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Title: Our Young Folks—Vol. I, No. II, February 1865 - An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls
Author: Various
Language: English
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                       OUR YOUNG FOLKS.

                   _An Illustrated Magazine_

                      FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.


VOL. I.                  FEBRUARY, 1865.                  NO. II.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by TICKNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.



DAVID MATSON.


Who of my young friends have read the sorrowful story of "Enoch Arden,"
so sweetly and simply told by the great English poet? It is the story of
a man who went to sea, leaving behind a sweet young wife and little
daughter. He was cast away on a desert island, where he remained several
years, when he was discovered, and taken off by a passing vessel. Coming
back to his native town, he found his wife married to an old
playmate,--a good man, rich and honored, and with whom she was living
happily. The poor man, unwilling to cause her pain and perplexity,
resolved not to make himself known to her, and lived and died alone. The
poem has reminded me of a very similar story of my own New England
neighborhood, which I have often heard, and which I will try to tell,
not in poetry, like Alfred Tennyson's, but in my own poor prose. I can
assure my readers that in its main particulars it is a true tale.

One bright summer morning, more than threescore years ago, David Matson,
with his young wife and his two healthy, barefooted boys, stood on the
bank of the river near their dwelling. They were waiting there for
Pelatiah Curtis to come round the Point with his wherry, and take the
husband and father to the Port, a few miles below. The Lively Turtle was
about to sail on a voyage to Spain, and David was to go in her as mate.
They stood there in the level morning sunshine talking cheerfully; but
had you been near enough, you could have seen tears in Anna Matson's
blue eyes, for she loved her husband, and knew there was always danger
on the sea. And David's bluff, cheery voice trembled a little now and
then, for the honest sailor loved his snug home on the Merrimack, with
the dear wife and her pretty boys. But presently the wherry came
alongside, and David was just stepping into it, when he turned back to
kiss his wife and children once more.

"In with you, man," said Pelatiah Curtis. "There's no time for kissing
and such fooleries when the tide serves."

And so they parted. Anna and the boys went back to their home, and David
to the Port, whence he sailed off in the Lively Turtle. And months
passed, autumn followed the summer, and winter the autumn, and then
spring came, and anon it was summer on the river-side, and he did not
come back. And another year passed, and then the old sailors and
fishermen shook their heads solemnly, and said that the Lively Turtle
was a lost ship, and would never come back to port. And poor Anna had
her bombazine gown dyed black, and her straw bonnet trimmed in mourning
ribbons, and thenceforth she was known only as the Widow Matson.

And how was it all this time with David himself?

Now you must know that the Mohammedan people of Algiers and Tripoli, and
Mogadore and Sallee, on the Barbary coast, had for a long time been in
the habit of fitting out galleys and armed boats to seize upon the
merchant-vessels of Christian nations, and make slaves of their crews
and passengers, just as men calling themselves Christians in America
were sending vessels to Africa to catch black slaves for their
plantations. The Lively Turtle fell into the hands of one of these
roving sea-robbers, and the crew were taken to Algiers, and sold in the
market-place as slaves, poor David Matson among the rest.

When a boy he had learned the trade of a ship-carpenter with his father
on the Merrimack; and now he was set at work in the dock-yards. His
master, who was naturally a kind man, did not overwork him. He had daily
his three loaves of bread, and when his clothing was worn out, its place
was supplied by the coarse cloth of wool and camel's hair woven by the
Berber women. Three hours before sunset he was released from work, and
Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath, was a day of entire rest. Once
a year, at the season called Ramadan, he was left at leisure for a whole
week. So time went on,--days, weeks, months, and years. His dark hair
became gray. He still dreamed of his old home on the Merrimack, and of
his good Anna and the boys. He wondered whether they yet lived, what
they thought of him, and what they were doing. The hope of ever seeing
them again grew fainter and fainter, and at last nearly died out; and he
resigned himself to his fate as a slave for life.

But one day a handsome middle-aged gentleman, in the dress of one of his
own countrymen, attended by a great officer of the Dey, entered the
ship-yard, and called up before him the American captives. The stranger
was none other than Joel Barlow, Commissioner of the United States to
procure the liberation of slaves belonging to that government. He took
the men by the hand as they came up, and told them they were free. As
you might expect, the poor fellows were very grateful; some laughed,
some wept for joy, some shouted and sang, and threw up their caps, while
others, with David Matson among them, knelt down on the chips, and
thanked God for the great deliverance.

"This is a very affecting scene," said the Commissioner, wiping his
eyes. "I must keep the impression of it for my Columbiad";--and drawing
out his tablet, he proceeded to write on the spot an apostrophe to
Freedom, which afterwards found a place in his great epic.

David Matson had saved a little money during his captivity, by odd jobs
and work on holidays. He got a passage to Malaga, where he bought a nice
shawl for his wife and a watch for each of his boys. He then went to the
quay, where an American ship was lying just ready to sail for Boston.

Almost the first man he saw on board was Pelatiah Curtis, who had rowed
him down to the port seven years before. He found that his old neighbor
did not know him, so changed was he with his long beard and Moorish
dress, whereupon, without telling his name, he began to put questions
about his old home, and finally asked him if he knew a Mrs. Matson.

"I rather think I do," said Pelatiah; "she's my wife."

"Your wife!" cried the other. "She is mine before God and man. I am
David Matson, and she is the mother of my children."

"And mine too!" said Pelatiah. "I left her with a baby in her arms. If
you are David Matson, your right to her is outlawed; at any rate she is
mine, and I am not the man to give her up."

"God is great!" said poor David Matson, unconsciously repeating the
familiar words of Moslem submission. "His will be done. I loved her, but
I shall never see her again. Give these, with my blessing, to the good
woman and the boys," and he handed over, with a sigh, the little bundle
containing the gifts for his wife and children.

He shook hands with his rival. "Pelatiah," he said, looking back as he
left the ship, "be kind to Anna and my boys."

"Ay, ay, sir!" responded the sailor in a careless tone. He watched the
poor man passing slowly up the narrow street until out of sight. "It's a
hard case for old David," he said, helping himself to a fresh cud of
tobacco, "but I'm glad I've seen the last of him."

When Pelatiah Curtis reached home he told Anna the story of her husband
and laid his gifts in her lap. She did not shriek nor faint, for she was
a healthy woman with strong nerves; but she stole away by herself and
wept bitterly. She lived many years after, but could never be persuaded
to wear the pretty shawl which the husband of her youth had sent as his
farewell gift. There is, however, a tradition that, in accordance with
her dying wish, it was wrapped about her poor old shoulders in the
coffin, and buried with her.

The little old bull's-eye watch, which is still in the possession of one
of her grandchildren, is now all that remains to tell of David
Matson,--the lost man.

                                             _John G. Whittier._



[Illustration]


THE SANDPIPER.


    Across the lonely beach we flit,
      One little sandpiper and I,
    And fast I gather, bit by bit,
      The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
    The wild waves reach their hands for it,
      The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
    As up and down the beach we flit,
      One little sandpiper and I.

    Above our heads the sullen clouds
      Scud, black and swift, across the sky:
    Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
      Stand out the white light-houses high.
    Almost as far as eye can reach
      I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
    As fast we flit along the beach,
      One little sandpiper and I.

    I watch him as he skims along,
      Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
    He starts not at my fitful song,
      Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
    He has no thought of any wrong,
      He scans me with a fearless eye;
    Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
      The little sandpiper and I.

    Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
      When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
    My drift-wood fire will burn so bright!
      To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
    I do not fear for thee, though wroth
      The tempest rushes through the sky;
    For are we not God's children both,
      Thou, little sandpiper, and I?

                                  _C. T._



THE PORTRAIT.


They were a family that had long outlived their grandeur,--the
Fotheringtons. And though the last generation had been kept alive with
traditions of it, the present one knew those traditions only as vague
dreams that might or might not be true, and which, either way, had
nothing at all to do with their absolute want of bread and butter, other
than as having fostered past pride they had hindered honest labor. Of
all those great colonial possessions, nothing remained to them but the
rambling old house and its well-worn hereditaments; and though various
parts even of the old mansion itself had been sold and moved away, still
much more room remained than was needed by the mother and her five
children,--the mother, whose woful condition had brought her to an utter
contempt of the ancestral Fotheringtons, the children, who yet preserved
a certain happiness in the midst of their poverty in remembering that at
their great-grandfather's wedding a hundred guests were entertained for
a week in the house after princely fashion. Not that the Fotheringtons
of to-day did not present a decent appearance;--gowns were turned, and
ribbons were pressed, and laces were darned till there was nothing left
of them; nobody knew exactly how poor they were, which perhaps made it
all the harder. The eldest daughters had been quite comfortably educated
before everything was gone; the elder son had pushed his own way through
college with but small debt, and was now studying his profession at
home, finding much reason for unhappiness, and vexed out of patience by
little Sarah's troublesome tongue and fingers, and young Tommy's musical
fancy, which occasioned him opportunity of exercising his lungs and his
shrill little voice all day long and sometimes half the night. It was
hard work for poor Frederick Fotherington to try and bury himself in the
dismal profundities of his law-books, and the quirks and catches of
their citations, when little Sarah had been planted at one end of the
great, lumbering cradle in which the first Fotherington might have been
rocked,--planted there to be entertained by Tommy, who, inserting
himself at the other end, with a hand on either side, loudly rocked the
great ark quite across the room from one end to the other, piping
meanwhile, like a boatswain's whistle, an interminable ballad of the
Fair Rosamond that his sister Margaret had taught him, without ever
dreaming of the evil use to which it would be put, and piping the more
noisily the more he guessed at Frederick's annoyance. Of the two
remaining children, Margaret taught school all day, being a visiting
governess in two families; Helen stayed at home and did the house-work
and the sewing, for the mother had been an invalid ever since her
husband's death and the birth of little Sarah, something over two years
ago.

This family had yet a trifle remaining of their mother's small dowry,
invested, as it had been by their father, in certain bridge-stock, which
paid dividends of exactly one per cent. This gave the two children
molasses on their bread; the elders ate their bread without it. They had
a cow, that fed in the paddock,--a cow lineally descended from a famous
Puritan cow of the Fotherington breed,--and from her milk once a
fortnight Helen contrived to scrape together butter enough for her
mother's morning slice of toast. They completed the inventory of their
wealth by mention of an old horse, which every day Frederick harnessed
into an antique chaise, in order that he might take his mother for an
airing.

Meantime, Helen, left with the two children alone in the house, would
scrub, and scour, and cook, and sew, and sing songs, and tell
stories,--stories of the good cheer of other days that once this barren
house afforded, half of which she believed, and many of which she made
up. Thus gradually left so much to herself and her fancies, while the
others either detested their origin or laughed at it, Miss Helen had
persuaded herself into a conviction that it was all a very fine thing,
and was sure that they had by no means come to the end of such a tether,
and that some day or other something was to turn up on it. There were
the customary legends of every rich family for her to choose from; she
might take that of the day when, after General Fotherington's funeral,
the guests, returning from the grave, found the old gentleman there
before them, storming up and down in a great pother opposite the
portrait of his wife, long dead and gone, trying to shake the panel on
which it was painted from its setting in the carved wood of the wall, so
that half the world believed that the worthy, having failed to find his
departed spouse in the spirit-land, had indignantly returned to loosen
her ghost from the painting in which some cunning artist had imprisoned
it, and the other half declared that certain deeds and records had been
concealed between the panel and the chimney-bricks, which the General
wished to dislodge; but, as no one knew of any deed or record missing,
the matter had slipped by. Or, if Miss Helen's conjecture wearied on
that, she might take the rumor concerning a Revolutionary Fotherington,
who, being a noted Tory, had seen fit both to eat his cake and have it,
and had accordingly buried a great pot of golden Spanish pieces in the
garden, and marked the spot with the young slip of a St. Michael's
pear-tree. There stood the old St. Michael's at this day, a dead trunk,
having long since ceased to bear either fruit or blossom or leaf; and
many a time had Helen persuaded Margaret and Frederick to take hoe and
shovel and go with her to dig round the roots of the old St. Michael's.
Once, after the first digging, the ancient tree surprised them by
bursting into a cloud of blossoms, and bearing a crop of golden, juicy
pears; but that was the last sign of life it ever gave, and all the gold
they ever found. There, too, had been the wide, dark-eaved garrets full
of moth-devoured relics of splendor; who knew what might be lying hidden
in those vast hair-covered chests? They were there no longer now; for
once, in an access of angry irreverence, Margaret had had them all
dragged down, and had sold their contents to the rag-man, and had made
by her speculation cloaks for themselves and a shawl for Frederick,--in
the days when gentlemen condescended to lend to their stiff costume the
graceful dignity of a dropping fold or two. But what treasures of
parchment might not have been quilted into any one of those old brocaded
petticoats? and who knew the unrevealed wealth of that trunk of yellowed
papers, that had brought only the sum of ten dollars in the rag-man's
scales? More than once Helen had started at the rap at the door, half
expecting an announcement that such and such a document had been found
among that heap of trumpery, thought to have been worthless as yellow
autumn leaves, which would install them as the possessors of such and
such domain,--raps which usually brought nothing but a shoe-bill, or a
demand for the price of the previous winter's coal. All these idle
day-dreams Helen wisely kept to herself and Tommy; for there was not
another member of the family whom they would not have aggravated out of
endurance.

It was one day drawing on towards twilight in the latter part of
November,--an afternoon of the mild, sweet weather that always comes at
that season, and always seems an accident. Frederick had driven his
mother out for her airing, and whether they had been beguiled by the
soft air into going too far, or had met with some accident or delay,
they had not yet returned. Margaret would have worried, had she herself
yet come in from her classes; as for Helen, who would have looked with a
sanguine eye at her own shroud, she was sure no harm could happen while
Frederick had the reins. So she busied herself in giving things as
cheerful an aspect as possible when everybody should have reached home.

But, in the first place, there were no coals. Helen had caught a pain in
her side picking up the very last with her fingers. Nevertheless, she
had put a bright face upon it, and, after threatening to set fire to the
house and run away by the light of it, had decided that it would be
better still to set fire to it and remain and be warmed by it, while
Margaret declared they would never know what luck was again till they
had made soap from the ashes. All that, however, had put nothing into
the coal-bin.

Yesterday, Helen had received five dollars for transferring a piece of
embroidery for a wealthy acquaintance. She had hesitated about accepting
it; it would be the first Fotherington that ever took wages,--Margaret's
pay was salary; but conscience put down pride, and she gave thanks, and
shut her purse,--and perhaps it broke the spell. In such a household one
would have thought there would of course be no question what to do with
it. On the contrary, it was a grave question. Should Tommy have a hat
and Sarah a hood? should the mother have a shawl? should it buy a
quarter of a ton of coal? And there was the lyceum! Now, in the town
where they lived, not to attend the lyceum was not to be in society;
last winter they had managed to effect one season-ticket, and the girls
had gone alternately, in a neighbor's company; this winter Frederick was
at home, and two tickets were desirable.

"Let us buy three tickets to the lyceum now," said Margaret.

"Same money would buy three turkeys," answered Helen, "and we're close
on Thanksgiving and Christmas."

"Yes, Nelly," cried Tommy, who was thoroughly tired of bread and
molasses, "buy the turkeys."

"Be quiet, child," said the mother; "you can't go to the lyceum, you
know; so don't be selfish."

"Well, which would be best," meditated Margaret, who had a way of
spending other people's money as well as her own,--"turkeys or tickets?"

"The turkeys will feast the whole family, the tickets only us three,"
said Helen.

"And then our bonnets are so shabby," said Margaret.

"Buy the turkeys, mother," pleaded Tommy, piteously.

"Hush now, Tommy! You've no voice in the debate," declared Margaret.
"You're not a member of the Lyceum Society."

"But I'm a member of the Turkey Society," urged Tommy, as a finishing
argument.

The result of the conference was, that, as Frederick's shoes were fast
approaching the character of sandals with leathern thongs, they were
surreptitiously subtracted from his bedside at night, and their place
filled by a pair of stout boots, which would carry him well into the
winter. That was yesterday. Meanwhile, to-day, no coals; no kindlings,
if there had been; last year's bill due, and dunned for; winter upon
their heels; the night growing chilly. Helen wrapped a cloak round
little Sarah, and gave her her precious black rosary to play with, and
bade Tommy take excellent care of her, and for reward he need recite
only half his usual spelling-lesson when she came back. Then she ran up
the hill behind the house,--she had reached that pass that she did not
care whether the neighbors saw or not,--and fell to gathering sticks.
Once the spot had been a wood-lot, now long since dispeopled of its
dryads; a young sapling or two had sprung up in place of the old growth,
and boughs and twigs were blown there in the storms. Helen came down
with her arms full, and trailing a couple of great branches behind her.
These, at the back door, she broke up, reserving larger pieces for the
parlor blaze, and the small bits for a good kitchen fire; and, that
done, decided to catch a couple of her choice chickens, and decapitate
them, although she shut her eyes and cut her own thumb in the course of
the procedure; these chickens, which were her special property, had been
reserved by her for some occasion, and when would there be a better than
Frederick and her mother returning from so late and unconscionable a
jaunt, and doubtless shivering with the cold? This accomplished, and
the savory stew simmering over the stove, Helen washed her hands, that
had nearly lost their patrician shape and whiteness, took off her apron,
and withdrew to the parlor. There she found that Master Tommy had, some
time since, left little Sarah to her own devices, and she had forthwith
broken the string, and scattered the beads of the rosary in every
direction upon the floor, while he stood breathing upon a distant
window-pane, and drawing pictures with his finger-tip on the groundwork
thus effected, humming the while one of his favorite tunes to himself.

"Now, Tommy," said Helen, "I'll hear your lesson."

"No, you won't," sang Tommy to his tune.

"Why not?"

"'Cause I can't say it."

"Then we'll learn it together. F-a-t-h, what does that spell?"

"Don't know," said Tommy, his finger in his mouth.

"See now if you can't remember," urged Helen, giving him each letter
phonetically.

"Don't want to know," said Tommy.

Here, little Sarah, who had heard the lesson many times, informed him
what the desired syllable ought to be, and inferred the rest herself.
Whereupon Helen proceeded to the next word. But there Tommy proved
obdurate, not only didn't know, and didn't want to know, but refused to
hear, and presented such a fearful example to his younger sister, that
his elder one had no resource but to transfer the cloak from Sarah to
Tommy, and to shut him up in the dark closet. That done, she laid the
sticks together in the grate, that was never made for sticks, and blew
up a nice blaze, that warmed and lighted all the damp and dark old room;
and, taking little Sarah in her arms, rocked and sung her away to sleep.

It was a dismal room, and had been long deserted,--possibly owing to its
former dreariness, and possibly to the report of its haunted space and
shadow; for over the chimney-piece was the panel with the pale, proud
face of old General Fotherington's dead wife painted on it, which every
midnight he was once believed to return and visit. But when other parts
of the house had fallen into hopeless disrepair, Helen had taken Tommy's
little hatchet, and had felled the lofty lilac-hedge that obscured all
the southern windows of the room, had cleaned the old paint, made good
use of a bucket of white-wash, reset the broken glass herself, and then
moved chattels and personals into the vacancy, and given it a more
homelike appearance than it had worn for half a century. If the truth
were known, Helen's chief fancy for the room, shaky and insecure as both
floor and ceiling seemed, was that dim panel-portrait blistering there
above the fire or peeling off with mouldy flakes in past days,--for she
had still many a longing for the old family-pictures that once her
shiftless father, when put to his trumps, had sold to adorn the halls of
some upstart with forefathers.

"Tommy," said she softly, when little Sarah slept, "can you tell me what
w-a-t-e-r spells?"

"No," said the stolid Tommy.

"Is it dark in there, Tommy?" asked she, half relenting, and yet half
wishing to excite his fears enough to conquer his obduracy.

"I don't know," answered Tommy, quite willing to converse, "I've got my
eyes shut."

"Very well," said Helen, and went on with her low lullaby, which Tommy
stoutly, but ineffectually, attempted to join. The wind was beginning to
rise and clatter at the casements, and sing its own tune round the
gable-corner; the dark had quite fallen, and the room was gloomy and
vivid by turns with the fitful flashes of the firelight.

"Nelly," said Tommy, wheedlingly, and shaking the lock of the closet, "I
wish you'd give me some. I'm real sirsty."

"Some what?" asked Helen, very willing to compromise.

"Some w-a-t-e-r. I'm so sirsty."

"Pronounce it, Tommy, and you shall come out and have some."

"I don't know how to," was the atrocious answer.

"And some chicken-broth as well as some water, if you'll only tell me
what those five letters spell."

But there was nothing but silence in reply from Tommy, and Helen resumed
her song.

"It's real damp in here," said Tommy pretty soon, beginning to cough
furiously. "I'm getting a stiff neck."

"You have one already," said Helen; and, laying little Sarah down, she
went to put on her apron, to attend to her stew, to bring in the cloth
and the tray of dishes, and to spread the supper-table in the warm
room,--set out near the fire, the worn white linen, the sparse silver,
the rare and gay old china, of which they used every day what would have
decked out a modern drawing-room, all clean and glittering as if viands
were various and plentiful as color and sparkle. That all done, again
Cinderella sat down before the fire.

"'Elen!" said Tommy then in a muffled tone, having given the door
another premonitory shake, and as if his darkness induced metaphysics,
"how many yesterdays have there been and how many to-morrows are there
going to be?"

"I'll tell you, Tommy, when you tell me what those letters spell." And
again in response there was silence on the part of the closet, broken by
occasional kicks that shook the door, and even caused the old panel to
stir in its worm-eaten setting of oaken wainscot. As Helen looked up
after the silence that followed Tommy's demonstration, while the panel
yet slightly stirred, it seemed to her that a shiver ran over the lady
painted there; she remembered the ghost-stories, it made a shiver run
over her herself. She rose and went to look out of the window and see if
there were no sign of the chaise,--it was hardly time for Margaret yet.
Then she returned, and her fascinated eyes caught again the eyes of the
old Colonial Governor's lady, that lady who was her mother many
generations removed. It was a pale face painted there, as if the painter
had seen it only by moonlight,--dark eyes in which the lustre lay with
an effect of restless, searching radiance, and the delicate aquiline
nose and thin and haughty lip spoke of a woman capable of acting a
secret in her day, and keeping it long after, Helen thought. Whenever
she caught the eye of that portrait,--and so curiously well was it
painted, that she never looked at it without catching the eye,--the lady
shadowed there seemed to return a glance of defiance, and her lip wore a
curve of triumph. She kept one hand clasped over her crimson vest
embroidered with its golden tangles and purfles; perhaps in the other
her secret hung hidden out of sight. Now, in the dancing firelight, the
ruby that lay on the dame's forehead seemed to flicker like a live jewel
in Helen's eyes; as the flame rose, her breast heaved too, a color
rested on the pale cheek; as it fell, Helen fancied that she sighed;
with all the quick lightning and darkening of the crackling fire the
glance of the eyes shifted to and fro, the shadows round the mouth
wavered; now they lowered, and now they smiled, and now the parted lips
seemed just about to speak.

[Illustration]

Helen started to her feet in a tremble: no wonder Tommy hated to stay in
the closet; she sprung to let him out. And just then the old horse
stopped at the gate, with the sound of Frederick's voice. Helen forgot
Tommy, flung open the door to Frederick, and ran out to the gate as he
appeared coming in with his mother in his arms, and laid her on the
sofa. Helen only stayed to lead the old horse into the barn, and
directly afterward was blowing up the blaze in the parlor, and calling
the delinquents to account. They had driven into Orton Wood, Frederick
said, and there the chaise broke down; and it being in an open space, he
had kindled a great fire to keep his mother warm, while he tied the
springs up as he might, which it took a weary while to do, and he had
brought home a chaiseful of fagots that nobody owned, and was cherishing
visions of future predatory excursions in the same direction.
Immediately as he said it, wheeling his mother's sofa up to the hearth
and rubbing his hands before it, a little occurrence took place that
rendered his invaluable chaiseful of fagots of a moment ago the mere
chips of this one, for it had changed the earth under all their feet.
Margaret was just coming in at the door; Master Tommy, hearing the
incoming and voices and confusion, and desiring to make a part of it,
called out from his den, "'Elen! let me out, let me out, I say. W-a-wa,
t-e-r, water. You know the Docker said I needed plenty of fresh air.
'Elen! let me out,--the Docker said I was a pecoolar child and needed
pecoolar treatment!" And before any one could reach him, the belligerent
boy gave the old door such an astonishing series of kicks and thrusts,
that the lock broke from its mouldering frame; the worn floor shook and
creaked; a bit of the plastering dropped from above; the door and Tommy
fell out together; and the old portrait of the pale proud lady started,
and trembled, and pitched downward, caught and split from end to end
upon the handle of the great steel poker. And suddenly, with a wild
exclamation of inextinguishable certainty and exultation, Helen held up
her apron to catch what came rattling and ringing and racing and
jingling, as they tumbled down together into it, and danced a measure
over the floor with the naughty nuns of the broken rosary-beads that
they surprised in their mad escape from the bondage of a hundred years.
The pale and languid mother started up, resting eagerly on her elbow;
Margaret fell upon the floor, catching up the guineas and doubloons as
if she were crazy, and kissing them in a transport; Tommy began to
discover what his pockets were made for, straightway. Meanwhile
Frederick sprung upon a chair and went to pulling out the thready
remnants of the decaying bags in which the gold had been enclosed; Helen
still held her apron up, thanking fortune it was so large; and little
Sarah, waking, began to creep down and toddle along to hold her apron
too, crowing and capering at the strange scene, the glitter, and the
joy. At last there were no more,--there was only the memorandum on a bit
of parchment, telling the story of the sealing of the bags by the old
Tory ancestor in troublous times, and their destined concealment behind
his wife's portrait.

"Here are more thousands of dollars than you have fingers and toes,
little Cinderella!" cried Frederick. "You can afford to wear glass
slippers for the rest of your life! It is all your godmother's doings,
and she was a fine old English gentlewoman, who acted wisely and for the
benefit of posterity. Never say I disbelieved in my ancestors!"

"O yes," said Helen, "all very fine now. For my part, I was sure of it
long ago!"

"I sha'n't dare to close an eye to-night for fear of burglars!" cried
Margaret. "That I sha'n't!"

"Now mother, mother dear," exclaimed Helen, coming and taking her
mother's thin hand and plunging it deep down among the sliding coins
that were tearing down her strong apron with their weight, "'tis almost
as much as I can carry! Tommy may go to school now, and you can have the
Doctor and get well, and what can't we, what sha'n't we have! Margaret
needn't teach any more,--we can have the house made over, we can keep a
girl,--and gold at 240!--O, I think I shall lose my wits!" And down it
would all have gone upon the floor but for Frederick.

"Don't, Nelly," said he, "we shall want them,--the guineas I mean, of
course not the wits. What use have they been to us all these years,
except to make gowns out of cobwebs and dinners out of dew? Now let us
count our wealth, and then--"

"No," said Nelly, "my stew will be good for nothing if we wait, and
mother is famished. We're comfortable, we know; if we're rich, we can
find it out after supper. I wish I hadn't killed my cropple-crowns. Now
Tommy, Tommy Fotherington, you never need spell water again as long as
you live, for it was that blessed word that put Tommy in the closet,
that kicked the door, that shook the house, that loosened the panel,
that poured out the guineas, that made the starving Fotheringtons a
richer and happier family than ever sat round the old Tory Governor's
table!"

                                             _Harriet E. Prescott._



FARMING FOR BOYS.

No. II.

(_Continued from page 66._)


Tony King was particularly struck with the improvement in the
coffee-mill, for his knuckles had received a full share of the general
skinning; and when the job was done, turning to the old man, he said,
"O, Uncle Benny, won't you teach me to do such things before you do all
the odd jobs about the farm?"

"Never fear that all the odd jobs about any farm, and especially such a
one as this, are going to be done in a hurry," he replied, laying his
hand gently on Tony's head. "If the owner of a farm, I don't care how
small it may be, would only take time to go over his premises, to
examine his fences, his gates, his barn-yard, his stables, his pig-pen,
his fields, his ditches, his wagons, his harness, his tools, indeed,
whatever he owns, he would find more odd jobs to be done than he has any
idea of. Why, my boy, all farming is made up of odd jobs. When Mr.
Spangler gets through with planting potatoes, don't he say, 'Well, that
job's done.' Didn't I hear you say yesterday, when you had hauled out
the last load of manure from the barn-yard,--it was pretty wet and muddy
at the bottom, you remember,--'There's a dirty job done!' And so it is,
Tony, with everything about a farm,--it is all jobbing; and as long as
one continues to farm, so long will there be jobs to do. The great point
is to finish each one up exactly at the time when it ought to be done."

"But that was not what I meant, Uncle Benny," said Tony. "I meant such
jobs as you do with your tools."

"Well," replied the old man, "it is pretty much the same thing there. A
farmer going out to hunt up such jobs as you speak of will find
directly, that, if he has no tool-chest on hand, his first business will
be to get one. Do you see the split in that board? Whoever drove that
nail should have had a gimlet to bore a hole; but having none, he has
spoiled the looks of his whole job. So it is with everything when a
farmer undertakes any work without proper tools. Spoiling it is quite as
bad as letting it alone.

"You see, Tony," he continued, "that a good job can't be done with bad
tools,--that split shows it. No doubt the man who made it excused
himself by saying that he was never intended for a mechanic. But that
was a poor excuse for being without a gimlet. Every man or boy has some
mechanical ability, and exercising that ability, with first-rate tools,
will generally make him a good workman. Now as to what odd jobs a farmer
will find to do. He steps out into the garden, and finds a post of his
grape-arbor rotted off, and the whole trellis out of shape. It should be
propped up immediately. If he have hot-beds, ten to one there are two or
three panes out, and if they are not put in at once, the next hard frost
will destroy all his plants. There is a fruit-tree covered with
caterpillars' nests, another with cocoons, containing what will some day
be butterflies, then eggs, then worms. The barn-yard gate has a broken
hinge, the barn-door has lost its latch, the wheelbarrow wants a nail or
two to keep the tire from dropping off, and there is the best hoe with a
broken handle. So it goes, let him look where he may.

"Now come out into the yard," continued the old man, "and let us see
what jobs there are yet to do."

He led the way to the wood-shed. There was an axe with only half a
handle; Tony knew it well, for he had chopped many a stick with the
crippled tool. Uncle Benny pointed to it with the screw-driver that he
still carried in his hand, but said nothing, as he observed that Tony
seemed confounded at being so immediately brought face to face with what
he knew should have been done six months before. Turning round, but not
moving a step, he again pointed with his screw-driver to the wooden
gutter which once caught the rain-water from the shed-roof and
discharged it into a hogshead near by. The brackets from one end of the
gutter had rotted off, and it hung down on the pig-pen fence,
discharging into the pen instead of into the hogshead. The latter had
lost its lower hoops; they were rusting on the ground, fairly grown over
with grass. The old man pointed at each in turn; and, looking into
Tony's face, found that he had crammed his hands into his pockets, and
was beginning to smile, but said nothing. Just turning about, he again
pointed to where a board had fallen from the farther end of the shed,
leaving an opening into the pig-pen beyond. While both were looking at
the open place, three well-grown pigs, hearing somebody in the shed,
rose upon their hinder feet, and thrust their muddy faces into view,
thinking that something good was coming. The old man continued silent,
looked at the pigs, and then at Tony. Tony was evidently confused, and
worked his hands about in his pockets, but never looked into the old
man's face. It was almost too much for him.

"Come," said Uncle Benny, "let us try another place," and as they were
moving off, Tony stumbled over a new iron-bound maul, which lay on the
ground, the handle having been broken short off in its socket.

"How the jobs turn up!" observed Uncle Benny. "How many have we here?"

"I should say about five," replied Tony.

"Yes," added the old man, "and all within sight of each other."

As they approached the hog-pen, they encountered a strong smell, and
there was a prodigious running and tumbling among the animals. They
looked over the shabby fence that formed the pen.

"Any jobs here, Tony?" inquired Uncle Benny.

Tony made no answer, but looked round to see if the old man kept his
screw-driver, half hoping that, if he found anything to point at, he
would have nothing to point with. But raising the tool, he poised it in
the direction of the feeding-trough. Tony could not avert his eyes, but,
directing them toward the spot at which the old man pointed, he
discovered a hole in the bottom of the trough, through which nearly half
of every feeding must have leaked out into the ground underneath. He had
never noticed it until now.

"There's another job for you, Tony," he said. "There's not only neglect,
but waste. The more hogs a man keeps in this way, the more money he will
lose. Look at the condition of this pen,--all mud, not a dry spot for
the pigs to fly to. Even the sheds under which they are to sleep are
three inches deep in slush. Don't you see that broken gutter from the
wood-shed delivers the rain right into their sleeping-place, and you
know what rains we have had lately? Ah, Tony," continued the old man,
"pigs can't thrive that are kept in this condition. They want a dry
place; they must have it, or they will get sick, and a sick pig is about
the poorest stock a farmer can have. Water or mud is well enough for
them to wallow in occasionally, but not mud all the time."

"But I thought pigs did best when they had plenty of dirt about them,
they like it so," replied Tony.

"You are mistaken, Tony," rejoined Uncle Benny. "A pig is by nature a
cleanly animal; it is only the way in which some people keep him that
makes him a filthy one. Give him the means to keep himself clean, and he
will be clean always,--a dry shed with dry litter to sleep in, and a pen
where he can keep out of the mud when he wants to, and he will never be
dirty, while what he eats will stick to his ribs. These pigs can't grow
in this condition. Then look at the waste of manure! Why, there are
those thirty odd loads of corn-stalks, and a great pile of sweet-potato
vines, that Mr. Spangler has in the field, all which he says he is going
to burn out of his way, as soon as they get dry enough. They should be
brought here and put in this mud and water, to absorb the liquid manure
that is now soaking into the ground, or evaporating before the sun. This
liquor is the best part of the manure, its heart and life; for nothing
can be called food for plants until it is brought into a liquid
condition. I never saw greater waste than this. Then there is that deep
bed of muck, not three hundred yards off,--not a load of it ready to
come here. Besides, if the corn-stalks and potato-vines were tumbled in,
they would make the whole pen dry, keep the hogs clean, and enable them
to grow. But I suppose Mr. Spangler thinks it too much trouble to do
these little things.

"Now, Tony," he continued, "you can't do anything profitable or useful
in this world without some trouble; and as you are to be a farmer, the
sooner you learn this lesson, the more easily you will get along. But
who is to do that job of putting a stopper over this hole in the trough,
you or I?"

"I'll do it to-morrow, Uncle Benny," replied Tony.

"To-morrow? To-morrow won't do for me. A job that needs doing as badly
as this, should be done at once; it's one thing less to think of, don't
you know that? Besides, didn't you want to do some jobs?" rejoined Uncle
Benny.

Tony had never been accustomed to this way of hurrying up things; but he
felt himself fairly cornered. He didn't care much about the dirt in the
trough; it was the unusual promptness of the demand that staggered him.

"Run to the house and ask Mrs. Spangler to give you an old tin cup or
kettle,--anything to make a patch big enough to cover this hole," said
Uncle Benny; "and bring that hammer and a dozen lath-nails you'll find
in my tool-chest."

Tony did as he was directed, and brought back a quart mug with a small
hole in the bottom, which a single drop of solder would have made tight
as ever.

"I guess the swill is worth more to the hogs than even a new mug would
be, Tony," said Uncle Benny, holding up the mug to the sun, to see how
small a defect had condemned it. Then, knocking out the bottom, and
straightening it with his hammer on the post, he told Tony to step over
the fence into the trough. It was not a very nice place to get into, but
over he went, and, the nails and hammer being handed to him, he covered
the hole with the tin, put in the nails round the edge, hammered the
edge flat, and in ten minutes all was done.

"There, Tony, is a six months' leak stopped in ten minutes. Nothing like
the present time,--will you remember that? Never put off till to-morrow
what can be done to-day. Now run back with the hammer and these two
nails, and put this remnant of the tin cup in my chest; you'll want it
for something one of these days. Always save the pieces, Tony."

Tony was really surprised, not only how easily, but how quickly, the
repair had been made. Moreover, he felt gratified at being the
mechanic; it was the first time he had been allowed to handle any of
Uncle Benny's nice assortment of tools, and he liked the old man better
than ever. But who is there that does not himself feel inwardly
gratified at conferring a new pleasure on a child? Such little
contributions to juvenile happiness are neither barren of fruit nor
unproductive of grateful returns. They cost nothing, yet they have rich
rewards in the memory of the young. They make beautiful and lasting
impressions. The gentle heart that makes a child happy will never be
forgotten. No matter how small the gift may be, a kind word, a little
toy, even a flower, will sometimes touch a chord within the heart, whose
soft vibrations will continue so long as memory lasts.

This survey of Mr. Spangler's premises was continued by Uncle Benny and
Tony until the latter began to change his opinion about the former doing
up the odd jobs so thoroughly that none would be left for him. He saw
there was enough for both of them. The old man pointed out a great many
that he had never even noticed; but when his attention was called to
them, he saw the necessity of having them done. Indeed, he had a notion
that everything about the place wanted fixing up. Besides, Uncle Benny
took pains to explain the reasons why such and such things were
required, answering the boy's numerous questions, and imparting to him a
knowledge of farm wants and farm processes, of which no one had ever
spoken to him.

The fact was, Uncle Benny was one of the few men we meet with,
especially on a farm, who think the boys ought to have a chance. His
opinion was, that farmers seldom educate their children properly for the
duties they know they will some day be called on to perform,--that is,
they don't reason with them, and explain to the boy's understanding the
merit or necessity of an operation. His idea was, that too many boys on
a farm were merely allowed to grow up. They were fed, clothed, sent to
school, then put to work, but not properly taught how and why the work
should be done. Hence, when they came to set up for themselves, they had
a multitude of things to learn which they ought to have learned from a
father.

He used to say, that boys do only what they see the men do,--that all
they learned was by imitation. They had no opportunity allowed them
while at home of testing their own resources and energies by some little
independent farming operation of their own. When at school, the teacher
drills them thoroughly; when at home, they receive no such close
training. The teacher gives the boy a sum to do, and lets him work it
out of his own resources. But a farmer rarely gives a boy the use of a
half-acre of land, on which he may raise corn or cabbages or roots for
himself, though knowing that the boy could plant and cultivate it if he
were allowed a chance, and that such a privilege would be likely to
develop his energies, and show of what stuff he was made. The notion was
too common that a boy was all work, and had no ambition,--whatever work
was in him must be got out of him, just as if he had been a horse or an
ox. It was known that at some time he must take care of himself, yet he
was not properly taught how to do so. The stimulant of letting him have
a small piece of ground for his own profit was too rarely held out to
him. No one knew what such a privilege might do for an energetic boy. If
he failed the first year, he would be likely to know the cause of
failure, and avoid it in the future. If he succeeded, he would feel an
honest pride,--the very kind of pride which every father should
encourage in his child. And that success would stimulate him to try
again and do still better. Both failure and success would be very likely
to set him to reading about what others had done in the same line,--how
they had prospered,--and thus a fund of knowledge would be acquired for
him to draw upon whenever he set up for himself.

As before mentioned, Mr. Spangler made a strange departure from his rule
of plenty of work for everybody, by quitting home on a wet day and going
to the tavern rendezvous, to hear what the neighbors had to say, leaving
no work marked out for his "hands" to do in his absence. These wet days
were therefore holidays for the boys. All three were pretty good
readers; and so they usually borrowed a book from Uncle Benny, and went,
on such occasions, into the barn, and lay down on the hay to read. Uncle
Benny recommended to them that one should read aloud to the others, so
as to improve his voice, and enable each to set the other right, if a
mistake were made. When the weather became too cold for these readings
in the barn, they went into the kitchen, there being no other room in
the house in which a fire was kept up.

One November morning there came on a heavy rain that lasted all day,
with an east wind so cold as to make the barn a very uncomfortable
reading-room, so the boys adjourned to the kitchen, and huddled around
the stove. But as the rain drove all the rest of the family into the
house, there was so great an assembly in what was, at the best of times,
a very small room, that Mrs. Spangler became quite irritable at having
so many in her way. She was that day trying out lard, and wanted the
stove all to herself. In her ill-humor at being so crowded up, she
managed to let the lard burn; and at this she became so vexed that she
told Tony, with Joe and Bill, to go out,--she couldn't have them in her
way any longer.

They accordingly went back to the barn, and lay down in the hay,
covering themselves with a couple of horse-blankets. These were not very
nice things for one to have so close to his nose, as they smelt
prodigiously strong of the horses; but farmers' boys are used to such
perfumes, and they kept the little fellows so warm that they were quite
glad to escape the crowd and discomfort of the kitchen. These became at
last so great, that even Uncle Benny, seeing that he was not wanted
there just then, got up and went over to the barn also. There he found
Tony reading aloud from a newspaper that had been left at the house by a
pedler a few days before. Tony was reading about the election, and how
much one set of our people were rejoicing over the result.

As Uncle Benny came into the barn, Tony called out, "Uncle Benny, the
President's elected,--did you know it?"

"O yes, I knew it,--but what President do you mean?" responded Uncle
Benny.

"Why, President Lincoln. He was a poor boy like me, you know."

"But can you tell me, boys," asked Uncle Benny, "who will be President
in the year 1900?"

"Dear me, Uncle Benny," replied Tony, "how should we know?"

"Well, I can tell," responded the old man.

The boys were a good deal surprised at hearing these words, and at once
sat up in the hay.

"Who is he?" demanded Tony.

"Well," replied Uncle Benny, "he is a boy of about your age, say fifteen
or sixteen years old."

"Does he live about here?" inquired Bill, the youngest of the party.

"Well, I can't say as to that," answered the old man, "but he lives
somewhere on a farm. He is a steady, thoughtful boy, fond of reading,
and has no bad habits; he never swears, or tells a lie, or disobeys his
parents."

"Do you think he is as poor as we are, Uncle Benny?" said Joe.

"Most likely he is," responded the old man. "His parents must be in
moderate circumstances. But poverty is no disgrace, Joe. On the
contrary, there is much in poverty to be thankful for, as there is
nothing that so certainly proves what stuff a boy is made of, as being
born poor, and from that point working his way up to a position in
society, as well as to wealth."

"But do poor boys ever work their way up?" inquired Tony.

"Ay, many times indeed," said Uncle Benny. "But a lazy, idle boy can do
no such thing,--he only makes a lazy man. Boys that grow up in idleness
become vagabonds. It is from these that all our thieves and paupers
come. Men who are successful have always been industrious. Many of the
great men in all countries were born poorer than either of you, for they
had neither money nor friends. President Lincoln, when he was of your
age, was hardly able to read, and had no such chance for schooling as
you have had. President Van Buren was so poor, when a boy, that he was
obliged to study his books by the light of pine knots which he gathered
in the woods. President Lincoln for a long time split rails at
twenty-five cents a hundred. But see how they got up in the world."

"But I thought the Presidents were all lawyers," said Tony.

"Well, suppose they were," replied Uncle Benny; "they were boys first. I
tell you that every poor boy in this country has a great prospect before
him, if he will only improve it as these men improved theirs. Everything
depends on himself, on his own industry, sobriety, and honesty. They
can't all be Presidents, but if they should all happen to try for being
one, they will be very likely to reach a high mark. Most of the rich men
of our country began without a dollar. You have as fair a chance of
becoming rich or distinguished as many of them have had. You must always
aim high."

"But how are we to make a beginning?" demanded Joe.

"I'll tell you," replied Uncle Benny. But at that moment a loud blast
from the tin horn summoned them to dinner. They all thought it the
sweetest music they had heard that day, and hurried off to the house.

                                        _Author of "Ten Acres Enough."_

                              (_To be continued._)



SNOW-FANCIES.


          O snow! flying hither
          And hurrying thither,
    Here, there, through the air,--you never care whither,--
          Do you see me here sitting,
          A-knitting, a-knitting,
    And wishing myself with you breezily flitting,
          Like any wild elf?

          Mother sits there a-rocking,
          And watches my stocking;
    Well, I know I am slow, and she thinks it is shocking:
          While Lizzie and Sally,
          They twit me, and rally,--
    My thoughts, half asleep, chase your flakes to the valley,
          A drowsy white heap.

          Dear Sally and Lizzie,
          My sisters so busy,
    In and out, all about, you make my head dizzy;
          You hasten, you flutter,
          You spin, you churn butter,
    You sew the long seams; while I cannot utter
          One word of my dreams.

          Lo! light as a feather,
          The merry flakes gather
    In rifts and in drifts, glad enough of cold weather;
          Gay throngs interlacing,
          On the slant roofs embracing,
    They slip and they fall! down, down they are racing,
          I after them all!

          One large flake advances;
          'Tis a white steed that prances;
    At the bits as he flits, how he foams, like my fancies!
          Up softly I sidle
          From where I sit idle,--
    I snatch, as it flies, at the gossamer bridle,--
          I'm mounted, I rise!

          Away we are bounding,
          No hoof-note resounding,
    Still as light is our flight through the armies surrounding;
          No murmur, no rustling,
          Though millions are jostling;
    A host is in camp, but you heard neither bustling
          Nor bugle, nor tramp.

          Yet the truce-flag is lifted;
          Unfurled it lies drifted
    Over hill, over rill, where its snow could be sifted;
          And now I'm returning
          To parley concerning
    The beautiful cause that awakened my yearning,--
          The trouble that was.

          Ho! ho! a swift fairy,--
          A pearl-shallop airy!
    I am caught, quick as thought! fleece-muffled and hairy,
          Her grim boatman tightens
          His grasp, till it frightens
    Me, half, as we sail to the east where it brightens,
          On waves of the gale.

          White, dimpled, and winning,
          The fairy sits spinning,
    From her hair, floating fair, coils of cable beginning,
          Her shallop to tether
          In stress of bleak weather,
    While the boatman and I, wrapped in ermine together,
          Drift on through the sky.

          Stay! the boat is upsetting!
          My fairy, forgetting
    Her coil and her toil, to escape from a wetting
          Has now the one notion:
          Below boils the ocean!
    I scream,--I am heard,--up, in arrowy motion,
          I'm borne by a bird,--

          A gray eagle!--over
          The seas flies the rover;
    And I ride as his guide, a new world to discover.
          He bears me on, steady,
          Through whirlwind and eddy;
    I cling to his neck, and he ever is ready
          To pause at my beck.

          White doves through the ether
          Come flocking together.
    How they crowd to me, proud if I smooth one soft feather!
          O what is the matter?
          They startle,--they scatter!
    On the wet window-pane hear my eagle's claws clatter!--
          The snow's turned to rain!

          Tears, why will you glitter?
          My sisters they titter,
    And there from her chair mother calls, "What a knitter!"
          My ball pussy twitches,--
          I've dropped twenty stitches,--
    My needles all rust,--they will earn me no riches;
          Alas if they must!

                                  _Lucy Larcom._



THE BABY OF THE REGIMENT.

[Illustration]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In due time the steamer arrived, and Baby and her mother were among the
passengers. The little thing was soon settled in her new cradle, and
slept in it as if she had never known any other. The sergeant's wife
soon had her on exhibition through the neighborhood, and from that time
forward she was quite a little queen among us. She had sweet blue eyes
and pretty brown hair, with round, dimpled cheeks, and that perfect
dignity which is so beautiful in a baby. She hardly ever cried, and was
not at all timid. She would go to anybody, and yet did not encourage any
romping from any but the most intimate friends. She always wore a warm
long-sleeved scarlet cloak with a hood, and in this costume was carried,
or "toted," as the colored soldiers said, all about the camp. At
"guard-mounting" in the morning, when the men who are to go on
guard-duty for the day are drawn up to be inspected, Baby was always
there, to help inspect them. She did not say much, but she eyed them
very closely, and seemed fully to appreciate their bright buttons. Then
the Officer-of-the-Day, who appears at guard-mounting with his sword and
sash, and comes afterwards to the Colonel's tent for orders, would come
and speak to Baby on his way, and receive her orders first. When the
time came for drill, she was usually present to watch the troops; and
when the drum beat for dinner, she liked to see the long row of men in
each company march up to the cook-house, in single file, each with tin
cup and plate. During the day, in pleasant weather, she might be seen in
her nurse's arms, about the company streets, the centre of an admiring
circle, her scarlet costume looking very pretty amidst the shining black
cheeks and neat blue uniforms of the soldiers. At "dress-parade," just
before sunset, she was always an attendant. As I stood before the
regiment, I could see the little spot of red out of the corner of my
eye, at one end of the long line of men; and I looked with so much
interest for her small person, that, instead of saying at the proper
time, "Attention, Battalion! Shoulder arms!"--it is a wonder that I did
not say, "Shoulder babies!"

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

[Illustration]

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

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

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

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

"It's the kitten," exclaimed somebody.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                             _T. W. Higginson._



THE RED-WINGED GOOSE.


Once upon a time, when the rocks that make the earth were not so gray,
and the beard of the sea-waves not so hoary,--when the stars winked at
each other and said nothing, and the man in the moon thought of getting
married,--once upon a time, I say, there lived on the edge of a
pine-forest in Bohemia a poor peasant named Otto Koenig.

His hut was made of pine-branches, plastered with mud and thatched with
rye-straw; a hole in the top let the smoke out, and a hole in the side
let in father, mother, pigs, chickens, and children, beside a tame
jackdaw, that slept on an old stool by the fireplace, and ate with
Otto's nine children out of a wooden bowl.

Little enough the nine had to share with Meister Hans, as they called
the jackdaw, for they lived on black beans and black rye-bread.
Sometimes a bit of smoked bacon was found in the beans on great
feast-days, and sometimes in summer wild berries helped the dry bread to
savor and sweetness; but oftener the poor pig's-flesh and the red
strawberries were put into a rush basket, covered with great cool
leaves, on top of the eggs that lay so smooth and white below, and Otto
carried them to Prague, when he went there at full moon to sell the
turpentine he gathered in the pine-forest. With the money he got there
he bought serge to clothe the nine children, rancid oil to burn in the
clay lamp that sometimes they lighted in the long winter evenings, or
some coarse pottery for larger vessels than he could hew out of dead
branches with his dull hatchet. But it took all the coin that ever
rattled in his sheep-skin pouch to buy any clothes or enough food for
the nine black-eyed children who ran about in rags, and always wanted
more bread and beans than poor Marthon, their brown, hard-working
mother, had to give them.

At last, one winter there came a dreadful famine in Bohemia. There was
no rye for the fowls, or the bread; it was blasted in the ear during a
wet summer; and that same summer had given so little sunshine to the
fields that no berries ripened; the turnips rotted in the ground, so the
pig had nothing to eat; and between cold and starvation, quite tired of
his wet sty and empty trough, master pig gave a loud squeak one November
day, struggled out of his moist lodgings into a pool of water hard by,
and died. For all that he was eaten up, because the nine children wanted
food, whatever it might be, and the jackdaw scolded loudly for bread,
but got less and less daily.

To be sure, the turpentine ran faster and clearer than ever from the
trees, but then it was worth less to the old Jew who bought it, and the
striped red serge and rancid oil were dearer than ever; so the children
ate their supper by the light of the pine-cones they gathered in the
forest, and went to bed to keep warm, where Mihal, the youngest boy,
told them long stories of the old days in Bohemia, when there were
fierce witches with steeple-crowned hats and flame-colored cloaks, who
were burned to death in the market-place of Prague, and their ashes
scattered on the waters of the Elbe, to find no rest on earth or in the
water,--and legends of gnomes and elves that worked with little swarthy
hands in the mountain mines, and hid their treasures away from human
miners, unless spell and incantation brought them to light, and then the
gnomes would scream and sob in the deep caverns till the miners fled
away for fear.

These stories Mihal had learned from his old grandmother, who died the
year before the famine. She used to sit in the open air knitting, or
spinning with a distaff, and the scarlet yarn that trailed across the
gray jacket and green petticoat glowed in the sun like a thread of
crawling fire, and seemed to keep time to her droning voice, as she
poured story after story into the wide-open ears of the child nestled on
her feet.

But all these pretty tales of Mihal did not keep his eight brothers and
sisters warm. Zitza, the least of all, cried herself to sleep often, and
woke with hunger, wailing, in the sad and quaint accents of her land,
for bread and berries. These were sorrowful sounds for poor Otto Koenig;
he knew well the eager pain for food that forced that cry from the
child's lips,--for his black crust was as small as it could be to keep
him alive, and his cup of sour beer was only a quarter filled. Often, as
he shouldered the rude axe with which he gashed the trees, and wandered
out into the forest, the spicy smell of the pine-boughs seemed to make
him sick and giddy, he was so faint with hunger; and instead of the
hymns the wind used to sing in the long green tufts of leaves, there was
a rush of unearthly whispering laughter, and mocking voices said in the
poor man's ear, "Bread and beer! bread and beer!" chorused with another
rustle of laughter; whereat the unlucky man, half crazed, would bless
himself devoutly, and, taking to his heels, run like a scared cony till
the woods were far behind him.

In the hut things went worse still; in vain did Matthias, the oldest of
the nine children, take his twin sister into the fields to search the
brambles for stray hips, or locks of wool the sheep had not left there
willingly; men and women even worse off had been there before them, and
they came home at night, tired out and footsore, only to hear Zitza's
fretful cry for food, and the constant chatter of Meister Hans, croaking
for his own share in what they had not.

One night, when Mihal had told more wonderful stories than ever, and
fairly talked the other eight to sleep, he was still awake himself.
Nothing stirred on the side of the hut where the children lay sleeping
on some straw covered with sheep-skins, but Meister Hans, who, perched
for the night on the arm of the grandmother's empty chair, rustled his
blue-black wings now and then. But as Mihal lay thinking and hungry, his
looks turned restlessly toward the uneasy bird; and presently he saw the
creature's eyes begin to shine through the darkness brighter and
brighter, till they made the room so light that one could plainly see
the eight sleeping children, the straw-bed from which Father Koenig's
snores were loudly heard, Mother Marthon's petticoat and red jacket hung
against the wall, and the old black chair with the fiery-eyed jackdaw
perched on one arm. Mihal lifted himself on his elbow and rubbed his
eyes. Yes, it was really so! Meister Hans nodded gravely to him, and,
hopping down to the floor, turned his eyes toward the boy, nodded again,
croaked circumspectly, and walked with odd, precise steps toward the
door, which was screened from the cold by a rough mat hung inside, and
again turning, repeated the nod and the croak, as if he were inviting
Mihal to follow him. The child gathered his rags more closely about him,
and stepped across the threshold, at which Meister Hans gave a very
satisfied croak and hopped along. The moon shone brightly on bare brown
fields silvered with white frost, and in the still, cold air the distant
forest stood like a black cloud just dropped upon earth.

In a strange, dreamy way Mihal followed the movements of the bird,
stumbling over hard furrows, bruising his feet against stones, falling
into ditches, but still straight after his odd guide, who peered at him
now and then with one fiery eye, and wagged his head. On and on they
went, away from the pine forest, but into places where Mihal had never
been before, wide as were his usual rambles; on and on, over stone
walls, ditches, stubble-fields, and wide meadows, till they found
themselves at the foot of a high, round hill. Out of one side of this
great mound ran a pure bubbling spring, and over its waters hung an old
oak-tree, leafless now, but still strewing the ground beneath with dry
acorns. Right at the root of this tree was an upright gray stone,
apparently part of a rock deeply sunk in the hillside; dark lichens
clung to its face, and dead leaves lay piled at its foot. Beside this
stone Meister Hans paused, and, looking hard at the boy, deliberately
picked up an acorn, and, hopping to the side of the little gravelly
basin, dropped his mouthful into the fountain, and returned to the flat
stone, where Mihal stood wondering much what was to follow.

Presently the jackdaw approached the stone and knocked upon it three
times. No sound replied, but the rock opened in the middle, and there
stood a little old woman, as withered as a spring apple and as bright as
a butterfly, dressed in a scarlet bodice covered with spangles, and a
black petticoat worked in square characters with all the colors of the
rainbow. She made a reverence to the bird and Mihal, and in a shrill,
eager voice invited them to come in. The boy hesitated, but the little
old woman snatched his hand and pulled him in. A draught of warm air and
a delicious smell of food invited him still more charmingly, he was so
cold and hungry, and he passed through the cleft stone to find himself
in a high round cavern, of shining, sparkling crystals, that glittered
like jewels whenever the light of the old woman's iron lamp shone across
them. She opened a low door in the side of this cavern, and beckoned her
companions to follow. In the middle of a still larger vault stood a
great arm-chair, fashioned from beryl and jasper, with knobs of amethyst
and topaz, in which sat a dwarf no taller than little Zitza. He was
dressed in robes of velvet, green and soft as forest moss, and a ring of
rough gold lay on his grizzled hair; his little eyes were keen and
fiery, his hands withered and brown, but covered with glittering jewels.

[Illustration]

About the cave a hundred little creatures, smaller still than he, were
busied in a hundred ways. Some ran to and fro with long ladles,
wherewith they stirred and tasted kettles of smoking broth; others
shredded crisp salads, and sliced fresh vegetables for the pottage;
some, with ready hands, spread a table with flowered damask, golden
plate, and crystal goblets; three tugged and strained at turning a huge
spit before a fire at the end of the cavern, while a dozen more watched
the simmering of pots and pipkins, seething on the coals; and full a
score moulded curious confections, adorned vast pastries, heaped fruits
upon baskets of carved ice, or brewed steaming potions in great silver
pitchers, whose breath of tropic fragrance curled upward in light clouds
to the sparkling roof above; while the red flashes of the blaze on the
hearth lighted up their swarthy little figures and merry faces, and cast
grotesque, mocking shadows against the sides of the cave.

As Meister Hans hopped gravely past all this toward the chair of the
Dwarf-king, making profound reverences all the way, the little monarch
stretched out his sceptre, which was a tall bulrush of gold, and touched
the jackdaw on the head, whereat, to Mihal's great wonder, his old
friend turned suddenly into just such another little old woman as the
one who had brought them in.

After another low reverence to the king, she turned to Mihal and made
him aware, by a long speech, that she had been turned into a jackdaw for
twenty years, because she had once presumed to say that gold was not so
yellow as buttercups, or so bright as sunshine,--a statement altogether
against the belief and laws of the dwarf; but now her punishment was
over, and, knowing that she would never go back to the earth again,
because she had lived there long enough to know better, and had learned
that gold was the best of all things, she had resolved to bring little
Mihal with her, (for she loved him almost as much as gold, and quite as
well as silver, he was such a good boy), and persuade her master to
grant him one wish before he left the cavern.

The king readily consented to do this, but ordered that the boy and his
friendly guide should take their places at the table and be served with
supper first, for well he knew that a hungry child's first wish must be
for food.

The king had scarce given this order before a quick pair of hands
stripped a tender sucking-pig from the spit, another filled a golden
bowl with smoking stew from the caldron, another poured wine and ale
into the clear goblets, and a fourth heaped porcelain dishes from every
simmering pot and pipkin on the hearth; rolls of bread whiter than
hoar-frost, and piles of purple and golden fruit followed, while the
half-starved boy warmed his fingers at the blaze, and then ate and drank
his fill of such viands as he had never before tasted, even in dreams.
But when he could do no more good trencher-service, and the little old
woman reminded him of the wish he was to ask the Dwarf-king to grant, he
sat a long time pondering this important matter.

Now, among the legends that his old grandmother had recounted was one
that had made especial impression on his fancy,--an old Bohemian
tradition of a red-winged goose, followed by six goslings, which
traversed the forests and valleys in the dead of winter, uncaught and
unhurt, for hundreds of years, though whoever was so skilful or so lucky
as to catch the goose would after that succeed in all his undertakings.
Mihal bethought himself, as he sat there, that perhaps the Dwarf-king
was master of this wonderful bird, and could give him the prize at once,
without delay or toil; so he slid from his seat at the table, and,
approaching the king, made known his request.

The dwarf fixed his keen eyes sharply on the child, and shook his
grizzled head from side to side before he spoke, in his rough but kindly
voice, and said: "I cannot do that for thee, little one! All the
treasures in my mountain, or the heart of the dumb earth, could not buy
for thee the red-winged goose. She must be caught; but there is only one
way to this end, and that way hitherto hath no mortal known. He who
would capture the goose must first have caught the goslings, and that
not by two or three, or as he may choose to trap them, but always the
nearest one first, which is ever the last, seeing that they follow her
in line, unbroken and unwavering. Thou must take them one by one, and in
their order, child, however sorely tempted to break the sequence. Keep
thine eye and thy labor for the nearest one, and at last the red-winged
goose itself will reward thy patience."

Mihal heard and treasured up the Dwarf-king's orders, spoke his simple
thanks, bowing low, and, after a gay farewell to the little old woman
who had been his jackdaw, went his way into the upper air; and just as
the sun arose, touching the pine-tree tops with fire, he came to his
father's hut, where the eight children were rubbing their eyes and Zitza
crying for her breakfast. No one knew that Mihal had been farther than
the door-sill, nor did he tell the clamorous brood of children what he
had seen, lest they should mock it as a dream, or attempt the pursuit
themselves.

So he went patiently about his work, helped them look for Meister Hans,
whom all mourned for many a day,--excepting Mihal, who well knew how
much better off the jackdaw was than in any of the pitiful conditions
they fancied, and the parents, who were too thankful to gain even the
bird's small share of bread for their wasted and fretful children.

But after nightfall Mihal crept softly from his straw in the corner,
tied a sheep-skin across his shoulders, and, with his uneaten supper, a
crust of black bread, in the bosom of his ragged shirt, stole softly out
of the door to seek his fortune. About two miles from the hut there was
a clear space in the pine forest, where there stood a great stone cross,
at the foot of which a tiny spring slept in the grass, and overflowed
softly on the crisp turf at all seasons. At this place Mihal resolved to
wait for the flight of the red-winged goose, and he knew the forest
paths so well that a short half-hour brought him to the open glade. He
knelt and bathed his face in the spring, drank deeply of its pure and
tranquil waters, and then leaned back against the foot of the cross to
eat his crust and wait till moon-rise. Overhead the dark blue sky seemed
to be higher than ever, and the bright stars sparkled so kindly, and
looked so much like watchful eyes to guard and bless him, that Mihal
felt no fear, but gazed upward into the quiet depths of air so long that
he fell fast asleep and dreamed about the Dwarf-king's hill-palace.

                                             _Rose Terry._

                              (_To be continued._)



AFLOAT IN THE FOREST:

OR, A VOYAGE AMONG THE TREE-TOPS.


CHAPTER VI.

THE MONKEY-POTS.

"The Gapo?" exclaimed the master of the craft. "What is it, Munday?"

"The Gapo?" repeated Tipperary Tom, fancying by the troubled expression
on the face of the Indian that he had conducted his companions toward
some terrible disaster. "Phwat is it, Munday?"

"Da Gapoo?" simultaneously interrogated the negro, the whites of his
eyeballs shining in the moonlight. "What be dat?"

The Mundurucú made reply only by a wave of his hand, and a glance around
him, as if to say, "Yes, the Gapo; you see we're in it."

The three interrogators were as much in the dark as ever. Whether the
Gapo was fish, flesh, or fowl, air, fire, or water, they could not even
guess. There was but one upon the galatea besides the Indian himself who
knew the signification of the word which had created such a sensation
among the crew, and this was young Richard Trevannion.

"It's nothing, uncle," said he, hastening to allay the alarm around him;
"old Munday means that we've strayed from the true channel of the
Solimoës, and got into the flooded forest,--that's all."

"The flooded forest?"

"Yes. What you see around us, looking like low bushes, are the tops of
tall trees. We're now aground on the branches of a _sapucaya_,--a
species of the Brazil-nut, and among the tallest of Amazonian trees. I'm
right,--see! there are the nuts themselves!" As the young Paraense
spoke, he pointed to some pericarps, large as cocoa-nuts, that were seen
depending from the branches among which the galatea had caught. Grasping
one of them in his hand, he wrenched it from the branch; but as he did
so, the husk dropped off, and the prism-shaped nuts fell like a shower
of huge hailstones on the roof of the _toldo_. "Monkey-pots they're
called," continued he, referring to the empty pericarp still in his
hand. "That's the name by which the Indians know them; because the
monkeys are very fond of these nuts."

"But the Gapo?" interrupted the ex-miner, observing that the expressive
look of uneasiness still clouded the brow of the Mundurucú.

"It's the Indian name for the great inundation," replied Richard, in the
same tranquil tone. "Or rather I should say, the name for it in the
_lingoa-geral_."

"And what is there to fear? Munday has frightened us all, and seems
frightened himself. What is the cause?"

"That I can't tell you, uncle. I know there are queer stories about the
Gapo,--tales of strange monsters that inhabit it,--huge serpents,
enormous apes, and all that sort of thing. I never believed them,
though the _tapuyos_ do; and from old Munday's actions I suppose he puts
full faith in them."

"The young patron is mistaken," interposed the Indian, speaking a patois
of the _lingoa-geral_. "The Mundurucú does not believe in monsters. He
believes in big serpents and monkeys,--he has seen them."

"But shure yez are not afeerd o' them, Munday?" asked the Irishman.

The Indian only replied by turning on Tipperary Tom a most scornful
look.

"What is the use of this alarm?" inquired Trevannion. "The galatea does
not appear to have sustained any injury. We can easily get her out of
her present predicament, by lopping off the branches that are holding
her."

"Patron," said the Indian, still speaking in a serious tone, "it may not
be so easy as you think. We may get clear of the tree-top in ten
minutes. In as many hours--perhaps days--we may not get clear of the
Gapo. That is why the Mundurucú shows signs of apprehension."

"Ho! You think we may have a difficulty in finding our way back to the
channel of the river?"

"Think it, patron! I am too sure of it. If not, we shall be in the best
of good luck."

"It's of no use trying to-night, at all events," pursued Trevannion, as
he glanced uncertainly around him. "The moon is sinking over the
tree-tops. Before we could well get adrift, she'll be gone out of sight.
We might only drift deeper into the maze. Is that your opinion, Munday?"

"It is, patron. We can do no good by leaving the place to-night. Wiser
for us to wait for the light of the sun."

"Let all go to rest, then," commanded the patron, "and be ready for work
in the morning. We need keep no look-out, I should think. The galatea is
as safe here as if moored in a dry dock. She is _aground_, I take it,
upon the limb of a tree! Ha! ha! ha!"

The thought of such a situation for a sailing craft--moored amid the
tops of a tall tree--was of so ludicrous a nature as to elicit a peal of
laughter from the patron, which was echoed by the rest of the crew, the
Mundurucú alone excepted. His countenance still preserved its expression
of uneasiness; and long after the others had sunk into unconscious
sleep, he sat upon the stem of the galatea, gazing out into the gloom,
with glances that betokened serious apprehension.


CHAPTER VII.

THE GAPO.

The young Paraense had given a correct, although not sufficiently
explicit, account of the sort of place in which the galatea had gone
"aground."

That singular phenomenon known as the _Gapo_ (or _Ygapo_), and which is
one of the most remarkable characteristics of the great Amazonian
region, demands a more detailed description. It is worthy of this, as a
mere study of physical geography,--perhaps as pleasant a science as any;
and furthermore, it is here absolutely necessary to the understanding
of our tale. Without some comprehension of the circumstances that
surrounded them, the hardships and sufferings endured, the adventures
accomplished, and the perils passed by the crew of the strayed galatea,
would appear as so many fabulous inventions, set forth to stimulate and
gratify a taste for the merely marvellous. Young reader, this is not the
aim of your author, nor does he desire it to be the end. On the
contrary, he claims to draw Nature with a verisimilitude that will
challenge the criticism of the naturalist; though he acknowledges a
predilection for Nature in her wildest aspects,--for scenes least
exposed to the eye of civilization, and yet most exposed to its doubting
incredulity.

There are few country people who have not witnessed the spectacle of a
piece of woodland inundated by the overflow of a neighboring stream.
This flood is temporary; the waters soon subside into their ordinary
channel, and the trees once more appear growing out of _terra firma_,
with the green mead spreading on all sides around them. But a flooded
forest is a very different affair; somewhat similar in character indeed,
but far grander. Not a mere spinney of trees along the bank of a small
stream; but a region extending beyond the reach of vision,--a vast tract
of primeval woods,--the tall trees submerged to their very tops, not for
days, nor weeks, but for months,--ay, some of them forever! Picture to
your mind an inundation of this kind, and you will have some idea of the
Gapo.

Extending for seventeen hundred miles along the banks of the Solimoës,
now wider on the northern, now stretching farther back from the southern
side, this semi-submerged forest is found, its interior almost as
unknown as the crater-like caverns of the moon, or the icy oceans that
storm or slumber round the Poles,--unknown to civilized man, but not
altogether to the savage. The aboriginal of Amazonia, crouching in his
canoe, has pierced this water-land of wonders. He could tell you much
about it that is real, and much that is marvellous,--the latter too
often pronounced fanciful by lettered _savans_. He could tell you of
strange trees that grow there, bearing strange fruits, not to be found
elsewhere,--of wonderful quadrupeds, and _quadrumana_, that exist only
in the Gapo,--of birds brilliantly beautiful, and reptiles hideously
ugly; among the last the dreaded dragon serpent, "Sucuriyu." He could
tell you, moreover, of creatures of his own kind,--if they deserve the
name of man,--who dwell continuously in the flooded forest, making their
home on scaffolds among the tree-tops, passing from place to place in
floating rafts or canoes, finding their subsistence on fish, on the
flesh of the _manatee_, on birds, beasts, reptiles, and insects, on the
stalks of huge water-plants and the fruits of undescribed trees, on
monkeys, and sometimes upon _man!_ Such Indians as have penetrated the
vast water-land have brought strange tales out of it. We may give
credence to them or refuse it; but they, at least, are firm believers in
most of the accounts which they have collected.

It is not to be supposed that the Gapo is impenetrable. On the contrary,
there are several well-known water-ways leading through it,--well known,
I mean, to the Indians dwelling upon its borders, to the _tapuyos_,
whose business it is to supply crews for the galateas of the Portuguese
traders, and to many of these traders themselves. These water-ways are
often indicated by "blazings" on the trees, or broken branches, just as
the roads are laid out by pioneer settlers in a North American forest;
and but for these marks, they could not be followed. Sometimes, however,
large spaces occur in which no trees are to be seen, where, indeed, none
grow. There are extensive lakes, always under water, even at the lowest
ebb of the inundation. They are of all sizes and every possible
configuration, from the complete circle through all the degrees of the
ellipse, and not unfrequently in the form of a belt, like the channel of
a river running for scores of miles between what might readily be
mistaken for banks covered with a continuous thicket of low bushes,
which are nothing more than the "spray" of evergreen trees, whose roots
lie forty feet under water!

More frequently these openings are of irregular shape, and of such
extent as to merit the title of "inland seas." When such are to be
crossed, the sun has to be consulted by the canoe or galatea gliding
near their centre; and when he is not visible,--by no means a rare
phenomenon in the Gapo,--then is there great danger of the craft
straying from her course.

When within sight of the so-called "shore," a clump of peculiar form, or
a tree topping over its fellows, is used as a landmark, and often guides
the navigator of the Gapo to the _igarita_ of which he is in search.

It is not all tranquillity on this tree-studded ocean. It has its fogs,
its gales, and its storms,--of frequent occurrence. The canoe is oft
shattered against the stems of gigantic trees; and the galatea goes
down, leaving her crew to perish miserably in the midst of a gloomy
wilderness of wood and water. Many strange tales are told of such
mishaps; but up to the present hour none have received the permanent
record of print and paper.

Be it _our_ task to supply this deficiency.


CHAPTER VIII.

THE ECHENTE.

It would not be true to say that the crew of the galatea were up with
the sun. There was no sun to shine upon the gloomy scene that revealed
itself next morning. Instead, there was a fog almost thick enough to be
grasped with the hand. They were astir, however, by the earliest
appearance of day; for the captain of the galatea was too anxious about
his "stranded" craft to lie late abed.

They had no difficulty in getting the vessel afloat. A strong pull at
the branches of the sapucaya, and then an adroit use of the paddles,
carried the craft clear.

But what was the profit of this? Once out in the open water, they were
as badly off as ever. Not one of them had the slightest idea of the
direction they would take, even supposing they could find a clear course
in any direction! A consultation was the result, in which all hands
took part, though it was evident that, after the patron, most deference
was paid to the Mundurucú. The young Paraense stood next in the scale of
respect; while Tipperary Tom, beyond the account which he was called
upon to give of his steersmanship, was not permitted to mingle his
Hibernian brogue in the discussion.

Where was the river? That was the first problem to be solved, and of
this there appeared to be no possible solution. There was no sun to
guide them; no visible sky. Even had there been both, it would scarce
have mended the matter. The steersman could not tell whether, on
straying from the channel, he had drifted to the south or the north, the
east or the west; and, indeed, an intellect less obtuse than that of
Tipperary Tom might have been puzzled upon the point. It has been
already mentioned, that the Solimoës is so tortuous as to turn to every
point of the compass in its slow course. The mere fact that the moon was
shining at the time could be of little use to Tipperary Tom, whose
astronomy had never extended beyond the knowledge that there was a moon.

Where lay the river? The interrogatory was repeated a score of times,
without receiving a satisfactory answer; though every one on board--the
little Rosita excepted--ventured some sort of reply, most, however,
offering their opinion with a doubting diffidence. The Mundurucú,
although repeatedly appealed to, had taken small part in the discussion,
remaining silent, his eyes moodily wandering over the water, seeking
through the fog for some clew to their escape from the spot.

No one plied the paddles; they had impelled her out of sight of the
sapucaya, now shrouded in the thick fog; but, as it was useless paddling
any farther, all hands had desisted, and were now resting upon their
oars. At this moment it was perceived that the galatea was in motion.
The Mundurucú was the first to notice it; for his attention had for some
time been directed to such discovery. For this reason had he cast his
searching glances, now down into the turbid waters, and now out through
the murky atmosphere. A thicket was discernible through the fog, but
every moment becoming less distinct. Of course it was only a collection
of tree-tops; but whatever it was, it soon became evident that the
galatea was very slowly receding from it. On discovering this, the
Mundurucú displayed signs of fresh animation. He had been for some
minutes lying upon his face, craning out over the gangway, and his long
withered arms submerged in the water. The others occupied themselves in
guessing what he was about; but their guesses had been to no purpose.
Equally purposeless had appeared the actions of the Indian; for, after
keeping his arm under water for a period of several minutes, he drew it
in with a dissatisfied air, and once more arose to his feet. It was just
then that he perceived the tree-tops, upon which he kept his eyes
sharply fixed, until assured that the galatea was going away from them.

"_Hoola!_" he exclaimed, attempting to imitate the cry he had more than
once heard issuing from the lips of Tipperary Tom. "_Hoola!_ the river
is out there!" As he spoke, he pointed towards the tree-tops.

It was the first confident answer to the all-important question.

"How can you tell that, Munday?" inquired the captain of the craft.

"How tell, patron? How tell day from night, the moon from the sun, fire
from water? The Solimoës is there." The Indian spoke with his arm still
extended in the direction of the trees.

"We are willing to believe you," rejoined Trevannion, "and will trust to
your guidance; but pray explain yourself."

"It's all guess-work," interpolated Tipperary Tom. "Ould Munday knows no
more av fwat he's talkin' about than Judy Fitzscummons's mother. I'll
warrant ye we come in from the tother side."

"Silence, Tom!" commanded his master. "Let us hear what Munday has to
say. You have no right to contradict him."

"Och, awance! An Indyen's opinion prefarred before that ov a freeborn
Oirishman! I wondher what nixt." And as Tipperary completed his chapter
of reproaches, he slank crouchingly under the shadow of the _toldo_.

"So you think the river is there?" said Trevannion, once more addressing
himself to the Mundurucú.

"The Mundurucú is sure of it, patron. Sure as that the sky is above us."

"Remember, old man! It won't do for us to make any mistake. No doubt
we've already strayed a considerable distance from the channel of the
Solimoës. To go again from it will be to endanger our lives."

"The Mundurucú knows that," was the laconic reply.

"Well, then, we must be satisfied of the fact, before we can venture to
make a move. What proof can you give us that the river lies in that
direction?"

"Patron! You know the month? It is the month of March."

"Certainly it is. What of that?"

"The _echente_."

"The _echente?_ What is that?"

"The flood getting bigger. The water on the rise,--the Gapo still
growing,--that is the _echente_."

"But how should that enable you to determine the direction of the
river?"

"It has done so," replied the Indian. "Not before three months--in
June--will come the _vasante_."

"The _vasante_?"

"The _vasante_, patron: the fall. Then the Gapo will begin to grow less;
and the current will be _towards_ the river, as now it is _from_ it."

"Your story appears reasonable enough. I suppose we may trust to it. If
so," added Trevannion, "we had better direct our course towards yonder
tree-tops, and lose no time in getting beyond them. All of you to your
paddles, and pull cheerily. Let us make up for the time we have lost
through the negligence of Tipperary Tom. Pull, my lads, pull!"

At this cheering command the four paddlers rushed to their places; and
the galatea, impelled by their vigorous strokes, once more glided gayly
over the bosom of the waters.


CHAPTER IX.

AN IMPASSABLE BARRIER.

In a few moments the boat's bow was brought within half a cable's length
of the boughs of the submerged trees. Her crew could see that to proceed
farther, on a direct course, was simply impossible. With equal reason
might they have attempted to hoist her into the air, and leap over the
obstruction that had presented itself before them.

Not only were the branches of the adjoining trees interlocked, but from
one to the other straggled a luxurious growth of creepers, forming a
network so strong and compact that a steamer of a hundred horse-power
would have been safely brought to a stand among its meshes. Of course no
attempt was made to penetrate this impenetrable _chevaux de frise_; and
after a while had been spent in reconnoitring it, Trevannion, guided by
the counsel of the Mundurucú, ordered the galatea to go about, and
proceed along the selvage of the submerged forest. An hour was spent in
paddling. No opening. Another hour similarly employed, and with similar
results!

The river might be in the direction pointed out by the Indian. No doubt
it was; but how were they to reach it? Not a break appeared in all that
long traverse wide enough to admit the passage of a canoe. Even an arrow
could scarce have penetrated among the trees, that extended their
parasite-laden branches beyond the border of the forest! By tacit
consent of the patron, the paddlers rested upon their oars; then plied
them once more; and once more came to a pause.

No opening among the tree-tops; no chance to reach the channel of the
Solimoës. The gloomy day became gloomier, for night was descending over
the Gapo. The crew of the galatea, wearied with many hours of exertion,
ceased paddling. The patron did not oppose them; for his spirit, as well
as theirs, had become subdued by hope long deferred. As upon the
previous night, the craft was moored among the tree-tops, where her
rigging, caught among the creepers, seemed enough to keep her from
drifting away. But very different from that of the preceding night was
the slumber enjoyed by her crew. Amidst the boughs of the _sapucaya_,
there had been nothing to disturb their tranquillity, save the
occasional shower of nuts, caused by the cracking of the dry shells, and
the monkey-pots discharging their contents. Then was the galatea
"grounded" upon a solitary tree, which carried only its own fruit.
To-night she was moored in the middle of a forest,--at all events upon
its edge,--a forest, not of the earth, nor the air, nor the water, but
of all three,--a forest whose inhabitants might be expected to partake
of a character altogether strange and abnormal. And of such character
were they; for scarce had the galatea become settled among the
tree-tops, when the ears of her crew were assailed by a chorus of
sounds, that with safety might have challenged the choir of Pandemonium.
Two alone remained undismayed,--Richard Trevannion and the Mundurucú.

"Bah!" exclaimed the Paraense, "what are you all frightened at? Don't
you know what it is, uncle?"

"I know what it resembles, boy,--the Devil and his legions let loose
from below. What is it, Dick?"

"Only the howlers. Don't be alarmed, little Rosita!"

The little Peruvian, gaining courage from his words, looked admiringly
on the youth who had called her "little Rosita." Any one could have told
that, from that time forward, Richard Trevannion might have the power to
control the destinies of his cousin.

"The howlers! What are they?" inquired the old miner.

"Monkeys, uncle; nothing more. From the noise they make, one might
suppose they were as big as buffaloes. Nothing of the kind. The largest
I ever saw was hardly as stout as a deerhound, though he could make as
much noise as a whole kennel. They have a sort of a drum in the throat,
that acts as a sound-board. That's what enables them to get up such a
row. I've often heard their concert more than two miles across country,
especially in prospect of an approaching storm. I don't know if they
follow this fashion in the Gapo; but if they do, from the way they're
going it now, we may look out for a trifling tornado."

Notwithstanding the apparent unconcern with which young Trevannion
declared himself, there was something in his manner that arrested the
attention of his uncle. While pronouncing his hypothetical forecast of a
storm, he had turned his glance towards the sky, and kept it fixed
there, as if making something more than a transient observation. The fog
had evaporated, and the moon was now coursing across the heavens, not
against a field of cloudy blue, but in the midst of black, cumulous
clouds, that every now and then shrouded her effulgence. A dweller in
the tropics of the Western hemisphere would have pronounced this sign
the certain forerunner of a storm; and so predicted the young Paraense.
"We'll have the sky upon us within an hour," said he, addressing himself
more especially to his uncle. "We'd better tie the galatea to the trees.
If this be a _hurricane_, and she goes adrift, there's no knowing where
we may bring up. The likeliest place will be in the bottom of the Gapo."

"The young patron speaks truth," interposed Munday, his eyes all the
while reading the signs of the heavens. "The Mundurucú knows by yonder
yellow sky."

As he spoke, the Indian pointed to a patch of brimstone-colored clouds,
conspicuous over the tops of the trees. There was no reason why Ralph
Trevannion should not give credit to the two weather-prophets, who could
have no personal motive in thus warning him. He yielded, therefore, to
their solicitation; and in ten minutes more the galatea was secured
among the tree-tops, as fast as cords could make her.

                                             _Mayne Reid._

[Illustration]



CHRISTMAS BELLS.


    I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
      And wild and sweet
      The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
      Had rolled along
      The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till, ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day
      A voice, a chime,
      A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth,
    The cannon thundered in the South,
      And with the sound
      The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
      And made forlorn
      The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
      "For hate is strong
      And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
      The Wrong shall fail,
      The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

                                  _Henry W. Longfellow._



ANDY'S ADVENTURES;

OR, THE WORLD BEWITCHED.


In an instant Andy stopped turning, and saw sitting on the grass right
before him the most beautiful white rabbit, with the softest fur and the
longest ears that ever were.

"O Bunny!" cried Andy, delighted; and he stepped forward to smooth the
lovely creature with his hand.

He had scarcely touched it, when it gave a little hop, and sat down
again, just out of his reach.

"Bunny, Bunny! poor Bun!" cried Andy, coaxingly, creeping after it, as
eager to catch it as ever a cat was to put her paw on a mouse. "I won't
hurt you! Poor, poor Bunny!"

But the rabbit watched him with its mild, timid eyes, and gave two
leaps, as light as a feather, and as noiseless, and sat down again by
the garden fence. Andy crept up, still coaxing, and promising not to
hurt it; and when he had got quite near, he spread out both hands, gave
a spring like a cat, and caught a whole handful of grass right where the
pretty creature had sat that very instant; but it was gone, and, looking
over the fence, he saw it hopping away across the garden, from cabbage
to cabbage, from hill to hill of the potatoes, in the airiest and most
graceful manner, but not half as fast as a boy could run. So Andy
resolved to chase it; and getting over the fence, he hurried across the
garden, and came up to it just as it was perched for a moment like a
bird on the top of a slender weed, which did not bend in the least
beneath its weight. Andy grasped eagerly with both hands, and caught the
weed between them; but away went the rabbit over the next fence, and
across a large sunny pasture, making wonderful leaps, so long and light
and high that sometimes it seemed to sail in the air on wings.

Andy ran after it, wild with excitement. Now it slipped through his
fingers just as he pounced upon it, and tumbled headlong into a bunch of
thistles. Now it floated in the air quite above his head, while he
reached up and jumped, and ran on tiptoe after it, until he hit his foot
against a stone, which he was looking too high to see, and nearly broke
his shin in falling. Then it skipped along close upon the ground,
stopping when he stopped, and seeming to invite him to come and catch
it, but darting away again the moment he thought he had it fairly in his
hands.

At last it squatted down against a stump, in a large, hilly field full
of stumps and stones and ploughed ground, where Andy had never been
before.

Almost crying, he was so vexed and tired and far from home, he came up
to the stump. Bunny did not stir, but only winked a little, and pricked
up its pretty ears.

"Now I'll have you!" And Andy sprang upon it, catching it with both
hands. "I've got you! I've got you! I've got you!" he cried, in high
glee. "Now, my pretty, naughty--ho!" said Andy, with the greatest
amazement.

For lo! on opening his hands, he found that the thing he had given such
a chase, and caught at last, was nothing but a little ball of
thistle-down, which had been blown before him by the wind!

There he held it, and rubbed his eyes as he looked at it, and wondered;
then he began to remember what Mother Quirk had said to him; and he
would have given a good deal just then to have been back again at the
well, as he was before the angry old woman boxed his ear. He was afraid
she had bewitched him.

He looked at the thistle-down again and again, and turned it over, and
picked it to pieces a little, then brushed it off from his hand, when, O
wonderful! it immediately changed to a dove, and flew into the sky! But
he found that he had pulled out some of its feathers, and still held one
beautiful long white quill in his fingers.

Now he was sorry he had not kept it. And he would have got up and run
after it again; but just then, happening to look where he had thrown the
feathers down by the stump, he saw one of the strangest sights in the
world.

A little bit of a fellow, not so large as the end of his thumb, opened a
little bit of a door in the side of the stump, walked out, and looked
around as if he had heard a noise about his house, and wished to see
what had happened.

"Tom Thumb!" exclaimed Andy, in the greatest surprise and delight.

He had lately read the history of that famous little dwarf; and he had
often thought he would give all his playthings just to make his
acquaintance.

"Tom Thumb! Tom Thumb! how do you do?" he said.

But as Tom walked about, and paid no attention to him, he thought
perhaps he had not addressed him respectfully enough. So he said,--"I
beg your pardon, Mr. Thumb! I hope you are pretty well, Mr. Thumb."

At that the little gentleman took off his hat, and made the politest
little bow imaginable.

"My name is Andy. I have read about you. Come, let's be friends."

Mr. Thumb made some reply, but in such a very small voice that Andy
could not understand a word.

"Speak again, Mr. Thumb, if you please."

And Andy put his head down to hear. But Tom appeared to be afraid; and,
opening the little door again, he stepped back into the stump.

"Hello! come out again!" cried Andy. "Won't you? Then I'll find you!"

And with the dove's quill he forced the door of Tom Thumb's house, and
penetrated the entry. At that he heard a confused murmuring and
muttering and shouting; and, pulling away the feather, he saw rush out
after it a dozen little fellows, all as angry as they could be.

"Excuse me, gentlemen!" said Andy, as soon as he had recovered from his
astonishment. "I didn't mean any harm. Did I hurt anybody?"

They did not answer, but kept running to and fro, and talking among
themselves, and darting in and out of the door, as if to see what damage
had been done.

Andy watched them with the greatest interest. They were all dressed in
the gayest style, and very much alike. They had on black velvet caps,
striped with gold, and with long plumes that waved over their heads.
They wore the handsomest little tunics, of stuff as much finer than silk
as silk is finer than the bark of a tree. They had on beautiful bright
yellow scarfs, and their tunics were bordered with fringes of the
richest orange-color, and their trousers were all of dark velvet and
cloth of gold. They dangled the neatest little swords at their sides, in
golden scabbards; and three or four of them clapped their hands
furiously on the hilts; and one, seeing the feather which Andy pushed at
them, drew out the finest little black steel blade, not near so large as
a needle, threw himself into a noble fencing attitude, and made an
impetuous lunge, thrusting and brandishing his weapon in the bravest
manner.

Andy laughed gleefully, but stopped laughing, to wonder, when he saw
another of the little warriors shake out the folds of a marvellous
little cloak that covered his back, and, spreading it on the air, sail
aloft with all his flashing colors, sword and plumes. He came straight
to Andy's ear, and said something in a voice of thunder, and even made a
cut or two at the boy's hair; then darted away out of sight.

By this time the little doorway in the stump was crowded with these
strange little people. Some hurried to and fro, muttering and shaking
their cloaks, some sailed aloft, and others passed in and out of the
door,--all very much excited. Andy also noted several new-comers, who
seemed quite surprised, on arriving, to find the little community in
such confusion. The most of them brought some kind of plunder,--tiny
bags of gold, armfuls of a minute kind of yellow-ripe grain, silks and
satins of the fine quality mentioned,--which they hastened to hide away
in their dwelling.

But what astonished Andy most of anything was the appearance of a
wonderful little lady, who walked out among the warriors like a queen.
She was extremely small-waisted, although otherwise very portly. She
wore hoops of the most extraordinary extension, which made her appear
three or four times as large as the largest of her subjects. She walked
with a haughty air, fanning herself with a little gossamer fan, while
her servants went backwards before her, spreading down the cunningest
little carpets for her to tread upon. She was magnificently attired; her
dress, of the costliest materials, the most gorgeous pattern, and the
widest dimensions, was covered all over with the most splendid little
fringes and flounces which it is possible to conceive. Her countenance,
although very beautiful, was angry, and full of scorn, and she appeared
scolding violently, as she strode to and fro on the royal carpets.

Andy was almost beside himself with delight and amazement, as he watched
these proceedings. At length he said,--"These are not Tom Thumb's
people, but a nation of fairies! O what a lucky boy I am!"

For it is not every boy, you know, that has the good fortune to discover
these rare little people. They are in fact so seldom seen, that it is
now generally believed that no such beings exist except in story-books.
Andy had read about them with a great deal of interest; and although he
had never been quite convinced that what was said of them was really
true, he could now no longer have a doubt on the subject. He had not
only discovered the home of the fairies, but he had seen the fairy
queen.

And as Andy was a selfish boy, who wished to possess every strange or
pretty thing he saw, he felt an ardent desire to seize and carry away
the beautiful and scornful little being, who walked up and down on the
carpets, scolding, and fanning herself with the gossamer fan.

"I will put her under a tumbler," he said, "and keep her there until I
can have a glass cage made for her. And I will make all the little fairy
people come and be my servants, as they will have to if I carry off
their queen. And I will show her to everybody who comes. And everybody
will wonder so! O what a lucky boy I am!"

So saying, he formed his plan for capturing Her Majesty. Being anxious
to take her alive, and carry her off without doing her any personal
harm, he resolved to put her into his hat and tie his handkerchief over
it. Having got everything in readiness, he stooped down very carefully,
and extended his hand. Nobody seemed to be frightened; and the next
moment the fairy queen was fast between his thumb and finger.

"Ha, ha!" cried Andy; "the first time trying! Hurrah!" And he lifted her
up to put her into his hat.

But instantly the tiny creature began to struggle with all her might,
and rustle her silks, and--queen as she was--scratch and bite in the
sharpest manner. And at the same time the bravest little warriors flew
to the rescue; shrewdly darting at Andy's face, as if they knew where to
strike; and suddenly, while he was laughing at their rage, he got a
thrust in his forehead, and another in his neck, and a third under his
sleeve, where a courageous little soldier had rushed in and resolutely
driven in his rapier up to the hilt! Andy, who had no idea such little
weapons could hurt so, was terrified, and began to scream with pain. And
now, strange to see! the fairies were no longer fairies, but a nest of
bumblebees; it was the queen-bee he held in his fingers; and two of them
had left their stings sticking in his wounds!

Andy dropped the queen-bee, left his hat and handkerchief by the stump,
and began to run, screaming and brushing away the bees, that still
followed him, buzzing in his hair, and stinging him where they could. He
did not stop until he had run half across the fallow, and the last of
the angry swarm that pursued him had ceased buzzing about his ears.

"Oh! oh! oh!" he sobbed, with grief, and disappointment, and the pain of
the stings. "I didn't know they were bumblebees! And I've lost my hat!
And I don't know where I am! Oh! oh! oh!" And he sat down on a stone and
cried.

"Whoa! hush, haw!" said a loud voice.

And looking up through his tears, he saw an old farmer coming, with a
long whip in his hand, driving a yoke of oxen. Andy stopped weeping to
ask where he was, and the way home.

"About a peck and a half a day," replied the farmer.

Andy did not know what to make of this answer. So he said again,--"Can
you tell me where my father and mother live?"

"One in one stall, and the other in the other. Hush, haw!" cried the
farmer.

"I've got lost, and I wish you'd help me," said Andy.

"Star and Stripe," replied the farmer.

"How far is it to my father's?" the poor boy then asked.

"Well, about ninety dollars, with the yoke," said the farmer. "Whoa,
back!"

At this Andy felt so vexed, and weary, and bewildered, that he could not
help sobbing aloud.

"What!" said the farmer, angrily; "making fun of me?" And he drew up his
whip to strike.

"O, I wasn't making fun!" said Andy, frightened.

"You stopped me, and asked how much corn I feed my oxen; and I told you.
Then where I feed them; and I told you that. Then their names; and I
said, Star and Stripe. Then what I would sell them for; and I gave a
civil answer. And now you're laughing at me!" said the farmer, raising
his whip again.

Then Andy perceived that, whenever he said anything, he seemed to say
something else, and that his weeping appeared to be laughter, and that,
if he stayed there a moment longer, he would surely get a whipping. So
he started to run, with the owner of the oxen shouting at his heels.

"There! take that for being saucy to an old man!" cried the farmer,
fetching him a couple of sharp cuts across the back. Then he returned to
his oxen, and drove them away; while Andy got off from the fallow as
soon as he could, weeping as if his heart would break.

Seeing not far off a beautiful field of clover, the boy thought he would
go and lie down in it, and rest.

He had never seen such clover in his life. It was all in bloom with blue
and red and white flowers, which seemed to glow and sparkle like stars
among the green leaves. How it waved and rippled and flashed in the
sunshine, when the wind blew! Andy almost forgot his grief; and surely
he had quite forgotten that nothing was now any longer what it appeared,
when he waded knee-deep through the delicious clover, and laid himself
down in it. No sooner had he done so than he saw that what he had
mistaken for a field was a large pond, and he had plunged into it all
over like a duck.

Strangling and gasping for breath, and drenched from head to foot, Andy
scrambled out of the water as fast as he could. His hair was wet; and
little streams ran into his eyes and down his cheeks. His ears rang with
the water that had got into them. He was so frightened that he hardly
knew what had happened. And in this condition he sat down on the shore
to let his clothes drip, and to empty the water out of his shoes.

                                             _J. T. Trowbridge._

                              (_To be continued._)



OUR COUNTRY NEIGHBORS.


We have just built our house in rather an out-of-the-way place,--on the
bank of a river, and under the shade of a little patch of woods which is
a veritable remain of quite an ancient forest. The checkerberry and
partridge-plum, with their glossy green leaves and scarlet berries,
still carpet the ground under its deep shadows; and prince's-pine and
other kindred evergreens declare its native wildness,--for these are
children of the wild woods, that never come after plough and harrow has
once broken a soil.

When we tried to look out the spot for our house, we had to get a
surveyor to go before us and cut a path through the dense underbrush
that was laced together in a general network of boughs and leaves, and
grew so high as to overtop our heads. Where the house stands, four or
five great old oaks and chestnuts had to be cut away to let it in; and
now it stands on the bank of the river, the edges of which are still
overhung with old forest-trees, chestnuts and oaks, which look at
themselves in the glassy stream.

A little knoll near the house was chosen for a garden-spot; a dense,
dark mass of trees above, of bushes in mid-air, and of all sorts of
ferns and wild-flowers and creeping vines on the ground. All these had
to be cleared out, and a dozen great trees cut down and dragged off to a
neighboring saw-mill, there to be transformed into boards to finish off
our house. Then, fetching a great machine, such as might be used to pull
a giant's teeth, with ropes, pulleys, oxen and men, and might and main,
we pulled out the stumps, with their great prongs and their network of
roots and fibres; and then, alas! we had to begin with all the pretty
wild, lovely bushes, and the checkerberries and ferns and wild
blackberries and huckleberry-bushes, and dig them up remorselessly, that
we might plant our corn and squashes. And so we got a house and a garden
right out of the heart of our piece of wild wood, about a mile from the
city of H----.

Well, then, people said it was a lonely place, and far from
neighbors,--by which they meant that it was a good way for them to come
to see us. But we soon found that whoever goes into the woods to live
finds neighbors of a new kind, and some to whom it is rather hard to
become accustomed.

For instance, on a fine day early in April, as we were crossing over to
superintend the building of our house, we were startled by a striped
snake, with his little bright eyes, raising himself to look at us, and
putting out his red, forked tongue. Now there is no more harm in these
little garden-snakes than there is in a robin or a squirrel; they are
poor little, peaceable, timid creatures, which could not do any harm if
they would; but the prejudices of society are so strong against them,
that one does not like to cultivate too much intimacy with them. So we
tried to turn out of our path into a tangle of bushes; and there,
instead of one, we found four snakes. We turned on the other side, and
there were two more. In short, everywhere we looked, the dry leaves were
rustling and coiling with them; and we were in despair. In vain we said
that they were harmless as kittens, and tried to persuade ourselves that
their little bright eyes were pretty, and that their serpentine
movements were in the exact line of beauty; for the life of us, we could
not help remembering their family name and connections; we thought of
those disagreeable gentlemen, the anacondas, the rattlesnakes, and the
copperheads, and all of that bad line, immediate family friends of the
old serpent to whom we are indebted for all the mischief that is done in
this world. So we were quite apprehensive when we saw how our new
neighborhood was infested by them, until a neighbor calmed our fears by
telling us that snakes always crawled out of their holes to sun
themselves in the spring, and that in a day or two they would all be
gone.

So it proved. It was evident they were all out merely to do their spring
shopping, or something that serves with them the same purpose that
spring shopping does with us; and where they went afterwards we do not
know. People speak of snakes' holes, and we have seen them disappearing
into such subterranean chambers; but we never opened one to see what
sort of underground housekeeping went on there. After the first few days
of spring, a snake was a rare visitor, though now and then one appeared.

One was discovered taking his noontide repast one day in a manner which
excited much prejudice. He was, in fact, regaling himself by sucking
down into his maw a small frog, which he had begun to swallow at the
toes, and had drawn about half down. The frog, it must be confessed,
seemed to view this arrangement with great indifference, making no
struggle, and sitting solemnly, with his great, unwinking eyes, to be
sucked in at the leisure of his captor. There was immense sympathy,
however, excited for him in the family circle; and it was voted that a
snake which indulged in such very disagreeable modes of eating his
dinner was not to be tolerated in our vicinity. So I have reason to
believe that that was his last meal.

Another of our wild woodland neighbors made us some trouble. It was no
other than a veritable woodchuck, whose hole we had often wondered at
when we were scrambling through the underbrush after spring flowers. The
hole was about the size of a peck-measure, and had two openings about
six feet apart. The occupant was a gentleman we never had had the
pleasure of seeing; but we soon learned his existence from his ravages
in our garden. He had a taste, it appears, for the very kind of things
we wanted to eat ourselves, and helped himself without asking. We had a
row of fine, crisp heads of lettuce, which were the pride of our
gardening, and out of which he would from day to day select for his
table just the plants we had marked for ours. He also nibbled our young
beans; and so at last we were reluctantly obliged to let John Gardiner
set a trap for him. Poor old simple-minded hermit, he was too artless
for this world! He was caught at the very first snap, and found dead in
the trap,--the agitation and distress having broken his poor woodland
heart, and killed him. We were grieved to the very soul when the poor
fat old fellow was dragged out, with his useless paws standing up stiff
and imploring. He was industrious in his way, and would have made a
capital soldier under McClellan. A regiment like him would have made
nothing of trench-digging, could they have been properly drilled. As it
was, he was given to Denis, our pig, which, without a single scruple of
delicacy, ate him up as thoroughly as he ate up the lettuce.

This business of eating, it appears, must go on all through creation. We
eat ducks, turkeys, and chickens, though we don't swallow them whole,
feathers and all. Our four-footed friends, less civilized, take things
with more directness and simplicity, and chew each other up without
ceremony, or swallow each other alive. Of these unceremonious habits we
had other instances.

[Illustration]

Our house had a central court on the southern side, into which looked
the library, dining-room, and front hall, as well as several of the
upper chambers. It was designed to be closed in with glass, to serve as
a conservatory in winter; and meanwhile we had filled it with splendid
plumy ferns, taken up out of the neighboring wood. In the centre was a
fountain surrounded by stones, shells, mosses, and various water-plants.
We had bought three little goldfish to swim in our basin; and the spray
of it, as it rose in the air and rippled back into the water, was the
pleasantest possible sound of a hot day. We used to lie on the sofa in
the hall, and look into the court, and fancy we saw some scene of
fairy-land, and water-sprites coming up from the fountain. Suddenly a
new-comer presented himself,--no other than an immense bullfrog, that
had hopped up from the neighboring river, apparently with a view to
making a permanent settlement in and about our fountain. He was to be
seen, often for hours, sitting reflectively on the edge of it, beneath
the broad shadow of the calla-leaves. When sometimes missed thence, he
would be found under the ample shield of a great bignonia, whose striped
leaves grew hard by.

The family were prejudiced against him. What did he want there? It was
surely some sinister motive impelled him. He was probably watching for
an opportunity to gobble up the goldfish. We took his part, however, and
strenuously defended his moral character, and patronized him in all
ways. We gave him the name of Unke, and maintained that he was a
well-conducted, philosophical old water-sprite, who showed his good
taste in wanting to take up his abode in our conservatory. We even
defended his personal appearance, praised the invisible green coat which
he wore on his back, and his gray vest, and solemn gold spectacles; and
though he always felt remarkably slimy when we touched him, yet, as he
would sit still, and allow us to stroke his head and pat his back, we
concluded his social feelings might be warm, notwithstanding a cold
exterior. Who knew, after all, but he might be a beautiful young prince,
enchanted there till the princess should come to drop the golden ball
into the fountain, and so give him a chance to marry her, and turn into
a man again? Such things, we are credibly informed, are matters of
frequent occurrence in Germany. Why not here?

By and by there came to our fountain another visitor,--a frisky, green
young frog of the identical kind spoken of by the poet:

    "There was a frog lived in a well,
    Rig dum pully metakimo."

This thoughtless, dapper individual, with his bright green coat, his
faultless white vest, and sea-green tights, became rather the popular
favorite. He seemed just rakish and gallant enough to fulfil the
conditions of the song:

    "The frog he would a courting ride,
    With sword and pistol by his side."

This lively young fellow, whom we shall call Cri-Cri, like other frisky
and gay young people, carried the day quite over the head of the solemn
old philosopher under the calla-leaves. At night, when all was still, he
would trill a joyous little note in his throat, while old Unke would
answer only with a cracked guttural more singular than agreeable; and to
all outward appearance the two were as good friends as their different
natures would allow.

One day, however, the conservatory became a scene of a tragedy of the
deepest dye. We were summoned below by shrieks and howls of horror. "Do
pray come down and see what this vile, nasty, horrid old frog has been
doing!" Down we came; and there sat our virtuous old philosopher, with
his poor little brother's hind legs still sticking out of the corner of
his mouth, as if he were smoking them for a cigar, all helplessly
palpitating as they were. In fact, our solemn old friend had done what
many a solemn hypocrite before has done,--swallowed his poor brother,
neck and crop,--and sat there with the most brazen indifference, looking
as if he had done the most proper and virtuous thing in the world.

Immediately he was marched out of the conservatory at the point of the
walking-stick, and made to hop down into the river, into whose waters he
splashed; and we saw him no more. We regret to say that the popular
indignation was so precipitate in its results; otherwise the special
artist who sketched Hum, the son of Buz, intended to have made a sketch
of the old villain, as he sat with his luckless victim's hind legs
projecting from his solemn mouth. With all his moral faults, he was a
good sitter, and would probably have sat immovable any length of time
that could be desired.

Of other woodland neighbors there were some which we saw occasionally.
The shores of the river were lined here and there with the holes of the
muskrats; and, in rowing by their settlements, we were sometimes
strongly reminded of them by the overpowering odor of the perfume from
which they get their name. There were also owls, whose nests were high
up in some of the old chestnut-trees. Often in the lonely hours of the
night we could hear them gibbering with a sort of wild, hollow laugh
among the distant trees. But one tenant of the woods made us some
trouble in the autumn. It was a little flying-squirrel, who took to
making excursions into our house in the night season, coming down
chimney into the chambers, rustling about among the clothes, cracking
nuts or nibbling at any morsels of anything that suited his fancy. For a
long time the inmates of the rooms were wakened in the night by
mysterious noises, thumps, and rappings, and so lighted candles, and
searched in vain to find whence they came; for the moment any movement
was made, the rogue whipped up chimney, and left us a prey to the most
mysterious alarms. What could it be?

But one night our fine gentleman bounced in at the window of another
room, which had no fireplace; and the fair occupant, rising in the
night, shut the window, without suspecting that she had cut off the
retreat of any of her woodland neighbors. The next morning she was
startled by what she thought a gray rat running past her bed. She rose
to pursue him, when he ran up the wall, and clung against the
plastering, showing himself very plainly a gray flying-squirrel, with
large, soft eyes, and wings which consisted of a membrane uniting the
fore paws to the hind ones, like those of a bat. He was chased into the
conservatory, and, a window being opened, out he flew upon the ground,
and made away for his native woods, and thus put an end to many fears as
to the nature of our nocturnal rappings.

So you see how many neighbors we found by living in the woods, and,
after all, no worse ones than are found in the great world.

                                             _Harriet Beecher Stowe._

[Illustration]



WINNING HIS WAY.


CHAPTER II. [TN: Continued from Vol. I]

HARD TIMES.

How lonesome the days when dear friends leave us to return no more, whom
we never shall see again on earth, who will send us no message or letter
of love from the far distant land whither they have gone! It tries our
hearts and brings tears to our eyes to lay them in the ground. But shall
we never, never see them again? Yes, when we have taken the same
journey, when we have closed our eyes on earth and opened them in
heaven.

It was a sad day to Paul when he followed the body of his dear old
grandfather to the grave; but when he stood by his coffin, and looked
for the last time upon his grandfather's face, and saw how peaceful it
was and how pleasant the smile which rested upon it, as if he was
beholding beautiful scenes,--when Paul remembered how good he was, he
could not feel it in his soul to say, "Come back, Grandpa"; he would be
content as it was. But the days were long and dreary, and so were the
nights. Many were the hours which Paul passed lying awake in his bed,
looking through the crevices of the poor old house, and watching the
stars and the clouds as they went sailing by. So he was sailing on, and
the question would come up, Whither? He listened to the water falling
over the dam by the mill, and to the chirping of the crickets, and the
sighing of the wind, and the church-bell tolling the hours; they were
sweet, yet mournful and solemn sounds. Tears stood in his eyes and
rolled down his cheeks, as he thought that he and his mother were on
earth, and his father and grandfather were praising God in the heavenly
choirs. But he resolved to be good, to take care of his mother, and be
her comfort and joy.

Hard times came on. How to live was the great question; for now that his
grandfather was gone, they could have the pension no longer. The
neighbors were very kind. Sometimes Mr. Middlekauf, Hans's father, who
had a great farm, left a bag of meal for them when he came into the
village. There was little work for Paul to do in the village; but he
kept their own garden in good trim--the onion-bed clear of weeds, and
the potatoes well hilled. Very pleasant it was to work there, where the
honey-bees hummed over the beds of sage, and among his mother's flowers,
and where bumblebees dusted their yellow jackets in the hollyhocks.
Swallows also built their nests under the eaves of the house, and made
the days pleasant with their merry twittering.

The old pensioner had been a land surveyor. The compass which he used
was a poor thing; but he had run many lines with it through the grand
old forest. One day, as Paul was weeding the onions, it occurred to him
that he might become a surveyor; so he went into the house, took the
compass from its case, and sat down to study it. He found his
grandfather's surveying-book, and began to study that. Some parts were
hard and dry; but having resolved to master it, he was not the boy to
give up a good resolution. It was not long before he found out how to
run a line, how to set off angles, and how to ascertain the distance
across a river or pond without measuring it. He went into the woods, and
stripped great rolls of birch bark from the trees, carried them home,
spread them out on the table, and plotted his lines with his dividers
and ruler. He could not afford paper. He took great pleasure in making a
sketch of the ground around the house, the garden, the orchard, the
field, the road, and the river.

The people of New Hope had long been discussing the project of building
a new road to Fair View, which would cross the pond above the mill. But
there was no surveyor in the region to tell them how long the bridge
must be which they would have to build.

"We will send up a kite, and thus get a string across the pond," said
one of the citizens.

"I can ascertain the distance easier than that," said Paul.

Mr. Pimpleberry, the carpenter, who was to build the bridge, laughed,
and looked with contempt upon him, Paul thought, because he was barefoot
and had a patch on each knee.

"Have you ever measured it, Paul?" Judge Adams asked.

"No, sir; but I will do so just to let Mr. Pimpleberry see that I can do
it."

He ran into the house, brought out the compass, went down to the edge of
the pond, drove a small stake in the ground, set his compass over it,
and sighted a small oak-tree upon the other side of the pond. It
happened that the tree was exactly south from the stake; then he turned
the sights of his compass so that they pointed exactly east and west.
Then he took Mr. Pimpleberry's ten-foot pole, and measured out fifty
feet toward the west, and drove another stake. Then he set his compass
there, and took another sight at the small oak-tree across the pond. It
was not south now, but several degrees east of south. Then he turned his
compass so that the sights would point just the same number of degrees
to the east of north.

"Now, Mr. Pimpleberry," said Paul, "I want you to stand out there, and
hold your ten-foot pole just where I tell you, putting yourself in range
with the stake I drove first and the tree across the pond."

Mr. Pimpleberry did as he was desired.

"Drive a stake where your pole stands," said Paul.

Mr. Pimpleberry thrust a splinter into the ground.

"Now measure the distance from the splinter to my first stake, and that
will be the distance across the pond," said Paul.

"I don't believe it," said Mr. Pimpleberry.

"Paul is right," said Judge Adams. "I understand the principle. He has
done it correctly."

The Judge was proud of him. Mr. Pimpleberry and Mr. Funk, and several
other citizens, were astonished; for they had no idea that Paul could
do anything of the kind. Notwithstanding Paul had given the true
distance, he received no thanks from any one; yet he didn't care for
that; for he had shown Mr. Pimpleberry that he could do it, and that was
glory enough.

Paul loved fun as well as ever. Rare times he had at school. One windy
day, a little boy, when he entered the school-room, left the door open.
"Go back and shut the door," shouted Mr. Cipher, who was very irritable
that morning. Another boy entered, and left it open. Mr. Cipher was
angry, and spoke to the whole school: "Any one who comes in to-day and
does not shut the door, will get a flogging. Now remember!" Being very
awkward in his manners, inefficient in government, and shallow-brained
and vain, he commanded very little respect from the scholars.

"Boys, there is a chance for us to have a jolly time with Cipher," said
Paul at recess.

"What is it?" Hans Middlekauf asked, ready for fun of any sort. The boys
gathered round, for they knew that Paul was a capital hand in inventing
games.

"You remember what Cipher said about leaving the door open."

"Well, what of it?" Hans Middlekauf asked.

"Let every one of us show him that we can obey him. When he raps for us
to go in, I want you all to form in line. I'll lead off, go in and shut
the door; you follow next, Hans, and be sure and shut the door; you come
next, Philip; then Michael, and so on,--every one shutting the door. If
you don't, remember that Cipher has promised to flog you."

The boys saw through the joke, and laughed heartily. "Jingo, that is a
good one, Paul. Cipher will be as mad as a March hare. I'll make the old
door rattle," said Hans.

Rap--rap--rap--rap! went the master's ruler upon the window.

"Fall into line, boys," said Paul. They obeyed orders as if he were a
general. "Now remember, every one of you, to shut the door just as soon
as you are in. Do it quick, and take your seats. Don't laugh, but be as
sober as deacons." There was giggling in the ranks. "Silence!" said
Paul. The boys smoothed their faces. Paul opened the door, stepped in,
and shut it in an instant,--slam! Hans opened it,--slam! it went, with a
jar which made the windows rattle. Philip followed,--slam! Michael
next,--bang! it went, jarring the house.

"Let the door be open," said Cipher; but Michael was in his seat;
and--bang! again,--slam!--bang!--slam!--bang! it went.

"Let it be open, I say!" he roared, but the boys outside did not hear
him, and it kept going,--slam!--slam!--slam!--bang!--bang!--bang!--till
the fiftieth boy was in.

"You started that, sir," Cipher said, addressing Paul, for he had
discovered that Paul Parker loved fun, and was a leading spirit among
the boys.

"I obeyed your orders, sir," Paul replied, ready to burst into a roar at
the success of his experiment.

"Did you not tell the boys to slam the door as hard as they could?"

"No, sir. I told them to remember what you had said, and that, if they
didn't shut the door, they would get a flogging."

"That is just what he said, Master," said Hans Middlekauf, brimming over
with fun. Cipher could not dispute it. He saw that they had literally
obeyed his orders, and that he had been outwitted. He did not know what
to do; and, being weak and inefficient, did nothing.

Paul loved hunting and fishing; on Saturday afternoons he made the woods
ring with the crack of his grandfather's gun, bringing squirrels from
the tallest trees, and taking quails upon the wing. He was quick to see,
and swift to take aim. He was cool of nerve, and so steady of aim that
he rarely missed. It was summer, and he wore no shoes. He walked so
lightly that he scarcely rustled a leaf. The partridges did not see him
till he was close upon them, and then, before they could rise from their
cover, flash!--bang!--and they went into his bag.

One day as he was on his return from the woods, with the gun upon his
shoulder, and the powder-horn at his side, he saw a gathering of people
in the street. Men, women, and children were out,--the women without
bonnets. He wondered what was going on. Some women were wringing their
hands; and all were greatly excited.

"O dear, isn't it dreadful!" "What will become of us?" "The Lord have
mercy upon us!"--were the expressions which he heard. Then they wrung
their hands again, and moaned.

"What is up?" he asked of Hans Middlekauf.

"Haven't you heard?"

"No, what is it?"

"Why, there is a big black bull-dog, the biggest that ever was, that has
run mad. He has bitten ever so many other dogs, and horses, sheep, and
cattle. He is as big as a bear and froths at the mouth. He is the
savagest critter that ever was," said Hans in a breath.

"Why don't somebody kill him?"

"They are afeared of him," said Hans.

"I should think they might kill him," Paul replied.

"I reckon you would run as fast as anybody else, if he should show
himself round here," said Hans.

"There he is! Run! run! run for your lives!" was the sudden cry.

Paul looked up the street, and saw a very large bull-dog coming upon the
trot. Never was there such a scampering. People ran into the nearest
houses, pell-mell. One man jumped into his wagon, lashed his horse into
a run, and went down the street, losing his hat in his flight, while
Hans Middlekauf went up a tree.

"Run, Paul! Run! he'll bite you," cried Mr. Leatherby from the window of
his shoe shop. People looked out from the windows and repeated the cry,
a half-dozen at once; but Paul took no notice of them. Those who were
nearest him heard the click of his gun-lock. The dog came nearer,
growling, and snarling, his mouth wide open, showing his teeth, his eyes
glaring, and white froth dripping from his lips. Paul stood alone in
the street. There was a sudden silence. It was a scene for a
painter,--a barefoot boy in patched clothes, with an old hat on his
head, standing calmly before the brute whose bite was death in its most
terrible form. One thought had taken possession of Paul's mind, that he
ought to kill the dog.

[Illustration]

Nearer, nearer, came the dog; he was not a rod off. Paul had read that
no animal can withstand the steady gaze of the human eye. He looked the
dog steadily in the face. He held his breath. Not a nerve trembled. The
dog stopped, looked at Paul a moment, broke into a louder growl, opened
his jaws wider, his eyes glaring more wildly, and stepped slowly
forward. Now or never, Paul thought, was his time. The breech of the gun
touched his shoulder; his eye ran along the barrel,--bang! the dog
rolled over with a yelp and a howl, but was up again, growling and
trying to get at Paul, who in an instant seized his gun by the barrel,
and brought the breech down upon the dog's skull, giving him blow after
blow.

"Kill him! kill him!" shouted the people from the windows.

"Give it to him! Mash his head!" cried Hans from the tree.

The dog soon became a mangled and bloody mass of flesh and bones. The
people came out from their houses.

"That was well done for a boy," said Mr. Funk.

"Or for a man either," said Mr. Chrome, who came up and patted Paul on
his back.

"I should have thrown my lapstone at him, if I could have got my window
open," said Mr. Leatherby. Mr. Noggin, the cooper, who had taken refuge
in Leatherby's shop, afterwards said that Leatherby was frightened half
to death, and kept saying, "Just as like as not he will make a spring
and dart right through the window."

"Nobly, bravely done, Paul," said Judge Adams. "Let me shake hands with
you, my boy." He and Mrs. Adams and Azalia had seen it all from their
parlor window.

"O Paul, I was afraid he would bite and kill you, or that your gun would
miss fire. I trembled all over just like a leaf," said Azalia, still
pale and trembling. "O, I am so glad you have killed him!" She looked up
into his face earnestly, and there was such a light in her eyes, that
Paul was glad he had killed the dog, for her sake.

"Weren't you afraid, Paul?" she asked.

"No. If I had been afraid, I should have missed him, perhaps; I made up
my mind to kill him, and what was the use of being afraid."

Many were the praises bestowed upon Paul. "How noble! how heroic!" the
people said. Hans told the story to all the boys in the village. "Paul
was just as cool as--cool as--a cucumber," he said, that being the best
comparison he could think of. The people came and looked at the dog, to
see how large he was, and how savage, and went away saying, "I am glad
he is dead, but I don't see how Paul had the courage to face him."

Paul went home and told his mother what had happened. She turned pale
while listening to the story, and held her breath, and clasped her
hands; but when he had finished, and when she thought that, if Paul had
not killed the dog, many might have been bitten, she was glad, and said,
"You did right, my son. It is our duty to face danger if we can do
good." A tear glistened in her eye as she kissed him. "God bless you,
Paul," she said, and smiled through her tears. He remembered it for many
a day.

All the dogs which had been bitten were killed to prevent them from
running mad. A hard time of it the dogs of New Hope had, for some which
had not been bitten did not escape the dog-killers, who went through the
town knocking them over with clubs.

Although Paul was so cool and courageous in the moment of danger, he
trembled and felt weak afterwards when he thought of the risk he had
run. That night when he said his evening prayer, he thanked God for
having protected him. He dreamed it all over again in the night. He saw
the dog coming at him with his mouth wide open, the froth dropping from
his lips, and his eyes glaring heavily. He heard his growl,--only it was
not a growl, but a branch of the old maple which rubbed against the
house when the wind blew. That was what set him a dreaming. In his dream
he had no gun, so he picked up the first thing he could lay his hands
on, and let drive at the dog. Smash! there was a great racket, and a
jingling of glass. Paul was awake in an instant, and found that he had
jumped out of bed, and was standing in the middle of the floor, and that
he had knocked over the spinning-wheel, and a lot of old trumpery, and
had thrown one of his grandfather's old boots through the window.

"What in the world are you up to, Paul?" his mother asked, calling from
the room below, in alarm.

"Killing the dog a second time, mother," Paul replied, laughing and
jumping into bed again.

                                             _Carleton._

[Illustration]



TRAPPED IN A TREE.

A BACKWOODS ADVENTURE.


Among the many queer characters I have encountered, in the shadow of the
forest or the sunshine of the prairie, I can remember none queerer than
Zebulon Stump, or old Zeb, as he was familiarly known. "Kaintuck by
birth and raisin'," as he described himself, he was a hunter of the
Daniel Boone sort. The chase was his sole calling; and he would have
indignantly scouted the suggestion that he ever followed it for mere
amusement. Though not of ungenial disposition, he held all amateur
hunters in lordly contempt; and his conversation with such was always of
a condescending character, although he was not, after all, averse to
their company. Being myself privileged with his acquaintance, many of my
hunting excursions were made in company with Old Zeb. He was in truth my
guide and instructor, as well as companion, and initiated me into many
mysteries of American woodcraft.

One of the most inexplicable of these mysteries was Old Zeb's own
existence; and I had known him for a considerable time before I could
unravel it. He stood six feet high in his boots of alligator-skin, into
the ample tops of which were crowded the legs of his coarse "copperas"
trousers; while his other garments were a deer-skin shirt, and a blanket
coat that had once been green, but, like the leaves of the autumnal
forest, had become sere and yellow. A slouched felt hat shaded his
cheeks from the sun upon the rare occasions when Old Zeb strayed beyond
the shadow of the "timber." Where and how he lived were the two points
that most required explanation. In the tract of virgin forest where I
usually met him, there was neither house nor hut. So said the people of
Grand Gulf, the small town upon the Mississippi where I was staying. Yet
Old Zeb had told me that in this forest was his "hum." It was only after
our acquaintance had ripened into strong fellowship, that I had the
pleasure of spending an hour under his humble roof. It consisted of the
hollow trunk of a gigantic sycamore-tree, still standing and growing!
Here Old Zeb found shelter for himself, his squaw,--as he termed Mrs.
Stump,--his household goods, and the tough old nag that carried him in
his wanderings. His establishment was no longer a puzzle,--though there
was still the mystery of how he maintained it. A skilled hunter might
easily procure food for himself and family; but even the hunter disdains
a diet exclusively game. There were the coffee, the "pone" of
corn-bread, the corn itself necessary for the "critter," the gown that
wrapped the somewhat angular outlines of Mrs. Stump, and many other
things that could not be procured by a rifle. Even the rifle itself
required food not to be found in the forest.

Presuming on our intimacy, I asked, "How do you manage to live? You
don't appear to make anything, nor do I see any signs of cultivation.
How then do you support yourselves?"

"Them duds thar," answered my host, pointing to a corner of his
tree-cabin. I looked and saw the skins of several animals,--among which
I recognized those of the "painter," "possum," and "'coon," along with a
haunch or two of recently killed venison. "I sell 'em, boy; the skins to
the storekeepers, and the deer-meat to anybody as 'll buy it."

Old Zeb's shooting appeared marvellous to me. He could "bark" a squirrel
in the top of the tallest tree, or kill it by a bullet through its eye.
He used to boast, in a quiet way, that he never spoilt a skin, though it
was only that of a "contemptible squir'l."

What most interested me was his tales of adventure, of which he was
often the hero; one possessed especial interest, partly from its own
essential oddness, and partly from its hinging on a phenomenon which I
had more than once witnessed. I allude to the "caving in," or breaking
down, of the banks of the Mississippi River, caused by the undermining
of the current, when large strips of land, often whole acres, thickly
studded with gigantic trees, slip into the water, to be "swished" away
with a violence eclipsing the fury of fabled Charybdis. It was at the
time of these land-slides that old Zeb had met with this adventure,
which, by the way, came very near killing him.

I shall try to set it forth in his own piquant _patois_, as nearly as I
can transcribe it from the tablets of my memory. I was indebted for the
tale to a chance circumstance, for old Zeb seldom volunteered a story,
unless something suggested it. We had killed a fine buck, that had run
several hundred times his length with the bullet in his body, and fallen
within a few feet of the bank of the great river. While stopping to
dress him, old Zeb looked around keenly, exclaiming, "If this ain't the
place whar I war _trapped in a tree_! Thar's the very saplin' itself!"

I looked at the "saplin'." It was a swamp cypress of some thirty feet in
girth, by at least a hundred and fifty in height.

"Trapped in a tree!" I echoed with emphatic interest, perceiving that he
was upon the edge of some odd adventure; and, desirous of tempting him
to the relation, I continued: "Trapped in a tree! How could that be with
an old forester like you?"

"It dud be, howsomedever," was the quaint reply of my companion; "an'
not so very long agone, neyther. Ef ye'll sit down a bit, I'll tell ye
all, as I _kin_ tell it; for I hain't forgotten neery sarcumstance; an'
I'll lay odds, young feller, thet ef ever you be as badly skeeart,
you'll carry the recollection o' that skeer ter yer coffin.

"Ye see, kumrade, I war out arter deer jest as we are the day; only it
had got to be nigh sundown, i'deed, an' I hedn't emptied my rifle the
hul day. Fact is, I hedn't sot eye on a thing wuth a charge o' powder
an' lead. I war afut; an' it are a good six mile from this to my shanty.
I didn't like goin' home empty-handed, specially as I knowed we war
empty-housed; an' the ole 'ooman wanted somethin' to git us a pound or
two o' coffee an' sugar with. So I thort I shed stay all night i' the
wuds, trustin' to gettin' a shot at a stray buck or a turkey in the
early mornin'. I war jest in this spot; but it looked quite different
then. The hul place about hyar war kivered wi' the tallest o' cane, an'
so thick, a coon ked sca'ce worm his way through it; but sence then the
under-scrub's all been burnt out. So I tuk up my quarters for the night
under that 'ere big cyprus. The ground war dampish; for thar hed been a
spell o' rain. So I tuk out my bowie, an' cut me enough o' the green
cane to make a sort o' a shake-down. It war comf'table enough; an' in
the twinklin' o' a buck's tail, I war soun' asleep. I slep' like a
possum, till daybreak, an' then I war awoke by the worst noises as ever
rousted a feller out o' his slumber. I heerd a skreekin' an' screamin'
an' screevin', as ef all the saws in Massissippi wor bein' sharped
'ithin twenty yards o' my ear. It all kim from overhead,--from out the
top o' the cyprus; an' it war the callin' o' the baldy eagles; it wa'n't
the fust time I had listened to them hyar. 'That's a neest,' sez I to
myself; 'an' young 'uns, too. That's why the birds is makin' sech a
rumpis.' Not that I cared much about a eagle's nest, nor the birds
neyther. But jest then I remembered my ole 'ooman had told me that there
war a rich Englishman at the tavern in Grand Gulf who offered no eend o'
money for a brace o' young baldy eagles.

"So in coorse I clomb the tree. 'T warn't so easy as you may s'pose.
Thar war forty feet o' the stem 'ithout a branch, an' so smooth thet a
catamount kedn't 'a' scaled it. I thort at fust that the cyprus wa'n't
climable no how; but jest then I seed a big fox grape-vine, that, arter
sprawlin' up another tree clost by, left it an' sloped off to the one
whar the baldies had thar nest. This war the very thing I wanted,--a
sort o' Jaykup's ladder; an', 'ithout wastin' a minit, I shinned up the
grape-vine. The shaky thing wobbled about, till I war well-nigh pitched
back to the groun'; an' thar war a time when I thort seriously o'
slippin' down agin.

"But then kim the thort o' the ole 'ooman, an' the empty larder, along
wi' the Englishman an' his full purse; an' bein' freshly narved by these
recollections, I swarmed up the vine like a squir'l. Once upon the
cyprus, thar warn't no differculty in reachin' the neest. Thar war
plenty o' footing among the top branches whar the birds had made thar
eyeray. But it warn't so easy to get into the neest. Thar kedn't 'a'
been less than a wagon-load o' sticks in it, to say nothin' o' Spanish
moss, an' all sorts o' bones o' fish and four-footed animals. It tuk me
nigh a hour to make a hole, so that I ked git my head above the edge,
an' see what the neest contained. As I expected, thur war young 'uns in
it,--two o' them about half feathered.

"All this time the old birds were abroad lookin' up a breakfast, I
suppose, for thar chicks. 'How disappointed they'll be!' sez I to
myself, 'when they come back an' find that the young 'uns have fled the
neest, without feathers!'

"I war too sure o' my game, an' too curious about the young baldies,
watching them, as they cowered clos't thegither, hissin' an' threatenin'
me, to take notice o' anythin' besides. But I war roused by feelin' the
hat suddintly snatched from my head, an' at the same time gettin' a
scratch acrost the cheek, that sent the blood spurtin' out all over my
face. It was from the talon o' the she-eagle, while the ole cock war
makin' a confusion o' noises as if he hed jest come all a-strut from the
towers o' Babylon. I had grupped one o' the young baldies, but I war
only too glad to lot it go an' duck my head under the nest, till the
critters were tired threatenin' me, an' guv up the attack. By this time
I guv up all thought o' takin' the young eagles. Arter my scratch, I war
contented to leave 'em alone, an' no Englishman's gold ked hev bought
that brace o' birds. I only waited a bit to rekiver myself, an' then I
commenced makin' back-tracks down the tree.

"I hed got 'bout half-way to the place whar the fox-grapes tuck holt o'
the cyprus, when I was stopped by a sound far more terrefic than the
screech o' the eagles. It was the creakin' an' crashin' o' timber along
wi' that unairthly rumblin' ye may hear when the banks o' the
Massissippi be a cavin' in, as they war then. I ked see the trees that
stood atween me an' the river trimblin' and tossin' about, an' then
goin' with a loud swish, an' a plunge, into the fast flowin' current o'
the stream. The cyprus itself shook, as if the wind war busy among its
branches. I felt a suddint jerk upon it, an' then it righted agin', an'
stood steady as a rock. The eagles above screamed wuss than iver, while
Zeb Stump below war tremblin' like an aspick.

"I know'd well enough what it all meant, but knowin' didn't give me any
great satesfaction, since I believed that in another minit the cyprus
mout cave in too! I didn't stay the ten thousanth fraction o' a minit. I
hurried to get back to the groun'; an' soon reached the place whar the
grape-vine joined on to the cyprus. Thur warn't no grape-vine to be
seen. It war clear gone! The tother tree to which its roots had been
clingin' had gone into the river, takin' the fox-grape along wi' it. It
war that gev the pluck I felt when descendin' fro' the neest. I looked
below. The river had changed its channel. Instead o' runnin' twenty
yards from the spot, it war surgin' along clost to the cyprus, which in
another minit mout topple over, whirl along, and be swallowed in the
frothin' water.

"I ked do nuthin' but stay whar I war,--nothin' but wait an'
watch,--listenin' to the screamin' o' the eagles,--skeeart like
myself,--the hoarse roarin' o' the angry water, an' the crashin' o' the
trees, as one arter another fell victims to the flood."

I was fascinated by this narration. Old Zeb's thoughts, notwithstanding
the _patois_ in which they were expressed, had risen to the sublime; and
although he paused for some minutes, I made no attempt to interrupt his
reflections, but in silence awaited the continuance of his tale.

"Wal, what do ye suppose I did nixt?" asked Zeb.

"Really, I cannot imagine," I replied, considerably astonished by Old
Zeb's abrupt and unexpected question.

"Wal, ye don't suppose I kim down from the tree?"

"I don't see how you could."

"Neyther did I, for I kedn't. I mout as well 'a' tried to git down the
purpendiklar face o' the Chickasaw bluffs, or the wall o' Jackson
Court-House. So I guv it up, an' stayed whar I war, cross-legs on a
branch o' the tree. It warn't the most comf'table kind o' seat; but I
hed somethin' else than cushions to think of. I didn't know the minit I
mout be shot out into the Massissippi; an' as I niver war much o' a
swimmer,--to say nothin' o' bein' smashed by the branches in fallin',--I
warn't over satesfied wi' my sitiwation.

"So I passed the hull o' that day; tho' thar warn't an easy bone in my
body, I hed got to be a bit easier in my mind; for on lookin' down at
the river, it seemed that the cave-in hed come to a eend. But my comfort
didn't last long. It war follered by the reflection that, whether the
tree war to stand or fall, I war equally a lost man. I knew that I war
beyont the reach o' human help. Nothin' but chance ked fetch a livin'
critter within reach o' my voice. I seed the river plain enough, an'
boats passin' up an' down; but I know'd they war 'custom'd to steer
along the opposite shore, to 'void the dangerous eddy as sets torst this
side. The river's more 'n a mile wide here, and the people on a passin'
boat wudn't hear me; an' ef they did, they'd take it for some one a
mockin' 'em. A man hailin' a boat from the top o' a cyprus-tree! It 'ud
be of no use. For all that I tried it. Steamers, keels, and flats,--I
hailed them all till I war hoarse; some o' 'em heard me, for I war
answered by shouts o' scornful laughter. My own shouts o' despair mout
a' been mistuk for the cries o' a fool or a madman.

"Wul, I kim to the conclusion that I war _trapped in that tree_, an' no
mistake. I seed no more chance o' gittin' clur than wud a bar wi' a
two-ton log across the small o' his back.

"It war jest arter I hed gin up all hope o' bein' suckered by anybody
else, thet I 'gan to think o' doin' suthin' for myself. I needed to do
suthin'. Full thirty hours hed passed since I'd eyther ate or drank; for
I'd been huntin' all the day afore 'ithout doin' eyther. I ked 'a'
swallered the muddiest water as ever war found in a puddle, an' neyther
frogs nor tadpoles would 'a' deterred me. As to eatin', when I thort o'
that, I kedn't help turnin' my eyes up'ard; an', spite o' the spurt I'd
hed wi' thar parents, I ked 'a' tolt them young baldies that thar lives
war in danger.

"Possible, I mout 'a' feeled hungrier an' thurstier then I did, if it
hadn't been for the fear I war in 'bout the cyprus topplin' over into
the river. Thet hed kep' me in sich a state o' skear, as to hinder me
from thinking of most anythin' else.

"As the time passed, hows'ever, an' the tree still kep' its
purpendic'lar, I begun to b'lieve that the bank warn't agoin' to move
any more. I ked see the water down below through the branches o' the
cyprus, an' tho' it war clost by, thar 'peared to be a clamjamfery o'
big roots stickin' out from the bank, as war like to keep the dirt firm
agin the underminin' o' the current,--leastwise for a good while.

"Soon as I bekum satersfied o' the firmness o' the cyprus, I tuk to
thinkin' again how I war to git down. Thinkin' warn't o' no use. Thar
war no way but to jump it; an' I mout as well ha' thort o' jumpin' from
the top o' a 'Piscopy church steeple 'ithout breakin' my ole
thigh-bones, tough as they be.

"By this time it hed got to be night; an' as thar wa'n't no use o' me
makin' things wuss then they war, I groped about the cyprus to see ef
thar war ary limb softer than the others, whar I ked lay myself for a
snooze. I foun' a place in one o' the forks, large enough to 'a' lodged
a bar; an' thar I squatted. I slep' putty well, considerin'; but the
scratch the eagle hed gin me hed got to be sorish, an' war wuss torst
the mornin'. At peep o' day I war wide awake, an' feelin' hungry enuf to
eat anything.

"While I war thinkin' o' climbin' up to the neest an' wringin' one o'
the eagles' necks, I chanced to look out over the river. All at oncet I
see one o' them big water-hawks--osprey, they call 'em--plunge down, an'
rise up agin wi' a catfish in his claws. He hadn't got twenty feet above
the surface when one o' the old baldies went shootin' torst him like a
streak o' lightnin'. Afore ye kud 'a' counted six, I seed the she-baldy
comin' for the tree wi' the catfish in _her_ claws.

"'Good,' sez I to myself; 'ef I must make my breakfast on raw stuff, I'd
rayther it shed be fish than squab eagle.'

"I started for the neest. This time I tuk the purcaution to unsheathe my
bowie an' carry it in my hand ready for a fight; an' it warn't no idle
purcaution, as it proved; for sca'ce hed I got my head above the edge o'
the neest when both the old birds attackted me jest as afore. The fight
war now more even atween us, an' the cunnin' critters appeared to know
it; for they kep' well out o' reach o' the bowie, though floppin' an'
clawin' at me whenever they seed a chance. I guv the ole hen a prod that
cooled her courage consid'able; an' as for the cock, he warn't a
sarcumstance to her; for, as yer know, the pluckiest o' eagles is allers
the hen bird.

"The fish war lyin' in the bottom o' the neest, whar they had dropped
it. It hedn't been touched, 'ceptin' by the claws thet hed carried it,
an' the young 'uns war too much skeart durin' the skurmidge to think o'
beginnin' breakfast. I spiked it on the blade o' my bowie, an', drawin'
it torst me, I slid back down the tree to the fork whar I hed passed the
night. Thar I ate it."

"You don't mean to say you ate it raw?"

"Jest as it come from the river! I mout 'a' gin it a sort o' a cookin',
ef I'd liked; for I hed my punk pouch on me, an' I ked 'a' got firin'
from the dead bark o' the cyprus. But I war too hungry to wait, an' I
ate it raw. The fish war a couple o' pound weight; an' I left nothin' o'
it but the bones, fins, an' tail.

"As ye may guess, I wa'n't hungry any longer; but jest then come upon me
a spell o' the driest thirst I ever 'sperienced in all my life. The fish
meat made it wuss; for, arter I hed swallered it, I feeled as ef I war
afire. The sun war shinin' full upon the river, an' the glitterin' water
made things wuss; for it made me hanker arter it all the more. Oncet or
twice I got out o' the fork, thinkin' I ked creep along a limb an' drop
into the river. I shed 'a' done so, hed it been near enough, tho' I
knowed I ked niver 'a' swum ashore. But the water war too fur off.

"'T war no use chawin' the leaves o' the cyprus. They war full o' rosin,
an' 'ud only make the chokin' wuss. Thar war some green leaves on the
fox-grape-vine, an' I chawed all o' them that I ked git my paws on. Thet
dud some good; but my suffering war still unbarable.

"How war I to git at the water o' that river, that flowed so tauntin'ly
jest out o' reach? I 'most jumped off o' the tree when at last I bethort
me o' a way to manage it.

"I had a piece o' cord I allers carries about me. 'T war long enough to
reach the river bank an' let down into the water. I ked empty my
powder-horn an' let it down. It would fill, an' I ked then draw it up
agin. Hooray!

"I cried that hooray only oncet. On lookin' for the horn, I diskivered
that I hed left it whar I hed tuk it off afore goin' to sleep, under the
cyprus.

"I warn't agoin' to be beat in that way. Ef I hed no vessel thet wud
draw water, I hed my ole doe-skin shirt. I ked let that down, soak it,
an' pull it up agin. No sooner said than done. The shirt war peeled off,
gathered up into a clew, tied to the eend o' the string, an' chucked
out'ard. It struck a branch o' the cyprus an' fell short. I tried over
an' over agin. It still fell short several feet from the bank o' the
river. Yet the cord war long enough. It war the thick branches o' the
cyprus that gin me no chance to make a clur cast, and havin' tried till
I war tired, I gev that up too.

"I shed 'a' felt dreadful at failin' arter bein' so sure o' success; but
jest then I bethunk me o' another plan for reachin' that preecious
flooid.

"I've tolt ye 'bout my cuttin' a lot o' cane to make me a shake-down for
sleepin' on. Thur it still war right under me,--armfuls o' it. The sight
o' its long tubes suggested a new idee, which I warn't long in puttin'
to practice. Takin' the shirt out o' its loop, I made the cord fast to
the heft o' my bowie. I then shot the knife down among the cane, sendin'
it wi' all my might, an' takin' care to keep the p'int o' the blade
down'ards. It warn't long till I had spiked up as much o' thet 'ere cane
as wud 'a' streetched twenty yards into the river.

"Thar war no eend o' whittlin' an' punchin' out the p'ints, an' then
splicin' the tubes one to the other. But I knowed it war a case o' life
or death, an' knowin' that, I worked on steady as an ole gin-hoss.

"I war rewarded for my patience. I got my blow-gun completed, an'
shovin' it carefully out, takin' the purcaution to give it a double rest
upon the branches, I hed the satersfaction ter see its p'int dippin'
down into the river. I tell ye, thar warn't no mint-juleps ever sucked
through a straw as tasted like the flooid that cum gurdlin' up through
that cane. I thort I ked niver take the thing from my lips; an' I feel
putty sartin that while I war drinkin', the Massissippi must 'a' fell
clur a couple o' feet. Ye may larf at the idee, young feller, an' I'm
gled to see ye in setch good sperits; but ye aren't so elevated as I war
when I tuk my mouth from the cane. I feeled all over a new man,--jest as
ef I hed been raised from the dead, or dragged out o' a consoomin' fire.

"I lived in the fork o' that ere cyprus for six long days,--occasionally
payin' a visit to the eagles' neest, an' robbin' the young baldies o'
the food thar parents hed pervided for 'em. Thar diet war various, an'
on a konsequence so war mine. I hed vittles consistin' o' fish, flesh,
an' fowl,--sometimes a rabbit, sometimes a squir'l, with feathered game
to foller, sech as partridge, teals, an' widgeons. I didn't cook 'em,
for I war afraid o' settin' fire to the withered leaves o' the tree an'
burnin' up the neest, which wud 'a' been like killin' the goose as laid
the eggs o' gold.

"I mout a managed that sort o' existence for a longer spell, tho' I
acknowledge it war tiresome enuf. But it warn't that as made me anxious
to see it up, but suthin' very different. I seed that the young baldies
war every day gettin' bigger. Thar feathers war comin' out all over, an'
I ked tell that it wudn't be long till they wud take wing.

"When that time kum, about whar shed I be? still in the tree or worse;
but whar was my purvision to kum from? who wud supply me wi' fish, an'
flesh, an' fowl, as the eagles hed done? Clurly neery one. It war this
thort as made me uneasy.

"I must do suthin' to git down out o' that tree, or die among its
branches, an' I spent all my spare time in thinkin' what mout be did. I
used to read in Webster's Spellin' Book that needsessity are the mother
o' invention. I reckon Ole Web warn't far astray when he prented them
ere words. Anyways it proved true in the case o' Zeb Stump, when he war
trapped in that cyprus.

"I hed noticed that the two ole eagles becum tamer, as they got used to
me. They seed that I did no harm to their chicks, 'ceptin' so far as to
abstrack from 'em a portion o' thar daily allowance. But I allers tuk
care to leave them sufficient for themselves; an' as thar parents
appeared to hev no difficulty in purvidin' them wi' plenty,--unlike many
parents in yur country, friend, as I've heerd,--my pilferin' didn't seem
much to distress 'em. They grew at last so that they'd sit on the one
side o' the neest, while I war peepin' over the other! I seed that I ked
easily snare them; an' I made up my mind to do this very thing; for a
partickler purpuss which promised to extercate me out o' the ugly scrape
I hed so foolishly got into.

"I hed noticed that the eagles war both big birds, an' strong i' the
wing. Everybody ort to know thet much. It therefore occurred to me that
I mout make them wings do me a sarvice,--otherways that they shed carry
me out o' the tree. In coorse I didn't intend they shed take me up i'
the air. There warn't much danger o' that. I only thort they mout sarve
to break my fall, like one o' them flyin' things,--paryshoots I believe
they calls 'em. Arter I'd got my plan tol'ably well traced out, I sot
about trappin' the ole eagles. In less 'n an hour's time I hed both on
'em in my keepin' wi' thar beaks spliced to keep 'em from bitin' me, an'
thar claws cut clur off wi' my bowie. I then strengthened my cord by
doublin' it half a dozen times, until it war stout enough to carry my
weight. One eend o' it I looped around the legs o' the eagles, gatherin'
all four into a bunch, while the other eend I made fast around myself
just under the arm-pits. I hed done all this upon the lowest limb o' the
cyprus, whar I hed fetched down the eagles. When all war ready, I drew
my bowie from its sheath, an' with its sharp point pricked both the
baldies at the same time, so as to set 'em a floppin'. As soon as I seed
thar four wings in full play, I slid off the branch, directin' myself
torst the groun' underneath. I ain't very clur as to what followed; I
only recollex bein' dragged through the branches o' the cyprus, an' the
minit arter plumpin' _cochuck_ into the waters o' the Massissippi.

[Illustration]

"I shed most sartinly a been drownded ef that ere cord had broken, or
the eagles had got loose. As it war, the birds kep' beatin' the water
wi' thar big wings; an' in that way hindered me from goin' under. I've
heerd o' a woman, they called Veenis, bein' drawed through the sea by a
couple o' swans; but I don't b'lieve they ked a drawed her at 'a'
quicker pace than I war carried over the Massissippi. In less 'n five
minits from the time I had dropped out o' the tree, I war in the middle
o' the river, an' still scufflin' on. The baldies were boun' for the
Arkansaw shore, an' knowin' that my life depended on thar reachin' it, I
offered no opposition to thar efforts, but lay still and let 'em go it.

"As good luck wud hev it, they hed strength enough left to complete the
crossin'; an' thar war another bit o' good luck in the Arkansaw bank
bein' on a level wi' the surface o' the water; so that in five minits
more I found myself among the bushes, the baldies still flutterin' about
me, as if determined to carry me on over the great peraries. I feeled
that it war time to stop the steam; so, clutchin' holt o' a branch, I
brought up to an anchor. I tuk good care not to let the birds go,--tho'
sartin I owed them that much for the sarvice they hed done me. But jest
then I bethunk me o' the Englishman at Grand Gulf,--ah! it war you, ye
say?"

"Certainly! And those are the eagles I purchased from Mrs. Stump?"

"Them same birds! Yer shed 'a' hed the young 'uns, but thar warn't no
chance ever agin to climb that cyprus, an' what bekim o' the poor
critters arterward I haint the most distant idee. I reckon they eended
thar days in the neest, which ye can still see up thar, an' ef they dud,
I reckon the buzzarts wudn't be long afore makin' a meal o' 'em."

With my eyes directed to the top of that tall cypress-tree, and fixed
upon a dark mass of dead sticks resembling a stack of faggots, I
listened to the concluding words of this queer chapter of backwoods
adventure.

                                             _Mayne Reid._

[Illustration]



[Illustration: Round the Evening Lamp

A Treasury

of

Charades, Puzzles, Problems and Funny Things.]


CHARADES.

NO. 2.

    My _first_ is, in sound, the odd creature that goes
    Into Hottentots' traps when he follows his nose:
    But in sense 't is an adjective, short, spick and span,
    Well hated by Hunkers and kept under ban.
    My _second_ it qualifies, also my _third_,
    Though a _high fen_ between can't be crossed nor be stirred.
    Now my _next_, like a swindler when cleaned out of tin,
    Has always its tick, and takes most people in.
    Amphibious its habit, as frequently found
    Beneath the blue sea as on top of the ground:
    Yet, oddest caprice out of destiny's cup,
    Just when in full feather 't is always "sewed up."
    What is forced and affected most all people spurn,
    Yet they like this because 't is a made-up concern.
    Best friend when our sunshine to gloom is converted,
    Yet the moment we rise in the world we desert it.
    Best friend, yet precisely its stead you can find,
    To which, strange to say, you are never inclined.
    And the warmer you get when a lieing you take it,
    The more you wink at it, the less you forsake it.
    Wet blankets you throw over swells, but not so
    O'er my _second_, however puffed up it may grow.
    My _third_ is so shallow you'll guess it before
    I've told you how many smart folks pass it o'er;
    Even Cæsar went o'er it and by it and through it,
    And lived long enough, the baldpate, to rue it.
    Tho' shallow it is, yet the bravest and best
    By keeping it give of their wisdom a test.
    And the hotter it gets in dispute, yet the most
    Courageous is he who wont let it be crossed.
    On the whole, though 't is often a subject of strife,
    More people it joins than it parts in this life.
    My _whole_ is a place I forbear now to flatter;
    It thrives upon those whose dearest and best
    Severely it tries, yet makes light of the matter,
    And thinks the more wicked their end, the more blest.

                                  J. W.


ILLUSTRATED REBUS.--No. 2.

[Illustrations]


CONUNDRUMS.

     1. Why should soldiers never meddle with nut-crackers?

     2. What is that which no man wants, but which, if a man has
     it, he would most unwillingly part with?

     3. Why are flatterers sometimes mistaken for truth-tellers?

     4. Why does a scolding woman keep people at a distance?

     5. Why is an easy office like a good dinner eaten by an
     invalid?


ENIGMA.

NO. 2.

     I am composed of 17 letters.

     My 17, 12, 8, 3, is a philosopher.

     My 2, 15, 7, 13, 16, 4, is what boys are when school is done.

     My 1, 2, 14, 12, 1, 16, 3, is a place of amusement.

     My 11, 12, 8, 3, 16, is a German huntsman.

     My 7, 3, 13, 16, 10, 14, 17, are a persecuted race.

     My 13, 12, 8, is a mouthful.

     My 11, 10, 15, 16, 17, belongs to you.

     My 13, 14, 7, 6, 17, is a family.

     My 2, 3, 12, 9, 4, is not light.

     My 17, 15, 13, 12, 16, is sweet.

     My 13, 16, 12, 9, 3, is solemn.

     My 9, 12, 8, 15, 14, is quite uncertain.

     My whole is a very interesting book by one of the writers for
     "Our Young Folks."


TRANSPOSITION. No. 1.

     I thought I should like to _ivred_; so I went to the _abelts_
     to _sahenrs_ my _oehsr_, but I found the _ubcelk_ of the
     _hebeirgnc_ was broken; to make the best of it, I put an old
     _piesk_ in place of the _eontug_, brought out the old
     _acsihe_, and off I went. Now tell me how I got on.


PUZZLES.

NO. 1.

    My first is in Urn but not in Vase,
    My second is in Cabinet but not in Case,
    My third is in "Goose" but not in Fool,
    My fourth is in Chair but not in Stool,
    My fifth is in Vanity but not in Conceit,
    My sixth is in Parsnip but not in Beet.
    My whole is the name of a boys' book.

                              Carl.


NO. 2.

Behead an animal, and leave a gift.

                              C. M. E.


ARITHMETICAL PUZZLES.

NO. 3.

So arrange the nine digits, using each but once, that their sum shall be
exactly one hundred.


NO. 4.

100055,--a long-tailed animal.

                              C. M. E.


NO. 5.

    One hundred and one by fifty divide;
    And then, if a cipher be rightly applied,
    And your computation agreeth with mine,
    The answer will be one taken from nine.


[Illustration: ILLUSTRATED REBUS.--No. 3.]


ANSWERS.

Charades.

     1. Pilgrimage.

     2. Illumination.


Arithmetical Puzzles.

     1. Height of staff, 75 feet; payments, $11.50, $23, $34.50,
     and $57.50, respectively.

     2. CIVIL.


Enigma.

1. Our Young Folks.


Illustrated Rebus.

1. Beware of the intoxicating bowl, for it brings penury and ruin.

[(Bee) (ware) of (the-in-t) (ox) (eye) (cat-in-g) (bowl) four (eye)t
b(rings) (pen) (ewe) (rye) and-rew (inn).]


OUR HORSEMAN.

    There was a young cavalry "feller"
    Who "foraged" a secesh umbrella.
      When he got it he said,
      "I will now 'make a spread,'"--
    This confiscating cavalry "feller."

[Illustration]


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Hyphenated words have been standardized. Inconsistencies in spellings
have been left as in the original except those listed below.

     Page 111, Minal changed to Mihal.

     Page 115 and 116, Manday changed to Munday.

     Page 137, Middlehauf changed to Middlekauf.

     Page 140, gods changed to goods, as in "his household goods".





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