a dark night, when the tide ran six knots an
hour, was fated to be drowned in a filthy pot-hole.

"But, luckily, such was not my lot on the present occasion, as, after
many a failure, I managed to pull myself out, my boots full of water,
and my whole body nearly numb from the cold. Luckily, the house was
only half a mile off.

"I reached it in safety, and just in time, as my feet were all but
frost-bitten, when I should have been fortunate to lose only a few of
my toes, as I knew a man here who had _both_ legs cut off in
consequence of a severe frost-bite.

"As it was, I was a sorry figure; my clothes were like a board, my
socks were in a similar state, while icicles hung in festoons from my
hair and beard. But, when at last I managed to open the door, and get
a light, one or two rough towels, and some ten minutes' hard rubbing,
soon put a glow of heat over my whole body; and by the time I turned
into bed, after a cup of scalding hot coffee (I was too hungry to
eat), my misfortunes were forgotten, and all I felt was thankfulness
for having reached my house, which seems to me, even now, to have been
a very doubtful matter, had 'Jack' not barked when he did.

"See how many things turned out all for my good--the mare and the colt
in the snow, the dingo running after her through hunger, and my dog
barking at it, showed me where my house was, when I was fairly lost,
and thus saved my life, and enabled me to spin you this yarn, which I
must now finish by saying that since that time I am always glad to
have a warm house to shelter me in such weather as this, and cannot
help thinking that if any boys had ever been placed in my predicament,
they would only be too thankful to remain inside on such a day as
this, without requiring their mother to order them to do so."

"But what about the poor mare? Did she die? and did the wild dogs eat
the colt?"

"O, I almost forgot to tell you that, to my astonishment, in two or
three days, when the snow hardened a bit, the pair found their way
home, and I, after a deal of trouble, got them to the banks of the
Tumut River, which, although only a couple of miles away, was so many
hundred feet lower, that they could paw away the snow, and so got
grass enough to live till spring when they soon got fat. The little
colt I named 'Snowdrop,' and when she was old enough, broke her in;
and many a good gallop we had over the place where she and her mother
neighed to me on that dark and dismal night."

FOOTNOTE:

[A] A peculiar shout, heard at a great distance, which is common among
the Australian settlers.



SPRING HAS COME.


    Spring has come back to us, beautiful spring!
    Blue-birds and swallows are out on the wing;
    Over the meadows a carpet of green
    Softer and richer than velvet is seen.

    Up come the blossoms so bright and so gay,
    Giving sweet odors to welcome the May.
    Sunshine and music are flooding the air,
    Beauty and brightness are everywhere.



ABOUT "BITTERS."

[Illustration: {Bitters being chased by a rooster}]


Charley and Jimmie D. were playing near the barn one day, when along
came the forlornest looking cur you ever did see. The children
commenced calling him, and laughed loudly as the animal came towards
them, he was _such_ an ill-looking thing.

"Good fellow! nice fellow!" said Charley, patting him. "Jim, you run
in, and get him something to eat--won't you? and don't tell mother
yet; you know she dislikes dogs so. We'll tie him up to-night, and
tell her to-morrow, if no one comes for him."

Such another looking dog I think I never saw--scrawny and poor, as
though he had never been more than half fed; a slit in one ear, tail
not much to speak of, and color a dirty black and white.

Jimmie soon came back from a successful forage, and gave him a good
supper. At least doggie seemed to think so, for he gobbled it up in
about a minute, and then wagged the stump of his tail for more.

"No, sir," said Charley, "no more to-night."

Then they shut him up in a little room in a corner of the barn, and
ran to find their father, and tell him, well knowing he would not
care, if their mother was willing.

They found their father, who went with them to see him, and laughed
long and loud as they led out the ugly beast.

Then all went in to supper; the great secret almost revealing itself
in their tell-tale looks and occasional whisperings, neither of which
attracted their mother's attention.

Supper over, they made a final visit to their pet, and then left him
for the night.

"What shall we name him?" said Jimmie, when they were alone in their
room at night.

"O, we must have a funny name, he's such a sorry looking feller!
Wouldn't you call him 'Bitters'?" said Charley.

"Bitters!" said Jim, with a laugh.

"Yes, that's bad enough."

So Bitters he was named; and next morning they won their mother's
reluctant consent to keep the dog, provided he was kept at the barn,
or away from the house, at all events.

Then they fed and played with him till school time, and shut him up
till noon.

Bitters seemed to take to his new admirers, and appeared quite
satisfied with his quarters, and was getting to look a little more
like a respectable dog, when one morning, as he was running round a
corner of the barn, he came suddenly upon the old rooster, who
bristled up and showed fight. Bitters turned, and ran for dear life,
as hard as he could go, and never has been seen or heard from, from
that day to this, much to the boys' regret.

                                                    F. E. S.



[Illustration: DOG STEPHEN.]

FRED AND DOG STEPHEN.


"Now, just one good cuddle," said little six-year-old Freddie, "and
then I'll be ready for school;" and he curled himself up like a young
Turk in his mother's lap, and nestled there in a very enjoyable way.

She was sitting by the dining-room window; it was open, and a pitcher
of wild phlox and pink-and-white wake-robins stood in it. While they
sat there they saw Uncle Rube, who lives over on the hillside, coming
along the crooked path with a basket on his arm. His head was down,
and he was thinking so intently that he did not hear the steps behind
him of his young dog, Stephen.

Now, Rube means to make the best dog in the world of Stephen--the
playful little puppy!--and he never permits him to follow him anywhere
unless by special invitation. About once a week he will say to him,
"Stevie, would you like to go to your grandfather's with me? Come on,
then;" and here they will come, the puppy so glad that his gait is
more awkward than ever, his fat body, twisted out of all shape,
wriggling along, while his tail will flap about in every direction and
his ears look like wilted cabbage-leaves.

"He doesn't know Stevie is behind him, does he, ma? and now let's
watch and see what they will both do when they find out." So they
snugged down by the window and tittered and watched and anticipated
rare fun.

Uncle Rube was whispering to himself and nodding his head and making
gesticulations with his open hand, while Stephen trotted with his
little soft, careful feet behind him, smelling of the ground, and
thinking green grass with the dew sparkling on it was just made
purposely for dogs to admire.

Just as Rube came to the big gate and stopped to unlatch it he heard a
little whiffy breathing behind him, and then he looked and saw
Stephen. He was very much surprised; but as he never scolded the dog,
he simply said, in a very earnest way, "Steve, I am astonished! You go
right back home immediately. You're a great boy, indeed, to sneak
along without ever being invited! I didn't want you, sir, or I'd have
told you so. Now go right back again."

Oh, it was _so_ funny! Stephen just threw his head back and whirled on
his heels, and ran with all his might down the crooked path.

Then the school-bell rang, and Fred's mother kissed him
"good-morning," and he started off with his books, and as he turned
round the corner his white teeth showed prettily as, half laughing, he
said to himself in wonderment, "_Dear little Stevie dog! he just ran
back 'zactly as if he wanted to._"



NOW THE SUN IS SINKING.


    Now the sun is sinking
      In the golden west;
    Birds and bees and children
      All have gone to rest;
    And the merry streamlet,
      As it runs along,
    With a voice of sweetness
      Sings its evening song.

    Cowslip, daisy, violet,
      In their little beds,
    All among the grasses,
      Hide their heavy heads;
    There they'll all, sweet darlings!
      Lie in happy dreams
    Till the rosy morning
      Wakes them with its beams.



A RIGMAROLE ABOUT A TEA-PARTY.


    Mrs. Dyer
    Stirred the fire,
    Agnes Stout
    Poked it out,
    Tommy Voles
    Fetched the coals,
    Alice Good
    Laid the wood,
    Bertie Patch
    Struck the match,
    Charlotte Hays
    Made it blaze,
    Mrs. Groom
    Kept the broom,
    Katy Moore
    Swept the floor,
    Fanny Froth
    Laid the cloth,
    Arthur Grey
    Brought the tray,
    Betty Bates
    Washed the plates,
    Nanny Galt
    Smoothed the salt,
    Dicky Street
    Fetched the meat,
    Sally Strife
    Rubbed the knife,
    Minnie York
    Found the fork,
    Sophie Silk
    Brought the milk,
    Mrs. Bream
    Sent some cream,
    Susan Head
    Cut the bread,
    Harry Host
    Made the toast,
    Mrs. Dee
    Poured out tea,
    And they all were as happy as happy could be.



THE FAIRY BIRD.


"I'm so glad to-morrow is Christmas, because I'm going to have lots
of presents."

"So am I glad, though I don't expect any presents but a pair of
mittens."

"And so am I; but I shan't have any presents at all."

As the three little girls trudged home from school they said these
things, and as Tilly spoke, both the others looked at her with pity
and some surprise; for she spoke cheerfully, and they wondered how she
could be happy when she was so poor she could have no presents on
Christmas.

"Don't you wish you could find a purse full of money right here in the
path?" said Kate, the child who was going to have "lots of presents."

"O, don't I, if I could keep it honestly!" And Tilly's eyes shone at
the very thought.

"What would you buy?" asked Bessy, rubbing her cold hands, and longing
for her mittens.

"I'd buy a pair of large, warm blankets, a load of wood, a shawl for
mother, and a pair of shoes for me; and if there was enough left, I'd
give Bessy a new hat, and then she needn't wear Ben's old felt one,"
answered Tilly.

The girls laughed at that; but Bessy pulled the funny hat over her
ears, and said she was much obliged, but she'd rather have candy.

"Let's look, and may be we _can_ find a purse. People are always going
about with money at Christmas time, and some one may lose it here,"
said Kate.

So, as they went along the snowy road, they looked about them, half in
earnest, half in fun. Suddenly Tilly sprang forward, exclaiming,--

"I see it! I've found it!"

The others followed, but all stopped disappointed, for it wasn't a
purse; it was only a little bird. It lay upon the snow, with its wings
spread and feebly fluttering, as if too weak to fly. Its little feet
were benumbed with cold; its once bright eyes were dull with pain, and
instead of a blithe song, it could only utter a faint chirp now and
then, as if crying for help.

"Nothing but a stupid old robin. How provoking!" cried Kate, sitting
down to rest.

"I shan't touch it; I found one once, and took care of it, and the
ungrateful thing flew away the minute it was well," said Bessy,
creeping under Kate's shawl, and putting her hands under her chin to
warm them.

"Poor little birdie! How pitiful he looks, and how glad he must be to
see some one coming to help him! I'll take him up gently, and carry
him home to mother. Don't be frightened, dear; I'm your friend." And
Tilly knelt down in the snow, stretching her hand to the bird with the
tenderest pity in her face.

Kate and Bessy laughed.

"Don't stop for that thing; it's getting late and cold. Let's go on,
and look for the purse," they said, moving away.

"You wouldn't leave it to die!" cried Tilly. "I'd rather have the bird
than the money; so I shan't look any more. The purse wouldn't be mine,
and I should only be tempted to keep it; but this poor thing will
thank and love me, and I'm _so_ glad I came in time!" Gently lifting
the bird, Tilly felt its tiny cold claws cling to her hand, and saw
its dim eyes brighten as it nestled down with a grateful chirp.

[Illustration: THE FAIRY BIRD.]

"Now I've got a Christmas present, after all," she said, smiling, as
they walked on. "I always wanted a bird, and this one will be such a
pretty pet for me!"

"He'll fly away the first chance he gets, and die, anyhow; so you'd
better not waste your time over him," said Bessy.

"He can't pay you for taking care of him, and my mother says it isn't
worth while to help folks that can't help us," added Kate.

"My mother says, 'Do as you'd be done by;' and I'm sure I'd like any
one to help me, if I was dying of cold and hunger. 'Love your neighbor
as yourself,' is another of her sayings. This bird is my little
neighbor, and I'll love him and care for him, as I often wish our rich
neighbor would love and care for us," answered Tilly, breathing her
warm breath over the benumbed bird, who looked up at her with
confiding eyes, quick to feel and know a friend.

"What a funny girl you are!" said Kate, "caring for that silly bird,
and talking about loving your neighbor in that sober way. Mr. King
don't care a bit for you, and never will, though he knows how poor you
are; so I don't think your plan amounts to much."

"I believe it, though, and shall do my part, any way. Good night. I
hope you'll have a merry Christmas, and lots of pretty things,"
answered Tilly, as they parted.

Her eyes were full, and she felt _so_ poor as she went on alone
towards the little old house where she lived! It would have been so
pleasant to know that she was going to have some of the pretty things
all children love to find in their full stockings on Christmas
morning! and pleasanter still to have been able to give her mother
something nice. So many comforts were needed, and there was no hope of
getting them; for they could barely get food and fire.

"Never mind, birdie; we'll make the best of what we have, and be merry
in spite of everything. _You_ shall have a happy Christmas, any way;
and I know God won't forget us, if every one else does."

She stopped a minute to wipe her eyes, and lean her cheek against the
bird's soft breast, finding great comfort in the little creature,
though it could only love her--nothing more.

"See, mother, what a nice present I've found!" she cried, going in
with a cheery face, that was like sunshine in the dark room.

"I'm glad of that, deary; for I haven't been able to get my little
girl anything but a rosy apple. Poor bird! Give it some of your warm
bread and milk."

"Why, mother, what a big bowlful! I'm afraid you gave me all the
milk," said Tilly, smiling over the nice steaming supper that stood
ready for her.

"I've had plenty, dear. Sit down and dry your wet feet, and put the
bird in my basket on this warm flannel."

Tilly peeped into the closet, and saw nothing there but dry bread.

"Mother's given me all the milk, and is going without her tea, 'cause
she knows I'm hungry. Now I'll surprise her, and she shall have a good
supper too. She is going to split wood, and I'll fix it while she's
gone."

So Tilly put down the old teapot, carefully poured out a part of the
milk, and from her pocket produced a great plummy bunn, that one of
the school children had given her, and she had saved for her mother. A
slice of the dry bread was nicely toasted, and the bit of butter set
by for her to put on it. When her mother came in, there was the table
drawn up in a warm place, a hot cup of tea ready, and Tilly and birdie
waiting for her.

Such a poor little supper, and yet such a happy one! for love,
charity, and contentment were guests there, and that Christmas eve was
a blither one than that up at the great house, where lights shone,
fires blazed, a great tree glittered, and music sounded, as the
children danced and played.

"We must go to bed early; for we've only wood enough to last over
to-morrow. I shall be paid for my work the day after, and then we can
get some," said Tilly's mother, as they sat by the fire.

"If my bird was only a fairy bird, and would give us three wishes, how
nice it would be! Poor dear, he can't give me anything; but it's no
matter," answered Tilly, looking at the robin, who lay in the basket,
with his head under his wing, a mere little feathery bunch.

"He can give you one thing, Tilly--the pleasure of doing good. That is
one of the sweetest things in life; and the poor can enjoy it as well
as the rich."

As her mother spoke, with her tired hand softly stroking her little
daughter's hair, Tilly suddenly started, and pointed to the window,
saying, in a frightened whisper,--

"I saw a face--a man's face--looking in. It's gone now; but I truly
saw it."

"Some traveller attracted by the light, perhaps; I'll go and see." And
Tilly's mother went to the door.

No one was there. The wind blew cold, the stars shone, the snow lay
white on field and wood, and the Christmas moon was glittering in the
sky.

"What sort of a face was it?" asked Tilly's mother, coming back.

"A pleasant sort of face, I think; but I was so startled, I don't
quite know what it was like. I wish we had a curtain there," said
Tilly.

"I like to have our light shine out in the evening; for the road is
dark and lonely just here, and the twinkle of our lamp is pleasant to
people's eyes as they go by. We can do so little for our neighbors, I
am glad to cheer the way for them. Now put these poor old shoes to
dry, and go to bed, deary; I'll come soon."

Tilly went, taking her bird with her to sleep in his basket near by,
lest he should be lonely in the night.

Soon the little house was dark and still, and no one saw the Christmas
spirits at their work that night.

When Tilly opened the door the next morning, she gave a loud cry,
clapped her hands, and then stood still, quite speechless with wonder
and delight. There, before the door, lay a great pile of wood, all
ready to burn, a big bundle and a basket, with a lovely nosegay of
winter roses, holly, and evergreen tied to the handle.

"O, mother, did the fairies do it?" cried Tilly, pale with her
happiness, as she seized the basket while her mother took in the
bundle.

"Yes, dear; the best and dearest fairy in the world, called 'Charity.'
She walks abroad at Christmas time, does beautiful deeds like this,
and does not stay to be thanked," answered her mother, with full eyes,
as she undid the parcel.

There they were, the warm, thick blankets, the comfortable shawl, the
new shoes, and, best of all, a pretty winter hat for Bessy. The basket
was full of good things to eat, and on the flowers lay a paper,
saying,--

"For the little girl who loves her neighbor as herself."

"Mother, I really think my bird is a fairy bird, and all these
splendid things come out from him," said Tilly, laughing and crying
with joy.

It really did seem so; for, as she spoke, the robin flew to the table,
hopped to the nosegay, and perching among the roses, began to chirp
with all his little might. The sun streamed in on flowers, bird, and
happy child, and no one saw a shadow glide away from the window. No
one ever knew that Mr. King had seen and heard the little girls the
night before, or dreamed that the rich neighbor had learned a lesson
from the poor neighbor.

And Tilly's bird _was_ a fairy bird; for by her love and tenderness
to the helpless thing, she brought good gifts to herself, happiness to
the unknown giver of them, and a faithful little friend, who did not
fly away, but staid with her till the snow was gone, making summer for
her in the winter time.

                                           LOUISA M. ALCOTT.



[Illustration: "AS THE NIGHT ADVANCED, THE OLD NEGRO FELT THE COLD
    PIERCE HIS STIFFENED LIMBS." P. 216.]

SAVED BY A FIDDLE.


Among the most rapacious and dangerous animals of North America, is
the wolf, commonly called the coyote (pronounced ky-_o_-te) in some of
the Southern and Western States. The wolves--far more numerous in the
United States than in Europe--are, perhaps, more horrible in aspect
than those of the old world. Along desert paths, on the prairies or in
the woods, the wolf, the ghoul of the animal race, presents itself to
the traveller, with its slavering jaws and flashing eyes, uttering a
growl, which is the usual sign of cowardice blended with impudence.
"The coyote," says a recent writer, "is a living, breathing allegory
of Want. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless."

It is very difficult to catch coyotes in a trap, but they are
frequently hunted down with horses and dogs. Their coat is of a dull
reddish color, mixed with gray and white hairs. Such is their ordinary
condition, but like other animals they display varieties. Their bushy
tail, black at the tip, is nearly as long as one third of their body.
They resemble the dogs which one sees in the Indian wigwams, and which
are certainly descended from this species. They are found in the
regions between the Mississippi and the Pacific, and in Southern
Mexico. They travel in packs like jackals, and pursue deer, buffaloes,
and other animals which they hope to master. They do not venture to
attack buffaloes in herds, but they follow the latter in large packs,
watching till a laggard--a young calf or an old bull, for
instance--may fall out; then they dart upon it and tear it to pieces.
They accompany parties of sportsmen or travellers, prowl round
deserted camps, and devour the fragments they find there. At times
they will enter a camp during the night, and seize lumps of meat on
which the emigrants calculated for their morning meal. These robberies
sometimes exasperate the victims, and, growing less saving of their
powder and shot, they pursue them till they have rubbed out the
mess-number of several.

This breed of wolves is the most numerous of all the carnivora in
North America, and it is for this reason that the coyotes often suffer
from hunger. Then, but only then, they eat corn, roots, and
vegetables--in short, anything that will save them from death by
starvation.

The coyote is ignorant of any feeling of sympathy, and for this reason
inspires none. Here is an anecdote, however, which proves that this
quadruped thief of the wood is capable of feeling a certain degree of
sensibility of the nerves, at any rate, if not of the heart. This
story was told me under canvas, while we were hunting with the Pawnee
Indians.

During the first period of the colonization of Kentucky, the coyotes
were so numerous in the prairie to the south of that state, that the
inhabitants did not dare to leave their houses unless armed to the
teeth. The women and children were strictly confined in-doors. The
coyotes by which the country was infested belonged to the herd whose
coat is dark gray, a very numerous species in the northern district,
in the heart of the dense forests and unexplored mountains of the
Green River.

The village of Henderson, situated at the left bank of the Ohio, near
its confluence with Green River, was the spot most frequented by these
depredators.

The pigs, calves, and sheep of the planters paid a heavy tax to these
voracious animals. Several times in the depth of winter, when the snow
covered the ground, and the flocks were kept in the stalls, the
starving coyotes attacked human beings; and more than one belated
farmer, returning home at night, found himself surrounded by a raging
pack, from whose teeth he had great difficulty in defending himself.

Among the many startling adventures I have heard narrated, not one
made a greater impression on me than that of which Richard, the old
negro fiddler, was the hero, and which I will tell you.

Richard was what is called a "good old good-for-nothing darky." The
whole district allowed that he had no other merit beyond that of
sawing the fiddle; and this merit, which is not one in our own eyes,
was highly valued, however, by all the colored people, and even by the
whites who lived for a distance of forty miles round. One thing is
certain--that no festival could be held without Fiddler Dick being
invited to it.

Marriages, christenings, parties prolonged till dawn, which are called
"break-downs" in the United States, could not take place without the
aid of his fiddle; and though the negro minstrel was old, and a good
deal of his black wool was absent from the place where the wool ought
to grow, still Richard was no less welcome wherever he presented
himself, with his instrument wrapped up in a ragged old handkerchief
under his arm, and a knotted stick in his hand.

Old Richard was the property of one of the Hendersons, a member of the
family that gave its name to this Kentucky county and village. His
master had a liking for him, owing to his obedient and original
character, and the slave, instead of tilling the soil, was at liberty
to do whatever he thought proper. No one raised any objection to this
tolerance, for Richard, whom his master was used to call a necessary
evil, had before all the talent of keeping the negroes of the
plantation in good humor by means of his fiddle.

Richard, who understood all the importance of his exalted functions,
knew nothing but his duty, and was remarkably punctual whenever those
who honored him with their confidence let him know that his services
were required. In this respect the merest trifle irritated him, and
any vexation or disturbance rendered him ferocious.

Despite the proverbial timidity attributed to geniuses, old Dick
displayed a touch of the hyena whenever, at any of the negro festivals
presided over by him, anything or anybody offended etiquette or the
proprieties. As for Dick, he never forgot himself in the slightest
degree, and whenever he was called upon to undertake the duties he
performed so well, he had never once kept the company waiting. And yet
one day--poor Dick! The following narrative will show that it was not
by his own fault that he arrived too late at his appointment.

A wedding of colored people was about to come off on a plantation
about six miles from the one where the fiddler lived. In order that
the feast might be perfect, old Dick had been invited, and he was
unanimously appointed master of the ceremonies. It was during the
winter; the cold was excessive, and the snow, which had fallen
incessantly for three days, covered the ground to a depth of several
feet.

While all Mr. Henderson's negroes, with their master's previous
permission, hastened to the spot where pleasure called them, the ebony
Apollo was arranging his toilet with peculiar delight. A white shirt,
a collar as immoderately long in front as it was high in the neck,--so
that Dick's head resembled a block of coal in a sheet of white
paper,--a blue coat with gilt buttons, and long tails that reached to
his heels,--a present from his master,--a red silk cravat fringed at
the ends, a green waistcoat ornamented with an orange patch at the
spot where the watch-pocket formerly was, boots which had seen their
best days, and a wide-awake hat,--such was the elegant and excessively
fashionable attire of Dick, the old black fiddler, who, when dressed
in these rags, believed himself as handsome as Adonis.

After taking a parting glance at the piece of looking-glass held by
three nails on the wall of his bedroom, and favoring himself with a
smile that expressed a personal satisfaction, Richard took his fiddle
under his arm and set out.

The moon was shining over his head, the stars sparkled--to use the
fiddler's picturesque expression--like "gilt nails driven into the
ceiling of the firmament by an audacious upholsterer." No sound could
be heard, save the crackling of the snow beneath Richard's feet, as he
put them down with the heaviness of old age. The road he had to follow
was very narrow; its complicated windings passed through a dense
forest which the axe had not yet assailed, and whose depths were still
as entirely unknown as at the period when the Redskins were the sole
owners of the territory. This track could only be followed by a
pedestrian; no cart road existed for several miles round.

The profound solitude of this road must infallibly produce its
effect--that of fear or apprehension--on a being belonging to the
human race; but at this moment the old man was so deeply plunged in
thought that nothing could make him forget the anxiety he felt at not
arriving in time at the place where he was expected. He doubled his
pace as he thought of the furious glances that would be bestowed on
him by those whose joys his absence retarded, and he regretted the
time he had spent in giving an extra polish to his coat buttons and in
pulling up the two splendid points of his shirt collar.

While thinking of the reproaches that menaced him, old Dick looked up,
and the moon shining above his head proved to him that he was even
more behindhand than he had supposed. His legs then began moving like
the wheels of a locomotive, so as to keep him constantly ahead of
certain black shadows which seemed to be following his every footstep
on the forest path.

They were coyotes, horrible coyotes, that cast these shadows, and from
time to time gave a snarl of covetousness or impatience; but old Dick
paid no attention to them. Ere long, however, he was obliged to devote
his entire attention to what was going on behind him. He had walked
half the distance, and already saw through the forest arcades the
clearing which he must cross to reach the spot where he was expected.
The angry barks of the wolves had increased during the last quarter of
an hour, and the sound of their paws making the snow crackle inspired
the old man with an indescribable terror. The number of animals
seemed momentarily to be augmented; it resembled an ant-heap seen
through the magnifying-glass of a gigantic microscope.

Wolves, in all parts of the world, look twice before attacking a man;
they study the ground, and wait for the propitious moment. This was
what was now happening, very fortunately for old Dick, who was more
and more perceiving the greatness of the danger, and doubled his speed
in proportion as his pursuers grew more daring, brushed past his legs
with gnashing teeth, and joyously strove to get ahead of each other.
Dick was thoroughly acquainted with the habits of his enemies, and
hence carefully avoided running; that would have been giving the
signal of attack, for coyotes only rush on persons who are frightened.

The only chance of salvation left him was to prolong this dangerous
walk to the skirt of the forest. There he hoped the coyotes, as they
do not dare venture into an open plain, would leave him and allow him
to continue his walk at peace. He also remembered that in the centre
of the clearing there was a deserted cabin, and the thought of
reaching this refuge restored him a portion of his courage.

The daring of the coyotes increased with each moment, and the hapless
negro could not look around without seeing bright eyes moving in all
directions, like the phosphorescent fireflies in summer. One after the
other the quadrupeds tried their teeth on old Dick's thin legs, and as
he had dropped his stick he had recourse to his fiddle to keep his
foes aloof. At the first blow he dealt the springs produced a sound
which had the immediate effect of putting to flight the coyotes, which
were surprised by this unusual music.

Dick, an observer naturally and by necessity, then began strumming his
fiddle with his fingers; and the carnivorous animals at once
manifested fresh marks of surprise, as if a charge of shot had
tickled their ribs. This fortunate diversion, repeated several times,
brought Dick to the skirt of the forest, and taking advantage of a
favorable moment, he darted on, still striking the strings, and going
in the direction of the hut.

The coyotes halted for a moment, with their tails between their legs,
looking at their prey flying before them; but ere long their ravenous
instinct gained the upper hand, and with a unanimous bark they all
rushed in pursuit of the unfortunate negro. Had the wolves caught up
to old Dick in this moment of fury, he might have appealed in vain to
his fiddle. By running he had destroyed the charm, and the coyotes
would not have stopped to listen to him even had he played like
Orpheus in the olden times, or Ole Bull in ours.

Fortunately, the old man reached the cabin at the moment when the
coyotes were at his heels. With a hand rendered doubly vigorous by the
imminence of the danger, he shut the door of the protecting cabin, and
secured it with a beam he found within reach. Then he hoisted himself,
not without sundry lacerations of his garments, on the ruined roof,
the beams of which alone remained, supported on blocks of wood at the
four corners of the walls.

Old Dick found himself comparatively out of danger; but the coyotes
displayed a fury which threatened to become terrible. Several of them
had entered the cabin, and conjointly with those outside they leaped
at the legs of the minstrel, whom rapid movements and repeated kicks
scarce protected from numerous bites.

Old Dick, in spite of his agony, had not forgotten his fiddle, which
had saved his life in the forest. Seizing his bow with a firm hand, he
drew from the instrument a shrill note, which overpowered the
deafening barks of the coyotes, and silenced them as if by
enchantment. This silence henceforth continued, only interrupted by
the hysterical sounds which the fiddle produced under the
fear-stiffened fingers of the old negro performer.

This inharmonious music could not satisfy the starving animals for
long, and from the efforts which they soon made to reach their prey,
old Dick comprehended that noise was not sufficient to enchant the
wolves. They dashed forward more furiously than ever to escalade the
wall. He considered himself lost, especially when he noticed, scarce
half a yard from his trembling legs, the enormous head of a coyote,
whose large, open eyes seemed to flash fire and gleam.

"The Lord ha' mussy on all!" he cried; "I am an eaten man!"

And without knowing what he was about, he let his trembling fingers
stray over the fiddle, and began playing the famous air of "Yankee
Doodle." It was the chant of the swan singing its requiem in the hour
of death.

But suddenly--O, miracle of harmony!--a calm set in round the negro
minstrel. Orpheus was no fable: the animals obeyed this new
enchantment; and when Dick, on recovering from his terror, was unable
to understand what was going on around him, he saw himself surrounded
by an audience a hundred fold more attentive to the charms of music
than any which had hitherto admired his execution. This was so true
that so soon as his bow ceased moving, the coyotes dashed forward to
renew the battle.

Dick now knew what his means of preservation were. He must play the
fiddle till some help arrived. Ere long, yielding to the fascination
of the art, the musician completely forgot the danger he incurred.
Indulging all the fancies of his imagination, he gave his four-footed
audience a concert in which he surpassed himself. Never had he played
with more taste, soul, and expression. Hence he forgot, in the
intoxication of his triumph, the wedding and the brilliant company,
the whiskey-punch and supper smoking hot on the board, that awaited
him no great distance off.

But alas! every medal has its reverse in this world, and all days of
pleasure have their to-morrow of woe. As the night advanced, the old
negro felt the cold pierce his stiffened limbs. In vain did he try to
rest; if the bow left the fiddle strings, the coyotes rushed against
the walls of the cabin; if, on the contrary, he continued to wander
along the paths of harmony, these _dilettanti_ of a novel sort
squatted down on their hams, with their tails stretched out on the
snow, ears pricked up, tongues hanging from their half-opened jaws,
and they followed, with a regular movement of the head and body, all
the notes produced by old Dick's fiddle.

While this fantastic scene, illumined by the moonbeams, was taking
place in the clearing, the negroes, who were awaiting their comrade to
begin the fun, were growing sadly impatient, and did not know what to
think of the delay of their musician, who was usually most punctual.
At last six of them, tired of waiting, left the house to make a voyage
of discovery; and on reaching the cabin, on the top of which Dick was
perched, they noticed some thirty coyotes in the position I have
described. The old player was still continuing his involuntary
concert, with his eyes fixed on his deadly foes.

At the moment when the six negroes raised a simultaneous shout, the
whole band of coyotes thought it high time to bolt. In a twinkling
they disappeared, and the fiddler, frozen and numbed, fell fainting
into the arms of his rescuers. His woolly hair, which, in spite of his
great age, was perfectly black at the time when he performed his
toilet, had turned white in the space of two hours.

                                      SIR LASCELLES WRAXALL.



THE BIRD'S NEST.


    Deep in a leafy dell we found,
      When early Summer wove her crown,
    A bird's nest on the mossy ground,
      From blooming bough blown down.

    Five pretty eggs, quite warm and white,
      Were waiting for the brooding wing,
    That from each shell there might take flight
      A bird, to trill and sing.

    The mother sat and grieved apart;
      Her song had no rejoicing note.
    The sorrow of her wounded heart
      Seemed sobbing in her throat.

    She thought of all the summer days,
      With their sweet sunshine, yet to come;
    Of fledgelings echoing God's praise,
      While only hers were dumb.

[Illustration: THE BIRD'S NEST.]



THE YOUNG ARTIST.


"Well done, little one! A very pretty tune, and very nicely sung!"

The speaker was a stranger who had just come in sight of the pretty
cottage where Robbie and Maria Barnes lived with their widowed mother,
and outside of which the little singer sat nursing the baby, while
Robbie chopped wood at a little distance.

The widow, hearing a stranger's voice, came to the door, and seeing
that he appeared to have been walking far invited him to come in and
take a rest. This he very gladly did; and while she dusted a chair for
him, Mary brought a mug of fresh milk, and they were soon on very
friendly terms with him.

He said that he was an artist, and that he had come to that part of
the country for a time to take sketches of the scenery around; that he
was at present staying at the village inn, but that he would be very
glad if they could arrange to let him live with them for a few weeks.
This was agreed upon, and on the next day Mr. Page--for that was the
stranger's name--took up his abode in the widow Paul's cottage.

Very pleased Robbie and Maria were with him; and when he came home
from his rambles and sat under the shade of the large tree by the side
of the house finishing the sketches he had taken, they would stand
looking on with wondering interest. Robbie especially, who had never
seen any other pictures than those in his spelling-book, was rapt in
amazement as he saw hills, rivers, flowers, trees and animals start up
into seeming life under the artist's hand. Mr. Page, seeing how
interested the boy was in what he saw, invited him to accompany him in
his rambles. Robbie did so, and many valuable things he learned in
these pleasant wanderings.

When the time came for Mr. Page to leave these simple cottagers, he
was as sorry to go as they were to part with him; and he promised that
if he lived and prospered, he would endeavor to do something for his
favorite, Robbie.

This visit of the artist to their humble abode became the
turning-point in Robbie's life. An idea had taken possession of the
boy's mind. Why should he not learn to be an artist like Mr. Page? He
had watched very carefully the manner in which that gentleman
proceeded when taking sketches of the objects around him; he had begun
himself to look upon those objects with very different eyes from what
he had been accustomed to, and felt sure that with patience and
perseverance he could master the art of drawing and painting himself.

His first attempt was a rough sketch of grandma on his slate. It was
done with a few strokes of the pencil, but there was really some
likeness to the dear old lady in it, and mother felt sure her boy
would some day be an artist.

[Illustration: THE YOUNG ARTIST.]

Several weeks passed away, and at length he thought he might attempt
the portrait of his little dog, "Pink," and, if he could succeed to
his satisfaction, he determined that he would carry it home and
surprise his mother with it. After much patient labor he finished his
task, and showed the sketch first of all to his friend Thomas, who
being much pleased with it, they hastened at once to Robbie's home
with it. Watching their opportunity, they stood the picture unobserved
against the wall, and waited to see the effect it would produce.
Little Maria was the first to notice it. "Oh, mother," she cried,
"here's a picture of Pinky! Do come and look at it! Isn't it real?"

The widow turned from her work to look.

"Why, so it is," she exclaimed. "Who painted it, Robbie? Where did you
get it from?"

"Robbie did it himself," cried Thomas, unable to keep the secret any
longer.

"Robbie did it?" echoed the widow, with a look of bewilderment. "_You_
painted it, Robbie?"

"Yes, mother," laughed Robbie, enjoying her perplexity; "I did it all
myself. I have been learning unknown to you. If I can learn to paint
as well as Mr. Page, mother, eh! Sha'n't I be able to help you then,
mother?"

She smiled and kissed him. His cleverness was pleasing to her, but his
loving ambition to be of service to her was still more grateful to her
mother's heart.

The famous Benjamin West said his mother's kiss made him a painter.
Robbie Barnes might have said the same thing, for from that moment he
was more than ever determined to persevere. A few weeks after this,
Robbie and Thomas were out in the woods together. It was a holiday
with them both, and Robbie had determined to spend the time in
sketching a certain landscape he had in view. They had brought their
dinner with them; and while Robbie was drawing, Thomas laid out the
provisions. Having got it all ready, he went off to the brook to fetch
a mug of water, and as he returned called to Robbie to come to dinner.
But what was his annoyance, as he came near, to see the mischievous
dog munching the last piece of cheese? In sudden passion he caught up
a stick and gave chase to Pink, who scampered off with the cheese in
his mouth. Robbie was so amused at the comical scene that he thought
he would attempt a painting of it, and this idea set Thomas laughing
as heartily as himself. It was weeks before he had finished the
sketch; but when it was completed, it made a striking picture for a
boy of his age.

Years passed, and Robbie worked faithfully at his painting, and made
such progress that Mr. Moring urged him to go with him on a visit to
the neighboring city, where he could see some gentlemen who might be
able to assist him in his desire of becoming a painter. Robbie was
unwilling to leave his mother, but she was resolved he should not lose
the opportunity for her; and shortly afterward Robbie, with Thomas and
Mr. Moring, was on his way to the great city, which he had never seen
before. Arrived there, Mr. Moring took him to an exhibition of
pictures, and there introduced him again to his old friend Mr. Page.
The artist, to whom Mr. Moring had already showed the painting of the
dog running off with the dinner, was exceedingly surprised that a boy
so entirely self-taught should have made such progress, and was
pleased indeed to see him again. His judgment of the merits of
Robbie's work was such that Mr. Moring undertook to have the boy
instructed by one of the best teachers of drawing, and so put him in a
fair way of attaining that upon which his heart was set--the becoming
a painter like Mr. Page. Robbie's mother, though sad to part with him,
gratefully consented to his leaving his home for a time for this
purpose; and though Robbie was much troubled to think what his mother
would do without the little help he had been able to render her, he
was persuaded that the best way to serve her was to improve himself.
He had not been long away before a message came to his mother telling
her that he could earn enough by the sale of his little drawings to
pay one of the village-lads to fetch wood and water, and to do other
little things for her; that he was improving very fast, and that he
had good reason to hope that he should one day be able to earn enough
to keep them all in comfort.

Little Maria was busy braiding straw when this message came.

"I shall not want Robbie to work for me, mother," she said. "I shall
soon be able to earn my own living, and I will help to support our
dear mother when she grows old."

"God bless you, my child!" said the happy mother. "With such dutiful
children as you and your dear brother, no mother need fear to grow
old."



    You're starting to-day on life's journey,
      Along on the highway of life;
    You'll meet with a thousand temptations;
      Each city with evil is rife.
    This world is a stage of excitement;
      There's danger wherever you go;
    But if you are tempted in weakness,
      Have courage, my boy, to say NO!



THE RUSTIC MIRROR.


    Sadie's boudoir is a meadow,
      Carpeted with blue-eyed grass;
    Slender birches, rounded maples,
      Frame her inlaid looking-glass.

    Curtains woven up in cloud-land
      Trail their fringes over all,
    Shifting shadows gray and purple,
      Which aerial elves let fall.

    Hither Sadie, morn and evening,
      Comes for water from the spring,
    Pausing ere she fills her pitcher
      Where the greenest mosses cling,--

    Pausing where, as in a mirror,
      She a wistful face beholds;
    Magic mirror, for within it
      Many a vision fair unfolds.

    When the April clouds are driven
      Over depths of azure skies,
    Windows open into heaven,
      And she sees her mother's eyes.

    When she binds upon her forehead
      Wreath of daisies twined with wheat,
    She is queen, and wears a jewelled
      Crown, with slippers on her feet.

    When the glories of October,
      Crimson maple, golden birch,
    Make her mirror finer, richer,
      Than stained windows of a church,--

    She of golden-rod and aster
      Weaves a garland for her hair,
    Leans above the magic mirror,
      Murmuring, "Mother called me fair."

    But 'tis best when clouds are flying
      O'er the clear blue April skies,
    And through dreamy depths she gazes
      Into heaven and mother's eyes.

                                  M. R. W.

[Illustration: THE RUSTIC MIRROR.]



LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD.


    Come back, come back together,
      All ye fancies of the past,
    Ye days of April weather,
      Ye shadows that are cast
        By the haunted hours before!
    Come back, come back, my childhood;
      Thou art summoned by a spell
    From the green leaves of the wildwood,
      From beside the charmed well,
      For Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
        The flower of fairy lore.

    The fields were covered over
      With colors as she went;
    Daisy, buttercup and clover
      Below her footsteps bent;
        Summer shed its shining store;
    She was happy as she pressed them;
      Beneath her little feet;
    She plucked them and caressed them;
      They were so very sweet;
      They had never seemed so sweet before
    To Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
      The flower of fairy lore.

    How the heart of childhood dances
      Upon a sunny day!
    It has its own romances,
      And a wide, wide world have they--
        A world where Phantasie is king,
    Made all of eager dreaming;
      When once grown up and tall--
    Now is the time for scheming--
      Then we shall do them all!
        Do such pleasant fancies spring
      For Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
        The flower of fairy lore?

[Illustration: LITTLE RED RIDING-HOOD.]

    She seems like an ideal love,
      The poetry of childhood shown,
    And yet loved with a real love,
      As if she were our own--
        A younger sister for the heart;
    Like the woodland pheasant,
      Her hair is brown and bright;
    And her smile is pleasant,
      With its rosy light.
      Never can the memory part
    With Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
        The flower of fairy lore.

    Did the painter, dreaming
      In a morning hour,
    Catch the fairy seeming
      Of this fairy flower?
        Winning it with eager eyes
    From the old enchanted stories,
      Lingering with a long delight
    On the unforgotten glories
      Of the infant sight?
        Giving us a sweet surprise
      In Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
        The flower of fairy lore?

    Too long in the meadow staying,
      Where the cowslip bends,
    With the buttercups delaying
      As with early friends,
        Did the little maiden stay.
    Sorrowful the tale for us;
      We, too, loiter 'mid life's flowers,
    A little while so glorious,
      So soon lost in darker hours,
        All love lingering on their way,
    Like Red Riding-Hood, the darling,
      The flower of fairy lore.

                 LÆTITIA ELIZABETH LANDON.



[Illustration: {Maggie runs to rescue the child from the bull}]

HOW MAGGIE PAID THE RENT.


Presence of mind is one of the rarest, as it is one of the most
enviable of endowments. It is the power of instantaneously forming a
judgment, and acting upon it, and includes not only moral courage, but
self-possession. No matter how brave a man may be in the face of
expected peril,--if he lacks presence of mind, he is helpless in a
sudden emergency. But, as this quality is an ingredient of the highest
courage, the bravest men invariably possess it. The presence of mind
of one man has often saved thousands of lives in sudden peril, on sea
or land. This is naturally enough regarded as a distinctively
masculine virtue; but it is one that both sexes may profitably
cultivate, as is shown by the following story. Girls as well as boys
should be taught self-reliance--to depend on themselves, to think
quickly and act promptly. Perhaps no emergency will arise in their
lives in which the importance of such mental training shall be
illustrated; but it is well to be prepared "for any fate," and the
discipline which produces this virtue gives strength and symmetry to
the whole intellectual organism.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Is supper nearly ready, Maggie? It is time for Jack to return from
his work."

The speaker was an elderly woman in a widow's garb, and the person she
addressed was her granddaughter, a pleasant-looking girl, who might
perhaps have been fourteen years of age.

"Yes, grandmother, it is just ready, such as it is," replied Maggie;
"but I could wish poor Jack had a better meal after his hard work
than what we are able to give him."

"Ay, ay, child, I wish it as much as you can; but what is to be done?
Wishing will never make us rich folk, and we may be thankful if worse
troubles than a poor supper do not come upon us soon."

So spoke the grandmother, and taking the spectacles from her nose, she
wiped their dim glasses with her apron.

"Why, grandmother, what do you mean?" cried Maggie, looking up in
alarm. "What worse troubles can be coming, think you?" And eagerly and
anxiously she fixed her bright blue eyes upon her grandmother's face.

"Well," replied the old woman, "the truth is just this, Maggie: I hear
that the new landlord is going to make some changes among his tenants;
the cottages are all to be repaired, and the folks who can pay higher
rents will stay, while those who cannot must find lodging elsewhere.
And how can we ever pay a higher rent, Maggie? Even now, every penny
of poor Jack's earnings is spent at the end of the week, and yet we
live as cheaply as ever we can."

For a moment or two the girl's face was as perturbed and downcast as
that of her grandmother's, and she bent over her knitting in silence;
but by an evident effort she quickly assumed a more cheerful aspect.
And advancing to the old lady's side, and placing a gentle hand on her
shoulder, she said,--

"Don't fret, dear grandmother; God has cared for us so far, and he
will never suffer us to want, if we put our trust in him. That's what
father used to say, and what he said up to the very day of his death."

So saying, Maggie stooped and kissed the withered cheek of that
father's mother, thereby enforcing, as it were, her encouraging words.

"God bless you, my child!" sobbed the old woman, returning the kiss.
"You remind me of what I am too apt to forget. Yes, Maggie, your
father's God is our God, and he will never forsake his people. I will
wipe away these tears, and put faith in him for the future." And the
grandmother dried her eyes, and rising from her low seat, said
cheerfully, "Maggie, dear, go to the gate, and watch for your brother
Jack. When you see him coming across the field, let me know, and I
will dish up the supper, so as to have it ready."

Maggie put down her work, and passing through the low doorway of the
cottage, stood presently at the little gate that separated the tiny
garden from the meadow of a neighboring farmer, who turned his cattle
out there to graze.

Opening the gate, Maggie leaned against it, while with one hand she
shaded her eyes from the yet dazzling beams of the sinking sun, which
bathed with its parting radiance the western horizon, and crimsoned
the landscape around.

A moment or two she thus stood, but Jack did not appear; and wondering
why he should be so late, Maggie was about to retrace her steps in
order to fetch her knitting, when, from that corner of the field which
by a stile communicated with the landlord's grounds, she saw a little
child emerge, dressed in a bright red frock and jacket, and running
heedlessly along, nearer and nearer to the cattle, which hitherto had
been grazing quietly in the centre of the field.

Now, however, as the little one approached, directing her steps so as
to pass them closely, they raised their heads, and a huge bull, the
king and guardian of the herd, attracted doubtless and enraged by the
color of the scarlet dress, bounded away from his companions, and with
his savage head bent, and his tail raised, gave chase to the child,
who, frightened at the bellowing of the angry beast, quickened her
pace, and fled screaming towards the cottage gate, at which Maggie was
standing. But the utmost speed of which the little one was capable was
nothing to the long gallop of the bull, and in the first moment that
Maggie witnessed the child's danger, her quick presence of mind and
tender heart resolved to do what many strong men, less self-forgetful,
would not have dared to attempt.

Tearing from her head a colored kerchief, which she had thrown over it
before she came out, she sprang through the gateway into the meadow,
and bounding lightly over the turf, in another minute she had placed
herself between the fierce animal and the child. On in his headlong
fury came the gigantic brute, and was about to pass Maggie, seeing
only the scarlet frock just beyond, when the intrepid girl, springing
forward, dashed the kerchief across his eyes, and before he had time
to recover himself and recommence his pursuit, she had turned,
snatched up the little one, and was running towards the cottage gate.
Close behind the fugitives followed the bull, now recovered from his
momentary astonishment; but Maggie's feet were winged, for she felt
that through God's help she should save the child.

A few more rapid steps, and the gate was reached and barred, while
Maggie tottered into the house, still carrying the child, and in the
reaction of the fearful excitement, fell fainting on the floor.

Maggie's fainting fit, however, did not last long; and she was fully
restored, and had told her grandmother the whole story, before Jack
arrived, half an hour later.

He, too, had something to recount. On his way home from the landlord's
grounds, where he had been working, he was overtaken by a young woman,
who seemed in a great state of alarm. She told Jack that she was the
nursery maid, and that while that afternoon she was sitting at work
beneath one of the trees, with the children playing around her, one of
them--little Gertrude, a child about six years old--must have slipped
away from her brother and sisters unobserved; and when tea time came,
and the nurse rose to bring the children home, she was nowhere to be
found. The nurse had taken the other three little ones home, and had
now come in search of Gertrude, fearful lest she should fall into
danger of any kind.

Jack would not stop to eat his supper, after telling his own story and
hearing Maggie's, but announced his intention of at once carrying the
little truant lady back to her home.

So the kind-hearted youth took Gertrude in his arms, and soon conveyed
her safely to the landlord's house, where she astonished every one by
the childish recital of her own danger and Maggie's courage.

The next morning Gertrude's mother came down to the cottage to thank
Maggie for the preservation of her darling's life, and to bring a
message from her husband.

This message consisted of his grateful acknowledgments, and of the
promise that Jack should be promoted to the office of assistant
gardener as soon as that post was vacant (which would be in the course
of a few weeks). But, best of all, the promise included also this,
namely, that the widow and her grandchildren should hold the cottage
rent free for the remainder of their lives.

Thus was averted, by means wholly unforeseen, the trial of poverty and
want so dreaded by the old widow in her thoughts of the future; and
never again was she heard to repine, or even to express a fear for
herself or for those whom she loved.



DECLAMATION--FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH;

OR, THE SENTRY OF HERCULANEUM.[B]


    "Dark's the night, dun's the sky with smoke;
      Never more my guard they'll change;
    Three hours ago I could crack my joke,
      And now e'en the thought seems strange.

    "Hark! the thunder bellows loud,
      And the night's come down apace,
    And the lava flame, through its sulphurous cloud,
      Is ruddy on my face.

    "With a crash did yon temple fall;
      But ever, through all the din,
    Shrill rose a death-wail o'er all,
      The vestals' screams within.

    "Men are running, away, away,
      With tight zones up yonder street;
    But a soldier of Rome must stay
      At his post, as seems him meet.

    "I remember my levying morn--
      I remember my sacred vow;
    And I'd hold it matter of scorn
      In death's teeth to break it now.

    "Jove! lava is all around--
      It nears me with scorching breath;
    It hisses along the ground
      To my feet, and the hiss means--death.

    "I've fought as a soldier should
      'Neath many an alien sky,
    And at home at my post I've stood
      Amidst cowards, and now, to die.

    "Great Mars, give me heart of grace
      _Triarii_,[C] over the bowl
    Say, 'He died with a smile on his face,
      And glory in his soul'!"

                         W. B. B. STEVENS.

[Illustration: THE FAITHFUL SENTRY.]

FOOTNOTES:

[B] Overwhelmed, together with Pompeii, by a lava eruption, A. D. 79.

[C] The Roman _Triarii_ were old soldiers, of approved valor, who
formed the third line in a legion--hence their name.



VACATION.


    O, master, no more of your lessons!
      For a season we bid them good by,
    And turn to the manifold teachings
      Of ocean, and forest, and sky.
    We must plunge into billow and breaker;
      The fields we must ransack anew;
    And again must the sombre woods echo
      The glee of our merry-voiced crew.

    From teacher's and preacher's dictation--
      From all the dreaded lore of the books--
    Escaped from the thraldom of study,
      We turn to the babble of brooks;
    We hark to the field-minstrels' music,
      The lowing of herds on the lea,
    The surge of the winds in the forest,
      The roar of the storm-angered sea.

    To the tree-tops we'll climb with the squirrels;
      We will race with the brooks in the glens;
    The rabbits we'll chase to their burrows;
      The foxes we'll hunt to their dens;
    The woodchucks, askulk in their caverns,
      We'll visit again and again;
    And we'll peep into every bird's nest
      The copses and meadows contain.

    For us are the blackberries ripening
      By many a moss-covered wall;
    There are bluehats enough in the thickets
      To furnish a treat for us all;
    In the swamps there are ground-nuts in plenty;
      The sea-sands their titbits afford;
    And, O, most delectable banquet,
      We will feast at the honey-bee's board!

    O, comrades, the graybeards assure us
      That life is a burden of cares;
    That the highways and byways of manhood
      Are fretted with pitfalls and snares.
    Well, school-days have _their_ tribulations;
      Their troubles, as well as their joys.
    Then give us vacation forever,
      If we must forever be boys!

                            BEVERLY MOORE.

[Illustration: "ESCAPED FROM THE THRALDOM OF STUDY,
                 WE TURN TO THE BABBLE OF BROOKS."]



UNCLE JOHN'S SCHOOL-DAYS.


This picture reminds me, children, of some funny stories that I have
heard your uncle John tell, when he and I were boy and girl together,
of his exploits as a schoolboy. According to his account, not only he,
but most of his schoolfellows, used to lead merry lives enough at
school. They had what they called the "Academy Band," and grand music
it made, with a hat-box for a drum, cricket-bat for violoncello, and
paper flute and trumpets. You would not recognize Uncle John, whom you
know only as a man six feet high, in that little lad on the left side
of the picture with a battledore for a fiddle. They had a great deal
of what he called excellent fun, though I am afraid it sometimes
bordered upon mischief or naughtiness. I used to consider that he and
his schoolfellows were regular heroes as I listened to his stories
when he came home for the holidays; and even now I must confess I
cannot help laughing when I think of some of his naughty pranks.

Uncle John first went to a large school when he was eleven years old,
and I remember now the tremendous hamper of good things he took with
him. The boys who slept in his bedroom were so pleased with the
contents of his hamper that they determined to make a great feast. To
add to their enjoyment, they imagined themselves to be settlers in the
backwoods of America or Australia. They built a log hut with bolsters,
and had a sort of picnic. One of them mounted on the top of the log
hut to look out with his telescope for any approaching savages, while
the others enjoyed their suppers in and about the hut. When their fun
was at its height, the door softly opened, and in walked Dr. Birchall,
spectacles on nose and cane in hand. What followed may be imagined.

You know that Uncle John is an engineer now, and even as a little boy
he had a great turn for mechanical inventions. Well, he pondered over
some means by which such a sudden interruption to the enjoyment of
his schoolfellows might be prevented in future; and I will tell you
what he did.

It happened that the large room in which he slept formed the upper
floor of a wing of the house which had been added to it when it became
a school; and there was no access to this room from the principal
staircase of the house. You had to pass through the room below and go
up a little separate staircase to reach to the floor above. The lower
room was also a bedroom for the boys, and Uncle John's little scheme
was this:

He made a hole with a gimlet in the frame of one of the windows of his
bedroom, passed a piece of string through the hole, and carried it
outside the wall of the house down to a similar hole in a window-frame
of the room below. To the end of the string in the upper room was
fastened a small rattle, while the other end of the string--that in
the room below--was taken into the bed of a boy who slept near the
window.

This admirable little invention once in order, there was more rioting
in the upper room than ever; and the master, disturbed by the noise,
soon went, cane in hand, to stop it. The instant he set foot in the
lower room the boy there who held the string in bed gave it a little
pull: the rattle sounded--ting! ting!--in the room above, and in an
instant every boy was in bed and snoring. Perhaps they had been
playing at leap-frog the moment before, but as Dr. Birchall entered
the room--and he crept up the staircase very quietly, that he might
catch them unawares--he found some twenty boys lying in bed, seemingly
sound asleep, though snoring unnaturally loud.

The doctor was so disconcerted by this unexpected state of things that
he retired at once, fancying perhaps that his ears had deceived him
when he thought he had heard a noise in the room. The same thing
happened two or three times; the doctor was puzzled, and the
invention appeared a complete success; but at last all was
discovered.

[Illustration: THE ACADEMY BAND.]

The boys one evening began imprudently to play at "tossing in the
blanket" before they were undressed. The rattle sounded, and they had
just time to hide away the blanket. But the doctor coming in, and
finding they were only then beginning to undress, knew they must have
been at some mischief, and began questioning one after another.
Unluckily, while he was in the room the rattle sounded again by
accident; perhaps the boy in the room below had pulled the string by
moving in bed. The doctor looked about, found the rattle hanging just
below the window, saw the string, opened the window and traced its
course outside, went down into the room below, and understood the
whole arrangement. Then he put the rattle in his pocket and went away
without saying a word. The boys declared he had such difficulty in
keeping himself from laughing that he was afraid to speak lest he
should burst out.

However, next day every boy in that room had a slight punishment, and
so the matter ended.

Now I will tell you another of Uncle John's pranks at school. There
was a large tree in the playground, the upper branches of which spread
out very near to the windows of the bedroom I have been describing.
One evening Uncle John got hold of a large hand-bell which was used
for ringing the boys up in the morning; and climbing up the tree, he
fastened it by a piece of string to a branch near the top. Then
another boy threw him the end of a long string from a window of the
bedroom into the tree, and he fastened it to the bell in such a way
that when it was pulled in the bedroom it made the bell ring in the
tree. Having accomplished this arrangement, he came down from the tree
and went to bed.

At ten o'clock at night the household was disturbed by the loud
ringing of this bell. The master, in his dressing-gown, came out into
the playground, and soon discovered where the sound came from, but of
course supposed that some boy had climbed up into the tree, and was
ringing the bell there. It was the middle of summer, and a beautiful
moonlight night, so the boys could see from the windows all that took
place. Dr. Birchall stood at the foot of the tree, looking up, and
exclaimed, angrily,

"Come down, you naughty boy! Come down, I say, directly! Oh, I'll give
you such a flogging! Stop that horrible noise, I tell you, and come
down!"

The bell still went on ringing. At last the string--being pulled too
hard, I suppose, in the excitement of the fun--broke, and the bell
tumbled down from the top of the tree, falling very near the old
schoolmaster. This was worse than all.

"What!" he exclaimed; "you throw the bell at me? Why, if it had hit me
on the head, it might have killed me. Oh, you wicked boy! I'll expel
you, sir. I'll find out who you are if I stop here till morning."

At last, however, his patience was exhausted, and he went away, but
left an old butler to watch the tree all night. The boys from the
windows could see this man settle himself comfortably on a seat which
was at the foot of the tree. He lighted his pipe, and prepared to
carry out his master's orders and watch till daylight. By three
o'clock in the morning the dawn broke; then the man began to look up
occasionally into the tree. Now and then he walked a little distance
away, first in one direction, and then in another, to look into parts
of the tree that he could not see from underneath. He kept this up
till the sun had risen and it was broad daylight; then at last he
became convinced that it was impossible there could be a boy in the
tree. He walked slowly into the house, still smoking his pipe, with a
puzzled expression on his face.

And I suspect he was not the only person who felt puzzled. The next
day the boys were going home for the holidays, so that no further
inquiry could be made. I wonder if Dr. Birchall ever found out how it
had been managed?



[Illustration: THE ENGLISH MASTIFF.]

FAITHFUL FRIENDS.


The dog has sometimes been called the "friend of man." This is
because, of all animals, it is the one whose attachment to mankind is
purely personal. It is found in almost every part of the world,
sharing every variation of climate and outward lot with the human
race. There are only a few groups of islands in the Southern Pacific
Ocean where this valuable creature is wanting. Without its aid, how
could men have procured sustenance among tribes to whom the art of
tilling the land was not known? or how could they have resisted the
attacks of the beasts of prey that roamed in the forests around them?

Anecdotes of dogs, when they are well attested, are always welcome;
and I will therefore relate a few.

There were some time ago two families, one living in London, the other
at Guildford, seventeen miles distant. These families were very
friendly with each other, and for several years it was the custom of
the one residing in London to pass the Christmas with the one at
Guildford. It was the visitors' uniform practice to arrive to dinner
the day before Christmas day; and they were accompanied by a large
spaniel, which was a great favorite with both families.

These visits were thus regularly paid for seven years. At the end of
that time an unfortunate misunderstanding between the friends caused
the usual Christmas invitation from the country to be omitted. About
an hour before dinner, on the day before Christmas day, the Guildford
gentleman, who was standing at his window, exclaimed to his wife,--

"Well, my dear, the ----s have thought better of it. I declare they
are coming as usual, though we did not invite them; here comes Cæsar
to announce them."

Sure enough, the dog came trotting up to the door, and was admitted,
as he had often been before, to the parlor. The lady of the house gave
orders to prepare beds; dinner waited an hour; but no guests arrived.

Cæsar, after staying the exact number of days to which he had been
accustomed, one morning set off for home, and reached it in safety.
The correspondence which this visit of the favorite spaniel
occasioned, had the happy effect of renewing the intercourse of the
estranged friends. As long as Cæsar lived, he paid the annual visit,
in company with his master and mistress, to Guildford.

"A Frenchman named Chabert, who, from his wonderful performances with
fire, was known as the 'Fire King,' was the owner of a very beautiful
Siberian dog, which, when yoked to a light carriage, used to draw him
twenty miles a day. Chabert sold him for nearly two hundred pounds;
for the creature was as docile as he was beautiful. Between the sale
and the delivery, the dog happened to get his leg broken. Chabert, to
whom the money was of great importance, was almost in despair,
expecting that the lamed animal would be returned, and the price
demanded back. He took the dog by night to a veterinary surgeon, and
formally introduced them to each other.

"'Doctor, my dog; my dog, your doctor.'

"He next talked to the dog, pointed to his own leg, limped around the
room, and then requested the surgeon to apply bandages to his leg;
after which he walked about the room sound and well. Chabert then
patted the dog on the head, who was looking by turns at him and the
surgeon; desired the surgeon to pat him, and to offer him his hand to
lick; and lastly, holding up his finger to the dog, and gently shaking
his head, quitted the room and the house. The dog immediately laid
himself down, submitted to have the fracture set, and to have a
bandage put on the limb, without a motion beyond once or twice licking
the operator's hand. He was afterwards submissive, and lay all but
motionless day after day, until, at the end of a month, the limb was
sound and whole once more. So perfect was the cure, that the purchaser
never knew the dog had sustained any injury."

I will finish my paper with a story of a dog that saved the life of a
French soldier who was wounded in one of the terrible battles that
have been lately fought in France:--

"The man had been struck by a ball in the chest, near the village of
Ham, and lay on the ground for six hours after the fighting was over.
He had not lost consciousness; but the blood was flowing freely, and
he was gradually getting weaker and weaker. There were none but the
dead near him; and his only living companion was an English terrier,
which ran restlessly about him, with his master's _kepi_, or military
cap, in his mouth.

"At last the dog set off at a trot; and the wounded soldier made sure
that now his last friend had deserted him. The night grew dark, the
cold was intense, and he had not even the strength to touch his
wounds, which every instant grew more and more painful.

[Illustration: {The terrier, carrying a kepi, tries to get help for
    his master}]

"At length his limbs grew cold, and, feeling a sickly faintness steal
upon him, he gave up all hope of life, and recommended himself to
the mercy of God. Suddenly he heard a bark, which he knew belonged to
only one little dog in the world, then felt something lick his face,
and saw the glare of lanterns. The dog had wandered for miles till he
arrived at a road-side _cabaret_, or country wine-shop. The people had
heard the cannonading all day, and seeing the _kepi_ in the dog's
mouth, and noticing his restless movements, decided to follow him. He
took them straight to the spot--too straight for a little cart they
had brought with them to cross fields and hedges--but just in time.
When the friendly help arrived, the man fainted; but he was saved.
There were honest tears in the man's eyes when he was telling me,"
says the narrator; "and I fully believed him. The dog, too, had been
slightly touched in the leg by a ball in the same battle, and has
since been lame. He got him, when a puppy, from an English sailor at
Dunkirk, and called him 'Beel;' very probably the French for Bill."

This little terrier showed something more than instinct--some share,
at least, of common sense. At all events, he deserves to be
immortalized; so here you have his portrait, with the cap in his
mouth, begging the people whom he has found in the way-side inn to
come to the help of his wounded master.

                                                          X.



[Illustration: THE ERL-KING.]

[Illustration: {Flowers}]

THE ERL KING.


    Who rideth so late through the night-wind wild?
    It is the father with his child;
    He has the little one well in his arm,
    He holds him safe, and he folds him warm.

    "My son, why hidest thy face so shy?"
    "Seest thou not, father, the Erl King nigh?
    The Erlen King, with train and crown?"
    "It is a wreath of mist, my son."

    "Come, lovely boy, come go with me;
    Such merry plays I will play with thee!
    Many a bright flower grows on the strand,
    And my mother has many a gay garment at hand."

    "My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
    What the Erl King whispers in my ear?"
    "Be quiet, my darling, be quiet, my child;
    Through withered leaves the wind howls wild."

    "Come, lovely boy, wilt thou go with me?
    My daughters fair shall wait on thee,
    My daughters their nightly revels keep,
    They'll sing, and they'll dance, and they'll rock thee to sleep."

    "My father, my father, and seest thou not
    The Erl King's daughters in yon dim spot?"
    "My son, my son, I see, and I know
    'Tis the old gray willow that shimmers so."

    "I love thee; thy beauty has ravished my sense;
    And willing or not, I will carry thee hence."
    "O, father, the Erl King now puts forth his arm--
    O, father, the Erl King has done me harm."

    The father shudders, he hurries on;
    And faster he holds his moaning son;
    He reaches his home with fear and dread,
    And lo! in his arms the child was dead.

              _From the German of Goethe._



THE SILLY YOUNG RABBIT.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.


        There was a young rabbit
        Who had a bad habit--
    Sometimes he would do what his mother forbid.
        And one frosty day,
        His mother did say,
    "My child you must stay in the burrow close hid;
        For I hear the dread sounds
        Of huntsmen and hounds,
    Who are searching around for rabbits like you;
        Should they see but your head,
        They would soon shoot you dead,
    And the dogs would be off with you quicker than boo!"

        But, poor foolish being!
        When no one was seeing,
    Looking out from his burrow to take a short play,
        He hopped o'er the ground
        With many a bound,
    And looked around proudly, as if he would say,
        Do I fear a man?
        Now catch me who can!
    So this young rabbit ran to a fine apple tree,
        Where, gnawing the bark,
        He thought not to hark
    The coming of hunters, so careless was he.
        Now, as rabbits are good
        When roasted or stewed,
    A man came along hunting rabbits for dinner;
        He saw little bun,
        Then raised his big gun,
    And there he lay dead, the foolish young sinner.

[Illustration: THE SILLY RABBIT.]



NINO.


The rain was just beginning to fall in a thin, chilling drizzle, and
the cold air nipped sharply any unwary toe that showed itself, as Nino
played a little air full of thoughts of birds and flowers. His thin
jacket was no protection, and his dark eyes looked as if a shower
might drop from them; but the clouds had been over his life too long,
and there were no tears left to fall. He was not so old that this must
be the case; but he stood alone in the wide street, and no one spoke
to or noticed him. One friend he had--his guitar; and now he put that
under his jacket, lest the rain should hurt it.

"_Ah, carissima!_" he murmured, as he hugged it under his arm; "you
are never hungry or tired, and you shall not be wet. One of us shall
be happy."

The guitar gave a little whisper as his jacket rubbed against it, and
Nino smiled and nodded in answer. Now the rain was falling rapidly,
and he stepped under an awning, to wait until it held up. There was a
lady standing there, her skirts held high, and her cloak drawn
closely, and Nino stood one side; for why should he be near any one?
He well knew no one wanted him. He watched the water run by in the
gutter, and looked into the barrel of apples at his side--large, rosy
apples, that would be so good; and he glanced up to see if any one saw
him. Why not take one? He could hide it, and eat it afterwards. The
grocer had so many; he had none, and it was days since he had eaten
anything but dry bread. He knew it was not right to take what belonged
to another; but he heard so little of right, and hunger and want
pressed him every day.

As he stood thinking, not quite resolved to take one, there was a
patter of little feet, a merry laugh, and a bright vision stood by
his side.

Was she a fairy? She looked as he always felt his guitar would look if
it could take a human form--slender, active, fair. A shower of golden
hair, not pale, but bright, like the summer sun; eyes as deep and blue
as the distant sky; a face of which one would dream. Nino held his
breath, and as the blue velvet coat brushed his ragged arm, drew a
sigh, and stepped back.

"Did I frighten you, little boy?" asked the child. "It was raining so
hard, and nursey had to run."

"Come, stand in here, where it does not drip," cried the nurse,
drawing her away.

Nino peeped under his coat, to be sure his guitar had not been
transformed, and then stepped aside under the eaves. It seemed as if
he ought to be wet when such a lovely being was obliged to endure the
discomfort of standing there. As she chattered, he drew near again,
and wondered whether angels did not look like that. She was certainly
more beautiful than those in churches. He had forgotten that he was
cold, and was feeling very happy, when the intentness of his gaze
attracted the child's attention. She was whispering to her nurse, when
a harsh voice cried out,--

"Boy, go away from there! I can't watch those apples all the time."

Nino had thoughtlessly laid his hand on the barrel, and when the
grocer spoke, moved hastily away.

"Here, little boy," cried the silvery tones of the child; "don't go; I
want to give you an apple." Then she said to the grocer, "A big one,
please."

"Yes, miss; I did not notice you were there; but those boys are so
bad!"

Nino's face flushed, and his eyes glittered; but when the child
handed him the apple, he smiled, touched his hat, and said,--

"Thankee, little lady."

As he walked away, he did not notice the falling drops, but laid his
cheek against the apple, and smoothed its plump rosiness before he
tasted its rich juiciness.

Nino had no associates among the rough boys in the streets; he had a
pride that kept him above their coarse ways. As he played and sang the
songs he learned in Italy, dim memories of a better life came to him,
and his music seemed a holy spirit. He would have died but for that,
his life was so cold, hard, and bare.

He had been brought over by a sea captain, who dealt in boys; and as
he was very ill on the voyage, the captain let an old woman take him
for a small sum. She thought his thin, sad face would move the
passers, and in pity they would give him money. For this reason she
sent him out day after day, in storm or shine, ill clad and weary,
giving him but little food. But nature helped him. In spite of this
treatment, he became stronger, and after a time ran away from her.
Then he joined himself to a party of boy musicians, and by their help
got his guitar. But they were unkind to him; for he was yet weak and
timid, and the leader, a large boy, sometimes beat him if he refused
to play. One night Nino ran away from them, his precious guitar under
his arm; and since then he had played and sung through the streets,
sometimes begging, sometimes in despair, with thoughts of stealing.

His chief delight and comfort was to lie in the sun on a fair day. He
was always hungry, almost always cold, and when the wind did not blow,
and the sun was hot, he liked to bask on a step, and dream of good
dinners, pretty clothes, and a soft bed. The sun was the only thing he
could find in the cold northern climate which was like his old home.
In this way he would be nearly happy; but when storms came, he was
chilled within and without. The world then was gray; he could not even
play on his guitar, which in sunny days brought him pleasant pictures
of green fields, dancing water, and leafy vines, loaded with purple
grapes.

His guitar was his only companion, and he treated it as if it was
alive; he talked to it, cared for and loved it with a tenderness which
was of no value to the instrument, but was of service to the
friendless boy, in giving him an unselfish motive.

The autumn was fast advancing when he met the golden-haired child; and
as the days became colder, he cherished the thought of her, and it
made him warm when the sky was cloudy, as if she was a ray of
sunlight. He had generally slept on steps or any spot where the police
would leave him unmolested; but now the nights were so chill, that he
tried hard with a few cents to pay for a lodging.

With this purpose in his mind, he stopped before a house in a private
street one evening just after dark. The gas was already lighted; but
the curtains were not drawn, and Nino could see the table bountifully
spread, and a servant moving about, adding various articles to it. A
dancing figure passed and repassed the window, now peeping out, and
again running back. Nino's voice trembled as he saw this light and
warmth; and as he sang of "love and knightly deeds," he thought of
himself out in the cold, with nothing to love but his guitar, and he
felt very sad.

In a moment the door opened, and out sprang the child he had thought
of so long. The light seemed to follow her, and she cried,--

"Here are some pennies." Nino removed his ragged hat, and held it out,
and she said, "O, you're the same little boy! Wait a minute, and I'll
get you a cake."

[Illustration: NINO.]

Nino stood with his hat off until she returned and gave him a cake.

"You play such pretty tunes! and I know you now; for I've seen you
twice," she said, folding her hands, and looking at him.

Nino murmured,--

"Thankee, pretty lady," and looked at her as if she was a being from
another world.

"What is your name?" she asked.

"Nino."

"Come, darling; don't stand out there," called her mother from the
house.

"My name's Viola. Good by," she cried, as she ran in.

Nino sang one more song, and then kissing his hand to the little form
at the window, went on his way happy. The money brought him a night's
lodging and permission to leave his guitar. In the morning--for the
following day was Sunday, and if he carried it with him, the police
might arrest him for trying to play--he made a light breakfast on a
roll, and went to the street where Viola lived, to see if he could
meet her. As the bells were ringing, she came down the steps with her
parents, and Nino followed at a respectful distance, until they went
into church. Nino attempted to go in also; but the sombre sexton at
the door frightened him with a severe look, and he wandered on. After
a time he came to a mission church, where, by a sign, all were invited
to enter. Taking a back seat, and trying to understand the preacher,
he fell asleep. When he awoke, the preacher was gone; but the room was
full of ragged children, and for the first time Nino found himself in
a Sunday school.

The teacher nearest to him was a sweet-faced lady, who spoke gently to
the boys of being kind to others, and patient with those who had not
the chance to learn that they had; she told them stories, to show them
how kindness would return to them, and how happy it made them to have
others gentle with them. Nino listened, and thought of Viola; and when
all sang some hymns while a lady played the piano, a new life stirred
in him.

When the services were over, the teacher gave him a paper, and asked
him to come again. He sat on the steps after all were gone, looking at
the pictures, and when he returned to his lodging went around by
Viola's house, and was rewarded by seeing her sitting in the window
with a book. When he reached the wretched place where he had spent the
night, and looked for his guitar, he could not find it. Asking the
woman about it, she said she was cleaning up, and it was somewhere on
the floor. Nino's heart began to swell, and when he found it in one
corner, snapped and broken, his grief and anger burst forth in a
volley of Italian. He hugged it, and sobbed over it, called the woman
a beast, and pointed to the ruin of his favorite in angry despair.

In the midst of this tumult of feeling the paper he had received
dropped out of his bosom, and striking his feet, recalled the
teacher's words and Viola sitting quietly by the window. Nino stopped,
and for a moment was silent, then saying, "You didn't mean to," picked
up the paper, folded his jacket over the guitar, and left the house.
His anger had vanished; but his grief remained. He spent the evening
in tears and wretchedness, alternately gazing at his guitar, stroking
it, and then giving way to passionate crying. At last he slept, curled
up in one corner, and in the morning awoke with a cough which hurt his
side.

Now he had only his singing to depend on; he had not been taught any
useful employment, and did not know how to work. He wandered about in
the most disconsolate manner, his cough getting worse, and his grief
for his guitar, which he always carried with him, still tormenting
him. Sometimes, when people saw the poor boy crouching in a corner,
hugging a broken guitar, and crying bitterly, they would give him a
few cents. He would not beg; something held him back, and the thought
of Viola would not let him steal.

On the Saturday after he had been to Sunday school, as he was sitting
on a step, sadly thinking, he saw Viola and her nurse crossing the
street towards him. At that moment a carriage with wildly running
horses turned the corner. Men on the sidewalk shouted and waved their
arms. Viola, confused by their cries, turned back, and the horses,
startled, dashed in the same direction. Nino threw aside his guitar,
and sprang forward, drew Viola out of danger, but fell himself, and
the carriage passed over his foot, crushing it, while in falling he
hit his head against the pavement, and lay insensible. Some of the men
ran after the horses, some helped the nurse carry Viola home,--for she
was crying and trembling with fright,--and a policeman took Nino away.

When Viola was restored, she began to ask for Nino.

"It was Nino, mamma, and I want to see him," was her constant cry.

Her father and mother were also anxious to reward the brave boy who
had saved their only child, and made many inquiries to find him. The
policeman had taken him to the station-house, and there no one
remembered anything about him.

"There are so many of those children brought in, madam, you have no
idea. We don't pretend to keep track of them all," was the only
information they could get.

At last they were obliged to give up their search; but Viola was much
dissatisfied.

About a week after the accident Viola's mother was invited by a lady
friend to visit one of the city hospitals. She took Viola with her,
and as they walked by the white beds, the child held her mother's hand
tightly, and felt quite subdued at the pale, sick faces about her. But
suddenly she bounded away, and climbing on a little bed, cried,--

"O, I've found him! here he is--my dear Nino."

Nino--for it was he--shrank back into his pillows, and covering his
face with his hands, cried aloud. From the station-house he had been
taken to the hospital, where his foot had to be amputated, and he had
lain for several days, with a bandaged head, in great pain. His guitar
was lost, and he had been so lonely, though the nurses were kind, that
at the sight of Viola his fortitude gave way.

"Don't cry, and don't be frightened," said Viola, kissing him, and
taking her handkerchief to wipe his tears. "I love you, dear Nino, and
now I've found you."

"Is this your Nino, Viola?" asked her mother, while the nurses and
other patients looked on with surprise.

"Yes, mamma; is he not pretty?" and she tried to remove his hands.

When he was a little more composed, Viola's mother thanked and praised
him for saving her daughter's life, and persuaded him to tell her what
he knew about himself. And the nurses told how patient he had been,
and she gave him some fruit, and promised to come again. When Viola
bade him good by, she put her arms about his neck and kissed him, and
they left him quite happy.

A few days after they came again, and Viola cried when she saw him.

"You are going to come and live with us, and be my brother."

"If you would like to," said her mother; and Nino's eyes sparkled with
joy at the thought.

Then he was carefully laid in the carriage, and taken to his beautiful
new home. More than he had ever dreamed, or fancied, came to
him--books, pictures, toys, kind care, love, and a fine new guitar,
with the promise of learning to play it better. An artificial foot was
to help him walk, and the wonders and delights of his home ever
multiplied.

Best of all was his sister Viola. He almost worshipped her; and it was
a long time before he could bring himself to treat her with any
familiarity. When she caressed him, which was often,--for she loved
him dearly, and he was a lovable boy,--he always kissed her hands. One
day she shook her head at this, and said,--

"Nino, that is not the way; kiss me good;" and she turned her face,
with its rosy mouth, towards him.

With reverence, as if he was saluting a queen, Nino leaned towards
her, and then with a sudden impulse, caught her in his arms, and
kissed her heartily. That was the seal of their affection, and from
that time Nino assumed all a brother's pride, care, and tenderness.
After he had recovered, they were constantly together, and their
mother was never so content as when Nino had the charge of Viola. He
never spared himself to serve her, and she was ever an impulse to
goodness and truth, shining before him like a star, as she had from
the first time he saw her. And she clung to him with the same love she
had first felt, proud of her brother, who developed a noble character;
and they all learned to thank the accident which had brought them so
happily together.

                                                SARA CONANT.



COMMON THINGS.


    The sunshine is a glorious thing,
      That comes alike to all,
    Lighting the peasant's lowly cot,
      The noble's painted hall.

    The moonlight is a gentle thing;
      It through the window gleams
    Upon the snowy pillow where
      The happy infant dreams;

    It shines upon the fisher's boat
      Out on the lovely sea,
    Or where the little lambkins lie
      Beneath the old oak tree.

    The dewdrops on the summer morn
      Sparkle upon the grass;
    The village children brush them off,
      That through the meadows pass.

    There are no gems in monarchs' crowns
      More beautiful than they;
    And yet we scarcely notice them,
      But tread them off in play.



[Illustration: SALLY SUNBEAM.]

SALLY SUNBEAM.


This is not her real name. Her real name is Sally Brown. Why, then,
have I called her Sally Sunbeam? Why, because everybody else calls her
so.

The reason is this: she is such a pleasant, happy, kind,
sweet-tempered child that wherever she comes she comes like a sunbeam,
gladdening and brightening all around her. It was her uncle Tom who
first gave her her new name. He was spending a few days with the
family for the first time for some years, for he lived a long way off
and had not seen Sally since she was a baby. Sally became very fond of
him at once, and so did he of Sally. As soon as he came down of a
morning, there was Sally with her merry, laughing eyes to greet him.
Whatever he wanted done, there was Sally with her ready willingness to
do it for him. Wherever he went, there was Sally with her merry chat
and her pleased and happy face to keep him company.

And when the evening came, and Sally, with an affectionate kiss, had
bidden him good-night and gone away to bed, he felt as though a cloud
had cast its shadow over the house. So one morning, when Uncle Tom was
going out for a walk and wanted Sally to go with him, he said, "Where
is my little sunbeam? Sally Sunbeam, where are you? Oh, here you are!"
laughing as she came skipping in from the garden.

"But my name is not Sally Sunbeam, uncle," she said. "My name is Sally
Brown."

Her mamma smiled. "It is only your uncle's fun," she said.

"Well, it is only my fun," said Uncle Tom. "But it's a very proper
name for her, for all that. She is more like a sunbeam than anything
else. So come along, Sally Sunbeam. Let us go and have a nice walk."

And from that time Uncle Tom never called her by any other name. And
other people came to call her by it too, and everybody felt that it
was as true and fitting a name for her as ever a child could have.

Here she is in our picture, hanging up her doll's clothes, that she
has just washed. How bright and happy she looks! Uncle Tom may well
call her Sally Sunbeam. But it is not only her cheerfulness and
playfulness that makes her worthy of her name. This, of itself, would
not be sufficient to make her loved as she is loved. Oh no! It is the
kindness of her heart, the gentleness of her disposition, the delight
she takes in trying to make everybody happy. This is what makes
everybody love her.

Only the other day a group of several children passed the garden gate
on their way from school. There was one poor little thing amongst them
whose dress was so shabby and whose shoes were so bad as to make it
evident that her parents must be very, very poor.

Sad to say, her schoolfellows were jeering her and teasing her about
her appearance. One of these especially was taunting her very cruelly,
and the poor child was crying. Sally ran out to her, and putting her
arm lovingly round her said,

"What is the matter, dear? What do you cry for?"

"Because they keep on laughing at me so," sobbed the child.

"Well, who can help laughing at her?" cried the girl who had been
teasing her the most. "Look at her shoes! Do you call those shoes?"

And at this the children all burst out laughing afresh.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," said Sally, "to laugh at the
poor child and make her cry. It is very cruel of you. Suppose _you_
could not get good shoes, how would _you_ like to be laughed at?"

And there was something so serious and pitying in her tone that the
children _were_ ashamed of themselves, and went off without saying
another word.

"Never mind what they say," said Sally to the child. "Come into my
garden till they have gone right away. There! sit down on that seat
for a minute," she said, leading her to one. "I will be back again
directly."

And she ran to her mamma, and in a great hurry told her all about it,
and when the story was finished said, "I've got a boxful of money,
mamma, that I have saved to buy toys with. May I buy the little girl a
pair of new boots with it?"

"I must go and speak to her first," said her mamma.

So Sally's mamma came to the child and asked her a few questions, and
found that the little thing had no father, and that her mother was
ill, and that she had several brothers and sisters, and the good lady
judged from all this how poor they must be.

Having satisfied herself that the child's mother was not likely to be
offended by the gift of a pair of boots to her little one, she said,
"My little daughter here would like to buy you a new pair of boots.
Would you like to have a pair?"

"Buy _me_ a new pair of boots!" said the child, with a look of
astonishment. "Oh, but they'll cost a lot of money. Mother has been
going to buy me some for ever so long, only she hasn't been able to
get money enough."

"But I've got ever so much money that I was going to buy toys with,"
said Sally, "only I would rather buy you a pair of boots if you would
let me. And then those naughty girls won't be able to tease you about
your shoes any more, you know. So come along, and we'll buy them at
once. May we, mamma?"

"Yes, if you like." And away they all went together to the
bootmaker's, and the money that Sally had thought to buy herself all
sorts of toys with was expended upon a nice warm pair of boots for the
stranger-child.

Don't you think that Sally must have seemed like a sunbeam to that
poor little one?

But this is only one of the instances of her kindness and sympathy and
goodness of heart. She has learned of Him who all his life "went about
doing good," and every day tries to follow his blessed example. She
has her faults, of course, like the rest of us, and these she has to
fight against. But it is her virtues, not her faults, that she is
known by--her brightness, her good temper, her sweetness of
disposition, her kindness, her unselfishness; and this is how it is
that everybody agrees to call her Sally Sunbeam instead of Sally
Brown.



[Illustration: {A monkey is in the window behind Aunt Thankful}]

AUNT THANKFUL.


She was our school teacher, a little bit of a woman, hardly larger
than a good-sized doll. She had moved into our village years before I
was born; for so I heard the folks say, I don't know how many times.
Nobody seemed to know where she came from. She had no relatives--at
least, none called to see her or to visit her. Once or twice, as I
grew older, I heard dark hints whispered about Aunt Thankful, about
her having left her early home to get away from unpleasant memories,
but no whisper against her character. She was a good woman, a
Christian woman--only the people called her _odd_.

But everybody loved her. In sickness or health, in trouble or joy, in
prosperity or adversity, everybody was sure they could depend upon
assistance and sympathy, if needed, from Aunt Thankful. She was always
ready to extend her helping hand, always ready to do a generous act.
She was ever true to herself as well as to her neighbors. Perhaps that
was the reason why the world called her _odd_. If so, how earnestly I
wish there were a great many more odd folks!

Aunt Thankful lived many years in the village before she began to keep
school. I remember how funny she used to look as she came down the
street towards the school-house. She was so small that I should not
have been astonished to see her driving a hoop to school.

Then she wore her spectacles in such a funny way! What use they were
to her, I never could discover. If she looked at the scholars in the
school-house, she looked _over_ the glasses; if she was reading or
writing, she looked _under_ them. I have often heard boys, who were
considered truthful, declare that on no occasion was she ever known to
look _through_ them.

But what made Aunt Thankful so popular with the children was her kind
manner and her kinder words. Somehow or other she used to like the
poor and the friendless children the best. That was quite a puzzle to
me at first. We usually pay most attention to such as are well off,
and prosperous, and dressed nicely. But not so was it with Aunt
Thankful. She took sides always with the weak and the down-trodden. I
have seen her mend many an apron, many a torn dress worn by a poor
scholar, during school hours. She did it, too, in such a kind way,
that it made one forget that they were poor. That was because she was
ODD, you know.

As I grew up, I began to understand more of this good lady's character
than I ever dreamed when I went to school. I saw things in a different
light, as it were. And for her many good acts, from the fact that she
was about my first school teacher, I do not think I shall ever forget
her.

There is another reason why I shall never forget Aunt Thankful.
Perhaps I had better tell you about it. She kept our village school
one summer; I think it must have been the second or third year I went
to school. Anyhow, I was in one of the lower classes.

The school-house was a little box of a thing, hardly bigger than a
decent-sized shed. There was only one room in the building. The
teacher sat upon a small platform on one side, while the seats for the
scholars were raised, one above the other, on the opposite side. Over
the teacher's desk was a little square window, looking out upon the
horse shed in the rear.

It was a hot summer forenoon, and the windows were all open; the
morning lessons had been completed. Aunt Thankful sat writing at her
desk, now and then casting her eyes round the school-room, to see
that everything was in order. But there was mischief brewing. The
children were waiting impatiently for noon recess, and more than one
of them were having a quiet whisper or giggle all by themselves.

All at once some of the children saw the mischievous face of a monkey
peeping in at the little back window behind the teacher's desk. Of
course those who saw such an unusual sight laughed outright, greatly
to the astonishment of Aunt Thankful.

Rap! rap! rap! went her ruler upon the desk, as a signal for quiet. At
the noise the monkey dodged out of sight in a moment, and soon the
children were restored to order. Aunt Thankful went on writing.

To explain so unusual a sight, I ought to say that a strolling organ
man, with a monkey, had been in the village that day. He had stopped
in the shed behind the school-house to eat his dinner. Accidentally,
he had fallen asleep; and his monkey, being of an inquisitive turn,
had got loose, and was exploring on his own account. He carried a part
of his chain upon his neck all the while, and somehow or other he had
climbed up to the little square window, as related.

Aunt Thankful went on writing. But soon the monkey appeared again over
her head, turning his funny little face to one side and the other,
showing his teeth, grinning, and going through other performances.
This time the laughing was louder than before, because more children
saw the show. I must record here that a funnier sight I never have
witnessed.

The teacher looked up once more, and rapped on her desk quite
indignantly. "James Collins," she said, with severe authority, "come
here, this moment. If you cannot sit in your seat without laughing,
come and stand by me. You, too, Walter, and Solomon. And you, Martha
Hapgood. I am astonished at your conduct."

The recusant children ranged themselves before the teacher, who seemed
to think she had now quenched the rebellion. I noticed that they
managed to stand so they could have a good view of the window, as if
they expected, or even hoped for, another occasion for laughing.

And they didn't wait long, either. In a minute or two the monkey
appeared for the third time; and on this occasion he came wholly into
sight, chain and all, and began to dance up and down in his peculiar
way, bowing and nodding to the spectators. By this time all the
children had found out--by the usual school telegraph, I suppose--what
was going on, and joined in a loud and universal laugh.

"Sakes alive!" exclaimed Aunt Thankful, jumping up and seizing her
ruler; "what's got into the children?" Whether the monkey thought the
flourish which the teacher's ruler took was a signal for a fight or
not, I never knew; but certain it is he began to scream and shake his
chain. The children laughed louder than ever. Aunt Thankful turned
round, saw what the trouble was, and raised her hands. The monkey
construed this as an act of war, and with a single jump landed on the
desk. Here for a few moments he made the papers fly pretty nimbly. He
upset the inkstand, scattered the sandbox and pens, screaming all the
while like mad. After he had experimented long enough, he gave
another jump out of the window; and that was the last we saw of him.

Aunt Thankful looked as white as a sheet. She was taken by surprise,
and seemed really frightened.

"Marcy on us," she said, as soon as she could find words, "what a
dreadful creature! You may go to your seats, children; I guess you can
be excused for laughing."

The poor lady proceeded to pick up her papers, and set matters to
rights. It was quite a task. The ink had run over all her papers and
into her desk. For years after, that ink spot was pointed out by the
children to the new comers, and the story of the monkey had to be
related.

Before noon the organ grinder had wakened from his after-dinner sleep,
and finding out that his monkey had been into mischief, concluded that
it was best to be off. He was not seen in the village any more.

Aunt Thankful kept school afterwards for several years, and then age
compelled her to give up her office. About that time, and just when
she wanted it most, one of the inhabitants of our village left her
three thousand dollars in his will, as a "mark of his esteem." Surely
never was charity more properly bestowed, or more gratefully received.
I don't think there was a person in the world who envied her the gift,
or thought it undeserved.

                                                       M. H.

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {The children at the bottom of the basement steps}]

HOW A GOOD DINNER WAS LOST.


Ting a ling ling! a ling ling! ling ling! ling! So went the dinner
bells--first mamma's, then Mrs. Green's, Mrs. Brown's, Mrs. White's,
and all the other neighbors' with colored names. It was everybody's
dinner hour; and by the way, is it not funny how everybody gets hungry
together?

Dinner was to be eaten at the healthy, good old-fashioned hour of
noon, between the two sessions of school. The children were just fresh
from slates, with long, crooked rows of hard figures, and heavy
atlases, with unpronounceable towns and rivers that would not be found
out. There were chickens and dough-balls for dinner. The smell of them
made the children ravenous; and they very nearly tripped up Maria and
her platter in their haste to reach the table.

Mamma looked around to see if they were all there, and counted on her
fingers,--

"Baby, Jelly, Tiny--Tiny, where's Bunch?"

"Why, I thought she was in the kitchen," said Tiny, looking wistfully
at the tempting drumsticks. "Papa, won't you please help us little
folks first--just to-day? 'cause we're so awful hungry."

[Illustration: {A bunch of poppy heads}]

"Tiny, I do believe that Bunch has gone down to the Midgetts'. You
must go and find her before you eat your dinner; and hurry, now."

"O, dear! can't she hear the dinner bell just as well as I can?" and
off flew Tiny, with the streamers of her jockey standing straight out
behind her, and her new buttoned shoes spattering water from every
mud-puddle in her way.

We were not invited; so we can't stay to dinner; but perhaps we will
have time to learn something about the little ones while Tiny is
hunting her tardy sister Bunch.

Her name was not really Bunch; that is, she was not christened so. At
school she answered "Present" at roll-call to the prettier name of
Florence; but uncle Tim--he's such a jolly fellow!--said, when he
first held her in her delicately-embroidered blankets, that she was
such a bouncer, so red and so dumpy, that she would never be anything
but a bunch; and so dubbed, she carries the name to this day. But did
not she disappoint him, though! for, in some unaccountable way, she
daily stretched long, and flattened out, and became thin and bony. Her
collar-bone grew to be a perfect shelf, and her stockings got a very
awkward fashion of wrinkling about her ankles.

Soon after, when Tiny's little red face began to screw and squint at
uncle Tim, she was such a mite that he was sure to be right this time
if he nicknamed her Tiny; and she was so little, that an ordinary
pillow made her a bed of a comfortable size; and all the old cronies
in the village whispered that the new baby would either die off pretty
quick, or live to be a second Mrs. Tom Thumb. But Tiny lived, and
spited them, and waxed fat and bunchy, while Bunch astonished them all
by waning lean and tiny.

Jelly's name came no one knew how. Some mischievous sprite probably
whispered it to her; for she persisted that it was her name; and so
she was indulged in it.

Near their home was a vacant lot--vacant, excepting for a one-story
shanty, with a cellar, piles of broken crockery, old shoes, dislocated
hoop skirts, and bushes of rank stramoniums, with their big, poisonous
blossoms. Cows strayed in the lot, munching the ugly snarls of grass,
and the neighbors' pigs and fowls made a daily promenade through the
wilderness of refuse.

Although it seemed a very unattractive place for a neat little girl to
visit, now especially, since a pipe of the great sewer had overflowed,
and had deluged parts of the ground. But to that miserable shanty
mamma believed her little Bunch to have strayed; and there Tiny found
her, seated on a log of wood in the corner of the largest room, with
her apron thrown over her face and the Midgett girls--there were two
of them--first staring at her, and then winking at each other.

"Bunch," said Tiny, "Bunch, mamma says to hurry right straight home;
and guess what there is for dinner. Chicken pot-pie, and it's my turn
to have the wish-bone! Why, Bunch, what's the matter with you? What a
baby! You're always forever a-crying about something or other. Come on
now. I'm going right home; and you'll get an awful punishing for
coming here!"

The eyes of the Midgett girls glared at her and the insult.

"O, dear! O, dear!" sobbed Bunch, just peeping from one corner of her
apron at the outer door.

"O, dear, what?" snapped Tiny, in such a hurry for a drumstick.

"Tiny, did you see anything on the front stoop when you came in?"
asked Bunch, her eye still peeping at the outer door.

"Any what?"

"O, any--any cats--any wildcats?"

"Wildcats--what are they?"

"O!" said the Midgetts, shouting together; "wildcats! dreffle ones!
my! yes! green eyes! awful cats, that spit fire out o' their mouths,
and claws that'll scratch yer to death;" imitating the clawing with
their long dirty fingers quite in the face of poor Bunch, who
immediately retired to the seclusion of her apron, and continued her
frightened sobs.

"O, where? where?" asked Tiny, excitedly, opening wide her big blue
eyes, and glancing uneasily in every corner.

"Why, jist out o' there, hid under the stoop; an' when yer go out,
they'll pounce onto yer."

"O," said Tiny, bravely, "'tain't so! I don't believe it. There wasn't
any there when I came in."

"That's because they was asleep, then," said Ann Matilda. She had red,
fiery red hair, was freckled, and had tusks for teeth. "They've just
got woke up now; and they're hungry, too."

"So am I," said Tiny. "Come, Bunch, let's hurry past, and they can't
touch us; besides, you know no wild animals live about here nowadays."

"O, but these ones are what comes up out of the sewer," instructed
the Midgetts.

Tiny's courage began quickly to ooze away, and every bit of it
deserted her when she and Bunch just put their noses outside of the
door, and heard a most ferocious ya-o-o-ing from--well, they could not
tell where.

Of the Midgett tribe, there was no one at home but the two girls.
There was no Mr. Midgett, but there was a Mrs. Midgett, who was out
washing. The children had seen her plunging her hard, red arms into
the soap suds, over their mother's wash-tub. She probably had a hard
time managing a living. They were very poor. Sometimes the girls got
employment as nurse girls or as extra help in the neighbors' kitchens;
but no one cared particularly to employ them, they were so vulgar,
indolent, and slovenly. So they subsisted on the odd bits of broken
victuals which they begged from door to door in baskets. Some people
said they always gathered so much, that they must keep a
boarding-house to get rid of the stuff; but I always regarded this as
a fine bit of sarcasm. The Midgett mansion was a forbidden haunt of
the children; but on this day Bunch had gone, for the last time, on
special business of her own.

On Christmas last, Santa Claus had visited their home, and left for
each a pretty doll of the regulation pattern, with blue eyes, and
golden crimpy hair, dressed in billowy tarleton, and the height of
fashion, the beauty of which dolls quite bewildered the unaccustomed
eyes of the Midgetts when the children took their young ladyships for
an airing. And so one day the Midgetts borrowed them for a minute,
while the children neglected their responsibilities, leaving them on a
door stone, while they crowded for a closer peep at the mysterious
dancers in a hand-organ. From that day to this the whereabouts of the
dollships has remained a solemn secret from the knowledge of all but
the Midgetts. And it was to them Bunch had gone for a clew to her
treasure.

"O," said Keziah Jane, "while we was a-standin' a-waitin' for yous two
to git away from the music, and give us a chance to peek in at the
dancin', the black feller what lives down the sewer come, and snatches
'em away; and we chases him like fury, and he run; and we never seed
those ere dolls agin--nor him nor the dolls."

"Sh! sh!" cautioned Ann Matilda. "Who's that a-knockin' at the door?
Run quick in the bed-room, and hide under the bed. Maybe it's that ere
black feller, or those wildcats."

Scramble under the dirty bed went the two little girls while the door
was opened. Only Jelly; no black man, nor wildcats, either. Jelly, and
unharmed; Jelly sent from mamma to escort her naughty sisters home,
but who was readily frightened into remaining with them; and so there
were three little entertainers for the Midgett ogresses that
afternoon.

In the course of a half hour came another rapping at the door. What a
reception the Midgetts were having! Keziah Jane pushed the children
under the bed, while Ann Matilda opened the door. This time it was the
grown-up sister Rosa.

O, how the children's hearts throbbed when they heard Rosa's pleasant
voice! but they dared to speak never a word; for Keziah Jane crawled
down on the floor close beside the bed, and looked hard at them with
her wicked black eyes, and said,--

"Wildcats!"

"Are my little sisters here?" asked Rosa.

O, how they wished she was just near enough so they might pull her
dress!

"O, no, mem!" said red-headed Ann Matilda, with the door opened on a
most inhospitable crack. "O, no, indeed! they haven't been here in a
month. I seed 'em a-goin' to school with their books jest as the town
clock struck'd two."

"How strange!" thought Rosa. "They wouldn't have gone back to school
without their dinners."

And when she reached home, she told uncle Tim that she half believed
they were there, though what could entice them to the horrible hut she
could not imagine.

"O my! how cramped up my neck is!" said Bunch.

"O, O, how hungry I am!" cried Tiny, remembering the drumsticks.

"I don't like it here, and I want to go home," sobbed Jelly.

"Well, get up, then, and le's hev dinner," said the Midgetts.

Dinner! There were old baked potatoes, and a mess of turnips, and a
bite of fried beefsteak, all mixed in a heap in a rusty tin pan on the
table; and Tiny whispered to Bunch that there was "a piece of the very
codfish balls which were on mamma's breakfast table." Her appetite had
deserted her, Bunch had cried hers away, and Jelly had left hers at
her own bountiful table. But the Midgetts ate, and enjoyed.

"Now," said they, "if you'll be real good, and mind, we'll give you a
gay old treat. Want to go a-swimmin'? We dunno as we mind a-givin' yer
a little pleasure, pervidin' yer'll mind, and not go near the closet
where the black snake lives."

"O," shouted the children, "we don't want to go near any snakes!"

"Besides, we can't swim," said Tiny.

"Well, we'll show yer how," said Keziah Jane; "besides, yer all look
jest's if a good bath wouldn't hurt yer--don't they, Ann Matilda?"

Ann Matilda laughed, and said yes, looked down at her own bare feet,
and bade the children to "be a-takin' off their shoes and stockin's."

"Now, then, foller me," said Keziah Jane, opening the door which led
to the cellar stairs.

The children looked down into the black hole, and shrank back with
fear. The stairs ended in a pool of black, muddy water, in much the
same way that they do in a _bona fide_ swimming-bath. You will
remember that a pipe of the sewer had burst, and the dirty water had
overflowed the Midgetts' cellar. To wade about in this had been the
recreation of the Midgetts for days.

"Come on now," said they; "lift up your dresses, and come along."

The cellar was growing every minute lighter the longer they were in
it; and soon the children lost their fear, and began to paddle about
with their naked feet, taking excellent care to steer clear of the
closet containing the black snake.

"It's getting awful, awful dark," said Jelly.

"That's so," said Bunch, wondering, and looking up to see why the
small window gave so little light. Something outside moved just then.
The window was opened, and there were two faces looking down at
them--two faces full of astonishment. They belonged to Rosy and uncle
Tim.

"Children, get right out of that filth, and go up stairs," ordered
Rosy.

Up stairs they went, one hanging behind the other, and entered the
room from the cellar just as Rosy came in at the front door. Can you
imagine how they must have looked, drenched and spoiled with the
impure water from the dainty ruffles at their throats to the very
nails of their toes? Like drowned rats! Rosy only said, with a
withering glance at the Midgetts,--

"Never come to our house again for cold pieces."

Then bidding the children gather up their stockings and shoes, she
marched them off barefooted between herself and uncle Tim. Tiny's new
buttoned shoes had found a watery grave; for, as the bathers came up
stairs, one of the Midgett feet pitched them gracefully into the
cellar.

"Tiny," said Bunch, as they walked mournfully home, amid the
astonished gaze of the returning school children. "I don't believe
there was a wildcat there any of the time."

"No, nor a black man in the sewer," said Tiny.

"Nor a black snake in the closet," said Jelly.

But there were a hot bath and clean clothing at home for them, and
warm beds. Whether there was anything more severe than a good lecture,
I will leave you to guess; for mamma said they were old enough to know
better than to believe in any such ridiculous nonsense, all excepting
little Jelly.

I should be ashamed to finish the conclusion of the affair; for what
do you think, children? It all actually happened, once upon a time, to
myself and two of my sisters.

                                            FANNIE BENEDICT.



    Mirth is a medicine of life:
    It cures its ills, it calms its strife;
    It softly smooths the brow of care,
    And writes a thousand graces there.



LAME SUSIE.


"Children," said Miss Ware to her little band of scholars, "Susie Dana
is coming to school next Monday. She is lame, and I want you to be
kind and thoughtful toward her. She does not show her lameness until
she commences to walk, and then you can see that one of the fat little
legs is longer than the other, which makes her limp. So do not watch
her as she walks. Be sure not to run against her in your plays, and
don't shut her out from them because she cannot run and jump as you
do, but choose, some of the time, plays in which she can take part.
Remember, I make this rule: When you leave the room at recess or after
school, wait, every one of you, in your places till she has passed
out; then she will not be jostled or hurt in any way. Her lameness is
a hard trial for a little girl. She would like to run and dance as
well as any of you, and I do hope you will feel for her, and at least
not make her burden heavier. How many, now, will promise to try to
make her happy?"

Every hand was instantly raised, and the children's clear, honest eyes
met their teacher's with a look which was a promise.

You have read stories, no doubt, of lame, blind or deformed children,
and poor ones in patched clothes, who met treatment from others harder
to endure than their poverty, privation or pain. Sometimes their
schoolmates have been foolish and cruel enough to shun them, cast them
out from their plays and pleasures, brush roughly against them, talk
about, and even ridicule, them. But I hope it is not often so. In this
case it was by far the reverse.

These children remembered their pledge, and they made Susie so happy
that she almost forgot her lameness. She was a cheerful, pleasant,
good little girl, and her schoolmates, who had begun by pitying her
and trying to help her, soon loved to be with her.

"May I sit with Susie, Miss Ware?" became a frequent request.

"Susie dear, here's a cake I've brought you," one would say at recess.

"Take half my apple, Susie."

[Illustration: NOTHING SHALL HURT YOU.]

One day, as Susie was on her way to school she met a large drove of
oxen. Poor little girl! she was very much frightened, and the big blue
eyes were fast filling with tears when Harry Barton, one of the
school-boys, stepped up before her and said, "Don't cry, Susie. I will
take care of you. Nothing shall hurt you while I am here." And right
bravely he stood before her until the last one had passed, and then
took Susie to school, kindly helping her over the rough places.

So the seasons wore on, and Susie, who, though she ardently desired to
learn, had dreaded going among other children, was always happy with
them. She loved her teacher and schoolmates, and made such progress as
she could not have done had these things been different.

The summer vacation was over. The glorious days of early autumn, with
sunshine glinting through the crimson foliage, dropping nuts and
golden harvests, passed swiftly away, and cold weather came.

The school-room was pleasant still with its cheery fire and bright
faces. One day, when all were busy as usual, a cry rang out,

"Fire! Fire! The school-house is on fire!"

Books and pens dropped from trembling hands, little faces paled, and
eager, appealing eyes turned instantly to the teacher.

"Run, children!" she said, hurriedly.

Only one moved--lame Susie. She limped along as fast as she could, and
all the rest, frightened as they were, remained in their places till
she was safe outside the walls. Then with a rush they cleared the room
almost in an instant. Even in that time of peril and dread they
remembered their duty and kindness toward her, and gave her the
richest proof in their power of their thoughtful love. Not mere
obedience to a rule could have prompted this unselfish act, and as
such a proof she must have felt it.

It is a beautiful illustration, as it is a _true_ one, of God's love
for all living and for all times.

"As ye would they should do to you, do ye to them."

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {Pepper the dog is told a secret}]

THE SECRET.


    Pepper Baker, don't you tell!
      If you ever do, I'll-- Well,
    I'll do something you'll remember
      Till the last day of December.

    Pepper, look me in the eye!
      You must be as shy, as shy--
    Play, you don't know where I'm going,
      Don't know anything worth knowing!

    When the bell for breakfast rings,
      I will bring you cakes and things;
    Don't go down till Ben calls, "Pupper,
      Pupper; come and 'ave your supper!"

    What I've told you no one knows,
      Only you, and I, and Rose
    (Maybe she has told her kitty),
      No one else in Boston city.

    Pepper, look at me, and say
      With your eyes,--look straight this way,--
    With your teeth, and mane so shaggy,
      With your ears and tail so waggy,--

    "I will never, never tell.
      They may tie a ding-dong-bell
    To my little tail so waggy,
      Singe my ears and coat so shaggy.

    "They may drown me in the well,
      All because I will not tell."
    That will do, you grim old Quaker!
      I can trust you Pepper Baker.

                       MARY R. WHITTLESEY.



SILVER AND GOLD.


    Silver or golden, which is the best--
      Which with God's love is most richly blest?
    Which is the fairer I cannot tell,
      Grandfather dear or my baby Bel.

    The soft twilight hour, when shadows fall,
      To little Bel seems the best of all;
    Then grandfather lays aside his book;
      He cannot resist the pleading look.

    There's room for two in the great arm-chair;
      His arms enfold her with loving care;
    Upturned is a smiling, rosy face;
      Two dimpled arms have found their place.

    Sweet eyes of hazel, so clear and bright,
      Look up with a happy, loving light;
    The curls are golden that softly stray,
      While breezes amid their sunshine play.

    Little she dreams of sorrow and care;
      Life is unknown, and to her seems fair.
    As years roll by the face may grow old;
      But the loving heart will never grow cold.

[Illustration: SILVER AND GOLD.]

    When the hand of Time on her head is laid,
      The lustre of gold must surely fade;
    But lovely is even a silver frost,
      If truth and goodness have not been lost.

    Pride and passion have left no trace
      On the old man's placid, saintly face;
    The journey so long is almost done--
      The strife is over, the victory won.

    The voice that speaks is gentle and deep;
      Surely it means God's grace to keep.
    Eyes like the heavens so darkly blue;
      Surely God's love is shining through.

    Forehead so noble, calm, and fair;
      Surely God's peace is resting there.
    The snowy locks are a silver crown;
      Softly the blessing of God came down.

    Silver or golden, which is the best--
      Which with God's love is most richly blest?
    Which is the fairer I cannot tell,
      Grandfather dear or my baby Bel.

                               ELLIS GRAY.



TWO MORNINGS.


    Step softly; the baby sleeps;
      Drop the curtains, and close the door;
    Baby sleeps, while mother weeps--
      Sleeps, never to waken more.

    Not a breath disturbs his repose;
      The blossom he wears has forgotten to blow.
    Once his two cheeks were red as a rose;
      Now they are lilies, you know.

    Morning will come, with its sweet surprise,
      Waken the flowers, and scatter the dew;
    But never again shall the baby's eyes
      Watch the sunbeams break through.

    Yet in heaven his morning is growing
      To fairer dawning than ours has known--
    A fountain of light forever flowing
      Forth from the great white throne.



[Illustration: {Tim gazes at the goods in the confectioner's window}]

TIM, THE MATCH BOY.


Tim had been standing for a long while gazing in at the confectioner's
window. The evening was drawing in, and ever since morning a thick,
unbroken cloud had covered the narrow strips of sky lying along the
line of roofs on each side of the streets, while every now and then
there came down driving showers of rain, wetting him to the skin.

Not that it took much rain to wet Tim to the skin. The three pieces of
clothing which formed his dress were all in tatters. His shirt, which
looked as if it never could have been whole and white, had more than
half the sleeves torn away, and fell open in front for want of a
collar, to say nothing of a button and button-hole. The old jacket he
wore over it had never had any sleeves at all, but consisted of a
front of calf-skin, with all the hair worn away, and a back made with
the idea that it would be hidden from sight by a coat, of coarse
yellow linen, now fallen into lamentable holes. His trousers were
fringed by long wear, and did not reach to his ankles, which were blue
with cold, and bare, like his feet, that had been splashing along the
muddy streets all day, until they were pretty nearly the same color as
the pavement. His head was covered only by his thick, matted hair,
which protected him, far better than his ragged clothes, from the rain
and wind, and made him sometimes dimly envious of the dogs that were
so far better off, in point of covering, than himself. His hands were
tucked, for warmth, in the holes where his pockets should have been;
but they had been worn out long ago, and now he had not even
accommodation for any little bit of string, or morsel of coal, he
might come across in the street.

It was by no means Tim's habit to stand and stare in at the windows of
cake shops. Now and then he glanced at them, and thought how very rich
and happy those people must be who lived upon such dainty food. But he
was, generally, too busy in earning his own food--by selling
matches--to leave him much time for lingering about such tempting
places. As for buying his dinner, when he had one, he looked out for
the dried-fish stalls, where he could get a slice of brown fish ready
cooked, and carry it off to some doorstep, where he could dine upon it
heartily and contentedly, provided no policeman interfered with his
enjoyment.

But to-day the weather had been altogether too bad for any person to
come out of doors, except those who were bent on business; and they
hurried along the muddy streets, too anxious to get on quickly to pay
any heed to Tim, trotting alongside of them with some damp boxes of
matches to sell. The rainy day was hard upon him. His last meal had
been his supper the night before--a crust his father had given him,
about half as big as it should have been to satisfy him. When he awoke
in the morning, he had already a good appetite, and ever since, all
the long day through, from hour to hour, his hunger had been growing
keener, until now it made him almost sick and faint to stand and stare
at the good things displayed in such abundance inside the shop window.

Tim had no idea of going in to beg. It was far too grand a place for
that; and the customers going in and out were mostly smart young
maid-servants, who were far too fine for him to speak to.

There were bread shops nearer home, where he might have gone, being
himself an occasional customer, and asked if they could not find such
a thing as an old crust to give him; but this shop was a very
different place from those. There was scarcely a thing he knew the
name of. At the back of the shop there were some loaves; but even
those looked different from what he, and folks like him, bought. His
hungry, eager eyes gazed at them, and his teeth and mouth moved now
and then, unknown to himself, as if he was eating something
ravenously; but he did not venture to go in.

At last Tim gave a great start. A customer, whom he knew very well,
was standing at the counter, eating one of the dainty bunns. It could
be no one else but his own teacher, who taught him and seven and eight
other ragged lads like himself, in a night school not far from his
home. His hunger had made him forgetful of it; but this was one of the
evenings when the school was open, and he had promised faithfully to
be there to-night. At any rate, it would be a shelter from the rain,
which was beginning to fall steadily and heavily, now the sun was set;
and it was of no use thinking of going home, where he and his father
had only a corner of a room, and were not welcome to that if they
turned in too soon of an evening. His teacher had finished the bunn,
and was having another wrapped up in a neat paper bag, which he put
carefully into his pocket, and then stepped out into the street, and
walked along under the shelter of a good umbrella, quite unaware that
one of his scholars was pattering along noiselessly behind him with
bare feet.

All Tim's thoughts were fixed upon the bunn in his teacher's pocket.
He wondered what it would taste like, and whether it would be as
delicious as that one he had once eaten, when all the ragged school
had a treat in Epping Grove--going down in vans, and having real
country milk, and slices of cake to eat, finishing up with a bunn,
which seemed to him as if it must be like the manna he had heard of at
school, that used to come down from heaven every morning before the
sun was up. He had never forgotten that lesson; and scarcely a morning
came that he did not wish he had lived in those times.

The teacher turned down a dark, narrow street, where the rain had
gathered in little pools on the worn pavement, through which Tim
splashed carelessly. They soon reached the school door; and Tim
watched him take off his great-coat, and hang it up on the nails set
apart for the teachers' coats.

Their desk was at a little distance; and he took his place at it among
the other boys, but his head ached, and his eyes felt dim, and there
was a hungry gnawing within him, which made it impossible to give his
mind to learning his lessons, as he usually did. He felt so stupefied,
that the easiest words--words he knew as well as he knew the way to
the Mansion House, where he sold his matches--swam before his eyes,
and he called them all wrongly. The other lads laughed and jeered at
him, and his teacher was displeased; but Tim could do no better. He
could think of nothing but the dainty bunn in the teacher's pocket.

At last the Scripture lesson came; and it was one that came home to
Tim's state. The teacher read aloud first, before hearing them read
the lesson, these verses: "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much
people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were
as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many
things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto
him," etc. Read Mark vi. 34-44.

Tim listened with a swelling heart, and with a feeling of choking in
his throat. He could see it all plainly in his mind. It was like their
treat in Epping Grove, where the classes had sat down in ranks upon
the green grass; and O, how green and soft the grass was! and the
teachers had come round, like the disciples, giving to each one of
them a can of milk and great pieces of cake; and they had sung a hymn
all together before they began to eat and drink. Tim fancied he could
see our Saviour as once he had seen him in a beautiful picture, with
his hands outstretched, as if ready to give the children surrounding
him anything they wanted, or to fold them every one in his loving
arms. He thought he saw Jesus, with his loving, gentle face, standing
in the midst of the great crowd of people, and asking the disciples if
they were sure they had all had enough. Then they would sing, thought
Tim, and go home as happy as he had been after that treat in Epping
Grove. All at once his hunger became more than he could bear.

"O, I wish He was here!" he cried, bursting into tears, and laying his
rough head on the desk before him. "I only wish He was here."

The other lads looked astonished; for Tim was not given to crying; and
the teacher stopped in his reading, and touched him to call his
attention.

"Who do you wish was here, Tim?" he asked.

"Him," sobbed the hungry boy; "the Lord Jesus. He'd know how bad I
feel. I'd look him in the face, and say, 'Master, what are I to do? I
can't learn nothink when I've got nothink but a griping inside of me.'
And he'd think how hungry I was, having nothink to eat all day. He'd
be very sorry--he would, I know."

Tim did not lift up his head; for his tears and sobs were coming too
fast, and he was afraid the other lads would laugh at him. But they
looked serious enough as the meaning of his words broke upon them.
They were sure he was not cheating them. If Tim said he had had
nothing to eat all day, it must be true; for he never grumbled, and he
always spoke the truth. One boy drew a carrot out of his pocket, and
another pulled out a good piece of bread, wrapped in a bit of
newspaper, while a third ran off to fetch a cup of water, having
nothing else he could give to Tim. The teacher walked away to where
his coat was hanging, and came back with the bunn which he had bought
in the shop.

"Tim," he said, laying his hand kindly on the lad's bowed-down head,
"I am very sorry for you; but none of us knew you were starving, my
boy, or I should not have scolded you, and the lads would not have
laughed at you. Look up, and see what a supper we have found for you."

It looked like a feast to Tim. One of the boys lent him a pocket
knife to cut the bread and carrot into slices, with which he took off
the keen edge of his hunger; and then he ate the dainty bunn, which
seemed to him more delicious than anything he had ever tasted before.
The rest of the class looked on with delight at his evident enjoyment,
until the last crumb had disappeared.

"I could learn anything now," said Tim, with a bright face; "but I
couldn't understand nothink before. Then you began telling about the
poor folks being famished with hunger, and how Jesus gave them bread
and fishes, just as if he'd been hungry himself some time, and knew
all about it. It is bad, it is. And it seemed such a pity he weren't
here in the city, and I couldn't go to him. But, I dessay, he knows
how you've all treated me, and I thank you all kindly; and I'll do the
same by you some day, when you've had the same bad luck as me."

"Yes," said the teacher, "Jesus knew how hungry you were; and he knew
how to send you the food you wanted. Tim, and you other lads, I want
you to learn this verse, and think of it often when you are grown-up
men: 'Whosoever shall give to one of these little ones a cup of cold
water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, He shall
in no wise lose his reward.'"



ENVY PUNISHED.


A Burmese potter, it is said, became envious of the prosperity of a
washerman, and to ruin him, induced the king to order him to wash one
of his black elephants white, that he might be "lord of the white
elephant," which in the East is a great distinction.

The washerman replied that, by the rules of his art, he must have a
vessel large enough to wash him in.

The king ordered the potter to make him such a vessel. When made, it
was crushed by the first step of the elephant in it. Many times was
this repeated; and the potter was ruined by the very scheme he had
intended should crush his enemy.



[Illustration: WINGS.]

WINGS.


"If I only had wings like you!" said Addie Lewis, speaking to her pet
bird as she opened the cage door.

"Chirp, chirp!" answered the bird, flying out and resting on Addie's
finger.

"Ah, birdie, if I only had your wings!"

"Wings!" spoke out Addie's mother. "You have wings," she said, in a
quiet way.

Addie looked at her shoulders, and then at her mother's. "I don't see
them," she said, with a little amused laugh.

"We are using them all the while," said Mrs. Lewis. "Did you never
hear of the wings of thought?"

"Oh! That's what you mean? Our thoughts are our wings?"

"Yes; and our minds can fly with these wings higher and farther than
any bird can go. If I read to you about a volcano in Italy, off you go
on the wings of thought and look down into the fiery crater. If I tell
you of the frozen North, you are there in an instant, gazing upon icy
seas and the wonders of a desolate region. The wings of an eagle are
not half so swift and strong as the wings of your thought. The very
king of birds would perish in regions where they can take you in
safety."

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {Squanko sitting on a wide window ledge}]

SQUANKO.


"What a name for a dog, auntie!"

"_Name!_ Why, Frank, when you hear the whole, like the Queen of Sheba,
you'll say the half has not been told you."

"Why, didn't you find Squanko quite enough for one dog?"

"His full name," said my aunt, loftily, "is Squanko Guy Edgerly
Patterson."

She rolled out these resonant titles with due gravity, and Squanko,
turning his bright eyes from one to the other, solemnly wagged his
tail, as if to signify approval.

I was a New Hampshire boy, and this was my first visit to the city. My
experience with dogs previously had been that of a country boy bred up
among sportsmen. I had known several highly-trained hounds, and famous
bird dogs, though my ideal of canine perfection was that marvel of
sagacity, the shepherd dog. Still, my first love among dogs had been a
noble old hound, who, though sightless from age, would follow a rabbit
better than any young dog was capable of doing. The scent of powder
brought back his lost youth. Let him hear the loading of a gun,--or
the mere rattle of a shot-pouch was enough,--he would break out into
the wildest gambols, dashing hither and yon, in an ecstasy of delight.

Running headlong against rock or tree, as he was liable to do, only
tempered his zeal for a moment; the next, he was tearing along more
madly than ever. Dear old Trim! I had shed a boy's hot tears over his
grave on the hill-side, and I was not ashamed of it either.

I felt a tenderness for Squanko. The yellow spots which marked his
white fur reminded me of Trim's. Remembering the accomplishments of my
lost favorite, I ventured another question.

"What is he good for, aunt Patterson? Can he hunt?"

"Good for!" ejaculated my aunt--"_good for!_ I couldn't keep house
without him." A certain fine disdain curled her lip; she had utterly
ignored my second question. Completely quenched, I was fain to accept
Squanko at once, hunter or no hunter.

And we were, on the whole, pretty good friends, in spite of the
battles we fought, nearly every evening, for the possession of the
lounge. It made small difference to Squanko if I was beforehand with
him. Though quite a large dog, he would creep up behind me, slowly
insinuating himself between me and the back of the lounge. Then,
watching his opportunity, he would brace his feet suddenly, and more
than once the execution of this manoeuvre sent me rolling,
ignominiously, upon the floor.

The intruder ousted, his majesty would settle himself for a nap, not
heeding in the least the shouts of laughter which his triumph never
failed to evoke.

On all occasions (excepting only nights, when he slept tranquilly on a
rug in my aunt's room) he felt it his duty to keep watch and ward over
the premises. His favorite perch, in sunny mornings, was in the window
of my aunt's chamber. If by any chance the white curtain had not been
looped up, as usual, leaving the window sill exposed, Squanko went
down for help, and by whining, pulling his mistress's dress and
similar arts, persuaded her to go up and remove the obnoxious
curtain. Carefully seating himself upon the sill, which was all too
narrow for his portly figure, he would fall to work, by barking
furiously at every person--man, woman, or child--who presumed to pass
up or down the street. Most fortunately for him, the window he
occupied overlooked the lawn at the side of the house, instead of the
pavement in front; for on several occasions his fury became so
ungovernable, that he barked himself sheer off his foundation.

Catching a glimpse of his whirling figure, my aunt rushed out, armed
with a bottle of liniment; and while she bathed his imperilled legs,
she strove also to soothe his outraged feelings. For the time all
vanity seemed to have been dashed out of him; but comforted by
sympathy and caresses, he again mounted his perch, and barked with
undiminished ardor.

At table, my aunt always occupied what is termed an office chair.
Being quite small in person, a portion of the great leather cushion,
at the back, was left vacant. Squanko rarely failed to possess himself
of this vantage-ground, and squatting thereon, peered wisely over his
mistress's shoulder, as if studying the problem of what portion of the
goodly meal before him might safely be counted on as a remainder.

Yet Squanko had his grievances. One was, not being allowed the freedom
of the garden. If he went out, my aunt's careful hand hastened to link
the long chain, attached to his house, to his collar. She had a
chronic fear of his running away.

Squanko utterly disdained to occupy the bed of straw which graced his
dwelling, but climbing to a board which surmounted the ridge of the
roof, would lie upon that narrow ledge, ready to pounce upon any one
who ventured near.

Missing him one morning, both here and on the window-sill, one of the
wee Johnnys of the neighborhood, who stood in wholesome awe of
Squanko, put his curly head in at the doorway.

"Where's Squanko, Mrs. Patterson?"

"Gone to walk."

"_Gone to walk_," chuckled Johnny, bursting with merriment. "That's
funny--_a dog gone to walk_!"

Squanko's _walk_ was rarely omitted; generally it was performed under
my aunt's tutelage, when she went a little way with her husband, whose
business took him to the city every morning. If, for any reason, Mrs.
Patterson let her husband go to the cars alone, she sent Squanko off
by himself, with strict orders to return speedily, which direction he
had never failed to obey.

Besides his chain, Squanko had one other trial to endure--a thorough
ablution once a week. Bathing was his aversion; still, he had been
obliged to submit to it from his puppyhood, and Mrs. Patterson was
inexorable. A dog who was not faultlessly clean could have no place in
the arrangements of her household. In and about her dwelling all was
spotlessly neat. Everything susceptible of polish shone, from the
window-panes, and the great cooking-stove, to Squanko's white coat. In
vain were his protests, his indignant snorts and sneezes, his
incipient growls; into the tub of warm water he had to go, while the
scrubbing-brush performed its office upon his fat sides. Having been
duly washed and wiped, he always indulged in a vicious shake or two,
producing a sort of mist in his immediate vicinity. After being
wrapped in his own blanket shawl, he was placed on the lounge, to
repose while drying. His luxurious nap completed, he would emerge
from his retirement, his short white hair shining like satin,--as
clean a playfellow as one might desire. His temper,--not usually of
the best,--after one of these baths, would remain sunny for hours.

But Squanko--like many another spoiled darling,--was not content with
the home where he was so petted and indulged.

As his master opened the door to go into the garden, one evening,
Squanko rushed past him, and made for the street. In vain our hurried
search, up and down, in the dark spring night. In vain his mistress's
frantic calls. If Squanko was hidden in some nook hard by, and heard
her entreaties, his heart must have been harder than a stone. That
hasty exit was the last we ever saw of him. Night after night my
uncle, coming home from the city, inquired for Squanko, only to
receive the sad reply,--

"No, Roy! We never--never shall see Squanko again."

Soon a fat, brindled puppy was installed in the vacant place. Day by
day he grew, both in bulk and in the affections of the family. My aunt
named him "Trouble." All the devotion which had been Squanko's was
straightway lavished on him.

When, in process of time, the tidings were borne to my aunt's ears,
that Squanko, forgetful of former friends, was leading a jolly
existence in a neighboring town, she only replied, with a toss of her
head, "Let the ungrateful imp stay there. Trouble is worth a dozen of
him!"

                                               F. CHESEBORO.

[Decoration]



"THE SWEET ONE FOR POLLY."


Polly had expected to be very happy in getting ready for the party;
but when the time came she was disappointed, for somehow that naughty
thing called envy took possession of her, and spoiled her pleasure.

Before she left home she thought her new white muslin dress, with its
fresh blue ribbons, the most elegant and proper costume she could
have; but now, when she saw Fanny's pink silk, with a white tarlatan
tunic, and innumerable puffings, bows, and streamers, her own simple
little toilet lost all its charms in her eyes, and looked very babyish
and old-fashioned.

Even Maud was much better dressed than herself, and looked very
splendid in her cherry-colored and white suit, with a sash so big she
could hardly carry it, and little white boots with red buttons.

They both had necklaces and bracelets, ear-rings and brooches; but
Polly had no ornament except the plain locket on a bit of blue velvet.
Her sash was only a wide ribbon, tied in a simple bow, and nothing but
a blue snood in the pretty brown curls. Her only comfort was the
knowledge that the modest tucker drawn up round the plump shoulders
was real lace, and that her bronze boots cost nine dollars.

Poor Polly, with all her efforts to be contented, and not to mind
looking unlike other people, found it hard work to keep her face
bright and her voice happy that night. No one dreamed what was going
on under the muslin frock, till grandma's wise old eyes spied out the
little shadow on Polly's spirits, and guessed the cause of it. When
dressed, the three girls went up to show themselves to the elders who
were in grandma's room, where Tom was being helped into an agonizingly
stiff collar.

Maud pranced like a small peacock, and Fan made a splendid courtesy,
as every one turned to survey them; but Polly stood still, and her
eyes went from face to face with an anxious, wistful air, which seemed
to say, "I know I'm not right; but I hope I don't look very bad."

Grandma read the look in a minute; and when Fanny said, with a
satisfied smile, "How do we look?" she answered, drawing Polly toward
her so kindly, "Very like the fashion-plates you got the patterns of
your dresses from. But this little costume suits me best."

"Do you really think I look nice?" and Polly's face brightened, for
she valued the old lady's opinion very much.

"Yes, my dear; you look just as I like to see a child of your age
look. What particularly pleases me is, that you have kept your promise
to your mother, and haven't let any one persuade you to wear borrowed
finery. Young things like you don't need any ornaments but those you
wear to-night,--youth, health, intelligence, and modesty."

As she spoke, grandma gave a tender kiss that made Polly glow like a
rose, and for a minute she forgot that there were such things in the
world as pink silks and coral ear-rings.

[Illustration: "THE SWEET ONE FOR POLLY."]

She only said, "Thank you, ma'am," and heartily returned the kiss;
but the words did her good, and her plain dress looked charming all of
a sudden.

"Polly's so pretty, it don't matter what she wears," observed Tom,
surveying her over his collar with an air of calm approval.

"She hasn't got any bwetelles to her dwess, and I have," said Maud,
settling her ruffled bands over her shoulders, which looked like
cherry-colored wings on a stout little cherub.

"I did wish she'd just wear my blue set, ribbon is so very plain; but,
as Tom says, it don't much matter;" and Fanny gave an effective touch
to the blue bow above Polly's left temple.

"She might wear flowers; they always suit young girls," said Mrs.
Shaw, privately thinking that her own daughters looked much the best
yet, and conscious that blooming Polly had the most attractive face.

"Bless me! I forgot my posies in admiring the belles! Hand them out,
Tom;" and Mr. Shaw nodded toward an interesting-looking box that stood
on the table.

Seizing them wrong side up, Tom produced three little bouquets, all
different in color, size, and construction.

"Why, papa, how very kind of you!" cried Fanny, who had not dared to
receive even a geranium leaf since the late scrape.

"Your father used to be a very gallant young gentleman once upon a
time," said Mrs. Shaw, with a simper and sigh.

"Ah, Tom, it's a good sign when you find time to think of giving
pleasure to your little girls."

And grandma patted her son's bald head as if he wasn't more than
eighteen.

Thomas, Jr., had given a somewhat scornful sniff at first; but when
grandma praised his father, the young man thought better of the
matter, and regarded the flowers with more respect as he asked, "Which
is for which?"

"Guess," said Mr. Shaw, pleased that his unusual demonstration had
produced such an effect.

The largest was a regular hot-house bouquet of tea-rosebuds, scentless
heath, and smilax; the second was just a handful of sweet-peas and
mignonette, with a few cheerful pansies and one fragrant little rose
in the middle; the third, a small posy of scarlet verbenas, white
feverfew, and green leaves.

"Not hard to guess. The smart one for Fan, the sweet one for Polly,
and the gay one for Pug. Now, then, catch hold, girls;" and Tom
proceeded to deliver the nosegays with as much grace as could be
expected from a youth in a new suit of clothes and very tight boots.

"That finishes you off just right, and is a very pretty attention of
papa. Now run down, for the bell has rung; and remember not to dance
too often, Fan; be as quiet as you can, Tom; and, Maud, don't eat too
much supper. Grandma will attend to things, for my poor nerves won't
allow me to come down."

With that Mrs. Shaw dismissed them, and the four descended to receive
the first visitors.

                                           LOUISA M. ALCOTT.

[Decoration]



THE ACCIDENT.


Tom named his velocipede Black Auster, in memory of the horse in "The
Battle of Lake Regillus," and came to grief as soon as he began to
ride his new steed.

"Come out and see me go it," whispered Tom to Polly, after three days'
practice in the street, for he had already learned to ride in the
rink.

Polly and Maud willingly went, and watched his struggles with deep
interest, till he got an upset, which nearly put an end to his
velocipeding forever.

"Hi, there! Auster's coming!" shouted Tom, as he came rattling down
the long, steep street outside the park.

They stepped aside, and he whizzed by, arms and legs going like mad,
and the general appearance of a runaway engine. It would have been a
triumphant descent, if a big dog had not bounced suddenly through one
of the openings, and sent the whole concern helter-skelter into the
gutter. Polly laughed as she ran to view the ruin, for Tom lay flat on
his back with the velocipede atop of him, while the big dog barked
wildly, and his master scolded him for his awkwardness. But when she
saw Tom's face, Polly was frightened, for the color had all gone out
of it, his eyes looked strange and dizzy, and drops of blood began to
trickle from a great cut on his forehead. The man saw it, too, and had
him up in a minute; but Tom couldn't stand, and stared about him in a
dazed sort of way, as he sat on the curbstone, while Polly held her
handkerchief to his forehead, and pathetically begged to know if he
was killed.

"Don't scare mother--I'm all right. Got upset, didn't I?" he asked,
presently, eying the prostrate velocipede with more anxiety about its
damages than his own.

"I knew you'd hurt yourself with that horrid thing. Just let it be,
and come home, for your head bleeds dreadfully, and everybody is
looking at us," whispered Polly, trying to tie the little handkerchief
over the ugly cut.

"Come on, then Jove! how queer my head feels! Give us a boost, please.
Stop howling, Maud, and come home. You bring the machine, and I'll pay
you, Pat." As he spoke, Tom slowly picked himself up, and steadying
himself by Polly's shoulder, issued his commands, and the procession
fell into line. First, the big dog, barking at intervals; then the
good-natured Irishman, trundling "that divil of a whirligig," as he
disrespectfully called the idolized velocipede; then the wounded hero,
supported by the faithful Polly; and Maud brought up the rear in
tears, bearing Tom's cap.

                                           LOUISA M. ALCOTT.

[Decoration]

[Illustration: "It would have been a triumphant descent, if a big dog
    had not bounced suddenly through one of the openings."]



[Decoration]

POLLY ARRIVES.


The train was just in when Tom reached the station, panting like a
race-horse and as red as a lobster with the wind and the run.

"Suppose she'll wear a top-knot and a thingumbob, like every one else;
and how ever shall I know her? Too bad of Fan to make me come alone!"
thought Tom, as he stood watching the crowd stream through the depot,
and feeling rather daunted at the array of young ladies who passed. As
none of them seemed looking for any one, he did not accost them, but
eyed each new batch with the air of a martyr. "That's her," he said to
himself, as he presently caught sight of a girl, in gorgeous array,
standing with her hands folded, and a very small hat perched on top of
a very large "chig-non," as Tom pronounced it. "I suppose I've got to
speak to her, so, here goes;" and, nerving himself to the task, Tom
slowly approached the damsel, who looked as if the wind had blown her
clothes into rags, such a flapping of sashes, scallops, ruffles,
curls, and feathers was there.

"I say, if you please, is your name _Polly Milton_?" meekly asked Tom,
pausing before the breezy stranger.

"No, it isn't," answered the young lady, with a cool stare that
utterly quenched him.

"Where in thunder is she?" growled Tom, walking off in high dudgeon.
The quick tap of feet behind him made him turn in time to see a
fresh-faced little girl running down the long station, and looking as
if she rather liked it. As she smiled, and waved her bag at him, he
stopped and waited for her, saying to himself, "Hullo! I wonder if
that's Polly?"

Up came the little girl, with her hand out, and a half-shy, half-merry
look in her blue eyes, as she said, inquiringly, "This is Tom, isn't
it?"

"Yes. How did you know?" and Tom got over the ordeal of hand-shaking
without thinking of it, he was so surprised.

"Oh, Fan told me you'd got curly hair and a funny nose, and kept
whistling, and wore a gray cap pulled over your eyes; so I knew you
directly." And Polly nodded at him in the most friendly manner, having
politely refrained from calling the hair "red," the nose "a pug," and
the cap "old."

"Where are your trunks?" asked Tom, as he was reminded of his duty by
her handing him the bag, which he had not offered to take.

"Father told me not to wait for any one, else I'd lose my chance of a
hack; so I gave my check to a man, and there he is with my trunk;" and
Polly walked off after her one modest piece of baggage, followed by
Tom, who felt a trifle depressed by his own remissness in polite
attentions.

                                           LOUISA M. ALCOTT.

[Illustration: "THIS IS TOM, ISN'T IT?"]



KINDNESS TO ANIMALS.


Last month a gentleman related an incident in his early life, showing
how kindness to the brute creation makes them entirely subservient to
our will. Similar experience is familiar to every one of us. This
volume would not begin to contain the proofs which come under notice
every day of our lives. Your dog or your cat understands your
disposition as well as your brother or your sister. Give them a kick
as you pass by, pull their ears or tail whenever you get an
opportunity, and they will shun you as they would the plague. On the
other hand, speak a kind word to them, give them a morsel of food, or
fondle them kindly, and they will soon treat you as a friend.

I have a cat who waits for my coming home every night as regularly as
the sun. And if, perchance, I do not come at my usual time in the
train, she shows her disappointment by mewing. She will roll over as
obediently as you ever saw a dog, at the word of command. After
supper, when I put on my slippers and take the evening paper, puss
takes possession of my lap, and then she seems contented and happy.

Kindness did all this--nothing else. Any cat can be taught to "roll
over" in a week's time. Any cat will be your friend, and love you, if
you will treat her well.

It is precisely thus with wild animals. They know who their friends
are as well as you know yours. They don't need to be told. There is no
end of stories about the elephant, the horse, the dog; about their
docility, and the affection they have for those who treat them kindly.
Even the lion, when brought under the dominion of man, becomes
strongly attached to those who treat him with kindness. An instance of
this is related of one that was kept in the menagerie of the Tower of
London. He had been brought from India, and on the passage was given
in charge to one of the sailors. Long before the ship arrived at
London, the lion and Jack had become excellent friends. When Nero--as
the lion was called--was shut up in his cage in the Tower, he became
sulky and savage to such an extent that it was dangerous even for his
keeper, who was not over kind to him, to approach him.

After Nero had been a prisoner for some weeks, a party of sailors,
Jack being among the number, paid a visit to the menagerie. The keeper
warned them not to go near the lion, who every now and then turned
round to growl defiance to the spectators.

"What! old shipmate!" cried Jack, "don't you know me? What cheer, old
Nero, my lad?"

Instantly the lion left off growling, sprang up to the bars of his
cage, and put his nose between them. Jack patted it on the head, and
it rubbed his hand with its whiskers like a cat, showing evident signs
of pleasure.

"Ah," said Jack, turning to the keeper and spectators who stood
looking on with astonishment, "Nero and I were shipmates, and you see
he isn't like some folks; he don't forget an old friend."

[Illustration: {Jack and the lion are reunited}]

But here's a story of another sort. Some weeks ago a caravan was
exhibiting in Illinois. Among the animals was an elephant, to whom a
mischievous boy had given an apple with tobacco concealed inside. As
soon as the animal discovered the trick, the boy began to laugh at
the joke which he had played on the creature. The elephant, however,
looked angry, and the keeper, having heard of the affair, told the boy
to keep out of his reach, unless he wanted to be hurt.

But, although the lad did not come so near that the elephant could get
hold of him, he hung round in the vicinity. Presently a pail of water
was brought for the elephant to drink. The insulted creature filled
his trunk as full as he could, and seeing a good opportunity, blew the
whole of it upon the boy who had given him tobacco, wetting him from
head to foot. Verdict of the spectators, and of the readers of this
book, "Served him right."

                                               ROBERT HANDY.



[Illustration: {Children playing around a haystack}]

ALL AMONG THE HAY.


    All among the buttercups,
      All among the hay!
    Oh that spring would come again,
      With its merry May!

    Hasten summer's pleasant days,
      Summer's pleasant hours;
    Send us back the butterflies
      And the pretty flowers.

    Yes, bright days will come again,
      Winter soon will go,
    And the smiling sun shall melt
      All this dreary snow.

    Then beside the flowing stream
      Merrily we'll play,
    All among the buttercups,
      All among the hay.



THE MOUSE AND CANARY.


A lady, having gone rather early into an apartment in which she had a
fine canary, whose cage hung on the knob of the window-shutter, was
much surprised to find the bird sitting asleep in the bottom of the
cage, side by side with a live mouse, also asleep. On raising the
window-blind, the mouse squeezed itself through between the wires of
the cage and fled. The box of seeds, crumbs, etc., intended for the
canary was found to be cleaned out, doubtless devoured by the strange
companion. On the following evening, while the lady and her husband
were sitting quietly by the fireside, they were still further
astonished at seeing a mouse (no doubt the same one) climbing nimbly
up the shutter and entering the cage between the wires. Thinking it
might do harm to the bird, they tried to catch the mouse, but it made
its escape as before. The cage was then suspended from a nail, so that
the mouse could not gain access. Strange to say, however, on the
following morning the canary was found asleep on the floor of the room
(the cage door having been left open), and a piece of potato beside
him. Most likely the mouse had spent the whole of the night there.

[Decoration]



THE TWO FRIENDS.

A STORY FOR BOYS.


Many years ago two youths, whom we will call only by their Christian
names,--Walter and Sidney,--were at the same boarding-school, at
Mount's Bay, in Cornwall. They were each the sons of captains in the
merchant service; but though they were equals in station, there was a
great difference in their circumstances, for Walter inherited
considerable property. Sidney's father had not been a prosperous man,
and it was as much as he could do to give his boy a good education.

Among the whole school there were no two lads so closely knit in
friendship as Walter and Sidney; they were within a week of the same
age (thirteen) at the time our narrative begins. It is always a
pleasant sight, and also a good example, when two intelligent,
kind-hearted boys become friends. They show to others what a
disinterested and noble thing true friendship is. Thus, in their
lessons and their sports, these boys were helpful to each other. They
shared together every indulgence that the kindness of friends procured
them, and if any added study were imposed, Sidney, who learned easily,
would, after he had swiftly mastered his own lesson, take upon himself
both the office of teacher and companion, and never rest until Walter
was as well up in the task as he himself was. Most certainly the
punishment of one was ever the punishment of both, for, if they were
sharers in each other's joys, they were not the less so in their
troubles. Perhaps the vigilance which each exercised over the other
was the reason why they were comparatively seldom in any very serious
disgrace, and their characters stood high in the school, both with
masters and pupils.

But while in the little world within the walls of the school all went
equally well with the youthful friends, in the great world outside,
heavy troubles came to Sidney's father. The vessel he commanded was
lost near the mouth of the River Mersey, and though the crew were
saved, yet it was judged that some mismanagement caused the disaster,
and Sidney's father lost his certificate, and no owners would again
trust him to command a vessel. The poor man took this so much to heart
that he fell into a bad state of health, and declined so rapidly, that
the week after Sidney received from Liverpool the first intimation of
his father's illness, tidings came that he was dead.

It was in the autumnal quarter, about eight weeks before Christmas,
that the sad letter was received which told Sidney he was now an
orphan. The only aunt the poor boy had, his father's sister, wrote the
account, and she was obliged to add the painful fact that, with the
loss of his father, Sidney would lose the means of further education,
and must look forward to some humble means of earning his daily bread,
with as little delay as possible.

[Illustration: "Why, Sid,--what's this? Dear old fellow, what's the
    matter?"]

In his first great grief at hearing of his father's death, all else
seemed trivial. Change of circumstances, hard work, any trouble, would
have been as nothing if his father had been spared to him. But after
the first shock of his sorrow, Sidney admitted that he must leave
school; that it would not be honest, either to his aunt or his
schoolmaster, to remain. Strangely enough, the very week in which
this trouble came to Sidney, his friend Walter was at home for a few
days, joining in the celebration of his father's fiftieth birthday. He
had wanted Sidney to have a holiday also; but the latter, being
already aware of his father's reverses and illness, though having no
fear of any greater grief impending over him, had declined his
friend's kind invitation. So it happened that, while a happy jubilee
was being celebrated in Walter's home, Sidney was suddenly made a poor
orphan.

Never, during the three years that they had been school-fellows, had
the countenances of the two boys showed such a contrast of expression
as when they met in the playground a few minutes after Walter had
alighted at the gate, on his return from the pleasant sojourn at his
home. He was flushed with health and happiness, and ran up, with a
boyish shout of mirth, to greet his friend. Poor Sidney, pale and
choking with the effort to restrain his tears, could only grasp the
proffered hand in silence, and turn away his head, unable to look
up,--almost unable to bear the pent-up grief that throbbed at his
heart, and tightened his chest with a sense of suffocation.

"Why, Sid, what's this? Dear old fellow, what's the matter?" was
Walter's astonished inquiry, when a boy near whispered in his ear the
brief words,--

"His father's dead!"

That explained all; and Walter, twining his arm round his friend, led
him away to a quiet spot, where they could weep together. The greater
grief so completely absorbed Sidney on his first meeting with Walter,
that it was not until the next day that any mention was made between
them of how this bereavement would affect the future. Young and
prosperous as Walter was, he knew well enough how sad it would be for
his friend to lose the advantages of education just at the time when
his studies would be needed to fit him for some pursuit in life.

Meanwhile, as Sidney's aunt had not been able to send the money for
the poor lad to go so long a journey as from West Cornwall to
Liverpool, to attend his father's funeral, there was no immediate
hurry at the school in preparing for the youth's departure. Walter,
therefore, had time to carry out a plan which his affection suggested.
He wrote an urgent letter to his father, filled with praises of
Sidney, and accounts of all the help which his cleverness and conduct
had afforded to him (Walter), and earnestly pleading that he might
have the gratification of paying for a year or more schooling for his
orphan friend, adding, as a concluding argument,--

"You know, papa, that I have forty pounds that aunt Margaret put in
the savings bank for me, to do as I like with; and how could I spend
it better, or so well, as in helping a good clever fellow like Sidney?
It would be a real treat to me--the best I could have; and you
promised to increase my pocket-money: you needn't; I can screw myself
down famously, if you'll only give it to help Sid, who's always been
helping me, I can tell you."

Walter was too earnest, it seemed, to pick and choose his words. He
meant to have corrected and rewritten his letter, but there was no
time; so he sent it, faults and all. And his father, in reading it,
felt the heart-throb that beat in his boy's generous words; and though
a man not at all demonstrative, he was observed to be taken as if with
a sudden cold in his head, to judge by the vigorous use of his pocket
handkerchief; but all he said was conveyed in a single nautical
phrase,--"The youngster is on the right tack."

The day after, the principal of the Mount's Bay School received an
intimation that Sidney was to continue his studies there as long as
he proved diligent; but the name of his patron was not to be told him.
So, to the lad's great satisfaction, he was informed that a friend who
had known his father would, for the present, help him. Walter knew the
truth, but though he felt the intense joy that a good action always
yields to the doer even more than to the receiver, he was careful to
obey his father, and keep the secret.

If Sidney was studious before, he redoubled his diligence now, and in
the year made such great progress, that a Dutch gentleman, who visited
the school, offered him a situation in his office at Rotterdam; and as
Sidney knew that a residence abroad would be a great improvement to
him, and also was eager to enter upon some mode of earning his own
living, he wished earnestly to take the offer. At no time during their
now four years of mutual school-life and friendship would Walter have
heard with patience of Sidney leaving. But a parting now came.

Walter's father had become an invalid, and was ordered to a warmer
climate. The family removed to Florence, in Italy, and, of course,
Walter went with them; his greatest grief being that Sidney could not
accompany them.

With the keenest pangs of youthful sorrow, the two friends parted,
promising to write often, looking forward to meet at no distant
future, for the world did not seem too wide for them, accustomed as
they were, by association, to maritime people and travellers.

It was three months after Walter had left, when Sidney took leave of
his kind master, and the school which had been a home to him, and
went, in cold spring weather, to the Venice of the north--Rotterdam.
When he left he made one request, which his tutor thought it not wrong
to grant. He desired to know the name of the benefactor who had so
munificently helped him; and though he was not very much surprised
when he heard the source from whence the aid had come, and was indeed
glad that his gratitude was due where his friendship had so long been
given, yet it naturally moved him very deeply when he found how Walter
had been the means of effecting this. He also remembered vividly some
acts of self-denial that added to the delicacy of his friend's
silence, and made the action truly noble.

"I can never repay you, dear Walter, nor your kind father; I shall
ever be your grateful debtor," he wrote; "but I will try to employ the
talents you have cultivated, so as not, at all events, to disgrace
your friendship."

Though railways made the continent open to travellers, and the desire
to see his friend Walter never languished, yet years went by and it
was not realized. Some tidings there were of reverse of fortune
through a lawsuit, and of journeyings to different places. The last
that Sidney heard of his friend was in a letter from Madeira, where
his father was lingering on in too weak a state to bear removal.

The desultory, unsettled life that the family had led seemed to have
prevented Walter from making much progress as a sculptor,--a
profession he had thought of while in Italy,--and his letters were
somewhat vague and unsatisfactory as to his future plans.

Then came a long interval with no tidings, and afterwards a returned
letter with the one word DEAD, written under the name of Walter's
father on the superscription.

So, like a pleasant morning that ends in clouds and gloom, the
friendship seemed to end which had so gladdened the youth of Sidney,
and even blended with all the fondest memories of his boyhood. Many
were the prayers he breathed, that one who had been as a brother might
not be entirely lost to him.

As years went on great changes occurred in the firm that Sidney
served. He had risen in the confidence of his employers. They had a
business in Australia, under the care of a partner, who was also a
relative. He died, and as there was a sudden increase of business
facilities at Melbourne, Sidney was sent out, and a share in the
concern was given him. His surname did not appear. He was announced,
as many a junior partner is, by the little word "Co." appended to the
principal name of the firm.

Sidney had been in the colony some three years, and was now a stalwart
young man of twenty-seven, when one day, riding on horseback towards a
suburb of the rapidly growing city of Melbourne, called Brighton, he
noticed a gang of young men working on the road. He knew that many
respectable emigrants had come over during the first excitement of the
gold discoveries. Clerks used only to the pen, students, unsuccessful
professional men, all in the first delirium fever-fit of the gold
fever, had come in the expectation that hands unused to hard toil
could use the pickaxe of the gold-digger, or wash the rubble for the
precious ore. Ah, it was a wild, a fatal delusion! Many a gentleman
and scholar pined to death with hardships and disappointments, while
some, after weeks of sickness, rose to earn their bread by the
humblest manual labor. Working on the roads, for which government pay
was given, was often the resource of those who had been worsted in
every other effort. Unable to help among such numbers of claimants on
sympathy, Sidney had contented himself with joining in the
subscriptions raised for the relief of the sick and destitute: but
now, as he passed along, he felt a desire to speak to the workers in
this gang. As his eye scanned them he saw only a group of thin,
toil-worn, weather-beaten men, with rough beards half hiding their
wasted features. Nothing was more acceptable, as a recreation to the
emigrants, than books, and Sidney had commenced a lending library of
books and publications; so, after a cheerful salutation, he now reined
up his horse, and began to tell them of his plan, and to add, "I have
opened a room, friends, two nights a week,--it is but a rough shed,
but I hope to make it better soon,--as a meeting-place, where a
comfortable, pleasant, and profitable evening may be spent."

"Then," said a man with a strong Irish brogue, "your honor's the great
Dutch merchant."

"Yes, at the Dutch merchant's store; but I am English; my name is
Sidney--"

There was a wild panting sort of cry, and a man in the group fell to
the ground.

"He's in a fit." "He oughtn't to have come." "Poor fellow!" "Fetch
water!" "Give him air!" These were the cries that were uttered.
Meanwhile, throwing his horse's bridle over a post, Sidney dismounted,
and helped to lift in his strong arms the tall but wasted form of a
man from the ground. He was borne to a bank at the side of the road.
Sidney put aside the matted hair that fell over his brow, and taking
the pannikin, which some one had filled with water, he put it to his
lips, wholly unconscious that he had ever seen that face before, until
the eyes slowly opened, and the old expression, the soul-gaze, shone
in them, and the hoarse and altered voice, yet with tones that woke
old echoes, said, "Sidney! Dear friend! Don't--don't you know
me--Walter?"

Walter! Yes it was he. The once blooming, prosperous, happy boy was
this wasted, worn skeleton of a man. O, the tide of feeling that
rushed through Sidney's every vein, as he recognized his early
friend--his benefactor! To raise him up, put him on his own horse,
lead him gently to his own home, and, once there, to send for the best
medical skill, and tend him through the illness that supervened, with
a tenderness feminine in its thoughtful gentleness, was Sidney's
privilege.

In the intervals of his illness Walter related that his father had
died at Madeira; that, hoping to obtain a settlement of some claims,
he had visited America; that, waiting to have better news of himself
to communicate, he put off writing from time to time; that he had gone
with a company of adventurous young men to California, and there,
instead of finding gold, spent all his means. Hoping to retrieve his
position, he had come to Australia, and there his lot, though hard,
was only that of hundreds, in the first trying time of mad excitement
and wild adventure. "And I must get to work again. I'm not going to be
here idle much longer," he said, at the conclusion of a conversation
on the past.

"As to work, I've plenty for you to do."

"I can't continue to be a burden on you, Sid. I've no claim."

"You've every claim. As to burdens, you remind me how long I was a
burden on you and your father. Once for all, I say, the help you gave
me fitted me to get my living, and, by God's blessing, to make my way
in life. Share with me in my business."

Walter was beginning to interrupt; but Sidney, raising his hand,
deprecatingly, said,--

"You have still the advantage over me, that you gave me help when I
had done nothing to deserve it of you. I only make a small
repayment--a mere instalment of a great debt. Dear Walter, my good
fellow, let there be no contest between us. Are we not friends? Does
that not mean helpers?"

And so it was. The tie, never broken, was knit again yet more closely.
Brothers in friendship, they ultimately became so in relationship; for
as soon as Walter had a home, he invited a sister to share it with
him, and she, in a few months after her arrival, became the wife of
Sidney. And so the bond of brotherhood prospered, for many years.



PUSS.


Is it not a little more than surprising that the common domestic cat,
an animal which we are better acquainted with than the dog, should be
permitted to grow up with so little instruction? I think so. Almost
every dog has some tricks; many dogs have a great number. Yet how
rarely do you see a cat of which anything more is expected than that
she shall purr when she is petted, play with your ball of yarn, or
growl when you give her a nice dinner.

[Illustration: MUFFY RINGING THE BELL.]

You teach your dog to bark at the word of command, to roll over, to
stand upon his hind feet, and hold up his paws, to jump through a
small hoop, to sing, and a thousand other pretty tricks; but why do
you neglect your cat? You can teach her all these things,--except to
bark,--and quite as easily. Any cat, not more than a year old, can be
taught, in less than fifteen days, to "roll over;" and she learns
other capers quite as freely. Bear in mind that to do this you have to
appeal to the creature's love of food. That is her nature. She cares
nothing for you; it is the dinner she is after. So, when you desire
to teach puss to turn over, take her when she is hungry. Put your hand
upon her back, and turn her over; and then give her a small bit of
meat. Gradually she will require less and less force. She will
understand what you want, and know what must be done in order to be
served. Never disappoint her, but let the food immediately follow
obedience. Other tricks may be taught in the same way. If you wish to
teach her to go through a hoop, you will be obliged at first to take
her up bodily, and put her through. But this will not be for a great
while. She will soon understand what you desire.

I once had a cat which would open any door in the house. She learned
herself! The latch-doors came pretty easy, but the knobs bothered her
a good deal. She persevered, however, and became an expert at either.

I have a cat now--a Maltese--which is a marvel of intelligence. There
seems to be no end to her interesting feats. She is terribly rough at
play; if you impose upon her, you must look out for her claws. She
watches for my coming from the city quite regularly; and as soon as I
sit down to read, she plants herself in my lap. She had some kittens a
few weeks ago. One evening, soon after, as I sat in the rocking-chair,
with my newspaper, puss came into the room with one of her kittens in
her mouth. She placed it carefully in my lap, and immediately went for
the other one.

A neighbor of mine has a cat which rings a bell when she is hungry.
The bell is a small one, and hangs about a yard high, so that Miss
Puss has to exert herself to reach it.

Another cat I heard of recently seems to have discovered a way to get
into the warm kitchen whenever she is accidentally shut out in the
cold.

At the side wall of the house there is a small aperture, of about two
feet square, opening into the kitchen, and intended for the use and
convenience of butchers, bakers, or grocers, who would otherwise have
to go round to the back entrance; inside of this aperture is suspended
a bell, which Miss Muffy must, no doubt, have often seen used by
butchers, bakers, and grocers, to call the attention of cook. She has,
therefore, adopted the same plan; and when tired of her prowlings
about the garden, or hunting for birds in the adjoining wood, she
springs up to the little door, and, with her paw or head, keeps ring,
ring, ringing at the bell until the door is opened, and she gets
admission.

Muffy is not only a very intelligent little cat, but I can tell you
she is also a very good-natured one, too. She submits to being dressed
in the doll's clothes, and will sometimes lie quite still in the
cradle for hours together, and when told to stand upon her hind legs
and give a kiss, does so with a gracefulness hitherto unknown in the
annals of cats.

These funny marks of intelligence in dumb creatures are quite
interesting. As you grow older, you will spend many an hour in trying
to discover where the dividing line between INSTINCT and REASON is. It
is SOMEWHERE. If you hatch some chickens by heat, miles away from any
other fowls, the hens will cackle, and the cocks will crow, all the
same, although no one has taught them. Why is it?

If you could hatch a robin's egg in the same way, far removed from
other birds, the bird would, when grown, build its nest precisely as
other robins do, and of the same material, although it never saw a
pattern in the world. INSTINCT, or, if you prefer, NATURE, teaches all
this. But it is not REASON, as you will know as you grow older.

Just exactly so it is the instinct of a dog or a cat to obey you
whenever you require it. Take notice that you can never teach a dumb
creature by observation. One cat will never learn to turn over by
observing that another one gets its food thereby.

But I will not try to mix you up in this discussion now. You will
reach it soon enough if you live. And when you reach it, you will find
a very difficult, as well as a very interesting question to solve.

                                               ROBERT HANDY.



[Illustration: {The children watch the toy village burning}]

HOLIDAY LUCK.


"Mother, mother!" with a prolonged _er_.

"Mary, where's mother?" and the children raced through the house,
looking into every room on the way.

"Here, Willie; what do you want?"

"O, mother, we are to have a holiday. Miss Mortimer has gone home."

"Isn't it fun!" cried Ada, swinging on her mother's arm.

"That depends upon how you spend it," Mrs. Constant replied.

"Why, a holiday means to have fun, and do just what you please,"
asserted Willie.

"And not get any lessons," said Dolly, snipping the tape with her
mother's scissors.

Mrs. Constant took them from her, and smiled on the excited three.

"I hope you will have a pleasant day, and try to be good."

"Not too good, mother," expostulated Willie.

"No, only don't get into mischief."

"What shall we do first?" asked Ada.

"I don't know," replied Dolly. "Isn't it fun to have one whole day
which is not Christmas or Thanksgiving?"

For a short time the children remained in Mrs. Constant's room,
upsetting her baskets, tangling her silk, and plying her with
numberless questions.

"I think you had better take a run in the garden," she finally said.
"You are so restless and full of holiday, I think the fresh air would
relieve you."

"What a dear mother!" they cried; and having tumultuously kissed her,
they repaired to the garden.

They lived in a country town, and had a large plot of ground at the
back of the house, through the farther end of which flowed a brook.
Each one had his garden bed, and at one side was a summer-house, where
they kept their garden tools and many of their playthings, also a pet
rabbit, named Blackhawk. It was too late in the fall for flowers, only
a few sturdy asters and hardy verbenas being in blossom, and they
played tag, hide-and-seek, and chased each other with handfuls of dead
leaves. While they were thus occupied, their mother called them, and
told them that aunt Clara had sent for her to come and spend the day;
she had sprained her ankle, and wanted some one to sit with her.

"Won't you be home to dinner?" they asked in despairing chorus.

"No; but Mary will take care of you, and you can enjoy yourselves; but
don't do foolish things, or your holiday will be spoiled. Now, you
must all be mother to each other, that I may find you well and happy
when I come home."

For a while after she had gone, they amused themselves being mother to
one another; but Willie made such a failure that they gave it up.

"Let us play with the dolls a little while," suggested Dolly.

The proposition met with favor, and they went to the summer-house. Ada
had a large family of paper dolls, and Dolly of wooden ones. They
played tea party, and dinner, and visiting; but Willie could not
forget that they had a holiday, and he longed to do something unusual.

"You have too many girls, Ada," he cried. "Let us play China, and burn
some up."

A funeral pyre was soon constructed with splinters of wood, Dolly ran
to the kitchen for matches, and Willie turned his jacket inside out,
tied Ada's sack about his neck by the sleeves, put the watering-pot on
his head, and was ready to personate the priest. Ada selected four
victims, who were securely bound with thirty cotton, and laid on the
pile.

"Let us have Blackhawk for the idol," cried Ada.

Blackhawk was brought forth, a string of colored beads put about his
neck, and he was bolstered up in the arm-chair of the Princess
Widdlesbee, Dolly's largest doll. But when the match was struck and
applied with a great flourish, he sprang from his throne, and fled to
the farthest corner.

"The god is displeased; the sacrifice must cease," cried Ada, who
began to feel remorse as her dolls crisped and turned to ashes.

"No," shouted Willie, "I am the priest; I know he means burn all;" and
seizing a brand, he applied it to Dolly's village, which stood near
by. For a moment it was fun to see the flames bursting from the roofs
of houses, and lapping about the fences; but Dolly soon gave a cry of
dismay.

"Susanna and Posy are in the church; I don't want them burned."

"To the rescue!" shouted the heathen priest, snatching the pot from
his head, and running to fill it with water.

But Dolly could not wait, and had already burned a hole in her apron,
and singed her hair, trying to save her favorites. Blackhawk cowered
in the corner, stamping his hind feet, while Ada was pulling apart the
pyre on which her dolls had perished.

"O, Willie, the floor is burned. Hurry, hurry!" cried Dolly.

Willie ran, deluged the burning village, and Dolly seized Susanna and
Posy, free from damage, with the exception of Posy's legs, which were
so long, they lay outside the church door, and were burned off. When
they cleared away the ruins, there was a round, black spot on the
floor, where the village had stood, and the children's hands and
clothes were wet and grimy.

"Do you think mother will care?" asked Dolly, after they had looked
solemnly at one another.

"I don't believe she will as long as we did not burn any more,"
replied Willie, stepping back on the rest of the matches.

They were explosive, and lighted with a snap that made him jump. When
he saw what he had done, he turned the watering-pot over them, and put
his foot on it.

"Now they are safe," he cried. "Let us bury the pieces of the
village."

"No," said Ada. "After I get a carrot for Blackhawk, let us make a
raft of some of them, and put the rest on, and let them float away on
the brook."

This was speedily done, and when the little craft had passed the
boundaries of their garden, Willie proposed they should build a dam,
and some time he would put up a mill. They were hardly fairly at work
when Mary called them to dinner.

Willie took the head of the table, and was rather offended that Mary
did not let him cut the meat.

"At any rate, I'll help the pie," he declared.

Mary prudently cut the pieces before she put it on, and while they
were eating it, Willie very grandly said,--

"You may go now, Mary."

His mother usually dismissed her at dessert, and Willie wished to have
all the privileges of the place he occupied. Mary retired with a
smile, and when the first pieces of pie were disposed of, Willie
offered the girls a second. It was mince pie, very nice and tempting;
and though Ada knew a second piece was not generally allowed, she
thought a holiday might make a difference. Dolly was busy feeding
Prig,--a brisk Scotch terrier, with large, bright eyes, stiff, rough
hair, and a tail about two inches long,--and refused.

After dinner they returned to their dam, Ada and Dolly bringing the
material, and Willie building. But Dolly became dissatisfied, and
insisted on being allowed to work in the water, while Ada deserted
altogether, and played with Blackhawk, whom they had let out.

"Dolly," cried Willie, "won't you go to my room and get my hammer? and
be quick, for I've got to hold this while you are gone."

The dam was nearly finished, and both were much excited with the
success of their work; for the water had collected in quite a pool
above, and would soon flow over in a fine fall. Dolly ran, leaving the
doors open behind her. Back she came, and Willie was carefully
adjusting the last beam, when Ada shouted,--

"Here's Prig, and Blackhawk's out."

All three started, calling Prig, and running after her and Blackhawk
in wild confusion. Prig misunderstood their anxiety, and supposing
they were setting her on the rabbit, joined in the hunt. Poor
Blackhawk tried to escape, but Prig caught him, gave one shake, and
the pretty rabbit lay dead.

"O, you wicked dog!" cried Ada, while Willie and Dolly stood quite
overcome by the misfortune.

Prig saw in a moment she had made a mistake, and when Willie rushed at
her with uplifted hammer, hid behind the summer-house. With loud grief
and many tears, the children raised their dead pet, and laid it on a
bench in the out-house. Its blue eyes were half open, its soft
black-and-white fur wet and rumpled, and they cried and blamed Prig as
they tenderly arranged it on the bench. Ada fairly howled, and Bridget
and Mary ran out to see what was the matter.

"Ay," said Bridget, "and it was Dolly herself left the door open,
though I told her to shut it."

"I didn't know Prig was there," sobbed Dolly.

"It's all Prig's fault," said Willie, "and I'll kill her."

"No, no," pleaded Dolly, with whom Prig was an especial favorite.

A consultation was held over the bench, and it was finally decided
that the case should be referred to Mrs. Constant on her return,
though Willie still vowed vengeance. Prig had crept back, and crouched
in the doorway; but when the children saw her, they drove her away,
throwing stones and calling her the worst names they could invent. She
skulked outside very unhappy, until Willie shut her up in the
summer-house, while the children spent the rest of the long afternoon
over their dead rabbit. Dolly tied the Princess Widdlesbee's best blue
sash about his neck, Willie emptied his toolbox to lay him in, and Ada
spread her best doll's bed-quilt over him. Then they sat and cried
together until Dolly started up, and said,--

"There's mother."

The first thing Mrs. Constant heard when she entered the house was the
cry of,--

"Mother, mother!"

Not with the joyous ring it had in the morning, but with an appeal in
it which told her some trouble had come which mother could best heal.
All told the story separately and together, laying Blackhawk on her
knees, and crying on her shoulder.

"And I'm going to hang Prig for a wicked, bad dog," said Willie, to
conclude. "She is a murderer!" and he fiercely wiped his tears.

"My dear little boy, I don't think poor Prig was to blame at all."

"O, mother!" cried a mournful chorus.

"No; Dolly left the door open, you all excited her, and I begin to
think you were having too much of what Willie calls a holiday."

"But it wasn't her holiday, and she's killed Blackhawk. O-o-o!" and
they all cried again.

Mrs. Constant soothed them, and sympathized.

"Don't cry any more. You will be sick. I would not kill Prig, for then
she would be gone too, and to-morrow you would be sorry. And besides,
she was only trying to do as you wanted her to, and following out her
doggish instinct."

But half convinced, the children went to the summer-house and called
Prig; but she would not come. Then they drove her out, and as she
stood trembling before them, reproached her, and raising their arms,
shouted,--

"Go!"

Prig hesitated a moment, looked from one to another, then with her
tail between her legs, her hair on end, she uttered an unearthly howl,
and fled at full speed, crowded under the gate, and disappeared.

The children went to bed early, as Mrs. Constant thought the
excitement was bad for them, and in the night she was called to the
little girl's room. Dolly was feverish, and ill with a sore throat,
and Ada in great pain. They were sick all night, and in the morning
Mrs. Constant heard about the second piece of pie and Dolly's dam
building. Her sleeves had been wet all the afternoon, and the grief,
added to the pie and wet, had made them both ill.

They were not able to go out that day, and Willie buried Blackhawk
alone, while they watched him sadly from the window. They took their
last farewell of their pet at the kitchen door, and would have given
all their yesterday's sport to have helped Willie with the funeral. He
had meant that Prig should have attended as chief mourner, but she was
nowhere to be found. No one had seen her since her flight, and for
days they could find no trace of her. This added to their discomfort;
for they all loved her, and Ada and Dolly were confined to the house
for some time, and wanted her to play with them.

About a week after, on a rainy night, Bridget found her at the kitchen
door, and with great difficulty persuaded her to come in. She was very
thin and unhappy, and hid from the children, when they, already sorry
for their harshness, were kind to her, and tried to play with her. It
was a long time before she was the lively Prig she used to be, and was
always a little lame in her left fore foot. Something had hurt her in
those days of absence; and though after a while the children forgot
their holiday and the consequences, I am afraid poor Prig never did.

                                                SARA CONANT.



LET HIM LIVE.


    When one sees a harmless snake,
    Lying torpid, scarce awake,
          On a chilly morning,
    Is it well his life to take
          Without leave or warning?

    Pretty brown and yellow snake,
    Whom the sun doth gently wake
          In the lap of nature,
    Here is room for weed and brake--
          Room for every creature.

    Teach us, Nature, how to love,
    Not the flower and bird alone,
          Gracious man and woman--
    Not the beautiful alone,
          Whether brute or human.

    Teach us, that we may not wound
    Even a striped snake on the ground,
          Sunshine all around him!
    We will go without a sound--
          Leave him as we found him.

                       MARY R. WHITTLESEY.



MONKEYS.


Before the advent of man, and with him civilization, monkeys were
spread over a much larger portion of the earth than at present. They
lived in the south of Europe, in England, and in France. Except a few
of the Paviane, those of the present time are found only in warm
climates, and are very sensitive to cold.

Monkeys belong to the liveliest and most active of the mammalia. As
everything eatable is acceptable to them, there is always something to
catch, to dig, to gather--insects, fruits, roots, nuts, succulent
herbs, buds, leaves, eggs, &c.

Many stories are told about the orang-outang, or pongo, an inhabitant
of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. It is the largest of the apes,
being, in some cases, seven feet high.

Vosmarin, a Hollander, kept a tamed pongo for a long time. He says,
"My pongo had rather a sad and downcast look, but was gentle and
affectionate, and very fond of society, preferring those persons who
busied themselves about it. Once it seized a bottle of Malaga,
uncorked it, brought the wine to a secure place, recorked the bottle,
and set it back again. This monkey was very fond of roasted and boiled
meats, and sucked eggs with great delight; however it preferred fruits
to all other food. After drinking, it was in the habit of wiping its
mouth with the back of the hand, as men sometimes do, and it generally
used a toothpick. It made great preparations before going to sleep,
shaking the hay for its bed, and making a bundle for a pillow; it
covered itself with any cloth or garment it could find.

"Seeing me unlock a door, it observed very attentively, then put a
piece of wood in the keyhole, and tried to turn it round. Having been
scratched by a cat with which it was playing, it could never be
induced to touch pussy again. It untied knots easily, and regularly
practised upon the shoes of those who came near. It could lift very
heavy burdens, and made as good use of its hind as of its fore legs;
for example, if it could not reach a thing with the fore hands, it lay
on its back, and drew the object with the hind ones. It never cried
except when left alone. At first the crying resembled the howling of a
dog, then it became rougher, and at last resembled the noise of a
wood-saw. It died of consumption."

Jeffries tells of an orang-outang which was very neat; it frequently
washed the floor with a cloth, after carrying away all remnants of
food. It also washed its face and hands like a man. This animal was
very affectionate towards all who spoke kindly, and often kissed its
owner and waiter.

[Illustration: THE MONKEY.]

The chimpanzee is more like man, in shape, than any other animal. It
is from four to five feet high; is found in the west part of Africa.
Its strength is astonishing; one chimpanzee can break off branches of
trees which two men cannot bend. It is kind and amiable, and very
teachable. Captain Grantpret speaks of a chimpanzee, which he had on
board ship, as follows: "It worked with the sailors, casting anchor,
reefing sails, &c., and doing its full share of work faithfully. The
ship's baker depended upon it to heat the oven, which it did with
wonderful care and exactness, never letting the coals fall, and ever
getting the right heat. It made a peculiar motion to show that the
oven was ready, and the baker, fully confiding in its judgment, was
not disappointed. The sailors were very fond of it, and treated it as
a companion; but the pilot, a cruel, heartless man, abused the animal,
despite its pitiful looks and gestures, as it placed its hand upon its
heart, and then stretched it towards him, to tell the pain it felt.
However, it did not resent his continued ill-treatment, but refused
to take any nourishment; five days after it died of hunger and a
broken heart. The sailors bemoaned its loss as that of a companion."

We read of another chimpanzee, which sat at table, ate with knife,
fork, and spoon, drank from a wine-glass, used a napkin, put sugar
into a cup, poured out tea, stirred it with a spoon, and sipped from
the cup until cool enough to drink.

A sick monkey is truly a pitiable object; it sits quiet and sad, and
its look, as it seems to beg for help, in its distress, is almost
human. The nearer it approaches its end, the gentler and milder it
becomes; losing in its animal, it seems to gain in its spiritual
nature. It perceives a benefactor in its attending physician, and
thankfully acknowledges his kindness. If it has been relieved by
bleeding, it invariably stretches out its arm at the doctor's
approach, as if desiring to be bled again.

                                                    L. B. U.



MY MOTHER'S STORIES.


I recall a little verse my mother taught me one summer twilight,
which, she remarked, she had taught the older children when they were
little like me. It was this:--

"HAVE COMMUNION WITH FEW, BE INTIMATE WITH ONE, DEAL JUSTLY BY ALL,
AND SPEAK EVIL OF NONE."

And then she added cheerfully, "It took some time to get your brother
to repeat it correctly; he would say _untimate_ for intimate, and
_justless_ instead of justly. But he learned it correctly at last,
and, I may add, has never forgotten it." So with amusement were
mother's good instructions blended; after the pleasant story about my
brother's childhood it was impossible to forget the text.

But, alas, I have never taught it to my children; so many papers,
books, and magazines made expressly for children of this generation,
hasten the lighting of the evening lamp, and the twilight lessons of
home become fewer. But in them all, I never read a more comprehensive
paragraph, and one that would do to put in practice in every
particular so thoroughly, and I hope if it gets into print, not only
my children, but those of other households, will commit it to memory,
imbibe its spirit, and put it in practice through life.

                                                       E. E.



[Illustration: SAILING THE BOATS.]

SAILING THE BOATS.


    Ho! the jolly sailors,
      Lounging into port!
    Heave ahead, my hearties--
      That's your lively sort!
    Splendid sky above us,
      Merrily goes the gale.
    Stand by to launch away
      Rag and paper sail!

    Archie owns a schooner,
      Jack a man-o'-war,
    Joe a clipper A 1
      Named the Morning Star;
    Charlie sails a match-box,
      Dignified a yawl;
    Breakers on the lee shore--
      Look out for a squall!

    Now we're bound for China--
      That's across the pond;
    When we go a-cruising
      Many a mile beyond.
    Man-o'-war is watching
      A rakish-looking craft--
    Kerchunk! goes a bullfrog
      From his rushy raft.

    There's a fleet of lilies
      We go scudding round,--
    Bumblebees for sailors,--
      And they're fast aground.
    Here's a drowning fly
      In her satin dress.
    All hands, about ship!
      Signals of distress.

    Argosies of childhood,
      Laden down with joys,
    Gunwale-deep with treasures!
      Happy sailor boys,
    May your merry ventures
      All their harbors win,
    And upon life's stormy sea
      Every ship come in.

                            GEORGE COOPER.



[Illustration: {The wasp trying to get to Harry's pudding}]

IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE A QUARREL.

A STORY FOR OUR YOUNGEST READERS.


How Harry Marshall had reckoned upon that piece of currant-pudding!
The farmer's wife, whose name was Jolly (and a very fit name for her
it was), had promised him a plateful for dinner, because he had taken
such good care of her pet brood of chickens while she had been away
from Elm Tree Farm on a visit.

Harry was a farmer's lad, ten years old, tall and stout for his age,
and able to do a great many more things than some city boys of
fourteen. He could ride and drive, keep the stable in order, and even
handle a plough. Nor was he a dunce; for, thanks to an evening school,
which some of his Sunday teachers had opened in the village, he had
learned to read and write very fairly. He had a comfortable place at
farmer Jolly's; but there was plenty of work to do, and the food was
plain, though he always had enough; so he did not get pudding every
day. No wonder, then, that he should go to bed and dream about that
particular currant-pudding of which I am writing. You must not suppose
that this was made with such "currants" as are put into a _Christmas_
pudding; they are only small _grapes_. No; it was a real
currant-pudding, full of nice red fruit and juice, enough to make your
mouth water.

The long morning's work was at last over, and Harry, nothing loath,
hastened in and took his place at the side table in the kitchen, where
he usually sat. His plate of meat and potatoes was soon cleared, for
the boy's appetite had been sharpened by several hours in the fields.

"And now, Harry," said Martha, the servant, "here's your pudding, and
a nice piece it is; but you mustn't be long about it, for John and
Peter will want you back in the field; they have been gone this half
hour." So saying, Martha placed the longed-for treat before Harry, and
went out to attend to some work in the farm-yard.

Just at that moment a wasp, who had grown tired of buzzing about the
peaches in the garden, and trying in vain to get at them (for Peter
had covered them with network), peeped in at the window with one of
his many eyes, and, spying Master Harry's pudding, thought, I suppose,
that he should like a share. So, without waiting to be invited, he
flew in with a loud hum, and made straight for the table, just as
Harry had stuck his fork into the first piece of crust.

Now, our farmer's boy, though he liked pudding, did not like wasps,
which he fancied were always ready to sting; and being himself rather
hasty in temper, he at once declared war against the little intruder.
First he hit at it with his knife, but without success; and then with
his fork, but only with this result--that the pudding, instead of
going into Harry's mouth, flew under the grate among the ashes, while
the wasp seemed to be humming a song of defiance.

Harry grew red in the face, and vowed vengeance against "the nasty
thing;" but "the nasty thing" would not come and be killed. Seizing a
large wooden pudding spoon, which lay close at hand, Harry jumped on
one of the wooden chairs and aimed a desperate blow at the poor
insect. But Yellow-band was too sharp for him, and Harry, losing his
balance, fell down with a thump on the sanded floor, while his weapon,
spinning across the kitchen, came in contact with one of Mrs. Jolly's
basins, and brought it down with a crash. In rushed Martha in a
fright, and, worse still, farmer Jolly's round, good-natured face
appeared close behind.

"Bless the boy," cried Martha, "what have you been up to now?"

"Why--why," said Harry, rubbing his shoulder and looking ruefully at
the broken china, "it was all that horrid wasp."

"And why couldn't you leave the wasp alone?" retorted Martha, angrily,
as she picked up some of the pieces.

"Ay, boy," said farmer Jolly, "why couldn't you leave the wasp alone,
eh? Why couldn't you leave it alone?" he repeated, catching Harry by
the arm with a grip that made him wince.

"Please, sir--please, sir," stammered the boy, "I thought the
nasty--the wasp I mean--was going to sting me."

"Stuff and nonsense," replied the farmer; "if you don't interfere with
the wasps, the wasps won't interfere with you. How often have I told
you that _it takes two to make a quarrel_? Now you have wasted your
time, spoiled your dinner, and done mischief; so you had better be off
to your work, and Martha will put the pudding away till to-morrow."

Harry hastened out, looking very foolish, and feeling very much
disappointed. "I wish I'd left the wasp alone," he said to himself;
"then I shouldn't have lost the pudding. The farmer says, 'It takes
two to make a quarrel,' and I suppose it does. At that rate we needn't
quarrel at all, unless we like. I'll think about that, so I will." And
so he did; and when he felt inclined to quarrel, not only with wasps,
but with boys, he checked himself by calling to mind farmer Jolly's
words.

And I am of opinion that, if the boys and girls who read this story
would remember it too, they would escape many unpleasant and
disagreeable things, and be more likely to have a really happy year.
For a far wiser Teacher than farmer Jolly once said, "Blessed (or
happy) are the peacemakers."



[Illustration: {Suvaroff makes a speech to some of his soldiers}]

A GOOD WORD NOT LOST.


Field-marshal Alexander Suvaroff, the commander-in-chief of the
Russian army during the reigns of Catharine II. and Paul I., was
especially fond of mixing with the common soldiers, and sharing in
their sports and conversations, being always highly delighted when his
men failed to discover him; and this happened pretty often, for,
thanks to his small stature and ugly face, as well as the extreme
plainness of his dress, the great marshal looked as little like a
general as any man could do. In this way he got to understand
thoroughly the character of his soldiers, and had a greater power over
them than any Russian general before or after him. His marvellous
power of enduring fatigue, his insensibility to heat, cold, or hunger,
and his untiring energy on the field of battle (in all which points he
surpassed the hardiest of his grenadiers), made him the idol of the
rough soldiers whom he commanded; and a word of reproof from Father
Alexander Vasilievitch, as his men affectionately called him, was more
dreaded than the fire of a battery.

Before one of his Italian campaigns, Suvaroff gathered together a
number of his best men, and made them one of the short pithy speeches
for which he was famous, and some of which are remembered among the
peasantry to this day:--

"My children, we are going to fight the French. Remember, whatever you
meet, _you must go forward_. If the enemy resist, kill them; but if
they yield, spare them; and always remember that a Russian soldier is
not a robber, but a Christian. Now, go and tell your comrades what I
have said!"

A few days later a great battle took place, in which the day went
against the French, who began to retreat about sunset; and a soldier
named Ivan Mitrophanoff, who had distinguished himself by his bravery
throughout the whole day, captured, with the help of a comrade who was
with him, a French officer and two of his men. Mitrophanoff bound up
the officer's wounded arm, and seeing that the prisoners appeared
faint from want of food, shared with them the coarse rye loaf which
was to have served him for supper. He had scarcely done so, when up
came three or four Russian grenadiers, hot with fighting, and raising
furious cries.

"What," cried they, "three of these French dogs living yet!" and they
ran upon the prisoners with levelled bayonets.

"Hold, my lads!" cried Mitrophanoff. "I've given them their lives, and
no one must touch them now!"

But the soldiers would not listen to him, and were rushing forward,
when a stern voice from behind shouted, "Halt!" and a little,
pugnosed, dirty-faced man, dressed only in a coarse linen shirt and a
pair of tattered gray trousers, stepped into the circle. But, ragged
and dirty as he was, the fierce soldiers could not have looked more
frightened had he been a giant in full armor.

"The general!" muttered they, slinking off.

"Ay, the general!" roared Suvaroff, "who will have some of you shot
presently, if you can't learn to obey orders better! And you," he
added, turning to Mitrophanoff, "who taught you to be so good?"

"Your highness' own self taught me," answered the grenadier. "I
haven't forgotten what you told us last week--that a Russian soldier
is not a robber, but a Christian!"

"Right!" exclaimed Suvaroff, with a brightening face. "A good word is
never lost, you see. Give me your hand, my lad; you shall be a
sergeant to-morrow, and a right good one you'll make!"

And the next day he made good his word.

[Decoration]



PONTO.


Our dog Ponto is a knowing old fellow. It is as good as a show to
watch him sometimes. He has one quality that most of us might seek
after with advantage--that is, a will to overcome difficulties that
scarcely anything can hinder. If Ponto takes it into his head to do
anything, he is pretty sure to succeed. What helps his dogship is the
faculty of imitation. He is like a monkey in this, only a great deal
more sensible than any monkey I ever heard tell of. You never catch
him venturing upon unknown danger, or making himself ridiculous,
because his human friends and companions choose to step aside from the
ways of safety and respectability.

One day, a few years ago, Ponto was missing. He had been about as
usual during the morning, but all at once disappeared. A neighbor told
us that he had seen him fighting with the butcher's dog about noon,
and that he was getting the worst of it. I went over to the butcher's
during the afternoon, and the butcher's boy confirmed the neighbor's
story. Ponto had come over there for a fight, as the boy said, and
"got more than he bargained for."

"He'll not try it again very soon, I'm thinking," added the boy, with
a malicious pleasure.

"Do you know where he is now?" I asked.

"Home, I suppose. He went off that way, limping," answered the boy.

"Was he much hurt?"

"Considerable, I guess."

I went back home, but no one had seen Ponto. I was beginning to feel
anxious about the dog, when he was found in one of the third-story
rooms, snugly covered up in bed, with his head on the pillow. On
turning down the clothes a sight met our eyes. The sheets were all
stained with blood, and the poor dog, hurt and exhausted, looked as
helpless and pitiful as any human being.

[Illustration: PONTO.]

I will not tell you of all the wounds he had received. There were a
great many of them, and some quite severe. "A good lesson for him," we
all said. And it proved so, for he was a little more careful after
that how he got into a fight.

A few months before, I had been thrown from a wagon and badly hurt--so
much so that I was confined to bed for a week. Ponto was with me at
the time of the accident, and on my arrival at home followed me into
the house and up to the chamber where I was taken. He watched every
movement as I was laid in bed, and then sat down with his eyes on my
pale face, regarding me with such looks of pity and interest that I
was touched and surprised.

When Ponto's turn came, he remembered the comfortable way in which I
had been cared for, and profited by what he had seen. But his
mistress, while she pitied the poor animal, did not fancy having her
spare bedroom turned into a dog-hospital; and so we removed him to an
out-house and made him as comfortable there as possible.

One cold winter evening Ponto was absent from his accustomed place in
the hall, where he slept on a mat. The wind was high and there was a
confusion of sounds outside.

"Hark!" said one.

We all listened.

"I thought I heard a knock at the hall door."

"Only the wind," was replied.

"Yes; there it is again."

We all heard two distinct knocks, given quickly one after the other.

I arose, and going into the hall went to the front door and opened it.
As I did so Ponto bounded in past me, gave two or three short, glad
barks, and then paid his boisterous respects to the family in the
sitting-room. I waited a moment, and then stepped out to see who had
lifted the knocker, but found no one. Ponto had done it himself, as we
had proof enough afterward; for ever since that time he has used the
knocker as regularly as any two-legged member of the family.

I could tell you stories for a whole evening about Ponto, but these
two must answer for the present.



BRUIN AT A MAPLE-SUGAR PARTY.


One evening near the first of April, three years ago this spring, I
was making my way the best I could down from the west branch of the
Penobscot River towards the plantation of Nikertou. (Up in Maine they
call an unincorporated town a plantation. Down south the word has a
different meaning.) How and why I came to be in that wild section, at
the hour of twilight, may need a word in explanation.

A month previously I had been sent up to the "Head of Chesuncook" from
Bangor, by the lumbering firm of which my uncle was a member, to pay
off one of their "gangs," which made the "head" of that lake a sort of
depot and place of rendezvous.

Both going up and coming back as far as the foot of Lake Pemadumcook,
I had had with me, as guide and armed protector, an old hunter named
Hughy Clives. But on getting down to the foot of this lake, and within
six or eight miles of Nikertou, old Hughy had been seized with a
sudden desire to leave me and to go to Millinocket Lake in quest of
otters; and so giving me my "course" for Nikertou, he had bidden me
"good luck," and again started northward.

It was a warm, spring-like afternoon, though the snow in that region
still lay to the depth of three or four feet; but on my snow-shoes I
didn't mind the depth; the main thing was to keep out of the brush and
the dense hemlock and cedar thickets.

It was about two o'clock when I left the river; and I had expected to
get down to the little "settlement" by sunset. But the sun went below
the distant spruce-clad ridges, and dusk fell, with as yet no signs of
a "clearing." Had I lost my way? My little pocket-compass said I was
all right--if Hughy had given me a correct course; and I had all
confidence in the old man too. Still, as the twilight deepened around
me, with the unbroken forest stretching drearily ahead, I began to
feel rather uneasy; especially as (since parting with Hughy and his
rifle) I had no weapon save a jack-knife and a little pocket-pistol I
had brought along with me from Bangor--not very effective arms in case
a catamount should take it into his head to drop down upon me from a
tree-top, or a big black bear to step out from behind one of those low
hemlocks, or even a cross old "lucivee" to rush out from some of those
thick cedar clumps. For thoughts of these things had begun to pop into
my mind. I was but seventeen then, and hadn't quite outgrown my fear
of the dark. And thus plodding timorously onward, thinking on many
things injurious to a boy's courage, I had begun to think I should
have to make a night of it there, somewhere, when the red gleam of a
fire, from the crest of the ridge before me, suddenly burst out on the
darkness, banishing all my fears. For a fire, whether in a hunter's
camp or a farm-house window, is good evidence of man's presence, with
food and shelter--the two great wants of the belated.

[Illustration: {The bear invades the sugar party camp}]

Hurrying on, I made my way up the slope. The fire seemed to be in the
open air, among trees--a woodman's camp probably; and, knowing that
these men are sometimes a little _ticklish_ about having strangers
come too suddenly into their night camps, I halted, while yet at some
distance, for a good look ahead.

There seemed to be several large kettles, slung with chains from a
"lug-pole" supported by strong crotched stakes at each end--a
circumstance which struck me as a little odd at a hunting-fire. No one
was in sight, though a sort of half shelter of hemlock might contain
the campers. Whatever they were, it would be well to hail them. So,
calling in my breath, I gave a loud "hullo."

Two dusky figures rose from the shelter, and looked out towards me
into the darkness.

"Hullo!" I repeated; and in response heard a clear boyish voice
exclaiming,--

"Who's there?"

"Belated tramper."

"Well, walk up, Mr. Tramper, where we can see what you are."

I moved up to be seen, and on my part saw a couple of youngsters, of
about my own age, who were tending what turned out to be a
sugar-camp.

"Where from?" demanded the taller of the two.

"Head of Chesuncook. Going to Bangor. Can I stay here to-night?"

"Of course you can. Had any supper?"

"Not a mouthful."

"Something left--wasn't there, Zeke?" said he, turning to his comrade,
who was now pouring cold sap into the "heater."

"Enough for one, I guess," said Zeke; and, taking a bucket and a
wooden bowl from under the hemlock, he produced a slab of johnny-cake
from the former, and, pouring out something like a quart of maple
sirup into the latter, bade me "go ahead."

I did so without further invitation, and never made a better supper,
the programme being to dip the bread into the sirup, mouthful by
mouthful.

The boys were now preparing their night's wood.

There had been, they said, "an excellent run of sap" during the last
few days. The kettles were kept boiling day and night, steadily. It
was truly a wild scene. Clouds of steam gushed up from the surging
kettles; and the fires gleamed brighter as the darkness deepened,
while all about us seemed a wall of blackness. But my long tramp had
thoroughly tired me down, and my recollections of the remainder of the
evening are a little drowsy, though I learned in the course of it that
the names of the two youthful sugar-makers, upon whose camp I had
stumbled, were Zeke Murch and Sam Bubar; and I also helped to take off
a large kettle of hot sirup, which we set in a snow-drift, two or
three rods from the fire, to cool. This done, I was soon asleep,
rolled up in an old coverlet, and knew very little till, hearing
voices, I opened my eyes to the fact that the sun was staring me in
the face from over the eastward ridge, as if surprised at my sloth.

Hastily unrolling myself, I saw Sam and Zeke out at the kettle we had
set in the snow, pointing and excitedly discussing something.

"Old scamp!" exclaimed Zeke. "What work he's made here!"

"All this sugar gone--spoiled!" cried Sam.

"What is it?" said I, going out to them. "What's the matter?"

"Why," said Sam, turning and laughing in spite of his vexation,
"something has _guzzled_ up 'most the whole of this 'honey' we set out
here last night. Only see there!"

The kettle, which must have held several pailfuls, was nearly empty;
and what was left hadn't a very inviting look certainly.

"What in the world ate all that?" cried I.

"Well--a bear, we expect," said Zeke. "There's been one hanging round
here for several nights. We heard him _hoot out_, down in the swamp,
ever so many times, after you had gone to sleep last night. Didn't
think he'd come up so near the fire, though. But we both got to sleep
a little while after midnight. I suppose he must have _lushed_ up the
sirup then."

"Tremendous fellow, too," said Sam. "Look at those tracks!"

Tracks indeed! There in the snow about the kettle were his broad, deep
footmarks, long as a man's boot, and much wider, pressed down, too,
into the snow, as only great weight could have pressed.

"Gracious!" exclaimed I, "you wouldn't have caught me going to sleep
here if I had known there was such a monster as that round!"

"Rather lucky, I think," said Zeke, "that he didn't take it into his
head to _top off_ his sirup with some of us."

"And I'm mad, too," continued Zeke. "We were depending on this kittle
of sirup for our party to-night."

"Your party?"

"Yes; we've invited a lot of the boys--and girls, too--to come up here
this evening, to make 'sheep-skins.' You'll stay--won't you? We were
going to ask you."

"Don't know," said I, still thinking of the bear.

"O, I don't think he'll meddle with us," said Sam, guessing at my
hesitation. "I'm going down to get some _fixins_, and shall bring up a
gun. If he calls again, he may get a dose of buckshot."

No one is apt to be a great coward after the sun is up. Thus
reassured, I concluded to stop to the party, for which the boys were
intending to make a great preparation.

"Let's do the thing up in style now," said Sam.

We went at it. First we cut low, shrubby evergreens, hemlocks mostly,
and with these made a sort of enclosure, some four rods in diameter,
around the kettles, by planting them in the snow. Then clipping off an
immense quantity of smaller boughs, we strewed the snow inside the
enclosure with these. We thus had a sort of green room (without any
roof), in the centre of which steamed the boiling kettles; and at the
entrance, or doorway, we made a grand arch of cedar. For seats we
rolled in "four-foot" cuts from the trunk of a large poplar they had
lately felled, first splitting off a slab from the side of each to
form a seat, which we cushioned with cedar.

Meanwhile another kettle of sirup was boiling down to supply the place
of that the bear had drank; and filling some fifteen or twenty
sap-buckets with clean snow, crowded down hard to make the
"sheep-skins" on, we were ready for our company.

It was nearly night before all this had been completed. Sam had been
down to the "settlement" and brought up a quantity of bread to go with
our honey; and I was glad to see that he hadn't forgotten the gun;
for, as night began to close in again, I couldn't help remembering the
great tracks out there in the snow-drift. As it grew dark and the fire
began to shine on the green boughs, our scenery looked even better
than by daylight; and for beacons to our incoming guests, we fixed
torches of pitch-wood upon stakes thrust into the snow around our
camp, and at several points out in the woods, like lamp-posts in a
town.

"Quite a show," said Sam, surveying the preparation. "How changed and
odd it makes it look all about!"

Ere long voices began to be heard coming up through the woods,--merry
shouts and hails,--to which the boys responded, bidding them hurry,
and promising a big "sheep-skin" to the one who first got up there.

A chorus of merry cries and laughter followed this announcement; and
in a few moments a racing, panting crowd of a dozen boys and girls
came up in sight, and poured under the arch--sturdy lads, and lasses
in red frocks and checked aprons. And here be it said that a girl--a
certain rosy Nell Ridley--won the sheep-skin by being the first under
the archway. But the others were not far behind, and in another moment
our green arena was swarming with the young folks.

Though a stranger, I soon found myself acquainted and on the best of
terms with everybody. Sheep-skins were now being run by the dozen, the
process being to pour hot sirup upon the cold, hard-pressed snow in
the buckets, where it instantly cooled, becoming tough and of the
color of sheep-skin. And if one has a "sweet tooth," nothing among all
the "sugars" can compare with a maple sheep-skin.

We all had _sweet teeth_ there, and were in the midst of a furious
romp around the kettles in chase of Nell, whom some one had accused of
appropriating "the great one," when somebody suddenly cried,--

"Hark!"

There was an instant hush; when clear on the evening air there came a
wild cry--a long, quavering "Hoo-oo-oo."

"Bear! A bear!" exclaimed several of the boys, to whom bruin's nightly
cries were but familiar sounds. But save that a few of the girls
looked a little startled, no one seemed to be much alarmed. I saw Zeke
looking to the priming of the old gun, though; and for a while we were
pretty whist, listening; but the cry, which had seemed at a
considerable distance, was not repeated. Indeed, in the merriment
which soon succeeded, the most of us had entirely forgotten it, I
think. At least we were all in the midst of another scrimmage over the
"last biscuit," when a loud snort, like that of a startled horse, a
sort of "woof! woof!" accompanied by a great rustling in our evergreen
hedge, startled us; and turning, we saw--I shall never forget the
sight--an enormous black creature coming through our _fence_, with all
the independence of a sole proprietor! Of course, as Zeke afterwards
expressed it, "if _he_ was _coming in_, we wanted to _go out_."

The girls were not of the fainting sort; but they did scream some, and
we all sprang away like cats through the opposite side of the hedge.
The gun had been left standing near the place where the bear had
broken in, and was not to be got at, of course. But, catching out my
pistol, as we scrambled through the hemlock, I discharged it at the
old fellow, hitting him, I guess; for he growled and came straight
after me. 'Twas no time to be loitering. Down the slope we all ran
together, slumping and sprawling full length in the soft snow! Up and
on again, knocking out spiles and kicking over sap-buckets, bumping
and grazing ourselves against the rough bark of the maples; for it was
pitch dark in the woods. But on we went for dear life, expecting every
moment to feel the bear's teeth or claws from behind. At first I had a
sort of impression that we boys should have to wait and put ourselves
between the girls and the bear; but I soon found I had all I could do
to keep up with them. Such girls to run I never saw before! And we
never stopped till, at a distance of a mile below, the forest opened
out into a cleared field.

There we began to discover that the bear was not after us, and
gradually came to a halt. After getting breath, however, we kept
on--at a little slower pace, though--down to the "corners," where,
after seeing the girls to their respective dwellings, guns were
procured, and, rallying out Mr. Bubar and Mr. Murch, senior, with
several other men, we all started back to hunt up the bear. Going
quietly up through the woods, we cautiously approached to a point
where the gap we had made in rushing out of our enclosure enabled us
to see what was going on inside; and there by the firelight we beheld
the bear sitting cosily before the coals, and gazing wistfully into
the boiling kettles. He had probably found them too hot for his use.

Raising their guns, the men all fired together--a murderous volley of
bullets and buckshot. Rearing upon his haunches with a sullen growl,
old bruin glared around a moment, then fell over backwards, and, with
a few dying kicks and groans, was dead. And this was the end of Bruin
and the maple-sugar party.



[Illustration: THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT.]

THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT.


There is not the least difficulty in distinguishing the Asiatic from
the African elephant. The ears of the former are comparatively small,
only reaching a little below the eyes, while the ears of the African
species are of enormous dimensions, actually crossing on the back of
the neck, drooping far below the chin, and extending beyond the
shoulder-blade. Generally, the ears are laid so flatly against the
neck, that they seem almost to form part of the skin of the head and
shoulders; but when the creature is suddenly roused, the ears are
thrown forward, and stand out so boldly, that they look more like
wings than ears. Towards the lower part the ears form themselves into
slight folds, which are not without some degree of elegance.

The end of the trunk also differs from that of the Asiatic species. In
that animal a kind of finger projects from the upper part of the
extremity; but in the African species the end of the trunk is split so
far, that the two lobes act as opposable fingers, and serve to grasp
any object which the animal desires to hold. This structure can easily
be seen by offering the animal a piece of biscuit. The forehead, too,
affords another means of distinction, being convex in the African, and
flat or slightly concave in the Asiatic.

Another very decided difference lies in the teeth. These enormous
engines of mastication are made up of a number of flat plates laid
side by side, and composed of enamel and bone. In the Asiatic species
these plates are nearly oval in form, and may be imitated by taking a
piece of cardboard, rolling it into a tube, and then pressing it until
it is nearly flat. But in the African species these plates are of a
diamond shape, and may be rudely imitated by taking the same
cardboard tube, and squeezing it nearly flat at each end, leaving the
centre to project. In consequence of these distinctions, several
systematic zoölogists have thought that the African elephant ought to
be placed in a separate genus, and have therefore called it _Loxodonta
Africana_, the former of these words signifying "oblique-toothed." I
think, however, that there are no real grounds for such a change, and
that the genus Elephas is amply sufficient for both species.

The enormous ears of the African elephant are not without their use to
the hunter, who finds in them an invaluable aid in repairing damages
to his wagons and guns. Even if a gun-stock be smashed,--an accident
which is of no very unfrequent occurrence in South African hunting,--a
large piece of elephant's ear, put on while fresh and wet, and allowed
to dry in the sun, sets matters right again, and binds the fragments
together as if they were enclosed in iron. Sometimes the ear seems to
be a protection to the animal; for it is so tough and strong, despite
its pliability, that the hunter will occasionally find several bullets
lodged in the ear, which have not been able to penetrate through a
substance at once tough and flexible.

This species is of a thirsty nature, so that wherever elephant paths
are seen, the hunter knows that he is not very far from water of some
kind. And as elephants have a fashion of travelling in Indian file, it
is easy enough to trace their footsteps, and so to find the water. The
animals go to drink in the evening, as do many other wild beasts, and
the quantity which they consume is enormous. They go close to the
water's edge, insert the end of the trunk into the liquid, draw it up
until the two nostril-tubes are full, turn the end of the trunk into
the mouth, and then discharge the contents into the stomach. When
satiated, they amuse themselves for a while by blowing water all over
their bodies, and then retrace their steps to the forest glades whence
they came.

The enormous quantity of water which they carry home within them has a
rather curious effect. At tolerably regular intervals a loud, rumbling
sound is heard, much resembling the "glug-glug" produced by pouring
wine out of a bottle, and lasting a few seconds. Were it not for this
phenomenon, the hunters would meet with far less success than at
present is the case. When hiding from a foe, the elephant can remain
motionless, so that not a cracking stick nor a rustling leaf betrays
its presence. But it cannot prevent this periodical rumbling; and
accordingly, when a hunter is in the bush after elephants, he sits
down every few minutes, and waits, in order to catch the sound which
tells him that elephants are near. Even in the semi-domesticated
specimens at the London Zoölogical Gardens, this sound is easily to be
heard.

The African elephant is more hunted than the Asiatic species, and
affords better sport and greater profit to the hunter. It seems to be
a fiercer, more active, and probably a more cunning animal, and, owing
to the character of the country through which it ranges, it seems to
be of a more nomad disposition. The chase of the African elephant
appears to exercise a kind of fascination over its votaries, like the
chase of the chamois among the Swiss mountaineers; and when a hunter
has fairly settled down to the business, he cannot tear himself away
from it without exercising great self-denial. Perhaps few sports are
encompassed with greater difficulties and dangers, or involve greater
hardships; and yet the wild, free, roving life has such charms, that
even a highly-educated European can scarcely make up his mind to
return to civilization.

In the first place, elephant hunting is not, as are many sports, an
expensive amusement. On the contrary, a hunter who possesses a
sufficiency of skill, courage, and endurance will be able not only to
cover his expenses, but to pay himself handsomely for his trouble.
There is certainly a very large expenditure at the outset; for a
hunter will need two wagons, with a whole drove of oxen, several good
and seasoned horses, a small arsenal of guns, with ammunition to
match, provisions for a lengthened period, and plenty of beads and
other articles which can be bartered for ivory. Moreover, a number of
native servants must be kept, and the amount of meat which they
consume daily is almost appalling.

Then there are always great losses to be counted upon. The cattle get
among the dread Tzetse flies, and die off in a few hours; the horses
catch the "paardsikte" (a kind of murrain), or tumble into pitfalls;
wagons break down, servants run away with guns, native chiefs detain
the wagons for weeks, together with a host of minor drawbacks. Still,
if a man is worthy of the name of hunter, and boldly faces these
difficulties, he will pay himself well, provided that his health holds
out--there are so many valuable articles to be brought from Southern
Africa, such as the horns and furs of animals, the skins of birds,
ostrich feathers, and ivory.

The teeth of the elephant, too, are valuable, and are made into
various articles of use and ornament. A set of knife-handles made of
elephant's tooth is sometimes to be seen, and I have now before me an
excellent specimen of a knife-handle, which shows the alternate rows
of enamel and bone in a very striking manner, and is certainly a much
handsomer article than a handle made of simple ivory.

[Illustration: THE ELEPHANT.]

The elephant is, indeed, one of the most eccentric of animals. There
is no possibility of calculating upon it, and nothing but experience
can serve a hunter when measuring his own intellect against the
elephant's cunning. The scent or sight of a human being at the
distance of a mile will send a herd of powerful male elephants on
their travels, the huge creatures preferring to travel for many miles
rather than meet a man. Yet, when assailed, there is scarcely any
animal which is more to be dreaded. It forgets fear, and, filled with
blind rage, it will chase an armed man in spite of his rifle, and will
continue to charge him until it dies.

It will engage in deadly battle with its own species, or with the
mail-clad rhinoceros, and yet will run away at the barking of a little
dog. There was a curious instance some years ago, when an elephant
that was travelling in America went mad, escaped from its keeper
during the night, and traversed the country for miles, doing great
damage. It broke carts to pieces, killed the horses, and was trying to
force its way into a barn where another horse had taken refuge, when
it was checked by a bull-dog, which flew at the huge animal, bit its
legs, and worried it so thoroughly, that the elephant, mad as it was,
fairly ran away. Indeed, nothing seems to cast this gigantic animal
into such a state of perplexity as the noisy attacks of a little,
cross-tempered, insolent, yapping terrier. The elephant cannot
understand it, and gets into such a state of nervous irritation, that
it never thinks of running away or annihilating its diminutive foe,
but remains near the same spot, making short and ineffectual charges,
until the hunter comes up and deliberately chooses his own position
for attack.

The flesh of the elephant is anything but palatable, and when cut into
strips and dried in the sun, has been aptly compared to leather
straps. A well-known hunter said that the character of elephant's
flesh might easily be imagined by taking the toughest beefsteak ever
cooked, multiplying the toughness by four, and subtracting all the
gravy. The natives, however, are possessed of marvellously strong jaws
and sharp teeth, and to them meat is meat, whether tough or tender.
There are, however, several parts of the elephant which are always
good; and these are the heart, the feet, and the trunk. The heart and
trunk are simply roasted, with the addition of some of the fat from
the interior of the body; but the feet require a more elaborate mode
of cookery.

While some of the men are cutting off the feet, others are employed in
digging a circular hole in the ground some ten feet deep and three
wide, the earth being heaped round the edge. An enormous heap of dry
wood and leaves is then piled over the hole, set on fire, and allowed
to burn itself out. As soon as the last sticks have fallen into the
hole, the men begin to rake out the glowing embers with long poles.
This is a laborious and difficult task, the heat being so great, that
each man can only work for a few consecutive seconds, and then gives
way to a cooler comrade. However, there are plenty of laborers, and
the hole is soon cleared. The elephant's foot is then rolled into the
hole, and covered over with the earth that was heaped round the edge.
Another pile of wood is then raised, and when it has completely burned
out, the foot is supposed to be properly baked. Thus prepared, the
foot is thought to be almost the greatest luxury which South Africa
can afford, the whole interior being dissolved into a soft, gelatinous
substance of a most delicate flavor. There is never any lack of fuel;
for the elephants break down so many branches for food, and in their
passage through the bush, that abundance of dry boughs can always be
picked up within a limited area.



THE SONG OF THE BIRD.


I.

In those unhappy days when revolution prevailed in France, there were
a number of noble families who were reduced to extreme poverty. One of
these was the family of Duke Erlan, who was a noble and
highly-respected man, while his wife was kind and charitable to such
an extent that all the poor people in the surrounding country loved
her with great affection.

They had two children--Carl and Lillie. When a certain revolutionary
outbreak had occurred, the duke removed from the city where he lived
to his chateau, in a retired part of the country, where he was
surrounded by rocks, vineyards, and fields of grain, far removed from
the bustle and turmoil of city life.

The good man regarded himself as very fortunate in being permitted to
live here in quiet with his family, and become the teacher of his
children.

Notwithstanding the great danger prevailing in the country, this was
indeed a happy family.

The duke was a good musician, and he made it an object to teach his
children to play on the piano; and though they were quite young, both
of them knew a number of very beautiful tunes.

On one stormy evening, near the end of winter, all four of them sat
together near their splendid piano. The duke had composed a little
song for his two children. It was such a pleasant, lively melody, that
they had learned it very easily, and each of them could play it. Their
mother, however, did not know it, and the children now thought it a
great thing for them to have the privilege of teaching it to her.

"Carl," said the duke, "you play, and we will sing."

And they sang this song:--

          "Take courage, bird;
          Our Father says,
          In winter's storms
          And summer's rays
          You have no barns,
          You sow no wheat,
    But God will give you bread to eat."

While they were singing, they heard some one knock at the door. They
heard the bell ring, and when the door was opened, five soldiers, clad
in uniform, demanded Duke Erlan to deliver himself up. They walked
straight up to him, and told him that he must go immediately to
prison. His wife cast herself at their feet, and begged them to let
him live in peace.

"We cannot help it," said they. "We have our orders, and must obey
them."

Not five minutes elapsed before that good man was taken from the midst
of his happy family, and hurried to prison. The duchess and her son
and daughter were overwhelmed with sorrow. They could not sleep that
night, and the next morning, as they looked out of the window and saw
how the storm had prevailed in the vineyards and on the fields, they
felt that the storm in their own hearts had been far more destructive.

The unhappy duchess now determined to use every means to rescue her
beloved husband. She went to the judges and assured them of her
husband's innocence; but they did not seem to have any more feeling
than so many marble statues. She received, in reply to her entreaties,
this answer:--

"In a few days your husband will be beheaded."

She returned to the castle after three days, and found that it was
occupied by soldiers. The furniture had all been taken away, and the
treasures were missing. She was not permitted even to enter the
castle, and was informed that her children, for whom she was weeping
in great sorrow, were gone--nobody could tell where.

It was late at night, and she did not know where she would sleep.
Going out into the castle-yard, she was met by Richard, an old and
faithful servant, who said,--

"Good mistress, you are in danger every moment of being arrested.
There is no safety for you unless you flee as quickly as possible. I
cannot conceal you, for that would be dangerous for all. I cannot save
your husband, and if you stay here it will be certain death. Your
children are at my house. Come with me. My brother, the old fisherman,
who keeps the ferry at the Rhine, is already informed of the matter. I
will go with you this very night, and he will take you and your
children safely over the river. Run--let us run for life."

The duchess came to the house of good Richard, where she found her
children. But Lillie was quite sick, and lay upon Richard's cot,
suffering from a high fever. She did not even know her mother. How
could that good lady leave her sick child? She did not wish to do it,
but the peasant told her that she could be of no assistance, and that
he would see that she was well provided for.

"Run," said he, "for your life is in danger."

It was a sad moment when Lillie's mother was compelled to leave her
child lying upon that sick bed; but the good woman, before giving her
a parting kiss, knelt at her side, and said,--

"O Lord, I commit this dear child to thee for safe keeping. I believe
thou wilt one day restore her to me."

The duchess was silent for a few moments; then, calmly arising, she
kissed her child, took Carl by the hand, and hastened through the
door towards the distant river.

She finally came to the old ferryman's house, and he gave them a great
deal of welcome, having provided some warm soup and bread to
strengthen them. They were taken over the river, and the two brothers,
Solomon and Richard, returned in the boat.

It was a desolate condition in which the duchess and her child were
placed, and we must follow her in her wanderings. The farther she went
from the river, the safer it would be for her and Carl. She followed
the direction which Richard had given her, until she reached
Switzerland. But her delay there came near costing her her life, for
she learned that a detective officer was in search of them. With all
the haste possible, she got across the Swiss boundary into the Tyrol,
which was Austrian territory. There she was safe. They passed over
high mountains, and through deep valleys, seeking a place where they
could settle. At last they came to a certain valley, which, in quiet
beauty, surpassed anything that they had seen.

"This reminds me more of home," she said, "than any country through
which we have passed. I have got several hundred louis which good
Richard saved when our house was plundered, and we can afford to rent
a little cottage."

The old Tyrolese peasant told her that there was no house for sale in
all the valley. "But," said he, "you can board in my cottage if you
choose."

The price was agreed upon, and the duchess and her son became inmates
of the family. The little room which was to be their home was very
plainly furnished; but simple as it was, the first thing that she did
on entering it was to kneel there with her child, and thank God for a
shelter. She arranged her affairs as well as she could for a
permanent residence with the Tyrolese peasant, and she began to look
upon it as home.

One day she told the peasant that she wished to send her little boy
Carl to school, if there was a good schoolmaster in the neighborhood.

"The pastor in a neighboring village," said the peasant, "will be here
to-day to catechise my child. He teaches school, and I think you can
make an arrangement with him."

That day the gray-haired old pastor came, and an arrangement was made
with him for Carl to go to school to him. Books were provided for him,
and he went to school with the greatest pleasure. He was a rapid
student, and repeated his lessons every evening to his mother.

In the Tyrol a great many canary birds are trained, and are sold to
dealers all through the country. The old Tyrolese peasant with whom
the duchess and Carl were boarding had a young and beautiful bird,
which sang very sweetly. Carl asked his mother to buy this bird,
saying,--

"Mother, this bird is very much like the one that our dear, sweet
Lillie used to have. Buy it for me, so that it may learn how to sing."

The duchess bought the bird, and soon became very much attached to it.
Carl took the greatest pleasure in its training, and in due time,
little Tim--for that was his name--would come to him and peck at his
fingers, and rub his little head on Carl's hand.

Carl was a natural musician, just as his father was, and would
sometimes play on a flute which the old Tyrolese peasant had. Little
Tim would imitate his tunes, and sometimes the concert was well worth
hearing.

The old pastor provided the duchess with news. One day he gave her a
French newspaper, and in the first column which she read there was a
long list of the names of noblemen who had been beheaded. Among them
she read the name of her husband, Henry Erlan. The newspaper fell from
her hands, and she swooned away. A severe illness came on, and it was
a long time doubtful whether she would recover. The old Tyrolese
despaired of her life, and said,--

"The coming autumn may find her no more with us; but who knows what
the good Lord will bring out of all this sorrow?"


II.

The old servant Richard, having rescued his good mistress from arrest,
and probably from death, now formed the resolution to save his master
too. He had not much time to plan, for he learned that the duke was to
be beheaded the following week. It so happened that the son of his
brother Solomon, the ferryman, belonged to the National Guard, and was
stationed at the prison to guard it. If he could only secure him to
engage in the enterprise, he felt that he could succeed. It was a
difficult thing to get a word to say to any member of the National
Guard. But old Richard had done many kind things for his nephew, and
he succeeded in getting a note to him through the post office,
appointing a time, when he was off duty, to meet him. Richard opened
the whole enterprise freely to his nephew, and told him all the great
injustice that had been done a noble family, and the sufferings
through which the different members had passed.

The duke was informed that he was to be beheaded next day, and his
door was marked by the prison-keeper as the room of a man who was to
be executed the following morning. The good man knelt in prayer after
the intelligence had been conveyed to him, and said,--

"To whom shall I go for help and courage, this last night of my life,
but to thee, O Lord? Thou knowest best what will happen to me. If it
be in accordance with thy will, permit me to see my wife and children
again. If thou seest that it is not best for thy glory that I should
live, then I will obey willingly. Thy will, not mine, be done."

[Illustration: "FATHER, FATHER! THAT IS THE VERY TUNE WHICH WE WERE
    SINGING TOGETHER THE NIGHT THAT YOU WERE ARRESTED." See page 327.]

That was a noble prayer. Scarcely had the last word fallen from his
lips, when he heard somebody gently lifting the latch of his door, and
inserting the key.

"Save yourself," whispered the person who entered, who was none other
than old Solomon's son, to whom Richard had confided his enterprise.
It was two o'clock in the morning, the very best time to accomplish
his purpose.

"Put on these clothes," said he, as he unfolded a soldier's uniform;
"take this hat, and here is a gun. As quickly as you possibly can,
transform yourself into a soldier."

They escaped in safety from the prison, accompanied by the faithful
Richard, and went as rapidly as they could towards the Rhine. They
reached old Solomon's ferry house. The young man knocked gently at the
window, and asked his father to come out as soon as possible and take
the duke over the river.

"Are you not going to take your little girl with you?" said the old
ferryman.

"What little girl?" asked the duke.

"Your little daughter, whom my brother has brought here this very day;
and she is as sweet a child as I ever saw in my life. She lies asleep
now in the corner of the room."

This was news which the nobleman did not expect to hear, and he was
almost overcome with joy. But he had no time to spend in greeting,
except to give his dear Lillie a kiss. Soon they were over the Rhine;
but before reaching the bank on the opposite side, they were fired at
by soldiers who had come in search of them. A bullet passed through
the top of the duke's high soldier hat, but he was not harmed, and
escaped in safety.

The great task for him to accomplish now was to find his wife and boy,
though he had but little hope of ever finding them. Old Richard had
enough money to buy the duke a horse; so the father mounted the horse,
and took his little daughter on the saddle with him. They travelled
over the mountains and through the vales, asking, whenever they met
any person, to tell them if they knew of any strangers in that section
of the country. But nobody gave any information.

Old Richard was yet with them, for he had still enough money left to
buy a mule, and he rode beside his good master and Lillie until the
17th of July arrived, and that was Lillie's birthday. The duke
determined that they three should stop and celebrate it by taking a
little rest and a good meal in a cottage by the wayside. Having
finished their dinner, they went out of doors and looked about the
beautiful yard, which was all blooming with flowers. A bird cage was
hanging by the side of the door, and the bird was singing the tune to
these words:--

          "Take courage, bird;
          Our Father says,
          In winter's storms
          And summer's rays
          You have no barns,
          You sow no wheat,
    But God will give you bread to eat."

Lillie was astounded at again hearing that sweet melody, and she
exclaimed,--

"Father, father! that is the very tune which we were singing together
the night that you were arrested."

The little bird went over it two or three times, and the father
said,--

"You are right, my dear child. That is the melody--not a note is
wanting. This is truly wonderful. I do believe that this bird has been
taught to sing that song by Carl and your good mother. O, Richard, can
you not find out how this bird came here?"

Richard said in reply,--

"I will do all I can, but I am afraid that it will be very difficult."

He made inquiries of the man who owned the bird, and who had furnished
them with the dinner, as to where the bird came from. The Tyrolese
replied,--

"I don't know where it came from, except that a young man who passed
along the road, and who lives about three miles from here, sold it to
me for a trifling sum one day. I was pleased with its appearance,
because it was a beautiful bird, and the price was very low."

Then Richard said,--

"Can you not see that young man, and find out where he got it from?"

"I will do so if you wish," he answered.

Richard then told him to report as soon as possible what he had
learned.

That afternoon, about five o'clock, the young man was brought to
Richard and the duke, and inquiries were made as to where he got the
bird. He said that he did not know where it came from exactly, except
that it was found one day after it had escaped from somebody's cage.
He did not know who owned it, or else he would have taken it to its
owner.

"Where was it you found it?" said the duke.

"About ten miles from here, when I was going to see my mother, who
lives a great many miles away."

"Do you know whether any strangers are in that neighborhood?" asked
the duke.

"I heard my mother say that there were a lady and a little boy living
some three miles the other side of her house, and that she was a very
good woman."

"Did you ever see the boy yourself?" inquired the duke.

"Yes, I saw the boy going to school."

The duke, on making further inquiries as to his appearance, came to
the conclusion that the boy whom he had seen was probably none other
than Carl. He accordingly made his arrangements to go to the place of
which the young man had spoken.

That night he reached the house where this good lady and her son were
boarding. True enough, the duke and little Lillie were in the presence
of the duchess and Carl. It was a happy meeting, far beyond my power
to describe. Their gratitude to their heavenly Father for preserving
them to each other knew no bounds. It was an hour of such happiness as
is seldom permitted any one to enjoy.

They sat up late that night and recounted their experiences to each
other, and then the duke revealed the secret of his coming to that
house; that it was a canary bird which had been the instrument of his
finding her and Carl. They spent a few days in great happiness there,
and made a bargain with the man who owned the canary bird which had
escaped from Carl's cage to get it back again.

Two years passed on, and peace and quiet were again restored to
France. The duke and his family were permitted to return to his
castle, and the government made him ample reparation for all the
losses that he had incurred. They took with them their little canary
bird, which had lost none of its sweet notes by the lapse of time.

One day a magnificent new piano arrived from Paris, and after tea the
duke said,--

"Now we will try the piano in our own quiet home. What shall we sing?"
asked he.

The duchess, and Carl, and Lillie all answered with one voice,--

"We must sing our bird song."

          "Take courage, bird;
          Our Father says,
          In winter's storms
          And summer's rays
          You have no barns,
          You sow no wheat,
    But God will give you bread to eat."



THE SHEEP AND THE GOAT.


    Not all the streets that London builds
      Can hide the sky and sun,
    Shut out the winds from o'er the fields,
    Or quench the scent the hay swath yields
      All night, when work is done.

    And here and there an open spot
      Lies bare to light and dark,
    Where grass receives the wanderer hot,
    Where trees are growing, houses not;
      One is the Regent's Park.

[Illustration: THE GOATS.]

    Soft creatures, with ungentle guides,
      God's sheep from hill and plain,
    Are gathered here in living tides,
    Lie wearily on woolly sides,
      Or crop the grass amain.

    And from the lane, and court, and den,
      In ragged skirts and coats,
    Come hither tiny sons of men,
    Wild things, untaught of book or pen,
      The little human goats.

    One hot and cloudless summer day,
      An overdriven sheep
    Had come a long and dusty way;
    Throbbing with thirst the creature lay,
      A panting, woollen heap.

    But help is nearer than we know
      For ills of every name;
    Ragged enough to scare the crow,
    But with a heart to pity woe,
      A quick-eyed urchin came.

    Little he knew of field or fold,
      Yet knew enough; his cap
    Was just the cap for water cold--
    He knew what it could do of old;
      Its rents were few, good hap!

    Shaping the brim and crown he went,
      Till crown from brim was deep.
    The water ran from brim and rent;
    Before he came the half was spent--
      The half, it saved the sheep.

    O, little goat, born, bred in ill,
      Unwashed, ill-fed, unshorn!
    Thou meet'st the sheep from breezy hill,
    Apostle of thy Saviour's will,
      In London wastes forlorn.

    Let others say the thing they please,
      My faith, though very dim,
    Thinks He will say who always sees,
    In doing it to one of these
      Thou didst it unto him.



FROM BAD TO WORSE.


    Come, children, leave your playing,
      And gather round my knee,
    And I'll tell you a little story:
      Away across the sea,
    In a meadow where the mosses
      And the grass were frozen brown,
    Three little maids sat milking
      One day as the sun went down--
    Not cows, but goats of the mountain;
      And before their pails were full,
    The winds, they pierced like needles
      Through their gowns of heavy wool.
    And as one hand, then the other,
      They tried to warm in their laps,
    The bitter weather froze their breath
      Like fur about their caps.
    And so, as they sat at their milking,
      They grew as still as mice,
    Save when the stiff shoes on their feet
      Rattled like shoes of ice.

    At last out spoke the youngest
      As she blew on her finger-nails:
    I have planned a plan, sweet sisters:
      Let us take our milking-pails,
    And go to the side of the mountain
      As fast as we can go,
    And heap them up to the very top
      From the whitest drifts of snow;
    And let us build in the meadow
      Where we will milk our goats at night
    A house to keep us from the cold,
      With walls all silver white.

    We will set the door away from the wind.
      The floor we will heap with moss,
    And gather little strips of ice
      And shingle the roof across.

    Then all the foolish maidens,
      They emptied their pails on the ground,
    And bounded up the mountain-side
      As fast as they could bound,
    And came again to the meadow
      With pails heaped high with snow,
    And so, through half the night, the moon
      Beheld them come and go.

    But when with the daybreak roses
      The silver walls shone red,
    The three little foolish maidens
      Were lying cold and dead.
    The needles of the frost had sewed
      Into shrouds their woollen coats,
    And with cheeks as white as the ice they lay
      Among their mountain goats.

                               ALICE CARY.



[Illustration: GRACIE AND HER FATHER.]

MY STORY.


Many years ago, when the sky was as clear, the flowers as fragrant,
and the birds as musical as now, I stood by a little mahogany table,
with pencil and paper in hand, vainly trying to add a short column of
figures. My small tin box, with the word _Bank_ in large letters upon
it, had just been opened, and the carefully hoarded treasure of six
months was spread out before me. Scrip had not come into use then; and
there were one tiny gold piece, two silver dollars, and many quarters,
dimes, half-dimes, and pennies. For a full half hour I had been
counting my fingers and trying to reckon up how much it all amounted
to; but the problem was too hard for me. At last I took pencil and
paper, and sought to work it out by figures.

"What are you doing, Gracie?" pleasantly inquired my father, entering
the room with an open letter in his hand.

"O, papa! is that you?" I cried, eagerly turning towards him. "Just
look--see how much money I've got! John has just opened my bank. It is
six months to-day since I began to save, and I've more than I
expected."

"Yes, you are quite rich."

"So much that I can't even count it. I've done harder sums in addition
at school; but somehow, now, every time I add, I get a different
answer. I can't make it come out twice alike."

"Where did you get that gold piece?"

"Why, don't you know? _You_ gave it to me for letting Dr. Strong pull
out my big back tooth."

Father laughed.

"Did I?" said he; "I had forgotten it. But where did you get those two
silver dollars?" he inquired.

"O, grandmother gave me this one. It's _chicken_ money. She gave it to
me for feeding the chickens every morning all the while I staid there;
and the other is _hat_ money. Aunt Ellen told me if I'd wear my hat
always when I went out in the sun, and so keep from getting
sun-burned, that she would give me another dollar; and she did."

"Where did the remainder come from?"

"Mostly from you, papa. You are always giving me money. These two
bright, new quarters you gave me when you looked over my writing-book,
and saw it hadn't a blot. How much is there in all?" I earnestly
asked.

Father glanced at the little pile, and smilingly said,--

"Seven dollars and ten cents. That's a good deal of money for a little
girl only nine years old to spend."

"And may I spend it just as I please?"

"Certainly, my dear; just as you please. It's a great thing for little
people to learn to spend money wisely."

Saying this, he seated himself by the window, and drawing me towards
him, placed me upon one knee.

"Gracie, dear, I have just received a letter from grandmother. She
proposes that I come to Vermont and bring you; that I remain as long
as business will admit, and leave you to pass the summer just as you
did last year. How would that suit?" fixing his kind dark eyes full
upon my upturned face to read my changing thoughts.

"O, I should like it very much!" I quickly exclaimed, clapping my
hands with delight. Then I reflected a moment, and a shadow fell over
my prospective happiness.

"On the whole, papa," I said, earnestly, "I think I had better go, and
not stay any longer than you can stay. I am all the little girl _you_
have, and you are all the parent _I_ have, and we should be very
lonely without each other."

I felt his warm, loving kiss upon my cheek as he folded me to his
heart, and a tear fell on my forehead. For two years I had been
motherless; but a double portion of pity and tenderness had been
lavished upon me by my indulgent father. He was a New York merchant of
ample means. Our home was elegant and tasteful.

The home of my father's only surviving parent, my doting grandmother,
whom we were designing to visit, was a plain, unpretending farm-house,
snuggly nestled up among the hills of Vermont. There were tall poplar
trees and a flower-garden in front, a little orchard and a whole row
of nice looking out-buildings in the rear. There was no place on earth
so full of joy for me. The swallows' nests on the barn; the turkeys,
geese, and chickens; the colt, lambs, and little pigs; in short,
everything had an ever-increasing attraction, far exceeding any
pleasures to be found within the limits of the crowded city.

The prospect of another visit to Woodville filled my heart with
intense delight.

A week passed, and on one of the sunniest and freshest of June
mornings we started for Vermont. I was exceedingly fond of travelling
in the cars, and it seemed as if a thousand sunbeams had suddenly
fallen upon my young life. The train left New York, and we found
ourselves rapidly whirling past hills, forests, towns, and villages.
Sometimes we were flying through dark, deep cuts, then crossing
streams and rich green fields and meadows.

We expected to reach grandmother's that evening. I had written to
inform her of our coming. One hour after another passed. The day was
declining, and the sun was slowly sinking in the west.

"How much longer have we to go?" was the question I had asked for the
fiftieth time at least.

"About another hour's ride, Gracie," smilingly answered my father. "I
think we shall reach Woodville about eight."

The cars continued to hurry on till we were within a few rods of the
station.

The bell was ringing its usual warning, and the bell from a train from
behind was beginning to be heard. We had commenced to switch off, to
allow the express train to pass. But by some carelessness or
miscalculation our train was a minute too late. Father and I were
comfortably occupying one of the front seats of the rear car; and I
was in a state of impatient excitement to reach our destination. But
there came, in an instant, a stunning, frightful crash; and I was
thrown violently forward. What followed for the next ten minutes I do
not know.

I think I must have been in a semi-unconscious state, for I have a dim
recollection of strange sounds, confusion, anxiety, and terror. Strong
hands seemed to pull me out from under a heavy weight, and gently lay
me down. I felt dizzy and faint. I opened my eyes, and light came
gradually to my darkened vision. A gentleman stood over me with his
fingers upon my wrist. A kind, sunny-faced old lady was wetting my
head.

"Are you much hurt?" she tenderly inquired, gazing upon me in
undisguised anxiety.

"What's the matter? Where am I?" I cried, springing up and gazing
wildly around.

In a moment my eye caught sight of the broken rear car. There were
several wounded and bleeding people about me. I saw the front cars
emptied of passengers, who were actively employed in caring for the
injured. I comprehended in an instant that there had been an accident.

"My father! my father!" I cried.

"You shall see him soon," soothingly answered the gentleman by my
side. "Drink this;" and he held to my mouth a glass of something
pleasant and pungent. I drank its entire contents. I think it helped
to quite restore me. I ran wildly about in search of my missing
parent. There was a little group of men and women a short distance
off. I hurried towards it, and recognized Peter, my grandmother's man,
who had come to meet us at the station.

"Where is my father?" I said in a voice hardly audible from terror,
seizing Peter's arm.

Before he could reply, I saw father, white and motionless, upon the
ground.

"He is dead!" I shrieked, springing towards him, and convulsively
throwing my arms about him.

"He is stunned, _not_ dead, my child," said the physician, kindly
drawing me away, to minister to him. "We hope he will soon be better."

In spite of his soothing words and tones, I read the truth in his
face; that he feared life was almost extinct.

"O, what can I do? Save him! save him! You must _not_ let him die! you
must _not_!"

"My poor child, I will do all I can," replied the physician, touched
by my distress.

But no efforts to restore my father to consciousness availed anything.
There was a deep, ugly cut on one side of his head. No other external
injury could be found; yet he had not spoken or moved since he was
taken out from the broken car.

The accident had occurred but a few rods from the station; and as
grandmother's house was scarcely a mile distant, Peter strongly urged
that he should be taken there at once. Accordingly a wagon was
procured. The seats were taken out, and a mattress placed upon the
bottom, and father was carefully laid upon it; and Peter drove rapidly
home, while I followed with the doctor in his buggy. A man had been
sent in advance of us to inform grandmother of our coming. She met us
at the door with a pallid face, but was so outwardly calm, that I took
courage from beholding her.

Father was laid upon a nice, white bed, in a little room on the ground
floor; and again every means for restoring him was resorted to. Still
he remained unconscious.

The hours went on. The old family clock had just struck two, and we
were watching and working in an agony of suspense.

I had not left my father's bedside, till the low, indistinct
conversation between the doctor and grandmother, in the next room,
fell upon my ear.

"There is life yet," said he. "I thought once he had ceased to
breathe."

"And you are quite sure he does?" she inquired.

"Yes. I held a small mirror over his face; and the mist that gathered
upon it proves there is still faint breathing."

I shuddered and ran out to them.

"You think he will die!" I cried, seizing grandmother's hand with
desperate energy.

"I cannot tell, dear Gracie. His life, like yours and mine, is in the
hands of God. We cannot foresee his purposes. We can only submit to
his will."

Saying this, she returned with the doctor to the sick room, and I was
left alone.

The prospect of being deprived of my only surviving parent almost
paralyzed me. I looked out of the open window. It was a calm, clear
summer night. The moon shone out in all its glory and brilliancy, and
the stars twinkled as cheerily as though there was no sorrow,
suffering, or death in the world.

I sprang towards the door and closed it, and then threw myself upon my
knees, and poured out my great anguish into the pitying ear of the
heavenly Father.

"O, good, kind Father in heaven, do hear and quickly answer me. Do
save my own dear papa from death. Mother, Bessie, and little Fred have
all gone to live with thee; and he is all I have left. Do, I entreat
thee, help him to get well; I will be more kind, and generous, and
obedient than I have ever been before, and will try to please thee as
long as I live."

I arose comforted and strengthened. Returning to my father's room, I
saw the doctor with his fingers upon his wrist again.

"A faint pulse," he said, turning towards grandmother.

Another hour passed. The breath was perceptible now, and the doctor
looked more hopefully.

Morning came, and the glad sunlight streamed in through the windows.
Father remained in a deep stupor, but manifested more signs of life
than at any time since the accident. He had moved slightly several
times, and as the hours went on his breathing became more natural and
regular.

Suddenly he opened his eyes and gazed feebly around.

"Father, dear father, are you better?" I cried in a choking voice.

He smiled faintly, then closed his eyes again, and sank into a sweet,
refreshing slumber.

Another day came, bringing joy immeasurable to all of us. Father was
conscious and rallying fast, and before night the doctor assured us
all danger was past. The weeks went on.

June went out and July came in. We had been nearly a month in
Woodville; and how different my visit had resulted from the season of
perfect happiness I had so ardently anticipated!

Father was gradually regaining his former health; and although the
wound on his head was but partially healed, he was pronounced doing
admirably by the attentive physician.

He was now able to go out, and we took many long rides together,
keenly enjoying the beautiful scenery and the pure air. As strength
increased, the necessity of returning to his business pressed upon my
father, and the first week in September was appointed for our
departure.

On the last Sunday of our sojourn in Woodville, grandmother and I went
in the morning to church. There had just been a fearfully destructive
fire in one of the neighboring towns, and a large number of people
were homeless. The minister announced that at the close of the
afternoon service, a collection would be taken up for the sufferers,
and he strongly urged a generous contribution from his parishioners.

I had hitherto paid little heed, when in church, to what the minister
said; but since the dreadful accident and father's almost miraculous
recovery, I had been far more thoughtful and attentive than formerly.
My heart went out in deep sympathy and pity for the poor men, women,
and children who were made houseless in a single night, and I ardently
longed to do the little in my power to relieve them.

So, during the intermission between the services, I took out the money
I had brought with me, and which father had told me I was free to
spend as I pleased. I tied it up in my handkerchief. There was too
much for my pocket-book to conveniently hold, for it was all of the
carefully hoarded treasure of my bank. It was my design to put it into
the contribution-box.

Grandmother did not go to church in the afternoon; but father decided
to go, and I accompanied him. After the services were over, two men
arose and began to pass round the boxes to collect money for the
people whose homes had been burned. As I beheld one of them coming
slowly up the aisle, stopping at every pew, I was in a flutter of
excitement. It was a novel thing for me to put money into the
contribution-box, and my heart beat violently.

I drew out my handkerchief from my pocket, and hurriedly began to
untie the knot. But my usually nimble fingers were provokingly slow to
act now; and I pulled and pulled away, but to no purpose. The knot
obstinately refused to yield. The man with the box had nearly reached
our pew, and I began to fear I should lose the chance to give.

"Don't let him slip by me," I whispered so loudly to father as to
cause at least a dozen persons in the adjacent seats to stare
wonderingly at me. "I've something to put in."

Another prodigious effort, and the knot yielded.

The man passed the box first to father, and he put in a bill. He
glanced at me, evidently thinking a child would hardly have money to
give, and was about to go on; but I looked beseechingly towards him,
and he stopped and extended the box to me. In an instant the entire
contents of my handkerchief were emptied into it--as much money as my
two chubby hands could hold.

Father looked down upon me, and a half-amused smile flitted over his
face, as he beheld my unexpected act.

After we had returned home, father sat down by the window in an easy
chair, and calling me to him, placed me upon his knee.

"Gracie, dear," said he, smilingly, "tell me how it happened you put
so much money into the contribution-box. It must have taken nearly all
you had."

"It _was_ all I had, papa. It was the money I saved in my bank, and
you told me I could spend it just as I pleased."

"O, yes, dear; I am glad to have you; only it was a good deal for a
little girl."

"I gave it because I wanted to please God," I replied with earnest
solemnity. "That dreadful night, when we all thought you would die,
dear papa, I promised God I would be a better girl than I have ever
been before. I would be more kind, generous, and obedient, and would
try and please him all my life, if he would only let _you_ get well;
and I gave my money to-day because I am so glad and grateful to him."

"Precious child," said he tenderly and with much emotion, drawing me
close to him, "and I am glad, and grateful too, for the rich gift of
my dear little daughter."

                                           SARAH P. BRIGHAM.



THE WAY TO WALK.


    As I tramped over a stony path,
      One cloudy morning early,
    I learned the only way to step,
      To keep from being surly.

    Don't hurry, and stride, and come down hard
      Upon the rolling pebbles,
    But lightly step; and that's the way
      To charm all kinds of rebels.

    Don't hurry, and stride, and come down hard,
      Even on troublesome people;
    But carry your feet, and tread on air,
      As though you lived on a steeple.

    There are rolling stones in every path,
      And rocks with jagged edges,
    Which, if we gently touch, may turn
      To flowers and bending sedges.

                                  M. R. W.



[Illustration: THE CAMEL.]

[Decoration]

CAMELS.


The Bactrian camel may be at once known by the two humps upon its
back, which give the animal a most singular appearance.

This species is a native of Central Asia, China, and Thibet, and is
generally as useful in those countries as is the dromedary in Arabia,
being employed for the saddle, for draught, and burden. It is,
however, chiefly employed for the second of those purposes, and is of
the greatest service to its owners.

The vehicle to which this camel is generally harnessed is a rude cart
of wood, ingeniously put together, without a particle of iron, and,
after the fashion of such structures, shrieking, creaking, and
groaning as the wheels turn on their roughly-made and ungreased axle.
The drivers, however, care nothing for the hideous and incessant
noise, and probably are so accustomed to it, that they would not feel
at home with a cart whose wheels moved silently. The mode of
harnessing is precisely that which so simple a vehicle requires. From
the front of the cart projects a pole, and to this pole are hitched a
pair of camels by a yoke that passes over their shoulders. In fact,
the entire harness is nothing more than a wooden yoke and a leathern
strap.

In spite, however, of the rude machine to which they are attached, and
the great loss of power by the friction of the badly-fitted wheels,
the animals can draw very heavy weights for considerable distances. A
burden of three thousand pounds' weight is an ordinary load for a pair
of camels, and a peculiarly strong yoke of these animals will draw
nearly four thousand pounds' weight. This camel is commonly yoked in
pairs.

For the plough the camel is never employed, not because it is not
sufficiently strong for the task, but because it does not pull with
the steadiness needed to drag the ploughshare regularly through the
ground.

Sometimes, however, the Bactrian camel is employed as a beast of
burden, the bales being slung at each side, and the water-skins
suspended below the belly. When the animal is employed for this
purpose, a kind of pack-saddle is used, somewhat similar in shape to
that which has already been described in the history of the one-humped
camel, but necessarily modified in its structure. The owner of the
camel takes great care not to overload his animal, as he is afraid of
injuring the humps, and thereby detracting from the value of the
camel.

[Illustration: CAMEL OF A TARTAR EMIGRANT.]

In Persia the camel is employed for a very singular purpose. There
was, and may be now, a corps of the army which is called the camel
artillery. It consisted of a number of camels, each fitted with a
peculiar saddle, which not only accommodated the rider, but carried
a swivel-gun of about one pound calibre. These weapons had a greater
range than the ordinary Persian matchlocks, and, owing to the rapidity
with which they could be transferred from spot to spot, formed a
valuable branch of the artillery.

When the enemy saw that a detachment of the camel artillery was about
to attack them, their usual device was to reach such a position as to
force the camels to traverse wet and muddy ground, in which they were
sure to slip about, to lose all command over their limbs, and
sometimes to lame themselves completely by the hind legs slipping
apart.

Camels were especially serviceable for this purpose, because they are
wonderfully sure-footed when the ground is dry, almost rivalling the
mule in the certainty of the tread. The Arabian camel is notable for
his sure tread, but the Bactrian species is still more remarkable in
this respect. Owing, in all probability, to the elongated toe, which
projects beyond the foot, and forms a kind of claw, the Bactrian camel
can climb mountain passes with perfect security, and in consequence of
this ability is sometimes called the mountain camel.

It is as serviceable in winter as in summer. The soft, cushion-like
feet, which slide about so helplessly in mud, take a firm hold of ice,
and enable their owner to traverse a frozen surface with easy
security. In snow, too, the Bactrian camel is equally at home; and the
Calmucks would rather ride a camel than a horse in the winter, because
the longer legs of the former animal enable it to wade through the
deep snow, in which a horse could only plunge about without finding a
foothold. No greater proof of the extreme utility of this animal can
be adduced than the fact that a body of two thousand camels were
employed in conducting a military train over the "snow-clad summits
of the Indian Caucasus" in winter time, and that throughout the space
of seven months only one camel died, having been accidentally killed.

Although the camel has so strong an objection to mud, it has none to
water, and will wade across a river without hesitation. It can even
swim well when the water is too deep to be forded; but it does not
appear to have much power of directing its course, or of propelling
itself through the water with much force. Indeed, it may rather be
said to float than to swim.

In point of speed it cannot approach the Arabian dromedary, although
it is little inferior to the ordinary camel of burden. About two and a
half miles per hour is the average pace at which a pair of Bactrian
camels will draw a load, varying in weight from three to four thousand
pounds; and if they travel over a well-made road, they can do their
thirty miles a day for many successive days. In countries, therefore,
which are adapted to its habits, the camel is far superior to any
other beast of burden, whether for draught or carriage.

One great advantage of the camel is, that its feet are so tough, that
they can pass over rough and stony places without suffering, and that
therefore the animal does not require the aid of shoes. In an ordinary
march, the constant attention to the shoeing of horses and cattle
entails great labor, much watchfulness, and often causes considerable
delay, so that the peculiar formation of the camel's foot, which
neither requires nor admits of an iron shoe, is of exceeding value in
a forced march. In some places a leathern shoe is fixed to the camel's
foot, but is really of little use.

[Illustration: THE CAMEL.]

The very worst time for the Bactrian camel is the beginning and end of
winter, when frost and thaw occur alternately. At such times of the
year the snow falls thickly, is partially melted in the daytime, and
at night freezes on the surface into a thin cake of ice. Through this
crust the feet of the camel break, and the animal cuts its legs
cruelly with the sharp edges of the broken ice.

For the cold weather itself this species of camel cares little,
passing its whole time in the open air, and feeding on the grass when
it is caked with the ice formed from the dew. Indeed, it bears a
severe winter better than either horse, ox, or sheep, and has been
observed to feed with apparent comfort when the thermometer had sunk
many degrees below zero. In some places--such as the country about
Lake Baikal--the camel is partially sheltered from the cold by a thick
woollen cloth, which is sewn over its body; but even in such cases its
owners do not trouble themselves to furnish it with food, leaving it
to forage for itself among shrubs and trees of higher ground, or among
the reeds and rushes that grow on marshy land and the banks of rivers.

Almost the only disease among the Bactrian camels is an affection of
the tongue, which is covered with blisters, so that the poor animal
cannot eat, and dies from starvation.

The fleece of the Bactrian camel ought to weigh about ten pounds, and
is used for making a coarse and strong cloth. In the summer time the
hair becomes loose, and is easily plucked off by hand, just as sheep
used to be "rowed" before shears were employed in removing the wool.
The camel in the Zoölogical Gardens may be seen in the summer time in
a very ragged state, its fleece hanging in bunches in some parts of
the body, while others are quite bare. The price of the wool is about
six cents a pound.

The skin is used for making straps, ropes, and thongs, and is seldom
tanned. It is thought to be inferior to that of the ox, and is in
consequence sold at a comparatively cheap rate, an entire hide only
fetching about two dollars. The milk is used for food, but is produced
in very small quantities, the average yield being only half a gallon.
The flesh is eaten, and when the animal is fat is tolerably tender,
and is thought to resemble beef. If, however, it be in poor condition,
the meat is so tough and ill-flavored, that none but hungry men, armed
with good teeth, can eat it. The price of a good Bactrian camel is
about fifty dollars.

The weight of a full-grown animal is about one third more than that of
the average ox--that is to say, about twelve hundred pounds. The
average height is seven or eight feet, and the animal generally lives
about thirty-five or forty years.

Dissimilar in external appearance as are the Bactrian and Arabian
camels, their skeletons are so alike, that none but a skilful
anatomist can decide upon the species to which a skeleton has
belonged. The legs of the Bactrian species are rather shorter in
proportion than those of the Arabian animal, and in them lies the
chief distinction of the two species. Indeed, many naturalists deny
that there is any real difference of species, and assert that the two
animals are simply two varieties of the same species.

The specimen in the Zoölogical Gardens is called "Jenny" by the
keeper, and has rather a curious history, being associated with one of
the great events of the present century. During the late Russian war
her mother was taken from the enemy in the Crimea, and was
unfortunately killed. The deserted little one ran about among the
soldiers, and was adopted by the corps of Royal Engineers, who towards
the end of 1856 presented her to the Zoölogical Society. Both the
camels are fed upon the same diet, and eat about the same quantity.

                                                 J. G. WOOD.



[Illustration: {Two girls looking thoughtful; one of them is sitting
    on a clothes trunk}]

WHAT SO SWEET?


    What so sweet as summer,
      When the sky is blue,
    And the sunbeams' arrows
      Pierce the green earth through?

    What so sweet as birds are,
      Putting into trills
    The perfume of the wild-rose,
      The murmur of the rills?

    What so sweet as flowers,
      Clovers white and red,
    Where the brown bee-chemist
      Finds its daily bread?

    What so sweet as sun-showers,
      When the big cloud passes,
    And the fairy rainbow
      Seems to touch the grasses?

    What so sweet as winds are,
      Blowing from the woods,
    Hinting in their music
      Of dreamy solitudes?

    Rain, and song, and flower,
      When the summer's shine
    Makes the green earth's beauty
      Seem a thing divine.

                         MARY N. PRESCOTT.



COUNTING BABY'S TOES.


    Dear little bare feet,
      Dimpled and white,
    In your long night-gown
      Wrapped for the night,
    Come let me count all
      Your queer little toes,
    Pink as the heart
      Of a shell or a rose.

    One is a lady
      That sits in the sun;
    Two is a baby,
      And three is a nun;
    Four is a lily
      With innocent breast,
    And five is a birdie
      Asleep on her nest.



[Illustration: THE WELL.]

THORNS.


"Deepdale is a delightful place to visit." So thought little Nellie
Harris when she went there to see Cousin Rose. All day long they
wandered over the farm with Uncle John, first to feed the chickens,
then to the well so dark and deep Nellie shuddered when she looked
far, far down into it, and held tight to Rose for fear of falling.
Uncle John turned the windlass to let Rose and Nellie see the bucket
rise all dripping from its watery bed.

One morning after Nellie's return to the city, Rose was walking alone
in the garden.

The flowers were charming, for the dew was not yet off their delicate
petals; and they were so fragrant that little Rose's nose was put
close up to a great many, to find which it was that smelled so very
sweetly. First she was sure it was a great cabbage-rose that nodded at
her from its stalk, but soon after she was surer that it was a little
bed of pansies, or "Johnny-jump-ups," which turned all their bright
little faces to the sun, like a family of newly-washed and
clean-aproned children just starting for school. Soon, however, she
was surest that it was a patch of mignonette under the pear tree,
which, though it looked so plain and humble with its little bits of
blossoms, was pouring out the richest perfume.

"Oh, it is you, is it?" said little Rose. "Mamma read to us yesterday
that perfume was the soul of flowers. I guess you have got the biggest
soul of them all, if you are so little."

Pretty soon Rose began to think of something more substantial than
bird-songs, sunbeams and flowers. There were very nice raspberries,
red and ripe, over beyond the currant-bushes, and her mamma allowed
her to pick them in that part of the garden, for she knew how
delightful it is for little folks to eat their fruit just where they
pick it from the bushes.

Little Rose went around into the lower walk, where she could see the
raspberries. A good many had ripened over-night, and hung on the long,
waving stems, waiting to be picked.

There was a short way to them, right across between two great
branching currant-bushes. She saw it was guarded by long briar-stalks
with sharp thorns all along their sides, but it was so much nearer
than to go around the long row of currants. "Mamma says we must not be
afraid of trials and discouragements in our way," Rose said. She was
very fond of quoting things she heard said or read, and applying them
to her own experience.

"I guess I can get through. Little girls must be brave!" And she
pushed boldly into the middle of the space between the bushes. But
there she caught fast, and could not go a step farther. One great,
strong branch of thorns was stretched across her foot, the sharp
points sticking fast in her stocking, and hurting her flesh cruelly if
she tried to move it. Another one caught hold of her little
garden-shawl and pulled it away back off her shoulders. She pulled and
twitched with all her might, but could not get it loose. On the other
side her little bare elbow was torn and bleeding from a scratch, while
her dress was held as fast as if a hundred invisible hands were
pulling at it. There she was. She could not get on nor back. There was
nothing to be done but to call for her mother. This she did so loudly
that everybody in the house came rushing to see what was the matter.
Dolly and Hannah, leaving their dish-washing in the kitchen, got there
first, and setting to work soon had Rose out, but with scratched
hands, arms and feet and two great rents in her dress.

"How in the world did you come in there among the briars?" asked
mamma, after they were in the house again and Rose became comforted a
little.

"It was the nearest way to the raspberries," she answered.

"The nearest? Yes; but not the best. It would have been far better to
go around by the path."

"I heard you tell Cousin Lucy the other day that folks must never mind
if there were thorns in their way," said little Rose, almost sobbing
again, for she had thought that at least her mother would praise her
courage and philosophy.

Her mother smiled, but presently looked grave.

"My darling," she said, "it is true we must not mind thorns if they
are in the path of duty. But when they grow in any other path, we have
a right--indeed, we ought--to avoid them if we can."

"But wasn't I in the path of duty when I tried to get the raspberries,
mamma? You said that I might pick all that grew down there."

"You were not doing wrong in trying to get them."

"Isn't that the same as duty?"

"Not exactly. Would it have been wrong for you to do without them? Or
would you have been to blame for going by the path?"

"Oh no," said Rose; "it would not have been wrong, for nobody said I
must get them, or that I must go through the currant-bushes."

"Then you see it was not duty."

"Please tell me exactly what is meant by duty, mamma."

"Duty is not only something which we may do, it is something which we
ought to do, and which it would be wrong to neglect. It is not simply
permission, but obligation. Is that plain?"

"Yes, mamma. I understand now. I was permitted to pick the berries,
but I was not obliged to do it or else do wrong. But if you had sent
me to pick them for you, it would have been duty."

"And do you think that in that case it would be right to go through
the thorns?"

"No, mamma; I see now. It is right to take the plainest, easiest way
when we can."

"Yes, my dear. We must not be afraid of thorns if our path leads over
them. But if we leave the true path and foolishly try to push
ourselves through unnecessary obstacles, it is not bravery or
fortitude, but vanity and silly rashness."



UNDER THE PEAR TREES.


    Under the pear trees one August day,
    In the long-ago and the far-away,
    Four little children rested from play,

    Cheering the hours with childish chat,
    Now laughing at this or shouting at that,
    Till a golden pear fell straight in Fred's hat.

    "I'm lucky," he cried as he hastened to eat
    The mellow pear so juicy and sweet;
    "If I tried for a week, that couldn't be beat."

    Then Tom and Jenny and Mary spread
    Their hats and aprons wide, and said,
    "We can catch pears as well as Fred."

    Then long and patient they sat, and still,
    Hoping a breeze from over the hill
    Their laps with the golden fruit would fill.

    Till, weary of waiting, Tom said with a sneer,
    "I could gather a _bushel_ of pears, 'tis clear,
    While idly we _wait_ for a _windfall_ here."

    Then up the tree he sprang, and the power
    Of his sturdy arm soon sent a shower
    Of yellow fruit as a golden dower.

    It was long ago, that August day
    When four little children rested from play
    Under the pear trees far away.

    And the children, older and wiser now,
    With furrows of care on either brow,
    Have not forgotten the lesson, I trow--

    The lesson they learned on that August day,
    That for having our wishes the surest _way_
    Is to _work_, and in _earnest_, without _delay_.



THE CAVE OF BENTON'S RIDGE.


The cave was a large opening in a ledge of rocks, about half a mile
from the village of M----, and had for years been a favorite resort
for the boys on the holidays.

'Twas at the close of school, on a bright June day, when, with a rush
and a shout, out came a bevy of boys from the school-house, and over
the wall with a bound were half a dozen before the rest had emerged
from the open door. The first ones took their way across the fields to
the cave, and had thrown themselves down on the rock at the entrance,
and were busily talking, when the last comers arrived.

"We've planned to have a time Saturday; if Miss Walters will take the
botany class for a walk, we'll come here and have supper, and go home
by moonlight," said Fred Manning. "How does that strike you?"

"Count me in," said Phil Earle. "I second the motion," said Arthur
Ames. "Where shall we go to walk?" said another; "this is nearly far
enough for some of the girls."

"Pooh! no! we can get some nice pitcher-plants, if we go to Eaton's
meadows; we haven't been there for ever so long," said Phil.

All agreed it would be fun, and Phil was deputized to ask Miss
Walters, and with her complete the arrangements.

"It's Thursday now; and I'll ask father if we can't have some of the
hay they are making down in the lower field, to put inside the cave;
for we must fix up a little," said Arthur. Willie Eaton said his
mother would make them a jug of coffee; and as he lived near, he would
run round that way at noon, and put it in the spring, so as to have
it nice and cool. For one of the attractions of this place was a
lovely spring, that bubbled and sparkled among the ferns, just under
the rock where the cave was.

Fred and Phil began to lay the stones for the fireplace; for though it
was not cold on these bright June nights, still a fire was one of the
grand features of the occasion.

They all worked, some brushing out the cave with bushes, some getting
old wood in piles to burn, rolling stones for seats, etc., until it
was time for them to go home, when, with merry shouts, off they ran
down the rock, and over the fields, home.

Next morning Phil called for Miss Walters, and on the way told her of
the plans for Saturday, into which she entered heartily, and wanted
the boys to stay a few moments after the morning session, to perfect
the arrangements.

At recess she called the girls of the botany class to her, and said,--

"Girls, can you go on Saturday to walk? The boys have invited us to
take supper at the cave."

"O, yes!" "O, yes!" "Yes, indeed!" "Splendid!" answered half a dozen
voices.

"We will meet here at two o'clock; and you must dress for the meadows.
I believe the boys are mostly web-footed, by the way they take to such
places; however, we do find the best specimens there. Another
thing--the boys are to furnish eggs and coffee, they say; and each of
you can bring what is most convenient."

Off went the girls, eager to plan and discuss the welcome project.

Saturday came--a bright, cloudless day. All were at the school-house
at two, or before, and set forth, looking like strollers, as they
were.

They did not make many collections on the high land; but when they
entered the meadows, they soon found a variety of pretty grasses.

"Fudge!" said Ella Barton; "I'm not going to get any of that old
hay--would you, Miss Walters?"

"No, certainly not, if I did not want the trouble of carrying it; but
I think them very lovely to put with branches of bayberry, as they
form such a pretty contrast of color with the delicate pearl-gray
berries and brown branches; and if you add a few bunches of bright red
arum berries, you have a pretty, fadeless winter bouquet."

"Where can we get the bayberries?" said Fred, coming up.

"In most places near the salt water. In the town where my home is,
there are acres and acres of it; and may be at Thanksgiving time I can
send you some to distribute, or, better still, you might make up a
party, and come down. I'll promise you a fine tramp, plenty of
berries, and perhaps my mother will let you taste of her Thanksgiving
pies."

Off went Fred's hat high in the air. "Hurrah for the pie! I'll
certainly go, if you'd like to have me."

Miss Walters laughed, and said nothing would give her greater pleasure
than to welcome the whole party.

"O, Miss Walters, what's this lovely flower?" "Come here, come here!"
"O, how lovely! here's plenty more!" "And here, and here," were the
exclamations of several of the advancing stragglers.

All who were with Miss Walters hastened forward; and there, in a wet,
treacherous-looking place, grew patches of a most delicate
lilac-colored or light purple flower.

"O, that's Arethusa," said the teacher; "it is very beautiful."
Rubber boots only can get at them; and two or three boys soon returned
with hands full, which they distributed. Miss Walters said they could
not stop to analyze any that day, but some of each kind must be put in
the botany box, for the class to work with at some future time. As
they walked along, Miss Walters told them that the flower was named
after Arethusa of Grecian story, who was changed by Diana into a
fountain, to escape from the god of the river where she was one day
surprised by him while bathing.

They had not gone far when Phil and two of the girls came running up
with hands full of the Sarracenia, or pitcher-plant.

"What fine specimens!" said Miss Walters.

"O, I know where they grow!" said Phil. "I always go for them every
year, just over that old fence, in a boggy place. I like them better
than almost any of the plants, they are so curious. But where's a
basket?"

"Here, Amy!" called Bessie White; "can't you let me put my small lunch
in your big basket with yours, and let Phil have mine for a specimen
basket?"

This arrangement being satisfactorily made, they moved along, one of
the girls telling the new comers of the Arethusa and its name. And it
was decided that all Miss Walters might tell them concerning the
flowers should be written down, for the benefit of all, as they were
often separated, searching for specimens.

In the next meadow they came upon beds of Menyanthes--an ugly name,
and its common one of buck-bean is not much better. They could find
but few perfect specimens of the pretty white velvety flowers, with
their yellow and brown anthers, as it was rather late for them.

They found Pogonias and buds of Calopogon,--pretty pinkish
flowers,--both of which Miss Walters told them were closely related,
and, indeed, belonged to the same family as the Arethusa. This was the
Orchid family, which contained a large number of beautiful but strange
plants, about a dozen of which were common in New England.

On the edge of an overgrown ditch near by they found very nice
specimens of Andromeda.

"See," said Miss Walters, "how white and lovely these bells are, in
spite of the cold wet places where it is compelled to grow. It is
named after Andromeda, famed in Grecian myths, a victim to her
mother's pride of beauty. Her mother had dared to compare herself to
the sea nymphs, for which they, enraged, sent a huge monster to ravage
the coast. To appease the nymphs, her father thought he must sacrifice
his daughter; so he chained her to the water's edge; but as the
monster approached, Perseus, assisted by the gods, killed him,
delivered Andromeda, and afterwards married her."

The party now turned from the meadows on to higher ground. Houstonias
and violets, with here and there Potentilla, covered the ground, the
last so called because it was supposed to be powerful in medicine,
_potens_, from which it is derived, meaning powerful.

The Saxifrage on the rocks, derived from Latin words, indicating its
manner of growth.

Anemones, or wind flowers, were not entirely gone; so named because it
was formerly thought the flowers only opened when the wind blew.

Specimens multiplied. Each little group found something new.

Trilliums, remarkable for having leaves, sepals, petals, and
seed-vessels in threes; Smilacina, with its clean, green leaves, and
white flowers, grew plentifully about them; Streptopus, meaning
twisted foot, called so because its foot, or pedicel, is twisted.

About five o'clock they began their homeward walk, which took them
round through some grand old pine woods. At last they came to their
resting-place. All were more or less tired; and glad were they when
they saw the black mouth of the cave open invitingly before them. Some
threw themselves on the rock outside, some went in and rested on the
fragrant hay that Arthur had piled on the floor.

After resting a while in the cool shade, Phil said, "I have a bright
thought that rhymes with 'light.'"

"Is it the opposite of 'loose'?"

"It is not 'tight.'"

"Is it what you are sometimes?"

"It is not 'bright.'"

"O, I meant a 'fright'!"

"Thank you; it is not 'fright.'"

"Is it what we are all wishing for?"

"It is a 'bite.'"

This was greeted with a shout, and committee number one,
self-appointed, started for the baskets. Others arranged the table
with boards and rocks put outside the cave door. The eatables were
soon temptingly arranged. The jug of coffee and bottle of milk, with
rubber mugs, were placed under Arthur's care; and he soon had as much
as he could do to pour the refreshing draughts.

The girls had little to do, the boys doing the honors in fine style.
Very merry they grew over the good things; and so intent were they
trying to sell the last at auction, that they never noticed a large
cloud that had overspread the sky, until a few drops of rain fell upon
the table.

"Here's a pretty go!" said Fred. "Run, Miss Walters; and, girls, get
into the cave, and we'll clear the tables."

[Illustration: {The friends' picnic is spoiled by the rain}]

Busy hands quickly disposed of all the articles to be kept dry, and
the boys were glad to get into the friendly shelter. Down came the
rain, heavily rolled the thunder, and for a little while the lightning
was vivid. Soon the rain began to find its way into the cave.

"This will not do. Where's the table, Fred? We must have up a storm
door," said Phil.

"All ready to slide right up," said Fred. "Arthur, will you get the
chandelier ready? for it will be rather dark when the door is up."

Arthur crept on his hands and knees to a little crevice in the inner
part of the cave, and drew out a tin box, with four holes in the
cover. The girls gathered around, and were much amused to see him take
out his four candles. These he stuck into the holes of the box; and
lighting them, he placed them on a shelf prepared expressly for the
occasion.

Never were boys and girls more happy. They were enjoying excitement
without danger or discomfort. They sang, played games; and when the
rain had nearly ceased, some of the boys ran out and lighted the fire.
They had kept the wood dry. Then turning the table on its side, they
put out the candles, and had the full benefit of the fire-light. For a
while conundrums were the order of the day; then they drew lots to
determine who should tell the first story. It fell to Millie Gray,
who, with timid modesty, demurred; but the penalty threatened for
default was so great, that though she had never told a story in her
life, she thought she had better begin now. Attentively they listened,
waiting for her to begin. Presently she commenced.

"There was, once upon a time, a beautiful little girl, with blue eyes
and golden hair."

"O," interrupted Fred, "can't we have this one with black eyes and
red hair, or brown eyes; I'm tired of blue eyes and yellow hair."

"No, no, no," said Arthur; "I like blue eyes. Go on, Millie." With a
blush--for her own were blue, and she knew what Arthur meant--she
continued.

"Well, I like to oblige all parties," replied Millie. "Suppose we say
her eyes were black and blue; but if any one else interrupts, I'll
have them committed for contempt of court, and they shall be bound
over to keep the peace."

"Which piece?" Fred was beginning to say, when Arthur jumped up and
placed his hand over Fred's mouth, saying, "Consider yourself bound
over, sir."

"Well, this little girl lived in a deep forest, in a little bit of a
house, with no one for company but her grandmother and a little yellow
dog.

"The grandmother was just as cross as she could be, and poor
little--let's see, what shall I call her?"

"Odahbeetoqua," suggested Fred. "I suppose she was descended from the
Indians."

"Yes," said Millie, very seriously, "that was her name; but nobody
called her by it all at one time; they said Daisy, for short.

"Well, one day little Daisy felt so sad and lonely, and her
grandmother had been so cross, that she said to the little yellow
dog,--

"'Tip, let's run away. I'm tired of staying here. Granny is so cross,
I cannot stand it another minute.'

"'Yes, indeed. I'll go with you, Daisy,' said Tip, wagging his tail;
'for this morning, when I was licking up a bit of butter off the
floor, she kicked me, and hit me over the head with a broom, and threw
a stick of wood after me as I indignantly left the premises, and
wounded my feelings very much.'

"'But then, Tip, suppose we should get lost in the woods, and die of
starvation, and bears should eat us up.'

"'Trust to me, Daisy,' Tip replied. 'I will lead you safely out of the
wood, and see that nothing hurts you.'

"Just then a woman came to the door, and said, 'I have heard your
conversation. Come with me, and you shall both live in a nice house,
where you can play all day, and have fine clothes, and plenty to eat.'

"'Ah, wouldn't that be pleasant!' said Daisy; and she was just
preparing to go with the woman, when she stopped suddenly, and said,
'But who will get wood for granny's fire? and who will pick berries
for her? She'd die if we should leave her alone. No, I can't leave
her. She's very cross; but then, she is sick all the time, nearly, and
I won't go.'

"'O, yes, do!' said the woman. 'I have a lovely white pony, as gentle
as a kitten, that you shall have to ride, and beautiful dresses. You'd
better come.'

"'Thank you,' said Daisy; 'I'd like to go with you. You may take Tip.
Perhaps he'd like to go, but I won't leave grandmother; she'd die if I
did.'

"No sooner had Daisy finished speaking, than the woman turned into a
beautiful fairy, the shanty turned into a palace, granny turned into a
queen, Daisy into a lovely princess, with black and blue--I mean
heavenly--eyes, and Tip turned into a beautiful prince, all dressed in
embroidered green velvet; and down on his knees he fell at the
princess's feet, vowing love and fidelity untold.

"The fairy spread her wings over the young couple, saying, 'Behold the
reward of unselfishness!' and vanished, leaving them in all their
bliss."

Millie's story was greeted with shouts of applause and flattering
comments.

The boys were about renewing the fire, when Miss Walters announced
that it was seven o'clock.

"O, don't go yet!" shouted Phil from the wood-pile. "We've wood
enough for an hour yet. Seven o'clock's awful early."

"Don't go, don't go!" came from a chorus of voices; and Miss Walters,
who only cared for their comfort, said she would stay if that was the
general wish, or would go with any of the girls that were in haste to
get home. No one made any movement to go, and she was quietly led back
to her throne on the hay, at the entrance of the cave.

A song was proposed, and Miss W. led them in the sweet words of "In
the Beauty of the Lilies," the boys coming out strong with the chorus.
Then two girls sang a duet very sweetly. Another hour glided swiftly
away, when Miss Walters said, "Phil, your fire burns low; push the
blazing ends for a final blaze, so we may get all our things; for we
must go now."

Everything arranged, they bade good by to the hospitable cave, then
marched down the hill, the boys whistling "When Johnny comes marching
Home."

On they trudged, dropping various members of their little party as
they turned off to go to their homes. All agreed they had had a
delightful day.

                                                    F. E. S.



[Illustration: {The lynx, bear and eagle go after the hunters' buffalo
    carcass}]

THE HAUNTS OF WILD BEASTS.


In crossing the forests which lie about that singular system of ponds
and lakes that occupy the northern interior of the State of Maine, the
tourist and hunter will often come upon well-beaten paths, running
through the woods, trodden hard, as if by the passage of myriads of
feet; and this in a region rarely, or never, entered by man. They are
the paths of wild beasts--bears, lynxes, wildcats, the moose, and the
carribou,--along which they pass from lake to lake, in pursuit of
their food, or upon hostile forays. When two lakes adjoin each other,
with no more than a mile or half a mile of forest between them, there
will nearly always be found, across the narrowest part of the isthmus,
a path of this sort, more or less worn, according as the locality
abounds with game, or the lakes with fish.

[Illustration: THE GRIZZLY BEAR.]

One of the widest and most used of these that I have ever seen, led
from the bank of Moose River up to the low shores of Holeb Pond, in
one of the not yet numbered townships near the Canada line--so near
that the high, dingy summit of the "Hog's Back" was plainly visible to
the north-westward. Starting out from between two large boulders on
the stream, which at this point is broken by rips, it runs crooking
and turning amid clumps of hazel and alder, till lost to view in a
wide flat, covered with "high bush" cranberries, but lost to sight
only, however; for its tortuous course still continues beneath the
thick shrubs, until at a distance of two hundred rods it emerges on
the pond.

Happening to cross it a year ago last autumn, in company with Rod
Nichols (my comrade on these tramps), the idea suggested itself that a
good thing might perhaps be done by setting our traps along the path.
For where there were so many passing feet, some of them might without
doubt be entrapped.

Rod thought it was the "beat" of some bears, or "lucivees," while I
inclined to the opinion that otters or "fishers" had made it.

So we brought up our traps,--half a dozen small ones, which we used
for sable and otter--from the dug-out (canoe) down on the stream, and
during the following afternoon set them at different points in the
path, between the border of the cranberry flat and the river. Then
drawing our canoe up out of the water, we encamped on the stream about
a mile below the path, and waited for the game.

Our stock of deer meat had got out. We had to content ourselves, both
for supper and breakfast, the following morning, with a couple of
hares--lean as usual. Who ever saw a fat hare?

Old hunters are always telling the young sportsman about the
marvellous properties of shaving-soap made from hare's tallow and
cedar ashes. The flesh has about as much taste and nutrition in it
as--so much paper pulp, for want of a better comparison to express its
utter lack of flavor. But during the forenoon we managed to shoot four
partridges. These we first parboiled in our camp kettle, then broiled
on coals. They made us a comfortable dinner; and towards sunset we
again paddled up the stream, to visit the traps.

Coming near where the path strikes out from the river, we drew up the
dug-out, and followed in to the place where we had set the first trap.
It was gone; but the grass about the spot was beaten down, and the
bushes broken. And on looking around, we discovered a trail leading
off through the weeds. Following this for ten or a dozen rods, we came
to a large, rough stone; and near it lay the trap, shattered and bent,
with the springs broken, and the jaws gaping and powerless. The stone,
too, looked newly scratched, as if from heavy blows. The trap had
evidently been beaten upon.

"Some large animal," said I.

"Bear, probably," said Rod. "They will frequently smash up a small
trap to get it off their feet."

Whatever it was, the creature had freed himself and gone. Rod picked
up the broken trap, and we went back, and on to the next.

This one was just as we had placed it--not sprung. So we kept on to
the third, which was sprung, but empty, with little clots of hair
clinging to the teeth. The hair looked like that of a sable; but he,
too, had escaped.

The fourth was sprung and drawn out of the path. We crept cautiously
up, and lo! we had a contemptible little musquash (muskrat)--skin not
worth a shilling. He was busy as a bee gnawing at his leg. In a few
minutes more he would have been at liberty--minus a foot. If left any
length of time after being caught, they will frequently gnaw off the
leg in the trap. For this reason, those who make a business of
trapping them set their traps under water, well weighted. They will
then drown in a few moments, and may thus be secured.

The last two traps were not sprung.

"A big thing this!" muttered Rod. "Had our labor for our pains. Too
bad."

We were near the edge of the cranberry flat; and just as Rod was
bemoaning our poor luck, a slight crackling out in the thick cranberry
bushes came to our ears.

"Hark!" whispered Rod; "something out there. The bear, perhaps."

Standing on tiptoe, we peeped quietly over the tops of the bushes, now
laden with the green cranberries. Off some seventeen or eighteen rods,
something was slowly moving. We could see it plainly--something which,
at first sight, looked like the roots of an old dry pine stump, a
great mass of stubs and prongs.

"A moose!" exclaimed Rod, in an eager whisper. "A moose browsing the
cranberries! Quick with your rifle! Together now!"

We both fired. The huge animal, fully nine feet in height beneath his
antlers, bounded into the air at the reports, with a wild, hoarse cry,
which I can compare to nothing I have ever heard for hideousness. In a
frightful way it resembled the neigh of a horse, or, rather, the loud
squeal of that animal when bitten or otherwise hurt--bounded up, then
fell, floundering and wallowing amid the cranberries, uttering
hideous moans.

As quickly as we could for the thick and tangled bushes, we made our
way out towards the spot. The fearful struggles stilled as we drew
near. Our aim, at so short a distance, had been thoroughly fatal. A
great opening in the bushes had been smashed down, in the midst of
which lay the moose, with its large nostrils dilated, gasping and
quivering. But its great ox eyes were set, and rapidly glazing. The
bushes were all besprinkled and drenched with blood. One bullet had
struck and broken the skull into the brain; that was Rod's. Mine had
gone into the breast, striking the lungs,--probably, from the profuse
bleeding.

"A pretty good shot!" exclaimed Rod, looking upon the slaughter from a
purely business stand-point. "Moosehide is always worth something. So
are those antlers. A noble set--aren't they? All of four feet broad
across the top. Pretty heavy to lug; we can put them in the canoe,
though."

"Then there's the meat," said I.

"That's so," cried Rod, smacking his lips. "No more rabbit's broth for
us at present. O, won't we have some grand moose steaks! Do you hear
that, old boy? How does that strike your fancy? Come, let's skin him,
and cut him up. I long to behold some of that surloin broiling! Rabbit
meat, indeed!" and Rod whipped out his hunting-knife, and fell upon
the carcass with the zeal of a hungry bald eagle.

In a few minutes we had stripped off the skin. Rod then wrenched off
the antlers, cut out the muffle (the end of the nose), and also about
a hundred weight of what he considered the choicest of the meat. The
rest of it--nine or ten hundred pounds--we could only leave where it
had fallen. It would be of no use to us, so far from the settled
lands.

[Illustration: THE TIGER.]

To carry our spoils down to our canoe, we had to make two trips; for
the antlers alone were as much as one could take along at once. We had
gone back after them and the hide.

"Too bad," remarked Rod, "to leave all this flesh here to rot above
ground."

"I doubt if it be left to rot above ground," said I. "There are too
many hungry mouths about for that."

"Right there," said Rod; "and that makes me think we might use it to
lure them, and to bait our traps with. Drag it out to the path, and
set the traps round it."

The idea seemed a good one. So we cut the remains of the carcass in
two. Whole it was too heavy to be moved. Then, fastening some stout
withes into them, we dragged the pieces, one after the other, out to
the path, and left it at the place where the path entered the
cranberry bushes. This done, we set the traps about it,--the remaining
five,--and then went back to the canoe with the antlers and skin.

"Made a very fair thing of it, after all," remarked Rod, as we floated
with the current down to our camp. "Tell you what, old fellow, these
steaks are not to be sneezed at. More than ordinary pot luck just at
this time."

It is needless to say that we fully satisfied our taste for venison
that night, or that our breakfast next morning was merely a repetition
of supper. Such things are to be expected in the wilderness. Suffice
it to add, that we neither overate nor overslept, but were up betimes,
and off to examine our traps considerably before sunrise. We did not
go up in the canoe on the river, but walked along the bank through the
woods.

"We may surprise a bear or a lynx at the carcass," said Rod.

So, as we drew near the place where we had left it in the path the
evening before, we made our way amid the brush with as little noise
as possible. A small hollow, overrun with hackmatack, led up towards
the spot. We crept along the bed of it, in order to approach
unobserved. Pausing a moment to listen, the clank of a chain came
faintly to our ears, then a growling, worrying noise, heard when two
creatures, jealous of each other's rights, eat from the same piece.

"Game!" whispered Rod.

Climbing quietly up the steep side, we peeped out from amid the green
boughs. We had got up within nine or ten rods; but intervening bushes
partially hid the carcass. Something was moving about it,
however--something black. The trap chains were rattling. Then a big
black head was raised, to growl; and as if in reply came a sharp snarl
from some animal out of sight. The black creature darted forward; and
a great uproar arose, growling, grappling, and spitting, at which
there flew up a whole flock of crows, cawing and hawing; and the noise
increasing, there sprang into the air, at a single flap, a great
yellow bird, uttering a savage scream.

"An eagle!" whispered Rod; "and that black creature's a bear, I guess.
Can't see him just plainly. Growls like one, though. Fighting with
some other animal--isn't he? Some sort of a cat, by the spitting."

"Shall we fire on them?" said I.

"No; let 'em have it out," said Rod. "One of them will be pretty sure
to get chewed up, and the other won't leave the carcass. Besides, the
cat's in the trap, I reckon, by the rattling." For the jingling of the
chain could still be heard over the howling they were making. But ere
the fight had lasted many seconds, a suppressed screech, followed by a
crunching sound, told ill for one or the other of the combatants. "The
cat's got his death hug," muttered Rod.

Presently the bear--a great, clumsy-looking fellow--came out into
view, strutted along, scrubbing his feet on the grass, like a dog, and
went back to the carcass. The eagle and the crows had come back to it.
They flew before him.

"Keep your eye on the eagle," whispered Rod. "I would like to get him.
It isn't a 'white head.' Never saw one like it."

The great bird circled slowly several times, then stooped, almost
touching the bear's shaggy back with its hooked talons. At that the
bear raised his ugly muzzle, all reeking from his feast, and growled
menacingly. This was repeated several times, the bear warning him off
at each stoop, and sometimes striking with his big paw. Finding the
bear not inclined to divide with him, the eagle, with one mighty flap
of his wings, rose up to the top of a tall hemlock standing near, and
perched upon it. We could see the branches bend and sway beneath his
weight.

"I'll have him now," muttered Rod, poking the muzzle of his rifle out
through the boughs. "You take the bear. Ready! now!"

We blazed away. With a wild shriek the eagle came tumbling down
through the hemlock. Rod ran out towards him, and I made up to the
bear. Old Bruin was merely wounded--an ugly flesh wound; and not
knowing whence it came, he had flown at the dead lynx,--for such it
turned out to be,--and was giving him another hugging. Seeing me, he
started up, to rectify his mistake, probably; but I had put in another
charge, and instantly gave him a quietus. Just then Rod came up,
dragging the eagle.

"Never saw one like it," exclaimed he. "I mean to take it down to
Greenville."

After skinning the bear and the lynx, we gathered up the traps, and
went down to our camp. Together with the spoils of the moose, we had
now a full canoe load, and stowing them in, went down the river that
afternoon. Two days after, we arrived at Greenville, at the foot of
Moosehead Lake. There we fell in with a party of tourists--from
Boston, I believe. They pronounced Rod's "big bird" to be a golden
eagle.

                                             C. A. STEPHENS.



WORSHIP OF NATURE.


    The green earth sends her incense up
      From many a mountain shrine;
    From folded leaf and dewy cup,
      She pours her sacred wine.

    The mists above the morning rills
      Rise white as wings of prayer;
    The altar curtains of the hills
      Are sunset's purple air.



A HUNTING ADVENTURE.


Tired of the heat and confusion of the city, my friend Clarke and I
left New York one fine morning for a hunting excursion on the
prairies.

At Galena, on the Mississippi, we went aboard a steamer which conveyed
us to St. Paul. Here we fitted out for the trip, and finally, at Sauk
Rapids set our foot for the first time on the prairie.

From the Mississippi, at Sauk Rapids, we struck about north-west
across the prairie for Fort Garry, a Hudson Bay Company's fort, at the
junction of the Assiniboine and Red River, where we replenished some
of our stores; and thence we travelled through the Sioux, or Da-ko-tah
country, until we reached Turtle Mountain.

Our party consisted of Clarke and myself, two French Canadians, whom
we had engaged at St. Paul, and a half-breed, whom we had met on the
frontier before reaching Fort Garry.

One evening, before camping at the base of Turtle Mountain, Clarke and
I gave chase to some buffalo, and I killed one, which I proceeded to
cut up at once by removing the tongue and undercut of the fillet. The
meat I tied to the thongs of my saddle, placed there especially for
that purpose, and I rejoined the camp before nightfall. Clarke came
back shortly afterwards, having killed his buffalo in three or four
shots, and after a long chase. This had delayed him so much, that he
lacked time to cut up his animal; so he marked the spot as well as he
could by its bearings with Turtle Mountain, and he rode homewards to
the camp, intending to go on the following morning, and get the meat
for home consumption.

We cooked and ate our dinners, and rolling ourselves up in our buffalo
robes, we slept most soundly. The following morning, Clarke went out
and fetched his pony, which was picketed near the camp, saddled it,
took his rifle and hunting-knife, and then off he started to look for
the dead buffalo of the previous evening, cut it up, and bring home
some of the meat.

I remained in camp; and as my wardrobe was rather dilapidated from
constant hunting, and the limited number of clothes I had with me, I
proceeded to mend my trousers, which were worn through just where it
might naturally be expected they would first give way. This I could
only do by shortening the legs of the garment. However, the end
justified the means in this case.

These repairs, with other necessary work about our rifles and guns,
occupied the morning very pleasantly; and about midday I went up the
hill behind our camp, where a small bluff, or headland, projected from
it over the vast grassy plain. I took my telescope with me, as every
traveller in those wild regions should always do, when spying out
either the fatness of the land or the possible surrounding dangers.
Far and wide my eye fell over the gentle undulations of the prairie,
but no deer or buffalo could I see.

No; instead of quietly feeding game, I discovered my friend Clarke,
some three or four miles from camp, galloping at the top of his
horse's speed towards us, and five Indians in hot pursuit of him.

Knowing his danger, I of course ran down the bluff as hard as I could
to the camp, and holloaed to the men to make haste and come to the
rescue. I then ran for my pony, which was picketed at a short distance
from our tent; but he was difficult to catch, or had drawn his peg out
of the ground. At any rate, I could not get hold of him; so I gave
him up, and seizing my rifle, darted off as hard as I could to meet my
friend.

[Illustration: {Clarke being pursued by the Indians}]

The men also turned out with their guns; and soon afterwards Clarke
rode up, both he and his pony looking much distressed. Clarke was as
white as a sheet, and his pony was completely blown. The Indians
sheered off on seeing us ready with our rifles. So no shot was fired;
for they never came within range.

I then asked Clarke what had happened; and I give you his story of the
affair.

On leaving camp in the morning, he had gone in search of the dead
buffalo of the previous night. He soon found the carcass; and wishing
to bring home the meat, he got off his pony, tied the animal to the
horns of the buffalo,--as you are always taught to do in the Indian
country,--and straightway began to cut off the pieces of meat which he
wished to bring back to camp. Whilst so employed, he thought he saw
another herd of buffalo not far away; so he finished cutting off the
meat, and rode towards the new herd, on murderous thoughts intent.

He stalked the herd for some distance, until he thought himself
tolerably near, when he looked round the corner of a hillock, and then
to his horror found he had been carefully approaching five Indians,
who were congregated round a dead buffalo, their horses close by, and
the men occupied in cutting up the beast.

Before he could turn to flee out of sight the Indians discovered him.
They were Sioux, and at war with the whites. Instantly they jumped on
their horses and gave chase, fired, no doubt, with the noble zeal to
hang a white scalp in a Sioux lodge. Off went Clarke as hard as his
little pony could carry him, the Indians shouting behind, and
brandishing their guns in the air as they became excited by the chase,
whilst he was thinking of the probability that existed of his scalp
returning to camp, or dangling at the saddle-bow of one of these
bloodthirsty savages.

Clarke supposes that he was five or six miles from camp when the chase
began; and he recollected well throwing the cover away from his rifle,
in preparation for a fight should his pony fall, or the Indians catch
him through the superior speed of their animals.

Imagine the horrible feelings of a young fellow galloping away from
five wild redskins, who not only desire to kill him then and there,
but have, further, the sportsman-like anxiety to strip his scalp, and
hang the dearly-beloved trophy in some filthy lodge, where it will
gradually dry up, and remain the most valued heirloom in the family of
the "Big Snake," or the "Screeching Eagle," or some other no less
happily-named Sioux.

Their horrible shrieks ring in his ears, whilst he anxiously measures
with his eyes the distance betwixt himself and his bloodthirsty
pursuers; he endeavors to estimate his chances of escape, and longs
for the protection of the camp, as Wellington longed for night or
Blucher, knowing that if he falls he will be shot, or tomahawked and
scalped, in the course of a couple of minutes.

No wonder, then, that poor Clarke did look as if he had seen a ghost,
or encountered something even much worse; nor do I believe that during
his subsequent army service he was ever much nearer a horrible death
than during the few minutes which that pursuit lasted.

To conclude the account of this adventure, we covered his return to
camp with our rifles, as I mentioned in the earlier part of this
story; and you may conceive that we kept a very strict watch in the
camp during the night, fearing lest the Sioux should either stampede
us with an increased number of their friends after nightfall, or try
to carry off our horses, and leave us deserted in the midst of the
prairie. However, the night passed off quietly; and often since then
have Clarke and I talked over this memorable adventure.



    One step and then another,
      And the longest walk is ended;
    One stitch and then another,
      And the largest rent is mended.
    One brick upon another,
      And the highest wall is made;
    One flake upon another,
      And the deepest snow is laid.



NEARLY LOST.


"I know what I shall do!" exclaimed Walter Harrison to about a dozen
other boys, his schoolfellows, who were standing round him. "I shall
just tell 'old Barnacles' that my father and mother wish me to have a
holiday this afternoon, and he can't say 'no' to that. It's the
simplest and best way. If you all agree to it, we shall get a holiday
all around. Who'll go in for my plan?"

"I will! and I! and I!" responded nearly all the boys.

The facts of the case were simply these: There were taking place in a
park close by a series of athletic sports, and this afternoon the
admission was free to any one who chose to go. Of course all the boys
in Mr. Jackson's school were mad to see the sports; but by the time
the school was out the best fun would be over, and the majority of the
boys guessed pretty shrewdly what would be the result of asking their
parents to let them stay away. The grand idea was to induce the master
to give a general holiday, but the question was how that desirable end
was to be brought about. It had been suggested to stay away bodily,
without so much as saying, "With your leave or by your leave;" but as
such a course carried a certainty of punishment in its train, it was
universally rejected. Another idea, which had received some favor, had
been to trip up the poor half-blind schoolmaster, quite by accident,
and by rendering him incapable obtain the desired holiday, but there
had been a majority found to protest against such cruelty; and now
Walter Harrison had suggested his plan. But although most of them were
inclined to adopt it, there were two who resolutely refused to do so.

"Why won't you join us?" asked Walter of these two.

"I sha'n't, because I'm not going to tell a pack of lies for the sake
of a holiday," answered Willie Ford, the younger of the two.

"How good we are!" replied Walter, tauntingly; and then throwing his
cap up into the air, he sang out:

    "'There was a curly-headed boy
      Who never told a lie;
    He knew a trick worth two of that:
      That was the reason why.'

"Sly fox!" he said, patting Willie on the back. "He does the 'good'
dodge to perfection, and finds it answers too; don't you, Ford?"

Walter's sallies were received with roars of laughter by the boys.
Willie took no notice of them, although it was a difficult matter to
restrain his anger.

"What a milksop the fellow is!" cried out one of the boys.

"A stupid little muff!" cried another.

"Am I?" cried Willie, his temper now fully roused; "I'll show you
about that. Although I'm not going to tell lies, I'll fight any one of
you. Come now, Harrison, let's have it out together."

Harrison burst out laughing: "Fancy me fighting with a little
cock-sparrow like you! I should like to see myself!"

Willie was about to burst out again, but a friendly hand was laid on
his arm, and his friend Philip said, gently, "Come away, Will; no
fighting about such a trifle as that, lad."

"What a peppery little chap!" called out Walter as Willie turned away
with his friend. "Pepper and sop! Ugh! what a nasty mess!"

The boys followed out their plan, and got their holiday, all except
Willie and Philip and several little fellows who had taken no interest
in the matter.

School over, the two boys rushed off in the hope that they might be in
time to see something. They were too late, however, for the
performances were just coming to an end when they arrived, so they
started for a stroll through the beautiful park, which was not often
open to the public.

"Why, there are our fellows!" said Philip as they suddenly came in
sight of a group of boys on the edge of the magnificent lake.

"What are they up to? They're very busy about something!" exclaimed
Willie.

"Let's go and see," Philip said, in reply.

As they came nearer they could tell that the boys were gesticulating
and shouting to something in the water.

"It can't be one of them gone in and lost his depth," said Willie,
anxiously.

No such thing, as they found when they got close--only a dog that the
boys were amusing themselves by seeing how long they could keep under
water. The creature was making frantic efforts to gain a
landing-place, but as he approached the shore they drove him back with
sticks and stones.

"We're teaching him to swim," cried one as Philip and Willie came up.
"A miserable little mongrel! he can't swim a bit!"

"Why, don't you see," cried Willie, eagerly, "that he's as weak as a
rat? He can scarcely support himself in the water. I should think he's
been starved."

At this moment the dog, being turned back once more, disappeared,
quite close to the shore. With a loud cry of pain and anger, Willie
darted through the boys, and wading into the shallow water succeeded
in enticing the drowning dog toward him. He came out, holding the
dripping creature safely in his arms.

"We must carry it home," he said to Philip, after they had vainly
endeavored to set it upon its feet; and accordingly, they started off
at a good pace, the poor half-drowned animal safely sheltered in
Willie's arms.

Well might his mother be alarmed to see him come home to tea in such a
plight; but when she heard his explanation, she was quite ready to
sympathize with him, and told him he had done bravely and well to
rescue the poor animal. As he seemed none the worse for his wetting,
he was allowed to come down stairs again as soon as he had put on dry
things. Very tenderly the little half-starved dog was fed with warmed
milk. He had fallen into good hands. Willie's father and mother were
kind Christian people, who had taught their children to be gentle and
considerate to the meanest of God's creatures.

"Why, Willie, he's a fine fellow, and only quite a puppy; he will be a
splendid dog when he is fully grown," his father said, when the animal
had recovered sufficiently to be examined.

And so it proved. Bruno, as Willie named him, turned out a splendid
creature. His devotion to the whole family, but especially to Willie,
was quite touching to see. He would obey the slightest gesture of his
young master in every matter except one. As a child once burned dreads
the fire, so Bruno, once nearly drowned, could never be induced to
enter the water.

While Bruno was developing into a handsome dog, Willie, you may be
sure, was not standing still. He had grown into a fine strong lad, and
got beyond poor old Dr. Jackson's school.

To the last day of his stay there he and Walter Harrison never managed
to get on very good terms, and a suspected unfairness in the matter of
obtaining a prize made them part with still greater coldness.

A year or two after he had left school Willie's parents went with
their family to spend the summer months near the sea. Before they had
been in their new quarters many weeks, much to Willie's vexation and
disappointment, he found that Walter and his parents were also staying
in the same town, and quite close to him.

The two lads frequently met, but they could get on no better now than
they had done in the old days. Walter still looked upon Willie as a
contemptible little milksop, and Willie was inclined to consider
Walter's exploits more the result of foolhardiness than bravery.

One day they met on the beach. Walter had come down with a friend to
take a boat.

"Rather rough for rowing," Willie called out as he passed, "but I
suppose you're a good oar."

"What's that to you?" responded Walter, insolently; "I suppose you're
afraid of a little sea."

"I don't see the pleasure of going out when there's any risk," Willie
replied, good-humoredly.

"How precious careful you are over yourself!" replied Walter.

The boat pushed off, and away started the two friends. Willie, not
caring to watch them after the haughty, rude manner in which his
remark had been received, turned away; but before he had gone far his
attention was attracted by a succession of shouts and ejaculations.

The tiny boat had come to grief before they had got much more than
fifty yards from the shore. In the unskilful hands of the two lads the
little bark was a mere plaything in the angry sea. Carried on with a
swiftness they were unable to check, they rushed headlong on to one of
the hidden rocks with which the coast abounded. The boat turned over
and disappeared, leaving its occupants struggling in the water.

There were but few bystanders, and of these no one did more than talk
and gesticulate and ask wildly what was to be done.

The same impulse that had prompted Willie to rescue a drowning dog
now caused him to risk his life in order to save that of the boy who
had always shown so unfriendly a disposition toward him.

Pulling off his coat, he threw it and his hat down on the shore; and
giving Bruno an injunction to guard them, he plunged bravely into the
tempestuous waves. He could swim well, and succeeded with great
difficulty in reaching the spot where Walter had but a moment ago
disappeared, and then began the terrible struggle for life.

Bruno sat by his master's clothes and gazed out over the sea with eyes
which looked almost human in their intelligent anxiety. Presently he
grew restless, and in another moment the faithful creature dashed into
the waves, and made resolutely for the spot where his master was
laboriously engaged in trying to convey one of the drowning lads to
shore.

By the powerful aid of the noble dog Walter and Willie were saved; and
a boat having now put off, Walter's friend was picked up after a
while. What a cheer rent the air when the dog and the two lads gained
the shore I cannot attempt to describe. Willie was never called a
milksop any more, and Bruno was more loved and prized than ever.

[Decoration]



CHARLEY.


I made the acquaintance of my little friend Charley under very unusual
and startling circumstances. I saw a lad about fifteen years of age
clinging desperately for very life to the topmast of a sunken ship. I
will tell you how it happened.

I must go back nearly twenty years. Indeed, I ought to explain that
Charley was a little friend of mine a long time ago; now he's a
grown-up man. Well, twenty years ago I was not very old myself, but my
sister, who is some years older than I am, was already married, and
her husband was very fond of yachting. They lived during a great part
of the year in the Isle of Wight, and there I often used to go to stay
with them.

The "Swallow"--that was the name of my brother-in-law's yacht--was a
beautiful boat, and many happy hours have I passed on board her as she
skimmed merrily over the sparkling water. I delighted to sit on deck,
watching the fishing-boats as they rode bravely from wave to wave, or
sometimes wondering at some large ship as it passed by, on which men
live for weeks and months without ever touching land. We used to sail
long distances, and occasionally be out for several days and nights
together. My brother-in-law's skipper could tell me what country
almost every vessel that we saw was bound for. Some were sailing to
climates where the heat is so great that our most sultry summer in
England is comparatively cold; others were off northward, perhaps
whale-fishing, where they would see huge icebergs and hear the
growling of the polar bears.

We were taking our last cruise of the season. It was already near the
end of October, and the weather was becoming stormy. Passing out of
the Solent into the Channel, we found the sea much rougher than we
expected, and as night came on it blew a regular gale. The wind and
sea roared, the rain poured down in torrents, and the night seemed to
me to be the darkest I had ever known. But on board the "Swallow" we
had no fear. We trusted to the seamanship of our skipper and the
goodness of our vessel, and went to bed with minds as free from fear
as if the sea were smooth and the sky clear.

I awoke just as dawn was breaking, dressed quickly, and throwing a
water-proof cloak over me popped my head up the companion-ladder to
see how things looked. The old skipper was on deck; he had not turned
in during the night. I wished him good-morning, and he remarked, in
return, that the wind was going down, he thought. Looking at the sea,
I observed two or three large fragments of wood floating near, and
they attracted his notice at the same moment.

"Has there been a wreck, captain?" I asked, with a feeling of awe.

"That's about what it is, miss," answered the old seaman.

"Do you think the people are drowned?" I inquired, anxiously.

"Well," replied Captain Bounce, casting, as I thought, rather a
contemptuous glance at me, "people don't in general live under water,
miss."

[Illustration: CHARLEY'S WELCOME HOME.]

"Perhaps they may have had boats," I said, meekly. "Do you think
boats could have reached the shore in such a storm?"

"Well," answered the old captain, "they might have had boats, and they
mightn't; and the boats, supposing they had 'em, might have lived
through the storm, and at the same time they mightn't."

This was not giving me much information, and I thought to myself that
my friend the skipper did not seem so much inclined for a chat as
usual. I turned to look at the sea in search of more pieces of wreck,
when I discovered in the distance a dark speck rising out of the
water. I pointed it out to the skipper at once, who took his glass out
of his pocket, and after looking through it for a moment exclaimed,

"There's something floating there, and a man clinging to it, as I'm
alive!"

As he spoke my brother-in-law came on deck, and also took a look
through the telescope. Then he, the captain and every sailor on board
became eager and excited. You would have thought it some dear friend
of each whose life was to be saved. The yacht was headed in the
direction of the object, the boat was quickly lowered, the captain
himself, with four sailors, jumping into it, and in another minute
they caught in their arms a poor little exhausted and fainting boy as
he dropped from the mast of a large sunken ship. We could now
distinguish the tops of all the three masts appearing above the waves,
for the sea was not deep, and the ship had settled down in an upright
position.

Poor Charley Standish was soon in the cabin of the yacht, and after
swallowing some champagne he revived sufficiently to tell us his
story. The sunken ship was the "Melbourne," bound for Australia, and
this was Charley's first voyage as a midshipman on board. During the
darkness of the night she had been run into by a large homeward-bound
merchantman of the same class. She sank within an hour of the
collision. In the scramble for the boats Charley thought he had but
little chance for finding a place; and as the ship filled and kept
sinking deeper in the water, an instinct of self-preservation led him
to climb into the rigging. Then up he went, higher and higher, even to
the topmast; and at last, when the vessel went down all at once, he
found himself, to his inexpressible relief, still above the surface.

What most astonished us all was that a boy so young should have been
able to hold on for more than an hour to a slippery mast, exposed to
the fury of the wind, and within reach, even, of the lashing waves. We
sailed home at once to the Isle of Wight, and wrote to the boy's
mother, a widow living in London, to tell her of his safety. The boy
himself stayed with us two or three days, until we bought him new
clothes, and then went to his mother. Great was her joy when she once
more clasped him to her loving heart. My brother-in-law took a great
fancy to him. He has watched his career, and seen him at intervals
ever since. Charley Standish is now a chief mate on board a great
merchantman of the same class as the "Melbourne."



THE PARSEES.


The Parsees are supposed to be descendants of the ancient Persians,
who, after the defeat of their King Yezdezerd, the last of the dynasty
of Sassan, by the followers of Mohammed, fled to the mountains of
Khorasan. On the death of Yezdezerd, they quitted their native land,
and putting to sea, were permitted to settle at Sanjan, a place near
the sea-coast, between Bombay and Surat, about twenty-four miles south
of Damaun.

The Parsees are now chiefly settled in Bombay, numbering about one
hundred and fifteen thousand souls, or one fifth of the population.

The most enterprising, in a commercial point of view, of the various
races of Bombay, are the Parsees, some of whom are even more wealthy
than the most successful of the European merchants. They bear the very
highest character for honesty and industry, and are intelligent and
benevolent. The late Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy was a faultless model of
a merchant prince, in integrity, enterprise, and munificence. He
founded a hospital that bears his name, and made himself conspicuous
for his active benevolence up to the day of his death.

Great numbers of the poorer Parsees are clerks in the government
offices--a species of service for which they are peculiarly fitted, on
account of their attention to business, industry, and general
intelligence. Their inclinations are essentially pacific; and such a
phenomenon as a Parsee soldier is almost unknown.

The Parsees are alive to the advantage of affording a good education
to their children; and among the largest seminaries in the city of
Bombay are those belonging to this community. A Parsee school is an
interesting sight. The children are decidedly pretty; and as they sit
in rows, with glittering, many-colored dresses, and caps and jewels,
they look like a gay parterre of flowers.

On account of their peculiar religious belief, the Parsees are known
also as "Fire Worshippers;" but however great their awe for fire and
light, they consider them only as emblems of a higher power. The
Parsees pay reverence to two kinds of fire--the Adaran, lawful for the
people to behold; and the Behram, which must be seen by none but the
chief Dustoor, or priest, and must be screened from the rays of the
sun. When required for a new temple, a portion of the sacred fire is
procured in a golden censer from Mount Elbourg, near Yezd, where
resides the chief pontiff, and where the holy flame is perpetually
maintained. The Behram fire is said to have had its origin from the
natural bituminous fires on the shores of the Caspian, and to have
never been extinguished. It is supposed to be fed with sandal and
other precious and aromatic woods, and is kept burning on a silver
grating.

The Parsees are the only Eastern nation who abstain from smoking. They
do not eat food cooked by a person of another religion, and object to
beef and pork.

When a Parsee dies, a dog must be present, as it is supposed to drive
away evil spirits, who are on the alert to seize upon the dying man's
soul. This precaution is called the _sagdad_, or dog-gaze. One of the
chief reasons for the great veneration in which dogs are held by
Parsees arises from the tradition that in their emigration from Persia
to India their ancestors were, during a dark night, nearly driven upon
the shores of Guzerat, and that they were aroused and first warned
of their impending danger by the barking of the dogs on board their
ships.

[Illustration: PARSEE CHILDREN, BOMBAY.]

When a Parsee dies, the body is dressed in clean, but old clothes, and
conveyed to its last resting-place on an iron bier; meat and drink are
placed at hand for three days, as during that time the soul is
supposed to hover around in the hope of being reunited to its late
earthly tenement.

[Illustration: A PARSEE.]

The Parsee sepulchres are of so peculiar a character as to merit
particular notice. Should any of my readers ever go to Bombay, he will
find two of these _dakhmas_, or Temples of Silence, in a secluded part
of Malabar Hill, though admittance is denied within the walls
enclosing the melancholy structures to aught but Parsees. The interior
is fitted up with stages or stories of stone pavement, slanting down
to a circular opening, like a well, covered with a grating, into which
the bones are swept, after the fowls of the air, the dew, and the sun
have deprived them of every particle of flesh.

The Parsees assign as their reason for not burying their dead, that,
having received many benefits from the earth during their lifetime,
they consider it defiled by placing dead bodies in it. Similarly, they
do not adopt the Hindoo custom of burning their dead, as another
element, fire, would be rendered impure.

The chief distinctive feature of the Parsee dress is the hat, to which
the community cling with a pertinacity that would be extraordinary,
were it not common. Even the Parsee representative of "Young Bombay,"
dressed from top to toe in European costume, including a pair of shiny
boots, cannot be induced to discard the abominable _topee_, or hat,
distinctive of his race; though, perhaps, after all, we who live in
glass houses should not throw stones; for what can be more hideous
than the chimney-pot hat of our boasted civilization? The Parsee
head-dress, which contests the palm of ugliness with its English
rival, is constructed on a strong but light framework, covered with
highly-glazed, dark-colored chintz. The priests, who dress like the
laity, wear a hat of much the same shape as the former, but white,
instead of a dark color.

On occasions of ceremony, the ordinary tight-fitting narrow garment is
exchanged for one with very full skirts, like a petticoat; and a shawl
is usually worn round the waist, which is at other times omitted. The
costume of the women is a combination of that of the Hindoos and
Mussulmans, consisting of the short body and _sarree_ of the former,
with the full trousers of the latter. Both sexes endue themselves, at
seven years of age, with the sacred shirt, which is worn over the
trousers; the _sadra_, as it is called, is made of a thin, transparent
muslin, and is meant to represent the coat-of-mail the men wore when
they arrived in India, and with which they believe they can resist the
spiritual assaults of Ahriman, the evil principle. The hair of the
women is concealed by linen skull-caps, fitting tight to the head.

It is a singular and interesting sight to watch the Parsees assembled
on the sea-shore, and, as the sun sinks below the horizon, to mark
them prostrating themselves, and offering up their orisons to the
great giver of light and heat, which they regard as representing the
Deity. Their prayers are uttered, it is said, in an unknown tongue;
and after the fiery face of the orb of day has disappeared in his
ocean bed, and the wondrous pillars of light shooting aslant the sky,
proclaim that the "day is done," and the night is at hand, they raise
themselves from their knees, and turn silently away from the beach,
which is left once more to twilight and the murmur, or, if in angry
mood, the roar, of the sea as it breaks on the shore.



[Illustration: {The unknown man rescues the girl from the burning
    building}]

THE CRIPPLED BOY.

FROM THE FRENCH.


"Don't cry any more, Genevieve; you must get married again," said a
man in the working dress of a slater, just returning from his day's
work, to a poor woman who was sitting at the foot of a camp bed,
weeping, and rocking her baby at the same time. "Your husband is
dead; he fell from a ladder, and it killed him. It is a great
misfortune for you and your family; but crying won't help you."

Saying these words in a rough voice, to hide the emotion caused by the
poor woman's despair, the workman brushed away a tear with his coat
sleeve.

"My poor George!" said the woman.

"If your son was only good for anything," added the workman, rudely,
throwing a glance of disdain upon a poor, pale, weak, and crippled
boy, who was seated on the floor in a corner of the room; "if that
child would ever grow into a man, I would take him with me, and teach
him how to clamber over roofs, and to keep his balance upon the beams,
and drop from the end of a rope. But no, he grows worse and worse
every day; and now he can hardly bear his own weight. He is almost
twelve years old, that son of yours; and if they said he was four, it
would be a compliment."

"Is it the fault of Jacques that he came crooked into the world, my
brother?"

"No, certainly not. I don't blame him, poor child, I don't blame him;
but he will always be a useless mouth in the world. Luckily, he will
not live long," he whispered in the ear of his sister. Then he rose,
and went out, calling, "Good by till to-morrow," in a tone of voice
which betrayed the anxiety he felt at the situation of his sister and
her children.

"_Luckily_ I shall not live long," was repeated by a sweet, sad voice,
in an accent which only belongs to those who have suffered deeply.

"What are you saying, Jacques?" inquired Genevieve.

"That I am good for nothing. My uncle was right."

"Take courage, my son. When you are older, you will grow stronger."

"Yes, if--" said the boy.

But he left the sentence unfinished, and his mother was too much
absorbed in her grief to ask him what he meant. It was late, and in a
few minutes the poor family retired. It was hardly light when Jacques
went down into the court-yard to see the grooms curry the horses, wash
the carriages, and get ready for the day.

It was summer, and very soon a pretty little girl came down into the
court. Jacques uttered a loud cry when he saw her.

"Without crutches, Mademoiselle Emilie!"

"So you see, Jacques," replied the young girl, with a sweet smile. "I
shall not use them any more. To be sure, I am a little weak here," she
added, showing her left arm and foot, which were smaller than the
right; "and besides," she said, "I am a little crooked."

"And mademoiselle believes that she is entirely cured?"

"Certainly, Jacques. Only think, I was worse than you are! Stop,
Jacques! I do really believe that _you_ would be cured if you would go
with me, and take lessons in gymnastics at the house of Colonel
Amoros."

"I am too poor to do that, mademoiselle. Somebody told my mother that
these academies of gymnas--gym--I don't know what--are very expensive;
and besides that, what good would they do me? for my uncle says I
shall not live long."

"Perhaps your uncle does not know any better than our doctor. But
really, Jacques, have you not seen sometimes old people crooked and
deformed? They have lived long, perhaps, those same old people."

"But it is not at all likely that they were obliged to earn their
living, mademoiselle."

[Illustration: THE LITTLE CRIPPLE BOY.]

"Poor Jacques!" exclaimed Emilie, in a tone of compassion. "You listen
to me. When I am married, and have lots of money, I promise you that
it will give me pleasure to make any sacrifice to pay for your being
cured."

"Ah, I shall be too old then, or dead--who knows?"

"What can be done?" she exclaimed, tapping the toe of her boot on the
ground with an air of vexation.

Then seeing an elderly lady come into the court, she ran to meet her,
exclaiming,--

"My dear friend, allow Jacques to go with us to the Amoros gymnasium.
You gave me one ticket. Say, will you give me two?"

"It is impossible, mademoiselle. I cannot give away your tickets
without leave from your father."

"Leave from my father, who is not here!" cried Emilie. "He is in
Martinique. Before we could get an answer--O, dear! O, dear!"

"Do not distress yourself so, my child," said the governess. "I have
heard that they receive free pupils in the gymnasium conducted by M.
Amoros. For many years they have taken those unfortunate children who
are unable to pay the price of subscription. It is very generous and
kind in Colonel Amoros, for it must be very expensive to support an
establishment of this kind in the city."

"It is very good in the colonel; but then I want to pay for Jacques,
because if every one went without paying, the school would soon come
to an end."

"But what money have you to pay with?"

"Ah, you shall see, my kind friend.--Jacques," she added, turning to
the poor boy, whose pale and suffering face expressed all the interest
he took in this conversation,--"Jacques, you must come with me to the
gymnasium."

"Never, for I cannot walk so far as that, mademoiselle," said Jacques,
sadly.

"But you must ride in my carriage."

"Just think of that, mademoiselle! No, I am too poorly clothed," said
the poor son of the slater, glancing at his worn-out vest and at his
green trousers patched with gray.

"Haven't you any Sunday clothes?"

"Yes, mademoiselle, but they are very little better."

"They must be cleaner, certainly. Go and put them on. Hurry!"

Jacques obeyed. A few moments later, he came down, looking a little
better dressed; but it was owing to the careful hands of a good
workwoman, and not to the quality of the cloth which made his
garments.

Emilie was obliged to use all her authority before the servants would
allow the little peasant to enter the coach. At last she placed him on
the seat before her, and he was much more astonished than delighted at
finding himself run away with by a pair of frisky young horses.

In a street named Jean-Goujon you can see a large white building, of a
very elegant style of architecture. On the front of it was printed, in
large letters, the words GYMNASE CIVIL ORTHOSOMATIQUE, and other
inscriptions to explain the object of the edifice.

In 1815 Colonel Amoros made the first effort to introduce gymnastics
into France. Messrs. Jomard and Julien not only seconded him fully,
but insisted on the importance of these exercises, not alone for
physical development, but for moral and intellectual strength.

Colonel Amoros was of Spanish origin, and became distinguished in the
Spanish army. He formed two companies of Zouaves, and achieved the
most daring exploits with them in Europe and Africa. Then he became
private secretary to King Charles IV. He formed a large gymnasium in
Madrid, which was destroyed in the war of 1808. But in devoting, his
life to the physical training of children in Paris, Colonel Amoros
performed the greatest service to humanity. Though societies decorated
him with medals, and France gave him funds for his military gymnasium,
he will find in grateful hearts his best reward.

But let us return to little Emilie, when the coach stopped at the
gymnasium.

The exercises had not begun. The professors, who were all young and
active men, wore the same dress--a white vest and trousers, with a
tri-colored belt, and a little blue cap on the head. They only waited
for a signal to begin, as they stood in groups in the centre of the
court. Very soon a middle-aged gentleman appeared among them. Though
he was no longer young, he was still strong and active, and seemed to
have a powerful constitution. He wore a blue coat, and a decoration at
his button-hole, which was given as a token of bravery. He wore a cap
upon his head.

He came forward to speak to Emilie, and his eye fell upon poor
Jacques, who was overcome with emotion at seeing a school where
children who had been lame from weakness found the use of their limbs
on recovering their health.

Before the colonel had time to ask who this boy was,--for he knew
Jacques was not one of his scholars,--Emilie seized his hand, and with
the coaxing voice that children know how to use so well when they want
to ask a favor, she said,--

"I can walk without crutches now, colonel."

"I am rejoiced to hear it, my child. You ought to be able to do so."

"And I have grown almost an inch in six months. O, I am so much
obliged to you, colonel!"

"You mean to my gymnasium, my dear child."

"No, to you, colonel, to you. For really I was much worse than Jacques
is, and to-day I am better than he is."

"Who is Jacques?"

"This boy that you see here," said Emilie, taking the hand of Jacques,
who was hiding behind her, and making him come forward before the
colonel. "He is the son of a slater. His father is dead. He fell from
a roof. Poor man! His mother is very miserable, for she has another
child to take care of; so you see yourself, colonel, it is quite
necessary that he should be able to stand alone."

All the time that M. Amoros was examining Jacques, rolling up the
sleeves of his jacket to see his arms, turning up his trousers to look
at his legs, feeling his spine, and making him stretch out his limbs,
Emilie continued, with a coaxing voice,--

"If you are willing, Colonel Amoros, we can make an arrangement. O,
you must not refuse me, I beg of you!"

"What?" said the kind man, continuing his examination.

"This boy is very poor--very, very poor. If he is not cured, he will
never be able to get his living. He has a mother and sister to
support; and see, colonel, I am very sure my poor Jacques will die
soon."

"Will you hold your tongue, you little simpleton?" said the colonel,
suddenly turning round at the word "die."

"He will die soon if you don't take pity on him, dear Colonel Amoros,"
added the little girl, clasping her small hands eagerly before the
colonel, who was too much engaged in examining poor Jacques, and
considering the best way to cure him, to pay much attention to
Emilie's words.

"Please let Jacques take part in the exercises, and I will pay you out
of my savings; or if you are willing to wait, I will pay it when I am
married. And besides that, I will write to my father, and tell him to
let me come and take lessons here after I am entirely cured."

The colonel could not restrain his mirth at the idea of Emilie
wishing to pay him for a kind action, which his generous heart
prompted him to do without any persuasion.

"It does not require so much eloquence to urge me to do a kindness, my
little friend," he replied. "Do you think I don't enjoy my practice? I
will receive your protégé with pleasure, if he will promise to obey my
orders, and if he will resemble his protectress in the love of doing
good."

While speaking these words, the colonel called one of the teachers,
and pointing to Jacques,--who did not know whether he was dreaming or
not,--he said,--

"Take this boy, give him a belt, and a knot of scarlet ribbon on the
left shoulder; that is the side which needs strengthening."

Then he explained which exercises he should take, and those he ought
to avoid.

He then gave a signal for the bell to ring, and the professors and
children were soon busy in the centre of the gymnasium.

It was a pretty sight, I can assure you. Such a wonderful combination
of poles, ropes, posts, and ladders! You might wonder, at first, what
they all meant. But soon every child came along in his turn, without
effort, and with such perfect enjoyment, that it explained the
mystery.

Gymnastic exercises were practised with great care by the ancients.
They formed part of the education of a gentleman. They give that
physical beauty and grace which only spring from a fine muscular
development. Among the Greeks and Romans, men frequented the gymnasium
and the circus. Philosophers, judges, and soldiers took part in these
exercises with the citizens, that they might become stronger and more
athletic, more active and capable of bearing fatigue.

M. Amoros not only gave health and strength to the pupils of his
gymnasium, but he taught them to call only those deeds _great_ which
were inspired by bravery, love of humanity, and pure benevolence.

Two years had passed away; spring had arrived at the old chateau on
the Loire, and M. Martel, the father of little Emilie, had returned
from his voyage to Martinique. He was busy in making many necessary
repairs in his family mansion, and many workmen came from Paris for
that purpose. The night after their arrival, the chateau was
discovered to be on fire. M. Martel awoke in haste; startled by the
light of the flames, which suddenly illuminated his room, he ran to
see where the fire sprang from, and called aloud for his daughter,
whom he could not see anywhere. The spectacle that met his view quite
overwhelmed him. The story that was on fire was the place where his
daughter slept. It could be reached only from a neighboring roof, that
was almost consumed. A single beam connected one building with the
other. Notwithstanding his age and the gout, which paralyzed one of
his limbs, the poor father wished to climb up and save his daughter,
or to die with her. They held him back; he uttered fearful shrieks,
when a young man, little more than a boy, was seen on the beam, which
tottered with his weight. He walked along without fear. A profound
silence succeeded to the cries of terror. The souls of the spectators
seemed to look out of their eyes. M. Martel fell upon his knees.

The intrepid youth reached the window, and scaled it. They saw him
unroll a long rope, or rope-ladder, and fasten it securely to the iron
balcony which ornamented the window; then he disappeared.

Not a sound betrayed the anxiety of the spectators. The unknown man
returned; he held a young person supported upon his back. He mounted
the iron balcony, and suspended himself with his precious burden upon
it, for she was well secured by a strong belt. This horrible suspense
was more than M. Martel could bear. He covered his face with his
hands. But soon the universal shouts of joy told him that his daughter
was safe.

After the first moments of delight, the young girl turned to her
deliverer. An exclamation of surprise fell from their lips.

"Jacques!"

"Mademoiselle Emilie!"

Then they gazed at each other in silence by the red light of the fire.

They were no longer two pale, sad children, with haggard little faces,
already prematurely old. They had been separated ever since Emilie had
left the gymnasium, and, not living in the same place, they hardly
recognized each other. Emilie was a tall and beautiful girl, enjoying
all the delight of perfect health. Jacques almost had become a man.

M. Martel had not heard without emotion about his daughter's generous
act, and her efforts to have Jacques received as a pupil in the Amoros
gymnasium.

"Am I not well rewarded?" she exclaimed, extending her hand to the
young man. "You would not have had any daughter without him, papa. The
horror of my position, the impossibility of my finding a rope, a
ladder, or any way of escape, frightened me so, that I lost my senses,
and I should have been burned alive, if it had not been for Jacques."

"Ah, mademoiselle," said the slater's son, with emotion, "it is not
life alone that I owe to you; is it not more than life? It is health,
the use of my limbs, and the happiness of being able to support my
mother. Yes, mademoiselle," added Jacques, with fervor, "I am a
workman, and thanks to the lessons of our excellent professor, Colonel
Amoros, I am more skilful than any of my fellow-laborers. I can
support my family, and my wages are higher, because I can work harder
and work longer than the rest."

"Brave boy!" exclaimed M. Martel, pressing Jacques in his arms, who
was quite overcome at the meeting. "From this day forward you shall be
my son. I will take charge of your education and your advancement, of
your mother and your sister. Brave boy! My daughter has done much for
you, but you deserve it; she understood your heart."

M. Martel kept his word. And some days after, when Jacques and his
uncle met in the small attic of the poor widow, and were rejoicing
over the happy change in their fortunes, the poor mother clasped her
boy's head to her heart, and bathed his curls with tears, and covered
them with kisses, exclaiming,--

"Now you see, brother, Jacques was not a useless creature. It is owing
to him that our fortune is made."

"Yes, thanks to Colonel Amoros," said the workman.

"Thanks to Mademoiselle Emilie," said Jacques, heaving a sigh.

                                               S. W. LANDER.

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {The girl kisses her father on the forehead}]

A DINNER AND A KISS.


    "I have brought your dinner, father,"
      The blacksmith's daughter said,
    As she took from her arm the kettle,
      And lifted its shining lid.
    "There is not any pie or pudding;
      So I will give you this;"
    And upon his toil-worn forehead
      She left the childish kiss.

    The blacksmith took off his apron,
      And dined in happy mood,
    Wondering much at the savor
      Hid in his humble food,
    While all about him were visions
      Full of prophetic bliss;
    But he never thought of the magic
      In his little daughter's kiss.

    While she, with her kettle swinging,
      Merrily trudged away,
    Stopping at sight of a squirrel,
      Catching some wild bird's lay,
    O, I thought, how many a shadow
      Of life and fate we would miss,
    If always our frugal dinners
      Were seasoned with a kiss!



MY MOTHER.

"Honor thy father and thy mother."


    Father and mother! sacred names and dear;
    The sweetest music to the infant ear,
    And dearer still to those, a joyous band,
    Who sport in childhood's bright enchanted land.

    And when, as years roll on, night follows day,
    The young wax old and loved ones pass away,
    Through mists of time yet holier and more dear,
    "Father and mother" sound to memory's ear.

    The days, the hours, the moments as they speed,
    Each crowned by loving thought or word or deed,
    Oh, heart's long-suffering, self-denying! sure
    Earth holds no love more true, and none so pure.

    Thou happy child whom a good God hath given
    A parents' shelt'ring home, that earthly heaven,
    Where ceaseless care, where tireless love and true,
    Nurse thy young life as flowers are nursed by dew.

    E'en as the flowers, for the dear debt they owe,
    Bloom, and sweet odors in rich meed bestow,
    Let the fair blossoms of thy love and duty
    Cluster about thy home in fragrant beauty.

    Never from eye or lip be seen or heard
    The sullen glance or the rebellious word,
    And never wilfully or heedless pain
    The tender hearts that cannot wound again.

    But fond caress, sweet smile and loving tone,
    Obedience prompt and glad, be thine alone,
    For filial love, like mercy, is twice blest;
    While to the parent of earth's joys the best,
    Richer than treasures of the land or sea,
    It wins God's blessing, O my child, for thee!

[Illustration: MY MOTHER.]



REGINALD'S FIRST SCHOOL-DAYS.


One frosty morning in January two delicate-looking children were
sitting before a blazing fire in a long, low nursery with oak rafters
running across the ceiling. Between them lay a great shaggy dog.

"You will take good care of Rover whilst I am away?" said the boy,
winding his fingers in Rover's shaggy hair and leaning his head
against him.

"Yes; he shall go for a walk with me every day, and in the twilight I
will talk to him about you," answered Alice. "You might send messages
to him in your letters," she added.

"Would you understand them, old fellow?" asked Reginald, lifting up
the dog's head and looking into his eyes.

The dog wistfully returned his master's gaze and gave him his paw.

"I believe he understands," said Reginald, throwing his arms round the
dog's neck. "Oh, Rover, Rover, if I could only take you with me!"

"It would not be so bad then," sighed Alice.

"It won't be really bad when I get accustomed to it. Just at first it
may be strange, but I shall be sure to like one, at any rate, out of
the forty boys. It is going out into the world, and my father says it
is well for a boy to learn his level early. On the whole, I am glad I
am going; it is only the first bit of it that one is not sure about."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a large room, with desks and benches on either side, and an
aisle, as Reginald called it, up the middle. It had four large windows
looking out on the playground, and a fireplace at each end, round
which some dozen or two of boys were clustered.

Reginald advanced toward the fireplace at the lower end of the room,
hoping that some one might speak to him and rid him of the strange,
uncomfortable feeling that crept over him; but none of the boys spoke,
though they regarded him critically, as if measuring the sort of being
he was before committing themselves to any closer acquaintance.

So he sat down on a bench halfway down the school-room, tried to look
unconscious, and half wished himself at home again.

"Have any of you fellows got a knife? I want to cut this piece of
string," said a tall boy, addressing the group generally.

In a moment Reginald had taken out his new knife and offered it to the
speaker.

"Ah!" said Thompson, the tall boy; "a capital knife. Much obliged;
will borrow it for the present;" and after using it he quietly put it
into his pocket.

Some of the boys laughed. One of them, however, murmured, in an
undertone, "What a great shame!"

Reginald's color rose. He walked straight up to Thompson:

"Will you please to give me my knife again?"

Thompson looked surprised:

"No; I shall please to do nothing of the kind. You offered it, and I
accepted it. An offer's an offer."

"I lent it to you to cut the string."

"You did not say so."

"I do not think it just of you to take my knife in that way," said
Reginald, thoroughly aroused; "and if you do not return it at once, I
shall speak to Dr. Field about it."

"Oh!" said Thompson, coolly; "you're a sneak, are you?"

[Illustration: INDUSTRIOUS REGINALD.]

The boys, who had been gathering round Reginald, admiring his spirit
in confronting the tall boy, now drew back, and the words "tell-tale!"
"blab!" "sneak!" were distinctly heard. And Reginald found himself
standing alone, deserted by those who had drawn near in sympathy with
him, for Thompson was the tyrant of the school.

Presently, when the boys had returned to their places by the fire, and
Reginald was apparently forgotten, a merry-looking boy a year older
than himself sat down by him.

"No," said he; "you must not say anything to Dr. Field. You must let
your knife go, and learn wisdom for the future."

Reginald looked up.

"It's mean and unfair," he said.

"That may be, but the boys would say it was meaner still to complain.
One has to put up with things of this sort at school, and make the
best of them."

"What's your name?" asked Reginald, suddenly, for there was something
about the boy that he liked, and he thought this might be the one who
was to be his friend.

"Barton. And yours?"

"Reginald Murray."

"Murray's enough, without the other."

"I should like you to be my friend."

Barton glanced at the large dark eyes that were fixed upon him, and at
the delicate and somewhat mournful face, and felt attracted also.

"I think I shall like you," he returned; "but I must wait and see how
you go on. I think you've the right spirit; but you must take my
advice about the knife. Will you?"

There was a struggle in Reginald's mind. It was very hard to give up
the knife that Alice had saved up her pocket-money to buy for him.
Still, Barton had been at school for some time, and knew better than
he what ought to be done, so he answered, "I will."

But Barton was not prepared for his manner of carrying out the
decision. To his great surprise, Reginald marched straight up to
Thompson. "I shall not," he said, "speak to Dr. Field about the knife.
It's unfair and unjust of you to take it, and I sha'n't be friends
with you as long as you keep it. But Barton says it would be telling
tales if I made a complaint."

Some of the younger boys stood quite aghast at Reginald's boldness;
one or two even murmured, "Well done!"

Thompson stared, half in astonishment, half in anger. "You're too
fast, young sir; you'll have to be put down, I see," said he. But he
did not give Reginald his knife again.

School was indeed a new world to Reginald. He made friends and found
enemies; he worked hard--indeed, often sat up by candle-light to
prepare examples for the next day. He played well, and on the whole
was tolerably popular. Thompson, however, still kept the knife, using
it upon all occasions, which caused a thrill of indignation to go
through Reginald's delicate frame.

"If I can't get it one way, I will another," thought he; and he
brooded over the knife until he magnified every word that Thompson
said into a series of insults to himself, and Thompson, pleased with
the power he possessed over the boy, exercised it on all occasions.

So the spring went by, and the summer came, and the days slipped away,
and the holidays were close at hand.

"If I were strong enough, I would fight him for it," said Reginald to
Barton, one day, when Thompson had been more than usually aggravating.

The remark was repeated to Thompson, who was standing by the side of
the river that ran at the foot of the playground.

At that moment Reginald drew near.

"So you would like to fight me if you were big enough?" said he, with
a sneer.

"I should!" answered Reginald, warmly.

"Ah! it's a bad state of feeling. If the knife causes such wicked
thoughts, the best way is to get rid of it. So here it goes, and there
is an end of it!" And drawing the knife from his pocket, he flung it
into the river. It fell short of where he intended, and Reginald saw
his beloved knife through the clear river, lying within what he
supposed to be an easy reach. Without a moment's thought he jumped in
after it, regardless of the cry that rose, "The water's deeper than it
looks!"

His hand had, as if by instinct, grasped the knife, but as he tried to
struggle back through the swiftly-running water he got confused, for,
as the boys had called out to him, it was a great deal deeper than it
looked, and just there the ground shelved suddenly, and Reginald,
taking a false step, lost his footing.

There was a general outcry, which brought Dr. Field and a visitor who
had just arrived to the spot:

"Murray's in the river!"

And they pointed to the spot where the poor boy had sunk.

With such a cry as the boys long remembered, the visitor had plunged
into the water, and had caught the boy, who had risen for the last
time, by the arm.

And the next thing that the boys knew was that a white, dripping form
was carried through the playground into the house.

Then a whisper went round, "It was his father."

Then a whispered question, "Is he dead?"

And Thompson shuddered as he heard it.

But Reginald did not die; he opened his eyes to find his father
clasping his hand. At first he could remember nothing, then he looked
round anxiously: "Is the knife safe? I went to pick up my knife."

Then he closed his eyes and remained for a long time silent; and when
he spoke again, it was in the wild ravings of delirium.

The shock had been too much for the delicate boy. Fever came on, and
it was weeks before he could be moved home. And then he was ordered to
the South, and Italy was the chosen place in which Mr. and Mrs. Murray
and their two children should sojourn until Reginald should have
completely recovered his health.

And this time Rover was to go with his young master.

The day before Reginald left home a carriage drove up to the door, and
Thompson stepped out of it.

He and Reginald were alone for a quarter of an hour, and they parted
friends.

"I have my knife now, Thompson," said Reginald, "and so the quarrel is
over."

And Thompson returned to Dr. Field's a better and a wiser boy. He
never bullied any one again.

[Decoration]



[Illustration: {Three kittens, two wrestling and one clasping a ball
    in its front paws}]

CLEOPATRA.


    We've called our young puss Cleopatra;
      'Twas grandpa who named her like that.
    He says it means "fond of good living"--
      A queer enough name for a cat!

    She leads the most lovely existence,
      And one which appears to enchant;
    Asleep in the sun like a snow-flake
      That tries to get melted and can't;

    Or now and then languidly strolling
      Through plots of the garden, to steal
    On innocent grasshoppers, crunching
      Her cruel and murderous meal!

    Or lapping from out of her saucer--
      The dainty and delicate elf!--
    With appetite spoiled in the garden,
      New milk that's as white as herself.

    Dear, dear! could we only change places,
      This do-nothing pussy and I,
    You'd think it hard work, Cleopatra,
      To live, as the moments went by.

    Ah! how would you relish, I wonder,
      To sit in a school-room for hours?
    You'd find it less pleasant, I fancy,
      Than murdering bugs in the flowers.

                            EDGAR FAWCETT.



DECLAMATION.

SHAKSPEARE.


    She sat in her eternal house,
      The sovereign mother of mankind;
    Before her was the peopled world,
      The hollow night behind.

    "Below my feet the thunders break,
      Above my head the stars rejoice;
    But man, although he babbles much,
      Has never found a voice.

    "Ten thousand years have come and gone,
      And not an hour of any day
    But he has dumbly looked to me
      The things he could not say.

    "It shall be so no more," she said;
      And then, revolving in her mind,
    She thought, "I will create a child
      Shall speak for all his kind."

    It was the spring-time of the year,
      And, lo! where Avon's waters flow,
    The child, her darling, came on earth
      Three hundred years ago.

    There was no portent in the sky,
      No cry, like Pan's, along the seas,
    Nor hovered round his baby mouth
      The swarm of classic bees.

    What other children were he was;
      If more, 'twas not to mortal ken;
    The being likest to mankind
      Made him the man of men.

    Before he came, his like was not,
      Nor left he heirs to share his powers.
    The mighty mother sent him here
      To be her voice and ours;

    To be her oracle to man;
      To be what man may be to her;
    Between the Maker and the made
      The best interpreter.

                      RICHARD H. STODDARD.



SMILES AND TEARS.


    Both sword and guns are strong, no doubt,
      And so are tongue and pen,
    And so are sheaves of good bank-notes,
      To sway the souls of men;
    But guns and swords, and gold and thought,
      Though mighty in their sphere,
    Are often poorer than a smile,
      And weaker than a tear.



NICOLO'S LITTLE FRIEND.


"Nicolo, Nicolo, where are you? Where have you hidden yourself? Come
here; I want you."

It was a very bright-eyed little girl who spoke these words--under a
bright sky, too--the sunny sky of Italy.

But Nicolo, a boy some years older than herself, looked far from
bright or happy; he was lying full length on the ground in the
sunlight; but his face was overcast and melancholy.

"Lazy fellow!" said little Gianetta, laughingly, as she came up to
him; "I am out of breath calling to you. Come along; I want you.
Mother has done with me, and we can make some music together."

But Nicolo shook his head, though he smiled at his little friend.

"What is it?" asked Gianetta. "Why can't you come? Is it the father
again?"

Nicolo sighed. He was a cheerful, happy-tempered boy by nature. And
yet Gianetta often found him looking very sad.

"Tiresome, bad man!" broke forth the little girl. "He has been
scolding you again; but no. Stop; I will say no wicked things of him,
for he is your father; and we must honor our parents, be they bad or
good, Father Clement says. But tell me, Nicolo, what has he said or
done?"

"It is nothing," said Nicolo, rousing himself at length--"nothing, my
little Gianetta; but it wearies me. It is the old tale; he likes not
my music--thinks it an excuse for idleness. Listen, little one. I make
my plans now. I cannot bear this life. I must do as he wishes--learn a
trade or somewhat, and give up my violin."

"That you never shall do," said Gianetta, earnestly. "You think me
naughty, Nicolo; but I am not. I only see it plainer than you or your
father. God has given you this talent,--this great one,--and you shall
not hide it, you shall not bury it." The little girl's face was so
eager, that Nicolo smiled at her.

But she went on, more excitedly:--

"Get up this moment, Nicolo, and come in with me. We will play
somewhat together. Your father never scolds you when I am by. And you
shall not give up your music."

The boy, half in earnest, and half amused, let the child drag him into
a little house near, put his violin into his arms, and then seat
herself at the piano, while in the distance sat Nicolo's father,
gloomily watching the pair.

"Begin," said Gianetta, "and tell me when I play wrongly."

But for such a mere child, Gianetta played with marvellous
correctness. As for Nicolo, his countenance cleared with every sound
that he drew from his beloved violin; he forgot his gloomy father; he
thought no longer of his dull, sad home. He was wrapped in that
wonderful content which the possession of some great talent gives.

With the last chord the brightness faded, however, out of his face.

"Take me home now," said the little girl.

Home was only across the street; but Gianetta wanted another word in
private with her friend.

"Nicolo," she said, gravely, "never speak more of giving up the music;
it is not to be. I am sorry for you, my poor boy; I know it is a hard
life, but--"

"But I will make a name for myself at last," said Nicolo, catching her
enthusiasm; "and then, perhaps, my father will have faith in me. Till
then I will be brave, little one; so good night."

It _was_ a hard life for Nicolo--his mother dead, his father with no
care for his son's one great passion--music. Many a time the boy's
spirit failed, and he even grew to doubt his own powers under the cold
glance and cruel taunts which daily met him.

He was sitting one day, feeling even sadder than usual,--discontented
even with the sounds he drew from his instrument,--when Gianetta's
mother stood in the doorway.

"The child is ill," she said, hurriedly--"very ill, and calls ever for
you. Come."

So Nicolo went, and, though tossed with fever, his little friend
smiled on him. There was, however, a longing look in her eyes; but her
parched lips could not form a word.

"Is it the violin?" asked Nicolo, softly.

She smiled again, and Nicolo fetched his treasure.

"A sleeping song?" he questioned.

The little face grew calm and soft at his question. Sweetly the music
floated through the room, stilling the little sufferer, and comforting
the watchers. When he had finished, Gianetta stretched out her arms.

"Thank you, dear Nicolo," she said; "that was pleasant. Now I shall
sleep; but _you_ must never sleep; you have much else to do; you must
go out into the world, and be famous--go away far, far from here. Do
you mind my words? Will you remember them?"

And she lay back exhausted on her pillow, never more to ask for music
in this world. Gianetta was listening even then to the angels' song.

That night Nicolo sat beside the dead body of his little friend.
Lights burned, flowers were scattered round her, and prayers were said
without ceasing in all those long hours. It was the custom of the
country; it did not disturb the dead, and it comforted the living.

And when morning dawned, the friendless boy went back to his little
room across the road, and there he poured out his heart in a farewell
strain to his dear companion who had thus suddenly been snatched from
him.

There was no more now to be done but to fulfil her last command--to
go out into the world, and to make himself famous.

Did he do so?

Ask those who love music, and hold dear all great names in its roll of
fame, if they ever heard of Nicolo Paganini; for it is of his boyhood
that I write.

How far he owed his success in life to a little girl, each reader may
judge for himself. She certainly inspired him with courage when he was
very down-hearted; and through all his brilliant career, I think he at
least must always have remembered her with gratitude.

                                                    H. A. F.



A CHILD'S PETITION.


        O thou above,
        From whose great love
    The world all good receives,
        Make me as bright
        With thy blessed light
    As a rose with all her leaves.

        Wash me as clean
        From every sin,
    O pitiful, pitiful One;
        And make me shine
        With thy grace divine,
    Like a lily with the sun.

        Take pride away,
        Dear Lord, I pray,
    And make me pure and true,
        That I may be fed
        On thy living bread,
    As the daisy is fed on the dew.

        Help me still
        To do thy will
    Till life has passed away,
        And in the dark
        To sing like a lark
    At the golden gate of the day.



THE TRUANT.


"What's the matter with Neddy Oram?" I said as a noise outside drew me
to the window, and I saw old Mrs. Oram dragging her grandson along the
street. She looked angry and determined.

"He's played truant, I guess," answered my little girl as she came to
my side. "He played truant last week, and Mr. Jonas made him stand on
one foot ever so long a time. And when he got tired and put the other
one down, he switched him on the leg. Oh dear! I don't want to go this
morning. I wish Neddy wouldn't play truant, nor be bad in school! He's
such a nice boy, and I can't bear to see him whipped. Mr. Jonas will
cut him dreadfully, I know he will, for he said he'd take the skin off
of him if ever he played truant again."

Neddy was a nice boy, as my little girl said. He was bright and
active, kind-hearted and generous. I never saw him do a mean or
selfish thing. But he had a free, rather reckless spirit and a will
that was stubbornness itself when aroused. Kindness softened, but
anger hardened, him.

Neddy's father and mother were both dead, and the boy lived with his
grandmother, who was rather a hard woman, and believed more in the
power of force than in the power of kindness.

As soon as I understood the case I put on my bonnet hastily and ran
after Mrs. Oram, hoping to come up with her before she reached the
school-room. I was a few moments too late for this, but in time to
have a word with Mr. Jonas, who stood at the door holding the
struggling boy firmly by the arm.

"I want you to promise me one thing," I said, laying my hand on the
schoolmaster's. I spoke in as quiet a voice as I could assume, but
very seriously. My words and manner threw Mr. Jonas off of his guard.
His hold on the boy relaxed, and in the next instant Neddy was beyond
his reach and running off as fast as his feet could carry him.

"After him!" cried the schoolmaster, greatly excited. "After him, John
Wilkins!"

A large, coarse-looking boy started forward, and was about passing
through the door, when I put my hand on him, and pressing him back
said,

"Wait a moment, John. Maybe, after I've said a word to Mr. Jonas,
he'll not want you to go. Tell him to wait, Mr. Jonas; do, now,
because I want you."

I softened my voice to a persuasive tone, and so made my interference
effectual. The schoolmaster told John Wilkins to go back to his seat.

Mrs. Oram had started after her troublesome grandson on the instant of
his escape, and so I was left alone with the excited teacher.

"Now, don't be angry with me," said I, "nor tell me to go away and
mind my own business. Two heads are sometimes better than one; and
it's my opinion that if you and I put our heads together, we can save
this poor boy from being ruined. There is a great deal of good in
him, but as things go now I'm afraid it will be lost. With natures
like his, 'love has readier will than fear.' His grandmother doesn't
know how to manage him. Let us try to show her a better way."

[Illustration: THE TRUANT.]

By the time I had said this the thoughts of Mr. Jonas had become
clearer and his anger against Neddy much abated. I saw this in his
face.

"Let the boy go now," I added. "After school come and see me, and
we'll have a long talk over the matter. But promise me one thing."

"What is that?" he asked.

"If old Mrs. Oram brings Neddy back to-day, don't punish him."

"Very well. It shall be as you say," answered the schoolmaster.

That evening Mr. Jonas called to see me. He was a better man, on the
whole, than he was a schoolmaster. Out of school he was kind and
genial, but as a teacher he was not always as wise and as patient as
he should be. Like Neddy's grandmother, he believed more in the power
of force than he did in the power of kindness. His rod was always in
sight, and too often in his hand. He ruled by fear, and not by love.

"Did Neddy come back to school?" I asked.

Mr. Jonas shook his head gravely.

"Oh, mother," cried my little girl, rushing into the room just at this
moment, "Neddy Oram's lost or run away!"

She stopped on seeing Mr. Jonas; her face, that had been a little
pale, flushed deeply, and her eyes had an angry flash. "And it's all
your fault!" she added, with a sudden brave indignation in her tiny
voice as she turned on the schoolmaster and looked at him steadily.

"My fault!" said the schoolmaster, in a startled voice.

"Yes, sir. It's all your fault. If you hadn't made him stand on one
leg until he was almost tired to death, and switched him when he put
the other down, and if you hadn't said you'd cut the skin off of him,
he wouldn't have run away."

And here little Carrie burst out crying, and buried her face, sobbing,
in my lap.

"Brave talk for my timid little girl, Mr. Jonas," I said, in an
undertone, "but all true, I'm afraid."

"What is true?" he asked, looking bewildered.

"All that Carrie has said. This way you have of flogging children does
more harm than good. A man of your clear mind and kindly nature might
surely find some better way to govern your scholars."

Mr. Jonas did not answer. There was a look of pained surprise on his
face.

"Run away, lost!" he exclaimed, after a few moments, rising to his
feet. His manner had become suddenly agitated. "Poor boy! I must see
about this;" and he went out hastily.

When Neddy Oram, who was only ten years old, escaped from the
schoolmaster, he went directly home and hid himself in the garret,
behind some boxes and old furniture. He ran so much faster than his
grandmother that she lost sight of him and did not see him go into the
house. So no search was made for him in the garret. Like some poor
hunted animal that had gained a place of safety, he crouched panting
in his hiding-place, enjoying for a time a sweet sense of security.
But Neddy could not long forget how small and weak and dependent he
was. It was all very well to hide away from his grandmother, but how
was he to get anything to eat?

"Run away!" said a voice that spoke inside of him, but so loud and
clear that he almost started. "Run away!" repeated the voice.
"Grandmother Oram will find you out up here and take you back to
school, and Mr. Jonas will switch you half to death."

I wonder who it was that said this, or how a voice could speak inside
of Neddy Oram? It was a bad spirit, I think, that wished to do him
harm. We may often hear these bad spirits speaking in our thoughts and
telling us to do naughty things. Good spirits speak in our thoughts as
well as bad ones, and they tell us to do what is right, to be kind and
generous and loving and true.

I am sorry to say that Neddy, who was not only angry with his
grandmother and the schoolmaster, but on account of his wrong-doings
and disobedience afraid of them, listened to this voice, and as he
listened the bad spirit made the voice seem so like his own thoughts
that he knew not but that all came from himself.

So under this wrong influence he planned an escape from the house,
which was to be made as soon as his grandmother went out. For an hour
or two he heard her moving around. At last all was still. Then he
stole from his hiding-place and listened at the head of the stairs.
Not the slightest sound broke the deep silence. Grandmother had gone
away. Then he took a loaf of bread, a large slice of cake and some
apples, which he tied up in a handkerchief; and stealing out of the
back door, he ran through the garden and out of a gate that opened
into a lane. At the end of this lane was a piece of woods, and beyond
this wood a deep hollow, along which it was easy to go without danger
of being seen by any one.

How strangely the little boy's heart beat as he hurried along, going
he knew not whither! It was not long before he reached the hollow
beyond the woods. After crossing this hollow, he entered another wood
by a narrow path made by the cattle. The trees in this wood were very
tall and close together, and the underbrush grew so thick that he
could see before him only for a short distance.

The silence and darkness of this heavy forest caused a lonely feeling
to come over Neddy. All at once the thought of bears and wolves came
into his mind, and with the thought fear crept into his heart. A
weakness fell upon him, and he stood still with drops of cold sweat
on his forehead. Then he turned and ran back, but in doing so missed
the way and took a path that, instead of taking him out of the forest,
led him farther into it. He ran and ran, panting for breath, until he
was so tired that he had to sit down to rest.

"What if I am lost?" he said to himself, a cold chill running over him
at the thought. Lost! How wildly the poor little boy's heart began to
beat! As he sat there, feeling too weak from weariness and fear to
arise, he heard not far off the sound of feet cracking the dry sticks
and rustling the leaves that lay upon the ground. He held his breath
in terror, for he was sure it was a bear or wolf. Nearer and nearer
the animal came, passing only a few rods from where he sat motionless.

"Oh, oh!" exclaimed Neddy, in tones of relief, starting to his feet as
he saw a young heifer which was astray in the woods.

At sight of the boy the heifer, scared by his sudden appearance,
started off at a run and was soon out of sight, leaving Neddy again
alone. He tried to follow her, but was not able to get on her track.
Oh how he did wish himself at home! How sorry he was that he had
played truant on the day before!

In trying to follow the heifer, Neddy left the narrow path along which
he had been going, and now he was among the thick undergrowth of the
forest, his hands and face scratched with briars. The trees stood so
close together that no sunshine came down through their thick
branches. All was dim and shadowy.

Poor Neddy! A great fear and loneliness fell on him again; and sitting
down on the limb of a fallen tree, he began to cry bitterly. But
crying was of no use. It wouldn't get him out of the woods and safely
home again. So he dried his tears and started on again, hoping to find
the path he had left. But he tried in vain. All at once he noticed
that the light was fading rapidly and the air growing cold. The sun
had gone down, and night was falling. Neddy's heart began to beat
wildly; he could feel the throbs all over him; there was a great
pressure as if a hand were laid on his breast; he could scarcely
breathe, so strong was the feeling of suffocation that oppressed him.
He tried to run, but his foot caught in a vine, and he fell upon the
ground, where he lay for a long time before he had strength enough to
arise.

In his weakness and exhaustion the poor boy found strength and
courage. How! Think, my little reader. What would you have done if
lost in the woods as Neddy was lost? Where would you have looked for
help? You would have done, I am very sure, just as he did. And what
did he do? Why, he put his little hands together, and lifting his
tearful eyes upward prayed that God would take care of him, and not
let any wild beasts eat him up.

As soon as he had done this the dreadful fear from which he was
suffering went out of his heart. Just a little way beyond the spot
where Neddy had fallen was a small clear place in the forest, where
grew a bed of soft green moss. A few rays of light came down through
an opening in the trees and showed him this cosy nook. Once in it,
there seemed to grow all about him a wall of darkness. So he sat down
upon the moss with a strange feeling of peace and security in his
heart.

And now, for the first time, Neddy felt hungry. So he opened the
bundle of bread and cake which he had brought with him, and ate with a
keen relish. Then he began to feel tired and heavy. The soft moss on
which he was resting was just the bed for a poor tired boy like him,
and before he had time to think of his loneliness and danger he was
fast asleep.

But sleep sometimes gives us frightful dreams, and one of these came
to Neddy. He still thought himself a poor lost boy in the woods trying
to find his way out. He heard wolves howling, and saw bears and tigers
and all kinds of wild beasts. At last a wolf with great red jaws came
after him, and he started to run, but his terror was so great that he
could scarcely move his feet. A fearful growl ran through the woods,
and the dreadful beast came rushing down upon him. At this frightful
moment he heard his name called; and turning, he saw Mr. Jonas, the
schoolmaster, running toward him with an axe in his hand, with which
he struck the wolf just as he was about seizing him. The wolf fell
dead, and the schoolmaster, catching Neddy up in his arms, said,
tenderly, "My poor, poor boy!" and hugged him tightly to his breast.

Was all this a dream? No, not all, for Neddy awoke and found himself
in the schoolmaster's arms, with two or three men around holding
lanterns in their hands.

"My poor, poor boy!" said the schoolmaster again, laying his hand
tenderly on his recovered scholar; and this time Neddy heard the words
in full wakefulness.

He did not stir, but lay with his head close against Mr. Jonas, who,
guided by the men with lanterns, walked hurriedly through the forest,
and soon came to the road that led to the village.

I was at Grandmother Oram's, waiting anxiously for news of the lost
boy, when the schoolmaster came in with Neddy in his arms. I had been
talking long and seriously with the frightened old lady about her way
of treating Neddy, and she had promised me not to say a hard or angry
word to him when he came home, if that ever should be. She was very
much softened, and her real love for Neddy was having its full course.

It was after ten o'clock when we heard the sound of coming feet. The
poor old lady started up and stood pale and breathless. The door
opened and Mr. Jonas came in, carrying Neddy in his arms. His face was
softer in expression than I had ever seen it. He did not say a word
until he came close up to Mrs. Oram, when, holding out the boy, he
said, in a low voice that was broken and tender, "Be kind to the poor
child, Mrs. Oram. I will see you about him in the morning," then
merely adding, as he turned to leave, "We found him asleep in the
woods," went out hastily.

There was a new order of things in the village school after that. The
rod fell from Mr. Jonas' hand, never to be lifted again, and he soon
learned that in kindness was greater power than in fear. Neddy was in
his place on the next day, and from that time onward was one of the
most obedient and faithful scholars in school. Mr. Jonas' manner
toward him was kind and gentle, and Neddy felt drawn toward him by a
strange attraction that gave the schoolmaster the power over him of a
wise and loving father. No thought of disobedience crossed the boy's
mind. It was his delight to obey.

All this happened many years ago, and now the boy Neddy has grown to
be a strong, wise, good man, an honor to the position he holds, and
one of the best of citizens. He had the opportunity of doing Mr. Jonas
many kind acts; and when at last the old man grew too feeble to earn
his living, Mr. Oram made his last days comfortable by placing him
above the reach of want.

[Illustration: THE END.]



Transcriber's Note

Archaic spelling is preserved as printed. Variable spelling and
inconsistent hyphenation is preserved as printed across different
pieces, but has been made consistent within pieces if there was a
prevalence of one form. Punctuation and printer errors (e.g. omitted
or transposed letters) have been repaired.

The following amendments have also been made:

    Page 133--omitted word 'the' added--""Tell mother we want to
    make coffee in the field, too" ..."

    Page 341--mud amended to snow, based on the context--"... enable
    it to wade through the deep snow, ..."

In the story "How a Good Dinner was Lost" the older sister is named as
both Rosa and Rosy.

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in
the middle of a paragraph.

Illustration captions in {braces} have been added by the transcriber
for the convenience of the reader.





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