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Title: Harper's Young People, January 6, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harper's Young People, January 6, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly" ***

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[Illustration: HARPER'S



       *       *       *       *       *


Tuesday, January 6, 1880. Copyright, 1879, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50
per Year, in Advance.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A FAMILY IN DANGER.]


The most graceful of all the little inhabitants of the forest is the
squirrel. It is to be found in nearly every country, and is always the
same merry, frisky little creature. The general name for the great
squirrel family is _Sciurus_, a compound of two pretty Greek words
signifying shadow and tail, the beautiful bushy tail being a universal
family characteristic. Of the many varieties found in our Northern woods
the most common of all is the little chipmunk, a beautiful creature of
brownish-gray, with stripes of black and yellow on its back, and a snowy
white throat. It is the only burrower of the family. Choosing some
sheltered place under a stone wall or a clump of bushes, it digs a hole
which often descends perpendicularly for a yard or more before branching
off into the winding galleries and snug little apartments, some of which
serve as store-houses where nuts, corn, and seeds of different kinds are
hoarded away for its winter supplies. The little corner of the burrow
used as a nest is carefully and warmly lined with dry leaves and grass,
and here the tiny squirrel slumbers during the cold winter months.
Chipmunks are very plentiful in the country, and may be seen any sunny
day scampering along the stone walls, or up and down the trunks of nut
trees, their little cheeks, if it is in the autumn, puffed out round
with nuts, which they are carrying to their winter store-house.

The larger varieties of squirrels, which make their nest in trees, are
the red squirrel, often found in pine woods, as it is very fond of the
cones of pine and fir trees; the gray squirrel, a magnificent fellow,
with such a voracious appetite that it is said one squirrel alone will
strip a whole nut tree; and the black squirrel, a handsome, glossy
creature, which is so hated by its gray brothers that both are never
found together in the same nutting grounds. As the gray are the most
numerous, at least in this part of the country, they generally succeed
in driving away the black members of the family, so that they are not
very often seen.

The little flying-squirrels, the dearest little creatures for pets, are
natives of the Rocky Mountains, but are found in all parts of the United
States. They are very lazy, and sleep nearly all day, coming out at
twilight for a merry frolic, leaping, flying, or scampering at pleasure
among the tree-tops. They generally make their nest in some hollow
trunk, where it is very difficult to find them.

The nest of a gray or red squirrel is a wonderful piece of architecture.
It is usually built in the crotch of some large branch, near or directly
against the main trunk of the tree. The spherical-shaped exterior is a
mass of interwoven twigs, so carefully placed as to afford ample
protection against rain or snow; leaves and grasses are stuffed inside,
while the little bed where the squirrel nestles and takes its nap is of
the softest and driest moss. In this pretty snuggery five or six little
squirrels are born early in the warm weather. The mother is very
watchful and very affectionate. If any wicked boys disturb her, or a
natural enemy, some beast or bird of prey, comes near, she takes her
little ones in her mouth, like a cat with its kittens, and hastily
carries them to a more secure hiding-place. The parent squirrels never
go away from the nest, but play and jump about on the branches near by,
until the little ones are strong enough to accompany them, when the
whole family may be seen springing from tree to tree, or scampering up
and down the tall trunks, waving their beautiful tails, and breaking the
silence of the woods with their merry chattering. They are wonderful
jumpers, and can spring from the highest branches to the ground without
harm. They are not runners, but can jump so nimbly through the grass and
dried leaves that it is impossible to catch them.

The favorite food of the squirrel is acorns, nuts, and seeds and grain
of all kinds, and it will sometimes nibble leaf-buds and tender shoots
of young trees in the spring. Its teeth are so sharp and strong that it
will gnaw the hardest nutshell. Nothing is prettier than to see this
graceful creature sitting upright, its beautiful tail curled over its
back, gnawing at a nut which it skillfully holds in its fore-paws. As it
is not afraid unless one approaches too near, when it whisks out of
sight in a twinkling, its habits may be easily studied.

It is a very provident little animal, and lays up large stores of nuts
for its winter food. As those which live in trees have no store-house
like that of the chipmunk, they deposit their hoard in hollow trunks or
under heaps of dried leaves. Nothing is more common than to find little
stores of nuts in a snug corner in hickory woods, carefully packed
together by these cunning creatures.

Squirrels make pretty pets, and when captured young can be tamed, and
often become very affectionate. A young squirrel may be allowed to run
about the room, and it will often be found curled up fast asleep in
mamma's work-basket, or papa's pocket, or some other funny hiding-place.
As it grows older it becomes more mischievous, and must be kept in a
cage, or books, furniture, and everything in the room will bear the
marks of its sharp little teeth. It belongs to the order _Rodentia_, or
gnawing animals, and if kept in confinement, must be given a plenty of
hard-shelled nuts to use its teeth on. Its cage should also be kept very
clean, for the squirrel is the neatest little beast imaginable, and
spends much time at its toilet.

It is sad to think that this innocent, playful denizen of the woodlands
should have many and deadly enemies. Even in the forests of inhabited
regions, from which wild beasts have been driven, hawks and owls are
ever on the watch to pounce upon it; and in the wild woods, especially
in cold countries, where the squirrels are most plentiful, there are
many enemies--pine-martens, which climb trees and spring from branch to
branch almost as nimbly as the poor little squirrel they persecute, and
the terrible wild-cat, which seeks its unsuspecting prey by night, or in
the twilight, when the squirrels are gambolling merrily among the leafy
branches before cuddling to sleep in their little nests. With sly
caution the wild-cat creeps noiselessly through the underbrush, and with
one savage spring it destroys the peace of some poor little squirrel

Wild-cats, although they belong to the same great family as the quiet
little pussy which likes to sleep on the hearth-rug, are considered by
naturalists to be an entirely different species. They are much larger
than the domestic cat, and have a short, stubbed, and very bushy tail.
They are terrible enemies of birds and all the small inhabitants of the
forest, and will often attack animals larger than themselves. They pass
most of the day stretched out upon some large limb of a tree, sleeping,
after the fashion of cats, with one glistening eye always on the watch
for prey. At night they descend, and creep through the underbrush,
searching for food. They are very skillful at fishing, and are often
found near large ponds, where they watch not only for fish, but for all
kinds of water-birds which haunt the surrounding marshes.

They seldom attack men unless enraged or brought to bay. Woe to the
hunter who fires a careless shot, for the angry beast springs at him
with great fury, and inflicts fearful and sometimes even fatal wounds
with its sharp claws. It has no fear of dogs, and will pounce upon them,
sometimes killing them before the hunter can come to the rescue.
Tschudi, the Swiss naturalist, tells of a wounded wild-cat, which, lying
on its back, fought successfully with three large dogs, holding one fast
in its teeth, while with its claws it dealt powerful blows to the other
two, with singular instinct aiming at their eyes, until the hunter, by a
skillful shot, put an end to the conflict, killing the ferocious beast,
and relieving the poor dogs, which were nearly exhausted.

[Begun in No. 5 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, December 2.]


A Day and Night Mährchen.



"You come, then, or I shall shut them," said Nycteris, "and you sha'n't
see them any more till you are good. Come. If you can't see the wild
beasts, I can."

"You can! and you ask me to come!" cried Photogen.

"Yes," answered Nycteris. "And more than that, I see them long before
they can see me, so that I am able to take care of you."

"But how?" persisted Photogen. "You can't shoot with bow and arrow, or
stab with a hunting knife."

"No, but I can keep out of the way of them all. Why, just when I found
you, I was having a game with two or three of them at once. I see, and
scent them too, long before they are near me--long before they can see
or scent me."

"You don't see or scent any now, do you?" said Photogen, uneasily,
rising on his elbow.

"No--none at present. I will look," replied Nycteris, and sprang to her

"Oh! oh! do not leave me--not for a moment," cried Photogen, straining
his eyes to keep her face in sight through the darkness.

"Be quiet, or they will hear you," she returned. "The wind is from the
south, and they can not scent us. I have found out all about that. Ever
since the dear dark came I have been amusing myself with them, getting
every now and then just into the edge of the wind, and letting one have
a sniff of me."

"Oh, horrible!" cried Photogen. "I hope you will not insist on doing so
any more. What was the consequence?"

"Always, the very instant, he turned with flashing eyes, and bounded
toward me--only he could not see me, you must remember. But my eyes
being so much better than his, I could see him perfectly well, and
would run away round him until I scented him, and then I knew he could
not find me anyhow. If the wind were to turn, and run the other way now,
there might be a whole army of them down upon us, leaving no room to
keep out of their way. You had better come."

She took him by the hand. He yielded and rose, and she led him away. But
his steps were feeble, and as the night went on, he seemed more and more
ready to sink.

"Oh dear! I am so tired! and so frightened!" he would say.

"Lean on me," Nycteris would return, putting her arm round him, or
patting his cheek. "Take a few steps more. Every step away from the
castle is clear gain. Lean harder on me. I am quite strong and well

So they went on. The piercing night-eyes of Nycteris descried not a few
pairs of green ones gleaming like holes in the darkness, and many a
round she made to keep far out of their way; but she never said to
Photogen she saw them. Carefully she kept him off the uneven places, and
on the softest and smoothest of the grass, talking to him gently all the
way as they went--of the lovely flowers and the stars--how comfortable
the flowers looked, down in their green beds, and how happy the stars,
up in their blue beds!

When the morning began to come he began to grow better, but was
dreadfully tired with walking instead of sleeping, especially after
being so long ill. Nycteris too, what with supporting him, what with
growing fear of the light which was beginning to ooze out of the east,
was very tired. At length, both equally exhausted, neither was able to
help the other. As if by consent they stopped. Embracing each the other,
they stood in the midst of the wide grassy land, neither of them able to
move a step, each supported only by the leaning weakness of the other,
each ready to fall if the other should move. But while the one grew
weaker still, the other had begun to grow stronger. When the tide of the
night began to ebb, the tide of the day began to flow; and now the sun
was rushing to the horizon, borne upon its foaming billows. And even as
he came, Photogen revived. At last the sun shot up into the air, like a
bird from the hand of the Father of Lights. Nycteris gave a cry of pain,
and hid her face in her hands.

"Oh me!" she sighed; "I am _so_ frightened! The terrible light stings

But the same instant, through her blindness, she heard Photogen give a
low exultant laugh, and the next felt herself caught up: she who all
night long had tended and protected him like a child, was now in his
arms, borne along like a baby, with her head lying on his shoulder. But
she was the greater, for, suffering more, she feared nothing.


At the very moment when Photogen caught up Nycteris, the telescope of
Watho was angrily sweeping the table-land. She swung it from her in
rage, and running to her room, shut herself up. There she anointed
herself from top to toe with a certain ointment; shook down her long red
hair, and tied it round her waist; then began to dance, whirling round
and round, faster and faster, growing angrier and angrier, until she was
foaming at the mouth with fury. When Falca went looking for her, she
could not find her anywhere.

As the sun rose, the wind slowly changed and went round, until it blew
straight from the north. Photogen and Nycteris were drawing near the
edge of the forest, Photogen still carrying Nycteris, when she moved a
little on his shoulder uneasily, and murmured in his ear,

"I smell a wild beast--that way, the way the wind is coming."


Photogen turned, looked back toward the castle, and saw a dark speck on
the plain. As he looked, it grew larger: it was coming across the grass
with the speed of the wind. It came nearer and nearer. It looked long
and low, but that might be because it was running at a great stretch. He
set Nycteris down under a tree, in the black shadow of its hole, strung
his bow, and picked out his heaviest, longest, sharpest arrow. Just as
he set the notch on the string, he saw that the creature was a
tremendous wolf, rushing straight at him. He loosened his knife in its
sheath, drew another arrow half way from the quiver, lest the first
should fail, and took his aim--at a good distance, to leave time for a
second chance. He shot. The arrow rose, flew straight, descended, struck
the beast, and started again into the air, doubled like a letter V.
Quickly Photogen snatched the other, shot, cast his bow from him, and
drew his knife. But the arrow was in the brute's chest, up to the
feather; it tumbled heels over head, with a great thud of its back on
the earth, gave a groan, made a struggle or two, and lay stretched out

"I've killed it, Nycteris," cried Photogen. "It is a great red wolf."

"Oh, thank you!" answered Nycteris, feebly, from behind the tree. "I was
sure you would. I was not a bit afraid."

Photogen went up to the wolf. It _was_ a monster! But he was vexed that
his first arrow had behaved so badly, and was the less willing to lose
the one that had done him such good service: with a long and a strong
pull he drew it from the brute's chest. Could he believe his eyes? There
lay--no wolf, but Watho, with her hair tied round her waist! The foolish
witch had made herself invulnerable, as she supposed, but had forgotten
that, to torment Photogen therewith, she had handled one of his arrows.
He ran back to Nycteris and told her.

She shuddered and wept, but would not look.


There was now no occasion to fly a step farther. Neither of them feared
any one but Watho. They left her there, and went back. A great cloud
came over the sun, and rain began to fall heavily, and Nycteris was much
refreshed, grew able to see a little, and with Photogen's help walked
gently over the cool wet grass.

They had not gone far before they met Fargu and the other huntsmen.
Photogen told them he had killed a great red wolf, and it was Madam
Watho. The huntsmen looked grave, but gladness shone through.

"Then," said Fargu, "I will go and bury my mistress."

But when they reached the place, they found she was already buried--in
the maws of sundry birds and beasts which had made their breakfast off

Then Fargu, overtaking them, would, very wisely, have Photogen go to the
king, and tell him the whole story. But Photogen, yet wiser than Fargu,
would not set out until he had married Nycteris; "for then," he said,
"the king himself can't part us; and if ever two people couldn't do the
one without the other, those two are Nycteris and I. She has got to
teach me to be a brave man in the dark, and I have got to look after her
until she can bear the heat of the sun, and he helps her to see, instead
of blinding her."

They were married that very day. And the next day they went together to
the king, and told him the whole story. But whom should they find at the
court but the father and mother of Photogen, both in high favor with the
king and queen. Aurora nearly died for joy, and told them all how Watho
had lied, and made her believe her child was dead.

No one knew anything of the father or mother of Nycteris; but when
Aurora saw in the lovely girl her own azure eyes shining through night
and its clouds, it made her think strange things, and wonder how even
the wicked themselves may be a link to join together the good. Through
Watho, the mothers, who had never seen each other, had changed eyes in
their children.

The king gave them the castle and lands of Watho, and there they lived
and taught each other for many years that were not long. But hardly one
of them had passed before Nycteris had come to love the day best,
because it was the clothing and crown of Photogen; and Photogen had come
to love the night best, because it was the mother and home of Nycteris.
Were they not both ripening, however, to bear the power of a brighter
sun still, when the one should follow the other into a yet larger room?


       *       *       *       *       *

=Carrier-Pigeons.=--The speed of carrier-pigeons appears to depend
as much on the clearness of their sight as on the strength of their
wings. In an experiment recently made with some Berlin pigeons, on a
clear day, a distance of over three hundred miles, from Cologne to
Berlin, was accomplished in five hours and a half, or at the rate of
nearly sixty miles an hour; while the most expeditious of a group let
loose the next day--a day not of the same kind--took twelve hours to
reach Berlin. Hence it would appear that in the latter case a good deal
of the pigeons' time was taken up in exploring the country for
landmarks. It is not by instinct, but by sight, that the carrier-pigeon
guides its course.



Many years ago I was riding in a light carriage between Greenwich and
Stamford, in Connecticut. After descending from high ground by a road
cut through a steep declivity, I observed some rude stone steps upon the
abrupt slope, which were half concealed by shrubs and brambles. An old
man was standing at a door-yard gate near by, and I inquired of him the
meaning of those steps.


"Before the Revolutionary war," he said, "the people from this way, when
going to the church on the hill yonder, had to go nearly a mile around.
To give those who were on foot a nearer cut, those steps were placed
there. They are the rocks," he continued, "that people believed 'Old
Put' went down when he escaped from the British dragoons at Horseneck.
He didn't go down the steps at all, but went zigzag from the top to the
bottom of the hill, very near them. I stood just here listening to the
firing above, when I saw the general rushing down the hill like a
madman, as he seemed, for you see it is very steep. As he flew past me
on his powerful bay horse, all bespattered with mud, I heard him cursing
the British, who had pursued him to the brow of the precipice, but dared
not follow him further."

My informant was General Ebenezer Mead.

The whole story may be briefly told. Putnam and a few foot-soldiers were
attacked near the church by some British dragoons on a warm morning in
March, 1779. So much greater was the number of the assailants than the
Americans, that the latter fled for safety to the swamps near by. Their
leader, who was mounted, turned his face toward Stamford. Finding
himself in danger of being caught, he wheeled suddenly, his horse at
full speed, and descended the declivity as described. The dragoons dared
not follow him in his perilous ride, but sent pistol-balls after him.
Putnam escaped unharmed to Stamford, where he quickly gathered the
militia, and rallied some of his scattered followers. Then he pursued
the invaders in turn as they retreated toward New York, and making
nearly forty of them prisoners, he recovered much of the plunder which
they were carrying away with them. Those famous steps, associated with
one of the perilous feats of a bold American soldier, may be seen at
this day, not far to the right of the highway, as you go from Greenwich
to Stamford.




I have never taken part in "Hare and Hounds," but I feel as if I had,
because in the first place, I have read _Tom Brown_, and in the second
place, I have a brother who is devoted to athletics, and who has just
returned from a "run" with his club. It is just like a real hunt, only
all the animals are human beings; two boys are hares, and carry bags
full of scraps of paper, which they scatter as they go; any number of
boys are the hounds, and follow this paper scent; two boys are the
whippers-in, who call the "pack" together with great tin horns; one boy
is master of the hunt, and does nothing in particular, though he is
supposed to arrange everything.

My brother got up at an unearthly hour on the morning of his hunt, in
order to meet his fellow-dogs and their prey at the Grand Central Depôt
at nine o'clock. I am sure that he was over an hour before time, though
he will not own to more than a quarter of it; I know that he had a jolly
time, anyway. But I will give his report in his own words.

"Such fun! We ran twelve miles--_twelve miles_! Just think of it! Why,
we got way up round Spuyten Duyvel--from High Bridge, you know; but
first, you know, we all met at the depôt; then when we got to High
Bridge we went to the hotel and changed our things. We started from
there. We only intended to run twelve miles, but the hares took us
twenty; they meant to take us up to Yonkers, they said. Never mind; they
got the worst of it--they had to run the fastest, you know. Didn't we
tear through the country!--up hill and down dale, over stone walls and
brambles and down swamps; one fellow got up to his knees in water. We
lost the scent once, near a railroad track, and it took us about five
minutes to find it.

"The hares had colored papers, pink, blue, white, and yellow, and they
looked quite pretty scattered all over the ground.

"The people about the country seemed to take a great deal of interest in
us; one or two told us which way the hares had gone; a policeman too,
near High Bridge, told us. They seemed to understand all about it. I
thought they'd think we were crazy--a whole lot of fellows in white caps
tearing through the country in that way.

"Oh, that reminds me: two little boys asked one of our fellows what we
were going after. 'Two men.' 'What have they done?' 'Stolen our
watches;' and they stood staring after us with their eyes and mouths as
wide open as--as--oh, anything.

"Oh, I must tell you: one time just as we were going along the road we
heard a tremendous noise on the other side of the fence; we thought it
was one of the whippers-in blowing the horn--it sounded exactly like
it--and we turned round, and there we saw a little donkey coming
hee-hawing over the hill after us--a pretty little gray donkey; then one
of the whippers-in blew the horn, and the donkey was just
delighted--tickled to death; he hee-hawed and capered about, and ran
alongside of the fence, wanted to join us--had a fellow-feeling, I
suppose. Just then a little girl came running out of a house, calling
him; she was afraid we were going to hurt him, or something, I suppose;
and when we looked back again he was standing still, just as quiet as
could be, and the little girl had her arms around his neck. It made me
think of Titania, in Shakspeare, you know.

"We did have a run, I can tell you. One of our fellows got hungry, and
stopped at a farm-house, and got some bread and goose. I wish I'd
thought of it too. Some of the country we went through was beautiful--up
by the Hudson. We could see the river winding along, and catch glimpses
of the Palisades--perfectly beautiful. We couldn't have had a better
day, just cold enough, and not too cold.

"We were _awfully_ tired, though, and _hungry_--you'd better believe it!
Why, it was two o'clock when we got back to the hotel, and we had
started at _ten_, you know--four hours. Didn't we go for that dinner
just as soon as we'd changed our things!--they'd kept it waiting for us
since twelve. Didn't we eat! Turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, cider,
coffee, pumpkin pie, and I don't know what besides. We were almost too
hungry to enjoy it at first, but we _did_ eat. I had two plates of
turkey and four cups of coffee; the coffee was pretty weak, but we made
up for it by taking enough. I think we must have scared those hotel
people. The man and his wife and daughter waited on us, and we did carry
on so--firing things at each other, you know; and then after dinner we
went up in the parlor and played and sung college songs, 'Upidee' and
'Cocachalunk,' and all those things. Such a row as we made!

"But coming home in the Elevated was the worst. How those fellows did
carry on! Just imagine--about twenty of us--my gracious! what a noise we
did make! We kept the car in a roar. One fellow would go 'Ee-oh,' and
then another fellow would go 'Oh-ah,' and then they'd all go together.
One of the fellows put his head out of the window, and another fellow
immediately dragged him in and began patting his hair down as if it was
a wig, you know. We made puns on each other's names, and whistled and
sang, and oh! carried on like sixty. One man with a black beard laughed
at us ready to kill himself, and a brakeman on the back platform was
grinning from ear to ear.

"Well, we did have a day of it, I can tell you--but won't we all be as
stiff as bricks to-morrow!"

I will only add that I do wish I had been one of those boys; but--I am
glad that I wasn't that hotel-keeper.


Saturday, December 20, was a splendid holiday for the school-children of
Philadelphia. All through the week they had been reading of the
receptions given to General Grant in honor of his return from his
journey around the world, and now they were to take part in a welcome of
their own.

There was, in the first place, a grand street procession of boys, to the
number of nearly four thousand--quite an army, in fact--who marched in
four great divisions, each headed by a band. The boys were well drilled,
and stepped gayly to the music, with soldier-like bearing and precision.
As the General rode between their lines he was greeted with enthusiastic
cheers. No doubt he was as much gratified by this boyish welcome as by
the grand military display that attended his entry into the city.

After reviewing the lads, General Grant was escorted to the Academy of
Music, where almost as many school-girls as there were boys in the
procession were assembled to give him a reception of a gentler kind. It
must have been a pretty sight--more than three thousand lassies, all in
their teens, and all in their best attire. As soon as he appeared, two
thousand sweet voices joined in the grand melody of "Hail to the Chief!"
which was sung with enthusiasm and fine effect. The General acknowledged
the courtesy in a short address. Several other speeches were made,
interspersed with patriotic songs.

Of all the festivities of the week, the one General Grant will probably
remember with most pleasure will be the reception given him by the boys
and girls of the public schools.


The next time the Professor came, it was in a dense fog. The morning was
so damp and disagreeable that we hardly expected to see him. He did not
disappoint us, but seemed to have come almost before the sun was fairly
up, it was so dark.

"What makes a fog?" asked Gus.

"I meant to have talked about something else, Gus," answered the
Professor; "but you have chosen a subject for me. It is a very good one,
too, and quite suitable to the occasion. Fogs are nothing more nor less
than clouds. They usually float aloft, a mile or more, high, but
sometimes drift down to the ground and lie all around us. They are so
light that they rise and fall from very slight causes, when there is no
wind. A brisk breeze soon drives them off."

"But what are clouds made of?" inquires May, who has become such a
favorite with the Professor that she never hesitates to stop him when
she wants anything explained.

"Clouds, May, are made up of small particles of water or vapor slightly
chilled. When vapor or steam is hot, it can not be seen, but is
invisible like the air. You have noticed the steam from a tea-kettle.
Near the spout it is hidden, but a little farther off, where it has got
cooled by mixing with the air, it begins to look gray, like a cloud. If
the kettle be allowed to boil a long while, so that a large quantity of
steam is formed, it will collect on the walls and window-panes, where,
becoming thoroughly chilled, it turns again to water, the same as it was
when first poured into the kettle. So it is with the clouds
out-of-doors; when the sun comes out bright and hot, it dries them up,
as we say; that is, it heats them so much that they become invisible.
Cool air mingling with them brings them into sight again; and, if cool
enough, it condenses."

"Oh dear!"

The Professor laughs. "There can be no doubt about it, May, science is
full of big words. We will say that the cool wind makes the clouds heavy
by squeezing them together, and sends them down in drops of rain. This
is called condensing."

May rewards the Professor for his simple explanation with such a bright
glance that he proceeds with an illustration.

"You have made soap-bubbles, and seen how they will float around in the
air, and sometimes be wafted clear up above the trees, until they get
broken, when they come down drops of water. The particles of vapor that
form clouds are little bubbles, or hollow spheres filled with air. When
a cold wind crushes them, they become solid, unite with one another, and
fall as rain-drops. Cold water is much heavier than air; but water made
hot by fire or by the sun, and turned into vapor, is lighter. In time of
a fog the vapor is just warm enough to have the same weight as the air,
so that it neither rises nor falls, but remains quietly near the

"Professor," remarked Joe, "did you not say that when the sun came out
bright and hot, it dried up the fog? and is not the fog the very thing
that keeps the sun from coming out?"

"Yes, my dear; but fogs usually gather at night, and when the sun rises
in the morning, he goes to work at once to heat them up and make them
disappear. But when he finds them very thick, and is hindered by cold
air, he may be a good part of the day in working his way through, or he
may even have to go down before he is able to show himself. Generally,
however, he gets help from the wind, and then the fog goes off in a

"Is there no way," asked Gus, "of knowing when the wind will spring up,
and give us some clear cold weather? Ted Wynant's cousin has an
ice-boat, and we are all waiting for a ride on the river."

"There is Old Probabilities," said Jack; "but he can only tell a day or
two ahead, and seems rather uncertain at that, and afraid to express a
decided opinion. It is a little this or a little that, a little cloudy
or a little cooler, and the wind is to blow a little in nearly every
direction. Most people laugh when they talk about him, as if he was not
of much account, or had grown stupid in his old age. If he would only
foretell a hurricane or a deluge, and bring it around, why, then we
would know what he is good for."

"Such a test would be rather costly," said the Professor, smiling. "It
is better to give the old gentleman a little time to establish his
reliableness; for in truth he is yet very young--a mere child of eight
or ten years. And considering that he undertakes to forewarn our whole
country as to the coming weather, so that everybody will have time to
get ready for it, we must admit that he is doing all that his age

"Where does he live?" asked Gus.

"We have been talking somewhat absurdly," replied the Professor.
"Instead of a single person, there is what is called the United States
Signal Service, which has been in operation eight or ten years, and
comprises some two hundred or more men, scattered all over the country,
from Maine to California, and from the Gulf of Mexico away out to the
Northwestern lakes. The men at these various stations watch the weather
very closely, and at a particular time every day send word regarding it
by telegraph to the main office at Washington, where the different
reports are carefully studied, and an opinion formed as to what the
weather is likely to be in different sections of the country during the
next twenty-four hours or more, and the result is then published in the
daily newspapers and at the numerous post-offices throughout the land.
The matter is yet somewhat uncertain, and occasionally mistakes are

"But will they ever get so that they can tell exactly every time?"

"We hope so. The warnings given are usually right, and are becoming more
and more reliable every year. In 1872 it was estimated that about
seventy-seven out of a hundred of them were found to be correct; more
recently they have been declared accurate about ninety times in a
hundred. So, you see, good progress is being made; and the Signal
Service system is becoming very useful to the nation, for property and
life can often be saved from destruction when the approach of a severe
storm is known.

"The New York _Herald_ has encouraged the study of the weather for many
years, and its managers now send word to England by the Atlantic cable
when a storm is to be expected there. They have lately sent notice of so
many ugly ones, which have promptly arrived, that our English cousins
are complaining of the unfair treatment of the _Herald_."

"Are they really so absurd?" asked Jack.

"Yes," said the Professor; "they facetiously intimate that when
Providence controlled the weather they fared well enough; but that since
the _Herald_ has undertaken to run that department they have been doomed
to storms, fogs, and rain. To give an instance of the faith, Jack, that
the English people put in our Signal Service, there is a story told of
an English lady who last autumn desired to give a lawn party. The season
was an unusually rainy one, and such entertainments had, in consequence,
been given up. The lady, however, sent her invitations, and calmly
announced that the day she had selected would be clear. When asked how
she had dared to take such a risk, she replied, 'There was no risk
whatever; I had telegraphed to the man in New York.'"

The children all laughed, and it was some time before the Professor
could quiet them sufficiently to add the few words that concluded his
little lecture.

"The most violent storms have been found generally to whirl in circles,
and are called cyclones. In some parts of the world they are very
disastrous. One occurred in India in 1864 that destroyed 45,000 lives in
a single day. Ten years earlier, when the English and French were at war
with Russia, a storm was observed to begin in France and to be moving
eastward. Timely warning was sent to the allied fleet in the Black Sea.
The storm came with such terrific violence that, had it not been
expected, it would probably have destroyed one of the most splendid
navies that ever rode the waters, and perhaps have changed the issue of
the war."


"I don't care--I'm just as mad as I can be. To keep me in just for a
little rain! I won't be good--I won't play with my dolls. I'm going to
whip every one of them, and put them to bed this very minute."

Such a little termagant as Bessie Hatch looked at that moment, with her
black eyes flashing, her hands clinched, and her cheeks like two flaming
poppies! Half irritated, half amused, Annie, the Irish nurse, regarded
her for a moment.

"Indade, but it's a swate timper you have, Bessie Hatch; and I hope for
your own sake it'll be minded afore you grow up. It's not I will be
lettin' you out, when your ma lift particular orders you wasn't to go if
it rained. Just hear how the storm's batin' agin the windows. Your
cousin won't expect you at all. Oh, bate your dolls as much as you
like!" as Bessie made an angry rush toward them; "it won't hurt their
feelin's much, I guess. There's Baby cryin'!" she added, suddenly, and
hastened toward the room at the end of the hall.

Bessie meantime had snatched her largest doll from the chair where she
was reposing, and belabored her soundly with a piece of whalebone that
lay near at hand. Then, after shaking her heartily, she tossed her on to
the bed, where she lay with her black eyes shut, as if overcome by her
feelings. She was a very handsome wax doll, with chestnut hair done up
like a lady's in puffs and curls. She had a somewhat haughty expression,
carried her head a little to one side, and was dressed in the "latest
style." Grace, a porcelain-headed doll, dressed simply in a blue muslin
and a white apron, received her punishment next, and was deposited by
Miss Augusta's side.

But Winnie, dear Winnie, Bessie's favorite doll, could she have the
heart to punish _her_ this way?--Winnie, with her golden-brown curls and
beautiful hazel eyes, and her dear little face rounded and moulded like
a child's. How lovely was her smiling mouth! With what confiding
affection she seemed to look up at Bessie, as the latter took her up in
a hesitating way! But the recollection of her lost pleasure came back to
her, and with it the spite and anger that had animated her a moment
before. Winnie received her whipping like the rest; but instead of
tossing her on the bed, Bessie set her back in her little chair, turning
her face to the window that she might not see it.

Somehow her anger seemed to have spent itself with that last whipping,
and a feeling of shame was creeping into her little heart. She had
intended to go through her baby-house, chastising all its inmates, but
instead she took a picture-book, and lay down on the lounge by the

How quiet everything seemed! Annie had carried Baby down stairs to feed
him. She heard no sound but the murmur of the sewing-machine in the next
room, where Jane Kennedy, the seamstress, was working. She felt drowsy
and sleepy. Slowly her head sank down among the cushions of the lounge,
and the drooping eyelids closed.

A rustling sound near her made her open them with a start, and in a
minute more she was sitting bolt-upright, staring with all her eyes. For
there stood a little figure no taller than Winnie, dressed in a white
fleecy robe trailing on the ground. Her soft black hair reached to her
feet, and over it she wore a wreath that sparkled like dew-drops in the

[Illustration: "A FROWN WAS ON THE FAIRY'S BROW."]

Some fear mingled with Bessie's admiration as she gazed upon her. For a
frown was on the fairy's brow, and the dark eyes she fixed upon the
child were full of displeasure.

Tap, tap, tap, came the sound of little feet approaching. Bessie looked
round, then shrank back, terror-stricken. Well she might, for her dolls
Augusta and Grace had somehow found the use of their limbs, and were
rapidly nearing the lounge. But they paused not far from the fairy, and
reached out their little hands to her with a supplicating gesture.

"Kind fairy! good fairy!" they said, in shrill piping voices, "avenge
the wrong done to us. That child, who calls herself our mother, has
beaten us cruelly, just because she had nothing else to vent her spite
upon; we had done no harm in any way. Punish her, good fairy; make her
sorry for having treated us so."

"I will give her into your hands," said the fairy, gravely. "See that
you punish her as she deserves."

Bessie, who lay trembling and burning with mingled fear and shame, now
rallied her courage, and raised her head again. She could not help
laughing at the idea of her own dolls punishing her.

"You foolish little fairy!" she said, laughing; "I could manage them
both with one hand; and if--"

She stopped aghast, for the fairy raised her wand, and it flashed like a
dazzling sunbeam full in the child's eyes. She covered them with her
hands, glancing up just in time to see the fairy float away on her
silver wings.

But how came she, Bessie, on the floor, and why did it seem like a great
meadow stretching around her? The lounge had become a mountain, and the
ceiling of the room looked nearly as broad as the sky.

It was the same room, the same familiar objects, only how monstrous
everything had grown! Was that immense building in the corner her

Bessie's little head swam; her heart beat tumultuously. A light mocking
laugh near her made her glance quickly round.

Who was this tall figure in a trailing gray silk, looking down at her
with severe triumph in her black eyes? That chestnut hair, that
beautiful red and white complexion--could this be Augusta, her own doll?

With a scream of terror, Bessie was darting away, but waxen fingers
seized her tender little arm, closing tightly upon it. Oh, how they
hurt! She struggled and kicked, but could not get away.

"Let me go!" she cried out; "I'll pay you off well, Miss Augusta, if you
don't. Remember, you're my doll--"

"Pay me off!" cried Augusta, with another shrill laugh. "You poor silly
midget! don't you know how the fairy's wand has changed you? Why, you
don't reach to my knee. No; I am going to pay _you_ off, and handsomely
too. Grace, bring that piece of whalebone directly."

"If you dare!" cried Bessie; but Grace clattered up toward her, her
stolid countenance fairly beaming. Bessie tried to dodge behind Augusta,
but she held her tightly by both arms.

"Lay it well over her shoulders, Grace; make 'em tingle!" she cried; and
thick and fast fell the blows, while poor Bessie writhed and protested
and threatened in vain. When Grace's arm was tired, Augusta took her
turn. After beating Bessie to her heart's content, she seized the child
by her shoulders, and shook her till her head fairly turned round.

"There!" she said, tossing her on to the doll's bed in the corner; "lie
there, miss, till Winnie comes. Poor thing! she's gone away to cry
somewhere, but as soon as she comes back she shall have _her_ chance.
Come, Grace, we will go for a walk."

She walked haughtily away, followed by the admiring Grace. Poor Bessie
lay sobbing and crying. Her shoulders and back were smarting, her little
arms black and blue from the pressure of Augusta's fingers.

"I'll run away and hide somewhere," she said at last.

Creeping off the bed very cautiously, she was stealing away, when
something seized her again. She gave a cry of despair, and looking up,
saw Winnie's sweet face.

"Who are you?" she asked. "Are you a new doll?" holding her gently but

"Oh, Winnie!" said Bessie, and hid her face in shame. Augusta came
mincing up with a triumphant air, and related the action of the fairy.

"Now it's your turn," she said, handing the whalebone to Winnie. But she
tossed it indignantly aside.

"Strike her! Never! No; I would rather remember her kindness to me.
Don't cry, little mother," she added, stooping to kiss her. "If the
fairy comes again, I will ask her to change you back."

"No, no!" cried Augusta and Grace, in a terrible fright, but Bessie did
not hear. She was sobbing with her face in Winnie's neck.

"Oh, Winnie! Winnie! how can you be so kind? I would rather you gave me
a beating."

But Winnie wiped her eyes, and smiled so brightly on her that Bessie's
heart began to revive a little. Ere long they were playing together, and
it would have been rare sport for any child to see Winnie wheeling
Bessie in a tiny tin cart no bigger than a match-box. Then they had a
grand game of hide-and-seek in the stocking basket Annie had left on the
floor. Grace soon joined them, while Augusta, quite gracious by this
time, sat eying them complacently from her arm-chair.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Bessie! Bessie! your mamma's come in, and wants to see you."

Bessie started up, rubbing her eyes. She looked in a dazed sort of way
at Annie, then at the corner where she kept her dolls. There they sat,
all three in a row as usual.

"Who put them there--my dolls? Did they really whip me?" she asked,
confusedly. Then she blushed, and hung her little head.

"Who put thim there? Why, I reckon they got tired of lying on the bed,
and walked over to their chairs," said Annie, with a mischievous gleam
in her eye.

"_You_ put them there," said Bessie; but she wished she could feel quite
sure. Catching up her darling Winnie, she walked off to her mother's

All the rest of that day Bessie treated Augusta and Grace with the
utmost respect; and when she had undressed them and put them to bed, she
lingered as if anxious to say something. At last she stooped down and
whispered: "I don't believe it's true; but I'll never whip you or get
into such a passion again. I didn't know how ugly it was till I saw you
behave so yourselves. And please, if it is true, don't ask the fairy to
make me little again, for I mean to be good now."

As for Winnie, darling Winnie, she lay all night in Bessie's arms, her
head hugged close to her breast. And the piece of whalebone stood
bolt-upright in Bessie's match-box, where she had stuck it that it might
always remind her of the lesson of that day.




My name is Tom Barnes, and I live on the other side of the river, just
far enough from New York to go there once in a while with pa to a show.
That's all the city's good for, anyway. We can't get up shows here very
well; but when it comes to other fun, we can beat you city folks all
hollow. You see, you haven't got the things to work with that we
have--the woods and water and things. But I'll tell you about Aunt
Pam--her name is Pamela, I think, but we call her Pam for short. She
wasn't ever married, though I guess she's old enough. Somebody once said
Aunt Pam was an old maid; but that can't be, for old maids are always
cranky, and get out of bed backward every morning. Now Aunt Pam was
never cranky in her life; and I know she gets out of bed like everybody
else, for I've slept with her many a time. And nobody in their senses
would call Aunt Pam old, and you'd better believe she's jolly. The house
ain't anything without Aunt Pam.

My sisters are all girls, you see, and so taken up with worsted-work,
and practicing, and one thing and the other, that I don't know what I'd
do without Aunt Pam. I tell her everything; but I couldn't about the
smugglers' cave, because the fellows wrote it all down in black and
white, and we took a solemn promise to keep it a secret. We all live
close to the water; and having everything handy, we made up our minds
we'd make a smugglers' cave. We got to work lively; and while some of
the fellows were digging out the bank, others chopped down small trees
and bushes, and made a covered archway to crawl under, so that the
opening of the cave couldn't be seen. We pulled the young twigs and
vines down over the chopped ones, rolled logs inside for seats, and
things began to look quite ship-shape.

It was no easy job, I can tell you. We worked like beavers to get the
cave the way we wanted it; but when it was done, it was what you may
call hunky-dory. Bill Drake's father had a flat-bottomed boat that we
got into and rowed along shore. We rigged up a sail; but there was
something the matter with it, and it kept flopping about, and wasn't
much good, but anyhow it looked nice. We never went far from shore. We
weren't afraid, but we didn't care to. Smugglers always kept along

We all had blue shirts, and pulled our caps down over our eyes to look
fierce. And Bill Drake kept an old pipe of his father's in his mouth; it
hadn't any tobacco in it, but it was a real pipe, so we made Bill
captain. The thing was to get lots of traps into the cave to look like
smuggled goods. We fished up old bathing pieces and bits of broken
bottles, and Bill brought down a red petticoat; but the best of all was
Aunt Pam's shawl.

Now I'd scorn to do a mean or sneaking thing, especially to Aunt Pam,
but she didn't seem to care a button for that shawl. I didn't think it
was worth twopence. She used to wear it in all sorts of weather, and it
looked to me as if it was patched up out of bits that she hadn't any
other use for. I'm sure she'd worn it since she was a baby. I could
remember seeing that shawl around as long as I could remember anything,
and it was just the thing for our cave. It was kind of like a Turk's
best turban as to color; and when it was fixed over Bill Bates's bathing
suit, and one corner hung down over the rock, it made the cave look
bully. I went into Aunt Pam's room one morning, and found it thrown over
the foot of the bedstead, like an old blanket, and I carried it off to
the cave.

When I came home from school, I saw Aunt Pam out walking with a worsted
thing that one of my sisters made for her, and I thought it was enough
sight handsomer in the way of a shawl. I went on down to the cave, and
when I got home again there was a regular hullabulloo in the house.

The girls were ransacking the closets, Aunt Pam was flying around like a
hen with its head cut off, and everybody was turning everything inside
out. "Maybe Tom's seen it," said mamma. "Tom, have you seen your aunt
Pam's shawl?"

"That old thing she used to wear around?" I said.

"Old thing!" they all shrieked together. "Why, it's a camel's-hair
shawl; it's worth five hundred dollars."

"Oh no!" I said. "I beg your pardon; there wasn't the hair of a camel,
or even a cat, in the shawl that I mean; it was just sewed together on
the wrong side like a bed-quilt."

"That was it, you ridiculous boy," said my sisters. "Have you seen it?"

"Seen it!" said I; "I've only seen it every day since I was born, and
yet I remember it well." I went whistling away, and they began to rush
around again for that shawl.

I felt pale under my whistle. Five hundred dollars! who'd 'a thought it?
Down in the smugglers' cave! Goodness gracious! No wonder it looked just
the thing. No wonder we all cottoned to that shawl from the start.

"I always told you something would happen to it," said mamma to Aunt
Pam. "You flung it around like an old rag."

"That was the comfort of it," said Aunt Pam. "It couldn't be hurt. It
could be worn in all weathers--to a wedding or a funeral, to church or
to a clam-bake. It was always in the fashion, and everybody knew what it
was worth."

"Except me," I said, under my breath.

"Oh, my beautiful shawl!" said Aunt Pam, beginning all at once to feel
the full shock of her loss. The tears rolled out of her dear old eyes,
and my sisters began to snivel, as they always did.

Mamma said it must be looked into, and for a moment I was scared. I
thought of the smugglers' cave.

"What must be looked into?" I said.

"Why, the loss of the shawl," said mamma. "It must have been stolen out
of the house."

Our up-stairs girl was passing through the room when ma said that, and
she turned red and pale.

"Did you notice Maggie?" mamma said, when the door was shut.

"Oh, mamma!" we all cried out, for we thought the world of Maggie. I
couldn't help wondering how it was she was so red and flustered, while I
was as cool as a cucumber. Aunt Pam declared she wouldn't have Maggie's
feelings hurt for the world; and I said she was innocent, in a deep low
solemn voice, but nobody paid any attention to me. Then I stopped to
think before I went on. How could I betray my comrades and the
whereabouts of the cave? I remembered the last piece I spoke in school,
and how I hollered out the words,

  "O for a tongue to curse the slave
    Whose treason, like a deadly blight,
  Comes o'er the councils of the brave,
    And blasts them in their hour of might!"

Could I be that traitor? No indeed--not much! Yet here was a dreadful
row in the house, and the only way to mend matters was to get that shawl
again as soon as possible. I resolved to get it that very night, and
when I listened to an advertisement that Aunt Pam had written out for
the paper, I saw my way clear. She said no questions would be asked if
the article was promptly returned. That settled it. I went up to my
room, and wrote out the following in a disguised hand:

  "Secrit and konfidenshal--the shawl's all right."

I waited till after supper, slipped it under Aunt Pam's door, and going
out the back way I took a cross-cut down to the shore. Now pa won't let
us go out at night to play, and I think that's a mistake, because we
can't get used to the dark if we don't. The whole world looked queer
somehow to me by starlight. The moon hadn't come up yet, and at first I
could hardly see my hand before my face. I never saw such ugly shadows,
and once I had to stop and get breath before I could make up my mind to
pass a clump of old mulberry bushes. Once in a while I heard a crackle
behind me like a footstep, but I didn't look back. I knew my only chance
was to plod ahead, no matter how my heart thumped or my knees shook. I
thought of everything I could to bolster me up--of dear old Aunt Pam and
poor little Maggie. But the sound of the waves on the beach was awful!
They roared like so many wild beasts. It was as black as ink on the
water, and the twinkle of the light-house seemed a hundred miles away.
It was so lonely and wild that my heart was in my throat. And suppose,
thinks I, when I get in the cave, the waves come up and devour me?
Suppose somebody has crawled in there to sleep, some tramp or something,
and he should catch me by the leg? Or the bank should tumble in on top
of me? All my spunk was gone, and I turned to run, when, bunk! I came
into something behind me.

"Ow!" I screamed, and "Oh!" exclaimed somebody, and wasn't I glad to
find it was dear old Aunt Pam. She scared me, though, for she was as
white as any sheet, and grabbing me in her arms, she began to cry over

"Tell me all, Tom," she said. "I got your note, and I followed you. You
bad, wicked, dear little wretch, tell me everything. If the shawl's got
lost, never mind, Tom; I don't care; only tell me, and come back home."

Poor, dear Aunt Pam! she told me afterward she thought I had done
something to the shawl, and ran away in my fright. We were both pretty
well broke up, and I couldn't help crying a little bit myself. But of
course I couldn't go home now without the shawl. I began to feel as
brave as a lion now Aunt Pam was there. The thing was to get her out of
the way while I went into the cave. It looked awful down there in the
hollow, and the wind was getting up, the water swashed around, and I
couldn't help thinking there might be a tramp in there. All at once a
bright thought struck me. Aunt Pam wasn't afraid of tramps; she wasn't
afraid of anything. And, after all, it was her shawl. If it was worth
having, it was worth going after. But how about betraying the boys?
Another bright thought struck me. I'd make Aunt Pam one of us. She could
say the words over after me, and she could crawl in and get the shawl,
while I kept guard outside: and if anybody says Aunt Pam is old after
that, they must be crazy. She said all the words solemnly, one after
another; then she crawled in, and dragged out every blessed thing she
could lay her hands on. I put 'em all back the next morning, and the
best of it all was that Aunt Pam never gave us away. She just told the
folks she found the shawl herself, and she did, you know--didn't she?


No. 5.

Two boys kept neighboring apple stands, and each had thirty apples to
sell every day. One sold his at the rate of two for five cents, and
received seventy-five cents, and the other at three for five cents, and
received fifty cents, the total being one dollar and twenty-five cents.
It happened one day that one of the boys was sick, and the other engaged
to sell the whole stock of sixty apples at the same rate. "Two for five,
and three for five, that's five for ten," said he, and five for ten he
sold them. But to his astonishment, when he got through he had but one
dollar and twenty cents instead of one dollar and twenty-five cents. Now
how did he lose five cents?

No. 6.

"How old are your children?" asked a lady who was visiting a friend, the
mother of three beautiful daughters. "My oldest daughter is just double
the age of my youngest daughter," replied the mother, "and the age of my
other child is that of her youngest sister and one-third more. Their
three combined ages make exactly the sum of my age, and I shall be
sixty-six one year from to-day." What was the age of each of the three


They say it is the oldest, and who knows that it is not? I will tell you
the story as it was told to me, and you shall see what you think of it.

There is a funny old town in Germany called Hildesheim, a little out of
the way of travellers, but full of curious and interesting things, and
over its fine cathedral walls climbs a rose-bush so large and strong
that it may well be a thousand years old, as they say it is.

"A thousand years ago," said the sacristan, "the country all about here
was a forest."

If you have studied history, you will see the story may be true so far,
for you know Charlemagne became Emperor of Germany in A.D. 800, and that
Germany was little better than a wilderness then.

"One day," continued the sacristan, "Louis the Gentle, the son of
Charlemagne, went hunting with all his retinue in this forest. They had
with them a box of relics."

Relics, you must know, were pieces of the dress of martyrs and saints,
or something that martyrs and saints had touched in their lifetime, or
perhaps even the bones of martyrs and saints.

"When they encamped for dinner, the gentle Louis wished to put this box
of relics away very carefully, and looking about, he saw a beautiful
blooming rose-bush, which must have been quite large even then, as he
concealed the box in its branches.

"Perhaps they hurried away in pursuit of game after dinner, or perhaps
they ate too much, and, as often happens in such a case, they forgot to
be as religious as they were before dinner. However it was, at all
events they rode away without the relics, and never missed them till the
next day.

"Then Louis was full of shame, and declared they must ride back again,
and never give up searching till they found the box.

"So they rode for many a weary hour, searching the by-ways of the
forest--for there were few roads--till at last they all suddenly
stopped, full of awe and wonder.

"It was a beautiful June day, and the birds were singing, and the
flowers were blooming; but, lo! just before them they saw a glade in the
forest where the fresh white snow lay like a soft thick carpet over

"And yet it did not cover everything either. For in the centre of the
glade grew a lovely rose-bush, with hundreds of bright blossoms upon it,
and this was the bush in which the box had been hidden. Louis hastened
forward, and grasped the box; but, lo! here was another miracle: it had
grown into the wood of the rose-bush so firmly that it could not be
taken away.

"Then Louis fell on his knees, and said he would receive this as a sign,
and he vowed to build a cathedral on the spot.

"They called the snow 'holy snow,' because it had hidden the ugly
remnants of their feast with its purity, but had left the rose-bush
free, and they named the cathedral and the town which sprang up about it
Hildesheim, which in old, old German meant 'holy snow.'"

It is certainly an enormous rose-bush, and its roots grow wide under the
cathedral. Over them, in the crypt, is an altar said to be of pure
silver, and it looks as if it might be. On the altar are heaped great
bunches of artificial roses, which they persuade the ignorant peasants
are actual blossoms of the rose-bush itself, even when it is leafless
and bare in the winter.

I can not say that all the sacristan's story is true, but I know that
the rose-bush of Hildesheim is the largest one I ever saw, and that the
town is a very old place. Indeed, a few years ago, some wonderful gold
and silver vessels were dug up there, which must have been used by an
almost forgotten race. If any of you live near Washington, you can see
copies of them in the Smithsonian Institution.



This pretty purse will make a nice gift for some of our young people. It
is worked with red saddler's silk in open-work double crochet, and
consists of an oblong bag pointed toward the bottom, and furnished with
small slits at the top on both sides. The purse is closed with two metal
bars, finished with knobs, and joined with a chain and ring. An ordinary
steel slide may be substituted. A metal acorn finishes the bottom. Make
a foundation of 96 st. (stitch), close these in a ring with 1 sl. (slip
stitch), and crochet the 1st round.--4 ch. (chain stitch), the first 3
of which count as first dc. (double crochet), then always alternately 1
dc. on the second following st., 1 ch.; finally, 1 sl. on the third of
the first 3 ch. in this round. 2d round.--1 sl. on the next st., 4 ch.,
the first 3 of which count as first dc., then always alternately 1 dc.
on the next ch. in the preceding round, 1 ch.; finally, 1 sl. on the
third of the first 3 ch. in this round. Next work 24 rounds like the
preceding round, but in the last 10 rounds narrow at intervals, and
instead of 1 dc. pass over 2 dc., so that in the last round only 8 dc.
are worked. Run the working thread through the st. of the last round,
draw it tight, and set on the acorn. Then finish the purse in two parts,
working on the upper side of the foundation st. 3 rounds in the
preceding design, going back and forth, and in the last round fasten in
the bars as follows: * 7 ch., pass over 2 dc., lay on the bar from the
wrong side, carry the ch. across the bar to the wrong side, 1 sc. on the
next ch., 7 ch., carry these over the bar to the front, pass over 2 dc.,
1 sc. on the next ch., and repeat from *.


In the parlor of a dear old-fashioned country house two elderly ladies
are seated, one knitting, the other reading the report of yesterday's
sermons, giving bits aloud now and then; on the carpet a little boy
about three years of age is sprawling, apparently trying to swim on dry

The lady knitting is Miss Helena Oakstead, the lady reading is Miss
Judith Oakstead, and the small boy is Master Ralph Oakstead, the eldest
son of the youngest brother. If you go to the other side of the hall you
will find the eldest brother (Master Ralph's uncle) in his study,
writing an essay full of great big words. He is Professor Oakstead.

Master Ralph is spending the day with his relatives, and has gotten on
with them very well so far, as his sister Daisy, two years his senior,
whom he rules right royally, has acted as court interpreter; but she has
just departed for a drive with a neighboring friend, and the aunts are
left in sole charge of his Highness.

He is very gracious at first, looks over a picture-book with Miss
Helena, and makes eager but unintelligible remarks respecting the
"bow-wows" and "moos," to which Miss Helena answers, "Um, dear," as
being the safest thing to say. But now he is silent, and has been so for
at least ten minutes.

"How good Ralph is!" half whispers Miss Helena.

His Highness pricks up his ears.

"Yes, dear little fellow; and he has no one to play with, either."

His Highness sits up--he speaks.

[Illustration: "ONT DAYKUMBOA."]

"Ont daykumboa."

"What is it, dear?" says Miss Judith.

"Ont daykumboa," repeats Master Ralph.

"What does the child mean?" asks Miss Helena.

"I don't know. What do you want, Ralphie?"

Ralph, with a look of mingled contempt and pity at his stupid relatives,
says, slowly but emphatically, "Ont daykumboa."

"Perhaps he is hungry. I'll go and get him a piece of cake," says Miss

The cake is brought, and promptly accepted; but it is evidently not the
thing for which his soul longs, for after devouring half the slice he
plaintively murmurs, "Ont daykumboa."

"Well, isn't that daykumboa?" says Miss Judith.

Ralph gives her a scornful look as sole answer, and finishes his cake in
awful silence. As the last crumb disappears he sighs, "Ont daykumboa."

"What on earth and under the sun does the child want!" is the combined
exclamation of the aunts.

"Perhaps Elijah can help us."

"Oh yes, he knows everything pretty nearly; but he may not like being
disturbed now--he's writing, you know."

"Well, perhaps Victoria might be able to tell; she used to take care of

So Victoria is summoned from the kitchen. She is a tall majestic
negress, who looks as if she had just stepped out of history. Her speech
does not quite come up to her stately mien.

"Why, what's de matter wi' de chile?" she queries.

All of Ralph's reply is lost except "daykumboa."

"Well, come 'long wi' Victoria--she git you kumboa. What, ain't gwine to
come? Oh laws! dat ain't bein' good bo'."

For Master Ralph has seated himself flatly on a footstool, and with his
back against the wall, refuses in the dumbest of dumb-show to be
entrapped into "gwine" anywhere.

Miss Helena suggests that they bring to him whatever they find that is
at all likely to be "daykumboa."

So at the feet of his Royal Highness is laid such a queer collection of
articles as never before appeared in that trim sitting-room: a _Child's
History of England_, a bottle of mucilage, a pair of scissors, a coal
shovel, a comb and brush, a bunch of flowers, a photograph album, a
bottle of ink, and goodness knows what besides. Miss Helena ransacks her
brains and her bureau, Miss Judith brings every portable in the room,
and Victoria literally squanders the contents of her larder, but all to
no purpose, and what is worse, his Highness, becoming alarmed at such
unusual behavior, begins to moan "Ont daykumboa" in a way that draws
tears to the eyes of his aunts.

"Judith," exclaims Miss Helena, "the case is getting desperate. We
_must_ send for Elijah, no matter if he does get angry.--Victoria, just
go to the study, and tell the Professor that he _must_ come here for a
few minutes. Do you hear--_must_!"

Victoria, looking as scared as only a solemn-natured darky _can_ look,
departs, and returns speedily with the Professor.

"Is anything the matter with Alcibiades?" he asks. Alcibiades, be it
known, is what the Professor always calls Ralph--"for short," he says.

"He is in a most peculiar condition, Elijah--persists in calling for
_daykumboa_, and we can not understand what he means."

"What is it that you want, my boy?" inquires the Professor, bending his
dignified back and knees, so as to bring his gray head on a level with
Ralph's "curly pow."

Ralph turns to him with an expression of relief, as much as to say,
"Well, here's a reasonable being at last," and explains, "Ont

"And what is daykumboa?" says the Professor.

"Daykumboa," repeats Ralph, with a lingering hope that perhaps he is
going to get some satisfaction; but this creature is just as dull as the
rest, and his Highness, with great want of dignity, begins to whimper.

"The child seems to be in pain," says the Professor, standing up, and
regarding his nephew with concern. "Perhaps he has hurt himself."

"I never thought of that," cries Miss Judith.--"Have you hurt yourself,

"Ont daykumboa," is the only response.

"Looks like he gwine to hab a fit. I gib de chile a good warm bath, if
I's you," suggests Victoria.

Miss Helena eagerly catches at the straw.

"That's a good idea, Victoria. Just fill the little foot-tub with hot
water, and bring it right in here."

Victoria hurries off to get the bath, and the Professor, seized with a
new idea for the explanation of the mystery, goes to his study to search
his dictionary for "daykumboa" in some dead or living language.

The foot-tub is brought, and the aunts proceed to undress his Highness,
whereat he waxes wroth. They persist; there is a frightful howl, a
struggle, and the tub of hot water is very vigorously overturned among
the photographs, scissors, and eatables that strew the floor. The
Professor, in alarm, comes tearing in, a book in each hand. At that
moment a patter as of small feet is heard in the hall, and a little
figure with flying golden locks darts into the room.

Ralph rushes into her arms in a kind of ecstasy, crying, "Oh, daykumboa!

"What is it that Ralph is saying, Daisy?" eagerly asks Miss Helena, in
the lull that follows. "He has been wanting daykumboa all the

"He says, 'Daisy come back,'" answers the little girl. "That's what you
wanted--wasn't it, Ralphie?"

"Es, me ont daykumboa," assents his Highness.

The Professor regards his niece with humble admiration not unmixed with
awe, and retires to his study to lay his dictionaries by. Victoria rolls
her eyes ceilingward, and says, "Well, I declar'!" then falls to work
picking up the ruins of their various offerings, and the two ladies turn
to help her after a little silent astonishment.

Ten minutes after, his Highness is seen in the garden pouring sand down
his sister's neck, and sternly ordering her to "fit 'till," when she
objects, in a tone that makes his aunts wonder if this _can_ be the same
boy who spent the greater part of two hours in wailing, "Ont daykumboa."

[Illustration: Music: Little Birdie.]


  An umbrella for a scarecrow
    Was in a corn field placed,
  And with loud caws the sly old crows
    Around it gravely paced;
  When suddenly a shower fell,
    And under it they went,
  And staid until the rain had ceased,
    As in a little tent.
  Then said they, as they all trooped out,
    "_That_ man's a jolly feller;
  Not only plants the corn for us,
    But lends us his umbreller!"

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Paradise of Insects.=--None but those who have travelled on the
Upper Amazons can have any idea of the number and voracity of the insect
torments which work their wicked will on the bodies of the unfortunates
exposed to their attacks. The "sancudos," or small sand-flies, form by
far the most important section. In the villages, round which the forest
is cleared away for some distance, the sancudos are generally pretty
quiet during the day, except where darkness prevails: there they are
ever busy, and are a perfect plague. The triumphant note of a sancudo
which has made his way under your curtains is more annoying than even
his bite; and should you have been careless in getting into bed, and
been accompanied by two or three of these blood-suckers, we will defy
you to sleep until you have exterminated them.

In the forest and on the river the sancudos are always busy. Men
sometimes get into the vessel's tops, and there cover themselves with
sacks, notwithstanding the heat, rather than remain below exposed to
their attacks. Fortunately they can not stand a current of air, and so
when under way the vessel is comparatively free from them, but when at
anchor these pests are something awful. To get rid of them is next to
impossible. Creosote will keep them off, but the remedy is as bad as the
disease. Whitewash will drive them away, but when dry its power ceases;
and the only thing to do is either to cover all exposed parts of the
body with black pigment _à la mode Indienne_, or else to "grin and bear

Scarcely less troublesome than the sancudos are the mosquitoes, although
they have the negative merit of biting only by day. They are minute
creatures, not much larger than a pin's head; they prefer the backs of
the hands to any other spot for their attacks. But, unlike the sancudo,
which, when undisturbed, gorges himself until unable to fly, and becomes
an easy prey to your avenging finger, the mosquito never seems to take
too much to prevent his easy escape on the slightest appearance of
danger, being evidently just as wide-awake when full as when empty.

Everywhere in long grass lurks the "moquim," a little red insect so
small as to be almost imperceptible, but which fastens on the legs,
causing the most intolerable itching.

There is a fly which burrows in the skin and deposits an egg, both in
human beings and animals. This produces a maggot, similar in shape to
that of the common blow-fly, but much larger, probably analogous to the

Then there are "chigos," which burrow mostly in the soles of the feet.
You feel an intense itching, and on examination find a little thing like
a pea just under the epidermis; this is the bag containing the young
chigos, which must be carefully picked out with the point of a knife,
and the cavity left filled with tobacco ash.

Huge spiders abound, whose very appearance inspires a wholesome dread of
a nearer acquaintance, but which are harmless enough if let alone. In
fact, on board the steamers, almost every cabin is tenanted by one large
spider, whose presence is tolerated on account of his being a deadly foe
to cockroaches, which abominable creatures swarm on board. Sometimes he
is not visible for a fortnight or more at a time; but he leaves tokens
of "having been there," in the shape of the empty husks of cockroaches,
from which he has carefully abstracted the interior. These spiders have
the power of springing upon their prey from a distance, and some of them
are so large and powerful as to kill and devour small birds.

In passing through the narrow forest paths it is necessary to be on the
look-out for the wood-ticks, which are very difficult to get rid of if
once firmly attached; also for the huge black ants, an inch and a half
in length, with stings like a hornet's; and the saüba ant, without
sting, but armed with nippers like a pair of surgical bone-forceps,
which are running about everywhere. One may sometimes chance upon a
column of the dreaded "fire-ants," marching in regular military order;
and if he does, the only thing is to bolt at once, for neither man nor
beast may withstand the fire-ant and live. When at length the traveller
stops to rest, he must take care to examine the camping ground to see
that neither centipede nor scorpion is there.

Frequently both centipedes and scorpions are found on the steamers,
introduced, no doubt, in the wood used for fuel. One day, while the
writer was watching the hands taking wood from canoes alongside, from
one of the logs pitched on board was dislodged a scorpion, which fell on
the naked left arm of a man keeping tally at the gangway. Astonished by
his sudden flight through the air, the animal remained perfectly still.
The man never moved a muscle, and quietly raising his right hand,
flipped it away with his fingers and thumb. It was very neatly and
coolly done; and he thus escaped a sting, which he no doubt would have
received had he tried to brush it hastily away.



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HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE _and_ HARPER'S WEEKLY _will be sent to any address
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=PLAYS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE=, with Songs and Choruses, adapted for Private
Theatricals. With the Music and necessary directions for getting them
up. Sent on receipt of 30 cents, by HAPPY HOURS COMPANY, No. 5 Beekman
Street, New York. Send your address for a Catalogue of Tableaux,
Charades, Pantomimes, Plays, Reciters, Masks, Colored Fire, &c., &c.

Historical Stories


       *       *       *       *       *

The Boys of '76.

     A History of the Battles of the Revolution. By CHARLES CARLETON
     COFFIN. Profusely Illustrated. 8vo, Cloth, $3.00.

It is full of interest from beginning to end, and there are thousands of
old boys, and girls too--from one to four score in years--who will read
it with all the zest of youngsters. Mr. Coffin is an admirable
story-teller for old and young, and understands how to draw a lively
picture of the scenes he describes. His book presents a vivid personal
and battle history of our Revolution, and it is profusely and strikingly
illustrated with portraits and scenes on almost every page.--_Lutheran
Observer_, Philadelphia.

Is not a book for boys alone, but a well-arranged and carefully prepared
history of the War of the Revolution, profusely illustrated, with
authentic sketches of battle-fields, historic places and buildings,
nearly three hundred in all. * * * It is altogether a very attractive
book.--_Observer_, N. Y.

It aims at giving a complete, though necessarily brief, view of the War
of the Revolution, from the commencement at the battle of Lexington,
April 19th, 1775, to the disbanding of the army at Washington's
head-quarters, at Newburgh, N. Y., and the subsequent signing, on the 3d
of September, 1783, of the treaty at Paris, between the English and
American Commission. * * * The facts are carefully arranged, and are
well told. All the prominent actors in the war are brought to light, and
the exact dates of all the leading events are minutely given; and the
whole is written in a spicy and often thrilling style. Conversations are
introduced. Characters are happily drawn. The author is most happily
fitted for such writing. He will always have the ear and the heart of
every boy.--_Christian Instructor_, Philadelphia.

The Story of Liberty.

     By CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN. Profusely Illustrated. 8vo, Cloth,

So long as boys and girls read intelligently such books as this, the
country and the world will not swing back into the blackness of
darkness. * * * We warmly commend to every household such a book as
this.--_Observer_, N. Y.

The author has not confined himself to the English sources of the
current which it is his business to trace. That current was largely
fed from all over the continent of Europe, and the whole broad field
of European history Mr. Coffin may be said to have explored in search
of his materials. He has combined these into an orderly, graphic,
spirited narrative, with a ready eye for the picturesque points of
fact and a skilful handling of the more dramatic situations. * * *
The great events which fill the pregnant period under review are
grouped about the central idea of the book with a good sense of
proportion.--_Congregationalist_, Boston.

Authentic history put in the most attractive form. * * * Its simplicity,
fulness, and purity of style will make it a favorite volume with all who
love historical studies. * * * We hope that a book so full of good
healthy reading will be placed in the hands of many thousands of the
boys and girls of America.--_Lutheran Observer_, Philadelphia.

Mr. Coffin avoids the formality of historical narrative, and presents
his material in the shape of personal anecdotes, memorable incidents,
and familiar illustrations. He reproduces events in a vivid, picturesque
narrative.--_New York Tribune._

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
receipt of the price._


Send for Catalogue.

R. SIMPSON, 132 Nassau St., N. Y.

"_A most enchanting story for boys._"


       *       *       *       *       *



Author of "Adventures of a Young Naturalist."




12mo, Cloth, $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

A very charming book, brimming full of adventures, and has not an
uninteresting page between its covers.--_Baltimore Gazette._

A book that is at once novel and entertaining. * * * All the book is
lively, and the voyagers have some adventures, the telling of which is
as entertaining as any book of Jules Verne's, besides having nothing in
them that is improbable or extravagant.--_Philadelphia Bulletin._

A most enchanting story for boys. * * * It is a story of adventure, and
also contains much interesting and useful information.--_Pittsburgh

A narrative crowded with adventure, told in the lively and graphic style
for which the French writers of books for boys are so noted.--_Cleveland

One of the most attractive books of the season. * * * Spirited sketches
of travel and adventure on the ocean wave, among the islands and on
southern coasts, fill these chapters. But the main point which gives
them their highest flavor is the experience of naval warfare during our
late civil conflict.--_Observer_, N. Y.

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, N. Y.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
receipt of the price._


       *       *       *       *       *

Ninth Edition now Ready.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustrations. 16mo, Cloth, $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

Your book is timely. Its large circulation cannot fail to be of great
public benefit.--Rev. HENRY WARD BEECHER.

It is a book of extraordinary merit in matter and style, and does you
great credit as a thinker and writer.--Hon. CALVIN E. PRATT, _of the New
York Supreme Bench_.

A capital little treatise. It is the very book for ministers to
study.--Rev. THEODORE L. CUYLER, D.D., _in New York Evangelist_.

It is unquestionably one of the most practical and useful books on this
topic which have ever been published in this country.--_N. Y. Evening

We know of no man in America more capable of writing such a book, or
who has a better right to do so.--_Rutland Daily Herald, and Globe._

It will pay any person--whether a farmer or lawyer, laborer or idler,
school-girl or housewife--to buy and read it, and follow its
teachings.--_Springfield Union._

A veritable treasury of muscular common-sense.--_Charleston News and

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
receipt of the price._




We send Engine, Figures, Pulleys, &c., all complete as per cut, and in
working order, by mail, for $1.25.


124 and 126 Nassau Street, N. Y.

_The Fairy Books._

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THE PRINCESS IDLEWAYS. By Mrs. W. J. HAYS. Illustrated. l6mo, Cloth, 75

       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

FAIRY BOOK ILLUSTRATED. l6mo, Cloth, $1.50.

       *       *       *       *       *

PUSS-CAT MEW, and other New Fairy Stories for my Children. By E. H.
KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN, M.P. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

FAIRY BOOK. The Best Popular Fairy Stories selected and rendered anew.
By the Author of "John Halifax." Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

FAIRY TALES. By JEAN MACÉ. Translated by MARY L. BOOTH. Illustrated.
12mo, Bevelled Edges, $1.75; Gilt Edges, $2.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

BOOTH. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, Bevelled Edges, $2.00; Gilt Edges,

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LITTLE LAME PRINCE. By the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman."
Illustrated. Square 16mo, Cloth, $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

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In His Voyage Round the World
in the Ship "Beagle."


Illustrated, 8vo, Cloth, $3.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

A capital book on natural history for young readers.--_Hartford

A superb volume filled with maps and pictures of beasts, birds, and
fishes, as well as the faces of all sorts of men, and with all this a
most delightful story of real travel round the world by a very famous
naturalist.--_Christian Intelligencer_, N. Y.

To the intelligent boy or girl the book will be a perfect bonanza.
* * * Every statement it contains may be accepted as accurately
true. * * * This book shows once more that truth is stranger than
fiction.--_Philadelphia North American._

It can scarcely be opened anywhere without conveying interest and
instruction.--_S. S. Times_, Phila.

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
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Is a composition of the purest and choicest ingredients of the vegetable
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invigorates the gums, and cools and refreshes the mouth. Every
ingredient of this =Balsamic= dentifrice has a beneficial effect on the
=Teeth and Gums=. =Impure Breath=, caused by neglected teeth, catarrh,
tobacco, or spirits, is not only neutralized, but rendered fragrant, by
the daily use of =SOZODONT=. It is as harmless as water, and has been
indorsed by the most scientific men of the day. Sold by druggists.

"_A book beyond the pale of criticism._"


       *       *       *       *       *


Boy Travellers in the Far East.

       *       *       *       *       *





Illustrated, 8vo, Cloth, $3.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

A more attractive book for boys and girls can scarcely be
imagined.--_N. Y. Times._

The best thing for a boy who cannot go to China and Japan is to get this
book and read it.--_Philadelphia Ledger._

Juvenile literature seems to have come to a climax in this book. In
literary quality and in material form it is a decided improvement on
anything of the kind ever before produced in America.--_N. Y. Journal of

One of the richest and most entertaining books for young people, both in
text, illustrations, and binding, which has ever come to our
table.--_Providence Press._

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, N. Y.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
receipt of the price._

"_A nice Gift for Children._"


       *       *       *       *       *



Illustrated., 16mo, Cloth, 75 cents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Written in a simple but charming manner, and illustrated by beautiful
pictures, so that a youngster just past the first reading-hook would
appreciate every word.--_Christian Intelligencer_, N. Y.

The illustrations are worthy of special commendation. Any so airy,
pretty, and full of grace, have rarely appeared in any American book for
children.--_Hartford Courant._

The language in which it is told is so pure and agreeable, that parents
and good bachelor uncles will find it a pleasure to read it aloud to the
little ones.--_Boston Courier._

       *       *       *       *       *

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, N. Y.

_Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on
receipt of the price._



Of these two Wiggles, the first is what our artist makes of the outline
given in No. 4 of _Harper's Young People_, and the second is a new
Wiggle, in which we hope our young readers will take as much interest as
they have in those already published.

[Illustration: OUR POST-OFFICE BOX.]

During this new year we anticipate much pleasant intercourse with our
young friends. We thank them heartily for the favors already received,
which from their genuine childishness we know have come direct from
their own little hearts and hands. Our paper is received by children who
live in all parts of this country, in England, Germany, France, South
America, Cuba, and Mexico; and we would like to offer them a few
suggestions which, if faithfully carried out, will add interest to our
Post-office Box, and give much valuable information.

In the first place, many of you have household pets--birds, squirrels,
fishes, turtles, and other little live creatures. We are sure of this,
because already some of you have asked us questions regarding the care
of them. Now, if you watch your pets carefully, you will learn many
pretty facts of natural history; and it would do you good, and please
us, if you would write us about their habits, what food they like best,
and how they behave. If your communications are brief enough, we shall
gladly print them.

Then as spring comes on--and it will come very soon to some of you in
the South--watch for the first spring flowers, the sweet trailing
arbutus, the pretty violets and wind-flowers, the crocuses, and other
early spring blossoms, and tell us when you find them, and in what
pretty corner they were nestled in the woods, among bushes by the old
stone wall, or in the open sunny field. Let us see what little girl or
boy will find the first willow "pussies." And you will all be interested
to learn how much earlier the spring blossoms come to you who live South
and West than to you in Maine and Canada.

Then there will be the coming of the birds to watch for--the robins and
bluebirds; some of you will see them all winter, and the dear little
snow-birds, which sing and hop about so merrily on cold, biting mornings
when your own little fingers are half frozen as you scamper to school
over the snow crust. Watch all these beautiful things of nature, dear
children, and write us whatever you find out from your own personal

In that way our Post-office Box will become a delightful and instructive
natural history exchange between the little folks of all sections of the
country. Perhaps, also, the children in England and other lands beyond
the sea will now and then favor us with bits of information about their
own birds and flowers. You must excuse us for writing so much, leaving
not room enough to print half of your own pretty communications.

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"Earl" writes from Chicago: "I live on the West Side, and the ponds are
frozen strong enough for skating. I have been skating twice at Jefferson
Park." That does not look much like hunting for willow "pussies," does
it? And perhaps you are laughing, because we remind you of spring now
just when you are beginning to plan for skating parties. But willows
grow all around the ponds where you skate, and you will never see the
bare twigs without wondering how soon you can write and tell us the
downy "pussies" have appeared.

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     I am six years old, and I live in Hastings, Nebraska. I like
     _Harper's Young People_ very much. I have a duck, a chicken, a pig,
     and a little rat dog whose name is Jip. I would like to know how to
     teach him to catch rats. He by accident caught one the other day,
     fastened in the pig-pen fence, and killed it before it got loose.


       *       *       *       *       *


     My papa takes your paper for little folks, and I like it first
     rate. The stories in it are very good. It is hard for me to say
     which I like best. I wish you could see my pet chicken.

  MARY E. M.

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WILLIE J. M.--In gardens and hot-houses, where they are not liable to
accident, toads have been known to attain the age of thirty-five and
even forty years. The wonderful stories sometimes told of living toads
being found imbedded in solid rock, where they must have been imprisoned
for ages, or in the heart of ancient trees, are not well authenticated,
and such cases have never come under the observation of scientific men.

       *       *       *       *       *


     I am very much obliged to you for telling me how to feed and house
     my land turtle. I have also three water turtles, one bull-frog, two
     large toads, and twenty small toads. Please tell me how to feed
     them. I keep them in a large yard, and I never feed them, so I
     often wonder how they live. Your paper is getting better every
     week, and the story about "Photogen and Nycteris" is about the best
     you have published.


Your toads have found plenty of insects for food in the yard where you
keep them. They might be taught to eat sugar, but they prefer a diet of
worms, ants, and small bugs. They will probably crawl under a stone or
into some hole, and lie numb all winter. Bull-frogs also eat worms and
insects, and very large ones are said to eat even small animals, such as
mice and moles. Water turtles eat the stems of water-weeds and small
mollusks, but they can live a long time without food. They might eat
bits of bread. You can try and see. Both they and your bull-frog would
be grateful if you gave them a tank of water to swim in.

       *       *       *       *       *

Welcome letters are acknowledged from Mamie T., Orange, New Jersey;
Althea B., Macon City, Missouri; F. Coggswell, Hudson, Wisconsin; H. W.
Singer, Cincinnati, Ohio; Ernest B. C., Shelbyville, Tennessee; Willie
E. H., Hartford, Connecticut; and Dorsey Coate, Wabash, Indiana.

[Illustration: HOW TO MAKE A CHEAP SLED.

Procure a long, narrow boy, lay him on his back, and fasten ropes to his
legs, and your sled is ready for use.]

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